The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Brahma which is chapter 105 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 fifth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 105 - Greatness of Brahmā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Īśvara said:

1-4. Henceforth, I shall describe another secret and excellent holy place. It destroys all the sins of men. I shall describe it in detail to you the greatness of the principal deity, the greatness of the residents throughout the Kalpa.

Someśa, Daitya- Hantā (destroyer of demons i.e. Viṣṇu), Pitāmaha in the form of a boy, Āditya belonging to Arkasthala, Prabhāsa and Śaśibhūṣaṇa (Moon-adorned One i.e. Śiva)—these six leading deities are stationed in the holy place Prābhāsika.

Merely by viewing them, a devotee becomes contented and one who has fulfilled his duties. Certainly he is redeemed from terrible sins incurred throughout the life.

The Devī said:

5. The greatness of the deities who were mentioned earlier (in the above list) has been described by you. What about that which you refer to as the deity in the form of a boy?

6. In all other holy places Pitāmaha is in the form of an old one. How did he happen to be a boy? What is the greatness thereof?

7. O Lord, if you are pleased with me, do tell me this in detail. O Lord of Devas, how is he to be worshipped? How is the pilgrimage (religious procession, Yātrā) to be performed by men?

Īśvara said:

8. O goddess, listen. I shall describe the greatness pertaining to Brahmā. Merely by listening to this one is liberated from all sins.

9. There is no other deity equal to Brahmā. There is no elderly preceptor equal to Brahmā. There is no knowledge like that of Brahmā. There is no penance like that pertaining to Brahmā.

10. People wander in the course of mundane existence, utterly overwhelmed by misery, grief and terror as long as they do not become devoted to Pitāmaha, the eldest of all the Suras.

11. Who will not become liberated from bondage, if the mind of a creature is directed towards and placed steadily in god Brahmā just as it is directed to worldly topics.

The Devī said:

12-13. If Brahmā is the preceptor of the universe and possesses such greatness, why has he come to the holy place of Prābhāsika? Where is he stationed in that great Tīrtha? At what time did the most excellent one of Suras come there? How is he to be worshipped by leading Brāhmaṇas and on what lunar day? Do mention all these in due order.

Īśvara said:

14. The great holy spot of Brahmā is on the north-east side of Somanātha and on the south-east of Sāṃbāditya. It is like another world of Brahmā.

15. There in his holy spot where Pitāmaha is stationed in the form of a boy, O goddess, these residents of the whole Kalpa are also present.

16. The creator of the universe, the Lord of the universe is highly refulgent and this is his Sattva form. In the splendid holy spot of Prābhāsika, he happened to arrive when he was eight years old.

17. Desirous of creating different kinds of subjects, he installed the great Liṅga there and performed penance for a thousand years according to the divine reckoning.

18. After the lapse of some time, the Lord was requested by Soma. He had been rid of his phthisis and had sound faith.

19. It was for the purpose of installing the Liṅga in the splendid Prābhāsika Kṣetra. Accompanied by Viśvakarman and a crore of the Brāhmaṇa-sages, he carried out the installation of the excellent Liṅga.

20. Then, O lady of excellent countenance, after the installation of Somanātha Liṅga, he caused plenty of Yajña-Dakṣiṇās to be given to Brāhmaṇas.

21-22. The Liṅga was installed by Brahmā, the creator of the worlds, in this manner. Many years passed by even as he was in the form of a boy in the holy spot Prabhāsa. As he stayed in the centre of the holy spot forty-two (catvāriṃśad dvayam ca) years passed by. Thus Parārdha - the earlier half of 100 years of Brahmā’s life[1]—passed by while he was staying at the holy spot of Prabhāsa.

The Devī said:

23. Do mention to me the measure (or extent) of a day, a month or a thousand years of Brahmā in detail. What is the span of the life of Brahmā as proclaimed (by sages)?

Īśvara said:

24. Brahmā is remembered as having the greatest span of life. A Parārdha has passed by even as he stayed in the holy spot of Prabhāsa. The second half will start now.

25. When Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, came to the holy spot of Prabhāsa, it is said that, he was eight years old.

26. O goddess fond of Devas, excepting the holy spot of Prabhāsa, in all other Tīrthas, the grandfather (Brahmā) is in the form of an old person.

