The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Talasvami (Tala-svami) which is chapter 334 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 three hundred thirty-fourth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 334 - Greatness of Talasvāmī (Tala-svāmī)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Devī said:

1. O Lord, O Lord of the gods of gods, O redeemer from the ocean of Saṃsāra, out of some curiosity and out of devotion unto you, I ask you again.

2. You have described the greatness of Talasvāmī. What is the reason, O Lord, that Tala was felled there (by Viṣṇu).

3. Tell me who was that so-called Tala? What was his heroic deed and which god he worshipped? From what place was he created? How was he born?

Īśvara said:

4. Listen, O ye goddess, I shall convey to you a secret that is destructive of sins. I shall tell you completely what I have never divulged to anyone else.

5-6. Even gods do not know the cause of the creation of Tala. O goddess, formerly in Kṛta Age, he was famous as Govinda. In Tretā Yuga, (he was known) as Vāmanasvāmī. In the third (Dvāpara) Yuga (He was called) Stutisvāmī. O great goddess, it is in the Kali Age that he is glorified as Talasvāmī.

7. So also, his other name is Taptodakasvāmī, my dear. Now I shall explain to you, my dear, the creation (birth) of Tala.

8. There was a Dānava named Mahendra, having a terrible form. Formerly, O my dear, he performed a penance for a period of ten million years.

9. Endowed with the power of penance he defeated Devas along with Vāsava (Indra). Having conquered all Devas, he approached Kāla or the god of Death.

10. He requested me for a very terrible battle with him. Then a great battle causing annihilation of the world, ensued.

11. O lady of excellent countenance, in that great war, through ray wrath, a flame of fire burst forth from my body. In that he became Tala (flat like a surface).

12. Mahendra roaring loudly from his stronghold of a mountain cave was seen by him.

13. “Why are you shouting, O fool? Have a fight with me.” When this was said by Tala, there broke out a battle.

14-15. In the battle that ensued between Mahendra and Tala, Mahendra was felled down completely in the wrestling bout by the powerful Tala of energetic activity, for he was endowed with the might of Rudra.

16. Seeing him fallen down, Tala became surprised. Thinking him to be dead he began to dance with excessive joy.

17. O lady of excellent handsome features, when he began to dance (wildly) all the world consisting of mobiles and immobiles began to tremble by his powerful valour.

18. Then the earth, being troubled by Tala, became overburdened with weight. Along with Devas, Asuras and human beings, she was extremely terrified.

19-20. As a consequence of Tala’s dance, mountains trembled and crumbled, oceans overflowed (beyond their limits), trees met with destruction, rivers abandoned their beds, the Sun and other heavenly luminaries lost their brilliance and did not shine. The three worlds became bewildered.

21. Then all the categories of Devas came to Rudra to seek shelter. The whole incident was factually reported. Then Rudra spoke to them:

22-24. “O Devas, Tala being accepted and ordained as (my) son, does not deserve death from me.” After saying this, he directed them to Hṛśīkeśa residing in the Prabhāsa Kṣetra and having ‘Stutisvāmin’ as his name. He stands in front of Durvāsas. He is installed in the eastern part in the vicinity of Prabhāsa Kṣetra near the Kuṇḍa of hot waters. O Suras, go there. In every Kalpa that Dānava (Tala) has been killed by him (Viṣṇu).”

25. When spoken thus, Devas came to Prabhāsa Kṣetra. There the gods went to the place where was the chief (presiding deity) of the (Kuṇḍa of) hot waters.

26. Seeing Nārāyaṇa there, the Devas endowed with faith, praised Janārdana, the god of gods, with intense devotion.

27. (Devas prayed:) “O Vaikuṇṭha, save us. We have been uprooted (from our posts) by Tala born of the lustre of Rudra, provoked by Mahendra’s anger.

28. We have reported to Rudra everything that should be done. Then we all have been sent to your presence by the supreme deity Rudra. O great god! Be our shelter.”

29. On hearing their prayer, Janārdana, the god of gods, the mighty-armed Lord to whom Prabhāsa Kṣetra was dear, made efforts to kill the Dānava and to protect the Devas.

30. Thereupon, he challenged the Daitya at a central place in Prabhāsa. Then, O goddess, he gave a fight causing (as if) the annihilation of the universe.

31. Then all the Devas surrounded by their army engaged the Daitya in a great battle that caused the hair (of the body) to stand on their ends.

32. Noticing the highly powerful Daitya, big like a mountain, Garuḍa-vehicled Viṣṇu of quick side-glances addressed (the Daitya):

33. “O mighty-armed Daitya, offer me a wrestling bout. Seeing your pair of arms, fighting (with weapons) is not desired by me.”

34. Hearing the words of Nārāyaṇa, he raised his arm. The Daitya, resembling in brilliance the god of Death, rushed at him (Viṣṇu).

35-36. Then ensued the fight between the two, both desirous of victory over the other. (They fought) by obstructing feet by means of calves, curbing down arms with the arms, obstructing neck with neck and belly with belly. (These must have been special obstructive movements in wrestling.) In the meanwhile, Devas became terrified.

37. Thereupon, Viṣṇu, overcome with trouble, remembered Hara. Instantly, that very moment, came Rudra and asked, “O highly mighty one, what should I do (for you)?”

Viṣṇu said:

38-39. O Śaṅkara, O god of Devas, I am fatigued while wrestling. Hence just now prepare hot water to relieve the fatigue. Thereafter, I shall kill Tala, the terrible one, in a moment.

