Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 7 Chapter 14:16-34

Book 7: Chapter 14

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 7: Chapter 14: Verses 16-34
An inquiry into right conduct (continued)

When all the requisites for (the performance of) a sacrifice including his eligibility for it are forthcoming, he should worship the Deity by means of oblations poured into the (sacred) fire and other sacrificial rites in accordance with the procedure laid down in the sacred texts detailing such procedure, Indeed the said almighty Lord, the enjoyer of all sacrifices is not (so) fully propitiated by oblations offered through the (sacrificial) fire, O Yudhisthira, as by offerings (in the shape of morsels of cooked food) dropped into the mouth of a Brahmana (a member of the priestly class). Therefore, worship the aforesaid Lord (the Inner Controller of all) through the Brahmanas and the gods, as well as through other human beings and other living creatures, (of course) after the Brahmanas, according to their respective worth, through various objects of enjoyment.

A Dwija (a member of the twice-born classes) possessed of the wherewithal should perform, in the (lunar) month of Prausthapada (i.e., Bhadrapada, if a month is taken to commence with the bright fortnight, or Aswina if it is taken to commence with the dark fortnight) according to his means, the Sraddha pertaining to the dark fortnight (and known by the name of Mahalaya) in honour of his (deceased) parents as well as of their relations and others. He should (similarly) perform their Sraddha at the time of the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes; during the particular (seventeenth) astronomical division of time called Vyatipata; on the day when a Tithi (a lunar day begins and ends without one sunrise or between two sunrises; during a lunar or solar eclipse; on a twelfth lunar day as well as during the period when the constellations known by the name of Sravana, Dhanistha and Satabhisa are ascendant; on the third (lunar day) of the bright half of Vaisakha as well as on the ninth (lunar day) of the bright half of Kartika; on the four Astakas (the eighth lunar days of the dark fortnight) during the seasons known by the name of Hemanta and Sisira (the months of Margasirsa, Pausa, Magha and Phalguna); on the seventh (lunar day) of the bright fortnight of the month of Magha; on the full-moon day (of Magha) when the constellation called Magha is ascendant; (nay,) even when the constellations associated with (and accounting for the names of) the (other) lunar months (also) appear on a full moon or even when the moon rises one digit less than the full on that day; on any twelfth lunar day when (the constellations of) Anuradha, Sravana and (any of) the three constellation associated with the name of Uttar& (namely, Uttar& Phalguni., Uttarasadha and Uttara Bhadrapada) are ascendant; or when the eleventh lunar day (of any month) is conjoined with (any of) these (constellations); (and lastly) on any day when the constellation under which one was born or (the constellation of) Sravana is ascendant. These aforesaid periods are suitable (not only for Sraddha but) for all virtuous acts to be performed by men inasmuch as they enhance to a large extent the merit of the performer. One should practise virtue (in any form or shape) on (all) these days with all one's being; (for) there lies the fruitfulness of one's life. Ablution, Japa (the muttering of prayers), Homa (offering oblations into the sacred fire), any sacred vow and worship of the gods and the Brahmanas that may be undertaken, and any gift that may be made to the manes, gods,human beings and (other) living beings on these occasions surely become imperishable (bring everlasting good). (Nay,) one should undertake such acts of virtue (even) when the time comes for (the performance of) any purificatory rite for the benefit of one's wife or son, nay, of one's own self, the cremation of a dead body and the death anniversary of one's parents and others and (also) on the occasion of any (other) ceremony intended to promote one's welfare, O Yudhisthira !

Now I shall fully enumerate the places conducive to religious merit and other good. That is unquestionably the most sacred tract where can be found a worthy man, the (very) likeness of the almighty Lord-in whom dwells the whole of this creation, animate as well as inanimate-and where stays the Brahmana race endowed with austerity, learning and compassion. (Again,) that area is the abode of (all) blessings, wherever there is an image of Sri Hari, and where there are rivers like the (holy) Ganga celebrated in the Puranas and other sacred works. Lakes such as Puskara and sacred spots inhabited by venerable souls Kuruksetra, Gaya (the spot where fell the head of the demon Gaya), Prayaga (the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers), the hermitage (known by the name of Salagrama-Ksetra), of the sage Pulaha, (the forest of) Naimisa (the modern Nimsaror Misrikh), Phalguna (the Kanyatirtha, now known as Cape Comerin), the (holy) bridge (attributed to Sri Rama and existing at Rameswaram), Prabhasa (also known by the name of Sankhoddhara and famous for its historical shrine of Somanatha) and Kusasthali (Dwaraka), Varanasi (the modern Banaras), Mathura (the capital of the demon chief Madhu, killed by Satrughna, Sri Rama's youngest brother, and the birth-place of Lord Sri Krsna), lake Pampa and Bindusara (on whose strand stood the hermitage of the sage Kardama, father of Lord Kapila), Badarikasrama (the modern Badrinatha, the hermitage of the sage Narayana), the river Nanda (better known as Alakananda), Citrakuta (the hermitage of Sita and Rama) and so on, O king, and all the principal mountain-ranges such as Mahendra and Malaya and places which are consecrated by the (fixed) idols of Sri Hari-these are (by far) the holiest tracts. Surely one desirous of blessedness should repeatedly sojourn in these places. For virtue practised here yields fruit a thousand times more than at other places. By the seers standing foremost among the judges of worthy souls, indeed, Sri Hari and Sri Hari alone, of whom the mobile and immobile creation is surely constituted, O ruler of the earth, has been concluded to be really worthy of honour in this world.



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