The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Jaleshvara (Jala-ishvara) which is chapter 338 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-eighth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 338 - Greatness of Jāleśvara (Jāla-īśvara)

Īśvara said:

1. O great goddess, thereafter one should go to (the shrine) known as Jāleśvara situated on the bank of Devikā. It (Jāleśvara) is bowed to by Suras and Asuras.

2-3. In Cākṣuṣa Manvantara, when there was the advent of Dvāpara Yuga, the Liṅga called Jāleśvara, situated on the banks of Devikā (river), was worshipped by Nāga girls. Human beings could not see it.

It comprised precious stones of very great refulgence. It has brilliance like the disc of the Moon. By its very remembrance, the (sin of) Brāhmaṇa-killing perishes.

Devī said:

4. Why is it (the Liṅga) named Jāleśvara? In what period did it come into existence?

5. What good qualities resulting from association with the good and saintly are glorified? Which regions and what merits are gained? O Lord, tell me everything.

Īśvara said:

6. In this context, they relate this ancient episode: a dialogue between (king) Nābhāga and (sage) Āpastaṃba, the treasure of penance.

7. Formerly there lived the great sage Āpastaṃba of self-dependent will power, the leader of the twice-born ones (Brāhmaṇas). The holy Lord was engaged in good deeds.

8. He always eschewed anger, avarice, delusion and hostility. He entered the waters of the river Devikā.

9. O beloved of Śiva, knowing that the holy place Prabhāsa was pleasant, he lived there for a big period of time.

10. While he stayed therein in a pillar-like stable posture practising the supreme Yoga of meditation, one day fishermen came to that place.

11. Spreading out their extremely wide net, the Niṣādas (fishermen), proud of their strength, powerfully dragged out that great fish (the sage).

12. Out of the water, they pulled the son of Brahmā. Seeing him blazing with penance, the fishermen were overwhelmed with fear. Bowing down their heads in obeisance, they spoke these words loudly:

Niṣādas said:

13. It behoves you to forgive us who have committed a sin unknowingly, O sage of good vows. Order us what pleasant task should be done for you.

14. The sage saw the great slaughter of fishes. Deeply grieved and overcome with great pity, he spoke to the fishermen:

15. “What remedy can I have? Alas! All are deeply engaged in their self-interest. Even the mind of those knowers is busy only in the interest of the self.

16. When persons endowed with (spiritual) knowledge are engaged in meditation depending on (i.e. for the sake of) their own objectives, where can grief-stricken miserable beings go for happiness?

17-19. Persons desirous of liberation praise a person who desires to experience griefs and miseries only—one worse than the previous one. Persons desirous of Mokṣa say: ‘What means can I have, whereby I, entering into all beings, can get an experience of miseries of all and become one possessing a miserable self? Whatever is auspicious merit of mine should go to them. Whatever evil deeds be perpetrated by them may entirely come to me.’

20. It is my opinion that he is a demon in whom mercy does not arise on seeing the blind, the miserable, the disabled, the helpless and the diseased.

21. Though capable of doing so, if one does not save beings in the danger of death and the beings overwhelmed with fear, he eats the fruit of (suffers the consequences of) sin.

22. They say that (the happiness in) heaven and liberation (from Saṃsāra) does not deserve to be even one-sixteenth fraction of the happiness that comes to distressed persons (when relieved).

25. I shall not go a single step abandoning these poor, extremely distressed fishes. What to say of going to the region of Devas!”

Īśvara said:

24. On hearing the statement of that sage, those fishermen got confused. They reported to King Nābhāga everything as it took place.

25. On hearing it, even Nābhāga accompanied by his ministers and family priest quickly hastened to see the son of Brahmā.

26. After worshipping properly the Deva-like sage, the king requested, “O Lord, tell me what should be done at your bidding?”

Āpastaṃba said:

27. These fishermen lead a miserable life and are greatly overwhelmed with fatigue. Pay them whatever you think proper as the price of mine.

Nābhāga said:

28. As you, the son of god Brahmā say, I shall pay one hundred thousand (coins) as the remuneration for drawing you out.

Āpastaṃba said:

29. O king, I should not be fixed with a hundred thousand as my worth. Adequate price should be given. Consult your ministers.

Nābhāga said:

30. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, ten million (coins) be given to the fishermen if this be your price. If it be more, it will be given.

Āpastarhba said:

31. O king, my price is not merely hundred thousand or more. Deserving price be paid after consulting Brāhmaṇas.

Nābhāga said:

32. Half of the kingdom or the whole of the kingdom be given to the Fishermen. I regard this as the (proper) price. What else do you think, O Brāhmaṇa?

Āpastaṃba said:

33. O king, I am not to be valued by half of the kingdom or the entire kingdom. Consult with some sages and a suitable value should be given.

34. On hearing the words of the great sage, Nābhāga, along with his ministers and family, felt dejected.

35. Then a certain sage Lomaśa of great penance assured Nābhāga: “Do not be afraid, I shall satisfy the sage.”

Nābhāga said:

36. Tell me the value of the great sage, O highly fortunate one. Protect me along with my clan, and family relatives from this (sage).

