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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Puranas > Skanda Purana > Introduction

SKANDA PURANA

By Shrila Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa
Told by Purnapragya Dasa
Published by Rasbiharilal and Sons, Loi Bazaar, Vrindavan

 

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INTRODUCTION

 

The Skanda Purana is one of the eighteen major Puranas, as stated in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.7.23-24):The eighteen major Puranas are the Brahma, Padma, Visnu, Siva, Lihga, Garuda, Narada, Bhagavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavisya, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas.Of all the Puranas, the Skanda Purana is by far the largest, as explained in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.4-9): "The Brahma Purana consists of ten thousand verses, the Padma Purana of fifty-five thousand, Sri Visnu Purana of twenty-three thousand, the Siva Purana of twentyfour thousand and Srlmad-Bhagavatam of eighteen thousand. The Narada Purana has twenty-five thousand verses, the Markandeya Purana nine thousand,the Agni Purana fifteen thousand four hundred,the Bhavisya Purana fourteen thousand five hundred, the Brahma-vaivarta Purana eighteen thousand and the Liriga Purana eleven thousand. The Varaha Purana contains twenty-four thousand verses, the Skanda Purana eighty-one thousand one hundred, the Vamana Purana ten thousand, the Kurma Purana seventeen thousand, the Matsya Purana fourteen thousand, the Garuda Purana nineteen thousand and the Brahmanda Purana twelve thousand. Thus the total number of verses in all the Puranas is four hundred thousand. Eighteen thousand of these, once again, belong to the beautiful Bhagavatam.

Shrila Prabhupada frequently explained that, of the eighteen Puranas, six are meant for those in the mode of ignorance, six are meant for those in the mode of passion, and six are meant for those in the mode of ignorance.In a Bhagavad-gita lecture, Shrila Prabhupada once said,I here are eighteen Puranas. Men are conducted by three qualities:the modes of goodness, modes of passion and modes of ignorance.To reclaim all these conditioned souls in different varieties of life, there are presentation of the Puranas. Six Puranas are meant for those who are in the modes of goodness. And six Puranas are meant for the persons who are in the modes of passion. And six Puranas are for those who are in the modes of ignorance. This Padma Purana is meant for the persons who are in the modes of goodness. In Vedic rituals, you find so many differences of ritualistic performances. It is due to different kinds of men. Just like you have heard that in the Vedic literature there is a ritualistic ceremony of offering goat sacrifice in the presence of goddess Kali. But this Purana, the Markandeya Purana, is meant for persons in the modes of ignorance.

 

As far as I know, Shrila Prabhupada never mentioned for which people the Skanda Purana was written. In the Garuda Purana, which is meant for those in the mode of goodness, it is said that those Puranas compiled for persons in passion and ignorance contain some sections beneficial for those in the mode of goodness.These sections can be enjoyed by persons cultivating the mode of goodness, while leaving aside the rest.The Skanda Purana principally deals with glorification of Lord Shiva and holy places of pilgrimage associated with him. For this reason, I tend to think that this Purana is principally meant for those in the mode of ignorance.In the Krishna Book, in the chapter entitled, The Deliverance of Lord Shiva, Shrila Prabhupada wrote: Vrkasura was searching after a benediction and trying to decide which of the three presiding deities to worship in order to get it. In the meantime he happened to meet the great sage Narada and consulted with him as to whom he should approach to achieve quick results from his austerity.He inquired, "Of the three deities, namely Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu and Lord Siva, who is most quickly satisfied?Narada could understand the plan of the demon, and he advised him, "You had better worship Lord Siva; then you will quickly get the desired result. Lord Siva is very quickly satisfied and very quickly dissatisfied also. So you try to satisfy Lord Siva.Narada also cited instances wherein demons like Ravana and Banasura were enriched with great opulences simply by satisfying Lord Siva with prayers. Because the great sage Narada was aware of the nature of the demon Vrkasura, he did not advise him to approach Visnu or Lord Brahma. Persons such as Vrkasura, who are situated in the material mode of ignorance, cannot stick to the worship of Visnu.Still, there are very interesting sections of the Skanda Purana, such as those that describe the glories of Jagannatha Puri and Vyenkata Hill. And, as in all the Puranas, there are numerous stories that clearly illustrate that piety is the root of happiness and sin is the root of misery. Also, as in all the Puranas, there are innumerable short statements that are veritable gems of wisdom.The great acharyas, including Shrila Prabhupada, frequently quoted important verses from the Skanda Purana. In a purport to Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.36), Shrila Prabhupada wrote: Srlla Jiva GosvamI also quotes another common passage, which is found in three Puranas, namely the Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Linga Purana. It runs as follows:

 

 

alodya sarva-sastrani

vicarya ca punah punah

idam ekam sunispannam

dhyeyo narayanah sada

 

 

By scrutinizingly reviewing all the revealed scriptures and judging them again and again, it is now concluded that Lord Narayana is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and thus He alone should be worshiped.

Every day, in all ISKCON temples, a verse is chanted that is described by Shrila Prabhupada in a purport to Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya 16.96):The remnants of Krsna's food are mixed with His saliva. In the Mahabharata and the Skanda Purana it is stated:mahd-prasade govinde ndma-brahmani vaisnave sv-alpa-punyavatdrh rdjan visvdso naiva jdyate "Persons who are not very highly elevated in pious activities cannot believe in the remnants of food [prasadam] of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor in Govinda, the holy name of the Lord, nor in the Vaisnavas.As with my summaries of three other Puranas, the Padma Purnana, Narada Purana, and Garuda Purana, it is my hope that you, the reader, will find many hours of entertainment and enlightenment provided by the interesting stories and words of wisdom found therein.