The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Origin of Yakshma Tirtha which is chapter 190 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 ninetieth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 190 - Origin of Yakṣma Tīrtha

Sūta said:

1-3. Thus, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, that Kratu lasted for five days in the holy place of Hāṭakeśvara with everything desirable achieved in plenty.

The Brāhmaṇas, mendicants, distressed ones, blind ones and the Ṛtviks were fully propitiated with Dakṣiṇā. At the conclusion of the Yajña (Brahmā) summoned the excellent Nāgara Brāhmaṇas well-versed in all the four Vedas and experts in both Śrutis and Smṛtis.

4-8. With palms joined in reverence, he spoke to them respectfully: “O excellent Brāhmaṇas, afraid of the Kali Age, a second Puṣkara has been established by me with the favour of Lord Hāṭakeśvara on the earth so that it will not be destroyed by the attack of Mlecchas.

At the advent of the Kali Age, Prayāga and all other Tīrthas and shrines are undoubtedly defiled by Mlecchas. That was why this Yajña has been performed by me.

Hence tell me, what gift shall I offer to you by way of cost of your plots of land. O Brāhmaṇas, thereby I can obtain the benefit of the Yajña.”

The Brāhmaṇas said:

9. If you are ready to offer to us the Dakṣiṇā due for the Yajña, then make our holy spot sacred by residing here yourself.

10. O Pitāmaha, O most excellent one among Suras, tell us the greatness of the excellent Tīrtha named Puṣkara established by you here so that we can perform the rites of ablution etc.

Brahmā said:

11-12. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, has not it been heard by you in the Purāṇas that this Tīrtha perpetually set up in the firmament is created by me?

Naimiṣa is specifically set up on the earth, Puṣkara in the firmament and Kurukṣetra in all the three worlds.

13. Undoubtedly, urged by my words, all these three will come down to the earth for five days.

14. This period beginning from the eleventh lunar day in the bright half of the month of Kārttika till the fifteenth day (Full-moon day) is destructive of all sins.

15. If anyone performs the ablution or Śrāddha rite with due faith during those five days that shall have everlasting benefit.

16. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I shall come from Brahmaloka and resort to this Tīrtha during these five days.

The Brāhmaṇas said:

17. O Prapitāmaha, we shall install your image in this holy spot. O Lord, pass into it and stay permanently.

18. Let the Tīrtha come here from the sky forever for the purpose of destroying the sins of the people. It behoves you to do so.

19. This is the Dakṣiṇā, O Lord, due for the Yajña.

20. O excellent one among Suras, if it is done so your Kratu shall be fruitful and your promise for making the gift shall become truthfully fulfilled.

Śrī Brahmā said:

21. On being invoked through the Mantras, O excellent Brāhṃaṇas, the sacred Puṣkara shall arrive at the holy spot of Hāṭakeśvara.

22-23. A devotee should repeat the Aghamarṣaṇa Mantra standing in water before my image. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he should then repeat the four Savana Mantras beginning with Paila Mantra. Arriving here from Brahmaloka, I shall listen to it.

Sūta said:

24. Then all those Nāgaras gave the Anujñā (formal permission to conclude) after handing over the flowers so that the benefit of the Yajña could be obtained.

25. In the meantime Pulastya, the excellent Adhvaryu, came to the place where Brahmā was present surrounded by the Nāgaras.

26. He said: “Your Yajña has been concluded with the full complement of the Dakṣiṇās but without the Prāyaścitta (expiatory) rites unlike that of any other devotee.

27. Hereafter, O Pitāmaha, a couple of rites still remain, namely Vāruṇeṣṭi and Japa. I shall perform it now.

28. Further, the valedictory bath should be performed together with you. So get up, we shall go to the place where there is the arrangement for water.

29. Thereby, we shall perform the Vāruṇī Iṣṭi through qualified Brāhmaṇas. They are four in number including me beginning with Brahmā. The Āgnīdhra and Hotṛ are the others.

30. As in the fire so in the water the auspicious rite is to be performed with Mantras. The Homa is performed in accordance with the injunctions along with the Yajña utensils.

31. For pleasing Varuṇa and to suppress all disasters, the holy bath should be taken by you accompanied by the Ṛtviks.

32. Any other man who takes his bath at that time along with you shall become free from sins.

33. All the Tīrthas existing in all the three worlds consisting of the mobile and immobile beings come near it at the time of Vāruṇī Iṣṭi.

34. Hence, all the followers should assiduously take bath in the water along with the Dīkṣita (one initiated) in the festivity connected with Avabhṛtha, whether these participants are Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas or Vaiśyas.

35. Hence, send now these Brāhmaṇas too. They too will take their bath there along with you.”

Sūta said:

36. On hearing it, Brahmā started towards the splendid shore of the Jyeṣṭhakuṇḍa. He was pleased and contented. He was accompanied by Gāyatrī.

37. Then, on bearing his words, all the Suras and Brāhmaṇas and Pulastya started with the intention of taking the ablution to get the auspicious benefit along with Brahmā. They were accompanied by their sons and wives. They were joyous.

38. (Due to the limitedness of space of the Tīrtha) a great confusion was caused at Jyeṣṭha Puṣkara by people who had come there for bath with their hands raised up.

39. Neither Brahmā nor the Vāruṇa rite could be perceived there as the entire ground was covered by the Brāhmaṇas performing the rite.

40. Then at the end of the rite, Brahmā said to Śatakratu who was modestly standing nearby What he said was for the sake of the welfare of all the world:

41. “The people have come for bathing from far away and as there is great rush of people at the waterfront, they will not be able to see me taking a plunge into the meritorious waters.

