The Gautami Mahatmya

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 127,137 words

This is the English translation of the Gautami-Mahatmya, which forms the fourth part of the Brahma-purana. The Gautamimahatmya narrates the legends and merits of the various holy places (tirthas) situated around the bank of the Godavari river in 105 chapters. It can be seen as distinct work by itself, and was declared as a “highly meritorious puran...

Chapter 3 - Gift of a Water Vessel to Brahmā

Brahmā said:

1-4. The wedding took place on the excellent Himālaya mountain which is wonderfully bedecked in different kinds of jewels, which is full of various sorts of trees and creepers, which is frequented by different birds, which is encompassed by rivers, lakes, tanks, wells, which is frequented by Devas, Gandharvas,[1] Siddhas,[2] Cāraṇas,[3] Yakṣas[4] and others, which is richly endowed with splendid wind, which was the sole cause of excessive merriment, which is surrounded by Meru,[5] Mandara,[6] Kailāsa,[7] Maināka[8] and other mountains and which is encircled by Vasiṣṭha,[9] Agastya,[10] Paulastya[11], Lomaśa[12] and other sages while great festivities were being celebrated.

5. There on a raised divine platform was an altar beautifully studded with jewels and bedecked in gold well arranged by Viśvakarman.[13] It was rendered beautiful by a row of columns of diamonds, rubies and sapphires.

6. It was surrounded by the deities Jayā,[14] Lakṣmī,[14] Śubhā,[15] Kṣānti,[16] Kīrti,[14] Puṣṭi[14] etc. It was also surrounded by the splendid mountains Meru, Mandara, Kailāsa and Raivata.[17]

7. It was honoured by the powerful Viṣṇu, the lord of the universe. Golden coloured Maināka, the most excellent among mountains, shone there.

8. The sages, the guardians of the quarters and the Ādityas[18] accompanied by Maruts[19] constructed the altar for the wedding ceremony of the trident-bearing lord, the chief of Devas.

9-12. Viśvakarman, Tvaṣṭṛ[20] himself made the altar with festoons. The wedding ceremony took place when the place was rendered beautiful by the divine cows such as Surabhi,[21] Nandinī[22], Nandā[23] and Sunandā[23] that yield everything desired.

All these were present there, viz. the oceans, rivers, serpents, mothers of the worlds etc. along with vegetable kingdom and seeds.

Ilā [Earth] carried out the function of productivity, the herbs performed the work of growth, Varuṇa performed the work of drink, Kubera performed the work of charitable gifts; Agni performed whatever was desired by the lord of worlds.

13. The eternal Viṣṇu performed worship separately in different places. The Vedas accompanied by their secret principles gave charming instructions.

14. The celestial damsels danced. The Gandharvas and Kinnaras[24] sang. O excellent sage, Maināka held fried grains (for the sacrifice).

15. The invocation of holy water was performed inside the house, O Nārada. The couple, the most excellent among Devas sat on the altar.

16. After setting the holy fire ablaze duly and performing the sacrifice with fried grains, O son, the couple went round the rocky slab duly.

17. During the course of touching the slab, Śiva urged by Viṣṇu, touched the toe of the right foot of the goddess with his hand.

18. Performing the sacrifice there near Śiva, I saw her. My semen got ejaculated due to my evil mind on seeing the toe.

19. In the entire three worlds, who is not deceived by Cupid? Defiled and ashamed, I scattered the ejaculated semen in small droplets.

20. From the minute particles of my semen the Vālakhilyas[25] were born. Then there was a great commotion caused by Devas. Overwhelmed by shame, I stood up from my seat and started.

21. Even as Devas watched silently, O Nārada, I went ahead. On seeing me go, Mahādeva spoke to Nandin:

Śiva said:

22. Call Brahmā here. I shall make him free from sin. Even if other people commit offences good people take pity on them. They have sympathy for them in their minds. This is the nature of worldly objects. They delude even great scholars.

Brahmā said:

23-25. After saying this, Lord Śiva accompanied by Umā began operations. The lord of the worlds did this due to his sympathy for me and desire for the welfare of the worlds. Listen to it attentively, O Nārada.

“The Earth and Waters shall become the means of redemption of sinners from their sins. I shall extract their ultimate essence that is holy.” After declaring this the lord extracted their essence.

26-27. He made the Earth into a water-jar and poured water into it. With great effort he chanted Pāvamānya[26] and other hymns and consecrated them. The lord who dispels sins remembered Śakti who sanctifies the universe and invoked her there. Then the lord of the worlds said to me, “Take this water-jar”.

28. Indeed the waters are goddesses and mothers. The Earth is another mother. So both of them are the causes of existence, creation and destruction.

29. It is here that Dharma is established. It is here that the eternal sacrifice is established. It is here that enjoyment and salvation, mobile and immobile beings are established.

30. By remembering it the mental sin perishes. By bowing to it the verbal sin perishes. By bathing, drinking and performing the holy ablution, the physical sin perishes.

31. This alone is nectar in the world. There is nothing greater in sanctity than this. O Brahma, take this water-jar consecrated by me with holy Mantras.

32. Whoever remembers or drinks the water herein attains all desired things. Take this water-jar.

33. Of all the five elements, water is the element of great effect. This water is the best among all those waters. Take this water-jar.

34. O Brahmā, by touching, remembering and seeing the water herein, which is very splendid, holy and sacred, one is liberated from sin.”

35-36. After saying this the supreme lord gave me the water-jar. Then Devas joyously spoke to their lord. There was great exhilaration there. Cries of victory rang the sky.

During the wedding festival of the lord I saw the tip of the foot of the mother. Due to this sin I attained the state of a fallen fellow. The merciful father gave me Gaṅgā water kept in the holy jar. It is holy and sanctifying even by remembering.

Footnotes and references:


Semi-divine beings skilled in singing and music.


A group of semi-divine beings of great purity and holiness.


The panegyrists of gods.


A class of semi-divine beings who attend on Kubera, the god of wealth.


A mythical mountain and abode of celestial beings.


Another mythical mountain used by gods and demous as a rod for churning the ocean.


A Himalayan peak on which resides god Śiva.


Another mountain which escaped when Indra planned to cut off wings which all mountains are supposed to have previously.


An ancient sage and priest of Ikṣvāku kings.


Another sage said to have been born out of a waterjar and to have drunk up the ocean.


Probably the sage Pulastya is meant who was a mind-born son of Brahmā and the father of Viśravas and grandfather of Kubera and Rāvaṇa.


A sage and great story-teller.


A great architect and artificer of gods.


Daughters of Dakṣa Prajāpati.


Two Śubhās are known, one being Dhruva’s mother and the other wife of Aṅgiras.


Probably Śānti or Kṣamā both also daughters of Dakṣa Prajāpati.


A mountain Raivata or Raivataka, is known to exist in Gujarat.


A group of Vedic gods originally numbering six which later increased to twelve.


Another group of Vedic gods associated with storms, lightning, thunder etc.


A Ṛgvedic deity said to be the ideal artist, divine artisan; mentioned in Viṣṇupurāṇa as a son of Viśvakarmā.


Another name of Kāmadhenu the divine cow; also a cow born from the huṅkāra of Brahmā.


The cow of plenty belonging to sage Vasiṣṭha, said to be born of Surabhi.


Names not traceable elsewhere.


Horse-headed celestial musicians dwelling in Kubera’s city.


Pigmy sages no bigger than half a thumb, numbering 6000 and residing in the solar region.


The verses in the ninth Maṇḍala of ṃe Ṛgevda relating to Soma Pavamāna; also known as ‘Pāvamānī’.

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