The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Vasishtha’s Order to Nandivardhana to Fill Up the Cleft which is chapter 3 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 third chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 3 - Vasiṣṭha’s Order to Nandīvardhana to Fill Up the Cleft

Sūta said:

1-2. Having listened to this statement of the great soul Vasiṣṭha, Himālaya began to think how to fill up the cleft. After thinking on the matter for a long duration Himālaya asked Sage Vasiṣṭha to tell the way mountains can be brought there.

3. He continued, “Indra had cut off the wings of all mountains since olden times. Hence, O best Sage, make this work certain.”

Vasiṣṭha said:

4-6. O great mountain! there is a way to fit mountains there. You have the son famous as Nandīvardhana. His best friend is of the name Arbuda. He is the best among all bearing life. He is powerful, and roams about in the sky. As one always on the move to higher regions, he must have reached there fast and there is no doubt about it. I have come here having known that all works are his sport.

7. You give him orders and do not get worried. If you are a devotee of mine, send him fast there, of course.

Sūta said:

8-10. After hearing the words of Vasiṣṭha, Himālaya, affectionate toward son became very sad and thought: “Our son Maināka has entered the sea and Vasiṣṭha has arrived to take away the eldest one. Now what should we do that will be for the good of all of us. There was fear of curse on one side while on the other was excessive sorrow of separation from son. But then separation from son is right while incurring the curse of a Brāhmaṇa is not.”

11-12. Resolving like this he told Nandīvardhana [Nandivardhana?], “O Son, go to Vasiṣṭha’s hermitage obeying my words. There is a frightening cleft there. Fill it up fast. Take along Arbuda, and the Nāga best among your beloved living beings.

Nandivardhana said:

13-14. O Lord! that country is full of sinners. No fruit or flower appears there. Only Palāśa, Khadira and cotton trees (Śālmali), etc. grow there. There is no river there. All inhabitants there are wicked. O King of mountains! I am in no way fit to go there.

15-18. Vasiṣṭha then told the nervous Nandīvardhana [Nandivardhana?], “There is no need for you to fear or to be affected by anyone’s wickedness there, for there will always be my abode on top of your head. Places of pilgrimage, rivers, gods, auspicious mansions and many kinds of trees having fruits, foliage and flowers will be there. As good signs, there will be deer and birds there. I will get Lord Śaṃkara there for your need, as a result of which along with Indra all gods will shine forth there.

Sūta said:

19-26. Nandīvardhana [Nandivardhana?] became exalted after hearing the statement of Vasiṣṭha. Going near the Arbuda mountain and repeating the same statement he said, “O friend! we will go there. Let there be good fortune for you. I consider this time to be fit for the job related to the Brāhmaṇa”. Arbuda said, “O son of Mountain! with myself originated from mountain, I will come there due to my love for you and will undoubtedly dwell there with you till the accomplishment of your job. But, O brother, due to my love, I want to say something. Till my voice lasts, I am speaking out of love and if you feel I am right, do not think differently. May this place earn its fame by my name and I do not have any other debt.” Then after admitting, and bowing down to mother and father, he left along with the sage getting mounted on Arbuda.

27. Possessed of heavenly trees, rivers, fountains, deer and full of the melodious sounds off birds, Arbuda stayed on top of the fissure as per the words of the sage. All of these arrived there and the great soul Arbuda, left all in the fissure. Sage Vasiṣṭha became satisfied with the fissure filled up. He told Arbuda mountain to ask for a boon saying he was fully pleased with his actions.

Arbuda said:

28-31. O great Sage! You are pleased. This is the best boon. However, O Brāhmaṇa! If you have to give something then listen: Let there be a stream of clean water on the peak of this mountain which be renowned by the name ‘Nāgatīrtha’ in all directions of the land. Due to love for my friend I will always dwell there and with your kindness let all humans attain the heavenly world after having a bath in this place of pilgrimage. Let a barren woman taking bath in this place of pilgrimage get happiness, good fortune and children.

Vasiṣṭha said:

32-35. A barren woman who takes a bath only once in this whole water will obtain a son endowed with all good features. A woman worshipping with fruits on the fifth day of the brighter half of the lunar month of Śrāvaṇa (July-August) will obtain sons despite being one hundred years old. The humans who take bath with faith in this place of pilgrimage will attain the highest place after getting exempted from old age and death. Those performing the ceremony in honour of the dead forefathers here on the fifth day of a month with all strictness, will get the complete fruits of pilgrimage performed in the month of Śrāvaṇa.

Sūta said:

36-37. Sage Vasiṣṭha after having given boon in this way came near Nandīvardhana [Nandivardhana?] and said these words, “O Son! ask for a boon. O sinless one! I am pleased with you. Because of your humility and good-heartedness, I am giving you whichever object that is difficult to obtain.”

Nandivardhana said:

38-39. O Best one of Sages! Your earlier statement is true. Your presence be always here by virtue of which I and Arbuda earn fame on the earth. It is established in my mind that all these happened by your grace.

Sūta said:

40-47. The blessed sage Vasiṣṭha told him that it would be like this and inspired by his statement he built up his own hermitage there. Trees like Pansa [Panasa?] (bread fruit), Campaka (a tree bearing yellow fragrant flowers), mango, Priyaṅgu, Bilva, three leaved Bela (asafoetida) and pomegranate etc. are there on this mountain. Many kinds of birds also dwell here. Gods and the heavenly musicians (Gandharvas) serve it. Sage Vasiṣṭha dwells there along with Arundhatī. Through (the power of) penances, Sage Vasiṣṭha had brought the river Gomatī here by bathing in which the extremely vicious humans also go to the heavenly world. Those who take bath in the month of Māgha (corresponding to the months of January-February) especially during the period when the Sun remains in Makara (the Zodiac sign of Capricorn), attain the highest status. Especially, a human being making offering of sesames in the month of Māgha dwells for a number of years equal to the number of sesame grains in Heaven. What more to say! One should take bath here. A human being does not take a rebirth after seeing the face of Sage Vasiṣṭha. Arundhatī is worshipped particularly here.

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