The Vows and the Sacred Places of the Devi
1-2. The Himâlayâs said :– “O Devî! 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 Devî spoke :– “O Himavan! 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. For 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 Kolhâpura in the southern country. Here the Devî Laksmi always dwells. The second place is Mâtripura in the Sahyâdrî mountain; here the Devî Renukâ dwells. The third place is Tulajâpur; next is the place Saptas’ringa, the great places of Hingulâ and Jvâlâ Mukhî. Then the great places of Sâkambharî, Bhrâmâri, S’rîraktadantikâ and Dûrgâ. The best of all places is that of Vindhyâchala Vâsinî, the great places of Annapurnâ and the excellent Kânchipur (Conjiverum). Next come the places of Bhîmâ Devî, Vimalâ Devî, S’rî Chandralâ Devî of Karnât, and the place of Kaus’ikî. Then the great place of Nîlâmbâ on the top of the Nîlâparvata, the place of Jâmbûnades’varî, and the beautiful S’rînagara.
11-20. The great place of S’rî Guhya Kâlî, well established in Nepal, and that of S’rî Mînâksî Devî established in Chîdamvaram. The great place named Vedâranya where the Sundarî Devî is residing; then the place named Ekâmvaram, and the place Bhuvanes’vara near Purusottama where I always dwell as Parâ S’akti Bhuvanes’varî. The famous place of Mahâlasâ, known in the south by the name Mallâri; the place of Yoges’varî Varât, and the widely known place of Nîla S’arasvatî in China. The excellent place of Bagalâ in Baidyanâth, the supreme place Manidvîpa of S’rîmatî Bhuvanes’varî where I always reside. The Yonimandala Kâmâkhyâ, the place of S’rimatî Tripurâ Bhariavî, the excellent of all the places in this earth, where the Devî Mahâ Mâyâ always dwells. There is no other place better than this on the earth. Here the Devî becomes 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 Devî; there is no better place than this Kâmâkhyâ Yonimandala. Puskara, the sacred place, is the seat of Gâyatrî; the place of Chandikâ in Amares’a: and the excellent place of Puskareksinî in Frabhâsa. The place of Linga-dhârinî Devî in Naimisâranya, and the place of Purubutâ in Puskarâksa; Rati dwells in Âsâdhî.
21-30. Dandinî Parames’vari dwells in Chandamundî. Bhûti dwells in Bhârabhûti; and Nakule S’varî dwells in Nâkula. Chandrikâ dwells in Haris’chandra; S’ânkari in S’rîgiri; Tris’ûlâ in Japes’vara; and Suksmâ in Âmrâta Kes’vara. S’ânkarî dwells in Ujjain, S’arvânî in the place Madhyamâ, and Mârga Dâyini dwells in the holy Ksetra Kedâra. The celebrated Bhairavî dwells in the place named Bhairava; Mangalâ in Gayâ Ksettra; Sthânupriyâ in Kuruksetra; and Svâyambhuvî Devî dwells in Nâkula; Ugrâ dwells in Kankhal; Vis’vesâ dwells in Vimales’vara, Mahânandâ in Attahâsa and Mahântakâ in Mahendra. Bhimes’varî dwells in Bhîma; the Bhavânî S’ankarî dwells in Vastrâpadma; and Rudrânî in Ardha Kotî. Vis’alâksî dwells in Avimukta; Mahâbhâgâ dwells in Mahâlaya; Bhadrakarnî in Gokarna; and Bhadrâ resides in Bhadrakarnak; Utpalâksî dwells in Suvarnâksa; Sthânvîs’â in Sthânu; Kamalâ in Kamalâlayâ; Chandâ in Chhagalandaka, situated in the south near the sea coast. Trisandhyâ dwells in Kurundala; Mukutes’varî in Mâkota; S’ândakî in Mandales’a; Kâlî in Kâlanjara; Dhvani in S’ankukarna; Sthûlâ in Sthûlakes’vara; and Parames’varî Hrillekhâ dwells in the heart lotuses of the Jñanins.
31-34. The places mentioned above are all dearest to the Devî. First the merits of these places are to be heard; next the Devî is to be worshipped by the rites and ceremonies according to these rules. Or, O Mountain! All the holy places of pilgrimages exist in Kâs’î. The Devî always dwells there. Persons, devoted to the Devî, see these places and if they make Japam and meditate on the lotus-feet of the Devî, they will certainly be freed from the bonds of Samsâra; 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 S’râddha, before the Brahmins, these holy names of the Devî, his Pitris will be purified of their sins in the Mahâkâs’a by the Mahâ Prâna 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 Tritîyâkhya Vrata (vow), Rasakalyânî Vrata, and Ârdrânandakara Vrata, these three Vratas are to be observed in the Tritîyâ (third) tithi. The next come the Friday vow, the Krisna Chaturdas’i vows, the Tuesday vow, and the evening twilight vow. In this twilight vow, Mahâ Deva placed the Devî in the evening on an Âsana; 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 Devî, the Giver of all auspicious things. Especially in every fortnight, if the Devî be worshipped, She gets extremely pleased.
41. O Best of Mountains! The Monday vow is very agreeable to Me; the worship of the Devî should be done and then in the night one must take one’s food.
42-43. The two nine nights vow called Navarâtra 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 Naimittik vows, free from any pride and jealousy. He certainly gets the Sâjujya Mukti with Me.
44-46. O Nagarâja! The Holy (Dol) festival in the month of Chait on tha third day of the white fortnight is very pleasing to Me and should be observed by all. My devotees perform the S’ayanotsava in the Paurnâmâsî in the month of Âsâdha; the Jâgaranotsava in the Paurnamâsî in the month of Kârtik, the Ratha Jâtrâ in the 3rd of the white fortnight in Âsâdha; the Damanotsava in Chaitra. And my dear festivals in the month of S’râvana and various other festivals.
47-49. In all these festivals one should feast well with gladness all My devotees, and the Kumâris (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 Devî in the Mahâ Purânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.