The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the exposition of merit which is chapter 76 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 seventy-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.

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.

Chapter 76 - The Exposition of Merit

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sañjaya said:

1-2. O brāhmaṇa, I desire to hear correctly the condition of those demons who died in the war either while facing (the enemy) or while turning away from him. O preceptor, tell me whether these innumerable demons are there in the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile or have gone somewhere (else).

Vyāsa said:

3-5. Those excellent brave demons who died in the battle while facing (the enemy), obtained godhead and are eternally enjoying pleasures (in heaven) where there are golden palaces decorated with various jewels, where there are trees shining like gold and satisfying all desires, where there is an auspicious lake full of fragrant lotuses, waterlilies and white lotuses and other flowers, and also with the portions of curd, milk and ghee.

6. Being extremely handsome and always possessing fresh youth they rule there, and also on the earth.

7. Having thus obtained eight births, they become wealthy or heads or ministers with their bodies partly (seated) on the fore-quarters of elephants.

8. Those who turn away their faces in the battle, those who are cowardly and timid, and those who fight deceitfully, and those who hate gods and brāhmaṇas go to a fierce hell.

9. Those who strike another (i.e. the rival) soldier who is fallen, who has fainted, who is defeated, and the Mlecchas who use abusive language, go to hell.

10-11. They take away the deposits of others and actually turn away (from the battlefield). Mlecchas rob (people) at night in a wasted forest; they do rash acts; they are interested in eating everything; they are fools; and harm cows and brāhmaṇas. There are other Mlecchas who use abusive language, and are born as rogues.

12. Their language is Paiśācī, and there are no popular customs among them. They do not observe purity, do not practise penance, have no learning, nor do they offer oblations to their manes.

13-14. They do not give gifts, do not perform śrāddha etc.; they do not worship gods; they do not wait upon their parents or gods and ascetics, as a result of absence of (proper) knowledge. Therefore they do not (properly) clean (i.e. remove) the dirt from their bodies. They have a passion for their mother or sister or any other housewife.

15-16. They behave contrary to (the ways of) the world. Their behaviour is always unclean. The demons are born from the ejections of snakes and from (beings) living on mountains, and their religious merit is groundless. Those who hurt brāhmaṇas, women and children, meet with trouble after death.

17. These wicked ones who eat cows and who are delighted in eating prohibited things, go to (i.e. are born in) the species of insects, and become trees and ants.

18-19. These enemies of gods are not fit for (reciting) sacred hymns and (worshipping) deities. They look upon their elder brother as equal to them and as born with them. Their manners are rustic. They don whiskers. They are interested in eating corpses on the earth. If at all they perform a vow or a sacrifice it is (just) a rash act.

20. They are delighted in eating fish and flesh; they tell lies. They are always passionate, greedy and always full of anger and pride.

21. They are always interested in the excitement due to killing and binding someone. They are bad servants (or they have bad servants); they are pleased with bad people; they are delighted with foul smell.

22. They are not (interested) in gods, in wise men, in listening to religious (discourses), in (reciting) auspicious hymns of praise or sacred hymns, since they are undetermined in (religious) acts.

23. They (contract) many diseases and are full of anger. They have many types of dresses; on the earth these are the symbols of demons in the species of human beings.

24-25. They do not recognize the higher world, a preceptor and their own person or of someone else. They (simply) long for filling the womb (i.e. for copulation); they do not strive for a guest or elderly persons, or brāhmaṇas, and for a deity, for their: son, family, friend or relative. They do not know (i.e. care for) giving a gift (even) in dream, and also food or clothes.

26. Since they preserve wealth they are Yakṣas in the form of men. Even at the time of the end of their life (i.e. when their life is endangered), they do not bestow wealth on the king.

27-30. Those Yakṣas remain in distress and carry burdens for others. Listen with concentrated mind to the characteristics, condemned by all people, of evil spirits, women and men, from me (i.e. as I tell you). They always are dirty and muddy, and without truth and purity. There are heaps ofdirt on theit teeth, hair, clothes and bodies. They do not like to clean (even) once, their houses, seats, clothes etc. They do not see (i.e. enjoy) pleasures of (i.e. from) women, and quickly enter a forest. On the earth they are interested in eating residues of or left-over food and stinking (articles of food).

31. They like (to eat) food, to drink and to sleep in darkness. They are never calm, nor are their mouths pure.

32. These are said to be the characteristics of the evil spirits in hell. They do not know (what is) good or (what is) bad; also they do not know (who is) a friend, and (who is) an enemy, (what is) a virtue and (what is) a vice.

33. They do not, by their (very) nature, get inauspicious or auspicious places, an enemy, a friend and a neutral (one).

34. Those, who are regarded as (endowed with) intelligence, know them to be beasts living among men. Intentionally taking up many forms, they wander in vain on the earth.

35. They are men in the form of Yakṣas and are kept out of all (religious) rites. I shall tell (you) their divisions and characteristics (as seen) on the earth.

36-37. In accordance with their sins they are born in the mortal worlds. The wise call such a one, moving on a dirty ground and being polite (outwardly, but really) deceptive, a crow eating leavings of food etc. The (citizen of) Kukura is interested in eating what is prohibited and likes filthy (things).

38-39. He indulges in all secret (plans) and eats what ought and ought not to be eaten. On the earth they are born in the families of beast etc. They take dogs in their hands and eat food of (i.e. given by) the Mlecchas. They especially (eat the flesh) of pigs and other beasts fighting with their feet.

40-4la. They take delight in nourishing and eating inauspicious things condemnable due to filth. Due to their collecting a heap of wood and making fire on a mountain, they should always be known as Mlecchas, always causing fear to the kṣatriyas.

41b-43a. When people belonging to noble families give up right conduct and there is absence of purity, there are (born) Mlecchas and Dasyus. Other people are reduced to their condition due to their contact or due to eating their food or having copulation with their (i.e. the Mleccha) women.

43b-45a. (And) at that time all men are tormented by grief and diseases, have scarcity of food, they are confused and are always harassed by the king. At that time mortals, deprived of all (kinds of) purity are interested in falsehood. People do not listen to the Purāṇas and the sacred scriptures.

45b-46. They like wine and flesh; they are sinful; they eat everything and are very fierce. They are engaged in fearful practices and are always intent upon deception. The sons do not support their father, mother and preceptors also.

47-48a. The servants do not wait upon a virtuous master. Certain women do not wait upon their husbands, their mothers-in-law or their (own) mothers. At that time, people are always in difficulty and there is a quarrel in every house.

48b-49. The kings are Mlecchas and are addicted to drinking, and also the ministers and the priests. Their offering is with (i.e. consists of) fish and flesh. They are heretics, as their charms are full of exertion. They are pre-eminent in sinews and good health.

50-53. By them—the wealthy and dull—the earth is pervaded. These foolish men, (living) in a forest or cities love one another, and they eat fish, flesh-food that is fit and that is not fit to be eaten. In the forest brāhmaṇas and others also eat things leading to sin, and even a devoted beast. All they are not reborn (i.e. live eternally in hell). All these men—the sinners—cause their manes to fall (into hell), and are certainly the evil spirits, demons and Guhyakas, who were gods before. These, pleased with modesty, are neither gods nor men.

Sañjaya said:

54. O lord, remove my doubt as to how these real (demons) realise their aim in human state (i.e. as human beings)?

Vyāsa said:

55. These goblins, demons and evil spirits born in the brāhmaṇa caste or other castes, do not give up their nature, (which they got) according to the sins that they had committed.

56. The demons who are born in the mortal world, are always eager to quarrel. The cheats, the wicked and the cruel (human beings) should be known as the demons on the earth.

57. Their gifts or worship of the deities always alarms the people on the earth. They obtain wealth in a cruel way and enjoy kingdom eternally.

