A brief description of holy pools, Ganga and sanctuaries ||81||
1-3Suta said: -Now I shall describe the holy pools and sanctuaries of which the river Ganges preeminently stands as the most sacred, and which is easily accessible everywhere throughout its course, except in three places, such as Haridvara, Prayiaga and Sagara (the Gangetic estuary) Prayaga is the best of all sanctuaries, inasmuch as a man quitting this life within the precincts of that sacred city, becomes a liberated soul after death, and oblations offered therein for the absolution of the departed souls, fully serve their initiative purpose, and moreover because, men resorting to its, blessed sanctum for the fruition of any definite desire, are sure at witness its realization. The city of Banaras it the foremost of all the sacred places in which the god Kesava is transformed into the shape of the god Visvesa.
4The field of Kurukshetra is a great sanctuary where men by making gifts and doling out charities, become entitled to the privileges of an emancipated soul or to the enjoyment of creature comforts, as the case may be, in the life to come. The sacred pool at Prabhasa, is a great place of pilgrimage where the divine image of the god Somnath is installed.
5The fair city of Dvaraka is the holiest of the holy spots on earth and grants enjoyment of earthly cheers or salvation to those who resort to its sanctum. The eastern bank of the river Sarasvati is holy and like wise is the country of the Sapta Sarasvatam.
6The sanctuary at Kedara has the merit of absolving a pilgrim from all sins, whereas the village of Sambhala is a good place of pilgrimage. The sanctuary of Narayanam is a great shrine, whereas a pilgrimage to the holy forest of Vadarika, leads to the emancipation of self.
7-9Similarly, palces or pools or hills like Svetadvipa, Mayapuri, Naimisha, Pushkara, Ayodhya, the Aryatirtham, the Citrakutam, the Gomati, the Vainayaka, the hermitage of Ramagiri, Kancipuri, the Tunga-Bhadra, the Srisailam, Setubandh, Ramesvaram, the Kartikeyam, the Bhrgutungam, the Camatirtham, Kamaram and Katak, should be regarded as important, sacred pools, places or hills.
10The god Mahakala is the presiding deity of the sanctuary at the city of Ujjayani, while the god Hari, installed in the shape of the imaged Sri-dhara, is the guardian deity of Kubjaka. Likewise, Kuvjabhrakam is a great place of pilgrinage, whereas a resort or Kalasarpi fulfills the desires of a pilgrim.
11-13aThe other renowned places of pilgrimage are the rivers Mahakesi, the Kaveri, the Candrabhaga, the Vipasa the sacred forest of Ekamram, the Brahma-tirtham, the Devakotkam, the beautiful city of Mathura, the rivers Sona, Mahanada and the Jambiisara. Sacred is the spot where stands an image of the god Harl or of Hara or of Gana or of the Sun-god.
13b-14aRites of religious ablutions, acts of worship, and charity. Sraddha ceremonies, repetitions of Mantras, or offerings of oblations to one’s departed manes, performed or done within the sanctum of any of the abovesaid pools or places, tend to bear immortal fruits.
14b-15A pilgrimage to the sacred village of Salagrama, is rewarded with the fruition of all desires, while the sanctuary sacreds to the god Pasupati, should be deemed as the holiest of all holy places, like those known as the Kokamukha, the Varaha, the Bhandiram and the Svamitiratham. The Maha (supreme) Vishnu manifestation of the god Harl, is the presiding deity of the sanctuary at Mohadanda, while the Madhusudana manifestatin of the same deity is the tutelary god at the sanctuary at Mandara.
16The sanctuary of Kamarupam where resides the goddess Kamakhya (Kamakya), should be deemed as one of the most sacred spots on the globe, and likewise is the sanctuary at Pundaravardhanam where resides the god Kartikeya.
17-18Extremely holy are the sanctuaries at Viraja and Purushottam and sacred are the hills and rivers which go by the denominations of the Mahendra, the Kaveri the Godavari, the Payoshni, and the sin absolving Vindhya.
19-20Similarly sacred are the hills and cities and pools which are known by the names of the Gokarana, the city of Mahamatipura, Kalanjara and the sanctuary of the Sukra-tirtham, where acts of charity and obsequious offerings performed and made in the presence of the bow wielding (Sarniga-dhara) manifestation of Vishnu, lead to the emancipation of one’s self, and grants a religious merit equal to that of resorting to a millon of other sancturies.
21-22The sacred shrines at Nandi-Thirtham, Nasika, the Govardhana, the Krishna, the Veni, the Bhimaratha, the Gandaki, the Tviravati, the Bindu-sara, as well as the washings of the feet of an image of Vishnu, should be beemed, as the sancto sanctum of all sancturies.
23A meditation upon the infinite self of Brahma, is the holiest of all sanctuaries. A control or subjugation of the senses is a great sanctuary. Holy is the sanctuary of one’s curbing the evil propensities of one’s own mind, and holy is the sanctuary of the purity of thought.
24The man who makes an ablution in the waters of divine meditation of the pool of pure knowledge, undefiled by the sediments of passion and envy, attains to the highest station of spiritual existence.
25Men who make any nice discrimination as regards the sacred or non-sacred character of a particular sanctuary, alone acquire the merit of making any pilgrimage.
26The men who beholds the universe as but the manifestation of the one and the second less Brahma, stands above the necessity of resorting to any so-called sacred place in the world. To him all places are alike, as being equally sanctified by the presence of that supreme entity.
27-30aAll pools and rivers, all hills and mountains which are the favorite haunts of the gods, are hallowed shrines, and acts of religious ablutions and charities and the offerings of obsequious cakes to ones departed manes on the occasions of Sraddha ceremonies, done and performed at any of these sacred places, bear immortal fruits. The sanctuary at Sriranga, sacred to the god Hari, the holy river Tapi, the seven sanctuaries along the banks of the Godavari, the sacred hill of Kona the sanctuary of Maha-Lakshmi with the close flowing sacred streamlet of the Pranita, situate in the brown of the Sahyadri (the western Ghats) and the shrines sacred to the deities Ekavira and Suresvari, are renowned places of pilgrimage. A man by bathing in any of the sacred pools at the Ganga-Dvara, Kusavarta, Kankhala, the Vindhyaka and the Nila-Parvarta, never reverts to the miseries of human life.
30b-31aSuta said: -The god Brahma first heard of all these all-giving sanctuaries from the god Hari, and subsequently described their sacred characters to Vyasa, Daksha and to the rest of the brotherhood of the sages.
31bO Brahmana, a description of the origin and sanctity of the holy shrines at Gaya, a pilgrimage where to ensures a perpetual residence in the region of Brahma, formed the sequel to that sacred topic.