The Padma Purana

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

This page describes kashyapa’s advice to king mahiratha which is chapter 99 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-ninth 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 99 - Kaśyapa’s Advice to King Mahīratha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yama said:

1-7. Formerly there was a well-known king named Mahīratha who had obtained great power and wealth due to his former religious merit. He merely connfined himself to amorous play with his wife who subjected him to lust. He was addicted to that vice only, and was not settled in piety. Having transferred (the administration of) his kingdom to his minister, the king enjoyed the objects of senses. He, moving in the company of beautiful women, and averse to royal offices, did not consider (i.e. care for) his subjects, wealth, religious rites, material welfare and (other) acts. He only had desire for the amorous play with beautiful women. After a long time his family priest, Kaśyapa, thinking in his mind that a preceptor who, through folly, does not ward off the king should be known as a sharer in the sin, spoke righteous words to him. (He also thought:) ‘If he disregards the words of the family priest though admonished by him, then the family priest is not at fault. The king shares the entire fault’:

8-13. “O listen, O king, listen to the words of me—your teacher—which are accompanied with piety and substance, which are unbroken (i.e. clear) in meaning, which are significant and are free from (selfish) desire and passion. This alone is a great religious merit to live in (i.e. abide by) the words of the preceptor. A small order of the teacher (if followed) increases the life, wealth and happiness of kings. You have not gratified brāhmaṇas with gifts; you have not worshipped Viṣṇu. You have not observed any vow; you have not practised any penance; you have not visited a holy place. You who were under the influence of lust, did not think of Viṣṇu’s name. Oh! due to the company of cowards you did not keep contact of the learned. To whom are beloveds, carrying the chowries of Cupid, not dear? But they are fickle like the leaves of kadalī due to violently moving wind. Men of large hearts are not satisfied with things unsteady like ripples, pleasures transitory like the knittings of eyebrows, and youth that is drunk (i.e. enjoyed) for a short time.

14-17a. What is the use of knowledge, penance, sacrifice, political wisdom, or what is the use of a discriminating mind to him whose heart is taken away by women? Religious merit alone is the friend that follows (a man) after (his) death. All else perishes along with the body. (A man) should collect religious merit gradually, as the ants put up an anthill. With religious merit as his companion, he crosses darkness difficult to cross.

17b-19a. O best of kings, do you not know the flurry of men’s life which is unsteady like the violent billows on water sent up by wind? What is the use of senseless ornaments to them who have politeness as their jewelled crown, truth and piety as the ear-rings and sacrifice as the bracelet? The kinsmen leave the dead body on the ground like (a piece of) wood or a clod and turn away.

19b-26. Religious merit (alone) goes after him (i.e. the dead man). Why do you not get up and run, when all (your relatives) are going away, your (span of) life is decreasing and your existence is being cut off? The family, the sons, the wife etc., the body, collection of wealth belong to others and are uncertain. Good or bad deeds alone are yours. When, leaving everything, you who are helpless, should go, why is it that you are attached to worthless objects? Why do you not do your duty? How will you, the dead one (i.e. after death), go all alone along the path in the forest where there is no rest, no support, no provisions for the journey and without a spiritual teacher? Nobody will go after you who have started (along the path after death). (Only) your good and bad deeds will follow you who will be going. Being careful, resort to the deed which is told by the sacred texts and the codes of law, which is proper for your family and place, which is beneficial; and resort to good conduct based on piety. One should give up worldly prosperity and love of sensual enjoyment if they are bereft of virtue. All pleasures like worldly prosperity and sensual enjoyment are had by means of virtue.

27-29. Day and night one should practise the control of senses and deep abstract meditation, for one whose senses are controlled is able to keep his subjects on the (right) track. Wealth which is very fickle like glances of a very bold woman lives with kings for a long time through discipline due to great effort. (But) the wealth of those who are given to lust and pride, who do things thoughtlessly, and who are fools, perish along with their life.

30-36. Large-hearted persons do not dance (with joy) due to prosperity which is (first) seen and which (later) disappears. An ocean does not increase in size due to rivers that come or go. Between an evil habit and death, evil habit is said to be trouble some, for the addicts to a bad habit go down and down, while a king who is not addicted to a bad habit, goes to heaven. Vices, especially due to lust are difficult to end. Give up this lust which is hostile to piety. There are also the kingdoms of the foolish, thoughtless demons of bad conduct, which are enjoyed due to their luck. Those accompanied by sins, are not stable in this world. They vanish as fuel does due to the contact of fire. He whose heart, while he walks, stands, is awake or sleeps, is not given to thought is certainly dead. Since a teacher is said to be the adviser of the learned those near whom stand calamities, should hold on their head (i.e. should honour) words of advice.

37-41. A wise man accomplishes his objects after giving up the fever of the (addiction to) objects of senses by means of his mind which is in equilibrium, which is steady, and through a practical scheme. The mind of beings like a child, (though) taken (away) from foul things goes to good things and (again) from them to the other (i.e. foul things); therefore one should drive it (away) with force. A king, accepting the opinion ofthe old who see (i.e. know) the righteous conduct, should control one’s mind going astray. Riches do not help, nor friends, nor kinsmen; the movement of hands and feet (does not help); going to another country (does not help); freedom from bodily suffering (does not help); so also resorting to holy places. One can get the highest position by muttering (prayers) with mind devoted to Him.

42-46. Therefore, a wise man should certainly strive to control the mind remaining in the objects of senses, as the driver (of a chariot) controls the horses. O king, you, being restrained, should do that of which you are deprived, and (which was done) by devotees getting the respective fruits. Therefore, also listen now. A man who is erring should ask (i.e. consult) his wise friends. It is proper to do what they would say when asked. He who desires bliss, should, by all means, curb his lust and anger, since they are bent upon harming his bliss. O king, lust is a great, powerful enemy residing in the body. A man who longs for bliss should not go under its sway.

47-50a. This Cupid (i.e. lust) was formerly burnt with the fire from his forehead by the trident-holder, god of gods (i.e. Śiva), and was rendered bodiless. Such was the situation. When this mind-born one desires to strike a woman, he resorts to the body of men, and manifests his nature. He maddens a man by invisibly resorting to his body when he again and again thinks of the form of a woman. In the same way he also maddens the body of a woman. There is no doubt about it.

50b-69a. Therefore, O king, his name has come to be Smara, due to his being remembered (i.e. thought of). O hero, he has any colour. He would resort to (i.e. put on) any garment. Due to the light of his lustre he would go to a condition free from the stream of tears being drunk. Having taken up the form of a woman he would delude even a courageous man, and having resorted to (the body of) a man he would cause a woman to melt. O king, he is but natural; (though) bodiless is a body. How is (then) sin done in the case of the body? Who is more impure than him by reaching whom the pure products of a cow and the oblations become impure (just) in a moment. The (people in) this world, smelling their own foul odour, seeing their own feces, troubling their own noses, do not get disgusted. Who is more impure than him reaching whom agreeable food, fragrant food and drinks become impure? Food, reaching his belly would give up its nature; its impurity mixed with insects is quickly realised. Yet, O king, in the body he gives up his own nature, and goes to a dog’s condition in the body full of the foul smell of insects. There is no doubt that lice or insects are produced there. That insect causes bursting; and there is an awful itching. It would create agony; and would shake the entire body. That scratching rubbed by the tips of the nails is allayed. Like that is the pleasure of a sexual union. There is no doubt. Thus a man enjoys pleasures. He also drinks (i.e. eats) good eatables. The fire (in the body) digests (the food) that is there, and would drop the feces at the anus. The fluid there that has become strong, becomes excessive. Being pure, and of a pure vigour he goes to the place of Brahmā. The vigour does not obtain a seat, and remains unsteady. He is dragged by samāna (i.e. vital air having its seat in the cavity of the navel and essential for digestion); and is carried by that air. In the skull of beings there are five insects. These two are at the root of the ear. Then there are in the seat of the eyes; O king, they are of the size of the small finger. They are red-tailed. The black-tailed have the colour of fresh butter. There is no doubt about this. Well-being to you, hear their names from me who am telling them. The two insects Piṅgalī and Śṛṅgalī are at the root of the ear. The other two, Śṛṅgalī and Jaṅgalī, remain in the interior of the eyes. There is no doubt that there are a hundred and fifty insects like that. All remain in the forehead and are of the size of a mustard. There is no doubt that all suffering from skull-disease get disturbed.

69b-77. I shall (now) tell about another great insect Prājāpatya. It has the size of a rice-grain and its colour. There is no doubt about it. O king, listen, there is a couple of hair in his mouth. The intelligence of beings is perishable at that moment only. There is no doubt about it. That vigour falls in the form of a fluid into the mouth of that Prājāpatya remaining in its own seat. There is no doubt about this. It happily drinks that vigour (i.e. that fluid) and becomes intoxicated due to that. Breaking the place of palate only, it remains unsteadily. The arteries (called) Iḍā, Piṅgalā and Suṣumnā are stationed there. By its own power the artery is shaken for a moment. (Then) O king, there is the itching for sex in all beings. The penis of the man expands, so also the vulva of the woman. The woman and the man, getting mad, are then united. Due to rubbing of one body with another, there is a momentacy pleasure. Then there is the same kind of itching. O hero, such a feeling is indeed seen. everywhere. This consequence of the (enjoyment of the) objects of senses is unpleasant.

78-82a. Virtue alone, practised duly is better. Resorting to firmness then, practise virtue alone. This is the unsteady breath which, in a moment, has hundreds of goings and comings. The life of men is dependent on it. Who causes delay in (the practice of) virtue? Oh! the heart of a man who has reached even a hundred (years) would not keep away from the prohibited senses. of objects. Sexual desire can never be pacified by enjoying senses of objects. Like fire with oblation it again enhances.

82b-93. Who else, but the soul-lord Rāma—the lord Viṣṇu, is able to free the mind taken away by an unchaste woman? Therefore, due to the foulness of lust everything becomes fruitless. You have age (i.e. you are young) even now. Practise what is beneficial to you. On one side are all virtuous deeds causing. the destruction of the sins of sinners, and on the other side, there is always the month of Vaiśākha, dear to Viṣṇu. Murder of a brāhmaṇa, drinking liquor, stealing, cohabiting with one’s teacher’s wife are declared to be great sins by best sages. The month of Vaiśākha would destroy all the great darkness of sins committed by men through mind and body by means of a vow; as the sun would totally destroy darkness, in the same way the month of Mādhava would remove (sins). Duly practise (the vows) in that month. O king, having abandoned, due to the powerful religious acts performed in the month of Vaiśākha, the great, awful sins committed from birth, men, being delighted reach the city of Viṣṇu. Even sinners, if they practise (vows during) even one Vaiśākha with devotion, go to Viṣṇu’s abode. Therefore, O king, you too, bathing (every) morning, duly worship (Viṣṇu), the enemy of (the demon) Madhu, during this month of Vaiśākha. As the cover of a rice-grain or the blackness of copper go away due to the act (of pounding or rubbing), in the same way, O hero, the sin of a man goes away (by means-of a rite). Like (the cover of) a rice-grain, the natural impurity of a man is abundant. There is no doubt that it perishes. Therefore, do a bright deed.”

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