This is the text of an abridged version of the Garuda Purana. There is wisdom within for Hindu and Buddhist practitioners.
THE GARUDA PURANA
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION
AN INTRODUCTION FROM SRIS CHANDRA VASU
Allahabad: Panini Office
NOTICE OF ATTRIBUTION.
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, June 2006. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was published prior to January 1st, 1923. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
The Miseries of the Sinful in this World and the Other
The Way of Yama
The Torments of Yama
The Kinds of Sins which lead to Hell
The Signs of Sins
The Miseries of Birth of the Sinful
Babhruvahana’s Sacrament for the Departed One
The Gifts for the Dying
The Rites for the Dying
The Collecting of the Bones from the Fire
The Ten-Days’ Ceremonies
The Eleventh-Day Rite
The Ceremony for all the Ancestors
The City of the King of Justice
The Coming to Birth of People who have done Good
The Law for Liberation
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
This Garuda Purana Sarodhhara (Extracted essence of the Garuda Purana) was compiled or written by one Navanidhirama, son of S’ri Hari Narayana, who lived in the city of Jhunjhunu, which was ruled by a King S’ri Sukhalalaji. It was done for the helping of those who cannot understand the difficult earlier works; but itself is not easy to understand, and required much labour, the author informs us. It is entirely originally written, he says, and comprises the results of very deep study of the sacred books, and is the extracted essence of them on the subjects with which it deals.
It is used all over India at funeral ceremonies, but some are afraid to read it on other occasions, thinking it inauspicious.
CHAPTERS I to VII deal with Hells.
CHAPTERS VII to XIII deal with Ceremonies for the dead.
CHAPTER XIV deals with Heaven.
CHAPTERS XV & XVI deal with Yoga and liberation.
The neo-theosophists, among the great good they have done to the world, have revived the idea that Hell is a living reality, and not a superstitious fiction, created by a designing priestcraft, to keep Humanity on its good behavior. Among the educated, with the vanishing of the belief in an after-life, has vanished also the belief in Hell. But owing to the labors of the Psychical Research Society and similar other bodies, there are few educated persons now, who deny the existence of the afterlife, as they used to do some thirty years back. But though the belief in after-life has revived, yet the cognate belief in Heaven and Hell is still very vague. Our Hindu Puranas, however, among the great mass of rubbish that they contain, have always been very clear on this question of Heaven and Hell. Serious writers of law books also like Yajnavalkya and Visnu have described as-seriously the existences of various Hells, as they have done the various joys of Heaven. No doubt, the subject of Hell is not a very savoury one, and nervous persons have always fought shy of studying this unpleasant department of existence. But, pleasant or unpleasant, the science does not take into account the human feelings. No one is forced to study the subject, unless he feels strong enough to do so, as no one is bound to study Medicine, unless he is prepared to face the scenes of the dissecting room.
The question then is, do these hells really exist? If so, where? This is a question of fact, and must be decided like all questions of fact, on the evidence of reliable witnesses who have, from personal experience, described this region. To a Hindu there is needed no greater testimony than that of Yogi Yajnavalkya who, in the Prayas’chitta Adhyaya of his law book, mentions 21 hells. The author of Visnu Smriti also has followed in his footsteps. Hell, then, according to Hindu seers, is a particular locality walled off from the surrounding regions of space by the messengers of Yama, the ruler of Hell. Within this particular space so specially guarded, no joy can enter. It is a region of pain–sharp. intense and severe. Sinners clothed in their painful bodies (jatana deha)–replica of their physical bodies, though made of subtler matter, suffer the punishments deserved by their sins. But there is one distinguishing mark between the Hindu idea of Hell and that of votaries of Semitic creeds. The punishment in Hell is not eternal. It is Reformatory and Educative. The hell punishment is not remembered by the soul when it is re-born, no more than it remembers the joys of heaven. But the permanent educative effect remains in that part of the sold–called the conscience. The natural fear, which certain souls feel at the sight of temptation to sin, is the result of the finer development of conscience, in the furnace of hell-fire. This is the permanent gain which the soul has acquired, and which it will never lose through ages to come, by passing through the bitterness of the valley of Yama–the merciful ruler of Hell.
Where is then this Hell situated? According to Hindu belief, its locality is in the astral region of the physical South Pole, as the Heaven is situate in the astral region of the physical North Pole. As a prison house is a prison only to the criminal, but not to the visitor, who goes there on his mission of mercy and charity, so Hell is a place of punishment and pain only to the sinners and not to those who go there on similar missions. The readers of the Hindu Sacred literature will no doubt remember the beautiful episode of Nachiketas going to Hell, and learning from its Ruler the secret of cosmic evolution, miscalled the secret of death.
The twenty-two hells are described in the Visnu Smriti.
(See Sacred Books of the East, Visnu Smriti, pp. 140-141, verse 22, Lohacharaka).
After being thus purified by Hell-fire, the soul is re-born with keener conscience and under circumstances where it can, if it so chooses, make better use of its faculties. Says Yajnavalkya in verse 218 of the Third
[paragraph continues] Adhyaya that the lords of mercy place such souls in very favourable circumstances afterwards. [**]
But if the soul so favourably placed, omits to do good action or commits evil deeds again, and leaves its senses unrestrained, there is again a fall for that soul, as is mentioned in the next verse. [*+]
Is there any physical Hell also, or is it in the astral plane only? As Heaven is both physical and astral, and as the Svarga is on the physical plane also, where the great risis like Vyasa, As’vathaman, Markandeya and others are said to be still living in their physical bodies, so there are physical hells also, though not known as Hells. What are these prison houses in every well-governed community but physical hells? What is this outcasting by the society, but making one feel the torture of hell, in fact Gautama in his law book definitely calls this stage hell, and some say that Gautama did not believe, in another form of hell.
Thus the fact of concrete existence of hell cannot be doubted. Leaving the testimony of Hindu seers aside, in modern times we have the evidence of a hard-headed man of science like Swedenborg, of a refined artist and poet like Dante, and the great sage Ramkrisna Paramahamsa.
Is there any means by which a man may save himself from the pains of hell? On this point, our ancient authors held different opinions. One class of thinkers held the view that sin could not be expiated by any act of man, however it be in its nature, but one must suffer the full consequences of his sins. The later view, which has gained ascendency now, is that for the intentional mortal sins–kama kritamahapataka,–there is no penance, except the death penance, which can save the man from future troubles. Several kinds of death penances are described in our law books, and in this age, a very salutary rule is laid down by the pandits that no death penance should ever be described, if a sinner asks the pandit for the appropriate penance of his sin. Thus in certain cases of incest, the only operative penance is to embrace a red-hot iron image and die in that way. Similarly, the penance for drinking spirituous liquors is death by drinking boiling liquors or butter. But no Pandit is allowed, by the rule of the present Iron age, to describe these death penances to any sinner. The result therefore, is that according to the law, every mortal sinner must pass through the period of purificatory process of hell. For minor sins, the rule is different. The after-life consequences can be warded off by appropriate penances. And here is a rich field which the
[paragraph continues] Brahmin priestcraft of India, preying on the gullibility of its votaries, has exploited to its extreme extent. For every sin, there is a penance, and also a pilgrimage, with its concomitant result in the shape of so much fee (daksina) to be paid to the Brahmin.
Penances have become a farce in Modern India. Like the dispensations of the Popes of Rome, penances can be compounded by the payment of amounts ranging from a cowrie shell to thousands of rupees to Brahmins. It is not that the gifts to a deserving man washes away sins, for modern Hinduism has done everything in its power to throw in ‘the background that rational idea, but a gift to a Brahmin, however bad he may be, as the saying goes that no one feeds a docile donkey, but a kicking cow, for the sake of her milk. This presupposes that a kicking Brahmin has milk to give, which is far from the truth.
The practice of Prayas’chittas or penances is based upon a more rational basis. Repentance for sin is the highest prayas’chitta, the infliction of bodily pains is of secondary importance. One who has performed such penance has exhausted the evil effects of his sins and for him there is no penance.
^iii:* “Afterwards freed from all sins, they are born in high families, where they enjoy pleasures, and become accomplished in arts and sciences, and possessed of wealth.”
^iii:+ Mandalik’s Hindu Law, p. 265, verse 219.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
HOMAGE TO THE BLESSED GANESA.
An Account of the Miseries of the Sinful in this World and the Other.
1. The tree Madhusudana,–whose firm root is Law, whose trunk is the Vedas, whose abundant branches are the Puranas, whose flowers are sacrifices, and whose fruit is liberation,–excels.
2. In Naimisa, the field of the sleepless Ones, [*1] the sages, Saunaka and others, performed sacrifices for thousands of years to attain the Heaven-world.
3-5. Those sages once, in the morning,. having offered oblations to the sacrificial fire respectfully asked this of the revered Suta sitting there:–
The sages said: The happiness-giving path of the Shining Ones
has been described by you. We now wish to hear about the fear-inspiring Way of Yama; [*1]
Also of the miseries of the World of Change, [*2] and the means of destroying its pains. Please tell us correctly about the afflictions of this world and the other.
6. Suta said: Listen then. I am willing to describe the way of Yama, very difficult to tread, happiness-giving, to the virtuously inclined, misery-giving to the sinful.
7. As it was declared to Vainateya [*3] by the Blessed Visnu, when asked; just so will I relate it, to remove your difficulties.
8-9. Once, when the Blessed Hari, the Teacher, was sitting at ease in Vaikuntha, the son of Vinata, [*3] having bowed reverently, inquired:–
Garuda said: The Path of Devotion, of many forms, has been described to me by you, and also, O Shining One, has been told the highest goal of the devotees.
10. Now I wish to hear about the fearsome Way of Yama, along which is the travelling, it is revealed, of those who turn away from devotion to Thee.
11. The name of the Lord is easily pronounced, and the tongue is under control. Fie, fie upon the wretched men who nevertheless go to hell!
12. Tell me, then, O Lord, to what condition the sinful come, and in what way they obtain the miseries of the Way of Yama.
13. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Lord of Birds, and I will describe the Way of Yama, terrible even to hear about, by which those who are sinful go in hell.
14-16. O Tarksya, those who delight in sin, destitute of compassion and righteousness, attached to the wicked, averse from the true scriptures and the company of the good,
Self-satisfied, unbending, intoxicated with the pride of wealth, having the ungodly qualities, lacking the divine attributes,
Bewildered by many thoughts, enveloped in the net of delusion, revelling in the enjoyments of the desire-nature,–fall into a foul hell.
17. Those men who are intent upon wisdom go to the highest goal; the sinfully-inclined go miserably to the torments of Yama.
18. Listen how the misery of this world accrues to the sinful, then how they, having passed through death, meet with torments.
19. Having experienced the good or the bad actions, in accordance with his former earning,–then, as the result of his [*1] actions, some disease arises.
20. Powerful death, unexpectedly, like a serpent, approaches him stricken with bodily and mental pain, yet anxiously hoping to live.
21-24. Not yet tired of life, being cared for by his dependents, with his body deformed through old age, nearing death, in the house,
He remains, like a house-dog, eating what is ungraciously placed before him, diseased, with failing digestion, eating little, moving little,
With eyes turned up through loss of vitality, with tubes obstructed by phlegm, exhausted by coughing and difficult breathing, with the death rattle in his throat,
Lying encircled by his sorrowing relatives; though being spoken to he does not answer, being caught in the noose of death.
25. In this condition, with mind busy with the support of his family, with senses unconquered, swooning with intense pain he dies amidst his weeping relatives.
26. In this last moment, O Tarksya, a divine vision arises,–all the worlds appear as one,–and he does not attempt to say anything.
27. Then, at the destruction of the decayed senses and the numbing of the intelligence, the messengers of Yama come near and life departs.
28. When the breath is leaving its place, the moment of dying
seems an age, and pain like the stinging of hundred scorpions is experienced.
29. Now he emits foam; his mouth becomes filled with saliva. The vital breaths of the sinful depart by the lower gateway.
30-31. Then, two terrifying messengers of Yama are come, of fierce aspect, bearing nooses and rods, naked, with grinding teeth,
As black as crows, with hair erect, with ugly faces, with nails like weapons; seeing whom his heart palpitates and he releases excrements.
32. The man of the size of a thumb, crying out ‘oh, oh,’ is dragged from the body by the servants of Yama, looking the while at his own body.
33. Having put round him a body of torment, and bound the noose about his neck, they forcibly lead him a long way, like the king’s officers a convict.
34-35. While thus leading him the messengers menace him, and recount over and over again the awful terrors of the hells,–
‘Hurry up, you wicked man. You shall go to the abode of Yama. We will lead you now, without delay, to Kumbhipaka and the other hells.’
36. Then hearing these words, and the weeping of his relatives; crying loudly ‘Oh, oh,’ he is beaten by the servants of Yama.
37-38. With failing heart and shuddering at their threats, bitten by clogs upon the way, afflicted, remembering his misdeeds,
Hungry and thirsty, roasting in the sun, forest-fires and hot winds, struck upon the back with whips, painfully he walks, almost powerless, along a road of burning sand, shelterless and waterless.
30-40. Here and there falling exhausted and insensible, and rising again,–in this way, very miserably led through the darkness to the abode of Yama,
The man is brought there in a short time and the messengers show him the terrible torments of hell.
41. Having seen the fearful Yama, the man, after a time, by command of Yama, swiftly comes back through the air, with the messengers.
42. Having returned, bound by his past tendencies, desiring the body but held back with a noose by the followers of Yama, tortured by hunger and thirst, he weeps.
43. He obtains the rice-balls given by his offspring, and the gifts made during the time of his illness. Nevertheless, O Tarksya, the sinful Denier does not obtain gratification.
44. The S’raddha, [*1] the gifts, and the handsful of water, for the sinful, do not uplift. Although they eat the rice-ball offering, still they are tortured with hunger.
45. Those who are in the departed condition, deprived of the rice-ball offering, wander about in great misery, in an uninhabited forest, until the end of the age.
46. Karma not experienced does not die away even in thousands of millions of ages; the being who has not experienced the torment certainly does not obtain the human form.
47. Hence, O Twice-born, [*1] for ten days the son should offer rice-balls. Every day these are divided into four portions, O Best of Birds.
48. Two portions give nourishment to the five elements of the body; the third goes to the messengers of Yama; he lives upon the fourth.
40. For nine days and nights the departed obtains rice-balls, and on the tenth day the being, with fully formed body, acquires strength.
50. The old body being cremated, a new one is formed by these offerings, O Bird; the man, the size of a hand (cubit), by this experiences good and evil on the way.
51-53. By the rice-ball of the first day the head is-formed; the neck and shoulders by the second; by the third the heart forms:
By the fourth the back forms; and by the fifth the navel; by the sixth the hips and secret parts; by the seventh the thigh forms;
Likewise next the knees and feet by two; on the tenth day hunger and thirst.
54. Dwelling in the body formed by the rice-balls, very hungry and pained with thirst, on both the eleventh and twelfth days the departed eats.
55. On the thirteenth day the departed, bound by the servants of Yama, walks alone along the road like a captured monkey.
56. The extent of the way of Yama measures eighty-six thousand Yojanas, [*1] without Vaitarani, O Bird.
57. Two hundred and forty-seven Yojanas each day the departed travels, going by day and night.
58-59. Having passed successively. through these sixteen cities on the way, the sinful man goes to the place of the King of Righteousness [*2]:–
Saumya, [*3] Sauripura, [*4] Nagendrabhavana, [*5] Gandharva, [*6] Shailagama, [*7] Krauncha, [*8] Krurapura, [*9] Vichitrabhavana, [*10] Bahwapada, [*11] Duhkhada, [*12] Nanakrandapura, [*13] Sutaptabhawana, [*14] Raudra, [*15] Payovarshana, [*16] Shitadhya, [*17] Bahubhiti [*18]:–before the city of Yama, the abode of righteousness
60. Held by the nooses of Yama, the sinful, crying out “Oh, oh,” having left his own house, goes on the way to the city of Yama.
^1:1 I.e., The superphysical beings, who do not sleep.
^2:1 Yama is the Lord of death.
^2:2 Samsara: The three worlds in which men circle through births and deaths.
^2:3 A name of Garuda, Vinata was the mother of Garuda.
^3:1 The ambiguity of the pronouns in this work is unavoidable, They may be interpreted only with the aid of common-sense.
^6:1 Ceremony for the dead.
^7:1 Members of the three higher castes take a “second birth” when invested with the sacred thread; all birds are twice-born, in and from the egg.
^8:1 A Yojana is between 8 and 9 miles.
^8:2 Another form of Yama.
^8:3 Calm place.
^8:4 Town of Saturn.
^8:5 Residence of the Lord of Serpents.
^8:6 Place of Singers.
^8:7 Inaccessible mountain.
^8:8 Name of a mountain.
^8:9 Town of cruelty.
^8:10 A wonderful place.
^8:11 Many calamities.
^8:13 Town of varied cries.
^8:14 Very hot place.
^8:17 Very cold.
^8:18 Many horrors.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of The Way of Yama.
1. Garuda said: What is the path of misery in the world of Yama like? Tell me, O Kes’ava, in what, way the sinful go there.
2. The Blessed Lord said: I will tell you about the Way of Yama, bestowing great misery. Although you are my devotee, when you have heard it you will become agitated.
3. There is no shade of trees there, in which a man may take rest, and on this road there is none of the foods by which he may support life.
4. No water is to be seen anywhere that he, extremely thirsty, may drink. Twelve suns blaze, O Bird, as though at the end of a pralaya.
5. There the sinful soul goes along pierced by cold winds, in one place torn by thorns, in another stung by very venomous serpents.
6. The sinful in one place is bitten by ferocious lions, tigers, and dogs; in another stung by scorpions; in another burnt by fire.
7-8. In one place there is a very terrible forest of sword-like leaves, which is recorded as two thousand yojanas in length and breadth,
Infested with crows, owls, hawks, vultures, bees, mosquitoes, and having forest-fires,–by whose leaves he is pierced and torn.
9. In one place he falls into a hidden well; in another from a lofty mountain; in another he treads on razor-edges and on spear-points.
10. In one place he stumbles in the awful black darkness and falls into water; in another in mud abounding in leeches; in another in hot slime.
11. In one place is a plain of hot sand, made of smelted. copper; in another a mound of embers; in another a great cloud of smoke.
12-13. In some places are showers of charcoal, showers of stones and thunderbolts, showers of blood, showers of weapons, showers of boiling water,
And showers of caustic mud. In one place are deep chasms; in others bills to climb and valleys to descend.
14. In one place there is pitch darkness; in another rocks difficult to climb over; in others lakes filled with pus and blood, and with excrement.
15-17. In the midst of the way flows the terribly horrible Vaitarani River, which when seen inspires misery, of which even an account arouses fear.
Extending a hundred yojanas, a flow of pus and blood, impassible, with heaps of bones on the banks, with mud of flesh and blood,
Unfordable, impassible for the sinful, obstructed with hairy moss, filled with huge crocodiles. and crowded with hundreds of dreadful birds.
18-20. When it sees the sinful approaching, this river, overspread with flames and smoke, seethes, O Tarkshya, like butter in the frying-pan:
Covered all over with dreadful throngs of insects with piercing stings, infested with huge vultures and crows with adamantine beaks,
Filled with porpoises, with crocodiles, with leeches, fishes and turtles, and with other flesh-eating water-animals.
21. Very sinful people, fallen into the flood, cry, O Brother, O Son, O Father!’–again and again wailing.
22-23. Hungry and thirsty the sinful drink the blood, it is said. That river, flowing with blood, carrying much foam,
Very dreadful, with powerful roaring, difficult to see into, fear-inspiring,–at the very sight of it the sinful swoon away.
24. Covered with many scorpions, and with black snakes,–of those who have fallen into the midst of this, there is no rescuer whatever.
25. By hundreds of thousands of whirlpools the sinful descend to the lower region. They stay for a moment in the lower region, after the moment rising again.
26. O Bird, this river was created only that the sinful should fall into it. It is difficult to cross and gives great misery, and its opposite cannot be seen.
27. Thus along the Way of Yama, of many kinds of pain, giving extreme misery, go the sinful, crying and weeping and laden with misery.
28. Bound by the noose, some of them being dragged by hooks, and pierced from behind with points of weapons, the sinful are led on.
29. Others are drawn along by a noose through the end of the nose, and also by nooses through the ears; others, by the nooses of death being dragged along, are pecked by crows.
30-32. Some go on the way neck, arms, feet and back bound with chains, bearing many loads of iron,
And being beaten with hammers by the awful messengers of Yama; vomiting blood from the mouth, which then they eat again,
Bewailing their own karmas these beings, becoming exhausted, full of very great misery, go on towards the mansion of Yama.
33-34. And the stupid, thus going on the way, calling on son and grandson, incessantly crying out, ‘Oh, oh,’ repents:–
‘By great meritorious effort birth as a human being is gained. Haying obtained that, I did not do my duty,–also, whatever have I done!
35. ‘I made no gifts; no offerings to the fire; performed no penances; did not worship the deities; did not perform service at a place of pilgrimage as prescribed;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
36. ‘I did not duly honour the assemblies of Brahmins; did not visit the holy river [*1]; did not wait upon good men; never performed any benevolent acts;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
37. ‘ Alas, I did not excavate tanks in waterless places, either for the benefit of men or for the sake of animals and binds; did not even a little for the support of cows and brahmins;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you leave done!
38. ‘I made no daily gifts and did not give food daily to the cow; did not value the precepts of the Vedas and the S’astras; did not listen to the Puranas, nor worship the wise;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!’
39. ‘I did not follow the good advice of my husband; never preserved fidelity to my husband; did not pay due respect to my worthy elders;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
40. ‘Not knowing my duty I did not serve my husband, nor after his death enter the fire. Having become widowed I performed no austerities;–O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
41. ‘I did not emaciate myself by monthly fasts by the course of the moon, nor by detailed observances. Owing to my bad deeds in former lives I got a woman’s body, which is a source of great misery.’
42. Thus having lamented many times, remembering the past incarnation, crying ‘Whence did I attain this human state?’ he goes on.
43. For seventeen days he goes on alone with the speed of the wind. On the eighteenth day, O Tarksya, the departed reaches the City of Saumya.
44. Large numbers of the departed are in that excellent and beautiful city. The River Pushpabhadra is there, and a fig-tree delightful to see.
41. In that city he takes rest, along with the servants of Yama. There he remembers the enjoyment of wife, son and others, and is miserable.
46-47. When he bewails his wealth, his family and dependents all, then the departed belonging there and the servants say this:
Where is your wealth now? Where are your children and wife now? Where are your friends and relatives now? You only suffer the result of your own karma, you fool. Go on for a long time!
48. ‘You know that provisions are the strength of a traveller. You do not strive for provisions, O Traveller in the Higher World! Yet you must inevitably go on that way, where there is neither buying nor selling.
49. ‘Have you not heard, O Mortal, of this way, which is familiar even to children? Have you not heard of it from the twice-born, as spoken of in the Puranas?’
50. Thus spoken to by the messengers and being beaten with the hammers, he is forcibly dragged by the nooses, falling down and getting up again and running.
51. Here he eats the monthly rice-balls given by his sons and grandsons through either love or compassion, and thence goes on into Sauripura.
52. There is there a king named Jangama, who has the appearance of Death. Having seen him he is overcome with fear and decides to give up efforts.
