Pitris

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 24 Jul 2011 17:10 and updated at 24 Jul 2011 17:10

VISHNU PURANA NOUN

vp.1.5 pervaded his body; and thence the demons (the Asuras) were first born, issuing from his thigh. Brahma then abandoned that form which was, composed of the rudiment of darkness, and which, being deserted by him, became night. Continuing to create, but assuming a different. shape, he experienced pleasure; and thence from his mouth proceeded the gods, endowed with the quality of goodness. The form abandoned by him, became day, in which the good quality predominates; and hence by day the gods are most powerful, and by night the demons. He next adopted another person, in which the rudiment of goodness also prevailed; and thinking of himself, as the father of the world, the progenitors (the Pitris) were born from his side. The body, when he abandoned, it, became the Sandhya (or evening twilight), the interval between day and night. Brahma then assumed another person, pervaded by the quality of foulness; and from this, men, in whom foulness (or passion) predominates, were produced. Quickly abandoning that body, it became morning twilight, or the dawn. At the appearance of this light of day, men feel most vigour; while the progenitors are most powerful in the evening season. In this manner, Maitreya, Jyotsna (dawn), Ratri (night), Ahar (day), and Sandhya (evening), are the four bodies of Brahma invested by the three qualities 15.
vp.1.5 In this manner all creatures, great or small, proceeded from his limbs. The great progenitor of the world having formed the gods, demons, and Pitris, created, in the commencement of the Kalpa, the Yakshas, Pisachas (goblins), Gandharbas and the troops of Apsarasas the nymphs of heaven, Naras (centaurs, or beings with the limbs of horses and human
vp.1.6 The means of subsistence having been provided for the beings he had created, Brahma prescribed laws suited to their station and faculties, the duties of the several castes and orders 9, and the regions of those of the different castes who were observant of their duties. The heaven of the Pitris is the region of devout Brahmans. The sphere of Indra, of
vp.1.7 The patriarch Daksha had by Prasuti twenty four daughters 11: hear from me their names: Sraddha (faith), Lakshmi (prosperity), Dhriti (steadiness), Tushti (resignation), Pushti (thriving), Medha (intelligence), Kriya (action, devotion), Buddhi (intellect), Lajja (modesty), Vapu (body), Santi (expiation), Siddhi (perfection), Kirtti (fame): these thirteen daughters of Daksha, Dharma (righteousness) took to wife. The other eleven bright eyed and younger daughters of the patriarch were, Khyati (celebrity), Sati (truth), Sambhuti (fitness), Smriti (memory), Priti (affection), Kshama (patience), Sannati (humility), Anasuya (charity), Urjja (energy), with Swaha (offering), and Swadha (oblation). These maidens were respectively wedded to the Munis, Bhrigu, Bhava, Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, and Vasishtha; to Fire Vahni(), and to the Pitris (progenitors) 12.
vp.1.8 surrounded by the singers and nymphs of heaven, and by numerous sages, beneath the shade of clustering trees and climbing plants; and all of them, whether dwellers on earth, in air, or in the regions above the skies, approached the patriarch with outward gestures of respect. The adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, all entitled to partake of the oblations, together with Jishnu, were present. The four classes of Pitris, Ushmapas, Somapas, ajyapas, and Dhumapas, or those who feed upon the flame, the acid juice, the butter, or the smoke of offerings, the Aswins and the progenitors, came along with Brahma. Creatures of every class, born from the womb, the egg, from vapour, or vegetation, came upon their invocation; as did all the gods, with their brides, who in their resplendent vehicles blazed like so many fires. Beholding them thus assembled, the sage Dadhicha was filled with indignation, and observed, The man who worships what ought not to be worshipped, or pays not reverence where veneration is due, is guilty, most assuredly, of heinous sin. Then addressing Daksha, he said to him, Why do you not offer homage to the god who is the lord of life Pasubhartri()? Daksha spake; I have already many Rudras present, armed with tridents, wearing braided hair, and existing in eleven forms: I recognise no other Mahadeva. Dadhicha spake; The invocation that is not addressed to Isa, is, for all, but a solitary (and imperfect) summons. Inasmuch as I behold no other divinity who is
vp.1.10 [paragraph continues] Brahma, had, by Swaha, three sons of surpassing brilliancy, Pavaka, Pavamana, and suchi, who drinks up water: they had forty five sons, who, with the original son of Brahma and his three descendants, constitute the forty nine fires 9. The progenitors Pitris(), who, as I have mentioned, were created by Brahma, were the Agnishwattas and Varhishads; the former being devoid of, and the latter possessed of, fires 10. By them, Swadha had two daughters, Mena and Dharani, who were both acquainted with theological truth, and both addicted to religious meditation; both accomplished in perfect wisdom, and adorned with all estimable qualities 11. Thus has been explained the progeny of the
vp.1.13 Prithu accordingly uprooted the mountains, by hundreds and thousands, for myriads of leagues, and they were thenceforth piled upon one another. Before his time there were no defined boundaries of villages or towns, upon the irregular surface of the earth; there was no cultivation, no pasture, no agriculture, no highway for merchants: all these things (or all civilization) originated in the reign of Prithu. Where the ground was made level, the king induced his subjects to take up their abode. Before his time, also, the fruits and roots which constituted the food of the people were procured with great difficulty, all vegetables having been destroyed; and he therefore, having made Swayambhuva Manu the calf 8, milked the Earth, and received the milk into his own hand, for the benefit of mankind. Thence proceeded all kinds of corn and vegetables upon which people subsist now and perpetually. By granting life to the Earth, Prithu was as her father, and she thence derived the patronymic appellation Prithivi (the daughter of Prithu). Then the gods, the sages, the demons, the Rakshasas, the Gandharbhas, Yakshas, Pitris, serpents, mountains, and trees, took a milking vessel suited to their kind, and milked the earth of appropriate milk, and the milker and the calf were both peculiar to their own species 9.
vp.1.22 WHEN Prithu was installed in the government of the earth, the great father of the spheres established sovereignties in other parts of the creation. Soma was appointed monarch of the stars and planets, of Brahmans and of plants, of sacrifices and of penance. Vaisravana was made king over kings; and Varuna, over the waters. Vishnu was the chief of the adityas; Pavaka, of the Vasus; Daksha, of the patriarchs; Vasava, of the winds. To Prahlada was assigned dominion over the Daityas and Danavas; and Yama, the king of justice, was appointed the monarch of the Manes Pitris(). Airavata was made the king of elephants; Garuda, of birds; Indra, of the gods. Uchchaisravas was the chief of horses; Vrishabha, of kine. sesha became the snake king; the lion, the monarch of the beasts; and the sovereign of the trees was the holy fig tree 1. Having thus fixed the limits of each authority, the great progenitor Brahma stationed rulers for the protection of the different quarters of the world: he made Sudhanwan, the son of the patriarch Viraja, the regent of the east; Sankhapada, the son of the patriarch Kardama, of the south; the immortal Ketumat, the son of Rajas, regent of the west; and Hiranyaroman, the son of the patriarch Parjanya, regent of the north 2. By these the whole earth, with its seven continents and its
vp.2.8 Description of the sun: his chariot; its two axles: his horses. The cities of the regents of the cardinal points. The sun s course: nature of his rays: his path along the ecliptic. Length of day and night. Divisions of time: equinoxes and solstices, months, years, the cyclical Yuga, or age of five years. Northern and southern declinations. Saints on the Lokaloka mountain. Celestial paths of the Pitris, gods, Vishnu. Origin of Ganga, and separation, on the top of Meru, into four great rivers.
vp.2.8 On the north of Agastya, and south of the line of the Goat, exterior to the Vaiswanara path, lies the road of the Pitris 21. There dwell the great
vp.2.12 the form of the moon 2. Having drank the nectar effused by the lunar rays on the day of conjunction, the progenitors are satisfied, and remain tranquil for the ensuing month. These progenitors (or Pitris) are of three classes, termed Saumyas, Varhishadas, and Agnishwattas 3. In this manner the moon, with its cooling rays, nourishes the gods in the light fortnight, the Pitris in the dark fortnight; vegetables, with the cool nectary aqueous atoms it sheds upon them; and through their developement it sustains men, animals, and insects; at the same time gratifying them by its radiance.
vp.3.5 meditated upon as the visible form of Vishnu, as the impersonation of the mystic Om: to him who nourishes the troops of the gods, having filled the moon with his rays; who feeds the Pitris with nectar and ambrosia, and who nourishes mankind with rain; who pours down or absorbs the waters in the time of the rains, of cold, and of heat. Glory be to Brahma, the sun, in the form of the three seasons: he who alone is the dispeller of the darkness of this earth, of which he is the sovereign lord: to the god who is clad in the raiment of purity be adoration. Glory to the sun, until whose rising man is incapable of devout acts, and water does not purify, and touched by whose rays the world is fitted for religious rites: to him who is the centre and source of purification. Glory to Savitri, to Surya, to Bhaskara, to Vivaswat, to aditya, to the first born of gods or demons. I adore the eye of the universe, borne in a golden car, whose banners scatter ambrosia."
vp.3.11 the earth, to water, and to rain, in a pitcher at hand; and to Dhatri and Vidhatri at the doors of his house, and in the middle of it to Brahma. Let the wise man also offer the Bali, consisting of the residue of the oblations, to Indra, Yama, Varuna, and Soma, at the four cardinal points of his dwelling, the east and the rest; and in the north east quarter he will present it to Dhanwantari 10. After having thus worshipped the domestic deities, he will next offer part of the residue to all the gods (the Viswadevas); then, in the north west quarter, to Vayu (wind); then, in all directions, to the points of the horizon, to Brahma, to the atmosphere, and to the sun; to all the gods, to all beings, to the lords of beings, to the Pitris, to twilight. Then taking other rice 11, let the householder at pleasure cast it upon a clean spot of ground, as an offering to all beings, repeating with collected mind this prayer; May gods, men, animals, birds, saints, Yakshas, serpents, demons, ghosts, goblins, trees, all that desire food given by me; may ants, worms, moths, and other insects, hungered and bound in the bonds of acts; may all obtain satisfaction from the food left them by me, and enjoy happiness. May they who have neither mother, nor father, nor relations, nor food, nor the means of preparing it, be satisfied and pleased with the food presented for their contentment 12. Inasmuch as all beings, and this food, and I, and Vishnu are not different, I therefore give for their
vp.3.13 parts of the hand sacred to the gods and to Prajapati, balls of food 2, with curds, unbruised grain, and jujubes; and should perform, on every accession of good fortune, the rite by which the class of progenitors termed Nandimukha is propitiated 3. A householder should diligently worship the Pitris so named, at the marriage of a son or daughter, on entering a new dwelling, on giving a name to a child, on performing his tonsure and other purificatory ceremonies, at the binding of the mother s hair during gestation, or on first seeing the face of a son, or the like.
