The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Vyasa’s Arms Get Paralysed which is chapter 95 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 ninety-fifth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 95 - Vyāsa’s Arms Get Paralysed

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:

1, Listen, O highly intelligent Sūta, to what has been stated by Skanda as the future concerning me to the highly intelligent Pot-born (Agastya).

Skanda said:

2. Listen, O blessed sage, O son of Mitra and Varuṇa, how the excellent sage, the son of Parāśara, will be getting deluded.

3-5. The highly intelligent Vyāsa divided the Vedas into many Śākhās (branches). He taught Sūta and others the eighteen Purāṇas. He composed a work entitled Mahābhārata that can be called the innermost secret (essence) of the Śrutis, Smṛtis and Purāṇas and which is the most fascinating one. It subdues all sins. It gives perfect peace. By merely listening to it, the sin of killing a Brāhmaṇa is destroyed.

6-10. Once that glorious sage was wandering over the earth when he reached Naimiṣāraṇya where there were leading sages Śaunaka and others. These ascetics numbered eighty-eight thousand. Tripuṇḍras embellished their great foreheads and they wore shining Rudrākṣa necklaces. Vyāsa saw them piously smeared with holy ash, desirous of frequent reciting with devotion Rudra Sūktas, engaged in the propitiation of Liṅgas. They were reverently and with attention uttering the name of Śiva. They were decisive in their minds and so were always asserting: “Viśveśa is one alone. He and no one else is the bestower of salvation.” On seeing them all with their souls in communion with Giriśa, Sage Vyāsa lifted up his index finger and said thus again:

Vyāsa’s Statement (vv 11-19):

11. “After churning the vast expanse of words and coming to firm conclusions again and again, this alone has been understood (by me that), Hari, the Lord of all, should be resorted to.

12. In Veda, in Purāṇas, in Rāmāyaṇa and in Bhārata, Hari alone and no one else comes in the beginning, middle and end.

13. This is the truth; this is the truth; this is the truth, thrice asserted. It is not false to assert that there is no scripture other than Veda; there is no God other than Acyuta.

14. The Lord of Lakṣmī, is the bestower of everything. No one else. Lakṣmīśa is the bestower of salvation. Hence Lakṣmīśa alone should be meditated upon. No one else.

15. No one other than Janārdana is the bestower of enjoyment of pleasures here and of salvation hereafter. Hence the Four-armed Lord should always be resorted to by those who desire happiness.

16. Those men of little intellect who serve another (deity) abandoning Keśava, enter the mysterious and painful cycle of worldly existence again and again.

17. There is only one Lord of all. Hṛṣīkeśa is greater than the greatest. One who serves him shall be worthy of being served by the three worlds.

18. There is only one bestower of virtue, who is Viṣṇu. There is only one bestower of much wealth, who is Hari. There is only one bestower of enjoyment, who is the Discusbearing Lord. There is only one bestower of salvation, i.e. Acyuta.

19. Those who adore another Lord forsaking the Śārṅga-wielding Lord, should be banished like a twice-born (Brāhmaṇa) bereft of the Vedas.”

20. On hearing the words of Vyāsa thus the residents of Naimiṣa forest became agitated in their hearts. They said these words:

The Sages said:

21-22. O highly intelligent sage, O son of Parāśara, you are worthy of our honour and esteem because the Vedas have been classified by you and you are conversant with the Purāṇas. Also, because you are the author of the great work Bharata that gives a definite understanding of virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation.

23-25. O son of Satyavatī, who else can be more conversant with the reality and truth here (in this world)? The students hereof do not have faith in what has been asserted by you raising the index finger. They are more likely to have faith in the words uttered by you when you emphatically utter those words in the Ānandavana of Śaṃbhu.

26. O Vyāsa, go to Vārāṇasī where Viśveśvara himself is present. There are not seen changing features of the different Yugas there. Nor does it touch the earth.

27. On hearing this, Sage Vyāsa who became angry in his mind, left the place quickly accompanied by his disciples numbering about ten thousand.

28. On reaching Vārāṇasī, Vyāsa, the brilliant and glorious one, took his holy bath in the pond named Pañcanada, adored Mādhava and went to Pādodaka.

29-40. (Adoration of Ādikeśava) Vyāsa took his bath and performed other rites there and visited Ādikeśava. He spent five nights there and was duly honoured by the devotees of Viṣṇu. He was delighted with conchs blown behind and in front of him. He uttered the various names of the Lord: “Be victorious, O Viṣṇu. Hṛṣīkeśa, Govinda, Madhusūdana, Acyuta, Ananta, Vaikuṇṭha, Mādhava, Upendra, Keśava, Trivikrama, Gadāpāṇi, Śarṅgapāṇi, Janārdana, Śrīvatsavakṣas, Śrīkānta, Pītāṃbara, Murāntaka, Kaiṭabhāri, Balidhvaṃsin, Kaṃsāri, Keśisūdana, Nārāyaṇa, Asuraripu, Kṛṣṇa, Śauri, Caturbhuja, Devakīhṛdayānanda (the delighter of Devakī’s heart), Yaśodānandavardhana (the increaser of the delight of Yaśodā), Puṇḍarīkākṣa, Daityāri, Dāmodara, Balapriya, Balārātistuta, Hari, Vāsudeva, Vasuprada, Viṣvakcamū, Tārkṣyaratha, Vanamālin, Narottama, Adhokṣaja. Kṣamādhara, Padmanābha, Jaleśaya, Nṛsiṃha, Yajñavarāha, Gopa, Gopālavallabha, Gopīpati, Guṇātīta, Garuḍadhvaja, Gotrabhṛt. Be victorious, O Cāṇuramathana; be victorious, O protector of the three worlds; be victorious, O beginningless one; be victorious O bliss; be victorious, O Lord having the lustre of the blue lotus; O Lord with the chest adorned by Kaustubha, O Lord who dried up all the secretions of Pūtanā; protect, protect, O protective jewel of the universe; O destroyer of Naraka, O thousand-headed Puruṣa, O bestower of happiness on Indra. What is past and what will be the future, there you are the sole Puruṣa.” Vyāsa eulogized the Lord having a garland of sylvan flowers by uttering the names of the Lord. He sang with graceful freedom and danced with great joy.

41-44. Sage Vyāsa came to the abode (Temple) of Viśveśa with great delight. He stood along with the devotees of the Lord in front of Jñānavāpī. An excellent garland of Tulasī leaves made his neck shine. He beat the time himself, holding the cymbals. He himself became the dancer. He was conversant with playing on the flute. He himself held the Śruti. After concluding the dance thus, Vyāsa, the son of Satyavatī, stood in the middle of his disciples and lifted up his right hand. He recited the same verses singing them aloud:

45. “After churning the vast expanse of words and coming to firm conclusions, this alone has been understood (by me) that Hari, the Lord of all, should be resorted to.”

46-47. All the verses beginning with the above indicating his assertion, Vyāsa recited with the left hand raised. Thereupon Śailādi made the hand paralysed playfully. There was also stupefaction of the power of speech of the excellent sage Vyāsa.

48. Thereupon Viṣṇu came there secretly and spoke to Vyāsa: “O Vyāsa, a great offence has certainly been committed by you.

49. Even I am greatly afraid due to this offence of yours. There is only one Lord of the universe, and he is Viśveśa. There is no one else.

50. I am the discus-bearer, due to his favour. I am the Lord of Lakṣmī due to his power. It was by Śaṃbhu himself that the capacity to sustain the three worlds was granted to me.

51. Due to the devotion to him the greatest Aiśvarya (prosperity, lordship) was obtained by me as a boon from him. If you desire my welfare, eulogize Śaṃbhu.

52. Do not entertain a thought like this to eulogize me on any other occasion, O son of Parāśara.” On hearing this, Vyāsa expressed by means of gestures:

53-54. “The paralysis of the arm has been brought about by that Nandin by his mere eyes. The stunning of the speech has been caused by my fear of him. Touch the root of my throat so that I shall be able to eulogize Bhavānīśa, the destroyer of worldly existence.” After touching his throat, Viṣṇu secretly went away.

55. Thereupon the son of Satyavatī whose arm had been paralysed in that manner, began to eulogize Maheśāna liberal-mindedly.

Vyāsa said:

[Vyāsa’s Prayer; vv 56-63]

56. Brahman alone is one. There are not many entities here. Hence Rudra is only one. There is none second to him. If there be anyone else anywhere, let him who has the capacity to do so, explain it to me.

57. Highly terrible poison Kālakūṭa with flaming sparks around was born of the Milk Ocean, due to the churning with Manḍara. No one other than Maheśa could endure it. On account of its flames, Viṣṇu turned back.

58. Śrīpati (Viṣṇu) was his arrow. The entire earth was his chariot. Brahmā, the Lord of the world, was his charioteer. The horses were the Vedas. Who is on a par with Rudra by whom the group of three Puras was burned by the discharge of the arrow?

59. Kandarpa who was the sole conqueror of the universe through his flowery arrows, viewed Rudra as of the same level as the other Devas. He himself was reduced to ashes. Who is worthy of eulogy other than that conqueror of Kāma?

60. Which man of meagre intellect like me (can) understand Viśvanātha in his true self, because the Veda does not know him? Neither Viṣṇu nor Brahmā, neither mind nor speech know that Lord of Devas.

61. I bow down to him wherein everything is stationed, who is everywhere, who is all, who is the maker, who is the protector, who is the destroyer, who has no beginning, who is the beginning (cause) of everything, who is the sole one, who has no end and who causes the end of everything.

62. (He is that Lord) the utterance of whose one name is on a par with a horse-sacrifice; by a single bowing down to whom Lakṣmī (glory) was attained by the insignificant Indra; by whose eulogy Satyaloka is obtained and by whose adoration the glory of salvation is not far off.

63. I do not know any other Lord than Śrīmaheśa; I do not eulogize another Lord except Śaṃbhu; I do not bow down to a Lord other than the Three-eyed One. This is the truth, the truth, the truth, not a lie.”

64. When the great sage eulogized Śaṃbhu thus, there was a favourable glance from Śaṃbhu whereby Nandin undid the paralysis of his arm and smilingly said, “Obeisance to all of you Brāhmaṇas.”

Nandikeśvara said:

65. O Vyāsa, this prayer proclaimed by you is highly meritorious. Śaṅkara becomes pleased with the wise one who will read and recite this.

66. This Vyāsāṣṭaka (‘Eulogy in Eight Verses by Vyāsa’) is to be read and recited in the morning with concentration. It makes evil dreams and sins subside. It gives the devotee (salvation in the form of) vicinity to Śiva.

67. By repeated utterance of this prayer, all the sinners become rid of their sins, such as a slayer of mother, a slayer of father, a killer of cows, a killer of boys, an imbiber of liquor, a stealer of gold etc.

Skanda said:

68-69. Ever since then the son of Parāśara became devoted to Śaṃbhu. Beyond Ghaṇṭākarṇahrada, he installed the Liṅga called Vyāseśvara. He always embellished himself with holy ash. He adorned himself with Rudrākṣas always. He became forever a worshipper of the Liṅga.

70. He renounced (all other) holy spots. After knowing the reality of this holy spot that bestows salvation, he does not leave off Kāśikā till today.

71. A man should take his bath in Ghaṇṭākarṇahrada and visit Vyāseśvara. Wherever he happens to die, he will be on a par with one who dies in Vārāṇasī.

72. After adoring Vyāseśvara Liṅga in Kāśī an excellent man does not suffer from loss of knowledge at any time. He is never assailed (affected) by sins.

73. To the devotees of Vyāseśvara there is no fear from Kali and Kāla; there is neither the fear of sins nor of obstacles to the holy spot.

74. Vyāseśvara should be visited with effort by the residents of Kāśī who are afraid of sins. They take their holy ablution in Ghaṇṭākarṇa(hrada).

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