The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the greatness of vaishakha which is chapter 98 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-eighth 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 98 - The Greatness of Vaiśākha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-3. Having heard these words of that Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama), the brāhmaṇa again asked him about the auspicious rite of Vaiśākha.

The brāhmaṇa said:

O magnanimous Dharmarāja, you have properly disclosed the secret of the religious merit due to a bath in Vaiśākha which gives salvation to men, and is great. Tell me the manner in which a man, being calm and having bathed in the morning, should worship the god (Viṣṇu) and with which flowers in the month of Vaiśākha.

Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama) said:

4-11a. Of all kinds of leaves Tulasī is dear to Viṣṇu. Holy places like Puṣkara, so also rivers like Gaṅgā and gods like Viṣṇu live in the leaf of Tulasī. Always and at all times Tulasī is dear to Viṣṇu. Leaving the flower of jasmine and abandoning a lotus, and taking a Tulasī leaf a man should devoutly worship Viṣṇu. Even Śeṣa would not be able to describe the fruit of the religious merit due to it. All that—plucking a Tulasī leaf in honour of a deity or for a rite in honour of the dead ancestors without bathing—becomes fruitless. (Such a man) becomes pure by (drinking) the five products of a cow. As yellow myrobalan removes diseases, so Tulasī quickly removes very many sins like poverty and experiencing calamities. A man, a devotee of Viṣṇu, who especially worships Viṣṇu with (leaves of) Tulasī called Kṛṣṇagaurā, would become Viṣṇu. He who, being restrained, would worship (Viṣṇu) the killer of Madhu at three times of the day during the entire month of Vaiśākha, has no rebirth.

11b-17. A man should always worship Viṣṇu even with food etc. if flowers and leaves are not available, or with rice grains or wheat. He should gratify, after bathing in the morning, with proper rites deities, dead ancestors and men along with the mobile and the immobile. He who always would sprinkle profuse water at the root of the Aśvattha (tree), and would go round it full of all gods, or he who would worship with water god Aśvattha on all sides, has liberated a myriad (members of) his family. There is no doubt about it. All griefs like poverty, misfortune, bad dreams and bad thoughts melt away by gratifying Aśvattha, O dear one. He, the hero, who would worship Aśvattha has gratified his dead ancestors, has worshipped Viṣṇu; he alone has worshipped the Planets. He should touch white flowers, so also śamī (leaves), fire, sandal, Sun’s orb and Aśvattha tree, and then should perform the duties of his caste.

18-21a. After scratching (the body of a cow), giving a morsel to a cow, after having bathed and gratified a pippala, and having worshipped Viṣṇu, he would not face misfortune. A woman or a man, though quite weak, who, observing rules already stated, bathes according to her or his capacity in the morning for the three days of Vaiśākha—the thirteenth, the fourteenth (of the bright half) and the full-moon day, gets free from all sins and obtains inexhaustible heaven (i.e. obtains heaven eternally).

21b-26a. If a man, being restrained and pure, gets up on the three nights (i.e. the days, viz. the twelfth, the thirteenth and the full-moon day), and feeds, according to his capacity, ten brāhmaṇas, and, offering white or black sesamum seeds with water to twelve brāhmaṇas, would perform a solemn observance saying ‘May Dharmarāja be pleased with me’, and would gratify the dead ancestors and gods, (then) the sin committed by him during his life perishes at that moment only. He would happily stay in heaven a myriad after a myriad (years). He, honoured by all deities, would not see me only. O brāhmaṇa, he who, to gratify the dead ancestors and deities, devoutly gives cooked food, jars full of water etc. on the three days, viz. the thirteenth, the fourteenth (days of the bright half) and the full-moon day, is freed from great sins.

26b-28a. He who, every day, would gratify brāhmaṇas with golden vessels full of sesamum seeds and water, destroys (the sin of) the murder of a brāhmaṇa. The sesamum seeds created by Brahmā should be given on the full-moon day of Vaisākha with devotion, for the good of the children.

28b-31. In this matter, listen to an old account, O you of a good vow. The fruit of the month of Vaiśākha is very wonderful (when a gift is given) on the full-moon day (of that month). Thirty days begining with (the Sun’s) passing through Aries are excellent. They are said to be superior to all sacrifices and holy. Especially (holy) are the three days (viz. the thirteenth, fourteenth the full-moon day) which are to be secured with a difficulty by sinners. The full-moon day of Vaiśākha is still more holy and is dear to Viṣṇu. This day is the day of the beginning of the period of the duration of the world called Vārāhakalpa.

32-36a. Formerly on this day Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu) killed these two pre-eminent demons—Hiraṇyākṣa and Madhu, and lifted up the earth. This lord performed these three (feats) only on the thirteenth, fourteenth and the full-moon day, in the bright half of the month of Vaiśakha. Since then, O best brāhmaṇa, due to the speciality, this full-moon day, the beginning of the period of the duration of the world, is called purifying and the proper witness of the feat. O brāhmaṇa, what is the use of the life of him, indeed harming himself, who, controlling himself, has not bathed in the morning in Vaiśākha?

36b-38a. A woman or a man who restraining herself or himself, has, according to proper rites, bathed in the morning on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and especially on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, is freed from all sins. He who has passed the full-moon day of Vaiśākha. without bath, gifts, worship, śrāddha, or (other acts of) merit, has indeed hell as his abode.

38b-44a. There is no other sacred treatise like the Veda; there is no other holy place like Gaṅgā; there is no other gift like a cow or water; and there is no other day like the full-moon day ofVaiśākha. He who being solely devoted to Viṣṇu, gives a cow with water (to a brāhmaṇa) on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, is especially the fourth of (i.e. in addition to) the three gods. A man who has killed his mother or father, or who causes abortion, or who violates his teacher’s bed (i.e. his wife), gets free from all sins on seeing a cow along with water. Those who, in this earth, give a cow along with water according to the proper rite (to a brāhmaṇa) on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, liberate ten earlier and ten later members of the family. Those who give to the best brāahmaṇas sugar, fruits, tāmbūla, shoes and documents, are declared to be fortunate in this world. He who gives jars with gems and water, cooked food, and golden presents on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, would obtain the fruit of a horse-sacrifice.

44b-49a. Here also they relate an old account, and the conversation of a brāhmaṇa with ghosts in a great forest. O sinless one, formerly there lived a brāhmaṇa Dhanaśarman by name. When he had gone to the forest for (collecting) kuśa, he saw a wonder. He who was frightened, saw three wicked and very awful ghosts whose hair was raised, whose eyes were red, whose teeth were black, who were emaciated, who were making various sounds, and were running here and there. Seeing them, the brāhmaṇa, afflicted with fear, speedily ran away. They too, crying, went after him at that time. Being overpowered by the ghosts, he spoke sweet words (to them).

Dhanaśarman said:

49b-53. Who are you? Due to what have you been reduced to this condition suitable for hell? Please protect me, afflicted with fear, fit to be pitied, afflicted, a devotee of Viṣṇu, very much, frightened, a poor brāhmaṇa who has come to the forest. That Viṣṇu, the lord, Brahmaṇya, Keśava pleased with you through compassion towards me, will give you felicity. That Viṣṇu is like the hemp-flower, has put on a yellow garment, and by merely hearing his name great darkness goes (away). The god is without origin and death, holds a conch, a disc and a mace. He is endless; his eyes are like lotuses; he gives salvation to the dead.

Yama said:

54-55. The goblins were pleased by merely hearing the name of Viṣṇu. They lived in religious merit. They were controlled by compassion and generosity. They were pleased by his words and were impelled by his direction. The goblins, afflicted with the flood of hunger and thirst, said these (words) to the brāhmaṇa:

The goblins said:

56-64. O brāhmaṇa, on seeing you and on hearing the name of Viṣṇu, we have reached another condition. We have become kind. Indeed the union with the good removes sin, and joins (a man) with virtue, and quickly spreads fame. Whom does the moonlight of the nectar of a devotee of Viṣṇu, which is full of the elixir of life, and which gives great delight, not give joy? This is named Kṛtaghna. This second one is Vidaivata. This third one is Avaiśākha, who is the (most) sinful of the three. This sinful one always practised ingratitude. Therefore, his name is fixed as Kṛtaghna due to his (ungrateful) actions. This Kṛtaghna was a śūdra named Sudāsa in the former existence. Due to that sin (of ingratitude) he has reached this condition. There is an expiation for a very great sinner, a rogue, or for one who acts malevolently to his teacher or master; but there is no expiation for an ungrateful person. O brāhmaṇa, having experienced (i.e. lived in) groups of many hells with bodies enduring torments. he has come to this stage. Without worshipping the deities, so also without giving to the teacher and brāhmaṇas, he ate food all alone. Therefore, he is (called) Vidaivata.

