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 XCIX - Mode of performing Sraddhas

Yajnavalkya said:—Now I shall describe the process of celebrating Shraddha ceremonies for the propitiation of one’s own departed manes, whereby all sins are expiated.

A day of the new moon, Ashtaka, Vriddhi (occasion of the marriage of one’s son) the advent of Pretapaksha (dark fortnight in the month of Bhadra) the passing of the sun into the sign of cancer or of capricornus, receiving of any kind of excellent meat, the advent of Brahmanas well-versed in the Vedas in oneshs house, the two equinoxes, the passing of the sun into a zodiacal sign, the astral combination known as Vyatipata Yoga, Gajachchaya (Magha trayodashi—the thirteenth day of the moon’s wane marked by the asterism Magha) a solar or a lunar eclipse, are the occasions on which a Shraddha ceremony is to be performed.

Young Shrotriya Brahmanas well-versed in Vedic lore, astrologers, Trimadhus, the three Savarna friends the sister’s son, the family priest, son-in-law, the preceptor, the father-in-law, the maternal uncle, daughter’s son, the disciple, the wife’s brothers, and friends and relations of the deceased, the three Nachiketas, and Brahmanas who officiate at the religious sacrifices or are the keepers of the sacred fire, or practise asceticism, or are fondly devoted to their parents, or strictly conform to the rules of Brahmanism, should be alone invited on the occasion of a Shraddha ceremony. A diseased or a maimed Brahmana, as well as one born with an additional bodily appendage, or born in the unmarried state of his mother; or the issue of her second marriage, or any wise deviated from the execution of his true Brahminical duties, or ungodly (lit., having no faith in the god Vishnu) in his conduct should not be invited on the occasion of a Shraddha ceremony. The Brahmanas, eligible to be present in the ceremony, should be invited on the day, previous to its celebration through other Brahmanas.

Then on the occasion of the ceremony, the performer of a Shraddha, should first humbly ask the invited Brahmanas to be seated in their respective seats, and then with his blended palms entreat them to arrange themselves in the following order, viz., two Brahmanas before the vessel containing offerings for the gods, with their faces turned towards the east, and three before the vessels containing offerings for the performer’s departed manes and with their faces turned towards the north. Similar disposition of Brahmanas, should be made in respect of the vessels containing offerings for the performer’s maternal ancestors. Then after having offered water to the Pitris for washing their hands with, and cushions of kusha blades to seat upon, the performer, with the permission of the Brahmanas officiating at the ceremoney, would invoke the presence of his departed manes in it, by reciting the proper Mantras, and scatter barley grains over the vessels containing the sacred knots of kusha grass (Pavitram). After that he shall offer water to the Brahmanas by reciting the “Shannodevi” etc., Mantra, barley grains by reciting the one, beginning with “Yavosi” etc., Mantra. Then with the permission of the Brahmanas, he shall invoke the presence of his departed manes in the ceremony by reciting the Mantra, running as “Ayantu nah Pitara” (Come, O our fathers) etc., by whirling his right hand over his head from the left. In offering Arghas to the Pitris, sesamame seed should be used instead of barley grains, and the performer of the ceremony shall then meditate upon their divine selves.

Then the vessel containing the offering for the Pitris shall be bent by reciting the Mantra running as “Pitribhyoh Sthanam-asi.” Then boiled rice, soaked with clarified butter, should be taken in hand, and the permission of the Pitris should be obtained by reciting the Mantra, running as “Agnow Ṛarishye,” etc., after which the Gayatri Mantra and the one running as Madhuvata, etc., should be thrice recited over it. Then after, having recited the Mantra running as Yathasukham Vakjatah Sada (stay silently for a while as you please) etc., the performer of a Shraddha should mentally recite the sacred Mantras for a while during which period the Pitris should be contemplated as partaking of the oblations of boiled rice offered to them.

The performer should offer the Havishya oblations to his fathers, if desired, in an ungrudging spirit. He should mentally repeat the name of God or any other sacred Mantra, until the Pitris would finish their meal, and then recite the benedictory Vedic Verses, running as Madhu Vata ritayaté(ritayati?) (may the sweet wind blow over the land), etc., and scatter the dedicated boiled rice over the ground by reciting the “Om, Triptah Stha” (Be you appeased) Mantra. After that, oblations of boiled rice, mixed with sesame seeds, should be offered near the vessel containing the refuge of the meals of the Pitris, the offerer looking towards the South at the time. Oblations should be thus offered to the souls of one’s grandfather and great grandfather, both in the paternal and the maternal lines; and the rite of oblations should be closed by offering Achamaniyam (water for rinsing the mouth) to them.

A Brahmana shall utter the term “Svasti” in connection with all acts done by him in course of the ceremony, after which the Akshayyas should be given, and the Brahmanas officiating at the ceremony, should be remunerated with Dakshinas, as his means would admit of. Then he would ask the permission of the Brahmanas for uttering “Svadha” with a recitation of the Mantra running as “Svadham Vachayishey” and the Brahmanas would express their consent thereto by uttering “Vachyatam” (speak out.) Then the sacred knot of the Kusha grass (Pavitram) should be untied with the permission of the Brahmanas, by reciting “Pitribhyah Svadhochatyam,” and he should sprinkle water over the ground with a similar permission of theirs with the Mantra “Om, Ashta Svadha.” Then having again sprinkled water over the ground in accompaniment of the Mantra running as “Vishvédevah Priyantam, etc. (May the Vishvedevas be pleased with the ceremony), he should recite the one beginning with “Dataro Noh Abhivarddhantam” (May our givers enjoy greater prosperity), whereupon the Brahmanas would reply “Om, Astu” (Om, be it so). Then the performer of the ceremony, would devoutly make an obeisance to the Brahmanas and dismiss them with sweet words. Then the Brahmanas in connection with the vessels known as the Pitri patras, etc., would be bidden adieu to by reciting the Mantra running as “Vajé,” “Vajé,” etc. Then the lid or the cover of the Pitri patra containing the Argha-sprinkled water, should be removed, and the performer would sprinkle a few drops thereof, and bid them (Brahmanas) farewell as before. He should circumbulate the ground or the site of the ceremony, and take the residue of the oblations dedicated to his manes. Both he and his wife, would practise a vow of continence for the night.

A Shraddha ceremony, should be performed on the occasion of a marriage in the house in the aforesaid manner, with the exception that the term “Nandimukha” should be appended to the name of each of the performer’s departed manes, and the oblations containing Vadari fruits, should be offered to them.

In a rite of Ekoddishta Shraddhha, the vessel of oblation known as the Daivapatram, should be omitted, and tha Pavitras, made of a single blade of Kusha grass, should be used. It is further distinguished by the absence of all invocation and “Agnaukaranam” rites, which should be performed with the upper sheet or garment (uttariya) being placed on the right shoulder of the performer (Apasavyavat). The Akshayyas (threads) should be given in the present rite by saying “Upatishtatam” (Be pleased to get up) while the Brahmanas should be bidden adieu to by crying “Abhiramyatam,” whereupon the Brahmanas would say “Abhiramasva.”

In a Sapindikarana ceremony, perfumed water containing sesame seeds, should be placed in four vessels at the time of offering the Argha, and one of them should be exclusively dedicated to the use of the Préta (departed mane for the salvation of whose soul the ceremony is performed). After that, the oblations and offerings offered to the latter (Préta (Preta?)) should be divided, by reciting the two Mantras beginning with “Ya Samana,” etc., and then mixed with those offered to the souls of the performer’s grandfather. The forms of Shraddha, known as Ekoddhista and Parvana, jointly constitute what is known as Sapindikaranam.

Rice with pitchers, full of water, should be offered to the Soul of a departed ancestor at the close of the year in the event of the Sapindakarana Shraddha, it being performed within it. The oblations offered to one’s departed manes in the course of a Shraddha, should be given over to a cow, or to a goat, or to a Brahmana for eating at the close of the ceremony, or they should be cast in fire or water. The satisfaction resulting from a Shraddha ceremony performed with Havishya (sun-dried rice boiled with any vegetable, and soaked with clarified butter) or with Payasha (sweetened porridge) in honour of one’s departed manes, lasts them for a year, while the pleasure incidental to the performance of one with fish, or venison or mutton or Shakula fish, or goat’s flesh, or with the flesh of a Prishata or an Ena or a Ruru (different families of deer), or of a boar, or of a hare, successively endures for a month more, in the order of enumeration.

A Shraddha ceremony should be celebrated each year, on the thirteenth day of the moon’s wane marked by the asterism (lunar mansion) Magha. A Shraddha ceremony should be likewise performed each day, in honor of one’s departed manes from the first day of the dark fortnight to its close (day of the new moon) in the month of Bhadra, known in the Sanskrit calendar as Pretapaksha (when the departed Manes are supposed to visit the earth), the benefit of such peformances being the birth of a daughter in the performer’s family. Shraddha ceremonies for the salvation of souls who had quitted the world in consequence of any cut, blow or sword-thurst, should be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the moon’s wane, in virtue of which the performer would be rewarded with wealth, offspring and valour in this life. By duly performing a Shraddha ceremony in honor of his departed manes, a performer is enabled to live a long life in the full possession of a good name, and a sound bodily health, suffers no bereavement in life, and attains an elevated status in the world to come. Knowledge spreads her store to such a man, the goddess of wealth pours down plenty over his fields, filling his chests and coffers with all sorts of precious metal, and the number of his cattle swells by daily additions. A similar benefit is derived from celebrating a Shraddha ceremony under the auspicies of any of the three asterisms (lunar mansion) calculated from the Krittika. The Pitris of a Brahmana, who performs a Shraddha ceremony with new water (water of the rainy season) or with newly harvested rice, confer upon him the blessings of longevity, fatherhood, opulence, erudition and sovereignity in this life, and a residence in heaven, and even salvation, after death in return.

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