The Garuda Purana, Part 2


Garuda with Nectar Pot
Pakistan, 7th-8th c.

Jan 5, CANADA (SUN) — Garuda Purana, Chapters Two and Three.

Chapter Two
An Account of The Way of Yama

1. Garuda said: What is the path of misery in the world of Yama like? Tell me, O Kesava, in what, way the sinful go there.

2. The Blessed Lord said: I will tell you about the Way of Yama, bestowing great misery. Although you are my devotee, when you have heard it you will become agitated.

3. There is no shade of trees there, in which a man may take rest, and on this road there is none of the foods by which he may support life.

4. No water is to be seen anywhere that he, extremely thirsty, may drink. Twelve suns blaze, O Bird, as though at the end of a pralaya.

5. There the sinful soul goes along pierced by cold winds, in one place torn by thorns, in another stung by very venomous serpents.

6. The sinful in one place is bitten by ferocious lions, tigers, and dogs; in another stung by scorpions; in another burnt by fire.

7-8. In one place there is a very terrible forest of sword-like leaves, which is recorded as two thousand yojanas in length and breadth,

Infested with crows, owls, hawks, vultures, bees, mosquitoes, and having forest-fires,--by whose leaves he is pierced and torn.

9. In one place he falls into a hidden well; in another from a lofty mountain; in another he treads on razor-edges and on spear-points.

10. In one place he stumbles in the awful black darkness and falls into water; in another in mud abounding in leeches; in another in hot slime.

11. In one place is a plain of hot sand, made of smelted. copper; in another a mound of embers; in another a great cloud of smoke.

12-13. In some places are showers of charcoal, showers of stones and thunderbolts, showers of blood, showers of weapons, showers of boiling water,

And showers of caustic mud. In one place are deep chasms; in others bills to climb and valleys to descend.

14. In one place there is pitch darkness; in another rocks difficult to climb over; in others lakes filled with pus and blood, and with excrement.

15-17. In the midst of the way flows the terribly horrible Vaitarani River, which when seen inspires misery, of which even an account arouses fear.

Extending a hundred yojanas, a flow of pus and blood, impassible, with heaps of bones on the banks, with mud of flesh and blood,

Unfordable, impassible for the sinful, obstructed with hairy moss, filled with huge crocodiles. and crowded with hundreds of dreadful birds.

18-20. When it sees the sinful approaching, this river, overspread with flames and smoke, seethes, O Tarkshya, like butter in the frying-pan:

Covered all over with dreadful throngs of insects with piercing stings, infested with huge vultures and crows with adamantine beaks,

Filled with porpoises, with crocodiles, with leeches, fishes and turtles, and with other flesh-eating water-animals.

21. Very sinful people, fallen into the flood, cry, O Brother, O Son, O Father!'--again and again wailing.

22-23. Hungry and thirsty the sinful drink the blood, it is said. That river, flowing with blood, carrying much foam,

Very dreadful, with powerful roaring, difficult to see into, fear-inspiring,--at the very sight of it the sinful swoon away.

24. Covered with many scorpions, and with black snakes,--of those who have fallen into the midst of this, there is no rescuer whatever.

25. By hundreds of thousands of whirlpools the sinful descend to the lower region. They stay for a moment in the lower region, after the moment rising again.

26. O Bird, this river was created only that the sinful should fall into it. It is difficult to cross and gives great misery, and its opposite cannot be seen.

27. Thus along the Way of Yama, of many kinds of pain, giving extreme misery, go the sinful, crying and weeping and laden with misery.

28. Bound by the noose, some of them being dragged by hooks, and pierced from behind with points of weapons, the sinful are led on.

29. Others are drawn along by a noose through the end of the nose, and also by nooses through the ears; others, by the nooses of death being dragged along, are pecked by crows.

30-32. Some go on the way neck, arms, feet and back bound with chains, bearing many loads of iron,

And being beaten with hammers by the awful messengers of Yama; vomiting blood from the mouth, which then they eat again,

Bewailing their own karmas these beings, becoming exhausted, full of very great misery, go on towards the mansion of Yama.

33-34. And the stupid, thus going on the way, calling on son and grandson, incessantly crying out, 'Oh, oh,' repents:--

'By great meritorious effort birth as a human being is gained. Haying obtained that, I did not do my duty,--also, whatever have I done!

35. 'I made no gifts; no offerings to the fire; performed no penances; did not worship the deities; did not perform service at a place of pilgrimage as prescribed;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!

36. 'I did not duly honour the assemblies of Brahmins; did not visit the holy river; did not wait upon good men; never performed any benevolent acts;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!

37. ' Alas, I did not excavate tanks in waterless places, either for the benefit of men or for the sake of animals and binds; did not even a little for the support of cows and brahmins;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you leave done!

38. 'I made no daily gifts and did not give food daily to the cow; did not value the precepts of the Vedas and the Sastras; did not listen to the Puranas, nor worship the wise;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!'

39. 'I did not follow the good advice of my husband; never preserved fidelity to my husband; did not pay due respect to my worthy elders;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!

40. 'Not knowing my duty I did not serve my husband, nor after his death enter the fire. Having become widowed I performed no austerities;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!

41. 'I did not emaciate myself by monthly fasts by the course of the moon, nor by detailed observances. Owing to my bad deeds in former lives I got a woman's body, which is a source of great misery.'

42. Thus having lamented many times, remembering the past incarnation, crying 'Whence did I attain this human state?' he goes on.

43. For seventeen days he goes on alone with the speed of the wind. On the eighteenth day, O Tarkaya, the departed reaches the City of Saumya.

44. Large numbers of the departed are in that excellent and beautiful city. The River Pushpabhadra is there, and a fig-tree delightful to see.

45. In that city he takes rest, along with the servants of Yama. There he remembers the enjoyment of wife, son and others, and is miserable.

46-47. When he bewails his wealth, his family and dependents all, then the departed belonging there and the servants say this:

Where is your wealth now? Where are your children and wife now? Where are your friends and relatives now? You only suffer the result of your own karma, you fool. Go on for a long time!

48. 'You know that provisions are the strength of a traveller. You do not strive for provisions, O Traveller in the Higher World! Yet you must inevitably go on that way, where there is neither buying nor selling.

49. 'Have you not heard, O Mortal, of this way, which is familiar even to children? Have you not heard of it from the twice-born, as spoken of in the Puranas?'

50. Thus spoken to by the messengers and being beaten with the hammers, he is forcibly dragged by the nooses, falling down and getting up again and running.

51. Here he eats the monthly rice-balls given by his sons and grandsons through either love or compassion, and thence goes on into Sauripura.

52. There is there a king named Jangama, who has the appearance of Death. Having seen him he is overcome with fear and decides to give up efforts.

53. In that city he eats a mixture of water and food, given at the end of three fortnights, and then passes on from that city.

54. Thence the departed speedily goes to Nagendrabhavana; and having seen the fearful forests there he cries in misery.

55-56. Being dragged unmercifully he weeps again and again. At the end of two months the afflicted leaves that city,

Having enjoyed there the rice-balls, water and cloths given by his relatives; being again dragged with the nooses he is led onwards by the servants.

57-58. Upon the coming of the third month, having arrived at the city of the Gandharvas, and there having eaten the rice-balls offered in the third month he moves on.

And in the fourth month reaches Sailagama city, There stones rain down copiously upon the departed.

59. Having eaten the rice-balls of the fourth month he becomes somewhat happy. In the fifth month the departed goes thence to the city of Krauncha.

60. Remaining in the city of Krauncha, the departed eats the rice balls given by hand in the fifth month, and then, having eaten it, goes to Krurapura.

61. At the end of five and a half months the ceremony before the six-monthly is performed. He remains, satisfied with the rice-balls and jars then given.

62-63. Having stayed, trembling and very miserable, for a time and having left that city, threatened by the servants of Yama,

He goes to Chitrabhavana, over which kingdom rules a king named Vichitra, who is the younger brother of Yama.

64-65. When he sees his huge form he runs away in fear. Then having come before him some fishermen say:

'We have arrived, bringing a boat for you--who desire to cross the great Vaitarani River--if your merits are sufficient.'

66-67. 'It is said by the sages, who see the truth, that Vitarana is a gift, and this is called Vaitarani because it is crossed over by that.

'If you have made the gift of a cow, then the boat will come to you, otherwise not.' Having heard their words, 'Oh heavens,' he exclaims.

68. Seeing him it seethes, seeing which he cries loudly. The sinful soul who has made no gifts verily sinks in that.

69. Having fixed a skewer through his lips, the messengers, floating in the air, carry him across like a fish upon a hook.

70. Having then eaten the rice-balls of the sixth month, he passes on. He goes on the way lamenting, very greatly afflicted with the desire to eat.

71. At the approach of the seventh month he goes to the city of Bahwapada. There he enjoys what is given by his sons in the seventh month.

72. Having passed beyond that city, he arrives at the city of Duhkhada. Travelling in the air he suffers great misery, O Ruler of Birds.

73. Having eaten the rice-balls which are given in the eighth month he moves on. At the end of the ninth month he goes to the city of Nanakranda.

74. Having seen many people crying in agony in various ways, and being himself faint of heart, he cries in great misery.

75. Having left that city, the departed, threatened by the servants of Yama, goes, with difficulty, in the tenth month, to Sutaptabhavana.

