The Markandeya Purana (Study)

by Chandamita Bhattacharya | 2021 | 67,501 words

This page relates ‘Used and Prohibited Food and Vegetables for Shraddha Ceremony’ of the study on the Markandeya Purana, one of the oldest of the eigtheen Mahapuranas preserving the history, civilisation, culture and traditions of ancient India. The Markandeyapurana commences with the questions raised by Rishi Jaimini (a pupil of Vyasa), who approaches the sage Markandeya with doubts related to the Mahabharata. This study examines various social topics such as the status of women, modes of worship, yoga, etc.

Used and Prohibited Food and Vegetables for Śrāddha Ceremony

The Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa mentions some food and vegetables generally used in the śrāddha ceremony.

In this context, [the following have been mentioned to be used]:[1]

  1. syāmāka grain,
  2. rājaśyāmāka grain,
  3. small grained rice (prasātika),
  4. wild rice (nīvāra),
  5. pauṣkala grain.

Elsewhere, [the following are also accepted in śrāddha ceremony]:[2]

  1. barley,
  2. vrīhi rice,
  3. sesamum seed,
  4. wheat,
  5. green gram (mudga),
  6. mustard,
  7. priyaṅgu seed,
  8. kovidāra seed and
  9. finest pulse.

This Purāṅa also mentions about the food and vegetables which should be avoided for śrāddha ceremony. Such as- markaṭaka seed, rājāmāṣa pulse, aṇu grain, viprāṣika seed and lentils (masūra) are forbidden in a śrāddha ceremony.[3] Besides, garlic, red garlic, onions, carrots, asparagus (krambha) and whatever other vegetables which are shunned on their taste and colour, gāndhārika, kadus, things which salty, salts, reddish juices, and additional salt are also prohibited for śrāddha.[4]

The Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa also mentions about the type of milk and water that can be used in the śrāddha ceremony. It is believed that cow’s milk and anything made by cow’s milk, pāyasa etc. can satisfy the pitṛs for one year.[5] Same topic is found to be mentioned in Yajñavalkyasmṛti and Manusmṛti also.[6] Some milk should be avoided for the śrāddha. For example, deer-milk, sheep-milk, camel’s-milk, milk of one hoofed animals, buffalo-milk, yak-milk and milk from the cow that gave birth recently (not more than before ten days) (a-nirdaśa) etc.[7] Viṣṇupurāṇa, Vāyupurāṇa and Brahmapurāṇa also mentions about these prohibited milks.[8] Also some water should be avoided by the performer in the śrāddha ceremony which bad smell, foamy, taken from a small reservoir not used by all or from trough water taken by night, after cooked left over water, unused to drink etc are prohibited.[9]

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., 29.9


Ibid., 29.10


Ibid., 29.11


laśunaṃ gṛñjanaṃ caiva palāṇḍuḥ piṇḍamūlakam /
karambhaṃ yāni cānyāni hīnāni rasavarṇataḥ //
gāndhārikamalāṃbuni lavaṇāyuṣarāṇi ca /
āraktā yeca ṇiryāsāḥ pratyakṣalavaṇāni ca //
varjayettāni vai śrāddhe yacca vācā na śsyate / Ibid., 29.12-14 a


samvatsaraṃ tathā gavyaṃ payaḥ pāyasameva vā // Ibid., 29.6 b


Yajñavalkyasmṛti, 1.258; Manusmṛti, 3.271


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 29.17 b-19 a


Viṣṇupurāṇa, 3.16.11; Vāyupurāṇa, 78.17; Brahmapurāṇa, 220.169


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 29.15 cd-17 ab; Viṣṇupurāṇa, 3.16.10; Vāyupurāṇa, 78.16

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