The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the miraculous bath in the water of manasa lake which is chapter 89 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the eighty-ninth chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 89 - The Miraculous Bath in the Water of Mānasa Lake

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Viṣṇu said:

1-3a. Then Kuñjala said (these) words to his very bright son: “O son, tell me what you saw earlier. Tell me that. I am now very much pleased to listen to it.” Thus ordering his son, that Kuñjala ceased speaking. The son, bending with modesty replied to the father:

Samujjvala said:

3b-14. O father, for your and my food, I go to Himālaya, the best mountain, attended by hosts of gods. I saw a wonder there, not seen or heard of before. (I saw) a region crowded with groups of sages, adorned with celestial nymphs, rich in many beautiful things creating curiosity, auspicious, and endowed with auspicious things, attracting the mind with many curious things, full of many auspicious fruits. There, near the Mānasa (lake), O father, I saw a wonderful thing. A swan accompanied by many swans came there. In the same way, O glorious one, other black swans with white beaks and feet (also) came there. At other places their bodies were white (i.e. other parts of their bodies were white). They were black like that, and, O you very intelligent one, others were white. There were four females of formidable figures and fearful, fierce and cruel due to their fangs, with their hair erect and causing fear. Later they also came there to that Mānasa lake. O father, in front of me the black swans bathed in the Mānasa (lake). Others roamed around; they did not bathe there in the Mānasa (lake). Later the females also came there to that Mānasa (lake). O father, the women laughed loudly and fiercely. From that lake a swan of a huge body came out. Then three went out; they neglected the swan. Discussing wiṃ each other, they went along the aerial path. Those very fearful women wandered on all sides.

15-19a. All the birds, affiicted with great agonies, sat in the shades of trees on the auspicious peak of Vindhya. When they were well (i.e. minutely) watching there came a bhilla, holding a bow and with an arrow in his hand, after having harassed beasts. Resorting to a slab, he sat there happily. Then the female bhilla (the wife of that bhilla) came there carrying (i.e. with) food and water. She saw her husband endowed with superior marks of kings. Knowing (i.e. taking) her husband covered with lustre, full of divine lustre, like the sun remaining in the sky, to be someone else, she left him and went (i.e. started going).

The hunter said:

I9b-22. O darling, come, come on, why do you not look at me? I, who am being tormented by hunger, am waiting for you.

Hearing his words, the female hunter came (there) quickly. Reaching the vicinity of her husband, she wondered: ‘Who this lustrous god may be that is calling me?’ Then the female hunter said to her husband of a blazing lustre: “O hero, what have you to do here? Who are you, having divine marks?’

Sūta said:

23. The hunter, thus addressed by the female hunter said to his wife: “O dear one, I am your husband, and you are my wife.

24. How do you not recognise me? Why is there a doubt (in your mind)? One who is oppressed by hunger expects water and food.”

The female hunter said:

25-29. My husband is a barbarian, of a dark complexion and has put on a black dress. Such is my husband who causes fear to all beings. Who are you of a divine body, who would call (i.e. who addressed) me ‘O dear one’? This is my doubt; tell me the truth.

For convincing his wife he told her (about) his family, his (native) village, his sports, his distinguishing mark, his son, his daughter. That female hunter, with her heart pleased said to her husband: “Due to what has your body become like this? Why have you put on a white dress? Tell me (about it). I am wondering.” Hearing these words, the hunter, who was thus asked by his wife, full of respect (for him), replied to her:

Sūta said:

30-35a. “O you of a good vow, there is a confluence on the northern bank of Narmadā. O you very dear one, I, who was fatigued, quickly went to this (place of) confluence. I bathed (there), drank water, and have (now) come (here). Since then my body is covered with lustre like this. I became (fully) clad, and my garment turned white.” By the marks, figure, family, place she recognised her husband, and having realised the possibility of religious merit, she then said to him: “Show me the (place of) confluence (first). I shall afterwards give you food with drink.”

38b-42a. Thus addressed by his wife, the hunter quickly went (there); he subsequently showed her the confluence, the destroyer of sins. “O noble one, the birds of quick steps flew, and with her went to that excellent confluence of Revā. While birds and I were watching, she gave a bath to her husband, and she herself took a bath. Both turned (to be persons) possessing divine bodies and endowed with divine beauty, clad in divine garments, and (smeared) with (divine) unguents, having divine garlands, and smeared with divine sandal, O best of birds. Having got into Viṣṇu’s vehicle, the two, worshipped, by sages and Gandharvas, and honoured by Viṣṇu’s devotees, went to Viṣṇu’s heaven. I saw the noble couple being praised, and going along the heavenly path. Seeing the excellent best holy place, the birds also warbled with clear notes due to joy.

42b-50. The four black swans, having bathed at the confluence destroying sins, and with their hearts purified, again became bright. Having bathed and drunk water they again went out. All those black females died just due to that bath. O father, crying and moving, trembling with grief they went to Yama’s world. I saw them then. Then the swans flew and went to their abode. O father, I actually saw this, and told it to you. O father, please tell me what those females with black sides and huge bodies will be (turned into). Tell me about the geese with black legs and bills, who went out of the Mānasa (lake). Tell it to me, O father, what they will be (i.e. turn into). How again, had the (white) swans become black? How did they become white again (just) at that moment only? O father, why did those females die? Such a doubt has arisen in my mind. Being favourable to me, you, who are clear-sighted, please remove, today only, the doubt of me who am always humble.”

51. Speaking thus to his father, Samujjvala (or Ujjvala) ceased speaking. Then that parrot, named Kuñjala, started speaking.

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