"Yudhishthira said, 'O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, O thou that art conversant with all branches of knowledge, what is that subject of silent recitation by reciting which every day one may acquire the merit of righteousness in a large measure? What is that Mantra for recitation which bestows success if recited on the occasion of setting out on a journey or in entering a new building, or at the commencement of any undertaking, or on the occasion of sacrifices in honour of the deities or of the Pitris? It behoveth thee to tell me what indeed, what Mantra it is, which propitiates all malevolent influences, or leads to prosperity or growth, or protection from evil, or the destruction of foes, or the dispelling of fears, and which, at the same time, is consistent with the Vedas.'
"Bhishma said, 'Hear, O king, with concentrated, attention, what that Mantra is which was declared by Vyasa. It was ordained by Savitri and is possessed of great excellence. It is capable of cleansing a person immediately of all his sins. Hear, O sinless one, as I recite to thee the ordinances in respect of that Mantra. Indeed, O chief of the sons of Pandu, by listening to those ordinances, one becomes cleansed of all one's sins. One who recites this Mantra day and night becomes never stained by sin. I shall now declare it to thee what that Mantra is. Do thou listen with concentrated attention. Indeed, the man that hears it becomes endued with long life, O prince, and attaining to the fruition of all his wishes, sports in felicity both here and hereafter. This Mantra, O king, was daily recited by the foremost of royal sages devoted to the practice to Kshatriya duties and steadily observant of the vow of truth. Indeed, O tiger among kings, those monarchs who, with restrained senses and tranquil soul, recite this Mantra every day, succeed in acquiring unrivalled prosperity--Salutations to Vasishtha of high vows after having bowed with reverence unto Parasara, that Ocean of the Vedas! Salutations to the great snake Ananta, and salutations to all those who are crowned with success, and who are of unfading glory! Salutations to the Rishis, and unto Him that is the Highest of the High, the god of gods, and the giver of boons unto all those that are foremost. Salutations unto Him of a thousand heads, Him that is most auspicious, Him that has a thousand names, viz., Janardana! Aja. Ekapada, Ahivradhna, the unvanquished Pinakin, Rita Pitrirupa, the three-eyed Maheswara, Vrishakapi, Sambhu, Havana, and Iswara--these are the celebrated Rudras, eleven in number, who are the lords of all the worlds. Even these eleven high-souled ones have been mentioned as a hundred in the Satarudra (of the Vedas). Ansa, Bhaga, Mitra, Varuna the lord of waters, Dhatri, Aryaman, Jayanta, Bhaskara, Tvashtri, Pushan, Indra and Vishnu, are said to comprise a tale of twelve. These twelve are called Adityas and they are the sons of Kasyapa as the Sruti declares. Dhara, Dhruva, Some, Savitra. Anila, Anala, Pratyusha, and Prabhava, are the eight Vasus named in the scriptures, Nasataya and Dasra are said to be the two Aswins. They are the sons of Martanda born of his spouse Samjna, from whose nostrils they came out. After this I shall recite the names of those who are the witnesses of all acts in the worlds. They take note of all sacrifices, of all gifts, of all good acts. Those lords among the deities behold everything although they are invisible. Indeed, they behold all the good and bad acts of all beings. They are Mrityu, Kala, the Viswedevas, the Pitris endued with forms, the great Rishis possessed of wealth of penances, the Munis, and others crowned with success and devoted to penances and emancipation. These of sweet smiles, bestow diverse benefits upon those men that recite their names. Verily, endued with celestial energy, they bestow diverse regions of felicity created by the Grandsire upon such men. They reside in all the worlds and attentively note all acts. By reciting the names of those lords of all living creatures, one always becomes endued with righteousness and wealth and enjoyments in copious measure. One acquires hereafter diverse regions of auspiciousness and felicity created by the Lord of the universe. These three and thirty deities, who are the lords of all beings as also Nandiswara of huge body, and that pre-eminent one who has the bull for the device on his banner, and those masters of all the worlds, viz., the followers and associates of him called Ganeswara, and those called Saumyas, and called the Rudras, and those called the Yogas, and those that are known as the Bhutas, and the luminaries in the firmament, the Rivers, the sky, the prince of birds (viz., Garuda), all those persons on earth who have become crowned with success in consequence of their penances and who are existing in an immobile or mobile form, the Himavat, all the mountains, the four Oceans, the followers and associates of Bhava who are possessed of prowess equal to that of Bhava himself, the illustrious and ever-victorious Vishnu, and Skanda, and Ambika,--these are the great souls by reciting whose name with restrained senses, one becomes cleansed of all sins. After this I shall recite the