The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Birth of Shripati which is chapter 192 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 ninety-second chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 192 - The Birth of Śrīpati

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-7. Thereafter, O dear one, one should go to the excellent Devatīrtha. After seeing Śrīpati, the man on the earth is rid of all sins. Lord Janārdana was the son-in-law of the great sage Bhṛgu.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Who is this Lord, the Consort of Śrī, the overlord of Devas? How did he come into being? O sage, is he one of the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Siva? How did Keśava become a relative of Bhṛgu? O Brāhmaṇa, O descendant of Bhṛgu, it behoves you to recount this in detail.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

I shall succinctly narrate the great story of Sādhyā. All the great sages are incapable of recounting it in detail.

The Four-faced Lord was born of the lotus arising from the navel of Nārāyaṇa. O king, Dakṣa was his son, having been born from his right thumb.

Dharma was born from the tip of his breast. Hence he became his son. Even Aja (Brahmā), O bull among the descendants of Bharata, had the assistance of Nārāyaṇa.

8-17. The following ten daughters of Dakṣa became the wives of Dharma. They were highly lustrous. They were: Marutvatī, Vasu, Jñānā, Laṃbā, Bhānumatī, Satī, Saṃkalpā, Muhūrtā, Sādhyā, Viśvavatī and Kakup [Kakubh?].

Among them the blessed Sādhyā gave birth to sons, O king, namely Nara, Nārāyaṇa, Had and Kṛṣṇa. These four sons of Dharma were the parts of the parts of Viṣṇu.

Nārāyaṇa and Nara identified their Ātman with the Supreme Ātman and performed a great penance on the Gandhamādana mountain.

They meditated on that which has nothing comparable to it, which was their cause and which has no other cause. They meditated on Vāsudeva who cannot be pointed out, who is beyond comprehension and is undifferentiated.

The two noble souls were fully engaged in Yogic exercise. They maintained themselves as great ascetics. On account of the power of their penance, the Sun stopped blazing.

The wind blew hesitatingly. Undoubtedly it was pleasing to the touch. Even burning fire became very cool. Lions, tigers and other wild animals moved about mildly on the mountain along with deer. O Lord of the Earth, the Earth distressed by their weight appeared like a cow. Mountains shook and the great ocean became agitated. The Devas lost their lustre in their own lustreless abode in the sky. O king, they became much agitated.

Śakra, the king of Devas, became scorched and furious by their penance. With a desire to cause obstacles to them, he engaged the celestial damsels there.

Indra said:

18-29. O Raṃbhā, O Tilottamā, O Kubjā, Ghṛtācī, Lalitā, O splendid Pramlocā, O Suṃlocā of excellent eyebrows, O haughty Saurabheyī, O Alaṃbuṣā, O Miśrakeśī, O Puṇḍarīkā, O Varuthinī, assume very charming personality that awakens Manmatha (erotic urge) and go to Gandhamādana. There act according to my instructions.

The two Brāhmaṇas, Nara and Nārāyaṇa, are performing penance with the requisite initiation. The sons of Dharma are performing penance which is extremely difficult for others to practise. O beautiful women, if they continue to perform the great penance, they are likely to give us great misery and agony through their all-surpassing activities. They may destroy our future prospects.

Hence go. Do not be afraid. All of you should carry out this instruction. O excellent ladies, Smara and Vasanta shall be your associates.

At the sight of beauty and youth that excessively excite love, which submissive man does not come under the influence of Kandarpa (god of Love)?

Śrī Mārkandeya said:

On being told thus by the king of Devas, O king, all those celestial damsels and Vasanta went off along with Madana.

They reached Gandhamādana which Mādhava (Spring) turned into a beautiful park with blossoming trees and parks agitated by the cooing male cuckoos.

The wind from Malaya mountain blew from the southern direction. The whole forest became excessively charming on account of the humming sounds of the swarms of bees.

The fragrant scent arising from the groves of trees delighted the noses of Kinnaras, Uragas and Yakṣas.

All those ladies of exquisite bodily features set about in their task of tempting the sages, Nara and Nārāyaṇa, through their words, graceful movements of their limbs and smiles.

One of them sang sweetly; another celestial damsel danced; O king, another played on the musical instruments in a fascinating manner.

30-39. For the purpose of agitating them mentally the slender-limbed ladies made various efforts through their coquetish manners, emotional displays and sweet words.

Still, O Lord of the earth, they were the least affected mentally as they had reached the climax of their spiritual practice and mental discipline.

O king, they stood without any excitement or movement like a lamp in a windless spot. Their minds maintained steady equilibrium as it was dedicated to Vāsudeva.

Just as the great ocean on being filled with waters does not get excited, nor does it overflow into another world, so also their minds remained steady.

Meditating on the great Brahman in the form of Vāsudeva, conducive to the welfare of all living beings, they did not become the victims of either Rāga (attachment) or Dveṣa (hatred).

Smara too did not find it possible to enter their heart illuminated by perfect knowledge like darkness that does not gain entry into an apartment illuminated with lamps.

O bull among men, those great sages saw as an aspect of Brahman, everything such as the excellent trees shining well in their full bloom, the spring season, the southern breeze, all those celestial damsels, Kandarpa (god of Love), the penance begun by themselves, their own selves and Gandhamādana.

Fire does not burn fire nor does water wet water. It is so because the self-same object does not cause any aberration in itself.

After realizing again and again Brahman in its essential form, no effect or adverse influence of the spring season, Kandarpa and his women occurred to them.

40-48. Thereafter, O king, Vasanta, Madana and those slenḍer-limbed ladies made further and stronger efforts to excite them both.

Then Nārāyaṇa of exalted mind took up courage and created a woman of excellent limbs from his thighs.

O Lord of the earth, the jewels of beautiful ladies of all the three worlds will become insignificant in their qualities verily at her very sight.

On seeing her, O Lord of the earth, the Wind became mentally shaken, Vasanta became dismayed and Smara could not remember anything.

The celestial young women beginning with Raṃbhā and Tilottamā became embarrassed as their hearts and eyes becoming the target of her sight ceased to shine.

Thereupon, O king, Kāma, Vasanta and the celestial damsels bowed down to the excellent holy sages and eulogized them.

Vasanta, Kāma and the celestial damsels said:

May the creator and supporter of the universe be pleased. We have been deluded by the Māyā of that Lord and so do not know the difference between the two.

May that Lord be pleased with us, the Lord whose form is twofold. He is the abode of all the worlds; he is beginningless; and he is without an end.

May the two Lords Nara and Nārāyaṇa wielding weapons like the conch and the discus be favourable with a benign face, to us all, though we are guilty.

49-58. He is the storehouse of all lores. He is like fire unto the forests of all sins. Hence may Lord Nārāyaṇa with the Śārṅga (bow) as his weapon dispel all sins.

May the glorious, sinless Nara, the knower of self, dispel all the sins. He is the Ātman unto all embodied beings.

He has tucked up the clusters of matted hair. May the gentle face and sight of these two, who will pardon us, dispel all the sins incurred in the whole of this life.

Further a great crime has been committed by us, due to the defect in the learning we had. That is why we came here to tempt the Lords worthy of being respected by all the three worlds.

O Lord, O one full of pure knowledge, be pleased with us of deluded visions. Good people always keep up their righteousness.

Just as this excellent jewel of a lady came into being on seeing us, so also, O Nārāyaṇa, the excellent intellect has originated in you, the intellect that facilitates getting across to the other shore of Saṃsāra. Hence, O eternal Lord, of a great soul, of a truthful soul, O Nārāyaṇa, be pleased. You are the greatest ultimate resort of all people by means of that truth.

O Nara, of clear intellect, of quiescent soul, O Lord having pleasant face and eyes, be pleased, O Lord of Yogins. O Lord, O omnipresent and unswerving one!

We bow down to Lord Nara; and also to Hari Nārāyaṇa. Obeisance to Nara worthy of being bowed to! Obeisance to Nārāyaṇa too!

O Lord, we were helpless before. But we have a Lord who helps us. We are pleased. May Nara bring about our welfare. O Nārāyaṇa, grant us welfare.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

59-68. On being adored thus by means of the eulogy in the presence of all living beings, O king, Lord Nārāyaṇa devoid of Rāga, Dveṣa (attachment and hatred) said:

Nārāyaṇa said:

Welcome unto Mādhava, Kāma and the celestial damsels. May this be said as to what is to be done by us unto you who have come here.

Certainly you have been deputed by the enemy of Bala for overpowering us. Hence this display of the combination of dance etc.

We are not allured by songs, dances, movements of the limbs, utterances etc., nor by sensual objects. I consider these sensual objects terrible.

O splendid ones, when our senses are not defiled by contact with sounds etc., how can then things like dances etc., offer temptation to us?

We are Siddhas and not Sādhyas (conquerable) by you all, Smara and Mādhava. Let Śakra be free from suspicions, composed and at ease.

The supreme being, the greatest Puruṣa, Parameśvara, the Supreme Ātman, is the cause of the origin of mobile and immobile beings. It is in him that everything gets dissolved. In view of his being the immanent Lord, he is termed Sarvavāsī (the abode of all) and Vāsudeva.

We are the parts of the parts of that honourable Lord having four Vyūhas. (emanations).

We follow the path indicated by him for the enlightenment of embodied beings. We see the Lord of all abiding in all beings. We see all impartially everywhere. How can we having discrimination entertain attachment (Rāga) and hatred?

69-75. That same Bhūtātman (the Ātman) is present in me, Vasanta, Indra, in you all the celestial damsels and in Smara. How can there be hatred etc.?

Viṣṇu is the Lord of the Lords of all. All creatures are identical with him. That being the case, how can there be Rāga etc.?

All the things and beings of the universe are born from that single Supreme Ātman-beings such as Brahmā, Indra, Īśāna, Āditya, Maruts, Viśvedevas, sages, Sādhyās, Vasus, Pitṛs, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, spirits etc., Nāgas, serpents, reptiles, men, birds, cows, elephants, lions, aquatic beings, flies, mosquitoes, bees, butterflies, water-worms, hedges, trees, creepers, bamboos, grasses, whatever can be seen or cannot be seen. Know that this is so, O celestial damsels.

Born thus, O celestial damsels, who can have attachment, hatred and greed, because Viṣṇu is his own greatest Ātman?

76. Viṣṇu is identical with all living beings, omnipresent and supporter of all. How can there arise the qualities of Rāga etc., after belittling that Viṣṇu who is different from ordinary living beings?

77. Thus, O women, when we all, you all and all the living beings have become identical with him, where is the occasion for Rāga etc.?

78. The eye that comprehends the unity of all is called Samyagdṛṣṭi (right eye). Knowing as different is a popular usage.

79-80. This entire universe consists of the elements, sense-organs, inner mind, Pradhāna (Prakṛti) and Puruṣa. Then of what nature is difference?

The waves come into being and get subsided in the waters of the ocean. But they are not different since they are only water. Similar is the universe, due to the identity.

81-88. Just as the sparks of Fire are yellow, tawny, pink and grey in colour but are not different from fire, so also the universe is not different from Brahman.

That Purandara (Indra) makes you all cause excitement in us is improper as our minds are inclined towards good conduct and true knowledge.

You all, the Lord of Devas, all the people including Suras and Asuras, along with oceans, mountains and forests—all these are within my body.

Just as this lady exquisitely beautiful in all the limbs is shown to you all, I shall show the entire universe too in a similar manner.

Let not Indra be arrogant. Whose Indra-hood is permanent? You too do not become proud. There are many women with extraordinary beauty.

When the difference itself does not exist, what is beautiful? What is ugly? If there is comparison in regard to beauty of form, it is always due to the view of discrimination.

I correctly conjectured that your pride originated from such qualities as exalted physical beauty. Hence this slim lady was shown to you. Therefore, you are likely to be quiescent.

Since this lady of excellent limbs and blue lily-like eyes has come out of my thighs (Ūru), she will become an excellent Apsarā named Urvaśī.

89-95. Just as you have been sent by him to us with a desire for our pleasure, so may this lady of exquisite complexion be taken to Devarāja.

That thousand-eyed Indra should be told thus: “Our austerities are not motivated by a desire for enjoyment or of getting some benefit not yet acquired.

I Shall point out the righteous path to the wide world. I along with Nara shall carry out the protection of the universe. I am bent upon it.

O Lord of Tridaśas (Devas), if anyone is to harass you, I shall restrain him. O Vāsava, you abstain from (such attempts).

If you fail to chastise any wicked one, I shall surely chastise him. This I shall bring about undoubtedly.

Being aware of all these, you need not experience any distress on my account. O Vāsava, I have taken the incarnation to render help unto the worlds.

O Purandara, this lady Urvaśī who originated from me shall be the cause of Tretāgni (three sacrificial fires).”

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