by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Creation of Naga Tirtha which is chapter 183 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 eighty-third chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
2-3. The rites of the Makha were begun by the Ṛtviks who were masters of the Vedas. A mischievously mirthful religious student took a water-snake, entered the assembly and hurled it near the Brāhmaṇas. All along he went on laughing. But it was a terrible act that caused panic unto all.
4-5. The Brāhmaṇas in the assembly were engrossed in their respective duties. The Hotṛ was afflicted due to the long drawn Sattra. Also the water-snake rambled here and there and ultimately coiled round the body of the Hotṛ.
6. He did not move away from his assigned post because he was afraid of the expiation, should it be the case. With his eyes fixed upon the Cayana (collection of sacrificial twigs) he did not speak a word.
7. In the meantime, a great hue and cry ensued there in the assembly of the Brāhmaṇas because they suspected that it was a poisonous snake.
8-9. There was great wailing on seeing the Hotṛ encircled by the snake. His well-disciplined modest son engaged in the duty of Maitrāvaruṇa saw the father encircled by the snake. His activities were like those afraid of a serpent. Therefore, the sage became angry and he cursed the religious student.
10. “O widcked-minded one, a snake has been hurled into the assembly by you, a sinner. Hence be yourself a serpent quickly at my instance undoubtedly.”
The religious student said:
11. It was for fun that this water-snake was playfully released by me here. I did not aim it at your father. So, O Brāhmaṇa, why do you curse me?
12. In the meantime, the water-snake slipped down from his body and went somewhere else but the religious student remained turned into a serpent.
13. The religious student, the son of Sanātana, who got transformed into a serpent became miserable. He was surrounded by other Brāhmaṇas.
14. With eyes full of tears, he went to Bhṛgu, bowed down before him and spoke these words choked with tears:
On hearing this, Bhṛgu became merciful. He spoke to Cyavana:
17-18. “O dear one, it is an improper thing that has been committed by you, for this religious student has been cursed. Even a very poisonous serpent cannot harm me. How then can this water-snake, as free from poison as a rope, harm me? Further, this snake has not been hurled by this Brāhmaṇa aiming at me. Hence, quickly redeem this Brāhmaṇa from the curse.”
19. If the ocean transgresses its boundary, if the Sun becomes cool and if the Lord of the night (Moon) becomes hot, then my words shall be false.
20. On hearing his words, Pitāmaha himself came there where his grandson was present in the form of a serpent.
21. “O my boy”, He said, “Do not feel aggrieved at all that you have been transformed into a serpent. In this connection, listen to my words:
22. Formerly, I was desirous of creating the ninth family of Nāgas. That shall be introduced on a limited scale on the earth through you.
23. It will not afflict persons who are masters of Mantras and herbal medicines. It will receive excellent worship all over the earth.
24. Here in the holy place named Hāṭakeśvara there is a pond with excellent water. My child, you must take up your residence there always.
25. While you stay there and proceed ahead with your penance, Serpent Karkoṭaka will give his excellent daughter to you. Therefrom, the creation (of your family) will take place.
26-27. The creation of the new ninth family on a limited scale shall begin on the earth. On the fifth lunar day in the dark half(?) of the month of Śrāvaṇa, this ninth family shall receive the highest worship of the earth. From this day onwards the water pond shall be remembered as Nāga Tīrtha.
28-31. It will be reputed all over the earth. It will be destructive of all sins. If devotees take their holy bath on the fifth lunar day here, they will have no fear from serpents till the end of the year. A man who is afflicted with the poison and who takes his holy bath here, shall be rid of the poison instantly and attain great happiness. A woman who is desirous of a son should take the holy bath on the fifth lunar day at sunrise with great devotion holding any fruit in the hands. Even if she is a barren woman, she will become one having excellent sons.”
32. Even as Brahmā, born of the Unmanifest One, was speaking thus, other serpents that had been invited for the Yajña came there.
34-35. They bowed down to Lord Pitāmaha and spoke thus loudly: “O Prapitāmaha, we have come here at your behest.
O Prapitāmaha, we have come here to be of some assistance. We are well settled in the realm of Nāgas. We may be commanded. We shall carry out your behest quickly.”
36. O great serpents, this shall be your assistance to us. Go along with this king of serpents.
37. Thereafter, all of you should stay there in the Nāgatīrtha well-settled.
38. If anyone with evil intention comes here to create obstacles in the Yajña, he should be quickly set aside.
40. Then, on the fifth lunar day in the dark half of the month of Bhādrapada, you will all be duly worshipped.
42. Ever since then that Tīrtha is remembered as Nāga Tīrtha. It fulfils all desires of devout men who take their holy bath.
43. If anyone devoutly performs his holy ablution there even once, there shall be no danger from serpents to his family.
44. After worshipping the leading Nāgas beginning with (the son of) Sanātana, a person should offer sweet food to Brāhmaṇas along with good people.
45. For seven subsequent births, he will never meet with misery arising from Bhūtas, Pretas and Piśācas and Śākinīs in particular. He will never have sickness, anguish, defects, blemish or fear from enemies.
46. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he who listens to this being read will never be afflicted by serpents for the period of one year therefrom.
47. If this greatness of Nāga Tīrtha is duly read before one who is bitten by a serpent, he will survive even if he is bitten by Kāla (god of Death).
48. No serpent stays in the place where the book in which this greatness of Nāga Tīrtha is written down is kept.
Footnotes and references:
According to Pūrṇimānta calendar.