The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Marriage of Shripati which is chapter 194 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-fourth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 194 - The Marriage of Śrīpati

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-8. On hearing that the Cosmic Form was revealed by the Infinite Being, the Lord, Devas and their king became excessively surprised.

On seeing Ūrvaśī, the splendid Apsarā with lotus-like countenance, Indra surrounded by royal glory became surprised and dismayed.

He kept quiet without saying anything in reply. Thus the activities of Nārāyaṇa became the current news.

On hearing about the great form, the Cosmic Form (of Nārāyaṇa), Lakṣmī born from the Khāti (abyss) of Bhṛgu, O king, became surprised and thought thus:

‘By what means shall this Lord Nārāyaṇa be my husband? Is it through Vrata, penance, Dāna or some restraints? Can it be through attending upon the old people or by propitiating Devatās?’ O Yudhiṣṭhira, Satī (Śiva’s consort) knew that the girl was thinking thus and she said: “It is through austerities that Śaṅkara was obtained by me as my husband. So also Prajāpati (Brahmā) was obtained by Gāyatrī. Desired husbands were obtained like that by other women too. O lady of good Vratas, it is only through penance that the husband should be obtained by you. Hence perform penance, great and fierce, which will give you all that you desire.”

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

9-15. O conqueror of the cities of enemies, Lakṣmī went to the outer limit of the oceans and performed an elaborate penance extremely difficult (for others) to perform, for a long duration.

She stationed herself steadily like a lamp-post for a period of one thousand divine years. Thereupon Indra and other Devas holding conch, discus and the club (like Viṣṇu) went there for her sake. She asked the Suras, “Be quick, manifest the Cosmic Form of Viṣṇu.”

Abashed and perturbed thereby the Devas went to Nārāyaṇa and said, “We were not able to reveal the Cosmic Form.”

Thereafter they went away as they pleased. Viṣṇu thought, ‘The fair lady stays there in a dreadful form. This Bhārgavī is burning her body. Hence I shall go there to her. After granting her the desired boon I shall perform penance once again or display once again the Cosmic Form belonging to Viṣṇu, which ordinarily cannot be seen by either Devas or Dānavas.’

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

Then Hṛṣīkeśa went to Śrī staying at the outer limit (shore) of the ocean. He said, “O fair lady, I am pleased with you. Choose a boon as desired by you.”

Śrī said:

16-25. O Lord Janārdana, if you are pleased with me who have dedicated myself to and sought refuge in you, O sinless one, show me what was seen by the celestial damsels.

O Keśava, O conceiver of the living beings, your Cosmic Form is infinite. O Lord Viṣṇu, do recount to me the details of the penance performed by you on Gandhamāḍana, if it is not false. I am not convinced with this form at all, the form I see before me.

Even though they have come to know my mental attachment to Hari, I have been freely wooed by many Yakṣas and Rākṣasas moving about employing their magical tricks.

They had assumed the form of Viṣṇu adopting four arms and wielding the discus. But all of them went away fully abashed and chagrined since they were unable to display the Cosmic Form.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

On being told thus by her, Lord Nārāyaṇa gave up that form holding the conch, discus and club, the form adored by Suras, and displayed the great Cosmic Form as mentioned before.

After showing it, he spoke these words in accordance with the injunctions in the Pāñcarātra text: “He who adores me always is worthy of adoration. After being adored, he will become possessor of wealth and foodgrain and all means of pleasurable enjoyment.

Brahmacarya (celibacy) is the very root of all pious activities. Therefore I will stay there with the title Mūlaśrīpati (Consort of original Śrī). Mūlaśrī is called Brāhmī. She is in the form of Brahmacarya. She is meritorious, Yoga incarnate, auspicious, and destructive of all sins.

26-37. I am her Lord and consort, O my beloved, the best-ower of boons on living beings. A man who bathes in the waters of Revā and adores me named Mūlaśrīpati with due performance of Vratas and maintenance of restraints, shall attain the desired benefit. If he offers Dāna and Mahādāna there, O my beloved, he obtains the merit thousand times more than elsewhere.

It was seen by you there in that region and perfectly comprehended. Adoring it, you will undoubtedly obtain great desires.

O goddess of Devas, choose a boon desired by you (even if it be) inaccessible to the Suras who have fallen into the impassable forest of worldly existence, O great goddess.”

Śrī said:

O Nārāyaṇa, O supporter of the universe, O Lord of the universe, O great Brahman, O ultimate great resort! Be pleased with me for my devotion. Save me perfectly. Employ me in the perfect creation. You are my lover. Manage everything so that I can be your beloved.

The stage of householder is the root cause of Dharma, Artha and Kāma. It has been approved by Devas. Adopt that meritorious Āśrama (stage of life) and employ me in the rites for welfare.

Nārāyaṇa said:

O fair lady, since you addressed me (submitted to me) uttering the word Nārāyaṇa, my name here will be Nārāyaṇagiri.

At the recollection of Nārāyaṇa the sins incurred in the course of crores of births vanish. It is termed Giri because it swallows (sins). The ‘Giri’ (mountain), the supporter of all, shall be the king of all mountains! O fair lady, just as I am the supporter of Suras, Asuras and human beings.

Those who adore this divine form of mine named Nārāyaṇagiri, O lady of splendid eyes, after placing it in the mystic Maṇḍala (diagram) become richly endowed with divine knowledge and divine physical form as well as divine activities. (They) will attain the divine Loka enjoying divine pleasures.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

38-43. Even as they were having the dialogue thus, Devas with Indra as their leader and great sages came to that forest region at the outskirts of the ocean.

After knowing that she was Bhṛgu’s daughter, the king of Devas requested him for what Nārāyaṇa had been thinking of. He, the righteous soul, gave her readily. Dharma performed the rites of marriage in accordance with the injunctions. O sage-king, he performed the rites of marriage of the Lord of Devas with due consideration for the sake of the Devas.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

It has been told by you that Dharma performed the rites of marriage in accordance with the injunctions. What was the Vidhi (Procedure)? What Dakṣiṇā was offered by Bhṛgu in the Yajña of that Vivāha (marriage)? Who became the holder of the Sruk and Sruva (sacrificial ladles and vessels)? Who were the Ṛtviks and who were the members of the sacrificial assembly, O excellent Brāhmaṇa? Was there an Avabhṛtha (the valedictory bath thereof)? Mention everything in detail. I am not fully satiated by imbibing the nectar of your words.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

44-52. Neither Brahmā nor Parameśvara is capable of describing the good features of the marriage of Nārāyaṇa, the Yajña and the Tapas of that Lord and his perfect conduct. O Yudhiṣṭhira, yet I shall recount in a general way. Listen with careful attention.

Brahmā and the Seven Sages were engaged in holding the Sruk and Sruva there. They performed the Homa in the sacrificial fires, O king. The entire earth along with the oceans was the altar.

The oceans gave jewels to the Brahmarṣis, O excellent king. Dhanada (Kubera) too gave the monetary gift as desired by all the Brāhmaṇas.

Viśvakarmā built houses of wonderful varieties fully embedded with all jewels and showed them to the glorious Lord of Devas.

Then, O great king, Śatakratu asked the various Brāhmaṇas assembled there to choose whatever they desired. They were the Brāhmaṇas including Śaunakas etc., Bāṣkalas, Chāgalas and Ātreyas with Kāpiṣṭhala as their leader.

On seeing those wonderfully variegated jewels, they said to the Lord of all chieftains: “This (joint) assembly of Devas and sages is highly meritorious. O Lord of Suras, we wish to stay forever in this meritorious assembly.”

Śatakratu said again, “Your residence shall be here as long as you please, while all of you are engaged in true Dharma.”

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

53-61. O tiger among kings, in answer to your question as to who were the priests offering sacrificial oblations in the sacrifice, I shall describe it. Listen to it with concentration.

Those with Sanatkumāra as their chief were the Sadasyas (members of the sacrificial assembly). Atri, Aṅgiras and Marīci officiated as Udgātṛs. Dharma and Vasiṣṭha did the job of Hotṛs (reciters of the Vedic Mantras). Sage Sanaka was the Brahmā (Presiding priest in the sacrifice). Śatakratu (Indra) gave them thirty-six thousand vallages [villages?].

The Lord did everything and so Lakṣmī was united with her husband. Even as Brahmā was performing the Homa, his forehead was visible to the Suras seated all round. The region where such view was possible is called Lalāṭadeśa and that spot became the meritorious spot of Śrīpati and was resorted to by Devas and sages.

It is full of miracles, divine and efficacious. Then Lakṣmī endeavoured to establish the row of the Brāhmaṇas. She spoke these words to the Lord named Śrīpati.

Śrī said:

I wish to duly establish these Brāhmaṇas of excellent Vratas and restraints. They are the disciples of Bhṛgu and others. O Adhokṣaja, with your favour I wish to establish them. O Garuḍa-emblemed One, Marīci and others have been established by the Lord of Suras.

There are many Brāhmaṇas here of steadfast Vratas and restraints. Some of them are engaged in the Prājāpatya Vrata of Brahmā. O Adhokṣaja, I shall establish them with your favour.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

62-71. Thereupon the enthusiastic Bull-emblemed Lord asked the Vratins who were all allotted different avocations.

Nāraḍa approached Mahādeva, the consort of Satī, and said, “These Brāhmaṇas of steadfast Vratas wore deer hides. These excellent Brāhmaṇas should be made to cover their nakedness by means of excellent clothes. O Lord of Suras, there are twenty-four thousand Prājāpatyas. O Bull-emblemed One, there are twelve thousand members of those who follow Brahmacarya Vrata and propound those Vratas.”

On hearing the words of Nāraḍa, Devas and celestial sages considered the suggestion good but none of them said anything.

Thereupon, Lakṣmī devoutly called those Brāhmaṇas, touched their feet and said: “Favour may be done to me. There are thirty-six thousand houses constructed by Viśvakarman. All of you, do stay there.”

They were delighted in their minds. They promised, “So will it be”. They became rich owners of money and food-grain, the fulfilment of their desire. There being no necessity to begin their activities, they were fully satisfied with their desires fulfilled.

After establishing those Brāhmaṇas thus, Lakṣmi stood there and protected them. Viṣṇu, interested in doing what pleased Goddess Śrī, stood there in four forms.

Thus, the Yajña of the marriage rites was concluded and the sages asked, “O Janārdana, where will we take the Avabhṛtha (valedictory) bath?”

72-80. On hearing these words, Śrīpati released the waters of Jāhnavī from his lotus-like feet. The pure waters flowed into the middle of Revā.

On seeing the waters issuing forth from the feet of Had and being fully aware of its worth and weightiness, those sages who knew its greatness, became wonder-struck.

All the Devas along with Rudra and the sages too began to shake their heads. They were surprised and talked about it in their dialogues.

The sages said:

Do tell us, O Śaṃbhu, what is this sudden outflow of water arising from the lotus-like feet of Viṣṇu. It is greatly fascinating.

Īśvara said:

O Suras, I know fully well that this is the water from the feet of Viṣṇu. Bath in this water surpasses the valedictory bath to be taken after ten horse-sacrifices. Śrīpati (Lord of Śrī) is adorable to you. Whence can you have the Avabhṛtha bath? Hence he has quickly created the (Gaṅgā) water for your sake.

No one is competent to explain fully, O Lord of Devas, the benefit that can be attained by taking the holy ablution here. Hence why talk more?

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

O eminent one, O Bull among the descendants of Bharata, after saying thus and taking their holy ablution, the Devas with Maheśāna as their leader went away in the manner they had come.

Thereupon, all the Brāhmaṇas resorted to their own houses, O great king, in the Devatīrtha destructive of all sins.

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