The Brihaddharma Purana (abridged)

by Syama Charan Banerji | 1915 | 50,976 words

The English translation of the Brihaddharma Purana, one of the several minor or Upa Puranas, and represents an epitome of several important (Major) Puranas. In this book one can observe the attempts made to reconcile the three main forms of Hindu worship, viz. the Shaiva Vaishnava and Tantrika (worship of God in the form of Kali, Durga, Ganga, and ...

Chapter 6 - On places of pilgrimage (continued, 2)

Jaya and Vijaya thanked their mistress for having shown them all the Tirthas and requested her to tell them their names and descriptions. Thereupon Parvati began as follows:—

The source of Ganga is at the feet of Vishnu, and is the first Tirtha. The place where she has gathered strength and rapidity is the sacred bathing place of the Siddhas, gods and Rishis. The spot on the summit of the Sumeru mountain where she falls from heaven is known by the name of Dharapata. She divides herself here into four branches with a view to proceeding to the four quarters of the world, and all these four quarters of the mountain are Tirthas. The eastern part is Sitaloka, the southern Nandaka, the western Bankshubhadra, and the northern Bhadrottara. She falls upon eight mountains which are situated below Sumeru, and again descends at sixteen different places which are all Tirthas. Eastward, on the Gandhamadana hills, there are two Tirthas known as Parapata and Purvapata. On the western hills are Sankari and Vilasanti Tirthas. Punyaprabha, Prakasakshi, Gomti, Gautami, Manikarna and Manisrota are on the north, and Manidarsa, Mahavega, Avanti, Brahmavegini, Siveswari and Sambhumukhi on the southern hills. In the countries lying between the western, eastern and northern mountains are three Tirthas known as Purva-Sankhapata, Uttara-Sankhapata and Paschim-Sankhapata. On the Himalayas where Ganga winds through the matted tresses of the god, Siva, there is a great Tirtha called Sirasrota.

On the earth, there are four doorways of Ganga, which are situated in Ketumalavarsha, Kuruvarsha, Bhadrasvavarsha and Bharatavarsha. The four doorways are called Brahmadvara, Sivadvara, Tejodvara and Haridvara.

At Haridvara, Ganga divides herself into seven branches for the benefit of the seven Rishis.

In Ketumalavarsha she joins with the Siva river and the confluence is known as Gokula Tirtha. The place whore she separates herself from the Siva goes by the name of Paragokala.

In Kuruvarsha she joins the Gomati and the Bhanumati, and again separates from them further on. The place of confluence is the Punyamala Tirtha, and that of separation Somamala.

In Bhadrasvavarsha she joins the Vaishnavi and the Makari, and again separates from them. The places of confluence and separation are the Sakala and the Devala Tirthas respectively.

Gangasagarasangama, Paschimaranyasrota, Trisatasrota, on the north, and Saptasrota on the east are all Tirthas.

The place where Ganga assumed the name of Jahnavi is called the Jahnu Tirtha. After it comes Prayaga where there is the Akshaivata Tirtha, and the confluence of Ganga with the Jamna and the Sarasvati. Whoever.shaves his head here will attain salvation irrespective of the place where he dies, and even if he is a Mlechchha.

Then there is the Vasantaka Tirtha where the goddess Vasanti is worshipped. There comes the holy Banaras which is the abode of Siva. Here Ganga flows to the north, and to die here is a rare piece of good fortune. Manikarnika metes out salvation in this holy land which is presided over by many Lingas of Siva. A full description of Banaras is to be found in the Matsya Purana.

Then there is the confluence of the Padmavati and the Ganga.

The place where the Jamna and the Sarasvati separate from Ganga is Tirveni Tirtha which is equal to Prayaga in sanctity.

Gangasagara is a great Tirtha where the sacred Ganga empties herself into the ocean in a thousand branches. Each of these branches is a separate Tirtha by itself. Whoever dies here desiring anything will attain his object of desire in the next birth.

Any temple, shrine or the dwelling place of a Brahmana which is situated on the banks of Ganga is a Tirtha.

All the above Tirthas are Brahma Tirthas and they have Ganga’s head for their origin.

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