by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Dvaraka, Ganga, Gaya, Gomati, Gita, etc. which is chapter 25 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-fifth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. O the foremost sage! please narrate in details about this sacred centre of pilgrimage which destroys sins. I have some curiosity.
2-66. O king! there are three cities in the time of Kali which are favourites of Hari and which grant the wishes of those desiring to earn religious virtue as well as (the ultimate) liberation. They are Mathurā, Dvārakā and Ayodhyā. People serve these cities considering that the Kālindī, i.e. Yamunā at Mathurā, Gomatī in the proximity of Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Dvārakā) and Sarayu at Ayodhyā grant liberation. Worship of Kṛṣṇa at Dvārāvat and of Rāma at Ayodhyā grants and induces goodness and well-being. Liberation can be obtained by remembering Hari or Viṣṇu at Mathurā. It is fortunate enough to have Mathurā in this world where Hari himself appeared in his incarnated form. It is fruitful for the world to have Dvārakā where Viṣṇu engages himself in playful sportive activities. Ayodhyā—a giver of all desires, is equally fortunate amidst these three cities, which God Rāma himself promoted with an eye for preservation of religious righteousness. In Kaliyuga serving Mathurā by staying there for a single day yields the same fruits which are obtainable by serving Kāśī for as many years that Creation has been stated to thrive. Fruits that accrue to service at Prayāga for thousand of years beyond the estimation of Manu’s period of Creation can be appropriated by a stay and service at Dvārakā for half a moment of the blinking of eyes. The fruits that are obtainable by staying for one hundred years at Prabhāsa and Kurukṣetra can be obtained through a prayer lasting for half a moment of the blinking of eyes. Getting an opportunity to sing the glory of Rāma—the sovereign of Ayodhyā or of Keśava at Mathurā or of Kṛṣṇa having his abode at Dvārakā is quite difficult to have. By singing the glory of God at Mathurā, by listening to God’s glorified activities at Dvārakā and by taking a look of Ayodhyā, one gets that culminated position which is attainable through undergoing three stages of purification. Kṛṣṇa appeared in his incarnation at Dvārakā and these three places are comparable to heaven on earth. By listening to the glory of these (centres of pilgrimage) or by having a look of them one gets free from the stream of the ever-decaying life. By listening to the accounts of the three cities of Ayodhyā, Mathurā and Dvārakā or by making pictures of these or simply by having a sight of these, men can have remittances of their sins accumulated through ages. (The tired mind) in Kaliyuga gets rested by remembering the God Kṛṣṇa or Hari or Viṣṇu. By staying up for the night to religiously observe the twelfth day in honour of the God, one reaps the fruits of yajña involving sacrifice of horses, i.e. Aśvamedha yajña.
O virtuous king! those who regularly recount the childhood sporting activities of God in these places, they earn tutelage over golden mountain. O king and the foremost among men! people are fortunate to have the opportunity to swim and take bath in the confluence of Gomatī with the sea. By taking bath on the western front of the confluence and thereafter joining palms of both hands together to make a cavity and then by holding water in it and remembering Dvārakā people can reap crore times the fruits. By contemplating within about the city of Dvārakā in the Kaliyuga, a man derives easily the same fruits attending upon making donation of Kapilā cows.
O superintendent of men, i.e. the king! by visiting Dvārakā in Kaliyuga, a man reaps the same fruits yielded from a visit of the Gaṅgā sea, i.e. the Bay of Bengal and of the gateway of Gaṅgā i.e. Haridvār [Haridvāra?]. O ruler! I, Mārkaṇḍeya who holds memory of creation in seven time-zones can tell this that there is no other auspicious place like Dvārakā.
O king! there is no other fortunate sage like Durvāsā who could obtain Hari by rendering the glory of Dvārakā in words. (Hence) the king! there is no need for you to visit Kāśī, Kurukṣetra, Prabhāsa or Puṣkara. Visit Dvārakā and take a look of the auspicious face of Kṛṣṇa. Fruits of a thousand of Aśvamedha Yajñas, i.e. the sacrificial rite to fire making sacrifice of horses as well as of a hundred Rājasūya Yajñas, (i.e. the sacrificial rite to fire conducted by a monarch in commemoration of his or retention of his undisputed sovereignty) can be had on every progressive step that a man takes towards Dvārakā.
The chief and best of kings! the lives of those individuals, whose minds never deviate from visiting Dvārakā, can be considered as fruitful in the Kaliyuga. The son who offers balls of cooked rice at Gomatī having proximity to Kṛṣṇa, his mother, father and grandfather get blessed. That land/region in a country gets purified where a man moves about with an impression of sandalwood paste on his body which the Gopīs, i.e. consorts of Kṛṣṇa are fond of. So, what is the need of making any description of that place specially again? By holding the leaf of the basil plant indigenous to the city of Dvārakā and which is used in the worship of Kṛṣṇa on head, one becomes like the manifest Indra on the surface of earth. That particular day when Lord Viṣṇu won victory over the demons, residence in the city of Kāśī, the basil leaves and the Amalaka fruit are favourites of Kṛṣṇa. Reading out of Bhāgavat Śāstra as well as of Rāmāyaṇa, visit to Dvārakā, garland made of jasmine flowers and religious observance of staying up for the night by singing favourite hymns are very much dear to Kṛṣṇa. In the Kaliyuga, Kṛṣṇa along with the city of Dvārakā happens to remain present in an individual’s home where the very fragrant sandalwood which the Gopīs, i.e. the consorts of Kṛṣṇa used to apply on him, is always available. All sins committed by causing injuries to cows or by killing them get immediately repulsed through the purificatory touch of sandalwood, the paste of which the Gopīs used to apply on Kṛṣṇa. By offering one piece of sandalwood—the paste of which the Gopīs used to apply on Kṛṣṇa—to the Vaiṣṇavas one can facilitate one hundred and one members of his clan to successfully tide over the ocean of worldly existence. Yama including his orderlies feign from showing their might in the houses of those having temple with the basil plant indigenous to Dvārakā. The son of Vyāsa, i.e. Śuka is said to have made hundreds and crores of meritorious deeds by singing the glory of Kṛṣṇa with the basil leaves produced on the soil of Dvārakā.
O king! through a survey and churning of all Śāstras and Purāṇas once and again that I found no other city to be like Dvārakā. After going to Dvārakā one who has made kīrtans singing the glory of Kṛṣṇa can be presumed to have wishfully completed bath in thousands of centres of pilgrimage including performance of yajñas. What will one do by subduing the senses of organs of the body or for that matter by studying the Śāṃkhya if one has not visited Dvārakā? Those people are undoubtedly like asses who have not visited the city of Dvārakā and taken a look of the face of Kṛṣṇa. They can only consider themselves to be gratified and fortunate enough to religiously observe the twelfth day so specified in honour of Hari by staying up the whole night and by continuously dancing with devotion as a matter of complying with such religious observance. By going to Gomatī and thereafter by visiting the Kṛṣṇa temple, one by making offering of balls of cooked rice as per his/her ability can ensure liberation for his/her grandfathers. That embodied soul who has already visited the city of Dvārakā can hardly ever be a ghost or a Satanic spirit.
O king! merits that await parting with the body at Prayāga after observing fasting can be reaped in a fraction of moment by religious observance of the twelfth day near Kṛṣṇa.
O king! in the Kaliyuga, you can make the same fruits from making donations of a crore of cows on the day of Solar eclipse by uninterrupted inhabitation at Dvārakā. The fruits attended with donations of a crore karat of gold on the solar and lunar eclipses can be had by taking a look of Kṛṣṇa. The children as well as grandchildren, grandmothers as well as grandfathers, the maternal in-laws as well as servants including the pet animals of those, O best of men, i.e. the king! who happen to have a look of the happy Mādhava, i.e. Kṛṣṇa on a swing (this is possible during the month of Caitra i.e. March) can have a life of play and pastimes with Viṣṇu till the creation remains afloat (i.e. subsists).
Or else the king! you can go near Kṛṣṇa on any twelfth day. Having a look of Kṛṣṇa during any time of Kaliyuga especially will not cause any difference (in yielding fruits). Religious observance always of the twelfth day so demarcated in honour of Kṛṣṇa near him amounts to (as if) one has remained in the proximity of Kṛṣṇa for ages together. Serving Dvārāvat during the Kaliyuga is known to induce virtue in particular. It is easy to get at the six auspicious cities (viz. Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Kāśī, Gayā, Kāñhī [Kāñcī?], Avantikā) during Kaliyuga, but very difficult to obtain Dvārakā. By simply remembering it or by singing its glory in chorus, the city of Dvārakā blesses men with all enjoyments of luxury besides liberation. The standing of the city is due to the protection of the sages like Durvāsā. Passage through Kaliyuga cannot be possible for one without invoking Kṛṣṇa’s favour. (In this yuga) even gods like Rūdra [Rudra?], etc. come to have a look of Kṛṣṇa.
The lord of men (i.e. the King)! by taking a look of Rukmiṇī for three times a day (i.e. during morning, noon and evening) while repeatedly uttering the word Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa within oneself, one can make one’s life fruitful. Seeing their descendants heading towards Dvārakā, the forefathers of a clan get free from hell and moving in the space on their way towards heaven they happily and smilingly keep singing. By simply remembering and singing its glory in chorus, a man’s evil deeds committed clandestinely get washed away. So what to speak of the fruits yielded through a bath at Gomatī? What more is left for one to do after witnessing the God blowing the conch with Rukmiṇī at the gateway bearing signs of conch and after having a look of the four-armed, i.e. Viṣṇu at the place of pilgrimage called Pindāraka [Piṇḍāraka?]? Rukmiṇī, the son of Devakī, the sandalwood—the paste of which were the Gopīs, i.e. the consorts of Kṛṣṇa so fond of and the basil leaves are difficult to obtain in the world during Kaliyuga. More difficult than all these remitters of sins on earth are considered the religious observance of offer of balls of cooked rice at Gayā, having a look of Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā and to rear/ nurture an Aśoka tree in one’s residential premises as Kaliyuga approaches. Having an Aśoka tree and Dvārakā are equal to each other in meteing out fruits of virtue. There is no question of any one of them having more or less fruits. Viṣṇu himself has stated so.
O king! I am describing to you as to how or by virtue of which having an Aśoka tree can produce relatively more results? This is by fasting on the twelfth day and then having food after completing the religious duties associated with the observance of the twelfth day. By doing this one can definitely attain the supreme position as of Viṣṇu. Rearing up an Aśoka tree in one’s residential premises means, in the stage of life as a householder, his house has turned into a place of pilgrimage and penance and source of liberation. Service of Aśoka tree, Dvārakā, Gaṅgā, Gomatī, Gokula, singing the glory of Govinda in chorus, obtaining the sandalwood of which the Gopīs were so fond of and study of Gītā are rare to encounter/obtain. Man who listens to the accounts of Kṛṣṇa with devotion for Keśava in mind happens to reap fruits equal to conduct of a thousand Aśvamedha Yajñas (i.e. sacrificial rites involving sacrifices of horses). One who listens to the accounts of Keśava reflecting his greatness by staying up for a night, attains the position of Viṣṇu which is free from all sins. By reading or listening to the great accounts of Kṛṣṇa with faith men obtain the fruits that donation of cotton equalling a man’s weight yields.
O king! even donations made in lesser amount during the religious observance in honour of Kṛṣṇa also grow into crore times. The learned say so. Sins earned by a false sense of pride, by cheating in weighing and by buying of girls as well as cows get buried by the religious observance of the twelfth day in honour of Kṛṣṇa by staying up for the night (in the worship of God).