The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Durvasa’s daily ritual of bath which is chapter 19 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 nineteenth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 19 - Durvāsā’s daily ritual of bath

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Full title: Durvāsā’s daily ritual of bath and the advent of Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Durvāsā]

Prahlāda said:

1-3. The God thought once and again about what Durvāsā told him. Then the God told the virtuous and sinless Durvāsā, “O master Brāhmaṇa, I have lost my freedom and become subservient to the devotion of Bali for me. I have come thoroughly under Bali and I cannot do anything other than the commands of Bali. Hence, make a request to the demon and son of Vairocani Bali first. I shall comply with the wishes desired at the moment in your mind as per his commands.”

4-8. After hearing these words, the Brāhmaṇa then hurried up, went to Bali and told him, “You are pre-eminent among those who conduct religious rituals involving sacrifices (i.e. yajña) and counted among the best known for giving charities. O great reservoir of benevolence! please show kindness towards me by sending the God to subdue the demons. By your favour in this way, I can complete the religious rite of taking a bath as per rule.” The demon (i.e. Bali) would not be so pleased to hear these words. He told Durvāsā, ‘That will not be possible. The master Brāhmaṇa may therefore put forward any other request revolving in his mind. He is prepared to oblige him by granting that without any doubt even if that may be difficult to obtain. On his part he may give himself in, but can never part with or lose Hari under any circumstances, for how could he think of losing Keśava whom he had got by dint of innumerable good deeds.”

9. Durvāsā said, “Do not think that I am bound up with greed. O demon! just send Janārdana to protect my life.”

10-14. Bali said, “O Brāhmaṇa! you must be aware that the God had assumed the incarnation as a strong boar to kill Hiranakṣya. Similarly the omnipresent Lord had assumed the incarnation of Nṛsiṃha (i.e. appearance having a man’s body with a lion’s head) to kill the pre-eminent Hiraṇyakaśipu among the demons. The virtuous God had also killed the demons named Vṛtra and Namuci and the Lord of Laṅkā (i.e. Rāvaṇa) through trick for the sake of gods. Assuming the form of dwarf, he first asked for land measuring his three steps. But then assuming the form of Trivikrama, Viṣṇu showed the world to comply with measurement of land amounting to three limitless steps of him. I have somehow obtained Viṣṇu by virtue of my meritorious deeds. Under no circumstances can I lose the God and Lord of the world who has been obtained by me in his magical shape of dwarf.”

15. Durvāsā said, “I shall not eat without having a bath in the confluence of Gomatī with sea. If you do not send Hari, I shall put my body on its path of decay, i.e. I shall give up my body.”

16. Bali said, “Whatever is destined, let it happen. The Brāhmaṇa! as you know, so you act. I cannot afford to lose the two steps to which Brahmā, Rudra and Indra equally salute.”

17-18. Seeing both arguing with each other in this way, the Lord of the world known to have sympathy for Brāhmaṇas said mercifully to the Brāhmaṇa, “Be happy the foremost Brāhmaṇa. There can be no doubt that you need to have a bath as a part of your penance and perseverance. I have to kill all these demons assembled at the confluence of Gomatī with the sea.”

Prahlāda said:

19-25. After hearing these words of the God to the Brāhmaṇa, the demon Bali then fell flat at the feet of God tightly holding both of his legs together. Then the Lord made Bali fortunate by giving him both of his feet and bearing the conch, the discus and mace in hands, he left taking Durvāsā along. Seeing Janārdana leaving along with Durvāsā, Halāyudha (an epithet of Balarāma)—the eternal power of masculinity followed them with his mace in hand. Balarāma holding his mace in hand was walking in the front. Behind him was Viṣṇu—the Trivikrama. Coming out of the nether world, the Brāhmaṇa Durvāsā was following both of them from behind. They all swiftly pierced out of the region under the surface of earth and appeared on the place where Gomatī had its confluence with the sea. Holding their bow firmly in hands and after fixing the arrows onto them both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma then told the Brāhmaṇa to take a bath to the extent of his sweet will. After hearing both, the Brāhmaṇa then hurried up, took a bath and completed the necessary rites.

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