The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The eminence of Gopi lake as a pilgrim centre which is chapter 13 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 thirteenth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 13 - The eminence of Gopī lake as a pilgrim centre

Śrī Prahlāda saidl:

1. As Kṛṣṇa said so, the Gopīs became very delighted. Then they took bath in the lake and became free from their leftover bondages.

2-5. As it is, there was a profusion of pleasure with them following their having a look of Kṛṣṇa. So, sweetly they told Mādhava, “Fortunate is that prominent demon Maya who has made th is lake for it has made possible for you—the Lord of the world to come here with other gods. If you are pleased with us then you—the offspring of Vṛṣṇi lineage show us a favour and make another best of lakes here by our name. By getting an opportunity to have a look of yours and by meditating on you as well as singing your glory day and night we, in the mortal kingdom may be able to obtain the ultimate passage.”

6. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O noble ladies! I have accepted your love and devotion for me and I shall do that desirably dear to you all. I am always accessible through devotion and I shall grant you the same favour.”

Prahlāda said:

7. After saying like this, the God then made another lake here (near the Maya lake) as desired by the Gopīs for their welfare.

8. The lake was deep and full of clean water. It was richly decorated with blooming lotuses and with flamingoes, Indian cranes and the gooses.

9. Different portions of it were decorated with white lilies, with blue lotuses and with assemblage of lotuses of varied colour. It was used to be served by prominent Brāhmaṇas and other semi-divine beings.

10. It used to serve the women as well as the youth belonging to the Yadu dynasty. People from all cities and towns used to frequent it day and night.

11-15. Seeing that water-body brimming with waves Kṛṣṇa became pleased enough to tell the Gopīs, “O Gopīs! take a look of this lake full of crystal water near the other lake, i.e. Maya lake. Clean water flows in this lake like the clean mind virtuous people have. It is due to you people that this lake has been formed here. Hence, it will have its fame associated by your name only. The word ‘Go’ means words/speech and I have had words with you people here. Hence, this place will acquire feme in the world by the name of ‘Gopracāraka’. I have created this lake here to fulfill your loving wishes in this regard. Hence, it will be renowned in the world as Gopī lake.”

16. The Gopīs said, “If you have created this lake by our name to oblige us then O Vārṣṇeya! give us an opportunity to put forward another request on our part.”

17. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “You can ask for whatever that may be occupying your minds. I cannot deny the same as you people have come here guided by devotion.”

18-25. The Gopīs said, “If the God is pleased not to deny us a boon, then let Kṛṣṇa alias Mādhava always come here in a palanquin carried by people. After coming here let him take a bath in the water (of the pool) here with due regard to laid down procedure. Let there be coexistence of gods, yajñas and tīrthas here as is usually associated with the presence of Keśava anywhere. As you are here, so also be there the conduct of charities and observance of any mental vow here as per rules as unavoidable with your presence anywhere. Let there be recital of the sacred syllable ‘Om’ as well as worship of gods and forefathers be inevitable here like your presence anywhere. The earth, the ocean, the light, the sacrifices, the people, truth, penance and the world beyond are the essential companions of you—the Kṛṣṇa. You also pervade the entire world—gods, the demons and human beings. Hence, Lord of the world and Janārdana, let there be no doubt that a bath here encompasses the three worlds together. Gaṅgā—the purifier of the three worlds is just the water of your feet. Lakṣmī stays on your breast and Sarasvatī on your face. You—Lord of the world, is integral to everything that breathes with life. Hence, O Lord of the world, be kind towards us and tell us what are you going to grant people in future in the Kaliyuga. Also tell us what fruits will devolve for those who after coming on a visit here stay back for six months as well as for those who will choose to put up here till they are alive.”

26-44. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O Gopīs! be pleased to listen from me without any doubt the fruits that will accrue to people after taking a bath here in this Gopikā lake. After arranging all ingredients meant for performance of worship, present a calf embellished with clothes and ornaments along with a cow to a householder Brāhmaṇa. That Brāhmaṇa should be of good character and conduct. He must neither be poor nor should he be pursuing well-being/welfare motivated by his own self-interest. Donation of cow to such a Brāhmaṇa results in attainment of the same fruits accruable by a bath here. The number of footsteps of Kṛṣṇa that a man takes look of here, his clan members get as many years of stay in the abode of Hari. Mothers of those men who happen to come here and walk together singing the glory of Kṛṣṇa at this Gopikā lake with accompanied instruments never have to suffer the pains of old age. These men also obtain the abode of Viṣṇu with all their desires fulfilled. One needs to make offerings as an associated part of the performance of worship after undergoing the bath skillfully here. Then with utmost faith one has to make the offerings attended on worship as per laid-down procedure and reciting the mantra saying, ‘Obeisance to you—the Supreme Soul and bearing the appearance of cow. O Lord of the world! accept our offerings made as a part and parcel of worship here at the Gopracāraka Tīrtha and accept our reverence.” After making the offering as per required procedure, one has then to apply mud on the body by one’s own hands and take bath attended with utmost faith. After that one can make libations of water to gods and one’s forefathers. With single-minded devotion one has to perform śrāddha here and donate gold and silver as part of the religious fee as has been stated to be. Specially, betel leaves and collyrium are to be offered here. Besides, one may donate garments made of silk and garments dyed with safflower here. Make donations of the apparel put on by a couple as well as their ornaments. Donate cows and strong bulls to Brāhmanas [Brāhmaṇas?]. Make charities to the poor, the blind and the miserly as per your abilities and affordability. A man attains the usual path of goodness by doing so. Along with him, three forthcoming generations of his clan also get enabled to attain that ultimate world. One fostering desire for son also gets blessed with a handsome son. Whatever desire a man nourishes, can attain the same besides attaining the final liberation through attainment of heaven by a bath in the Gopikā lake. The lake will be there as long as the human world remains and all of your fame in tandem with the lake will continue till the same lake persists. As long as men continue to celebrate the bath here in the lake, heaven will continue to revel in its greater, higher and exalted position. Becoming free from all sins, men will proceed in the direction of ultimate passage (by a bath here). The Gopī lake full of water forever will always hold merit. O Gopīs! all of you need to have a bath with me here in the lake by adhering to all rules in the month of Śrāvaṇa, i.e. August. By considering me as your husband or by imagining me as Brahma, all of you, the Gopīs can obtain the ultimate passage.”

Prahlāda said:

45. Then the Gopīs, with due permission of God left in the same direction they had come from after paying their salutations to Govinda.

46. The God on his part after seeing off the Gopīs left for his own abode along with Uddhava and made his entry therein.

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