53. In that city he eats a mixture of water and food, given at the end of three fortnights, and then passes on from that city.
54. Thence the departed speedily goes to Nagendrabhavana; and having seen the fearful forests there he cries in misery.
55-56. Being dragged unmercifully he weeps again and again. At the end of two months the afflicted leaves that city,
Having enjoyed there the rice-balls, water and cloths given by his relatives; being again dragged with the nooses he is led onwards by the servants.
57-58. Upon the coming of the third month, having arrived at the city of the Gandharvas, and there having eaten the rice-balls offered in the third month he moves on.
And in the fourth month reaches S’ailagama city, There stones rain down copiously upon the departed.
59. Having eaten the rice-balls of the fourth month he becomes somewhat happy. In the fifth month the departed goes thence to the city of Krauncha.
60. Remaining in the city of Krauncha, the departed eats the rice balls given by hand in the fifth month, and then, having eaten it, goes to Krurapura.
61. At the end of five and a half months the ceremony before the six-monthly is performed. He remains, satisfied with the rice-balls and jars then given.
62-63. Having stayed, trembling and very miserable, for a time and having left that city, threatened by the servants of Yama,
He goes to Chitrabhavana, over which kingdom rules a king named Vichitra, who is the younger brother of Yama.
64-65. When he sees his huge form he runs away in fear. Then having come before him some fishermen say:
‘We have arrived, bringing a boat for you–who desire to cross the great Vaitarani River–if your merits are sufficient.’
66-67. ‘It is said by the sages, who see the truth, that Vitarana is a gift, and this is called Vaitarani because it is crossed over by that.
‘If you have made the gift of a cow, then the boat will come to you, otherwise not.’ Having heard their words, ‘Oh heavens,’ he exclaims.
68. Seeing him it seethes, seeing which he cries loudly. The sinful soul who has made no gifts verily sinks in that.
69. Having fixed a skewer through his lips, the messengers, floating in the air, carry him across like a fish upon a hook.
70. Having then eaten the rice-balls of the sixth month, he passes on. He goes on the way lamenting, very greatly afflicted with the desire to eat.
71. At the approach of the seventh month he goes to the city of Bahwapada. There he enjoys what is given by his sons in the seventh month.
72. Having passed beyond that city, he arrives at the city of Duhkhada. Travelling in the air he suffers great misery, O Ruler of Birds.
73. Having eaten the rice-balls which are given in the eighth month he moves on. At the end of the ninth month he goes to the city of Nanakranda.
74. Having seen many people crying in agony in various ways, and being himself faint of heart, he cries in great misery.
75. Having left that city, the departed, threatened by the servants of Yama, goes, with difficulty, in the tenth month, to Sutaptabhavana.
76. Though he there obtains the rice-ball gifts and water, he is not happy At the completion of the eleventh month he goes to the city of Raudra.
77. There he enjoys what is offered in the eleventh month by his sons and others, and half after the eleventh month he reaches Payovarsana.
78. There clouds team, giving misery to the departed, and them, he, in misery, obtains the S’raddha before the annual one.
70. At the end of the year he goes to the city of S’itadhya, where cold a hundred times greater than that of the Himalaya him.
80. Hungry and pierced with cold, he looks about in the ten directions. ‘Does there remain any relative who will remove my misery?’
81. There the servants ask: ‘What sort of merit have you?’ Having eaten the annual rice-balls he plucks up courage again.
82. At the end of the year, coming nearer to the abode of Yama, having reached the city of Bahubhiti, he casts off the body the measure of a hand.
83. The spirit the size of a thumb, to work out its karma, getting a body of torment, sets out through the air with the servants of Yama.
84. Those who do not offer gifts for the dweller in the upper body, O Kas’yapa, thus go, painfully bound in tight bonds.
85. Into the city of the King of Justice there are four gateways, O Bird, of which the way of the southern gate has been declared to you.
86. How they go on this most dreadful path, afflicted with hunger, thirst and exhaustion, has been told. What else do you wish to hear?
^14:1 The Ganges.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Torments of Yama.
1. Garuda said: What are the torments like that the sinful suffers, having passed along the way of Yama into the abode of Yama? Tell me this, O Kes’ava.
2. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Descendant of Vinata. I will tell it to you from the beginning to the end. Even at the description of hell you will tremble.
3. Four and forty yojanas, O Kas’yapa, beyond the city of Bahubhiti, lies the great city of the King of Justice.
4-5. The sinful man cries when he hears the mingled wails of ‘Oh, Oh,’ and having heard his cry, those who walk about in the city of Yama.
All go to the door-keeper and report it to him. The doorkeeper Dharmadhwaja, always stands there.
6. He, having gone to Chitragupta, [*1] reports the good and evil deeds. Then Chitragupta tells it to the King of Justice.
7. The men who are Deniers, O Tarkshya, and always delight in great sin; these are all, as is proper, well-known to the King of Justice.
8. , he asks Chitragupta about their sins. Chitragupta, although he is all-knowing, enquires of the S’ravanas [*1].
9. The S’ravanas are the sons of Brahman who wander in heaven, on earth, and in the nether regions, hear and understand at a distance, and see a long way off.
10. Their wives have a similar nature, and are called, distinctively, Sravanis. They know accurately all that is done by women.
11. These report to Chitragupta everything that is said and done, openly and secretly, by men.
12. These followers of the King of Justice know accurately all the virtues and vices of mankind, and the karma born of mind, speech and body.
13. Such is the power of these, who have authority over mortals and immortals. Thus do these truth-speaking S’ravanas relate the actions of man.
14. To the man who pleases them by austerity, charity and truthful speech, they become benevolent, granting heaven and liberation.
15. Knowing the wicked actions of the sinful, those truth-speakers, relating them before the King of Justice, become dispensers of misery.
16. The sun and moon, fire, wind, sky, earth and water, the heart. Yama, day and night, the two twilights, and Justice–know the actions of man.
17 The King of Justice, Chitragupta, S’ravanas, the sun others see fully the sins and merits of the embodied being.
18. Then Yama, having assured himself concerning the sins of the sinful, summons them and shows them his own very terrible form.
19-21. Very sinful people behold the terrifying form of Yama–huge of body, rod in hand, seated on a buffalo,
Roaring like a cloud at the time of pralaya, like a mountain of lampblack, terrible with weapons gleaming like lightning, possessing thirty-two arms,
Extending three yojanas, with eyes like wells, with mouth gaping with formidable fangs, with red eyes and a long nose.
22. Even Chitragupta is fearful, attended by Death, Fever and others. Near to him are all the messengers, resembling Yama, roaring.
23. Having seen him, the wretch, overcome with fear, cries ‘Oh, Oh.’ The sinful soul who made no gifts trembles and cries again.
24. Then, by command of Yama, Chitragupta speaks to all those sinners, who are crying, and bewailing their karmas.
25. ‘O, you sinners, evil-doers, polluted with egoism, injudicious, why ever did you commit sin?
26. ‘O, you foolish people, why ever did you commit that misery-giving sin which is born of lust, anger and association with the sinful.
27 ‘Hitherto you have committed sins with great delight, and thereby are now destined for torment. It is no use turning your faces away.
28. ‘The sinful actions done by you are very many, and those sins are the cause of unavoidable misery.
29. ‘It is known that Yama deals equally with the fool and the learned, the and the wealthy, the strong and the weak.’
30. Hearing these words of Chitragupta, the sinful then grieve over their karmas, and remain silent and motionless.
31. The King of Justice, seeing them standing motionless like thieves, has fitting punishment ordered for the sinful.
32. Then the cruel messengers, having beaten them, say, ‘Go along, you sinner, to the very dreadful terrifying hells.’
33. The messengers, Prachanda, Chandaka [*1] and others, executors of the sentences of Yama, having bound them with one noose, lead them towards the hells.
34. There is one big tree there, glowing like a blazing fire. It covers five yojanas and is one yojana in height.
35. Having bound them on the tree by chains, head downwards, they beat them. They, for whom there is no rescuer, cry, burning there.
36. Many sinful ones are hung on that silk-cotton tree, exhausted by hunger and thirst, and beaten by the messengers of Yama.
37. ‘Oh, forgive my faults’–with suppliant hands, those most. sinful people, helpless, implore the messengers.
31. Again and again they are forcibly struck, by the messengers, with metal rods, with hammers, with iron clubs, with spears, with maces and with big pestles.
39-40. Thus beaten they become still, swooning away. Then, seeing them quiet, the servants address them thus:
‘O, you sinners, you evildoers, did you commit such wicked deeds? You did not even make the easy water and food offerings at all.
41. ‘You did not give even halt a mouthful of food to the dog or the crows, nor honour your guests, nor make the water-offering to the forefathers.
42. You did not meditate well upon Yama and Chitragupta, nor repeat their mantra, along with which torment cannot exist.
43. You never visited any places of pilgrimage, nor worshipped the deities. Though living as a householder you did not even express compassion.
44. ‘You did not do any acts of service. Suffer the fruits of your own sin! Because you are devoid of righteousness you deserve to be beaten.
45. ‘Forgiveness of faults is done by the Lord Hari [*1] Is’wara. We only punish miscreants, as we are ordered.’
46. Thus having spoken the messengers heat them mercilessly; and on account of the beating they fall down like glowing charcoal.
47. In falling their limbs are cut by the sharp leaves, and they cry, fallen down and bitten by dogs.
48. Then the mouths of those who are crying are filled with dust by the messengers; and, being bound with various nooses some are beaten with hammers.
49. Some of the sinful are cut with saws, like firewood, and others thrown flat on the ground, are chopped into pieces with axes.
50. Some, their bodies half-buried in a pit, are pierced in the head with arrows. Others, fixed in the middle of a machine, are squeezed like sugar-cane.
51. Some are surrounded closely with blazing charcoal, enwrapped with torches, and smelted like a lump of ore.
52. Some are plunged into heated butter, and others into heated oil, and like a cake thrown into the frying-pan they are turned about.
53. Some are thrown in the way, in front of huge maddened elephants, and some with hands and feet bound are placed head downwards.
54. Some are thrown into wells; some are hurled from heights; others plunged into pits full of worms, are eaten away by them.
55. By the hard beaks of huge flesh-eating crows and vultures they are pecked in the head, eyes and faces.
56. Others clamour: ‘Give up, give up my wealth, which you owe me. In the world of Yama I see my wealth being enjoyed by you.’
57. Thus disputing, the sinful, in the hell-region, are given pieces of flesh torn off with pincers by the messengers.
58. Thus quarrelling, they are taken hold of by the messengers, by order of Yama, and thrown into the dreadful hells, Tamisra and others,
59. Hells full of great misery are there,–near to the tree,–in which there is great misery indescribable in words.
60. There are eighty-four lakhs of hells, O Bird, the midst of which are twenty-one most dreadful of the dreadful.
61-64. Tamisra, [*1] Lohas’anku, [*2] Maharauravas’almali, [*3] Raurava, [*4] Kudmala, [*5] Kalasutraka, [*6] Putimrittika, [*7]
Sanghata, [*8] Lohitoda, [*9] Savisa, [*10] Sampratapana, [*11] Mahaniraya, [*12] Kaka, [*13] Ulu, [*14] Sanjivana, [*15] Mahapathin, [*16]
Avichi, [*17] Andhatamisra, [*18] Kumbhipaka, [*19] Sampratapana, [*20] and Tapana, [*21]–in all twenty-one,
All formed of various afflictions and diseases of different classes, the various fruits of sin, and inhabited by multitudes of servants.
65. The sinful fools, devoid of righteousness, Who have fallen into these, experience there, until the end of the age, the various torments of hell.
66. Men and women suffer the torments of Tamisra, Andhatamisra, Raurava and other hells, which are produced by secret association.
67. Thus he who was holding a family or gratifying his belly, having given up both, and being departed, obtains appropriate fruit.
68. Having cast off his body, which was nourished at the expense of other creatures, he goes alone to hell, provisioned with the opposite of happiness.
69. The man experiences in a foul hell what is ordained by his fate, like an invalid who has been robbed of his wealth, the support of his family.
70: The individual, who was fond of supporting his family by unrighteous means alone, goes to Andhatamisra, which is the place of uttermost darkness.
71. Having experienced in due order the torments below, he comes here again, purified.
^21:1 Name of the being who records the doings of men.
^22:1 Lit. Listeners.
^24:1 Both names mean fierce or violent.
^26:1 Lit. He who takes away (sins).
^28:2 Iron spears.
^28:3 Very terrible silk-cotton tree.
^28:6 The thread of death.
^28:7 Stinking clay.
^28:9 Iron weights.
^28:12 The great exit.
^28:15 Living together.
^28:16 The great path.
^28:18 Besetting darkness,
^28:19 Based like a pot.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Kinds of Sins which lead to Hell.
1. Garuda said: For what sins do they go on that great Way? Why do they fall into the Vaitarani? Why do they go to hell? Tell me this, O Kes’ava.
2. The Blessed Lord said: ‘Those who always delight in wrong deeds, who turn away from good deeds, go from hell to hell, from misery to misery, from fear to fear.
3. The righteous go into the city of the King of Justice by three gateways, but the sinful go into it only by the road of the southern gate.
4. The Vaitarani River is only on this very miserable way. I will tell you who the sinners are who go by it.
5-12. Slayers of Brahmins, drinkers of intoxicants, slayers of owe, infanticides, murderers of women, destroyers of the embryo, and those who commit secret sins,
Those who steal the wealth of the teacher, the property of the temple or of the twice-born; those who take away the possessions of women, and those who steal the possessions of children;
Those who do not repay their debts; those who misappropriate deposits; those who betray confidence; and those who kill with poisonous foods;
Those who seize upon the fault and depreciate the merit, who are jealous of those who have merit, who are attached to the wicked, who are foolish, who turn away from the company of the good;
Those who despise places of pilgrimage, good men, good actions, teachers and Shining Ones; those who disparage the Puranas, the Vedas, the Mimamsa, the Nyaya and the Vedanta;
Those who are elated at seeing the miserable, who try to make the happy wretched, who speak evil words, and are always evil-minded;
Those who do not listen to good counsel nor even to the word of the S’astras, who are self-satisfied, who are unbending, who are foolish, who thinks themselves learned;–
These, and many others, very sinful, devoid of righteousness, certainly go on the Way of Yama, weeping day and night.
13. Beaten by the messengers of Yama, they go towards the Vaitarani. I will tell you what sinners fall into it.
14. Those who dishonour their mothers, fathers, teachers and preceptors and the reverend,–these men sink in it.
15. Those who wickedly abandon their wives, faithful, of good qualities, of noble birth, and modest, fall into the Vaitarani.
16. Those who ascribe evil to the good, possessed of thousands of merits, and treat them disrespectfully, fall into the Vaitarani.
17. Who does not fulfil promises made to Brahmins, and who, having called them, says, ‘There is nothing for you,’–of these two the stay is continued.
18-24. Who takes away what he gave; who repents of his gifts: who takes away another’s livelihood; who hinders others making gifts;
Who obstructs sacrifices; who prevents the telling of stories; who removes field-boundaries; who ploughs up pastures;
The Brahmin who sells liquors, and consorts with a lowcaste woman; who kills animals for his own gratification, not for the prescribed sacrifices of the Vedas;
Who has put aside his Brahmanic duties; who eats flesh and drinks liquor; who is of unbridled nature; who does not study the S’astras;
The S’udra who studies the letter of the Vedas, who drinks the milk of the tawny cow, who wears the sacred thread or consorts with Brahmin women;
Who covets the King’s wife; who abducts others’ wives, who is lustful towards virgins, and who slanders virtuous women;–
These, and many other fools, fond of treading forbidden paths, anal abandoning prescribed ditties, fall into the Vaitarani.
23. Having come all along the path the sinful reach the abode of Yama, and having come, by command of Yama, the messengers hurl them into that river again.
26. O King of Birds, they then hurl those sinners into the Vaitarani, which is the foremost among hells.
27. Who did not make gifts of black cows, nor perform the ceremonies for those who are in the upper body; having suffered great misery in it, go to the tree standing on its bank.
28-30. Who give false witness; who perform false duties; who earn by cheating, and who gain a livelihood by thieving;
Who cut down and destroy big trees, gardens and forests; who neglect vows and pilgrimages, who destroy the chastity of widows;
The woman who despises her husband and thinks about another,–such and others at the silk-cotton tree experience much beating.
31. Those who fall down, through being beaten, the messengers cast into hells. I will tell you about the sinful who fall into them.
32. Deniers, those who break the laws of morality, the avaricious, those attached to sense-objects, hypocrites, the ungrateful,–these certainly go to hell.
33. Those who destroy wells, tanks, ponds, shrines, or people’s houses,–these certainly go to hell.
34. Those who eat, having neglected their wives, children, servants and teachers, and having neglected the offerings to the forefathers and the Shining Ones,–these certainly go to hell.
35. Those who obstruct roads with posts, with mounds, with timber, with stones or with thorns,–these certainly go to hell.
36. Those who, self-indulgent, do not worship S’iva, S’iva, Hari, Surya, Ganes’a, the wise, and the good teachers,–these certainly go to hell.
37-38. The Brahmani who places a harlot on his bed, goes to a low condition; begetting offspring of a S’udra woman, he is certainly degraded from the Brahmin rank:
That wretched twice-born is not worthy of salutation at any time; those fools who worship him certainly go to hell.
39. Those who are fond of quarrels, do not give up causing dissension among Brahmans and cow-fights but delight in them,–they certainly go to hell.
40. Those who, through malignity, commit transgression at the time of conception, with women who have no other refuge,—these certainly go to hell.
41. Those men who, blinded by passion, consort with women in the monthly courses, on the four days of lunar change, in the day time, in water, on S’raddha occasions, these certainly go to hell.
42. Those who throw their bodily refuse into fire, into water, in a garden, in a road, or in a cowpen,–these certainly go to hell.
43. Those who are makers of swords, and of bows and arrows, and those who are sellers of them,–these certainly go to hell.
44. Vais’yas who are dealers in skins; women who sell their hair; these who sell poisons;–all these certainly go to hell.
45. Those who do not compassionate the helpless, who hate the good, who punish the guiltless;–these certainly go to hell.
46. Those who do not feed the Brahman guests, who have come full of hope to the house, even though food is cooked;–these certainly go to hell.
47. Those who are suspicious of all creatures, and who are cruel to them, those who deceive all creatures;–these certainly go to hell.
48. Those who assume observances, and afterwards, with senses uncontrolled, cast them away again,–these certainly go to hell.
49. Those who do not respect the teacher who imparts the knowledge of the Supreme Self, and the tellers of the Puranas,–these certainly go to hell.
50. Those who betray their friends; those who cut short friendship; and those who destroy hopes;–these certainly go to hell.
51. He who interferes with marriage, processions of the Shining Ones, [*1] or bands of pilgrims, dwells in a dreadful hell from which there is no return.
52. The very sinful man who sets fire to a house, a village or a wood, is captured by the messengers of Yama and baked in pits of fire.
53. When his limbs are burnt with fire, he begs for a shady place, and then is led by the messengers into the forest of sword-like leaves.
54. When his limbs are cut by its leaves, sharp as swords, then they say, ‘Ah, ha! Sleep comfortably in this cool shade!’
55. When, afflicted with thirst, he begs for water to drink, then the messengers give him boiling oil to drink.
56. Then they say: ‘Drink this liquid and eat this food.’ As soon as he drinks it he falls down, burning inside.
57. Getting up again somehow, he wails piteously. Powerless and breathless he is unable even to speak.
58. Thus, it is declared, O Tarksya, that there are many torments for the sinful. Why should I explain them fully, when they are spoken of in all the S’astras?
59. Being tortured thus, men and women by thousands are baked in dreadful hells until the coming of the deluge.
60-62. Having eaten there their undecaying fruits they are born again. By order of Yama they return to the earth and become unmoving and other creatures:
Trees, bushes, plants, creepers, rocks and grasses, these are spoken of as unmoving; enveloped in great delusion,–
Insects, birds, animals and fish;–it is said that there are eighty-four hundred thousands of fates of birth-fates.
63. All these evolve thence into the human condition; having come back from hell they are born in the human kingdom amongst low outcastes, and even there, by the stains of sin, become very miserable.
64. Thus they become men and women oozing with leprosy, born blind, infested with grievous maladies, and bearing the marks of sin.
^36:1 The images are carried round the streets on occasions.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Signs of Sins.
1. Garuda said: Tell me, O Kes’ava, by what sins particular signs are produced, and to what sorts of birth such sins lead?
2. The Blessed Lord said: The sins on account of which the sinful returning from hell come to particular births, and the signs produced by particular sins,–these hear from me.
3. The murderer of a Brahman becomes consumptive, the killer of a cow becomes hump-backed and imbecile, the murderer of a virgin becomes leprous,–all three born as outcastes.
4. The slayer of a woman and the destroyer of embryos becomes a savage full of diseases; who commits illicit intercourse, a eunuch; who goes with his teacher’s wife, diseased-skinned.
5. The eater of flesh becomes very red; the drinker of intoxicants, one with discoloured teeth; the Brahman who, on account of greed, eats what should not be eaten, becomes big-bellied.
6. He who eats sweet foods, without giving to others, becomes swollen-necked; who gives impure food at a S’raddha ceremony is born a spotted leper.
7. The man who, through pride, insults his teacher, becomes an
epileptic; who despises the Vedas and the S’astras certainly becomes jaundiced.
8. Who bears false witness becomes dumb; who breaks the meal-row [*1] becomes one-eyed; who interferes with marriage becomes lipless; who steals a book-is born blind.
9. Who strikes a cow or a Brahman with his foot is born lame and deformed; who speaks lies becomes a stammerer, and who listens to them becomes deaf.
10. A poisoner becomes insane; an incendiary becomes bald; who sells flesh becomes unlucky; who eats fled of other beings becomes diseased.
11. Who steals jewels is born in a low caste; who steals gold gets diseased nails; who steals any metal becomes poverty-stricken.
12. Who steals food becomes a rat; who steals grain becomes a locust; who steals water becomes a Chataka-bird [*2]; and who steals poison, a scorpion.
13. Who steals vegetables and leaves becomes a peacock; perfumes, a musk-rat; honey, a gad-fly; flesh, a vulture; and salt, an ant.
14. Who steals betel, fruits and flowers becomes a forest-monkey; who steal shoes, grass and cotton are born from sheeps’ wombs.
15. Who lives by violence, who robs caravans on the road, and who is fond of hunting, certainly becomes a goat in a butcher’s house.
16. Who dies by drinking poison becomes a black serpent on a mountain; whose feature is unrestrained becomes an elephant in a desolate forest.
17. Those twice-born who do not make offering to the World-deities, and who eat all foods without consideration, become tigers in a desolate forest.
18. The Brahmin who does not recite the Gayatri [*1], who does not meditate at twilight, who is inwardly wicked while outwardly pious, becomes a crane.
19. The Brahmin who officiates for one unfit to perform sacrifice becomes a village hog, and by too many sacrifices he becomes an ass; by eating without grace, a crow.
20. The twice-born who does not impart learning to the deserving becomes a bull; the pupil who does not serve his teacher becomes an animal,–an ass or a cow.
21. Who threatens and spits at his teacher, or browbeats a Brahman, is born as a Brahmin-fiend in a waterless wilderness.
