The Mahabharata (English)

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...

Section LXXXIV

("Narada continued, )

"Pulastya said,

'Then, O great king, one should proceed to the excellent tirtha of Dharma, where the illustrious god of justice had practised highly meritorious austerities. And it is for this that he made the spot a sacred tirtha and rendered it celebrated by his own name. Bathing there, O king, a virtuous man with concentrated soul certainly sanctifies his family to the seventh generation.

One should then repair, O king, to the excellent Jnanapavana. Sojourning thither, one obtaines the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice, and goes to the region of the Munis.

Then, O monarch, a man should repair to the Saugandhika-vana. There dwell the celestials with Brahma at their head, Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, the Siddhas, the Charanas, the Gandharvas, the Kinnaras and the serpents. As soon as one enters these woods, he is cleansed of all his sins.

Then, O king, should one repair to the sacred goddess Sarasvati, known there as the goddess Plaksha, that best of streams and foremost of rivers. There should one bathe in the water issuing from an ant-hill. (Bathing there and) worshipping the Pitris and the gods, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There exists a rare tirtha called Isanadhyushita, lying from the ant-hill at the distance of six throws of a heavy stick. As seen in the Puranas, O tiger among men, bathing there a man obtaines the merit of giving away a thousand Kapila kine and of the horse-sacrifice.

Journeying next, O foremost of men, to Sugandha, and Satakumbha and Pancayaksha, a man becomes adored in heaven. Repairing to another tirtha there called Trisulakhata, one should bathe and set himself to worship the Pitris and the gods. Doing so, without doubt, one obtaines, after death, the status of Ganapatya.

One should next proceed, O king, to the excellent spot of the Goddess celebrated over the three worlds by the name of Sakamvari. There, for the space of a thousand celestial years, she of excellent vows, month after month, had subsisted upon herbs, O king of men! And attracted by their reverence for the Goddess, many Rishis with wealth of asceticism, came thither, O Bharata. and were entertained by her with herbs. And it is for this that they bestowed on her the name of Sakamvari. O Bharata, the man who arrives at Sakamvari, with rapt attention and leading a Brahmacarya mode of life and passes three nights there in purity and subsisting on herbs alone, obtaines, at the will of the goddess, the merit of him that lives upon herbs for twelve years.

Then should one proceed to the tirtha called Suvarna, famed through the three worlds. There in days of old, Vishnu had paid his adorations to Rudra, for his grace, and obtaines also many boons difficult of acquisition even by the gods. And, O Bharata, the gratified destroyer of Tripura said, 'O Krishna, you shalt, without doubt, be much beloved in the world, and the foremost of everything in the universe.' Repairing thither, O king, and worshipping the deity having the bull for his mark, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice as also the status of Ganapatya.

One should next proceed to the tirtha of Dhumavati. Fasting there for three nights, one obtaines, without doubt, all the wishes cherished by him. To the southern half of this spot of the Goddess, there is, O king, a tirtha called Rathavarta. One should, O virtuous one, go up to that place, with devout heart, and having his senses under control. By this, through the grace of Mahadeva, one attains to an exalted state. After walking round the place, one should, O bull of the Bharata race, proceed to the tirtha named Dhara, which, O you of great wisdom, washes off all sins. Bathing there, O tiger among men, a man is freed from every sorrow.

One should then repair, O virtuous one, after bowing to the great mountain (Himavat), to the source of the Ganges, which is, without doubt, like the gate of heaven. There should one, with concentrated soul, bathe in the tirtha called Koti. By this, one obtaines the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice, and delivers his race. Residing one night there, one acquires the merit of giving away a thousand kine. By offering oblations of water duly to the gods and the Pitris, at Saptaganga, Triganga and Sakravarta, (which are all there), becomes adored in the regions of the virtuous.

Bathing next at Kanakhala, and fasting there for three nights, a person reaps the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goes to heaven.

Then O lord of men, the pilgrim should repair to Kapilavata. Fasting for one night there, he obtaines the merit of giving away a thousand kine. O king, there is a tirtha of the illustrious Kapila, king of the Nagas, that is celebrated, O you best of Kurus, over all the worlds. Bathing there at the Nagatirtha one obtaines, O king, the merit of giving away a thousand Kapila kine.

