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 43 - Brahmatīrtha and other Holy Centres

(description of Brahma-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. There is another holy centre which is difficult of access even to Devas. It is known as Brahmatīrtha. It bestows on men worldly pleasures and salvation.

2-3. O excellent sage, when the hosts of Devas stood by (on the banks of Gautamī), when Daityas had entered the nether worlds and Mothers followed them, my fifth face having the terrible form of an ass said even as I was sitting in the midst of Devas.

4. “O Daityas why do you flee? You need not fear. I am coming quickly. I shall devour all Devas who come over here.”

5. On seeing it preventing me and intending to devour in this manner all Devas became frightened and they spoke to Viṣṇu:

6. “Save us, O Viṣṇu, save us, O lord of Universe, cut off the face of this Brahmā”.

The discus-bearing lord said to Devas: “I shall cut off the head with my discus.

7-8. But the moment it is cut off it will destroy the universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings. Hence, I shall tell you this secret. Let all Devas hear the entire thing.

The three-eyed lord is the proper person to cut off the head of Brahmā. He will hold it undoubtedly.”

Then Śambhu was eulogized and addressed by me:

9. Sacrifice is transitory. It is incapable of according a visible benefit. It is not at ail fruitful to the person who performs it. Thinking thus and deciding that one with matted hair was a sure guarantee for the gift of the fruit, people resorted to him and got realization.

10. Then the lord of Devas was pleased. For achieving the task of Devas and for rendering help to the people he spoke to Devas thus: “So be it”.

11. After cutting off that fierce face of sinful nature that made hairs stand on ends, after cutting it off with his nails he said: “Where shall it be placed?”

12-13. Then Earth spoke to Devas: “I am not capable of holding the head. I will be going down to the nether regions.”

The Ocean said: “I am not capable of holding the head. I will go dry in a trice.”

Then Devas said to Śiva: “This head of Brahmā must be held by you out of pity for the people.”

14. “If it is not cut off the entire universe will be destroyed; if it is cut the result is the same.”

After thinking thus Lord Śiva held the head of Brahmā in his hand.

15. On seeing that extraordinary and difficult task on the banks of Gautamī, Devas eulogized the lord out of love and devotion.

16. The extremely terrible head of Brahmā had been inimical to Devas. It had approached for devouring them. By the tips of his nails as sharp as a needle the crescent-crested lord plucked it off. Since there was danger in casting it off he held it in his hand out of compassion.

17. On seeing that super-divine activity, all those Devas who were standing near Brahmā eulogized the lord of Devas.

18. Thereafter that holy centre is known as Brahmatīrtha. Even today the form of Brahmā is one with four faces. It stands there.

19-23. He who sees only the head goes to the region of Brahmā.

The place where Rudra stood and cut off the head of Brahmā is the holy centre Rudratīrtha.

The place where the Sun stays directly in the form of Devas is the excellent Saurya Tīrtha. It is reputed as the bestower of benefits of all sacrifices. If one takes bath and visits the Sun, one does not take birth again.

The fifth head of Brahmā that was cut off by Mahādeva was installed in the holy centre Avimukta. By doing so he had done what is conducive to the welfare of Devas.

If a brahmin-slayer visits the head in the holy centre Brahmatīrtha and the skull of Brahmā himself installed in the holy centre Avimukta on the banks of Gautamī he becomes sanctified.

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