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Chapter 87

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Beholding the Pandavas afflicted with anxiety anddepressed in spirits, Dhaumya, who resembled Vrihaspati, spake thus,comforting them, ‘O bull of the Bharata race, O sinless one, listen to meas I mention certain sacred asylums and regions and tirthas and mountainsthat are approved of by Brahmanas. O king, listen to me as I speak,thyself with the daughter of Drupada and thy brothers, wilt, O lord ofmen, be relieved from grief. And, O son of Pandu, by hearing only ofthese places, thou wilt acquire merit. And by visiting them thou wiltobtain merit a hundred times greater, O best of men! First, O king, Iwill, so far as I recollect, speak of the beautiful eastern country, muchregarded, O Yudhishthira, by royal Rishis. In that direction, O Bharatais a place called Naimisha which is regarded by the celestials. There inthat region are several sacred tirthas belonging to the gods. There alsois the sacred and beautiful Gomati which is adored by celestial Rishisand there also in [possibly ‘is’?–JBH] the sacrificial region of thegods and the sacrificial stake of Surya. In that quarter also is thatbest of hills called Gaya, which is sacred and much regarded by royalascetics. There on that hill, is the auspicious lake called Brahmasarawhich is adored by celestial Rishis. It is for this that the ancients saythat one should wish for many sons, so that even one among them may visitGaya, celebrate the horse-sacrifice or give away a nila bull, and therebydeliver ten generations of his race up and down. There, O monarch, is agreat river, and spot called Gayasira. In Gayasira is a banian, which iscalled by the Brahmanas the Eternal banian, for the food that is offeredthere to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted one! The great river thatfloweth by the place is known by the name of Phalgu, and its waters areall sacred. And, O bull among the Bharatas, there also, in that place, isthe Kausiki, whose basin abounds in various fruit and roots, and whereViswamitra endued with wealth of asceticism acquired Brahmanahood.Towards that direction also is the sacred Ganga, on whose banksBhagiratha celebrated many sacrifices with profuse gifts (to Brahmanas).They say that in the country of Panchala, there is a wood called Utpala,where Viswamitra of Kusika’s race had performed sacrifices with his son,and where beholding the relics of Viswamitra’s superhuman power, Rama,the son of Jamadagni, recited the praises of his ancestry. At Kamyaka,Kusika’s son had quaffed the Soma juice with Indra. Then abandoning theKshatriya order, he began to say, I am a Brahmana.’ In that quarter, Ohero is the sacred confluence of Ganga and Yamuna which is celebratedover the world. Holy and sin-destroying, that tirtha is much regarded bythe Rishis. It is there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had,in olden days, performed his sacrifice, and it is for this, O chief ofthe Bharata race, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga. In thisdirection, O foremost of kings, lieth the excellent asylum of Agastya, Omonarch, and the forest called Tapasa, decked by many ascetics. And therealso is the great tirtha called Hiranyavinda on the Kalanjara hills, andthat best of mountains called Agastya, which is beautiful, sacred andauspicious. In that quarter, O descendant of the Kuru race, is themountain called Mahendra, sacred to the illustrious Rama of the Bhrigurace. There, O son of Kunti, the Grandsire performed sacrifices of yore.There, O Yudhishthira, the sacred Bhagiratha entereth a lake and therealso, O king, is that sacred river known by the name of themerit-bestowing Brahmasara, whose banks are inhabited by persons whosesins have been washed away, and whose sight alone produceth merit. Inthat direction also lieth the high-souled Matanga’s excellent asylum,called Kedara which is sacred and auspicious and celebrated over theworld. And there also is the mountain called Kundoda, which is sodelightful and abounding in fruits and roots and waters, and where theking of the Nishadhas (Nala) had slaked his thirst and rested for awhile. In that quarter also is the delightful Deva-vana which is gracedby ascetics. There also are the rivers Vahuda and Nanda on the mountain’screst. O mighty king, I have described unto thee all the tirthas andsacred spots in the Eastern quarter. Do thou now hear of the sacredtirthas, and rivers and mountains and holy spots in the other threequarters!'”

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