The greatness of Gaya ||114||

1-2The Fire-god said: I shall describe the greatness of Gaya. It is the most excellent among the sacred places. The demon Gaya practised penance. Being tormented by the heat of his penance, the celestials (approached lord) Vishnu who was lying in the milky ocean and told him “Kindly protect us from the demon Gaya.” (Iord) Hari (Vishnu) said yes. He met the demon and asked him to request for a boon.
3-4The demon requested that he would be the holiest of all places. Lord Vishnu granted his request. Having seen that the demon (was on the earth) and the earth had become deserted without Lord Vishnu, the celestials, Brahma and others in the heaven met lord Hari (Vishnu) and said, “O (lord) Hari! The earth has become deserted.”
5On seeing the demon’s presence, lord Hari (Vishnu) asked (lord) Brahma, “You go to the demon along with the celestials and request for his body for the purpose of a sacrifice.”
6After having heard that, Brahma went to the demon Gaya along with the celestials and said to him as follows: “I am your guest. I request you (to give me your) pure body for (the sake of being offered in) a sacrifice.”
7The demon Gaya granted the request. He fell down. (Lord Brahma) did the sacrifice on the skull. As it was moving, (lord Vishnu) asked lord Brahma to offer the final oblation.
8-9Even as the final oblation was being offered, the demon moved. Hence lord Brahma asked Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu then called Dharma (the god of virtue) and said, “O celestials! you all support this divine stone. The club-wielding form of mine along with the gods will be present on this slab.”
10-11Having heard that, lord Dharma supported that excellent divine slab. Marici, the son of Brahma married Dharmavrata, the daughter of Dharma and Dharmavati. She was devoted to doing penance. (They two spent happily) just as (lord) Hari sported with (goddess) Sri (Laksmi) and (lord) Sambhu (Siva) with (goddess) Gauri (Parvati).
12(Once) he returned from the forest with kusa (grass) and flowers and was very tired. After taking food he said to Dharmavrata, “Massage my feet.”
13The dear wife accordingly was massaging the feet of the sage who was taking rest. In the meanwhile, as the sage fell into a nap, lord Brahma came there.
14Dharmavrata began to think, “Shall I worship lord Brahma? Or shall I continue to massage the feet (of my lord)? Brahma who is the lord of my lord should be worshipped.”
15-17After thinking (for some time) she began to worship lord Brahma with all the honours. Marici (woke up and) saw her (doing service to Brahma). As she was not doing as directed he cursed her angrily, “You will become a stone”. Dharmavrata also said to him, “After having slopped massaging your feet, I had worshipped (Brahma) your lord. As you have cursed me, a faultless person, you will be cursed by (lord) Sankara (Siva)”. Dharmavrata bore the curse singly and resorted to fire-god.
18She performed penance for a long period. Then Vishnu and other celestials appeared in front of her and asked her to request for a boon.
19-22Dharmavrata said to the celestials, “O Gods let my curse come to an end. The celestials said, “The curse given by Marici will not be otherwise. You will become a sacred stone bearing the marks of the footprints of lord (Vishnu). You will be endowed with the essence of the gods, O Devavrata (Dharmavrata)! You will be representing the forms of all celestials. You will be meritorious for making the demon motionless”. Devavrata said, “If you are pleased with me, may Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Gauri, Lakshmi and other gods stay in me ever.” The fire-god said, “Having heard the words of Devavrata, the celestials said in affirmative and repaired to the heavens.”
23That divine stone slab of the demon was supported by (lord) Dharma. The demon began to move with the stone slab on which (the gods) Rudra and others remained.
24The demon was still moving along with celestials. Then lord Hari (Vishnu), who was reclining in the milky ocean, was requested by celestials and he gave his form of wielding a mace.
25(He said) ‘You all may go. I shall myself go there with the form known to all celestials.” There lord Gadadhara manifested (in the form of) manifest, unmanifest and both manifest and unmanifest.
26-30(Lord) AdigadMhara was himself present in order to make (the stone slab) steady. There was a demon named Gada. He was killed by lord Vishnu. Visvakarma (the celestial architect) made a mace from the bones (of that demon). (Lord) Gadadhara killed Heti and other demons with that first mace duly. Hence, he is known as Adigadadhara. When lord Adigadadhara was manifest in the divine stone slab and the demon remained steady, then lord Brahma offered the final oblation. The demon Gaya asked celestials “Why I was deceived? By the more command of lord Vishnu I would have remained steady. Because you have tormented me you should give me a boon”.
31-32The celestials said: “Since you have been made steady by us, this will become a holy place of the lords Vishnu, Sambhu (Siva) and Brahma. (It would become) more renowned than all other sacred places. It would confer the region of Brahma on the (departed) ancestors”. Having spoken thus, the gods and goddesses remained there. All the sacred places also were present there.
33-35After having performed the sacrifice, Brahma gave fees to the priests. The sacred place of Gaya (extends to) five krosas (ten miles). Fifty-five villages were endowed with (the following): Golden hills flowing with rivers, milk and honey, reservoirs of curd, clarified butter, plenty of hills of food, kdmadhenu (the celestial cow), kalpataru (the celestial tree) and abodes made of gold and silver. Let the brahmins here do not seek alms. The lord gave all these things after having spoken very little.
36-37(The brahmins) at Gaya were cursed by lord Brahma when they on account of their greed received gifts of money and other things of the righteous sacrifice “You will be deprived of learning. You will be greedy. The rivers will be bereft of milk and other things. The mountains will become mere rocks.”
38-40The brahmins said to (lord) Brahma, “Everything has been lost on account of the curse. Kindly be gracions to us for the sake of our livelihood”. He replied to the Brahmins, “You will be dependent on (the pilgrims to) the sacred place as long as the moon and sun (exist). The people who come to Gaya and worship you by offering gifts of food, wealth etc. and ancestral rights shall elevate hundreds of their families to heaven from hell and excellent position after heaven.”
41Gaya also performed a sacrifice offering plenty of food and profuse fees. The place has been named as Gaya after him. The Pandavas worshipped lord Vishnu.