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 39 - Cakra-tīrtha (for the sake of the discus)

(description of cakra-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre famous as Cakratīrtha destroys sins of brahmin-slaughter etc. because it was here that lord Hari obtained his discus.

2. The place where Lord Viṣṇu stood and worshipped Śaṅkara for the sake of discus is mentioned as Cakratīrtha.

3-6. By merely listening to it one is freed from all sins.

Once Dakṣa began a sacrifice. When Devas had gathered, lord Śiva was slandered and insulted by Dakṣa in the assembly of Devas. The great lord was slighted. Dakṣa’s mind was so polluted that he wantonly neglected to invite the lord of Devas. Satī, the daughter of Dakṣa, heard the reason for not inviting Śiva when it was mentioned by Ahalyā. The goddess of Devas became angry. “I shall destroy my father who is a sinner. I will not forgive him at all”, said she on hearing the derogatory remarks made by her father against her husband.

7-9. “Where is the limit to the sins of those women who listen to the censure of their husbands. Whatever may be his nature or status the husband is the ultimate resort of women. What doubt is there then in regard to Mahādeva, the lord of everything, the preceptor of the Universe? His censure has been heard by me. I shall therefore not hold on to this despicable body. I shall cast off this body.”

After saying thus that goddess of Devas, the highly chaste lady, was overwhelmed by great fury and she blazed.

10-12. With thoughts directed towards Śiva alone she abandoned her body through yogic power.

Meheśvara heard everything from Nārada. On hearing it he became angry. He asked Jayā and Vijayā[1] and both of them said that Dākṣāyaṇī’s (Dakṣa’s daughter’s) (ultimate wish) was the destruction of the sacrifice of Dakṣa.

On hearing this, Maheśvara went to the place of sacrifice surrounded by his terrible Gaṇas. He went along with the senior Bhūtas (ghosts).

13. That sacrifice sponsored by Brahmā and Devas was entirely surrounded by them. It had been guarded with purity of mind by Dakṣa, the sacrificer.

14. It had been looked after from all round by Vasiṣṭha and other formidable sages. It had been well protected everywhere by Indra, Ādityas, Vasus and others.

15-16. It had been embellished with the Vedas, Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman as well as the utterances of Svāhā. It had been adorned all round by Śraddhā (Faith), Puṣṭi (Nourishment), Tuṣṭi (Satisfaction), Śānti (Peace), Lajjā (Bashfulness), Sarasvatī (Speech), Bhūmi (Earth), Dyau (Heaven), Śarvarī (Night), Kṣānti (Forbearance), Uṣā (Dawn). Āśā (Hope), Jayā (Victory), Mati (Intellect) as well as others.

17-19. It had been constructed by Viśvakarman and the noble Tvaṣṭṛ. It was splendidly flourishing with cherished desires (fulfilled) through these divine cows that showered anything anyone desired, viz. Surabhi, Nandinī, Kāmadhuk and Kāmadohinī. There were the trees and creepers of Kalpa, Pārijāta, Kalpalatā etc. In fact whatever is the most covetable thing was present in that sacrifice there. It was well protected by Indra, Pūṣan and Hari themselves.

20. These utterances were heard all round, viz. “Let this be given,” “Let this be eaten”; “Let this be done”, “Stay here happily”. Thus the sacrifice of Dakṣa had been honoured.

21-24. It was Vīrabhadra accompanied by Bhadrakālī who went ahead. He was full of sorrow and anger in his mind. Afterwards holding the spear and Pināka bow Mahādeva followed bedecked by the great Bhūtas (spirits). Those spirits encircled the sacrifice all round Maheśvara. They destroyed the sacrifice. A great commotion ensued there. Some of them fled. Some went to Śiva and began to eulogize the lord of Devas. Some were angry with Sankara. On seeing the sacrifice destroyed thus Pūṣan came there.

25. After uprooting the teeth of Pūṣan Vīrabhadra routed Indra in a trice. O brahmin, he pierced and split the eyes of Bhaga.

26. Again, he whirled the Sun-god with his arms and hurled him down. Thereupon, all Devas sought refuge in Viṣṇu.

Devas said:

27. Save us, save us, O lord with the club in hands, from the danger arising from the leader of the Bhūtas. There is a certain Gaṇa (attendant) of Maheśvara. He is the leader of Pramathas. Even as Hari was watching the entire sacrifice pertaining to Viṣṇu the entire sacrifice was destroyed.

Brahmā said:

28. In order to kill the leader of Bhūtas the discus was discharged by Hari. As it advanced and approached him the leader of Bhūtas grasped it.

29. When the discus of Viṣṇu was grasped, the guardians of the quarters went away due to fear. On seeing the sacrifice (destroyed) and Devas in that (agitated) state the Patriarch Dakṣa eulogized lord Śiva with devotion.

