The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Decision Regarding Caturdashi Shraddha which is chapter 222 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 twenty-second chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 222 - Decision Regarding Caturdaśī Śrāddha

Bhartṛyajña said:

1-3. O king, Śrāddha should be performed on the Caturdaśī (fourteenth) day in the case of those who meet with their death in the following manner: premature death, killed by weapons, supernatural calamities, being poisoned, burnt by fire, drowned in water, bitten by serpents, or mauled by tigers, bruised by horns and hanging from trees etc. When Srāddha is performed they will have satisfaction extending over a fortnight.

Ānarta said:

4. How is it that the Tithi Caturdāsī [Caturdāśī?] is recommended for offering Śrāddha unto those killed by weapons and not for others? This is my doubt. Kindly explain.

5. They do not approve of Ekoddiṣṭa.[1] Why should Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa (offering rice-balls in ritualistic manner) be carried out? Do tell me this in detail.

6. Why is the Pārvaṇa Śrāddha not performed on that day in the Pretapakṣa when all (other) Śrāddhas are performed?

Bhartṛyajña said:

7. There was a great Asura formerly in Bṛhatkalpa. He was brave and powerful. He caused great terror among all the Devas.

8. Brahmā was propitiated by him through the performance of various kinds of penance especially during the dark half in the month of Nabhasya (Bhādrapada).

Brahmā said:

9. O dear one, I am pleased with you. Do request for whatever is desired by you. I shall grant it even if it happens to be what should not be given. Hence do request. Do not tarry.

Hiraṇyākṣa said:

10. O Lotus-born One, the hungry Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśācas, Rākṣasas, Daityas and Dānavas are very hungry always and they beg from me.

11. If at least on one day Śrāddha is performed in the Pretapakṣa when the Sun is in Virgo, there will generally be the satisfaction lasting for a year.

12. Hence, O Lotus-born One, give one day unto them whereby, O Pitāmaha, they will stay satisfied for a year.

Śrī Brahmā said:

13-14. If any man offers Śrāddha to his Pitṛs on the Caturdāsī [Caturdāśī?] (fourteenth) day in the Pretapakṣa, the month being Nabhasya (Bhādrapada), that shall go to Pretas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas and others mentioned by you. Undoubtedly here is my word for it.

15. In the case of those who die an unnatural and inglorious death and those who are killed in battles, they will have satisfaction if Ekoddiṣṭa is offered by the sons.

16. After saying thus, Brahmā vanished. Hiraṇyākṣa was delighted and he went to his own abode.

17. I shall tell you the reason why Ekoddiṣṭa Śrāddha is offered on that day by men to those who are killed with weapons.

18. Those men who had been fighting with a determined and unhesitating mind but were killed in the battle by means of weapons, are not reborn in the mortal world again.

19. Those men who turn away their faces and take to flight from the battlefield and are then killed become Pretas. Pitāmaha said this.

20-21. Manu, the son of the Self-born Lord, said: “Sometimes even the minds of heroic persons may waver and some people may fight face to face but on being assailed make piteous outbursts. On being smashed to pieces they may express regrets too. They too become Pretas.

22. Thanks to their mental confusion (it becomes necessary) that Śrāddha should be performed for them by their sons on that day. Then there are embodied ones dying premature and unnatural deaths.

23. Those people become Pretas. Hence, O excellent king, they are to be offered Śrāddha and that day (the 14th day) has been stipulated as befitting the Śrāddha.

24. On that day Ekoddiṣṭa should be performed after Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa. I shall mention the reason thereof.

25. If, by chance, the father attains the state of Preta, O king, Śrāddha, should be performed for his propitiation.

26. Pitāmahas (grandfathers) and others do not deserve Śrāḍdha on that day. If inadvertently the Śrāddha is performed, it is appropriated by Rākṣasas.

27. At the instance of Brahmā, O king, Bhūtas, Pretas and Dānavas too appropriate the same. Hence only Ekoddiṣṭa is to be performed and not Pārvaṇa (Śrāddha).

28-30. The above is in the case of Caturdaśī in the Pitṛpakṣa, when the Sun is in Virgo. Grandfather does not accept it along with the father, nor his father as well as greatgrandfather, O king. For this reason, O king, Pārvaṇa Śrāddha is not performed on that day because that Śrāddha shall be futile.

31. A Nāgara should perform Śrāddha rites and Vratas through Nāgara Brāhmaṇas and not through Brāhmaṇas hailing from other places, Otherwise that will be futile.

32. The Śrāddha of Nāgaras which is performed through Brāhmaṇas hailing from other places though they may be experts therein (becomes futile).

33. Even if they do not have good conduct, even if they are fallen, Nāgaras are entitled for Śrāddha. A kinsman may be on a par with bull. If such a kinsman is obtained, of what avail are the many Brāhmaṇas who may have mastered the Vedas and Vedāṅgas.”

Footnotes and references:


Ekoddīṣṭa [Ekoddiṣṭa?] Śrāddha, as the name indicates, is offered to one person only while in Pārvaṇa Srāddha three paternal ancestors are invited. This is meant for accidental, unnatural deaths as mentioned in vv 1-3.

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