The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Rameshvara Kshetra (Rama-ishvara) which is chapter 111 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 eleventh chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 111 - Greatness of Rāmeśvara Kṣetra (Rāma-īśvara)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Īśvara said:

1-4. Thereafter, a pilgrim should go to the excellent Puṣkarāraṇya, O great goddess, situated within sixty Dhanus in the north-eastern corner thereof.

O great goddess, there is a Kuṇḍa there named Aṣṭapuṣkara. It is a destroyer of all sins. O goddess, it is inaccessible to those who have not controlled their selves.

Near the Kuṇḍa is the great Liṅga named Rāmeśvara installed by the intelligent Rāmeśa (Rama). Merely through its worship, one is rid of the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter.

Śrī Devī said:

5. O great Lord, do tell me in detail everything pertaining to Rāmeśvara. How did Rāma come there accompanied by Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa?

6. How was the Liṅga installed in Puṣkara that removes all sins? Describe this in detail as well as the benefit along with its greatness.

Īśvara said:

7. In the twenty-fourth Yuga, formerly Rāma was born as the son of Daśaratha with Vasiṣṭha as his family priest. He was born for the purpose of slaying Rāvaṇa.

8. Then, O goddess, due to the curse of a sage (?) Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, went (to the forest) after some time along with Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa and performed a great penance.

9. He set out surrounded by divine Brāhmaṇa-sages, for a stay in the forest. In the course of his wanderings he came to Prabhāsa Kṣetra.

10. After reaching that spot, he sat there because he was extremely tired. When the Sun set he prepared a bed of leaves on the ground.

11. He went to sleep. O goddess, at the close of the night, he saw his father Daśaratha in a dream. He was highly brilliant yet gentle in appearance.

12. After getting up in the morning, he related to the Brāhmaṇas how Daśaratha was seen in dream by that noble-souled one.

The Brāhmaṇas said:

13. Pitṛs desirous of the prosperity of the persons born in their family appear before them in dreams. O Rāghava, your ancestors do bestow boons on you.

14. This Tīrtha of Śārṅgadhanvan (Viṣṇu, the bearer of Śārṅga bow) is highly meritorious and well-guarded. It is called Puṣkara. May the Śrāddha be offered here.

15. Indeed King Daśaratha desires that an auspicious ball of rice should be offered by you in this Tīrtha. Therefore, he has appeared to you.

Īśvara said:

16. On hearing their words, the lotus-eyed Rāma invited splendid Brāhmaṇas worthy of the invitation to Śrāddha.

17. He told Lakṣmaṇa who was standing humbly at his side: “O son of Sumitrā, go to fetch fruits for the Śrāddha. Do go quickly.”

18-20. After saying “So it shall be”, the scion of the family of Raghu went out and quickly brought different kinds of fruits like Bilva, Kapittha, plenty of Tinduka, Badara, Karīra and Karamarda, O my beloved. There were also Cirbhaṭa, Parūṣa, Mātuliṅga (citron), Nālikera (coconut) and white Iṅgudi fruits.

21-24. Sītā, the daughter of Janaka, cooked them immediately. Then at the auspicious hour of Kutapa Rāma had his bath and wore a clean bark garment and invited excellent Brāhmaṇas worthy of the Śrāddha honour. They were: Gālava, Devala, Raibhya, Yavakrīta, Parvata, Bharadvāja, Vasiṣṭha, Jābāli, Gautama, Bhṛgu etc. These and many other Brāhmaṇas who had mastered the Vedas (came there). They came there for the Śrāddha to be performed by Rāma of energetic actions. At that time Rāma spoke to Sītā:

25. “Do come, O Vaidehī, for the holy rite of washing the feet of the Brāhmaṇas.” On hearing this, Sītā entered a place in the midst of the trees,

26. She got hidden among the bushes. She was out of Rāmā’s sight, despite the fact that Rāma repeatedly called “Sītā! Sītā!”

27. Seeing Rāma very angry and Sītā out of view, Lakṣmaṇa himself performed the duty of honouring the Brāhmaṇas.

28. After the Brāhmaṇas had taken their food and the ball of rice was also offered, Sītā, the daughter of Janaka, came to the place where Rāma was present.

29. On seeing her, Rāghava rebuked her with harsh words: “Fie upon you, O sinful woman! Where had you been leaving me as well as the Brāhmaṇas when the time for Śrāddha had arrived? This was the holy rite of Pitṛs which brings about great prosperity.”

Īśvara said:

30. On hearing his words Jānakī became extremely frightened.

31-36. With palms joined in Veneration and trembling much she spoke: “O noble one, do not be angry. O Lord, do not rebuke me. Listen, O my Lord, why I went elsewhere leaving your side. Your father was seen by me. So also your grandfather. The one earlier than he and the maternal grandfather and others were seen separately in the bodies of the leading Brāhmaṇas. They had separately occupied those bodies. So, O scion of the family of Raghu, bashfulness overwhelmed me. O mighty one, your father was accustomed to eat charmingly delicious fooḍ-stuffs of good qualities. O great king, how will he eat this saltish, astringent and bitter stuff? So I became miserable. O leader of the descendants of Raghu, for this reason, on seeing the kinsmen of the father-in-law I disappeared through bashfulness. Hence eschew your anger.”

37. On hearing her words Rāghava became surprised. He offered a special Śrāddha in the holy Puṣkara Tīrtha.

38. There in the vicinity of Puṣkara itself, within a distance of three Dhanus to the south, he installed the Liṅga well-known as Rāmeśvara.

39. He who devoutly worships him with sweet scents, flowers etc. in due order, attains the great region where Lord Janārdana is present.

40. Of what avail is profuse talk? If the Śrāddha is offered on Dvādaśī (twelfth lunar day) the merit thereof cannot be properly estimated in all the three worlds.

41. O beautiful lady, there is great merit in offering Śrāddha on any day when Ṣaṣṭhī (6th lunar day) or Caturthī (4th lunar day) coincides with Friday or Tuesday.

42. If propitiated in Puṣkara by one of their own family, the fathers and grandfathers become delighted for a period of twelve years. They never wish for anything else.

43. A man who offers the gift of a horse there with perfect devotion, attains the fruit of an Aśvamedha Yajña (horse-sac-rīfice).

44. Thus the sin-destroying greatness of Lord Rāmeśvara and Puṣkara has been perfectly spoken to you, O beautiful woman.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: