The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Story of King Satyasandha which is chapter 125 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 one hundred twenty-fifth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 125 - The Story of King Satyasandha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This king Satyasandha is different from the three Satyasandhas mentioned in Mahābhārata.

Sūta said:

1-2. Beyond it there is the well-known splendid Tīrtha named Karṇotpalā. A man who takes his bath duly therein, will never get separated from his desired object, wealth or servant-folk. Nor will he be devoid of valour, virtue and a splendid wife.

3. Formerly, there was a king well-known as Satyasandha. He was born of the Ikṣvāku race and was endowed with handsome features and all good qualities.

4. He had many sons but only one daughter named Karṇotpalā. She was very splendid and endowed with all good features.

5. After repeated consultations with Brāhmaṇas, servants and ministers, her father gave her the name on the twelfth day.

6-7. “My daughter resembles a lotus-like ear-ornament. Hence the splendid girl shall be named Karṇotpalā.”

She is the only daughter among many sons. She is marked with all good features. Hence, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, let her be Karṇotpalā by name.

8. After the naming ceremony, the girl grew up day by day delighting everyone like the digit of the moon (in the bright half of a month).

9. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, as a child she went from hand to hand and was fondled by all the kinsmen. She grew up and attained youth.

10-11. On noticing that she had become endowed with the prime of youth, the king considered in his mind, “To whom shall I give her? Neither on the earth, nor in Svarga, nor in Pātāla, is there a bridegroom suitable to her. What should be done by me now?”

12-13. That king thought thus in various ways on her behalf and ultimately decided thus: “In this connection, Pitāmaha (Brahmā) should be asked. In this matter that Lord is to be consulted. He will guide me. I shall give my daughter to him, not at all to anyone else."

14. After deciding thus, he took her to the world of Brahmā in order to consult him about a bridegroom for her.

15. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, by the time the king reached Brahmaloka, the Brāhmī Sandhyā (the twilight of Brahmā) had set in.

16. In the meantime, Brahmā was eager to perform the evening rites. At that time, he was engaged in meditation.

17. On observing that Pitāmaha was engaged in meditation, Satyasandha sat near him waiting for the conclusion of the meditation.

18. In the eight-petailed lotus situated in the heart, that was blooming perfectly, Prapitāmaha saw the Ātman within the (higher) Ātman.

19. It was refulgent in the centre of the pericarp. On seeing the Ātman, Brahmā experienced horripilation and tears of joy drenched his face.

20. He then washed his feet and performed the Ācamana (ritualistic sipping of water) rite. Then he looked all round, when he was bowed to by all the residents of Brahmaloka.

21. In the meantime the king together with the splendid-faced girl bowed down and spoke respectfully:

22-24. “O Lord, I am King Satyasandha well-known in the land of Ānarta. I have come to you from the human world. This is my splendid daughter named Karṇotpalā. A husband suitable to her was not found by me anywhere on the earth.

Therefore, O excellent one among Suras, I have come to you. Hence, tell me who her husband should be, so that I can give her unto him.”

25. On hearing his words, the Lotus-born One laughed, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, and spoke to him in the assembly of all the Devas:

26-33. “If you ask me concerning a righteous husband for this girl, O king, then she should not be given to anyone now. Listen to the reason.

For the purpose of virtue, fame and prosperous increase of the family, a girl should be given, O king, to one who is older than her in age and belongs to the same caste as oneself. This daughter of yours has attained very great seniority in the mortal world to all the kings. You do listen to the reason.

Since your arrival here in my presence, three yugas have passed off. Those men who were seen by you are not aware of these things (on the earth).

Devas do not take mortal women as their wives because they being the receptacles of phlegm, urine and faeces are despicable to them. Hence, O king, stay here itself along with your daughter. Whatever you had, elephants, horses etc. have perished. The sons, grandsons, servants and all your kinsmen have died. So also, all the others seen by you (earlier).”

34. “So it shall be", said the excellent king and stayed back But his extremely distressed daughter wept and said:

35-37. “O father, I will not stay here in the region of Brahmā, bereft of my girl companions and away from the groups of kinsmen. Hence I will go there where my mother is present as also my friends who delighted me and with whom I had played. I am not going to continue endlessly in time without a husband. So go quickly to that place where my mother is present.”

38. On hearing her words, the excellent king had his heart filled with affectionate compassion. Taking her with him he reached his land.

39. He saw water-ponds in the place of dry lands. Impassable land regions had risen up in (former) water ponds.

40. Those areas were inhabited by different people with different customs and rites. Although he asked many, he could not come to know of any relationship with anyone.

41. The moment they came into contact with human atmosphere (touched by winds of the mortal world) the king and the girl were overcome with old age. Their hair turned grey.

42. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, all her limbs were covered with wrinkles. Her teeth dropped down and her breasts hung loose. With deformed limbs and flattened eyes, she became utterly ugly.

43. The king also became like that and faltered at every step. He asked the people, “Who is the king here? What is this land (called)? What is the name of this city?"

44-46. Then the people said: “This is the land of Ānarta. The king here is the well-known Bṛhadbala excellently conversant with virtue. This city is called Prāptipura. This is the river Sābhramatī. The Tīrtha here is meritorious and is glorified as Gartātīrtha. It is the place where these highly esteemed quiescent sages are engaged in penance. They possess the eight qualities and they are devoted to holy bath and Japa."

47. On hearing this, the king embraced his daughter with great sorrow. He lamented loudly.

48. On seeing these two old people cry all those persons felt sorry. They came near them and asked sympathetically:

49-51. “O old man, why are you miserable? Why do you cry continuously along with this old woman? Tell us the reason thereof. Is anyone dear to you lost or dead? Have you incurred loss of wealth? Or have you been humiliated by anyone? Tell us quickly. Our king Bṛhadbala is the destroyer of the wicked and is engaged in protecting the good. He is fully conversant with virtue and righteous conduct. He will accord happiness to you.”

