In the previous episode, we had witnessed the significance of three important places – Firstly, the “Ganga-Dvaar” which is the meeting point of River Ganga with the ocean. Secondly, the important place called “Chitrakoota”, which is situated amidst the banks of two rivers, namely River Mandaagini on one side and River Sharabanga on the other. Thirdly, we also spoke about the River Godavari which originates from Maharashtra and flows south-eastwards towards the Indian State of Andhra-Pradesh. It is along this river, the important “Kshetra” called “Panchavati” is located. This “Panchavati” is the place where Bhagawan Rama, along with Lakshmana and Sita resided for almost twelve years of their fourteen-year exile. This is also the place from where Ravana abducted Mother Sita, by engaging with Maareecha who came in the form of a golden deer to attract the attention of Mother Sita. Subsequently, all of us know what happened to Bhagawan Rama – He goes chasing after the golden deer, only to find out that this deer is none other than the Raakshasa “Maareecha”, after a long distance. By this time, Ravana had come in as a “Fake-Sanyasin” and abducts Mother Sita away to Lanka. All these important events took place in this very place called “Panchavati”, which is situated on the banks of River Godavari. Thus, Sage Naarada advises Yudishtra to visit this place as well.
Moving on further, Sage Naarada talks about various other places en-route, and finally comes to the most important place called “Prayaagraj” or “Triveni Sangamam”. This place is none other than the modern day city of “Allahabad”, whose name has been changed now to “Prayagraj” quite recently. As many of us might be knowing, this Prayagraj is the “Sangamam” (Meeting point) of three important rivers – River Ganga, River Yamuna and River Saraswati. Goddess Mahalakshmi has three plats on her divine hair – One plat is River Ganga, the second one is River Yamuna and the third is River Saraswati. Thus, the meeting point of these three plats in Goddess Mahalakshmi’s divine hair is called the “Prayaagam” or “Prayaagraj”. Of these three rivers, River Ganga and Yamuna are visibly on the surface level and we can see the place where both these two rivers come and join with each other. However, we would not be able to see River Saraswati, because this river has a curse – To run below the ground, and because of this curse, she is invisible. Thus, even today, we would be able to take a holy bath in the junction of these three rivers. We would have to go to that meeting point in a ferry, and there would be a small bund of mud and stones at a distance. The ferry would take us to this point, and this is exactly where we’ve to take the holy dip. There would be a few Brahmin Pandits who would be seated there, and many people perform spiritual offerings in this place to all the three rivers. Thus, the “Prayaagaraj-Kshetra” is very important and Sage Naarada advises Yudishtra to go and visit this place as well.
As Sage Naarada explains all of these, he also adds an important accord – When Parashurama lost all his “Tapo-Bhalam” when he was defeated by Bhagawan Rama, he too had to go on an extensive “Teertha-Yatra” to regain all his lost “Tapas”. All of us might know this story – In our previous Ramayana project, we’ve discussed how Parashurama was defeated by Bhagawan Rama – As Bhagawan Rama was newly married to Mother Sita, and when the entire caravan was returning from Mithilapuri to Ayodhya, along with King Dasharata, Parashurama came in the middle and tried to stop Bhagawan Rama’s chariot. Doing so, Parashurama invited Bhagawan Rama for a fight with him, however, the moment Bhagawan Rama swung into action, He snatched Parashurama’s strong bow and broke it into pieces within fraction of seconds! This brought down Parashurama’s anger and with this, he had lost all his powers of penance! Thus, Sage Naarada draws an important comparison here that just like how Parashurama went on a long “Teertha Yatra” to regain his lost powers, Yudishtra also should do the same, so that he too would be able to regain whatever he had lost!
So for today, let us understand these points very clearly and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