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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Prabhupada > Sahasra Tirtha Jala > Orissa





Markandeya Rishi performed austerities at this bathing place. The following account of his activities is taken from the summaries of chapters 9 and 10 in the Twelfth Canto of rimad-Bhagavatam: 'Satisfied by the prayers Markandeya Rishi offered, the Supreme Lord told him to ask for a benediction, and the sage said he wanted to see the Lord's illusory energy. The Supreme Lord Sri Hari, present before Markandeya in the form of Nara-Narayana, replied, "So be it," and then left for Badarikashrama. One day, as Sri Markandeya was offering his evening prayers, the water of devastation suddenly flooded the three worlds. With great difficulty Markandeya moved about all alone in this water for a long time, until he came upon a banyan tree. Lying upon a leaf of that tree was an infant boy glowing with a charming effulgence. As Markandeya moved toward the leaf, he was pulled by the boy's inhalation and, just like a mosquito, drawn within his body.Inside the boy's body, Markandeya was amazed to see the entire universe just as it had been before the annihilation. After a moment the sage was carried out by the force of the child's exhalation and hurled back into the ocean of annihilation. Then, seeing that the child on the leaf was actually Sri Hari, the transcendental Lord situated within his own heart, Sri Markandeya tried to embrace Him. But at that moment Lord Hari, the master of all mystic power, disappeared. Then the waters of annihilation disappeared as well, and Markandeya found himself in his own hermitage, just as before. He then offered prayers to the Lord.Then Lord Shiva, traveling in the sky on his bull and accompanied by his consort, Rudrani, observed Markandeya in trance. Requested by his wife to award the sage the result of his austerities. Lord Shiva presented himself before Markandeya. He could understand that Markandeya had attained pure devotional service and did not desire any benediction. Nonetheless, he invited him to ask for something. In the person of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu was again appearing before the sage, and he imparted blissful spiritual instructions to relieve him of the exhaustion caused by his wandering in the water of devastation.Markandeya asked for unfailing devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His dedicated devotees. Satisfied with his devotion. Lord Shiva awarded him the boons of fame, freedom from old age and death until the time of universal devastation, knowledge of all three phases of time, renunciation, realized knowledge and the position of a teacher of the Puranas.Markandeya-tirtha in Jagannath Puri is an auspicious place to do an ancient rite called marjana: plunging into the water with single-minded devotion, especially on the 14th day after the full and new moons. It destroys all sins, the Narada Purana says.Manikankar-tirtha is a well in a compound near the Jagannath temple in Puri.