The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Performance of a Satra for Trishanku which is chapter 5 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 fifth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 5 - Performance of a Satra for Triśaṅku

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-2. On hearing the words of Brahmā, Viśvāmitra became furious. He said to Pitāmaha: “See the power of my penance. I will perform a Yajña with the due Dakṣiṇā on behalf of Triśaṅku. Even as you watch, O Pitāmaha, I shall bring him here through the power of that Yajña.”

3. After saying this, Viśvāmitra hastened to the earth and made preparations for the Yajña on behalf of the noble-souled Triśaṅku.

4. At the time proper for commencement of the Yajña and in that very auspicious forest, he invited Brāhmaṇas who were masters of Veda (and expert in sacrificial rites) and got him (Triśaṅku) initiated.

5-8. That intelligent sage himself became Adhvaryu in the sacrificial rite. Sage Śāṇḍilya was Hotṛ. Gautama was Brahmā. The sage named Cyavana was Āgnīdhra. Maitrāvaruṇa was Kārmika. Yājñavalkya was Udgātṛ and Jaimini Pratihartṛ Śaṅkuvarṇa was Prastotṛ. Gālava was Unnetṛ. Pulastya was Brāhmanācchamsin [Brāhmaṇācchaṃsin?]. Eminent sage Garga was Hotṛ. Atri was Neṣṭṛ and Bhṛgu himself was Acchāvāka. Triśaṅku endowed with great faith, made all these the Ṛtviks.

9-10. Triśaṅku adorned the Ṛtviks with garments, armlets and coronets. He got his hair cut and clad himself in the skin of a black antelop. He engaged himself in Payovrata (vow of taking in only milk) and held horn of a deer. Thus he engaged all of them for the purpose of Dīrghasattra (Yajña of long duration).

11-12. When that Dīrghasattra got started in a befitting manner, divine Brāhmaṇas who had mastered the Vedas and Vedāṅgas came there. So also Tārkikas (Logicians), curious householders, poor people, blind ones, those in wretched state, dancers and actors etc., assembled there.

13-14. In the entire sacrificial premises, the following words were heard always: “Let this be given to these quickly; let this be given. O people, may you be pleased to eat. Do eat. Do us this favour” etc. Nothing else was heard.

15-17a. Huge mountain-like heaps of food-grains were seen kept ready. So also were heaps of gold and silver and of gems and jewels in particular. There were innumerable cows for the sake of being given over to the Brāhmaṇas. Similarly there were well-tamed horses, and huge elephants in the height of their rut were kept all round. They appeared like mountains.

17b-18. When this elaborate Yajña went on and Devas were invoked to partake of their shares, they never turned up. It was their resolve that they would take in the Havis only through the sacred fire.

19. Thus twelve years passed off even as the king continued his Yajña. But the benefit that he had cherished in his mind was not attained.

20-21. O excellent Sages, Triśaṅku took the Avabhṛthasnāna (valedictory bath) at the conclusion of the Sattra. The Ṛtviks were propitiated with Dakṣiṇā due to them and duly sent off. So also all those who had assembled went away; kinsmen and friends also took leave and went away.

22-28. The king, still bashful and ashamed, humbly bowed down to the great sage Viśvāmitra and said: “With your favour the entire benefit of the Dīrghasattra not easily accessible to all men, has been obtained by me. So also, O excellent sage, the caste lost by me has been regained. O Brāhmaṇa-Sage, Cāṇḍālatva (the state of being a Cāṇḍāla) has been dispelled with your favour. But one sorrow is lurking like a dart thrust into my heart, since Svarga was not attained by me along with this body. O Sage, sons of Vasiṣṭha will laugh at me on hearing that my efforts have been in vain and that I have not reached Svarga. Vasiṣṭha’s words that going to heaven in this physical body, was not attained through Yajña, proved to be true. Hence I shall go to forest now and perform penance. I will not rule the kingdom already given over to my son.”

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