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 97 - Vipratīrtha also known as Nārāyaṇa-tīrtha

(description of Vipra aka. Narayana Tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. There is a holy centre well known as Vipratīrtha. They know it as Nārāyaṇa Tīrtha also. I shall recount its story that causes wonder. Listen.

2. In Antarvedī i.e. the tract of land between Gaṅgā and Yamunā there was a certain brahmin who had mastered the Vedas. His sons were highly intelligent and endowed with good qualities, handsome features and kind temperament.

3. The youngest brother was quiet and endowed with a number of good qualities. He was well known as Āsandiva. He was highly intelligent and had perfect knowledge of everything.

4-7. The father made all efforts for the marriage of Āsandiva. In the meantime that son of a brahmin went to sleep at night without remembering Viṣṇu and without mental purity and concentration. He had kept his head in the direction of north. So a demoness of ruthless features with ability to assume any form as she pleased, kidnapped Āsandiva and hastily took him to a town on the southern bank of Gautamī, to the northern side of Śrīgiri. That town was frequented by many brahmins. It was an abode of virtue and prosperity.

The king there was Bṛhatkīrti who was endowed with the good qualities of a Kṣatriya.

8. At the end of the night that demoness, accompanied by the son of the brahmin reached his city endowed with unlimited and flourishing prosperity. She used to assume enchanting forms everyday.

9. She used to wander over the entire Earth accompanied by that brahmin. She used to assume any form she pleased. (Once) she assumed the form of an old lady and came to the southern bank of Godāvarī. There the terrible demoness said to the brahmin.

Rākṣasī said:

10-12. O superior brahmin, here is Gaṅgā. Let the Sandhyā be meditated upon after joining the leading brahmins. If the leading brahmins do not perform Sandhyā prayers scrupulously at the proper time, they are called by leading sages leaders of the low-caste people. You tell them that I am your mother. If not you will come to ruin now. O leading brahmin, if you carry out my suggestions I shall make you happy and do what is pleasing to you. I shall take you back again to your own abode and people.

Brahmā said:

13-14. That leading brahmin said to her, “Who are you?” That demoness who could assume any form she pleased, said after creating confidence in that son of the leading sage whose mind had been confounded: “I am famous throughout the world by the name Kaṅkālinī”. The brahmin too said to her: “I shall do what has been mentioned by you. I shall speak and do what is pleasing to you.”

Brahmā said:

15-16. On hearing those words of the brahmin the demoness who could assume any form she pleased became an old lady. Still she was fascinating in her limbs. She had divine embellishments and ornaments.

Taking the brahmin with her she used to wander everywhere saying “He is my son. He is a man of good qualities.”

17. (People saw) that brahmin embellished by handsome features, good fortune, youthful age and learning and that old lady endowed with good qualities. They considered her his mother.

18. A certain excellent brahmin gave his daughter bedecked in ornaments to that brahmin after honouring the demoness.

19. On obtaining him as her husband, that girl thought that she was extremely blessed and contented but that brahmin became extremely miserable when he noticed his wife endowed with good qualities.

The brahmin said:

20-21. This demoness of sinful features may swallow me. What shall Ido? Where shall I go? To whom shall I say this? A great adversity has beset me. Who will save me? This wife of mine is endowed with good qualities, beauty and youth. She is lovely and agreeable. This inauspicious demoness may devour her also at any time.

Brahmā said:

22-23. In the meantime the extremely aggressive old lady had gone somewhere. Then the virtuous wife, the chaste lady came to her husband on knowing that he was sad and miserable. She then spoke to him humbly and slowly in secret.

The wife said:

24. O my lord, how has sadness beset you? Tell me.

Brahmā said:

25-26. Slowly he recounted to his wife the previous details precisely. “What is there which should not be mentioned to a dear friend or to a wife of noble birth!”

On hearing her husband’s words that intelligent lady said.

The wife said:

27-28. To a man who is silly and who has not restrained himself, there is fear from everywhere even in his own house. Whence can self-possessed persons fear? More so on the banks of Gautamī. What fear can there be to the devotees of Viṣṇu who stay on the banks of Gautamī, who are devoid of attachment and who are endowed with discrimination? Take your bath here. Be pure and eulogize the lord free from ailments.

Brahmā said:

29. On hearing this the brahmin took bath in Gaṅgā and rid himself of all sins. He eulogized Nārāyaṇa on the banks of Gautamī river.

The brahmin said:

30-33. O lord, you are immanent soul of the universe. O Mukunda, you are its maker, annihilator and protector. O Narasiṃha, the friend of parentless ones, wherefore do you not protect me, a wretched one?

On hearing this request of his, Nārāyaṇa, the dispeller of the sorrow of the universe slew that sinful demoness with his refulgent discus Sudarśana which has a thousand spikes. The lord granted him all desired boons and took him back to his father.

Thenceforth, they know that holy centre Vipra or Nārāyaṇa. It is a spot where desired things are achieved by holy dip, charitable offerings, worships, etc.

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