65-76a. This one known by the name Harivīra in the former existence, was the king of ten thousand villages. Through anger, egotism and atheism, he was always bent upon violating his teacher’s orders. He who censured brahmaṇas, ate without offering the (five) great sacrifices. Due to that sinful act, he, having experienced the great peril of hell, was then born as a ghost called Vidaivata. I am the third one, Avaiśākha by name. I am (most) sinful of the Gautama family, known by the same name. I lived in Viprovāsapura, and was a sacrificer in the former existence. I who follow the path as laid down in the Vedic texts, did not bathe in honour of Viṣṇu in the month of Vaiśakha. I did not give (any gift), or did not offer any oblation, especially on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha. During that month I did not worship (Viṣṇu) the killer of (the demon) Madhu. Nor did I please the learned men. I also did not gratify dead ancestors and deities with the gifts of jars containing water; and I did not offer sesamum seeds with water to learned brāhmaṇas. In that month I did not honour, in order to gratify the dead ancestors and deities with flowers, fruits, tāmbūla, sandal, fans and garments. Not a single full-moon day of Vaiśakha, giving complete fruit, did I (even) observe by good deeds like a bath, giving gifts or worshipping (Viṣṇu). Therefore, all my deeds done according to the Vedic texts have become fruitless. Then I totally became a ghost named Avaiśākha. I have fully told you this cause of (the turning into ghosts of) all the three of us.

76b-80. (Please) be our emancipator from (our) sin, since you are a restrained brāhmaṇa. O brāhmaṇa, brāhmaṇas, auspicious due to having done good deeds, are superior to holy places. They liberate great sinners even though they have resorted to (i.e. fallen into) hells. Between the two, viz. the man who always bathes at the holy places like Gaṅgā and the man who keeps the company of the good—he who has the company of the good, is better. Or, you who are exerting for us, (please) go to my son, well-known as Dhanaśarman, and inform him, O lord. He, who exerts when some work of others has come up, obtains much more fruit than obtained by sacrifices or giving gifts.

Yama said:

81-82a. Having heard those words of the ghost, Dhanaśarman was extremely pained. Having recognised him to be his father, fallen into hell, he entirely censured himself, and said these words.

Dhanaśarman said:

82b-87. O lord, I am the useless son of you—of Gautama. That son who would not carefully liberate his father, would not purify himself, or being ricḥ, would not give (gifts, is useless). Even an intelligent person has to note carefully that religious merit s difficult (to understand), as you who are my father, have reached this misfortune. You have not secured continuous happiness from me. He, due to whom continuous happiness is obtained in both worlds is called a son due to that. According to law, a man has two teachers in this world—his father and his mother. Of the two also, the father is superior as his superiority due to his (depositing the) seed is seen. What should I do? Where should I go? O father, how (i.e. what would be) your condition? I do not know the true nature of propriety. I depend upon your words.

The ghost said:

88-96. O son, listen to my true words. Due to the force of future interest, I shall have bliss as a result of some religious merit. I who was performing the rites as laid down in the scriptures arrogantly, dishonoured the words of my teacher; (and thus) I insulted my teacher. Due to the teacher’s insult, and the man’s great delight, anger or pride, the religious merit perishes, like glory due to bad conduct. A rite which is not against the Vedic rites (should be performed) according to the rules laid down in the Purāṇas. (But) through ignorance I performed only the Vedic rites. O son, I never duly observed even a single full-moon day of Vaiśākha, which is a flame like that of the wild fire for the fuel of sins, and an axe for the tree of sins. That man who does not observethe vow of the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, would be Avaiśākha. After that for ten existences he is born in the stocks of animals. Then in course of time he would become a ghost in the end. He somehow gets the human existence which is hard to get. I shall tell you a great means which brings about the liberation of a ghost; I had heard this in my former existence from the mouth of my own teacher. O son, go home and bathe duly in Yamunā. That full-moon day of Vaiśākha, the beginning of kalpa, and the giver of all good conditions, has come today. The full-moon day is beneficial for the worship of the dead ancestors and the deities in the later part of the day. A man should devoutly give on this day even water mixed with sesamum seeds, with water jars and food, to the dead ancestors.

97-103. That śrāddha offered here (i.e. on this day) lasts for a thousand years. He who feeds brāhmaṇas on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, has his dead ancestors satisfied with each ball of rice for a life time. Having duly bathed on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha, one should feed ten brāhmaṇas with milk. There is no doubt that by (doing) that he gets freed from all sins. Having given white or black sesamum seeds along with water, he should invoke their blessings. Saying, ‘May Dharmarāja be pleased’, he should gratify his dead ancestors and deities. Just at that moment only the sin that he has committed throughout his life, perishes. The sesamum seeds created by Brahma should be offered (to a brāhmaṇa) with devotion on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha and should be applied to the entire body, O brāhmaṇa. To him who bathes with sesamum seeds mixed with barley grains (applied) to the entire body, O brāhmaṇa, Brahmā gives a desired boon, so also does Dharma.

104-114. He who gives, to please Dharmarāja, water-jars, there is no doubt that he has liberated seven (members before) him and seven (after him of his family). O son, give us that fruit which is produced by devoutly bathing, muttering (prayers), offering oblations, giving gifts and worshipping (Viṣṇu) on the thirteenth, the fourteenth and on the full-moon day (of Vaiśākha). Abandoning these two ghosts I shall resort to a position in the heaven; for, the end of the sin of these two has also come by.

Yama said:

Saying ‘All right’ he left. Then the brāhmaṇa took a bath and gave gifts very much devoutly on the full-moon day of Vaiśākha. Having devoutly bathed and being very much pleased, he, when the full-moon day ofVaiśākha arrived, gave many gifts and gave them separately for his religious merit. Just at that moment only, they, seated in an aeroplane, went to heaven. O best brāhmaṇa, they were pleased with his having given his religious merit to them. The best brāhmaṇa Dhanaśarman also, who knew the sacred texts, the law-codes and the Purāṇas enjoyed many pleasures for a long time and obtained Brahmā’s heaven. Therefore, with great regard (for you), I describe in brief this most meritorious full-moon day of Vaiśākha, which purifies all. Those men who, of a pure heart, bathe duly in the morning in the month of Vaiśākha, and worship (Viṣṇu) the destroyer of Madhu, are alone fortunate, blessed and they alone are born in the world as men having a purpose. The man who, having bathed in the morning, worships (Viṣṇu) the lord of Rāma (i.e. Lakṣmī), and is endowed with (i.e. observes) all controls and restraints, indeed destroys his sin.

115-128. Those who, being controlled, bathe in the month of Vaiśākha have alone overcome death; are alone fortunate among men; they alone are free from sins; they alone do not enter (a mother’s) womb (i.e. are not reborn). That month of Vaiśākha, even a small meritorious act alone in which would be equal to (merit done in) a day of Brahma, roars with sacrifices and austerities and giving of gifts. Even the quality of viciousness of a man who bathes and worships Viṣṇu at sunrise in the month of Vaiśākha, tends to make his body pure due to his contact with a drop of water. Till that Virāṭ, Viṣṇu, the dear lord of Ramā (i.e. Lakṣmī) does not arrive, sins, having got upon a man’s body move there. The steps which a man puts for going to a holy place in the month of Vaiśākha, again become equal to horse-sacrifices, due to recollection of Śrī Mādhava (i.e. Viṣṇu) and by reciting his name. The month of Vaiśākha, dear to Viṣṇu, burns, when a (daily) bath is taken during it, many grave sins like (the mountains) Meru and Mandara. O brāhmaṇa, to favour you, I have, in brief, told you this greatness of the month of Vaiśākha, which destroys the sins of the listener. He too, who will devoutly listen to this account narrated by me, will be free from sins and will not see me. The many sins like the murder of a brāhmaṇa committed (by a man), definitely perish by performing the rites (narrated above) in Vaiśākha. A man who has duly bathed during Vaiśākha would liberate thirty former, thirty later dead ancestors, so also thirty far and near ancestors. On one side are all holy places and sacrifices with presents, and on the other side is the month of Vaiśākha (in) which (the vows are) properly observed. Since this month of Vaiśākha is very dear to that lord Viṣṇu of excellent deeds, it is superior to all (sacrifice etc.). O lord of the earth, having got what I told about the month of Vaiśākha, do not entertain any doubt whatsoever. In this matter listen to a wonderful, old account. Thougḥ the account should not be told (to anyone), I shall tell it to you.

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