The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Greatness of the Confluence of Erandi and Narmada which is chapter 103 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 one hundred third chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 103 - The Greatness of the Confluence of Eraṇḍī and Narmadā
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:
1-8. Thereafter, O king, a person should go to the exalted confluence of Eraṇḍī. The account of this was heard formerly by me, O king, even as Śiva was recounting it.
Earlier Śaṅkara was asked this very question by Gaurī. O tiger among kings. The Lord spoke about it, (though) it is a very splendid, great secret.
Listen, O goddess, to this greatest of secrets not mentioned to anyone by me. There is an extremely splendid Tīrtha on the northern bank of Revā. O goddess; it destroys the sin of foeticide. It yields cherished desires and causes increase in the number of sons.
Recount, O Mahādeva, the details of the extremely splendid Tīrtha. How is it destructive of the sin of foeticide? How does it accord cherished desires? How is it a guide to heaven?
O great goddess, there is a mental son of Brahmā named Atri. He is always engaged in Agnihotra. He adored Devas and guests. Seven Somasaṃsthas (variety of Soma Sacrifice) were performed by the Brāhmaṇa, O Pārvatī.
His wife, well-known by the name Anasūyā is endowed with all good qualities. She is a chaste lady always engaged in the duties and welfare of her. Lord. In fact, her husband is her very vital breath. Thus they spent their days. They had neither a son nor a daughter.
Once, in the afternoon, O great goddess, O beautiful lady, they were comfortably seated talking about what had befallen them earlier, both happiness and misery.
9-16. O my beloved, (you are) a splendid, gentle lady of great beauty in all the limbs, richly endowed with learning and humility, having the eyes resembling petals of a lotus, with a face resembling the full moon, walking slowly with the weight of the huge hips! There is no other woman like you in all the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile creatures. It is cited by expounders of the Vedas that a woman is one who gives sexual pleasure and a son. O beautiful lady, my happiness is that happiness which can be expected of a person without a son.
I have no son even as clever in all the rites as I am. O beautiful lady, even by his very birth a son saves his father about to fall into the Naraka named Put if he happens to be a great sinner.
Excellent sons redeem their grandfathers who being engaged in evil actions had fallen into terrible plights, even if they have gone to Vaitaraṇī.
One wins over the worlds through one’s sons. One attains the highest goal through a grandson. Then through the grandson of the son one attains the eternal Brahman. There is no other kinsman on a par with a son whether in this world or in the other.
I am worried over this during day as well as midnight, nay always. My limbs are dried up like waters of a river during summer.
17-20. O Brāhmaṇa, what you bewail I too grieve over; what gives you great anguish burns me within my mind.
Think about that rite whereby long-lived sons endowed with good qualities will be born and whereby Prajāpati (Brahmā himself) may be pleased.
O fair lady, penance has been performed by me, penance that is very difficult for anyone born under the Sun to do. I am now exhausted in my body as a result of observing Viratas, fasts, restraints and intake of mere vegetarian diet of greens. I am incapable of any further great Vrata. Hence I bewail myself. The secret of my heart has been divulged to you by me.
21-33. A chaste lady enhances the sexual pleasure of her husband and makes the family flourish. She is the means of realizing the threefold aim of human life. Hence she deserves the praise of learned persons.
Japa, Tapas (penance), pilgrimage, adoration of Śiva, practice of Mantras and propitiation of deities - these six cause the downfall of women and Śūdras (if undertaken without the concurrence of a husband or a Brāhmaṇa priest).
Such a great defect is involved in the practice of a Vrata by women. This is what all the sages say as has been cited in the Vedas.
With your permission, O holy Brāhmaṇa, I shall perform even a very difficult penance. I shall propitiate the excellent Suras for the purpose of getting a son.
Well, well, O highly intelligent lady engaged in doing what pleases me! O fair lady, you have been commanded by me. Undertake a penance for the sake of a son so that I may be free from indebtedness to Devas, Pitṛs and human beings.
In all the three worlds, there is no kinsman on a par with one’s own wife. Therefore, Devas proclaim that there is no other pleasure on a par with that of wife. If wife is pleasantfaced, sons too are pleasant-faced. If wife is averse, sons too turn away their faces. Hence all people including Devas, Asuras and human beings praise wife.
O lady of exalted Vratas, O highly intelligent lady, O lady of auspicious vision and Sattva quality! At my bidding do perform a penance quickly for the sake of a son.
At the conclusion of these words of her husband, she prostrated before him with eight limbs touching the ground and said: “With your favour, O eminent Brāhmaṇa, I shall attain all the cherished desires.”
That fawn-eyed lady of excellent complexion and graceful gait of a swan observed holy vows and came to River Narmadā, the divine river originating from Śiva’s perspiration and capable of destroying all sins. Merely by perceiving her, masses of sins perish. Merely by taking the holy bath therein, one obtains the benefit of a horse-sacrifice.
O great goddess, those men with faith who drink her auspicious water (obtain great benefit). Drinking her water is on a par with drinking the Soma juice. No doubt need be entertained (about this).
34-44. Those who remember her (Narmadā) day and night even from a distance of hundreds of Yojanas, are liberated from all sins. They go to Rudraloka.
In the vicinity of Narmadā, within a pair of Yojanas are those two (? Rudraloka and Soma juice). O lady of excellent complexion, those who die there do not see Yama.
Then, O beautiful lady, the lady with wide eyes began to observe holy restraints on the northern bank at the auspicious confluence of Eraṇḍī, taking a diet of only vegetarian food (of mere greens). By means of auspicious Vratas and Stotras she propitiated the three Devas.
O great goddess, during summer she performed the penance within the five fires. During rainy season, she performed Cāndrāyaṇa Vrata with wet clothes on. When Hemanta (winter) set in, she remained in the midst of water always.
She took the holy bath in the morning; then performed the Sandhyā prayers; then she offered libations to Devas and Sages. After performing the adoration of Devas, she performed Homa in accordance with the injunctions. She worshipped the Vaiṣṇava worlds by means of Snāna (holy bath), Japa and Homa.
When a hundred years passed off thus, Rudra, Viṣṇu and Pitāmaha assumed the forms of Brāhmaṇas and came there, O my beloved, to the confluence of Eraṇḍī. They stood in front of her and began to recite Vedic passages.
Anasūyā discontinued her Japa, saw them carefully again and again, duly offered Argha, and remained standing.
The lady of wide eyes said: “Now my birth has become fruitful. Now my penance has become fruitful. By seeing Brāhmaṇas one is rid of all sins.”
Then she circumambulated them and prostrated before them. She said: “I shall offer to you, O sages of purified souls, bulbuous roots, roots, fruits, greens and the sacred Nīvāra rice grains.”
The Brāhmaṇas said:
45-51. O lady of excellent Vratas, we are satisfied with your wonderful penance and the truthfulness of the penance. Further, through seeing you all our desires are fulfilled.
We were rather curious to know why you have undertaken the Vrata of sages. Were you performing the severe penance for the sake of heaven, salvation or for the sake of a son?
Svarga is achieved through penance. The highest goal (Mokṣa) is attained through penance. Wealth and love can be acquired through penance. A son of very good qualities can be obtained through penance. O Brāhmaṇas, penance alone bestows the benefits of all cherished desires.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
You are a lady beautiful in every limb. You are slender, dark-complexioned, one having wide eyes and supple limbs. You have good physical form and the graceful gait of a swan. What have you to do with penance? Why do you subject yourself to sufferings?
I notice the sign as though you are Rudra, Viṣṇu and Pitāmaha (Brahmā) himself in disguised forms.
At the end of her speech they revealed their own forms. The Devas with the refulgence of a crore of suns stood there in their own forms.
52-62. O great goddess, there was Janārdana having four arms holding conch, discus and club, clad in yellow robes and having the complexion of an Atasī flower. Hari who had the vehicle of Garuḍa was accompanied by Śrī. The glorious Lord was standing in his own form with a beaming face.
O great goddess, Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, came to the banks of Narmadā, clad in yellow robes. He had four faces resembling lotus. He was riding on his swan. He had a rosary in his hand.
There was Maheśvara himself, the omnipresent Lord, riding on his bull. He had ten arms. His complexion was beautified by the holy ash smeared over the limbs; the Three-eyed Lord with five faces had matted hairs for a crown. The crescent moon adorned his head. The omnipresent Maheśvara appeared in this form.
On having a grand vision like this of the Devas, the chaste lady Anasūyā trembled and looked at them again and again.
What are the features and functions of Viṣṇu, Rudra and Pitāmaha? I would rather listen to this. Do tell me entirely.
I am Brahmā, the rainy season. The waters are glorified (as my form). I have been declared as one having the form of clouds. I cause downpour of rain on the surface of the earth. During the twilight of dawn, when the Sun rises, I (develop) all the seeds. This is the cause. The great secret has been mentioned entirely.
Viṣṇu shall be Hemanta (winter). He has the form of the universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings. He is for the protection of the entire universe. This is the excellent greatness of Viṣṇu.
63-72. I have been declared the Summer season, the cause of the destruction of all living beings. O saintly lady, in the form of Rudra, I pull and drag the entire universe (within me).
Thus, O lady of great Vratas, the three Devas, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, are the three Sandhyās (junctions, twilights?), three divisions of time (seasons) and three fires (Gārhapatya, Āhavanīya and Dakṣiṇa).
Similarly Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra amalgamated into one Self. O fair lady, they shall grant you the boon, whatever is cherished in your mind.
I am blessed, I am meritorious. I am praiseworthy and worthy of reverence always. If the three Devas are pleased, let them take pity on me, be present in this Tīrtha and be the bestowers of boons always.
Let your words be true, O auspicious lady; what you have requested for will take place. What is named Eraṇḍī is the visible Māyā of Viṣṇu. Merely by perceiving it all the accumulation of sins can be destroyed. In the month of Caitra, one should observe fast for a day and a night after taking holy bath at the confluence of Eraṇḍī. He dispels the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter. He should keep awake during the night and feed Brāhmaṇas in the morning in accordance with the injunctions. He should offer balls of rice duly. After circumambulation he should make gifts of gold, cloth, silver, cows and plots of land. Everything is proclaimed as having crore times the benefit. So said Svāyaṃbhuva.
73-79. The men who die at the splendid confluence of Eraṇḍī, O goddess, reside in the Rudraloka for a thousand Yugas.
After observing fast for a day and a night the devotee should recite the Vedic passages of Rudra numbering eleven and one and named too accordingly. He attains the greatest goal.
A seeker of learning acquires learning; a seeker of wealth obtains wealth; a seeker of sons gets sons and all desires cherished by him.
Even great sinners attain the great goal by taking the holy bath in the pure waters of Revā at the confluence of Eraṇḍī.
Urged by my devotion, if all the three Devas are pleased, let Hari, Rudra and Pitāmaha become my sons.
This has never been heard by me that the venerable ones attain the status of sons. O splendid lady, I shall grant you sons possessing the valour of Devas, who will be handsome, equipped with good qualities, well-versed in the Vedas and capable of performing Yajñas.
O Hari, what has been desired and requested for by me should be granted. My Putraiṣaṇā (desire for a son) should not be altered into something else.
80-87. Formerly in the course of a dialogue with Bhṛgu (I incurred the curse of) staying in the womb (and taking birth as a mortal). O splendid lady, I do not see a means of redemption from it. But remembering the earlier episode I think about it again and again.
After considering this the other (two) Devas, Pitāmaha and Maheśvara, said: “O lady of excellent countenance, we shall become your sons but not womb-born ones. O lady of great intellect, Devas do not take up residence in womb. We shall be the bestowers of boons on the worlds by our presence at the confluence, O fair lady, you will be visible Vaiṣṇavī Māyā of Eraṇḍī.”
Saying thus the three Devas stationed themselves, O son of Kuntī, on the northern bank of Revā. After receiving the boons that honoured lady went to Mahendra Mountain.
In her performance of the penance the lady of splendid eyes wore the sacred thread. Gradually she became tired in her limbs. She became terrible in appearad with the hairs turned rough and dishevelled and the body emaciated and pallid.
Her husband who was brilliant and glorious and occupied a slab of stone saw her and became delighted. She said, “Get up, get up”.
Excellent! Excellent! O Anasūyā of great intellect and noble vows, you have obtained a boon that cannot be even thought of by Gālava and others.
88-100. With your favour, O celestial sage, I have obtained a rare boon. Hence the Devas, Siddhas and pure sages praise (us).
After saying this the honoured lady became highly delighted and looked at her beloved husband. That lady of splendid appearance too was looked at by him.
By this mutual seeing an auspicious halo took shape on the forehead. The sphere of halo was nine thousand Yojanas in extent and was full of rays. The circumference was three-fold and had the shape of Kadaṃbagolaka (buds of Kadamba tree bursting forth simultaneously). O goddess of Devas, there was a person of divine form in its centre. He had the colour of gold and was full of nectarine juice and the lustre of a crore of suns. He was Pitāmaha himself who became the first son of Anasūyā, well-known as Candramas (Moon) in the form of Soma, O Prince (?)
In the course of Iṣṭāpūrta, O Maheśvari, all his sixteen Kalās gather together successively Pratipat, Dvitīyā, Tṛtīyā, Caturthī, Pañcamī and the imperishable sixteenth Kalā (obscure). In his subtle form he is the protector of the world of four types. O lady of excellent countenance, he causes delight to the entire universe, the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings.
Everything offered as Homa and Dana becomes stationed in the moon and everyone makes use of it to sustain itself. When Soma is in the state of Vanaspati i.e. New Moon (Amāvāsyā), O lady of excellent countenance, if a wealthy man takes food in another man’s house, he is deluded and forfeits the merit of a year.
If men cut or chop off trees and plants on the new-moon day, O goddess of Devas, they go to Yama’s abode due to that sin. If anyone indulges in sexual intercourse on a new-moon day, he incurs a sin on a par with that of murder of a Brāhmaṇa undoubtedly. If anyone churns curds with a churning rod on a new-moon day, his cows collected before perish. If, on a new-moon day, a person undertakes a journey, his Pitṛs will have only dust particles for food for a period of one month.
101-108. O Mahādevī, if a person performs a Śrāddha on a new-moon day, certainly his Pitṛs become propitiated for a year, O lady of wide eyes. If he gifts gold, silver or cloth to Brāhmaṇas, O goddess, everything shall undoubtedly increase a hundred thousand times.
Thus the Patriarch in the form of the Moon, became the first son of Anasūyā.
The second one, O great goddess, was named Durvāsas. He is (an incarnation of) Maheśvara himself, the cause of creation and annihilation. O fair lady, in the middle of the sages he performs a severe penance. When the annihilation of all living beings takes place, he attains Rudratva. It was by this Durvāsas that even Indra was cursed, O lady of excellent countenance. Thus the birth of the second son has been recounted by me.
In the form of Dattātreya (manifested there) Lord Madhusūdana himself, Lord Janārdana, the omnipresent Lord of the universe.
Thus, O Maheśvarī, the Devas took incarnations on the earth, by way of granting boons to Anasūyā. They became her three sons.
109-120. O son of Kuntī, a Tīrtha was created by Anasūyā on the northern bank of Revā. It causes the acquisition (birth) of a son and destruction of all sins.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeyā said:
This is an ancient Tīrtha of wonderful efficacy on Narmadā in this world. O king, a Brāhmaṇa’s sin of foeticide was dispelled there.
May that story be told, the story that dispels all the sins in this world, of any person distressed with misery. O sinless excellent Brāhmaṇa, do narrate that Itihāsa to me.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:
A farmer named Govinda, born in the family of Gautama, lived in the village of Suvarṇaśilaka along with his wife and son. He was always engaged in protecting his house and field. One day, he came home in a cart filled with wood. The wood was unloaded by him single-handedly and he became hungry. On hearing the sound of father’s arrival the son came there crawling and was soon covered with the pieces of wood. He was not seen by the father. The cart and the bullock tied with rope were left at the doorway. The thirsty father, O king, entered the house in haste. The obedient wife who was aware of the feelings of her husband became engaged in serving him. On seeing the son fallen down with the head crushed by the pieces of wood, she put him in a hammock compassionately but uttering nothing.
When the husband finished his bath and meal and went to sleep, the lady tried to make the son get up. The son had died and did not get up. The sad lady cried and swooned.
121-130. On hearing the sound of lamentation, Govinda became frightened. He fell down on the ground crying “What is this?”
Both of them fell on the ground, O king, with tresses of hairs left loose. They heaved deep sighs and lamented, O great king:
“Whom else shall we see as the son eagerly playing about? How shall we sustain the heart broken due to you? The line of the family will be perpetuated. I had this faith when you were born. Now whom shall we look up to for the purpose of attaining the highest goal after becoming free from indebtedness? O my son, I have become old and wretched and you ought to have been my support. All the cherished desires of the mind have become futile. Your mother is wretched, bereft of her son and kinsmen. She has fallen down lamenting on the ground; save her.
A son saves the father from the Naraka called Put. So he is called Putra by the Self-born Lord himself. The house of a man without a son is a void. The quarters are void when there are no kinsmen. The heart of a fool is a void. If there is poverty there is a void in everything.
The world says that sandal-paste is cool. It is wrong. The close embrace of the limbs of a son is cooler than sandal-paste.
Men without merit do not see a son sitting on their laps with dust particles making the face dirty and playing with the whiskers.
131-140. Men without merit do not see a son resembling the Holder of Gaṅgā (Śiva) with the quarters for clothes (naked), bereft of shame, dusty and matted locks of hair (wafted about).
The note of a musical instrument, of a lute, is heard as very charming (to the ears). But the cry of a child is more delightful than that.
Learned men say that even among crows, animals and birds, the young one, the calf is very endearing (to them). Fishes, horses, tortoises, crocodiles etc. are pleased when young ones are born and become distressed when some danger befalls them.
Devas and Gandharvas take delight when sons are born. They bewail at the time of their death. O son, I am very unlucky.
King Rāghava (i.e. Daśaratha) convened an assembly of sages for the sake of (obtaining) a son since the seat of Indra occupied by him was purified by sprinkling water. Residence in Svarga is not (possible) without a son, O son of Pāṇḍu. Hence Daśaratha performed an excellent Yajña for the sake of sons. Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, Śatrughna and Bharata were born to him.
Even while he was only eight years old Rāmacandra defeated Paraśurāma of unmeasured brilliance, by whom Kārtavīrya had been conquered earlier. Vāli, the monkey who was invincible to enemies, was killed by him single-handed. Rāmacandra killed Rāvaṇa, the son of Brahmā, along with his sons and kinsmen of whom the three worlds were afraid.
141-150. Thus, without a son there is no happiness in the mortal world. He who indulges in sexual intercourse for perpetuating the line, who makes use of learning to attain Svarga, who prepares excellent sweet food for the sake of Brāhmaṇas attains residence in heaven. There is no greater sin than Brahmahatyā and no greater meritorious thing than a horse-sacrifice. There is no greater happiness than birth of a son and no greater calamity than danger to his life. Why should I speak in this vein more, O dear one? Without a son there is no happiness.”
After lamenting thus again and again in various ways, the Brāhmaṇa was consoled by the people. He took the body of the boy and went out.
Afterwards they cremated the child in accordance with the injunctions. Extremely distressed, they came back to the abode together.
Thus, when the Brāhmaṇa came home. O Yudhiṣṭhira, night had already set in. Govinda afflicted with the grief for his son, lay asleep on the ground. When the wife looked at her husband afflicted with misery, she saw him infested with clusters of worms. On seeing him overwhelmed with sins, she became all the more distressed. Even as she was thus immersed in grief, the night came to an end.
The servant who looked after the cattle went to the forest for leaving the buffaloes (to graze) and having kept them there he returned home.
Govinda, the excellent Brāhmaṇa, was informed by the cowherd, “O master, even as I take food, kindly look after the buffaloes.”
151-161. Then the Brāhmaṇa hastened towards the buffaloes. He did not see the buffaloes there. Then he rushed towards the field. On his way he came to the confluence of Eraṇḍī and Revā and entered the waters.
Excessively thirsty he drank some water. After washing the eyes well and drinking the water without any desire (for sacred results) he came home towards the close of the day. With great misery Govinḍa went to bed at night after taking food.
He became overwhelmed with sleep after being afflicted with grief and fatigue. At midnight, O Yudhiṣṭhira, his wife saw his limbs partly infested with worms and party not infested. The wife of excellent qualities was struck with wonder thereby. She said with her mind afflicted with fear that this was his sin.
The wife said:
Five days ago, you were throwing down the fuel. Hence the boy who came to the backyard was killed inadvertently by you. That secret of your terrible sin was not divulged by me. I am being scorched by that concealed sin day and night. I do not see any happiness either in your limbs or in mine. Sleep has been suppressed in my case along with my loving pleasure towards you. It is heard that a verse is recited by the great sages in the Mānava Dharmaśāstra. Distress does not get subdued by recollecting it frequently in the mind. By speaking about it, Dharma perishes and gets increased by concealing it in this world as well as in the other one. The case with sin also is the same.
162-169. Thinking about this like this I spent the night in great terror. What can I say and to whom about you infested with a crowd of worms? Again you were seen today infested with the worms of foeticide (infanticide). In some places they bite into the body and in some places they have disappeared altogether.
I recollect this now and then and ponder over it again and again. But I fail to notice the cause thereof. May I ask you? Will you kindly let me know? This is what I feel. This is the effect of either the adoration of a deity or taking the holy bath in a lake or river or a holy Tīrtha you may have visited and not due to anything else.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya continued:
On being told thus, O descendant of Bharata, the Brāhmaṇa told his wife what had happened in the course of the day, O excellent king, because he himself had certain suspicions.
‘Today I had gone with the buffaloes. I visited Eraṇḍī confluence and stood in the water coming upto my navel. I drank much water as well. I do not know of any other Tīrtha, lake or river. This is the truth. This is the truth. O beautiful lady, the truth has been averred.”
The lady understood everything and began to observe fast. O lady of excellent complexion (?), the Brāhmaṇa went to the confluence along with his wife.
170-180. After taking the holy bath in the charming water and bowing to Lord Bhāskara, he bathed Saṅkara, the Lord of Devas, along with Umā with Pañcagavya, ghee, milk, curds, honey, ghee (sic) and water. Then he worshipped the Liṅga identical with the Vedas and the auspicious goddess Kātyāyanī with fragrant flower garlands, incense and splendid Naivedyas. After keeping awake in the whole of the night along with her husband, the chaste lady honoured the Brāhmaṇas assiduously when the day dawned clearly. Govinda honoured the excellent Brāhmaṇas in accordance with his capacity by means of the gifts of cows, gold, cloth and food, O descendant of Bharata. Accompanied by his wife, he came home rid of all sins.
If anyone devoutly listens to or reads with great devotion, this excellent story of Govinda, the sin of foeticide perishes. He sports about in the world of Śaṅkara until the annihilation of all living beings.
The person should control his sense-organs and observe fast on the seventh lunar day in the bright half of the month of Aśvayuj or Caitra, O excellent king. He must adopt all Sāttvika feelings and emotions.
In the shrine of Śiva, he must meditate upon the Odd-eyed, Trident-bearing Lord. Then he should meditate upon Lord Viṣṇu who slew Kaṃsa and who holds the conch-shell, discus and club and rides on the Lord of birds and bestows boons on the three worlds.
Then he should meditate on the four-faced Pitāmaha who rides on the swan. He is the creator of everything; he is resplendent on the lotus-seat. The devotee should stay in that excellent spot of Triyāma (of threefold mental control).
181-190. After the day has dawned clearly on the eighth day, O king, the devotee should honour Brāhmaṇas devoid of all faults or disqualifications. They should have all the limbs and organs complete. They should be adepts in all scriptures. They should be regularly practising study of the Vedas and they should be devoted to their own wives. The Brāhmaṇas should be deserving ones for Śrāddha, Dāna and Vrata, O son of Pāṇḍu.
He should begin the adoration of the departed ones after that of the Devas. With the offering of balls of rice and libations in Eraṇḍī one is rid of ghosthood.
Dāna (gifts) with cooked foods as the chief item should always be made (along with) gold, plot of land, a virgin, a pair of bullocks of splendid features with a ploughshare, food-grains weighing so many Droṇakas. An adorned young cow yielding plenty of milk should be gifted along with her calf. She may be white, red, black, pink or tawny in colour. A milk-pot made of brass should invariably be given. The hoofs of the cow should be adorned with (plates of) gold and the horns covered with gold top. The same should be made over to a Brāhmaṇa uttering the Mantra: “May the Lords of the universe, Hara, Kṛṣṇa and Pitāmaha, be pleased with me. May the divine Surabhī, the saviour of the world, redeem me.”
If women desire progeny and take the holy bath at the confluence of Eraṇḍī, the Rudrasūktas of all the four Vedas should be recited by four Brāhmaṇas or at least two in a praiseworthy manner. The couple should be sprinkled with a single well-filled pot.
191-202a. The person showering with the water-pot shall be one well-versed in astrology or one who can sing Sāma verses. The water-pot must contain five jewels. The water should be rendered fragrant with sweet scent. All types of herbs and medicines should be put therein. Leaves or sprouts of mango and Aśvattha or Madhūka should also be put there.
It should be covered with a white cloth and white sandal-paste applied over. White flowers should be strewn and white mustards should be scattered in the middle.
Everything should be put by a seeker of progeny in a vessel of brass to be placed (before) the excellent preceptor.
A cloth that has been worn once should be taken off and placed there along with bangles or other ornaments in the Maṇḍala (mystic diagram) for the sake of one’s own fulfilment. He bows down to Bhāskara at the outset and then to the Äcārya who is Rudra personified.
In the excellent shrine of the goddess the dovotee tastes something sweet and makes gifts of fruits, betel leaves, umbrella, shoes or vehicles to a Brāhmaṇa. He shall become free from misery. He sports about in the world of Bhāskara until all the living beings are annihilated.
All Dānas whether auspicious or inauspicious shall have a crore times benefit. Just as rivers ultimately fall into the ocean and get merged, so also the sins of men perish at the confluence of Eraṇḍī. Śaṅkara has said that a sin on a par with foeticide perishes at the confluence of Eraṇḍī and within a radius of an arrow’s throw all round.
Immolation of one’s life should be carried out in fire with devotion. Death due to voluntary starvation or voluntary drowning come thereafter (? in efficacy).
If the death is in fire, the devotee enjoys five thousand years’ stay (in the divine world); if it is in water, three thousand years; and if by starvation, sixty thousand years.
202b-210. Even crows, cranes, doves, owls and animals attain the highest goal after coming into contact with the waters of the confluence. Trees go to that region which Yogins will attain after realization.
O goddess(?), Eraṇḍikā is the divine Māyā. If Manmatheśvara is visited, even angry Yama is incapable of doing anything. The gentle one sees all weal.
If the devotees apply the clay taken out of the confluence all over the body everyday, all the sins such as that of foeticide perish. There is no doubt about this.
A man who rolls about at the confluence of Eraṇḍī shall become rid of all sins and attain the region free from ailment.
If staying in hermitages, men glorify the confluence of Eraṇḍī, they become free from sins. Such is the truthful statement of Śaṅkara. One dispels sins by perceiving the tips of Eraṇḍī plants.
Those men who read this meritorious narrative of the Tīrtha and those others who listen to it devoutly, become rid of sins.
Thus the entire details of Eraṇḍīsaṅgama have been recounted to you, O king. I shall further describe another Tīrtha that destroys all sins.
Footnotes and references:
This is a slip on the part of the author, as the dialogue here is supposed to be between Śiva and Pārvatī, not between Mārkaṇḍeya and Yudhiṣṭhira.
Five cow Products, viz. milk, curds, butter and liquid and solid excreta.