The Padma Purana

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

This page describes deeds leading to hell and heaven which is chapter 96 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-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.

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 96 - Deeds Leading to Hell and Heaven

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:

1-2. O Sūta, O Sūta, O you very wise one, live for a hundred years, since we were made to hear (i.e. you told us) what is beneficial to the world. Again talk the most. We (shall) drink your words. Again and again drinking those words, we are not satisfied, O Sūta.

Sūta said:

3-6a. In this case also there is known an old account—a dialogue between the prime world among the worlds (i.e. the Earth) and the lord of the world. The height of the Earth was six thousand yojanas and the expanse is three thousand yojanas. Thus making the Earth to have (an area of) nine thousand yojanas, he first held the Earth with his large left tooth and lifted her. He held the Earth for a thousand divine years. In course of the legendary account of religious importance she politely said to the lord:

The Earth said:

6b-11a. These twelve months and three hundred and sixty days (constitute a year). Which of these is the best, (most) auspicious, and dear to you? The month of Kārtika, when the Sun is in Libra is sacred. The month of Māgha when the Sun is in Capricorn is said to be sacred in (i.e. by) the Purāṇas. The wise say that when the Sun is in Aries, it is the (sacred) month of Vaiśākha. Mārgaśirṣa is also said to be purifying among the (twelve) months. Thus these are said to be the sacred months. Certain days also are (said to be) sacred. There are the beginnings and ends of the yugas. So also there are the beginnings of the kalpas also. Tell me the most sacred month among all the months. O you who are full of all sacrifices, O you glorious one, tell me (about) any one chosen by you.

Varāha (i.e. Viṣṇu) said:

11b-19a. I am always to be adored with devotion by those mean men who worship me in the month of Vaiśākha with or without rites. O you beautiful one, in Vaiśākha Hiraṇyākṣa was killed, so also Madhu. Having killed these two first demons, I lifted you up. The religion based on the three Vedas, and the settlement about knowledge and the castes took place in the month of Vaiśākha in Tretāyuga. Therefore, Vaiśākha is dear to me. On the third day of the bright half of Vaiśākha Tretāyuga commenced. So also the practices based on the three Vedas started, and they advanced. That day is called Akṣaya (i.e. inexhaustible) in the world. It is dear to Viṣṇu for bathing, giving gifts, worshipping, offering śrāddhas, muttering (names of the deity) and offering oblations to the (dead) ancestors. To them who worship Viṣṇu with barley-grains and carefully perform a śrāddha I give all excellent things desired by their minds. Those religious men are fortunate who give gifts, who every day worship Viṣṇu by means of various sacrifices. The fruit of him (i.e. which he gets) who worships me in Vaiśākha, is greater than (the fruit obtained) by those.

19b-27. O venerable lady, listen to the meritorious fruit of that which is done is Vaiśākha, such as a bath, gifts, muttering (hymns), sacrifice, penance, sacrificial rite and other vows. For ten, five and seven crores of the periods of Manu they have obtained my proximity and remain without fear. Even if all the cruel Planets are situated in the twelfth and the eighth (places in the horoscope of a man) all of them become pleasing by means of the (daily) morning bath in Vaiśākha. The dead ancestors in number(s) like four of him who being solely devoted feeds brāhmaṇas in the month ofVaiśākha, are satiated by each lump of rice. Those who give very sweet foods, or meals consisting of barley-grains or with water mixed with sesamum seeds, so also umbrellas and garments, so also (shoes) capable of protecting the feet, are blessed, and give delight to Viṣṇu. Here (i.e. during the month) especially sesamum seeds with honey should be given for great religious merit and for the destruction of long(-standing) sin. Who can measure even for hundreds of crores of years the religious merit obtained by men when such (things) are done? A man (doing as above) obtains in this world the wealth in the form of sons and grandsons, long life, and whatever is desired, and in the next world he comes to me only. The series of sins of (i.e. committed during) many existences of a man melts away by bathing at dawn at a holy place according to the rites or of him who resorts to it.

28. He who, abandoning the Vaiśākha-vow, would practise some other vow, gives up a great gem in his hand, and asks for a clod.

