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 84 - Sahasrakuṇḍa and other Holy Centres

(description of Sahasrakunda-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. Those who are conversant with the Vedas know the holy centre well known as Sahasrakuṇḍa. Merely by remembering it a man becomes happy.

2-4. Formerly, Rāma son of Daśaratha caused a bridge to be built over the great sea. Thereafter he burnt Laṅkā and killed Rāvaṇa and other enemies with arrows. After obtaining Vaidehī (Sītā) Rāma spoke these words even as the guardians of the quarters were watching and while his preceptor was standing in front. In the presence of Lakṣmaṇa Rāma spoke these words to Sītā who had been purified in the fire: “Come on Vaidehī, you have become pure. You deserve to sit on my lap.”

5-9. “No” said the glorious Aṅgada and Hanumān. “O Vaidehī we shall go to Ayodhyā along with our friends. There you must become purified even as the brothers, mothers and the general public stand watching. Then, O princess, after being purified, it behoves you to sit on the lap (of Rāma) on an auspicious day at Ayodhyā.” Who can have any suspicion about the character of this lady? Still, adverse public comment and rumour should be warded off amongst one’s own kinsmen. Disregarding the suggestion of these two, Lakṣmaṇa, Vibhīṣaṇa, Rāma and Jāmbavān called that daughter of the king. She was told “Svasti” (Hail) by Devas and she sat on the lap of the king.

10-12. They were delighted and hurriedly started in the shining aerial chariot Puṣpaka. They reached the city of Ayodhyā, the capital of Ikṣvāku kingdom. They were joyful and they always obeyed Rāma. After a few days he heard unbecoming slander from ignoble persons. As a result thereof he abandoned his pregnant wife Sītā who was not born of any womb. Persons of noble birth do not brook even false accusation and slander.

13. Shedding tears himself, Lakṣmaṇa abandoned the weeping Sītā who was undefiled, near the hermitage of Vālmīki, a great sage.

14-22. It was out of fear that he did so, because the command of elders should not be transgressed.

Thereafter, after few days Rāma, the son of a great king (Daśaratha), got himself initiated along with Lakṣmaṇa for a horse-sacrifice.

Both the glorious sons of Rāma, Lava and Kuśa came there. They were good musicians like Nārada. Like Gandharvas they possessed melodious voice. They came to the sacrificial chamber singing the whole of Rāmāyaṇa, the complete story of Rāma. Then they were presumed to be royel princes by obvious signs and recognized as the heroic sons of Vaidehī, i.e. Rāma’s own sons.

Bringing them (into the palace) he crowned his sons one after the other. He placed them on his lap and embraced them again and again.

To all the embodied beings who are distressed due to worldly sorrows and who have no other go, the embrace of their sons alone can be the cause of peace and rest.

He embraced his sons again and again. He kissed and caressed them frequently. Meditating upon something he began to heave sighs and gasp for breath frequently.

In the meantime, Rākṣasas, the residents of Laṅkā, came there.

Sugrīva, Hanumān, Aṅgada, Jāmbavān and other monkeys came there. All of them came there with Vibhīṣaṇa as their leader.

23-26. They approached the king who was seated on the throne. Not being able to see Sītā, Hanumān and Aṅgada who had golden bracelets asked, “Where has mother (Sītā), not born of any womb, gone? Rama is seen here alone.”

The gatekeepers said, “She has been abandoned by Rāma.”

They said: “Even as the guardians of the quarters were watching, when Rāma was speaking eloquently Sītā had been sanctified in fire, but the king is unchecked. Rāma has abandoned that beloved wife because of some public utterances. Let us die”. After saying thus they went to Gautamī.

27. Rāma followed them closely behind along with the residents of Ayodhyā. After coming to Gautamī they performed penance there.

28. Remembering Sītā, the mother of the worlds, they heaved sighs of distress. They were devoid of any attachment to the worldly pleasures. They were eager to serve Gautamī.

29-30. Rāma himself, who was the lord of three worlds came there accompanied by his younger brother. After taking holy bath in Gautamī he became eagerly engaged in propitiating Śiva. He got rid of all distress. He was surrounded by a thousand persons there.

The place where this event happened is called Sahasrakuṇḍa.

31-34. There are ten other holy centres there which bestow all wealth and objects. Taking a holy dip and offering charitable gifts there, bestows the benefit thousand times increased. On the banks of holy Gautamī, with the help of Vasiṣṭha and other leading sages he performed Homa that redeems one from all adversities and destroys sins. He performed the same in a thousand sacrificial pits by means of uninterrupted flow of gold. He obtained all cherished desires by the grace of Gautamī, the mother of rivers. Performing great penances the slayer of Rākṣasas became famous. That place became the holy centre named Sahasrakuṇḍa. It yields great benefits.

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