The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Yama Tirtha which is chapter 18 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 eighteenth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 18 - Greatness of Yama Tīrtha

Pulastya said:

1. Then, O best of kings, one has to go to that good place of pilgrimage known as Yama Tīrtha. It is a destroyer of sins of living beings and giver of freedom from hell.

2. In olden times, there was a king named Citrāṅgada who was excessively greedy. Neither did he do anything good nor was good behaviour known to him on earth.

3. Extremely cruel, wicked, he was a pain-giver to gods and Brāhmaṇas. He used to embezzle others’ wealth and kidnap others’ wives.

4. Devoid of truth and honesty and at the same time full of cunningness and insatiable greed, once, he went to the Arbuda mountain as addicted he was to hunting.

5. Roaming about here and there, he got agitated with excessive hunger and thirst. Then he found a lake full of clean water.

6. It was full of lotuses as well as of crocodiles and turtles. Full of different kinds of birds it was well spread out and enticing.

7. 0 virtuous king, as he entered the pool to quench his thirst, a crocodile caught him and devoured him.

8. Yama had created terrible hells for him. The Messenger of Yama hurried and took him, the perpetrator of evils, there.

9. However, coming in contact with him, everyone in hell became happy. With his eyes struck with wonder on seeing everyone happy in a place like hell, the Messenger described such state of affairs before Yama, the king of righteousness.

Then Yama said:

10-11a. The Arbuda mountain is there on this land where this centre of pilgrimage dear to me is situated. Observance of religious austerities by me has materialised here. It is certain that he has met with death there for this reason. As per saying, truthfulness is only the foundation for death at the region of Arbuda.

The Messenger said:

11b. But O king! such a lower man has attained death there by the crocodile catching him.

Yama said:

12. Leave him aside. In any case there are different types of wickedness. He has died in this place of my pilgrimage which is the destroyer of all sins.

13. O best king! following such words of Yama and his servant leaving him free, he went to Heaven getting served in turn by the divine damsels.

14. Hence there is a need of having a bath there enjoined with devotion. One who does so, goes to that ultimate place becoming free from old age and death.

15. Therefore, everyone needs to follow the practice of having a bath there with all efforts. Yama had attained fulfilment there on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of the Moon in the month of Caitra i.e. March.

16. The human being performing the appropriate religious ceremony connected with remembrance of his near and dear ones (Śrāddha) there gets blessed with residence in Heaven along with his paternal ancestors.

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