by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Dvaraka: Eminence of name which is chapter 35 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-fifth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1-11. The eminence of this place extends everywhere constituting ten yojanam [=yojana]. Those placed in the heaven take notice of all those taking a look of the Four-armed God, i.e. Viṣṇu. The greatness of this area lies in the fact that after watching each resident of Dvārakā taking a look of the fourarmed God all those residing in heaven pay their salutations to him/her. The greatness of this area has been celebrated in all the Śāstras.
The blameless sages! now listen to the eminence of this place. All those staying here and always attached to the service of Kṛṣṇa with eagerness never aspire for liberation. According to them, even the stones here are enough to grant liberation to one. Even the insects, grasshoppers, animals, snakes and sinners—all of these attain liberation by the grace of Dvārakā. So what to speak again about the humans who reside here regularly. The passage that remains very much within the reach of all animals as well as of human inhabitants in Dvārakā, is certainly difficult for ascetics placed higher to them. Fruits attained by residing for a crore of years in all places of pilgrimage, can be obtained by presence at Dvārakā for just a fraction of moment every day. All men and women putting up at Dvārakā can be seen similar to the four-armed God, i.e. Viṣṇu. A look of art inhabitant of Dvārakā kills all sins.
O best Brāhmaṇas! this is the undesirable truth that those who take look of the inhabitants of Dvārakā become very dear to Kṛṣṇa. Men censuring the inhabitants of Dvārakā are considered to be stupids. Devoid of love and affection for Kṛṣṇa they fall into the ocean of sorrows. Such censurers are terribly threatened by Jayanta (considered as the guardian of Dvārakā). They are dragged to sit on the sharp edge of an iron bar. They are made to get tormented in this manner and are helped to rise themselves only on the brink of their getting unconscious. Helpless out of fear they keep yelling out “rescue us, Jayanta!” And tortured in this way byjayanta they get reminded of their past sins.
12-16. O unfortunate beings! what could I do? You people have committed such sins which are quite terrible. Fruits of all meritorious deeds can only be earned by a stay at Dvārakā which is good (and that way desirable). It is for sure that there is no sin greater than censure of inhabitants of Dvārakā. One cannot retrieve oneself from such sins as Dvārakā is known as the supreme Goddess. Hence, it is as per the instructions of Kṛṣṇa that I punish such sinners. Due to condemnation of the Vaiṣṇavites, any censurer has to face ferocious consequences. Only after that, a birth heralding well being can occur (for one) at Dvārakā and the resultant attainment of purity and holiness of the highest order by appeasement of Kṛṣṇa which in any case is very difficult to obtain. Hence, one has to suffer the fruits that arise from deprecation of Vaiṣṇavas. The wishes of Yama do not prevail here, but that of Viṣṇu who is the most powerful God.
Śrī Prahlāda said:
17-26. Hence, the leading God, i.e. Viṣṇu needs to be worshipped by visiting Dvārāvat. O Brāhmaṇas! (now) listen to the fruits that come out of donating some wealth religiously after sheltering oneself on the bank of Gomatī. (As you all know) one can reap fruits by making donation of one thousand karat gold on Sunday in the name of the Sun. Similarly one does get fruits by donating elephants, horses and chariots at Kurukṣetra. I can tell you about thousand times the fruits of the same and this is an undeniable truth. Donating just half the amount of gold (stated above) fits in well enough to yield the same fruit (i.e. thousand times as stated earlier).
O Brāhmaṇas! by worshipping Lord Kṛṣṇa with offering of flowers and food in container of any size, limitless fruits amounting to the innumerable number of grains of boiled/cooked rice in the food so offered result Brahmā, Śeṣa (an epithet of Viṣṇu) and Maheśvara themselves, have not been able to tell the fruits that result from donating cooked rice at Dvārakā. Any human being—be a Brāhmaṇa, a Kṣatriya, a Vaiśya, a Śūdra or even outside the caste system and a woman—if they reside at Dvārakā with faith, they liberate a crore of their clan members and themselves. They go to the great abode of Viṣṇu.
O best Brāhmaṇas! I may repeatedly tell you all that this is the truth. (As you all know) I never tell a lie. By looking at the inhabitants of Dvārakā and especially by touching them, they all (i.e. as specified above) get free from the severest of sins and get entitled for residence in Heaven. Even the dust particles of Dvārakā which flow in the air, throw away the sins. So what to speak about the land of Dvārakā?
Śrī Prahlāda said:
27-50. O the best of Brāhmaṇas! listen to the destructible power of Dvārakā with regard to severe attachments and infatuation. Such greatness of Dvārakā is due to its vicinity to Gomatī and Kṛṣṇa. After taking a revolution of Kuśābatī [Kuśāvarta?] (i.e. the city known as capital of the kingdom of Rāma’s son that is Kuśa) and surpassing the farthest limit of the sea, the divine priest (an epithet for the planet Jupiter) in its transit through the zodiacal sign of Leo passes over this centre of pilgrimage, i.e. Dvārakā. A bath at Gomatī during this juncture yields fruits equivalent to taking bath at Godāvarī for two hundred times. Efforts to dive into Gautamī during this coincidence of Jupiter’s transit through Leo are blessed with good fruits by Gautamī.
The Brāhmaṇas! the meritorious fruits that result from putting up for a number of years on the banks of Godāvarī, can equally be reaped by service of Gomatī. Taking a bath at Gomatī with faith on the day of transit of Guru, i.e. Jupiter in the zodiac sign of Leo multiplies the bath at Dvārāvat by thousand times.
Hence, O the greatly fortunate souls! go to Dvārakā. It has been said that all sins go away by just having a look of it. “Dvārakā is everything”. By muttering this while on way towards Dvārakā, it is for sure that one becomes a claimant in his/her share for liberation by the grace of God Kṛṣṇa. Those who remember Dvārakā, the holy Gomatī, Rukmiṇī and Kṛṣṇa everyday with devotion get to enjoy the fruits of Dvārakā. Despite their staying at a distance of thousand yojanas, (i.e. eight thousand miles away from Dvārakā) if people keep Dvārakā in their minds (i.e. they give Dvārakā an uppermost place in mind) they get an opportunity to visit Dvārakā and have a look of its lord at some point of time in their life. People get free from all sins. That human society is fortunate where the sanctifying river Gomatī flows. What to speak about those human beings who undertake visits to Dvārakā and have a look of the master/lord/ruler of Dvārakā, i.e. Kṛṣṇa? Sinjs committed by killing of friends and cows, even Brahmicide, sins yielded by kidnapping others’ wives, sins like matricide, patricide and taking away or depriving one of Brahmahood—all such sinners as well as others attended with any other sin of ferocious nature—get rid of all their sins by virtue of having a look of God Kṛṣṇa. Moreover, what use giving discourses of Veda without faith or for that matter of making charity of gold measuring one thousands karats at Kurukṣetra on the day of solar eclipse? Similarly of what use making gifts of elephants, horses and chariots, or setting up temples, or for that matter of performance of religious acts/ ceremonies subsequent to realization of desires on one’s part? What can be derived by conducting the Rājasuya yajña (i.e. the sacrificial fire on the occasion of coronation of a king), the Aśvamedha yajña (i.e. the sacrificial fire making offering of horses to fire) and all kinds of yajñas? Similarly what fruits can be yielded by serving centres of pilgrimage and by undergoing varieties of penance? What is the need of perseverance for liberation or undergoing the arduous task of meditation or for that matter remaining wholly immersed/engrossed in Yoga if one has got (the opportunity) to take a look of the God of Dvārakā, i.e. Kṛṣṇa. One may listen to the greatness of Dvārakā. In particular, one must remember Lord Kṛṣṇa sitting awake throughout the night in the month of Vaiśākha, i.e. April. Also remembering the God specially in the months of Māgha, i.e. January-Febuary, Phālguna, i.e. February, Cakra, i.e. March and Jyeṣṭha, i.e May is also quite profitable even today from the point of view of reaping goodness/well-being. From evincing generosity to arranging facilities like provision of drinking water in public places, one can make mansion, raised platforms and set up temporary tent houses on the banks of river Gomatī which serve as retiring places or as places of rest for the ascetics. One can restore wells including those having a provision of steps into them and ponds in a dilapidated condition. After placing the idol, one can invoke Lord Viṣṇu into the same by offering luxurious items/articles. The Brāhmaṇas, listen to the excellent fruits that can be derived from such acts as I am telling. With realization of all wishes in the mind (by such acts) one gets entitled to the favour/blessings of Kṛṣṇa. Enjoying all attachments/luxuries in successive series in the shining world (such) men get to the abode of Viṣṇu after making their salutations to other gods. Those who place the idol of Viṣṇu made of either wood or stone at Dvārakā, they tend to earn intimacy of Viṣṇu in the three worlds. Sin no more grows in them. Goodness on the other hand enhances in a well-founded manner with them.
O Lord! where from such distinguished quality of Dvārakā arise! All of them keep on speaking about such surprisingly unique quality of Dvārakā among holy regions and all centres of pilgrimage.