EXPIATION FOR THE SINS
Dharmaraaj says: "O
king! I am now going to narrate about the religion. Listen to it faithfully. If
a person touches or gets touched by an impure or irreligious thing, he should
observe fast for three days and six nights for expiation. He should take bath
thrice a day. If a Brahmin defecates during dining, he must give up his food at
once and take water only. Then he should observe a fast for a day and night and
close it taking Panchgavya only to get pure again. If a person dines immediately
after urination, or urinates during dining, he must observe a day and night long
fast and close it with Havan. Those women who do not serve their husbands should
be expelled from the home for a period of twelve years and should not be helped
in any way during the exile. Impurity resulted because of touching a woman in
menses takes fast for three nights to get purified."
Dead body of a person who had committed suicide should be smeared with sandalwood paste or any other holy material. If a person escapes an attempt to suicide, a fine of two hundred rupees should be imposed on him.
Those who deliberately eat cereals of washers, skinners and other downtrodden classes and tribes or have illicit contacts with their women are required to observe Chandrayan fast in order to get pure. For those who establish abhorrent connection with their mother, sister or daughter, self-immolation is the only way to expiate. Those who mate with their teacherís wife formal observance of fast is required. If someone has killed a pregnant cow, he must expiate for it observing Chandrayan fast separately for each of the animals.
One should not use the soil collected from pondís bottom, termiteís mound, mouse burrow, barren land, road, cremation ground and ground used for defecation purpose. Use of Panchgavya washes even the most severe sin. If a second death occurs in the family while the purification period of first death is still on; separate purification is not required. Ill effect of an abortion lasts for three days. After marriage, a woman adopts her husbandís name. Hence, oblation for a married woman must be offered by her son or someone belonging to her husbandís clan. Ashes must be collected on the first, second, third or fourth day after the cremation. One must offer watery oblations to his dead ancestors standing in navel-deep water facing south.
TORTURE IN THE HELL
Dharmaraaj says: "O
king! Those who commit severe sin on earth are bound to suffer equally severe
torturing in hell. I am now describing about such sins and the tortures
vouchsafed for them in the hells. Tapan, Balukaakumbh, Maharaurav, Raurav,
Kumbhipaak, Pramardan, Lalabhaksha, Vasaakup and Vaitarni are some of the
prominent hells. Drinking of urine in a ditch full of feces, eating of canine
flesh, eating of worms, drinking of semen, sleeping on cinders, stinging by
snakes, boring through bones, drinking of bile, biting by ants, breaking of
teeth, tethering to hot iron etc. are some of the tortures one has to face for
his sins in the hell. Those who criticize Brahmins and dictate them or kill
them, drinker, those who steal gold, have illicit contact with the wife of their
teacher and even those who accompany such people are condemned as great sinners.
All of them deserve a place in the hell."
Stealing of items like copper, iron, water, musk, betelnut, sandalwood etc. is also like the crime of stealing gold. Illicit contact with sister and daughter-in-law and forceful copulation with a woman in menses are also like having illicit contact with the wife of the teacher. Our great sages have given dictates for the expiation of such sins. Those who live in Buddhist monasteries or frequently visit there live in the hells for crores of years. Sinners pass initial phase of their expiation in the hells. For the seven births then, they take incarnation as asses. Then for the next six births, they appear as snake, diseased people, dog, deer, tree and monitor. O king! Those who long for and have illicit contacts with women other than wife are forced to copulate with a pretty but extremely hot copper mannequin and then thrown into the hells. Those women who prefer to sleep with men other than husband are forced to embrace hot iron statue on a blazing bed. Then they are forced to embrace a hot iron pillar, take bath in saline water, and drink it. They have to suffer these tortures for thousand years.
Those who listen to otherís criticism with interest have to bear lot of suffering. Hot nails are hammered into their ears. The pores thus formed are filled with boiling oil. They are then thrown into Kumbhipaak hell.
Those who abuse Lord Vishnu and Shiva are fed with salt only for crores of years then they are thrown into Raurav hell, which is full of hot scorching sand. Traitors and greedy of otherís cereals have to eat their own flesh. Those who eat astrologerís and priestís cereals are kept in different hells for crores of years followed by their keeping in the wells of boiling oil and saline water where they are fed with feces only. At the completion of their punishment, such people appear as Malechchha on earth. Those who torment others are thrown into Vaitarni. Those who do not perform Panchmaha Yagya or worship deities are kept in Lalabhaksha and Raurav hells respectively.
Those who do not act as per the scriptures are thrown into the hells for thousand crores of Kalpas. Those who throw excretion from their bodies or leave parts like hair, tooth, bone, nails etc. in the temple commit sins equal to killing an unborn baby. They are subjected to severe tortures in the hells before being sent into abhorrent incarnations. Those who give false witness undergo sufferings in the hells till the rules of fourteen Indras. Those who do not curb immoral traffic despite being capable go to hell. Those who falsely blame gentlepeople have to live in the hell for crores of years. Those who give up a fast before stipulated period go to the hell named Asipatra. There is no penance for the ones who adopt partial view during justice or religious education. Those who consume cowís flesh live in Vingbhojya hell for thousands of years. Those who torture Brahmins through their thoughts, actions and words always fall in the hell. Those who destroy gardens have to suffer all the above mentioned hells.
O king!" One must repent for his sins before Lord Vishnu. Sight of the Ganges and basil, singing of devotional songs, magnanimity and non-violence attenuate the effect of the sin. No action bears fruit if not offered to Lord Vishnu. Devotion to Lord Vishnu is the excellent way to repent for the sins. Abidance to morality is the best way to train the religion. Religion without morality is equally painful. O king! Now I have related all about religion. Since now onwards, cultivate devotion for Lord Vishnu and invoke the Ganges to descend on earth in order to salve your sinister ancestors. Only the Ganges is capable of salving one and all."
Sanatkumar says: "O Narad! Thus preaching the king Sagar, Dharmaraaj disappeared from the sight. It was due to the severe penance of king Bhagirath that the Ganges descended on the earth and salved the sixty thousand deceased sons of Sagar."
DESCENT OF GANGES AND SALVATION OF SAGARíS SONS
Narad says:"O Muni!
What did king Bhagirath do on Himalayas? How did he please Ganges to descend on
Sanatkumar says: O Narad! Renouncing all his royal comforts, Bhagirath went to the snow-capped, lofty peaks of the Himalayas. There he saw dense forest and herds of deer and elephants playing. Even his hermitage was full of sweet chattering of the birds. Reciting of Vedas and other scriptures was reverberating all around. Bhagirath came face to face with the sage Bhrigu who was surrounded by his disciples. Bhagirath approached and respectfully greeted the sage Bhrigu.
Bhagirath says: "O omniscient sage! Kindly grace me with the knowledge of the path that leads even the most mournful souls to salvation."
Bhrigu says: "O king! I know that you have arrived here with a beautiful motive of salving your ancestors. Hence, you are like Shri Hari yourself. Now, I describe about the actions, which please Shri Hari. O king, be non-violent, altruistic, virtuous, speak truth and seek pious company to be a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Recite the following mantras-
AUM NAMO BHAGWATE VAASUDEVAAY NAMAH |
AUM NAMO VAASUDEVAAY
You will definitely attain peace of mind."
Bhagirath says: "O sage! What is truth? What is in the interest of all the living beings? Who are evil ones? Who are ascetics? What are virtuous actions? How should one remember and worship Lord Vishnu? What is peace? O great sage! Kindly describe about these things."
Bhrigu says: "O knowledgeous one! All such actions, which do not harm any living being, are non-violence. Actions, which aid in moral conduct and pacify the people, are in the interest of the public. All the people who are envious and oppose the religion and the scriptures are evil ones. Those who tread the path shown by religion and scriptures and always engage in the benefit of people are ascetics in the true sense. All the actions, which lead to devotion for Lord Vishnu and cause extreme joy for all are virtuous. Lord Vishnu incorporates all the other deities. Having such thoughts like ĎI will worship Him with correct methodsí is devotion. Seeing Lord Vishnu in each living and non-living things is impartial view. To be in peace and harmony in all circumstances with each and everyone is peace. O king! I have described now all the things to you. Go now and begin your penance. May it all be well for you."
Thus, with the permission and blessing of sage Bhrigu, king Bhagirath started his penance. He continued his penance for sixty thousand years at length in an enchanting place Naandeshwar in Himalayas. Seeing his severe penance, and perplexed by its radiance, all the gods appeared before Lord Vishnu in Ksheersagar.
The gods say: "O remover of sorrows! O controller of all the three worlds! We all greet you."
Pleased by the prayers, Lord Vishnu instinctively learnt about the motive of the gods. He assured them to be fearless and Himself appeared before Bhagirath. Bhagirath felt hilarious and greeted Shri Hari.
Lord Vishnu says: "Your desires shall be fulfilled. Your ancestors shall attain to my abode. But now go and pray Lord Shiva with your full capacity. He will definitely benefit you." Saying this, Lord Vishnu disappeared. The king stood there for some time wondering whether it was all a dream when an invisible voice announced, Ďit was not a dream O king! It is reality. Do as Lord Vishnu has said.í
King Bhagirath began even more severe penance to please Lord Shiva. After a prolonged penance, Lord Shiva appeared there. Bhagirath fell flat at His feet. Pleased by his devotion and prayers, Lord Shiva blessed Bhagirath that He would hand over the Ganges to him for the salvation of his ancestors. As soon as Lord Shiva uttered these words, the Ganges emerged from His tussocks and followed Bhagirath wherever he walked.
Thus, following Bhagirath, the Ganges reached Gangasagar at the hermitage of sage Kapil where the ashes of Bhagirathís ancestors were lying unattended. As soon as the holy waters of the Ganges touched the ashes, Bhagirathís ancestors got freed from the noose of Yama and ascended to their heavenly abode. Since then, the Ganges is also known as Bhagirathi.
DESCRIPTION OF DWADASHI FAST
The sages say: "O
fortunate one! You have obliged us narrating the tale of sacred Ganges. Now we
desire to hear what Narad asked Sanatkumar."
Sutaji says: "O great sages! Now I narrate what Narad asked Sanatkumar, listen to it carefully."
Narad says: "I am blessed hearing the pious tale of the Ganges. Now kindly tell me about the fast and rituals performing which, Shri Hari could be pleased."
Sanatkumar says: O Narad! May God bless you! You are the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu. Thatís why, you are asking about these rituals. Now I am telling you about these rituals and fasts, which make a man fearless. O Narad! There is a special provision for worshipping Lord Vishnu on the twelfth day of Shukla Paksha (brighter phase) in the month of Maargashirsh. This worship could be performed wearing white or yellow clothes. During the worship, one should recite the mantra -
One should then offer oblations of ghee and sesame seeds in sacred fire. During the night, one should sing devotional songs before Shaligram and remain awakened. Then the idol of Vishnu should be bathed with five liters of milk. Similarly, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with Naivedya and edible items three times. Next morning, similar worship should be repeated.
At the end of the worship, one should donate sweetmeats made of milk, ghee and coconut to Brahmin while reciting-ĎMay the Lord materialize all my wishes.í Seeing off the Brahmin, one should break his fast at the end.
On the same day, in the month of Pausha, one should observe a fast and worship Lord Vishnuís idol bathing it with milk while reciting
In this worship also, there is provision of nightlong prayers and vigilance. Donating the Brahmins with rice, pulses, ghee etc., one should respectfully feed them and break his fast in the last. Donation of Dakshina is a must. Similarly, on the same day in the month of Maagh, there is a provision of daylong fast and worship. This time, five kilos of sesame seeds are donated to the Brahmins.
On the twelfth day of Shukla Paksha in Phagun, one should bathe Shri Hariís idol with five liters of milk. Then one hundred and eight oblations of sesame seeds and ghee are made to the sacred fire. Nightlong prayers, feeding of Brahmins etc. are as usual. In this worship, unhusked rice is donated. The required mantra is
On the same day in the month of Chaitra, there is a provision of bathing Vishnuís idol with five liters of ghee and making oblations of honey, ghee and sesame seeds one hundred and eight times while reciting -
NAMOSTU VISHNAVE TUBHYAM
Then four kilos of rice are donated to a Brahmin.
On the twelfth day in the brighter phase of Vaishaakh, there is a provision of bathing Vishnuís idol with milk and making one hundred and eight oblations of ghee reciting -
On the twelfth day in the brighter phase of Jyeshtha, there is a provision of offering one hundred and eight oblations of kheer (rice cooked in four liters of milk) while reciting
Twenty Maalpuas (wheat flour kneaded in milk and sugar and fried in ghee) are donated to a Brahmin.
On the same day in the month of Ashaadh, Lord Vishnuís idol is bathed with four liters of milk. Then oblations of ghee are made and cereal mixed with coconut and curd are donated to the Brahmins. This worship is directed to Vaaman incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence, mantra
NAMASTE VAAMANAAY is recited all along the rituals.
In the month of Shraavan, there is a provision of bathing Lordís idol with milk and honey on the twelfth day of the brighter phase. Then one hundred and eight oblations are made reciting -
Then four liters of milk, clothes and two golden earrings are donated to the Brahmin.
Lordís idol should be bathed with milk while reciting -
HRISHIKESH NAMOSTUBHYAM on the twelfth day in the month of Bhaadrapad.
Then one hundred and eight oblations are made with cooked cereals mixed with honey. Wheat donated along with gold to the Brahmins besides feeding them with respect.
In the month of Ashwin also, Lordís idol is bathed with five liters of milk. Then, one hundred and eight oblations are offered with ghee, sesame seeds and rice reciting -
Two hundred and fifty grams of honey are donated to a Brahmin. In the month of Kartik, on the same day, Lordís idol is bathed with four liters of milk, curd or ghee while reciting-
Then, one hundred and eight oblations are offered with sesame seeds mixed with honey and ghee. This worship is closed with donating five types of edible items to a deserving Brahmin, feeding him and seeing him off with Dakshina.
O Munivar! Those who observe this virtuous fast for the twelve months of a year attains to the supreme abode. Observance of this fast for one or two months only is also equally benefiting. If this fast is observed for a year, there is a provision of special closing ritual at the end so that one shouldnít have to observe it again in his life. This closing ritual is performed on the twelfth day of the darker phase in the month of Maargsheersh.
One should get up early in the morning that day and after attending routine tasks; he should take bath, wear white clothes, smear sandalwood paste on the forehead and make a square-shaped altar on the ground. This altar should be decorated with jingling bells, whiskers, flags and white cloth. On the four corners of the altar, four lamps should be lighted.
At the center of the altar, a Sarvatobhadra wheel is drawn and twelve urns filled with water are kept on it. Putting five kinds of gems in these urns, they should be covered with white cloth. The worshipper must procure silver or gold idols of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu and place them on the lids of the urns. Frugality is not expected in this ritual. These idols should be bathed with milk containing ghee, honey, curd and five types of dry fruits. It should be followed with proper worship of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. These rituals last nightlong.
Next morning, oblations are offered with sesame seeds reciting all the twelve mantras described above. Donation of ten Maalpuas, curd, kheer, ghee etc. are made to twelve Brahmins. At last, all the idols and other materials are handed over to the priest who had guided the worship. Devotee must dine after all and he should not speak during dining. All the desires of the one who observes all these twelve fasts and closes them properly are fulfilled and he attains abode of Vishnu along with his twenty-one generations.