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5-Udyog Parv, 35-53  
Stories-MBH - 6-War - page 38

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Balaraam's Pilgrimage-2

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Balaraam's Teerth Yaatraa-2
Ch 39-43
Branched from  G-5-Prewar/22   and   G-6-War-38-battle-18      Page 1   Page-2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5

In Mahaabhaarat many pilgrimages have been done by many people at time to time. Teerth places have their own importance that is why they are called Teerth. At some places in Mahaabhaarat their importance is also given. When it was decided that there was no other alternative other than the war between Kaurav and Paandav, Balaraam asked Krishn to be in favor of Kaurav, but Krishn didn't listen to it, so He got angry and proceeded for pilgrimage saying that He didn't want to be anyone's side. This is the description of his pilgrimage.

Kapaalmochan or Usanaa

[Ch 39-40] Then Balaraam Jee went to other Teerth. He went to Usanaa, also called as Kapaalmochan. Formerly Raam killed a Raakshas and hurled his head to a great distance. That head fell on the thigh of a great Rishi named Mahodar and stuck to it. After taking bath in this Teerth that great Rishi got freed from that head. Besides, Kavi (Shukra) also did a great Tap here (to whom goes the credit of whole science of politics and morals - Shukra Neeti) and this knowledge appeared to him by inward light.

Why is it called Kapaalmochan? When Raam was living in Dandak Van, He killed a Raakshas with a sharp arrow at Janasthaan. The head fell in deep forest. Coursing its way at will it fell upon the thigh of a Rishi Mahodar while he was wandering in the forest. It came with such a great speed that it pierced his thigh and got stuck into it. He was in great pain so he went to all Teerth places and took bath there but to no avail. Then he heard about this Teerth - Usaanaa, so he came here and took bath in River Saraswatee. He got rid of that head and got very happy at this. Balaraam Jee after giving a lots of wealth to Braahman here proceeded towards Rushaangu's place. There Arshtishen had done a severe Tap before. Here Vishwaamitra became the Braahman from Kshatriya. This place is capable to grant all kinds of wishes. Balaraam Jee went then to that place where Rushaangu cast off his body. Rushaangu was a great Rishi. After resolving to cast off his body he called his sons and asked to find some place where water was plenty. He cast off body here and got Moksh. Then Balaraam Jee went to the place where Brahmaa had created Lokaalok mountain. Here Arshtishen, Sindhudweep, Davaapi, and Vishwaamitra got the Braahmanship.

Janamejaya asked - "Why Arshtishen did so severe Tap? How did Sindhudweep, Devaapi and Vishwaamira Jee acquire the status of Braahman? Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Once in Sat Yug, there was a man named Arshtishen. He tried his best but still he could not attain the knowledge of any branch of knowledge or Ved, so he did a great Tap by which he knew everything. Then he bestowed three Var to this place: (1) Whoever will take bath in this river, he will get the fruit of sacrificing a horse; (2) from this day there will be no fear from snakes and beasts in this place; and (3) by small efforts only one will get great results here And he went to Swarg Lok. Sindhudweep and Devaapi also attained this status in the same way.

Besides, Raajaa Gaadhi crowned his son Vishwaamitra as Raajaa and went to forest. His public tried to stop him from going and requested to protect them, but he told that his son would protect them. A great fear of a Raakshas ran in his public's minds, so Vishwaamitra went to kill them with his army. He reached very far from his place, so he happened to be in Vashishth's Aashram. Vashishth Jee served him and his army very well though his cow Nandinee. Seeing this Vishwaamitra Jee forced Vashishth Jee to give him that cow that such a cow should be with a Raajaa not with a Sanyaasee. But Vashishth Jee politely refused to give it to him saying that it was the daughter of Kaamdhenu and was given to him as gift to accomplish his religious tasks. Both had an encounter and Vishwaamitra lost. Then Vishwaamitra felt that a Braahman's power is greater than a Kshatriya's power, so he decided to be a Braahman and after long serious efforts he became Brahmarshi. Brahmaa himself had to announce it. Balaraam Jee donated cows, beds, food, drink etc there and proceeded further to the place of Vaak.

[Ch 41] Once, in the times of Dhritraashtra, there was a Rishi named Vak (Daalvyavak) who gave Dhritraashtra's kingdom as a sacrifice. In former times Rishi in Naimish Aranya, used to continue their Yagya even up to 12 years. In the course of that sacrifice, when a particular sacrifice "Vishwajeet" was completed, Rishi came to Paanchaal Desh, and asked its king for 21 healthy calves as Dakshinaa. Dalvyavak Rishi, however, asked them - "Do you divide those calves got in Dakshinaa among yourself? Giving away those calves to you I shall ask a great king for some." Then he came to Hastinaapur and asked him to give some animals. Seeing his animals died without any cause, Dhritraashtra said - "You wretched Braahman, take these animals that are dead, if you like."

Hearing such cruel words from the king, Vak got very angry and thought to destroy the king's kingdom. He cut some flesh from the dead animals, the Rishi ignited the sacrificial fire on the Teerth of Saraswatee and poured Dhritraashtra's kingdom as a sacrifice in that fire with those pieces of meat. And since that day Dhritraashtra's kingdom began to waste away. As a result the king began to lose prosperity and life. Seeing this the King got very worried and consulted Braahman to alleviate this problem but nothing worked. Then he asked his counselors, they reminded him about the evil done with the dead animals and told him that the Rishi is pouring your kingdom as a sacrifice. They advised him to go to that Rishi and make him happy by he side of Saraswatee's water. Dhritraashtra did the same. he went there, fell on to the feet of Rishi and asked for his forgiveness. Vak felt compassion for him, he freed his kingdom and came back to Naimish Aranya.

Note - We have never read this incident in Mahaabhaarat.

In that Teerth Brihaspati also gave sacrifices of flesh for the destruction of Asur. After that sacrifice Asur also started fading away and were destroyed by Devtaa. Raam then proceeded to the Teerth Yayaat. At that place after offering sacrifices by Yayaati, the son of Raajaa Nahush, the River Saraswatee produced milk and Ghee. Once again he offered sacrifices there and River Saraswatee pleased with him gave everything to Braahman they needed at their hearts' wish. Then Balaraam proceeded towards the Teerth named Vashishth-pavah.


[Ch 42-43] Janamejaya asked - "Why this place is called Vashishth-pavah? Did Vashishth and Vishwaamitra had a quarrel there?" Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Long ago a great enmity rose between Vashishth and Vishwaamitra. Vashishth used to live in the Teerth named Sthaanu on the Eastern bank of Saraswatee. While on the opposite bank of Saraswatee lived Vishwaamitra. Sthaanu (Mahaadev) had done a great Tap there and established this Teerth that is why it is called Sthaanu Teerth. Skand (Kaartikeya) was also appointed the Army General of Devtaa here. It so happened that everyday Vashishth and Vishwaamitra tried to prove their superiority over one another in the area of their Tap. But Vishwaamitra was very jealous seeing Vashishth's powers.

One day Vishwaamitra resolved that River Saraswatee should bring forth the highest Rishi to him so that he could kill him. So he remembered it. The River got very angry at this, still she appeared before him pale and trembling and asked - "What can I do for you?" Vishwaamitra asked her to bring Vashishth so that he could kill him. The River knew the power of Vashishth, so she trembled more in fear. But she went to Vashishth and aware of both Rishi's Shaap, she told Vashishth what Vishwaamitra said to her. Vashishth told her to save herself and throw him in her fast current. Since both were worshiping on her both banks, she washed away her one bank, and in washing away one bank she took Vashishth to the other bank.

Vashishth praised Saraswatee happily - "O born from Brahmaa's lake, You are Dyuti, Pushti, Keerti, Siddhi and Umaa. You are speech, you are Swaahaa. It is you only who lives in the whole Universe in four forms." Hearing her praise Saraswatee brought him to Vishwaamitra. Seeing Vashishith coming like this, Vishwaamitra got very angry. He wanted to kill him, that the River took him to her Eastern shore. Thus she obeyed both, but actually deceiving Vishwaamitra. Vishwaamitra gave her Shaap - "Because you deceived me, your water should change in blood which is only acceptable by Raakshas." As a result her water changed into blood mixed with water and she flowed in this way for one full year. Devtaa, Apsaraa, Gandharv etc became very sad seeing Saraswatee's plight. That is how this Teerth is called "Vashishth-pravah". However the River got her original condition back.

After Saraswatee's water got red with blood, many Raakshas came there and started living there. Many Rishi also came there with the intention of taking bath in her, but got very sad seeing her water mixed with blood and Raakshas living on her banks. They invoked her and asked her the reason of all this. Saraswatee told them what happened. Then Rishi did severe Tap, fasts and vows and pleased Mahaadev and then her water got clean. Seeing this Raakshas got angry and started starving. So they came to Rishi and prayed them - "All of us are hungry. We have become Brahm-Raakshas. Please, make some arrangements to relieve us." Rishi said - "The food over which one has sneezed, that which has insects and worms, that which may be mixed with remains of dishes, that which is mixed with hair or tears, and that which is trodden upon shall be your food from today. The intelligent man will not eat such food because it will be Raakshasee food." Having purified the River this way, the Rishi requested River to relieve those Raakshas.

Understanding the meaning of Rishi's words, the River took a new shape, "Arunaa" - a branch of Saraswatee. Having bathed in that River the Raakshas went to Heaven. Seeing this Indra also took bath in that Teerth and cleansed himself from his grievous sin.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 02/11/13