Garuda Purana, Chapter 11


Translated by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam

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An Account of the Ten-Days' Ceremonies.

1. Garuḍa said: Tell me, O Keśava, what good results follow from the performance of the ten-days' rite, and who should perform it if there is no son.

2 The Blessed Lord said: Listen, O Târkṣya, and I will tell you about the ten-days' ceremony; having done which, a good son is released from the hereditary debt.

3-8. The son, taking calm courage, should offer rice-balls to the father, refraining from tears,

Because the departed has inevitably to drink the bitter tears let fall by his relatives, and they should not weep when sorrow is useless.

Although there be sorrowing day and night for thousands of years, the man who is dead may never be seen.

Death is certain for those who are born, and birth is certain for the dead. This is inevitable and therefore a wise man should not grieve over it.

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There is no way out, either human or divine; the being who has come under the sway of death must be born again here.

If there were a way of averting the inevitable, then Nala, Râma and Yudiṣhṭhira would not have experienced miseries.

9-11. Nobody should form an excessive attachment to anybody; the body is only a dream, what then of other persons’?

As a traveller, resorting to some shady place, rests awhile and then departs again; so is the coming together of beings.

The good things eaten in the morning are destroyed by evening; how can there be permanence in a body which is sustained by these foods?

12-17. Having considered this, which removes misery, and given up sorrow arising from ignorance, the son should perform the rites.

If there is no son the wife, should perform them, and if no wife the brother; or a Brâhmiṇ's pupil or a proper kinsman should perform them.

The ten-days' ceremonies, for the man who has no son, should be performed by the sons or grandsons of his younger or his elder brother, O Bird;

Manu declared that if, of brothers of the same father, only one has a son, they are all considered, on account of that son, to have a son.

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If a man has several wives, but only one of them has a son, all of them have a son, on account of that son.

For all who have no sons a friend may offer the rice-balls. The rites must not be neglected. If there is nobody else, the family priest may do them.

18. A man or a woman who performs the rites for a friend, by this sacrament for the helpless departed, obtains the fruit of tens of millions of sacrifices.

19-21. The ten-days' ceremony for the father should be performed by the son, O Bird. Even if the eldest son dies, the father should not, through excessive affection, perform it.

Although there be many sons, only one shall perform the ten-days' ceremony, the rice-ball offerings, and the other sixteen Śrâddhas,--

Only by one these ceremonies, even if the wealth has been divided. But the annual Śrâddha should be performed severally if the wealth has been divided.

22-24. Therefore should the eldest son perform with devotion the ten-days’ ceremony, 1 eating one meal, sleeping on the ground, devoted to Brâhmaṇ, 2 and pure.

The son obtains such fruit from the performance of the rite for the father and mother, as is obtained by going round the shrines seven times.

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The son who performs the rites for one year, beginning with the ten-days' ceremony, obtains such fruit as is acquired by performing the Śrâddha at Gayâ.

25-30. Having gone to a well or a tank, in a garden, at a sacred bathing-place, or in a temple, between nine and twelve noon, he should bathe without reciting mantras.

Being purified, seated facing southward at the root of a tree, he should make an altar 1 there, cleansed with cow-dung.

He should place on it, over leaves, a twice-born 2 made of darbha and kuśa grasses, and having worshipped it with water for the feet and other things, should bow to it, saying the "Atasî."

Then having spread kuśa grass in front of it, as a seat for the rice-ball, and having placed upon it a ball prepared in the family-name of the departed,

Made of cooked rice or of barley meal,--the son should make the offering. He should dedicate Usîra-root; sandal paste, the flowers of the Bhṛiṅgarâja, incense, a lamp, eatables, mouth-perfumes and presents.

Crow-food, milk and water, and handfuls of castor-oil in a pot: "May all this, that has been given by me to the departed in his earthly name, persist."

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31-33. Food, cloths, water, wealth or other things, if given in the name of the departed, confer eternity upon the dead.

Therefore, from the first day onwards, one should pronounce the name of the departed woman or man, in accordance with the sapiṇḍa rite.

33. In the same way that on the first day a rice-ball is given as prescribed, so should the nine rice-balls be given.

34-36. On the ninth day all the authorised kinsmen at the proper time should besmear themselves with oil, wishing the dead to reach heaven.

Having bathed in the open, taking with them panic grass and parched grain, and having the women go in front, they should proceed to the place of the dead,

And say: "May his family increase like the panic grass, and radiate like the parched grain," and then leave in the house the mixed-panic grass and grain.

37-38. On the tenth day a ball of flesh should be given, O Lord of Birds, or a ball of mâṣa, since flesh is forbidden in the Kali Yuga at the ceremony for the forefathers.

On the tenth day he should shave, as also should the other relatives. The son who performs the ceremony must again have a complete shave.

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39. During the ten days he should feed a twice-born with seasoned foods. Having meditated upon Hari, he should, with hands together, pray for the release of the departed.

40. There is no reason for fear for those who bow to Govinda, the Eternal, clad in yellow robes, as beautiful as the atasî flower.

41-42. "O Beginningless and Endless Deva, O Bearer of the conch, discus and mace, Indestructible, Lotus-eyed, be Thou the giver of release to the departed."

Every day at the conclusion of the Śrâddha he should prayerfully repeat this incantation. Having bathed, gone home, and given food to the cow, he may eat.

Next: Chapter XII. An Account of the Eleventh-day Rite

Suggestions for Further Reading


99:1 One each day.

99:2 Celibate.

100:1 A square flat mound a few inches high.

100:2 A rough image, symbolical of the deceased twice-born person.

Source: Originally Scanned at, June 2006. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. The text has been reformatted and rearranged for this online edition at by Jayaram V. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was published prior to January 1st, 1923. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.

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