by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words
This page relates “qualification, time and place for devayajna, etc.” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.
The sages said:—
1. O Sūta, foremost among those who know everything, please expound to us the place etc.
The pure house accords normal benefit in the rites of Devayajña etc.
2. The cowshed is of ten times more benefit than that. The bank of a tank is of ten times more benefit than that and the root of Tulasi plant or of Bilva or Aśvattha trees is again of ten times more benefit than that.
3-5. Similarly a temple, the bank of a holy tank, the bank of an ordinary river, the bank of a holy river and the banks of the seven holy Gaṅgās are each of ten times more benefit than the previous. The seven holy Gaṅgās are Gaṅgā, Godāvarī, Kāverī, Tāmraparṇikā, Sindhu, Sarayū and Revā. The shores of the sea are of ten times more benefit than the previous. The summit of a mountain is of ten times more benefit than the shores of the sea.
6-7. The place where the mind is quite at home is the most excellent of all places. Yajña, Dāna etc. accord full benefit in the Kṛta age. In the Tretā age they yield three-fourths of the benefit. In the age of Dvāpara the benefit derived is half. In the age of Kali only one fourth of the benefit is obtained. When half of the Kali age passes on, the benefit is only three-fourths of this one-fourth.
8. A holy day accords a normal benefit to a pure-souled devotee. O Scholars, the period of transit of the sun from one Zodiac to another yields ten times more benefit than that.
9. The period of equinoxes, the period of tropical transit, the period of transit to the capricornus, and the time of lunar eclipse are each of ten times more benefit than the previous one.
10. The auspicious hour of complete Solar eclipse is of still more benefit, than the previous. Since the sun of cosmic form is infested with poison then, there is the likelihood of ailments spreading.
11. Hence for the alleviation of the serious effects of poison, the devotee shall observe ceremonial ablutions, offer gifts and mutter prayers. That period is specially holy inasmuch as it is intended for the alleviation of the after-effects of poison.
12. The birth-star, and the concluding period of holy rites are of the same efficacy as the period of Solar eclipse. The time spent in the company of noble holy men is of the efficacy of crores of solar eclipses.
13. Persons of unflinching devotion to austerities and perfect knowledge, yogins and ascetics deserve holy worship since they quell others’ sins.
14. A brahmin who has repeated the Gāyatrī mantra two million four hundred thousand times also deserves the same and accords full benefit and wordly enjoyments.
15. The word Pātra (one who deserves) means one who protects the giver from downfall.
16-17. The word Gāyatrī means that which saves the reciter from downfall. Only a person of purified soul can save others, just as only a rich man can donate anything to others. A man of no means cannot give anything to others in this world.
18-19. Only he who has purified himself by means of Gāyatrī Japa can be called a pure brahmin. He alone deserves the position of presiding over all holy rites, Dāna Japa, Homa, Pūjā etc. He alone can save others. Any hungry man or woman deserves charitable gifts of cooked food.
20-21. An excellent brahmin must be invited on an auspicious occasion and given sufficient sums of money with piety and pleasing words. They accord all desired results. A charitable gift given to a needy person yields the utmost benefit. If it is given after entreaties it yields only half the benefit.
22-23. Monetary gifts to servants accord only one-fourth benefit. O excellent brahmins, charitable gifts to an indigent person, only because he is born a brahmin, accord worldly enjoyment for ten years. Gifts to a brahmin Vedic scholar accord heavenly enjoyment for ten years.
26-28. A person who gives cooked food attended with the ten ancillary services, on a Sunday, attains good health for ten years even in the next birth. The ten ancillary services are—Honouring, inviting, providing oil bath, washing and serving the feet, bestowing cloth, scents etc, serving side dishes of six tastes, pancakes prepared in ghee and sweet juices, betel leaves, monetary gifts, formal farewell and following a few steps—This is called Daśāṅga Annadāna,
29-30. A man who renders ten sorts of ancillary services to ten brahmins on Sunday attains good health for a hundred years. If he gives the same on Monday or any other day, he attains the benefit as stipulated for that day. The benefit of food-gifts is secured in this world itself either in this birth or in the next.
31. If in this manner he gives food on all the seven days to ten brahmins he secures good health and all other benefits for a hundred years.
32. Similarly he who gives cooked rice in this manner to hundred brahmins on Sunday secures good health in Śivaloka for a thousand years.
33. If he gives the same for a thousand brahmins he secures the benefit for ten thousand years. Similarly the benefit accrued for gifts on Monday and other days can be understood by a thoughtful man.
34. By giving food to a thousand brahmins whose minds have been purified by Gāyatrī, on Sunday, the devotee attains good health and other benefits in Satyaloka.
36. Those who seek learning must make gifts to children considering them on a par with Brahmā. Those who seek sons and other ends must make gifts to young men considering them on a par with Viṣṇu.
37. Those who seek knowledge must make gifts to old men considering them on a par with Rudra. Those who seek intellect must make gifts to young maidens considering them on a par with Bhāratī (Goddess of Speech).
38. Excellent men seeking enjoyments must make gifts to youthful maidens considering them on a par with Lakṣmī (Goddess of Wealth). Those who seek purity of Ātman must make gifts to old women considering them on a par with) Pārvatī.
39. That which is acquired by gleaning more than one ear of corn at a time or gleaning corns one by one, by fees received from disciple is called Śuddhadravya (clean wealth). This wealth yields complete benefit.
40. Wealth acquired by acceptance of monetary gifts is called middlesome wealth. Wealth acquired by agricultural or trading activities is called lowliest wealth.
42-45. Patrimony or sum received from husbands forms the wealth of virtuous women. There are twelve things to be given in the twelve months beginning with Caitra or all together on an auspicious occasion for the flourishing of what is cherished. They are:—(1) cow, (2) plots of land, (3) gingelly seeds, (4) gold, (5) ghee, (6) cloth, (7) food-grains, (8) jaggery, (9) silver, (10) salt, (11) ash gourd and (12) a virgin. Gift of cows, milk-products, cow-dung (in the form of manure etc.) ward off the sins accruing from wealth and grain while sins connected with water, oil etc. are warded off by cow’s urine.
46. The three kinds of sins—physical etc. are warded off by milk, curd and ghee. Their nourishment can be understood by scholars.
47. Gift of plots of land is conducive to stability here and hereafter, O brahmins. Gift of gingelly seeds is conducive to strength and to the conquest of premature death.
48. Gift of gold increases the power of the gastric fire and is conducive to virility. Gift of ghee is nourishing and that of cloth is conducive to long life.
49. Gift of food-grains is conducive to the increase of food production. Gift of jaggery yields sweet food. Gift of silver is conducive to the increase in the quantity of semen and that of salt is conducive to the happy admixture of the six tastes.
50. The gift of pumpkin gourd is conducive to nourishment. All kinds of gifts increase everything and secure all kinds of enjoyment here and hereafter, O brahmins.
51-53. Gift of a virgin is conducive to worldly enjoyment throughout life. Sensible persons shall make gifts of fruits according to the season such as the fruits of jack, mango, wood apple trees, plantains, fruits from hedges, pulses of black gram, green gram, vegetables, chillies, mustards, their plants etc.
54. Sensible men shall gratify the sense-organs of hearing etc. of other people for the gratification through sound etc. It gratifies the quarters too.
55. Theism is that feeling in which one fully realises that all actions are fruitful. It is necessary that Vedas and sacred texts should be learnt direct from preceptors.
56. Devotion to God out of fear for kinsmen or royal punishment is of inferior sort. An indigent person bereft of all means of livelihoods shall worship verbally or by means of physical activities.
58. Whatever one does, whether it is great or small, whatever be the means employed,—if that is dedicated to deities it becomes conducive to enjoyment.
59-61. The two—practice of austerities and making charitable gifts—must be carried out always. Asylum should be given according to the caste of the person concerned. It is conducive to the satisfaction of the Devas and worldly enjoyments as well. Such a devotee shall always attain noble birth and enjoyments here and hereafter. If he performs the sacred rites with dedication to God, he shall attain salvation. He who reads or hears this chapter becomes righteous and endowed with knowledge.
Footnotes and references:
It is a well known river, mentioned in the RV. (V.53.9) along with the rivers Sarasvatī, Sindhu, Gaṅgā, Yamunā, and Śutudrī. Gharghara (Ghāgrā) and Tamasā (Tons) are its tributaries. It is a sacred river of Northern Kosa, with Ayodhyā, the sacred city of great antiquity, lying along its bank.