The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the vow (vrata) of angaraka caturthi which is chapter 24 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-fourth 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.

Chapter 24 - The vow (vrata) of Aṅgāraka Caturthī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:

1. O revered sir, tell me (about) that (vow) which causes blessing (i.e. divine favour) to a man as well as a woman, and by (the observance of) which there will be no grief, disease, fear or sorrow.

Śaṅkara said:

2-3. On the second day of the dark half of Śrāvaṇa, Madhusūdana always lives with his wife in the milky ocean. A man would get (i.e. fulfil) all his desires by worshipping Govinda on that (day). He should give the present of a cow, gold etc. as was done in seven hundred Kalpas.

4. He should arrange invocation, worship as (told) before. This dvitīyā (i.e. the second day) is called Aśūnyaśayanā.

5-10. On that day, having worshipped Viṣṇu according to the proper procedure with the following sacred texts he should have the sound of singing and musical instruments: “O Śrīvatsadhārin, O Śrīkānta, O Śrīpati, O Śrīdhara, O Avyaya (the immutable one), may not my stage of a householder, which grants righteousness, worldly prosperity and desire of sensual enjoyments, perish. O Puruṣottama, may my fires, my deities not perish. May my manes not perish, due to the discord between husband and wife. As god Hari is never separated from Lakṣmī, in the same way let my relation with the wife be not severed. O Varada (granter of boons), O Madhusādana, as your bed is not unoccupied by Lakṣmī, in the same way may my bed also remain occupied.” A person (who is economically) weak, (should use) the bell, as it contains (the sounds of) all musical instruments.

11a. Having worshipped Govinda thus he should take meals without oil. At night (he should eat food) free from salt till the four watches (pass).

11b-14a. When the morning breaks, he should give an unusual bed with a lamp, food, vessels, and with wooden sandals, shoes, an umbrella, a chowrie, and also with the desired articles, and covered with white flowers and cloth to a brāhmaṇa who is not deformed who is a devotee of Viṣṇu, who is a man of family and who is well-versed in the Vedas, but never to the husband of a barren woman.

14b-16a. Having seated there a (brāhmaṇa-) couple and adorning them properly he should give the wife a vessel with (articles of) food. To the brāhmaṇa also he should give a golden image of the god of gods with (other) ornaments along with a pitcher of water.

16b-20a. A man who, in this way, free from the vanity of wealth and intent upon Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu), observes (the vow of) Aśūnyaśayana (in honour) of Hari, is never separated from his wife. O Brahman, a woman also (who observes this vow does not become) a widow as long as the moon, the sun and the stars last. A couple also does not become deformed and afflicted with grief. O grandsire, his sons, beasts and jewels do not perish. One who observes (this vow of) Aśūnyaśayana is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu for thousands and hundreds of Kalpas.

Brahmā said:

20b-21a. How can there be (i.e. how can one have) good health, prosperity, intellect and firmness in religious practices? How also can there be (i.e. can one have) perfect devotion for Viṣṇu?

The Lord said:

21b. O Brahman, you have asked well. I shall now tell you about the conversation between Virocana and Bhārgava.

22-23. O Brahman, seeing the sixteen-year old son of Prahlāda and seeing his form that son of Bhṛgu laughed. “O Virocana of mighty arms, bravo, well-being to you.”

24-25a. The destroyer of the gods (i.e. Virocana) seeing him laughing, asked him: “O brahman, why did you laugh at me like this and why did you say to me ‘Bravo’?”

25b-27a. The best among speakers (i.e. Bhārgava) said to him who spoke like this: “I laughed through wonder due to the greatness of the vow. Formerly when the trident-holder (i.e. Śiva) was angry (and ready) for destroying Dakṣa, a drop of perspiration produced on the forehead of him of a fearful face, dropped down.

27b-28. That (drop) having broken asunder the seven nether regions consumed the seven oceans. He was having many faces and eyes and terrible like bright fire. Being endowed with hands and feet, he was known as Vīrabhadra.

29-33. He who had destroyed (Dakṣa’s) sacrifice, and had submerged the beings was prevented from burning the three worlds by Śiva (who said:) ‘O Vīrabhadra, you have destroyed Dakṣa’s sacrifice; now desist from this act of burning the (three) worlds. By giving peace (to all) be the foremost among all the planets. Purified in mind people will worship you, (and) O son of the earth, you will be known as Aṅgāraka. Your form will be matchless in the world of gods. Those men, who will worship you on the fourth day (of the month), will have unending beauty, (good) health and prosperity.’

34. O King, thus addressed, he who took any form at his will, became calm, and at that very moment turned into a planet.

35-36a. Once standing near, you saw that (planet) being worshipped with oblations etc. by a Śūdra. Due to that you became a handsome demon-fire to the family of your enemies.

36b-37a. Since from you, far-going lustre of various types was produced, therefore gods and demons call you Virocana.

37b-38. I was amazed because (merely) by seeing the vow (being observed) by a Śūdra, you got such a handsome form. Therefore I uttered (the word) ‘Bravo’, O your excellent greatness!

39-41a. If merely by seeing (the vow being performed) one gets handsomeness and prosperity, then what (would one get) who observes (the vow)? O demon, since you saw the worship of the son of the earth (i.e. Aṅgāraka) which was offered with devotion by a Śūdra, you were born from the womb (of the wife) ofthe enemy of gods.” Having heard these words of the great-souled Bhārgava, the hero, the son of Prahlāda again asked Bhārgava.

Virocana said:

41 b-42. O revered sir, I desire to listen to (the account of) that vow fully and accurately. Please explain to me the gift that was seen by me when it was being given (to a brāhmaṇa) and about the importance and procedure of that vow.

43-46. Hearing these words (of Virocana) the brāhmaṇa (i.e. Bhārgava) spoke respectfully:

“O demon, when the fourth day of a month falls on Tuesday, a man adorned with a ruby should bathe with (i.e. after anointing himself with) clay. Having bathed, and facing the north, he should mutter the sacred text: ‘Fire is the head of the heaven’. Free from any enjoyment, a Śūdra, remembering Bhauma, should observe silence; and when the sun has set, he should smear the courtyard with cowdung and having decorated it with garlands of flowers and sacred grains all round, should draw there a lotus having eight leaves, with saffron.

47. In the absence of saffron, red sandal is recommended. Four pots containing food should be prepared, along with anointed śāli-rice and rubies.

48-52a. Putting them in four corners, he should put various fruits and also everything like sandal, flower etc. Having adorned a tawny cow having golden horns and udders of bell-metal with silver hoofs and a piece of cloth, and also having adorned an auspicious bull with red hoofs, he should give them and grains with seven garments, as well as a golden (image of) man of the size of the thumb, having four long arms and hands made of gold (and placed) in a copper vessel on jaggery and with ghee—he should give all this to a brāhmaṇa, who knows the notes of the Sārna (veda), who has restrained his senses, who is endowed with (good) speech, (handsome) form and (good) character, who is a man with a family and who does not have religious hypocrisy.

52b-53a. ‘O illustrious son of the earth, O you born of the sweat of the trident-holder (i.e. Śiva), I, desiring a (handsome) form, am seeking your refuge; accept my respectful offering; my salutation to you.’

53b-54. Having offered a respectful offering with sandal-water to the accompaniment of this sacred text he should then honour the brāhmaṇa with flowers, garments etc. To the accompaniment of the same sacred text he should give (the representation of) Bhauma along with a pair of a cow and a bull.

55-56a. He, who has the capacity should give a fully-furnished bed. Desiring the imperishability of whatever is given (in charity) he should give whatever is most liked in the world and desired in the house to a virtuous brāhmaṇa.

56b-57. Then having circumambulated the best brāhmaṇa he should allow him to go. At night he should take (sweetened) milk. In this way (he should observe this vow of) Aṅgāraka eight times or four times. I shall tell you what religious merit is (got by observing this vow).

58-61. A devotee of Viṣṇu or Śiva endowed with good form and fortune in every existence would become the king of the seven islands. For seven Kalpas he is honoured in the world of Rudra. Therefore O lord of demons, you too observe the full vow (i.e. observe it fully). O king, you too observe all this, since those well-versed in the Vedas describe it to be inexhaustible. The lord bestows everything on him who listens to its account with a concentrated mind.”

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