by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736
The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...
Suta said:—Now I shall describe the holy pools and Sanctuaries of which the river Ganges pre-eminently stands as the most sacred; and which is easily accessible everywhere throughout its course, except in three places, such as Harid-Vara, Prayaga and Sagara (the Gangetic estuary) Prayaga is the best of all sanctuaries, inasmuch as a man quitting this life within the precincts of that sacred city, becomes a liberated soul after death, and oblations offered therein for the absolution of the departed souls; fully serve their initiative purpose, and moreover because, men resorting to its blessed Sanctum for the fruition of any definite desire; are sure to Witness its realisation.
The city of Benares is the foremost of all the sacred places in which the god Keshava is transformed into the shape of the god Vishvesha. The field of Kurukshetra is a great sanctuary where men by making gifts and doling out charities, become entitled to the privileges of an emancipated soul or to the enjoyment of creature comforts, as the case may be, in the life to come. The sacred pool at Prabhasa, is a great place of pilgrimage where the divine image of the god Somnath is installed. The fair city of Dvaraka is the holiest of the holy spots on earth and grants enjoyment of earthly cheers or salvation to those who resort to its sanctum. The eastern bank of the river Sarasvati is holy and likewise is the country of the Sapta Sarasvatam. The sanctuary at Kedara has the merit of absolving a pilgrim from all sins, whereas the village of Shambhala is a good place of pilgrimage. The sanctuary of Narayanam is a great shrine, whereas a pilgrimage to the holy forest of Vadarika, leads to the emancipation of self.
Similarly, places or pools or hills like Shvetadvipa, Mayapuri, Naimisha, Pushkara, Ayodhya, the Aryatirtham, the Chitrakutam, the Gomati, the Vainayaka, the hermitage of Ramagiri, Kanchipun, the Tunga-Bhadra, the Shrishailam, Setubandham, Rameshvaram, the Kartikeyam, the Bhrigutungam, the Kamatirtham, Kamaram and Katak, should be regarded as important sacred pools, places or hills.
The god Mahakala is the presiding deity of the sanctuary at the city of Ujjayani, while the god Hari, installed in the shape of the imaged Shridhara, is the guardian deity of Kuvjaka. Likewise Kuvjabhrakam is a great place of pilgrimage, whereas a resort to Kalasarpi fulfills the desires of a pilgrim.
The other renowned places of pilgrimage are the rivers Maha-keshi, the Kaveri, the Chandrabhaga, the Vipasha, the sacred forest of Ekamram, the Brahma-tirtham, the Devakotakam, the beautiful city of Mathura, the rivers Shona, Mahanada and the Jamvusara. Sacred is the spot where stands an image of the god Hara or of Hari or of Gana or of the Sun-god.
Rites of religious ablutions, acts of worship, and charity, Shraddha ceremonies, repetitions of Mantras, or offerings of oblations to one’s departed manes, performed or done within the sanctum of any of the abovesaid pools or places, tend to bear immortal fruits.
A pilgrimage to the sacred village of Shalagrama, is rewarded with the fruition of all desires, while the sanctuary sacred to the god Pashupati, should be deemed as the holiest of all holy places, like those known as the Kokamukha, the Varaha, the Bhandiram and the Svamitirtham.
The Maha (supreme) Vishnu manifestation of the god Hari, is the presiding deity of the sanctuary at Mohadanda, while the Madhusudana manifestation of the same deity is the tutelary god at the sanctuary at Mandara. The sanctuary of Kamarupam where resides the goddess Kamakshya, should be deemed as one of the most sacred spots on the globe, and likewise is the sanctuary at Pundravardhanam where resides the god Kartikeya. Extremely holy are the sanctuaries at Viraja and Purushottam and sacred are the hills and rivers which go by the denominations of the Mahendra, the Kaveri the Godavari, the Payoshni, and the sin absolving Vindhya.
Similarly sacred are the hills and cities and pools which are known by the names of the Gokarna, the city of Mahishmatipura, Kalanjara and the sanctuary of the Shukra-Tirtham, where acts of charity and obsequious offerings performed and made in the presence of the bow-wielding (Sharnga-Dhara) manifestation of Vishnu, lead to the emancipation of one’s self, and grants a religious merit equal to that of resorting to a million of other sancturies. The sacred shrines at Nandi-Tirtham, Nasika, the Govardhana, the Krishna, the Veni, the Bhimaratha, the Gandaki, the Tviravati, the Vindu-Sara, as well as the washings of the feet of an image of Vishnu, should be deemed, as the sancto sanctum of all sanctuaries.
A meditation upon the infinite self of Brahma, is the holiest of all sanctuaries. A control or subjugation of the senses is a great sanctuary. Holy is the sanctuary of one’s curbing the evil propensities of one’s own mind, and holy is the sanctuary of the purity of thought. The man who makes an ablution in the waters of divine meditation of the pool of pure knowledge, undefiled by the sediments of passion and envy, attains to the highest station of spiritual existence,
Men who make any nice discrimination as regards the sacred or non-sacred character of a particular sanctuary, alone acquire the merit of making any pilgrimage. The man who beholds the universe as but the manifestation of the one and the secondless Brahma, stands above the necessity of resorting to any so-called sacred place in the world. To him all places are alike, as being equally sanctified by the presence of that supreme entity.
All pools and rivers, all hills and mountains which are the favourite haunts of the gods, are hallowed shrines, and acts of religious ablutions and charities and the offerings of obsequious cakes to one’s departed manes on the occasions of Shraddha ceremonies, done and performed at any of these sacred places, bear immortal fruits-
The sanctuary at Shriranga, sacred to. the god Hari, the holy river Tapi, the seven sanctuaries along the banks of the Godavari, the sacred hill of Kona, the sanctuary of Maha-Lakshmi with the close flowing sacred streamlet of the Pranita, situate in the brow of the Sajhyadri (the western, Ghauts) and the shrines sacred to, the deities Ekavira and Sureshvari, are renowned places of pilgrimage. A man by bathing in any of the sacred pools at the Ganga-Dvara, Kushavarta, Kankhala, the Vindhyaka and the Nil-Parvarta, never reverts to the miseries of human life.
Suta said:—The god Brahma first heared of all these all-giving sanctuaries from the god. Hari, and subsequently described their sacred characters to. Vyasa, Daksha and to, the rest of the brotherhood of the sages. O Brahman, a description of the origin and sanctity of the holy shrines at Gaya, a pilgrimage whereto ensures a perpetual residence in the region of Brahma, formed the sequel to that sacred topic.