Skanda Purana

Skanda Purana

Overview
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya (also called Skanda or Murugan), a son of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Parvati
Parvati
Parvati is a Hindu goddess. Parvati is Shakti, the wife of Shiva and the gentle aspect of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess...

. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him. This Mahapurana was recited by Sage Vyasa
Vyasa
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa , or Krishna Dvaipayana...

, and is available in distinct parts, sometimes fragmented too. It also describes the Shaiva tradition in Hemakuta region (near Vijayanagar
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

) of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, Kashi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 Khanda describes the Shaiva tradition of Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

, and the Utkala Khanda part states about Puruṣottamakṣetramāhātmya of Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

.


Traditionally, the whole corpus of texts, which are considered as part of the Skanda Purana is grouped in two ways.
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Encyclopedia
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya (also called Skanda or Murugan), a son of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Parvati
Parvati
Parvati is a Hindu goddess. Parvati is Shakti, the wife of Shiva and the gentle aspect of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess...

. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him. This Mahapurana was recited by Sage Vyasa
Vyasa
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa , or Krishna Dvaipayana...

, and is available in distinct parts, sometimes fragmented too. It also describes the Shaiva tradition in Hemakuta region (near Vijayanagar
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

) of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, Kashi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 Khanda describes the Shaiva tradition of Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

, and the Utkala Khanda part states about Puruṣottamakṣetramāhātmya of Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

.

The contents


Traditionally, the whole corpus of texts, which are considered as part of the Skanda Purana is grouped in two ways. According to a tradition, these are grouped in six s, each of which consists several s. According to another tradition, these are grouped in seven s. The presently available printed editions of this text are published by the Bangabasi Press, Calcutta, the Shri Venkateshvara Press, Bombay (1910) and the N.K. Press, Lucknow and all these editions consist seven s (parts): , or , Brahma, , , and . In 1999–2003, an English translation of this text was published by the Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi in 20 volumes. This translation is also based on a text divided into seven s.

The Khandas


The consists three sections: the (35 chapters), the or (66 chapters) and the or . The is further divided into two parts: (13 chapters) and (24 chapters). The or consists nine sections: (40 chapters), (49 chapters), (8 chapters), (36 chapters), 17 chapters), (4 chapters), (25 chapters), (10 chapters) and (32 chapters). The has three sections: (52 chapters), (40 chapters) and or (22 chapters). The is divided into two parts: (50 chapters) and (50 chapters). The consists (71 chapters), (84 chapters) and (232 chapters). The (279 chapters) consists and the (491 chapters) consists (365 chapters), (19 chapters), (63 chapters) and (44 chapters).

The Samhitas


The second type of division of the Skanda Purana is found in some texts like of the or the , of the , of the and of the . According to these texts, the Skanda Purana consists of six s (sections): the , the , the , the , the and the . The manuscripts of the , the , the and the are extant. A manuscript of a commentary on the by is also available.

The other texts


The manuscripts of several other texts which claim to be part of the Skanda Purana are found partially or wholly. Some of the notable texts amongst these are: which contains (30 chapters), , , , , , and .

The popular narratives


Some of the popular narratives described in the Skanda Purana are:
  • The yagna (sacrifice) of Prajapati Daksha
    Daksha
    In Hinduism, Daksha, "the skilled one", is an ancient creator god, one of the Prajapatis, the Rishis and the Adityas. Daksha is said to be the son of Aditi and Brahma...

  • The churning of ocean and the emergence of Amrita (Ambrosia)
  • The story of demon Tarakasura
  • The birth of Goddess Parvati and Her marriage to Lord Shiva
  • The Birth of Skanda (or Kartikeya)
  • The killing of demon Tarakasura by Skanda
  • The killing of Pralambasura
  • The queries of Karamdham
  • The killing of demons Shumbh, Nishimbh and Mahishasura
    Mahishasura
    In Hindu mythology, Mahishasura was an asura.Mahishasura's father Rambha was king of the asuras, and he once fell in love with a water buffalo ; Mahishasura was born out of this union...

  • An account of Vishnukund
  • The story of Padmavati
    Padmavati
    -Mythology:* Alamelu, aka Padmāvatī, Hindu goddess and consort of Sri Venkateshwara of Tirupati* Another name for the Hindu serpent goddess Manasa* Padmavati , Jain goddess-Given name:...

  • A description of various holy places associated with Shiva and Skanda
  • The story of Trishanku
    Trishanku
    Trishanku is the character in Hindu Itihasa. Trishanku is commonly referred to through the phrase "Trishanku's heaven". The phrase describes a middleground or a compromise between ones goals or desires and one's current state or possessions....

     and sage Vishvamitra
  • A description of Narakas (Hell)
  • A description of Jyotirlingas – the important holy shrines associated with Lord Shiva.

  • A description of Navadurgas

Further reading

  • Mani, Vettam. Puranic Encyclopedia. 1st English ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975.

External links