58-59a. One might have victory, bravery etc., religious merit, and one’s sin may perish. Thus someone obtains godhead in heaven with (i.e. by practising) severe penance on the earth, so also in heaven, in the world of the serpents and in Yama’s abode.

59b-60. Having propitiated Viṣṇu (i.e. he worshipped Viṣṇu), Prahlāda was honoured by gods. Similarly the demon Andhaka praised Śiva and became a member of his assembly. The very mighty Bhṛṅgī became the chief of his (i.e. Śiva’s) attendants only.

61. There are (the examples) of these and others. Bali will be Indra. O son, here or in the next world (the demons) always get a good position.

62. Certain best gods, born in the family of demons, cherish all their manes in hundreds and thousands.

63-65a. Even by one good, intelligent son the (entire) family is protected. Even one son, who is devoted to Viṣṇu, whose senses are curbed, who is religious-minded, and who is engaged in the worship of gods, would emancipate a crore of families. In the remaining Kaliyuga, when Dharma is perishing, (even) one religious-minded person protects in a country or in a city, the people (i.e. the citizens) or the family or (even) a village.

65b-66. There was (formerly) a great city of (i.e. inhabited by) brāhmaṇas, (and) named Medura. There (i.e. in that city) all the brāhmaṇas were always engaged in the prayer (offered thrice a day). They were interested in the recital of the Vedas, were wise, and honoured guests and brāhmaṇas.

67. They performed the rites like sacrifice, fire-rites, and observed vows. With determination they performed the six duties.[1] (Even) in a great difficulty they did not think of (committing) a sin.

68-69. The powerful ones practised the vow of the ancient sacrifice. Some time a learned brāhmaṇic sage, a householder, was fortunately offering ghee into fire to the accompaniment of sacred hymns. At that time he got an acute feeling to urinate.

70-71. Keeping his female servant to look after the fire, he went to urinate. But due to her inattention, the ghee was eaten by a dog. Then due to fear she filled the pot (of ghee) with her own urine. Then the brāhmaṇa, not noticing it, quickly offered it into fire.

72-73. Then in a moment he noticed a wonder (taking place) in the fire. There was actually a heap of gold, lustrous like gold (itself). Taking it with joy the brāhmaṇa had contact with (i.e. committed) a sin. With amazement he asked the female servant: “O dear one, tell me how this (has taken place).”

74. O brāhmaṇa, she gladly told him (the account) as it had taken place. Then everyday, at a fixed time, it (i.e. the gold) would proceed to him.

75-76a. In his house there was prosperity that amazed people. Then in his city all the bad people having heard that (account) from one another, did the (same) sinful act through greed.

76b-77a. Due to great greed great sin also enters one’s heart. Then due to the sin (and) due to fear (of it) and (at same time) through its attraction there was confusion of mind.

77b-78a. Due to the mass of sins the city itself was burnt. All the women and the men became wicked due to the power of the sin.

78b-79. (Even) an old man was ignorant; a brāhmaṇa (living) in that village did not pay attention to that affair. His virtuous wife, full of great grief, and tormented with the calamity (facing the city) told him what was going on in the city.

The brāhmaṇa-lady said:

80. O lord, seeing you full of grief I am pained. Please move to another village.

81-84. Then he, who knew the defects, smiled and said (these) words (to her): “O you blessed one, the fool, who lives by giving up good conduct leading to the highest good, is not born again (i.e. lives eternally in hell). These brāhmaṇas of bad conduct, will, due to great sin and desiring (to commit) great sin, go with their wives and dependents, to hell carrying the sin with them. In the end they will again come to this worldly existence; (but) there is no end to their sin. I alone, due to having well preserved my religious merit, will remain here.”

85. Then she said to him: “People will laugh at these words of (i.e. uttered by) you. Please do not utter them in front or before anyone else.”