Sūta said:

29-39. In this way the lord of the world, the mighty first god spoke in the world with reference to the month of Vaiśākha. What is the use of talking much in this matter, O brāhmaṇas? There is nothing that is not obtained by worshipping Viṣṇu in the month of Vaiśākha. In this matter listen to a very wonderful, ancient account, and the dialogue between a brāhmaṇa and the glorious Yama. In Madhyadeśa at the foot of the Yāmuna mountain between Gaṅgā and Yamunā there was a village called Mahāgrāma of brhāmaṇas. There many learned brāhmaṇas lived. Yama said to a man who was dark and tawny, had red eyes, whose hair (stood) up and whose shanks, eyes and nose were like those of a crow: “O you, go to Mahāgrāma, and having gone there, bring a brāhmaṇa, Yajñadattaka by name, who is born in Vasiṣṭha’s family, who is settled in tranquillity, who is learned and who is skilled in sacrificial rites. Do not bring the other one who belongs to the same family, (and who lives) by his side, for he has similar qualities, is like him, in learning and birth. In form and characteristics he, the best one, is like him. Bring him, I have to worship him as advised.” He went and did (exactly) the opposite of Yama’s order. He brought him only whom Yama had disallowed. Yama got up (when he came) and honouring him, he, knowing religious merit, said: “Take him (back). Bring that other one”.

Sūta said:

40. When Yama said these words, the brāhmaṇa, disgusted with going (i.e. unwilling to go), said to Yama.

The brāhmaṇa said:

41. Why was I brought here (and) why do you impel me (to go back)? O lord, I am not at all eager to go to the mortal world again.

Yama said:

42-46. Here the meritorious persons whose life has ended, would stay. This is known as Dharmaloka, belonging to Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama). This entire land is full of happiness. I am Dharmarāja, its lord; I give the beings happiness or unhappiness according their religious merit or the opposite of it. I am of the form of Yama who gives hell (i.e. who sends to hell) the sinful men. In the same way I am religious merit embodied, who gives heaven to the meritorious. O brāhmaṇa, today only go (back) to your house as you had come (here). Still ten years’ span of your life remains (to be enjoyed). When your life comes to an end, you will obtain this world. You (may) ask anything else that you want to ask. I shall explain it to you.

The brāhmaṇa said:

47-49a. Tell me (about) that great religious merit, having done which heaven would be (obtained). In deciding what is religious and what is irreligious, you are the authority, O god, I have duly to go back to my house, then tell me due to which act men fall into hell. Please tell me (also) all that by which men go to heaven.

Yama said:

49b-76a. Those men who are averse to religion through their deeds, mind and words, and who are without (i.e. who do not have) devotion to Viṣṇu, go to hell. Those men who look upon Brahmā, Śaṅkara and Viṣṇu as different (from one another), and who are detached from knowledge about Viṣṇu, go to hell. That man who, through lust or delusion, gives up the act proper for his family or country, and would do something else, goes to hell. A man who worships what should not be worshipped, and does not worship what should be worshipped, and is disinterested in the knowledge about Viṣṇu, suffers in many hells. That sinner who dies as a wealthy man without giving to his dead ancestors, deities, brāhmaṇas, or his mortal relatives, goes to many hells. He who discriminates in (the distribution of) food, when all kinds of food are ready, and eats without making an offering to all deities, goes to (lives in) hell for a long time. O brāhmaṇa, those rich men who earn wealth by too much deceiving beings and the religious hypocrites experience grief. Those who, when proper time has come, do not devoutly offer śrāddha through atheism or greed or delusion are roasted in hell. That sinful man who causes obstruction when wealth is being given to brāhmaṇas, would go to hell. That man who, when the presents made in common, being deluded, takes them all alone, and who is inclined to atheism, would live in the abode of hell. His not being patient with other’s virtues would be the cause (of his falling into hell). The great sin that has arisen is the cause of (his falling into) hell, who, after (some) time abandons his faultless, good-hearted wife and goes (away). That man who would not support their glory would fall into hell. That man who, being deluded, describes impiety as piety, is a sceptic, is an atheist, lives in hell. That man who has one idea in mind, and would speak in a different way, and would make the heart (of another person) displeased, would live in hell. Those men who, having showed disrespect for the narration (of the virtues) of the lord, go to the terrible hell due to that sinful deed. Those who, even after seeing the door of (the temple of) the lord or (even after hearing) his name or the sacred text or (even after seeing) his attendants, do not salute etc. become the residents of hell. Those men who torment their wives without their faults, or abandon their good wives, go to hell. The man who does not listen to the words of his teacher or to the sacred texts, and who torments the hearts of others dwells in hell. One who feeds his own belly with sweets while his relatives and children are looking on, is merely a glutton, and goes to hell. The atheist who would not take bath in the morning in rivers etc. (when the Sun is) in Libra, Capricorn or Aries, would live in hell. O brāhmaṇa, he who does not, through love or respect, stand up on seeing Viṣṇu’s devotee, is the guest in hell (i.e. goes to hell). Those who obstruct the ways by means of (pieces of) wood, spikes or darts or stones, go to hell. Those who do not reflect upon Viṣṇu, the first god, the controller, the great lord of the entire world, go to hell. Those men who cut off the livelihood of (a man through) farming, who break a family, who cut off (the bond of) love, so also (of) hope, go to hell. That foolish man who would test the brāhmaṇas who are distressed for want of livelihood, and who have come for eating food, should be known as a guest of (i.e. would go to) hell. Those fools who do not show compassion for a forlorn, poor, old devotee ofViṣṇu, afflicted by a disease, go to hell. Those who have not restrained their senses, having taken up vows, and who later give them up, go to hell.

