Dwaraka ‘Mahatmya’

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Having recounted in brief the events that happened in Dwapara Yuga and its Central Figure Sri Krishna as the Avatar of Maha Vishnu, his various childhood miracles of killing several cruel Demons, his magnificent role in Maha Bharata culminating in the Historic Battle of Pandavas and Kauravas vindicating Virtue and Truth against Vice and Falsehood and finally the mortal end of his incarnation, Maha Muni Shaunaka faced the inevitable apprehension of Rishis as to how human beings would redeem themselves from the grave sins that would be committed in Kali Yuga without the presence of Lord Krishna! Some of the prominent Sages of that time approached Lord Brahma and posed the question that in the impending Era of Sin, how could the virtuous and God-fearing devotees in a rather minority existence vis-à-vis the majority of the wicked or at any rate the escapist human beings of Kali Yuga would survive, let alone worship the Almighty! Lord Brahma directed the Sages to Patala Loka to meet Bhakta Prahlada (who caused of the death of his father, the Demon Hiranyakasipu, by Narasimha the Avatar of Lord Vishnu) and King Bali (who gave away three Worlds in charity to Lord Vamana in another Avatar of Vishnu). Both Prahlada and Bali were distressed about the impending dark days of Kali Yuga when moral and spiritual standards would be eroded from bad to worse with the passage of time. However, they revealed that by the Grace of Bhagavan Vishnu there was a Sacred Place on the Western Coast of Bharat called Kushasthalipuri where the Holy River Gomati flowed and submerged with the Ocean. There was the hallowed Temple of Dwaraka with the benign presence of Tribhuvan Vishnu in the form of Krishna with four hands with Shankha, Chakra, Gada and ‘Abhaya Mudra’ (the Protective Hand); before leaving the mortal World, Krishna left behind sixteen of His ‘Kalas’or Divine Powers which were imbibed into the Idol. Bathing in Chakra Tirtha in Dwaraka would have far reaching benefits to wash off sins and confer boons of fulfillment, Peace and excellent health. While approaching the Temple, devotees are advised to recite ‘Vishnu Sahasranama’, ‘Bhishmastatvaraj’, ‘Gajendra Moksha’ etc. as also sing hymns of ‘Krishna Leelas’ or ‘Vishnu Avataras’. At the outset, they pray to Ganesha to ward off any impediments in the ‘Yatra’ and Darshan of Krishna, pray to the elder brother of Krishna viz. Balarama and then proceed to have the Vision of Shyama Varna (Blue coloured) Krishna, even a glimpse of whose ‘darshan’ destroys the sins committed during their childhood, youth or elderly age of the current and earlier lives. It is said and firmly believed that each step in the Temple is as fruitful as performing an ‘Aswamedha Yagna’. A Pilgrimage to Dwaraka is as propitious as reaching ‘Vishnu Dham’.Afer worshipping Bhagavan Krishna, the devotees visit the Holy River Gomati whose mere vision brings in auspiciousness. Prahlada narrated the tale as to how Sage Vasishtha was responsible to bring Gomati from Heaven to Earth. After Pralaya or the Great Dissolution, Lord Vishnu was in Yoga Nidra and from His navel sprouted a Lotus on top of which sat Lord Brahma; Vishnu commanded Brahma to undertake the task of ‘Srishti’ (Creation). Brahma created His Ten ‘Manasa Putras’, including Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat Kumaras with the hope of helping in the task of Creation, but they were more interested in performing ‘Tapas’ instead of being householders; they chose the West Coast to execute the meditation for several years and fortunately had the vision of ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ and asked the Manasa Putras to offer ‘Arghya’ (water) to welcome Maha Vishnu who was about to arrive. But there was no water to tender Arghya; Lord Brahma asked Ganga to flow down to Earth from Heaven with