The brāhmaṇa said:

86. O dear one, if I shall go from here, that moment only the city, with its wealth and inhabitants, will go down.

87. The brāhmaṇa, having spoken like this, and being greatly pleased, collected his wealth and with her quickly went to another boundary (i.e. went out of the town).

88. Remaining there, she saw that the city remained as it was before. The good lady said to her husband: “(See) the city does not perish.”

89. The excellent brāhmaṇa, having reflected and being greatly amazed, said to her: “Is it that there remains some thing (i.e, have we left something) outside our house?”

90. Having thought, she said to her husband: “In the hurry I have not brought the shoes; they remain there (only); (now) what shall I put on?”

91. Speaking thus to her husband the chaste lady returned after taking them. From the vicinity of her husband she saw that the city was afflicted.

92. Then the castes like that of the brāhmaṇa, the wicked citizens, being afflicted, remained in a fearful hell, from where there was no return (to the mortal world).

93. They miserably went to Yama’s city. There is no requital for them. That which is foul-smelling is said to be unholy and so should be avoided.

94. He, who takes delight in eating as before, commits sin even today. The wise men should know him to be a jackal, given to stealing and moving at night.

95-96. A childish man not knowing all acts and ignorant of all deeds, void of (i.e. not following) conventional practices, is just a beast, as are camels, mongooses and others. A mischievous man causes disgust to men of his caste and is a coward in battles.

97-99a. A man always liking leavings of food etc. is described to be a dog by the wise. A man who is always engaged in stealing, who always deceives many friends, fights at the time of sexual union, who is always fickle by nature, who is always inconstant about eating, and who loves forests, is said to be an ape or a monkey.

99b-100a. That man who is a betrayer and who causes fear among people by his talk and thoughts is said to be a serpent.

100b-101a. He who is strong and assertive and who is always immodest, who likes stinking flesh and who is given to enjoyment is declared to be a lion-like man.

101b. By his sound only others like wolves are frightened and distressed.

102. Those men who are prudent are known to be elephants etc. In this order one should know (the characteristics) among (i.e. of) men.

103. We (i.e. I) shall (now) explain the characteristics of gods, well-settled in the form of (i.e. as) human beings.

104. A man (of divine nature) is always engaged in worshipping brāhmaṇas, gods, guests, preceptors, good men and ascetics and in penance, also in codes of laws and in right courses (of action). He is given to forbearance, he has overcome his anger, he speaks the truth, and has curbed his senses.

105. He is kind and dear to people, he is handsome and has a sweet voice. He is an orator, he is good at all jobs, he is deligent and very strong.

106-108, He is literate and learned, and knows the essential nature of music and dance. He is delighted in what ought to be done with reference to spiritual knowledge, and the tunes of all strings, also in all oblations, in the products of a cow, in vegetarian (food); also in substances fragrant due to their contact with nice (things) and in fresh and very charming (things); also in fragrant flowers, in all missiles, weapons and ornaments; also is delighted in giving gifts at the time of the rites performed on the Parvans.

109. His time passes with (i.e. in) acts like bathing, giving gifts, in (practising) vows, sacrifices and worship of gods and recitations. No day would be idle.

110-112. This alone is the eternal conduct of men. The best sages have declared man’s conduct to be like that of gods. But god is superior due to energy, (while) man is timid. God is always serious, (while) man is always soft (-hearted). Due to mutual laudation they have love for one another; there would he never such love for the demons.

113. Between gods and men, demons and evil spirits there is always love; there are great pleasure, affection, and good auspicious deeds for one another. There is mutual love between gods and men, between demons and evil spirits, among evil spirits, and between beasts.

114. Crows and others show affection or displeasure towards members of their own species. One should know their characteristics.

115. Thus one should, due to special religious merit, know what is dear and what is not, what is merit and what is not, and also what is eminence and what is not in particular species.

116. On the earth human couples of different castes (i.e. the husband and wife not belonging to the same caste), are not happy. One would always love one’s own species in liberation or even in hell.

