Skanda Purana

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Skanda Purana

Skanda Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas and the biggest of them all. It is available in two forms, the first having seven khandas and the second divided into six samhitas. The former has been fully available in print whereas only the first three of the latter are available.

The number of slokas in the various editions varies from 81,000 up to 100,000.

The printed edition of the former contains 81,000 verses spread over 1671 chapters.

1) Mahesvarakhanda

Introduction; greatness Skanda; story of Daksayajna and its destruction; fruits of worshipping the Sivalinga; story of Devendra; Samudramathana (churning of milky ocean to get amrta or nectar); story of Parvati and her marriage to Siva; birth of Kumara (Skanda or Sanmukha or Karttikeya or Subrahmanya); Kumara's fighting with Tarakasura and killing him; greatness of Vasudeva; story of the Pandavas; descriptions of several places of pilgrimage.

2) Vaisnavakhanda

Story of Varahavatara (Boar-incarnation) rescuing Bhudevi or Mother Earth; story of Kamala and Srinivasa or Venkatesa; legends of Bharadvaja and Markandeya; greatness (eulogy) of Purusottama of Puri; Ambarisa's episode; other episodes such as those of Indradyumna, Jaimini, Narada, and Nilakantha; description of Narasimha; passage to Brahmaloka; details concerning the rathayatra of Jagannatha of Puri; story of Daksinamurti; Dasavataras; greatness of Badari (place of pilgrimage); about some rituals and the method of observing ekadasi; importance of Bhagavata; sacredness of the months Karttika and Magha (October-November and January-February).

3) Brahmakhanda

This khanda deals mainly with the following places of pilgrimage: Setu (Dhanuskoti); Chakratirtha (near Ramesvara); Brahmakunda (near Gaya); Ramatirtha (near Gaya); Laksmitirtha (on the banks of Godavari river); Sankhatirtha (in Kururksetra).

Greatness of Ramanatha Siva of Ramesvaram; philosophical principles; method of going on a pilgrimage; on the four varnas and asramas: on temples; dharma as described in the smrtis; eulogy of dana (gifts); duties of a vaisnava.

Greatness of Siva and his panchaksari mantra (namas-sivaya); sacredness of Gokarna (place of pilgrimage dedicated to Siva) and the Sivaratri festival; on the rudraksi beads.

4) Kasikhanda

Stories of pativratas (wives devoted to their husbands); the Saptarisis (the Seven Great Sages); story of Dhruva; description of Tapoloka; eulogy of Varanasi; story of the deliverance of a devil.

5) Avantikhanda

Story of the Mahakala forest; a beautiful hymn of Siva; the vratas (religious observances) of Naga Pancami and Gauri; description of some more pilgrim centres; story of the king Dundhumara.

6) Nagarakhanda

Manifestation of Siva as the Siva Linga; story of the king Harischandra; Visvamitra's extraordinary feats including sending the king Trisanku to heaven; greatness of Hatakesvara (on the bank of the Godavari); other centres like Visnupada (Gaya), Gokarna, Varanasi, Dwarka, Avanti and Vrindavan; description of sacred rivers Ganga, Narmada and Sarasvati.

7) Prabhasakhanda

Several legends connected with some ancient personalities like Somesa, Visvesa, Siddhesvara, Narakesvara, Samvartesa and Nidhisvara.