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 20 - Garuḍa-tīrtha

(description of garuda-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre named Garuḍa destroys all obstacles. I shall recount its power, O Nārada, listen to it attentively.

2. There was an extremely powerful son of Śeṣa named Maṇināga. Afraid of Garuḍa he propitiated Śaṅkara with devotion.

3. Then the lord Maheśvara, Parameṣṭhin became pleased. He said to the great Nāga, “O Nāga, choose a boon”.

4. The Nāga said, “O lord, grant me the boon of freedom from Garuḍa”.

“So be it”, said Śambhu to him, “You shall have freedom from the fear of Garuḍa”.

5. The Nāga who was not afraid of Garuḍa, the younger brother of Aruṇa, went out to the place near the milk ocean where Viṣṇu was taking rest.

6. The Nāga wandered here and there over the place which was pleasingly chill. He went to the place which was occupied by Garuḍa.

7. On seeing the Nāga moving about fearlessly Garuḍa seized him and took him off into his own abode.

8. By means of nooses, Garuḍa bound the mighty Nāga. In the meantime, Nandin said to Īśa, the lord of the universe:

Nandikeśvara said:

9. Certainly the Nāga has been either swallowed or imprisoned by Garuḍa, O lord of Devas. Hence he does not come. The nāga may not come out alive.

Brahmā said:

10-13. On hearing the words of Nandin and understanding the situation himself Śiva said:

Śiva said:

The Nāga has been bound and imprisoned in the abode of Garuḍa. Go quickly and tell the lord of worlds, Viṣṇu. At my instance, you, yourself, bring the Nāga bound by Garuḍa, son of Kaśyapa.

On hearing the words of lord Śiva Nandin went and intimated to the lord of Śrī, the ultimate resort of the world, Viṣṇu, (the details).

Pleased in his mind Nārāyaṇa spoke to Garuḍa:

Viṣṇu said:

14. O son of Vinatā (Garuḍa), give Nandin the Nāga at my instance.

Vainateya the bird understood it but said “No”. In the presence of Nandin, Garuḍa spoke to Viṣṇu in anger:

Garuḍa said:

15-19. Other masters give their servants whatever is most pleasing to them but you do not do so. Instead you want to take away what has been acquired by me.

See, the three-eyed lord wishes to release the Nāga through Nandin. But you wish to give Nandin the Nāga captured by me.

I bear you always along the path. Hence something should be given to me by you always. It is not proper for you to say “Give” in regard to the Nāga acquired by me.

This cannot be the practice of good masters who wish to maintain good service. Good men give unto the servants. But you are one who takes away what has been brought by me.

O Keśava, it is through my power that you conquer the asuras in battles. In vain do you boast, I am extremely powerful.

Brahmā said:

20-24. On hearing these words of Garuḍa Viṣṇu the bearer of discus and club laughed in the presence of Nandin even as the guardians of the worlds were watching.

The extremely intelligent lord said this: “You have become lean by bearing me (regularly). It is due to your power that I conquer Asuras, O excellent bird.”

After saying this, O brahmin, the lord of Śrī spoke this, with his anger calmed down: “Be quick. Bear the small finger of my hand, in the presence of Nandin.”

Placing the small finger of his hand over the head of Garuḍa Viṣṇu said again:

“It is true that you carry me always. See to your duty, O bird.”

When the finger was placed over his head the head penetrated into his belly and the belly went inside the foot and became smashed. Then, the distressed Garuḍa said piteously out of shame, with palms joined in reverence:

Garuḍa said:

25-28. Save me, save me, O lord of the universe, your servant. You are the lord of all gentle and submissive worlds. You are the supporter and the supported also. Those who are powerful, forgive thousands of offences. All the sages call you merciful since you have great sympathy even for those who have committed offences.

O mother, residing in the lotus, O mother of the Universe, save me who am distressed. O Kamalā, fond of your son, save me who am miserable and wretched.

Brahmā said:

Then the merciful goddess Śrī spoke to Janārdana:

Kamalā said:

29. O lord, save your own servant Garuḍa who has been involved in adversity”.

Thereupon Janārdana spoke to Nandin the attendant of Śiva:

Viṣṇu said:

30-31. Take the Nāga to Śiva along with Garuḍa. On being glanced at by Maheśvara and favoured by him Garuḍa will regain his own form.

Brahmā said:

After saying “So be it” Nandin went to Śiva along with the Nāga and Garuḍa and intimated everything to him. Śiva, who has the crescent moon on his forehead spoke to Garuḍa:

Śiva said:

32-33. O hero of long arms, go to Gaṅgā, Gautamī the sanctifier of worlds. She is calm and bestower of all cherished desires. After plunging into it you will regain your body and all cherished desires.

O bird, Gautamī, the bestower of all desired things, is the refuge for all living beings whose enterprises are ruined by adverse fate and who are tormented by all sins in hundreds and thousands of ways.

Brahmā said:

34-36. Garuḍa listened to his words with humility. He went to Gaṅgā. After plunging into it he bowed down to Śiva and Viṣṇu. Then the bird of golden complexion regained his adamantine body and great strength. Hurrying up, O excellent sage, the intelligent one went again to Viṣṇu.

Thenceforward that holy centre of Garuḍa became the bestower of all desires.

If a man of purity in mind and body performs the holy ablution, O dear one, everything becomes everlasting in its benefit. The centre is pleasing to Śiva and Viṣṇu.

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