Tirthayatra Parva is the thirty third upa parva included in the third maha parva, named as Vana parva or Aranyaka parva in the epic Mahabharat. The original epic was composed by Vyasa in Sanskrit. Vyshampayana had narrated the historical events to Janamejaya, happened in the forests.

Most of the interesting incidents of this upa parva were related to pilgrimages started from Kamyakavana by Yudhishtira. He procured virtues with Pandava brothers.

Yudhishtira desired to move to a better forest area but Dhaumya Rishi had suggested going on pilgrimage to holy places like Gaya, Prayag, Panchala Gomathi, and many Rivers and holy Mountains. They visited the palace of Kubera in Kailasa plateau. 

What did Dhaumya describe about Dwaraka and Badarika?

Dhaumya had suggested Yudhishtira to visit Dwaraka and Badarika to be blessed by Madhusudana and Narayana, to pray for the future peaceful life with brothers. 

How did Yudhishtira greet Lomasha Rishi and what did he tell him?

Yudhishtira had greeted Lomasha Rishi with due respect and told him to explain the important places to visit as pilgrimage during his exile. Lomasha had arrived from heaven and Indra had deputed him with instruction messages of Arjuna.

On reaching the Kailasa Mountain plateau by Yudhishtira, in his pilgrimage, he would be meeting Arjuna, as Arjuna had proposed. Bhishma never visited there. Arjuna would be returning there from Indraloka, after procuring the Pashupatastra weapons along with gaining relevant training and duly possessing required higher knowledge.

Lomasha Rishi had told many stories relevant to the holiness of the pilgrimage spots, Rivers and Mountains. With the experiences of Bhishma, that he had collected from the sage Pulasthya he narrated.

प्रदक्षिणं यः पृथवीं करोत्यमित विक्रम ।
 किं फलं तस्य विप्रर्षे तन्मे ब्रूहि तपोधन ॥

Meaning: O the great Vipra Pulasthya, what results are received by circumscribing the Earth during pilgrimage? Please tell me about the holiness and importance.

ऋषीणां परमं गुह्यमिदं भरत सत्तम ।
 तीर्थाभिगमनं पुण्यं यज्ञैरपि विशिश्यते ॥

Meaning: O great Bharata, Rishis were keeping this as their top secrets, as the results of the pilgrimage were more precious and holier than the performances of Yajnas.

Pulasthya told to Bhishma, about the most important holy lakes such as Pushkara, Prabhasa Charmanvathi. The other holy places are Gaya, Kamakhya, and Kurukshetra. Pulasthya had told more than hundreds of holy places. Bhishma had already visited all of them, and later he would be leading the Duryodhana army. Yudhishtira inclined to visit more holy places to satisfy the angel of success in the forthcoming war, by gaining more virtues, including Kailasa plateau, where Bhishma had never visited before. 

How many chariots were used for the pilgrimage by Yudhishtira to visit Gaya?

Fourteen chariots were used for the pilgrimage by Yudhishtira to visit Gaya.

Who were the most honorable people who visited Pandavas at Prabhasa?

Krishna and Balarama were the most honorable people found at Prabhasa.

How did Dhaumya explain Badarika as the permanent abode of Vyasa?
उष्णतोयवहा गंग शीततोयवहापरा ।
सुवर्न सिकता राजन्विशालां बदरीमनु ॥

Meaning: O king! At Badarika Ganga tributary initially allows the hot water from the spring but later flows with cold water over the large, golden like beds of sands. 

It is a wonder of this place, since even today the hot water spring is still available, as written in the original Mahabharat epic. It is like a memento of Vedavyasa Rishi.

Hence Badarika is the permanent abode of Vishnu in Vyasa Rupa.

गंगे च यमुने चैव गोदावरी सरस्वती ।
नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरि जलेऽस्मिन् सन्निधिं कुरु ॥

Meaning: Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswathi, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri are present in this holy water. All these are the seven blessing angels of holy Rivers.

The seven Rivers are considered as holy and Yudhishtira used to take a dip in all these holy Rivers during his pilgrimage. He gained virtues with his brothers.

What was the story of Bhagiratha?

King Bhagiratha brought the River Ganga to this land. Hence, Ganga River attributed with his name, as Bhagirathi.

What was the story of Rishyashringa as told by Lomasha to Yudhishtira?

Rishyashringa was the son of a sage and performed celibacy and by his virtues, he helped the country to be blessed with rain. Famine had been eradicated by him.

What was the story of Parashurama as told by Lomasha to Yudhishtira?

Parashurama was a great sage and he used to mend erring kings. Once Amba had lodged a complaint with Parashurama, as Bhishma had denied marrying her, hence he desired to punish Bhishma but, Bhishma had escaped since he was not a ruling king, and liked celibacy then. As revenge, Amba took a rebirth as the daughter of Drupada called as Shikhandi and waiting for a war opportunity to fight with Bhishma again in later periods. 

What was the story of Astavakra as told by Lomasha to Yudhishtira?

Ashtavakra was a great scholar and he got highly appreciated by king Janaka. He had given the name Varanasi after satisfying Varuna at Kashi.

अयोध्या मथुरा माया काशि कांचि अवन्तिका ।
पुरी द्वरवती तथा स्प्तैते मोक्श् मोक्षदायकाः ॥

Meaning: Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Varanashi, Kanchi, Avantika, Puri, Dwaraka all these places are always better for pilgrimages.  

During the Mahabharat times some of the names of these cities were different. Pandava brothers had visited all these holy places. 

What additional benefit did Yudhishtira get by visiting the door of Kurukshetra, during pilgrimage as guided by Lomasha Rishi?
अत्राद्याहो निवत्स्यामःक्षपां भरतसत्तम ।
द्वारमेतद्धि कौन्तेय कुरुक्षेत्रस्य भारत ॥

Meaning: O the son of Kunti, today night we shall stay here. O Bharata, this is the door of Kurukshetra.

After taking bath in Yamuna, Yudhishtira had worshipped Gods and stayed on the entrance of Kurukshetra with Rishi Lomasha. 

वेदी प्रजापतेरेषा समन्तात्पंच योजना ।
कुरोर्वै यज्ञशीलस्य क्षेत्रमेतस्य महात्मनः ॥

Meaning: This is the site Kurukshetra. Here the great Prajapati conducts yajnas.

Lomasha Rishi had shown the site of Kurukshetra to Yudhishtira where the historical wars were fought, called Samanta Panchaka area known to him. During the pilgrimage, the Pandava brothers with Draupadi, except Arjuna got a chance to assess the battlefield for the future Dharma Yuddha. Bhima had noted the area for war time use as an additional benefit of pilgrimage, to be the Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra. This shows during their exile, they had visited their required sites collecting data for future war, as well as gaining virtues as additional benefits.  

How was Yudhishtira saved by cyclone on Gandhamadana Mountain during pilgrimage?

Bhima was the son of the angel of air, called Vayu. By the blessings of Vayu Yudhishtira, the elder brother of Bhima was saved by cyclone on Gandhamadana Mountain during their pilgrimage. Draupadi desired to have some Saugandhika flowers and obliged Bhima to collect as the fragrance was so attractive. Hanuman had appeared on the way and explained the social status of people during the period of Sri Rama to Bhima. 

ब्राह्मणाः क्षत्रिया वैश्याः शूद्राश्च कृतलक्षणाः ।
कृते युगे समभवन्स्वकर्म​  निरताः प्रजाः॥

Meaning: In the Krita yuga Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, all the four varna people were living in an equal features and they were engaged in their own works. 

Bhima meets Lord Hanuman when he is on the way to get the  Saugandhika flowers for Draupadi
Bhima meets Lord Hanuman
Why Hanuman had not killed Ravana even if he was so efficient? 

Hanuman had the obligation to preserve the honor of his master Sri Rama. Hence, he had not killed Ravana even though he was able and efficient to kill him.

विजयस्य ध्वजस्थश्च नादान्मोक्ष्यमि दारुणान् ।
शत्रूणां ते प्राणहरानित्युक्त्वान्तरधीयता ॥	

Meaning: I shall be seated in the flag of Arjuna, with violent and horrible sounds that would make the enemies life to drive into death. Hanuman disappeared then assuring these words, Bhima climbed the hill to collect Saugandhika flowers.   

In the logo above gomangala.com over the Arjuna’s chariot, kindly see the flag.

On reading this story, children would gain more memory power.

Next post, Mahabharat: Jatasuravadha would be more interesting.

Mahabharat: Yakshayuddha Parva would be presented separately in another article.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us.

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