by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Bhalla Tirtha which is chapter 353 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 fifty-third chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
2-3. His own body was abandoned by the powerful Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa). There in the beautiful Mitra-vana extending to one-fourth of a Yojana, the death of Viṣṇu takes place in every Yuga in (all the) Kalpas and Manvantaras, O great goddess. He has no liking for any other (place).
Three and half crores of prominent Tīrthas which exist in heaven, earth and the intermediate space, abide therein only.
5b-6a. There Gaṅgā herself in her personal form stays for the ablution of Viṣṇu and for the welfare of beings.
8-9a. In the month of Bhādrapada on the twelfth day, I personally go there. I perform those (obsequies) as per procedure with prominent Brāhmaṇas and offer Dāna as per procedure to the knowers of the Vedas.
9b-10a. At that very place, on the twelfth lunar day, one should take bath as per procedure, and by devoutly gratifying the Pitṛs one is absolved of all sins, O dear.
10b-11. By worshipping Viṣṇu there and keeping awake at night (in the service of god Viṣṇu) and making gifts like those of lamps etc. one becomes one who has performed every (prescribed) act worth doing.
12a-14. O my dear, now I relate what happened there formerly. After eliminating all Yādavas, powerful Vāsudeva whose body had become as impregnable as Vajra by the Pāyasa wherewith he was smeared by Durvāsas that all-prevading [pervading?] Janārdana went to the shore of the sea. He controlled all the sense-organs, concentrated his individual self on the higher self and became absorbed in Samādhi.
16. Then from a distance that son of Niṣāda saw the foot (sole) of Viṣṇu. Thinking it to be a deer, he shot his arrow (at it).
17-19. Thereafter, when he approached him (Kṛṣṇa) he saw a huge-bodied person with four arms holding a conch, discus and mace. His complexion was like a blue cloud and eyes like lotuses.
Seeing him, he got terrified. Trembling (with fear) and with folded hands, he spoke: “I did not know, O Lord, that it was you, the divine-bodied one. O excellent Sura, (it was) out of ignorance that you were hit in the sole of your foot. It behoves you, O Lord, to pardon me and not to be angry with me.”
Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa) said:
20. By hitting me with an arrow, you have put an end to my curse. Therefore, through my grace, go to heaven, O highly refulgent one.
21. Those other excellent men who come here and view me will go to the great region where I permanently reside.
22. Inasmuch as I have been hit by you with a Bhalla (a kind of arrow), this place will become famous as ‘Bhalla Tīrtha’.
25. Those who are intent in their devotion to Pitṛs and perform Śrāddha here, their Pitṛs so gratified, attain satisfaction.
26. Hence, putting in all efforts, one should go to that excellent Kṣetra. After taking bath in the Bhallaka, the Fourarmed God should be visited.
27. People who, being extremely proud of the power of their devotion to me, do not pay obeisance to Vāsudeva so dear to me, should not be regarded as my devotees. They are sinners.
28. Worship of my Liṅga should not be performed by that man of evil intellect who even being my devotee, takes meals on the eleventh lunar day.
29. The lunar day which is dear to Viṣṇu is also dear to me. He who does not observe fast on that day is the greatest sinner.
30. Similarly one who, on the twelfth lunar day, devoutly worships me in the vicinity of Bhalla Tīrtha, whether one be a man or a woman, has no break (bereavement) at home in thousands of births.
31. Thus has been narrated, O goddess, the greatness of Bhalla Tīrtha of Viṣṇu which is destructive of all sins.
32. There, in the vicinity of Viṣṇu, in the north-west, is an excellent Kumbha (this word should be Kuṇḍa as there is no pitcher but a pool of water there). It is famous as Bhalla Tīrtha as Hari was killed with a Bhalla type of arrow.
33. There cloths and cows should be given as per procedure to prominent Brāhmaṇas by persons desirous of securing the fruit of (proper performance of) the Yātrā.
Footnotes and references:
According to Mbh, Mausala 7. 31, Arjuna performed the cremation of Kṛṣṇa.
See Mbh, Anuśāsana 159. 37-48.
According to Mbh., Mausala 7.21 Kṛṣṇa did not disappear but his body was cremated by Arjuna.