The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Valakhilyashrama (Valakhilya-ashrama) which is chapter 79 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 79 - Greatness of Vālakhilyāśrama (Vālakhilya-āśrama)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-3. To the south itself thereof is the well-known Liṅga installed by Vālakhilyas. It is destructive of all sins. It is by propitiating that liṅga that those who were extremely furious with Śakra created Garuḍa, the bird who became the well-known vehicle of Viṣṇu here.[1]

The sages said:

O Sūtaja, how did Vālakhilyas become angry with Śakra and how was Garuḍa born?

Sūta said:

4. Formerly Dakṣa, the Prajāpati (Patriarch), duly performed in that splendid holy spot a Yajña with profuse distribution of monetary gifts.

5. Therein Śakra and other Devas, sages and pure saintly kings, were invited for assistance by Dakṣa.

6. So also were invited Brāhmaṇas fully conversant with the Vedas and clever in the rites of Yajña, those who were in the stage of householders and those who were permanent residents of forests.

7. Then Vālakhilyas, the sages of esteemed holy vows, started towards the sacrificial hall for assisting Prajāpati. They were carrying a single sacrificial twig all by themselves but still they were distressed due to its burden.

8. Due to the advent of untimely rains, a pit created by cow’s foot that was on their path, got filled with water.

9-10. As they were eager to cross it and were straining themselves under the weight of the sacrificial twig; the king of Devas who was also travelling by the same path towards the sacrificial place of Dakṣa, the Prajāpati, happened to see them. He looked at them out of curiosity for a long time and then smiled. In the height of his arrogance on account of his affluence, he went ahead crossing over them.

11. In view of this disrespect shown by Śakra, they became very angry. They turned back to their hermitage and took counsel with one another with a final decision:

12-14. “On getting the position of Śakra, this sinful one has crossed over all of us! He should be pulled down from his excellent post. Another Śakra should be created by the power of Mantras, the great Sūktas from the Atharva Veda, after applying them for Abhicāra rites (Black Magic).

This Śakra, haughty and intoxicated with power, endowed with greatness due to the sacrifices (performed by him for getting Indra-hood) should be overthrown. His intellect and exploits are meagre.”

15-16. Thereafter, they remained pure mentally and physically and performed Homa in the holy fìre day and night. With great earnestness, those excellent Brāhmaṇas recited Skandasūkta as mentioned in the Kṣurikā section, Garbhopaniṣad, Nīlarudra passages, charming Rudraśīrṣa etc., along with Viṣṇu Sūkta.

17. They placed a pot filled with water in the centre of the Maṇḍala. At the conclusion of the Homa they touched (all Homa articles with) that sacred water.

18. In the meantime Śakra saw frightening, evil-foreboding omens arising all round pointing at his own destruction.

19. His left arm and left eye throbbed. He could not see the tip of his nose or tongue or the chin.

20. He saw his own shadow bereft of the head and two Suns in the sky. He was unable to see Arundhatī star and Dhruva (Pole Star) or portions of the firmament.

21. Hari (Indra) could not see the planet Saturn and the heavenly river stationed in the sky. While sleeping he used to dream of a woman of dark complexion, armed with weapons.

22-24. She was hideous and frightening and naked, she has dishevelled hairs and black teeth.

On observing these omens of great magnitude, the King of Devas asked Bṛhaspati in great fear: “Omy preceptor, what is this? Terrible ill omens and scenes foreboding evil occur severally. O wise one, will destruction overtake just now? Do tell me. Will my kingdom of the three worlds be affected? Will my fortune etc., suffer?”

Bṛhaspati said:

25. You have been arrogant. The great sages, Vālakhilyas, who had been held up on the way in their intention to cross the Goṣpada (Puddle of water caused by cow's foot) were transgressed by you.

26. O Consort of Śacī, they have performed a perfect Homa by means of the Mantras of Atharva Veda against you. The water-pot has also been charged with the Mantras.

27. There is no doubt about it that another Hari (Indra), the Lord of all the Devas, will spring up as a result of these Ātharvaṇa Mantras in order to bring about your destruction.

28. On hearing his words, the Thousand-eyed One became afraid. He went then to Dakṣa with a sad face and said to him:

29-30. “O Prajāpati, the Vālakhilya sages have endeavoured to destroy us and create another Śakra. Do go there yourself and prevent them before another Śakra is born for destroying us. There is nothing that they cannot do.”

31. Accompanied by the Devas beginning with Śakra, Dakṣa hurried to that place and spoke to them laughingly yet with humility:

32. “O Brāhmaṇas, why is this most terrible act being done by you whereby the entire range of the three worlds has become upset.”

33. On seeing Dakṣa coming to their place of residence, they hurriedly proceeded towards him with Arghya in their hands.

34-35. After duly offering the Arghya and adoring him devoutly they bowed to him and said: “O Prajāpati, welcome to you. May we be commanded at once. Why have you come here? Even by offering our lives we shall do what is pleasing to you.”

Dakṣa said:

36. This highly terrifying rite that has instilled fear into Devas should be discontinued by you all unexcitedly. I have come here for this purpose.

The sages said:

37. We were coming devotedly to attend your Yajña. But, in his height of arrogance, Śakra repeatedly indulged in laughing at us and transgressed us.

38. In order to exterminate this Śakra, we, the agitated angry ones, began to create another Śakra by means of the Mantras of great power. The Homa too has been concluded.

39. Hence, tell us, O Lord. How can the power of the Mantra be rendered ineffective after it has been created by the Vedas?

40. O Lord, if you yourself are competent to alter it, do it. We are powerless in this respect.

Dakṣa said:

41. O highly esteemed ones, what has been said by you all is true. The power generated by the Vedic Mantras cannot be rendered otherwise.

42. Homa has been performed by you all by means of the Vedic Mantras. For the purpose of (creating) a king of Devas, the water-pot has been charged with Mantras by you all in a cool and calculated manner.

43. At my instance, he shall become the king of birds. He will be endowed with refulgence and vigour. He will be superior even to Śakra.

44. Again at my instance, what has been perpetrated by this king of Devas should be forgiven. He has done this foolishly.

45. After saying thus, Dakṣa pointed to the fear-stricken Thousand-eyed One standing humbly.

46-47. On seeing the Thousand-eyed One standing with palms joined in reverence and trembling much, they said: “O Śakra, do not transgress Brāhmaṇas hereafter.

Do not do so again if you wish for the overlordship of the heaven-dwellers. Even a stupid, foolish Brāhmaṇa who does not regularly perform his sacred rites should not be insulted by sensible persons desirous of attaining the pleasures of the two worlds.”

Indra said:

48. This misdemeanour of mine knowingly or unknowingly committed by me should be forgiven by all the Brāhmaṇas especially at the instance of Dakṣa.

49. May a boon cherished in the heart always, be received from me. I shall undoubtedly grant it. There is nothing which I cannot give.

The sages said:

50-52. If any man endowed with faith worships this Liṅga and performs Homa in this Kuṇḍa let him get what he desires.

Indra said:

He who adores this Liṅga and performs Homa in the Kuṇḍa shall immediately attain the desired benefit.

One without desire who worships this auspicious Liṅga will attain the greatest Siddhi inaccessible even to Devas.

Sūta said:

53-54. After saying thus to the Vālakhilya Sages, the Thousand-eyed One (Indra) mounted his Airāvata and took (them?) to the Yajña of Dakṣa.

O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Dakṣa too duly performed the Yajña while the delighted Vālakhilyas sat near.

Footnotes and references:


Vide Mbh, Ādi, 50-40.

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