THE NINTH BOOK
On the coming in this world of Laksmî, Gangâ and Sarasvatî
1-10. Nârâyana said :-- O Nârada! Sarasvatî lives always in Vaikuntha close to Nârada. One day a quarrel arose with Gangâ, and by Her curse, Sarasvatî came in parts as a river here in this Bhârata. She is reckoned in Bhârata as a great sanctifiying holy and merit-giving river. The good persons serve Her always, residing on Her banks. She is the Tapasyâ and the fruit thereof of the ascetics. She is like the burning fire to the sins of the sinners. Those that die in Bhârata on the Sarasvatî waters with their full consciousness, live for ever in Vaikuntha in the council of Hari. Those that bathe in the Sarasvatî waters, after committing sins, become easily freed of them and live for a long, long time in Visnu-Loka. If one bathes even once in the Sarasvatî waters, during Châturmâsya (a vow that lasts four months), in full moon time, in Aksyayâ or when the day ends, in Vyatîpâta Yoga, in the time of eclipse or on any other holy day or through any other concomitant cause or even without any faith and out of sheer disregard, one is able to go to Vaikuntha and get the nature of Srî Hari. If one repeats the Sarasvatî Mantra, residing on the banks of the Sarasvatî, for one month, a great illiterate can become a great poet. There is no doubt in this. Once shaving one's head, if one resides on the banks of the Sarasvatî, daily bathes in it, one will have not to meet with the pain of being again born in the womb. O Nârada! Thus I have described a little of the unbounded glories of Bhârata that give happiness and the fruits of all desires.
11. Sûta said :-- O Saunaka! The Muni Nârada hearing thus, asked again at that very moment to solve his doubts. I am now speaking of that. Hear.
12-15. Nârada said :-- O Lord! How did the Devî Sarasvatî quarrel with the Devî Gangâ and how did she by Her curse turn out in India, into a holy river in giving virtues. I am becoming more and more eager and impatient to hear about this critical incident. I do not find satiety in drinking your nectar-like words. Who finds satiety in getting his good weal? Why did Gangâ curse Sarasvatî, worshipped everywhere. Gangâ is also full of Sattva Gunas. She always bestows good and virtue to all. Both of them are fiery and it is pleasant to hear the cause of quarrels between those two. These are very rarely found in the Purânas. So you ought to describe that to me.
16-21. Nârâyana said :-- Hear, O Nârada! I will now describe that incident, the hearing of which removes all the sins. Laksmî, Sarasvatî and Gangâ, the three wives of Hari and all equally loved, remain always close to Hari. One day Gangâ cast side-long glances frequently towards Nârâyana and was eagerly looking at Him, with smile on Her lips. Seeing this, the Lord Nârâyana, startled and looked at Gangâ and smiled also. Laksmî saw that, but she did not take any offence. But Sarasvatî became very angry. Padmâ (Laksmî) who was of Sattva Guna, began to console in various ways the wrathful Sarasvatî; but she could not be appeased by any means. Rather Her face became red out of anger; she began to tremble out of her feelings (passion); Her lips quivered; and She began to speak to Her husband.
22-38. The husband that is good, religious, and well qualified looks on his all the wives equally; but it is just the opposite with him who is a cheat. O Gadâdhara! You are partial to Gangâ; and so is the case with Laksmî. I am the only one that is deprived of your love. It is, therefore, that Gangâ and Padmâ are in love with each other; for you love Padmâ. So why shall not Padmâ bear this contrary thing! I am only unfortunate. What use is there in holding my life? Her life is useless, who is deprived of her husband's love. Those that declare you, of Sattva Gunas, ought not to be ever called Pundits. They are quite illiterate; they have not the least knowledge of the Vedas. They are quite impotent to understand the nature of your mind. O Nârada! Hearing Sarasvatî's words and knowing that she had become very angry, Nârâyana thought for a moment and then went away from the Zenana outside. When Nârâyana had thus gone away, Sarasvatî became fearless and began to abuse Gangâ downright out of anger in an abusive language, hard to hear :-- O Shameless One! O Passionate One! What
pride do you feel for your husband? Do you like to show that your husband loves you much? I will destroy your pride today. I will see today, it will be seen by others also, what your Hari can do for you? Saying thus Sarasvatî rose up to catch hold of Gangâ by Her hairs violently. Padmâ intervened to stop this. Sarasvatî became very violent and cursed Laksmî :-- No doubt you will be turned into a tree and into a river. In as much as seeing this undue behaviour of Gangâ, you do not step forward to speak anything in this assembly, as if you are a tree or a river. Padmâ did not become at all angry, even when she heard of the above curse. She became sorry and, holding the hands of Sarasvatî, remained silent. Then Gangâ became very angry; Her lips began to quiver frequently. Seeing the mad fiery nature of the red-eyed Sarasvatî, she told Laksmî :-- O Padme! Leave that wicked foul-mouthed woman. What will she do to me? She presides over speech and therefore likes always to remain with quarrels. Let Her shew Her force how far can she quarrel with me. She wants to test the strength of us. So leave Her. Let all know today our strength and prowess.
