In Vedic society, after the death of a relative, especially one’s father or mother, one must go to Gaya and there offer oblations to the lotus feet of Lord Visnu. Therefore hundreds and thousands of men gather in Gaya daily to offer such oblations, or sraddha. Following this principle, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also went there to offer pinda to His dead father.
Glorification of Gaya Dham
Narada Muni narration to Sanatkumar . (GAYA Mahatmyam – Agni Puran)
Brahmaji once while engaging in activities of creation created a personality named Gayasur. Gayasur went on to perform severe penance on the mountain Kolahal. Indra became afraid of losing his position. So he along with all demigods approached Lord Brahma for help. Brahma unable to decide, sought the advice of Lord Shiva. Under the guidance of Lord Shiva – All demigods including Lord Brahma & Shiva went to Lord Vishnu for help.
Lord Vishnu being pleased with the prayers offered by demigods agreed to help them. He told all to go the place where Gayasur is performing Tapasya. Lord Vishnu then riding on the Garuda reached mountain Kolahal. Touching his Conchshell on Gayasur’s head ,Lord Vishnu requested him to ask for some boon.
Gaya asked for an unique boon that whoever touches him (No matter he belongs to any caste or race or whether he is qualified for or not) will get immediately purified & achieve liberation in this very life. Lord Vishnu granted him the boon & thus stopped him from doing further tapasya.
As Indra’s problem got solved, it was Yamaraj who was put in to problem due to this boon.
HOW is that? .From the day the boon was conferred, all living entities just by mere sight or mere touch of Gayasur were getting qualified for liberation. No matter who the person was , would get elevated to Vaikuntha. This happened on such a large scale that literally the Hellish planets became empty.
With this new kind of problem, Yamraj along with all Demigods approached Lord Vishnu again. Lord Vishnu arranged an unique plan to solve the issue ultimately .He instructed Lord Brahma to proceed with this new plan ahead.
As per the plan, Lord Brahma approached Gayasur. Gayasur became very happy at the sight of such an elevated personality Lord Brahma (His own father). Gayasura asked whether he could be of some help. Brahma informed that he is going to performed a big yajna & that he is looking for a purified place on earth to do this yajna. Unable to get such a place , Lord Brahma informed him that Gayasur‘s very body is purified by Lord Vishnu‘s boon & can be the best place for performing Yajna. Happy at this opportunity, Gayasur agreed for the proposal.
Gayasur lay down on the ground with his head facing east. A big yajna was performed on the huge body of Gayasur . On the completion of yajna , all demigods took ceremonial bath. Gayasur now decided to get up. As his body was shaking, as per the plan of the lord Vishnu, Yamraj placed a huge rock called as Dharma-sila on the body of Gayasur .When it was done, all the demigods placed their feet on the sila from all sides to make it stable. However the stone still kept shaking due to the power of Gayasur . Finally Lord Vishnu came & placed his 2 lotus feet on the Centre of the Dharma- sila & the stone got stabilized, Gayasur thus got stuck beneath the stone.
Lord Vishnu as Gadadhar had appeared there standing holding his gada (mace) . Lord Vishnu then spoke to Gayasur to ask for more boons underneath from the stone.Gayasur asked from Lord Vishnu that Lord along with all demigods remain residing on this huge stone rock till the end of creation. He asked from Lord to name the place “GAYA” after him & that it becomes a famous holy place. He further asked that anyone who bathes, offers pinda, offers charity will get benefited & purified immensely more than any other holy place. And that by taking Lord Vishnu’s darshan as Gadadhar , they will be further purified of all accumulated sins. Anyone who performed pinda dan & sraddha for his forefather here, the deceased ancestor will be absolved from all his sins & will get placed in his next life in Brahma loka ……
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