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Vayu Purana – Purva Kandha 49-56

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Description of Pitris

1Samsapayana enquired: O Suta, how the king Pururavas, son of Ila, used to go to heaven during the new moon day in every month? How did he perform (libation) to Pitris?
2Suta replied: O Samsapayana, I shall now recount to you the superhuman power of (Pururavas), the son of Ila. I shall mention how he contacted with the Sun and the noble-souled Moon.
3-5I shall mention all these things in order—the increase and decrease of the Moon consisting of the essence of the waters during the bright and the dark halves of the month, the fixation (decision) about the fortnight dedicated to Pitris, the acquisition of nectar from the Moon, the Tarpana offerings to Pitris, the vision of the Pitris who had extracted the Soma juice from the Kavya fire, and how Pururavas, the son of Ila, propitiated Pitris. I shall mention the Parvans also (all in due order).
6When both the Moon and the Sun come into conjunction with the same constellation, on the same night, in the same orbit, it shall be known as Amavasya (the New Moon).
7-8He (Pururavas) used to go to see his maternal and paternal grand-fathers, the Moon and the Sun, on every Amavasya. After making obeisance to them, he used to keep waiting. For the sake of the Pitris, he used to extract exudation from the delighted Moon. In every month Pururavas, son of Ila, stayed in the heaven and worshipped the Moon with devotion along with Pitris.
9-10Pitris and the Moon partake of the Kavya offerings for two lavas. Worshipping Sinivali1 during the time of its appearance, Pururavas understood the duration of the new moon called Kuhu and worshipped Kuhu too. Biding his time he used to see the Moon in conjunction with the Sun (?)
11-13Whence will the nectar ooze out from Soma for the satisfaction for a period of a month? It is by (replenishment) for fifteen days (of the bright half) by the flow of nectar. After drinking it in the dark half, it is being milked by the rays with that lunar honey (nectar) given to him farebeating them to Pitris. The King propitiated his Pitris namely Saumyas, Barhisads, Kavyas and Agnisvattas by offering the nectar in accordance with injunctions.
14Rtu (Season) which is spoken of as Agni is considered as Samvatsara, since Rtus are born of it. Artavas (smaller division of time such as a fortnight) are born of Rtus (Seasons).
15Artavas are called half-months. Pitris are the sons of the year. Rtus are grandfathers. The months and the Rtus are the sons of the year.
16Devas are the great-grandfathers. The five years (forming a Yuga) are the sons of Brahma. Saumyas are born of the Moon. Kavyas are the sons of Kavi.
17Devas born of Soma, and the imbibers of the Soma juice, are known as Upahutas. The Kavyas are known as Ajyapas. (All) the classes of Pitris become satisfied thus.
18-19Pitris are classified into three (only): Kavyas, Barhisads and Agnisvattas. Rtus who are householders and performers of sacrifices are definitely Barhisads. Agnisvattas are also householders and performers of sacrifices. They are Artavas. Understand that Kavyas are Ashtakapatis (Lords of Astakas). Now understand the five years.
20Among them Agni is Samvatsara and the Sim is Panvatsara. The Moon is Idvatsara and Vayu is Anuvatsara.
21Rudra is the Vatsara among them. The five years of the nature of Yugas are known as Lekhas, Usmapas and Divakirtyas.
22These imbibe the nectar in heaven every month. As long as he lived, Pururavas gratified them with that.
23-25Since the nectar oozes out of the Moon every month, understand that it is the nectar for Pitris, the drinkers of Soma juice. The nectar is called Amrta, Saumya, Sudha and Madhu. The thirty-three Devas known as Chandajas drink the fifteen watery Kalas of the Moon gradually in the dark half. After drinking the nectar for a month till caturdasi (fourteenth day), they depart.
26Being thus drunk by Devas, the Moon remains with only the fifteenth part left on the Amavasya day.
27Pitris then drink the nectar for two Kalas on the new moon day, when the Moon develops by the Susumna ray of the Sun.
28When the Moon is completely exhausted after being drunk, the Sun develops it by his Susumna ray for Pitris, the drinkers of Soma.
29When the digits of the Moon are exhausted completely, the Sun develops it gradually by one fraction every day. When the digits dwindle it becomes dark and when they develop it becomes white.
30Thus the body of the Moon is developed by the power of the Sun. On the full moon day the Moon is complete in disc and white in colour. Thus is the decrease and increase of the Moon in the dark and bright halves.
31The Moon with Pitris is known as Idvatsara. He is surrounded by fifteen rays shedding the nectar Sudha.
32-33I shall now explain the Parvans and the junctions of Parvans. Just as the sugarcane-stem and the bamboo have knots in their joints, so also the bright and dark halves have Parvans. Their knots and joints differ in respect of the full moon day and the new moon day. Tritya (the 3rd Tithi) and other tithis (lunar days) are the Parvans of the fortnight.
34Since the rites such as of kindling fire are performed during the Parvans they are auspicious. If there is the overlapping of Pratipad in the evening, that time belongs to the full moon.
35When the Sun is stationed in Vyatipata at a deviation of half meridian (?) line at a distance of a Yuga the meridian of the Moon is risen duly by the distance of a Yuga.
36This is because (the Sun and the Moon) glance each other after the elapse of the full moon (period), and that time their minutes of declination are the same.
37Calculation proceeds on the basis of the time and direction of the Sun. That is the time prescribed for the rite to be performed instantly.
38When the Moon is full after a complete period of a paksa (half-month) but the Purnima is the joint of the night (i.e. when it rises one digit less than the full) it is looked after by Pitris along with Devas, and hence it is known as Anumati Purnima.
39The Moon shines very brilliantly on the full moon night. Sages call it Raka because the Moon delights then.
40The night on which the Moon and the Sun stay together in the same constellation is called Amavasya. It is the fifteenth night (after the full moon).
41The Moon is clear on the full moon day. The moon and the Sun are full in the afternoon and see each other in the Vyatipata. That is the full moon day.
42When (the period of Amavasya) is over, the Sun and the Moon coming together see each other, it is called Darsa.
43-44In the Amavasya, at the joints of the Par vans, there is the short time of two Lavas—the time taken to utter the two syllables kuhu. It is remembered to be the time (for the sacred rites). In the Amavasya when the Moon is completely invisible, it comes into contact with the Sun from the midday to the midnight. It suddenly gets released from the Sun in the morning. The Sun comes out in the midday, after remaining in conjunction for two Kalas.
45-46On the Pratipad day of the bright half, the Moon gets released from the Sun’s disc. The time of getting released from the disc is the appropriate time for Ahuti of Darta and Vasatkriya. The time of Amavasya shall be known as Rtumukha (first day of the season).
47During the day in the Amavasya Parvan (in the dark half) the Moon remains emaciated. Therefore, on the Amavasya day the Sun is swallowed by the evil planets in the firmament.
48The names of the Tithis have been assigned by the honoured and sensible scholars in accordance with the digits of the Moon.
49-50The Sun and the Moon see each other on that day. It comes out and separates itself from the disc of the Sun gradually. For the duration of two Lavas, the Moon touches the Sun in the course of the day and the night. That is the (auspicious) time for Darsa and Vasatkriya.
51The Amavasya (which gets mixed with the Pratipad, the first day, of the next fortnight for) the duration of as much time as is required for the cuckoo to utter Ku-hu is called Ku-hu.
52(Defective) When the Moonis emaciated (due to loss of digits) yet has the remnant of a (slight digit of the measure of) Sinivali and the Amavasya enters the Sun (gets mixed up with the last part of the caturdasi day), it is called Sinivali.
53The duration of Parvan in both is equal. Vasatkriya in the Vyatipata of the Sun and the Moon (is forbidden?). The two types of full moon (i.e. Anumati and Raka) have already been explained.
54The auspicious time on the Pratipad and Purnima is for the duration of two Matras. The auspicious time in Ku-hu and Sinivali is also the same (two matras).
55The auspicious time when the Moon is in the spheres of the Sun and fire has the duration of one Kala.
56Thus, it is the bright half (in which) during the ‘joints’ of Parvans of night the glorious Moon with its full disc gets eclipsed. As the Moon is replenished in the fifteenth (day) it is Purnima (the full moon day).
57In fifteen nights the Moon develops fully by putting on fifteen Kalas, adding one every day. There is no sixteenth Kala in the Moon. On the fifteenth day after the full moon, it becomes emaciated completely.
58Thus are these Pitris, Devas, the drinkers of Soma and the replenishers of Soma, Artavas and Rtus (seasons). Hence Devas worship them.
59Henceforth I shall describe the Pitris who partake of the monthly Sraddha. I shall mention their goal, their inherent strength and the procedure of the Sraddha.
60The departure of the deceased and their return cannot be comprehended even by well-accomplished penance. Then how can it be perceived through the physical eye?
61These Pitris who are Sraddhadevas, are known as Laukika (Worldly) Pitris, Devas, Saumyas and Yajvans are all Ayonijas (not born of a womb).
62All these Pitris are Devas, for the latter make them flourish. There are human Pitris while others are proclaimed as Laukika (worldly) Pitris.
63(The human Pitris are) father, grand-father, great-grandfather. Those who perform Yajnas with Soma are known as Soma-sacrificers.
64Those who are mentioned as Yajvans are Barkis ads. Engaged in holy rites, they remain happy and content till they take another body.
65-67Those who perform sacrifices and preside over them are known as Agnisvattas. Those who adhere to their duties in virtue of their stages in life, those who closely follow the traditions, those who do not blunder in the performance of their rites with faith, those who are engaged in the holy rites till death, after being endowed with celibacy, penance, Yajna, progeny, faith, learning and charitable gifts (are also called Agnisvattas.)
68After reaching heaven they rejoice along with Devas, Pitris and the subtle-bodied Soma-drinkers and they worship Pitrimans (?)
69Only those who performed holy rites and were blessed with progeny are praised. Oblations and food-offerings are given to them by their kinsmen and persons born of their families.
70Partaking of the monthly Sraddha, the Somalaukikas become satisfied. They are human Pitris and partake of monthly Sraddhas.
71-73Others get entangled in their actions and rebirths in wombs. Fallen from their Asrama duties and devoid of Svadha and Svaha, these wicked persons with their bodies pierced become ghosts in the abode of Yama. They bewail their former acts in their abodes of torture. They live long, (are) dry, pale, naked, hungry and thirsty, wandering here and there.
74Desirous of water, they roam hither and thither near rivers, lakes, tanks and wells. They covet foodstuffs left by others. They tremble and move about here and there.
75-76They move from one place of torture to another. They are thrown in different hells like Salmali, Vaitarani, Kumbhipaka, Karambhavaluka, Asipatravana and Silasampe- sana by (as a result of) their own activities.
77-78It is here that they have their miserable hellish abodes devoid of joys of heaven. Offering three Pindas to those who passed to the other world by uttering their names and Gotras, they offer Pindas anticlockwise on the ground strewn over with Kusa grass. Thus they propitiate the Pitris abiding in their places after death (or in their abodes as Pretas or Ghosts).
79-80Those who do not go to the abode of torture are born in any of the five types of living beings according to their (previous) activities. Whatever may be the birth taken by them, whether of animals or of immobile beings, they get their natural food in their respective births as a result of the offerings of food by the kinsmen in the course of Sraddha.
81The offering of food in Sraddha shall be made at the auspicious time to deserving persons. Then alone it reaches the place where the departed kinsman stays.
82Just as the calf is able to seek and find out its mother cow even if it is lost among other cows, so also the mantra chanted in the course of Sraddha carries the gifts to the Pitris.
83So also the Sraddha offered through the Mantras reaches the manes. So Sanatkumara, who had discovered the movements of the departed souls by his divine vision, could explain how food in Sraddha could reach the manes.
84These Pitris are known as Bahvikas, Usmapas and Divakirtyas. The dark half is their daytime and the bright half is their night for sleep.
85Thus these Pitris are Devas and Devas are Pitris. Rtus and Artavas are declared as Pitris mutually.
86Thus these godly Pitris and the human ones are delighted by Sraddha rites offered to them.
87Thus Pitris have been explained. The greatness of Pitris, the imbibers of Soma, is decisively mentioned in the Puranas.
88-89Thus all these have been briefly explained: the contact of Pururavas with the Sun, Pitris and the Moon, his acquisition of the nectar and the performance of the Tarpana to Pitris, the duration of the full moon and the new moon and the abode of Pitris. This is the eternal Sarga (Creation).
90The Universal form of all has been mentioned but partially. It is impossible to enumerate (describe) it in full. It should be trusted faithfully by one who wishes prosperity.
91The creation of Svayambhuva Manu has indeed been described by me in detail and in accordance with the sequence. What more should I describe to you?

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