76b-100. O brāhmaṇa, listen as to how the kind men go to heaven. I shall tell something in brief and through respect for you. This is (what) the ancient text (says): “Those who worship god Hari, Jiṣṇu, the ancient Viṣṇu, the unborn Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, the four-armed Viṣvaksena (i.e. Viṣṇu), who meditate upon the divine man, and remember Acyuta (i.e. Viṣṇu), obtain the position of Viṣṇu. Narration (of the virtues) of Viṣṇu—this alone is auspiciousness, this alone is earning money, this alone is the fruit of life. By means of the narration (of the virtues) of Viṣṇu, the god of gods and of unlimited lustre, sins melt away as darknees [darkness?] (melts away) at daybreak. Those men who, full of faith, every day sing the verse about Viṣṇu, and who are always engaged in their own duties, who, having given up all worldly occupations, glorify Viṣṇu only, go to heaven. O brāhmaṇa, the fearful messengers of Yama do not approach the men who, even though they are sinners, are devoted to the muttering of prayers. They do not see anything else in case of the beings except the narration of the virtues of Viṣṇu, which is an expiation putting an end to all sins. Those men who, when solicited, are delighted, who, having given gifts, speak agreeably, and who abandon the fruit of gifts (made by them) go to heaven. Those mortals who avoid sleep by day, who put up with everything, who are the asylums on the parvan days, go to heaven. Those men who never mention the faults even of their enemies, (but) mention their virtues (only), go to heaven. Those men who, having seen the wealth of others are not distressed through jealousy, (but,) being delighted, congratulate them, go to heaven. Those who, of a firm resolution, show respect for the statements in the sacred texts, in active worldly life or in resignation of worldly acts, go to heaven. Those men who, born in any family, are kind, successful, tender, and of a good behaviour, go to heaven. Those men who, being pure and good, never take delight, through act, mind, or words, in the wives of others, go to heaven. Those men who knowing their capacity, always do the acts that are laid down (in the sacred texts), as told (in the sacred texts), go to heaven. He who always has faith in the religious act performed mentally, physically, or through words, and who is liked by the good, would become a guest in (i.e. goes to) heaven. That man who puts up with the impulse of his speech, his mind, his belly or his generative organ (i.e. impulse of sex), becomes a resident of heaven. Those wise men who take delight in virtues, whose speech is (directed) towards the sacred texts, whose mind is (interested) in true spiritual knowledge, go to heaven. Those men who preserve their vow from (the influence of) anger, who protect wealth without (being influenced by) jealousy, who preserve their knowledge from (being influenced by) pride or insult, and preserve (i.e. keep) themselves (away) from faults, who keep their mind free from greed, from lust, who protect (i.e. keep away) piety from (the influence of) bad company, go to heaven. Those men who, on the eleventh day of the bright or the dark half of a month are engaged in observing a fast, go to heaven. The day of Ekādaśī (the eleventh day of a fortnight) is created as a mother for all children, as a medicine for the sick, and for the protection of all people. There is no other protection for the feet like Ekādaśī (since it makes one go along the right path).

101-110. Men fasting on that day according to proper rules, go to heaven. O brāhmaṇa, having quickly shaken off the sin committed by the eleven organs of sense and action, a man, being pleased, would go to heaven. Thousands of horse-sacrifices and hundreds of Rājasūya sacrifices are not equal even to the sixteenth part of the Ekādaśī-fast. All sacrifices, all holy places and austerities, gifts like the great gifts are on one side, while the vow (in honour) or Viṣṇu is on the other side (i.e. the sacrifices etc. do not stand comparison with the vow in honour of Viṣṇu). The creator had weighed together the religious merit due to the vow (in honour) of Viṣṇu and the religious merit due to sacrifices etc. The former would be heavier. O brāhmaṇa, I do not control those who are devoted to Viṣṇu’s day (i.e. the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight) and who talk endlessly about Viṣṇu; I am especially afraid of them. Their son or their grandson who observes a fast on the eleventh day strongly emancipates, along with himself, a hundred men (of his family). Therefore, a man should observe a fast on the eleventh day of both the fortnights. He is the only abode of enjoyment and salvation. Jayā, Vijayā and Jayantī, Pāpanāśinī, Trispṛśā, Vañjulī, and the excellent Pakṣasaṃvardhinī, the other one to be known as Tiladugdhā, so also Akhaṇḍadvādaśī, the one called Manorathā, so also the excellent Bhīmadvādaśikā—these are the many varieties of Dvādaśī (the twelfth day of the lunar fortnight).

