The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Procedure of Purashcarana Saptami which is chapter 162 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 one hundred sixty-second chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 162 - Procedure of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1-5. When the name was thus assigned unto Bhāskara of many rays, Puṣpa confessed all his misdeeds before the Brāhmaṇas, such as how Maṇibhadra was got executed and how his wife was fraudulently made his own wife.
On hearing it, the Brāhmaṇas became highly furious. Expressing strong protest they said: “O sinner, fie upon you! Go away with your gold and all; you cannot be sanctified. You are in fact a Brahmaghna (Brāhmaṇa-slayer) because all the three castes, Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas are Dvijottamas (excellent twice-borns) as declared by the writers of the Smṛtis and scriptural texts.”
6. Thereupon, Puṣpa was grief-stricken. His eyes were filled with tears. He came out of the space allotted to the Brāhmaṇas and cried in great sorrow.
7. On seeing him lamenting continuously, those Nāgara Brāhmaṇas felt compassion for him and spoke to one another.
8-11. “The scriptural texts are of various kinds. The Smṛtis are diverse. With great concentration pore through all the Purāṇas. See whether some means of his purification somewhere (in some texts) is found. There cannot be any scriptural text that is not available in this holy spot.
O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the same is the case with Smṛti, Purāṇa and Vedānta. Further there is no Brāhmaṇa here who is not on a par with the ommiscient (Śiva). Hence, ponder over this quickly as to what can accord him purity. Taking that as an authority, the purificatory rite of this Puṣpa can be performed.”
12-14. Then a Brāhmaṇa well known as Caṇḍa Śarman said: “In this Skanda Purāṇa, I have read about Puraścaraṇa Saptamī. A sin committed shall vanish through this Puraścaraṇa. O leading Brāhmaṇas, there is no doubt about it. Hence let him perform this rite of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī.”
15. Another thing: Maṇibhadra was executed by the hangmen at the behest of the king. If at all there is a sin, it is his (the king’s).
16. In the capacity of judge, if the king does not carefully examine the plaintiff, the terrible sin devolves only on the king.
17. Now coming to the sin of his wife: She knowingly said, ‘Earlier, it was this (Puṣpa) to whom I was given by my father and the Brāhmaṇas in the presence of fire.’
18-19. Through this deceptive means what has been committed is tit for tat. Hence there is no fault because leading sages have said: ‘One should do in return what has been done to one. If one is injured one can injure in return. If one commits a michief [mischief] or wickedness towards a mischievous or wicked fellow there is no fault (sin)’.”
The Brāhmaṇas said:
20. O Brāhmaṇas, if it so, prescribe this procedure of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī for the sake of this poor Brāhmaṇa’s purity today.
21. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the Brāhmaṇa named Caṇḍa Śarman took pity on him and explained the Saptamī rite.
22. The rite was performed by him in the manner it was heard from him directly (orally). Then at the close of the year, he became free from sins.
The sages said:
23. O Sūtaja, expound the rite called Puraścaraṇa Saptamī. What is the procedure by which it should be carried out? What is the time? Where should it be performed?
24. I shall narrate to you all that was said to King Rohitāśva by Mārkaṇḍeya formerly, on being devoutly asked by him.
25. O Brāhmaṇas, the great sage named Mārkaṇḍeya was one who could remember (the events of) seven Kalpas. He was asked by Rohitāśva, the son of Hariścandra:
26. O excellent sage, tell me some means to get rid of a sin that a man commits knowingly or unknowingly.
27. Sins of men occur in the world in three differentt ways viz. mental, verbal and physical.
28. Means for their eradication have been duly expounded. O excellent king, listen, I shall describe them.
29. In regard to mental sin that men commit, it perishes instantly when they repent for it.
30. A verbal sin does not perish before the fruit is reaped except in a case where Puraścaraṇa rite is performed. It is the truth that has been uttered by me.
31. After confessing it to eminent Brāhmaṇas one should perform the expiatory rite as (may be) instructed by them. Then he shall regain purity.
32. Or, if the king comes to know of it and he metes out the suitable punishment, then he regains purity even if he is sinful.
33. If out of shame, he does not at all confess before eminent Brāhmaṇas nor the king comes to know of it and the fellow dies even as the sin clings to his body, then Yama, the son of Vivasvān, will himself give him adequate punishment.
34. Hence, a person who commits a sin knowingly should assiduously perform the expiatory rite as instructed by the Brāhmaṇas.
35. O great sage, mention some Vrata, Dāna or Homa for the eradication of all the sins committed so that the person can be rid of sins without Puraścaraṇa.
36. A man commits very subtle sins everyday. How can he have the capacity to perform expiatory rite for all of them?
37. O king, there is a pious Vrata called Puraścaraṇa. The rite of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī is a favourite with the Sun-god.
38. O king, if this rite is performed, Yama’s personal clerk Vivitra (Citragupta) shall wipe off the sins committed and accumulated in the course of a birth.
39. Hence, O great king, carry out my instruction immediately so that you can be rid of all the sins clinging to the body.
40. O excellent sage, by what procedure and at what time should the rite of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī be performed? Tell me.
41. One should perform this Vrata on the seventh lunar day in the bright half of the month of Māgha when the Sun is in Capricorn and it (the day) coincides with a Sunday.
42. On that day a devotee should not talk with heretics and hypocritical persons, O excellent king. Early in the morning the devotee chews a twig for cleaning the teeth. Afterwards, the Niyama (restraint) is to be observed by uttering this Mantra:
43. “O Lord of day, I shall observe fast as a part of the rite of Puraścaraṇa Saptamī. Today you are my refuge.”
44. Then in the afternoon he takes bath and remains pure wearing washed clothes. He shall then worship with devotion the image of the Lord of Day.
