The Padma Purana

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

This page describes purificatory rites of a brahmana which is chapter 46 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 forty-sixth 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 46 - Purificatory Rites of a Brāhmaṇa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Bhīṣma said:

1. You have told (me) in detail the greatness of Narasiṃha; in the same way (please) narrate (to me) the greatness of the fearful, Bhava (i.e. Śiva).

Pulastya said:

2-4a. Listen also to the excellent deed of that god of gods. There was a demon Andhaka by name, who resembled a heap of collyrium, who had great penance (to his credit), and who could not be killed by gods. Once he saw the lord Mahādeva, sporting with Pārvatī, and proceeded to take her away.

4b-6a. I shall today carry away this respectable lady. In her absence I shall die. This beautiful lady in the three worlds will be my eternal wife. Her face has lips like the [?] limba-fruit; her face is more (i.e. very) charming. If she will not be my wife, what is the use of life?’

6b-7a. Thinking like this, and having counselled with his ministers, and having gathered his army, he said to his general:

7b-8. “Get me my victorious chariot, destroying the gods. I shall conquer all gods led by Viṣṇu and Rudra. I shall carry away the Mountain's daughter (i.e. Pārvatī). She has captivated my mind.”

9. His minister told him about the murder, done by gods including Indra, of Kanaka who was attached to other’s wives.

10-11a. Then with his mind overpowered with anger (he said): “I shall kill the gods including Śiva.” Having killed that demon (Kanaka), Indra being afraid of the demon Andhaka seeking Śiva’s refuge went to Kailāsa, the abode of Śaṅkara.[1]

11b-12a. Seeing and saluting the lord of gods, with the half (i.e. crescent) moon as his crest, Indra, the thousand-eyed god, who was frightened, respectfully said (to Śiva):

12b-14a. “O god, grant me fearlessness (i.e. remove the cause of my fear); I am afraid of the demon Andhaka. Today I killed his son in a battle. So, till the great demon, causing fear to me, does not know that his son is killed, quickly kill him there only.

14b-15a. The cruel demon snatches away other’s wives through lust; O best of gods, by all means he should be killed by you."

15b-16a. Hearing the words of Indra, Śiva, the protector, then granted him freedom from fear (saying): “Do not fear”.

16b. Śakra, being granted freedom from fear came to Kuśasthalī from Kailāsa.

17-21 a. The lord (i.e. Śiva) was surrounded by a host of spirits for killing Andhaka. Taking up a universal form of a great body and very fearful like a terrible serpent with blazing serpents running about and as it were burning the sky with the matted hair (bright) due to the lustre of the gems on the hoods (of the serpents), like the destructive fire at the time of deluge burning (the world) with excessive lustre, he took up the weapons in the form of thousands of serpents with their mouths marked with sprout-like fangs, bright like the digit of the moon on the second day of the month, resembling the interior of Pātāla, making a terrible sound, full of many ornaments and decorations and making a fearful sound in the battle.

21b-23a. The fearful lord, destroyer of the demons, putting on (around his loins) lion’s hide, and tiger’s hide as the upper garment, and an extensive elephant-hide, full of(i.e. resounding with) the swarms of bees—having taken such a form, causing fear to the demon, the lord came down to the earth.

23b-24a. The demon Andha also, hearing that his son was killed in the battle, being overcome with the emotion of anger, caused the musical instruments sounded at war time to be sounded.

24b-25a. Having collected (his army), he carefully reached with a great army consisting of chariots and elephants, the place where gods had stood.

25b-26a. Those gods, seeing the demons, greatly eager to wage a big battle, had lost (the chance of) the preservation of their bodies and (so) sought the refuge of Śiva.

26b-27a. Having said to those gods, ‘Do not fear’, the three-eyed god, took the trident and angrily stood there.

27b-29a, The angry Andhaka destroyed hundreds of crores of gods with arrows. The Pināka-holder, discharging the flames with burning embers, of fire, surrounded Andhaka, remaining in his chariot, with arrows.

29b-31a. The lord of demons, relaxed and with his weapons abandoned, called all the demons and started fighting. His army was devastated in the battle in many ways with various weapons, by brave gods who had sought alliance with Śiva.

31b-33. The demon Andhaka seeing his army devastated by gods, and seeing himself obstructed by Śiva with a crore of arrows, and with his body afflicted, just mustered courage and snatching the Pināka of Rudra struk him (with it). Being struck with Pināka, Rudra went down to (i.e. fell on) the earth.

34. When the lord fell down on the earth, the three worlds trembled. The oceans left (i.e. crossed) their boundaries and the mountains their peaks.

35-36. The disjoined constellations being (thus) separated went in various directions. When the lord of gods fell on the earth, the angry Andhaka again struck the serpent with a mace; and thus striking him caused him to fall on the ground. The lord of serpents left Śiva and ran somewhere else.

37-38. In a short while, the lord regained consciousness and rose. He took a hatchet (but) did not see (i.e. find) the demon at all. Having created the dark illusion the demon skilled in a hundred illusions (hid himself). Deluded by it Śiva (did not know) where the demon had gone.

39-40a. Śiva was afraid as to what the wicked one would do. When the gods were covered with the darkness, and were perplexed, they with their minds confused, spoke to Śiva on account of the importance of the mission.

40b-42a. In the meanwhile, the Sun, settled in the form of lustre, rose, rendering the quarters free from darkness, in the form of a man. When the Sun thus became manifest, and the darkness disappeared, gods with their faces having blooming eyes, became delighted.

42b-43. All the radiant gods, and the attendants led by Kārttikeya, praised with various hymns the matchless Sun, in human form, pervading the world, and superior to Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.

44-46a. Seeing that lord of gods of a very bright (form), resembling glossy coral and red lead and tawny, and favourably inclined to salutation, he, the three-eyed (god) Hara, filling the three worlds with lustre, and touching the ground with his five limbs, and with abstract meditation, looked at him with affectionate eyes and spoke with loving and profound voice:

46b-48. “This alone is the deity that does not disappoint the beings afflicted by the demon’s illusion and having their hearts eager to see him. This god, this lord alone, emancipating beings from the entire mundane existence, acts as the helmsman.

49. I salute that lord Bhāskara, by devoutly worshipping which deity, various beings and gods have always become fit for final bliss.

50. The Sun, having pervaded the intermediate and the ten quarters with the masses of his rays, acting as crowns and bright like flowers, shines on the peak of the eastern mountain.

51. (O you lord,) your body is always adorable by Brahmā, Indra, Rudra, Maruts, Viṣṇu[, ] Agni, Ocean and the hosts of best sages adept in course of procedure and desiring salvation, having besmeared their bodies with divine unguent (white) like days.

52. Those who, having no abodes, eulogise you in others’ house, with Vedic hymns decorated with groups of beautiful words, have their hands stretched out, on the earth.

53. O lord of gods, even those men, whose bodies are afflicted with a cutaneous eruption, leprosy or ulcer, or those having their skins decayed, or having bad nails, or have lost their hair, after having saluted your feet, instantly have figures of men of sixteen years old (i.e. young).

54-55. The groups of the singers of sāmans, the hosts of the bahṛcas, the adhvaryu priests, know you to be the cause of the sacrifice; those who know what should be done know you alone to be ‘Ārya’; also the serpents and the dead ancestors (look upon you) as omnifragrant; O sun, the Upaniṣads look upon you as Māyā; also these gods and mortals, Gandharvas and Kinnaras with the multitudes of cāraṇas wait upon you; and O lord, you take up that particular form.

56. Those who do not worship you who deserve to be worshipped, being tormented by your lustre, being naked and without wealth, with their throats and bellies emaciated with hunger, wander to others’ houses for alms with potsherds in their hands.

57-59. You free them from the mundane existence, who worship your charming form like the faces of the charming group of the high-born chaste women, who have the skirts of their garments hanging from the end of their foreheads, with the faces charming like the moon and having the ends of arched and handsome golden garments (the bodies)—who talk sweetly and indistinctly in their houses, and make sounds with the tinklings of the anklets.

60. You alone are Brahmā, you are Hari, you are Vāyu, you are Agni, you are Rudra, you are Yama, you are Varuṇa, you are the lord of gods, you are Soma (the moon), you are wind, you are the earth, you are the ruler, you are the sacrifice, you are the lord of wealth (Kubera), you are unvanquished.

61. Your seven horses, not being let on the earth in the battle, crossing speedily, traverse fully this endless sky, and it is not at all fatiguing to them.

62-63. The devotees, engaged in the path of meditation only and having meditated upon your fourth position (i.e. of the Supreme Spirit) with concentration, being free from diseases and being fearless, have waited for a long time, upon your form bright like a heap of fire and the abode of penance—the eternal Brahmā who is without a beginning or an end, who is without birth etc., and who is free from diseases, who is great and ancient, who is free from the fear of old age and death, who is cared for by the attendants having rough indications of their feelings, who is pure, and who is highly regarded by the followers of the Vedānta, having waited upon whom for a long time, the devotees have gone to heaven.

64-66[2]. O Sun, O you whose lotus-like couple of feet was rubbed by the group of gods and demons with their heads, O you of a spotlss and fine form, O you lord of beings, O you of an immutable nature, O you loud laughter of the sky, O you Savitṛ, O you the only lamp of the world, O you abode of the hymns from the Ṛgveda, the Sāmaveda and of the Yajus-formulae, O you cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction, O you regent of the quarter, O you eternal lord of the ascetics, O you cause of the moon, O you fearful like a heron, O you giver of good things, (satisfy) the desires of me who am drowned in every existence, as you remove old age, death, grief and disease.”

67-68a. He who recites this hymn of the Sun in the morning, in the evening or at midday, gets residence in the same heaven with him, and always obtains the (fruits) of (the three goals of human life viz.) Dharma, Artha and Kama, and whatever is placed in (i.e. desired by) his mind from the Sun.

68b-71a. “My salutation to you, O lord of lords of gods, to you who grant fearlessness to your devotees, O you saluted by all gods, my salutation to you. O you of sharp rays, my salutation to you; O you the eye of the world, I salute you. O Prabhākara, I salute you. O Bhānu, lord of the world, be victorious. O you lord of the world, I am harassed by this chief of the demons. O Divākara, what should I do? How can I kill him?’.

Sūrya said:

71b. Conquer the most sinful (demon), adept in a hundred tricks with your trident. O you lord of gods, killing Andhaka with your trident, be victorious.

72b-74. Taking the trident cast away by Hara’s lustre, Andhaka, the sinner, struck (Śiva) with it. In that fight, Rudra also, harassed by Andhaka, himself discharged his very sharp arrow which was (called) ‘Pāśupata’, by bending his bow (viz. Pināka) with his two arms.

75. From Andhaka’s blood oozing from the split (i.e. the wound made by) Rudra’s arrow, hundreds and thousands of Andhakas sprang up.

76. When they were being pierced, other fearful Andhakas sprang up from their blood, and they occupied the entire world.

77. Then the god of gods (i.e. Śiva) having seen that deceitful Andhaka, created the Mothers to drink his blood.

78-81. (They were) Māheśvarī and Brāhmī, Śaurī and Bāḍavī, Sauparṇī and Vāyavyā, Śaṃkhinī and Taittirī, Saurī, Saumyā, Śivadūtī, Cāmuṇḍā and Vāruṇī, Vārāhī, Nārasiṃhī, Vaiṣṇavī and Vibhāvarī, Śatānandā, Bhagānandā, Pichilā, Bhagamālinī, Bālā, Atibalā, Raktā, Surabhi, Mukhamaṇḍitā, Mātṛnandā, Sunandā, and Biḍānī and Śakunī, and Revatī, Mahāpuṇyā and Śikhipaṭṭikā also.

82-84a. Then the destroyer of Tripura (i.e. Śiva) pierced the demon with his trident. The Mothers then drank the blood that flowed out. O king, the bloodless demon then became dry; but the demon, though transfixed and held by the very powerful Rudra for a thousand divine years, did not die.

84b-85. O you of a good vow, the demon then devoutly praised Śambhu: “O Śambhu, O destroyer of the worldly existence, my salutation to you. O best among gods, I salute you, be pleased. You are the earth, the water, the fire, the wind, the sky, the sun, the moon, the sacrificer—you have these eight forms, you are a great creator of the mundane existence.

86. Bāṇa, having pleased you with many musical instruments, became the lord in his city protected by himself. The lord of demons (i.e. Rāvaṇa), having balanced the mountain with his arms, and with his form tormented by your foot, praised you.

87-88. He became the lord of all hosts of demons and got, a very strong son, who bound (even) Indra. O you (god), who remove the fear of the worldly existence, O you very generous (god), O you causing happiness to me, O you the power of all the gods, O you who have conquered the Maruts, O you perfect in giving what is desired, O you best among the firm, O lord, you always give the desired object to that man who devoutly keeps in his heart your lotus-like feet.

89. Formerly, the best sages got their desires fulfilled after (i.e. by) respectfully worshipping you i.e. Hara, in the form of phallus. Remaining in the hollow of a tree, live your life by reflecting upon him who is of the nature of the author of the worldly existence, and of the form of this expanse (of the universe).

90. One who comes to your feet becomes one who has obtained all desired things by thinking about your feet, O lord. O you who love your devotees, I, who am ignorant, do not know (how) to praise you.

91a. I who have gone to the battle (-field), should be pitied by your good and divine mind.”

91b-93a. Thus praised with respect (by the demon), Śiva gave him the position of his attendant and named him ‘Bhṛṅgīriṭī’.[3] O king, I have thus narrated to you the greatness of Hara, who removes (the affliction due to) the worldly existence. It is called the hindrance to difficulties and gives happiness to those who are intent upon (reaching) him.

Bhīṣma said:

93b-94. O you best of brāhmaṇas, tell me all about man’s (obtaining) godhead, happines, (getting a) kingdom, wealth, success, victory, enjoyment, (good) health, (long) life, knowledge, wealth, a son, kinsmen, and auspicious (things),

Pulastya said:

95. A brāhmaṇa endowed with these virtues always becomes prosperous on the earth. Such a divine brāhmaṇa becomes fit for a sacrifice (i.e. worship) in the three worlds age after age of the world.

96. Gods, having worshipped brāhmaṇas, enjoy the inexhaustible heaven. Kings (by worshipping brāhmaṇas) protect the earth and people (obtain) wealth, happiness and auspicious (things).

97. In the world there is none (else) like a brāhmaṇa. He is the deity even of gods. He is actually of the form of piety; he is very much the giver of bliss.

98. He is the respectable preceptor of people, he is a sacred place, and an innocent person. Formerly, he, the good abode of gods, was created by Brahmā.

99. Formerly Nārada asked the grandsire about the same thing: ‘O Brahman, having worshipped which god, would Mādhava (i.e. Viṣṇu) be favourable?’

Brahmā said:

100. Viṣṇu favours him, whom brāhmaṇas favour; therefore one who waits upon a brāhmaṇa obtains (i.e. reaches) the highest Brahman.

101. Visṇu always lives in the bodies of brāhmaṇas and nowhere else; therefore by the worship of a brāhmaṇa, Viṣṇu is instantly pleased.

102. He, who would always worship brāhmaṇas, with presents, respect and adoration etc. has duly performed a hundred sacrifices, in which presents to brāhmaṇas are liked by them.

103. The mouth of a brāhmaṇa is a field, without a barren spot and without thorns. One should sow all seeds (there). That is an all-time agriculture.

104. That gift which is given after having approached (a brāhmaṇa) is delightful. There is an end (even) to an ocean; but there is no end to charity.

105. Those (who) do not even mentally hurt a brāhmaṇa who has committed even a heinous crime, have a conciliatory mind, a condition difficult to be obtained even by gods.

106. He, to whose house a learned (brāhmaṇa), having come, does not go (back) disappointed, has all his sins destroyed and obtains the inexhaustible heaven.

107. Know that wealth to be inexhaustible which one would give to a worthy brāhmaṇa at a proper time, for it stands (by him) in every existence.

108. He is not reduced to poverty, he neither falls ill nor is he timid. Having worshipped brāhmaṇas, one would obtain a wife agreeable to one’s mind,

109. Having performed bold acts, one should give (gifts) to brāhmaṇas on the parvan days[4] That giving is said to be meritorious, and (leads to) fearlessness and gain.

110. That hand which is hurt while rubbing the soles of the feet of a brāhmaṇa, does graceful deeds; any other hand (just) does deeds.

111. Those who are purified by the dust-particles of a brāhmaṇa’s feet or by a drop of water (sprinkled by) him, are always free (from the bondage of the worldly existence and), go to heaven.

112. The courtyards of houses, which are purified by the dust-particles of the feet of brāhmaṇas are like sacred places and are recommended for the performance of sacrifices.

113. Formerly the sinless brāhmaṇa was the first to spring up from Brahmā’s mouth. The Vedas, the causes of the creation and maintenance (of the world) arose from there only.

114. Therefore, certainly for the worship of (i.e. to be done by) all the people and for (the performance of) all sacrifices, the Vedas were placed in the mouth of the brāhmaṇa by the (first) man (i.e. Brahmā).

115-116. In a ritual performed in honour of the dead ancestors, in a marriage, sacrifices, at propitiatory rites, expiatory rites excellent brāhmaṇas (should) always (be honoured). Certainly gods enjoy oblations, demons and departed spirits etc. enjoy offerings, dead ancestors enjoy oblations through the mouth of a brāhmaṇa (i.e. when a brāhmaṇa enjoys these).

