by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Bath, charity and shraddha at Cakratirtha during the month of Kartika which is chapter 40 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 fortieth chapter of the Dvaraka-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Śrī Prahlada said:
1-28. By worshipping Śrīpati, i.e. the Lord of prosperity i.e. Śrī Kṛṣṇa with leavès bearing markings of names of God, one gets seven worlds and becomes a sovereign of seven islands. By worshipping Hari regularly with bel leaves (i.e. leaves of wood apple) one earns the fruits of well-being equal to that of ten thousand Aśvamedha yajñas in the Kaliyuga. By worshipping Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and equally the Goddesses Sāvitrī and Candikā [Caṇḍikā?] with bel leaves as far as possible one goes to heaven. The impact of bel leaves has been stated to be more than that of basil leaves. Hence, Acyuta (an epithet of Viṣṇu) needs to be worshipped with bel leaves with all sincere efforts. If on the twelfth day falling on a Sunday people worship the bel tree, they get free from the sin of Brahmicide, etc. which they might have committed or have indulged themselves in. As other feet get assimilated in the feet of a very big elephant, so all well-being earned get merged in the day, i.e. the twelfth day of the month addressed to Hari. When decay lurks every moment in the transitory body then why should living beings not observe the twelfth day sitting awake throughout the night in the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa? The previous seven generations in a man’s family as well as his fourteen future generations successfully tide over the hell by his singing the prayer addressed to Kṛṣṇa. They never come back to life again here and there wherever the human species are (stated to be) present/found. Those people who put up at Dvārakā (and visit the Kṛṣṇa temple regularly there) they are usually admired in the three worlds. Those who make shelters for ascetics at Dvārakā and give them food, they reap fruits equalling that yielded by performance of one hundred yajñas, on every mouthful of food so offered.
O king of demons! listen to the fruits of well-being that result by making presents of clothes which include that of both the inner and outer garments to the ascetics and by feeding them as per one’s capability, which I am narrating in brief. The fruits that people having love and affection for their fathers, reap by feeding crore of learned Brāhmaṇas in Veda at Gayā, can be obtained by feeding just one ascetic at Dvārakā. The grandson, just feeding one monk here induces this kind of result even if one has to sell oneself to give cooked rice to him.
O the king of demons! fortunate are all those ascetics who having taken resort of Kṛṣṇa have been putting up on a regular basis at Dvārakā in the Kaliyuga. If the mortal beings go near Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā, despite their being sinners, they obtain that ultimate position after piercing through the solar system. All those best of men who happen to dwell at Cakratīrtha at Dvārakā can be presumed to have found the preventive remedy of keeping the attendants of Yama at bay.To say anything about them who after a bath at Gomatī, take a look of Kṛṣṇa—the snatcher of all dirt of the Kaliyuga—is beyond our imagination. Even insects, grasshoppers and trees which have made their shelters there (at Dvārakā) go to the abode of Kṛṣṇa and hardly ever return again to the worldly life/existence. So, what is the need of describing about the Brāhmaṇa and the Kṣatriya varṇas in particular? Even the Śūdras stipulated to be engaged in the service of the other three varṇas higher to it in the varṇa system get freedom from their handicaps there (by having a look of Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā). With food for only one time at night and with full awareness of their purpose, the Brāhmaṇas who read the Gitā before Kṛṣṇa for the entire month of Kārtika (i.e. October-November) and observe the quite difficult cāndrāyaṇa vrata for three nights or taking barley as food, do arduous perseverance for half of the period of lunar month or observing the month-long vrata for Kārtika month (i.e. October-November) take bath in the water of Gomatī as well as that of the Rukmiṇī lake—all such followers bearing conch, chakra (i.e. the discus) and mace in hands assume form and appearance like that of Kṛṣṇa for they observe the fasting meant for the eleventh day which, as it is, is quite clear of any remnant influences/affectations characteristics of the tenth day. Those who perform the śrāddha on the twelfth day at the sacred Cakratīrtha and offer honey, pāyas (i.e. a pooding of rice boiled in milk with addition of sugar) and melted ghee as food to Brāhmaṇas and please them as per followed practice with due reverence and with religious fee as per ability which may include gifting of cows, land, deer, clothes, betel leaves with areca nuts, fruits, footwear, umbrella white in colour like flowers, earthen pots full of water, cooked food along with fresh fruits, etc., they are sure to earn for themselves the pleasure of forefathers like Mārkaṇḍeya as they fulfill the duty of observance of religious vow meant for the month of Kārtika addressed to the worship of Kṛṣṇa with all sincerity. Earning the imperishable satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa as well as of all gods in the three directions can be possible by such acts. Attended with observance of vrata (i.e. the religious vow) and making charities, those virtuous men who stay here at this Rathāṅga Tīrtha (i.e. an epithet for Cakratīrtha) for the entire month of Kārtika and after purification of their bodies by a bath here and by singing ślokas perform their vrata, they obtain that position of virtue free from any sign of decay.