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Chapter 228

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Markandeya continued, ‘Skanda was adorned with a golden amulet andwreath, and wore a crest and a crown of gold; his eyes weregolden-coloured, and he had a set of sharp teeth; he was dressed in a redgarment and looked very handsome; he had a comely appearance, and wasendowed with all good characteristics and was the favourite of the threeworlds. He granted boons (to people who sought them) and was brave,youthful, and adorned with bright ear-rings. Whilst he was reposinghimself, the goddess of fortune, looking like a lotus and assuming apersonal embodiment, rendered her allegiance to him. When he became thuspossessed of good fortune, that famous and delicate-looking creatureappeared to all like the moon at its full. And high-minded Brahmanasworshipped that mighty being, and the Maharshis (great rishis) then saidas follows to Skanda, ‘O thou born of the golden egg, mayst thou beprosperous and mayst thou become an instrument of good to the universe! Obest of the gods, although thou wast born only six nights (days) ago, thewhole world has owned allegiance to thee (within this short time), andthou hast also allayed their fears. Therefore do thou become the Indra(lord) of the three worlds and remove their cause of apprehension.’Skanda replied, ‘You gentlemen of great ascetic wealth (tell me) whatIndra does with all three worlds and how that sovereign of the celestialsprotects the hosts of gods unremittingly.’ The Rishis replied, ‘Indra isthe giver of strength, power, children and happiness to all creatures andwhen propitiated, that Lord of the celestials bestows on all the objectsof their desire. He destroys the wicked and fulfils the desires of therighteous; and that Destroyer of Vala assigns to all creatures theirvarious duties. He officiates for the sun and the moon in places wherethere is no sun or moon; he even when occasion requires it, acts for(serves the purposes of) fire, air, earth, and water. These are theduties of Indra; his capacities are immense. Thou too art mighty;therefore great hero, do thou become our Indra.’

Sakra said, ‘O mighty being, do thou make us happy, by becoming our lord.Excellent being, thou art worthy of the honour; therefore shall we anointthee this very day.’

Skanda replied, ‘Do thou continue to rule the three worlds withself-possession, and with thy heart bent on conquest. I shall remain thyhumble servant. I covet not thy sovereignty.’

Sakra replied, ‘Thy prowess is unrivalled, O hero, do thou thereforevanquish the enemies of the gods. People have been struck with wonder atthy prowess. More specially as I have been bereft of my prowess, anddefeated by thee, now if I were to act as Indra, I should not command therespect of all creatures, and they would be busy in bringing aboutdissensions between us; and then, my lord, they would become thepartisans of one or other of us. And when they formed themselves into twodistinct factions, war as before would be the result of that defection.And in that war, thou wouldst undoubtedly defeat me without difficultyand thyself become the lord of all worlds.’

Skanda replied, ‘Thou, O Sakra, art my sovereign, as also of the threeworlds; mayst thou be prosperous! Tell me if I can obey any commands ofthine.’

Indra replied, ‘At thy bidding, O powerful being, I shall continue to actas Indra. And if thou hast said this deliberately and in earnest, thenhear me how thou canst gratify thy desire of serving me. Do thou, Omighty being, take the leadership of the celestial forces accordingly.’

Skanda replied, ‘Do thou anoint me as leader, for the destruction of theDanavas, for the good of the celestials, and for the well-being of cowsand Brahmanas.’

Markandeya continued, “Thus anointed by Indra and all other gods, andhonoured by the Maharshis, he looked grand at the moment. The goldenumbrella[77] held (over his head) looked like a halo of blazing fire.That famous god, the Conqueror of Tripura, himself fastened the celestialwreath of gold, of Viswakarma’s manufacture, round his neck. And, O greatman and conqueror of thine enemies, that worshipful god with the emblemof the bull, had gone there previously with Parvati. He honoured him witha joyous heart. The Fire-god is called Rudra by Brahmanas, and from thisfact Skanda is called the son of Rudra. The White Mountain was formedfrom discharges of Rudra’s semen virile and the sensual indulgences ofthe Fire-god with the Krittikas took place on that same White Mountain.And as Rudra was seen by all the dwellers of heaven to heap honours onthe excellent Guha (Skanda), he was for that reason reputed as the son ofRudra. This child had his being by the action of Rudra entering into theconstitution of the Fire-god, and for this reason, Skanda came to beknown as the son of Rudra. And, O Bharata, as Rudra, the Fire-god, Swaha,and the six wives (of the seven Rishis) were instrumental to the birth ofthe great god Skanda, he was for that reason reputed as the son of Rudra.

“That son of Fire-god was clad in a pair of clean red cloths, and thus helooked grand and resplendent like the Sun peeping forth from behind amass of red clouds. And the red cock given to him by the Fire-god, formedhis ensign; and when perched on the top of his chariot, it looked likethe image of the all-destroying fire. And the presiding deity of thepower which conduces to the victory of the god, and which is the directorof the exertions of all creatures, and constitutes their glory, prop andrefuge, advanced before him. And a mysterious charm entered into hisconstitution the charm which manifests its powers on the battlefield.Beauty, strength, piety, power, might, truthfulness, rectitude, devotionto Brahmanas, freedom from illusion or perplexity, protection offollowers, destruction of foes, and care of all creatures,–these, O lordof men, are the inborn virtues of Skanda. Thus anointed by all the gods,he looked pleased and complacent; and dressed in his best style, helooked beautiful like the moon at its full. The much-esteemed incantationof Vedic hymns, the music of the celestial band, and the songs of godsand Gandharvas then rang on all sides. And surrounded by all thewell-dressed Apsaras, and many other gay and happy-looking Pisachas andhosts of gods, that anointed (by gods) son of Pavaka disported himself inall his grandeur. To the dwellers of heaven, the anointed Mahasena,appeared like the Sun rising after extinction of darkness. And then thecelestial forces looking upon him as their leader, surrounded him on allsides in thousands. That adorable being followed by all creatures thenassumed their commands, and praised and honoured by them, he encouragedthem in return.

“The Performer of a thousand sacrifices then thought of Devasena, whom hehas rescued before. And considering that this being (Skanda) wasundoubtedly destined to be the husband of this lady by Brahma himself, hehad her brought there, dressed her with the best apparel. And thevanquisher of Vala then said to Skanda, ‘O foremost of gods, this ladywas, even before thy birth, destined to be thy bride by thatSelf-existent Being.[78] Therefore do thou duly accept her lotus-likebeautiful right hand with invocation of the (marital) hymns.’ Thus told,he duly married her. And Vrihaspati learned in hymns performed thenecessary prayers and oblations. She who is called Shashthi, Lakshmi,Asa, Sukhaprada, Sinivali, Kuhu, Saivritti, and Aparajita, is known amongmen as Devasena, the wife of Skanda. When Skanda became united toDevasena in indissoluble bonds of matrimony, then the gods of prosperityin her own personal embodiment began to serve him with diligence. AsSkanda attained celebrity on the fifth lunar day, that day is calledSripanchami (or the auspicious fifth day) and as he attained his objecton the sixth, that lunar day is considered to be of great moment.”

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