In this ritual,idols of
a cow and a calf are made from sugar.After being worshipped they should be
donated to a brahmin.A devotee should live only on sugar for a day.Donating a
Sharkara-Dhenu liberates a man from all his sins. Similarly,donating
Madhu-Dhenu(made from honey),Kheer-Dhenu(made from rice and
milk),Dadhi-Dhenu(curd),Navneet-Dhenu(made from butter),Lavan-Dhenu(salt) and
Karpas-Dhenu(cotton) are all believed to bestow incomparable virtues to a
Describing the holiness
of Kokamukh-teerth,lord Varah narrated a tale to Prithvi-"Once,a fisherman
was trying to catch a large fish in a lake situated at Kokamukh.Suddenly,a hawk
which was flying in the sky, descended down and after picking the fish in it's
beak tried to fly away.But,as the fish was a large one, the hawk could not hold
it for too long.As a result,the hawk fell on the ground being unable to bear the
weight of the fish.But amazingly,the hawk turned into a handsome prince as soon
as it touched the ground."
"In the meantime,the fisherman's wife arrived there carrying some meat-pieces in her hand.A kite,which was flying in the sky tried to snatch those meat-pieces.Seeing this,the fisherman killed that kite with one shot of his arrow.In course of time,the kite took rebirth as a princess of Chandrapur.She was extremely beautiful but hated men.Similarly,the fish was reborn as a prince.As the destiny would have liked it,both of them got married.There was a dramatic change in the attitude of the princess after the marriage as she no longer hated men.On the contrary,she loved her husband so much that she dreaded the thought of separation for even a moment."
"One day,the prince had a severe headache which showed no sign of subsiding.The princess became very worried and summoned the royal physician.The physician left no stone unturned to cure his royal physician but without any success.Somehow,the prince remembered everything about his previous birth and had a firm belief that he would be cured of his illness once he reached Kokamukh-the sacrosanct place of pilgrimage. So he decided to go there accompanied by the princess."
"Both of them reached a place at Kokamukh where they saw the remains(skeleton)of a fish lying on the ground.The prince revealed to his wife that he was a fish in his previous birth and that the skeleton was his.Then he went on to describe the cause of his headache which according to him was due to the injury sustained in his past birth when he had been badly mauled by a hawk.The princess was aware of her past birth as a kite,so she revealed how she had been killed by a fisherman in her previous birth.She also told her husband -'Dying at Kokamukh in my previous birth prove to be a blessing to me as I was reborn as a princess.Had it not been so,I would certainly have not born as a princess." "Both of them worshipped lord vishnu and as a result the prince was cured of his severe headache.Such is the greatness of Kokamukh-the reliever of all pains and miseries."1
Narrating about the
sanctity of Mayapuri,lord Varah told Prithvi- "There lived a brahmin named
Somsharma at Mayapuri.He was a great devotee of mine(lord sri Hari)and had an
impossible desire of witnessing my divine powers by his mortal eyes.I tried to
make him understand about the futility of his desire but to no avail. Finally I
was left with no option but to fulfil his wish.One day Somsharma had gone to
take his bath in the holy Ganges.Hardly had he taken a dip than he found himself
experiencing the pangs of birth in the womb of a nishad woman.Evidently,lord sri
Hari had began giving a glimpse of his divine powers to Somsharma.It was a
terrible experience for him and he vowed to lead a chaste life as soon as he
came out of the womb."
"Unfortunately,he forgot everything about his vow once he took rebirth as a girl.In course of time,the girl grew up and married a young nishad.She had many children from him.One day,the nishad girl who in reality was Somsharma,went to take a bath in the holy Ganges.As soon as she entered into the river,she got transformed into a hermit.She was filled with extreme bewilderment but this was not the end,as there were more surprises to come."
"The hermit(previously nishad and originally Somsharma)came out of thr river and looked all around in amazement.He then sat down to meditate and very soon he was engrossed in his meditation.In the evening,some sages arrived and said-'Sir! how come you are sitting here?You had gone to take a bath.We became anxious and started searching for you when you did not return till evening." "The hermit was bewildered by the turn of events as he was aware of every incident that had occured.He was also well aware that he had spent fifty years as nishad-woman but according to the statements of hermits he had been absent only for few hours.The hermit was totally confused about his real identity.I(lord Varah) felt pity on his miserable condition and decided to lift my magic spell.I asked him whether his wish of witnessing my divine powers had been fulfilled or not.The hermit eulogized me and agreed that it was impossible for any mortal to understand the ways of Aimighty.I then blessed him and transformed him into Somsharma once again."
