Dwaraka mahatma (greatness)
Dwaraka mahatma (greatness)
Once, few sages asked Sutaji about the means by which Lord Vishnu could be realized in kaliyuga- the era dominated by sin and decaying moral values.
Sutaji started by describing how Lord Vishnu on seeing the prevalence of sin in Dwapara yuga had to take incarnation as Krishna to liberate the world from the sinners. He also described in detail all the incidents culminating into the killings of many cruel demons -Kaaliya serpent, Chanura, Shishupaala and ogress like Putana. He gave in depth description of the events leading to the war of Mahabharata and how the infighting among the mighty Yadavas led to their destruction. He told them how a fowler mistook Krishna's feet to be a deer and killed him.
Sutaji also told the assembled sages how the magnificent city of Dwarka had been submerged in the ocean ultimately. He revealed to them that the passing away of Krishna marked the advent of Kaliyuga and the situation became even worse. On finding how difficult it was to realize Lord Vishnu in the Kaliyuga- the era dominated by sin, some prominent sages decided to seek Lord Brahma's help in this regard. After reaching Brahma loka, they eulogized Brahma and received his blessings. Lord Brahma told them to go to Patala loka and meet Prahalada, the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu who according to Lord Brahma was in a better position to help them.
All the sages went to Patala loka as per the instructions given by Lord Brahma. There they not only found Prahalada but also the most charitable king-Bali Chakravarthy (grand son of Prahalada). After the pleasantries were exchanged, they came to the real issue and said-' We are very much distressed by the prevailing situation where it appears that the evil forces have overshadowed the virtuous ones. The ways shown by the Vedas are no longer in practice and the Brahmins are being tormented by the Shudras, who have become the rulers. We have come with a request and a desire to know whether there was any possibility of realizing Lord Vishnu in this dark era of 'Kali'. If yes then where can we find Lord Vishnu?'
The sanctity of Dwarkapuri
Prahalada, being an ardent devotee of Vishnu himself, understood quite well, the desperation with which a devotee seeks his Lord. So he told them-' By the grace of Almighty Vishnu, I am revealing to you the name of that sacred place which has remained a secret till now. Kushasthala Puri is a divine city situated on the western coast. Nearby is the place where river Gomati meets the ocean and at this convergent point is situated the sacrosanct city called Dwaraka Puri, where you can find Lord Vishnu in all his glory of sixteen kalas. Blessed be the Dwarka Puri, which The almighty Vishnu has chosen as his abode and where he dwells in his glorious Chaturbhuja form. This is the very place, which even liberates the most fallen sinner from all his sins. There is a famous temple of Lord Trivikrama at the bank of river Gomati and not far from this temple is a divine pond. Anybody desirous of salvation must bathe in this pond for the fulfillment of his wish. It is believed that before leaving for heaven, Lord Krishna had transferred all his divine powers into the Trivikrama idol. So, there is no place as holy as Dwaraka and if you are desirous of having a divine glimpse of Lord Krishna then you must visit Dwaraka.'
All the sages thanked Prahalada for sharing his secrets with them because nobody else except Prahalada was aware of the fact that Lord Vishnu had given Dwaraka the privilege of being his abode. These revelations made them more curious about Dwaraka, so they requested Prahalada to disclose how the holy Gomati descended down to Dwaraka.
Prahalada began by describing the virtues of going on a pilgrimage to Dwaraka-' The mere resolution of going on a pilgrimage to Dwaraka is enough to liberate one's ancestors from the tortures of the hells. Each step that a devotee takes towards Dwaraka gives virtues similar to what is attained by performing Ashwamedha yagna. One who encourages others to go on a pilgrimage to Dwaraka certainly goes to Vishnu Dhaama.'
Prahalada then switched over to the second part of the sages' question and said-' There is an interesting tale describing how sage Vashishtha had brought down Gomati from the heaven to earth. At the time of deluge when the whole world had submerged in water, a lotus flower manifested from Lord Vishnu's navel on which was seated Brahma. Lord Vishnu instructed him to perform his duty as a creator to which Brahma agreed. First of all Brahma created his ten manasaputras (Sanaka, Sanandana,etc.) and sought their help in increasing the population of the world by becoming householders. But, all of them were extremely virtuous and did not show any inclination towards getting married. Ultimately all of them went to the western coast and engaged themselves in austere penance. Their penance continued for a number of years after which 'Sudarshana chakra' appeared before them. As all of them looked up in bewilderment, they heard a heavenly voice -' O sons of Brahma! Very soon the almighty Vishnu is going to manifest himself. The 'Chakra' you are seeing is his. You all must perform the rituals of 'ardhya' in the name of Lord Vishnu to show your reverence towards him.' All the Manasaputras eulogized Sudarshana-Chakra with deep devotion. All of them wished that there were a holy river, with whose water they could perform the rituals of ardhya. But to their utter dismay there was no such holy river nearby. They then remembered Lord Brahma, who immediately understood what they desired. Lord Brahma instructed Ganga by saying-' Ganga! Go to the earth, where you would be known as Gomaati. Sage Vashishtha will lead you to your destination. Just follow him like a daughter follows her father.'
Finally, when sage Vashishtha followed by Gomati reached their destination, all the Manasaputras were delighted. They eulogized Ganga and expressed their gratitude to Vashishtha for bringing Ganga on earth. All of them thanked Vashishtha by saying-' Since you have brought Gomati on earth, you would be considered as her father.' They offered 'ardhya' to Gomati and subsequently eulogized Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared after being pleased and blessed them-' Your unflinching devotion in me has pleased me no bound. Since you did this penance with the objective of Moksha (salvation), this place would become famous as Moksha Dayaka (giver of salvation). This sacrosanct place would also be called Chakra teertha because of Sudarshana chakra, who informed you all of my manifestation at Dwarka Puri. I assure you that I won't abandon this sacrosanct place even for a moment.'
This way, all the Manasaputras were finally successful in their objective of offering ardhya to Lord Vishnu with the holy water of Gomati. At last, Gomati having fulfilled her mission for which she had descended down to Earth merged with the ocean. Lord Vishnu disappeared from there and Manasaputras continued to live there.
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA