The Padma Purana

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

This page describes more sinful and meritorious deeds which is chapter 97 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-seventh 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.

Chapter 97 - More Sinful and Meritorious Deeds

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The brāhmaṇa said:

1-4. Even a fool knows that a man doing auspicious deeds does not go to hell; in the same way a man engaged in doing sinful deeds does not go to heaven. By those skilful in (good) conduct is obtained the happiness of heaven by means of various sacrifices, and desired vows, gifts, muttering of prayers and truthfulness. Heaven is obtained by sages who have the wealth of knowledge and (good) conduct and who are the masters of the Vedas, due to religious merit and not by means of sacrifices. By a man who is attached to his family, even though having much wealth, much wealth in charity cannot be given without (i.e. unless he has) liberality.

5-9. In Kaliyuga the rites especially like Agnihotra (keeping the sacred fire continuously) are difficult to perform. O lord, the merit due to charity also is thought to be difcult. O you who show what is righteousness and what is non-righteousness, especially tell me that by which pious acts of little exertion religious merit can be stored. So tell me that pious act, the best among all such acts, having done which the entire sin is exhausted, due to which wealth, grains, glory, religious merit, and (span of) life increases, by which there would be intimacy in the mortal world, and heaven would be inexhaustible (i.e. would be obtained permanently), by which actually Nārāyaṇa, causing fearlessness to his devotees would be pleased. Due to his favour desire is on the palm of the hand (i.e. can easily be controlled).

10-13. O Yama, tell me that (rite) by which a fruit greater than that of all sacrifices, penance, gifts, resorting to sacred places, is obtained. If I am to be favoured by you by means of teaching me about religious merit, then please tell me that which is the essence of all pious acts. The wise ones have, after recollecting, narrated the expiations of sins as and when (they are to be taken). O god, it is not possible for men to do each one of them. So if there is (only) one pious act that would remove all sins, then tell it (to me).

Sūta said:

14. Having spoken thus, the best brāhmana, being self-subdued, and desiring to know the subtle moral merit, praised Yama who was Righteousness embodied.

The brāhmaṇa said:

15-23a. Salutation to you, who destroy everything. Salutation to you, O lord of the worlds. Salutation to you of the form of a god, who give (i.e. show) the path to heaven, who are of the nature of the sacred texts; salutation to you, O Dharmarāja. You protect the earth, the go ds, the atmosphere, the heaven, (the worlds like) Mahas, Jana, Tapas, and Satya. So also everything is protected by you. There is no world—immobile or mobile which is devoid of you. The world seized by you instantly perishes. You are the soul of all the beings. You have the nature of goodness. You are the rajas (i.e. passion) of the rājasa people (i.e. people endowed with the quality of rajas or passion). You are the tamas (i.e. the quality of darkness) of the tāmasa ones (i.e. those who are endowed with the quality of darkness). Of the quadrupeds, O god, you are one having four horns and three eyes. You have seven hands; you are bound in three ways; salutation to you, O you of the form of a bull. Righteousness, full of all sacrifices, is the expansion of your body. O lord of the worlds, you are (now) actually seen (by me). O god, my repeated salutations to you. Remaining in the hearts of all you are the observer of religious merit and sins. Therefore, you are the ruler of the beings. O god, you are a donor and a controller. O god, you are the founder of righteousness. On the earth you hold the sceptre. Tell me the well-determined essence of all the meritorious deeds.

Yama said:

23b-29. O brāhmaṇa, I am especially pleased with your eulogy. So also, O best one, you are respectable to me due to your following the practices laid down in the sacred texts. O brāhmaṇa, I, being pleased by your modesty shall tell you the great secret of me, though it should not be told, which I have determined after taking out the essence of all (sacred words), which greatly banishes (i.e. takes out one) from the group of great hells. Those Purāṇas and sacred texts are for (i.e. lead to) the delusion of the mobile and immobile world. Let them speak about that great deity only in their sacred precepts and rites. (But) in the established view of the thinking people Viṣṇu alone is decided to be the lord when (the views of) all sacred texts are put together. Śiva, Brahmā and Viṣṇu—these three only are looked upon as the Trinity. As the lamp is (burning) due to fire, the wick and the oil, in the same way, O brāhmaṇa, Viṣṇu (shines with these). Having devoutly propitiated Viṣṇu, a man should obtain the auspicious Goloka. When Viṣṇu is propitiated, all desires remain on the palm of the hand.

30-32. O brāhmaṇa, of all pious acts giving (gifts) alone is the greatest. Sin perishes by means of giving (gifts), and everything is obtained through giving (gifts). Giving (gifts) is said to be of five types: regularly prescribed, occasional, optional, and the other one is of the nature of prosperity, and the last one is the highest (type of) charity. Something should be carefully given in the morning, in the noon and afternoon. This is said to be regularly prescribed.

