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 87 - Kiṣkindhā—A Holy Centre

(description of Kishkindha-tirtha)

1. The holy centre Kiṣkindhātīrtha is said to be the bestower of all cherished desires of men. It is the place where the deity Bhava dwells. It dispels all sins.

2-4 I shall describe its form and features. Listen attentively, O Nārada.

Formerly, Rāma, son of Daśaratha, with the help of the residents of Kiṣkindhā killed in battle Rāvaṇa who caused worlds to cry. After killing him along with his sons and his army, the king, the slayer of the enemies returned taking Sītā with him. He was accompanied by his brother Lakṣmaṇa, the powerful monkeys, the mighty Vibhīṣaṇa and Devas.

5-6. The auspicious rite of Svastyayana (wishing him happy and prosperous journey) was performed. The glorious king flew by the aerial chariot Puṣpaka that (formerly) belonged to the lord of wealth and that could go speedily wherever one desired to go. All of them went to Ayodhyā. On his way Rāma, the slayer of enemies, who was worthy of being sought refuge in by the people in need of refuge saw Gaṅgā.

7-8. He saw Gautamī, the sanctifier of the universe, the bestower of cherished desires, the ultimate goal for the removal of mental distress and pleasant to the eyes. On seeing it the glorious king entered the banks of Gautamī and addressed the monkeys beginning with Hanumān in a voice faltering due to excessive delight.

Rāma said:

9. O monkeys, it was due to the power of this (holy river) that my lordly father became free from all sins and thereafter went to heaven.

10. She is the mother of all creatures. She is the bestower of worldly pleasures. She shall even bestow salvation. She shall destroy even terrible sins. Which other river is equal to this?

11. All the sins have been permanently destroyed. By the power of this river even enemies have become friends. Vibhīṣaṇa has become my permanent ally. Sītā has been redeemed. Hanumān has become a kinsman.

12. It is through the worship of this river that Laṅkā has been destroyed and Rāvaṇa has been killed along with his group. Gautama worshipped the excellent lord Śiva having matted hair, worthy of being resorted to, and attained the river.

13. She is the producer of all desired objects. She is the destroyer of all inauspicious things. She is the only sanctifier of the Universe. Today the mother of rivers is seen directly.

14. By body, by speech and by mind I seek refuge in Gaṅgā who is worthy of being resorted to. With all feelings (of reverence) I salute the mother of good ones, who has taken up her dwelling in the matted hair of Śiva.

Brahmā said:

15. On hearing these words of the king, the monkeys plunged into it and swam there. They duly performed worship with various flowers and objects worthy of being offered as present.

16. After worshipping Śiva duly, the king eulogized him with words endowed with feelings. The monkeys rejoiced. They danced and sang.

17. Accompanied by his beloved wife, the great soul stayed there happily for that night. He was surrounded by persons full of love. He cast off all misery that was caused by enemies. What is it that is not obtained by resorting of Gautamī?

18. With wonder and amazement he looked at his servants. Delighted, he eulogized Godāvarī. Honouring the entire group of servants he attained a very special pleasure. Again when it dawned and the sun became free from impurities Vibhīṣaṇa spoke to Rāma, the son of Daśaratha.

Vibhīṣaṇa said:

19. We are not at all satiated by the holy centre till now. We shall live here for some time. We shall stay here for four more nights and thereafter we shall go to Ayodhyā in a body.

Brahmā said:

20. The monkeys agreed to his suggestion. They worshipped the lord of all, Īśvara, for the next four nights. Then they went to the holy centre, the favourite, of his brother (i.e. Rāvaṇa).

21. That holy centre is famous throughout the world by the name Siddheśvara. It is through his grace that Rāvaṇa became very powerful. Thus they spent five days and worshipped Liṅgas installed by themselves.

22. The son of Vāyu, Hanumān, the follower of the king, began to serve there. On his way the great king said to Hanumān—“Ceremoniously cast off all Liṅgas.

23. These liṅgas are installed by me as well as by others who are excellent knowers of Mantras. They have been installed by Śaṅkara’s servants also. Without the rite of (ceremonious dischage) no external (Liṅga) of Bhava should be joined to the Great Śaṅkara.

24-25. If anyone were to remain intact in spite of slighting him, the deity or Liṅga, he would be standing steadily on the edge or blade of a sword or other similar things.

Those who have no faith, those who are indifferent and those who do not perform their duty after the worship of Liṅga, are deservedly cooked and roasted in all sorts of miserable hells by the servants of Yama.”

At the behest of Rāma, the son of Vāyu, Hanumān, went there but could not uproot it with his hands.

26. Then he wished to take it out with his tail. He encircled the Liṅga with his tail. But he abandoned his effort. He was unable to uproot it. It was surprising to the great monkeys as well as the king.

27. Who is that intelligent man strong enough to shake the Liṅga of Maheśa that has attained stability and grandeur? On seeing it steadfast the excellent king of great magnificence suddenly went out.

28. He invited Brahmins. After circumambulating and performing worship with extremely pure heart Rāmacandra bowed down to Liṅgas along with all those brahmins.

29-31. Therefore, this holy centre was resorted to by the eminent residents of Kiṣkindhā. There is no doubt that the great sins are destroyed by taking a plunge (into the waters) here.

Saying “O Mother Gautamī, be pleased” he devoutly bowed down to her once again. He blurted out these words often. He was overwhelmed by surprise. He looked at and bowed down to Gautamī.

Thenceforth, Devas say that this Kiṣkindhā is extremely sacred. He who reads, remembers or listens to this narrative devoutly gets rid of his sins. What to speak of holy plunge and offering charitable gifts!

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