The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes meeting of pururavas and pitris which is Chapter 28 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 28 - Meeting of Purūravas and Pitṛs

Summary: Meeting of Purūravas and Pitṛs; Performance of annual obsequies on the Mew Moon Day.

The sage said:—

1. O Sūta! King Purūravas, the son of Ilā, used to go to the heaven on the New Moon day in every month. How was it? How did he propitiate the Pitṛs (Manes).

Sūta said:—

2. O Śāṃśapāyani, I shall narrate his power. I shall narrate the contact of the noble-souled son of Ilā with the sun as well as with the moon.

3-5. I shall tell you about the increase and the decrease in the size of the moon that has its essence within, during the two fortnights, the bright one and the dark one. I shall state the decision in regard to one with the Pitṛs (Pitṛmataḥ) as well as to one belonging to the Pitṛs (Pitṛyasya). I shall narrate the acquisition of nectar from the moon as well as the propitiation of the Pitṛs; I shall mention the sight of the Pitṛs viz. the Kāvyas, the Agniṣvāttas and the Saumyas. I shall mention how Purūravas propitiated the Pitṛs. I shall mention all these in due order as well as the Parvans.

6. When the sun and the moon come into contact with the star, they stay in Amāvāsyā (New Moon) for a night in the same zone.

7. Then during every new moon day, he (Purūravas) goes to see the sun-god and the moon-god, his natural and paternal grandfathers.

8. After paying respects to them, he waits there biding his time. He waits for the exudations of nectar from the following moon, for the sake of the Pitṛs.

9. With a desire to perform the monthly Śrāddha, Purūravas, the learned son of Ilā, worships Soma (the Moon) Pitṛmān (one with the Pitṛs), after resorting to the heaven.

10-11. He considers both Kuhū (the New Moon merged with the 1st Tithi of the next fortnight) and Sinīvālī (New Moon mixed with the 14th Tithi). He worships Kuhū when there are two Lavas[1] of it as balance. He worships Sinīvālī in accordance with the magnitude of the digit (of the moon). After worshipping it, he bides his time and surveys.

12-14. He imbibes the nectar oozing out from the moon for the sake of satisfaction for the whole month, by means of fifteen exudations of the nectar. During the dark fortnight when his arms get burned by (the Sun’s) rays[2] (he pacifies them) by means of honey exuding from the moon immediately. During the fortnights when there are no winds[3](?) the leading king propitiates the Pitṛs in the heaven, in accordance with the injunction pertaining to the rite for Pitṛs.

15. He propitiates the Pitṛs viz. Saumyas, Barhiṣads, Kāvyas and Agniṣvāttas.[4]

Ṛtam[5] (means) what is mentioned as Agni. It is considered to be Saṃvatsara.

16. The Ṛtus (seasons) were born of it (i.e. Saṃvatsara—the year). The Ārtavas were born of the Ṛtus. The Ārtavas are what are called Ardhamāsas (half months or fortnights). (Hence) the Pitṛs are the sons of Ṛtus.

17. The Ṛtus are grand-fathers. The Māsas (months) and Ayanas (transits of the sun) are the sons of Abda (year). The Devas are the great-grand-fathers; the (group of) five years are the sons of Brahmā.

18. The Saumyas should be known as born, of the moon (Somaja). The Kāvyas should be known as the sons of Kavi (Śukra). Upahūtas are remembered as Devas. Somajas are remembered as Somapās (Imbibers of Soma).

19. Ājyapās (Imbibers of oblated ghee) are remembered as Kāvyas. The classes of Pitṛs are three. They are of three classes namely Kāvyas, Barhiṣads and Agniṣvāttas.

20-22. Those who are householders as well as Yajvās (performers of sacrifices) are certainly Ṛtus and Barhiṣads. Those who are householders but are not Yajvās (performers of sacrifices) are the Ārtavas and Agniṣvāttas. The Kāvyas are Aṣṭakāpatis (lords of Aṣṭakas or the eighth day of the lunar fortnights for three months in which Pitṛs are to be propitiated). Now understand the five Abdas thereof.

Their Saṃvatsara is indeed Agni and Sūrya (the Sun) is Parivatsara. Soma (the Moon) is mentioned Idvatsara and Vāyu is Anuvatsara. Rudra is Vatsara unto them. Those five Abdas constitute a Yuga.

23. Those (Pitṛs) who imbibe the nectar in the heaven every month on the new moon day, are remembered as Kāvyas Ūṣmapās and Divākīrtyas.

24-25. As long as Purūravas was alive, he propitiated them with the nectar, since it exudes from the moon every month and it delights them5 it is nectar unto the Somapāyin Pitṛs, (those who imbibe Soma—the moon). Thus it is called Saumya Amṛta (nectar pertaining to the moon), Sudhā and Madhu (honey).

26. Thirty-three Devas (who are called) Cchedanas[6] (Those who cut off?) drink the fifteen digits of the moon gradually in the dark fortnight, (after turning them) into watery form.

27-30. After drinking the nectar for half a month, they go away on the Caturdaśī (fourteenth) day.

On being drunk thus by all the Devas, the moon reaches a point on the New Moon day when it remains with only a fifteenth part. On the New Moon day, it is developed by Suṣumnā duly.[7] Then, for a period of two Lavas, the Pitṛs drink the nectar. With a single ray (i.e, the Suṣumnā) the sun develops the moon when, it becomes reduced on being drunk. Again the Somapāyins drink it. When all the digits are exhausted (the sun) develops the moon once again.

31. Day by day, in due order, a part (a digit) of the moon is developed by the Suṣumnā. The black digits become reduced and the white ones develop it.

32. Thus the body of the moon developed by the vigour of the sun, appears sparkling, white and perfectly circular on the full Moon day.

33. Thus, such is the achievement of the Moon during the two halves, the dark and the bright ones. It is in this manner that the Moon is Pitṛmān (one with the Manes). He is remembered as being Idvatsara.

34. He is shining and resplendent with his fifteen exudations of nectar.

Henceforth, I shall recount the Pārvans (days of changes of the moon) and the Sandhis (meeting points) of Parvans.

35. Just as there are knotty joints in the Sugarcane and bamboo, so also there are dark, and bright Parvans in the lunar fortnights.

36. The differences between the full Moon and the New Moon are the knots and joints. The lunar days beginning with Dvitiyā constituting the fortnight are the Parvans.

37. It is on the first of the fortnights that the rite of Anvāḍhāna is performed. Hence, the Pratipat is at the beginning (the first) of all Parvans.

38. The period of two Lavas in the evening at the beginning of Anumati (the 15th. day—the Pūrṇimā mixed with the 14th Tithi) is called Dvilava. When the Pūrṇimā is mixed with the Pratipad—the next Tithi, the period of two Lavas on that Full moon night[8] should be known as Aparāhṇa.

39. The period of evening after Aparāhṇa that has elapsed on the first day of the dark half, is also accepted as part of Paurṇamāsī (Full Moon?)

40-41. When, the sun is stationed at a deviation of half meridian (?) line, at a distance of a Yuga (Yoke) and when the meridian of the moon has risen by the distance of a Yoke (Yuga) that period is called Vyatīpāta. This is because (the sun and the moon) glance at each other after the elapse of the full Moon (period) and at that time they are on a par with each other.[9]

42. On seeing that period indicated by the sun, (the worshipper) moves towards enumeration (?) That is the period for Vaṣaṭkriyā. The period is laid down immediately.

43-44. The junction at night in the full fortnight of the full moon is also Pūrṇimā (full Moon). Hence, during the night of full Moon, the moon becomes very reddish or (pleasing (?) Virajyate).

Since during the after-noon when the Vyatīpāta is full, the moon and the sun in full-fledged form glance at each other, it is called Pūrṇimā.

45. Since the Pitṛs along with the Devas approve of it, the period previous (?) to the Pūrṇimā (i.e. the 14th Tithi with which it is mixed) is remembered as Anumati.

46. The full Moon day is called Rākā because at that time the moon shines very splendidly in the sky. Wise people say that it is Rākā because of the delightful nature (Rañjanāt) of the Moon.

47. When the moon and the sun stay in the same star together (amā—close to, near by) on the fifteenth night from Rākā. (the full moon day) it is regarded as Amāvāsyā.

48. After ending or separating (?) that Amāvāsyā day, the sun and the moon see each other after coming together. When this happens it is called Darśa (the New Moon day).

49. (Defective Text upon 59).

On the Amāvāsyā (New Moon) day the period is of two Lavas in the junction of the 15th and the 1st day of a lunar fortnight. It is of the duration (of pronouncing) two letters Ku-hu. There are three periodic changes of the moon.[10]

50. The period when the moon vanishes is Amāvāsyā and it functions from the midday. The moon reaches the sun in half a day and the night.

51-52.[11] Along with the sun it goes to the Sāmudra period which is in between Kuhu and sinīvālī in the morning. The periods of contact are two. Invariably it occurs a Midday (?).

53. On the Pratipat day of the bright half, when the discs of the sun and the moon are being separated, it is the time for Āhuti (oblating of ghee into fire) and the Vaṣaṭkriyā of Darśa (the New Moon). Amāvāsyā should be known as the Ṛtumukha (the face of the season) of this Parvan.

54. When the moon wastes away during the dark half, Amāvāsyā is a Parvan by day time. That is why the sun is eclipsed (Gṛhyate—is caught) during the day time on the Amāvāsyā day.

55-56. It is eclipsed during the day. Therefore, Amāvāsyā becomes reduced by day (?). The names of the days of the lunar fortnight have been fixed by the scholars in accordance with the increase of the digits of the Moon of watery nature. Then both the moon and the sun reveal themselves.

57. By that path alone it (? the moon) comes out of the solar sphere gradually. The moon touches (remains in contact with) the sun for the whole of the day and night except for a period of two Lavas.

58. That period of Darśa is the time for Āhuti and Vaṣaṭkriyā offering of oblation with the utterence vaṣat. The period comes to an end (within which) theory Ku-hū is uttered by a cuckoo.

59. Amāvāsyā measured by that time is declared as Ku-hū. The magnitude of Sinīvālī is that period of the moon which remains after the moon has decreased in size.

60-61. The sun enters the Amāvāsyā. Therefore, it is remembered as Sinīvālī. The period for these except Ku hu is a period of two Lavas for Anumati, Rākā and Sinīvālī. Ku-hu is remembered as having (only the time necessary for the cuckoo to utter) Ku-hu.

62. When, in the middle of Pūrṇimā the Vyatīpāta (deviation) of the moon and the sun has come together, it is accepted as Pratipat. It is a period of Parvan extending to the Mātrās. That is also the period in the middle of Ku-hu and Sinīvāli which is called Sāmudra (spot or mark) (?).

63-67. (Partly defective text). The period of Parvan in the sphere of the sun and the fire and the moon is on a par with the digits (Kalāsama[12]—(?) when the digits are equal).

Thus in the bright half, during the night, at the joints of the parvans the glorious moon in a perfect circle is eclipsed. Since the moon is replenished, the Pūrṇimā is on the fifteenth digits added on gradually day by day. Hence, fifteen digits (are acquired) by the moon and the sixteenth digit is its own.

Hence, the (complete) wastage of the waters (?) of the moon takes place on the fifteenth night.

Thus, there are the pitṛs, Devas, Somapās, Somavardhanas, Ārtavas and Ṛtus. The flourishing and prosperous Devas worship them.

Henceforth, I shall describe the Pitṛs who are the partakers of the monthly Śrāddhas.

68-70. (I shall also describe) their movement and the acquisition of the Śrāddha along with its principles.

It is, not possible to understand the movement, to and fro, of the dead persons even by means of well-known austerities. How then can it be understood by means of the physical eye?

These Laukika (worldly) Pitṛs are remembered after the Devapitṛs (divine Manes).

The Devas are Saumyas, Kāvyas, Ayajvans and Ayonijas.[13] All those Pitṛs are Devas. The real Devas make them speak.

71. The human Pitṛs are those other than they and they are remembered as Laukikas namely father, grandfather and the great-grandfather

72. Those who perform Yajñas by means of Sāman Mantras are remembered as Somavants. Those who perform Haviryajñas are remembered as Barhiṣads.

73. The Homins (those who perform homas) who perform Yajñas on behalf of Ayājyas (those unworthy of Yajñas) are remembered as Agniṣvāttas. The Sāyujyagas (those who attain the salvation of complete identity) are also remembered among them by the Brāhmaṇas on account of the similarity in Dharmas (holy rites).1

74. Those who are well-versed in the paths of the holy duties pertaining to their Āśramas (stages in life) and are endowed with faith in rituals do not become weary and exhausted in the end (i.e. at the times of death).

75-78. If the devotees are engaged in these holy rites till their death in seven ways viz. penance, celibacy, Yajña, progeny Śrāddha, learning and charitable gifts, they go to heaven and rejoice there along with those Devas, Pitṛs, Sūkṣmajas (subtle-borns) and Somayājins (those who perform Soma sacrifices). They perform worships like the Pitṛs. If water libation is offered by the members of their families and their kinsmen, (the Pitṛs known as) Somalaukikas partake of monthly Śrāddhas and become contented. These (Pitṛs) who partake of monthly Śrāddhas are Manuṣyapitṛs (Human Manes).

79-86. There are some Pitṛs other than these. They are entangled in births due to their Karmans. They only have dropped off from the duties of the Āśramas; those who are devoid of Svadhā and Svāhā; wicked souls with bodies pierced; those who have become ghosts in the abode of Yama; those who bewail their evil actions after reaching the place of torture; long-lived ones; extremely dried ones; those with moustaches; those without garments; those who are overwhelmed with hunger and thirst; those who run about here and there; those who wish to approach rivers, lakes, tanks and wells; those who are desirous of taking away others’ foodstuffs; those who are being taken away to different places; those who are being made to fall in different places; those who undergo tortures again and again in the following hells viz. Śālmala, Vaitaraṇī, Kumbhī-pāka, Karambhavālukā, Asipatra-vana and Śilā-Saṃpeṣaṇa due to their own previous actions. These miserable Pitṛs remaining there do `not perish. If three Piṇḍas (Balls of rice) are given to them on Darbha grasses not by the left (i.e. by the right) by their kinsmen on the ground by reciting their names and Gotras (lineage) they delight those Pitṛs who are stationed in the places of ghosts.

87. Those who do not reach the place of torture, those who fall and drop down in five ways attain the state of immobile beings. At the end of that they are born in low families on account of their own actions.

88-91. They are born in wombs of different forms in the animal kingdom or they are born in a manner unapproved in religious texts. If they offer Śrāddha in the different Births by means of those articles of diet which they themselves subsist by, that Śrāddha becomes fruitful. Wherever the creature lives, it acquires food in accordance with what had been offered (as Śrāddha previously) at the proper time, duly to deserving persons.[14]

Just as the calf finds out its mother-cow even when the cows are lost (i.e. when many cows are tethered together) so also the Mantra takes to the Pitṛs the food-stuff offered in the Śrāddha.

It is in this manner that Śrāddha duly and faithfully offered by means of Mantras is not fruitless.

92. Kumāra (god Skanda) recounted these different things after seeing them with his divine eyes. He is conversant with the departures and arrivals of the dead ones as well as the acquisition of Śrāddha by them.

93. They are remembered as Bāhlīkas, Uṣmapās and Divākīrtyas. The dark fortnight is their day and the bright fortnight is the night for their sleep.

