by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words
This page describes Pilgrimage of Dhritarashtra and Others which is chapter 73 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.
1-3. All those brilliant sons of Pāṇḍu and Kauravas went from that holy place to the place where the city of Dvārakā was situated. After going there with delighted minds, they performed the marriage rite of king Duryodhana with Bhānumatī. On the occasion festivities were marked with the loud sound of different musical instruments combined with the sound of the Vedic chant, charming songs and recitations by thousands of bards.
4. The celebrations continued for eight days, which the Yadavas and Kauravas enjoyed together.
7. “O lotus-eyed one, we do not wish at all to leave the resort of yours as well as Rāma’s. We are so much bound by the bonds of affection.
Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa) said:
9. A year has not elapsed since you came to stay here, nor a month nor even a fortnight. Then why this eagerness to go?
10-11. Therefore, O Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas, you and we shall stay here together engaged in various pastimes of hunting and playing at dice, training and practising the use of missiles, taming and controlling elephants and other desirable activities. This is my suggestion if you entertain any love for me.
12. Proper indeed, O Viṣṇu, are the words uttered by you. But please listen to my words indicating why we are eager (to go).
13-15. While we were coining to you here, the wonderful holy spot of Hāṭakeśvara was visited by us in the land of Ānarta. There the Liṅgas were seen installed by the noble-souled kings born in the Solar and the Lunar dynasties as well as others. So also the Liṅgas installed by Devas, Dānavas and more particularly by sages. They are refulgent and shapely enshrined in different kinds of suitable palatial temples.
16. Hence, O Mādhava, we have felt inclined to install Liṅgas there on behalf of the chiefs of Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas.
17. We shall therefore go there and install separately several Liṅgas in accordance with our desire and capacity.
18. It is for this reason, O Acyuta, that we are in a hurry to move. In fact even after staying with you for hundreds of years, we cannot be fully satisfied.
19. Therefore O Lord, make up your mind and allow us to proceed. We shall come again as we too shall be eager to see you.
Śrī Bhagavān said:
20. I know that highly meritorious holy spot that destroys sins. It is being glorified everyday by ascetics and other pilgrims in my presence.
21. Hence we shall also accompany you there for the purpose of installing the Liṅgas and fulfilling the desire of visiting the holy spot.
22. On hearing it all the Kauravas, the sons of Pāṇḍu and all other kings who were present there became highly delighted.
23. All the Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas started together making the earth quake with the heavy pressure of the elephants and horses.
25. There they invited all the Brāhmaṇas. After offering them presents of ornaments and garments of diverse kinds, they spoke to them politely:
26. “All of us wish to perform the rite of installing Liṅgas. In addition we wish to erect grand palaces according to our capacity.
27. Take a sympathetic and favourable view, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, and give the necessary instructions quickly so that the work can start.
29. For, in this connection an ancient legend has been heard by us narrated by Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa) in regard to the Pretaśrāddha of a saintly king.
30-31. The Śrāddha of his departed father was carefully performed by him in front of other Brāhmaṇas as well as the Brāhmaṇas duly specified. O Brāhmaṇas, on the Nāga Pañcamī day, this was performed in the Tīrtha in accordance with the injunctions in the month of Śrāvaṇa. Yet his father was not liberated.
32. The father was not liberated from the state of Preta due to Sarpadoṣa (the defect of serpent-bite), O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
When the Śrāddha was performed respectfully in the presence of Deva Śarman, O Brāhmaṇas, the father was liberated from the awful state of Preta.
33. Whatever may be the religious rite performed here, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, if that were to be performed with external (priestly) help, it cannot but be futile. This we know very clearly.
34. We are feeling miserable. Hence we make this special request Please do us this favour and kindly order (the concerned persons) without delay.”
35. On hearing their words, those Brāhmaṇas had mutual consultations to decide what would be the best procedure in the matter.
36-37. Some said, “We will not grant ṇ plot of land for the construction of a palace (temple) to even one person among these. Let them go away at once. This holy spot is extended to an area of only five Krośas. Further it is full of the palaces of the earlier deities.”
38-39. Others said, “You are arrogant on account of your affluence and happy life. You do not know the distress due to poverty. That is why you say so much. So we shall surely grant these the required plot of land so that we will get some cash and the place shall also be beautified (with temple).”
4042. Others of impartial view said: “When Janārdana himself requests for a plot of land, how can it be denied? So, now that the Kauravas, Pāṇḍavas and Yadavas have assembled together, let them and others as well erect palaces in accordance with their importance. When Gāṅgeya himself requests, so also Dhṛtarāṣṭra in the company of his sons and the very powerful Pāṇḍavas make this request for the installation of Liṅgas, refusal is not proper.”
43. On hearing their words the proposition was accepted by the excellent Brāhmaṇas irrespective of the fact whether they were rich or poor, greedy or disinterested.
44. Then they came back. All the Brāhmaṇas told the excellent Kauravas, Yadavas and Pāṇḍavas about their decision after consulting one another.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
45. Indeed this holy spot is very small in area. It is already filled with the temples of all sorts of kings all round. What shall we say now?
46. So, you may build fascinating palaces in accordance with your importance, wish, seniority and excellence in this holy spot.
47. Then Dhṛtarāṣṭra and others became delighted. They arranged for the erection of a senes of palaces according to seniority and excellence.