Discussion between Krishna and Garuda on story of Five Pretas ||7||

1Garuda said: -I have heard the story relating to the rite of Vrishotsarga. I wish to be enlightened farther upon this topic, for your knowledge is very great.
2Sri Krishna said: -Now I shall tell you a wonderful dialogue between Santapana and the ghosts on this very point.
3There was a Brahmana Santaptaka by name whose sins had been destroyed by penance. Knowing the futility of the world he left home and went to the forest.
4Whenever Vaikhanasas, sages and Bratas saw him they bowed to him with respect. Once he went on a pilgrimage.
5Though he controlled the outer senses and acted in the prescribed way, he was still dragged by the organs and he slipped in his path.
6-7Once in the morn while he was taking bath, he opened his eyes and looked around. He saw a forest full of shrubs, creepers, trees, barks, branches, etc.
8-9He saw Talas, Tamalas, Priyalas, Panasas, Sriparni, Salas, Sakhotas Syandanas, Tindukas, Sarjas, Arjunas, Amras, Sleshmatakas, Bibhitakas, Picumardas, Cinimas, Karkandhus and Karanikaras.
10All these and other trees were there among which the way could not be seen even by the bird, not to say of men.
11-12There in that fierce forest, full of lions, tigers, hyenas, wild oxen, bears, buffaloes, elephants, deer, cobras, monkeys and other animals and also demons and goblins.
13Santapana was terrified in his heart and could not decide where to go. Then thinking Come what may, he went further.
14Hearing the singing of crickets and the hooting of owls, he moved forward about five steps.
15There he saw a corpse tied to a banyan tree and five fierce ghosts eating the same.
16-17They were rejoicing over their feast by relishing the head-bones, stomach attached to the back, fallen bones of the body, marrow, brain; etc.
18Seeing the ghosts who were loudly cracking the bones with their fierce jaws, he was awe-struck in his heart and stopped at once.
19When they saw, that Brahmana in that lonely forest, they ran towards him saying ‘I first, I first.’
20Two of them caught hold of his two arms, two caught hold of his legs and the fifth one caught hold of his head.
21Speaking loudly in their own language, I shall eat first, I shall cat first, they got busy in dragging him.
22Then, all of a sudden, they went up in the sky. From there they looked down how much flesh was left in the corpse.
23They saw, the corpse bitten by their jaws. Then they got down and caught hold of the corpse by legs.
24-26Thus taking hold of the body cut by themselves, they went up again in the sky. Then seeing himself being. borne in the heaven, the Brahmana praised the lord in his mind. “I bow to lord Vishnu, the holder of discus who is supreme consciousness, who kept away the crocodile by throwing his discus and released the elephant from the noose of crocodile. May he release me from the noose of my actions.
27When the kings were captured by Magadha Bhima, the lord got them released so that they might visit Bharga’s sacrifice. May he release me from the noose of my activities.
28He praised me in his mind and being praised I got up all of a sudden and I went to the place where he was being carried by the ghosts.
29Seeing him thus carried away by the ghosts I was surprised and without speaking anything I followed them a while.
30Simply by the dint of my presence, O bird, that Brahmana felt the pleasure of riding a palanquin.
31Then in the way, I saw Manibhadra going to Meru and winking at him I took the king of Yakshas by my side.
32I said to the lord of Yakshas to be active and destroy the ghosts and take away the corpse.
33Being instructed thus he took the form of a ghost terrific even to those ghosts.
34He stretched his arms besmeared with blood and appeared before the ghosts challenging them.
35He struck two with arms, two with legs and one with head and beat the ghosts with severe blows.
36They held that corpse bound by hands and legs and began to fight.
37They attacked the Yaksha lord with nails, feet and jaws.
38But avoiding their attacks, the Yaksha lord snatched the corpse, as death takes away the breath.
39When the corpse was snatched by Yaksha they ran towards him.
40As soon as they reached the Yaksha moving in air, the Yaksha vanished immediately. In utter dejection they went to the Brahmana.
41As they were going to kill that Brahmana on the mountain they remembered their previous birth. It happened by the glory of my position and by the nobility of the Brahmana.
42Then they encircled the Brahmana and spoke to him reverentially.
43Please excuse us today. They spoke like the echo of the mountain or the turmoil of the stormy sea.
44Hearing their words he asked: Who are you? Is it simply an illusion, a dream, or a fancy?
45-48Hear, O Brahmana, we shall tell you what you have asked us, O Mahayogin, we are absolved of our sins by seeing you. My name is Paryushita. He is Sucimukha. The third one is Sighra and the fourth one is Rodha and the fifth one is Lekhaka. Why are these meaningless names borne out by you? Can they be derived from actions performed by you? O ghosts now tell us the meanings of these names.
49Being thus addressed by the Brahmana, they replied separately.
50Once, in a month, when Sraddha is performed for the manes, I invited a Brahmana to my house. He arrived after I had eaten the part of food out of hunger.
51-53aThen I gave stale food to that Brahmana when he came. On account of that sin, when I died, I became a ghost and got the name Paryushita since I had given him the stale food.
53bOnce an aged woman of the Brahmana caste went to the holy place Bhadravata.
54-56The old woman lived with her son aged, five years. I being a Kshatriya pretender stopped her in wilderness, became a wayside robber and I took her viaticum with clothes along with the clothes of her son. I wrapped them around my head and wanted to leave.
57I saw the little boy drinking water from a jar. In that wilderness, only that much water was there. l frightened the boy from drinking water and being thirsty myself began to drink from the jar.
58The boy died of thirst and the mother who was struck with grief died too, by throwing herself into a dry well.
59O Brahmana, by that sin I became a ghost with mouth as small as the hole of a needle and body as huge as a mountain.
60Although I get food I cannot eat. Although I bum with hunger my mouth is contracted.
61Since in my mouth I have a hole equal to that of a needle I am known as Sucimukha.
62Formerly I was a rich Vaisya and went to a distant country for business.
63I was accompanied by a friend who was a partner in business. He was rich but greedy. Then due to bad luck we fared badly in business to the extent that even our capital was lost.
64Then we started from there, travelling in a boat. Just as the sun reddened, we began to cross the river.
65My friend was tired due to labour, slept in my lap. Then a cruel thought entered into my mind.
66I threw my friend sleeping in my lap into the river. Nobody in the boat knew anything about my act.
67I got hold of his belongings, jewels, rubies, gold, etc. and returned home.
68I kept that all in my house and told his wife: “My brother has been taken away by robbers in the way and robbed of his wealth.
69-71I ran away and escaped, Do not weep She was overwhelmed with grief and burnt herself into the fire. Then seeing my path was without obstruction I returned home gladly. I enjoyed my friend’s wealth to my heart’s content. Since throwing my friend into the river I returned home quickly, I am called Sighra.
72-73Rodhaka said: -O Brahmana, formerly I was a Sudra. By the king’s favour I owned a hundred villages, I had old parents and a young brother.
74Very soon my brother was estranged from me by a greedy person. I stopped giving him food and clothes. He suffered too much at my hands.
75-79My parents gave him something secretly whatever they gave him I learnt from my close confidants. Then I bound my parents with iron chains in a deserted temple. Being miserable they ended their life by drinking poison. They boy who was left all alone wandered here and there and expired ultimately. By this sin, O Brahmana I have become ghost. Since I chained my parents, I was called Rodhaka.
80Lekhaka said: -Formerly I was a brahmana in Avanti. I was authorized to worship the deities of Bhadra king. There were many images with different names.
81On their bodies they wore gold and jewels. While worshipping them an evil thought entered me.
82Piercing their bodies with an iron-rod and jewels. While jewels from their eyes.
83When the king saw the images in that state and their eyes without jewels, he became inflamed like fire.
84Then he vowed O Brahmana and said: “Whosoever has stolen gold and jewels from these images, if known will be killed”.
85-86Knowing all that, one night, with a sword in hand, I entered the king’s palace and struck him dead. I then took jewels and gold and went away at midnight.
87-88Then in the deep forest, a tiger put on me his nails. Since I had incised the images with iron-rod, I was known as Lekhaka.
89The Brahmana said: -You have told us facts about your names; now let us know about your way of life as ghosts as well as your food.
90-91We stay where people do not follow the Vedas, where there is no feeling of shame for falsehood, no faith in religion, no sense of discipline, no inclination for forgiveness, no patience and no knowledge.
92-95We trouble the person who does not perform Sraddha or Tarpana. We eat his flesh and suck his blood. Now hear about-our food which is most despicable in the world. Something of this you have already seen. We shall now tell you something unknown to you. Vomiting, waste, cough, urine, and tears these we eat and drink. Do not ask us further, O Brahmana, we are ashamed to tell you, out our food. We are ignorant, in dark, fools, puzzled. Suddenly have we remembered -about our previous births.
96aWe are neither humble nor wild and we know nothing.
96bWhen the ghosts were Speaking thus, and the Brahmana was hearing.
97-98I showed my form, O, Tarkhya. When that Brahmana saw before him the Purusa of his heart, he praised me with hymns and fell prostrate before me. Those ghosts too trembled with eyes wide open in surprise.
99-100Their voice muttered enrich affection, still they could not speak. “Bow to you who release the cruel from Rajas and the stupid from Tamas.” This being, uttered by the Brahmana that mountain was adorned with six shining aerial cars moving at my will and attended by celestial beings.
101By that Vimana the Brahmana went to my abode along with the five ghosts. The ghosts went to heaven by virtue of their association with the Brahmana.
102Living in heaven along with the ghosts that Brahmana Santaptaka became my famous Gana called Vishvaksena. Thus, I have told you everything, O bird. Whoever tells or hears this narrative, O bird, does not become a ghost.