The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Significance of Dvaraka visit and bearing of basil garland which is chapter 23 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 twenty-third chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 23 - Significance of Dvārakā visit and bearing of basil garland

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-96. O Indradyumna! try to understand the greatness of Dvārakā. The husband of Rukmiṇī (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) stays here in the Kaliyuga to drive away all hardships and difficulties. Those who read and listen to the greatness of Kṛṣṇa in the Kaliyuga cannot have residence for themselves in the abode of Yama for eight yugas in succession. Nothing in this as well as the other world will be difficult for him/her to obtain for whom the story of Kṛṣṇa is always held higher/greater in importance than his/her own life. The fruits accruable to inhabitation of thousands of years of Manu’s count at Kāśī, can be obtained through just a stay for five days at Dvārakā. If an outcaste stays in Dvārakā in the Kaliyuga he obtains the passage realisable for the ascetics. The founder of creation, i.e. Prajāpati has said so. A man nurturing a desire to always visit Dvārakā can reap the same fruits emerging out of a visit to Kurukṣetra, The fruits which accrue to a bath at Somanāyaka during the time of eclipse in Soma planet have been stated to result equally by having a look of Janārdana at Dvārāvat. The fruits that can be earned by staying at the Puṣkara pilgrim centre and by undergoing the practice of making donations for a substantial number of years (i.e. a crore of years) can be earned by just having habitation at Dvārakā for a single day. Having a look of the son of Devakī at Dvārakā for a single day is understood as a foundation for reaping hundreds and lakhs of fruits.

O king! a living being in the Kaliyuga can make his life fortunate by simply nurturing a constant desire in mind to visit Dvārakā for the purpose of having a sight of Kṛṣṇa. The foremost king, now listen to the fruits that accrue to one by staying for the entire day of the eleventh day of a month in the vicinity of Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā. Such people may consider themselves to be fortunate enough for by having a look of the purifying face of Kṛṣṇa, they get themselves free from crore of sins. The fruits which can be earned by observance of vow attended with worship of Kṛṣṇa and by conducting of Yajñas as well as by making of greater donations, can be had by just having look of Kṛṣṇa once at Dvārakā. Those men who bathe the head of Kṛṣṇa with milk can reap the results of each drop of milk equalling one hundred Aśvamedha Yajñas. Thṭs is how it is remembered. Ten times the fruits of milk-bath is obtainable by curd-bath. Ten times of the fruits of curd-bath is obtainable by bath with ghee. Ten times of the fruits of ghee-bath is attainable by honey-bath. Ten times of all these fruits are obtainable by bathing the head of Kṛṣṇa after combining all these four with water. Fruits multiply ten times by making offering of flowers growing near the shore of water bodies. So is also the case of offering jewels of superior quality. The virtuous king, similar is also the case of offering water and perfume with mantras (i.e. consecration). Bathing the idol with the juice of sugarcane qualifies for results equivalent to conduct of one hundred yajñas involving sacrifice of horses.

So is also the result, O king! of bathing the idol with water of centres of pilgrimage. Those who rub the water off the idol of Kṛṣṇa with a cloth after bathing the same get themselves cleansed off about a lakh of their sins earned through evil deeds. After bathing the Lord of the world, one has to put a garland of flowers onto the idol. By doing so one gets entitled to the fruit of one gold coin corresponding to each flower on the garland. By blowing the conch, etc. at the time of bathing the God, one gets the opportunity of residence in the Brahmaloka. One who reads the treatise containing one thousand names of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu) at the time of bathing the idol, he can earn the fruits equivalent to making donation of one hundred Kapilā cows per each letter of the same name.

O king! such fruits can be obtained by reciting verses of the Gītā. Eulogies through Gajendramokṣa as well as the most prominent of hymns also bring in similar results. The king, the God gets pleased even through recitation of hymns composed by other sages and all desires get fulfilled. So what to specially speak about the recitation of Veda at the time of bathing the idol of God.

O king! the merits of such rites cannot be described. Those who dance before the idol of Kṛṣṇa at the time of bathing it, sing as well as recite the Vedic hymns, make conscious sounds proclaiming the victory of Kṛṣṇa, sing and dance with harmony of their clappings and either laugh or proclaim the magical deeds of Kṛṣṇa, can be presumed to have become free giving up the cycle of birth through a mother’s womb.

O king! he who recites the glory of Kṛṣṇa at the time of the ritual of bathing his idol, does not happen to remain in his mother’s lap with face upward and raised. One who makes a mixture of sandalwood, the fragrant powder Agurū [Aguru?], saffron, camphor and musk of the deer and applies the same on the idol of Kṛṣṇa, is presumed to have fulfilled the religious procedure to earn for himself a place in the abode of Viṣṇu along with his forefathers till the subsistence of the Creation. Indradyumna, any individual who applies paste of sandalwood on the idol of Kṛṣṇa everyday without fail and worships it by lighting incense sticks as well as by other fragrant substances, gets eligible for a habitation of as many years in the abode of Hari as per the calculation of number of years in a yuga christened with the name of the famous Manu. One can adorn the God with ornaments as per one’s capability. These may be of gold as well as of pearls of superior quality and brightness. Fruits attended with such activity is already acknowledged by the group of gods called Rūdra [Rudra?] as well as Indra Except Mādhava himself, even the sages are not aware of this.

O king! those who worship Kṛṣṇa—the Lord of the world and destroyer of all impurities in the Kaliyuga, offer basil leaves and the Ketakī flowers, a garland made of jasmine flowers and with such flowers blooming forth in their respective lands—the fruit of each of such flowers has been declared to be equalling that of the Rājasūya yajña. Men who worship the Lord (i.e. the husband) of Rukmiṇī (with all adoration and faith) as per their capacity and affordability get entitled to merriments in the abode of Viṣṇu for as many years constituting one hundred times of the age as per estimation of Manu. Again such meritorious fruit is also obtainable by worshipping the son of Devakī with all faith by basil leaves with tender flower stalks. The fortune that awaits upon getting yoked to yoga or by becoming an accomplished yoga practitioner or by exceeding liberality in making gifts and donations or by serving centres of pilgrimage or by faithful devotion to mother or by observing the religious vow on that specific twelfth day of a month considered to be free from negative effects of Hell and the fruits usually waiting upon observance of the religious ritual of staying awake for a night and dancing and singing to the glory of Viṣṇu before his idol or by being a devotee of Viṣṇu or by reciting the Veda or by the Vaiṣṇavites by their recital of the Viṣṇu Śāstra or by worshipping Kṛṣṇa—the husband of Rukmiṇī by a garland made of basil leaves all such fruits, O king! are similar in their merit. As the beloved Lakṣmī is to Viṣṇu, so is basil relatively more dear to him and especially the basil available and sprouting up at Dvārakā comparatively give fruits. Even the very activity of worship in the temples meant for Viṣṇu outside Dvārakā with whatever fragments of basil available in the Kaliyuga can result in merits comparable to Dvārakā. Even worshipping of Kṛṣṇa—the annihilator of impurities of the Kaliyuga with the leaves of Ketaka plant, O king! results in reaping of the fruits of Aśvamedha yajña per each of the same leaf offered in worshipping. There can be no doubt that by worshipping Kṛṣṇa—the God of the three worlds with jasmine flowers one gets even that fruit most difficult to obtain and under no circumstances can one be deprived of it.

O king! worship of the Lord (i.e. the husband) of Rukmiṇī by seasonal flowers results in realization of all wishes of men including the difficult ones also. O Indra-like king! those who light incense by mixing the black Agurú powder with camphor before Kṛṣṇa, they happen to attain the position comparable to Kṛṣṇa. Men by making a perfumed substance with a mixture of ghee and gum and by worshipping the Janārdana by lighting it up attain the fortunate state of bliss.

Lighting up earthen lamps before Kṛṣṇa, O king! makes one to bury all sins and attain that position of radiance. He who lights up a chain of earthen lamps on the doorways of the Kṛṣṇa temple obtains kingdoms measuring up to seven islands per each lamp in the chain so set up. One who puts forth his wishful pleadings before Kṛṣṇa by offering his favourite eatables while worshipping ensures everlasting appeasement of his forefathers till the subsistence of Creation. One who submits himself before the God, O foremost king! with all sincerety within, all his wishes of mind reap actuation till the endurance of Creation.

The leader of men! one who offers camphor and betel leaves along with betel nuts to Kṛṣṇa gets fortunate enough to obtain the position of God of fire. After adding camphor to water in a pitcher, one who places the same before Kṛṣṇa will never have to face scarcity of water for himself including his grandfathers till the subsistence of creation. One who protects the Lord from heat by waving a fan or any other thing like a cloth near him (i.e. his idol) then the chief of kings, there will hardly be any sinner in his family to head towards the abode of Yama.

There will be no motion left for him, O great king! except for his remaining in the atmosphere. One who makes an altar of flowers in the temple of Kṛṣṇa, lights up incense and perfumes to create a fragrant atmosphere, he happens to roam around playfully in the sky seated on a chariot decked up with crores of flowers. One who pleases Kṛṣṇa while moving in the air, the God happens to bless him by kissing on his forehead while he is in motion. One who decorates the mansion (i.e. the temple of Kṛṣṇa) by placing the stems of plantain tree, he happens to stay in the world of Sun till the earth subsists. One who lights up incense sticks as well as puts a string made of beads of sandalwood in the temple of Kṛṣṇa, he gets served by divine nymphs as well as the leader of gods (i.e. Indra). With devotion, one who hoists a flag on the top of the mansion (temple) of Kṛṣṇa, he gets entitled to play with Brahmā following his obtaining the status of Brahmā. He, who makes a beautiful shape on the floor of the Kṛṣṇa temple having the svastika symbol integral to it, gets entitled to the sportive pastimes in the three worlds. He, who puts up heaps of flowers on the altar of the temple of husband of Rukmiṇī, gets an opportunity to roam merrily about all the heavenly gardens as well as in the company of foremost of men. He, who makes/spreads out coloured paintings in the mansion of the God of gods (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) gets eligible to put up in the world of Rūdra [Rudra?] (i.e. Śiva) till the subsistence of seas. The great king, he, who makes a bright sign like that of rays of the moon on top of Kṛṣṇa and side by side continues to put up at Dvārakā, gets entitled to reside in the immortal Soma world. One who offers umbrella consisting of many spokes as well as decorated with sewn coloured clothes, decked up with beautiful jewels and having its handle to hold made of gold, for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa, he happens to engage himself in sportive pastimes with his forefathers surrounded by lakhs of immortal gods.

The leader of men! he who gifts an aeroplane-like carrier made by humans, i.e. a palanquin to Kṛṣṇa—such a good deed on his part gets rewarded with his making wealth and he, getting entitled to the status of Brahmā. He stays and breathes in for a period making one day of Brahmā. The king, by worshipping and waving lighted lamps before Kṛṣṇa he gets entitled to experience a sense of pleasure by getting nearness to Kṛṣṇa. By further brightening up the lights with addition of camphor to wave before the God, a man can happen to reside in the exclusive world of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Vaikuṇṭha) for a period of seven kalpas, i.e. till the time of dissolution of seven creations. By putting water into conch and then by waving the same before Kṛṣṇa, one happens to stay in the ocean of milk in the vicinity of Kṛṣṇa till the subsistence of Creation. After doing like this,

O king! if one takes a round of the idol of Kṛṣṇa from left to right with all faith, then reads out the treatise containing his one thousand names as well as other hymns in his honour, he gets rewarded with lands measuring upto the size of seven islands according to the steps taken by him while making a round of the idol. Paying one’s obeisance to Kṛṣṇa by falling flat on the ground is equivalent in results to that of the Aśvamedha yajña. Appeasement of Kṛṣṇa by good songs with a melodious voice gives the same results as that of the recitation of the Sāma Veda beyond any doubt. By dancing before the God accompanied by utmost happiness as well as attended with earnest devotion one happens to get rid of sins committed in periods constituting a number of ages as per estimation of famous Manu. Religious discourses before Kṛṣṇa with devotion of the highest order induces the same results per letter of the discourse as that accrue from making donation of one hundred Kapilā cows. By appeasing Kṛṣṇa by reading out the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda and Sāma Veda, the noble Brāhmaṇas can stay in the world of Brahmā till the dissolution of Creation. Those who read out the Yoga Śāstras and the Vedantic Purāṇas in the close proximity of Kṛṣṇa, piercing the sun rays, they happen to proceed to the abode of Hari. Śrīmad Bhāgvad [Bhāgavad?] Gitā, the treatise containing thousand names of Viṣṇu, the treatise called Bhīṣma Stavarāja, the Anusmṛti and the Gajendramokṣa are also very much loved by Kṛṣṇa. Those who read out the Śrīmad Bhāgavat near Kṛṣṇa can always have sportive pastimes with ascetics carrying along hundreds and crores of their clan members.

O king! those who read out the Rāmāyaṇa, Vyāsa’s Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas attain liberation beyond any doubt. One can reap hundreds and thousands of merits by reading out the Gitā etc., before Kṛṣṇa on the twelfth day of a month.

O king! the merits get multiplied by crore of times by staying awake the entire night on the twelfth day of the month to conform to the religious ritual. Similar fruits can also be obtained by regularly putting up at Dvārakā. Sins earned through evil deeds of hundred years get wiped out by having a bath at Gomatī and following it up with a look of the face of Kṛṣṇa. Fortunate are those men who can make libations in memory of their forefathers with the water of Gomatī in its confluence with the sea at Dvārakā during the Kaliyuga. The king, a sight of Gomatī gives the same satisfaction like taking a bath at the mouth of Gaṅgā at Haridvār [Haridvāra?], at Prayāga, in Gaṅgā itself, at Kurukṣetra, at Prabhāsa, at Śukla Tīrtha, at Śrī Sthala and in the Puṣkara and then following it up with making libations of water as well as offering balls of cooked rice in honour and memory of one’s forefathers. Even by taking the name of Gomatī within oneself with all sincerity and earnestness, the fruits of Cāndrāyaṇa (i.e. the religious observance of a penance connected with the Moon’s age) can be obtained by one despite the fact of his/her staying far away from Gomatī. Fortunate is the region Dvārāvat as Gomatī flows there. Even the beloved of Rukmiṇī (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) stays there for ever on his own. How can there be the loosening of the bondage of sins on them in the Kaliyuga who are already stupefied by evils without their having a bath on the shore of Gomatī. Kṛṣṇa has made Gomatī in the Kaliyuga as a ladder to Heaven. It creates love in the minds of animals including goodness in humans. The stair to heaven may not be visible. A sight of Gomatī is just like having a sight of Heaven. As a grinder of sins it is a giver of happiness to the sinners. Just a bath in it induces liberation. The sea roars here with its water coming in touch with that of Gomatī. The powerful king, one has to go there where Kṛṣṇa is equally present. There are impressions of the circular discus on stones here in the confluence of Gomatī with the sea. As worshipping them results in liberation, so who will not like to adopt this place to serve?

O king! the imprints of the circular disc of Kṛṣṇa are quite clear here. So who, for the purpose of killing sins, will not like to serve this place in the Kaliyuga? Since olden times, the Gods had taken resort to this place for its remaining largely out of sight and contact of the demons. So who’ll not like to serve this place? As Kṛṣṇa—the son of Devakī did not give up the city of Dvārakā even in the Kaliyuga, so who would not like to serve the city by words and deeds with full application of mind?

