Markandeya Puranam

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Madalasa said: – Thus, my child, the deities, ancestral manes, guests and friends, goblins, servants, beasts, birds, ants, beggars, suppliants and persons living in the house be entertained with Havya and Kavya and rice by a pious householder of virtuous ways. One, neglecting the Nitya and Naimittika rites, is visited by sin. (1-3)

Alarka said: – “Mother, you have described to me Nitya, Naimittika and Nitya Naimittika, these threefold rites, the duties of a person. (4) O you born in a great race, I wish to hear of the righteous ways by which a person secures happiness both in this world and in the next.”


Madalasa said: – “A householder should always observe the rules of good conduct. A person, devoid of righteous conduct, does not obtain happiness both in this world and in the next. (6) Sacrifice, gift and asceticism on this earth of a man, who acts by disregarding the rules of righteous conduct, do not lead to his well-being. (7) An unrighteous person never lives for a good length of time. A man should always exert himself to act righteously; righteous conduct removes ill-luck. (8) I will, O my son, describe to you the nature of righteousness. Listening to it with whole-minded attention do you observe it. (9) Every householder should endeavour to accomplish the threefold objects of life. If a householder succeeds in this, he achieves success both in this world and in the next. (10) A self-controlled man should amass a fourth of what he earns for securing his well-being in the next world; he should spend half for maintaining himself as well as for performing Nitya and Naimittika rites. (11) The remaining one-fourth of his income should be multiplied as the capital for his own-self. If a person behaves in this way, my son, his wealth bears fruit. (12) In the same way a learned man should accumulate his religious merit for washing off his sins. Disinterested piety bears fruit in the next world and interested in this. (13) From fear of meeting with obstacles one should practise both interested and disinterested piety, so that they may not enter into conflict with each other. Desire has also been described as twofold which never clashes with three other objects of life. (14) Think of all these as dependent upon each other. Listen, I shall now describe righteousness, etc., as independent of one another. (15) Virtue and morality that is dependant upon it, do not clash with profit. As desire is divided into two kinds by its conjunction with these two, so also virtue and profit divide themselves in combination with desire. (16) One should get up at the Brahma Muhurtta1 and engage himself in the contemplation of virtue and worldly profit and the pains of which they are the roots, and in understanding the true meaning of the Vedas. Then rising up, concerting his mind, purifying himself, rinsing his mouth and sitting with his face towards the east one should finish his morning prayers (Sandhya) while the stars are still visible in the sky and his evening prayer while the sun is yet shining. One should never disregard it in peaceful times. (17-19) O my son (at this time), one should avoid evil talk, falsehood, rough words and the reading of books containing pernicious doctrines, evil discussion and impious service. (19) Having controlled himself, every morning and evening, he should offer oblations to the sacrificial fire. He should not look to the solar disc at sunrise and sunset. (20) Arranging the hairs, looking in a mirror, cleaning the teeth and offering watery oblations to the celestials, should be performed in the early part of the day. (21) One should not pass urine or excreta on a road, passing through a village, a dwelling house, a holy spot or a field or a cultivated land or a pasture. (22) One should not cast his looks upon a nude woman who is another’s wife or on his own stool. And one should not see, touch or talk with a woman in her monthly course. (23) A man should not pass urine or excreta in water, nor should he know a woman there. A wise man should not sit on excreta, urine, hair, ashes, potsherds, chaff, embers, bones, torn-out cloth, a rope, a road and the ground. (24-25) First, adoring according to his power ancestral manes, celestials, men, and ghosts a householder should afterwards feed himself. (26) Sitting with his face to the east or north, he, purifying himself and controlling his speech, should rinse his mouth, and then folding his knees he should sit down and take the rice with his mind concentrated on (the act of eating). (27) Without provocation a wise man should not give out the shortcomings of

1 A day according to the Hindus is divided into thirty Muhurttas. One proceeding the sun rice is called Brahma, which is fit for contemplation and recitation.

another and he should not take salt that is seen and overhot rice. (28) A self-controlled man should not pass urine or excreta while walking or sitting; nor should he take anything after having rinsed his mouth. (29) While impure for his taking food he should not converse or read the Vedas or touch kine, Brahmanas, fire or his own head. (30) He should not, of his own accord, see the sun, the moon, or stars, and should avoid a broken seat, bedstead or vessel.

