by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188
This page is entitled “account of pitris” and represents Chapter 18 of the first book (‘Adi Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.
1-2. Markandeya said:—Hear from me everything from the very beginning, O son of Ganga, of my doubts which I again referred to that reverend eternal deity Sanatkumar the foremost of immortals after having been addressed by that effulgent god of gods. What is the number of those ancestral manes and in what region are they stationed? And where do live the leading gods who derive nourishment from Soma (juice)? (3)
4. Sanatkumar said:—O foremost of those who perform sacrifices, it is laid down in Scriptures, that there are seven ancestral manes who all live in heaven. Of them four are with forms and three without them.
5. O you having asceticism for your wealth, hear, I will describe at length their region, creation, prowess and greatness.
6. Of them the most excellent three assumed the form of Dharma (virtue). Hear, I shall describe their names and regions.
7. The regions, where the effulgent and formless ancestral manes, the sons of Prajapati live, are (designated as) eternal.
10. Then obtaining again the recollection of the most excellent Sankhya Yoga and securing the consummate development of their powers they again attain to that Yoga state which it is so hard to acquire.
12. Therefore Sraddhas should be performed particularly for the Yogins. This is the first creation of the high-souled drinkers of Soma.
14. His son was the effulgent great mountain Krauncha. This best of mountains was white and abounded in various sorts of jewels.
16. Having carried on hard austerities, which even the Gods and Danavas cannot practise with difficulty, those three daughters disturbed all the worlds consisting of mobile and immobile creatures.
17. Ekaparna used to live upon one leaf only and Ekapatala used to live upon one Patala flower only.
18. And when Aparna divorced from food began to carry on hard austerities, her mother, stricken with sorrow, consequent upon her motherly affection, prevented her, saying "U. Ma.".
19. Thus addressed by her mother, that fair goddess, carrying on hard penances, became celebrated in the three worlds by the name of Uma.
22. The beautiful Uma was the eldest and foremost of them. Gifted with great yoga powers she approached the Great Deity Siva.
24. Know Ekapatala as the wife of Jaigishavya. Those two noble maidens approached those two preceptors of yoga.
27. From that (river) has sprung a lake by the name of Achoda. She had never seen her ancestral manes before.
28-30. That one of beautiful smiles (you) saw her bodiless ancestral manes. She was begotten of their mind and did not know her. For this misfortune that beautiful damsel was greatly ashamed. Beholding the ancestral mane Vasu, the illustrious son of Ayu by the name of Amavasu, who was passing through the etherial region in a car along with the Apsara Adrika, she thought of him (first).
31. On account of her this frailty, that she thought of another and not her own father, that one capable of assuming forms of her will lost her Yoga power and fell down.
32. When she fell down from the celestial region she behold three cars of the size of Esarenu and espied in them her ancestral manes.
33. They looked exceedingly subtle, indistinct and like fire offered into clarified butter. While she was in distress and falling down with her head downwards she exclaimed "Save me".
34. The ancestral manes stationed on the cars said to their girl who was in the etherial region "do not fear." Then with purely words she began to propitiate the ancestral manes.
35. The ancestral manes then said to that girl who was divested of all her merits on account of this transgression:—"O you of pure smiles, for your own folly, you have been divested of all your merits.
36. The celestials attain, in heaven, to the fruits of their actions which they perform with their bodies in this world.
37. (Sometimes) the celestials, by their (mere) determination attain to the fruits of their actions but mankind reap them only when they repair to the next world. Therefore, O daughter, by practising hard austerities in this world you shalt reap the fruits thereof in the next."
38. Thus accosted by her own Pitris the maiden began propitiating them. Then realising the truth in their own minds, they all, out of compassion, became pleased with her.
39-40. Knowing that all this is inevitable they asked that maiden to act (in that way) and said to her:—"You shalt be born as the daughter of the high-souled king Vasu who is born on earth among men. Being born as his daughter you shalt again attain to your own regions which it is so hard to gain.
42-43. Two sons, the illustrious and pious Vicitravirya and Citrangada, will be born unto the king Shantanu, who was (in another birth the king) Mahabhisha. Having given birth to these sons you shalt again attain to your own regions. On account of your transgressions towards your ancestral manes you shalt come by these inferior births.
44. You shalt be begotten as his daughter by this king on his wife Adrika. In the eighteenth Dvapara cycle you shalt be born as a fish".
46. The picturesque region Vaibhraja, where dwell the Pitris celebrated in heaven as Varhishadas, is situate in Dyuloka.
48-49. They are the offspring of the high-souled Patriarch Pulastya. They were all great, highly meritorious, energetic and used to carry on ascetic observances. Their mind-born daughter was known as Pivari. She was (herself) a great ascetic, the wife of an ascetic, and the mother of an ascetic.
50-51. O you foremost of the pious, at the commencement of Dvapara Yuga, the great ascetic and Yogin Suka, the foremost of Brahmanas born in the race of Parashara, will take birth in that Yuga. He will be begotten by Vyasa on Arani like fire divested of smoke.
52-53. He will beget on that daughter of the ancestral manes four sons, viz, the highly powerful Yoga-teacher Krishna, Goura, Prabhu and Shambhu, and a daughter by name Kritwa, who will be the mother of Brahmadatta and the queen of king Anuha.
54-55. Having begotten these vow-observing teachers of Yoga and listened to various forms of religion from his own sire Vyasa, the immeasurably intelligent, pious and ascetic Rishi Suka repaired to the region from where no one returns—the eternal, undecaying region of Brahman shorn of all troubles, where reside the shape-less Pitris in the form of virtue, and where has originated this theme of Vrishnis and Andhakas.
57. The ancestral manes of the Patriarch Vasishtha, known as Sukatas, live eternally in heaven and the region lighted by the effulgence that grants the consummation of all desires. The Brahmanas always offer them oblations.
58. Their mind born daughter is known as Go in the region of celestials, who will be given (in marriage) to your family and be the other beloved wife of Suka. The Sadhyas have a well-known daughter, ever enhancing their fame, by name Ekashringa..
59-60. She lives in the regions effulgent like the rays of the Sun. The Kshatriyas, who wish to reap the fruits of their actions, propitiate the sons of Angiras, who had formerly been rendered prosperous by Saddhyas. Their mind-born daughter is known as Yashoda.
62. O my son, formerly in the cycle of gods, at the great horse-sacrifice of the king Dilipa the great saints chanted various themes with joy.
63. Hearing of the birth of Agni (fire-god) from some descendant of Shandili, those men, who will behold the truthful and high-souled performer of sacrifices Dilipa, will conquer the celestial region.
65. They, gifted with etherial movements, are living in the regions where the dwellers move about of their own will. The Vaishyas who wish to reap the fruits of their actions, offer oblations unto them.
67. Thus I have described to you the three orders: hear from me of the fourth order. The drinkers of Soma juice, who were begotten on Svadha the daughter of Kavi, were the offspring of Hiranyagarbha. The Sudras encompass their gratification.
72. When after reciting the mystic formulae, oblation is offered in silver or silver-plated vessels to the ancestral manes it encompasses their gratification.
73. Having first propitiated Yama the son of Vivasvan and then Soma, one should offer oblation unto fire; and in the absence of fire unto water.
74-75. The ancestral manes are pleased with him who reverentially brings about their gratification, and confer upon him nourishment, innumerable offspring, wealth and all other desired-for objects. O ascetic, the worship of the ancestral manes is preferred to that of the celestials.
76. It is ordained by scriptures that before the celestials the ancestral manes should be gratified. The latter are easily pleased, freed from anger and they confer the most excellent gratification on men.
77. O descendant of Bhrigu, the gratification of ancestral manes is ever constant. Therefore do you bow unto them. You are ever devoted unto your ancestral manes and specially unto me.
78. I shall do what conduces to your well-being. Do you witness it thyself. O sinless one, I shall confer on you celestial vision together with discriminative knowledge.
79. Listen attentively, O Markandeya, to the means thereof. This is not the Yoga state of the celestials but the most excellent state of the celestials.
80-81. Such persons of consummate ascetic powers behold me with their own eyes. Having thus spoken to me who was present before him and conferred upon me celestial vision together with discriminative knowledge, which even the celestials can with difficulty acquire, the Lord of celestials (Sanatkumar) repaired to his wished-for region like the second burning fire.
12. O foremost of Kurus, hear now, what I had heard, by the favour of that God—(things) above the comprehension of men in this world.
Footnotes and references:
This is a name of the Goddess Uma. It literally means who is naturally intent on carrying on Yoga practises.
The word in the text is Tapamaya body. It is very difficult to render the expression into English. Tapas means hard religious practises, such as, placing one’s self in the midst of burning fire, exposing one’s self day and night under the Sun and to cold. By such practises a yogin can acclimatise his body to the influences of climate and restrain his passions. Thus Tapamaya body means a body that is used to both heat and cold and all other climatic influences and that has mastered all the functions.
Those who invoke the deities by offering them Soma juice—a delicious drink which is much liked by the gods according to Hindu ideas.
This mind-born daughter refers to a river of the same name that has come down from that region to earth.
The word in the text is Vabre which literally means to choose as a husband. It may also mean to offer benedictory offerings to a deity or person. As it is impossible for a daughter to choose one of her ancestors as her husband the word evidently means here "to accept him and give him offerings as her father". The context proves that the maiden was anxious to behold her ancestral manes and so when she first saw Vasu, she took him for her father and offered him adoration. Later she perceived that he was not her father and her real Pitris were in the three cars. This was evidently a transgression, for which, as is seen later on, she was doomed to take birth as the daughter of Vasu.
We have put in Sometimes only for preserving consistency. In the previous sloka it is mentioned that even the celestials perform actions in this world and then attain to the fruits thereof in the next. Thus the gods also are under the influence of Karma. Whereas in this sloka it is said that by mere determination they attain to the fruits of their actions. Therefore the consistency is not preserved unless we put in the word 'Sometimes'. The author evidently had in view that the celestials, though under the influence of Karma, are sometimes freed therefrom. But that is not the case with men. They cannot avoid the consequences of their actions under any circumstances whatever.
This refers to Veda Vyasa who compiled and arranged the four Vedas. The word Vyasa means "an arranger" Veda Vyasa is the surname of a Rishi, the son of Parashara, who compiled the four Vedas. The Vedas originally existed in the shape of hymns that were sung by the ancient Aryans and passed from one family to another as sacred heir-looms. For some centuries they existed in this form. It was this great Rishi who first committed them to writing and arranged them in the order in which they are now found. The four divisions are his own creation. On account of this great work he received the appellation 'Veda-Vyasa'.