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:
1-20. O you of an excellent face, I shall tell you the importance of the sixth chapter, hearing which men have salvation on hand. On the bank of Godāvarī there is a great city Pratiṣṭhāna where, O you of smiling eyes, I, named Pippaleśa, dwell. There swans remove the fatigue of the self-controlled ones with cold sprays from the cavities in their wings on the bank of Godāvarī. The Godāvarī-water made fragrant with the pollen from the cups of throbbing lotuses is praiseworthy as it makes people free from old age. Fie upon the nectar of the lord of herbs (i.e. the Moon), destroying sins! There the best sages touch the faces of the Mahārāṣṭra women bathing (in Godāvarī), misunderstanding them to be fully bloomed lotuses. There the sporting Mahārāṣṭra beauties snatch (by surpassing) the humming of the bees the ascetics’ minds also. There the Moon everyday wanes on seeing the face of a woman sporting on the top of a very high mansion. The sloping roof of a very high mansion is touched by sages and gandharvas with rays of great gems unsteady due to breezes (blowing) over dūrvā and sandal(?). In it the horses of the Sun’s chariot when he is going, are free from fatigue due to the breezes from the banners that are tossed. In it the Malaya mountain appears to be left with stones, when the hosts of merchants collected innumerable (pieces of) sandal wood. In it even pearls are seen to be accumulated everywhere like the bunches of the laughter of the city-deity. There lived a king named Jñānaśruti. When he, of a strong lustre, lifted the earth like a gem, even Śeṣa, resembling the Sun in radiance, was (just) a snake in general (obscure). The desire-yielding trees were as it were darkened through shame on seeing his matchless generosity (manifested) by the continual smoke of the sacrifices. Gods greedy of eating the sacrificial oblations did not at all leave the city of Pratiṣṭhāna. Clouds, constantly well-nourished by the streams of water used for gifts and the moonlight of his valour and the smoke of sacrifices offered by him, showered in time. Calamities did not find even the smallest place anywhere. Right courses prevailed when he ruled the earth. He everyday looked upon wells, tanks and lakes as the treasures remaining in the heart of the earth. His palace shone with white banners, like the Himālaya mountain with the multitude of the ripples of Gaṅgā. The residents of heaven (i.e. the gods) pleased with his gifts, austerities, sacrifices, protection of his subjects, came (there) to give him a boon.
21-39. Then, tossing their masses of wings, divine female and male swans, white like lotus-stalks, went out along the path in the atmosphere. Two or three of them, led by Bhadrāśva, going quickly, and talking to one another, speedily moved ahead. All of them said together to them moving ahead speedily: “Why do you go speedily? Why do you remain ahead? Along this difficult path we should go together. Do you not see very clearly before you a mass of lustre, shining brightly of king Jñānaśruti, of a virtuous form? Hearing these words of those that lagged behind the swans that were ahead laughed and contemptuously uttered (these) words loudly: “Is the lustre of this king Jñānaśruti more severe than the dreadful lustre of Raikya, the teacher of the Vedas?” King Jñānaśruti, comfortably seated on the top of his very lofty mansion, heard these words of the swans. Then, he, full of amazement, called his charioteer, and the noble one ordered him: “Bring Raikya”. The charioteer, Maha by name, having understood (these) words of the king containing nectar, manifesting joy, went out to the city Vārāṇasī, giving salvation, where god Viśveśvara, the lord of the world and the preceptor dwells. Then to the holy place called Gayā where god Gadādhara, of blooming eyes. lives to emancipate all people. Then near Śiva. Having moved many times to all holy places he went to (the holy place) Kedāra destroying sins, seeing which (even) once mortals undoubtedly are released. Enjoying desired pleasures they are freed from great sins. Then he went to the Gauḍa country where Puruṣottama dwells, by just seeing whom men go to heaven. From there he went to the city of Dvārāvatī, giving salvation, where Kṛṣṇa, dear to Rukmiṇī, lived. A mortal, having bathed at the holy place of Gomatī and having seen the five Kṛṣṇas (there), obtains salvation after having enjoyed pleasures as desired. Then the wise one having reached the sea and seen Somanātha, the god giving enjoyments and salvation, proceeded further. He reached the city of Avantikā giving pleasures and salvation, where Mahākāla Śaṅkara dwells happily sporting with Umā. Then having reached Oṃkāra, giving happiness and granting enjoyment and salvation on the bank of Narmadā, he quickly set out from there.
40-52. Then he travelled to the city named Aśvamedhakara where Lakṣmī’s lord Viṣṇu, holder of Śārṅga, actually lives. Then he reached in Viṣṇugayā a tank called Loṇāra, having bathed where and drunk (water of which) a man is released from bondage. Then he went to (a city) named Kolhāpura in Rudragayā, where revered Lakṣmī, giving (i.e. causing) devotion, dwells. A man having bathed in Pañcanadī and seen Lakṣmī, enjoys pleasures as desired, and also obtains devotion. Then having visited the city named Amalagiri, and having seen Somanātha who dwells after mounting on (i.e. on the top of) Nandikeśvara, who is auspicious, has four hands, and is ready to give gifts, he would undoubtedly have salvation. Then he saw, on the bank of Tuṅgabhadrā, Harihara, whose arms fall on the globe of the earth in every yuga. All men seeing the charming Harihara-body, enjoy pleasures according to their desire and are freed from bondage. Having remained in heaven for a hundred kalpas and being free from the bondage of the worldly existence, they see the mighty lord of the worlds, seeing whom men never see hell. Having stayed in heaven for a hundred kalpas and being free from the desire for worldly existence, they obtain salvation. No doubt should be raised about this. Then a man should reach Śrīśaila resorted to by siddhas and gandharvas, where Girijā’s lover (i.e. Śiva) called Mallinātha (lives) to draw out all people from the ocean of worldly existence. Having lived in heaven for a hundred kalpas and being free from the bondage of worldly existence, they obtain salvation. No doubt should be raised about this.
53-67. Then he reached Śrīśaila resorted to by siddhas and gandharvas, where Girijā’s lover named Mallinatha (lives) to draw out all people from the ocean of this worldly existence and at every opportune time shows his own lustre. Afflictions and tortures in hell of those men who see or even remember him, keep away. There is no doubt that men free from the bondage of the mundane existence enjoy happiness in heaven and obtain salvation. Here Rāma with his younger brother and accompanied by Sītā (dwells). Having bathed and drunk (water) there a man is certainly free from hell. Men having enjoyed happiness in heaven for crores of kalpas, men freed from the path of worldly existence undoubtedly go to salvation. Then returning from there, he came, seeing on the bank of Bhīmarathī the two-armed god Viṭṭhala, giving enjoyments and salvation, (to the place) where the source of Godāvarī, the great Brahmagiri, is situated. By reaching Gautamālaya where the three-eyed Śiva dwells and after bathing and drinking (water) there where there is river Godāvarī between Aruṇa and Varuṇa, (sin due to) the murder of a brāhmaṇa perishes. Men, seeing Brahmagiri, rich in many holy places, obtain salvation only (after) being freed from the agony of the worldly existence. Then the charioteer, delighted by seeing holy places on both the banks of Gautamī, went to Mathurā, destroyer of sins. There gods and men worship the self-born god. It is the first great place of the lord, which gives salvation. It is the birth-place of the lord of the three worlds, and is well-known to the Vedas and holy texts. It is resorted to by many hosts of gods and of brāhmaṇa sages. It is charming due to the bank of Kālindī; has the form and lustre of the crescent moon; being full of the residence of all holy places it is delightfully beautiful. It is known as Govardhanagiri, Dviṣadvana, and is covered by auspicious trees and creepers. It is very holy. It has the essence of the holy texts resting (there).
