The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the hymn yogasara in praise of vishnu which is chapter 128 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-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 128 - The Hymn Yogasāra in Praise of Viṣṇu

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vasiṣṭha said:

1-15. I have told you the importance of Māgha as narrated by Dattātreya. I shall now tell (you) which fruit Māgha bath has. O hero, Māgha bath is the best of all sacrifices; it gives the fruit of all gifts; it is equal to all vows and austerities. Men, due to Māgha bath (taken) with a pure mind, put the dead ancestors of both (the mother’s and the father’s) families in heaven, and themselves go to heaven in aeroplanes going according to the desire (of the occupants) along with ladies of bright faces. Even those men who always commit sins, who are always engaged in bad practices, who go astray, but who bathe in Māgha and worship Viṣṇu, abandon a collection of great sins (committed) in this world. Even those men who are void of truth, who make their father and mother unhappy, who do not remain within (the limits) of the stages of life, who avoid the family practices, who are hypocrites, also get the position of the good due to the Māgha baths in this world. It is very difficult for men to get (an opportunity to have) a bath in the month of Māgha at holy places, since by that men obtain the position of the knowers of Brahman. No doubt should be raised about this. O king, in Māgha (practising) penance, (giving) gifts, muttering (hymns) and continuous worship of Viṣṇu and his temple is inexhaustible (in giving fruit). Therefore, men should strive to bathe and give garments, food and gold according to their capacity. A giver of food in Māgha drinks nectar in heaven. A giver of gold goes near Indra. A man who offers a lamp-fire, garments, is full of lustre, and always lives in the world of the Sun. Sinners are not so much purified in this world by sacrifices, good gifts, severe and bright austerities, following proper celibacy, worshipping (deities) and resorting to abstract meditation as by Māgha baths causing religious merit. Those sinners who bathe at holy places when the orb of the Sun has half come up in the month of Māgha, do not suffer from the torment of a series of miseries and the unbearable torment inflicted by Yama. Those who, after having bathed in Māgha, worship Viṣṇu, become, after falling from heaven, kings who are excellent, handsome, fortunate, sweet-speaking, righteous, very wealthy, and living for a hundred years. As a heap of pieces of wood offered into fire is reduced to ash just that moment, in the same way, due to Māgha bath the heap of great sins and a series of sins, though vile, melt away. The bath in Māgha would, like Viṣṇu existing in the heart, burn all that sin committed by men through body, speech or mind, so also the sin that is known (i.e. deliberate) or unknown. O king, when the Māgha bath is taken, the fruit of the sin (committed) inadvertently, which is being undergone, certainly perishes just at that moment. Formerly, O king, the gandharva-maidens undergoing suffering due to the sin, were freed from that as a result of Māgha bath (taken) at the words of Lomaśa. It was wonderful.

Sūta said:

16-33. Hearing these words, the king joyfully saluted his lotus-like feet, and polite due to great faith, asked that priest: “O revered sir, tell me whence the maidens got the curse, whose children they were, what their names and ages were, how they were freed from the suffering due to the curse by Lomaśa’s words, where did they bathe, and in what number?

Vasiṣṭha said:

O best king, listen to the great story full of religious merit, which is like the araṇi (i.e. the piece of wood used for kindling sacred fire) pregnant with fire and producing religious merit and fire. There was a gandharva (named) Sukhasaṅgīti. His daughter was Pramodinī. Suśīlā was Suśīla’s (daughter); Susvarā that of Svaravedin; Sutārā of Candrakānta and Candrikā of Suprabha. O king, these were the excellent names of those celestial nymphs. All the five maidens were of the same age; they had, as it were, come out from the Moon, and were bright like moonlight. Their faces were (lovely) like the Moon. They had good (i.e. long) hair; their lips contained the ambrosia from the Moon. They gave delight to the eyes as moonlight to the water-lily. They were born with profuse beauty; they had charming forms; they were attractive; their pitcher-like breasts had come up (i.e. were raised) like the lotus-plants in spring. Like a creeper with fresh foliage they had charming youth spreading out. They were yellowish like gold; had golden lustre; were adorned with golden ornaments. They had put on garlands of campaka flowers; they had golden complexion; had put on good garments; they were skilled in notes of the musical scale, and scales in music, in various melodies, in beating time and amusements, in playing upon the flute and the lute which accompanied the sound of the drums, in dances, in hobbies like drawing pictures and (other) arts. The maidens who were like this loved sporting in a grove. Fondled by their parents they moved in Kubera’s abode. Once (all) the five coming together through curiosity in the month of Vaiśākha, collected mandāra flowers from one grove and another and to propitiate Pārvatī some time went to the Acchoda lake. They took from that (lake) excellent golden lotuses along with excellent blue lotuses. Having bathed in the lake which was bright with lapis lazuli, clear like crystal and having corals, and having put on garments, they with the golden sand fashioned, observing silence, a solid image of Pārvatī with an altar. The maidens, full of devotion, honouring Pārvatī with sandal, camphor and saffron, and worshipping her (image) with excellent lotuses etc. and with various modes of worships, danced by beating time. Having resorted to the excellent note of gandhāra (i.e. the third note) with sweet sounds of strings and with good modulations, the deer-eyed sang a song, having sweet letters, charming theme, and sweet tunes due to turns.

34-50. To that excellent holy place of Acchoda which had sweet-sounds (of music), which gave sprinkling of delight and joy, Agnipa, the son of a sage, the treasure of Vedas, came to bathe when the maidens were dancing very freely. He was matchless in form; had an excellent face: his eyes were long like lotus-leaves; he was young; his chest was broad; his arms were good; he was very handsome; he had a darkish complexion. He was as it were another Cupid. That celibate, with a tuft of hair on the crown of his head, shone with his staff like Cupid with his bow. He had covered himself with deer-hide, had worn a good sacred thread, and had his girdle of muñja grass resembling gold. Seeing that brāhmaṇa, the maidens, full of curiosity, were delighted (asking themselves): ‘who is this (welcome) guest to our eyes on the bank of the lake?’ Leaving dancing and singing, they, pierced by Cupid with his arrows like female deer pierced with arrows by a hunter, were engrossed in looking at him. The five innocent ones, saying, with great excitement (to one another), ‘See (him), see (him)’ mistook that youth, the excellent brāhmaṇa, for the god of love. Again and again propitiating him (i.e. gazing on him) with their eyes like lotuses, the maidens then debated with one another: ‘If he is the god of love, how would he go without Rati? Is he the (twin) deities Aśvins? But they indeed move as twins. Is he a gandharva, or a kinnara, or a siddha, taking any form at will? Or is he a son of a sage or some excellent man? Whosoever he may be, he has been created for us by the Creator. As for the lucky ones a treasure is fashioned by (means of) their former deeds, in the same way this excellent bridegroom is brought for us—the maidens, by Pārvatī whose mind is moistened due to the flood of the large waves of the water of compassion. ‘I have chosen him; you have also chosen him. As you have chosen him, so have I.’ O best king, when the maidens were talking thus, he, having heard their words, performed the mid-day rites, and thought in his mind (i.e. to himself): ‘This obstacle has come up. It is a wonder that gods like Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, so also the ancient sages and siddhas, powerful in abstract meditation, were easily deluded by women. Whose deer in the form of his mind, struck by the archer Cupid with the sharp arrows in the form of the eyes (i.e. glances) of women and going out from the very strong bow in the form of their creeper-like brows, does not fall? Men’s morality shines, men would be afraid of people, the great strength of the mind would persist, the consideration of (their) family would be done, the maturity due to penance would persist, the maintaining of the vows of men would be done till men are not deluded by the arrows of the glances of women, with ardent passion.

51-53. Let women delude and madden the passionate ones with their charming amorous gestures. (But) by means of which qualities do these women delude and madden me, highly devoted to piety? May the passionate ones, with their hearts very much deluded, not take delight in the immodest, impure bodies of women, produced from flesh, semen, feces and urine, imagining them (to have) charm? The wise ones of pure minds have declared the contact of women to be fearful. Till they do not approach me, I will go home?’

54-67. Till the excellent maidens did not come (i.e. before they came) near him, the brāhmaṇa disappeared by means of his prowess due to Viṣṇu. Seeing that amazing act of the intelligent son of a sage, who had disappeared due to his magical power, the maidens with their eyes frightened, and afraid like female deer, and with their eyes confused and vacant, looked into the ten directions. To one another they said: “He clearly knows magic, or knows māyā, (since) though seen, he again disappeared.” Just then their hearts were pervaded with the fire of separation, like a very glossy, dense forest with blazing wild fire. ‘O dear, giving up your practice of magic, quickly present yourself, united with our minds, and like a fly (falling) into a morsel before (it is put into the mouth), to us. Alas! why did the Creator show you to us? Why did he fashion you? Oh! we have understood it: You have been created to give (us) great torment. Is your heart cruel? Have you no mind (i.e. interest) in us? O dear, are you cunning? Are you stealing our mind? Do you have no faith in us? Are you testing us? Are you given to the art of joking? Are you proficient in trickery? Do you know the skill to enter into (other’s) hearts? And do you not again know to get out of it? Are you angry with us without (our) fault? Do you know the affliction caused to others due to deception? O lord of (our) hearts, we won’t now live without seeing you. And if we live, it is through the hope of seeing you again. Take us there where you have quickly gone. The Creator, depriving us of your sight has cut (our desire) just when it was a sprout. By all means appear (before us). By all means resort to pity. Good men do not at all see (i.e. do not go to) the extreme.’

68-70. Having wailed like this, and having waited for him for a long time, they quickly started moving towards home through the fear of their fathers. Bound by the chains of his love, very much afflicted due to separation from him, they somehow mustered courage and came home. All they came (home) and dropped (themselves) near fountains. They were asked by (their) mothers: “What is this? Why were you late?”

The maidens said:

71-80. As we were gladly sporting and singing with the kinnara-maidens at the lake, we were not conscious of (the particular time of) the day etc. O mothers, we were tired on the path, therefore, there is torment in our bodies. Due to great insensibility we are not able to speak.

Speaking like this the maidens rolled there on the jewelled floor. The perplexed ones concealing the expression of the face as giving a clue to their inward thoughts spoke with thei rmothers. Some one did not make the pet peacock dance with joy. Some other did not teach the parrot in the cage through curiosity. Another one would not fondle the mongoose, or did not delight the sārikā. Another one, very much perplexed, did not play with cranes. They did not resort to amusements; they were not delighted at home. They did not much talk to their kinsmen. They did not play on the lute. They did not drink the juice of the flowers of desire-yielding trees, which was tasty like nectar, which was sweet, and fragrant with mandāra flowers. The maidens with their eyes fixed on the tips of their noses, remained like female devotees continuously concentrating on the Unknown and having Viṣṇu in their minds. For a moment they remained at the window, covered with the moon-stones and oozing drops of water, and at (another) moment they remained at the fountain. For a moment they arranged their beds with the petals of lotuses from the lakes. They were fanned by their friends with cold leaves of plantain trees.

81-91. Thus those excellent maidens thought one night to be equal to a yuga. Somehow they showed courage, (but) they were afflicted as if suffering from fever. Seeing the sun in the sky they thought of their life. Each one informing her own mother, they went to worship Pārvatī. Having bathed according to the rite, and having worshipped (Pārvatī) with flowers and incense as was proper, they remained there singing. In the meanwhile that brāhmaṇa also came from his hermitage to the Acchoda lake to bathe. The maidens seeing the celibate had their eyes bloomed, as the lotus plants (have the lotuses bloomed) on seeing the sun at night’s end. Just then the maidens went near the celibate and bound him with the bonds of their left and right hands. “O cunning one, yesterday you had gone (i.e. you could go). You cannot go today. We have surrounded you. About this you should have no doubt.” Thus addressed, the brāhmaṇa who was (caught) in the noose of their arms, laughed and said: “You are talking good, favourable, sweet words. But the vow of me staying in the first stage of life and devoted to Vedic studies in my preceptor’s house, has not been completed. The wise should stick to the practice which (is prescribed) for a particular stage of life. Therefore, O maidens, I do not think that marriage would be a (proper) way (for me).” Hearing his words, they, with a sweet but indistinct voice, like the cuckoos. in spring, and with curiosity, spoke to him (these) words:

92-106: “The wise ones say that the sacred rule is fixed like this: Worldly prosperity (Artha) is born of righteousness (Dharma). From Artha springs Kāma. And the fruits of righteousness (Dharma) spring from sensual enjoyments (Kāma): That sensual enjoyment has stood before you due to the abundance of your righteousness. Enjoy it through various pleasures. This will then be heaven (only).” Hearing these words of them he spoke in a serious voice. “Your words are true; but having finished my vow in this (stage of life) and having obtained (my) preceptor’s consent, I shall go through the complete rite of marriage. Not otherwise.” They thus addressed, again said, “O handsome one, you are certainly ignorant. Excellent women are a divine medicine, are Brahmā’s elixir, accomplishment of a treasure, excellent arts. They are a hymn, they (produce) a liking for success, and when they have approached, an intelligent man should not keep them off according to law. If an act is succeeding through (good) luck, the virtuous one does not ignore it. Since ignoring it is not fruitful, so, procrastination also is not recommended. (Only) fortunate men, and not others obtain maidens who have intense love, who are spotless due to being born in a (noble) family, whose hearts are soft with affection, who speak sweetly, who choose their grooms, who are beautiful, and whose youth is charming. What a great disparity there is between us—beautiful maidens—and this chap? I think the Creator is very clever in doing a difficult job. Therefore, do an auspicious thing now by accepting us in the gāndharva form of marriage. Otherwise we will not live.” Hearing these words, the brāhmaṇa who knew well the customary observance said: “O you deer-eyed ones, how should men whose wealth is religious merit, abandon the customary observances? Righteousness, worldly prosperity, sensual enjoyment and salvation—these four (when practised) in (due) order are said to give (their) fruit. Opposite of this is fruitless. Therefore, I who have taken up a vow, would not marry at a wrong time. He who does not know the time of an act (i.e. the time when the act should be done) does. not obtain its fruit. Since, O maidens, my mind is attached to religious thought, therefore, listen—I do not long after a self-choice marriage.” Having thus known his intention, and looking at one another, they left one another’s hands, (and) Pramodinī seized his feet. Suśīlā and Susvarā seized his arms; Sutārā embraced him, and Candrikā kissed his face.

107-117. Yet the celibate remained uninterested; and resembling the fire at the time of the final deluge, and filled with great anger, he cursed them. “You clung to me like female imps. Therefore, you will be (i.e. turn into) female imps.” Thus, they, quickly cursed by him, left him and stood (as) before. “O sinful one, what have you done this to innocent persons? Fie upon your righteousness, since you did an undesirable act when a desirable act should have been done. We have heard that the happiness of the man who bears malice against adorers that are attached and his friends, perishes in both worlds. Therefore, by our curse you too quickly become an imp.” Speaking like this, those maidens, heaving sighs, smit with hunger, ceased (speaking). Then due to the anger towards one another all the maidens and that celibate became imps in that lake, O king. The female imps and the male imp, waiting ruthlessly, put an end to the fruit of the acts they had obtained formerly. O king, auspicious or inauspicious acts done before do give their fruit unavoidably even to gods, like one’s (unavoidable) shadow. Their fathers and mothers, so also his (father and mother) wept there, (saying): “The children have not erred; destiny is difficult to be overcome.” After that (i.e. since then), the imps, greatly pained in securing food, and running here and there, lived on the bank of the lake. When many days passed like this, Lomaśa, the best sage, came to the Acchoda lake to bathe on the fourteenth of Pauṣa.

118-128. Seeing that brāhmaṇa (i.e. Lomaśa), all the imps coming together and (thus) being in a group, and overcome with hunger, and desiring to kill him, ran (to him). Being burnt by his very bright lustre, they were unable to stand before him; and all of them remained away (from him). Just then there came the brāhmaṇa Vedanidhi. Having seen Lomaśa, O king, he saluted him touching the ground with the eight limbs of his body. Having put his folded palms on his head he spoke true and pleasant words: “O brāhmaṇa, (one) would have the company of the good, when there is (a possibility of) the dawn of good fortune. Between the two, viz. a man who always bathes in holy places like Gaṅgā and who always keeps the company of the good the company of the good is better. O brāhmaṇa, the company of the venerable gives unseen and seen fruit on the earth. It gives (i.e. leads to) heaven; it removes diseases; but is said to be troublesome.” Speaking like this, he told him the former, wonderful account. “These are gandharva-maidens. This chap is my son. O best sage, all deluded by cursing one another, stand in the form of imps with melancholy faces in front of you. By seeing you the children will be freed; does not the mass of darkness hide in a cave on sunrise?” O king, Lomaśa of great lustre, having heard it, had his mind moistened with pity and spoke to the sage, grieved for his son: “Due to my grace may the children's memory be revived at once. I am talking (words full of) virtue. The mutual curse would end.”

Vedanidhi said:

129. O great sage, describe the virtuous practice due to which the children will be free. This is not time for delay, since the fire of the curse is fearful.

Lomaśa said:

130-145. Let them duly have Māgha bath with me. At the end of Māgha they will be free from the curse. Otherwise there would be no atonement. O brahmaṇa, the fruit of the curse is sinful. The destruction of men's sin would take place by Māgha bath at a holy place. Thus I certainly think. Māgha bath, especially at a holy place, would bum all the sin committed during the seven previous existences and the present sin also. Even that sin for which the best sages do not see an expiation, would perish by the Māgha (bath) at holy places. Māgha (bath) at Mānasa produces knowledge. Due to that it gives salvation. It destroys all sins at the holy places on the Himālaya. The teachers of the Vedas have mentioned (Māgha bath) as giving (i.e. taking one to) Indra’s heaven. Māgha (bath) at Badarīvana destroys all sins and gives salvation. (At a holy place on the bank) of Narmadā Māgha (bath) destroys sins and misery, fulfils all desires, gives (i.e. takes one) to Rudra’s heaven and destroys sins. A Māgha bath in Yamunā would lead to the Sun’s world and destroy sins. One in Sarasvatī destroys sins and gives the fruit in the form of Brahma’s world. O best brāhmaṇa, the Māgha (bath) in the Viśālā (river) gives a large fruit. It is a wild fire to the fuel of sins, (and) destroys the effect of the cause of being conceived. A Māgha bath in Gaṅgā is said to lead to Viṣṇu’s world and to salvation. Rivers like Śarayū, Gaṇḍakī, Sindhu, Candrabhāgā, Kauśikī, Tāpī, Godāvarī, Bhīmā, Payoṣṇī, Kṛṣṇaveṇikā, Kāverī, Tuṅgabhadrā and other rivers are there. A man bathing in any of them in Māgha quickly goes to heaven, after being free from sins. Māgha bath in Naimiṣa gives absorption into Viṣṇu, (and one) at Puṣkara takes a man near Brahmā. Due to (a bath) in Māgha at Kurukṣetra a man goes to Indra’s world. A Māgha bath at Devahrada gives the fruit in the form of the divine powers obtained through abstract meditation. A man would be an attendant of Rudra by bathing at Prabhāsa when the Sun is in Capricorn. A man gets a divine body by bathing at Devakī in Māgha. O brāhmaṇa, by a bath in Gomatī, at Hemakūṭa, Mahākāla, Oṃkāra, Amareśvara there is no rebirth (for a man). A man is honoured in Rudra’s heaven due to a bath in Māgha at Nīlakaṇṭha and at the confluence of all rivers when the Sun is in Capricorn.

146-155. By means of (such) a bath all the desires of human beings are fulfilled. O best brāhmaṇa, only the fortunate get an opportunity to bathe in Māgha at Prayāga, since the white and black water there gives freedom from rebirth. Gods dwelling in heaven always sing: ‘We shall have a bath in Māgha at Prayāga, by having a bath at which place, men to do not see (i.e. experience) the pangs of (being conceived in) a womb and remain near Viṣṇu.’ Those men, clothed in (i.e. full of) many sins, who bathe on a new-moon day at the holy place of Prayāga, are meritorious, do not go to hell, but gladly move like gods in an auspicious heaven. Formerly the Creator weighed the bath in Māgha at Prayāga with holy places, religious vows, gifts, austerities, and Māgha proved to be greater and therefore superior. That (highest) position which men get by bathing in Māgha, is not obtained by means of parching up their bodies through eating (i.e. subsisting on) air, water, or leaves, or through severe austerities collected over a long period, or by means of abstract meditations. Does not a row of bees, struck by (the flappings of) the ears of elephants, adorn the doors of the houses of those who have bathed at the holy place of Prayāga at the confluence of the divine rivers (i.e. Gaṅga with Yamunā) when the Sun rises (after entering) Capricorn? How is that Prayāga which after having easily destroyed the sins, gives greater fruit after a bath there, than the Rājasūya sacrifice or the horse-sacrifice, not resorted to by (men)? In the country of Avantī formerly there was a king (named) Vīrasena. Having come to the bank of Narmada he performed a Rājasūya sacrifice. He duly performed sixteen horse-sacrifices adorned with golden courts, and rich in golden ornaments and tying posts. He gave heaps of grains resembling mountains to brāhmaṇas. He was liberal, a devotee of deities, a giver of cows and of gold.

156-167. There was a foolish brāhmaṇa of a mean family named Bhadraka. He was a farmer of wicked acts, and was excluded from all religious rites. He was fed up with agriculture; and his brothers had not performed any purificatory rites for him. Wandering here and there, he, being oppressed by hunger, went out (of the city). Luckily he got into (i.e. joined) a caravan, and came to Prayāga. He bathed there for three days in Māgha. Once both the king and the brāhmaṇa died. I saw that their condition was similar in the proximity of Indra. They had similar power of the form of lustre, similar group of ladies (attending upon them), similar divine vehicles, similar ornaments, a garland of pārijāta flowers, similar dance, and similar music. Such is the greatness of the holy place. How can it be described? The Māgha bath at Prayāga is said to be equal to (many) Rājasūya sacrifices, O brāhmaṇa. A man bathing in Māgha at (Prayāga), at the confluence of (Gaṅgā and Yamunā having) white and dark green water, is not reborn, (but) the performer of Rājasūyas would be reborn. Even the breezes in Māgha would touch the white and dark green water. They would not touch inauspicious things, for they indeed destroy great sins. O brāhmaṇa, what is the use of talking much in this case? O brāhmaṇa, listen for certain. Māgha would destroy the sin, the fruit of which has sprung up. In this (context) I shall tell you. Listen attentively. (Let the young celestial damsels listen to the ancient account of the liberation of the imps. Let your son also listen to it. The imps, desiring salvation have obtained recollection through my grace.) Formerly, the brāhmaṇa Devadyuti, a devotee of Viṣṇu and master of the Vedas, with his mind flooded with kindness, liberated the imps.

Dilīpa said:

168-169. Where did he stay? Whose son was he? What was his vow? What prayers did he mutter? Due to what did he become a devotee of Viṣṇu? Which imps were liberated? O great sage, tell all this in detail; due to your grace we are hearing an interesting and very auspicious (account).

Vasiṣṭha said:

170-185. On the auspicious bank of Sarasvatī there is a holy pool called Plakṣa. His hermitage resorted to (i.e. was by) a charming mountain. (O king, the hermitage was beautiful due to) groves of good trees like śāla, tāla, tamāla, bilva, bakula, pāṭala, tintidī, ciri, bilva, mango, campaka, karañja, kovidāra, kesara eaten by elephants, tilaka, karṇikāra, kumbha, khadira, tinduka, vānīra, sālva, jambīra, pīlu, udumbara, reeds, śakota, atarupa, kārahāta and fig trees, ghoṇṭa, kūṭaja, palāśa, aśoka (trees) that removed sorrow, jambu, nimba, kadamba, kṣīrika, karamardaka, and bījapūra, nāriṅga, and adorned with rows of plantain trees, so also jack-fruit trees, and coconut trees always having tasty fruits; saptacchada, tripatra, śirīṣa, and auspicious āmalaka (trees), karkandhu, lakuca, akṣa, pāribhadra and others: ketaka, sinduvara, tagara, kunda, mallikā, white, red, blue lotus (creepers), (creepers of) mālatī and yūthikā (jasmine) mālati, mogara, jāti fruit, punnāga, kiṃśuka, barvari and tulasī-trees. O king, the hermitage was always charming due to trees of various kinds. Through the forest flows the river Sarasvatī of auspicious water. Cranes always warble there softly, sweatly and indistinctly due to ardent passion. Cuckoos coo there, and bees hum (there). O king, the forest is very noisy due to parrots and sārikās. Many wild beasts move in that best forest. The forest always has fruits and flowers, and has a dusty colour due to pollen, and is covered all round with aśoka trees. The charming forest is embraced on all sides by creepers with new foliage and sprouts that have sprung up like a lover by his beloveds. Wind afraid of his curse blows on all sides. Clouds do not shower hail stones; the Sun does not dry up (the water). That forest is free from harm; it is inhabited by siddhas and non-siddhas; it always gave delight like the forest Caitraratha.

186-203. In that (forest) lived the pious, best brāhmaṇa, Devadyuti. The brāhmaṇa’s son was Sumitra, obtained through the boon of Lakṣmī’s husband. Listen to the vow of him who was always controlled. In summer he observed the vow called Pañca (-agni), and fixed his eyes on the Sun. He remained in the open space in the rainy season when the row of clouds showered; and when there was stormy wind blowing, he remained steady like the Himalaya (mountain). O brāhmaṇa, in winter he lived in a pool of Sarasvatī—in water; and during the season he sipped the pure water thrice a day. He everyday gratified his dead ancestors, deities and sages with faith. He always taught the Vedas, spoke the truth, and had curbed his senses. Resting on the (bare) ground, he, appealing to Viṣṇu, meditated on him. He offered oblations to fire with sylvan articles, and honoured guests with reverence. He always spent his time by practising Cāndrāyaṇa vow. He desired to subsist on leaves and fruits fallen on their own. He was not dejected; he was devoted to penance; he had mastered the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas. He was frightful due to his veins (very much strained), and his body had just bones (left in it). In this way he passed a thousand years in the forest. Then the mountain was blazing due to the lustre of his penance. The beings could not bear the lustre of the noble one. O brāhmaṇa, blazing with penance he shone like fire. In that forest beings.were free from enmity. Deer, tigers, mice and cats, free from fear, played with one another. Listen also to another vow of him difficult to be secured. Everyday he worshipped Viṣṇu three times with a thousand fragrant flowers that had bloomed. He was very much engrossed in meditating upon Viṣṇu according to the Vedic hymns. The brāhmaṇa performed every act to please Viṣṇu. Due to a boon given to him by Dadhīci he became an excellent devotee of Viṣṇu. Once on the Ekādaśī in the month of Vaiṣākha the great sage after worshipping Viṣṇu offered a charming and lovely (hymn of) praise to him. Then only Viṣṇu mounted the bird (i.e. Garuḍa), and being very much pleased by the praise, himself came before him. Seeing him mounted on Garuḍa, with the colour of his skin like the cloud, having four arms, large eyes, decorated with all ornaments, actually standing before him, the brāhmaṇa, with horripilation appearing (on his body) and with tears of joy, with his mind satisfied, (saluted him) with his head going down to (i.e. touching) the ground.

204-216. Due to that joy he could not contain himself even in the interior of the universe. He did not remember (i.e. was not conscious of) his body. He felt, as it were, he was one with Brahman. Then Viṣṇu affectionately spoke to the sage, Viṣṇu’s devotee: “O Devadyuti, I know you are my devotee. You have sought my shelter. You have given up all acts. You are devoted to me. You always have me in your mind. I am pleased with this praise. Ask for a boon.” Hearing these words of Viṣṇu, the ascetic replied: “O god of gods, O you lotus-eyed one, O you who have taken up a body through your divine power, there is no more difficult boon than (being able) to see you. All gods like Brahmā, and meditating saints like Sanaka, so also siddhas like Kapila, desire to see you in person. All bonds like ego, sense of mineness, so also delusion and greed—auspicious and inauspicious, entertained with a purpose, are burnt on seeing you, the highest one. I have obtained the fruit of my existence and deeds, and the fruit of my intellect has become manifest in that, O you lord of the world, you are seen by me. What other than this should I ask for? O lord of gods, I do not have your lotus-like feet in my heart for (securing) a boon. With my mind gone (i.e. devoted) to you, I always think of you with devotion. I ask for this boon only that my devotion to you should be steady. Let it be so, O lord of Lakṣmī. I do not ask for any other boon.” Hearing these words of him, Viṣṇu, with his face bright, and with his mind pleased replied: “Let it be so, O best brāhmaṇa. The other (boon is): There will be no impediment to your austerities. Those men who will recite this hymn composed by you will have a firm devotion to me. Whatever religious act they (perform) will be complete. They will have a great unswerving faith in knowledge.”

217. Speaking like this, Viṣṇu, the god of gods, vanished there only. Since then Devadyuti became extremely devoted to Viṣṇu.

Dilīpa said:

218-221. O great sage, I am favoured by you. I am purified by this account like Gaṅgā in company with Viṣṇu. Tell me that hymn of (i.e. composed by) the sinless brāhmaṇa, with which Viṣṇu was pleased. I have a great curiosity (to know it). O brāhmaṇa, I think, by your favour I have obtained my desired object. To whose greatness does the company of the great not lead? Favour me and tell me the excellent hymn of Viṣṇu, due to which the lord was pleased and obliged him by his appearance.

Vasiṣṭha said:

222-261. I shall tell you the secret, excellent hymn that is muttered. It was formerly received by Garuḍa and from him it came to me. It contains the essence of metaphysics; it causes great prosperity; is auspicious. It removes all sins, and is the great cause of the knowledge about the self, O king. (The hymn is as follows:) “Oṃ, obeisance to Vāsudeva; salutation to Viśva, to Cakrin (i.e. the Disc-holder), to Kṛṣṇa to whom his devotees are dear, to Jagannātha and to Śārṅgin. One who praises, the one that is praised, the praise—when all this is Viṣṇu himself, by whom is he praised? The devotion of men pleases (him). Which praise would delight that god whose breath are the Vedas with the Vedāṅgas and the Sūtras? Due to my devotion I have become talkative. All the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile, revolve like a wheel. Therefore, O god having a disc in your hand and best weapons, are sung (your praises). (When) actually the Veda cannot describe him, or speech or mind does not know him, then how can one like me praise him, or would be his devotee? You are the first Brahman; you are Brahmā-Viṣṇu. You are the refuge of all. You are the Creator, the cause of Brahman. You yourself are pure Brahman. (O lord, which is this body of you that touches the one having a body after breaking it. Salutation to you who are not touched by blemishes of the body.) O Viṣṇu, there is no doubt that you are that thought—the mass of happiness—which keeps awake as god, and does not sleep in one’s soul. The Great Principles like Mahat, so also the guṇas that give rise to modifications (of Prakṛti)—all that is you, O lord; diversity is a foolish idea. Through the three concepts like Keśa, Keśava, you are conceived, O brahman, as a man by sons etc. The entire world having some form without faults and with particular qualities appears to the poets. That truth, that pure Viṣṇu, I praise. I salute that Brahman, knowing which, the friends of the world having no desire, perform acts prescribed by the scriptures. I praise that Viṣṇu who is just existence, free from destruction, whom the meditating saints resort to after awakening, and who exists in all beings. I praise that Viṣṇu, seeing whom equal to you the best brāhmaṇas sing (i.e. praise) ‘I am Brahma’, after knowing him. Salutation to him, of the nature of pure intelligence, who destroys the variety of delusions through his divine power, so also the ego and sense of mineness of men and heaps of sins. Salutation to him, of the nature of pure intelligence, by remembering whose name the heaps of men’s sins instantly perish at the time of setting or not setting out, always getting into the shadow of whose lotus-like feet a man is not burnt in the worlds burning with the blazing flames of the fire of delusion. I salute that Ananta, by remembering whom there is no delusion, no misery, no diseases and griefs. The beings that sprang up from the intellect do not at all desire (any thing). People moving in one (way), knowing him see him as their soul. If the meaning of a word or of a sign has Viṣṇu as its objects, then due to that fact may not the worldly existence touch (me). If Viṣṇu, pervading the world, is highly honoured by the Vedas etc., then due to that fact may I have uninterrupted devotion to Viṣṇu. May that Viṣṇu who is not a seedless seed, who is caused by a seed, cut off with the sword of bright knowledge the seed of the worldly existence. May that Viṣṇu who becomes one having three bodies like an actor, due to the (three) constituents in acts like creation, maintenance and destruction, favour me. May that Viṣṇu who, merely for protecting righteousness, descended on the earth in ten ways, and who was requested by all gods, favour me. May that god Viṣṇu who, the pure one, lives all alone in the abode of the heart (of objects) beginning from Brahma up to a clump of grass, favour me. In front of the gods, that god who was one and many entered the deities. May that Viṣṇu, the Creator, favour me. He is a bird in the sky in the form of the heart. He is like the sky. He is the origin of the sky. He is beyond the sky. His acts are (infinite) like the sky. He goes to the sky. The sky is Brahmā. He enjoys the sky etc. In the end he is of the form of the sky. You enjoy the sacrifice. Due to your lustre, your joy, your illusion (Māyā) the world becomes united. You are of the form of lethargy, misery and truth also. The universe created by you delights. Forsaken by you, it would be impure. Though in contact with it, you are detached; and due to that you become changed. You are the consciousness born of combination of physical elements, whom the Cārvākas worship. The Saugatas (i.e. the Buddhists) call you a transitory idea with their logic. Those who look upon the Jina as their deity (i.e. the Jainas) look upon you as having the size of the body. The Sāṃkhyas meditate upon you, beyond the Prakṛti, as the Puruṣa. The Upaniṣads think between themselves that you alone are Brahman, free from birth etc., the ancient one, and having bliss as its characteristic. You are the (five) elements like the sky, the body, the mind, the intellect, the senses, knowledge and ignorance. There is nothing else but you. You are the Creator of all beings; you alone are my refuge. You are the fire, the oblation; you are Indra; you are the hotṛ priest; you are the hymn: you are the act and the fruit. O Viṣṇu, you are existence and non-existence; I have sought your refuge. You are the giver of the fruit of (one’s) act. You are the fruit of the rite of the initiated. You are the cause of all the beings. You are my refuge. May my love take delight in you as that of the young women in the young men, and as of the young men in a young woman. The servants of Yama do not see even a sinner who has bowed to you, as the owl does not see the sun. The three torments trouble a man through masses of sins as long as he does not, with devotion, remember your lotus-like feet.

262-269. I offer obeisance to that revered Viṣṇu whom the qualities, birth, bodily characters, so also the movements of the sense do not touch; (but) whom, the sages free from the delusion of attachment, touch. Wailing like—he is gross as a means, a (gross) means in a cause, is their cause, is without means and cause, the sages enter him. Salutation to that Viṣṇu waited upon by sages. Salutation to that Viṣṇu who is waited upon by sages and who having embraced Lakṣmī in the form of happiness and salvation, that is having the charming quality like affluence, and that is subjugated by his meditation, shampooing and shaking, sleeps here in self-pleasure. I bow to Viṣṇu in my heart, in whom of a detached nature due to the modification like being born etc., the group of the six waves (of passions) shakes, and whom the faults like Cupid (i.e. love) etc. do not torment. I salute that Viṣṇu whose pure company of his meditation removes ignorance, the world in having fallen into the fire of whose knowledge perishes, the bright sword of whose knowledge cuts off the enemy of doubt, and who is the mass of pure knowledge. Since all the mobile and immobile beings are under the control of Viṣṇu, may he due to this fact remain before me. Since Viṣṇu is the entire immobile and mobile world, may he, due to this fact, manifest his form to me. If I have the same best devotion for my preceptor as for Viṣṇu, may he, due to this fact, manifest himself (to me).

270-293. Thus thinking about (my) devotion for him, due to true oaths, Viṣṇu who was pleased, showed himself to me.” Then having given him a boon, and having fulfilled his desire, Lakṣmī’s lord (i.e. Viṣṇu), pleased by the brāhmaṇa with the hymn, left. The brāhmaṇa also being satisfied and highly devoted to Viṣṇu, and muttering the hymn remained in the penance grove with his disciples. A man who narrates this hymn or he who listens to it, obtains the abundant fruit of a horse-sacrifice. A brāhmaṇa always gets awakening due to his knowledge. He has no mind for (committing) a sin; he does not see anything inauspicious. By narrating this hymn all men have peace of intellect, tranquility of mind, and peace of senses also. A man who, after having pondered over the meaning, devoutly mutters this hymn, shakes off his sins in this world and gets Viṣṇu’s position. He who always recites it, gets his desired objects, so also sons, grandsons, beasts, long life, strength, power. He who narrates this hymn gets that fruit which is obtained by giving a thousand pots full of sesamum, or a thousand cows. A man soon obtains, by means of this hymn, whatever he desires from among righteousness, worldly prosperity, sensual enjoyment and salvation. Men who hear this hymn have always a mind for (good) conduct, modesty, piety, knowledge, penance and morality. By reciting it (just) once a man having (committed) major or minor sins, has his mind purified instantly. It increases intellect, wealth, glory, fame, knowledge, righteousness. It pacifies evil Planets; it destroys all that is inauspicious. Brāhmaṇas should recite this hymn removing all diseases, wholesome, destroying all dangers, helping to cross misery. It should at once be recited at the time of trouble from Planets and Stars, and fear from the king and thieves, calamities from fire and thieves. (Due to the recital of this) there is no fear from lions, tigers, so also from magic, spirits, imps and so also from demons. When this hymn is recited men have no fear at all from demonesses, big miseries, and dangers. He who worshipping Viṣṇu would recite this hymn, is not contaminated by sins like a lotus-leaf by water. A man gets the same position by reciting this auspicious hymn as is obtained by baths at holy places like Gaṅgā etc. He, who recites it once, twice or thrice a day, always and in all seasons obtains inexhaustible happiness. A man reciting this hymn (just) once obtains the same fruit as is obtained by reciting thrice even the four Vedas. He who remembers Viṣṇu with devotion, obtains inexhaustible wealth, becomes dear to women and is honoured in the world. He who daily recites this hymn, is always endowed with wealth, never meets with a calamity, and is not deprived of cows. Poverty, misfortune, bad dreams, bad thoughts of the devotees who listen to this hymn, at once perish.

294-297. He who, getting up in the morning, and being pure and greatly devoted to Viṣṇu, recites this, obtains inexhaustible happiness in this and the next world. This hymn called Yogasāra is accompanied by divine lustre, gives delight to Viṣṇu, is auspicious, produces Viṣṇu’s favour, and gives his direct vision. It is highly purifying. He who always recites it goes to the heaven of Viṣṇu. Thus I have told you the secret hymn, destroying sins. Hereafter I shall tell you about the release of the imps.

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