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 XCVI - Origin of mixed castes

(and the grat Yajnas Sandhya rites duties of house holders and members of different castes)

Yajnavalkya said:—Now I shall enumerate the names of the mixed castes, the offsprings of clandestime intercourse and unsacramental marriage, and describe the functions which the members of these hybrid communities, are expected to perform in the social economy.

A son begotten by a Brahman father on a Kshatriya mother, is called Murdhabhishikta, while a son by him on Vaishya woman, is called an Amvasta. A son by a Brahmana father on a Shudra woman, is called either a Nishada or a Parvata. O you, the best of erudite ones, a son begotten by a Kshatriya father on a Vaishya mother, is called a Mahishya, while a son born of a Shudra mother by a member of the trading community (Vaishya) is called a Karana.

A son born of a Brahman mother by a Kshatriya father is called a Suta, while a son begotten by a Vaishya father on a Brahmani woman, is called as Vaidehka. A son born of a Brahman mother by a Shudra father, is called a Chandala, the most abject of all social orders. A son born of a Kshatriya mother by a Vaishya father; is called a Magadha, while a son begotten by a Shudra father on a Kshatriya mother is called a Kshetrabama. A son begotten by a Shudra father on a Vaishya woman, is called a Ayogava. A son born of a Katana mother by a Mahishya father, is called a Rathakara. These hybrid castes, whether begotten by members of the twice-born castes on Shudra mothers, or the contrary (Pratilomaja and Anulomaja) are all unsanctified races without any right to the sacramental rites or knowledge,

The twice-born castes occupy the foremost place of all other social orders, as regards the glory of descent and sanctity, and a member, belonging to any of them, acquires the full privilege of his order at the fifth or at the seventh year of his age through his second birth in spirit.

A householder shall daily perform the rites laid down in the Smritis with the help of the sacred fire, first lighted on the occasion of his marriage, and all Vedic rites should be performed in the same, save and except on the occasion of making gifts. A member of the twice-born order shall leave his bed early in the morning, attend to the calls of nature, then wash and cleanse himself, specially cleansing the teeth with a crushed twig of any of the medicinal plants, and shall thereafter perform the rite of his daily Sandhya (worship). Then having cast libations of clarified fire in the sacred fire, he shall mentally repeat, in an unruffled spirit, the Mantras sacred to the Sun-God. Then having discoursed on the teachings of the Vedas, and discussed several topics of the kindred branches of study, a householder shall resort to his god with the object of attaining divine beatitude through the practice of Yoga.

Then having bathed, he shall propitiate the gods and his Pitris with libations of water, and Worship them with the most heartfelt devotion. After that, he shall read several portions of the Vedas and the sacred Puranas. For the successful termination of his daily Japa-Yajna (divine meditation), he shall mentally recite the Adhyatmiki Vidyam. Offering of oblations to the created beings, to the gods, to the Pitris, and Brahma, casting of libations of clarified butter in the sacrificial fire, reading of the Vedic verses, and practice of hospitality to chance-comers, are the great daily religious sacrifices of all human beings. Libations of clarified butter should be cast in the sacred fire for the propitiation of the gods, and oblations of food stuff should be offered to the beasts (lit., created beings). Boiled rice should be offered in the open, and on the bare, ground for the use of the crows and the Chandalas, and similar oblations of cooked food (lit., rice), and libations of cold water should be daily offered to the gods and the Pitris.

A (twice-born) householder shall daily read his Vedas, and shall not cause any food to be cooked for his own exclusive use. He shall take his meal with his wife, after having fed all the infants, old men, invalids, and girls in the family and all chance-comers to his house. He shall eat his meals without finding any fault with it, and after having performed the rite of Homa to his vital (intestinal) fires. He shall first feed the boys and infants in the house and observe moderation in eating. A householder is hereby enjoined only to take that sort of food which is wholesome in its digestionary reaction (Vipakam).

A member of the twice-born order shall convert his meal into ambrosia by performing the rite of Amritikaranam (transformation into ambrosia), and shall partake of the same in a covered place, screened from the view of the public,

He shall distribute food to the chance-comers to his house, and to the members of the remaining social orders, as his means would admit of. He shall not look upon a chance-comer to his house as an unwelcome intruder, nor try to identify him with another person, come on a previous occasion. Charities should be doled out to beggars and to men of commendable vows, and the Shrotriyas, and all comers should be treated with a sumptuous repast. The Snatakas (performers of ceremonial ablutions), Acharyyas and the princes, should be feasted each year.

A chance-comer, worn out with the fatigues of a long pedestrial journey, is called an Atithi, while a Brahmana, well-versed in the knowledge of the holy Vedas, is called a Shrotriya. A householder shall revere the Shrotriyas and the Atithis with a view to ascend to the region of Brahma after death.

A householder of the twice-born order shall feel no inclination for a food, cooked and prepared by another, nor shall he make any reflections on another man’s conduct, except while deliberating a question of public interest in a council or meeting convened for the purpose. He shall not dangle his legs, nor listlessly move his arms, nor be hasty in his speech, and under no circumstance shall he indulge in the vice of over-eating. He shall escort a Shrotriya or an Atithi to the border of his land or village, after having fed him well in his own house. He shall pass the closing part of the day in friendly gossips with his trusted and well-meaning friends. A householder shall leave his bed early in the morning, and propitiate the gods and the Brahmanas with precious gifts. It is incumbent on a householder to ponder well over a matter before executing it (Vriddha-Pantha), to be godly and devoted to the service of the deity, like a man in disease (Arta-Riti), and not to suffer any delay in the execution of a work, when once he has chosen his line of action, like a load-carrier briskly running with his load in the way (Bharavahi-Riti).

The worldly duties of a Vaishya, or of a Kshatriya, consist in the celebration of religious sacrifices, and in the study and practice of charities, while performance of religious rites, study of the Vedas, acceptance of gifts, practice of charities, teaching and officiating at the religious sacrifices of others in the capacity of a priest, are morally obligatory to a Brahmana, living the life of a householder. The one and imperative duty of a Kshatriya is to protect the people from foreign invasions and civic or internal disturbances. Banking, merchandise, and rearing of large herds of cattle, are the functions which a member of the Vaishya (trading) community, is born to perform, while the sole duty of a Shudra is to render personal service to the foremost of the twice-born castes.

Truthfulness, annihilation of all killing or hostile propensities, non-stealing, personal cleanliness, and self-control, are the virtues, the practice whereof is equally obligatory on all human beings, irrespective of castes or functions in life. One should earn his livelihood by means proper to, and specifically enjoined in the Shastras for, the particular community one would belong to, which should never be crooked or deceitful.

He who is in the habit of taking rice, matured for more than three years, is alone fit to drink the holy Soma, while the person whose daily meals consist of boiled rice, not more than one year old, should perform the proper and necessary religious sacrifices before taking it.

A householder shall duly celebrate, each year, the Vedic sacrifices known as Soma, Pashu-Pratyayanam, Grahaneshti, and Chaturmashyam, in the failure whereof the one known as Vaishvanari, should be performed. A religious sacrifice, should not be celebrated with a number of articles or offerings, less than that laid down in the Shastras in that behalf. By celebrating a religious sacrifice with money or articles begged of a Shudra, a Brahmana is sure to reincarnate as a Chandala in his next existence. By stealing anything collected for the celebration of a religious sacrifice, the stealer becomes a crow or a Bhasa (bird) in his next birth. Of the four persons whose granary is filled with grains, who has got enough grain stored in his house to last him for three days, who has got sufficient only for a day’s use, and the person who lives by picking up grains from the stubbles (Uncha-Vritti), the each preceding one is happier and lives in greater comfort than the one immediately succeeding him in the Order of enumeration. A Brahmana is prohibited from adopting a profession which is caculated to interfere with his studies and divine contemplation, and who, in want of the barest necessaries of life, may be allowed to beg of a pupil, of a king, or of a fellow Brahmana. Any dishonest means of livelihood, or maintaining himself by passing off as a false prophet, or a false ascetic, is equally nefarious and criminal. It is sin for a Brahmana to earn money in pursuits of vanity.

A householder shall put on clean clothes, shave himself and pare off his finger-nails every day, and in short, must be cleanly in his habits. A man is enjoined not to sit down to his meals in the presence of his wife, and nor without being decently wrapped in his upper garment. A Brahmana should be always humble, and constantly wear his holy thread, nor shall he speak harsh to any body.

Micturation in a river-bed, in a shade, over ashes, in a pasturage, in water, or in the road, is forbidden, it being sinful for a man to pass urine while looking at the sun, or at the moon, or at the gloom of the evening, or at a woman, or at a Brahmana. One should not look at the blaze of fire, nor at any naked woman, not at one sharing the bed of her husband, nor at any excreted matter, nor sleep with his head towards the west. It is forbidden to spit or throw blood, or poison, or any sort of excreta into water. It is injurious to bask one’s soles in the glare of fire, or to leap over a blazing fire, Or to drink of the blended palms of one’s own hands, or to rouse up a sleeping person, or to play with any dishonest gambler, or to live in contact with any diseased person. Exposure to the smoke and vapours of a cremation ground, and residence on a river bank, should be avoided as harmful. One should not stand over torn hairs, husks of grains, and ashes, nor upon particles of any human cranium. A cow should not be disturbed while drinking, nor a chamber should be entered into by any passage other than its proper door. Money or any pecuniary help should not be asked of a greedy king, nor of a person who does not live according to the injunctions of the Shastras.

A rite of Upakarma (study of the Vedas after performing certain religious rites), should not be performed under the auspices of the full moon of Shravan, or of the asterism of Shravana and Hasta, nor on the fifth day of the moon's wane in the month of Shravan, nor on a day marked by the asterism of Rohini or Pushya, nor on the occasion of an Ashtaka. The stool, urine and other excreta should be put and deposited at a distance from one’s dwelling-house.

The study of the Vedas should be discontinued for three successive days on the occasion of the death of one’s disciple, priest, spiritual preceptor, or a male cognate relation. Cessation of Vedic study should be enjoined on the happening of an earthquake, or meteor-fall, or thunder-clap, or on the death of a Shrotriya Brahmana, and after finishing the recitation of a Veda and its allied Aranyakam by a student or pupil, duly initiated. A study of the Vedas is forbidden on days of the full and the new moon, as well as on the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon’s wane or increase, on the occasion of a lunar eclipse, after eating, at the meeting of two seasons, after taking any gift, at any Shraddha ceremony, and on the passing of a snake, hog, mungoose, dog, or cat between the pupil and the preceptor at the time of study. A study of the Vedas should be discontinued just as the reader would hear the bark, or howl, or braying or screeching, or crying, or moaning of a dog, or a jackal or an ass, or an owl, or an infant or a sick person, as well as on the near approach of a dead body, or a Shudra, or any morally degraded person. One should refrain from studying the Vedas at an unholy place, in the road, on hearing a thunder clap, after dinner, in wet palms, in water, at the dead of night; in storm, on the.appearance of meteoric flashes in the sky, in dust storm, at evening, and during snowfall. The Vedas should not be studied from a preceptor in motion, and be stopped on the advent of a holy person in the house, or while the disciple is riding an elephant, a horse or a camel, or in a carriage, or climbing a tree or a hill, or crossing a river; these thirty-seven occasions of non-study of the Vedas should be regarded as contingent on the happening of particular events, and as Limited by the period of their respective durations.

Acts enjoined in the Vedas, as well as the commands of a king or a preceptor, should be executed without questioning. The wife of another person, should never be polluted, and the shadow (of a person) as well as all excreted matter, and oils and cosmetics for human use, should never be leapt over and crossed. It is a sin to make light of a king or of a Brahmana, or of a snake, or of a disease lurking in the system. The refuges of tables and all sorts of excreta, should be shunned from a distance as impure. One shall not repent after executing any act approved of the Shrutis or the Shrastras, nor question its propriety or ethical fairness. A son or a disciple should be flogged, at times, for the purpose of discipline. Virtue should be perpetually practised and by all means, and vice should be repressed and refrained from. One should not angrily dispute with one’s parents and guests (lit: chance-comers at one’s house), even in the existence of a right cause for the same. One should not bathe in another’s tank before lifting five handful of clay from its bed, which rule does not hold good in respect of lakes, springs and other natural reservoirs of water.

The bed of one should never be used by another, and the food prepared by one’s own enemy, or by a Brahmana who is not a keeper of the sacred fire (Niragni), might be partaken of only in severe distress. A bad food, or the one prepared by a professional musician (lit: lute-player), or by a defiler of another man’s bed, or by a person who lives by making breaches among friends and relations (Varddhushika), or by Brahmana who is the spiritual preceptor-, of prostitutes, or by a professional physician, or by a professional actor, or by a dishonest and furious person, or by a member of any of the twice-born castes, not formally invested with the holy thread (Vratya), or by an arrogant braggart, or by one who eats the refuges of others men's boards, or by one who lives by selling knowledge, or by an uxorious husband, or by a village priest, or by a cruel king, or by a traitor, or by a public executioner, or by a malicious person, or by an utterer of falsehood, or by a wine-seller, or by a bard (Vandi), or by a goldsmith, should never be taken. The flesh of an animal not sacrificed to a god, or boiled rice infested with worms and hairs, should never be partaken of.

An article of food, such as boiled rice etc, prepared on a previous day or night, or partaken of by another, or touched by a dog, or sprinkled over with water by a morally degraded person, or polluted by the touch of a woman in her menses, or squeezed by another, or smelled by a cow, or eaten by a bird, or trampled down with foot, should be shunned, as impure and unwholesome. A food (including boiled rice), prepared by a Shudra, should be unconditionally rejected with the exception of one made by a Dasa, Gopa, Kulamitra, Ardhasiri, Napita, or a Shudra, who has surrendered himself to a Brahmana, which may be eaten without any prejudice.

Boiled rice, prepared on a previous day and kept soaked with clarified butter, may be safely taken without any unwholesome effect. Articles made of wheat and barley, and without any admixture of clarified butter, should be rejected as food. The milk of a she-camel, or of any female animal with unbifurcated hoofs, should not be used. The flesh of any carnivorous bird or of a Dyatuha, as well as that of a dog, should never be eaten. The sin,—consequent on eating the flesh of a Sarasa, Hansa (Ekashapha), Valaka, Vaka or Tittibha, as well as the one originating from the use of Krishara, Pupa, Shankuli, etc., without dedicating them to one’s guest, or from that of the flesh of a swan, Kurura, Bhasa, Khanjana, or Shuka,—may be expiated by a three days fast. The use of garlic or onion in food, should be atoned by performing a Chandrayana penance. The use of any cooked meat on the occasion of Shraddha ceremony, and after dedicating it to one’s departed manes (Pitris) does not entail any sin. The soul of the person, who wantonly kills any animal in this lifa, lives for as many number of years in hell after death, as there are hairs on the body of that slaughtered animal, and who may be only rescued, if the god Hari kindly listens to his constant prayers for expiation on the condition of his never killing any animal in his next re-birth.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: