The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Vaishnava Tirthas which is chapter 61 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 sixty-first chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 61 - The Greatness of Vaiṣṇava Tīrthas

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Agastya enquired:

1-2. O Six-faced Lord, the narration of Mādhava that is destructive of sins has been heard by me. The excellent greatness of Pañcanada too has been heard perfectly. Tell me what the Slayer of Madhu replied when Agnibindu asked Mādhava, the destroyer of Daityas.

Skanda replied:

3. Listen, O great sage Agastya, to what is being related by me now, as told by Mādhava to Sage Agnibindu.

Bindumādhava said:

4. O highly intelligent Agnibindu, at the outset know me as Ādikeśava in the Pādodaka Tīrtha, the bestower of salvation on the devotees.

5. Those who worship Ādikeśava in the immortal nectarine holy spot Avimukta do attain immortality free from all miseries.

6. After installing the great Saṅgameśa Liṅga that destroys sins of men by its very sight, Ādikeśava always accords worldly pleasures and salvation.

7. To the south of Pādokada there is the greater Tīrtha of Śveta Dvīpa. Under the name of Jñānakeśava I bestow knowledge on men there.

8. After taking the holy ablution in the presence of Jñānakeśava in Śveta Dvīpa, a man should worship Jñānakeśava. He never slips down from knowledge (into ignorance).

9. I am named Tārkṣyakeśava in the Tīrtha named Tārkṣyatīrtha. I should always be worshipped by excellent men with devotion. They become dear to me like Tārkṣya.

10. There itself in the Nārada Tīrtha, I am Nāradakeśava, the instructor in Brahmavidyā unto those whose bodies are washed in that Tīrtha.

11. Prahlāda Tīrtha is also there itself. It should be adored under the name Prahlādakeśava by devotees for the increase of great devotion.

12. There in the Aṃbarīṣa Tīrtha under the name Ādityakeśava I destroy the mass of the darkness of sins even due to mere visit.

13. To the south of Dattātreyeśvara, I, Ādigadādhara, remove the series of illnesses of worldly existence of the devotees there.

14. There itself, in the Bhārgava Tīrtha, under the name of Bhṛgukeśava I fulfil the cherished desires of the men residing in Kāśī.

15. In the great Tīrtha named Vāmanatīrtha which is auspicious and which accords everything prayed for even mentally, I should be worshipped in the name of Vāmanakeśava by persons desirous of auspiciousness.

16. In the Naranārāyaṇa Tīrtha, the devotees worship me in the form of Naranārāyaṇa and then attain identity with Naranārāyaṇa.

17. In the holy place named Yajñavārāhatīrtha I should be worshipped by men desirous of the fruits of Yajñas under the name Yajñavārāha.

18. I, named Vidāranarasiṃha, dispel the obstacles of Kāśī. I should be resorted to in the Tīrtha named so for quelling the torments of the Tīrtha.

19. By worshipping me named Gopīgovinda devoutly in the Gopīgovinda Tīrtha, a man can avoid the touch of my Māyā.

20. O sage, I am Lakṣmīnṛsiṃha in the holy Tīrtha named so. To those endowed with devotion, I always accord the glory of salvation.

21. In the Śeṣatīrtha that dispels sins, I am named Śeṣamādhava. I distribute among devotees all things desired by them.

22. After taking the holy dip in the Śaṅkhamādhava Tīrtha and bathing me, Śaṅkhamādhava, with water through a conchshell, a devotee shall become lord of the treasure Śaṅkhanidhi.

23. In the great Hayagrīvatīrtha a devotee bows down to me, Hayagrīvakeśava. Thereby he shall attain certainly the great region of Viṣṇu.

24. To the west of Vṛddhakāleśa, I am named Bhīṣmakeśava. When resorted to with Bhaktiyoga, I dispel terrible torments and calamities.

25. To the north of Lolārka, I am Nirvāṇakeśava showing (the path of) salvation to devotees and I dispel the fickleness of mind.

26. To the south of Trilokasundarī I am well-known in Kāśī as Tribhuvanakeśava. A venerable devotee who adores me thus does not enter any womb (attaining Mokṣa).

27. In front of Jñānavāpī know me as Jñānamādhava. By worshipping me there with devotion, one attains eternal wisdom.

28. I am named Śvetamādhava in the vicinity of Viśālākṣī. Adored with devotion I make the devotee of the form of Śvetadvīpeśvara.

29. To the north of Daśāśvamedha, a devotee should worship me in the name of Prayāgamādhava after taking the holy bath in Prayāgatīrtha. By visiting me, he becomes free from all sins.

30. By taking the holy dip here in front of me, one gets ten times the benefit reputed to result from going to Prayāga in the month of Māgha.

31. Here in Kāśī in my presence the merit of those who take their holy dips is ten times the merit at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā.

32. Here in Kāśī one gets ten times more benefit than what is obtained in Kurukṣetra by those who make gifts when the Sun is swallowed by Rāhu (i.e. during solar eclipse).

33. Where Gaṅgā flows northwards[1] and Yamunā eastwards, a man who goes to that confluence is rid of the sin of Brāhmaṇa’s slaughter.

34. There one should get the head shaved; balls of rice should be offered with emotional fervour and great Dānas should be made by one who wishes to get great benefit.

35. All those good points which were enumerated in the Prajāpatikṣetra become innumerable in the great Avimuktakṣetra.

36. The great Liṅga named Prayāgeśa stands there granting the desired object. Thanks to its nearness, the Tīrtha is glorified as Kāmada.

37. If people do not take their holy baths at dawn in the month of Māgha at Kāśī and in Prayāga when the Sun is in Capricorn, how can they attain salvation?

38. Those who have self-control and take holy baths in the month of Māgha, in the Prayāga at Kāśī certainly will attain the benefit arising from ten horse-sacrifices.

39-40. Those who devoutly worship everyday Prayāgamādhava and the wish-yielding Prayāgeśa after taking the holy dip in Prayāga in the month of Māgha, obtain wealth, grain, sons, and properties and enjoy pleasures delighting the mind in this world and attain the greatest bliss of salvation (in the next world).

41. In the month of Māgha all the Tīrthas flow into Prayāga from east, north, west, south, nether region and heavenly region.

42. O sage, the Tīrthas stationed in Kāśī do not go anywhere. If at all they go, they go to the three excellent Tīrthas.

43. In the month of Kārttika everyday in the morning they come to me in the Pañcanada Tīrtha which subdues masses of great sins and produces welfare.

44. In the month of Māgha that is inimical to sins, all the Tīrthas take their bath near Prayāgeśa after me.

45. In the midday all the Tīrthas go for their bath everyday to Maṇikarṇikā that accords salvation.

46. O sage, this great secret in Kāśī has been narrated to you, how the three Tīrthas are superior especially at their own times.

47. I shall tell you another secret. It should not be divulged anywhere and everywhere. It should be strictly kept secret from non-devotees. It should not be concealed from people of devotion.

48. All the Tīrthas in Kāśī are superior one to the other. Assailing with their splendour, they dispel great sins.

49. Lifting up one single finger this secret of Vārāṇasī is being told to you that only Maṇikarṇikā is the most superior one.

50. Only after resorting to the great power pertaining to Maṇikarṇikā all Tīrthas, sticking to their respective abodes, roar.

51-52. After dispelling many great sins of sinners, the Kāśī Tīrthas become desirous of expiation. Whether it is the day of specific astrological importance or otherwise, they observe certain regulations and submerge into Maṇikarṇikā at midday. They thus do become pure.

53. Everyday at midday Viśveśa in the company of Viśvā takes his holy ablution near Maṇikarṇikā.

54. With great joy I reach Maṇikarṇikā travelling from Vaikuṇṭha everyday and take the holy plunge along with Padmā, O sage.

55. I am competent to remove the sins of those who utter even once my name; hence I have attained the title Hari. That is the power pertaining to Maṇikarṇikā.

56. Everyday Pitāmaha (Brahmā) comes to Maṇikarṇikā riding his vehicle, the Swan, from Satyaloka, for the performance of midday rituals.

57. The Guardians of the Quarters beginning with Indra, the great sages beginning with Marīci come to Maṇikarṇikā for performing the midday rites.

58. From the world of serpents, the serpents, the chiefs of whom are Śeṣa and Vāsuki, come to Maṇikarṇikā at midday for taking their holy bath.

59. All the sentient ones among all mobile and immobile beings do take their holy bath at midday in the waters of Maṇikarṇikā (which are) free from impurities.

60. Which qualities among the weightiest (greatest) qualities of Maṇikarṇikā that cannot be enumerated by me and others, can possibly be described, O Brāhmaṇa?

61. Those saints by whom this Maṇikarṇikā, the ground for salvation has been attained, have actually performed intense austerities in the forests.

62. Those excellent men who successfully reached Maṇikarṇikā in their last years are definitely those by whom great gifts have been donated.

63. Those by whom the soft ground of Maṇikarṇikā has been converted into their bed have definitely observed all Vratas exactly according to their respective injunctions.

64. They alone are blessed ones among mortal beings, they are (on a par with) those who have been initiated into all Kratus (sacrifices), if they have seen Maṇikarṇikā after spending their wealth acquired by meritorious means.

65. If in their old age Maṇikarṇikā has been reached, then definitely many kinds of pious rites as well as Iṣṭāpūrtas, (must) have been performed by those men.

66. Jewels, silk clothes, gold, elephants and horses should be assiduously gifted away near Maṇikarṇikā by a sensible and intelligent man.

67. If money acquired through legitimate meritorious means, be it even so little, is given (as Dāna) at Maṇikarṇikā, O sage, it becomes everlasting unto those men.

68. If an excellent man performs a single Prāṇāyāma as laid down in the scriptures, it is as good as the excellent Yoga has been practised along with its six ancillaries.

69. By reciting the Gāyatrī only once after reaching Maṇikarṇikā, one certainly attains the benefit of reciting the Gāyatrī ten thousand times.

70. Offering a single Āhuti (oblation into sacrificial fire) near Maṇikarṇikā a sensible man derives undiminished benefit of the performance of Agnihotra throughout the life.

71. On hearing these words of Hari, Agnibindu of great penance, bowed down with great devotion and asked Mādhava further:

Agnibindu said:

72. O Viṣṇu, what is the extent of this meritorious Maṇikarṇikā? Tell me, O lotus-eyed one. No one else is more conversant with truth (in this matter) than you.

Śrī Viṣṇu said:

73. Maṇikarṇikā extends from Gaṅgākeśava to the Maṇḍapa (pavilion) of Hariścandra and from the middle of the divine river up to Svardvāra.

74. This one is the gross extent. I shall mention to you the subtle one. Hariścandravināyaka is in front of the Tīrtha of Hariścandra.

75-76. Sīmāvināyaka (Vināyaka at the boundary) is to the north of the whirlpool of Maṇikarṇikā. After devoutly adoring Sīmāvināyaka by means of Modakas (sweetmeats) along with the requisite services, an excellent man should go to Maṇikarṇikā. Devotees should offer libations to the Manes in the great Hariścandra Tīrtha.

77-82. The ancestors shall become propitiated for a hundred years. They will accord the desired benefit.

After taking the holy bath in the great Hariścandra Tīrtha, a man endowed with faith should bow down to Hariścandreśvara. He will never swerve from truth.

Beyond that, in the vicinity of Parvateśvara is the Parvatatīrtha which is the basis of Mahāmeru and is destructive of great sins.

After taking the holy bath there, adoring Īśa, gifting something in accordance with one’s capacity and occupying the peak of Meru, a devotee enjoys celestial pleasures.

Kambalāśvatara Tīrtha is to the south of Parvateśvara. The auspicious Liṅga named Kambalāśvatareśa is to the west of that Tīrtha. If a devotee takes his holy bath in that Tīrtha and adores that Liṅga, persons born in his family shall become persons conversant with music and equipped with glory. Cakrapuṣkariṇī there is conducive to the avoidance of Yonicakra (cycle of births).

83. Cakrapuṣkariṇī Tīrtha is my excellent resort. A man who takes his holy bath there does not enter the dense entangled cycle of worldly existence.

84. Great penance was performed by me there for so many years extending to a Parārdha in number. Viśveśvara, the great Lord, then became visible to me.

85. There, very great and indestructible power and prosperity was acquired by me. Cakrapuṣkariṇī became well-known as Maṇikarṇikā.

86. Abandoning the liquid form there, Maṇikarṇikā appeared directly to me having assumed the form of a woman.

87-90. I shall mention her physical form that bestows auspiciousness profusely on the devotees. If men meditate on that form thrice a day for six months, Maṇikarṇikā will appear as a visible goddess. She has four arms and large eyes. Her eye in the forehead sparkles. She faces the west always with palms joined together. She holds a garland of blue lotuses in her right hand. In the lifted left hand in the gesture of according boons, there is a splendid pomegranate fruit. She is in the form of a virgin always. Always twelve years old.

91. Her lustre is like that of pure crystal. Her glossy hairs are dark blue in colour. Her beautiful lips have surpassed corals and rubies.

92. A fresh Ketakī flower in full bloom adores the braided hairs on her head. Pearl necklaces and ornaments beautify her limbs. She is cīad in silk cloth having the lustre of the moon.

93. She also wears a splendid garland of lotuses on her bosom. She should be meditated day and night in this form in the heart by those who are desirous of salvation.

94. The glorious Maṇikarṇikā is the abode of Nirvāṇalakṣmī (‘Glory of Salvation’). I shall mention a Mantra named Bhakta-Kalpadruma (‘wish-yielding celestial tree unto devotees’) pertaining to her. If this is repeated, even the eight supernatural powers will be acquired by men.

95-96. First Mantra: “vāgbhavabīja—aiṃ, māyā-bīja is hrīṃ, lakṣmībījaśrīṃ, madanabīja is klīṃ, praṇavaoṃ, bhāntyamma, hṛt-namaḥ. Hence the Mantra of fifteen syllables [oṃ aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ klīṃ oṃ maṇikarṇikāyai namaḥ om]. This Mantra consisting of fifteen syllables is on par with the celestial tree. It accords all series of happiness. It should be repeated. To the persons of pure Sattva quality, it accords the highest region.

97. Second Mantra is om maṃ maṇikarṇike praṇavātmike namaḥ. It has fourteen syllables.

98. This Mantra should always be repeated by men desirous of salvation. The Homa should be performed one-tenth in number by men with faith and eagerness.

99. An intelligent devotee always remaining pure shall perform the Homa with lotuses soaked in milk products and Havis together with sugar and honey.

100. If the Mantra is repeated three hundred thousand times, even if the devotee dies in other lands, he certainly attains salvation by the power of this Mantra.

101. A gold image decorated with freshly cut diamonds should be worshipped assiduously. The form of the image should be as described before.

102. By men who desire only salvation, the image should be worshipped in the house or after worshipping assiduously should be thrown into Maṇikarṇikā.

103. Even if they are staying far away, means should be resorted to by men (who being) afraid of the worldly existence, have faith and eagerness.

104. One who takes the holy bath in Maṇikarṇikā should visit Maṇikarṇīśa. Thereby the man does not stay further in the womb of a mother.

105. Maṇikarṇīśvara Liṅga was installed by me formerly in the eastern entrance of the Antargṛha (Inner Shrine). Here Maṇikarṇīśvara should be worshipped by those who desire salvation.

106. To the south of Maṇikarṇī is the Pāśupata Tīrtha. A devotee should perform all the rites like water-libations there and visit Paśupatīśvara.

107. It is there that Pāśupata Yoga was imparted by the Pināka-wielding Lord. It is he who removes the ignorance and bondage of Suras, the chief of whom is Brahmā, and also my bondage.

108-109. Paśupati has assumed the form of a Liṅga himself and shines always in Kāśī for the removal of the bondage of the individual souls. There, on the fourteenth day in the bright half of the month of Caitra, men of pure minds should assiduously perform Yātrā (religious festival, procession etc.). They should keep awake at night.

110. Devotees should fast on the fourteenth day (in the bright half of all months) and then worship the Lord. They must have Pāraṇā (ritualistic breaking of fast) on the new-moon day. Thereby they are never fettered by Māyā.

111. Beyond that, in front of Pāśupata Tīrtha, is Rudrāvāsa Tīrtha. After taking their bath there, men should worship Hara, Rudrāvāseśvara.

112. By propitiating Rudrāvāseśvara to the south of Maṇikarṇīśvara a man (devotee) should undoubtedly stay in the world of Rudrāvāsa.

113. To the south thereof is the Viśva Tīrtha occupied by all the Tīrthas of the world. After taking the holy bath there devoutly, a devotee should visit Viśvanātha.

114. Thereafter he should adore with great devotion Viśvā i.e. Gaurī. He will thereby become venerable unto the whole universe. He should identify himself with the entire cosmos.

115. Thereafter, is the Mukti Tīrtha. A devotee should take his holy ablution there also and worship Mokṣeśvara. He will undoubtedly attain salvation.

116. After visiting Mokṣeśvara behind Avimukteśvara a man never moves about in this mortal world.

117. Avimukteśvara Tīrtha is beyond Mukti Tīrtha. A devotee should take holy dip there and worship Avimukteśa. He will become liberated.

118. Beyond that is the Tāraka Tīrtha where Viśveśvara himself mentions the Tāraka Brahma which is like ambrosia unto the ears of the dead.

119. A devotee who takes his holy bath in the Tāraka Tīrtha and visits Tārakeśvara, crosses the ocean of worldly existence and redeems his own ancestors also.

120. Very near is Skanda Tīrtha. An excellent man who plunges therein and visits the Six-faced Lord eschews the (physical) body having six Kośas (sheaths i.e. skin, flesh, blood, semen, bone and marrow).

121. By visiting the Six-faced Lord to the east of Tārakeśvara, a devotee can assume the body of Lord Kumāra and stay in the Ṣaḍānana world.

122. Beyond that is the meritorious Ḍhuṇḍhi Tīrtha. A man should perform all the rites in water there and eulogize Ḍhuṇḍhi Gaṇapati. He is never assailed by obstacles.

123-125. The unparalleled Bhavānī Tīrtha is to the south of Ḍhuṇḍhi Tīrtha. A devotee should take his holy bath there and worship Bhavānī by means of silk garments embellished with jewels, Naivedya, foodstuffs of a great variety, flowers, incense and lights. Worshipping Bhavānī and Īśa is as though all the three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings have been worshipped. Bhavānī and Śaṅkara should be worshipped with great faith.

126-127. A wise devotee should arrange for the great Yātrā of Bhavānī on the eighth day in Caitra. One hundred and eight circumambulations should be made. Thereby it is as though the entire earth consisting of the seven continents has been circumambulated by him along with mountains, hermitages, forests and oceans.

128. Eight circumambulations are to be made everyday by those who are satisfied with that much. Bhavānī and Śaṅkara are to be always bowed to assiduously.

129. Bhavānī accords to devotees what they desire. Bhavānī always bestows garments. Hence Bhavānī should be worshipped in Kāśī by the residents of the Tīrtha.

130. Bhavānī always accords to the residents of Kāśī what they do not have and preserves what they acquire. Hence Bhavānī should always be resorted to by the residents of Kāśī.

131. Alms should always be prayed of her by a mendicant desirous of salvation, since Viśveśa’s consort is the giver of alms at Kāśī.

132. Here in the house is Viśveśa. Bhavānī is the lady of his house. She gives the alms in the form of salvation to all the residents of Kāśī.

133. On being worshipped by men, Bhavānī makes easily available what is difficult to attain, to the residents of Kāśīkṣetra.

134. A man observing Vrata on the Mahāṣṭamī day shall keep awake during the night and worship Bhavānī in the morning. He will acquire the desired benefit.

135. There is no doubt in this that all the desires of the devotee will be fulfilled, if he visits Bhavānī to the west of Śukreśa.

136. If enjoyment of pleasures and salvation are to be acquired, one should always reside in Kāśī, should take bath in (the river Gaṅgā) flowing northwards and serve Bhavānī and Śaṅkara.

137. The Mantra: “O Mother Bhavānī, I shall become the dust of your feet. O Mother Bhavānī, I shall become the most obedient among your slaves. O Mother Bhavānī, I shall always become a devotee of yours if I should not be born in this world. I shall not have rebirth in the world.”

138. For the purpose of the attainment of happiness this Mantra should always be repeated by the residents of Kāśī, while standing, walking, sleeping or keeping awake.

139. Īśāna Tīrtha is also there near Bhavānī Tīrtha. He who takes his holy bath there and worships Īśāna does not take birth again.

140. Jñāna Tīrtha too is there, that bestows wisdom on men. One should take bath in that Tīrtha and visit Śiva Jñāneśvara.

141. If Jñāneśa stationed near Jñānavāpī is worshipped by people, they will never meet with loss of wisdom even when they die.

142-143. There alone is Śailādi Tīrtha that gives greatest prosperity and glory. There a devotee should perform Śrāddha etc., make gifts in accordance with one’s capacity and visit Śailādīśvara to the north of Jñānavāpī. He will attain the status of a Gaṇa. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.

144. To the south of Nandī Tīrtha is my Viṣṇu Tīrtha. There a devotee should offer rice-balls and become free from indebtedness to Pitṛs.

145. After taking the holy bath, the devotee should visit me, Viṣṇu, on the right side of Viśveśa. He will go to the world of Viṣṇu.

146-147. During every Ekādaśī (11th day), Śayanī (Ekādaśī in the bright half of Āṣāḍha) and Bodhinī (Ekādaśī in the bright half of Kārttika) the devotee should keep awake at night near my image. At dawn he should worship me devoutly, feed Brāhmaṇas and make gifts of cows, gold and plots of land. He does not come to the earth again.

148. There the devotee can finally conclude the Vrata without being very parsimonious in spending money. At my bidding, the intelligent devotee shall attain the benefit of the Vrata perfectly.

149-150. The auspicious Paitāmaha Tīrtha is to the south of my Tīrtha. There the devotee should propitiate ancestors through the performance of Śrāddhas and worship Pitāmaheśvara Liṅga stationed above Brahmanāla with devotion. The man will attain Brahmaloka.

151. A Karma performed near Brahmasrotas whether auspicious or inauspicious attains great Akṣayatā (state of permanence). Hence one shall do only what is auspicious.

152. O excellent sage, whatever has been done here whether auspicious or inauspicious, ever if it be so very little, is not lost even at the time of final annihilation.

153. This is called Nābhi Tīrtha because it is as though the navel of the earth. This is the navel of the spherical cosmic egg and it causes rise of prosperity.

154. It is the navel of Maṇikarṇikā, the ground of depth (gāmbhīryabhūmikā?). It is in this that the entire cosmic egg merges and it is from this that is comes forth.

155. Brahmanāla is a great Tīrtha well-known in all the three worlds. By taking his holy bath in its confluence a man shakes off the impurities of ten million births.

156. If even a bone were to fall into Brahmanāla those people never enter the pavilion of the cosmic egg.

157. Beyond that, to the south of Brahmanāla is the Bhāgīrathī Tīrtha. By taking his holy bath there a man is completely rid of the sin of Brāhmaṇa’s murder.

158. The Liṅga called Bhāgīrathīśvara is in the vicinity of Svargadvāra. The sight of that Liṅga is said to effect the Puraścaraṇa of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter.

159. If one’s ancestors had fallen into inauspicious state (Hells), one should assiduously offer libations unto them in the Bhāgīrathī Tīrtha.

160. He should perform Śrāddha in accordance with the injunctions in the Bhāgīrathī Tīrtha and feed Brāhmaṇas. Thereby he will take the ancestors to Brahmaloka.

