The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Raktanubandha which is chapter 31 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 thirty-first chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 31 - Greatness of Raktānubandha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Pulastya said:

1. Then one has to go to that place of pilgrimage which is related to blood and which is heard of in the three worlds. The man taking bath here generally gets free from the (sin of) murder of Brāhmaṇa.

2. In olden times there was a king on earth by name Indrasena. His dear wife named Sunandā was very beautiful. A devoted wife treating her husband as holding an important part of her life force, she used to remain engaged in such actions by which she could always be dear to her husband.

3. At a certain time, the same king along with family went to a foreign land to kill his wicked enemy Sandha.

4. Killing him and winning over plenty of wealth, he was returning home. On his way back O king! he sent a fictitious messenger.

5-6. He asked the messenger to go near Sunandā and tell her that “the king got killed in the war” which as per king’s commands was a pointer to her bad actions not in commensurate with the qualities of a devoted wife. If she, the beautiful queen decides to go for death, save her with all earnest efforts keeping in view the fact that such words of mine were adequate enough, i.e., just intended to generate laughter.

7. O virtuous king! after the king (having) said so, the messenger went immediately to convey the words so told to the queen.

8. O best of kings! hearing such words of his, the life force went out of Sunandā—the queen with a beautiful smile, the devoted wife and the great Satī.

9. As Sunandā endowed with good nature died, the king at the same time came equally under the burden of sin for that.

10. Then another shadow became visible to the king from above his body. With that heavy body, the king became immobile like a tree.

11. O virtuous king! then becoming devoid of lustre, with a colourless body and emitting foul smell, the king reached home (palace) and heard of his wife’s death.

12. Submerged in sorrow for causing the annihilation he in any case had to perform the sacred ritual bound up with death. He realized to have polluted himself by the killing of a woman and to have made the sin his own creation.

13. Then after performing the activity of cremating the corporeal body on fire, he made himself to feel light and undertook pilgrimage as per the direction of Brāhmaṇas. He went to Vārāṇasī first and made lot of presents.

14. Kapālamocana, i.e., place of pilgrimage takes away all sins. The three-eyed, i.e., Lord Śiva had made himself free from the sin of Brahmanicide there in ancient times.

15. O king! the second shadow of that did not get destroyed there. Then the king proceeded to the Kanakhala Tīrtha which is auspicious and a giver of purity to men.

16. After that he visited Puṣkara and following that he visited Amarakantaka [Amarakaṇṭaka?]. After that O virtuous king! he arrived at Kurukṣetra.

17. Then he went to the Prabhāsa Tīrtha and the centre of pilgrimage known as Soma. Thereafter, he proceeded to a barbarous place full of worms. Then he went to the undulating, auspicious and prime Haṃsa Tīrtha, O king.

18. Then O great king! after acquiring a great deal of goodness for himself after visiting Rudrakoṭi, Virupākṣa and thereafter the five rivers, the king became tired.

19. Then after a lapse of one thousand years, the king reached the Arbuda mountain where he took a sight of the centres of pilgrimage and the temples (i.e., visited them).

20. The king made many charities to the communities of hermits and many types of Brāhmaṇas including those astutes in the Vedas as per their wishes.

21-22. There in that Arbuda mountain, the king arrived at that particular place of pilgrimage connected with a continuous flow of blood, i.e., Raktānubandha. Then after having a bath there, as the king came out, he saw that second shadow which had erupted before him following the sin accruing from the evil of killing of wife. Sighting this, the king then felt light and relaxed in his entire body.

23. Then the foul smell on the body of the king disappeared and he came under the influence of bright intelligence. Witnessing such a happening he made abundant gifts. After that, inspired by the praises of his followers he left for home.

24. Then O leading King! hardly had the king crossed over the boundary of Raktānubandha, he got back his previous state of condition as it was.

25. O virtuous king! the alternate second shadow became again visible in the body of the king. The same foul smell again engulfed his body and the brightness also disappeared.

26. Then getting distressed, he got back there immediately. After arriving at Raktānubandha, he got into that repulsive and venomous state again.

27. Then realizing the greatness of the place of pilgrimage as the best option for the virtuous on earth, the king with all intention collected pieces of wood and set them on fire. After that making charities to the foremost Brāhmaṇas, he entered into the fire to make a sacrificial offering of himself.

28. Then ascending onto the winged vehicle, giving of his temporal body and endowed with a beautiful garland, the king went to the world of Śiva.

29. With his, i.e., the earthly being’s obtaining the world of Śiva, the divine sages uttered the following statement with great wonder.

They said:

30. This centre of pilgrimage will always remain on the top among all centres of pilgrimage in ensuring freedom from sins, because Indrasena became free from his sins by coming in contact of this pilgrim centre.

31. Since then, that centre of pilgrimage has acquired fame on the surface of earth. It reminds the living beings of their relationship with blood.

32. It is a rule that its fame is derived from such a relationship based on blood. O king! those who offer libation of water here as part of the religious activity connected with remembering their forefathers, i.e., Śrāddha can claim to have equally worshipped the gods.

33. The man who takes a bath here with utmost faith on that day from which the summer solistice begins indicating the ascension of Sun in the northern hemisphere, becomes free from Brāhmaṇicide.

34. The man who performs Śrāddha here connected with remembrance of his family members during the time-zone meant for forefathers, i.e., Pitru [Pitṛ?] Pakṣa and in a similar fashion as in Gayā, he gets the same fruits from such a religious ceremony here like in Gayā.

35. O virtuous king! the man who makes a present of cows here either on the Solar or the Lunar eclipse, ensures liberation for seven generations in the family.

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