The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “power of the manes (pitri)” 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.

Chapter 40 - The power of the Manes (pitṛ)

Vyāsa said:—

1. On hearing about the excellent solar race of Śrāddhadeva, the sage Śaunaka respectfully asked Sūta.

Śaunaka said

2. O Sūta, disciple of Vyāsa, of long life, obeisance be to you. A divine and pious story has been narrated to us.

3. It has been mentioned by you that Śrāddhadeva is the progenitor of the solar race. I have a doubt therein which I shall mention before you.

4. How did the sun become Śrāddhadeva? I wish to hear this. Please clear this doubt with pleasure.

5. O holy lord, please mention the glory and the benefit of Śrāddha rite whereby the manes are pleased and bless the performer with prosperity.

6. I wish to hear this too, namely the creation par excellence of the manes (pitṛ). O intelligent one, please mention this particularly. Have mercy on me.

Sūta said:—

7-9. O Śaunaka, I shall mention everything concerning the creation of the manes. This was narrated to the intelligent Mārkaṇḍeya by Sanatkumāra. I shall mention it to you. It bestows the benefit of all cherished desires. Bhīṣma the foremost of the virtuous lying on the bed of arrows was requested by Yudhiṣṭhira to whom he spoke thus.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:—

10. How is nourishment achieved by a man desirous of nourishment? I wish to hear this. What is it that makes a man free from distress?

Sūta said:—

11. On hearing the question of Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīṣma the knower of Dharma spoke with pleasure even as every one was listening.

Bhīṣma said:—

12. O Yudhiṣṭhira, those who perform Śrāddha rites with pleasure delight everyone through them as a result of the favour of the manes.

J3-15. Men desirous of benefits perform Śrāddhas, keeping in view, the father, the grandfather and the greatgrandfather in three balls of rice. O Yudhiṣṭhira, ṃe manes bless the man desirous of piety with piety, desirous of progeny with progeny a ad desirous of nourishment with nourishment.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:—

16: Some manes are in the heaven and some are in the hell. The fruit accruing to the living beings is determined by their activity.

17. How do the Śrāddhas go to the manes? How those in the hell can derive the benefit?

18. I have heard that even the gods worship the manes. I wish to hear this. Please mention this in detail.

Bhīṣma said:—

19. O suppressor of enemies, in this context, I shall narrate an event as I have heard from my father who had left this world.

20. At the time of Śrāddha, the ball of rice for my father was kept ready by me. My father split the ground and requested me to offer the same into his hand.

21. Thinking that it was not the procedure enjoined in the Kalpa texts I placed the Piṇḍa on the Kuśa grass without further thought.

22. “O sinless one, O most excellent of the descendants of Bharata, gladdened by me my father spoke in sweet words.

23. O most excellent of men, I only tested you. I have been redeemed by you the knower of sacred rites and a good scholar. I have been blessed with a real heir in you.

24. What the king does by virtuous or authoritative rites, the subjects too emulate, taking them to be backed by precedent.

25. O most excellent of the descendants of Bharata, listen to the eternal virtues of the Vedas. Proof of the Vedic rite has been shown by you-

26. Being delighted I shall grant you excellent boons lovingly. Accept them. They are difficult to obtain in the three worlds.

27. Death will have no hold on you as long as you wish to live. With your permission it may be effective again.

28. What is it that you wish for? I shall grant you an excellent boon. O foremost among the descendants of Bharata, what is in your mind? Mention it”.

29. When he had said this, I saluted him with palms joined in reverence and said—“O bestower of honour, if you are pleased, I am content. I ask you a question. Please answer it.

30. He said to me—“Tell me. If you wish I shall grant it to you”. When I asked him again the king told me.

Santanu said:—

31. O dear, listen. I shall explain your question factually. The entire “Pitṛkalpa” has been heard by me from Mārkaṇḍeya.

32. O dear, what you ask me now I had asked the sage Mārkaṇḍeya. He, the knower of sacred rites, replied to me.

33. O king listen. Once as I looked up into the sky, I saw a great aerial chariot coming over the mountain.

34-35. I saw in the aerial chariot a great blazing mass of splendour as brilliant as glowing coal and very pleasing to the mind having nothing to excel. it. I saw a man of the size of a thumb lying therein. He was very brilliant as if fire had been placed over fire.

36. I bowed to him. With my head bent down, I asked the holy lord. “O holy lord, how may we know you?”

37. The pious soul told me “you have not that penance and austerity, O sage, whereby you may know me, the son of Brahmā.

38. I am Sanatkumāra. What can I do for you? The other sons of Brahmā are younger to me.

39. My seven brothers are invincible and their families are established. But we pursue the rites of ascetics restraining the Ātman in the Ātman.

40. Even as I was born I became famous as Kumāra. O sage, hence I am called Sanatkumāra (the eternal bachelor).

41. Since you have piously performed penance with a desire for my vision I have appeared before you. Welfare be to you. What wish of yours shall I carry out?”

42. When he said this I told him—“O holy lord, listen. Please narrate factually the original creation of the Pitṛs.

43. When requested thus he said to me. Listen to everything factually. O dear one, I shall explain to you the auspicious creation of the Pitṛs truthfully.

Sanatkumāra said:—

44. Formerly Brahmā created the gods and said to them, “Worship me”. But they who sought benefits eschewed him and worshipped the Ātman.

45-46. They were cursed by Brahmā thus. You will be deluded and become senseless”. Hence unable to know any thing and being insensible they bowed to Pitāmaha and said “Please bless us.” Being requested thus he said to them for the sake of expiation.

47. “Ask your sons. You will then attain perfect knowledge”. Urged thus the senseless ones asked their sons boldly.

48-50. They were asked to perform expiatory rites. O sinless one, the gods were thus addressed by the sons. “Let the sons be approached.” The gods who had been cursed by Brahmā told him that the sons had gone away. Then Brahmā told the gods thus “O gods, listen, You are not Brahmavādins, the believers in Brahma’s cult.

51 Hence what has been mentioned by the sons, the most excellent of the perfectly wise shall be followed without hesitation and not otherwise.

52. O dwellers of heaven, let the gods and the Pitṛs worship one another with great delight. This will confer the cherished desires.”

53. Sanatkumāra said:—O great sage, then their doubts were cleared. With delight they became the mutual bestowers of happiness at the instance of Brahmā.

54. Then the gods said “Since you addressed us as sons you will undoubtedly become Pitṛs.

55. In the Śrāddha of the Pitṛs, undoubtedly the performer will propitiate Soma who being delighted and enhanced by the offering shall gladden the worlds.

56-58. They will delight the ocean, the mountain and the forest, all consisting of the mobile and immobile beings. Those who desire nourishment and perform Śrāddha rites are given nourishment by the Pitṛs who are propitiated. Those who give three Piṇḍas in the Śrāddha mentioning the names and Gotras delight the Pitṛs wherever they be and are looked after by them.

59-60. Let these words be truthful. Whether gods or Pitṛs we are father and sons successively. Thus the Pitṛs who became sons virtuously were famous in the world as mutual beneficiaries.