Essence Of
Kurma Purana


20    Tirtha Mahima: Gaya, Pushkara, Sarasvata, Kaalanjara and many other Tirthas

Romaharshana (Veda Vyasa) addressing the Sages at Naimisha Forest provided brief descriptions of several Tirthas and a few of them are mentioned here-below:


Gayaa Tirtham param guhyam Pitrunaam chaativallabham,

Krutwaa pinda pradaanam tu na bhuyovjaayatey narah/

Sakrud Gayaabhigamanam krutwaa pidam dadaati yah,

Taaritam tarastena yaasyanti Paramaa Gatim/

(Gaya Kshetra is one of the most beloved Tirthaas of Pitru Devataas and human beings who offer Pindas to Pitras have no rebirth. Even if once the sacred deed of ‘Pinda Pradana’ is executed at Gaya, Pitraas would be freed from Narakaas and are forwarded to Parama Gati.). At Gaya the most hallowed signs of Rudra Deva’s feet are imprinted on a Stone and offering Pindaas there would most certainly bless the Karta and redeem the Pitraas. Even while a person  is in a position to visit Gaya and perform the Pinda Pradana, he is lazy or careless and  the Pitras would feel disgruntled and dissatisfied. The Pitraas woud avow:

Yadi syaat paatakopetah swaadharmarati varjitah,

Gayaam yaasyati yah kaschit sosmaan santaarayishyati/

(Even if a person in my Vamshaa were highly sinful for any reason and did not observe ‘Swadharama’ but had visited Gayan Tirth and gave away Pinda Pradana, he would still be liberated!).

Prabhasa: is a Holy Place where Bhgavan Shri Krishna and Yadava Chiefs spent the last months of their lives there. Worship at that Kshetra by way of Snaana, Tapa, Shraaddha and Brahmana Puja would have lasting benefits including Uttama Loka Prapti. Traiyambaka Tirtha is worshipped by Devas and ‘Rudraaraadhana’at the Jyotir Linga there would bestow Jyotishtoma Yajna phala; ‘Aaraadhana’ of Kapardi and ‘Suvarnaaksha’ Maha Deva would yield Gaanapatya Pada prapti. Someshwara Linga Tirtha and puja there grants Sarva Vyadhi Nivaarana or relief from all kinds of diseases. Vijaya Tirtha housing Vijaya Maheshwara Linga is known for a Six-month long day-time Upavaasa ending with Evening worship would grant Parama Gati. Ekaamra Kshetra is famed for Shankara in the banks of Maha Nadi especially during Eclipse Timings; Snaanaas and worship would secure devotees the Ganapatya Phala and Kingship in their instant lives. Viraja Nadi Snaana assures of Brahma Loka; Purushottama Kshetra puja of Narayana grants of Vishnu Loka Prapti; Gokarneshwara Lingaabhisheka with milk and bilwa secures Shiva Sayujya.  

Pushkara Tirtha: The unique Tirtha of Brahma is widely renowned in the World as Pushkara whose mere thought is enough to secure a wipe-out of sins and ensure an access to Brahma Loka. It is believed that  besides human beings, Deva-Gandharva-Yaksha-Naaga-Raakshasa-Siddhas were constantly engaged in the worship of Parameshthi Brahma Deva and when one worshipped at the Tirtha. Indra darshan too is available at the Tirtha besides fulfillment of wishes and also of Brahma Loka Prapti.

Saptasaaraswata Tirtha is a well known Place of Shiva worship that is stated to fetch Ashwamedha Yagna Phala. The belief was that one Muni named Manganaka who was an unparalleled Shiva Bhakta excelled in the constant Japa of the Panchaakshari Mantra of Om Namah Shivaaya  for several years and started performing Shiva Tandava with ecstacy. Shankara once approached the Muni and asked for the reason of his excessive joy and an over confident Muni replied that his happiness was due to his devotion of Shiva and the effect of constant Panchaakshari Japa. Shiva decided that the Muni became arrogant and decided to show down the Muni; he surpassed the Muni’s Tandava and revealed himself with thousand heads, eyes and feet with fire all round and fearful. The Muni got frightened and intensified his Rudraadhaaya Japa and prostrated before Maha Deva. The latter then cooled down and having embraced the Muni rewarded him with his vision of Tripurasamhaara Maheshwara along with Devi Parvati. Maha Deva then warded off the Muni’s terror and explained about himself to the Muni:

Aham Sahasra nayanah Sarvaatmaa Sarvao mukhah,

Daahakah Sarva paapaanaam Kaalah Kaalaaro Harah/

Mayaiva preryatey krutsnam Cheanaachetanaatmakam,

Sontaryaami sa Purusho hyaaham vai Purushottamah/

Tasya saa Paramaa Maayaa Prakritistrigunmaatmikaa,

Prochatey Munibhih Shaktirjagardyonih Sanaatani/

Sa yesha Maayayaa Vishwam Vyaamohayati Vishwavit,

Naraayanah Paro Vyakto Maayaarupa iti Shrutih/

Yevamekajjagat Sarvam Sarvadaa Sthaaapa-yamyaham,

Yojayaami PrakrityaahamPurusham Pancha vimshikam/

( I am the thousand faced and thousand eyed Sarvaatma who demolishes sins of my devotees; I am Kaala as also the Creator of Kaala; it is through me that the Chetana ( Conscious and fully aware) or Achetana or unaware Jagat gets materialised. I am the Antaryami or the Hidden Purushottama whose Prakriti Rupa of Three Gunas is called Maya the captivator and whom Munis realise as Sanatatana Shakti which is the the root cause of the Universe. I am the Sarvajna Purusha who through the Maya Shakti mesmerises and whom Shritis acclaim as the Narayana, Para and Avyakta. This is how I establish the World and act as a catalyst of Prakriti in creating the Maha Tatwa which in turn was the product of the Twenty Five Tatvas.)---

Evametaani Tatwaani Pradhaana Purusheswaraah,

Vishnu Brahmaacha Bhagavaan Rudrah Kaala iti Shrutihi/

Trayamedanaadyantam Brahmanyeva Vyavasthitam,

Tadaatmakam Tadavyaktam Tadaksharamiti Shrutih/

Atmaanandaparam Tatwam Chinmaatram Paramam Padam,

Aakaasham Nishkalam Brahma tasmaayanna Vidyatey/

( This is how all these Tatwaas are of Pradhaana Purusheswara. Shrutis confirmed that the three Entities of Vishnu, Brahma and Kaala Rudra are manifested out of the same Parama Purusha who was Avyakta /Unknown, Akshara Imperishable, Atmaananda Swarupa, Parama Tatwa, Chinmaya, Parama pada Rupa, Aakaasha Rupa and Nishkala (Spotless) Brahma and none else. In fact, there is none and nothing else beyond!). Manganaka Muni heard every word of Maha Deva, who blessed the Muni to secure Shiva Loka.

Kalanjara Tirtha: A King named Shweta at Kalanjara was a passionate devotee of Rudra Deva and having formally installed a Linga with high dedication worshipped for several years. On one auspicious day Maha Deva granted his appearance but as a scary and dancing Figure with a Trishula in his powerful hands with garlands of  human skulls and serpents; the Rajarshi got startled and holding the Shiva Linga tight recited ‘Shata Rudriya’ loudly with disbelief and shock. Shiva consoled the King and transformed himself into a peaceful Swarupa along with Devi Parvati as the King prayed to him still in a trance:

Namo Bhavaaya hetavey Haraaya Visdhwa sambhavey,

Namah Shivaaya dheematey namopavarga daayine/

Namo namo namostutey Mahaa Vibhutaye namah,

Vibhaagarupiney namo Naraadhipaaya/ 

Namostutey Ganeshwara prapanna duhkha naashana,

Anaadi nithya bhutaye Varaaha shringa dhaariney/

Namo Vrishabhadhwajaaya tey Kapaala maaliney namah,

Namo Mahaa nataaya tey namo Vrishabhadhwajaya tey/

(Salutations to Bhava the Cause and Creation of  the World; Hara; the bestower of Moksha; Maha Vibhuti Swarupa or of Manifestations and Faculties of Shiva; the Destroyer of Sorrows of those dedicated to him; You are the one without beginning and termination and indivisible too; You are the Shringa or horn of the  Varaharupa (with which Bhu Devi was rescued from Rasaatala); You are the wearer of skulls as garlands and Vrishabha Vahana). As the Prayer was over, Maha Deva granted ‘Ganapatya’or the Status of the Chief of ‘Ganaas’. Such was the background of Kalanjara Tirtha, where ‘Shiva -Araadhana’was stated to be of immence consequence.

Other Sacred Tirthaas: Mahaalaya is a Secret Tirtha where a ‘Shilaatala Charana’ or the Sacred Feet of Maha Shiva got materialised as a proof and warning to Nastiks or Non-Believers and is continued as a Maha Tirtha where ash-smeared bodied Bhaktas engaged in recitations of ‘Maha Nyasa’ are visible to date.  Kedara Kshetra continues to attract  global attention, despite natural deterrents of snow and other difficulities of access on high- altitude where Vrishaketu Maha Deva Linga is venerated with singular devotion after taking bath in the Kshetra, besides performing Shraaddhas, Daanaas and other ‘Karmas’ with great sense of endurance and fulfillment. Godavari and Kaveri River Banks are dotted with Kshetras where Pitru Tarpanas and Shraddhas are performed on all occasions like Eclipses and ‘Parva Dinas’of localised popularity besides being the Halllowed Places of ‘Nimajjanaas’or formal immersionsof human ashes adfter deaths. Brahma Tirtha enjoys international fame for Pitru Karyas like Shraddhas and Brahma Puja, where Sacred River Saraswati literally goes under ground and provides glimpses at intermittent places like Prayaga Sangama before merging into the Ocean ; the much famed Vyasa Tirtha in a mountain cave exists as per belief from where Vyasa Muni scripted Maha Bharata while noted by Ganeshwara himself from a nearby cave by telepathy. Maanasa Sarovara snaana is stated to result in ‘Indra’s Arthaasana’ or of half of Indra’s half throne. This is a popular Mountain of extraordinary vegetation and natural surroundings of medicinal properties and there is a strong belief that bathing in the Pushkarini near by would wash off ‘Brahma Hatya Maha Pataka’or the heinous sin of killing a Brahmana; the Puranic belief was that Indra who killed Vritrasura a Brahmana suffered the chase of Brahma Hatya ‘Paapa’ Devi who could not locate Indra hiding in the stem of a lotus flower  inside the Sarovara and that was how the disappearance of Indra led the temporary crowning of King Nahusha as Indra as the former performed ninty nine Ashwamedhas; the qualifier to become Indra was to perform hundred such Yagnas. On reaching Badarikaashrama, human beings would have got rid of sins typical of  Kali Yuga. This is the hallowed Kshetra where Nara-Narayana Mahashris stayed and performed great Tapasyas. Also, Badari had been the spot that Mahadeva as particularly fond of. Also, Badari is the Place where Pitru Pujas are immensly valuable as the process of redemption to Pitras is stated to be  quick and effective.

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