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 32 - Review of the Greatness of Five Tīrthas (pañcatīrtha)

(description of panca-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. Sages know these five holy centres as very holy, viz. Sāvitrī, Gāyatrī, Śraddhā (Faith), Medhā (Intellect) and Sarasvatī.

2-4. By taking bath there and drinking water therein one is released from all sins. Sāvitrī, Gāyatrī, Śraddhā, Medhā and Sarasvatī—these were my eldest daughters. (Then) I created the most beautiful woman in the world, the most excellent among all.

On seeing her, O excellent sage, my mind became deranged. I was desirous of seizing her and on seeing what I was going to do that lady fled.

5. That maiden assumed the form of a hind and I became a stag then. In order to save virtue, Śambhu became a hunter of the stag.

6. Those five daughters of mine (also) became afraid of me and went to Gaṅgā, the great river. Thereupon Maheśvara went ahead for the sake of saving virtue,

7. Then Hara, the hunter of stag, took up his bow and arrows. Īśa said to me, “I will kill you.”

8-11. I desisted from that (evil) action and gave the maiden to the Sun. The five daughters beginning with Sāvitrī assumed the forms of rivers and flowed together. Again they came near me to the heavenly world. The place where these rivers joined the divine river Gaṅgā came to be called Pañcatīrtha. All confluences are holy. Sarasvatī (is the most important of) these five rivers. Holy dip, distribution of charitable gifts, whatever a man does in those rivers yields all cherished things. It yields salvation through Naiṣkarmya (cessation of activities). The holy centre of Mṛgavyādha is also there. It bestows all objects on men. It has the benefit of heaven and salvation. It yields the benefit of Brahmatīrtha.

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