the name of Gomati and to follow Sage Vasishtha to follow as a daughter to a father. The Manasa Putras thanked Ganga and Vasishtha and desired the Sage to father the Sacred Gomati, with whose waters the Sages performed Arghya on the arrival of Bhagavan Vishnu. The Sacrosanct Spot where Sudarshan Chakra made its appearance was since called as Chakra Tirtha. A devotee is to certainly go to the River, do ‘Sashtanga’ or prostration, clean the hands, take up Kusha grass and ‘Akshatas’ or rice grains mixed with Turmeric powder and provide ‘Arghya’ by reciting the Mantra : Brahmalokat samayatey Visishtatanaye Shubhe, Sarva paapa vishuthaartha dadamarghya cha Gomati / Vasishtha duhitaddevi Shaktijyeshthe Yashaswini, Thrailokya vandithy Devi Paapam me hara Gomati! (Gomati! You arrived here from Brahma loka as the daughter of Vasishtha; may you clean up my sins as I offer ‘Arghya’to you; Your Shakti is mighty Gomati Devi, the great destroyer of my failings). After saying this, the devotee needs to apply ‘mrittika’ or the mud of the River bank on the body parts, perform ‘Snaan’ with Veda Mantras, offer Tarpanas to Devas, Rishis and Pitras and charities especially of Cows to redeem from ‘Pitru Runa’ of indebtedness to forefathers. From the River Gomati to Chakra Tirtha, a similar procedure is followed with the following Mantra before taking the bath: Om Namo Vishnu Rapaaya Vishnu chakrayathey namah, Gruhaanaarghya maa dattham Sarva kaama prado bhavah. (My Greetings to You Vishnu Chakra who is Vishnu Himself; do accept my ‘Arghya’and fulfil my desires). ‘Vishupaadotbhava Tirtha’ in Dwaraka is the Sarovar which Lord Krishna materialised by asking Ganga to arrive to facilitate Devi Rukmini’s bathing and is also called Vaishnavi since it generated from Lord Vishnu’s feet; this Tirtha’s Snaan by devotees followed by Pitru Tarpans, Shraddhas, and charities especially to ‘Anga viheen’ or those who are blind or otherwise defective of any limb are considered vital. Gopi Sarovar symbolises the arrival of Gopikas and Gopas from Vraja Bhumi to Dwaraka to personally meet Krishna and desired to stay back as they went in raptures on meeting Him; Lord Krishna was asked by Gopis whether He missed them too and Krishna replied with a smile that He always resided not only in the hearts of Gopas and Gopikas but all the human beings, the entire ‘Charachar’ (mobile and immmobile) beings as He was the Creator and Sustainer. As He bestowed the Brahma Gyan to Gopikas, they decided to live there always and Bhagavan desired ‘Maya’the Architect of Daithyas that a significant Tirtha built as the abode of all Gopikas.Devotees visiting the Gopi Saraovar are advised to offer Arghya by reciting the Mantra: Namasthey Gopa Rupaya Vishnavey Paramaat -maney, Go Prachaara Jagannatha Gruhaarghya namosthutey. Similarly, other Tirthas of distinction include Brahma Kund, Chandra Sarovar, Indra Sarovar, Mahadeva Sarovar, Gauri Sarovar, Varuna Sarovar and Panchanadi Tirtha. Those who are not able to visit Dwaraka may atleast read the details of this extraordinary Kshetra, especially on Dwadasi Tithis of each month and definitely on Krishna Ashtami days of every Year. Sitting at one’s own home, one would have access to the most merciful Sri Krishna who always cares for those who cares for Him. Each minute that is spent in His Glorious Memory is certain to be rewarded. Each step taken toward Him for His vision is a step to Vaikunthadham. ‘Jagarans’ or Awakenings of Night by taking Krishna’s name, constant vision of His Swarup (Idol), ‘Kirtans’ about Him, reading the Sacred Gita Vachan, hearing about His Leelas, dedicating to Him wholly as though nothing else matters in life are all the deeds to take those small, firm but steady steps to Vishnu dham!

OM PURNAMADAH PURNAMIDAM PURNAAT PURNAMUDUCHYATEY
PURNASYA PURNAMAADAASYA PURNAMEVAVASHISYATEY

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in