The Padma Purana

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

This page describes propitiation of yama which is chapter 66 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 sixty-sixth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 66 - Propitiation of Yama

Nārada said:

1-4. O best god, for my well-being, tell me about the propitiation of Yama. O god, how (i.e. by doing what) a man does not go to hell? It is heard that in Yama’s world there is the river Vaitaraṇī. She is unapproachable, boundless, difficult to be crossed, and contains much blood. How can she, difficult to be crossed by all beings, be easily crossed? O lord, this is just the great fear about Yama’s world? O revered one, having favoured me, tell me the entire act to be free from that (fear).

Mahādeva said:

5-6. O brāhmaṇa, formerly I had bathed in the salty ocean at Dvārāvatī. O brāhmaṇa, I (there) saw a sage named Mudgala who came there. He was blazing like the sun. His body was shining with penance. Having saluted me, the sage Mudgala, being amazed, said:

Mudgala said:

7-21. O god, suddenly I fainted and fell on the ground. My limbs are burning. I am seized by Yama’s servants. I, this soul of the size of the thumb, was dragged forcibly, was bound tightly by Yama’s soldiers and taken near Yama. In a moment I saw in the assembly Yama of tawny eyes, of a dark face, very fierce, and possessing hundreds of fatal diseases, and waited upon in person by (the three humours in the human body viz.) wind, bile, phlegm—the (three) deficiencies—so also by diseases like fever parching up the body, by boils and cuts etc. (He was also served by) crushing of the body with burning (sensation), head-ache, by fistula in the anus, (all) destroying the strength; by inflammation of the glands of the neck, eye-diseases, strangury, fever and sores. (He was also waited upon) by (diseases like) swooning, throat-disease, heat-disease, by goblins and thieves. Thus he was (served) by many that were fierce, terrible and of various forms. (He was served) by fiends, demons having skulls and heads in their hands in the battle as well as in hell, who were fierce and who were seated and who stood before him. (He was waited upon) by superintendents of religious affairs, so also by scribes like Citragupta, by tigers, lions and pigs, so also by serpents with locks of hair on their hoods and very difficult to catch. (He was waited upon by) scorpions, fanged beings, insects like bugs, wolves and dogs like (i.e. in the form of) spotted leprosy, herons, vultures and jackals. (So also he was waited upon) by thieves, poor beings, plagues, by female and male imps with their hair loose, and by asthmas with knitted eye-brows and crooked faces. They were of a mighty valour, were not timid, and punished the sinners. Yama, being waited upon by his attendants, shone in the assembly, as the Vyālāñjana mountain shines with fearful wild animals. Then Yama, the lord of all, said to his servants: “How have you, being confused about the name, brought this sage insted [instead?] of Bhīmaka’s son named Mudgala, (living) in the village of Kauṇḍinya? The life of that kṣatriya has come to an end. He should be brought. Free this one.” Hearing this they went from him and again came (back to him). All those servants of Yama again said to Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama). “We who had gone there, did not see a man whose life had come to an end. O Sun’s son, we, with our minds somehow confused, do not know (what to do).”

Yama said:

22-23. Generally those men who have observed the auspicious Dvādaśī and are told about the Vaitaraṇā river, are invisible to you, (my) servants. So also they who die at Ujjayinī, Prayāga, or in Yamunā, or who have offered sesamum-seeds, an elephant or gold, or cows, and (have performed) daily rites.

The messengers (i.e. the servants) said:

24-26. O brāhmaṇa, tell us fully what kind of vow it is. O god, what should be done in that vow which would please you? O best man, how is he who has observed the Dvādaśī(-vow) of the dark half and observed a fast, freed from a sin? Tell (us), in what manner the vow is to be observed. O treasure of pity, be pleased, show compassion, and tell (about it).

Śrī Mudgala said:

27. Hearing the words of the messengers, he spoke sweetly: “O messengers, I (shall) tell (you) as I have observed and seen (it).”

Yama said:

28-43. On these foremost (Dvādaśīs) falling in the dark half of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, the Vaitaraṇī-vow should be duly observed, O messengers. Till the year ends, this should be certainly duly observed. Having done it, O messengers, (a man) is undoubtedly freed. The vow of a fast, pleasing Viṣṇu, should be observed. ‘O great god of gods, today will be my fast.’ He should, on the Dvādaśī day, devoutly worship Viṣṇu; and should pray to him, ‘All that (sin) of mine, committed due to the defect of my indolent senses should be pardoned by favouring me.’ Having made such a restraint, he should go to a holy place in the mid-day. Taking with him clay, cow-dung, sesamum-seeds, he should duly go there. For the fulfilment of the vow he should bathe there. He should bath particularly with (the accompaniment of) the hymn Aśvakrānte. ‘O earth, you who are trampled by horses and chariots and by Viṣṇu, remove my sin accumulated by me formerly.’ When she removes the sin, he is freed from all sins. The sesamum-seeds, of the form of Viṣṇu, have sprung up in Kāśī. By means of the bath with sesamum, Viṣṇu removes all sins. ‘O goddess, you are born from Viṣṇu’s body. You remove great sins. You remove all sins of all. Salutation to you.’ All the meritorious ones have said that bath, with the utterance of Viṣṇu’s names, and by holding Tulasī-leaf, should be duly taken. Having bathed like this, and having come out, and having put on good garments, he should gratify his manes, and then worship Viṣṇu. Then he should put a jar which is scratchless, which contains leaves, which has five gems in it, and which is perfumed with divine fragrances, which is full of water, which contains coins, and which is accompanied by a copper-vessel. O king, a man should offer a great worship to god Viṣṇu, god of gods, treasure of penance residing in it, with the full rite. He should also get fashioned an auspicious circle with clay, cow-dung, etc. Or he should get it fashioned with white, washed rice, and powders of stone. He should (also) get fashioned (an image of) Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama) having limbs like hands etc.

44-54. Then having placed before it, (the representation of) the reddish river Vaitaraṇī, he should separately but duly worship it with invocation. ‘I am invoking Yama, lord of gods and of a universal form. O noble Viṣṇu, come here and give your proximity. O lord, Lakṣmī’s dear husband, this is water for washing your feet. You who always are engaged in going out into the universe, show me favour.’ (He should touch) the feet (of the image saying) ‘Salutation to Bhutidā’. (He should touch) the knees (saying ‘Salutation) to Aśoka.’ (He should touch) the thighs (saying) ‘Salutation to Śiva.’ (He should touch) the waist (saying) ‘O Viśvamūrti, salutation (to you).’ (He should touch) the penis (saying) ‘Salutation to Kandarpa.’ (He should) in the same way (touch) the testicle (saying) ‘Salutation to Āditya.’ (He should touch) the belly (saying) ‘Salutation to Dāmodara.’ (He should touch) the breasts (saying) ‘Salutation to Vāsudeva.’ (He should touch) the face (saying) ‘Salutation to Śrīdhara.’ (He should touch) the hair (saying) ‘Salutation to Keśava.’ (He should touch) the back (saying) ‘Salutation to Śārṅgadhara’. (He should touch) the feet (saying) ‘Salutation to Varada’. (He should touch) the head, (uttering) his own name (and saying) ‘Salutation to you, the soul of all, and having in your hands a conch, a disc, a sword, a mace and an axe.’ Thus it is told. ‘Salutation to you, Matsya, Kūrma, and Varāha, Narasiṃha and Vāmana, (Paraśu-)rāma, Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Buddha and Kalki. For the destruction of the streams of all sins, I am worshipping you. My repeated salutations to you.’ Having by all means meditated upon Viṣṇu with these hymns, he should worship him. ‘O Dharmarāja, I salute you. Salutation to you, O Dharmarāja. Salutation to you, O lord of the Southern direction, O you, whose vehicle is a buffalo. O Citragupta, salutation to you. Salutation to Vicitra (i.e. the lovely one) for the cessation of suffering in hell. Give me my desired objects.’

55-77. He should always salute Yama, Dharmarāja, Mṛtyu, Antaka, Vaivasvata, Kāla, and Sarvabhūtakṣaya (destroyer of all beings). (He should always salute) Vṛkodara, Citra, Vicitra, Citragupta, Nīla, and Dadhna. Thus with these twelve names the lord Dharmarāṭ should be worshipped. ‘O Vaitaraṇī, very difficult to be crossed, sin-destroyer, granting all desired objects, come here, O noble one. Accept the respectful offering made by me.’ The well-known river Vaitaraṇī (flows) by the fierce gates of Yama. Beings going beyond birth, death and old age (bathe) in her for emancipation. She is difficult to cross for the sinners and removes the fears of all beings. In her, beings suffering from great pangs bathe through fear. ‘O Jayādevī, desiring to cross that fierce one, I repeatedly salute you.’ That is the Vaitaraṇī river in which the gods live. She too is devoutly worshipped for pleasing Viṣṇu. She, to whose bank sages and men come, and who removes sins, is also worshipped in the form of a river. I shall give you (a vow) to cross her in order to be free from all sins. For religious merit I shall tell you (about) the river Vaitaraṇā. ‘You are devoutly worshipped by me and also for pleasing Viṣṇu. O Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Jagannātha, emancipate me from the mundane existence. Merely by means of my uttering your name, remove all my sin. I have made a great sacred thread with nine strands. Accept it, O lord of gods, and being pleased, grant my desired (objects). This is the very charming tāmbūla for you, prepared according to my capacity. O lord of gods, accept it (and) emancipate me from the ocean of the worldly existence. This is the lamp with five wicks (offered to you) for being waved before you. O you the sun (removing) the darkness of illusion, be attached (to us) and remove (our) misery. I have offered you with devotion good food, well cooked food having all the (six) flavours. O lord, accept it. By means of the hymn of twelve letters (viz, Om namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya), and the muttering done according to the number, may the lord of Śrī be pleased with me, and grant me my desired (object). When the great ocean was churned, five cows sprang up. Repeated salutations to the cow Nandā which is among them.’ Having duly worshipped the cow, and being composed, one should offer the respectful offering. ‘O Nandinī, O you granter of all desires, O you goddess, removing all destructive (elements), always give me good health and a long (line of) progeny. O Kapilā, worshipped by the intelligent Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra, remove my sin accumulated in former (existences). May golden-horned milch-cows, like Surabhi, and those born from her, always remain, like rivers and oceans, in front of me, behind me. May they stand by me in heaven, O goddess, full of all gods, very auspicious, and loving your devotees.’ Having thus worshipped he should offer the daily rite to the cow. ‘May the daughters of Surabhi, pure, sin-destroying and beneficial to all, may the mothers of the three worlds accept the food offered by me. Salutation to Gaṅgadā, the auspicious one, for the destruction of all sins.’

78-85. With this hymn only the wise one should hold the mace. (Saying) ‘Paṃ, salutation to Padmanābha’, the very intelligent one should have the lotus. (He should say) ‘Caṃ, salutation to the Cakrarūpin Viṣṇu’. Its having said to be due to the disc. ‘Śaṃ, salutation to him of the form of the concḥ. Salutation to you, who bring about happiness.’ O messengers, the having (the mark of) the conch said to be done with this hymn. The putting on (of the marks) of the four weapons is declared by the sages. This having the marks burnt (on the skin with red-hot iron on the body) for a brāhmaṇa is as obligatory as the maintenance of the sacred fire and the study of the Vedas. The brāhmaṇas who have mastered the Vedas should especially have (the marks made) by fragrant sandal or gopīcandana. By having (the marks) even a cāṇḍāla would be purified. Even if a cāṇḍāla, one who would have the vertical, soft, pleasing (sectarian) mark, would be purified, and is always respected by brāhmaṇas. When, in a house of cāṇḍālas a Tulasī(-plant) is seen, the Tulasī from there should be taken with a devoted heart.

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