Of occasional sraddhas, or obsequial ceremonies: when most efficacious, and at what places.
Aurva proceeded. "Let the devout performer of an ancestral oblation propitiate Brahma, Indra, Rudra, the aswins, the sun, fire, the
[paragraph continues] Vasus, the winds, the Viswadevas, the sages, birds, men, animals, reptiles, progenitors, and all existent things, by offering adoration to them
monthly, on the fifteenth day of the moon s wane (or dark fortnight), or on the eighth day of the same period in certain months, or at particular seasons, as I will explain.
"When a householder finds that any circumstance has occurred, or a distinguished guest has arrived, on which account ancestral ceremonies are appropriate, the should celebrate them. He should offer a voluntary sacrifice upon any atmospheric portent, at the equinoctial and solstitial periods, at eclipses of the sun and moon, on the sun s entrance into a zodiacal sign, upon unpropitious aspects of the planets and asterisms, on dreaming unlucky dreams, and on eating the grain of the year s harvest. The Pitris 1 derive satisfaction for eight years from ancestral offerings upon the day of new moon when the star of the conjunction 2 is Anuradha, Visakha, or Swati; and for twelve years when it is Pushya, Ardra, or Punarvasu. It is not easy for a man to effect his object, who is desirous of worshipping the Pitris or the gods on a day of new moon when the stars are those of Dhanishtha, Purvabhadrapada, or satabhisha. Hear also an account of another class of Sraddhas, which afford especial contentment to progenitors, as explained by Sanatkumara, the son of Brahma, to the magnanimous Pururavas, when full of faith and devotion to the Pitris he inquired how he might please them. The third lunar day of the month Vaisakha April(, May), and the ninth of Kartika
[paragraph continues] October(, November), in the light fortnight; the thirteenth of Nabha (July, August), and the fifteenth of Magha January(, February), in the dark fortnight; are called by ancient teachers the anniversaries of the first day of a Yuga, or age Yugadya(), and are esteemed most sacred. On these days, water mixed with sesamum seeds should be regularly presented to the progenitors of mankind; as well as on every solar and lunar eclipse; on the eighth lunations of the dark fortnights of Agrahayana, Magha, and Phalguna December( February); on the two days commencing the solstices, when the nights and days alternately begin to diminish; on those days which are the anniversaries of the beginning of the Manwantaras; when the sun is in the path of the goat; and on all occurrences of meteoric phenomena. A sraddha at these seasons contents the Pitris for a thousand years: such is the secret which they have imparted. The fifteenth day of the dark half of the month Magha, when united with the conjunction of the asterism over which Varuna presides Satabhisha(), is a season of no little sanctity, when offerings are especially grateful to the progenitors. Food and water presented by men who are of respectable families, when the asterism Dhanishtha is combined with the day of new moon, content the Pitris for ten thousand years; whilst they repose for a whole age when satisfied by offerings made on the day of new moon when ardra is the lunar mansion.
"He who, after having offered food and libations to the Pitris, bathes in the Ganges, Satlaj, Vipasa Beyah(), Saraswati, or the Gomati at Naimisha, expiates all his sins. The Pitris also say, After having received satisfaction for a twelvemonth, we shall further derive gratification by libations offered by our descendants at some place of pilgrimage, at the end of the dark fortnight of Magha. The songs of the Pitris confer purity of heart, integrity of wealth, prosperous seasons, perfect rites, and devout faith; all that men can desire. Hear the verses that constitute those songs, by listening to which all those advantages will be secured, oh prince, by you. That enlightened individual who begrudges not his wealth, but presents us with cakes, shall be born in a distinguished family. Prosperous and affluent shall that man ever be, who in honour of us gives to the Brahmans, if he is wealthy, jewels, clothes,
land, conveyances, wealth, or any valuable presents; or who, with faith and humility, entertains them with food, according to his means, at proper seasons. If he cannot afford to give them dressed food, he must, in proportion to his ability, present them with unboiled grain, or such gifts, however trifling, as he can bestow. Should he be utterly unable even to do this, he must give to some eminent Brahman, bowing at the same time before him, sesamum seeds adhering to the tips of his fingers, and sprinkle water to us, from the palms of his hands, upon the ground; or he must gather, as he may, fodder for a day, and give it to a cow; by which he will, if firm in faith, yield us satisfaction. If nothing of this kind is practicable, he must go to a forest, and lift up his arms to the sun and other regents of the spheres, and say aloud I have no money, nor property, nor grain, nor any thing whatever it for an ancestral offering. Bowing therefore to my ancestors, I hope the progenitors will be satisfied with these arms tossed up in the air in devotion. These are the words of the Pitris themselves; and he who endeavours, with such means as he may possess, to fulfil their wishes, performs the ancestral rite called a sraddha."