The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Naga Tirtha which is chapter 5 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 fifth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 5 - Greatness of Nāga Tīrtha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The Sages said:

1. O Sūta! describe to us in detail the greatness of Arbuda. We have a great curiosity. Please tell us this auspicious tale.

Sūta said:

2. Pulastya, the illustrious sage, in ancient times, came to the house of king Yayāti. After paying homage, the king told the sage.

3. O best of the sages! welcome to you. My life has become fruitful. With pleasure, please let me hear the story of the Arbuda mountain.

4. There is a renowned mountain by name Arbuda on the surface of this earth. O best one of the Brāhmaṇas! please narrate the sequence of visits to this mountain and their fruits.

5. Undertaking pilgrimages has been your principal object. Please describe all in details. Please tell me so that I can undertake pilgrimage in a befitting manner.

Pulastya said:

6. O king Yayāti! this best of the mountains—Arbuda has abundant religious merit. A detailed description of it is not possible in hundreds of years.

7. Hence, I am describing only the principal centers of pilgrimage on it in brief. Among these in the very beginning is Nāga Tīrtha which fulfills desires of all people.

8. This center of pilgrimage especially grants the good fortune of gift of children to women. Due to this, its ancient history is a matter of great wonder.

9. There was a loyal, faithful and virtuous Brāhmaṇa lady by name Gautamī who had made visits to places of pilgrimage the principal objective of life for becoming a widow in childhood.

10. She had come to Arbuda and had approached Nāga Tīrtha. She had taken a dip in its water with all her mind.

11. A woman named Nāyakā had also come here with her son for the purpose of pilgrimage. O king! that son had performed many kinds of services here.

12. He performed service with all paraphernalia. But becoming sad with separation from son, Gautamī began to worry (thinking).

13. “Fortunate is that child always engaged in service. Fortunate is she having a son like this. I am reproachable for being devoid of child.

14. I, a widow, am very sad without a child.” O king! she then came out of the reservoir.

15-16. Without union with husband she became pregnant immediately. As a virtuous lady she got ashamed for being enjoined with all traits of pregnancy. Driven by the idea to kill herself she kindled fire. At the sametime bodiless voice arose.

17-19. It said: “O Gautamī! do not enter into the fire of this worry. There is no fault of yours. Your pregnancy is due to the influence of pilgrimage. Standing in this water whatever any human desires (in mind), all those women or men obtain all those desires without any doubt. Having seen the Nāyakā’s child, you had nurtured the desire for a child in your heart. Hence O daughter! a son which has come in your womb will be born.

20-22. Hence, stop worrying. There will be your welfare. O you! having fidelity to your husband, you are blameless.”

O king! then the virtuous Gautamī restrained herself from death. Having heard this statement from the heavenly announcement made by a divine messenger and having seen the pregnancy without husband she said, “The unusual effect of this place of pilgrimage never occurred in my mind where women can bear foetus without semen and Rajas (menstrual fluid) getting mixed.

23. I shall not go anywhere else leaving this best centre of pilgrimage.”

Having said so the virtuous lady Gautamī settled there forever.

24-25. She gave birth to a son endowed with all traits. O king Yayāti! ‘the lineage’ of people who perform the Śrāddha (ceremony connected with memory of the dead relatives in a family) at Arbuda during the waning period of the moon in the month of Aśvina (September) never gets destroyed.

26. No one in their family becomes a Preta (ghost). The man who takes a bath and performs Śrāddha there without any desire obtains the eternal world.

27-28. A woman who immerses fruits and flowers in this place of pilgrimage is blessed with a son. She obtains the celestial world of the gods difficult to attain even without a desire for the same. Hence, one must perform pilgrimage to this place with all efforts.

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