45. O great hero, the devotee worships the foot etc. with red flowers. The feet of the Sun-god are to be worshipped by saying “Obeisance to Pataṅga.” It is in this way that the different parts of the person of the Sun-god are to be worshipped with flowers. The knees (of the Sun-god) shall be worshipped with the Mantra "Obeisance to Mārtaṇḍa.”
46. “Obeisance to the Lord of Day" (privy). “Obeisance to one of twelve forms" (navel). “Obeisance to the Lord with lotus in hand" (arms). “O fiery-rayed one" (chest).
47. “Obeisance to the one having the lustre of lotus petals" (the neck). “Obeisance to the resplendent one" (the head).”
After worshipping duly the form, one should offer camphor.
48. Cooked rice mixed with jaggery should be the food offering. It should be covered with a red cloth. O king, the Dīpa (lamp) and Ārārtika (waving of lights) shall be with red thread.
49. The devotee then takes water in a conch and puts red sandal-paste therein. After placing a fruit thereon he offers the
50. (Mantra) “O Lord, expiatory rite has been performed for the misdeed that has been committed knowingly or unknowingly. Let my Arghya be received.”
51. Then the devotee honours the Brāhmaṇa with scents, flowers and unguents. After serving him food and giving him Dakṣīṇā according to one’s capacity the devotee should eat pañcagavya (five products of a cow) for the purification of the body.
52. With palms joined in reverence, looking up towards the Sun and meditating on the Sun the devotee should recite this Mantra:
53. “O Lord Bhāskara, this Vrata is observed by me in front of you. With the favour of Your Lordship, let it reach perfection (completion) without obstacles.”
54. Then, at the advent of the month of Phālguna, O excellent sage, the devotee should worship the Lord with Kunda flowers in accordance with the same procedure (explained previously).
55. For the purpose of purification of all sins the devotee offers Guggulu incense and cooked food (rice) as Naivedya. Then he eats Gomaya (i.e. Pañcagavya).
56-57a. In the month of Caitra, the devotee worships Hari with Surabhi (fragrance). “Guṇikās” are cited as the food offering and the resin of Sarja constitutes the incense. The devotee gains the purity of the body by imbibing Kuśa water.
57b. In the month of Vaiśākha, the worship (of the Sun-god) is done with Kiṃśuka flowers and drinking of Ghee (for purification).
58. The Naivedya is meat and liquor. Incense is to be offered. Drinking of curd should be done for the purification of the body.
59-60a. (In Jyeṣṭha) O king, the worship of Ravi is to be performed by means of Pāṭala flowers. Saktu (barley flour?) is recommended for food offering.
Ghee prepared from the milk of a tawny-coloured cow should be imbibed for the eradication of sins, O great hero.
60b-61. In the month of Āṣāḍha, O king, one should worship Bhāskara with Muni flowers. Ghārikās (small cakes of flour, jaggery and fruit boiled in ghee) are prescribed as the Naivedya (food offering to the deity).
62. The worship of the Fiery-rayed One (the Sun) in Śrāvaṇa is to be performed with Kadamba flowers. Modakas (sweetmeat) are offered as Naivedya and Tagara is to be used for incense.
63-64a. By taking in the water from Gośṛṅga (cow’s horn) the devotee is rid of sins immediately.
The adoration in Bhādrapada is by means of Jāti flowers. Milk is offered as Naivedya.
The incense arises from claws (of certain animals). Milk is used for imbibing.
64b-65. In the month of Āśvina the worship is performed with lotus flowers. Ghṛtapūrikā (Puns fried in ghee) is to be offered as Naivedya.
The incense is from saffron and Karpūra water (flavoured with camphor) is to be imbibed.
66. O king, in the month of Kārttika the worship of Bhāskara is done by means of Tulasī. Khaṇḍa (sugar candy) is offered as Naivedya and the incense is from Kusuṃbha.
67. Laviṅga (clove) is to be taken in as destructive of all sins.
In the month of Saumya (Mārgaśīrṣa) one should perform the worship by means of Bhṛṅgarāja.
68. Pheṇikā (a kind of sweetmeat) is to be offered as Naivedya. The incense comes from jaggery. For the satisfaction of Bhāskara, Kaṅkola should be ṭgken in.
69. It is ordained in the Smṛti that the worship of Ravi in the month of Pauṣa should be done by means of Śatapatrikā (hundred-petalled lotus). Something natural (easily available) is offered as incense and Śaṣkuli (fried flour-coils) has to be offered as Naivedya.
70. As for imbibing, one can have all the things mentioned before. At the conclusion of the adoration one-sixth of the income of the household is to be given as Dakṣiṇā.
71. O excellent one among kings, the above-mentioned Dakṣiṇā is to be given to a Brāhmaṇa for the eradication of all sins. Thereafter friends and persons of one’s choice are to be fed in accordance with one’s capacity.
72. He who performs the Saptamī rite unto Bhāskara in this manner shall become pure after being rid of all sins.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
73. Thus the procedure was formerly described to the intelligent Rohitāśva by Mārkaṇḍeya. O highly esteemed one, do this yourself too.
74. Thereby the Puraścaraṇa rite will be perfected in your case.
75. On hearing his words, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Puṣpa too joyously performed that Saptamī rite in the manner described by him.
76. To that noble-souled Brāhmaṇa, he gave a sixth of all his wealth as a householder in the form of costly gems or ordinary metals.
77. He too accepted with a delighted mind that wealth in the form of innumerable gifts of gold and gems.
Footnotes and references:
It seems that another Skanda Purāṇa existed when this chapter of the present text was written.
These verses state the particular Mantra to be recited at the time of worshipping the particular part of the Sun-god’s idol.