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 54 - Putratīrtha and other Holy Centres

(description of putra-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre well-known as Putratīrtha is said to be a meritorious Tīrtha. Even by hearing its greatness one attains cherished desires.

2-3. I shall describe its qualities. Listen attentively, O Nārada. The sons of Diti[1] (Daityas) and the sons of Danu[1] (Dānavas) became week and exhausted. The sons of Aditi[1] became superior to them in every respect. Then Diti became overwhelmed by a spirit of rivalry on account of her misery due to separation from her sons. She approached Danu.

Diti said:

4-5. O gentle lady, our sons have become powerless. What shall we do? In the world Karman is extremely powerful. See the progeny of Aditi. They are unafflicted. They are excellent. They have a good kingdom with fame and splendour of victory. They have vanquished all enemies. Their renown and virtue are increasing. They are capable of destroying my mental peace and delight. This inequality is in spite of the fact that the same person is our husband, the family is the same and the general features and duties are the same.

6. I will not survive this. I have become shattered on seeing the splendour and glory of the children of Aditi. I am dejected and am experiencing a peculiarly miserable condition on seeing the excessive prosperity of Aditi. Even if we enter the forest fire it is certainly conducive to happiness. The prosperity and glory of a rival should not be seen even in dream.

Brahmā said:

7. Even as the charming lady was saying thus with deep sighs and sad face the son of Parameṣṭhin who had been honoured and whose weariness had gone, said to her after consoling her.

Parameṣṭhin’s son said:

8-12. O gentle lady, do not be grief-stricken; what is desired is achieved only by merit. Kaśyapa of noble features knows the means of achieving it. He will tell you, O chaste lady, should you be humble in every respect.

Brahmā said:

Danu said to Diti as she was saying thus, O Nārada.

Danu said:

O gentle lady, satisfy your husband Kaśyapa by your good qualities. If your husband is pleased you will attain your cherished desires.

Brahmā said:

Saying “So be it” she satisfied Kaśyapa in every respect. The holy lord Kaśyapa, the Patriarch, said to Diti.

Kaśyapa said:

13-15. O Diti of good holy rites, what shall I give you? What is it that you desire? Choose it.

Brahmā said:

Diti said to her husband that she wished for a son endowed with good qualities, who would be the conqueror of the universe and who would be bowed to by all. She said thus humbly: “O father of Devas, I choose this gift that I shall become a lady with a valiant son in this world through the child that is born.

Kaśyapa said:

16. I shall impart to you a holy rite lasting for twelve years. It will yield good fruits. After the holy rite is concluded, I shall impregnate you, as you desire. Ambitions are realized only when one is free from sins.

Brahmā said:

17-19. On the suggestion of her husband the delighted Diti of wide eyes bowed to him and performed the holy rite imparted by him adhering to the instructions laid down by her husband.

How can living beings who shun visits to the holy centres, who are averse to distribution of charitable gifts to deserving persons and observances of holy rites realize their ambitious desires?

After the holy rite had been duly performed Kaśyapa impregnated Diti. Again, he spoke to Diti, his beloved wife, in secret.

Kaśyapa said:

20-21. Since even the sages adhering to their penance do not attain what they desire if they disregard the ancillary rites as laid down (in the scriptures), O lady of pure smiles, what is censured should not be done. You must neither sleep nor move about during both the junctions (i.e. dawn and dusk). Do not keep your tresses loose.

22. O fortunate lady, one should not eat, sneeze or yawn during dawn and dusk when hosts of evil spirits gather together (and are very active).

23. These activities should always be pursued, especially laughter, with something to screen it with. You must never stand at the bounding edge of the house during dusk and dawn.

24. My beloved one, neither during the day nor at night should one step over the threshing rod, mortar, winnowing basket, pedestal, scabbard and other things.

25. One should not lie down with the head towards the north, especially at dusk and dawn. One should never utter a falsehood nor frequent other people’s houses.

26. No man except one’s husband should be looked at wantonly.

If you strictly adhere to these observances a son who will enjoy the riches of the three worlds will be born to you.

Brahmā said:

27-30. She promised the same to her husband who is worshipped by the world saying “So be it”. Kaśyapa then went away, O brahmin, hither and thither amongst Devas. The foetus within Diti increased in size and strength since it had been meritoriously procreated.

Maya[2] Daitya had known all these things exactly through his miraculous power, Māyā. Maya had intimate and pleasant friendship with Indra. He went to Indra and intimated everything to him in secret, viz. the intentions of Diti and Danu, the holy vow, development of the foetus and its valour and all other things. All these Maya intimated to Indra out of love.

31. If merits of various kinds are acquired, it is possible to have a friend who is the sole abode of confidence, devoid of fear of any calamity.

Nārada said:

32. Maya the very powerful Daitya was the beloved brother of Namuci. How did then Maya become friendly with the slayer of his brother, O lord of Devas?

Brahmā said:

33. Formerly, there was a very powerful leader of Daityas named Namuci. His enmity towards Indra was terrible. It caused hairs to stand on end.

34. Once Namuci, the heroic leader of Daityas, saw Indra abandoning the battle and going off. Then he pursued him.

35. On seeing him coming Indra became overwhelmed with fear. Leaving off Airāvata, Indra entered the foam in water.

36-40. The thunderbolt-armed Indra instantly killed his enemy through the foam. Namuci was slain and his younger brother Maya performed a great penance as an expiation for the annihilation of the brother’s foe. He was able to secure Māyā (deceptive powers) of diverse kinds terrifying to the gods. By means of penance he secured boons from Viṣṇu, the ultimate refuge of all worlds. Then he became an efficient donor and lovingly delightful conversationist. Maya worshipped the sacred fires and the brahmins and waited impatiently for an opportunity to conquer Indra. From Vāyu, Indra knew that Maya was a liberal donor unto the suppliants; that he was eulogized by the bards and that he was his enemy with the power of Māyā. Then Indra assumed the form of a brahmin and approached asura Maya who had started a strategic battle. He spoke to Maya again and again.

Indra said:

41. I am an excellent brahmin, O lord of Daityas. I have come to you as a suppliant after hearing that you are the most distinguished among the donors. Give unto me, a suppliant, the boon sought after.

Brahmā said:

42. Maya took him for a brahmin and said: “It has been given to you by me. When a suppliant is in front, do virtuous persons begin to ponder over (the subject begged for) whether it is too much or too little?”

43-45. When this was said Indra replied, “I wish for friendship with you”. Maya said again to Indra, “Of what avail is this, O excellent brahmin? I have no enmity with you.” Indra then said: “O Hail to Maya.” Indra was then advised by the Daitya, “Speak out the truth”. Thereupon Indra revealed to the Daitya his own body which was thousand-eyed. Then Maya who was extremely surprised said to Indra:

Maya said:

46-48. What is this? You are the thunderbolt-armed one! Friend, this is an action not befitting you.

Brahmā said:

Laughing and embracing him Indra said: “That is enough. Learned men achieve their desired object by any means whatsoever”.

Thenceforward, O greatest of sages, Indra had great love for Maya and Maya too acted for the welfare of Indra.

49. Maya went to Indra’s abode and intimated everything to him. Indra asked Maya, the expert in Māyā, “What am I to do?”

50. Out of love Maya gave his Māyā to Indra. Indra was then delighted on acquiring it and said “O Maya, what should I do? Tell me that.”

Maya said:

51-52. Go to the hermitage of Agastya. The pregnant Diti stays there. You remain there for some days waiting on her. Holding the thunderbolt enter her womb and cut the growing foetus till it comes under your control or dies. Then the enemy will cease to exist.

Brahmā said:

53-55. Saying “So be it” and after honouring Maya Indra immediately went to Diti, his step-mother, in great humility. He began to serve that noble lady, the mother of Daityas. Diti was not aware of the real intention of Indra who was actually inimical. But the living entity that was inside the womb knew the intention of Indra. It was the unfailing splendour of sage Kaśyapa, inaccessible to enemies.

