The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Jalashayi Tirtha which is chapter 90 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 ninetieth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 90 - The Greatness of Jalaśāyī Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-11. On the northern bank of Revā, there is an excellent Tīrtha dedicated to Viṣṇu. It’s name Jalaśāyī is well-known all over the earth.

After slaying Dānavas Janārḍana went to sleep there. The discus was also washed by the Discus-bearing Lord of Devas. By resorting to the waters of Revā, Suḍarśana became free from sins.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Do recount the details of the Cakratīrtha bowed to by groups of sages, so also the inimitable prowess of Viṣṇu as well as the benefit accruing from Revā.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

Well! Well! O highly intelligent Yudhiṣṭhira, you are indeed one without any attachment (for worldly pleasures). The Tīrtha that has to be kept as a great secret has been created by the Discus-bearing Lord himself. Hence I shall recount to you the story that is destructive of sins.

Formerly there was a great Daitya well-known as Tālamegha.[1] All the Devas were conquered by him, O king. Their kingdom was taken away. He claimed: “I am Viṣṇu. There is no doubt about it.” He himself partook of the shares in the Yajñas. The wealth of Dhanada was taken away. The elephant of Śakra was snatched. The sinner coveted even Indrāṇī and the excellent horse of Sun-god.

O son of Kuntī, afraid of Tālamegha, Ravi, Rudras, Indra, Yama, Skanda, Varuṇa, Fire-god, Wind-god, Lord Dhaneśvara, Vākpati (Bṛhaspati) and Maheśa became morose. They went to Brahmaloka and met Pitāmaha. The Suras beginning with Vāgīśa (Bṛhaspati) eulogized with various hymns of prayer: “Obeisance to the Lord carrying out the differentiation of the three Guṇas and thereafter acquiring differentiation.”

On seeing the Devas devoid of enthusiasm and pallid in face, O king, the delighted Lord replied to the heaven-dwellers:

Brahmā said:

12-24. Welcome unto the group of Suras. Why? Your earlier brilliance has vanished? Your faces resemble the luminaries under the painful influence of overhanging mist arid fog? The weapons of the Suras remain unmanifest due to the disappearance of their lustre. The Kuliśa (thunderbolt) of the Slayer of Vṛtra appears as though its glory has been checked and mitigated. Further, the noose in the hand of Pracetas (Varuṇa) which used to be impossible to ward off to the enemies has reduced to the helplessness of a serpent whose vigour and vitality has been checked by a Mantra (magic spell).

The mental gloom of Kubera seems to proclaim his discomfiture. Vāyu (Wind) with controlled gait appears like a tree with broken branches.

Though never-failing, Yama too, now goes on scratching the ground with his staff devoid of its intrinsic brilliance, bringing out the dimness of an extinguished firebrand.

How have these Ādityas (Sun-gods) unfortunately have become cool through the loss of their brilliance! They can be seen at pleasure like those painted in a picture. So, tell me, dear ones, why you have come here and what you seek from me. What is the purpose of your visit, O Suras? Tell me unhesitatingly. Only the creation of the worlds is vested in me. The onus of guarding it lies in you.

Thereupon Vṛtra’s Slayer nudged his Guru as though by means of his thousand eyes that exhibited the lustre of a lotus-pond gently wafted by mild wind.

Indeed he was the eye (the seer) on behalf of Indra. Though he possessed only two eyes, they were more powerful than his (Indra’s) thousand eyes. Vācaspati (Bṛhaspati) spoke thus to the Lotus-seated Lord with hands joined in deference.

“O dear father, the mighty Tālamegha born of your family, harasses the Devas like a comet that has come up.

All the groups of the Devas are miserable on account of that Dānava. Tālamegha, the powerful Lord of the Daityas, torments all of us. Hence we have sought refuge in you. O Vidhi (Brahmā), be our shelter and resort.”

Thereupon the delighted Lord Brahmā spoke these words to them:

Brahmā said:

25-35. O Suras, except Lord Mādhava, there is no one among you who is on a par with that Tālamegha. That Dānava cannot be controlled by me too.

Thereupon, O king, all the groups of the Suras with Viriñci (Brahmā) as their leader started towards the Ocean of Milk. Utterly miserable on account of that enemy, the Devas hurriedly set off with a desire to see Keśava. After reaching the Ocean of Milk, they eulogized Lord Jalaśāyin (i.e. Viṣṇu).

The Devas said:

You are beginningless and the universe takes its origin from you. You annihilate the universe but you yourself are endless. The universe constitutes your form; otherwise you are formless. Be victorious, O Lord adored by the Devas.

Be victorious, O Lord lying in the Ocean of Milk. Be victorious, O Lord who are always wooed by Lakṣmī. Be victorious, O son of Devakī, for the purpose of the destruction of the Dānavas. Be victorious, O Lord having the conch and the club in the hands. Be victorious, O Lord holding the discus.

On hearing this eulogy sung by the Devas, Jalaśāyin woke up. He uttered sweet words with the majestic rumbling sound of clouds: “O Brahmā, why have I been awakened by your Suras and Asuras (?), though they are themselves powerful.”

Brahmā said:

O Kṛṣṇa, they have come to your abode due to their fright of Tālamegha. O Janārdana, the sinner Tālamegha cannot be killed by anyone. Do kill that wicked fellow. Otherwise he will not die.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa said:

O Devas, return to your own abodes and take up the work of your own subjects. I shall kill the evil-minded, mighty Tālamegha. But let the Devas tell me the place where that Dānava stays.

The Devas said:

36-45. That Lord of Dānavas dwells in the caves of Himalaya surrounded by twenty-four thousand maidens and by innumerable horses and chariots, O Kṛṣṇa.

Actors[2] (? warriors) are of various kinds there, O Hari, and their qualities cannot be counted. The elephants are as huge as mountains and the horses are comparable to elephants. The mighty giant inspiring fear into the Devas stays there.

On hearing the words of those Devas who were extremely agitated within, the Lord thought about Garuḍa, the destroyer of multitudes of enemies.

The Lord wielding club and discus, took up the discus in the hand. With his other hands Janārdana held the bow, the pestle and the plough[3] and mounted the Lord of birds for the purpose of slaying the Dānava.

At that time evil portents, terrible in form, began to occur in the city of the Dānava.

Jackals entered the middle of vultures along with pigeons. Even when there was no wind blowing, his flagstaff fell down. There was a fight between serpents and mice as well as lions and elephants. Rivers deviated from their path and flowed with a mixture of blood. Untimely and off-season flowers were seen on the trees all round. Then the Lord of the universe reached Himālaya, the Lord of mountains. In the vicinity of the city, the conch, Pāñcajanya, was blown suddenly.

Due to that loud report, the Lord of Dānavas became highly infuriated. Then the mighty Tālamegha spoke these words:

Tālamegha said:

46-55. O Dhundhumāra, who is it that has unwittingly fallen into the clutches of Death without being aware of my power? O Dhundhumāra, at my behest, go quickly, surrounded by your own army; bind that professedly mighty one and bring him to me forcibly.

Dhundhumāra said:

Undoubtedly, I shall bring him whether he be a Sura, Yakṣa or Kinnara, even if he be fully equipped with multitude of chariots, elephants, horses and foot-soldiers.

Thereupon the source of origin of the universe, the powerful Lord, was seen seated on Garuḍa.

“Let him be caught. Let him be caught.” The servants were ordered thus by him. As they ran about in the four directions all round, they were burned like locusts by Suparṇa (Garuḍa) of fiery form.

Dhundhumāra was hit hard with an arrow by Kṛṣṇa. Struck on his chest the sinful fellow fell on the chariot in a state similar to that of the dead. Thereupon all the Dānavas became excited and raised a great cry.

Thereafter the infuriated Tālamegha got into a chariot and set out. O son of Kuntī, he saw Keśava holding the conch, discus and club.

Tālamegha said:

O Kṛṣṇa, these other Dānavas who were killed by you in battle are on a par with Hiraṇyakaśipu. O Acyuta, they were not manly enough.

After saying thus, O son of Kuntī, the Dānava discharged a volley of arrows like a heavy downpour. Keśava cut and split the arrows discharged by the Dānava.

Garuḍa slew that part of the army that was indestructible by the Suras and Asuras. Twice the number of his (Tālamegha’s) arrows was discharged by Kṛṣṇa.

56-65. The Dānava discharged twice the number further (increasing) two-fold. Kṛṣṇa cut them off with arrows eight times that number.

Thereupon an excellent Āgneya (pertaining to Fire) arrow was discharged by the angry Daitya. Kṛṣṇa discharged Vāruṇa (pertaining to Varuṇa) and the Āgneya missile was suppressed by the Vāruṇa. Tālamegha then countered it by discharging Vāyavya (pertaining to the Wind). Hṛṣīkeśa discharged Sārpa (pertaining to the serpent) for suppressing the Vāyavya. Nṛsiṃha (Kṛṣṇa) discharged the Nārasiṃha arrow, O son of Pāṇḍu.

On seeing the Nārasiṃha, the highly powerful Tālamegha got down from the chariot quickly. He then seized a sword and shield and said, “O Kṛṣṇa, I shall send you along the terrible path of Yama.” Saying this, O son of Kuntī, the Dānava approached Keśava.

The Daitya struck with his sword the club-wielding Janārdana. Delighted in his mind, Keśava caught hold of the tip of the Maṇḍala (Disc?) and struck Tālamegha on his chest in the course of that great battle. Thereupon the Daitya struck Hari and Janārdana struck the Daitya in that battle. On that Janārdana became all the more infuriated. O descendant of Bharata, he then took up the never-failing discus and hurled it on the head of Tālamegha. His head rolled down. Mountains quaked. The oceans became agitated, O son of Kuntī, and rivers deviated from their regular courses.

66-78. Then the Devas let down a shower of flowers on Keśava (saying): “O Keśava, one who could not be killed by the groups of Suras, has been killed by you!” Then the Devas became normal and happy when Tālamegha was felled down. O son of Kuntī, Janārdana resorted to the banks of Narmadā.

He considered Narmadā, the Ocean of Milk itself. Accompanied by Lakṣmī, Kṛṣṇa lay down on the serpent, Ananta, on the northern bank of Narmadā.

The terrific Cakra (discus) with the garlands of flames and sparks fell into the waters of Narmadā in the mortal world very near Jalaśāyin.

Due to the contact with the waters of Narmadā, it became rid of sins that had been acquired due to the killing of Tālamegha, O son of royal personage. The entire sin was immediately washed off in Narmadā waters, O descendant of Bharata.

Thereafter, O king, this Tīrtha became well-known as Jalaśāyī Tīrtha; some call it Kālāghanāśana and others Cakra Tīrtha. The Tīrtha on Narmadā is very famous in Bhāratavarṣa.

May the power of that Tīrtha be listened to, O king. Just as Ananta is the most famous of all the serpents, Janārdana of all the Devas and Mārgaśīrṣa of all the months, so also is Narmadā the most famous of all the rivers.

In the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, on the eleventh day in the bright half, a man devoid of lust and anger should, meditating on Viṣṇu, go to Jaleśa.

One who takes a single meal at night and that too unsolicited, who observes fast, feeds Brāhmaṇas and offers gifts to them does not go to the abode of Yama.

Those people who are afraid of the world of Yama, O son of Pāṇḍu, should visit the Lover of Śrī lying on the couch of the Serpent. He is encircled by cowherdesses, has resorted to Yoganidrā (Yogic slumber) and is Cosmic-formed. He is the Lord of the universe and destroyer of the fear of worldly existence.

79-89. With great devotion, one should bathe the Lord with honey, milk, ghee or with water mixed with sugar candy. Those people bereft of jealousy who visit Janārdana, the source of origin of the universe, the deity as being bathed, go to the greatest world bowed to by Suras and Asuras.

A lamp should be lighted with ghee or with gingelly oil. The devotees should keep awake at night before the Lord, keeping themselves free from envious tendencies. O excellent king, with devotion they should listen to the story of Viṣṇu. There is no doubt that sins like that of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter perish.

If the men circumambulate the preceptor of the universe, Jalaśāyin, it is as good as if the earth consisting of the seven continents is circumambulated.

When the night dawns, with purity a person should propitiate the Pitṛs with the libations of water. O son of Pāṇḍu, the men should perform Śrāddha there through well-qualified Brāhmaṇas always devoted to their own wives, quiescent and avoiding other men’s wives. They should regularly recite Vedic passages. They should be auspicious and be strictly engaged in their own duties and rites. They must regularly perform Yajñas everyday. They must perform Sandhyā rites twice a day. If one wishes for one’s welfare, one should perform Śrāddha with great faith.

Those men are blessed in the mortal world, who, worthy of being saluted on the earth, always abide resorting to the lotuslike feet of Hari. Those who visit Jalaśāyin, the leader of Suras, directly, those who perform holy rites, such as fortnightly fast, Pārāka Vrata, the splendid Cāndrāyaṇa rites, the terrible monthly fast, eating only once in six days and the Pañcama Vrata, at that Tīrtha, shall get the everlasting goal.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

90-101. Henceforth I shall explain the benefit of Tiladhenu[4] (a cow made of gingelly seeds), the procedure thereof, the time and the auspicious benefit of the gift.

This meritorious anecdote was formerly heard from Sage Dvaipāyana by Nārada and others on various occasions at the site of the holy Naimiṣa.