117. A gift, a sacrifice, and an offering, which one offers to gods and deceased ancestors at sacrifices, are fruitless without (i.e. unless they are offered to) a brāhmaṇa.

118. (If a brāhmaṇa is not present at these rites) the demons, departed spirits, daityas and evil spirits enjoy (the offerings); therefore one should get these rites performed through brāhmaṇas after inviting them.

119. If the present is made to a worthy brāhmaṇa at a proper time, a proper place it is a lakh crore times meritorious. Having seen a brāhmaṇa, a man should salute him with devotion.

l20-12la. The man would live long as a result of the words ‘(Enjoy) a long life’ uttered by him (i.e. the brāhmaṇa). By not saluting a brāhmaṇa, by hating him, by not having faith in him, men become short-lived, their prosperity comes to an end, and they are reduced to a bad plight.

121b-122a. There is no doubt that one lives long, enhances one’s fame, one’s knowledge and wealth increase and one becomes most prominent by honouring brāhmaṇas.

122b-123a. Those houses which are not muddy with the water (used) for (washing) the feet of a brāhmaṇa, where there is no sound of the recital of the Vedas, which are without the exclamations of Svāhā, Svadhā or Svasti[5], are like crematories.

Nārada said:

123b-124a. Which brāhmaṇa is adorable? Which is not adorable? Tell (me) the characteristics of a brāhmaṇa, and also of a preceptor.

Brahmā said:

124b-125a. A learned brāhmaṇa, endowed with good conduct, is always adorable. He is virtuous, free from blemishes and is like a sacred place and sinless.

Nārada said:

125b-126a. O father, who is a learned brāhmaṇa? Is he born in a good or a bad family? Does he do good or bad actions? Which brāhmaṇa is adorable on the earth?’

Brahmā said:

126b-127a. (Even) If a man is born in the family of a good learned brāhmaṇa, he is not to be worshipped if he is inactive (i.e. does not perform sacred rites); (but if he performs good acts and even if) he is (born) in a family with a low-caste wife (i.e. even if his mother is of a low caste) he is adorable like Vyāsa, and Vibhāṇḍaka.

l27b-128a. Viśvāmitra born in the family of kṣatriyas is equal to me; so also is Vasiṣṭha, the son of a prostitute, and brāhmaṇas who are prophets.

128b-129. Therefore, O son, listen to the characteristics of good, learned brāhmaṇas who are like the sacred places on the earth to destroy all sins. One should be (i.e. is) known as a ‘brāhmaṇa’ by birth, but is called a ‘dvija’ due to (one’s having undergone) purificatory rites.

130. A man is ‘vipra’ because of his learning. Three are the characteristics of a ‘śrotriya’: being purified by learning, sacred hymns and Vedas.

131-133. A brāhmaṇa who has become pure by bathing at a sacred place etc. is said to be most adorable; so also is he who is always devoted to Nārāyaṇa and has a pure heart, who has curbed his senses, who has controlled his anger, to whom all men are equal, who is devoted to his preceptor, deity and guest, who is engaged in serving his parents, whose mind is never interested in the wife of another man, who always narrates the Purāṇas, who is the child of a man expounding dharma.

134. Seeing him (i.e. such a man) only, (gives) the fruit due to a horse-sacrifice etc. One reaches a good condition when one talks with him as (one would reach a good condition like bliss) by bathing in the Ganges.

135-136. By various vows and daily bath and worship of brāhmaṇas he is purified; and is kind to friend and foe, and is equal to (i.e. looks equally upon) all persons; who (i.e. he) does not snatch other’s wealth, or even (a blade of) grass in the forest; he is free from lust and anger, and is not conquered) (i. e. overpowered) by senses.

137a. He does not even mentally catch hold of another’s wife who has come to his house.

Nārada said:

137b-138a. What are the characteristics of Gāyatrī? What is the merit of her (its) letters? Tell me clearly about her womb, feet and family.

Brahmā said:

138b-139. Gāyatrī’s metre is gāyatrī; her deity is surely the Sun; her complexion is fair; her face is fire; her seer is Viśvāmitra. She is mounted upon Brahmā’s head, and her foot is situated in Viṣṇu’s heart.

140. She is employed at the thread ceremony; she is born in the family of Sāṃkhyāyana; she should be known to have the three worlds as her feet; she remains in the womb of the earth.

141-142. He who assigns the twenty-four letters to the various parts of the body beginning with the feet and ending with the head, obtains (i.e. goes to) Brahmā’s world. Knowing the deity (to be present) in every letter he would obtain (i.e. go to) the same heaven as that of Viṣṇu. I shall tell you another definite characteristic of Gāyatrī.

143-144. A brāhmaṇa, remaining in water, should mutter twelve or eighteen letters beginning with Agni and ending with the sky. Freed from a crore of minor sins, and also great sins like the murder of a brāhmaṇa they go to my abode.

145. Om! the speech of Agni, placed in the man with Yajurveda, drink Soma; Svāhā.

146a. (One should mutter) the hymn of Viṣṇu, the great hymn and that of Maheśvara, and also, O son, of deities like Devī, Sūrya and Gaṇeśa.

146b-147. In whosoever’s family he is born, he becomes meritorious on account of those qualities; a brāhmaṇa is actually Brahmā; he should be carefully worshipped. One should give (him) presents on every parvan.

148-150. The giver receives an inexhaustible (treasure) for hundreds of crores of existences. A brāhmaṇa who is engrossed in his studies, who recites and reads out to others and tells others (about) dharma and also (about) good conduct in the world and Śruti and Smṛti, and also the Purāṇic and religious Texts, is, after having recited or read out (i.e. on account of his having recited or read out these texts), adorable like Viṣṇu among brāhmaṇas on the earth by men and gods.

151. A man having worshipped him gets the inexhaustible fruit of that sinless one (and) goes to the abode of Acyuta (i.e. Viṣṇu).

152. If a brāhmaṇa some time commits a sin, he is not stained with sins, as the (rays of the) sun and fire remaining in the house of a Cāṇḍāla.

153. There is no sin (committed by) brāhmaṇas in acting as priests or teaching, or accepting gifts from bad (persons); (for) brāhmaṇas are like fire and the sun.

154. Well-settled in prāṇāyāma[6] (restraining the breath) they destroy those blemishes and sins as the wind destroys (i.e. shatters) a cloud in the sky.

155-157a. He, who mutters the Gāyatrī hymn endowed with prāṇāyāma, and having deities united with every letter of it, assigns (its various parts) to the various parts (of the body)[7], becomes free from all sins committed even during crores of existences, and reaching the position of Brahman, goes beyond Prakṛti. Therefore, O Nārada, mutter the Gāyatrī with prāṇāyāma.

Nārada said:

157b-158a. O Brahman, how are prāṇāyāmas to be exercised for the deity connected with each syllable? Tell me, in due order, about their assignment to various parts (of the body).

Brahmā said:

158b-160a. Apāna[8] remains at the anus and prāṇa[9] in the heart of a man. So having contracted the anus he should get it (i.e. apāna) united with prāṇa. Then, O son, doing the kumbhaka[10] exercise with pūraka[11], and thus practising the prāṇāyāma (exercises), a brāhmaṇa should mutter the Gāyatrī[12] (hymn).

160b-161a. When a man mutters with this (threefold exercise) his heap of major sins perishes. (If) he recites it once only, his minor sins are destroyed.

161b-163a. That man, who, knowing the sound of each syllable, assigns it to (the various parts of) the body, reaches Brahmanhood; we are unable to tell (its) fruit. O son, listen to the deity of (i.e. connected with) each letter, which I tell (now) and muttering which a brāhmaṇa does not suck the breasts of his mother again (i.e. a brāhmaṇa is not reborn).

163b-169. The first letter should be known to belong to Agni; the second one to Vāyu; the third one belongs to the deity viz. the Sun; the fourth one to the Sky; the fifth one to the deity Yama; the sixth one is said to belong to Varuṇa; the seventh one to Bṛhaspati; they know the eighth one to belong to Prajanya; the ninth one to Indra; the tenth one should be known to belong to Gandharvas; know the eleventh to belong to Pūṣan; the twelfth is said to belong to Mitra; the thirteenth should belong to Tvaṣṭṛ; the fourteenth to Vasus; the fifteenth one is said to belong to Maruts and the sixteenth to Soma; the seventeenth to Aṅgiras; and the next one (i.e. eighteenth) to Viśvedevās; the nineteenth to Aśvins and the twentieth to Prajāpati; the twenty-first letter should be known to be full of all gods; the twenty-second should be known to belong to Rudra; the next one should be known to belong to Brahmā; the twenty-fourth to Viṣṇu; these are the deities of the letters.

1 70. Reflecting on these deities, one would get the same heaven as they live in. He would know the deities and the speech would (also) be known to him.

171-172. Being free from all sins, he would go to the position of Brahman. A wise man should first assign (the various letters of) Gāyatrī to the twenty-four parts in his body beginning with the feet and ending with the head. The wise devotee should assign the syllable ‘tat’ to the great toe of the foot.

173-178. He should assign the letter ‘sa’ to the region of the ankle; he should assign the letter ‘vi’ to the shanks; (he should assign the letter) ‘tu’ to the knee and ‘va’ to the region of the thighs; he should assign the letter ‘re’ to the privity; (he should assign the letter) ‘ni’ to the scrotum; (he should assign the letter) ‘bha’ to the navel; having assigned the letter ‘go’ to the belly, he should assign the letter ‘de’ to the breasts; having assigned the letter ‘va’ to the heart, and the letter ‘sya’ to the region of the hands, (and also) having assigned the letter ‘dhī’ to the mouth, he should assign the letter ‘ma’ to the palate; and (having assigned) the letter ‘hi’ to the tip of the nose, he should assign the letter ‘dhī’ to the eyes; (he should assign the letter) ‘yo’ in between the eye-brows and the letter ‘yo’ to the forehead; he should assign the letter ‘naḥ’ to the forepart of the face; the letter ‘pra’ to the right part; the letter ‘co’ to the hindmost part and the letter ‘da’ to the left part of the face; having assigned the letter ‘yāt’ to the head, he occupying all (the parts of the body), is well-settled.

179. He, the religious-minded great devotee, a very wise man, of the nature of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, having assigned these (letters) would go to the final liberation.

180-181. Listen again correctly to the assignments to be done at the time of the evening (prayer). Having assigned ‘Om bhūḥ’ to the heart, he should assign ‘Om bhuvaḥ’ to the head. (He should assign) ‘Oṃ svaḥ’ to the lock of hair on the crown of the head; he should assign ‘tat savitur vareṇyam’ to the body; ‘bhargo devasya dhīmahi’ to the eyes; he should assign ‘Oṃ dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt’ to the hands.

182. (While reciting the hymn) ‘Oṃ āpojyotīrasomṛtam[13] brahma bhūrbhuvaḥsvaroṃ’, he, being purified from sin by merely touching water would go to Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu).

183. Having muttered Sāvitrī three times at the time of the evening (prayer) with Kumbhaka, with Vyāhṛtis[14] and twelve oṃkāras as ‘Oṃ bhūḥ, Oṃ bhuvaḥ, Oṃ svaḥ, Oṃ mahaḥ, Oṃ janaḥ, Oṃ tapaḥ, Oṃ satyaṃ; Oṃ tat saviturvareṇyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi, dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt’ (i.e. we reflect upon that excellent lustre of god Savitṛ who would urge our minds); ‘Oṃ āpo jyotīrasomṛtaṃ brahma bhūrbhuvaḥsvaroṃ’ and having muttered the Sāvitrī (-hymn) of twenty-four letters at the time of the Sun-worship, he becomes superior with great learning, (and) obtains Brahmanhood.

184. O son, now listen carefully to Gāyatrī, having six limbs, knowing which a brāhmaṇa goes to the highest position of Brahman.

185. ‘Om tat savitur...’.

186. Now (follow) the characteristics of the five heads of Gāyatrī: ‘Oṃ bhūḥ, Oṃ bhuvaḥ, Oṃ svaḥ, Oṃ mahaḥ, Oṃ janaḥ, Oṃ tapaḥ, Oṃ satyaṃ.’ ‘Oṃ tatsavitur vareṇiyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi, dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt’.

187. Having muttered Gāyatrī with Vyāhṛtis he should again assign (the letters of) Gāyatrī (to the various parts of the body). Being free from all sins he would go to the same heaven as of Viṣṇu.

188. (He should assign the letters) ‘Om bhūḥ’ to the two feet; ‘Oṃ bhuvaḥ’ to the two knees; ‘Oṃ svaḥ’ to the waist; ‘Oṃ mahaḥ’ to the navel; he should assign (the letters) ‘Oṃ satyam’ to the forehead; ‘Oṃ tat saviturvareṇiyam...’ to the lock of hair on the crown of the head.

189. A brāhmaṇa who does not know this, is a mean brāhmaṇa; his sin is not exhausted; he would become (sinful) by accepting many presents (i.e. his sin due to accepting various gifts is not removed).

190. He who knows this Gāyatrī endowed with all the mystical letters forming the essential part of the (Gāyatrī-) hymn, knows the four Vedas, has the knowledge of meditation and of the three muttered prayers.

191. He who does not hear (Gāyatrī), is (even) beyond (i. e. inferior to) a Śūdra. To such an impure brāhmaṇa the presents made at the time of a Śrāddha should not be given.

192-193a. His bath is useless; everything about him would be fruitless. Like a pure flower at an impure place all his learning, wealth, birth (as a brāhmaṇa) are fruitless, since brāhmaṇahood is the cause (of all these).

193b. Formerly I compared the four Vedas and Gāyatrī.

194-195a. Gāyatrī is said to be superior to the Vedas, and the giver of final bliss. If Gāyatrī (-hymn is recited) ten times it destroys the sin committed from birth, (if it is recited) a hundred times it destroys the sin of the previous existence; and (if is is recited) a thousand times it destroys the sin committed in every existence in the three yugas.

195b-196a. He who mutters the Gāyatrī (-hymn) in the evening and in the morning on (i.e. by counting the beads of) a rosary, undoubtedly gets the fruit of (the recitation of) the four Vedas.

196b-197a. The sin committed during a crore of existences, of a brāhmaṇa who everyday mutters the Gāyatrī (-hymn) thrice a day for one year, perishes.

197b. Gāyatrī, merely by its utterance, purifies one from a heap of sins.

198-200. An excellent brāhmaṇa obtains heaven and salvation by muttering it everyday. He who everyday recites the hymns addressed to Vāsudeva, and salutes the feet of Hara, would go to (i.e. obtain) salvation. One reciting the hymns of Vāsudeva and excellent stories about him, does not have even an iota of the mud (of sin) in his body. By plunging into the Vedas and (other) branches of learning, he gets the fruit of bathing in three streams.

201. One who recites the religious texts would get the fruit of a crore of sacrifices. Thus, O best brāhmaṇa, I am not able to describe the virtues of a brāhmaṇa.

202-203a. Who is having the universal body? It is Hari only in an embodied form, due to whose curse there is destruction, and due to the granting of boons by whom, all kinds of prosperity come to a person.

203b. Due to the favour of a brāhmaṇa, a pious man goes to Brahmanhood.

204. ‘My salutation to the deity belonging to Brahman, to the benefactor of cows and brāhmaṇas and of the world, to Kṛṣṇa and Govinda.’

205. Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu) favours the man who always worships Hari with this sacred text, and he would go to the same world as that of Viṣṇu.

206. The sin of him, committed during existence after existence, who would listen to this account of a religious nature, perishes.

207-208. He, who recites it or reads it to others or explains it to people, is not reborn and obtains inexhaustible heaven (i.e. lives eternally in heaven). Here (i.e. in this world), he would obtain wealth, grains, royal enjoyments and sound health, and also a good son and auspicious fame and in heaven he enjoys like a god.

Footnotes and references:


Between 10a and 10b a line or two seem to be missing.


The verb seems to be missing.


Bhṛṅgīritī—One of the two of Śiva’s attendants.


Parvan—The days of the four changes of the moon viz. the eighth and fourteenth day of each half month and the days of the full and new moon.


Svāhā—An exclamation used in offering ablations to gods. Svadhā—An exclamation used in offering oblations to the manes.


Prāṇāyāma—Name of the three ‘breath-exercises’ performed during sandhyā—Pūraka, Recaka and Kumbheka.


Nyāsa—Mental appropriation or assignment of various parts of the body to tutelary deities.


Apāna—That of the five vital airs which goes down and out at the anus.




Kumbhaka—Stopping the breath by shutting the mouth and closing the nostrils with the fingers of the right hand.


Pūraka—Closing the right nostril with the forefinger and drawing up air through the left, and then closing the left nostril and drawing up air through the right nostril.

(The third is Recaka, which is expelling the breath out of one of the nostrils.)


The mantra occurs at 185 and 186. It means: Let us think about that excellent lustre of (god) Savitṛ, who would urge (i.e. urges) our minds.


Āpojyotī... Nārāyaṇa is said to be water, light, cause of immortality, Brahma, Bhūḥ and Svar.


Vyāhṛti—a mystic word uttered by every brāhmaṇa in performing his daily Sandhyā—adoration. They are supposed to be three or seven as given here.

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