Mahabharata and Pilgrimage (Brian K. Pennington, Spring 2009)

Compiled by Brian K. Pennington, Maryville College
From the Mahabharata:

Book 3.80-88 (Aranyaka Parva) (given as “Tour of the Sacred Fords” in van Buitenen)

Book 13 (Anushasana Parva)(Bhisma’s discourse on yatra and “manasa tirtha”)

Secondary Sources:

Bigger, Andreas. “Wege und Umwege zum Himmel. Die Pilgerfahrten im
Mahabharata.” Journal Asiatique 289, no.1 (2001): 147-166.

Grnedahl, Reinhold. “Zu den beiden Gandhamadana-Episoden des
Aranyakaparvan.” Studien Zur Indologie und Iranistik 18 (1993):

Oberlies, Thomas. “Arjunas Himmelreise und die Tirthayatra der
Pandavas: Zur Struktur des Tirthayatraparvan des Mahabharata.” Acta
Orientalia 56 (1995): 106-124.

Oberlies, Thomas. “Die Ratschlage des Sehers Narada: Ritual an und
unter der Oberflache des Mahabharata.” In New Methods in the Research
of Epic/Neue Methoden der Epenforschung, ed. Hildegard L.C. Tristram,
125-141. Tbigen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1998.

Vassilkov, Yaroslav. “Indian Practice of Pilgrimage and the growth of the Mahabharata.”
In Stages and Transitions: Temporal and Historical Frameworks in Epic and Puranic Literature. Edited by M. Brockington . Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences & Arts. Pp. 133-58.

Additionally, the Shalya parvan chapters 35-54 of Nilakantha’s
edition translated by Justin Meiland in the Clay Sanskrit Series,
Mahabharata, Book Nine: Shalya Volume Two (New York: New York University
Press,2007). This is the section that deals with
Balarama’s (Krishna’s brother’s) pilgrimage. The critical edition of the Mbh
contains the same cycle in 9.34-53, with only modest differences of
Nilakantha’s version.

Alf Hiltebeitel, for example, discusses this cycle in Rethinking the
Mahabharata (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2001), pp. 118-130.

Justin Meiland himself discusses this cycle briefly in his introduction to
the volume.

Also see P.V. Kane, History of Dharmasastra
Volume 4 (Pune: Bhandarkar Oriental Research institute, 1991 [3rd edition]),
which contains a list of many pilgrimage sites from the Mbh as well as many
other sources. One important section comes under chapter 16 titled: “List of
Tirthas,” pp. 721-825, but really much of that volume is dedicated to
pilgrimage in Indian tradition, and much of this about pilgrimage in the
Mbh. While of course, Kane is somewhat dated, it is still a worthy resource,
in my view, for students to start from. As previously mentioned, the section
on Tirtha’s from Kane was also published out separately:

P.V. Kane, List of Tirthas (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute,