The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the greatness of pushkara and some important vows which is chapter 21 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the twenty-first chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 21 - The greatness of Puṣkara and some important vows

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Pulastya said:

1-3a. Formerly in the Bṛhatkalpa, there was a king by name Dharmamūrti who was a friend of Indra and who had killed thousands of demons. Due to his lustre, the Moon and the Sun had lost their brilliance. He had defeated demons in hundreds, could take any form he liked and was undefeated even among (i.e. by) men.

3b-4. That king had the chief queen Bhānumatī by name, the most beautiful lady in the three worlds, who resembled Lakṣmī in beauty and had vanquished divine beauties (by means of her beauty), and who was greater (i.e. dearer) to the king than his own life.

5. Among ten thousand ladies she shone like Lakṣmī He cannot be said to be equalled (even) by a thousand crores of kings.

6-7. Once when he was seated in his assembly he, filled with amazement, asked his priest, Vasiṣṭha, the best sage, “Revered Sir, due to which religious merit have I this excellent wealth and for what reason is there always great and excellent lustre in my body?”

Vasiṣṭha said;

8-9a. Formerly there was a prostitute Līlāvatī by name, who was devoted to Śiva. She duly offered, at Puṣkara, a mountain (i.e. a heap) of salt with a large number of golden trees, on the fourteenth day of the month.

9b-15. There was a śūdra servant, a goldsmith in Līlāvatī’s house. O king, he, full of faith, fashioned trees with golden flowers, (well) formed, extremely charming and beautiful. Knowing it to be a pious deed he did not accept wages for it; and his wife polished the golden trees; and O king, the two honestly did service in the house of Līlāvatī like waiting upon the sages etc. And that prostitute Līlāvatī, O sinless one, after a long time, being free from all sins, went to the abode of Śiva; and now you are that goldsmith who, though poor, was very good and (so) did not accept the price (i.e. the wages for his work) from the prostitute. He has become the lord of the seven islands and is lustrous like myriad Suns.

16. This is your (wife) Bhānumatī, who (as) the wife of the goldsmith, had polished the golden trees fashioned by (her husband) the goldsmith.

17. Therefore, in the worlds of mortals you are unvanquished; and your wealth is safe and full of good fortune. Therefore, O king, you too should, in keeping with sacred precepts, fashion mountains ofgrains etc.

Pulastya said:

18. Saying ‘all right’ he, the fine image of religious merit, having honoured Vasiṣṭha’s words, duly gave all the mountains of grains etc., and being respected by gods he went to the world of the enemy of Cupid, (i.e. of Śiva).

19. A man, whc sees these (mountains of grains) being brought or sees them being given by men or hears (about such a gift) with devotion or thinks (about it), too, being free from sins, goes to heaven.

20. A man destroys the (effect) of bad dreams by big mountains (of grains etc.) being invoked, (which are the) destroyers of the fear of the mundane existence; then, O best of men, what about him, who, with a tranquil mind and with his sins removed, gives the entire lord of mountains?

Bhīṣma said:

21. What is there on the earth, capable of removing the association with the grief arising from the separation of the dear ones? Or what fast or vow is there that would certainly bring about prosperity or that would destroy man’s fear of the mundane existence?

Pulastya said:

22. You have asked me about this vow dear to the world and difficult to perform even for the wise on account of its importance. Yet I shall explain this vow—a secret among Indra, gods and men—to you who are devoted.

23-25a. This is Dvādaśī-vrata (to be performed) in the holy month of Āśvina. A wise man eating little on the tenth day, should begin it with restraint, after brushing his teeth and facing the north or the east. On the eleventh, he should not eat anything and having properly worshipped Viṣṇu and having also duly worshipped Lakṣmī (he should say:) ‘I shall eat on the next day (i.e. tomorrow).’

25b-26. Having thus taken a pledge, a man, having got up in the morning, should bathe with all herbs and the five products[1]  of the cow taken collectively. Having put on white flowers and a garment he should worship the lord of śrī with lotuses.

2 7. He should worship the feet (of the deity) saying, ‘My salutation to Viśoka.’ He should worship the shanks saying, ‘My salutation to Varada.’ He should worship the knees saying, ‘My salutation to Śrīśa.’ He should worship the thighs saying, ‘My salutation to Jalaśāyī.’

28-32a. He should worship the waist saying, ‘My salutation to Mādhava’. He should worship the belly saying, ‘My salutation to Dāmodara’. He should worship the sides saying, ‘My salutation to Vipula’. He should worship the navel saying, ‘My salutation to Padmanābha’. He should worship the heart saying, ‘My salutation to Manmatha’. He should worship the chest of the lord saying, ‘My salutation to Śrīdhara.’ He should worship the hands saying, ‘My salutation to Madhubhid.’ He should worship the throat saying, ‘My salutation to Vaikuṇṭha.’ He should worship the face saying, ‘My salutation to Aśokanidhi.’ He should worship the eyes saying, ‘My salutation to Vāsudeva.’ He should worship the forehead saying, ‘My salutation to Vāmana.’ He should worship the eyebrows saying, ‘My salutation to Hari.’ He should worship the hair saying, ‘My salutation to Mādhava.’ He should worship the crest saying, ‘My salutation to Viśvarūpin.’ Similarly he should worship the head saying, ‘My salutation to Sarvātman.’

32b-38a. Thus having worshipped Govinda (i.e. Viṣṇu) with incense, flowers and anointing, and then having made a circle he should get fashioned an altar with clay; (it should be) having four corners; (it should) have the length of a cubit; and (should) have a slope towards the north. (It should be) smooth, pleasing and surrounded by three ramparts on all sides. The ramparts should be three fingers high, and two fingers in expanse. Above the altar there should be a wall eight fingers high. He should put (i.e. make) the image of Lakṣmī in the (circle representing the) Sun with sand from the river. The wise man should worship Lakṣmī in the (circle representing the) Sun on the altar. (He should say) ‘My salutation to Devi; my salutation to Śānti; my salutation to Lakṣmī; my salutation to Śrī; my salutation to Tuṣṭi; my salutation to Puṣṭi; my salutations Puṣṭi and Sṛṣṭi. Being happy she should remove your grief and be a giver of boons to you. Being happy she should grant me wealth and all (kinds) of success.’

38b-42a. Then having covered the (representation of the) Sun with white garments all round, he should worship it with fruits and eatables of various kinds, and also with a golden lotus. The wise one should put water with darbhas in silver pots. Then for the whole night he should arrange dancing and music. When three watches have passed, the man, having got up and having approached three couples or one couple of brāhmaṇas, should worship them (or it) according to his capacity with garments, flowers and incense. He should worship the couples seated on the beds, saying ‘My salutation to Jalaśāyin.’

42b-44. Then having kept awake for the (whole) night with singing and (playing upon) musical instruments, and having bathed in the morning he should worship a couple (of brāhmaṇas) and without conceit born of wealth he should feed them according to his capacity; and listening to the Purāṇas with devotion he should pass the day. He should perform this rite every month.

45-47. At the conclusion of the vow he should present a bed with a cow made of jaggery, with a cushion, with a rest and an auspicious coverlet. (He should say:) ‘O lord of men, as Lakṣmī never goes abandoning you, similarly good form, health and absence of grief should always be with me (good form, health and absence of grief should never leave me). As Lakṣmī would never be (i.e. renain) without god (Viṣṇu), similarly may I have freedom from grief and best devotion, O Keśava.’

48-50a. Repeating this sacred text, he, who desires his well-being, should offer a bed with a cow made of jaggery, and also (the representation of) the Sun with Lakṣmī. (He should always offer) a lotus, a Karavīra flower, a fresh saffron flower, and flowers of ketaka, sindhuvāra, camallikā reddish with fragrance, kadamba, kubjaka and jasmine.

Bhīṣma said:

50b-5la. O lord of the sages, tell me about the cow made of jaggery. Tell me now of what form it is and with the recitation of which sacred text it is to be given.

Pulastya said:

51b-52a. I shall now tell you the nature and the fruit of the rite of (offering) a cow made of jaggery, which (i.e. which offering) removes all sins.

52b-54a. A man should spread deer-hide on the ground with the neck (of the deer-hide) in (i.e. facing) the east; he should scatter darbhas all over the ground smeared with cow-dung; he should spread a small (piece) of deer-hide and prepare a (representation of a) calf. He should fashion a clay (representation of a) cow (without or) with a calf.

54b-56. (A representation of) a cow made of jaggery weighing four bharas is the best. The weight of the calf should be a bhāra. The (representation of the) cow weighing two bhāras is said to be second-rate; (then) the representation of the calf would weigh half a bhāra; the smallest type would weigh a bhāra; (then) the calf would weigh one-fourth bhāra, according to the expanse of his dwelling and wealth. The two, viz. the cow and the calf (thus) fashioned should be covered with white fine garments.

57-60. Their ears should be made of conch shells, feet of sugarcanes, eyes of bright pearls, arteries of white thread, and dewlaps of white blanket, backs of reddish coins[2] and hair of the white bushy tail of camara; these two (i.e. the cow and the calf) should have the pair of eyebrows made of coral; their udders should be fashioned with butter; they should have a pair of golden eyes, and pupils (of their eyes) should be (made of) sapphires; their tails should be (made) of silk; their udders of bronze—white and very charming; they should be adorned with golden horns, and their hoofs with silver; the two should be furnished with many fruits and baskets of scents.

61-64a. Thus having arranged (the two) like this he should worship them by (waving) a light and incense. (He should recite the basic text:) ‘May that goddess in the form of the cow, who is Lakṣmī to all beings and who has remained in gods, remove my sin. May that cow, who is Lakṣmī resting on Viṣṇu’s bosom, and who is Svāhā in the fire, and who is the power of the Moon and the Sun, grant me boons. Since you, (O cow,) are the Svadhā of the chief manes, and the Svāhā of those who enjoy the sacrifices (i.e. of gods), and (since) you remove all sins, grant me well-being.’

64b-66a. Having thus invoked the cow he should offer her (i.e. the representation of the cow) to a brāhmaṇa. This rite (of offering) is laid down for (the offering of) all cows. O king, I shall tell you (about) the form and names of the cows that are said to remove sins.

66b-68. The first cow is guḍa-dhenu (i.e. made of jaggery); the second is ghṛta-dhenu (i.e. of ghee); the third one is tila-dhenu (i.e. of sesamum); the fourth one is called jala-dhenu, (i. e. of water); the fifth one is kṣīra-dhenu (i.e. of milk); the next one is madhu-dhenu (i.e. of honey); the seventh one is śarkarā-dhenu (i.e. of sugar); the eighth one is fashioned with curds; the ninth one is of (i.e. represented by) juice; and the tenth one is of the original form (i.e. an actual cow).

69-70. Pitchers should be used for the liquid (representations of) cows, and heaps of their sizes for (representation of) other cows. Some men also desire to offer golden cows. Some other great sages desire to offer cows (represented) by butter and oils. The rite is the same and the ingredients are also the same.

71-73. Always at every parvan (i.e. the eighth and the fourteenth day of each half month and the days of the full moon and the new moon) these (representations of cows), giving enjoyment and salvation, should be offered (to brāhmaṇas), with invocation of sacred texts as at a śrāddha. On the occasion of (telling you about the offering of a) guḍa-dhenu, I have explained all of them, which give the fruits of all sacrifices, which remove all sins and which are auspicious. Since the Viśoka-dvādaśī-vrata is best of the vows, the (offering of) a guḍa-dhenu, is recommended as auxiliary to it.

74. Guḍa-dhenu etc. should be offered during the period of the Sun’s passage from one solstice to another[3], during the auspicious equinoctial period, when a portent forebodes a great calamity[4], and also on eclipse days etc.

75-77. And this Viśoka-dvādaśī removes all sins and is auspicious, fasting on which (day) a man reaches that highest position of Viṣṇu. In this world he obtains good fortune, (long) life and health, and on death he reaches Viṣṇu’s city and has the recollection of Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu). O king, he does not meet with grief, sorrow or calamity for nine thousand and ten and eight hundred millions (of years)[5].

78-79a. A woman, who, devoted to dancing and singing (on this day), observes this vow of Viśoka-dvādaśī, would also get that fruit; since dancing, singing and playing upon musical instruments in front of Viṣṇu (gives) unending (fruit).

79b-80a. He who recites like this or listens to this properly or observes the worship of the enemy of (the demons) Madhu, Mura and Naraka, or even suggests people (to observe this vow), lives in the world of Indra and is honoured by streams (i.e. large groups) of gods for a Kalpa.

Bhīṣma said:

80b-81a. O revered one, I desire to hear the great importance of (that) offering which is inexhaustible in the other world and is honoured by hosts of gods and sages.

Pulastya said:

81b-83a. O best of kings, I shall tell you (about) the ten ways of the gift of the Meru, the giver of which obtains unending worlds honoured by gods. One does not get fruit of that (gift) (even) by studying the Purāṇas and the Vedas and performing sacrifices and (visiting) holy places.

83b-86. (Now), therefore, I shall serially describe the gift of mountains: The first is dhānya-śaila (the mountain of grains); the second is lavaṇācala (the mountain of salt); the third is guḍācala (the mountain of jaggery); the fourth is hema-parvata (the mountain of gold); the fifth is tīla-śaila (the mountain of sesamum); the sixth is kārpāsa-parvata (the mountain of cotton); the seventh is ghṛta-śaila (the mountain of ghee); the eighth is ratna-śaila (the mountain of gems); the ninth is the mountain of silver and the tenth is śarkarācala (the mountain of sugar). I shall tell (you) in proper order the manner in which they are observed.

87-89a. Mountains (i.e. heaps) of grains should be given as prescribed during the auspicious half of the year, or in the evening at the time of a portent foreboding a great calamity, or on the third day of the bright half, or on the day of a lunar eclipse, or at the time of marriage, festival or sacrifice, or on the twelfth day, or on the fifteenth day of the bright half, or when constellations are auspicious, or on the full moon day of Kārtika at Jyeṣṭha Puṣkara.

89b-90. In the holy places or in a cowpen or in the courtyard of the house, he should, with devotion, get prepared an auspicious pavilion having four corners, facing the south, and having a slope towards the north-east or facing the east according to the prescribed rules.

91-92. Having spread darbhas on the ground smeared with cowdung, he should fashion among them a mountain with pillars in the form of (other) mountains. This best mountain should be (made of) a thousand droṇas[6], that of a middle size should be (made of) five hundred droṇas, and the smallest one should be (made of) three hundred droṇas.

93-95a. In the centre should be the Meru mountain made of rice along with three golden trees. Through best brāhmaṇas one (or) more (pieces of) cloth should be put at the top. It should have four silver peaks, and also the slopes should be made of silver; in the east, it should be (decorated) with pearls and diamonds; in the south with gomeda-gems and rubies; in the west (it should be decorated) with emeralds and sapphires, (and) in the north with lapis lazuli and topaz.

95b-97. It should be decorated with bits of sandal and corals on all sides, (and also) with creepers, and with pearls and gems. Golden (representations of) revered Brahmā and Viṣṇu and Śiva and (and also of) the Sun should be (installed) here; similarly its caves should be covered with sugarcanes and bamboos, and the streams of water in the form of ghee (should flow) in (various) directions. The row of clouds would be (represented by) pieces of cloth—white in the east, yellow in the south, variegated in the west and red and compact in the north.

98-100a. One should install the silver (images of) chief kings and of the eight lords of the worlds in (proper) order. There should be various rows of forests round about, and also flowers and perfumes. At the top, it should have a canopy of five colours, and should have the decoration of fresh white flowers. Thus having placed the best mountain (viz. Meru) and the pillar mountains in (due) order, one should with (i.e. in the remaining) fourth part establish (the representations of) the four quarters decorated with flowers and perfumes.

100b. In the east should be the Meru mountain with many fruits and shining as it w:uld be full of gold.

101. Gandhamādana, made of heap of wheat and adorned with silver should be installed in the south. It should be end owed with golden representation of Viṣṇu[7] or his Mānasa (form)[8] made of ghee and with a piece of cloth and silver forests.

102. In the west one should get fashioned a mount of sesamum, (decorated) with many fragrant flowers and a golden pippala tree and a golden swan; there should be a cluster of silver flowers, and it should be decorated with a (piece of) cloth, and at the front there should be a lake with white water in the form of curds.

103-104a. Having placed the big mount he should get fashioned in the north mount Supārśva made of beans and along with cloth and flowers, and having at its top a golden bunyan [banyan?] tree and shining with a golden flag, and with a forest (on it) having an auspicious lake of honey and a bright silver canopy.

104b-105. Through four self-controlled brāhmaṇas, knowing Vedas and Purāṇas and of praise-worthy character and forms, a sacrifice should be performed with sesamum, barley, ghee, sacred fuel and darbhas, after having made a pool of the measure of a hand, in the east. At night one should keep awake with (i.e. by singing) mild songs and (staging) plays. I shall now tell (you) about the invocation of the mountains.

106-109. ‘O treasure, you are the abode of the hosts of all gods; O you immortal mountain, destroy whatever is adverse in his house; bring about wellbeing and excellent peace, for you have been worshipped by me of great devotion. You alone are revered lord, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Divākara (i.e. the Sun); you are the embodied and unembodied seed; therefore, O eternal one, protect me. Since you are the abode of the regents of the quarters of the world and of the omnipresent one, and also of Rudra, Ādityas and Vasus, therefore, grant me peace. Since your top is crowded with gods and ladies, therefore emancipate me from this painful ocean of worldly existence.’

110-I14a. Having thus worshipped Meru one should worship Mandara: ‘O Mandara, since you look charming with Caitraratha and Bhadrāśva, therefore give (me) happiness. O Gandhamādana, you are the crest-jewel in Jambūdvīpa and look charming with the hosts of Gandharvas, therefore let me have enduring fame. Since you have the beauty of golden slabs with Ketumāla and Vaibhrāja forest, therefore, let me have permanent nourishment. O Supārśva, since you always shine with Uttara Kuru and Savitra forest, therefore let me have inexhaustible prosperity.’

114b-115. Having thus invoked all those (mountains) and having taken bath in the bright morning one should present the middle mountain to his preceptor; then O king, he should give the pillar-mountains to the priests one by one.

116-117. According to one’s capacity one should give twentyfour or ten cows, O king, or if one does not have the capacity one should give seven or eight or five cows. At least one tawny milch-cow should be offered to the preceptor. The same procedure should be followed in the case of the remaining.

118. The same sacred texts and ingredients (should be used) for the worship of all the planets, regents of the quarters of the world and Brahmā etc.

119-122. A sacrifice on all mountains is laid down with (the accompaniment of) one’s own sacred text. One should (during the vow) always observe fast; if one is weak, meal at night is prescribed. O king, listen, according to the proper order, to the procedure to be followed in case of all mountains; (listen) also (to) the sacred texts to be recited at the time of making gifts on (i.e. with reference to) the mountains and their fruit. ‘As food is said to be Brahman, as food is declared to be life, as beings are born from food, as the world grows on food, as food is Lakṣmī, as food is Viṣṇu himself, so, O best mountain, protect me by means of your form of the mountain of grains.’

123-125a. He, who gives the mountain full of grains with this rite, is honoured in the world of gods for full hundred manvantaras. O best of king, accompanied by hosts of celestial nymphs and Gandharvas, he goes to heaven in an aeroplane; and after the destruction of (the bonds of) his deeds he obtains the kingdom of kings; there is no doubt about it.

125b-129. Now I shall describe to you the (rite of the) best mountain of salt, by giving which a man goes to the world connected with Śiva. The best mountain of salt should be fashioned with sixteen droṇas; the middle one should be fashioned with half (the quantity) of it; and the lowest one is said (to consist) of four (droṇas). A poor person should (get a mountain fashioned) which (consists of) more than a droṇa, according to his capacity. He should get the four pillar-mountains fashioned separately with one-fourth (droṇa). He should always follow the same procedure as formerly told in the case of Brahmā and others. Similarly he should install golden abodes of all the regents of the quarters of the world, and also lakes and forests and trees etc.

130-133a. Here (i.e. in this case) also keeping awake during the night (as usual) is recommended. Listen to the sacred texts (to be recited at this time): ‘Since this taste in the salt is associated with good fortune and since all other tastes do not excel without salt, therefore, being identical with it, O best mountain, (please) protect me who am afflicted. As you are always dear to Śiva, so give (me) peace. Since you have sprung up from the body of Viṣṇu and increase good health, therefore, you, of the form of a mountain, protect me.’

133b-135a. He, who, presents the mountain of salt (to a brāhmaṇa) with this rite, would live for a Kalpa in the world of Umā, and thence would get the highest position. Hereafter I shall describe (the rite of) the mountain of jaggery, by making the present of which a man, honoured by gods, obtains heaven.

135b-138a. The best (jaggery-mountain) is deemed (to weigh) ten bhāras; the middle one is (deemed to weigh) five (bhāras); the smallest is (said to weigh) three bhāras. A person with small wealth (should have the mountain weighing) half of it (i.e. one bhāra and a half). He should have the same in vocation, the same (type of) worship, the same (kind of) golden trees, worship of gods, pillar-mountains, and also (the same type of) lakes and sylvan deities, the same (type of) sacrifice, keeping awake (at night), and abodes of the regents of quarters of the world, as in the case of (the offering of) the mountain of grains. He should recite this sacred text:

138b-141. ‘As among gods this Janārdana, the universal soul, is the best, as Sāmaveda is the best among Vedas, as Mahādeva (i.e. Śiva) is the best among those who practise abstract meditation, as Oṃkāra is the best of all sacred texts, as Pārvatī is the best among all ladies, in the same way the taste of sugarcane is regarded as the best of all tastes. Therefore, may the mountain of jaggery give me great wealth. O you mountain of jaggery, since you have been created by Pārvatī, the giver of good fortune, as her abode, therefore always protect me.’

142-143. He, who gives according to this rite, a mountain (made) of jaggery (to a brāhmaṇa), being honoured by Gandharvas, is respected in the world of Gaurī; (and) again at the end of a hundred Kalpas becomes the lord of the seven islands; and is endowed with (long) life and health and is not defeated by (his) enemies.

144. Now I shall describe (to you the rite of) the golden mountain giving which men go to the world of Viriñci (i.e. Brahmā).

145-149a. The best one (is said to weigh) a thousand palas; the middle one (is said to weigh) five hundred palas; the lowest one (is said to weigh) half of it. Even a man with small wealth, free from jealousy, should give (a golden mountain weighing) more than a pala. O best king, all the procedure should be the same as in the case of (the present of) a mountain of grains. As (in the case of the present of) that (i.e. a mountain of grains) he should offer the pillar-mountains to the priests. He should recite the text: ‘O mountain, since you give unending fruit, therefore (please) protect me. O best of mountains, since you are the child of Agni, since you are the lord of the universe, therefore, in your form of the golden mountain (please) protect me.’

149b-150. He, who gives, according to this rite, a golden mountain (to a brāhmaṇa) goes to the delight-giving world of Brahma; he would stay there for a hundred kalpas and then he goes to the highest position from there.

151. Now I shall tell (you about the present of) a mountain of sesamum along with the rite, by giving which a man goes to the excellent world of Viṣṇu.

152. The best one is said to weigh ten droṇas; the middle one (is said to weigh) five droṇas; O best of kings, the lowest one is said to weigh three droṇas.

153. Other things like the pillar-mountains are the same as before. O best of kings, I shall tell you the sacred text that accompanies the presentation:

154-155. ‘Since sesamum, darbhas and beans were produced from the perspiration of the body of Viṣṇ U at the time of the murder of Madhu, and since sesamum seeds alone are the protection in the offerings made to gods and manes of ancestors, therefore, grant us peace; and O best of mountains, give (me) wealth; (my) salutation to you.’

156. He, who, invoking in this way, presents an excellent mountain of sesamum, goes to the position of Viṣṇu, from which return (i.e. rebirth) is difficult.

157. The mountain of cotton weighing twenty bhāras is the best; the middle one is said (to weigh) ten bhāras, and the lowest is said to weigh five bhāras.

158. A poor man, free from pride born of wealth, should give the mountain of cotton weighing one bhāra. O best of kings, everything is to be accomplished as in the case of the presentation of the mountain of grains.

159-16la. When the dawn has broken, he should give it and recite this (sacred text): ‘O mountain of cotton, since you always are the covering of people, destroy the stream of (my) sins. (My) salutation to you.’ Saying this, he, who gives the mountain of cotton (to a brāhmaṇa), would live for a Kalpa in Rudra’s world with Śarva (i.e. Śiva); then he would be a king in this world.

161b. Now I shall describe (to you) the (rite of the) excellent mountain of ghee, which is lustrous, auspicious and destroyer of great sins.

162-164. The best mountain of ghee would weigh twenty (bhāras); the middle is said to weigh ten (bhāras); and the lowest one is said to weigh five (bhāras). Even a poor person should prepare one weighing two bhāras, according to the procedure. Similarly the pillar-mountains should be prepared with the fourth portion of it, and one should put the vessels of rice on a pitcher.

165-166. He should get fashioned compact (mountains) according to the procedure and (as would look) charming. He should surround them with pieces of cloth and sugarcanes and fruits etc. Here (also) the entire procedure is the same as in the case of the mountain of grains. The installation (of the deities etc.) and a sacrifice and worship of deities, are (to be done) like that (i.e. as in the case of the mountains of grains).

167. When the dawn has broken, he should offer it to his teacher; and with a tranquil mind he should present the pillar-mountains to the priests.

168-169. He should recite the following text: ‘Since ghee was produced due to combination (of curds etc.) in milk, therefore, may Śiva, the universal soul and a blazing fire, be pleased here. O mountain (of ghee), since Brahman, full of lustre, is settled in ghee, therefore, protect me with your mountain-form of ghee.’

170-172a. He should present the excellent ghee-mountain (to a brāhmaṇa) with this rite. Even though he is filled with great sins, he goes to Śiva’s world in an aeroplane to which swans and cranes are yoked, and has a mass of strings of bells attached to it, and is surrounded by celestial nymphs and Siddhas and Vidyādharas; he would move there with the manes till deluge.

172b-173. Now I shall explain to you (the rite) of the excellent mountain of jewels. (This) mountain would be the best with a thousand of pearls. The middle one should be fashioned with five hundred pearls; the lowest one is said to have been fashioned with three hundred pearls.

174-176. All around it there should be pillar-mountains made from one-fourth portion (of the material viz. the pearls). The wise should fashion the (Mandara) (mountain) in the east with diamonds and gems brought from the Himālayas, should fashion the Gandhamādana in the south with sapphires and topaz; the Vipulācala should be fashioned in the west with lapis lazuli and corals; he should also place in the north (the Supārśva mountain) with rubies and gold. In this case also he should arrange everything as in the case of the mountain of grains.

177. Having invoked like that (i.e. as in the case of the mountain of grains), the golden trees and (images of) deities he should worship them with flowers, sandal etc. In the morning he should allow (the deities invoked) to go.

178-180a. And as before he (should give them) to the priests (and) recite this sacred text: ‘O great mountain, as all the hosts of gods are settled in all jewels and as you are always full of jewels, (please) protect me. Since Viṣṇu is pleased with the offering of jewels, and with the worship, the sacred text and the food offered (to the deity), therefore, O mountain, protect us.’

180b-183a. O king, he, who presents the jewelled mountain (to a brāhmaṇa) with this rite, being worshipped by the lord of gods, goes to Viṣṇu’s world, and lives there for a full hundred Kalpas. He, being endowed with a (good) form, health and virtues, would become the lord of the seven islands. And all that (sin) like the murder of a brāhmaṇa etc. committed in this or the other world perishes as a mountain struck with the thunderbolt.

183b-184. O king, I shall now describe (to you the rite of) the excellent silver mountain, by offering which man goes to the world of Soma (i.e. the Moon). The best silver mountain is (that which is fashioned) with silver weighing ten thousand palas.

185-186. The middle one is said to be (fashioned) with silver (weighing) five thousand palas. A poor person should get a silver mountain fashioned with more than twenty palas (of silver) according to his capacity. Similarly he should fashion the pillar-mountains with one-fourth portion (of the silver), and as before he should get fashioned Mandara and other (mountain) according to the procedure (that is laid down).

187-188. The wise one should get the regents of the quarters of the world fashioned with silver. The slope (of the mountain) having Brahmā, Viṣṇu and the Sun on it should be golden; (or it may be made of) silver. The other mountains should be (made of) gold. The remaining (items) like sacrifice, keeping awake (at night) should be as before.

189-190a. And like that (i.e. as before) he should give, in the morning, the silver mountain to his preceptor and the pillar-mountains along with garments and ornaments to the priests; and being free from jealousy and with darbhas in his hands, he should, reciting this sacred text, offer it:

190b-192a. ‘As silver is dear to the manes, to the Moon and to Śiva, so, O silver, protect us from this ocean of mundane existence (full) of grief.’ The man, who, declaring in this way, gives the excellent silver mountain, gets the fruit of (offering) thousands of myriads of cows.

192b-193a. Being honoured by Gandharvas, Kinnaras and hosts of celestial nymphs, he would live in the world of the Moon till deluge.

193b-195. Now I shall describe (to you the rite of) the best mountain of sugar, by offering which Viṣṇu, the Sun and Śiva are always pleased. The best mountain would be (the one weighing) eight bhāras of sugar; the middle one is said (to weigh) four bhāras; and the lowest one is said (to weigh) two bhāras. He who is very poor should fashion it with silver (weighing) a bhāra or half a bhāra.

196-199a. The man should fashion the pillar-mountains with one-fourth portion (of the silver); all other things would be like the mountain of grains with gold and cloth (etc.). On Meru, the three golden trees, viz. Mandāra, Pārijāta and Kalpa as the third, should be placed; this triplet of trees should be placed at the top of all. (The two trees, viz.) Haricandana and Santāna[9] should be placed in eastern and western regions on all the mountains, especially on the mountain of sugar.

199b-200. On the Mandara mountain (the image of) god Cupid facing the west should be (placed). On the peak of Gandhamādana, (the image of) Kubera, facing the north, should be (kept). The representation of the Vedas should face the east, and (the image of) Viṣṇu should be (placed) on the Vipula-mountain.

201-202. The golden (representation of a) cow of good flanks should face the south. Having done the invocation, the sacrifice as in the case of the mountain of grains, he should give the excellent middle mountain to his preceptor; he should give the four mountains to the priests and recite these secret texts:

203-205. ‘Since this sugar-mountain is the essence of the nectar of good-fortune, therefore, O lord of mountains, always be pleasure-giving. O sugar-mountain, you have sprung up from the drops of nectar that fell on the earth when gods were drinking it; (please) protect us. Sugar again has come up from the bow of Cupid. O great mountain, you are made of it (i.e. sugar); protect us from the ocean of the worldly existence.’

206. The man, who presents sugar-mountain according to this rite, being free from all sins, goes to the abode of Brahmā.

207. Then getting into an aeroplane shining like the Moon and the Sun, he would rise from there (and go to) the heaven of lord Viṣṇu.

208-209. After that at the end of a hundred Kalpas, he, endowed with (long) life and (good) health, would be the lord of the seven islands for three myriads of existence. In (the rites of) all (these) mountains, he, free from jealousy, should have (i.e. offer) meals (to brāhmaṇas) according to his capacity, and with their permission should himself eat food without salt.

210-21 la. He should send all the ingredients (used for the rite) of the mountain to the house of the brāhmaṇa (invited for the rite). I have (thus) told you this (observance of the rite of the) gift of a mountain. O king, ask me what else you like (to hear from me).

Bhīṣma said:

211b-212a. O revered sir, tell (meabout) some vow capable of taking one out of the ocean of the worldly existence and giving the fruit (in the form) of heaven and (good) health.

Pulastya spoke:

212b-214. I shall explain to you a religious observance with reference to the Sun, which is called Kalyāṇa-saptamī. So also Viśoka-saptamī, and a third one, viz. Phala-saptamī. One should observe (the vow of) Śarkarā-saptamī and Kamalā-saptamī also; (similarly one should observe the vow of) Mandāra-saptamī, the sixth (vow), and Śubha-saptamī the seventh (vow). All (these) are said to give religious merit and all are honoured by gods and sages.

215-216. I shall tell (you) in their order the manner in which they are to be observed. When on the seventh of any of the bright fortnights it is Sunday (i.e. when the seventh day of the bright fortnight falls on Sunday), it is called Kalyāṇinī and Vijayā also. In the morning one should bathe in the river with cow’s milk (i.e. after applying cow’s milk to one’s body).

217-220. Wearing a white garment and facing the east, one should prepare, with sacred rice grains, a lotus having eight petals with a pericarp in its centre. In due order one should install the lord of gods everywhere (i.e. in all the petals) with (i.e. offering) flowers and sacred rice grains (and paying homage to him). (One should offer flowers and sacred rice grains to the representation installed) in the eastern direction (saying, ‘I offer) this to Tapana;’ then one should offer flowers and sacred rice grains to the representation in the south-east direction (saying, ‘I offer this) to Mārtaṇḍa;’ then to the one in the south (saying, ‘I offer this) to Divākara;’ (then to the one) in southwest direction (saying, ‘I offer) this to Vidhātṛ’; (then to one) in the north-west (saying, ‘I offer this) to Bhāskara;’ (then to the one) in the north (saying, ‘I offer this) to Vaikartana;’ and then keeping (the flowers and sacred rice grains) on the eighth petal (one should say, ‘I offer this) to Deva.’ At the beginning, in the middle, and at the end (of the rite, one should say,’ my) salutation to the highest soul.’

221-225. Having worshipped the deity with sacred texts and having saluted it, one should worship it on the altar with white garments, fruits, eatables, incense, and unctions, and with jaggery and salt. Then having with the utterance of vyāhṛti[10] allowed the best brāhmaṇas to go, one should devoutly and according to his capacity please them with jaggery, milk, ghee etc. One should also offer the pot of sesamum and gold to a brāhmaṇa. A man, having accepted a vow thus, should sleep, and having got up in the morning, and having bathed and muttered sacred texts, and having eaten ghee and rice boiled in milk, he should give the pot of ghee with gold and water-pitcher to a brāhmaṇa who is not a religious hypocrite.[11]

226. (He should say:) ‘May the highest soul, Divākara (i.e. the Sun) be pleased here (i.e. with this offering)’. He should perform this rite every month.

227-228. Then in the thirteenth month he should give thirteen milch-cows with pieces of cloth and ornaments, and with golden horns (i.e. with their horns decked with gold) or if he is poor, he, free from jealousy, should give one cow; he should not be proud of his wealth, for due to that he, through delusion, falls down (i.e. into hell).

229-231. He, who observes (the vow of) Kalyāṇa-saptamī in this manner, is free from all sins and is honoured in the world of Sun; and in this world he has unlimited life, (good) health and prosperity. This (vow of Kalyāṇa-saptamī) removes all sins and is honoured by all gods. (This) Kalyāṇa-saptamī destroys all evils.

232-234. He, who listens to the (description of the vow of) Kalyāṇa-saptamī, or reads it, becomes free from all sins. O best king, like this (vow of Kalyāṇa-saptamī) I shall explain (to you) the vow of Viśoka-saptamī, having observed which a man never meets with grief in this world. On the fifth day of the bright half of Māgha, he, having bathed with black sesamum, having, after brushing the teeth, eaten the mixture of rice and peas with a few spices[12], should observe a fast, and avoiding sexual intercourse, should sleep at night.

235-237. Then getting up in the morning and having bathed and muttered sacred texts and (thus being) pure, he should fashion a golden lotus and should worship (the Sun with it saying: ‘I offer this) to Arka.’ Also (he should worship the Sun) with a red Karavīra and with a pair of red garments. (He should say:) ‘O Āditya, as the world is free from grief due to you only, let me in the same way have freedom from grief and devotion to you in every existence.’ Thus worshipping the Sun on the sixth day, he should devoutly honour the brāhmaṇas.

238-242a. After getting up (in the morning) and after drinking cow’s urine and after having performed his daily rites, and having carefully worshipped brāhmaṇas, he should give a pair of good garments and (the golden) lotus with a pot of jaggery. Then eating (food) without oil and salt on the seventh day, and observing silence, he, desiring his well-being, should listen to the (recital of) Purāṇa. He should observe (this vow on the sixth and seventh days) of both the fortnights upto the seventh day of the (next) Māgha. At the end of the vow, he should give a pitcher along with a golden lotus and a furnished bed and a milch-cow.

242b-246a. He, who, being free from the conceit of wealth, observes (the vow of) Viśoka-saptamī goes to the highest position; and till an entire crore of hundreds of existences pass, he, being free from calamity, does not meet with grief. He fully satisfies whatever desire he entertains. He, who observes (this vow) without any desire, goes to the highest Brahman. He too, who listens to the vow called Viśoka-saptamī, reaches Indra’s world, and is never unhappy.

246b-247a. I shall (now) tell (you) about another (vow) called Phala-saptamī, observing which, a man, being free from sins, goes to heaven.

247b-250. On the fifth day of the auspicious month of Mārgaśīrṣa, he, with a firm devotion and having fasted on the sixth day, (and) getting fashioned a golden lotus, should offer it with sugar to a brāhmaṇa having a family; and he, knowing (what) religious merit (is), should make a golden form of a fruit (i.e. should fashion a golden fruit) and give it in the evening (to a brāhmaṇa saying): ‘May Bhānu (i.e. the Sun) be pleased with me.’ Having honoured the brāhmaṇas according to his capacity on the seventh day, he should have the meal with (sweetened) milk; and give up (eating) fruit upto the seventh day of the dark fortnight.

251-252a. And according to this procedure one should fast on that day. Similarly one should present a golden fruit, along with a golden lotus, a pot (full) of sugar and a garment and a garland.

252b-253a. For a year having fasted on both the seventh days (of a month), he should present (the above-mentioned things) in due order and should recite this sacred text in honour of the Sun.

253b-254a. ‘May Bhānu, Arka, Ravi, Brahma, Sūrya, Śakra, Hari, Śiva, Śrīmān, Vibhāvasu, Tvaṣṭṛ (and) Varuṇa be pleased.’

254b-256a. On the seventh day of each month he should recite one of these names. He should observe (the vow also) by giving up eating one (species of) fruit per fortnight. At the conclusion of the vow he should honour a couple of brāhmaṇas with garments and ornaments. He should (also) give a pitcher (full) of sugar along with a golden fruit.

256b-257a. (He should pray as follows:) ‘Since the desire of your devotees is never fruitless, therefore let me have an unending fruit in every existence.’

257b-260a. He who observes this (vow of) Saptamī, giving unlimited fruit, liberates twentyone past and future male (-members) (of his family). He, who listens to or recites (the procedure of the vow), too, becomes virtuous; and with his heart purified he is honoured in the world of the Sun. Whatever sin like drinking of wine is done (i.e. commit ted) by a man in this or in the next world, all that (sin of him) who observes the vow of Phala-saptami, is destroyed.

260b-264. Like this (vow of Phala-saptamī) I shall describe (to you) Śarkarā-saptamī that destroys sins, and by (observing) which unending (long) life, good (health) and prosperity are produced (i.e. are obtained). On the seventh day of the bright half (of the month) of Vaiśākha, he, of a firm faith, after having bathed in the morning with white sesamum and having had pure garland and anointment, and after having drawn a lotus with a pericarp (in it) with saffron, he should offer on it sandal and flowers (saying:) ‘My salutation to Savitṛ.’ He should install a water-pitcher with a sugar-pot after having adorned it with white flowers and anointing (it), and also with a golden flower. He should worship it with this sacred text:

265-266. ‘Since you are described in the Vedas as full of all Vedas and since you are all-in-all of immortality, give me peace.’ Then having drunk (the mixture of) the five products of a cow, he should sleep by its side on (bare) ground. He keeps on reciting the Saura-sūkta (i.e. the eulogy of the Sun) and listening to the Purāṇas (i.e. He should recite the Saura-sūkta and listen to the recital of the Purāṇas).

267-271. When a (whole) day and night have passed, he after having performed the daily rites, should present all that to a brahmaṇa, well-versed in the Vedas. He should feed the brāhmaṇas, according to his capacity, with sugar, ghee and (sweetened) milk; (but) he himself, restrained in speech, should eat (food) without oil and salt. Every month, he should (observe this vow) according to this procedure. And, he, according to his capacity, should give, at the end of the year, an all-furnished bed, with a pitcher of sugar, a milch-cow and a well-furnished house; and should offer a thousand, or a hundred or ten, or three niṣkas, or one niṣka.

272. He should, according to his capacity, give a golden lotus and should recite the sacred text as before. He should not be proud of his wealth, for doing so, he would incur sins.

273. (He should say:) ‘May you have the rice, kidney-beans[13] and the sugar-canes (which are) the drops of nectar that had fallen on the ground from the mouth of the Sun (when he was) drinking nectar.’

274. Therefore, the taste of sugar has the essence of sugar-canes and has nectar as its soul. So, this sugar, dear to the Sun, is auspicious at the time of making offerings to gods and manes.

275-277. And this Śarkarā-saptamī gives the fruit ofa horse-sacrifice, removes all evils and increases (the number of) sons and grandsons. He, who observes this vow with great devotion, goes to the highest Brahman; for one year he would live in heaven and then he goes to the highest position. O sinless one, he who listens to this (account), or recollects it, or recites it or thinks about it in this world, is honoured by gods and best sages in the city of gods, in the world of the lord of gods.

278. Hereafter I shall likewise, describe to you the Kamala-saptamī, by the mere mention of which the Sun is pleased.

279-281a. Having well-bathed with white mustard, and having put in a sesamum-pot, an auspicious golden lotus, and surrounding it with a pair of garments he should worship it with sandal and flowers. (He should recite this sacred text:) ‘My salutation to Padmahasta; my salutation to Viśvadhārin; my salutation to Divākara; my salutation to Prabhākara.’

281b-282. Then in the evening, he should offer it with a water-pitcher to a brāhmaṇa after having honoured him with garments, flowers and ornaments; he should (also) give, according to his capacity, a cow after adorning her according to the (proper) procedure.

283-284. When a day and a night have passed, he should feed the brāhmaṇas on the eighth day; and he himself should eat (food) without flesh and oil. He being free from pride about his wealth, should, with devotion, observe all this according to the proper rite on the seventh day of the bright half of every month.

285-286. At the conclusion of the vow he should give golden cows, (or) milch-cows, vessels, beds etc. and also the desired household articles.

287-292. He, who observes the (vow of) Kamala-saptamī according to this procedure goes to (i.e. obtains) unlimited wealth and is delighted in the world of the Sun. He would partake of (i.e. go to) each of the seven worlds in a Kalpa, and being surrounded by the celestial nymphs, he then reaches the highest position. He who witnesses or listens to, or recites at the (proper) time or devoutly thinks about this vow, too, obtaining spotless wealth, goes to the world of Gandharvas and Vidyādharas. Hereafter I shall describe to you (the vow) called Mandāra-saptamī which destroys all sins, fulfils all desires, and is auspicious. A wise man, eating (very) little on the fifth day of the bright half of Māgha, should, after brushing |his teeth, observe a fast on the sixth day. Having honoured the brāhmaṇas he should pray to Mandāra at night. Then having got up in the morning, and having bathed, he should feed the brāhmaṇas according to his capacity.

293-296. He should (then) fashion a group of eight mandāra flowers; similarly he should fashion a golden (image of a) man with a very charming lotus in his hand. Having made of black sesamum, a lotus having eight leaves, in a copper-vessel, (he should worship the Sun) with the golden mandāra flowers. While offering the flowers in the eastern direction (he should say, ‘I offer) this to Bhāskara.’ In the same way (he should offer) two spotless petals with a salutation (saying ‘I offer) these to the Sun.’ In the same way (when offering the flower) in the southern direction (he should say ‘I offer) this to Arka’; (while offering it in the north-west direction he should say, ‘I offer) this to Aryaman.’ Similarly (while offering it) in the west (he should say), ‘I offer this to Vedadhāman,’ and (while offering it) in the northeast direction he should say, ‘I offer) this to Caṇḍabhānu.’ And he should worship Pūṣan in the north (saying ‘I offer) this to Ānanda.’

297-301. (An image of) a man should be installed in a pericarp. (He should) also (make an offering) to (the highest god) the soul of all, after having surrounded it with white garments, articles of food, flowers and fruits. Having thus worshipped (the deity), he should give all that to a brāhmaṇa, learned in (all) Vedas; and the householder, observing silence, and facing the east should eat without oil and salt. Being free from the vanity of wealth, he should do everything according to this procedure on the seventh day of every month for a year. He who desires his well-being should place this on a pitcher and give it according to his wealth (i.e. economic condition) with cows (to a brāhmaṇa). (While making the offering he should say) ‘Salutation to Mandāranātha and to Mandārabhavana. O Ravi, rescue us from this ocean of the worldly existence.’

302. The man, who observes the vow of Mandāra-saptamī according to this procedure, being free from sins, and being happy, delights in heaven for a Kalpa.

303. A man taking with him this torch in (i.e. for removing) the terrible darkness in a train of sins does not fall down in the night of the mundane existence.

304. Even he, who recites, or listens to (the account of this vow of) Mandāra-saptamī which gives the desired fruit, becomes free from all sins.

305. Now I shall tell you about another vow, viz. of the good Śubha-saptamī, having fasted on which a man becomes free from the stream of diseases and griefs.

306. In the month of Āśvina, having solemnly bathed and muttered sacred texts, and having become pure, and having informed the brāhmaṇas, he should begin the (vow of) Śubha-saptamī.

307-311. He should devoutly worship a cow with sandal, flowers and anointment. (While making the offering he should say) ‘O Śubha-kalyāṇī, I salute you, who are born from the Sun and are the abode of the entire world, for the purification of (my body).’ (Saying,) ‘May Aryaman be pleased,’ he should, in the evening, give an offering of a prastha (-measure) of sesamum after having prepared it, with a copper-vessel, and also a golden bull, with a piece of cloth, flowers and jaggery, and with a cushion, repose, vessels and a seat, along with fruits and various articles of food with ghee and (sweetened) milk. Having drunk the (mixture of the) five products of cow, he should sleep on a bare ground; then, when the morning has dawned, he should devoutly offer it to the brāhmaṇas.

312-317. A man should offer, according to this rite, a couple of garments, a golden bull and a golden cow. And at the end of the year he should, saying, ‘May the universal soul be pleased,’ give a bed with a sugar-cane and jaggery, and a prastha (-measure) of sesamum (after having put it) in a copper-pot, as well as a golden bull, to a brāhmaṇa learned in the Vedas. A wise man, who observes the vows of Śubha-saptamī according to this procedure, gets wealth (and) pure fame in every existence; and being honoured by the hosts of celestial nymphs and Gandharvas in the abode of gods, he, being, the chief of the troop of demigods—attendants of Śiva, lives (there) till deluge; and having descended (on the earth) at the beginning of a Kalpa, he would become the lord of the seven islands. This Śubha-saptamī is said to be capable of destroying the sin of a thousand killings of embryos or of brāhmaṇas.

318-319. He, too, who recites, listens to this (vow), or, by chance sees for a while the gifts being given, with his body freed from all sins, obtains the leadership of Vidyādharas. A man, who observes the vow of the (Śubha-) saptamī for seven years, gradually becomes the lord of the seven worlds and (then) goes to the position of Murāri.

Footnotes and references:


Pañcagavya: The five products of the cow taken collectively viz. milk, curds, clarified butter or ghee, urine and cow-dung.


Gaṇḍaka: A coin of the value of four cowries.


Ayana: The sun’s passage, north and south of the equator; hence the period of the duration of this passage, half year, the time from one solstice to another.


Vyatīpāta: A portent foreboding a great calamity.


Arbuda: One hundred millions.


Droṇa: A measure of capacity equal to 128 sers [seers?].


Yajñapati: A name of Viṣṇu.


Mānasa: A form of Viṣṇu.


Santāna: One of the five divine trees. The other four are: Mandāra, Pārijātaka, Kalpavṛkṣa and Haricandana.


Vyāhṛti: A mystic word uttered by every brāhmaṇa in performing his daily sandhyā—adoration. These Vyāhṛtis are three—Bhūr, Bhuvas and Svas or Svar, usually repeated after Om; according to some, they are seven in number.


Vaiḍāla-vrata: ‘A cat-like observance’. Concealing one’s malice or evil designs under the garb of piety or virtue. Vaiḍāla-vratin is one who leads a chaste life simply for want of female company and not because he has controlled his senses.


Kṛsara: A dish consiiting of the mixture of rice and peas with a few spices.


Mudga: Kidney-bean.

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