The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Jamadagnya Tirtha which is chapter 218 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 two hundred eighteenth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 218 - The Greatness of Jāmadagnya Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-10. Thereafter, O Lord of the Earth, a person should go to the highly splendid Tīrtha well-known as Jamadagni Tīrtha where Janārdana became a Siddha.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

O excellent Brāhmaṇa, how did Vāsudeva, the preceptor of the universe, become a Siddha? Is it by assuming human form with a desire for the welfare of all the worlds?

I wish to hear the full story of the Discus-bearing Lord of Devas properly. O sinless one, may it be recounted by you.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

O great king, formerly there was a great ruler of the Haihaya clan. He was known as Kārttavīrya, a king with a thousand arms.

He was richly equipped with elephants, horses and chariots. He was the most excellent one among all warriors wielding weapons. He was also a master of the Veḍic lore. He granted freedom from fear to all living beings. He was the Lord of the city of Māhiṣmatī. He was a glorious king, owner of an Akṣauhiṇī.

Once that mighty king set out for hunting deer. After many days, he reached the excellent Bhṛgukaccha where Jamadagni, the highly refulgent ascetic, was staying.

The glorious sage was in the company of Reṇukā. He was the bestower of freedom from fear on all living beings. Lord Nārāyaṇa himself was born as his son Rāma.

He (Rāma) was a knower of Brahman, an excellent Brāhmaṇa but possessing all the qualities of a Kṣatriya. With his genuine devotion, he indeed delighted his parents.

Jamadagni of great refulgence met Arjuna who was out hunting deer and invited him as his guest.

11-20. Saying ‘yes’, the king went into the meritorious hermitage along with his attendants, army and vehicles. The hermitage of the noble-souled sage instantly became richly equipped and enveloped in great glory.

Seeing this amazing transformation, the king entered it and was promptly served (fed) with his attendants and army.

Casually he (Kārttavīrya) asked the cause thereof (of this transformation). After coming to know that the power of Kāmadhenu was the cause, he said to the Brāhmaṇa:

“O Brāhmaṇa, give me this excellent cow of variegated colour as a donation. In return I shall give you hundred, a hundred thousand or even millions of embellished cows.”

Jamadagni said:

I will not give away this excellent Kāmadhenu in lieu of ten thousands, hundred thousands and even crores of other cows. You may go.

On being told thus by that Brāhmaṇa, O descendant of Bharata, the eminent king spoke these words with his eyes turned red: “O base Brāhmaṇa, even in regard to me you have such self-willedness. Hence even as you are watching, I will take away the divine cow from your house.”

The Brāhmaṇa said:

Who dares to play with a great angry serpent? One who dares to take away my cow will be sure to he met by the god of Death on the way.

After saying this the furious Jamadagni seized a huge staff, like another Brahmadaṇḍa (the staff of Brahmā) and uttered thus:

21-31. “Whoever has the power or brilliance of a Kṣatriya, O base one in the (Kṣatriya) family, let him take away my cow immediately. His life along with that of his followers will be reduced and crippled.”

On hearing these cruel words, Haihaya accompanied by hundreds rushed in but when struck by the Brahmaḍaṇḍa, he fell down on the ground.

The cow produced a gruff “Huṃ” sound and from that cow of variegated colour thousands were seen issuing forth (from her nostrils) with swords, nooses and other weapons. The Kirātas came out from her nostrils and tips of the hair. The Māgadhas came out of the anus. Hundreds and thousands of other warriors issued forth from the other pores.[1] They killed each other. Haihaya (King Arjuna) burned them. All those perished along with the Brāhmaṇas due to that refulgence of Arjuna.

After gaining victory in the battle and killing the excellent Brāhmaṇa, Kārttavīrya joyously went to his city. Evidently the king was deluded by the prompting of the god of Death.

Only when the enemy had gone away did Rāma hurrying homewards came there. He saw his mother piteously lamenting near his father.

Rāma said:

By whom has this rash act been committed, only to invite self-destruction? He who has thought of killing my father has been prompted by the desire to meet Death.

