The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Celebratory visit of Godavari which is chapter 30 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 thirtieth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 30 - Celebratory visit of Godāvarī

[Full title: Celebratory visit of Godāvarī, places of pilgrimage, gods and great sages to Dvārakā]

Śrī Prahlāda said:

1-5. Then all those good places of pilgrimage began to feel a sense of pleasure within. They all went to Dvārāvatī (i.e. Dvārakā) and earned virtue on all their parts. Seeing their procession towards Dvārakā both Nārada and Gautama began to think that this would result in an atmosphere of great celebration there which would be equally appealing to the mind. “All centres of pilgrimage need to undertake a visit for Kṛṣṇa.” (Thinking like this) all sages, gods with all centres of pilgrimage, taking Gomatī along with an eye towards her getting rewarded in turn, went to Dvārāvatī with all pleasure. Since then all centres of pilgrimage, all holy regions on the land as well as sages and gods began to take rounds of Dvārakā with pleasure. Carried by faith, earnest devotion and an ardent longing for a look of Kṛṣṇa they on their way then told Nārada—the player of Vīṇā and the learned in truth.

The Sages said,:

6-10. By virtue of our collection of virtues through worship, perseverance, donations at the altar of yajñas, observance of religious vows and visits of the great centres of pilgrimage on the earth’s surface as well as with your blessings that we got to see this place abounding in the holy kuśa grasses (i.e. Dvārakā). Now we intend to ask from the highest teacher of the ascetics (i.e. Nārada) as to what is the procedure to visit Dvārakā as has been declared with all glorification.

O sage! what rules have to be pursued on our part and what duties we need to abstain ourselves from? What should we listen to and which recitals of praise should we remember on our way? Please tell us also about the merriments worthwhile on the passage to Dvārakā. So also the great fortunate soul! we will like to know about each and every activity that further adds to the happiness of devotees on their way. O the great fortunate soul! kindly tell us about all these as has been recited with glory.

Śrī Nārada said:

11-26. Do shave and bathe before worshipping Hari with due faith. With all pleasure, do feed the Vaiṣṇavas as per your capacity. Then with the consent of those great Vaiṣṇavas have the offerings made at the time of worship as food for yourselves. Then lie down on the ground with all satisfaction to sleep. While lying down, remember Kṛṣṇa within your mind. Then as the morning breaks in do your routine purificatory jobs including having bath, etc. to worship the God of the world. Then make your fees to the great Vaiṣṇavas. After that pay your reverences and seek their permission before leaving. While making reverences to the Vaiṣṇavas do remember the older in your clan/family, Brāhmaṇas, other Vaiṣṇavas as well as all your dear ones in the back of your mind. After obtaining their permission, start your journey with great pleasure towards Dvārakā by singing accompanied with musical instruments and by reciting hymns. For the purpose of visiting Dvārakā, always maintain calmness in the mind, observe purity, adapt to Brahmacarya, i.e. celibacy and sleep on the ground having control on your senses. Read the book containing thousand names of Viṣṇu. Read the Purāṇa as well. Inculcate generosity in the mind and always serve the virtuous. A man can donate rice keeping in tune with his financial position. Even donations made in smaller quantity as per one’s capacity grow into crore proportions. If one donates a small piece of land with devotion on the road leading to the centre of pilgrimage meant for Kṛṣṇa, that minor piece of land so donated becomes like an island and the contours of virtues earned on his part cannot be measured. Further by giving balls of boiled rice to one individual at the pilgrim centre of Dvārakā near Kṛṣṇa one derives fruits of ten thousand Rājasūya Yajñas (i.e. sacrificial fire usually conducted by a king in sustenance of his coronation based on the popular will). Fruits ḍerivable through conduct of thousands of śrāddhas at Gayā can be obtained by men through offering of rice on the way to Dvārakā. By offering medicine, food and drinks as well as by donating blankets, footwear, clothes and wealth as per one’s power and capability on the way to Dvārakā one kills the sins of illegitimate marriage. For that matter one raises oneself well above this and renders futile the statement of the learned in this regard. Donations on the way to Dvārakā kills one’s inclination and desire to backbite and cause bad name to others and one’s tendency to cheat or harm others and eye other’s food. Indeed one gives up such a nature. The stigma of making wealth by petty means does no longer hold for one by one’s listening to divine story of Viṣṇu as well as by making prayers containing his divine names. It is desirable to mutter Vedic mantras as well as the hymns of Āgama śāstra on way to Dvārakā for they enhance the devotion of pilgrims.

O the sages! I have described you the fruits of visit to the pilgrim centre exclusive to the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the Kaliyuga. I cannot be able to give a complete picture of the same covering all the yugas. O the foremost Brāhmaṇas! I have spoken all this in return of what you all asked. Hence, it is for you to bear in mind, to hurry up and make all efforts to have access to Viṣṇu.

Śrī Prahlāda said:

27-41. So told by the sage Nārada, all of them got encouraged and swiftly took to the path leading to the temple of Kṛṣṇa as if a pair of wheels got added to their feet. On way, some of them listened to the popularly known divine account of Viṣṇu, lending ears to which brings the God well into one’s heart.

O Brāhmaṇas! taking the names of Viṣṇu especially in the Kaliyuga always holifies. Prayers containing names of Viṣṇu yield great merits. Some ascetics sang the glory of the divine Purāṇa saṃhitā. It brings to light the greatness of Viṣṇu which grants well-being of a high order. At some times in the past. Viṣṇu had done activities reflecting bravery and goodness. Some people listened to such activities of Viṣṇu in his magical form with happiness beyond limits. There were some devotees who listened to the auspicious accounts of Vāsudeva. With watery eyes, they spoke about them with devotion and happiness beyond any bound. Some remembered the God as primordial, as beyond death and as all powerful. Some ascetics muttered the names of God as well as recited hymns addressed to him with happiness beyond limits. Some ascetics muttered hundred names of the God on their way to Dvārakā while some others concentrated on one thousand names of God. Well above both these categories some (prefered to) muttered one lakh names of the God. Some on their way rejoiced by singing the customary songs bearing names of Hari. Some people carried the special flags addressed to the God and set out on their way towards Dvārakā in a celebratory mood. Some set their way by singing with beating of drums, by clapping and making proclamations addressed to the glory of God. There was hardly any more fortunate way than this in the three worlds. A sight of all this was good enough to generate the noble feeling of sighting good Vaiṣṇavas. Holy rivers like Jāhnavī, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Revā and all others were proceeding on their way singing and dancing. Centres of pilgrimage like Prayāga, etc., seas and best of mountains were also there on the way. Vārāṇasī, Kurukṣetra as well as all other holy regions were also moving on the way. All the existing centres of pilgrimage as well as other holy regions in the three worlds with their leading worshipable gods were proceeding on the noble path to Dvārakā singing and dancing. On each step of theirs on the road to Dvārakā they were reaping thousands of merits amounting to the innumerable dust particles underneath their feet. In this way all the ascetics including Nārada, etc. accompanied with places of pilgrimage got to see the Kṛṣṇa temple from a distance.

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