The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Commendations of Dvaraka visit which is chapter 4 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 fourth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 4 - Commendations of Dvārakā visit

Śrī Prahlāda said:

1. Honoured by Hari, the best of the Brāhmaṇas (i.e. Durvāsā) became fully satisfied and asked Keśava to put forth the desired boon in his mind.

2. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “If the revered personality is pleased, I may be granted with the boon by which he will remain always present here and under no circumstances should he forsake this place.”

3. Durvāsā said, “If I have to stay here Kṛṣṇa then you Keśava too have to give me the word that you will remain ever present here along with your sixteen attributes.”

4. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “The virtuous Brāhmaṇa, whenever the devotees will have a look of yours here, they will simultaneously have a sight of mine also. So the revered being, tell me what fruits will you grant such devotees?”

5-6. Durvāsā said, “O Kṛṣṇa! Whoever takes a bath here in this particular meeting place of Gomatī (i.e. an epithet of Gaṅgā) with the sea, my boon will cause them to be free from all sins. Kṛṣṇa! also listen to another thing that is going to materialize here—those who will make offering of wealth to me as per my requirement, after taking a bath here, their wealth will grow sixteen times of the proportion offered.”

7. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “I shall grant that man that particular state of liberation which is even a rarity for gods, if after worshipping you, he follows it up with worship of mine.”

Prahlāda said:

8. In this way both Kṛṣṇa and Durvāsā remained delighted in granting boons to each other. Since then, the master Brāhmaṇas! both of them stayed put there. As per their boons, undergoing the religious ritual of pilgrimage there has been stated to result in realisation of all desires.

9. By virtue of the boon awaiting the religious ritual of taking a bath here, a man obtains thousands of cows as fruits, for the place is already blessed with the boons from Viṣṇu and Durvāsā beforehand.

10. Since then, the foremost Brāhmaṇas, Had has been present in Dvārakā. Bound by his words to Durvāsā, he never leaves this place.

11. Beside the idol representing the dwarf incarnation of Viṣṇu here, flows the Gomatī. By coming in association with and taking round of this centre of pilgrimage men succeed in their endeavour towards liberation.

12. When Hari gave up his body at Prabhāsa (i.e. a centre of pilgrimage near Dvārakā) all his attributes (i.e. the so-called sixteen qualities) integral to his brightness got embedded in this idol of him.

13. Hence, the Brāhmaṇas, nowhere else can Hari be found except here in the Kaliyuga. If Kṛṣṇa is your mission, go there without fail.

The sages said:

14-16. Let there be your well being O best devotee of Viṣṇu and the path-finder. Such awareness could only be possible for you and we could never know this. What fruits can be had by going there and by having a sight of Lord Kṛṣṇa? Besides, what are the other centres of pilgrimage there and which are the other gods to be found out there. O King of the demons! in which months, in which period and during which festivals men must visit there and if they do so what offerings they have to make during such visits?

Sūta said:

17. When the Brāhmaṇas asked like this, the ardent devotee of Viṣṇu (i.e. Prahlāda) accompanied with his earnest devotion, began to speak as follows.

Prahlāda said:

18-37. Listen to this which is ultimate and eternal, yet lying concealed. I am going to speak about this in greater details which in any case, has hardly been described. When-ever one makes up his or her mind to visit Dvārakā, his or her forefathers in the heavenly world seem to sing that he or she has been liberated from the hell. Whenever a man makes his steps on the pathways towards Kṛṣṇa, fruits equivalent to those accruing from the ritual of sacrificial fire accompanied with offerings of horses, await on each of his progressive step. One who motivates people to come here to have a sight of the God undoubtedly attains the position of a Vaiṣṇava. He who provides a resort to rest for those visiting Dvārakā and speaks to them politely, gets blessed with a life of playfulness like in the heavenly garden of Nandana. A man providing conveyance to the tired visitors on the way gets the opportunity of passage to the heaven on the aerial pathway by the carrier drawn by swans. Listen to all that which can happen to one who offers cooked rice (i.e. food in other words) to the hungry passengers on their way to this destination with due devotion in the middle of the day (i.e. noon hours of the day). The meritorious act of offering rice here promotes the satisfaction of one’s forefathers and equals the holy fruits that accrue to humans through the conduct of śrāddha (i.e. the religious ritual conducted in memory of one’s forefathers) at Gayā. By gifting footwear while on his way to Dvārakā, a man gets the opportunity to move around seated on the back of an elephant, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. An individual creating hurdles on the pathway to Dvārakā is foolish enough to get himself or herself plunged into the dreadful world of hell as a matter of law. One who gifts water-pots to the passengers on way, gets the fortune to be blessed with thousand times the fruits that await upon putting up sites offering free drinking water to passers by in the daily chores of life. One who offers a bit of caring to the tired feet and limbs of the passengers on the way or washes their feet, gets all his desires accomplished. There is nothing more fortunate for one than listening either to the religious verses or singing them in the name of Viṣṇu or making offering of gifts to Brāhmaṇas while on the way to Dvārakā. The sight of palace of Kṛṣṇa appears like the summit of Kailāśa mountain as well as that of a clear sky to the best of men. After seeing the temple with golden aura, joined together with the flag and pitcher, one leaving aside his/her vehicle begins to roll down on the ground. By proceeding on the pathway to Dvārakā one gets rid of the sins accruing due to accidental killing of insects, worms and moths by use of appliances at home as well as those arising from lowliest deeds on one’s part (All the) sins arising from usurping other’s food or drink or by touching the untouchable get destroyed by having a sight of the flag on the temple of Lord Viṣṇu. One who reads the book in eulogy of Viṣṇu containing his one thousand names and recounts the verses in the praise of Viṣṇu, he slowly proceeds ahead on his way reading out the deliverance in the name of the excellent elephant In this way, the very act of singing about Viṣṇu as well as his many appearances on earth not only makes one to dance accompanied by happiness time and again, but also the very act of dancing conjoined with happiness fills the devotees with a sense of delight, while approaching the God’s temple. In this playful manner one approaches Viṣṇu—the giver of deliverance and by having a vision of this, the urge for emancipation arises in men in the Kaliyuga.

Prahlāda said:

38. Earlier, after paying his earnest homage to Bṛhaspati with all devoūon, Indra—the king of gods asked the great mind.

39. Indra asked, “Be kind enough to describe me the greatness of Dvārakā by which individuals can obtain the share of religious righteousness as per their due and which has been on a continuous path of enhancement throughout the four yugas.”

40. The virtuous sages! after hearing these words of the great Indra, Bṛhaspati began describing to him who was also equally surrounded by other gods.

41-46. Bṛhaspati said, “O meritorious God! as described by revered sages, the four yugas are virtually the Kṛta yuga, the Tretā yuga, the Dvāpara yuga and the Kaliyuga. Dharma in Kṛta yuga had four bases and accordingly the fruits were described in the Veda. These (bases) were pilgrimage, making of donations, penance, knowledge, meditation and longevity of life through freedom from diseases. One-fourth of these got lost in the Tretā yuga, the Lord, with the Dvāpara yuga happening to retain only two of these. In the beginning of Kaliyuga all these in each of its compartment began to lose vibrancy by wearing out in many proportions. And there is no doubt that there will be destruction of all these as the yuga moves ahead. Mantra i.e. sacred prayer, centres of pilgrimage, yajñas, meditation on divine forces as well as the Vedas and Śāstras will proceed on the path towards extripation. The lowly and the meanest will be rulers on earth and the society will deprecate the ascetics who are followers of some mental vows within themselves.”

Prahlāda said:

47. The Brāhmaṇas, after hearing such words of Bṛhaspati regarding the state of affairs coming to wait upon centre(s) of pilgrimage, the gods began to tremble solely out of fear of their co-existence with the mean and the lowly.

48-50. Then they, with all sobriety, began to ask Bṛhaspati—their preceptor, “Is it that the sins which are bound to arise through comixture with meanness will not be flown away by Gaṅgā? Be kind enough and specify the place which would be free from the affectations of the Kaliyuga and by residing where, we would be able to retain our utmost repose. With our difficulties gone, we shall be free from sorrows in that place. We shall regain our upfront of goodness. Please tell us the centre of pilgrimage keeping in view our welfare in this regard.”

Prahlāda said:

51. After hearing these words of gods including Indra, the chief of the Aṅgirā [Aṅgiras?] clan and the gods’ priest after receding into a state of utmost concentration for a while spoke as follows.

52-56. Bṛhaspati said, “Free from the defects of Kaliyuga and in the reputed place of pilgrimage known by the name of Dvārakā, there is a leading and excellent pilgrim centre known as Pañcakośa. Founded by Viṣṇu, this shows the right ways to human society. In the period of Kaliyuga it acts towards the deliverance of people who are bereft of knowledge. This place is well above (i.e. affectations of) human deeds. Imbued with merit, it kills all sins. Evils do not shoot up here. Sins committed earlier get destroyed. There are half of thirty crore centres of pilgrimage on the earth’s surface. As an emancipator, there is Dvārakā in this world, which as it is, is full of centres of pilgrimage. Blessed with the good human life, every one must make efforts to serve it.

Prahlāda said:

57-58. After hearing what Bṛhaspati said, Indra then said, “Sir, you have narrated me all about Dvārakā. Tell me as to what fruits, have been said, to result, after going and having a sight of the Lord Kṛṣṇa there. The preceptor, please tell me about the other centres of pilgrimage there having importance as has been said and with regard to the fruits of the sprinkling of water at the confluence of Gomatī with the sea there.”

59-110. Then after endearingly addressed Indra as father, Bṛhaspati said, “Listen to the greatness that evolves out of Dvārakā which I am going to narrate. The Lord in his human form of incarnation as Keśava engages in his sports here. He is the Lord Nārāyaṇa encompassing the entire world. Fix your mind on Him as He, the chief God is present here in the Dvārakā city. Putting forth or taking successive steps towards Dvārakā result in yielding thousands of merits for embodied beings in the Kaliyuga. The best of men who visit the beautiful city of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Dvārakā) in the Kaliyuga, along with one crore members of their ancestral clan, they get enabled to set foot on Hari’s abode. Those after making up their mind with all firmness and proceeding towards Dvārakā, can be understood to have made an offering of all of their sins committed in previous birth. Thousands of sins of one simply disappear if the same embodied soul gets fully awakened towards having a sight of Kṛṣṇa and upon his/her taking a look of the face of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Those after visiting Dvārakā and meeting with death in the vicinity of Lord Kṛṣṇa never return to the repeated cycle of worldly existence till its final deluge. For human society in the Kaliyuga, it is easy to get Mathurā, Kāśī, Avantī, Ayodhyā and for that matter even gods. But Dvārakā is difficult to obtain. It is a known truth, the best of gods! that those who after going to the city of Kṛṣṇa spend six months in his (i.e. Kṛṣṇa’s) vicinity and take a look of him, get fully liberated from life. The leader of evil spirits, i.e. Yama washes away all sins from within those who endearingly desire for this sportive place of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Sins with all ferocity persist in the body till a man makes a visit to Dvārāvat (i.e. Dvārakā) in the Kaliyuga. Brāhmaṇas in olden times could quantify the deeds holding merit like the various centres of pilgrimage, the nature of donations as well as the studies to be made. But somehow the Dvārāvat (i.e. Dvārakā) of Kaliyuga could not touch upon their perception. However, if by any way a human soul visits the Cakratīrtha (i.e. an epithet of Dvārakā) he, besides himself, facilitates twenty-one of his previous generations to attain the supreme place. Even one visiting Cakratīrtha motivated by greed or crime or audacity or treachery never has to make a retreat to the worldly existence. The fruits resulting from the immersion of bones of the deceased have been renowned. But hundreds and thousands of the same happen to result from immersion of bones of the dead at Cakratīrtha. Among the various centres of pilgrimage in the world this centre has been highly glorified. Known as Cakratīrtha, it has reputation as the destroyer of sins accompanying Brahmicide. All the succeeding future generations in a clan go to the abode of Viṣṇu by virtue of men in their clan previously happening to immerse bones of deceased at Cakratīrtha. What use of having so many sons only for the sake of counting. Having one son happening to visit Cakratīrtha turns out to be a boon. What use undergoing the arduous process of penance or for that matter of making charities and studies? One gets relieved of all circumstances by visiting the city of Kṛṣṇa. Even if a man has faulty activities of a severe nature in the Kaliyuga, a mere sight of the face of Lord Kṛṣṇa will make him not to be sullied by the same again and forever. Making donations and studies or for that matter undergoing purificatory rites become of lesser importance for one born in a low caste or for that matter a soul afflicted with sins by simply visiting the city of Kṛṣṇa. One-half of the proportion of fruits effectuating from visit to Vārāṇasi [Vārāṇasī?], Kurukṣetra and Narmadā get materialized by regular visit to Dvārāvat. He is the blessed one and if a god, so among the gods who never allows his thoughts dither from being fixed on Kṛṣṇa even for a while. It has been heard that one after undergoing abstract meditation on the twelfth day of a month and thereafter following it up with taking a look of the face of Kṛṣṇa after taking a bath in the confluence of Gomatī with the sea, scarcely gets defiled by evils. As it is, if a man simply goes and takes a look of the sportive city of Kṛṣṇa as the 12th day of a month approaches, he becomes free from the abysmal worldly existence. O the king of gods! those whose life-force gets departed here in the abode of Kṛṣṇa, never return from heaven for crores of years. My dear child, a man’s condition on earth is understood to be of one like in the womb if he has not happened to have a sight of the God—the killer of Kaṃsa present at Dvārāvat. Inhabitation in Dvārakā is difficult to obtain. So is also a sight of Kṛṣṇa. Getting an opportunity for a bath at Gomatī is difficult to obtain, as is also the husband of Rukmiṇī. Penance was of ultimate value in Kṛta yuga while deliverance was the backbone of knowledge in the Tretā yuga. Yajña (i.e. sacrificial fire) had the highest value in Dvāpara yuga while in the Kaliyuga it is celebration of the glory of Keśava. A crore time of the fruits accruing to making donation of one thousand palas weight of gold, result by having a sight of the face of all-giver Hari. Charities made at Dvārakā as well as the extirpation of shells here and so also the ritual offering balls of cooked rice in the memory of one’s forefathers here become imperishable. Donations of cows and buffaloes here is similar to making donations of gold and dwelling units. Making gifts of bulls and the booties of land here become the same as that of gifting beautiful and virgin daughters. God Indra! besides all this, there are three more places where charities are to be made. Engendering liberation, such action is stated to bring emancipation for one’s forefathers as well as for one’s ownself. This place has been commended as having higher importance in the human world. All charities made here have been proclaimed to cause liberation by the great sages. Donations in whatever quantity made here or even the undertaking of bathing here out of playfulness, have been stated to cause immeasurable results out of grace of Lord Madhūsudana. Neither ghostly spirits are going to hurt him nor the fear of pain of the hell of Yama is going to affect him, who has complied with taking a look of Kṛṣṇa after visiting Dvārāvat. Complying with the ritual of śrāddha for one’s forefathers by a mere offering of water of the Gomatī in the Kaliyuga brings them appeasement forever and until the final deluge of world. The best of gods! those while leading family life never fail from visiting this city of Kṛṣṇa everyday, earn the salutation of the entire world as well as of gods. Knowledge of the supreme being, the śrāddha at Gayā, death through getting meshed up in a cluster of cattle and inhabitation at Dvārakā are the four ways of liberation for human beings. There can be deliverance of one by virtue of knowledge of the supreme being or by having the last breath at Prayāga. This apart, a mere bath at Gomatī in the vicinity of Kṛṣṇa enables one to attain liberation. Even the great ocean expresses its gratefulness for acquiring merit. It proclaims that its body of water has been sanctified by virtue of Gomatī flowing into it. Even the acute and severest of sins continue to persist as long as the body home to them does not take a bath in the evil-snatcher water of the Gomatī. By taking a bath in the Rukmiṇī pool in the river Gomatī at Cakratīrtha and thereafter by taking a look of the face of Kṛṣṇa a man succeeds in enabling one hundred members of his clan to tide over the ocean of worldly life. Accompanied by devotion towards Hari, if men continuously remember Kṛṣṇa as well as Dvārāvat, then getting themselves cleansed with all certainty of all their sins, they attain a passage to the supreme world of Murārī (i.e. an epithet of Kṛṣṇa). After washing one’s fed, one has to bow down first before Gaṇeśa. By this one certainly and beyond doubt lets all hurdles destroyed. Bow down before Kṛṣṇa—the son of Devakī dancing on the petals of dark-coloured lotus. Then fall flat on the ground to dearly pay homage to his elder brother (i.e. Balarāma). Sins committed during childhood as well as during boyhood and youth get destroyed without any doubt by a sight of God Kṛṣṇa. Sins accumulated over thousands of births either through words or by deeds or intentionally by the mind get destroyed here beyond any doubt. A crore time of the fruits obtainable by making donations of gold measuring one thousand palas in weight, result by taking a look of Kṛṣṇa. Bow down to the lotus-eyed God at Dvārakā which is protected by Durvāsā along with Maheśa. Any one coming to Dvārakā taken over with supreme devotion happens to be right in front of the auspicious door to heaven. After resting for a while and thereafter in the company of friends and relatives, chanting the vedic incantations after assembling all equipments meant for conducting the activity of worship and by calling together the Brāhmaṇas give effect to the undertaking of pilgrimage there (i.e. to Dvārakā).”

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