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tatropajagmur bhuvanam punana
mahanubhava munayah sa-sisyah
svayam hi tirthani punanti santah
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
At that time all the great minds and thinkers, accompanied by their disciples, and sages who could verily sanctify a place of pilgrimage just by their presence, arrived there on the plea of making a pilgrim’s journey.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
When Maharaja Pariksit sat down on the bank of the Ganges, the news spread in all directions of the universe, and the great-minded sages, who could follow the importance of the occasion, all arrived there on the plea of pilgrimage. Actually they came to meet Maharaja Pariksit and not to take a bath of pilgrimage because all of them were competent enough to sanctify the places of pilgrimage. Common men go to pilgrimage sites to get themselves purified of all sins. Thus the places of pilgrimage become overburdened with the sins of others. But when such sages visit overburdened places of pilgrimage, they sanctify the places by their presence. Therefore the sages who came to meet Maharaja Pariksit were not very much interested in getting themselves purified like common men, but on the plea of taking a bath in that place they came to meet Maharaja Pariksit because they could foresee that Srimad-Bhagavatam would be spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami. All of them wanted to take advantage of the great occasion.