“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)...

Chapter 18 - Lord Indra’s journey to the Godavari river

Parvati said: My dear husband, you have told me the glories of the seventeenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Now kindly relate the glories of the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

Lord Shiva said: Oh daughter of the Himalayas [Parvati], please listen to the glories of the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, which is higher than the Vedas and the giver of unlimited bliss. When it enters into one’s ears it destroys all material desires. For the pure devotee, it is divine nectar, it is Lord Vishnu’s very life, and it is a solace to the hearts of Lord Indra and the demigods, as well as the great yogis headed by Sanak and Sananda.

One who recites it sends the messengers of Yamaraja far away. There is no other recitation, which can so quickly destroy all sin and free one from the threefold miseries of this world. Now listen with great devotion.

On the topmost peak of Mount Meru is Amaravati, which was built by Vishvakarma. In that heavenly kingdom, Lord Indra and his wife Sachi are served by the demigods. One day while Lord Indra was sitting peacefully, he saw that a beautiful person had arrived there, whom the servants of Lord Vishnu were serving. When Indra saw the beautiful young person, he immediately fell from his throne to the ground. At that time the demigods, who had been worshipping Indra, picked up Indra’s crown and placed it on the head of the beautiful person. Then all the demigods and other denizens of the heavenly planets started to perform aratik and sing wonderful songs to the new King Indra. The great rishis came there and offered their blessings and chanted Vedic mantras, and the Gandharvas and Apsaras started to sing and dance joyfully.

In this way, the new Indra, who had not performed the usual one hundred horse sacrifices, started to enjoy hundreds of different types of services rendered by the demigods and other denizens of the heavenly planets. When the old Indra saw this he became very surprised.

He thought to himself, “This person here has never built wells or dug kundas or planted trees for the welfare of others, and when there were droughts, he did not provide grains in charity. He never performed any fire sacrifices or great charities in the holy places. How has he managed to attain my seat?” The old Indra, feeling greatly disturbed in his mind, went to the ocean of milk to pray to Lord Vishnu. When he obtained the darshan of Lord Vishnu, he asked Him, “My dear Lord Vishnu, in the past I performed many sacrifices and other pious activities, for which I was installed as the lord of heaven. But now another person has come and taken my place as the king of heaven. This person in his life never performed any great, wonderful pious activities, nor had he performed any great Vedic sacrifices. How is it possible that he has obtained my throne?”

Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Indra, that great soul has daily performed the recitation of the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Every day during his life he recited five shlokas from this chapter, and because of that activity he has attained the results of all sorts of pious activities and yajnas. After enjoying for many years as the king of heaven, he will attain My personal abode. If you perform the same activity of reciting the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, you can also attain My divine abode.”

After hearing Lord Vishnu’s words, Lord Indra took the form of a brahmana and went to the bank of the Godavari River, where he saw the town of Kalegrani, which is very sacred. At that place, the Supreme Lord in His form known as Kalesva, resides. Close to this town, on the bank of the Godavari river, a pure brahmana was sitting, who was very merciful and had understood the topmost goal and secret of the Vedic literatures. Daily he would sit at that spot and recite the shlokas of the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. When Lord Indra saw him he became very happy. He immediately fell at his lotus feet and requested him to teach him the eighteenth chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Lord Indra then practiced the recitation of the eighteenth chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā for sometime and he attained the topmost place of Vishnuloka. When he attained that place, he realized that the pleasure he had enjoyed as King Indra along with the demigods was nothing in comparison.

My dear Parvati, for this reason the great sages especially chant the eighteenth chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and by so doing very quickly attain the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.

Anyone who hears or studies this Bhagavad-gītā-Māhātmya very quickly destroys all sins which he has accumulated. And that person who remembers this discourse with great faith attains the results of all kinds of pious activities and great sacrifices and, after enjoying all worldly opulences, attains the abode of Lord Vishnu.

Thus ends the glories of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā as spoken by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati Devi.

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