The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Description of Khakholkaditya which is chapter 50 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the fiftieth chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 50 - Description of Khakholkāditya

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: The story of rivalry between Kadrū and Vinatā and Garuḍa’s exploit is based on Mbh, Ādi, Chs. 20-34.—The deity Khakholkāditya is now in Kāmeśvara Temple. (BCL 362).

Skanda said:

1. O Pot-born One, there are other Ādityas also in Vārāṇasī. Henceforth, I shall gladly describe them to you. All of them are destroyers of all sins.

2. The Āditya deity to the north Triviṣṭapa (the shrine of Śiva) is glorified by the name Khakholka (or Khaṣolka). He is the destroyer of all ailments.

3-4. Listen how the name Khakholka was attained by that Āditya. Two splendid daughters of Dakṣa, Kadrū and Vinatā, became wives of Kaśyapa, son of Marīci and a fromer Prajāpati (Patriarch). Once, while they were playing together, O sage, they said thus:

Kadrū said:

5. O Vinatā, if you know, tell it to me as you have unobstructed movement in the firmament.

6. We hear that there is a horse named Uccaiśśravā in the chariot of Savitṛ (Sun). Tell me quickly whether it is white in colour or variegated.

7. O auspicious lady, O sinless one, bet a wager on this, whatever you like. Time cannot pass this way alone without some pastime.

Vinatā said:

8. O my sister, what is the necessity of betting in this regard? I shall speak simply (without bet). What pleasure can I have, if you win? What joy will you have, in case I win?

9. Knowingly no one should bet a wager, if mutual friendship is desired. Certainly, at the victory of one, the other-will get infuriated.

Kadrū said:

10. O dear sister, this is only a play. There is no cause for anger in this. This is only a playful transaction and something is mentioned in regard to the wager.

Vinatā said:

11. O serpentess! Do as you please.

Therupon Kadrū of a crooked mind, said to Vinatā:

12. “She who is defeated shall become the slave of her by whom she is defeated. In this matter of wager all these friends of ours are the witnesses.”

13. When the serpentess and the bird betted the wager thus, Kadrū said that the horse was variegated in colour and the winged one (Vinatā) told that it was white.

14. They both fixed the time when they should go. Thereafter, they stopped their play and went to their respective bodes.

15-18. When Vintatā had gone away, Kadrū called her sons and said: “My sons, at my behest all of you go quickly. Go quickly to the horse Uccaiśśravas that had come out of the Milk Ocean that was being churned and being agitated by Mandara hitting it.

An effect gets the features similar to those of the cause. Hence it has the colour of milk. Dear sons, make it dark in colour. Occupy its tail and assume the form of dark hairs. Make the hairs too on its body dark by means of poisonous puffs of air.”

19. On hearing these words of their mother, the sons of Kadrū consulted one another. Becoming furious, they told their mother:

The Serpents said:

20. Mother, when you called us, we left our games and came here delighted that our mother will give us sweets to eat.

21. Far from giving sweets, you have uttered what is more caustic than even poison. This is not going to be subdued either by Mantras or by medicines.

22. We are not going. Let anything befall us.

This was uttered by those poison-mouthed, crooked-gaited ones.

Skanda said:

23-24. There are others too with crooked gaits and cruel hearts who make their parents ashamed. They resort to (take advantage of) the loopholes of others. They don’t pay heed. They set at nought the words of their parents and remain highly arrogant. Such ones will court great danger here and ere long will perish.

25. On hearing the words (of her sons), “We are not going”, the serpentess became angry and cursed them—the serpents who had committed an offence (of disobedience).

26. “Because you have transgressed my words, you will become prey unto Tārkṣya. Let all female serpents eat their young ones immediately after the birth.”

27. The nether worlds were resorted to by some of them who were afraid of the fire of curse. The behest of the mother was carried out by a few who were eager to be alive.

28. Those extremely sensible ones got on to the tail of Uccaiśśravas and made it resemble one with very dark hairs. They made its body variegated in colour.

29. It was brought about by the columns of smoke of their poisonous fire augmented by puffs and sighs issuing forth. They were not burnt by the rays of the Sun because of the merit of carrying out the behest of their mother.

30. Then out of affection, Kadrū got on to the back of Vinatā and went by the path of the sky. She saw then the solar disc.

31-34. Kadrū then became excessively agitated in her mind due to the ferocity of the Sun. She told the bird: “O Vinatā, proceed gingerly. My body is extremly scorched by the hot rays of the Sun. I am cautious by nature and you are wholly hopeful (sāpekṣā?). You are Pataṅgī in form and the Sun is also Pataṅga (a flier). Hence you do not have any affliction in the sky arising from scorching heat. This Sun is a Haṃsa (Swan) in the lake of the sky. You are one with the gait of a Swan. Hence the fierce fire of the hot-rayed Sun does not harm you.”

35-57. Again the serpentess said to the bird about to fly high in the sky, “Sister, save me, save me. We shall go away from the path of the sky. O Vinatā, why don’t you protect me, humble that I am? You are a bird. I shall be your slave taking in what you leave off after eating. I shall drink the water washing your feet as long as I live.”

38. The serpentess then went into a swoon taking hold of the wings (of Vinatā). Where she ought to have said “O friend, a firebrand is about to fall”, she became agitated and very falteringly said, “Khakholka may fall”.

39. Since the word Khakholka was uttered by Kadrū whose mind was extremely agitated, the Sun was diversely eulogized by Vinatā in the name of Khakholka.

40. While the Sun proceeded along the sky, he became slightly cool. Then the horse fitted to the chariot was seen slightly dark in colour.

41. The cruel serpentess whose eyes were bedevilled by the heat, was then told by Vinatā who was worthy of being honoured by the world and who spoke the truth:

42-43. “O gentle Kṛdrū, you have won. Though the horse Uccaiśśravas has the lustre of the rays of the moon, it appears as though it is dark-complexioned.

It is wonderful, O serpentess, that fate is all-powerful in regard to the matters of victory and defeat. The cruel one becomes victorious somewhere and the mild one too becomes the vanquished.”

44. Vinatā, the receptacle of humility, said thus as they proceeded ahead. After reaching the abode of Kadrū, she became her slave.

45. Once Vinatā was seen with her eyes filled with tears by Suparṇa (Garuḍa). She was in a wretched condition without the facial colour and purity. She was sighing deeply.

46-50. “Alas, my mother, where do you go in the morning everyday and return in the evening, pale and afflicted in mind?

Wherefor do you sigh deeply with the eyes full of tears like a woman whose sons are impotent and who has been discarded by her husband.

O mother, O winged one, tell me quickly why you are very vexed even as I, your child, am alive, I who have terrified even Kāla (god of Death).

O lady in a pitiable codition! What is the cause of your shedding tears? Nothing inauspicious is expected in a woman of excellent conduct.

Fie upon those sons whose mother is miserable even as they are alive! It would rather be better that she whose sons are ineffective in their ambitions, remain barren and childless.”

51. On hearing these forceful words of Garuḍa, her son, Vinatā spoke to the son who was full of devotion to his mother:

52-54. “O my son, I am the slave of Kadrū of cruel mentality. O my son, everyday I bear her and her sons too on my back. Sometimes I go to Mandara, sometimes to Malaya mountain and sometimes to an island with lakes in the famous oceans. Wherever the haughty sons of Kadrū take me I too go, O son, because I am a slave unto them.”

Garuḍa said:

55. Oh daughter of Dakṣaprajāpati! O sinless beloved of Kaśyapa! O mother of excellent features, what is the cause of your slavery?

56. Vinatā related to Garuḍa all those previous events that brought about her slavery, along with the fact of seeing the horse of the Sun.

57-58. On hearing this, Garuḍa told his mother: “Go quickly, dear mother, and ask those wicked sons of Kadrū in these words: ‘Whatever be the thing for which you have any great desire, even if it be very rare and difficult to be got, you can ask for it in lieu of redeeming me from slavery. I shall give it to you.’”

59. Vinatā did so. On hearing what was uttered by her, the serpents were delighted in their minds. They consulted one another and spoke to her:

60. “If, in order to remove the curse of our mother, he gives us heavenly nectar, you can have what you desire. If he does not give, you continue to be a slave.”

61. Accepting that offer and taking leave of Kadrū, the bird of quick motion (Vinatā) saw Garuḍa who was glad in his mind and told him (everything).

62. The enemy of serpents then said to his mother who was excessively worried: “Mother, know that the heavenly nectar is already brought. Give me my food.”

63-67. Vinatā experienced horripilation due to joy and said to her son: “O Suparṇa, go to the ocean quickly. Good luck to you! There are many Niṣāda fishermen with their houses at the seashore. Eat those wicked-souled ones. Those evil-minded ones who live on others’ lives, should be chastised assiduously. Their chastisement is very much conducive to welfare. Violence done unto those who indulge in great violence shall be a means to the attainment of heaven, for people are protected when the wicked ones are killed. But, O son, if there is any Brāhmaṇa among those fish-killing Niṣādas, he should be assiduously protected. He is never to be eaten.”

Garuḍa said:

68. How can a Brāhmaṇa residing among the fish-eating ones be known and recognized by me? Tell me some significant things about that person who is said by you as one who should not be eaten.

Vinatā said:

69-71. There is a sacred thread free from impurities round his neck along with the upper cloth. The clothes are washed everyday. The forehead is marked by a Tilaka. His hands have the Pavitra. The knot of his cloth keeps Kuśa grass within. His hairs do have a tuft. He is to be known as a Brāhmaṇa by you. He who recites at least one verse from Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman or he who recites the Gāyatrī Mantra should be known by you as a Brāhmaṇa.

Garuḍa said:

72-73. O mother, I do not consider anyone of these things as a significant feature of a Brāhmaṇa who may be living for ever in the midst of the Niṣādas.

Dear mother, tell me another characteristic feature making him known as a Brāhmaṇa, whereby realizing him as a Brāhmaṇa I can free him, should he be caught in my throat.

74-75. On hearing it, Vinatā said: “O my son, cast him off, the person who may scorch you like a burning Khadira charcoal when he is caught up in your throat.

The injury to any Brāhmaṇa is never conducive to welfare. In due course it annihilates the land, the family, the glory and the wealth.”

76. On hearing this, the lord of the birds, the son of Kaśyapa, bowed down to the feet of his mother. After taking her blessings he quickly went by the aerial path.

77-78. He saw from a distance the Niṣādas who live on fish. The lord of the birds shook his wings, filled heaven and earth with dust particles. He blinded the various regions of the quarters and finally sat on the seashore opening his mouth widely like a huge cave.

79-81. The Niṣādas who ran helter-skelter due to fear entered

his mouth themselves. While they were entering the throat considering it to be their own path, a certain Brāhmaṇa burned his cave-like throat with a scalding touch, like that of a burning charcoal. Thereupon Tārkṣya made those who had previously entered go into the cavity of his belly and realizing the person stationed in the throat and the palate to be a Brāhmaṇa quickly vomited him out, as he was checked by the words of his mother.

82. On seeing the man vomited out, the king of birds spoke, “Who are you by caste? You are burning my throat. Tell me.”

83. On being asked, he spoke thus to Garuḍa: “I am a Brāhmaṇa. I live among these Niṣādas making use of my caste alone as sustenance.”

84. After sending him away and eating most of the others, Garuḍa, blowing like a violent gust of wind at the time of deluge, made the sky agitated.

85. On seeing him fiery with brilliance, enveloping the quarters with flames and appearing like a mountain with blazing forest fires, heaven-dwellers became afraid.

86. Making the armies and the weapons ready, mounting their respective vehicles and wearing the coats of mail, the Suras got ready for battle.

87-89. The Devas well-versed in polity began to think: ‘This person is proceeding obliquely. Hence he is not the Sun. He is not fire which emits smoke (This person does not). He is not lightning (which is momentary). Who is this person who has come in front of us? Such a splendour is not to be found among Daityas. Such a form is not among Dānavas. Who is this that creates terror in us? He is making our heart tremble.’ Even as the Devas were puzzled thus, the king of birds of excessive strength shook his wings.

90. Due to the gust of wind raised by his wings (those Suras) fell down along with their weapons and vehicles. It was not known where they were thrown like things made of leaves and grasses.

