by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes gaya and other holy places which is chapter 38 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 thirty-eighth 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.
1. O lord, I have described to you in brief the greatness of Vārāṇasi, and the holy places (situated) in it. (Now) listen to (the description of) other holy places.
2-4. O descendant of Bharata, a man being restrained and calm, having gone to Gayā, obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice merely by going there. There is (a place) named Akṣayavaṭa known in the three worlds. O lord, oblations offered to the manes at that place become inexhaustible. Having bathed in the Mahānadī he should offer oblations to manes and deities. (By doing so) he would obtain (i.e. go to) the imperishable worlds and would liberate his family.
5-6. Then he should go to Brahmasaras served by (i.e. in) Brahmāraṇya. (Thereby) he obtains (the fruit of) Puṇḍarīka (sacrifice) as the night obtains the dawn. Brahmā has raised (i.e. put up) the best sacrificial post in the lake. By circumambulating the sacrificial post he would obtain the fruit of a Vājapeya sacrifice.
7-10. Thence, O lord of kings, he should go to Dhenuka, well-known in the world. Living there even for a night and offering a sesamum-cow he with his soul purified of all sins, would certainly go to Soma’s world. There is, O great king, even now the mark: A tawny cow along with her calf still roams over the mountain. The foot-prints of the cow with her calf are seen even now. Having bathed in (the water collected at) those foot-prints, O lord of kings, O best king, little sin that is (left) perishes, O descendant of Bharata.
11-12. Thence he should go to Gṛdhravaṭa, the place of the god, viz. the trident-holder (i.e. Śiva). He should bathe there and (apply) ashes after meeting (i.e. visiting) the bull-bannered god. A brāhmaṇa, thereby, would have observed a vow for twelve years. All the sin of other castes perishes.
13-18. Thence he should go to the high mountain resounding with music. O best among the Bharatas, the place sacred to Sāvitrī is seen there. A brāhmaṇa with a severe vow should offer the sandhyā(-prayer) there. By (doing) that he would have offered the sandhyā(-prayer) for twelve years. O best of Bharatas, Yonidvāra is there only. Having gone there a man is freed from the danger of (being conceived in) a womb. O king, a man who would live in Gayā for both the bright and dark fortnights (of a month), purifies his family up to the seventh (descendant). There is no doubt about this. Many sons would be desired by him (i.e. he would have many sons) even if he would go to Gayā all alone. He might perform a horse sacrifice or give a dark blue bull. Then O king, O lord of men, a pilgrim should go to Phalgu. (By doing so) he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and would reach (i.e. get) the highest well-being.
19-20a. Thence, being tranquil he should, O lord of kings, go to Dharmapṛṣṭha where, O Yudhiṣṭhira, Dharma (i.e. Righteousness) always lives. Having seen Dharma, he would obtain (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice.
20b-23. Thence, O lord of kings, he should go to the excellent holy place of Brahmā. Having gone there and having been settled in a vow he should worship Brahmā. O descendant of Bharata, (thereby) he obtains the fruit of Rājasūya and horse sacrifices. Thence, O king, a pilgrim should go to Rājagṛha. Having bathed there he rejoices like Kakṣīvat. The food is (there) regularly offered to Yakṣiṇī. The sacred Fire-Man formerly lived there. By the favour of Yakṣiṇī he is freed from (the sin) of killing a brāhmaṇa.
24-25. Thence he should go to Maṇināga. He would (thereby) obtain the fruit (of the gift) of a thousand cows. O king, the poison of the bite of a serpent does not affect him who enjoys the food regularly offered to Maṇināga. Having stayed there for a night he is freed from all sins.
26-29a. O king, thence he should go to the grove of Gautama, the brāhmaṇic sage. Having bathed in the pool of Ahalyā he would reach the highest position. Reaching Śrī, he gets excellent wealth. O pious one, there is a tank well-known in the three worlds. He should bathe there. (Thereby) he would obtain (the fruit of) a horse-sacrifice. The tank of the royal sage Janaka is honoured by gods. Having bathed there he would obtain Viṣṇu’s heaven.
29b-30a. Thence he should go to (the holy place called) Vināśana which frees (a man) from all sins. (Thereby) he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and goes to Soma’s world.
30b-36a. (Then) he should go to Gaṇḍakī produced from the water of all sacred places. (Thereby) he obtains (the fruit of) a Vājapeya sacrifice and goes to the Sun’s world. Thence, O pious one, having entered the penance-grove of Dhruva he undoubtedly rejoices among guhyakas, O noble one. Having reached the river Karmadā resorted to by siddhas he obtains (the fruit of) Puṇḍarīka (sacrifice) and goes to Soma’s world. Thence having reached the river Viśālā, well-known in the three worlds, he obtains (the fruit of) Agniṣṭoma (sacrifice) and goes to heaven. Then O king, having reached Dhārā of (i.e. sacred to) Maheśvara he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and would liberate his family. A pure man having reached the lake of the residents of heaven does not meet with a disaster and obtains (the fruit of) a Vājapeya (sacrifice).