33-41. A man, desiring his well-being should not pass a day without (giving gifts). Gift given (by the members) in a family, stands by here or there (i.e. is useful in some way or the other). In him who, being thoughtless, would, through folly eat (all alone) I produce a disease keeping off his enjoyments. That door contented with the deeds (of the inmates), giving great trouble, having gentle breezes (i.e. not fully opened for guests), is tormenting. Those who have not given to brāhmaṇas and gods at the three times (of the day), and who eat (all) alone, have (indeed) committed great sin. I purify them by means of fearful expiations and fasts like those that dry up the bodies etc., O brāhmaṇa. As the shoe-maker would mercilessly cleanse the hide in the bowl by means of whips etc., or would tear open a bad substance, similarly in the form of a physician I purify a sinner by means of proper use of herbs, and by means of astringent, bitter (medicines), hot water (etc.) tormenting him, and in no other way. There is no doubt about this. Before him (i.e. in his presence) others enjoy pleasures as desired by them. What should I do? I am capable. He has not given excellent gifts. In the form of a great disease he would be prohibited (from enjoyments).

42-43a. O brāhmaṇa, the sinners have not with faith and capacity, given the gifts which should be regularly given. I will burn with terrible means, those who have come like that (i.e. without giving gifts).

43b-51. Before (i.e. to) you I shall explain the occasional gifts. That gift which is carefully given when the day of Mahāparvan has come, or when one has reached a sacred place, or on a day like the death-anniversary of a dead ancestor, or in months like Vaiśākha, is called occasional. I shall explain to you the time of an optional gift, which gives fruit, has a vow etc. for its object and which is intended (to have) the desired fruit. A man overcome with a feeling of devotion, gets the fruit like that (gift) (i.e. proper for the gift) due to the purifying (nature) of the gift which is duly said to be harmonious in all its constituents. I shall (now) explain (the gift) called Abhyudaya (i.e. leading to prosperity), which is said to be in the sacrifices etc., so also the rites like the ceremony performed at the birth of a child or thread ceremony or marriage; O brāhmaṇa, the gift of the nature of (i.e. leading to) prosperity is said to consist in careful installation of a flag, (images of) deities in a palace etc. It brings about growth in progeny, and gives enjoyments, glory, and happiness in heaven. And (now) I shall explain the last (kind of) gifts. O best brāhmaṇa, listen. Realising the loss of sex (i.e. sexual desire) and being oppressed by old age, a man should carefully give gifts. He should entertain hope about nothing.

52-58. ‘What will happen to these my sons, wife, relatives, brothers (and sisters) and my friends without me when I die? How shall I again continue to live like a poor man?’ Thinking like this, he, a fool bound by hundreds of bonds of hope due to his (ill) luck only, dies; and then his sons weep. Being oppressed by grief, and with their hearts full of confusion, they do not devise even a small gift at that time. When this time has passed, and when their great grief has gone, they forget (to give) the gift, or through delusion, do not give it. Knowing that the father is dead, the bond of love recedes. O brāhmaṇa, he who is dead, and who is controlled by Yama’s nooses, who is overcome with thirst and hunger, who is very much oppressed by many agonies, is, for a long time, roasted in an awful hell.

59-68. Therefore, there is no doubt, one should give gifts. To whom do the sons and the grandsons belong? To whom, does the wife or the wealth belong? In this world nobody belongs to anybody else. There gifts should be given. O brāhmaṇa, one should according to one’s capacity, give various gifts like a drink, food, tāmbūla, water and gold also. So also garments, a cow, a (piece of) land, an umbrella, vessels etc. in many ways. So also fruits and grants of land. No doubt should be had in this matter. O brāhmaṇa, I shall describe to you the characteristics of holy places. (These are) the holy places: This. Gaṅga that appears (here), holy Sarasvatī, Revā and Yamunā, the river Tāpī, so also Carmaṇvatī, and excellent Sarayū, Veṇī, and Pūraṇā, the destroyer of sins. Other are: Kāverī, Kapilā and Viśalyā, Viśvatāriṇī, (the river) known as Godāvarī, Tuṅgabhadrā and Gaṇḍakī. The river Bhīmarathī is said always to cause fear to sins. Devikā and Kṛṣṇagaṅgā, and other excellent rivers—these become, in many ways, the holy places on auspicious occasions. Rivers, whether they are in a village or in a forest, are everywhere purifying. Rites like a bath, giving gifts should be done there only. O brāhmaṇa, when the name of a holy place is not known, then these words should be uttered: ‘This is a great holy place of Viṣṇu’.

