By Swami Harshananda
Prabhāsa literally means ‘a place that shines brilliantly’.
Prabhāsa, also known as Prabhāsa Paṭṭaṇa, is an ancient and famous place of pilgrimage containing the renowned Somnāth Temple. It is situated in the Kathewar region of Gujarat State in the western India. During the days of the Mahābhārata, it was a well-known and flourishing city. The Pāṇḍavas had visited this place of pilgrimage, since it was at the confluence of the three holy rivers Hiraṇyā, Kapilā and Sarasvatī which joined the sea here. Arjuna, the famous Pāṇḍava hero, abducted Subhadrā with his help. On this place, the Yādava race exterminated itself by infighting after which Balarāma and Śrī Kṛṣṇa gave up their bodies.
There is a small temple, built in the recent years maybe on the ruins of an old one at the spot where Śrī Kṛṣṇa is said to have given up his physical body. There are a few other temples here dedicated to Mahākāla, Gaṇeśa and Balarāma. Purāṇas like the Skānda extol its greatness in hyperbolic terms. For instance:
- Candra was cured of his disease of consumption at this place.
- The alligators in the sea here are harmless.
- The liṅga in the Somnāth Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirliṅgas
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore