Puṣkara

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Puskara, PuSkara, Pushkara


Puṣkara

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

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 as also the epics (ivide Mahābhārata, Vanaparva 80.20, 21); Padmapurāna, Ādikhanda 11.34, 35).

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

his lotus, after converting it into a formidable weapon through mantras or sacred chants. Hence that place—the

present Puṣkara—came to be known as Puṣkara (= lotus).

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.

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.

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 centre and the images of his two spouses—Sāvitrī and Gāyatrī—are on his right and left sides. The temple has the images of the four sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumāra and Sanatsujāta also.

The other temples in Puṣkara are those of Nārada (the divine sage), Badarī-Nārāyaṇa, Varāha, Siva (known as Ātmeśvara-Mahādeva), Ramā-Vaikuṇṭha or Śri Raṅgaji, Venugopāla and Sri Rāma.

Other important places of pilgrimage are the Yajñaparvata, the hermitage of Agastya, and five kuṇḍas (small ponds) of which the Nāgakuṇda appears to be more well-known.

Going round the whole place (called parikrama) has been considered as a holy act. Some pilgrims undertake that arduous task in which they have to walk from

10 to 77 kms. (6 to 48 miles), depending on the type they choose.

There is a river Sarasvatī here that flows in five streams.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Puṣkara 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 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 as also the epics {vide Mahābhārata, Vanaparva 80.20, 21); Padmapurāna, Ādikhanda 11.34, 35). 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 his lotus, after converting it into a formidable weapon through mantras or sacred chants. Hence that place—the 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. 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. Finis 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.