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 XLIX - Discourse on Yoga and acts of piety

Brahma said:—Hari, the author of creation, &c., should be adored by the Self-create Brahma and other gods, and Brahmana and other castes, according to the rites of their respective orders. Hear their respective duties, O Vyasa.

Celebrating sacrifices for themselves and others, making gifts and accepting them, study and teaching constitute the six-fold duties of the Brahmanas. Making gifts, studying and celebrating sacrifices are the duties of the Kshatryas and the Vaishyas. To govern is also the duty of a Kshatrya whereas cultivation constitutes that of a Vaishya. To serve the twice-born is the duty of the Sudras. Handicraft and menial service are also their duties. Begging, attending the preceptor, Vedic study, abandonment of worldly affections and possessions and the preservation of the sacred fire constitute the duties of a Brahmacharin.

All the four Ashramas (orders) have two-fold conditions. They are called Brahmacharin (religious student) Upakurvana (house-holder), Vaishthika[1] and Brahmatatpara.[2] He who having duly studied the Vedas enters into the order of the house-holder, is called Upakarvanaka. He, who continues the life of the religious student till his death, is called Vaishthika. O foremost of the twice-born, the preservation of sacred fire, the entertainment of the guests, the celebration of sacrifices, making gifts and the adoration of the deities constitute the duties of a house-holder. A Udasina (one disassociated from the world) and a Sadhaka (one devoted exclusively to religious practices, becomes a householder in two ways. A Sadhaka, while he is busy with maintaining his relations, becomes a house-holder. He, who having neglected the payment of three-fold debts[3] and renounced wife and earthly possessions, &c. roves about alone, is a nominal Udasina.

The duty, of a dweller of the forest (hermit), consists in duly sleeping on earth, living on roots and fruits and studying the Vedas. He is the best of ascetics living in the forest who practises austerities in the forest, worships the gods, offers oblations to fire and studies the Vedas. Being emaciated greatly by practising hardest austerities, he, who is engaged solely in the meditation of the Deity, is known as a Sanyasin stationed in the Vanaprastha order. The Bhikshu or the mendicant, who daily practises Yoga, is self-controlled and follows the light of Jnana (knowledge), is called Parameshthika. The great ascetic, who delights in self and is ever gratified and besmeared with sandal, is called Bhikshu. Begging alms, Vedic studies, vow of silence, asceticism, meditation, perfect knowledge and disassociation from the world constitute the duties a Bhikshu. Parames-thikas are divided into three classes—vis., Jnana Sanyasins[4] Veda Sanyasins[5] and Karma Sanyasins.[6] Yoga is also three-fold—Bhautika,[7] Kshatra; and the third is Antashramì, Abstract meditation of the Deity is also three-fold—Prathama, Duskara, Antima. Religious rites beget emancipation and pursuance of worldly objects creates desire. Vedic rites are two-fold—Pravritti and Nivritti.[8] Nrivritti or extinction of desire is preceded by Jnana or knowledge and Pravritti is worked out by the worship of sacred fire.

Forgiveness, self-restraint, compassion, charity, want of avarice, simplicity, want of jealousy, visiting sacred shrines, truthfulness, contenment, faith in the existence of God, the subjugation of senses, the adoration of the deities, the worship of the Brahmanas, abstinence from doing injury, speaking sweet words, not to slander and amiability,—these are the duties of the various orders of the four castes. The region of Brahma is reserved for those Brahmanas who perform sacrificial rites. That of Indra is intended for those Kshatryas who never fly away from the battle-field. That of the Gandharva is reserved for the Sudras who steadfastfy serve [the three higher castes].

The region, of the eighty-eight-thousand Rishis who have controlled their vital powers, is also reserved for those who live for ever with their preceptors. The region, which is reserved for the seven Rishis, is also intended for the ascetics who live in the forest. The blissful region of Brahma is reserved for the Yatis who have controlled their mental and intellectul faculties, for those who practise Nyasa and those who uphold the discharge of vital fluid. No ascetic returns from this region. The immortal, eternal, undecaying, ever blissful region of Ishvara, called Vyom, from which an emancipated person never returns, is reserved for the Yogins. Hear, I will describe in brief the eight sorts of Mukti or emancipation.

Yama[9] is of five sorts, viz., abstaining from harming others, abstaining from killing animals, truthfulness, doing good to all creatures, restraint of speech, belief in God, abstaining from knowing a woman, Brahmacharya (life of a religious student), renunciation of all and accepting no gifts. Niyamas[10] are five, beginning with truthfulness and divided into two classes, external and internal. They are purification, truthfulness, contentment, penance and subjugation of senses. Sadhyaya is the recitation of Vedic Mantrams. And with the concentration of mind one should adore Hari-Asana (yoga posture) consists of Padma and others, and Pranayama is the suppression of vital airs. Inhaling the breath and sending it with Mantrams and meditation, either twice or thrice, is called Puraka. Absolute suspension of breath is called Kumbhaka. Expiration by one nostril is called Rechaka. The withdrawal of the organs of senses from external objects is called Pratyahara. Dhyana is the meditation on self and Brahma. The steadying of the mind is called Dharana. The state of mind in which one’s soul is absolutely immersed in Brahma and when he thinks “I am Brahma” is called Samadhi.

I am Self, the Para-Brahma, ever existent, full of knowledge and without end. The bliss of knowing Brahma is realized when one understands Tattvamasi.[11] I am Brahma, am without body and organs of senses. I am devoid of mind, intellect and egoism. I am the light in three states of wakefulness, dreaming sleep, and dream-less sleep. I am eternal, pure, enlightened, existent, blissful and without second. I am that Prime Purusha. I am that undivided, portionless Purusha.

A Brahmana, thus meditating, is freed from the fetters of the world.

Footnotes and references:


The Brahman who continues with his spiritual preceptor and always remains in the condition of the religious student.


He, who giving up every other work, is solely engaged in the meditation of Para-Brahma.


Every one, that is born, has got three debts to pay off:—to sages, gods and the Manes.


The Sanyasins who follow the road of Knowledge.


Those who read the Vedas.


Those who follow the road of action— i.e. who always engage in disinterested works.




Pravritti is what destroys desire and Nivritti withdraws the mind from worldly objects.


Self-control;—a great moral or religious duty or observance. And here though it is mentioned five, but ten sorts of Yama are enumerated. The names are given differently by different writers.


Religious rites or austerities which are not so obligatory as Yama. (In Yoga philosophy) Restraint of the mind, the second of the eight principal steps of meditation in Yoga.


It is a transcendental Vedic phrase occurring in the Chhandogya Upanishad, meaning “That art Thou.”

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: