The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes The Greatness of Ganga which is chapter 27 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the twenty-seventh chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 27 - The Greatness of Gaṅgā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: The legend how king Bhagīratha brought the heavenly Gaṅgā to the earth for the redemption of his ancestors—the sons of king Sagara—is described in details in VR 1.42 & 43 and Mbh, Vana, 109-119. This Purāṇa uses it as a background for describing the great sanctity of Gaṅgā in the subsequent verses.

Skanda said:

1. I shall describe how Ānandakānana became well-known as Vārāṇasī as it was narrated by the Lord of Devas.

Īśvara said:

2. Listen, O Viṣṇu of mighty arms, O most handsome one in all the three worlds, how Avimukta got the name Vārāṇasī.

3-5. A highly virtuous and resplendent king of the Solar dynasty, Bhagīratha, had heard about the calamity that befell his ancestors, the sons of Sagara, who were ordered (by Sagara) to protect the horse of the horse-sacrifice and who were burnt down by the fire of Kapila’s wrath. He desired to propitiate Gaṅgā and therefore resolved to perform a penance. The king, a storehouse of activities conducive to fame, went to Himavān, the best among mountains, with a desire to redeem his ancestors. He duly vested the burden of the kingdom on his ministers.

6. O Viṣṇu, who can carry to heaven except Gaṅgā flowing in three paths, the living beings who were completely consumed by the fire of a Brāhmaṇa’s curse and were consequently reduced to a wretched state?

7. She (the River-Goddess) is another form of mine in a watery form. She is the very soul of welfare. She is the greatest Prakṛti, the mainstay of many Cosmic Eggs.

8. She is the personified form of pure learning and compassion. She possesses three Śaktis, viz. those of will, knowledge and action. She is of the nature of Nectar and bliss. She is the pure form of Dharma.

9. I am sportingly sustaining this support of all the worlds, perfect in form, like the Absolute Brahman for the sake of protecting the universe.

10-12. All the following, O Viṣṇu, are present in subtle form in Gaṅgā: all the sacred rivers and holy places in all the three worlds; all the Dharmas; Yajñas along with the monetary gifts thereof; all the types of penance; the fourfold Vedas along with their Aṅgas; you and I and Brahmā, the creator, and all the groups of Devas; all the Puruṣārthas (aims of life, viz. Dharma, Artha etc.) and the different forms of Śaktis.

13. He who resorts to Gaṅgā is on a par with one who has taken his holy ablutions in all the Tīrthas, who has performed all types of Kratus and who has observed all types of vows.

14. He who resorts to Gaṅgā has practised all types of penances, attained all the fruits of Yogic practices and observances and is on a par with a person who makes a liberal gift of everything.

15. A person who bathes in Gaṅgā regularly is superior to everyone in every Varṇa and stage of life, to everyone among Vedic scholars and to everyone who has mastered the sacred scriptures and the topics discussed therein.

16. Even a person defiled by many kinds of evils originating from mind, speech and body, becomes sanctified by seeing Gaṅgā. There is no doubt in this.

17. In Kṛtayuga there are holy Tīrthas everywhere; in Tretāyuga Puṣkara is the greatest of all Tīrthas; in Dvāparayuga, Kurukṣetra (is the best) and in Kaliyuga only Gaṅgā (is the holiest).

18. O Hari, one shall have (the opportunity to) live on the banks of Gaṅgā if there is the Vāsanā (impression left after repeated practice) of the previous births, with my great favour.

19. Meditation is the cause of salvation in Kṛtayuga; in Tretāyuga meditation and penance are the causes of salvation; in Dvāparayuga, meditation, penance and Yajñas are the causes of salvation but in Kaliyuga it is Gaṅgā alone.

20. He who does not leave off the banks of Gaṅgā till his body falls (i.e., death), is always on a par with one conversant with Vedānta, a Yogin and one regularly observing the vow of celibacy.

21. In Kaliyuga there is no other means of salvation than Gaṅgā for persons of defiled minds, enamoured of other people’s wealth and performing the rites without due regard for the injunctions (of the scriptural texts).

22. Alakṣmī (lack of wealth), Kālakarṇī (a female ogress), evil dreams and ill thoughts do not have any influence, if the devotee performs Japa like ‘Gaṅgā, Gaṅgā.’

23. O Viṣṇu, Gaṅgā contributes to the welfare of all the worlds. She alone bestows benefits here as well as hereafter on all living beings in accordance with their devotional fervour.