22. Who does not give to a twice-born according to his promise becomes a jackal; who is not hospitable to the goody becomes a howling Fire-face. [*2]
23. Who deceives a friend becomes a mountain-vulture; who cheats in selling, an owl; who speaks ill of caste and order is born a pigeon in a wood.
24. Who destroys hopes and who destroys affection, who through dislike abandons his wife, becomes a ruddy goose for a long time.
25. Who hates mother, father and teacher, who quarrels with sister and brother, is destroyed when an embryo in the womb, even for a thousand births.
26. The woman who abuses her mother-in-law and father-in-law, and causes constant quarrels; becomes a leech; and she who scolds her husband becomes a louse.
27. Who, abandoning her own husband, runs after another man, becomes a flying-fox, a house-lizard, or a kind of female serpent.
28. He who cuts off his lineage, by embracing a woman of his own family, having become a hyena and a porcupine, is born from the womb of a bear.
29. The lustful man who goes with a female ascetic becomes a desert fiend; who consorts with an immature girl becomes a huge snake in a wood.
30. Who covets his teacher’s wife, becomes a chameleon; who goes with the king’s wife becomes corrupt; and with his friend’s wife, a donkey.
31. Who commits unnatural vice becomes a village pig; who consorts with a S’udra woman becomes bull; who is passionate becomes a lustful horse.
32-33. Who feeds upon the eleventh-day offerings to the dead is born a dog. The devalaka is born from the womb of a hen.
The wretch among twice-born who worships the deities for the sake of wealth is called a devalaka and is unfit to offer oblations to ale deities and forefathers.
34. Those who are very sinful, having passed through dreadful hells produced by their great sins, are born here upon the exhaustion of their karma.
35. The murderer of a Brahman goes into the womb of an ass, a camel and a she-buffalo; a drinker of intoxicants enters the wombs of a wolf, a dog and a jackal.
36. The stealer of gold attains the condition of a worm, an insect and a bird. Who goes with his teacher’s wife, goes to the condition of grass, bushes and plants.
37. Who steals another’s wife, who misappropriates deposits, who robs a Brahmin, is born as a Brahmin-fiend.
38-40. The Brahmin’s possessions acquired by deception, enjoyed even in friendship, afflict the family even for seven generations,–and by forcible robbery even as long as the moon and stars exist:
A man may digest even iron filings, powdered stone, and poison; but where is the person in the three worlds who can digest a Brahmin’s wealth!
Chariots and troops supported by the wealth of a Brahmin crumble away in battle like artificial river-banks of sand.
41-43. By appropriating temple property, by taking a Brahmin’s possessions, and by neglecting Brahmins, families become broken up.
He is called a neglector who, instead of making a gift to one who is well-read in the Vedas and S’astras and has resorted to him, gives it to some other,
But it is no neglect if the Brahmin is without Veda-knowledge; it would be like offering to ashes instead of to the blazing fire near by.
44. Having neglected, O Tarksya, and having experienced the results in the successive hells, he is born blind and in poverty, becoming not a giver but a beggar.
45. Who takes away a plot of land, which was given by himself for another, is born for sixty thousand years as a worm in excrement.
46. The sinner who takes back by force what has been given by himself, goes into hell until the coming of the deluge.
47. Having given the means of subsistence and a piece of land, he should then protect it firmly. Who does not protect, but robs, is born as a lame dog.
48. Who gives the means of support to Brahmins obtains fruit equal to that of a lakh of cows; who robs Brahmins of their means of sup port becomes an ape, a dog and a monkey.
49. These and other signs and births, O Lord of Birds, are seen to be the karma of the embodied, made by themselves in this world.
50. Thus the makers of bad karma, having experienced the tortures mf hell, are born with the residues of their sins, in these stated forms.
51. Then, obtaining for thousands of lives the bodies of animals, they suffer from carrying burdens and other miseries.
52. Having experienced as a bird the misery of cold, rain and heat, he afterwards reaches the human state, when the good and evil are balanced.
53. Man and woman having come together, he becomes an embryo in due course. Having suffered the miseries from conception onwards to death, he again dies.
54. Birth and death are the lot of all embodied beings; thus turns the wheel in the four kingdoms of beings.
55. As the wheel of time turns, so mortals revolve by my magic. They revolve at one time of earth, at another in hell, held fast by the noose of karma.
56. He who does not mike gifts becomes poverty–stricken and through poverty he commits sin; by the force of sin he goes to hell, and is again born in poverty and again becomes sinful.
57. Karma which has been made, whether good or evil, must inevitably be suffered. Karma not suffered does not fade away even in tens of millions of ages.
^39:1 This refers to the custom among Brahmins of sitting in a row at meals, and rising together. Whoever gives different food to one than to another is said to break the row also.
^39:2 A bird fabled to live only on rain-drops.
^40:1 A sacred mantra repeated every day by the twice-born caste.
^40:2 A class of evil spirits.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
The Miseries of Birth of the Sinful.
1. Garuda said:–Tell me, O Kes’ava, how he who returns from hells is formed in the womb of the mother, and what miseries he suffers in the embryonic condition.
2. Visnu said: I will tell you how the mortal is born when the male and female elements are bound together by the union of man and woman.
3. In the middle of the menstruation period, in the three days on which Indra incurs the sin of Bramicide, the body of the sinful begins to form.
4. The mother of one returning from hell is regarded on the first day as an outcaste woman, on the second as the murderer of a Brahmin, and on the third as a washerwoman.
5. The creature, in obtaining a body, according to karma, the divine eye, enters the womb of a woman, which is the receptacle of a man’s seed.
6. In one night it becomes a lump; by the fifth night round; by the tenth day like the fruit of the jujube tree, [*1] and after that an egg of flesh.
7-8. By the first month the head, by the second the arms and other parts of the body are formed; by the third occurs the formation of nails, hair, bones, skin, linga and other cavities;
By the fourth the seven bodily fluids; by the fifth hunger and thirst arise; by the sixth, enveloped by the chorion, it moves to the left of the womb.
9. The bodily substances are formed of the foods and liquids of the mother, and the creature at the time of birth lies in the disgusting hollow of the loins, amid foeces and urine.
10. All its limbs bitten constantly by hungry worms, it swoons away repeatedly through excessive pain, as they are very tender.
11. Thus enveloped by the womb and bound outside by the sinews, it feels pain all over its body, caused by the mother’s eating many things–pungent, bitter, hot, salt, sour and acid.
12. With its head placed in its belly and its back and neck curved, it is unable to move its limbs,–like a parrot in a cage.
13. There he remembers, by divine power, the Karma generated in hundreds of previous births,–and remembering, sobs for a long time, obtaining not the least happiness.
14. Having this insight he, with hands put together, bound in seven bonds, imploring and trembling, adores in plaintive tones Him who placed him in the womb.
15. From the beginning of the seventh month, though he gains consciousness, he who is in the womb trembles and moves about because of the parturition winds, like a uterine worm.
16-23. The creature says, “I seek refuge in Visnu; the husband of S’ri, the supporter of the universe, the destroyer of evil, who is compassionate to those who come for shelter.
“I am bewildered by Thy magic, as regards body and son and wife; misled by my egoism I am transmigrating, O Lord.
“I did good and evil actions for the sake of my dependents, and as s result I am tormented, while they who enjoy the fruits escape.
“If I am released from this womb I will lay myself at Thy feet, and I will take the means by which I may obtain liberation.
“Fallen into a well of foeces and urine, I am burnt by the fire of the belly, and anxious to escape from it. When shall I get out?
“In Him alone, who has given me this experience, and is compassionate to the afflicted, will I seek refuge. Let not this transmigration occur to me again.
“But no, I wish never to come out of the womb, where misery results from my sinful actions.
“Because remaining even here in great misery, bearing the fatigue, resorting to Thy feet I will keep myself aloof from the worlds of change.”
24. The Blessed Lord said: He who has thus considered, and has been ten months in the womb, endowed with insight, while praying, suddenly is cast out head downwards into birth, by the winds of delivery.
25. Cast out forcibly, bending down his head, he comes out with anxiety and painfully breathless and with memory destroyed.
26. Having fallen on the ground he moves like a worm in excrement. He is become changed in condition, and cries loudly, deprived of knowledge.
27. If the state of mind which arises in the womb, during illness, on the cremation ground, or upon hearing the Puranas were permanent–who would not be liberated from bondage!
28. When he comes out of the womb, after experiencing his karma, then verily the man is bewildered by the magic of Visnu.
29. Then, when he is touched by that magic, powerless, he is unable to speak. He experiences the miseries of infancy and childhood arising from dependence.
30. He is nourished by people who do not understand his wishes, unable to ward off what is thrust upon him against his desire.
31. Lain upon a bed unclean and befouled by perspiration, he is unable to scratch his limbs, to sit, rise or move.
32. Mosquitoes, gnats, bugs and other flies bite him, skinless and weeping and deprived of understanding, just as insects bite little worms.
33. In this wise having experienced the miseries of infancy and of childhood, he reaches youth and acquires evil tendencies.
34. Then he begins evil brooding, mingling in the company of the wicked; he hates the scriptures and good men, and becomes lustful.
35. Seeing a seductive woman, his senses captivated by her blandishments, infatuated he falls into great darkness, like a moth into a flame.
36. The deer, the elephant, the bird, the bee and the fish: these five are led to destruction by one of the senses; how then shall the infatuated one not be destroyed, when he enjoys the five kinds of objects by five senses.
37. He longs for the unobtainable, and on account of ignorance becomes angry and sorry, and his pride and anger increase with the growth of his body.
38. The lover makes quarrels with rivals, to his own ruin and is destroyed by those stronger than himself, as one elephant by another.
39. Who is more sinful than the fool who, attached to sense-objects, spends in vain the human birth which was difficult to obtain.
40: After hundreds of lives one obtains human birth on earth; and even more difficult to obtain is that as a twice-born: and who then only provides for and pampers the senses, through foolishness lets slip the nectar from his hand.
41. Then, having arrived at old age, he is troubled with great diseases; and, death having come, he goes to a miserable hell, as before.
42. Thus held fast in the ever-circling noose of karma, the sinful, bewildered by my magic, are never released.
43. Thus I have related to you, O Tarksya, how the sinful, deprived of the sacrifices for the dead, go in hell. What else do you wish to hear?
^46:1 That is, hard.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
Babhruvahana’s Sacrament for the Departed One.
1. Suta said: Having heard this, Garuda, trembling like a leaf of the holy fig-tree, again questioned Kes’ava for the benefit of men.
2. Garuda said: Tell me by what means men who have committed sins unknowingly or knowingly escape from the torments of the servants of Yama.
3-4. For those men who are immersed in the ocean of transmigration, of weak intelligence, their reason clouded by sin, their self dimmed by attachment to sense-objects–
For their uplifting tell me, O Lord, the exact meaning of the Puranas; and the means by which people attain a happy condition, O Madhava.
5. The Blessed Lord said: O Tarksya, you have done well in asking for the benefit of men, Listen attentively, and I will tell you all.
6. Hard indeed, as already said, is the fate of the sinful and those without sons; but never so, O Lord of Birds, that of those who have sons and who are righteous,
7. If by any past action of his the birth of a son has been prevented, then some means should be taken for obtaining a son.
8. Having listened to the Harivans’a, or performed the S’atachandi, or worshipped the Blessed S’iva with devotion, the intelligent should beget a son.
9. The son saves his father from the hell called Put; therefore he was named “putra” by the Self-existent himself.
10. Even a single son, if righteous, carries the whole family over. ‘By the son he conquers the worlds,’ is the ancient saying.
11. The Vedas also proclaim the great importance of the son. Accordingly, having seen the face of a son, one is released from the debt to the forefathers.
12. By the touch of his grandson a mortal is released from the three-fold debt. With the help of sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons he goes from the worlds and obtains heaven.
13. The son of a Brahma marriage uplifts, but the illegitimate drags down. Knowing this, O Best of Birds, one should avoid a woman of lower caste.
14. Sons having father and mother of the same caste are legitimate, O Bird. They alone, by making S’raddha-gifts are the means of their fathers’ attaining heaven.
15. Need I say one attains heaven by means of the S’raddha performed by a son, when a Departed One went to heaven even when it was offered by another. Now listen.
16. Concerning this I will give you, from ancient history, an example of the efficacy of gifts for the higher body.
17-19. Formerly, in the Treta age, Tarksya, there reigned over the delightful city of Mahodaya a king named Babhruvahana, who was very powerful, and firm in righteousness,
A sacrificer, Lord of Gifts, prosperous, a lover of Brahmans, valuing the good, endowed with good character and of good conduct, compassionate, skilled,
Righteously protecting his subjects as though they were his own sons, always delighting in Ksattriya duties, and punishing the guilty.
20-21. Once, that powerful king, with his army, went hunting. He entered a thick forest, full of various kinds of trees,
Crowded with various species of animals, and resounding with the cries of various birds. In the midst of the forest the king saw a deer in the distance.
22. The deer, severely wounded by his very hard arrow, ran out of sight into the interior of the forest, carrying the arrow with him.
23. The king, following the blood-stains on the grass, pursued the deer and came into another forest.
24. That leader of men, hungry and with parched throat, fainting with the heat and with fatigue, coming to a lake bathed in it with his horse.
25-27. Then, having drunk of that cool water, rendered fragrant by the-pollen of the lotus, Babhruvahana came out of the water refreshed,
And saw a delightful fig-tree, giving cool shade with its large spreading boughs, sounding with many birds,
And standing like a big standard over the whole forest. The king approached and sat at its root.
28. Now he beheld a Departed One, of terrible appearance, humpbacked and fleshless, with hair erect, dirty, and with senses discomposed by hunger and thirst.
29-31. Seeing him deformed and dreadful Babhruvahana wondered. The Departed One, also seeing the king who had come to that dreadful forest,
And becoming filled with curiosity, came near to him. Then, O Tarksya, this king of the Departed spoke thus to the king:
“I have escaped the condition of the Departed and reached the highest condition, by being in touch with you, O Great-Armed one,–I am highly blessed.”
32-33. The king said: “O Black-complexioned and Gaping-mouthed, by what bad deeds did you reach this state of the Departed, dreadful to see, and highly unhappy?”
“Tell me in detail the cause of your condition, dear. Who are you, and by what gifts will your condition as Departed pass away?”
34-38. The Departed one said: “I will tell you everything from the beginning, O Best of Kings. You will surely have compassion upon me when you have heard the cause of my condition as Departed,
“There is a town named Vaidas’a, possessed of all prosperity, having many districts, and abounding in precious stones of various kinds,
“Beautiful with palaces and mansions, and in which many religious acts are performed. There, O Reverend Sir, I dwelt, always engaged in worship of the Shining Ones.
“By caste I am a Vaishya, by name Sudeva, please know. By fire-offering I pleased the Shining Ones, and likewise the forefathers by food.
“I gladdened the twice-born by offering various gifts. I gave food of various kinds to the poor, the blind and the wretched.
39-41. “All this, O King, through my evil fate has proved fruitless. How my good deeds proved fruitless I will relate to you.
“I have no offspring, no companion, no relative and no friend like you, who will perform for me the ceremonies for the-higher body.
“If the sixteen monthly S’raddhas, O great king, are not performed, the condition as Departed becomes firmly fixed, even if hundreds of annual S’raddhas are performed for him.
42-45. “Uplift me then, O Lord of Earth, by doing the ceremonies for my higher body. It is said that in this world the king is the kinsman of all castes.
“Therefore, O Lord of Kings, help me over, and I will give you a most precious jewel, so that my departed condition may be destroyed, and my higher state arise.
“In that manner please act, O warrior, if you desire my welfare. Suffering from the misery of hunger and thirst, I cannot endure this departed condition.
“In this forest there is sweet and cool water, and pleasant fruits, but I am not able to grasp them at all, although afflicted with hunger and thirst.
46-48. “If the great Narayana rite is performed for me, O King, along with all the ceremonies for the higher body, with Vaidic mantras,
“Then surely my condition as departed will unfailingly pass away. Vaidic mantras, austerities, gifts, and compassion to all beings,
“Listening to holy scriptures, worship of Visnu, association with the good,–these, I have heard, are the destroyers of the departed condition.
49-50. “So I will tell you about the worship of Visnu, the destroyer of the departed condition. Bring two pieces of gold, honestly gained, and make one image of Narayana from them, O King.
“Dress it with a pair of yellow cloths, put on it various ornaments, bathe it in many waters,–and placing it, you should worship thus.
51-56. “Place S’ridhara [*1] to the east of it, Madhusudana [*2] to the south, to the west Vamanadeva [*3], to the north Gadadhara, [*4]
“In the middle Pitamaha [*5] and also Mahes’wara. [*5] Worship these in turn with sandal-paste and flowers, according to the rite.
“Then, having gone round them, make offerings in the fire to these deities. Make offerings to the universal deities with clarified butter, curds and milk.
“Next, having bathed, calm and controlled in mind, the sacrificer should perform, according to the rite, in front of Narayana, the ceremony for the upper body.
“He must commence, as prescribed in the scriptures, by giving up anger and greed, and perform all the ceremonies and the release of a bull.
“Then he must give thirteen sets of pots to Brahmins, and having made the gift of a bed, consecrate a pot of water for the sake of the departed.”
57. The king said, “How is the pot for the departed to be prepared, and in accordance with what: rites must it be given? Tell me, on account of my sympathy for all, about the pot which gives release to the departed.”
58-63. The departed said: “Oh Great King, you have done well in asking this. Please take notice and l will describe that good gift by which the departed condition cannot exist.
“The gift which is named ‘the pot for the departed,’ is a destroyer of all evil. In all the worlds it is difficult to obtain this dissipator of evil conditions.
“Having prepared a pot of refined gold, consecrated it to Brahma, Is’a [*1] and Kes’ava [*2], and all the guardians of the quarters, filled it with clarified butter and worshipped before it with devotion, give it to a twice-born. What good are a hundred other gifts from you?
“Brahma in the middle, likewise Visnu, and S’ankara, eternal giver of happiness; in the east and other directions, in the neck of it, the guardians of the universe, in order–
“These having duly worshipped, O King, with incenses, flowers and sandal-paste, one should give away the golden pot, full of milk and clarified butter.
“This gift, O King, which is superior to all other gifts in removing great sins, should be made with faith, for the release of the departed.”
64-65. The Blessed Lord spoke on: His army, while he was thus conversing with the departed, followed him up, with elephants, horses and chariots, O Kas’yapa.
On the arrival of the army the departed one, having given the great jewel to the king, bowed to him, again implored him, and became invisible.
66-68. Having come out of the forest, the king returned to his city, and arrived there remembering all that was said by the departed one.
He duly performed; O Bird, the rites and ceremonies for the dweller in the upper body, and the departed, released by these sacred gifts, attained heaven.
By the S’raddha, performed even by a stranger, the departed attain a happy state,–what wonder then that when the son performs it the father should reach it!
60. He who hears, and he who causes others to hear this holy history, never go to the departed condition, though they may. have acted sinfully.
^58:1 Visnu, a form of.
^58:2 Another form of Visnu, slayer of the demon Madhu.
^58:3 The divine dwarf Visnu.
^58:4 The club-bearing Visnu.
^58:5 A name for S’iva.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Gifts for the Dying.
1. Garuda said: Tell me, O Lord, all the rites for those in the other worlds who have done good, and also how these rites should be performed by the sons.
2. The Blessed Lord said: O Tarksya, you have done well in questioning me for the benefit of mankind. I will tell you all about the rites proper for the righteous.
3-4. The good person, finding his body, in its old age, afflicted with diseases, and the planetary conditions unfavourable, and not hearing the sounds of life,
And knowing his death to be near, should he fearless and alert, and should make reparation for any sins committed knowingly or in ignorance.
5-8. When it is near the time to die he must perform his ablutions, and worship Visnu in the form of S’alagrama.
He must worship with fragrant substances, with flowers, with red saffron, with leaves of the holy basil, with incense, with lamps, with offerings of food and many sweetmeats, and other things.
He should give presents to Brahmins, should feed them with the offerings, and should recite the eight and the twelve syllabled mantras.
He should call to mind, and listen to, the names of Visnu and S’iva. The name of Hari, coming with the range of hearing, takes away the sins of men.
9. Relatives, coming near the diseased, should not mourn. My holy name should be remembered and meditated upon repeatedly.
10-11. The Fish, the Tortoise, the Boar, the Man-lion, the Dwarf, Paras’urama, Rama, Krisna, Buddha, and also Kalki [*1]:
These ten names should always be meditated upon by the wise. Those who recite them near the diseased are called relatives.
12-16. Of him who gives voice to the auspicious name “Krisna” tens of millions of great sins are quickly reduced to ashes.
Even the dying Ajamila reached heaven by pronouncing the name Hari, which had been given to his son. [*2] How much more then is its effect when it is pronounced with faith!
Hari, meditated upon even by one who has evil thoughts, takes away sins: fire burns, even though accidentally touched.
The sinful man is not able to sin while the power of the name Hari is uprooting the sins, O Twice-born.
Yama said to his servants: “Bring the man who denies, but O messengers, do not bring the man who meditates on the name Hari.”
17-20. One should worship the Achyuta, Kes’ava, Narayana, Krisna, Damodara, Vasudeva, Hari, S’ridhara, Madhavam, Gopikavallabham, Ramachandra, the Lord of Janaki. [*1]
“O servants, do not go near those sinless people who take refuge in the lotus-eyed Vasudeva and Visnu, who is the supporter of the earth, and carries in his hand the conch and discus.
“Bring those sinners who always turn away from time nectar of the lotus-feet of Visnu,–which are served by the race of Paramahansas, who know the true essence of things, and are without possessions,–and those whose desires are bound up in the household, which is the path to hell.”
“Bring them whose tongues do not pronounce the qualities and name of the Lord, whose minds do not meditate upon His lotus feet, whose heads never bow to Krisna, who do not offer worship to Visnu.”
21-23. Know, then, O Lord of Birds, the hymning of Visnu, which bestows welfare on the universe, to be the best expiation for even great sins.
The performance of penances does not purify the wicked man, who has turned his face away from Narayana; just as even rivers cannot purify a liquor-pot.
By the name of Krisna one is riddened of sins, and never sees, even in dream, Yama nor his servants.
24-25. The man, having a body of flesh, bones and blood,–who, towards the end gives cows to the twice-born, uttering “Nandanandanam,” never falls into the Vaitarani.
Hence one should remember the name of Maha Visnu, which effaces multitudes of sins, and should read or listen to the Gita and the Hymn of the Thousand Names.
26-27. The fast of the eleventh day, the Gita, the water of the Ganges, the leaves of the holy basil, the foot-water and names of Visnu–all these are givers of freedom at the time of death.
Then he must dedicate food, with clarified butter and gold, to a learned twice-born and. also give cows with calves.
28-31. Whatever a man gives in his last days, little or much, if it is approved by his Son, is exempt from decay, O Tarksya.
In these last days a good son should make all the gifts. It is for the sake of this that the wise pray for a righteous son in this world,
The sons, seeing their father lying upon the ground with eyes half-closed, should not covet his earned wealth. [*1]
A good son will make such gifts as will prolong his father’s life, and free him from misery when he goes into the next world.
32-34. In disease and calamity two gifts rank above all others. They are indispensable–the eight-fold gift of sesamum and other things.
Sesamum, iron, gold, cotton stuff, salt, the seven grains, a plot of ground, a cow,–every one of these is said to purify.
The eight great gifts are the effacers of great sins, and should be given in the last days. Hear now their good effects:
35-36. There are three kinds of holy sesamums generated from my sweat. Asuras, Danavas and Daityas [*2] are gratified by the gift of these sesamums.
White, black and brown are the three kinds of sesamums. The gift of these removes the sins gathered in speech, thought and action.
37-40. A gift of iron-ore should be made with the hands touching the ground,–then he does not go within the domain of Yama, nor tread his path.
Yama holds in his hands, for the punishing of the sinful, an axe, a threshing-pestle, a rod, a sword and a dagger.
This gift is considered propitiatory to these weapons of Yama. Therefore should be made the gift of iron, which is the bringer of happiness in the world of Yama.
Because of this gift of iron, happiness is bestowed by these great messengers of Yama:–Urana, S’yamasutra, S’undamarka, Udumbara, S’esa and Bala.
41-44. Hear this great secret, O Tarkshya, about this most supreme gift, by which are pleased the dwellers in Bhu, Bhuvar and Swar worlds. [*1]
Brahma and others, sages, shining ones, and those who are in the assembly of the King of Justice are gratified by the gift of gold, and become granters of boons.
Therefore a gift of gold should be made for the uplifting of the departed. He does not go to the world of Yama, O child, but reaches heaven.
He dwells for a long time in the world of truth and is then reborn here as a king, handsome, righteous, eloquent, prosperous, and of unexcelled strength.
45. By the gift of cotton-stuff one is freed from fear of the messengers. By the gift of salt one is freed from the fear of Yama.
46-48. By gifts of inn, salt, cotton-stuff, sesamum and gold, Chitragupta and the others who dwell in the city of Yama are propitiated.
And by gifts of the seven grains the standard-bearer of the King of Justice and others who stand at the gates are propitiated.
Rices, barley, wheat, kidney beans, masa, [*1] panic seeds; dwarf-peas: these are called the seven grains.
49-52. It has been observed by the sages that the gift of a plot of land of the size of a cow’s hide, in accordance with the rites, to a proper person, absolves one from Brahmicide.
Not by vows, not by holy pilgrimages, not by any gifts but by the gift of land is a great sin committed in kingship expiated.
He who gives to the twice-born land filled with grains goes to the abode of Indra and is worshipped by divinities and demons.
All other gifts, O Kas’yapa, are producers of little fruit. The fruit produced by the gift of land increases daily.
53-55. He who, having become a king, does not give land to the twice-born, is reborn for many times as a beggar, without even a village hut.
The king who, through pride, does not make gifts of land, shall dwell in hell as long as S’esa [*2] supports the earth.
Therefore shall a king especially make gifts of land; though for others, I say, the gift, of a cow is equal to a gift of land.
56-57. Towards the end, a cow should be given. He should give a cow to overcome death, another to absolve himself of debts, another for the gaining of liberation.
With special rites, O Bird, should the gift of a cow for Vaitarani be made. The cows verily carry the man beyond three kinds of hells.
58-61. The sins committed in boyhood, in youth, in manhood, in old age and in previous births;
The sins committed in the night, in the morning, in the forenoon and the afternoon, in the twilight;–of action, speech and thought,
Having given even once a tawny cow, milkgiving, with the calf and other necessary things, to a well-conducted and austere Brahmin, learned in the Vedas,–one is absolved of all these sins. The giver is released by her at the end from the accumulated sins.
62-63. The gift of one cow while one is in full vigour of mind, the gift of a hundred cows while suffering from diseases, the gift of a thousand when dying and bereft of mental faculties,
And the gift of one hundred thousand cows after death [*1], are equal. A gift made to a deserving person, who has bathed at the sacred waters, increases a hundred thousand fold.
64. A gift made to a deserving person multiplies a hundred-thousand-fold. It brings unending fruit to the giver and does not harm the recipient.
65-68. One who has studied the scriptures and made fire-offerings to the shining ones and who does not eat food cooked by others is not polluted by receiving even the earth filled with precious stones.
Mantras and fire, the removers of cold and poison, do not themselves partake of these evil qualities. The cow given to an undeserving person leads the giver to hell,
And it troubles the recipient’s people for a hundred generations. A gift should not be made to an undeserving person by the wise who desire their own welfare.
One cow should be given to one only, and never to many. If he either sells it or shares it his family will he troubled to the seventh generation.
69. I will tell you about the gilt of a cow, which is a means for crossing the Vaitarani River, of which I have spoken to you already.
70-76. One should decorate a black or reddish cow, tip its horns with gold, silver its feet, and milk it into a bronze vessel;
Cover it with a pair of black cloths, hang a bell round its neck, and place the covered bronze vessel upon some cotton-stuff,
Put there a golden image of Yama, and an iron rod; place clarified butter in the bronze vessel and put all upon the cow;
Make a raft of sugarcanes, fastening it with silk threads; make a hole, fill it with water, and in it place the raft:
Having placed the things which are born from the body of the sun in it, dedicate the cow there in accordance with the scriptures. [*1]
Present the cloths, with ornaments to a Brahmin; properly worship with fragrances, flowers, and coloured rice [*2],
Take hold of the tail of the cow, place a foot in the boat, and, having honoured a Brahmin, recite this mantra:–
77-82. “O Lord of the Universe, compassionate to those who seek refuge in Thee, Thou art verily the saviour of those who are immersed in the ocean of existence, made miserable by the waves of sorrow and remorse.
“O Best of the Twice-born, the very form of Visnu, God upon earth, uplift me. I have presented this gift to you. Salutations to Vaitarani!
“I have presented this to you, being desirous of crossing that river, which is a hundred yojanas in extent, and lies on the very dreadful way of Yama. Salutations to Vaitarani.
“O Cow, look upon me, for the sake of my passing through the gateway of Yama on the great path. Salutations to thee, Vaitarani, Queen of the shining ones!
“May cows be in front of me; may cows be behind me; may cows be in my heart [*1]; and may I dwell in the midst of cows.
“May she who is the Goddess of Prosperity for all creatures, who is the mainstay of the shining ones, its the form of a cow remove my sins.”
83-84. With hands together having invoiced, with these mantras, Yama in the form of a cow, and having walked round all these things, he should give them to the Brahmin.
He who, with these rites, gives the Vaitarani cow, goes by a righteous path into the assembly of the King of Justice.
85-86. Whether the body is well or ill one should carry out the Vaitarani observance. The wise man, desiring to cross that river, should make a gift of a cow.
That river, O Bird, does not appear in the Great Way after the gift of a cow. [*2] Therefore it is necessary to give a cow at all sacred times.
87-88. At all the sacred bathing-places, like the Ganges, and in the dwelling-places of Brahmins; at the eclipses of the sun and moon, at the crossing over [*1], on the day of the new moon.
At the equinoctial and solstitial points, at Vyatipata, [*2] on Yuga days [*3] and at other sacred times,–the supreme gift of a cow should be made.
89. That verily is called the sacred time, in which faith is produced, and when a proper person is present,–thence flows unending benefit.
90. Bodies are transitory; possessions are not eternal; death is always near;–one should accumulate righteousness.
91-92. So one who desires his own welfare should make unending gifts, according to his wealth, to a learned Brahmin.
The gift of even a little wealth, presented with one’s own hand:–this is unending, and the time is effectual.
93-94. He who has gifts as provision, goes happily on the Great Way. Otherwise–without provision–the man suffers pain on the path.
All the gifts made by human beings in this world clear the way for them on the path of the world of Yama.
95-96. By the power of great merit, birth as a human being is obtained. He who, having gained it, follows righteousness, reaches the supreme goal.
The man who neglects righteousness, goes and comes in misery. The fruitfulness of birth as a human being depends upon the pursuit of righteousness alone.
97-99. Wealth, sons, wife and fancily, body, kinsmen,–all these are transitory. Therefore righteousness should be sought.
So long as a man is alive he has a father and other relatives; but when they have known him to be dead, their affection soon fades away.
He should constantly remember that the true kinsman of the self is the Self. If not to the living, much less will anyone give to the dead.
100. Knowing all this, one should give with one’s own hand, while still alive. Life is transient; and who can give afterwards?
101-102. The relatives turn away with averted faces leaving the dead body on the ground, like a lump of wood or earth, but righteousness goes with him.
The wealth disappears from the house, and the relatives from the cremation-ground. The good and evil karma he has made goes with him.
103-104. When his body has been destroyed by fire his karma remains and wherever he is the man experiences it, be it good or bad.
Nobody has a relation in this changing ocean of sorrow. He is born by the attraction of karma, and goes again upon its exhaustion.
105-106. Like creatures in a water-tank, and like the motion or sticks in a river is one’s contact with mother, father, son, brother, kinsman, wife and the others.
Whose are the sons, and the grandsons? Whose is the wife, or the wealth? In the world of change nobody belongs to anybody. Therefore one should make gifts himself.
107-100. As long as one is in possession of wealth, so long should one make gifts to a Brahmin; but when the wealth becomes another’s one can have nothing to say.
On account of gifts made in a former birth much wealth is obtained in this. Hence should wealth be given, by one knowing this, for the sake of righteousness.
Wealth is born of righteousness; by righteousness desire is conquered. Righteousness verily is the cause of freedom. Therefore should righteousness be pursued.
110-111. Righteousness is supported by faith, not by large piles of wealth. The wise, though in poverty, leave faith, and go to heaven. From him who offers to Me, with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water–from him, the self-subdued, I accept that, presented with devotion.
112. Therefore, by all means, a gift should be made, and as prescribed. Whether it be small or great does not count with me.
113-114. A righteous son is honoured even by the shining ones. He should cause his ailing father to make gifts on earth.
If the wealth made by the father is given to the deserving by the sons–then, by that, himself, his sets, grandsons and great-grandsons are ennobled.
115. What is given through the father has a hundred-fold merit; through the mother, a thousand-fold; through the sister, ten-thousand fold; through the brother, incalculable.
116-118. For him who makes gifts there are no troubles and no torments of hell, and no fear caused by the messengers of Yama at the time of death.
All those sinful-misers, O Bird, who, because of greed, do not make gifts at the time of illness come to grief when dead.
Sons, grandsons, brothers, kinsmen and friends who do not make gifts on behalf of a dying man are without doubt slayers of Brahman.
^62:1 The ten avataras, descents or incarnations of Visnu, which appeared in archaic and ancient times, except Kalki, who is still to come.
^62:2 Ajamila was a man of very evil life, who named his son Narayana, and happened to call him as he was dying.
^63:1 Names of Vishnu.
^65:1 They may expect ancestral property, but not that earned by the father.
^65:2 Classes of non-human beings.
^66:1 Physical, astral and lower mental worlds.
^67:1 A kind of spotted grain.
^67:2 The eternal serpent.
^68:1 That is, given by another for one.
^70:1 Probably the afore-mentioned cow, ghee, gold, silk, etc. are closely connected with sacrifice and therefore with the sun.
^70:2 Aksata, whole rice coloured with turmeric and saffron, and used to honour persons by sprinkling over them.
^71:1 Note here, that the cow is merely a symbol.
^71:2 Note the subjective character of the “river.”
^72:1 The passing of the sun from one constellation to another.
^72:2 When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of either solstice, and the minutes declination are the same.
^72:3 Every month there is a day called Yuga–the last or last but one.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Rites for the Dying.
1. Garuda said: You have spoken fully about the gifts for the diseased. Tell now, O Lord, of the rites for the dying.
2. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya, and I will explain the rites for one leaving the body, and by what rites men after death reach a good condition.
3-5. When, by the effects of karma, the embodied leaves his ordinary body, then, near to a holy basil tree one should make a ring with cowdung. [*1]
Next, having scattered sesamum seeds, he should strew darbha-grass, and then have the S’alagrama stone placed on the cleaned platform.
Liberation is certain for the being who dies near the S’alagrama stone, which removes all ills and sins,
6-9 Where is the shade of the holy basil tree, which removes the pain of being, there is always liberation for the dying, difficult to obtain by gifts.
The house in which the holy basil tree is enshrined is like a holy bathing place,–the servants of Yama do not come to it.
Yama is not able to see him who gives up his life while having a holy basil shoot, though he have hundreds of sins.
The man who dies with a leaf of it in his mouth, upon a seat of sesamum and darbha-grass, goes to the city of Visnu, unfailingly, though he have no son.
10-13. Sesamums, darbha-grasses and holy basil are three holy things, and they prevent an ailing man from going to a miserable condition.
Because the sesamum is produced from My sweat it is holy; hence Asuras, Danavas and Daityas run away from sesamum.
The darbha grasses, my riches, O Tarkshya, are produced from my hairs; hence by the mere touch of them men attain heaven.
Brahma is seated at the root of the kus’a-grass; in the middle of the kus’a is Janardana; [*1] at the tip of the kus’a is S’ankaradeva [*2]–three shining ones are seated in the kus’a grass.
14-15. Hence kus’a, fire, mantras, holy basil; Brahmins and cows do not lose their purity by being used again and again.
Darbha-grass becomes unclean with rice-balls; Brahmins, by eating the offerings for the departed; mantras, cows and holy basil, when basely used; and fire, on a cremation-ground.
16-20. One should lay the dying man on the ground cleaned with cow-dung and spread over with darbha-grasses; not support him in the air. [*1]
Brahma, Visnu, Rudra [*2] all the shining ones, and Sacrificial Fire stand upon the ring,—therefore should one make a ring.
The ground must he pure everywhere, with no stain to be seen. If there is a stain it should be cleaned away by further plastering.
Demons, goblins, elementals, spooks, and the followers of Yama enter an impure place, and a cot above the ground.
Hence without this ring one should not perform oblations to the fire, S’raddha, the feeding of Brahmins, the worship of the Holy Ones; nor place the dying man upon the ground.
21-22. Next, placing him on the cleaned ground, one should put gold and jewels upon his lips, and give him the Water of the Feet of Vishnu in the form of the S’alagrama.
He who drinks even a drop of the water of the water of the S’alagrama stone [*3] is absolved from all sins, and goes to the residence Vaikuntha. [*4]
23-30. Then one should give him the water of the Ganges, which is the effacer of great sins, and gives fruit of merit equal to bathings and gifts at all the sacred waters.
He who performs a thousand times the Chandrayana fast which purifies his body, and he who drinks the water of the Ganges, are both equal.
Just as, O Tarksya, a bundle of cotton is destroyed by falling into the fire, so, by his drinking the water of the Ganges, is his sin reduced to ashes.
He who drinks the water of the Ganges, heated by the rays of the sun [*1] is freed from all births and goes to the abode of Hari.
By bathing in other rivers men are purified,–so also by merely touching, drinking or calling upon the Ganges.
It sanctifies meritless men by hundreds and thousands. Therefore should one drink of the Ganges, whose water helps one over the ocean of transmigration.
He who calls, “O Ganges, Ganges” while life is flickering in the throat, goes when dead to the city of Visnu, and is not born again on earth.
And the man who, when his life is leaving, contemplates with faith the Ganges, goes to the highest goal.
31-33. Therefore he should contemplate, salute, keep in mind the Ganges, and drink its water. Then he should listen, however little, to the Bhagavata, [*1] which is a giver of liberation.
He who in his last moments repeats a verse, or half or quarter of a verse of the Bhagavata never returns hither from the world of Brahma.
The repeating of the Vedas and the Upanisads; the hymning of Visnu and S’iva–these bring liberation at death to Brahmins, Ksattriyas and Vaisyas.
34-35. At the time when the breath is leaving the body, he should make a fast, O Bird. Dissatisfied with worldly things the twice-born should take up relinquishment. [*2]
He who says, [*3] while life is still flickering in his throat, “I have relinquished,” goes at death to the city of Visnu, and is not born again on earth.
36-39. Then, of him who is righteous and has thus performed the rites, O Bird, the life breaths easily pass out through the higher opening. The mouth, eyes, nostrils and ears are the seven gateways through which go those of good deeds. Yogins go through an opening in the head.
When the rising and descending life-breaths, which are joined, become separate, then, becoming subtle, the life-breath departs from the inert body.
When the Lord of Breath departs, the body falls like a tree unsupported and stricken by time.
40-41. The motionless body, left by the vital breath, becomes detestable and unfit to touch; foul smells soon arise in it, and it is disliked by everybody.
How can men, who perish in a moment, be proud of the body, with its three conditions,–worm, dung and ashes?
42-43. Earth is dissipated to earth; likewise water to water; fire is dissipated in fire; also air in air.
And, similarly, ether to ether: and the Self that is in the bodies is happy, all-pervading, eternally free, witness of the world, birthless and deathless.
44-45. The individual, possessing all the senses, surrounded with sense-objects of sound and the rest, clinging to desire and love, environed by the sheath of karma,
Endowed with good tendencies, enters a new body created by his own karma, as does a householder whose house has been burnt.
46-47: Then the messengers of the Shining Ones, resplendent with flashing plumes, arrive, bringing a chariot wreathed with countless bells,
And they, knowing the true righteousness, wise, always beloved by the righteous, carry him, who has performed the rites, away in their own chariot.
48. That great man, in a resplendent body, with shining garments and garlands, possessed of gold and diamond ornaments, by virtue of gifts attains heaven, and is honoured by the Holy Ones.
^76:1 Cowdung is extensively used in India as a purifier and antiseptic.
^78:1 When the people of the house are aware that one is about, to die they remove him from the couch to the ground.
^78:3 Water is the stone, and thus consecrated to Visnu.
^78:4 The heaven of Visnu.
^79:1 Here is a mystical suggestion.
^80:1 The Bhagvata Purana.
^80:2 Sannyasa, giving up attachment to worldly life and its objects.
^80:3 That is, truly says.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
The Collecting of the Bones from the Fire.
1. Garuda said: Tell me, O Lord, the rites for burning the bodies of the good, and describe also the greatness of the wife who is faithful.
2. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya. I will tell you all about the ceremonies for the upper body, by doing which sons and grandsons are released from the hereditary debt.
3. There is no need for numerous gifts, but one should perform the funeral ceremonies for his parents; the son who does so obtains fruit like that of the Agnistoma. [*1]
4-6. Then the son, abandoning sorrow, should have the shave, along with all his relatives, in order to remove all sins.
The son who does not have the shave when the mother or father has died,–how can he be called a son, the helper through the ocean of changefulness.
Therefore he must have the shave by all means, except the nails and the hair of the armpits. Then, having bathed with his relatives he must put on clean cloths.
7-9. Then, bringing river water, he should bathe the corpse and next adorn it with sandal-paste, garlands, or the clay of the Ganges;
Having covered it with new cloths he, with his sacred thread on the right shoulder, should pronounce the family name, and dedicate rice-balls and presents,
At the place of death, in the name of the so-called dead, he should offer them. By this the earth and its presiding deity become pleased.
10. He should wake offering at the threshold in the name of him who is become a traveller; by this the evil ones amongst the tens of millions of elementals can do no harm.
11-13. Then the daughter-in-law [*1] and others should go round it and worship it; then along with the other relatives the son should bear it on his shoulder.
The son who bears his father on his shoulder to the burning-ground obtains the fruit of the horse-sacrifice at every step.
He who carries his dead father on shoulder or back or hip pays off the debt of constant parental kindnesses.
14. Then, half-way, after cleaning and sprinkling, he should make a halt. Having bathed the corpse, he should make an offering for him.
15. Oblations should be made in order that goblins, demons and fiends, and others in the various directions, shall not cause disturbance of that body which is to be sacrificed.
16-19. Then it should be taken to the burning-ground, and laid down with its head to the north. Some place should be cleaned there, for the burning of the body, as follows:
Having swept the ground and washed it with cow-dung, having taken out some earth and erected an altar and sprinkled it with water, and having placed the fire as prescribed,
And having worshipped with flowers and coloured rice the Shining One known as the eater of flesh, [*1] he should make an oblation as prescribed, beginning with ‘loman,’–
“Oh, Thou, Supporter of Beings, Womb of the World, Nourisher of Creatures. This one belonging to the changing world is dead; lead Thou him to heaven!”
20-22. Having thus prayed to the fire, he should make there a funeral pyre with sandal wood, the holy bath wood, and with the wood of palasha and as’wattha.
Having placed the departed on the funeral pyre, he should offer in the name of the departed two rice ball; in the hand of the dead,
on the funeral pyre. From the time he is released on the funeral pyre the condition as departed begins.
Those who know the ways of the departed call him a seeker. An offering should be made on the funeral pyre, either in this name, or in that of Departed.
23. Thus the dead gets the benefit of the offering of five rice-balls; otherwise the above-mentioned come to disturb.
24. The son, having dedicated five rice-balls to the departed, and having brought the oblation with the grasses, should give them to the fire, if there is not Panchaka. [*1]
25-27. Who dies in the Panchaka does not attain a good condition. Burning should not be done then; if it is done, another death occurs.
Beginning from the middle of Dhanistha, in the five Panchaka mansions ending with Revati [*2] is not a suitable time for burning. If burning takes place, evil occurs.
Harm befalls the house in which death takes place in the Riksa mansion, and some trouble arises for the sons and family.
28. I will explain to you the rites for the warding off of all ills, in case burning takes place in the middle of Riksa.
20-33. Then one should place near the corpse images, O Tarksya, make of darbha grass, and consecrated with the four Riksa mantras.
Purified gold should be used, and sacrifice performed with Riksa mantras, with the mantra “Pretajayata,” and with leaf-vessels.
Then the burning along with the images should be done, and the son, on the day of the offering of the rice-balls, should perform the pacificatory rites for him.
For warding off ills he should give a vessel full of sesamum, gold, silver, diamonds, and a bronze vessel filled with clarified butter, in order.
Who, after having thus performed the pacificatory ceremonies, does the burning,–no harm befalls him; and the departed goes to the supreme condition.
56-50. Whether half or wholly burnt, his skull should be split open, in the case of householders with a piece of wood, in that of ascetics with a cocoanut.
His son, so that he may attain the world of the forefathers, having split open the brahmarandra [*1] should make an oblation of clarified butter with this mantra:
“Thou art born from him; [*2] may he be born again from you. He is an offering to the heaven-world. O Fire, blaze forth!”
Thus having made an oblation of clarified butter, with mantras and sesamum offerings, he should weep loudly, that he may become happy
60-61. When the burning is finished the women should bathe, then the sons, and offer water mixed with sesamum, in the name of the family.
He should eat the leaves of the nimba-tree and recount the virtues of the dead. They should walk home, the women in front and the men behind.
62. Having bathed again at home, he should give food to a cow and eat-from a leaf-plate–but not any food already in the house.
63. Having cleaned the place of death with cow-dung, he should keep a lamp burning there, turned to the south, up to the twelfth day.
34-66. For three days, at sunset, O Tarksya, he should offer, at the cross-roads or on the burning-ground, milk and water in an earthen pot.
Holding the unbaked earthen pot, filled with milk and water, bound with-three sticks, he should repeat this mantra:
“Thou hast been burned with the fires of the burning-ground. Thou hast been forsaken by relatives. Here is milk and here water; bathe and drink!”
