The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the bath rite which is chapter 93 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-third 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.

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1-10. When the night is left as much as two nāḍikās (i.e. forty-eight minutes), he, being pure (i.e. having purified himself), should (taking) with (him) sesamum-seeds, sandal, sacred rice grains, flowers, lights etc., go to a pond. The bath in an artificial pond, a natural pond, in a river or at a confluence of two rivers, is said to be giving tenfold merit in (the succeeding) order. (A bath taken) at a holy place is said to give unending fruit. Having remembered Viṣṇu, he should take the solemn vow of bathing. He should offer respectful oblations to the holy places, deities etc. in (proper) order. (He should say): “Om, salutation to Kamalanābha. Salutation to him lying in water. Accept (this) respectful offering. Salutation to you. Since Viṣṇu moved in Vaikuṇṭha, Prayāga and Badarikāśrama, he planted his foot in three ways. With all those sages and deities, may gods protect me for this reason that from here Viṣṇu moved on. In Kārtika, to please (you), O best god, Dāmodara, lord of the god of gods, I shall bathe in the morning (everyday). (Be) with me. O lord of gods, O Dāmodara, I am eager to bathe in this water after having reflected on you. May my sin perish due to your grace. O Hari, with Rādhā accept the respectful offering made by me at (the time of) an obligatory or occasional (rite) in the sin-destroying Kārtika in the Kali age. O Hari, with Rādhā accept the respectful offering given by me who observe a vow in the month of Kārtika, of me who have bathed duly.”

11-19. After having remembered Gaṅgā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, the Sun, he should enter the water. He who observes the vow, should, standing in water deep up to the navel, bathe duly. A householder should bathe with (i.e. after applying) the powder of sesamum-seeds and āmalaka. For the hermits and ascetics the clay at the root of Tulasī (is recommended). He should not bathe with (i.e. after applying) āmalaka fruits and sesamum-seeds on the seventh, the new-moon day, the ninth of both (fortnights) and on the tenth day. First he should bathe with dust (i.e. applying clay etc.). Then he should bathe with the (recital of) hymns. For women and śūdras (the bath is) not (recommended) with (the recital of) Vedic hymns, (but only) with the Purāṇic ones. (Now follow) the hymns at the time of bathing: “May Viṣṇu, the destroyer of all sins, who formerly for the mission of the gods divided himself into three due to devotion for them, now protect me compassionately. For this Kārtika vow may all gods having received Viṣṇu’s order, always protect and purify me. May all the Vedic hymns along with their seeds, secrets and power, so also sages like Kaśyapa, always purify me. May all rivers like Gaṅgā, the big rivers giving water, all tanks with the seven seas, purify me. May chaste women like Aditi, yakṣas, siddhas with serpents, herbs, mountains, beings in the three worlds quickly purify me.”

20-32. Having bathed with (the recital ot) these hymns, the observer of the vow, putting a ring of kuśa grass on (the fourth finger of) his hand, should properly offer libations of water to gods, sages, human beings and (his) dead ancestors. Then the observer of the vow, having come out of the water and having covered himself with a pure garment, should, after having finished rites proper for the morning, again worship Viṣṇu. Being diligent and with his mind fixed on him (i.e. Viṣṇu), he should, after remembering the holy places etc. and deities, again offer worship with sandal, flowers and fruits. The prayer at (the time of making) the respectful offering is: “O destroyer of the lord of demons, accept the respectful oblation given by me—(oblation) of me who have properly bathed (in the morning) in the month of Kārtika.” Then devoutly (honouring) the brāh-maṇas who have mastered the Vedas with sandal, flowers and fruits, he should feed them and salute them again and again. By worshipping the brāhmaṇas, the holy places residing in the right foot, the Vedas residing in the mouth, and the deities residing in the entire body, would be worshipped. The brāhmaṇas are the forms of the unmanifest Viṣṇu on the earth. By one desiring (one’s) good they should never be humiliated; they should never be opposed. The observer of the vow should worship Tulasī, dear to Viṣṇu. With a concentrated mind he should go round and salute Tulasī. “O Tulasī, you have been formerly created by gods. You have been worshipped by the best sages. Salutation, obeisance to you, O Tulasī. O you dear to Viṣṇu, remove my sin.” Then the devout observer of the vow, of an affectionate mind, should listen to Viṣṇu’s account (as told) in the Purāṇa, and should honour that brāhmaṇa, the brāhmaṇa sage (who reads or tells the account). A devout man who properly performs the complete rite which is told before, obtains the same world as of Viṣṇu. On the earth there is no vow other than that of Kārtika and dear to Viṣṇu, which removes diseases, which destroys sins, which is great, which gives good thoughts, which is the means of sons, wealth etc., and which is the cause of salvation.

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