69-73a. There is no doubt that everywhere the (presiding) deity of a holy place is Viṣṇu. One who wants to secure (salvation) should remember the name ‘Nārāyaṇa’ at the holy places. The proper fruit of the holy place is produced merely by Viṣṇu’s name. There is no doubt that a man should give Viṣṇu’s name to those holy places and deities which are not known. All sanctifications are auspicious. An ocean, lakes like Mānasa, springs, small pools etc., so also all small rivers become holy-places due to the name of Viṣṇu (being given to them). The mountains are of the nature of holy places, so also a sacrifice and the sacrificial ground.

73b-81. That (place) where learned brāhmaṇas have remained with eagerness, is alone said to be a very great holy place, removing all sins. Śrāddha, the place where a śrāddha is offered, a temple, a sacrificial ground, the place where the proper sound of (the recital of) Vedas (is heard), where auspicious tales about Viṣṇu (are narrated), one’s own house endowed with religious merit, so also the holy place of cows, a forest where there is the Aśvattha tree, a place where there is a sanctifying dwelling—all these and others are holy places, so also one’s mother and father. There is no doubt that that place where (food) is cooked for moral merit, where the teacher himself stays, where there is a chaste wife, is a holy place. That is his holy place set up for his liberation, where his son, learned and interested in piety (lives). These and others are the holy places, so also the king’s palace. It is certain that at these and other holy places, nobody among all the human beings would obtain anything, anytime, without propitiating Viṣṇu, the giver of everything. Children, wealth, wife, a high mansion, horses, elephants, pleasures, heaven and salvation are not away (from a man) by means of devotion (i.e. when he is devoted) to Viṣṇu.

82-89a. Nārāyaṇa is the highest god; he, Janārdana, is of the nature of truth. That highest lord, dividing himself into three parts, created (everything). The lord became united with Rajas (i.e. activity) and Tamas (i.e. darkness or ignorance). The lord had Rajas and Sattva (i.e. goodness) more (than Tamas). In the lotus in his navel he created Brahmā. The lord created Rudra possessed of Rajas and Tamas. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (together) are said to be the Trinity. Due to Sattva a being is freed. Sattva is ofthe form of Viṣṇu. A man with Rajas joined with Sattva would be rich and superior due to glory. That which practises the rites by alluding to the Vedic words is known as Rudra (and) is said to be distinctive of men. Due to that a man would be a king in the world, and again due to Rajas and Tamas. Those practices which are bereft of Rajas (i.e. activity) and are only Tāmasa (i.e. done through ignorance), give (i.e. lead) men (to) a difficult situation in this world and in the next world. He who is Viṣṇu, is himself Brahmā, and he who is Brahma is himself Śiva. In the sacrifice all the three gods are present. Worship should daily be offered to the (three) gods.

89b-101. O best brāhmaṇa, he who differentiates among these three, is a sinner, is of a sinful mind, and would have an undesirable mode of existence. O brāhmaṇa, Viṣṇu alone is the highest Brahman. Viṣṇu alone is the world. This month of Vaiśākha is said to be dear to him in (i.e. for) all rites, and gives the fruit of the great sacrifices like the horse-sacrifice. It is excellent for a bath at a holy place, penance, giving (gifts), muttering prayers and sacrifices. O brāhmaṇa, those who, when the Sun has entered Aries, continuously bathe at daybreak in a river, and worship (him) at a holy place, do not get punishment from me. Again and again killing the stream of sins before me, again and again destroying the writing of Citragupta, again and again bathing in the month of Vaiśākha, men emancipate their ancestors from sins. This great secret cuts off fear. Therefore, it is not disclosed. It is the cause of expulsion from the abode of hell and the cause of the end of my authority. Bhāgīrathī, Narmadā, and Yamunā and Sarasvatī, Viśokā and Vitastā are to the north of the Vindhya (mountain). Godāvarī, Bhīmarathī, Tuṅgabhadrā and Devikā, Tāpī and Payoṣṇī are said to be to the south of Vindhya. He who would duly bathe in the morning in (any) river, has plunged into these twelve rivers. All rivers are holy; all excellent mountains are holy; all abodes (of deities) are holy; and resting places in the forests are holy. They are seen to have been plunged into by him, saluted by him, and very much resorted to by him, who, being controlled, would bathe in Vaiśākha where the Sun has half-risen. O brāhmaṇa, his religious merit cannot be described even if one has thousands of thousands mouths.

102-107. O best brāhmaṇa, it would be possible to describe the fruit of Vaiśākha if one would have a long span of life (given) by Brahmā. As Viṣṇu is the fire dragging (one away) from hell, in the same way the month of Vaiśākha, properly observed, would burn sins (committed during) thousands and hundreds of crores of kalpas, like the sin of a brāhmaṇa’s murder, illicit intercourse, sin committed willingly or unwillingly, a secret minor sin, great commingling (of castes), the great sin of loss of caste, so also (giving gift to) an unworthy person, sin causing filth and confusion due to speecḥ, mind and body. He who would worship Viṣṇu in Vaiśākha, would live in Viṣṇu’s city.

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