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 CXV - Counsels by Shaunaka on forswearing bad wives etc. (End of the Brihaspati Samhita)

Suta said:— A false wife, a false friend, a false prince, a false relation, and a false country, should be shunned from a distance. Virtue will fly from the earth in the Kali Yuga; Truth will be taken down from her altar and pilloried in the market; Earth will lose her fecundity; Craft will usurp the throne of ethics; Greed will be the god of the Brahmanas; men will be slaves to their wivesh fancies; and the low and the vile will be elevated in the world. Blessed are they that die early in that iron age. Blessed are they that witness not the ruin of their own house or country, or live not to see their wives making love to others and their sons walking in the path of infamy. Countless are the ways in which a bad son torments his father. What love can there be for a false wife, what confidence in a false friend? What guarantee of life and living can there be in the realm of a false prince? To eat another man’s bread, to be a hangeron on another man’s purse, to lie in another’s bed and with another’s wife, and to lodge in another man’s house are the iniquities which may send even an Indra (lord of the celestials) to go a-begging in the world.

Sinful contagion spreads from man to man by conversation, by touch, or by company of the impious, or by sharing same beds and cushions with them. A woman is ruined by her beauty; a penance, by anger; a cow, by straying far out of the fold; a Brahman, by partaking of a meal cooked by a shudra. Sin spreads from man to man by contagion as water passes off from one pitcher to another by syphoning. Fondling of a son by his father is fraught with many an evil consequence. Innumerable are the benefits which accrue from chastisement. Hence a son or a disciple should be birched and not fondled. A long pedestrial journey is old age (proves exhausting) to men (lit., organic beings.) Water is death to a mountain, the abjuring of her bed by her lord spells death to a wife, and heat is death to clothes. Sensuality is the idol of the vulgar; good men long for peace, and the best covet honour which is the true wealth to the noble. Honour is the culminating stage of wealth. Why do you covet wealth when you have honour? What is wealth to a man who has suffered in his honour and prestige? The vulgar seek only wealth; good men, riches and honour; the best only strive for honour which is the wealth of the noble. A hungry lion do not flap his ears, nor bend down his head to look at his armpits. A noble man in indigence, does not stoop to mean things.

A lion does not wait for being anointed, or a crowned king of the forest by any body. The right of sovereignty is inherently vested in valour; and the chivalrous are the born rulers of men. A dishonest merchant, a haughty servant, a luxurious friar, a poor voluptuary, and a scolding beauty are the anomalies in the world. A poor, benevolent person, a rich miser, a wild disobedient son, a service under the wicked or the vulgar, and the ruin of a person in a philanthrophic cause, are the five anomalies in life which illustrate the examples of living death. The death of one’s own dear wife, humiliation at the hands of one’s own relations, a debt—unpaid and undischarged, a service of the low and the vulgar and desertion by friends in one’s evil days, are the five things which though not fire in themselves, consume one’s vitals. The thoughts of a starving family, of a scolding wife, of dissensions with one’s own brothers, and of suffering humiliation at the hands of a mean, sordid wretch, are the four thoughts which are like sword blades to the heart, out of the hundred that agitate or ruffle the human mind. A good obedient son, a knowledge that helps one to earn money, a sound health, the company of the virtuous, and a loving sweet speaking wife, are the five things which dispel misery in the world. The bear, the elephant, the fly, the bee, and the fish are the five animals which destroy one another in the universe in their order of enumeration; but man deals death to all of them. Why should he not be killed by his fully gratified senses by way of divine retribution? The presence of a poor, ill-clad, rough-haired Brahmana, though otherwise erudite like the holy Vrihaspati, passes unnoticed in the mansions of the rich. The longevity, desting, character, erudition and death of a child are the factors, which should be reckoned at the time of its nativity. Commendable is the character of the man who succours a drowned man from his watery grave, or one fallen in climbing a hill, or in a local feud, or is attacked by a wild bull in a pasturage, or any way degraded in society.

The shadow of a cloud, the love of the malicious, an intimacy with another man’s wife, youth and opulence, arc the five equally transitory things in the world. Life is transitory. Transient are the youth and opulence of a man. Wives, children, friends, and relations are but passing shadows in the phantasmagoria of life. Only virtue and good deeds endure. Even a centenarian has but a short space of life, the one-half of which is covered by the night, the other half being rendered fruitless by disease, grief, imbecility and toil. Night covers the one-half of the hundred years allotted to man and is spent in sleep. Infancy and boyhood cover the half of the other moiety, a part of its remaining half being cloudened by grief, misery and service. The rest is but changeful and transient like a wave öf the ocean. Ah, what is the end of life? What does glory, fame, or honour signify? Death with his attendants Day and Night is perpetually travelling the world in the guise of Old Age, and is devouring all created beings, as a serpent gulps down a gust of wind.

At rest, or while moving about, in sleep, or while awake, always try to do good to the world. Good deeds are the wages of life. He who seeks only his own good, is an animal. The man who has lost all conscience, lets himself be carried away by many an ignoble and worldly care at the time of divine service, and is troubled only with the cares of pampering his belly, is an animal. The man, who has acquired no fame in respect of piety, penance, benevolence, and learning, is but the excrement of his own mother. A good life, lived even for a short while by a man in the fame of his learning, valour or manliness, is called right living by the wise.—Does not a crow eat and live to term? A life without wealth or fame is a failure. What is the use of an ally who constantly apprehends evil and falls back at the wanted time? Cast not doleful looks, but live like a hero, O Shaunaka, even a crow gets its food in the world and is plagued with the toil of simple continunance from day to day. Of what use is the life of a man who does not come to the help of his servants, relations, friends or the needy? Does not a crow eat and live to term? He who passes his days without earning fame, piety, and wealth, is like the belows of an Ironsmith which breathes out wind but does not live. An independent living is success in life, a dependent existence is the false rendering of life’s inner meaning. They who are servanted to others, are the monuments of living death. Cowards are they who rest satisfied with the fulfilment of their own personal wants.—Does not the mouse in the hole gets his bellyful? Cowards grumble most but are contented with a little.

The shadow of a cloud, the wild-fire, the service of the vulgar, the water in a rut, the love of a courtesan, and the friendship of the malicious, are the six things which are transient like the bubbles of water. A good advice is always unpalatable. Life is leased on honour. What remains when truth is broken? The king is the strength of the weak. The strength of a woman ties in her tears; silence is the shield of the ignorant, and falsehood is the refuge of the thieves. Study a science so that you may have your own light on the subject, that is the only right kind of study. While staying in a country do what is done by its inhabitants, combine with them, win their favour and thereby serve your own interest. A man is ruined by his greed, lust or undue confidence. Hence these three should be averted. A dread is to be dreaded so long as it does not come; when once present, a man should meet it with a bold front. The undischarged residue of a debt, the unextinguished residue of a fire, and the unconquered residue of an enemy, may increase and grow stronger. Hence they should be totally extinguished. Repay good by good and evil by evil, O Shaunaka, I do not think it bad politics. Avoid a friend who speaks sweet in your presence and slander you behind your back. A good man is ruined by an evil company; clear water is made turbid with clay. Whatever is enjoyed by a Brahmana, is put to right use. Hence a Brahmana should be feasted at all costs. He who eats the residue of the dishes of a Brahmana, eats only in the right way. He who commits no sin, is clever. A friend is he who speaks good of you behind your back. A good deed done without bragging, is piety. It is no assembly where there is no old man. They are no old men who do not uphold what is virtuous. What does not contain truth, is no virtue, and a truth which is a half truth, is no truth at all.

The Brahmanas are the noblest of mankind; the sun is the most resplendent of the stars; the head is the most important of all organs; and truth is the highest of all vows. A thing which instantaneously affects the mind as good, is good. Living, without serving any body’s will, is true living. True earning is that which is enjoyed by one’s relations. He who has been abandoned by his enemy in a battle-field, is abandoned. A wife who is not proud of her charms, is a true wife. He who has abjured all desires, is happy, He is a friend in whom confidence is reposed, The man who has subjugated his senses, is a man. He who brags of his own virtues and holds a very exalted opinion of himself, should not be loved, nor be made a friend. The sources of rivers, fire-worshippers (Agni-hotris) and the race of Bharata should not be tried to be discovered, as it may lead to the discovery of many an unpleasant thing. The sea is the final goal of a river, one’s love-making ends with the illicit amours of one’s own wife; and a mischievous propensity is checked by a healthy public opinion. The effect of wealth is misery. The prosperity of a king may be ended by the curse of a Brahmana; decency and cleanliness, by living close to the dwelling of a Ghosa; and a family is ruined where women reign supreme. All accumulations are followed by waste. All risings end in fall; combinations, in dissolutions; evolutions, in involutions; and life, in death. Proceed not far with haste in a business so that you may easily retrace your Steps. Walk not far with your guest from a place where you intend to return. A friend or a preceptor should be bid adieu to by following him up to the border of a pool, or under the shade of a tree of pleasant foliage. Dwell not in a country where there is no law, or in which the central government is vested in a more than one responsible head, or which is governed by a woman or an infant. A woman is protected by her father in infancy, by her husband in youth, and by her son in old age. She has no separate and independent living. A man is at liberty to marry a second wife in the event of his first having had no issue after eight years of wedlock; after nine years of that of one whose children die in their infancy; after eleven years of the marriage a wife that has given birth to daughters only, and instantly when the first is foul-mouthed and tries to give him a bit of her mind. A man of honest purpose and entrusted With the duty of feeding many mouths, never suffers any humiliation on account pecuniary difficulties. A noble forethought for providing for the wants of many and a sacred dread for being found wanting in his duties, makes him a ready master of resources and of ways and means under difficulties. A suppliant never returns half-fed from his door. The family is a seminary of applied ethics. Fatherhood is a synopsis of the moral economy of the universe and marriage is the pledge (lit.,—a pawn) for its realisation on earth, serving as a grand citadel of man on the border land of mental affections where the light begins to fail and the kingdom of darkness begins.

A wise man should keep at a respectful distance from a tired horse, a wild (excited) elephant, a cow after her first parturition and a toad squatting on the dry ground. A suppliant for money has nither friends nor relations. A Voluptuous man has neither shame nor dread. A care-worn man is a stranger, to sleep and happiness, and a starving man Wants no salt but nutrition. Sleep is forbidden to the poor, to the slaves, to thieves and to those who are in love with their neighboursh wives. Soundly do they sleep who are healthy, free, or owe no money-debts, or are not plagued with the love of a woman. A servant is honoured in proportion to the social elevation of his master; the height of a lotus lily is proportionate to that of the water level of the pool it grows in. The sun and Varuna (water) serve as friends to a water-lily in its days of bloom and prosperity, but they cause it to wither and petrify when it is severed from its stem. The friends who flock round a man in office turn his enemies when he is ousted of it. The sun who gladly unfolds the petals of a water-lily on its stem in water, scorches it when it is culled and taken out of its element. Men are respected for their office and position. Men’s hair and nails are fostered in their natural seats and shunned as obnoxious excrescences when severed from therm Conduct shows the birth or parentage of a man; and his speech, his country. Deference or regard bespeaks affection; and the body, the nature and quantity of one’s food. Useless is the rain to the sea; a good meal is a useless supeffluity to a well-fed man. Useless are the gifts to the rich; and kind acts, to the mean. He who is close to the heart, can never be really absent. A wide gulf separates a couple when hearts are estranged, even, though they may sit side by side.

A distorted face, a low sunk voice, a clammy sweat, and a sense of vague dread are the symptoms which mark the dying and the begging men alike. A man of honour prefers a snake-bite or a stroke of paralysis, or a life-long physical deformity, or a second birth by self immolation, to begging. Who is he that is not lowered by begging? Even the Supreme God (Vishnu) suffered a diminution of stature by playing the role of a supplicant in the religious sacrifice celebrated by Vali.

The parents of a child are but his enemies when they fail to educate him properly in his boyhood. An illiterate boy, like a heron amidst swans, cannot shine in the assembly of of the learned. Learning imparts a heightened charm to a homely face. Knowledge is the best treasure that a man can secretly hoard up in life. Learning is the revered of the revered. Knowledge makes a man honest, virtuous and endearing to the society. It is learning alone that enables a man to better the condition of his friends and relations. Knowledge is the holiest of the holies, the god of the gods, and commands the respect of crowned heads; shorn of it a man is but an animal. The fixtures and furniture of one’s house may be stolen by thieves; but knowledge, the highest treasure, is above all stealing. This synopsis of ethics, was first related to shaunaka by Vishnu. The god Hara learnt it from shaunaka and related it to the birthless Vyasa who has illumined our minds on the subject.

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