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 15 - Kṣudhā-tīrtha

(description of Kshudha-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. Listen attentively, O Nārada. The holy centre well known as Kṣudhā Tīrtha is being recounted. It is highly meritorious and it bestows all desired things to men.

2. Formerly, there was a sage Kaṇva. He performed penance and he was the most excellent among those who were conversant with the Vedas. Once wandering among penance-groves he was afflicted by hunger.

3-7 Gautama’s holy hermitage was richly endowed with food and water. He saw himself hungry and Gautama prosperous. He noticed this incongruity and became detached. He thought, “Gautama is an excellent brahmin. I too am a person well-established in penance. Begging of a person equal to one in status is not proper. Even though I am overcome by hunger, even when my body is afflicted, I am not going to take food in the abode of Gautama. I shall go to Gautamī Gaṅgā and earn wealth”. After deciding like this the intelligent sage went to the sacred Gaṅgā. After taking bath he sat on the Kuśa grass with controlled mind. He eulogized Gautamī Gaṅgā and Kṣudhā (hunger), the greatest distressing thing.

Kaṇva said:

8. Gaṅgā, obeisance be to you, thae destroyer of agony and distress, and to you, O Hunger, the cause of agony and distress to all the people.

Obeisance O splendid one, born of the matted hair of Maheśāna.

Obeisance O Kṣudhā coming out of the mouth of great Death.

9. O Gautamī assuming a calm form in regard to meritorious souls and furious form in regard to the wicked souls! O destroyer of the distress and sins of all, in the form of a river!

10. Obeisance be to you, the bestower of agony, distress and sin, to all in the form of hunger.

Obeisance O goddess, the cause of welfare and the suppressor of sins.

Obeisance O goddess, the cause of peace. Obeisance, O destroyer of poverty.

Brahmā said:

11. As he eulogized thus two forms appeared in front of him, one the charming form of Gaṅgā and the other the terrible form of Kṣudhā. After bowing down with palms joined in reverence, the excellent brahmin said.

Kaṇva said:

12. Obeisance be to you O Godāvarī, the cause of all auspicious things, O Brāhmī (belonging to Brahma), O Māheśvarī (belonging to Maheśvara), O splendid Vaiṣṇavī (belonging to Viṣṇu), O three-eyed goddess!

13. Obeisance be to you, O Godāvarī, born of the matted hair of the three-eyed lord, the destroyer of sins of Gautama, O river that flows into the sea in seven channels!

14. O goddess Hunger obeisance, obeisance to you, O sinner unto all sinful persons, O destroyer of virtue, love and wealth, full of misery and greed!

Brahmā said:

15-17 On hearing the words of Kaṇva both of them were delighted and they spoke to the brahmin.

Gaṅgā and Kṣudhā said:

O (sage) of good holy rites, O cause of welfare, mention your desire. Choose boons.

Brahmā said:

Kaṇva bowed down to Gaṅgā and Kṣudhā in due order and said:

Kaṇva said:

18. O Gaṅgā, O goddess, give unto me wealth and all charming and cherished desires, long life, enjoyment of worldly pleasures and salvation.

Brahmā said:

19-23 After saying this to Gautamī Gaṅgā, the excellent brahmin said to Hunger.

Kaṇva said:

O hunger, O thirst, O wretched one, never be in me or in anyone born of my family. O extremely sinful and harsh one, go away.

This is another boon I wish for. If persons afflicted by hunger were to eulogize you with this hymn let them not have miseries of poverty.

Let those men who devoutly perform such sacred rites as holy ablution, charitable gifts, chanting of Japas etc. in this holy centre of great merit become rich. Another boon I wish for is this—If a person reads this hymn whether in the holy centre or in the house, let him not have the fear from poverty and miseries.

Brahmā said:

24. After saying “So be it” to Kaṇva both of them went to their respective abodes. Thenceforward that holy centre was called Kaṇva, Gaṅgā and Kṣudhā. O dear one, it dispels all sins and increases the delight of manes.

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