by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes merit earned through gifts which is chapter 74 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 seventy-fourth 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.
1-9a. O goddess, listen. I shall explain to you righteousness (dharma) (the excellent way of life), hearing which a man is never born on the earth. From righteousness a man would get the triad of material welfare (artha), satisfaction of desires (kāma) and salvation (mokṣa). Therefore, that learned man who would desire righteousness through penance, gifts, vows and restraints, is said to be wise. Similarly by means of sincere penance heaven is obtained. He who has come here (i.e. is born on the earth) and is free from anger and greed, would have salvation after an existence and obtains Viṣṇu’s position. He becomes passionate (rājasa) by means of penance practised through passion (rajas). By means of vicious (tāmasa) (or ignorant) penance he becomes hard-hearted (tāmasa) and does cruel deeds. That is said to be the penance of the demons, giving salvation to those who are of a vicious nature. That penance which is righteous (sāttvika) is permanent. Even in a forest blemishes do occur in the case of the passionate one, desiring wealth etc., being controlled by (rajas) and ignorance (tamas), living in a solitary forest, and subsisting on air. Control over the five senses (practised) even at home is (also) a penance. For him who is not engaged in condemned acts and who is detached from passions, his house is a penance-grove. The householder’s stage is said to be (a man’s) own duty. It is very difficult to be overcome by (even) those who have restrained their senses. That, best auspicious stage (of life) is affected.
9b-15. O you daughter of the (Himālaya) mountain, the householder’s stage of life is said to be excellent for the wise ones by Brahmā and others. An ascetic after practising penance in a forest and being oppressed by hunger, comes to the house of a food-giver. With devotion he (i.e. the food-giver) gives him food and gets a portion (of the fruit) of his penance. There is no doubt that the man who properly follows the householder’s stage, the best on the earth, enjoys human pleasures here (i.e. in this world) and goes to heaven. O goddess, how can sin come to them who always practise (the duties of) a (householder)? The householder’s stage is most meritorious. A house is always like a sacred place. In this meritorious stage of a householder gifts should be especially given. In it worship of deities is practised, food is given to guests; it is the refuge of guests. Therefore, it is said to be most blessed. Those men who having resorted to a house(-holder’s stage) honour brāhmaṇas, never lack in (long) life, wealth, so also sons. O beautiful lady, listen. I shall tell (you about) a gift which cleanses all great sins, which brings about every (kind of) wealth, and which gives fruit in this world and in the next.
16-26. When an auspicious time has come, a man, after having duly worshipped his deity, and having performed his obligatory and occasional (duties), should give a gift according to his own capacity. He who having snatched another’s wealth would give it to brāhmaṇas and deities, would after seeing (i.e. having gone to) hell, go to the highest position, as Śatānīka was emancipated along with his sons due to having given gifts. So also after having given (gifts) to brāhmaṇas, he will go to heaven as a result of his righteousness. The religious merit of those who have given (gifts) at holy places, has been told. O goddess, listen. I shall tell (you) in bnef about the gift of wealth. (Such) a gift purifying the body was never there, nor will be there. Due to it a man becomes free from sins. There is no doubt about it. Having enjoyed pleasures, he then goes to the ancient Viṣṇu. Formerly it was narrated by Brahmā to the magnanimous Bhārgava Rāma, full of sin. During the Sun’s passing through Libra and Taurus, the king was engaged in a sinful act. He indulged in killing and binding (men). He was engaged in eating what ought not to be eaten. He caused abortions and violated his preceptor’s wife. These and a liar are born in bad stocks. They perform sacrifices for those for whom they should not be performed; they ask for (gifts) from the censurable ones; they are always angry; and are always engaged in troubling the good. They are destroyed through faith, and with their life condemn righteousness. They are full of sins and know that they are dead (i.e. they would soon die). Knowing this, O goddess, they should especially give gifts. On the earth many devotees of Viṣṇu practising righteousness are well-known on the earth.