by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes acts to be performed in vaishakha which is chapter 86 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 eighty-sixth chapter of the Patala-Khanda (Section On The Nether World) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.
2-11. O great sage, leaving auspicious months like Mārgaśīrṣa etc. why do you praise Vaiśākha as the month superior to all (other) months? Why is Vaiśākha most dear to Viṣṇu? What are the rites (to be done) in it? What are the gifts (to be given)? What is the penance (to be practised) and the deities (to be invoked in it)? O sage, please be graceful by favour of your advice, to me who am purified by the dust of your lotus-like feet. O great sage, you alone know the way of life;you emancipate (men) on the ways of religious life. You know the entire truth, you teach the way of life. You are an author, you are an instructor; you are a thinker; you respect (others); you are an employer. O best sage, those who distribute equally, are remembered by those who know sacred texts. All that fruit which is obtained by vows, sacrificial sessions, penance, gifts, is obtained by (giving) instruction in the way of life. O sage, he who prompts another, is also the sharer of the fruit of a bath at a sacred place, penance, and sacrifices which he (who is prompted) gets. Other people do what the pre-eminent people do. The people follow the authority accepted by them. Therefore, you deserve to teach (i.e. please teach) me that wonderful way of life. The advice of a teacher proper for the place and occasion is difficult to get. There are no other objects such as gaining a kingdom, which cool us (i.e. me) down as a meeting with you.
12. Then the best sage Nārada, with his teeth shining due to a gentle, soft smile said to Ambarīṣa.
13-19. O king, listen. I shall narrate, for the good of the world and of you, the rites (performed) in the month of Vaiśākha, which I formerly heard from Brahmā. It is difficult to get birth in Bharata. (More difficult) than that is to be (born as) a human being. Proceeding according to one’s own way of life is (more difficult) than being born as a human being. O king, more difficult than that is devotion to Vāsudeva. There also, the month ofVaiśākha, dear to Viṣṇu, is difficult. Those men, who, having come across that month, perform (acts like) bathing, (giving) gifts and muttering prayers according to rules, are blessed and fortunate. Merely by seeing them, sinners, desiring religious merit and purified by devotion to the lord, become free from sins. Those who, with voluntary religious observances, have bathed (according to rules) in the month of Māgha, sport for a crore of years in the Nandana grove. As in the world there is no lake like the ocean, in the same way there is no other month like Vaiśākha, dear to Viṣṇu.
20-29. Sins remain in the bodies of men till the Vaiśākha month, destroying impurity, does not come. The remaining five days of that month, beginning with the eleventh day are equal to the entire month. Those who have, with various articles, worshipped god Viṣṇu, the killer of (the demon) Madhu, have obtained the fruit of their existence. What more and more difficult (gain) is not obtained by means of bathing and properly worshipping the highest lord in the month of Vaiśākha? O king, the existence of those who have not given (gifts), who have not offered oblations into fire, who have not muttered prayers, who have not met with death at a sacred place, who have not at all reflected upon Nārāyaṇa, the destroyer of all sins, is fruitless. The wealth of that man who is a miser, when there is wealth with him and he dies without giving (gifts), is useless. Birth in a good family is obtained by bathing at a holy place etc. and penance. (But) O king, nothing (of these) serves (a man) without (i.e. unless he gives) gifts. Due to the importance of a (regular) bath during the five days in the month of Vaiśākha birth in a good family is obtained, so also wealth of various kinds (is obtained). So also, O king, a good son, a good family, wealth, grains, excellent women, good birth, (painless) death, nice enjoyments and pleasures (are secured).
30-34. O king, by the grace of that god—the high-souled Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa, greater love for giving gifts, generosity, excellent courage, and desired accomplishments take place. A man having bathed in the month of Kārtika or Māgha or Vaiśākha and having especially devoutly worshipped Viṣṇu, the killer of (the demon) Madhu, and having given gifts according to his capacity, and having had pleasures of this world, would reach the place of Viṣṇu. As darkness disappears at sunrise, similarly the series of sins earned (i.e. committed) during many existences would disappear by bathing in the month of Vaiśākha. The self-born one (i.e. Brahmā) himself told me these words. Viṣṇu gave a great currency to the month named Mādhava (i.e. Vaiśākha) and considering secretly Yama’s words, made it go to the human world.
35-40. Therefore, O great king, when this month of Vaiśākha has arrived, the devotees of Viṣṇu should bathe in the holy water, purifying men, of Gaṅgā, or of Revā, or Yamunā or Sāradā. O best king, having got up before sunrise, and having worshipped, according to sacred injunction, Mukunda or Madhusūdana, the lord of gods, and having enjoyed all desired superior pleasures along with sons, grandsons and wealth, and having practised penance, one would obtain heaven which is inexhaustible. O glorious one, having known like this, having bathed, worship according to proper rites Madhusūdana, especially in Vaiśākha. Having worshipped Govinda, Nārāyaṇa, Anāmaya, you will obtain happiness, a son, wealth and Viṣṇu’s position. O king, having saluted the god of gods, Viṣṇu, destroyer of sins, a man should begin this vow of the full-moon day of Caitra.
41-47. Endowed with curbs and restraints, and having given something according to his capacity, eating food fit to be eaten during these days, sleeping on the (bare) ground, remaining in the vow of celibacy, emaciated due to austerities like bodily mortification, meditating on Nārāyaṇa in his heart, he should, when the full-moon day of Vaiśākha has arrived, offer honey, sesamum seeds etc. He (should also give) food to the chief brāhmaṇas devoutly and a cow along with presents. He should also request the brāhmaṇas for the absence of a defect in the (effect of) the bath. O king, as Lakṣmī is dear to Viṣṇu, the lord of the world, so is the month ofVaiśākha dear to Madhusūdana. A man, having thus bathed (in every Vaiśākha) according to the rites for twelve years, should, according to his capacity, bring it to conclusion to please Madhusūdana. O king, I have told you this importance of the month of Vaiśākha, which I had formerly heard from the mouth of Brahmā.