111-114. Those who are capable of (observing) these vows have remained in Brahman. Those who listen to religious texts, are convinced of piety, who do what is agreeable to children, go to heaven. The dead ancestors of those men who on one day—on the new-moon day—of every month, are engaged in the vow of a śrāddha, are gratified; and they are blessed and go to heaven. Those good men, when suitable meals (are ready), respectfully offer eatables without changing the complexion on their face (i.e. without showing unwillingness), go to heaven.

115-117a. Those men who are bereft of truth and even full of passion, (but) are devoted to Madhusūdana, Nārāyaṇa, the lord of everything, having endless religious merit, go to heaven. Those who, of a good conduct and solely given to bathing and giving (gifts), resort to Vitastā, Yamunā, Sītā, and the auspicious Godavari river, never see the path to hell.

117b-120. Those who dip in Narmadā, giving happiness in this world, and are even pleased at her sight, go, after having shaken off their sins to the world of the great lord, and enjoy there for a long time. Those men who, for three nights (i.e. three days) have bathed at the bank of Carma-river, and especially in the hermitage of Vyāsa, are said to be the residents of heaven. Those who die in the water of Gaṅgā, at Prayāga, Kedāra and Puṣkara, in Vyāṣa’s hermitage, Prabhāsa, go to Viṣṇu.

121-124. Those who die while practising abstract meditation at Dvāravatī, Kurukṣetra, and those who have the letters ‘Hari’ in their mouths, are not reborn. O brāhmaṇa, those who have stayed, even for three nights, at the city of Dvāravatī, and take bath at the bank of Gomatī, are blessed, and are dear to Viṣṇu. Those who have stayed at the abode of Nara and Nārāyaṇa, and have resorted to Nanda on the earth for three nights are dear to Viṣṇu. O brāhmaṇa, those men who have Jived near Viṣṇu for six months, have indeed become one with Viṣṇu, and would remove the sin (of a person) on merely looking at him.

125-127a. Those men who bathe in the water of Maṇikarṇikā, the holy water secured after many existences, and having reached Kāśī salute Viśveśa, are venerable even to me. Those men who die according to the sacred command after having worshipped Viṣṇu on the earth with darbhas and sesamum seeds, after having spread sesamum seeds on the ground and after having given iron and milch cow (to a brāhmaṇa), go to heaven, O brāhmaṇa.

127b-142. Those who die after having produced sons, and having installed them on the position that has come down from the father, grandfather etc. (i.e. which is hereditary), and who are not having the feeling of mineness and egotism, also go to heaven. Those men also who have turned away from stealing, and who are content with their own wealth,. who derive their livelihood due to their good luck, go to heaven. Those men, who, at the time of welcoming (a person) speak gentle, sweet and natural words, not afflicting (the person) go to heaven. O brāhmaṇa, those men who know the consequence (of their deeds) on the heaping up of the fruits of their auspicious or inauspicious deeds, go to heaven. Those men who increase the enthusiasm of those who are occupied with (earning) wealth and religious merit and follow the path of righteousness, are delighted in heaven. He who gives fire (i.e. warmth) in the cold season, so also he who gives water in summer, who gives shelter in the rainy season, is delighted in heaven for a long time. He who devoutly offers a śrāddha at all auspicious times, also at the time of all regular and occasional rites, enjoys the world of gods. Giving gifts to a poor man, forgiveness in a lord, penance of the young (i.e. in youth), silence of the learned, cessation of desires in the case of those used to happiness, and compassion to beings, take (men) to heaven. The connection (of a being). with deeds is twofold: it is due to sin and to religious merit. The decision in this matter is done only after resorting to truth only. Penance accompanied with meditation leads to the crossing of the ocean of the worldly existence. Sin is said to lead to a fall. This is true. There is no doubt about it. That (merit) of a man, void of religious merit, and (though) endowed with might, service and valour, melts away with force. In the difficult places on the mountains there are tall and well-nourished trees. Though dense, they fall along with their roots due to the force of wind. Similarly, those who do not practise truth, go to Yama’s abode. Everything else is common to all beings. Righteousness alone is the strength (that differs from individual to individual), due to which a being is rescued in this world and in the next world. I have narrated to you in brief all this giving (i.e. leading to) the path to heaven. What more do you desire to hear?

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