Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 7
THE NINTH BOOK
On the curses of Gangā, Saraswatī and Lakṣmī
1-2. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Nārada! Thus saying, the Lord of the World stopped. And Lakṣmī, Gangā and Saraswatī wept bitterly, embracing one another.
All of them then looked to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and gave vent to their feelings one by one with tears in their eyes, and with their hearts throbbing with fears and sorrows.
3-4. Saraswatī said:
“O Lord! What is now, the way out of this curse, so severe and paining since our births? How long can helpless women live, separated from their husbands?
O Lord! I certainly say that I will sacrifice my body when I go to Bhārata, by taking recourse to yoga. The Mahātmas always protect all the persons without fail.”
5-6. Gangā said:
“O Lord of the Universe! Why have I been abandoned by You? What fault have I committed? I will quit my body. And You will have to partake of the sin due to the killing of an innocent woman.
He is surely to go to hell even if he be the Lord of all, who forsakes in this world an innocent wife.”
7-15. Padma said:
“O Lord! Thou art of the nature of Sattva Guṇa in fullness; what wonder, then, how Thou hast become angry! However let Thou be pleased now with Saraswatī and Gangā.
Forgiveness is the best quality of a good husband. I am ready just now to go to Bhārata when Saraswatī has cursed me. But tell me, how long I will have to stay there? After how many days I shall be able to see Thy lotus-feet again? The sinners will wash away their dirt of sins in my waters by their constant baths and ablutions?
By what means shall I be freed again and get back to Thy lotus-feet. How long shall I have to remain in my part, the daughter of Dharma Dhvaja, at the expiry of which I will be able to see Thee again?
How long shall I have to assume the form of Tulasī tree, the abode of Thine. O Thou, the Ocean of mercy! Say, when wilt Thou deliver me?
And if Gangā have to go to Bhārata, by the curse of Bhārata, when shall She be freed of the curse and sin and when shall She see back Thy feet?
Again if Saraswatī have to go to Bhārata out of Gangā's curse, when will that period of curse expire? How many days after shall She be able to come back to Thy feet?
Now, be pleased to cancel Thy order for them to go to Brahmā and Śiva respectively.”
O Nārada! Thus speaking to Jagannātha, the Devī Kamalā bowed down at His feet and embracing them by Her own hairs of the bead, cried frequently.
16-37. Now Hari with the lotus-navel, always eager to show favour to the devotees, smiled and with a gracious heart took up Padma on His breast and said:
“O Sureśvarī! I will keep my own word, also I will act according as you like. O Lotus-eyed! Hear. How the two ends can be reconciled.
Let Saraswatī go in her one part to have the form of a river and in her one half part to Brahmā and remain with me in Vaikuṇṭha in Her full parts.
Gangā will have to go in one part to Bhārata - to purify the three worlds as she will be urged eagerly to do so by Bhagīratha.
And She will remain in her one part in the matted hair of Chandra Śekhara (the Mahādeva with Moon on his forehead), obtained with a great difficulty, and so will remain there purer than her natural pure state. And let her remain with me in full parts.
O Padme! O Lovely-eyed One! You are most innocent; so part of your part will go to Bhārata and be the Padmāvatī river and you will be the Tulasī tree. After the expiry of five thousand years of Kālī Yuga, your curse will expire. Again you all will come to My abode.
O Padme! Calamities are the causes of the happiness of the embodied beings. Without dangers no one can understand the true nature of happiness.
The saint worshippers of My mantra who will perform their ablutions in your water will free you all of your curse by touch and sight.
O Fair One! By the sight and touch of My bhaktas (devotees), all the sacred places of pilgrimages in the world will be purified.
For uplifting and sanctifying the holy earth, My mantropāsakas, i.e., Śaivas, Śaktas, Gāṇapatyas, etc., that are devoted to Brahmā all are residing in Bhārata.
Where My Bhaktas reside and wash their feet, that place is undoubtedly reckoned as the holy places of pilgrimages. So much so that by the sight and touch of My devotees, the murderer of a woman, of a cow, of a Brāhmin, the treacherous and even the stealer of the wife of one's Guru will be sanctified and liberated while living.
Those who do not perform the vow of Ekādaśī, who do not perform Sandhyās, who are Nāstikas (atheists), the murderers, all are free of their sins by the sight and touch of My devotees.
By the sight and touch of My devotees, those who live on their swords, pens, and the royal officials, the beggars in a village and the Brāhmaṇas who carry (deal in) bullocks are also freed of their sins.
The traitors, the mischief makers of their friends, those who give false evidence, those who steal other's trust properties, are also freed of their sins by the sight and touch of My devotees.
Those who are foul-mouthed, bastards, the husbands and sons of unchaste women are all purified by the sight and touch of My Bhaktas.
The Brāhmin cooks of Śudras, Brāhmins of an inferior order (who subsist upon the offerings made to the images which he attends), the village mendicants, those who are not initiated by their Gurus, these all are purified by the sight and touch of My devotees.
O Fair One! The sins of those persons who do not maintain their fathers, mothers, brothers, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, the blind, friends, the families of the Gurus, the fathers-in-law, the mothers-in-law are also removed by the sight and touch of My devotees.
Those that cut the Aśvattha trees, that slander My devotees, and the Brāhmins who eat the food of Śudras, are also freed of their sins.
Those who steal the Deva's articles, the Brāhmaṇa’s articles, those that sell lac, iron, and daughters, those who commit Mahā Pātakas (Brahmāhatyā, Surāpānam, Steyam, Gurbanganāganah, Mahānti pātakānyāhuh, tatsam-sargahseha Pañchamam) and those that burn the dead bodies of Śudras, these also are freed of their respective sins by the sight and touch of My devotees. ”
38-42. Mahā Lakṣmī said:
“O Thou gracious to faithful attendants! What are the characteristics, the marks of those Bhaktas of Thine that Thou hast spoken of just now
whose sight and touch destroy instantly the Mahāpātakas (five great sins), that are destroyed after a long time by the water of the Tīrthas and the earthen and stone images of the Gods.
The sins of the vilest of men, devoid of Hari bhakti, vain and egoistic, cheats, hypocrites, slanderers of saints, vicious souls are destroyed by your Bhaktas,
whose touch and ablations sanctify the sacred places of pilgrimages; by the touch of the dust and water of whose feet, the earth is purified;
whom the Bhaktas of Bhārata always pray to see; and there is nothing higher than the meeting of those Bhaktas.”
Sūta said “O Great Risi! Thus hearing the words of Mahā Lakṣmī, the Lord smiled and began to speak about the secret things or the marks of the Bhaktas.”
43-54. O Lakṣmī! The marks of the Bhaktas are all mentioned in Śrutis and Purāṇas. These are very sanctifying; destructive of sins, giving happiness, devotion, and liberation.
These are never to be described to deceitful persons; these are the essences and to be kept hidden. But you are very simple and like my life. I therefore speak to you. Hear:
O Fair One! All the Vedas declare him to be holy and the best of men, in whose ears are pronounced from the mouth of a Guru, the Viṣṇu mantra.
At the very moment of his being born into this world, one hundred generations back of that person, whether they be at that time in heaven or hell, get instantaneous liberation
and if any of them happen to be born then as Jīvas, they become liberated at once while living and finally reach Viṣṇupāda (the place of Viṣṇu).
That mortal is My Bhakta (devotee) who is full of devotion to Me, who always repeats My glories and acts according to My directions, who hears with all his heart My histories, and hearing which, whose mind dances with joy, whose voice gets choked and tears incessantly flow out from whose eyes, who loses his outward consciousness.
Such a man is indeed, My Bhakta.
My Bhaktas do not long for happiness or Mukti, or the four states Sālokya, Sāyujya, Sāmīpya and Sārṣṭi, nor the Brahmāhood, nor the Devahood (the state of immortality); they want only to do Sevā (service) to Me and they are solely intent on doing this.
Even in dreams they do not desire the Indraship, Manuship, the state of Brahmā so very difficult to be obtained; nor do they want the enjoyment of kingdoms and heavens.
My Bhaktas roam in Bhārata, eager to hear My glories, and always very glad to recite My sweet glorious deeds.
The birth of such Bhaktas in Bhārata is very rare. They purify the world and go ultimately to My abode, the best of all Tīrthas (sacred places).
Thus I have spoken O Padme! All that you wanted to hear. Now do as you like.
Then Gangā and others all went to obey the order of Śrī Hari, Who went to His own abode.
Here ends the Seventh Chapter of the Ninth Book on the curses Gangā, Saraswatī, and Lakṣmī and the way to freedom thereof in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.