24. O Hari, Yajña, Dāna, penance, Yoga, Japa, restraint and observance of holy vows do not merit even a thousandth part of the service rendered to Gaṅgā.

25. Of what avail is Yoga with its eight ancillaries? Of what avail are penances and sacrifices? Mere residence on the banks of Gaṅgā is the cause of the realization of Brahman.

26. O Govinda, Gaṅgā becomes pleased with the devotion of one who understands the greatness of Gaṅgā even if he were to be an undeserving person, even if he stays far off.

27. Faith is the greatest and subtlest Dharma (virtue). Faith is the greatest penance and knowledge; faith is heaven and salvation. She becomes pleased with (one who has) faith (in her).

28. In the case of persons whose minds have been deluded by ignorance, attachment, greed etc. they do not have any faith in Dharma and particularly in Gaṅgā.

29. Just as the external water becomes (sweet) water within a coconut, so also the water of the great Absolute stationed outside the Cosmic Egg becomes Jāhnavī.

30. There is no other acquisition greater than the acquisition of Gaṅgā anywhere. Hence onē should resort to Gaṅgā. Gaṅgā itself is the greatest being.

31. O Hari, aimless and purposeless is the birth of one devoid of holy ablution in Gaṅgā even if he happens to be powerful, learned, virtuous or munificent.

32. If one does not resort to Gaṅgā in Kali Age, (utterly) futile are his family (noble descent), learning, (performance of) sacrifices, penances and all the liberal gifts he has made.

33. In the worship of a deserving virtuous person, one does not attain such a benefit, as one gets from bathing in the waters of Gaṅgā or worshipping it in accordance with the injunctions.

34. This Gaṅgā, the womb whereof consists of the fire of my refulgence, who is well protected by my vigour (and is like me, Comm.) burns down all defects and sins.

35. The cage of the multitude of sins becomes split into a hundred pieces merely by remembering Gaṅgā, like a mountain struck by thunderbolt.

36. One who goes to Gaṅgā and one who rejoices in devotion, both of them, they say, derive the same benefit. Devotion alone is the cause thereof.

37. While walking, standing, repeating the names, meditating, taking food, speaking, walking, awake or sleeping, he who remembers Gaṅgā always, shall become released from bondage.

38-39. If, with the ancestors in view, anyone were to deposit devoutly in the waters of Gaṅgā, milk pudding with honey, along with jaggery, ghee and gingelly seeds, O Hari, his ancestors become gratified for a hundred years. The delighted grandfathers grant him all kinds of cherished desires.

40. Just as the whole universe becomes adored when the Liṅga is propitiated, so also one derives the benefit of all the Tīrthas through ablution in Gaṅgā.

41. A man who takes his holy dip in Gaṅgā everyday and worships the Liṅga, shall certainly get the greatest salvation in a single birth.

42. Agnihotra, Yajñas, Vratas, Dānas and penances are not equal to a ten-millionth part of the adoration of the Liṅga in Gaṅgā.

43. If anyone decides to go to Gaṅgā and (as a preliminary to the pilgrimage) performs Śrāddha etc., at home and remains thus, the ancestors become delighted by his perfect resolve.

44-45. All the sins immediately cry, “Alas, where shall we go?” Then they have consultation with Lobha (Greed), Moha (Delusion) etc. again and again and decide: “We shall create obstacles so that he shall not go to Gaṅgā, because once he goes to Gaṅgā, he will eradicate all of us.”

46. Being disappointed, sins go away at every step from the body of the person who starts from his house for an ablution in Gaṅgā.

47. O Hari, a meritorious person casts off Lobha etc. due to merits performed in previous births, and reaches Gaṅgā after driving away all the obstacles.

48. A man who takes the holy dip in Gaṅgā shall go to heaven even if he does so incidentally, or for a price, or in the course of trading activity or service, even if he is lustful.

49. Just as fire burns even if touched unwillingly, so also Gaṅgā, even if it is bathed in unwillingly, burns sins.

50. A living being wanders in the course of its worldly existence as long as it does not resort to Gaṅgā. After resorting to Gaṅgā, no creature sees the sufferings of worldly existence.

51. He who eschews all doubts and devoutly takes his holy dips in the waters of Gaṅgā, is certainly a Deva covered with human skin.

