Greatness of the Tirtha at the Confluence of Mahi and Sea ||3||

1-5Suta said: (Narada said 🙂 Thus I wandered, o excellent one among warriors. I, Narada, went on visiting the different holy places on the earth. While l wandered over the whole of the earth, I reached the hermitage of Bhrigu. It is here that the highly meritorious river Reva flows. It is the most excellent river. By remembering it once, one obtains excellent happiness lasting for a period of seven Kalpas. It is auspicious and comprises within it an the Tirthas. If it is glorified, it sanctifies him (i.e. the glorifier). More particularly so, if one has a glimpse of it (by paying a visit). If one takes bath in it, o son of Prthi, that being is liberated from sins. Just as the Pingala Nadi (a tubular vessel of the body) is established in the middle of the body, so also this river is established in the middle of the entire universe. It is glorified as such. There is on Reva, a Tirtha named Suklatirtha which is destructive of sins.
6-7If one takes bath therein even the sin of Brahmana slaughter is destroyed. Near it, on the northern bank of Reva, is the hermitage . It was full of many kinds of trees. And it was rendered splendid by creepers and hedges. There were different kinds of flowers and fruits. The region was beautified with plantain trees.
8There were many beasts of prey. It reverberated with the sounds of birds. It was rich in the splendour of fragrant flowers and resounded with the characteristic cries of peacocks spread everywhere.
9Bees forsook everything and lay concealed humming in the same way as a devotee forsakes the world and lies at the feet of Hara.
10Cuckoos caused reverberation all round with their sweet cooing sound, just as Brahmanas pacify sages afraid of the worldly existence through nectar-like narration of stories.
11With their fruits, flowers, leaves, shades and logs (i.e. pieces of branches), the trees delighted everyone like people who perform holy rites of Hara.
12Birds fond of their youngs chirped ‘Putra-Putra’ (‘o son, o son’) like Saiva devotees fond of Siva ever repeating the words ‘Siva-Siva’ etc.
13Such was the penance-grove and the environment of the hermitage of that sage. It was adorned aU round by Brahmanas knowing the three Vedas (or branches of learning).
14The cardinal points were filled with the loud chanting sounds of Rk, Yajus and Sama Vedas just as the three worlds (were filled with the sounds of his prayers) by a resolute devotee of Rudra.
15O son of Pritha, I reached that place where the excellent sage Bhrigu, of the greatest and the most virtuous soul, was seated. The refulgence of his penance illuminated the whole place.
16I was both distressed and delighted. On seeing me arrive at the place, all those Brahmanas with Bhrigu as their leader, stood up in great reverence.
17They welcomed me and accompanied by Bhrigu offered me Arghya etc. and permitted by me those prominent sages took their respective seats.
18-19After realizing that I had taken (sufficient) rest, Bhrigu asked me: “Where have you to go, o excellent sage? Why have you come here? Clearly specify the reason and purpose of your arrival.” Thereupon, o son of Pritha, anxious that I was, I spoke to Bhrigu:
20-22“Let it be heard. I shall tell the purpose for which I have come here. The entire ocean-girt earth has been roamed over by me. For the sake of gifting land-grants to Brahmanas I am seeking at every step beautiful and pleasing pieces of land, holy and devoid of defects, connected with holy Tirthas as well. But I do not see anything at all.”
23-24Bhrigu said: O sinless one, I too had wandered before. The entire ocean-girt earth had been seen then by me. My intention had been (to find a suitable place) for settling Brahmanas. There is a splendid holy river named Mahi . It consists of all Tirthas. (It is identical with all Tirthas.) It is divine and charming, gentle and destructive of all great sins. There is no doubt about it that the earth itself is present there in the form of the river.
25Whatever holy spots and sacred bathing places there are, both visible and invisible, an of them reside in the waters of that river Mahi, o Narada.
26Where that great river of sacred waters joins the ocean, o celestial sage, there has arisen (a holy Tirtha called) Sagara-Sangama (‘the Confluence of Mahi and Sea’).
27-30There is a Tirtha there named Stambha . It is well-known in the three worlds. The learned men who take bath there become rid of all sins. They never approach Yama. Formerly when I went to take my holy bath there, a wonderful thing was observed by me. That miracle I shall describe in detail, o sage. Listen to that great and wonderful thing. When I went to the meeting place of Mahi and Sagara (ocean) for bathing, I saw a leading sage seated on its bank (brilliant) like fire. He was very tall and old. Only the skeleton remained (but) he was adorned with the glory of penance .
31Raising his hands, he was crying repeatedly. On seeing him grieving, I too became distressed.
32This is a characteristic of good people that on seeing miserable people they too become miserable a hundred times more. So I too cried.
33Non-violence, truthfulness and non-stealing-these are rare in spite of Manusya (i.e. state of being a man). Then I approached him and asked:
34“Why do you cry, o sage? What is the cause of your grief? Even if it be a great secret. tell me it as my desire to know it is intense.”
35Thereupon, the sage told me, “O Bhrigu, I am unfortunate. Hence I cry. Do not ask me. What person will speak about his misfortune?”
36I was struck with wonder and I said to him once again: “Rare indeed is the birth in the land of Bharata; there too. Manusyata (i.e. birth in human species) is still more so.
37-38Even if (such) birth as man (is acquired) it is rare to be born as a Brihmana. There too the state of being a sage is rare. In sage-hood the acquirement of power of penance is still more rare. After having obtained an these five, why do you cry, o sage? In this connection my wonder is great.” Even as I was asking thus, a sage named Subhadra came there.
39-40He had understood the greatness of this Tirtha. So he had left Meru and built his hermitage here. The sage used to worship Stambhesvara always. Like me, he too asked the sage the cause of the lamentation.
41Then that sage performed the rite of Acamana (i.e. ceremonial sipping of water) and said: “O sages, let the cause (of my grief) be heard. I am a sage named Devasarma. I have restrained my tongue (speech) and mind.
42I have my own abode wherein I used to stay in the spot where Ganga meets the ocean. I used to perform the Tarpana rite during the New-Moon days for the Manes.
43At the end of the Sraddha, they used to manifest directly to me and offer benedictions. Once the delighted Pitris said to me:
44‘O Devasarma, we are always coming here near you. But never do you come to our abode. Why so, o dear son?’
45-47I was desirous of seeing that abode, but I was unable to convey this to them. Then after saying ‘Let it be’ I went along with the Manes to the sacred mansion of the Manes which was on a level with Bhaumaloka (i.e. the world of Mars). I stayed in various places and saw in front of me some praiseworthy people very difficult to be seen on account of the halo of brilliant splendour. So I asked my own Manes: ‘Who are these coming? They are much contented and duly worshipped. They are extremely joyous. You are not like these.’”
48The Pitris (Manes) said: Welfare unto thee. They are the meritorious Pitris of the great sage Subhadra. They have been propitiated (with the Tarpana rite, with gingelly seeds and water) by that sage, at the place where Mahi meets the ocean.
49It is the pJace where the holy river Mahi which comprises all the Tirthas merges with the ocean. There during Darsha (‘New-Moon day’) Subhadra performs the Tarpana rite of those persons, dear son.
50On hearing their words, I became much ashamed. I was struck with wonder. After bowing down to these Manes, I returned to my own abode.
51I thought thus: ‘I will go there surely where the river Mahi joins the ocean, which is well-known as Mahisagarasangama.
52I will make my hermitage there and perform the rite of Tarpana to my Pitris on every New-Moon day in the same manner as this Subhadraka of praiseworthy name.
53Of what avail is that sinner, the destroyer of his own family, if in spite of his being alive, his Pitris desire for other things?’
54-55After thinking thus, I joyously said to Ruci, my wife, “O Ruci, accompanied by you I will go to Mahisigarasangama and will stay there alone. Be disposed to come quickly. You are chaste, pure, and of noble birth. You are famous too. Hence, o splendid lady, it behoves you to do according to what has been thought of by me.”
