The Padma Purana

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

This page describes more rites and rituals to be observed in vaishakha which is chapter 95 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 ninety-fifth 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.

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 95 - More Rites and Rituals to be Observed in Vaiśākha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1. Then the king joyfully asked the sage, after saluting him who was ready to go for his bath, the rite in brief, proper for bathing, giving (gifts) and other performances.

Ambarīṣa said:

2-3. O sage, in this month of Vaiśākha which rite (should be performed)? Which is superior penance? Which gift (should be given)? How should a bath (be taken)? How should Viṣṇu be worshipped? O brāhmaṇa sage, please tell it (to me). You know everything, and you are dear to Viṣṇu. Tell (me) in particular about the procedure of worship at a holy place.

Nārada said:

4-7. O best one, when the Sun enters Aries in the month of Vaiśākha, a man, remembering Viṣṇu, should bathe in a great river, at the bank of a river, in a big river, in a lake, in a spring, in a natural pond, or a reservoir that he would come across by chance. Having observed a fast, on the eleventh day of the bright half of Caitra or on the fifteenth day when the Sun enters Aries, he, with the consent of a brāhmaṇa, and after having taken a good bath and having worshipped Viṣṇu, should take up the vow of the (daily) bath in Vaiśākha.

8-11. “During the entire month of Vaiśākha, when the Sun has entered Aries, I shall bathe in the morning with (certain) restraints. May the killer of (the demon) Madhu (i.e. Viṣṇu) be pleased. May my bath on every day during the month of Vaiśākha be free from difficulty by the favour of (Viṣṇu,) the killer of (the demon) Madhu and the favour of the brāhmaṇas. O Murāri, O Madhusūdana, give me the fruit (as told in the sacred works), O lord, due to my bath (every) morning in the month of Vaiśākha, when the Sun has entered Aries. O Madhusūdana, since this month of Vaiśākha is dear to you, be a giver of fruit, and a killer of (my) sins due to my (daily) morning bath during that (month).”

12-13. Having uttered these words at that holy place, having washed his feet, and being controlīed in speech, he, remembering god Nārāyaṇa, should bathe according to the proper rules. A man should prepare a holy place by reciting this basic hymn: ‘Salutation to Nārāyaṇa’. This is said to be the basic hymn.

14-19a. Taking darbha in his hand, having sipped water according to the rules, and having bowed, a man should fashion a quadrangular having the measure of four cubits on all sides, and should invoke Gaṅgā by means of this basic hymn: “You have sprung up from Viṣṇu’s feet. You belong to Viṣṇu. You have Viṣṇu as your deity. Therefore, protect us from the sin (committed by us) from birth to death. Vāyu has stated the number of holy places to be three crores and a half. O Jāhnavī, your holy places exist in heaven, on the earth and in the intermediate region between heaven and earth. Your name is Nandinī; among gods it is Nalinī. You (are) also (called) Dakṣā, Pṛthvī, Vihagā, Viśvagāthā, Śivapriyā, Vidyādharī, Mahādevī, so also Lokaprasādinī, and Kṣemaṅkarī, Jāhnavī, Śāntā, Śāntipradāyinī.”

19b-23. He should pronounce these names at the time of bathing. Gaṅgā moving in the three worlds, is present there. Having with the cavities of the hands (i.e. palms) joined and put on his head, and having put (i.e. sprinkled) water on his head four, five or seven times, then one should like that bathe with clay, after having invoked it according to the rules (as): “O you earth, O you day, O you who are trampled over by horses, O you who are trodden over by chariots, O you who are trampled over by Viṣṇu, remove my sin—the misdeed I have done. You have been upheld by Viṣṇu, (in) the Boar (incarnation), having a hundred arms. Salutation to you of a good vow, and the araṇi (the cause) of the rise of all people.”

24-27a. After thus having bathed, and having sipped water according to the rules, he should stand up and wear pure, white garments. Then for the satisfaction of the three worlds he should offer libations. He should first gratify Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Prajāpati, gods, yakṣas, so also serpents, gandharvas, celestial nymphs and demons, cruel snakes, eagles, trees, creatures and birds, vidyādharas, clouds, so also those moving in the sky.

27b-29a. (He should say:) “For the satisfaction of (these and) the beings also who have no support and who are engaged in sinful deeds, this water is offered by me.” A man should wear the sacred thread on the left shoulder and under the right armpit, and wear it round the neck while making offerings to gods. With devotion he should gratify offerings to gods. With devotion he should gratify men, sons of sages and sages.

29b-51. (He should say:) “Sanaka, Sanandana, so also Sanātana as the third, and Kapila, Āsuri, Voḍhu, and Pañcaśikha also. Let all of them always be satisfied with the water offered by me.” With sacred rice-grains and water he should gratify all divine and brāhmaṇa sages like Marīci, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasiṣṭha, Bhṛgu, and Nārada. Then he should make the sacred thread hang down towards the left part of the body over the right shoulder and then wear it on the left shoulder and under the right armpit, after going (down) to the ground (i.e. after touching the ground) with his knees. With sesamum seeds, water and sandal, he should devoutly gratify the manes like: Agniṣvātta[1], Saumya, Haviṣmanta[2], so also Uṣmapa[3], Kavyānala, Barhiṣad[4], and Ājyapa[5] also. (He should say:) “Salutation to Yama, Dharmarāja, Mṛtyu, and Antaka, Vaivasvata, Kāla, Sarvabhūtakṣaya (i.e. who destroys all beings), to Udumbara, Dadhna, Nīla and Parameṣṭhin; salutation to Vṛkodara, Citra, Citragupta.” Then, with darbhas in his hand, he should gratify the manes. Having, with proper rite, gratified his manes (mentioning them) with their names and family, so also his grandsires on the mother’s side, he should recite this prayer: “May all kinsmen (in this existence) and the kinsmen in former existences, desiring (libations of) water from me, be fully gratified.” Having sipped water according to the rules, he should, in front (of him) properly draw a lotus with sacred rice-grains, flowers, water and red sandal. By mentioning the names of the Sun, he should carefully make respectful offerings (to the Sun): “Salutation to you of the form of Viṣṇu, of the form of Brahma, to you, O Sun, having a thousand rays, and who are all-lustre; salutation to you, having the body of Rudra; salutation to you, to whom devotees are dear. O Padmanābha, salutation to you, adorned with ear-rings and armlets; salutation to you who are the lord of all the worlds, who awaken the sleeping ones. You always observe all good and bad deeds. O Satyadeva, salutation to you. Favour me, O Bhāskara. O Divākara, I salute you. O Prabhākara, my salutation to you.” Having in this way saluted the Sun, and having gone round (the lotus drawn in front of him) keeping it to his right seven times, he should touch a cow, a brāhmaṇa, and gold, and then go home. Having worshipped the (venerable ones) in the hermitage, he should then worship the image. Being restrained and self-possessed, a householder should first devoutly only worship Viṣṇu and again at both places, with devotion, and according to the rules. He who would especially worship Viṣṇu during the month of Vaiśākha, has worshipped him all the year round. He should perform the group of the vows in honour of Viṣṇu, for pleasing him, when the month of Vaiśākha has arrived and when (the Sun) the witness to (all) deeds has entered Aries. He should give many gifts like sesamum seeds, ghee etc., which destroy sins produced (i.e. committed) during crores of existences. A rich person should give, for the fulfilment of his desire, gifts like water, food, the (representations of a) cow made of sugar, sesamum etc. With his senses controlled one who bathes daily during the entire month of Vaiśākha, who mutters (prayers), who eats food fit to be eaten on days of fast, is freed from all sins.

52-60a. He who, being careful, eats once only(in a day), or eats at night, or eats without asking for the food during the month of Vaiśākha, gets all his desired objects. The rule is that one should have daily two baths outside (his house), at a river etc., according to proper rules, should eat food fit to be eaten on days of fast, should observe celibacy, and sleep on (bare) ground. (Observance of) a vow, (giving) gifts, muttering (hymns), sacrifice, and worship of Viṣṇu burns terrible sin committed during thousands of existences. As Mādhava (i.e. Viṣṇu) when reflected upon, destroys sin, similarly (daily) bath in Mādhava (i.e. Vaiśākha) done according to rules (destroys sins). A man should bathe every day at a holy place, should gratify his dead ancestors with sesamum seeds, should give gifts of jars of fragrant water etc., and should worship Viṣṇu during the month of Vaiśākha. This gives satisfaction to Viṣṇu. He should give water with sesamum seeds, gold, food, sugar, garments, ornaments; he should devoutly worship thrice a day lord Viṣṇu who is actually accompanied by pure Lakṣmī. He who gratifies brāhmaṇas with many golden pots containing sesamum seeds, or with jars full of water according to his capacity, removes (the sins of) the murder of a brāhmaṇa.

60b-81a. A man, being concentrated, should bathe in a river in the morning in the month of Vaiśākha, and worship Viṣṇu with devotion with seasonal flowers and fruits. Free from heretic talk, he should honour a brāhmaṇa according to his capacity. He should gratify him by giving gifts of garments, cows, jewels etc. and heaps of wealth, or should give him other valuable things in small quantity according to his capacity. Then, the man who has no possessions left, should worship Viṣṇu by offering him flowers in the month of Vaiśākha. He, being free from all sins, would emancipate a hundred of his dead ancestors. He would not experience grief for a hundred thousand existences. He has no fear from a disease; he is not bound by poverty. He would become a devotee of Viṣṇu, and is blessed in existence after existence. O hero, he would live in heaven for one hundred and eight thousand yugas and would again be (born) as a king. Enjoying various pleasures of a king happily, he, due to Viṣṇu’s grace, then merges into Viṣṇu. O king, listen; I shall tell you in brief about the worship of Viṣṇu. (It is of three kinds:) as laid down in the Vedas, as laid down in the Tāntric works and that which is of mixed types (all of which) destroy sins. There is no end to him whose fullest extent is limitless; O king, there is no end to the rite of worship. Now it will be in due order explained properly. The worship of Viṣṇu is ofthree kinds: As laid down in the Vedic texts, as laid down in the Tantras (i.e. religious treatises teaching magical and mystical formularies for the worship of a deity), and mixed. The Vaidika or the mixed one is laid down for brāhmaṇas and others. The Tāntrika is enjoined for even a śūdra who is Viṣṇu’s devotee. A man having attained brāhmaṇa-hood as laid down in his own Veda (i.e. the Veda looked upon as most authoritative by him), should, being composed and practising celibacy, worship Viṣṇu according to the proper rite. By his teacher’s consent, he should worship him on an altar or in (i.e. by offering oblations to) fire or the Sun, water, or his own heart or a brāhmaṇa, with devotion and wealth. Having brushed his teeth, he should first take bath for the purification of his body. At both times the bath should be taken to the accompaniment of hymns and with clay. The rites like the morning and evening prayers are prescribed in the Vedic texts and the Tantras. At the end of the worship he should properly fix the solemn vow to perform the observance, which purifies the rite. The image (of the deity) is said to be of eight kinds: (made) of a stone, of wood, of iron, smeared (with clay, i.e. of clay), drawn, of sand, metal and of jewels. It is of two kinds and said to be the abode of life (i.e. alive): movable and immovable. The invocation and allowing (the deity invoked) to go are not (necessary) in the case of the immovable (image) at the time of the worship of Viṣṇu. In the case of a movable one, there is an option. Both these (i.e. invocation and allowing it to go) take place on the altar (itself). In the case of that which is not smeared (i.e. which is not made of clay) bath is (enjoined). In the other case (i.e. in the case of one made ofclay) only sprinkling (with water should be done). A sincere devotee should devoutly worship the deity with well-known articles as become available. O king, in the worship, bathing and decorating (the image) is best. They (i.e. articles) may be put on the altars or oblation with ghee (should be offered) into fire. Or the worship offered into (i.e. to) the Sun is the best, or on the altar with water etc.

81b-96a. Even water offered with faith by a devotee is best. Being pure, and having first got his seat prepared with darbhas, he should, after having collected material like fragrance, incense, flowers, lamp, food etc., sit facing the north, or facing the deity, for worshipping (it). Having made the nyāsas[6], he should then touch with his hand (the materials of) worship of Viṣṇu. He should properly make ready the pitcher (from which water) is to be sprinkled. With that water he has to worship the deity and sprinkle the materials of worship and himself. Sprinkling the three pots with water he should (fill them) with the material and offer them. He should cause to be given (i.e. should give) three pots for water for washing the feet, material of worship and sipping water. With the tuft of hair on the crown of the head, from which the (head-)dress is removed, he should consecrate them with the Gāyatrī-hymn. At the end of the recitation (of the hymn), he should meditate upon a small portion representing the life of the lord, as is (conceived) in the lotus of his heart, and cherished for the fulfilment (of his desires) on a lump made ready with air and fire. When the lump is occupied by the image as conceived by himself, he being devoted to it, should invoke the deity to the (place of) worship etc. and with its body placed there, he should worship it. He should keep ready the articles of worship like water for washing the feet, for bathing, and the materials of worship etc. Having prepared, in nine ways, a seat for Viṣṇu—a lotus with eight petals, bright with a pericarp and filaments—he should, for success at both places (i.e. in this world and in the next), worship according to the ways laid down in the Vedic texts and in Tantras, worship Viṣṇu’s (disc called) Sudarśana, (conch called) Pāñcajanya, mace, sword, arrow, bow, plough, pestle, Kaustubha, garland and (the mark called) Śrīvatsa. He should also worship by sprinkling etc., at their respective places, with their faces turned towards him, Nanda, Sunanda, Garuḍa, Pracaṇḍa and Caṇḍa. So also Mabābala, Bala, Kumuda, Kumudekṣṇa, Durgā, Vināyaka, Vyāsa, Viśvaksena (i.e. Viṣṇu), teachers and (other) gods. He, Viṣṇu’s devotee, should always, when he has the money (to do so), adorn Viṣṇu with sandal, (fragrant root of a plant called) uśīra, camphor, saffron, agallochum, and fragrant water, with (proper) hymns—like the Vedic Svarṇagharma, or the incantation in honour of Viṣṇu, or the hymn called Puruṣa-sūkta, so also with waving the light etc. before the deity, with garments, sacred thread, ornaments, leaves, garlands, fragrance and unguents.

96b-101a. The worshipper should give, with faith, water for washing the feet, for sipping, sandal, flowers, sacred rice-grains, perfumes, incense, and other articles to be offere[d?]. He should keep ready jaggery, rice boiled in milk, ghee, baked cake, small round cakes of flour, sweetmeats, milk, curd, ghee, and offering of eatables. Day after day there should be anointing the body, massaging it, showing the mirror, brushing the teeth, bath and all songs. In a basin as laid down according to the rules and with a round belt and altars, he should lay fire and gather it on all sides, and having diffused water with his hand, and sprinkled it, should offer fuel according to the rules. Taking the articles with holy water, he should sprinkle ghee with water used for sprinkling.

101b-119. He should meditate upon and worship (Viṣṇu) who resembles heated gold, whose four bands shine with a conch, a disc, a mace and a lotus, and who is calm and who has put on a garment (soft) like the filaments of lotuses, who has put on a bright crown, bracelets, a girdle, and excellent armlets, who has the Śrīvatsa on his chest, whose Kaustubha is shining, who has put on a garland of wood-flowers. Having worshipped the wooden pieces having ghee (sprinkled over them) along with the oblation, having thrown two portions of ghee, and having sprinkled clarified butter and having offered oblation covered with ghee, having then worshipped and saluted he should offer the oblation to his associates. O brāhmaṇa, remembering Nārāyaṇa, he should mutter the basic prayer. Then having given (water for) sipping, he should keep the leftovers for Viṣṇu. Always singing and describing his deeds with words he should offer him perfume used to scent breath, and fragrant tāmbūla etc. Causing to hear and listening to good stories he should have leisure for a moment. Having praised him with hymns, and with various eulogies from the Purāṇas and Prākṛta (provincial or vernacular) panegyrics, he should, (prostrating himself before him) like a stick, salute him, saying, ‘O lord, favour me’. Putting his head on his (i.e. of the image) feet and joining his hands, (he should say), “O lord, protect me, who have taken refuge with you, and who am afraid of the ocean having a shark-like death.” With these words he should put on his head the leftovers of the articles offered to Viṣṇu, and should cause to stay in himself the lustre fit to be put into (his heart). A man with faith should worship wherever there is a foot-mark of the idols etc. A man should worship him who dwells in all beings and in himself also, by means of purificatory rites and abstract meditation. Due to this he obtains desired welfare from Viṣṇu. Having installed the idol, he should get constructed a strong temple, so also charming flower-garden for accomplishing the worship (of the idol), so also should (introduce) worship, pilgrimage, festivals etc. for the continuation of the worship etc. on the parvan days and also every day. Having presented a (piece of) land, a market, a city, a village etc. (to the deity) he should reach intimate union with it. By means of the installation (of the idol), one would get sovereign empire; by (building) a temple one would get (happiness in) the three worlds; by worship etc. one would reach Brahmā’s heaven; and by the three he would attain similarity (with the deity). By means of firm, desireless devotion, one obtains him (i.e. Viṣṇu) only. He who worships Viṣṇu like this obtains loyal devotion. That (really) is the body (of a man) which is white due to the dust (clinging to the body) while saluting Kṛṣṇa; it is auspicious like him. Those are the very charming eyes earned by means of penance, by which Viṣṇu is seen. That (alone) is the pure mind, which is white like the moon and a conch, and which pervades Mādhava. O king, that is the tongue, speaking softly, which repeatedly praises Viṣṇu. Women and śūdras also should worship (Viṣṇu) with the basic hymn, with devotion and according to the manner advised by the teacher; so also by other devotees of Viṣṇu. I have told you all this worship of Mādhava which is purifying. O king, do it especially in the month of Vaiśākha.

Sāta said:

120. Having heard these words of Brahmā’s son (Nārada), which were lovely, auspicious, and pure, the king, best among the devotees of Viṣṇu, being curious, saluted him with the palms of his hands joined, and said:

Ambarīṣa said:

121-124. I am the lord of the entire earth; my order is always obeyed; I serve the wise; I have dedicated my heart to the lotus-like feet of Viṣṇu; I have pleased the brāhmaṇas heartily. I am the gem from the family of well-known kings; I always have a liking for piety. I am successful. I am given to (appreciation of) beauty, appearance of bravery and to charity. I am having good sons. I have conquered a host of enemies. Due to some religious merit I have been born of a pure mind, and have been associated with the wealth of such virtues. From where again have I obtained this beautiful wife, the embodiment of religious merit and resembling Lakṣmī? O sage, tell me all these good deeds I did in the former existence. O you treasure of compassion, you know everything.

Nārada said:

125-132. This one who is your extremely beautiful wife, of a good conduct, was in the former existence a prostitute named Rūpavatī. This beautiful lady, performing auspicious deeds by the direction of a brāhmaṇa, would live (i.e. lived) as a prostitute as indicated (below). You were a goldsmith known as Devadāsa. You were, in a former existence, the lord, the paramour of her (who was then known as) Rucī. This Rūpavatī remained on the path of righteousness—the best knowledge—for (i.e, while) spending money (obscure!). Once on hearing about the religious merit due to the (daily) bath in Vaiśākha she, follow-ing (the path of) righteousness bathed when the Sun had entered Aries. The diligent, beautiful, prostitute Rūpavatī, always devoutly and respectfully saluted and gave gifts to a brāhmaṇa. You, Devadāsa, bound by love (towards her) were always advised by her. You intentionally and respectfully bathed in the month of Vaiśākha. At that time, at the beginning of Tretāyuga, on having got the third day (i.e. when the third day arrived), she spoke to the goldsmith Devadāsa, with respect:

The prostitute said:

133-135. Fashion an excellent (image of) Madhusūdana, Acyuta (i.e. Viṣṇu). Having worshipped the deity with these barley grains and having gratified fire, I shall give it to a brāhmaṇa, with the consent of brāhmaṇas. In Purāṇas, this gift is said to be inexhaustible there (i.e. in the next world). I have heard from the brāhmaṇas that this Tṛtīyā (i.e. the third day of Vaiśākha) is called ‘Akṣaya (tṛtīyā)’ of the bright half of Vaiśākha. It gives inexhaustible fruit. On this day I shall give this (image of) immutable Viṣṇu (to a brāhmaṇa).

Nārada said:

136-144. Hearing these sweet words of her, the goldsmith, truthfully and free from theft (i.e. without taking away a portion of the gold), fashioned an extremely beautiful image of Viṣṇu, thinking it to be meant for a religious purpose. She gave that beautiful image, having the characteristics of the (beautiful) moon as indicated, after she had taken bath, to a brāhmaṇa according to the proper rites, after worshipping it on that day of Akṣaya (tṛtīyā), O king. After some time, that prostitute, devoted to religion, died. Then that Devadāsa also died when (the span of) his life was over. Due to that religious merit, O king, that Devadāsa, reached (i.e. was born on) the earth as you, endowed with all virtues. That Rūpavatī too, due to that religious merit became your wife, full of love, named Kāntimatī. O hero, many desires are due to former deeds. Their courses are varied. O dear one, they are not known even by the wise. Therefore, there is no doubt that (the rites) should be performed during this month of Vaiśākha. It was kept as a secret by that god Brahmā and by Viṣṇu.

145-148. The religious merit due to the month of Vaiśākha is not obtained by those who have the company of the bad, who have no other knowledge (like that of religion), who are not restrained, who are bereft of the practices of the stages (of the human life), who have not visited holy places, who have not practised vows. The vow of the month of Vaiśākha is not (possible) for them in whose mouth the words, ‘Govinda, Keśava, Mukunda, Hari, Murāri, Lakṣmī-nivāsa, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu’ do not find a place. Those who do not properly listen to the words of the good, which are very beneficial, and are the nectar in the form of the deeds of Viṣṇu, and who do not see (i.e. visit) the temples of (Viṣṇu) the lord of Lakṣmī, do not obtain (the religious merit of) the vow in the month of Vaiśākha. They, who have not served their teachers, who have not given (in marriage) their adorned daugḥter to the bridegroom on his arrival, and who have not taught their sons the practices of modesty etc. do not get (the religious merit of) the vow of the month of Vaiśākha.

Sūta said:

149-150. O brāhmaṇas, having thus advised the lord of men, the sage, the foremost among the knowers of hymns, took his leave, and, honoured by him (i.e. the king), went to Gaṅgā to bathe (in accordance with the vow) in the month of Vaiśākha. The king too, of a pure fame, thinking of him (i.e. Viṣṇu) only, performed, along with his wife, and with a religious mind, the rite of the month of Vaiśākha, as ordained by the sage.

Footnotes and references:


Agniṣvātta—A class of manes who, on earth, neglected the sacrificial fire.


Haviṣmanta—Name of a class of manes regarded as progenitors of kṣatriyas and descended from Aṅgiras.


Uṣmapa—Literally, imbibing the stream of hot food; a class of manes.


Barhiṣad—Deceased ancestors.


Ājyapa—A class of manes who are the sons of Pulastya or of Kardama, and the ancestors of the vaiśya-order.


Nyāsa—assignment of the various parts of the body to different deities, which is usually accompanied with prayers and corresponding gesticulations.

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