Bhagavad-gita Mahatmya

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...

Chapter 7 - The Story of Śaṅkukarṇa

[Note: this page corresponds to chapter 181 of the Book 6 (Uttarakhaṇḍa) of the translation of The Padmapurāṇa]

The lord said:

1-20. I shall tell you the greatness of the seventh chapter, having heard which the ears are filled with a flood of nectar. There was a city Pāṭaliputra by name, difficult of access, having high town-gates. A brāhmaṇa Śaṅkukarṇa Dayārṇava by name lived in it. Resorting to the profession of a vaiśya he earned much wealth. He did not gratify manes, did not worship gods. Intent on earning wealth, he fed kings. Once for auspiciousness, the fourth marriage started in another house along with his sons and kinsmen(?). On a night fit for religious acts a serpent having come from somewhere bit the forearm of him who was asleep. He who was just bitten, could not be cured with gems, spells or herbs, and in a few moments died. Covering his body with nimba leaves and stalks and putting it on a large bough of a tree the sons came home. Then after a long time he was born as a serpent. With his mind fixed on the desires (of the former birth), he remembered his former birth. He had thought: ‘Having deceived these sons, I shall cover (i.e. bury) this wealth, a crore in amount, where my (other) wealth is placed.’ Then, full of great faith, the sons of the brāhmaṇa made an offering to Nārāyaṇa. Once, the father, troubled by the birth as a serpent, came in the dream of his sons, and told them his intention. Then they, greatly deluded by amazement got up in the morning, and being unrestrained, told each other the account. One of them, due to his love for his father, desired to emancipate him. The other son through greed for the wealth, desired to kill the serpent. The other (i.e. the third) son, with his mind fascinated by the affection for his father, (thought:) ‘Maybe he is (turned) into a serpent’. Thinking like this, he simply lamented. But the middle son, deceiving his two brothers, got up under some pretext and went to his own house. Then he gently called his virtuous wife. With a spade in his hand he went where his father (turned into) a serpent was. He who was not told about (the place of) the wealth, decided accurately about it through (certain) marks. Through greed, he came to that place to strike (down) the anthill. He made his wife take out the earth, and he himself dug the ground. From the anthill that was being dug, a very fierce serpent came out. Then the serpent with mouthfuls of poison and hissing, told him (these) words:

The serpent said:

21. Who are you? Why have you come (here)? Why are you digging the hole? 0, fool, who has sent you? Tell that tome.

The son said:

22. I am your son, named Śiva. I have a strong desire to take gold. Being very much amazed by the dream I had at night, I have come (here).

Śiva[1] said:

23. Having heard these words of the son, censured by the world, the serpent, laughing loudly, started speaking clearly:

The serpent said:

24. If you are (my) son, quickly free me who am born as a serpent for (the preservation of) the deposit of the former birth, from bondage.

The son said:

25. O father, tell me how you can be freed, since leaving the entire world, I have come (here) at night.

The father said:

26-34. O son, except the seventh chapter of the Gītā, which is full of nectar, and which is the cause of the removal of the old age, death and agony of a living being, the holy places, gifts, austerities, sacrifices are not at all capable of releasing me. O' son, feed devoutly a brāhmaṇa studying the seventh chapter on the day of a śrāddha offered to me. Due to that I shall be undoubtedly released. O son, also feed other brāhmaṇas proficient in the Vedic learning according to your capacity and with great devotion.

Having heard these words of the father turned into a serpent, all the sons did as he had told (them, and even) more than that. Then that wealthy Śaṅkukarṇa, having cast off the serpentine body, divided (the wealth) among his sons, and obtained a divine body. All the sons, of a good behaviour, were delighted at the wealth which their father gave after dividing it and which amounted a crore. They, of pious minds, constructed wells, tanks, lakes, performed sacrifices to please the god, so also-opened free boardings. Then, muttering the seventh chapter, they with their eyes fixed on final bliss, obtained release, knowing the eighth one (also) the most desired one.

Footnotes and references:


I.e. Lord Śiva.

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