The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Kohana Tirtha which is chapter 122 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 one hundred twenty-second chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 122 - The Greatness of Kohana Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-2. Thereafter, O king, one should go to the meritorious Tīrtha well-known as Kohanasva. It is destructive of all sins and even of death.

Formerly a certain Brāhmaṇa who had mastered the Vedas and Vedāṅgas lived there along with his wife, sons, friends, and kinsmen. He was always engaged in performing his duties.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

3-13. Tell me entirely the duties of a Brāhmaṇa, the origin of Kratriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra.

I wish to know the excellent procedure regarding Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa entirely. It is my opinion that no one else knows it.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

Brahmā, the Lord of Devas, is glorified as the primary source of origin of all living beings. He is the preceptor of the universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings.

Brāhmaṇas were born from the face (mouth). Kṣatriyas were born from the arms, Vaiśyas from the region of thighs and Śūdras from the feet.[1]

The Varṇas other than they are separate and they perform their respective duties separately. They are born in the usual order or in the opposite order (vilomataḥ).

I shall expound their special duties as enjoined by the Śruti and Smṛti. If they are perfectly performed, all of them attain the greatest goal.

This goal is attained by devout Brāhmaṇas, O king, even without meditation, because they teach one or more Vedas duly.

After the life as a student, a Brāhmaṇa should marry a girl of noble family, marked by all the usual auspicious characteristics and endowed with beauty, after being duly permitted by the preceptor.

Then he should gradually worship the fire at the time of marriage whether it is Śrauta or Smārta. He should be devoid of hypocrisy and covetousness and earn wealth through Pratigraha (gifts).

He should duly perform the five Yajñas. After fulfilling the duties of the second Āśrama (i.e. householder-ship) he should go to the forest.

He should entrust his wife to his sons and severe all connections and associations. He thereby attains all desired worlds. He is not reborn here again.

14-23. A Kṣatriya well-established in the kingdom should protect the kingdom always fixing his mind on Dharma. He shall obtain the greatest goal.

There is no doubt about this that the Dharma of a Vaiśya is the ardent pursuit of cultivation and breeding of cattle. He too, well-endowed with truthfulness, purity and mental quiescence goes to the excellent Svarga.

A separate duty has not been assigned by Parameṣṭhin to the Śūdra. He need not have any Mantra, consecration or pursuit of lores. He need not have any conventional study of the science of words (i.e. Grammar) and special worship of deities. He has to be, day and night, in the same state as at birth.

Such is the Dharma of all the Varṇas as created by the Self-born Lord formerly. They are richly endowed with the consecratory rites with Mantras. The three Varṇas are called Dvijāti (twice-borns).

If anyone lives a wanton life disregarding their opinions and comments, he is reborn as a dog on death. He has no upward progress.

Their missions and errands (should not be ignored by him). Remembering and following their opinions and views, he becomes well-reputed, one abiding by his specific duty, and one deserving Svarga.

Now, the Brāhmaṇa referred to above, possessing all the good qualities lived there, O descendant of Bharata. He heard words like “Hanasva (kill), Hanasva.”

Thereat he looked up and down and all round. Trembling with fright, he faltered at every step.

He was face to face with a man riding on a buffalo and equipped with fetters, weapons and terrible nooses in hands.

24-31. He had the lustre of a heap of black collyrium. He was dad in black garments. Endowed with all characteristic marks, he had red eyes and long arms.

On noticing him coming along, the Brāhmaṇa turned his attention inwards and repeated words fit to be muttered such as the great Śatarudriya hymn.

Thereupon Lord Yama, the great controller of all, said: “O Brāhmaṇa, I am Yama, the controller of all creatures. Withold, O blessed one, the Rudrajāpya (Japa of Rudra) which is impregnable, so that I can painlessly bind you with Kālapāśa.”

On hearing those ruthless words that issued forth from the mouth of Yama, the Brāhmaṇa became extremely terrified and fled.

All the servants pursued his path along with Yama and said, “Stop, stop” to the Brāhmaṇa. But he continued to run.

By this hurried flight, he became exhausted and cried: “Alas! I have been assailed by evil-minded ones. Save me, save me, O Mahādeva who consider those who seek your refuge as your favourites.”

After saying this, he fell down on the ground and closely embraced the Liṅga, O descendant of Bharata. Losing his consciousness, the eminent Brāhmaṇa resorted to the Lord of Suras.

32-38. On seeing him fallen on the ground, Maheśvara, the Lord of Devas, made a Huṃkāra (‘Hum’ sound) and said, “Who dares to kill you? Do not be afraid.”

At that Huṃkāra, O descendant of Bharata, all the servants fled away along with Yama like clouds blown away by wind.

Ever since then, that Tīrtha became well-known as Kohanasva. It is meritorious and destructive of all sins. It is the most excellent one of all the Tīrthas.

He who takes his holy plunge there in that Tīrtha and worships Parameśvara, attains the excellent benefit of Agniṣṭoma Yajña.

He who sheds his life there in that Tīrtha, O great king, does not see Lord Yama. So said Śaṅkara.

O excellent king, the devotee may immolate himself by entering fire or drowning in water. Thereby he gains a residence in Agniloka for a period of three hundred Kalpas or he may reside in Varuṇaloka for as much time as he pleases and return to this world after which he is destined to become Lord of enormous wealth.

Footnotes and references:


An echo of Puruṣa Sūkta, RV X. 90

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