The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Relief of Rukmini which is chapter 3 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 third chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 3 - Relief of Rukmiṇī

The sages said:

1-4. [The sages said with a note of exclamation:] Oh! despite his limitless power, Kṛṣṇa gave due importance to the words of a Brāhmaṇa sage and acted in such a manner that the sage’s words did not become futile. In any case, it is well-known that despite bearing the circular disc (as a weapon) in his hand, Janārdana—the guardian of the unanimously accepted righteous path (i.e. dharma) did not get angry when Bhṛgu humiliated him by striking feet on his chest. On the other hand, he continued to bear that footprint on his breast. So how could the Goddess stay separately from her dear husband as directed by the Brāhmaṇa? Please narrate us the story of her staying all alone. We are very eager to know about this story of Dvārāvat. Our earnest desire to get enlightened about this is solely out of the wish to get rid of the lamentation in our mind.

Prahlāda said:

5. Listen to all the factual details that I am going to narrate regarding the sorrows arising out of the curse upon Rukmiṇī and how subsequently she—the dearest of Hari, got free from the same.

6. Due to the curse of Durvāsā, the wife of the king of the Yādavas (i.e. Śrī Kṛṣṇa) began to weep immediately.

7-14. Rukmiṇī said, “Reliance on such unbelievably good happening can only be possible on earth for the presence of water either in a well or in the seas cannot be evidence enough for more water. It is highly fortunate for me to have the Lord of the world as husband. Otherwise, I would have had to bear the ronsequences for disregarding the sage belonging to the Pulastya clan (i.e. Durvāsā) all alone. On one side there is Hari full of all gracious qualities and the repository of all goodness. But on the other side there is me—the beautiful woman excessively restless and obstructive, with lesser qualities of goodness. Despite this, the wise God has tried his best to bear with the pain of separation from a poisonous and sinister woman as a part of sticking to his words. Otherwise anyone else in his place as a master of all castes and completely imbued with the wisdom of scriptures as well as knowledge of weapons would have definitely been tired of a woman like me. He has made my heart hundred times stronger and as a result impregnable like lightning. Otherwise, it would have simply broken down with distress of separation from the pleasurable company of him. By observance of persistent penance I attained the first Puruṣa as my own. That is how without having sons I did not meet death in five days. Hence, I could successfully bear with such harsh pain. Otherwise, this destabilising evil which I committed for myself would have definitely grown by lakh of times.”

15. Lamenting excessively in this way and with sorrows, her deplorable condition was almost like that of female cranes making sounds in distress. Obsessed with the fear of separation integral to the curse of the Brāhmaṇa, her condition became pitiable and she, as a result, fell unconscious.

16. Thus Rukmiṇī—the beloved of Kṛṣṇa was cursed by Durvāsā and with her consequently becoming unconscious her father—the sea, arrived there.

17. With water full of particles of nectar and the air perfumed with pollens of lotus, the sea surrounded Rukmiṇī—the beloved of Kṛṣṇa.

18. In the meantime, Nārada with his vīṇā in hand and singing the glory of God reached there in the paṃways of the sky.

19. Then learning that the sea came down to assure the mother of universe (i.e. Rukmiṇī) Nārada was heard saying as follows.

20-30. Nārada said, “O mistress of God! the curse of the Brāhmaṇa on your husband has already faded away. Hence, the giver of all goodness, be patient. You are the manifest Goddess and Lord Kṛṣṇa—the best Puruṣa. He has descended on earth in his incarnation as per your will to relieve the earth of its burden. The God Kṛṣṇa, as the Supreme Brahma, is above all sorrows of mind. You, on the other hand by your propensity to engender attachment, are the cause of the dissolution of creation ultimately. Inhering the whole—the totality within, the Lord by nature remains separately in the heaven. Despite this, the Lord of the universe could hardly separate himself from you. Inseparable forever from you, He, the God of gods is the Lord of the world. All his dramatic incarnations are only based on your support. There cannot be either the meeting or separation of God from you—the flawless. The God’s assuming different forms is only with an eye towards the welfare of everything existing. The desire for prosperity should always be preceded with earnest efforts towards worshipping of the best Brāhmaṇas. One need not excessively excite the ascetics—the learned in the knowledge of truth. As per your perception, this is the way people become fragile consequent to their separation from near and dear ones. But it is Hari who, in the guise of sages curses the treacherous. Kalyāṇī, you may remember, how taking birth for himself in the Raghu dynasty Hari had evinced enthusiasm to stoop low for the sake of relieving the earth of its burden. Don’t you know Rukmiṇī that God—the Lord of the world is relatively more important than the very life itself. The universe is filled both inside and outside by Him. Hence, the question that occupies my mind, O the ardent follower of all religious vows! is how the Lord, who by nature, is free from keeping any specific company, can incessantly have your company?

31. It appears to me that you have employed all his powers in this task. Hence, get rid of your preoccupied mental distress with regard to having his company in an exclusive garden. O mother! get reminded of your form and holding patience onto the mind, remain free from obsession with regard to your reunion with him.”

32. After Nārada’s (i.e. the sage of the gods) speaking like this, the Lord of rivers (i.e. the sea) began to speak out gently and with well-thought of and delineated terms.

33-42. The sea said, “All that the sage of gods has told you, are true, the Goddess. The Vedas have always described you as the companion of Viṣṇu. The ultimate masculinity which is devoid of any particular form or appearance, assumed a body onto itself in the form of your Lord and with your support created and established the universe on its sweet will. And its assuming body is only possible beside you and it cannot be any other way than this. Hence regret or repentance does not behove you. The permanence of your company is there forever and is like the curl of hair on the chest of Śrīvatsa (an epithet of Viṣṇu). This Bhāgirathī (i.e. Gaṅgā) has come down here as per my orders. It will continue to entertain you—the Goddess in your embodied form. (Further) this region, full of its fresh water will be a giver of immeasurable happiness to you. Full of varieties of trees, creepers along with shrubs forming arbour and accompanied with elephants and the gentle humming of bees, the place will offer a beautiful and attractive sight to behold. The place will brim with new sprouts apparently in all eagerness to break forth, with bunches of beautiful flowers, with fruits having nectar-like juice and with rows of buds. Thus embellished, this garden would be fit to appeal and stand out in the mind. Indeed, the garden here will forever be beautiful. As it is we always address you and treat you like the mother. You are the image of inaccessible knowledge. So how can we fully comprehend you? Thus the supreme Goddess, be graceful and allow both of us (i.e. the sea and Nārada) to leave. All our homage to you, the mother of universe. Kindly accept our repeated homage to you which is always there for you.”

Prahlāda said:

43. Having said so to the bearer of the world (i.e. the Goddess) both of them then left in the same direction they had come from. Bhāgīrathī—the Goddess then got herself placed there on her own.

44. (As per words of the sea and Nārada) A forest got materialized there always attended with abundant beauty. Endowed with the wealth of flowers and fruits, it became fit for service of the entire world.

45. As a matter of grace for living beings, Gaṅgā—the destroyer of all evils began to ornament the region as a river known as Viṣṇupadī (i.e. an epithet of Gaṅgā).

46. Thus with the persistence of Goddess (i.e. Gaṅgā) there as per the words of the sage and as a result of the assuring presence of Gaṅgā, that particular region not only became beautiful but also hale and hearty.

47. Then after hearing the Goddess Viṣṇupadī’s (i.e. Gaṅgā’s) meeting the sea, all rivers from here and there reposing faith in her began to assemble there.

48. The inhabitants of Dvārakā also got enchanted with the beauty of the forest and began to frequent the same, i.e., the Rukmiṇī’s forest.

49. After hearing all these about the cunningness of Śaṃbhu (an epithet of Śiva) Durvāsā got highly enraged, but with a smile on himself said as follows.

50-54. Durvāsā said, “Who could change or give a different shape to my words in the three worlds? Even among gods, the primordial Brahmā would not dare so. Is the world not aware as to how Śakra (an epithet of Indra) got deprived of the prosperity of the three worlds as a result of my heightened anger? Aware of the fact of my reputation as a giver of curse, how could Rukmiṇī roam about there in the forest which is like the Nandana forest in heaven and in the service of the people. Hence, let the fruits of all trees in existence in this garden be unfit as eatables for people. Let the fortune of flowers and the bunches of buds wean away and let these fall off. Let this river standing at the helm of all rivers get burnt by my curse and let the boon of taking its water as a blessing no more hold validity.”

Prahlāda said:

55. Then everything existant there got burnt out and ruined as per the words of the sage for it is Viṣṇu himself who had rendered the basic strength behind actuation of the words of Brāhmaṇas.

56. Then the Goddess, witnessing the unsurmountable misfortune for herself became intensely depressed and began to solicit death for herself time and again.

