Mahanirvana Tantra - Chapter 9
The Ten Kinds of Purificatory Rites (Sangskara)
THE Adorable Sadashiva said:
O Virtuous One! I have spoken to Thee of the custom and religious duties appropriate to the different castes and stages of life. Do thou now listen whilst I tell Thee of the purificatory rites of the different castes (1). Without such rites, O Devi! the body is not purified, and he who is not purified may not perform the ceremonies relating to the Devas and the Pitris (2). Therefore it is that men of every caste, commencing with the Vipras, who desire their welfare in this life and hereafter, should, in all things and with care, perform the purificatory rites which have been ordained for their respective castes (3).
The ten purificatory ceremonies are those relating to conception, pregnancy, and birth of the child; the giving of its name, its first view of the sun, its first eating of rice, tonsure, investiture, and marriage (4).
The Shudras and mixed castes have no sacred thread, and but nine purificatory ceremonies; for the twice-born classes there are ten (5). O Beautiful Lady! all observances, whether they be obligatory, occasional, or voluntary, should be performed according to the injunctions of Shambhu (6). O Dearest One! I have already, in My form of Brahma, spoken of the rules appropriate to the purificatory and other observances (7), and of the Mantras appropriate to the various purificatory and other observances, according to the differences in caste (8).
In the Satya, Treta, and Dvapara Ages, the Mantras, O Kalika! were in their application preceded by the Pranava (9); but in the Kali Age, O Supreme Devi! the decree of Shangkara is that man do perform all rites with the aid of the same Mantras, but preceded by the Maya Vija (10). All Mantras in the Nigamas, Agamas, Tantras, Sanghitas and Vedas, have been spoken by Me. Their employment, however, varies according to the Ages (11). For the benefit of men of the Kali Age, men bereft of energy and dependent for existence on the food they eat, the Kula doctrine, O Auspicious One! is given (12).
I will now speak to Thee in brief of the purificatory and other rites, suitable for the weak men of the Kali Age, whose minds are incapable of continued effort (13). Kushandika precedes all auspicious ceremonies. I shall, therefore, O Adored of the Devas! speak firstly of it. Do Thou listen (14). In a clean and pleasant spot, free from husks and charcoal, let the wise one make a square, the sides of which are of one cubit s length (15). Then draw in it three lines from the West to East (of the square). Let him then sprinkle water over them, uttering the Kurcha Vija the while. Then Fire should be brought to the accompaniment of the Vahni Vija (16). The Fire, when so brought, should be placed by the side of the square, the worshipper breathing the Vagbhava Vija (17). Then, taking up a piece of burning wood with the right hand from the Fire, he should put it aside as the share of the Rakshasas, saying:
Hring, Salutation to the raw-meat eaters: Svaha (18).
The worshipper, lifting up the consecrated Fire with both hands, should place it in front of him on the three lines (above mentioned), inwardly reciting the while the Maya Vija before the Vyahritis (19). Grass and wood should then be thrown upon the Fire to make it blaze, and two pieces of wood should be smeared with ghee and offered as an oblation to it. Thereafter Fire should be named according to the object of worship, and then meditated upon as follows (20):
Ruddily effulgent like the young Sun, with seven tongues and two crowned heads of matted hair, seated on a goat, whose weapon is Shakti. (21)
Having so meditated upon the Carrier of oblations, He should be thus invoked with joined palms (22).
Hring, come, O Carrier of Oblations to all the Immortals, come! Come with the Rishis and Thy followers, and protect the sacrifice. I make obeisance to Thee. Svaha (23).
Having thus invoked Him, the worshipper should say, "0 Fire! this is Thy seat," and then worship him, the Seven-tongued, with appropriate offerings (24). The seven licking Tongues of Fire are: Kali, Karali, Mano-java, Sulohita, Su-dhumra-varna, Sphulingini, and Vishva-nirupini (25). Then, O Great Devi! the sides of the Fire should be thrice sprinkled with water from the hand, beginning from the East and ending at the North (26). Then the sides of the Fire, from the South to the North, should be thrice sprinkled with water, and following that the articles of sacrifice should be thrice sprinkled (27). Then spread kusha grass on the sides of the square, beginning with the East and ending with the North. The ends of the blades of grass on the North should be turned towards the North, and the rest of the grass should be placed with its ends towards the East (28). The worshipper should then proceed to the seat placed for Brahma, keeping the Fire on his right, and, picking up with his left thumb and little finger a blade of kusha grass from the seat of Brahma, should throw it along with the remaining blades of kusha grass on the South side of the fire, uttering the
"Hring, Destroy the abode of the enemy" (29-30).
(The performer of the sacrifice should then say to Brahma:) " O Brahman, Lord of Sacrifices, be thou seated here. This seat is made for thee." The Brahma, saying "I sit," should then sit down, with his face turned towards the North (31). After worshipping Brahma with scent, flowers, and the other articles of worship, let him be supplicated thus (32):
O Lord of Sacrifices! protect the sacrifice.O Brihaspati! protect this sacrifice. Protect me also, the performer of this sacrifice.O Witness of all acts! I bow to Thee (33).
Brahma should then say, "I protect," and if there is no person representing Brahma, then the performer of the sacrifice should, for the success of the sacrifice, make an image with darbha grass of the Vipra, and himself say this (34). The worshipper should then invoke Brahma, saying, "0 Brahman, come here, come here!" and, after doing honour to him by offering water for washing his feet and the like, let him supplicate him, saying, "So long as this sacrifice be not concluded, do Thou deign to remain here," and then make obeisance to him (35). He should then sprinkle the space between the North-East corner of the fire and the seat of Brahma three times with water taken in his hand, and should thereafter sprinkle the fire also three times, and then, returning the way he went, take his own seat. Let him then spread on the North side of the square some darbha grass, with the ends of the blades towards the North (36-37). He should then place thereon the articles necessary for the sacrifice, such as the vessel (filled with water) for sprinkling, and the vesse1 containing ghee, sacrificial fuel, and kusha grass. He should also place the sacrificial ladle and spoon on the darbha grass, and purify them by sprinkling water over them, and then, regarding them with a celestial gaze, uttering the
Hrang Hring Hrung (38-39).
Then, with his right knee touching the ground, let him put ghee into the spoon with the ladle, and, with desire for his own well-being, Jet him offer three oblations, saying the
Hring to Vishnu. Svaha (4o).
Taking again ghee in the same way, and meditating upon Prajapati, oblations should be offered with ghee streaked across the fire from the corner of Agni to that of Vayu (41). Taking ghee again and meditating on Indra, let him offer oblations from the corner of Nairrita to that of Ishana (42). O Devi! oblations should thereafter be offered to the North, the South, and to the middle of the fire, to Agni, Soma, and to Agni and Soma together (43). Upon that three oblations should be offered, uttering the
Hring salutation to Agni,
Hring salutation to Soma,
Hring salutation to both Agni and Soma,
respectively. Having performed these (preliminary) rites, the wise one should proceed to that prescribed for the Homa sacrifice, which is to be performed (44). The offering of oblations (as above described), commencing with the three offerings made to Vishnu and ending with the offering to Agni and Soma, is called Dhara Homa (45).
When making any offering, both the Deva, to which the same is being made, and the thing offered should be mentioned, and upon the conclusion of the principal rite he should perform the Svishti-krit Homa (46). O Beautiful One! in the Kali Age there is no Prayashchitta Homa. The object thereof is attained by Svishti-krit and Vyahriti Homas (47). O Devi! (for Svishti-krit Homa.) ghee should be taken in manner above mentioned, and, whilst mentally reciting the name of Brahma, oblation should be offered with the following:
Hring, O Deva of the Devas! do Thou make faultless any shortcomings that there may be in this rite, and anything done needlessly, whether by negligence or mistake. Svaha (48-49).
Then oblation should be offered to Fire, thus:
Hring, O Fire! Thou art the Purificator of all things. Thou makest all sacrifices propitious, and art the Lord of all. Thou art the Witness of all sacrificial rites, and the Insurer of their success. Do Thou fulfil all my desires (50).
The sacrificing priest, having thus concluded the Svishti-krit Homa, should thus (pray to the Supreme Brahman):
O Supreme Brahman! O Omnipresent One! for the removal of the effects of whatsoever has been improperly done in this sacrifice, and for the success of the sacrifice, I am making this Vyahriti Homa.
Saying this, he should offer three oblations with the three
Hring Bhuh Svaha,
Hring Bhuvah Svaha,
Hring Svah Svaha.
Thereafter offering one more oblation with the
Hring Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah Svaha,
the wise priest should, jointly with the giver of the sacrifice, offer the complete oblation (51-53). If the latter has performed the sacrifice without a priest, he should offer the oblation himself. This is the rule in Abhisheka and other observances (54). The Mantra for the complete oblation is
Hring, O Lord of Sacrifice! may this Sacrifice of mine be complete. May all the Devatas of sacrifices be pleased and grant that which is desired. Svaha (55).
The wise one should then, with the giver of the sacrifice, stand up, and, with a well-controlled mind, offer oblations with fruit and pan leaves, uttering the while the aforesaid Mantra (56).
The learned one should, after offering the complete oblation, perform Shanti-karma. Taking water from the sprinkling vessel, he should with kusha grass sprinkle it over the heads of the persons present (57), reciting the
May the water be friendly to me, may water be like a medicament to me, may water preserve me always; water is Narayana Himself (58). Do thou, O water! grant me happiness and my earthly desires, and so forth.
Having said this, and sprinkled water over the heads of those present, throw a few drops on the ground, saying (59):
To those who are ever hostile to me, and to those to whom we are ever hostile, may water be their enemy and engulf them (60).
Sprinkling a few drops of water in the North-East corner to the accompaniment of the above-mentioned Mantra, the kusha grass should be put away, and supplication should be made to the Carrier of oblations as follows (61):
O Carrier of Oblations! do Thou grant unto me understanding, knowledge, strength, intelligence, wisdom, faith, fame, fortune, health, energy, and long life (62).
Having thus prayed to Fire, he should, O Shiva! be bidden to depart with the following (63):
Sacrifice! do thou depart to the Lord of Sacrifice.
Fire! do thou depart to the Sacrifice itself.
Lord of Sacrifice! do Thou depart to Thine own place and fulfil my desires (64).
Then saying, "Fire, forgive me," the Fire should be moved to the South by pouring oblations of curd on the North of Fire (65). Then the worshipper should give a present to Brahma, and, after bowing to him respectfully, bid him go, and, with the ashes adhering to the ladle, the officiating priest should then make a mark on his own forehead and on that of the giver of the sacrifice, uttering the
Hring, Kling, do thou bring peace; mayest thou cause prosperity (66-67). By the grace of Indra, of Agni, of the Maruts, Brahma, the Vasus, the Rudras, and Praja-pati, may there be peace, may there be prosperity.
Whilst saying this Mantra, he should place a flower on his own head. Thereafter the giver of the sacrifice should, as his means allow, offer presents for the success of the sacrifice and for the Kushandika rite (68-69).
I have spoken to Thee, O Devi! of Kushandika, which is the groundwork of all auspicious ceremonies, and which all Kula worshippers should with care perform at the commencement thereof (70).
O Auspicious One! I will now speak to Thee of Charu-karma, in order to insure the ritual success in those families in which the cooking of charu is a traditional practice in the performance of all rites (71). The pot for cooking charu should be made of either copper or mud (72). In the first place, the articles should be consecrated according to the rules prescribed in Kushandika, and then the pot of charu should be placed in front of the worshipper (73). After careful examination to see that it is without holes and unbroken, a blade of kusha grass of the length of a pradesha should be put in the pot (74). The rice should be placed near the square and then, O Adored of the Devas! the names of such of the Devas as are to be worshipped in each particular ceremony should be uttered in the dative case, followed by the words "to please Thee," and then "I take," "I place it in the pot," and "I put water into it," and put four handfuls of rice in the name of each Deva. He should then take the rice, put it in the pot, and pour water over it (75-77). O Virtuous One! milk and sugar should be added thereto, as is done in cooking. The whole should then be well and carefully cooked over the consecrated fire (78). And when he is satisfied that it is well cooked and soft, the sacrificial ladle, filled with ghee, should be let into it (79). Thereafter placing the pot on kusha grass on the northern side of the Fire, and adding ghee to the charu three times, the pot should be covered with blades of kusha grass (80). Then, putting a little ghee into the sacrificial spoon, a little charu should be taken from the pot. With it Janu Homa is done (81). Then, after doing Dhara Homa, oblations should be made with the Mantras of the Devas, who are directed to be worshipped in the principal rite (82). Completing the principal Homa after performance of Svishti-krit Homa, expiatory Homa should be performed, and the rite thus completed (83). In the sacramental and consecratory ritual this is the method to be observed. In all auspicious ceremonies it should be followed for the complete success thereof (84).
Now,O Mahamaya! I will speak of Garbhadhana and other rites. I will speak of them in their order, beginning with Ritusangskara. Do Thou listen (85).
After performing his daily duties and purifying himself, (the priest) should worship the five deities Brahma, Durga, Ganesha, the Grahas, and the Dikpalas (86). They should be worshipped in the jars on the East side of the square, and then the sixteen Matrikas namely, Gauri and others should be worshipped in their order (87). The sixteen Matrikas are Gauri, Padma, Shachi, Medha, Savitri, Vijaya, Jaya, Deva-sena, Svadha, Svaha, Shanti, Pushti, Dhriti, Kshama, the worshipper s own tutelary Devata, and the family Devata (88).
May the Mothers that cause the joy of the Devas come and bring all success to weddings, vratas, and yajnas. May they come upon their respective carriers, and in all the fulness of their power, in their benign aspect, and add to the glory of this festival (89-90).
Having thus invoked the Mothers and worshipped them to the best of his powers, the priest should make five or seven marks with vermilion and sandal paste on the wall, at the height of his navel, and within the space of a pradesha (91).
The wise one should then, whilst breathing the three Vijas Kling, Hring, and Shring pour an unbroken stream of ghee from each of the said marks, and there worship the Deva Vasu (92). The wise man, having thus made the Vasu-dhara according to the directions which I have given, and having made the square and placed the Fire thereupon, and consecrated the articles requisite for Homa, should then cook the excellent charu (93). Charu which is cooked in this (Ritu-sangskara) is called Prajapatya, and the name of this Fire is Vayu. After concluding Dhara Homa, the rite of Ritu-sangs-kara should be begun (94). Three oblations of charu should be offered with the
Hring. salutation to Prajapati. Svaha.
The one oblation should be offered with the following (95):
May Vishnu grant the power to conceive. May Tvashta give the form. May Prajapati sprinkle it, and may Dhata give the power to bear (96).
This oblation should be made with either ghee or charu, or with ghee and charu, and should be offered meditating upon the Sun, Vishnu, and Prajapati (97).
May Sinibali give support to thy womb, may Sarasvati give support to thy womb, may the two Ashvins, who wear garlands of lotuses, give support to thy womb (98).
Meditating upon the Devis Sinibali and Sarasvati and the two Ashvins, excellent oblations should be offered with the above Mantra, followed by Svaha (99). Then oblation should be offered to the sanctified Fire, meditating upon Surya and Vishnu with the
Kling, String, Hring, Shring, Hung, grant conception to her, who desires a son: Svaha (100).
Then, in the name of Vishnu, oblations should be offered with the following:
As this extended Earth ever carries a full womb, do thou likewise carry for ten months until delivery. Svaha (101).
Meditating upon the Supreme Vishnu, let a little more ghee be thrown into the Fire with the following:
Vishnu! do Thou in Thy excellent form put into this woman an excellent son: Svaha (102).
And, uttering the following
Kling, Hring, Kling, Hring, String, Hring, Kling, Hring,
let the husband touch his wife s head (103). Then the husband, surrounded by a few married women having sons, should place both hands on the head of his wife, and, after meditating on Vishnu, Durga, Vidhi and Surya, place three fruits on the cloth of her lap. Thereupon he should bring the ceremony to a close by making Svishti-krit oblations and expiatory rites (104-105). Or the wife and husband may be purified by worshipping Gauri and Shangkara in the evening, and by giving oblations to Sun (106).
I have now spoken of Ritu-sangskara. Now listen to that relating to Garbhadhana (107). On the same night, or on some night having a date of an even number, after the ceremony, the husband should enter the room with his wife, and, meditating on Prajapati, should touch his wife and say:
Hring, O Bed! be thou propitious for the begetting of a good offspring of us two (108-109).