names of those foremost Rishis who are known as Manavas. They are Yavakrita, and Raibhya, and Arvavasu, and Paravasu, and Aushija, and Kakshivat, and Vala the son of Angiras. Then comes Kanwa the son of the Rishi Medhatithi, and Varishada. All these are endued with the energy of Brahma and have been spoken of (in the scriptures) as creators of the universe. They have sprung from Rudra and Anala and the Vasus. By reciting their names people obtain great benefits. Indeed, by doing good deeds on earth, people sport in joy in heaven, with the deities. These Rishis are the priests of Indra. They live in the east. That man who, with rapt attention, recites the names of these Rishis, succeeds in ascending to the regions of Indra and obtaining great honours there. Unmachu, Pramchu, Swastyatreya of great energy, Dridhavya, Urdhvavahu, Trinasoma, Angiras, and Agastya of great energy, the son of Mitravaruna,--these seven are the Ritwiks of Yama the king of the dead, and dwell in the southern quarter. Dridheyu and Riteyu, and Pariyadha of great fame, and Ekata, and Dwita, and Trita--the last three endued with splendour like that of the sun,--and Atri's son of righteous soul, viz., the Rishi Saraswata,--these seven who had acted as Ritwiks in the great sacrifice of Varuna--have taken up their abodes in the western quarter. Atri, the illustrious Vasishtha, the great Rishi Kasyapa, Gotama, Bharadwaja, Viswamitra, the son of Kusika, and Richika's fierce son Jamadagni of great energy,--these seven are the Ritwiks of the Lord of treasures and dwell in the northern quarter. There are seven other Rishis that live in all directions without being confined to any particular one. They, it is, who are the inducers of fame and of all this beneficial to men, and they have been sung as the creators of the worlds. Dharma, Kama, Kala, Vasu, Vasuki, Ananta, and Kapila,--these seven are the upholders of the world. Rama, Vyasa, Drona's son Aswatthaman, are the other Rishis (that are regarded as the foremost). These are the great Rishis as distributed into seven groups, each group consisting of seven. They are the creators of that peace and good that men enjoy. They are said to be the Regents of the several points of the compass. One should turn one's face to that direction in which one of these Rishis live if one wishes to worship him. Those Rishis are the creators of all creatures and have been regarded as the cleansers of all. Samvarta, Merusavarna, the righteous Markandeya, and Sankhya and Yoga, and Narada and the great Rishi Durvasa,--these are endued with severe penance and great self-restraint, and are celebrated over the three worlds. There are others who are equal to Rudra himself. They live in the region of Brahman. By naming them with reverence a sonless man obtains a son, and a pool man obtains wealth. Indeed, by naming them, one acquires success in religion, and wealth and pleasure. One should also take the name of that celebrated king who was Emperor of all the earth and equal to a Prajapati, viz., that foremost of monarchs, Prithu, the son of Vena. The earth became his daughter (from love and affection). One should also name Pururavas of the Solar race and equal unto Mahendra himself in prowess. He was the son of Ila and celebrated over the three worlds. One should, indeed, take the name of that dear son of Vudha. One should also take the name of Bharata, that hero celebrated over the three worlds. He also who in the Krita age adored the gods in a grand Gomedha sacrifice, viz., Rantideva of great splendour, who was equal unto Mahadeva himself, should be named. Endued with penances, possessed of every auspicious mark, the source of every kind of benefit to the world, he was the conqueror of the universes. One should also take the name of the royal sage Sweta of illustrious fame. He had gratified the great Mahadeva and it was for his sake that Andhaka was slain. One should also take the name of the royal sage Bhagiratha of great fame, who, through the grace of Mahadeva, succeeded in bringing down the sacred river from heaven (for flowing over the earth and cleansing all human beings of their sins). It was Bhagiratha who caused the ashes of the sixty thousand sons of Sagara to be overflowed with the sacred waters of Ganga and thereby rescued them from their sin. Indeed, one should take the names of all these that were endued with the blazing effulgence of fire, great beauty of person, and high energy. Some of them were of awe-inspiring forms and great might. Verily, one should take the names of these deities and Rishis and kings, those lords of the universe,--who are enhancers of fame. Sankhya, and Yoga which is highest of the high, and Havya and Kavya and that refuge of all the Srutis, viz., Supreme Brahma, have been declared to be the sources of great benefit to all creatures. These are sacred and sin-cleansing and have been spoken of very highly. These are the foremost of medicines for allaying all diseases, and are the inducers of the success in respect of all deeds. Restraining one's senses, one should, O Bharata, take the names of these, morning and evening. It is these that protect. It is these that shower rain. It is these that shine and give light and heat. It