Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Apastamba included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Āpastamba

An ancient sage. He once consoled King Dyumatsena. (Śloka 18, Chapter 298, Vana Parva, Mahābhārata).

How he got his name.

Once a brahmin did not get a suitable man toofficiate as priest for a śrāddha ceremony. He then prayed to his ancestors, Viśvedevas and Mahāviṣṇu for help and then Āpastamba appeared before him. The brahmin gave him food to his heart’s content and asked him how he felt. To the surprise of the brahmin Āpastamba replied, he wanted some more and thus made the Śrāddha ineffective. The brahmin got angry and cursed him by sprinkling on his face water taken in his palm. But before the water-particles reached his face Āpastamba ordered the water-drops to remain still. Water stopped stiff and still midway by the power of the sage. Because water (Āpa) became stiff (Stamba) the ṛṣi was named Āpastamba. (Brahma Purāṇa).

How Āpastamba tīrtha came into existence.

Once he met Agastya Muni and asked him who was superior among the gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Agastya declared that Śiva stood supreme of the lot and gave him advice as to how to please Śiva. Following his instructions Āpastamba did penance on the banks of the river Gautamī and Śiva appeared before him, blessed him, and made that place a holy one. Śiva declared that those who, bathed at that place would obtain 'Divyajñāna' (Divine knowledge enabling one to know the past, present and future). From then onwards that place was known as Āpastamba tīrtha.

Other details.

Āpastamba had a very chaste and humble wife named Akṣasūtrā. Their son was Gārki. 'Gṛhyasūtrasaṃgraha' containing a prayer and two mantras is a contribution to the holy science by Āpastamba. Many Hindus follow it even now. He had stated that the decrease in the number of great sages was because of the fact that people were not practising the control of the senses as before.

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