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...
The righteous go by righteous ways to the mansion of Justice; tell me about those righteous ones and the ways, O Treasure-house of Compassion.
3-5. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Tārkṣya, I will tell you about that shining city of Justice, which is accessible to Nārada and others find is reached by the very meritorious.
Between the south and south-west is the city of the son of Vivaswata, all built of diamonds, resplendent, impregnable by Holy Ones or Demons.
It is declared to be four-angled, with four gateways, surrounded by high ramparts and measuring a thousand yojanas.
Surrounded with shining ramparts of iron, up to ten [yojanas] heights, with hundreds of streets decorated with flags and banners,
Abounding in chariots, resounding with songs and music, decorated by skilful painters and constructed by divine architects,
Beautiful with gardens and parks, and sounding with the songs of various birds; habited in every part by celestial damsels and choristers.
10-15. Chitragupta, seated on his most wonderful throne in that assembly, considers the lives of men individually.
He is never mistaken in distinguishing between good and evil deeds, or by whom good or evil deeds have been done
And by order of Chitragupta he experiences all of them there. To the east of the abode of Chitragupta is the great house of Fever.
To the south are those of Rheumatism and skin diseases, and smallpox likewise. To the west are those of the Snare of Death, Dyspepsia, and Biliousness also.
To the north there is consumption and Jaundice likewise; to the north-west, Headache; to the south-east, Syncope.
To the south-west, is Dysentery; to the north-west cold and heat--with these and other diseases it is surrounded.
In the middle of the city, is the very resplendent mansion of the king of justice. It is shining with jewels, and splendid like lightning, flame and the sun.
It is certainly two hundred yojanas in extent, and measures fifty yojanas in height.
It is supported by thousands of pillars, decorated with emeralds, ornamented with gold, and is full of palaces and mansions,
Pleasing to the mind with cupolas of the splendour of the autumnal sky; with beautiful crystal stairways and walls beautified with diamonds,
And with windows of strings of pearls, decorated with flags and banners; rich with the sounds of bells and drums; and embellished with golden fringes,
Filled with various wonders; with hundreds of golden doors; beautiful with trees, plants and creepers without thorns.
With these and other embellishments decorated always--it was created by the architect of the Universe by the power of his own Yoga.
24-28. In that there is a divine assembly place which is a thousand yojanas in extent, splendid like the sun, full of light, and in every way satisfying;
With no extreme heat and no extreme cold; most ravishing to the mind with no sorrows and no old age there, and no trouble of hunger and thirst.
All there are in a condition of happiness, whether they be human or divine; the eatables are tasteful and plentiful, and enjoyable in every way.
The water, both hot and cold, are sweet; the sounds and other things there are pleasant; and trees always bear the fruit desired.
That assembly, O Tārkṣya, has no bondage, is enchanting, is a fulfiller of desires, and was created by the Architect of the Universe by doing tapas for a long time.
29-30. Those who have done great tapas, are of good vows, truth-speaking, tranquil, renouncing, accomplished, and purified by good actions go there.
All there have bodies of light, and are adorned with shining garments, and remain there ornamented with their own meritorious actions.
31-33. There the Lord of Justice, on a throne pure and incomparable, ten yojanas in extent, bedecked with all kinds of jewels--
Sits, the Best of the Good, his head dignified with the regal umbrella, ornamented with ear-rings, prosperous, made splendid with a large crown.
Adorned with all ornaments, splendid as a blue cloud, and fanned by celestial damsels bearing in their hands fans of hair.
Surrounded by various servants equal to him in prowess, bearing awful nooses and rods, ready to do his bidding,
Who are the Agniṣvāttha, Pitṛs, the Somapās and the Uṣmapās, the powerful Barhiṣads formed and formless, O Bird,
Aryamās and others, hosts of progenitors, and others having forms,--all these wait upon the King of Justice, with the sages:
Atri, Vaśiṣṭha, Pulaha, Dakṣa, Kraturatha, Aṅgiras, Jāmadagnya, and also Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Agastya, Nārada,--
These, and many others in the assembly of the King of Progenitors, impossible to enumerate, either by their names or their deeds.
The kings of the Solar Race, also of the Lunar Race,--these knowers of righteousness wait upon the King of Justice in the assembly.
Manu, Dilīpa, Māndhātā, Sagara, Bhagīratha, Ambarīṣa, Anaraṇya, Muchakunda, Nimi, and Pṛthu,
Yayāti, Nahuṣa, Puru; Duṣmanta, Śibi, Nala, Bharata, Śāntaṇu, Pāṇdu, and also Sahasrārjuna,--
These royal sages, meritorious, famous, well-read in the Vedas, having performed many horse sacrifices, are in the assembly of Righteousness.
46-47. Righteousness alone prevails in the assembly of the King of Justice. There is there no favouritism, no untruthfulness, and no jealousy.
All those assembled are knowers of the scriptures; all are devoted to righteousness; and in that assembly they continually wait upon Vaivasvata
48-49. Such, O Tārkṣya, is the assembly of the great-souled King of Justice. The sinners, who go by the southern path, do not behold it.
There are four ways leading into the city of the King of Justice: The way for the sinful has already been described to you.
50. Those who go into the mansion of righteousness by the three gateways, eastern and others, are those of good deeds. By their merits they go into it. Hear about them:-51 -55. There is an eastern way, abounding in all enjoyments, covered with the shade of Pārijāta trees, and paved with jewels,
Busy with numerous chariots; splendidly lined with swans, bounded by trees and pleasure-gardens, having the essence of nectar.
By that go the holy Brāhmiṇ-sages, the stainless royal sages, and multitudes of celestial damsels, choristers, magicians and great serpents,
And worshippers of the deities, and the devotees of Śiva, those who give rest-houses in the summer, and who give fuel in winter,
Those who shelter ascetics in their houses during the rains, and make them gifts; those who speak consolation to the mentally distressed, and certainly those who give a hermitage,
And those who delight in truth and righteousness; those free from anger and greed; those devoted to father and mother, those taking pleasure in the service of their Teacher.
Those who make gifts of land, of houses, of cows; those who impart learning; those who tell and listen to the Purāṇas;--are travellers on the path--
These, and others of good deeds, enter by the eastern gate. Skilful in goodness, and of purified intelligence, they go to the Assembly of Righteousness.
It is full of swans and water-fowl, and beautiful with Brāhmany ducks, and there is there a delightful tank full of the essence of nectar.
On this way go those who are learned in the Vedas, also those who honour guests, those who are worshippers of Dūrgā and Bhanu, and those who bathe at the sacred waters at the changes of the moon,
Those who die in the pursuit of righteousness, and those who die of vow of starvation, those who die in Benares, those who die in the protection of cattle, those who are accidentally drowned in the sacred waters;
Those who die for the sake of Brāhmiṇs, in the service of the master, at the sacred waters and on holy ground, by the will of the Shining Ones; those who die in the practice of Yoga;
Those who always honour the deserving, and those who delight in making great gifts,--these, entering by the northern gate, reach the Assembly of Righteousness.
By this way go the self-reliant, those who contemplate the good scriptures, those entirely devoted to Viṣṇu, those who repeat the Gāyatrī-mantra,
Those who turn away from injury to others, from the wealth of others, and from calumny; those faithful to their wives; the good; those who maintain household fires; those who repeat the Vedas;
Observers of the vow of celibacy; forest dwellers; the austere; devotees of the feet of Śrī; those intent upon renunciation; those who look equally upon gold, stone and earth;
Those who have attained knowledge and dispassion; those intent upon the welfare of all beings; those who keep vows to Śiva and Viṣṇu; those who perform the rites of Brahmā,
Those who are rid of the three-fold debt; those who always take pleasure in the five sacrifices; those who perform Śrāddha for the forefathers; those who perform the Sandhyā at the proper times;
Those who abstain from the company of the wicked, devoted to the society of the good;--these, accompanied by numbers of celestial damsels, ascend the best of chariots.
They drink nectar, and go to the mansion of righteousness, and entering by the western gate, go to the Assembly of Righteousness.
Then, assuming his four arms, holding his conch, discus, mace and sword, he speaks and acts in a hind and friendly way to those who delight in meritorious deeds.
He offers them the throne, and bows to them; washes their feet, and then honours them with sandal-paste and other things.
77-81. "O’ You Assembled! Salute with deepest reverence the knower. He, departing from my dominion, will go to the world of Brahmā.
"O, Best of the Wise, who avoid the pains of hell; you have by your merits attained divinity, the state of happiness.
"He who, attaining the human state, difficult to reach, never acts wisely, he goes to a dreadful hell. Who is more foolish than he?
"He who, in the impermanent body, amid perishable wealth and other things, stores up unchanging righteousness, he alone is a wise man. "Therefore should righteousness be accumulated, with every effort.
Go you to the holy place which abounds in all enjoyments."
Go along the highest path, accompanied by multitudes of chariots; then those in that assembly of righteousness rise up with great respect
Having spent there some ages, and enjoyed superhuman pleasures, they obtain, as a result of their merits, holy human birth,
Wealthy and wise, expert in all the scriptures. Then again they go to the highest condition by their own good conduct.
86. All this about the abode of Yama has been told you upon your asking. The man who hears this with devotion goes to the assembly of the King of Justice.
Footnotes and references:
Taking any form desired.
Meditation with an effort to produce physical effects.
Forms of Death.
A class of progenitors.
Scriptures teaching the duties of life.
Yama, the son of Visvasvat.
Those who have renounced the world.
The consort of Śiva.
The divine elephant.
The divine horse.
That is in Heaven world.