He should then with the wife get on the bed, and there sit with his face towards the East or the North. Then, looking at his wife, let him embrace her with his left arm, and, placing his right hand over her head, let him make japa of the Mantra on the different parts of her body (as follows) (110): Let him make japa over the head of the Kama Vija a hundred times; over her chin of the Vagbhava Vija a hundred times; over the throat of the Rama Vija twenty times; and the same Vija a hundred times over each of her two breasts (111). He should then recite the Maya Vija ten times over her heart, and twenty-five times over her navel. Next let him place his hand on her member, and recite jointly the Kama and Vagbhava Vijas a hundred and eight times, and let him similarly recite the same Vijas over his own member a hundred and eight times; and then, saying the Vija "Hring," let him part the lips of her member, and let him go into her with the object of begetting a child (112-113). The husband should, at the time of the spending of his seed, meditate on Brahma, and, discharging it below the navel into the Raktikanadi in the Chitkunda, he should at the same time recite the following (114, 115):
As the Earth is pregnant of Fire, as the Heaven is pregnant of Indra, as the Points of the compass are pregnant of the Air they contain, so do thou also become pregnant (by this my seed) (116).
If the wife then, or at a subsequent period, conceive, the householder, O Maheshvari! should perform in the third month after conception the Pungsavana rite (117). After the performance of his daily duties, the husband should worship the five Devas and the heavenly Mothers, Gauri and others, and should make the Vasu-dhara (118).
The wise one should then perform Briddhi Shraddha, and, as aforementioned, the ceremonies up to Dhara-Homa, and then proceed to the Pungsavana rites (119). The charu prepared for Pungsavana is called "Prajapatya," and the fire is called Chandra (120). One grain of barley and two Masha beans should be put into curd made from cow s milk, and this should be given to the wife to drink, and, whilst she is drinking it, she should be asked three times: "What is that thou art drinking,O gentle one?" (121). The wife should make answer: "Hring, I am drinking that which will cause me to bear a son." In this manner the wife should drink three mouthfuls of the curd (122). The wife should then be led by women whose husbands and children are living to the place of sacrifice, and the husband should there seat her on his left and proceed to perform Charu-Homa (123).
Taking a little charu as aforementioned, and uttering the Maya Vija and the Kurcha Vija, he should offer it as oblation, with the following:
Do thou destroy, do thou destroy all these Bhutas, Pretas, Pishachas, and Vetalas, who are inimical to conception and destroyers of the child in the womb, and of the young. Do thou protect (the child in) the womb, do thou protect (the child in) the womb (124-125).
Whilst reciting the above Mantra, meditate upon Fire, as Raksko-ghna, and on Rudra and Prajapati, and then offer twelve oblations (126).
He should then offer five oblations with the
Hring, Salutation to Chandra. Svaha.
And then, touching his wife s heart, breathe inwardly the Vijas Hring and Shring one hundred times (127). He should then perform Svishti-krit Homa and Prayash-chitta, and complete the ceremony. Panchamrita should be given in the fifth month of pregnancy 128). Sugar, honey, milk, ghee, and curd in equal quantities make Panchamrita. It is needful for the purification of the body (129). Breathing the Vijas Aing, Kling, Shring, Hring, Hung, and Lang, five times over each of the five ingredients, the husband, after mixing them together, should cause his wife to eat it (130). Then, in the sixth or eighth month, the Simantonnayana rite should be performed. It may, however, be performed any time before the child is born (131). The wise one should, after performing the rites as aforementioned, do Dhara-Homa, and sit with his wife on a seat, and offer three oblations to Vishnu, Surya, and Brahma, saying:
To Vishnu Svaha, to the Effulgent One Svaha, to Brahma Svaha (132).
Then, meditating on Chandra, let him offer seven oblations to Soma into Fire under his name of Shiva (133). Then, O Shiva! he should meditate upon the Ashwins, Vasava, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Prajapati and offer five oblations to each of them (134). The husband should after that take a gold comb, and comb back the hair on each side of the head and tie it up with the chignon (135). He should, whilst so combing the hair, meditate upon Shiva, Vishnu. and Brahma, and pronounce the Maya Vija (136) and the
O Wife! thou auspicious and fortunate one, thou of auspicious vows! do thou in the tenth month, by the grace of Vishva-karma, be safely delivered of a good child. May thou live long and happy. This comb, may it give thee strength and prosperity!
