Markandeya Puranam

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MADALASA said: – Hear, next, of the remedies for things that should be rejected as well those that should be accepted. Stale rice should be always taken after mixing it with oily substances; barley, wheat and curds may however be taken without oily substances. The flesh of a hare, tortoise, inguana, hedgehog, and rhinoceros may be taken, my son; but that of domescated boar or of a domesticated hen should always be avoided. There is no harm of a eating the remnants of a sacrifice to the paternal manes and the deities. Nor is there any harm of eating flesh that has been desired by the Brahmanas at a Sraddha and which has been purified with water being sprinkled over it, as well as by the recitation of mantras, as also what has been prescribed for medicine. (1-3) A conch, stone, gold, silver, a rope, a cloth, potherbs, roots, fruits, a basket made of split bamboo, a hide, a ruby, a diamond, a coral, a

1 Sixteen handfuls of rice make a Hantakara. Sridhara in Vishnu-puranam. It is also called so on account of the word Hanta appearing in the Mantra that is recited on this occasion. 2 This is performed on festive occasions in honour of the departed manes.

pearl, or the human body is purified by means of water. (4-5) Articles made of iron are purified by means of water; and those made of stone by being rubbed and the purification of vessels smeared with oil, is made by hot water. (6) A winnowing basket, paddy, a deer-skin, a mace, a wooden mortar, clothes and bedding are purified by being sprinkled with water. (7) All sorts of barks are purified by water and alkaline substances. Grass, wood and annual plants are purified by sprinkling water. (8) When a woollen cloth or one made of hair is dirty it is purified by water mixed with mustard or the husks of sesame. (9) When a cotton cloth is unclean, my son, it is purified by water and ashes. (10) Things made of inferior metals are purified by water. Wood, teeth, a bone, and a horn is purified with being burnt again. Alms, the hand of a mechanic, commodity of commerce, the face of a female are naturally pure. Things, that have been brought in carriages, that are unknown, that have been carried by servants, that are always spoken of as pure, that have been lying for days together, that are light, that have passed through many hands, are by nature pure. Things in large quantities, a boy, the acts of an old man or of one suffering from disease (are by nature pure). (11-13) A house, where heaps of charcoal are lying about after the performance of a sacrificial rite, is pure, as well as a woman that gives milk to her child, or water that is current, that has no bubble or that does not give out bad smell. (14) A ground is purified in time by being burnt, besmeared and with the foot-marks of the kine. A dwelling house is purified by pasting (cow-dung), scraping, washing, sweeping and worship. (15) A place or thing, that has been touched by hairs or worms, that has been smelt by kine, that has been infested by fleas, is purified, my son, by water, earth, and ashes. (16) A copper vessel is purified by acid, a zinc or leaden vessel by potash and a bell-metalled vessel by ashes and water and the liquid by the process of plava1.

(17) And all other things, when they are defiled by polluting substances, are purified on being cleansed with water and earth until the bad smell is removed. All other things are purified when both their hue and bad smell are removed by these two substances. (18) The water, that lies in its natural state on the earth, and is capable of satisfying the kine, is pure. The meat, of any beast brought by a Chandala or a carnivorous animal, is naturally pure. (19) It is said, my son, that cloth and similar things lying on the high way are purified by the air. (20) Dust, fire, a horse, a cow, a shade, the solar and lunar day, the wind, the earth, a drop of water, flies, etc., are not polluted in their coming in contact with vicious things. (21) The mouth of a goat or of a horse is clean but that of a calf is not so. The urine and dung of a cow that has given birth to a young one as also the fruits dropped by a bird are pure. (22) Like the commodities for sale, a sit, a bed, a vehicle, a boat, a grass growing on the way, are clean for the rays of the sun and moon fall over them and the air passes over them. (23) A person should change his dress after walking, bathing, eating, drinking, passing urine and excreta and should rinse his mouth with water. (24) If a road, clay, water or anything made of brick and clay is defiled for coming in contact with a polluting substance it is purified by air. (25) If a heap of rice is polluted slightly a quantity should be taken from the surface and thrown away. Then by rinsing the mouth with water and sprinkling water on the rest and by earth it is purified. (26) If a man unknowingly eats rice that has been defiled he should fast for three nights; but if he does it knowingly he must perform the penance as laid down. (27) If a man touches a woman in her menses, a horse, a jackal, a woman, who has of late given birth to a child, the offspring of a Chandala, or an undertaker, he should bathe for the purpose of being purified. (28) If a person touches a human bone covered with fat he is cleansed by bathing; but if he touches a human bone without fat he should rinse his mouth with water, touch a cow and behold the sun. (29) A wise man should not walk over blood or spit or leap over an elevation; nor should he remain in a garden or such like places during a twilight. (30) A man should not talk with a woman that has no husband or one who is generally reprehended. A man should throw outside his house leavings, urine, and excreta and water with which his feet have been washed. (31) A man should not bathe in another’s tank without digging therefrom five lumps of clay; but one should bathe in the Ganga, in any lake or river or natural water. (32) If a person touches or talks with a man who vilifies the deities, the ancestral manes, the holy books, sacrifices, Mantras, he is purified by looking at the sun. (33) If a wise man beholds a woman in her menses, a Chandala, a fallen person, a dead body, an

1 The process of taking up defiled Ghee with the blade of Kusha grass and dropping it in fire.

unbeliever, a woman who has of late given birth to a child, a hermaphrodite, one nude, an offspring of a Chandala, those who take out things belonging to a child-birth, an adulterer, he is purified by the same means. (34-35) If a man touches forbidden food, a woman just delivered, a hermaphrodite, a cat, a rat, a dog, a cock, one fallen, cast off and polluted things, a Chandala, an undertaker, a woman in her menses, a domesticated boar, a man unclean for child-birth, he is purified by bathing. (36-37) He, in whose house Nitya rites are neglected, he, who has been foresken by the Brahmanas, is the worst of men and a sinful wretch. (38) Therefore a man should not put a stop to Nitya (obligatory) rites. Except on the occasion of birth or death, if he stops it, he is to suffer bondage. (39) If a man is impure on account of any birth or death, if a Brahmana, he should not for ten days make gifts and perform fire-ceremony and other obligatory rites; a Kshatrya, for twelve days and a Vaishya, for fifteen days. (40) A Sudra should abstain from his own work for a month. After that, each order should perform their respective rites as laid down in holy books. (41) The dead body having been cremated outside the house by the persons of the same gotra, water should be given to the departed spirit on the first, the fourth, the seventh or the ninth day. (42) On the fourth day, the ashes and bones of the dead person should be collected by the persons of the same blood. After such a collection their bodies become touchable. (43) After such a collection all the rites should be performed by those who are entitled to offer water. On the day of death, persons, both who can offer Pinda (and who can offer water), may be touched.

(44) In the event of death being brought about by weapon, water, hanging, fire, poison, fall from an elevated place or by the vow of starvation, or (by mere) starvation, the period of impurity lasts for only a single constellation. (45) If one dies in infancy or in a distant country or after having left his home, impurity disappears on the very day. Some say that the period of impurity lasts for three days. (46) If after the death of a Sapinda another Sapinda dies, all the ceremonies, that are to be performed by the latter, become performable by the Sapinda on the expiration of the period of impurity calculated from the date of the first death. (47) A similar injunction is followed duly on the birth of a child, both by the Sapindas and Samanodakas. (48) It is enjoined that on the birth of a child, the father should bathe with the (cloth on). (49) If after the birth of one, another is born, in that case too the purity is said to take place by counting the days from the first birth. (50) On the expiry of ten days, twelve days, fifteen days and thirty days the four orders should duly perform their respective rites. (51) On the expiration of such a time the Ekoddishta should be performed for the departed spirit. The wise should make presents to the Brahmanas. (52) If one wishes to make (these ceremonies eternally fruitful), he should make presents of whatever object is held in highest esteem in this world and whatever agreeable object is in the house, to the accomplished Brahmanas. (53) After the period of impurity is over, all the orders, touching water, as also the animals they ride or yoke to their cars, weapons, whips and goads, should perform the usual ceremonies. (54) Being purified they should perform the ceremonies and acts that are ordained respectively for the various orders for they lead to prosperity both in this world and in the next. (55) The three Vedas should be chanted every day and they should behave themselves like the learned. Acquiring riches by lawful means, they should attentively perform the sacrifices. (56) O my son, one should fearlessly perform an act which does not bring censure on his own self and which does not require to be concealed from a person worthy of respect. (57) Behaving thus, O my dear son, a householder acquires religious merit, worldly profit and desire, and becomes happy both in this world and in the next.