The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words

This page describes The Genesis of the Name Kushasthali which is chapter 41 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 forty-first chapter of the Avantikshetra-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 41 - The Genesis of the Name Kuśasthalī

Sanatkumāra said:

1-2. Listen, O Vyāsa, (to the reason) why this was called Kuśasthalī, in the Tatpuruṣa Kalpa, formerly by learned men well-versed in the Vedas. The entire universe was created by Vedhas (Brahmā) including Daityas, Dānavas and Rākṣasas who became mutually inimical and fought in battle. Each was haughtier than the other.

3-8. The Devas and Dānavas vied with one another and fought in battles. Men fought with other men and Siddhas and Vidyādharas. Cāraṇas fought with Kinnaras. Full of hatred, in this manner they continued to fight incessantly shouting words the meanings whereof were not clear. Stronger men fought with weaker men. Stronger animals fought with weak animals and birds with birds. Thus the entire world became devoid of the rules of propriety and decorum due to these mutual bickerings.

On seeing this situation, Brahmā thought within his mind thus: ‘I shall seek refuge in Viṣṇu, the great Lord and Creator of the universe. I shall seek refuge in Lord Hari, the destroyer of the distress of those who seek refuge.’ After thinking thus, he meditated on Mādhava.

When meditated upon thus, the glorious Hari who is a great Yogin who has assumed many forms, held up an iron staff and spoke to Pitāmaha:

9. “O Brahmā, I have been perfectly meditated upon by you in accordance with the yoga of meditation. Look at me, coming in the manner meditated upon, ready to protect the worlds.”

10-11. Thereupon, the creator, on hearing thus, ceased to meditate. On seeing him, he got up and made obeisance with concentrated mind. Then he worshipped Keśava with the offerings of Pādya, Ācamanīya and Madhuparka. After adoring the Lotus-born One addressed these words to Acyuta:

Brahmā prayed:

Eulogy of Viṣṇu:

12. “O Lord of the universe, O Lord of Devas, this universe has been created by you. O Viṣṇu, without you this universe cannot stay (be stable).

13. You are the controller of this pure world. None else. This entire universe exists due to you. Hence, do govern and administer it.

14. Without you, the lotus-eyed one, Devas, Dānavas, Gandharvas along with Yakṣas, Serpents and Rākṣasas have spread everywhere every type of belligerence, dispute and split. They kill mutually. You are capable of saving them.

15-16. You are the permanent sustainer of the breath (life) in the form of the (supreme) Soul of this universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings. This entire universe is held by you. Hence you have been designated ‘Upendra’. This entire universe has been pervaded by you. It is your abode. Hence you are called by the leading sages ‘Viṣṇu’.

17. Now this universe has been enveloped and inhabited by you. As per the root vās[1] (to envelop, to people) you are Vāsudeva. This universe is your follower. You are all-powerful. You shine like the king of the entire universe.

18. This universe is a befitting army of yours. Hence, indeed, you are remembered as ‘Viśvasena’. Due to the digging and furrowing of the universe with all mobile and immobile beings, originating from the root ^kṛ ‘to furrow’, you are ‘Kṛṣṇa.’[2]

19. The triad of the worlds, O Lord, was conquered by you, from the root ^ji ‘to conquer’. Hence you are Jiṣṇu’. Hence, O Almighty one, for all time do protect the universe consisting of all the planets and the guardians of the quarters.

20. You be the primordial king of everything visible. May your excellent throne be unparalleled with no other equal. The conch curved to the right which is stationed (held) in the hand of the Puruṣa (the great Being) appears splendid.

21. You have a discus named Sudaraśana. Hence you have been sung about as ‘Cakrin’ by poets. O Lord, your flag has been resorted to by Suparṇa (Garuḍa). So also, Suparṇa is your vehicle.

22. O Hari, O Hṛṣīkeśa, may you forever have horses as well as tuskers having excellent tusks; (you may have) also the crown, golden bracelets, earrings, necklaces and excellent gold (sacred) threads.

23-24. Be adorned with garments of various colours and red garlands. Be you one having terrible host of soldiers. You are never deserted by glory and goddess of fortune. You have infinite riches forever. Let there be pious devotion here closely following you. O Mukunda, hence be pleased with me, your devotee.”

Sanatkumāra said:

25-26. When Lord Hari was told (prayed) thus in front of the heaven-dwellers, he became pleased and said: “O Lord Viriñca, show me its zone left off by you and hence always inauspicious. Show me the spot where I can make the universe stable.” Thereupon Brahmā took up a handful of Kuśa grass. He went to the meritorious (sacred) hermitage of Cyavana in order to point out a sacred holy place (spot).

27-29. Then he attained the highest spot. Pitāmaha then respectfully spoke to Keśava: “Here is the holy spot having its origin in you. O Lord, (though) left by you it is always (in) auspicious(?) You alone are Viṣṇu permanently adored by the Devas. You alone are remembered by the leading sages as Viṣṭaraśravas (‘having the well-known seat of Kuśa grass’). O Lord of the universe, be seated resorting to the spot of Kuśa in the form of the month of Mādhava (the month of Vaiśākha). Be seated resorting to the Kuśa spot.” Thus Puruṣottama was eulogized by the Creator. He occupied the spot of Kuśa, resorted to by the Devas and the leading sages, the spot where Kuśa grass was spread.

30. It extended to a Yojana all-round. Thus Vidhātṛ and Puruṣottama named it Kuśasthalī. Both of them gave it the famous name Kuśasthalī.

31-32. There the glorious Lord of the universe governed the universe. The Lord is the creator of the universe, the soul of the universe, the leader of all the universe. It was thus that, what was well-known formerly as Hemaśṛṅgā became famous as Kuśasthalī because it was strewn over with Kuśa grass. Thereafter it is remembered as Kuśasthalī.

Footnotes and references:


The root is vas changed to vās for metrical convenience.


The etymology is not correct. The reading should have been “Kṛṣeśca dhātoḥ” instead of ‘Kṛteśca’ etc.

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