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 63 - Śuklatīrtha and other Holy Centres

(description of shukla-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre well known as Śuklatīrtha is the giver of success in all endeavours to men. By merely remembering it one shall attain all cherished objects.

2. There was a sage named Bharadvāja who was extremely righteous and well-known. His wife was Paiṭhīnasī by name. She was the ornament of a noble family.

3. That chaste lady sat on the bank of Gautamī and prepared sacrificial offerings for Fire-god and the Moon as well as for Indr a and Fire-god.

4. When the Puroḍāśa was being cooked a terrible demon was born out of the smoke. He was a terror unto all the three worlds. He was desirous of devouring the Puroḍāśa.

5. “Who are you destroying my Yajña out of anger?” The sage Bharadvāja, the excellent brahmin, asked him immediately. On hearing the words of the sage the Rākṣasa replied to him.

Rākṣasa said:

6. O Bharadvāja, know me as (the demon) well known as Havyaghna. I am the eldest son of Sandhyā and Prācīna-Barhiṣ.

7. This boon has been granted to me by Brahmā: “Devour Yajñas as you please.” My younger brother Kālī is strong and extremely terrible.

8. I am black. My father is black. My mother is black. So also my younger brother, I will destroy the sacrifice. I will cut off Yūpa (sacrificial post). I am the destroyer.

Bharadvāja said:

9. Let my Yajña be saved by you. Performing Yajña is my favourite and eternal duty. I know you are a destroyer of Yajñas (but) save my sacrifice along with the brahmin (priest).

Yajñaghna said:

10. O Bharadvāja, understand this brief statement of mine. Formerly, I was cursed by Brahmā in the presence of Devas and Dānavas.

11-12. Then the lord, the grandfather of the worlds, was pacified by me. (He said) “When the excellent sages sprinkle you with Amṛta (Nectar), O Havyaghna, you will be free from the curse and not otherwise”. O brahmin, if you do this whatever you desire you will get. This is not at all false.

Brahmā said:

13-15. Bharadvāja said again: “You are my friend, O highly intelligent one. Tell me that whereby my sacrifice can be saved. I shall do that. Devas and Daityas joined together and churned the milk ocean. They obtained nectar with great effort. How can that be easily accessible to us? Please, if you are favourably disposed tell me that which is readily available.” On hearing the words of the sage the Rākṣasa said happily.

Rākṣasa said:

16-17. The water of Gautamī river is called Amṛta. Gold is called Amṛta. Ghee produced from cow’s milk is also Amṛta, and Soma juice too is Amṛta. Sprinkle and shower me with these or at least with these three, viz. the water of Gaṅgā, ghee and gold. The water of Gaṅgā is superior to all. It is divine Amṛta.

Brahmā said:

18-23. On hearing this the sage experienced great pleasure. He took in his palm with great respect, the Amṛta, the water of the Gaṅgā and sprinkled the Rākṣasa with it. He sprinkled everything connected with the Yajña such as the sacrificial post, sacrificial animal and the circular platform of the sacrifice. When the noble-souled sage sprinkled, everything became white. The Rākṣasa became white. He who was dark in colour before became white in a moment. Bharadvāja the valorous one concluded his Yajña, bade farewell to the Ṛtviks and cast off the sacrificial post in the waters of Gaṅgā. Indeed the very same sacrificial post is in the middle of Gaṅgā even today serving as a token of that event. That Rākṣasa spoke to Bharadvāja again.

Rākṣasa said:

24-27. I am going, Bharadvāja. I have been made white. Hence those who take holy bath, offer charitable gifts or worship in this holy centre will realise their cherished desires. They will reap the fruit of this sacrifice, O sage. Their sins are destroyed by its mere remembrance. Thenceforth that holy centre is remembered as Śuklatīrtha. The door to heaven was kept open on the river Gautamī in the Daṇḍaka forest. On both banks there are seven thousand other holy centres. O noblest among sages, these holy centres bestow all miraculous powers.

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