“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 Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. It is not possible to tell its full glories. As there are thousands of stories, I will relate one of them only.
On the banks of the Pranita river is a large town of the name Megankara, in which is the famous temple of Jagat Isvara. Jagat Isvara is holding in His hand a bow. In that town of Megankara, there was a pure brahmana of the name Sunanda, who remained a brahmachari his whole life.
Sunanda would sit in front of Lord Jagat Isvara and recite the Eleventh Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and remember the Universal Form of the Lord. By reciting that Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, he gained complete control over his senses and was able to remember Lord Jagat Isvara continuously.
Once that pure brahmana Sunanda went on a tour of the holy places on the banks of the Godavari River. He visited all the sacred places, starting with Vraja-Tirtha. In all the holy places he visited, he bathed, and took darshan of the presiding deity. One day he reached the town of Vivian Mandela. Along with his associates he searched for a place to stay and eventually in the middle of that town they found a dharmashala, where they all took rest for the night. When Sunanda woke up in the morning he found that all his associates had left. While searching for them, he met the headman of the town, who immediately fell at his feet and said, "O great sage, I cannot say where your associates have gone, but I can tell you that there is no devotee equal to you. I have never seen anyone as pure as you. O my dear brahmana, I am begging you to stay in this town."
When Sunanda heard the humble request of the headman of the town, he decided to stay for some days. That headman made every arrangement for the comfortable stay of Sunanda and engaged in his service day and night. After eight days had passed, one villager came before Sunanda, crying very loudly and said: "O pure Brahmana, last night one rakshasa ate my son." Sunanda inquired: "Where does that rakshasa stay? And how did he eat your son?"
The villager replied, "In this town one very frightful rakshasa lives, who every day was eating villagers as and when he pleased. One day, we all went to that rakshasa and requested him to protect us, in return for which we would provide him with his daily food. A dharmashala was built, and any travelers who came here were sent there to stay and, while they were sleeping, the rakshasa would eat them. In this way we have been able to protect ourselves from this rakshasa. You, along with your associates, stayed at that dharmashala, but that rakshasa did not eat you along with everyone else. The reason I will tell you.
Last night a friend of my son came, but I did not realize that he was a very close and dear friend of my son, so I sent him to stay in the dharmashala. When my son found out, he went after him to try and bring him back from the dharmashala, but when he went there he was also eaten by that rakshasa.
Today, in the morning, I went to that rakshasa and asked him why he had eaten my son along with the other travelers. I also requested of him if there was any way that I could get back my son. That rakshasa told me, "I did not know that your son had also entered the dharmashala. Thus he was eaten with everyone else. As far as getting him back that will be possible when I am freed from this rakshasa body, which will be possible by the mercy of a person who recites the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā daily.
"Right now, there is a brahmana staying in this town, who had stayed at this dharmashala, but I had not eaten him, because he daily recites the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. If he daily recites the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā seven times, then sprinkles water on me, then I will be able to get free from the curse of this rakshasa body".
Sunanda inquired from that villager, "What sin did this person perform to attain a rakshasa body?" The villager replied, 'Long ago there had been a farmer living in this town. One day he was guarding the fields when, just a little distance away from him, a large vulture attacked a person who was traveling on the road. At that time, a yogi was passing by. When he saw the person being attacked by that vulture he came running to his aid, but when he reached him, it was too late.
Then that yogi became very angry with the farmer and spoke to him as follows: "One who sees others in danger from thieves, snakes, fire, attack by weapons etc. -- and, even though he is capable of helping them, but does not come to help -- is punished by Yamaraja. After suffering in hell for a very long time, he takes birth as a wolf. And one who helps someone in need of help certainly pleases Lord Vishnu. One who attempts to save a cow from the hands of a ferocious animal, a low-class man or a wicked ruler attains Lord Vishnu.
"Wicked farmer, you saw that vulture attacking that person but still you made no attempt to save him. Now I curse you to take birth as a rakshasa."
The farmer said, "I was watching the fields for the whole night, and I am very tired, so kindly be merciful to me, o gentle sage." The yogi replied, "When someone who is daily reciting the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā sprinkles water on your head, then you will become free from this curse."
The villager said: "My dear Sunanda, with your hand kindly sprinkle water on the head of this rakshasa." After hearing that history from the villager, Sunanda went along with him to the place where that rakshasa was staying and while he was reciting the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, sprinkled water on his head. That rakshasa immediately attained a four-armed form like that of Lord Vishnu. Not only he, but all the thousands of persons he had eaten also attained four-armed forms like that of Lord Vishnu. Then they all sat down in the flower aeroplane which had been sent to take them all to Vaikuntha.
Seeing those amazing events, the villager inquired from the rakshasa which one was his son. The rakshasa started to laugh, pointed at one of those thousands of beautiful persons sitting in the transcendental airplane and replied, "That is your son". The villager requested his son to come home with him. Hearing his father's request, the son smilingly replied, "My dear sir, many times you have been my son and I yours. Now by the grace of this great pure devotee Sunanda, I have been released from this wheel of birth and death, and now I am going to my real home, Vaikuntha. Dear sir, kindly surrender unto the lotus feet of Sunanda and hear from him the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and you also will be able to attain the abode of Lord Vishnu (Vaikuntha); of this there is no doubt. From Lord Krishna's mouth, these nectarine instructions came on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in reply to the questions of His friend Arjuna. And only by hearing and reciting this discourse can one break the tight knot which is binding us to this wheel of birth and death."
Lord Shiva said; "After speaking those words, full of wisdom, to his father, along with all those other fortunate souls, he went to Vaikunth. His father learned the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā from Sunanda, and very soon they also went to Vaikuntha."
My dear Parvati, you have heard the glories of the Eleventh Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, which is capable of destroying all sinful reactions.