The Padma Purana

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

This page describes king mahiratha goes to vishnu’s abode which is chapter 101 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 one hundred first 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 101 - King Mahīratha Goes to Viṣṇu’s Abode

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yama said:

1-7. Then the king, observed by the glance of Death, and with his body emaciated due to consumption caused by extreme sexual enjoyment, died. He was being taken by the attendants of Yama, was repeatedly being beaten, was wailing with loud cries, and remembered his sins. Then Viṣṇu’s messengers, having come, beat my followers, and saying, ‘He is righteous’, they put him into an aeroplane. The king, with his sins exhausted due to the morning bath in the month of Vaiśākha, and being praised by the hosts of celestial nymphs, was taken to Viṣṇu’s city. Then, thinking that he was unrighteous, the king was again put by the divine messengers at the behest of Viṣṇu, not far from the path to hell. While going, he heard the various wailings of beings, being roasted in hell. Hearing the very awful cries of the sinners being boiled, the king was amazed and became extremely afflicted.

8. He said: “O messengers, what is this awful wailing that is heard and is not heard again. Please tell me the reason of it.”

The messengers said:

9-17. Beings who have abandoned bounds of morality, who are sinful, and who are bereft of (good) behaviour are thrown into awful hells like Tāmisra. Those who have committed sins here (i.e. in this world), after death resort to the path of (the abode of) Yama, suffer very terrible grief. Being dragged by fierce men of Yama, and fallen into darkness, they are eaten up by very awful dogs, foxes, carnivorous animals, crows, herons, cranes etc. and by wolves and tigers having fire-like mouths and by serpents, scorpions etc. Being burnt by fire, being pricked by thorns, being cut off by saws, being troubled by thirst, and being oppressed by hunger, so also by awful hosts of diseases, fainting at every step due to the odour of pus and blood, they are at times boiled in oils, at times beaten with pestles, are roasted in iron-vessels or at times on stones. At times they eat what is vomitted; at times (they eat) pus and blood. At times they eat feces; at times awful flesh at places with a foul smell. At times they are eaten by insects with fire-like mouths.

18-24. They, wailing in various tones, are again and again roasted in houses where, in the heaps of hair, blood, flesh, marrow and bones, the dead bodies are scattered in a disorderly manner and are clearly eaten by insects, which (houses) are destroyed bythemouths ofcrows, herons and great vulturesand have crores of bodies put very closely without interstices, which have saws and small flat stones for grinding and have no oil, which are made of trees with sharp thorns, and have the pillars of iron, oil and marrow, which are bright with pillars with fierce flames and razors, thorns and nails, which are full with the hot pus of Vaitaraṇī, and the breasts of men and women cut off with swords, and which are awful on account of being seized with fearful darkness. They have nooses tied round their necks; at places they are surrounded by serpents; at places they are squeezed by machines, and at places they are dragged with their knees (seized).

25-29. O king, the sinners, doing bad acts, and wailing, with their backs, heads and necks broken, with their throats choked, (appearing) very awful, they with bodies capable of suffering torment, being whirled in an apartment on the top of the house, are troubled. They wail along with the enjoyment of sensual objects. All beings sufer this (due to) what they have done before. The union (that was had) for love with another’s wife, gives pain. The enjoyment of objects of senses for a short while, has turned out to be giving pain for many years. O best king, having got the touch of the breezes coming from the body of you who bathed duly in the morning in Vaiśākha, they are delighted for a moment and due to your lustre have become-strong. Therefore, they who remain in the hell are free from wailing. Even the name of those who have a meritorious character is said to lead to happiness. The touch of the breezes that had the touch of their bodies causes delight.

Yama said:

30-32a. Hearing these words, the king, the treasure of compassion, said to the messengers of Viṣṇu of wonderful acts: “The heart of the good is indeed soft like fresh butter, which heated with fire, certainly melts.”

The king said:

32b-39a. Abandoning an oppressed and unhappy being, I am not able to go. Fie upon him who, though capable, does not remove the affliction of the oppressed. If these beings became happy due to the touch of the breezes that left after touching my body, then you may take me there. As the sandal-trees that remove the torment of others purify sandal, in the same way those men who remove the affliction of others purify their mother, are blessed. Those alone are the good, who, in this world remove the affliction of others, and for whom their life is (as insignificant) as a blade of grass in the matter of removing the affliction of the afflicted. This earth is sustained by those men who are bent on (doing) good to others. The constant happiness of mind is heaven; it may resemble hell (outwardly). Therefore, the good are always happy with (i.e. due to) the happiness of others. It is better to fall into hell, it is better to die, than having pleasure for a moment except the one that is had by removing the affliction of the afflicted.

The messengers said:

39b-45a. Sinful beings are roasted here in the awful hell. They live by (the fruits of) their own deeds. There is no place for misunderstanding. Those who have, in the other world (i.e. on the earth), not given (gifts), not offered oblations, or (have) not bathed at a holy place, (have) also not obliged (any one), or (have) not done, with devotion, a great meritorious act, (have) not offered sacrifices, (have) not practised penance, (have) not muttered (prayers) with joy, are roasted in awful hells. Those who are of a bad character, whose practices are bad, who are condemned due to their diversions and food, who harm others, who commit sins, who amuse themselves in a bad manner, who cut asunder the hearts of others with words cutting the vitals, so also those who sport with the wives of others, are roasted in a hell. Come on, O king, we shall go to Viṣṇu’s abode. It is not proper for a meritorious person like you to stay here hereafter.

The king said:

45b-57. O messengers, if I have done meritorious deeds, then why am I brought along this path leading to hell? Or what is my great religious merit? I, given to carnal pleasures, have not done any meritorious act like that. (Then) how shall I go to the city of Viṣṇu? I have a doubt.

The messengers said:

It is true, you, with your mind influenced by lust, did not do a meritorious act, did not perform sacrifices, did not eat the leftovers of a sacrifice; but, formerly, you, impelled by the words of your teacher, bathed duly in the morning (every day) in the month of Vaiśākha for three years and devoutly worshipped Viṣṇu, the lord of the universe and the killer of (the demon) Madhu. He to whom his devotees are dear, destroys the stream of major and heinous sins. O lord of men, by means of that, the essence of all religious practices, he being honoured by the hosts of gods, is taken to an auspicious place. Viṣṇu, when worshipped, destroys even major sins. In the same way the month of Vaiśākha is declared (to be destroying sins) by Brahmā. As by a spark of fire a heap of grass (hay) is burnt, in the same way by the (daily) morning bath in Vaiśākha the stream of sins is burnt. As long as a man does not bathe in the morning (every day) in the month of Vaiśākha, even the major sins originate in his body. A man who is engaged in vows as laid down (in sacred texts), is freed from streams of sins due to devotion to Viṣṇu and would go to Viṣṇu’s abode. O lord of men, since, formerly you did not do meritorious acts from your birth, you were taken along the path to hell. Now, O lord of the earth, being praised by us and the hosts of gods quickly go by an aeroplane to Viṣṇu’s abode.

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