The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Ratnaditya which is chapter 212 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 twelfth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 212 - Greatness of Ratnāditya

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:

1-2. O Sūtanandana, the meritorious trio of Tīrtha in the holy place designated as Hāṭakeśvara that has been described by you, has been listened to.

We now wish to hear about the greatness of (the Tīrtha of) Viśvāmitra which do explain to us. We have great eagerness.

Sūta said:

3. The other shore of the sea can be seen, the limit of the earth can be observed but that cannot be so, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, in the case of the good qualities of that sage that redeem (people).

4. Can the capacity of the intelligent son of Gādhi be estimated by anyone? O excellent Brāhmaṇas, though born a Kṣatriya, he attained the status of Brāhmaṇa.

5. By him were directly created Devas who took their shares from the Yajña of King Triśaṅku transformed into an Antyaja (low-born) formerly.

6. Competing with god Brahmā, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, even (a new) creation was attempted by him formerly but he was requested to desist from it by the Devas who bowed down to him.

7. Now I shall expound the greatness of the Tīrtha pertaining to him. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, it is destructive of all sins. May it be listened to.

8. Without using any implement (of digging) the ground all round was dug up with his own hands by that noble-souled sage and a holy pit was created there.

9. There he meditated and brought the river Jāhnavī from Pātāla. The pure translucent water thereof came to the mortal world.

10. The water is very tasty. It is destructive of all sins through holy ablution. Bhāskara, (Sun-god) the thief of waters (i.e. one who dries up water), was also installed by him there.

11. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he who takes his holy bath there in that auspicious whirlpool on the seventh lunar day in the bright half of the month of Māgha coinciding with Sunday and bows down to Divākara (Sun-god) is rid of leprous ailments and sins.

12. To the north-western side thereof there is a water-tank created by Dhanvantari. It destroys all ailments.

13. The liberal-minded Dhanvantari performed a penance there formerly. Equipped with good power of a penance and meditating with concentration, he bowed down (to Lord Sun).

14. After a long time, Bhāskara was pleased with him and said to him: “I shall grant a boon, O highly intelligent one. Request for the same.”

Dhanvantari said:

15. O Lord, O most excellent one among Suras! If any man takes his holy bath here in the Kuṇḍa with great devotion, let every ailment in him be dispelled.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

16-17. He who takes his holy bath there on this praiseworthy day, the seventh lunar day coinciding with a Sunday, early in the morning at sunrise, with great concentration, shall at that very instant be free from ailments even though (he be) afflicted will great diseases. One without ailment will obtain all desires and one without desires will attain salvation (Mokṣa).

18. After saying thus Ravi, the most excellent one among Suras, vanished. Dhanvantari too went back to his abode well pleased within himself.

19. Once upon a time, there was a king named Ratnākṣa hailing from the Solar race. He was the well-known Lord of Ayodhyā.

20. He possessed the qualities of gratitude and munificence. He was always faithful to his wife. He was resplendent and heroic. He destroyed all enemies.

21. O Brāhmaṇas, as a result of his action in previous life that king became a victim of the terrible fell disease of leprosy very difficult to be cured the three worlds.

22. There is no medicine in the world which he did not try, O Brāhmaṇas. There is no gift which the noble-souled king afflicted with leprosy, did not make.

23. The longer he continued to apply medicine and make over gifts, the more afflicted he became due to the disease and turned feeble.

24. Thereupon, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the king became disgusted. He desired to immolate himself in fire, entrusting the kingdom to his son though his wife and loyal attendants prevented him.

25. He made ample religious gifts to Brāhmaṇas and worshipped gods. He held (final) conversations with his group of friends. He instructed his son (the prince). After this he became ready to enter fire.

26. In the meantime, a certain pilgrim endowed with divine form and features came there by chance during the course of his wandering.

27. He found the entire city distressed and morose. O Brāhmaṇas, he became surprised and enquired from a certain person seen by him.

Kārpaṭika (the pilgrim) said:

28. O fair Sir, how is it that the entire city has become upset and gloomy and cheerless? The children and the old people that live here have eyes filled with tears?

The man replied:

29. The king hereof is affected by the fell disease of leprosy. He is disgusted with life and wants to immolate himself in fire.

30. Therefore, the entire city is extremely distressed. Certainly all will meet with their death because they are so overwhelmed by his good qualities.

31. On hearing these words the pilgrim hastened to the king and said:

32-35. It appeared as though he would resuscitate all the people of the king. “O king, do not enter fire due to this grief arising from your disease when a Tīrtha capable of dispelling all ailments is available.

O king, my body too was like this as in your case. When I took the holy bath there immediately it became like this, as it is now, O Lord.

A man of the earth who is afflicted with an ailment and who takes his holy bath there at sunrise when Sunday coincides with the seventh lunar day shall instantly be relieved of it. He shall become hale and hearty, O excellent king, and also rid of sins like me.”

The king said:

36. Tell me quickly in which country is such a great Tīrtha.

Kārpaṭika said:

37. There is the excellent holy place of Nāgaras well-known all over the earth, O king, When I was afflicted with the fell disease of leprosy I went there.

38. In the course of the pilgrimage in which I was engaged, I went there to visit it. On seeing me grief-stricken and wretched, because I was afflicted with the disease a compassionate sage, an inhabitant of that place told me:

39-41a. “To the north-western side of Lord Jalaśāyin (i.e. Lord Viṣṇu sleeping in the ocean) is the highly meritorious Tīrtha containing Viśvāmitra Jala (The sacred water brought from Pātāla by Viśvāmitra). Go there and take your holy bath on the day when the seventh lunar day coincides with a Sunday in the bright half of the month of Māgha. Thereby your leprosy will vanish at the time of sunrise.”

41bc. On hearing those words, I reached the place on the seventh lunar day in conjunction with the Sun (i.e. Sunday). Then I took the holy bath in the Śāṃbhava stream.

42. Then I came out from that (Tīrtha) and when I surveyed my body, O king, it had become like this. It is the truth that is said to you.

43. Hence, O leading king, you too take your holy bath on the Saptamī (seventh lunar) day, the day of the week being Sunday at the time of sunrise.

44. Thereby, your illness and the sin as well will perish.

On hearing it, the king hastened in the company of that (Kārpaṭika).

45. On the Saptamī day, in the month of Māgha coinciding with a Sunday, he took the holy bath in the auspicious water of Viśvāmitra Tīrtha.

46. Thereby, he instantly became rid of leprosy. Assuming a diving form, he appeared like another Kāmadeva.

47. Then the leading king who was satisfied gave thirty million gold pieces to the Kārpaṭika and spoke these words:

48-49. “It is with your favour that I have been rid of this terrible ailment. Hence you do go home. I will stay here full in contentment.

I shall scrupulously perform the penance everyday in the company of my wife. My son has been enthroned in the kingdom. He is capable of administrating the realm.”

50. After saying this, he persuaded him (the pilgrim) and all others who had accompanied him and also his attendants to return home. He himself settled there.

51. He set up his own beautiful hermitage there and stayed there along with his wife. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, in the course of time he attained Siddhi (spiritual perfection).

52. Ever since then this Tīrtha has become well-known after his name in heaven. It dispels all sickness. It is charming and destructive of all sins,

53. Divākara (Sun-god), the Lord of Devas, was installed by him there well-known after his noble name as Ratnāditya.

54. He who takes his holy bath there and visits the deity on the Saptamī day in conjunction with a Sunday shall be relieved of sins and go to the world of the Sun.

55. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, listen with concentration. I shall relate what other incident happened in that holy place.

56. There was an aged villager in that land. He was a leper. But he always looked after cows.

57. Once, while he was looking after the beasts (cows) below the mountain, one of his cows strayed from the right track due to its greed for grass.

58. On a Sunday in conjunction with Saptamī the cow fell into the stream there. Going ahead thus somehow she was not noticed by him (the cowherd).

59. At home he was getting ready to take his meal, when the owner of the cow came there and rebuked him:

60. “How is it that my cow has not come back to ṃy house? So fetch it soon. If not, I will take away your life.”

Sūta said:

61. On hearing it, the leper was terrified. He quickly went along the path whereby he had traversed the ground by day.

62. During the night when darkness had enveloped everything he heard from a distance the cry of that cow that had fallen into the great pit.

63. He went there and got into the water within the pit. With great difficulty he drew up the cow from the horrible muddy expanse. He took her with him and went home slowly.

64. He gave the cow to the owner and went to his own abode.

65. Then he slept, O highly esteemed one. In the morning when he woke up, he found his body rid of leprosy.

66-67. It was highly refulgent. With his eyes beaming with wonder he began to think, ‘What is this? The sickness is dispelled! Certainly, this is the power of that Tīrtha full of mud where I fell during the night for redeeming the cow.’

68. He surveyed the body with curiosity. He found that he was rid of all itching sensations and found himself enveloped in refulgence.

69. He went to that holy spot again and realized that it was an excellent Tīrtha. He then meditated upon Divākara and performed a penance there.

70. Alert and active throughout day and night he continued the penance of the deity stationed in the forest. He attained the greatest Siddhi very difficult even for Devas to attain.

71. Hence, one should exert himself to perform the rite of ablution there.

72. One should also adore Lord Bhāskara, the thief of water. Even today in Kali Age, a man who bathes there becomes pure and clean.

73. He should take his bath in the Kuṇḍa of meritorious waters on Sunday coinciding with the seventh lunar day. He who devoutly worships becomes rid of the sins.

74. He who recites the Gāyatrī Mantra one thousand eight times before the deity, shall be rid of ailments and all the sins.

75. With the deity in view a devotee with perfect faith should make the gift of a cow. No one born of his family will be afflicted with the disease.

76. Thus everything pertaining to Sun-god and his greatness has been narrated by me. By listening to this a man is rid of sins.

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