Essence Of
Kurma Purana


14    Triveni Sangama (Prayaga) Mahatmya

On the conclusion of Maha Bharata Battle at Kurukhsherta, Yuddishtara was crowned as the King, but a huge feeling of remorse haunted him as he was responsible for the killings of close relatives like grandfather-figures, Gurus, uncles, his own elder brother, first cousins and their sons apart from countless soldiers. He then expressed his wish to atone for the killings and requested Mahatma Markandeya to suggest the best way out perform ‘Prayaschitta’ or formal expiation as  per Vedic course. Markandeya readily suggested Prayaga Tirtha Darshana for the purpose of  penance and reparation. He stated that the Kshetra was protected against Evils by some sixty thousand Bows and Arrows in favour of Ganga and by Sabita Deva riding seven horses protecting River Yamuna while Devi Saraswati was flowing as ‘Antarvaahini’ or under ground-current at this famed Triveni Sanagamam or the Confluence of  the Three Rivers of Ganga-Yamuna-Saraswati. Markandeya also affirmed that Indra Deva along with Devas stayed at the Prayaga Kshetra and Vishnu himself protected the Prayaga Mandali. Further, Maha Deva himself secured Parayaga and the ‘Vata Vrikhsa’ or the Banyan Tree on its River-Banks. Indeed, a person who might have committed even a minute sin was not eligible to Moksha but let alone him or her committing high proportion of sins could be qualified for Salvation instantly:

Prayaagam smaranaamasya Sarvamaayaati Sankshamam,

Darshanaat tasya Tirthasya naama samkirtinaadapi,

Mrittikaa labhanaad vaapi Narah Paapaat Pramuchyatey/

(Prayaga Smarana or the very thought of Prayaga would suffice to unleash sins; Prayaga Darshana, Naama Samkirtana, or even a touch of the dust of Prayaga would destroy serious sins. There are Five Kundaas in the Confluence of Prayaga and each one of them were excellent points of Purification. If by mischance, a human being were to suffer diseases, taken to the ‘Triveni Sangama’ and died there, then transportation of Sun-Radiant Like Vimanas to Parama Pada. Markandeya stated further that Pitru oriented or even Self-oriented deeds must be accompanied by charities in the intermediate place of Ganga and Yamuna and such charities would have multiplier effect. Charity of a Kapila Cow with golden or silver covered horns and with clothing all over its body would have the Punya of accomplishing Rudra loka for thousand years! Markandeya warned those reaching Prayaga by a Vrishabha as they would be liable to reach Narakas. But auspicious deeds like weddings in the intermediate region of Ganga and Yamuna Sangam would avoid Narakas and assure joy for long long time. A person performing Snaana and severe / difficult Vrataas at the Sangam would reap the benefit of Ashwamedha and Rajasuya Yagnaas.  Along with the banks of Yamuna and Ganga are countless Tirthaas, each of which had a description to provide; for instance, Yamuna’s southern side two Maha Nagas called Kambal and Ashwatara who were Parama Bhaktas of Maha Deva stayed and sacred snaanaas at that Tirtha would wash off Maha Paapas. On Ganga’s eastern side there was a famed Sarva Saamudra Gahvara or Cave and those who could stay there for three days and nights observing Brahmacharya and mental control would secure Ashvamedha Yagna Punya. Another Tirtha named ‘Hamsaprapatana’ near Pratishthanapura and the belief was that Apsara Urvashi landed there by her Hamsa  and bathing there would fetch Yagna Phala. Then there was a very Sacred Koti Tirtha where if a person died then he or she would spend Swarga Loka for a crore of years. Siddha Kshetra on Ganaga banks near Prayaga is reputed as the one which provided salvation to human beings on Earth, to those in Pataala Lokas and also to Devas in Higher Lokas, thus the Tirtha was reputed as Tripathaga. Maharshi Markandeya emphasised Sangama Snaana in Magha Month for three days as that would secure passage to Higher Lokas. Another revelation was that those who could perform ‘Karishagni Seva’or Tapasya within a circle of flames of dried cow-dung at the Sangama Place would preserve his or her ‘Sarvaangaas’ in tact without any kind of illnesses through out their lives with physical  fitness! Yet another Tirtha on the nothern side of River Yamuna called ‘Runa Vimochana’ or freedom from indedtedness.

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