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The Procedure Regarding Performance of Sraddha: The Five Mahayajnas
1Suta said: Brihaspati declared (in reply) that as per (injunctions of) the Atharva Veda, Devas are Pitris but there are also other Pitris.
2One should especially worship Pitris before Devas. (People) in the world do worship Pitris before Devas.
3Daksa had a daughter famous in the world by the name of Visva. O knower of Dharma, she was given duly and righteously to Dharma. It is well-known that her sons are the noble-souled Visvedevas.
4-5They were very famous throughout the three worlds. They were revered by all the people in the world. On the beautiful peak of Himavan resorted to by Devas and Gandharvas, all those noble souls performed a very severe penance, performed by all the Apsaras and resorted to by all the Devas and Gandharvas.
6The delighted Pitris spoke to them with a pure (frank) mind—“We are delighted. Request for a boon. What desire (of yours) shall we fulfil?”
7When this was mentioned by Pitris, Brahma, the creator of the three worlds, the lord of the subjects, spoke to the Visvas (Visvedevas).
8Brahma said: “(Even) Mahadeva of great brilliance, has been scorched by them by means of the great penance. I am well- delighted by that penance. What desire of yours shall I fulfil?”
9Thus urged by Brahma, the creator of the world, all of them simultaneously spoke to Brahma, the creator of the worlds.
10“May we have a share in Sraddha. This is the boon desired by us”. Then Brahma spoke to them who were worshipped in the heaven.
11-13“What you desire will take place”. Pitris said “So be it”, and continued, “There is no doubt about it. Whatever is performed here shall be for you too along with us. In the Sraddha intended by men for us, you will get the priority in being seated. We are telling you the truth. They will worship you at the outset by means of garlands, scents and food offerings.
14Everything will be offered to you first and then to us. Our ritualistic farewell will occur first and the Devatas (i e. you) will be ritualistically dismissed later.
15The protection of Sraddha and (according) of hospitality—these are the two ceremonial acts to be performed in the rite of Sraddha offered to Pitris and Devatas and Bhutas. If it is done duly according to injunctions, everything shall be all right.”
16After granting them the boon thus, lord Brahma, the benefactor of all living beings, went away happily along with the groups of Pitris.
17Five great Yajnas have been prescribed in the Vedas. A Man shall always perform these five Mahayajnas.
18(Listen to) and understand where the performers (of those five Yajnas) go and where their abode is. They attain the abode of Brahman that is fearless, devoid of egotism, free from sorrow, strainless and free from pain. It yields all desires.
19These five Yajnas are to be performed by a Sudra also, but without reciting the Mantras. He who eats (enjoys) otherwise (without performing them), eats debts every day.
20He who cooks for himself is a sinful soul and he eats debts. Hence a sensible man shall perform the five great Yajnas.
21Some wish that Naivedya (food-offering) should be assiduously offered even when Pitris are alive. Oblation should be offered along with libation of water. The water-pot also shall be offered.
22The oblation should be made well announced. It shall be scattered by throwing it far above. Small oblations shall at first be offered on the horns of cows (?)
23The Pinda cannot be offered as Naivedya to Pitris. They should be duly fed by offering palatable foods and edibles. I am emphatically mentioning this as the procedure laid down in the Vedas.
24-26These groups of Pitris are noble souls and lords of Devas. Some preceptors wish that Brahmanas should be worshipped first everyday, and then the Pinda should be offered. (But) Brihashpati says to those who are experts in matters of Dharma (practice of rituals), that he (the performer of Sraddha) should offer the Pinda first and then feed Brahmanas later. (For) Pitris are born of Yoga (Yogic Power) and are (themselves) Yogic souls and great ones. Pitris strengthen and develop Soma (the Moon).
27Hence he (the performer of Sraddha), remaining pure and devotedly attached to Yogins, should offer the Pindas to Yogins. This shall be the Havi offering directly to Pitris.
28If a single Yogin be in the seat of priority among thousands of Brahmanas, he will enable the Yajamana and the Brahmanas partaking of the food, cross (the ocean of worldly existence) like a boat in water.
29Where the wicked are accepted and honoured and where the good are disrespected, a terrible punishment meted out by the Devas befalls them immediately.
30If a pious (Brahmana) who has come as a guest is left out and a foolish one is fed, the householder forgoes his prior holy rites and perishes (i.e. despite his merit in a previous birth he is faced with ruin).
31He who seeks enjoyment (of worldly pleasures) should assiduously consign the Pinda to the sacred fire.1 He who seeks progeny shall give the middle Pinda to his wife but after performing all the intervening rites and mantras.
32He who wishes for excellent refulgence always offers it (the Pinda) to cows. So also he who wishes for intellect, honour, fame and renown, offers it always to cows.
33He who seeks long life gives it to crows. One desirous of comeliness offers (oblations) to the fowl.
34Thus the benefit of offering Pindas has been recounted. Or the devotee shall stand facing the south and pacify the sky (scatter the oblations in the sky). The abode of Pitris is the sky and their quarter is the south.
35(Defective) Further, Brahmanas mention one procedure of lifting up the Pinda. After being permitted by Brahmanas who say, “Let it be taken up dry”.
36The upper layer or the tip of flowers, fruits, edibles and cooked food shall be taken up and offered as oblation in the sacred fire.
37After consigning the edibles, cooked food, beverage and the excellent fruits to the fire, he should face the south and offer the Pindas.
38He shall propitiate (them) with oily edibles, sweet scents and juices. With concentration and purity of mind, he should serve them standing (there) with palms joined in reverence. A man devoted to them and full of faith, obtains the desires.
39The grandfathers (manes) bestow the (following) qualities on him: the state of not being mean and low (nonpettiness), gratefulness, chivalry, hospitality and the (ability for performance of) sacrifices and religious gifts.
40Henceforth I shall recount the Saumya (belonging to Soma) procedure after the Brahmanas have taken food, in order. Listen to it, even as I recount it.
41-42The devotee attached to Pitris should sprinkle the ground and scrub it at the outset. Then he should scatter (auspicious materials) in accordance with the injunctions. He shall request the excellent Brahmanas to chant the Svadha mantra and offer them plenty of Daksinas. He shall get the permission from them (as to what should be done with) the remnants of the food. With palms joined in reverence, he shall follow them after honouring them duly. He should then bid farewell.