Rivers are very auspicious and are considered divine in the Vedic tradition. The rivers can make one Sin free. The rivers are glorified in all Indian texts, right from Vedas to Puranas, epics, and many more such texts. There is on such river that is mentioned in Padma Puran book 4. This river not only frees you from sins but takes you to Vaikuntha the highest of the spiritual world. This river also frees you from all desires.
Once there were five beautiful Gandharva maidens, their names were Paramohini, Susila, Susvasra, Sutara, and Candrika. All five maidens were very attractive and were in the prime of youth. They were so beautiful that it seemed that they came out of the moon like the bright moonlight. The damsels had a lovely face, long hair, perfect physique, adorned with ornaments, etc. They were also proficient in Playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, and Sports. They used to live in the in Kubera’s abode.
Once, the five maidens together in the spring season were collecting Mandara flowers and went to the Acchoda Lake to Worship Goddess Parvati. After their bath they worshiped a golden image of Goddess Parvati adorned with golden and pearl ornaments. They worshiped the Goddess by decorating the deity with sandal paste, perfumes and saffron, accompanied by excellent lotuses accompanied by Singing, Playing Musical Instruments and dancing.
During that time, at the Acchoda Lake came the eldest son of a sage for his daily bath.
The young man had a charming face and was tall, dark and very handsome. Maidens felt this man was just another Cupid. Looking at this Brahmana the girls were delighted and their mind was filled with desires. The celibate had covered himself with deer-skin, Tilaka and had a girdle of the Munja grass resembling gold around his waist.
Seeing that Brahmana on the bank of the lake the girls blinded with desires gave up singing and dancing. They were just knocked out, confused and were just discussing the handsomeness of the man among themselves.
The Brahmana noticed that the damsels were talking about him. As he finished his Daily Sadhana he thought ‘would it be right or wrong to be deluded by a woman. The Brahmana thought that as long as a man is not intoxicated by the spirituous glances of women, his moral sense dominates. He has a certain fear in him. There is then the fear of the society; self-possession; there is a consideration of the family; there is the strength of penance; men practice tranquility. Women with their charming amorous gestures delude and madden a passionate man.
He felt that these maidens were trying to delude and madden him. He wanted to save himself from the clutches of these damsels. He with his mystical powers vanished before these women could approach him. Seeing the celibate vanish with magical powers the maidens were a little intimated by the Brahmana. Crying and lamenting, the maidens waited there for a long time then due to the fear of their parents, went to their respective houses. They could not stop thinking about that handsome Brahmana. Having come home they could not resort to any diversion, nor could they rejoice in their houses. They even did not properly talk with their relatives or play music. They were continuously, but aimlessly, thinking about that best man.
Next morning the maidens went again to the Acchoda Lake to worship Goddess Parvati. As they were doing their morning worship rites meanwhile That Brahmana also came from his father’s hermitage to the Acchoda Lake to bathe. Seeing the Brahmana again the maidens were delighted and this time they did not want to miss any chance. The young maidens went to the Celibate and clenched him in a noose of their embrace. They told the Brahmana that today ‘we won’t let you go anywhere’. The Brahmana was amused and laughed and said I have taken a vow of Celibacy and I cannot break that, also I am still in Student life therefore Marriage at this time is not proper.
After hearing those maidens started to preach the benefits and importance of the satisfaction of desires. The Brahmana, however, restrained to listen to their words and said I step into married life only with due permission of my Guru. The maidens kept on insisting and the Brahmana kept on rejecting their ideologies. Understanding the intention of the Brahmana Pramohini seized his feet.
Susila and Susvara seized his arms. Sutara embraced him and Candrika kissed. Yet he remained unmoved and unaffected, but because of their immoral act of desperation, the Brahmana cursed the Maidens to turn into goblins. The maidens also got furious due to the Brahmana’s behavior they in return cursed the Brahmana to turn into a goblin too.
After a very long time sage Lomasa came to the Acchoda lake wandering. The goblins living there attacked sage Lomasa but could not stand his luster. One of the goblins was that Brahmana. The Brahmana turned goblin paid obeisance to sage Lomasa and asked the sage to help him, the maidens turned goblin also begged for assistance.
Sage Lomasa asked all the Goblins to take Bath in Narmada River. Sage Lomasa said one who bathes in the river Narmada would burn, as fire burns a heap of cotton, all the sins committed in the previous seven Births and the present one also. The Narmada is said to satisfy all desires and is the giver of liberation.
A bath in the Narmada takes one to Vaikuntha and frees one from the cycle of birth and death. Sage Lomasa then asked all the goblins to take bath in the Narmada with him. Due to mere touch of the drops of the water of Narmada, they were freed from their goblin hood. They were freed from the curse of Goblin hood and preceded towards Vaikhunta, thanking the sage Lomasa.