Greetings and Namaste. One of the participants in my distribution list enquired whether there are any hymns on River Godavari since Mahakumbhamela for 2015 is in progress (starting with flag hoisting ceremony on 14th July at Ram Kunda in Nashik and going upto September 25th).
In this connection, I am glad to share about 3 short hymns on river Godavari taken from Godavari Mahatmya, Brahma Purana. Godavari Mahatmya in Brahma Purana consists of 106 chapters (Chapters 70 to 175 of Brahma Purana) and provides details of origin of Godavari until its Sangama with ocean. it provides description of hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of Tirthas available along the path of Godavari as told by Lord Brahma to Sage Narada. This Mahatmya also provides some interesting snippets and historical facts along the way. Some excerpts below, as it will be difficult to cover all in a short email.
Origin of Godavari - The Ganga that originated from Vishnu Pada and received at the jaTAjUTa of Shiva takes two forms - as Ganga to King Bhagiratha of Surya Vamsha and as Gautami (aka Godavari and Dakshina Ganga) to Sage Gautama. The hymns address Godavari as Ganga itself.
Gautami's Sanctity - Lord Brahma as well as Lord Shiva mention that Godavari is the most sacred of all rivers. There are hundreds of Tirthas along its path which are capable of destroying one's accumulated Karma and bestow health, wealth and emancipation.
Pitru Worship - Pitrus declare that there is none more potent in satisfying than offering shraddha at the banks of Godavari. There is also a story of King Dasharatha's soul conversing with Lord Rama where Dasharatha mentions that he is in hell because of his three Brahma Hatya (slaying of Brahmins) for which there is no redemption. While Lord Rama and Sita became very sad and were wondering what to do, King Dasharatha himself mentions that the only way he could escape from hell is by Lord Rama offering Shraddha at river Godavari which he completes and King Dasharatha escapes hell. Lord Rama's another hymn on Godavari (addressed as Ganga) was shared by me a few years ago.
Sage Agastya's Advise to Sage Apastamba on Equality of Trinity - I had shared this before. Sage Apastamba asks who among the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) is the greatest and therefore worthy of praise. Sage Agastya corroborates that there is no difference among the Trinity and they appear different due to Guna/ Karma for the benefit of mankind. There is no redemption (prAyashchittam) for those who try to infuse confusion among the Trinity (brahmA viShNuH shivashceti eka eva tridhocyate | trayANAM api devAnAM vedyaM ekaM paraM hi tat || 130-10 || ekasya bahudhA vyAptir guNa karma vibhedataH | lokAnAM upakArArthaM AkRRiti tritayaM bhavet || 130-11 || yatas tattvaM vetti paramaM sa ca vidvAn na cetaraH | tatra yo bhedamAcaShTe li~NgodhbedI sa ucyate || 130-12 || prAyashcittaM na tasyA .asti yashcaiShAM vyAharedbhidam || trayANAM api devAnAM mUrti-bhedaH pRRithak pRRithak || vedAH pramANaM sarvatra sAkAreShu pRRithak pRRithak | nirAkAraM ca yattvekaM tat tebhyaH paramaM matam || 130-14 || (Meaning : One who is unmanifested (amUrta) appears in three forms (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) for the benefit of mankind arising out of Guna and Karma. One who really understands this ultimate truth (para tattva) is the real learned (vidvAn) one - not others. One who develops and retains bheda-buddhi among the three is known as Linga bhedi - there is no prayaschitta (remedy) for one who harbors difference among the three ...) (Do we need to say more? In today's world, there is abundance of educated illiterates who don't imbibe anything what they read or learn. All of us are guilty of selective reading/listening, unauthorized bias and a heavy dose of self-inflicted illiteracy regardless of our paper qualifications. No prize for guessing who is the pathetic loser - we ourselves are).
Lord Vishnu's Upadesha to Sage Mudgala on Karmaphala - As you sow, so you reap. (yAdRRishaM copyate bIjaM phalaM bhavati tAdRRisham | rasAlaH syAn na nimbasya bIjAj jAtvapi kutracit || 136-20 || na kRRitA gautamI sevA nArcitau hari sha~Nkarau | na dattaM yaishca viprebhyas te kathaM bhAjanaM shriyaH || 136-21 || (Meaning : As you sow, so you reap. Never you can sow a seed of neem tree and expect a mango fruit from it. One who does not worship Gautami (Godavari) and perform Archana to Hari and Shankara, he does not get any adhikara for any kind of wealth). Again, it is an introspection point - how many of us are willing to really adhere to Lord's Upadesha direct - we find it more convenient to divide ourselves and fight among ourselves which have no sanction from the very texts we claim allegiance to. It is as if we think the Lord's Upadeshas are for others - not us.
Jyeshta's abuse of Lakshmi and Gautami's curse on JyeShta - Jyestha Devi (aka poverty and elder sister of Lakshmi and also a consort of Vishnu) scolds Lakshmi, "You leave Bhagavan Vishnu and his true devotees and you reside with greatest sinners. Whereas I reside with greatest Yogis and Dharmikas .... ". Later Gautami scolds JyeshTa and mentions that everything in this world is shrI-rUpa. Therefore for those who are attracted by you will never qualify for Ganga snana to get rid of the sins".
Enemies of GYana - Sage Pailusha mentions that krodha as the first and foremost enemy of GYAna followed by Asakti, suspicion, desire/lust, etc.
May we pray to Mata Gautami during this Mahakumbhamela. May Her Grace Wash Away our sins and lead us to light! It will be wonderful if any reference to the tirthas mentioned in the purana with their current locations so that it will facilitate devotees to undertake pilgrimage according to their tastes and needs.