76. Though he there obtains the rice-ball gifts and water, he is not happy At the completion of the eleventh month he goes to the city of Raudra.

77. There he enjoys what is offered in the eleventh month by his sons and others, and half after the eleventh month he reaches Payovarsana.

78. There clouds team, giving misery to the departed, and them, he, in misery, obtains the Sraddha before the annual one.

79. At the end of the year he goes to the city of Sitahya, where cold a hundred times greater than that of the Himalaya afflicts him.

80. Hungry and pierced with cold, he looks about in the ten directions. 'Does there remain any relative who will remove my misery?'

81. There the servants ask: 'What sort of merit have you?' Having eaten the annual rice-balls he plucks up courage again.

82. At the end of the year, coming nearer to the abode of Yama, having reached the city of Bahubhiti, he casts off the body the measure of a hand.

83. The spirit the size of a thumb, to work out its karma, getting a body of torment, sets out through the air with the servants of Yama.

84. Those who do not offer gifts for the dweller in the upper body, O Kasyapa, thus go, painfully bound in tight bonds.

85. Into the city of the King of Justice there are four gateways, O Bird, of which the way of the southern gate has been declared to you.

86. How they go on this most dreadful path, afflicted with hunger, thirst and exhaustion, has been told. What else do you wish to hear?

Chapter Three
An Account of the Torments of Yama

1. Garuda said: What are the torments like that the sinful suffers, having passed along the way of Yama into the abode of Yama? Tell me this, O Kesava.

2. The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Descendant of Vinata. I will tell it to you from the beginning to the end. Even at the description of hell you will tremble.

3. Four and forty yojanas, O Kasyapa, beyond the city of Bahubhiti, lies the great city of the King of Justice.

4-5. The sinful man cries when he hears the mingled wails of 'Oh, Oh,' and having heard his cry, those who walk about in the city of Yama.

All go to the door-keeper and report it to him. The doorkeeper Dharmadhwaja, always stands there.

6. He, having gone to Chitragupta, reports the good and evil deeds. Then Chitragupta tells it to the King of Justice.

7. The men who are Deniers, O Tarkshya, and always delight in great sin; these are all, as is proper, well-known to the King of Justice.

8. Nevertheless, he asks Chitragupta about their sins. Chitragupta, although he is all-knowing, enquires of the Sravaas.

9. The Sravaas are the sons of Brahman who wander in heaven, on earth, and in the nether regions, hear and understand at a distance, and see a long way off.

10. Their wives have a similar nature, and are called, distinctively, Sravanis. They know accurately all that is done by women.

11. These report to Chitragupta everything that is said and done, openly and secretly, by men.

12. These followers of the King of Justice know accurately all the virtues and vices of mankind, and the karma born of mind, speech and body.

13. Such is the power of these, who have authority over mortals and immortals. Thus do these truth-speaking Sravaas relate the actions of man.

14. To the man who pleases them by austerity, charity and truthful speech, they become benevolent, granting heaven and liberation.

15. Knowing the wicked actions of the sinful, those truth-speakers, relating them before the King of Justice, become dispensers of misery.

16. The sun and moon, fire, wind, sky, earth and water, the heart. Yama, day and night, the two twilights, and Justice--know the actions of man.

17 The King of Justice, Chitragupta, Sravaas, the sun and others see fully the sins and merits of the embodied being.

18. Then Yama, having assured himself concerning the sins of the sinful, summons them and shows them his own very terrible form.

19-21. Very sinful people behold the terrifying form of Yama--huge of body, rod in hand, seated on a buffalo,

Roaring like a cloud at the time of pralaya, like a mountain of lampblack, terrible with weapons gleaming like lightning, possessing thirty-two arms,

Extending three yojanas, with eyes like wells, with mouth gaping with formidable fangs, with red eyes and a long nose.

22. Even Chitragupta is fearful, attended by Death, Fever and others. Near to him are all the messengers, resembling Yama, roaring.

23. Having seen him, the wretch, overcome with fear, cries 'Oh, Oh.' The sinful soul who made no gifts trembles and cries again.

24. Then, by command of Yama, Chitragupta speaks to all those sinners, who are crying, and bewailing their karmas.

25. 'O, you sinners, evil-doers, polluted with egoism, injudicious, why ever did you commit sin?

26. 'O, you foolish people, why ever did you commit that misery-giving sin which is born of lust, anger and association with the sinful.

27 'Hitherto you have committed sins with great delight, and thereby are now destined for torment. It is no use turning your faces away.

28. 'The sinful actions done by you are very many, and those sins are the cause of unavoidable misery.

29. 'It is known that Yama deals equally with the fool and the learned, the beggar and the wealthy, the strong and the weak.'

30. Hearing these words of Chitragupta, the sinful then grieve over their karmas, and remain silent and motionless.

31. The King of Justice, seeing them standing motionless like thieves, has fitting punishment ordered for the sinful.

32. Then the cruel messengers, having beaten them, say, 'Go along, you sinner, to the very dreadful terrifying hells.'

33. The messengers, Prachanda, Chandaka and others, executors of the sentences of Yama, having bound them with one noose, lead them towards the hells.

34. There is one big tree there, glowing like a blazing fire. It covers five yojanas and is one yojana in height.

35. Having bound them on the tree by chains, head downwards, they beat them. They, for whom there is no rescuer, cry, burning there.

36. Many sinful ones are hung on that silk-cotton tree, exhausted by hunger and thirst, and beaten by the messengers of Yama.

37. 'Oh, forgive my faults'--with suppliant hands, those most. sinful people, helpless, implore the messengers.

38. Again and again they are forcibly struck, by the messengers, with metal rods, with hammers, with iron clubs, with spears, with maces and with big pestles.

39-40. Thus beaten they become still, swooning away. Then, seeing them quiet, the servants address them thus:

'O, you sinners, you evildoers, why ever did you commit such wicked deeds? You did not even make the easy water and food offerings at all.

41. 'You did not give even halt a mouthful of food to the dog or the crows, nor honour your guests, nor make the water-offering to the forefathers.

42. You did not meditate well upon Yama and Chitragupta, nor repeat their mantra, along with which torment cannot exist.

43. You never visited any places of pilgrimage, nor worshipped the deities. Though living as a householder you did not even express compassion.

44. 'You did not do any acts of service. Suffer the fruits of your own sin! Because you are devoid of righteousness you deserve to be beaten.

45. 'Forgiveness of faults is done by the Lord Hari Iswara. We only punish miscreants, as we are ordered.'

46. Thus having spoken the messengers heat them mercilessly; and on account of the beating they fall down like glowing charcoal.

47. In falling their limbs are cut by the sharp leaves, and they cry, fallen down and bitten by dogs.

48. Then the mouths of those who are crying are filled with dust by the messengers; and, being bound with various nooses some are beaten with hammers.

49. Some of the sinful are cut with saws, like firewood, and others thrown flat on the ground, are chopped into pieces with axes.

50. Some, their bodies half-buried in a pit, are pierced in the head with arrows. Others, fixed in the middle of a machine, are squeezed like sugar-cane.

51. Some are surrounded closely with blazing charcoal, enwrapped with torches, and smelted like a lump of ore.

52. Some are plunged into heated butter, and others into heated oil, and like a cake thrown into the frying-pan they are turned about.

53. Some are thrown in the way, in front of huge maddened elephants, and some with hands and feet bound are placed head downwards.

54. Some are thrown into wells; some are hurled from heights; others plunged into pits full of worms, are eaten away by them.

55. By the hard beaks of huge flesh-eating crows and vultures they are pecked in the head, eyes and faces.

56. Others clamour: 'Give up, give up my wealth, which you owe me. In the world of Yama I see my wealth being enjoyed by you.'

57. Thus disputing, the sinful, in the hell-region, are given pieces of flesh torn off with pincers by the messengers.

58. Thus quarrelling, they are taken hold of by the messengers, by order of Yama, and thrown into the dreadful hells, Tamisra and others,

59. Hells full of great misery are there,--near to the tree,--in which there is great misery indescribable in words.

60. There are eighty-four lakhs of hells, O Bird, the midst of which are twenty-one most dreadful of the dreadful.

61-64. Tamisra, Lohasanku, Maharauravasalmali, Raurava, Kudmala, Kalasutraka, Putimrittika,

Sanghata, Lohitoda, Savisa, Sampratapana, Mahaniraya, Kaka, Ulu, Sanjivana, Mahapathin,

Avichi, Andhatamisra, Kumbhipaka, Sampratapana, and Tapana, --in all twenty-one,

All formed of various afflictions and diseases of different classes, the various fruits of sin, and inhabited by multitudes of servants.

65. The sinful fools, devoid of righteousness, Who have fallen into these, experience there, until the end of the age, the various torments of hell.

66. Men and women suffer the torments of Tamisra, Andhatamisra, Raurava and other hells, which are produced by secret association.

67. Thus he who was holding a family or gratifying his belly, having given up both, and being departed, obtains appropriate fruit.

68. Having cast off his body, which was nourished at the expense of other creatures, he goes alone to hell, provisioned with the opposite of happiness.

69. The man experiences in a foul hell what is ordained by his fate, like an invalid who has been robbed of his wealth, the support of his family.

70: The individual, who was fond of supporting his family by unrighteous means alone, goes to Andhatamisra, which is the place of uttermost darkness.

71. Having experienced in due order the torments below, he comes here again, purified.


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