The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Vajreshvara (Vajra-ishvara) which is chapter 237 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 thirty-seventh chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 237 - Greatness of Vajreśvara (Vajra-īśvara)

Īśvara said:

1-4. Thereafter, O great goddess, a devotee should go to the excellent holy spot Yādavasthala where fifty-six crores of Yādavas perished.[1]

It was here that Lord Vajreśvara was always propitiated by Vajra. It was here that there was a community-centre and hermitage of sages of divine vision.

The Devī said:

O Lord, how did the Andhakas and the powerful Bhojas perish along with the Vṛṣṇis even as Vāsudeva was watching? By whom were those heroic Vṛṣṇis, Bhojas, Andhakas and others cursed and destroyed? O Mahadeva, narrate this in detail to me.

Īśvara said:

5. When the thirty-sixth Kali Year arrived[2] Andhakas and Vṛṣṇis, urged by Kāla (God of death, bad time) hit one another with pestles and killed.

6. Bhojas with Sāraṇa as their leader[3] saw Viśvāmitra, Kaṇva, the glorious Nārada and other sages who visited Dvārakā.

7. Harassed by the divine punishment (as it were) they adorned Sāṃba like a woman and brought him near the sages and said:

8. “O sages, this is the wife of Babhru of unmeasured splendour who is desirous of a son. You know fully well what she will deliver.”

9. On being told thus, O goddess, those sages, assailed by this deceitful trick, replied. Listen to it exactly as it is.

The sages said:

10. This Sāṃba, the son of Vāsudeva, will deliver a terrible iron Musala (huge pestle) for the purpose of destroying Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas.

11. Thereby you, the ruthless people of highly wicked activities, will become angry and will cause the annihilation of the entire family except Rāma and Janārdana.

12. The glorious Lord wielding the ploughshare as his weapon will abandon you all and the earth as well and will go away. Even as the highly esteemed Kṛṣṇa remains lying, (a hunter named) Jara will hit him (with an arrow).

13. O goddess, so said the sages who had been deceived by the evil-minded ones. Their eyes were red with anger and they looked at one another (meaningfully).

14-15. Thereafter, on hearing this, the intelligent Madhusūdana (Kṛṣṇa), the knower of everything, told Vṛṣṇis: “It is the inevitable fate.” After saying this, the Lord entered his house.

16. The Lord of the universe, did not wish to alter the destiny. When the day dawned, Sāṃba gave birth to the Musala.

17. He delivered the great Musala that resembled the servant of Yama, and that was capable of destroying the Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas. By it all the male members in the families of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas were reduced to ashes.

18. He gave birth to the terrible (pestle) as a result of the curse and showed it to the king. The king who was in a dilemma got it reduced to fine powder.

19-21. The officer commanded by the king, hurled it into the ocean. Then, at the bidding of Āhuka (grandfather of Kṛṣṇa), Janārdana, Rāma and the noble-souled Babhru, the officer proclaimed: “From today no liquor or wine should be imbibed by any of the residents of the realm in the houses of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas. If it comes to be known that any man among you has done so somewhere, he shall be impaled alive on the spike, not only himself but also his immediate kinsmen.”

22. Thereat, all of them restrained themselves due to the fear of the king. Further, they knew that it was the bidding of Rāma of unwearied actions.

23. Even as the Vṛṣṇis along with the Andhakas were endeavouring to act upto this, Kāla (god of Death) wandered around their houses everyday.

24-25. A hideous, horrendous being with shaven head, dark and tawny in colour, went round surveying the houses of Vṛṣṇis. His prominent emblem was a broom. He was adorned with Japā flowers, and Raktikās (Guñjā seeds) were his earrings. His vehicle was a chameleon.

26. He had a great bow with hundreds and thousands of arrows. He was not able to hit the Lord in whom all living beings always merge.

27. For the sake of predicting annihilation of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas, violent gusts of winds blew everyday. They caused horripilation and were terrible.

28. Mice increased in number. They scourged on the streets. They cut with their teeth the hairs of young women and men while asleep at night.

29. Sārikā birds shrieked “cī-cī-kū-cī” in the abodes of Vṛṣṇis. That noise continued day and night and never ceased.

30. O fair lady, in the houses of Vṛṣṇis owls hooted after the crowing of crows and goats bleated imitating the howling of jackals.

31. Grey-coloured birds urged by Kāla and pigeons with red feet hovered around the houses of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas.

32. Donkeys were born of cows and camels of mules; cats were born of bitches and mice of mongooses.

33. Committing sins resulting in the three types of distresses, Vṛṣṇis alienated Brāhmaṇas, manes and gods.

34. They insulted the elders and preceptors but not Rāma and Janārdana. Wives were faithless and disloyal to their husbands and men violated fidelity to their wives.

35. When kindled, fire (in the Agniśālā) whirled leftwards. Blue, pink and madder-red flames became diffused severally.

36. At the time of setting and rising everyday the sun appeared diffused. Once it was seen surrounded by headless trunks by men.

37. O fair lady of excellent countenance, when food was got ready cooked in the kitchens and when seasoned food was being taken, worms were seen.

38. When Puṇyāha (auspicious day) was being announced (thrice) and when saints and noble souls recited sacred syllables, it was heard as though people were running but no one was seen directly.

39. Everyone saw the constellation of another being struck down by all the planets but not his own.

40. The fire consecrated by Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas did not cook the offerings made in it by Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas. Donkeys of hideous howl screamed and shrieked all round.

41. Seeing that ominous changes of times had come thus, Hṛṣīkeśa observed that the New-Moon day had fallen on the thirteenth Tithi (i.e. the fortnight was of thirteen day).

42-4S. “This thirteenth lunar day as the fifteenth lunar day has been brought about by Rāhu once again, it first occurred at the time of the Mahābhārata battle, and now it has occurred again for the purpose of our destruction. Fie upon that (bad) time!” After reflecting on it, Janārdana, the slayer of Keśin, become sure that the thirty-sixth year (the year to which Gāndhārī who was grieving over her sons, had referred to) had come.

44-46. Hṛṣīkeśa noticed that the same thing had repeated itself. Formerly when the armies were set ready, Yudhiṣṭhira had noticed terrible bad omens and he had averred at that time thus: “Nothing else can bring about welfare except listening to holy scriptures, performance of Śānti (peace) Homas, expiatory rites and ablutions in the holy Tīrthas.”

After expressing this, Vāsudeva, the suppressor of enemies, desired to carry it out earnestly. He then commanded them to proceed on pilgrimage.

47. O lady of excellent complexion, at the bidding of Keśava, persons-in-charge thereof announced thus: “Pilgrimage to Prabhāsa should be undertaken.”

48. I shall now mention the pertentous phenomena foreboding evil around the city of Dvārakā. A woman of dark complexion with grey teeth entered the city at night.

49.50. She ran towards Dvārakā abducting women during their dreams in sleep. The terrifying woman was seen in the dream devouring Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas in their abloḍes of Agnihotra and other sacred centres. Accompanied by cocks and dogs, she raised terrible cries and shrieks.

51. From the wombs of women, thousands of terrible four-armed Rākṣasas and Guhyakas were born.

52. Ornaments, umbrellas, flags and armours were seen being taken away by terrible Rākṣasas.

53. Even as Vṛṣṇis stood watching, the steel discus Vajranābha of Kṛṣṇa which was given to him by Agni (Fire-god) went up into the sky.

54. They saw the awe-inspiring divine chariot of Dāruka blazing like the Sun and readily fitted (with horses). They saw the four important horses as swift as mind, standing above the ocean.

55. And also (they saw) the two great banners honoured much by Rāma and Janārdana, viz. Tāla (Palm tree) and Suparṇa (Garuḍa) sung (i.e. praised) by excellent celestial damsels. They proclaimed: “May the pilgrimage be undertaken.”

56. Then the mighty warriors of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas wanted to proceed ahead. Those bulls among men desired to undertake the pilgrimage along with their womenfolk.

57. Confirmed meat-eaters, those Vṛṣṇis joyously prepared different kinds of beverages and all varieties of non-vegetarian dishes in their abodes.

58. After the liquors were got ready, they set out from the city. They appeared glorious and fiery in splendour with their horses, elephants and vehicles.

59. Then the Yādavas and their womenfolk encamped in Prabhāsa in their respective abodes and areas equipped with plenty of foodstuffs and drinks.

60. Having heard that they had properly settled down on the seashore, Uddhava, well-conversant with the practice of Yoga and proficient in all subjects, took leave of all those heroes.

61. As that noble-souled one joined his palms in veneration and set off, Hari returned the salutation. Realizing the utter annihilation of Bhojas, he did not desire to restrain him.

62. Surrounded by Kāla (assailed by the agents of Kāla) those mighty warriors of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas watched Uddhava going ahead illuminating heaven and earth.

63. O lady of excellent countenance, they gave unto those in charge of vehicles, the food that had been prepared for the Brāhmaṇas. They added various scented juices and liquor to the original foodstuffs.

64. Thereafter the drunken bout of the people of fiery splendour started there at Prabhāsa. There were hundreds of musical instruments. The place was over-crowded with actors and dancers.

65. In the presence of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma had his drink along with Kṛtavarman. Yuyudhāna, Gada and Babhru too drank.

66. Then in the open assembly the inebriated Yuyuḍhāna laughed derisively. Insulting Kṛtavarman he said thus:

67. “Which man professing to be a (true) Kṣatriya will slay sleeping persons no better than dead ones?”. Hārdikya did not tolerate it. Is what you had committed a good thing?” (He retorted.)

68. When this was said by Yuyudhāna, Pradyumna, the foremost among warriors moving about in chariots, honoured his words, even rebuking Hārdikya.

69. Thereat Kṛtavarman became furious again. Penetrating him (as it were) contemptuously with his left hand, he said to him:

70. “Bhūriśravas had maimed arms. He was in ritualistic fast. Yet he was slain ruthlessly and spitefully like a cruel hunter.”

71. On hearing these words of his, Keśava, the slayer of inimical heroes, saw obliquely with an angry look, although he is the Puruṣa (the primordial Being) of equanimity.

72. How did Sātyaki remind Madhusūdana of Syamantaka? The jewel Syamantaka belonged to Satrājit.

73. On hearing it, the chaste lady Satyabhāmā fell into the lap of Keśava with great perturbation and she cried. This made Janārdana angry.

74.77. Then Sātyaki sprang up angrily and said these words: “O Satyabhāmā, I shall follow the truthful path of the five sons of Draupadī and Śikhaṇḍī and Dhṛṣtadyumna during their sleep. They were killed by that evil-minded one, the sinful Kṛtavarman helped by the son of Droṇa (i.e. Aśvatthāmā). O lady of slender (excellent) middle, his life and fame will end to-day.” After uttering this in the vicinity of Keśava, he cut off the head of Kṛtavarman angrily.

78. As Yuyudhāna was killing others too all round Hṛṣīkeśa ran after him in a bid to restrain him.

79. Due to the adverseness of his time, Bhojas and Andhakas joined together and surrounded the great king Śaineya (i.e. Yuyudhāna).

80. Though the highly lustrous Janārḍana watched those furious persons rushing quickly, he did not get angry because he was aware of the adverse change of the time.

81. But they (Bhojas etc.) were urged by their fury and were fully inebriated due to the wine. They assailed Yuyudhāna with hands smeared with leavings of the foodstuffs (i.e. without washing their hands.).

82. As Śaineya was being hit, the son of Rukmiṇī became angry. He wished to get the son of Śini released and so rushed in between.

83. He was pitted against Bhojas and Sātyaki against Andhakas. Even as Kṛṣṇa stood watching both the heroes were killed because the enemies were too many.

84. On seeing his son and Śaineya killed, Kṛṣṇa, the scion of the family of Yadus, angrily grasped a handful of Erakā grass.

85. That was turned into a terrible Muśala (Pestle) of hard steel comparable to the thunderbolt. Kṛṣṇa killed all those standing in front with the same.

86. Due to the compelling urge of Kāla, Bhojas, Andhakas, Śinis and Vṛṣṇis attacked one another with Muśalas and shouted and howled.

87. O my beloved goddess, if any of those angry men took up any Erakā grass that was seen turned into Vajra (thunderbolt).

88. Even the minutest grass there was seen turned into a Muśala. O fair lady, understand that it was the effect of the Brāhmaṇical punishment.

89. O goddess of Devas, they discharged the arrows and hit one another. That was seen turned into Vajra Muśala.

90. Son killed father and vice versa, O fair lady. Those inebriated and arrogant fellows went on fighting one another.

91. Like locusts in fire, the leading Yadus fell down. None had any desire or intention to flee although hit and killed thus.

92. The mighty Madhusūdana noticed it and realized the change of time and the adverseness of Kāla (god of Death). He then grasped the Muśala and stood ready.

93. O fair lady, he (Mādhava) was extremely angry on seeing Sāṃba, Cārudeṣṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha killed.

94. Extremely angry, the wielder of Śārṅga bow, Cakra and Gadā made the Yādavas lying prostrate on the ground utterly (i.e. massacred them).

95. It was thus, O great goddess, that the Yādava Sthala (Battleground of the Yādavas) took its origin there. It is remembered that the funeral pyres extended to a Gavyūti (3 Kms.).

96. The mass of their bones assumed the form of a mound. Therefore, it became the Yādavasthala, a heap of ashes.

97. On account of the gemset crowns of the Yādavas the place abounds in divine jewels and is filled with gems. A divine fragrance overspread the area.

98. Gaṅgā and Gaṇapati have the task of guarding them. Of all the Yādavas, only Vajra remained alive.

99. During his last days he crowned his well-known son named Mahadbala. Then he came to the holy region of Prabhāsa.

100. That wise Yādava chief installed the Liṅga famous as Vajreśvara. It continues to be there at Yādavsthala.

101. With the advice of Nārada, an elaborate penance was performed by him for a long time in the sin-destroying Prabhāsa Kṣetra.

102-103. That king, the most excellent one among Yādavas, attained the great Siddhi. A devotee should take his holy ablution there in the waters of Jāṃbavatī, worship Vajreśvara and feed Brāhmaṇas in the vicinity of Yādavasthala. He will get the merit of gifting a thousand cows.

104. A devotee should make a hexagonal figure with his finger on the Yādava Mound. If he has perfect faith, he will get the benefit of the pilgrimage.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The fratricidal battle of Yādavas.

[2]:

According to BhP. and other Purāṇas Kali Yuga started on the very day (time) Kṛṣṇa died. The Purāṇa-author is not correct here.

[3]:

The reading in the text “śāraṇa-pramukhān bhojān” should be amended as “sāraṇa-pramukhāḥ bhojāḥ” as they are the doers. Hence nominative case is necessary.

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