The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,344,335 words

This page describes The Origin of Vishalya which is chapter 22 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 twenty-second chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 22 - The Origin of Viśalyā

Note: Kāpila Hrada removed the darts from the body of Dhīṣṇīndra, the son of Narmadā born from Gārhapatya Agni.—This episode is not found in any other Purāṇa and as such it is a special contribution of this author.—The main emphasis is on the efficacy of Narmadā in removing darts in the form of sins from human bodies by mere bath in Kapilā.

1-8. Henceforth I shall recount how it came to be Viśalyā, one that is miraculous unto the people, the destroyer of all sins.

Agni, a mental son of Brahmā, was born. He was Mukhya Vahni. He was a highly righteous sage.

Svāhā who is remembered as a daughter of Dakṣa became his wife. O great king, three sons were born to her: (1) Āhavanīya Agni, (2) Dakṣiṇāgni, and (3) the third Gārhapatya. All the three worlds are sustained by these three.

This Gārhapatya Agni begot two splendid sons named Padmaka and Śaṅku. Both of them were excellent Agnis.

Gārhapatya Agni stayed on the banks of Narmadā and performed great penance and propitiated Rudra. He had great concentration and self-control.

He thus performed severe austerities for ten thousand years. The delighted Bull-emblemed great Lord spoke to him: “O highly esteemed one, tell me what you have in your mind. Even if what you desire is something very difficult to get, I shall undoubtedly bestow it on you.”

The Agni said:

9-10. O Maheśvara, may this highly esteemed Narmadā and the sixteen other rivers be my wives with your favour.

I shall beget excellent sons of them in accordance with my desire. O Maheśvara, let this boon alone be granted to me.

Īśvara said:

11-20. These excellent rivers named Dhiṣṇi, of large eyes, shall be your wives. Undoubtedly they are well-known in the Vedas.

The Agnis remembered in Adhvara (sacrifice) shall become their sons. They will become very famous by the name of Dhiṣṇya until the annihilation of all living beings.

After saying this Mahādeva vanished there itself. The excellent river Narmadā became his wife.

The following sixteen rivers too were duly declared as his wives: Kāverī, Kṛṣṇaveṇī, Revā, Yamunā, Godāvarī, Vitastā, Candrabhāgā, Irāvatī, Vipāśā, Kauśikī, Sarayū, Śatarudrikā, Śiprā, Sarasvatī, Hrādinī and Pāvanī.

That highly lustrous (Fire-god) divided himself among those Dhiṣṇis. Due to the transgression of the husband Śucis (fires, called Śucis) were born as the sons of Narmadā and other Dhiṣṇis. All these are remembered as Dhiṣṇyapas.

The well-known one named Dhiṣṇīndra became the son of Narmadā. He was powerful and unequalled in beauty of form, O king.

Thereafter a fight between Devas and Asuras broke out causing horripilation. It became famous in the three worlds as Mayatāraka.

The Suras were attacked by the extremely terrible Daityas, the chief of whom were Maya and Tāra. They became terrified and they sought refuge in Viṣṇu.

21-30. “Save us, O Hṛṣīkeśa, from this awful calamity. Annihilate all the Daityas, the leaders whereof are Maya and Tāra.” On being told thus, the Lord surveyed the ten directions. At that time Pāvaka (Fire) and Māruta (Wind) were seen in the battle by the Lord.

On being summoned by Viṣṇu both of them went near him instantly. They stood bowing down before the intelligent Lord of Devas.

Then the leading Pāvaka (Fire) Dhiṣṇi was told by the noble-souled Lord: “O son of Narmadā, burn down these extremely terrible Asuras.”

On being told thus, those two gods, Pāvaka and Māruta, burned down all the Daityas, the leaders of whom were Maya and Tāra.

While being burnt they surrounded Agni by means of divine weapons resembling fire and sun. They were hundreds and thousands in number.

Along with groups of weapons Agni too burnt those great Asuras. Everything was enveloped in circles of flames by the wind.

Thus scorched and enveloped by flames of fire, the Daityas entered Pātāla and concealed themselves under water in thousands.

Thereafter all the Suras adored and honoured Agni, the immutable young son of Narmadā, and returned to heaven.

The son of Revā of excessive splendour and surrounded by fire (gods), full of darts as he was, hurriedly came to Narmadā eagerly to visit her.

31-36. On seeing her son, extremely wounded by a mass of weapons, Narmadā of meritorious waters got up struck with a shock. With her breasts excited due to the secretion of milk, she embraced him with both the arms. Taking the weapon-wounded son with her, she entered the Kāpila Hrada.

Immediately after the entry into the Kāpila Hrada that destroys sins, she instantly made the Saśalya one Viśalya (with darts removed).

Since he became Viśalya (dartless) after entering her auspicious water, the river Kapilā is called Viśalyā too by learned men.

Others too who are pure, clean and have concentration of mind are rid of Pāpa-Śalyas (darts in the form of sins). On death, they go to heaven.

Thus everything that was asked earlier by you as to the cause of the origin of Viśalyā has been recounted, O Lord of men.

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