36b-39. Then being restrained and calm he should go to (the sacred place called) Māheśapada. Having bathed at Māheśapada he would obtain (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice. O best among the Bharatas, there is a well-known, excellent sacred place taken away by the mighty Viṣṇu when, O lord of kings, it was being seized by a wicked demon Kūrmarūpa. O king, a man should bathe at that excellent holy place Tīrthakoṭi; (thereby) he obtains (the fruit of) a Puṇḍarīka sacrifice and goes to Viṣṇu’s heaven.
40-46. Thence, O best of men, he should go to the best place of Nārāyaṇa, where, O descendant of Bharata, Viṣṇu always lives in the vicinity and where gods like Brahma and others, sages with penance as their wealth, and also Ādityas, Vasus and Rudras wait upon Viṣṇu. The place of (i.e. sacred to) Viṣṇu of wonderful deeds is known as Śālagrāma. Having gone to the imperishable Viṣṇu, the lord of the three worlds and the giver of boons, a man obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and goes to Viṣṇu’s heaven. O pious one, there is a pool freeing (a man) from all sins. In that pool all the four oceans are always present. Having bathed there, O lord of kings, a man would not meet with misery. Having gone to the everlasting, great god Viṣṇu, the giver of boons, he being free from debts, shines like Soma (i.e. the moon). Having approached Jātismara, he, pure and with his mind controlled, obtains the faculty of recollecting his former births after bathing there. There is no doubt about this.
47-48. Having gone to Vaṭeśvarapura and having worshipped Keśava (there) a man obtains (i.e. goes to) desired worlds by fasting there. There is no doubt about this. Thence, having gone to (the sacred place called) Vāmana, which destroys all sins and having worshipped Viṣṇu, he would not meet with a disaster.
49-50a. Having gone to Bharata’s hermitage freeing (a man) from all sins he should there resort to Kauṣikī destroying great sins. A man (thereby) obtains the fruit of a Rājasūya sacrifice.
50b-59. Thence, O pious one, he should go to the excellent Campakāraṇya. Having stayed there for a night he would obtain the fruit of giving away a thousand cows. Then having reached the sacred place (called) Govinda liked by the best ones and having fasted there for a night, he would obtain the fruit of Agniṣṭoma (sacrifice). O best among the Bharatas, having seen there the very lustrous lord of the world along with the goddess he would obtain (i.e. go to) the worlds of Mitra and Varuṇa. Having fasted there for three nights he would obtain the fruit of an Agniṣṭoma (sacrifice). Then, being controlled and with his diet controlled he having reached Kanyāvasatha obtains (i.e. goes to) the worlds of Manu Prajāpati, O best of the Bharatas. Sages of severe vows say that even the smallest gift which men give at Kanyāvasatha becomes inexhaustible. Having reached Niṣṭhāvāsa, well-known in the three worlds, he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and goes to Viṣṇu’s heaven. O best among men, those men who give gifts at the confluence of Niṣṭhā, go to the good world of Brahmā. There is Vasiṣṭha’s hermitage well-known in the three worlds. A man who bathes there obtains (the fruit of) a Vājapeya (sacrifice). Having reached Devakūṭa resorted to by hosts of divine sages he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and would liberate his family.
60-73. Thence, O lord of kings, he should go to the lake of the sage Kauṣika, where Viśvāmitra, the son of Kauśika, obtained the highest welfare. O best among the Bharatas, the wise one should live for a month there, i.e. at Kauśikī. After a month he obtains the religious merit which is due to a horse sacrifice. He who would stay at Mahāhrada, the best among all holy places, does not meet with a disaster and would obtain much gold. Having (then) gone to Kumāra staying in Vīrāśrama he obtains (the fruit of) a horse sacrifice and goes to Indra’s world. O you who perpetuate the Kuru-family, having gone to the lake at Nandinī resorted to by gods he obtains that fruit which is due to a human sacrifice. Having bathed at Kālikāsaṅgama, the confluence of Kauśikī and Āruṇī, and having fasted there for three nights a wise man is freed from all sins. A wise man having reached Urvaśī-tīrtha and having bathed in Kumbhakarṇāśrama, is honoured in the world. Similarly, being restrained and calm he having bathed at Kokāmukha gets the faculty of recollecting his former existence. This has been observed by the ancients. Reaching Sakṛt river a brāhmaṇa becomes blessed. With his soul freed from all sins he goes to heaven. Having reached Ṛṣabhadvīpa he should resort to Krauñcaniṣūdana. Having bathed at Sarasvatī he seated in an aeroplane shines. O great king, Audyānaka is a great holy place resorted to by sages. He should bathe there. (By doing so) he is freed from all sins. There is no doubt that a man reaching the holy Brahmatīrtha resorted to by brāhmaṇic sages obtains (the fruit of) a Vājapeya sacrifice. Then having reached Campā and having bathed in Bhāgīrathī and having reached Daṇḍārpaṇa he would obtain the fruit of (having given away) a thousand cows. Thence a man should go to the auspicious Lāviḍhikā resorted to by the holy ones. (By that) he obtains (the fruit of) a Vājapeya sacrifice and seated in an aeroplane he is honoured.
Footnotes and references:
Kakṣīvān—He was a famous sage and was credited with the authorship of a few Vedic hymns. He was the son of Uśij and Dīrghatamas.