Such is the grandeur of Mayapuri-the sacrosanct place where lord sri Hari has manifested his divine powers.A devotee who goes on a pilgrimage to Mayapuri never gets entangeled in the worldly illusions.
Kubjaamrak teerth derived it's name,lord Varah told Prithvi-"In
satyayuga,at the time when the earth was still submerged in water,I had killed
two mighty demons named Madhu and Kaitabh.After killing both the demons I looked
all around and found sage Raimya engrossed in his penance.Sage Raimya was a
great devotee of mine.
I was extremely impressed and watched him hiding myself behind a mango tree.The mango tree could not bear the weight of my hands and became curved.This is how Kubjaamrak teerth derived it's name.Very soon,sage Raimya found out that I was hiding behind that mango tree.He eulogized me and requested me to to grant a special status to Kubjaamrak teerth among all the holy places.I blessed him and thus Kubjaamrak teerth became one of the holiest places.There are several other holy places situated in the vicinity of Kubjaamrak teerth-Manas-teerth,Maya-teerth,Sarvakamik- teerth,Purnamukh teerth,Agni-teerth,Shukra-terth,Manasar teerth,Sapta samudrak-teerth,etc.All these holy places including Kubjaamrak teerth are capable of giving salvation to a man."
Continuing with his
tale,lord Varah told Prithvi-"There is a sacred place in the Himalayas
which is very inaccessible.It is famously known as Badrikashram and holds an
important place among all the holy places.One who makes a pilgrimage to that
place gets all his wishes fulfilled.There is a reservoir at the mountain top
called Brahma kund.One who observes fast for three consecutive nights and takes
a holy dip in that reservoir attains virtues similar to "Agnishtom
yagya".One who takes his last birth in it's vicinity certainly attains to
my abode.There are several other holy places in the vicinity of Badrikashram
like Agnisatya pad, Indra loka,Satya loka,Chatuhsrota,Ved dhar,etc.Ved dhar is
the same place where the vedas had manifested from lord Brahma's mouth.
Mandar teerth is named
after a celestial tree called Mandar.This sacred place of pilgrimage is situated
at the foothills of vindhya mountain.There is a large mandar tree overthere
which has some unique qualities.This tree is visible only on auspicious days of
dwadashi and chaturdashi and becomes invisible on the rest of the days.Some
other holy places situated in the vicinity of mandar teerth are
There is another holy place called mandar but it is situated on the Meru mountain.This holy place is also known as'Syamantpanchak'One important characteristic of this holy place is that there are huge rocks resembling a mace,a wheel,a plough and a conch.
Chandra deva had once
performed an austere penance to get absolved from the curse of his Daksha
Prajapati his father-in-law.During the course of his penance Chandra deva made a
shiva linga and worshipped it.Finally lord Shiva appeared and agreed to dwell in
that particular shiva linga as per the request of Chandra deva. There is a
reservoir situated to the south of Someshwar temple which is believed to
liberate a man from all his sins.In course of time this place became famous as
Prithvi requested lord
Varah to shed light on the famous penance which sage Shalankayan had
performed.Lord Varah narrated the following tale-"Long long ago sage
Shalankayan did an austere penance to please me(lord Vishnu).There was a 'sal'
tree nearby and the sage was ignorant of the fact that I dwell in that sacred
tree.When I appeared,he requested me to bless him with a divine son who had
qualities like lord Shiva.I revealed to him that his son(Nandikeshwar)had
already manifested and was presently staying at 'Vraja'(Mathura).I also revealed
to him that although I was present in the 'sal' tree but he was unware of this
fact because of his ignorance.In course of time,this very place became famous as
'Shalgram teerth'.A devotee who makes a pilgrimage to this holy place is
liberated from all kinds of worldly bondages."
Lord Varah told Prithvi-"This
holy place is named after Ruru-the daughter of Devadutt and an apsara named
Pramlocha.Devadutt came from the lineage of sage Bhrigu.Once,Devadutt did an
austere penance to please lord Shiva.His penance continued for ten thousand
years.Indra became worried and sent a beautiful apsara named Pramlocha to
disturb his penance.Unfortunately,Devadutt fell into the trap laid by Indra.He
was infatuated by Pramlocha's divine beauty and enjoyed an intimate life with
her for a long time.Finally,he realized his mistake and regretted his
foolishness.He decided to abandon Pramlocha and recommence his
penance.Ultimately,he was successful in pleasing lord Shiva and attaining to
"Meanwhile,Pramlocha who was pregnant, gave birth to a girl child and died.The baby girl was nurtured and brought up by a deer named Ruru after whom she got her own name.In course of time Ruru after Ruru grew up and decided to please lord Vishnu by her penance.She did an austere penance for one hundred years by remaining still at a place.At last I(lord Vishnu)became pleased by her total devotion and appeared before her.She requested me to name that place on her.I blessed her and thus that place became famous as Ruru kshetra."
Lord Shiva told
Prithvi-"Gonishkraman teerth is situated in the himalayas.Sage Aurva had
his hermitage at this sacred place which was incidentally burnt to ashes by lord
Shiva.Aurva cursed Shiva as the result of which Shiva started wandering
throughout the world in a restless manner."
"Once,lord Shiva visited the hermitage of sage Aurvanam accompanied by his consort-Uma.The purpose of the visit was to seek Aurvanam's help in curing his restlessness.Sage Aurvanam advised him to have a bath with the milk of surabhi cow.I(lord Vishnu) then brought down seventy-seven surabhi cows from the heaven and thus helped Shiva take bath with their milk.At last,Shiva's reastlessness came to an end and this holy place became famous as 'Gonishkraman' teerth."
Lord Varah then went on
to describe the greatness of Stootswami teerth and told Prithvi-"I shall
incarnate as Krishna at this place in the era of dwapar.I shall take birth in
the house of Vasudeva and Devaki.There is a pond situated at about 5 kosas from
Stootswami teerth.Anybody who take holy dips in it's holy water for five days
becomes absolved of all his sins.
Lord Varah told Prithvi-"There
is a holy place called 'Panchsar' in Dwarka.Anybody who stays there for six days
and takes holy dips in 'Panchasar' enjoys all the pleasures of life.Dwarka is
situated at the sea-shore and the crocodiles living there never trouble people
taking their bath.These crocodiles also have one unique characteristic-they
never eat anything that is offered to them by a sinner but unhesitatingly accept
anything from a virtuous person.There are several other holy places in and
around Dwarka-Panchpind,Hanskunda,Hansteerth,Chakrateerth,Raivatak, Vishnu-sankaram,etc.Vishnu
sankaram is the very place where I,in my incarnation as Krishna would be killed
by a hunter named Jara.
This holy place is
situated between Malay mountain and the ocean. Nearby,there is another holy
place called Sangaman where sri Ram while on his way to lanka had confronted the
ocean.There are also many other sacred places in the vicinity like Shakrasar,
Shurparak,etc.There are hermitages of sri Ram and Parshuram at Shurparak.
Lord Varaha told Prithvi-"There
is a region inhabited by mlecchas,situated at the distance of some 30
yojans.This region is surrounded by Himalaya mountain in it's central as well as
southern parts.Lohargal teerth is situated near this region and is well
protected by nature which makes it very inaccessible. Once,demons tried to
invade this holy place but all of them were killed by me(sri Hari).I also
protected Brahma and Rudra from the wrath of the demons and named that place
Lohargal.Lohargal is the most sacred place of pilgrimage and spread in the area
of 25 yojans.It is a self manifested place and has immense religious
Describing the majesty
of Mathura,lord Varaha told Prithvi- "Mathura is very dear to me because
this is the very place where I shall be taking incarnation as Krishna.Mathura is
the most sacro-sanct place and no other holy place can be compared to it. There
are many other holy places in and around Mathura-Vishranti, Surya teerth,Koti
teerth,Vayu teerth,etc.Each one of them has it's own religious significance.A
holy pond named 'Vatsa-krindan' lies in Mathura region.Anybody taking a holy dip
in that holy pond is certain to attain to the abode of 'Vayu'.In the vicinity
lies Vrindavan,the holiest place which would be witness to many of my divine
It is situated to the
north of Mathura and lord Bhadreshwar has his dwelling place overthere.A person
who makes a pilgrimage to Chakra teerth and observes a fast for a day becomes
absolved of heinous of sins.
Describing the origin of
'Kapil Varah'(an idol of lord Varah made by sage Kapil)lord Varah told Prithvi-"Sage
Kapil was a great devotee of mine.He had made my idol and worshipped it
regularly. Later on,Indra acquired it and started worshipping it.The demon king
Ravan took it to lanka after defeating Indra in a battle.In treta yuga I(sri
Ram)defeated him and made Vibhishan,his brother the king of Lanka.This way,the
idol came under the possession of Vibhishan but he agreed to part with it at my
request.This was how I brought that idol to Ayodhya.After reaching Ayodhya,I
presented it to Shatrughan as a reward for killing Lavanasur. Later on,while
Shatrughan was going to Mathura he carried that idol along with him."
with the description of various holy places told Prithvi about the magnificence
of Govardhan parvat- "Govardhan parvat is situated near Mathura.It will
have great religious importance because it will witness a great feat of mine in
dwapar yuga.I shall lift this mountain to protect people from the incessant rain
caused by Indra.There are numerous holy places of great religious significance
in the vicinity of Govardhan mountain like Indra teerth,Yama teerth,Varun teerth
and Kuber teerth.There is also a famous fresh-water lake called 'Kadamb
khand'where people perform tarpan of their ancestors."
Lord Varah told Prithvi
about the greatness of Gokarna teerth- "Long long ago there lived a vaishya
named Vasukarn at Mathura. Sushila,his wife was deeply religious but inspite of
that she was issueless.One day,she had gone to take her bath in river Saraswati
where she found many women taking their bath.The children of these women were
playing nearby.Sushila became very sad and being unable to control her emotions
"A sage saw her crying and asked her as to what made her so sad. Sushila narrated her woeful tale to him.The sage took pity on her and advised her to worship lord Gokarna.The sage said-'You will definitely be blessed with a son.' Sushila went home and narrated the whole incident to her husband.Both of them started worshipping lord Gokarna Mahadev with total devotion.After ten years,a son was born to them. Vasukarn named that child after lord Gokarna to express his gratitude to the deity."
"In course of time,Gokarna grew up and got married but even after a long time he did not have a progeny.So,his father married him to three more women,one after another, but even this did not prove to be of any help to Gokarna because he remained a sonless person.This made Gokarna very sad and he engaged himself in various charitable activities thinking that the virtues thus attained might bless him in begetting a son.He got constructed many temples and ordered wells to be dug up for the benifit of the travellers.Very soon,all his money was spent and he became worried about the future of his family.So,he decided to go to distant places to earn wealth." "Once,while on his journey he met a divine parrot who possessed tremendous knowledge.Gokarna was very much impressed by the parrot's knowledge.He asked the parrot from where had it imbibed such divine knowledge.The parrot revealed to him that he was Shukodar in it's previous birth and was a learned man.He had attained the form of parrot due to the curse of sage Shukdev. But,sage Shukdev had been kind enough to allow him to retain all the knowledge in his next birth.The parrot also told Gokarna how it had been kept inside a cage by a fowler and requested him to help it out from the captivity."
"Gokarna requested the fowler to give the learned parrot to him. The fowler agreed but asked for all the virtues attained by Gokarna in return.Gokarna happily agreed to donate all his virtues and proceeded with that parrot.Now, Gokarna had become bereft of all his virtues he had attained so far.Once,while he was on a voyage in connection with his trade the ship was caught in a severe cyclone and the chances of survival looked very bleak.All his fellow travellers had a misconception that they had been struck by the misfortune only because of Gokarna's sins.The parrot was saddened after hearing what people said about his master.It decided to help him and flew away towards north.While flying it found a vishnu temple where many divine women and other creatures had gathered to worship.The descendants of Jatayu were also among them.The parrot narrated the woeful tale of his master to all of them.All the divine birds decided to help Gokarna."
"The divine birds instructed the parrot to follow them and then flew towards the place where Gokarna's ship was stranded.Finally, they were successful in rescuing Gokarna and bringing him back to the same temple.Gokarna worshipped lord Keshav and performed the rituals of tarpan in the name of his ancestors.In the meantime,all the divine women also arrived there to worship.They were pleased to meet Gokarna and gave him divine food to eat.They also allowed him to stay there for as long as he wished."
"Meanwhile the ship managed to reach the sea shore.Gokarna's companions met his parents and narrated the whole incident to him. Gokarna's parents were filled with sorrow at the fate of their son.On the other hand,Gokarna continued to live in that temple for a long period.He was worried about his father as it had been a long time since he saw him.He sent the parrot to bring his news.The parrot flew away to Mathura and met his father-Vasukarn. Vasukarn thanked the parrot for saving his son's life.The parrot then flew back on his return journey and gave the good news to Gokarna."
"One day Gokarna found the divine ladies extremely sad.When asked,they told him that the king of Ayodhya had destroyed the beautiful gardens of Mathura and this was the reason for their sadness. Gokarna assured them that he would convince the king to abandon his evil plan if he got a chance to meet him.The divine women then provided Gokarna with a divine aircraft boarded on which he reached Mathura.Gokarna met the king and managed to convince him against destroying beautiful gardens.The king was extrtemely impressed by his knowledge and presented great amount of wealth to him.This way all the divine women became happy once again."
"Gokarna then went home and met his family members.His parents and his wives were very pleased to see him.Gokarna then got constructed a shukdev temple to honour his saviour-the learned parrot.It was only because of that parrot that he could acquire such wisdom and knowledge.To express his gratitude to the fowler he donated all the virtues he had acquired by taking bath in the holy confluence(triveni) because had it not been for the fowler he would never have got the knowledgeable parrot.Gokarna lived happily for a long time."
MADE OF WOOD
Prithvi requested lord
Varah to describe the proper methods of installing various types of idols. Lord
Varah replied that a devotee desirous of making a wooden idol must select the
wood of 'Bassia latifolia' for his purpose.The wood should be purified and then
given shape as per the appearance of the deity.The idol is then installed in a
temple amidst the performance of appropriate .During installation ceremony
various articles like camphor,vermillion, sandalwood,incense,etc.are offered to
the deity.The swastika mark is a sign of auspiciousness so the devotee must keep
this in mind while giving shape to the idol.
This swastika mark must be carved out on the idol.Similarly,other signs of lord Vishnu like 'srivatsa' and'kaushtubh' should also be carved out on the idol.Lord Vishnu is then invoked and requested to dwell within that idol by chanting mantras.After the deity has been invoked, the 'wood' no longer remains a lifeless structure but it becomes the embodiment of the deity.The idol is then considered to be fit for worship.While worshipping, a devotee should offer a bhoga of kheer to the deity.Burning a ghee or sesame-oil lamp in front of the deity is considered good.The devotee should then circumambulate around the temple premise.While circumambulating, he should keep on chanting the sacred mantra 'om namo narayanay'.The idol thus installed should be worshipped daily without failure."
sculptor should be chosen to carve out the deity's shape from a pure and
spotless stone.First of all the sculptor should clearly draw the outline of
deity's appearance on the stone with a marker and then carefully carve it out
from the stone.The idol is then purified by sprinkling 'akshat' on the deity's
idol.While worshipping a devotee should burn a ghee lamp and invoke lord Vishnu
to dwell in that idol by chanting the sacred mantra-om namo narayanay.The
installation of idol being complete,he should observe a fast for the whole
night.Next morning,after finishing his daily chores he should put on white
clothes and change his old 'yagyopavit' with a new one.The idol thus made is
considered fit to be worshipped.Purva-bhadrapad is considered to be the best
time for the installation of a stone-idol.During the course of installation
ceremony,a devotee should live either on milk or cereal like barley.The rituals
of worship consist of numerous activities like lighting four lamps in front of
the deity,keeping four small pots each filled up with articles like 'panchagavya',water,sandalwood
and milk.The rituals of worship are considered to be incomplete without the
chantings of vedic mantras."
AND COPPER IDOLS
"A devotee should
carefully make a beautiful earthen idol without any sign of crack.The most
auspicious time for the installation of an earthen idol is said to be during 'shravan
nakshatra'.An invocation is made to the deity to dwell within the idol after
which ablution of the idol is performed with the help of various articles like
holy water,panchagavya,sandalwood,etc.The rituals of worship are similar to that
of woodden or stone-idol."
