The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Gracious Mother (Shrimata) which is chapter 22 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 twenty-second chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 22 - Greatness of Gracious Mother (Śrīmātā)

Pulastya said:

1. Then, O best king! you go to the place of Śrī Mātā worshipped by gods also. It is a giver of fulfilment to actions of human beings in this as well as the next world.

2. She is also the all-power spread across this world. She has on her own chosen to dwell on this mountain.

3. There was a demon by name Kaliṅga in the ancient Deva Yuga. Free of old age and death, he was a threat to the gods.

4. His actions had extended over the three worlds. He had won over the Heaven along with its king Indra by dint of his power. He had reached the Brahmā World along with all gods.

5. The gods as well as humans were all terrorised by that demon. That demon named Kaliṅga had himself become Indra.

6. Then that demon appointed all demons, as per their abilities in the place of Vasus, Maruts, Sādhyas, Viśvadeva and of the divine sages.

7. The demons themselves ate up all those shares of Yajñas intended for the gods. Then all the gods went to the Arbuda mountain in pursuit of austerities.

8. Even now this place is famous in the three worlds as one where the gods tilled the land, and subsisted on leaves, flowers and fruits as a part of their observance of religious vow.

9. It cannot be spoken as to what extent they were equally engaged in the activity of meditation while in a state of utter fear. Some of them were sincerely engaged in the observance of religious vow by practising penance in the midst of five fires.

10. Some were having food only once a day while some were not taking food at all and were subsisting only on air. Some others were fasting for a month altogether and were observing the religious vow called cāndrāyaṇa.

11. Some having the eligibility to cross over were engaged in the observance of the most painful and arduous religious vow while others were excessively engaged in having water, air, foam or heat as food only.

12. Some were doing the religious activity of conducting the sacrificial fire with repeated pronouncements of names of gods within their minds, while some, with all intensity, were engaged in meditation. Some were making sacrifices, giving presents and offering edible things while others were trying to please through offering perfumes and incense.

13. O king! they were worshipping the supremely powerful Goddess to accomplish their own works for by observance of religious vows and austerities in this way all get free from the bondage of work.

14. Then, O virtuous king! after completion of a thousand years the Goddess appeared before them in the manifested form of an unmarried young girl.

15. O king! earlier (i.e., initially) she was a frightening smoky statue. Then she became a bright girl draped in a white dress. Seeing her and becoming pleased, the gods got up with folded hands out of sheer gratefulness.

The gods said:

16-22. Homage to you, O Goddess! in motion everywhere and worshipped by everyone. Homage to you, O Goddess! who is always invoked for fulfilment of all desires. Homage to you, O giver of resort to all gods. Homage to you, the Supreme Goddess to whom homage is also offered by all those keeping association with Brahmā. Homage to you, the inhabitant in less than half a space, in half a space of a letter. Homage to you having eyes like lotus leaves and the mother of the Universe. Homage to you, O Goddess, O granter of all boons, O one being the essence of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Present in distinct forms of your own, you, the Goddess, represent the traits of the material world. You are the bearer of intelligence. Side by side patience is your own nature as part of the disposition of tolerance. O Goddess! you are intelligence, you are the motion and the agent. You are also Śacī, Lakṣmī, Pārvatī, Sāvitrī, Gāyatrī, the invulnerable one and destroyer of all sins. Whatever different names, O Goddess! may be taken of you in places in the three worlds other than this mountain, those are of the same form in which you have placed yourself in this mountain. As fire pervades wood or threads constitute cloth, so are you encompassing the entire world with yourself present everywhere in disguise.

Pulastya said:

23-24. After such hymns were sung in praise of her, the Mother of the world told all the good gods, “Do ask for the boon fast as desired, O best gods. Why are you all putting up here clandenstinely in the middle, in such a poor and helpless state? There is no fear for my devotees with me ever present in the three worlds—both living and non-living.”

The gods said:

25-27. O Goddess! we have been repeatedly defeated by the demon Kaliṅga in wars. His influence has spread out in the three worlds encompassing both the living and the non-living. Having usurped our share of Yajña, he has brought it under the control of the demons. By his occupation of the Heaven all gods have been ineffective. In no other way can Indra regain his own position than the murder of the demon. Hence, O highly fortunate one! do something like this. We desire a boon like this.

The Goddess said:

28-29. As I have created you, so also this great demon. Hence there is nothing which I can do specially for both you as well as the demon, O best gods. Therefore I will prevent those demons from entering Heaven and make Indra as well as other gods inhabitants of Heaven again.

Having said so the best Goddess sent for a messenger with a rider.

30. She sent the message through the messenger asking the demon Kaliṅga to leave Heaven fast. Going to the demon Bāṣkali, (son of Baskala, i.e., Kaliṅga) i.e., the messenger conveyed the same with all sobriety.

The Messenger said:

31-32. That Virtuous Mother, all-encompassing, having the appearance as manifested power, with a pure smile, the mother of world worshipped by all gods is telling this to you for being pleased with the gods, “You hurry and get back to your own place so that Indra can return to Heaven. O best of demons! do not be excited as you cannot attain god-hood”.

Pulastya said:

33-37. After having heard the words of the messenger, the demon, thinking of himself as the Lord of the world and self-conceited as he was in excitement said, “Who is this virtuous lady or who even are the gods? I do not know anything or anyone of that sort, nor am I going to give up Heaven. Go and tell this order of mine to her. I shall not part with Heaven under any circumstances out of fear. Even the King does not kill the fearsome/difficult enemy. For this reason, O messenger! I am not depriving you of life. O messenger! after this, if you enable me to have a look at the gracious mother, I shall present to you the thing as per desire of your mind. This statement of mine is true. I shall accompany you there where she is putting up and making my statement true, I will subjugate her.”

Pulastya said:

38. After saying like this the demon, wild in excitement went swiftly to the Arbuda mountain along with the messenger with anger.

39. Seeing (i.e., noticing) the arrival of Bāṣkil [Bāṣkali?], the gods along with Indra began to retreat despite the Goddess asking them not to do so.

40. Possessed by fear, the gods in any case, had already run away equally in all directions. Then Bāṣkali arrived along with a great army.

41. Then king, Kaliṅga through the messenger, told the gracious Mother [i.e., Śrīmātā] after whom that particular region of Arbuda is named.

Bāṣkali said:

42-44. O best messenger! go and tell the gracious Mother having a beautiful smile that “let her be my wife and I shall ever remain under her control. The entire kingdom of mine will be there under her control. Otherwise, by winning over all the gods, I shall take her forcefully. O one with the best face! What need have you of the less powerful Indra and of other gods similar in that respect. Neither the thousand-eyed God nor the other gods nor any other demon are comparable to me.”

Pulastya said:

45. Having heard all this, the messenger then went and conveyed the same. O King! he conveyed all that as told to him.

46. After hearing all this, the Goddess began to deliberate with a gentle smile on her. She thought that the king of demons had been made free from old age and death, is the doing of Śaṃbhu, i.e., Lord Śiva.

47. As per what action to be initiated by me, could I kill him and oblige the gods. When the Goddess was deliberating like this once and again with regard to the course of her action in respect of the demon, he (i.e., the demon) restless with desire came towards her in a hurry.

48. Learning that the Lord of the demons was having such a lowly vision, she decided for all certainty on her part to bring his downfall as far as possible.

49. Then, O virtuous king! as the Goddess began to laugh slowly, ferocious soldiers began to creep out of her mouth.

50. In that army of soldiers there were separate groups of elephants, cavalry and infantry. There were also thousands of other fighters seated on chariots.

51. The soldiers of the demon were all brought down by weapons of such soldiers before the demon himself who became still to witness this.

52. After the killing of his soldiers, the gods as well as Indra told the Goddess, “O Goddess! kill this demon for neither can we live nor can there be our reign in the Heaven with his remaining alive.”

Pulastya said:

53. After hearing such words of theirs, despite their awareness of him (i.e. the demon) being free from death, the Goddess gave them the great peak of the mountain with herself placed on top of that.

54. Since then, has this gracious Mother of the world who can assume a form as per her own sweet will, been dwelling on this best mountain and, O king! she is still present there even today for the welfare of the world. Her dwelling there is manifested through the fulfilment of desires of human beings.

55. At that time, becoming pleased all gods began to sing hymns in honour of that supremely powerful Goddess who took away all their fears.