56-58. The thousand-eyed lord Indra was desirous of entering within. Holding his thunderbolt, he waited for an opportunity. Once he saw her sleeping at dusk with her head to the North. The thunderbolt-armed lord said to himself, “This is the opportunity” and he entered the belly of Diti: The living entity that was staying within, saw Indra holding the weapon and desirous of killing him. Then he said to the lord boldly:

The foetus in the womb said:

59. O thunderbolt-armed one, why don’t you protect me, your brother. You are desirous of killing me. There is no other greater sin than killing (someone) outside battle.

60. (Killing) except in battle (is never just), O lord of large arms. O Indra, fight (with me) when I come out. Hence this is not proper on your part.

61. You are the person who has performed a hundred sacrifices; you are the thousand-eyed one, you are the husband of Śacī; you are the annihilator of the cities (of enemies); you are the lord of Devas armed with thunderbolt. O lord this is not proper on your part.

62. Or, if you are desirous of a battle, facilitate my coming out. O thunderbolt-armed one, shun this path.

63-64. Great men do not step on the evil path even though there may be an emergency. (I am) devoid of learning; I have no weapon. Nor do I have any collection of implements. O thunderbolt-armed one, you are learned. Aren’t you ashamed in attempting to kill me? Noble men never indulge in a despicable act.

65-68. Do you expect fame or merit by killing me? If brothers staying within the womb are deliberately killed, will it be an act of manliness! If, on the other hand, you have any eagerness for fighting with me, my brother, (you can have it) undoubtedly.

After saying this he stood up there showing the fist to Indra.

(He continued then.) This is the fruit, O Indra, of being a slayer of a brother or committing breach of trust. Why did you attempt to kill me? Does this yield any fame? Is there manliness in this? He by whose command the entire world consisting of mobile and immobile beings, functions has now become slayer of a boy! He is trying to kill me.

Brahmā said:

69. Even as he was saying thus Indra cut the foetus with his thunderbolt. Neither greedy persons nor those who are blind with anger have any sympathy anywhere.

70-72. (The foetus) did not die. (The pieces) said sadly, “We are your brothers”. Again he cut those pieces. They said, “O Śatakratu (one who has performed a hundred sacrifices), do not kill us, your brothers confidently resting in the mother’s womb”.

There is not even an iota of mercy in the minds of those persons whose intellects are affected by hatred.

He saw seven times seven (i.e. forty-nine) pieces cut apart without any sign of emotion. All of them had hands, feet and life. On seeing this he was surprised.

73-76. The auspicious pieces stationed in the womb had many but similar forms. Those multiformed pieces began to cry. Indra said to them “Māruta” (Do not cry). They therefore became Maruts of extremely powerful splendour. Even while remaining within the womb they consulted one another free from all misapprehensions about īndra. They said to Agastya, the noblest among sages in whose hermitage their mother was staying:

“Our father and your brother esteems your friendship much, O sage. We know that you have a tender feeling for us. The thunderbolt-bearer Indra has done to us what even a Caṇḍāla does not do”.

77-79. On hearing these words Agastya went there in excitement. He roused Diti who was distressed due to pain in the womb. The extremely infuriated Agastya cursed the husband of Śacī.

Agastya said:

O Indra, your enemies will always see your back in battlefield.

If enemies see the backs of self-respecting fighters as they flee from battle-field it is death unto them even though they are physically alive.

Brahmā said:

80-81. Angrily Diti cursed Indra who was within her womb.

Diti said:

O Indra, what has been committed by you is not an act of manliness. Hence this curse will take effect on you. You will be humiliated by women and ousted from your kingdom.

Brahmā said:

82. In the meantime the patriarch Kaśyapa came there. He became distressed on hearing from Agastya about the evil deed of Indra.

Indra who was within the womb spoke to his father like a frightened person.

Indra said:

83-84. I am afraid to come out because of Agastya and Diti.

Brahmā said:

The patriarch Kaśyapa who came near his wife saw the act of his son, his stay within the womb, and heard about the curses of Diti and Agastya. So he became distressed.

Kaśyapa said:

85. Dear son Indra, come out. Why did you commit this sin? Persons born of pure families do not become inclined towards sins.

Brahmā said:

86. The thunderbolt-armed one came out and spoke with his face downwards on account of shame. Physiognomy of men itself speaks out their good and bad deeds.

Indra said:

87-94. Undoubtedly I shall do what is said (by you) as conducive to welfare.

Brahmā said:

Then Kaśyapa came near me along with the guardians of the quarters. He told me everything that had happened and asked me (how to bring about) the normalcy of the womb of Diti, freedom of the thousand-eyed lord from the curse, the friendly alliance of all those (pieces) within the womb with Indra, their freedom from illness, absence of defects for the husband of Śacī and non-effectiveness of the curse given by Agastya, in due order.

Then I spoke these words to Kaśyapa, who was endowed with humility: “O Kaśyapa, O Prajāpati, bestower of honour, go immediately to Gautamī accompanied by Indra, Vasus and guardians of quarters. Take your bath there and eulogize Maheśāna in the company of everyone. Then by the grace of Śiva everything conducive to your welfare shall befall you,”

Saying “So be it” Kaśyapa went to Gautamī then. After taking bath, he eulogized the lord of Devas by these words.

For the removal of all miseries only two things are well-known—the sacred river Gautamī and Śiva the merciful.

Kaśyapa said:

95-100. Protect, O Śaṅkara, O lord of Devas. Protect, O lord, bowed to by the worlds. Protect, O sanctifier, protect, O lord of speech with serpents for ornaments.

Protect, O virtuous one seated on the bull. Protect, O lord, with three Vedas as the eyes. Protect, O upholder of the Earth, O lord of wealth and glory. Protect, O Śarva with the elephant’s hide for garment.

Protect, O lord, destroyer of three cities. Protect, O crescent-crested one. Protect, O lord of Yajñas, O lord of Soma. Protect, O lord, the bestower of cherished things.

Protect, O abode of mercy. Protect, O bestower of auspiciousness. Protect, O origin of everything. Protect, O protector, O Indra, lord of wealth.

Protect, O brilliant one. Protect, O lord of wealth bowed to by Brahmā. Protect, O lord of the universe. Protect, O lord of Siddhas. Protect, O perfect one, obeisance be to you.

O Śiva, O ocean of mercy, you alone are the refuge of the embodied beings whose minds are dejected due to the wanderings through the terrible forest of worldly existence.

Brahmā said:

101. Even as he eulogized thus, the bull-bannered lord appeared in front of him. He asked Kaśyapa, the patriarch, to choose a boon as he pleased.

102-103. Kaśyapa spoke these words very humbly to Śiva. He narrated in detail the evil deeds of Indra, the curse, the destruction of sons, the mutual enmity, the incurring of sins and curse by Indra. Then Vṛṣākapi said to Diti and Agastya.

Śiva said:

104-106. The Maruts who are your sons and who number forty-nine shall be fortunate ones taking their shares in the Yajñas. They will always be accompanied by Indra and they will be joyous. Wherever Indra has a share in the Havis offerings in any sacrifice, Maruts will undoubtedly have priority therein.

107. No one will ever vanquish Indra when accompanied by Maruts. He will be victorious always. Stay happy for ever, O Patriarch.

108. From now onwards if persons commit fratricide unjustly they will meet with extermination of their family as well as other calamities for ever.

Brahmā said:

109-113. Śambhu emphatically said to Agastya, the noblest among sages:

Śambhu said:

O sage, do not be angry with the husband of Śacī. O extremely intelligent one, be calm. The Maruts have become immortal.

Brahmā said:

The delighted bull-bannered lord Śiva spoke to Diti also.

Śiva said:

You had thought thus: “Let a son be born to me who will be embellished with the riches of the three worlds” and then had strictly pursued the path of penance. That penance has now become fruitful to you. You have now splendid sons with numerous qualities. They have become strong and heroic. Hence cast off your mental anguish. O lady of beautiful eyebrows, be free from excitement and beg for other boons as well.

Brahmā said:

114. On hearing these words of the lord of Devas, Diti bowed to Śambhu with arms joined in reverence and said:

Diti said:

115. The birth of a son is a great event for parents in the world. It shall be particularly endearing to a mother, O lord, worshipped by Devas.

116. If that son happens to be one richly endowed with handsome features, heroism and valour (there is no doubt that he will be more endearing). Even one such son (is endearing). What to say when there are many such (sons)!

117. By virtue of your power my sons will be certainly strong and victorious. They are the true sons of the Patriarch and the brothers of Indra.

118-119. (They are valourous) due to the favour of Agastya and Gaṅgā. There will be auspiciousness, O lord, where there is your favour. What doubt is there in it? I am contented. Still I shall submit this devoutly. Listen, O lord, to my words and do what is conducive to the welfare of the universe.

Brahmā said:

120-123. When she was told by the Maker of the universe, “Speak out”, Diti humbly said:

Diti said:

The acquisition of a child in the world is very difficult, O lord, saluted by Devas. It is particularly pleasing to the mother. What to say if it happens to be a son!

If that son is endowed with good qualities, glorious and long-lived, of what avail is heaven, salvation or the status of Parameṣṭhin himself? The acquisition of a virtuous son is always welcomed by the living beings desirous of benefits both here and hereafter. Hence let that benefit be conferred if one takes one’s holy dip here.

Śaṅkara said:

124-126. It is fruit of great sins that one is unable to beget children. If a woman were to be barren or a man to be impotent that defect can be rectified merely by taking bath here. One shall take bath and offer fruits and recite this prayer and then one obtains a son as a result of the bath and charitable gifts performed for three months. A barren woman shall bear a son by taking bath here.

127-128. Any woman who has had her bath after menstruation shall bear a son if she takes her bath here. Within three months after conception a pregnant woman shall devoutly take her bath, offer fruits, visit me and eulogize me with this prayer. She will then give birth to a son who will be equal to Indra.

129. O Diti, listen. If persons do not beget sons due to offences committed against the manes or due to the fault of misappropriation of money, the following is the best atonement.

130. In such cases the person shall offer balls of rice, propitiate manes and gift away a bit of gold. Then he will certainly have a son.

131. The family of these persons does not flourish: those persons who take away or misappropriate money kept in trust, persons who conceal jewels or deny their existence, and those who do not perform the rite of Śrāddha.

132. This (holy river) shall be the resort of such guilty persons after their death. Children deserving praise shall be born to those living persons who perform pilgrimage to the holy centres.

133-136. The devotee shall take a holy bath at the confluence of Diti and Gaṅgā and worship lord Siddheśvara who is beginningless and unageing, who is extensive, whose body consists of existence, knowledge and bliss, who is the great lord served by the chiefs among Devas, sages, Siddhas, Gandharvas and Yogins, who is in the form of Liṅga, who is brilliant and who is free from illness. He shall worship everyday with all articles of worship. He shall be devout. He shall perform holy rites with full control over the limbs and sense-organs. He shall eulogize me by means of this prayer on the eighth and fourteenth days of the lunar fortnight. He shall gift away gold in accordance with his capacity. He shall feed brahmins. Whoever does these on the Gaṅgā shall obtain a hundred sons.

137-141. After attaining his cherished desires he shall go to the city of Śiva on death. Whoever eulogizes me by means of this prayer, wherever be he, shall beget a son within six months. Undoubtedly it is so even if she happens to be a barren lady.

Brahmā said:

Thenceforth that holy centre is cited as Putratīrtha. By taking bath there, by distributing charitable gifts and performing other similar rites there one shall attain all cherished desires.

The place where friendship with the Maruts took place is called Mitratīrtha. Since this holy centre rendered Indra sinless it is called Śakratīrtha.

Where Indra obtained his glory, that holy centre is named Kamalatīrtha. All these holy centres are the bestowers of all cherished desires.

“All will happen” saying this Śiva vanished. All (those assembled there) went away in the manner they had come, with contentment.

It is well known that there are a hundred thousand holy centres there that bestow merit.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

According to Mahābhārata, Ādiparvan, Diti, Danu and Aditi were daughters of Dakṣa Prajāpati and were married to Kaśyapa, grandson of Brahmā and son of Marīci.

[2]:

The architect and artificer of the non-gods.

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