"The best time for the installation of copper idol is said to be during 'chitra' nakshatra.The idol should be installed facing north and should be purified with the help of holy water, panchagavya,etc.Then the deity is invoked to dwell within the idol.The invocation is made by chanting sacred mantras.Now,the idol is fit to be worshipped.The rituals are same as mentioned earlier."
auspicious time for the installation of bronze-idol is said to be during
jyeshtha nakshatra.The idol should be installed facing north.At the time of
installation the devotee must not forget to keep four small pots in front of the
deity,each filled with articles like'panchgavya''water,sandalwood and honey.The
rituals of invocation as well as worship are same as mentioned earlier."
AND GOLD IDOLS
"The rituals for
the installation of silver or gold idols are similar to that of copper or bronze
idol. Prithvi requested lord Varah to reveal the name of deities whom a devotee
can worship at home.Lord Vishnu replied-"A devotee can worship any deity at
hom e but worship of two shiva lingas is prohibited.Similarly,a devotee should
never worship three shaligrams or three durga idols or two surya idols.A devotee
should also never worship shaligrams adding up to odd numbers-
3,5,7,etc.But,there is no harm in worshipping one shaligram.A devotee must never
worship broken or cracked idol because it does not bode well for the
worshipper.A 'chakra' mark on the shaligram is considered as very auspicious and
it can be worshipped even if the idol is broken or cracked.The virtues attained
by worshipping twelve shaligrams are similar to that of worshipping twelve crore
shiva lingas.Partaking of 'charnamrit' that has been offered to shaligram
absolves a man from all his sins.But,a devotee should never partake any 'prasad'
that has been offered to shiva linga. Anybody who either buys or sells a
shaligram is certain to go to hell."
PERTAINING TO LAST RITES
Prithvi requested lord
Varaha to define the meaning of 'Pitra' yagya(rituals pertaining to last rite)
and it's significance. Lord Varaha replied-"Sage Nimi was the first person
to perform the the rituals of pitra-yagya after the death of his son
Aatreya.Sage Aatreya is famous for his penance which he did for ten thousand
years.When Aatreya died,his father-Nimi was filled with grief.Nimi tried his
best to overcome his sorrow but to no avail.He mourned his son's death for three
consecutive nights.He thought that perhaps the performance of 'shraddh' rituals
would be the best means to get rid of his sorrow.So,he decided to perform the 'shraddh'
rituals on the twelfth day of 'magh'.On that day,he invited many brahmins and
fed them with the same delicacies which Aatreya would have liked to eat.He
performed all the rituals well within a day which would otherwise have taken a
week to perform.He also performed the rituals of 'pinda daan' by donating
cereals,vegetables and fruits.While performing the rituals of pinda-daan,he took
some kusha grass in his hands and after pointing it towards south chanted
Aatreya's name and gotra.In the night,Nimi sat on the seat of deer skin
underneath which kusha grass had been spread.He then tried to concentrate on the
tip of the nose.But,inspite of all his efforts there was no sign of mental peace
he was so desperately seeking and thought of his dead son continued to torment
"Nimi was troubled by a guilt that perhaps he had set a bad precedent by performing the rituals of pinda daan because nobody in the past had ever performed the rituals.He was worried as to what would the coming generation think of him.He was so much troubled by the thought that he could not sleep for the whole night.Next morning he got up,still worried.He remained in a disturbed state of mind for many days.At last,when it became too much for him to handle,he decided to end his life.In the meantime,sage Narad arrived there and assured him that there was nothing to be worried about as whatever he had done was most appropriate.Narad also convinced him that even his(Nimi's)dead father would vouch for this fact."
