The 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 15 - The Story of King Narasiṃha

[Note: this page corresponds to chapter 189 of the Book 6 (Uttarakhaṇḍa) of the translation of The Padmapurāṇa]

The lord said:

1-11. O you large-eyed one, O you daughter of the Himalaya mountain, I shall tell (you) the importance of the fifteenth chapter of the Gītā. Listen to it. In the Gauḍa country there was a kind king named Narasiṃha. In the war by the edge of his sword the divine groups were killed. The earth could bear the agony due to the heat of the sun, even in summer, by means of the water of the stream of rut of his intoxicated elephants. Intoxicated elephants, frightened due to being challenged and seeking his refuge, shone like moving mountains. The mountains respectfully echoed the trumpets of the intoxicated elephants of him, the kind protector. It was a wonder how the earth was not reduced to pieces, when it was shattered with the multitudes of (the strokes of) the hoofs of his running horses. When he, a friend of Indra, emancipated the earth, Phaṇīśvara (Śeṣa; Patañjali) again brightened Mahābhāṣya. He had an intelligent soldier named Sarabhabheruṇḍa, who was an abode of weapons, holy texts and arts, and had large round arms. By means of his treasure, horses, brave soldiers, and very inaccessible forts he was equal to the king. Some time the sinful one made up his mind to rule over the kingdom after having forcibly killed the king together with the princes. With a desire to do like this he was determined (to kill the king with the princes). Due to the disease of cholera he died.

12-26. O you of a thin belly, after death the sinful one was born, due to that act, as a bright horse in Sindhu country. A certain vaiśya-son, knowing the facts about horses, bought him at a great price and took him (to his place) with great effort. After his death the king got old in course of time and looked after his kingdom with (the help of) his grandsons. The vaiśya-son came to give the horse to the king. He remained at the king’s door waiting to meet him. Though the vaiśya was already known, he was presented (before the king) by the doorkeeper. “Speak why (you have come).” Thus asked by the king, he told (everything) clearly. “Thinking that this horse is a gem of the three worlds, I (bought) this horse of auspicious marks at a price of a million coins.” Then looking at the faces of those seated by his side, the king ordered the vaisya: “Bring the horse here.” The great horse made the heads of those knowing the marks of a horse, nod, and exciting the minds of the brave, ejecting hisvery bright fame earned by many speedy runs across, the entire earth, as it were, in the form of saliva and foam, he actually became comparable to Uccaiḥśravas by means of the similarity in virtues (with him). The very bright one bent his neck, as it were, through bashfulness. Constantly being fanned by chowries, white like the moon, he was like Uccaiḥśravas, unsteady like the Milky Ocean. Like the beauty of the clouds he had a pair of blue umbrellas, and the beauty of the peak of the Himalaya, with clouds touching it. Repeatedly raising his handsome neck, he was, as it were, turned into fire by the contact with the earth. He tore all the enemies; he brought prosperity in the form of victory with his loud neighing; he declared glory in (all) quarters. He was a very high heap of vitality; was, as it were, the treasure of gaits. He was actually the abode of beauty; he was the ocean of (auspicious) marks.

27-40. The vaiśya brought the horse; and the king saw him. The ministers knowing the (auspicious) marks described him in various ways. Giving the merchant as much gold as desired and aked [asked?] for by him, the king, full of extreme joy, quickly took the horse. Then having called the horsegroom, and carefully instructing him the king dismissed the assembly and went into his house after being taken leave of in many ways by (the members of) the assembly. He (took) the king, having the ornaments in the form of rows of scars of wounds made in battle, and resembling sattva (energy?). Once, the king, full of curiosity, having the sport of hunting (in mind), mounted him, and entered a forest. Leaving his soldiers behind, all of whom were running around, the king, being attracted by deer, was oppressed with thirst. Then the king got down from the horse, and looking for water, tied the horse to the branch of a tree, and ascended a rock. He saw half the verse from the fifteenth chapter of the Gītā written, and fallen where he looked into a fissure. When the king was reading the line of letters, the horse, hearing it, obtained salvation, and quickly fell. Then having cut off the knot, and dropping the saddle, he, being lifted by the king did not get up, (but) was dead. Then Sarabhabheruṇḍa, talking to the king in a sweet tone, got into a celestial aeroplane, and went to heaven. Then going up the mountain, he saw an excellent hermitage. It was full of the trees of punnāga, plantain, mango and coconut. It had groves of grapes and sugarcanes, and trees like nuts, nāgakesara and campaka. It had young elephants and deer playing in it. It had the flocks of peacocks dancing. The king, being free from the desire for worldly existence, saluted the brāhmaṇa who was in the hut, and asked him with great devotion:

41-46. “(Please) tell me, with what purpose the horse went to heaven.” Having heard these words of the king, the brāhmaṇa said: “Due to his sin, he became a horse after a long time. Having heard half a verse from the fifteenth chapter of the Gītā written somewhere, when you read it, the horse went to heaven.” Then the king, surrounded by his attendants who had come there, with horripilation due to joy, saluted the brāhmaṇa and left. The king, with his eyes dilating due to joy, read that writing having (half the verse from) the fifteenth (chapter) of the Gītā and he, along with the ministers, the counsellors, consecrated his son powerful like a lion, on the throne, and he of a pure mind, obtained salvation.

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