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Chapter 90

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Dhaumya continued, ‘O tiger among kings, I shall now describe thosetirthas and sacred spots that lie to the north. Do thou, O exalted one,listen to me attentively. By hearing this narration, O hero, oneacquireth a reverential frame of mind, which conduceth to much good. Inthat region is the highly sacred Saraswati abounding in tirthas and withbanks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the ocean-going andimpetuous Yamuna, and the tirtha called Plakshavatarana, productive ofhigh merit and prosperity. It was there that the regenerate ones havingperformed the Saraswata sacrifice, bathed on the completion there of. Osinless one, is the well-known celestial tirtha called Agnisiras, whichis productive of great merit. There king Sahadeva had celebrated asacrifice measuring out the ground by a throw of the Samya. It is forthis reason, O Yudhishthira, that Indra sang the praises of Sahadeva inverse. Those verses are still current in this world, being recited by theregenerate ones, e. g., on the Yamuna Sahadeva worshipped the sacrificialfire, with gifts in a hundred thousands to Brahmanas. There theillustrious king, the imperial Bharata, performed five and thirtyhorse-sacrifices. O child, we have heard that Sarabhanga of yore used tofully gratify the desires of the regenerate ones. There in this region ishis celebrated asylum productive of great merit. In that region also, Oson of Pritha, is the river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by thegod, where, in days of yore, the Valikhilyas, O great king, performedsacrifices. In that region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known riverDrisadwati, which is productive of great merit. Then, O chief of men, areNyagrodhakhya, and Panchalya, and Punyaka and Dalbhyaghosha, and Dalbhya,which are, O son of Kunti, the sacred asylum in the world of illustriousAnandayasas of excellent vows and great energy, and which are celebratedover the three worlds. Here also, O lord of men, the illustrious Etavarnaand Avavarana versed in the Vedas, learned in Vedic lore, and proficientin the knowledge of Vedic rites, performed meritorious sacrifices, Ochief of the Bharata race! There also is Visakhayupa to which, in days ofyore, came the gods with Varuna and Indra, and practised asceticausterities. And therefore is that spot so eminently sacred. Here also isPalasaka, where the great and illustrious and highly blessed RishiJamadagni performed sacrifices. There all the principal rivers in theirembodied forms taking their respective waters stood surrounding that bestof sages. And there also, O monarch, Vibhavasu (fire) himself, beholdingthat high-souled one’s initiation, sang the following sloka: ‘The rivercoming to the illustrious Jamadagni while sacrificing unto the godsgratified the Brahmanas with offerings of honey.’ O Yudhishthira, thespot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains whichis frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, andinhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara. O king,Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also thetirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred. There also is themountain named Puru which is resorted to by great Rishis and wherePururavas was born, and Bhrigu practised ascetic austerities. For this itis, O king, that asylum hath become known as the great peak ofBhrigutunga. Near that peak is the sacred and extensive Vadari, thathighly meritorious asylum, famed over the three worlds, of him, O bull ofthe Bharata race, who is the Present, the Past and the Future, who iscalled Narayana and the lord Vishnu, who is eternal and the best of malebeings, and who is pre-eminently illustrious. Near Vadari, the coolcurrent of Ganga was formerly warm, and the banks there were overspreadwith golden sands. There the gods and Rishis of high fortune andexceeding effulgence, approaching the divine lord Narayana, alwaysworship him. The entire universe with all its tirthas and holy spots isthere where dwelleth the divine and eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul,for he is Merit, he is the Supreme Brahma, he is tirtha, he is theascetic retreat, he is the First, he is the foremost of gods, and he isthe great Lord of all creatures. He is eternal, he is the great Creator,and he is the highest state of blessedness. Learned persons versed in thescriptures attain to great happiness by knowing him. In that spot are thecelestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and, indeed, all the Rishis,–wheredwelleth the slayer of Madhu, that primeval Deity and mighty Yogin! Letno doubt enter thy heart that that spot is the foremost of all holyspots. These, O lord of earth, are the tirthas and sacred spots on earth,that I have recited, O best of men! These all are visited by the Vasus,the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Marutas, the Aswins and the illustriousRishis resembling the celestials themselves. By journeying, O son ofKunti, to those places, with the Brahmanas and ascetics that are withthee and with thy blessed brothers, thou wilt be freed from anxiety!”

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