by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Glorification of Brahmanas which is chapter 106 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 sixth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
The Devī said:
1-5. Tell me exactly the procedure of the worship of Brahman which has been glorified thus in non-dualistic terms.
Of how many classes are the Brāhmaṇas residing in the holy place? O great Lord, of what nature are their manners and customs? What are their habits? What do they resort to? Do explain in detail the great prosperity of these Brāhmanas.
6. Very well! Very well! O great goddess proficient in asking questions! Be attentive and listen to the greatness of the deities in the form of Brāhmaṇas.
7-10. On listening to it, O goddess, a man is rid of all sins.
O goddess of Devas, all those Brāhmaṇas glorified on the earth surrounded by seas, constitute my form. This form is visible on the earth. Brāhmaṇas are Devas perceptible-on the earth while Devas in heaven are imperceptible. Brāhmaṇas are always dear to me. Brāhmaṇas constitute my body. He who devoutly worships them, worships me always. He who devoutly propitiates them shall propitiate me.
11. O my beloved, undoubtedly I am identical with those who are Brāhmaṇas, if they are worshipped, I shall become worshipped. Only when they are pleased, do I become pleased. He who entertains enmity to them, is inimical to me also.
12. If anyone worships my replica in the form of a stone icon with sandal-paste along with a agallochum, sweet scents and garlands he does not (really) worship me. If one venerates Brāhmaṇas and adores them, I am really worshipped.
14. At the time of Śrāddha,one should not subject Brāhmaṇas to a close test, if they are residents of the holy spot. In the case of testing Brāhmaṇas, there is a great deal of abuse.
15. One-eyed, lame, hump-backed, poor and sick—all these should be engaged in a Śrāddha mixed (along) with Brāhmaṇas who have mastered the Vedas.
16. Brāhmaṇas are worthy of veneration merely because of their birth. So if they are well-versed much more in the Vedas and the practice thereof. Therefore, Brāhmaṇas should not be censured in any respect in the cases of Havya and Kavya offerings.
17. One-eyed persons, bulky ones, hump-backed ones, poor and sick ones should not be insulted. A sensible man should not insult such Brāhmaṇas because their forms are remembered as my form.
18. Many men do not know as they are beyond the ken of wisdom. They are not aware that I wander on the earth in the form of a Brāhmaṇa.
19-20. If people strike or kill Brāhmaṇas of my form, if they make them perform impious jobs, if they send them on an errand to places where they should not be sent, if they compel them to be slaves, then the powerful messengers of Yama cut them with a saw after their death, even as artisans cut off a piece of wood with a string.
21-24. If base men threaten them with harsh speech, if they utter cruel words due to anger, if they kick with their foot, then the people in Yama’s world strike them and make them fall down on the ground. With the eyes turned red due to anger, they kick them with their feet. Yama plucks out their tongue by means of hot and fiery tongs.
Those men who hate Brāhmaṇas, the sinners who look at Brāhmaṇas with an evil eye are enemies of Brāhmaṇas. Crows with huge bodies and adamantine beaks pluck their eyes out in a trice at the behest of Yama.
25-27. If anyone beats or wounds a Brāhmaṇa, if anyone sheds his blood, breaks his bone or slays him out, he should be known as Brahmaghna Brāhmaṇa-slayer). There is no expiation at all in his case. There are fifty crores of Narakas. A fellow who slays Brāhmaṇas is thoroughly cooked in them successively for many thousand years. Hence, O beautiful woman, a Brāhmaṇa shall always be saluted by men.
28. Brāhmaṇas should be honoured always by offerings of food and drink. All Brāhmaṇas are persons deserving to receive all kinds of gifts.
29-30. O goddess of Devas, no one else deserves the same. If (another one) receives a gift, he attains downfall (low position). O goddess, a Brāhmaṇa sanctified by penance is one who has shaken off all sins. He does not incur anything adverse, if he accepts as gift the whole world surrounded by oceans. O goddess, there is nothing sinful in the case of a Brāhmaṇa.
31. A Brāhmaṇa who abides always by spiritual principles, who is sanctified by good emotional fervour, is by birth a great holy spirit.
32. All the Guardians of the Quarters in the world are worshippers of Brāhmaṇas. Hence one should not insult them if one wishes for a long life.
33. If Brāhmaṇas are infuriated, they will reduce everything to ashes by means of their own refulgence. They may even create other worlds and other guardians of the quarters.
34-35. They are the leaders of the heaven, the eternal Lords of Devas. By those noble-souled ones, the ocean was rendered impotable when they became infuriated. Even today their fiery anger does not cool down in the Daṇḍaka forest. The path made by them is called Devayāna (a path of Devas).
36. They are worthy of veneration. They should be bowed down to. Everything is well-established in them. It is they who make the worlds hold one another together.
37. Their penance and self-study of the Vedas is well-guarded and kept secret. Brāhmaṇas have their own esteemed Vratas. They are perfect in all lores and Vratas well-concluded. They lead life without resorting to anyone else.
38. When infuriated, Brāhmaṇas become like serpents. They should be well attended to and served. Blazing by means of their power of penance, they may burn even oceans.
39. When Brāhmaṇas are pleased, all the deities become pleased. They are the ultimate goal of all living beings. They ponder over the spiritual pursuit.
40. They have all their doubts perfectly resolved in the pursuit of all types of knowledge in the beginning, middle or end. They are conversant with the higher and lower features (of everything). They lead others to the ultimate goal. Hence, even if Brāhmaṇas be always engaged in sinful deeds, they should not be killed.
41. He who destroys all this world may destroy Brāhmaṇa also in the same manner. If infuriated a Brāhmaṇa becomes like fire, the highly blazing Arka (Sun) and poison.
42. A Brāhmaṇa has precedence in the matter of taking food, among all living beings. He is the most excellent among all castes. He is the father, the preceptor. He does not perish. He does not incur pain or loss. He is not afflicted at all.
43. What is consigned to the mouth of a Brāhmaṇa is more excellent than (oblation in fire) even in Agnihotra. All Devas stay resorting to the bodies of Brāhmaṇas.
44. Hence Brāhmaṇas are worthy of being worshipped. If they be not available, idols and images are to be adored.
45. Whether he is equipped with learning or not, a Brāhmaṇa is my deity, just as the Fire is a great divinity whether consecrated with prayers or not.
46. A fire does not become impure even in cremation grounds. A Brāhmaṇa even bereft of Havya and Kavya does not become impure.
47. Barring the case where a Mahāpātaka (great sin) is involved, O lady of excellent countenance, a Brāhmaṇa is worthy of veneration. By all means Brāhmaṇas are to be worshipped. He is a great divinity by all means. Hence, by all efforts, a Brāhmaṇa in danger should be protected.
48. Thus, O great goddess, Brāhmaṇas are to be worshipped everywhere by men. Those who have subdued their selves and especially those who reside in a Kṣetra (holy place) are still more venerable.
49. Henceforth I shall describe the difference among the Brāhmaṇa residents of a holy spot of all the four stages in life in due order as based on their avocation.
50. Those Brāhmaṇas who know the procedure of Sannyāsa (perfect placement) of the Kṣetra and also the difference in avocation in due order are the partakers of the benefit of the holy spot.
51. O lady of excellent countenance, listen to the details of how a Brāhmaṇa-resident of a Kṣetra is to conduct himself in the different avocations of Prājāpatya etc.
52-54. O lady of excellent countenance, the following are the pursuits of the residents under the different names (titles) such as Prājāpatyas, Mahīpālas, Kapotas, Granthikas, Kuṭikas, Vaitalas, Padmahaṃsas, Dhṛtarāṣṭras, Bakas, Kaṅkas, Gopālas, Truṭikas, Maṭharas and Guṭikas. O beautiful woman, the others are Daṇḍikas. Listen to their special activities for maintaining themselves.
55. These are remembered as constituting the Vrata called prājāpatya: non-violence, service to preceptors and elders, self-study of the Vedas, cleanliness of the body, restraint of the sense-organs, truthfulness and abstention from theft.
56. The second category of people is remembered as Mahīpāla because they sustain the earth by means of the rites such as Śāntika (conducive to tranquality) etc. with destruction, nourishment and enmity as the objective.
57. Those Sādhakas (persons in pursuit of perfection in spirituality) whose sustenance is affected by means of gleaning grains that are scattered on the ground as in the case of pigeons (Kapotas) are also called Kapotas.
58. Those who get houses built and stay in them are called Sadgranthas (or Granthikas).
Those Sādhakas who suddenly forsake houses after building them are called Kuṭikas (dwellers of huts). They are devoted to the propitiation of Śiva.
60. Those who have self-restraint though they are attracted by desires, and who pursue the desire for kingdom and wealth are known as Padmas. They are always engaged in seeking alms.
62. Those who sustain the universe won over by means of celibacy, Sattva quality and absence of greed, are known as Dhṛtarāṣṭras.
64. Those who for the purpose of achieving the noblest objectives resort to ponds and water reservoirs and subsist on lotus stalks and Śṛṅgāṭaka plants, are remembered as the Sādhakas of the Kaṅka type.
65. Those Sādhakas who wander along with cows and stay in cow-pen, and subsist on Pañcagavya (five cow products) are (known as) Gopālas.
66. Those who let their bodies become emaciated by the practice of Kṛcchra and Cāndrāyaṇa vows and eat only very small quantity (Cardamom size) (Truṭi) of food are known as the Sādhakas of the Truṭika type.
67. The Sādhakas called Maṭharas consider themselves householders in a Maṭha (monastery) with the replica of a woman made of Kuśa Grass representing their wives. They are very pure and simple. They sustain themselves by seeking alms.
68. Those Brāhmaṇas who regularly eat eight morsel like pills made of bulbous roots, roots and fruits are called Guṭikas.
69. They keep their bodies well-disciplined and subjected to restraints. During nights they remain in Vīrāsana (hero-like posture). They are called Daṇḍins (Daṇḍikas). Now everything has been explained to you.
70. The general and particular avocations of the householders and others among the residents of holy spots along with their diverse varieties have been fully narrated to you.
73. They are always celibate. They are self-controlled. They subdue their anger. They control all the sense-organs. Thus the Brāhmaṇas residing in a Kṣetra are known.
74. The holy Lord Pitāmaha in the form of a boy is worthy of their veneration. Pitāmaha is to be perfectly worshipped by those who regularly study (and recite) the Vedas.