The Padma Purana

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

This page describes in praise of (digging a) tank etc. which is chapter 57 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 fifty-seventh chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 57 - In Praise of (Digging a) Tank etc.

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The brāhmaṇas said:

1. O best sage, tell us, if you favour us, (how) fame and dharma (can be accomplished) in the worlds, and (tell us about) all the excellent things (in the three worlds).

Vyāsa said:

2. He, in whose dug up (portion of) forest, cows are satisfied (by grazing) for a month, or seven days, is purified and is honoured by all gods.

3. Listen to all the fruit that is here (i.e. in this world obtained) by offering water, especially at a pool purified by (the performance of) a sacrificial rite.

4. It is brought about year after year and kalpa after kalpa. By giving (gifts) a man obtains heaven; and one who offers water becomes the giver of everything on the earth.

5. A man enjoys heaven for as many years as (n umber of) drops that are produced on the tank (etc.) dug up (by him), when the cloud is showering (drops of rain).

6. A man becomes pleased by (drinking) water and (enjoying) cooked food etc. Life cannot be sustained without food.

7. Gratification of the manes, purity, form, removing bad smell—all this, the seed that is obtained (and that will lead one to heaven), is settled in (the gift of) water.

8. Washing the clothes, making the utensils shine—all this is to be done with that (i.e. water) only. Therefore water is pure only.

9. Therefore with all one’s capacity and all one’s wealth a man should get fashioned, making all efforts, a well, a tank or a pool.

10. Therefore, upon him, who gives (i.e. constructs) a water-tank in a place, where there is no water, (the charitable act) would day by day bestow heaven (where he would stay) for a kalpa.

11. That brāhmaṇa, fallen from heaven, becomes a master of the Vedas; and the religious-minded brāhmaṇa, the kinsman of the world, would go to heaven after having practised penance.

12. Thus he gets eight births, and (the fruit) of one of them is said to be inexhaustible. Such a man, (if) born in a kṣatriya-family, would become a sovereign emp eror.

13. (If born as) a vaiśya (he) would obtain inexhaustible wealth very much liked by him in birth after birth. Others like śūdras and low born men again and again go to heaven.

14. Whoever digs a tank of the measure of four cubits, the tank always helps him to stay in heaven for a kalpa after a year.

15-16. If (the measure) is double, (one) should know that the merit is double, and if it is fourfold, (the merit) would be hundredfold. He, who gives (i.e. constructs) a tank of the measure of twenty cubits, would obtain (i.e. go to) Viṣṇu’s abode, and also divine enjoyments. Afterwards, he is born as a king or would be a wealthy man or an orator.

17. It is laid down that (by doing) like this twofold, threefold or fourfold enjoyment (is obtained). If the tank is extensive, know that the enjoyment would be profuse; ifits measure is a thousand cubits he does not fall from heaven.

18-19. If it is two thousand, a man becomes honoured by gods. And as many men as there are beings in his house or in the region, forever become his servants going after him for as many (years) as the beings would live.

20-21. Pleasures enjoyed without a parent are like a forest (resorted to after one’s) wealth is exhausted. Birds, a pig, a female buffalo, a female elephant, an adviser and a doer—these six lead (one) to heaven. The divine hundred of birds would bestow heaven.

22. A hog would bestow it for a thousand years, and a female buffalo for a myriad years. A lakh is said to be the fruit of a female elephant after one has resorted to a divine form.

23a. For the adviser it is a crore years and eternal for a doer.

23b-24. Formerly, a wealthy man, having faith in Śiva constructed a tank for obliging (i.e. helping) all beings by (spending) a myriad (i.e. very large) amount and at the cost of his life and capacity.

25. It is said that after some time he became poor. Some wealthy man desiring (to buy the tank) was ready to pay him its price.

26-2 7. Having reflected, the wealthy man said: “Listen now to (my) words. For this (tank) I shall pay you a myriad dīnāras. You have already obtained the religious merit by (the construction of) the tank. If you think to get (money by selling it), I am ready to own it (i.e. to buy it) by offering the price according to my capacity.”

28-31. When he said this, he (i.e. the owner of the tank) said to him: “Again everyday the fruit is ten thousand (times more). The meritorious (alone) know (what) merit (is). In this waterless region I constructed an auspicious tank. All do acts like bathing and drinking of its water as they like. From it I, who have a myriad (dīnāras), desire an eternal fruit. These words of (i.e. uttered by) me are true. Test me justly.”

32-34a. But through jealousy he said to him: “O father, listen to my words. Instead of giving these ten thousand dīnāras to you, I shall bring (i.e. buy) stones (with that amount). I shall throw them into your tank; let them, according to the circumstances, sink into it. If the stones come up and float (on the surface), then my wealth will perish; otherwise the tank will be legally mine.”

34b. He (i.e. the owner) said: “All right.” He took the myriad (of dīnāras) and went home.

35-38a. In the presence of witness, he dropped stones into the great tank; this was seen by men, gods and demons. Then with Dharma as the witness, it was weighed in the balance of dharma. Even for a day, the offer of a myriad of dīnāras and the water of the tank were not equal. The mind of the wealthy man was sad due to his mission having failed. The next day the heap of stones came up and remained like an island on (the surface of) the water.

38b-39. Then there arose a loud cry of the people. Hearing that wonderful cry (of the people), both of them gladly came there. Seeing that hill (i.e. that heap of stones) he gave a myriad (dīnāras).

40. Then the owner of the tank threw away the heap. He (obtained) the merit from the tank that had disappeared (due to stones being thrown into it) by the son (i.e. the purchaser).

41-42. He too went to heaven, and was happy in every birth. Digging a tank has an inexhaustible fruit for the family, hosts of mothers, kings, friends, those who oblige, orphans, ascetics and especially for brāhmaṇas.

43-44a. Having constructed a tank, a man gets heaven eternally. Therefore, O brāhmaṇas, there is no doubt that he who constructs a tank etc. according to his capacity has all his sins destroyed and would go to (i.e. obtain) the auspicious salvation.

44b-47. That religious man who would cause people to hear (i.e. recite to them) this very excellent meritorious account gets the fruit of the entire gift of a tank. A man having heard (i.e. who listens to this account) on a solar eclipse day at the excellent bank of the Ganges, would get the fruit of the gift of a crore of cows. He is not reduced to poverty nor does he have grief or a group of diseases. He does not experience disrespect or great grief.

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