The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Eminence of Krikalasa alias Nriga Tirtha which is chapter 10 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 tenth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 10 - Eminence of Kṛkalāsa alias Nṛga Tīrtha

Prahlāda said:

1. Then O the best of Brāhmaṇas! go to the Kṛkalāsa reputed as the Nṛga tīrtha which takes away sins.

2. After assuming the body of a lizard onto himself here, the king Nṛga had attained the ultimate passage by the company of Kṛṣṇa.

The sages asked:

3. Who was this king named Nṛga and how could he get associated with Kṛṣṇa? By virtue of what deeds did he become a lizard? Please speak in details in this regard.

Prahlāda said:

4.0 Brāhmaṇas! the king Nṛga was very powerful, intelligent, firm, astute and endowed with all qualities.

5. There were hundreds and thousands of kings in his lineage and he was well-equipped with forces having elephantry, cavalry, charioteers and a considerably large number of infantry.

6. With the mine of soldiers, he was thus invincible. He used to remain incessantly engaged in devotion for his teachers and in the worship of Gods.

7. O the master Brāhmaṇas! the king used to make varieties of charities every day. The virtuous king also used to gift thousands of cows regularly.

8-9. After washing their feet with faith, he used to make the Brāhmaṇas seated on beautiful seats and then with himself putting on the auspicious silken cloth, he used to annoint them with perfumed ointment After this, he used to worship them with flowers, garlands and perfumed incense. Then he used to offer cows with devotion to the Brāhmaṇas with betel leaves as a matter of religious fee saying, “Let me have the pleasure of Lord Viṣṇu”.

10. O the best of Brāhmaṇas! in this way by making charities, performing Yajñas and having enjoyments of life for himself, his time used to pass.

11-12. Once, the king with utmost regards and with folded hands told Jaimini, the Brāhmaṇa thorougly accomplished in observance of religious vows and equally averse towards accepting any donation in return, “O greatly fotunate soul and the reservoir of penance! please be kind towards me by accepting the cow which I am offering as a gift”.

13. After hearing such words, the Brāhmaṇa despite unwillingness on his part but in honour of the king said, “It would be like that” feeling ashamed of himself.

14-15. After this, the king then washed his feet and raised water to his head. Then he got a cow, adorned its horns with gold, its hooves with silver, its udder with copper and its body with a white cloth. Then after worshipping it, he offered the same cow as a religious fee to the Brāhmaṇa.

16-17. Then the king became happy to see the Brāhmaṇa leaving after taking the cow. Bearing the colour like that of a white swan, the young cow was being heard by the name of Harsī. The virtuous Brāhmaṇa took the cow back to his home, got it tied up with a rope and gave it moist grass as fodder.

18. The cow’s appetite was satisfied with the grass. But at noon it began to feel thirsty and then the Brāhmaṇa took the cow as tied up towards a pond.

19. But after seeing elephants, horses and camels on the way, the cow got terrified and sensing danger, she broke away from the hands of the Brāhmaṇa and ran away.

20. The great Brāhmaṇa looked for the cow hither and thither, but could not locate it. Frightened, the cow fled back into the herds of king’s cows.

21. The virtuous king invited Brāhmaṇas again the next day. As per customary practice he worshipped them devotedly and gifted them with clothes and ornaments.

22. In keeping with customary practice, the king donated a cow to the saintly Brāhmaṇa Somaśarmā [Somaśarman?] who taking the same along left for home from the royal palace.

23. (While on his way) He went on proclaiming the king to be efficient and having knowledge of dharma. Incidentally, the other Brāhmaṇa Jaimini happened to be moving around here and there in search of his cow very sadly.

24-26. Seeing Somaśarmā [Somaśarman] passing by the way with a cow behind him, he (i.e. Jaimini) then went near him and said, “You, the robber! where are you taking my cow after kidnapping it?” Somaśarmā [Somaśarman] became very surprised hearing such words alleging him as a robber. He instead thought, “I got this cow as a gift from the king and am taking it back to my own house. So how could the virtuous Brāhmaṇa cast aspersion on me as a robber of cow?”

27-28a. The Brāhmaṇa (i.e. Somaśarmā [Somaśarman]) retorted, “As a gift of the king, this cow is mine beyond doubt. So how could you—the Brāhmaṇa take it away till I remain alive? I have got it today as a gift only.”

28b. The other Brāhmaṇa (i.e. Jaimini) said, “Why are you telling me a lie as I got it yesterday? Why do you intend to take it by force?”

29-30. With anger Somaśarmā [Somaśarman] kept on saying “this is mine”. While burning with anger and with eyes red-shot, the other Brāhmaṇa repeated the same in turn. Fighting with each other in this way, both Brāhmaṇas then came near the door of the palace. So severe was their mutual dud, it appeared as if they were out to give up their life.

31. Visibly angry and cursing each other both the Brāhmaṇas wished to convey the same to the king.

32. The king however did not pay any heed to the two Brāhmaṇas fighting with each other on the height of anger. His mind got agitated with fear and he did not bother to come out.

33. Thus continuing to argue with each, other they remained there for three nights. Sensing the king’s disregard of their matter, they got angry with the king.

34-35. With anger they stated that the king was not coming out of his palace out of sheer disrespect Despite being the ruler of the people he was not coming out with a decree towards justice. Hence the king would become a lizard without any doubt.

36. Cursing like this, the two Brāhmaṇas then gave away the cow to someone else. Hungry and thirsty as they were, they were equally exhausted. So they got up to move towards their homes.

37-38. As they were about to leave, Nṛga came to the doorstep. After falling flat at their feet to offer salutation, he told them with folded hands, “Your words will never go in vain. Indeed, it will happen and in no way can there be anything different from this. But, be kind towards me and apprise me of the duration of the curse.”

39-40. After hearing these words from him they told the king, “After the dvāpara yuga, the God Hari will appear in his incarnation as the son of Devakī in the house of Vasudeva. By his touch, you will be liberated from the curse.”

41. Having said so, both the Brāhmaṇas then left for their own abodes. The king experienced varieties of luxuries. He also made abundant charities.

42. He made prayer to God through varieties of yajñas. Finally death occurred to him and the Brāhmaṇas! he went to the abode of king of dharma, i.e. Yama.

43. After welcoming him honourably as a guest, Yama told the king, “O king! whether you intend to enjoy the fruits of your meritorious deeds first or those of your bad deeds? You may spell out the same for those are to be executed by me only.”

44. Nṛga said, “First of all, grant me the fruits as per my misdeeds, if any.” Then he assumed the entity of a lizard as per the approval of Yama and had his existence in that entity for a thousands of years.

45. O Brāhmaṇas, one day, all the princes of Yadu dynasty along with Kṛṣṇa were moving about in the forest with an eye for hunting deer.

46. Being thirsty, they began to look for water and reached a pool at noon hour of the day. They all sighted the lizard there in the pool.

47. The Yadu princes made all efforts to rescue it. But it was relatively heavier in weight and given the operation of gravitational pull it could not be moved about.

48. When none of them could bring the lizard out then all of them brought it to the attention of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. By just having a glance, Kṛṣṇa could sense it to be Nṛga and began to laugh.

49. By just putting his left hand playfully into the water, the Lord of the world threw the lizard out of water and by touch of the God, it soon got free of the burden of curse.

50-51. Giving up the body of lizard, the king then got himself annointed with sandalwood paste and adorned with beautiful garland. Then with earnest devotion and with folded hands the king said, “Obeisance to you—the protector of the world, its creator, its rearer and the ultimate destroyer. My homage to you—the thousand-headed, the all-powerful and the eternal Brahmā.”

52-53a. The God-incarnate as son of Devakī then said to the king that he had been pleased with him (i.e. the king) and was prepared to grant him the boon playing rounds in his mind. (He said) The king would be blessed with a divine vision by the touch of God.

53b-55. As the God said so, the king got excited with happiness and said, “If you are pleased to grant me a boon then Keśava let this hollow spot here acquire fame by my name. Let those offering libation of water to their forefathers after taking a bath here with due devotion obtain the world of Viṣṇu by your, i.e. Govinda’s grace.”

56. After saying, “Let it be so” the God then returned to Dvārāvat again.

57. Getting adorned with beautiful garland and his body smeared with sandalwood paste, the king also proceeded in a space car to the palace of Viṣṇu served by gods.

Prahlāda said:

58. O master Brāhmaṇas! since then has this well been named after Nṛga. This is a holy place for all embodied (living) beings with the boon of Kṛṣṇa.

59. O best of Brāhmaṇas! go there, make offerings as part of your worship as per laid down procedure. Your offerings as part of worship must contain fruits, flowers, unbroken grains including rice as well as sandalwood.

60. While making offering say, “Obeissance [Obeisance?] to you the omnipresent and the supreme soul Viṣṇu. Please accept our offerings as part of worship made at the well named Nṛga.”

61. Then take some earth in your hands and anoint your bodies with it. Take a bath after this. Then follow it up with libation of water to forefathers, Gods and human beings in the stated order.

62. Then observe śrāddha with due respect in memory of your forefathers. Feed Brāhmaṇas as well as give religious fees to them as per your capability.

63. Donate a decorated cow along with calf in particular. Give away beds as well as any other article of household use which yields Viṣṇu’s pleasure.

64. Always make charities to the poor, the blind, the miserly as well as the inhabitants near it. Make charities as per your own capabilities and without any streak of dishonesty.

65. O the master Brāhmaṇas! fruits are obtainable by only a bath here and through giving cow in charity. With observance of śrāddha here one does not get debased or ignominous birth.

66. By doing śrāddha at Kṛkalāsa tīrtha as well as by offering libation of water in memory of one’s forefathers, a man goes to the abode of Viṣṇu along with his forefathers.

67. A visit undertaken to this tīrtha for the purpose of realization of one’s desires nurtured in the mind yields success. Fruits of all centres of pilgrimage are obtainable at this tīrtha and there is no doubt about this.

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