The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Decision on Problems Relating to Nagaras which is chapter 201 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 two hundred first chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 201 - Decision on Problems Relating to Nāgaras

Viśvāmitra said:

1-5. Then all those Brāhmaṇas joined their palms in reverence, eulogized the highly intelligent Bhartṛyajña and spoke these words: “It has been said by you that only a purified Brāhmaṇa deserves to be honoured in a Śrāddha and imbibing of Soma and further that only he is to be offered a virgin in marriage. But tell us the procedure of this purification. How is the purificatory rite to be performed in the case of a Nāgara as well as all others (Brāhmaṇas) of other lands also, whether born in the other land or born there itself, and if a Brāhmaṇa wishes to attain an equal status despite the fact that he is not aware of the father and ancestors. O highly intelligent one, speak this to us in full detail.”

Viśvāmitra said:

6. O excellent king, on hearing the words of those Brāhmaṇas, Bhartṛyajña expressed his considered views which were highly honoured (and accepted) by all.

Bhartṛyajña said:

7. What has been asked by you all is a very important question putting an enormously onerous responsibility on me. Still, I shall explain it after making obeisance to the Self-born Lord.

8-9. If a person not aware of his father and ancestors comes from a far-off land and aspires for an equal status proclaiming himself to be a Nāgara, purificatory rite should be administered to him by quiescent, excellent and important Brāhmaṇas, placing a Brāhmaṇa hailing from Gartātīrtha in front (at the head).

10. If a person requests for purification, (it is likely) that some Brāhmaṇas will not offer him the same, either due to their desire, or anger, or hatred or due to their fear of a fall (blunder).

11-12. In that case, all of them will incur the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter. Hence purificatory rite should be assiduously administered by an excellent Brāhmaṇa to the visitor especially when he comes from a far-off land. Such a purificatory rite is three-fold as explained by me,

13. Then though born in another land, he should be known as a pure Nāgara. First, the family of his father is to be purified. Then the family of the mother.

14. Then the conduct (is to be purified). A person purified in these three respects deserves an equal-status.


[Note: It is noteworthy that the cooperation of Brāhmaṇas belonging to the four Vedas and the recitation of various Sūktas of different Vedas is essential in this rite.]

15. By the end of a year, purificatory rite of all Brāhmaṇas should be assiduously performed for the purity of one’s own Sthāna (holy spot, native place).

16. For that purpose, in an auspicious season at the close of autumn, sixteen excellent Brāhmaṇas well-versed in the four Vedas should be pleased (appointed).

17. All the Brāhmaṇas should be quiescent with mental control and control of the sense-organs. A Brāhmaṇa hailing from Gartātīrtha should be placed in their middle.

18. The time should be before the end of the month of Kārttika (?) In front of the Brāhmaṇa from Gartātīrtha four pedestals should be placed. They must have all (good) characteristics. They are intended for the Brāhmaṇas well-versed in the four Vedas [or the pedestals should have four legs].

19. The first one (pedestal) is for the sake of a Bahvṛca (Ṛgvedī) Brāhmaṇa. The next one is for a Yājuṣa. The other one is for a Sāmaga and the fourth one is for Ādya (the foremost one).

20-21. Another pedestal, the fifth one, is intended for the Mudrikā) (Signet ring). The Bahvṛca should recite the following Sūktas (hymn-passages): Śrīsūkta, Pāvamāna, Śākuna, Sūkta which has Viṣṇu for its deity, Pārāvata Sùkta along with Jīvasūkta and also the Śāntika

22-23. The Adhvaryu should recite the following passages: Śivasaṅkalpa as an aid to the acquisition of calmness and peace, the four types of Ṛṣikalpas, Maṇḍala Brāhmaṇas, Gāyatrībrāhmaṇa, Puruṣa-sūkta, Madhubrāhmaṇa and Rudra Mantras along with the five ancillaries.

24-26. Devavrata pertaining to Gāyatrī, Somavrata, Sūryavrata, till the twenty-first stanza, Rathantara, Sauvrata, Viṣṇu Saṃhitā, Jyeṣṭha Sāman, the Rudra Mantras included in the Sāma Veda along with the Bhāruṇḍa Sāmans—all these should be recited by the Chāndoga. He will also recite other passages of Śāntika (conducive to peace) also such as Garbhopaniṣaḍ, Skanda Sūkta and other passages.

27. The Ādya should recite Prāṇarudras along with Nīlarudras and other Mantras such as Nava-rudras and Kṣurikās.

28-29. Then accompanied by the chanting (declaration of the day being auspicious) and the sound of vocal and instrumental music, the person desirous of purity should go to the place where those Brāhmaṇas are present. He should wear white garments and garlands. He should smear himself with white sandal-paste. After bowing down his head he should address the Madhyaga:

30. “It behoves you to do me this favour. Do request all these excellent Brāhmaṇas, on my behalf, whereby they will grant purity.”

31-32. Thereafter, the Brāhmaṇa hailing from Gartātīrtha should stand there bowing down humbly. He should request the Brāhmaṇas for the purity of that person desirous of purity. While doing so, he should be in touch with the hide of a cow. Then all the excellent Brāhmaṇas should be addressed (asked) by him:

33. “This Nāgara Brāhmaṇa has come from a far-off place for the sake of purity. If all of you approve, the purificatory rite can be administered.”

S4. They should hint at the approval or denial only through the Vedic Sūktas and not through explicitly uttered words: “This is my utterance.”

35. Then he saw that most of them (were well-versed in the Vedas). He saw Ṛgvedins, Adhvaryus, Chāndogyas and Ādyas. (He then said.) O excellent Brāhmaṇas.

36. “O excellent Brāhmaṇas, if they are mentally pleased the words uttered are gentle and auspicious. The Sūktas are mild such as Vāruṇas and Aindras indicating the auspiciousness as the outcome.

37-38. They are excellent and conducive to increase (development) and satisfaction. The Mantras are thus the signifying factors. If they do not feel mentally pleased (they are to chant.) Raudra (pertaining to Rudra), Yāma (pertaining to Yama) and Nairṛtya (pertaining to Nirṛti). The Āgneyas (pertaining to Agni) are inauspicious; they cause destruction.

39. Those who are fools (ignorant) among these, not engaged in chanting the Vedas, (should indicate thus). If the excellent Brāhmaṇas are pleased, they will offer flowers.

40-42. If they are angry and so devoid of satisfaction, they should produce Sītkāra (a kind of hissing sound by drawing in the breath). Thus in all affairs the decision is to be made thus and- not through impolite words as usually by men.

At the conclusion of the decision the sensible and learned Madhyaga should clap the hands thrice. Thus the decision is arrived at by all.

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