The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The eminence of religious vow (vrata) of the twelfth Day which is chapter 39 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-ninth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 39 - The eminence of religious vow (vrata) of the twelfth Day

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Prahlāda said:

1-14. Anniversaries like Jayā and Vijayā and observance of religious rituals meant for vratas like banjulī [vañjulī?] and unmīlinī called Trispruśo [Trispṛśā?] falling on the eleventh day of the brighter fortnight of the moon are destroyers of sins. Those people earn the merits as laid down in all the Purāṇas if they eat the rice cooked with ghee everyday. One needs to offer food cooked with ghee and wave the lighted earthen lamps full of ghee before the God to worship Padmanābha (an epithet of Viṣṇu) by sitting awake throughout the night. To perform the worship of Viṣṇu by staying up awake throughout the night one needs to do so before the Śāligrāma stone. Hence, it is desirable that one does so before the idol of Viṣṇu made of Śāligrāma stone. People can dance, play musical instruments, put colours on one another and cover the Śāligrāma stone with flowers. In particular, Brāhmaṇas can offer the idol of Viṣṇu bearing the mark of discus with sandalwood paste, camphor and the perfume made out of the wood called agar. Then after preparing a paste by mixing the sandalwood known as Gopīcandana with the scented substance called kastūrī (which generally emits from the navel of the deer so-called) and by applying it on the idol, the religious observance of the twelfth day of the month addressed to Kṛṣṇa can be complied with. Let me tell you in brief about its fruits. Its fruits are the same as that of the temple at Ujjainī [Ujjayinī?] which assembles together the virtues obtainable at crores of centres of pilgrimage. The fruits obtainable at Vārāṇasī, Kurukṣetra, Mathurā, Tripuṣkara, Ayodhyā, Prayāga and at all those places of pilgrimage located on the confluences of rivers with sea, all the well-being reaped by performance of yajñas, observance of thousands of vratas and by plenty of charities at all the holy centres of pilgrimage as well as at temples, virtues acquired by reading of the Veda as well as a deeper understanding of Purāṇas, by undergoing penance, by following the four-stage āśrama system—fruits, O son! stated to be integral to all these by the sages and Vedavyāsa—can similarly be had by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa in the brighter period of the lunar month.

In olden time, the God known to be related to the snow-covered Kailāsa mountain and the bearer of the trident in hand (i.e. Śiva) had happened to tell Nārada near Brahmā “that in olden time when asked, Arūṇa (i.e. Sun) had told the bearer of thunderbolt (i.e. Indra) that Brāhmaṇas can derive fruits by sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Kṛṣṇa on the twelfth day (of the brighter period of Moon). I had made the same such statement. Hence, all the Brāhmaṇas must sit awake throughout the night to perform yajña on the day specially meant for Viṣṇu.”

Sūta said:

15-48. After saying like this to the Brāhmaṇas, Prahlāda then told his grandson Bali that he should also perform the very act of sitting awake throughout the night with all reverence in the worship of Hari. By bearing Dvārakā in mind and through Kīrtans there, sins brought upon one through one hundred births and all sins having risen their heads over one hundred births, get burnt up without any doubt. Sins that have raised their heads over a thousand of births just go away by taking a single step towards Dvārakā. With the taking away of sins by Dvārakā, one certainly attains liberation by virtue of taking a look of Kṛṣṇa. If a man cannot go to Dvārakā, he better reads the account of its greatness as far as possible at home. As making of gifts to the Vaiṣṇavas is desirable, so is the listening of the greatness of Dvārakā with due devotion. Specially it is necessary to read the same while sitting up awake throughout the night meant for the twelfth day in worship of Viṣṇu. By this a man obtains the good fruits as obtained at Dvārakā out of the grace of Vāsudeva. This is the truth.

O grandson! Mathurā, Dvārakā, Avantī, Māyāpuri [Māyāpurī?], Prayāga, Kurukṣetra, Tripuṣkara, Naimiṣa, Gaṅgādvāra (i.e. Haridvāra), Śaṅkara, Candreśa, Kedāra, the Rūdra great temple, Vastrāpatha, Mahādeva, Mahākāla, Bhūteśvara, Bhasmagātra, Somanātha—ṃe husband of Umā, Koṭiliṅga, Trinetra, Bhṛguvanecaram [Bhṛguvanecara], Dīpeśvara, Mahānāda, the God Acaleśvara, and Gods like Brahmā, etc. remain ever present in his house who observes the eighth day of the waning period of the moon in the month of Bhādra, i.e. September which is generally referred to as the birthday of Kṛṣṇa. Besides all of these, one’s forefathers, the community of Nāgas, Gandharvas, sages, practitioners in the pursuit of siddha, i.e. accomplishment, all centres of pilgrimage here and there and yajñas like Aśvamedha, etc. remain present in his house who particularly observes the Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī (i.e. the eighth day of the waning period of the moon in the month of Bhādra i.e. September). Like the Bhāgavat Śāstra is the devotee in Bhāgavat There is no difference between the two like that of Hari and Hara. Lake by going to a savage, i.e. an untamed area one has to eat radish, so one involved in barbaric activities cannot have respite from hell irrespective of the fact of creation lasting for hundred or a crore of years. If a Brāhmaṇa, infatuated with greed does degraded acts he cannot reap the fruits for whatever good deeds, he might have done. No one will be there to buy his arguments however loudly he may put them across. The universal Self does not get pleased by offending the Vaiṣṇavas. If one cuts down one peepal tree each as per the series of religious festivals, he remains in the terrible hell known as rourava [raurava?] even after the completion of time-period of creation as per estimation of Manu.

O king of demons! even if one performs the act of worship with a broken/impaired piece of wood at any point of time, Bhāskara (i.e. Sun) does not accept his worship and the offerings made during worship.

O demon! if one cuts down the arka tree he remains poor and diseased for one hundred (re-)births. That best man who plants a sun-plant and nourishes it further, he remains in the proximity of Bhāskara for a period spanning seven creations. The fruits that are associated with planting of a lakh and crore of heavenly plants can be had by just planting of one peepal tree. Similar fruits also accrue by planting a gooseberry tree. Comparatively surprising to this is the planting of basil which gives more results. Those who do so attain immortality. Hence, there is no need for considering any other action. After getting up in the morning, one who makes prayers addressing the glory of Dvārakā in the Kaliyuga, he gets free from all sins and goes to heaven beyond any doubt. He who has not observed the twelfth day of the month of Srāvaṇa having togetherness with the star Rohiṇī, he remains enjoined with great sins and gets heaven only after the completion of the time-period of creation. Without the sun, days cannot be possible and without the moon, the nights. Is it ever possible to have a village without trees? So. how can observance of any religious vow be possible without the twelfth day of the month addressed to worship of Kṛṣṇa? His house is similar to hell and is like a second abode penalised with the punishment of Yama where the śāstra containing one thousand names of Viṣṇu is never read out. That hell-like house of him is the second place being ruled over by Yama where Bhāgvat [Bhāgavat] Purāṇa is not sung in the Kaliyuga. Getting burnt up in fire, such houses get dumped in dark well.) Those who nurture disinterest in or disregard for Bhāgavat and those houses where the accounts of Hari are not read out everyday, are always taken away by the attendants/messengers of Yama and these people keep repeatedly coming back to the earth (i.e. they get rebirths once and again). Those who do not listen to the accounts of Hari’s character, they get terribly tortured as if being cut into pieces by saw under the impact of Yama’s rule. Those evil-minded who always deprecate the great-minded Vaiṣṇavas, they remain dumped in Hell till the final deluge, i.e. the final dissolution of creation. Relatively greater results are obtainable by having a look of the earth, i.e. sandalwood here called Gopīcandana than that of baths at crores of Gotīrtha. Fruits associated with a bath at Gaṅgā result beyond doubt for them by this sight. Those who offer paste of sandalwood known as Gopīcandana to Vaiṣṇavas or as far as possible bear a mark made of the paste of Gopīcandana on their foreheads, or those who sit up awake throughout the night on the twelfth day in the worship of Viṣṇu with a mark made of paste of Gopīcandana on their foreheads and read the śāstra containing one thousand names of Viṣṇu—all such people attain liberation. After getting up in the morning, those who regularly do prayers singing the glory of Vaiṣṇavas as well as remember the Gomatī, they obtain the position that can be comparable to Kṛṣṇa Himself. There can be no doubt about this. After getting up in the morning, those who regularly mutter the word Dvārakā within they derive the well-being that results from undergoing a crore of pilgrimage per day.

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