Dakṣa said:

30-35. Be victorious, O Śaṅkara, lord of Soma (Moon). Be victorious, O omniscient one. Salutation to you. Be victorious, O Śambhu the benefactor, be victorious. Salutation to the lord identical with time or God of Death. O primordial maker, salutation to you. O blue-throated one, salutation to you.

O lord fond of Brahman, salutation to you. O lord in the form of Brahman, salutation to you. O lord, Parameśvara of three abodes, obeisance to the three-formed lord. O lord having all as your form (or Multiformed one), obeisance to you. O lord, the support of the three worlds, the bestower of cherished desires, obeisance to you, who can be realized only through Vadānta. Obeisance to you, the supreme soul. O lord with sacrifice for your form, obeisance to you. O lord, the abode of sacrifice, obeisance to you. O lord, the bestower of sacrifice, salutation to you. O the conveyor of sacrificial offerings, obeisance to you. O lord, obeisance to you, the destroyer of sacrifice. Obeisance to you, the distributor of benefits, O lord of universe. Save me, save me. O lord, fond of those who seek refuge in you. O lord, you alone are the refuge of devotees as well as non-devotees.

Brahmā said:

36. As he eulogized thus, Maheśvara became pleased with him and said to him, “What shall I give you”? (He replied) “O lord, let my sacrifice be complete”.

37. “So be it” said Maheśvara, lord of Devas, Saṅkara (Śaṅkara?), the soul of all living beings and the ocean of mercy.

38. After making the sacrifice of Dakṣa complete, O sage, and after saying thus the lord vanished along with his Bhūtas.

39-40. Devas went away to their respective abodes in the manner they came.

Then once a great battle ensued between Devas and Daityas, Therein Devas became afraid of Daityas. With complete devotion Devas eulogized Viṣṇu, the lord of Śrī in the following words:

Devas said:

41-42. Indra and other Devas perform penance seeking the benign side-glance of Lakṣmī. We seek refuge in that lord, who has become Brahman and to whose feet Lakṣmī is devoted.

In all the three worlds there is none equal or superior to Nṛsiṃha whose vehicle is Garuḍa. With great sympathy, let that lord of Devas protect all of us who have sought refuge in him from great dangers.

Brahmā said:

43. Thereupon the lord holding the conch, discus and club became pleased and said to them: “What for have all of you come? I shall do it for you.”

Devas said:

44. O slayer of Madhu, Devas have an excessive danger from Daityas. Hence, O Lord, try to save them.

Brahmā said:

45-46. Hari said, “O Devas, my discus has been caught hold of by Hara. What shall I do? The discus is gone and all of you have fallen into misery. Yet your protection will be afforded by me. Let all Devas go back.

Brahmā said:

47. Then, after Devas had gone Viṣṇu prepared himself to get the discus. After going to Godāvarī he began the worship of Śambhu.

48. With great devotion Viṣṇu performed the daily worship of the consort of Umā with a thousand divine sweet smelling golden lotuses.

49. “Obeisance, the Pināka-bearing Maheśa, who removes great danger in the forest of worldly existence and who fulfils all cherished desires”.

50. By means of this Mantra and with the mind endowed with devotion lord Viṣṇu worshipped Śiva, the lover of Bhavānī.

51-52. As the worship proceeded something happened between them. Listen to that. The lotuses were found to be one short of a thousand. When Viṣṇu noticed the shortage he dislodged his own eye and offered Arghya.[2] Taking the vessel of Arghya containing a thousand lotuses and meditating on Śambhu, Hari who had no other refuge, offered Arghya.

Viṣṇu said:

53. O lord, you alone know the innermost feelings of men. You alone are refuge and overlord. What doubt can be there?

Brahmā said:

54. Speaking thus with tears welled up in his eyes he got himself merged as though with Īśvara. Then Śambhu appeared in front of him, accompanied by Bhavānī.

55. He embraced Hari closely and filled him with various boons. He got back his original eye as well as discus.

56-58. Then all Devas eulogized Hari and Śaṅkara. They eulogized Gaṅgā the most excellent of all rivers as well as the bull-bannered lord. Thenceforth that holy centre is remembered as Cakratīrtha. Merely by listening to it one is freed from all sins. He who performs the rites of holy dip, charitable gifts and libation to the manes, shall be rid of all sins. He will attain heaven along with the ancestors. This holy centre can be seen with a mark of discus even today.

Footnotes and references:


According to Vāmana Purāṇa, Jayā was a daughter of sage Gautama by Ahalyā in addition to Jayantī and Aparājitā. Vijayā was presumably another name of either of the latter two.


Things such as water, honey etc. offered to deities, guest etc. as a token of respect.

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