The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 20 - Hells in nether regions

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

1. Thereafter, O brahmins, the hells are situated beneath the waters. The sinners are hurled down into them. Now, hear about them attentively, O excellent brahmins.

2-6. They are Raurava, Śaukara, Rodha, Tāna, Viśasana, Mahājvāla, Taptakumbha, Mahālobha, Vimohana, Rudhirāndha, Vaitaraṇī, Kṛmīśa, Kṛmibhojana, Asipatravana, Kṛṣṇa, Lālabhakṣa, Pūyavaha, Papa, Vahnijvāla, Adhaḥśiras, Sadaṃśa, Kṛṣṇasūtra, Tamas, Avīci, Śvabhojana, Apratiṣṭha and a second Avīci. There are other similar hells extremely terrible which fall under the jurisdiction of Yama. They terrify by means of weapons and fires. The persons who are engaged in sinful activities fall into them.

7. He who commits perjury, he who speaks with partiality and he who utters falsehood falls into Raurava hell.

8. O excellent sages, he who destroys a foetus, he who murders his preceptor, he who slays cows and he who suffocates others—all these fall into terrible Raurava hell.

9. He who drinks wine, he who slays a brahmin, he who steals gold and he who comes into contact with these—all these fall into Śūkara hell.

10. He who murders a king, a Vaiśya and a royal soldier, he who defiles the bed of his preceptor and he who indulges in sexual intercourse with his sister—all these fall into Taptakumbha hell.

II. He who sells his chaste wife, he who keeps wine for sale, he who sells saffron, and he who discards a devoted friend or servant—all these fall into Taptaloha hell.

12-13. He who indulges in sexual intercourse with his daughter or daughter-in-law is hurled into Mahājvāla hell. He who insults preceptors and elders, he who reviles at them, he who slanders the Vedas, he who sells the Vedas and he who cohabits with the forbidden women falls into Sabala hell, O brahmins.

14-17. A thief falls into Vimoha hell, so also the person who defiles the line of demarcation of boundary.

He who hates Devas, brahmins and Pitṛs, he who spoils-jewels—falls into Kṛmibhakṣa hell.

He who performs an ill-conducted sacrifice falls into Kṛmīśa hell.

The base man who takes food prior to Pitṛs, Devas and guests falls into Lālābhakṣa hell. The maker of arrows falls into Vedhaka hell.

Those who make arrows with knots, those who make swords, and other destructive weapons fall into the terrible hell Víśasana.

He who receives gifts from indecent men falls into Adhomukha hell.

18. He who performs a sacrifice on behalf of a person not entitled to that privilege, he who foretells by studying stars and he who partakes of sweet cooked food all by himself falls into Kṛmipūya hell.

19. O brahmins, the brahmin who sells lac, gravy, gingelly seeds and salt falls into the same hell.

20. O excellent brahmins he who rears or eats poultry, goats, pigs and birds falls into the same hell.

21-22. He who subsists on the stage or the trade of fish, he who partakes of food from the hand of the bastard, he who administers poison, he who adopts the profession of a spy or a secret informer, he who rears buffaloes, or being a brahmin indulges in sexual intercourse on Parvan days, he who commits arson, he who hates friends, he who behaves as a deceptive and he who performs a sacrifice on behalf of all and sundry in the village and he who sells Soma juice falls into hell Rudhirandha.

23-24. He who destroys honey, he who commits multi-murder of villagers falls into hell Vaitaraṇī.

Those who drink semen, those who break boundary lines or flout limits of decency, those who do not observe pollution (i.e. After birth of an infant or death of kinsman) and those who maintain themselves on deception fall into Kṛcchra hell. He who cuts off a forest in vain falls into hell Asipatravana.

25. Those who hunt wild goats, sheep, or deer fall into hell Vahnijvāla. O brahmins, they too who burn things that should not be burnt, fall into hell.

26. He who commits omissions in the observance of holy rites and he who errs while performing duties of his stage (āśrama) fall into Sandaṃśa hell and endure its tortures.

27. Those men and religious students who have vowed to celibacy but who discharge semen by day or during dreams, at night and those who are taught by their sons fall into Śvabhojana hell.

28. These are the main hells, there are hundreds, and thousands of similar hells where the perpetrators of heinous crimes are cooked by day and night and tortured.

29. These sins and thousands of similar sins are atoned for by men who are brought to suffering to one or other of these hells.

30. Those who act contrary to the tenets of disciplined life of Varṇas and Āśramas mentally, physically or verbally, fall into these hells.

31. The gods in heaven are seen by the people of hells with their heads directed above. The gods see the residents of hells far below, their heads directed below.

32-33. The following beings attain absolution in that order:—the immobile beings, worms, aquatic animals, birds, animals, men, righteous persons and Devas. The latter ones of these constitute a thousandth part of the former ones among them. All these, O highly blessed ones, progress till they achieve salvation.

34. There are as many dwellers in hell as there are creatures in heaven. He who commits sins but is averse to expiate for them, falls into hell.

35. Holy rites of expiation have been mentioned by great sages in proportion to sins. They have mentioned them being fully aware which particular expiation is capable of quelling the particular sin.

36. O leading brahmins, Manu and other sages have mentioned rites of atonement—elaborate ones if the sin is elaborate and minor ones if the sin is minor.

37. The acts of expiations are in the nature of austerities or holy rites. Of all of them the remembrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the most effective.

38. After committing a sin if a person repents for it, he should remember Viṣṇu—which is the sole rite of expiation for him. This is the greatest of all holy rites.

39. Remembering Viṣṇu at dawn, night, dusk or midday the man attains Viṣṇu because his sins are immediately quelled.

40. By remembering Viṣṇu his pains and strains perish immediately and they attain absolution. Attainment of heaven is an obstacle into him.

41. O leading brahmins, the benefits such as attaining the Status of Indra as a result of Japa, Homa, worship etc are obstacles to a man whose mind is set on Vāsudeva.

42. Where is the attainment of heaven characterised by a return once again to the Earth? Where is the Japa of Vāsudeva which is the most excellent cause of absolution (where there is no return to this earth)?

43. Hence, no brahmin, no man, who remembers Viṣṇu day and night, falls into hell. If he has incurred sins they perish immediately.

44. That which delights the mind is heaven. That which is contrary in effect is hell. O excellent brahmins, good and evil are given the appellations of heaven and hell.

45. The one and the same object is conducive to misery as well as happiness. It produces malice and wrath. Hence there can never be an object solely of the nature of sorrow?

46. The same object generates pleasure at the outset, but later on, it yields misery. The same object causes pain, wrath but later on gives pleasure.

47. Hence, there is nothing which is solely of the nature of sorrow or solely of the nature of pleasure. It is the changed phase of mind that is characterised by happiness or sorrow.

48. Knowledge alone is the greatest Brahman; knowledge alone is effective for removing bondage. The universe is of the nature of knowledge. There is nothing greater than knowledge.

49-50. O brahmins let this be understood that knowledge alone is learning and ignorance.

Thus the sphere of Earth has been recounted to you by me. Similarly, O brahmins, I have recounted the nether regions, hells, oceans, mountains, continents subcontinents and rivers succinctly. Everything has been mentioned to you. What else do you desire to know?

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