The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Sadacara (Conduct of the Good) which is chapter 35 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the thirty-fifth chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 35 - Sadācāra (Conduct of the Good)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: Sadācāra means usages or practices of the good or Śiṣṭas. According to Manu IV. 178, following the path of one’s ancestors is Sadācāra.

The Pot-born Sage (Agastya) said:

1. Avimukta is a great holy spot. It is the best cause of liberation. It is the greatest of all Kṣetras. It is the most auspicious of all auspicious spots.

2. It is the greatest Śmaśāna of all Śmaśānas (where dead bodies are cremated); the greatest Pīṭha (holy seat) of all Pīṭhas; the most arid land of all arid lands (where sins do not grow).

3. It is the greatest cause of bestowing heap of piety on those whose intellect is inclined towards righteousness. O Peacock-vehicled One, to those who seek wealth, it reveals the greatest wealth.

4. It generates love in lovers and bestows salvation on those desirous of salvation. Whichever part of your narrative is heard, it is like the excellent Nectar.

5. O delighter of the heart of Gaurī, after hearing this great tale of Jñānavāpī situated in a part of the holy spot, I think thus:

6. The place wherein Jñānavāpī though speck-like in size is famous in the middle of Kāśī, must be well-known as the honoured one. In its conduciveness to Mokṣa (or fulfilment of one’s object), it never fails.

7. How many holy places exist in the whole of the earth? (many) But even out of them, which is equal in comparison even with a small particle of Kāśī? (none)

8. How many rivers in this world flow into the sea? But what river can bear equality (in holiness) with the heavenly river (Gaṅgā) at Kāśī?

9. O Six-faced One, how many Kṣetras capable of (giving) Mokṣa exist on the earth? But there is not even a ten-millionth part of Avimukta in them.

10. What wonder is there in that the glory of salvation is achieved where the triad—Gaṅgā, God Viśveśvara and Kāśī, are awake (and watchful)!

11. O Skanda, how can these three be obtained without fail, by men especially in Kali Age, as they are of fickle sense-organs?

12. How can such a penance be (performed) in Kali Age? How in Kali Age, can such a Yoga be practised? Where is such a holy rite or liberal gift? Hence how can men get salvation (in the absence of these)?

13. O Skanda, the six-faced one, it has been stated by you that salvation is possible in Kāśī without penance, without Yoga, without holy rites or without liberal gifts.

14. Tell me, what should be regularly practised to make it possible to attain Kāśī. I think, without good conduct these cherished desires cannot be realized.

15. Ācāra (good conduct) is the greatest piety. Ācāra is the greatest austerity. Life is lengthened through Ācāra; sin is destroyed through Ācāra.

16. Hence, O Six-faced One, expound Ācāra alone at the outset in the way in which the Lord of Devas has told you.

Skanda said:

17. O son of Mitra and Varuṇa, I shall narrate Sadācāra (‘rules of good conduct’) conducive to the benefit of good men. Practising this always, a man shall attain all his desires and ambitions.

18. Immobile beings (trees etc.), worms, aquatic animals like fishes, birds, animals and human beings are more and more pious in gradation. Suras are more righteous than these.

19. In this graded series the latter ones are a thousand times better than the former ones. All these are highly fortunate ones till the salvation is achieved.

20. Of the four types of living beings, Prāṇins (capable of moving about) are very excellent. Of Prāṇins all the intelligent ones are the better, O sage.

21. Of all the intelligent ones, human beings are the most excellent, O sage. Among them Vāḍavas (Brāhmaṇas) are the most excellent. Scholars are greater than ordinary Brāhmaṇas. Men of decisive intellect are better than scholars.

22. Those who perform holy rites are better than men of decisive intellect. Those who are engrossed solely in the Absolute (Brahman) are better than the performers of holy rites. O Pitcher-born One, there is no one to be worshipped by them in the three worlds.

23-24. They make obeisance to one another, thanks to there being no difference in their austerity and acquisition of learning (knowledge of Brahman).

Since he is the lord of all living beings as created by Brahmā, only the Brāhmaṇa deserves everything existing in the world and none else. Indeed a man of good conduct deserves honour by all, not one who has strayed away from good conduct. Hence a Brāhmaṇa shall always be one of good conduct.

25. Sensible men consider that Sadācāra is the root of all piety, O sage, which learned men, free from undue attachment and hatred, practise.

26. Though bereft of special (auspicious) characteristics, a faithful person, not maliciously jealous of others, if eagerly engaged in the practice of good conduct, will live for a hundred years.

27. One should resort, without lethargy, to Sadācāra, the root cause of piety, as laid down by the Śruti and Smṛti for different persons in the performance of their respective duties.

28. A person of bad conduct shall be despicable in the world. He will be assailed by ailments always. He shall be excessively miserable and short-lived.

29. An act dependent (on the help) of others should be avoided. An act manageable by oneself should always be performed. A person becomes miserable as he is dependent on others. He who is always self-dependent is happy.

30. Only that act in which the conscience is delighted while it is being performed, should be performed and never its opposite.

31. Yamas and Niyamas have been proclaimed as the essence of the total of righteousness. So effort should be directed only towards them by one who wishes for Dharma.

32. Yamas are ten: truthfulness, forbearance, straightforwardness, meditation, absence of ferocity, desisting from violence, control over the sense-organs, cheerfulness, sweetness, and tenderness.

33. Niyamas are also ten: internal and external purity (Śauca), Snāna (holy ablution), Tapas (austerity), Dāna (liberal gifts), Mauna (silence), Ijyā (sacrifice), Adhyayana (study of the Vedas), Vrata (holy vows), Upoṣaṇa (fast) and Upasthadaṇḍa (avoidance of illegitimate sexual acts).

34. One should be victorious everywhere through the conquest of these six enemies: Lust, Anger, Arrogance, Delusion, Jealousy and Greed.

35. Like ants slowly building up an anthill, one should without causing any injury to others, go on accumulating (performing acts of) piety which will be helpful in the other world.

36. In the life hereafter, it is only Dharma that helps one and not rich possessions, fathers, mothers, sons, brothers, wives, relatives and others.

37. A being is born alone, by itself; it dies alone, by itself; it enjoys merits alone, by itself and it reaps the bitter fruits of evil conduct alone, by itself.

38. (When a person dies his) relatives abandon (his) dead body on the ground as if it is a piece of wood or a lump of clay. They turn their faces away (from him). Only Dharma will follow the soul that passes away.

39. Hence one desirous of accomplishing the requisite deed should amass acts of Dharma that helps one in the life hereafter. Getting Dharma as one’s associate, one can transcend the impassable darkness (ignorance or Saṃsāra).

40. A sensible man should be in contact with excellent persons, leaving off the lowly and the base. He shall thus make his family excellent.

41. Getting into touch with excellent persons alone and avoiding base ones, a Brāhmaṇa attains a higher status, but the status of a Śūdra due to a contrary action.

42. The god of Death torments a Brāhmaṇa who does not regularly study the Vedas, who transgresses the Sadācāra restrictions, who is idle and eats indiscriminately.

43. Therefore, a Brāhmaṇa should always practise Sadācāra assiduously. Even holy Tlrthas yearn for the contact of a man of Sadācāra.

44. The Yāmārdha (one hour and a half) at the close of the night is called Brāhma Samaya. An intelligent man shall always get up at that hour and meditate upon the (cause of) his weal.

45. At the outset[1], he should meditate on the Elephant-faced Lord (Gaṇeśa), then Īśa along with Aṃbā (Pārvatī); then Lord Viṣṇu accompanied by Śrī and then the Lotus-born One (Brahmā) in the company of Brahmāṇī.

46. He should think of all the Devas beginning with Indra and the sages beginning with Vasiṣṭha; all the rivers beginning with Gaṅgā and all the mountains beginning with Śrī Śaila.

47. He should meditate on the oceans beginning with the Milk Ocean; the lakes beginning with Mānasa; the pleasure groves beginning with Nandana and the cows beginning with Kāmadhenu.

48. He should meditate on the trees beginning with the wish-yielding Kalpa tree; the metals the most important of which is gold; the celestial damsels the chief of whom is Urvaśī; the birds beginning with Garuḍa.

49. He should think of Serpents the chief of whom is Śeṣa; elephants beginning with Airāvata; horses the chief of whom is Uccaiśśravas and the splendid jewels beginning with Kaustubha.

50. He should remember women of note for the vow of chastity, the chief of whom is Arundhatī; sacred forests beginning with Naimiṣa; sacred cities beginning with Kāśī.

51. (He should remember) Liṅgas beginning with Viśveśa; the Vedas beginning with Ṛgveda; Mantras, the chief of which is Gāyatrī; and Yogins beginning with Sanaka.

52. (He should remember) Mahābījas beginning with Praṇava; devotees of Viṣṇu beginning with Nārada; devotees of Śiva beginning with Bāṇa; and persons of steadfast vows beginning with Prahlāda.

53-54. He should then remember liberal-minded sages like Dadhīci etc. and Hariścandra and other kings. Thereafter, he should remember the feet of his mother, the most excellent of all the Tīrthas. With a delighted mind he should meditate on his father and preceptors in the heart. Thereafter, for attending to the calls of nature, he should go towards the southwest direction.[2]

55. If it is a village, he should go to a distance of a hundred bows, but if it is a town, it should be four times that. He should spread grasses on the ground and cover his head with his cloth.

56. Keeping the sacred thread around the ear, he should, by day time or at dawn or dusk face the north at the time of easing himself in silence. He should do the same, facing the south at night.

57. One should not ease oneself standing. He should neither cast faeces into water, O Brāhmaṇa, nor in front of a cow, fire or wind. He should not drop rubbish in the furrows of ploughed ground, nor in the main thoroughfare frequented by people.

58. He should not look at different directions or at luminaries, the sky or the faeces dropped down. Holding the penis with his left hand, he should get up and stand steady.

59-60. He should take up mud free from gravel and worms. He should not take up the mud dug up by rats or mongooses nor the remnants of what has been used by others. He should apply one part on the penis and five parts mixed with water on the anus, ten parts on the left hand and seven on both the hands.

61. He should apply one part of mud on each of the feet and three parts on the palms. Thus the householder should perform Śauca (cleansing) till the odour and the stickiness vanishes.

62. In the case of the three stages of a celibate student, a forest hermit and a Sannyāsin twice these in due order are prescribed (i.e., a celibate student should use the above twice the number of times prescribed for a householder, twice that of a celibate student in the case of a Vānaprastha and twice that of a Vānaprastha in the case of a Sannyāsin). At night one should do only half the number of what has been prescribed for day.

63. In case of sickness, half the number and during journeys with dangers from thieves etc., still half that number (is prescribed). In the case of women half that number (is laid down). While one is normal in health, one need not reduce the number.

64. One may cleanse with the waters of all the rivers and heaps of mud and cow-dung from foot to head, but if one is mentally defiled, one cannot become pure.

65. The lumps of mud intended for Śauca are laid down to be of the size of Ārdradhātrī (the green small Indian gooseberry). All Āhutis and mouthfuls of food in Cāndrāyaṇa rite are also so (in size).

66. Facing the east or the north, he should then sit on the pure ground free from husks, ash, bones or smouldering fire and rinse the mouth ceremoniously.

67. The water should not be hot or full of froth. A householder Brāhmaṇa should perform the Ācamana rite through the root of the thumb. He should not hurry through the rite. He should see to the purity of the water. The water shall reach the heart.

68. A Kṣatriya becomes pure when the Ācamana water reaches the throat and a Vaiśya when it reaches the palate. As for women and Śūdras, they become pure when the water just touches the mouth.

69. One who covers the head or the neck, or keeps the tuft loosened in the water, or does not wash the feet, is considered impure even if he performs the Ācamana rite.

70. After sipping water thrice for (internal) purity, he should purify the sense-organs. He should touch the lips twice with the root of the thumb.

71. Thereafter, a sensible man should touch the mouth with three fingers. He should repeatedly touch the nostrils with the tips of the index finger and thumb.

72. He should repeatedly touch the eyes and ears with the tips of the thumb and the ring finger. He should then touch the navel aperture with the combined thumb and the small finger.

73. He should then touch the heart with the palm and the head with all the fingers. Similarly he should touch the shoulders with the tips of the fingers. Everywhere the rite of touching shall be with water.

74-75. One should perform the Ācamana rite twice in the following instances: when the roadway has been approached, after bathing, taking food, drinking water (milk?), at the beginning of auspicious rites, after sleeping, after wearing clothes, after seeing something inauspicious and after touching an unclean thing inadvertently. In these cases, one who performs Ācamana rite twice becomes pure.

76. Thereafter, for the sake of the purity of the mouth, the householder should take up the cleansing of the teeth. Without cleansing the teeth even one who performs Ācamana rite is impure.

77. On the first lunar day, on the sixth and the ninth, on the new-moon day and on Sundays, the use of a twig against the teeth shall burn the family up to the seventh generation.

78. If a twig is not available or on those days when the use thereof is forbidden, gurgling twelve times with as many mouthfuls of water is enough for the purity of the mouth.

79. The twig should be as thick as the tip of the little finger and twelve Aṅgulas or more in length. It should be straight with all the bark unmutilated.

80-82. In the case of the other castes, the length shall gradually be reduced by one Aṅgula each. The following trees are recommended for securing twigs: Āmra, Āmrataka, Dhātrī, Kaṅkola, Khadira, Śamī, Apāmārga, Kharjurī, Śelu, Śrī Parṇī, Pīlu, Rājādana and Nāraṅga. Any tree astringent and bitter in taste or having milky exudation shall be used.

The tongue cleaner should be made excellent in the form of bow.

83-84. These two Mantras are to be uttered at the time of cleansing the teeth:

(a) O Teeth, for the sake of eating of food be clean and of firm rows, as King Soma in the form of the chewing-twig has arrived. He will keep my mouth clean (by washing) and make me famous and fortunate.

(b) O Vanaspati (tree), give us longevity, strength, fame, brilliance, progeny, cattle, wealth, assets, keen perception into Brahman and intellect as well.

85. If anyone performs the cleansing of the teeth after uttering these two Mantras, Soma present in the Vanaspati, becomes always pleased with him.

86. If the mouth is stale (unwashed) the man becomes impure. Hence one should assiduously perform the rite of Dantadhāvana (cleansing of the teeth).

87. On days of fast Dantadhāvana[3] (i.e., by means of twelve mouthfuls and not with twigs), applying collyrium, scents, ornaments, excellent clothes, unguents and wearing garlands are not faulty and sinful.

88. Beginning with Dantadhāvana and after performing morning ablution in sacred water or Tīrthas particularly a householder should perform Prātaḥsandhyā (Morning Prayers).

89. This dirty body having nine holes through which dirt flows out day and night, can become (temporarily) pure only through morning bath.[4]

90. Early morning ablution is praised because it generates enthusiasm, intellect, good fortune, handsome features etc.; it is the cause of serenity of the mind.

91. As a man becomes drenched with sweat, saliva etc. while in the grip of sleep, it is only through morning bathe that he becomes fit and eligible for uttering Mantras, Stotras (hymns to gods), Japa etc.

92. They say that daily bath taken in the morning when there is Aruṇodaya (i.e. at dawn before the Sunrise) it is on a par with the observances of the rite Prājāpatya. It is destructive of sins.

93. The morning bath removes sin, misfortune, fatigue, impurity, bad dreams etc., and accords satisfaction and nourishment.

94. Wicked ones do not approach a person who regularly take the morning ablution. Hence it has both visible and invisible benefits. So one should perform the morning ablution.

95. As relevant to the context, O Pot-born One, I shall narrate to you the injunctions regarding morning ablution, since they say that morning bath in accordance with injunctions is hundred times more beneficial than ordinary bath.

96. A householder takes up pure mud, Darbha grass, cow-dung and gingelly seeds and places them on a clean spot. Thereafter, he performs Ācamana (ritualistic rinsing of the mouth) and takes the holy dip.

97. He should enter the water with the tuft of hair tied up and holding the Darbha grass. Repeating the Mantra beginning with: uruṃ hi rājā varuṇaś cakāra (RV I. 24.8), he splashes water.

98. Then he recites the Mantra: ye te śatam varuṇa, ye sahasram... (Kātyāyana Śr.Sū., 25.1.11a.) for the purpose of invoking the waters. He, then offers a handful of water at the outset, reciting the Mantra: (the Purāṇic text of the Mantra is incorrect, the correct one being sumitrā na āpa oṣadhayaḥ santu: Āpastamba Śr.Sū. 19.10.5) and thereafter offers water with the enemy in view reciting the Mantra: (the correct Text restored) durmitriyās tasmai santu yo’smān dveṣṭi, yam ca vayam dviṣmaḥ (Vājasaneyī Saṃ. 6.22).

99-100. After reciting the Mantra: idaṃ viṣṇur vicakrame, he should smear the limbs with clay. One lump is used to wash the head, two lumps above the navel and three lumps beneath it. He should then clean the feet with six lumps. Thereafter he should take a dip beneath the water, facing the current and repeating the Mantra; āpo asmān mātaraḥ śundhayantu (RVX.17.10).

101. The Mantra ud id ābhyaḥ Śucir ā puta emi (RV X.17.10) is to be recited when rising up above water. Thereafter, he should recite the Mantra: mā nas toke tanaye mā na āyuṣi (Vāj. Saṃ 16.162) and smear the body with cow-dung

102-105. The Mantra beginning with: idam me varuṇa... is for the sake of the ablution of oneself. The following Mantras too are mentioned as Abdaivatāḥ (Pertaining to waters as the deity): Those beginning with:

tattvā yāmi brāhmaṇā vandamānāḥ (RV 1.24.11)
tvanna agne varuṇasya vidvān... sa tvam na agne avamo (RV. IV.1.5)
uduttamam varuṇa pāśam (RV 1.24.15)
dhāmno dhāmno rājaṃstato varuṇa no muñca (Vāj. Saṃ. 6.22)
mā’po mauṣadhīr hīṃsīḥ (Vaj. Saṃ. 6.20)
yad āhur aghnyā varuṇeti śapāmahe tato varuṇa no muñca (Vāj. Saṃ. 6.22?)
muñcantu me śapathyādatho varuṇyaduta (RV X.97.16)
avabhṛtha nicumpuṇa niceruras nicuṃpuṇaḥ (Vāj. Saṃ. 3-48)

He should recite these Mantras called Abdaivata, while taking the ablution.

Then the Brāhmaṇa with great learning should purify himself through Prāṇana and Mahāvyāhṛtis. He should sanctify himself with Gāyatrī and be contented. He should also sanctify himself with the three passages beginning with: āpo hi ṣṭhā mayobhuvaḥ etc. Each one of the three Ṛks is purifying.

106-107. The following too are sanctifying Mantras:

idam āpaḥ pravahata (RV 1.23.22);
haviṣmatīḥ imā āpo haviṣmā, ā vivāsati (Vāj. Saṃ. 6.23);
devīr āpo apām napād ya ūrmir haviṣya indriyāvān madintam (Vāj. Saṃ.6.27);
āpo devā madhumatīr agṛbhṇam\ Vāj. Saṃ. 5.12.1);
drupadā divasaṃjñakāḥ (AV VI.115.3);
śanno devīḥ (RV. 1.09.4);
āpo devīḥ; apām rasam;
[and] punantu mā.

The nine Mantras beginning with punantu mā pitaraḥ (Vaj. Saṃ. 19.37) etc. are glorified as Pāvamānyaḥ (Sanctifying Mantras).

108. Thereafter he should repeat the Aghamarṣaṇa Mantra and then the Mantra beginning with drupadā etc. Then he should duly perform Prāṇāyāma. Or he should perform Japa (standing) in water.

109. Or he may repeat the Praṇava three times. A wise man should also remember Viṣṇu. After taking bath thus, he should wash the clothes and wear washed (and dried) clothes.

110-111. Then he should perform Ācamana and thereafter perform the morning Sandhyā prayer using Kuśa grass. He who, being a Brāhmaṇa, does not perform Sandhyā prayers becomes a Śūdra even as he continues to live. After death he is certainly reborn as a dog. One devoid of Sandhyā prayers is always unclean and unfit for all holy rites.

112-114. Whatever other work he may do, he will not derive the fruit thereof.

Facing the East, he should remember Praṇava and reciting the Mantra beginning with catuḥ sraktir nābhir ṛtasya (Vaj. Sam. 38.20). Place the Kuśāsana (‘seat made of Kuśa grass’) without looking elsewhere or seeing anything else. He should keep the tuft tied and sit facing either the East or the North. Scattering water drops all round him, he should perform Prāṇāyāma.

115. Reciting the Gāyatrī along with its Śiras (i.e., oṃ āpo jyotī rasomṛtaṃ brahma bhūr bhuvaḥ śvarom) and seven Vyāhṛtis (oṃ bhūh, oṃ bhuvaḥ, oṃ svaḥ, oṃ mahaḥ oṃ janaḥ, oṃ tapaḥ, om satyam) and he should then utter oṃ ten times. This is repeated three times. It is called Prāṇāyāma.

116. A Brāhmaṇa with his mind and sense-organs under control repeating the Prāṇāyāma regularly, shall be rid of all the sins committed during that day and night instantaneously.

117. If ten or twelve Prāṇāyāmas are performed after controlling the mind, it is as though a great penance has been performed by him then.

118. Sixteen Prāṇāyāmas duly consisting of the Vyāhṛtis and the Praṇava should be performed everyday. Within a month, even the slayer of a foetus becomes purified.

119. Just as the impurities of metals and metallic ores are burned off by the process of furnace combustion, so also all the ills brought about by the sense-organs are burned off through the Prāṇāyāma rite.

120. Through twelve Prāṇāyāmas performed with faith, one gets the benefit of feeding a Brāhmaṇa duly.

121. The entire Vedic literature is established on Praṇava. Hence (the devotee) desirous of reciting Vedic hymns, should practise Praṇava, the initial Mantra in the Vedas.

122. To one who is permanently connected with Praṇava, the seven Vyāhṛtis and the Gāyatrī Mantra of three feet, there is no cause of fear anywhere.

123. The single-syllabled Praṇava is the Supreme Absolute. Prāṇāyāma is the greatest penance. O Pot-born One, there is nothing more sacred than Gāyatrī.

124. After getting up early in the morning, one can, by means of Prāṇāyāmas, dispel whatever sin he may have committed the previous night mentally, verbally and physically.

125. Performing the evening Sandhyā rites, one should, by means of Prāṇāyāma, remove the sin committed during the day mentally, verbally and physically.

126. (The devotee) should recite the Sāvitrī Mantra in the morning till the Sun becomes visible; during the evening prayers (he should recite it) till the stars are clearly visible.

127. One who recites the Mantra in the morning eradicates nocturnal sin and one who recites the Mantra in the evening destroys sins committed during the day.

128. One who does not perform the Sandhyā Prayer in the morning and one who does not pray in the evening should be excluded from all Brāhmaṇical holy rites as though he is a Śūdra.

129. One should perform the daily routine rite after reaching the water-front. One should recite the Gāyatrī with mental attention and purity even after going to the forest.

130. The Sandhyā Prayer performed outside in the open air has many times the benefit of the prayer performed at home. If a Brāhmaṇa is of controlled sense-organs but practices the Japa of Gāyatrī (and is not learned in the Vedic lore) he is excellent.

131a. A Brāhmaṇa who has mastery over the three Vedas is not to be honoured, if he eats everything (i.e., is indiscriminate in eating) and sells everything (including the Veda).

131b-132a. The Gāyatrī Mantra whose deity is Savitā (the Sun-god) and mouth is the Fire-god, has three (metrical) feet. Her seer is Viśvāmitra and the metre is Gāyatrī. (Such Gāyatrī Mantra is of a special significance.)

132b-134. In the morning, one should meditate upon Gāyatrī as of red complexion with God Brahmā as her Deity and the Swan as her mount. She is eight years old. She has decorated herself with a red garland and unguents. She is of the nature of the Ṛgveda. She holds a rosary of beads hanging loosely and grants freedom from fear.

She is of Anuṣṭubh metre. She is being eulogized by Vyāsa. By meditating on the morning deity, sin committed at night disappears.

135. The excellent Ācamana is with the Mantra beginning with sūryaśca mā manyuś ca (Tāit. Āraṇyaka 10.25.1) etc. Then the devotee performs the Mārjana rites with the three Mantras beginning with āpo hiṣṭhā etc. (RV X.9.1-3).

136. He should sprinkle water in nine ways—on the ground, on the head, in the sky, in the sky, on the ground, on the head, on the head, in the sky and on the ground.

137. The word ‘ground’ denotes the feet; ‘sky’ denotes the heart; ‘on the head’ has literal meaning. This (explanation) is cited by the people conversant with the rite of Mārjana.

138. This Brāhma (Mānasa) Snāna is the greatest, greater than Vāruṇa Snāna, Āgneya Snāna, Vāyavya Snāna, Aindra Snāna and even Mantra Snāna.

139. He who has performed the bath of the Brāhma type is pure externally and internally. He becomes qualified and deserving in all the rites such as adoration of the deity.

140. Boatmen and fishermen are immersed in water day and night. But are they holy and pure? Those who are emotionally defiled and disturbed are not pure though they might have had hundreds of baths.

141. The holy ash can sanctify only those who are pure mentally. Are the donkeys grey with ash glorified as sacred?

142. He whose mind is free from impurities is considered to have taken his holy ablution in all the Tīrthas; he is devoid of all impurities; it is as though he has performed hundreds of sacrifices.

143. O sage, listen, how that mind can be free from impurities. If Viśveśa (Lord Śiva) is pleased, only then can it be so, and not otherwise anywhere.

144. Hence for the sake of the purity of mind, one should resort to the Lord of Kāśī. By resorting to him, the impurities of mind definitely become reduced.

145. One whose mental impurities have become reduced completely due to the great blessings of Viśveśa, attains the great Absolute after casting off this body.

146. Good conduct of men has been regarded as the cause of the blessings of Viśveśa. Hence one should resort to that good conduct cited by the Śruti and the Smṛti.

147. Thereafter, the devotee recites the Mantra beginning with drupadā and holds water in the hand. Then the devotee conversant with the injunctions performs the rite of Aghamarṣaṇa through the Mantra ṛtaṃ ca etc.

148. A scholarly devotee who immerses himself in water and recites Aghamarṣaṇa Mantra three times, certainly attains the benefit of one who has performed Avabhṛtha (valedictory ablution) of Aśvamedha.

149. Just as darkness perishes at the rising of the Sun, so also does the flood of sins of that person who performs Aghamarṣaṇa on a bank or in water.

150. The Brāhmaṇa then performs the Ācamana rite reciting the Mantra beginning with imam me varuṇa etc. (RV I.25.29). Some Ācāryas belonging to other Śākhās desire that the Mantra shall be as follows:

151. The Mantra is antaścarasi etc. (Tait. Āraṇyaka 10.31.1), “You move about within living beings in their cave-like heart with faces directed all-round. You are Yajña. You are Vaṣaṭkāra. You are waters and fire. You are bliss. You are the immortal one.”

152. Then the devotee drops three handfuls of water reciting the Gāyatrī Mantra without its Śiras (see verse 115) but with the Mahāvyāhṛti in the beginning and Praṇava at the outset. He should recite the Mantra while standing.

153. Like mountains struck by thunderbolt, the enemies of the Sun, the demons named Mandehas, become perished, due to that adamantine water-libation.

154. If a Brāhmaṇa does not offer three handfuls of water to assist Vivasvān and to destroy Mandehas, he will also become a Mandeha himself.

155. At dawn the person should stand reciting the Mantra till the Sun becomes visible. In the evening he should sit and recite the Mantra till the stars become visible.

156. Time should not be wasted by a Brāhmaṇa desirous of his welfare. Hence he should drop the adamantine water libation at the time of the semi-setting and semi-rising (of the Sun).

157. Sandhyā Prayer though duly performed shall be fruitless if it is delayed. The example cited is the sexual intercourse with a barren woman.

158. If Sandhyā is performed after keeping the water (vessel) in the left hand, it should be regarded as a Śūdra woman causing delight to groups of demons.

159. The Upasthāna Mantras (Mantras for adoration) of Bradhna (the Sun) that bestow Siddhis are those beginning with udvayaṃ tamasas pari (RV 1.50.10), udutyaṃ jātavedasam (RV I.50.1), citraṃ devānām (Vāj. Saṃ. 17.69?), taccakṣur devahitam (RV VII.66.16) etc.

160. The devotee should perform adoration of the Sun by means of the Devī Gāyatrī repeated a thousand times, a hundred times or ten times.

161. A Brāhmaṇa who repeats the Gāyatrī a maximum of a thousand times, a middling number of a hundred times or a minimum number of ten times is never smeared with sins.

162. He should also recite either the Anuvāka beginning with vibhrāḍ bṛhat pibatu (RV X.170 etc.) or the Puruṣa Sūkta or the Śivasaṅkalpa Mantra or the Brāhmaṇa Maṇḍala.

163-166. These Mantras of Upasthāna (adoration) are pleasing to the Sun. The devotee should offer Arghya with water mixed with raw rice grains, flowers, Kuśa grass etc. and also mixed with red sandal-paste while reciting Vedic or Āgamic Mantras.

All the three worlds become worshipped by one who has adored Savitṛ. Savitṛ, propitiated duly, bestows sons, cattle, wealth and monetary boons. He removes ailments, bestows longevity and fulfils all desires.

This Āditya is Rudra. This Divākara is Hari. This Ravi is Hiraṇyagarbha. This Aryaman is in the form of the three Vedas.

167. Through the propitiation of Ravi (the Sun-god) Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara become delighted. So also all the Devas including Indra and the great sages including Marīci.

168. Similarly human beings, the chief of whom is Manu, and the grandfathers including Somapās become propitiated.

After adoring Ravi thus, the devotee should begin Tarpaṇa (water libation).

169-170. He should take five, seven or nine blades of Darbha grass having hollow tips and roots and uncut with his right hand. Then along with his left hand he should perform Tarpaṇa of the six Vināyakas (viz. Caṇḍa, Pracaṇḍa, Dharma, Vināyaka, Vighnarāja and Mahāgaṇapati), the Devas including Brahmā and the sages including Marīci.

171. Uttering “Let them be pleased”, he should offer libations with pure water mixed with sandal, agallochum, musk and fragrant flowers.

172. While offering libations to human beings beginning with Sanaka, the Brāhmaṇa should keep the straight Darbhas between the two thumbs using Yava (barley) and keeping the sacred thread like a garland.

173. He should offer libations to the Pitṛs such as Kavyavāṭ, Anala etc. of divine nature with double the number of Darbhas mixed with gingelly seeds. He should keep the sacred thread as prācīnāvīti (on the right shoulder proceeding towards the left side).

174. A Brāhmaṇa, desirous of welfare, should never use gingelly seeds for libation on Sundays, Fridays, on the seventh and thirteenth lunar days, during nights or twilight hours.

175-176. If at all he offers libations, he should make use of white gingelly seeds. Thereafter, he should offer libations to the fourteen Yamas, viz. Yama, Dharmarāja, Mṛtyu, Antaka, Vaivasvata, Kāla, Sarvabhūtakṣaya, Audumbara, Dadhna, Nīla, Parameṣṭhin, Vṛkodara, Citra and Citragupta uttering namaḥ. Then he should utter the name of his Gotra and offer libations to his own Pitṛs joyously while resting on the left knee and dropping the water between the thumb and the index finger. He should exert restraint on speech.

177. Devās desire one handful each; Sanaka and others two each; Pitṛs three and women one handful each.

178-179. Daiva Tīrtha is at the tip of the finger; Ārṣa (belonging to the sages) is at the root of the finger; Brāhma Tīrtha is at the root of the thumb; that of Prajāpati is in the middle of the hand; the Tīrtha of Pitṛs is between the thumb and the index finger. The learned devotee should utter the nine Ṛks and perform the libation of the Pitṛs.

180-184. Those Mantras are those beginning with udīratām, aṅgirasaḥ, āyāntu naḥ pitaraḥ, ūrjam vahantī, pitṛbhyaḥ svadhāyibhyaḥ, ye ceha and the three beginning with madhuvātā.

After saying “Obeisance to ye, O Pitṛs” he should utter the Mantra ā brahma staṃbaparyantaṃ and pour water on the ground.

“May the Devas, Pitṛs, Sages, human beings etc. beginning with Brahman and ending with a blade of grass be pleased. May the maternal grandfather and other Pitṛs be pleased.

May this water libation with gingelly seeds pass on to the crores of members of our family residing in the seven continents upto the world of Brahmā.

Thanks to the waters squeezed out from the cloth, may those persons of our Gotra born in our family but dead without issues be propitiated.”

185-187. After performing the rites in fire he should proceed on to Vedābhyāsa (i.e., practice recitation of Vedas). The Vedic (recitation) practice should be of five types: (a) Svīkāra (acceptance), (b) Arthavicāraṇam (pondering over the meaning), (c) Abhyāsa (repetition), (d) Japa (muttering) and (e) śiṣyebhyaḥ pratipādanam (imparting to the disciples).

In order to retain what is acquired and to acquire what has not been acquired, the devotee should approach a donor and increase his own status as preceptor. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, thus the daily morning routine of the twice-born has been described.

188. Or (in the case of those persons incapable of taking early morning bath) after getting up in the morning and performing Śauca and Ācamana rites the devotee should cleanse the teeth with a brush twig.

189. After cleansing all the limbs, he should perform the morning Sandhyā. He should then understand the meanings of the Vedic passages and learn different kinds of lore.

190. He should teach good disciples possessing intelligence and favourably disposed for the purpose of the achievement of Yogakṣema (acquiring what is not acquired and retaining what has been acquired) etc.

191. Thereafter for performing the necessaries of midday, he should perform Snāna as mentioned before. A wise devotee should perform the midday Sandhyā prayers after the bath.

192-194. “Sāvitrī Devī (the description of Sāvitrī at midday) has Rudra for her deity, the metre is Triṣṭup. She is as pure as pure crystal and is endowed with the prime of youth blooming all over her body. The sage thereof is Kaśyapa and she is in the form of Yajurveda. She has three Akṣaras (syllables A, U, M, and is mounted on a bull. She is the great bestower of freedom from fear.”

The devotee should worship her and then perform the Naityika rites (daily). The Pacana fire should be kindled and Vaiśvadeva rite should be performed.

195-196. One should eschew all these in Vaiśvadeva: Niṣpāva, Kodrava, Māṣa, Kalāya and Caṇaka (various kinds of grains and lentils). Sweets prepared in oil and all eatables saltish in nature, Āḍhakī, Masūra and circular Varaṭas should be avoided. So also leavings of food and stale foodstuffs should be eschewed.

197. After Ācamana, he should perform Prāṇāyāma with the Darbha grass in the hand. He should perform Paryukṣaṇa (sprinkling water all-round the sacred fire) rite reciting the Mantra beginning with pṛṣṭhodivi etc. (RV 1.98.2).

198. After the rite of Paryukṣaṇa performed clockwise, he should spread the Darbha grass in three rows. Reciting the Mantra beginning with eṣo ha deva etc. (Vāj. Saṃ. 32.4), he should make the fire face-to-face with himself.

199. He should worship Vaiśvānara with flowers mixed with ghee and raw rice-grains. He should then offer three Āhutis beginning with bhūḥ, ending with svāhā and having the Praṇava initially.

200. Then the Brāhmaṇa should offer another Āhuti uttering oṃ bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ svāhā Then he makes six Āhutis uttering devakṛtasya enaso vayajanamasi svāhā etc. (Vāj. Saṃ. 8.13) (offerings expiatory of sins committed by the Devas etc.).

201. One Āhuti is offered silently to Yama. Then two Ahutis are offered uttering agnaye sviṣṭakṛte svāhā. Then he offers oblations on the ground to Viśvedevas.

202. To the north thereof namaḥ (obeisance) is offered to all the living beings. To the south thereof he should offer the oblations to the Pitṛs with the sacred thread turned left.

203. The water of Nirṇejana (washing) and the cooked rice should be offered to Yakṣman in the north-east. Thereafter to the north thereof namaḥ is offered to the Devas beginning with Brahmā.

204. Offerings are made to Sanaka etc. in the Nivītī position (i.e., with the sacred thread like a garland) and to the Pitṛs in Apsavya (the sacred thread turned to the left) position. Sixteen (handfuls) make one Grāsa and four handfuls make one Puṣkala.

205-210. Alms given to the extent of a Grāsa bestows merit on the householder.

Adhvaga (traveller), Kṣīṇavṛtti (one who has no means of livelihood), Vidyārthī (student), Gurupoṣaka (one who maintains the preceptor), Yati(ascetic) and Brahmacārī (celebate student)—these six are Dharmabhikṣukas (‘mendicants of piety’).

Atithi (guest) is a pedestrian traveller. Anūcāna is one who has mastered the Vedas. These two are to be honoured by householders who wish to attain the world of Brahmā.

Neither to a Cāṇḍāla nor unto a dog can the cooked rice offered be futile. When a person seeking food arrives, one should not begin to reflect whether he is one who deserves or not.

Cooked rice should be scattered on the ground outside for dogs, fallen ones, Cāṇḍālas, persons suffering from sinful foul diseases, crows and insects.

The Mantra for oblations to crows: “May the crows of the quarters of east, west, northwest, northeast and southwest accept this ball of rice offered by me on the ground.”

The Mantra for oblations to dogs: “There are two dogs Śyāma” (dark in colour) and Śabala (variegated in colour). They are born in the family of Yama. I shall offer a ball of rice unto them. May they be non-violent.”

211-213. The Mantras for Bhūtabali (oblation unto the living beings):

“Devas, men, animals, Rākṣasas, Yakṣas, serpen ts, birds, Daityas, Siddhas, Piśācas, Pretas (ghosts), Bhūtas (spirits), Dānavas, the grasses, the trees,—all these are desirous of the food offered by me. Worms, insects, locusts etc. are hungry and they are bound by Karmas. For their satisfaction food has been offered by me. May that be for their joy.”

214. After offering the Bhūta-oblation thus the householder shall wait for as much time as is required to milk a cow, for any guest who may come. Thereafter he should enter the dining room.

215-220. Without offering oblations to crows, one should perform Nityaśrāddha. In the Nityaśrāddha the householder shall feed three, two or one (Brāhmaṇa) according to his capacity.

A weak man (poor man) should take something from all the items of food prepared and offer Pitṛyajña (one oblation for all together).

This Nityaśrāddha has no deity in particular. It has no guiding injunctions. There is no Dakṣiṇā to be offered. It has no Vrata binding the donor and the receiver.

After performing Pitṛyajña thus, the householder should sit on an undefiled seat with his mind calm and normal. He will not be over-anxious. He should then take food along with the children. His mind should be in excellent mood. He should apply sweet scent (over his body) and wear a flower garland. He should be clad in two clean clothes. He should take food seated facing the east or the north. The cooked food should be made for and enjoyed by his Pitṛs (It should not be naked i.e., ghee or something should be poured over and beneath too). In accordance with the injunctions regarding food and drink, a wise Brāhmaṇa should do everything and then take food.

221. The injunctions referred to are as follows: Uttering bhuvaḥ pataye svāhā (to the Lord of the Earth), bhuvanapataye svāhā (to the Lord of the Universe), bhūtānām pataye svāhā (to the Lord of the living beings) he should offer three oblations on the ground.

222. Sipping water once (uttering the conventional Mantra i.e., amṛtopastaraṇamasi) the householder should offer five Āhutis into the Jaṭhara fire (fire in the stomach). At that time he should hold Darbha in his hand and should be of pleasant mood mentally.

223. If anyone holds Darbha in his hand while taking food, he meets with no harm arising from hair, worms etc. So one should take food holding Darbha.

224. While one is eating delicious food, one should not mention its merits or demerits. The Pitṛs shall partake of the food only when the merits and demerits are not mentioned.

225-226 Hence he who takes food silently enjoys the pure Amṛta. After concluding the meal, the householder should drinks as Anupāna (liquid to wash down the meal) milk, buttermilk or water uttering the Mantra amṛtāpidhānamasi. He should drink water once. The water that is left after drinking should be poured down on the ground uttering the following Mantra:

227-228. “May the water of Ucchiṣṭa (remnant after taking food) from the root of the thumb of the right hand not yet washed, reach the people who stay in Raurava, the abode of demerit, for millions of years (Padma and Arbuda are high numbers) without any redemption, since they are desirous of the Ucchiṣṭa water.

229. The highly intelligent householder then performs another Ācamana and becomes pure. He should then, with effort, take water in the hand and utter this Mantra:

230. “The Puruṣa (Being) of the size of the thumb has resorted to the thumb. He is the lord and master of the entire universe. He becomes pleased as Viśvabhuk (‘the consumer of everything’).”

231. After considering (all the aspects) of the food thus, he should wash his hands and feet. Thereafter, he should utter these Mantras for the digestion of the food:

232. “Induced by wind and provided with room by ether, may the fire digest all the bodily constituents of earthy character. Let there be happiness unto me.”

233. “May the food be nutritious unto Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Udāna and Vyāna. Let there be unobstructed happiness unto me.

234. “May these, viz. the sea, the submarine fire, the Sun and the son of the Sun (i.e., Yama) completely digest whatever has been consumed by me.”

235. He should then get his mouth purified (by chewing betel etc.). He should spend the remaining part of the day by listening to the Purāṇas etc. Then he should begin the performance of Sandhyā.

236. Sandhyā performed in a cow-pen has ten times more benefit than that performed in the house; that performed on the banks of a river has ten times more benefit than that performed in a cow-pen; that performed at the confluence of two rivers shall have hundred times more benefit and that performed in the presence of Śiva has infinite benefit.

237. Sandhyā performed outside subdues the sin of sexual intercourse indulged in during day-time, the sin of uttering a lie, and that of inhaling the odour of liquors.

238-239. The Gāyatrī Mantra is in the form of Sarasvatī. Viṣṇu is the deity thereof. Tārkṣya (Garuḍa) is the vehicle. She destroys all obstacles. She is in the form of Sāmaveda and is accompanied by Sage Vasiṣṭha. The Aṅgas (limbs) are dark in colour. The cloth is black in colour. Her youth has passed off a little. She has Jagatī as the Metre. The householder should meditate on her, the great one of single syllable.

240. The intelligent householder should perform the rite of Ācamana uttering the Mantra beginning with Agniśca etc. He should sit facing the west and repeat the Mantra of Gāyatrī till the stars become visible.

241-242. The householder should duly honour the guest who pays visit in the evening even with verbal utterance, offering of ground (to sit) and water (to drink). The first Yāma of the night should thus be spent by the intelligent householder. Thus the householder performs the rites of the day time by reading and teaching Śruti. Not satisfied too much, he should go to bed on a cot consisting of a single wood (i.e., wood of the same kind or full-length wood without joints).

243. The rules regarding the daily rites have thus been narrated in a general way. A Brāhmaṇa who acts according to these, never experiences difficulty at all.

Footnotes and references:


VV 45-54 give the contents of Prātaḥsmaraṇa (‘remembering auspicious things and persons’) immediately after getting up.


VV 54-87 give the details of performing morning duties upto taking a bath.


It should be done by (gurgling) twelve mouthfuls of water and not with a twig as tooth-brush.


VV 89-109 state the importance of bath in the early morning and the procedure of taking the bath.

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