by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 23,843 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
The English translation of the Bhagavad-gita Mahatmya, taken directly from the Padma Purana: one of the largest of the eighteen major puranas. The Gita-mahatmya praises the Bhagavadgita using a series of illustrative stories showing the spiritual value of latter. It contains eighteen chapters corresponding to the eighteen chapters of the actual Bha...
The lord said:
1-11. A brāhmaṇa, named Jaḍa, of the family of Kauśika (living) in Janasthāna, abandoned the acts proper for his caste, and fixed his mind on living as a merchant. He was addicted to others’ wives; he played with dice; he drank liquor; he was always engrossed in hunting. Thus he passed his time. When his wealth was exhausted, he started stealing. He seized the wealth of those who desired to perform sacrifices. For trading he went away and having secured musk, kṛṣṇāgaru (sandal), and chowries bright like the moonlight, brought them from (a place) at a distance of five or six yojanas. The next day he, having crossed a great distance, was overpowered by robbers when the sun was setting and darkness was spreading, and was quickly killed by them. Due to his loss of religious merit he was born as a very fierce goblin. He was thirsty; he was oppressed by hunger; he licked the corners of his mouth; his hair was raised; he had big shanks; his mighty belly had sunk into his back. His body was one in which only bones were left. He very much turned his eyes wickedly. In the meanwhile, his son who was religious-minded and conversant with Vedas, very much guarded (piety) and desiring to see him, went (to look for him). Everyday he sought for news from the travellers, but did not get (any). Then, a man, his companion, arrived. Having learnt the account from him, he very much lamented for his father.
12-21a. Then the wise one, having thought, desiring to perform the obsequies, set out, with necessary materials, to go to Vārāṇasī Having passed seven or eight nights on the way, he began offering the sandhyā prayer at the root of the tree where his father was killed. There he muttered the third chapter of the Gītā. Then a terrible sound was heard in the middle of the sky. He then saw his fierce father falling from the sky. With his mind overcome with wonder and fear, he saw before him in the sky, (his father) full of great lustre. With a concentrated mind he saw in the sky a divine aeroplane which was full of a crore of small bells and which had pervaded the quarters with its lustre. There he saw his father who had got into it and who was surrounded by divine damsels, who was being praised by sages and who had put on a yellow garment. Seeing him, he bowed down, and he (the father) blessed him. Then he asked him this account, and he too told it to him: “O son, due to the religious merit of my body, you, muttering (the third chapter of Gītā) near (me) have fortunately released me from the (effects of) acts, difficult to be abandoned. Then now desist from muttering, since that for which you did (the muttering after going) to Vārāṇasī, has come to you.”
The lord said:
21b. Thus addressed, he said to his father, of a blazing lustre:
The son said:
22a. Advise me about my well-being. What else should I do?
22b-26a. Then the father said -to the son: “O innocent one, do this. My brother has done the same act as I have done. He has gone to a terrible hell. Please release him (from there). My desire is: You should release others in my family who have gone to hell.” Thus addressed, the son, with the pālms of his hands joined, said: “Tell me, by (doing) which act I shall release them all.” The father who was thus addressed, said to his son:
The father said:
26b-47. O son do that, by (doing) which I was liberated. Do that and give the religious merit springing from it. Then, they, giving up (i.e. free from) pangs like me, will soon go to that highest position of Viṣṇu.
The son, who was advised, said: “O father, if you like my words, I shall release all those denizens of hell.” “Let it be so; may happiness come to you. A great dear thing has come up.” Having thus directed his son, the father went to the highest position of Viṣṇu. He too, having returned from him, and having gone to Janasthāna, spent his time in the abode of the beautiful city of Śauri. For years he did what his father had told him. He gave the religious merit which he had got, and liberated the denizens of hell. In the meanwhile the servants of Viṣṇu, freeing the denizens. of hell, going to the place of torture came there. He honoured them in various ways with acts of hospitality. Asked about their welfare, they spoke about complete happiness. Having thus honoured them, the wise lord of the world of dead ancestors asked them the reason of their arrival, and they told it to him: “O lord Yama, know that Śauri (i.e. Viṣṇu), lying on the bed of Śeṣa, has sent us to you to direct you. Through our mouth (i.e. through us) the god asks about your well-being. He directs (you) to release all the beings in hell.” Having heard the order of Viṣṇu of unlimited lustre with his head bent down, having honoured it, he thought about something in his mind. Seeing all of them released and proud, he, followed by all of them, then went to Viṣṇu’s abode. By an excellent vehicle he went where the Milky Ocean was. Near it he saw the lord of the world, whose lustre was like many crores of suns that had risen, who was dark-blue like a blue lotus, whose lustre was mixed with that of the rays of the jewels on the hood of the serpent (Śeṣa) that was his bed, who was being seen with his mind full of joy and pleased, who was repeatedly and affectionately seen by Lakṣmī with glances full of devotion, who was served by meditating saints around him with the pupils of their eyes steady due to meditation, who was being praised by Indra in order to vanquish his antagonists, who, the heap of virtues, was being sung by words embodied, issued from the mouth of Brahman at the end of (the utterance of) the Vedic words, who was pleased and also neutral, who saw himself simultaneously with the mobile and the immobile in all beings in all stocks having their merit collected, who delighted himself with glances full of lustre, who had a body, all-pervading, and brightened by the lustre of the serpent (i.e. Śeṣa), who was dark-blue like the petal of a blue lotus or like the sky seen in the moonlight. Seeing him, he extolled him with many prayers.
48-60. O creator of all, salutation to (you) whose mind is pure, from whose mouths the Vedas were emitted, who are of a universal form, who are the creator. O you dreadful one due to the force of your strength, salutation to (you) Viṣṇu who destroyed the pride of the lord of demons; salutation to the excellence in preservation(?), and to the prop of the universe. Salutation to (you) who conquered the multitude of sins of all living beings, from whose eye on the forehead, that is slightly opened, lustre has sprung up. You are the lord, the soul of all the worlds and the great god. Therefore, having sent forth all devotees of Viṣṇu, you pity them. You pervade the entire world nourished by Maya but you are not overcome by it by qualities born of it. Though you are within them, you are not overcome by the two (i.e. Māyā and its qualities). With your mind controlled, you rest within yourself in spite of your eyes turning to the objects of senses and moving towards the fruit. As you are limitless, your greatness also has no end. In this case silence alone is proper for me. How can you be the object of words?
Having praised him like this, he with the palms of his hands folded, said these words: “These vicious beings were fastened by me in pursuance of my duty. O lord of the world, order if I have to do some other piece of work.” Thus respectfully addressed by him, Viṣṇu spoke, as if sprinkling (him) with nectar, with a voice deep like (the thundering of) the clouds: “I, acting as is proper for the occasion, emancipate people from -sins. Having entrusted the responsibility to you, I am not sorry for the embodied beings. So do your duty. Go home.” (Thus) spoke the lord. And speaking like this, the god vanished. He too came to his city. He too, having emancipated all those kinsmen of him living in various hells, himself went to Viṣṇu’s heaven by an excellent vehicle.