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

97-189. O king! now listen to the account of this place/city as a destroyer of sins which I am narrating. You shall definitely be free from the sorrows integral to bondage of society and family by listening to this. In ancient times, O king! there was a Brāhmaṇa by name Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman?] in the kingdom of Avantī. Always a devotee of Śiva, he was a master of Vedas. Always bearing Śiva in mind, his words and actions never reflected anything other than his allegiance to Śiva. O king! his religious observance of any vow or penance had no other connection than Śiva. He was not observing fasting on the specific day considered auspicious for Hari nor was he undergoing any other religious penance for the same purpose. Except observing religiously the fourteenth day of a month considered auspicious for Śiva, he was not observing religious penance for any other God. O King! he used to visit all places exclusively demarcated for Śiva or used to go to centres of pilgrimage meant for Lord Śaṃkara. He never visited the centres of pilgrimage of the Vaiṣṇavas. Every year he used to visit Somanātha. O Lord of the men (i.e. the King)! he never used to desist from performing yajñas specially for Soma (i.e. Śiva). Of course, eighty-nine years passed in this way in his discharge of duties of devotion to Śiva. Once, during the festival earmarked for Soma, kings in large number, from various regions as well as the people equally in vast numbers under their governance assembled at Somanātha to take a look of Lord Śiva. After having a look of the Lord Someśvara, they then went to the city of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Dvārakā). Despite their offering invitation to Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] to accompany them, Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] did not go to the city of Dvārakā.

Instead he said, “I do not consider any other centre of pilgrimage in the three worlds to be above that of Śiva. As per my knowledge there is no other God than Siva to be the master lord”.

So leaving Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] behind, they all went to the city of Dvārakā. The next day, when Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] left for his own home, suddenly he happened to see his grandfathers, as if, he was in a dream. With huge bodies the ghostly spirits appeared ferocious to him in dream. Simultaneously, some of them also equally appeared in lean and emaciated bodies with bouts of sneezing. He began to tremble out of fear after seeing such an excessively terrible dream.

Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] said, “Wherefrom have you all such ugly-shaped and ferocious animals hail? I have never happened to see such animals in the course of evolution on the surface of earth nor have I ever heard about them before.”

The ghosts said, “O foremost Brāhmaṇa! do not be fearful of us. We are all your ancestral grandfathers. Afflicted with great sorrows, we have come to you.”

Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] said, “My grandfathers had reaped the fruits agreeable to the penance on their part. My only point of wonder is what could be the reason behind your becoming ghosts.”

The ghosts said, “Our son, listen to the reason behind our becoming ghosts, which we are narrating to you. We had always opposed and violated the observance of religious practices in the past specified for that particular day considered auspicious for Vāsudeva. In particular, we acted as hurdles before the religious practice of staying awake for the night observed in adoration of Hari. Our son, be apprised that it was due to this that we have become ghosts. Our downfall to the terrible hell will happen without any doubt. Hence, we shall remain here with you till the unprecedented submersion of existence.”

Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] said, “Ruination by ghost-hood will not be there for those who have relinquished faith in Kṛṣṇa and have given up the observance of religious vows on the twelfth day of the month specifically dedicated to Kṛṣṇa and by worship of Śaṃkara, etc. Such fate in any case, awaits those who fail to please the annihilator of the three worlds (i.e. Śiva) by their devotion. Otherwise, with the God’s blessing of agreeable situation for them, they shall never attain the state of ghost-hood.”

The ghosts said, “O son! the sins attended with creating barriers on the pathways of the religious observance of the twelfth day dedicated to Kṛṣṇa cannot be mitigated without atonement. The misfortune of ghost-hood therefore will not go away certainly. The son, one who does not atone persistently has to suffer the sins of killing cows, despite the fact of his worshipping Śaṃkara and without worshipping Keśava. First of all, Keśava needs to be worshipped. After that one may worship Maheśvara. Then the remaining gods are to be worshipped with all devotion. Like the branches of a tree spread out of the main, i.e. the root branch, the entire existence comprising the mobile and the immobile has been born out of Vāsudeva. (Hence) the learned never worship the branches keeping aside the root. Hari—the Lord of the universe and the sovereign of the three worlds, is (therefore) worshipable in particular. (Those who worship Hari) deeply on the particular day meant for him, they get fortune. If due to some reason or other that day is afflicted, their forefathers get into the degraded stage of entry in the wombs of ghosts. The God does not accept offerings to the sacrificial fire made in his honour on such day. Similar is also the case with their forefathers who do not accept the oblation of food made in their memory on such day. (So the crux of the matter is) When the Sun does not acknowledge the worship of him, how will the forefathers accept the same? As the conduct of havan is prohibited when the period of full moon falls on two consecutive days so is the worship of Hari on the particular day meant for him but which is afflicted with abuses and leading one to obtain the status of ghost-hood. The full-moon day in the month of Vaiśākha (i.e. April) is specially recommended for conduct of religious activities like śrāddha etc. It has been an established matter having longstanding validity that neither the God accepts the offerings made to the sacrificial fire in his favour nor do one’s grandfathers acknowledge the oblations of food made in their memory on the third day of the month of Vaiśākha (i.e. April). (Hence again the validity of assertion that) where God himself does not accept his worship, how shall the grandfather do the same? Therefore, learned men must refrain from performing any such activity on the third day of Vaiśākha which has been a longstanding forbidden day in this regard. If one does so out of certain infatuation he continues to remain in the ghostly state almost forever. Even his strive towards meritorious deeds through service of large number of centres of pilgrimage fail to do away such predicament. (Similarly) if one observes the monthly sacrifice meant for the full-moon day on the tenth day of a month which has been a long-established forbidden practice or observes the annual śrāddha for his forefathers on the day before the annual day which again is forbidden, he can be understood to have made a beginning on the path to Hell. (Equally) one does not have to perform the Agnihotra (i.e. the oblation to fire conducted with recitation of a specific mantra) meant for the full-moon day on the tenth day of a month which again has been forbidden with longstanding importance. Prajāpati (i.e. Brahmā) has stated not to do so. Similar such thing has also been stated with regard to the conduct of śrāddha during the dark fortnight of moon (i.e. the declining phase of moon) as fittingly suitable in the frame of one’s own time. The benefits of śrāddha conducted in this manner neither increase nor decrease. O son! all such things have been stated by Manu as well as the commentators of Vedānta. This is the proof behind such actions leading to nothing other, than ghost-hood. In these ways animals attain ghost-hood in the reality of existence. One must therefore, decide as to what actions are fit/desirable on his/her part with due regard to the decrees of Dharmaśāstras. After paying your reverence to Somanātha you did not proceed ahead in your journey to have a look of Kṛṣṇa. So what fruits would you, at all, derive? It is said that born Hari and Hara are present in the highest image of God. Hence, differentiation that this is Śaṃbhu and that is Hari cannot be the criterion as to what is ought to be done as duty. The difference between Kṛṣṇa and Somanāth [Somanātha?] is hardly ever visible. The visit to Somanātha becomes complete by taking a look of Kṛṣṇa. Hence, the son, both the places have to be visited without any doubt. A look of Someśvara implies visit to Dvārakā. On way to the worshippable Liṅga at Somanāth is situated Prabhāsa where the pure soul Keśava is present accepting the offerings of eatables by devotees as a part of worship. If after taking a look of the God Someśvara, a man does not visit Dvārakā, all his paternal ancestors will fall down to the terrible hell. The son, you, in particular, have not observed the religious duty laid down for the specific twelfth day in a month meant for Kṛṣṇa. We have observed the religious duty with adherence to the compliance of good deeds on our part. But as the day on which we observed the same was attended with abuses and negativities, we do not visualize any sign of our exit/coming out of the abode of Yama.”

Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] said, ‘The grandfathers, if, due to ignorance I did not comply with the religious observance meant for the twelfth day of the month specifically for Kṛṣṇa, why did you all observe the same on the day marked with stake?