On hearing the words of Rāma, she lost all her strength and got agitated. Beating her belly with both the hands, she spoke to him:

“The ruthless Arjuna accompanied with other Kṣatriyas came here. By that king endowed with (a thousand) arms (Jamadagni) was killed. See your father senseless and bereft of life on being killed. Cremate him duly, dear son, and perform the requisite libations.”

32-40. On hearing these words, Rāma paid obeisance to her and took this vow. O king, hear what it is: “I will exterminate the entire race of Kratriyas twenty-one times. I will take my holy bath then and offer libations to your husband with their blood.

With my axe I will cut off the arms of that wicked Kārttavīrya and will drink the blood thereof. Listen to this truthful vow of mine.”

After taking this solemn vow, the valorous son of Jamadagni performed the cremation of his father. At the height of his fury, Rāma went to the city of Māhiṣmatī, cut off the forest of arms of that base Kṣatriya and killed him.

Then for the annihilation of Kṣatriyas he surveyed the whole earth consisting of seven continents, oceans, mountains and forests and parks.

He dug five deep pits in Samantapañcaka in the Kuru land in the four directions of east, west, south and north (as well as the centre).

It has been heard by us that he, being extremely furious offered libations to his Pitṛs with blood in the eddy-like pits filled with (Kratriya) blood.

Thereupon, Ṛcīka and other Pitṛs approached the bull among Brāhmaṇas and told him to forgive him. So he stopped (the bloody revenge).

41-48. The area around those eddy-like pits filled with blood is glorified as the meritorious Samantapañcaka.

After desisting from that activity, O son of Pāṇḍu, the highly righteous Rāma spoke to the Pitṛs: “Let this blood poured into the five pits by me become an excellent Tīrtha.” Saying “So it shall be” all the Pitṛs vanished.

Thus the contact of Rāma in Devamārga by perception and touch is destructive of all sins of men, O Yudhiṣṭhira.

In order to convince Reṇukā the Pitṛs as deities are seen even today, stationed in Devamārga. They are destructive of all sins.

O great king, by taking a holy bath at the confluence of Narmadā and the ocean as per injunctions in the Tīrtha, men are rid of sins.

O son of Kuntī, the great ocean should not be touched even by the tip of a blade of Kuśa. O excellent king, one should take bath there reciting this Mantra:

“Obeisance to you, the Lord of waters, in the form of Viṣṇu. O Lord of Devas, be present in the briny ocean.” This is the Sparśana Mantra (Mantra for touch).

49-57. O Pāṇḍava, one should dive into the Lord of rivers uttering this truthful sentence: “Agni is the lustre in the body with forgiveness and graciousness. It is the Retas in the body. It is the navel of Nectar.”

Then the devotee should offer Arghya to the great ocean with five jewels, fruits, flowers and raw rice grain. O great king, the Mantra thereof is as follows:

“O Lord and chieftain of all immortal ones, you are the storehouse of all jewels. You are the receptacle of all Ratnākaras (oceans containing jewels). Accept my Arghya. Obeisance to you.”

The Mantra for bidding good-bye is as follows:

“O great Ocean, redeem me from the sins incurred ever since my birth. O storehouse of jewels, you have been worshipped. Do go now to the mountains, O foremost among Pārvaṇas (those who go on increasing at Parva time). O Lord, you are the powerful one getting the portals to heaven opened. Who else can be better than Lord Ocean!”

There the excellent great Tīrtha extended upto the ocean.

There the Lord was installed by Rāma, the son of Jamadagni. There Devas, Gandharvas, sages, Siddhas, and Cāraṇas perform the Upāsanā of the Three-eyed Lord and the excellent sage Jamadagni. Men who see Goddess Reṇukā also there, remain in the pleasing Śivaloka for as much time as they desire.

A man who takes his holy bath there and offers libations to Pitṛs and Devas, shall redeem more than a hundred generations of his family from terrible Naraka. They should take the holy bath, offer Dāna and listen with devotion (to the narratives).

Footnotes and references:


Here a few verses are missing, apparently of the following import: ‘They fought against the army of Haihaya. The mutual fight was very tumultuous.’

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