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 71 - Kapilasaṅgama and other Holy Centres

(description of Kapila-sangama)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre named Kapilasaṅgama is well known in three worlds. Listen, O Nārada, I shall tell the excellent and holy story.

2. There was a sage of very great fame named Kapila. He was a knower of philosophical truth. He was cruel sometimes and kind and gracious sometimes. He was devoted to the performance of penance and holy rites.

3-4. As that excellent sage was performing penance after resorting to the banks of Gautamī, Vāmadeva and other sages came to him and said:

Vena had already been killed by the curses of these brahmins. But after his death there was anarchy and practice of virtue disappeared. At that time the sages approached the preceptor Kapila who was a Siddha and spoke thus:

The sages said:

5-9. When the Veda has gone, when holy rites are gone, what should be done, O leading sage?

Brahmā said:

Then the sage Kapila meditated (for a short while) and spoke to the sages who came there.

Kapila said:

The thigh of Vena should be twisted and churned. Thereafter someone will come out of it.

Brahmā said:

The sages did likewise. They twisted and churned the thigh of Vena. From it was produced an excessively sinful and black being full of terrible strength. On seeing him the sages became afraid and said: “Be seated.” Hence he became Niṣāda. From him the Hill tribes (Niṣādas) were born.

10-12. Then they twisted and churned the right arm of Vena, endowed with virtue. From it the glorious king Pṛthu was born. He had a loud voice. He was marked by all characteristics. He was endowed with the ability of Brahmā. Devas approached him, congratulated him and granted him excellent boons. They gave him miraculous weapons of good quality and their magic formulae. Then sages accompanied by Kapila spoke thus to Pṛthu.

The sages said:

13-18. Give food unto the living beings. Give them those medicinal herbs that had been swallowed by the Earth.

Brahmā said:

Taking up his bow, the excellent king spoke to the Earth.

Pṛthu said:

For the welfare of subjects, give me those herbs that have been swallowed by you.

Brahmā said:

The frightened Earth spoke to Pṛthu who had big eyes.

The Earth said:

The great medicinal herbs have been digested within me. How will I be able to give them?

Brahmā said:

Then the furious king spoke again to the Earth.

Pṛthu said:

19-22. If you do not give them today I will kill you and take away the great medicinal herbs.

The Earth said:

How can you kill a woman, O king? O excellent king, though you are wise, how will you sustain these subjects without me?

Pṛthu said:

O Earth, there will be no fault if many gain by the destruction of one, I shall sustain the subjects by the power of my penance.

I do not see any fault here. Nor do I speak in vain. If one is killed to make others happy thereby, sages say that his slaughter is superior to a hundred horse sacrifices.

Brahmā said:

23. Then Devas and sages pacified the excellent king. Devas spoke to the Earth, the divine mother.

Devas said:

24. O Earth, assume the form of a cow and give great medicinal herbs in the form of milk to king Pṛthu. Then the king shall become delighted. This will result in the protection of the subjects and it will do good to all.

25. The Kapilā (tawny coloured cow) assumed the form of a cow (and stood) near Kapila. The king born of the arm of Vena milked the great medicinal herbs from the cow.

26-27. (This was at the place) where Devas along with Gandharvas, sage Kapila and others were present. O great sage, the king Pṛthu milked a lot of milk from the Earth that had assumed the form of a cow into Narmadā, Bhāgīrathī, Sarasvatī, Godāvarī in particular and in all great rivers.

28. On being milked by Pṛthu it became a river of meritorious waters. It joined Gautamī. It was as though a miracle had happened.

29-30. Thenceforth, they know that holy centre to be Kapila-saṅgama, O highly intelligent one. The sages say that there are eighty-eight thousand holy centres worthy of worship. Merely by being remembered, O Nārada, they sanctify this world in their proper order.

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