This is highly conducive to longevity and auspiciousness. It augments glory. A wise man who narrates this to Brāhmaṇas attains infinite benefit.

A cow, a house, a quilt, women etc. should not be gifted to many (i.e. more than one): On a gift being divided (among many) (vibhaktadakṣiṇāḥ?) these do not attain (go back to) the donor.

One of these should be given, O Yudhiṣṭhira. If it is distributed among many, it will be subjected to sale and shall burn down the family (of the donor) upto the seventh generation.

Gingelly seeds are of various colours—some are white, some black and some resembling cow’s urine. A person should make a cow and its calf with all these diverse kinds of gingelly seeds.

The cow should be made of four Droṇas (a measure of quantity of approximately 60 or 30 Kgs) of the gingelly seeds as much of each colour as are available. The calf should be made of one Droṇa of gingelly seeds or more if desired.

The cow of gingelly seeds can be made by the measure or weight current in the particular region and doing so a devotee attains everlasting benefit.

It should be placed comfortably on a clean ground strewn with flowers, incense and raw rice-grains. Two Ratnas (jewels) should be placed in the ears and two lamps in the eyes. A piece of sandal should be placed in the chest and gold at the navel. Honey and ghee should be given above and mustard seeds will constitute the hairs. A blanket should be thrown on the back and honey and ghee on the hips. Yavasa (fodder), milk-pudding and ghee along with honey also are to be given.

The horns are bedecked with gold and the hoofs with silver. The tail is also bedecked in gold. Ratnas are placed on the back. A brass vessel as one intended for milking should be given.

102-111. Tiladhenu purifies from all the following sins: those committed in the childhood; those unwittingly committed; verbal ones; physical ones; mental ones; the sins of spitting into water, crossing over a threshing rod, carnally approaching a Vṛṣalī, the wife of the preceptor, a virgin etc.; stealing gold; and imbibing liquor. Other sins too are quelled.

After observing fast for a day and a night, the devotee should gift it in accordance with the injunctions.

The various obstacles in the path towards the abode of Yama are easily countered by this gift: for example, the river Vaitaraṇī in the terrible city of Yama; the sandy expanse, the iron pieces, the rocky region etc. where a sinner is roasted and fried; the hell Avīci, the Yāmala mountains, where there are steel-beaked crows and terrible hounds; the hell Asipatravana where there is the Kūṭaśālmalī etc. The devotee shall easily cross over these and proceed towards the abode of Dharmarāja. O descendant of Bharata, on seeing him, Dharmarāja speaks pleasing and wholesome words: “There is an excellent, befitting Vimāna (aerial chariot) embellished with gems and jewels. O excellent man, get into it and attain the greatest goal.” Do not give this to a clever soldier; do not give it to a mere priest; do not give it to a squint-eyed one or an ugly one, one deficient in limbs and one who lives on shrines. Do not give it to a Brāhmaṇa not familiar with the Vedas, nor to one who sells everything, one who is treacherous towards friends, one who is ungrateful, and one devoid of Mantras.

112-117. It should be given to one who has mastered the Vedānta, to a Śrotriya having a large family. It should be given to a son of a master of Vedānta, to a householder, to a Brāhmaṇa of handsome features in all limbs, one of good conduct and pleasing words.

The full-moon days of Māgha, Kārttika, Vaiśākha, Mārgaśīrṣa, Āṣāḍha and Caitra are good for the gift. The Ayana (transit of the Sun), Viṣuva (equinox), Vyatīpāta, at all times on the holy occasion of Ṣaḍaśīti etc. and the holy period/moment of Hasticchāyā (also are good).

Thus the Kalpa of Tiladhenu has been recounted to you by me.

They go to the world of Viṣṇu after placing the foot on Yama. After the extinction of life, they go undoubtedly to the world of Viṣṇu. They break through the solar zone and go. No hesitation need be entertained.

Thus the benefit of Cakratīrtha has been entirely recounted to you, O king. On hearing this devoutly, a man is rid of all sins.

Footnotes and references:


No such demon is known to Mbh, VR, and PE. This appears to be a new legend to glorify the Tīrtha.


The reading should be emended as Bhaṭa [bhaṭāḥ] (भटाः), “soldiers”, as Naṭa [naṭāḥ], “actors”, is irrelevant here.


A pestle and a plough as weapons of war are associated with Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother. They are shown to be Viṣṇu’s weapons here!


This topic is not directly related to this Tīrtha. It is probably an interpolation out of context.

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