The Padma Purana

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

This page describes king cola and brahmana vishnudasa which is chapter 108 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 one hundred eighth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 108 - King Cola and Brāhmaṇa Viṣṇudāsa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1. Hearing her words like this, Dharmadatta, being amazed, bowed on the ground (i.e. prostrated himself) like a staff and said these words:

Dharmadatta said:

2-3. By means of sacrifices, gifts, vows, (visits to) holy places, austerities, all devotees properly propitiate Viṣṇu who removes affliction. (Tell me) that which pleases Viṣṇu and which brings about proximity of Viṣṇu and having done which all those are done.

The two attendants said:

4-13. O brāhmaṇa, you have asked well. Listen with a concentrated mind to a story, with its history, which took place in olden times and which is being told (by us). Formerly in Kāntipura there lived an emperor Cola after whom, it is said, the country was called Cola. While he was ruling over the globe, no man was poor, unhappy, of a sinful design or diseased. Of him, performing many sacrifices (i.e. while he was performing many sacrifices), both the banks of the Tāmraparṇī (river) were full of beauty with golden sacrificial posts resembling Caitraratha (Kubera’s garden). Once, O brāhmaṇa, that king went to Anantaśayana where this lord of the three worlds resorts to sleep. There the king having duly worshipped god Viṣṇu with divine gems, pearls, and beautiful golden flowers, saluted him (prostrating before him) like a staff and sat (there). When he was seated he saw a brāhmaṇa called Viṣṇudāsa, who had come with Tulasī-water in his hand for worshipping the god and living in his own city. Having come there, the brāhmaṇa-sage worshipped the god of gods after having bathed him with Tulasī blossoms and leaves and with (the recital of) the Viṣṇu-hymn. Seeing that the worship done (by him) with jewels (etc.), was covered with Tulasī (-leaves) etc. the got angry and spoke (these) words:

The king said:

14-16. O Viṣṇudāsa, how is it that the beautiful worship done by me with rubies and gold is covered with Tulasī-leaves by you? Since you cover this very beautiful worship offered by me, I think you do not know devotion to Viṣṇu and you are wretched.

Hearing these words, the best brāhmaṇa got angry, and transgressing (i.e. not caring for) the greatness of the king, said (these) words then:

Viṣṇudāsa said:

17. O king, you do not know salvation; you are proud of your wealth. Tell me which Viṣṇu-vow you have observed before.

The two attendants said:

18-22. O brāhmaṇa, hearing those words of the brāhmaṇa the best king laughed and proudly said these words to Viṣṇudāsa: “O brāhmaṇa, if, being very proud, you are telling like this, (tell me) how much devotion to Viṣṇu you poor and indigent one have. O brāhmaṇa, you have not offered sacrifices or gifts. Nor anywhere have you put up a temple before. If the pride of you who are like this persists due to your devotion, then may these best brāhmaṇas today hear my words. This dispute will go (i.e. cease). I shall have actual perception of Viṣṇu so that all these and you will realise our devotion.”

The two attendants said:

23-30. Speaking like this, O brāhmaṇa, the king went to his palace; and making Mudgala the preceptor he commenced a sacrificial session (in honour) of Viṣṇu, at which hosts of sages had come and many presents were given, which was rich like the one offered formerly by Brahmā at Prayāga. Viṣṇudāsa, observing the vow, remained just there in the temple, always observing these five restraints pleasing Viṣṇu: observing properly the vow in Māgha and Kārtika, maintaining a Tulasī-grove, observing the Ekādaśī-vow, and muttering the twelve-syllabled hymn. So also everyday he worshipped ‘Viṣṇu in the sixteen ways with auspicious (acts) like dancing and singing. (Thus) he observed these vows. He, viewing all equally, always remembered Viṣṇu while walking, eating and even while sleeping, and saw Viṣṇu remaining (i.e. as present) in every being. He daily observed the special restraints in Māgha and Kārtika for pleasing Viṣṇu, so also their proper conclusion. When king Cola and Viṣṇudāsa, who were observing that vow, who had devoted their senses and acts to deeds for him (i.e. Viṣṇu), were thus propitiating (Viṣṇu) the lord of Lakṣmī, much time passed.

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