is these that blow. It is these that create all things. These are regarded as the foremost of all, as the leaders of the universe, as highly clever in the accomplishment of all things, as endued with forgiveness, as complete masters of the senses. Indeed, it has been said that they dispel all the evils to which human beings are subject. These high-souled ones are the witnesses of all good and bad deeds. Rising up in the morning one should take their names, for by this, one is sure to acquire all that is good. He who takes the names of them becomes freed from the fear of fires and of thieves. Such a man never finds his way obstructed by any impediment. By taking the names of these high-souled ones, one becomes free from bad dreams of every kind. Cleared from every sin, such men take birth in auspicious families. That regenerate person who, with restrained senses, recites these names on the occasions of performing the initiatory rites of sacrifices and other religious observances, becomes, as the consequence thereof, endued with righteousness, devoted to the study of the soul, possessed of forgiveness and self-restraint, and free from malice. If a man that is afflicted with disease recites them, he becomes freed from his sin in the form of disease. By reciting them within a house, all evils are dispelled from the inmates. By reciting them within a field, the growth is helped of all kinds of crops. Reciting them at the time of setting out on a journey, or while one is away from one's home, one meets with good fortune. These names lead to the protection of one's own self, of one's children and spouses, of one's wealth, and of one's seeds, and plants. The Kshatriya who recites these names at the time of joining a battle sees destruction overtake his foes and good fortune crown him and his party. The man who recites these names on the occasions of performing the rites in honour of the deities or the Pitris, helps the Pitris and deities eat the sacrificial Havya and Kavya. The man that recites them becomes freed from fear of diseases and beasts of prey, of elephants and thieves. His load of anxiety becomes lightened, and he becomes freed from every sin. By reciting these excellent Savitri Mantras on board a vessel, or in a vehicle, or in the courts of kings, one attains to high success. There where these Mantras are recited, fire does not burn wood. There children do not die, nor snakes dwell. Indeed, at such places, there can be no fear of the king, nor of Pisachas and Rakshasas. Verily, the man who recites these Mantras ceases to have any fear of fire or water or wind or beasts of prey. These Savitri Mantras, recited duly, contribute to the peace and well-being of all the four orders. Those men who recite them with reverence become freed from every sorrow and at last attain to a high end. Even these are the results achieved by them that recite these Savitri Mantras which are of the form of Brahma. That man who recites these Mantras in the midst of kine sees his kine become fruitful. Whether when setting
out on a journey, or entering a house on coming back, one should recite these Mantras on every occasion. These Mantras constitute a great mystery of the Rishis and are the very highest of those which they silently recite. Even such are these Mantras unto them who practise the duty of recitation and pour libations on the sacrificial fire. This that I have said unto thee is the excellent opinion of Parasara. It was recited in former days unto Sakra himself. Representing as it does Truth or Eternal Brahman. I have declared it in full to thee. It constitutes that heart of all creatures, and is the highest Sruti. All the princes of the race of Soma and of Surya, viz., the Raghavas and the Kauravas, recite these Mantras every day after having purified themselves, These constitute the highest end of human creatures. There is rescue from every trouble and calamity in the daily recitation of the names of the deities of the seven Rishis, and of Dhruva. Indeed, such recitation speedily frees one from distress. The sages of olden times, viz., Kasyapa, Gotama, and others, and Bhrigu Angiras and Atri and others, and Sukra, Agastya, and Vrihaspati, and others, all of whom are regenerate Rishis, have adored these Mantras. Approved of by the son of Bharadwaja, these Mantras were attained by the sons of Richika. Verily, having acquired them again from Vasishtha, Sakra and the Vasus went forth to battle and succeeded in subjugating the Danavas. That man who makes a present of a hundred kine with their horns covered with plates of gold unto a Brahmana possessed of much learning and well-conversant with the Vedas, and he who causes the excellent Bharata story to be recited in his house every day, are said to acquire equal merits. By reciting the name of Bhrigu one's righteousness becomes enhanced. By bowing to Vasishtha one's energy become enhanced. By bowing unto Raghu, one becomes victorious in battle. By reciting the praises of the Aswins, one becomes freed from diseases. I have thus, O king, told thee of the Savitri Mantras which are identical with eternal Brahman. If thou wishest to question me on any other topic thou mayst do so. I shall, O Bharata, answer thee.'"