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Vayu Purana – Uttara Kandha 10-18

– 17 –

The Test for Legibility of a Brahmana (for Sraddha Invitation)

1The Sages said: O intelligent Suta, the Sraddhakalpa has been recounted by you. The Sraddhakalpa glorified by sages, has been heard by us.
2Its extensive details have been particularly narrated. O extremely intelligent one, please mention the remaining topics too, according to the opinion of that sage.
3Suta said: O blessed Brahmanas, I shall recount the opinion of that sage in detail, in regard to Sraddha. Listen to it from me.
4The Sraddha rite as well as the mode of its performance have been previously mentioned by me. I shall also mention what remains in the proper order as regards the Brahmanas.
5It is not that Brahmanas should always be (subjected to) tests and investigation. But in regard to rites pertaining to gods and Pitris (employment of) tests has been laid down in the Sruti.
6One shall scrupulously avoid that person in whom defects are seen or who is shunned by good men or who, through contacts or staying together, is known to be wicked.
7-8A sensible man should always test a Brahmana who is not known before, at the time of Sraddha.
Indeed Siddhas roam over this earth in the guise of Brahmanas. Hence one should approach the in-coming guests with palms joined in reverence. He should worship him offering water for washing the feet, oil for massage and food eating.
9-10Devas and the masters of Yoga roam about ocean-girt earth in various guises, virtuously protecting
subjects. A man should worship and offer a Brahmana guest different types of food and vegetable dishes and fruits as well.
11It is heard that one attains the fruit of Agni stoma (sacrifice) by offering milk (or water) to a guest.2 By offering ghee he attains splendid vision as well as the fruit of a yajna of sixteen-day duration. By offering honey, he attains the fruit of Atiratra sacrifice.
12A devout person who feeds Brahmanas faithfully, offering them all desired objects, obtains the fruit thereof. He who offers all his possessions to all guests and Brahmanas enjoys for ever the fruit of Sarvamedha sacrifice.
13He who slights a guest after his coming at the time of Sraddha or in a rite for Devas, is shunned by Devas in the manner a Hotf disregards another man’s wealth.
14For the purpose of blessing the worlds Devas, Pitris and Fire-god enter those Brahmanas and take food.
15If they are not worshipped, they burn; if they are worshipped, they grant all desires. Hence one should always worship guests by offering one’s entire possession.
16A forest-dweller, a householder, a person who visits the house, children, distressed persons and an ascetic—all there are to be known as Atithis (guests).
17An Abhyagata is the guest who begs for something. An Atithi will not beg. An Atithi is the most excellent because he has no Tithi (fixed date). This is said to be the etymological meaning of Atithi.
18A real guest is neither terrible nor of a mixed caste, neither devoid of learning nor a very learned specialist, neither has he too many children nor is he servile. He is of good conduct.
19A person who wishes (the fruit of) the performance of a Yajna should hospitably receive and give (food etc.) to a guest who has wandered a lot, is thirsty, tired and extremely hungry.
20-22aBy climbing on to Bhrigutunga, by visiting (and taking holy dip in) the holy river Sarasvati, the holy rivergoddess Ganga, Mahanadi, and other rivers originating from Himavan and those worshipped by sages, as well as lakes and holy centres, one becomes free from sins and is honoured in heaven.
22b-23It is said that there is pollution due to death for ten nights particularly for a Brahmana. It is prescribed that a Ksatriya has twelve days’ pollution. A Vaisya has pollution for half a month and a Sudra becomes pure after a month.
24-25A woman in menses in all the castes becomes pure in three nights. It is laid down that by touching a woman in her menses, a woman lying-in-chamber, a dog, a Candala, a nudist like a Digambara Jaina and similar people and those who have borne a dead body, one gets polluted. He must take bath along with his clothes and smear clay twelve times on himself. Then he becomes pure.
26-27The same purificatory rite should be followed in the case of sexual intercourse. Clay is to be applied nine times. After washing hands with clay (and water), a person shall perform the purificatory rite. After washing the hands with water and taking bath, a sensible man shall apply clay to the private parts twice.
28This is the mode of purification to be observed by all the castes for ever. One should smear hands and feet three times and sprinkle them with water.
29This is the purificatory rite for forest-dwellers (Vanaprasthas). Henceforth I shall mention the procedure for village-dwellers (i.e. for householders). Clay is applied to the hands three times and three times to the feet.
30Clay shall be applied fifteen times to the hands and other unclean parts. Clay shall be applied to the uncleaned parts and it shall be washed with water.
31After tying a cloth round the neck or the head, if anyone walks on foot along the street, he shall wash the feet. Without washing the feet, even if he performs Acamana, he shall be unclean.
32After washing the feet and setting the water pot down, he should perform Acamana and then sprinkle it with water. The materials of Sraddha etc. shall be sprinkled again.
33Sprinkling is recommended on flowers etc., grass and Havis. Objects brought by others should be placed down and sprinkled with water.
34In a Sraddha and rites for Devas only, those articles that are sprinkled with water should be used. Whatever is brought to the altar should be brought at the northern end and taken away from the southern end.
35If the procedure is altered in the rites pertaining to Devas or Pitris, it (the rite) becomes fruitless. With the right hand, one should touch the southern altar.
36aIt is auspicious to scatter ritualistically the offering to Devas and Pitris with both the hands.
36b(Acamana is the purificatory rite in the following cases:) When one is agitated or enraged; after getting up from sleep; after urination and evacuation of bowels;
37-42when one spits; after taking food; when feet are not washed; after conversing with a person excommunicated (by others); after working in unclean places (?); in all doubtful acts such as when the tuft of hair is untied and/or one is without the sacred thread; when the lips touch the teeth; when one sees Candalas; after touching things clinging to the teeth with the tongue ;snapping the fingers loudly; when seeing while bowing down etc. He who is in the midst of a sinful action, but out of delusion performs Acamana is also unclean. He should then squat in a clean place and bow down facing the north or the east. After washing the hands and feet, he should perform Acamana between the knees (keeping hands on laps?). He should sip the still water thrice with concentration and purity of mind.
43He should perform Marjana (cleansing with water) twice and then Abhyukshana (sprinkling with water) once over the sense organs, head, hands and feet as well.
44-49Anything not considered properly, shall besprinkled with water. In this manner his Acamana, Vedas (Vedic Study) Yajnas, penance, charitable gifts and vow of celibacy become fruitful. If an atheist performs holy rites without performing Acamana out of delusion, all those rites shall undoubtedly be futile. All these following should be known pure—that which is pure in words, that which is cleaned, that which is undefiled and that which is not censured. The opposite of these is impure. A hungry Brahmana should never be told—“There is nothing”. If anything is given to him after duly honouring him, it is called a sacrifice without erecting a sacrificial post. During Sraddhas, an indigent but non-begging, solitary and shy Brahmana should always be fed with food neither over-cooked nor watery. He who offers food to the low castes only, is a wicked soul, a Brahmana-slayer.
50-51Even if he takes a hundred births, he does not become free from that sin. A Brahmana who feeds the nobler and less dignified Brahmanas in the same row, whether urged by others or not, incurs sin immediately. Even his merit resulting from digging wells and tanks becomes destroyed.
52-53In a festival, an ascetic is the leader of all Brahmanas. An excellent Brahmana who reads all the Vedas with An excellent Brahmana who reads all the Vedas with Itihasa constituting their fifth (Veda), should be kept next to him by one who knows. A Brahmana who studies three Vedas comes next to him. One (a student) of two Vedas comes next to him.
54Then a man of a single Veda and after him comes a person who studies the Nyaya System. For the purity of the row, I am mentioning them. Understand. I shall mention those who sanctify the row(?).
55-58Those who are mentioned before, are mentioned in their order. The Pahktipavanas (those who sanctify the row of diners) are the following:—Sacjangi (a person who has learnt all the six ancillary subjects of the Veda), Vinayi (the disciplined one), Yogin, Sarvatantrasvatantra (he who has mastered all systems of philosophy) and Yayavara (a wandering mendicant saint). All these five should be known as Pahktipavanas. He who has mastered completely one of the eighteen lores, he who fulfils his duty duly—all of them are also so. The Trinaciketas (a Brahmana who learns the three Vidyas of Naciketas), the Traividya (he who has mastered three Vidyas), the Brahmana who learns Dharmasastras, the Brahmana who has mastered the Barhaspatya scripture—all these Brahmanas are said to be those who sanctify the row.
59If a Brahmana invited in a Sraddha indulges in sexual intercourse with a woman, the Pitris lie down in his semen virile for the period of that month (?)
60If the performer of a Sraddha or he who takes food in a Sraddha, indulges in sexual intercourse, undoubtedly the Pitps are stationed in his semen virile that month.
61-62Hence a Dana (religious gift) is to be guest and a Brahmacarin (celibate person) is to made to the be fed. The Dana is to be made to one engrossed in meditation and having sympathetic feeling. In the Sraddha rite, a righteous ascetic or a Valakhilya (a mendicant who does not hoard anything) should be fed. A Vanaprastha (forest-dweller) and an Upakurvana (Brahmacarin who completes his studies and pays his teacher and is about to be a householder) is propitiated by mere worship.
63If a householder is fed, Visvedevas are worshipped. By worshipping a Vanaprastha, sages are worshipped. By worshipping Valakhilyas, Purandara (i.e. Indra) is worshipped.
64In worshipping ascetics, Brahma himself is worshipped. These Asramas are holy. There are five Anasramas through deceitfulness (?)
65Four Asramas (i. e. people in the four stages of life) are to be worshipped in the rites of Devas and Pitfs. A Sraddha should never be offered to those who are outside the four stages of life.
66Even if he stays hungry, let him stay so outside the four stages of life. The non-ascetic and the Salvationist—both of them are the defilers of the row.
67Those who shave off their hair in vain, those who wear matted hair, those who wear all sorts of robes, those who are devoid of mercy, those who break all codes of good conduct and those who are indiscriminate in eating—are to be avoided.
68In the matter of Havya and Kavya, one shall avoid Karukas (a Saiva sect) and men of no disciplined conduct of life, men ostracised from the Vedic Society, musicians and actors (who imitate deities).
69-70A person who has social and other contacts with these, attains black complexion (taint). He who dines with Sudras—all these are defilers of the row (of diners).
71Killing (of animals etc.), destruction with force, agriculture, trading activities, animal husbandry, secret service to a person other than the preceptor—these should not be followed by a Brahmana.
72Those who are real Brahmanas, pursue knowledge and meditation. Even if they are born as Brahmanas, those who have false conceptions are of evil conduct.
73The preachers of wrong/heretic doctrines should be avoided. So also the arrogant, the scandal-monger, and people defiled by minor sins and great sins should be avoided.
74-75Those who make use of Vedas as a means of employment out of greed and delusion or for profit are the sellers of Vedas. They are to be avoided in the Sraddha rite. Study of Vedas is not a profession. He who makes it a profession is a sinner. The partaker is deprived of the fruit of Vedic study. The donor is deprived of the fruit of charity.
76A person hired to teach the Vedas and one who is taught by such a person both of them do not deserve invitation to a Sraddha as the sellers and buyers of the Vedas.
77Those (Brahmanas) who buy and sell for the purpose of livelihood are despicable ones. This is the profession of a Vaisya but a sin unto Brahmanas.
78They say that he who depends for his livelihood upon the Vedas and he who depends upon those who know Vedas for livelihood do not deserve invitation to a Sraddha. The husband of one’s daughter also shall not be invited.
79He who goes unto his wife in vain (i.e. an issueless person) and he who performs Yajna in vain—both of these do not deserve an (invitation to) a Sraddha. A Brahmana (who is) an atheist also shall not be invited.
80He who cooks food for himself only and he who does not offer anything to Devas and quests— both of them are fallen and they are Brahmaraksasas. They do not deserve (invitation to) a Sraddha.
81Those whose wives eagerly await the nights and those who run after other men’s wives, as well as those who are mad after wealth and love should not be invited to a Sraddha.
82Those who are opposed to the discipline and the duties of the four castes and stages of life, a thief and he who indiscriminately performs Yajna for everyone—all these are defilers of the row in the rite of Sraddha.
83Pitris do not partake of their share in the Sraddha if the invited Brahmana eats like a boar, or eats off his palm or eats with his left hand.
84The leavings of the Sraddha food should not be given to women or a Sudra unless he is an attendant. If anyone gives out of passion or delusion, it never reaches Pitris.
85Hence in a Sraddha rite, the leavings of food should never be given except curds and ghee and that too to a disciple and a son; not otherwise.
86Only that which is not left over should be given, such as food particularly. Pitris are propitiated with flowers, roots and fruits too as with food.
87The foodstuffs served are sanctified as long as they are warm. Pitris partake of the food as long as the invited Brahmanas take their food, with control over their speech.
88Charitable gifts,’ acceptance of gifts, Homa, taking food and oblations must be made with the thumb (touching them) lest they should go to Asuras.
89All these rites and particularly the rite of gifting away, are thus performed. The rite of Acamana is performed with the hands within the knees.
90One should avoid persons with shaven heads, matted hair, and ochre-coloured robes, at the time of Sraddha rite. One should assiduously offer Sraddha to those who wear tufts and to the Tridandin type of ascetics.
91Those who are steadfast in their holy rites, those who seek knowledge and are engaged in meditations and the noble- souled devotees of Devas do sanctify (others) by their mere sight.
92The whole of the three worlds is pervaded or ever by the Master of Yoga. Hence they (can) observe whatever there is in the universe.
93-94The noble souls keep both the manifest and the unmanifest under their control. They control even that which is greater than all. Truth and falsehood have been perceived by them. Sat, As at have been seen by them. All knowable things, absolution etc. are seen by the noble souls. Hence one who is devoted to them attains everything auspicious.
95He who knows the Rks knows the Vedas. He who knows the Yajur Mantras knows Yajna. He who knows Saman Mantras knows Brahman. He who knows Manasa (? mind) knows everything.

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