The Padma Purana

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

This page describes good conduct which is chapter 49 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-ninth 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.

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1. By what conduct, does the brāhmaṇic lustre of a brāhmaṇa increase and by what conduct does that lustre perish?

Brahmā said:

2. The best brāhmaṇa should get up from his bed when there is still a portion of the night (i.e. early morning), and should certainly remember the meritorious gods.

3-8. (He should recite the hymns: I salute) ‘Govinda, Mādhava, Kṛṣṇa, Hari, Dāmodara, Nārāyaṇa, Jagannātha, the unborn lord; (I salute) Sarasvatī, Mahālakṣmī, Sāvitrī, the mother of the Vedas, Brahmā, Bhāskara (i.e. the Sun), Candra (i.e. the Moon), the regents of the quarters and planets, Śaṅkara, Śiva, Śambhu, Īśvara and Maheśvara, Gaṇeśa, Skanda, Gaurī and auspicious Bhāgīrathī’. (He should also recite the verses:) ‘King Nala of an auspicious fame, Janāradana of an auspicious fame, Vaidehī (i.e. Sītā) of an auspicious fame and Yudhiṣṭhira of an auspicious fame.’ ‘These seven viz. Aśvatthāman, Bali, Vyāsa, Hanumat and Bibhīṣaṇa, Kṛpa and Paraśurāma are long-lived (i.e. deathless)’. A man, who, having got up in the morning, daily remembers these, is free from the sins like the murder of a brāhmaṇa etc. There is no doubt about this.

9. Merely by uttering (these names) once, a man would get the fruit of all sacrifices. He obtains the fruit of the gift of hundred thousands of cows.

10. Then he should evacuate his bowels and urinate in a pure place. This he should do facing the south at night and the north by day.

11. After that he should clean his teeth with straws or sticks of udumbara etc. Then a brāhmaṇa should engage himself in the performance of the morning prayer.

12. A brāhmaṇa should duly meditate upon red-complexioned Sarasvatī in the forenoon, white-complexioned Sarasvatī in the mid-day and dark one in the evening.

13. Then he should carefully bathe according to his understanding. Having washed his body he should then smear it with clay.

14-15. He who desires purity should apply clay to the region of the head, the forehead, the nose, the heart, the eyebrows, the arms, the side(s), the navel, the knees, the two feet. He should apply one (layer) on the genital organ, three (layers) at the anus, and ten on the left hand; he should give seven layers on both (the hands).

16-17. All the sin of that man who smears clay on his body with the recital of the sacred hymn: ‘O clay, you who are trodden by horses, chariots, and Viṣṇu; O Earth, remove my sin collected formerly’, perishes and he becomes pure.

18-19. Then a wise man should bathe, after (the recital of) a Vedic (hymn), in a big river, a small river, a well, a lotus-pool, or a lake or a sea or a bank, and after that he should duly bathe with (water contained in) water jars for the destruction of all sins.

20. Bath in the morning is very meritorious, and destroys all sins. A brāhmaṇa who everyday takes it, is honoured in Viṣṇu’s world.

21-22. That water which is near (the place where one has taken his bath and offered) his morning prayer, upto a distance of four daṇḍas (i.e. sixteen hastas) is nectar and serves the manes. Then from two ghaṭikās to one watch (i.e. three hours), it is like honey and increases the joy of the manes.

23. After that for a watch and a half, the water is said to be milky. Upto a distance of four daṇḍas it is mixed with milk.

24. After this (time the water remains just water for three watches). Then (in the fourth watch) it is said to be bloody (and remains so) till the sun sets.

25. That water offered, after bath, in the fourth watch is received by demons only, and is without pleasure (i.e. gives no joy to the manes).

26. Formerly only I created water for the attainment of everything; and Yakṣas alone are foremost in its protection.

27. The manes that have gone to the other world do not receive it. It is difficult for them to get except through the mortals (related to them).

28. Therefore libations of water should be offered by the disciples, sons, grandsons, daughters’ sons, relatives, devoted to the dead ancestors.

Nārada said:

29. O lord of gods, tell me clearly the deity of water and the rite of offering oblations of water, so that I can understand it.

