The Glories of Bhagavad-gita from Gita-Mahatmya of Padma Purana
This Bhagavad-gita is the destroyer of all sins. And that intelligent man who daily recites one chapter or even one sloka, one half sloka, or at least one quarter sloka, will attain the same position as Susharma had attained."
Lakshmi inquired, "Who was Susharma? What class did he belong to? And what destination did he attain?"
Lord Vishnu said, "My dear Lakshmi, Susharma was a very wicked and a most sinful man. Although he was born in a brahmana family, his family had no Vedic knowledge. And he only took pleasure from hurting others. He never engaged in the chanting of, My names, in giving charity, or receiving guests. In fact, he never performed any pious activities. For hislivelihood he collected leaves, and sold them in the bazaar. He especially enjoyed drinking wine, and eating flesh. In this way he passed his life.
"One day that foolish Susharma had gone to the garden of one sage for collecting leaves, when a snake came and bit him, and he died. After his death he was cast into many hells, where he suffered for a long time. After which he attained the body of a bull. That bull was purchased by a crippled man, who engaged him in his service. For about seven or eight years he was carrying extremely heavy loads. One day that crippled man had piled a very heavy load onto the back of his bull. Very quickly he was forcing that bull along when suddenly the bull fell over and became unconscious. Many persons gathered there, to see what was happening, feeling sorry for that bull. One pious man bestowed upon that bull the results of some of his pious activities. Seeing that, other persons standing there started remembering their pious activities, and offered the results of some of those activities to that bull. In that crowd there was also one prostitute who did not know if she had ever performed any pious activities, but seeing everyone else offering their pious credits to that bull, she also offered the results of any pious activities she might have performed After that, the bull died, and was taken to the abode of Yamaraja, the God of Death.
There, Yamaraja informed him, "You are now free from the reactions of all your previous sinful deeds, due to the pious credits given to you by that prostitute." Then he took birth in a very high brahmana family. In that birth, he was able to remember his past lives. After many days, he decided to search out that prostitute, who had been the cause of freeing him from his hellish situation.
After he had found and introduced himself to that lady he inquired from her - "What were the pious activities performed by you, the fruits of which freed me from my hellish situation?"
The prostitute replied to him, "My dear sir, in that cage is one parrot, which recites something everyday. Hearing that recitation, my heart has become completely pure. The results of hearing that recitation I had given to you." Thereafter they both inquired from that parrot about that recitation. That parrot, remembering his previous life, started to narrate his history.
"Previously, I had been a very learned brahmana. But due to my pride, I used to insult other learned persons. I was also extremely jealous. After I died, I was cast into many hells, and after a long time of suffering, I achieved this body of a parrot. Due to my past sinful activities, my mother and father died while I was a baby. One day, while I was lying on the hot sands, with no protection, some rishis saw me, and took me to their ashram, and put me in a cage. At that same place, the children of those rishis were learning the recitation of the First Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Hearing them repeat those slokas, I also started repeating those slokas along with them.
"Shortly after, one thief stole me from that place and sold me to this pious lady." Lord Vishnu continued, "By reciting the First Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, that parrot had become completely pure. And by hearing that recitation, that prostitute also became completely pure. And by receiving some of the pious results of hearing that recitation, Susharma also become completely pure. After discussing for some time the glories of the first chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Susharma returned to his home, and the three of them individually engaged in reciting the First Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita, and very quickly attained the supreme destination, Vaikuntha." Anyone who recites, who hears, or studies the First Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, will very easily cross over the ocean of material miseries, and attain the service of the lotus-feet of Lord Krishna.
From Gita-Mahatmya of Padma Purana
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