“The glory of the Gita”
by Shankaracharya | 1882 | 15,550 words
English translation of the Gita-mahatmya. This book represents a conversation between Shiva and his consort Srimati Parvati. It is Lord Shiva’s glorification of the Bhagavad-gita. Alternative spellings of this book include: Bhagavad-gītā-māhātmya (भगवद्गीतामाहात्म्य)...
Lord Shiva said, "My dear Parvati, now I will tell you the glories of the Seventh Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā — hearing which, one feels his ears have been filled with divine nectar.
Pataliputra is the name of a large town which has many large gates. In that town lived a brahmana of the name Shankukarna. He had taken to the occupation of a businessman and had amassed large wealth. But he had never performed any type of devotional activities, nor had he performed the necessary ritualistic performances for the sake of his forefathers. He became very rich, so much that even great kings would dine at his house. Shankukarna was also the most miserly of persons, and he kept his wealth buried under the ground.
Once, when that brahmana was going along with his children and other relatives for the purpose of his fourth marriage, they stopped at one place to rest for the night. While he was sleeping, a snake came and bit him. When his sons and relatives realized that a snake had bitten him, they called for the doctors and mantra-chanters. But no one was able to help Shankukarna, and shortly he died.
After that he attained the body of a Preta-Sarpa, a snake-ghost. The only thing he was able to think about was his wealth, which was buried close to the house where he had lived. He had not even informed his own family of the whereabouts of his wealth. In the form of a Preta-Sarpa he resided at the place where his wealth was buried, so that no one else could take that wealth. After some time he became tired of being trapped in the form of a Preta-Sarpa, and he appeared in dreams to his sons, requesting them to help him. In the morning, when his lazy sons woke up, they told each other about the dream they had seen. One of his sons took a large digging instrument in his hands and went to the place the father had indicated that he was living. When he reached that place he realized that he was not aware of the exact spot where the wealth was buried. That son was exceptionally greedy, and he searched for a long time, until he came across a snake-hole, which he promptly started to dig out.
Shortly a very large and fearful-looking snake came out of that hole and spoke the following, "Oh, fool, who are you? Why have you come here? Who has sent you? And why are you digging at this place? Reply to my questions at once."
The son replied, "I am your son. My name is Shiva. In a dream last night, I saw that there were hidden treasures buried at this place and I came to take them. When he heard Shiva speaking that way the Preta-Sarpa started to laugh and said, "If you are my son, then why are you not performing the necessary rituals to free me from this hellish situation? Due to greed in my last life, I attained this body and now you are heading the same way."
The son inquired, "My dear father, kindly tell me how you can be freed from this hellish situation." The Preta-Sarpa said, "Not by any kind of charity, tapasya or yajna, only by reciting of the Seventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā will I be able to become free from the wheel of birth and death. My dear son, kindly perform the shraddha ceremony and, on that day, invite a Brahmana who is in the habit of chanting the Seventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and feed him very sumptuously."
Thereafter, Shiva, along with his other brother, fulfilled the instructions of their father and while the Brahmana was chanting the Seventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, Sankukarna gave up that frightful body of a Preta-Sarpa and attained a divine four-armed body. At that time he blessed his sons, informed them where his wealth was and then left for Vaikuntha.
Those sons, whose minds had become fixed in devotion to Lord Krishna, used that wealth for building temples, digging wells and distributing foodstuffs. They all engaged daily in the recitation of the Seventh Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and very quickly they attained the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
Lord Shiva said, "My dear Parvati, I have told you the wonderful glories of the Seventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Anyone who hears this description will be freed from all sinful reactions."