Brahmā said:

30. Viṣṇu is praised in all the worlds as the deity of water. Viṣṇu would do good to him who is purified by water.

31. A man drinking but a mouthful of water would become purified. Especially the water (that has come) in contact with kusa (i.e. darbha) is superior to nectar.

32. Darbha, the abode of all gods, was formerly created by me. Brahmā remains at the root of kuśa, Keśava is at its centre.

33-34a. Know Śaṅkara to be residing at the tip of kuśa. These (deities) have settled themselves in kuśa. If a pure man with a kuśa in his hand recites a eulogy or a hymn, it is said to be a hundred-fold effective. It is said to be a thousand times (effective) at a sacred place.

34b-35. Kuśas are said to be (of) seven (types): kuśa, kāśa (grass), dūrvā, barley-leaves, paddy-leaves, Eleusine Indica,[1] and lotuses. They are pure in that order. (Thus) the kuśas are settled in the world.

36. All that bath (which is taken) without (reciting) a hymn is useless. By contact with sesamum it becomes sweeter than nectar.

37. Therefore, a wise man should always offer libations of water (mixed) with sesamum to the manes. By just ten sesamum seeds, the manes are exceedingly pleased.

38a. Gods do not desire prolixity for fear of stopping the burning power of fire.

38b-39. He, who, after having bathed, offers libations of water mixed with sesamum to the manes, or by letting loose a dark bull (in their honour), or offers them water with sesamum on the new moon day, or gives light (i.e. lights lamps in their honour) in the rainy season, is free from the debt (he owes) to the manes.

40. He, who offers sesamum to the manes on the new moon day throughout a year, obtains the position of Vināyaka, and is honoured by all gods.

41-42. He who pleases (i.e. offers oblations) to the host of his manes with sesamum on yuga days[2] etc.—it is said that such offerings on the new moon day are a hundred-fold effective—or in an ayana or on a viṣuva or on a full moon or a new moon day is honoured in heaven.

43-44a. And by pleasing (i.e. offering oblations to) the manes on Manvantara[3] days or other auspicious days or on a solar or lunar eclipse day at sacred places like Gayā etc., he goes to Viṣṇu’s abode.

44b-45. Therefore, finding an auspicious day a man should please (i.e. offer oblations to) the host of his manes. A wise man, being composed, having first gratified (i.e. offered oblations to) gods would then be entitled to offering oblations to the manes.

46. He should offer (water) with one hand at the time of a śrāddha and taking food; (but) should offer it with both hands at the time of tarpaṇa (i.e. offering oblation of water etc.). This is an ancient rule.

47. Being pure and facing the south he should offer libations to the manes and (should) utter the words ‘Be pleased’, and mention his name and family.

48-49a. That offering, which one, through delusion, makes with non-black sesamum to the host of one’s manes, or that offering which one makes by offering water on the ground, himself remaining in water, is offered in vain. It does not reach anyone.

49b-50a. That water, which a man, remaining on ground, offers into water, does not reach the manes. It is useless.

50b-51 a. O sinless one, he who, having wet clothes on, offers water (of libation) into water, has his manes and gods always pleased (with him).

51b-52a. The wise say that a garment washed by washermen is impure. A garment washed with (one’s) own hands becomes pure again.

52b-53a. (By offering water with wet clothes on one’s person) the manes certainly become ten times more pleased than when, he, having a dry garment on his body, offers libation to the manes on a pure ground.

53b-54a. He, who bathes, offers his prayers and offers oblations on a rock, an iron vessel or a copper vessel has each of these a hundred-fold effective.

54b-55a. All (the offering) of him, who, having put a silver ring round the fore-finger, offers libations to his manes, becomes a hundred thousand times effective; not otherwise.

55b-56a. In the same way, if a wise man, putting a golden ring on his ring finger, gratifies (offers libations to) the host of his manes, that is a lakh of crores times effective.

56b-57a. Holding a Khaḍgaka in the right hand, between the thumb and the forefinger, and a gem round the ring finger—that gives the inexhaustible fruit of the ten cavity-fuls [?] of water (offered to gods etc.).

57b-58. Gods, with hosts of manes, having taken up an aerial form, thirsty and longing for water, follow a man going for his bath. When he squeezes his garment, they go back disappointed.

