The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the account of the five which is chapter 50 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 fiftieth 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 50 - The Account of the Five

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Bhīṣma said:

1. O brāhmaṇa, tell me if you so desire (about) that which would give a greater religious merit, which is always liked in the world, and which was done by (our) ancient ancestors.

Pulastya said:

2. Once all the brāhmaṇas, the disciples of Vyāsa, having respectfully saluted him, asked him about righteousness as you have asked me (now).

The brāhmaṇas said:

3-5. Tell (us), which are the best of all pious deeds, and most meritorious in the whole world, by doing which men enjoy heaven eternally. Tell (us) about one sacrifice, which is performed without trouble, which is pure, and which could be done (easily) by the mortals of high and low castes. O Brahman-be well pleased towards us and tell us by doing which, ever (deed) a man becomes adorable to the gods in heaven.

Vyāsa said:

6. About this I shall first narrate the Pañcākhyāna (i.e. the account of the five); listen to it first. (Even) having done (i.e. if a man does) one of these five, he would obtain salvation, heaven and glory.

7. Adoration of the parents, adoration of the husband, equality (of mind) towards all people, not behaving treacherously with one’s friends, and devotion to Viṣṇu—these are the five great sacrifices.

8. O brāhmaṇas, that righteousness (i.e. religious merit) which a man would earn by adoration of his parents cannot be earned even by performing hundreds of sacrifices or by going on pilgrimages to sacred places on the earth.

9. A father (a mother) is righteousness, a father (a mother) is heaven, a father (a mother) is a great penance; when the father is pleased, all deities are pleased.

10. He whose parents are pleased by his service to them and his virtue, has bathed in the Ganges everyday.

11-12a. A mother is full of (i.e. has the merit of) all sacred places; a father is full of gods (i.e. has all gods unite in him). He who goes round his mother and father keeping them to his right, has (indeed) gone round the earth with the seven islands.

12b-13a. He whose knees, hands and head, when saluting the parents, touch the ground, obtains (i.e. lives in) heaven eternally.

13b-14a. As long as the marks of the dust of their feet have clung to his head (and other) parts (of the body) their son is purified.

14b-15a. The sins, earned (i.e. committed) during hundreds of crores of existences of that son who drinks (i.e. sips) the water of (i.e. flowing from) the lotus-like feet of his parents, perish.

15b-16a. He is blessed in the human world, he is purified from all sins. (Such) a man obtains the status of Vināyaka in (i.e. after) one existence only.

16b-17a. That meanest man who offends his parents by (using bad) words, would live in hell till the submersion of the beings (i.e. till the end of the world).

17b-18a. That meanest son, who eats without honouring his parents, lives in the well of insects and hell till the end of Kalpa (i.e. till the end oft he world).

18b-19. Abandoning (i.e. he who abandons) his parent that is sick, old, or distressed for want of livelihood, defective in eyes or ears, he would go to (the hell called) Raurava. He is even born among the lowest the castes, the cāṇḍālas.

20-21a. All his religious merit would be exhausted by not feeding his parents (i.e. if he does not feed his parents). A son, who does not revere his parents, though resorting (i.e. he resorts) to sacred places and gods, does not obtain their fruit (i.e. the fruit of resorting to sacred places and gods), and remains like an insect on the earth.

2lb-22a. I (shall) tell you an ancient account. O brāhmaṇas, listen to it carefully, by listening to which (i.e. it), you will not be again deluded on the earth.

22b-24a. Formerly there was a brāhmaṇa, known by the name Narottama. Disregarding his own parents he went to resort to the sacred places. Then the bath-garments of that brāhmaṇa, visiting all the sacred places, everyday got dried in the sky (i.e. they remained without any support in the sky and were dried).

24b-25. Pride entered the mind of that brāhmaṇa: “There is none else like me who has done meritorious deeds and who has great fame.” When he said (i.e. he was saying) this, a crane evacuated on his face.

26. Incited by anger, the brāhmaṇa cursed the crane; and the crane, with its body reduced to ashes, fell on the ground.

27. At (i.e. seeing) the murder, fear and great confusion entered (the mind of) the great brāhmaṇa. Then due to the brāhmaṇa’s sin, his garment did not go (i.e. remain unsupported) in the sky.

28-29a. He instantly became dejected. Then (a voice) in (i.e. from) the sky said to him: “O brāhmaṇa, go to the cāṇḍāla, Mūka (by name), who is very righteous. There you will know (i.e. learn about) your duty, and his words will be beneficial to you.”

29b-32. Hearing the words (that came) from the sky, he went to Mūka’s house. He saw him (i.e. Mūka) attending upon his parents, (doing) all (pieces) of work (for them), giving them hot water at the cold time (of the day), (giving them) oil, warmth, tāmbūla,[1] and cotton garment, giving them, as usual, food, sweets and (their) share of milk, causing to be given to them a fragrant garland of jasmine flowers and also other various objects that could be enjoyed.

33. In the hot (part of the day) he always fanned his parents. Having thus always served them, he used to eat.

34-37a. He removed their fatigue and their distress. Due to these acts of righteousness, Viṣṇu lived in his house for a long time. It (i.e. the house) remained in the atmosphere without supporting pillars; and (he saw) the lord of the three worlds, who had taken the form of a brāhmaṇa, who was handsome, like whom there was none else, who was the highest being, who was full of lustre, who was very energetic and who adorned his house. Seeing him, the brāhmaṇawas amazed, and said to Mūka:

The brāhmaṇa said:

37b-38a. (Please) come near me. I desire (to learn) fully about my eternal good in (all) the worlds. (Please) tell it.

Mūka said:

38b-39. I am attending upon my parents; how can I come near you? Having attended upon them I shall do your job. (Please) remain at my door, I shall offer you hospitality.

40. When the cāṇḍāla spoke like this, the brāhmaṇa then got angry (and said): “Ignoring me—a brāhmaṇa—is your own work (of attending upon your parents) more important for you?”

Mūka said:

41-43. O brāhmaṇa, why do you in vain become angry? I am not that crane to you (i.e. you cannot take me to be the crane whom you cursed). Your anger is effective on the crane; but not at all here (i.e. in my case). Your garment now does not get dried in the sky and does not remain there (without support). Having heard the words (that came) from the sky you have come to my house. (Please) stay, stay, I shall speak to you; otherwise (please) go to that chaste lady. O best of brāhmaṇas, seeing her your desired object will come about.

44. Then lord Viṣṇu, who had taken the form of a brāhmaṇa moved out of his house, and said to the brāhmaṇa: “I am going to her house.”

45. Having thought (for a while), the best of brāhmaṇas walked with him. The brāhmaṇa, being amazed, asked thus to Viṣṇu, who was going (to the house of the chaste lady):

46. “O brāhmaṇa, how is it that you always gladly stay in the cāṇḍāla’s house, frequented by women?”

Hari said:

47. Now (i.e. still) your mind has not certainly been purified. Having seen that chaste lady and others, you will certainly know me.

The brāhmaṇa said:

48. O dear one, who is that chaste lady, and what is her great learning? O brāhmaṇa, tell me the reason for which I am going there (with you).

Hari said:

49. (River) Gaṅgā is the best of (all) rivers. A chaste woman is the best among women. A king is the best (man) among men, and Janārdana (i.e. Viṣṇu) is the best of (all) gods.

50. That chaste women, who is always interested in the good of her husband, would emancipate a hundred men from each of the two families (i.e. that of her husband and that of her father).

51. She enjoys heaven till the (final) destruction of beings (i.e. till the final destruction of the world). Or her husband will be a sovereign emperor fallen from heaven.

52-53a. Being his wife she then enjoys happiness. There is no doubt that he and she again and again get the kingdom of heaven. Having obtained a hundred such births, she would ultimately, certainly obtain salvation.

The brāhmaṇa said:

53b-54a. Who can be a chaste woman? What are her characteristics? O best of brāhmaṇas, tell me (that), so that I shall correctly understand it.

Hari said:

54b-55a. She, who will adore her husband with love hundred times more than that of a son, and will look upon her husband with fear hundred times more than that of a son, and will look upon her husband with fear hundred times greater than that with which a king is looked upon, is a chaste woman.

55b-56a. In (performing) duty, she is (like) a maid-servant; in (giving) sexual pleasure she is (like a prostitute); in (serving) a meal she is (like) a mother; she is a counsellor to her husband in his difficulties. Such is a chaste woman.

56b-57a. That woman is loyal to her husband (i.e. is a chaste woman), who never disobeys her husband by speech, body or deeds, and who eats after her husband has eaten.

57b-58a. She always carefully attends upon her husband on every bed that he sleeps upon.

58b-59a. Such a strong-minded woman never entertains jealousy, or lightness of spirit. She is a loyal wife who looks equally upon honour and dishonour.

59b-60a. That wife, who, being a good one, having seen a well-dressed man—her brother, father or son—looks upon him as a stranger, is a faithful wife.

60b-62a. O best of brāhmaṇas, go to that chaste woman, and tell her what your desire is. He has eight wives; that one, of an excellent complexion, endowed with beauty and youth, possessed of compassion, and glorious, remains among them. She is known by the name Śubhā; go to her and ask her (what is) beneficial to you.

62b-63. Saying so, the lord disappeared there only. The brāhmaṇa, seeing his (i.e. the lord’s) vanishing like this, got amazed. He, having gone to the good woman's house, inquired about the faithful wife.

64-65. Having heard the words of the guest, the good woman came hastily out of the house, and seeing him there she stood at the door. Seeing her, the best brāhmaṇa said (these) words with joy: “Please tell me what is beneficial to me, as you alone have known it.”

The faithful wifi (i.e. Śubhā) said:

66. Now I have to attend upon my husband. We (faithful wives) have no freedom. I shall do your job later. Today accept my hospitality.

The brāhmaṇa said:

67. There is no (feeling of) hunger or thirst in my body (i.e. I am neither hungry nor thirsty); nor am I tired today. O auspicious lady, tell me about my desired object; otherwise I shall curse you.

68. Then she too said too him: “O best brāhmaṇa, I am not that crane. O brāhmaṇa, go to that righteous trader; ask him what is beneficial to you.”

69. Saying so, that illustrious woman entered her house. There the brāhmaṇa saw that brāhmaṇa as (i.e. whom) he had seen in the house of the cāṇḍāla.

70. Having thought (for some time), and being amazed, the brāhmaṇa went with him. He saw the brāhmaṇa staying there with his mind pleased.

71-72. He too, seeing the brāhmaṇa and the chaste woman said: “She told me the account of what took place in another region. How does the cāṇḍāla know that account? And how does that chaste woman know it? O sir, therefore I am amazed. What is this great wonder.”

Hari spoke:

73-74a. The creators of all know the reason, which made you wonder, because of their great religious merit and righteous conduct. O sage, now tell me what she told you.

The brāhmaṇa said:

74b. She advised me to ask the trader about righteousness.

Hari said:

75. O best sage, come (with me), I am going to him. While going, he asked Hari: “Where does the merchant live?”

Hari said:

76. Where there is a great crowd of people, and much money is involved in a good sale, there that merchant is (to be found), doing sale and purchase.

77-78. From his door only, people take and give barley (grains), drink, oil, a heap of food, and all stock. O best man, he has never given up truth and told a lie even at the cost of his life; therefore, he is called a righteous trader.

79-80. When he had said like this, he saw the man having dirt and mud (on his body), having pointed and unclean teeth, and selling many liquids. He was talking various words concerning things and money, and was surrounded all round by various men and women.

81. With sweet words he asked him: “How (do you happen to come here)? Tell me the full description of piety. I have come to you (for that).”

The trader said:

82-84. O brāhmaṇa, as long as people stand near me, I shall not find ease (i.e. leisure) till the first watch of the night. To seek advice you (should) go to the mine ofpiety. There you will know everything about the sin due to the crane’s death (brought about by you) and about your garment being dried in the sky. Go to the good man Adrohaka; and by his advice your desire will be satisfied.

85-86a. Speaking thus to him, the trader did (i.e. carried on) sale and purchase. “O dear one, like that (i.e. as you say), I shall go to the good man—Adrohaka. (But) as advised by the trader, I do not know his residence.”

Hari said:

86b. Come on, with you I shall go to his house.

87a. On the way, the brāhmaṇa said to Hari, who was going (with him):

The brāhmaṇa said:

87b-89a. The trader does not take a bath; he does not make offerings to gods and manes; his entire body is smeared with dirt; his garment also is bad (i.e. dirty). How does he know my account that took place in another region? Therefore, I am amazed; O dear one, tell (explain to) me all the cause (of this).

Hari said:

89b-90. He has conquered the three worlds by means of truth and equanimity. Due to that manes and gods with the hosts of sages are pleased. Therefore, the righteous one knows the past, the future and the present.

91. There is no greater (deed of) piety than truth; there is no greater sin than falsehood, for a man who is especially a man of equanimity and is sinless.

92. All the sins of him, whose mind looks equally upon a foe, a friend or a neutral person, perish, and he would be absorbed in Viṣṇu.

93-95a. He who always behaves like this, would emancipate a crore of (the members of) his family. All these, viz. truth, restraint, tranquility, fortitude, firmness, absence of greed, of wonder and of laziness are well-settled in him. Therefore, he, knowing the ways of the world, knows fully what is going on in the world of gods and that of the human beings. Hari dwells in his body.

95b-96a. In truth and straightforwardness there is no equal to him in the world. He is actually composed of righteousness, and he has sustained the world.

The brāhmaṇa said:

96b. Due to your favour I have understood the cause of the trader’s (greatness). If you so desire tell me the account of Adrohaka.

Hari said:

97-98. Formerly a prince had a noble wife. She was in the prime of youth, and was like Cupid’s wife or like Śacī, the wife of Indra. That beautiful woman was like his own life to him, and her name was Sundarī.

99. All of a sudden the king required him to go for (some) work.

100. He thought to himself: ‘Where shall I keep (this my wife) greater (even) than my own life, so that she will certainly be protected (from danger)?’ Thinking life this, he suddenly came to his house (i.e. the house of Adrohaka).

101-102. He spoke to him words like that. Hearing them, he was amazed. (He said to the prince:) “I am not yourfather, or brother, or relative. Nor do I belong to the family of her father or mother. Nor am I your friend. O son, how (then) will you be at ease by her remaining in my house?”

103. In the meanwhile he uttered words befitting (the occasion): “In the world there is none like you who knows Dharma and who has conquered his senses.”

104. He said to him who knew everything: “Please do not talk (something that is) censurable. Which man is capable of protecting a wife (i.e. a woman) that fascinates (by her beauty) the three worlds?”

The prince said:

105. Knowing (about your greatness) on the earth, I have approached you. Let her stay in your house. I am going home.

106. When he said like this, he (i.e. Adrohaka) again said: “How can the protection of a woman be effected in this very beautiful city, full of libidinous men?”

107a. He (i.e. the prince) again said to him: “(Please) protect her. I am going.”

107b-110a. Due to the difficulty as regards the prescribed course of conduct, the gentleman said to the prince: “I am doing an improper deed. One’s own bondage is proper and beneficial. Such a (beautiful) wife will always remain in my house. O lord, tell me what you desire in the case of the protection of that which could not be protected. Do what is agreeable (to you). If you look upon (me) as your deity, she will sleep near me with my wife on my bed; (if you agree), let her stay, otherwise let her go.”

110b-111a. Having thought for a moment, the prince again said to him. “This is well said, O dear one; do as you like.”

111b-112a. Then he said to his wife: “Do whatever good or bad as he tells you. That will not be your fault, (as you are doing it) at my command.”

112b-113. Speaking thus, he left by the order of the king, his father. Then, at night, he (i.e. Adrohaka) did as he had said. The righteous one everyday slept between the two women.

114-116. But in the case of his own wife his mind desired sex; (but) due to her contact (i.e. the contact of the body of the prince’s wife), he (did not have such feeling and) looked upon her as (his own) daughter. He looked upon her breasts touching his back as a child would look upon his mother’s breasts (i.e. as a child feels on having the touch of his mother’s breasts, so he felt when his back was touched by her breasts). Again and again her breasts touched his back.

117. Everyday he looked upon her as a child would look upon his mother. Then his contact with women ceased (he did not have union with his own wife also).

118. Then when half a year (passed) like this, her husband came (back) to the city. He inquired with people about him, about her conduct and about what was said (about them).

119-120a. Some, though young, being extremely amazed, spoke well about Adrohaka. Some said: “You handed her (over to him); he sleeps with her. How can there be satisfaction, when a man and a woman come in contact with each other?”

120b-121. That young man who longs for her would not talk (i.e. say anything even though) he is asked about her. Due to the strength of his religious merit, he heard the rumours (spread) by people. He had an auspicious thought to get himself free from the public scandal.

122-123. He himself brought pieces of wood, and prepared a great fire. O dear, the valorous prince meanwhile came to his house and saw him and the woman (i.e. his own wife)—the woman’s face was blooming, and the man was extremely dejected.