39-44. Thus saying, Gangâ became ready to curse Sarasvatî and addressing Laksmî, said :-- O Dear Padme! As that woman has cursed you to become a river, so I too curse her, that she, too, be turned into a river and she would go to the abode of men, the sinners, to the world and take their heaps of sins. Hearing this curse of Gangâ, Sarasvatî gave her curse, You, too, will have to descend into the Bhurloka (the world) as a river, taking all the sins of the sinners. O Nârada! While there was going on this quarrel, the four-armed omniscient Bhagavân Hari came up there accompanied by four attendants of His, all four-armed, and took Sarasvatî in His breast and began to speak all the previous mysteries. Then they came to know the cause of their quarrels and why they cursed one another and all became very sorry. At that time Bhagavân Hari told them one by one :--
45-67. O Laksmî! Let you be born in parts, without being born in any womb, in the world as the daughter in the house of the King Dharma-dhvaja. You will have to take the form of a tree there, out of this evil turn of fate. There S'ankhachûda, the Indra of the Asuras, born of my parts will marry you. After that you will come back here and be my wife as now. There is no doubt in this. You will be named Tulasî, the purifier of the three worlds, in Bhârata. O Beautiful One! Now go there quickly and be a river in your parts under the name Padmâvatî. O Gange! You will also have to take incarnation in Bhârata as a river, purifying all the worlds, to destroy the sins of
the inhabitants of Bhârata. Bhagiratha will take you there after much entreating and worshipping you; and you will be famous by the name Bhagirathî, the most sanctifying river in the world. There, the Ocean born of my parts, and the King S'ântanu also born of my parts will be your husbands. O Bharatî! Let you go also and incarnate in part in Bhârata under the curse of Gangâ. O Good-natured One! Now go in full Amsas to Brahmâ and become His wife. Let Gangâ go also in Her fullness to S'iva. Let Padmâ remain with Me. Padmâ is of a peaceful nature, void of anger, devoted to Me and of a Sâttvika nature. Chaste, good-natured, fortunate, and religious woman like Padmâ are very rare. Those women that are born of the parts of Padmâ are all very religious and devoted to their husbands. They are peaceful and good-natured and worshipped in every universe. It is forbidden, nay, opposed to the Vedas, to keep three wives, three servants, three friends of different natures, at one place. They never conduce to any welfare. They are the fruitful sources of all jealousies and quarrels. Where, in any family females are powerful like men and males are submissive to females, the birth of the male is useless. At his every step, he meets with difficulties and bitter experiences. He ought to retire to the forest whose wife is foul-mouthed, of bad birth and fond of quarrels. The great forest is better for him than his house. That man does not get in his house any water for washing his feet, or any seat to sit on, or any fruit to eat, nothing whatsoever; but in the forest, all these are not unavailable. Rather to dwell amidst rapacious animals or to enter into fire than remain with a bad wife. O Fair One! Rather the pains of the disease or venom are bearable, but the words of a bad wife are hard to bear. Death is far better than that. Those that are under the control of their wives, know that they never get their peace of mind until they are laid on their funeral pyres. They never see the fruits of what they daily do. They have no fame anywhere, neither in this world nor in the next. Ultimately the fruit is this:-- that they have to go to hell and remain there. His life is verily a heavy burden who is without any name or fame. Never it is for the least good that many co-wives remain at one place. When, by taking one wife only a man does not become happy, then imagine, how painful it becomes to have many wives. O Gange! Go to S'iva. O Sarasvatî! Go to Brahmâ. Let the good-natured Kamalâ, residing on the lotus remain with Me. He gets in this world happiness and Dharma and in the next Mukti whose wife is chaste and obedient. In fact he is Mukta, pure and happy whose wife is chaste; and he whose wife is foul-natured, is rendered impure unhappy and dead whilst he is living.
Here ends the Sixth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the coming in this world of Laksmî, Gangâ and Sarasvatî in the Mahâpurânam S'rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.