"Nimi remembered his father who had died long ago.His father revealed to him that the rituals which he had performed were in fact the rituals of 'pitra-yagya'.Describing the importance of pitra-yagya Nemi's father told him- 'The name pitra-yagya' was given by none other than lord Brahma himself who was the first one to perform the rituals.Later on,lord Brahma had described the rituals to Narad and this is why Narad was convinced that you had committed no wrong.Nemi's father then described as to what should be done with regard to the person who lay dying- 'When the death approaches a person looses his consciousness and becomes extremely fearful.At that time,a brahmin should constantly study the scriptures so that he could die in peace.Donating a cow helps to pacify the soul of a dead person.If sacred mantras are whishpered in the ears of a dying person he dies peacefully.When the death seems imminent,a morsel of 'Madhupark'(mixture of curd,water,honey and clarified butter) should be kept in the mouth of the dying person.While doing this one should pray to the almighty to liberate the dead man's soul.' 'The dead body should then be carried and kept under a tree where it is purified by smearing ghee,oil,perfumes,etc.It is then carried to creamation ground and kept at the bank of a river-feet pointing towards south.After this,the dead body should be bathed by remembering all the sacred places of pilgrimage.It should then be kept on the pyre-feet pointing south.The pyre should be lit and the following prayer should be said-O Agnideva!I pray to you to burn all the sins committed by this person so that he attains to heaven.Now,circumambulation around the pyre is made and the pyre is lit towards the head side.'
'After consigning the dead body to flames,the rituals of 'tarpan' and 'pinda-daan' are performed.All the people assembled there should purify themselves before returning home.The period starting from the time the dead body is consigned to flames till the next ten days is called 'Ashaucha'.It is applicable to all the relatives coming from the same gotra of the deceased.'
AND PINDA KALP
impurity,so it is the period during which the son of the deceased is considered
to be impure.The period begins from the day on which the death has occured and
continues for the following ten days.'Pinda-daan' means offering certain kind of
food to the deceased in the belief that it would satiate his soul.
Lord Varah,while describing about the rituals which are supposed to be performed during the period of ashaucha and also the rituals of making pinda daan,told Prithvi-"The observer of shraddh rituals should take his bath in a river on the third day from the day on which death has occured.After taking his bath,he should offer three 'pindas'(consisting of cereal flour) as well as three palmful of water into the river in the name of the deceased.On the fourth,fifth,sixth and seventh days,he should make offerings of one pinda and one palmful of water in the name of the deceased. He should never make offerings of the Pindas at the same place on the contrary he should select diferent spots for this purpose."
"On the tenth day he should get his hair tonsured and change his clothes. His relatives (same-gotra) should take their bath after applying an ointment prepared from sesame seeds, amla and oil on their bodies. 'Ekodishta Shraddh' is performed on the eleventh day. For this ritual to be performed, the concerned person should first purify himself and then offer Pinda to the deceased person as well as other manes. The rituals of Ekodishta Shraddh are same for all the four castes. The brahmins should be invited and fed on the thirteenth day. While feeding the brahmins a religious vow (Sankalpa) is taken in the name of the deceased person."
"For the purpose of offering 'pinda', an 'altar' should be made at river-bank or any other suitable place. The rituals can be performed either facing south or east. Offering 64 (Pindas) is considered to be ideal. Pinda daan can also be made under a peepal tree but the place should be well protected from the reach of animals like dogs, cock, pigs, etc. It is believed that if these animals visit the place where 'Pinda daan' is being made then it becomes difficult for the soul to attain liberation. The rituals of Pinda daan should be performed at a pure place otherwise there is a fear of soul going to hell. The name and the gotra of the deceased person should be pronounced while performing the rituals. After the rituals are complete all the assembled persons may sit down to have their meal."
Donating things like an umbrella, clothes, cereals, ornaments to the brahmins are believed to be auspicious.
FLAWED SHRADDH AND ITS PREVENTION
Prithvi requested Lord
Varaha to describe about the mistakes committed during shraddh rituals and how
they could be prevented--
Lord Varah replied---It is a grave sin to partake of a meal meant for the soul of the deceased person. Anybody who has committed this sin should atone for his sin by observing a fast for full day and a night. He also has to perform many other rituals like taking bath in a river flowing eastward, performing tarpan, making offerings of sesame seeds into the fire, Shanti path, Mangal path etc. Partaking of 'Pancha-gavya' (a mixture of cow's milk, cow's urine,cow-dung, curd and charified butter) or 'Madhupark' is also believed to purify such a person."
"Similarly, showing disrespect to the invited brahmins is also considered to be a grave sin. Donating articles to unworthy brahmins is also considered to be an inappropriate act. The performer of Shraddh should refrain from all these acts."