by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Rupa Tirtha which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
2. O king! in a place by name Vapu there was a renowned divine beauty. It is mentioned that she had attained fulfilment there.
3. Earlier there was an ugly woman having a disfigured face for whom fear was unknown. Having a fat belly and crooked neck, she had such horn-like big teeth that the same appeared as if piercing out of her head.
4. Once she was roaming about in the Arbuda region in search of fruits. That was the third day of the rising period of moon in the month of Pauṣa (i.e., January). She fell off into a fountain in the mountain.
5. In that beautiful and bright reservoir she got enjoined with a beautiful complexion, with lotus eyes, good hairs and with all traits pronounced.
6-7. O king! the emergence of hers with such a body was out of the influence of this centre of pilgrimage. In the meantime, a King arrived there in the same pronounced mountain for the purpose of playing. But then by beholding such a beautiful sight in that auspicious moment the king got pierced with an arrow of lust.
8. Tell me who you are like a diamond? What for have you come here? Are you a goddess or the daughter of King of snakes Nāga or are you the embodiment of fulfilled knowledge?
9. I have been hijacked in mind by your well-moving brows and lotus eyes. I am the King of all gods. O beauty with a pleasing smile! entreat me.
The woman said:
10. I am a woman having thirty husbands and hence fearless. Having come here with the aim of fruits, I have fallen into the fountain in the mountain.
11. I have got this beautiful and good appearance by dint of a bath here. You, yourself is even difficult to obtain for gods. So what to speak of the mortals subject to repeated births and deaths?
12. Having all gods under your control what for are you desiring me? As the Lord of gods, you can have a share of mine according to your desire like my thirty husbands.
13-14. After her saying like this the King, i.e., Indra possessed with desire and desirous of winning her over, told her, “O giver of welfare! ask for the boon that is in your mind. I am pleased with your polite behaviour. I will give you a good boon.”
The woman said:
15. Let all the gods be pleased by any man or woman taking bath here with faith on the third day of the rising period of the moon in the month of Pauṣa (i.e., January).
16. Let the unattainable beauty of gods be obtainable for them. O King of gods! please take me along to the Heaven.
17. Saying ‘let it be so’ the King of gods, taking her along left for the heavenly kingdom in a space vehicle.
18. This is how after having got a pure body while on earth, the place is renowned as Vapu and she has got the same name as a divine beauty.
19. The gods with faith take bath in that pond in morning on the third day of the rising period of the moon in the month of (Pauṣa, i.e., January).
20. O king! the other divine unmarried girls as well as Yakṣa girls taking a bath there at that time also attained fulfilment.
21. Appearance is gained over there as she got it completely there. Everyone becomes accomplished there endowed with learning.
22. There is a beautiful cave on the eastern side where the unmarried girls inhabiting hell take bath.
23. After taking a bath there, they proceed to the cave carrying a bit of water with them. From there they take a bit of water from the stone at the sitting place of Lord Gaṇeśa.
24. After mixing both the water humans become accomplished. The living beings carrying that water go here and there.
25. There is a tree by name Tilaka on the doorway of that cave which cannot be seen anywhere either in heaven or on the surface of earth.
26. All works get accomplished by its flowers and fruits. The man becomes fulfilled by eating or bearing those on the body.
27. The stones in that cave spread across all directions are like conches. It appears they wish to have a touch of that water through which they turn golden.
28. If a woman sterile for years and centuries drink the water mixed with sandalwood, she becomes pregnant.
29. By practising to take bath there, a man suffering from diseases becomes free from ailments and one, afflicted with planetary debilitations, slows down the same affectations through such a practice.
31. Even worms, flies, satans [i.e., Piśācas], birds, deer etc. will attain the ultimate passage instantaneously by touch of this water.
32. This very strange and supernatural greatness of this pilgrimage centre as told, has impressed me. It has neither any past nor a future.
33. What could be the specific reason about this place so that its supernatural greatness is being remembered? I have a great curiosity. Please describe in detail.
34-35. In earlier times, with the downfall of the kingdom of Indra followed by the demon Bala becoming king of three worlds, the mother Aditi observed severe penance here. Then the four-armed Viṣṇu descended into the womb of Aditi. Then the great Viṣṇu came out but afraid of the terror of the demon, remained clandestinely inside the pond on the doorway of the cave.
36. So that way as soon as Hari took birth, he placed himself in that pond. Due to that the pilgrimage acquired its sacredness and people’s wishes get actualised by a visit here.
37. O King! there is no other reason. I have narrated the truth to you. On the third day of the rising period of moon in the month of Pauṣa (i.e., January) the dwarf Trivikrama was born here.
38. The tree Tilaka placed ahead of all trees was brought up here like a son by Aditi. She had served it with the auspicious water everyday in her own hands.
39. In this way, I have narrated to you the greatness and goodness of this centre of pilgrimage as mentioned by all. Hence, everyone must make good effort to have a bath there. It fulfills desire of all people in this world as well as in the next world.