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Vayu Purana – Uttara Kandha 10-18

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The Procedure of Sraddha Performance (Continued)

1Brihaspati said: It is cited (in scriptures that) a leaf of the Palasa tree (Butea Frondosa) is conducive to Brahmanic splendour. That kingdom is conceived (as the fruit, if leaves of) the Asvattha tree (are used): The lordship of all living beings is mentioned (in using the leaves of) Plaksa (citron-leaved Indian fig tree) [i.e. the materials of oblations must be placed in cups made of these leaves or the wood as in the case of some of the following].
2Those who are desirous of prosperity, wisdom, intellect and power of memory (shall use the leaves of) the banyan tree. The vessel of the leaves of Kasmar! (a large tree called Gambhari also) is conducive to fame and destructive of Raksasas.
3That which is offered in Madhuka (the tree Bassia Latifolia) is considered excellent and conducive to good fortune. One who performs Sraddha in the vessel of Phalgu (a kind of fig tree) attains all desires.
4The performer attains supreme lustre, particularly all-round brilliance (if the sun-plant is used—Bd. P.). By using a Bilva vessel, riches, intellect and longevity are always attained.
5If Sraddha is performed in Bamboo vessels, Paijanya (cloud or the lord of rain) always showers in his fields, parks, lakes and all crops.
6It is said (in Sastras that) those who make Sraddha offerings even for once in these excellent vessels, attain the fruit of all Yajnas.
7He who always offers fragrant garlands to Pitris becomes endowed with riches and glory, and shines brilliantly like the sun.
8He who offers incense, fragrant gum-resin and other things to Pitris, along with honey and ghee obtains the fruit of a horse-sacrifice.
9One who offers shining fragrant Dhupa (incense) to Pitris begets children of his wife (beneficial to him) here and hereafter. Hence he shall always offer it to Pitris.
10-11He who always offers lamp to Pitris assiduously, obtains unequalled auspicious power of vision in the world. He becomes brilliant on the earth. He shines in Heaven with splendour, fame, refulgence and strength. He rejoices in the aerial chariot surrounded by Apsaras.
12He should offer scents, flowers, incense and ghee. After propitiating at the outset, Pitris with fruits, roots and obeisance, with purity of mind and body, the devotee should later worship Brahmanas with food and wealth.
13Always at the time of Sraddha, Pitamahas (manes) assume aerial forms and on seeing Brahmanas, they enter them. Hence I am saying this.
14-15Excellent Brahmanas should be honoured with garments, foodstuffs, charitable gifts, food and beverages, (gifts of) cows, horses and villages. If Brahmanas are honoured, Pitris become delighted. Hence, one should honour excellent Brahmanas duly.
16In the holy rite of Sraddha, Brahmanas should perform diligently the ritualistic scraping, digging and sprinkling of water (with Darbha) (Ullekhana and Proksana) by means of the left and the right hands.
17A learned man should keep ready for libation, Darbhas, balls of rice, foodstuffs, different kinds of flowers, scents, charitable gifts and ornaments.
18After propitiating the persons present duly, the Brahmanas shall perform the Vaisvadeva rite and then perform the rites with Abhyahga (oil bath) with Darbha (leaves of the Kusa grass) in accordance with the injunctions.
19The excellent food-offering to Pitris should be made with reverse wearing of the sacred thread. After pronouncing (the names of Pitris) the thread must be offered to all of them in lieu of garments.
20The rites of Khandana, Posana and Ullekhana are to be performed only once in the case of Devas, and thrice in the case of Pitris.
21Wearing a single Pavitra (a ringlike loop of Kusa grass worn round a finger) in the hand and reciting the Cailamantra, the balls of rice are touched once for each of the Pitris. Then the benefit of showing (is attained) (?).
22Always the balls of rice must be offered on the ground along with ghee and gingelly seeds. The devotee performing Pitr-Sraddha, kneels on the ground with the left knee touching it.
23He invokes the fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and all ancestry of yore and properly sprinkles all-round the balls of rice, by means of the holy water (Pitri-tirtha) carefully from the right to the left (in anticlockwise manner).
24Some men desire a separate Sraddha for maternal grandfathers by means of food, water, flowers and foodstuffs of various kinds.
25He should offer three Pint}as in the proper order (pressing them) with the thumb. They are conducive to the enhancement of nourishment. He should offer the Pintas (by means of both hands placed) between the knees.
26(In offering the Pindas) the left hand should be placed over the right, repeating the Mantra ‘Namo vah pi tar ah suksmaih’ (?) always carefully in this manner.
27(Defective Verse) Carefully repeating the Mantra “Namo vah pitarah saumyah” (Obeisance to ye, O gentle Pitris) he should offer the first Pincja with both the hands and place it in the southern quarter.
28(Defective Verse) With both the hands, he draws the outline (?) of a mortar using the water from the water pot. He must be careful in the practice of piety.
29He should offer a fresh thread of silk or jute or a cotton thread. Woven silk such as coloured cloth and Kauseya should be avoided when offering thread to Pitris.
30In the sacrifice, the thread taken even from a freshly woven cloth shall be avoided. These do not please Pitris. Those who give cannot flourish (?).
31The collyrium obtained from the Trikuta mountain, they say, is always excellent. So also is the oil extracted from black gingelly seeds.
32Sandal, Agaru (fragrant aloe wood), Tamala, Usira (fragrant root of the plant Andropogort Muricatus), lotus, fragrant incense, gum resin and (white) Turuska—all these are excellent articles (for use in Sraddha).
33White flowers are the most excellent. So also the red and blue lotuses. All other flowers can be used if they are fragrant.
34The flowers China Rose, Bhantjira, Upakama and Kur- antjaka should always be avoided in the Sraddha rite.
35Odourless flowers and flowers of obnoxious odour should be avoided at that time by one who seeks prosperity.
36The Brahmanas invited on that occasion should invariably face the north while sitting. The performer of the Sraddha should duly face the south.
37He should face them and offer the Darbhas and the Pindas. He should worship his own grandfathers by means of this rite.
38-39The following objects are said to be essential (in a Sraddha): Green Pinj alls (leaves of Kusa grass) as smooth and soft as flowers, about a Ratni in size, softened and straightened by the holy water (Pitrtirtha), blue near the root and not defiled by pebbles etc. (should be used). So also Syamaka and Nivara kinds of rice.
40This (story) has been narrated by the excellent Praja- pati.1 His hairs fell down through the path of the sky on the earth.
41Hence the Kasa grasses are holy. They are always honoured in the Sraddha rite. The Pindas are to be offered on them by one who wishes prosperity.
42Those who do so become free from sins and defects. Their children become nourished with splendour, fame and refulgence.
43The devotee should sit facing the south and spread the Darbha grass once for the Pindas. The tips of the Darbhas should be pointing to the south-east. The procedure shall be mentioned as follows:
44A learned man should always perform Sraddha with concentration of mind. He shall neither be dejected nor angry. His mind should not be distracted or diverted elsewhere.
45(The following Mantra is to be repeated.) “I annihilate everything that has impurity in it. All Asuras and Danavas have been killed by me. All Raksasas, Yaksas, groups of Pisacas and all Yatudhanas (demons) have been killed by me.”
46All Asuras avoid him who offers food to Pitris by repeating this Mantra. Raksasas avoid the place where this Mantra is recited.
47A Brahmana should always perform Sraddha according to this procedure. The manes (Pitamahas) will grant whatever is desired in the mind (by him).
48If Sraddha is always performed assiduously, Pitris become delighted in mind and Raksasas become dejected.
49Sudras should always avoid the following in Sraddha: Ksiracafu1 (trees yielding white juice?), trees called Balvaja (Eluesine Indica, a species of coarse grass not liked by cattle) and other kinds of grasses such as Varana, Lava, Lavavarsa.
50They shall avoid applying collyrium, oil and unguents as well as wearing garlands. Their rites should be performed with Kasas which grow again (when cut). All the benefits accrue (to them thereby).
51Kasa (grass) and the regrown Kasa (grass) are (like) peacock’s tail and its regrowth. (So) Pitris are Devas and Devas are Pitris.
52-53This is the Mantra intended for flowers, incense, scents etc. Pulling (the vessel of materials of worship) towards the south assiduously for the sake of Homa, he (performer of Sraddha) should repeat the mantra “Svadha unto Soma, the Pitrman (having Pitris). Obeisance to Angiras”. He should perform the Homa of non-heavenly or the worldly type for the purpose of the fructification of the holy rite.
54-55Homa is to be performed after placing Samit (sacrificial twig) within. The devotee should keep the mind perfectly pure and keep the holy fire scrupulously pure, repeating the Mantra, ‘‘Svadha unto Agni, the bearer of Kavya. Obeisance to Angiras. Svadha and obeisance unto Yama and Angiras”.
56-58These are the Mantras in order intended for Homas. Homas shall be performed every day from the southern direction to Agni and to Soma in the middle. In between these two Homas, a Homa should be performed to Vivasvan (the Sun or his son Yama?). Upacaras (ways of render ing homage), repetition ofSvadha mantra, Ullekhana (ritualistic scrubbing), Homas, Japas, obeisance, particularly Prok$ana (sprinkling), applying collyrium, oil bath and offering pindas—(all these must be performed).
59If they are perf ormed with Mantras, they have the same benefit as a horse-sacrifice. All holy rites mentioned above shall be assiduously performed.
60In the blazing fire plenty of ghee must be offered. Particularly Homa must be performed in a smokeless fire with curly leaping flames, for the fructification of the holy rite.
61We have heard that if a Yajamana performs Homa in a weakly burning smoking fire, he becomes blind and issueless.
62If there is deficiency of fuel, if the flames are scattered all round and dried up or if the flames are defiled by smoke, the fire is not conducive to good results.
63If the fire emits bad odour, if the flames are bluish or particularly black, or if the fire makes the ground crack, know that there is failure (in the holy rite).
64The resplendent fire with a single globular flame, yellowish (golden) in colour, produced by the ghee, is conducive to the fructification of the rite. The flame shall be smooth and curling clockwise.
65(That fire) is perpetually honoured and worshipped by both men and women. Thereby, the everlasting Pitris become honoured and worshipped. They give everlasting benefits.
66Mud-pots, vessels made of the leaves or wood of the Udumbara (ficus glomerata) tree, its fruits and Samits, all these are considered very holy in Sraddha. They are very pure.
67-69The different benefits of the various kinds of vessels that I have mentioned as regards the Sraddha rite, O excellent Brahmanas, are also true in regard to the holy rites of nativity. With regard to the Samits also, the same should be known. The devotee keeps the mind pure and says T am performing the rite in fire’. Then, after being permitted by excellent Brahmanas, saying “Do”, he should perform the Homa in the fire, accompanied by his wife and sons.
70The following trees are equally sacrifice-worthy: Palasa (Bd. P.), Plaksa, Nyagrodha, Asvattha, Vikaiikata, Udumbara, Bilva and Candana.
71The following trees are particularly recommended for the purpose of Samits (sacrificial twigs): Sarala, Devadaru, Sala and Khadira.
72Rural thorny trees are also sacrifice-worthy. Some of them are honoured for the purpose of Samits in accordance with the words of Pitris.
73Even as I recount, listen to the fruit of the holy rite to those who perform Homa with the Samits of the Kalkaleya (pomegranate) tree.
74-75The Aloe wood is to be desired by all. It has the same benefit as that of a horse-sacrifice. The following trees should be avoided—Slesmataka, Naktamala, Kapittha, Salmali, Nipa, Vibhitaka and the creepers also. Similarly the trees on which birds reside must be avoided. Those trees which are considered unworthy of sacrifice should also be avoided.
76In the course of the sacrificial rite, the word Svadhd is used at the end of the Mantra pertaining to Pitris and Svaha is used in the case of Devas.

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