The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Somatirtha which is chapter 139 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 thirty-ninth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 139 - The Greatness of Somatīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-5. Thereafter, O great king, one should go to the excellent Somatīrtha where Soma performed penance and attained a permanent place in the stellar path.

Listen, to the meritorious benefit of a person who takes his holy bath there in that Tīrtha after duly and ceremoniously sipping the holy water, and having performed Japa meditates on Ravi.

Merely by reciting the Gāyatrī Mantra here, one gets that benefit which is cited as the benefit of one who recites the Mantras of Ṛk, Yajus and Sāma Vedas, O descendant of Bharata.

If a devotee remains pure and feeds a few Brāhmaṇas there at that Tīrtha, it becomes as meritorious as a crore Brāhmaṇas fed properly in accordance with the injunctions.

If a person makes gifts of sandals and shoes, garments, umbrella, blankets and horses to an eminent Brāhmaṇa, it is on a par with such things gifted to a crore such Brāhmaṇas.

6-13. The feeding of thousands and thousands of Brāhmaṇas utterly ignorant of the Ṛk verses does not merit even a sixteenth part of the feeding of one Brāhmaṇa fully conversant with the Mantras.

A person need feed only one master of the Vedas knowing many Ṛks (by heart), or if he belongs to another Śākhā (branch of Vedic study), he should be an Adhvaryu (i.e. Yajurvedin) or Chandoga (i.e. Sāmavedin) or Samāptiga (i.e. one who has concluded Vedic Studies).

In Somatīrtha if one person well-versed in the Vedas (is fed), one gets the merit said to result from performing a thousand Agnihotras by learned men.

If a man feeds a hundred, he gets the merit of feeding a thousand. (There) learned men know that the merit of (feeding) one well-versed in Yoga (is on a par with it).

Wherever a sage resides after restraining the sense-organs, the holy place should be deemed as Kurukṣetra, Naimiṣa or Puṣkara.

Hence one should assiduously feed a Yogin at the time of solar and lunar eclipses, during Saṅkrānti or Vyatīpāta in particular.

One who enters into Saṃnyāsa stage at that Tīrtha, O Yudhiṣṭhira, becomes glorious and goes to heaven by means of an aerial chariot. He becomes an attendant of Soma. He rejoices along with him.

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