by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933
The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...
("Narada continued, )
'O you of excellent vows, I have been much gratified with your humility, your self-control, and your truth, you blessed one versed in morality! O sinless one, it is for this virtue of thine which you have acquired from regard to your ancestors, that I have been gratified with you and you have, O son, obtained a sight of my person.
'O highly blessed one, when you who art worshipped by the three worlds hast been gratified with me and when I have obtained a sight of your exalted self, I regard myself as already crowned with success. But, O you foremost of virtuous persons, if I have deserved your favour, I will tell you my doubts and it behoves you to dispel them, O holy one, I have some religious doubts in respect of tirthas.
Speak of those to me in detail, I desire to hear you. O you that resemblest a celestial himself, what is his merit, O regenerate Rishi, who goes round the whole earth (visiting shrines). O tell me this with certainty."
'O son, listen with attention. I will tell you of the merit which attaches to tirthas and which constituth the refuge of the Rishis.
He whose hands and feet and mind and knowledge and asceticism and acts are under wholesome control, enjoys the fruits of tirthas.
He who has ceased to accept gifts, he that is contented, he that is free from pride enjoys the fruits of tirthas.
He that is without sin, he that acts without purpose, he that eats light, he that has his senses under control, he that is free from every sin, enjoys the fruits of tirthas.
O king, he that is free from anger, he that adheres to truth, he that is firm in vows, he that regards all creatures as his own self, enjoys the fruits of tirthas.
In the Vedas the Rishis have declared in due order the sacrifices and also their fruits here and hereafter truly. O lord of earth, those sacrifices cannot be accomplished by him that is poor, for those sacrifices require various materials and diverse things in large measures. These, therefore can be performed by kings or sometimes by other men of prosperity and wealth.
O lord of men, that rite, however, which men without wealth, without allies, singly, without wife and children, and destitute of means, are capable of accomplishing and the merit of which is equal unto the sacred fruits of sacrifices, I will now declare unto you, you best of warriors! O you best of the Bharata race, sojourns in tirthas which are meritorious and which constitute one of the high mysteries of the Rishis, are even superior to sacrifices.
He is a poor man who having gone to a tirtha has not fasted for three nights, who has not given away gold, and who has not distributed kine. Indeed, one acquires not, by the performance of the Agnishtoma and other sacrifices distinguished by large gifts, that merit which one requires by a sojourn to a tirtha. In the world of men, there is that tirtha of the God of gods, celebrated over the three worlds by the name of Pushkara. One that sojournes there becomes equal unto that deity.
O high-souled son of the Kuru race, during the two twilights and mid-day there is the presence of hundred thousand millions of tirthas in Pushkara. The Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Maruts, the Gandharvas, and the Apsaras are ever present, O exalted one, in Pushkara. It was there, O king, that the gods, the Daityas and Brahmarshis, having performed ascetic devotions there, obtained great merit and finally attained to god-hood.'"
"Men of self-control, by even thinking mentally of Pushkara, are cleansed from their sins, and regarded in heaven. O king, the illustrious grand-sire having the lotus for his seat, had dwelt with great pleasure in this tirtha. O blessed one, it was in Pushkara that the gods with the Rishis having acquired of old great merit, finally obtained the highest success. The person who, devoted to the worship of the gods and the Pitris, bathes in this tirtha, obtaines, it has been said by the wise, merit that is equal to ten times that of the horse-sacrifice.
Having gone to the Pushkara woods, he that feeds even one Brahmana, becomes happy here and hereafter, O Bhishma, for that act. He that supports himself on vegetables and roots and fruits, may with pious regard and without disrespect, give even such fare to a Brahmana. And, O best of kings, the man of wisdom, even by such a gift, will acquire the merit of a horse-sacrifice.
Those illustrious persons among Brahmanas or Kshatriyas or Vaisyas or Sudras that bathe in Pushkara are freed from the obligation of rebirth. That man in special who visits Pushkara on the full moon of the month of Karttika, acquires ever-lasting regions in the abode of Brahma. He that thinks with joined hands morning and evening, of the Pushkara, practically bathes, O Bharata, in every tirtha. Whether a male or a female, whatever sins one may commit since birth, are all destroyed as soon as one bathes in Pushkara.
As the slayer of Madhu is the foremost of all the celestials, so is Pushkara, O king, the foremost of all tirthas. A man by residing with purity and regulated vows for twelve years in Pushkara, acquires the merit of all the sacrifices, and goes to the abode of Brahma. The merit of one who performs the Agni-hotra for full one hundred years, is equal to that of him who resides for the single month of Karttika in Pushkara.
There are three white hillocks and three springs known from the remotest times, we do not know why, by the name of the Pushkara. It is difficult to go to Pushkara; it is difficult to undergo ascetic austerities at Pushkara; it is difficult to give away at Pushkara; and it is difficult to live at Pushkara."
"Having dwelt for twelve nights at Pushkara with regulated diet and vows, and having walked round (the place), one must go to Jamvu-marga. One that goes to Jamvu-marga which is resorted to by the celestials, the Rishis, and the Pitris, acquires the merit of the horse-sacrifice and the fruition of all his wishes. The man that resides there for five nights, has his soul cleansed from all sins. He never sinks into hell, but acquires high success.
Leaving Jamvu-marga one must go to Tandulikasrama. He that goes there never sinks into hell but ascends to the abode of Brahma. He that goes to the lake of Agastya and occupies himself with the worship of the Pitris and celestials, fasting for three nights, acquires, O king, the fruit of the Agnishtoma. Going thither, he that lives on vegetables or fruits acquires the status called Kaumara.
One should next proceed to the beautiful asylum of Kanva, which is worshipped by the whole world. That sacred wood characterised by holiness, exists, O bull of the Bharata race, from very remote times. As soon as one enters it, he is freed from all his sins. He who with regulated diet and vows worships the Pitris and the gods there, obtaines the fruit of a sacrifice that is capable of bestowing the fruition of all one’s desires. Having walked round this asylum one must then go to the spot where Yayati fell (from heaven). He that goes thither, acquires the merit of a horse-sacrifice.
One must then go to Mahakala with regulated diet and senses subdued. And having bathed in the tirtha called Koti, one obtaines the merit of a horse-sacrifice. A virtuous man should next proceed to the tirtha of Sthanu, the husband of Uma, known over the three worlds by the name of Bhadravata.
That best of men who goes to Bhadravata, beholds Isana and obtaines the fruit of a gift of a thousand kine. And through the grace of Mahadeva, he acquires the status of Ganapatya blessed with prosperity and peace and high grace.
Having arrived then at the Narmada, that river celebrated over the three worlds, and given oblations of water to the Pitris and the gods, one acquires the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. He that goes into the Southern ocean, practising the Brahmacarya mode of life, and with senses subdued, acquires the fruit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and ascends to heaven.
One must then go, O virtuous chief of warriors, to Arvuda, the son of Himavat, where there was a hole through the earth in days of yore. There is the asylum of Vasistha, celebrated over the three worlds. Having resided for one night, one obtaines the merit of the gift of a thousand kine. He that, leading a Brahmacarya mode of life bathes in the tirtha called Pinga, obtaines, O tiger among kings, the merit of the gift of a hundred Kapila kine.
One must next go, O king, to that excellent tirtha called Prabhasa. There Hutasana is always present in his own person. He, the friend of Pavana, O hero, is the mouth of all the gods. The man that with subdued and sanctified soul bathes in that tirtha, obtaines merit greater than that of the Agnishtoma or Atiratra sacrifices.
Proceeding next to the spot where the Sarasvati mingles with the sea, one obtaines the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine and heaven also besides, O bull of the Bharata race, blazing forth for all time like Agni himself. He that with subdued soul bathes in the tirtha of the king of waters, and gives oblations of water unto the Pitris and the gods, living there for three nights, blazes forth like the Moon, and obtaines also the fruit of the horse-sacrifice.
One should next proceed, O best of the Bharata, unto the tirtha known by the name of Varadana, where (the Rishi) Durvasa had given a boon unto Vishnu. A man by bathing in Varadana obtaines the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine.
One should next proceed with subdued senses and regulated diet to Dwaravati, where by bathing in Pindaraka, one obtaines the fruit of the gift of gold in abundance. O blessed one, it is wonderful to relate that in that tirtha, to this day, coins with the mark of the lotus and lotuses also with the mark of the trident, are seen. O represser of heroes! And O bull among men, the presence of Mahadeva is there.
Arriving then, O Bharata, at the spot where the Sindhu mingles with the sea, one should with subdued soul bathe in that tirtha of Varuna. And bathing there and giving oblations of water to the Pitris, the Rishis, and the gods one acquires, O bull of the Bharata race, the region of Varuna, and blazes forth in effulgence of his own. Men of wisdom say that, by worshipping the god known by the name of Shankukarnesvara, one acquires ten times the merit of the horse-sacrifice.
O bull of the Bharata race, having walked round that tirtha, one should, O you foremost of the Kurus, go to that tirtha celebrated over the three worlds and known by the name of Drimi. That tirtha cleanses from every sin, and it is there that the gods including Brahma worship Mahesvara. Having bathed there and worshipped Rudra surrounded by the other gods, one is freed from all sins since birth. It was there, O best of men, that Drimi was adored by all the gods. Bathing there, O best of men, one obtaines the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. O you of great intelligence, Vishnu the creator of the universe, after slaying the Daityas and Danavas, went thither to purify himself.
O virtuous one, one should next proceed to Vasudhara adored by all. The moment one arrives at that tirtha, one acquires the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. And, O you best of the Kurus, by bathing there with subdued soul and rapt attention, and giving oblations of water unto the gods and the Pitris one ascends unto the region of Vishnu and is adored there.
In that tirtha, O bull of the Bharata race, there is a sacred lake of the Vasus. By bathing there and drinking of its water, one becomes regarded of the Vasus. There is a celebrated tirtha of the name of Sindhuttama, which destroyes every sin. O best of men, by bathing there, one acquires the fruit of the gift of gold in abundance.
By arriving at Bhadratunga with sanctified soul and purity of conduct, one acquires the region of Brahma and a high state of blessedness.
Proceeding next to the tirtha called the Pancananda, with subdued sense and regulated diet, one obtaines the fruit of the five sacrifices that have been mentioned one after another in the scriptures.
Then, O king, one should go to the excellent region of Bhima. O best of the Bharatas by bathing in the tirtha there, that is called Yoni, a man (in his next birth) becomes, O king, the son of a goddess, bearing ear-rings decked with pearls, and obtaines also the merit of the gift of a hundred thousand kine.
Proceeding next to Srikunda, celebrated over the three worlds and worshipping the grandsire, one obtaines the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine.
O virtuous one, one should then go to the excellent tirtha called Vimala, where to this day may be seen fishes of golden and silver hues. By bathing there, one soon acquires the region of Vasava, and his soul being cleansed from every sin, he attains to a high state of blessedness.
Proceeding next to Vitasta and giving oblations of water unto the Pitris and the gods, a man, O Bharata, obtaines the fruit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. That sin-destroying tirtha known by the name of Vitasta, is situate in the country of the Kasmiras and is the abode of the Naga Takshaka.
Bathing there, a man certainly obtaines the fruit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and his soul cleansed from every sin, he attains to a high state of blessedness. One should next proceed to Vadava celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing there with due rites in the evening, one should offer rice boiled in butter and milk, according to the best of his might, unto the deity of seven flames. Men of wisdom say that a gift made here in honour of the Pitris, becomes inexhaustible.
The Rishis, the Pitris, the gods, the Gandharvas, several tribes of Apsaras, the Guhyakas, the Kinnaras, the Yakshas, the Siddhas, the Vidhyadharas, the Rakshasas, Daityas, Rudras, and Brahma himself, O king, having with subdued senses, accepted a course of austerities for a thousand years in order to move Vishnu to grace, cooked rice in milk and butter and gratified Kesava with oblations, each offered with seven Riks.
And, O king, the gratified Kesava thereupon conferred on them the eight-fold attributes called Aiswarya and other objects that they desired. And having bestowed upon them these, that god disappeared in their sight like lightning in the clouds. And it is for this, O Bharata, that that tirtha became known by the name of Saptacaru, and if one offers Caru there to the seven flamed deity, he obtaines merit superior to that of the gift of a hundred thousand kine, to that of a hundred Rajasuya sacrifices, as also of a hundred horse-sacrifices.
Leaving Vadava, O king, one should then proceed to Raudrapada, and beholding Mahadeva there one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Proceeding then, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacarya mode of life, to Manimat, and residing there for one night, one acquires, O king, the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice.
One should then go, O king, to Devika celebrated over the whole world. It was there, O bull of Bharata race, that, as heard by us, the Brahmanas first sprang into existence. There also is the region of the holder of the trident—a region that is celebrated over the world.
Having bathed in Devika and worshipped Mahesvara by offering him, to the best of one’s might, rice boiled in milk and butter, a man obtaines, O bull of the Bharata race, the merit of a sacrifice that is capable of filling every desire. There also is another tirtha of Rudra called Kamakhya, which is much resorted to by the gods. Bathing there, a man speedily obtaines success.
By touching also the water of Yajana. Brahmavaluka, and Pushpamva, one becomes free from sorrow in after life. The learned have said that the sacred tirtha of Devika, the resort of the gods and the Rishis, is five Yojanas in length and half a Yojana in breadth.
One should then, in due order, proceed, O king, to Dirghasatra. There the gods with Brahma at their head, the Siddhas, and the greatest Rishis, with regulated vows and the recitation and acceptance of the preliminary pledge, perform the long-extending sacrifice.
O king, by going only to Dirghasatra, O represser of foes, one obtaines merit that is superior, O Bharata, to that of the Rajasuya or the horse-sacrifice.
Bathing in Chamasadbheda, one obtaines the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice.
Bathing in Shivodbheda, one acquires the merit of the gift of a thousand kine.
And bathing in Nagodbheda, one obtaines the region of the Nagas.
One should proceed, next, to the inaccessible tirtha of Shasayana, where the cranes, O Bharata, disappearing in the form of sasas, re-appear every year in the month of Karttika, and bathe, O blessed chief of the Bharata race, in the Sarsawati. Bathing there, O tiger among men, one blazes forth like the Moon, and obtaines, O bull of the Bharata race, the merit of the gift of a thousand kine.
One should next proceed, O you of the Kuru race, to Kumarakoti, with subdued senses, and bathing there, worship the gods and the Puris. By doing this, one obtaines the merit of the gift of ten thousand kine, and raises all his ancestors to higher regions.
'I will first behold the god! I will first behold the god!'
And, O king, in order to prevent disputes amongst those Rishis of subdued souls, the Lord of Yoga, by the help of his Yoga power, multiplied himself into ten million forms, and stood before every one of them.
And every one of these Rishis said,
'I have seen him first!'
And gratified, O king, with the deep devotion of those Munis of subdued souls, Mahadeva granted them a boon, saying,
'From this day your righteousness shall grow!'
And, O tiger among men, one that bathes, with a pure mind, in Rudrakoti obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and delivers his ancestors.
One should next proceed, O king, to that highly sacred and celebrated region where the Sarasvati mingles with the sea. Thither, O king, the gods with Brahma at their head and Rishis with wealth of asceticism repair for adoring Kesava on the fourteenth day of the lighted fortnight of the month of Caitra. Bathing there, O tiger among men, one obtaines the merit of giving away gold in abundance, and his soul being cleansed from every sin, he ascends to the region of Brahma.
It is there, O king, that the Rishis have completed many a sacrifice. By a trip to that spot one obtaines the merit of the gifts of a thousand kine.'"