37. Lord Rudra will burn down the three worlds along with the mobiles and immobiles. What then of the weakling of a man extremely indulging in sensual pleasures?

Lomaśa said:

38. O great king, the excellent Brāhmaṇa worthy of being worshipped by the world, should be eulogized by you. Cows are divine. Hence, cows being his proper price, should be given to him.

39. On hearing that statement the king along with his ministers and family priest was overwhelmed with excessive joy. He spoke to the sage:

40. “Get up, get up, O holy Sir, (you are) purchased undoubtedly. This is the most deserving price for your honourable self, O excellent sage.”

Āpastaṃba said:

41. Being highly pleased I stand here as I am bought at the proper price, O king. I do not see any excellent, pure value higher than cows in this world, O king.

42. Cows are always to be worshipped and circumambulated. These goddesses (cows) are the receptacle of auspiciousness. These have been created by the self-born god (Brahmā).

43. The hall of fire-worship and the temples of gods become purified with cow-dung. What purer thing could have been created?

44. Urine of a cow, cowḍung, (cow’s) milk, curds and ghee (prepared from cow’s milk)—all these five (pure) products from cow purify the whole world.

45. “Cows be always in front of me and cows be at my rear. Cows are in my heart. I always stay among cows.”

46. If a self-controlled pure person mutters this Mantra three times (morning, noon and evening) a day, he is absolved of all sins and goes to heaven.

47. Everyday with devotion cows must mainly be fed on grass. A person taking his meal without feeding cows, incurs misfortune.

48. He who gives daily fodder (and other services) to cows, has offered oblations into fire, has properly satisfied the Pitṛs and performed worship of Devas.

49. Mantra: “The daughter of (the divine cow) Surabhī (i.e. a cow) deserves to be worshipped by the world. The goddess dwells in Viṣṇu’s region. May she accept all that has been given by me and be fully satisfied.”

50. By protecting the male calves of cows and by easing the itching of cows and by protecting the weak and suffering cows, a man is praised in heaven.

51. Cows are proclaimed to be the beginning, middle and end of mortal beings. They protect (sustain) milk, ghee and nectar of all Devas.

52. Hence, cows always deserve to be worshipped and gifted. They are created like a staircase for easy passage to heaven.

53. Hearing the excellent greatness of cows, the Niṣādas (fishermen) prostrated themselves before the noble-souled Āpastaṃba and spoke:

Niṣādas said:

54. It is heard (by us) that conversation, viewing, touch, glorification, remembrance of saintly persons are sanctifying.

55. Viewing us and conversation with us has been done by you. Render a favour unto us and accept this cow.

Āpastaṃba said:

56. I accept this cow. You are now absolved of your sins. O fishermen, go to heaven along with the fish taken out of water by you.

57. If I see hell by creating affinity with living beings even by censurable means, I shall stay therein as if it is veritable heaven.

58. If I have done some slight merit by my mind, speech and actions, may all miserable beings go to auspicious goal (heaven).

59. Then by the grace of the great sage of sanctified soul, the fishermen along with the fish went to heaven at his words.

60. Looking at the fishermen going to heaven along with the fish, the king along with the ministers and servants was struck with wonder and he spoke:

61. “Saintly persons are like water in (a sacred) Tīrtha. They should be served by persons intent on securing welfare. Rendering services to them even for a moment does not become fruitless.

62. One should always sit with good people. Pious stories or conversation should be carried on with good people. One should behave as per vows of the good. One should not do anything with evil persons.

63. These fishermen along with the fish went to heaven due to their association with the good. I like persons who practice virtuous deeds.”

64. Then sage Āpastaṃba and the noble-hearted Lomaśa blessed the king with various desired boons.

65. Then he (the king) selected the boon of having a virtuous mind which is so very difficult to get. Saying "So be it” with great affection, both of them praised the king.

66. “O chief of kings, how blessed you are that your mind is attached to virtue! Dharma (Piety) is very difficult to obtain, especially so in the case of kings.”

67. What man in the world can be more powerful than a king who puffed up with pride, does not abandon his own duties!

68. Always the birth (life) of a king is certainly prone to delusion. From delusion hell is a certainty. Hence wise men censure kingship.

69. Persons addicted to sensual pleasure think highly of a kingdom. Wise men, however, look upon it as comparable to hell.

70. Hence, O great king, do you desire to secure eternal position (Mokṣa) to yourself? Pride, the destroyer of both the worlds should not be entertained by you.”

Īśvara said:

71. After speaking thus, those two noble-souled ones went to their respective hermitages. Having got the boon, Nābhāga who was highly delighted, entered his capital.

72. As the most excellent sage was caught in the net of fishermen, it became well-known in the world as Jāleśvara.

73-76. O great goddess, after bathing there and worshipping Jāleśvara, Āpastaṃba, Nābhāga and the Niṣādas who live by fish (catching) went to heaven along with the fish due to the efficacy of Devikā. Piṇḍa should be offered to Pītṛs on the thirteenth day in the bright half of Caitra. There is no end to his merits.

Therein (in that Tīrtha) the religious gift of a cow to a Brāhmaṇa expert in the Vedas should be performed. The greatness (of Jāleśvara) should be heard and Jāleśvara should be visited.

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