The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Svarnarekha which is chapter 7 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 seventh chapter of the Vastrapatha-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 7 - The Greatness of Svarṇarekhā

The king said:

1. How did you, of a human form, turn into the form of a female deer? Who brought you up in your childhood? (How did you get) such a form?

The female deer said:

2-3. O Lord, listen. I shall tell you what happened in the Kanyaka forest. O Lord, the sage, Uddālaka by name, having great penance, went, in the morning, into a forest, to pass urine. At the end of his urination a drop of the semen of that Brāhmaṇa fell on the ground.

4. While after having purified himself with care, the sage moved, a female deer came there from a flower-garden on seeing (the drop).

5. She quickly swallowed the semen, (and) the Brāhmaṇa sage himself saw this (phenomenon). (He thought to himself:) ‘Since she has swallowed my semen, she will conceive.’

6. (He said to her:) ‘In the embryo there will be (conceived) a female of my form and face like you. Goddesses will bring up your daughter with divine liquids.

7. ‘Due to some chance she will have knowledge’ Thus from Uddālaka only I was born as a deer-faced one, O king, after formerly entering into fire with you.

8-9. Due to that was my chastity in the seventh birth. O best king, I burnt into the funeral fire, that sin, which you, while ruling, committed- (viz.) you died while running away abandoning your duty as a Kṣatriya.

10. If a lady enters fire along with her dead husband, she emancipates her husband, herself and both the families (of herself and of her husband).

11. He who dies while capturing cows, or at the time of the downfall of his country, prospers in the world of Brahmā, after piercing the orb of the Sun.

12. That mortal who observes a fast (for many days), causing religious merit of a thousand sacrifices, goes in a vehicle (to Heaven), accompanied by (Śiva’s) attendants, after having shaken off his sins, and is adored by gods.

13. Those who die in the water of Gaṅgā, at Prayāga or Kedāra, at Vastrāpatha or Prabhāsa go to Heaven.

14. Those who die at Dvārāvatī or Kurukṣetra after practising yoga, and utter the letters ‘Hari’ at the time of death, go to Heaven.

15-16a. Those, O lion among kings, who die after having worshipped Hari on the earth with darbhas and sesamum seeds, and having gifted sesamum seeds and five metals (viz. gold, silver, copper, tin and lead) and a milch-cow go to Heaven.

16b-17a. Having produced sons and having established them in the position of (i.e. the position occupied by) the father or grandfather, those who are clean and spotless go to Heaven after death.

17b. (So also) those who are engaged in vows and fasts, whose behaviour is truthful, who are engaged in non-violence, who are calm, go to Heaven.

18. O king, since you left the battlefield and died reproachfully, you had birth in the seven generations with me.

19. At the time of my death I had implored that I should not have a husband other than you. O Lord of kings, at that time an incorporeal speech said from the sky: First you will suffer the fruit of your sins, and then you will go to Heaven.

20. O king, if someone, after going to Vastrāpatha leaves my head into the water of Svarṇarekhā, my face will be human again.

21. I am (really) human-faced; (but) my face is covered with the shadow of sin; (so) it appears like the face of a deer. Therefore, quickly leave it (into the river).

22. Hearing these words, the king looked up at Sārasvata. The people laughed with joy: “Every word of the female deer is true”

23-25a. Speaking like this the best Brāhmaṇa (Sārasvata) said: “O best king, do like this.” (Then) ordered like this by the king, the door-keeper went to the forest, making haste to see Bhava at the great holy place Vastrāpatha. (He went to) that place where there was a great mass of marrow on the surface of the water of Svarṇarekhā, transfixed with bamboos in the great forest.

25b-26. Kuśala, Sārasvata’s (clever) disciple reported: “Having gone to the holy place Vastrāpatha, I saw a great river in front of Bhava. There (I saw) a head in the mass (of marrow), released into the water.”

27. Having bathed and having worshipped well the Lord of the holy place, the door-keeper returned speedily in a chariot bright like the sun, along with the disciple.

28. When the door-keeper came (back), Sārasvata asked her for (i.e. to observe) the Cāndrāyaṇa vow (the vow regulated by the Moon’s waxing and waning) only continuously for one month.

29-30. When the vow was over, her face was divine, had fine eyes, looked charming, had long hair, long ears and fine teeth, had conch-like neck, smelt like lotus and had all (auspicious) signs. At the end of the vow the young lady swooned and lost her (faculty of) knowledge.

31. The beautiful lady was not a goddess, not a Gandharva-lady, not a demoness, nor a Kinnara, as she became (none of these) due to the superhuman power of the holy place.

32. That king Bhoja married that beautiful lady. That queen

became known as ‘Mṛgīmukhā’.

33. She did not also know what happened in the palace. The wise king Bhoja made her the chief queen.

The Lord said:

34. (In that holy place was) the best of countries, the best of mountains, the best of the holy places, the best of forests.

35-36a. (The rivers) Gaṅgā, Sarasvatī, Tāpī remained in the water of Svarṇarekhā. All gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Sun, Indra and others, Nāgas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, have settled in this holy place.

36b-37. He, that Bhava, who created the universe - the three worlds with the moveable and the immoveable, and from whom gods like Brahmā came up, dwells here. The three-eyed god is very well known as Bhava, Śiva.

38. Due to Kārttikeya’s creation it shines. Bhavānī too dwells here. Therefore, O Goddess, I have not said much about this holy place.

39. If after bathing in its water, a man, after performing Sandhyā (-prayer) gratifying (deities), offers a Śrāddha to the dead ancestors, gives dakṣiṇā (to Brāhmaṇas), sees the (place of) rise of Bhava, is liberated from the worldly (existence).

40. If a man worships Bhava with divine flowers, then sings the text of the hymn ‘Śiva, Śiva’, he, being praised by the groups of Śiva’s attendants, goes, being of the form of Śiva, the excellent god, to Heaven, (being carried by) aeroplanes.

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