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 CCXXXIV - The Wheel of Existence (Samsara Chakra)

Suta said:—Knowing fully of the threefold misery such as, the mental, physical, and physiological, the wise one, conversant with the laws of the wheel of existence (Samsara Chakra) and possessed of true knowledge and apathy to the concerns of life, seeks his psychic annihilation (atyantikam Layam). I shall describe the wheel of existence from the moment a man comes into being, a knowledge whereof leads him to merge his self in its universal and eternal prototype. A man, after quitting his gross material frame, assumes a subtler body in the higher ethereal regions, whence he is carried by the emissaries of death to the mansion of their lord, in the course of a period of twelve days. The offerings, and libations of water containing sesame, which his friends offer unto him, a deceased person takes in the mansion of death. Through piety one goes to heaven, through sin one goes to hell. From hell or from heaven, a man enters into the womb of a woman. At first he becomes manifest in the form of a bifurcated sperm; after that, he assumes a forthy gelationous form, after that, blood is produced in its body, which looks like a lump of muscle of flesh, from which the limbs, fingers etc., are found to sprout up, and the organs of smell, sight etc., are gradually developed. After the evolution of the sprout-like limbs are developed nails of fingers, and skin; and after that hair. The fœtus lying with its head downward in the womb is delivered in the tenth month of pregnancy. From the moment of his birth the illusion of Vishnu envelopes the soul of a man. Infancy, youth, old age and death—these are the different stages of existence, and human life is repeatedly made to pass through them as a sand glass is repeatedly turned upside down. Liberated from hell, a human soul takes birth in the womb of a low caste woman. O thou intelligent one, for taking gifts from a degraded person, a person is punished with a birth in a low class womb. A twice-born one, who deceives his preceptor, is reborn as a dog. He, who covets the wife or riches of his preceptor, or insults or brings about the humiliation of his friend, is re-born as an ass. He, who oppresses his parents in this life, shall be re-born as a tortoise in his next incarnation. He, who eating the bread of a trustful master, serves another in this life, Will be re-bon as a monkey in his next. He, Who misappropriates any trust property, shall be re-born as a vile worm in his next existence. The self of a envious or malicious person, liberated from hell, shall take birth as a Rakshasa (monster) in this world. He, who commits breach of trust, shall take birth as a fish in his next existence. A stealer of paddy or barley corn shall be reborn as a mouse. A ravisher of other men’s wives shall be reborn as a fearful wolf. He, who carnally knows his brother’s wife, shall be reborn as a cuckoo, He, who defiles the bed of his preceptor, or knows a woman standing in the interdicted relation to him, shall be re-born as a hog. He, who obstructs the celebration of a nuptial or sacrificial ceremony, or stands as an impediment to one’s practising charity, shall be re-born as a vile worm. He, who eats or partakes of anything without first offering it to the gods, departed manes and Atithis, shall be re-born as a crow, after being liberated from hell. He, who insults his elder brother, shall be re-born as a crane. A shudra, who goes unto a Brahmana woman, shall be reborn as a earth-worm, whereas having procreated a progeny on her, he shall be re-born as a white ant that eats into the vitals of trees. An ungrateful person shall be successively re-born as an insect, worm, scorpion and a fly. A woman-killer or an infanticide will be re-born as a worm, a pilferer of food will be re-born as a fly. A stealer of cooked rice will be re born as a cat; a sesame-stealer will be re-born as a rat. A stealer of clarified butter will be re-born as an ichneumon, a stealer of flesh will be re-born as a crow. A stealer of honey will be re-born as a gnat, a stealer of cakes will be re-born as an ant. A stealer of water, or a miscreant will be re-born as a crow. A stealer of Indian bell-metal will be re-born as a Harita bird or a pigeon. A stealer of a gold-vessel will be re-born as a worm. A stealer of cotton will be re-born as a crane; a fire-stealer will be re-born as a heron. A stealer of pig-ments or vegetables will be reborn as a peacock. A stealer of any red substance will be re-born as a Chakora bird. A stealer of scents will be re-born as a mole. A bamboo-stealer will be re-born as a hare. A stealer of peacock-plumes will be re born as an eunuch, a wood-stealer will be re-born as an wood-insect. A flower-stealer will be re-born as an indigent man, a stealer of lac-dye shall shall be re-bum as a maimed or deformed person. A stealer of edible leaves and plants will be re-born as a Harita bird; a water-stealer will be re-born as a Chataka bird. A stealer of house, after suffering the pangs of many a hell such as the Raurava, etc., will be reborn as an insect, worm, shrub, creeper, or grass. The same fate awaits those who steal gold, or kine. A stealer of knowledge, after suffering the pangs of many hells, shall be re-born as a dumb person. He, who casts oblations in a weak fire, shall be re-born as one suffering from indigestion. Scandalising, ingratitude, hurting other men’s feelings, cruelty, shamelessness, adultery, stealing other men’s goods, impurity or uncleanness, speaking ill of the gods, cheating and miserliness are the traits in the conduct of those who are just liberated from hell. Compassion towards all, asking good news of all creatures, works for the purpose of acquiring spiritual benefit, truthfulness, good advice to all, judgment in the light of the Vedas and philosophies, performances of good deeds, service of the gods, Rishis and Siddhas, company of the good and friendliness to all are the traits in the conduct of those among men who have come down from the heaven. By practising Yoga with its eight component parts, one is enabled to effect one’s atyantika Layam (Non-existence of Self.)