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Chapter 7 - Soumini and Madayanti at Gokarna

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Namdharak- 'Swamin, will you tell me who were benefited by visiting this holy place of Gokarna?'

Shri Siddha- 'Just listen. Formerly there lived a brave king in the family of Ikshwaku. He knew all the Shastras. He was considerate, strong and kind. Once he went on hunting and seeing a demon like a flame of fire, he aimed an arrow and the demon fell on the ground senseless. The brother of the demon wept bitterly in grief. Before dying, the demon asked his brother to take revenge of his death.

The brother approached the king in human form and sought his service and was engaged as a cook. On the anniversary day the king had invited rishis like Vashistha and others. When Vashistha and others were seated on their seats, the new cook served human flesh in the plate of Shri Vashistha. Being enraged, Vashistha cursed the king that he would become a Brahmarakshas.

The king was also annoyed to see that he was being cursed for no fault of his. He therefore, took water in his hand and intended to curse Shri Vashistha in return, Maharani Madayanti hastened to the king and entreated and prevented him from cursing his Guru. She requested him to pray Vashistha for `Usshap' (blessing to nullify the effects of the course).

Being pacified, the poured the water in his hands on his own feet, whereby after being a Brahmarakshas, he was called ~Kalmashpad'. Madayanti bowed to Vashistha and prayed for Usshap for the king. Vashistha was also cooled by this time. He assured her that the king would attain human form and return from the forest on completion of 12 years.

Kalmashpad lived in a dense forest. Once he saw a young Brahmin couple passing by. He clasped the Brahmin youth with the intention of devouring him. The young wife of the youth wept bitterly and requested Kalmashpad with folded hands, saying, `kindly release my young husband who is well-versed in Vedas and thus give me my Sowbhagya. By doing this you will add to your virtues. Treat me as your daughter. If I beget a son I shall give him your name.'

But the demon did not listen to her and killed the youth and ate his flesh. The wife of the youth collected the bones of her husband, arranged a pyre and set fire to it. Before burning herself in the same pyre, she cursed the demon, `You will die instantly, when after 12 years you become king and touch your wife.'  The king returned to his city after 12 years. He told his wife Rani Madayanti all about the curse of the Brahmin's wife. Madayanti was much grieved to hear it. She exclaimed, `Even after staying in the forest in hardship for 12 years you are not relieved of the evil effects of your evil actions! There is no son in our family. What should we do now?

The king called the old priest and told him `I have killed a Brahmin when I was a demon and was staying in the forest. How can I be relieved of its evil effects?'

The priest said, `you should visit all the holy places and then all your sins will be wiped off'

The king then started to visit all the holy places one after the other. He performed sacrifices, gave money in charity, served meals to the Brahmins and the poor and did other virtuous acts. Still the sin of Brahma- hatya followed him like a shadow. Accidentally he met Goutam muni. He bowed to the muni respectfully. Goutam asked, `When you have your own state (kingdom) why are you wandering from place to place and why are you so much worried?'

`I have committed a Brahmahatya. I performed sacrifices and several Vratas. I visited holy places and did virtuous acts. Yet I am not relieved of this sin. I am fortunate to see your holy self to day,' replied the king.

Goutam said, `You need not worry. Shri Shiva will protect you. You should go to Gokarna to get rid of this sin. Mrityunjaya (the conqueror of Death) Shri Shiva, always stays there. Though the fire and the moon can do away with the darkness of the night, yet there is the necessity of the Sun. Similarly though your sins are not wiped off even after going to several holy places, still if you go to Gokarna, all your sins will be destroyed. Even if you have committed 1000 Brahmahatyas, all will be destroyed and you shall become sinless. Even Vishnu and Brahmadev lived there for penance and their desires were fulfilled. Gokarna is like Kailas and Shri Shiva stays there. At the instance of shri Vishnu, Shri Ganesh installed this Shivalinga. All the gods, demons, rishis, munis, siddhas live and worship Shri Shiva and thereby they attain all the four valous (purusharthas) with the blessing of Shri Shiva. Brahma, Vishnu, Kartavirya, Vinayak, Durga and others have also installed lingas here known after their names. All waters here holy. This is thus the most important holy place.

In KritaYuga this Linga was white, in Treta it became red, in Dwapar yellow, and in the KaliYuga it has become black. The root of this Linga is in the Sapta Patal below. Even with the sight of this Linga one is relieved of the sins of Brahmahatya, gets one's desires fulfilled and after death one attains salvation. The devotees staying here go to Kailas in the end.

One should bathe and offer charities on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is virtuous to worship here on 'Vyatipat', Makar Sankrant and Mahashivaratri days. Bholenath Shiva passes judgment over all our actions. In the month of Magh, if one observes fast on the Shivaratri day and offers 'Bel' leaf to Shri Shiva Linga, one's entrance in the heaven is ensured.'

Goutam Muni further said, `so many have been benefited by visiting Gokarna. I myself have witnessed a most wonderful incident, when I had been to that place. When I was sitting under a tree, I saw a leper shudra woman. She was without food the whole day. All her body was affected and pus and germs were seen all over. She had lost her teeth and had no clothes on her body. Being a widow, her head was shaved and she was much troubled due to midday hot Sun. She sat under a tree being tired, and soon died. shiva Dootas came there with a divine place to take her to the Kailas.

While living with the shudra, she ate flesh Shudra, she ate flesh and took wine daily. One day she killed a calf thinking it to be a lamb and reserved its head for the next day. When it was time for milking the cow she looked for the calf and she came to know that my mistake, she had killed it. In grief she uttered the words Shiva' `Shiva' and `What a great sin I have committed unknowingly'.

Fearing the wrath of her husband, she buried the head, flesh and bones of the calf and told people that her calf was taken away by a tiger.

When she died Yam Dootas took her to the Yampuri and placed her in hell. She suffered tortures and was again born as a Shudra woman. She was ugly, black and blind. Her parents cared for her for some time and afterwards she begged for her food. She was an orphan without any shelter. She developed leprosy and in course of time she grew old.

Many people were going to Gokarna on Maha Shivaratri day expecting to get good alms, she also followed them. It being a fast day nobody offered her food. In joke, some one placed 'Bel' leaf in her hand. Knowing that it was not eatable, she threw it away, which by chance, fell on the Shiva Linga and thus she had the credit of worshipping Shiva in that dark night. This pleased Shri Shiva and hence we have come to take her to Shivalok. Shivadootas sprinkled nectar on her body and soon she looked like a heavenly woman, she was then taken to Shiva Lok'

Hearing this the king was delighted. He went to Gokarna and was relieved of all his sins. Gokarna has great significance. Hence Shripad Shrivallabha had also been there and stayed there for 3 years.'

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