67. On the fourth day the collection [*1] should be made, by those who maintain household fires, and by those who do not. If there is nothing to prevent, on the second or the third day he should do as follows:
68-78. Having gone to the burning-ground, having bathed and become pure, having put on a woollen garment, and wearing the sacred ring, [*1]
The son should make the grain oblation to the denizens of the burning-ground, and walk round three times, repeating the mantra beginning with “Yamayatva.”
Then having sprinkled milk over the place of the funeral pyre, O Lord of Birds, he should sprinkle water, and begin to pick up the heap of bones.
Having placed them on palasha leaves, he should sprinkle them with milk and water, and, having put them into an earthen pot, perform S’raddha as prescribed.
Having prepared a triangular plot of ground, and cleansed it with cow-dung, he, facing south, should offer three rice-balls, in the three directions.
Having collected the ashes from the pyre, taking a three-legged stool he should place on it a jar with mouth uncovered, containing water.
Then he should make, for the departed, an oblation of cooked rice with curds and clarified butter, water and sweetmeats, as prescribed.
He should take fifteen steps in the northerly direction and, digging a hole there, place in it, O Bird, the jar of bones.
Then he should offer over it a rice-ball, which destroys the pain of burning, and, taking the vessel from the hole, carry it to a tank of water.
Then he should several times sprinkle the bones with water and milk, and worship them well, with sandal-paste and saffron.
Having put them into a leaf-box, touched with it his heart and head and walked round it saluting it; he should drop it into the middle of the Ganges.
79-84. He whose bones sink in the water of the Ganges within ten days, never returns from the world of Brahma.
As long as a man’s bones float on the water of the Ganges,–for so many thousands of years he remains in the heaven-world.
When the wind which has touched the waves of the Ganges touches the dead, his sin is at once destroyed.
Having worshipped, with great austerities, the divine Ganges, for the uplifting of his forefathers, Bhagiratha [*1] brought her down from the world of Brahma.
In the three worlds is celebrated the purifying fame of the Ganges, who led to heaven the sons of Sagara [*2] who had been reduced to ashes.
Those men who die after committing sins attain the heaven-world by their bones falling into the Ganges.
85-86. There was a certain hunter, a destroyer of all sorts of creatures who, killed by a lion in a great forest, went to the place called hell.
When his bones were dropped into the Ganges by a crow he ascended the divine chariot and went to the abode of the Shining Ones.
87. Hence the good son should himself drop the bones in the Ganges. After the bones are collected he should perform the ten-days’ ceremonies.
88-90. Now, if anybody meets his death in an uninhabited place, or in a wood, or from dangerous thieves, and if his body is not found, then, on the day this is heard of–
Having made an effigy of darbha grass, one should burn it alone, as explained above, and then collect its ashes and drop them into the water of the Ganges,
And from the same day the ten-days’ should be performed and that date should be noted, for the performance of the annual S’raddha.
91. If a woman dies in the fulness of pregnancy, her womb should be cut open, and the child drawn out and placed on the ground, and she alone be burned.
92-93. If a child dies on the bank of the Ganges, it should simply be thrown into the Ganges; if in another place, it should be buried in the ground, up to twenty-seven months old.
Older than that it should be burned and its bones strewn on the Ganges. A gift of a water-pot should be made, and food should be given to children.
94-98. If the embryo perishes, there are no rites. If an infant dies, one should give milk. if a child dies, then one should offer a jar, milk-porridge and eatables.
If a youth dies, one should have young children fed. If a youth who has taken the vow dies, one should have Brahmins, along with children, fed.
When one who has passed five years dies, whether vowed or not, one should offer ten rice-balls, along with milk-food and lumps of sugar.
On the eleventh and twelfth days one should perform the ceremonies for a youth, but without the rites of releasing a bull and of the great gift.
If the father is living, there is not joint rite for the youth, but on the twelfth day one should perform the ceremony for him alone.
99. Marriage, with women and S’udras, is declared to take the place of vows. Previous to the taking of vows, with all the castes, rites are done according to age.
100. He who is little attached to action, who is little bound by sense-objects, and he who is young in age of body, requires but scanty rites.
101. In boyhood and in youth the cot, the bull and other sacrifices should be performed; and the gifts of land, the great gift and the gift of a cow should be made.
102-107. With all ascetics there is no burning, no water rites; and the ten-days’ ceremonies should not be performed for them by their sons.
A man, by the mere holding of the staff, becomes Narayana [*1]; because of carrying the three-fold staff they never go into the condition of the departed.
Those who know are always free, by realisation of their own true nature, hence they do not expect rice-balls to be given.
Therefore rice-balls and water should not be offered to them, but one should perform the annual S’raddha at the sacred waters, and S’raddha at Gaya, with devotion to the forefathers.
The Hansa, Paramahansa, Kutichaka, Bahudaka; these are Sannyasins, [*2] O Tarksya, and when dead, they must be buried in the ground.
If the Ganges, or other, is not available, it is declared that they should be buried in the ground. Where great rivers exist, they should be thrown into them.
^83:1 A certain sacrifice.
^84:1 His son’s wife–the wife of the son performing the rite.
^85:1 The fire-deva.
^86:1 A certain astrological position; 5 days in each month.
^86:2 The fifth Naksatra.
^90:1 An opening at the top of the head.
^90:2 The funeral pyre is lighted from the sacred household fire.
^91:1 Of the bones.
^92:1 A finger-ring of kusha grass, put on the third finger of right hand.
^93:1 A great king who is said to have brought down the Ganges from heaven to earth.
^93:2 There is a legend to the effect that the 80,000 sons of Sagara were reduced to ashes by Visnu, and that they, the ancestors of Bhrigu, were released and purified by him in the Ganges.
^96:2 These names are given to advanced stages of human development.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Ten-Days’ Ceremonies.
1. Garuda said: Tell me, O Kes’ava, what good results follow from the performance of the ten-days’ rite, and who should perform it if there is no son.
2 The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya, and I will tell you about the ten-days’ ceremony; having done which, a good son is released from the hereditary debt.
3-8. The son, taking calm courage, should offer rice-balls to the father, refraining from tears,
Because the departed has inevitably to drink the bitter tears let fall by his relatives, and they should not weep when sorrow is useless.
Although there be sorrowing day and night for thousands of years, the man who is dead may never be seen.
Death is certain for those who are born, and birth is certain for the dead. This is inevitable and therefore a wise man should not grieve over it.
There is no way out, either human or divine; the being who has come under the sway of death must be born again here.
If there were a way of averting the inevitable, then Nala, Rama and Yudishthira would not have experienced miseries.
9-11. Nobody should form an excessive attachment to anybody; the body is only a dream, what then of other persons’?
As a traveller, resorting to some shady place, rests awhile and then departs again; so is the coming together of beings.
The good things eaten in the morning are destroyed by evening; how can there be permanence in a body which is sustained by these foods?
12-17. Having considered this, which removes misery, and given up sorrow arising from ignorance, the son should perform the rites.
If there is no son the wife, should perform them, and if no wife the brother; or a Brahmin’s pupil or a proper kinsman should perform them.
The ten-days’ ceremonies, for the man who has no son, should be performed by the sons or grandsons of his younger or his elder brother, O Bird;
Manu declared that if, of brothers of the same father, only one has a son, they are all considered, on account of that son, to have a son.
If a man has several wives, but only one of them has a son, all of them have a son, on account of that son.
For all who have no sons a friend may offer the rice-balls. The rites not be neglected. If there is nobody else, the family priest may do them.
18. A man or a woman who performs the rites for a friend, by this sacrament for the helpless departed, obtains the fruit of tens of millions of sacrifices.
19-21. The ten-days’ ceremony for the father should be performed by the son, O Bird. Even if the eldest son dies, the father should not, through excessive affection, perform it.
Although there be many sons, only one shall perform the ten-days’ ceremony, the rice-ball offerings, and the other sixteen S’raddhas,–
Only by one these ceremonies, even if the wealth has been divided. But the annual S’raddha should be performed severally if the wealth has been divided.
22-24. Therefore should the eldest son perform with devotion the ten-days’ ceremony, [*1] eating one meal, sleeping on the ground, devoted to Brahman, [*2] and pure.
The son obtains such fruit from the performance of the rite for the father and mother, as is obtained by going round the shrines seven times.
The son who performs the rites for one year, beginning with the ten-days’ ceremony, obtains such fruit as is acquired by performing the S’raddha at Gaya.
25-30. Having gone to a well or a tank, in a garden, at a sacred bathing-place, or in a temple, between nine and twelve noon, he should bathe without reciting mantras.
Being purified, seated facing southward at the root of a tree, he should make an altar [*1] there, cleansed with cow-dung.
He should place on it, over leaves, a twice-born [*2] made of darbha and kus’a grasses, and having worshipped it with water for the feet and other things, should bow to it, saying the “Atasi.”
Then having spread kus’a grass in front of it, as a seat for the rice-ball, and having placed upon it a ball prepared in the family-name of the departed,
Made of cooked rice or of barley meal,–the son should make the offering. He should dedicate Usira-root; sandal paste, the flowers of the Bhringaraja, incense, a lamp, eatables, mouth-perfumes and presents.
Crow-food, milk and water, and handfuls of castor-oil in a pot: “May all this, that has been given by me to the departed in his earthly name, persist.”
31-33. Food, cloths, water, wealth or other things, if given in the name of the departed, confer eternity upon the dead.
Therefore, from the first day onwards, one should pronounce the name of the departed woman or man, in accordance with the sapinda rite.
33. In the same way that on the first day a rice-ball is given as prescribed, so should the nine rice-balls be given.
34-36. On the ninth day all the authorised kinsmen at the proper time should besmear themselves with oil, wishing the dead to reach heaven.
Having bathed in the open, taking with them panic grass and parched grain, and having the women go in front, they should proceed to the place of the dead,
And say: “May his family increase like the panic grass, and radiate like the parched grain,” and then leave in the house the mixed-panic grass and grain.
37-38. On the tenth day a ball of flesh should be given, O Lord of Birds, or a ball of masa, since flesh is forbidden in the Kali Yuga at the ceremony for the forefathers.
On the tenth day he should shave, as also should the other relatives. The son who performs the ceremony must again have a complete shave.
39. During the ten days he should feed a twice-born with seasoned foods. Having meditated upon Hari, he should, with hands together, pray for the release of the departed.
40. There is no reason for fear for those who bow to Govinda, the Eternal, clad in yellow robes, as beautiful as the atasi flower.
41-42. “O Beginningless and Endless Deva, O Bearer of the conch, discus and mace, Indestructible, Lotus-eyed, be Thou the giver of release to the departed.”
Every day at the conclusion of the S’raddha he should prayerfully repeat this incantation. Having bathed, gone home, and given food to the cow, he may eat.
^99:1 One each day.
^100:1 A square flat mound a few inches high.
^100:2 A rough image, symbolical of the deceased twice-born person.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Eleventh-day Rite.
1. Garuda said: O Lord of the Holy Ones, tell me about the eleventh-day rite also, and, O Ruler of the universe, explain the ceremony of the dedication of the bull.
2. The Blessed Lord said: In the early morning on the eleventh day one should go to a water-reservoir, and perform diligently all the funeral ceremonies.
3. He should invite Brahmins, well-read in Vedas and S’astras, and bowing their heads, with hands folded together, pray for the release of the departed.
4. Even a preceptor should become purified by bathing, and performing the Sandhya and other ceremonies [*1]; one should do the eleventh-day ceremony, as prescribed.
5. One should perform the tenth-day S’raddha in the family name, without mantras; and on the eleventh day, offer a rice-ball to the departed, with mantras.
6-10. One should make a golden image of Visnu, a silver one of Brahma, a copper one of Rudra, and an iron one of Yama, O Bird.
To the west there should be a pot filled with Ganges water for Visnu; and upon it one should place Visnu, clad in yellow robes.
To the east there should be a pot of milk and water for Brahma; and there one should place Brahma, clad in white robes.
To the north there should be a pot of honey and clarified butter for Rudra, and there one should place Rudra, clad in red robes.
To the south there should be a pot of rain-water for Yama; and upon it one should place Yama, clad in black robes.
11-13. The son, having made a circle in the middle, and placed therein kus’a-grass, facing southward, with the sacred thread over the right shoulder [*1], should make the water-offering.
He should make water-offering, with Vaidic mantras, to Visnu, to the creator [*2], to S’iva and to Justice, [*3] perform the offering to the fire and then the eleventh-day S’raddha,
And he should next make a gift of a cow for the helping along of his forefathers: “this cow is given by me. May it please Thee, O Madhava.”
12-15. His clothes, his ornaments, his conveyances,–these, which he has used,–a brass vessel filled with clarified butter, the seven grains which he liked,
Sesamum and the rest, the eight great gifts: if one does not offer these in his last days, they should be brought to his bedside and he should have them given.
16. Having washed the feet of a Brahmin he should honour him with cloths and other things, and give him cooked food, sweetmeats, flour-cakes and milk.
17-.19. Then the son should place upon the bed a golden image, and having worshiped it, give the bed as prescribed, for the sake of the dead.
“This bed is given by me to you, O Brahmin, for the sake of the departed, with the image of the departed, and the other things.”
With these words it should be given to a Brahmin preceptor who has a family; so going round him he should salute him and present it.
20. By this gift of the bed, and S’raddhas of the ninth and other days, and by the of the dedication of a bull, the departed goes to the highest condition.
21-30. On the eleventh day the of the dedication of a bull should be performed as prescribed. He should not use a cow which is crippled, ill or too young, but one having well-marked characteristics.
That which has red eyes, a reddish colour, red horns, neck and hoofs, white belly and black back is suitable for a Brahmin;
A glossy and red complexion is suitable for a Ksattriya; yellow colour for a Vais’ya; black is suitable for a S’udra.
One with all limbs red-brown, with tail and feet white, is called a reddish bull, and increases the satisfaction of the forefathers.
The bull whose face, legs and tail are white, and which is the colour of lac dye is called dark.
That which has a red colour, with white face and tail, and brown hoofs and horns is called dark-coloured.
That which has one colour over all its limbs and tail and hoofs is called dark-brown, and is the uplifter of the ancestors.
That which is dove-coloured and has a tilaka-mark [*1] on its forehead is called deep-brown, and is entirely beautiful in all its limbs.
That which is dark over all its body, and red in its eyes, is called very dark–of which five varieties are known.
This should by all means be dedicated, and should not be used for domestic purposes. It exists in the world on this account,–so runs an ancient saying.
31-35. One should desire for many sons, of whom one perchance may go to Gaya, or marry a virgin Gauri or dedicate a dark bull.
He alone should be considered a son who performs the dedication of a bull and the Gaya S’raddha—who does not do so verily is like unto excrement.
Any one whose ancestors are tormented in Raurava and other hells helps them all out for twenty-one generations by the dedication of a bull.
Even the forefathers who have gone to heaven desire the dedication of a bull: “which son in our lineage will perform the dedication of a bull,
“By whose dedication, all of us will go to the highest condition? Among all sacrifices, the bull-sacrifice is the certain giver of release to us.”
36. Therefore, for the release of the forefathers, one should perform the bull-sacrifice. He should do everything with diligence according to the prescribed rite.
37. Having cast the positions of the planets and worshipped them with their respective mantras, the ailing man should make the fire-offering, according to the S’astras, and worship a bull.
38-42. Having brought together a young bull and cow, he should bind them together with a marriage string in accordance with marriage rites, and then tether them to a post;
And should bathe the bull and young cow with the water from the pot of Rudra, and, having worshipped them with fragrances and garlands, walk round them.
He should [mark] the right side with the trident of S’iva and the, left side with a discus. Having released the bull, the son, with hands folded together, should recite this mantra:–
“Thou art Justice in the form of a bull. Thou wert formerly created by Brahma. On account of your being released, help over this ocean of existence!”
Having thus bowed to it, with this mantra, he should release the bull and the young cow. “I shall always be the grantor of boons to you, and will give release to the departed.”
43. Therefore this should be done. Its fruit comes even during life. The man who has no son, doing it himself, goes easily to the highest condition.
44-45. In the month of Kartika [*1] and in other auspicious months, when the sun is going north, in the bright fortnight, or the dark on the twelfth and following days,
In the two eclipses, at a sacred bathing place, at the equinoctial and solstitial points, one should perform the dedication of a bull.
46-49. At the hour when the sun enters an auspicious constellation, and in a pure place, a Brahmin who knows the rites and has the auspicious signs should be invited.
By recitation, by fire-offerings, likewise by gifts, the purification of the body should be done. As in the former case, all the rites should be done; such as the fire-offering and the rest;
And having placed a S’alagrama one should do the Vaisnava S’raddha, and then perform the S’raddha for himself and give gifts to the twice-born.
He who does this, O Bird, whether having a son or not, by the performance of the dedication of a bull obtains the fruit of all his desires.
50. That condition which is obtained by the performance of the release of a bull, is not reached by oblations to the fire and other sacrifices, nor by manifold gifts.
51-53. The sins which are committed in infancy, in childhood, in youth, in manhood and in old age are destroyed, without doubt, by the dedication of a bull.
The betrayer of friends, the ungrateful, the drinker of intoxicants, he who goes with his teacher’s wife, the slayer of a Brahmin, the stealer of gold are all absolved by the dedication of a bull.
Therefore should one perform the bull sacrifice with all diligence, O Tarksya; there is no merit in all the three worlds equal to that from the dedication of a bull.
54. If a woman, having a husband and a son, predeceases both, the dedication of a bull should not be performed,–one should present a milk-giving cow.
55-56. He who burdens a bull on the shoulder or on the back, falls into a dreadful hell, O bird! until the coming of the deluge.
The man who cruelly strikes a bull with his fists or with sticks, suffers the torments of Yama until the end of the age.
57-59. Having thus carried out the dedication of a bull, one should perform the sixteen S’raddhas. I will tell you what should be done prior to sapindikarana ceremony.
That at the place of death; at the threshold; half-way on the road; at the funeral pyre; in the hand of the corpse; and at the collection of the bones;–these six, and the ten pindas given in the ten days:–
These first sixteen are called impure. And next I will tell you about the second, the , sixteen:–
30-64. One should offer the first rice-ball to Visnu, the second to the blessed S’iva; one should present the third to the retinue of Yama.
The fourth to king Soma, the fifth to the bearer of oblations to the Shining Ones, [*1] and the sixth to the bearer of oblations to the forefather; the seventh one should present to Death;
The eighth one should give to Rudra, [*1] the ninth to Purusa, [*2] the tenth to the departed, and the eleventh reverently to Visnu;
The twelfth one should give to Brahma, the thirteenth to Visnu, the fourteenth to S’iva, the fifteenth to Yama;
The sixteenth rice-ball, O bird, one should give to Purusa: These are called the middle sixteen by men who know the truth.
65-67, One should give rice-balls in each one of the twelve months, on the fortnight, the third fortnight, before the six months, and also before the year,–
This is the last sixteen, I have declared to you. Having had food cooked, O Tarksya.
The forty-eight S’raddhas destroy the condition of the ghost-life. He for whom this series is performed becomes a member of the assembly of the forefathers.
68-69. The three sixteens should be performed so that the departed may join the assembly of the forefathers; if deprived of S’raddhas the ghost remains as preta always.
If the performance of the three sixteens of S’raddhas is not carried out, either by himself or another, then he certainly does not join them.
70-72. Therefore the three sixteens should be performed by the son, as prescribed, or if the wife does them for the husband there is uninterrupted prosperity.
She who does the funeral ceremonies on the death of her husband, and the annual and the fortnightly is called by me, “the Faithful.”
This faithful wife lives for the good of her husband: the life is fruitful of her who worships her dead lord.
73-78. Also, for any one who, owing to carelessness, is killed by fire, or by water, one should perform the sacrament and other rites as prescribed.
If he is killed through recklesness or wilfully, or by a serpent, then me should worship a serpent on the fifth day of each fortnight.
One should form a picture of a hooded serpent upon the ground with ricepowder, and worship with white sweet-smelling flowers and sandalpaste.
One should offer a serpent incenses and lights, much strew rice and sesamum, and should dedicate [*1] uncooked rice-flour, [*2] eatables and milk.
One should offer a serpent made of gold, according to his means, and a cow, to a twice-born. Then one should, with hands together “may the King of Serpents be pleased;”
And should further perform for them the rite Narayana-bali, by which they are absolved of all sins and obtain residence in heaven,
79. Thus, having done all the rites, one should give every day a jar with food and water until the end of the year, or rice-balls with water regularly.
80. Having done this on the eleventh day he should then offer the rice-balls for all the ancestors, [*1] and when free from pollution he should have made a gift of a bed and other gifts.
^103:1 For an account of these ceremonies, see the Daily Practice of the Hindus by Mr. Sris Chandra Vasu, Panini Office, Allahabad.
^104:1 It is usually worn ever the left shoulder under the right arm, for this ceremony, he mast change it.
^104:3 Dharma or Yama.
^106:1 Orthodox Hindus place a mark on the forehead to show caste and other things.
^108:1 Including the latter part of October and the first part of November.
^110:1 That is Fire.
^111:2 The primeval man; Visnu.
^112:1 The food is placed near the image, and passes of the hands are made as though a influence it towards the image.
^112:2 Made into a ball, usually with sugar and cocoanut.
^113:1 This ceremony is performed on the twelfth day, as it were in anticipation of the annual event. It is the ceremony for all the ancestors together.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Ceremony for all the Ancestors.
1. Garuda said: Tell pre, O Lord, about the method of [performing] the Sapinda rite. the removal of pollution, and the gift of accessories.
2. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya, and I will explain to you the entire Sapinda rite, by which the condition of preta is left behind and the soul enters the class of the pitris.
3-5. Those whose pindas have not been mixed together with the ancestors called S’iva and the rest, [*1] are not uplifted by the various gifts made by the sons.
If the son is always impure, they are never purified; without the Sapinda rite the impurity does not depart.
Therefore the Sapinda, at the end of the pollution period, should be performed by the son. I will tell you about the ending of pollution to be observed by all.
6-9. A Brahmin becomes pure in ten days, a Ksattriya in twelve days; a Vais’ya in fifteen days, a S’udra in a month.
The Sapinda relatives [*1] are purified from the death pollution in ten days; the Sakulya relatives [*2] in three nights, and the gotrajas [*3] are purified merely by bathing.
Those who are related within the fourth degree to the deceased are purified in ten nights, those in the fifth degree, in six nights; the sixth, four days; the seventh, three days;
The eighth, a single day; the ninth, a quarter of a day; the tenth, merely till bathing;–so long lasts the pollution of death and birth [according to the distance of degrees from the deceased].
10-11. If a person dies in a foreign land and one hears of his death, then the impurity lasts for the remaining portion of ten days on which he hears the news;
If after the lapse of ten days, he is polluted for three nights. If after a year, he becomes pure even by bathing.
12. If a second pollution comes daring that from the first death, then the purification from the first pollution includes that from the second.
13. If a boy who has not yet cut his teeth dies, purification is immediate; before tonsure, one night, it is said; before the investiture with the thread, three nights; and afterwards, ten nights.
14-16. If a girl dies between birth and tonsure, purification is immediate, in all the castes alike;
Up to betrothal a single day, and from that to old age three nights are authoritative;
If after the betrothal ceremony three days for both families, it should be understood; if after marriage, only the husband’s family.
17-18. If the embryo dies before sixth month; in as many days the embryo lived months, purity is regained.
After this the women are polluted, according to the caste. If the embryo dies, purification of the Sapinda relatives is immediate.
19. During the Kali Age–it is authoritatively declared in the S’astras–ten days’ purification for all the castes, after births and deaths.
20-22. Blessing the worship of the Shining Ones, reception of guests, salutation, lying on a bed, and touching others should not he done during the death pollution.
Sandhya prayers, giving, reciting, fire-offering, religious study, offering to the forefathers, feeding of Brahmins and the observance of vows should not be done during the death pollution.
He who during pollution performs the daily, the occasional and the specially desired ceremonies–of him the regular and other ceremonies already done are lost.
23. For one observing vows, engaged in mantras or in fire-offerings, or a twice-born intent upon Brahman, an ascetic or a king there is verily no pollution.
24-26. Food prepared before marriage festivals and sacrifices, and before the pollution by birth or death, can be eaten; so Manu declared.
Whoever, during pollution, accepts through ignorance, suffers no evil, but the giver even though it be to a mendicant that he gives, suffers evil.
Whoever, hiding his pollution, gives food to a twice-born, and the Brahmin who knowing it, accepts it,–are both subjected to suffering.
27. Therefore, for the purifying from pollution, one should perform the Sapinda ceremony for the father, who then goes to the world of the forefathers to join the multitudes of forefathers.
28-30. The truth-knowing sages hare declared that the Sapinda ceremony should be on the twelfth day, the third fortnight, the sixth month or at the end of the year.
But I say, O Tarksya, following the scriptural ordinances, that for the four castes the Sapinda should be on the twelfth day.
The twelfth day is preferable because of the endless variety of conditions in the Kali Age, and because of the shortened life of men, and the impermanence of the body.
31-33. If a Brahmin house-holder dies, then investiture with the sacred thread, the fulfilment of vows, marriage and other ceremonies should not be done,
Until the Sapinda has been performed the mendicant should not accept alms; and guest-offerings should not be accepted. The daily and the occasional ceremonies should be discontinued.
By the omission of rites sinfulness arises; therefore one should perform the Sapinda ceremony on the twelfth day, whether he be without fire or with fire.
34. The fruit which accrues from visiting all the sacred bathing-places; the fruit which accrues from performing all sacrifices: that fruit is obtained by doing the Sapinda ceremony on the twelfth day.
35. Hence, having bathed, and having cleaned with cow-dung the place of death, the son should perform the Sapinda ceremony, as laid down in the scriptures.
36-30. Then he should worship the world-deities with foot-water, oblations, [*1] and achamana. [*2] Next, having given rice-balls to other departed ones, he should sip water.
He should offer three rice-balls in order to his grandfather and others, in the forms of Vasu, Rudra and Arka, and the fourth rice-ball to the dead.
He should worship with sandal-paste, leaves of the holy basil, incenses, lamps, agreeable fools, mouth-scents, good cloths and presents.
Having divided the rice-ball for the departed into three parts with a thin bar of gold, he should mix them severally with the three rice-balls given to the grand father and the others.
40. It is my decision, O Tarksya, that the Sapinda ought to be done; the mother’s with the grandmother’s and the father’s with the grandfather’s.
41-43. If the father dies while the grandfather still lives, three rice balls should be offered to the great grandfather and his predecessors.
The father’s rice-ball, divided into three parts should be mixed with their rice-balls. If the mother dies before the grandmother–
Then he should perform the mother’s S’raddha in the same way as the fathers; or should mix the rice-ball with both mine and great Laksmi’s.
44. The husband should perform the Sapinda ceremony for his, wife, if she has no son; he should do the Sapinda for her along with the mother-in-law and others.
45. “The Sapinda rite for women should be done with that for the husband, his father and grandfather”–that, O Tarksya, is not my opinion; because the wife being already half the body of her husband requires no Sapinda ceremony with regard to her husband.
46. If, O Kas’yapa! husband and wife ascend the same funeral pyre, then, having put grasses between them, he should perform it with that of the mother-in-law and father-in-law.
47. Only one son should perform the rites; first the offering of a rice-ball and other things for the father, and after that, having bathed again, the rite for the mother.
49-51. Having done the Sapinda, O Tarksya, he should make the offering of water to the forefathers. He should utter “Let there be Swadha,” along with Vaidic mantras.
Afterwards he should always have a guest fed until he says “hanta.” [*1] By this the forefathers, the sages, the Shining Ones and the Danavas are pleased.
As much as a mouthful is called “alms,” four mouthfuls is “abundance,” and four abundances is called “hantakara.”
52-53. During the Sapinda he should worship the feet of a twice-born with sandal-paste and coloured rice, and make to him a gift, for his continued satisfaction.
He should have maintenance for a year, clarified butter, food, gold, silver, a good cow, a horse, an elephant, a chariot and a plot of ground given to a preceptor.
54. Then he should worship with mantras–after saying “Hail to thee”–the planets, Devi, [*2] and Viniyakam [*3], with saffron, coloured rice and eatables.
55. The preceptor should then, with mantras, sprinkle water, and having bound a thread upon the hand, should present the coloured rice also consecrated with mantras.
50-57. Then he should have Brahmins fed with various pleasant sweetened foods, and he should give them presents, and twelve pots with water and food.
After the feeding of the twice-born, water, a weapon, scales, and a rod should be touched severally by the castes, who are respectively thus purified.
58. The Sapinda ceremony having been thus performed, the cloths worn during the rite should be cast off; and white cloths having been donned, the gift of a bed should he made.
59-64. All the Devas, [*1] headed by Indra, extol the gift of a bed. Therefore a bed should be given, during life or else after death.
Made of the choicest wood, delightful, painted in beautiful colours, strong, canopied with silken cloth, ornamented with gold leaves,
Having beautiful pillows stuffed with swans’ down, together with a coverlet made fragrant with the scent of flowers,
Well-bound with bright bands, broad and pleasant: such a bed as this being made, it should be placed on the ground covered with cloth.
An umbrella, a row of silver lamps, an oxtail fan, a seat, a vessel, a water-pot, a mirror, and a canopy of five colours,
And all the other accompaniments of the bed he should place round it, in their proper places.
65-66. On it he should have placed a golden Hari, together with Laksmi, with all the ornaments, weapons and clothes.
And, in the case of women, having placed them on the bed, he should have the red dye, saffron, clothes, ornaments, and all the other necessary things.
67-68. Then a Brahmin, with his wife adorned with fragrances and flowers, with ear and finger ornaments and golden necklaces,
Wearing a turban and an upper cloth and jacket, should be seated by him on the comfortable bed, in front of Laksmi and Narayana.
69-71. He should worship Hari and Laksmi with saffron and flower-garlands, and adore the Guardians of the World, the Planetary Spirits and Vinayaka.
Facing north, and holding flowers in his palms, he should pronounce this mantra, standing in front of the Brahmin:
“Just as, O Krisna, your bed is the ocean full of milk, may this likewise be not empty in my future births.”
72-74. Thus he should place the handsful of flowers before the Brahmin and the image of Hari, and then the bed-gift with its accompaniments, according to the rite.
He should give it to him who observes vows, is a teacher, and tells about Brahmin, and say, “O Brahmin, receive these. How seldom does any one so give!”
He should rock the twice-born and Laksmi and Hari, seated on the bed, and then, having walked round and bowed, give them leave.
75. If he is rich he should give a very beautiful house, furnished with all the necessaries, so that he may sleep happily on the bed,
76. If a living man makes with his own hand the gift of a bed, there should be performed, while he is still living, on full moon day the dedication of a bull.
77. This bed should be given to one only, and never to several. Divided or sold it drags down the giver.
78. Having given a bed to a deserving person, he may obtain the fruit of his desires. The father, and the son giving it, rejoices here and hereafter.
79-80. At the celestial house of Indra, and at the abode of Yama, he will arrive without doubt through the potency of the gift of a bed.
He will reside there free from trouble, seated in the best of chariots, waited upon by numbers of celestial damsels, until the coming of the deluge.
81. The merit from all the sacred bathing places, and on all the days of the changes of the moon: even superior to these is the merit arising from the gift of a bed.
82-86. Having this made the gift of a bed, the son should have Padadana given. Listen to my words, and I will tell you the method of it.
An umbrella, shoes, clothes, a signet ring, a water-pot, a seat, a set of five vessels–are called the seven kinds of padas.
This pada becomes complete with a staff, a copper vessel, uncooked rice, foods, , and sacred threads.
Having, according to his means, obtained these thirteen padas he should give, them to thirteen Brahmins on the twelfth day.
By this padadana the righteous go to a good condition, and this padadana gives happiness to those who have gone on the way of Yama.
87-93. There is there intense heat, by which the man is scorched, but the gift of an umbrella makes pleasant shade above his head;
And on the path in the world of Yama, full of great thorns, those who gave shoes go riding horses.
The miseries of cold and heat and wind are dreadful there, O Bird, but by the power of the gift of clothes he goes happily along the way.
The messengers of Yama, very terrible, fierce and brown-black, do not trouble on the road him who made the gift of a signet ring.
It is enveloped in great heat, is windless and without water; through the gift of a water pot he, when thirsty, drinks water.
Who, for the dead, gives a water-vessel made of copper, certainly enjoys the fruit which is obtained by thousands of gifts of wells.
Through properly giving to a twice-born a seat and a vessel, leisurely going on the path he comfortably enjoys his provisions,
94-95. Having thus given, on the day of the Sapinda ceremony, this gift, as prescribed, he should have many Brahmins fed, also chandalas and other outcasts.
Then, after the Sapinda and before the annual ceremony, a water-pot with rice-balls should be given every month.
911. There is no re-doing of what is done excepting the rites for the departed, [*1] O Bird; but, for the sake of the departed it may be done again, as a means of unfading satisfaction.
97-99. Now I shall tell you the rules concerning the monthly, the annual and the fortnightly ceremonies, and of dying on lunar days.
If one dies at the full moon his rites fall on the fourth day. If one dies on the fourth day his rites fall on the ninth.
If one dies on the ninth day, his day is the fourteenth. In these cases one should perform the fortnightly S’raddha on the twentieth day.
100-105. When in one month [Ksayamasa] two sankrantis occur, in the irregular month, the month being double, the S’raddha is not performed. [*1]
When there are two months in one month, of those two, the two fortnights and the thirty days are the same [both must be performed.] For the first half day take the former [the dark]; for the second half,
the latter. Thus are understood by the wise the two months which are in the irregular month.
The Sapinda ceremony, O bird, should be done when there is no sankranta; similarly the monthly and the first annual S’raddhas.
If there is an additional month in the middle of a year, then in the thirteenth month the annual ceremony for the departed occurs.
When there is no , rice-balls are not used; when there is sankranta, rice-balls are proper. Thus the annual S’raddha should be done in both months.
106. Thus, at the end of the first year one should perform the annual S’raddha, and in that, in addition, the twice-born should be fed.
107-110. After a year one should always offer three rice-balls at the S’raddha. The ceremony for one only should not be done; by it one becomes the destroyer of his forefathers.
The S’raddha at a sacred bathing-place, the S’raddha at Gaya, the Gajachchhayam, for the fathers–these he should not do during the year, nor at eclipses, nor on yuga days.
If the son performs the S’raddha at Gaya, O Lord of Birds, it should be done after a year, with devotion to the forefathers.
The forefathers are freed from the ocean of existence by the S’raddha at Gaya and, by favour of the Visnu, they go to the supreme state.
111-113. He should worship the feet of Visnu with the shoots of the holy basil, and in proper order offer rice-balls round them.
He who offers, on the head of Gaya, a rice-ball of the size of even a s’ami leaf helps over seven clans and one hundred and one fatuities.
He who, delighting the family, having gone to Gaya, performs the S’raddha and gives satisfaction to the forefathers, his life is fruitful.
111-115. O Lord of birds, the forefathers hear a song sung by the Holy Ones in Kalapa, the garden of Iksvaku, the son of Manu:–
“Are there none in your family, treading the good path, who, having gone to Gaya, will offer us rice-balls, with devotion?”
116-119. The son who thus performs the rites for the other world, O Tarkshya, is happy and becomes liberated, like the son of Kaus’ika.
The seven sons of Bharadwaja, having experienced a series of births, were liberated by the favour of the forefathers, O Tarkshya, although they killed a cow.
The seven hunters in the country of Das’arnas; the deer on the mountain of Kalinjira; the Chakravaka birds in S’aradvipa: and the swans in the Manasa lake
Were born as Brahmins learned in the Vedas, on the field of the Kurus, and all these sons of the twice-born attained liberation through devotion to the forefathers.
120. Therefore a man should make every effort in devotion to the forefathers, for by devotion to the forefathers he becomes happy either in this or the other world.
121. Thus I have told you, O Tarksya, all the ceremonies, concerning the deceased, giving merit to and satisfying the desires of the son, and giving liberation to the forefathers.
122. Any man who is poor, but hears this account, even he, absolved from sins, obtains the fruit of gifts.
123-126. He who performs, according to the rite, the S’raddha offerings described by me, and also hears the Garuda Purana,–listen to the fruit for him:–
The father gives good sons; the grandfather, wealth of cows and his becomes the giver of riches.
The great-great-grandfather gives foods in abundance: all these, gratified by the S’raddha, granting the son’s desires,
Go on the way of righteousness to the mansion of the King of Justice, and there they remain, highly respected, in the assembly of Righteousness.
127. Suta said: Having heard the result of the after-death gifts and their mighty greatness, thus declared by the Blessed Visnu, Garuda went into raptures.
^114:1 The grandfather, his father and grandfather are considered as corresponding to Vasu, Rudra and Aditya. Rudra is S’iva.
^115:1 Cousins up to the seventh, on the male line,–all males and unmarried females.
^115:2 Cousins up to the fourteenth, on the male line,–all males and unmarried females.
^115:3 Cousins up to the forty-second, on the male line,–all males and unmarried females.
^118:1 Consisting of rice, darbha grass, and flowers, with water.
^118:2 See “Daily Practice of the Hindus” for an account of achamana.
^120:1 A benediction which the recipient makes when he has had enough.
^120:2 The consort of S’iva.
^121:1 A high class of superhuman beings.
^125:1 If other ceremonies have been badly done they may not be re-performed; but this may.
^126:1 “The ceremonies are performed according to the lunar months, but there are to be only twelve of the monthly ones in a year. Astrological calculations are done with solar months. Hence there is an intercalary month of 30 days every three years. The sankranta is a solar month, the passing of the sun through one constellation. The difference of solar and lunar months is about 11 days in the year; hence an additional irregular month occurs once in 27 months. In this long month; the malamasa, or irregular portion, is the first half, while the second half is regular. The ksaya-masa is a name for a month which occurs every 149th year, in which there is no sankranti,–thus there are only 12 months in that year, not 13, although it is a year of intercalary month. In this case the intercalary is added treated as such, but the regular mouth is dropped. It is November, December, January or February which is thus dropped, but the intercalary is always associated with one of the other eight. The month preceding month which is dropped has its two fortnights taken as belonging to the regular and the dropped month respectively. If a man dies in the second fortnight in this case the annual ceremony belongs to the month which was dropped. lf, on the other hand, a main has died and his month is dropped the preceding month is taken for the annual S’raddha. If a man dies in the adigmasa, then his annual S’raddha must be done in the dark half on the same day on which he died; if his death occurred during the first half of the day, and on the same day in the bright half if he died during the second half of the day.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the City of the King of Justice.
1-2. Garuda said: what is the extent of the world of Yama? What is it like? By whom was it made? What is the assembly like, and with whom does Justice reside?
The righteous go by righteous ways to the mansion of Justice; tell me about those righteous ones and the ways, O Treasure-house of Compassion.
3-5. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya, I will tell you about that shining city of Justice, which is accessible to Narada and others find is reached by the very meritorious.
Between the south and south-west is the city of the son of Vivaswata, all built of diamonds, resplendent, impregnable by Holy Ones or Demons.
It is declared to be four-angled, with four gateways, surrounded by high ramparts and measuring a thousand yojanas.
6-9. In that city is the very lovely dwelling of Chitragupta, which extends to the number of twenty-five yojanas,
Surrounded with shining ramparts of iron, up to ten [yojanas] heights, with hundreds of streets decorated with flags and banners,
Abounding in chariots, resounding with songs and music, decorated by skilful painters and constructed by divine architects,
Beautiful with gardens and parks, and sounding with the songs of various birds; habited in every part by celestial damsels and choristers.
10-15. Chitragupta, seated on his most wonderful throne in that assembly, considers the lives of men individually.
He is never mistaken in distinguishing between good and evil deeds, or by whom good or evil deeds have been done
And by order of Chitragupta he experiences all of them there. To the east of the abode of Chitragupta is the great house of Fever.
To the south are those of Rheumatism and skin diseases, and smallpox likewise. To the west are those of the Snare of Death, Dyspepsia, and Biliousness also.
To the north there is consumption and Jaundice likewise; to the north-west, Headache; to the south-east, Syncope.
To the south-west, is Dysentery; to the north-west cold and heat–with these and other diseases it is .
16-23. Chitragupta records the good and evil of men. Twenty yojanas before the abode of Chitragupta,
In the of the city, is the very resplendent mansion of the king of justice. It is shining with jewels, and splendid like lightning, flame and the sun.
It is certainly two hundred yojanas in extent, and measures fifty yojanas in height.
It is supported by thousands of pillars, decorated with emeralds, ornamented with gold, and is full of palaces and mansions,
Pleasing to the mind with cupolas of the splendour of the autumnal sky; with beautiful crystal stairways and walls beautified with diamonds,
And with windows of strings of pearls, decorated with flags and banners; rich with the sounds of bells and drums; and embellished with golden fringes,
Filled with various wonders; with hundreds of golden doors; with trees, plants and creepers without thorns.
With these and other embellishments decorated always–it was created by the architect of the Universe by the power of his own Yoga.
24-28. In that there is a divine assembly place which is a thousand yojanas in extent, splendid like the sun, full of light, and in every way satisfying; [*1]
With no extreme heat and no extreme cold; most ravishing to the mind with no sorrows and no old age there, and no trouble of hunger and thirst.
All there are in a condition of happiness, whether they be human or divine; the eatables are tasteful and plentiful, and enjoyable in every way.
The water, both hot and cold, are sweet; the sounds and other things there are pleasant; and trees always bear the fruit desired.
That assembly, O Tarksya, has no bondage, is enchanting, is a fulfiller of desires, and was created by the Architect of the Universe by doing tapas [*2] for a long time.
29-30. Those who have done great tapas, are of good vows, truth-speaking, tranquil, renouncing, accomplished, and purified by good actions go there.
All there have bodies of light, and are adorned with shining garments, and remain there ornamented with their own meritorious actions.
31-33. There the Lord of Justice, on a throne pure and incomparable, ten yojanas in extent, bedecked with all kinds of jewels–
Sits, the Best of the Good, his head dignified with the regal umbrella, ornamented with ear-rings, prosperous, made splendid with a large crown.
Adorned with all ornaments, splendid as a blue cloud, and fanned by celestial damsels bearing in their hands fans of hair.
34-40. Multitudes of celestial choristers and numerous groups of celestial damsels, round about, serve him with songs, music and dances.
He is waited up by Mrityu [*1] with a noose in his hand, by kala [*1] still more powerful, and by Chitragupta, the recorder of fate,
Surrounded by various servants equal to him in prowess, bearing awful nooses and rods, ready to do his bidding,
Who are the Agnisvattha, Pitris, [*2] the Somapas and the Usmapas, the powerful Barhisads formed and formless, O Bird,
Aryamas and others, hosts of progenitors, and others having forms,–all these wait upon the King of Justice, with the sages:
Atri, Vas’istha, Pulaha, Daksa, Kraturatha, Angiras, Jamadagnya, and also Bhrigu, Pulastya, Agastya, Narada,–
These, and many others in the assembly of the King of Progenitors, impossible to enumerate, either by their names or their deeds.
41-45. Those who expound with accurate commentaries, the Dharmas’astras, [*1] serve the King of Justice by order of Paramesthin. [*2]
The kings of the Solar Race, also of the Lunar Race,–these knowers of righteousness wait upon the King of Justice in the assembly.
Manu, Dilipa, Mandhata, Sagara, Bhagiratha, Ambarisa, Anaranya, Muchakunda, Nimi, and Prithu,
Yayati, Nahusa, Puru; Dusmanta, S’ibi, Nala, Bharata, S’antanu, Pandu, and also Sahasrarjuna,–
These royal sages, meritorious, famous, well-read in the Vedas, having performed many horse sacrifices, are in the assembly of Righteousness.
46-47. Righteousness alone prevails in the assembly of the King of Justice. There is there no favouritism, no untruthfulness, and no jealousy.
All those assembled are knowers of the scriptures; all are devoted to righteousness; and in that assembly they continually wait upon Vaivasvata [*3]
48-49. Such, O Tarksya, is the assembly of the great-souled King of Justice. The sinners, who go by the southern path, do not behold it.
There are four ways leading into the city of the King of Justice: The way for the sinful has already been described to you.
50. Those who go into the mansion of righteousness by the three gateways, eastern and others, are those of good deeds. By their merits they go into it. Hear about them:–
51-55. There is an eastern way, abounding in all enjoyments, covered with the shade of Parijata trees, and paved with jewels,
Busy with numerous chariots; splendidly lined with swans, bounded by trees and pleasure-gardens, having the essence of nectar.
By that go the holy Brahmin-sages, the stainless royal sages, and multitudes of celestial damsels, choristers, magicians and great serpents,
And worshippers of the deities, and the devotees of S’iva, those who give rest-houses in the summer, and who give fuel in winter,
Those who shelter ascetics [*1] in their houses during the rains, and make them gifts; those who speak consolation to the mentally distressed, and certainly those who give a hermitage,
And those who delight in truth and righteousness; those free from anger and greed; those devoted to father and mother, those taking pleasure in the service of their Teacher.
Those who make gifts of land, of houses, of cows; those who impart learning; those who tell and listen to the Puranas;–are travellers on the path–
These, and others of good deeds, enter by the eastern gate. Skilful in goodness, and of purified intelligence, they go to the Assembly of Righteousness.
59-61. The second, the northern way, is filled with hundreds of great chariots and with palanquins, and is paved with yellow sandal-wood;
It is full of swans and water-fowl, and beautiful with Brahmany ducks, and there is there a delightful tank full of the essence of nectar.
On this way go those who are learned in the Vedas, also those who honour guests, those who are worshippers of Durga [*1] and Bhanu, [*2] and those who bathe at the sacred waters at the changes of the moon,
Those who die in the pursuit of righteousness, and those who die of vow of starvation, those who die in Benares, those who die in the protection of cattle, those who are accidentally drowned in the sacred waters;
Those who die for the sake of Brahmins, in the service of the master, at the sacred waters and on holy ground, by the will of the Shining Ones; those who die in the practice of Yoga;
Those who always honour the deserving, and those who delight in making great gifts,–these, entering by the northern gate, reach the Assembly of Righteousness.
65-73. The third, the western way, is beautified with jewelled mansions, and splendid with ponds, always filled with the essence of nectar,
Is filled with maddened elephants sprung of the family of Airavata [*1] and with jewels of horses sprung from Uchchaihs’rava. [*2]
By this way go the self-reliant, those who contemplate the good scriptures, those entirely devoted to Visnu, those who repeat the Gayatri-mantra,
Those who turn away from injury to others, from the wealth of others, and from calumny; those faithful to their wives; the good; those who maintain household fires; those who repeat the Vedas;
Observers of the vow of celibacy; forest dwellers; the austere; devotees of the feet of S’ri; those intent upon renunciation; those who look equally upon gold, stone and earth;
Those who have attained knowledge and dispassion; those intent upon the welfare of all beings; those who keep vows to S’iva and Visnu; those who perform the rites of Brahma,
Those who are rid of the three-fold debt; those who always take pleasure in the five sacrifices; those who perform S’raddha for the forefathers; those who perform the Sandhya at the proper times;
Those who abstain from the company of the wicked, devoted to the society of the good;–these, accompanied by numbers of celestial damsels, ascend the best of chariots.
They drink nectar, and go to the mansion of righteousness, and entering by the western gate, go to the Assembly of Righteousness.
74-76. Yama, seeing them come, rising and coming forward, repeatedly bids them welcome.
Then, assuming his four arms, holding his conch, discus, mace and sword, he speaks and acts in a hind and friendly way to those who delight in meritorious deeds.
He offers them the throne, and bows to them; washes their feet, and then honours them with sandal-paste and other things.
77-81. “O’ You Assembled! Salute with deepest reverence the knower. He, departing from my dominion, will go to the world of Brahma.
“O, Best of the Wise, who avoid the pains of hell; you have by your merits attained divinity, the state of happiness.
“He who, attaining the human state, difficult to reach, never acts wisely, he goes to a dreadful hell. Who is more foolish than he?
“He who, in the impermanent body, amid perishable wealth and other things, stores up unchanging righteousness, he alone is a wise man. “Therefore should righteousness be accumulated, with every effort.
Go you to the holy place which abounds in all enjoyments.”
82-85. They, having heard the words of Justice, and having saluted him and the assembly, and being honoured by the immortals and extolled by the leaders of the sages,
Go along the highest path, accompanied by multitudes of chariots; then those in that assembly of righteousness rise up with great respect
Having spent there [*1] some ages, and enjoyed superhuman pleasures, they obtain, as a result of their merits, holy human birth,
Wealthy and wise, expert in all the scriptures. Then again they go to the highest condition by their own good conduct.
86. All this about the abode of Yama has been told you upon your asking. The man who hears this with devotion goes to the assembly of the King of Justice.
^133:1 Taking any form desired.
^133:2 Meditation with an effort to produce physical effects.
^134:1 Forms of Death.
^134:2 A class of progenitors.
^135:1 Scriptures teaching the duties of life.
^135:3 Yama, the son of Visvasvat.
^136:1 Those who have renounced the world.
^137:1 The consort of S’iva.
^137:2 The Sun.
^138:1 The divine elephant.
^138:2 The divine horse.
^140:1 That is in Heaven world.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Coming to Birth of People who have done Good.
1-2. Garuda said: The righteous man having enjoyed heaven, is born in a stainless family. Now tell me how he is produced in the womb of the mother.
I wish to hear what, in this body, the man of good deeds thinks. Tell me, O Treasure-house of Compassion!
3-4. The Blessed. Lord said: You have asked well, O Tarksya. I will tell you that supreme secret, even by knowing which one becomes all-knowing.
I will tell you the real nature of that body which possesses the attributes of the universal Egg,–the object of concentration of Yogins.
5-6. Hear how the Yogins perform the meditation upon the six chakras [*1] within it, and likewise meditation upon the nature of Chit and Ananda in the Brahmarandhra,
And how he of good deeds is born in the house of the pure and prosperous. I will tell you also about the rites and observances of the parents.
7-10. After menstruation the women should be avoided for four days. Their face should not be seen during that time, lest sin should arise in the body.
Having bathed, and washed her clothes, a woman becomes pure on the fourth day. From the seventh day she becomes fit to perform the rites of worship to the forefathers and the Shining Ones.
During the seven days the embryo continues impure. Here the sons gradually enter during the eighth day.
Sons are born on even nights, daughters on odd. Keeping away from, her during the first seven days, on even nights he enters.
11-12. Sixteen nights are declared to be common for women. [*1] On the fourteenth night the seed remains there certainly.
Then is produced the righteous son, a store of auspicious qualities. That night is never obtained by vulgar people.
13. On the firth. day women should eat sweet foods. Pungent, acid, astringent and hot things should be entirely avoided.
14-18. The husband, like a husbandman, having sown the seed of great potentiality in the field which is productive of grain, reaps a good harvest.
The man, having chewed betel, [*1] put on flowers and sandal-paste, and clean clothes, and with righteous thoughts in his mind, should unite with his good wife.
According to the thoughts in his mind at the time of union will be the nature of the one who enters the womb.
The intelligence joined with the seed remains always in the sperm, When desire, thought and sperm become united,
Then the man obtains semen, and in the interior of the womb the formation of ovum takes place, by the union of sperm and germ [cells]
19. The good son who enters the womb is the giver of the highest bliss. For him there are numerous rites, such as the Punsavana. [*2]
20-23. The meritorious soul obtains birth in a high family. At the time of his birth Brahmins receive much wealth.
He grows up in his parents’ house, endowed with learning and modesty, becoming skilful in all the sciences, by association with the wise.
In his youth he is divinely handsome, wealthy and benevolent, arising as the result of great merit, austerities, and pilgrimages to sacred waters, formerly done.
Then he constantly strives to discriminate between the self and the not-self. By adhyaropa [*1] and apavada [*2] he meditates upon Brahman.
24. For the understanding of the dissociation of Brahman from that with which he is associated, I will tell you the attributes of earth and the others, which are of the genus “Not-self.”
25-30. Earth, water, fire, air and ether–these are called the stable elements. This body is made up of the five elements.
Skin, bones, nerves, hair and flesh,–these are the five attributes of earth, O Lord of birds, declared to you by me.
Saliva, urine, sperm, marrow, and blood, the fifth,–are said to be the five attributes of water. Now hear those of fire:–
Hunger, thirst, sloth, sleep and sexual desire–are called the five attributes of fire by Yogins everywhere, O Tarksya.
Bending, running, jumping, stretching and moving,–these are declared the five attributes of air.
Speech, thought, vacuity, delusion and mental instability–the five attributes of ether, may be understood by you with effort.
31. Mind, reason, individualisation, analysis–these four are called the Internal Means, and have the flavour of past karma.
32. Ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose are the sense organs. The organs of speech, hands, feet, the organs of generation and of excretion are the organs of action.
33. Dik, Vata, Arka, Prachetas, the two As’vins, Vahni, Indra, Upeudra, Mitra, are declared to be the duties of the organs of sense and action,
34-35. Ida, [*1] Pingala, [*2] Susumna, [*3] thirdly, and also Gandhari, [*4] Gajajihva, [*5] Pusa, [*6] Yas’asvini, [*7]
Alambusa, [*8] and Kuhu, [*9] and Sankhini, [*10] the tenth as well–are situated in the interior of the body, and are the ten principal Nadis. [*11]
36-39. Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana also,–Naga, Kurma, Krikala, Devadatta and Dhananjaya [*12]:–
In the heart, Prana; in the anus, Apana; in the navel, Samana; in the region of the throat, Udana; and distributed all over the body, Vyana:
Vomiting is called Naga; opening and shutting the eyes is known as Kurma; the cause of hunger is to be known as Krikala; Yawning, Devadatta;
Dhananjaya, all-pervading, does not leave even the corpse, and carries all over the body the nourishment which is obtained by eating mouthfuls of food.
40-43. The air called Vyana carries the essential part in all the Nadis. Food, as soon as eaten, is split into two by that air.
Having entered near the anus it separates the solid and liquid portions, placing the water over the fire, and the solid over the water,
The Prana standing under the fire, inflames it slowly. The fire, inflamed by the air, separates the substance from the waste.
The Vyana air makes the essence go all over, and the waste, forced through the twelve gateways, is ejected from the body.
44. Ears, eyes, nostrils, tongue, teeth, navel, nails, anus, generative organs, head, trunk, hair–are called unclean places.
45. Thus the airs, having their power from the self, perform their own functions, affecting people, just as does the rising of the sun.
46. Now hear, O Bird, the two-fold nature of the body of man. One is Vyavaharika, and the second Paramarthika.
47-52. On the Vyavaharika there are thirty-five millions of hairs of the body, seven hundred thousands of hairs of the head, it is said, and twenty nails;
There are said to be thirty-two teeth usually, O son of Vinata; the flesh is said to be one thousand palas [*1] and blood one hundred palas;
Fat is ten palas; skin is seven palas, marrow is twelve palas; the “great blood” is three palas;
Seed is known to be two kudavas; ovum one kudava; and bones in the body are said to be three hundred and sixty;
The nadis, both dense and subtle, number tens of million; bile is fifty palas; phlegm is half of that;
The waste materials are not measurable, as they are constantly changing. The body which possesses these attributes is Vyavaharika. [*2]
53. All the worlds, mountains, continents, oceans, suns and planets are in the Paramarthika [*3] body.
54. In the Paramarthika body, there are six chakras in which are said to be located the attributes of the egg of Brahma.
55. I will tell you about these, which are the objects of meditation of Yogins. By pondering upon them one becomes the enjoyer of the nature of Vairaja. [*4]
56-59. Below the feet is called Atala; above the feet, Vitala; at the knees know it as Sutala; at the thighs Mahatala;
At the hips, Talatala; at the secret part Rasatala; at the loins Patala; these are declared to be the seven worlds:
Bhuloka, at the middle of the navel; above it the Bhuvarloka; in the heart, Svarloka; at the throat it should be known as Maharloka;
Janaloka, in the region of the mouth; Tapolaka, at the forehead; Satyaloka in the Brahmarandhra–these are the fourteen worlds.
60-61. Meru is situated in the triangle [*1]; Mandara is in the inverted triangle; Kailas’a is in the right triangle; Himachala, in the left triangle.
Nisada is in the upper lines Gandhamadana in the lines on the right; Ramana in the lines on the left;–the seven great mountains.
62-65. Jambu is in the place of the bones; Saka is situated in the marrow; the Kus’a continent is situated in the flesh; the Krauncha continent in the nerves;
The S’almali continent is in the skin; Gomeda, in the mass of hair; Puskara, in the place of the nails;–and next the oceans:
In the urine the Ksara ocean; the Ksira ocean in the milk; the Sura ocean is situated in the phlegm; in the , the Ghrita ocean;
The Rasa ocean in the juices; the Dadhi ocean is known to be in the ova; the Swadu ocean in the region of the soft palate; you should know son of Vinata.
66-68. The sun is situated in the Nada chakra; the moon is in the Bindu chakra; Mars is situated, it should be known, in the eyes; Mercury is in the heart, it is declared;
Jupiter is in the Visnu-sthana, it should be known; Venus is situated in the seed; Saturn is in the navel; Rahu, in the face, it is declared;
Ketu is situated in the lungs;–in the body is the circle of the planets. In all these forms one should meditate on his own body.
69-71. Always at dawn, sitting steadily cross-legged, one should meditate upon the six chakras, in the order of the Ajapa. [*1]
The Gayatri called Ajapa is the giver of liberation to the sages; by merely thinking upon it one is released from all sin.
Listen, O Tarksya, and I will explain the best method of Ajapa, by doing which the individual always gives up his separateness.
72-73. Muladhara, Swadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahatam, Vis’uddhi and also Ajna,–are spoken of as the six chakras.
One should meditate in order upon the chakras, at the root of the generative organ; in the region of the pelvis; in the navel; in the heart; in the throat; between the eyebrows; at the top of the head.
74-75. The muladhara is four-petalled and resplendent, with letters from va to sa; the Svadhisthana resembles the sun, is six-petalled, and has the letters from ba to la; the Manipuraka is red in colour and has ten petals, from da to pha; the Anahata is twelve-petalled, from ka to tha, and is golden-coloured;
The vis’uddhi lotus is sixteen-petalled, with the vowels, and has the light of the moon; the Matra [*1] lotus is two-petalled, has the letters ha and ksa, and is red in colour; the one at the top of the head is the most resplendent, this lotus has a thousand petals, and is the seat of truth and bliss, ever auspicious, light-possessing and eternal.
76. One should meditate, in order, in the chakras, on Ganesa, on Vidhi, [*2] on Vishnu, on S’iva, on Jiva, on Guru, and on Parambrahman, all-pervading.
17-80. It is said by the wise that the subtle movements of the breath in one day and night number twenty-one thousand six hundred.
It goes out with the sound of “ha,” and enters again with the sound of “sa.” The individual is, indeed, always repeating the mantra. “Hamsa, hamsa,”–
Six hundred for Ganes’a; six thousand for Vedhas [*1]; six thousand for Hari [*2]; six thousand for Hara. [*3]
A thousand for the Jivatman; a thousand for Guru; a thousand or the Chidatman;–thus one should understand the respective numbers of the repetitions.
81-82. Aruna and other sages, who know the succession of Teachers, meditate upon the deities presiding over the chakras, who are rays of Brahman.
The sages, S’uka and ethers, teach it to their pupils; therefore a wise man, after meditating upon the path of the Great Ones, should always meditate thus.
83. Having worshipped mentally in all the chakras, with unwavering mind, he should repeat the Ajapa-gayatri according to the instructions of the Teacher.
84-88. He should meditate in the Randhra, with the thousand-petalled lotus inverted, upon the Blessed Teacher within the Hamsa, whose lotus-hand frees from fear.
He should regard his body as being washed in the flow of nectar from His feet. Having worshipped in the five-fold way he should prostrate, singing His praise.
Then he should meditate on the Kundalini, as moving upwards and downwards, as making a tour of the six chakras, placed in three-and-a-half coils.
Then he should meditate on the place called Susumna, which goes out of the Randhra; thereby he goes to the highest state of Visnu.
Then he should always meditate, between four o’clock and sunrise, on my form, self-illumined, eternal and ever-blissful.
89. He should bring his mind to a state of steadiness, not by efforts alone, but under the instruction of a teacher, without whom he falls.
90. Having done the inward-sacrifice he should perform the outward-sacrifice. Having done the purificatory ablution, and the Sandhya, he should worship Hari and Hara.
91-94. For those who are attached to the body facing-inward [*1] does not come about. For then devotion is easier, and that gives liberation.
Tapas, and Yoga, and others, are also ways to liberation, but for those who are attached to the world of change the path by devotion to me is far superior.
This is the conclusion of the all-knowing Brahma and others, after having conned the Vedas and the S’astras for three periods.
Sacrifices and other righteous duties purify the mind. The devotion to me has a form of fruit from which the obtainer never falls away.
95. The good man who follows this, O Tarksya, by the union due to devotion to me, goes to eternal liberation.
^141:1 Certain centres in the etheric and higher bodies, which revolves like wheels when set in motion by meditation; hence the name chakra.
^142:1 Sixteen are favourable, but the fourteenth of them is best, if some other cause doer not render it inauspicious.
^143:1 To augment the virile power.
^143:2 A rite performed when living conception is observed.
^144:1 False ascription, and …
^144:2 refutation, two sorts of arguments.
^145:1 The left hand nadi.
^145:2 The right hand one.
^145:3 The central one.
^145:4 This goes to the left eye.
^145:5 This goes to the right eye.
^145:6 This goes to the right ear.
^145:7 This goes to the left ear.
^145:8 This goes to the mouth.
^145:9 This goes to the lingam.
^145:10 This gees to the mula.
^145:11 An inner nerve, channel for the vital breath.
^145:12 Various forms of the vital breath.
^147:1 Pala is a little more than an ounce (6/5 oz.)
^147:2 Individual and common physical body.
^147:3 Universal and spiritual body.
^147:4 Viraj means “to shine.”
^148:1 The triangle in the triangle. Meru is the sacred mountain or pakk.
^149:1 The saying of “Hamsa.”
^150:1 That is, the Ajna.
^152:1 Their meditation is , because they are thinking of outer things.
The Garuda Purana, by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, , at sacred-texts.com
An Account of the Law for Liberation.
1-4. Garuda said: I have heard from you, O Ocean of compassion, about the transmigrating of the individual, through ignorance, in the worlds of change. I now wish to hear about the means for eternal liberation.
O Lord, O Ruler of the Shining Ones, compassionate to those who seek refuge,–in this terrible world of change, in the unsubstantial, in all deep miseries,
The endless multitudes of individuals, placed in various kinds of bodies, are born and die–of them no end is known.
Always miserable in this world, no one is ever known to be happy. O Lord of Liberation, tell me by what means they may obtain release, O Lord.
5-7. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tarksya, and I will explain to you what you have asked, even by the hearing of which a man is released from the world of change.
There is a Shining One, S’iva, who has the nature of Supreme Brahman, who is partless, all-knowing, all-doing, Lord of all, stainless and secondless,
Self-illumined, beginningless and endless, beyond the Beyond, without attributes, Being and Knowing and Bliss. That which is considered the individual is from a part of Him.
8-10 These, like sparks of a fire, with beginningless ignorance, separated and encased in bodies by beginningless karma,
Are fettered by forms of good and evil, giving happiness and misery,–with nationality of body, length of life, and fortune born of karma.
In every life obtained. They have also, O Bird, a higher and more subtle body, the linga, lasting until liberation.
11-13. The unmoving things, worms, goats, birds, animals, men, the righteous, the thirty-three deities, and also the liberated, according to their order,
Having worn and cast aside the four sorts of bodies thousands of times, one becomes a man by good deeds, and if he becomes a knower [*1] he attains liberation.
The embodied, in the eighty-four hundred thousands of bodies before attaining human birth, can obtain no knowledge of the truth.
14-16. Through millions of myriads of thousands of births some time a being obtains human birth, through the accumulation of merit.
He who, having obtained a human body, difficult to get, and a step to liberation, does not help himself over,–who in this world is more sinful than he?
The man who, having obtained this highest birth and superior senses, does not understand what benefits the soul is a slayer of Brahman.
17-19. Without a body, nobody obtains the object of human life; therefore should he guard his body as wealth and perform meritorious deeds.
He should always guard his body, which is the means to everything. Living, he should make every effort to protect it, in view of welfare.
A village again, a field again, wealth again, a house again, good and evil actions again–the body never again. [*1]
20-21. The wise always adopt means for the preservation of the body; even those afflicted with diseases such as leprosy do not wish to give it up.
It should be guarded for the sake of duty; duty for the sake of knowledge; knowledge for the sake of Yoga-meditation,–then he is soon released.
22-23. If he does not guard himself against harm who else will? Therefore should he look after his own benefit.
He who does not take precautions against the diseases of hell while here; afflicted with disease and having gone to a country where there is no medicine, what will he do?
24-25. Old age comes on like a tigress; life goes like water from a broken pot; diseases attack like foes. Therefore should he strive for the best.
So long as misery does not come, so long as calamity does not befall, so long as the senses are not decayed, so long should he strive for the best.
26-32. So long as the body lasts, so long should truth be pursued,–the stupid man digs his well when the corner of his house is already afire.
The time of death is not known by those who are variously embodied in the world of change. Alas! a man, between happiness and misery, does not know his own benefit.
Though seeing those just born, the afflicted, the dead, those whom calamity has befallen, and the miserable, people are never afraid, having drunk the liquor of delusion.
Riches are like unto a dream; youth is like a flower, life is fickle as lightning,–where is there a discerning one who is at ease?
Even a hundred years of life is very little, and half of it is sleep and idleness, and even that little is unfruitful owing to the miseries of childhood, disease and old age.
He does not do what ought to be done; when he should be awake he sleeps; where he should fear he confides. Alas! what man is not stricken.
How shall the individual who has taken a body, which is like foam on water and is attached to passing objects, be free from fear?
33-35. He who does not know what is good for him thinks the harmful beneficial, the impermanent permanent, and the evil good;
Though seeing, he falters; though hearing, he does not understand; though reading, he does not know; bewildered by the divine magic.
This universe is immersed in the boundless ocean of death,–though grasped by the crocodiles of death, disease and old age, he does not understand.
36-38. Time, though wearing away with every moment, is unnoticed, just as an unbaked pot placed in water disappears imperceptibly.
Air may be enclosed, ether may be split; waves may be bound,–life cannot be made permanent.
Earth is burnt away by time; even Meru is reduced to powder; the water of the ocean is dried away–what shall be said of the body?
39-41. The wolf of death forcibly slays the lamb of a mortal, who prates of “my offspring; my wife; my wealth; my relatives.”
“This has been done; this is to be done; this other is done or not done.” Him who is thus prating death overpowers.
“It must be done to-morrow; it must be done to-day; in the morning or in the afternoon,”–death does not consider whether it leas been done or not done.
42. Thou shalt encounter the enemy, death, whose, coming is shown by age, who has an army of dreadful diseases–wilt thou not see the saviour?
43-44. Death preys upon the man with the needles of thirst, bitten by the serpent of sense-objects, and baked in the fire of desire and repulsion.
Death attacks children, young men, the old, those in the embryo condition,–such is this world of creatures.
45-48. This individual, leaving his own body, goes to the abode of Yama. What is the good of association with wife, mother, father, son and others?
The world of change is verily the root of misery. He who is in it is afflicted with misery. He who abandons it becomes happy,–otherwise never.
This world of change, which is the source of all misery, the seat of all calamities, and the refuge of all sins, should be abandoned at once.
A man bound in fetters of iron or wood may be released, but from the fetters of son and wife can never be freed.
49-51. So long as the being makes attachments pleasant to the mind, so long shall the dagger of sorrow pierce his heart.
People are destroyed every day by the desire for great wealth. Alas! Fie upon the foods of the senses, which steal away the senses of the body.
Just as the fish, covetous of flesh, does not see the iron hook, so the embodied, covetous of pleasure, does not see the torments of Yama.
52-55. Those men who do not understand what is good and what is not good for them, who constantly pursue evil courses, and are intent on the filling of the belly, are destined for hell, O Bird.
Sleep, sexual pleasure, and eating are common to all creatures. Who possesses knowledge is called a man, who is devoid of it is called a beast.
Foolish men are tormented at break of day by nature’s calls; when the sun is in the meridian by hunger and thirst; in the night by passion and sleep.
All those beings who are attached to their bodies, wealth, wife and other things, are born and die deluded by ignorance, alas!
56-57. Therefore should attachment be shunned always, It is not possible to give up everything. therefore should friendship with the great be cultivated, as a remedy for attachment.
Attachment to the good, discrimination, and purity of the eyes–the man who has not these is blind. How shall he not tread evil ways?
58. All those deluded men who turn away from the duties of their respective castes and orders, and do not understand the highest righteousness, perish fruitlessly.
59-60. Some are intent upon ceremonies, attached to the practice of vows; with self enveloped in ignorance the imposters go about.
The men who are attached to the ceremonial alone are satisfied with mere names, deluded by the repetitions of mantras, oblations and other things, and by elaborate rituals.
61-62. The fools, bewildered by My magic, desire to obtain the invisible by single meals, fasts and other restraints, and by the emaciation of the body.
Of those who have no discrimination, what liberation can there be by bodily tortures alone? What great serpent is killed by beating the anthill alone? [*1]
63. The hypocrites, putting on appearances, and wearing quantities of matted hair, and using antelope skins, wander about like knowers, and even delude people.
64. He who is attached to the pleasures of the worlds of change, saying “I am a knower of Brahman,” and is devoid of both rites and Brahman should be shunned like a low outcaste.
65-69. Donkeys walk about among people, in forests and among houses, quite naked and unashamed. Are these free from attachment?
If men are to be liberated by earth, ashes and dust, does the dog which always live among earth and ashes become liberated?
The jackals, rats, deer and others, which feed upon grass, leaves and water, and always live in forests,–do these become ascetics?
The crocodiles, fishes and others, which from birth to death, dwell in the waters of Ganges,–do these become Yogins?
Pigeons at times eat stones, and Chataka birds do not drink water from the earth,–are these observers of vows?
70. Therefore this class of practices is a thing which makes pleasure for people, O Lord of Birds,–direct knowledge of the Truth is the cause of liberation.
71-73. Fallen into the great well of the six philosophies, [*1] O Bird, the brutes do not understand the chief good; bound in the snare of animalism.
They are tossed hither and thither in the dreadful ocean of Vedas and S’astras; caught in the six waves they remain sophists.
He who knows the Vedas, the S’astras and the Puranas, but does not know the chief good,–of that imitator all this is as the speech of a crow.
71-76. “This is known; this must be known,”–thus bewildered by anxiety they read the scriptures day and night, turning away from the highest truth.
The fools, decorated with garlands of poetry constructed of forms of speech, miserable with anxiety, remain with senses bewildered.
76-77. Men trouble themselves variously, but the highest truth is otherwise; they explain in different ways but the best purport of the S’astras is otherwise.
They talk of the highest experiences, not realising them themselves. Some have ceased preaching, being engrossed in egotism.
78-82. They repeat the Vedas and the S’astras, and argue with one , but they do not understand the highest truth,–like the spoon the flavour of the food.
The head bears flowers, the nostril knows the smell. They read the Vedas and the S’astras, but find impossible the understanding of the truth.
The fool, not knowing that the truth is seated in himself, is bewildered by the S’astras,–a foolish goatherd, with the young goat under his arm, peers into the well.
Verbal knowledge cannot destroy the illusions of the world of change,–darkness never disappears by talking of a lamp.
Reading, to a man devoid of wisdom, is like a mirror to the blind; hence, for those who have understanding, S’astras are only a potter to the knowledge of the truth.
83-84. “‘This is known; this must be known,”–he wishes to hear everything. If one lives for a thousand celestial years he cannot reach the end of the S’astras.
The S’astras are numerous; life is brief; and there are tens of millions of obstacles; therefore the essence should be understood,–like the swan taking the milk in the water.
85-86. Haring practised the Vedas and the S’astras, and having known the Truth, the wise man should abandon all the scriptures; just as one rich in grains abandons the straw.
Just as there is no use for food to one who is satisfied with nectar, so is there not use for the scriptures, O Tarksya, to the knower of the Truth.
87-88. There is no liberation by the study of the Vedas, nor by the reading of the S’astras. Emancipation is by knowledge alone, not otherwise, O son of Vinata.
The stages of life are not the cause of liberation, nor are the philosophies, nor are actions,—knowledge only is the cause.
89-90. The word from the Teacher gives liberation; all learning is masquerade. Among thousands of woods the Sanjivana [*1] is best.
The non-dual, verily declared auspicious, is beyond efforts of action, and to be obtained by the word of the Teacher, not by the study of tens of millions of texts.
91. Knowledge is said to be of two kinds: study and discrimination. The study is of S’abda Brahman; Para Brahman is reached by discrimination.
92. Some prefer the Non-dual [*2]; other prefer the Dual [*3] but they do not understand the One Reality, beyond the Dual and Non-dual.
93-94. Two phrases make for bondage and liberation: “Mine” and “Not-mine.” The being saying “Mine” is bound; saying “Not-mine” is released.
That is the karma that does not bind, that the knowledge that gives release; other karma is worrying, other knowledge is skilful chiselling.
95-97. So long as actions are performed; so long as the impressions of the world of change remain, so long as the senses are fickle; so long how can there be realisation of Truth?
So long as there is pride of body; so long as there is the sense of “mineness,” so long as there is excited striving; so long as there is imagination of plans;
So long as there is not stability of mind; so long as there is no meditation upon the S’astras, so long as there is no love for the Teacher; so long how can there be realisation of Truth?
98-99. So long as one does not reach Truth, so long should he do austerities, vows, pilgrimage to sacred waters, recitations, oblations, worship and reading of the prescribed texts of the Vedas and S’astras.
Therefore, if one desires liberation for himself, O Tarksya, he should every effort, always, and under all circumstances he attached to Truth.
100. One who is tormented by the three miseries and the rest, should resort to the shade of the tree of Liberation, whose flowers are righteousness and knowledge, and fruits are heaven and liberation.
101. Therefore from the mouth of the Blessed Teacher the Truth of the self should be known. By knowledge the being is easily released from the awful bondage of the worlds of change.
102. Listen! I will tell you now about the final actions of the knower of the Truth, by which he obtains liberation, which is called the Nirvana of Brahman.
103-107. His last days approaching, the man, rid of fear, should cut off, with the sword of unattachment, the desires connected with the body.
Courageously wandering from home, performing ablutions in the water of the holy bathing places, sitting alone on a pure seat prepared as prescribed,
He should practise mentally upon the supreme three-fold pure Word of Brahma. He should, with breath controlled, restrain his mind, not forgetting the Brahma Bija. [*1]
With reason for charioteer he should withdraw the senses from the sense-objects by the mind, and should fix his mind, drawn away by karmas, with understanding, upon the pure.
“1 am Brahman, the Supreme Abode; I am Brahman, the Highest Goal,”–having realised this and placed the self in the self he should meditate.
108. He who, when leaving the body, utters the one-syllabled Brahman, “Om,” remembering me, goes to the Highest Goal.
109-110. The hypocrites, devoid of knowledge and unattachment, do not go there. I will tell you about the wise, who go to that goal.
Free from pride and delusion, with the evils of attachment conquered, always dwelling in the Higher Self, with desires overcome, released from the contracts known as pleasure and pain, they go, undeluded, on that eternal path.
111-114. He who bathes in the water of the Manasa, [*1] which removes the impurities of attraction and repulsion, in the lake of knowledge, in the waters of Truth,–he verily attains liberation.
He who, firm in non-attachment, worships me, thinking of no other, full-visioned, with tranquil self,–he verily attains liberation.
He who, expecting to die, leaning his home, dwells at a sacred bathing-place, or dies in a place of liberation, he verily attains liberation.
Ayodhya, [*2] Mathura, [*3] Gaya, [*4] Kas’i, [*5] Kanchi, [*6] Avantika, [*7] Dwaravati, [*8]–these seven cities should be known as the givers of liberation.
115. This eternal way of liberal in al has been described to you, O Tarksya,–hearing it with knowledge and dispassion one attains liberation.
116. Knowers of Truth attain liberation; righteous men go to heaven; sinners go to an evil condition; birds and others transmigrate.
117. Thus in sixteen chapters I have related to you the extracted essence of all the scriptures. What else do you wish to hear?
118-120. Suta said: Having thus heard, O King, these words from the mouth of the Lord, Garuda, repeatedly prostrating himself, said this, with hands folded together:–
“O Lord, O God of Gods, having heard these words of nectar I have been helped over the ocean of existence, O Lord, O. Protector!
“I stand freed from doubts. My desires have been completely fulfilled.” Having said this, Garuda became silent and lost in meditation.
121. May Hari, the remembrance of whom removes evil, who gives the condition of happiness for the sacrifice of worship, and who gives liberation for supreme devotion to Him,–protect us.
^155:1 That is, One who knows the Self.
^156:1 Meaning that one may re-obtain these things after losing them–but not the body.
^161:1 There is supposed to be a serpent living in the ground beneath the ant-hill.
^162:1 Nyaya, Vais’esika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimansa, Vedanta.
^165:1 The plant brought by Hanumat to restore Laksman when killed by Indrajit.
^165:2 Adwaita philosophy. Eternal inseparateness and non-duality.
^165:3 Dwaita. Separateness of the individual and universal self.
^167:1 Bija is a seed; a mantra governing a work such as an Upanisad Om.
^168:1 A holy lake in the Himalayas, also a mystical place.
^168:2 Perhaps Oudh.
I am indebted to Tormod Kinnes for kind permission to use the following material from this website: http://oaks.nvg.org/sa1ra10.html. Copyright remains with Tormod Kinnes.
Garuda Purana Essentials
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A Purana is a holy text among Hindus (and Buddhists and Jains). The word purana means “of ancient times”. Puranans are old works, a group of religious texts. There are many puranas. What most of them have in common, is a build-up that tells of creation, genealogies of the kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and describes Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography. In other words, a Purana is a collection of myth, legend, and genealogy, and tells versions of how the world was made.
Puranas are usually written in the form of stories told by one person to someone else. Purana texts might have been written all over India, although Vyas is traditionally considered the compiler of them. Common ideas are found throughout the various Puranas. The age and origin of Puranas vary greatly, and they have been added to in the course of time as well.
In Puranic texts sectarianism has crept into ancient mythology, usually with one god extolled above others. Puranas are structured similarly, but are devoted to or they extol different gods, even though various Puranas contain the same stories or similar stories.
About eighteen of the many texts called ‘Puranas’ are called Mahapuranas, great puranas. Dimmitt and van Buitenen have listed twenty – the numbers in brackets are verses each contains):
There are also at least twenty Puranas more to be found.The Garuda Purana is in the Atharva-Veda and is classified as one of the Vishnu Puranas.
More on Puranas
The Puranas constitute a class of literature that deals with legends of gods, asuras (demons), sages and kings of old, and contans abstracts of works in arts, sciences, medicine, grammar, dramaturgy, music, astrology and other subjects, affords insight into different phases and aspects of Hinduism – its mythology, idol-worship, theism, pantheims, love of God, philosophy, superstition, festivals and ceremonies. Puranas are “folk encyclopedies” of ancient and medieval Hinduism. [From a definition – Gpu xvi]
Puranas also tell of duties among men, and they are written in an easy, flowing style. About eighteen surviving Puranas are called more important than other Puranas. The Garuda Purana is among the main ones, who – to repeat – deal with quite similar material. This means Puranas is an eclective genre.
The speaker of the Garuda Purana is Garud(a), who narrates it to Kasyapa, who tells it to Vyasa, to in turn narrates it to Shiva. The work has three parts (kandas). They are Acara kanda (also called karma kanda) of 240 chapters, which deals with karma; preta kanda (dharma kanda), which deals with dharma (law, justice, etc.); and Brahma kanda (moksha kanda), which speaks of liberation, freedom (moksha) [Gpu ix-xx]
The Garuda Purana was produced through several stages, and was subjected to revisions and redactions. And therefore it is difficult to fix the date of the Purana as a whole, writes J. H. Shastri. Further, as a Purana devoted to Vishnu, the Garuda Purana gives prominent place to him, before Shiva, Brahma, and other ancient, Vedic gods. Although the work describes Vishnu as the Supreme Being, that does not exclude attention to or honour of other deities. The supreme deity can be realized by knowledge and not worship (kriya), it is held (Gpu III 12:59), and the Purana holds that the individual self and the Supreme Self are identical. To realize this is liberation, explains Shastri, and tells the Lord is eternal and formless (etc.). [Gpu xxvii-xxxv].
The content of this Purana reflects a sad fact: that in the Puranic literature of AD 500 to 1000, sectarianism creeps into mythology, and one god is extolled above the others. The tendecy to theism in the Puranic universe exalts several supreme gods who are not prominent in the Vedic pantheon (the ancient assembly of gods and goddesses). Of prime interest are cosmology, myths, and ascetics who sometimes eclipse the old gods through their tapas (penance).
In the Puranic world-picture the mountain Meru stands at the centre. Some interpret Mt. Meru symbolically to mean the spine. There are seven layers of heaven, and the summit of heaven is the world (loka, level) of God the Creator.
Puranic myths develop around the notion of four yugas (world ages): (1) The Satya or Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali-Yuga. In the order given, they show increasing deterioration of moral and features and social conditions. “The more Kali-Yuga, the more predicaments”. Each yuga has its “dawn” and “dusk” (skandas).
– Tormod Kinnes
The most unfortunate women sinned against their husbands
GOD the Creator and others can see Srinivasa as of eternal form of lustrous body. [3.24.8-11]
During sports wearing of blue cloth is not forbidden. Nor it is forbidden as a bedsheet. An indigo dyed cloth should not be touched otherwise. Persons regularly using blue cloth will fall into hell. [1.222.49]
A woman who commits sins against her husband alive or dead shall never get a husband in her rebirth. She will be the most unfortunate creature among women. [2.26.59]
A soft-hearted, truthful, pure, and kind-natured brahmin went to a forest to practice penance. He used to perform homas and great sacrifices. He was afraid of the other world. He strictly followed the instruction of his preceptor. He was delighted in serving guests. He observed yogic practices. He spent years in the secluded forest. Then the idea of visiting holy centres entered his mind. [2.22.22-27]
He who transcribes Itihasas (epics) or Puranas or makes a gift of them, attains merit equal to that of gifting Vedic text or even twice the fruit. [1.98.16-17]
In the Krita age they extol penance; in the Treta they extol knowledge, in Dvapara sacrifices and charities and in the Kali only gifts are extolled. [2.34.2]
One should feed a brahmin every day faithfully. [cf. 1.50.73]
I tell a great secret. There is nothing that the preceptor will not disclose to his disciple. [3.21.33]
The universe evolved out of the Cosmic Egg is secondary creation.
The giver of the Vedas (in manuscript) attains the region of Brahma not accessible even to gods. Those who transcribe the Vedas with meanings, yajna sastras, dharma sastras, on payment, also attain the region of Brahma. [1.98.14]
There are five types of boats [panca pravahana] to succour saintly men who may otherwise get drowned in the ocean of worldly existence – tulasi, brahmins, cows, Primeval Being, and the Ekadasi day. [2.29.23]
Getting “drowned” in Primeval Being is all-good, and Self-Knowledge, gurus say, on the other hand.* [Added commentary]
The wise declare . . . where there is no exegesis or commentary on the supreme songs . . . where there are no people who understand the substance thereof, one should not live even for a moment. [3.20.26]
The wise declare knowledge to be manifold, consisting of various grades – high, low and middling. All that knowledge is found in the Bhagavata Purana. [3.1.45]
Prana (vital airs) is called ahamkara; it is a part of Garutmat [Garuda]. It is inferior to Kama and Indra by ten percent. [3.28.36]
There are people who are dead by fasts [hunger?], killed by fanged animals, dead by strangulation, who are slayers of preceptors, killed by wolves, who die of arson or imprecations of Brahmins, who die of cholera, who commit suicide, who fall from a peak and die, who hang themselves to death, who are drowned in tank, river or ocean – listen to their plight. These go to hell. [2.40.4-12]
Abiding in the hearts of his devotees, he multiplies their devotion to God the Being. Therefore he [Wind, Vayu] is called the devotee of God. [3.16.28]
They study the Vedas and discuss. But they do not realize the Ultimate Reality just as a spoon does not know the taste of food. [2.49.78]
One should enjoy the essence of the Bhagavata Purana – a rare thing in this mortal world. One should enjoy the essence so that tears of joy may trickle down the eye – a phenomena very rare to occur. [3.20.43]
He who eats sweets only becomes rheumatic [2.2.73]
The ghost torments his family [too if ] while he was in human body he was affectionate to his people – and now that he is dead he becomes hostile to them. [2.20.15]
Sumati, the wife of Kratu, gave birth to Balakhilyas (Valikhilyas). Sixty thousand in number, resplendent like the blazing sun, although they were of the size of thumb – they became sages of sublimated vitality. [1.5.14-16]
Bodies are perishable, riches are transitory, death is ever present. Hence, virtue should be accumulated. [2.47.24]
When the soul of the dying person does not leave the body but lingers on, salt should be gifted as it opens the door of the heaven. [2.4.15]
The seekers of eternal wisdom should know that the material objects consist of infinitesimal particles. Y [3.3.39-40]
When the expiatory and deterrent tortures in hell cease, the living beings are born again in human (or animal) form with the characteristic traits of their sins. [2.46.9-10] (2)
One should worship Primeval Being with all eight organs of the body [astanga-pranama]. [cf. 3.24.40]
The amount of sleep, fears, and riches is not evenly distributed among people. City folks tend to suffer most.
A person who has mastered all the systems of Vedanta [philosophy] can be better than thousands of who perform sacrifice reciting mantras. A devotee of the Primeval Being may be better than ten millions of such Vedantins. [1.227.12] (3)
He who does not keep a cow at home, is unaware of the art of milking it or is averse to nourishing it, passes his life [quite] in vain. [3.29.45]
By means of japas, homas and danas he should sanctify his body. If this is performed, all obstacles and hindrances are dispelled. [2.21.23] (4)
If a man calls out the name of the Lord even in his dream it destroys all his sins. [1.227.13]
Praya is a penance wherein the mind is controlled. [3.21.4]
He who hears [no] praise of the good suffers from ear disease. [2.2.85]
Sleep, fear, sex and food are equal for all creatures. [2.49.53]
Certain men of sinful actions become ghosts after death [2.22.3.]
After eating garlic and onion one could [try to] perform Candrayana. [cf. 1.96.72]
People praise a rich man with great respect wishing for some monetary profit. [1.230.50]
If the woman is in a mood to receive the husband on any night he should satisfy her, remembering that lust in women is terrible. [1.95.24-26]
Those alone are worthy of recital who remain satisfied with whatever money is offered willingly by devotees. [3.20.35-37]
If a person steals flowers he is born as a poor beggar. [1.225.30]
There are many attributes of the beginningless soul. [cf. 2.46.31-32]
Going for wealth, delicate pleasures, and freedom are worthy goals in Hinduism. Do not wait to secure your happiness, then.
Vedas can be spoiled by misinterpreters. [cf. 1.223.28] (5)
Conception usually takes place within eight days. On the fifth day the woman is given sweet dishes which is a good tonic for the embryo. Astringent and pungent things should not be taken at all. [2.32.15-16]
God has created the universe with Vedas as the basis. [1.98.15]
He who rapes an immature girl becomes a serpent. [2.46.20-21]
For those walking on the path of Yama, dharma, artha, kama and moksa – or righteousness, wealth, pleasure (lust), and freedom – are secondary [2.48.4-6]
It is very rare to keep company with the good and noble people who can throw light on the nature of tattvas. [3.24.125]
In the house where there is no cow or the holy basil plant in the courtyard, where the inmates do not celebrate any festival for the gods, where there is no recitation of the narrative of God, one should never stay even for a moment, for association with the inmates of that house will lead to misery. [3.29.43-44]
[In Yamaloka (in a death-realm) a dead man gives up his dreadful body and receives an airy body of the size of a thumb. [cf. 2.18.39-40]
They say penance is a self-reflection, whereby reality is sought to be determined, or it is a way of repentance for the sins of previous life. [3.21.3]
Primeval God alone is the son because He protects against the hell Pum which is none other than this body itself. [3.26.16]
People do not realize the true form of Lord Hari. [3.24.12]
If a person casts off food and water and drinks only the water from My feet [caranamrta], he is not reborn on the earth. [2.36.16]
More important than fasting is the constant thought of Vasudeva.* [1.230.11]
One shall do today what is to be done tomorrow, before noon what is to be done afternoon – but whether done or not done, death does not wait whether a person has completed the task or left in incomplete. [2.49.41]
The Primeval Being alone is real. [3.28.68]
In this world of mortals . . . Kali is known as . . . the endless pain incarnate. [3.12.82-83]
Vaisva deva (oblations to fire before meals intended for all deities collectively) shall be performed – it is called Deva yajna. The offering to bhutas – living beings or spirits – is to be known as bhuta yajna. [1.50.71]
A ghost once said to a brahmin: “Excellent brahmin, our ghosthood is the outcome of our own misdeeds. We had been engaged in harassing others. [2.22.33]
He who imparts knowledge to the undeserving becomes a bull. [2.46.16]
There is no sin in accepting food from an ascetic, Vedic scholar or a high-souled person. [cf. 3.23.25]
Rare are the devotees of [God] in Kali age. [3.19.39]
A man depositing his semen in a vagina is actually sowing a seed. For the proper growth of the child the woman should avoid excessive sunshine. Cooling articles should be resorted to. [cf. 2.32.17]
Get a jar of heated gold manufactured by the smith. Fill it with milk or butter. With full devotion to God the Creator, Primeval Being (Guardian), God the Destroying Agent, and the guardians of quarters [dik-palas] give the same to a brahmin. What avails hundreds of other gifts is compared to this. [2.27.57]
People are content with their routine work. But that does not help them to reach the goal. It is the knowledge of truth or reality that effects release. [2.49.70]
Right action does not put one into bondage. [2.49.94]
By accepting duality as a matter of fact, one feels quite happy. [3.28.73]
[The nine “planets”:] The Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu [Rahu and Ketu are no planets, they are the Moon’s nodes against the constellations (TK).] The malignant aspect is countermanded respectively by wearing copper, bell metal, crystal, the red sandalwood, gold, silver, iron, lead and bell metal on their bodies. [1.101.2-3]
The eternal Goddess Laksmi is inseparable from the Lord. . . . She is always awakened. [3.16.3]
In this world, there are several women who though married are always widows. Those who do not regard Hari as their husband – Hari who is beginningless, eternal, the quintessence of the universe, beautiful, bestower of liberation and accomplisher of desires – are always widows. [3.19.31]
The existence of the universe is actual and not a fiction. Those who speak otherwise are slayers of truth. The course of the universe is true, o Lord, the service of the Lord is also true. [3.10.52-54]
Eyes are prone to gaze at men and women. Excessive doting takes away sleep. [3.28.77] (7)
There are ten principal “nerves” [nadis, energy vessels] in the body: Ida, Pingala, Susumna, Gandhari, Gajajihva, Pusa, Yasa, Alambusa, Kuhu and Sankhini. [2.32.43-44]
Can the ignorant fools get release by torturing their body? [2.49.62]
He who slanders Brahmins becomes a tortoise. [2.46.23-24]
The very sight of good men is better than the holy places of pilgrimage. [1.221.23]
Gold is the first offspring of fire, land of God, and cow of the sun. [2.42.4]
Usually, man completes the allotted span of life, dies and is born again. As a result of the influence of sacred rites and gifts he is able to complete his life’s term. [cf. 2.24.32-33]
A personal soul is an eye that perceives the universe. The knowledge of the universe is the knowledge belonging to Laksmi. [cf. 3.16.2]
Rare is the dialogue with God. [3.19.41]
Rise up, God, that are ever watchful. Deprived of true knowledge and engrossed in worldly affairs from kalpa to kalpa, I undergo tortuous pains. [3.2.64]
He who lays down his life for the sake of his preceptor, a brahmin, a woman or a child attains salvations. [2.38.16] (8)
Unfortunate women sin against their husbands, and then by stages get whiny, nervous and fearful and mad as a result. Wise women, on the other hand, secure their calm and happiness by reciting mantras, doing daily chores like milking, keeping good company, and thinking of God. They may also reach right action.
Shastri, J. H. ed. The Garuda Purana, 3 Vols. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978.
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