by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Sitting awake throughout the night at Cakratirtha on the banks of Gomati which is chapter 38 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-eighth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
[Full title: Eminence of sitting awake throughout the night at Cakratīrtha on the banks of Gomatī]
Śrī Prahlāda said:
1-46. O grandson! listen to the greatness of Dvārakā as I bring it to light. It is certain that liberation materializes for one by the grace of Kṛṣṇa by listening to it or by speaking about it. A man feels honoured by having a son. Grandchild causes limitless happiness for him. Hence, with son and grandson he gets opportunity to ascend onto heaven. A son adept in good qualities, well into observance of religious righteousness since an early age in life and performing duties in consonance with devotion for Viṣṇu is always considered to remain in the forehead as a son. He continuously makes gift of the Kapilā cow with its horns decked up with gold, its hooves adorned with silver, its milk collected in a bronze bucket and the same cow having a calf. Fruits that are reaped by gifting of cow in this manner to the learned Brāhmaṇas, can equally be yielded by having a bath in the pure water of Gomatī. One can feed barley to the Brāhmaṇas staying at Dvārakā.
O the best of Brāhmaṇas! fruits multiply by one lakh times by such good alms. It has also been stated that fruits grow by one lakh times by feeding Brāhmaṇas in the time of drought in the vicinity of Kṛṣṇa. Thus, one needs to offer alms to those seeking for it in conformity with religious dharma, i.e. duty. Will there be a virtuous man born in your clan who can feed the ascetics for the purpose of contentment of forefathers in the Kaliyuga? Can there be anyone—who for the sake of good deeds especially at Dvārakā in the vicinity of Kṛṣṇa—to give cooked rice to the ascetics and gift them with clothes to cover up their bodies including private parts of the body? Neither on part of yourself have you at all done any pilgrimage nor is there any one in your family who can be regarded as good enough to fulfill the necessity of pilgrimage. Either here or there, pleasing the ascetics (therefore) is always your duty. Even the outcastes have become fortunate by going to the city of Dvārakā. After availing for themselves a sight of Bhāgavat, they have also, as part of their duties as sons, performed the religious act in honour of their forefathers. They worship with all devotion as well as by making gifts of clothes and other donations in plenty. (The Forefathers have happened to say) “we do not get the same satisfaction by offering balls of cooked rice in śrāddha at Gayā as the genuine motivation behind worship of Viṣṇu gives rise to.” People observe the religious activities required for the twelfth day in the month of Vaiśākha, i.e. April in the proximity of Kṛṣṇa by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa. As far as possible it is desirable to read the great accounts of Dvārakā which is quite auspicious. Also one needs to read the childhood accounts of Kṛṣṇa and take a look of Kṛṣṇa in the form of a child. One must also listen to the playful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa both at Gokula as well as with the mistresses of cowherds. Acts of Kṛṣṇa in His several incarnations are also worthy of listening once and again. Give a cow already having calf to the Brāhmaṇa required as an offering to the sacrificial fire. The cow must be decked up with gold in its horns while its hooves and tail need to be adorned respectively with silver and pearls. Fruit of the religious act of sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa can be derived by just touching a part of the idol of Kṛṣṇa for a fraction of moment. Sins committed and accumulated to whatever extent by a human being spanning crores of birth, get burnt up beyond any doubt by sitting up awake throughout the night in worship of Kṛṣṇa. Those who read the Bhāgavat Purāṇa—a favourite of Kṛṣṇa at night they will reside at heaven till the sun shines and the moon beautifies the night and till the seas, the earth and mountains of high standing continue to exist There will be nothing otherwise to this as I say. Hearing and seeing their own son to be engaged in worship of Kṛṣṇa as far as possible, forefathers appear to bloom forth before one and grandfathers of one become very delighted. Sanctity forsakes that place/region like that of the region inhabited by outcastes, where the accounts of greatness of Dvārakā are not read out and where sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa is never done. Give up that house, even that highly well-being—causing place of pilgrimage and that auspicious temple where there is no stone known as Śāligrāma (i.e. the stone from which the evenly-levelled statue of Viṣṇu is made) or no devotee for Bhāgavat. So also give up that particular home as well as the forest where activity required in connection with the religious observance of the twelfth day of the month specifically addressed to Kṛṣṇa is not undertaken. That country having a good name for itself becomes a matter of depreciation for its inhabitants not observing religious vow(s) addressed to Viṣṇu. On the other hand, a country having a bad name gets holier for promoting Bhāgavat (i.e. devotion towards Viṣṇu) in the Kaliyuga. One born in a caste with limitations gets purified by becoming a devotee of Madhusūdana, while one hailing from a higher caste is like an outcaste if he does not have devotion in Janārdana. After putting (the idol of) Madhu Mādhava on a chariot, those who pull it, they obtain liberation along with crore of members of their clan. Those who make themselves the prisoners of the chariot meant for the son of Devakṇ i.e. Kṛṣṇa, they happen to reside in the abode of Viṣṇu along with their forefathers till the exhaustion of the measured time of creation. Listening to the greatness of Dvārakā in the Kaliyuga evokes the motivation for attendant i.e. complementary action in men by which they reap hundreds of fruits. The sinners usually head towards some other place without worshipping the God, i.e. Viṣṇu. In such cases, virtues earned on their part through a crore of earlier births, are usually taken away by the husband of Rukmiṇī.
The king of demons! listen to the fruits I am describing, that arise from people always putting/bearing a mark made out of the earth of place of the pilgrimage known as śaṅkhodhāra on their bodies. Any human being who gives/ distributes the earth of the same centre of pilgrimage to ascetics and the Vaiṣṇavas to put on as an auspicious mark on their forehead, he gets fruits equal to one hundred karats of gold. A human being in whose house the earth of Śaṅkhodhāra Tīrtha is always present, i.e. found, virtues integral/inherent to his daily deeds get multiplied by a crore times. He, whose forehead always bears the mark made of the particular type of sandalwood called Gopīcandana, Lakṣmī—the favourite of Kṛṣṇa never deserts his home. Neither there will be any hurdle (on the path of such an individual whose forehead is always beautified with the mark made of Gopīcandana) from planets, by diseases and demons. He will not also have to bother about ghosts, spirits, the demon called Jambha and about boils/eruptions on his skin. Neither he will have fear of fire and thieves. He will also remain free from the fear of enslavement of beautiful women. He will also not have the fear of unforseen circumstances that may arise in the wake of lightning and falling of shooting stars. He will also not have the fear of misfortune, of anything that may be injurious/harmful and of anything that can have causeless/unreasonable foundation to affect him for his good act underlying devotion for Viṣṇu and worship of the Śāligrāma stone.
O intelligent man! by drinking the water offered at the feet (of Viṣṇu), by eating the food offered in worship of Him and by leaving the water offered to Viṣṇu at the time of His worship near the basil plant, all bad acts of an individual get obsolete. Listen to what the God Himself has stated earlier about the individual worthy of His grace as a favourite of Him. He has said, “I am a servant of him for whom Bhāgavat is lovingly dear. Mathurā, Kāśī, Avantī, Māyāpurī, Kāñcī and Ayodhyā enable one to get rid of all sins and with the arrival of Kaliyuga, I have begun to put up at Dvārakā with all my attendants/followers. Through pilgrimage at Dvārakā, by observance of vrata (i.e. religious vow), through knowledge, charities, by pleasing Rūdra and utterances of words of Veda as per the rendering of the best sages, through faith, sacrifice and devotion, everyone there (i.e. at Dvārakā) strives/wishes to earn my pleasure/appeasement. It is desirable on the part of everyone to have a look of mine in the Kaliyuga by undergoing the necessary visits to the beautiful Dvārāvatī. By purifying fully all the existing centres of pilgrimage in the three worlds, I have established the holy Cakratīrtha near Gomatī. Just a single day’s bath here in the Cakratīrtha on the banks of Gomatī entitles one to have the well-being that results from taking bath successively in all centres of pilgrimage in the three worlds. A man doing so (i.e. taking a bath at Cakratīrtha) gets free from crore of sins on his part and lives like me in my abode. (Not only he) crore of members in his clan get entitled to the same beyond any doubt. He does not commit crimes nor does he involve himself in sin of terrible nature. Lakṣmī happens to stay in his house spanning hundreds and thousands of his rebirth.”
Footnotes and references:
Name of the village where Kṛṣṇa was reared.