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 101 - Urvaśītīrtha and other Holy Centres

(description of Urvashi-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. The holy centre Urvaśītīrtha is mentioned as the bestower of the benefit of a horse-sacrifice by means of holy bath, charitable gifts and the worship of Mahādeva and Vāsudeva.

2. Here the lord is Maheśvara and Viṣṇu is the wielder of Śārṅga.

There was a powerful Emperor named Pramati.

3. After conquering his enemies he went immediately to the world of Indra inhabited by Devas. There, O Nārada, he saw the lord of Devas along with the Maruts.

4. Pramati, the bull among Kṣatriyas, laughed at Indra who had dice in his hands. On seeing, Pramati laughing Indra spoke to him.

Indra said:

5. O highly intelligent one, enough of your play with the Maruts in the abode of Devas. You have attained heaven after conquering the quarters. Play with me.

Brahmā said:

6. On hearing the astringent words of Indra, king Pramati said to Devendra, “So be it. But what is it that you offer as requital?”

On hearing these words of Pramati the king of Devas spoke to him.

Indra said:

7. Urvaśī alone is the stake offered by us. It is only through all sorts of sacrifices that she can be obtained. I consider Urvaśī as the proper requital. O king, what is it that you offer?

Brahmā said:

8. On hearing these words of Indra, Pramati said arrogantly: “O lord of Devas, I think of offering whatever you say.”

9. Indra said to Pramati: “In the same manner, give as requital your virtuous right hand along with its protecting cover as well as arrows. We shall gamble.”

Brahmā said:

10. After entering into an agreement like this both of them began to play at dice. Pramati won the stake, viz., Urvaśī, the divine damsel. After winning her Pramati said to Indra audaciously.

Pramati said:

11. (Offer) something else as requital. I shall then, O lord, play at dice with you.

Indra said:

12. O king, (I offer as stake) the thunderbolt worthy of Devas and the excellent chariot famous for having been used in victorious campaigns. Without minding it much I shall play against your stake of your arm.

Brahmā said:

13. Then Pramati laughingly took other dice decorated with jewels and said to Indra, “It is won by me.”

14. In the meantime, O Nārada, the leading chieftaīn of the Gandharvas who was well conversant with the game of dice and who was well known as Viśvāvasu came there.

Viśvāvasu said:

15. O king, we shall gamble with you by means of Gandharva lore. The king then said: “So be it”, and continued, “It is won by me.”

16-17. After conquering both of them the king foolishly spoke to Devendra in disgraceful words.

Pramati said:

You will not at all be victorious either in battle or in the game of dice, O Mahendra. Hence be a worshipper of mine. Tell me by what means was the status of Devendra attained by you?

Brahmā said:

18. Then he arrogantly said to Urvaśī, “Go, be (our) servant maid.”

Urvaśī said: “I shall behave towards you in the same manner as towards Devas. I shall have noble feelings towards you. It does not behove you to despise and disregard me.”

19-20. Thereupon Pramati said to her, “I have servant maids like you. O noble lady, why are you ashamed? Go, be (our) servant maid.”

On hearing these words uttered by the king, the lord of Gandharvas, the powerful son of Viśvāvasu well-known as Citrasena said thus:

Citrasena said:

21. O king, O lord of the Earth, I shall play at dice with you with all these as stake—the kingdom, my life as well as your life.

Brahmā said:

22. Saying “So be it,” Citrasena and the excellent king gambled with great excitement. This time Citrasena won.

23-24. With strong nooses of the Gandharvas he bound the king Citrasena won everything that Pramati possessed from the beginning such as his kingdom, treasury, army and other wealth the chief of which was Urvaśī herself.

25. (In the meantime) Pramati’s son who was a mere boy spoke to his Priest Madhucchandas emphatically. He asked his highly intelligent priest who belonged to the family of Viśvāmitra:

Pramati’s son said:

26. What sin has been committed by my father? Where has that highly intelligent (king) been imprisoned? How will he come back to his own abode? How will he get rid of the nooses?

Brahmā said:

27. On hearing the words of Sumati (son of Pramati) the excellent sage Madhucchandas meditated (for a short while) and spoke about the whereabouts of Pramati.

Madhucchandas said:

28-31. O highly intelligent one, your father is kept imprisoned in the world of Devas. He has been ousted from his kingdom by the cunning gamblers.

Even he who walks into the assembly of gamblers becomes victim of pain and sorrow. O Prince, gambling, liquor, meat and other similar things are the vices of sinners. They are sinful by nature. Even severally everyone of these causes downfall into hell and great sin.

With various likes (and dislikes) for vehicles, seats etc. influenced by gamblers and cheats even, men of noble birth begin to indulge in quarrels. What then about persons who are confirmed gamblers and cheats?

32-35. The wife of a gambler is perpetually dejected. The sinful gambler too looks at his wife and feels dejected.

On seeing her, he does not experience any pleasure. The sinner says (to himself thus): “Alas, in the whole of this global world there is no sinner like me. I don’t have even the slightest sensual pleasure in the world.”

No gambler is seen happy in either of the two worlds.

He is clearly seen as a person with scorched mind perpetually due to shame. He has lost his virtue. He is devoid of joy. He wanders with all his possessions forfeited (by others).

36. In regard to brahmins, any avocation other than that of cheating and gambling is praiseworthy. He can even take to agriculture, breeding of cattle or trading. But he shall never take to gambling.

37-39. This is an activity, which has been forbidden in the Vedas because it is faulty. But it has been eagerly taken up by your father. Therefore what shall we do? Dear boy, whatever you say shall be carried out. Which learned man transgresses the path laid down by the Creator?

Brahmā said:

40-43. On hearing the words of the priest Sumati said:

Sumati said:

What must my father Pramati do to attain the kingdom once again?

Brahmā said:

Meditating once again Madhucchandas spoke thus to Sumati: “Dear boy go to Gautamī. There you worship Śaṅkara, Aditi, Varuṇa and Viṣṇu. Thereby he will get rid of his nooses.

Brahmā said:

44-48. Saying “So be it” he hastened to Gaṅgā. After bowing down to Viṣṇu he worshipped Śiva. Maintaining all observances he performed penance.

He released his father from Devas after he had been kept imprisoned there for a thousand (and one) years. He regained his kingdom.

Through the grace of Śiva and Viṣṇu and through the endeavour of his own son he got rid of nooses and regained his kingdom. Since he had acquired the Gandharva lore he became a favourite of Indra.

Thenceforth that holy centre is called Śāmbhava, Vaiṣṇava, Urvaśītīrtha and Kaitava.

What cannot be acquired through the grace of Śiva, Viṣṇu and Mother of all rivers, Gautamī? A holy bath and charity performed there bestow the benefit of a number of virtuous actions. It releases one from sinful nooses. It dispels all miseries.

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