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 CXXXII - The Sadgati Vratam etc

Brahma said:—One should perform a Vrata, on the day of the eighth phase of the moon, and break his fast on the- night of the vow. He, who continually practises the Vrata for a year, and closes it by making the gift of a cow to a Brahmana, is elevated to the status of an Indra, after death. The Vrata is called Sadgati Vrata. The same Vrata practised on the day of the eighth phase of the moon's increase in the month of Pausha, is called the Maha Rudra Vrata. Such a Vrata practised in my honour is ten thousand times more meritorious than the one practised for an ordinary end. The Vrata should be specially performed if the proper day of its celebration happens to fall on a Wednesday, inasmuch as its performance would ensure endless prosperity to the votary. A seeker after selfemancipation should take nothing but eight pinchfuls of cooked rice on the occasion, and live as devout and pure as possible.

By taking Kalamvica treated with acid and enshrouded with the blades of Kusha grass, on the occasion, a man is sure to acquire all wished-for objects. The god Mercury should be worshipped in a pool with the five kinds of offerings, and a Karkari (a kind of small water pot) full of rice, should be given to a Brahmana by way of Dakshina. The god should be contemplated as armed with a bow and an arrow, shining with the greenish golden hue of his complexion, and worshipped on the petals of the mystic Mandalam by reciting the Vang, etc.,” Vijam. The votary should then hear the legends of the Vrata recited by a Brahmana, which is as follows:—“Once upon a time there lived in the city of Pataliputra a good Brahmana whose name was Vira. Vira had a wife named Rambha, a daughter named Vijaya, a son named Kaushika, and a bullock named Dhanapala. One hot day in summer, Kaushika, oppressed with the scorching heat ot the sun, took the bullock to the Ganges to give him a much-needed ablution. While he was himself bathing, several cowboys came and decamped with the bullock before he could raise the necessary alarm. Kaushika came out of the river and began to wander in the forest in grief and despair. It so happened that his sister Vijaya came to fetch water from the Ganges at the time and saw her brother in that sad predicament. So she joined him in the wood and went on rambling in quest of the bullock. Thirsty and worn out with the fatigues of the day, Kaushika went down to a pool of water to fetch some dark lotus stems for his sister, when, behold, there appeared to him on the green grassy bank of that limpid pool a bevy of celestial nymphs engaged in practising the Vudashtami Vrata. Kaushika, hungry and exhausted asked them for food. The nymphs in their turn directed him to first practise the Vrata. Kaushika called his sister and did as directed Kaushika and Vijaya practised the Vrata, he with the object of recovering his lost bullock, and she with the motive of securing a suitable husband for herself. They took their meals out of two mango leaves as served out to them by the nymphs; and the nymphs vanished after their repast. Kaushika recovered his lost bullock through the merit of performing the Vrata. The thieves voluntarily restored the same to him in the morning, and Kaushika and his sister went home with their boons.

“Now the good Brahmana Vira had past an anxious and sleepless night, and he was glad when his son and daughter saluted him in the morning. Now Vira was anxious to secure a suitable husband for his daughter as she had attained a marriagable age. There were idle speculations for many long days of suspense and domestic quarrel. At last Vijaya, the daughter, disgusted with the peremptory way in which her father wished to dispose her off, broke her silence and said “I shall be wedded to the God of Death.” Now Death was the bridegroom she had chosen for herself, and the merit of the Vrata had entitled her to have the husband of her choice. So the Lord of Death appeared to Vira and sued for the hand of his daughter. Irrevocable is the decree of heaven, and the gods brook no equivocation of terms. So there could be no refusal, and the marriage of fair Vijaya with the Lord of Death was contracted with the seal of fate. Vira and his wife Rambha were translated to heaven, and the son Kaushika was rewarded with a kingdom at Ayodhya. Kaushika celebrated the marriage of his sister in a style quite in keeping with his new dignity, and the Lord of Death took away his bride to his mansion in the nether world. After his installation as the Queen of Yama (the God of Death), Vijaya was suddenly roused up, one day, from her revery by the agonised cries of her own mother. She saw her spirit, chained and fallen from heaven, and about to be consigned to the pangs of hell. Vijaya performed this Vrata for the liberation of her mother’s spirit and asked it to do the same after it had been liberated. The mother again ascended to heaven through the merit of performing this Vrata, and lived there happy in the company of her husband.

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