Skāndapurāṇa

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Skandapurana, SkAndapurANa, Skaandapuraana


Significance of Skāndapurāṇa

Skāndapurāṇa is one of the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas and the biggest of them all. It is available in two forms, the first having seven khaṇḍas and the second divided into six samhitās. The former has been fully available in print whereas only the first three of the latter are available. The number of ślokas in the various editions varies from 81,000 up to 100,000. The printed edition of the former contains 81,000 verses spread over 1671 chapters. Since it is a very voluminous work, a brief summary can be attempted here:

Māheśvarakhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Introduction
  • Greatness of Skanda
  • Story of Dakṣayajña and its destruction
  • Fruits of worshiping the Śivaliṅga
  • Story of Devendra
  • Samudramathana[1]
  • Story of Pārvatī and her marriage to Śiva
  • Birth of Kumāra[2]
  • Kumāra’s fighting with Tārakāsura and killing him
  • Greatness of Vāsudeva
  • Story of the Pāṇḍavas
  • Descriptions of several places of pilgrimage

Vaisnavakhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Story of Varāhāvatāra[3] rescuing Bhudevi or Mother Earth
  • Story of Kamalā and Śrīnivāsa or Veṅkaṭeśa
  • Legends of Bharadvāja and Mārkaṇḍeya
  • Greatness or eulogy of Puruṣottama of Puri
  • Ambarīṣa’s episode
  • Other episodes such as those of Indra-dyumna, Jaimini, Nārada, and Nilakaṇṭha
  • Description of Narasimha
  • Passage to Brahmaloka
  • Details concerning the rathayātra of Jagannātha of Purī
  • Story of Dakṣiṇāmurti
  • Daśavatāras
  • Greatness of Badarī, a place of pilgrimage
  • About some rituals and the method of observing ekādaśi
  • Importance of Bhāgavata
  • Sacredness of the months Kārttika and Māgha[4]

Brahmakhanda

This khaṇḍa deals mainly with the following topics:

  • Places of pilgrimage:
  1. Setu - Dhanuṣkoṭi
  2. Cakratlrtha - near Rāmeśvara
  3. Brahmakuṇḍa - near Gayā
  4. Rāmatīrtha - near Gayā
  5. Lakṣmītīrtha - on the banks of Godāvarī river
  6. Saṅkhatīrtha - in Kururkṣetra
  • Greatness of Rāmanātha Siva of Rāmeśvaram
  • Philosophical principles
  • Method of going on a pilgrimage
  • The four varṇas and āśramas
  • Temples
  • Dharma as described in the smṛtis
  • Eulogy of dāna[5]
  • Duties of a vaiṣṇava
  • Greatness of Śiva and his pañcāksari mantra[6]
  • Sacredness of Gokarṇa[7]
  • Śivarātri festival
  • Rudrākṣi beads

Kāśikhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Stories of pativratās[8]
  • Saptarṣis[9]
  • Story of Dhruva
  • Description of Tapoloka
  • Eulogy of Varaṇasi
  • Story of the deliverance of a devil

Avantikhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Story of the Mahākāla forest
  • A beautiful hymn of Śiva
  • The vratas[10] of Nāgapañcamī and Gaurī
  • Description of some more pilgrim centers
  • Story of the king Dundhumāra

Nāgarakhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Manifestation of Śiva as the Śivaliṅga
  • Story of the king Hariścandra
  • Viśvāmitra’s extraordinary feats including sending the king Triśañku to heaven
  • Greatness of Hāṭakeśvara on the bank of the Godāvarī
  • Other centres like Viṣṇupāda in Gayā, Gokarṇa, Vārāṇasī, Dvārakā, Avantī and Vṛndāban
  • Description of sacred rivers Gaṅgā, Narmadā and Sarasvatī

Prabhāsakhanda

It includes the following topics:

  • Several legends connected with some ancient personalities like:
  1. Someśa
  2. Viśveśa
  3. Siddheśvara
  4. Narakeśvara
  5. Sarivarteśa
  6. Nidhīśvara

References

  1. Samudramanthan means churning of milky ocean to get amṛta or nectar.
  2. Kumāra is Skanda or Saṇmukha or Kārttikeya or Subrahmaṇya.
  3. Varāhāvatāra means Boar-incarnation.
  4. It generally falls in October-November and January- February.
  5. Dāna means gifts.
  6. It is namaś-śivāya.
  7. It is a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Śiva.
  8. Pativratās means wives devoted to their husbands.
  9. Saptarṣis means the Seven Great Sages.
  10. Vratas means religious observances.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore