by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words
This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...
(Ekāmra—A holy centre in the land of Utkala distinct from one in South India.)
1-5. Thus, the excellent sages heard the meritorious story about the fury of Rudra that destroys sins, as Vyāsa recounted it, O brahmins. They heard about the fury and indignation of Pārvatī, the anger of Śiva, the origin of Vīrabhadra and the nativity of Bhadrakālī.
They then heard about the destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice and the wonderful valour of śiva. They also heard about the propitiation of the lord by Dakṣa the great soul, the allotment of share to Rudra, the benediction of Dakṣa that confers the fruit of all sacrifices. Those brahmins became surprised and pleased in turns. They asked Vyāsa for the rest of the story. Thus asked by them Vyāsa described the holy centre of Ekāmra
6. On hearing the story mentioned by Brahmā, the leading sages were delighted. Their hairs stood on ends. They praised the lord.
The sages said:
7-8. Wonderful indeed is the glory of the lord, eulogized by you. O most excellent one among Devas, the destruction of the sacrifice of Dakṣa (is also wonderful). Now it behoves you to recount Ekāmra, the most excellent of holy centres. O Brahmā, we wish to hear about it. Our eagerness is beyond measure.”
9. On hearing their words, the fourfaced lord of worlds recounted that holy centre of lord Śiva which yields worldly pleasures and salvation on this very earth itself.
10-11. Listen, O leading sages, I shall succinctly mention. There is a great holy centre known as Ekāmra. It dispels all sins. It is extremely inaccessible to ordinary persons. It is as auspicious and splendid as Vārāṇasī. It has a crore of Liṅgas and eight holy water spots in it.
12. O excellent brahmins, in the previous Kalpa, there was a single Mango tree there by which name, the holy centre came to be known as Ekāmra.
13. It was full of delighted and well-nourished people, both men and women. Most of the people there belonged to the learned group. It abounded in riches and foodgrains and similar things.
14. There were many houses full of cattle. It was well decorated with towers and minarets. There were many traders and businessmen and variety of jewels beautified it.
15. The city was beautified by streets and embellished by palaces as white and pure as royal swans. There were many lofty mansions with upper apartments.
16. It contained massive doorways arranged in groups of three. A white outer wall enhanced its beauty. It was well guarded by weapons and beautified by moats and trenches.
17. It was adorned by various flags and emblems of variegated colours such as white, red, black, dark or yellow. They were wafted and waved to the winds.
18. The people were gay and joyous in perpetual festivities with various kinds of musical instruments such as the lute, flute and drums. The area was adorned with slings for hurling missiles.
19. There were many temples of gods embellished by outer walls and gardens. The ways of worship therein were wonderful and they enhanced the beauty of the holy centre.
20-27. The women were slender-waisted and joyous. Their necks were adorned by necklaces. They bad large eyes like the petals of the lotus. Their breasts were plump and lifted up. These ladies were dark-complexioned with faces shining like the full moon. Their forelocks were steady. Their cheeks were fine. Their girdles and anklets sounded sweet. They had good tresses of hair; their buttocks were beautiful and their eyes were large extending as far as the ears. They were richly endowed with all characteristic signs and bedecked in all ornaments. They wore white and lustrous garments. Some were golden-coloured. Their bodies bent down due to the weight of their breasts. Their mode of walking was like that of the swans and elephants. They had smeared their limbs with divine scents and unguents. They felt sweet languor due to intoxication. They had ample and beautiful buttocks. They had ever-smiling faces. Their teeth appeared like lightning streaks. They had lips like the Bimba fruits. They had sweet voice. Betel leaves added colour to their mouths. They were artful, beautiful to look at. They were fortunate. They spoke pleasing words to everyone. They were proud of their perpetual youthful bloom. They wore divine garments. They were embellished by their chastity. They resembled the celestial ladies and they sported about in their respective houses. They remained gay and jolly by day and night.
28. The men too were richly endowed with their noble traits and bedecked in all ornaments. They appeared to be haughty by virtue of their youth and handsome features.
30-32. There were many bright-eyed courtezans comparable to Ghṛtācī, Menakā, Rambhā, Tilottamā, Urvaśī, Vipracitti, Viśvācī, Sahajanyā and Pramlocā. They had smiling faces and they spoke pleasing words. They were clever and skilled in arts and crafts. They were endowed with good qualities.
33. O excellent sages, the women were experts in dancing and singing. They were proud of their feminine virtues.
34. These beautiful women, pleasing to behold were experts in conversation and side-glancing at people. None of them was bereft of beauty, none harassed others, none could be called wicked or evil in their activities.
35-37. Men were fascinated the moment their side-glances fell on them.
Among the males there were no impoverished, foolish, inimical, sickly, dirty, miserly or deceptive persons. None of them lacked in handsome features. None wilfully harassed others. None could be called evil or wicked in his activities. These men lived in that holy centre which was reputed all over the world. The holy centre could be traversed comfortably; it was very pleasing to the people who resided there.
38-50. The holy centre was thronged with different sorts of people. It was full of many kinds of plants and trees such as Karṇikāras, Panasas, Campakas, Nāgakesaras, Pāṭalas, Aśokas, Bakulas, Kapitthas, Dhavas, Cūtas, Nimbas, Kadambas and other trees in full bloom; it was bedecked in Nīpaka, Dhava and Khadira trees with creepers growing over them. There were other trees such as Śāla, Tāla, Tamāla, Nārikela (cocoanut), Śubhāñjanas, Arjunas, Saptaparṇas, Kovidāras, Pippalas, Lakucas, Saralas, Lodhras, Hintālas, Devadārus, Palāśas, Mucukundas, Pārijātas, Kubjakas, plantains, Jambus, areca palms, Ketaki, Karavīras, Atimuktas, Kiṃśukas Mandāra, Kundas and other flowering plants. The gardens were comparable to the Nandana garden by the chirping of different birds, the trees laden with fruits that made them bend down and other living beings such as Cakoras, Śatapatras, royal bees, cuckoos, partridges peacocks, crows and parrots. There were many other birds such as Jīvañjīvakas, Hārītas, and Cātakas. They encompassed the forests. There were other birds chirping very sweetly. The holy centre abounded in long tariff lakes, ponds, sacred water spots adorned with clusters of lotus plants. The lakes looked beautiful with clear water. There were lilies, white lotuses, blue lotuses, Kadamba birds, ruddy geese, water hen, Kāraṇḍava birds, swans and other aquatic animals. The spot was made highly beautiful with different kinds of trees, excellent flowers and water spots. It appeared splendid all round. There the lord with the full-emblem and elephant hide garment was present directly.
51-58. Śiva who yields worldly pleasures and salvation to the people sat among Devas and Sages who brought water severally from the sacred rivers, holy water spots, lakes, lotus-ponds, tanks, wells and oceans on the earth. For the welfare of the people Śiva evolved the holy lake Bindusaras in that holy centre, O excellent brahmins. It was on the eighth day in the dark half of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, O excellent brahmins, that the lake was created by the lord.
The devotee who undertakes a pilgrimage to that place on the day of equinoctical transits shall duly take his bath in the Bindusaras in faith. He shall perform Tarpaṇa rites unto Devas, sages, human beings and Manes assiduously. Repeating their names and Gotras he shall perform the libation of water with gingelly seed. By taking ablution duly in that holy water he shall attain the benefit of horse sacrifice. Those who offer charitable gifts to the brahmins on the following occasion derive hundred times the benefit which they may receive from other holy centres.
59-63. There is no doubt that the devotees will accord an everlasting satisfaction to the Pitṛs if they offer balls of rice to them on the bank of this lake.
He shall then go to the abode of lord Śiva observing restraint in speech and control on sense-organs. After entering the shrine he shall circumambulate thrice. Pure (in his mind and body) he shall bathe Śiva with ghee, milk etc. He shall apply sandal paste and sweet scent. He shall worship the moon-crested lord, the consort of Umā with different kinds of flowers worthy of being used in holy rites such as Bilva, Arka, lotus, etc. He shall eulogise the deity with the Mantras mentioned in the Vedas or Āgamas.
64-73. A man who has not undergone the formal initiation shall worship by pronouncing the name and the basic Mantra. After worshipping the lord with scents, fragrant flowers, garments etc, with incense, lights, food offering and presents, by means of eulogies, prostrations on the ground, by sign songs, accompanied by musical instruments, by dances, repeated obeisances, shouts of victory, and circumambulations, the devotee becomes liberated from all sins. By worshipping the lord, the consort of Umā, the lord of Devas, the devotee gets rid of sins. They are endowed with handsome features and youthfulness. He can redeem twenty-one generations of his family in this way. He is bedecked in divine ornaments. He will be born as a performer of sacrifices, a liberal donor of charitable gifts and an overlord of the earth.
After taking bath in the waters of Bindusaras, the devotee shall visit the following shrines—Muktīśvara, Siddheśa, Suvarṇa, Jāleśvara, Parameśvara and the subtle lord Āmratikeśvara. He shall duly worship them. He will be going to the world of Śiva on the golden aerial chariot with clusters of tinkling bells. Gandharvas and Apsaras will be singing in his praise and embellish him. He will brighten up quarters. O brahmins, along with the people who habitually reside in that world, he will enjoy all pleasures there pleasing to the mind, until the dissolution of all living beings. When the merits decrease he will return to the earth. O excellent brahmins, he will be reborn in the abodes of Yogins. He will become the master of the Vedas. After attaining the Pāśupata Yoga he will attain salvation.
74-75. Those who visit the temple of lord Śiva on the following days go to the world of Śiva on the aerial chariot having solar lustre. The holy occasions are—the day of Śayana (lying down), the day of Utthāpana (rising up), the monthly transit from one sign of zodiac to another, on the days of tropical transits, on the Aśokasaptamī and on the day of Pavitrāropaṇa.
76. The intelligent people who visit the lord at any time, are liberated from their sins. They go to the world of lord Śiva.
77. The holy centre extending to two and a half Yojanas to the West, East, North and South of the lord is an area that yields worldly pleasures and salvation.
78-83. In that excellent holy centre there is a Liṅga named Bhāskareśvara. It had been worshipped by the Sun-god previously. The devotees shall take bath in the holy ditch and then worship the three-eyed lord of Devas. They will be liberated from all sins. Seated in an excellent aerial chariot they will go to the world of lord Śiva. The Gandharvas will sing in their praise. O excellent brahmins, full of joy they remain there for the period of a Kalpa. After enjoying extensive pleasures in the world of lord Śiva, when their merits dwindle, they come down to the Earth and are born in an excellent family. Or they are born in the abodes of Yogins. They will be masters of Vedas and Vedāṅgas. They will be born as excellent brahmins engaged in the welfare of living beings. They will become experts in the science of Salvation and will have equal consideration for all. After attaining the excellent Yoga of Śiva they derive salvation.
84-87. O brahmins, the devotee shall worship any Liṅga he sees in that holy centre. Wherever that Liṅga is seen whether it is worthy of worship or not, whether it is obtained from forest or in the street, in the cremation ground or in the main cross-roads the devotee shall bathe that Liṅga with devotion and faith. He must assure himself that the Liṅga has no cracks. He shall then worship the Liṅga with scents fragrant and charming flowers, incense, height, food-offerings, obeisances, eulogies, prostrations, dances, songs etc. By worshipping thus in accordance with the injunctions he shall go to the world of Śiva.
88. Even a woman, O leading brahmins, attains the benefit if she worships in due faith. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.
89. Excepting lord Śiva, O excellent sages, who can recount the good qualities of that excellent holy centre?
90-92. Whether a person possesses faith or not whether it is a male or a female person, the pilgrim shall go there on any day in any month. O brahmins, after taking bath in the waters of Bindusaras, he or she shall visit the temple of three-eyed lord Śiva and the goddess Umā the bestower of boons, as well as Caṇḍa, the Gaṇa, Kārttikeya, Gaṇeśa, the bull, the Kalpa tree and Sāvitrī. He goes to the world of lord Śiva immediately.
93-95. By taking bath in the Kapila Tīrtha that is destructive of sins, one obtains all cherished desires and goes to the world of lord Śiva. He who performs pilgrimage in accordance with the injunctions after controlling the sense-organs, shall uplift twenty-one generations and then attain the world of lord Śiva.
He who takes his holy dip in Ekāmra, the holy centre of lord Śiva, that is as splendid as Vārāṇasī, will certainly attain liberation.