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Puṣkara
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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
The town of Puṣkara situated at a distance of 12 kms. (about 7 1/2 miles) to the west of Ajmer in Rajasthan and on the bank of the lake of the same name, has the unique distinction of possessing
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a good temple—the only one in the whole of India—dedicated to Brahmā, the creator.
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The town of Puṣkara situated at a distance of 12 kms.<ref>It is about 7 1/2 miles.</ref> to the west of Ajmer in Rajasthan and on the bank of the lake with the same name which has the unique distinction of possessing a good temple, the only one in the whole of India, dedicated to [[Brahmā]], the creator. The greatness of Puṣkara as an excellent place of pilgrimage has been extolled in many [[purāṇas]] and the epics.<ref>Mahā[[bhārata]], Vanaparva 80.20, 21</ref><ref>[[Padmapurāṇa]], Ādikhanda 11.34, 35</ref>
The greatness of Puṣkara as an excellent place of pilgrimage has been extolled in many purāṇas as also the epics {vide Mahābhārata, Vanaparva 80.20, 21); Padmapurāna, Ādikhanda 11.34, 35).
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Once while Brahmā, the creator, was moving in a forest with a lotus in his hand, he found a rākṣasa (demon), Vajranābha by name, whom he killed with
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==Mythological Legend Behind Puṣkara==
his lotus, after converting it into a formidable weapon through mantras or sacred chants. Hence that place—the
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Once while [[Brahmā]], the creator, was moving in a forest with a lotus in his hand, he found a rākṣ[[asa]],<ref>Rākṣasa means demon.</ref> named Vajranābha, whom he killed with his lotus, after converting it into a formidable weapon through mantras or sacred chants. Hence the present Puṣkara came to be known as Puṣkara.<ref>It also means lotus.</ref> The same legend says that the lotus in his hand rebounded at three places before killing the demon. All these three places became lakes, respectively known as Jyeṣṭha-puṣkara, Madhya-puṣkara and Kaniṣṭha-puṣkara. The presiding [[deities]] of these three are Brahmā, [[Viṣṇu]] and Rudra.
Generally, Bhṅdevī (the earth) and Srīdevī (Lakṣmi, the goddess of wealth) are projected as the two consorts of Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa whereas here Bhu has been replaced by Hri. Hri is the goddess of modesty. It is to impress upon us, perhaps, that wealth, beauty and other embellishments, if not controlled or tem¬pered by hrī or modesty, will lead to disaster, that these two have been stated together.
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The Sttkta concludes with a prayer to the Puruṣa to give the supplicant all objects of pleasure and happiness, here and hereafter, as also the knowledge of the Self.
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==Festival Celebrated at Puṣkara==
Finis
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At the Jyeṣṭa-puṣkara, Brahmā is said to have performed a yajña or a sacrifice. Hence animals are not allowed to be killed in this area. The greatest festival of Puṣkara is held on the Kārttika Purṇimā day, generally in November. Lakhs of pilgrims gather here on that day to take bath in the main lake and [[worship]] Brahmā.
To sum up, the Purusasukta gives us in a capsule form, the philosophy of not only the Vedas and the Vedānta, but also of the Bhagavadgītā, giving equal impor¬tance to upāsanā (meditation), jñāna (knowledge), bhakti (devotion) and dharma or karma (rituals and performance of one’s duties). No wonder then that it is highly venerated and extensively used even today in all our religious observances.
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==Brahmā Temple of Puṣkara==
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The main temple is that of the four-faced Brahmā, the creator. It is situated very near the main lake. The image of Brahmā is in the center and the images of his two spouses, Sāvitrī and Gāyatri, are on his right and left sides. The temple has the images of the four sages:
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# Sanaka
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# Sanandana
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# Sanatkumāra
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# Sanatsujāta
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==Other Temples==
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The other [[temples]] in Puṣkara are those of Nārada,<ref>Nārada means the divine sage.</ref> [[Badarī]]-Nārāyaṇa, Varāha, [[Śiva]]<ref>[[Śiva]] is also known as Ātmeśvara-[[Mahādeva]].</ref> Ramā-Vaikuṇṭha or Śri Raṅgaji, Venugopāla and Sri [[Rāma]]. Other important places of pilgrimage are the Yajñaparvata, the hermitage of [[Agastya]], and five kuṇḍas<ref>Kuṇḍas means the small ponds.</ref> of which the Nāgakuṇda appears to be more well-known. Going around the whole place called as parikramā, has been considered as a holy act. Some pilgrims undertake that arduous task in which they have to walk from 10 to 77 kms.,<ref>It is approximately 6 to 48 miles.</ref> depending on the type they choose. There is a river [[Sarasvatī]] here that flows into five streams.
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
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* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram [[Krishna]] Math,
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Bangalore
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[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]

Latest revision as of 01:08, 18 December 2016

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Puskara, PuSkara, Pushkara


The town of Puṣkara situated at a distance of 12 kms.[1] to the west of Ajmer in Rajasthan and on the bank of the lake with the same name which has the unique distinction of possessing a good temple, the only one in the whole of India, dedicated to Brahmā, the creator. The greatness of Puṣkara as an excellent place of pilgrimage has been extolled in many purāṇas and the epics.[2][3]

Mythological Legend Behind Puṣkara

Once while Brahmā, the creator, was moving in a forest with a lotus in his hand, he found a rākṣasa,[4] named Vajranābha, whom he killed with his lotus, after converting it into a formidable weapon through mantras or sacred chants. Hence the present Puṣkara came to be known as Puṣkara.[5] The same legend says that the lotus in his hand rebounded at three places before killing the demon. All these three places became lakes, respectively known as Jyeṣṭha-puṣkara, Madhya-puṣkara and Kaniṣṭha-puṣkara. The presiding deities of these three are Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.

Festival Celebrated at Puṣkara

At the Jyeṣṭa-puṣkara, Brahmā is said to have performed a yajña or a sacrifice. Hence animals are not allowed to be killed in this area. The greatest festival of Puṣkara is held on the Kārttika Purṇimā day, generally in November. Lakhs of pilgrims gather here on that day to take bath in the main lake and worship Brahmā.

Brahmā Temple of Puṣkara

The main temple is that of the four-faced Brahmā, the creator. It is situated very near the main lake. The image of Brahmā is in the center and the images of his two spouses, Sāvitrī and Gāyatri, are on his right and left sides. The temple has the images of the four sages:

  1. Sanaka
  2. Sanandana
  3. Sanatkumāra
  4. Sanatsujāta

Other Temples

The other temples in Puṣkara are those of Nārada,[6] Badarī-Nārāyaṇa, Varāha, Śiva[7] Ramā-Vaikuṇṭha or Śri Raṅgaji, Venugopāla and Sri Rāma. Other important places of pilgrimage are the Yajñaparvata, the hermitage of Agastya, and five kuṇḍas[8] of which the Nāgakuṇda appears to be more well-known. Going around the whole place called as parikramā, has been considered as a holy act. Some pilgrims undertake that arduous task in which they have to walk from 10 to 77 kms.,[9] depending on the type they choose. There is a river Sarasvatī here that flows into five streams.


References

  1. It is about 7 1/2 miles.
  2. Mahābhārata, Vanaparva 80.20, 21
  3. Padmapurāṇa, Ādikhanda 11.34, 35
  4. Rākṣasa means demon.
  5. It also means lotus.
  6. Nārada means the divine sage.
  7. Śiva is also known as Ātmeśvara-Mahādeva.
  8. Kuṇḍas means the small ponds.
  9. It is approximately 6 to 48 miles.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math,

Bangalore