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HINDUISM MYTHOLOGY
 
 

Skanda Purana (Kartika Purana)

Skanda Purana

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CONSECRATION OF THE IDOLS

King Indradyumna was anxious to get performed the rituals of consecration as soon as possible, so he asked Narad–’ I am not aware of the proper rituals that are employed in the consecration of an idol. I need your help in this regard.’Narad then made a list of articles required for the consecration of idols and instructed Indradyumna to make arrangements for all those items. He also instructed the king to get constructed a grand palace for Lord Brahma, who was supposed to arrive shortly to perform the consecration ceremony. Narad said–’ Get constructed three chariots for all the three deities. The chariot meant for lord Jagannath should have a mast on its top with the figure of Garuda on it. Similarly, Balbhadra’s chariot should have a mast with a plough drawn on it whereas Subhadra’s chariot should have a mast with a beautiful lotus drawn on it. The number of horses pulling the chariots of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra should be Sixteen, fourteen and twelve respectively.’

It did not take much time to construct the three chariots as per the instructions given by Narad. Very soon lord Brahma arrived there, accompanied by all the deities, to perform the consecration of the four idols. On seeing Lord Brahma, Indradyumna’s joys knew no bounds and he paid his obeisance to the creator. Lord Brahma said–’ See how fortunate you are. All the deities and sages have come here to help you in your cause.’

Lord Brahma then performed the rituals of consecration on the auspicious day of ashtami of the bright half of the hindu month Vaishakh. The day was Thursday and the Nakshatra was Pushya.

RATH YATRA

Dwelling on length about the auspicious days on which Rath Yatra should be taken out, sage Jaimini told the assembled sages–’ The combination of ‘Teej’ falling in the month of Vaishakh (bright half) and Rohini nakshatra, is considered to be extremely auspicious. A king should get constructed three chariots on the above mentioned day. The entire path along which the chariots as well as the procession is supposed to pass should be decorated with beautiful flowers and banners. On the second day of the bright half of the hindu month-Ashadh, all the three deities are worshipped and subsequently installed on their respective chariots, which are then pulled by the devotees. The procession then passes through the major routes of the city so that people can pay their obeisance. After reaching Gundicha Nagar, the procession should stay there for seven days on the bank of Bindu teerth. On the eighth day, all the chariots should begin their return journey. This famous Rath yatra lasts for nine days.

SOME PROMINENT PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE

Once, sage Shaunak asked Sutji about the means, which enabled human beings to attain salvation in Kaliyuga.
Sutji recounted a tale — Once, Kartikeya had posed the same question to kartikeya. Emphasizing on the importance of pilgrimages, Lord Shiva had told him that in kaliyuga anybody could attain salvation by going on pilgrimage to holy places. Giving names of some prominent holy places and rivers, Lord Shiva had told Kartikeya that some of them were capable of fulfilling any wish of a man, while some gave salvation. The names of some prominent rivers Lord Shiva had given were Ganga, Godavari, Narmada, Tapti, Yamuna, Kshipra, Gautami, Kaushiki, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Chandrabhaga, Sindhu, Gandaki, Sarswati, etc. According to Shiva all these rivers were not only capable of fulfilling any wish of a man but also giving salvation. Naming some prominent holy places, Lord Shiva had told Kartikeya that Ayodhya, Dwarka, Kashi, Mathura, Avanti, Kurukshetra, Ramteerth, Kanchi, Purushottam kshetra, Pushkar kshetra, Varah kshetra and Badrikashram were capable of liberating a man from the sorrows of this world.’

Lord Shiva had told Kartikeya– ‘Anybody who goes on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya becomes absolved of all his sins. Lord Hari dwells at Dwarka and does not abandon it even for a moment. A devotee, who takes a holy dip in river Gomti and then pays obeisance to lord Krishna, attains salvation even if he is ignorant. In the same manner, one who takes a bath in the holy Panchganga at Varanasi, becomes free from the cycles of birth and death. Anybody, who goes on a pilgrimage to Kashi and pays obeisance to lord Vishwanath, is freed from all the bondage of this world. Great importance has been attached to the performance of ‘tarpan’ at Vishramteerth and anybody who performs the rituals of tarpan with sesame seeds and water, his ancestors are freed from the tortures of the hell. Taking a holy dip in Kotiteerth at Avantipuri, in the hindu month of Vaishakh and worshipping lord Mahakaleshwar too absolves a man of all his sins. Donating gold either at Kurukshetra or Ramteerth, on a solar eclipse day, helps a man in attaining salvation. Going on a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra and worshipping lord Jagannath after taking a holy dip in Markandeya sarovar, bestows incomparable virtues. Badrinath, the dwelling place of lord Vishnu, is considered to be the supreme place of pilgrimage and even its remembrance is capable of giving salvation. Virtues attained by the performance of various deeds (tapa, yoga, samadhi), appear to be insignificant as compared to virtues attained by going on a pilgrimage to Badrikashram.

 

 

THE MAJESTY OF BADRIKSHETRA

Kartikeya asked lord Shiva–’ How did this sacrosanct place originate? Who is the presiding deity of this place?’
Lord Shiva replied–’ Badrikashram is an eternal city and lord Narayan is its presiding deity. A mere sight of Badrikashram is enough to free a man from all the bondage of life. There are numerous other holy places situated in the vicinity, Kedarnath being one of them.’

To emphasize the significance of Badrikashram, lord Shiva narrated the following tale to Kartikeya–’ In Satyayuga, lord Vishnu existed in his physical form at Badrikashram for the benediction of human beings. But, in Tretayuga, only sages had the privilege of perceiving him with the help of yoga. At the advent of Dwapar things changed drastically and lord Vishnu just disappeared from Badrikashram. Deities became worried and asked lord Brahma about the reason that made lord Vishnu disappear. Even lord Brahma had no answer to this question. Thinking that lord Vishnu must have gone to Ksheer sagar-his eternal abode, all the deities led by Brahma went there. They eulogized Vishnu, who emerged from the Ksheer sagar. But, none of the deities except lord Brahma could see him. Lord Vishnu told Brahma that the main reason why he disappeared from Badrikashram was the flawed intelligence and arrogance of the deities. Brahma informed the deities whatever Vishnu had told him. All the deities were ashamed of themselves and returned to heaven with long faces. Feeling pity on the deities, I (Shiva) disguised myself as a sanyasi and carried lord Vishnu’s idol from Naradteerth to Badrikashram and installed it over there to uplift the sagging morale of the deities. This is how lord Vishnu once again graced Badrikashram with his presence. Even a grain of ‘prasad’ had at Badrikashram is enough to liberate a man from all his sins.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HINDU MONTH ‘KARTIK’

Once, on being asked by some sages about the significance of the hindu month- Kartik, Sutji narrated the following tale– ‘Once, Narad had asked lord Brahma the same question. At that time Lord Brahma had revealed to Narad that ‘Kartik’ was supreme among all the months just as lord Vishnu is supreme among all the deities and Badrikashram is the crown of all the places of pilgrimage. According to Brahma all these three would have greater significance in Kaliyuga as compared to any other yuga. Kartik is very dear to Lord Vishnu and any virtuous deed done during this month never goes without being rewarded. One important characteristic of this month is that all the deities live in the proximity of human beings for the entire period of the month and accept everything that is offered to them. Penance done in this month or donations made during this month is believed to give Imperishable virtues. There is a special significance of donating food grains during this month. Similarly, worshipping Shaligram during this month also has great significance. Observing austerities during this month or worshipping lord Vishnu with appropriate rituals liberates one’s ancestors from the tortures of the hell. Worshipping lord Vishnu with petals of Lotus helps him to become absolved of all the sins committed in his previous many births. Worshipping lord Vishnu with tulsi leaves helps one in getting cured of incurable diseases.



 
 


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