The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'That perpetuator of Kuru's race, viz., Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, desirous of obtaining such good as is destructive of sins, questioned Bhishma who was lying on a bed of arrows, (in the following words).'
"Yudhishthira said, 'What, indeed, is beneficial for a person in this world? What is that by doing which one may earn happiness? By what may one be cleansed of all one's sins? Indeed, what is that which is destructive of sins?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'In this connection, the royal son of Santanu, O foremost of men, duly recited the names of the deities unto Yudhishthira who was desirous of hearing.'
"Bhishma said, 'O son, the following names of the deities with those of the Rishis, if duly recited morning, noon, and evening, become efficacious cleansers of all sins. Acting with the aid of one's senses (or knowledge and action), whatever sins one may commit by day or by night or by the two twilights, consciously, or unconsciously one is sure to be cleansed therefrom and become thoroughly pure by reciting these names. One that takes those names has never to become blind or deaf; indeed, by taking those names, one always succeeds in attaining to what is beneficial. Such a man never takes birth in the intermediate order of beings, never goes to hell, and never becomes a human being of any of the mixed castes. He has never to fear the accession of any calamity. When death comes, he never becomes stupefied. The master of all the deities and Asuras, resplendent with effulgence, worshipped by all creatures, inconceivable, indescribable, the life of all living beings, and unborn, is the Grandsire Brahma, the Lord of the universe. His chaste spouse is Savitri. Then comes that origin of the Vedas, the creator Vishnu, otherwise called Narayana of immeasurable puissance. Then comes the three-eyed Lord of Lima; then Skanda the generalissimo of the celestial forces; then Visakha; then Agni the eater of sacrificial libations; then Vayu the god of wind; then Chandramas; then Aditya the god of the sun, endued with effulgence; then the illustrious Sakra the lord of Sachi; and Yama with his spouse Dhumorna; and Varuna with Gauri; Kuvera the lord of treasures, with his spouse Riddhi; the amiable and illustrious cow Surabhi; the great Rishi Visravas; Sankalpa, Ocean, Gangs: the other sacred Rivers; the diverse Maruts; the Valkhilyas crowned
with success of penances; the island-born Krishna; Narada; Parvata; Viswavasu; the Hahas; the Huhus; Tumvuru; Chitrasena; the celestial messenger of wide celebrity; the highly blessed celestial maidens; the celestial Apsaras, Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha; Misrakesi, Alamvusha, Viswachi, Ghritachi, Panchachuda, Tilottama, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Aswins, the Pitris; Dharma (Righteousness); Vedic lore, Penances, Diksha, Perseverance (in religious acts), the Grandsire, Day and Night, Kasyapa the son of Marichi, Sukra, Vrihaspati, Mangala the son of Earth, Vudha, Rahu, Sanischara, the Constellations, the Seasons, the Months, the Fortnights, the Year, Garuda, the son of Vinata, the several Oceans, the sons of Kadru, viz., the Snakes, Satadru, Vipasa, Chandrabhaga, Saraswati, Sindhu, Devika, Prabhasa, the lakes of Pushkara, Ganga, Mahanadi, Vena, Kaveri, Narmada, Kulampuna Visalya, Karatoya, Amvuvahini. Sarayu, Gandaki, the great river Lohita, Tamra, Aruna, Vetravati, Parnasa, Gautami, the Godavari, Vena, Krishnavena, Dwija, Drishadvati, Kaveri, Vankhu, Mandakini Prayaga, Prabhasa, the sacred Naimisha, the spot sacred to Visweswara or Mahadeva, viz., Kasi, that lake of crystal water, Kurukshetra full of many sacred waters, the foremost of oceans (viz., the ocean of milk), Penances, Gifts, Jamvumarga, Hiranwati, Vitasta, the river Plakshavati, Vedasmriti, Vedavati, Malava, Aswavati, all sacred spots on Earth, Gangadwara, the sacred Rishikulya, the river Chitravaha, the Charmanwati, the sacred river Kausiki, the Yamuna, the river Bhimarathi, the great river Vahuda, Mahendravani, Tridiva Nilika, Saraswati, Nanda, the other Nanda, the large sacred lake, Gaya, Phalgutirtha Dharmarayana (the sacred forest) that is peopled with the deities, the sacred celestial river, the lake created by the Grandsire Brahma which is sacred and celebrated over the three worlds, and auspicious and capable of cleansing all sins, the Himavat mountain endued with excellent herbs, the Vindhya mountain variegated with diverse kinds of metals, containing many Tirthas and overgrown with medicinal herbs. Meru, Mahendra, Malaya, Sweta endued with silver, Sringavat, Mandara, Nila, Nishada, Dardurna, Chitrakuta, Anjanabha, the Gandhamadana mountains; the sacred Somagiri, the various other mountains, the cardinal points of the compass, the subsidiary points, the Earth, all the trees, the Viswedevas, the Firmament, the Constellations, the Planets, and the deities,--let these all, named and unnamed, rescue and cleanse us! The man who takes the names of these becomes cleansed of all his sins. By hymning their praises and gratifying them, one becomes freed from every fear. Verily, the man who delights in uttering the hymns in praise of the deities becomes cleansed of all such sins as lead to birth in impure orders. After this recital of the deities, I shall name those learned Brahmanas crowned with ascetic merit and success and capable of cleaning one of every sin. They are Yavakrita and Raibhya and Kakshivat and Aushija, and Bhrigu and Angiras and Kanwa, and the puissant Medhatithi,
and Varhi possessed of every accomplishment. These all belong to the eastern region. Others, viz., Unmuchu, Pramuchu, all highly blessed, Swastyatreya of great energy, Agastya of great prowess, the son of Mitra and Varuna; Dridhayu and Urdhavahu, those two foremost and celebrated of Rishis,--these live in the southern region. Listen now to me as I name those Rishis that dwell in the western region. They are Ushango with his uterine brothers, Parivyadha of great energy, Dirghatamas, Gautama, Kasyapa, Ekata, Dwita, Trita, the righteous-souled son of Atri (viz., Durvasa), and puissant Saraswat. Listen now to me as I name those Rishis that worship the deities in sacrifices, dwelling in the northern region. They are Atri, Vasishtha, Saktri, Parasara's son Vyasa of great energy; Viswamitra, Bharadwaja, Jamadagni, the son of Richika, Rama, Auddalaka, Swetaketu, Kohala, Vipula, Devala, Devasarman, Dhaumya, Hastikasyapa, Lomasa, Nachiketa, Lomaharsana, Ugrasravas, and Bhrigu's son Chyavana. This is the tale of Rishis possessed of Vedic lore. They are primeval Rishis, O king, whose names, if taken, are capable of cleansing one of every sin. After this I shall recite the names of the principal kings. They are Nriga, Yayati, Nahusha, Yadu, Puru of great energy, Sagara, Dhundhumara, Dilipa of great prowess, Krisaswa, Yauvanaswa, Chitraswa, Satyavat, Dushmanta, Bharata who became an illustrious Emperor over many kings, Yavana, Janaka, Dhrishtaratha, Raghu, that foremost of kings, Dasaratha, the heroic Rama, that slayer of Rakshasas, Sasavindu. Bhagiratha, Harischandra, Marutta, Dridharatha, the highly fortunate Alarka, Aila, Karandhama, that foremost of men, Kasmira, Daksha, Amvarisha, Kukura, Raivata of great fame, Kuru, Samvarana, Mandhatri of unbaffled prowess, the royal sage Muchukunda, Jahnu who was much favoured by Janhavi (Ganga), the first (in point of time) of all kings, viz., Prithu the son of Vena, Mitrabhanu, Priyankara, Trasadasyu, Sweta that foremost of royal sages, the celebrated Mahabhisha, Nimi Ashtaka, Ayu, the royal sage Kshupa, Kaksheyu, Pratardana, Devodasa, Sudasa, Kosaleswara, Aila, Nala, the royal sage Manu, that lord of all creatures, Havidhara, Prishadhara, Pratipa, Santanu, Aja, the senior Varhi, Ikshwaku of great fame, Anaranya, Janujangha, the royal sage Kakshasena, and many others not named (in history). That man who rising at early dawn takes the names of these kings at the two twilights, viz., at sunset and sunrise, with a pure body and mind and without distracted attention, acquires great religious merit. One should hymn the praises of the deities, the celestial Rishis, and the royal sages and say, 'These lords of the creation will ordain my growth and long life and fame! Let no calamity be mine, let no sin defile me, and let there be no opponents or enemies of mine! Without doubt, victory will always be mine and an auspicious end hereafter!'"
Next: Section CLXVI