by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Markandeya: the origin of his place of hermitage which is chapter 41 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 forty-first chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
3. Full of all qualities, he was sober and had the brilliance like Sun. Once, in course of time O king! a passerby came on the pathways of their hermitage.
4. The incomer Brāhmaṇa was somehow well acquainted with and had good knowledge of all things that have some linkage with the sea or having origin from the sea. At that time, the boy who was five-year old, was playing.
5. (That Brāhmaṇa) watched the child from nose to the string of hair on top of his head for a little longer and then began to laugh instantly. Mrukando [Mṛkaṇḍa] was equally watching him (i.e., the Brāhmaṇa) at the same time.
6. He (i.e., Mrukando) said, “O Brāhmaṇa! you saw my son and after that you have been laughing continuously and relatively excessively. Would you please tell me the reason for the same?”
7. When Mṛkaṇḍa asked the best Brāhmaṇa the reason behind his stop-over once and again, the Brāhmaṇa began to speak out his purpose.
8-9. He said, “O best of Brāhmaṇas! the signs on the body of this boy indicate that something unageing and unfading is definitely going to happen. But somehow it is again definite that this boy is going to have death in the normal battle of life. It is due to this reason that I laughed. I never pretended to act as if I am on a stage with my enemies.”
10. After saying like this, the wise Brāhmaṇa spent the night there and as dawn broke in the next day, he proceeded ahead towards the region of his wish and desire.
11. Though got hurt to leam that his son had a short life, Mṛkaṇḍa, however, O king! performed the ritual of sacred thread ceremony of his son when he was five years old.
12. “(He told him) Whenever you O son! come across anyone accomplished in the learning of Scriptures, always greet him and try to share and have the taste of his knowledge.”
13. The son followed such advice of his father in particular.
14. Then the boy paid his reverence to everyone whether old or young whom he came across with all politeness.
15. Once, in the course of time, seven sages who had made up their mind to undergo pilgrimage with all sincerity arrived there near their (i.e., Mṛkaṇḍa’s) hermitage.
16. Then the king, the boy hurried and moved towards them to pay his homage. He offered his reverence to all those sages one after another in due order.
17. Seeing the zeal on the part of the boy (to pay reverence) they (i.e., the sages) became pleased. And then blessing him saying ‘let you have long life’ they all moved ahead on their way to the region as already planned in their minds.
18. There was (the Sage) Agira adept in spiritual knowledge among them who observed the boy in a relatively more absorbing and intense manner.
19. With surprise he told the other sages that they were blessing the boy with long life while he was not going to have that in any way.
20. (He said): “This prince-like boy was going to have death on the fifth day then onwards. Hence, as virtuous sages their words should not prove to be untrue. Hence, some way should be found out by which this boy would really have a long life.” Hence the king, all the sages became fearful deliberating that their words would not be true.
22. Then taking the boy along, they all headed for the world of Brahmā. There after seeing Brahmā all of them—the godlike sages paid their reverence to the Four-faced God (i.e., Brahmā).
23. Following them, the boy also conveyed his greetings to Lord Brahmā. Brahmā also blessed the boy saying ‘let you live long’.
24. The virtuous king, the seven sages then felt quite happy for themselves within. Brahmā after resting (i.e., sitting quietly) for a while to relieve his tiredness began speaking to them.
25. Brahmā said, “Speak out as to what work is intended to be accomplished through me for which all of you have come here.”
The Sages said:
26-28. We were taking a round of the Earth in the context of undergoing pilgrimage, in the course of our journey, we reached the various centres of pilgrimage on the mountainous region of Arbuda. When we reached here, this boy hurried up, came before us and began to worship us. We blessed him saying repeatedly ‘let you have long life’. But the God, on the fifth day from now, death will occur to him. So let all of us including you, the Four-faced Brahmā, be not liars. O God! therefore devise some way out.
29. Then with all pleasure Brahmā looked at the sages, the boy and said, “With my grace, this boy will attain life-time of an era.”
30. Then all the sages with pleasure within paid their reverence to the Four-faced God (i.e., Brahmā) and returned from Brahmā’s kingdom taking the boy along towards his abode.
31. Back at home, his father, the virtuous sage Mrukundo [Mṛkaṇḍa?] highly distressed was weeping along with wife.
He i.e. Mrukundo [Mṛkaṇḍa?] said to himself:
32-33. O son! a great lover of religion, how could you proceed on the great path of death leaving us behind. How can you surrender to death without fully complying with and completing the worldly duties? I can never live without you, my son.
34. When the boy was on his return-path to home, his parents stay put in their abode in the kingdom weeping continuously, O virtuous king.
35. Very happy within, the boy returned back and seeing him on the road back home, his father became very happy.
36. Then taking the boy onto his lap, the father asked him the reason behind getting back so late. Then the boy began narrating to him all the efforts of the sages, his taking a look of the kingdom of Brahmā and the Lotus-handed God, i.e., Brahma’s [Brahmā’s?] boon.
37-38. The boy said, “The Creator (i.e., Brahmā) himself has made me ageless and immortal. This is a fact. Thus the fever of fear will end from your mind now. Henceforth, I shall also worship the Four-faced God, i.e., Brahmā in a similar way (i.e. the way the sages did in the kingdom of Brahmā). I shall make this seat of hermitage of mine quite attractive in this good-giver Arbuda mountain.”
39. Fully pleased hearing those nectar-like words from the son’s mouth, the Brāhmaṇa Mṛkaṇḍa started to speak to him like this.
40. He said, “I shall also hurry up and go there to the beautiful mountain of Arbuda.” Thus Mārkaṇḍeya went up there to the mountain and kept himself engaged and engrossed in meticulously meditating on the Forefather of gods, i.e., Brahmā.
41. O king! fruits equivalent to the Pitrumedha [Pitṛmedha?] Yajña (i.e. the religious activity of making offerings to fire in connection with remembrance of one’s forefathers) accrue to one by observing the ritual of offering of water to one’s forefathers here especially on the full moon day in the month of Śrāvaṇa, (i.e., during July-August).
42. O king! one who observes the ritual of offering water here to Brāhmaṇas by the particular method whereby Rusiyoga [Ṛṣiyoga?] (i.e., the yajña completed the same day) is performed, achieves permanent abode for himself/herself in the kingdom of Brahmā.
43. The fear of short life to anyone in his/her lineage will never happen to him/her, who undergoes the religious ritual of taking a bath here with usual faith.