by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Taking the look of Dvaravat as an idol which is chapter 31 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 thirty-first chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1-12. With its divine light, the temple of Dvārakā destroys the darkness surrounding birth in embodied form. Throwing fear away from the minds of devotees, it fills them with supreme bliss. The staff holding the flag atop the temple enhances its glory. With its divine and virtuous light, it flutters on the temple-top like on top of a mountain. Beholding Viṣṇu adorned with weapons, all of their sight got fixed and then keeping aside their footwear and umbrellas, all of them fell flat on the ground to pay their reverence. The lying on the ground of all the centres of pilgrimage offered one with something equally great but strange. It appeared as if all those leading Brāhmaṇas and the holy regions were on the way to their final liberation. Vārāṇasī, Kurukṣetra, Prayāga, Jāhnavī, Yamunā, Narmadā, the holy Prācī as well as Sarasvatī were amidst them. Godāvari as well as the auspicious three holy regions similar to Gayā were there among them. The great holy region like Śāligrāma as well as the auspicious Cakra river were present among them. Rivers like Payoṣṇī, Tāptī, Kṛṣṇā, Kāverī which always grant one with holiness, places of pilgrimage like Puṣkara, etc., seas as well as the best of mountains, holy regions that give liberation like Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Māyāpurī, Avantī, eternal places like Śrī Raṅga and especially the Prabhāsa were present amidst them. The greatest of the holy regions called Puruṣottama, auspicious jungles as well as all centres of pilgrimage extant in the three worlds were present there. Seeing the holy Kṛṣṇa temple, happiness was continuously evident on their being. With utterances of words like “hail you” “hail you”, they paid their homage to God. They were also taking aloud the name “Hari”. With tears of pleasure and hearts brimming with love all the sages as well as centres of pilgrimage were reciting hymns in honour of the God. Witnessing all of them reciting hymns with their selves completely taken over with happiness the great sage Nārada then told them.
Śrī Nārada said:
13-24. You all—the good souls have accumulated virtues on your part. In this way, with merits earned over thousands of births that you all have succeeded in having a look of this Kṛṣṇa temple. In your minds (it is true that) all of you have nurtured the desire to visit Dvārakā for having a look of God Kṛṣṇa. But a look of Viṣṇu can be possible by firm devotion. Lesser penance on any count cannot yield such a result. All the ancestors in your clan have become gratified by your having a look of Kṛṣṇa. For you all, it is a matter of celebration to visit Dvārakā and to equally have a look of the beloved of Hari, i.e. Rukmiṇī. Blessed are the Gautamī alias Gaṅgā and the great sage Gautama known for his austerity and penance. It is by virtue of their grace that everyone’s welfare has materialized. All of you—the ardent believers in and followers of pilgrimage have taken hold of the fruits that result from one’s pursuit of studies, yajñas, donations, penance and observance of religious vows. As it is, all of you as centres of pilgrimage and as holy regions will remain present here for all times to come and along with all gods as per orders of Kṛṣṇa. Those who happen to put up here get blessed with great fortune. On my part, I have become holier. All of you in any case are (directly) seeing the well and the highly fortunate Godāvarī and the Jāhnavī here. As it is, the holy Dvārakā which is a favourite of Kṛṣṇa, always shines here. All can notice the presence of greatly fortunate and auspicious Vārāṇasī here. You, the lords can see the chief among the holy regions like Kurukṣetra at Dvārakā. Holy regions like Mathurā, Kāśī, Māyāpurī and Ayodhyā do also shine at Dvārakā in a similar way. Neither Avantī, nor Kāñcī, nor Puruṣottama nor even Kurukṣetra shine during solar eclipse. Similar is also the case with the Gayā centre of pilgrimage. But Dvārakā has its own distinct standing in this regard. As the sun reigns amidst planets and stars so is Dvārakā amidst all the ruling centres of pilgrimage.
25-35. The Brāhmaṇas got very pleased after hearing words of Nārada. Deeming for themselves that as holy regions and centres of pilgrimage, they have already rewarded Gautama, leaving Gautamī behind, they then proceeded ahead. On her part Gautamī was equally and highly pleased. Giving her reverences to Śrī Kṛṣṇa then and there, she then followed them fast. Singing and dancing along with playing musical instruments, keeping their flags aloft and observing the religious ritual of reciting hymns all of them together then moved ahead in their strive towards making Dvārakā their resort. Keeping all centres of pilgrimage ahead before his eyes, and with Prayāga—the beautiful and master centre of pilgrimage in the middle of them, Nārada remained happy looking at it. The virtuous sage (i.e. Nārada) subsequently took bath in the river. All the rivers namely Jāhnavī, Gautamī, Revā, Yamunā, Sarasvatī flowing in the East, Sarayu [Sarayū?], Gandakī [Gaṇḍakī?], Tāptī, Payosṇī, Kṛṣṇā, Bhāgīrathī, Gaṅgā, Kāverī—the destroyer of all sins, the highly holy Mandākinī, the holy Bhogbatī including all those descended on earth through ages Went ahead and had a look of the (holy) city of Dvārakā. Following them from behind were the seven seas along with their respective centres of pilgrimage. After them were the jungles and the holy hermitages. They were pursued by beautiful mountains like Meru, etc. They were all singing (in chorus) and dancing. The great sages were reciting hymns. Highly exalted in their minds, the sages and gods from all sides were moving on while singing, dancing and taking aloud the name of Hari. With the playing of musical instruments and sounds like ‘hail you Kṛṣṇa’ they all presented onè with an atmosphere of heightened happiness. Along with all learned Brāhmaṇas in the art of conducting of yajñas, they came near the banks of Gomatī. Seeing all those great virtuous souls united in reverence and equally in a happy state of mind, Nārada said:
36-37. O Bhāgīrathī! O Revā! O Yamunā! O Gautamī! listen to me. The best and gracious Gautamī is like a goddess and has acquired fame for itself in the three worlds. A bath in its holy water emulates the knowledge of Brahma. It is due to this reason that Gomatī is rated as the best among all centres of pilgrimage. One gets freedom through knowledge of Brahma or by meeting with death at Prayāga. By a bath only at Gomatī, one gets liberation along with one’s ancestors.
38-46. Thus getting informed about the highly wonderful greatness of the Gomatī as a centre of pilgrimage, they all then took bath at Gomatī with due faith and proceeded ahead in a celebratory mood. Thus to behold the beautiful Dvārakā, all the holy regions, centres of pilgrimage, rivers and seas, etc. arrived at the door to the temple consecrated to the deity Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā. Adorned with pearls and golds the temple at Dvārakā appeared to be seated on a divine throne. Dressed up in beautiful white clothes it was emitting the same aura like that of Rūdra (i.e. the group of gods as inferior manifestations of Lord Śiva) and the sun. The temple appeared to be clothed in beautiful clothes with its premises emitting scent. It was adorned with jewellery and other ornaments. With a crown on its head, beautiful earrings and bracelets, it was shining. Bearing conch, the discus and mace in its hands, the deity was appearing to grant one with the boon of fearlessness. Painted with white leaves the ceiling of the temple was giving a look of pomp and grandeur. The breezy premises of the temple were giving impressions as if they were fitted with fans. With recitation of hymns by pilgrims as well as with their singing and playing of musical instruments, the entire environment of the temple was evoking an atmosphere of pleasure and happiness. Beholding the Dvārakā city at the backdrop of such a background was enough to give the impression as if the same city is seated on a throne. Everyone (i.e. the centres of pilgrimage and the holy centres descended through ages, the forests, mountains, the rivers as well as the gods and sages) was giving its homage to the city with well-founded devotion.