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Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj - Sri Ramanin Padhayil

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In our previous article we saw the confluence of Ganga and Sarayu situated in Chapra, Revelganj. The Ashram of Gautama Rishi is situated 5 km west of Chapra, near Badka Baiju Tola. As per religious belief the purification of Ahalya was meted out here. In the epic Ramayana, there is mention of Gautama Rishi who had cursed his wife who turned into stone. Why was she cursed? Lets see the story of it in brief below.

Rishi Gautama comes under Lord Brahma's santhathi (succession). The family tree is as given below:





Gautama (Wife Ahalya)

Rama and Lakshmana along with Vishwamitra come across the deserted hermitage of Sage Gautama. Vishwamitra narrates the story of how Indra, the king of gods or devas, has an amorous jaunt with Gautama's wife Ahalya in the disguise of her husband. Gautama curses them both. He turns Ahalya into a stone for the tacit support she gives to Indra. Ahalya repents, and Gautama declares her virtue would be restored when Rama steps on her in the future. When Rama steps into the Ashram, Ahalya is returned to her earlier virtuous life, and reunited with Sage Gautama. This incident shows us the significance of Lord Rama's lotus feet.

Before visiting Gautama Rishi's Ashram, let us go to Ganga Sarayu confluence (Sangamam) for a holy dip. The sand here is very loose and wet which yields easily to pressure.

Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Following footsteps of Lord Rama, will always yield us superior results. We have many stories to explain this. During the journey, they found Gautam Ashram which was completely deserted. Vishwamitra tells them about story of Gautama Rishi and Ahalya. As the story says, Indra disguised as Gautama and did adultery with her. Gautama cursed both Indra and Ahalya. Some reference says he cursed her to do Tapas to remove materialistic desires. Some says she was made into a stone. Vishwamitra tells this story and told them that she is waiting for someone. When Ram asked waiting for whose coming? Vishwamitra replied: "One who can uplift the fallen. All know how to judge, blame and punish someone but the redeemer of sin who raises the fallen is rare indeed. Touch of such a great soul's feet redeem all sins". Then Ram touched the stone with his feet and Ahalya got freed.

When Sri Rama and Lakshmana were travelling with sage Vishwamitra, they were crossing the river Ganga on boat at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Sarayu. Before reaching Siddha Ashram i.e. before reaching Buxar, at the mid-stream Rama and Lakshmana heard an loud unusual sound. Sage Vishwamitra told them that river Sarayu originates from Lake Manasa (at Mount Kailasa), the Lake which is created by Sri Brahma Himself. Since the river originates from Sarah (Lake), it is known as Sarayu. Also since it flows from the Lake created by Brahma, it is very holy. The loud sound is due to the clashing waves of river Sarayu meeting river Ganga.

The Ganga Sarayu confluence is not located at the place where Vishwamitra explained about it to Lord Rama. It is changed its course and is located in Revelganj today. From Buxar we had to travel via Balia and then reach Chapra. Before reaching Chapra we get Revelganj where the sangamam is located today. We discussed the name of such confluences as being called "sangam" or "prayag". And, it is customary in India to consider such confluences as holy.

Gautama Rishi Ashram is located near this confluence where Gautama rishi and Ahalya lived. The main sannidhi houses Sita, Rama, Lakshmana vigrahams, opposite to this is Hanumar sannidhi and on the right side, we can find sannidhi of Gautama rishi along with Ahalya, Sadanandar, Anjani Devi. This Temple, this environment with river sangamam, ashram is a great place to improve Brahma Gynana and experience peace of mind without the hussle buzzle of the city which gives more peace and leads us to bhakthi due to this natural place. We have seen such a serene place today and let us move on...

Is this the exact location, where Gautama Rishi's Ashram was located? According to Valmiki Ramayana, Ahalya's sin was freed by Lord Rama before entering Mithila Desam near a place called Kamthol. But we are talking about this in Gautama Rishi Ashram located in Chapra. Let us try to find the answer for this in the Upanyasam at Gautama Ashram.

Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Journey of Lord Rama and Lakshmana along with Vishwamitra....
11th Night: They all stayed at banks of river Sona.
12th Night: At banks of river Ganga. (where Sage Vishwamitra narrated the history of Ganga to Lord Rama & Lakshmana)
13th Night: They all reached Vishala Nagaram. This town is located near Patna and is known as Hajipur now.
14th Night: The episode of setting Ahalya free from the curse took place.

Now the Question is, how come Gautama Ashram is here, near Chapra and incident of Ahalya is taken place somewhere else?
Did it happen in this Ashram or somewhere else?
According to puranas, this incident occurred before Lord Rama entering Mithila desam. Hence, probably this Ashram would be where Rishi Gautama lived and the stone would have been somewhere near Mithila on the way in which Lord Rama travelled. Probably over a period of time people started to refer this place to Ahalya's Sapa Vimosanam. It might have occurred here or there, let us consider somewhere between here and there this incident would have taken place.

Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
45th Sargam of Bala Kanda: It is said that, they all passed river Ganga and reached a city named Vishaala.
46th Sargam of Bala Kanda: Talks on Diti and Indra.
47th Sargam of Bala Kanda: Sage Vishwamitra narrates the legend of the kings of Vishaala to Rama and Lakshmana.
48th Sargam of Bala Kanda: Gautama seeing Indra and Ahalya unaware, curses both Indra and Ahalya.
49th Sargam of Bala Kanda: Ahalya was redeemed from her curse by Lord Rama.

Let us do the parayanam of 48th and 49th Sargam of Bala Kanda from the epic Valmiki Ramayana in Gautama Rishi's Ashram.

Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj
Gautama Rishi Ashram, Revelganj


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