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Vayu Purana – Uttara Kandha 10-18

– 11 –

The Birth of Skanda: Rules Prescribed for Sraddha

1Suta said: In heaven, there are seven excellent groups of highly intelligent Pitris. Four of them have forms and three are formless (Amtirtd). Understand as I shall recount their creative activity in the world.
2-4(I shall describe) those who are proclaimed (in Smritis) as their daughters and daughters’ sons. There are three excellent groups of those who assume Dharmic bodies and forms. I shall briefly recount their names and creative activity. The disembodied groups of Pitris, the sons of Prajapati, abide in the shining worlds named Virajas. O Brahmanas, they belong to Virajas. Hence they are famous as excellent Vairajas. I have thus mentioned the first group of Vairajas.
5Their fair-complexioned mental daughter Mena is the wife of the great mountain Himavan. From her the son Mainaka was born.
6The mountain Mainaka, the holder of all medicinal herbs, the mine of all gems, the holy leader of mountains, was born of her. Kraunca was his son.
7The king of mountains procreated three daughters of Mena, viz. Aparna, Ekaparna and the third Ekapatala.
8Two of them had support (They had their permanent abodes). But Aparna performed penance without an abode. Ekaparna had a Nyagrodha tree as her abode and Ekapatala had Patala (trumpet flower) tree as her abode. For a hundred thousand years, they performed such a penance as was difficult to be performed even by Devas and Danavas.
9A single leaf was the diet of Ekaparna and a single Patala flower (trumpet flower) was the diet of Ekapatala.
10Both of them took their food once, (when) a thousand years had been completed. One of the daughters (viz. Aparna) remained without taking food. Their mother spoke to her thus.
11-12Out of affection, the distressed mother forbade her with the words “U” “MA” (O daughter! do not). Since she was addressed thus by her mother, the blessed gentle lady performing the difficult task (penance) became famous as “Uma”. The auspicious lady got the name derived from her action.
13The world of (supported by?) these three ladies will survive for ever. It will be proud of (driptam) their penance, while the earth lasts.
14All the three, endowed with Yogic power, sustained their bodies by means of their penance. All those blessed gentle ladies possessed permanent youth.
15All of them were expounders of Brahman. All of them were celibate. Uma was the greatest (eldest), the most excellent (girl) of the fairest complexion.
16Endowed with great Yogic power, she attained Maha- deva (as her husband). Her adopted1 son was Usanas, the son of Bhrigu.
17Ekaparna was the wife of Asita. She was chaste and firm in her holy vows. She was given to that intelligent Master of Yoga by Himavan. She gave birth to the mental son Devala who was engrossed in meditation on Brahman.
18Ekapatala, the third of these daughters, wooed Jaigisavya, the son of Satasilaka, as her husband.
19His sons Sankha and Likhita, are remembered as not born of the womb. Thus (these) are the blessed and auspicious daughters of Himavan.
20Rudrani was the best among them. She excelled others by her good attributes. Between Uma and Sankara the mutual love (was ideal).
21On realising that they were in close embrace, the slayer of Vritra (i.e. Indra) became apprehensive. (Fire-god) was sent near them by Indra who was afraid of the birth of a child from them engaged in sexual intercourse.
22(He said to Agni) “O Fire-god, create an impediment in their sexual intercourse. You are present everywhere. So there cannot be any blame (on you in your going there)”.
23When he was told thus, Fire-god acted accordingly. Forsaking (i.e. aside from) the body of Uma, the semen virile was discharged on the ground (by Siva).
24O Samsapayana, then Fire-god was cursed by the infuriated goddess. With words choked with anger, she spoke to Fire-god thus:
25“O Fire, since you have caused an impediment in sexual intercourse even before I had been satisfied, therefore you have committed an action which you should not have committed, you evil-minded one!
26Since the lustrous semen virile of Rudra has not been retained (in my womb), you should hold the foetus yourself by way of punishment (for this act)”.
27Fire-god, who, due to the wrathful curse of Rudrani, had to carry the foetus within himself, retained it for a number of years, O Brahmanas.
28Approaching (the river) he said—“O excellent river, may this be heard. Excessive distress is caused to me by the retention of the foetus.
29O river, for my relief and welfare, please carry this foetus. Due to my gracious favour, your trouble will be less”.
30Saying “So be it”, the highly delighted great river held the foetus (although) with a mind burning (as there was burning sensation within her).
31Distressed by the great pain though she was, she retained the foetus for a long time.
32The foetus was dropped into an auspicious crevasse of Himavan by her. There is an auspicious forest named Saravana where diverse trees were in bloom. It was there that she deposited the foetus that was blazing like fire.
33It was there that the son of Rudra, Agni and Ganga was born. He had rosy lustre. He was valorous and brilliant like hundreds of suns.
34When that blessed son (Kumara) of Jabnavi (Ganga) was born, the sky was covered (crowded) with aerial cars, as if by birds.
35Celestial drums produced sweet sound in the sky. Siddhas and Caranas moving about in the sky discharged showers of flowers.
36The chief Gandharvas, Yaksas, Vidyadharas and all the Siddhas and Kinnaras sang (laudatory son everywhere.
37Thousands of great serpents and excellent birds approached with reverence the son of Sankara born through Agni. Daityas, Danavas and Raksasas were struck (down) by him by means of his prowess.
38Even at the very outset, the son of Agni was observed by the wives of the Seven Sages (excepting Arundhati) who had come there for their ablutions.
39The lordly son of Rudra, resembling the rising sun, was surrounded by those ladies who were very affectionate (towards him), as though they were his real mothers.
40Desirous of seeing all those ladies simultaneously, out of affection for them, the extremely lustrous son of Jahnavi created six faces and he was very glorious.
41He was glorious and he resembled the midday sun. He had eyes like the petals of lotus. When he was born, the lustre of all the worlds was bedimmed.
42The groups of Danavas who could not brook Devas, had a purge (Skandita) when that great (deity) was born and (hence) that valorous (deity) became known as ‘Skanda.’
43Because the ancient (deity), the slayer of Asuras, had been nourished (breast-fed and) nurtured by the Krittikas, he famous as Karttikeya.
44While that enemy of Daityas was yawning, his (weapon) Sakti (spear) called Aparajita (unvanquished) came out of his mouth, blazing with flames of fire.
45-46For the purpose of Skanda’s play, two birds named Prabhadrakas, a peacock and a cock, were created out of Garuda by Vishnu, the powerful god. A banner was given by Vayu (Wind-god). A great Vina (lute) of loud sound was presented by Sarasvati. A goat was given by the self-born (deity) (i.e. Brahma) and a ram was given by Sambhu.
47-48O Brahmanas, when the (mountain) Kraunca was felled down in his sport out of Maya (his illusive power), when the rising leader of Asuras, Taraka was also struck down, the lordly son of Agni, the valorous enemy of Daityas was crowned as commander-in-chief (of their army) by the blessed Devas including Indra and Upendra.
49-50The commander-in-chief of the army of Devas is also called Naranayaka (the leader of men), the harasser of the enemies of Devas, Skanda the lord and and master of all the worlds, by Pramathas, the different kinds of Devas and the groups of Bhutas, by the various mothers and the groups of Vinayakas. [Some lines are missing from the text.]
51(While) Slipping from heaven and falling down, she saw the aerial chariots as small as a mote and in them
she saw the fallen Pitris.
52They were very subtle and unforsaken (?) (a-parityaktan). They were like sparks of fire imposed on sparks of fire. Falling down topsy-turvy, she appealed to them, “Save, ye”.
53She was consoled by them—“Do not be afraid”. When thus urged, she became steady. Then she propitiated those Pitris with pitiable words.
54Those Pitris spoke to the girl who fell down from her glory due to her transgression: “O lady of sparkling smiles, you are fallen from your prosperity due to your own fault. (Hence) you fall.
55Those Pitris had never before been seen by her. She was born as their mental daughter. Hence she did not know her Pitris.
56In the case of Devas, the actions fructify immediately. In the case of human beings, they fructify after death. Hence you will attain the status of the child of Amavasu after death and will attain the fruit”.
57On being told thus (by her Pitris), she again propitiated Pitris. After meditating (for a while), they took pity on her and became pacified and pleased.
58-59On foreseeing what is surely destined to happen, Devas, the Soma-imbibing Pitris spoke to the girl, “You will become the daughter of the noble-souled king Amavasu who is born on the earth as a human being and thereafter attain these worlds of your own.
60In the twenty-eighth Dvapara Yuga you will be born of the womb of a fish; you will be the daughter of this very same king Amavasu and (the celestial damsel) Adrika.
61You will give birth to the successor of the sage Parasara. That Brahmanical sage will divide the single Veda into four parts.
62-63You alone will give birth to two sons who will heighten the glory of Mahabhisa (?) Santanu—the sons Vicitravirya, the knower of Dharma, and Citrangada, the king endowed with the attributes of brilliance and strength. After giving birth to these sons, you will regain your own worlds.
64Due to your transgression towards the Pitris, you will attain that despicable birth. You will become the daughter of the very same king and Adrika.
65After becoming (his) daughter, you will regain these worlds.” Thus addressed, she was born as Satyavati, the daughter of a fisherman.
66In the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna, she was born of the fish Adrika, She was born as the daughter of Amavasu in Adrika the fish.
67Indeed, she was the daughter of that king (being born of) the semen virile of the king. The worlds named “Virajas” are in the firmament. There those groups (of Pitris) shine.
68There the Pitris are the Agnisvattas of shining lustre. With a desire for (attaining) excellent fruits, groups of Danavas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Bhutas, serpents and Pisacas worship them.
69Thus, these sons ofPulaha, the Prajapati, have been recounted. These groups are said to be three. They are auspicious and assumers of Dharma-form.
70Their mental daughter is (will be) famous by the name of Pivari. She was (will be) reputed to be a Yogini, a Yogic wife and a Yogic mother.
71In the (future) twenty-eighth Dvaparayuga (a sage) of great penance named Suka will be born in the family of Parasara.
72O excellent Brahmanas, he will be a glorious and great Yogin. Yoga (will spread) from him. He will be born of Vyasa, from the AranI (a piece of wood used for the production of fire by attrition) like the smokeless fire.
73In the (mental) daughter of the Pitris, he will beget these well-known Yogic preceptors, viz. Krisna, Gaura, Prabhu, Sambhu and Bhurisruta.
74He will beget a daughter Kirtimati who will be a Yogini and a Yogic mother. She will become the queen of Anuha and the mother of Brahmadatta.
75-76After begetting these children and attaining great Yogic power, he will become a great Yogin and ascetic. He will attain that goal from which there is no return. Like the rays of the sun, he will attain the status of no rebirth. The great sage will become omnipresent and liberated.
77These three are the disembodied Pitris who assume Dharmic forms. There are four others. (Listen and) understand.
78O excellent Brahmanas! The Pitris whom I shall describe assume forms of great lustre. They are Kavyas*, sons of Agni, Kavi (the wise one?) born of Svadha.
79These are the Pitris shining in the worlds of Devas with their lustre amidst the luminaries. They are richly endowed with all desirable objects and the Brahmanas revere them.
80Their mental daughter was famous in heaven by the name of Gau. Kumara bestowed an army on her1. She became the beloved queen of Sukra.
81There were thirty-one Pitris who heightened the glory of Bhrigus. Their worlds were known as Maricigarbhas (having rays within) which envelop the heavens.
82Those sons of Arigiras, nourished along with Sadhyas, are remembered as the Pitys Upahutas. They shine in heaven. Looking up to them, the Pitf Groups of Ksatriyas, those who are desirous of benefits, revere them.
83Their mental daughter is well known by the name of Yasoda. She was the wife of Visvamahan and the daughter-in-law of Visvasarmin.
84The gentle lady was the mother of the saintly king Khatvariga of noble soul, in whose Yajna Gatha (a laudatory verse) was sung formerly by great sages.
85After seeing the birth of fire (in the Yajna) of the noble-souled Sandilya, the deathless Devas conquering heaven with purity of mind observe the Yajamana (under whose auspices the Yajna is performed) Dilipa, the noble soul of truthful rites.
86Ajyapaswere the Pitris of Kardama, the Prajapati, who was born of Pulaha. They were born of him again.
87Moving about in the sky, they are stationed in these worlds that go about as they please. Groups of Vaisyas who are desirous of benefits, revere these in Sraddha.
88Their mental daughter is famous by the name of Viraja. The chaste lady was the wife of Nahusa and the mother of Yayati.
89Sukalas are the Pitris of Vasistha, the Prajapati. They are the sons of Hiranyagarbha.
90There are the worlds named Manasas where these are stationed. Their mental daughter is Narmada, the most excellent of rivers.
91Flowing in the southern region, she sanctifies living beings. She was the wife of Purukutsa and the mother of Trasadasyu.
92Manu became the lord of Manvantara by adopting these (Pitris). In the beginning of Manvantara, he initiates all types of Sraddhas.
93O excellent Brahmanas, (I have recounted) all the Pitris in their proper order. Hence Sraddha is to be offered with faith in accordance with one’s Dharma.
94A Sraddha offered in silver vessels or those of silver shall attain the alloy, after proferring Svadha, propitiates Pitris.
95By the propitiation of Soma, Agni and Vaivasvata (Manu) and by the performance of Homa in the sacrificial fire during the northern transit (of the sun), one fruit of an Asvamedha (a Horse Sacrifice).
96Pitris delight him who propitiates Pitris with devotion. There is no doubt in this that Pitris bestow nourishment or progeny.
97The rites of Pitris are always far superior to the rites of deities. It is ordained that the propitiation of Pitris must be given priority over that of deities.
98The subtle movement (or goal) of Yoga or the satiation of Pitris is not visible through the physical eye. Only by achieving special Siddhi by means of penance are they to be seen.
99Thus Pitris, their worlds, their daughters, their grandsons, their Yajamanas and those who revere them have been recounted.
100(Out of the seven classes of Pitris) four have forms and three are formless. Devas honour them and offer Sraddhas to them devoutly and assiduously.
101-104All the Devas including Indra concentrate their minds on them. They join their palms in reverence and devotedly worship them. Visvedevas, Sikatas, Prsnijas, Srngins, Krishnas, Svetas and Ajas worship them duly. Desirous of benefits, the subjects Vatarasanas, Divakirtyas, Lekhas, Maruts, Brahma and other heaven-dwellers, Atri, Bhrigu, Angiras and all other sages, Yaksas, Nagas, Suparnas, Kinnaras and Raksasas always worshipped Pitris.
105These noble-souled (Pitris), if duly honoured and worshipped in Sraddha, grant all desires hundred-fold and thousand-fold.
106These grandfathers (Pitris) bestow Yogic Power (and prosperity) and liberation (from Sarhsara) after one has abandoned the three worlds of normal existence involving old age and death.
107Pitamahas, the deities of subtle bodies, grant the means of salvation, Aisvarya (prosperity), complete detachment and infiniteness.
108Practised Yoga Aisvarya; and Aisvarya is the excellent wealth. Without Yoga and liberation (from Samsara)
is impossible (to be achieved).
109It (Moksa) is as impossible as the movement of a wingless bird in the sky. Moksha-Dharma is the greatest of all Dharmas and eternal.
110Pitamahas (manes) grant thousands of aerial chariots attended by groups of Apsaras-s and richly equipped with all desirable things.
111Intellect, nourishment, power of memory, brain, kingdom and health can be attained only through the
Grace of the noble-souled Pitris.
112Pitamahas grant crores of gems, pearls, lapis lazuli, garments and thousands of horses and elephants.
113Pitamahas always bestow on men chariots fitted with swans and peacocks, studded with pearls and lapis lazuli and decorated with tinkling bells and provided with perpetual flowers and fruits.

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