The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the fruit of occasional charity which is chapter 40 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 fortieth chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) 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 40 - The Fruit of Occasional Charity

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vena said:

1-2. O god, I have heard from you the fruit of regular charity. By your grace (i.e. be gracious and) carefully tell me that fruit which is the fruit of occasional charity. I am not getting great satisfaction; my faith prompts me to hear it.

Viṣṇu said:

3-8a. O best king, I shall explain to you (gifts given called) the occasional. Listen to the fruit of the gifts given to worthy recipients by a person with faith, on a great parvan day. O best king, he, the best man, who gives an elephant, a chariot or a horse (to a brāhmaṇa) becomes the best king, accompanied by servants, in a holy country, O great king; there is no doubt about this. The religious-minded, powerful and very intelligent one becomes a very lustrous king and is unconquered by all beings. O great king, he, who gives a gift of land or a cow when the great parvan (day) arrives, would become the lord of all enjoyments. One should give a gift to a very meritorious brāhmaṇa with great care.

8b-11a. I shall tell you the characteristics of great gifts which a man gives at a sacred place on a parvan (day): he becomes a king. He who gives a secret gift (to a brāhmaṇa) at a holy place on a parvan (day), quickly has an imperishable attainment of treasures (i.e. obtains imperishable treasures). When a great parvan (day) comes, (a man should give) a great gift with a garment and gold to a brāhmaṇa at sacred places.

11b-29a. O king, I shall tell you (about) the auspicious fruit of that gift: (to him) many very virtuous sons, proficient in the Vedas, long-lived, having progeny, and endowed with glory and merit are born. Many (such sons) are born. O you very intelligent one, ample wealth (also comes to him). He gets happiness and religious merit. He becomes religious. When the great parvan (day) arrives, a (man), having gone to a holy place with great effort, should present a golden cow to a glorious brāhmaṇa. O you very intelligent one, I shall tell you about the religious merit of (i.e. obtained by giving) that gift. O great king, the giver of a tawny cow enjoys all pleasures. He lives there as long as Brahmā would live. O king of kings, I (shall) tell you about the fruit and enjoyment of (i.e. due to) the gift of a cow given after adorning her, furnishing her with gold and with garments, ornaments and decorations. Ample glory full of gifts and enjoyments is produced. It is said that such a man (i.e. he who gives gifts) becoming a master of knowledge, would become a devotee of Viṣṇu. He would reside in Viṣṇu’s world as long as the earth would remain. He, who, after going to a sacred place, would give an ornament to a brāhmaṇa, sports with Indra after having enjoyed many pleasures. He, who, endowed with faith, gives to the best brāhmaṇa, a deserving recipient, food along with land when a great parvan (day) arrives, having valour equal to that of Viṣṇu rejoices in Vaikuṇṭha. Giving (i.e. he who gives), according to his desire, gold along with garments to a brāhmaṇa for peace, he, resembling fire, would live happily in heaven. He should fill a big golden pitcher with ghee. He should adorn it with garments and garlands and cover it with (a) silver (lid). He should furnish it with a garland of flowers and make it adorned with a sacred thread. O highly intelligent one, worshipping it, consecrated with Vedic hymns, he should (then) worship it with sixteen pure articles of worship. Then well-adorning it, he should present it to a glorious brāhmaṇa. He should then give sixteen cows with bell-metal udders, along with garments; (he should) also (give) four (cows) and a gift (to a brāhmaṇa) along with gold. He should also give twelve cows adorned with garments, ornaments and decorations to a separated (living in a lonely place?) brāhmaṇa. There is no doubt about this. O prince, such and other gifts (should be given). Having properly found a sacred place and (the proper) time, and a brāhmaṇa’s residence, he should give (gifts) with faith. That would lead to great religious merit. There is no doubt about it.

Viṣṇu said:

29b-46. A gift should be arranged (i.e. given) dedicating it to Viṣṇu. A man inspired by the feeling of love for that gift gets a fruit like that. There is no doubt about this. Now I shall explain good fortune. By giving the gift which proceeds (i.e. is given) in sacrifices etc., and even by having faith in (giving it), a man has increase in his intellect and does not get unhappiness, O best brāhmaṇa. The religious-minded one, while alive, enjoys pleasures properly. That donor, having obtained a divine position, enjoys pleasures of Indra. He takes his family to heaven for a thousand kalpas. I have thus explained (gifts) leading to good fortune. Now among the (gifts) I shall tell about (the gift to be given at the time of death). Knowing that the end of the body (i.e. death) has come near, and being afflicted by old age, he should give a gift. He should not entertain (any) hope about any one. (He should not entertain thoughts like:) ‘What will happen to my sons, other relatives and friends in my absence after my death?’ A man deluded by infatuation for them, does not give anything. He, with his mind confused, dies; friends and relatives weep (for him). All of them, afflicted by grief and by false attachment, resolve (to give) gifts, and reflect upon salvation. When he is dead, and when the false attachment is over, they, of greedy minds, forget the gifts and never give them, O great king. The one, O great king, who is dead, is extremely unhappy on the path to (the abode of) Yama, is overcome with thirst and hunger, and afflicted by gifts. O best king, to whom do sons and grandsons belong? To whom does the wife belong? In this worldly existence none belongs to none (else). Therefore gifts are given. O best king, O you highly intelligent one, a wise man should himself give food, drink, tāmbūla, water, gold, a pair (of) garments, an umbrella, many water-vessels with water, varied vehicles and carriages, various kinds of perfumes and camphor. If he would desire (if he desires) much happiness he should give (to a brāhmaṇa) shoes that give comfort on the path to (the abode of) Yama. O great king, by (giving) these gifts a man goes happily along Yama’s path.

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