The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Description of Indra-Festival which is chapter 207 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 two hundred seventh chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 207 - Description of Indra-Festival

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Viśvāmitra said:

1-2. Everything has been narrated to you, O king, regarding the sin-destroying greatness of Bālamaṇḍana, about which I was asked by you.

Here, O excellent king, if a single holy bath is taken on the thirteenth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Māgha, the merit of taking the holy bath in all the Tīrthas is acquired.

Ānarta said:

3. How is it that Śakra’s stay on the earth is limited to five nights? As in the case of other Heaven-dwellers, it is not more than that, why?

4. What are those days at the close of the year when Śakra comes over to the earth. What is that month? Tell me all these things.

Viśvāmitra said:

5. May it be listened to, O king. I shall tell you the legend explaining why Śakra does not stay on the earth beyond the five nights.

6. Formerly in the Bṛhatkalpa there was Jayatsena, a Sureśvara (Lord of Suras). He destroyed the arrogance of Dānavas. He was the Lord of all the three worlds.

7-8. He was always honoured and adored in all the three worlds.

The beloved wife of Sage Gautama, named Ahalyā was unparalleled in beauty in the whole of the earth. Once, on seeing her, Śakra came under the influence of Kāma. He loved her intensely.

9. Everyday, O king, when Gautama went out along with noble-souled sages for bringing sacrificial twigs, Darbha grass or fruits, roots etc. he used to come down from the heavenly world and enjoy the love play.

10. Nārada, the excellent sage, narrated to him (Gautama) the story of what was going on between Śakra and Ahalyā.

11. On hearing it Gautama returned to his abode quickly and saw the Lord of Devas united with his wife.

12. On seeing Gautama, Śakra wanted to flee. In his extreme fright, he went out of the hermitage in the nude state.

13. On seeing her husband coming, Ahalyā too became extremely frightened, O king; with all her sense-organs agitated and upset. She stood by with face bent down.

14. Having clearly observed the misdeed of his wife, O great king, Gautama’s eyes became reddened with anger and he cursed:

15-17. “Since you demeaned yourself to commit this despicable act of defiling my chaste wife, you shall become one without scrotum.

Ere long there shall be a thousand vaginas cropping up on your face. Thereby you shall be the ugliest in the whole of the three worlds consisting of the mobile and immobile beings.

Another thing, O Vāsava, if for doing worship you come to the mortal world, your head shall burst into a hundred pieces.”

18. After cursing Śakra thus, the sage repeatedly rebuked Ahalyā with his eyes turned red due to anger and spoke to her:

19. “O sinful wretch, this despicable act was perpetrated by you. Hence, stay on the ground in the form of a stone.”

20. At that very instant his wife was transformed into a stone and Indra became bereft of his testicles.

21. The marks of a thousand vaginas became manifest on his face.

22. Thereat, he became too ashamed to go back to his city. He went into a cave on mountain Meru and remained there isolated.

23. Deprived of the presence and supervision of Indra, all the groups of Devas became distressed. They were not aware that he was in a cave and they engaged themselves in searching for him in hills and valleys.

24. As the Svarga became monarchless, the Devas were harassed by the hideous Dānavas.

25. In the meantime Jīva (Bṛhaspati) was asked by the grief-stricken and terrified Śakrāṇī: “Where has Purandara gone?”

26. Then Jīva meditated for a long time and saw him with his eye of knowledge. He went there along with Devas and spoke to him harshly:

27. “Why have you thus given up enjoyment of the kingdom and resorted to an isolated place? Have you adopted a life of meditation or resorted to severe penance?”

28. On hearing the words of Bṛhaspati, Purandara, with vagina-covered countenance, spoke shamefully:

He was distressed and drenched with tears.

29-31. “I will not rule over the three worlds at all. See the plight in which I have been placed by Sage Gautama.

How am I to face the Devas, Lord Śiva and Paulomī (Śacī) with this countenance marked with so many (a thousand) vaginas?

Due to the curse of Sage Gautama for a certain reason, O Bṛhaspati, all my worship in the mortal world has come to an end.”

32. On hearing the words of the Lord of Devas, the lofty-minded Bṛhaspati was greatly distressed. Accompanied by all the Devas he approached Gautama and spoke to him himself:

33-34. “O Brāhmaṇa, forsaken by Indra, the entire range of the three worlds is being harassed by Dānavas. Yajñas, festivals and holy rites have come to an end.

Overwhelmed with shame, he (Indra) does not desire the kingdom. It behoves you to bless him duly. At my instance, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, withdraw his curse.”

35. On hearing it Gautama said: “My statement cannot be false. I will not nullify what I have pronounced myself.”

36. Then all of them, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara and all the groups of Devas stood by politely and spoke these words:

37. “O leading Brāhmaṇa, it is not fair on your part to falsify Brahma’s words; so change the curse of Hari (Indra) into one of blessing.”

38. On seeing the mental firmness of the sage, the Suras with Viṣṇu as their leader, approached Brahmā and told him everything.

39-40. They told him how Śakra was cursed by the great sage and how despicable the mortification and chagrin of the Lord of Devas had become. They told him further how all the three worlds were being harassed by Dānavas.

