The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes vows (vrata) which is chapter 22 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-second 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.

Bhīṣma said:

1-3. Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahaḥ, Jana, Tapas and Satya are said to be the seven worlds. How can one have the lordship over all these in turn? O brāhmaṇa, who are honoured by gods, how can one have handsome form, (long) life and (good) health, and also ample wealth in this world?

Pulastya said:

4-10. Formerly Indra ordered Agni, along with Vāyu, to destroy the enemies of gods. When he consequently burnt the demons in thousands, (the demons) Tāraka, Kamalākṣa, Kāladaṃṣṭra, Parāvasu, Virocana and Saṃhrāda entered the ocean and remained deep in it. Taking them to be weak, Agni and Vāyu ignored them. Since then they harass gods, men and snakes and all sages and then again enter the ocean. In this way, O king, those heroes have harassed, on the strength of the water (of the ocean) being inaccessible, the three worlds for seven and five (i.e. twelve) thousand yugas. Then again Indra ordered Agni and Vāyu: “Dry up this ocean immediately. Since this abode of Varuṇa (i.e. the ocean) is the shelter of our enemies, therefore you should today only dry it up.”

11-13. They said to Indra, the killer of Maya and Śambara: “It is a wicked act, O lord of gods, to destroy the ocean; since by doing so a large group of beings would be destroyed, therefore, O Indra, adopt some other remedy. O best of gods, how should the ocean, in the portion measuring just a (square) yojana of which crores of beings live, be destroyed?”

14-21. Thus addressed, the lord of gods, whose eyes were reddened due to wrath, said these words to Agni and Vāyu: “The gods never obtain (i.e. accept) the union of impiety with piety. Especially you two are magnanimous. Since you, O Agni, along with Vāyu, did not obey my order, therefore, you both, intent on the vow of a sage, will obtain a human body, and will be born as a sage, in an existence bereft of the true meaning of the science of sacred precepts; and when in your human existence you will dry up the ocean just with a mouthful you will (again) obtain godhood”. Thus, due to the curse of Indra, that moment only they fell down on the earth, obtained human bodies and were then born from a pitcher. From the semen of Mitrā-varuṇa, Vasiṣṭha was born as the son; then was born Agastya of severe penance. This sage was (thus) the younger brother of Vasiṣṭha.

Bhīṣma said:

22. How are Mitrā-varuṇa said to be his fathers? Tell me now how Agastya was born from a pitcher.

Pulastya said:

23-27. Formerly the eternal man, Viṣṇu, after becoming the son of Dharma, at some time practised ample penance on the Gandhamādana (mountain). Śakra, afraid of his penance, sent Spring and Cupid, along with the hosts of celestial nymphs, to create an obstacle in his penance. When Viṣṇu could not be fascinated by Cupid and Spring with songs and instrumental music and coquettish[1] and amorous gestures[2], the group of the ladies that had accompanied Cupid and Spring became dejected. Then Nara’s elder brother[3] (i.e. Nārāyaṇa) produced from his thigh a lady fascinating the three worlds, to agitate them. Gods, including the two gods (i.e. Cupid and Spring), were fascinated by her.

28-33a. In the presence of the celestial nymphs, Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu) said to the gods: “She will be known in the world as Urvaśī.” Then Mitra, longing for Urvaśī, called her and said (to her): “Satisfy me.” She said: “All right”. Afterwards, Varuṇa wooed the lotus-eyed lady (when she was) going to the Sun’s world. She said (these) worlds to him: “I have been chosen before by Mitra, O lord, the Sun is my husband.” Varuṇa said: “Resigning your heart in (i.e. to) me, you (can) go.” When she left, saying “All right”, Mitra cursed her: “Since you thus behaved falsely, go, today only, to the human world and resort to the grandson of Soma.”

33b-38a. Then Mitra and Varuṇa deposited their seed in a water-pitcher; and (from that) two best sages were born. Formerly a king by name Nimi played with ladies with dice; that time Vasiṣṭha, born from Brahmā, came there. The sage cursed the king who did not honour him: “You become bodiless.” He too cursed the sage (in the same way). Due to the curse (given to) each other, the two (who had become) bodiless lustres went to Brahmā, the lord of the world, for the destruction (i.e. cessation) of the curse. Then by the order of Brahmā Nimi lived in the eyes (of people). So, O king, people have the twinklings of eyes in order to give him rest.

38b-43a. Vasiṣṭha also appeared as before in the water-pitcher. From that sprang up Agastya of four arms and with a rosary and a water-pot, the best sage of a tranquil mind. In the manner of ascetics, he, with h1s wife and surrounded by brāhmaṇas performed a very difficult penance in a part of Malaya. Then after a long time, seeing the world being harassed by Tāraka and others he, being angry, drank the abode of Varuṇa (i.e. the ocean). Then all (gods) like Śaṅkara granted him boons. Brahmā and revered Viṣṇu also went to give him a boon. (They said:) “Well-being to you, O sage, ask for a boon.”

Agastya said:

43b-47. For a period of twenty-five thousand crores of Brahmā’s years I should be borne in an aeroplane in the southern tract in the sky. He who offers me worship before the rise of my heavenly car (in the sky), becomes, in turn, the lord of (each of) the seven worlds. May he, who glorified the hermitage named after me at Puṣkara, obtain religious merit. This is the boon I choose. The hosts of the manes of those who offer a Śrāddha with devotion and (with the offering of) rice balls, will stay in heaven with me, for this much period (i.e. as long as I stay there). This is the boon (I ask for).

48. Saying, “let it be so,” the gods went as they had come. Therefore the wise should always offer a respectful offering to Agastya.

Bhīṣma said:

49. In what manner should an offering be made to that sage? Tell me (about) the procedure for Agastya’s worship.

Pulastya said:

50-60. At the rise of him (i.e. the Agastya constellation) in the night (i.e.) in the early morning a wise man should take bath with white sesamum. Like that, he, the householder, having put on white flowers and garment, should install an unbroken jar decorated with flowers and cloth, (and also) with five jewels along with a pot of ghee. In the same way having placed at the top of the pitcher a golden human figure of the measure of a thumb with four longhands and arms, and also grains with seven mountains and with a bronze pot, sacred rice grains and silver, he should offer this to the best brāhmaṇa after reciting a sacred text. Having, with a concentrated mind and facing the south, picked up the long-armed (human figure), he, after having saluted a brāhmaṇa, should offer a white milch-cow having silver hoofs and golden face along with a calf and adorned with a garland, a piece of cloth and a bell, if he has a capacity (to do so). O king, a man should give all this for seven nights at the rise (of Agastya). This he (should continue) for seventeen years, or some say (he should continue) even longer. (He should recite the sacred text:) ‘O you born from Agni and Vāyu, O you son of Mitrā-varuṇa, O you resembling the Kāśa-flower, O you born from the pitcher, my salutation to you.’ He, who gives a fruit like this, never sinks; after having performed a sacrifice, a man then should live on a fruit. A man who offers reverential offering in this way, obtains this world (i.e. Bhūḥ), causing handsomeness and (good) health. By (offering) the second (reverential offering) he obtains the Bhuvaḥ world, then by (the one) after that (i.e. by the third) he obtains heaven (Svaḥ.); he who offers seven reverential offerings obtains the seven worlds. He, who in this way recites or listens properly to the account of Agastya, or he, who does the worship of Agastya or intends to do it, (he) too, having gone to Viṣṇu’s abode is honoured (there) by hosts of gods.

Bhīṣma said:

61. O you highly intelligent one, tell me that which gives the fruit of good-fortune, (good) health, which brings about the destruction of the enemies and which gives enjoyment and liberation.

Pulastya said:

62-63a. I shall now tell you that, which formerly god (Śiva), the killer of Andhaka,[4] told Pārvatī, when very religious and charming stories (talks) were going on, and which causes enjoyment and liberation.

Gaurī said:

63b-64a. O lord of gods, Sāvitrī gave a curse[5] to me, the wife of a hero. Tell me how I shall be prominent like Lakṣmī?

Śaṅkara said:

64b-68. O respectable lady, listen attentively to another form of worship done by oneself, which is an excellent worship for men as well as women. A man, having bathed with white mustard on the third day of the bright half of Śrāvaṇa, or Vaiśākha or of the auspicious Mārgaśīrṣa month, should put on his forehead a mark of the bright yellow pigment[6] with cow’s urine and milk and mixed with curd and sandal, since it causes good fortune and good health and is always dear to Lalitā. A man or a married lady should put on red garments and white flowers on the third day of every fortnight.

69-70. A widow should put on one white garment only. A. maiden should put on two white, fine garments. Then he (or she) should give bath to (the image of) the goddess with the five products of a cow, then only with milk and also with honey and with sandal mixed with flowers.

71-72. He (or she) should worship (the image) with white flowers and fruits of various kinds (and) with grains, parched grains[7] etc. together with salt, jaggery, milk and ghee. O respectable lady, you should always worship (the image) with sacred rice grains and white sesamum. In every fortnight worship should be offered to the feet (of the image of the goddess), O you beautiful lady.

73-77. (While offering worship) to the feet (he should say) ‘My salutation to Varadā;’ (while offering worship) to the ankles (he should say) ‘My salutation to Śrī.’ (While offering worship) to the shanks (he should say) ‘My offering to Aśokā’. (Whileoffering worship) to the knees (he should say) ‘My salutation to Pārvatī.’ (While offering worship) to the thighs (he should say) ‘My salutation to Vāmadevī.’ (While offering worship) to the belly (he should say) ‘My salutation to Padmodarā.’ (While offering worship) to the throat (he should say) ‘My salutation to Śrī.’ (While offering worship) to the arms (he should say) ‘My salutation to Darpavināśinī,’ and (while offering worship) to her (face with a) smile (he should say) ‘My salutation to Smaradā.’ (While offering worship) to the nose (he should say) ‘My salutation to Gaurī.’ (While offering worship to the eyes (he should say) ‘My salutation to Utpalā.’ (While offering worship) to the forehead and hair (he should say) ‘My salutation to Tuṣṭi.’ (While worshipping) the head (he should say) ‘My salutation to Kātyāyanī.’ (He should also say) ‘My salutation to Gaurī, to Puṣṭi, to Kānti, to Śrī, to Rambhā, to Lalitā, to Vāmadevī.’

78-82a. Having thus offered the worship according to the procedure he should draw (the figure of) a lotus with sixteen leaves one after another and with a pericarp. He should install (the image of) Gaurī in the east; next to it (i.e. in the southeast) he should install (the image of) Aparṇā; similarly he should install (the image of) Bhavānī in the south; next to it (i.e. in the south-west) he should install Rudrāṇī. In the western region (i.e. direction) he should install (the image of) Saumyā Madanavāsinī; in the north-west he should install (the image of) Pāṭalā Ugrā; he should install (the image of) Umā in the north; he should place in the centre (the images of) Sādhyā, Pathyā, Saumyā, Maṅgalā, Kumudā, Satī and Bhadrā and should place (the image of) Lalitā on the pericarp. He should install them with (the offering of) flowers, sacred rice grains, water and salutation.

82b-84. Having made auspicious sound of music, he should offer worship to a married lady whose husband is alive, with red garments, red flowers and anointing; and he should drop (powder of) red lead and aromatic powder on their heads, because bath with red lead and saffron is extremely desirable. Similarly he should carefully worship his spiritual preceptor.

85-90. All the rites performed in a place where the preceptor is not honoured become fruitless. A man should always worship Gaurī with muttered prayers and dark (-blue) lotuses; in the welcome month of Kārtika he should carefully worship her with bandhujīva flowers; in Mārgaśīrṣa (he should worship her) with jasmine flowers; (he should worship her) with yellow kurantaka flowers in Pauṣa; and should worship the goddess with kunda flowers and lotuses in Māgha; a man should worship her with Vitex negundo or jasmine flowers in Phālguna. He should worship her with jasmine and aśoka flowers in Cakra; he should worship her with fragrant trumpet-flowers in Vaiśākha; he should worship her with lotuses and mandāra flowers in Jyeṣṭha; and with water-lilies in Āṣāḍha; he should always worship her with mandāra and mālatī flowers in Śrāvaṇa; and in proper order should always feed her with (i.e. offer) cow-urine, cow-dung, milk, curds, ghee, darbha and water, bilva-leaves, arka-flowers, lotuses, water from a syringe, mixture of the five products of a cow and bilva.

91-96. Thus feeding (i.e. offering) is said to be done in Bhādrapada etc. O you beautiful lady, on the third day of every fortnight he should feed a (brāhmaṇa) couple and should honour them devoutly with garments, flowers, anointing. He should give two yellow garments to the man, and two silken garments to the woman. He should give the woman winnowed (i.e. cleaned) cumin seed with salt, with sugarcane and jaggery; and should give the man a fruit with a golden lotus. He should say, ‘O goddess, the lord does not go away after abandoning you; therefore, lift me up from this entire unhappy ocean of the mundane existence. May Kumudā, Vimalā, Nandā, Bhavānī, Vasudhā, Śivā, Lalitā, Kamalā, Gaurī, Satī, Rambhā and Pārvatī be pleased in the months Śrāvaṇa etc. At the conclusion of the vow he should give a bed with a golden lotus (to a brāhmaṇa couple).

97-98. He should honour twenty-four or twelve (brāhmaṇa) couples; or should honour eight couples (each time) in the period of four months. Having first made an offering to his preceptor, he should then honour others. This is called Anantatṛtīyā, which always gives unending fruit.

99. The goddess removes all sins and enhances good fortune and good health. A man should never ignore her through vanity of wealth.

100. If a man or a woman observes the vow of fast, (if) a pregnant woman or if a woman recently delivered, or a maiden or a sick woman observes fast at night (he or she would get unending fruit).

101-104a. When impure (i.e. during menstruation), she, being restrained, should get it done by someone else. He, who observes (the vow of) this Ananta-phaladā (giving unending fruit) Tṛtīyā, is honoured in Śiva’s world for a full crore of Kalpas. Even a poor person should observe a fast (on the third day of every month). for a year, with the rite of offering flowers with sacred texts. He too will get the same fruit. A woman, who, desiring her good, observes (this vow), gets birth as a man, favoured by Gaurī.

104b-105. He, who thus recites or listens to or thinks about this vow in honour of the daughter of the (Himālaya) mountain (i.e. Pārvatī), is, while living in Indra’s world, honoured by young divine ladies and Kinnaras. I shall also tell you about another (vow of) Tṛtīyā, which removes sins.

106-108a. Those born in the former age (i.e. those who are very old) know it as Rasakalyāṇinī. Reaching the third day (i.e. on the third day) of the bright half of the month of Māgha, he should, in the morning, bathe with sandal, water and sesamum; (then) he should give bath to the (image of the) goddess with honey and sugarcane-juice; and he should (offer) worship to her with sandal (mixed with) water and saffron.

108b-116. Having (first) worshipped the left parts (of her body), he should then worship the right parts. While worshipping the foot (he should say), ‘My salutation to Lalitā;’ then he should worship the left ankle, (saying) ‘My salutation to Devī.’ (While worshipping) the shanks and knees (he should say) ‘My salutation to Śāntā.’ (While worshipping) the thigh (he should say) ‘My salutation to Madālasā;’ similarly (while worshipping) the belly (he should say) ‘My salutation to Amalā.’ (While worshipping) the breasts (he should say) ‘My salutation to Madanavāsinī;’ (while worshipping) the neck (he should say) ‘My salutation to Kumudā.’ (While worshipping) the arm and its tip (he should say) ‘My salutation to Mādhavī, Kamalā, Sukhasmitā;’ (while worshipping) the eyebrows and forehead (he should say) ‘My salutation to Rudrāṇī;’ similarly (while worshipping) the hair (he should say) ‘My salutation to Śaṅkarā.’ (While worshipping) the forehead (he should say) ‘My salutation to Madanā;’ (while worshipping) the eyebrows (he should say) ‘My salutation to Mohanā’. (While worshipping) the eyes (he should say) ‘My salutation to Candrārdhadhāriṇī.’ (While worshipping) the mouth (he should say) ‘My salutation to Tuṣṭi.’ (While saluting) the throat (he should say) ‘My salutation to Utkaṇṭhinī.’ (While worshipping) the body (he should say) ‘My salutation to Amṛtā.’ (While saluting (the great arms (he should say) ‘My salutation to Rambhā.’ (While worshipping) the hands (he should say) ‘My salutation to Viśokā.’ (While worshipping) the heart (he should say) ‘My salutation to Manmathāhvā.’ (While worshipping the belly (he should say) ‘My salutation to Pāṭalā.’ (While worshipping) the waist (he should say) ‘My salutation to Suratavāsinī.’ (While saluting) the thighs (he should say) my salutation to Paṅkajaśrī. (While worshipping) the knees and shanks (he should say) ‘My salutation to Śāntā.’ (While worshipping) the feet (he should say) ‘My salutation to Dharādharā’. (While saluting) the head (he should say) ‘My salutation to Viśvakāyā.’ (He should also say) ‘My repeated salutations to Bhavānī, Kāminī, Vāsudevī, Jagatśrī, Ānandadā, Nandā, Subhadrā’.

117-118. Having thus worshipped (the image) according to the proper rite, he should honour a brāhmaṇa-couple. Having them fed (the couple) with sweet food, he, free from jealousy, should, after having given them a water-pitcher with modakas (sweet-meats) and a pair of white garments, worship the couple with sandal and flowers.

119-125a. (Saying) ‘May Kumudā be pleased here (i.e. with this),’ he should accept the vow of (avoiding) salt. Every month he should worship the goddess according to this procedure. He should avoid (eating) salt in Māgha and jaggery in Phālguna; similarly (eating) butter should be avoided in Caitra, and honey in Vaiśākha.[8] He should avoid (drinking) a beverage in the month of Jyeṣṭha; similarly he should avoid cumin seed in Āṣāḍha; he should avoid milk in Śrāvaṇa and similarly curds in Bhādrapada. In the same way he should avoid ghee in Āśvina, and honey in Kārtika.[9] He should avoid coriander in Mārgaśīrṣa, and sugar in Pauṣa. At the end of the vow, and in every month he should give, in the evening[10] a pot full of these along with a pot containing articles of food. Similarly in (the months) beginning with Māgha he should give sweet balls, sevaka, cakes, round cakes, and also pots full of ghee, and jars full of flour. (He should give) milk, vegetables, curds, food with curds, food and vegetables.

125b-128. He should, in every month, beginning with Māgha, say in order, ‘May Kumudā, Mādhavī, Rambhā, Subhadrā, Śivā, Jayā, Lalitā, Kamalā, Anaṅgā, Ratilālasā be pleased.’ Every time the drinking of the mixture of the five products of a cow is enjoined. He should every time observe a fast; fast at night is laid down for a weak person. A woman should thus observe the vow called Rasakalyāṇinī.

129-136a. When again (the month of) Māgha arrives, having made a golden (image of) Gaurī, having four hands, endowed with pearls and silver eyes and covered with a garment, and with five jewels, and also with a rosary of the size of her thumb and a pitcher, similarly a golden couple of cows (i.e. a cow and a bull), white garment, he should give all this along with cloth and pots (to a brāhmaṇa couple), saying ‘May Bhavāni be pleased.’ He, who, observes the Rasakalyāṇinī-vrata according to this procedure is free from all sins instantly; and is never unhappy in a thousand existences. He would get that fruit which is obtained by performing a thousand Agniṣṭoma-sacrifices. O you of a beautiful face, a woman, or a maiden or an unhappy widow would get the same fruit. He, who happens to read or hear this, being free from sins, goes to Pārvatī’s world. He, who thinks about the good of the people, would go to the world of the lord of gods and become successful.

136b-140a. I shall similarly tell you about another (vow observed on the) tṛtīyā which destroys sins. This is well-known in the world and gives best joy. When on the third day of a month there is (the rise) of the constellation Āṣāḍhā, or Brahmā or Maghā or Hasta he should properly bathe with darbhas, sandal and water. Having put on white flowers and a white garment and having anointed himself with sandal he should worship Bhavānī devoutly with white fragrant flowers; and also Mahādeva, seated by the side (of Bhavānī), O you very chaste lady.

140b-148. He should worship the feet (of the images of Bhavānī and Mahādeva saying) ‘My salutation to Vāsudevī, Śaṅkarā, Hara.’ (While worshipping) the shanks (he should say) ‘... to the destroyer of grief (and) giver of respect to the lood’; ‘My salutation to the destroyer of grief (and) giver of respect (Mānada) to the lord’; (while worshipping) the thighs (he should. say) ‘My salutation to Rambhā, and to Śiva Pinākin (i.e. the trident-holder)’. (While worshipping) the waist (of the image) of the goddess (he should say) ‘My salutation to Ānandinī and the trident in the hand of Śūlin.’ (While worshipping) the navel (he should say) ‘My salutation to Mādhavī and Śambhu, Bhava.’ (While worshipping) the breasts (he should say) ‘My salutation to Ānandakāriṇī and Śaṅkara having the moon.’ (While worshipping) the throat (he should say) ‘My salutation to Utkaṇṭhinī, and Nīlakaṇṭha Hara.’ (While worshipping) the hands (he should say) ‘My salutation to Utpaladhāriṇī and to Rudra, the lord of the world.’ (While worshipping) the arms (he should say) ‘My salutation to Parirambhiṇī and Hara, the one fond of dancing.’ (While worshipping) the mouth (he should say) ‘My salutation to Vilāsinī and the lord’s bull’. (While worshipping) the smile (he should say) ‘My salutation to Smaraṇīyā and the universal face of the lord.’ (While worshipping) the eyes (he should say) ‘My salutation to Mandāravāsinī and to the universal lustre of the trident-holder.’ (While worshipping) the eyebrows (he should say) ‘My salutation to Nṛtya-priyā and the noose with the trident of Śambhu.’ (While worshipping) the forehead of the goddess (he should say) ‘My salutation to Indrāṇī and the lord’s vehicle—the bull.’ (While worshipping) the crown (he should say) ‘My salutation to Svāhā and Gaṅgādhara the lord.’ (He should also say) ‘I salute Pārvatī and Śiva, the body, arms, feet, faces of the universe, being auspicious and granting boons when pleased.’

149-156. Having thus worshipped Śiva and Pārvatī according to the proper procedure he should design, in front (of the images) of Śiva and Pārvatī, lotuses with pollen of various colours; also conch and disc with bracelets and svastika leading to auspiciousness. He is honoured for as many thousands of years in Śivaloka, as many particles of pollen have fallen on the ground. According to his capacity, he should present four pots of ghee with gold to a brāhmaṇa (and also he should give the brāhmaṇa) a water-pot with water. He should give this every fortnight for four months. Then, in the four months beginning with Mārgaśīrṣa, he should offer as (told) before. four pots (filled) with ghee and then four pots (filled) with sesamum after a water-pot is given. He should also offer sandal-water, flowers with water, sandal and saffron (mixed with) water, and also crude curds and milk and water from a syringe, and cloud-water, as well as water with powder of Kuṣṭha and Uśīra[11]; then having taken sesamum water and water with barley-powder also he should sleep; in the months like Mārgaśīrṣa the feeding (i.e. offering) is recommended in both the fortnights.

157-165a. In all cases for worshipping, white flowers are recommended; and in all cases the (following) sacred text should be recited at the time of making a present: ‘May the auspicious Gaurī be always pleased with me to destroy my sins. May Lalitā Bhavānī lead (me) to good fortune for the attainment of all (objects).’ To please Gaurī, he should offer at the end of the year, salt with jaggery and saffron, and also a pitcher with sandal and a golden lotus, as well as (objects of) gold with sugarcane and fruits, and a bed with a covering and resting-place to a brāhmaṇa with his wife(saying), ‘May Gaurī be pleased with me.’ A man (who observes this vow) would ootain wealth called Ātmānandakarī (giving delight to himself); and being endowed with (long) life and joy would never meet with grief. A lady or a virgin or a widow who observes (this vow), being favoured by the goddess, gets the same fruit. Thus having observed a fast in every fortnight with the procedure (of the recital) of sacred text and worship, he obtains the world of Rudras from which return (i.e. rebirth) is difficult. He who devoutly listens to this (account) or causes others to hear it goes to Indra’s world, and living there for a Kalpa is honoured there.

Śaṅkara said:

165b-168. If a woman becomes intent upon (the observance of) the vow, what kind of curse is that of poor Sāvitrī (i.e. what can Sāvitrī’s curse do to her)? There is no significance (to her curse) since Lakṣmī due to her being accepted (as his wife) by Viṣṇu was worthy of reverence to the ancient ones; for you I formerly destroyed the sacrifice of Dakṣa. Viṣṇu too formerly churned the ocean for obtaining Lakṣmī. You two (i.e. Lakṣmī and you) are obedient. Do not be afraid at all.

169. Sāvitrī is to be honoured; she who is angry is to be propitiated by me, by Viṣṇu and by Brahmā desiring respect (being given to him).

170-176a. I shall go to Brahmā’s residence. O you of a beautiful face, wait (here).

Saying so Rudra went (to Brahmā’s residence) and Gaurī lived there for an entire Kṛtayuga. In that sacrifice (which he performed) Agni carried oblations to gods and pleased the three worlds; the lord gave everything—food to chief brāhmaṇas, objects of enjoyment to the host of Vidyādharas and satisfied the desires of men. Then Rudra said to Viṣṇu, “(Please) explain the duties of Gaurī; also (explain) that which is said to be the vow of Sarasvatī.” Thus addressed by Rudra, Viṣṇu said, “I shall now not explain the duty (sacred) to me, O Śaṅkara. O best of gods, you may explain my greatness; formerly you have told it; having done which (vow) sins are destroyed; there is no doubt about this; you will be purified.”

Bhīṣma said:

l76b-178a. O best of sages, O best one, tell me by (performing) which vow (one’s) words would be sweet (i.e. one would be sweet-tongued), and also (one would have) good fortune among men, (would have) intelligence and skill in lores, as well as (give) concord between husband and wife, and company of relatives.

Pulastya said:

178b-182a. O king, you have asked well; listen to the vow of Sarasvatī, by the mere narration of which goddess Sarasvatī would be pleased, as long as the devotee eulogises her; this is the best vow. Before the day begins (i.e. in the early morning) a man having worshipped her, should begin (reciting) the divine eulogy; or on a Sunday when the planets and stars are powerful, he should feed brāhmaṇas with milk and should proclaim (the vow) to the brāhmaṇas; and having given them white garments along with gold according to his capacity, he should worship Gāyatri with white flowers and anointment.

182b-185a. (He should pray to her:) ‘O goddess, since revered Brahmā, the grandsire of the world, does not stay without you, (please) grant (me) a boon. O goddess, the Vedas, the (other) sacred treatises, practices, dance and singing (all this) is not (i.e. has no existence) without you; so let me have Siddhis; O Sarasvatī, protect me with your eight forms viz. Medhā, Dharā, Puṣṭi, Gaurī, Tuṣṭi, Jayā, and Mati.’

185b-186. He, the knower of the religious practices, having thus, with devotion, worshipped Gāyatrī, the holder of lute and lotus, and a pot and a book, with white flowers and sacred rice grains, he should observing the vow of silence, eat in the morning and evening.

187-188. And on the fifth day of every fortnight, he, (saying) ‘May Gāyatrī be pleased with me,’ should give an auspicious cow, and also rice (measuring) a prastha with a pot (full) of ghee, and milk and gold to a brāhmaṇa; he should, observing silence, do this in the evening.

189-191a. For thirteen months he should not take food at night; and when the vow is concluded, he should give food in the form of white (boiled) rice; he should give a cushion, a charming bell along with a fine silken garment; he should also give sandal, a pair of garments and tasty rice with curds.

l91b-194. Being free from the vanity of wealth he should also honour his preceptor with garments, flowers and anointments. He who observes the Sārasvata vow according to this procedure, is endowed with good fortune, intellect and fine voice; and is honoured in Brahmā’s world due to Sarasvatī’s favour. A lady who observes this vow also gets the same fruit. She would live in Brahmā’s world for three Kalpas. He who would listen to the Sārasvata vow or would read it, would live in the city of Vidyādharas for three myriads of years.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Hāva: Any feminine coquettish gesture calculated to excite amorous sensations.

2.

Bhāva: Amorous gesture, gesture of love.

3.

Narāgraja: is Nārāyaṇa.

4.

Andhakasūdana: is Śiva. He killed Andhaka, a demon and a son of Kaśyapa and Diti.

5.

For this curse see 1.17.76 above.

6.

Gorocana: A bright yellow pigment prepared from the urine or bile of a cow, or found in the head of a cow.

7.

Lājā: Fried or parched grain.

8.

Mādhava: is Vaiśākha.

9.

Ūrja: is Kārtika.

10.

Vikāla: Evening.

11.

Uśīra: The fragrant root of a plant.

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