56-59aRuci said: O Sinner, I have been (well nigh) killed by you, o pillar in a cremation ground! I would rather that he was not born; he, the wicked fellow, by whom I have been given to you (in marriage). Enough of you. Even with the diet of bulbous roots and fruits (your stomach) is not filled. You wish to take me there where only salt water is always obtained. You alone go there. Let your ancestors be delighted. O old man, you may go or stay like a crow for a long time.
59b-60When she said thus, I closed my ears. I directed (ordered) my disciple Vipula to look after my house and came
here alone, I take my holy bath here and perform the Tarpana rite to the Pitris with great reverence.
61I am now worried much like a sinner in hell. If I continue to stay here, I will be only Ardhadehadhara (‘having only half of the body’).
62-63A man without his wife is known as Ardhadeha (‘half bodied’). Just as without the Atman (i.e. one’s self) nothing can take place in the body, so also one without wife is not eligible for (performing) holy rites. A man who is very fondly attached to the bodies and wives is a brute.
64Only the fruit is to be reaped from these two. There is nothing essential or substantial in them. A half-bodied man is considered not worthy of being touched by good people.
65-68Uttama , the son of Uttanapada, was made Asprisya (‘not worthy of being touched’) by Suras. If I go there, there is no Mahisagara there. How can I even go? My feet do not move at all. In this dilemma of ignorance, my wounded mind is extremely distressed. Hence I have lost much of my sense. I feel extremely sorry. l lament and cry. On hearing his words full of emotion, Subhadra and I said, “Good! Good!” We prostrated in front of Mahisagara-Sangama.
69-70Both of us thought of the remedy on behalf of the sage. After attaining human birth which is as transient as a waterbubble, one should work for others. He alone is a genuine Purusa (man). Others are Purisakas (‘faeces’). Thereupon Subhadra thought well and said to the excellent sage:
71-72“O sage, do not be distressed and dejected. O Devasarma, be steady. l shall dispel your grief like the sun dispelling darkness. I shall go to my hermitage. You will not be laughed at (by anyone) here. Listen to the cause thereof. I shall perform the Tarpana to your Pitris on your behalf.”
73Devasarma said: May your life be a hundred years, since you speak thus. On my behalf and for my sake you wish to perform a great task which is (well nigh) impossible.
74-76In the place of delight, sorrow affects me again. Listen, good people do not take an auspicious statement in vain, o sage. How can I make you do this great rite in vain? Say, I shall say something whereby l can have expiation. You are adjured by my vital airs. Do as I suggest. I shall always perform Sraddha on the Darsha day, with your Pitris in view. I shall perform it in the meeting place of Ganga and the ocean. Here, you perform the same rite for my Pitris.
77I shall give you a fourth part of the penance accumulated by me in the course of this birth. Do it in this manner wone.
78Subhadra said: If you are satisfied in this way. let it be so, o great sage. Everything should be done by a person who knows in a manner whereby good people are delighted.
79-80Bhrigu said: Devasarma became delighted thereby. He offered a fourth of his merit repeating the offer thrice (in words). He went away to his place. Subhadra remained there. O Narada, Mahi-Sagarasangama is of this nature. On remembering it I experience a great thrill even now.
81-82Narada said: I heard this, o Phalguna, like a dead man obtaining nectar. I said with words choked due to delight to Bhrigu: “Excellent! Excellent! You and we shall go to the extremely splendid banks of Mahi. We shall look over the entire pJace, the excellent region.”
83On hearing my words, Bhrigu went along with me. The whole of the excessively meritorious bank of Mahi was seen.
84On seeing it I became excessively delighted with hair standing up all over the body. I spoke to the tiger (i.e. eminent) among sages with words choked with delight:
85-86“O Bhrigu, thanks to your grace, I shall make this abode very excellent. O Brahmana, may you be pleased to go to your abode. I shall think about what should be done.” After bidding adieu to Bhrigu thus, I sat on the bank of that river which had ripples and waves producing a tumultuous sound with great enthusiasm. Just as a yogin meditates on the Atman, I thought about my (subsequent) duties.