52. One who undertakes a journey for the sake of taking a holy bath in Gaṅgā, but dies on the way, derives undoubtedly the benefit of a holy ablution in Gaṅgā.

53. Even those who listen to the greatness of Gaṅgā and read about it, become rid of great sins undoubtedly.

54. The evil-minded, wicked, sceptics and rationalists who take Gaṅgā as another ordinary river, O Viṣṇu, are fools.

55. In this birth, men become devoted to Gaṅgā due to the Dānas, penances, holy observances and vows performed in the course of the previous birth.

56. For the sake of those who are devoted to Gaṅgā, mansions equipped with charming pleasures have been created by the Self-born Lord (Brahmā) in the cities of Mahendra and others.

57-58. Supernatural powers (Aṇimā etc.), Liṅgas bestowing divine powers, many kinds of Sparśaliṅgas (those that turn base metal into gold), gem-built palaces, multitude of Cintāmaṇis (philosopher’s stones) etc. lie embedded in the waters of Gaṅgā, because they are afraid of pollution from Kali. Hence in Kali Yuga, Gaṅgā, the bestower of the achievement of the desired goal, should be resorted to.

59-60. Like patches of darkness at sunrise, like mountains afraid of being smitten with thunderbolt, like serpents on seeing Tārkṣya (Garuḍa), like clouds tossed about by winds, like ignorance and delusion on the realization of Truth, like deer on seeing a lion, all the sins become exterminated at the sight of Gaṅgā.

61-62. Just as ailments perish due to the divine herbal remedies, just as good qualities perish due to greediness, just as the severity of summer heat is dispelled through plunging into a deep whirlpool and just as a heap of cotton perishes instantly by a spark of fire, so also all defects certainly perish by coming into contact with the waters of Gaṅgā.

63-64. Just as the power of penance perishes due to anger, just as good sense is spoiled by lust, just as fortune gets destroyed through defective morals, just as learning gets defiled by conceit, just as Dharma perishes through hypocrisy, crookedness and fraudulence, so also sins perish at the sight of Gaṅgā.

65. After obtaining the rare opportunity of getting human birth which is as inconstant as the fall of lightniṇg, he who resorts to Gaṅgā has reached the height of intellect.

66. Those men who have shaken off all the sins, see Gaṅgā on the earth in the form of the greatest refulgence resembling a thousand suns.

67. Atheists with eyes spoiled by sins see Gaṅgā like an ordinary river filled with ordinary water.

68. Due to compassion for people I, the redeemer from worldly existence, have created a flight of steps unto heaven in the form of the waves of Gaṅgā.

69. On the banks of the glorious Gaṅgā all times are auspicious, all the spots are auspicious and holy, all persons are fit for the receipt of religious gifts.

70-73. Just as a horse-sacrifice is the best among all Yajñas, just as Himavān is the greatest among mountains, just as truthfulness is the greatest among holy vows, just as offering freedom from fear is the best among gifts, just as Prāṇāyāma (restraint of vital breath) is the best among austerities, just as Praṇava (Om) is the best among Mantras, just as abstention from violence is the best among all pious activities, just as Śrī (prosperity and fortune) is the most excellent of all desirable things, just as spiritual learning is the best among all learnings, just as Gaurī is the most excellent one among all women, just as you, O Puruṣottama, are the best among all the Devas, just as a devotee of Śiva is the most excellent one among all deserving persons, so also Gaṅgā Tīrtha is the most excellent one among all the Tīrthas.

74. O Hari, a highly intelligent person who does not make any difference between us both, should be known as a devotee of Siva. He is a great Pāśupata (‘devotee of Paśupati i.e., Śiva’).

75. This Gaṅgā of meritorious current is like the great whirlwind unto the dust particles of sin, is like axe unto the tree of sins, and is like forest fire unto the fuel of sins.

76. The Pitṛs (manes) of different forms always sing these songs: “Would that someone in our family takes the holy bath in Gaṅgā.”

77. After propitiating Devas and Sages as well as indigent ones, helpless ones and miserable ones, he would take his holy dip faithfully in accordance with the injunctions and offer handfuls of water libation.

78. “Would that he is born in our family, who will impartially look at Śiva and Viṣṇu, who will build temples for both of them and will devoutly clean them and carry out other activities as well.”

79. He who dies in Gaṅgā will not see hell whether he cherishes desire or not, even if it is the lower strata of living beings that he belongs to.

80. If those who are staying on the banks of Gaṅgā were to praise another Tīrtha and do not honour Gaṅgā, they are sure to pass on to a hell.

81. A base man who hates me as well as you and Gaṅgā shall go to hell along with members of his family.

82. Sixty;four thousands of Gaṇas always protect Gaṅgā and they create obstacles in the stay of sinners who are no devotees.

83. With the sharp arrows of Just, anger, excessive delusion, convetousness etc., they overwhelm their minds and oust them from there (Gaṅgā).

84. He who resorts to Gaṅgā is a sage. He is a learned man. He should be known as one blessed with achievement in regard to the four aims of life.

85. One who, just for once, takes his holy dip in Gaṅgā, shall obtain the benefit of a horse-sacrifice. By offering libations of water to the Pitṛs there, he shall redeem them from the ocean of hell.

86. A meritorious man who continuously bathes in Gaṅgā for one month, lives in the world of Indra along with his ancestors, as long as Indra (continues to live).

87. A meritorious man who continuously bathes in Gaṅgā for one year, shall reach the world of Viṣṇu and stay there happily.

88. A man who takes his holy bath in Gaṅgā everyday throughout his life, should be known as Jīvanmukta (a living-liberated soul), who with the destruction of the body (after death) becomes completely liberated.

89. Any particular lunar day, asterism or day of special significance need not be taken into consideration in regard to (the holy bath) in the waters of Gaṅgā. Merely through holy dip in Gaṅgā all the hoarded sins perish.

90. He who does not resort to the banks of Gaṅgā worthy of being resorted to very easily, is a fool though learned, is powerless though endowed with Śakti (power).

91. If one does not resort to Gaṅgā, of what use is his longevity free from sickness, of what avail is his ever growing prosperity, of what avail is his blemishless intellect?

92. A man who gets a temple built for an idol of Gaṅgā, enjoys all pleasures. After death he attains the world of Gaṅgā.

93. Those who listen everyday to the greatness of Gaṅgā with respect shall obtain the benefit of a holy dip in Gaṅgā by propitiating with adequate monetary gifts the scholar who reads the text.

94. With Pitṛs in view, if anyone bathes the Liṅga with the waters of Gaṅgā, his ancestors become pleased although they may be in a great hell.

95. Learned men say that far superior to bathing with ghee is bathing with the waters of Gaṅgā, filtered with a cloth, charged eight times with Mantras (pertaining to Śiva or Gaṅgā—Comm.) and rendered fragrant with scents.

96-97. If anyone offers Argha at least once to the Sun with the waters of Gaṅgā mixed with the eight Dravyas measured to a Magadhaprastha (i.e., 12½ Palas) in a copper vessel, he goes to the Solar world in a highly brilliant aerial chariot along with his ancestors and is honoured there.

98-99. The eight Dravyas (ingredients) are: water, Kuśa grass, honey, cow’s milk, cow’s ghee, cow’s curd, red sandal-paste and red Karavīra flowers. This Argha with eight ingredients is considered extremely propitiatory to the Sun-god. O Viṣṇu, this Argha with the waters of Gaṅgā should be known to be ten million times more meritorious than Argha with other waters.

100. If a sensible man erects a temple on the banks of Gaṅgā according to his capacity, it has a benefit ten million times more than that of the installation at another Tīrtha.

101-103. Merely by visiting Gaṅgā, one gets that merit which one gets elsewhere by planting Aśvattha, Vaṭa, mango and other trees or by digging wells, tanks and lakes or through watersheds and sacrifices. The very touch of Gaṅgā is superior to the act of making flower gardens etc. By drinking a mouthful of the waters of Gaṅgā, one gets the benefit hundred times more than that of the gift of a virgin in marriage, that of the gift of cows and cooked rice.

104. By drinking the nectar-like waters of Gaṅgā, O Janārdana, one gets more benefit than the benefit derived from a thousand Cāndrāyaṇa observances.

105. What other benefit shall be said as resulting from devout plunge in Gaṅgā, O Hari, than everlasting residence in heaven or ultimate salvation?

106. A man who always worships the pair of sandals of Gaṅgā obtains longevity, merit, wealth, sons, heaven, and salvation.

107. O Hari, for the destruction of the sins and blemishes of Kali, there is no other Tīrtha on a par with Gaṅgā. There is no holy spot on a par with Avimukta in bestowing salvation.

108. On seeing a man regularly engaged in the holy bath in Gaṅgā, the servants of Yama flee in ten directions like deer on seeing a lion.

109. One shall obtain the benefit of a horse-sacrifice by duly worshipping a person staying on the banks of Gaṅgā and regularly worshipping Gaṅgā.

110. By devoutly gifting cows, plots of land and gold on the splendid banks of Gaṅgā, a man has no rebirth in the miserable world.

111. (On the bank of Gaṅgā) by making gifts of garments, one attains longevity; by gifting books one gets knowledge; by gifting cooked rice one gets wealth; and by gifting a virgin one gets fame.

112. Whatever rite is performed on the banks of Gaṅgā, such as holy vows, Dāna, Japa or penance, O Hari, has ten million times more benefit than the ones performed elsewhere.

113-118. One who makes the gifts of a cow along with her calf in accordance with the injunctions on the banks of Gaṅgā, O Viṣṇu, shall have all types of prosperity. By gifting away a Kāmadhenu he will enjoy all desires and pleasures, either in Goloka or in my world for as many Yugas as there are hairs on the body of the cow. Along with his kinsmen, he will enjoy divine pleasure of may kinds, (some of them) not available to even Devas. He will enjoy them along with his ancestors and friends. He will be embellished with all kinds of jewels. Thereafter, he is born in an excellent family possessing good conduct and learning. After enjoying infinite pleasures in the company of sons and grandsons he will come again to Gaṅgā flowing towards the north at Kāśī. After propitiating Viśveśvara, due to the impressions and experiences of the previous births, in due course he may die after which he attains Brahman (i.e., salvation).

119. Listen to the meritorious benefit of the man who devoutly gives away a plot of land on the banks of Gaṅgā extending to two Nivartanas (1 Nivartana = 30 Daṇḍas).

120-122. After enjoying all delightful pleasures in the worlds of Mahendra and Candra for as many Yugas as there are Traṣareṇus (particles of dust) in that plot of land, he becomes lord of the seven continents. O Hari, he will be very righteous and he will be able to redeem his Pitṛs from hells and take them to heaven. He will liberate the Pitṛs staying in heaven. He will be highly resplendent. In the end he will chop off Avidyā by means of the sword of knowledge—the Avidyā that has converted itself into the five elements.

123. He may have the greatest Vairāgya (non-attachment) and will practise the excellent Yoga. Or after reaching Avimukta, he will realize the great Absolute Brahman.

124-127. One who, on the banks of Gaṅgā, makes a gift of excellent gold weighing a Suvarṇa (i.e., 80 Rattis) to a man of excellent Varṇa, O Hari, will be endowed with all Aiśvaryas (supernatural powers) and he will move about in a gold and gem-set aerial chariot that can go everywhere. He will be honoured in all the worlds stationed in other Cosmic Eggs and experience all pleasures delighting the mind. O Viṣṇu, he will be adored by all until all the living beings are annihilated. Thereafter, he shall be the sole king in Jaṃbūdvīpa and very powerful and valorous. Then he will come to Avimukta and attain salvation.

128. If anyone takes his holy bath devoutly in Gaṅgā on the day on which the star of his nativity falls, he shall instantly be released from the multitude of sins accumulated in the course of various births.

129. A holy bath in Gaṅgā is very rare (i.e., is of special value) in the months of Vaiśākha, Kārttika and Māgha. The bath is hundred times more beneficial if performed on the new-moon day and a thousand times, on the Saṅkrānti day (transit of the Sun).

130. If the bath is taken on the days of lunar or solar eclipses, it is a hundred thousand times; on the Vyatīpāta day (i.e., if the new-moon day is a Sunday) it is innumerable times; if it is on Viṣuva days (equinox days), it is ten thousand times more beneficial; if it is on the Ayana days, a hundred thousand times.

131. If the lunar eclipse falls on a Monday or the solar eclipse on a Sunday, it is called Cūḍāmaṇi Parva. The bath on that day has unlimited benefit.

132. Bathing, Dānaṇḍapa, and Homa, whatever is performed on the Cūḍāmaṇi day on the banks of Gaṅgā, O Viṣṇu, is of everlasting benefit.

133. If one takes the holy dip in Gaṅgā in accordance with the injunctions with devotion and faith, one shall become purified even if one is a Brāhmaṇa-slayer. What to say of other sinners!

134. Worms, insects, locusts etc. that die on the banks of Gaṅgā, the trees that fall into Gaṅgā from the bank—all these attain salvation.

135-137. In the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha, on the tenth day with asterism Hasta, a man or woman should keep awake at night on the banks of Gaṅgā with great devotional fervour. He (or she) should perform the adoration of Gaṅgā ten times, O Garuḍa-emblemed Hari. There shall be ten kinds of flowers of great fragrance: The Naivedyas shall be of ten fruits on every occasion. There shall be Daśāṅga Dhūpas [constituents: Kustha, jaggery, lac, Nakha (?), Harītakī, Sarjarasa, Māṃsī, Śailaja, Ghana (camphor) and bdellium], A wise devotee shall perform the worship ten times in accordance with the injunctions.

138. He should drop gingelly seeds smeared with ghee into the waters of Gaṅgā. He should then offer ten handfuls of water. Uttering the Mantra he should offer ten balls of fried wheat-flour mixed with jaggery.

139-140. The twenty-syllabled Mantra is to be “Om namaḥ śivāyai nārāyaṇyai daśaharāyai gaṅgāyai svāhā” (Om, obeisance to Śivā, Nārāyaṇī, Daśaharā, Gaṅgā). The worship, Dāna, Japa and Homa are to be performed with the same Mantra.

141-145. According to his capacity the devotee should prepare an idol of Gaṅgā with gold or silver. It shall be installed above a Pūrṇakumbha (pot filled with water), the face of which is covered with a cloth. He should then bathe the idol with Pañcāmṛta and adore it.

Thereafter he shall meditate upon Gaṅgā as follows: She is very gentle in form with four arms and three eyes. She is served by Nadīs and Nadas (rivers great and small). She has the frequent application of the nectarine exudation of loveliness all over her physical form. She holds in her four hands a Pūrṇakuṃbha, a white lotus, the gestures of granting boon and freedom from fear. Her lustre is like that of ten thousand moons. She is being fanned with chowries. She shines well with a white umbrella. She has flooded the ground with nectar. She is besmeared with divine scents and unguents. Her feet are adored by all the three worlds. She is eulogized by Devas and the divine sages.

146-147. After meditating and worshipping with the Mantra, he should offer Dhūpa and Dīpa. In front of the idol of Gaṅgā, he should make small idols of myself, yourself and that of Brahmā, the Sun-god, Himalaya and Bhagīratha with sandal-paste and raw rice-grains and worship them. He should respectfully give ten Prasthas of gingelly seeds to ten Brāhmaṇas.

148. These measures of grain are each four times the previous: Pala, Kuḍava, Prastha, Ādhaka and Droṇa (Pala: a handful of grain).

149-150. The devotee observing the holy vow should make figures of fish, tortoise, frog, shark and other aquatic beings such as swans, Kāraṇḍavas, Bakas (cranes), Cakra (ruddy geese), Ṭiṭṭibha or Sārasa with pasted flour, copper, silver or gold in accordance with his capacity, worship them with scents and flowers and then cast them into Gaṅgā.

151. By performing this rite thus in accordance with the injunctions, without showing stinginess in spending money, the devotee will be rid of the ten types of sins as mentioned below:

152-155. There are three types of physical sins such as taking away what is not duly offered, indulging in violence without scriptural justification and resorting to other men’s wives. There are four types of verbal sins, viz. harsh utterances, untruthful speech, backbiting, indulging in irrelevant and absurd talks. There are three types of mental sins, viz. reflecting constantly on other people’s assets, evil thoughts in regard to others and earnest desire for insignificant and unreal things.

That devotee should be rid of all these ten types of sins originating in the course of ten births. There is no doubt about it, O Gadādhara. It is true, it is (definitely) true.

156. He shall redeem from terrible hell ten ancestors and ten successors. He should perform the Japa of the prayer presently being recounted with great faith in front of Gaṅgā:

[Prayer to Gangā: (157-174)]

157. “Om, Obeisance to Gaṅgā, identical with Śiva and the bestower of happiness. Obeisance, obeisance, obeisance to you in the form of Viṣṇu. Obeisance to you in the form of Brahmā.

158. Bow to you in the form of Rudra, Śāṅkarī (benefactress); obeisance to you in the form of all gods; obeisance to medicine personified.

159. Obeisance to you, the most excellent physician of all ailments of all people. Obeisance to you, the destroyer of the poisons arising from mobile and immobile beings.

160. Hail to you, the destroyer of the poison of worldly existence; obeisance to the enlivener. Repeated obeisance to you, the destroyer of the three types of distresses, the goddess of the vital breath.

161. Obeisance to the goddess, the cause of continuous peace; obeisance to you, of pure form; obeisance to the purifier of everything; obeisance to you in the form of the enemy of sins.

162. Repeated salutes to the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation; obeisance to the bestower of welfare; obeisance to the bestower of pleasures here and hereafter; obeisance to you, the river in the nether worlds.

163. Obeisance to Mandākinī; obeisance, obeisance to the bestower of heavenly pleasures; obeisance to the ornament of the three worlds; obeisance, obeisance to the triple-streamed one.

164. Obeisance to the holy river abiding in the three white ones (pure ones, viz. its source, Prayāga and confluence with the sea); obeisance, obeisance to the one with forbearance; obeisance to the one abiding in the three types of fire; obeisance to the brilliant one.

165. Obeisance to Nanda (Alakanandā); obeisance to one holding the Liṅga; obeisance to the one having nectarine current; obeisance to you, the foremost one in the universe; obeisance, obeisance to Revatī.

166. Obeisance to you, the large one; obeisance to the mother of the worlds; obeisance to the one, the benefactor of the universe; obeisance to the delighter, obeisance.

167. Obeisance to one in the form of the earth; to one with auspicious waters; to the one in the form of the excellent piety; repeated obeisance to you, possessed of hundreds of greater and lesser beings; obeisance, obeisance to you, the redeemer.

168. Obeisance to you, the breaker of the nooses and nets; obeisance to the one devoid of difference (partiality), obeisance to the quiescent one, to the most excellent one; obeisance to the bestower of boons.

169. Obeisance to the fierce one; to the enjoyer of pleasures. Obeisance to you, the enlivener; obeisance to one stationed in Brahman; to the one bestowing Brahman (Vedas); obeisance, obeisance to the destroyer of sins.

170. Obeisance to you, the destroyer of the distress of those who bow down; obeisance to you, the mother of the universe; obeisance to the one that dispels all adversities; obeisance, obeisance to the auspicious one.

171. O Goddess, well disposed to save the poor and the distressed who seek refuge! O Goddess, O remover of the distress of everyone! Obeisance to the Goddess Nārāyaṇī (the abode of waters).

172. Obeisance, obeisance to the one free from all adhesions and smearings (one without the effects of Avidyā and its products); to the destroyer of the demon Durga; obeisance to you, the efficient one; obeisance to the one beyond the greatest and the least, O Gaṅgā, the bestower of liberation!

173. O Gaṅgā, be in front of the; O Gaṅgā, stand behind me; O Gaṅgā, be at my sides; O Gaṅgā, let me be stationed in you.

174. O auspicious Gaṅgā, you are at the beginning, in the middle and at the end; O auspicious one present in the earth, you are everything; you alone are the original Prakṛti; you are the highest Absolute; O Gaṅgā, you are supreme soul, Śiva; O auspicious one, obeisance to you.”

175. He who reads (recites) this prayer, he who listens to it with faith becomes rid of the ten types of sins originating from body, speech and mind.

176. One who is sick becomes rid of ailments; one who is in adversity becomes rid of that adversity; one who is fettered becomes free from bondage; one who is terrified becomes free from that fear.

177. He will obtain all the desires; after his death, he will go to heaven riding a divine aerial chariot and fanned by celestial women.

178. If this prayer is written and kept in the house always or if it is worn always, he will have no cause to fear, fire or thief nor serpents etc.

179. If the tenth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha coincides with the asterism Hasta and Wednesday, it destroys all the three types of sins.

180-181. On that tenth day, he who stands in the waters of Gaṅgā and recites this prayer ten times, even if he is poor or (physically) incapable, obtains that benefit which has been mentioned before as accruing from worshipping assiduously Gaṅgā in accordance with the injunctions.

182. Gaṅgā is on a par with Gaurī. Hence the injunctions laid down for the adoration of Gaurī are also applicable to the worship of Gaṅgā.

183. Just as I am the same as you, O Viṣṇu, so also you are the same as Umā; Gaṅgā is the same as Umā; the forms of the four are not different.

184. He who mentions that there is difference between Viṣṇu and Rudra, between Śrī and Gaurī and between Gaṅgā and Gaurī is silly-minded.

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