161-163. To the south thereof is the great Tīrtha named Khurakartari. Cows which arrived from Goloka have made the ground here uneven by means of the tips of their hoofs. Hence it is called Khurakartari. The devotee should take his holy bath in that Tīrtha, offer balls of rice, perform all the rites in water and visit Khurakartarīśa Lìṅga. He will thereby attain Goloka. He will never be devoid of cattle wealth, thanks to the worship of that Liṅga.

164-165. To the south of Khurakartari is the excellent Mārkaṇḍa Tīrtha. A devotee who performs all the Śrāddha rites in that Tīrtha that dispels sins, and visits Mārkaṇḍeyeśvara Liṅga shall attain longevity, increase in the Brāhmaṇical splendour and greatest renown in the world.

166-167. Vasiṣṭha Tīrtha is the greatest destroyer of great sins. After offering libations to Pitṛs there and visiting Vasiṣṭheśa, a man can prevent getting contamination with the sins acquired in the course of three births. Fully equipped with Brāhmaṇical splendour, he stays in Vasiṣṭhaloka.

168. There itself is the Arundhatī Tīrtha that heightens the conjugal bliss of women. That Tīrtha should particularly be plunged into by chaste women.

169. The sin arising from harlotry shall instantaneously vanish if one plunges into that Tīrtha. That is due to the power of Arundhatī.

170. By worshipping Vasiṣṭheśvara to the east of Mārkaṇḍeyeśvara a man becomes rid of sins. He will acquire great merit.

171. The images of Vasiṣṭha and Arundhatī should be assiduously worshipped there. A woman does not become a widow nor does a man become separated from his wife.

172-173. To the south of Vasiṣṭha Tīrtha is the excellent Narmadā Tīrtha. After performing Śrāddha there a wise person should visit Narmadeśa and make great gifts there. He is never abandoned by Padmā (Goddess of Fortune). Beyond that, to the east of Trisandhyeśvara is the Trisandhyā Tīrtha.

174. A man who takes his holy bath there, and offers Sandhyā prayers in accordance with the injunctions is not assailed by sins arising from the omission and irregularity of performing Sandhyā prayers.

175. A Brāhmaṇa who visits Trisandhyeśvara and perforins Sandhyā rites thrice a day with great faith, shall attain the merit of reciting three Vedas.

176. Beyond that is the Yoginī Tīrtha. A man who takes a plunge therein and visits Yoginīpīṭha shall attain Yogic Siddhī.

177-179. Agasti Tīrtha that dispels masses of great sins is there. An excellent man who takes his holy bath there assiduously, visits Lord Agastīśvara, offers libations to the grandfathers thereafter in Agastikuṇḍa and bows down to Lopāmudrā accompanied by Agasti, shall become rid of all sins and free from all distresses. He will go to Śivaloka along with his ancestors.

180. To the south of Agastya Tīrtha there is a highly sacred Tīrtha named Gaṅgākeśava which destroys all sins.

181. There, O sage, the intelligent devotee who worships my auspicious image named after the Tīrtha (i. e. Gaṅgā-Keśaveśvara) with great faith, is honoured in my world.

182. By offering rice-balls there and offering Dānas in accordance with his capacity, he should proffer contentment unto the Pitṛs extending over a hundred years.

183. Thus the extent of Maṇikarṇī has been narrated to you. It is to the south of Sīmāvināyaka who dispels obstacles.

184. I am Vaikuṇṭha Mādhava (stationed) to the east of Vairocaneśvara. By worshipping me with devotion there the devotee shall attain the benefit of being worshipped in Vaikuṇṭha.

185. I am named Vīramādhava to the west of Vīreśa, O age. If the observer of vows worships me there, he does not meet with the torture of Yama.

186. I am named Kālamādhava in the vicinity of Kālabhairava. It is certain that neither Kali nor Kāla affects my devotee.

187. The devotee should observe fast on the eleventh day in the bright half of Mārgaśīrṣa and keep awake during the night. He shall not meet with Yama anywhere.

188. To the south (right) of Pulastīśvara, I am (called) Nirvāṇanarasiṃha. Even by bowing down to that image the devotee attains salvation.

189. O sage, to the east of Oṃkāra, I am (called) Mahābala Nṛsiṃha. One who worships that image does not see the extremely strong messengers of Yama.

190. I am (called) Pracaṇḍanarasiṃha to the east of Caṇḍabhairava. By worshipping that image, the devotee shall be free from sins even if he has committed very grave ones.

191. To the east of Dehalivināyaka I am (called) Girinṛsiṃha, the tearer of elephants in the form of masses of powerful sins.

192. O great sage, I, Narasiṃha, am the remover of great fears too, to the west of Pitāmaheśvara, creating alarm unto the fright of devotees.

193. To the west of Kalaśeśvara, I am (called) Atyugranarasiṃha. If worshipped with faith, I remove even the mass of very fierce sins.

194. In the vicinity of Jvālāmukhī I am (called) Jvālāmālīnṛsiṃha. When adored perfectly, I burn down the grasses in the form of the masses of sins.

195. I am (called) Kolāhalanṛsiṃha, the subduer of Daityas and Dānavas, because there arises chaotic noise among sins when my name is uttered.

196. If a devotee worships me devoutly in the place where there is Kaṅkālabhairava who is intelligent and efficient in the protection of Kāśī, he is never interrupted by torments.

197. Behind Nīlakaṇṭheśvara I am (called) Viṭaṅkanarasiṃha. A man becomes free from fear by worshipping me there with great faith.

198. In the vicinity of Ananteśvara, I am (called) Anantavāmana. On being worshipped, I remove even the endless sins of the devotee.

199. I am named Dadhivāmana (because) I bestow curd-rice on the devotees. Merely by remembering the name (of that Lord), a man ceases to be poor.

200. In Kāśī to the north of the Three-eyed Lord, I am (called) Trivikrama. On being Worshipped, I bestow wealth and remove sins.

201. I am called Balivāmana. I was worshipped by Bali. To the east of Balibhadreśvara, I am the augmenter of the strength of the devotees.

202. To the right (south) of Bhava Tīrtha, I am Tāmravarāha by name. I came here from Tāmradvīpa. I am the bestower of what the devotees desire.

203-204. O sage, (I am) Dharaṇīvarāha in the vicinity of Prayāgeśvara. The devotee should take his holy bath in the Varāha Tīrtha, visit me here in the form of a Boar and worship me with great fervour. He will never face the torture of being in a womb. By giving a very small quantity of cooked food, he acquires the benefit of a gift of lands.

205. People sinking into the deep ocean of great sins will not get drowned even in Pralaya after obtaining the raft of devotion unto me.

206. In the vicinity of Kiṭīśvara, I am (called) Kokāvarāha. A man worshipping me there gets whatever fruit is desired by him.

207-208. There are a hundred Nārāyaṇas, five hundred Jalaśāyins, thirty in the form of tortoise, twenty in the form of fish, a hundred and eight Gopālas, Buddhas are thousands in number, Paraśurāmas are thirty in number and there are a hundred and one Rāmas.

209. I am only one in the form of Viṣṇu resorting to the middle of the pavilion of Mukti (salvation) by the grace of Viśveśa who himself gave me that favour.

210. There are six million Gaṇas in the form of Nārāyaṇa with the discus and the club lifted up. They keep watch around the holy spot.

211-212. On hearing this, Agnibindu became delighted with hairs standing on ends. The intelligent sage asked further: “O Lord, mention the different forms for the welfare of your devotees and to quell my doubts. O infinite one, how many are your Mūrtis? How are they to be known? Tell this.”

213-214. On hearing the words of Agnibindu, the storehouse of austerities, Lord Viṣṇu mentioned the different Mūrtis in due order. On hearing these, a man can avoid being a victim of Yama. Prajāpati (i.e. Viṣṇu) mentioned twenty-four different Mùrtis beginning with Keśava.

Śrī Viṣṇu said:

215. O Agnibindu of great intellect! Listen, I am enumerating to you (the different forms), O sage. Beginning with the first right-hand (upper) one understand these things in the Sṛṣṭi order (clock-wise).

216. Understand the Mūrti of Keśava through Śaṅkha (upper right hand), Cakra (upper left hand), Gadā (lower left hand) and Padma (lower right hand). On being worshipped, this Mūrti shall undoubtedly fulfil the wish (of the worshipper).

217. (The Mūrti) Madhuhā should be understood through Śaṅkha (upper right hand), Padma (upper left hand), Gadā (lower left hand) and Cakra (lower right hand). By serving this Mūrti, enemies become destroyed.

218. (The Mūrti) Saṅkarṣaṇa should be worshipped with the following as weapons: Śaṅkha (upper right hand), Padma (upper left hand), Cakra (lower left hand) and Gadā (lower right hand). If this Mūrti is worshipped, the creature is never reborn.

219. Dāmodara is worshipped with Śaṅkha, Kaumodakī (Gadā), Cakra and Padma (in the order mentioned above). He bestows wealth, sons, cattle-wealth and grains.

220. Vāmana is equipped with Śaṅkha, Cakra, Padma and Gadā. When installed in the house, he makes people prosperous.

221. Pāñcajanya (i.e. Śaṅkha), Gadā, Padma and Sudarśana (i.e. Cakra) of variegated forms (indicate) Pradyumna who is worshipped by men. He bestows much wealth.

222. The six Mūrtis beginning with Viṣṇu are mentioned beginning with upper left hand in the clock-wise order. Merely by remembering it heaps of sins become dissolved.

223. For prosperity, Viṣṇu (equipped) with Śaṅkha, Cakra, Gadā and Padma should be worshipped by men. Mādhava with Śaṅkha, Padma, Gadā and Cakra is the bestower of greatest prosperity.

224. For perfect achievement Aniruddha should be medidated upon as having Śaṅkha, Padma, Cakra and Gadā lifted up. Puruṣottama (should be meditated upon) as equipped with Śaṅkha, Gadā, Cakra and Padma.

225. With Śaṅkha, Cakra, Padma and Gadā, O sage, Adhokṣaja is the remover of further rebirth. Janārdana with Śaṅkha, Kaumodakī (Gadā), Padma and Cakra should be meditated upon.

226. The six Mūrtis beginning with Govinda (have the weapons) clock-wise beginning with left lower hand. Govinda always wields Śaṅkha (lower left hand), Cakra (lower right hand), Gadā (upper right hand) and Padma (upper left hand).

227. Trivikrama should be worshipped for good fortune with Śaṅkha (lower left hand), Padma (lower right hand), Gadā (right upper hand) and Cakra (left upper hand). Śrīdhara wielding Śaṅkha, Padma, Cakra and Gadā is for prosperity.

228. Hṛṣīkeśa is esteemed with Śaṅkha, Gadā, Cakra and Padma. Nṛsiṃha is comprehended through Śaṅkha, Cakra, Padma and Gadā.

229. Acyuta is a permanent holder of Śaṅkha along with Gadā, Padma and Cakra. The six Mūrtis beginning with Vāsudeva should be comprehended beginning with right lower hand.

230. Vāsudeva always holds Śaṅkha (right lower hand), Cakra (right upper hand), Gadā (upper left hand) and Padma (lower left hand).

231. O sage, Padmanābha should be known as having Śaṅkha, Padma, Cakra and Gadā. Upendra has always Śaṅkha along with Gadā, Cakra and Padma as his weapons.

232. Equipped with Śaṅkha, Cakra, Padma and Gadā Hari removes the sins of men. Kṛṣṇa is said to be with Śaṅkha, Gadā, Padma and Cakra.

233. O great sage, these different Mùrtis of mine have been enumerated, knowing which a man certainly obtains enjoyment of pleasures and liberation.

234. While Govinda was narrating to Sage Agnibindu thus, the Lord of Birds who sets aside his enemies by means of his wings, came within the range of vision.

235. After quickly bowing down, he joyously announced the arrival of the Three-eyed Lord. Thereupon Hṛṣīkeśa excitedly said, “Where is the Lord?”

Garuḍa said:

236. May this great Bull-emblemed Lord be perceived, the lustre of the jewels of whose banner fills the space between heaven and earth.

237-240. The bull-emblemed chariot was very exquisite. It was capable of making the creating of the eyes of the people fruitful. The faces of the quarters were brightened with the splendour of ten million suns as it were. The entire courtyard of the firmament was covered with aerial chariots of Devas. The caves of mountains echoed with the sounds of great musical instruments. And it was rendered fragrant by handfuls of flowers scattered by Vidyādhara damsels. The Louts-eyed Lord saw the chariot of the Three-eyed Lord from afar and became delighted. Hairs stood on ends and he bowed down his head. The Lord who wielded Śaṅkha, Cakra and Gada desired to get up.

241. The bestower of salvation, the storehouse of joys told Agnibindu, “Touch this Sudarśana Cakra with your right hand.”

242. On being told, Agnibindu touched Sudarśana. Immediately he became Sudarśanaḥ (‘of excellent knowledge and wisdom’) due to the favour of Hari.

Skanda said:

243. By his service of Bindumādhava, the sage assumed the form of luminous splendour, O Pot-born One. He merged as one into Kaustubha, the form of splendour.

244. O Pot-born One, it is definite that those who had made their minds function like bees around the louts-like feet of Bindumādhava became comparable to Agnibindu.

245. One should always stay in Kāśī. Bindumādhava should be visited. This narrative is to be heard. The (good) goal of the worlds should be attained.

246. The Origin of Pañcanada is conducive to merit. The story of Mādhava is conducive to merit. The residence in Vārāṇasī is meritorious. All this occurs to those of meritorious births.

247. He who reads Agnibindu’s prayer here in front of Mādhava shall have his desires richly fulfilled. He will become master of the glory of salvation.

248. For the sake of highest satisfaction, this excellent narrative should be recited always at the time of Śrāddha, in front of the Brāhmaṇas who take their food.

249. This narrative should be particularly repeated at the time of festivals, in the holy vicinity of Pañcanada, for the increase of the glory of merit.

250. For the fullest realization of enjoyment of pleasures and salvation, the story of the manifestation of Bindumādhava should be assiduously read and listened to with great devotion.

251. At the time of Harivāsara (i.e. Ekādaśī) a devotee should keep awake during the night. By listening to this narrative of great merit, he will attain residence in Vaikuṇṭha.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

But at Prayāga (Allahabad) Gaṅgā flows southward. At Vārāṇasī there is no Yamunā. There is no confluence.

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