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 77 - Apsaroyuga-saṅgama-tīrtha and other Holy Centres

(description of Apsaroyuga-sangama-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1-4. The next holy centre to be recounted is Apsaroyuga or Apsarā saṅgama. This holy centre is on the southern bank. By remembering it one becomes highly glorious and fortunate.

By holy dip etc. performed there a man shall undoubtedly become liberated. If a chaste lady takes her menstrual bath there at the confluence, O Nārada, she shall give birth to a son. Even a barren woman shall give birth to a son if she stays there for three months along with her husband and performs holy dip. My words cannot become otherwise.

Listen attentively, O Nārada. I shall tell the reason why this holy centre is called Apsaroyuga.

5-7. O brahmin, there was a great rivalry between Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha. Thereafter, the son of Gādhi (Visvāmitra) began to perform penance and holy rites with great self-control seated at Gaṅgādvāra. Then Indra induced Menakā, “At my behest, O gentle lady, go and make him a dafaulter in his penance.” On being told so by Indra, Menā forced Viśvāmitra to commit a breach of his penance, gave birth to a daughter unto him and went back to Indra’s city.

8-11. When she had gone back the son of Gādhi recalled (regretfully) everything that had been committed by him. He abandoned that place and went to southern Gaṅgā, the holy centre which Devas loved and where Śiva is (called) Lord Kālañjara. Then the thousand-eyed lord Indra asked Urvaśī, Menā, Rambhā and Tilottamā to spoil his penance. Being extremely frightened they said “No”. Thereupon the consort of Śacī asked Gambhīrā and Atigambhīrā who were excessively proud (of their ability in this regard). Both of them said to the thousand-eyed Indra.

Gambhirā and Atigambhīrā said:

12-13. We shall go and by means of our dances, songs, beauty of form and youthful charms cause the downfall of the highly lustrous son of Gādhi who is performing a penance, who is not defeated by those women in whose side-long glance, laughter, speech and rich asset of graceful charms, Cupid lives for ever.

Brahmā said:

14-16. When the thousand-eyed lord said “So be it” they came to the great river and saw the great sage Viśvāmitra performing the penance. They were unable even to look at him for a thousand and one years because he was unassailable even to the god of death and seemed like Dhūrjaṭi (Śiva) stationed on the Earth. They remained far off and engaged themselves in dances, songs and coaxing speeches. On seeing them the great among the sages became extremely annoyed.

17-20. Who does not become angry on seeing an adverse act? Although the mighty-armed (Viśvāmitra) was free from desires he appeared to say laughingly to Indra, “The thousandeyed lord has been abandoned by these two celestial damsels”. Then the son of Gādhi cursed them: “You will attain the form of liquid. That is because you had attempted to liquefy me immediately.” He was then propitiated by them. Therefore, he granted them deliverance from the curse: “If you two are joined to Gaṅgā you will regain your divine forms.”

As a result of the curse, they assumed the forms of rivers at that very time.

21-23. The two rivers were called ‘Pairs of celestial damsels’. Their mutual confluence as well as the confluence with Gaṅgā is well known in all the worlds. Lord Śiva who yields worldly pleasures and salvation stays there. As soon as he is seen he bestows all spiritual achievements.

By taking holy plunge there and by visiting the lord, one is released from all bondage.

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