The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Shashapana which is chapter 258 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-eighth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 258 - Greatness of Śaśāpāna

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Īśvara said:

1-4. Thereafter, O great goddess, a pilgrim should go to the Tīrtha remembered as Śaśāpāna. It is to the south of the same (i.e. Tritakūpa). It is destructive of all sins.

A man who duly takes his holy bath there, need not have the fear of premature ḍeath. Hence, O my beloved, listen to the origin thereof, even as I narrate it.

After churning the ocean and obtaining the excellent nectar, the Devas hurriedly went there and imbibed it as they pleased.

As the Devas drank the nectar, O lady of excellent complexion, hundreds and thousands of drops of nectar fell on the ground.

5. At the same time, O lady of excellent complexion, a hare came there. As he was distressed with thirst, he entered the water.

6. He attained immortality and began to grow in the water pond. On seeing him, all the Devas repeatedly vied with him. They realized that the nectar had got mixed with water. Becoming frightened, they began to consult one another.

7-8. “Men will consume the nectar that has fallen on the earth. Thereby they will become immortal. There is no doubt about this. This poor little hare born of the brutish species, has the audacity to vie with us! Hence there is cause of fear.”

9-10a. Then there came the Moon-god who had been

overpowered by the fell disease. He said to all the Devas. “Give nectar unto me. I have become assailed by a great difficulty. I am unable even to move.”

10b-13a. Then all the Devas said: “Everything has been swallowed by us. O Lord of night, you were forgotten (by us). How is it that you have come here after a long time? O Moon, O dispeller of darkness, act according to our suggestion. Even as we were drinking the nectar much of it got spilled into this water. Hence, O Lord of night, drink up the whole of this pond. Listen to this truth. About half the quantity of nectar has fallen therein.”

13b-15. On hearing their words, the cool-rayed Moon hurriedly drank the entire quantity of water along with the hare. His body that had been reduced to mere skeleton of bones instantly became well-nourished due to the nectar that he drank then. He was rendered brilliant by means of a mass of splendour. Though the body constituents and secretions had become wasted, he got nourished through the nectar.

16. The hare that entered his belly did not die because he had swallowed the nectar. Even today he can be seen in the Moon’s physical form.

17-18. Regaining lustre of great magnitude, he became pleased very much instantly. They said: “Let it be dug up so that there will be more of water again. Due to our action and contact this pit and pond has become dry. This is not proper. Such should not be the act of good people.”

19. Then they began to dig till there came up more water. Thereupon all of them became pleased much and said:

20-23a. “Since this pond has been drunk by the Moon-god along with the hare, this (Tīrtha) shall be known as Śaśāpāna.

A man who comes here and takes his holy bath devoutly, will go to that great region where Lord Maheśvara dwells.

To those who offer cooked food to Brāhmaṇas with mental concentration and purity, all the benefits of a Yajña shall undoubtedly accrue.

When this (Tīrtha) is visited it shall be as though all the deities have been seen.”

23b. After saying this, all the Suras went to heaven.

24. After a great deal of time, the (river) Sarasvatī came there along with Vaḍavāgni (Submarine Fire) and flooded the whole place.

25. Thereby, O lady of excellent complexion, the Tīrtha became all the more sanctifier. Hence by all means, one should take one’s holy bath there with great efforts.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: