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 103 - Ṛṣisatra and Bhimeśvaratirtha

(description of Bhimeśvara-tirtha)

Brahmā said:

1. Ṛṣisatra is well known, O Nārada. The seven sages sat in order to perform penance in the place where Lord Śiva is called Bhīmeśvara.

2. In that connection I shall narrate this story which has grown in importance due to Devas, sages and Pitṛs. Listen attentively. I shall tell the auspicious story that bestows all cherished things.

3-7. The seven sages, O Nārada, divided Gaṅgā into seven streams. The Vāsiṣṭhī was to the extreme right. The Vaiśvāmitrī flows next. Vāmadevī should be known as another (stream). The splendid Gautamī is in the middle. Another stream is the Bhāradvājī. Ātreyī comes next and the Jāmadagnī is the last. Thus the seven streams have been named.

A great sacrifice was performed by those noble-souled sages who wished to perform sacrifice and who were seers with great vision.

In the meantime a powerful enemy of Devas, well known as Viśvarūpa, came to the Satra of the sages. After propitiating all those sages by means of celibacy and penance in accordance with the injunction he humbly asked them in the proper way.

Viśvarūpa said:

8. O sages, it behoves you to speak out how I can beget a powerful son who will be invincible even to Devas. All of you do certainly endeavour for the sake of my health. Kindly tell me whether it shall be through sacrifice or penance.

Brahmā said:

9-12. Thereupon the highly intelligent, noble-minded Viśvāmitra said:

Viśvāmitra said:

Dear one, different kinds of benefits accrue from the performance of pious rites and benevolent activities. There are three types of causes. Of them Karman is the primary cause. Next is the doer himself. Then there is the material cause.

Learned men know that the seed is Karman. How can we say that Karman is a cause? When all possible causes are present sometimes there the fruit appears and sometimes, not. Therefore (we say) that the fruit is dependent upon Karman.

13-17. Karman should be known to be of two types; 1) that which is being done; 2) that which has been done. (The idea of) that which ought to be done is the means of that which is being done. The respective bhāvas (feelings / ideas) are the cause of Karman in both the cases. The attainment of fruits is in accordance with the feelings/ideas with which the creature performs Karman. If anyone performs a Karman duly but without having any feeling the fruit shall be adverse. Everything shall be in conformity with the respective feelings. Hence, austerities, vows, charitable offerings, Japas, Yajñas and other holy rites will be yielding benefits in accordance with the feelings/ideas that the performer has. Hence a Karman will yield fruit in accordance with the agent’s feelings/ideas.

18-19. Feelings/ideas should be known to be of three types, viz. Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa. The benefit is in accordance with the Karmans and the accompanying feelings. Thus the course of Karman is mysterious. Hence, a clever person shall have bhāvas (feelings/ideas) in accordance with his wish.

20-22. Afterwards he must perform Karman too. The donor of fruits grants fruit in a befitting manner. If the person who performs Karman directs his activity towards the fruit of the fruitful the benefit does not accrue. One shall perform Karman in a natural way. The material cause etc. begins to function as befitting the different bhāvas (feelings/ideas) such as Sattva, etc. They function through Bhāvas and the fruit is derived by means of Bhāvas. Karman alone is the cause of virtue, wealth, love and liberation.

23-25. The Karman sustained by bhāva (feeling) is the cause of bondage as well as salvation. One’s own Karman shall conform to one’s own nature. It yields different kinds of benefit here and in the other world in accordance with equality(?). The selfsame thing appears different on account of feelings. Karman is performed and the fruit is enjoyed in accordance with the feeling. Hence, feeling is especially important. Perform Karman in accordance with the feeling. You will attain whatever you desire.

Brahmā said:

26-29. On hearing the words of the intelligent sage Viśvāmitra, Viśvarūpa assumed a Tāmasa attitude and performed penance for a long time. He performed a terrible rite that terrified Devas even as the chief sages were watching and even as he was being prevented for ever. In accordance with his own fury he performed the terrible rite. He meditated upon the Ātman lying within the cavity of the heart as a terrifying terrible person present within, a terrible fire blazing in a terrible pit that had been dug. On seeing him blazing (performing the penance) the unembodied divine voice spoke.

30-33. “(Consign into the fire) yourself without the matted hair. You will beget a son. O Viśvarūpa, he who consigns himself into the fire shall become Indra, Varuṇa, (nay) he shall become everything. Abandoning himself, (that demon) born of sin consigned into the fire leaving the matted hair alone. He is called Vṛtra in the Veda. He too became wicked. Who knows the grandeur and greatness of the terrible lord of the worlds. He creates everything but he is not smeared with (the sin of) the contact.”

O leading sages, after expressing this that voice ceased.

34-35. The leading sages bowed down to Bhīmeśvara and went to their respective hermitages.

Viśvarūpa who was extremely terrible, whose activities were terrible, whose shape and size were terrible and whose feeling was terrible meditated on the supreme being in the form of a terrible one and consigned himself into the fire. Hence the lord is mentioned in the Purāṇa as Bhīmeśvara. Holy plunge and charity performed there are undoubtedly the bestowers of liberation (mukti).

36. He who devoutly reads and listens to this, he who bows down to Śiva who is the lord of Devas, whose from is terrible, whose feet are the refuge, whose memory dispels all sins and who yields salvation (that devotee prospers).

37. Godāvarī is the destroyer of all sins; she is the bestower of supreme wealth—always and everywhere but especially so where she joins the ocean.

38-39. The embodied soul who takes holy plunge there, in the confluence of Godāvarī and the sea, is meritorious. He redeems his ancestors from the terrible hell and goes to the city of Śiva.

Bhīmanātha is the Brahman itself which is to be understood through the Vedas and which should be prayed to, bowed to, and meditated upon. When he is seen the embodied beings never enter again the worldly scene of terrible misery.

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