|41 Tirtha Yatras’ (Visits to Holy Rivers and Pilgrim Centers)|
Deva Varaha narrated the importance of pilgrimages to select ‘Thirthas’to Bhu Devi,
apparently as a component of human endeavour to realise ‘Paramatma’ in various ways and means through manifestations such as Deities, Holy Tirthas, Temples and Virtuous deeds. On the aspect of Holy Tirthas, He described the value of worship and faith as the two solid pillars of devotion as a firm stepping stone to realise the Almighty. Indeed there are any numbers of Pilgrim Centers, but made a selection of such Tirthas as have special reference to Vishnu-related ones:
Once a fisherman caught a massive fish in a big Lake called Kokamukha Tirtha and a kite lifted the prey but could not hold it properly and as the fish slipped on ground, a handsome prince emerged from the fish. Almost simultaneously the fisherman’s wife brought pieces of meat to catch fish and as a kite took away the plate of meat the fisherman killed the kite with his arrows and there emerged a charming Princess claiming that she was from Chandrapur.The Prince and the Princess were married and as both of them had memories of their previous births recalled the strange story, thanks to the sanctity of the Kokamukha Tirtha. [The strong belief is that Kikhamukha was the confluence of Rivers of Koka and Kosi (Kousiki) running from Nepal on the Western District of Purnea in Bihar. The river is known in Nepal as Sun-Kosi (Swarna Kausiki). The ancient Kokamukhi Tirtha or Varaha Kshetra is situated on the banks of Sun Kosi now called Baraha Chhatra or the corrupted form of Varaha Kshetra]
Bhagavan Varaha depicted the prominence of Kokamukhi Tirtha to Bhu Devi: An overnight stay on the banks of a River ‘Jalabindu’ performing fast and worship to Vishnu would fetch the knowledge of previous births! An overnight stay and bath at the ‘Vishnudhara’ waterfall in the Khoka region would yield the ‘Punya’ of performing thousand Agnishthomas’. Worship of Vishnu for three days and nights by fasting and Tarpans at ‘Vishnupada Sthan’ or area reserved at Krouncha Dweep.Early morning baths in a ‘Sarovar’from where Bhu Devi was pulled up by the tusks of Varaha Deva would completely wash off the sins of persons of the current birth. A five night penance near the ‘Pancha Shilas’or Five Rocks dedicated to Vishnu would reveal the path to ‘Gomed Dwipa’.There was a Thunga-Kut named mountain with four ‘Shikars’in the Koka Region and a night long stay and bath would pave the way for Kusha Dwipa. Likewise, there were several Punya Kshetras in and around the holiest Kokamukhi Tirtha; penance, prayers, river bathing and homams etc. would confer various blessings. Termination of life in the Holy Region would bestow life in ‘Parama Lokas’. He who reads or hears about the Kokamukha Tirtha also confers effective means of attaining higher lokas.
On top of Himalayas is situated the inaccessible Badari Tirtha which is the abode of Badarinath Narayana. It is at this Holy Place that the illustrious ‘Brahmakund’is situated where a person bathing on three days on fast succsessively provides the benefit of executing ‘Agnishtoma’ or the ‘Homa’/ oblation to Fire God. Performance of ‘Krucchavrat’ before ‘Pranathyaag’ or termination of life might qualify a person to attain Brahmalok or even Vishnu lok! At the Bararikashram, Tapsya at a place named Agnikunda would please Narayana Himself. At the Place famous as ‘Pancha Shila’in the Tirtha, it is believed that Vishnu assumes the form of ‘Himagni’ and overnight fast and worship at the Agnikunda entitles the advantage of achieving Ashvemedha Yagnya. There are Five Shikharas at Badri Mountain and five waterfalls at a place known as Pancha Shikha. If one recites ‘Panchakshari’ at the Spot a devotee could enter Swarga Loka gardens for some time and if he dies there he would reside at that Place for good. Similarly there are many other Places of spiritual significance at Badri Kshetra like Chathustothra, Veda dhara where Brahma recited the Vedas first, Dwadasaadithya Kund, Lokpalak Kshetra where Vishnu appointed Lokpals; Sthulakund where Mountain Top is split and Bhagavan Narayana created Soma Deva as worship on Jyeshtha Sukla Dwadasi on that day is considered extremely propitious; also Meruvar was the Place where Vishnu created Meru Parvat; ‘Panchashir’ where Lord Brahma’s Fifth Head was plucked as a punishment; ‘Somabhishek’ where Vishnu appointed as Soma the Chief of Brahmanas; and ‘Urvasi Kund’ where Apsara Urvashi was born from Vishnu’s right thigh. Varaha Deva thus described the prominence of Badari Kshetra as one of the most Sacred Spots that Narayana Himself feels delighted to stay.
Situated at the foothills of Vindhya Mountain, Mandara Tirtha has unique qualities. Named after the charming Mandara flower, its tree in the Tirtha is visible on Dwadasi and Chaturdasi days of a month. If one takes bath in a nearby waterbody and performs sincere meditation, the person concerned attains ‘Mukti’. A sacred kshetra named ‘Vaikuntha karak’to the north of the Tirtha leads one to a waterfall full of yellow colour like turmeric powder; it is believed that a night’s stay after bath gives an experience of the company of ‘Apsaras’ (Celestial damsels).Some places nearby the Mandara Tirtha are Prapan, Modan and Vaikunthakaran; it is believed that stay and penance at these places till death blesses the persons with Swarga. Not far from the Mandara Mountain, a sacred place known as ‘Syamanta Panchak’, there are rock formations like Chakra (wheel), Gada (mace), Shankha (Conch) and Musal (plough)!
Sage Shanlankayan of Yadu Vamsa performed rigorous Tapasya to Rudra Deva to beget a son of Universal fame. Without realising that by the grace of Rudra and Vishnu, a boy of great brilliance named Nandiswara was already born since the Sage continued the Tapasya roaming from one place to another. Finally he settled for further Tapasya under a Sal Tree at Shalagram. On a Vaisakha month’s Dwadasi, Vishnu blessed the Sage with His ‘Saakshatkaar’ (appearance) and conveyed that a highly virtuous boy named Nandiswara was already manifested with the combined grace of Himself and Rudra and was growing at ‘Vraja’ Bhumi near Mathura. The Sacred Tree and the Sacred Tirtha became renowned eversince then and the Sage was overwhelmed by the excellent and relentless Tapasya executed by him as Vishnu and Rudra both blessed him to immortality. In this Holy Region of Shalagram, there are fifteen Kshetras, but the best known is that of Varaha Deva. The other Sacred Places were Bilvaprabha, Chakraswami, Vishnupada, Kaalihrida, Swayambrabha, Gadakund, Agniprabha, Sarvayudha, Devaprabha, Vidyadhara, Punyanadi, Devahlaad and so on.
Situated on the Himalayan range, Go Nishkraman Tirtha has ancient reputation. Bhagavan Vishnu arranged to bring down the progeny of seventy cows of Surabhi the celestial cow to bathe in their milk the Lord Shiva, as the latter was cursed by a Sage called Aurva to go about restless and extremely thirsty all over the world; Lord Shiva entered the Sage’s Ashram (Hermitage) once and the trees and fruits turned into ash by the heat of Shiva’s presence in the Ashram and hence the curse. Eventually, Lord Shiva’s restlessness, body heat and thirst disappeared and the Sacred Place became illustrative. Devotees taking bath in the heavy waterfall which had five streams provides extraordinary freshness and mental peace; it is stated that a person who takes bath and observes fast for five nights achieves the ‘Punya’ of performing five Yajnas, apart from burning off the sins accumulated. In this very Tirtha, there is a hallowed Kshetra, called ‘Panchapad’where there are five massive stones and another huge stone inside a sacred waterbody. Also there are other Kshetras reputed as Brahmapad, Vishnupad, Kotivati, Vishnusar and Gosthalak. On Karthika Sukla Dwadasi, devotees take bath and observe fast bestows the benefit of Three Vajapeya Yajnas near the water at Brahmapada. At Vishnusar and a nearby ‘Agaath’(deep vallley) seen from the precipice of the mountain, there is a ‘Mandalakar’ (Rounded) place for doing ‘Parikramas’ (Circumambulation) and the number of steps taken in the last Parikrama before the death would ensure so many years of reverence in Brahmaloka! Most significantly, the pilgrims could disinctly hear the high pitched voices of cows at the Gosthalak Kshetra!
Sthutaswami (Krishna) Tirtha
Varaha Deva prophesied to Bhu Devi that in Dwapar Yuga, Lord Krishna would be born to Devaki and Vasudeva and exterminates countless Danavas and Cruel Kings. Five Great Sages would be the Stuthaswami’s (Krishna’s) followers viz. Shandilya, Gaargil, Kapila, Upashayak and Bhrigu. Some five kosas from Mathura is situated the Sthutaswami Teertha and is famed to absolve the sins of devotees by bathing in it with earnestness. Besides the Five Sages aforementioned, the Sthutaswami would be prayed to by Baladev, Pradyumna and Anirudha. Varaha Deva also prophesied that by sheer force of unfailing faith and Bhakti (Devotion) the Virtuous would take firm steps to salvation, while sheer jealousy and ego would be the dominant factors among the vicious persons like Demons and demonaic Kings taking them to their ruin; indeed the most prominent feature of the Yuga Dharma of Tretha Age! The Stutaswami Tirtha has a ‘Bhutagiri’mountain nearby where there are metal-made Idols of Lord Krishna of indestructible nature; an interesting custom prevailing in the Region had been that the top (head) and bottom (feet) portions oft the Krishna Idols of Metals are woshipped in awe with flowers, Sandal paste and camphor lighting, where as the middle portion of the Idols, especially under the chin and neck are touched or fondled with affection and nearness of a family member! In the same Region, there are ‘Pancharuna’ kshetra, ‘Bhrigu Kund’, ‘Manikunda’ and ‘Dhootpap’, each one of these Places possessing their own sanctity and experiences of devotees.
In the entire Life Story of Dwapara Avataar Krishna, the Dwapara Kshetra occupies a vital role. Dwaraka was materialised by Vishvakarma on the architectural pattern of Indrapuri of Indra himself and the citizens of Mathura were stated to have been moved out in sleep into the luxurious beds of the glorious mansions of Dwaraka![ The overnight transfer was stated to have been caused to avoid Krishna / Balarama’s clashes with Jarasandha and his associated Yavans of foreign origin, since Jarasandha was destined to die in Bhimasena’s hands and Yavans were destined to be destroyed by Muchukunda, son of Mandhata] The heights of popularity of Dwaraka were witnessed under the Rule of Yadu Vamsies with the rock like support of Krishna and Bala Deva. At the same time, the termination of the Vamsa too had to be witnessed by Krishna and Bala Rama pursuant to the curse of Great Sage Durvasa as he was annoyed with the light-moment pranks of some misdirected Yadu youth as to whether a boy disguised as a girl would deliver a boy or a girl and pat came the Sage Durvasa’s reply that he would deliver an iron rod. Even after converting the rod into particles submerged into the Sea, the members of the clan killed each other as a result of the curse excepting those who left Dwaraka for Prabhasa Kshetra. Besides Dwaraka, Panchasar is a reputed Kshetra where a stay of six days continuously would provide unprecedented enjoyment and death at that place is said to bless the soul to reach ‘Swarga’. In the same Region of Panchasar, there is a famous Peepul Tree whose fruits are not available to each and everybody, but a person lucky to secure the fruit is stated to secure Parama Siddhi after his life. Prabhasa is the most significant Kshetra, where in the days of yore, or perhaps even now to some extent, it is difficult to meet those who are obsessed with passion and envy. Those who take bath in the Sea are never disturbed by thousands of crocodiles; more interestingly, if persons offer ‘Pindas’ to forefathers at this place and tender the Pindas to crocodiles, the latter accept the offerings from the Virtuous persons but reject from the others the same outright! There are other important Places too in the Dwaraka / Panchasar Kshetras like Panchakund, Brahmasangaman, Hamsakund, Kadamba, Chakra Tirth, Raivatak, Vishnusamkraman etc. all around Manipur Mountain.
Varaha Deva was so fond of Mathura Kshetra that He told Bhu Devi: ‘Na Vidyatey cha Pataaley Naantharikshey Na Maanushey, Samathvam Mathuraaya hi Priyam mama Vasundharey’! (Devi Prithvi! Neither the Human World, nor the Higher Worlds nor Patala could be compared with Mathura!) Whatever godsends are secured from the worships of Magha Amavasyas at ‘Prayaga’ are achieved every day at Mathura; the boons equal to penance and bathing at ‘Kurukshetra’ during Sun elipses is as good as a day’s stay at Mathura; ‘Varanasi’s’ stay a life time is like a day’s stay at Mathura and the ‘Punya’ of penance and bathing at Pushkar Tirtha during the entire Karthik month is like a day’s stay at Mathura! River Yamuna at Mathura is far more sacred than Ganga, said Varaha Deva and in the same vein He said that Yamuna at Prayag is hundred times more sacred than Ganga. Devotees taking bath at ‘Avimuktha’ Kshetra are blessed to reach Vaikuntha. Also those fortunate to take baths at ‘Vishranthi’ Kshetra are considered as worship-worthy in Vaikuntha. Indeed, the hallowed baths at Vishranti are far more superior to Yajnas, Tapas, Dhyan and Samyam or control of Senses. Three sincere ‘Pradakshinas’of Gathasram Deva at Vishranti are like a stay in Vaikuntha. Bathing at ‘Kankhal’ Tirtha in the vicinity of Mathura is like enjoying the undisclosed happiness of Indraloka. Likewise, Dhruva Tirtha is popular for performing ‘Pitru karyas’ or Shradhs and Tarpans; Rishi Tirtha, Moksha Tirtha, and Koti Tirtha are known for giving away charities. Bodhi Tirtha is well known for ‘Pinda daans’. Evidently, Mathura’s uniqueness is due to Krishna’s birth at this consecrated land! In the days of yore, the entire area was the most hallowed place where Lord Krishna’s escapades in childhood ought to have been lapped up in the contemporary period like the killings of countless Demons, lifting of Govardhan Mountain by a child’s little finger, controlling Varuna Deva by providing shelter to the people around, besides His personal and mystifying charm, Rasaleelas, full display of Maya and all the rest. Little wonder that Vishnu Himself incarnated as Krishna and demonstrated how magnificent was the power of Almighty and how mean and low that humanity in some parts would have stooped to.
Around Mathura, there are twelve Sacred Tirthas viz. Madhuvan, Taalvan, Kundanvan, Kaamyakvan, Bahulavan, Bhadravan, Khadirvan, Mahavan, Lokajanghavan, Bilvavan, Bhaandiravan, and finally Brindavan. Each of these Tirthas has its one distinct and sacrosanct nature and popularity.
There lived a ‘Vaisya’ (merchant) of virtue at Mathura with his wife Susheela, but they had no offspring. She was taking bath in ‘Sangam’ (Prayag) and found children playing with joy and happiness while swimming. She was overtaken by grief as she had no children, when a Sage asked the couple to worship Lord Siva of Gokarna. After a few years, the couple were blessed with a boy whom they named Gokarna.After Gokarna grew and was married, he also did not beget a child and was involved in charity for considerable time. He had then taken to his Vysya profession and decided to go out in search of fortune. On way, he found a Divine Parrot in a cage carried by its Master and was impressed by its knoledge. The parrot said that in his previous birth he was a learned person named Sukodar but was cursed by a Sage Sukhadev who had however agreed to let Sukodar to retain his memory and knowledge in his next birth aslo. The Master of the parrot agreed to give the bird away, provided Gokarna’s virtues of past good deeds were transferred to the Master. Meanwhile, the ship got caught in a cyclone and wrecked in an island and the Captain and crew said that the person responsible was Gokarna and his sins. The parrot felt bad about its Master and flew away to perform worship at a Vishnu Temple where a few Divine birds along with Jatayu their Chief were present; the divine birds decided to help the Master. The parrot showed the way, rescued the Master and took Gokarna to the Vishnu Temple, where he did worship and Tarpans. There were Divine Women too in the Temple who were also sympathetic and allowed Gokarna to stay in the Temple as long as he wished. The parrot flew to Gokarna’s parents and conveyed about the welfare of Gokarna. Meanwhile the wrecked ship too was repaired and set sailing again. But the Divine women were sad as the King of Ayodhya decided to destroy the gardens at Mathura; the Parrot tried to negotiate and the decision to destroy the beautiful Mathura Gardens was reversed. The parents of Gokarna were united with him who constructed a beautiful Suka Deva temple of Lord Shiva in the memory of the illustrious Parrot. A grand Yajna was performed and Go Daan as also many charities were performed and eventually a highly Sacred Gokarna Kshetra came to emerge as a renowned Tirtha.
Mayapuri (Haridwar) Tirtha-A glorious incident of Vishnu Maya
There was a highly religious Brahmana named Somasharma at Mayapuri who was an extremely dedicated devotee of Narayana. For a long time, the Brahmana executed uninterrupted Tapas, Karma, Bhakti and unique prayers to Bhagavan who had finally appeared before him and asked for any boon that he desired. The Brahmana said that one kept on hearing about Vishnu Maya in various ways and that he wanted to actually experience that ‘Maya’. The Lord replied that if the Brahmana was so intensively enamoured of a glimpse of Maya, then he should go bathe at a Kubjamarak Tirtha in Ganga; Bhagavan said to Himself that He would furnish to him a Maya titled ‘Lomaharshini Rohini’. As soon as Somasharma took a dip in the Ganges, he entered a Nishad girl’s ‘Garbha’ (belly) and felt aggrieved that having carried out such Tapasya and accomplished the impossible Darshan ( Vision) of Maha Vishnu, was it not a twist of fate to have insisted on Bhagavan to experience a glimpse of Vishnu Maya! What a miserable experience this that a wreched Nishad woman would be his mother after a detestable experience of nine months with three hundred bones through nine ‘dwaras’
(doors), blood, excretion, horrible odour and physical hardship! ‘Why did I ask a boon like this hey Madhava, after all my spiritual and devotional life?’ After the delivery, the baby did not have any memory of Somasharma’s past and grew up as a lovely Nishad girl, got married, begot children and after fifty years, by virtue of Vishnu Maya, took bath in Ganges one day and got converted as a hermit, sitting with the same form of Somasharma but got utterly confused as there was an identity crisis. A few Brahmanas told the hermit that they were searching him for the entire day and were happy to see him back.Then prompted by an inner voice, Somasharma went back to Kubjamarak Tirtha, pulled his head down, turned back to normalcy and got back his memory. Lord Vishnu appeared before Somasharma again and after the latter’s ‘Prana Tyag’he left for the ‘Sweta Deepa’. Those who read this account of ‘Vishnu Maya’ would certainly avoid rebirths in the families of the vicious and despicable, but to a woman of high merit and blessing.
Kubjaamrak Tirtha (Hrishikesh)
Varaharupa Vishnu described to Bhu Devi about the magnitude of Kubjaamrak Tirtha’s greatness and the highly propitious baths in Ganga leading to indescribable merits. In the seventeenth Kalpa, Brahma granted boons of invincibility to two Demon brothers named Madhu and Kaitabha who were tricked to death by mutual destruction and created Prithvi afresh. He then looked around to see the most revered Maha Tapasvi Rebhya engrossed in meditation for thousand years with his hands held high. Being extremely pleased at the Sage’s dedication, Vishnu leaned a hand on the branch of a Mangoe tree and the branch got bent by the weight of His hand; the Sage noticed the Lord’s presence and broke into spontaneous euology instantly and performed ‘Saashtanga Namaskar’ with his entire body falling on the ground. He requested Narayana to bestow him the boon of making Hrishikesh a popular Tirtha. Kubjaamrak is of Kumudaakar or Lotus shaped. Bathing in Ganga especially in the months of Karthik, Margaseersh, and Vishakh is considered excellent. In this area, there is a Manasik Tirtha reputed for Devi Vishaalanetri and the belief is that after death, the person is born into a Vishaal vamsa with large family and long standing reputation and prosperity. Another Tirtha is named ‘Maya’ where bathing in Ganga would certainly bring in reputation and contentment. At ‘Purnamukha’ Tirtha, Ganga water is cool and transparent and visitors prefer bathing here in summer season, preferably on Marga Sukla Paksha Dwadasi. ‘Karaveer’ Tirtha’s bathing in Ganges confers jumping kind of happiness, while Pundarika Tirtha bathing gives ‘Yajna phal’or the fruit of executing Sacrifices. Penances at ‘Agni Tirth’ grant the boon of Ashvamedha Yajna. At ‘Vayavya Tirtha’, Pitra Karyas or Tarpanas to Ancestors are performed; also shaking off an Asvathh Tree on the banks of Ganges for its leaves provides Parameswar Gyan, if the tree branch shaking is performed on twelve Dwadashis. Ganga assumes different colours in Seasons at the ‘Saptasaamudrik’Tirtha, some times in white like milk, some times yellow, yet another time blood red, or of ‘Marakatha’Mani!
Gokarneshwar Tirthas of Rudra Deva
While Varaha Deva delineated the prominence of Vishnu oriented Tirthas as above to Bhu Devi, Sage Sanatkumar the ‘Manasa Putra’ (Mind-born son) of Lord Brahma approached the Lord and expressed happiness about the termination of Demon Tarakasura by Maha Deva as the whole World was rid of the menace, especially by Indra and Devas. But Sanatkumara felt that one mystery was still nagging in his mind as to why there were three Gokarneswara Tirthas, one the North Gokarna, another the Dakshina Gokarna and the third was Shringeswara. Lord Brahma explained the background in some detail: The Northern Peak of Mandarachal Mountain known as Munjavan is picturesque where a Nandana Garden existed with most alluring surroundings of glittering precious stones and heaven-like ambience of streams, flowers and fruits where Devas made their temporary resting places and so did Celestial Beings like Kinnaras who sang their sweetest tunes and performed their dances. Most significantly, Maha Deva used to often grace the Place in the form of ‘Sthanu Parameswara’.In the subsequent Treta Yuga, a Maha Muni called Nandi carried out a rigorous Tapasya for thousand years experiencing icy cold and extreme heat and Parameswara having tested his steadfast fortitude and unnerving faith finally gave ‘Sakshatkar’ and asked boons to bestow; but Nandi never yielded for ‘Prabhutva, Amaratva, Indratva, Brahmatva, Lokapaalatva -Royalty, Immortality, the position of Indra, Brahma, Lokapaala –but his Bhakti should be eternal, or else there should not be Bhakti at all!Very gladly, Shankara awarded the World’s highest windfall that Nandi would be unique like Shiva Himself, that he would be the conduit between all Devas and Danavas, Indra and Brahma and all the Highest Powers that be as Shiva’s own conscience! Thus Nandi the Head of Nandi Ganas became Trinetra, with Trishul, Danad, Pinaki, etc. like Second Shankara! In course of time, none could ever witness Shankara’s physical form as He had turned Himself as a Deer in the Sleshmatak Forest, a fact not known to Nandi even! Led by Nandi, all the Deities including Indra made vigourous searches the World over but to no avail. Lord Brahma in His inner vision over Tapasya discovered Parameswara as a Deer in the Sleshmatak Forest not far from the renowned Pasupathinath Temple in Nepal. Indra, Brahma and Narayana reached the Forest and found the uni-horn Deer, chased it and nearly caught hold of the horn – Indra the top portion, Brahma the middle and Vishnu the lower portion. Unfortunately for them, the horn gave way into their hands as three parts and all the three cursed their own helplessness. A voice was then heard that the three of them were able to catch only the horn and that too in three pieces. If only the entire body were caught and installed then Dharma Dhenu (the Cow of Virtue) would have been on all four legs. Anyway, they should install their respective pieces of the horn-the upper portion as Uttar Gokarneswar, the middle portion as Dakshina Gokarneswar and the lower portion at Slesheswar. Lord Shiva further said that on the foot hills of Himalayas called Nepal, He would in any case emerge on His own with four resplendent faces in four directions which would be famous as ‘Sariresh’ (Pashupathinath); Sudarshan Chakra of Sri Krishna tore the Mountains enabling Indra to terminate several Demons like Daman and the place became occupied with Mlecchhas eventually but Surya Vamsa Kshatriyas uprooted Mlecchhas and established a Hindu Kingdom. It is at this Illustrious Place where the Sacred Bagamati River originating from Himalayas flows that Slesheshvar Param Guha or the Sancrosant Cave had surfaced. There are any numbers of streams flowing where even a touch of the waters would destroy sins. To the South of Slesheswar is situated the ‘Anashak’ Tirtha which allows firm steps towards Mukti. Another Tirtha called ‘Bhrigu Prapatan’ destroys ‘Arishat Vargas’ (Six Enemies) viz. Kama (Desire) and Krodha (Anger); Groups of ‘Apsaras’ (Celestial Dansueses) take off by Vimans from this Place to ‘Swarga’. Lord Brahma Himself established ‘Brahmodabhed’Tirtha which has the reputation of abolishing ‘Rajo guna’if a devotee takes bath with Indriya-Nigrah or limb control for a year to qualify him to ascend to Brahma Loka. There is also a ‘Gorakshak’ Tirth a visit of which would bestow the benefit of ‘Sahasra-Daan’ or Charity of Thousand Cows. A Climb of Gauri Shikhar provides Devi- Sayujya. Down under the Mountain a bath in Baghmati River at ‘Ratna Kund’ blesses attainment of Skandalok. Even a simple bath at ‘Panchanadi Tirtha’ bestows the Punya of performing ‘Agnishtoma’.To North of Slesheswar is ‘Pranthakapaniya’ Tirtha where Gandharvas were renowned to worship Shiva. To North West, a sincere bath in ‘Brahmodaya Tirtha’along with ‘Sandhyopasana’ would assure that there would be no visit to ‘Mrityu loka’ and that there would not be any difficulties for the rest of life. The devotees who perform Pitra Tarpana and Shraddha in the Sangam Place of Bhagmati and Manivati Rivers would most certainly accomplish the best of Shiva Devas’ blessings!
Lord Indra situated the top portion of the ‘Shringa’ at Swarga itself. Brahma set up the middle portion of the Deer Horn at Gokarna and Lord Vishnu set it up at Shringeshwar. But Bhagavan’s body without the Horn has infinite forms! For example, Ravanaasura secured one linga which got enrtrenched in Earth beacause of the trickstery of Ganesha and tried to pull it tight and gave up! [Gokarna in North Karnataka is a Siddha Linga at Mahabaleswar Temple; the coverings of the Atma Linga sought to have been brought by Ravana fell at Dhareswar, Gunavantheswar, Murudeswar and Sajjeswar Temples, as popularly believed]
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