“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 relate to you the glories of the Ninth Chanter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.
There was a town of the name Mahismati on the bank of the Narmada River, where a brahmana of the name Madhava lived. That brahmana very strictly followed all the injunctions of the Vedas and possessed all the good qualities of the brahminical class. Due to his being so learned, he would receive a lot of charity. With his accumulated wealth he started to perform a great fire-sacrifice. For offering in sacrifice, one goat was bought, and when they started to cleanse that goat in preparation for its sacrifice, to everyone's great surprise the goat started to laugh and in a loud voice said; "O brahmana, what is the benefit of performing so many fire-sacrifices that simply bind us up in the wheel of birth and death? Just see my position due to my performing so many fire-sacrifices."
When everyone gathered there heard the words of the goat, they became curious, and that brahmana inquired with folded hands, "How did you become a goat? In your previous life, which caste did you belong to, and what activities did you perform?" The goat replied, "O brahmana, in my previous birth I was born in a very pure brahmana family and I very carefully performed all the ritualistic activities enjoined in the Vedas.
One day my wife wished to worship Durga so that our child might be cured of his disease. For this purpose she requested me to bring a goat. When we sacrificed the goat at the temple of goddess Durga, the goat cursed me: "O sinful one, lowest of all, you wish to make my children fatherless. For this reason you will also take birth as a goat." O Madhava, when the time for my death came, I attained this body of a goat, but by the grace of Lord Govinda I can remember my previous births. If you wish to hear one other interesting story then I will tell you.
In the place known as Kurukshetra, which is capable of giving liberation, there once lived a king of the name Chandrasharma, who was in the dynasty of the sun-god. Once, at the time of a solar eclipse, the king wished to give charity to a brahmana. Included in that charity was a Sudra, whose body was completely black. After going with his priest and taking bath in the sacred lake, putting on clean cloth and applying sandalwood, he returned to his place. With devotion he gave charity to a qualified Brahmana. After he had presented the charity, all of a sudden from that black Sudras's heart, a very sinful chandala (dog-eater) appeared and, after a little while, a female chandala appeared from that black sudra's body, and together they went close to the brahmana. All of a sudden they entered into the body of the brahmana.
That brahmana remained undisturbed and started to chant the Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā while remembering Lord Govinda. The king, witnessing all these activities, was stunned, unable to say anything. As soon as the words of the Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā came onto the lips of that brahmana, the Vishnudutas appeared there and chased away those two chandalas. At that time the king inquired from the brahmana, "O learned one, who were those two persons and which mantra did you chant? Which deity did you remember?"
The brahmana replied, "Taking the form of a chandala, sin personified appeared, along with offense personified in the form of that female chandala. At that time I started chanting the Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, which is capable of releasing one from all fearful situations. By reciting the Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, I am always able to remember the lotus feet of Lord Govinda".
Upon hearing this the king learned the chanting of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, Ninth Chapter, from the brahmana. Gradually he managed to attain the lotus feet of Lord Govinda. When Madhava heard this discourse from the goat, he immediately freed the goat and started to engage in reciting the Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā daily, and thus he also gained the lotus feet of Lord Govinda.