The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Nandaditya which is chapter 256 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 fifty-sixth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 256 - Greatness of Nandāditya

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Īśvara said:

1-4. Thereafter, O great goddess, a pilgrim with mental concentration and purity, should go to the shrine of Nandāditya. Formerly it was established by Nanda of unlimited intellect.

Formerly, there was a king named Nanda who gave happiness to the entire world. There was no famine. No sickness tormented men nor was there premature death (among his subjects). When that king conversant with righteousness ruled over the kingdom, there was no danger or disaster caused by drought.

After a lapse of some time, evidently due to previous Karinas, he was attacked by the fell disease of leprosy. He got fed up with everything and became disgusted with the world.

Divākara, the Sun-god, the Lord of Devas, was installed on the banks of a river by that king who was tormented by that ailment. He became rid of that ailment.

The Devī said:

5. Was this ailing king an Emperor or an ordinary king of the realm? How did it happen that a righteous king like him contracted that illness?

Īśvara said:

6. This valorons king Nanda was very pious and abided by Dharma. Seated on his excellent aerial chariot, he used to wander over all the worlds.

7. This aerial chariot had been granted to him by Viṣṇu who was pleased with him. It could go anywhere he pleased (to go) and was rendered reverberating by the peacocks of excellent physical hue.

8. Once, in the course of his wanderings, the excellent king went to the divine lake called Mānasa. It was full of groups of Devas. He remained there.

9. He saw a large lotus, white in colour, growing in the middle of the lake. An excellent Puruṣa of the size of thumb only dwelt therein.

10-11. He was two-handed. He was clad in red garments and had fiery splendour. On seeing him, he told the charioteer “Fetch that lotus. I shall wear that on my head in the presence of all the people, so that I will be deemed praiseworthy. Hence fetch it. Do not delay.”

12. On being ordered thus by him, the charioteer entered the water, O lady of excellent complexion. He began to pluck the lotus. As soon as the lotus was touched, there was a hissing sound of ‘hum’.

13. Due to that hissing sound, all of a sudden, that king became a leper of faded complexion and deprived of his power and valour.

14. On seeing his own plight in such a way, the excellent one among men stood there grief-stricken thinking: ‘What may be this?’

15. Even as he stood there pondering, sage Vasiṣṭha, a son of god Brahmā, an intelligent sage of great penance, came there. The king asked him:

16-17. “O holy Sir, an evil transformation has befallen my body. Being overpowered by the disease of leprosy, I have no desire to stay alive. O holy Sir, tell me the means of cure for this illness. Tell me of other means of remedy such as holy vow, charity or Yajña.”

Vasiṣṭha said:

18. This lotus called Brahmodbhava (arising from Brahman) is famous all over the three worlds. If this is seen, all the other deities become seen.

19-20. O king, this lotus is seen only by blessed people and by a very few of them, and that too only somewhere. Immediately after it is seen, if one enters water, he shall, be rid of all sins and attain salvation.

This charioteer of yours entered water to pluck it immediately after seeing the lotus.

21. O great king, it was at your instance. He will contract this disease and become dead. Therefore, although I am son of Brahmā, I visit the great Lord.

22-23. I visit him everyday. Coming here casually you were seen. Even Devas cherish this desire in their heart: ‘When shall we see the Brahmapadma (lotus) in the Mānasa lake, take our bath there and attain the great Brahman after attaining which one will not be born again.’

24-26. This is one cause, O king, listen to a second cause of leprosy which you contracted because you were desirous of taking away the lotus. Pradyotana (the Sun-god) is present in the womb of this himself. On seeing this excellent lotus, this desire occurred to you: ‘I shall wear this on my head in the midst of the people as an ornament.’ The sin of yours resulting from thinking thus has been pointed out by the Lord (Sun) in this manner.

27. Hence, by all means propitiate Bhāskara (Sun-god). You will be rid of this, with the favour of the Lord of Devas. There is no doubt about this.

28. O great king, go to Prabhāsa Tīrtha well-known all over the three worlds. Siddhi is achieved there by all distressed beings of the earth.

Īśvara said:

29-30. On hearing the words of that noble-souled Vasiṣṭha, the king went to Prabhāsa Kṣetra and installed Nandāditya on the sacred banks of Māheśvarī. He worshipped the deity with scents, incense and unguents as well as different kinds of flowers, big and small.

31. The Lord of Day (Sun-god) became pleased and said, “I shall grant you boons.” He thereupon said:

Nanda said:

32. O Divākara, O most excellent one among Suras, see me tormented by the fell disease of leprosy. See to it that it is quelled.

33. O Lord of Devas, be present always at this holy site.

Sūrya said:

34-35. O great king, you will immediately be free from the disease. Men on the earth who come here and see me on a Sunday coinciding with seventh lunar day will attain the greatest goal. I shall be present here on Sundays coinciding with seventh lunar day. There is no doubt about it. I shall take leave of you and wish you happiness.

36. After saying this, the thousand-rayed Sun-god vanished there itself.

37-40. He became free from the ailment and ruled over the excellent dominion. Then he attained the great region where Lord Sun is present.

Any devotee can come here and take his holy bath in the Tīrtha. He should then perform Śrāddha scrupulously and visit Nandāditya once again. He will never be born as a man again (i.e. will attain Mokṣa). The devotee should make a gift of a Kapilā (tawny-coloured) cow there to a Brāhmaṇa well-versed in the Vedas. He should observe fast for a day and a night and then make the gift of a Ghṛta Dhenu (cow made of ghee). No one can calculate the merit he attains.

Thus is stated the greatness of the Lord with blazing rays. O lady with excellent buttocks, this sin-destroying story has been narrated to you.

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