59-60a. Therefore, a man should not squeeze his garment without (i.e. before) having offered libations to the manes. All the sacred places, numbering three crores and a half, i.e. as many as there are hairs on a human body, fail him. Therefore, he should not squeeze his garment (before offering libations).

60b-61a. Gods drink the water (offered) on their heads, the manes through beards, Gandharvas through eyes, and all (other) beings from below these (i.e. through their mouths).

61b-62. Merely by bathing, gods, hosts of manes, all Gandharvas and beings are pleased. No sin remains as a result of bath. That man who bathes everyday is best among men.

63. Freed from all sins, he is honoured in heaven. Till bath and offering of oblations (are over) gods are known to be great sages.

64. A wise man should worship gods after this (i.e. offering oblations). No danger befalls him who worships Gaṇeśa.

65. He should worship the Sun for good health, should worship Viṣṇu for righteousness and salvation, Śiva and Caṇḍikā for the satisfaction of (all) desires.

66. Having worshipped the gods, he should make an offering to Viśvedevāḥ. After that he should perform the rite of making an offering into the fire, perform the (daily) sacrifice and gratify brāhmaṇas.

67-68a. He will then go to heaven of gods full of (all) goodness; he will stop his going and coming (i.e. will have no rebirth), (he will have his) desires (satisfied), will obtain release, happiness and heaven. Therefore, with all care, he should perform the daily rites.

Nārada said:

68b-69a. O father, O omniscient one, why is it that gods. do not receive (i.e. are not offered the libations of) water with the hosts of manes as do human beings?

Brahmā said:

69b-70. Formerly, I created water—nectar full of all gods For its protection (I created) demons and Yakṣas having bows. On my words they kill a mane or a god, but not a human being.

71-72a. Beasts, birds and insects are settled (by me) in the mortal world. Gods horn as mortals, and also human beings, after having everyday gratified the preceptor, are settled in heaven.

72b-74a. He, who does not bathe eats feces; one who does not mutter his prayers eats pus and blood. By not gratifying the manes daily, a man becomes the killer of his ancestors. Not worshipping the gods also involves the sin equal to that of killing a brāhmaṇa. A sinner who does not offer his (morning or evening) prayer afflicts the Sun also.

Nārada said:

74b-75a. Tell me about the order of the proper discharge of duties of a brāhmaṇa. Tell me also about the entire conduct of other (castes).

Brahmā said:

75b-76. A man gets (long) life due to good conduct; he obtains happiness due to good conduct. He gets heaven and salvation due to good conduct. Good conduct destroys inauspiciousness. A man of bad conduct is condemned in the world.

77-78a. He is always unhappy, suffers from diseases and lives a short life. A man certainly lives in hell due to bad conduct. A man obtains (i.e. goes to) the highest world as a result of good conduct. Listen properly to (the description of good) conduct.

78b-82a. A man should always smear his house with cow-dung. Then he should wash the wooden seat, vessels, slabs (with water). He should cleanse the bell-metal vessels with ash; copper-vessels are cleansed with acid. Vessels made of stone are cleansed with oil. A garment of cotton is brushed with cow’s hair. Vessels of gold and silver become clean with water only. Iron-pots are cleansed with fire by burning them. Impure ground is cleansed by digging it, or burning it, or smearing it or washing it or by the rain-fall.

82b-83a. I have formerly said that cleansing of objects made of metals or water-pots or all objects made of stone, are cleansed with ashes and clay.

83b-84. Bed, wife, child, garment, sacred thread, water-pot of one’s own only are pure and never of others. One should not eat with only one garment on one’s person, nor should one bathe with only one garment on one’s body.

85. One should never put on the bathing-garment of anyone else. One should dress one’s hair and clean one’s teeth in the morning only.

86. One should daily salute one’s preceptors (and elderly persons). One should have one’s meal with the five parts of one’s body, viz. (two) hands, (two) feet, and one’s mouth wet, (i.e. one should eat after washing one’s hands, feet and mouth).

87. He who eats with these five parts wet (i.e. after having washed them), lives for a hundred years. He should not deliberately disobey the order of his deities, his preceptor, an initiated householder or his teacher.

88-89a. He should not deliberately pass over the shadow of an initiated brāhmaṇa. He should go round, keeping to his right, the herd of cows, a deity, a brāhmaṇa, ghee, honey, a place where four roads meet, and also well known trees.

89b-90a. He should not pass between a cow and a brāhmaṇa, between fire and a brāhmaṇa, between two brāhmaṇas, and between husband and wife. Such a man, though living in heaven, would surely fall.

90b-9la. With remnants of food on his hand (i.e. without washing his hands and mouth after eating) he should not touch fire, a brāhmaṇa, a deity or a preceptor, and also his own head, a tree with flowers or a fig tree; (this is) unrighteous.

9lb-92a. Without washing his hands and mouth after eating, he should not look at the three luminous bodies, viz. the sun, the moon, and all the stars.

92b-93a. Without washing his hands and mouth after eating, he should not see a brāhmaṇa, a preceptor, a deity, a king, an excellent ascetic, a contemplative saint doing acts pertaining to gods (i.e. worshipping gods), and a brāhmaṇa preaching dharmas (duties).

93b-94. One should not evacuate one’s bowels at the bank of a river or on sea-shore, at the root of a fig tree, in a garden or a flower-garden, and in water.

95. A wise man should never get shaved in the house of a brāhmaṇa, a cow-pen or a charming royal road or on Tuesday.

96. He should not allow dirt to settle on his teeth, on the nails or mouth (i.e. he should always keep his teeth, nails or mouth clean). He should not besmear his body with oil on Sundays and Tuesdays.

97-98a. He should not play upon a musical instrument by putting it on his own body; he should not occupy the same seat as that of his preceptor. He should not snatch the wealth of a learned brāhmaṇa, or of a deity or of his preceptor also; and also of a king, ascetics, a lame or a blind person, a woman.

98b-99a. He should give passage to a brāhmaṇa, cows and kings, to a sick person, to one who is tormented (i.e. bent down) with a load, to a pregnant woman and to a weak person.

99b-103a. He should not argue with a king or a brāhmaṇa or a physician. He should avoid from a distance a brāhmaṇa, his preceptor’s wife, and also a fallen person, a leper, a cāṇḍāla eating cow’s flesh; he should also avoid from a distance an expelled person, an ignorant person, a wicked woman, a woman of bad conduct, a woman who causes scandal, one doing bad deeds, a vicious one, one always liking (i.e. indulging in) quarrelling, a wanton woman, one having a redundant limb, a shameless woman, one going astray, one who is a spendthrift, and one of an improper conduct.

103b-104. A wise man should never salute his preceptor’s wife during her menstruation. He should not touch her; having touched (i.e. if he touches her) he becomes pure after (having taken) a bath. He should always avoid sporting with her.

105. He should hear the words of his preceptor’s wife (i.e. should remain within the distance where he can hear her, but) should not see (i.e. gaze upon) her. He should not at all look at (i.e. gaze upon) or touch the wife of his son or brother or his young daughter, or the wife of his preceptor.

106-107a. He should always avoid chatting with them or knitting of the eyebrows, and also quarrel or shameless talk.

107b-108a. He should never tread upon husk, charcoal, bones or ashes, and also seeds of cotton-plants, remains of an offering to a deity, wood meant for a funeral pile, or the funeral pile of a respectable person.

108b-109a. He should not eat dry, stinking and filthy fish, also the food which is left over by others, or prepared for others.

109b-110a. He should not, even for a moment, move with a bad person. A wise man should not remain under the shadow of a lamp, or under a bibhitaka tree.

110b-111a. He should not, even for a moment, talk with the untouchables, the fallen and the angry. Having done (i.e. if he does) so, he would go to (the hell called) Raurava.

111b-112a. He should not salute his paternal and maternal uncles who are younger than he, but (when they arrive) he should get up, offer a seat to them and stand before them with the palms of his hands joined in reverence.

112b-114a. He who is completely conversant with (good manners) should not salute a person who has smeared himself with oil, or who has not washed his hands etc. after having taken food, or whose clothes are wet, or who is sick or frightened or carrying (a load), or one who is engaged in a sacrifice, or one who is spoiled, or one who is sporting with women or children or one who is having (i.e. carrying) flowers and darbhas.

