by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the fruit of visiting prayaga which is chapter 43 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 forty-third 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 sage, as you have narrated the greatness of Prayāga, I am undoubtedly being freed from sins.
2. O revered one, in what manner should people of religious resolve go (there)? O great sage, tell me about the rite which is declared (to be performed) at Prayāga.
3-27. O dear, I shall tell you the entire sequence of the religious rites to be performed during the pilgrimage. O best of Kurus, I will tell you the fruit accruing to him who mounted upon a bull goes to Prayāga united with gods. Due to the anger of bull he lives in a terrible hell. From such a man his dead ancestors do not accept water (offered by him); but he who would bathe his sons and all children and would make them drink (water at the holy place) like himself and would cause gifts to be given to brāhmaṇas (is liberated). A man who, due to his desire for (showing off) his affluence or to delusion, would go (to a holy place) in a vehicle, his (visit to the) holy place is fruitless. Therefore, a man should avoid (going in) a vehicle. He who (in the region) between Gaṅgā and Yamunā, gives his daughter (in marriage) according to the Ārṣa form of marriage and according to his wealth, does not see (i.e. go to) a terrible hell due to that deed. Having gone to Uttara Kuru he rejoices for an inexhaustible period. He obtains sons and wife that are pious and endowed with righteousness. There he should give gifts in accordance with his wealth. There is no doubt that due to the fruit of (the visit to) the holy place only, he prospers. O lord of kings, he stays in heaven till deluge. He who having resorted to the root of the Vaṭa (tree), would cast his life, goes to Rudra’s world after having crossed all (other) worlds. There the twelve suns resorting to Rudra shine. They completely burn the entire world. (Only) the root of the Vaṭa (tree), where, when the world is (but) one ocean, when the moon, the sun, and the wind have perished, Viṣṇu born again and again, sleeps, is not burnt. Gods, demons, gandharvas, sages, siddhas, cāraṇas always resort to that holy place on the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā. O lord of kings, they go there. It is united with Prayāga. There gods like Brahma, quarters and lords of quarters, regents of quarters, sādhyas, the manes liked by people, and also great sages led by Sanatkumāra, and other brāhmaṇic sages like Aṅgiras, also nāgas, siddhas, suparṇas, those moving in the sky, rivers, oceans, mountains, nāgas and also vidyādharas (stay). The revered Viṣṇu led by Prajāpati (i.e. Brahmā) also stays there. O best of kings, Prayāga well-known in the three worlds and (lying) between Gaṅgā and Yamunā is said to be the hip and the loin of the earth. O descendant of Bharata, there is nothing more sacred than it in the three worlds. By hearing (the description) of that holy place, even by mentioning its name, or securing the clay from that place, a man is freed from sins. He who, of a severe vow, bathes there at the confluence, obtains the same fruit as Rājasūya and Aśvamedha (sacrifices) (give). O dear one, even you should not change your mind to go to Prayāga even by (i.e. depending upon) the words of the Vedas, or of the people. O descendant of Kuru, the presence of ten thousand holy places and sixty crore others is here only. He who casts his life at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā follows the same course, as a wise man endowed with abstract meditation and born of good parents follows. O Yudhiṣṭhira, those who have not visited Prayāga, well-known in the three worlds, do not (really) live in the world. Thus seeing that holy place—the highest place—Prayāga, a man is free from all sins as the Moon is from Rāhu.
28-46a. On the right bank of Yamunā, there are the two Nāgas, Kambala and Aśvatara. By bathing there and drinking (water) there, a man is freed from all sins. Having gone to that (holy) place of the wise Mahādeva, a man liberates ten preceding and ten succeeding (generations). Having bathed there, the man would obtain the fruit of a horse sacrifice. He obtains (i.e. lives in) heaven till deluge. O descendant of Bharata, in the eastern side of Gaṅgā, in the ocean there is a pool (known as) Pratiṣṭhāna, well-known in the three worlds. If a chaste man, with his anger controlled, lives there for three nights, he is freed from all sins, and would obtain the fruit of a horse sacrifice. To the north of Pratiṣṭhāna, and to the east of Bhāgīrathī, there is the holy place (called) Haṃsaprapatana, well-known in the three worlds. O descendant of Bharata, a man, merely by bathing there, gets the fruit of a horse sacrifice. He is honoured in heaven as long as the moon and the sun (last). A man free from jealousy, who would offer oblations of water to his dead ancestors at the large sandy bank called Urvaśīpulina, white like swans, enjoys heaven with manes, O king, for sixty hundred years. There he is always worshipped by sages, gandharvas and kinnaras. Then having been deprived of heaven and having fallen from there due to the exhaustion of (the fruit of) his acts, he obtains a hundred maidens like Urvaśī. O king, he becomes an enjoyer (i.e. a master) of a hundred thousand cows. He is awakened by the sound of a girdle and anklets. Having enjoyed many pleasures, he gets (i.e. goes) to that holy place again. He who has the seat of the Kuśa grass, who is always restrained and has his senses controlled, would become master of pleasures by eating once a day for a month (at the holy place). He obtains a hundred women adorned with (ornaments of) gold. He would also be the great master of pleasures on the earth up to the ocean. He, the king, becomes the enjoyer of ten thousand villages. Possessing wealth and grains he is always a donor. Having enjoyed many pleasures he again remembers that holy place. A chaste man with his senses conquered and endowed with abstract meditation, having fasted at that charming Vaṭa, would obtain the knowledge of Brahman. He who having secured a holy bath, would cast his life, is honoured in heaven for a crore years. Then deprived of heaven, and dropped from there due to the exhaustion of (the fruit of) his acts, he is born as a handsome (child) in a family rich with gold, jewels and pearls.
46b-57. Thence he should go to Bhogavatī, to the north of Vāsukī. There is another great holy place called Daśāśvamedhaka. Having bathed there a man would obtain the fruit of a horse sacrifice. He becomes rich with wealth, handsome and diligent. By merely going there he would obtain that religious merit which is there in (i.e. which is obtained by the recital of) the four Vedas, which is the fruit in (i.e. obtained by) those who speak the truth, and the piety that exists in harmlessness. Gaṅgā is like Kurukṣetra wherever a bath is taken in her (stream). She has tenfold virtue of Kurukṣetra (at a place) where she is joined by Sindhu. That place where the glorious Gaṅgā, having many sacred places and the wealth of penance (flows) should be known as a perfect (holy place). No doubt should be raised about it. She liberates the mortals on the earth, nāgas below, and she liberates gods in heaven. Therefore she is said to be Tripathagā (i.e. flowing in three streams). As long as the bones of a man remain in Gaṅgā, till that time—for thousands of years—he is honoured in heaven. She is the greatest holy place among places, and the best river among rivers. She gives salvation to all creatures, even to great sinners. Gaṅgā is easily accessible everywhere. She is inaccessible at three places: at Gaṅgādvāra, Prayāga and at the confluence of Gagṅā [Gaṅgā?] and the ocean. Those, who, having bathed there, go to heaven, are not reborn. There is no other recourse like Gaṅgā for all beings whose minds are smitten with sins and who desire a refuge. She who is the (most) pure of the pure (objects), the most auspicious of the auspicious (objects), has fallen from the head of Śiva, removes all sins, and is holy.