Kartikeya asked Maha Deva as to how human beings with their limited understanding of Spiritual matters especially in Kali Yuga could ever imagine of securing the Four Featured Desires of Samsara viz. Dharma (Virtue), Artha (Prosperity), Kama (Fulfillment of Desires) and Moksha (Liberation). Bhagavan Siva’s ready reply was that there were several holy Tirthas and Kshetras dotted all over Bharata Varsha which could transform the outlook of a human being and imbibe piety and virtue; for example there are Rivers like Ganga, Godavari, Narmada, Tapati, Yamuna, Kshipra, Goutami, Kaushiki, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Chandrabhaga, Mahendraja, Chitrotpala, Vetravati, Sarayu, Charmanvati, Shatadu, Payaswini, Gandaki, Baahuda, Sindhu and Sarasvati.Also there are Punya Kshetras like Ayodhya, Dwaraka, Kashi, Mathura, Avanti, Kurukshetra, Rama Tirtha, Kanchi, Purushottama Kshetra, Pushkara, Dardura Kshetra, Varaha Kshetra and Badari which are all boon providing Places. Bathing, vision of the Idols, performing Puja to them, practising austerities and giving away Charity constitute the best means of washing off sins, fulfilling desires, enabling noble deeds and even securing Salvation.
Badari Kshetra is one of the most outstanding and ancient Pilgrimage Points on Himalayas where Bhagavan Narayana Himself resides. Mahadeva described to Skanda that the significance of ‘darshan’ in Kashi, Kailash and Shri Parvat is far more superior than that of Badari where the foot prints of Srihari apart, this Kshetra is also the abode of Agni since the latter as ‘Sarvabhakshak’ (consumer of any material worthy of consumption or not) prayed to Vishnu to absolve him of the sins and Bhagavan Vishnu provided refuge at His feet where no sin could reach Agni. Also, Kedar Kshetra is in the same region as Badari where Siva’s magnificent Linga is present and even a darshan and if possible an ‘Abhishek’ and Puja of the Linga would instantly perish the sins of a devotee. Moreover, Mahadeva’s fifteen ‘Kalas’(features) are present in the Kedar Linga and worship of the Linga by way of ‘Japa’ (continuous recital) of Siva’s name, ‘Manana’ (Constant thinking about Him), ‘Stuti’( Extolling Him) and ‘Bhajan’(Singing in praise of Him) would assure that there would be freedom from the vicious cycle of births and deaths! Thus Parameswara advised Skanda that Badari Kshetra has the double advantage of worship to Narayana and Mahadeva as this Unified Point on Himalayas is an ideal Pilgrimage Center. ‘Snaan’ at Agni Tirtha absolves even the ‘Pancha Patakas’or the extreme Five Sins, besides performing ‘Pranaayam’and other Yogic Exercises.
Lord Siva explained to Kartikeya that there were Five Sacred ‘Shilas’ or Rocks, viz. Naradi, Narasimhi, Varahi, Garudi and Markandeyi, each one of them being capable of fulfillment and contentment. Sage Narada sat once on a rock and did severe Tapasya for visualising Lord Vishnu. When Narayana along with Devi Lakshmi gave darshan, Narada asked for the boons of ever lasting devotion to Him, never leaving the rock on which he did Tapasya and creating a Tirtha nearby which should absolve the sins of those who bathe in it and worship Narayana there. Markandeya the great devotee met Sage Narada at Mathura and was advised that he should visit Badari Kshetra and pray to Narayana. Markandeya did accordingly and was fortunate to secure the darshan of Sri Hari after continuously reciting the Ashtakshara Mantra viz. Om Namo Narayanaya. He was dumbfounded when Bhagavan Vishnu stood before him in full glory with four hands ornamented with Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Saranga. After extolling Narayana to his heart’s content, Markandeya desired for ‘Janma rahitya’ or freedom from births, that his devotion to Narayana should become stronger and unflinching, that He should be always present at the rock where he was having the darshan of Bhagavan and that He should bless devotees when they visited the Markandeya Shila. Garuda was the son of Sage Kashyap and Devi Vinata whose ambition was to emulate the example of his brother Aruna who was Surya Deva’s charioteer and had the intense desire of becoming the Carrier of Bhagava Vishnu.He chose Badari Kshetra on the top of the adjacent ‘Gandhamadan Parvat’ (Mountain) and was in penance for years together with undaunted grit and devotion. As Lord Narayana finally gave darshan, Garud extolled Him as Trividha Murti integrating the Forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara as also of ‘Ashta Shaktis’(Eight Powers) and the Supreme Might of the Universe. Vishnu was pleased and materialised ‘Panchamukha Ganga’ or the five faced Ganges with the waters of which gave the unique opportunity to Garuda to wash His feet. He also granted the boons of making him His personal ‘Vahan’ (Carrier), of becoming invincible by any force in the Three Worlds, of making him a never-failing personal devotee of Bhagavan and of fulfilling the desires of those who visit the Garuda Shila and worship Bhagavan Narayana. Narasimha Deva in one of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations annihilated the Demon Hiranyakasipu and saved the illustrious devotee Prahlada; He looked like Fire while massacring the Demon with His sharp nails and was in a highly infuriated mood when all the Devas prayed to Him to calm down. After becoming somewhat composed, He declared that He would settle at Vishalapuri (Badarikashram); all the Sages were extremely delighted that Narasimha would be present at Narasimha Shila for facilitating their constant worship and also to bless Bhaktas visiting the Shila. Bhagavan Varaha who pulled up Bhu Devi from the underworld of Rasatala destroyed Demon Hiranyaksha and saved the Vedas and Holy Scriptures. The Varaha incarnation of Lord Vishnu appeared at Vishalapuri as Varaha Shila and continued to bless the devotees at the Shila.
Devas approached Lord Brahma to complain that in the Satya Yuga virtuous human beings, Sages and they could easily access Bhagavan Vishnu, while in Treta Yuga they could visualise Bhagavan through ‘Yogabhyas’ only but in Dwapar Yuga, His Darshan had become virtually impossible and in the future during the Kali Yuga, human beings might even question or ignore the existence of Vishnu! Accordingly, a Delegation of Devas was led by Brahma to Bhagavan Vishnu at Kshirasagara (Ocean of Milk), as Vishnu replied only to Brahma that Devas had become quite irresponsible and ignorant without even realising the very obvious existence of Himself at Badarikashrama! In fact, Bhagavan kept in view the limitations of human beings in Kali Yuga and as such made His Darshan very easy and possible. As the gist of Vishnu’s admonition to Devas was conveyed, they became ashamed and made instant trips to worship Badari Narayana at Badarikashama. That was why this Kshetra acquired additional significance. It is stated that even if a grain of ‘Prasad’ (Left over of the offering given to Badari Narayana) is consumed, the devotee concerned who visited the Holy Kshetra would get rid of all kinds of Patakas (sins) including Maha Pancha Patakas. There is a strong belief down the ages that visitors to the Holy Region would attain Vishnu Swarupa, whose heart is replete with the Vision of Narayana, whose tongue and ears are full of His glories, whose stomach is with even a morsel of His Prashad and whose kneeled head touches the feet of Narayana’s Idol.The worst Sins like killing the Virtuous, intoxication, robberies and adultery would all evaporate once the above requirements are fulfilled. If Bhojan daan is performed among Sanyasins and good Brahmanas and the Prasad is consumed then the benefits of Badarika Darshan and worship are indeed doubled. Bhagavan Siva described the significance of several Tirthas like Kapala Tirtha in the Badarika Region to Kartikeya.This Tirtha is very popular as Pinda Daanas are formally organised to provide relief to Pitraganas from various hells and is thus known as Pitru Tirtha. Considered highly important, this Sacred Spot is greeted with heads down by Devas and Rakshasas alike as the belief had been that this was Brahma’s ‘Pancha Sira Kapala’ or the Fifth skull top which was snipped by Siva Deva for Brahma’s indiscretion of getting attracted to His own Creation of Devi Sarasvati (His daughter). [An alternative Story was that Brahma spoke a lie that he saw the top portion of the huge Siva Linga which indeed was endless]. Brahma Tirtha signified Vishnu’s Avatar of Hayagreeva as the two Demon Brothers called Madhu and Kaitabha stole the Vedas and Brahma witnessed the extraordinary Vision of Hayagreeva emerging from a Kund (Pond) to terminate the Demons. Siva informed Kartikeya that after rescuing the Vedas, the ‘Deva Rupi Vedas’ were deposited in the Brahma Kund and ‘Jnaana Rupi Vedas’ were given away to Brahma. Hence the high importance of ‘Snaan’, worship and Daan at the Brahma Kund. To the North of the Kund flows River Saraswati along side the Kapala Tirtha where Pitru Karyas (tasks to relieve the past generations) are held. Vishnu established the Vagdevi River most appropriately as Deva Rupi Vedas, Jnaana Rupi Vedas, Pitra Loka and Bhuloka are all concentrated in Badarikashrama which is the confluence of Three Lokas! Bathing in the Holy River Saraswati, its worship, Stuti (Praise) and sincere greetings would indeed enhance a devotee’s vocal and mental power and ensure that the ensuing generation’s abilities would never ever fail. South of Sarasvati coming from the mountains is Indrapada Tirtha where Lord Indra conducted Tapasya, fasting and worship and is stated to bestow the devotees who also perform the same austerities as Indra did. Nearby the Indrapada Tirtha are situated the Manasodbheda Tirtha and Vasudhara Tirtha both being of considerable importance. Not far from Indrapada Tirtha is the Pancha Tirtha Complex comprising Five Streams named Prabhas, Pushkar, Gaya, Naimish and Kurukshetra. There is also an important Soma Tirtha where Chandra Deva performed Tapasya to Narayana and secured the boons of becoming the Chief of Nakshatras (Stars), Aushadhis (Medicines), Grahas (Planets) and the entire Brahmana Community. Further there are Dwadasha Aditya Tirtha, Chatuhstotra Tirtha, Satyapada Tirtha, Meru Tirtha, Lokapala Tirtha, Dandapushkarin and Ganga Sangam.