The ghosts said, “Tempted by the tricks of some wicked Brāhmaṇas, fortune tellers and Śukrācārya as well as due to their cruelty that we have got entry in the wombs of ghosts. All our actions inclusive of making donations, undergoing of penance, conducting of sacrificial fire and the observance of repeatedly taking names of God have gone futile. We have come in the wombs of ghosts due to the religious observance of the twelfth day specified for Kṛṣṇa on that day involving stake. Due to the religious observance on the prohibited day which, obviously, is not the day favourite to Kṛṣṇa, the son! your grandfathers have degraded themselves from heaven to ghosthooḍ”

Candra Śarmā [Candraśarman] said, “(Dear) grandfathers, how could the ruination of ghost-hood be obtained? By which actions would that be actuated? I shall do all that as desirable.”

The ghosts said, “Centres of pilgrimage like Gayā, Prayāga, Puṣkara, Kurukṣetrā, Ayodhyā, Avantī, Mathurā, Arbuda and lakhs of such pilgrim centres cannot do away with this (sin) except Gomatī. (Like Puṣkara) Gaṅgā, Sarasvatī and Narmadā also do not qualify for the same. Obliteration of ghost-hood is visible on the shore of Gomatī in the Kaliyuga. This is possible by making oblation with the water of Gomatī followed with a look of the face of Kṛṣṇa. Sins committed extending a crore of birth also get obsolete by this. Embracing the virtue of asceticism and retiring to forests appear to be vain in face of this. Son, if you have committed the religious observance meant for Viṣṇu on the day so forbidden, then go and take a look of the full moon- like face of the God (i.e. Viṣṇu). By going to Dvārakā of Kṛṣṇa you can create the ground for nullification of the fate that has happened to us. Not doing so will render the merits earned, so far, on your part, meaningless. Everything that you claim to have made for, has become vain in the absence of worship of Keśava. Whatever virtue you may presume to have attained by dint of worship of Śaṃkara, has become futile without the worship of Keśava. Your (re) birth will happen in the womb of ghosts. The fruits of well-being which you have earned for yourself will be complete by having a look of Kṛṣṇa. This will be so and without any doubt by coming in proximity with the place where Gomatī has its confluence with the sea. If the sight of Someśvara is not followed by having a look of the God Kṛṣṇa, the fruits of the pilgrimage cannot be appropriated. Siva himself has said so.

Śiva has said, “One who has happened to have a look of Kṛṣṇa, has undoubtedly taken a look of mine for both of us have one image beyond any doubt and there is no difference between me and Kṛṣṇa. (Hence) it is the duty of one to visit Dvārakā for the purpose of taking a look of Kṛṣṇa after having a look of mine. A look of Kṛṣṇa following a look of mine results in superior fruits. If a human soul purified by having a look of Kṛṣṇa takes a look of mine, that human being can never re-enter the cycle of rebirth with his retreat from the heavenly world of Viṣṇu.”

Somapati—the God of gods, has on his own stated so earlier. We have happened to hear so from the mouths of the Brāhmaṇas in the course of religious discourses at Puṣkara. Hence, undertake a visit with an eye towards getting a look of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, the sinful entry into the wombs of ghosts awaits you. When people having committed crimes take a look of Kṛṣṇa, they get freed from sins committed since birth without any doubt. By worshipping Kṛṣṇa—the son of Devakī—all gods including Brahma, Rūdra and the Sun get worshipped. O son! without worshipping Kṛṣṇa as well as Gods like Rūdra, etc. your grandfathers will never be pleased. Hence, go to Dvārāvat and take a look of Kṛṣṇa. By this we will be released from the womb of ghosts and obtain the ultmate passage. O son! the sages have never encountered anyone who had happened to wash parts of his body in the water of Gomatī in the Kaliyuga to have gone into any other womb. By simply striking the water of Gomatī with both the feet even the ineligible and incompetent people open the gateways for passage towards a sin-free world. The advocates of Brahma-hood have stated so. Again by performing śrāddha at the confluence of Gomatī with the sea, one ensures unprecedented satisfaction of one’s forefathers which endures till the final deluge (i.e. annihilation) of the world/creation. All fruits of merit which are earned through baths at the various centres of pilgrimage located at the spots of confluence of different rivers with the sea, can be had by a bath for just a day at the confluence of Gomatī with the sea at Dvārakā having proximity to Kṛṣṇa. Fruits of śrāddhas conducted at thousands and crores of centres of pilgrimage can be had by making libations of sesame in honour of forefathers at Gomatī. By feeding ascetics in the Kṛṣṇa temple, satisfaction of forefathers can be ensured for the number of yugas equal to the each grain of cooked rice in the food so offered. The donations of underpants, clothes, small metallic pitchers (usually carried in hands by ascetics) umbrellas and footwear to ascetics (at Gomatī) ensure fruits having lasting effect till the subsistence of seven creations (i.e. Kalpas). Even the outcastes, O son! get fortunate by coming and putting up at Dvārakā in the proximity of ascetics. Those who take a look of the face of Hari everyday extended over the three time zones of the day, viz. morning, noon and evening, never get rebirth spanning endurance of creation for hundreds and crores of years. Subsequent to widowhood falling upon a woman, if she takes refuge at Dvārakā, she can uplift ten thousand members of her clan to the ultimate sacred position. What is the use of having a son who does not visit Dvārakā? That particular woman is far better than having one hundred sons if she happens to inhabit the Kṛṣṇapuri [Kṛṣṇapurī?], i.e. Dvārakā. Those who after going to Kṛṣṇapuri [Kṛṣṇapurī?] worship Kṛṣṇa with basil leaves they not only obtain fruits of their own life but also enable cross-over of their forefathers and great grandfathers from bondages accompanying the deeds of their respective life-times. If one bears onto himself/herself the garland made of basil leaves (after taking it off the idol) of Kṛṣṇa, he/she gets ten times the fruits of Aśvamedha yajña per leaf on the same garland. If a man puts on the garland made of the wood of basil plant (after taking it off the idol) of Kṛṣṇa, the Lord Viṣṇu blesses him with the same fruits accruable to one by a visit to Dvārakā. A man who prays to Lord Viṣṇu through offer of garland made of wood of basil plant and thereafter bear the same on his body with all faith, sins do not come near him due to his getting the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa—the son of Devakī, forever. The God Himself resides in the body of that mortal being who wears ornaments made of wood of the basil plant on his head as well as on the arms of his body. One who executes his actions after putting on a garland made of basil leaves can be said to earn crores of merits for his forefathers as well as gods in the Kaliyuga.

The messengers of the king of ghosts, i.e. Yama get overpowered by seeing an individual wearing the garland made of wood of basil plant from a considerable distance like houses getting uprooted by storm. “Sins never spread in those houses which are decorated with garlands made of basil wood and leaves.”

This is an age-old saying of the advocates of Brahmā—which we have heard. Hence, bearing of garland made of wood of basil plant is desirable for you. There can be no doubt that it takes away the sins of both this as well as the next world. If one moves around with the garland made of basil wood or of basil leaves the fear of nightmares or happening of anything ominous or even of enemies will rarely occur to him/her. It is understood that the ascetics, women and widows who happen to spend their life in this centre of pilgrimage in this Kaliyuga have obtained freedom from rebirth along with crores of their clan members. Those who do not wear such garland (i.e. of basil wood or of basil leaves) due to some reason or other, they remain under the overwhelming influence of sins and continuing to be burnt by the anger of Hari, they never return from hell. For you—the son, observance of the religious vows called Unmīlinī, Vañjulinī, Trisprusapakṣavardhinī [?Trispṛśā and Pakṣavardhinī?—trispṛśā pakṣavarddhinī], Jayā [Jayantī?] as well as Vijayā is mandatory on the eleventh day of a month. The eighth day of a month which is a destroyer of sins is favourite to Kṛṣṇa. The son, religious observance on this day at Dvārakā grants one with liberation. This has been so stated by Kṛṣṇa Himself.

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