41-46. They explained to him how the bashful Consort of Śacī was reluctant to rule due to a sense of shame.

On hearing their words, the Lotus-born Lord, in the company of Hari and Śaṃbhu went to that place where the grief-stricken Slayer of Pāka was present.

Pitāmaha summoned Gautama too there and spoke to him directly in the presence of the Devas and Vāsava:

“O excellent sage, an improper act has been committed by the Lord of Devas in as much as he defiled your wife with his mind overwhelmed by lust.

It is not your fault that Purandara was cursed for this offence. But the forbearance of sages is always esteemed as very great. So be pleased and behave in such a way that Śatakratu resumes his rule of the three worlds.

Give him back his testicles; wipe off all these vaginas. See that his movement in the mortal world is also resumed.”

47. On hearing their words, the sage felt the necessity of honouring the prestige of Devas. He fitted testicles of a ram into Indra.

48. The excellent sage stroked those vaginas with his hand and transformed them into eyes. Thereafter, Gautama the sage of great power of penance, spoke to the Devas:

49-50. “O excellent Suras, Śakra has been transformed into one with a thousand eyes. Fitted with the testicles of a ram, he will rule over his kingdom. The splendour on his countenance arising from the eyes will be very pleasing.

He will possess manliness through the testicles of ram. But he will not have free access to the human world for the sake of worship.”

51. In the meantime, the thousand-eyed Purandara attained very great splendour and refulgence, thanks to the power of that Sage.

52. Then in the open congregation of all the Devas, Śakra grasped the feet of the noble-souled Gautama and spoke these words:

53-54. “O excellent Brāhmaṇa, worship in the human world is rare and very difficult to get. Do manage it in such a manner as I can get that with your favour.

O Brāhmaṇa, let not my designation ‘The Lord of the three worlds’ be annulled. Be gracious and do something so that the designation remains intact.”

55. On hearing these words, the excellent sage was overwhelmed with pity. He felt somewhat bashful too. In the presence of all the Devas he spoke to Pākaśāsana (Indra) directly:

56-59. “In the mortal world, you will be worshipped on five nights. You will derive unparalleled satisfaction thereby as though the duration was a full year.

People will be free from all ailments for a full year in that village, city or country, where the great festival (of Indra) is celebrated for five nights.

Neither mental worries nor physical ailments will torment them. There will be no famine at all. The king will never meet with destruction or loss. Nowhere shall there be misery.

O Purandara, the cows will yield plenty of milk. There shall be prosperity and all the people will be rid of all types of harassment, O Purandara, in that place where your festival is celebrated.”

Indra said:

60-62. If it is so, let the grand festival take place in autu[??? autumn?] That season is charming unto all living beings with fresh foliage and growth of plants. It shall be resplendent with Saptacchada and Bandhūka in full bloom. The sweet scent of Mālatī flower will be wafted all round. Moonlight will be illuminating the entire area echoing with the humming of bees. Blue lotuses and water lilies will be in plenty. Manage everything so that even children and old men feel delighted.

Gautama said:

63. To-day the great festival is offered to you. The constellation is Śravaṇa. It is a meritorious constellation presided over by Viṣṇu. It is free from all sins.

64. O Purandara, you ravished my wife on the day when the constellation was Revatī with Pūṣan as its presiding deity. Certainly your downfall will become manifest in that.

65. The idea is, let my reputation proclaim your misdeed. Let it be known all over the world. Let no one commit sins.

66. The five constellations beginning with Śravaṇa will severally become, for the sake of your worship, like five Kratus (sacrifices). There is no doubt in this that they will become pervaded by (influenced by) all the Tīrthas.

67. If anyone worships you with some desire in mind and offers fruits and flowers specifically, he shall obtain the entire benefit.

68. But nowhere shall your image (idol) be worthy of being adored. My wife, dearly loved and honoured like my very vital breath, a Brāhmaṇa lady, has been ravished and defiled by you.

69. Hence Brāhmaṇas well-versed in the Vedas will fix, with force, a stick cut off from a tree while chanting all of your Mantras.

70. They will worship you in accordance with the injunctions in the Pañcarātra (Texts) as in the case of other Heaven-dwellers. Thus human worship should be accepted by you after making it pass over to you. O Thousand-eyed One, you will be satisfied thereby.

71. As and when, a person causes the rise of your sleeping stick [the ritualistic dismissal intended] he will have more and more benefit and perfection, O Vāsava.

72-73. A person adopting the vow of celibacy should perform the Pañcarātravrata and perform the adoration with fruits and flowers as mentioned before. He shall be entirely rid of the sin resulting from the attachment for another man’s wife.

74-75. The Arghya should be performed with the following Mantra: “Obeisance to Śakra; obeisance to you, Śunāsīra the Lord; obeisance to you with the thunderbolt in your hand. Obeisance to you, armed with Vajra.” If the devotee offers Arghya thus, all the sins arising from attachment to other man’s wife will disappear.

76-77. O Purandara, if a person listens to or recites with excellent devotion this dialogue between you and me he will never fall ill for a year.

On hearing this, all the Devas said, “So be it” and were delighted.

78. They took Śakra with them to Amarāvatī. Gautama who was still angry went back to his abode.

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