68-86. Then to the north he saw the city of Kāśmīra, after seeing on all sides the holy place Kururkṣetra, foremost in piety, where the lines of houses white like conches and touching the sky, have become as it were the fringes of the distinct laughter of Śiva. It is covered with golden pitchers of the garlands of devotion and grace which are as it were golden lotuses fallen from the divine river due to wind. There the banners of blue straps like rings of moss on the tops of mansions appear like the strings of pearls of the divine river. There, resorting to Kāśmīra, Sarasvatī always lives. Otherwise, how does she simultaneously write the (entire) Vedic literature? These swans that are dull due to intoxication, that have lotus-stalks in their beaks and that are the vehicles of Sarasvatī, resting there for a long time, are moving. There the swans sent by Brahmā to know a special art, shone like stars and went on all sides. The land-growing lotuses, pleasing to the touch by hand, are seen (to be used) by the enemy of the demons for the bed of the beautiful lady. There due to the statements (upanyāsaiḥ?) of the brāhmaṇas distinct hearing was not possible. Even a dumb man, fresh in talk, had a mass of joyous words (obscure). There the sky pervaded by the smoke of sacrifices, though washed by clouds, did not give up its darkness. There the place of the nectar dropped due to the great lustre of the sacrifices was seen to be distinguished by its mark. There boys resorting to the vicinity of the preceptor recite all arts by themselves due to the practice right from their birth. There the ‘hum’ sound of the bracelets of the brāhmaṇa wives and the humming of the wandering bees got confused. There the breeze touching again and again the cheeks of the brāhmaṇa wives, blows gently as it were through the fear of a curse. There, this god Śiva called Māṇikyeśvara, lives to give boons to men day by day. Maṇikeśa, having conquered kings, worshipped and honoured him. Since then he took the name Māṇikyeśvara, as he was well worshipped with many majestic rubies by the Kāśmīra-king, desirous of conquest of the world. The charioteer saw at his door Raikya seated on a cart and enjoying shade and scratching his limbs. Having recognised him by the respective marks told by the king, the charioteer quickly bowed down to him and after having bowed down spoke to him.
The charioteer said:
87-98. O brāhmaṇa, in which (family are you born)? What is your name? You are constantly self-willed. Why are you resting here? What do you desire to do?
Hearing these words of him, he, full of great joy, remembered the charioteer, and said: “My desires are fulfilled. But there must be (something) as you, offering great adoration to me, are (trying to) know my mood.” Taking (i.e. understanding) respectfully the intention of Raikya remaining in his mind, the charioteer slowly set out to the place where the king was. Then the charioteer with his arms folded and delighted to see his master, bowed down, and told the king the account as it took place. Then hearing his words, the king with his eyes smiling (i.e. blooming) with wonder, had a strong desire to honour Raikya. Taking a cart to which a pair of female mules was yoked, a necklace, silken garments and a thousand cows, he went to the Kāśmīra country where the meditating saint lived. Offering those (articles) to him, the king fell (prostrate) like a staff on the ground after bending with great devotion. Raikya was angry with the king. (He said:) “O bad king, O śūdra, do you not know my conduct? Take (back) this cart; lift it to which female mules are yoked; so also (take back) the garments, pearl-necklaces and the milch cows.” The king, thus ordered, was afraid of Raikya. Then the king, afraid of a curse, devoutly seized the pair of his lotus-like feet, and himself said, “O brāhmaṇa, favour me.”
The king said:
99. O revered one, wherefrom is this very wonderful greatness of you? Being pleased, O illustrious one, tell me accurately.
100-104. O king, everyday I mutter the sixth chapter of the Gītā Therefore, I have a heap of lustre, difficult to be borne even by gods.
Having carefully learnt from Raikya the sixth chapter of the Gita, the wise king Jñānaśruti then suddenly became free. Raikya too, muttering near Māṇikyeśvara the sixth chapter giving salvation, obtained happiness. Gods also, who had come there, after having disguised themselves as swans for (getting) gifts, were amazed, and went out at their free will. There is no doubt that a man who constantly mutters this chapter only goes to Viṣṇu's position.