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The Skanda-Purana (23 Volumes)

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Publisher's note

The purest gems lie hidden in the bottom of the ocean or in the depth of rocks. One has to dive into the ocean or delve into the rocks to find them out. Similarly truth lies concealed in the language which with the passage of time has become obsolete. Man has to learn that language before he discovers that truth.

But he has neither the means nor the leisure to embark on that course. We have therefore planned to help him acquire knowledge by an easier course. We have started the series of Ancient indian tradition and mythology in English translation. Our goal to universalize knowledge through the most popular international medium of expression. The publication of the puranas in English translation is a step towards that goal.

 

Introduction

All religions be it islam Christianity or Hinduism lay great emphasis on the sanctity of certain places and enjoin pilgrimage to them. Large rivers mountains and forests have always been venerated as the abodes of gods.

Ancient Sutras and old Smrtis like Manu and Yajnavalkya do not attach importance to Tirthas but the later literature on this branch of Dharmasastra is very extensive. The Mahabharata regards pilgrimage to Tirthas more meritorious than sacrifices.

Hence it was natural that Puranas and digests on Tirthas vied with one another in glorifying their respective Tirthas. The Skanda Purana is not one book but a library of such Sthaal Puranas or Tirtha Mahatmyas. Hence its importance for researches in different disciplines.

The great oriental scholar Dr. Jan Gonda has succinctly emphasized the importance of these sthala puranas in his Medieval religious literature in Sanskrit as follows.

This genre of literature is not only very useful for deepening out knowledge of the cultural and religious history of india in general but also most valuable for those who want to reconstruct the development of regional history and local cults or to gain a deeper insight into various religious institutions for instance the recommendation of pilgrimage to poor people as a substitute for expensive sacrifice into beliefs and practices e.g. those who bathe here go to heaven and those who die here are not born again and in connection with the conviction in religious suicide and worship of the deceased and into the significance of holy places local variants of myths and legends and so on. They give information on topography.

The Skp is thus a mine of social cultural political historical geographical religious and philosophical information.

it need not however be supposed that the Skp or the Mbh underestimates the importance of moral purity. The Skp kasikhanda quotes Mbh vana 82.9-12 and exhorts the need of self control knowledge and penance for obtaining the full advantage of pilgrimage.

The Skp is specially important as it covers practically the whole of india. Thus it describes the topography cultural traditions etc. of the Himalayan region of Uttara Pradesh Orissa (in Purusottama ksetra-mahat-mya) Malwa Rajasthan and a part of Gujarat western india along with Gujarat and south india. The Skp has thus covered the major part of india (except such states as maharashtra and Punjab). The authors of each of these Mahatmyas knew their respective regions like the palm of their hand and describe the topography of the area particular Tirtha its location legendary history its distance and directions from the main Tirtha. Naturally these Tirtha-mahata-myas came to be written at different times by different authors. Hence the criticism or evaluation of a particular Khanda should not be regarded as applicable to the whole of the Skp thus the ignorance about the beginning of the kali age or the dates of Vikramaditya Saka, Pramati etc. in Kaumarkakahanda should be attributed to the author of that particular khanda and not to authors of other parts. Similarly the author of the Kasikhanda does not mean that the whole of the Skp is of that poetic standard. The general literary standard of other authors however is certainly high.

This Purana is called Skanda according to the NP 104.2-4 Vyasa this Purana Skanda and described it as consisting of a hundred thousand verses and all the rites and rituals regarding Siva have been revealed by Skanda.

The Skp in the concluding (44th) Adhyaya of the last Khanda informs us.

This skanda Purana was formerly disclosed by Kumara (skanda).

This Purana contributing to longevity and pleasing to the people of four Varnas was certainly created by the greatsouled Skanda.

in the traditional list of Mahapuranas the Skp holds the thirteenth rank but in its extent in number of verses it is the first.

The Skp is found in two versions or forms (1)Khandas and (2) Samhitas the Samhitas are six in number viz ,(a) Sanatkumara (b) Suta (c) Sankari (d) Vaisnavi (e) Brahmi and (f) Saura the total number of verses in these Samhitas is one hundred thousand.

But the NP recognizes the Khanda version. The Skp has the following seven khandas.

(1) Mahesvara (2) Vaisnava (3) Brahma (4) Kasi (5) Avanti (6) Nagara and (7) Prabhasa the NP 104.3 states that the Skp contains 81,000 verses a figure confirmed by the Skp in the colophon of each Adhyaya. The Mtp 53.41-42 the Vap 104 and the Bhp 12,13 give 81,000 as the number of its verses. But the AP 272.17 states that the Skp has 84,000 verses a view confirmed by the Skp.

The Venkateshwar Press edition of the Skp which we translate contains 94313 verses. The incidents mentioned in this Purana took place in the Tatpurusa Kalpa.

There are four editions of this Khanda type of Skp (1) the Venkateshwar Press (VP) (2) Bangavasi (BV) (3) Naval Kishore Press Lucknow and (4) the Gurumandala (GM) edition but these editions vary in their contents for ecample the catruastiti linga mahatmya in Part i of the Avanti Khanda is not found in the Lucknow edition. in Part ii of the Avanti Khanda some 110 chapters differ considerably from those in the VP edition. The GM includes the spurious Satya Narayana mahatmya in the Reva khanda but it is not found in the VP Edition.

The Skp Vii states that the entire Purana was narrated formerly by Skanda to Bhrgu. Angiras got it from Bhrgu Cyavana got it from Angiras Reika got if from Cyavana. it is thus traditionally handed down. The Purana is silent as to how it came up to suta through Vyasa. The rest of that last chapter of the Skp is Phalasruti.

The present text of the Sky is somewhat different from that of the 11th cent. A.D. Some of the verses then existing in the Skp and quoted as such by Laksmidhara in the Kalpataru (A.D. 1110) are not found in the present day text of the Sky. For example, in the Kalpataru on Tirtha (pp. 36-3 some 19 verses are quoted from the Sky, but they are untraced in the present text of the SkP, though they are found in LP 92.120-142. in the Kalpataru on p. 44 three verses are quoted from the Sky but are not found in our Sky text, though they are traced in the Ly 92.97-99

There is thus an urgent necessity of preparing a critical edition of the Skanda Purana. I have, however, followed here the VP edition.

The position of the Skp as a Mahapuraa is not disputed by anyone. But the very nature of Sky being a library of Ksetra and other Mahatamyas, is basically different from other Puraias, say the VP or the Bhp. Hence we should not stretch the Sky on the Procrustean bed of puranam paica1akca- zam. in fact (as observed by A.D. Pusalkar in Studies in Epics and Puratnas, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay) the paflca laksatzas are observed in their breach by a number of Puranas except the VP. The Sky not being one book, is not expected to follow the five laksanas. it is true that many books in the Sky share the Puranic ideas about Sarga, Pratisarga, Manvantara, but the lakksanas Vamsa and Vansabycarita are totally absent except a few unconnected semi-historical references in the Kaumarikaichanda and Brahmakhanda (see infra, the section on "Semi-historical References in the Skanda Puraa").

As society in Puranic india is of utmost importance and interest, let us first see society as depicted in the Sky. Like other Puranas, the Sky nostalgically remembers the ideal social condition in the Krta Age-a classless society, free provision of shelter, food, clothes and ornaments by trees, absence of the concept of Adharma etc. the evolution of varnas like Ksatriyas and the introduction of the performance of sacrifices appeared in treta Yuga.

But as P.V. Kane Points out Varna is not jati or caste Jati has the following characteristics.

(1) Heredity caste is assigned by birth

(2) Endogamy and Exogamy

(3) Certain restrictions as to food (what food is to be taken from whom etc.)

(4) Occupation A particular caste is to follow a particular occupation.

(5) Gradation of castes on a social scale jati thus lays special emphasis on birth or heredity, while Varna emphasized duties.

But Brahmana ksatriya vaisaya and sudra are equally important parts of the body of the Purusa. it thus represents the organic nature of the Hindu Society.

The Skp strongly asserts equality between man and man.

Humanity being the common factor who is low and who is high? Asks Skp iV if four sons are born from the same person from the same woman how can they belong to four different varpas. The distinction between one varna and another does not hold water. Hence nobody should every regard that there is difference between man and man like Sankara Vedanta the Skp also espoused elsewhere the stand of equality. Listing the created castes god Brahmi asserts the equality of these casters to Narada all those subjects are born from parts of my body and hence are equal.

This equality is voiced in other Puranas as well e.g. all varnas are born of the person the respetive duties of Brahamanas Ksatriyas, vaisyas and Sutras are based on old Smrtis like Manu Yajnavalkya. But even brahamanas took to different vocations like agriculture medical profession begging at forbidden houses and became degraded. it resulted in the creation of eleven castes among brahmanas who neither dine dor marry inter.

 

Contents
 
Part I
 
  Publisher's Note  
  Editorial v
  Abbreviations vii
  Introduction xi
 
Skanda Purana
Book I: Mahesvarakhanda
Section I: Kedarkhanda
 
1 Daksa's insolence 1
2 Satys Arrival at Daksa's Sacrifice 7
3 Virabhadra Comes to the Yajna 13
4 A Fight between Vibhadra and Visnu and Others 20
5 Meritoriousness of Devotion to Siva 26
6 Curse to Brahma and Others 42
7 Worship of the Linga 47
8 The Story of a Thief: incarnation of Rama 53
9 The Churning of the Ocean 64
10 Siva Swallows the Poison 74
11 Procedure to Ganesa Worship: Manifestation of Laksmi 82
12 Devas Taste the Divine Nectar 90
13 The Fight between Devas and Asuras 96
14 Resuscitation of Dead Daityas 106
15 Nahusa and Yayati: Their indrahood and Fall 109
16 Dadhicys Gift of His Body 118
17 Vrtra Killed: Bali Prepares for War 126
18 Vamana's Arrival Balys Sacrifice 151
19 Sukra Curses Bali: Vamana Grants Boon to Bali 169
20 The Nirunatva of the Siva Linga: The Manifestation of Bhavani 176
21 Parvatys Penance 181
22 Sankara's Revelation of Himself to Parvati: Their Dialogue 196
23 Siva's Marriage 207
24 The Marriage Ceremony of Siva: The Arrangement for Accommodating Devas and Others 214
25 The Marriage Ritual 220
26 The Marriage Celebration of Siva and Parvati: Auspicious Festivities 227
27 The Birth of Kumara Karttikeya 232
28 Preparations of Devas and Daityas for War 242
29 The Battle Between Suras and Taraka 247
30 Taraka is Slain 254
31 The Greatness of Sivalinga 258
32 The Burning of Kala 268
33 The Greatness of Sivaratri Vrata 277
34 Siva Loses to Parvati in a Game of Dice 287
35 Parvati as Sabari Brings Back Siva: Siva's Coronation 301
  Index 307
 
Part II
 
  Publisher's Note v
  Editorial vii
  Abbreviations xv
 
Skanda Purana
Book I: Mahesvarakhanda
Section II: Kaumarikakhanda
 
1 Redemption of Five Apsaras by Arjuna 1
2 Glorification of Holy Places 10
3 Greatness of the Tirtha at the Confluence of Mahi and Sea 21
4 Dialogue between Narada and Arjuna: Different Kinds of Charitable Gifts 29
5 Dialogue between Narada and Sutanu 38
6 Narada Settles Brahmanas at the Holy Spot 51
7 Nadijangha's Story 64
8 Prakarakarna's Story 74
9 The Vulture's Story 81
10 Revival of indradyumna's Renown 86
11 The Previous Births of the Tortoise 90
12 Great Efficacy of the Worship of Siva: The Story of Sage Lomasa 95
13 Satarudriya Lingas 101
14 The Legend of Vajranga 122
15 The Birth of the Asura Taraka 130
16 Taraka and Devendra Prepare for War 136
17 The Fight between Yama and Grasana 143
18 The Battle between the Armies of Taraka and the Devas 148
19 The Battle between Visnu and Kalanemi 155
20 Visnu Fights with Daityas 161
21 Taraka's Victory in the Battle 169
22 The Birth of Parvati 193
23 Himavan Consoled 199
24 Kama is Burned 204
25 Mahadeva Meets Parvati: Eagerness for Marriage with Parvati 208
26 The Marriage of Hara and Gauri Celebrated 220
27 Parvati Enraged: The Origin of Ganesa 227
28 Parvati Goes to the Mountain for Penance 234
29 Kumara Becomes Commander-in-chief of the Deva Army: (i) Legend of Arbuda 236
30 Skanda installed as the Commander-in-chief 254
31 Kumara's March against the City of Tarakasura 260
32 Taraka is Slain 264
33 The Greatness of Lingas installed by Kumara 278
34 The Greatness of Kumaresa 284
35 Greatness of Stambhesvara 294
36 Description of the Five Lingas Concluded 295
37 Bhuvanakosa: Evolution of the Universe: Description of Dvipas or Continents 301
38 The Position of the Higher World 309
39 The Greatness of Barkaresvara 315
40 The Birth of Mahakala: The Arrangement of Four Yugas 335
41 Kinds of Sins; Procedure of Siva Worship; Rules of Good Conduct 361
42 The Story of Brahmana Aitareya 378
43 Establishment of Bhattaditya 401
44 Description of the Divyas (Ordeals) 410
45 The Story of Nandabhadra 418
46 Events Connected with Baladitya 430
47 Installation of Goddesses at Bahudaka Tirtha 444
48 The Description of Somanatha 453
49 Dialogue between Kamatha and the Sun-god 456
50 Human body-A Miniature Cosmos: Departure of the Soul to the Next World 462
51 The Greatness of Jayaditya 470
52 The Story of Kotitirtha 478
53 Greatness of Tripurusasala and the Glory of Narada's Lake 482
54 The Glory of idol Lake 486
55 The Characteristics of Yoga 491
56 Brahmesvara, Moksesvara and Garbhesvara 505
57 The Glory of Nilakantha 506
58 End of Arjuna's Pilgrimage 507
59 The Departure of Ghatotkaca to Pragjyotisa 513
60 The Birth of Barbarika 519
61 The Liturgy of Ganesvara 525
62 The Practice of Mahavidya 531
63 Vikaya's Accomplishment of Siddhi 538
64 The Greatness of Bhimesvara 545
65 Disagreement between Bhima and Yudhisthira: installation of Kalesvari 551
66 Krsna beheads Barbarika: Greatness of Guptaksetra Concluded 562
  Index 575
 
Part III
 
  Publisher's Note v
  Editorial vii
  Abbreviations xi
 
Skanda Purana
Book I: Mahesvarakhanda
Section II: Arunacalamahatamya
 
1 The Manifestation of the Taijasa Linga-Arunacala 1
2 Greatness of immovable Linga of Sankara 8
3 Parvati Goes to Kanci for Penance 13
4 Parvati Goes to the Hermitage of Gautama 19
5 The Greatness of Brahmapuskara 25
6 Description of Various Holy Places at Aruncala 31
7 Different Tirthas on Arunacala 43
8 The Propitiation of Arunesvara 47
9 The Efficacy of the Circumambulation of Arunesvara 54
10 The Fight with Mahisasura 65
11 Mahisasura Slain: His Head Stuck to Gaurys Hand 74
12 The Reunion of the Goddess with Siva 82
13 Granting of Boons to Parvati 90
 
UTTARADHA
 
1 Introduction: Markandeya's Query 95
2 A List of Different Sacred Places of Siva on the Earth 97
3 Markandeya's Further Query 106
4 The Greatness of Arunacala 108
5 Rewards and Punishments Resulting from Previous Karmas 113
6 Expiatory Rites 116
7 Holy Rites for Special Attainments 120
8 The Description of Creation 125
9 Dispute between Brahma and Visnu 127
10 Manisfestation of the Fiery Linga 131
11 Visnu's Exploration of the Top of the Column of Splendour 133
12 Brahma's Requests the Ketaka Bunch to Perjure 136
13 Brahma Requests the Ketaka Bunch to Perjure 138
14 Manisfestation of Sankara 140
15 Brahma Prepares to Eulogize Siva 143
16 Description of the Temple of Arunacala by Brahma and Visnu 145
17 The Sports of Siva and Parvati 151
18 Parvatys Devotional Service to Arunacalesvara 154
19 Demon Mahisa Slain by Durga 161
20 Parvatys Eulogy of the Lord of Arunacala 168
21 Siva Praises Parvati 171
22 The Story of Vajrangada 175
23 The Story of Kaladhara and Kantisali 180
24 Vajrangada Attains Salvation 181
  Index 187
 
Part IV
 
  Publisher's Note v
  Editorial vii
  Abbreviations xi
 
Skanda Purana
Book II: Vaishnavakhanda
Section I: Venkatcala Mahatmya
 
1 Narada's Vision of Yajnavaraha 1
2 Propitation of Sri Varaha by Mantras 13
3 Manifestation of the Lord to the Eyes of Everyone at the Request of Agastya 16
4 Narada Approaches Padmavati 20
5 Srinivasa Enchanted on Seeing Padmavati 25
6 Marks of Visnu's Devotee 31
7 Preparations for the Marriage of Padmalaya 38
8 The Marriage of Srinivasa and Padmavati 44
9 The Story of Hunter Vasu: The Greatness of Padmasaras 48
10 The Story of Emperor Tondaman 59
11 Kasyapa Absolved of Sins 69
12 The Greatness of Svamipuskarini 76
13 The Greatness of Svamipuskarini 81
14 The Greatness of Svamipuskarini 86
15 The Greatness of Ramakrsna Tirtha 90
16 The Merit of Making a Gift of Water 92
17 The Greatness of Venkatacala 96
18 The Glory of Sri Venkatacala 99
19 The Greatness of Papavinasana Tirtha 102
20 Merit from Gift of Lands 111
21 The Greatness o

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