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 36 - Amṛtā-saṅgama and other holy centres

(description of Amrita-sangama)

Brahmā said:

1. Mahānadī is an excellent river. Its confluence is called Pravarā-Saṅgama. Lord Siddheśvara presides over this holy centre. He renders help unto all his devotees.

2. There was an extremely horrible fight between Devas and Dānavas. (Later on) there was mutual love and amity too between them, O great sage.

3. They went to the mountain Meru. Devas and Dānavas consulted one another. They wished for the welfare of each other.

Devas and Daityas said:

4. It is possible to obtain immortality through nectar. Let us make the excellent nectar and drink it. We shall become immortal.

5-6. We shall join together and protect the worlds. Abandoning fight we shall attain happiness. Fighting is a cause of misery. With pleasure and avoiding jealousy, we shall enjoy riches earned by us. Loving treatment is always pleasant to us.

7. What has happened to the contrary should never be remembered. The pleasure that one derives from absence of enmity is not obtained even by our rule over the three worlds or by acquiring a higher position or even in salvation.

Brahmā said:

8-9. Thus becoming friendly to one another Devas and Dānavas joined together with great delight and churned the Ocean. They made the Mandara mountain their churning rod and Vāsuki the rope. Devas and Dānavas churned the ocean.

10. Therefrom the holy nectar dear to Devas came out. When the holy nectar was produced they said to one another:

11-13. “We shall go to our abodes. We have done our duty. We are tired. Let this be distributed among all in an equitable manner. In an auspicious hour when all have assembled together, O excellent Devas, let this holy nectar be distributed.” After saying thus Daityas, Dānavas and Rākṣasas went away. After they had gone Devas began to consult one another.

Devas said:

14. Our enemies, our suppressors have gone after confiding in us. The nectar should not at all be given to them.

Brahmā said:

15-18. Bṛhaspati agreed and said to Devas thus:

Bṛhaspati said:

Drink this nectar in such a manner that our enemies do not become aware of it. This is the secret advice to defeat our enemies. Those who are conversant with the science of politics know that the enemies are to be hated in every respect. The enemies are never to be trusted. They should never be told (any secret). They should never be consulted. Nectar should not be given to them. They are likely to become immortal thereby. When those enemies, Daityas, become immortal we will not be able to defeat them. Therefore the nectar should not be given to them.

Brahmā said:

19-21. After consulting each other thus, Devas said to Bṛhaspati:

Devas said:

Where shall we go? Where shall we have secret counsel? Where shall we drink it? Where shall we stay? We shall do that alone first. O Bṛhaspati, tell us.

Bṛhaspati said:

Let the immortal beings go to Brahmā and ask him the great expedient in this matter. He alone is the knower, donor and speaker (thereof).

Brahmā said:

22-27. On hearing the words of Bṛhaspati Devas came near me. After bowing down to me they intimated to me what had transpired.

O son, at the instance of Devas I went to Hari along with Devas. Everything was then mentioned to Viṣṇu and Śambhu the remover of poison.

Viṣṇu, Śambhu and I went to the cave of Meru along with Devas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras without the knowledge of Asuras. After making Hari the watchman we sat for drinking Soma juice.

Āditya was the person to take note of those who partook of Soma. Soma was the distributor of share of nectar and the discus-bearing lord was the watchman. Neither Daityas nor Dānavas nor Rākṣasas knew it except Rāhu the highly intelligent son of Siṃhikā. He drank the Soma juice. Rāhu who had acquired efficacy to assume any form he desired entered the place,

28. He assumed the form of Deva and held the drinking bowl. On realising that it was a Daitya, the Sun-god intimated to Soma.

29. Soma gave nectar to that Daitya who had the form of a non-Daitya but informed Viṣṇu.

30. By means of his discus, Viṣṇu lifted the Daitya who could manage to gulp nectar. Viṣṇu cut off his head immediately. But. O dear one, that head became immortal.

31-32. The body bereft of head fell on the Earth. The body that had touched the nectar fell on the southern bank of Gautamī, O great sage, and shook the Earth. The body too became immortal, O son, and that was mysterious.

33. The body was dependent on the head and the head was dependent on the body. Both of them became immortal. This demon became extremely powerful. Devas thought:

34. “(if) the head were joined to the body it will eat all Devas. Hence we shall destroy at first this body which has come down to the Earth”. Then all the excited Devas said to Śaṅkara:

Devas said:

35. Destroy the demon’s body that has come down to the Earth, O lord, excellent among Devas. You are the ocean of mercy and the saviour of those who seek refuge in you.

36. Kindly do something so that the body of the demon does not join the head.

Brahmā said:

37-38. Īśa sent his excellent Śakti, the goddess Mother, the protectress of the worlds, along with the “Mothers”. The goddess held the weapons of Īśa. She was full of the energy of Īśa. Desirous of eating it up she went to the place where the body came down to the Earth.

39. Devas pacified the head alone there itself on the Meru. The body fought with the goddess for many years.

40-41. Rāhu said to Devas: Pierce my body at the very outset. The excellent juice is within it. Extract it from the body. When the juice is separated, the body shall be reduced to ashes. Hence do that at the outset.

Brahmā said:

42. On hearing these words of Rāhu Devas became pleased. They performed his consecration. “Be pleased. Be the most excellent of all planets.”

43-46. At the instance of Devas, Śakti who is mentioned as Īśva rī, pierced the body of the lord of Daityas. Equipped with the power of Devas she immediately extracted the excellent nectar outside. After placing that body there Ambikā devoured it. Ambikā of great strength is called Kālarātrī and Bhadrakālī. The excellent juice, the most excellent juice of all juices that had been placed there, oozed out and became the river Pravarā. She took in the nectar too that had been extracted and placed.

47-48. Then the excellent river Pravarā was born. It is auspicious and nectarous. It was born of the body of Rāhu and is fully endowed with the Śakti of Rudra. It is the most excellent and beautiful of all rivers. It is induced by nectar. There are five thousand meritorious holy centres there.

49-51. Worshipped by Devas Śambhu himself stayed there. The delighted Devas gave unto the divine river excellent boons, severally: “Whenever Śambhu, the lord of Devas, is worshipped, you too shall be worshipped with a desire for the welfare of worlds. O goddess, stay here. O goddess of juice, stay here, always bestowing all (spiritual and worldly) achievements.

52-56. You will be the bestower of cherished things on being eulogized, glorified or meditated upon. At the behest of deities all the desires will be fulfilled, the desires of those who bow down to you with devotion and desire for anything whatsoever.

Sages call this Nivāsapuram (city of residence) since the eternal residence of Śiva and Śakti has taken place there. The highly delighted Devas gave excellent boons to Pravarā. The confluence of Pravarā with Gaṅgā is the favourite of Devas. It has been described to you. Worldly pleasures and salvation will be obtained by all who take their holy dip therein. Whatever they desire in their minds will be realised even if it happens to be inaccessible to the gods”.

After granting this, Devas went away.

57-58. Thenceforth, they know it as the holy centre of Pravarā Saṅgama. The place where the Śakti was induced by the Lord of Devas is called Preritā. It is also well known as Amṛtā. In this manner Pravarā is a great river. Know that a holy dip and distribution of charities etc. at the confluence of Pravarā is of everlasting benefit. It yields pleasure to the Manes.

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