Tirtha
BackHomeNext

 

 

      Pages

Home

Hinduism & Quantum Physics
Alphabetical Listing
Amazing Science
Vedic Mathematics
Oldest Civilization
Aryan Language Family
Hindu Festivals 2031
Hindu Fesivals 2043
Moon Calendar 2009
Moon Calendar 2011
Eclipse
Hinduism-Brief Sketch
Founder of Hinduism
Vrat - Resolution
Mind Power
Mantras-Sacred Fire
Shanti Mantras
Cows are Sacred
From Scriptures
Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
God can be seen
Guru
Silent Teachings & Satsang
Touched by God
Caste System
Untouchables
Duties
Yuga Dharmaa
Doing Good
Virtue
Virtue, Wealth & Pleasure
Tirukkural
Ashramas
Sannyasa - Renunciation
Kamagita
Wheel of Life
Maya-Shakti-Prakriti
Durga Saptashati
Creation
Dissolution
Wisdom versus knowledge
Divine Wealth
Motherhood
Women
Marriage
Alluring Adornment
God
Nature of Reality
That Thou Art
Sanatan Ved Dharma
Destiny & Exertion
Soul & its Destiny
The Real and the Apparent Man
Death & Life
Bhishma
Immortality
Egoism
Resurrection
Reincarnation
Heaven & Hell
Emancipation
Gayatri
Meditation
Meditation Q & A
Direct Path
Miscellaneous Q & A
Jesus versus Churchianity
Empty Chamber
Adhyatma-Self-Spiritual Science
Self-Realisation
Self - Atma
Jnani - Self-realised
Who am I?
Sanat-sujata
Vidura-Niti
Chanakya niti
Kautilya Arthasastra
Worship
Self-enquiry
Highest object of knowledge
The Highest Refuge of All things
Sankhya versus Yoga
Yoga
Jnana Yoga
Raja Yoga
Bhakti - Surrender
Bhakti Yoga
Karma Yoga
Japa
Music
Consciousness-the three states
Freedom & Bondage
Morality
Overcoming Difficulties
Forgiveness versus Might - Anger
Penance
Renunciation & Abandonment
Truth
Truth versus Falsehood
Happiness
Self-restraint
Senses - self-discipline
Ignorance
Anahata Nada
What Religion Is
Karma & Destiny
Sin
Sinner
Drunkard
Conscience
Prayer
Mind
Miracles & Visions
Riddles
Celibacy
Thought, Speech & Deed
Upanishads
Gita for Children
Gita
Preyas & Sreyas
Pravritti - Nivritti
Acts versus Knowledge
Conduct
Kali Yuga
Tantra
Kundalini
Direct Perception versus Scriptures
Faith
Atheist
Righteousness
Highest Good
Mother, Father & Teacher
Eldest Brother
Friendship
Self-interest
kingcraft
Chastisements
Thanks Giving
Ethics
Good and Evil
Vices
Malevolent & Wicked
Nature of Man
Culture and Civilization
Kosas-sheaths
Good and Pure
Sattwa, Rajas & Tamas
East-West-North-South
Stories - Episodes
Procrastination
Gifts
Fasting (Religious)
Tirtha
Sacred Waters - Ganga
Tilak
Ideal behind the idol
Rituals
Hinduism & Sri Ramakrishna
Funerals
Tarpana
Aarati
Flowers - Incense - Lamps
Prasad
Sacraments - Samskaras
Sacred Thread
Food
Your Constitution
Trees have Life
Prana-Vyana-Samana
Krishna
Ganapati - Gopalnanda
Brahma - Sutras
Temples
Sun - Surya
Makar sankranti
Vasant Panchami
Siva
Nataraj
Holi - Festival
Ramayana
Hanuman
Raksha Bandhan
Krishna Janmashtami
Deepavali
Adhik Maas
Kaaba a Hindu Temple?
Islam-stagnant
Buddhism
Buddhism in China--Japan-Korea
Religions in brief
Inter-religious Attitude
Books
Hindu Scriptures
Philosophy
Schools of Vedanta
Hindu Sects
Q & A
Dasnami Sampradaya
Dharma
Speech - Science
Abusive Speech
Appreciations
Food Charts
Drama - Shakuntala
Vishnu Sahasranama
Moon Calendar 2013
Moon Calendar 2015
Moon Calendar 2017
Moon Calendar 2019
Moon Calendar 2021
Vedic Maths India
CSS2

 

Top
       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

Tirtha (Place of pilgrimage)
From The Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Section CVIII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Yudhishthira said: Do thou tell me, O grandsire, of that which is regarded as the foremost of all Tirthas (place of pilgrimage). Indeed, it behoveth thee to expound to me what that Tirtha is which conduces to the greatest purity.

[Note: The word ‘Tirthas’ as explained in the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata means a sacred water. There can be no Tirtha without water, be it a river, a lake, or even a well. Bhishma, however, chooses to take the word in a different sense.]

Bhishma said: Without doubt, all Tirthas are possessed of merit. Listen, however, with attention to me as I tell thee what the Tirtha, the cleanser, is of men endued with wisdom. Adhering to eternal Truth, one should bathe in the Tirtha called Manasa, which is unfathomable (for its depth), stainless, and pure, and which has Truth for its waters and the understanding for its lake.

[Note: The language is figurative. By ‘Manasa’ is not meant the trans- Himalayan Lake of that name, which to this day is regarded as highly sacred and draws numerous pilgrims from all parts of India. The word ‘Manasa’ is used here to signify the Soul. It is fathomless in consequence of nobody being able to discover its origin. It is pure and stainless by nature. It is presented here as having Truth for its waters and the Understanding for its lake. Probably, what is meant by this is that the Understanding, containing the waters of Truth, forms a part of this Tirtha as the lakes of Pushkara form a part of the Tirtha called by that name.]

The fruits in the form of cleansing, that one acquires by bathing in that Tirtha, are freedom from cupidity, sincerity, truthfulness, mildness (of behaviour), compassion, abstention from injuring any creature, self-restraint, and tranquility. Those men that are freed from attachments, that are divested of pride, that transcend all pairs of opposites (such as pleasure and pain, praise and blame, heat and cold, etc.), that have no spouses and children and houses and gardens, etc., that are endued with purity, and that subsist upon the alms given to them by others, are regarded as Tirthas.

He who is acquainted with the truths of all things and who is freed from the idea of meum is said to be the highest Tirtha.

[Note: Once freed from the idea of meum implies him who identifies himself with all creatures; him, that is, in whom the idea of self has been extinguished.]

In searching the indications of purity, the gaze should ever be directed towards these attributes (so that where these are present, thou mayst take purity to be present, and where these are not, purity also should be concluded to be not). Those persons from whose souls the attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas have been washed off, they who, regardless of (external) purity and impurity pursue the ends they have proposed to themselves, they who have renounced everything, they who are possessed of omniscience and endued with universal sight, and they who are of pure conduct, are regarded as Tirthas possessing the power of cleansing. That man, whose limbs only are wet with water, is not regarded as one that is washed. He, on the other hand, is regarded as washed who has washed himself by self-denial. Even such a person is said to be pure both inwardly and outwardly.

They who never concern themselves with what is past, they who feel no attachment to acquisitions that are present, indeed, they who are free from desire, are said to be possessed of the highest purity. Knowledge is said to constitute the especial purity of the body. So also freedom from desire, and cheerfulness of mind. Purity of conduct constitutes the purity of the mind. The purity that one attains by ablutions in sacred waters is regarded as inferior. Verily, that purity which arises from knowledge is regarded as the best. Those ablutions which one performs with a blazing mind in the waters of the knowledge of Brahman (the Supreme Reality) in the Tirtha called Manasa, are the true ablutions of those that are conversant with Truth. That man who is possessed of true purity of conduct and who is always devoted to the preservation of a proper attitude towards all, indeed, he who is possessed of (pure) attributes and merit, is regarded as truly pure.

These that I have mentioned have been said to be the Tirthas that inhere to the body. Do thou listen to me as I tell thee what those sacred Tirthas are that are situate on earth also. Even as especial attributes that inhere to the body have been said to be sacred, there are particular spots on earth as well, and particular waters, that are regarded as sacred. By reciting the names of the Tirthas, by performing ablutions there, and by offering oblations to the Pitris in those places, one’s sins are washed off. Verily, those men whose sins are thus washed off succeed in attaining to heaven when they leave this world. In consequence of their association with persons that are righteous, through the especial efficacy of the earth itself of those spots and of particular waters, there are certain portions of the earth that have come to be regarded as sacred.

The Tirthas of the mind are separate and distinct from those of the earth. That person who bathes in both attains to success without any delay. As strength without exertion, or exertion without strength can never accomplish anything, singly, and as these, when combined, can accomplish all things, even so one that becomes endued with the purity that is contributed by the Tirthas in the body as also by that which is contributed by the Tirthas on the earth, becomes truly pure and attains to success. That purity which is derived from both sources is the best.
==============
Related articles

Sacred Waters-Ganga

Top  To top of this page
Index Alphabetical [Index to Pages]

Back Home Next