vp.3.14 "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
vp.3.14 [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.
vp.3.14 "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,
vp.3.14 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."
vp.3.15 "A false friend, a man with ugly nails or black teeth, a ravisher, a Brahman who neglects the service of fire and sacred study, a vender of the Soma plant, a man accused of any crime, a thief, a calumniator, a Brahman who conducts religious ceremonies for the vulgar; one who instructs his servant in holy writ, or is instructed in it by his servant; the husband of a woman who has been formerly betrothed to another; a man who is undutiful to his parents; the protector of the husband of a woman of the servile caste, or the husband of a woman of the servile caste; and a Brahman who ministers to idols are not proper persons to be invited to au ancestral offering 5. On the first day let a judicious man invite eminent teachers of the Vedas, and other Brahmans; and according to their directions determine what is to be dedicated to the gods, and what to the Pitris. Associated with the Brahmans, let the institutor of an obsequial rite abstain from anger and incontinence. He who having eaten himself in a sraddha, and fed Brahmans, and appointed them to their sacred offices, is guilty of incontinence, thereby sentences his progenitors to shameful suffering. In the first place, the Brahmans before described are to be invited; but those holy men who come to the house without an invitation are also to be entertained. The guests are to be reverently received with water for their feet, and the like; and the entertainer, holding holy grass in his hand, is to place them, after they have
vp.3.15 or the ceremony called Vaiswadeva, which comprehends offerings to both paternal and maternal ancestors, and to ancestors in general. Let him feed the Brahmans who are appropriated to the gods, and to maternal ancestors, with their faces to the north; and those set apart for the paternal ancestors, and ancestors in general, with their faces to the east. Some say that the viands of the sraddha should be kept distinct for these two sets of ancestors, but others maintain that they are to be fed with the same food, at the same time. Having spread Kusa grass for seats, and offered libations according to rule, let the sensible man invoke the deities, with the concurrence of the Brahmans who are present 8. Let the man who is acquainted with the ritual offer a libation to the gods with water and barley, having presented to them flowers, perfumes, and incense. Let him offer the same to the Pitris, placed upon his left; and with the consent of the Brahmans, having first provided seats of Kusa grass doubled, let him invoke with the usual prayers the manes to the ceremony, offering a libation, on his left hand, of water and sesamum. He will then, with the permission of the Brahmans, give food to any guest who arrives at the time, or who is desirous of victuals, or who is passing along the road; for holy saints
vp.3.15 "The class of Pitris derives support from the moon, and the moon is sustained by acts of austere devotion. Hence the appointment of one who practises austerities is most desirable. A Yogi set before a thousand Brahmans enables the institutor of obsequial rites to enjoy all his desires 17."
vp.3.16 Things proper to be offered as food to deceased ancestors: prohibited things. Circumstances vitiating a sraddha: how to be avoided. Song of the Pitris, or progenitors, heard by Ikshwaku.
vp.3.16 is so little as not to satisfy a cow, or smells badly, or is covered with froth. The milk of animals with undivided hoofs, of a camel, a ewe, a deer, or a buffalo, is unfit for ancestral oblations. If an obsequial rite is looked at by a eunuch, a man ejected from society, an outcast, a heretic, a drunken man, or one diseased, by a cock, a naked ascetic 3, a monkey, a village hag, by a woman in her courses or pregnant, by an unclean person, or by a carrier of corpses, neither gods nor progenitors will partake of the food. The ceremony should therefore be performed in a spot carefully enclosed. Let the performer cast sesamum on the ground, and drive away malignant spirits. Let him not give food that is fetid, or vitiated by hairs or insects, or mixed with acid gruel, or stale. Whatever suitable food is presented with pure faith, and with the enunciation of name and race, to ancestors, at an obsequial oblation, becomes food to them (or gives them nourishment). In former times, O king of the earth! this song of the Pitris was heard by Ikshwaku, the son of Manu, in the groves of Kalapa (on the skirts of the Himalaya mountains): Those of our descendants shall follow a righteous path who shall reverently present us with cakes at Gaya. May he be born in our race who shall give us, on the thirteenth of Bhadrapada and Magha, milk, honey, and clarified butter; or when he marries a maiden, or liberates a black bull 4,

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