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Vayu Purana – Uttara Kandha 10-18

Vayu Purana

Uttara Kandha 10-18

– 10 –

The Procedure of Sraddha

1After hearing this narrative of Suta, the knower of Atman, the Brahmanas, subsequently asked him as follows:
2Samsapayana said: How was Bhavani who was formerly Sati, born for the second time? She was Daksayani at first. How did she become Uma?
3The king of mountains begot her of Mena, the daughter of Pitris. Who were these Pitris whose mental daughter was Mena?
4-5(Who are the Pitris) whose grandson was Mainaka and whose granddaughters were Uma, Ekaparna, Ekapatala and Gahga, the most excellent one among rivers as well as the eldest of them all? Even before this, all this has been already desired to be pointed out (by you). Please listen to all my requests.
6Are there many Pitris? And then where do they stay? Welfare unto you. I wish to hear the great procedure of Sraddha.
7Whose sons are they (Pitris) remembered to be? How are they the Pitris? How were the Pitris born and whose sons were they? Of what nature are they?
8Are there other Pitris who are deities (i.e. worthy of worship) unto the Devas in heaven? Thus I wish to hear the excellent creation of Pitris and how the Sraddha performed by us (as per prescribed injunctions) propitiates Pitris.
9What is regarded (in the Smritis) as the reason of their being not visible? What types of Pitris stay in heaven and what types in hell?
10-11What Sraddhas are to be offered (to Pitris)? How do these Sraddhas reach Pitris—the Sraddhas that are offered uttering the names of father, father’s father and great-grandfather against the three rice-balls (Pindas)? How are they (Pitris), if stationed in hell, competent to grant benefits?
12Who are these called by the name Pitris? Whom shall we worship again? We have heard that even Devas in heaven worship Pitris.
13O extremely learned one, we wish to hear this in detail. It behoves you to explain the significance of this clearly.
14On hearing the words of the sages, Suta, the seer of reality, said in accordance with the questions and the desire in the minds of the sages.
15Suta said: I shall describe to you (in detail) what I have heard (regarding Sraddha), in accordance with my intellectual ability. In every Manvantara, Pitris are born as the sons of Devas.
16In the past and the future Manvantaras, they are respectively the eldest and the youngest. I shall precisely recount the Pitris who have gone in the past Manvantaras along with Devas and who exist at present.
17A Sraddha of the human beings is what is offered with faith. Brahma created Devas but they did not worship him. They forsook him and desirous of fruits for themselves created themselves (?)
18They were cursed by Brahma—“O deluded ones! You will all become devoid of sense.” They did not know anything. Then the whole world became deluded.
19All of them bowed to god Brahma and implored him. In order to bless the worlds, the lord spoke to them again.
20“Perform expiatory rites for the transgression which has been committed. Ask your sons and therefrom you will attain knowledge.”
21Desirous of knowing (the procedure of) expiatory rites, Devas controlled themselves duly and asked their own sons mutually.
22Those sons who were conversant with real Dharma and possessed self-control, explained to them the various modes of expiatory rites—verbal, mental and physical.
23The heaven-dwellers who regained their senses became delighted and spoke to their sons—“You are our fathers (Pitris), since we are enlightened by you. What boon should be granted— virtue, knowledge or love?”.
24Then Brahma spoke to them—“You are the speakers of truth. Hence what is spoken by you shall be so and not otherwise.
25This is what is uttered by you—your own sons have been mentioned by you as your Pitris (fathers). They will be your Pitris. Let this boon be given to them.”
26On account of the words of Brahma, Paramesthin, the sons (Pitris) attained the status of fathers (of Devas) and Devas, the real fathers, the status of sons.
27Hence it is declared (in Dharma-Sastra) that the sons (of Devas) are Pitris and the status of Pitr-hood is proclaimed about them. After declaring in this manner that the fathers are the sons and the sons as Pitris (fathers), god Brahma addressed to them again for the development of their own selves.
28“If anyone will perform any holy rite without worshipping Pitris in a Sraddha, Raksasas and Danavas will obtain the fruit (good results) thereof.
29The Pitris propitiated and developed by means of Sraddhas (develop) the imperishable Soma. Propitiated and developed by you all, they will always increase.
30Soma (the Moon-god) strengthened and developed by means of Sraddhas, will develop the people and the entire world, along with mountains and forests surrounded (= inhabited) by mobile and immobile beings.
31Those men, who, desirous of nourishment, perform Sraddhas are always granted development and progeny by Pitris.
32-33Those (Pitris) to whom they (the performers of Sraddha) offer three balls of rice (Pintas) mentioning their
names and Gotra up to great-grandfather, they (Pitris) present (everywhere), strengthen and develop their progeny by that offering of Sraddha. Such a behest has been declared formerly by the supreme god (Paramesthi) Brahma. It is by their grace that Dana (charitable gift), Ad hy ay ana (Vedic Study) and Tapas (Penance) fructify.
34There is no doubt in this that Pitris grant you perfect knowledge. In this manner Pitris are Devas and Devas are Pitris. Devas and Pitris are reciprocally Pitris.
35After hearing these words of Suta possessing knowledge, the sages asked him again subsequently:
36The Sages said: How many are the groups of these Pitris? At what time did those groups (come into existence) Pitris who were the excellent ancestors of Devas and who developed and strengthened Soma?
37Suta said: I shall recount to you the most excellent creation of Pitris. This is the same question which had been formerly put to his father Brihaspati by Samyu.
38As Brihaspati, the great expert in all fields of knowledge, was seated, his son Samyu endowed with humility, put this question.
39“Who are these Pitris? What are their names? How were they born? How did they attain Pitri-hood?
40What is the reason for which Pitris are worshipped at the outset in every Yajna? All the holy rites of noble souls begin with the performance of Sraddhas.
41To whom all these Sraddhas are to be offered? What is the great benefit when they are offered? In which of the holy centres and sacred rivers does the Sraddha performance yield ever-lasting benefit?
42What are those holy centres in Which excellent Brahmanas (ought to) perform Sraddha to obtain all (desired) benefits? What is the (proper) time for Sraddha? What is the procedure to be followed?
43O holy sire, I wish that what has been enquired by me be explained in detail in the proper sequence.”
44On being asked thus clearly and specifically, the highly intelligent Brihaspati, the most excellent of those who understand (the implications of) questions, answered all the questions in the proper order.
45Brihaspati said: O dear one! I shall explain the solemn excellent question which you ask me with due propriety and proper humility.
46-47At that time, there was neither the heaven nor the firmament, neither the earth nor the stars nor the quarters, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the day, nor the night. O dear, the whole Universe was in complete darkness. Brahma alone performed an austere penance difficult for others to perform.
48Samyu again spoke to his father who was the most excellent among the knowers of Brahman, who always performed holy ablutions in the form of rites and who was the most excellent of all knowers of perfect knowledge.
49“What sort of a penance did Prajapati, the lord of all living beings perform?” Thus addressed, Brihaspati of excessive refulgence, spoke to him.
50Of all types of penance, Yukti i.e. Yoga penance is the most excellent. Meditating on it, the lord then the worlds by means of that Yoga.
51The past and future (items of) knowledge, worlds and Vedas were created after practising Yoga by Brahma, by means of his Yogic vision.
52The worlds, the heaven are named ‘Santankas’ where the shining deities of the Devas well-known as ‘Vairajas’ stay.
53Even at the outset then, the lord Brahma, endowed with Yoga and penance, had created Devas after practising the eternal Yoga.
54They are well known as Adidevas (the primordial Devas). They have great splendour and energy. They are the bestowers of all desires. They are worthy of being worshipped by Devas, Danavas and human beings.
55There are seven groups of those Devas. They arc worshipped by all the three worlds. Three of them are Amur t is (devoid of forms) and four of them have splendid forms.
56The three sets which have conceptual forms (Bhava muftis’) are stationed above. The four Suksmamurtis (having subtle forms) are stationed beneath them.
57Thereafter, the (common) Devas are stationed and then the earth. This is the situation of the series of worlds. They (the groups of Devas) are stationed in this world. The clouds take their origin from them, rain-showers are due to them and, thanks to rain-showers, the worlds (and people) are created again.
58Since they develop and strengthen the moon and the food-grains and make them flourish by means of Yogic power, they called them the Pitris of the world. They (Pitris) are the most excellent ones in the world.
59They are as speedy as mind. Svadha constitutes their diet. They have every requisite they desire. They are devoid of greed, delusion and fear. They are certainly devoid of sorrow.
60After giving up Yoga, they have attained the worlds beautiful and pleasant to look at. They become divine, meritorious and sinless noble souls.
61At the end of a thousand Yugas, they become expounders of Brahman. Regaining the Yogic power once again., they attain salvation in a bodiless state.
62They forsake both the manifest and unmanifest (bodies) by means of their great Yogic power and perish a meteor or like the fading flash of lightning in the sky.
63By abandoning all the bodies (and other adjuncts) by means of their great Yogic power, they attain the state of namelessness like rivers merging into the ocean.
64Engaged every day in holy rites and the worship of preceptors, Pitris develop their Yogic power and satisfy all (make them flourish).
65Propitiated in Sraddha, Pitris nourish Soma (the Moon) making use of their Yogic power whereby the three worlds sustain their lives.
66Hence Sraddhas must always be offered to Yogins with (special efforts). Indeed, the mainstay of Pitfs is Yoga and from (thanks to) Yoga the Moon functions.
67One may feed thousands of Brahmanas or as many as do come, but listen that one knower of Yogas, if delighted, deserves all (propitiating a Yogin is as fruitful as feeding thousands of Brahmanas).
68What is taken in by a thousand invited (ordinary Brahmanas), or by a hundred Snatakas (Brahmanas initiated into householder’s life) or by one master of Yoga saves one from great fear.
69One Yogin excels a thousand householders, a hundred Vanaprasthas (Forest-hermits) and a thousand Brahmacarins (celibate students).
70Prajapati has ordained: “(One may be) an atheist, an evil-doer, a person of mixed caste or a thief, (but) he cannot have redemption (Tizrapam) from anything else, except (by offering) a charitable gift unto those who have Yogic power.
71His ancestors are delighted like the husbandmen by a good timely rain, even if his son or grandson feeds a (Yogic) meditator.
72If meditating mendicants are not available, one should feed two Brahmacarins. When they too are not available, one should feed a householder not much engrossed in worldly affairs.”
73It is the injunction of Brahma that a meditating Yogin is greater than one who (performs penance) for a hundred years standing on one leg and taking in nothing but air.
74-76The Siddhas roam over the Earth in the guise of Brahmanas. Hence one should approach the in-coming guest with palms joined in reverence. He should honour him with the vessel containing materials of worship. He shall offer him place of residence and food. The Master of Yoga assume diverse forms and always roam over the ocean-girt earth. They are (no less than) Devas. They protect the people righteously. Hence every man should offer charitable gifts to a Brahmana guest. I shall recount those charitable gifts and the fruits thereof.
77-79Housing the Yogins is far better than thousands of horse-sacrifices, hundreds of Raj asuya sacrifices and thousands of Pundarika sacrifices. The first of those seven groups of Pitris of unmeasured brilliance, has been recounted. This group exists always with the conception of Time1 (?) Henceforth I shall narrate again all the groups of Pitris, their progeny, their situation and their Bhavana (conception) in the proper order.

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