The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Efficacy of Circumambulating Camatkarapura which is chapter 14 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 fourteenth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 14 - Efficacy of Circumambulating Camatkārapura

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-7. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I shall describe to you what another miracle happened there, which abides in my heart as a secret.

There was a man in Camatkārapura. He was born in the Vaiśya caste. He was poverty-stricken and dumb too.

In view of the fact that he was oppressed by poverty, he looked after the cattle of all the people so that he could maintain his family. He was satisfied with whatever he earned.

Even as he continued looking after the cattle in forest regions, a beast (a cow) strayed away from the herd because it was covetous of plenty of grass elsewhere.

O excellent Brāmaṇas, it was on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Caitra. The cow that had slipped away casually was not noticed by him. When the dumb cowherd reached home, the owner of the cow came there rebuking him: “O sinful one, how is it that one of my cows has not come back yet? Certainly it has been killed, concealed somewhere or sold by you. So fetch my cow back immediately. Huny up even if you have not taken your food.”

8-12. On hearing it, the dumb cowherd became very much frightened. Without taking food he started from his house with a stick in his hand. After reaching the forest, he surveyed all round carefully. In a certain place he saw a footprint of the cow clearly, as he was wandering about and recognised it fully.

Following the footprint, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he went from forest to forest around Camatkārapura. Thus his act of search for the cow in the midst of herds incidentally resulted in a circumambulation of Camatkārapura on the part of the cowherd as well as the cow, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.

13-18. At the conclusion of the circumambulation, the cow was found out. Towards the close of the night, he took the cow home and returned her to the owner.

In the meritorious month of Caitra on the fourteenth lunar day in the dark half, all the Devas arrive at the Tīrthas of the sacred holy spot.

Thus on the holiest day both the cowherd and the cow completed the circumambulation though unwittingly. It was incidental, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. The cowherd observed fast and remained silent though he did not take his holy bath. The cow was of course silent though she had her food.

After a lapse a some time, as a result of their respective Karma, when the life period came to a close, both of them died separately.

The cowherd was reborn as son of the ruler of the country called Daśārṇa (Eastern Malwa). Due to the power (of his meritorious action) he could remember the previous birth.

19-29 That cow was born as a his minister, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. He could also remember the previous birth like the king. He was always honoured by the king.

At the end of every year that leading king in the company of that minister used to come to that city on the fourteenth lunar day in the dark half of the month (of Caitra) and used to circumambulate (Camatkārapura). He observed silence and refrained from taking food. He was fully endowed with great faith. He used to walk the whole distance on foot, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.

Once some holy sages of esteemed vows came there to the meritorious Viśvāmitratīrtha destructive of all sins. They were Yājñavalkya, Bharadvāja, Śunaḥśepa, Gālava, Devala, Bhāguri, Dhaumya, Kaśyapa, Cyavana, Bhṛgu and others of esteemed noble-souls devoted to life-long celibacy. In the course of their pilgrimage to various holy spots, they came to that place too.

On seeing them the king bowed down to them with palms joined in reverence. With great devotion he honoured them with due consideration for their seniority in age and eminence in achievement.

Then the king sat amongst those sages. He was duly congratulated by them too. In the presence of the king those sages held divine discourse about the activities of noble-souled important sages. They discussed the pious practices of old saintly kings obeying the injunctions of scriptural texts, which made that saintly king happy, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.

At the end of the discourse the great sages gave the king great blessings as enjoined by the Śruti passages. With their curiosity aroused, they asked the king thus:

The sages said:

30-32. O king, every year you assiduously come here along with your minister and circumambulate this city. O excellent king, there are many excellent Tīrthas in this holy place. So also there are many famous shrines, O king, but you seem to have not very great respect for them. In this we are excessively curious. If it is no secret, do narrate.

Sūta said:

33-35. On hearing their words the king became humble with the head bent down. He felt slightly shy too and said: “O excellent Brāhmaṇas, what I have been asked just now is worthy of being kept secret. It has never been revealed to anyone on the earth.

But your behest should be certainly obeyed. O excellent sages, do listen even if it be a much hidden secret.

Sūta said:

36. Thereafter, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he narrated the incidents of the previous birth to those leading sages.

37-42. He told them how the cow was lost, how she was searched out, how it resulted in the circumambulation of Camatkārapura, how the power of remembering the incidents of the previous birth was acquired due to its efficacy, how he acquired whatever he desired every now and then, how he acquired the kingdom and gained prosperity.

On hearing this, all the sages were delighted. They showered blessings on him and said, “Excellent! Excellent!”

Thereafter, with great faith and devotion, all of them circumambulated that city in accordance with the injunctions laid down. Due to its power, they attained great Siddhi that is really difficult to attain in the ordinary course by doing Japa, performing Yajña, offering monetary gifts, resorting to Tīrthas and similar things.

The king and his minister became gods moving about in aerial chariot. Even to-day, they are seen in the firmament in the form of stars.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: