“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 please listen to the glories of the Eighth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. After listening to this, you will feel great joy.
In the South is an important town of the name Amardhakapur in which one brahmana of the name Bhavasharma lived, who had taken a prostitute as his wife. Bhavasharma enjoyed eating meat, drinking wine, stealing, going with other's wives and hunting. One day, that sinful Bhavasharma was invited to a party, where he drank so much alcohol that it started to come out of his mouth. After the party, he became very sick and suffered from chronic dysentery. After many days of suffering he died and attained the body of a date-palm-tree.
One day, two brahma-rakshasas (ghosts) came and took shelter under that tree. Their previous life-story was as follows:
There was a brahmana by the name of Kushibal, who was very learned in the Vedas and had studied all branches of knowledge. His wife's name was Kumati, who was very evil-minded. Although that brahmana was very learned, he was also very greedy. Along with his wife, he used to collect lots of charity everyday, but he would never give charity to any other Brahmana, When their time came to die, they both attained the forms of brahma-rakshasas. As brahma-rakshasas, they continuously wandered here and there over the earth suffering from hunger and thirst.
One day they rested under that date-palm-tree. At that time, the wife inquired from the husband "How can we get free from this curse of being brahma-rakshasas?" He replied, "By knowledge of Brahma, by knowledge of the Self, by knowledge of fruitive activities. Without such knowledge it is not possible to get free from our sinful reactions." Upon hearing this, the wife inquired, "O my lord, what is Brahma, what is the Self? What are fruitive activities? (kiṃ tad-brahma kim adhyātmaṃ kiṃ karma puruṣottama)" Completely by accident, the wife happened to chant half of the first shloka of the Eighth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. At that time, having heard that half-shloka, Bhavasharma broke free from that form as a tree, and again attained a body of a brahmana, completely free from all sin. Suddenly from the sky came a flower-airplane, which took that husband and wife back home, back to Godhead, Vaikuntha.
Afterwards, that Brahmana, Bhavasharma, with great respect, wrote down that half-shloka (kiṃ tad-brahma kim adhyātmaṃ kiṃ karma puruṣottama) and, with the intention of worshipping Lord Krishna, he went to Kashipuri and started performing great austerities, while continuously chanting that half-shloka.
Meanwhile, in Vaikuntha, seeing Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi had risen from taking rest and with folded hands inquired: "Why have You risen so suddenly from Your sleep?" Lord Vishnu said, "My dear Lakshmi, in Kashipuri on the bank of the river Ganges, my devotee is performing great austerities, continuously chanting half a shloka of the Eighth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. For a long time I have been thinking how to reward his devotion."
Parvati inquired from Lord Shiva: "When Lord Vishnu was so pleased with His devotee, what benediction did He bestow upon him?"
Lord Shiva said, "Bhavasharma went to Vaikuntha, to engage in the eternal service of the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. Not only that, but all of his ancestors also attained the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.
My dear Parvati, I have described to you just a little of the glories of the Eighth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.