Satyasandha said:

52. I too was a Lord of Ānarta. I am remembered as Satyasandha. This is my daughter named Karṇotpalā who has always been my darling. She is dear to me always.

53. I had gone to Brahmaloka from here in connection with giving her in marriage. I wanted to consult Lord Pitāmaha and stayed there only for a short while.

54. Then immediately, I returned to the earth. What do I see? Everything has changed the wrong way. I do not know anything.

55. On hearing it, all the persons were surprised with eyes raised up and beaming with great delight they reported everything to Bṛhadbala.

56. On hearing everything, Bṛhadbala hurried on foot and reached the place where King Satyasandha was present.

57-58. He made obeisance with deep reverence to him and stood there with palms joined in veneration. He said: “Welcome unto you, O king, hearty welcome unto you again. Take back this kingdom of yours once again along with me as your respectful servant. Rule over it as you please, giving religious gifts of various kinds.”

59. Thereupon, the other king embraced him and smelt the crown of his head frequently. With tears drenching his face, he said with words choked with emotions:

60-61. “Dear One, I have amply held sway over the kingdom. Different kinds of gifts had been made. I have also performed many Yajñas like house-sacrifices with the full complement of monetary gifts. So I shall perform penance along with this daughter of mine, so that she can regain her earlier splendid youth.”

Bṛhadbala said:

62. O great king, this has been heard by me traditionally that King Satyasandha went away taking his daughter.

63. He had gone somewhere and never returned to his excellent city. O king, his (your) ministers waited for a long time and crowned his son well-known by the name Suhaya.

64. I am the seventy-seventh successor in your family. I have now become the king.

65. Hence in this meritorious spot in the sacred Gartā Tīrtha, O Lord, do perform the rites of your penance along with this lady.

66. May this favour be done to me, so that I can bow down at your feet thrice a day and attain the welfare doubtlessly.

Satyasandha said:

67. Formerly there, in Hāṭakeśvara Kṣetra, a Liṅga of the Lord of the bull (Vṛṣabhanātha) had been installed by me. O good son, I hope it is still there.

68. Hence I shall propitiate it day and night. So do take me there along with this daughter of mine.

69. Even as the two kings were conversing together thus, Brāhmaṇas from Gartātīrtha who had heard that the age-old splendid king had come, came out of curiosity.

70. Then the king offered them Argha and stood with palms joined in reverence. He said respectfully, “Be seated” and narrated to them the events of Svarga.

71 -72. Then all those Brāhmaṇas who were wonder-struck sat comfortably all round the great king in the order of their seniority. They asked the king for detailed news about the abode of Brahmā as to how he went there earlier and came back from there and the way the various talks were held with the Lotus-born One.

73. Then at the close of the dialogue King Satyasandha came and told Brahadbala:

74. “I have performed various kinds of sacrifices with plenty of monetary gifts. Innumerable gifts were made by me.

75. Once, dear son, I went to the excellent city of Camatkāra. The entire city was full of Brāhmaṇas.

76. Those Brāhmaṇas were always engaged in regular practice of Japa and self-study of the Vedas. They were devoted to Agnihotra rites. They regularly performed all the rites of householders and they were fortunate enough to enjoy the benefit of the two (this and other) worlds.

77-78. Thereupon, I thought in my mind, ‘That ancestor of mine is blessed. He has earned everlasting fame. Hence, I shall also create a great city like this and I shall give it over to Brāhmaṇas for increasing the reputation thereof.’

79-80. Even as I was always thinking thus, O king, the trip to Brahmaloka took place incidentally. This is the only matter and nothing else that causes regret to my mind. O king, I have fulfilled all my duties.

81. Hence, ask some of the leading Brāhmaṇas from among these noble-souled ones so that, with your permission, I shall make a good place for living and give it over to them.’

82-83. Thereafter, he requested the excellent Brāhmaṇas: “Have compassion on me and let this be accepted. Thanks to the good devotion of this king who has given an excellent city. I shall protect you all. So also all the persons born of my family.”

84. Then Bṛhadbala brought some persons with great difficulty and submitted to the king, “Let it (the township) be given to these.”

85. Then Satyasandha, the king, washed their feet and gave them excellent plot of land for the construction of the city.

86. He gave directions to Bṛhadbala: “O destroyer of the cities of enemies, this city should be made fit by you.” Then he started.

87. Along with her (his daughter) he went to the holy place Hāṭakeśvara. Approaching that Liṅga he became delighted and then performed penance for a long time.

88. Karṇotpalā went to a sacred water-pond and installed Gaurī there with great faith. Then she too performed penance.

89. In the meantime, the king of Ānarta (i.e.Bṛhadbala) was killed in battle along with his sons.

90. Then all those Brāhmaṇas hailing form Gartātīrtha approached Satyasandha and told him with deep sorrow:

91-93. “O Lord of the earth, only we have formally accepted the gifts. But nothing has been done in regard to the city and our means of sustenance.

Hence, O excellent king, do the things necessary to augment your virtue by making arrangements for our sustenance. King Bṛhadbala who was pointed out to us by you for the purpose of our sustenance, has been killed in battle.”

Satyasandha said:

94. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I am a recluse. I have renounced the world. Hence I am not competent to create means of sustenance (for you). There could have been no doubt about it if there was a man in our family.

95. Hence be pleased to go home. Since you are unlucky, king Bṛhadbala has been killed.

96. On being told thus, those Brāhmaṇas thought it true. They considered his words based on facts. Then they went to their abode and the king continued his penance for a long time.

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