by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the greatness of sabhramati which is chapter 135 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 thirty-fifth 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.
Śrī Mahādeva said:
1-9. O goddess, I shall aptly describe the greatness of Sābhramatī. The best sage Kaśyapa practised severe penance. For many years he practised severe penance on the charming Arbuda mountain full of various trees. Having gone there where the charming, sin-destroying Sarasvatī flows, the sage Kaśyapa practised penance. O goddess, one day he went to the Naimiṣa (forest where) all the sages were narrating stories in many ways. Then the sages properly asked that sage Kaśyapa: “O Kaśyapa, for our pleasure, bring Gaṅgā here, O lord. That best river will pass by your name.” Having heard their words, and having saluted those brāhmaṇas, he came to the Arbuda forest, near the bank of Sarasvatī. He practised there very severe penance. That brāhmaṇa Kaśyapa propitiated me. I then appeared in person in front of that excellent brāhmaṇa. “Well-being to you; ask for a boon that is in your mind.”
10-14. O lord of the world, you are capable of granting a boon. Give me specially that Gaṅgā which is on your head and which is pure and destroys sins. O great god, I salute you.
Then, O goddess, I said: “O best brāhmaṇa, take (her).” Then taking off a hair from my matted hair, I gave him the Gaṅgā. Taking her, the best brāhmaṇa gladly went to his place. The holy place named Keśarandhra is the abode of Kaśyapa. Surrounded by sages, O chief goddess, he went there. That excellent river Kāśyapī was brought by Kaśyapa, on merely seeing which, (even) a killer of a brāhmaṇa was freed.
15-16. Tell me about the religious merit acquired by just a bath, O lord of the world. You are kind. Show compassion to me. What would be the religious merit due to seeing her, and what due to the bath? Tell me (that), O lord of gods. O Brahman, please tell me what kind of greatness (she has).
17-35. I have heard about many holy places and sanctuaries. Due to the grace of lord Viṣṇu many rivers flowing into the ocean (like) Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Revā, Tāpī, so also Mahānadī, Godāvarī, Tuṅgabhadrā, Kauśikī, so also Gallikā, (and) Kāverī, Vedikā, Bhadrā, Śarayū, Pāpahāriṇī (destroyer of sins), so also other various rivers, all instant sin-destroyers (are heard about by me). The king of holy places—Prayāga, Kāśī, and Puṣkara, so also the one called Naimiṣāraṇya, so also the holy place Amarakaṇṭaka, the excellent holy place of Dvārakā, the excellent Arbudāraṇya—such divine and other various holy places, I have heard about due to Viṣṇu’s grace. Formerly, Bhagīratha, desiring (to go to) Viṣṇu’s heaven, had solicited me. Then, O Pārvatī, I gave him this Gaṅgā. On the words of the sages I again gave her to Kaśyapa. This Kāśyapī Gaṅgā always removes diseases and blemishes. O beautiful lady, I shall tell you. Listen, what she is called in each age. In Kṛta (age) she was called Kṛtavatī and Girikarṇikā in Tretā. She is named Candanā in Dvāpara, and she is known as Sābhramatī in Kali (age). Those men who everyday (go to her for bathing) are freed from all sins and go to Viṣṇu’s (eternal position). O goddess, that fruit which men get by bathing at the holy place Plakṣa, and in Sarasvatī, is got by a daily bath in Sābhramatī everyday. There is no doubt about it, since Vyāsa’s statement is to that effect. A man gets that fruit by bathing in Sābhramatī which he gets by bathing in the later half of Śrāvaṇa or everyday, or by properly offering a śrāddha on the new-moon day. A man gets that fruit by bathing in Sābhramatī which he gets in Kārtika when (the Sun) is joined with the Kṛttikā (constellation) at Śrīsthala in front of (the image of) Mādhava. O goddess, this is the greatest (river). It is purifying in all worlds. She is most blessed, is pure, and destroys sins, O goddess. On (the bank of) Sābhramatī always live those connected with the east (i.e. the Easterners), the Northerners. The Westerners and the Southerners all go to Kheṭaka everyday near Brahmā, under the pretext of a pilgrimage only. O goddess, there is no doubt that they come there on the full-moon day of Kārtika. There they offer a śrāddha and feed brāhmaṇas.
36-50. (There) men perform various religious rites daily, so also various sacrifices. They make various gifts everyday in all the four ages. No doubt should be entertained in this matter. Yavakrīta, and Raibhya, Kakṣīvat, so also Uśija, Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras, so also Kaṇva, and the intelligent Punarvasu, Bandin, endowed with virtues, (all) have resorted to the Eastern direction. So also the magnanimous ones (living) in the north—like Madhumat, so also the noble Subandhu, and the powerful Dattātreya, similarly Śikhin, Dīrghatamas, so also Gautama and Kaśyapa, in the same way Śvetaketu, Kahoḍa, Pulaha and Devala, and Viśvāmitra and Bharadvāja, and powerful Jamadagni, Ṛcīca’s son Garga, so also the sage Uddālaka, and Devaśarman, Dhaumya, Āstika, so also Kaśyapa, and Lomaśa, Nābhiketu, and. Lomaharṣaṇa, so also the sage Ugraśravas, Bhārgava Cyavana, Vālakhilya and others, all go there. Bathing (there), fasting and very highly devoted to Viṣṇu holding conches, discs and maces, they always stay on the bank. Pitṛtīrtha, named Gayā, is auspicious and best among all holy places. There the grandsire, the lord of the gods, himself lives. The dead ancestors, desiring a portion (of the offerings) of a śrāddha, have sung a verse: Many sons should be desired; even one of them would go to Gaya, or would perform a horse-sacrifice, or would let loose a black bull. In the same way Vārāṇasī is auspicious, and is always dear to the dead ancestors, which due to my proximity, gives enjoyments and salvation. By my order the lord of gods called Bindumādhava, always especially dwells at Vārāṇasī, O chief goddess. Therefore, this my city is always the most blessed and the greatest. Vimaleśvara is auspicious, and is a holy place dear to the dead ancestors. Pitṛtīrtha—Prayāga—is endowed with all holy places.
51-60. They come into the water of Sābhramatī on my words. The noble Vateśvara is endowed with Viṣṇu. O chief goddess, Daśāśvamedha and the auspicious Gaṅgādvāra always live in Sābhramatī by my order. Nandā, Lalitādevī and the holy place with seven streams; so also the (holy place) called Mitrapada and Śaṅkara’s abode Kedāra; and Gaṅgāsāgara as they call it; all this, being full of holy places, is auspicious. Like this there is the holy place called Brahmasaras in the pool of Śatadru. So also the holy place called Naimiṣa. All these, O goddess, undoubtedly live in the water of Sābhramatī. The auspicious river Śvetavalkalinī, (the river) Śvetahiraṇmayī, (the river) Hastimatī, or Arthaghnī, flowing towards the ocean—all these are dear to the dead ancestors, and give the fruit of a crore of śrāddhas. Śrāddhas should be offered there by sons for the good of their dead ancestors. There is a city named Pāṭala or Vāḍava, O beautiful lady. All these rivers have always especially reached (i.e. flowed into) Sābhramatī. Those men on the earth who bathe there and offer gifts, enjoy happiness in this world and go to the eternal (place) of Viṣṇu. Jambūdvīpa is very meritorious, where religious merit grows. There is a very meritorious (region), called Ārya, fulfilling all desires.
