The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Sarasvati-Sangama which is chapter 204 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 fourth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 204 - Greatness of Sarasvatī-Saṅgama

The Devī said:

1-4. O Lord of the Chiefs of Devas, O redeemer of people from the ocean of worldly existence, do tell me in detail the greatness of Sarasvatī. O Lord Śaṅkara, O Lord of Devas, what is the merit gained by the pilgrims, the persons of controlled selves, through holy baths and gifts at her month?

Does one get the merit, if one plunges into her elsewhere? What is the procedure in the case of Śrāddha? What are the Mantras and who are the Brāhmaṇas? What should be accepted and what should be eaten by the Brāhmaṇas at the rites of Śrāddha? What gifts should be made by the men who wish to get the benefit of the pilgrimage.

Īśvara said:

5. Listen, O goddess. I shall explain the procedure in the case of Dāna and Śrāddha. Know from me the greatness of Sarasvatī as it is being glorified by me.

6. The waters of Sarasvatī are sacred and meritorious wherever one takes the holy plunge, but that at conjunction with the ocean, is rare even unto Devas.

7. Sarasvatī is the most meritorious of all rivers. Sarasvatī gives happiness unto all who take plunge therein. Men cease to be miserable after reaching Sarasvatī. They never bewail here or hereafter.

8. Only a meritorious man gets the meritorious waters of Sarasvatī. It is rare in the three worlds on the Vaiśakhī day and in the Parva day coinciding with Monday.

9. If the New Moon coinciding with a Monday is obtained there, O goddess, what can one do with hundreds and crores of Parvas.

10. The expiations like Cāndrāyaṇa, Kṛcchra, and Mahāsāntapana are prescribed where there is no Sarasvatī.

11-13. A man shall reside in Viṣṇuloka as many thousand years as the bones of the body lie in the waters of Sarasvatī.

If despite being hale and hearty people do not see Sarasvatī present in Prabhāsa, they should be known as on a par with congenitally blind, dead and lame.

Those are the real Deśas (countries), Tīrthas, Āśramas and Parvatas (Mountains), if the divine excellent river flows through them.

Those who resort to the sacred, meritorious Sarasvatī that sanctifies all the three worlds, will never smell the nasty odour of the slough of worldly existence.

14. The charming Sarasvatī is as extensive as the science of Words (i.e. Grammar), as favourite unto the whole world as one’s mother and as clear and pure as the intellect of the good.

15. That man is utterly base and mean who does not pay respects to Sarasvatī, the divine river that renders all the three worlds splendid and that has divine and clear waters.

16. The great river Sarasvatī in Prabhāsa has become a staircase unto heaven. It cannot be attained by non-meritorious men.

17. Candrabhāgā (modern Chinab), Gaṅgā and Sarasvatī are the holiest of rivers. They are not ordinary men who drink the waters of these three rivers. They are veritable Devas.

18. It is but true, O goddess, that Jāhnavī was held by me on the head but Sarasvatī is the most meritorious of all the rivers in the world.

19. Rājasūya sacrifice pales into insignificance against the vision of Sarasvatī. A mouthful of her waters is the most excellent of all Kratus (holy sacrifices).

20-21. ‘īṭ the ashes, bones, skins, nails, hairs etc. of a man are carried off by the wind, which float in the waters of Sarasvatī in due course, that person is not under the control of Kāla (God of death).

O goddess, why should I say much? Why should I describe repeatedly? There never was a Tīrtha greater than Sarasvatī nor will there ever be.

22. In that spot where the ocean joins her holy bath is very rare. By taking the holy bath there and offering gifts there one gets the benefit of a crore of Yajñas.

23. Men who have their holy bath in the waters of Sarasvatī mingled and agitated by the billows of the ocean, are the most fortunate men in every Yuga.

24. Those men whose bodies are sprinkled with the waters of Sarasvatī are blessed ones. They deserve to be bowed to. Their fame is wide.

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