Markandeya Puranam

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THE SON said: – In the seventh birth preceding this, I was born in the Vaishya race. Formerly I obstructed the approach of kine, to a reservoir. (1) From that adverse action, I was thrown into a dreadful hell, terrific with flames and abounding in iron-beaked birds; (2) covered with mire of the streams of blood coming out from bodies crushed by instruments (of torture) and filled with the cries of sinners dropping down sundered. (3) Thrown there and oppressed by powerful heat and thirst and burning I remained a hundred years and more. (4) It so happened that one day came to me a fresh cool breeze delighting my heart, flowing from an earthen vessel filled with meals mixed with curds. (5) By its touch the numberless afflictions of the people were brought to a close and I too attained that excellent joy which is enjoyed by the inhabitants of the celestial region. (6) (Thinking) ‘What is this’, with eyes expanded and shaking with joy we saw near us a most excellent man, the jewel of the race. (7) A dreadful emissary of Yama, resplendent like lightning, with a rod in his hand, waited before him showing him the way and saying ‘come this way’. (8) Beholding the hell abounding in a hundred miseries, he, filled with compassion, said to the follower of Yama: (9) “Tell me, O emissary of Yama, what iniquity did I commit before by which I have been consigned to this dreadful hell filled with terrible afflictions? (10) I was celebrated for my erudition in the family of my fore-fathers. Born in Vedaha, I governed well the people. (11) Performing many sacrifices I righteously protected the earth; I never did turn away from fight nor did any guest go away disappointed (from my house)? (12) I never dishonoured my manes, the celestial saints, or the servants. And never did I covet another’s wife or wealth. (13) As kine come to at trough so the manes come of themselves to a man during a Parva, and deities on lunar days. (14) The Ishth and Purtha acts of a householder become fruitless from whose house they go away disappointed. (15) The sighs of the departed manes destroy the religious merit of seven generations and forsooth those of deities destroy that of three generations. (16) For this, I always tried to encompass the pleasure of the manes and the deities. Therefore have I been doomed to this highly dreadful hell?” (17)