114b-115. He should not sip water (i.e. should not commence a sacred rite) with his head or ears covered, or while remaining in water, or with the lock of hair on his head untied, or without adoring (i.e. washing) his feet, or facing the the south, or without wearing the sacred thread, without a garment on his body or with the hem of his lower garment untucked.

116-119. He who has only one garment on his body is not purified even after sipping water. First he should touch his mouth with the three middle fingers (i.e. the ring-finger, the middle finger and the forefinger); then he should touch his nose with the thumb and the forefinger; he should (then) touch his eyes with the thumb and the ring finger. He should touch his ears with the little finger and the thumb; he should touch his navel with the thumb only. He should keep the palm of his hand on his heart (i.e. touch his chest with the palm of his hand) and should touch his head with all his fingers. Having touched his arms with the tip of his hand, a man would become pure. Thus sipping the water a man becomes pure.

120-122a. Being free from all sins he obtains (i.e. lives in) heaven eternally. May Prāṇa, pleased by the triangle of the fingers, Vyāna and Apāna by mudrā[4], Samāna by all the fingers, Udāna by fingers except the forefinger, and also Nāga[5], Kūrma[6], Kṛkara[7], Devadatta[8] and Dhanañjaya[9], to whom oblations are offered on the ground, being pleased, delight him (who offers the oblations).

122b-124. He should not sleep with wet feet, nor should he eat with dry feet (i.e. without washing his feet). He should not sleep or eat in the dark. He should not brush his teeth while facing the west or the south. He should not sleep keeping his head towards the north or the west. By sleeping like that his life is cut short, and such a man becomes the killer of a brāhmaṇa (i.e. commits the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa).

125. Therefore he should not sleep like that. Sleeping by keeping one’s head towards the east or south is recommended. He (who sleeps) with his face (i.e. head) towards the east enjoys (long) life; he who sleeps with his face (i.e. head) towards the south enjoys fame.

126. One (performing rites) with one’s face towards the west enjoys wealth; one with one’s face towards the north enjoys glory; a man with his face towards the east gets (long) life; he who faces the south (while performing rites) gets the condition of a dead body (i.e. dies).

127-128a. If he faces the direction of Varuṇa (i.e. the west), he falls ill, and if he faces north he gets (long) life and wealth. Gods eat once only, men eat twice, spirits and demons eat thrice and those who feed on dead bodies eat four times (a day).

128b-129a. The oblation to gods is fleshless, and that of men consists of fish and flesh. Others, that are undressed, eat foul-smelling, stale and spoiled food.

129b-130a. Those (good men) whether they stay in heaven or in this mortal world, have four (good things): praiseworthy gifts, sweet words, worshipping deities and gratifying brāhmaṇas.

130b-131a. Niggardliness, censuring one’s own people, dressing in tattered garments and devotion to mean men, excessive anger, using bitter words—these are the characteristics of a man who has (just) come from a hell.

131 b-132a. Words soft like butter, mind tender with compassion—these are the visible signs of those who are born from righteous seeds (i.e. born in righteous families).

l32b-133a. Heart void of compassion, and words harsh like (the sound produced by) a saw—these are the visible signs of those who are born from evil seeds (i.e. born in sinful families).

133b-134. A man who recites or listens to (the account of) good conduct etc., gets the fruit of his good conduct etc. and being purified from sins, (lives) in heaven (wherefrom he) does not fall.

Footnotes and references:


Balbaja—Eleusine Indica, a species of coarse grass not eaten by cows.


Yugādyā—the anniversary of a yuga or the age of the world.


Manvantara—Name of various festivals: of the tenth day of the light half of Āṣāḍha, of the eighth in the dark half of the same month, and of the third in the light half of Bhādrapada.


Mudrā—Particular positions or intertwinings of fingers; they are twenty-four in number and are commonly practised in religious worship; they are supposed to possess an occult meaning and magical efficacy.


Nāga—One of the five airs of human body; it is expelled by eructation.


Kūrma—One of the outer winds of the body, causing the closing of the eyes.


Kṛkara—One of the five vital airs; it assists digestion.


Devadatta—One of the five vital airs; it is exhausted in yawning.


Dhanañjaya—Vital air supposed to nourish the body.

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