Description of different rites to be performed at different places at Gaya and their merits ||83||

1Said the God Brahma: -The city of Gaya is a sacred sanctuary in the country of Kikata and likewise is the forest of Rajagrha (modem Rajgir) in that part of the continent of India. Sacred is the place called the Visaya Carana, and the rivers which drain the aforesaid tracts are the holiest of the holies.
2-3The part of Gaya known Mundha-Prishtha covers an area of a crosa and a half (three English miles) measured from north to south and from east to west, the entire site of the sanctuary (Gaya) enclosing an area of ten square miles.
4-5aThe part of the sanctuary known as the Gaya-Sirahi (lit., the head of Gaya) measures a Crosa (two English miles) in length, and oblations offered to one’s departed manes within its limit, secure them an elevated status in the next world.
5b-6A man, by simply making a pilgrimage to Gaya, stands absolved from all debts due by him to his forefathers. The god Janarddana stands as the embodied image of the Pitris at Gaya, and a simple glance at that lotus-eyed deity is enough to discharge the threefold obligation which he has incurred in the capacity of a son, a created being, and a disciple to a particular sage or rishi.
7Similarly, by witnessing the images of the gods Rudra, Kulesvara and Kedara at Gaya, a man is supposed to pay off the debts he owes to his fathers.
8By seeing the image of the celestial grandfather at Gaya, a man is absolved from all sins, whereas by repairing to the presence of the divine image of the great grandfather at Gaya, a man is sure to enter the sinless region after death.
9The man who approaches in a humble and contrite spirit the divine image of the mace bearing deity and devoutly lays himself prostrate before that best of all male subjects in the universe, in freed · from the cycles of necessary existence and never reverts to the pangs of mortality after death.
10O thou sage among the twice-born ones, the man who visits the shrines of the god Mounaditya and Kanakarka in a spirit of devotion, is purged of all sins and is discharged from all obligations to his fathers.
11By worshipping the god Brahma at Gaya, the worshipper is sure to ascend, after death, to the region presided over by that divinity.
12The may, who having performed his daily right of Sandhya recitation of certain Vedic hymns and verses by a Brahmana at the three divisions of a day repairs to the divine presence of the imaged Gayatri at Gaya, acquired the merit of reciting the entire Vedas through the grace of that benign goddess. Similarly, by resorting, in the noon., to the shrine of the goddess Savitri, a pilgrim acquires the merit of celebrating a religious sacrifice.
13A visit to the shrine of the goddess Sarasvati in the evening, adds to the credit of the votary the merit of making an unsolicited gift.
14A visit to the una.ge of the divine sage Aushta, or to the forest of Dharma graced by the presence of tha-t imaged god of virtue, and situate within the holy confines of that sacred city, absolves a·:mart from all debts to his fathers. Where is the man, where is that degraded, object, and hardened sinner who does not feel himself emancipated from the trammels of life in the presence of the divine image of Gridhresvara?
15The man who sees the cow goddess in the sylvan abode of that divinity, is sure to lead his departed manes to the region of Brahma. The man who pays a visit to the shrine of the god Prabhasesha at Gaya, acquires an elevated status in after life.
16By viewing the image of god Kotsvara, or by resorting to the sanctuary of Asvamedha, a man is freed from all indebtedness to his forefathers. By seeing the divine image of the god who commands the gates of heaven, a man is liberated from the trammels of existence.
17The man who visits the shrine of Ramesvara or that of the mace-playing God at Gaya, ascends to the region of the immortal gods. Similarly, by paying a visit to the shrine of Brahmesa, a man is absolved from the sin which he had committed by killing a Brahmana.
18-19aBy resorting to the shrine of the goddess Mahacandi at Munda-Prstha, man is enabled to witness the realization of all his heart-felt desires. By paying a visit to the shrine of the god Phalgvisha (the god of the river Phalgu) or by seeing the images of the goddesses Phalgu Candi and Gouri or of such gods as Gomaka and Gopati, a man is supposed to fully discharge his debts to his fathers.
19b20A similar benefit is derived from paying a visit to the shrines of Angaresa, Siddhesa, Gayaditya, Gaja and Markandeysvara. Does not an ablution in the holy pool of the Phalgu and at visit to the shrine of the god Gadadhara signify the acme of one is good fortune?
21What more can the pious and the devout expect for the recompense of their good deeds in life? The merit of these acts leads the souls of ones departed ancests1 removed even up to the twenty first degree in the ascending line, to the region of Brahma.
22All the holy streams, lakes and mountains which sanctify our mortal globe, resort to the waters of the river Phalgu, once a day.
23Gaya is the most sacred spot in the world. The quarter known as the Gayasiras is the sancta sanctum of that hallowed sanctuary, and the river Phalgu is the holiest of the holies as well since it forms the mouth of the immortal gods.
24The holy pool known as the Nabhi-tirtham lies to the north of the river Kanaka and occupies a middle place between that river and the holy well of Brahma-Sada an ablution wherein leads the bather to the region of Brahma after death.
25The man who offers oblations or obsequious cakes to his departed manes on the rim of that sacred well and casts them in its holy waters, is freed from all moral indebtedness to his forefathers. Similarly a Sraddha ceremony performed by a man at the shrine of the immortal Vata tree, leads the souls of his departed forefathers to the region of Brahma.
26-27aThe man who bathes in the holy pool, known as the Harilsa-tirtham, is absolved from all sins. A Sraddha ceremony performed by a man at any of the following sacred spots or shrines, such as the Koti-thirtham, the Gayaloka, the Vaitarill, and the Gomaka, leads the souls of his ancestors, removed even to the twenty-first degree in the ascending line to the region of Brahma.
27b-28aThe man who performs a Sraddha ceremony of his deceased ancestors at the Brahma tirtham, or Rama-tirtham, or Agnitirtham, or Soma-tirtham or at the banks of the Ramahrada, ensures the residence of his departed manes in the region of Brahma.
28b-29By performing a Sraddha ceremony at the banks of the Northern Manasa, a man is liberated from the trammels of re-birth, while a similar ceremony performed at the banks of its name sake in the south leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma. A ceremony of Bhishma-Tarpanam, performed at the sanctuary
known as the Kusa, brings salvation to the performer, while a man can fully discharge his debts to his fathers by performing a similar ceremony at the shrine of G:rdhresvara (the lord of cormorants).
30The man who pays a visit to the goddess Dhenuka (cow-goddess) in the forest named after her, and performs a Sraddha ceremony in honour of his departed manes after having made a gift of the type, technically known as the Tila Dhenu (cow of sesamum) ensures their residence in the region of Brahma.
31A similar ceremony performed at any of the following sacred places such as the AindraTirtham, the Nara-Tirtham, the VasavaTirtham, the Vasava- Tirtham, or on the banks of the river MahanadI, is attended with the same result.
32-33aThe man who bathes, or performs the rites of his daily Sandhya worship and offers libations of water to the gods and his departed manes, and performs a Sraddha ceremony for the welfare of their soul, in or about any of the following sacred shrines such as the SavitrI, the Gayatri, the Sarasvati, etc., succours the souls of a hundred and one generations of his fathers and cognates and ensures their residence in the region of Brahma.
33b-34By passing through the hill crevice or the natural tunnel known as the Brahma-Yom, with his mind absorbed in the contemplation of his forefathers, a man is exempted for good from the trouble of passing through the uterine canal of any woman in the shape of a child. Libations or water, offered by a man to his departed manes at the shrine of Kakajangha, give them infinite and perpetual satisfaction.
35The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony at the well of Matanga in the holy forest of Dharmaranya, ascends to heaven after death. A similar ceremony performed at the well of virtue or at the shrine of the stake of virtue (Dharma Yupa) absolves a man from all obligations to the souls of his forefathers.
36The gods should be invoked to bear testimony to the fact as follows: Witness, O ye gods, and the guardian angels of the different regions or abodes, that I have come to the well of Matanga in this holy forest and have brought about the liberation of my departed manes.
