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Vayu Purana – Uttara Kandha 10-18

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Sacred Places for Sraddha

1Brihaspati said: Pitris worshipped even once become delighted. They are imperishable Yogic souls. They are noble souls of great power and free from sins and evils.
2-3O gentle ones, I shall recount the holy lakes, rivers, sacred spots, places of pilgrimage, mountains and hermitages for performing Sraddha, at which Pitris bless him (the performer) with fulfilment of desire for profuse riches (in this world), attainment of heaven after death and liberation from Samsara in due course.
4-5The mountain Amarakantaka is the holiest and the most excellent in the three worlds. It is a sacred mountain resorted to by Siddhas and Caranas. Formerly, holy lord Angiras performed very severe penance (difficult for others to do) on it, for thousands of years, say, millions and crores of years.
6As long as the earth holds (lasts), the god of death, Asuras and Raksasas have no access there, nor is there any fear or misfortune there.
7That excellent mountain shines with brilliance and renown, just as Samvartaka fire (Fire at the time of the annihilation of the world) blazes on the peak of mount Malyavan.
8-9The Kusa (growing there) is famous as soft, sweetsmelling, pleasing to the eyes and golden-coloured. They are well known as ‘calm and quiet’ Darbhas. Drinking the waters of Narmada to the south of it, the holy lord Angiras of great brilliance formerly performed Agnihotra after spreading those excellent Kusas round the altar and he saw the steps leading to the heaven.
10I shall recount the benefit attained by that intelligent man who offers Pindas even once, on the Darbhas on the mountain Amarakantaka.
11That Sraddha becomes everlasting, increasing the pleasure of Pitris. On reaching that holy centre, they vanish for ever.
12Even today the holy “Jvalarasa” is seen there everywhere. The river thereof (called Visalya—a branch of Narmada) makes all living beings free from darts and thorns (sins and miseries).
13-14To the south-east of that excellent mountain, there is a tank with a whirlpool in that part contiguous to the land of Kalinga. O excellent sages, there is that great holy centre Siddhaksetra which increases the delight of Pitris. It is the greatest on the earth, approved of by both Devas and Daityas. Usanashas sung a verse on it.
15“Blessed are those men in the world who being devoted to Pitris propitiate them in Sraddha after reaching Amarakantaka.
16There is no doubt in this that they will attain Siddhi with very little penance. If they are worshipped even once on Amarakantaka, Pitris attain Heaven”.
17On the beautiful Mahendra mountain, there is a holy centre resorted to by Sakra. If one mounts it, Pitris are delighted. The Sraddha (if performed) there, yields great fruit.
18If one practises Yoga on its lower peak named Bilva (Vailata in Bd.P.), one gets divine vision. He becomes invisible to all living beings and roams over the earth like a Deva.
19If a man takes his holy ablution in the Saptagodavara and in the penance grove Gokarna3, he attains the benefit of a horse-sacrifice.
20A man becomes sanctified after taking his holy dip in Dhutapapa. Rudra, Mahesvara, the lord of Devas, performed a penance there.
21In the holy place Gokarna, a proof has been cited by Brahmanas for (convincing?) the atheists. If a non-Brahmana recites the Gayatri mantra, he perishes.
22Those who regularly ascend the peak, the abode of Devas and sages, resorted to by Siddhas and Caranas, attain heaven.
23-24Since the place is embellished with divine sandalwood and other trees and since the water mixed with the flavour of sandal flows continuously, a river named Tamraparni originates from them. It slowly winds its way to the Southern Ocean like a young woman extremely distressed (while going to her husband’s house for the first time?).
25The waters of that river in confluence with the great ocean become conchs, pearls and pearl-like conchs.
26People bringing its waters containing conchs and pearls, become free from mental agonies and physical ailments and go to the heavenly city of Amaravati.
27According to Sruti (Veda), the charitable gift of sandal, conchs and pearls enables Pitris to cross (hell) even though they be perpetrators of sins.
28-29So also is the case of Gandratirtha, (Kanya) Kumari, the perennial source of Kaveri, the holy centres of Sriparvata, the mountain Vaikfta, and the mountain Osiraparvata where the trees Palasa, Khadira, Bilva, Plaksa, Asvattha and Vikankata are seen growing in one place. (The people taking ablutions and performing holy rites there attain heaven.)
30O excellent Brahmanas, this zone of holy centres is sacrifice-worthy and is conducive to great achievements. A person who casts his mortal coil here, quickly reaches the heavenly city of Amaravati.
31Holy rites performed by oneself fructify in the subsequent birth. Rites of Pitris (though) performed with defects become as beneficial as duly performed rites.
32The holy river Narmada, the most excellent of all rivers, is the daughter of Pitris. Sraddhas offered there, become everlasting (in yielding benefits).
33In the holy forest of Mathara, resorted to by Siddhas and Caranas, they do not vanish because they are attached to that great mountain.
34There is a proof (test) for discrimination between the pic as and the impious on the holy mountain of Vindhya. Sinners do not see the current (waterfall?) Good men see the current.
35The sins of some sinners are seen in its current. Usually the current is visible in the case of those of meritorious activities.
36In Kausala there is the tank of Matariga named Papanisudini (Remover of Sins). Even stray birds, flying as they please, go to heaven after bathing (casually) in that tank.
37-39(Ablution) in the Kumarakosala Tirtha mountain Palapanjara and on the banks of Pandu near the sea, in the Pandaraka forest, performance of good actions in the Abhaya Prabhava which is pure and sinless, daily visit to Srivrksa, Grdhrakuta, and Jambumarga and in the holy centre of Asita, the intelligent preceptor of Yoga—performance of Sraddha (at these holy places)—gives everlasting benefits.
40Sraddha in Puskara is ever lasting. Penance there yields great fruits and the same is true of the holy centre Prabhasa on the great ocean.
41In Devika, there is a well named Vrisa resorted to by Siddhas. Its water always gushes up on hearing the sound of cows and bulls.
42It is always resorted to by masters of Yogas who are beyond all sorts of sins. I shall mention the benefit resulting from the performance of Sraddha therein.
43-44The Sraddha (there) yields all desires and is everlasting. It delights Pitris. There is a rock of Agni there called Jatavedahsila. He who enters the fire there rejoices in heaven. Once the fire is tranquil, he is reborn. Anything offered there gives everlasting benefits.
45There is no doubt in this that the sacrifices performed at the holy centres called Dasasvamedhika and Pancasvamedhika yield the benefits as indicated (in their names, viz. fruits of ten horse-sacrifices and of five horse-sacrifices).
46The holy centre named Hayasiras is famous as granter of boon immediately. Sraddha performed there yields everlasting benefits. The devotee rejoices in heaven.
47Sraddha is said to be everlasting. So also are Japas, Homas and penances.
48One should always propitiate the Pitrisin the auspicious holy centre of Ajaturiga. There the shadow of the heaven-dwellers is always seen on Parvan days. Whatever is given here becomes everlasting in the world. The Pandavas became free from ailment here.
49It is always resorted to by masters of Yogas free from all sins. I shall mention the benefit of performance of Sraddha there.
50Pitris worshipped there always become delighted. He who keeps his sense-organs under control in this world shall rejoice after death in heaven.
51The lake named Siva is the most excellent. Vyasasaras and the divine lake Brahmasaras there are also holy.
52The mountain Ujjanta of the noble soul Vasistha is also holy. Centres called Kapota, Puspasahvaya, (and those named after the Vedas) Rg, Yajus, Samanand (Atharva-) Siras have been created by god Brahma. After the creation of these the fifth Veda, viz. Puranas have been narrated by him.
53After going there a Brahmana becomes free from sin like the eternal Fire-god Agni. Sraddha, Japas, Homas and penances are of endless benefits.
54In the great holy centre Pundarika, one attains the benefit (as sweet and fragrant) as lotus. One gets the fruit of a horse-sacrifice in the great holy centre of Brahma Tirtha (by performing Sraddha there).
55In the confluence of the Sindhu river and the ocean and in Pancanada, the benefit is everlasting. Kirakatma1 (in Bd. P. Viraja) and Mandava on the mountain are sacred spots (?)
56Sraddha has to be performed in the holy centre Saptahrada and particularly in Manasa. On the mountains of Mahakuta, Vanda and Trikakuda also (Sraddha should be performed).
57In Mahavedi (Mahanadi in Bd. P.) a great miracle is seen. It does notappear to one who has no faith (but) it does appear to a person who is firm in his religious vows.
58The eternal rock of Agni himself is there. It is called Jatavedahsila. Sraddhas and holy rites in the fire performed there, have never-ending benefits.
59Going there every day in the evening, one who seeks never-ending benefits should always offer Sraddha to Pitris there.
60A man of purified mind or otherwise is known in the holy centre called Svargyamargaprada (that which shows the path leading to heaven). It grants boons immediately. Casting off their mutual enmity in it, the Seven Sages went to heaven.
61Even today signs of their extinct enmity are seen. Taking bath in that excellent Tirtha, a man attains heaven.
62There is a famous shrine there, resorted to by Nandin and Siddhas (or a Siddha named Nandin). The image of Nandisvara is not visible to men of evil deeds.
63Golden Yup as (sacrificial posts) are seen there at sunrise. People circumambulating them vanish and go to heaven (or they—the golden posts—disappear and go to heaven when devotees complete their circumambulation?).
64The (land) all over Kuruksetra is especially an excellent holy place of Sanatkumara, the noble-souled lord of the Yogic cult. It is glorified as yielding ever-lasting benefit if Pitris are offered gingelly seeds (there).
65Sraddha performed in the residence of Dharmaraja is conducive to brilliance and it is never-ending (in yielding benefit). Sraddha offered on the New Moon day in accordance with injunctions and in the proper order also yields never-ending benefits.
66Moreover, to those who are near about Kuruksetra it is particularly efficacious. A dutiful son who worships Pitris there, becomes free from his indebtedness to them.
67-69Sraddha should be performed with the repetition of Omkara by persons who wish for ever-lasting benefit, at the following places: Vinasana, on the Sarasvati river, Plaksa- prasravana, Vyasatirtha on the Sarasvati and especially at Brahma Ksetra, everywhere on the (banks of) Ganga and on the excellent mountain Mainaka and at the source of Yamuna. One gets absolved of sins (thereby). The proof for the same is the excessively hot and extremely cold water there.
70(Yamuna) is Yama’s sister and the daughter of Martanda (the Sun-god). It is holy. Sraddha performed there is everlasting. It was so glorified by Pitris formerly.
71One taking ablutions in the lake Brahmanuga becomes a Brahmana immediately. Sraddha, Japas, Homas and penances performed there are everlasting.
72Vasistha of great penance performed penance standing still like a stump. Even to-day trees are seen there studded with gems.
73There a weighing balance that indicates piety and impiety, is seen. People who get themselves weighed by Brahmanas in it derive excellent fruits.
74-75The daughter of Pitris, the great Yogini, is famous by the name of Gandhakali. It is she who will give birth to the great Yogin, the noble souled Vyasa, who will divide the single Veda into four, who will be an intelligent great sage, the great scion of the family of Parasara and who is a fourth part of Brahma.
76There is the lake Acchodaka1 from which she originated as the river Acchoda. Again she (Gandhakali) was born of the womb of a fish at the instance of Varana.
77The place where she has a holy hermitage, is resorted to by meritorious persons. Sraddha offered there once, is said to be everlasting. If Sraddha is offered there even once, it causes the attainment of Yoga and Samadhi (Trance).
78He who offers Sraddha in Kuberatunga, Vyamocca and Vyasatirtha is a holy Brahmana. The Sraddha yields everlasting benefits.
79In the north-eastern quarter there is Nandavedi. It is resorted to by Siddhas for ever. It is not visible to non-self-possessed souls. (Those who perform Sraddha there) do not return (i.e. they attain liberation from Samsara).
80In the holy centre Mahalaya,3 the intelligent Mahadeva had imprinted his foot. It is a Siddhaksetra (by Siddhas). People who go there do not return Moksa).
81(Partially defective) On (the peak called) in the shrine of the goddess (Uma) has performed penance standing on one foot for the period of a divine yuga without taking any food4. And the water (also) stood (for that period?).
82-83One becomes sanctified by visiting Umatunga, Bhrigutunga, Brahmatunga, Mahalaya, Kadravati, San^ili and Vamana’s cave. Sraddha performed there yields everlasting benefit. Japa, Homa and meditation—everything performed there becomes meritorious.
84Those who observe Brahmacarya (celibacy), those who perform sacrifice and those who are devoted to their preceptors for a hundred years (enjoy good benefits). These and other similar benefits are attained immediately by taking a dip in those holy waters.
85(The holy river) Kumaradhara there removes all sins (at its very sight). If one goes and settles there, one attains immediately what is attained when it is seen.
86By regularly visiting Sailakirtipura, one attains all cherished desires. Like Devas he remains invisible to all living beings and roams in the earth.
87Sraddhas should be offered everyday by one who seeks everlasting benefits at the great holy centre of Kasyapa well known as Kalasarpi.
88Sraddha performed all round Salagrama becomes ever lasting. It is not directly visible to sinful persons.
89-90The place is forbidden to the evil-minded and the good ones are allowed entry, since the pure divine king of serpents dwelling in the holy lake accepts the Pinda of the good and not that of the bad. Even by the highly illuminated serpents, the food cannot be eaten (if offered by the bad).
91In these two holy centres, Dharma is directly seen. In Devadaruvana to the same proof can be seen.
92The sins shaken off are visible to the meritorious soul. In Bhagirathi and Prayaga4 (the Sraddha performed) is said to be of ever-lasting benefit.
93Sraddha should be offered with efforts at Kalanjara, Dasarna, Naimisa, Kurujangala and the city of Varanasi.
94In that city, Yogesvara is present for ever. Hence what is offered there is ever lasting. Offering Sraddhas in these holy places, one becomes sanctified. The Sraddha yields everlasting benefits.
95Penance, Homa, meditation, nay anything performed in Lauhitya, Vaitarani and Svarnavedi, becomes meritorious.
96Only once, is (Sraddha) seen (performed) near the sea-shore by men of meritorious actions. So also in Gaya, Dharmaprstha and in Brahma’s lake.
97-98The Sraddha offered in Gaya and Grdhrakuta yields great benefit. Snow falls all round it upto a distance of five Yojanas (1 Yojana = 12 Kms.). The forest surrounding the hermitage of Bharata is remembered as the most meritorious. The foot-print of Matanga is seen there with the physical eye.
99This spot is glorified as (conducive to) entire righteousness. It is an example for this world. Similarly the Pancavana is very holy. It is resorted to by men of meritorious actions. The holy centre Panduvisala is also a ready example.
100(Defective) The persons who perpetrate sins come to the surface (become exposed) by means of weighing balances, by its arcs3 and by various scriptures when they get attached (visit) to that Tirtha (?).
101Highly efficacious is the Sraddha offered at the silent (deep) great lake Pavamandala in the (river) Kausiki in the third quarter on the third Tithi (day).
102After performing a very severe penance for many celestial Yugas, the intelligent deity Mahadeva set foot on Mundaprstha.
103Within a very short time, a righteous man discards his sin quickly like a serpent casting off its slough.
104-105To the north of Mundaprstha, there is a holy centre famous in the three worlds by the name Kanakanandi. It is well protected by day and night by terrible serpents of huge bodies and licking with their tongues, frightful to the sinners (but) very delightful to Siddhas. (Even) birds flying as they please take bath there and go to heaven.
106Sraddha offered there is said to yield everlasting benefit. An excellent man becomes free from his three-fold indebtedness by taking his bath there.
107On the banks of that lake, there is a great shrine of the lord. After mounting up to it and performing Japas, one becomes a Siddha and thereafter goes to heaven.
108After going to the noithern Manasa, one attains excellent Siddhi. On going to the excellent city2, a very wonderful thing is seen.
109One should perform Sraddha there according to one’s capacity and physical strength. He should attain divine pleasures and the means to liberation (from Samsara) for ever.
110-111In the excellent Manasa lake, a very wonderful thing is seen. The highly blessed goddess Ganga of three-fold path, slipping dawn from heaven, shines in the sky. Falling off the lunar rays on to the earth, it appears like festoons in the sky with the brightness of the sun.
112It is diving with golden splendour. It is like the gate to heaven thrown wide open. It is from this place that it flows again towards the eastern ocean in its final stage.
113It sanctifies all living beings and particularly those who know righteousness. Candrabhaga (Chenab) and Sindhu both these are like Manasa (in sanctity). The divine Sindhu, the most excellent of rivers flows towards the western ocean.
114-115There is the mountain named Himavan. It is embellished with various kinds of minerals. It is said that it extends to eighty thousand Yojanas. It is crowded with Siddhas and Caranas. It is served and resorted to by Siddhas and Caracas. There is a Puskarini (lake) on it, well known by the name Susumna.
116One who is born there lives upto ten thousand years. Sraddha offered there yields ever-lasting benefits, and great prosperity. The performer of Sraddhas enables ten previous generations and ten succeeding ones to cross (hell).
117Everything belonging to Himavan is holy. The Ganga is sacred everywhere (throughout). The ocean-going rivers and all the oceans all round are holy.
118A sensible man should perform Sraddha in all these places and at similar ones. Even by taking bath, he becomes sanctified. By offering (Sraddha?) he becomes so (all the more).
119-123Sraddha can be performed in the following places: On the high summits and ridges of mountains, crevasses, in the solitary sides, springs and fountains, on the sandy banks of rivers, on the auspicious anniversaries of the beginning of Yugas, on great oceans, in Cowpens, in the confluence of two rivers, in the forests, well-cleaned and scrubbed ground, pleasing fragrant spots, in solitary houses, on the ground polished with cow-dung, etc. One should perform Sraddha in these places in accordance with injunctions. Those who seek fulfilment of all desires shall perform Sraddha in these places carefully. They should perform circumambulation in all the quarters. An intelligent man performing thus, shall attain the Siddhi of Brahmatva (Brahmahood).
124The worship of Pitris becomes fruitful if anger etc. is eschewed, the duties of the three castes are performed and the discipline of castes and stages of life is maintained.
125Even a person who has committed sins becomes sanctified if he boldly and faithfully makes the pilgrimage to the holy centres and courageously controls his senses. What need be said in regard to a person of meritorious deeds?
126He is not reborn in an animal womb. He is not born again in an impious land. A Brahmana attains heaven and attains the means to salvation (Moksa).
127These five do not attain the benefit of pilgrimage: those who have no faith, sinners, atheists, permanent doubters and those who always seek a cause (for everything).
128Great Siddhi is achieved in the holy centre of Guru (the preceptor). He is the most excellent of all sacred objects and spots. Meditation is a still greater Tirtha. It is the eternal Brahmatirtha.
129Meditation is greater than observance of fasts. It makes all the sense organs shun (their objects). Those who are wedded to observance of fasts are reborn again and again along with their vital breaths.
130One shall equalise Prana and Apana. One should restrain in mind objects and the sense organs and restrain the intellect in the mind. Then every sense-organ recedes.
131Understand that undoubtedly Pratyahara (the withdrawal of all sense organs) is the sure means to salvation. Among the sense-organs, the mind is the most terrible. It makes the intellect and other organs function.
132(The restlessness of the mind) is subdued by not taking food. Know that fasting is a penance. By restraining the intellect and the mind, the intellect is sublimated (the intellect becomes beautiful).
133When all the sins are mitigated, when the sense organs are weakened (subdued) the pure soul attains bliss of liberation like fire without fuel.
134A knower of Yogas separates the individual soul from all manifest and unmanifest causes and Gun as by means of his Yogic power.
135There is no place for him to go, whether manifest or unmanifest. He is neither Asat (non-existent) nor Sat-As at. Nothing can be said of his existence.

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