Essence Of Skanda Purana


Kashi Mahatmya- Pride of Vindhyachal suppressed by Sage Agastya

‘Bhoomishthapi na yatra Bhoomnidivatopuschairathah sthaapiya,
ya badhhava Bhuvi Muktida syuramrutam Yasyam mrita Jantavah/
Ya nityam trijagat pavitra thatini Theero Suraih Sevyathe,
Saa Kashi Tripurari raja nagari Paayadpaayaajjagat’

(Even situated on Earth it is disconnected with it and even connected with the Upper Lokas it is situated in the lower Lokas, the City of Kasi provides salvation to all the Lokas even while it is set up in the ‘Panchabhoutika’Bhu Loka, whose dead persons attain divinity since Kasi Nagar is Maha Deva’s Capital, where Sacred Ganga flows always).
Sage Narada incited ‘Vindhyachala’ comparing it with Maha Meru and the latter grew his size to surpass the height of Meru Parvata. As a result, the course of Surya Deva was obstructed and one half of the Universe became dark and the other half became too hot to live in. All the Deities made an appeal to Lord Brahma who suggested that they should all approach Sage Agastya who could only control the situation. When the Devas approached the Sage, he was upset and sad but had no recourse to defy Lord Brahma’s command; along with his wife Lopamudra, an illustrious ‘Pativrata’ dedicated fully to her husband, the Sage had to leave Kashi which was very dear to both of them and knew fully well they would not return in their life time. The Sage took leave of Parama Siva Visweswara, Devi Annapurna, Devi Visalakshi and Kaalabhairava and also of Devi Ganga for his last dip at Kasi. The Couple experienced such grief of parting Kasi as a child would cry parting with the parents. As soon as Sage Agastya arrived, Vindhyachal was frightened that the Sage could as well obliterate his very existence as he was aware of his unpardonable mistake having upset the whole Universe. As such, Vidhyachal had taken the first command of the Sage and became diminutive in size and the course of Surya Deva got restored at once. Agastya asked Vindhyachal to be in that form till he returned back to the same Place. Subsequently, the Couple travelled Southwards of Vindhya on the banks of River Godavari and reached Kolhapuri and secured the ‘Darshan’ of Maha Lakshmi. The Sage extolled Devi Lakshmi as follows:
Matarnamaami Kamale Kamalayathakshi,
Shri Vishnu hritkamala vaasini Viswa maathah/
Ksheerodaje Kamalakomala garbha Gauri,
Lakshmi Praseeda satatam namathaam Sharanye/
Twam Sri Rupendra sadaney Madanaika maatha-
Jyothistraasi Chandramasi Chandramanoharaasye/
Surye Prabhasi cha Jagathrithaye Prabhaasi
Lakshmi Praseeda Satatham Namathaam Sharanye/
Twam Jaathavedasi Sadaa Dahanaatma Shakti-
Vedhastvayaa Jagadinda Vividham Vidhatyat/
 Vishambharopi Bibhrudaakhilam Bhavatya,
Lakshmi Praseeda Satatam Namathaam Sharanye/
Twaktyakthamyetadamaley Harathey Haropi,
Twam Paasi Hamsi Vidadhasi Paravaraasi/
Eedhyo babhuva harirapamaley Twadaaptya
Lakshmi Praseeda Satataam Namataam  Sharanye/
Surah sa eva sa Gunii sa Dhanyo, Maanyah sa eva Kula sheela kalaakalaapih/
Ekam Shuchih sa hi pumaan Sakalopi Loke, Yatrapoktava Shubhey Karunaa kataakshah/
Yasmivaseh Khanamaho Purushey Gajesvey,
Strainey Thruney Sarasi Devakuley Gruhenney/
Ratney Patatrini  Pashaou Dharaayaam/
Susreekameva Sakaley Thadihasthinanyat/
Twaktspushtameva Sakalam Shuchitaam lameta,
 Twaktameva Sakalam Twashuchih Lakshmi/
Twannama Yatra cha Sumangaleva tatra,
 Sri Vishnu Patni Kamaley Kamalalayopi/
Lakshmi Shriyam cha Kalaam Kamalaalayam cha,
Padma Ramaam Nalina Yugma karaam cha Maam cha/
Ksheerodaja amamrita kumbhakarimiraam cha,
Vishnupriyamiti Sadaa Japataam kka duhkkam/

( My greetings to You Mother! You have the broad Eyes of a Lotus; the Resider of Lord Vishnu’s own Heart and the Supreme Mother of the entire Universe with a delicate belly like the softness of a Lotus leaf; I seek protection from You for Your Kindness always. You are the Mother of Madana and are memorable with the name of Sri in Vaikuntha.You possess the coolness of Chandra, the splendour of Surya and the blistering heat of Agni; You share the reponsibility of Brahma for Creation, Vishnu for Preservation and Rudra for destruction of the Universe or in short the Karya-Karana Swarupa of the Whole World; You are the Unique Shuura Veera, Gunavaan, Vidwaan, Dhanya, Maanya, Kuleen, Sheelavaan, and the epitome of all ‘Kalaas’ or features of the World and of Piety and Purity. Even a split second gaze of Yours would bless the Beings, be it a human being, elephant, horse, Eunuch, Water body, Deva Mandir, Home, Anna (Food), Jewellery, Animals and Birds, Earth and any thing in short. When a light touch of Yours is blessed to a being, it becomes Live and Pure and the converse too is true. You are the Emblem of Propitiousness, Prosperity and Success. Every one is ready and too happy when Your any name is pronounced as Lakshmi, Shri, Kamala, Kamalaalaya, Padma, Ramaa, Nalinayugmakara, Maa, Kseerodaja, Amritakumbhikara, Era or Vishnu Priya). Sri Laksmi was pleased with Sage Agastya at his sincere and heartfelt eulogy and blessed the couple with Her appearance; She stated that since She knew as to what was tormenting the Sage, he would certainly return to Kashi during the next twenty ninth Dwapara Yuga as Veda Vyasa and take up the Sacred Task of annotating Vedas and scripting ‘Ashtaadasa Puranaas’ and gain immorality through his glorious Works!
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