The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Pitrikupika Tirtha which is chapter 19 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 nineteenth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 19 - Greatness of Pitṛkūpikā Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-6. In the meantime the attendants (those who survived) of that king arrived there after a few had been unfortunately half-swallowed by the beasts of prey. They were extremely distressed due to hunger and thirst. They were extremely miserable. They came to the footpath by which the king had gone.

On seeing the king they said Oh! it is our good fortune; it is our good fortune” and joyously fell at his feet.

They told the great king the miseries the army suffered, as experienced by them, seen personally and also heard by them.

Thereafter all the sages, the king and all his attendants spread leaves beneath the tree on the ground and slept. Even as those noble-souled ones slept soundly the night passed off blissfully.

7-11. Then the king got up early in the morning and duly performed the rites of the forenoon. After bowing down to the sage and repeatedly taking leave of him, he started towards his city Māhiṣmatī along with his attendants proceeding slowly and viewing various things.

They reached the city and the king took rest in his abode for some time. Then he proceeded to the meritorious Gayāśiras. There he took his holy bath, wore clean white clothes. With the mind sanctified by faith, he performed the Śrāddha for Māṃsāda. While he was a sleep at night, the king saw him in his dream. He had smeared his body with divine unguents and was clad in divine clothes. Divine garlands had been worn and he was seated in an excellent aerial chariot. He was surrounded and eulogized by Kinnaras.

Māṃsāda said:

12-16. O king, with your favour, I have been liberated from the state of Preta. Hail unto you! I shall now go to heaven.

Getting up early in the morning, the delighted king performed a befitting Śrāddha for Vidaivata i.e. (with Vidaivata in view). He too appeared before the king in a similar form in dream and after saying similar words (as those by Māṃsāda) went to heaven.

Thereafter on the third day, the king performed as before, the Śrāddha for Kṛtaghna with the mind sanctified by faith. He too came before the king in his dream in the form of Preta. He was extremely miserable.

Kṛtaghna said:

17-23. O great king, I have not been blessed with liberation. I had committed many sins. I had stolen cash and spoilt the lake and been ungrateful. Hence, O excellent king, be truthful to your promise. Do something to enable me to attain salvation.

Truth alone is the great Brahman. Truth alone is the greatest penance. Truth alone is the greatest wisdom. Truth alone is the greatest learning. The wind blows in accordance with truth. The Sun blazes in accordance with truth. The ocean does not transgress the boundary in accordance with truth. Resorting to the Tīrthas, performing penance, making gifts by way of Dāna, self-study of the Vedas, service unto the preceptor-all these are futile in the case of one devoid of truthfulness. Formerly out of curiosity Devas put all the Dharmas (pious rites) on one pan in the balance and truth on the other pan and it was found that truth was weightier. Hence redeem me, O highly intelligent one, keeping truthfulness before you. This shall be conducive to the greatest welfare unto you and to your penance.

Vidūratha said:

24. O Preta, tell me quickly how your liberation can be effected so that I can do accordingly even if it be very difficult to perform.

The Preta said:

25-32. O king, in the holy shrine Hāṭakeśvara in the city of Camatkāra there is the Tīrtha Gayāśiras covered with dust particles because it is frightened of Kali. Beneath a Plakṣa tree, the place is overgrown with dark-coloured vegetables appearing like Darbha grass. There are many gingelly plants of the wild variety. There are some spaces where Darbhas too grow. Do go there quickly and perform Śrāddha with those Śākas (vegetables), gingelly seeds as well as Kuśa grasse. By this my salvation can be brought about.

On hearing the words of the wretched Preta the compassionate king went to the place where the Plakṣa tree grew. On seeing the vegetables, gingelly plants and Darbha grass as mentioned (by the Preta), the king got that place dug up for the sake of water. A small well was dug tḥus. Thereafter he brought excellent Brāhmaṇas who had mastered the Vedas and Vedāṅgas and performed the Śrāddha mentioned before with Kṛtaghna in view. No sooner was the Śrāddha performed than a being assuming a divine form spoke to Vidūratha. He was then seated in an excellent aerial chariot: “O Lord, due to your favour, I have been liberated from the terrible state of Preta. Hail unto you! I shall now go to the abode of Devas.”

Sūta said:

33-37. Ever since then, that Kūpikā (small well) has become well known. The Kūpikā dug up in Gayaśīrṣa is the sustainer of Pitṛs always. One who performs Śrāddha there on a New Moon day, in the Pitṛpakṣa (the dark half of Bhādrapada) with the dark Śākas, the wild variety of gingelly plants and well-cut Darbha grass shall be blessed with excellent faith, O leading Brāhmaṇas. He will attain the full benefit from Kṛtaghna Preta Tīrtha. The following groups of Pitṛs are always present there: Agniṣvāttas, Barhiṣads, Ājyapas and Somapas. Hence one should assiduously perform Śrāddha there for the sake of permanent satisfaction of Pitṛs whether the time be proper or otherwise.

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