117. Due to very great religious merit one would get a (long) life; those that perform (deeds) leading to religious merit, are good. The sinful ones, also men (like) the demons and others perish.

118-119. In the Kṛtayuga there are many gods; there are neither demons nor other species. In the Tretāyuga they are a quarter (of the total number), in the Dvāparayuga the number is one half; in the intervening period between (the Dvāpara and) the Kali, there is a mixture. There was the Bhāratīya war that took place between gods and others.

120. All those warriors and armies of Duryodhana were demons and others, as also Karṇa and others, on the earth.

121. Bhīṣma is the chief of the Vasus, and Droṇa is the lordly divine sage. Aśvatthāman is actually Śiva; Viṣṇu was born in the Nanda-family.

122. The five Indras were born as Pāṇḍavas, and Vidura was Dharma (i.e. virtue) himself. Gāndhārī, Draupadī and Kuntī are goddesses on the earth.

123. In the Kaliyuga there are gods and demons, and the rest are human beings. The evil spirits, eating corpses and beasts will be born.

124. Their maid is crooked, always in distress and young. Due to love for couples, she always tells them about (good) conduct.

125. All those demons and others who are always interested in all (kinds of) sins, in quarrels and unjust deeds, go to hell.

Vaiśampāyana said:

126-128. Due to the wrong inclination of the demons heaven has no godhead. How (can one have) pleasures, happiness, health and (how can one) store power? How (can one have) kingdom, (long) life, fame, desirable power that is liked; how would morality and knowledge come about; how a prosperous, permanent (i.e. long) life come about? How again, O lord, would the acts of charity, learning, sacrifice come about? You please tell (i.e. explain) this to me, your reliable disciple.

Vyāsa said:

129. Due to the rashness of the demons, penance will certainly be there. Also vows, sacrifice and the like and affection for one’s own kinsman would be there.

130. He, the restrained one, who is free from bad qualities, and who knows the truth about morality and sacred books, would have (i.e. has) the characteristics of a god.

131. O brāhmaṇa, he who performs acts as enjoined in the Purāṇas and sacred texts, in heaven or here, and himself does meritorious deeds, is capable of emancipating the earth.

132. He, who, especially on seeing the devotee of Viṣṇu, pleases and honours him, is free from all sins, and is capable of emancipating the earth.

133. That brāhmaṇa, who is always engaged in the six duties (laid down for a brāhmaṇa) and in the performance of all (kinds of) sacrifices, who always likes religious accounts, is capable of emancipating the earth.

134. Those men, who are traitors, who are ungrateful and who fail in their vows, who hate brāhmaṇas and gods, destroy the earth.

135. Those, who are interested in (i.e. addicted to) drinking, who are sinful, who engage themselves in (i.e. are addicted to) gambling, who are heretics and speak vile language, destroy the earth.

136. Those who are void of (i.e. do not perform) good deeds, who are always (causing) fear, and are fearless, who cause alarm to those who interpret the smṛtis and the sacred texts, destroy the earth.

137. Those men, who give up their own way of life and adopt a meaner one, who are engaged in reviling the elders, who hate (others), destroy the earth.

138-139. Those who prohibit a donor (from giving gifts), those who incite (others) to (commit) sin, those who trouble the poor and many other men (like them), who commit sins, having caused the men (related to them) to fall (into hell) destroy the earth.

140. To him, who listens to this account, which is charming, which is the most secret, and which is extremely beneficial, there is no bad state, no misery, no misfortune and no indigence on the earth.

141. He will have no birth amongst demons etc.; he will enjoy eternal pleasure in heaven; he will not have untimely death; and will not be touched by sin.

142. He becomes the chief of people on the earth, the lord of gods in heaven, and having enjoyed heaven kalpa after kalpa, he goes along the path to salvation.

Footnotes and references:


Ṣaṭkarma—The six duties enjoined on a brāhmaṇa. They are: teaching, learning, performing sacrifices, acting as a priest at sacrifices, giving and receiving gifts.

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