37The man who performs his ablution in the holy pool of Rama-Sara and celebrates a Sraddha ceremony in honour of his departed manes, at the sacred shrine of Prabhasaka, witnesses their liberation from astral existence on the summits of the hills of the ghosts (Preta Sila) if they had been doomed to the tortures of such a life through the effects of their misdeeds in this mortal globe.
38The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony at the sacred shrine of Svapushta or at the sacred hill of Manhaprishtha leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma.
39There is not a single spot within the boundaries of the city of Gaya which is not a sanctuary in itself. An oblation offered any where within the precincts of that sacred city, bears immortal fruit and carries the departed manes of the person making the offering to the eternal region of Brahma.
40The man who offers an obsequious cake for the benefit of his own soul into the hands of the god Janarddana, by reciting the prayer which runs as.
41I have offered this obsequious oblation, O Janarddana, in thy eternal hands. May this oblation last me for eternal time and make me an emancipated self in the world to come’ is sure to ascend to the region of Brahma in the company of all his departed manes.
42-43An oblation offered to the soul of one’s ancestors either at the sanctuaries of Dharma Prishtha, Akshayavata or Gaya Siras or on the banks of the sacred pool of Brahma (Brahmasaras) bears immortal fruit. The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony of his forefathers after having visited the holy forests of Dharmaratyam, Dhenukaranyam and the sacred hill of Dharmaprishtham, is sure to succout the souls of his cognates to the twentieth decree of consanguinity.
44-45That quarter of the sacred city which lies to the west of the river Maya, is called the forest of Brahma, the hermitage of Bharata, while the hill of Nagadri and Brahma Sada occupy the eastern portion thereof. A Sraddha ceremony should be performed at the foot of the god Matanga in the hermitage of Bharata.
46The hill known as the Pandusila it situated in the forest known as the Campaka Vanam, lying to the south of the Gaya Siras and to the west of the river Mahanadi.
47A Sraddha ceremony performed under the auspices of the third phase of the moon and within the boundaries of the sacred pools on Niscira of the great lake or the Kousiki, bears immortal fruit.
48-49aThe hill known as the Krouticapada lies close to the Laka of Tritya which is situated to the north of the river Vaitarini, and there, by performing a Sraddha ceremony of his departed manes, a man is sure to carry them up to the eternal heaven. The lake called the Niscira lies to the north of the hill known as the Krouncapada.
49b-51The man who contemplates that a visit to Gaya is not a matter of every day probability, and that it does not fall to the lot of every one to offer obsequious cakes at Gaya to one’s departed manes than once in life, shall do well to touch the holy waters of the river Mahanadi and to offer libations of the same to his departed manes, whereby they would be enabled to ascend to the regions of eternity accompanied by the souls of all the departed cognates of the offerer. The man, who recites at the shrine of the goddess Savitri, the Vedic hymns and verses composing the rite of his daily Sandhya, is sure to acquire the merit of such continuous recitation for the period of twelve consecutive years.
52The man who resides for two fortnights, both light and dark, within the sacred walls of Gaya, sanctifies the seven generations of his own family and children.
53By visiting the sacred hills of Mundaprishta, Aravinda and Krouticapada which rise up from the hallowed plains of that sacred city a man is absolved from all sins and of whatsoever nature.
54An offering of an obsequious cake to one’s departed manes at Gaya, under the auspices of the continuance of the sun in the sign of the cancer or under that of a solar or a lunar eclipse, should be regarded as a piece of exceptionally rare good fortune. Rare is the man in the three habitable worlds who is fortunate enough to cast obsequious cakes in honour of his departed manes at Gaya under the auspices of the sun’s continuance at the sign of the cancer, or under that of a solar or a lunar eclipse.
55A Sraddha ceremony performed at any of the seven following sites in Gaya, such as the great lake, the Kousiki, the Mulakshetra and the rock-hewn cave of the mount Grdhrakuta, etc., ensures an elevated status in the plain of astral existence to the soul for whose benefit the ceremony is celebrated.
56-57The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony at the place where flows the mighty stream of Mahesyari is supposed, to discharge all debts to his ancestors. The man who perform a Sraddha ceremony the banks of the world renowed stream of sacred Visala, acquires the merit of celebrating an Agnistoma sacrifice and is translated to heaven after death. Similarly, a Sraddha ceremony celebrated at the sacred srine of Masapada, as well as a rite of ceremonial ablution performed therein, ranks equal in merit with the celebration of a Vajapeya sacrifice.
58An obsequious cake offered at the shrine of the Ravipada, lifts up a fallen and benighted soul from the bottom of perdition. The Pitrs (departed manes of a person) acknowledge the sonship of a child and own him alone as their true offspring who resorts to the sacred precincts of Gaya for the sole purpose of benefiting them spiritually and offers the boiled rice by way of funeral oblation.
59The Pitris, afraid of the torments of hall, pray for the birth of a male child in their surviving family on earth, so that he might make a pilgrimage to Gaya, and succour their distressed souls from the gloom of the nether worlds.
60Verily do they rejoice over the advent of a son in Gaya, thinking that the water accumulated in the ruts of the streets of that sacred city and tossed off by his legs, might someday lead to the emancipation of their selves.
61An obsequious cake offered to a departed spirit at Gaya by his son in flesh or by any other person, lifts him up to the region of the eternal Brahma.
62-63aA similar pilgrimage to the sacred pool of Koti-thirtham leads a man to the region of Vishnu. The never, which is renowned in the three worlds by the name of Vaitarini, is descended from the region of the immortal gods and leves the shores of the sacred Gaya, absolving the souls of all deplaned beings.
63b-66The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony, or offers an obsequious cake to, or makes the gift of a cow for the benefit of, his departed manes on the banks of that sacred stream, succours the souls of twenty-one generations of his ancestors. A son, visiting the sacred sanctuary at Gaya in course of time, and for the spiritual benefit of his own departed fore fathers, shall give a sumptuous repast to the local Brahmanas, as directed by the grandfather of the celestials. By worshipping his departed manes, a man acquires the merit of worshipping all the gods.
67The Brahmanas, on such an occasion, should be fed and propitiated according to the rules of a Havya Kavya ceremony.
68Gaya is the’ best place for the religiously disposed to quit their mortal frames. The man who perform a Vrisotarga ceremony at Gaya, the best of all sanctuaries, is sure to acquire the merit of a hundred Agnistoma sacrifices.
69An intelligent man shall prospectively offer obsequious cakes to his own soul at Gaya, as well as to those of others without the customary admixture of sesamum with them.
70O Vyasa, such cakes should be duly offered at Gaya to the souls of one’s all departed cognates, agnates and ancestors in the direct line of succession, as well as to their friends and relations.
71By performing a ceremonial ablution in the sacred pool of Rama-Tirtham, a man acquires the merit of making a gift of a hundred cows at a time. A similar ablution in the lake of Matanga, is sure to enhance that merit ten-fold.
72The man who bathes at the confluence of the sacred Niscira, leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma. By bathing at the hermitage of Vashista, the bather acquires the merit of performing a Vajpeya sacrifice.
73-74A residence hear the sacred stream of Kousika ensures the merit of performing a Horse Sacrifice. The hollowed fountain of Agnidhara rises from the lake sacred to the grandfather of the gods and is usually known as the Kapila. The man who performs a Sraddha ceremony at or near this sacred stream, acquires the merit of performing an Agnishtoma sacrifice.
75-78By performing a similar ceremony near the fountain, sacred to the god Komara, a man is sure to acquire the merit of performing a Horse Sacrifice, whereas a visit to his divine image at the adjoining shrine, leads to the emancipation of one’s self. An ablution in the sacred fount of the moon god, ensures one’s residence in the region of that divinity after death. The man who offers an obsequious cake to his manes on the banks of the pool sacred to that god leads them to the region of Brahma.