The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes The Greatness of Catussamudra which is chapter 14 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 fourteenth chapter of the Avantikshetra-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 14 - The Greatness of Catussamudra

Note: As v 2 and vv 3-5 explain, the Tīrtha [i.e., Catussamudra] has in it the Kalās of four oceans as per blessings of Siva to King Sudyumna. It is near Rājasthala.

Sanatkumāra said:

1. After bathing in (the Tīrtha called) Catussamudra (‘Four Oceans’), a person should visit Rājasthala Śiva. By the mere visit thereof the man obtains sons.

2. There are four oceans: oceans of salt water, of milk, curds and sugarcane juice, in the vicinity of that Lord. They have been established by Sudyumna.

Vyāsa said:

3. Wherefore have the oceans been established, O excellent sage, in the vicinity of Rājasthala by Sudyumna? Do tell me.

4. The excellent Jaṃbūdvīpa extends to a hundred thousand Yojanas. Within this limit has the Salt Sea been established.

5. In Śākadvīpa extending to two hundred thousand Yojanas the Milk Ocean has been established. The Ocean of Curds extending to four hundred thousand Yojanas has been established in Kuśadvīpa. In (the continent called) Śālmala the Ocean of Sugarcane Juice has been established. It extends to eight hundred thousand Yojanas.

6. Thus four oceans have been described by you. How did they come in the vicinity of Rājasthala in Bhūmaṇḍala (earth)?

Sanatkumāra said:

7. In a former Kalpa, there was a very righteous king named Sudyumna. His wife, an excellent lady, was well-known by the name Sudarśanā.

8-9. Meeting Sage Dālbhya, with a desire to get a son, she asked: “O holy Sir, by what means—holy gift, holy bath or other means, could a son equipped with all (auspicious) characteristics be obtained by me? O Brāhmaṇa-sage, explain this factually and in full details.

Dalbhya said:

10-11. O daughter, with a desire for sons, excellent oceans have been created by the Self-born Lord Brahmā, the creator of the worlds. If the king takes his holy bath in them, you will beget sons. Hence, dear daughter, persuade your husband to propitiate Śaṅkara.

12. On the strength of Dālbhya’s statement supported by diverse anecdotes, she quickly sent off her husband for the propitiation of Śaṅkara.

13. He went to Gandhamādana and propitiated Śaṅkara. Śaṅkara having the moon, the sun and fire as eyes, was pleased and said:

14-15. “O eminent king, go to Avantī. You will get a splendid son. At my behest the oceans will go over to Kuśasthalī. In the holy spot resembling Meru near Śaṅkara. O king, foremost among men, you will see the Oceans assembled together. If requested by you, they will stay there forever with a Kalā (one sixteenth part) of theirs.”

16. After saying this, Lord Mahādeva vanished. Sudyumna went to Kuśasthalī along with his wife.

17. On arriving at Kuśasthalī, he saw the Oceans. On seeing them near Rājasthala, he bowed down to them.

18. When they saw Sudyumna, dear to devotees, bowing down, all the Oceans said: “O devotee of holy vows, choose your boon.”

19. He mentally chose a son endowed with all (auspicious) characteristics. The king said further: “You all should stay here near Rājasthala as long as the earth stays here.”

The Oceans said:

20-22. We shall stay here till the Kalpa comes to a close. A son endowed with all (good) features will be born to you merely by your holy bath herein. Hence do take your holy bath, O king, we shall stay here in the splendid Sthala with our Kalā.

Thus, O Vyāsa, the Oceans were brought down by Sudyumna.

23-29. Listen to the meritorious benefit of that person who makes pilgrimage to them. After taking the holy bath in the highly meritorious Ocean named Kṣāra (i.e. salty ocean), O Vyāsa, the devotee should perform Śrāddha unto the Pitṛs with great devotion. He shall also adore the great Lord, the consort of Pārvatī, in the holy shrine. He should offer Maṇḍakas (thin floured cakes) to a Brāhmaṇa who has mastered the Vedas. A copper vessel should be filled with salt and it should be given to a Brāhmaṇa who is a Vedic scholar, along with gold. The seven kinds of cereals should be put in a bamboo basket and covered with a cloth. Then the devotee should assiduously offer Arghya along with fruits and monetary gifts.

Then he should go to the Milk Ocean and take the holy bath as before. There he should offer a copper vessel filled with milk. The Same procedure should be followed in the Dadhyabdhi (Curd Ocean) and splendid rice mixed with curds should be offered. Doing the same in the Ikṣvabdhi too, he should give auspicious jaggery as gift. After the pilgrimage is over, O Vyāsa, he should make the gift of a milch cow.

30-31. He who undertakes the pilgrimage near Ṛājasthala attains fine fortune and pleasing sons. On death he attains heaven and stays there for a period equal to that of the rule of fourteen Indras. After enjoying heavenly pleasures, he shall attain salvation.

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