The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Humiliation of Durvasa by demons which is chapter 18 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 eighteenth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 18 - Humiliation of Durvāsā by demons

Śrī Prahlāda said:

1. Worship Rukmi—the leader of all followers and decorated with gold. With due devotion also worship Durvāsā, Kṛṣṇa and Balabhadra.

2. One may involve oneself in austere yajña accompanied by making the religious fee in a holistic manner to derive the desired boon. Comparable fruits to this can equally be obtained by simply having a look of Kṛṣṇa.

3. To fulfill one’s devotion towards gods, one makes or digs up a well or a little bigger water reservoir or even a pond. But the fruits accruing to such activities can be yielded by taking a look of Kṛṣṇa just once.

4. One donates cows, sesame, land and gold for days together. But one gets comparable fruits of such donations by just having a look of the God Kṛṣṇa.

5. Attended with prāṇāyama one takes the name of any particular God repeatedly in mind and concentrates the mind on God with all sincerity. But comparable fruits to all these can also be had by having a look of Kṛṣṇa.

6. One takes a bath in Jāhnavī (an epithet of Gaṅgā) including other places of pilgrimage with all earnestness. But similar fruits can be had by just having a look of the God Kṛṣṇa.

7. By just three steps, the Trivikrama (an epithet of Viṣṇu) had encompassed the three worlds. By having a look of Trivikrama a man gets himself free from the sins of the three worlds.

8-9. The sages said, “How could the idol of Trivikrama come up on the earth’s surface? When did it acquire the impression of Kṛṣṇa onto it? O demon king! please dispell our doubt in this regard. How could there be togetherness of Kṛṣṇa and Durvāsā? Please explain all this to us.”

Prahlāda said:

10-51. O the foremost Brāhmaṇas! listen as to how could it be possible that the idol of Trivikrama and Durvāsā appeared beside each other on earth. Earlier, as the Kṛtayuga came to an end, Bali defeated Indra—the king of gods and as a result both Indra and Madhusūdana had to desert heaven. But then to restore heaven to Indra, Trivikrama appeared in his dwarf incarnation through the yajña of Kaśyapa and measured the three worlds by just three steps of his. The God then sent Bali to the nether world and made him to remain content as a king of the subjects there. By his as well as the devotion of others, the demon Bali satisfied Kṛṣṇa. Then the God on his own remained stationed there in exchange of Bali’s devotion. To grant him a favour, the God placed himself there as a watchman at his door. Roaming here and there about the centres of pilgrimage in quest for liberation, Durvāsā—the celebrated sage then reached there and began to consider it fit for emancipation. Thinking like this from the angle of knowledge, the great sage then arrived at the confluence of Gomatī with the sea known as Cakratīrtha at present. Thinking that the same place would serve the purpose of liberation for him, he made up his mind to go there and headed towards it crossing through villages, cities, gardens and forests. After arriving at his desired region, he entered into the land of the demon known as Anarta [Ānartta?]. But muttering or sayings of the Veda or its study was prohibited in that region. Kuśa, the king of demons had reigned over the region and the subjects were thus served and looked after by him. The people in his kingdom were mostly and used to live by unrighteous means. But aware of the presence of Cakratīrtha in its immediate vicinity Durvāsā decided to take a bath there at the auspicious spot of confluence of Gomatī with the sea and to comply with his daily chore of religious ritual as a practice with an eye for liberation. Deciding like this the sage then thought for himself that it would be better for him to have a bath there fast and leave the land of the demon. Resolving like this, he then moved ahead fast on his pathway and happened to see the meritorious place where Gomatī met with the sea as he proceeded ahead. Then he put off his clothes and got his body annointed with cow-dung and mud. Then after tying up the tuft of hair on the crown of his head and with the sacred grass kuśa in hand he got himself almost prepared to take a bath there as per prescribed procedure. But when the Brāhmaṇa was taking a bath there the notorious demons happened to see him and shouted, “Who is this man? Who is he? Let’s go and slay him. In this region of ours looked after by us who is this man foolish enough to have a bath?” Saying like this, they all then took hold of him by his hips and knees and began to strike him with their clenched fists. The Brāhmaṇa as he was suffering from pain, began to tell them, “I am a Brāhmaṇa, hence not fit to be killed.” After hearing these words of him and after noticing that the wicked demons were out to kill the Brahmaṇa, a great demon among them named Rūrū [Ruru?], prevented them from doing so. Taking hold of the clothes of the Brāhmaṇa left on the shore as well as the sacred grass kuśa, the demons in any case threw him into the water. Dragging him by feet and making him swear not to come back, the wicked demons made him forcibly out of the boundary of their territory. Seeing the Brāhmaṇa about to faint, the demons got angry again and told him, “If you happen to come here again, we shall kill you beyond any doubt. Do not look at the Anarta [Ānartta?] kingdom and the pond there in.” Sensing that his life was in danger, Durvāsā began to worry excessively and thought what would be the use of his energies expended on penance if he, at all, cursed the demons. He told himself within that the rules of austerity on his part had already been violated and moreover his body had happened to decay. Hence the best course on his part would be to part with the body. In any case, who, taking his side, would impart him life at that juncture? He told himself, “Who could help him to have a bath at Cakratīrtha? And for that matter except for the lotuseyed, i.e. Viṣṇu who could win this group of powerful demons in a fight and make the devotees free from fear? Except for the God bearing the discus in hands and happening to be the leader of gods like Brahmā, etc. and equally fond of all taking refuge under him, who else could protect him?” After deliberating in this manner for considerably a long duration and learning that the God Viṣṇu was there in the nether world, the celebrated sage then went into the region under the surface of earth to take refuge of Viṣṇu. His body had become lean due to fasting and in that pitiable condition he entered the palace full of Gandharvas and beautiful women of the demon king Bali. Viṣṇu, the chief of the gods was radiating there. Excessively elated within Durvāsā made his entry there. Seeing Durvāsā coming, the master of demons then got up to welcome the respectable man and offered him a seat. He offered him Madhuparka (i.e. a mixture containing equal parts of five substances, viz. milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar) and a cow. Then placing himself on his side, he asked him with all politeness, “O Brāhmaṇa! please speak out the reason behind your coming here.” Happily seated, the sage saw Trivikrama on the doorway of the demon king. He (i.e. Trivikrama) was without any fear. Seeing the four-armed bearing the mark of Śrīvatsa (i.e. curly hair) on his chest and the God of gods (Viṣṇu) there the best of the sages began to cry and said, “Save me and protect me. O Janārdana! O Keśava! you provide refuge to all afflicted with fear and distress in society. You also give refuge to the enemies as well as the humiliated. My sorrows had been due to tormentation by the enemies as well as their dragging me. I had been humiliated by them. Afflicted with hunger my condition had become pitiable. I could not complete my daily religious rituals due to the hurdles posed by the demons. O God Keśava! having good feelings for Brāhmaṇas be a resort for this Brāhmaṇa (i.e. me).” After saying like this Durvāsā then showed the marks of torture on his body by the demons to the God. Witnessing so and then realizing the humiliation on the part of Brāhmaṇa, the dwarf-incarnate God became very angry. He asked the Brāhmaṇa to speak by whom had he been humiliated and who put blocks on his pursuit of peseverance [perseverance?] as per laid down procedure and as a Brāhmaṇa. Addressing him as a great fortunate soul, the God told him as to how could that be possible in the face of His presence as the upholder of Dharma. Durvāsā said, “O Madhusūdana, getting through self-perception that the Cakratīrtha would yield liberation for one, I visited the same place and was taking a bath there accompanied by all happiness. But before I could complete the bath, the bad and wicked demons happened to see me. Kṛṣṇa! holding me by neck, they striked me with their clenched fists. Taking hold of my clothes by force they threw the same into water along with the kuśa (i.e. the sacred grass) and the unbroken whole grains. They dragged me up along the way holding my feet. Throwing me out of their territorial boundary the stupid demons threatened me saying I would be killed beyond any doubt if spotted there again. Hence the God, help me to have a complete bath at Cakratīrtha and also give me some food. By this, Govinda! my perseverance would succeed as per the pescribed [prescribed?] rules. By your favour, I could have a bath here and having the food, I would be satisfied mentally. This way by making my vow successful, I would continue to make visits of centres of pilgrimage on the earth’s surface.”

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