124. Knowing the intention of the two, the prince uttered (these) words: “Why do you not talk to me, your friend, who has come after a long time?”

125-126. That righteous trader, without losing his sense, said to the prince: “I think that deed, difficult to do, which I did for your good, has been in vain due to the public scandal. Today I shall enter fire; let men and gods witness (it).”

127-128. Saying so, the magnanimous one entered fire. The fire did not burn the flower on the mass of hair of him, who entered it, nor did the fire burn his body, or garment or hair. All the gods in heaven joyfully said: “Well done, well done!”

129-130a. From all sides showers of flower fell on his head. Various kinds of (spots of) leprosy appeared on the faces of those who had said bad words about the two.

130b-13la. Gods, having come there, gladly dragged him from the fire and worshipped him with flowers; sages also were amazed.

131 b-132a. The highly lustrous one was thus honoured by all excellent sages and various men at that time. He too honoured all.

132b-133. He was named Sajjanādrohaka, by gods, demons and men. Earth, purified by the dust-particles of his feet, became full of corn; and gods also said to him (i.e. the prince): “Take (back) your wife.

134. Like him there was no man; nor anyone will be born like him; nor is there at present any man on the earth who is not conquered (i.e. affected) by (sexual) desire and greed.

135. This (sexual) desire is quite unconquerable for all—gods, demons, men, goblins, beasts, birds and insects.

136-137. It is always generated in beings through desire, greed and anger. (Sexual) desire binds (one) to the mundane existence. Very rarely a desireless person (like him) is (to be found). Everything is conquered by him—the fourteen worlds (are conquered by him). Vāsudeva (i.e. Viṣṇu) has gladly remained in his heart.

138. Men, who touch him or see him like this, are free from all sins, become faultless, and obtain inexhaustible heaven (i.e. live in heaven eternally).”

139. Saying so, gods gladly went to heaven in aeroplanes. Men, being pleased, went (home), and the couple also went to their residence.

140. He has a divine eye, and he sees (i.e. could see) gods; he very easily understood what happened in the three worlds.

141. Then on the road, the brāhmaṇa accompanied by Viṣṇu saw him. Gladly he asked (i.e. said to) him: “Tell me the motive of Dharma which is beneficial.”

Sajjanādroha said:

142-143. O brāhmaṇa, O you who know Dharma, go to the best man, the devotee of Viṣṇu. Seeing him, your desired object will now come about; you will know as far as the death of the crane and (your) garment being dried up (in the sky) are concerned, and (you will have fulfilled) whatever other desire is (i.e. you have) in your mind.

144-145. Hearing these words, they two came to the devotee of Viṣṇu. He gladly went with that brāhmaṇa, who was Viṣṇu. He saw, standing before him, a man, who was pure, blazing, fully endowed with all (good) characteristics, and shining with his own lustre.

146. That virtuous brāhmaṇa said to the (devotee) who was dear to Hari, and who was engrossed in meditation: “Tell us whatever has taken place; for I have come to you from a far off place.”

The devotee of Viṣṇu spoke:

147. The best of gods, the lord of the enemies of demons is pleased with you. O brāhmaṇa, having seen you now, my mind is as it were pleased.

148-149a. You will get in comparable prosperity; your desire will be satisfied. (Only) after having seen god Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu), the best among gods, who is residing in my house, your garment will always be dried up in the sky; not otherwise.

149b-150a. Thus addressed by Viṣṇu’s devotee, he again spoke to him: “Where does that Viṣṇu stay (in your house)? Favour me and show him to me today.”

Viṣṇu’s devotee said:

150b-151a. Having entered this beautiful temple, and having seen that lord, you will be free from the bondage of birth (and death) as a result of the eradication of your sins.

151b-152a. Having heard those words of him (i.e. of the devotee), he entered the house and saw that brāhmaṇa (who had accompanied him, and who was none other than) Viṣṇu, resting on a lotus-bed.

152b-154. Having saluted him by (bowing) his head, he joyfully clasped his feet. (He said:) “O lord of gods, be pleased; formerly I did not know you. O lord, I am your servant in this world and the next. O Madhusūdana, I have experienced your favour. If you favour me, I would like to see your (divine) form.”

Viṣṇu said:

155-156. O brāhmaṇa, I always have affection for you. I have appeared before the pious ones due to my affection for them. Those who are meritorious obtain heaven eternally by seeing, touching, meditating upon, narrating and talking about (the deity).

157-158. By constant contact all the sins would perish. (Such a man) having enjoyed unending happiness, merges in me. Having bathed (i.e. he who bathes) at holy places, and having seen (i.e. he who sees) me everywhere, having seen (i.e. visited) (i.e. he who visits) the countries of the meritorious people, he dwells in me.

159. O you best among men, he, having always narrated (i.e. he who narrates) a meritorious story in front of the people becomes merged in my body.

160. Having fasted (i.e. by fasting) on my day (i.e. on the day sacred to me), and having listened (i.e. by listening) to my account, and having kept (i.e. by keeping) awake at night, he becomes absorbed in me.

161. He who makes great sound by means of dancing, songs and musical instruments, and who recollects my name, becomes absorbed in me, O greatest brāhmaṇa.

162. My devotee is a holy place. He (i.e. Viṣṇu) remained in the sky and spoke to you to destroy the sin which you committed when you killed the crane:

163-166. “Go to the great-souled Mūka, the excellent holy place for the meritorious. O dear, by seeing Mūka, all great men are seen. Having seen and talked to them, and with affection for my contact, you have come to my house. That one, knowing piety, whose sin perishes after a thousand crores of births, sees me; and by that (i.e. by seeing me) he is pleased. O child, O innocent one, you saw (i.e. you could see) me because of my favour only; therefore take (from me) a boon which you have in your mind.”

The brāhmaṇa said:

167. O lord, let our minds be fixed on you by all means O lord of all the worlds, let us not like anything else except you.

Madhava (i.e. Viṣṇu) said:

168-169. O innocent one, since such a thought always rises in your mind, therefore you will obtain in my body enjoyments like me (i.e. as I have); but O innocent one, your parents have not received worship from you. Having worshipped your parents, you will then come to (i.e. become one with) my body.

170. Due to the air of their sighs, and due to their great anger your penance again (and again) perishes; therefore, O brāhmaṇa, worship them daily.

171. I, or Brahmā or Śaṅkara cannot stop the (son from falling into) hell, on whom the anger of the parents falls (i.e. with whom the parents are angry).

172. Therefore, go to your parents, and carefully worship them. Then by their favour only, you (will) go to my position.

173. When (Viṣṇu) said this, the best brāhmaṇa said to the lord of the world: “O lord, O Acyuta, if you are pleased with me, (please) show me your (original) form.”

174-175. Then the powerful Brahmaṇya (i.e. Viṣṇu), with his heart pleased, and out of love for the brāhmaṇa, showed his own form to the brāhmaṇa. The brāhmaṇa, saluting, (by prostrating himself) like a staff on the ground, Acyuta, the lord, holding a conch, a disc, a mace, a lotus, the cause of the entire world, filling the world with lustre, spoke to him again:

176-178. “Today my life is fruitful; today my eyes have become auspicious; today my hands are praiseworthy; O lord of the world, today I am blessed. Today my ancestors will go to the eternal world of Brahmā. O Janārdana, by your favour my relatives will be delighted today. Now all my desires have been fulfilled.

179. But (still) O lord, I wonder how the wise ones like Mūka very much know my account (i.e. what happened to me) that took place in another country.

180-181. A very handsome brāhmaṇa lived in the interior of his house; also in the house of the chaste lady, and above the head of the merchant, and also you lived in the Viṣṇu-temple of Mitrādrohaka. O brāhmaṇa, (please) explain it by (showing) favour to me.”

The lord spoke:

182-184a. Mūka was always devoted to his parents; the chaste lady was always good; the trader spoke the truth and he was equal to all people; Adroha conquered his greed and desire; the Vaiṣṇava is said to be my devotee. I am pleased with the virtues of these (persons), (therefore) I gladly stay in their houses with Sarasvatī and Lakṣmī, O best brāhmaṇa.

The brāhmaṇa said:

184b-185. Those who know the ways of the world say (i.e. have said) in the smṛtis, purāṇas, sacred texts and Vedas that men become very sinful due to their contact with great sinners; how (then) do you stay in (their) houses?

The lord said:

186. Mūka is the doer of (i.e. does) all good things in the world. Even though he follows the livelihood of a cāṇḍāla, gods know him to be a brāhmaṇa.

187. As far as meritorious deeds are concerned, there is none like Mūka in (all) the worlds. He is always devoted to his parents. He has conquered the three worlds.

188. I, along with the hosts of gods, am pleased with his devotion to them (i.e. his parents). I remain in his house in the form of a brāhmaṇa, and (I also remain) in the sky.

189-190. O you who know Dharma, I always remain in the house of the chaste lady, in the residence of the merchant, in the abode of Adrohaka, and also in the house of the devotee of Viṣṇu; even for a short while, I do not forsake (them). Those other sinful people do not always see me.

191-192. Because of your religious merit and my favour, you have seen me. The cāṇḍāla, devoted to his parents, attained godhead. Therefore I gladly stay with him in his house. O son of a brāhmaṇa, I again and again talk to him.

193. I, the creator, live in his mind alone. He knows your account, so also the chaste lady and others.

194. I shall tell you their account in due order. Listen to it. Listening to it a mortal is completely free from the bondage of birth (and death).

195. There is no holier place than the father and the mother even among the gods of gods. He, who has worshipped his parents, is the best man.

196. The fruit of (obeying) the parents’ order is the same as that of (obeying) the order of a deity or a preceptor. By adoring the parents a man goes to heaven; by harming (them) he goes to the Raurava (hell).

197. Such a man stays in my heart; I too remain in his heart. There is no difference between us. He is equal to me here (i.e. in this world) and in the next world.

198-199. In my charming city, in front of me, he enjoys inexhaustible enjoyments along with his relatives, and in the end dwells in me. Therefore, O best man, that Mūka knows the news in the three worlds. Why then should you be thus amazed?

The brāhmaṇa spoke:

200. What should be done, O lord of the world, if a man even after having realised the importance of worship to parents, does not do it, through delusion or ignorance?

The lord said:

201. He, who has shown devotion to (i.e. worshipped) his parents, for a day, or a month, or a fortnight, or half a fortnight or for a year, would go to my abode.

202. Having rendered his mind ill (i.e. if he worships the parents with evil thoughts in his mind) he would certainly go to hell. The worship of parents done earlier would be as good as not done (i.e. would be rendered useless).

203-204a. A man would get the fruit of devotion to (i.e. worship of) parents by offering a bull. Whatever, vegeterian or non-vegetarian food, garments or products of cows, is given to one’s kinsmen has a lakhfold fruit.

204b-205. That intelligent son who has offered a śrāddha with all his wealth, remembers his (previous) births, and would obtain the fruit of the devotion to (i.e. worship of) his parents. In all the three worlds there is no greater sacrifice than a śrāddha.

206. Whatever is given here (i.e. at a śrāddha) obtains (i.e. brings) inexhaustible (fruit). Know that whatever is offered to others is myriad (times effective, while) what is offered to the kinsmen, is a lakh times (effective).

207-210. Offering a piṇḍa is a crore times effective; offering it to a brāhmaṇa is said to have an endless (fruit). He, who offers a piṇḍa of food into the water of the Ganges, at Gayā, at Prayāga, at Puṣkara, at Vārāṇasī, into the Siddhakuṇḍa, or at the confluence of the Ganges and the ocean, will certainly obtain salvation; and his parents, as the fruit of their existence, obtain eternal heaven (i.e. live in heaven eternally). He, who especially offers water mixed with sesamum into the Ganges, finds the way to salvation; then how much more (would he get) by offering a piṇḍa? A śrāddha offered on the bank of a river is a thousandfold effective (while the one offered) at the bank of a big river is a myriad times more effective.

211-213. Due to its contact with a common fruit a śrāddha would be a hundred times effective. He who offers a śrāddha on the new moon day, on the anniversary day of a Yuga[2], or either on the day of the lunar or the solar eclipse, gets an eternal world (i.e. lives eternally in a world like heaven). His parents also are pleased for a myriad years, after having given their son a blessing and an unending happiness. Therefore a son should gladly perform the pārvaṇa[3] (śrāddha) on a parvan day.

214. Performing this sacrifice in honour of the parents, he is free from the bondage of birth (and death). That śrāddha which is offered everyday is called nitya-śrāddha.

215-217a. He who gets it performed with faith gets an eternal world (i.e. lives eternally in a world like heaven). Also having performed a kāmya (i.e. optional) śrāddha according to the proper rite in the dark half of the month, he gets his desire or whatever he entertains in his mind satisfied. In the fifth fortnight, making the day of the full moon of Āṣāḍha[4] as the limit, he should perform a śrāddha, (not considering) whether the Sun has gone to the Virgo.

217b-218a. Those sixteen days, when the Sun has gone to the Virgo, are comparable with sacrifices accomplished with (the payment of) excellent fees.

218b. This optional śrāddha is very meritorious—auspiciousness comes from it.

219. In the absence (of having performed a śrāddha when the Sun is in Virgo), he should perform it in the dark half of the month or the like when the Sun is in Libra. When the new moon day occurs when the Sun is in Scorpio, the manes become disappointed.

220. After having given a very terrible curse, they again go to their own abodes. It is said that as a result of the curse of the manes, the son loses everything.

221-222a. Men get, in existence after existence, all these, viz. wealth, sons, glory, desired things, things that are likedand (long life), as a result of a boon from the parents. So he should not forsake a mane.

222b-223a. A brāhmaṇa, having performed (i.e. who performs) the Nāndīmukha śrāddha[5] at the commencement of a marriage (-rite), a vow or a sacrifice, gets inexhaustible merit, and his family increases.

223b-224a. That man who behaves contrary to this, goes to hell. His family perishes, and he is unhappy as long as he lives.

224b-225. Then (i.e. at the time of marriage-rite etc.) he should first worship Gaṇeśa, Śambhu’s son. Then he should worship the sixteen Mātṛs and after that the host of manes, beginning with the great grandfather, at the time of all Nāndimukha śrāddhas.

226. The wise one should place (i.e. seat) all the brāhmaṇas facing the east. To them he should utter the words ‘salutation (to you’); on other occasions, he should employ the utterance ‘svadhā’.

227. A man by offering water with piṇḍas (to the manes) at the time of the solar eclipse gets heaven (i.e. lives in heaven) eternally, and it nourishes the manes.

228. There (i.e. at the time of solar eclipse) a man should take a bath. A man, who does not offer water with piṇḍas to his manes according to his capacity, becomes a cāṇḍāla.

229. When the Moon is eclipsed by Rāhu (i.e. at the time of the lunar eclipse), all the presents made are equal to the present of land; all brāhmaṇas are like Vyāsa; all water is like (that of) the Ganges.

230. (A present made at the time) of the lunar eclipse, is said to be a lakh times effective, and that made at the time of the solar eclipse is ten lakh times effective. (The present made at the time) of the lunar eclipse into the water of the Ganges is a crore times effective; and (that made at the time) of the solar eclipse (into the water of the Ganges) is ten crores times effective.

231. The fruit of a dip in the Ganges when the Moon is eclipsed by Rāhu (i.e. at the time of the lunar eclipse) is the same as the fruit of a good gift of a lakh of cows.

232. He who plunges into (i.e. bathes in) the Ganges at the time of the lunar or the solar eclipse, has (in fact) taken bath at all holy places; why does he (i.e. should he) roam over the earth?

233-234. The eclipse of the Sun on a Sunday or of the Moon on a Monday is called Cūḍāmaṇi; a bath on this occasion is said (to give) unending fruit. That man, who having fasted on these occasions, gives water with piṇḍas at an ancient holy place, is settled in the Satyaloka.

The brāhimṇa said:

235-236. You have said that a śrāddha offered to a mane is a great sacrifice. O father, what should a son do in old age? O god, please tell me carefully by doing what a wise son obtains the highest good in many existences (i.e. existence after existence).

The lord said:

237. In youth the father is said to be the son, in old age the son is said to be the father due to being required to be looked after, and not on account of his worshipping (his father).

238. A man should worship his father like a deity, and should love him like a son; he should not, even mentally, disobey his words.

239. That son, who gives succor to his sick father, gets eternal heaven (i.e. lives eternally in heaven), and is always honoured by gods.

240. The son, who sees the signs of death of a dying father, and worships him, would be equal to gods.

241. Listen to the characteristics—which I shall (now) describe—of the wise son, who gives (i.e. takes) his father (to) heaven by fasting only.

242. The merit of fasting would be equal to that of thousands of horse-sacrifices and hundreds of Rājasūya-sacrifices; the virtue (of the father and the son) is like that of (bathing) at a crore of holy places.

243. The best man, who dies in the water of the Ganges, would never drink (again) the milk of his mother (i.e. would not be reborn) and would get salvation.

244. He, who happens to cast his life at Vārāṇasī, enjoys the desired fruit, and lives in my body.

245. The man who dies at the (seven sacred places along the bank of) Brahmaputrā, follows the same (good) course as is followed by contemplating sages who practise perpetual celibacy.

246. He, who especially dies after having duly resorted to the north bank of Lohita, becomes equal to me.

247. O best brāhmaṇa, he who dies at the holy place called Urvaśīkeśa (on the bank) of the same Brahmaputrā, and is born (again), obtains everything, and is not tainted with sins.

248. The body of him, who dies in the house, is bound as long as the knot (of falsehood) remains in the house.

249. Every year one by one they are dropped. There is no escape from the bondage, even when the relatives and sons are watching.

250. He, who dies on a mountain, in a jungle or an inaccessible place where there is no water, gets a bad condition after death, and is again born as an insect.

251. He, whose funeral rites take place the next day, lives in (the hell called) Kumbhīpāka, for sixty thousand years.

252. He, who, without washing his hands or cleansing his mouth after eating food, touches an untouchable, or one who is fallen, lives, after death, in hell for a long time, and is born among the Mlecchas.

253. And he is born in many species of beings like the insects. Therefore he should not think that merit or sin has long lasting effect.

254. He obtains that (good) condition which men i.e. all mortals obtain after death as a result of their religious merit and meritorious deeds.

255. He, who, recollecting the names of Viṣṇu, dies at a sacred place, is purified from his sin, goes to heaven and is not tainted with sins.

256. A strong son, who carries the dead body of his father, undoubtedly gets the fruit of a horse-sacrifice.

257. A son should put fire into the father’s mouth first (when the dead body is put) on the funeral pile, according to the rite purified by sacred hymns; then he should cremate him.

258. (He should say:) ‘I cremate all the limbs of him; I cremate him who is possessed of greed and delusion, and who is covered with (i.e. full of) sin and merit. Let him go to divine worlds.’

259. Even the son should, after having cremated (the father’s dead body), pass over to the collection of the ashes (of the burnt corpse). When the tenth day comes he should abandon wet garment.

260. Having cut off the red garment, he should throw it into fire or water. Then the wise man should perform the śrāddha on the eleventh day.

261-262. For the nourishment of the dead person’s body he should feed one brāhmaṇa. He should give presents duly. and also a garment, a seat and sandals; (or should give) land etc. or an elephant or a horse etc. equal to (the price of) all the material. He should also present a black cow for getting free from all sins.

263. A śrāddha offered on the fourth day, after three fortnights, six months and a year and twelve monthly śrāddhas—these are the sixteen śrāddhas.

264. He who does not perform these with faith and according to his capacity, certainly becomes a goblin even if hundreds of śrāddhas are offered (in his honour).

265. He should for one year give a water-jar, or food with flesh—eternal and perishable—and in their absence should pass a month suffering patiently.

266. The wise, best brāhmaṇa, should, when a year has passed, perform a sapiṇḍīkaraṇa[6] śrāddha, according to the procedure (followed) at the pārvaṇa śrāddha.

267. The period of defilement caused by the death of one’s father is one year; caused by the death of one’s mother is six months only; and the period of defilement caused by the death of one’s wife is three months; and half of it (is the period of defilement caused by the death) of one’s son or brother.

268. The defilement caused by the death of sapiṇḍas lasts as long as he (i.e. the dead body) remains in the house. O son, I am (now) telling you what is prohibited for a son; listen.

269-270. He should observe celibacy, should have good conduct, and should not at all approach his wife. The time after seven ghaṭikās and prior to nine ghaṭikās should be known as Kutapa.[7] Whatever is given to the manes during this period is inexhaustible. Three are pure at a śrāddha: daughter’ s son, Kutapa and sesamum.

271-273a. Three are recommended here (i.e. at a śrāddha): truth, absence of anger and absence of haste. After having performed a śrāddha, he should avoid evening prayer, others’ food, having a meal again (i.e. at night), copulation, giving and accepting gifts. A wise man should avoid a hundred prohibited things after having performed a śrāddha. Then only it (i.e. śrāddha) is properly performed (i.e. has its effect); this is what Brahmā himself has said.

273b-274. O son, listen to the old account of many (persons which) I am telling (now). They performed a śrāddha after having killed their preceptor’s cow and (yet) went to heaven. By merely narrating their account. a śrāddha becomes inexhaustible (i.e. gives an inexhaustible fruit).

275-277a. The seven brāhmaṇa disciples of Vasiṣṭha, who practised good vows, desired and took, when the śrāddha of their manes approached, the dear sacrificial cow of their preceptor; gladly the seven brothers took her home for her products; killing that cow at a sacrifice, they reflected, and, gave the flesh of the cow to a brāhmaṇa and served the rest to brāhmaṇas.

277b-278a. After having finished the rites in honour of the manes, those brāhmaṇas, having taken the calf with them, gave it to their preceptor (and said to him): “A tiger ate up the cow.”

278b-279a. Then he (i.e. the teacher) knowing by the power of his penance the reason of their (having told a lie), cursed his disciples: “You will become cāṇḍāla.”

279b-28la. The brāhmaṇas remained there trembling and with the palms of their hands joined. They, who gave cow’s flesh at a rite in honour of manes, and who thus had done thousands of prohibited things and great sins at the rites in honour of manes, were purified from the sins and went to heaven, O sinless one.

28lb-282a. (They said to Vasiṣṭha:) “O lord, we have heard manifold things of the past. O you well-versed in religion, (please) forgive us and end the curse.”

Vaisiṣṭha said:

282b-283. The curse is in proportion to your sin, and not by the consideration of dharma. Being born in castes like a cāṇḍāla, you will remember your former account. Your knowledge will not lapse, and your (power of) recollection also will not lapse.

284-285a. Having crossed the sinful birth, you will go to (i.e. attain) liberation. Then having cast their life, the brāhmaṇas, as a result of their preceptor’s curse, were born as cāṇḍālas, but (still) were endowed with knowledge.

285b-286. However, remembering that former existence (of a brāhmaṇa), they did not drink the milk (i.e. did not suck their mothers’ breasts). They died, and were born as deer; again they (died and) were born as cakravākas in a forest. Then they were born as white swans at the holy place of Mānasa and then as brāhmaṇas.

287-288a. Then, the magnanimous ones, being on the point of death, died due to dejection. At that time there was a great king known as Dharmaketu. With his wives and paraphernalia he went to that holy place to bathe (there).

288b-289a. Then three swans, thinking, through delusion, of kingdom, enjoyment, women and food, departed to another world (i.e. died).

289b-290a. Others, thinking ‘knowing Veda and Vedāṅgas we shall attain salvation’, departed to another world (i.e. died).

290b-291. Three of them became kings and four excellent brāhmaṇas. At Kurukṣetra, they knew, by the power of their penance, Vedas and Vedāṅgas and the news from this and the other world.

292. Three of them were born in a royal family as kings deluded with conceit. Due to the lapse of their knowledge, they neither knew anything about the next world, nor about what was beneficial or otherwise to them.

293. Those brāhmaṇas, prompted by uncertainty, called their servant, and said to him: “Seeing our poverty go to the kings and quickly give them (this) letter.”

294-295. (The letter read as:) “Those seven hunters in the Daśārṇa country were born as deer on the Kālañjara mountain. (They were again born) as Cakravāka in the Śaradvīpa, (and then) as swans in the Mānasa lake. They too are born as brāhmaṇas, who have mastered the Vedas, in Kurukṣetra. They are going on a long journey; why are you depressed?”

296. The servant took the letter, and showed it to the kings. The kings, having seen (i.e. read) the letter, abandoned their kingdom, and went to the brāhmaṇas.

297. Hearing their words (i.e. voice) the brāhmaṇas whose wealth was penance, went to them; and soon with them they went to (i.e. obtained) salvation.

298. Inexhaustible food and drink wait upon (i.e. are ready for) the manes of him, who on the occasion of a śrāddha, listens to this (account of) the seven hunters etc.

The brāhmaṇa said:

299. O Keśava, how can the rite (in honour) of the manes of a poor brāhmaṇa, who is an ascetic, or who dwells in a forest or who is a householder, be accomplished?

The lord said:

300. If he performs the rites (in honour) of the manes by obtaining grass and wood and by asking for a cowrie, it (the fruit) is a lakhfold more.

301. All the sins of that man who performs the śrāddha (in honour) of his manes by not doing a hundred prohibited things, perish; and he goes to heaven.

302. A man, who in the absence of all (the requisite things for a śrāddha) gives, on the death-anniversary of his dead ancestor, grass to a cow, obtains the fruit of offering piṇḍas and more also.

303. Formerly, in the Vairāṭa country, an extremely wretched man wept. He wept because of having nothing with him when the death anniversary of his dead ancestor had approached.

304-305. Having wept for a pretty long time, he asked a wise brāhmaṇa: “O brāhmaṇa, today is the death anniversary of my deceased ancestor. Which (thing) being done would be beneficial? O you best among those who know the Vedas, I do not have wealth as much as (even) a cowrie. Advise me in such a way that I shall remain on the proper course of conduct.”

The brāhmaṇa said:

306. O son, quickly go now at this time called Kutapa. Quickly give grass directed towards your manes, to a cow.

307. Then according to his advice, he took a bundle of grass, and became glad after having given it to a cow to nourish his dead ancestors.

308. By the power of this virtuous act he went to the abode of gods; and having enjoyed (in) the heaven, was (again) born in the family of the rich.

309. That wealthy man, due to his former merit, gave a piṇḍa in honour of his father, at the rite in honour of the dead ancestors, with (i.e. by spending) all his belongings and wealth.

310-311. Then after repeated performances (like this) for (i.e. during) one existence, he went to Viṣṇu’s abode. Having enjoyed unending happiness there, he became (i.e. was born as) a sovereign emperor; since there is no greater merit than (what is obtained) from a rite in honour of the dead ancestors, therefore a man, free from jealousy, should carefully perform it according to his capacity.

312-313. A man who first reads this series of religious account of (various) persons, obtains the opportunity of bathing in the Ganges in every world. All the heap of sins committed in existence after existence perishes after having recited or read (this account even) once.

Footnotes and references:


Tāmbūla—The leaf of the piper-betel, which together with the areca-nut, catechu, is chewed after meals.


Yugādyā—See note on 49.41.


Pārvaṇa—The general ceremony of offering oblations to all the manes at a parvan (for parvan, see note on 46.109).


Āṣāḍhī—Day of full moon in the month of Āṣāḍha.


Nāndīmukha—A śrāddha ceremony performed in memory of the manes, preliminary to any festive occasion such as marriage etc.


Sapiṇḍa—A kinsman connected by the offering of the funeral rice-ball to the manes of the relatives upto the seventh generation (see Manu 5.60).

Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa—The performance of a particular śrāddha in honour of the deceased sapiṇḍas. It is performed at the end of one full year after the death of a relative, but now usually performed on the twelfth day after death as part of the funeral obsequies.


Kutapa—The eighth muhūrta orportion from the last daṇḍa of the second watch to the first of the third or about noon; an eligible time for the performance of śrāddhas.

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