Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes royal bath (pushyasnana) which is the forty-eighth Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 48 - Royal bath (puṣyasnāna)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. The king forms the root of the tree of Society. As the Society prospers or suffers according as the king is in a healthy or unhealthy condition of mind or body, he becomes an important subject for consideration.

2. That ceremony of purification dictated by Brahmā to Bṛhaspati for the benefit of Indra and learning which Vṛddha Garga taught to Bhāgura, hear now from me.

3. The priest and the astrologer shall advise and help the king to have the bath known as Puṣya Snāna. There is no bath as effective as this in freeing the king from all evils.

4. The site for the bath shall be free from the trees Śleṣmātaka[1] and Akṣa,[2] and from thorny trees and trees of pungent and bitter flavour as well as trees of bad odour; and the place shall also be free from owls, vultures and the like birds.

5. It may be a beautiful forest full of luxuriant trees, shrubs, creepers, thin tendrils, thick foliage and of tender leaves.

6-7. Or it may be some pure building near a forest rendered beautiful by the presence of the cock, Jīvas, Jīvakas, the parrot, the peacock, the woodpecker, the king-fisher, the Hārīta pigeons, the Krakara (a kind of partridge), the cuckoo, the francoline partridge, the Cātaka, the Vañjulā, the turtle dove and the like; and by bees intoxicated by sucking the honey from flowers, and by the cuckoo and the like.

8. Or it may be the beautiful and agreeable beds of rivers with lines made by birds at play;

9. Or it may be by the side of a tank with the blue lotus for its eyes, the jumping swan for its umbrella, and with the music of the duck, the osprey, and the crane, thus resembling Indra.

10. Or it may be by the side of a tank of lotus whose stem resembles a girl with the full blown flower for her eyes, the music of the swan for her voice, and the big buds for her bosom.

11. Or it may be a cow pen rendered agreeable by the falling foam from the mouth of the cows, by their dung, their footprints, and by the skipping of the new born calf.

12. Or it may be some spot on the sea beach near a harbour full of tall ships, that have made successful voyages and rendered pleasant by birds living in the Nicula trees.

13. Or it may be the sacred hermitage of some Ṛṣis in which the lion is not feared by the doe, and in which a promise of protection is given to helpless birds and to the young deer.

14. Or it may be some human dwelling rendered happy by the presence of a beautiful young woman whose gait is impeded by the weight of her girdle, her anklet and her heavy hips, whose eyes are soft as those of the deer, and whose voice is sweet as the musical note of the cuckoo.

15. Or it may be some pure and holy place of worship on the banks of sacred rivers or flower gardens, or some beautiful ground or the banks of rivers flowing from west to east or from south to north, or some spot where the river moves in a curve from left to right.

16. It must be a spot free from ash, charcoal, bones, saline soil, hair, ditch, crab holes, hog holes, rat holes and ant hills.

17. The site may be firm, of good scent, of agreeable appearance and of sweet soil and even, or the ground may be one which at one time was occupied by an army, if such ground were of the description given above. If the king performs his Puṣya Snāna in any of these places, he will triumph in war.

18. The Jyotiṣaka, the minister and the priest shall leave the town by night and march towards the north or north-east.

19. There the priest shall perform pūjā to the Devas with fried grain, coloured rice, curdled milk and flowers; the mantras for invocation of the Devas have also been stated by the Ṛṣis:

20. I invite the presence here of all the Devas whom this pūjā might please and in whose honour this pūjā is performed—the Dik Devas, the Nāga Devas and the Brāhmaṇa Devas.

21. On inviting the Devas as prescribed above, the priest shall address them as follows: “You shall all receive pūjā again tomorrow”, and after blessing the king may depart.

22. After offering pūjā to the Devas invited, the party shall spend the night at the spot, and the interpretation of the good or bad dreams that may be dreamt is given in my work on Yoga-Yātrā.

23. The party shall rise early next morning, and proceeding to the forest shall procure the several articles required for Puṣya Snāna. and there are ślokas of Ṛṣis on this point:

24. On the ground intended for the bath, the priest shall draw a circle, cover it with gems and mark in it places for the several Devas.

25. The priest shall then represent in the circle the figures of the Nāgas, the Yakṣas, the Devas, the Pitṛs, the Gandharvas, the Apsarās. the Ṛṣis and the Siddhas.

26. He shall also represent the figures of the planets, the constellations, the Rudras, the Saptamātās (seven mothers), Skanda, Viṣṇu, Viśākhas. the Lokapālas and the wives of the Devas.

27. The figures shall be made of various agreeable and scented colours, and the priest shall perform pūjā to them as prescribed in the Śāstras with sandal paste, wreathes of flowers and the like.

28. He shall satisfy the Devas by the offer of sweet-meats, various preparations of rice, fruits, roots, meat, sweet and agreeable drinks, liquor, milk and alcohol.

29. I shall now proceed to state the pūjā rules contained in the Śāstras; as regards pūjā to the planets, the rules of Planetary Sacrifices should be followed.

30. The Piśācas, the Asuras and the Rākṣasas shall be gratified by the offer of meat, rice, toddy and the like. The Pitṛs shall be gratified by the pouring out of oil over the figures representing them, by eye salve, and by the offer of gingelly. meat, rice and the like.

31. The Ṛṣis shall be honoured by the recitation of the Sāma mantras, Yajur mantras, Ṛk mantras, and with sandal paste, scented smoke and flower wreathes. The Nāga Devas shall be honoured by the recitation of the Aśleṣaka Varṇas, and by the offer of sugar, honey and ghee.

32. The Devas shall be satisfied by the offer of scented smoke, āhutis of ghee, flower wreathes, gems, praises and prostration. The Gandharvas and Apsarās shall be gratified by the offer of sandal paste, flower wreathes and scented smoke.

33. The other Devas shall be gratified by the offer of various lands of food eaten by all castes of men. All the Devas shall be adorned with cord amulets, banners, ornaments and sacred threads.

34. The priest shall then form a fire on the western or southern side of the circle on ground prepared for the purpose, and shall procure a quantity of the long Kuśa grass containing no inner blades and other requisites for the fire ceremonies.

35. He shall procure fried grain, oil, coloured rice, curdled mild, honey, mustard seed, sandal paste, flowers, scented smoke, yellow pigment (Gorocana), collyrium, gingelly seed and the several sweet fruits of the season.

36. He shall also procure ghee and rice cooked in milk (all in earthen plates), and with all the above shall perform pūjā on the western side of the Vedī (prepared ground) which Vedī shall also be used for the bath.

37. On the four comers of the Vedī shall be placed strong posts with white threads tied round their neck and with their mouths covered with leaves of milky trees and fruits.

39-40. There shall be placed pots filled with water for Puṣya Snāna, into which shall be thrown gems and the several substances for the bath. Garga has given a list of the substances required for the purpose.

39-41. The seeds or roots to be thrown into the pots are—Jyotiṣmatī,[3] Trāyamāṇā,[4] Abhayā,[5] Aparājitā,[6] Jīva,[7] Viśveśvarī, Pāṭhā,[8] Sabhaṅgā, Vijayā,[9] Sahā,[10] Sahadevī,[11] Pūrṇakośā,[12] Śatāvarī,[13] Ariṣṭikā,[14] Śivā,[15] Bhadrā,[16] Brāhmī,[17] Kṣemā,[18] Ajā,[19] and all seeds as well as gold and all plants and juices of good properties.

42. He shall also put into the pots gems, various fragrant substances, the leaves of Bilva, and the root of long pepper and creepers bearing good names, as well as silver and other good substances.

43. This over, the skin of a full grown fine bull shall be spread on the ground with the head towards the east,

44. Over it shall be spread the skin of the Yodha (fighting bull), over it again, the skin of the lion, and over it the skin of the tiger.

45-46. On spreading these skins one over the other on the Vedī in an auspicious hour while the moon is in the asterism of Puṣya, the king’s throne (seat) made purely of gold or silver or copper, or of the wood of milky tree, shall be placed over the skins.

47. The height of the seat may be either a cubit or a cubit and a quarter or a cubit and a half; if the seat be of the height mentioned above, the king will triumph over his enemies, will be the ruler of vast tracts of land, and will be happy and prosperous.

48. Gold shall be placed in the middle of the seat and the king shall sit over it with a happy and peaceful mind surrounded by ministers, friends, priests, astronomers, aged citizens, and persons bearing agreeable names.

49. The heralds shall sing aloud the praises of the king and the Brāhmaṇas shall chant hymns from the Vedas, and with these shall be sounded the drum and the conch shell driving away all evils from the king.

50. The king shall be dressed in new white silk clothes, and the priest shall spread over him a woollen shawl, and pour over him several pots of ghee after dedicating the same to the Devas.

51. The number of the ghee vessels shall be eight, twenty-eight or one hundred and eight. If this number is increased, there will be an increase of prosperity. There are mantras for the ghee bath stated by Ṛṣis:

52. Ghee is stated to be light; it washes off sins; it is the food of the Devas, and the world continues to exist by it.

53. “May all the sins committed by You in your incarnations on the Earth, in heaven and in the middle region be washed off by contact with ghee.”

54. The priest shall then remove the shawl from the king’s person and shall bathe the king in the holy waters meant for the sacred bath, strewn over with fruits and flowers, chanting the following mantras:

55. “May the ancient Siddha, Devas, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, the Sādhya Devas and the Marut Devas bathe you in the holy waters.

56. May the twelve Ādityas (suns), the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the two Aśvini Devas (celestial physicians), Aditi (the mother of the Devas), Svāhā (the wife of Agni), Siddhi and Sarasvatī bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna.

57. May Kīrti, Lakṣmī, Dhṛti, Śrī, Sinīvālī, Kuhū, Danu (the mother of Asuras), Surasā (the mother of the Rākṣasas), Vinatā (the mother of Garuḍa), Kadru (the mother of the serpents), bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna.

58. May the other wives and mothers of the Devas not mentioned above and all the Apsarās bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna.

59. May the deities presiding over the Nakṣatras, over the Muhūrtas, the Pakṣas (fortnights), the Ahorātras (day and night), the Sandhyās (periods of interval), the Saṃvatsaras (years), the Varas (weeks), the Kalās, the Kāṣṭhās, the Kṣaṇas and the Lavas bathe you in the holy water of Puṣyasnāna.

60. May all the Devas presiding over various other divisions of time, may the Devas moving in their celestial vehicles, may the Manuṣya and the Sāgaras bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna.

61-66. May the Saptaṛṣis with their wives, the Devas residing in the Polar regions, Marīci, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Bhṛgu, Sanatkumāra, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, Dakṣa, Jaigīṣavya, Bhagandara, Ekata. Dvita. Trita, Jābāli, Kaśyapa, Durvāsā, Kaṇva and Kātyāyana; may Mārkaṇḍeya of great devotion, Śunaḥśepha, Vidūratha, Ūrva, Saṃvarttaka, Cyavana, Atri, Parāśara, Dvaipāyana (Vyāsa), Yavakrīta, Devarāja, his younger brother and other Ṛṣis learned in the Vedas and who act up to them, with their disciples and their wives bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna, as well as the deities presiding over mountains, trees, creepers, sacred places of devotion or worship.

67-70. May the Devas presiding over large rivers, the Nāgas, the Kimpuruṣas, the renowned Vaikhānasas (a sect of Vānaprasthins) and the birds of the air, Prajāpati, Diti, the all useful cows, the vehicles of the Devas and the spirit presiding over the whole Universe and over movable and immovable objects, also the Agnis (tires), the Pitṛ Devas, the Stars and the Spirits presiding over the clouds, the sky, the several directions or points of the compass and other Devas of fame, bathe you in the holy waters of Puṣyasnāna and thereby free you from all evils; may they bless you with long life, health and happiness.

71. There shall then be recited the Rudragaṇa mantras, the Kauṣmāṇḍa mantras, the Mahārauhiṇa mantras and mantras sacred to Kubera, all referred to in Atharva Veda.

72. Also the three mantras beginning with Āpohiṣṭha and the four mantras beginning with Hiraṇyavarṇa, shall be recited. After the bath, the king shall wear a couple of cotton clothes,

73. The king shall then perform the Ācamanīya ceremony and pūjā to Deva, to his preceptor and to the Brāhmaṇas, and he shall pay due honours to his umbrella, to his banner and weapons-sweet music playing all the while.

74. “Āvuṣyam Varcasyam”, “Rāyaspoṣa” and other Ṛks shall then be recited, and the long shall then dress himself in military attire.

75. The king shall then proceed to the second Vedī and take his seat on skins which shall be laid one over the other as follows.

76. The bull skin shall be laid next to the ground; over it shall be laid the skin of the cat; over it again the skin of the Ruru (a kind of deer); over it the skin of the spotted antelope; over it again the skin of the lion, and over it the skin of the tiger.

77. The priest shall perform the Homa (fire) ceremony offering to the fire dried twigs, gingelly seeds, ghee and the like, reciting Ṛks sacred to Rudra, Indra, Bṛhaspati, Viṣṇu and Vāyu.

78. The astrologer shall note the several indications connected with the Homa fire and make the predictions as stated in the chapter on Indra Dhvaja, and the priest, after completing what might remain of the ceremony, shall, with clasped hands, speak out as follows:

79. “May the Devas on receiving due pūjā from the king bestow blessings on him and depart.”

80. The king shall please the astrologer and the priest by the gift of large sums of money, and he shall also present money to the other Brāhmaṇas learned in the Vedas according to their merit.

81. The king shall then give his subjects assurances of good government and shall release from jail all prisoners, excepting those who may have been just then punished for offences.

82. If the Puṣya Snāna be repeated every month when the Moon passes through the asterism of Puṣya, the king will enjoy increase of wealth, health and fame. If the Puṣya Homa ceremony be performed when the Moon passes through any other asterism, the king will only enjoy one half of the good effects prescribed for it.

83. On the occurrence of portents, of eclipses and of planetary conjunctions, the king shall have the bath known as Puṣya Snāna.

84. There are no portents whose evil effects are irremediable by Puṣya Snāna and there are no ceremonies calculated to do a king as much good as the ceremony of Puṣya Homa.

85. The king that desires an increase of power and the king that desires sons will be benefited by Puṣya Snāna.

86. Thus have been stated by Bṛhaspati to Indra the rules relating to the ceremony of Puṣya Snāna—for the increase of his family and of his wealth.

87. The king who bathes in the waters of Puṣya Snāna his elephants and horses, will have these animals freed from all evils and become prosperous.

Footnotes and references:


The tree Cordia mixa.


Eleocarpus ganitrus.


Jyotiṣmatī, Trigonella foenum Graecum.


Being already explained.


Abhayā, Terminalia scritrina.


Aparājitā, Clitoria ternatea.


Jīva, probably Jīvanta, kind of pot herb.


Pathā: a climbing plant possessing various medicinal properties, Chypea hornandipolia.


Vijayā: Orris root.


Sahā: the Aloe plant.


Already explained,


Already explained.


Already explained.


Ariṣṭikā: The soap berry tree.


Śivā: Cicca disticha.


Bhadrā: a fragrant grass, Cypcrus rotundus.


Brāhmī: plant Elerodeudrum siphonanthus.


Kṣemā: a kind of perfume.


Ajā: a plant whose bulb resembles the udder of a goat.

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