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 L - Discourses on charities and gift-makings, etc.

Brahma said:—He who performs religious rites daily attains to Jnana (knowledge). Having got up from bed at the Brahma-muhurta[1] he should meditate on religious profit and worldly profit. He should also meditate, in the lotus of his heart, on blissful and undecaying Hari. When the dawn approaches a learned man, having performed the necessary rites, should repair to a river of pure water for bathing, and perform there duly the purificatory rite. Even sinful wights are sanctified by morning ablutions. Therefore with every possible care a person should bathe early in the morning. Wise men speak highly of morning ablutions [in consequence of their yielding fruits] seen and unseen. When a person sleeps at ease saliva and other impurities come out. Therefore without bathing first no one should perform a religious rite. Poverty, misfortune, bad dreams, and anxious thoughts—all these sins are forsooth destroyed by morning ablutions. It is not proper for persons to perform religious rites without bathing. Particularly in Homa and Japa one must bathe. He should sprinkle his head with water and rub his body with a piece of wet cloth. He should perform the six forms of bathing, viz., Brahma, Agneya, Vayavya, Divya, Varuna and Yaugika. The Brahma form of bathing consists in rubbing the body with drops of water poured through Kusha reeds and accompanied with Mantrams. Agneya form consists is besmearing the body, from head to foot, with ashes. The most excellent form of bathing, namely, Vayavya, consists in rubbing on the body the powder of cow-dung. Bathing in the sun-shine is called Divya. Varuna consists in plunging into water and knowing the self in mind. Meditation on Hari by means of Yoga is called Yaugika form of bathing. It is the shrine of self resorted to by Brahmavadins.

With his face directed towards either the north or the east a person should cleanse his teeth with the twigs either of Kshira, Malati, Vilva or Karavira trees. Standing on a purified spot he should wash his teeth and mouth and then throw the stick away. Afterwards having bathed he should offer libations of water to the celestials, Rishis and the departed manes. Having rinsed his mouth he should do it again observing silence. Having sprinked his body with drops of water through Kusha reeds and with Mantrams, Apohistha, Vyarhriti and the auspicious Varuni and having recited the Gayatri, consisting of Om and Vyarhriti, the mother of the Vedas, he should offer libations of water to the sun with his mind fixed in him.

Thereupon sitting on Kusha grass in the morning, controlling his mind and suppressing his vital air he should meditate on Sandhya Mantrams. She, who is Sandhya, is the mother of the universe, beyond illusion, sinless, divine and sprung from three-fold energies. Having thus meditated a learned man should recite crimson-coloured, white and dark-blue Gayatri. With his face directed towards the earth a Brahmana should always perform his Sandhya rites. He, who does not make Sandhya worship, is impure and is not competent to perform any action. And be does not reap the fruit of any thing else he does. Having duly adored Sandhya, the pure and self-controlled Brahmanas, the masters of the Vedas, attain to the most excellent region. That best of the twice-born, who, neglecting the Sandhya rites, tries to perform any other religious ceremony, goes to a million of hells. Therefore with every possible care one should perform the Sandhya rites. By doing so one gets the most excellent celestial and Yoga body.

A learned man, controlling his senses, purifying his own body and mind, and sitting with his face towards the east, should recite the Gayatri, a thousand, hundred or ten times. Having controlled his mind, he should sit facing the rising sun. With many potent Mantrams, belonging to the Rik, Yayush and Sama Veda, he should adore and salute the Sun, the god of gods, touching the ground with his head, saying “Om, salutation, I dedicate my self, unto Khasholka, the cause of the three-fold causes, unto him of the form of knowledge. Thou art Brahma, the great water, fire and juice. Thou art earth, heaven and sky, Om and the eternal Rudra.” Having recited mentally this most excellent hymn in the morning and noon one should bow unto the Sun.

Then returning to his house and rinsing his mouth duly with water a Brahmana should light up (himself) the sacred fire and offer oblations unto it. With the permission of the sacrificer, his priest, son, wife, pupil or brother may also offer oblations. Any religious rite, that is performed without Mantrams, yields no fruit in this world. He should bow unto the deities and dedirate unto them offerings. He should adore his preceptor and do what is conducive to his well-being. A twice-born should afterwards, according to his power, study the Vedas with proper care; he should recite the Mantrams, teach his pupils, conceive the meaning and discuss the same. That best of the twice-born should also read the Dharma Shastras (Religious Codes), the Vedic texts and the Vedangas.[2] For making his Yoga successful the twice-born should approach the Deity and afterwards do various works, for his relatives. Thereupon in the noon he should collect,—for the purpose of bathing, earth, flowers, dried paddy, sessamum seeds, sacrificial grass, and the pure cow-dung. He should bathe in a river, in a tank dedicated to a deity, in a pool or in a pond (of his own) but he should never bathe (in a well or tank) belonging to another person. If he does not offer five pindas every day his bathing becomes impure. The head should be washed once with earth, the navel twice, the part beneath it thrice, and the feet six times. Earth should be of the quantity of a ripe Myrobalam; cow-dung should also be of the same quantity. He should then besmear his body with it. Having washed his body and rinsed his mouth, he should bathe with a controlled mind. Then coming on the shore, he should besmear his body with earth, reciting the Linga Mantrams. He should then inspire the water with the auspicious Varuna Mantrams. At the time of bathing he should think of the Narayana form of Vishnu in the water. Having looked at the sun with Om, he should thrice plunge himself into the water and again rinse his mouth with the following mantram.

“Thou rangest in the mind of creatures and art the mouth of the universe. Thou art Yama, Vashatkara, water, fire, juice and ambrosia.”

He should repeat thrice the Drupada Mantram consisting of Vyahriti and Pranava. The learned worshipper should next recite the Savitri Mantram destructive of sins. Thereupon he should cleanse the earth with the Apohistha Mantram, with the Mantram “flow-pure water” and with Vyahriti. He should next inspire water with Apohistha Mantram. He should next repeat thrice the Mantram “Antarjalamavagagnon” destructive of all sins, or Drupada or Savitri, the most excellent region of Vishnu. He should next recite Pranava and meditate on Hari the god of gods. Taking up water in his hands and reciting the Mantram, he should sprinkle the head therewith, and would thus be freed off all sins.

Having made the Sandhya adorations and rinsed his mouth, he should daily meditate on the God, and sit facing the sun, placing his palms full of flowers on the crown of his head. Throwing them he should look at the god stationed on the rising mountain (i.e. the rising sun) with the Mantram “Thou art the eye, ever pure, supreme soul and existent,” or particularly with the Savitri or other Vedic Mantrams. He should next repeat Gayatri and various other mantrams. Sitting on a seat of Kusha grass with his face towards the east he should look at the sun and repeat prayers with a controlled mind. The garland of beads should either be made of crystal, lotus, Rudraksha or Putranjiva. If his cloth be tattered he should stand in the water and perform his adorations. Else he should sit, with a controlled mind, on Kusha grass spread on a sanctified spot. Then going round, he should bow touching the ground with his head. Then rinsing his mouth as sanctioned by the Shastras, he should read the Vedas according to his power. Afterwards he should offer libations of water for the gods, Rishis and the departed manes with the prayer “Om, salutation unto you all, I offer these libations of water.” He should dedicate libations of water and fried paddy unto the celestials and Brahma Rishis. He should dedicate offerings reverentially unto the departed manes, gods and ascetics according to the prescription of his own Religious Code. He should gratify the celestial saints and the departed manes with palmfuls of water. Sacrificial threads are also offered to the gods along with water, Nivita (the Brahminical thread suspended round the neck) to the Rishis and Prachinavitins (the sacrificial thread worn over the right arm and passing under the left) to the departed manes.

Pressing the water out of the cloth after bathing, rinsing his mouth and observing silence, he should adore the deities with flowers, leaves and water, and Sva Mantrams. O wrathful Hara, [he should adore] Brahma, Shankara, the sun-god, the slayer of Madhu (Vishnu) and various other approved deities. With the Purusha Sukta Mantram he should dedicate flowers and other offerings; or he should adore all the deities with water only. Controlling his mind he should meditate on the deity repeating Om. Then saluting him he should keep flowers and other offerings in separate places. Without adoration no Vedic rite becomes consecrated. Therefore in the beginning, middle and end of every rite, one should mentally meditate on Hari. With the Mantram “Thou art Vishnu” and the hymn of the Purusha-Sukta, one should dedicate his self unto Vishnu of pure effulgence. Having all his mental faculties tranquilized and his mind fixed on the deity, he should, with the Mantram, “thou art Vishnu,” perform the five sacrifices, namely that for the deities, that for the evil spirits, that for the departed manes, that for men and that for Brahma. Without the offering of libations of water Brahma Yajna is not finished. After celebrating the sacrifice for men (Manushayajna) one should read the Vedas. In a sacrifice for the gods offerings should be made to that class of gods called Vishvadevas. In a Bhutayajna animals should be sacrified for the evil spirits. The foremost of the twice-born should next offer food to the dogs, the degraded caste people, outcastes and birds, on the ground outside the house.

In honor of the departed manes the best of sacrificers should feed at least one Brahmana. He should perform the daily Sraddha in their honor. Such a Pitriyajna yields blessed regions. Then with a controlled mind he should, commensurate with his means, take up a portion of food and offer it to a Brahmana well-read in the Vedas. He should daily treat his guests hospitably and welcome a Brahmana who comes to his house and adore him with mind, words and deeds.

A mouthful of food is called Bhiksha (alms) and enough is given when four times as much is distributed. A guest should wait for the period that is necessary for milching a cow. One should, as much as lies in his power, treat uncalled-for guests hospitably. One should daily offer alms to a mendicant, and food to a Brahmacharin (religious student) and to beggars what they want proportionate to his means, and being himself freed from avarice. He should next take food in the company of his friends. The foolish Brahmana, who takes his food without celebrating these five sacrifices, is born in a degraded caste. Those, who are competent to celebrate a great sacrifice, should study the Vedas. The adoration of a god dissipates speedily all sins. He, who, either out of ignorance or laziness, takes his food without worshipping the deity, goes to hell and is born as a hog.

I will now describe what is impurity. An impure man is visited by sins. Impurity is generated either by associating with impure persons or avoiding the company of pious men. The learned Brahmanas speak of ten sorts of impurity. The Brahmanas are impure if any person dies in their family or any child is born. When a child dies before teething the period of impurity is immediately over; it lasts for a day before the solemnization of the rite of tonsure. It lasts for three days before the rite of wearing sacred thread is not performed. After that it lasts for ten nights. For the Kshatryas the period consists of twelve days, and for the Vaishyas fifteen days. A Shudra is cleansed from impurity after a month. For a Yati there is no impurity. For -abhortion it lasts either for a night or for a month.

Footnotes and references:


Early part of the day.


Certain classes of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas and designed to did in the correct pronounciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of Mantrams in the ceremonials.

They are six in number:—

  1. Siksha, Ortheopy, or the science of proper articulation and pronounciation;
  2. Chhandas, Prosody;
  3. Vyakararta, Grammar;
  4. Nirukta, Etymology, or derivative explanations of Vedic words and phrases;
  5. Jyotish, Astronomy;
  6. Kalpa, Ritual.
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