One should next repair to the excellent tirtha of Santanu, called Lalitika. Bathing there, O king, one never sinks into distress (hereafter). The man that bathes at the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna, obtains the merit of ten horse-sacrifices, and also rescues his race.

One should next, O king, go to Sugandha, celebrated over the world. By this, cleansed of every sin, he becomes adored in the abode of Brahma.

Then, O lord of men, the pilgrim should repair to Rudravarta. Bathing there, one ascends to heaven. Bathing at the confluence of the Ganga and the Sarasvati, a person obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also ascends to heaven.

Proceeding next to Bhadrakarnesvara and worshipping the gods duly, one, without sinking into distress, becomes adored in heaven.

Then, O lord of men, the pilgrim should proceed to the tirtha called Kuvjamraka. By this he obtaines the merit of giving away a thousand kine, and heaven also.

Then, O king, the pilgrim should go to the Arundhativata. Proceeding thither with concentrated soul and practising the Brahmacarya vows, one that bathes in Samudraka and fasts for three nights, obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and of giving away a thousand kine, and also rescues his race.

One should next proceed to Brahmavarta, with concentrated soul and practising the Brahmacarya vows. By this, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and goes to the region of Soma. The man that proceeds to the Yamuna-prabhava, (the source of the Yamuna) and bathes there, obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and is worshipped in heaven. Arriving at Darvisankramana, that tirtha which is worshipped of the three worlds, a person obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goes to heaven.

Repairing next to Sindhu-prabhava (the source of the Indus) which is worshipped by Siddhas and Gandharvas, and staying there for five nights, one obtaines the merit of giving away gold in abundance.

Proceeding next to the inaccessible tirtha called Vedi, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and ascends to heaven.

Then, O Bharata, should one proceed to Rishikulya and Vasishtha. By visiting the latter, all orders attain to Brahmanhood. Repairing to Rishikulya and bathing there, and living a month upon herbs, and worshipping the gods and Pitris, one is cleansed of all his sins, and obtaines the region of the Rishis.

Proceeding next to Bhrigutunga a person acquires the merit of the horse-sacrifice.

Repairing then to Vipramoksha, one is freed from every sin.

Proceeding then to the tirtha of Krittika and Magha, one, O Bharata, obtaines the merit superior to that of the Agnishtoma and Atiratha sacrifices. The man who, repairing to the excellent tirtha called Vidya, bathes there in the evening, obtaines proficiency in every kind of knowledge.

One should next reside for one night at Mahasrama capable of destroying every sin, taking a single meal. By this, one obtains many auspicious regions, and delivers ten preceding and ten succeeding generations of his race.

Dwelling next for a month of Mahalaya, and fasting there for three nights, one’s soul is cleansed of all sins and one acquires the merit of giving away gold in abundance.

Proceeding next to Vetasika worshipped by the Grandsire, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and the state of Usanas.

Going next to the tirtha called Sundarika, worshipped by the Siddhas, one obtaines personal beauty as witnessed by the ancients.

Proceeding next to Brahmani with subdued senses and observing the Brahmacarya vow, a person ascends to the region of Brahma on a lotus-hued car.

One should repair next to the sacred Naimisha, worshipped by the Siddhas. There dwells for aye Brahma with the gods. By only purposing to go to Naimisha, half one’s sins are destroyed; by entering it, one is cleansed of all his sins. The pilgrim of subdued senses should stay at Naimisha for a month; for, O Bharata, all the tirthas of the earth are at Naimisha. Bathing there, with restrained senses and regulated fare, one obtains, O Bharata, the merit of the cow-sacrifice, and also sanctifies, O best of the Bharatas, his race for seven generations both upwards and downwards. He who renounces his life at Naimisha by fasting, enjoys happiness in the heavenly regions. Even this is the opinion of the wise. O foremost of kings, Naimisha is ever sacred and holy.

Proceeding next to Gangodbheda and fasting there for three nights, a man obtaines the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and becomes like unto Brahma himself. Journeying to the Sarasvati, one should offer oblations unto the gods and the Pitris. By this, one certainly enjoys bliss in the regions called Sarasvata.

Then should one wend to Vahuda, with subdued soul and observing the Brahmacarya vow. Residing there for one night, one becomes adored in heaven, and obtaines also, O Kaurava, the merit of the Devasatra sacrifice.

Then should one repair to the holy Kshiravati, frequented by holier men. By worshipping the gods and the Pitris there, one obtains the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice.

Proceeding next to Vimalasoka, with subdued soul and observing the Brahmacarya vow, and residing there for one night, one is adored in heaven.

One should next proceed to the excellent Gopratra in the Sarayu, whence Rama, O king, with all his attendants and animals, renouncing his body, ascended to heaven in consequence of the efficacy of the tirtha alone. Bathing in that tirtha, O Bharata, one’s soul, through Rama’s grace, and by virtue of his own deeds, being cleansed of all sins, one becomes adored in heaven.

O Bharata! Proceeding next, O son of the Kuru race, to the Rama-tirtha on the Gomati, and bathing there, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and sanctifies also his own race. There, O bull of the Bharata race, is another tirtha called Satasahasrika. Bathing there, with restrained senses and regulated diet, a person reaps, O bull of Bharata race, the merit of giving away a thousand kine.

Then should one, O king, go to the unrivalled tirtha called Bhartristhana. By this, a person obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice.

Bathing next in the tirtha called Koti, and worshipping Kartikeya, a man reaps, O king, the merit of giving away a thousand kine, and acquires great energy.

Proceeding next to Varanasi, and worshipping the god having the bull for his mark, after a bath in the Kapilahrada, one obtaines the merit of the Rajasuya sacrifice.

Repairing then, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, to the tirtha called Avimukta, and beholding there the god of gods, the pilgrim, from such sight alone, is immediately cleansed of even the sin of slaying a Brahmana. By renouncing one’s life there, one obtaines deliverance.

Arriving next, O king, at the rare tirtha called Markandeya celebrated over the world and situated at the confluence of the Ganges, a person obtaines the merit of Agnishtoma sacrifice, and delivers his race.

Sojourning next to Gaya, with subdued senses and observing the Brahmacarya vow, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also rescues his race. There in that tirtha is the Akshaya-vata, celebrated over the three worlds. Whatever is offered there to the Pitris is said to become inexhaustible. Bathing there at the Mahanadi, and offering oblations to the gods and the Pitris, a man acquires eternal regions, and also rescues his race.

Proceeding then to Brahma-sara that is adorned by the woods of Dharma, and passing one night there, a man attains to the region of Brahma. In that lake, Brahma had raised a sacrificial pillar. By walking round this pillar, a person acquires the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice.

One should next, O mighty monarch, go to Denuka celebrated over the world. Staying there for one night and giving away sesame and kine, one’s soul being cleansed from every sin, one ascends, without doubt to the region of Soma. There, O king, on the mountains, the cow called Kapila used to range with her calf. There is little doubt, of this, O Bharata, the hoof-marks, of that cow and her calf are seen there to this day. By bathing in those hoof-prints, O foremost of monarchs, whatever sin a man may have incurred is, O Bharata, washed away.

Then should one go to Gridhravata, the spot consecrated to the trident-bearing god. Approaching the deity having the bull for his mark one should rub himself with ashes. If a Brahmana, he obtains the merit of observing the twelve year’s vow and if belonging to any of the other orders, he is freed from all his sins.

One should next proceed to the Udyanta mountains, resounding with melodious notes. There, O bull of the Bharata race, is still seen the foot-print of Savitri. The Brahmana of rigid vows, who says his morning, noon and evening prayers there, obtaines the merit of performing that service for twelve years. There, O bull of the Bharata race, is the famous Yonidwara. Repairing thither, a person becomes exempted from the pain of rebirth. The person that stays at Gaya during both the dark and lighted fortnights, certainly sanctifies, O king, his own race up and down to the seventh generation. One should wish for many sons so that even one may go to Gaya, or celebrate the horse-sacrifice, or offer a nila bull.

Then, O king, the pilgrim should proceed to Phalgu. By this, he obtains the merit of horse-sacrifice, and acquires great success.

O king, one should repair then, with subdued soul, to Dharmaprishta. There, O foremost of warriors, dwells Dharma for aye. Drinking of the water of a well which is there, and purifying one’s self by a bath, he that offers oblations to the gods and the Pitris is cleansed of all his sins and ascends to heaven. There in that tirtha is the hermitage of the great Rishi Matanga of soul under complete control. By entering that beautiful asylum capable of soothing fatigue and sorrow, one earns the merit of the Gavayana sacrifice, and by touching (the image of) Dharma which is there, one obtaines the fruit of the horse-sacrifice.

One should next go, O king, to the excellent tirtha called Brahmasthana. Approaching Brahma, that bull among male beings, who is there, one acquires, O mighty monarch, the merit of the Rajasuya and horse-sacrifices.

The pilgrim should then repair to Rajasuya, O king of men! Bathing there, one lives (in heaven) as happily as (the Rishi) Kakshiyan. After purifying himself, one should partake there of the offerings daily made unto the Yakshini. By this, one is freed from the sin of even slaying a Brahmana, through the Yakshini’s grace.

Proceeding next to Maninaga, one obtains the merit of giving away a thousand kine. O Bharata, he that eats anything relating to the tirtha of Maninaga, if bitten by a venomous snake, does not succumb to its poison. Residing there for one night, one is cleansed of one’s sins.

Then should one proceed to the favourite wood of the Brahmarshi Gautama. There bathing in the lake of Ahalya, one attains to an exalted state.

Beholding next the image of Shri, one acquires great prosperity. There in that tirtha is a well celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing in it, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There also exists a well sacred to the royal Rishi Janaka, which is worshipped by the gods. Bathing in the well, one ascends to the region of Vishnu.

Then should one repair to Vinasana that destroys every sin. By a sojourn thither, one obtaines the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and goes also to the region of Soma.

Proceeding next to Gandaki which is produced by the waters of every tirtha, a person acquires the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and ascends also to the solar region.

Proceeding next to the Visala, that river celebrated over the three worlds, one obtaines the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and ascends also to heaven.

Repairing then, O virtuous one, to the woody seat of ascetics that is called Adhivanga, one obtains, without doubt, great happiness amongst the Guhyakas.

Proceeding next to the river Kampana, visited by the Siddhas, one obtaines the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice, and ascends also to heaven.

Arriving then, O lord of earth, at the stream called Maheswari, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also rescues his own race.

Repairing next to the tank of the celestials, one earns immunity from misfortune, and also the merit of the horse-sacrifice.

One should next go to Somapada, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacarya mode of life. Bathing in Mahesvarapada that is there, one reaps the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There in that tirtha, O bull of the Bharata race, it is well known that ten millions of tirthas exist together. A wicked Asura in the shape of a tortoise had, O foremost of monarchs, been carrying it away when the powerful Vishnu recovered it from him. There in that tirtha should one perform his ablutions, for by this he acquires the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice and ascends also to the region of Vishnu.

Then, O best of kings, should one proceed to the place of Narayana, where, O Bharata, Narayana is ever present and dwells for aye. There the gods with Brahma at their head, Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, the Adityas, the Vasus, and the Rudras, all adore Janardana, in that tirtha, and Vishnu of wonderful deeds has become known as Salagrama. Approaching the eternal Vishnu, that lord of the three worlds, that giver of boons, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and goes to the region of Vishnu. There in that place, O virtuous one, is a well, capable of destroying every sin. The four seas are ever present in that well. He that bathes in it, O king, will have immunity from misfortune. Beholding (the image of) the boon-giving, eternal, and fierce Mahadeva who is there, one shines, O king, like the moon emerged from the cloud.

Bathing then in Jatismara, with pure mind and subdued senses, one acquires, without doubt, the recollections of his former life.

Proceeding then to Mahesvarapura, and worshipping the god having the bull for his mark, fasting the while, one obtaines, without doubt, the fruition of all his desires.

Repairing then to Vamana that destroys every sin, and beholding the god Hari, one acquires exemption from every misfortune. One should next go to the asylum of Kusika that is capable of removing every sin.

Repairing then to the river Kausika that cleanses from even great sins, one should bathe in it. By this one obtaines the merit of Rajasuya sacrifice.

One should next, O foremost of kings, proceed to the excellent woods of Champaka. By spending there one night, one acquires the merit of giving away a thousand kine.

Arriving next at Jyeshthila, that tirtha of rare worth, and passing one night there, one reaps the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine. Beholding there (the image of) Visvesvara of great splendour, with his consort the goddess, a person obtaines, O bull among men, the region of Mitra-Varuna. By fasting there for three nights, a man acquires the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. By visiting Kanya-samvedya, with senses restrained and regulated fare, one acquires, O bull among men, the region of Manu, the lord of creation. Rishis of rigid vows have said that he that gives away rice or makes any gift at the tirtha called Kanya, renders such gift eternal.

Arriving next at Nischira celebrated over the three worlds, one obtaines the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goes to the legion of Vishnu. O king, those that give away at the confluence of the Nischira, ascend to the blessed region of Brahma. There in that tirtha is the asylum of Vasishtha that is known over the three worlds. Bathing there, one obtaines the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice.

Proceeding next to Devakuta that is resorted to by celestial Rishis, one acquires the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and also delivers his race.

Then should one, O king, go to the lake of the Muni Kausika, where Kusika’s son, Visvamitra, obtained high success. Bathing there, a person acquires the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. There, O hero, at Kausika, should one reside for a month, O bull of the Bharata race! By a month’s residence there, one reaps the merit of the horse-sacrifice. He that resides at the best of tirthas called Maha-hrada, enjoys immunity from misfortune, and also obtains the merit of giving away gold in abundance.

Beholding next Kartikeya who dwells at Virasrama, a man certainly reaps the fruit of the horse-sacrifice.

Proceeding then to Agnidhara celebrated over the three worlds, and beholding there after a bath the eternal and boon-giving Vishnu, that god of gods, one obtaines the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice.

Proceeding next to the Grandsire’s tank near the snowcapped of mountains, and bathing in it, a man obtains the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Falling from the Grandsire’s tank, is that world-sanctifying (stream), celebrated over the three worlds, called Kumara-Dhara. Bathing there, one regards himself as having all his purposes fulfilled. Fasting in that tirtha for three days, one is even cleansed from the sin of slaying a Brahmana.

The pilgrim should next, O virtuous one, proceed to the peak of the great goddess Gauri, famed over the three worlds. Ascending it, O best of men, one should approach Stana-Kunda. By touching the waters of Stana-Kunda, a person obtaines the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. Bathing in that tirtha and worshipping the gods and Pitris, one acquires the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also ascends to the region of Indra.

Arriving next at the well of Tamraruna, that is frequented by the gods, one acquires, O lord of men, the merit that attaches to human sacrifice.

Bathing next at the confluence of the Kirtika with the Kausiki and the Aruna, and fasting there for three nights a man of learning is cleansed of all his sins.

Proceeding next to the tirtha called Urvasi, and then to Somasrama, a wise man by bathing next at Kumbhakarnasrama becomes adored in the world. The ancients knew that by touching the waters of Kokamukha, with steady vows and leading Brahmacarya mode of life, the memory of one’s former life is revived.

Arriving next with speed to the river called Nanda a regenerate one becomes freed from all his sins and ascends with soul under control to Indra’s region.

Proceeding next to the island called Rishabha, that is destructive of cranes, and bathing in the Sarasvati, an individual blazes forth in heaven.

Proceeding next to the tirtha called Auddalaka frequented by Munis, and bathing there one is cleansed of all his sins.

Repairing next to the sacred tirtha called Dharma that is visited by Brahmarshis, one acquires the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice and becomes respected in heaven.

Proceeding next to Champa and bathing in the Bhagirathi he that sojournes to Dandaparna, acquires the merit of giving away a thousand kine.

Then should one proceed to the sacred Lalitika that is graced by the presence of the virtuous. By this one acquires the merit of the Rajasuya sacrifice and is regarded in heaven."

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