57. Then realising that death is the sure remedy for sorrows she (i.e. the Goddess) then fastened a portion of her stole around her neck.

58. Then becoming aware of everything happening there, the all-abiding and benevolent Lord (i.e. Viṣṇu) hurried up and arrived there seated on his career bird, the Garuḍa.

59. Then he saw the Goddess in such a condition in which she happened to be hanging herself below the branch of a tree with her neck trapped in a noose and with her eyes shut.

60. Ornaments on her body had fallen down. Her body had emaciated like a creeper. Nearer to death, her lotus-like face had virtually become pale. The God offered his compassionate salutation to her—the image of grace and kindness, the giver of all happiness and the bearer of qualities.

61. With her wretched condition accompanied with screaming and her lotus-like eyes shut up; she appeared like being completely overpowered. With the lower portion of spine turned around and with her wet eyes, she appeared as if she had offered herself in reverence to the Lord of her life.

62. Herself thrilled up, imbued with the feeling of love, she was equally presenting a sight of one being ashamed of the filth of her love and thus equally angry. With herself full of two-times of sorrow she was like a present of varied emotions to the sight.

63. Then as a matter of medical treatment the God separated the noose from her neck by his own hands and then to infuse life into her began to recite the life-giving sacred incantation taking her hands in his.

64-68. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O Goddess! how could you dare to commit this cowardly act of killing yourself without getting into the necessary act of reasoning prior to it. Now tell the cause behind your sorrows. If you are wisdom, I am the supreme consciousness. I am the God, if you are illusion. As you are the wisdom, I am the living being. So how can there be separation between both of us. Enchanted by you, both Brahmā and Śiva wander. So why do you get restless. Are not you aware of your own position? Bound by you, the sages perform their activities. So how can the same sage curse you who is the receptacle of all excellences. O Goddess! āll my endeavour in this way has been to educate the worlds. Men act helplessly completely taken over by my illusion. Look, how the chief of the sages taken over by intense anger has calmed down.”

Prahlāda said:

69. Sobered down with devotion and accompanied with due deliberation, the virtuous sage Durvāsā then began to repent.

70. Saying (onto himself) how could I do all this, he (i.e. Durvāsā) then came nearer to them and with eyes full of tears, fell flat before them on the ground offering his homage.

71. Making himself pitiable, he began to make entreaties before the father and the mother of the world seeking their pardon. To please them, he began to utter hymns in a mysterious manner of devotion.

72. He said, “O Lord of the world! if you are kind enough towards me, please fulfill my wish through your union with the Goddess as pre-ordained.”

73. Then Govinda (an epithet of Viṣṇu) with a pominent laughter said, “Your words—the virtuous sage would be given due importance so that those would not go in vain.”

74-78. He said, “O Brāhmaṇa! how could I dismantle the bridge (i.e. the rule of law here) which I have arranged governing relationship among and between beings. The bridge based on good conduct has been effected to protect the world. Twice, everyday I shall come here, the virtuous sage and in the process I shall entertain the virgin daughter of the sages according to their wish. I get pleased by worship and by no other means including words and deeds. As I get worshipped, so will accrue my love and affection. The great sage, on my ascending onto Vaikunṭha (i.e. the heavenly abode of Viṣṇu) all my brightness will enter into and reside in my dwarf incarnation. Rukmiṇī will again join me in the form of an idol. The Bhāgīrathī (an epithet of Gaṅgā) will also be blessed with qualities similar to a sea and putting aside all sorrows she will proceed on the pathways of happiness.”

79. In this way, after obliging the sage, Keśava (an epithet of Kṛṣṇa) left for his own abode giving up his apparel and along with the sage. And this is how, the sage’s putting up close to the God was decided.

80. The Goddess, on her part, becoming fully conscious of the efforts of God towards favouring the sage, became free from her mental distress.

81. Like this event of the Goddess, i.e. the beloved of Hari becoming free from distress, Bhāgīrathī has been spoken since then, as the liberator of all sorrows.

82. A man conforming to the ritual of taking a bath here in this auspicious meeting place of Gaṅgā with the sea either on the new moon or full moon day gets completely relieved of his sorrows.

83. All the desires of those, who have a sight of Rukmiṇī either on the eighth or ninth or the fourteenth day of a month, get accomplished.

84. This is how I have described to you the narrative with regard to how the Goddess as well as the sage got liberated from their sorrows by virtue of God’s grace. What more do you wish to listen to?

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