The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Maya lake—its formation and greatness which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 12 - The Maya lake—its formation and greatness

Prahlāda said:

1. Then O the best of Brāhmaṇas! visit the foremost Tīrtha called “Gopracāra”. By taking a bath here with faith, a man obtains the fruits of making charities of cow.

2. The Lord of the world had bathed here when gods from above had showered him with their appreciation. The virtuous Brāhmaṇas, a bath here on the twelfth day of a month is spoken as Katadānam [Kaṭadāna?].

The Sages said:

3. O king of the demons! how could the Gopracāraka Tīrtha come up there and for that matter, for which purpose did Janārdana take a bath there?

Prahlāda said:

4. After killing Kaṃsa—ṃe king of Bhoja with his limitless power, the great God Kṛṣṇa then got Ugrasena coronated as the king of Mathurā.

5. Then given his fondness for Gokula, Kṛṣṇa sent Uddhava there keeping in view his hearty and loving wishes for friends and for both the male and female inhabitants there.

6. After offering his salutation to Govinda, Uddhava proceeded towards Gokula of Nanda. He was dressed up in a similar way like Kṛṣṇa and adorned with jewellery and ornaments.

7-10. Seeing Uddhava, the dear servant of Kṛṣṇa well-dressed and adorned with ornaments towards the fag end of the day, i.e. in the evening, Yaśodā offered him her respect. Then she served him food and while putting him to take rest, enquired about the well-being of her son Kṛṣṇa with tearful eyes and her voice choked out of affection for son, saying, “Is everything running happily for both my sons and the best of the YadusBalarāma and Kṛṣṇa? Is Govinda at all remembering his other companion cowboys? Will Govinda—the Lord of Mathurā ever come back to the region of Gokula and help its sons of the soil to cross over the ocean of sins?”

11. Saying this with tearful eyes and with choked voice both Yaśodā and Nanda wept pitiably and persistently subjugated by affection for son.

12-14. Sensing both of their lives to be at stake Uddhava then amiably conveyed them the message of Kṛṣṇa to boost up their spirits saying, “Along with his elder brother, he has asked me to convey his regards to you. Wiṃ everything fine with him, he desires to be apprised of your well-being and health. He, the light of the Daśaī clan will come back soon with venerable Balarāma and after coming here, he—the Lord of the World, will lay down the system as per your welfare.”

15. In this way Uddhava assured the Nandas and being welcomed by them slept off with all happiness in their house.

16-17. Seeing the chariot in front of the door of Nanda’s house, the Gopīs became surprised. As it is they were eagerly waiting for the advent of Kṛṣṇa. Hence they began to say, “Who was it, who was it? Who was this being having the brightness like sun, having long arms and having the same apparel on his body like Kṛṣṇa to have arrived in the house of the King of cowboys?”

18-20. Coming together and discussing among themselves all the women of Braja, as it is afflicted with sorrows due to separation from Kṛṣṇa began to ask the same messenger of him in seclusion. The beautiful Gopīs said, “Wherefrom have you come here and for what purpose? Do you intend to abduct us in the guise of a dacoit [i.e., Dasyu?]? As it is Kṛṣṇa has aleady hurt our heart. He has fled making us, the womenfolk drink the abominable poison.”

21. Saying like this and after seeing the attendant of Kṛṣṇa before them the Gopīs impatient with sorrows fell unconscious on the ground.

22-23. Uddhava on his part could realize all of them to be bewitched coming under the resort of Kṛṣṇa’s love and affection. Hence to give them assurances, he began to make the following words soothing to their ears. Uddhava said, “O Gopīs! the God alias husband of ten women is equally afflicted with the arrow of Kandarpa, i.e. the Lord of lust and desire. Obsessed with the same, day and night, he is neither drinking nor eating anything.”

24-26. Hearing these words of him one of them named Lalitā became relieved of her anger and with her eyes reddened due to crying, she told Uddhava, “Kṛṣṇa is cruel and dear to the cruel people. Hence, do not lie me by stating that which does not fit those failing to evoke respect. Shame on the cruel and evil-doer Hari who despite the good wishes of the women folk has left for Dvārāvat by evincing his bad temperament.”

27. Śyāmalā said, “Why to speak about a being having low fortune, less merit and a bad temperament? Speak something other than this that fits him.”

28. Dhanyā said, “Who has brought this messenger of that bad person here? Let him also equally follow that evil path following which Kṛṣṇa did not turn back.”

29. Viśākhā said, “His birth is only to hurt women for he does not know how to honour nor does he have a good family lineage nor does he fear sinful activities. Seeking company of such a person is meaningless for he lacks in the basic quality of manhood.”

30. Rādhā said, “It cannot be tenable to accept that one who does not have the slightest sense of fear of sin for killing living beings, can at all have the hesitation to hurt women.”

31. Śaivyā said, “O greatly fortunate one! please tell us the truth as to what the best of Yadus doing? For that matter why should he at all remember us when he is having the company of city-bred women?”

32. Padmā said, “O greatly fortunate Uddhava! will it ever be possible for the God dearer to wicked women to be attracted towards lotus with its broad leaf?”

33. Bhadrā said, “O Kṛṣṇa! O best of the Gopas (i.e. the protectors of cows) O darling of the Gopīs (i.e. women protector of cows) O immensely powerful and the strong one! rescue the Gopīs from the ocean of worldly existence.”

Prahlāda said:

34. The women of Braja constantly weeping in this way and remembering their yearning for Kṛṣṇa were making varied voices of concern albeit in a well thought of and organized manner.

35. Uddhava became utterly surprised hearing them crying and then with himself taken over with affection said faithfully, “all right, all right”.

36-37. Uddhava said, “These women of Braja are indeed fortunate enough to follow Hari whose inherent nature could not be comprehended by Brahmā, Hara, other Gods and even the great sages. Their birth as well as their youth has become fruitful through such unshaken faith in Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

38. The Gopīs said, “O noble soul! show us Govinda, show us Ballabha and take us there where Kṛṣṇa has placed himself firmly.”

Prahlāda said:

39. After hearing all this as they said and bearing in mind their persistent weeping over the same, Uddhava got overpowered with affection and said, “Let it be so.”

40. Attached as they were to Kṛṣṇa then all those women of Braja began to follow Uddhava in the same direction with a desire for Kṛṣṇa.

41. Singing the couplets bearing fondness for Kṛṣṇa as well as containing accounts of his childhood days, the women of Braja proceeded slowly along with Uddhava.

42. They reached Yadupurī and thereafter coming across the gardens and series of groves there they thought that they would have an opportunity to have glance of the Nandana garden of Kṛṣṇa.

43-45. By going to Dvārāvat and by meditating upon the master of Lakṣmī (i.e. Viṣṇu) all of their sins would get destroyed and they could be free from such bondage. As they reached the pool built up by Maya, Uddhava bowed down to those Gopīs who were inclined to consider him as the God Kṛṣṇa and after endearingly addressed them as mothers said, “You all stay back here. The strong-armed the lotus-eyed (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) will come here and will arrange your welfare.”

46. The Gopīs said, “Who has made this lake here richly decorated with lotuses of varied colours and with white as well as blue water lilies?”

47. Uddhava said, “There was a great and famous demon by name Maya in the world. As a prolific trickster he seemed to have built this white lake here and it is by his name that this lake has become renowned in the world.”

48. The beautiful Gopīs said, “O virtuous soul! please bring along the unmovable Govinda fast here. We will be delighted to see him. So also the three kinds of our lamentation will get wiped out.”

49. Soon after hearing such words of the Gopīs, Uddhava then called for Kṛṣṇa through a messenger.

50. Then he saw the son of Devakī coming fast seated on a vehicle, with his body radiating brightness and adorned with a garland made of wild flowers.

51. His crown was burning with brightness and his dangling earrings in the shape of alligator were shining. With the mark of bunch of hairs in the shape of a coil on his chest the strong-armed and powerful was dressed in yellow clothes.

52. With an umbrella over his head and accompanied by his ancestor Vṛṣṇi and with songs and hymns recited in his honour by Nandī from behind, it was offering a delightful sight.

53. People from all over the city as well as those from the city belonging to Viṣṇu who happened to pass by there could see the lake richly full of Indian cranes as well as groups of cranes in copulation.

54. Witnessing the arrival of permanently fixed Kṛṣṇa having the most attractive body in the world and whose loveliness is indeed captivating for the mind, the women of Braja got fully enchanted.

55-58. Then composing themselves after sometime they began to weep saying, “O Lord, O embodied beauty captivating to the mind, O Kṛṣṇa and the master of Braja! We are related to you since your childhood. We have reared you up as a child and have played with you while you were a boy. So how could you be pitiless and cruel to give us up? Neither you are following dharma by doing so nor are you living up to fulfill the requirements of good-heartedness inherent to friendship. Can one ever attain the path of virtue by giving up one’s parents? Giving up of one’s duties as a master or proprietor and of one’s devotees has been censured in all Śāstras. By leaving us all alone in the forest to fend for ourselves, you have disregarded the duties called upon a hero.”

Prahlāda said.:

59-65. After hearing the lamented words of the Gopīs, the foster son of Nanda (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) learning their feelings for him as well as their seeking his resort pacified and cajoled them (i.e. the women of Braja) with his sweet words. The Lord then gave them lessons on spirituality. The gracious God said, “My separation from you all can never be for ever. I stay perpetually in the hearts of everything in existence in particular. My power pervades all including insane and the gods besides Indra. The Sun, Vasu, Rudra, Sādhyā and Maruts are all my followers. So also are Brahmā, Rudra, Viṣṇu, Sanaka and all the great sages [i.e., Maharṣis]. The senses, the mind, the intellect, the existence and even for that matter qualities like desire, anger, greed, infatuation and pride pervading the material substances, O Gopīs! have been caused by me. Hence, after learning all this, you—the greatly fortunate ones, do not grieve in your minds. I am always there in everyone’s body. Hence you all—the sinless, try to act towards the welfare of all for my sake.”

Prahlāda said:

66-68. After hearing these words of Kṛṣṇa, all the Gopīs who were earlier tied up with their destructive thoughts became free from doubt and difficulties in their minds. They got flooded with happiness resulting from the sight of Kṛṣṇa. With their minds clear of doubts the Gopa brides said, “Our birth has become successful today. So also our eyes by having a sight of yours who is dear to the city-bred women. The meritless do not bother to have a look of Kṛṣṇa—the Supreme Puruṣa. Though by appropriate words conjoined with commensurate deeds you—Madhūsudana has explained everything to us, the sense of deceit from our heart is not yet completely cut off.”

69. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O women of Braja! you will be free from the remaining part of your bondage by having a sight of this lake here and by touching its water. A bath in this lake fulfills all desires.”

70. The Gopīs said, “Citations have been made regarding the miraculous effect of this pool. O Lord of the world and offspring of Vṛṣṇi lineage! Please narrate in details of the ways of going about this (i.e. a bath here).”

71-80. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “Yours taking a look of this pool has effected here in my presence. Hence, as per practice I need also to take a bath here as per proper procedure. One who takes a bath here with utmost faith on the twelfth day in the brighter period of moon in the month of Śrāvaṇa, i.e. August and thereafter offers libations of water to his forefathers with sincere intentions and makes charities as per his affordability for me and his forefathers, will obtain the abode of Viṣṇu taking along his forefathers with him. After coming to Maya tīrtha it is desirable to make offerings to me as part of worship by reciting a mantra and bearing the sacred grass (i.e. kuśa) and a fruit in hand. The mantra as prayer to recite is “Submerged in the dark well of life as a householder I am tied up being wrapped in hundreds of illusions. Hence, the Lord of the world, I am making offering as a part of worship by acceptance of which by you I may be salvaged. Please accept my offering with due obeissance of mine.” Man needs to take bath here attended with utmost faith to offer libations of water to his forefathers. Then he has to perform the śrāddha with sincere devotion towards his forefathers. As a religious fee, he has to offer gold and silver. In particular, he has to offer an oblation made of rice, milk and sugar. One can also offer fresh butter, ghee, umbrella and deerskin here. As I have equally taken a look of this reservoir of water beside you, hence I need also to come here regularly. The dear Gopīs, those who will take a bath here in this Maya lake, they will have the imperishable fruits like that of a bath in Gaṅgā and that of the abode of Viṣṇu. His forefathers belonging to three generations of his clan attain liberation. He will be added with sons and grand children. He will be embellished with wealth and riches. Blessed with life-long happiness, he will go to the city of Hari.”

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