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 99 - The Holy Centre Bhilla

(description of Bhilla-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre well known as Bhilla destroys sins and ailments. It bestows devotion to the lotus-like feet of Mahādeva.

2-3. Listen to a holy story about this, O highly intelligent one.

On the southern bank of Gaṅgā, on the northern region of Śrīgiri, Mahādeva the bestower of all cherished desires, is always present in the form of Liṅga. The lord is well known as Ādikeśa and worshipped devotedly by the sages.

4. There was an extremely virtuous sage known as Sindhudvīpa. His brother was well known as Veda. He too was a great sage.

5-6. Everyday he used to worship Lord Ādikeśa, the threeeyed enemy of the three cities, with great devotion. When the sun reached midday, the intelligent Veda used to go to the village for receiving alms. Whenever that noble brahmin had gone to the village, a highly virtuous hunter used to come for hunting over that holy excellent mountain.

7-13. After wandering in various places and killing animals as he pleased he used to place the meat at the tip of the bow. The tired hunter then came to the place where Lord Śiva, Ādikeśa had his Liṅga. He used to keep the meat outside. Then he went to Gaṅgā and taking water in his mouth and some leaves in his hand, he returned to the lord with great devotion. He took the meat in the other hand for offering Naivedya with great devotion. He then came to Lord Ādikeśa who had already been worshipped elaborately by Veda (the sage of that name). He then removed flowers left by Veda after his worship by means of his foot. After bathing lord Śiva with the water brought by him in his mouth and after offering those leaves by way of worship he used to place the meat there as Naivedya saying “May lord Śiva be pleased with me.”

Excepting devotion of a splendid nature unto Śiva he did not know anything else. Thereafter he used to go back to his own abode in the manner he had come, taking the rest of the meat with him.

14. Everyday he used to come there and do this by himself. However, Īśa was pleased with him. Indeed, wonderful are the ways of the lord.

15. As long as the Bhilla did not come to Him, Lord Śiva was not happy. Who knows the (magnitude of) Śiva’s compassion towards his devotees? It is beyond all measure.

16-17. Thus a great deal of time passed by when both Veda and Bhilla continued to worship Ādikeśa Śiva everyday along with Umā. Then Veda said angrily—“Who is the sinner who spoils my worship which is performed with devotion to Śiva, and with Mantras? He shall die at my hands.

18. One who maliciously betrays preceptors, Devas, brahmins or his master is worthy of being killed even by a sage. A man who is treacherously perfidious to Śiva deserves to be killed by everyone.”

19-23. After saying so decisively that intelligent Veda, the younger brother of Sindhu, thought thus—“Whose evil action can this be? He is wicked and the most sinful. He has spoiled my worship performed with divine flowers of the forest, splendid roots, fruits and bulbous roots and has performed another sort of worship with flesh and leaves of trees. He deserves to be killed by me. I shall hide myself and see that sinful worshipper of the lord.”

In the meantime the hunter came to the lord as before. When he worshipped as usual Ādikeśa spoke to him.

Ādikeśa said:

24. O hunter of excessive intelligence, you are tired. You are coming after a long time. Why is it so? I am miserable without you. I do no get any happiness. Be pacified, dear son.

Brahmā said:

25-26. On hearing the lord say thus and on seeing (these activities) Veda became surprised as well as angry. He did not say anything.

As usual the hunter performed his daily worship and returned to his abode. Veda became angry. He approached the lord and said:

Veda said:

27. This hunter is engaged in sinful activities. He is devoid of sacred rites and perfect knowledge. He is ruthlessly engaged in injuring living beings violently. He is without mercy for any creature.

28. He is of a low caste. He does not know anything. He is devoid of the knowledge of due order of preceptors. He is a perpetual perpetrator of improper actions. He has not conquered his sense-organs.

29-31. You have revealed yourself to him but you do not speak anything to me. O lord, I have controlled my sense-organs. I perform holy rites. I perform worship with necessary Mantras and in accordance with pious injunctions. I have you as my sole refuge for ever. I have no wife and sons. This hunter performs your worship with defiled flesh. But you, O lord, have become pleased with him. This is highly surprising. I shall chastise this Bhilla who performs misdeeds.

32. Some are pleased with the soft-hearted people. Some are pleased with the evil-minded ones. Hence, I shall undoubtedly let fall a boulder on your (Siva’s) bead.

Brahmā said:

33-39. When Veda spoke thus the lord laughed and said thus.

Ādikeśa said:

Wait till tomerrow. Then you can drop the boulder on my head.

Brahmā said:

Saying “So be it” Veda cast aside the boulder with his hand. He controlled his anger. “I shall do it tomorrow,” he said.

He returned next day in the morning and performed the holy dip and other rites. After performing worship as usual he looked at the the head of the Liṅga. Veda saw a terrible wound on the Liṅga covered with blood. Veda was surprised at it, “What is this on the head of the Liṅga? A great calamity may befall us. What does this indicate?” After thinking thus he applied clay and cowdung over it. He scrubbed it with Kuśa grass and washed it with the waters of Gaṅgā. Then he performed the worship as usual.

In the meantime the hunter, devoid of all sins, came there.

40. Entering (the sanctum sanctorum) he saw the head of the Liṅga of Śaṅkara Ādikeśa with a bleeding wound.

41. Immediately after seeing this he said, “What is this? It is mysterious.” After saying so he split himself into hundred and thousand pieces with sharp arrows.

42. No man of noble ideas can brook it if he sees that his master is wounded. He censured himself saying frequently—“This has occurred even when I am alive.”

43. What a painful thing has befallen us due to the perversity of fate! On seeing this activity of his, Mahādeva was exceedingly surprised. Then the lord spoke to Veda, the most excellent among those conversant with the Vedas.

Ādikeśa said:

44-45. O highly intelligent one, see this hunter who is a devotee endowed with noble feelings. But you touched my head with clay, Kuśa grass and water.

But, O brahmin, this hunter has dedicated his life to me suddenly. Devotion, love and power are there where is intense thought. Hence, O excellent brahmin., I shall grant him boons first and then to you.

Brahmā said:

46-47. Lord Maheśvara asked the hunter to choose a boon as he pleased. The hunter said to the lord of Devas, “O lord, let your Nirmālya be given to us. Let this holy centre be called, after my name. Let this holy centre yield the benefit of all sacrifices merely by being remembered.”

Brahmā said:

48-49, The lord of Devas said, “So be it” Thenceforth that excellent holy centre is called Bhillatīrtha. It destroys all sins. It generates devotion towards the feet of Mahādeva. By a holy dip here and offerings of charitable gifts etc., it yields worldly pleasures and salvation. Lord Śiva granted Veda also many kinds Of boons.

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