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...
Brahma said:—The man who is about to start on a pilgrimage to Gaya, shall only perform a Shraddha ceremony before setting out on his journey, circumbulate his native village in the garment of an anchorite, take up his residence in an adjoining village, live on the residue of obsequious cakes offered to his manes in the course of that Shraddha ceremony, and shall then go on his way, refraining from taking alms and charities on the road. The departed ancestors of a man commence to ascend each step of stairs to heaven at his each foot-fall on the way to that sacred city. The rules of fasting and shaving the head hold good in the case of all sacred pools and shrines, except Kurukshetra, Vishala, Viraja, and Gaya. A Shraddha ceremony at Gaya, does not wait for any particular part of the day for its performance, which may be gone through at any time in the day or night. By performing a Shraddha ceremony at Benares, or at the banks of the Shona, or the Mahanadi, a man is sure to ensure a felicitous residence to his manes in heaven. A pilgrimage to the sacred pool of Uttara Manasa at Gaya, grants the greatest success to the pilgrim in respect of his penances and penitential observances in general, By performing a Shraddha ceremony at the latter sanctuary, a man is sure to witness the fruition of all his desires and becomes an emancipated self after death. A man by observing a vow of silence and by offering an obsequious cake to his manes at the shore of the sacred pool of Dakshina Manasa at Gaya, stands absolved from the threefold obligations of human life.
The sacred pool of Kankhalam lies to the north of the shrine of Mundaprishtha at Gaya, and is the favourite haunt of the gods and the spirits of the immortal sages. The Siddhas delight to wade along the banks of this sacred fount; and serpents of dreadful appearance, guard its shores with their protruding tongues, inspiring terror into the hearts of the wicked and the unrighteous. An ablution in the waters of this sacred pool paves one’s way to heaven, and a Shraddha ceremony performed at its shores is sure to bear immortal fruits. The pilgrim having duly made obeisance to the sun-god and having offered obsequious cakes to his manes, should recite the following prayer:— “Come, O ye high-souled Agnishvata and Vahirsadas, come O ye my heavenly manes whose drink is the juice of the ambrosial Soma, come and take me under your protection during my sojourn in this sacred city. I have offered obsequious cakes to the souls of my forefathers and to the spirits of those who had once been the members of my family on earth. I have come to Gaya for that express purpose.”
Then having cast obsequious oblations to his manes as above indicated, he should resort to the sacred pool of the Phalgu and subsequently see the divine image of the celestial grandfather and that of the club-weilding deity, whereby he would be able to discharge all obligations, incidental to his birth. An ablution in the waters of the sacred Phalgu, as well as a visit to the divine image of the mace-bearing god, leads to the emancipation of a man after death and liberates the souls of his deceased cognates, even removed ten degress from him both in the ascending and descending lines of succession.
I have described the doings of a pilgrim in his first day at Gaya. On the second day, he should visit the holy forest of Dharmaranyam and offer obsequious cakes to his manes on the hallowed banks of the lake sacred to the god Matanga. A visit to the sacred forest of Dharmaranyam ranks equal in merit with the performance of a Vajapeya sacrifice. A pilgrimage to the sacred pool of the Brahma-tirthakam equals in merit with the performance of a Vajapeya or that of a horse-sacrifice. A Shraddha ceremony should be performed and oblations and libations of water should be offered to one’s manes at any spot lying between the Yupa and the sacred well aforesaid (Brahma-tirtham).
The duty of the third day consists in paying a visit to the Brahmasada and in offering obsequious cakes and libations of water to one's departed manes, and in performing a Shraddha ceremony in their honour at a place midway between the Yupa and the sacred well. All beings, from the minutest animalculum to the creator of the universe, perpetually grace with their presence the holy pasturage known as the Goprachara, and a propitiation of those immortal spirits by a man, leads to the emancipation of his departed manes. By circumbulating the sacred Yupa, a man is sure to acquire the same merit as that of performing a Vajapeya sacrifice.
On the fourth day, having bathed in the sacred waters of the Phalgu, and having offered libations of water to the gods and his departed manes, and performed a Shraddha ceremony in their honour at the sanctuary of Gaya-Shirsha, O Vyasa, the pilgrim should offer cakes at the mouth and over the three foot-prints of the deity, as well as in the five sacred fires (Panchagni). A Shraddha ceremony performed at Gaya-Shirsha under the auspicious aspects of the sun and the moon in the month of Kartikeya, bears immortal fruits.
A Shraddha ceremony usually embraces the worship of nine different deities which should be made to include (Dvadasha-daivatam) three more, while performed within the sacred precincts of Gaya. A Shraddha ceremony in honour of one’s deceased mother, should be separately performed on the occasion of an Anvastaka, or Vriddhi, or on the date of her death, as well as in Gaya, while on all other occasions, the ceremony should be performed jointly with that of his father.
The man, who having bathed at the Dashashvamedha, sees the image of the celestial grandfather and touches the foot of the god Rudra, is exempted from reverting to life and its miseries. By performing a Shraddha ceremony at Gayashiras, a man acquires the same merit which one gets by making a gift of the whole earth, covered over with threefold layers of gold. The obsequious cakes, to be offered at the sanctuary of Gaya-shiras, should he made to measure the leaves of a Shami tree in size, the occult energy of which may be unquestionably looked up to as the deliverer of the manes of the performer..
The god Mahadeva rested his foot on the sanctuary at Munda-prishtha and accordingly a man may achieve penitential success at the place with the least effort or exertion. Spirits in whose names obsequious cakes are offered at Gayashirsha, rise to heaven if doomed to the tortures of hell, ox become emancipated selves, if already happened to be in the former place.
On the fifth day of his stay at Gaya, the pilgrim should perform a religious ablution at the sanctuary of Gadalola and offer obsequious cakes to his departed manes at the root of the sacred Vata tree, whereby he would succour the souls of his deceased ancestors from the gloom of the nether regions. Even by feeding a single Brahmana with boiled rice and prepared potherbs at the sacred Vata tree, a man would acquire the merit of treating a million of Brahmanas to a sumptuous repast. By performing a Shraddha ceremony at the root of the immortal Vata tree and by seeing the divine image of the celestial grandfather, a man is sure to ascend to the region of the immortals and to deliver a hundred generations of his departed manes from the shades of Hades. A father usually desires the births of many sons of his own loins, so that some of them might resort to Gaya, or perform a Vrishot-sarga Shraddha ceremony, or undertake a horse sacrifice for the welfare of his spiritual self after death.
Once on a time, a ghost met a certain merchant in the way and addressed him as follows:—
“Cast some obsequious cakes in my name at the sanctuary of Gayashirsha, since both the offerer and the receiver of such cakes are liberated from the confines of the nether regions and are admitted into the abodes of the gods.”
The merchant did as he was requested to do by the departed spirit, and subsequently offered obsequious cakes to his own forefathers jointly with his younger brothers, who were immediatey released from the mansion of death. The merchant in his turn was blessed with the birth of a male child named Vishala. His wife Vishala bore him that son. Vishala, who was childless up to that time, asked the Brahmanas, how he could beget children, and the Brahmanas replied that a pilgrimage to Gaya, would remove all impediments in the way of having offsprings of his own. Vishala went to Gaya and offered obsequious cakes to his departed fathers at the sanctuary of Gayashirsha. Whereupon a son was born to him.
One day Vishala saw three shadowy images, white, red, and black reflected in the sky just before his eyes. He questioned them as to their identity and whereabouts, whereupon the white one replied.
“I am thy father, O Vishala, and am at present residing in the region of Indra through the merit of my good deeds in life. O son, the red spectre thou fìndest is my father who killed a Brahmana in his human existence and was. a man of the blackest inequity on earth. The black one is my grandfather who had taken hy forcible hands the life of many a holy sages in their hermitage. They are now doomed to the-torments of that particular quarter of the sea of hell, whose dire monotony is not broken by the rising of a single wave and which hides within its lethian and unfathomable depth an eternity of impious misery and wailing. Release them, O thou the offerer of our obsequious cakes, from the dismal confines of that infernal world and send them happy and emancipated to the region of the immortal gods.”
Now Vishala did what he was requested to do by his father and assended heaven after a prosperous sovereignty on earth.
“May our departed manes who have been deprived of their obsequious cakes and libations of water, as well as the spirits of those who had been born in our family and died immediately after having been delivered of the womb, or without the rite of Chudakaranam done unto them, together with the souls of those whose earthly remains had not been cremated in the funeral pile, or whose earthly bodies had been consigned to the unconsecrated fire, be propitiated with the obsequious cake now offered by me, on the ground. This funeral oblation offered to the souls of my father, grandfather, great grandfather, mother, paternal grandmother, paternal great grandmother, or to those of my maternal grandfather, maternal great grandfather, maternal great great grandfather, maternal grandmother, maternal great grandmother, or maternal great great grandmother, or to the spirits of any other departed person or relation, furnish them with eternal satisfaction.”