The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Mriga Tirtha which is chapter 23 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 twenty-third chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 23 - Greatness of Mṛga Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1. To the west thereof is the excellent Mṛga Tīrtha which is well-known as the most meritorious on the entire earth.

2-3. Men with perfect faith who take their holy bath on the fourteenth lunar day in the bright half of Cakra, when the Sun is in the middle of the sky, are never born as lower creatures even though they are sinful and are defiled by all faults.

4. Even those who are ungrateful, atheists, thieves and transgressors of conventional restrictions and who take their holy bath in the excellent Tīrtha, attain the greatest goal, being seated in an excellent aerial chariot and eulogized by Kinnaras.

The sages said:

5. O Sūtanandana, how did the Mṛga Tīrtha originate there? What is its power? Do tell us. We are very eager to know.

Sūta said:

6-12. Formerly it was a great forest full of different kinds of animals and birds and abounding in different kinds of trees. To that forest came excessively terrible hunters armed with bows. They began to roam about here and there. Those dark-complexioned hunters appeared like the messengers of Yama. In the meantime a herd of deer was seen beneath a tree. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, they were taking rest without worry then. But when they saw the hunters from afar they fled from the place soon. The frightened deer afflicted by arrows saw a vast expanse of water nearby and entered it. By the power of the water of the lake, all the deer that entered it were transformed into human beings.

Then the hunters asked the deer (now in the form of human beings): “Just now a herd of deer had come by this way. By which way has it escaped? Tell us quickly.”

The men said:

13. We ourselves are those deer that have attained the rare status of human beings, by the power of this Tīrtha. This is the undoubted truth.

14. On hearing this, the hunters were surprised. They soon cast off their bows and arrows and took their holy bath there.

15. Merely on account of this holy bath, they were transformed into excellent kings endowed with divine limbs and having divine garlands and unguents.

The sages said:

16-17. This is extremely wonderful, O Sūta; what has been narrated by you is surprising. Merely by taking their bath, the hunters attained such wonderful bodies! So also in the case of the deer that have attained human form and features by plunging into the water! How did such a Tīrtha come into existence on the surface of the earth?

Sūta said:

18-21. Earlier it was recounted to you that water issued from the Liṅga when it was pierced. This was entirely overspread with dust particles by Vāyu at the bidding of Śakra. The water then came out through the holes in the anthill. It was only a very little quantity and that too issued forth in the course of a long time.

It was here that King Triśaṅku had his holy bath and eschewed the state of Cāṇḍāla. He regained divine form.

It was for this reason that all the deer and all the hunters became rid of their sins after taking their bath and they attained great form.

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