94. Thus these Pitṛs are Devas and the Devas are the Pitṛs. The Ṛtus (seasons), Ārtavas and Ardhamāsas (half months) are remembered as Pitṛs mutually.

95. Thus these Pitṛs, Devas and human Pitṛs become pleased when the holy rites are accompanied by faith. When they are pleased the descendants also are pleased.

96. Thus this search for and investigation into the nature of the Pitṛs who imbibe Soma (has been completed). It is this principle of the Pitṛs that has been decisively recounted in the Purāṇas.

97-100. The period of the Full Moon and the New Moon and the place of torture have been succinctly recounted to you. This is the eternal creation.

The Universal form of creation has been mentioned only partially. It is impossible to enumerate in full. It should be trusted faithfully by one who wishes for prosperity.

Indeed, this creation of Svāyaṃbhuva Manu has been begun by me and narrated in detail and in accordance with the sequence.

What more shall I describe to you?

Footnotes and references:


Lava—a minute division of time (=the sixth part of twinkling of the eye).


Here Bd.P.V.13a reads:

kṛṣṇa-pakṣe bhujām prītyā dahyamānaṃ tathāṃśubhiḥ /

This is obscure (to say the least). For this line Vā.P.56.12a reads:

kṛṣṇa-pakṣe tadā pītvā duhyamānam tathāṃśubhiḥ /

“Then, in the dark half of the month, having drunk (nectar) as it was being milked by the rays in that manner”.


Bd.P. 14. a reads nirvāteṣvatha pākṣeṣu ‘In windless fortnights’ is meaningless. Vā. P. 56.13a reads instead: nirvāpaṇārthaṃ dattena ‘given as oblation to (for the propitiation of) Pitṛs.


In Śatapatha Br. II 6. 1.7, those who performed a Soma sacrifice are Somavantaḥ Pitaraḥ (probably Saumyas here-of); those wto offered cooked oblations like Caru were Barhiṣadaḥ Pitaraḥ; those who offered no sacrifice but were consumed by fire in cremation after death were Agniṣvāttāh Pitaraḥ. Cf. Vā. P. 30. 6-7.

Later, during the Smṛti period, the classes of Pitṛs increased and had different connotations. Thus here in VV. 18-23 Saumyas are sons of Soma and imbibers of Soma. Householders performing sacrifices are Ṛtus and Barhiṣads.The non-performers of sacrifices are Ārtavas and Agniṣvāttas. It adds one more division viz. Kāvyas, the sons of Kavi (Śukra?) who imbibe ghee vide VV. 72-73 below.

For more details of this classification vide infra II. iii 10 VV. 53, 75, 93 and 96.


The reading ṛturagnis tu in Vā P. 56.14.a is preferable to ṛtamagnis tu hereof, as ṛtu (seasons of the year) are considered as Pitṛ (vide Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa


Probably a misprint for Chanda-jāḥ ‘born of Chandas, Veda or prosody’. Cf. Vā. P. 56.25a.


Vide Supra ch. XXIV, VV. 67-68.


rākāyāḥ (of the Rākā) of Vā.P.56.35 for rākāyām here-of is preferable.


The text is a bit obscure but Sūryasiddhānta XI. 1-2 defines Vyatīpāta more clearly: “When the moon and the sun are on opposite sides of either solstice and their minutes of declination are the same, it is Vyatīpāta, The sum of their longitudes is half a circle i.e. 180°. Normally there are 13 vyatīpātas in a year.


amāvāsyā which mixed with the pratipad of the next fortnight is called Kuhu.


The text is defective and obscure, saṅgama in V.51b is probably Saṅgava. ‘the second division of the day’. Vā.P.46b (if taken for 51a hereof) reads sūryeṇa sahasā muktaṃ gatvā Prātastanotsavau.


Kalāśrayaḥ ‘dependent on Kalās’ in Vā P. 56.58.


As per Vā.P, 56-64, these classes of Pitṛs are not born from a womb (ayonija).


VV. 88-91 justify the performance of Śrāddhas.

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