(31) Showing his reverence by rising up he should offer seats to his preceptors, should task with them favourably and follow after saluting them; he should never speak to them unfavourably. (32) A wise man should not take his food or worship the celestials with a single cloth on, should not make bearers of Brahamans, pass urine on fire or bathe or lie down in a state of nudity; nor should he itch his heads with both the hands. (33-34) Persons should not bathe or always wash their heads without any cause, or rub any limb with oil after having washed their heads. (35) He should not recite the Vedas on interdicted days and should never pass urine before Brahmanas, fire, kine and the sun. (36) Facing the north in the day and the south in the night should a person, with ease, pass urine or excreta at a spot free from disturbances. (37) One should not communicate (to others) the wrong doings of his parents and he should pacify them when they are angry. He should not hear, if any other man speaks ill of them. (38) One should make way for a Brahmana, a king, one stricken with distress, one more learned than himself, a preceptor’s wife, one overburdened although a junior, a dumb, a blind, a deaf man, a mad man, a drunkard, a bawed, an enemy, a boy and a fallen person. (39-40) A wise man should circumambulate a temple, a fig-tree, acrossing of the four roads, one more learned than himself, a preceptor and a celestial. (41) One should not use the shoes, cloth or garland, worn by another and should discard the holy thread, ornament, and the water-pot (belonging to another). (43) One should abstain from profusely smearing the person with oil, sexual connection on the eighth, fourteenth or fifteenth lunar day, or during a Parva. (43) A sensible man should not sit stretching out his legs and feet; one should not cast about his feet, nor should he sit with legs. (44) A wise man should avoid cutting another to the quick, giving way to anger or proving cruel to any one. He should not brag, attach too much importance to himself and avoid harsh words. (45) He should not mock at an ignorant man, a mad man, one in difficulty, or deformed, a magician, one of defective limbs, one having additional ones. (46) He should not inflict punishment on any one else or on his son and disciple under instruction. A wise man should not drag his seat with his foot. (47) Sanyava, Krishara and meat should not be made ready for one’s own self. Entertaining his guests both in the morning and evening he should afterwards take his meal. (48) Restraining his words a man should cleanse his teeth with his face towards, the east or north. And as a rule, O my son, he should discard a tooth-brush made of forbidden wood. (49) One should never sleep with his head towards the north or the west; but one should lie down with his head towards the south or east. (50) One should not bathe in foul water or in the night. A person should bathe at night, only when the eclipse takes place. (51) After bathing a man should not rub his body with his cloth or hands; nor should he toss about his hair or cloth. (52) Before bathing a wise man should never besmear his person with unguents, nor should he put on a red or black cloth or one of many colours. (53) One should not wrongly use his scarf, cloth and ornaments. One should throw away a cloth greatly worn1 out and having no ends. (54) My child, one should never take rice containing hair or worms, trodden upon, that has been seen or licked by a dog, that has been vitiated for its essence being extracted, the flesh of the back, meat not consecrated, or that should be rejected, or salt placed before. (55-56) O my son, rice, that is state or many days old, should be rejected, as well as, O prince, cakes, herbs, sugarcane or milk, -or flesh – if the preparation thereof has stood over for days, should be avoided. One should avoid lying down at sun-rise and sun-set. (57-58) One should not lie down after bathing, sleep sitting or lie down absent minded. A person should not sit down on a bed or on the ground sounding it. (59) He should not eat with one cloth on or while speaking or without giving away a portion to the spectators. After bathing in the morning and evening a person should take his meals, according to the injunction. (60) A wise man should not visit another’s wife. The intercourse, of a man with other’s wives, destroys Istha and Purta rites and longevity. (61) There is no other thing in the world which so much destroys the

1 It may also mean polluted. The word in the text is Apahata.

longevity of a man as is his intercourse with another’s wife. (62) A man should adore the deities, perform the fire rites and make obeisance to elders. After properly rinsing his mouth a man should take his food. (63) Taking with reverence pure water, free from foam, bad smell and dirt, one should rinse his mouth therewith facing the east or the north. (64) A man should not take earth from under the water, from his homestead, from an ant hill, from the hole of a rat, or from clay left after performing the act of purification. (65) After attentively washing his hands and feet and sprinkling water he should sit folding his knees inward and sip the water three or four times. (66) Rubbing twice the corners of his mouth, the cavity thereof and the head, he, being purified, should perform the ceremony after duly sipping water. (67) A person should always regardfully perform the ceremonies for the deities, sages and departed manes. (68) After having sneezed, spat or put on his dress, a wise man should rinse his mouth with water. After having sneezed, licked, spat, or thrown up, a person should rinse his mouth, touch a cow’s back, look at the sun and hold his right ear. (69-70) As much as lies in his power he should adopt the after process in the absence of one preceding. In the absence of the former the adoption of the latter is considered favourable. (71) One should not gnash his teeth or afflict any part of his body. At the time of two twilights one should avoid lying down, study and eating. (72) In the evening one must not engage in a sexual intercourse or start for another place. (73) In the forenoon, my son, a man should regardfully adore the Celestials, at mid-day human beings and in the afternoon the ancestral manes. (74) Washing his head a man should worship the deities and the ancestral manes. One should have his beard shaven facing the east or the north. (75) Although born in a good family a bride, that is diseased, that has not got a limb, that is deformed, that is tawny coloured, that is talkative and that is full of defects, should be shunned. (76) A man, wishing well of himself, should marry a girl that has all the limbs, that has a beautiful nose and is gifted with all auspicious marks. (77) He should marry the fifth or the seventh daughter of her parents. He should protect his wife, throw off jealousy, and should not lie down in day and carry on sexual intercourse. (78) A man should avoid acts that may give anguish to others and pain to the creatures. Persons, of all the orders, should avoid for four nights women in their menses. (79) If a man wishes that a daughter should not be born to him he should also avoid her on the fifth day; he should go to his wife on the sixth night; for a night occurring on an even date is always auspicious, my son. (80) If a man knows his wife on the night of an even date he has a son; whereas one, who visits her on an uneven night, has a daughter (born to him). So if one wishes for a son he should live with his wife on an even night. If a man co-habits in the forenoon he has a son who relinquishes his own religion; his son becomes a hermaphrodite who does so in the twilight. (81) My son, if a man goes through a shaving, if he has thrown up, co-habited or gone to a cremation ground, he should bathe with the cloth on. (82) No one should vilify the celestials, the Vedas, the twice-born, virtuous and faithful men, noble parents, chaste women, men who perform sacrifices or ascetics; if a proud man cries them down he should not hear him. (83-84) A man should not sit down on the bed or seat of either his elder or junior; one should not put on inauspicious raiment or use inauspicious words. (85) One should use a white cloth and white flowers. A learned man should not make friends with a proud man, a fool, an insolent fellow, one of a bad character, a thief, a miser, a covetous man, a bawd, the husband of one such, a powerful man, a bad character, one of a scandalous character, one who fears every thing, and one who depends on destiny. (86-89) But he should contract friendship with pious persons of good ways, the wise, the powerful and the energetic. (90) A wise man should always live with those who are versed in the Vedic lore and who always bathe after the observance of penances. When these six persons, worthy of honour, a friend, one initiated, the king, a Snataka, a father-in-law and a priest themselves come to one’s house she should worship them. According to his might one should entertain, carefully with Madhuparka, at the proper time those twice-born ones that have lived for a year. And if one wishes his own well-being he should be obedient to them. He should not quarrel with them even if they remonstrate with him. (91-93) Having duly worshipped the house, he should at the proper place adore the fire and offer oblations duly to it. (94) The first oblation must be offered to Brahma, the second to Prajapati, the third to the Guhyakas, the fourth to Kasyapa and fifth to Anumati (the fifteenth day of the moon) and then he should offer food to the spirits of the air. Then as I told you while explaining to you the daily rites he should make offerings to

Vishwadevas. Hear now as to the method from me. Keeping in view the different abodes and the respective shares a man should make separate offerings to the deities. (95-96) He should make three offerings near the clouds, the waters and the earth respectively and also to the air; beginning with the east, offerings should also be made to each of the cardinal quarter with due order; (98) then gradually to Brahman, the sun, the sky, the Vishwadevas and all the elements of the universe. (99) Then he should make offerings in the north to Dawn and the king of ghosts. Then reciting Swadha and Namas he should make offerings to the paternal manes in the south. (100) Then wishing to keep the remaining quantity of rice, he should take water out of the vessel by means of the space between his thumb and fore-finger and then reciting (the Vedic formula) Yakshaitatt, should, as prescribed, offer it in the north-west. (101) Then taking out the first portion of the rice of the measure of a Hantakara1 and with Mantras for entertaining guests one should duly, according to injunction, offer it to a Brahmana. (102) Then with the respective Tirthas (parts of the hand) one should duly perform the ceremony. By the help of the Brahma Tirtha a man should sip water on behalf of the celestials. (103) The line at the base of the thumb of the right hand is called Brahma Tirtha and is used for the purpose of rinsing. (104) The portion, dividing the thumb and fore finger, is called Pitri Tirtha. All offerings, to the paternal manes except Nandi-mukha2, should be offered through this part. (105) Deva Tirtha is near the finger tips and with this part the ceremonies for the deities should be performed. At the base of the youngest finger is the Kaya Tirtha; with it should the ceremony for Prajapati be performed. (106) In this way ceremonies for the deities and ancestral manes should be celebrated by the help of Tirthas and nothing else should be used for this purpose. (107) For rinsing Brahma Tirtha is the best; with Pitritirtha a person should perform ceremonies for the paternal manes; those for the deities should be performed with Deva Tirtha and those for Prajapati with Kaya Tirtha. (108) He should also offer Pinda and watery oblations to Nandi-mukha progenitors and with Prajapati Tirtha he should perform that for him. (109) A discreet man should not hold fire and water at the same time; nor should he stretch out legs in front of deities or preceptors. (110) One should not look to a cow suckling her calf, nor drink water held in the cavity of palms. Serious or others wise every sort of purificatory rites must be performed promptly; one should not blow on fire with his mouth. (111¬112) A person, O my son, should not live in a country that has not got a money lender, a physician, a Brahmana versed in the Vedas and a river full of water. (113) A wise man should settle permanently in a country where lives a powerful and virtuous king, who has conquered all his enemies. How can happiness be in the country of a bad king? (114) A man secures comfort by living in a country which is ruled by a powerful king, which is fertile, contains self-controlled inhabitants who are just and void of envy. (115) A wise man should live in a country, where the husbandmen are not luxurious and where there is a plenty of healing plants. (116) A man, O my son, should not live in a country where these are always present, viz., people eager for victory, persons who were once inimical and those always given to festivities. (117) A wise man should always live amongst those who have good characters. I have thus, O my son, described to you all this for your well-being. (118)