The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Rishitoya which is chapter 297 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 ninety-seventh chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 297 - Greatness of Ṛṣitoyā

The Devī said:

1-2. O Lord of the universe, O Lord of Devas, O redeemer of devotees taking them across the ocean of worldly existence, do tell me in detail the great rise and origin of Ṛṣitoyā.

How did the name Ṛṣitoyā become well-known over the earth? How did the river come again to the auspicious forest of Devadāru trees?

Īśvara said:

3. O goddess, listen attentively to my words. I shall explain the greatness of Ṛṣitoyā. It is destructive of all sins.

4. O beautiful lady, hundreds and thousands of sages endowed with the power of penance reside in the meritorious Devadāru forest.

5. O my beloved, a great deal of time elapsed while they resided there flourishing with their sons and grandsons. They spread everywhere in the Dāruka forest and established themselves.

6-8. All of them gathered together and deliberated thus: ‘The highly meritorious Sarasvatī will carry the Vāḍava (Submarine fire) on her head and will after a long time go to Prabhāsa Kṣetra. Excepting this river that flows into the sea, nothing else such as wells, tanks and lakes, delights our mind while performing our rites of ablution, Dāna and Japa. We shall go to the abode of Brahmā and request him.’

Īśvara said:

9. After discussing thus all those sages, brilliant on account of their penance, went to the region of Brahmā in order to meet the Lord, the grandfather. They eulogized the lotus-born Brahmā by means of various kinds of prayers.

The sages said:

10. Obeisance to the Lord in the form of Praṇava. Obeisance, obeisance to the creator of the universe. Likewise, we offer obeisance to the supreme soul, the protector of the universe.

11. Also we offer obeisance to the same Lord, the destroyer (of the universe), to the Lord in the form of Brahmā. Obeisance to you, O grandfather. Obeisance to you, O seniormost one among Suras.

12. Obeisance to you, O Four-faced One. Obeisance to you, the Lotus-born One. Obeisance to you, O Virañci. Obeisance to Vedhas, to Lord Vidhi.

13. Obeisance to you, O one of the nature of Cit (consciousness) and Ānanda (bliss). Obeisance to you, O Hiraṇyagarbha. Obeisance to you always, O Lord having Swan as the vehicle. Obeisance to you, O lotus-seated one.

14. Even as those sages who had controlled and sublimated the sense-organs were praying, Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, said delightedly:

15. O excellent Brāhmaṇas who have offered this divine prayer, welcome unto you all, O great Brāhmaṇas. I am pleased with this divine prayer of yours. Choose an excellent boon.

The sages said:

16. O Lord, O most excellent one among Suras! A river destructive of sins is being looked for by us for the purpose of holy ablution. Grant that, as our excellent boon.

Īśvara said:

17. On being requested thus by those sages refulgent with their power of penance, Brahmā looked at all the rivers having personified forms.

18-20. O beautiful lady, the rivers were: Gaṅgā, Yamunā, the divine Sarasvatī, Candrabhāgā, Revā, Sarayū, Gaṇḍakī, Tāpī, the river Godāvarī, Kāverī, Candraputrī, Siprā, Carmaṇvatī etc. O beautiful lady of excellent countenance, there were all the Nadas such as Vedikā, Sindhu etc. All those holy rivers, destructive of sins, stood there in their personified forms.

21. On seeing them all eager to go to the earth to the charming Devadāru forest in the excellent Prabhāsa Kṣetra, he directed his vision towards his Kamaṇḍalu (water-pot) and they entered the Kamaṇḍalu.

Brahmā said:

22. All the highly meritorious rivers have entered the Brahma-Kamaṇḍalu and are held there. May they go to the earth with compassion for the sages.

23. O Brāhmaṇas, if I send only one river, the others will be angry with me. Hence I am releasing all those who have accommodated themselves in the Kamaṇḍalu.

Īśvara said:

24. Then Brahmā released the great rivers held therein. After releasing them, Brahmā said to them again and again:

25-26. “These rivers have been released by me on being requested by the sages. Having the form of water flowing rapidly they are hurrying to facilitate their holy ablution. Let the accumulation of rivers be known over the earth by the name Ṛṣitoyā. The divine river will become favourite of sages. She is destructive of all sins”

Īśvara said:

27. It was thus, O fair lady of excellent countenance, that the river highly sacred and well-known as Ṛṣitoyā came to the Devadāru forest.

28. It (the divine river) was led to the ocean by the sages who had mastered the Vedas. The divine river was led to the ocean with, the auspicious sounds of the Vedic chanting and the notes of Turyas and Dundubhīs. In this way the river was taken to the sea by the sages.

29. The divine river is easily accessible everywhere but very rarely accessible at the three holy spots viz. Mahodaya, Mahātīrtha and in the vicinity of Mūla Caṇḍīśa.

30. The place where Ṛṣitoyā flows to the east and joins the ocean (is the place called Mūla Caṇḍīśa). If in a place Ṛṣitoyā is accessible, why should another river be sought after there?

31. Those men are always blessed who drink her water. It is the place where the bones (deposited in the river) get dissolved within six months.

32-33. Gaṅgā flows therein at down and Yamunā in the evening. At midday Sarasvatī flows therein along with a thousand rivers. During afternoon Revā flows therein and in the evening the daughter of Sun (i.e. Yamunā).

34. A devotee should be aware of this fact. A clever man should take his holy bath there and perform Śrāddha in accordance with the injunctions. He will reap the benefit thereof.

35. Thus the great rise of river Ṛṣitoyā has been succinctly narrated. It is destructive of all sins of men and it bestows all desired benefits.

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