91. When they had been destroyed, the king of birds pursued intelligently and found out the treasure house of nectar and also the guards thereof.

92. He made those Suras with raised weapons and missiles in their hands, scattered around. Thereafter he saw a mechanical device in the form of scissors placed above the nectar (-receptacle).

93. It was moving rapidly with the speed of mind and wind. Even if a mosquito was to come into contact with it, it would be cut into millions of pieces.

94-100. The lord of birds sat fearlessly near that machine and thought for a moment:

‘Oh! what shall I do here? It is not possible to touch this. Even the wind is not powerful enough in this regard. What means is to be employed? Alas, my effort has become fruitless.

Force cannot be effective here nor manliness. Wonderful indeed is the care and effort of Devas in regard to the security of the heavenly nectar.

If my devotion to Śaṅkara is undisputed and steady, may that Lord of Devas bless me with great presence of mind.

If I am devoted to my mother even more than to Śaṅkara. Let my keen intellect be capable of taking away the heavenly nectar.

This effort on my part is not for my own selfish ends. This that omnipresent Lord knows. I am endeavouring for the heavenly nectar to redeem my mother from slavery.

If one’s parents are pretty old, if one’s children are very young and if one’s wife is chaste and loyal, there is no harm even in one’s improper act for their sustenance.’

101-104. Even as he thought thus, the noble-souled one had an idea. He made his form minuter than the minutest. He assumed a highly miraculous form, a thousandth of the size of an atom and entered the mechanical device of the scissors below, due to the minuteness of his body. He was afraid of the machine and saved his body from being cut even by the wind therefrom. He uprooted it quickly and seized the receptacle of the heavenly nectar. Even as the heaven-dwellers were shouting, he came out along the path of the wind.

105. The nectar-imbibers (Devas) went to the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha and said, “O Discus-bearing Lord, we are defeated and the nectar, our own very life, is being carried away.”

106-107. On hearing this Hari granted them freedom from fear. Hurriedly he fought with him (Garuḍa) a battle on a par with that of the demon Śuṃbha and the Goddess, O Sūta. The great battle lasted for sixty-four Ghaṭikās. Garuḍa was superior therein. The Lord, the bestower of everything, became pleased with the great battle.

108. He went to Garuḍa and said, “O lord of birds, I am delighted. Welfare unto you, the conqueror of the group of Devas. Choose a boon.”

109. Garuḍa laughed and said to the omniformed Lord Janārdana, “I too am delighted. You can choose two boons.”

110. Thereupon the conqueror of Kaiṭabha delightfully said to the son of Vinatā, “O liberal-minded one, chosen, chosen. Grant me, grant me the two boons.”

111-112. On hearing these words utterd by Viṣṇu, the lord of birds laughingly said: “Of what avail is the delay? Hence tell me. The two boons are given, are given. Even if there is no acquisition of profit in a game of dice etc. attended with success and prosperity, a fair-minded one should give (the due) to the deserving one. How can one expect profit and successs always?”

Śrī Viṣṇu said:

113. O lord of birds, you are strong. Hence be my vehicle. O gianter of boons, this is one of the boons. O son of Kaśyapa, listen to the second one.

114-115. O wise one, just show to the serpents the nectar brought for the redemption of your mother from slavery. Manage it in such a way that they do not eat it immediately. The heavenly nectar should be given to the Devas. Let this be my second boon.

The lord of birds promised, “So be it” and departed from heaven.

116-119. That son of Kaśyapa released his mother from slavery. He placed the great pot of the heavenly nectar in front of the serpents. The extremely intelligent one spoke to them as they were desirous of drinking the nectar: “O serpents, this splendid nectar should be swallowed after making yourselves clean (after bathing). If not, this nectar, well-preserved by the winkless ones (Devas), is likely to vanish when touched by unclean people devoid of bath etc. If, even an ordinary foodstuff is touched anywhere by unclean people the Devas take away its essential juice and it remains insipid,”

120. After saying this and placing the pot of nectar on a mat of Kuśa grass at their request, Garuḍa went out with his mother.

121-122. While the serpents had gone for their bath the pot of nectar was taken away by Viṣṇu and given to Devas as if it were their very life. After their bath, the serpents returned. Not seeing the pot of nectar they shouted: “Alas! We have been cheated. The nectar has been taken away.”

123. Thereafter, desirous of contact with the nectar, they licked the Darbha grass. Far from getting the nectar, they got their tongues split into two.

124. In the case of others too, if they are desirous of enjoying something got through illegitimate means, they do not get any chance to enjoy. Their effort does not become fruitful.

125. The very rare Sudhā was obtained by Garuḍa who was ready to abide by just means. Though acquired by the serpents, it disappeared in a moment after being seen, because they had obtained it by unjust means.

126. Then, released from the state of slavery, Vinatā told the sky-walker (Garuḍa): “O son, I will go to Kāśī for eradicating the sin of slavery.

127. Even all those sins incurred in the course of many births, appear to be very great as long as Kāśī, the destroyer of rebirth, is not retained in the heart.

128. What wonder is there that sins disappear merely by thinking of Kāśī? Due to the great blessings of Viśveśvara, even the possibility of rebirth disappears.

129. Where Viśveśvara is directly present, the Lord with the Moon for an ornament shall redeem the devotees from the ocean of worldly existence through the raft of the Tāraka Mantra.

130. The idea of going to Kāśī shall occur only in the minds of those who are blessed by Viśveśa and whose Karmas have been destroyed. Never does it occur to the minds of the others.

131. Only they are human beings, whose mind is attracted to Kāśī and whose sins have been washed off. It is true that others are beasts in human form.

132. Those alone who have attained Vārāṇasī, have defeated Kāla; only they are free from sins and they have no further birth.

133. One should not waste this human life, the means to the highest good. Without a visit to Kāśī that good is inaccessible even to Devas.

134. If the holy place Avimukta is visited, Kali has no power. What can Kāla do or the different types of Karmas do?

135. Those who do not resort to Varaṇā and Asi capable of striking the forest of frequent births, remain in the womb; they continue to be born in a womb.”

136. On hearing these words, Garuḍa said after bowing down to his mother, “I shall also come to visit Kāśī honoured by Śiva.”

137. Getting the permission of his mother, the lord of birds, accompanied by his mother, instantaneously reached Vārāṇasī, the place ensuring salvation.

138-140. Both the higly intelligent ones performed very severe penance. The lord of birds with steady sense-organs, installed Śaṃbhu’s Liṅga and Vinatā installed the splendid one named Khakholka Āditya. Ere long due to their great penance Lord Śaṅkara and Bhāskara became pleased. Umāpati came out of the Liṅga installed by Garuḍa.

141-146. He granted many rare boons to Garuḍa: “O lord of birds, you are my devotee. You will acquire knowledge. All my secrets not known to the Suras will be understood by you. This Liṅga installed by you is named Garuḍeśvara. If seen, touched and worshipped, it bestows perfect knowledge on men. Listen to one thing more, O lord of birds. I shall tell you something beneficial. You should not see me and Viṣṇu as different. O lord of birds, becoming the vehicle of the Lord, the destroyer of the power of lords of Daityas, you will also be worthy of adoration.”

After granting this boon to Garuḍa, his devotee, Śaṃbhu vanished there itself. Garuḍa went to Lord Viṣṇu. Becoming the vehicle of Hari, he became worthy of adoration on the earth.

147-149. Lord Bhāskara, the greatest cosmic form of Śiva and named Khakholka, once saw Vinatā performing penance. He granted her the boon of destruction of sins along with the knowledge of Śiva. He remained there in Kāśī and was named Vinatāditya (also). He destroyed the various sins of the residents of Kāśī. Thus is Khakholka Āditya, the destroyer of darkness and obstacles in Kāśī.

150-151. In Kāśī, in the holy Tīrtha named Paiśaṅgila (Pilipilā Tīrtha), a devotee should visit Khakholka. Merely by the sight thereof, he is freed from all sins. The man attains whatever he thinks of. Instantaneously he becomes free from illness. By listening to this narrative of Khakholka Āditya along with that of Garuḍeśa one is freed from all sins.

:: End of Kāśīkhaṇḍa Pūrvārdha ::

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