The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dhritarashtra’s Pilgrimage to Hatakeshvara Kshetra which is chapter 72 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.

Chapter 72 - Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s Pilgrimage to Hāṭakeśvara Kṣetra

Note: Chapters 72-74 describe when and why Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas) installed Liṅga at Hāṭakeśvara. The story has no basis either in Mahābhārata or in Bhāgavata but the author wishes to record the visit of these celebrities to Hāṭakeśvara.

Sūta said:

1-2. A Liṅga was installed there by King Dhṛtarāṣṭra and also by Duryodhana. Viewing it, one is rid of all sins.

The sages said:

O son of Romaharṣaṇa, when was the Liṅga installed there by King Dhṛtarāṣṭra? Do tell us.

Sūta said:

3. Formerly Balabhadra had a daughter named Bhānumatī. She was richly endowed with all the excellent features. She was endowed with good qualities, beauty etc.

4. The scion of the Yadava family consulted Viṣṇu (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) and gave her to Duryodhana, the intelligent son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, as his wife.[1]

5. Then Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all the Kauravas started immediately for the city of Dvārakā from Hastināpura.

6. In view of their excellent fraternal consideration, all the five sons of Pāṇḍu and their attendants and followers joyously accompanied Duryodhana and proceeded towards Dvārakā along with their vast army.

7. Proceeding thus gradually, all the Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas reached the land of Ānarta prosperous with wealth and food-grains.

8. It is the land where the excellent meritorious place of Lord Hāṭakeśvara is situated. It is well-known in all the three worlds as destructive of all sins.

9. Then (Bhīṣma) the elderly grandfather of pure soul, the grandfather of Kurus, laughingly said to King Dhṛtarāṣṭra accompanied by his sons:

Bhīṣma said:

10. Dear son, this excellent holy place of Lord Hāṭakeśvara has already been visited by me. It is destructive of all sins.

11. Further, in this holy spot, I was liberated from the sin of the murder of a woman.[2] Hence, O great king, we shall stay here itself for five days.

12. Thus we can visit all the Tīrthas and shrines situated here. They are the meritorious holy places of sages of purified souls.

13. Then, at his instance King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the son of Aṃbikā, became interested therein. Accompanied by his sons numbering a hundred, he immediately started.

14. He soon went to where the excellent holy place is situated. It was full of splendid hermitages and groups of ascetics.

15. All the quarters reverberated with the loud chanting sounds of Vedic passages. The smoke arising from the adored sacred fire had rendered many trees therein black. Many antelopes sported about and ran here and there.

16-18. Afraid of harassment likely to be caused to the residents of the hermitages, the king stopped the entire army. He moved about in that holy spot accompanied by only the five sons of Pāṇḍu, his own hundred sons, Bhīṣma, Somadatta, Bāhlīka, heroic Droṇācārya, his son Aśvatthāman, Kṛpa, Saubala (i.e. Śakuni), Karṇa and a few princes without their attendants.

19. All the noble-souled Kṣatriyas stationed there, performed all sacred rites with minds sanctified by faith.

20. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, they duly took their holy baths in the Tīrthas of great merit where they wandered listening (to the chantings) of the Brāhmaṇas.

21. They made excellent gifts as desired. Others distributed gifts among the distressed and the wretched and also ascetics in particular.

22. Others devoutly performed Śrāddha rites with the Pitṛs in view. Still others offered libations to the Pitṛs with water mixed with gingelly seeds.

23. Other kings performed Homas. A few continously repeated holy names in Japa. Others endowed with faith and quiescence studied the Vedas of their respective Śākhā.

24. Others performed special Pūjā (worship) in the holy temples of exalted state, listening to the glory of previous kings.

25-26. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the Brāhmaṇas there were rendered happy and contented by means of offerings, oblations, excellent garments, fragrant flowers, unguents, rubbings, gifts of banners, splendid spectacular shows, decorations with flower garlands and gifts of elephants, horses, chariots, cows, garments and gold.

27. After bathing and worshipping the deities and the Brāhmaṇas, the excellent kings accompanied by Dhṛtarāṣṭra entered their respective camps.

28. Struck with wonder, they praised the Tilths, the shrines, the Brāhmaṇas and the ascetics of esteemed Vratas in that holy spot.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

It is a fact that the name of Duryodhana’s wife is Bhānumatī. But the author seems to have made a confusion of names. According to Harivaṃśa, Viṣṇuparva (Ch. 90), Bhānumatī was the daughter of Bhānu, a leader of the Yādava clan. But she was married to Sahadeva, a Pāṇḍava (P.E. p. 116). Here the author regards her as the dauther of Balabhadra, Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother, and stages that she was given in marriage to Duryodhana.

[2]:

The self-immolation in fire by Ambā on Bhīṣma’s refusal to marry her.

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