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 74 - Paruṣṇīsaṅgama and other Holy Centres

(description of Parushni-sangama)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre named Paruṣṇīsaṅgama is well-known in the three worlds. I shall recount its characteristic features. It destroys all sins.

2-4. Atri propitiated Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. When they were pleased, he said: “You (three) shall be my sons. O Devas, a beautiful daughter also shall be born to me”.

So Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara were born as his sons. Atri begot a daughter named Śubhātreyī. The three sons of that noble sage were Datta, Soma and Durvāsas.

5-8. The sage Aṅgiras was born of Agni (Fire-god) along with Aṅgāras (sparks of fire). Therefore, he is called Aṅgiras. Atri gave Ātreyī of supreme splendour to that Aṅgiras.

On account of the power of Agni he always spoke harsh words to Ātreyī. Ātreyī went on serving him regularly.

Sons of great strength and valour were born of her to Aṅgiras. This sage Aṅgiras always spoke harsh words to Ātreyī. The Āṅgirasas, the sons, used to quieten their father always.

Once she was excessively dejected on account of the harsh words of her husband. The distressed lady joined her palms in reverence and spoke to her elderly father-in-law (the Fire-god).

Ātreyī said:

9-10. O carrier of Havyas, I am daughter of Atri and the wife of your son. I am always engaged in serving my husband and sons. My husband always speaks harsh words to me. For no reason he looks at me angrily. Instruct me, O eldest one among Devas, and restrain my husband.

The Fire-god said:

11-12. Your husband, sage Aṅgiras, is born of sparks of flame. O gentle lady, let some means be employed so that he becomes quiet.

Being fiery your husband has approached fire (?) O lady with excellent face. Then, at my behest you flow in the form of water.

Ātreyī said:

13. I would rather endure the harsh words. Let not my husband leap into the fire. Of what avail is life for women who are against their husbands?

14. I wish for peaceful words. So also I must have my husband too.

Fire-god said:

15-16. Agni is present in waters, in bodies, in mobile as well as immobile beings. I am the perpetual abode of your husband. I am considered his father. Realizing that I am what I am, do not worry too much. Moreover, “Waters are divine mothers and Agni is (your) father-in-law”—keeping this firmly in mind do not be too much disheartened, dear daughter-in-law.

Ātreyī said:

17. You yourself say that waters are mothers. I am the wife of your son, O Agni. Being his wife how can I be his mother as well in the form of waters, O lord?

Fire-god said:

18. At first you were (wife as a religious partner). Then you were (wife as the sustainer). Then you are (wife from whom the son is born). You are (wife as one who seeks the welfare of her husband). O gentle lady, you have assumed all these roles. (Hence) do as I ask you to do.

19. He who is born of her is her son. She is his mother definitely. There is no doubt about it. Hence those who are conversant with the principles of the Vedas say that she is no longer his wife when a son is born.

Brahmā said:

20. On hearing the words of her father-in-law Ātreyī flooded with water her husband who had assumed the form of fire.

21-22. The couple got mingled with the water of Gaṅgā, O brahmin. Both of them attained quiet forms and features.

The couple were on a par with Viṣṇu in the company of Lakṣmī, Śaṅkara accompanied by Umā and the Moon united with Rohiṇī.

23. Sweeping her husband by means of flood she assumed aquatic body. She became the famous river Paruṣṇī and joined the river Gaṅgā.

24-27. One shall obtain the merit of bestowing a hundred cows by taking holy plunge in Paruṣṇī. The sons of Aṅgiras performed Yajñas with plenty of monetary gifts.

Those who are well versed in the Purāṇas mention that there are three thousand holy centres there on either side of the river, dear one. They know that they severally yield the benefit of performing yajñas. The holy plunge and offering charitable gifts there, especially at the confluence of Paruṣṇī and Gaṅgā yield more benefit than a hundred Vājapeyas. It is not possible to mention adequately the benefit that accrues from the holy plunge and offerings of charitable gifts there.

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