by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246
This page describes enumeration of holy spots (tirtha) for shraddha which is Chapter 13 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.
1. The unchanging and undying Pitṛs become pleased even if they are worshipped only once. They are noble-souled ones of Yogic selves. They have great strength and they are free from sins and evils.
2-3. O gentle one, I shall tell you those lakes and rivers, sacred holy spots (tīrtha) and countries, mountains and hermitages where they bless the devotees with most of their attachment (desires) on the earth, with the heavenly world after death, and with the attainment of salvation in due course.
Formerly, the holy lord Aṅgiras performed a very severe penance very difficult to be performed by others, for billions and millions of thousand years.
7. On account of his power of penance and brilliant splendour that excellent mountain always shines like the Saṃvartaka (i.e. the all-destroying fire at the time of annihilation of the universe) on the peak of Mālyavān.
9. While performing the Agnihotra, the highly resplendent holy lord Aṅgiras used those excellent Kuśa grasses for the sake of spreading round the altar formerly. He then saw the steps leading to the heaven.
11. That Śrāddha becomes one of everlasting benefit. It increases the pleasures of the Pitṛs. On reaching that holy centre, they always vanish.
12. During the Parvan days, a holy lake of brilliant flames is seen there. The river there, is Viśalyakaraṇī (one that removes pain due to the pricking of darts) of animals with bony spikes (like porcupine).
13. On the peak of the lordly mountain Mālyavān, in the hinder half of the country of Kaliṅga, there is a pool on that very excellent mountain. It has an eddy stretching towards the south-east.
14. O excellent sages, it is mentioned as the greatest Siddhikṣetra (the holy spot [tīrtha] for accomplishment of super normal power) on the earth. It is equally approved of and honoured by the Devas and the Daityas. Uśaṇas has sung this verse in this connection.
15. “Blessed are those persons in the world who are devotedly attached to the Pitṛs and who will propitiate the Pitṛs by means of Śrāddha after reaching the Amarakaṇṭaka.
16. Those who worship even once in the Amarakaṇṭaka go to heaven. There is no doubt that they attain spiritual achievement with a very little penance.
18. After performing the yogic exercises on the summit of Vailāṭa the divine vision begins to function (in the performer). The devotee becomes unassailable and invincible to all living beings. He walks over the earth lika a Deva.
22. If a person climbs the peak Devarṣibhavana (Abode of the celestial sage), frequented by Siddhas and Cāraṇas and regularly continues the observances of holy rites, he goes to the heaven.
23. (There is a garden) beautified by celestial sandal trees and other heavenly trees. Water mixed with sandal powder continuously flows from it.
25. Oyster shells from where pearls are produced are the conchs washed down to the great sea, carried by the river Tāmrā (Tāmraparṇī).
26. If devotees bring water containing conchs and pearls, they become free from mental agonies and physical ailments. They go to the celestial city Amarāvatī.
27. (The charitable gifts) of pearls and conchs produced from sandalwood cause the redemption of Pitṛs even though they be perpetrators of sinful activities as mentioned in the Vedas.
28-30. In all these holy places viz—Candratīrtha Kumārī (i.e. Cape Comorin or Kanyākumārī) the source of the Kāverī river, the holy spots (tīrtha) on the mountain Śrīparvata and the mountain Vaikṛta, it appears as though the trees Palāśa Khadira, Bilva, Plakṣa, Aśvattha and Vikaṅkata stand in one place, viz. the Auśīra mountain. This place should be known as Dvimaṇḍalāviddha (pierced through two zones), O excellent Brāhmaṇas, a person who casts off his body in this place goes to the celestial city Amarāvatī immediately.
31. The holy rites performed in the holy centres of the Śrīparvata and the mountain Vaikṛta fructify from the beginning to the end.
32-35. The rites of Pitṛs performed there, even if they are defective, yield the same benefit as do the defectless well performed rites.
After performing the yogic exercises, in the holy forest of Māṭhara on that great mountain frequented by Siddhas and Cāraṇas, the devotees vanish and go to heaven.
On the holy mountain Vindhya, there is a waterfall that acts as test of virtue and evil. Sinners do not see that waterfall. Good persons see that waterfall. This is how the sin of some evil doers becomes manifest there.
37-38a. In the following holy centres viz—the sacred spot of Śaurpāraka, the mountain Pālamañjara in the well of Pāṇḍukūpa near the sea and the banks of the Pidāraka which is free from sins and impurities, one shall perform the rite of Saṃkalpa (decision in the mind about the holy rite to be performed) that yields everlasting benefit.
38b-39. The Śrāddha performed in the following places yields infinite bliss viz—Śrīvṛkṣa Citrakūṭa, Jambūmārga and the holy mountain of Asita, the intelligent preceptor of the Yogic cult. The Śrāddha performed regularly in the Asita yields infinite bliss.
40. The Śrāddha performed at Puṣkara yields everlasting benefit. The penance performed there yields great fruit. One shall point out the same thing in the same manner on the shore of the great ocean and at Prabhāsa.
42. That (holy centre) is always resorted to by masters of yogic cult. It is always free from sins. I shall mention the benefit attained by the person who offers Śrāddha there.
43-44. The Śrāddha gives infinite bliss. It yields all desires. It pleases and propitiates the Pitṛs. There is a rock “Jātavedaḥ-Śilā” there directly named after the eternal fìre-god. Śrāddhas and all holy rites which one performs there yield infinite bliss. He who enters fire there, rejoices in the heaven.
45-50. There is a place where the fire becomes tranquil (and extinguished) and is produced once again. What is offered there becomes everlasting.
There is no doubt that the sacrifices performed in the holy centres Daśāśvamedhika and Pañcāśvamedhika yield the benefit intended.
There is a holy centre well known by the name Hayaśiras. which bestows the boon immediately. The Śrāddha performed there is always everlasting in benefit. The donor (i.e. he who performs the Śrāddha and makes monetary gifts) rejoices in the heaven.
One should always propitiate the Pitṛs by offering water libations in the splendid holy centre Ajatuṅga. It is the place where during the Parvan days shadow of the heaven-dwellers is always seen.
On the earth, everlasting is the benefit of what is offered in the place where the tree Virajas grows. It is always resorted to by the masters of Yogic cult. It is out of the clutches of all sins. I shall mention the benefit of that person who offers Śrāddha there.
51. The Pitṛs become directly worshipped by him. In this world he will be one with perfect self-control. After death he becomes honoured in the heaven.
54. The following have been created by the self-born lord—the Tīrthas (named after) the Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman, the Kapotas (doves) and Puṣpasāhvayas (having the same name as flower) the fifth veda (characterised by) narratives i.e. the Purāṇas.
55. A Brāhmaṇa who visits these places and resorts to fire becomes rid of his sins. The Śrāddha performed in these holy centres yields infinite bliss. So also do the Japas, Homas and the penance (practised here).
59. At dusk, a great miracle is seen in the Mahānadī. It does not approach one who has no faith. It does appear to a person who maintains holy observances and rites.
60. After resorting to them one by one in the evenings day by day, Śrāddha should always be offered to the Pitṛs who seek everlasting benefit.
61. There is a holy centre named Svargamārgaprada (Bestower of guide to the path to the heaven) which yields instant boons. It is the place where a man is found out to be self-possessed or not.
62. The seven sages had gone to the heaven after casting off their bark garments here. Even today those bark garments are seen in the waters.
63. By taking the holy dip in that excellent holy river a man attains heaven. There is a well known shrine of Nandin which is resorted to by the Siddhas.
64. The idol of Nandīśvara is not seen by persons devoid of good conduct. At the time when, the sun rises, golden flames resembling sacrificial posts are seen there.
66. It is the sacred holy centre of Sanatkumāra the noble-souled lord of the Yogic cult. It is glorified as yielding everlasting benefit if the pitṛs are offered gingelly seeds.
67-68. It has already been mentioned that the Śrāddha performed by Dharmarāja was of everlasting benefit. If Śrāddha is offered on the new moon day in accordance with the injunction and in the respective order by a man (in the Sarasvatī river) that is near-by, it yields everlasting benefit. If the son worships the Pitṛs particularly in Kurukṣetra or in the Sarasvatī near-by, he becomes free for indebtedness.
69-71. Śrāddha must be offered by a person who wishes for everlasting benefit in these holy centres viz—Sarasvatī, Vinaśana, Plakṣaprasravaṇa, Vyāsatīrtha on the Dṛṣadvatī, Triplakṣa in particular, Omkārapavana, Śakrāvatāra in the Gaṅgā, the excellent mountain Maināka and at the source of the Yamunā. The devotee is rid of all his sins. There are very hot and very cool water springs.
72. The holy sister of Yama and the splendid daughter of the sun (i.e. the Yamunā) is a sacred river. The Śrāddha there is always of every lasting benefit. This has been glorified formerly by the Pitṛs.
74. Vasiṣṭha of great penance performed his austerities there standing still like a stump. Even today trees with jewels for their leaves are seen there.
75. The balance that indicated virtue and evil is also seen there. By means of that, the excellent benefit of the holy centres was weighed by the Brāhmaṇas.
76-77. The daughter of the Pitṛs, a Yoginī well known by the name Gandhakālī was born there. She would give birth to Vyāsa the noble-souled sage of great Yogic power. He would be born of the family of Pārāśara. He was the fourth part of Brahmā. That intelligent great sage will divide the veda into four parts.
78-79. There is a lake named Acchodaka. The river Acchodā takes its origin there. (Gandhakālī) was born again in the womb (species) of a fish on account of a direction (? behest) and for a purpose.
It is cited that the Śrāddha offered even once in her first holy hermitage frequented by meritorious persons, will yield everlasting benefit.
80. What is offered in the river will bestow simultaneously Yogic power and mental concentration (?). What is offered in Kuberatuṅga and Vyāsatīrtha is destructive of sins.
81. It is laid down that the Śrāddha offered at the Brahmavedī (the altar of Brahmā) yields infinite bliss. It is always resorted to by the Siddhas. It is perceived by persons of self control.
82. (The Śrāddha) in the Nandā which is on the Northeastern quarter of the Vedī, yields the benefit of Anivartana (nonreturn to saṃsāra). It is the spot of spiritual achievement, resorted to by the gods after reaching which one never returns (i.e. attains liberation from saṃsāra).
83. Mahādeva, the intelligent deity, imprinted his foot in the shrine Mahālaya for the purpose of merciful blessing of all living beings and as a proof of its efficacy for atheists (to convince them that they are wrong).
84-85. The Śrāddha offered at Virajā is of everlasting benefit. So also, the one at Mahālaya (which has been mentioned) already.
(One who performs Śrāddha) at Kākahrada attains Jātismaraṇa (the power of remembering previous births), good complexion and unmeasured vigour and strength.
86. The holy lake Kaumāra is protected by the body of serpents. By taking a holy dip in the Kumāratīrtha, a man goes to heaven.
87-88. (Partially defective text). By performing a difficult and severe penance in the holy shrine of the goddess at Umātuṅga, standing on a single foot and abstaining from food, one attains divine brilliance lasting for a Yuga. Śrāddha should always be offered at Umātuṅga, Bhṛgutuṅga, Brahmatuṅga and Mahālaya by a person who wishes for everlasting benefit.
90-91. That is a divine warning to the evil-doers and especially so to good persons. There the Devahrada (the eddy of the Devas) is very holy. The pure serpent king of Brahmā accepts the Piṇḍas (rice-balls) offered by good people. For the highly refulgent serpents (?) it is impossible to eat the cooked rice.
92-94. Dharma (Virtue) is directly perceived in these two holy centres. By going into the cave (?) of Śāṇḍilya and that of Vāmana one becomes purified (and sinless) and the Śrāddha performed there is of inexhaustible merit. Whatever one does, Japa, Homa, penance or meditation, becomes well done. He who maintains the vow of celibacy and devotion to the preceptor lives for a hundred years. These and others are the excellent rivers by taking bath in which one can get rid of sins.
95-97. Even today the seat of meditation of Vyāsa is seen there itself. The mountain is situated in the north eastern quarter near the city of Kāntipura. There is a holy lotus pond there. It is protected by groups of Kirātas. By taking a holy dip in it even once a Brāhmaṇa attains desires eternally. Becoming invisible to all living beings, he walks over the earth like a god.
99. In the forest called Devadāruvana, there is a waterfall which is a proof of the removal of sins. The original sins of noble souls of good meritorious deeds are seen as they are, being washed away.
101. Śrāddha should be scrupulously offered (with effort) in the city of Vārāṇasī. The lord of the Yogic cult is always present there. What is offered there is of everlasting benefit.
102. By going to these holy centres one shall become endowed with the merit of pious liberality and gets sanctified. The Śrāddha is of everlasting benefit. Whatever is performed, whether Japa, Homa or meditation shall become well done and meritorious.
104. The Śrāddha offered at Dharmapṛṣṭha the lake of Brahmā and Gṛdhravaṭa is of great benefit.
106. The forest of Mataṅga is seen there by all men. Everything connected with virtue had been established by him as a model evidence for this world (for all the people).
107-108. The Daṇḍaka forest there is very holy. It is frequented by persons of meritorious deeds. They say that the holy centre named Viśalyā is in it. It offers proof instantaeously through various Śāstras and Tulāmānas (the weighing balance and the beams). The persons who commit sins on coming into contact with it emerge.
111. Here, a righteously inclined man casts of his sins within a short while, just like the serpent that quickly casts off its old slough.
112. It causes delight to the Siddhas. It is terrible to the sinners. It is protected by very terrible great serpents with their tongues moving up and down for licking.
113. The holy centre by name Kanakanandī (near Gayā) is well known in the world. It is on the north of the Muṇḍapṛṣṭha. It is frequently resorted to by the Brāhmaṇa sages.
114. By taking their holy dip there, men go to heaven along with their physical bodies. It is cited that the Śrāddha offered there is always of everlasting benefit.
115. By taking a holy dip there, a man redeems his body from its threefold indebtedness. One should perform Śrāddha after taking bath in the Mānasa lake.
116. On the bank of that lake, there is a great shrine. After getting on to it and performing Japa, one shall get spiritual attainment and go to heaven thereafter.
118-120. Falling off from heaven, the holy river of great splendour and majesty shines in the atmosphere. It is the divine river Gaṅgā flowing in the three worlds after slipping down from the foot of Viṣṇu.
There in the sky is seen a great festoon resembling the sun. It is meritorious and golden. It is like the widely opened door to the heaven.
It is from there that the river flows once again embellishing the entire ocean and sanctifying all living beings particularly those who are conversant with piety and virtue.
121. The Candrabhāgā (the Chinab) and the Sindhu are two splendid rivers originating from the Mānasa (lake). They flow into the western ocean. The divine Sindhu river is a big river.
122. The mountain named Himavān is embellished with different kinds of minerals. It is many thousand Yojanas in length.
123. There is a charming lotus lake there named Suṣumnā. It is full of Siddhas and Cāraṇas. It is frequently resorted to by groups of celestial sages.
124. One who takes bath there, lives for ten thousand years. The Śrāddha offered there is of limitless benefit and great rise (prosperity).
125. The Śrāddha always redeems ten generations of predecessors and ten generations of successors.
Everywhere the Himavān is holy and sacred. The Gaṅgā is sacred all round.
126. All the oceans and the rivers flowing into the oceans are sacred all round. A learned man should perform Śrāddha in the holy centres like these and others.
127-130. One should perform Śrāddha always in accordance with the injunctions. The devotee becomes sanctified by taking bath, by performing Homas and offering charitable gifts.
The Śrāddhas shall be performed in the following places:—Ridges of mountains, caves and dens, lonely spots of the slopes of mountains, waterfalls, banks of rivers and their sources, great ocean, cowpens, confluences of riveis, forests, pleasing fragrant spots well scrubbed and smeared, vacant houses, places well smeared with cowdung.
131. The alert devotee should perform Śrāddha thus in all these places after going to the south-east quarter, with the desire for doing everything desirable.
132-134. The intelligent (devotee performing Śrāddha) in all these places shall attain the Brāhmī Siddhī (the state of being the Brahman and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment). The opportunity of worshipping the Pitṛs is attainable to those people engaged in the activities ordaṃed for the people belonging to the three high castes and the different stages of life. They must discard (the occasions of) anger. Even a person who has committed many sins becomes sanctified if he boldly undertakes the pilgrimages with great faith, concentration and mental purity. What then in the case of a person performing splendid holy rites? He is never born in the lower species of animals nor in despicable country.
135-137. A Brāhmaṇa becomes a citizen of heaven. He obtains means of absolution (Mokṣa).
The following five persons never achieve the benefit of holy centres of pilgrimage viz—One who has no faith, one who leads a sinful life, an atheist, one whose doubts are not cleared and a Hetuniṣṭha (ultra-rationalist).
There is a great Siddhi in Gurutīrtha. It is the greatest spot among holy centres. Meditation is a great holy centre. The eternal Brahmatīrtha is greater than. that. Meditation is greater than fasting. The withdrawal of the sense-organs is also necessary.
138-143. One shall bring Prāṇa and Apāna under control by keeping the vital airs inter-connected with fasting. Thereafter, all the sense-organs must be brought under control. The intellect should be restrained within the mind and all (the sense-organs) should be withdrawn. If this Pratyāhāra (withdrawal of the sense-organs) is carried out, know that it is undoubtedly the means of Liberation (mokṣa). Among the sense-organs, the mind is terrible. The transformation of the intellect etc. can be achieved through abstinence from food. A person who undertakes fast attains everlasting benefit. It should be known that fasting is a form of penance. When the intellect and the mind are restrained the knowledge of other things does not arise. When all the defects are destroyed, when the sense-organs are suppressed, the pure soul attains the bliss of Liberation like the fire devoid of fuel. The person conversant with the Yogic practice engages the Kṣetrajña (individual soul) by means of the Yogic exercise, remaining away from all causes and casting off Guṇas, entirely, whether manifest or unmanifest.
He does not go towards nor has he a situation within everything that is either manifest or unmanifest. He is neither sat (existing) nor asat (non-existing) not sat-asat (existing-cum non-existing). He is nothing at all but he has existence.
Footnotes and references:
Holy places have a deep psychological effect on religious-minded persons. Śrāddha is to be performed in one’s own house. But as KP.II.22.17 states, holy places are no one’s private property. And a list of such holy spots is recommended in different Purāṇas like KP.II.20-32-36, Vā.P. Ch. 77, Mt.P. ch. 22. Not that these lists agree, but there is a great deal of overlapping as a number of holy spots like Gayā, Vārāṇasī, Prayāga, Puṣkara command respect from most of Hindus. Here is the list recommended by our Text.
A mountain in Bilaspur District of Madhya Pradeśa (Vā. P. 77.10-11 and 15.16). Viṣṇu Dh. S. 85.6 highly glorifies the performance of Śrāddha on this mountain. Our Text gives the credit of this sanctity to the penance of Aṅgiras on this.
A mountain range from Orissa to Madura (including a part of Eastern Ghats) but the name is specially applied to the range of hills separating the Mahā-nadī from Ganjam dist. It is regarded as the resort of Paraśurāma. De 119, HD. IV.777.
Sapta-Godāvarī—(1) The seven ‘mouths’ of the Godāvarī while falling into the Sea (2) Solangipur sixteen miles from Piṭhāpur in the Godāvarī District—De.178.
Gokarṇa—A place sacred to Śiva on the Western Coast in Kumṭā Tehsil of North Kanara District—HD IV. 753.
A tributary of the Gaṅgā at Vārāṇasī.
River rising in Agastya-Kūṭa-Mountain Malaya flowing through old Pāṇḍya country to the Sea (the gulf of Maṇar) celebrated for pearl fishery. De. 203.HD.IV. 812.
Śrī Śailam in Kurnool District in Andhra Pradesh. One of the Twelve Jyotir-liṅgas.
Sopara, 4 miles NW. of Bassein in Thana District of Maharashtra—De. 197.
Near Śūrpāraka—HD IV 787.
Probably Piṇḍāraka. It is near Golagar to the east of Dwaraka in Gujarat.
Citrakūṭa—A hill, 65 miles from Prayāga in Banda District of Madhya Pradesh—HD IV. 744.
Puṣkara—a sacred lake near Ajmer, Rajasthan.
Somanāthapaṭṭaṇa in Saurashtra—one of the sacredmost Jyotirliṅgas. It was demolished by Mahmud of Gazni but was reconstructed after Independence of India.
Devikā—variously identified with the Deeg, a tributary of the Ravi or with Southern part of the Śarayū—De. 55
In Aparānta as per HD.IV.815.
Vā.P. 77-53 reads:
ākhyātaḥ pañcamo vedaḥ.
“The fifth veda (viz the Purāṇa) has been narrated”.
The famous sacred place in Haryana—The country round Thane-swar. Some of the holy places mentioned in VV 69-71 below are in Kurukṣetra. Thus Vyāsa-Tīrtha or Dvaipāyana Hrada is situated near Thaneswar. The Sarasvatī and Dṛṣadvati rivers flow through it.
The spot in the Sandy desert in the district of Sirhind where the Sarasvatī disappears—De 37.
The source of the river Sarasvatī in the hills of Sirmur in the Siwalik range of the Himalayas—De 180.
A lake at the foot of mount Candraprabha. The river Acchodā takes its rise from this lake. If identical with Acchoda-sarovara in Bāṇa’s. Kādambarī, it is Acchāvat, six miles from Mārtaṇḍa in Kashmir.
Variously identified with a country round Jaipur in Orissa (ii) with Lonardesh and a lake in Buldhānā District of Maharashtra and (iii) with, a hill in Sāhyādri near Godāvarī (?) and Bhīmā.
devyālaye as in Vā. P. 77.82 a.
A place near the source of the Gandak, the place where Sage Pulaha and Bharata performed penance.
Due to its mention of Kāntipura (ancient name of Kathmandu) and its protection by Kirātas, it may be located on the spurs of the Himalayas, to the North-East of Kathmandu (Nepal).
This is situated on the Gaṅgā near Kedar in Garhwal. Badarikāśrama is situated in this Vana.
These are identified as follows: Prayāga (Allahabad); Kālañjara (Kalinjar in Badausa Sub-Division of Banda District, Bundelkhand (M.P.); Daśārṇa (Eastern N. Malwa, including Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Vidiśā was its capital); Naimiṣa (Nimsar, 45 miles NW of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh); Kurujāṅgala (a forest country situated in Sirhind, NW of Hastinapur—De.
The following are identified as per De’s Dictionary; Lauhitya (the Brahmaputra, Assam); Vaitaraṇī (the river Baitarani in Orissa) Jaipur stands on this river.
The text hereof—sā tu devī samudrānte dṛśyate caiva nāmabhiḥ is obscure.
Vā. P. 77.97a reads:
sakṛdeva samudrānte dṛyśyate puṇyakarmabhiḥ /
“On account of meritorious acts, it is seen only once near the sea”
Daṇḍakāraṇya probably comprised all forests from Bundelkhand or Bhopal right down to the Godāvarī or the Krishnā river. HD. IV. p. 745.
A branch of the Narmadā—De 39.
The idea seems to be:—the pan containing the sins goes down and the pan holding the sinners goes up thereby indicating how sinful they are.
A hill situated on the Western bank of the Phalgu river at Gayā HD.IV.827.