by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the powers of the holy places which is chapter 90 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 ninetieth 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.
Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.
l. Having heard all that Samujjvala said, that pious Kuñjala said in reply:
2-7. O dear one, I shall explain it to you. Listen with a steady (i.e. attentive) mind to the account removing all doubts and destroying sins. In the assembly of that noble god Indra a debate, producing curiosity, was going on. (At that time) Nārada hurriedly came to see Indra. Indra, having seen him, with lustre like that of the sun, who had arrived, became glad and the very intelligent one, with his mind humble through devotion, offered him material of worship and water for washing his feet. Joining the palms of his hands, he saluted him. Seating the best brāhmaṇa on an auspicious, soft seat, and bowing down, he, full of great reverence, asked him: “Tell me now the reason for your arrival today.”
8-10a. Thus addressed by the lord of gods, the great sage said: “Having bathed in holy regions and sacred places with great faith, having worshipped deities and dead ancestors, having seen many holy places, I have come, from the earth, to see you, O Indra. I have already told all this which you had formerly asked me.”
The Lord of gods said:
10b-12a. O sage, you have seen auspicious, holy places and good regions. By visiting which sacred place, would a killer of a brāhmaṇa be free from (the sin of) murdering a brāhmaṇa, (or} a drunkard, or a killer of a cow, or one stealing gold, (would be free from the sin), (or) O illustrious one, how would one be free from plotting against one’s master? (Or) how would the killer of a woman be happy?
12b-23. O lord of gods, I do not know the speciality, regarding the destruction of sin, of such holy places as Gaṅgā etc. O Indra, I know that all great holy places are very auspicious and divine. But I do not know properly their special properties and lack of them. O god, ascertain the power of the holy places of giving salvation.
Having heard those words of that magnanimous Nārada, Indra called the Holy Places residing on the earth. By his order, all the Holy Places—divine ones—came there in embodied forms. O you of a good vow, the divine ones had joined the palms of their hands; they were adorned with good ornaments; their garments were divine, glossy and bright. They had especially taken up the form of women and men. They resembled gold and sandal, and had put on divine forms. O lord of men, they shone with the colour of pearls. Some of them had the complexion of heated gold and some were tawny. Some in the assembly were white and very yellow and bright. Some of the embodied ones resembled lotuses; still others resembled the sun’s lustre, (or) the lustre (i.e. flash) of lightning; others shone in the assembly like fire. O lord of men, they shone with the richness of all ornaments, with necklaces, bracelets, armlets, garlands and good sandal. They, (with their bodies) smeared with divine sandal, fragrant and great, and with water-pots in their hands came into the assembly.
24-37. Gaṅgā, Narmadā, the holy Candrabhāgā, Sarasvatī, Devikā, Bimbikā, Kubjā, Kuñjalā, the well-known Mañjulā, Rambhā, the extremely holy Bhānumatī, Sughargharā, Śoṇā, Sindhu, Sauvirā, Kāverī, so also Kapilā, and Kumudā, the holy Vedanadī, the very holy Maheśvarī and the well-known Carmaṇvatī, Lopā and Sukauśikī, Suhaṃsī, Haṃsapādā, Haṃsavegā and Manorathā, Suruthā, Svārunā, Veṇā, Bhadraveṇā, Supadminī, Nāharī, Sumarī, the holy Pulindikā, Hemā, Manorathā, Divyā, Candrikā, Vedasaṃkramā, Jvālā, Hutāśanī, Svāhā, Kālā and Kampiñjalā, Svadhā and Sukalā, Liṅgā, Gambhīrā, Bhīmavāhinī, Devadrīcī, Vīravāhā, Lakṣahomā, Aghāpahā, Pārāśarī, Hemagarbhā, Subhadrā, Vasuputrikā—these very holy rivers, rich with the beauty of all ornaments, with pitchers in their hands, and well-honoured came there in embodied forms, O lord of men. Prayāga, Puṣkara, Arghadīrghā, Manorathā, the very holy Vārāṇasī, removing (the sin of) the murder of a brāhmaṇa, Dvārāvatī, Prabhāsa, and Avantī and Nimiṣa and Caṇḍaka, Mahāratna and Maheśvara and Kaleśvara, Kaliñjara, Brahmakṣetra, Māthura, Mānavāhaka, Māyā, Kāntī and other many very holy and divine places—sixty-eight in number—so also hundreds of crores of all rivers, led by Godāvarī came there by his (i.e. Indra’s) order. All regions, very holy and great holy places, possessing bodies and marks came to Indra, the lord of gods; came there, obeying his order. With their heads bent down, they all saluted the lord of gods.
38-47. The great Holy Places said to the victorious lord of gods: “O god of gods, tell us why you have called us. O lord of gods, tell us all the reason; salutation to you.” Hearing these words of them, the lord of gods said: “Which holy place is able to remove (the sin of) the murder of a brāhmaṇa? Which holy place is able to destroy the great sin called the murder of a cow, or the matchless sin called the murder of a woman or the great sin due to plotting against one’s master or the elders, or drinking liquor, or due to the terrible (sin of) causing abortion. (Which holy place is able to destroy) the great sin, giving great trouble, due to plotting against the king, (or) against (one’s) friend, or any other sin of treachery, (or) changing the deity, (or) means of livelihood of brāhmaṇas, (or) destroying the pasture-ground of cows, or burning a dwelling or setting ablaze a house? These sixteen are major sins, so also illicit intercourse. Which best holy place would be able to destroy sins (like the sin) due to deserting one’s master, or due to running away from the battle-field? From amongst you which one would certainly be able (to destroy a sin) without expiation? When all gods and Nārada are watching (i.e. in the presence of all gods and Nārada) may all of you speak after having properly decided.”
48. When the magnanimous king of gods spoke like this, the Holy Places, after having consulted their lord, spoke to Indra, present in the assembly.
The Holy Places said:
49-54. Listen, we shall tell (it). O lord of gods, salutation to you. All holy places destroy sins; but, O Lord of gods, we are not able to destroy the very fearful and strong sins which you mentioned. Prayāga, Puṣkara, the matchless Aghatīrtha, and, O noble one, Vārāṇasī—(each one of these) is able to destroy sins. To destroy major sins these four are of unlimited power; so also they have unlimited power to destroy minor sins. O lord of gods, the very powerful Puṣkara and others have been created by the Creator.
Having heard these words of the Holy Places, the lord of gods, full of great joy, then praised them.