27. There are many Tīrthas in the whole Brahmāṇḍa. Among all where Brahmā is remembered as present there, the first and the foremost one of great splendour is he (that Brahmā) who is stationed in Prabhāsa.

28. O my beloved, listen to the names (of Brahmā) in the different Kalpas. It is Svayaṃbhū in the first Kalpa, in the second it was Padmabhū who was stationed there.

29. In the third (Kalpa), he is (was) called Viśvakartā and in the fourth, Bālarūpin (one in the form of a boy). These are mentioned as the principal names of Svayaṃbhū, the self-born god Brahmā.

30. He who remembers these names every day shall be a long-lived man.

31. At the advent of the night of Brahmā, all the Planets, Moon, Sun, along with Devas, Asuras, and human beings, the entire range of the three worlds, perish.

32. Again, when the day dawns, Pitāmaha wakes up and resumes creation as it was before, O my beloved.

33. I shall mention the measure of the day of Brahmā, the creator of the worlds. That time unit is called Truṭi which is a fourth of the Netra Bhaṅga (? wink of the eye)

34. O lady of excellent countenance, twice that time unit should be known as a Nimiṣa. Fifteen such Nimiṣas are termed Kāṣṭhā by learned men. Thirty such Kāṣṭhās make a Kalā as mentioned by learned men.

35. A Muhūrta is made up of thirty Kalās. A day is made up of fifteen Muhūrtas. A night should be known as having the same duration as that of the day. The two together make an Ahorātra (complete day).

36. Fifteen Ahorātras make one Pakṣa (fortnight). The time unit formed by two Pakṣas is called a Māsa (month). Six months constitute an Ayana. An Abda (year) is formed by two Ayanas.

37. Four million three hundred twenty thousand years should be known as a Caturyuga according to solar reckoning.

38. Seventy-one Catruyugas make one Manvantara. This shall be the span of life of an Indra. This has thus been succinctly mentioned to you.

39. The first Manu is Svāyaṃbhuva. Then the next Manu was Svārociṣa. Then follow Auttama, Tāmasa, Raivata and Cākṣuṣa.

40. Thereafter come Vaivasvata, Arkasāvarṇi, Brahmasāvarṇi, Dharmasāvarṇi, Raucya and Bhūtya (along with Indrasāvarṇi and Dakṣasāvarṇi to be added to the lists).

41. These are the fourteen Manus enumerated in due order. I shall now enumerate all the Indras of the past and future in order.

42-43. They are: Viśvabhuk, Vipaścit, Sukīrti, Śibi, Vibhu, Manobhuva, Ojasvin, the powerful Bali, Adbhuta, Śānti, Ramya, Devavara, Vṛṣā Ṛṭadhāman, Divassvāmin and Śuci. These are the fourteen Śakras (Indras).[2]

44. O my beloved, all these die in the course of one day of Brahmā. His night is as long (as the day). This is remembered as the measure of a Kalpa (Their list follows).

45. The first Kalpa is Śvetakalpa. The second is Nīlalohita. The third one is Vāmadeva, then Rathantara.

46. Raurava is mentioned as the fifth; the sixth one is remembered as Prāṇa; the seventh one is Bṛhatkalpa. Kandarpa is mentioned as the eighth.

47-48. Śadya is mentioned as the ninth, Īśāna is remembered as the tenth, Dhyāna is mentioned as the eleventh. Then Sārasvata is the next. Udāna is the thirteenth. Garuḍa is the fourteenth. Kaurma should be known as the fifteenth. This is the Paurṇamāsī (Full-Moon day) of Prajāpati (Brahmā).

49. The sixteenth is Narasiṃha. Samādhi is the next one. Āgneya is the eighteenth; then the next one is Somakalpa.

50. Bhāvana is mentioned as the twentieth. Suptamālin is another. Then Vaikuṇṭha, Arciṣa, Rudra and Lakṣmī Kalpa.

51. The twenty-seventh is Vairāja. Then Gaurīkalpa i.e. Andhaka (i.e. when Andhaka was subdued). Then Māheśvara when Tripuras were killed.

52. In the end came Pitṛkalpa which is remembered as the New-Moon day of Brahmā. Thus, O my beloved, the thirty Kalpas in a month of Brahmā have been mentioned.

53. All the past days of Brahmā have been mentioned. It is Vārāha Kalpa now, the first lunar day of Brahmā when the Earth was lifted up by the Divine Boar.

54. These thirty Kalpas make one time unit remembered as Māsa. Such twelve units make one year. Under this reckoing [reckoning?] of a year, Brahmā was eight years old when he was brought by Somarāja and then Somanātha was installed.

55. Thus even as Brahmā was residing in the Prabhāsa Kṣetra in the form of a boy, a Parārdha elapsed. The second one is running now.

56. Thus Brahmā, the Self-born Lord, residing in the centre of Prabhāsa Kṣetra has a great power. The Lord resorted to the Kṣetra in the form of a boy.

57. He should be worshipped, should be saluted by learned men. At the outset, he alone should be worshipped by those who wish to get the fruit of the perfect pilgrimage.

58. He who devoutly worships him, certainly worships me. He who hates him, hates me. One who is venerable to him is so to me also.

59. Viṣṇu and I are worshipped by one who is venerated by Brahmā. Brahmā and I are worshipped by one who is venerated by Viṣṇu.

60. Brahmā and Viṣṇu are worshipped when worship was performed by me. Brahmā is Sattva quality (?), Viṣṇu is Rajas quality (?) and I am Tamas quality, so it has been proclaimed.

61. Brahmā is glorified as Vāyu, Rudra as Anala (Fire) and Viṣṇu as AP (Water). Viṣṇu is Rātri (night); Rudra is Ahan (day); Pitāmaha is what is termed as Sandhyā (dusk).

62. O göḍdess, I am Sāma Veda. Brahmā is called Ṛg Veda. Viṣṇu shall be Yajur Veda and Kulādhāra (basis of the family) is Atharvaṇa.

63. O goddess, I am summer (season of heat). Pitāmaha is the season of rains. Viṣṇu shall be winter (cold season). Thus he constitutes the three units of time.

64. I should be known as the sacred fire called Dakṣiṇāgnī [Dakṣiṇāgni?]. Hari is remembered as Gārhapatya fire and Brahmā is Āhavanīya fire. Thus everything has the three divinities.

65. I am stationed in the form of Liṅga; Viṣṇu is glorified as Bhaga (the base of Liṅga). Brahmā shall be set up in the seed. Viṣṇu is glorified as AP (water).

66. I abide in the form of Ākāśa (Ether). Thus the Lord is identical with the Tattvas (Elements). The Bīja (seed) that drops down from the ether is set up in Brahmā. Resorting to the form of Brahmā, he is the one who makes the seed grow.

67. Brahmā is stationed in the middle of the navel; Viṣṇu in the middle of the heart. O goddess, I am in the middle of the face as the support of all embodied beings.

68. That which I am is Brahmā himself; that which Brahmā is, is Hutāśana (fire). That which the goddess is, is Viṣṇu and that which is Viṣṇu is the Moon.

69. That which Kāla (Time) is, is Brahmā himself; that who is Rudra, is Bhāskara (the Sun god). Thus, O my beloved, the highest Brahman is stationed with a special Śakti (power).

70. Oṃkāra is the Supreme Brahman (Absolute). Gāyatrī is the ultimate Prakṛti (source of origin). Knowing these two, a man becomes liberated. He does not fall.

71. He who knows the ultimate, imperishable, non-dual principle, O goddess of Devas, shall know everything. Not the other one, the base man who causes differences.

72. The Supreme Brahman is in the form of one entire whole. It is stationed separately in the form of the effect. He who hates it, O beautiful woman, is called a hater of Brahman.

73. Brahmā is stationed on my right limb (part of the body). Keśava is stationed on my left limb (Part). He who entertains hatred towards them both, O beautiful woman is a hater of mine.

74. Thus, O beautiful woman, knowing (the reality) by the non-different inner Ātman, one should worship Brahmā, Keśava and Rudra in the same form.

Footnotes and references:


Brahmā came to Prabhāsa when he was eight years old. He stayed for forty-two years at Prabhāsa. He was then fifty years old (8+42). Half of his life (of 100 years) was spent at Prabhāsa.


The list of Indras is different in Devī Purāṇa (in chapter on Kāla-vyavasthā)

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