by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237
This page relates “the bestowal of a boon by the pitrs in the raucya manvantara” which forms the 97th chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 97 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.
A body of light appeared in the sky, and Ruci offered a hymn to all the deities and Pitṛs—The Pitṛs appeared, and to enable him to be a Prajāpati granted him the boon of a wife—They commend the hymn offered to them and declare its manifold efficacy.
Now while he offered praises thus, a lofty pile of light appeared suddenly, suffusing the sky. When he saw that very great light, which remained stationary encompassing the world, Ruci sank to the earth on his knees and sang this hymn.
I pay reverence ever to those Pitṛs, who are honoured, incorporeal, luminously splendid, who are rapt in meditation, and who possess supernatural sight. And I pay reverence to those granters of men’s desires, who are the leaders of Indra and the other gods, and of Dakṣa and Mārīca, of the seven ṛṣis and of other sages. I pay reverence to all the Pitṛs of Manu and the other chief munis, and of the sun and moon, among the waters and in the sea. With conjoint hands I pay reverence likewise to the constellations and planets, to wind and fire and the sky, and to heaven and earth. And with conjoint hands I pay reverence to the devarṣis’ progenitors unto whom reverence is paid by all the worlds, who are always givers of what is imperishable. With conjoint hands I pay reverence always to the Prajāpati Kaśyapa, to Soma and to Varuṇa, and to the princes of religious devotion. Reverence to the seven classes of Pitṛs moreover in the seven worlds! I pay reverence to self-existent Brahmā who is contemplation-eyed. I pay reverenee to the Somādhāra and Yogamūrtti-dhara classes of Pitṛs, and to Soma the father of the worlds. I pay reverence moreover to the other Pitṛs who have the form of fire, because this universe is entirely composed of Agni and Soma. Now these who dwell in this light, and who have the bodies of the moon, sun and fire, and whose true nature is the world, and whose true nature is Brahmā—to all those Pitṛs, practisers of religious devotion, I pay reverence with subdued mind, reverence, yea reverence. May they, the consumers of the svadhā, be gracious unto me!
Being thus praised by him, O best of munis, those Pitṛs issued forth with their splendour, illuminating the ten regions of the sky; and he beheld them standing in front then, adorned with the flowers, perfumes and unguents which he had presented unto them. Falling prostrate again in faith, again indeed joining his hands, full of respect he exclaimed, separately to each of them, “Reverence to thee!” “Reverence to thee!” Well-pleased the Pitṛs thereupon said to him, the best of munis, “Choose thou a boon.” To them he spoke, bending his neck respectfully.
Brahma has commanded me now to be the maker of a new creation. In such capacity I desire to obtain a wife, who shall be happy, of heavenly kind, prolific.
The Pitṛs spoke:
Here verily for thee let a wife be produced forthwith who-shall be most fascinating, and by her thou shalt have a son, a Manu supreme, the ruler of a Manvantara, wise, characterized by thy very own name, being called Raucya from thee, O Ruci; he shall attain fame in the three worlds. He shall also have many sons, great in strength and prowess, great of soul, guardians of the earth. And thou, becoming a Prajāpati, shalt create people of the four classes; and when thy dominion shall come to an end and thou shalt be wise in righteousness, thou shalt thereafter attain perfect felicity.
And whatever man shall gratify us with this hymn-in faith, we being gratified will give him enjoyments and sublime spiritual knowledge, perfect bodily health, and wealth, and sons, grandsons and other descendants: because verily those who desire blessings must constantly praise us with this hymn. And he who shall recite this hymn, which causes us pleasure, with faith at a śrāddha, standing the while in front of the brāhmans as they feast, that śrāḍdha, shall undoubtedly become ours imperiṣably, because of our pleasure in hearing the hymn when a man makes close approach unto us. Although a śrāddha be performed without a hrāhman learned in the Veda, although it may be vitiated by means of wealth which has been gained unjustly, or although it be performed in any other defective manner, or although moreover it he performed with blemished offerings unfit for a śrāddha, or be performed also at a wrong time or in a wrong place, or yet be unaccompanied by the proper ordinances, or if it is performed by men without faith or in reliance on deceit— nevertheless such a śrāddha shall be to our delight because this hymn is uttered thereat. Wherever this hymn which brings us happiness is recited at a śrāddha, there delight accrues unto us, lasting for twelve years. This hymn recited in the winter yields delight for twelve years; and this beautiful hymn recited in the dewy season yields delight for twice that number of years; when recited at a śrāddha ceremony in the spring it tends to delight us for sixteen years; and this hymn recited in the hot season causes delight for sixteen years indeed. When a śrādḍha although performed imperfectly is consummated with this hymn in the rainy season, imperishable delight accrues unto us, O Ruci. When recited at the time of a śrāddha even in the autumn season, it yields us delight with men which lasts for fifteen years. And in whosesoever house this hymn remains constantly in written form, there shall we be present when a śrāddha is performed. Therefore standing at a śrāddha in front of the feasting brāhmans, O illustrious Sir! thou must hear this hymn which supplies nourishment unto us.
Footnotes and references:
Namasyāmi. It is used with the object in the genitive here and in verse 6; in the accusative in verses 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11; and in the dative in verses 8 and 9. The construction with the accusative is the only one mentioned in the dictionary.
The Bombay edition reads A-mūrttānāṃ ca mūrttānām, “who are incorporeal and who are corporeal.”
For Prajā-pateḥ read Prajā-pate ?
Or, “the moon.” ‘Soma’ seems to be played upon in its various meanings in these verses.
Or, “Reverence to the seven classes of Pitṛs and to the seven worlds ! ”
‘Agni’ is also played upon in its different meanings.
“Soma, Sūrya and Agni.”
The Bombay edition inserts a verse and a half here—“We will give [the foregoing blessings] assuredly and whatever else is earnestly desired. Therefore men who continually desire sacred recompenses in the world and the imperishable gratification of the Pitṛs— such men must praise us with a hymn,”
The Bombay edition adds—“Having spoken thus, his ancestors (Pitṛs) departed to heaven, O best of munis.”