61-81a. (Then) there is a holy place called Nīlakaṇṭha; (then there is) Nandahrada; so also the holy place Rudrahrada, and the auspicious Rudra-mahālaya. Presenting themselves, the very auspicious Mandākinī, so also the great river Acchodā—these two flow into Sābhramatī. Due to offering piṇḍas (i.e. oblations to dead ancestors) into Gaṅgā, the wise say that these—Dhūmrā, Mitrapada, similarly Vaijanātha, Dṛśadvara, river Kṣiprā, Mahākāla, so also the mountain Kāliñjara, Gaṅgodbhūta, Harodbheda, Narmadākāra—are equal (in religious merit). O chief goddess, these places sacred to Brahma are on the northern bank of Sābhramatī, are protected by gods led by Brahma. O great goddess, they destroy people’s sins merely by their being remembered. Then what to say of those men offering śrāddhas, O chief goddess? Oṃkāra, a holy place of the dead ancestors, the water of Kāverī, Kapilā, the union of Caṇḍavegā.—bathing in this would be a hundredfold more meritorious than (at) Kurukṣetra. O goddess, formerly (Śiva’s) attendants took the holy place Kadamba, along with the chief of the attendants, to the confluence of Vātaghnī. This congregation of the holy places is narrated by me by way of illustration. Even the lord of speech cannot correctly (describe) the expanse of the holy places. Truth, pity and control of senses are holy places. One should certainly bathe in her holy place with effort. The morning is of the three muhūrtas (i.e. periods) up to saṅgava—a bath at this time is dear to the gods. Mid-day consists of three muhūrtas (i.e. period); after that is afternoon. Bathing, offering piṇḍas causes delight to the dead ancestors. Evening has three muhūrtas. One should not perform a śrāddha etc. at that time. That time is called demonish, and is censured for all (religious) acts. Always the fifteen muhūrtas of the day are well-known. Among them the eighth one is said to be kutapa. Since at mid-day the sun becomes dull (in lustre), therefore, it gives infinite fruit by offering piṇḍas to the dead ancestors. Mid-day, a vessel made of buffalo’s horns, so also a Nepāla-blanket, silver, darbhas, so also cows, daughter’s son, and sesamum-seeds are kutapa. Sin is said to be mean. Since all these eight cause remorse for it, they are known as kutapa. That group of four muhūrtas subsequent to kutapa, and the group of five is desired as the time for a śrāddha. Darbhas and sesamum-seeds are said to have sprung from the body of Viṣṇu for the protection of śrāddha. Thus the residents of heaven say. Those living at the holy places should offer water with sesamum-seeds to the dead by standing in water and with darbhas in their hands. Thus the śrāddha is not harmed.
81b-94. Giving the holy places these names and putting them into Sābhramatī, O goddess, I gave (the river) to Kaśyapa. This Kaśyapa is my devotee, and he is always dear to me. Therefore, I gave (him) this pure Gaṅgā destroying sins. O noble one, having placed myself—I am having Śaṅkara as my name there—at the holy place, viz. Brahmacārika, I, called Īśa, remain there for the good of the world, and am named Brahmacārīśa. When in the vicinity of Sābhramatī, one devoutly worships especially Brahmacārīśa in the Kali-age, one enjoys pleasure in this world and goes to the great position of Śiva. Even if a man suffering from severe diseases goes there, his disease quickly vanishes on merely seeing the deity, O great goddess. When the man with his senses controlled, and fasting, and being very steady, devoutly worships (the lord), then I appear before him in the form of a meditating sage. I give him the desired objects. O you beautiful lady, I am telling the truth and the truth only. I quickly remove the disease of those persons who especially come to my place. I have described diseases to be of eighty-four names. Each one of the diseases would perish merely on seeing (the image). O daughter of the (Himalaya) Mountain, my phallus would not be there. My place is only there. There is no doubt about it. On one occasion the powerful king Brahmadatta of the solar race, of a severe penance, once practised penance there for a long time, O chief goddess. There he practised in many ways the (vow called) Pañcāgnisādhana. He practised many austerities like fasting for a month etc.
95-113. In this way the king practised a severe penance for a long time. Then I appeared before him in person for (granting him) a boon, O beautiful lady. “O Brahmadatta, listen to (these) great (i.e. important) words. I shall undoubtedly grant you everyday whatever you desire.” He said: “O lord of gods, if whatever I desire is (to be) given, then always grant me one boon. May the lord be born by my name on the earth, O lord of gods.” O sinless one, being pleased with those words, I granted him the boon. (Since) then, O chief goddess, I stay with him. (To him) who remaining here, fasts and is fully devoted, I grant the desired objects as long as the fourteen Indras rule. Listen to what I give to the brāhmaṇas who, having come here, especially mutter the Rudra hymn etc. A man obtains quickly all that is desired in the Kali-age, like pleasure from his wife, pleasure from his son; it increases wealth. It gives glory and affluence, and destroys diseases etc. O Pārvatī, my devotees on the earth come here and perform rites like bathing, giving gifts in this terrible Kali-age. O chief goddess, I give the desired objects. This is the truth and the truth only. The king, having posted there another celibate named Gaṅgādhara, and having lived there for five days, then went to his own kingdom. The very great Brahmadatta, famous in the world, who knew piety, ruled for five myriad years. Then the king, having enjoyed the kingdom for some time, went to āiva’s world, (and) to the excellent position called Brahmā. The two gods having my name stay there—one is Brahmācāriśa, and the other one is said to be Gaṅgādhara. To those men who worship especially at my place, I certainly give everything wanted by them in the world. The place itself is always the Phallus. Men should always go there. That wise man who offers there flowers, incense, eatables of various kinds, certainly obtains everything. I give all to them who worship at my place with bilva-leaves, flowers and sandal etc. He who everyday listens to the account of Brahmacārin, obtains happiness in this world, and goes to the vicinity of Śiva, where god Gaṅgādhara, Bhūtida (i.e. giver of happiness) always dwells.
114-135. The other one called Brahmacārīśa always lives (there). From them one certainly obtains the position of Śiva by means of meditation. A disease perishes on seeing him. By worshipping (him) a man would obtain (long) life. O chief goddess, there is no doubt that by bathing there a man would enjoy salvation. O beautiful lady, listen. I shall describe a very wonderful holy place, known as Rājakhaḍga, especially on the Sābhramatī. King Vaikartana, born in the solar race, was of a bad conduct, sinful, and censured brāhmaṇas. He bore malice against his preceptors; was always angry; censured all (religious) acts; he was always interested in others’ wives; and he always harmed Viṣṇu. He always harassed his subjects in many ways. Such a wicked one, as he was, lived on the earth always. O beautiful lady, listen properly. When some time passed, leprosy was produced in (i.e. overcame) him due to his sin (and) his (ill) luck. Observing his body, and thinking repeatedly as to what to do, he was full of anxiety. Once, by chance, he went into a forest for sport. Having reached the bank of Sābhramatī there, he remained there. He bathed there, and drank excellent water. Due to the bath there, his body instantly was seen to be divine. His figure was seen to be of good gold, O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain. Just then the king certainly became (like that). Having got the divine form, the king enjoyed the kingdom there for some time, and then went to the highest position of Śiva, O chief goddess. Then this holy place, called Rājakhaḍga, came up. He who bathes here and gives gifts, enjoys happiness in this world, and goes to the eternal (place) of Viṣṇu. They have no disease and never have grief. A man who everyday bathes in this (holy place) called Rājakhaḍga, would obtain heaven, and is honoured by Brahmā and others. O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, he was called Satyeśvara in the Kṛta age, Bhuvaneśvara in the Tretā age, and Rājeśvara in the Dvāpara age. In this Kali age, the lord of the universe has vanished. Therefore this holy place, called Rājakhaḍga, has come up. Those men who devoutly offer oblations to their dead ancestors here, are declared to be of religious acts on the earth. The killers of brāhmaṇas or of children, who bathe here, get free from blemishes, and go to the vicinty of Śiva. The dead ancestors of them who offer a dark (cow) on (the bank of) Sābhramatī, are pleased till the deluge. O goddess, there is no fear for those men who listen to this divine account called Rājakhaḍga. In the same way diseases and blemishes vanish by listening to and reciting it.
Footnotes and references:
Saṅgava—Name of a particular part of day, said to be three muhūrtas after Prātastana or early dawn and to form the second of the five divisions of day.
Pañcāgnisādhana—A kind of penance in which one has to bear five-fires: one in front, one at the back, one on the left, and one on the right, and the fifth fire is the sun.