The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Eminence of sitting awake on the twelfth day in worship of Vishnu which is chapter 28 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-eighth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 28 - Eminence of sitting awake on the twelfth day in worship of Viṣṇu

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-13. O king! after doing the religious observance of staying awake for the night for the purpose of worshipping Viṣṇu as per laid down procedure one causes/brings in welfare for one’s forefathers. So then, what can Yama do? Whether one has taken food or has observed fasting or even if one has adopted purity onto the self or has remained unclean—by merely doing the religious observance of sitting awake for the night in the worship of Hari, men have been stated to have obtained liberation. Whether a man has bathed himself or not—his presence in the place where the religious observance of sitting awake for the night in the worship of Hari is being conducted—has been considered as his having taken a dip/immersion in all the centres of pilgrimage. Such a man is learnt to have had a divine vision and is on his way to heaven. Even the untouchables by observing the rite of sitting awake for the night in the worship of Hari happen to arrive on the path of salvation. So what to speak again of those born in respectable varṇa reclining upon the pursuit of good dealings? Like sleep going away with the sounds of a young woman reaching one’s ears so is the case with the religious observance of sitting awake for a night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa by listening to the stories of Hari as well as by repeated chorus of prayer addressed to Hari. Brahmicide, drinking habits, theft, misbehaviour with a teacher’s woman and the excessive occupation of mind with sins get cleansed with the religious observance of sitting awake for a night in the worship of Viṣṇu. Again by having a look of Hari, those having the tendency of libido have been stated to get freedom. Sins earned through words or by indulgence of mind or by any other ways go away in a fraction of a moment beyond doubt by sitting awake for a night in the worship of Hari. By joining the assembly of those engaged in the observance of sitting awake throughout the night in worship, one’s sins get destroyed to the extent that those cannot be remembered again.

O king! the learned view that the fruits of worship of the mother Goddess, śrāddha at Gayā and pilgrimage of auspicious centres are the same as that of religious observance of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari.

O king! worship of mother is equal to that of performance of ten thousand Aśvamedha yajñas. A spring of water made to rise by digging the ground with the head of the sacred grass causes welfare for a full one hundred years. The fruits of drinking a cup of water collected from the centre of pilgrimage known as Puṣkara cannot even equal one-sixteenth portion of the fruits resulting from religious observance of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari.

O king! the fruits that result from making donation of an earth full of gold can be obtained by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari. Actions resulting in bad deeds on the part of one’s self get deactivated and become void, i.e. vanish away beyond doubt by performance of the religious ritual of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari.

14-47. O king! I shall once again describe in brief with regard to the fruits that result from sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Padmanābha (i.e. an epithet of Viṣṇu) as pointed out by the learned. By doing the religious observance of sitting awake in the night in the worship of Hari, a yogi pierces the disc of Sun to reach that ultimate position which one obtains through arduous practice of sāṇkhya yoga. As in due course rivers and drains flow into the sea to find their final resting place so is the case with those who sit awake in the night to worship Hari to ultimately find togetherness with that supreme position. A man might have reached the height of sins by committing them in a gigantic proportion comparable to the size and height of mountains like Meru and Mandāra. But by sitting awake in the night in the worship of Hari, all his sins vanish away without any doubt. Lord Kṛṣṇa grants aspirations of men for royal authority and power, for heaven, for liberation or for any other thing desired for while they remain engaged in worshipping him by singing songs of his glory with their eyes wide-open throughout the night.

O king! by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari, the outcastes even obtain that pious position. So what is the need to speak again about the wise and the Brāhmaṇas in this regard. Without japa and meditation,

O king! even the singers doing the rite of sitting awake throughout the night in worship of Hari get benefitted. Individuals depraved in deeds have also been stated to obtain liberation by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari.

O king! it is established that there is nothing holier for men in the three worlds than perseverance through the religious observance of sitting awake for a night in the worship of Han. For you the king, it is of utmost duty to repeatedly remember the Garuḍadhvaja (i.e. the God sitting on the chariot having the insignia of Garuḍa on its flag-staff, in other words Viṣṇu). Your duty is always not to have food on the eleventh day and following it up with sitting awake in the night in the worship of Hari. It is the ever-present position that the outcastes avail the virtuous passage by the religious observance of sitting awake for the night in the worship of Hari.

O king! what is need to say about other’s place in the hierarchical varna [varṇa?] system including the Vaiṣṇavas?

O king! those who do not pass off to sleep while sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Viṣṇu, their mothers do not face any pain/ difficulty/hindrances in conceiving. Similarly the king! it is the duty of one to observe the religious ritual of sitting awake in the night in the worship of Hari to get away from the possibility of getting entry into the mother’s womb again. Those who are fearful of getting that ultimate liberation and desire to keep off from all efforts towards attainment of happiness must also observe the religious duty of sitting awake in the night to worship Hari.

O king! those who undergo the religious practice of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari with full devotion, get the fruits of Aśvamedha yajña as they pass through each and every moment in the entire process.

O king! there is specially no difference between the time regarding whether the God is in bed or has already risen from sleep in respect to sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari. Indeed religious observance of the same on both the occasions generate the same merit. Viṣṇu has said so before hand. Either they may be Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas or Śūdras or they may be birds, worms, insects and any other creature—all of them who observe the religious duty of sitting awake in the night to worship Hari attain that supreme position which the yogis reach unstinted. Sins of any order including those same as Brahmicide, gets destroyed beyond doubt by the religious observance of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa. On one side, there are all centres of pilgrimage. On the other, there is the option to sit awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa which is dear to him. The former cannot be equal to the latter in yielding merits. Indeed worship of Kṛṣṇa by sitting awake throughout the night yields relatively more rewards in relation to the former. This is what the poets say. The sun, Indra and gods like Brahmā and Rūdra [Rudra?] (i.e. the group of gods supposed to be inferior manifestations of Śiva) assemble without fail at the place where the observance of sitting awake in the worship of Kṛṣṇa which again is favourite of Kṛṣṇa is being conducted, i.e. in way. All the holy rivers like Gaṅgā, Sarasvatī, Revā, Yamunā, Satluja [Śatahradā?], Candrabhāgā, Vitastā, etc. (also) remain present there (i.e. at the place where the very religious observance of sitting awake for the night in the worship of Hari is being conducted).

O best of kings! ponds, lakes, seas as well as all other streams of water apparently remain present where the religious observance of sitting awake for a night to worship Hari is being conducted especially on the eleventh day. Men nurturing the desire to earn the blessings of God (usually) sing, dance and play the vīṇā while worshipping Kṛṣṇa sitting awake throughout the night. Irrespective of the fact of one being attended with devotion or not or for that matter whether one has purified oneself by having a bath or not, the very activity of worshipping Viṣṇu by remaining awake throughout the night relieves one of crores of sins. One gets entitled to residence of thousands of years in heaven equalling the innumerable dust particles underneath his feet by worshipping Hari sitting awake throughout the night.

Therefore, (O Skanda!) one needs to proceed for observing the religious ritual of sitting awake throughout the night to worship Mādhava on the twelfth day of every month throughout the year to do away with the pollution that generally characterises the Kaliyuga. Considerably a large number of sins committed on one’s part extended over hundreds or a crore of years and which can be comparable to the Meru mountain in their height and magnitude get burnt out by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Hari.

O king! now listen to the fruits, I am describing, of the religious observance of sitting throughout the night on the eleventh day of the month with eyes wide-open to worship Hari attended with faithful reverence in the Kaliyuga. Fruits as same as that are yielded by a man by remaining undeviatingly engaged in penance at Kāśi [Kāśī?] on the banks of Jāhnavī (an epithet of Gaṅgā) for a thousand of yugas can be obtained by the religious observance of sitting throughout the night with eyes wide-open in the worship of Kṛṣṇa on the eleventh day of the month. The fruits that a man obtains by observance of fasting for a thousand years can be appropriated by the religious observance of sitting in the worship of Hari throughout the night with eyes wide-open on the eleventh day of the month. It is very difficult to obtain the Vaiṣṇava position despite undergoing the religious practice of performing a hundred or for that matter even a crore of yajñas. But by religious observance of the twelfth day of month by sitting awake throughout the night in worship of Kṛṣṇa one definitely obtains the same position easily. One who does not observe the religious practice of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Viṣṇu with all earnestness, there is every possibility of him moving towards the sin of oppressing others. By their just observing fast for that occasion which requires sitting awake throughout the night to worship Hari, men having no feeling for Viṣṇu get accumulated sins on their part burnt up with an opportunity to roam about in the gardens of heaven. Hari himself goes there where there is Bhāgvat [Bhāgavat] śāstra, where the religious observance of sitting awake throughout the night in his worship is held regularly and where the stone called Śāligrāma is available. In the Kaliyuga, the seven cities as well as the words in Veda do not hold that much holiness as the observance of the sitting up awake throughout the night in the worship of Viṣṇu on the holy day of Viṣṇu himself. The holy day meant for the worship of Viṣṇu advents. But those men and women who do not worship him by observing the ritual of sitting awake throughout the night with eyes wide-open, remain submerged in the dark and difficult hell beyond any doubt.

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