The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the greatness of narmada which is chapter 13 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 thirteenth chapter of the Svarga-khanda (section on the heavens) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 13 - The Greatness of Narmadā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

1-3. O Nārada, I desire to hear again about the best, well-known holy place called Narmada, that rends the mountains of sins, which Vasiṣṭha described to Dilīpa. (O Nārada,) describe it to me. O best brāhmaṇa, also (tell me about) the greatness of Narmadā as described by Vasiṣṭha. O Nārada, tell me how this very pious river, known as Narmadā, is famous everywhere.

Nārada said:

4-5. Narmadā is the best of rivers; she destroys all sins; she would liberate all beings—immobile and mobile. I have heard the greatness of Narmada as told by Visiṣṭha. O great king, know (i.e. listen to) it; I (shall) tell you the whole (of it).

6-14. Gaṅga is holy at Kanakhala; Sarasvatī at Kurukṣetra; (but) Narmadā is holy everywhere—whether in a village or a forest. The water of Sarasvatī purifies (a man) within three days; that of Yamunā within seven days; that of Gaṅgā instantly; but that of Narmadā just by looking at it. In the western part of Kaliṅga country on the Amarakaṇtaka mountain Narmadā is beautiful, charming and holy in the three worlds. O great king, the sages, with penance as their wealth, having practised penance here, along with gods, demons and gandharvas, have attained great prosperity. O great king, a man, following a vow and with his senses controlled, having bathed there and having fasted for a night would liberate a hundred families. If a man, after having bathed at Janeśvara duly offered a ball of rice (to his dead ancestors), they remain pleased till the universal destruction. All around the mountain is settled Rudrakoṭi. There is no doubt that the entire Rudrakoṭi would be pleased with him who bathes there with sandal, flowers and unctions. At the western end of the mountain the great lord himself (resides). Being chaste and controlling his senses, a man should bathe there, be purified and should perform the rite (in honour) of the dead ancestors as enjoined in the sacred texts.

15-20a. There only he should gratify his divine manes with water with sesamum seeds. O Pāṇḍava, his family upto the seventh descendant stays in heaven. Crowded by the host of celestial nymphs, surrounded by celestial women, smeared with divine sandal (-paste), and adorned with divine ornaments, he is honoured in the heaven for sixty thousand years. Then having fallen from heaven, he is born in a large family. He is born rich, disposed to making presents and righteous. He again remembers that holy place, (and) again goes to (i.e. visits) it. Having liberated a hundred (members of) his family, he goes to Rudra’s heaven. The best river is said (to be flowing over) a hundred yojanas in her later (course). O best king, her breadth is two yojanas.

20b-22. Round the mountain Amarakaṇtaka there are sixty crores and sixty thousand holy places. Being chaste and pure, having conquered his anger and senses, and turned away from all (kinds of) harm, and engaged in the well-being of all creatures, thus being full of good conduct, he should go round the deities.

23-25a. O king, listen attentively to the fruit of his religious merit. O Pāṇḍava, he would live for a hundred thousand years in heaven crowded with the hosts of celestial nymphs and waited upon by celestial women. Smeared with divine sandal (-paste), and decorated with divine ornaments, he sports in the world of gods and rejoices with deities.

25b-28a. Then the powerful one, having fallen from heaven, becomes a king. He obtains a house decorated with many gems. with pillars decked with gems, divine diamonds and lapis lazuli. It has divine paintings, endowed with male and female servants; and its gate is disturbed (i.e. is noisy) with the trumpetings of elephants and neighings of horses, as is the gate of Indra’s house.

28b-34a. He, the lord of great kings, glorious and dear to all women, having lived in the house, having sports and enjoyments, would live for a hundred years without (suffering from) any disease. He who dies, or enters fire or water or fasts at Amarakaṇṭaka, would have such enjoyments. His course has no return, as is that of a mountain into the sky. When the man has a fall, he becomes the lord of men. In each of his houses thousand of maidens and women wait (upon him), and wait for his directions. Born with divine enj oyments he sports for eternal time. Like the man on the Amarakaṇṭaka mountain, none else is born on the earth upto the ocean, O best of men.

34b-44. To the west of the mountain the holy place (that exists) should be known as Koṭitīrtha. There is Rudra known as Kāleśvara, well-known in the worlds. By offering balls (of rice) to him and by offering the Sandhyā-prayers, the manes become satisfied for ten years. To the south of Narmadā, there is a great river Kapi1 a. She is covered with sarala and arjuna trees. She is not far away. She is very holy, auspicious and is known in the three worlds. O Yudhiṣṭhira, there is a full (group of) a hundred crores of holy places. O king, it is so reported in the Purāṇas. All this has a crorefold merit. The trees on her bank that fall due to lapse of time, get the best course due to being connected with her water. The other one, O glorious one, is holy and removes poignant pain. A man, by bathing there on her bank becomes free from poignant pain in a moment. All hosts of gods with kinnaras and great serpents, yakṣas, demons, gandharvas and sages rich in penance have all gathered there on the Amarakaṇṭaka mountain. All those and the sages also resorted to Narmada, (and) the holy (river) named Viśalyā that destroys all sins was produced by them. O king, a man, being chaste, and with his senses controlled, who, after fasting for a night, bathes there, would liberate a hundred (members of) his family.

45-49. O best king, Viśalyā is said to be reddish and is (thus) declared in the Purāṇas by the lord with a desire for the good of the worlds. O king, having bathed there, a man would obtain the fruit of a hundred horse sacrifices. O lord of men, he who observes a fast at that holy place, goes, with all his sins purified, to Indra’s heaven. O lord of kings, I have heard in (i.e. learnt from) the Purāṇa that a man bathing anywhere in Narmadā obtains the fruit of a horse sacrifice. Those who live on the northern bank, stay in Indra’s heaven. O Yudhiṣṭhira, as Śaṅkara (himself) told me, the gifts (given at the bank of) and bath taken in Sarasvatī, Gaṅgā and Narmada are equal in fruit.

50-54. He, who casts his life on the Amarakaṇṭaka mountain, is honoured for a full hundred crores of years in Indra’s heaven. The water in (i.e. of) Narmadā is holy and is adorned with foam and ripples. It is pure, worth adoration. (A man bathing there) is free from all sins. Narmadā is all-holy; she removes the sin due to the murder of a brāhmaṇa; by fasting (on her bank) for a day and night a man is absolved of (the sin of) killing a brāhmaṇa. Thus, O son of Pāṇḍu, Narmadā is pleasing and holy. This great river purifies (all) in the three worlds at the very holy Vaṭeśvara and in the penance grove of Gaṅgādvāra. At all these places those that are afflicted and have fulfilled their vows (are liberated). At the confluence of Narmadā the merit is said to be tenfold.

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