The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Origin of the Name Kanakashringa which is chapter 40 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 fortieth chapter of the Avantikshetra-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 40 - The Origin of the Name Kanakaśṛṅgā

Vyāsa said:

1. O holy Sir, all the abodes of the Lord all-round within (the radius of) more than a Yojana have been described by you. They are the destroyers of the fear from worldly entanglement.

2. They are the holy spots where, if excellent men of righteous activities die, they will go to the city of Īśvara riding on aerial chariots and abide there (permanently).

3. Apart from Mahākālavana, what is that other meritorious holy spot where, worms, locusts and other (lower beings) that die, attain the highest goal.

4. Further, answer, O sage, another question of mine now truthfully. Why was this city formerly called Kanakaśṛṅgā?

5. How did it get the name Kuśasthalī? Why is it remembered as Avantī? O good Sir, why is it known as Padmāvatī and also Ujjayinī?

6. Hence, O excellent sage, tell me the reason for these names.

Sanatkumāra said:

7-10. Listen, O Vyāsa, I shall narrate as recounted formerly to Vāmadeva by Virañci (Brahmā) in the ancient Gaura Kalpa. Vidhi (Brahmā) was asked for adequate reasons by the holy Lord Maheśa: “Where should those that fall down from heaven live for the sake of happiness? How can those that roam about as they please and do whatever they like attain heaven? What is that most excellent and excessively meritorious region that destroys sins? What is that place where, if the people live anywhere, their mind shall turn back and where this-worldly and other-worldly happiness is assured? O holy Sir, tell this to me for the sake of the welfare of all embodied beings.”

Sanatkumāra said:

11-12. That excellent Lord Pitāmaha was thus addressed by Śaṃbhu in a former Kalpa. (Being) Delighted, the Lord spoke to the Lover of Pārvatī: “O holy Sir, you are Sadāśiva, the creator of all, the surveyor of everything.

13. O eternal one, you ask me everything like one who does not know. You are the one where the Fire that annihilates the Kalpa is stationed with all the fiery flames.

14-15. You alone are Mahākāla. Everything is known to you. O Lord, those men of righteous conduct and others who live there, are no men but they are undoubtedly Suras. On death, in the course of time, they attain heaven again.

16. At that place, there is a splendid city with charming mansions. Different kinds of grand buildings of various colours and sizes shine therein.

17. Palaces with golden pinnacle have been made by Viśvakarman. Devas are present there always. So also are different kinds of Tīrthas.

18-20. Where I, you and Keśava were present in a previous Kalpa, celestial sages, Siddhas, Yakṣas, Kinnaras and Dānavas, all the worlds came there to see the same city Avantikā. They came along with Sthāṇu and Vedhas, the origin of Brahman (Vedas). Similarly excellent ladies, the beloved ones of the Devas flocked together in thousands to see the wonderful city.

21-23. After reaching the place along with the Devas, Maheśvara surveyed the beautiful city full of palaces with golden pinnacles embellished with gems. The holy, cosmic-formed king, the sole leader of the universe, stays there in the splendid divine palace embellished with gems. He is being served by Suras, Siddhas, Sages, Vidyādharas, and Serpents.

24. Thereafter Maheśa and Pitāmaha came there and approached the Lord of the universe. They were delighted. They were duly honoured along with their followers. He then asked them the reason of their visit.

25-26. “Why have you come down to the earth from heaven along with your followers? May your purpose of visit be disclosed.” Thereupon those two, Īśvara and the Lotus-born One said. “O Hari, we are pleased to be where you stay. Without you we have no happiness in heaven, earth or Rasātala. When was this city with golden pinnacles and mansions of diverse kinds established by you?”

Hari said:

27. O Īśa, it is for your own sake that this city of special features was created by me. It is the mine of all good qualities.

“O Viśveśvara, grant us both some place here. May the Tīrtha remain intact even at the time of Pralaya.”

28. “O Prajāpati (Brahmā), I grant you both the desired abode. Your situation shall be in the north. O Maheśvara, please do go to the southern abode. Excellent place has been well-gifted unto you both.”

29. Parmeśvara, Mahākāla, the Lord, immanent soul of the universe stationed himself there with the flames of fire beneath and surrounded by many thousands of Gaṇas.

30. “For the sake of pastime, the city was created by me, desirous of the welfare of all living beings. It has been given over to you both, after forsaking my own mountain.

31. Since it (the name of the city) has been called by both of you as Hemaśṛṅgā (‘a city with golden pinnacles’), it will be well-known all over the world as Kanakaśṛṅgā-Purī.”

32-33. Thus the first name Kanakaśṛṅgā has been explained. It is the place where Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara are stationed performing Japas (utterance of divine names). Bestowing all the desired benefits on the devotees they enjoyed themselves there.

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