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Preta Kandha 10-18

Garuda Purana

Preta Kandha 10-18

– 10 –

Discussion between Krishna and Garuda on Sraddha

1Garuda said: -After Saphindikarana has been done and the annual rites performed, the deceased may obtain godhood, manhood or birdhood as the case may be.
2But they eat different types of food. How can Sraddha satiate them? The Sraddha food is eaten by the Brahmanas or given as oblation into the fire.
3The Pinda is given by the good as well as the bad relative. How can the ghost discriminate? Why should the sraddha be performed on a particular day?
4O bird, hear, Sraddha is gratifying to ghosts. There is no restriction on a person if he becomes a deity or a man or an animal according to the actions of his previous life.
5-7If he becomes a deity, the Sraddha food turns into nectar; an article of enjoyment if he becomes a Gandharva; a grass if he becomes an animal; an air if he becomes a Naga; fruit in case of a bird; meat in case of a demon; blood in case of a ghost; grain in case of a man and an article of enjoyment in case of a child.
8How kavya and Havya given by men reach Pitriloka and Devaloka and who takes them there?
9How can a Sraddha gratify the dead? Can oil in a blown-out lamp light the wick?
10Tell me, O Lord! How does the deceased enjoy the fruits of the deeds such as rites of obsequy performed by his son.
11The validity of tradition, 0 lord, is more powerful than the validity of direct perception. The Sruti declares that the food served to the Brahmanas in the Sraddha turns into nectar, etc. for the departed souls.
12By their names and gotras the manes receive the offerings made by the relatives. The mantras carry the same when they are recited with devotion and faith.
13How the articles reach the manes should not be doubted, O bird. I tell you how the articles of gift can reach the manes.
14-15The Agnishvatta Pitris (the manes who are cremated in fire) remain in charge of the departed. When food is offered to the departed souls in the appropriate manner, at the appropriate time and place, as prescribed in the Sastras, they carry the same to the manes in their path.
16Even though they assume different species arid reach different worlds, with different names and gotras, they receive the offering made in their favour by their kins.
17The three Pindas given on Darbha or spread over the earth, by the nearest relative of the deceased, with his sacred thread worne over the left shoulder, gratify the manes even in their ghost hood.
18-19Those who have been pious on the earth in all ways do not go to the torture-place. These as well as others who have assumed multifarious forms and those who are born in low species obtain, whatever food they eat in those species.
20Just as when the cow is lost in the herd of cattle, the calf searches for her and ultimately finds her, so the sraddha food searches the deceased person, though he is set on journey (or has, assumed a different form).
21-22The manes consume the Sraddha rituals in the company of Vaisvedevas, Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, ancestors, Sraddha Devas. When gratified they gratify the deceased person.
23Just as a pregnant woman gratifies herself and her foetus by satiating her desire, so also the deities gratify themselves and the manes by partaking the sraddhas.
24They feel elated at the approach of sraddha time. Thus, thinking in their mind, they reach the sraddha-place With the spread of imagination.
25Staying in the horizon they eat with the Brahmanas. In their aerial form they eat with pleasure.
26Whosoever be the Brahmana invited for the feast, they enter his body, eat and return to their abode.
27-28aIf the performer of Sraddha (such as the son of the deceased) has invited a single Brahmana for Sraddha; the father stays in his stomach, the grandfather on his left side, the great-grandfather on the right and the consumer of Pinda at the back.
28b-30During the period of sraddha Yama releases even the ghosts and the manes staying in hell who being hungry run to the world of mortals to receive the offering made by their relatives. They repent for their misdeeds while they desire to be served with the milk-rice mixed with honey by their sons and grandsons. Therefore, the descendent should gratify them with the milk-rice.
31O Lord, now tell me, has anyone seen the manes descending from the other world and partaking sraddha on this earth?
32Hear, O Garuda, I shall tell you how once Sits saw in the body of a Brahmana the manes, the father-in-law, grand-father-in-law and the great-grand-father-in-law.
33-34At the behest of his father, Rama went to the forest. When he reached Pushkara, the holy centre, together with his consort Sita he performed sraddha with the ripe fruits Sita collected from the trees.
35-36When the Sun reached the middle of the sky. the sages who had been invited by Rama presented themselves. When Sita saw the sages, she was extremely delighted.
37By the instructions of Rama she served them with food. Then, all of a sudden, she got away from among the Brahmanas.
38-40Covering herself behind the bushes she hid herself. “Then having learnt that Sita had gone all alone, Rama was anxious and lost in thought. He wondered why she had gone away so soon without feasting the Brahmanas. He thought to himself. Maybe she felt shy. I shall search for her. Thinking this way or that he himself feasted the Brahmanas.
41When the Brahmanas went away Sita returned. Then Rama spoke to her: ‘‘Why did you leave when the sages came here to the forest. Let me know the reason of your abrupt departure.
42Then addressed by the lord, Sita stood with her face cast dawn. With tears flowing down from her eyes she spoke thus to her lord.
43-44O lord, hear, I saw a wonder here. I saw your father in front of the Brahmanas, dressed in royal costume. 45-46I saw two elderly folks donning the similar garb. On seeing your father, I moved away from his presence. Attired in bark and hide; how could I serve him with food?
47How could I offer him food in a vessel of grass in which even slaves would not eat?
48-49aHow could I, full of perspiration and dirt, go before him knowing that he had never seen: me before in that miserable state. I felt shy and moved away from his presence, O Rama.
49b-50aOn hearing these words of his beloved Rama was surprised at heart, thinking that it was a miracle never witnessed before.
50b-51Thus I have told you how Sita saw the manes. Now, here in short is another account of Sraddha. On the day of Amavasya, the airy manes stand at the threshold of their descendants in order to receive sraddha.
52-53They remain there till Sunset. When they do not receive sraddha they fall in despair and out of suffering heave long sighs and go back cursing the descendants.
54-55Therefore; one should carefully perform sraddha on the Amavasya day. If sons or relatives perform sraddha at Gaya, they uplift their· ancestors from lower regions and themselves enjoy Brahmaloka together with the manes. They never suffer from thirst and hunger.
56-58Therefore, the wise should perform sraddha imperatively. If no other article of food is available even vegetable if offered with devotion would suffice. If sraddha is done in time the family would never perish. Age, sons, fame, heaven, glory, health, strength, splendour, cattle, happiness, wealth and grain -all these can be procured by worshipping the manes. The riles performed in favour of the manes are more beneficial than the rites performed for the deities.
59-61aGratification of the manes in proportion to that of the deities is more beneficial. Those who worship manes, deities; Brahmanas and file, in fact, worship me who am the soul of all beings. By performing Sraddha according to the mean and method, the man pleases the universe as far above as Brahmaloka.
61b-65Whatever food is spread over the earth by the performer, the same gratifies them, though they have become ghosts. Whatever water falls on the ground dripping from the bathing clothes of the performer the same gratifies them, though they may have become trees. Whatever scents fall on the ground the same gratifies them though they may have obtained deity-hood. Those who are outside the caste groups, unfit for rites or averse to rites, consume water scattered after washing.
66Whatever water is revised in the day by the Brahmanas and others, the same gratifies those who have become Pisaca, worms and germs.
67Whatever Pindas are left on the earth the same gratify those who have become men.
68-69Thus when all this is being done by the twice-born, whatever water and food is left, good or bad, the same gratifies those who have opted for another caste, in case the sraddha is done properly.
70When men perform sraddha with ill-gotten wealth, the same gratifies Candalas and others of low species.
71Thus, O bird, whatever is given to the manes, by their relatives while doing sraddha, they receive the same and remain gratified with food, water and vegetable.
72-73Thus, I have told you all what you had asked me for. Now that you have queried me whether the soul obtains body immediately or after some time, I shall tell you about the same in short. Body is obtained both immediately and late.
74How the soul gets a new body, hear from me. The soul without body is like a Same without fire. It is about a thumb in size.
75-77After leaving the earthly body, the soul obtains an airy body. Like a caterpillar who lifts up the back feet only when the position of the front feet becomes firm the soul leaves the previous body only when the airy body is available to enjoy.
78In that actionless body he moves in air only. Whatever body he has obtained, the same he himself leaves.
79He leaves the body just as the child leaves the womb. He may come out, stay and enjoy.
80The fools do not see him, only those who possess the vision of knowledge can see him in that state.
81O bird, this type of body the deceased can have out of the Pinda (rice-ball) offered to him.
82Whatever Pinda the sons or kins give him during the ten days, the same unites the Vayuja body with the Pindaja body.
83If the Pindaja body be not there, the Vayuja body suffers. Just as in his body a man has childhood, youth and old age, so also, he obtains another body, this you already know, O king of birds.
84Just as men wear new clothes casting off old ones, so also the soul obtains another body leaving the old one.
85Neither the weapons cut it nor the fire burns it nor the water wets it nor the wind dries it.
86Just now, I have told you that it obtains the airy body immediately. Now, hear about the body it obtains belatedly.
87After sometime, the Jiva when he reaches Yamaloka, obtains the Pindaja body.
88-89As directed by Citragupta, he suffers in hell. Having suffered tortures there, he is born in the low species as an animal, a bird, etc. There too, very full of attachment, he suffers from the result of good and bad actions, O king of birds.
90Garuda said: -O Treasure of pity, please tell me how even though full of sins, a Jiva may obtain you, after crossing the ocean of worldly existence.
91Please also tell me, O lord. how a man can avoid suffering?
92Man obtains success being busy in the performance of assigned acts. Now, hear how he can get success while he is engaged in doing acts.
93-96By taking shelter in Vasudeva, possessing pure intellect, controlling the self with fortitude, discarding the objects of enjoyment and leaving attachment and envy, serving without expecting reward, controlling speech, body and mind, practising meditation and Yoga, taking recourse to detachment, leaving pride, force, desire, anger, thus calm and serene he attains brahma. After this, he has to do nothing, O son of Kasyapa.

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