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 28 - Agnitīrtha

(description of agni-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre known as Agnitirtha is the bestower of the fruit of all sacrifices. It subdues all obstacles. Listen to the benefit of that holy centre.

2-4. The brother of Agni was well known as Jātavedas. He was the bearer of Havya.[1] He was the excellent clever brother of the Fire-god, very fond of him. As he was carrying Havya to gods and was at the abode of the sages on the banks of Gautamī, Madhu the powerful son of Diti killed him even as the chief Sages and Devas were looking on. When Jātavedas died, Devas did not get their Havya.

5 When his dear brother Jātavedas died, Agni was overwhelmed by anger. He entered the waters of Gaṅgā.

6 When Agni entered the waters of Gaṅgā, Devas and human beings cast away their lives because they are considered to be Agnijīvas (having their life in Agni).

7-8 Devas, sages, and Pitṛs went to the place where Agni had entered water. Saying “Without fire we will not be alive” they began to praise Agni particularly. On realizing that Agni had entered the waters the heaven-dwellers spoke pleasing words to him.

Devas said:

9. O Agni, resuscitate the lives of Devas by means of Havya and those of pitṛs by means of Kavya. By the cooking of food and the splitting of seeds resuscitate all human beings.

Brahmā said:

10-13. Agni said to Devas:

“My brother who was very strong has gone. O Devas, while your work is being carried out, my fate will be the same as that of my brother Jātavedas. Hence ī am not enthusiastic enough to work for you. Jātavedas who always performed his duty, working for you, has met this fate. I do not know what mine will be. Moreover, I may not have the ability to move about from world to world. Even granting that I may have the ability for it, if your work is not regularly performed by me my fate might be the same.”

Then, Devas and sages spoke with emotion.

14-15. “Longevity, love for work and ability to move about will be given to you. O carrier of oblations, we shall give you the Prayājas and Anuyājas (i.e. the benefits of these holy rites).

You are the excellent mouth of Devas. All Āhutis are first given to you. O excellent Deva, we shall partake of what is given by you.”

16-19. Thereupon the Fire-god was pleased at the words of Devas. He attained the power to move about here and there. He was capable of carrying Havya to Devas and Kavya to Pitṛs. At the instance of Devas, Agni became powerful and fearless everywhere. He is called by the names Jātavedas, Bṛhadbhānu, Saptārci (seven-rayed), Nīlalohita (Blue-red), Jalagarbha (one who hid under water), Śamīgarbha (one who lies latent in Śamī tree), Yajñagarbha (one who lies concealed in Yajña),

Devas dragged Agni from under the water and performed Abhiṣeka. Thereafter Agni became Sarvaga (moving about everywhere). He got two abodes: one on this Earth and another in heaven. Then Devas went away to their abodes in the manner they had come.

This holy centre is called Vahnitīrtha.

20-22. There have cropped up some seven hundred Tīrthas of great merit. If a man who has controlled himself performs the rites of holy dip or distribution of charitable gifts in this Tīrtha, he attains the benefit of a horse sacrifice and even more. That will be splendid and without deficiency. Devatīrtha, Āgneyatīrtha and Jātavedasa are all there. There is a multicoloured Liṅga established by Agni. By visiting that lord one shall obtain the benefit of all sacrifices.

Footnotes and references:


Any substance, e.g. clarified butter, food etc. to be offered as oblation, to gods; opposed to ‘Kavya’ or what is offered to ancestors.

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