The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Genesis of the Name Vishala which is chapter 47 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-seventh chapter of the Avantikshetra-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 47 - The Genesis of the Name Viśālā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: For the significance of this name [i.e., Viśālā] see verses 39-46.

Sanatkumāra said:

1-9. Listen, O illustrious Vyāsa. This city of Amarāvatī was named and praised in all the worlds as Viśālā too.

I shall repeat what was narrated by Brahmā formerly. The holy spot has to be guarded as the greatest secret of all secrets. It is destructive of all sins.

The Lord alone roamed in the forest accompanied by Umā. Thereafter all the goblins and ghosts and all the Suras and Asuras followed him. There Viṣṇu in ten different forms (incarnations) was present. The goddesses, the Mothers of the worlds, Vināyakas, Vetālas, Kūṣmāṇḍas, Bhairavas and others, different Kalpas, eighty-four Liṅgas, holy spots, the guardians of the Kṣetras, Ṛddhi, Siddhi, the Pitṛs, the guardians of the worlds, the Siddhas who bestow Siddhis (spiritual achievement), illustrious sages, wives of the sages of pure mind, Kṛnnaras, divine Gandharvas, Apsaras, excellent ladies, all the groups of Maruts and of Sādhakas (spiritual aspirants), Yakṣas, the groups of Guhyakas, Piśācas, Uragas (Serpents), Rākṣasas, all the mobile and immobile beings resorting to meditation—all these performed the Upāsanā (adoration) of the Lord of Devas, the Consort of Umā. On seeing them, Goddess Pārvatī, the daughter of the Mountain, spoke with gentle voice to Śaṅkara, the support of the universe:

Pārvatī said:

10-14. O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the universe, O Lord eager to support the universe, see these fortunate ones dependent on you and meditating on you. All those persons are not to be treated indifferently; they are distressed due to gusts of winds, storms, blazing sunshine etc. O glorious one, do something for their benefit. Create an abode befitting them as their residence and highly splendid. O my Lord, build a city that accords all desired things for their residence. O Lord, if this desire (idea) of mine appeals to you (please do so).

On hearing these words of Pārvatī, Parameśvara created a beautiful city captivating the minds of all living beings, a meritorious one, beneficial to himself too in every respect. Śambhu created a divine city extending to many Yojanas and pleasing to divine persons.

15-19. It had a divine design. It was pleasing due to the divine spot therein. It had all celestial features. It was Viśālā (‘large’), splendid and devoid of dust. It had many market places, palatial apartments and quadrangles where trading activities of buying and selling went on vigorously. There were many mansions and abodes. It shone with rows of tall mansions. The buildings had crystal walls with storeys studded with lapis lazuli gems and excellent coral pillars adorned with gold plates and ornaments. The gem-paved thresholds were red in colour (with rubies). The doorways were decorated with branches of trees. The door panels were finished with gold plates and the bolts were excellently made of adamantine gems.

The ground level was paved with gems. The entrances, courtyards and inner apartments were also similarly embellished. The clusters of cowherds’ colony nearby were beautiful with strings of pearls suspended.

20-25. The flagstaffs and pillars were made of gold. There were banners in every house. Domelike posts made of gold and set with jewels shone in every house.

The tanks, wells, lakes and vast water reservoirs were pure, pellucid and they were fragrant with the stamens and filaments of lotuses. There were machines for lifting up water heightening the beauty of the city.

Swans and Kāraṇḍava birds, flocks of peacocks abounded there and shone. There were platforms, supporting devices, for the water-drawing machines. There were many domestic tanks and parks in the city.

Peacocks danced in some places and cuckoos cooed in some. The groups of sylvan parks were full of bunches of flowers licked by bees.

Men and women thronged the streets. They were of various castes and stages of life. The women came out of their houses and stood gazing (the streets). Then it appears beautiful with a row of festoons over arched doorways as if they consist of garlands of moons.

26-32. Thus, O Vyāsa, the beautiful city was established and populated by the yogic power of the Supreme Soul.

There was (a replica of) the beautiful city of Alakā marked by the abode of Kubera. It is white in colour and full of Puṇyajanas and beautified by birds.

There, the divine Bhogavatī, the excellent abode of Varuṇa, was present. It was full of noble Nāga damsels and Nāga wives.

There was the city of Saṃyaminī, the excellent city protected by Dharmarāja and filled with people of good conduct conversant with what is done and what is not done (i.e. duties and omissions thereof).

There was the beautiful city of Devas protected by Vāsava (Indra). It was full of groups of meritorious ladies or Puṇyajana ladies and adorned by the loud-singing Kinnaras.

In this manner there were may kinds of charming cities, extensive and unbounded as well as extremely clean.

In certain places the entrances were decorated with plantain trees and pots filled with barley grains placed for auspiciousness. Gandharvas sang in certain places and dancers danced in other places.

In some places Brāhmaṇa boys were found studying and reciting Vedic passages. In some places sacrificial priests performed Yajñas along with the Ṛtviks.

33-38. In some places people took their Avabhṛtha (valedictory baths at the conclusion of Yajñas) ablutions. In some places they made different kinds of gifts. There were the ceremonies of the sacred thread, marriage and maintenance of sacrificial fires.

In some places the Pūrta rites of digging wells, tanks and lakes or constructing parks and gardens were conducted as per ritual along with Yātrās (religious processions).

In some places expounders of mythological stories conducted discourses. In that excellent city, in some places poets composed poems and read songs.

In some places, wrestlers conducted their duels. In some places actors were engaged in dancing. Lakes shone with rows of steps studded with jewels.

Active and restless Śyāmā (dark-complexioned) girls of around sixteen years were seen with raised gold pots adorned with jewels, engaged in bringing water.

Thus, O Vyāsa, the beautiful city was built through Yogic Māyā by Śaṃbhu with a desire to do something pleasing to his beloved. The city is destructive of all sins.

39-46.[1] It is wide and extensive. It is meritorious and is the resort of Puṇyajana (meritorious persons, Yakṣas). Hence in all the worlds for all times, it is well-known by the name Viśālā.

This is a beautiful eternal city. Wherever one may stay, whatever may be his condition, one shall always utter the word “Viśālā”. (Thereby) one is then honoured in Śivaloka. O Vyāsa, there is no other city like this in the entire Cosmic Egg, bestowing on men enjoyment of pleasures and salvation.

If men perform Śrāddha at the proper time with the Pitṛs in view, it will be everlasting. It is stated thus in Pitṛkalpa (scriptural texts prescribing rules of Śrāddha etc.).

Even if people perform holy bath, Dāna etc. in Viśālā, even casually and if they go anywhere else and die, they go to Śivālaya.

Those whose love for Viśālā is always steady are excessively meritorious in the world. Even the serpent king, Śeṣa, is not powerful to describe the permanent benefit from Viśālā.

Merely by listening to the story being expounded a devotee is instantly liberated from great sins. There is no doubt about this.

Thus, O Vyāsa, the city of Kuśasthalī has become Viśālā. How it came to be known as Pratikalpā, listen to it even as I recount.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

These verses explain the significance of the name of this city.

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