Pious Gifts


Dec 24, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — From 'The Institutes of Vishnu', translated by Julius Jolly, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1880.


1. A cow in the act of bringing forth a young one is (comparable to) the earth.

2. By bestowing such a cow upon a Brahmana, after having decked her with ornaments, he obtains the same reward as if he were to bestow the earth (upon him).

3. There is a stanza in regard to this subject:

4. 'One who full of faith and with intense application of mind gives away a pregnant cow, enters heaven for as many Yugas (or ages of the world) as that cow and her calf together have hairs on their bodies.'


1. The month Karttika is sacred to the god Agni.

2. Agni is the first of all gods.

3. Therefore is that man purified from every sin committed during the past year, who persists during the month Karttika in bathing (daily) out of the village, in muttering the Gayatri, and in taking a single meal each day, consisting of food fit for oblations.

4. He who bathes (at the prescribed time, early in the morning) constantly, during the whole month Karttika, who keeps his organs of sense under control, who mutters (the Gayatri), who eats food fit for oblations only, and who governs his passions, is purified from every sin.


1. If on the fifteenth of the bright half of the month Margasirsha the moon enters the lunar asterism. Mrigasiras, he must give at the time when the moon rises (a vessel with) a golden centre, containing a Prastha of ground salt, to a Brahmana.

2. By (performing) this rite he obtains beauty and good fortune in a future birth.

3. If on the full moon day of the month Pausha the moon enters the lunar asterism Pushya, he must rub over his body with a dough prepared with white mustard-seeds, anoint himself with a kumbha of clarified butter made of cow-milk, wash himself with (water and with) all sorts of medicinal herbs, all sorts of perfumes, and all sorts of seeds, wash (an image of) Bhagavat Vasudeva (Vishnu) with clarified butter, and worship him with perfumes, flowers, incense, with a lamp, with eatables, and the like, offer an oblation in the fire with Mantras tending to the praise of Vishnu (such as Rig-veda I, 22, 17, and others), Mantras tending to the praise of Indra (such as Rig-veda VI, 47, 11, and others), Mantras tending to the praise of Brihaspati (such as Rig-veda II, 23, 15, and others, and with one Mantra tending to the praise of Agni Svishtakrit), and cause three Brahmanas to pronounce the benediction, after having bestowed clarified butter and gold upon them.

4. To the priest (who has performed the burnt-oblation for him) he must give a pair of garments.

5. By (performing) this rite he obtains prosperity (pushyate).

6. If on the full moon day in the month Magha the moon enters the lunar asterism Magha and he performs a Sraddha with sesamum on that day, he is purified.

7. If on the full moon day in the month Phalguna the moon enters the lunar asterism Uttaraphalguni, and he gives on that day a bedstead, quite complete and covered with good rugs, to a Brahmana, he obtains an amiable, handsome, and wealthy wife.

8. A woman who does the same, (obtains) a husband (possessing those qualities).

9. If on the full moon day of the month Kaitra the moon enters the lunar asterism Kitra, and he gives a variegated (kitra) garment (to a Brahmana) on that day, he obtains good fortune.

10. If on the full moon day of the month Vaisakha the moon enters the lunar asterism Visakha, and he feeds on that day seven Brahmanas with sesamum. mixed with honey, in order to please king Dharma, he is purified from his sins.

11. If on the full moon day of the month Gyaishtha the moon enters the lunar asterism Gyeshtha and he gives on that day an umbrella and a pair of shoes (to a Brahmana), he becomes possessed of many cows.

12. If on the full moon day of the month Ashadha the moon is seen in conjunction with the lunar asterism Uttarashadha and he gives food and drink (to a Brahmana) on that day, he renders (the satisfaction effected by) them imperishable.

13. If on the full moon day of the month Sravana the moon is seen in conjunction with the lunar asterism Sravana and he gives a milch cow covered with two garments, together with food (to a Brahmana), he attains heaven.

14. If on the full moon day of the month Praushthapada (or Bhadrapada) the moon is seen in conjunction with the lunar asterism Uttaraproshthapada (or Uttarabhadrapada), and he gives a cow (to a Brahmana) on that day, he is cleansed from every sin.

15. If on the full moon day of the month Asvayuga (or Asvina) the moon is seen in conjunction with the lunar asterism Asvini, and he gives a vessel filled with clarified butter, and gold (to a Brahmana) on that day, he obtains an excellent digestive faculty.

16. If on the full moon day of the month Karttika the moon enters the lunar asterism. Krittika, and he bestows on that day, at the time of moonrise, upon a Brahmana, a white bull, or one of a different colour, together with all sorts of grains, all sorts of jewels, and all sorts of perfumes, after having lighted lamps on both sides (of the bull), he will meet with no danger on perilous roads.

17. If on the third day of the bright half of the month Vaisakha he worships, after having fasted, Vasudeva (Vishnu) with (one thousand and eight, or one hundred) unbroken grains (of barley, while muttering the Mantra, Om namo bhagavate, vasudevaya), and offers up the same in fire, and gives them (to a Brahmana), he is purified from every sin.

18. And whatever he gives on that day becomes imperishable.

19. If on the twelfth day of the dark half following on the full moon day of the month Pausha, he washes himself, after having kept a fast, with sesamum-seeds, gives water mixed with sesamum (to the manes), worships Vasudeva with sesamum, offers up (part of) the same in fire, gives to Brahmanas of it, and eats (the remainder himself) he is purified from his sins.

20. (If) on the twelfth day of the (the dark half following on the full moon day of the month Magha, moon enters Sravana), he must keep a fast till the moon has entered that asterism, and place two lamps with two large wicks near (an image of) Vasudeva;

21. Placing on the right hand (of the. image of Vasudeva, and kindling, a lamp) containing one hundred and eight Palas of clarified butter, with an entire piece of cloth (together with the fringes) dyed with saffron (as wick) in it;

22. (And placing) on its left, (and kindling, a lamp) containing one hundred and eight Palas of sesamum oil, with an entire piece of white cloth (as wick) in it.

23. He who has performed this rite obtains exquisite happiness, in whatever kingdom, in whatever province, and in whatever race he may be born again.

24. He who gives daily during the whole month Asvina clarified butter to Brahmanas, in order to please the two Asvins, obtains beauty.

25. He who feeds daily during; that mouth (three) Brahmanas with (milk and other) bovine productions, obtains a kingdom.

26. He who feeds on the Revata day of every month (three) Brahmanas with rice boiled in milk with sugar and mixed with honey and clarified butter, in order to please .(the goddess) Revati, obtains beauty.

27. He who daily throughout the month Magha offers sesamum-seeds in fire and feeds (three) Brahmanas with sour rice-gruel mixed with clarified butter, obtains an excellent digestive power.

28. He who bathes in a river and worships king Dharma on the fourteenth of both halves of every month, is purified from every sin.

29. One desirous of obtaining the manifold advantages attending an eclipse of the sun or moon must constantly bathe in the mornings during the two months Magha and Phalguna.


1. The digger of a well has (the consequences of) the half of his evil acts taken from him as soon as the water comes forth from it.

2. A digger of pools is for ever freed from thirst, and attains the world of Varuna.

3. A giver of water shall never suffer from thirst (in heaven, for a hundred Yugas or ages of the world).

4. He who plants trees will have those trees for his sons in a future existence.

5. A giver of trees gladdens the gods by (offering up) their blossoms to them.

6. (He gladdens) his guests by (giving) their fruits to them;

7. (He gladdens) travellers with their shade;

8. (He gladdens) the manes with the water (trickling down from their leaves) when it rains.

9. A maker of dikes attains heaven.

10. A builder of temples enters the dwelling-place of that deity to whom he has erected a temple.

11. He who causes (a temple erected by another) to be whitewashed acquires brilliant fame.

12. He who causes (such a temple) to be painted with (a different) colour (such as blue, yellow, and others) attains the world of the Gandharvas.

13. By giving flowers he becomes fortunate.

14. By giving ointments he acquires renown.

15. By giving a lamp he obtains an excellent eyesight and exquisite happiness.

16. By giving food he obtains strength.

17. By removing the remains of an offering to a deity he obtains the same reward as for giving a cow.

18. The same reward is also obtained by scouring a temple, by smearing it (with cow-dung and the like), by removing the leavings of the food of a Brahmana, by washing his feet, and by nursing him when sick.

19. He who consecrates anew a well, or a park, or a pool, or a temple (when they have been soiled) obtains the same reward as he who first made them.


1. Protecting (one attacked by robbers, or by tigers, or otherwise in danger) is more meritorious than any (other) gift.

2. By doing so he obtains that place of abode (after death) which he desires himself.

3. By giving land he obtains the same (heavenly reward).

4. By giving land to the extent of a bull's hide only he is purified from every sin.

5. By giving a cow he attains heaven.

6. A giver of ten milch cows (obtains) the mansion of cows (after death).

7. A giver of a hundred milch cows enters the mansions of Brahman (after death).

8. He who gives (a milch cow) with gilt horns, with hoofs covered with silver, with a tail wound with a string of pearls, with a milk-pail of white copper, and with a cover of cloth, shall reside in heaven for as many years as the cow has hairs on her body;

9. Particularly, if it is a brown cow.

10. He who has given a tamed bull is (equal in virtue to) a giver of ten milch cows.

11. The giver of a horse attains the mansion of Surya (the sun-god).

12. The giver of a garment (attains) the mansion of Kandra (the god of the moon).

13. By giving gold (he attains) the mansion of Agni (the god of fire).

14. By giving silver (rupya, he obtains) beauty (rupa).

15. By giving dishes (patra) made of (gold or silver or other) metal he renders himself worthy (patra) to obtain everything he may desire.

16. By giving clarified butter, honey, or oil (he acquires) freedom from disease;

17. The same by giving (boiled or otherwise dressed) drugs.

18. By giving salt (lavana, he obtains) personal charms (lavanya).

19. By giving grain (produced in the rainy season, such as Syamaka grain, he acquires) satiation;

20. The same (effect is obtained) by giving grain (produced in winter or spring, such as wild turmeric or wheat).

21. A giver of food (obtains) all the rewards (enumerated above).

22. By giving grain (of any of the kinds not mentioned before, such as Kulattha or Kodrava grain, he obtains) good fortune.

23. A giver of sesamum (obtains) such offspring as he desires.

24. A giver of fuel (obtains) an excellent digestive power;

25. And he obtains victory in every fight.

26. By giving a seat (he obtains) high rank.

27. By giving a bed (of the kind declared above, he procures) a wife (possessed of the qualities mentioned above).

28. By giving a pair of shoes (he obtains) a carriage yoked with mules.

29. By giving an umbrella (he attains) heaven.

30. By giving a fan or a chowrie (he obtains) prosperity in travelling.

31. By giving a house (he receives) the post of governor of a town.

32. Whatever a man is most fond of in this world (himself) and what his family like best, all that he must bestow upon a virtuous (Brahmana), if he wishes it to become imperishable.


1. What is given to another than a Brahmana produces the same fruit in the world to come.

2. (What is given) to one who calls himself a Brahmana (because he was born and initiated as such, but who does not perform his daily duties) produces twice the same fruit.

3. (What is given) to one who has studied the main portions of the Veda produces a thousand times the same fruit.

4. (What is given) to one who has mastered the whole Veda, produces infinite fruit.

5. A domestic priest may claim gifts from his own employer (but from no one else).

6. And so may a sister, a daughter and sons-in-law (or other connections claim gifts from their. brother, father, etc., but not from a stranger).

7. One who knows his duty must not give even water to a twice-born man who acts like a cat, or to a Brahmana who acts like a crane, or to one who has not studied the Veda.

8. One who constantly hoists the flag of religion, and who is avaricious, crafty, deceitful, pitiless, and a calumniator of everybody, such a man is said to act like a cat.

9. One who hangs his head, who is bent upon, injuring others and upon his own gain, artful, and falsely demure, such a man is said to act like, a crane.

10. Those who act like cranes in this world, and those who act like cats, fall into (the hell called) Andhatamisra on account of their wickedness.

11. If a man has committed an offence and does penance for it, he must not do so under pretext of performing an act of piety, covering his crime under a (fictitious) vow, and imposing on women and Sudras.

12. A Brahmana who acts thus, is despised in the next life and in this by those who know the Veda, and the penance performed by him under such false pretence goes to the (demons called) Rakshasas.

13. One who gains his subsistence by wearing (a lock on the crown of the head or other) distinguishing marks of a caste or religious order, to which he does not belong, takes upon himself the (consequences of the) sins committed by those who have a right to those marks, and enters in a future birth the womb of an animal.

14. He must not give (to a panegyrist) from vain-glory, or from fear, or to a friend (from whom he hopes to obtain benefit), nor (must he bestow gifts), with a view to acquire religious merit, upon dancers or singers, that is a fixed rule.


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