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...
Yajnavalkya said:—A Brahmana boy should be invested with the holy thread at the eighth year of his age, inclusive of the period of gestation, a Kshatriya child at his eleventh year, and a Vaishya child at an age as is customary in the family.
In the day, and at morning and evening, a member of any of the twice-born castes, shall pass urine with his face turned towards the north, while in the night he shall look towards the south under similar conditions, hanging the holy thread on his right ear at the time, whether in the day or in the night. He shall rise up from that sitting posture with the external organ of micturition firmly grasped with his fingers, and shall then wash the part with water kept ready for the purpose, or rub it with earth for the purpose of removing the characteristic smell. Then having sit on his haunches in a pool or a river, and with his face turned towards the north or towards the east, a member of any of the twice-born castes, shall wash and rinse his mouth with water, lifted up with that part of his palm which is called the Brahma-Tirtham. Regions about the first or the lowermost phalanges of the little, and the middle, finger, as well as the one lying about the root of the right thumb, should be held as sacred to the gods Prajapati, Pitri, and Brahma, which are accordingly called the Prajapati-Tirtham, the Pitri-Tirtham, and the Brahma-Tirtham.
A member of any of the twice-born castes, shall first take two draughts of water to rinse his lips with, and then cleanse his face with undisturbed and frothless water. The twice-born ones shall purify their breasts, throats, palates and umbilical regions with water. It will be enough for women and Shudras to purify their regions of back and umbilicus.
A member of the twice-born order, shall bathe every day, perform the rite of cleansing his body with the same Mantra as he shall recite at the time of ablution, practise the rite of Pranayama, invoke the Sun-god, and recite the Gayatri Mantra. After that, he shall mentally recite the Gayatri-shirah Mantra, and the Vyahritis with the holy Pranava prefixed to each part of its component parts. Then he shall thrice practise the rite of Pranayama (a peculiar mode of controlling the process of respiration) after reciting the three Riks for its purification, and shall then go on mentally reciting the Savitri-Mantra, till the appearance of stars in the evening sky.
The rite of morning Sandhya, should be commenced before dawn, and the twice-born worshipper, should sit self-controlled in his seat, reciting the Vedic Mantras enjoined to be read in connection with the aforesaid rite, till the rising of the Sun-God above the horizon. The rite of Agni-Karyam should be practised both morning and evening, after which the worshipper should visit and make obeisance to his elders by saying “I am That.”
After that he shall visit his preceptor, and sit beside him humble, docile and self-controlled for the purpose of studying the Vedas. In the alternative, he should wait till sent for by his preceptor, and then learn his daily Vedic lessons from his lips. He shall make no secret of anything to his preceptor, and constantly look after his welfare, whether by word, or by thought, or by bodily toil.
He shall carry the anchorite’s staff, put on the holy thread and a sable-coloured blanket, and girdle up his waist with the holy girdle made of the blades of the consecreted Kusha grass twisted together.
For the purposes of maintenance, he shall beg alms only of the householders of twice-born order, or of men of pure and unimpeachable character. The Vedic verses should be recited in the morning, evening and at noon, and a Brahmana shall beg alms only of persons of Kshatriya and Vaishya castes.
Having performed the morning Agni Karyam, the disciple shall sit down to his meal, in all humility and with the permission of his preceptor. He shall perform the rite of rinsing his mouth with water, and purify the plate of boiled rice served out to him before partaking of a single morsel, and shall eat his meal silently and without making any sort of reflection upon the nature of the food and its cooking. A Brahmana, who has subjugated his senses, and leads the life of a Brahmacharin, is at liberty to take a full meal of boiled rice on the occasion of a Shraddha ceremony, without incurring the risk of breaking his vow of asceticism. A Brahmana shall forego the use of wine, meat, curdled milk and its preparations. He is the Guru, who, having initiated the pupil into the mysteries of spiritualism, makes him conversant with the knowledge of the Vedas. He, who having duly invested his disciple with the holy thread, teaches him the holy Vedas, is called an Acharya. A tutor, living in the same village with his pupil, is called an Upadhyaya. A priest, officiating at a sacrificial ceremony, is called a Rittik. The person of each preceding one of these functionaries, is more venerable than that of the one immediately following it in the order of enumeration, and a mother is the most venerable of them all.
A pupil shall read each of these Vedas for a period of five or twelve years, and he shall live as a Brahmacharin with his Guru, up to the age of sixteen, twenty, Or twenty-four years. The age of investing a child of the Brahmana, Kshatriya or Vaishya order, with the holy thread, has been laid down before; and a non-performance of the ceremony within the stated period, leads to his spiritual degeneration. A Brahmana, or a Kshatriya or a Vaishya child, thus degenerated as regards his Savitri initiation, is called a Vratya, the process of regeneration consisting in the performance of a Vratya-Stoma sacrifice.
The three twice born castes of Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaishya, are, so called from the fact of their being born a second time through spiritual initiation (tieing of the sacred Mounji, or strings of deer skin and blades of Kusha grass twisted together, the symbol of Savitri initiation) after having been delivered of the mother’s womb.
The Vedas are the highest depository of all sacrificial and penitential knowledge, and of all acts which conduce to the spiritual welfare of the twice-born ones. A member of a twice-born caste, shall offer libations of milk and honey to the gods and his departed manes. The libations should be offered from day to day, and the Vedic Ricks should be recited in connection therewith. A member of any of the twice-born orders, shall read the Saman, the Atharvans, and the Angirasam in the same manner, and shall appease the gods and his departed manes with similar libations. The gods and the Pitris are pleased with him who reads the Vedas, the Veda-Vakyam, the Puranas, the Gathikas, and the Itihasas, every day, to the best of his ability, and propitiates them with offerings of meat, and libations of milk and honey. The merit of performing a particular religious sacrifice Can be acquired by reading the portion of the Veda which deals with that particular sacrifice, and the twice-born one who reads his Veda every day, acquires the merit of making the gift of a plot of land, as well as that of practising austerities.
A Brahmana disciple or pupil, pure in thought and conduct, and with an absolute control over his senses, shall sit beside his Acharya, or by the side of his wife or son in his absence, or in front of the sacred fire. The self-controlled one shall live according to the injunctions laid down above, whereby he will go to the region of Brahman after death, and will not revert to the chain of life.