The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the release of a demon which is chapter 127 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 twenty-seventh 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 127 - The Release of a Demon

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Kārtavīrya said:

1-2. O brāhmaṇa of a good vow, tell me for which reason great efficacy is said (to exist) in Māgha. Also I wish to know the religious merit (collected) of a bath in Māgha by one of which the merchant was free from his sins and by another he went to heaven.

Dattātreya said:

3-26a. O best among men, water is naturally holy, clear, undefiled, whitish, removing dirt, causing (things) to melt, removing heat; it preserves all beings, nourishes them and is their (very) life. In all Vedas water is spoken of as the god Nārāyaṇa. As among the planets the Sun is the greatest, as among the stars the Moon is the best, so is Māgha among (all) months for all rites. In Māgha, when the Sun is in Capricornus, a morning bath in clear water even in a small puddle gives heaven even to sinners. In Māgha, O king, this combination is rare in the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile. During this combination even a weak person should bathe (in the morning) for three days and, even if incapable, should, with a desire for freedom from poverty, give something (to a brāhmaṇa). Rich men live long by bathing thrice in Māgha. Or (they should bathe) for five or seven days. The fruit increases like (the waxing of) the Moon. When, the auspicious time of the Sun being in Capricornus, which gives religious merit to men, has come, all the days should be equally valued for acts like a bath or giving (gifts). To the doer (of the acts) they cause to give an eternal, inexhaustible position. Therefore, for the desire of his own good, a man should bathe outside (his house) in Māgha. Hereafter, I shall tell (you) about the great rite of bathing in Māgha. The best men should take up some religious observance of the nature of a vow. A wise man should give up some eatable for getting excellence in the fruit. He should sleep on the bare ground. He should offer into fire ghee mixed with sesamum. He should worship the ancient Vāsudeva, Viṣṇu, three times (everyday). He should offer a lamp (burning) continuously, dedicating it to Viṣṇu. (He) should (also) give fuel, a blanket, a garment, sandals, saffron and ghee. (So also) oil, heap of cotton, cotton bed, cotton wicks, cloth, so also food, according to his capacity in Māgha, O king. Similarly he should give gold weighing a rati to (a brāhmaṇa) proficient in the Vedas. Like the ocean the gift is always inexhaustible. He should not eat others’ food (i.e. food offered by others). He should give up receiving gifts; at the end of Māgha he should feed brāhmaṇas according to his capacity, O king. Desiring his own good, he should offer them presents. He, having faith, should, by observing the Ekādaśī rite, conclude (the vow) of Māgha with a desire (to live) eternally in heaven, to get unending religious merit, and to please Viṣṇu. In Māgha, when the Sun is in Capricornus, he, having uttered the prayer, ‘O god Govinda, Acyuta, Mādhava, give me the fruit as is told (in the holy texts) as a result of this bath’, should silently and being calm bathe and should again remember Vāsudeva, Hari, Kṛṣṇa, Mādhava (i.e. Viṣṇu). Even in his house he should keep a pitcher full of water touched by air (i.e. kept in the open) at night. A bath with that (water) is like one at a holy place, giving all desired objects. With (i.e. by taking) a vow he should give (articles) with food and condiments. Due to the efficacy of that bath a man would not go to hell. That bath which men take with hot water at home when the Sun is in Capricornus, gives fruit for six years. But a bath outside (the house), in a well etc. is said to give fruit for twelve years. A bath in a lake gives double the fruit, (while a bath) in a river gives four times the fruit. (A bath) in a natural pond gives hundred times the fruit, (so also) a hundred times in a great river; and a bath at the confluence of a great river has four hundred times the fruit.

26b-40. O king, a man merely by bathing in Gaṅgā gets a thousandfold fruit of this, when the Sun is in Capricornus. O best king, those who bathe in Gaṅgā in the month of Māgha, do not fall from heaven for (a period of) a thousand aggregates of the four ages. O king, a man who bathes in Gaṅgā in Māgha, has given a thousand (coins) of gold everyday. O best king, the sages have ordained that the bath in Māgha at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā is a hundred thousand times (fruitful). O king, the lord of beings, engaged in the welfare of the worlds, fashioned Prayāga for burning the great burden of heaps of sins. Listen properly. This place having black and white water is formerly made for the beings in the form of sins (i.e. sinful). He, though full of hundreds of sins, who would bathe at (Prayāga having) black and white water in Māgha when the Sun is in Capricornus, does not sink in a womb (i.e. is not reborn). Even that man engaged in killing at a slaughter house, who would bathe at Prayāga, goes to the highest position, O best among men. The creator created that, viz. the black and white stream, filled with Sarasvatī, as a path to Viṣṇu’s world. Viṣṇu’s illusion is difficult to cross. It is not easily overcome even by gods. But, O king, it is burnt at Prayāga in Māgha. By bathing at Prayāga in Māgha men, after having many pleasures in lustrous worlds, merge into the Disc-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu). Even Citragupta is not able to measure the religious merit of him who bathes in the black and white water at Prayāga in Māgha when the Sun is in the Capricornus. Even Brahmā is not able to describe the greatness of the religious merit of him who bathes at Prayāga in the black and white water in Māgha when the Sun is in Capricornus. That fruit which is had by fasting for a hundred years is had by bathing for three days at Prayāga in Māgha. That fruit which is obtained by the gift of gold weighing a thousand bhāras at Kurukṣetra is had by bathing daily at the place where Gaṅgā joins Yamunā and receives underground Sarasvatī in Māgha when the Sun is (in Capricornus).

41-51. O king, the fruit of a thousand Rājasūya sacrifices is not so complete as that of the baths in Māgha at Prayāga (where the water) is black and white. O best king, all the holy places that there are on the earth, so also the seven (holy) cities, come to bathe at the confluence of the three rivers (Gaṅgā, Yamunā and Sarasvatī) in Māgha. Due to the blemish of the contact with the sinners all holy places are darkened. Due to bathing in Māgha at Prayāga they get a white complexion (i.e. are purified). The sin collected from the beginning of the kalpa, and during (many) existences of those bathing at Prayāga is reduced to ash, O king. The sin of a man due to speech, mind and body, who has bathed for three days at Prayāga in Māgha would certainly perish. A man who bathes for three days at Prayāga in Māgha, sheds off his sin as a serpent does his slough, and goes to heaven. Gaṅgā bathed in anywhere is like Kurukṣetra. When it is united with Vindhya it is ten times more meritorious. Gaṅgā flowing northwards in (i.e. by) Kāśī is hundred times superior. Gaṅgā in confluence with Yamunā is hundred times superior to Kāśī (i.e. to what she is at Kāśī). She flowing westwards would be a thousand times superior to those, which, O king, merely by her sight removes the sin of the murder of a brāhmaṇa. O king, that (stream of) Gaṅgā flowing westward and joining Yamunā destroys sins committed in crores. It is difficult to have (a bath in) her in Māgha. That which is called nectar is said to be the confluence of the three rivers on the earth. (To bathe) in it even for a short time in Māgha is difficult even for gods.

52-58a. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Rudras, Ādityas, the host of Maruts, Gandharvas, Regents of Quarters, Yakṣas, Kinnaras, Pannagas (i.e. serpents), so also those who are endowed with the supernatural powers like aṇimā (i.e. reducing the body to an atomic size), those who are the expounders of the true nature (of things), so also Brahmāṇī, Pārvatī, Lakṣmī, Śacī, Menā, Aditi and Diti—all these wives of gods, so also the Nāga females, similarly the hosts of the celestial damsels like Ghṛtācī, Menakā, Rambhā, Urvaśī and Tilottamā, and the hosts of the dead ancestors—all these come to bathe at the confluence of the three rivers in Māgha, O king. (They come to bathe) in their own forms in Kṛtayuga, and with their forms concealed in Kaliyuga. That fruit which is obtained by a man by means of bathing in Māgha at Prayāga for three days, is not obtained by (performing) a thousand horse-sacrifices on the earth. Formerly Kāñcanamālinī gave the fruit of bathing in Māgha for three days to a demon, O king. The sinner got free (from sins) due to that.

Kārtavīrya said:

58b-59. O revered one, who is that demon? Who is that Kāñcanamālinī? How did she give him her religious merit? What good position did he have? If you think it is fit to be heard by me—for I have a great curiosity (to hear it)—then, O best of the meditating saints, O sun to the progeny of Atri, tell it (to me).

Dattātreya said:

60-68. O king, listen to this wonderful, ancient account by merely recollecting which a man would get the fruit of a Vājapeya. Kāñcanamālinī, a celestial nymph endowed with beauty, (used to) bathe at Prayāga in the month of Māgha and go to Śiva’s temple. That old demon, standing in the form of a huge rock in a bower on the lordly mountain, saw her to have gone up into the sky. She was bright, resembled bright gold (in complexion); her buttocks were round; her eyes were long (i.e. large); her face resembled the moon; her hair was good; her breasts were raised and plump. Seeing her endowed with beauty, the demon said to her: “O you having eyes like lotus-petals, wherefrom do you come? Why is your garment wet? Due to what is your braid wet? O timid one, whence do you come? Due to what can you move in the sky? O good one, due to what religious merit is your body lustrous, endowed with great beauty, and charming? O you of fine eyes, due to the drops (of water) having fallen from your garment on my head my mind which is always cruel has become tranquil (just) in a moment. Please tell me, what great efficacy the water has. You appear to me of a good character. A (fine) figure is never without virtues.”

The celestial nymph said:

69-86. O demon, listen. I am a celestial nymph taking any form I like. I have come from Prayāga. My name in Kāñcanamālinī. The cloth worn round my loins is wet, since I have well-bathed at Prayāga. O demon, I have to go to Kailāsa, the best mountain. There lives Pārvatī’s lord, well-worshipped by gods and demons. O demon, your cruelty has gone due to the efficacy of the water at the confluence of the three rivers. I shall tell you all that religious merit by means of which I was born as the daughter of a divine form to the gandharva, Sumedhas. I was a courtesan of the king—the lord of Kaliṅga. I was endowed with a good form and beauty; I was madly proud of my good fortune. In his city I was the crest-jewel (i.e. best) of other young ladies. O demon, in that existence, I enjoyed pleasures as I liked. Due to the excellence of my beauty I deluded the entire city. I, having a bewitching form, obtained all this—gems, beautiful ornaments, and wealth; so also garments of various kinds, camphor and agaru sandal. O demon, in my house I did not know end (i.e. limit) to gold. Youths, oppressed by passion of love, shampooed my feet. All those were fraudulently duped by me (and deprived) of their wealth. Some lustful ones died as a result of vying with one another. In this way I moved in that entire beautiful city. But when old age came, my heart grieved. I had not given (gifts). I had not offered oblations into fire. I had not observed any vow. I had not propitiated any god giving the four goals (of human life). I had not worshipped Durgā who destroyed misery. I, greedy of enjoyments, had not remembered Viṣṇu who destroyed all sins. I had not gratified brāhmaṇas. I had done no good to beings. Through carelessness I did not practise merit even of the size of an atom. But, O good one, I had committed sins. Therefore, my mind burnt. Having moaned like this in many ways, I sought the refuge of a brāhmaṇa, the priest of the king, who was pious and was proficient in the Vedas. O demon, I asked him: “How would I atone for this sin? O best brāhmaṇa, how would I go to (i.e. obtain) the best position (i.e. salvation). You, seizing the hair of me who am tormented by my own acts, who am helpless, whose mind is afflicted, who am sunk into the mud of sins, lift me up. Oh! shower on me a pleasing look, the water of pity. All are good to a good man. But a good man is good (even) to a bad man.” Hearing these words of (i.e. uttered by) me, he favoured me. The brāhmaṇa spoke pleasing words, full of all piety.

The brāhmaṇa said:

87-97. O you beautiful lady, I have understood all your behaviour which was (really) prohibited. Do quickly what I say. Go to the holy place of Brahmā. Having gone there, have a bath. Thereby your sin will perish. O good lady, all your thoughts have pained me. I do not see any other expiation, destroying sins (than) a bath at a holy place which is said to be excellent by the sages. One should give up at a holy place even an impious act done mentally. Purified by a bath at Prayāga you will surely go to heaven. There is no doubt that men obtain. (i.e. go to) heaven merely by means of a bath at Prayāga. O beautiful young lady, the sin committed at any other place than a holy place perishes at Prayāga. O timid one, listen. Formerly Indra had approached the wife of (the sage) Gautama. Seeing her he was overcome with passion; the libidinous one approached her secretly. Due to that severe sin the same fruit was produced. The body of Indra, going to (i.e. cohabiting with) the sage’s wife, became, in her presence, censurable, condemnable and shameful. Due to the efficacy of her husband's curse it was marked with pudenda muliebre. Then, with his face hung down (in shame), the king of gods went from that place. He, subdued and ashamed, condemned his act. Having gone to Meru’s peak, full of water and extending over a hundred yojanas, he entered the bud of a golden lotus. Remaining there he censured himself and Cupid.

98-113a. Fie upon that lust, which at once gives (i.e. produces) sin, and due to which, a man condemned by the entire world, goes to hell! So also it destroys (a man’s) life, fame, glory, piety and courage. Fie upon Cupid, of a bad conduct, and the sure place of calamities, living in the body, an enemy difficult to be vanquished, not contented, and always uncontrollable! Thus Indra, concealed in the lotus-abode, talked. O timid one, heaven did not look charming without Indra. Therefore, gods with Gandharvas, regents of quarters with Kinnaras, came with Śacī to Bṛhaspati and asked him: “Revered sir, we do not know (where) god Indra (has gone). Where does he stay, where has he gone, where shall we look for him? With the gods (but) without him, heaven does not look charming, as a virtuous family without a good son. Immediately think about a remedy by which heaven will look charming. He, the lord, is endowed with great glory. Delay is not proper here.” Hearing these words of them Bṛhaspati said (these) words: “I know where he stays as a result of his own guilt. That Indra undergoes the fruit of his act done rashly. Terrible effects would take place due to men’s giving up the right course. Oh, being mad with pride of (possessing) a kingdom, he, not thinking what ought not to be done, did (this) censurable act, destroying the (effects of) visible and invisible (acts). The childish ones, with their minds impaired do (acts) due to which fault the existence in this world and in the next would be fruitless. We shall now go to the place where Indra is.” On his speaking like this, all led by Bṛhaspati set out. Seeing the grove (i.e. bed) of golden lotuses in a vast lake, they praised the king of gods in such a way that he would awake, Then due to the awakening done by Bṛhaspati, he came out of the lotus-bud. With a melancholy face, and deformed, with his eyes contracted due to shame, he seized the feet of Bṛhaspati who was elder (brother). “O Bṛhaspati, protect me; tell me the atonement for this sin.”

113b-13la. Hearing the words of the king of gods, the brāhmaṇa, Bṛhaspati, spoke: “O lord of gods, listen, I shall tell you a remedy destroying your sin. By taking a bath only in Prayāga you will be instantly free from the sin. O lord of gods, with you only we shall go there.” Then coming with the priest, Indra bathed at the holy place, Prayāga, and was instantly freed from sins. The preceptor of gods, being pleased, gave him a boon: “O sinless one, merely by a bath at Prayāga, your sin has vanished. O Śakra, due to my grace, you whose sin has perished, will have a thousand eyes in place of these thousand vulvas.” Just then, by the words of Bṛhaspati the lord of Śacī shone (there) with the thousand eyes like the Mānasa lake with lotuses. Then all the deities and sages worshipped him. And being praised by Gandharvas, Indra went to Amarāvatī. Thus Indra became free from sins at Prāyāga. O auspicious one, you too go to Prayāga, resorted to by gods for instant destruction of sins and certainly going to heaven.

Hearing these words of (i.e. uttered by) him along with the account and auspiciousness, then only I was confused, and saluting the feet of the brāhmaṇa, and leaving all my kinsmen and male and female servants and the house, so also all objects of senses like poisonous morsels, and, O demon, clearly noticing that the body is perishable after a moment, I went out. O best demon, being tormented in the heart with a terrible fire of falling into the ocean of hell, I went to (Prayāga) where the water is white and black, and bathed there. O old demon, listen to the greatness of that bath. Within three days the sins perished, and after the remaining twenty-one days the religious merit had been (formed) due to which I obtained godhead. I enjoyed on Kailāsa as Pārvatī’s dear friend. Due to the prowess, I remembered my birth also. Remembering the greatness of Prayāga, I go there in every Māgha. O demon, I have told you the entire account, which you with an amazed mind had asked, to please you. O demon, to please me (now) tell me your account. Due to which act have you become deformed and terrible, having moustache, long fangs, and eating raw flesh in the mountain-cave?

The demon said:

131b-137. A good person affectionately gives a desired thing or takes it, tells or asks a secret. O good lady, all that exists (i.e. is found) in you. O you lady of beautiful eyes, honoured by you I think the atonement (of the sins) of me, doer of cruel acts, will instantly take place. Therefore, O good lady, I shall tell you the bad act which I myself did. A man would be completely happy after reporting his grief to a good man. O beautiful lady, listen. I was formerly born in Kāśī as an excellent brāhmaṇa having (studied) many ṛks, and proficient in the Vedas, in a great and very pure family. O timid one, I received gifts, from the wicked—which act was fearful—from sinful kings, śūdras and vaiśyas also. I was prevented in many ways and many times, and was very much censured. Wicked gifts were not refused by me even from a cāṇḍāla. There was another sin of (i.e. committed by) me of a foolish mind. There was no sinful act which I did not do.

138-150a. O you of an excellent complexion, listen to another drawback of that holy place. The sin of the size of an atom (committed) in Avimukta would attain (the size of) Meru. During that existence, I did not collect any (kind of) religious merit. Then, O beautiful lady, I died after a period of many days. Due to the power of Avimukta I did not go to hell. No sinner dying at Avimukta goes to hell. Any sin committed at Avimukta certainly becomes adamantine. Due to that adamantine sin I was born as a demon—fearful, very cruel, and sinful—on the snow mountain. Formerly I was twice born in the stock of vulture, thrice as a tiger, twice as a serpent, once as an owl, and after that as a hog. O you beautiful lady, this my birth as a demon is tenth. Of (this) my birth thousands of years have passed. O good one, I am not escaping from this ocean of misery. Here I have made (the region up to) three yojanas devoid of beings. I have destroyed many sinless beings, O you of beautiful eye-brows, due to that act my mind is constantly burning. My mind, sprinkled with the nectar of your sight, has become cool. A holy place gives its fruit after (some) time; (but) contact with the good (gives fruit) instantly. Therefore, O beautiful lady, the wise recommend the company of the good. I have told you all this affliction lurking in my mind. O you beautiful lady, a good man whose mind is not afflicted, is rare. You know what is proper here. What more should I say? I am thinking as to how I can cross over this ocean of misery. The prosperity of the good is the source of livelihood to all; does the Milky Ocean give milk to a swan (only) and not to a crane also?

Dattātreya said:

150b-163. Hearing these words of (i.e. uttered by) him, Kāñcanamālinī having her mind melted with compassion, and deciding to give (him) her religious merit, said: “O demon, I shall make atonement (for your sin). Do not be grieved. Making a firm vow, I shall try to release you. Year after year I have duly taken (bath) in the month of Māgha. O good one, (I have bathed) with faith in the holy place of Prayāga. I am unable to tell the amount of that religious merit, O demon. The wise men have said that piety should be secretly praised. The sages, proficient in the Vedas praise giving (gifts) to the afflicted. O good one, what fruit would there be for cloud showering (water) into the ocean. O demon, I have myself experienced the fruit due to that religious merit. O friend, I shall give you that (merit) which instantly destroys sin.” Then she squeezed her (wet) garment, and took the water in her lotuslike hand. She gave the old demon (her) religious merit due to (the bath in) Māgha. O king, listen, strange is the prowess due to the religious merit (of bathing) in Māgha. Having thus received her religious merit, he was free from (i.e. he got rid of) the demonish body. He became one having the body of a deity, lustrous like the sun’s form. With his eyes blooming with joy, he got into a divine vehicle. He then shone in the sky, illuminating the quarters with his lustre. He, having a divine form, shone like another sun. Then he congratulated that Kāñcanamālinī: “O good one, the powerful god who gives the fruit of acts, knows that obligation done by you to me, where no acquittal was possible. Even now, kindly be pleased and favour me. O respectable lady, give me auspicious instruction, full of morals, and causing all religious acts, so that I shall not commit a sin. Hearing that I, permitted by you, shall later go to the abode of gods.”

Dattātreya said:

164-177. Having heard these words full of righteousness, uttered by him, Kāñcanamālinī told him very affectionately about the religious practice, O king: “Always practise a good course. Give up harming beings. Serve good men. Kill the enemy (in the form) of passion. Quickly giving up praising and censuring the virtues and vices of others, speak the truth. Worship Viṣṇu. Go to the world of gods (i.e. heaven). Give up your longing after the body full of bones, flesh and blood. Give up the sense of mineness for your wife, sons etc. Mark ceaselessly that this world is perishable. Being firm in abstract meditation, be interested in detachment. Through love for you, I have told you the path of piety. Bear all (this) in mind. Be one of a good character. Giving up your demonish body, taking up a divine body full of lustre, quickly and happily go to heaven.” Hearing about the religious practices, the demon, being pleased, said: “Be always joyful. May you always have well-being. As long as the Moon and the Sun last, enjoy at Kailāsa in Śiva’s proximity. O you of an excellent complexion, may you have Pārvatī’s constant love. O mother, always be devoted to piety and penance. May you not have longing after your body. Always remove the misery of the afflicted.” Speaking like this to and saluting Kāñcanamālinī, that demon, praised by many gandharvas went to heaven. Then daughters of gods, full of joy, came and showered flowers on the head of that Kāñcanamālā. The girls embraced her and spoke sweet words: “O good one, you have done a wonder freeing the demon. Due to the fear of this (demon) no one entered the forest. Now, we, being fearless, shall move here as we like.” O king, hearing their words, that Kāñcanamālinī, pleased with the gift (she gave) became (i.e. regarded herself as) blessed. Kāñcanamālinī, the best daughter of a gandharva, having quickly freed him, and full of obligations, went, playing with them, to Śiva’s abode.

A man who would devoutly listen to the dialogue of that excellent girl (and the demon) is never troubled by demons, and has a great liking for piety.

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