by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Worship of Hari on the twelfth day which is chapter 26 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-sixth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:
1-2. After seeing the Vaiṣṇava Prahlāda—a learned in all religions, a master in the Vedic Śāstras, a keen devotee of Bhāgvad [Bhāgavad?], to have come and settled in Gomatī with all happiness, the highly enlightened Sages having knowledge of the essence of all Śāstras and guardians of all religions came near him and asked:
The sages said:
3-5. Without attempting to acquire knowledge, without contemplation and without controlling the organs of senses, how could you acquire such a masterly position? Please tell us in brief, in a friendly manner as to the acquisition of such fruits on your part which have so far been only partly seen and mostly unseen. As a distinguished person of all religions, please tell us everything in a conclusive manner. After the highly fortunate souls said so, the devotee of Nārāyaṇa began to say in brief for everyone’s welfare:
Śrī Prahlāda said:
6-8. Listen to this greatly mysterious matter which I am narrating. All sins get destroyed by listening to it. The essence of this matter is inherent to Aṣṭādaśa Purāṇa. I am going to tell you that which is equally a giver of enjoyment and liberation. Mahādeva was seated in a happy position when Ṣaṇmukha, i.e. Kārtikeya for the sake of everyone’s welfare asked him with due devotion:
9. O God! what is the remedy for this sorrow/strife-stricken world? Be kind enough to tell about the means of happiness and ways of liberation.
10-54. Four kinds of sins committed through crores of birth in the Kaliyuga can go away by religiously staying up for a night and giving discourses on the Vaiṣṇava Śāstra. Anyone staying up for the night and giving lectures on the Vaiṣṇava Śāstra in honour of Hari can be considered as a devotee of mine whether he is poor or otherwise. My devotees must consciously practise the religious observance of staying up for the night in honor of Hari. Otherwise, by nurturing antagonism towards Janārdana they shall be relegated as sinners.
O Ṣaṇmukha! fruits of Agniṣṭoma yajña are ensured in a twinkling of eyes for those who stay up for the night and sing the glory of Hari on the specific day so allocated for him. While observing the religious ritual of staying up for the night if one takes a look of the face of Viṣṇu once and again and does so with all delight and exaltation, members of his clan obtain the divine passage and get entitled to proximity of Hari. With attainment of liberation from crores of sins, people get free from the pathways leading to the abode of Yama because they have entertained their minds by singing the glory of Kṛṣṇa and by studying the Sāstras dealing with him while staying up for night for the observation of the twelfth day meant for the God. The nights for those people turn around as good mornings and they become fortunate like people having good deeds who undergo the religious rite of staying up the night to worship Hari even while on the face of death. Endowed with children those men get blessed with wealth, earn name and fame for themselves and thereby add meaning to their manhood in whose family the sons so born observe the religious duty of staying up for night for the sake of Hari. They can be construed to have desirably performed Yajñas, offered balls of cooked rice to their forefathers at the primary spots at Gayā and have taken a bath regularly at Prayāga by the religious observance of staying up for the night in worship of Hari.
O Ṣaḍānana, i.e. Skanda! the devotees of Viṣṇu are always dear to me for they observe religiously to stay up for the night in worship of Viṣṇu—the giver of well-being. Even a man who after listening to the accounts of Kṛṣṇa does not get happy or who even does not attempt to stay up for the night to worship Kṛṣṇa, he happens to bring disrepute to his mother. All these point to bad deeds on his part. Even the merits germinated out of good deeds of a hundred years on one’s part go in vain if he/she does not stay up for the night to conform to the religious practice of worship of Viṣṇu as the specific day meant for Him approaches. When a son as well as his children and a daughter as well as her children observe the religious rite of staying up for the night to worship Hari, they liberate their forefathers dragged to Hell by the attendants of Yama. The forefathers themselves have happened to say this eloquently. In other words, in spite of conducting one hundred yajñas, one cannot attain liberation. One can never have respite from the human world without the religious observance of staying up for a night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa. Hence, it is the duty of everyone to observe the ritual of staying up for a night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa for the sake of welfare of his forefathers. One’s entry into the world in embodied form will not occur again by sheer devotion of Bhāgvad [Bhāgavad?] as well as by singing the glory of Govinda through prayers. If one’s religious observance of staying up for the night conjoins with the Vijayā day, i.e. the tenth day of the brighter period of moon in the month of Alwina [Āśvina?], i.e. September-October, it can be taken for granted that he/she has burnt up on his/her own the chances of getting birth again in bodily form. There can be no doubt that one gets completely united into the body of Keśava by staying up for the night with all earnestness in His worship on the Trispruśo [Trispṛśā?] day, i.e. the twelfth day of the month specially demarcated for His worship. Sins—both minor and larger can never affect him who with all earnestness keeps his eyes wide open while doing the ritual of staying up for the night in worship of Kṛṣṇa. Now let me tell you the merits waiting upon the great devotee of Bhāgvad [Bhāgavad] who observes the twelfth day of the month meant for worship of the God by singing along with harmonious rhythm of drums while staying up for the night together with making donation too. Such a devotee earns the same fruits that are derived from making offering of sesame measuring upto a thousand prastha (i.e. a unit of measurement) along with gold to Brāhmaṇas on that particular day of the month when the Sun or any planetary body passes from one zodiacs sign to another. By making presents of gold measuring upto one hundred karats along with a calf of the Kapilā cow on the twelfth day of the month meant for worship of Kṛṣṇa while going through the religious observance of staying up for the night required for the same day, one may happen to see the fruits resulting from that manifestedly in the Kaliyuga.
O son! he who pleases Padmanābha (i.e. an epithet of Viṣṇu) on the specific day meant for Hari (i.e. the twelfth day) by reciting the hymns composed by the divine sages or by reciting the Vedic hymns addressed to Viṣṇu or the son! he who observes the same day by chanting the several mantras in the Ṛg, Sāma and Yajur Vedas addressed to Viṣṇu either in Sanskrit or Prakrit, get the love and affection of Lord Viṣṇu. Brahmā had said so to me.
O Saṇmukha [Ṣaṇmukha?]! a man can attain the same fruits as earned through taking twenty-one rounds of the three sacred places like Kāśī, Mathurā and Gayā by staying up for the night in connection with religious observance of worship of Kṛṣṇa on the twelfth day of the month meant for Him. The fruits accruable to making donations of one hundred cows along with their calves can equally be appropriated by incurring pleasure of Hari with recitation of hymns. Observance of the religious ritual of staying up for the night with recitation of Vedic mantras/hymns addressed to Hari gives ten times of the fruits. (Hence) one’s pursuit of sitting up for the night in worship must bear this in mind. Reading out the Gītā and the Viṣṇu Sahasranāma (i.e. the book containing the one thousand names of Viṣṇu) is like reading out the same before Viṣṇu and near the Vaiṣṇavas on the twelfth ḍay of the month addressed to God. I cannot describe the fruits of reading out during night of the holy Bhāgavad, the Skanda Purāṇa which are favourites of Hari and those of the books giving the sweet and graceful accounts of Kṛṣṇa as a child and his pastimes with the Gopīs or that of worship of Keśava.
O pupil! Keśava only knows them. By lighting earthen lamp and then by sitting awake for the night he who worships Hari with chanting of hymns, his virtues never decline for a time-span of one hundred creations. By worshipping Hari devotedly by sitting awake throughout the night and as far as possible with bunches of basil buds as well as basil leaves, possibility of rebirth gets negated for one. Bathing the idol of Hari, then massaging it and thereafter worshipping it by sitting up for the entire night by lighting up earthen lamps, incense sticks with chanting of hymns and offer of food and betel leaves to the God never go to dogs.
O Ṣadvakra [Ṣaḍvakra?] (i.e. Skanda)! one intending to nurture a heightened sense of reverence for me can attempt so by observing the religious ritual of sitting up with eyes wide-open for the whole night to worship Hari with great devotion on the twelfth day. While sitting up for the night with eyes wide-open for the purpose of worshipping Vāsudeva on the day specially laid down, all gods come down and dwell in the bodies of beings undergoing the same religious observance. Those who read out the Mahābhārata imbibing the glory of Vāsudeva while sitting up for the night to worship, obtain beyond doubt, the same passage usually accessible to the yogis. Those who read out the accounts of life of God Rāma as well as that of (his) killing of Rāvaṇa while doing the religious observance for Viṣṇu by staying up for the night, they obtain the ultimate passage. The virtues accruable to reading of the four Vedas, the worship of Hari and that of having a bath in all centres of pilgrimage are attainable by sitting up awake for a night and worshipping Hari. Fruits earned by donating ten thousand chariots, one thousand elephants and one lakh strong and stout horses can be had by sitting up awake for a night to worship Hari. As stated by the sages fruits that result from making donation of grains equalling weight of a thousand of mountains or that of crore of people can be had by sitting up awake for a night in the worship of Hari. The same fruits as accruable to giving a crore of virgin girls in marriage, of gold weighing hundreds of karats and of ten thousand gems can be obtained by sitting awake for a night in worship of Hari. One hundred thousand of the fruits of reading Aṣṭādaśa Purāṇa can be obtained by sitting awake for a night in worship of Hari. Fruits greater than that generally available to Brāhmaṇas by reading of Manusmṛti can be obtained by sitting awake for a night in worship of Hari. Fruits that result to men from making donation of rice during period of drought as well as by offering food to one thousand ascetics can be equally obtained in the Kaliyuga by sitting awake for a night in the worship of Hari.