The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the rite (vidhi) of installation of lakes etc. which is chapter 27 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-seventh 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 27 - The rite (vidhi) of installation of Lakes etc.

Bhīṣma said:

1-3a. O brāhmaṇa, tell me in detail, about the rite (which is performed) with reference to lakes, gardens, ponds, wells and ponds full of lotuses, and temples of deities. Tell me which brāhmaṇas are employed as the priests there; (tell me) also (about) the fees to be paid to the priests, (about) the offerings, the time, the place and the preceptor. O you of a good vow, tell me also about the components that are prescribed (for the rite).

Pulastya said:

3b. O king of mighty arms, listen to the description of the rite performed with reference to the lakes etc.

4-6. O best king, this account is narrated in the Purāṇas. When Uttarāyaṇa comes, a man, having obtained (i.e. having chosen) the auspicious bright half of a month, on a day declared to be auspicious by the brāhmaṇas, should get fashioned an altar measuring four cubits, even, and having four comers and four openings in a region free from evil things and near a lake. Similarly there should be a pavilion open on four sides and of the measure of sixteen cubits.

7. Around the altar there should be holes of the measure of the cubit of the middle length and having three belts. O prince, they should be nine, seven or five (in number), and should not have curved openings.

8. The receptacle should be of the measure of the length equal to twelve aṅgulas[1], and six or seven fingers[2] in expanse. The holes should be of the measure of a cubit[3] and should have three belts raised at three steps.

9. On all the sides there should be banners of the same colour, along with flags. He should get fashioned doors of the branches (i.e. parts) of (the trees viz.) Aśvattha, Udumbara, Plakṣa and Vaṭa, for the pavilion in every direction.

10-12a. There should be eight sacrificial priests (who recite the prayers of the Ṛgveda) and eight door-keepers. There should be eight brāhmaṇas, well-versed in the Vedas, as the mutterers (of sacred texts). He should place (i.e. appoint) best brāhmaṇas, endowed with all (good) signs, knowing the sacred texts, with their senses curbed and (belonging to good) family and having a (noble) character.

12b-13. In every hole he should put pitchers, and materials for the sacrifice; the seat should be white and (equipped) with a fan; there should be a very big copper-vessel. Then there should be offerings of various colours for each deity.

14-15. The wise preceptor should put (the various things) on the ground after having consecrated them. The sacrificial post, made of the Kṣīra tree, should be of the length of a cubit[4] or of the size of the sacrificer; desiring his well-being, he should fix it. He should engage twenty-five priests with golden ornaments on their persons.

16-17. He should give to all the priests, equally, golden armlets, bracelets, and also finger-rings, and various kinds of garments; it is prescribed that the preceptor should be given double (of what is given to other priests). He should also give (these things) with a bed and also whatever is dear to himself.

18-20. O king, having first obtained all these, viz. golden (images of) a tortoise and a crocodile, silver (images) of a fish and a (kind of) snake (not poisonous), copper (images of) a shark and a frog and iron (image of) a porpoise, the sacrificer, along with his wife, sons and grandsons, should be bathed by all (brāhmaṇas) who have mastered the Vedas, with water (mixed) with all herbs.

21-22. (Then) he, having reached the western entrance, should enter the pavilion. He, knowing the truth, should draw a circle with dust of five colours to the accompaniment of auspicious sounds and the sound of kettle-drums; and also (he should draw) a wheel with sixteen spokes and the figure of Brahmā within a lotus.

23-24. It should have four corners (i.e. it should be drawn within a square), should be circular on all sides and richly decorated in the middle. The wise one, having fashioned the images of the planets and the regents of the quarters around the altar, should properly install all of them in every direction. Having recited the text sacred to Varuṇa he should place the pitcher at the centre.

25-26a. The wise should install (the images of) Brahmā, Śiva and Viṣṇu there only. Having installed (the images of) Vināyaka, Kamalā (i.e. Lakṣmī) and Ambikā (i.e. Pārvatī), he should, then, for the peace of all worlds, install (the images of) the group of spirits.

26b-28a. Having thus made the installation with flowers, eatables and fruits, he should cover those pitchers containing gems with pieces of cloth. Having on all sides, decorated the door-keepers with flowers and sandal he should say to them: ‘(Please) proceed with the sacrifice’ and should honour the preceptor.

28b-29. Two (brāhmaṇas) knowing the Ṛgveda should be kept (i.e. seated) in the east; two (brāhmaṇas) knowing the Yajurveda should be kept (i.e. seated) in the south. Two (brāhmaṇas the) singers of the Sāmaveda should be kept (i.e. seated) in the west; and two (brāhmaṇas) knowing the Atharvaveda should be seated in the north. The sacrificer, facing the east, should sit in the south.

30. He should again tell the sacrificing priests to (commence the) sacrifice: ‘Please resort to the muttering of excellent sacred texts.’

31. Having thus advised all those mutterers (of the sacred texts) and he, knowing the sacred texts, having kindled the fire, should offer into it ghee and sacred sticks (to the accompaniment of the recital) of sacred texts.

32a. The sacrificial priests of the Ṛgveda should make offerings all round into the fire with (the recital of) texts sacred to Varuṇa only.

32b-35a. Having duly made offerings to the planets, and also to Indra and the lord, to the Maruts, the regents of the quarters and to Viśvakarman, the priest (called) Bahṛc (seated) in the east should mutter separately the auspicious Śāntisūkta, the prayer to Rudra and Pavamāna, the Puruṣa-sūkta. The priests knowing Yajurveda seated in the south should recite the sūkta (i.e. eulogy) of Śakra, Rudra, Budha, and also a hymn addressed to the demons called Kuṣmāṇḍa[5], the sūkta (i.e. eulogy) of Jātavedas (i.e. Fire), and of the Sun.

35b-37a. The Sāma-singers seated at the western door (of the pavilion) should sing the Sāmans called Vairāja Pauruṣa Sūkta[6], Sauparṇa Sūkta, Rudrasūkta, Śaiśava Sūkta, Pañcanidhāna Sūkta, Gāyatra Sūkta, Jyeṣṭha Sāman, Vāmadeva Sūkta, Bṛhatsāman, Raurava, Rathantara, the celebrated Gavām Vrata, (the hymns called) Rakṣoghna and Yama.[7]

37b-38. The priests of the Atharva Veda (seated) in the north, should, resorting mentally to Lord Varuṇa, repeat the Sāntika and Pauṣṭika hymns (from the Atharvaveda).[8]

39-41a. Having thus fully made the consecration of the image at night of the previous day, and having brought earth from a hamlet where cowherds and cows stay, and where elephants, horses, chariots and anthills are found, he should put it and the herbs also into pitchers. Then bringing the yellow pigment, white mustard, sandal and a fragrant gum resin, he (i.e. the sacrificer) should be bathed with (water mixed with) the five products of a cow.

41b-43. Having thus first duly done the bathing of the sacrificer to the accompaniment of great religious texts, and having thus spent the night in the acts performed according to sacred precepts, he should at clear daybreak give a hundred or eighty-eight or fifty or thirty-six or twenty-five cows to brāhmaṇas.

44-45. Then when the time of an auspicious moment of the Sun’s entrance into a zodiacal sign approaches, he should take down into water, a cow decorated with gold to the accompaniment of Vedic texts, divine music and various musical instruments. O king, that cow should be given to a singer of Sāmans.

46-48a. Then having taken a golden vessel (decked) with five jewels, and then having fully placed into it the (golden) crocodile, fish etc., he should put it, while held by four brahmaṇas [brāhmaṇas?] well-versed in Vedas and Vedāṅgas, and containing the water of great rivers, into water with its opening turned down and facing the north.

48b-49. Then having well-bathed (the image of) Māyā, he should put it (into water) to the accompaniment of the sacred hymn Āpohiṣṭha and then having come (back) to the pavilion, and having honoured the members (of the sacrificial session) he should make offerings on all sides.

50. Then he should make offerings for four days. He should perform the (proper) rite on the fourth day and at that (rite) also he should give (presents to brāhmaṇas) according to his capacity.

51. Arranging the sacrificial vessels and the sacrificial material, he should distribute these equally among the priests.

52. Then he should pull down the pavilion; and he should give the golden vessel and a bed to a brāhmaṇa. Then, according to his capacity, he should feed one thousand, or eight hundred or fifty brāhmaṇas.

53-54. The rite about the lakes is thus narrated in the Purāṇas. The same rite is prescribed in the case of all wells and reservoirs of water and lotus-pools; and in the case of installation (of images).

55. In the case of palaces and gardens the difference lies in the sacred texts (i.e. the sacred texts are different). In the case of one who does not have the capacity (to spend so much), the rite as decided by Brahmā (is to be performed) with half (the expenditure).

56. When (the means) are few, the rite should be performed (as in the case of a rite with one fire) by (men) free from the vanity of wealth. The water that remains in the lakes in the rainy season after such a rite is performed, is considered to be equal to (i.e. gives the fruit of) the Agniṣṭoma sacrifice.

57. That (water) which remains (in the lakes) in the autumn gives the fruit described above. That (water) which remains in the lakes in the cold and winter seasons (comprising of the months of Mārgaśīrṣa to Phālguna) is equal to the Vājapeya and Atirātra sacrifices (i.e. gives the fruit of Vājapeya and Atirātra).

58. That (water) which remains (in the lakes) in the spring season is equal to (i.e. gives the fruit of) the Aśvamedha sacrifice; and that water too that remains (in the lakes) during the summer excels (the fruit of) the Rājasūya (sacrifice).

59-60. O great king, he, the pure one, who, of an extremely pure mind, performs these special religious deeds, goes to Brahmā’s abode only, and (there) rejoices for many Kalpas. Having moved in many worlds, and having enjoyed (in) the worlds like Svaḥ[9], with beautiful ladies for two parārdhas (i.e. for a very very long period), he, again goes toViṣṇu’s place, obtainable by the power of deep and abstract meditation.

Footnotes and references:


Vitasti: a measure of length equal to 12 aṅgulas (being the distance between the extended thumb and little finger).


Hasta: a measure equal to 18 inches.


Ratni: (seems to he a corruption of aratni)—the distance from the elbow to the end of the closed fist, a cubit.


Aratni: a cubit of the middle length, from the elbow to the tip of the little finger.


Kauṣmāṇḍa: addressed (as a hymn) to the demons called Kuṣmāṇḍa.


Pauruṣa Sūkta: Ṛgveda X.90. It is regarded as a very sacred hymn.


Śaiśava, Pañcanidhāna, Vairāja[?] are names of various SāmansSāman is first mentioned in Ṛgveda X.90.9. Jyeṣṭhasāman—Name of a Sāman; see Mahābhārata XII. Vāmadevya—perhaps sāmans composed by Vāmadeva, who was a sage credited with the authorship of a larger portion of the IV maṇḍala of the Ṛgveda.


Śāntika, Pauṣṭika—Gertain hymns from the Atharvaveda. Atharvaṇa[?]—a priest or brāhmaṇa whose ritual is comprised in the Atharva Veda.


Svaḥ: is one of the seven worlds viz. Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahaḥ, Jana, Tapas and Satya.

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