The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dialogue between Dasharatha and Shanaishcara which is chapter 96 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 96 - Dialogue between Daśaratha and Śanaiścara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This chapter and the next (97) record events in Daśaratha’s life not known to Vālmīki. In this chapter, Daśaratha confronted Śani (Saturn) as Śani’s attempt to cross the Rohiṇī Śakaṭa would have resulted in a long famine. Vālmīki tells us about Putrakāmeṣṭi performed by Ṛṣyaśṛṅga whereby he got four sons. Our Purāṇa cells that Daśaratha performed penance at Hāṭakeśvara and created a Tīrtha called Rājavāpī. Due to his penance Daśaratha got the sons.

Sūta said:

1-3. When King Ajāpāla went to Rasātala thus his son being honoured by the ministers became the king.

It was he who later regularly visited Svarga and enabled Vāsava to enjoy himself always. Śanaiścara who was about to cross the orbit of Rohiṇī was conquered by that king.

It was in his abode that Viṣṇu joyously incarnated in four forms for the purpose of killing Rāvaṇa.

4. He came to this excellent holy place and propitiated Madhusūdana. After erecting a (a palace-like temple) of splendid features, he installed Madhusūdana therein.

5. A famous tank was dug by him. It became well-known all over the world as Rājavāpī.

6. One who performs Śrāddha on the fifth lunar day particularly in the Pretapakṣa (dark half of Bhādrapada) shall become a favourite of good people.

The sages said:

7. How did the son of the Sun (Saturn) break the cart-like Figure or Rohiṇī, conquered by him? How was Nārayāṇa propitiated by him? Tell us.

Sūta said:

8. When that king, a knower of Dharma, was ruling over the earth righteously, the entire world was always very happy.

9. Cows yielded milk profusely. Vegetation (food-grains) was luxurious and of good quality. Parjanya (god of rain, cloud) showered as much as desired. Trees bore fruits befitting the seasons.

10-11. Once Daivajñas (Astrologers) told that king: “The son of Ravi (Saturn) will cross the orbit of Rohiṇī. Immediately thereafter there will be a great famine. A terrible drought will come lasting for twelve years whereby the entire earth will become devoid of men.”

12. [1]On hearing their words, the king became very angry. He got into an aerial chariot and marched against Śanaiścara.

13. Formerly, Indra who was pleased with that king had given him that chariot that could go anywhere one wished.

14-15. He left the path of the Sun and then that of the Moon. After reaching the path of the stars and stringing the great bow, the king fitted an arrow therein and attacked Śanaiścara. He stood in front of Saturn (the son of the Sun) who stood with his face stooped down, and said:

16-17. “At my bidding, O Śanaiścara, leave the orbit of Rohiṇī now. Otherwise I will despatch you to the abode of Yama with this sharp-pointed arrow with flat joints and charged with divine Mantras. I am speaking the truth.”

18. On hearing his words of extremely terrible import, Manda (Saturn) was stunned with wonder and spoke thus:

19. “O esteemed one, who are you? Why do you obstruct my path which is very difficult to approach even to all the Suras and Asuras of the world?”

The king spoke:

20. I am a king named Daśaratha, hailing from the Solar race. I am Aja’s son. I have come here in anger to restrain you adequately.

Manda (Saturn) said:

21. O king, I have no relation at all with you that necessitates your wrathful obstruction of my path.

The king said:

22-23. Daivajñas (Astrologers) have mentioned this to me that now you will break the cart-like figure of the constellation Rohiṇī. O Manda, when it is broken by you, Śatakratu (Indra) will not shower rains. Thus say the Daivajñas (expert in the science of Astrology).

24. When rainfall is stopped food crops will not grow on the earth. Due to the absence of food the whole population on the earth will be ruined.

25. When people are ruined, such rites as Agniṣṭoma etc. will never be performed on the earth. That will result in complete destruction.

26. It is for this reason, O Saturn born of the Sun, that your path has been obstructed as you were desirous of proceeding against Rohiṇī. The truth has been uttered by me.

Śani said:

27-28. O dear son, go home. You do appeal to me. O king, I am pleased with your heroism. No one else has done anything which you have done. Nor will anyone do so, be he a Deva or a human being.

29. I do not see anything at all with my eyes raised up, O king, since everything will be reduced to ashes after being burned by my eyes.

30. As an infant, soon after the birth, my father’s feet were looked at by me. Suddenly they were burnt. Thereupon, I was prevented by my mother (to look up):

31. “If the virtue of obeying your mother’s words of advice in considered valid by you, nothing at all should be looked at by you, dear son.”

32. O most excellent one among kings, a great deed like this, very difficult to be carried out, has been done by you. You have warded off from afar the fear (evil consequences) of mine from your subjects.

33. Hence, out of deference to you, I will not break the cart-like figure of Rohiṇī at any cost even for hundreds of Yugas.

34. So choose a boon from me, O king. Today the desire cherished in the heart by all embodied beings will be realized.

The king said:

35. One who offers you oil bath on Saturday will not be troubled by you till the next Saturday.

36-39. If anyone makes the gift of gingelly seeds or iron on your day (Saturday) in accordance with his capacity, he should be protected by you in the course of difficulties and great sufferings for the period of a year.

O highly esteemed one born of Arka (Sun-god), should you deem it proper to grant me a boon, you should accord full protection to a person for the period of your term of influence for seven years and half of your transit, if the person with devotion performs Śāntika (pacificatory) rites and Homa with gingelly seeds along with sacrificial twigs and raw rice grains on Saturday.

Sūta said:

40. Then Śanaiścara said: “Let it be so” and stopped, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. He granted everything in accordance with the request of the king.

41. Thus, everything has been told by me in detail about which I was asked by you, viz. the dialogue between Śanaiścara and Daśaratha, which happened when the breaking of the figure of Rohiṇī was imminent.

42. If anyone reads this everyday and listens to this in particular, the affliction brought about by Śanaiścara disappears.

Footnotes and references:


This confrontation of Daśaratha with Śani is found in the Padma Purāṇa (Uttarakāṇḍa ch. 34).

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