The Garuda Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736

The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...

Chapter XLVIII - Installations of divine images

Suta said:—I will now describe in brief the installation of the images of all the deities. Under an auspicious planet and in a beautiful building a preceptor should perform the rite of installation. He should, in the company of sacrificial priests, elect a Brahmana of the Central Provinces as the presiding priest. According to the religious prescription of his own branch or with the recitation of Pranava he should, with five or more Mudrikas, offer Padya and Arghya as well raiments, scented garlands and unguents. Then having made the assignment of mantrams the preceptor should begin the rite of installation. Before the temple should be erected a sacrificial shed of ten or twelve cubits supported by sixteen pillars. In its centre an altar of four cubits should be constructed and bedecked with standards. Then sand, procured from the confluence of rivers, should be scattered thereon. Beginning with the east five fire receptacles should be constructed of the shape severally of a square, of a bow, of a circle and of a lotus. Or all the five should be of the shape of a square. After performing the peace-giving rite, the presiding priest, for attaining success in all works, should perform the Homa ceremony near the head of the image. Some say that Homa ceremony should be first performed in the north-east after pasting the sacred spot (with the solution of cow-dung). Near the gate-way of the sacrificial shed four doors should be constructed. The branches of Nyagrodha, Audumvara, Plaksha and Khavira should be planted at the different doors of the shed. The gates should be five cubits in height and bedecked with clothes and flowers. Four pits, each of one cubit in depth, should be made on four sides. He should place the figure of a lion in the eastern gate, that of the king of horses (Ucchaisrava) in the southern, that of a bull in the western, and that of a celestial tiger in the northern door. With the mantram Agnimiti [the preceptor] should place the first in the east, with the Ishetva mantram he should place the second in the south, with the Agnayahi mantram he should place the third in the west, and with the Shaunodavi mantram he should place the fourth in the north. The flag, in the east, should be of the colour of a cloud, that in the south-east should be smoky-coloured, that in the north should be black, that in the south-west should be dark-blue, that in the west should be greyish, that in the north-west should be yellowish, that in the north should be crimson-coloured, and that in the north-east should be white. Vahurupa (one of various forms) should be placed in the middle. Indravidya should be placed in the east and with the Samsapti mantram Yamanaga should be placed in the south. Rakshahana should be adored both in the north and west. Then two pitchers should be placed at each door, covered with two pieces of cloth, pasted with sandal, bedecked with profuse flowers and creepers and inspired with mantrams.

Thereupon the guardian deities of the quarters should be adored there according to the rites sanctioned by the Scripture. With mantram “Trataram IndraAgni (the fire-god) should be worshipped upwards. The next mantram is Asmin Vriksha Itanchaiva Prachari. The other mantrams are Kinchedhatu Achatya Vinnadevi and Imakudra. Having thus adored the guardian deities of the quarters a learned worshipper should place articles and necessary implements for Homa in the north-west. The preceptor should, with the eyes, make the assignment of white conch-shells as sanctioned by the Scriptures. Forsooth, all articles are purified by looks. A person, who longs for all objects of desire, should make the assignment of heart and various limbs with Vyahriti and Pranava and that of other articles with the Astra mantram. Fried grains and handfuls of Kusha or sacred grass should be consecrated with Astra mantrams. The preceptor should touch all articles, collected in the sacrificial shed, with the blade of Kusha. Next he should scatter on all sides fried grains consecrated with the Astra mantram. Beginning with the quarter (east) presided over by Indra he should scatter fried grains so long as they do not come within the perception of Ishana and then rub the ground of the sacrificial shed with cow-dung. The preceptor should next perform the assignment of the entire mass of mantrams in the vessel of Arghya with scents and other articles. Then with the water of the Arghya vessel he should wash the sacrificial shed. He should next make the assignment of a pitcher named after the deity whose image is to be installed. He should adore the pitcher in the north-east and the Vardhani (broom) in the north with the Astra mantram. He should place the pitcher, the Vardhani, the planets and the Vastu god in their respective seats with the recitation of Pranava. The preceptor should adore the pitcher, having a thread round its neck, containing jems, covered with a piece of beautiful cloth and scented with all the medicinal herbs. The deity should be adored in the pitcher together with the Vardhani and the most excellent cloth. He should afterwards roll the pitcher together with Vardhani (broom); then sprinkling the ground with drops of water pouring from the broom he should place it before. Then having worshipped the broom and the pitcher he should adore the deity in the sacrificial altar. Having invoked the pitcher in the northwest quarter as well as the Gana deities a learned worshipper should recite the name of the Vastu deity in the north-east quarter. For making good the imperfections of the ground he should with the Vastospati mantram dedicate offerings of animals to the evil spirits and their leader on the eastern side of the pitcher. Afterwards a learned worshipper should perform the rite of slaughtering those animals. With the mantram “Yoga, Yoga” he should next spread sacrificial fuels and Kusha blades. Then the presiding priest should place the images along with the Ritwikas (sacrificial priests) on the altar of bathing. Then having recited many holy and auspicious verses through the Brahma ghosas[1] the twice-born should place the image of the deity in the Brahma-car. Then having brought the altar to the north-east corner the preceptor should place it in the sacrificial shed. With the mantram “Bhadra Karne” he should bathe the image and then put on the sacrificial thread. Having sprinkled the image he should make the door after saluting it from a distance. He should next put collyrium for the eyes in a bell-metal or a copper vessel containing honey and Sarpi.[2] Then with the “Agni-Jyoti” mantram he should open up its eyes with a golden probe. Then with due rites he should give the name. Then with the Ganga mantram “Imamme” he should perform the rite of cooling the eyes. With the mantram “Agni-Murdheti” he should place the dust of an ant-hill. With the mantram “Yajnayajna” he should place the branches of astringent trees, viz., Bel, Oodumvara, Ashvatha, Vata and Palasha. He should then sprinkle the image with five products of cow together with the goddesses, viz., Sahadevi, Bala, Shatamuli, Shatavari, Kumari, Guduchi, Sinhi and Vyagrihi.

The image of the animal, the god rides upon, should be built in the front of his temple, and gems, cereals, paddy and the Cotapuppika should be buried in the four corners of the edifice, the eight oceans such as the Ksherodi, Dadhi, etc., having been located by imagination in all the corners thereof by reading aloud the mantras which respectively begin as Apyasva, Dadhikratro, and Ya Ausadhi (those cereals) etc. The sacrificial pitchers should be invoked by uttering the mantra which runs as Tejosi, (thou art the light) etc., and bathed with water by repeating four times the mantra, known as the Samudraksa mantra. The preceptor, having bathed and dressed well, should offer the incense sticks together with the perfumed gum resin known as the Guggula, and invoke the particular sacred pools for bathing the sacrificial pitchers therein. The pitchers should be invoked with the mantra which runs as Ya Ausadhi; and they should be bathed in the sacred pools previously invoked by reading aloud the following mantra. “A man, who bathes in that water, is purged off all sins etc.” Having performed the rite of oblation unto the sacrificial pitchers and by uttering the mantra of the ocean (Samudra mantra), the Argha offering should be presented to them. The perfumed sandal paste should be presented repeating the mantra which begins as Gandhadvara, etc., and the Nyasa (rite of locating the fiery images of mantra or god in the different parts of the body) should be performed by uttering the mantras of the Veda. The cloth should be offered with the mantra which reads as this obtained with the means approved of the Shastras. The god should be taken into the sacrificial shed by reciting the mantra known as the Kavivaha, and laid down in the bed with the mantra which runs as Shambhavaya, etc. All the articles should be purified with the mantra known as the Devatacchakan. Then having merged himself in the supreme principle of the universe, the preceptor should perform the Nyasa rite known as the mantra Nyasa. Then the mantra should be worshipped under a covering.

Then as directed by the Scripture he should place offerings at the foot of the image. He should place the pitcher with gold, covered with pieces of cloth and inspired with Pranava mantra, where the head of the idol lies. Having placed it near the receptacle the preceptor should perform the rite of placing the sacred fire either according to the religious prescription of his own sacrificial code or according to the Vedic mantrams. One should recite Srisukta,[3] along with fire, its dwelling place, servants and deer-skin, Vrishakapi and Mitra in the west. A successful Adhyaryu[4] should recite in the south Rudra, Purushasukta,[5] Slokadhyaya[6] Brahma, the Pitris and Maitra. A person, versed in Chhandas (prosody), should recite, in the west, the Vedic observance Vamadevya, Jyesthasama,[7] Bherundas[8] and Samans.[9] A Brahman, well-versed in the Atharvan Veda, should recite in the north the principal portion of the Artharva, the (Kumbha Sukta verse) of the Atharva Veda, Nila Rudras[10] and Maitra.

Touching the receptacle with the astra mantram, the Acharya (preceptor) should bring the fire, either in a copper vessel or an earthen one, according to his means, and place it before. A worshipper should light the fire with the astra mantram, should encircle it with the Kavacha mantram and afterwards perform the rite of Amritikarana with all the mantrams. He should take up the vessel with his two hands and roll it over the receptacle; and then with the Vishnu mantra he should throw the most excellent fire there. Either with the general mantrams or with those of his own sect he should place Brahma in the south and the sacrificial vessels in the north. Then with Kusha grasses he should place Paridhis[11] in all the quarters. Brahma, Vishnu and Hara should be adored with the general mantrams. He should place fire in the sacrificial grass and should encircle it with the same. That which is touched with a sacrificial grass is purified even in the absence of the mantrams. Encircled by uncut sacrificial grasses, with their blades directed in the east, west and north, the fire, of its own aecord (record?), comes near. One, well versed in mantrams, should do what has been said for the protection of the fire. Some preceptors hold that the rite, consequent on the birth of a child, should be performed after the installation of the sacred fire. Thereupon performing the rite of Pavitra one should purify his kingdom. The preceptor should next see that the rite of prostration is performed with mantrams. He should pour clarified butter in drops into the fire for making the former sucessful. He should next offer ten oblations of clarified butter unto fire. As long as the rite of giving away kine continues so long Garbhadhana and other rites should be solemnized. Either with the mantrams of his own Scriptural code or with Pranava a preceptor should perform the rite of Homa. Thereupon he should offer Purnahuti (consummated oblation) from which one’s desires are all fulfilled. A fire, thus generated, yeilds success in all works.

Thereupon having worshipped the fire he should place it in the receptacle. Then with his own mantrams he should offer a hundred oblations in honor of Indra and other gods. Then unifying his own self with all the gods, mantrams and fire he should offer the Purnahuti. Then coming out the Acharya should offer sacrificial beasts to the guardian deities of the quarters, the evil spirits, gods and Nagas. Sessamum seeds and sacrificial fuels are the two necessary articles of Homa. Clarified butter is an auxilliary to them.

He should next assign Purushasukta to the east, Rudra to the south, and Jyesthasama and Bherunda to the west. Nilarudra is a great mantram of the Kurma Sukta (hymn) belonging to the Atharva-Veda. He should offer a thousand oblations to each of the gods—to their head, body and foot, and then offer Purnahuti. In due order and without any distinction he should offer oblations to the spot where the head of the image is placed. The twice-born should offer oblations in honor of the gods either with the principal mantram, the mantrams of his own Scriptural code or with the Gayatri, or with only Gayatri, Vyarhriti and Pranava. Having thus duly performed the Homa rite a worshipper should make assignment of the mantrams. He should assign Agnimili to the feet, Ishitwa to the ankles, Agniayahi to the hips, Saunodevi to the knee-joints, Vrihadantara to the thighs, Shvatira to the belly, Dirghayustra to the heart, Shri to the neck, Trataramindra to the breast, Triyugmaka to the eyes, and Murdhabhava to the head.

Thereupon a preceptor should raise up the image saying “Rise up, O lord of the Brahmanas.” Then with the Vedic and other sacred recitations he should circumambulate the divine edifice.

A person, well versed in mantrams, should next make the foot-stool of the deity. With jems he should place the image, of the deities of the quarters, metals and medicinal herbs and Lauha Vijani behind the image. The image should not be placed in the centre of the adytum nor it should be absolutely abandoned. It should be placed a little distant from the centre and all imperfections should be removed thereby. Then sessamum seeds should be placed in the north. Afterwards reciting the mantram “Om, remain here permanently and do good unto the creatures, salutation unto thee” the preceptor should make assignment of mantras to the deity, the Sun and the six other gods. Having made the six-fold assignments for accomplishing success he should inspire them with mantrams.

He should next sprinkle the well-fixed image with the water of the Sampata pitcher and adore it with lamps, incense, scents and edibles. Having offered Arghya and bowed unto the deity he should pray for forgiveness. Then according to his means, vessels, two pieces of raiment, umbrella and good rings should be presented as Dakshina (fee) to the officiating priests. Afterwards, with a controlled mind, the sacrificer should offer a hundred oblations and then the Purnahuti. And then coming out of the temple the preceptor should dedicate offerings to the guardian deities of the quarters. With flowers in his hands and saying “Forgive” he should dedicate them. After the termination of the sacrifice the sacrifìcer should present unto the preceptor a Kapila cow, chowri, head-gear, ear-rings, umbrella, bracelet, an ornament for the waist, fans, villages, and raiments &c. He should then give a grand dinner party. Being liberated by the favour of the divine edifice a sacrificer becomes successful.

Footnotes and references:


The reciters of Vedic hymns.


A small medicinal shrub.


A hymn describing the glories of the goddess of prosperity.


A Brahman well-versed in the Atharva Veda.


A hymn of the Rig-Veda.


A Chapter of verses of praise.


A portion of the Sama Veda. A religious rite of which its perusal is a part.


One of Yakshinis or female attendants of Durga.


Verses of the Sama Veda.


Mantrams of the Artharva Veda.


A wooden frame round the hole in which the a sacrificial fire is lighted.

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