The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Manifestation of the Maya of Ganesha which is chapter 56 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 fifty-sixth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 56 - Manifestation of the Māyā of Gaṇeśa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. Thereafter, pondering on the means of facilitating Śaṃbhu’s arrival at Kāśī, the Elephant-faced One set off from Mandara mountain, duly taking up the behest of Īśa.

2. The Lord reached Vārāṇasī quickly proceeding on a fast chariot. He assumed the form of a Brāhmaṇa and entered at a time when good ones eulogized him.

3. He became an old astrologer visiting every house. He moved about in the city delighting the citizens.

4. He himself showed dreams to the men during the night and went to their houses in the morning explaining the benefits or otherwise thereof.

5. “In order to kindle your enthusiasm, I shall recount the various activities seen by you in dream in the night today.

6.[1] While sleeping at night a big, deep pond was seen by you in the fourth Yāma. You reached the bank after sinking in the same a couple of times.

7. You sank down and got up many times in the mud slimy with its waters. The outcome of this bad dream shall cause you great fear.

8. A person with shaven head and wearing ochre-coloured robes was seen by you. He will cause you terrible distress.

9. The eclipse of the Sun was seen at night. It will certainly cause great evil. The fact that you saw two rainbows at night, is not conducive to auspiciousness.

10. The Sun came to the West and made the Moon fall to the ground even as he was about to rise up in the sky. This indicates something fearful to the entire kingdom.

11. A pair of banners fighting each other were seen. It is not good. It may only bring about split in the kingdom.

12. You saw yourself being carried to the South even as your hairs and teeth were dropping down. This forebodes something awful to the family.

13. As the night came to a close, you saw the banner on the top of the palace break down. Know that this will certainly cause ruin of the kingdom. It will cause a great danger.

14. In the dream, the city was flooded with the waves of the ocean of milk. I suspect a great danger to the citizens within three or four fortnights.

15. Since in your dream you have been carried in a monkey-vehicle towards the South, O highly intelligent one, the means to nullify its effect is leaving the city for good.

16. The crying woman that you saw towards the close of the night, without clothes and with the hairs dishevelled is the goddess of glory that has departed.

17. The pot-like pinnacle on the top of the temple was seen by you falling down. Within a few days the kingdom will split.

18. In the dream the city was surrounded by excessively crying herds of deer (barking dogs—Comm.). It will be abandoned (uninhabited) within a month.

19. Certainly some grave mishap unto the residents of this place is being indicated by these falcons, owls, vultures etc. hovering over this city.”

20. In this way, recounting often these evil forebodings of bad dreams, that Lord of Obstacles expelled many of the city-dwellers.

21.[2] He pointed out to some that the transits of the Planets were not good. “Saturn, Venus and Mars are in the same zodiac.

22. This Dhumagraha (Ketu) has pierced through the region of the Great Bear in the firmament and has gone to the West. That indicates ruin unto the king.

23. Saturn has gone beyond the zodiac and thereafter is in its regress-path. It is associated with evil Planets (like Rāhu, Ketu and Mars). It is not considered good.

24. O citizens, the earthquake that happened yesterday seems to cause great trepidation even in my heart.

25. This meteor rose from the North and went quickly towards the South. It then got dissolved in the sky itself with a violent gust of wind and thunderstroke. It is not auspicious.

26. This Caityavṛkṣa (holy fig tree) despite its being deep-rooted has been uprooted by the velocity of the violent gust of wind and it has fallen down in the quadrangle. It indicates a great evil.

27. At sunrise the crow has perched itself on the top of a dried-up tree in the East and begins to crow harshly making others very much afraid.

28. Two deer have dodged the hunters and have gone fast through the middle of the shopping complex in front of the citizens. They are inauspicious to them.

29. Even in this autumn season, birds are seen untimely on the mango and Śāla trees. I think it is foreboding of great fear and danger to the inhabitants of the city.”

30. Thus, terror was generated by Vighneśvara in the guise of a false Brāhmaṇa and some citizens were driven away from (forced to quit) the city.

31. By using his Māyā power he entered the female apartments and by recounting events experienced by them, he became an object of confidence of the women.

32. “O lady of auspicious features, hundred sons less by seven were born to you. One of them was riding a horse over a bridge outside, when he fell down and died.

33. This pregnant woman will give birth to a splendid daughter. This woman had been wretched before but now she has become blessed and fine.

34. This woman is extremely endearing to the king and the queens. A pearl.ornament from his own bosom has been given to her by the king.

35. I think only five or seven days have passed by. Two villages have been promised to be given to her by the king as his favour.”

36. By saying various things directly experienced, thus, the Brāhmaṇa became one worthy of being honoured by the queens. They began to describe his many good qualities indirectly to the king.

37. “How wonderful! This Brāhmaṇa is handsome and has good behaviour in the same way as he is clever in everything. He is truthful and speaks sparingly.

38. He is not greedy. He is liberal-minded. His conduct is good. He has perfect control over the senses. He is satisfied with even a little. He is averse to accepting monetary gifts.

59. Anger is subdued by him. His face beams with pleasure. He is never malicious or deceitful. He is grateful. His countenance is cheerful. He is averse to calumny and slander.

40. He counsels what is meritorious. He is a pious-souled one. He observes all vows scrupulously. He is clean and his activities are clean. He is efficient in Śrutis and Smṛtis.

41. He is intelligent and conversant with the holy legends and myths. He is honoured by all and he looks at everything keenly. He is adept in a number of arts. He is the best among those conversant with the treatises on Astronomy.

42. He has forbearance. He is of noble birth. He is not miserly. He enjoys keeping the mind free from impurities. No one else has been seen elsewhere so richly endowed with these good qualities.”

43. Thus those women of the inner apartment spent their time enumerating his good qualities every now and then.

44. Once the chief queen of King Divodāsa named Līlāvatī spoke to the king about him on a suitable occasion.

45. “O king, there is an aged, learned Brāhmaṇa having a number of excellent qualities. He is a great embodiment and storehouse of the Brāhmaṇical virtues and Veḍìc knowledge. You must meet him.”

46. The permission having been given by the king, the queen sent her clever female companion and brought that Brāhmaṇa who appeared like an embodied form of Brāhmaṇical splendour.

47. From a distance the king saw the Brāhmaṇa coming and mentally thought thus, ‘Good qualities are present where excellent form and features are found.’ He became delighted.

48. By going a few steps forward, the king received and honoured him duly. He delighted the king by means of benedictory passages taken from the four Vedas.

49. The king duly bowed down to the Brāhmaṇa and offered him a seat which he occupied. The king and the Brāhmaṇa mutually enquired about each other’s welfare.

50. The excellent Brāhmaṇa and the king were adepts in the art of conversation. They were pleased at the (mutual) questions and answers.

51. At the end of the dialogue the Brāhmaṇa was respect fully sent home by the king. Having received great honour and due deference he entered his hermitage.

52. When the Brāhmaṇa had gone back to his hermitage, King Divodāsa extolled the Brāhmaṇa before Līlāvatī profusely.

53. “O great queen Līlāvatī, O highly intelligent lady fond of good qualities, the Brāhmaṇa has been duly praised. He is more meritorious than the way in which he is eulogized.

54. He knows everything that has already taken place. He understands the present. In the morning, he is to be called and asked to tell something about the future.”

55. When the night dawned, the king invited the Brāhmaṇa in the morning and offered him many kinds of enjoyable things and rich presents.

56. He duly welcomed the Brāhmaṇa, devoutly offering him a silk-cloth and other things. When they were alone, the king asked the Brāhmaṇa what had been cherished in the heart.

The king said:

57. It is certain that you alone appear to me the greatest among Brāhmaṇas. It is my opinion that the intellect of no one else is as much conversant with truth as thine.

58. On seeing you as a highly intelligent storehouse of austerities, having control over the mind and the sense-organs, O Brāhmaṇa, I am inclined to ask you something which please tell me truthfully.

59. This kingdom has been ruled by me, not so by other kings. Divine pleasures have been enjoyed by me to the (utmost) extent of my prosperity.

60. Without the least lassitude by day or by night, the wicked ones have been controlled by me by force and the subjects have been protected more than my own bosom-born progeny.

61. Of what avail is my enumeration not worthy of being repeated? I know that I have some merit due to the adoration of the feet of Brāhmaṇas. Nothing much.

62. My mind is not inclined and drawn towards any of the activities. Hence, O noble and excellent Sir, ponder over and tell me what is going to be conducive to welfare.

The Brāhmaṇa said:

63. Even the minutest duty of kings should always be explained by a wise man when asked privately.

64. But even the least should not be explained even by the minister when not asked, as he is sure to be afraid of great dishonour.

65. On being asked, I shall tell. Do not entertain any doubt on that account. If what I say is carried out, you shall understand the cause of your dejection and disinterestedness.

66. O king of excellent intellect, listen. I shall not say anything contrary to the fact (truth). You are valorous, extremely courageous and powerful. You are always fortunate.

67. I think that even in Amarāvatī, the Lord of the gods (Indra) is not as richly endowed with merit, renown and intellect.

68. I consider you on a par with Guru (Preceptor of the Devas) in view of the excellent intellect; on a par with the Moon in view of brightness and serenity; you are the very Sun in brilliance and on a par with Fire in respect of your valorous exploit.

69. You are on a par with the Wind-god in respect of your strength; on a par with Kubera through gifting of wealth; on a par with Rudra in respect of the ability to chastise; you are the very Nirṛti on the battlefield.

70. You are Pāśī (Varuṇa) who binds the wicked; in regard to the act of controlling the evil ones you are like Yama; you are on a par with Mahendra in respect of your great prosperity; you are on a par with the Earth in forbearance.

71. In the act of abiding by the bounds of morality, you are the ocean; in regard to greatness, you are Himālaya. You are Śukra in royal polity and in the act of ruling a land you are on a par with Manu.

72. You are the dispeller of distress like a cloud; holy like the name of Gaṅgā; you are the bestower of excellent goal on all creatures like Kāśī.

73. In the matter of annihilation you are Rudra; in according protection you are the four-armed Viṣṇu; you are the creator like Brahmā and the Goddess of Speech is in your lotus-like mouth.

74. Kamalā (Goddess of wealth) is in your lotus-like hand; there is the poison Halāhala in your anger; your speech is on a par with the divine nectar; your arms are the veritable Aśvinīsutas.

75. Everything powerful is in you, O king, because you are the very embodiment of all the Devas. Hence, what is conducive to your auspiciousness is known to me truly.

76. Calculating from today, O king, on the eighteenth day, a Brāhmaṇa from the North will certainly come to you and advise you.

77. His behest should be unhesitatingly carried out by you, O king. Thereby, O highly intelligent one, whatever you have cherished in your heart will be realized.

78. After saying so, the excellent Brāhmaṇa took leave of the king. After receiving his consent, he joyously entered his hermitage. The king was very much surprised (at the events).

79. Thus the entire city including the king, the subjects and the royal Antaḥpura (female apartment) was brought under his influence by Vighnajit through his own power of Māyā.

80. After considering himself one who has fulfilled his duties, that Lord Vighnajit took various guises himself and stayed on in Kāśī.

81. Gaṇādhipa adorned his own spot of that time, O Pot-born One, when Divodāsa himself was not present formerly.

82-83. When King Divodāsa was expelled by Viṣṇu and the city was renovated by Viśvakarman, the Lord himself came to the beautiful Vārāṇasī city from Mandara and eulogized Gaṇanāyaka at the outset.

Agastya said:

84. How was Vighnajit eulogized by the Lord of Devas? How did Vināyaka take various guises himself

85. By what names did he establish himself in the city of Kāśī? O Six-faced One, tell all those things briefly.

86. On hearing this utterance of the Pot-born One the Six-faced Lord related to him the auspicious story of Gaṇarāja based on facts.

Footnotes and references:


VV 6-19 state the fruits of dreams as was believed then.


VV 21-29 indicate astrological and other evil omens.

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