by Ernest Wood | 1911 | 34,987 words
This is a translation of an abridged version of the Garuda Purana. The Garuda Purana is one of the Vishnu Puranas. It is in the form of a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds. The second section of this Purana (given here) deals with issues connected with death, particularly funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation. Portion...
2. The Blessed Lord said: In the early morning on the eleventh day one should go to a water-reservoir, and perform diligently all the funeral ceremonies.
3. He should invite Brāhmiṇs, well-read in Vedas and Śāstras, and bowing their heads, with hands folded together, pray for the release of the departed.
4. Even a preceptor should become purified by bathing, and performing the Sandhyā and other ceremonies; one should do the eleventh-day ceremony, as prescribed.
5. One should perform the tenth-day Śrāddha in the family name, without mantras; and on the eleventh day, offer a rice-ball to the departed, with mantras.
To the west there should be a pot filled with Ganges water for Viṣṇu; and upon it one should place Viṣṇu, clad in yellow robes.
To the east there should be a pot of milk and water for Brahma; and there one should place Brahmā, clad in white robes.
To the north there should be a pot of honey and clarified butter for Rudra, and there one should place Rudra, clad in red robes.
To the south there should be a pot of rain-water for Yama; and upon it one should place Yama, clad in black robes.
11-13. The son, having made a circle in the middle, and placed therein kuśa-grass, facing southward, with the sacred thread over the right shoulder, should make the water-offering.
And he should next make a gift of a cow for the helping along of his forefathers: "this cow is given by me. May it please Thee, O Mādhava."
Sesamum and the rest, the eight great gifts: if one does not offer these in his last days, they should be brought to his bedside and he should have them given.
16. Having washed the feet of a Brāhmiṇ he should honour him with cloths and other things, and give him cooked food, sweetmeats, flour-cakes and milk.
17-.19. Then the son should place upon the bed a golden image, and having worshiped it, give the bed as prescribed, for the sake of the dead.
"This bed is given by me to you, O Brāhmiṇ, for the sake of the departed, with the image of the departed, and the other things."
With these words it should be given to a Brāhmiṇ preceptor who has a family; so going round him he should salute him and present it.
20. By this gift of the bed, and Śrāddhas of the ninth and other days, and by the rite of the dedication of a bull, the departed goes to the highest condition.
21-30. On the eleventh day the rite of the dedication of a bull should be performed as prescribed. He should not use a cow which is crippled, ill or too young, but one having well-marked characteristics.
That which has red eyes, a reddish colour, red horns, neck and hoofs, white belly and black back is suitable for a Brāhmiṇ;
A glossy and red complexion is suitable for a Kṣattriya; yellow colour for a Vaiśya; black is suitable for a Śūdra.
One with all limbs red-brown, with tail and feet white, is called a reddish bull, and increases the satisfaction of the forefathers.
The bull whose face, legs and tail are white, and which is the colour of lac dye is called dark.
That which has a red colour, with white face and tail, and brown hoofs and horns is called dark-coloured.
That which has one colour over all its limbs and tail and hoofs is called dark-brown, and is the uplifter of the ancestors.
That which is dove-coloured and has a tilaka-mark on its forehead is called deep-brown, and is entirely beautiful in all its limbs.
That which is dark over all its body, and red in its eyes, is called very dark--of which five varieties are known.
This should by all means be dedicated, and should not be used for domestic purposes. It exists in the world on this account,--so runs an ancient saying.
He alone should be considered a son who performs the dedication of a bull and the Gayā Śrāddha---who does not do so verily is like unto excrement.
Any one whose ancestors are tormented in Raurava and other hells helps them all out for twenty-one generations by the dedication of a bull.
Even the forefathers who have gone to heaven desire the dedication of a bull: "which son in our lineage will perform the dedication of a bull,
"By whose dedication, all of us will go to the highest condition? Among all sacrifices, the bull-sacrifice is the certain giver of release to us."
36. Therefore, for the release of the forefathers, one should perform the bull-sacrifice. He should do everything with diligence according to the prescribed rite.
37. Having cast the positions of the planets and worshipped them with their respective mantras, the ailing man should make the fire-offering, according to the Śāstras, and worship a bull.
And should bathe the bull and young cow with the water from the pot of Rudra, and, having worshipped them with fragrances and garlands, walk round them.
He should [mark] the right side with the trident of Śiva and the, left side with a discus. Having released the bull, the son, with hands folded together, should recite this mantra:--
"Thou art Justice in the form of a bull. Thou wert formerly created by Brahma. On account of your being released, help over this ocean of existence!"
Having thus bowed to it, with this mantra, he should release the bull and the young cow. "I shall always be the grantor of boons to you, and will give release to the departed."
43. Therefore this should be done. Its fruit comes even during life. The man who has no son, doing it himself, goes easily to the highest condition.
44-45. In the month of Kārtika and in other auspicious months, when the sun is going north, in the bright fortnight, or the dark on the twelfth and following days,
In the two eclipses, at a sacred bathing place, at the equinoctial and solstitial points, one should perform the dedication of a bull.
By recitation, by fire-offerings, likewise by gifts, the purification of the body should be done. As in the former case, all the rites should be done; such as the fire-offering and the rest;
And having placed a Śālagrāma one should do the Vaiṣṇava Śrāddha, and then perform the Śrāddha for himself and give gifts to the twice-born.
He who does this, O Bird, whether having a son or not, by the performance of the dedication of a bull obtains the fruit of all his desires.
50. That condition which is obtained by the performance of the release of a bull, is not reached by oblations to the fire and other sacrifices, nor by manifold gifts.
51-53. The sins which are committed in infancy, in childhood, in youth, in manhood and in old age are destroyed, without doubt, by the dedication of a bull.
The betrayer of friends, the ungrateful, the drinker of intoxicants, he who goes with his teacher's wife, the slayer of a Brāhmiṇ, the stealer of gold are all absolved by the dedication of a bull.
Therefore should one perform the bull sacrifice with all diligence, O Tārkṣya; there is no merit in all the three worlds equal to that from the dedication of a bull.
54. If a woman, having a husband and a son, predeceases both, the dedication of a bull should not be performed,--one should present a milk-giving cow.
The man who cruelly strikes a bull with his fists or with sticks, suffers the torments of Yama until the end of the age.
57-59. Having thus carried out the dedication of a bull, one should perform the sixteen Śrāddhas. I will tell you what should be done prior to sapiṇḍīkaraṇa ceremony.
That at the place of death; at the threshold; half-way on the road; at the funeral pyre; in the hand of the corpse; and at the collection of the bones;--these six, and the ten piṇḍas given in the ten days:--
These first sixteen are called impure. And next I will tell you about the second, the middle, sixteen:--
30-64. One should offer the first rice-ball to Viṣṇu, the second to the blessed Śiva; one should present the third to the retinue of Yama.
The fourth to king Soma, the fifth to the bearer of oblations to the Shining Ones, and the sixth to the bearer of oblations to the forefather; the seventh one should present to Death; The eighth one should give to Rudra, the ninth to Puruṣa, the tenth to the departed, and the eleventh reverently to Viṣṇu;
The twelfth one should give to Brahmā, the thirteenth to Viṣṇu, the fourteenth to Śiva, the fifteenth to Yama;
The sixteenth rice-ball, O bird, one should give to Puruṣa: These are called the middle sixteen by men who know the truth.
65-67, One should give rice-balls in each one of the twelve months, on the fortnight, the third fortnight, before the six months, and also before the year,--
This is the last sixteen, I have declared to you. Having had food cooked, O Tārkṣya.
The forty-eight Śrāddhas destroy the condition of the ghost-life. He for whom this series is performed becomes a member of the assembly of the forefathers.
68-69. The three sixteens should be performed so that the departed may join the assembly of the forefathers; if deprived of Śrāddhas the ghost remains as preta always.
If the performance of the three sixteens of Śrāddhas is not carried out, either by himself or another, then he certainly does not join them.
She who does the funeral ceremonies on the death of her husband, and the annual and the fortnightly is called by me, "the Faithful."
This faithful wife lives for the good of her husband: the life is fruitful of her who worships her dead lord.
73-78. Also, for any one who, owing to carelessness, is killed by fire, or by water, one should perform the sacrament and other rites as prescribed.
If he is killed through recklesness or wilfully, or by a serpent, then me should worship a serpent on the fifth day of each fortnight.
One should form a picture of a hooded serpent upon the ground with ricepowder, and worship with white sweet-smelling flowers and sandalpaste.
One should offer a serpent made of gold, according to his means, and a cow, to a twice-born. Then one should, with hands together "may the King of Serpents be pleased;"
And should further perform for them the rite Nārāyaṇa-bali, by which they are absolved of all sins and obtain residence in heaven,
80. Having done this on the eleventh day he should then offer the rice-balls for all the ancestors, and when free from pollution he should have made a gift of a bed and other gifts.
Footnotes and references:
For an account of these ceremonies, see the Daily Practice of the Hindus by Mr. Sris Chandra Vasu, Panini Office, Allahabad.
It is usually worn ever the left shoulder under the right arm, for this ceremony, he mast change it.
Dharma or Yama.
Orthodox Hindus place a mark on the forehead to show caste and other things.
Including the latter part of October and the first part of November.
That is Fire.
The primeval man; Viṣṇu.
The food is placed near the image, and passes of the hands are made as though a influence it towards the image.
Made into a ball, usually with sugar and cocoanut.
This ceremony is performed on the twelfth day, as it were in anticipation of the annual event. It is the ceremony for all the ancestors together.