Īśvara said:

40-41. O Kṛṣṇa (Viṣṇu) at the beginning of Kṛta Age, hot water was created by Umā for dispelling the fatigue of sages. But due to the pressure of the sins of the Daitya, it has become cold. Then it was made hot again (its hotness) lasting to the end of the Kalpa.

42. After saying this, god Maheśvara cast a glance with his third eye beautified with a garland of flames.

43. By the mass of flames, the Kuṇḍa was enveloped in four directions (on all sides) so it became famous all over the earth as Hot (water) Kuṇḍa.

44. Then his excellent body was washed by Nārāyaṇa here. By that wash the fatigue of that god became dispelled.

45-46. Then the god became satisfied in his mind. He remembered ten Koṭi (a hundred million) Tīrthas. He deposited them in it (Kuṇḍa) and took his bath as per injunctions. Then he engaged in a very terrible fight with Tala. He delivered a blow of his fist on Tala’s head.

47-48. While the tumultuous battle continued, all worlds including the earth were quaking. Devas were overcome with fright. Quarters did not shine. The whole world being enveloped in darkness swooned. Siddhas persisted. O chief (Queen) of Devas, groups of great sages said: “May Hari, the destroyer of evils, verily restore peace. O (Hari) save us.” The living beings who were terrified prayed similarly.

49. Then, the Dānava who was felled down on the ground in the wrestling-fight was tortured (by Viṣṇu) with a sword, after pressing his foot on the (Dānava’s) throat.

50-51. The Daitya whose neck was forcibly pressed down by Viṣṇu, burst out into a laughter. To him the lotus-eyed Viṣṇu asked the reason for his laughter. He said: “There is a couplet (saying) sung by the world (people) that a man delights in prosperity but becomes miserable in adversity. But yours is a case to the contrary, O Daitya.”

52-54. When enquired thus, the Daitya replied to Janārdana: “The supreme region which is achieved by performing sacrifices like Agniṣṭoma etc, by various ways of the study of the Vedas, by permanent observance of fasts and other (religious) regulations and by performance of holy ablutions, religious gifts and Japa (muttering of Mantras) and by sinless persons engaged in Yoga, that supreme foot (region) of Viṣṇu has been gained by me though of wicked disposition.”

As soon as he (Daitya) uttered this, Lord Viṣṇu became inclined to grant him boons.

55. He spoke excellent words to the supreme leader of Daityas: “Seek a boon, O ruler of Daityas, whatever is cherished in your mind.”

56-57. Hearing the words of Viṣṇu, the Dānava prayed: “O supporter of the earth (in the incarnation of the Divine Boar), do that which will perpetuate my reputation in the world. May the sin of the person who views you with devotion and concentrated attention, on the eleventh day in the bright half of Mārgaśīrṣa, get annihilated.”

58-59. After saying: “So it will happen” the god felt extreme joy. Various Dundubhi drums were sounded. A shower of flowers fell on Viṣṇu’s head. O highly fortunate one, people became composed and contented. All groups (categories) of Devas elated with joy, danced, being overcome with extreme delight. Those devotees of Nārāyaṇa spoke:

60-61. “This Tīrtha is a great Tīrtha destructive of all sins. It is the remover of Viṣṇu’s fatigue and purifier of sins such as the killing of a Brāhmaṇa. There Nārāyaṇa has settled. (Śaṅkara is the Bhairava there.) He is famous (by the) name Kālamegha and is of the form of the protector of the Kṣetra.”

62. I shall now explain the procedure of his Yātrā (pilgrimage):

O great goddess, a pure person, after going (to that Kṣetra) should remember Viṣṇu who is heard (famous) as Talasvāmī.

63. O great goddess, one should eulogize Viṣṇu with the Viṣṇu-ṛc “sahasraśīrṣā”; one should perform Tarpaṇa.

64-66. After taking bath as per injunctions and after giving Arghya to Janārdana, he (the pilgrim) should worship him with scents, flowers (or fragrant flowers), garments, unguents with flowers, honey and sugarcane juice. (He should) smear (Viṣṇu) with saffron mixed with camphor, Khus accompanied with musk. Thereafter, he should dress (the god) with clothes and offer excellent food as Naivedya. Thereafter, a vigil should be observed at night listening to religious stories.

67. A bull should be offered as a (religious) gift. Gold with a pair of clothes should be given to a learned Brāhmaṇa endowed with Vedic lore.

68. O brilliant lady, on that day, fast should be observed. After paying obeisance to Janārdana, he should visit Rukmiṇī.

69. After doing this, with devotion, a man gets the fruit of being born (as a man). He gets the benefit (of performance) of all sacrifices and giving (all kinds of religious) gifts.

70. He gets the benefit of (pilgrimage to) all Tīrthas and of (the observance of all) Vratas. He will redeem all Pitṛs (male ancestors) and Mātṛs (female ancestors).

71-72. There will be destruction of all his sins committed since birth. Neither misery nor poverty nor ill-luck befalls him. All these accrue to one for seven births by viewing Talasvāmī.

O goddess, the fruit one obtains by offering a thousand pieces of gold as a religious gift to a Brāhmaṇa, expert in Vedas, is gained by having a bath in that Kuṇḍa.

73. Thus, the excellent account (of the acts) of Talasvāmī was formerly heard by Siddhas and great sages. After hearing his prowess in the vicinity of Taladeva, one gets whatever is cherished by the mind.

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