Mahabharata Vana Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section XC

"Dhaumya continued, 'O tiger among kings, I shall now describe those tirthas and sacred spots that lie to the north. Do thou, O exalted one, listen to me attentively. By hearing this narration, O hero, one acquireth a reverential frame of mind, which conduceth to much good. In that region is the highly sacred Saraswati abounding in tirthas and with banks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the ocean-going and impetuous Yamuna, and the tirtha called Plakshavatarana, productive of high merit and prosperity. It was there that the regenerate ones having performed the Saraswata sacrifice, bathed on the completion there of. O sinless one, is the well-known celestial tirtha called Agnisiras, which is productive of great merit. There king Sahadeva had celebrated a sacrifice measuring out the ground by a throw of the Samya. It is for this reason, O Yudhishthira, that Indra sang the praises of Sahadeva in verse. Those verses are still current in this world, being recited by the regenerate ones, e. g., on the Yamuna Sahadeva worshipped the sacrificial fire, with gifts in a hundred thousands to Brahmanas. There the illustrious king, the imperial Bharata, performed five and thirty horse-sacrifices. O child, we have heard that Sarabhanga of yore used to fully gratify the desires of the regenerate ones. There in this region is his celebrated asylum productive of great merit. In that region also, O son of Pritha, is the river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by the god, where, in days of yore, the Valikhilyas, O great king, performed sacrifices. In that region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known river Drisadwati, which is productive of great merit. Then, O chief of men, are Nyagrodhakhya, and Panchalya, and Punyaka and Dalbhyaghosha, and Dalbhya, which are, O son of Kunti, the sacred asylum in the world of illustrious Anandayasas of excellent vows and great energy, and which are celebrated over the three worlds. Here also, O lord of men, the illustrious Etavarna and Avavarana versed in the Vedas, learned in Vedic lore, and proficient in the knowledge of Vedic rites, performed meritorious sacrifices, O chief of the Bharata race! There also is Visakhayupa to which, in days of yore, came the gods with Varuna and Indra, and practised ascetic austerities. And therefore is that spot so eminently sacred. Here also is Palasaka, where the great and illustrious and highly blessed Rishi Jamadagni performed sacrifices. There all the principal rivers in their embodied forms taking their respective waters stood surrounding that best of sages. And there also, O monarch, Vibhavasu (fire) himself, beholding that high-souled one's initiation, sang the following sloka: 'The river coming to the illustrious Jamadagni while sacrificing unto the gods gratified the Brahmanas with offerings of honey.' O Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara. O king, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred. There also is the mountain named Puru which is resorted to by great Rishis and where Pururavas was born, and Bhrigu practised ascetic austerities. For this it is, O king, that asylum hath become known as the great peak of Bhrigutunga. Near that peak is the sacred and extensive Vadari, that highly meritorious asylum, famed over the three worlds, of him, O bull of the Bharata race, who is the Present, the Past and the Future, who is called Narayana and the lord Vishnu, who is eternal and the best of male beings, and who is pre-eminently illustrious. Near Vadari, the cool current of Ganga was formerly warm, and the banks there were overspread with golden sands. There the gods and Rishis of high fortune and exceeding effulgence, approaching the divine lord Narayana, always worship him. The entire universe with all its tirthas and holy spots is there where dwelleth the divine and eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul, for he is Merit, he is the Supreme Brahma, he is tirtha, he is the ascetic retreat, he is the First, he is the foremost of gods, and he is the 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 the scriptures attain to great happiness by knowing him. In that spot are the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and, indeed, all the Rishis,--where dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, that primeval Deity and mighty Yogin! Let no doubt enter thy heart that that spot is the foremost of all holy spots. 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 illustrious Rishis resembling the celestials themselves. By journeying, O son of Kunti, to those places, with the Brahmanas and ascetics that are with thee and with thy blessed brothers, thou wilt be freed from anxiety!"