The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Damodara which is chapter 15 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 fifteenth chapter of the Vastrapatha-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 15 - The Greatness of Dāmodara

Sārasvata said:

1-2a. Then that Brāhmaṇa Vāmana, who had obtained knowledge about the worship of Bhava, went to that charming forest which is on the Raivataka mountain, where there are various kinds of trees having long branches and fruits.

2b-3. (The trees were:) Vaṭa, udumbara, bilva, sarja, arjuna, kadambaka, palāśa, aśvattha, nimba, dhavāṭi, vāruṇī, śamī, kaṅkola, limba, bījapūrī, dāḍima,

4. badara, nimbaka, pūga, kadalī, śallakī, śivā, tāla, hintāla, śirasa, bījaka, vaṃśa, khadira,

5. ajaga, āsanaga, aguceha [aguccha?], iṅgudī, kora, veṅguda, brahmavṛkṣa, kurubaka, karañja, putrajīvin,

6. aṅkolla, paribhadra, kalamba, paṅasa [panasa?], ujjvala, haridrā, gaṅgaḍī vāyava,

7. tesuṇḍaka, sirīṣa, kharjūrī, karavandika, sevālī, śālmalī, śālā, madhūka, vibhītaka,

8. harītakī, kaṭāha, karyaṣṭa, āṭarūpaka, vikacchu, kapittha, rohiṇī, vetraka,

9. madanaphala, nirguṇḍī, pāṭala, nandi, creepers of lavaṅga, elāla-creepers, and tree like santāna, agaru,

10. trees like śrīkhaṇḍa, karpūra, best trees like the resin-yielding trees. Vāmana saw shady trees worshipped by gods.

11. Their shadow was never lost at sunrise or sunset. Merely by seeing them all sins would be destroyed.

12. They are visible to those who have done pious acts. Seeing those trees he then went to Raivataka mountain.

13. When he saw the high peak (of the mountain) he saw on its top a great wonder, terrible in the world.

14. He saw five men in the midst of smoke and fire. Their bodies were dark; they moved in the sky; they were fearful; they were decorated with (the powder of) black aloe wood.

15. They were mounted on dogs, having trunks like elephants and girdles. They had swords and clubs in their hands. They had a shrieking sound like that of a small drum.

16. They had resounded the mountain by planting their feet that had bells. They had shapes fearful due to the cries. They had their hair curled wth [with?] kāśa grass.

17. Their palates were full with the essence of the marrow of human flesh. They had sharp eyes like Bhava cognizing the odour of the people.

18. The best Brāhmaṇa, who knew the series of errands, and who had obtained divine sight resulting from the practice of Pañcāgni (i.e. the austerity in which four fires are around the ascetic, and the fifth is the sun above), saw the gods.

19. These five lords of the holy place were created by Mahādeva. They were very powerful. They always lived on the Raivataka mountain.

20. On the mountain they also ward off mortals acting according to their own will; so also those who do not see (with respect) Hari, Hara, a river, or a goddess, or the mountain.

21. Seeing, knowing and meditating upon God Maheśvara, they are spiteful. The five brothers, having prowess like five Indras, have a body marked with the thought about the war with the wicked lord of demons.

22. The gods have sprung from the mouth of Rudra, are spiteful, and destroyers of Dakṣa’s sacrifice. They are delighted with the submarine fire extinguished and afraid due to having licked the offerings.

23. Their bodies were besmeared with saffron, sandal and camphor; they were well-decorated. They were singing and dancing with their bodies intoxicated with liquor.

24. The Guardians of the holy place, who were tired due to moving in the universe and the odour of their own bodies, who had mind-like speed, who moved as they liked, were victorious.

25-26. Pleased with such and other words, they themselves remained before the Brāhmaṇa. (One of them said to the Brāhmaṇa:) “I am Ekapāda; the second one is Giridāruṇa. The third is Meghanāda; the fourth is Siṃhanāda; the fifth Kālamegha. What should we do? Tell us that.”

The Brāhmaṇa said:

27. If you are pleased with me, if you are certainly giving me a boon, (then) Oh! set up by me you should stay here till the final deluge.

28-29a. Ekapāda, due to great joy, first remained on the slope of the mountain. Remaining in the dwelling on the mountain, he, having pleased Giridāruṇa, also set him up; and he, the giver of the boon, himself stayed there.

29b. Meghanāda himself went to the top of the mountain.

30. Like that Simhanāda also entered the charming (holy place) Bhavānīśaṅkara and was settled before Bhava by Vastrāpatha himself.

31. The very mighty Kālamegha (was settled) on the bank of the river Svarṇarekhā. A holy place was established for obliging all people.

32-33. Vāmana himself went and worshipped the Guardians of the holy place. O Lord of Kings, formerly, at the beginning of the (Kali) age, all gods came, reached the holy Raivataka mountain for the protection of all worlds and killing the enemies of gods.

34. Then the best gods put the garland of victory round Viṣṇu’s neck. The holy place was given the well-known, best name of Hari viz. Dāmodara.

35. There in the beginning in the bright half of Kārttika, dear to Viṣṇu, fasting along with (other) gods, fashioned that holy place.

36-38a. The river Svarṇarekhā, full of all holy places and sacred, remains (here). Those who see the holy place Dāmodara giving enjoyments and salvation, which washes off all sins, and destroys diseases and poverty, which gives great joy, are taken in aeroplanes to Viṣṇu’s abode.

38b. Kārttika should not be observed in the house especially Bhīṣmapañcaka (i.e. the five days from the eleventh to the fifteenth of the bright half of Kārttika).

39a. Dvādaśī is better than Pañcaka. It should be observed in the water of Dāmodara.

39b. When Kārttika has arrived people should bathe in the morning.

40. Ascetics and celebates should observe fast for a month, so also chaste women and widows and those who desire salvation.

41-42a. In Kārttika Viṣṇu should be worshipped by men intent on giving a gift of lamp, by eating once a day, or at night or eating unsolicited food or by fasting, or kṛchra (bodily mortification), or eating vegetables.

42b-43a. If men, intent on celibacy, pass the month (of Kārttika) then they live with Viṣṇu in Viṣṇupura.

43b. On the arrival of Bhīṣmapañcaka five fasts should be observed.

44. The pañcaka (group of five days) is said to last for five days beginning with Ekādaśī and ending on the Full-Moon day, and it destroys all sins of men.

45. Of all months, and the group of five days in Kārttika, Ekādaśī, observed in Kārttika is meritorious, when observed at the holy place Dāmodara.

46. In Kārttika sweet food, oblation covered with ghee should be given (to a Brāhmaṇa); so also gold, silver, a garment, water, food and fruits.

47a. At the end of the month various (objects), a cow, sesamum seeds and flowers should be given.

47b-48. O King, that fruit which is most holy of all gifts, which is secured by visits to all sacred places, or by sacrifices like horse-sacrifice, by one offering the funeral rice balls at Gayā is produced for men on seeing Dāmodara.

49a. On the Ekādaśī day one should, after having bathed, be engaged in worshipping (a deity).

49b-50. Having (first) bathed (the deity) with the collection of five (sweet things like milk, sugar, clarified butter, curds and honey) one should then worship (the deity) with fragrant flowers and lotuses.

51. with white jasmine flowers and many tulasī-leaves. Having given a garment and a sacred thread he should bum incense.

52. He should offer to the deity a lamp full with ghee or with oil in the absence of ghee. An offering of a variety of foods, so also fruit or tāmbūla should be given.

53. O King, the palace should be worshipped with the gift of a flag etc. Then a cow, helping one to cross the ocean of the human existence, should be given along with her calf.

54. Then he should go round (the deity) with the accompaniment of songs and the sounds of musical instruments, recitations of Vedic texts, Purāṇas, expositions and divine tales etc.

55-56. He should keep awake before a deity, and a lamp should be offered in the neighbourhood of the house. Seven mountains (i.e. heaps) of seven (kinds of) com, with a lamp, so also full of fruits, tāmbūlas, cooked food prepared by learned Brāhmaṇa householders,

57. and women also, O greatest king, and story about Viṣṇu should be listened to. Thus being free from attachment or anger, they should keep awake.

58. Having kept awake at night, he, when the sun has risen, should, having offered the morning prayer, observe (the rite at) the noon.

59. Having satiated deities and dead ancestors according to rule, he should perform a funeral rite in honour of dead ancestors or should give gifts according to his capacity.

60. Having once again worshipped God Dāmodara with flowers, incense etc. he should, having worshipped Narasiṃha, worship Vainateya.

61. Having kept awake at night, and having awakened Madhusūdana, and having had the meal of Dvādaśī, men should break their fast.

62. Having fed the Brāhmaṇas along with sons and relatives, they should give food, according to their capacity, to those with defective limbs, to the blind, and to the helpless at the holy place Dāmodara or Raivataka or in the water of the river Svarṇarekhā.

63. Listen to the fruit, the religious merit, of him who does the pilgrimage in this way.

64. One who kills a Brāhmaṇa, one who drinks liquor, who usurps the boundary of the village, one who plots against the king, the preceptor, and who deceitfully observes a vow,

65. who is a false witness, who takes off a deposit, who kills a child or a lady, a Brāhmaṇa who does not take bath or who does not offer the morning, noon and evening prayers,

66. so also one who usurps (others’) wealth, who sells (the knowledge in) the Vedas, one who sells his daughter, who censures gods and Brāhmaṇaas,

67. a Brāhmaṇa who is a traitor, who eats the food of a Śūdra, who is a hunter, who is the lover of others’ wife, who snatches away what is given by himself,

68. one who cohabits on the day of the lunar or solar eclipse, one who breaks down barriers, one who does not copulate with (his wife) that is married to him and is fit for intercourse;

69. so a Brāhmaṇa lady who is a widow or young but does not remember the scriptures-(all) these and many others are great sinners, O King.

70. Having bathed in the water of Svarṇarekhā, having (then) seen (the idol of) Dāmodara Hari, and having kept awake at night, he is freed from all sins.

71. Those sinners who do not come for sitting up at night as a part of a religious ceremony, remain in the ocean of the worldly existence, but do not go to Hari’s city.

72. As a man goes for sitting up at night as required in a religious ceremony, he is considered by gods for residence in a house, resounding with the sounds of tabors and songs, in Viṣṇu’s city.

73. They, holding a mace, a sword, a conch, a wheel, having four hands, having forms (of gods) that remove the pride of the demons, being sung by the heavenly beauties, go (possessing) limbs of those who move in the sky.

74. In the Varāha Kalpa at the beginning of the yuga, Dāmodara was well-known at Raivataka. This is the river that was greatest among rivers. This is that Hari, the creator of the universe.

75. The man who recites or listens to it (being recited), with a supporting hand given by divine ladies, and having four arms, so also praised by groups of gods, is taken to Madhusūdana’s abode by aeroplanes.

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