56. O king! the Goddess became fully pleased with the hymns of gods in her praise. With their pain/difficulty gone away, the gods—all of them, retreated to their own places. They all went back- to places of their own with the obstruction on the way taken away and with all their difficulties gone away.

57. O Indra! O King of Gods! ask for any boon that your mind is cherishing. Saying so the Goddess assured that she would grant all his boons, herself being satisfied with his devotion.

Indra said:

58-61. If you are satisfied with me, O Goddess! who is eternally fond of devotion, please stay here till I am the lord of Heaven. I am ruling over the gods, O one eternally fond of devotion. I am the Indra as this demon is immortal and free from old age. Made by Hara (i.e., Śiva) earlier he has remained unmoved by old age and death. Let there be no disease in the three worlds by your grace. We all will be worshipping you equally here. Let them, who worship you on the fourteenth day of the bright fortnight of moon in the month of Cakra (March) go to that supreme position free from old age and death.

Pulastya said:

62. After saying like this, the thousand-eyed, i.e., Indra together with other gods became pleased to get back Heaven and returned to Heaven.

63. She—the Goddess also stayed back there for the welfare of gods.

64. One who takes a look of her, O king! on the fourteenth day of the month of Caitra (i.e., March) when the earth is bedecked with the white rays of moon, attains that ultimate place becoming free from old age and death.

65. So O king! what values the observance of religious vows or regulations or making of charities can have. All these cannot even equal one-sixteenth part of the results that awaits taking a full and complete look of her.

66. O king! the divine foot-wear of hers there even sets a pathway of vision. Taking a look at it is relatively more important for one doing so does not have to look forward to the world again. He attains all desires of this world as well as of the other world.

Yayāti said:

67. At what time in the past, a best Brāhmaṇa attained freedom by the footwear of the Goddess? Please tell me in great details as to how could it be and what were the reasons behind it?

Pulastya said:

68. O virtuous king! men attain two kinds of supreme fulfilment accruable to the conduct of a religiously righteous deed by seeing that Goddess.

69. At this time, O king! with the evolution of undertaking of pilgrimages and observance of religious vows on earth, such activities like conduct of sacrificial fires, i.e., Yajñas and the offering of presents disappeared.

70. All the hells of King Yama became empty and difficulties arose without gods having the participatory shares of Yajñas.

71. Hence all gods, O best king! assembled there and went to the Supreme and gracious Mother on top of Arbuda.

The gods said:

72-74. O queen of gods! all actions like conduct of offerings to eight sacrificial fires (Agniṣṭoma Yajña) have gone to dogs. We are therefore affected by such severe activities in the mortal world. All beings with sins along with their ancestors are attaining the passage of fulfilment by having a look at you, O Goddess. Hence by your grace let us also attain that prosperity. The demon Bāṣkila is not moving out from here. Hence please do something of this sort.

Pulastya said:

75-81. After hearing like this from them, the Goddess then began to deliberate deeply and after making a footwear for her out of stones, she left the same there. Then, O king! coming nearer to the gods and with her body bowed down, the Goddess said, “As per your statement, I have left this best of Mountains and have left my footwear there for your protection from the demon Bāṣkila. O best gods! under the weight of my footwear that demon has become unable to move and henceforth is like an immobile pole there by my power. For the purpose of this footwear, I have made the rules in Śāstras. These rules are for the spiritual well being of living beings on the surface of earth. One who worships the footwear with utmost devotion and according to the path laid down in Śāstras and in no other way, fulfilment will await him as an evolution from that sight. I shall be ever present in guise, in the caves of this mountain on the fourteenth day of the bright period of moon in the month of Cakra (March). I love this mountain and am not giving it up out of my own will. However, I am leaving this for all of your welfare.”

Pulastya said:

82. After saying like this to the gods and all others having deformed bodies, the Goddess left for heaven listening to the hymns in her praise and leaving the pair of her footwear there.

83. Even today, the yogis acquire fulfilment here through well-intended meditation. The meditation conducted with all sincerity of mind is like having a sight of Goddess.

84. I have described all this as you asked me. Welfare is also possible on the land by the worship of footwear of the gracious Mother [i.e., Śrīmātā].

85. O king! reading of this with devotion and extolling it with faith relieves one of all sins and makes him inclined towards wisdom with all sincerity.

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