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 XCV - Duties of house holders

Yajnavalkya said:—Hear me, O holy sages, describe the duties which are obligatory on a house-holder. A householder, having made a money-gift to his preceptor, and having performed the rite of ceremonial ablution, shall wed a wife with all the auspicious marks on her person at the close of his life of asceticism. The wife should be a girl young in years and not previously married to any other husband, in the possession of sound health and having had uterine brothers of her own, and not related to him by any tie of Sapinda relationship, nor belonging to the same spiritual clanship (Arsha Gotram) as his own. She should be taken from any of the sixteen reputed families of the Shrotriyas, not related to the bridegroom within five and seven degrees in the lines of his mother and father respectively.

A bridegroom, well-versed in the knowledge of the Vedas, erudite and belonging to the same social order as herself, should be regarded as the only eligible one for a Brahmana bride. I denounce the practice of a Brahmana being united with a Shudra wife as he incurs the risk of taking birth in her womb in the shape of the child begotten by him on her person.

A Brahmana is at liberty to take a wife from any of the first three social orders, or to put it more explicitly, a Brahmana shall marry a girl either of his own caste, or one belonging to the warrior (Kshatriya), or to the trading (Vaishya) community. Similarly a Kshatriya shall marry a Kshatriya or a Vaishya girl, while a Vaishya shall take a wife from his own community, the marriage of a Shudra girl with a member of any of the twiee-born castes being hereby absolutely forbidden.

A Brahma form of marriage is that in which the bridegroom is invited to take his bride, decked with ornaments as the means of her father would admit of, and an offspring of such a marriage purifies the members of both the families thus united, even removed from him to the twentieth degree in the ascending line. In the Daivam form, the daughter of a sacrificer (person on whose behalf a sacrifice is performed) is given away in marriage to the priest officiating at the ceremony (Rittik). In the Arsha form, the marriage is celebrated by making a gift of a pair of cows to the bridegroom. A child, who is the fruit of a Daivam marriage, sanctifies the members of both the united families to the sixteenth degree in the ascending line, while in the case of an offspring of the latter (Arsha) form, such sanctification extends to the sixth degree. The offspring of a nuptial union in which the bride is given away with the injunction “Live with him and discharge the duties of a householder,” to one soliciting her hands, sanctifies the members of both the united families to the sixth degree in the ascending line. In the Asura form, the bride is received on the payment of a pecuniary consideration. In the Gandharva form, the union is effected on the mutual consent or agreement of the contracting parties. The Rakshasa form of marriage consists in taking away the bride by force, while in the Paishacha form the marriage is effected by practising a stratagem on the bride.

Only the first four forms of marriage are allowed in the case of a Brahmana. The Gandharva and Rakshasa forms are commended in the case of a member of the warrior caste, the Asura form in the case of a Vaishya, and the most condemnable form in the case of a Shudra.

A bride of the warrior caste, shall take hold of an arrow at the time of her marriage, a Vaishya girl shall hold a shuttle (Pratoda) in her hand at the time, while a Brahmana bride shall be formally united with her husband with a Vedani (sharp-pointed instrument) in her hands.

The father of the bride, or her paternal grandfather, or her uterine brother, or an agnate of her father’s (Sakulya) or her brother, shall give her away in marriage, the right of such giving away being held as vested in each of these successive relations in the absence of the one immediately preceding it in the order of enumeration. The relations of a girl incur the sin of wilfully creating a miscarriage, or of killing a foetus in the event of their failing to give her away in marriage before she has commenced to menstruate. A girl is at liberty to make her own choice, and to be united with a husband, in the absence of any such relation to give her away in marriage. A girl should be given only once in marriage and any one carrying away a married girl should be dealt with as a common felon.

Any one deserting a good and faithful wife, commits a crime punishable under the Code, while a wife possessed of contrary virtues, should be summarily discarded. The younger brother of a husband, may go unto a childless wife of his elder brother for the purpose of begetting an offspring on her person with the permission of his elders, first had and obtained in that behalf, and with his body annointed with clarified butter. A Sagotra (related by ties of consanguinity) or a Sapinda relation of the husband, may act in a similar capacity and for similar purposes. Such visits should be permitted only as long as there would remain any natural chance of conception, otherwise the visitor would be degraded in life. A child thus begotten shall belong to the lawful husband of its mother.

A married woman found guilty of wilful incontinence to her husband, and again placed into his lawful custody shall be made to wear dirty clothes, and to live on a single morsel of food (at the close of day), negligent of her toihette and sleeping on the bare ground instead of her usual bed. The Moon-God gave the women their sanctity, Gandharva gave them the sweetness of speech. Sacred is fire and sanctified is the person of a woman. She, who wilfully brings; about an abortion, except for the purposes of purifying herself after having committed an act of adultery, commits the sin of killing her own husband born in her womb in the shape of the fœtus. Polluted is the person of such a murderess.

A husband is at liberty to summarily discard a wife, addicted to the habit of drinking wine, or afflicted with an incurable disease, or found to be inimically disposed towards him. O ye holy sages, a wife, blest with the gift of sweetness of speech, tender, and graced with all those peculiar and excellent virtues which are found only in women, should be maintained and provided for at all hazards.

The threefold benediction of god reigns in the household where the husband and the wife live in perfect harmony and paradise is the house which harbours such a true, loving and virtuous pair under its roof.

She, who does not take a second husband after the demise of her first one, achieves fame in this life, and lives in the same region with the goddess Uma in the next. Whoever discards a good and chaste wife, shall give her a third portion of her ornaments before formally effecting a separation. The sacred and imperative duty of a wife is to carry out the commands of her husband, and to live in perfect obedience to his wishes.

The menstrual period of a woman extends up to the sixteenth night after the the catamanial flow, each month, and her husband may visit her during that time on each even day, avoiding her bed side on the first three days of her unclearliness, as well as on days marked as Parvanas (days of full moon, new moon etc.,) in the Indian Calendar. The husband shall bide his time as a Brahmacharin before the actual meeting takes place. Days marked by such asterisms as the Magha, the Mula, etc., (when the moon is in such lunar mansions known as the Magha, Mula, etc.,) should be regarded as forbidden for the purposes of a sexual intercourse. He, who observes these rules in respect of visiting the bed of his wife, is sure to beget healthy children, marked by all auspicious features of the body and mind. In the alternative, a husband may visit the bed of his wife whenever he shall feel any propulsion for it, and he shall meditate upon the god of love during the continuance of the act of dalliance.

A man, true and faithful to his own wife, shall protect the female members of his family. The husband, or brother, or father, or the agnates, or the father-in-law, or the husbands’ brother of a woman, shall maintain her with food, raiments and ornaments, A woman, who is economical in her habits, simple and not extravagant in her toilette, cleanly and ingenious in her household works, and is of a cheerful temperament, should be maintained by her friends (relations, Vandhus).

The wife of an absentee husband shall renounce all frolics, and forego the pleasures of mixing in society, or of sight-seeing and merry-making. She shall not smile, nor attend to her daily toilette, nor shall she stay in another’s house till the return of her lord.

The father of a woman shall protect her in her infancy, the husband in her youth, and her son in her old age, in absence whereof the duty of maintaining her shall devolve upon his friends and relations. Day and night, a woman shall not quit the side of her husband.

The elder co-wife shall be the companion of her lord, inasmuch as the younger one does not enjoy that privilege. The husband shall personally attend to the cremation of the dead body of his own faithful wife with rites, as laid down under the head of an Agni-Hotra sacrifice, and is at liberty to marry a second wife with the same sacred fire. The wife, who devotes her whole self to the good of her husband, achieves fame in this life and goes to that particular connubial paradise after death, which is reserved for chaste matrons.

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: