The Garuda Purana, Part 4
BY: SUN STAFF
Jan 7, CANADA (SUN) Garuda Purana, Chapters Six and Seven.
The Miseries of Birth of the Sinful
1. Garuda said:--Tell me, O Kesava, how he who returns from hells is formed in the womb of the mother, and what miseries he suffers in the embryonic condition.
2. Visnu said: I will tell you how the mortal is born when the male and female elements are bound together by the union of man and woman.
3. In the middle of the menstruation period, in the three days on which Indra incurs the sin of Bramicide, the body of the sinful begins to form.
4. The mother of one returning from hell is regarded on the first day as an outcaste woman, on the second as the murderer of a Brahmin, and on the third as a washerwoman.
5. The creature, in obtaining a body, according to karma, the divine eye, enters the womb of a woman, which is the receptacle of a man's seed.
6. In one night it becomes a lump; by the fifth night round; by the tenth day like the fruit of the jujube tree, and after that an egg of flesh.
7-8. By the first month the head, by the second the arms and other parts of the body are formed; by the third occurs the formation of nails, hair, bones, skin, linga and other cavities;
By the fourth the seven bodily fluids; by the fifth hunger and thirst arise; by the sixth, enveloped by the chorion, it moves to the left of the womb.
9. The bodily substances are formed of the foods and liquids of the mother, and the creature at the time of birth lies in the disgusting hollow of the loins, amid fœces and urine.
10. All its limbs bitten constantly by hungry worms, it swoons away repeatedly through excessive pain, as they are very tender.
11. Thus enveloped by the womb and bound outside by the sinews, it feels pain all over its body, caused by the mother's eating many things--pungent, bitter, hot, salt, sour and acid.
12. With its head placed in its belly and its back and neck curved, it is unable to move its limbs,--like a parrot in a cage.
13. There he remembers, by divine power, the Karma generated in hundreds of previous births,--and remembering, sobs for a long time, obtaining not the least happiness.
14. Having this insight he, with hands put together, bound in seven bonds, imploring and trembling, adores in plaintive tones Him who placed him in the womb.
15. From the beginning of the seventh month, though he gains consciousness, he who is in the womb trembles and moves about because of the parturition winds, like a uterine worm.
16-23. The creature says, "I seek refuge in Visnu; the husband of Sri, the supporter of the universe, the destroyer of evil, who is compassionate to those who come for shelter.
"I am bewildered by Thy magic, as regards body and son and wife; misled by my egoism I am transmigrating, O Lord.
"I did good and evil actions for the sake of my dependents, and as s result I am tormented, while they who enjoy the fruits escape.
"If I am released from this womb I will lay myself at Thy feet, and I will take the means by which I may obtain liberation.
"Fallen into a well of fœces and urine, I am burnt by the fire of the belly, and anxious to escape from it. When shall I get out?
"In Him alone, who has given me this experience, and is compassionate to the afflicted, will I seek refuge. Let not this transmigration occur to me again.
"But no, I wish never to come out of the womb, where misery results from my sinful actions.
"Because remaining even here in great misery, bearing the fatigue, resorting to Thy feet I will keep myself aloof from the worlds of change."
24. The Blessed Lord said: He who has thus considered, and has been ten months in the womb, endowed with insight, while praying, suddenly is cast out head downwards into birth, by the winds of delivery.
25. Cast out forcibly, bending down his head, he comes out with anxiety and painfully breathless and with memory destroyed.
26. Having fallen on the ground he moves like a worm in excrement. He is become changed in condition, and cries loudly, deprived of knowledge.
27. If the state of mind which arises in the womb, during illness, on the cremation ground, or upon hearing the Puranas were permanent--who would not be liberated from bondage!
28. When he comes out of the womb, after experiencing his karma, then verily the man is bewildered by the magic of Visnu.
29. Then, when he is touched by that magic, powerless, he is unable to speak. He experiences the miseries of infancy and childhood arising from dependence.
30. He is nourished by people who do not understand his wishes, unable to ward off what is thrust upon him against his desire.
31. Lain upon a bed unclean and befouled by perspiration, he is unable to scratch his limbs, to sit, rise or move.
32. Mosquitoes, gnats, bugs and other flies bite him, skinless and weeping and deprived of understanding, just as insects bite little worms.
33. In this wise having experienced the miseries of infancy and of childhood, he reaches youth and acquires evil tendencies.
34. Then he begins evil brooding, mingling in the company of the wicked; he hates the scriptures and good men, and becomes lustful.
35. Seeing a seductive woman, his senses captivated by her blandishments, infatuated he falls into great darkness, like a moth into a flame.
36. The deer, the elephant, the bird, the bee and the fish: these five are led to destruction by one of the senses; how then shall the infatuated one not be destroyed, when he enjoys the five kinds of objects by five senses.
37. He longs for the unobtainable, and on account of ignorance becomes angry and sorry, and his pride and anger increase with the growth of his body.
38. The lover makes quarrels with rivals, to his own ruin and is destroyed by those stronger than himself, as one elephant by another.
39. Who is more sinful than the fool who, attached to sense-objects, spends in vain the human birth which was difficult to obtain.
40: After hundreds of lives one obtains human birth on earth; and even more difficult to obtain is that as a twice-born: and who then only provides for and pampers the senses, through foolishness lets slip the nectar from his hand.
41. Then, having arrived at old age, he is troubled with great diseases; and, death having come, he goes to a miserable hell, as before.
42. Thus held fast in the ever-circling noose of karma, the sinful, bewildered by my magic, are never released.
43. Thus I have related to you, O Tarkaya, how the sinful, deprived of the sacrifices for the dead, go in hell. What else do you wish to hear?
Babhruvahana's Sacrament for the Departed One
1. Suta said: Having heard this, Garuda, trembling like a leaf of the holy fig-tree, again questioned Kesava for the benefit of men.
2. Garuda said: Tell me by what means men who have committed sins unknowingly or knowingly escape from the torments of the servants of Yama.
3-4. For those men who are immersed in the ocean of transmigration, of weak intelligence, their reason clouded by sin, their self dimmed by attachment to sense-objects--
For their uplifting tell me, O Lord, the exact meaning of the Puranas; and the means by which people attain a happy condition, O Madhava.
5. The Blessed Lord said: O Tarkaya, you have done well in asking for the benefit of men, Listen attentively, and I will tell you all.
6. Hard indeed, as already said, is the fate of the sinful and those without sons; but never so, O Lord of Birds, that of those who have sons and who are righteous,
7. If by any past action of his the birth of a son has been prevented, then some means should be taken for obtaining a son.
8. Having listened to the Harivansa, or performed the Satachandi, or worshipped the Blessed Siva with devotion, the intelligent should beget a son.
9. The son saves his father from the hell called Put; therefore he was named "putra" by the Self-existent himself.
10. Even a single son, if righteous, carries the whole family over. 'By the son he conquers the worlds,' is the ancient saying.
11. The Vedas also proclaim the great importance of the son. Accordingly, having seen the face of a son, one is released from the debt to the forefathers.
12. By the touch of his grandson a mortal is released from the three-fold debt. With the help of sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons he goes from the worlds and obtains heaven.
13. The son of a Brahma marriage uplifts, but the illegitimate drags down. Knowing this, O Best of Birds, one should avoid a woman of lower caste.
14. Sons having father and mother of the same caste are legitimate, O Bird. They alone, by making Sraddha-gifts are the means of their fathers' attaining heaven.
15. Need I say one attains heaven by means of the Sraddha performed by a son, when a Departed One went to heaven even when it was offered by another. Now listen.
16. Concerning this I will give you, from ancient history, an example of the efficacy of gifts for the higher body.
17-19. Formerly, in the Treta age, Tarkaya, there reigned over the delightful city of Mahodaya a king named Babhruvahana, who was very powerful, and firm in righteousness,
A sacrificer, Lord of Gifts, prosperous, a lover of Brahmans, valuing the good, endowed with good character and of good conduct, compassionate, skilled,
Righteously protecting his subjects as though they were his own sons, always delighting in Ksattriya duties, and punishing the guilty.
20-21. Once, that powerful king, with his army, went hunting. He entered a thick forest, full of various kinds of trees,
Crowded with various species of animals, and resounding with the cries of various birds. In the midst of the forest the king saw a deer in the distance.
22. The deer, severely wounded by his very hard arrow, ran out of sight into the interior of the forest, carrying the arrow with him.
23. The king, following the blood-stains on the grass, pursued the deer and came into another forest.
24. That leader of men, hungry and with parched throat, fainting with the heat and with fatigue, coming to a lake bathed in it with his horse.
25-27. Then, having drunk of that cool water, rendered fragrant by the-pollen of the lotus, Babhruvahana came out of the water refreshed,
And saw a delightful fig-tree, giving cool shade with its large spreading boughs, sounding with many birds,
And standing like a big standard over the whole forest. The king approached and sat at its root.
28. Now he beheld a Departed One, of terrible appearance, humpbacked and fleshless, with hair erect, dirty, and with senses discomposed by hunger and thirst.
29-31. Seeing him deformed and dreadful Babhruvahana wondered. The Departed One, also seeing the king who had come to that dreadful forest,
And becoming filled with curiosity, came near to him. Then, O Tarkaya, this king of the Departed spoke thus to the king:
"I have escaped the condition of the Departed and reached the highest condition, by being in touch with you, O Great-Armed one,--I am highly blessed."
32-33. The king said: "O Black-complexioned and Gaping-mouthed, by what bad deeds did you reach this state of the Departed, dreadful to see, and highly unhappy?"
"Tell me in detail the cause of your condition, dear. Who are you, and by what gifts will your condition as Departed pass away?"
34-38. The Departed one said: "I will tell you everything from the beginning, O Best of Kings. You will surely have compassion upon me when you have heard the cause of my condition as Departed,
"There is a town named Vaidasa, possessed of all prosperity, having many districts, and abounding in precious stones of various kinds,
"Beautiful with palaces and mansions, and in which many religious acts are performed. There, O Reverend Sir, I dwelt, always engaged in worship of the Shining Ones.
"By caste I am a Vaishya, by name Sudeva, please know. By fire-offering I pleased the Shining Ones, and likewise the forefathers by food.
"I gladdened the twice-born by offering various gifts. I gave food of various kinds to the poor, the blind and the wretched.
39-41. "All this, O King, through my evil fate has proved fruitless. How my good deeds proved fruitless I will relate to you.
"I have no offspring, no companion, no relative and no friend like you, who will perform for me the ceremonies for the-higher body.
"If the sixteen monthly Sraddhas, O great king, are not performed, the condition as Departed becomes firmly fixed, even if hundreds of annual Sraddhas are performed for him.
42-45. "Uplift me then, O Lord of Earth, by doing the ceremonies for my higher body. It is said that in this world the king is the kinsman of all castes.
"Therefore, O Lord of Kings, help me over, and I will give you a most precious jewel, so that my departed condition may be destroyed, and my higher state arise.
"In that manner please act, O warrior, if you desire my welfare. Suffering from the misery of hunger and thirst, I cannot endure this departed condition.
"In this forest there is sweet and cool water, and pleasant fruits, but I am not able to grasp them at all, although afflicted with hunger and thirst.
46-48. "If the great Narayana rite is performed for me, O King, along with all the ceremonies for the higher body, with Vaidic mantras,
"Then surely my condition as departed will unfailingly pass away. Vaidic mantras, austerities, gifts, and compassion to all beings,
"Listening to holy scriptures, worship of Visnu, association with the good,--these, I have heard, are the destroyers of the departed condition.
49-50. "So I will tell you about the worship of Visnu, the destroyer of the departed condition. Bring two pieces of gold, honestly gained, and make one image of Narayana from them, O King.
"Dress it with a pair of yellow cloths, put on it various ornaments, bathe it in many waters,--and placing it, you should worship thus.
51-56. "Place Sridhara to the east of it, Madhusudana to the south, to the west Vamanadeva, to the north Gadadhara,
"In the middle Pitamaha and also Maheswara. Worship these in turn with sandal-paste and flowers, according to the rite.
"Then, having gone round them, make offerings in the fire to these deities. Make offerings to the universal deities with clarified butter, curds and milk.
"Next, having bathed, calm and controlled in mind, the sacrificer should perform, according to the rite, in front of Narayana, the ceremony for the upper body.
"He must commence, as prescribed in the scriptures, by giving up anger and greed, and perform all the ceremonies and the release of a bull.
"Then he must give thirteen sets of pots to Brahmins, and having made the gift of a bed, consecrate a pot of water for the sake of the departed."
57. The king said, "How is the pot for the departed to be prepared, and in accordance with what: rites must it be given? Tell me, on account of my sympathy for all, about the pot which gives release to the departed."
58-63. The departed said: "Oh Great King, you have done well in asking this. Please take notice and l will describe that good gift by which the departed condition cannot exist.
"The gift which is named 'the pot for the departed,' is a destroyer of all evil. In all the worlds it is difficult to obtain this dissipator of evil conditions.
"Having prepared a pot of refined gold, consecrated it to Brahma, Îsa and Kesava, and all the guardians of the quarters, filled it with clarified butter and worshipped before it with devotion, give it to a twice-born. What good are a hundred other gifts from you?
"Brahma in the middle, likewise Visnu, and Sankara, eternal giver of happiness; in the east and other directions, in the neck of it, the guardians of the universe, in order--
"These having duly worshipped, O King, with incenses, flowers and sandal-paste, one should give away the golden pot, full of milk and clarified butter.
"This gift, O King, which is superior to all other gifts in removing great sins, should be made with faith, for the release of the departed."
64-65. The Blessed Lord spoke on: His army, while he was thus conversing with the departed, followed him up, with elephants, horses and chariots, O Kasyapa.
On the arrival of the army the departed one, having given the great jewel to the king, bowed to him, again implored him, and became invisible.
66-68. Having come out of the forest, the king returned to his city, and arrived there remembering all that was said by the departed one.
He duly performed; O Bird, the rites and ceremonies for the dweller in the upper body, and the departed, released by these sacred gifts, attained heaven.
By the Sraddha, performed even by a stranger, the departed attain a happy state,--what wonder then that when the son performs it the father should reach it!
60. He who hears, and he who causes others to hear this holy history, never go to the departed condition, though they may. have acted sinfully.