42. Hence climb on to your elephant, O Slayer of Vṛtra, Place the skin (hide) of Eṇa or Kṛṣṇasāra at the tip of a bamboo.

43. At the time of the bath, you must cast it down into the water so that all the people may know the exact time for bathing.

44. Everyone who has come, whether he is old or a mere child, if he stands far away, can take bath and obtain the benefit cited as the result of the bath even by seeing it.”

Sūta said:

45. Hari (Indra) said, “So it shall be done”, and hastened thereto,

46. Then he stood in the middle of the water riding on the elephant and holding in his hand the bamboo staff at the tip of which there was the antelope skin.

47. At the conclusion of this rite, when Pitāmaha was about to take his bath, Śatakratu himself cast that skin into the water.

48. In the meantime, all the Devas, Gandharvas, Guhyakas and human beings took their bath with great concentration.

49. In the meantime, Brahmā respectfully (eagerly) spoke to Śakra who had taken his bath along with the Suras and who stood near him modestly:

Brahmā said:

50. O Thousand-eyed One, you have painfully exerted yourself much in my Makha. Gāyatrī, the slender-waisted wife, was brought (by you).

51. Hence, choose your boon. I shall grant you everything even if it be very rare to be obtained. Welfare unto you.

Indra said:

52. O Lord, if you are pleased with me, if a boon has to be granted to me, O Lord, let what I request for, be so.

53. Every year when this auspicious day arrives, the king should hold a bamboo staff with antelope-skin piece. He will be free from sins.

54. O Pitāmaha, he shall ride on an excellent elephant like me. He should then throw the antelope-skin piece. He will be free from sins.

55. He will be devoid of all vices and be invincible to enemies. The people who take their bath along with this piece of antelope-skin, shall be sinless.

56. The other people too, even if they are sinful, shall get the sins incurred in the course of a year destroyed.

Brahmā said:

57. O Thousand-eyed One, everything mentioned by you shall undoubtedly take effect. All these are as good as mentioned by me.

58-59. A king born in this land of Ānarta should ride on an elephant with great faith. He should throw the antelope-skin piece into this Kuṇḍa of mine after worshiping (my image) situated on the bank, for the welfare of all the worlds, on the first lunar day.

60. The Kutapa period (eighth Muhūrta) should have been over then and the second lunar day should have come after the Kārttikī is over.

61. Men who take their bath at that time here itself shall be rid of the sins of a year. Undoubtedly they will be freed from ailments and mental anguish.

Sūta said:

62. In the meantime, a terribly fell disease named Yakṣman (Tuberculosis) spread there. Even the Devas and Dhanvantari too could not cure it.

63. He was clad in blue clothes. He was lean and wretched in appearance. He had the support of a staff. With Śleṣman (phlegm) he coughed. He put forward his foot-step with very great difficulty.

64. After bowing he spoke these words:

Yakṣman said:

65. O Pitāmaha, I heard about your Yajña from very far. With very great difficulty, I have come here with my throat parched through hunger.

66. I was created by Dakṣa formerly, when he became angry with Candra who resorted only to Rohiṇī (one of his daughters) to the exclusion of other daughters (of Dakṣa).

67. Then Candra propitiated Maheśvara at whose bidding one fortnight was assigned to me to swallow and taste him (Candra).

68-70. I do not have anything in the other fortnight whereby I can become satisfied. In every Yajña, the householder shall propitiate the excellent Brāhmaṇa. The Brāhmaṇa should utter “I am propitiated” and the householder should hear it doubtlessly. O Lord, that should be on the Full-moon day when the entire Yajña is concluded. If the Brāhmaṇa does not say “I have been propitiated” at the conclusion of the Yajña, the Yajña will be futile for him, even if a crore times more is given with great faith.

71. This, O Lord, you must have heard recited in the Śruti. Hence, when the Yajña is properly finished the Brāhmaṇas should be propitiated.

72. O Suraśreṣṭha (foremost among Suras), my satisfaction will result only through cooked food with your favour. Kindly employ some means whereby it shall take effect.

Sūta said:

73. On hearing all his entirely wholesome words holding Śruti as authority, the Lotus-born Lord spoke these words:

74-76. “From now onwards all the Brāhmaṇas on the earth who maintain sacrificial fires, should offer a Bali (of rice) at the end of Vaiśvadeva.

They must make offering to you after giving to the other Devas. Thereby you will become satisfied in the second fortnight. It is the truth that has been mentioned by me.

If the Brāhmaṇas offer Bali at the conclusion of Vaiśvadeva, you must not cling to anyone in his family.”

Yakṣman said:

77. O Lord, I shall always stay in your Tīrtha performing penance if only you command (permit) me.

Brahmā said:

78. If it has to be so, you request these Brāhmaṇas, in the manner I had requested them for the sake of the Yajña. You can get a plot of land you may like. Thereon you do build your hermitage.

Sūta said:

79. On hearing it, he requested the residents of Camatkārapura. After receiving a plot of land from them he built his own hermitage.

80. He who takes his bath on the first lunar day coinciding with a Sunday, shall be rid of tuberculosis if he is assailed by it.

81-82. Even today there is a proof of this in the case of those who preserve the sacred fires and the Nāgaras in particular. Even in the Kali Age, Yakṣman does not assail them or cattle staying in their house. There is no other remedy for it—neither medicine nor Mantras nor physicians.

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