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 9 - A Goat’s Story

[Note: this page corresponds to chapter 183 of the Book 6 (Uttarakhaṇḍa) of the translation of The Padmapurāṇa]

Śrī Mahādeva said:

1-8. Hereafter I shall carefully explain (this importance of) the ninth chapter. Being steady (i.e. attentive) listen to it, O daughter of the Himālaya Mountain. On the bank of Narmada, there was a city named Māhiṣmatī. There lived an auspicious brāhmaṇa named Mādhava, who knew the true nature of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas, who every time loved the guests. The pure-minded one, having earned much money by means of his learning only, some time commenced to perform a great sacrifice. He brought a goat, for killing him at the sacrifice after worshipping his body. He (the goat), laughing loudly, uttered (these) words: “What is the use of these many sacrifices, though performed in the proper manner, (but) having perishable fruits, and causing birth, old age and death? O brāhmaṇa, see my condition like this.” Men staying in the pavilion, were amazed at hearing these words of the goat, that greatly excited curiosity. Then the brāhmaṇa, with his eyes motionless, saluting him devoutly and with the palms of his hands joined, respectfully asked the goat:

The brāhmaṇa said:

9. Which caste do you belong to? What is your nature? What is your mode of life? Tell (me that). Due to what act (of yours) you obtained the birth as a goat?

The goat said:

10-24. Formerly I was (born) in a very pure family of brāhmaṇas. I was proficient in the Vedic lore and offered hosts of sacrifices. Once my wife, modest with devotion to Caṇḍikā, asked for a goat from me for appeasing the disease of (our) son. Then when the goatwas being killed in the pavilion of Caṇḍikā, the goat’s mother, expounder of the Vedas, cursed me: “O mean brāhmaṇa, O you who are performing a sacrifice that is not approved by the holy texts, since you are killing my innocent son, you will get the stock of (i.e. will be born as) a goat.” Then, O best brāhmaṇa, I, after dying after (some) time, was born as a goat, after having crossed (i.e. gone through) torment and torture of many kinds of existences. Even though I had gone to the stock of (i.e. was born as) a beast, I had (retained) the recollection of (former) births.

The brāhmaṇa said:

My mind is curious, is intent on hearing about your birth due to curiosity. Tell all (about) that to all these brāhmaṇas.

The goat said:

Some time I was (born as) a monkey. Children saw me dancing in every courtyard due to instruction given to me by a juggler. Seeing the generous sons, and my wife also, I became averse to any act and gave up the going round in dancing. Then the juggler, with his eyes red due to anger, severely beat me with round sticks, difficult to bear. Then I bleeding continuously, fainted. Smelling at food and water, I died. Then I became a dog wandering in every house. I, eating food that was abandoned and that was left after eating, filled my belly on the way. Sometime I entered the kitchen of my own house. Being hungry, I started eating the boiled rice placed in a plate. I smelt the ground, looked into the ten directions slowly and through fear. Being afraid of the sound of people, I licked my side. Then my sons came and saw me at some time. And my old wife beat me with clubs etc. Then, I, with my waist broken and discharging much blood fled.

25-33. Overcome with swoon, I somehow went out of the house. In course of time my limbs were stinking with pus and full of insects. Then I obtained the state of (i.e. was born as) a horse. O learned man, I became a horse in the house of a distiller and died in course of time. Some time he brought me, with my teeth falling due to old age, in a square crowded with people, for sale. My wife intent on going on a pilgrimage to Dvārakā, trying to buy me for a small price, bought me and tied me, the old one, with a rope, and mounting on me along with her two or three sons, started going. Slowly I got plunged into deep mud on the bank of a lake. There I, with my neck turned, and falling into the mud, was again and again being beaten by (my) sons having clubs and stones in their hands. Being repeatedly raised I died. Then having decided that I was dead, the sons who gave up their exertion, wailed, and having surrounded their helpless mother, they went home. Then having died there I went to the stock of (i.e. was born as) a goat. I passed through many stocks, low and high, giving torment and agony.

The brāhmaṇa said:

34. O great goat, what is the use of this collection of miseries everyday? (Tell me) properly and uprightly, by what I would have endless happiness.

The goat said:

35-48. I shall, O brāhmaṇa, tell another wonder comfortably to you who are asking me, if you have curiosity. There was a city named Kurukṣetra, giving salvation. There lived king Candraśarman of the solar dynasty. At the time of the solar eclipse he, endowed with great faith, started giving gift of Kālapuruṣa. Having called a brāhmaṇa, master of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas, he went with his priest to bathe with auspicious holy water. Then Kālapuruṣa, laughing, said: “O brāhmaṇa, at the time of the solar eclipse, at this holy place called Kurukṣetra, others do not accept anything. How do you desire to receive a gift? Knowing that all this certainly causes sin, how do you proceed to do it with a mind blinded by greed of wealth?” Having heard these words of him, causing wonder to the world the brāhmaṇa said: “What is the use of this fear of great gift? I do know the means properly to cross the unfathomable ocean of the sin due to a great gift like this.” Then the king, having bathed, having put on two garments, being pure, pleased in mind, having put on white flowers and having anointed his body, having held the hand of the priest, being served by persons proper for the occasion, came (there). The king, having come there, gave the brāhmaṇa, Kālapuruṣa, according to the proper rite. Having pierced the heart of the Kālapuruṣa, a sinful cāṇḍāla, with red eyes, of a cruel appearance went out. So also, at the joy due to interest in censuring others, a female cāṇḍālikā, viz. Censure, came to the side of the brāhmaṇa whose death was brought near.

49-60. This couple of the cāṇḍālas of ruddy eyes, going out, forcibly moved into the body of the brāhmaṇa. While the king was looking on, the brāhmaṇa stood muttering the ninth chapter of the Gītā in his mind, trembling a little and remaining silent like the ocean with Viṣṇu sleeping inside trembling due to the movements of the wind. Then the cāṇḍāla-couple that was near the brāhmaṇa, was troubled by Viṣṇu’s (attendants) appearing due to (the recitation of) the letters of the Gītā, and with its efforts rendered futile, and (deciding to) flee, went away. The king who actually noticed the happening like this, with his eyes smiling (i.e. dilated) due to wonder, asked the brāhmaṇa: “How—by muttering what hymn, or remembering what god—did you go over this calamity? Who was that man? Who was that woman? How did they approach (you)? How were they appeased? O brāhmaṇa tell it to me.”

The brāhmaṇa said:

I know the couple: Strong sin had assumed the form of the (male) cāṇḍāla. Censure took the form of the female cāṇḍāla. I remembered the series of the verses of the ninth chapter of the Gītā. O king, know that all this is its virtue. O king, everyday I mutter the ninth chapter of the Gītā. Due to that the calamities caused by my accepting bad gifts were overcome by me. The king learnt the ninth chapter from the brāhmaṇa. Both obtained highest joy.

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