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...
Said the God Brahma:—The city of Gaya is a sacred sanctuary in the country of Kikata and likewise is the forest of Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) in that part of the continent of India. Sacred is the place called the Vishaya Charana, and the rivers which drain the aforesaid tracts are the holiest of the holies. The part of Gaya known Munda-Prishtha covers an area of a crosha and a half (three English miles) measured from north to south and from east to west, the entire site of the sanctuary (Gaya) enclosing an area of ten square miles. The part of the sanctuary known as the Gaya-Shirah (lit., the head of Gaya) measures a crosha (two English miles) in length, and oblations offered to one’s departed manes within its limit, secure them an elevated status in the next world. A man, by simply making a pilgrimage to Gaya, stands absolved from all debts due by him to his forefathers. The God Janarddana stands as the embodied image of the Pitris at Gaya, and a simple glance at that lotus-eyed deity, is enough to discharge the threefold obligation which he has incurred in the capacity of a son, a created being, and a disciple to a particular sage or Rishi.
Similarly, by witnessing the images of the gods Rudra, Kaleshvara and Kedara at Gaya, a man is supposed to pay off the debts he owes to his fathers. By seeing the image of the celestial grandfather at Gaya, a man is absolved from all sins, whereas by repairing to the presence of the divine image of the great grandfather at Gaya, a man is sure to enter the sinless region after death.
The man who approaches in a humble and contrite spirit the divine image of the mace-bearing deity and devoutly lays himself prostrate before that best of all male subjects in the universe, is freed from the cycles of necessary existence and never reverts to the pangs of mortality after death.
O thou sage among the twice-born ones, the man who visits the shrines of the god Maunaditya and Kanakarka in a spirit of devotion, is purged of all sins and is discharged from all obligations to his fathers. By worshipping the god Brahma at Gaya, the worshipper is sure to ascend, after death, to the region presided over by that divinity. The man, who having performed his daily right of Sandha (recitation of certain Vedic hymns and verses by a Brahmana at the three divisions of a day) repairs to the divine presence of the imaged Gayatri at Gaya, acquires the merit of reciting the entire Vedas through the grace of that benign goddess. Similarly by resorting, in the noon, to the shrine of the goddess Savitri, a pilgrim acquires the merit of celebrating a religious sacrifice. A visit to the shrine of the goddess Sarasvati in the evening, adds to the credit of the votary the merit of making an unsolicited gift.
A visit to the image of the divine sage Augusta, or to the forest of Dharma graced by the presence of that imaged god of virtue, and situate within the holy confines of that sacred city, absolves a man from all debts to his fathers. Where is the man, where is that degraded, abject, and hardened sinner who does not feel himself emancipated from the trammels of life in the presence of the divine image of Gridhreshvara? The man who sees the cow-goddess in the sylvan abode of that divinity, is sure to lead his departed manes to the region of Brahma. The man who pays a visit to the shrine of the god Prabhashesha at Gaya, acquires an elevated status in after life. By viewing the image of god Kotishvara, or by resorting to the sanctuary of Ashvamedha, a man is freed from all indebtedness to his forefathers. By seeing the divine image of the god who commands the gates of heaven, a man is liberated from the trammels of existence. The man who visits the shrine of Rameshvara or that of the mace-playing God at Gaya, ascends to the region of the immortal gods. Similarly by paying a visit to the shrine of Brahmesha, a man is absolved from the sin which he had committed by killing a Brahmana.
By resorting to the shrine of the goddess Mahachandi at Munda-Prishtha, a man is enabled to witness the realisation of all his heart-felt desires. By paying a visit to the shrine of the god Phalgvisha (the god of the river Phalgu) or by seeing the images of the goddesses Phalgu Chandi and Gauri or of such gods as Gomaka and Gopati, a man is supposed to fully discharge his debts to his fathers. A similar benefit is derived from paying a visit to the shrines of Angaresha, Siddhesha, Gayaditya, Gaja and Markandeyashvara. Does not an ablution in the holy pool of the Phalgu and a visit to the shrine of the god Gadadhara, signify the acme of one’s good fortune? What more can the pious and the devout expect for the recompense of their good deeds in life? The merit of these acts leads the souls of one’s departed ancestors, removed even up to the twenty-first degree in the ascending line, to the region of Brahman.
All the holy streams, lakes and mountains which sanctify our mortal globe, resort to the waters of the river Phalgu, once a day. Gaya is the most sacred spot in the world. The quarter known as the Gayashiras, is the sancto sanctum of that hallowed sanctuary, and the river Phalgu is the holiest of the holies as well, since it forms the mouth of the immortal gods.
The holy pool known as the Nabhi-tirtham lies to the north of the river Kanaka, and occupies a middle place between that river and the holy well of Brahma-Sada an ablution wherein leads the bather to the region of Brahma after death. The man who offers oblations or obsequious cakes to his departed manes on the rim of that sacred well and casts them in its holy waters, is freed from all moral indebtedness to his forefathers. Similarly a Shraddha ceremony performed by a man at the shrine of the immortal Vata tree, leads the souls of his departed-forefathers to the region of Brahma. The man who bathes in the holy pool, known as the Hansa-tirtham, is absolved from all sins. A Shraddha ceremony performed by a man at any of the following sacred spots or shrines, such as the Koti-Tirtham, the Gayaloka, the Vaitarini, and the Gomaka, leads the souls of his ancestors, removed even to the twenty-first degree in the ascending line to the region of Brahma.
The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony of his deceased ancestors at the Brahma-tirtham, or Rama-tirtham, or Agni-tirtham, or Soma-tirtham or at the banks of the Ramahrada, ensures the residence of his departed manes in the region of Brahma. By performing a Shraddha ceremony at the banks of the Northern Manasa, a man is liberated from the trammels of re-birth, while a similar ceremony performed at the banks of its name sake in the south, leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma. A ceremony of Bhishma-Tarpanam, performed at the sanctuary known as the Kuta, brings salvation to the performer, while a man can fully discharge his debts to his fathers by performing a similar ceremony at the shrine of Gridhreshvara (the lord of cormorants).
The man who pays a visit to the goddess Dhenuka (cow-goddess) in the forest named after her, and performs a Shraddha ceremony in honour of his departed manes after having made a gift of the type, technically known as the Tila Dhenu (cow of sesamum) ensures their residence in the region of Brahma. A similar ceremony performed at any of the following sacred places such as the Aindra-Tirtham, the Nara-Tirtham, the Vasava-Tirtham, the Vaishnava-Tirtham, or on the banks of the river Mahanadi, is attended with the same result.
The man who bathes, or performs the rites of his daily Sandhya worship and offers libations of water to the gods and his departed manes, and performs a Shraddha ceremony for the welfare of their soul, in or about any of the following sacred shrines such as the Savitri, the Gayatri, the Sarasvati, etc., succours the souls of a hundred and one generations of his fathers and cognates, and ensures their residence in the region of Brahma.
By passing through the hill crevice or the natural tunnel known as the Brahma-Yoni, with his mind absorbed in the contemplation of his forefathers, a man is exempted for good from the trouble of passing through the uterine canal of any woman in the shape of a child. Libations of water, offered by a man to his departed manes at the shrine of Kakajangha, give them infinite and perpetual satisfaction. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony at the well of Matanga in the holy forest of Dharmaranya, ascends to heaven after death. A similar ceremony performed at the well of virtue or at the shrine of the stake of virtue (Dharma Yupa) absolves a man from all obligations to the souls of his forefathers.
The gods should be invoked to bear testimony to the fact as fallows:—
“Witness, O ye gods, and the guardian angels of the different regions or abodes, that I have come to the well of Matanga in this holy forest and have brought about the liberation of my departed manes.”
The man who performs his ablution in the holy pool of Rama-Sara and celebrates a Shraddha ceremony in honour of his departed manes, at the sacred shrine of Prabhasaka, witnesses their Liberation from astral existence on the summits of the hills of the ghosts (Preta Shila) if they had been doomed to the tortures of such a life through the effects, of their misdeeds in this mortal globe. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony at the sacred shrine of Svapushta or at the sacred hill of Mundapristha, leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma.
There is not a single spot within the boundaries of the city of Gaya which is not a sanctuary in itself. An oblation offered any where within the precincts of that sacred city, bears immortal fruit and carries the departed manes of the person making the offering to the eternal region of Brahma. The man who offers an obsequious cake for the benefit of his own soul into the hands of the god Janarddana, by reciting the prayer which runs as.—“I have offered this obsequious oblation, O Janarddana, in thy eternal hands. May this oblation last me for eternal time and make me an emancipated self in the world to come,” is sure to ascend to the region of Brahma in the company of all bis departed manes.
An oblation offered to the soul of one’s ancestors either at the sanctuaries of Dharma Prishtha, Aksliayavata or Gaya Shiras or on the banks of the sacred pool of Brahma (Brahma-Saras) bears immortal fruit. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony of his forefathers after having visited the holy forests of Bharmaranyam, Dhenukaranyam and the sacred hill of Dharmapristham, is sure to succour the souls of his cognates to the twentieth decree of consanguinity.
That quarter of the sacred city which lies to the west of the river Maya, is called the forest of Brahma, the hermitage of Bharata, while the hill of Nagadri and Brahma Sada occupy the eastern portion thereof. A Shraddha ceremony should be performed at the foot of the god Matanga in the hermitage of Bharata. The hill known as the Pandushila is situated in the forest known as the Champaka Vanam, lying to the south of the Gaya Shiras and to the west of the river Mahanadi. A Shraddha ceremony performed under the auspicies of the third phase of the moon and within the boundaries of the sacred pools of Nischira or the great lake or the Kaushiki, bears immortal fruit.
The hill known as the Kraunchapada lies close to the lake of Tritiya which is situated to the north of the river Vaitarini, and there, by performing a Shraddha ceremony of his departed manes, a man is sure to carry them up to the eternal heaven. The lake called the Nischira lies to the north of the hill known as the Kraunchapada.
The man who contemplates that a visit to Gaya is not a matter of every day probability, and that it does not fall to the lot of every one to offer obsequious cakes at Gaya to one’s departed manes more than once in life, shall do well to touch the holy waters of the river Mahanadi and to offer libations of the same to his departed manes, whereby they would be enabled to ascend to the regions of eternity, accompanied by the souls of all the departed cognates of the offerer. The man, who recites at the shrine of the goddess Gayatri, the Vedic hymns and verses composing the rite of his daily Sandhya, is sure to acquire the merit of such continuous recitation for the period of twelve consecutive years.
The man who resides for two fortnights, both light and dark, within the sacred walls of Gaya, sanctifies the seven generations of his own family and children. By visiting the sacred hills of Mundaprishtha, Aravinda and Kraunchapada which rise up from the hallowed plains of that sacred city, a man is absolved from all sins and of whatsover nature.
An offering of an obsequious cake to one’s departed manes at Gaya, under the auspices of the continuance of the sun in the sign of the cancer or under that of a solar or a lunar eclipse, should be regarded as a piece of exceptionally rare good fortune.
Rare is the man in the three habitable worlds who is fortunate enough to cast obsequious cakes in honour of his departed manes at Gaya under the auspicies of the sun’s continuance at the sign of the cancer, or under that of a solar or a lunar eclipse. A Shraddha ceremony performed at any of the seven following sites in Gaya, such as the great lake, the Kaushiki, the Mulakshetra and the rock-hewn cave of the mount Gridhrakuta, etc., ensures an elevated status in the plain of astral existence to the soul for whose benefit the ceremony is celebrated. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony at the place where flows the mighty stream of Maheshvari is supposed, to discharge all debts to his ancestors. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony on the banks of the world-renowned stream of the sacred Vishala, acquires the merit of celebrating an Agnisthoma sacrifice and is translated to heaven after death. Similarly a Shraddha ceremony celebrated at the sacred shrine of Mashapada, as well as a rite of ceremonial ablution performed therein, ranks equal in merit with the celebration of a Vajapeya sacrifice. An obsequious cake offered at the shrine of the Ravipada, lifts up a fallen and benighted soul from the bottom of perdition.
The Pitris (departed manes of a person) acknowledge the sonship of a child and own him alone as their true offspring who resorts to the sacred precincts of Gaya for the sole purpose of benefiting them spiritually and offers them boiled rice by way of funeral oblation. The Pitris, afraid of the torments of hell, pray for the birth of a male child in their surviving family on earth, so that he might make a pilgrimage to Gaya, and succour their distressed souls from the gloom of the nether worlds. Verily do they rejoice over the advent of a son in Gaya, thinking that the water accumulated in the ruts of the streets of that sacred city and tossed off by his legs, might some day lead to the emancipation of their selves.
An obsequious cake offered to a departed spirit at Gaya by his son in flesh or by any other person, lifts him up to the region of the eternal Brahma. A similar pilgrimage to the sacred pool of Koti-Tirtham leads a man to the region of Vishnu.
The river, which is renowned in the three worlds by the name of Vaitarini, is descended from the region of the immortal gods and laves the shores of the sacred Gaya, absolving the souls of all departed beings. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony, or offers an obsequious cake to, or makes the gift of a cow for the benefit of, his departed manes on the banks of that sacred stream, succours the souls of twenty-one generations of his ancestors.
A son, visiting the sacred sanctuary at Gaya in course of time, and for the spiritual benefit of his own departed forefathers, shall give a sumptuous repast to the local Brahmanas, as directed by the grandfather of the celestials. By worshipping his departed manes, a man acquires the merit of worshipping all the gods. The Brahmanas, on such an occasion, should be fed and propitiated according to the rules of a Havya Kavya ceremony.
Gaya is the best place for the religiously disposed to quit their mortal frames. The man who performs a Vrishotsarga ceremony at Gaya, the best of all sanctuaries, is sure to acquire the merit of a hundred Agnisthoma sacrifices. An intelligent man shall prospectively offer obsequious cakes to his own soul at Gaya, as well as to those of others without the customary admixture of sesamum with them. O Vyasa, such cakes should be duly offered at Gaya to the souls of one’s all departed cognates, agnates and ancestors in the direct line of succession, as well as to their friends and relations.
By performing a ceremonial ablution in the sacred pool of Rama-Tirtham, a man acquires the merit of making a gift of a hundred cows at a time. A similar ablution in the lake of Matanga, is sure to enhance that merit ten-fold. The man who bathes at the confluence of the sacred Nishchira, leads his departed manes to the region of Brahma. By bathing at the hermitage of Vashista, the bather acquires the merit of performing a Vajapeya sacrifice. A residence near the sacred stream of Kaushika ensures the merit of performing a Horse-Sacrifice. The hallowed fountain of Agnidhara rises from the lake sacred to the grandfather of the gods, and is usually known as the Kapila. The man who performs a Shraddha ceremony at or near this sacred stream, acquires the merit of performing an Agnisthoma sacrifice. By performing a similar ceremony near the fountain, sacred to the god Kumara, a man is sure to acquire the merit of performing a Horse-Sacrifice, whereas a visit to his divine image at the adjoining shrine, leads to the emancipation of one’s self. An ablution in the sacred fount of the moon god, ensures one’s residence in the region of that divinity after death. The man who offers an obsequious cake to his manes on the banks of the pool sacred to that god leads them to the region of Brahma.