SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 7 CHAPTER 38

THE SEVENTH BOOK Chapter XXXVIII

The Vows and the Sacred Places of the Devī

1-2. The Himalayas said:

"O Devī! Describe the places on this earth that are prominent, sacred, and worth visiting and which Thou likest best.

O Mother! Also sanctify us by describing the vows and utsabs that are pleasing to Thee, and by performing which, men become blessed and get themselves satisfied.

3-10. The Devī spoke:

"O Himavān! All the places that are on this earth are all Mine and all should be visited. And every moment is fit for taking vows and utsabs.

Because I am of the nature pervading every moment; so whatever actions are performed at any moment are all equal to taking My vows and utsabs.

O King of Mountains! Still I am now telling something out of My affection to My Bhaktas. Hear:

There is a great place of pilgrimage named Kolhāpura in the southern country. There the Devī Lakṣmī always dwells. The second place is Mātripura in the Sahyādrī mountain; here the Devī Reṇukā dwells.

The third place is Tulajāpur; next is the place Saptaśringa, the great places of Hingulā and Jvālā Mukhī. Then the great places of Śākambharī, Bhrāmāri, Śrīraktadantikā and Durgā.

The best of all places is that of Vindhyāchala Vāsinī, the great places of Annapurnā and the excellent Kānchipur.

Next come the places of Bhīmā Devī, Vimalā Devī, Śrī Chaṇdralā Devī of Karṇāṭ, and the place of Kauśikī. Then the great place of Nīlāmbā on the top of the Nīlāparvata, the place of Jāmbūnadeśvarī, and the beautiful Śrīnagara.

11-20. The great place of Śrī Guhyā Kālī, well established in Nepal, and that of Śrī Mīnākṣī Devī established in Chīdamvaram. The great place named Vedāraṇya where the Sundarī Devī is residing; then the place named Ekāmvaram and the place Bhuvaneśvara near Puruṣottama where I always dwell as Parā Śaktī Bhuvaneśvarī.

The famous place of Mahālasā, known in the south by the name Mallāri; the place of Yogeśvarī Varāṭ, and the widely known place of Nīla Saraswatī in China. The excellent place of Bagalā in Baidyanāth, the supreme place Manidvīpa of Śrīmatī Bhuvaneśvarī where I always reside.

The Yonimaṇḍala Kāmākhyā, the place of Śrīmatī Tripura Bhairavī, the excellent of all the places in this earth, where the Devī Mahā Māyā always dwells.

There is no other place better than this on the earth. Here the Devī comes every month in Her course of menstruation and where the virtuous men are seen. Here all the Devas remain in the form of mountains and where on the mountains the excellent Devas inhabit.

The sages say that all the places there are of the nature of the Devī; there is no better place than this Kāmākhyā Yonimaṇḍala.

Puṣkara, the sacred place, is the seat of Gāyatrī; the place of Chaṇḍikā in Amareśa: and the excellent place of Puṣkarekṣiṇī in Prabhāsa. The place of Linga-dhāriṇī Devī in Naimiṣāraṇya, and the place of Puruhūtā in Puṣkarākṣa; Rati dwells in Āsāḍhī.

21-30. Daṇḍinī Parameśvarī dwells in Chaṇḍamunḍī. Bhūti dwells in Bhārabhūti; and Nākuleśvarī dwells in Nākula. Chandrikā dwells in Hariśchandra; Śankarī in Śrīgiri; Triśūlā in Japeśvara; and Sūkṣmā in Āmrāta Keśvara.

Śānkarī dwells in Ujjain, Śarvāṇī in the place Madhyama, and Mārga Dāyinī dwells in the holy Kṣettra Kedāra. The celebrated Bhairavī dwells in the place named Bhairava; Mangalā in Gayā Kṣettra; Sthānupriyā in Kurukṣettra; and Svāyambhuvī Devī dwells in Nākula; Ugrā dwells in Kankhal, Viśvesā dwells in Vimaleśvara, Mahānandā in Attahāsa and Mahāntakā in Mahendra. Bhīmeśvarī dwells in Bhīma; the Bhavānī Śankarī dwells in Vastrāpadma; and Rudrāṇī in Ardha Koṭī.

Viśālākṣī dwells in Avimukta; Mahābhāgā dwells in Mahālayā; Bhadrakarṇī in Gokarṇa; and Bhadrā resides in Bhadrakarṇak; Utpalākṣī dwells in Suvarnākṣa; Sthāṇvīśā in Sthāṇu; Kamalā in Kamalālayā; Chaṇḍā in Chhagalaṇḍaka, situated in the south near the sea coast.

Trisandhyā dwells in Kuruṇḍala; Mukuṭeśvarī in Mākoṭa; Śānḍakī in Mandaleśa; Kālī in Kālanjara; Dhvani in Śankukarṇa; Sthūlā in Sthūlakeśvara; and Parameśvarī Hrillekhā dwells in the heart lotuses of the Jñānins.

31-34. The places mentioned above are all dearest to the Devī.

First the merits of these places are to be heard; next the Devī is to be worshipped by the rites and ceremonies according to these rules. Or, O Mountain! All the holy places of pilgrimages exist in Kāśī. The Devī always dwells there.

Persons, devoted to the Devī, see these places and if they make Japam and meditate on the lotus- feet of the Devī, they will certainly be freed from the bonds of Samsāra; there is no doubt in this.

If anybody, getting up in the morning, recite the names of these places, all his sins would instantly be burnt away.

35-40. And if one reads, in the time of Śraddhā, before the Brāhmins, these holy names of the Devī, his Pitris will be purified of their sins in the Mahākāśa by the Mahā Prāṇa and will get their highest goal.

O One of good vows! I will now describe to you the vows that are to be carefully observed by men and women; hear:

Ananta Tritīyākhya Vrata (vow), Rasakalyānī Vrata, and Ārdrānandakara Vrata, these three Vratas are to be observed in the Tritīyā (third) tithi.

The next come the Friday vow, the Kṛṣṇa Chaturdaśī vows, the Tuesday vow, and the evening twilight vow.

In this twilight vow, Mahā Deva placed the Devī in the evening on an Āsana; and He, along with the other Devas, began to dance before Her.

Fasting is enjoined in this vow; and then in the evening one must worship the Devī, the Giver of all auspicious things. Especially in every fortnight, if the Devī be worshipped, She gets extremely pleased.

41. O Best of Mountains! The Monday vow is very agreeable to Me; the worship of the Devī should be done and then in the night one must take one's food.

42-43. The two nine nights vow called Navarātra are to be observed, one in the autumn and the other in the spring season. These are very dear to Me.

He is certainly My devotee and very dear who for My satisfaction performs these and the other Nitya Naimittika vows, free from any pride and jealousy. He certainly gets the Sājuya Mukti with Me.

44-46. O Nagarāja! The Holy (Dol) festival in the month of Chait on the third day of the white fortnight is very pleasing to Me and should be observed by all.

My devotees perform the Śayanotsava in the Paurṇāmāsī in the month of Āṣāḍha; the Jāgaraṇotsava in the Paurṇāmāsī in the month of Kārtik, the Ratha Jātrā in the 3rd of the white fortnight in Āṣāḍha; the Damanotsava in Chaitra. And my dear festivals in the month of Śrāvana and various other festivals.

47-49. In all these festivals one should feast well with gladness all My devotees, and the Kumārīs (virgins), well clothed and dressed, and the boys, thinking them all to be of My very nature. No miserliness is to be entertained and I should be worshipped with flowers, etc.

He is blessed and attains his goal and is dear to Me who carefully and devotedly observes every year all these festivals.

O Nagendra! Thus I have described to you in brief all the vows that are pleasing to Me. These instructions are not to be given who is not a disciple nor to one who is not My devotee.

Here ends the Thirty-eighth Chapter of the Seventh Book on the vows and the sacred places of the Devī in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.