Saying this Mantra, the ceremony should be completed with Svishti-krit Homa and other rites (137-138). Immediately after the birth of the son the wise one should look upon his face and present him with a piece of gold, and then in another room perform Dhara Homa in the manner already described (139). He should then offer five oblations to Agni, Indra, Prajapati, the Vishva-devas, and Brahma (140).
The father should thereafter mix equal quantities of honey and ghee in a bell-metal cup, and, breathing the Vagbhava Vija over it a hundred times, make the child swallow it (141). It should be put into the child s mouth with the fourth finger of the right hand, with the following:
Child, may thy life, vitality, strength, and intelligence ever increase (142).
After performing this rite for the longevity of the child, the father should give him a secret name, by which at the time of the investiture with the sacred thread he should be called (143). The father should then finish the Jata-karma by the performance of the usual expiatory and other rites, and then the midwife should with firmness cut the umbilical cord (144). The period of uncleanliness commences only after the cord is cut; therefore all rites relating to the Devas and the Pitris should be performed before the cord is cut (145). If a daughter is born, all the acts as above indicated are to be performed, but the Mantras are not to be said. In the sixth or eighth month the boy should be given the name by which he is usually known (146). At the time of naming of the child the mother should, after bathing him and dressing him in two pieces of fine cloth, come to and place him by the side of her husband, with his face towards the East (147). The father should thereupon sprinkle the head of the child with water taken up upon blades of kusha grass and gold, saying at the time the following:
May Jahnavi, Yamuna, Reva, the holy Sarasvati, Narmada, Varada, Kunti, the Oceans and Tanks, Lakes all these bathe thee for the attainment of Dharmma, Kama, and Artha (149).
O Waters! thou art the Pranava, and thou givest all happiness. Do thou therefore provide for us food in (this) world, and do thou also enable us to see the Supreme and Beautiful (Para-brahman). Water! thou art not different from the Pranava. Grant that we may enjoy in this world thy most beneficent essence. Your wishes arise of themselves spontaneously like those of mothers. Water! thou art the very form of Pranava. We go to enjoy to our fill that essence of thine by which thou satisfieth (this Universe). May thou bring us enjoyment therein (150-152).
The wise one should sprinkle water over the child, with the three preceding Mantras, and then, as aforesaid, consecrate the fire and perform the rites leading up to Dhara Homa in the manner already described, and then should offer five oblations (153). He should make the oblation to Agni, then to Vasava, then to Prajapati, then to the Vishva-Devas, and then to Yahni under his name of Parthiva (154).
Then, taking the son in his lap, the prudent father should speak into his right ear an auspicious name one that is short, and that can easily be pronounced (155). After whispering the name three times into the son s ear, he should inform the Brahmanas who are present of it, and then conclude the ceremony with Svishtikrit Homa and the other concluding rites (156).
For a daughter there is no Nishkramana, nor is Vriddhi Shraddha necessary. The wise man performs the naming, the giving of the first rice, and tonsure of a daughter without any Mantra (157).
In the fourth or sixth month after birth the Nishkramana Sangskara ceremony of the son should be performed (158).
After performing his daily duties, the father should, after bathing, worship Ganesha, and then bathe and adorn his son with clothes and jewels, and, placing him in front of himself, pronounce the following (159):
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Ganesha, Bhaskara, Indra, Vayu, Kuvera, Varuna, Agni, and Brihaspati, may They always be propitious to this child, and may They always protect him throughout his going forth from the house (160).
Having said this, he should take the child in his arms, and, preceded by vocal and instrumental music, and surrounded by his rejoicing kinsmen, take the son out of the house (161). Going a little distance, he should show the Sun to the child, with the following (162):
Ong, yonder is the Eye (of Heaven) who excels even Shukra in his effulgence, who is beneficent even to the Devas. May we see him a hundred years. May we live a hundred years (163).
Having shown the Sun to his child, the father should return to his own house, and, after making offering to the Sun, feast his kinsmen (164). O Shiva! in the sixth or eighth month either the father s brother or the father himself should give the first rice to the child (165). After worshipping the Devas and purifying fire as aforementioned, and duly performing the ceremonies leading to Dhara Homa, the father should make five oblations to Fire, under his name of Shuchi, to each of the following Devas: He should make the oblations first to Agni, next to Vasava, after him to Prajapati, then to the Vishva-devas, and then the fifth ahuti to Brahma (166-168). He should then meditate upon the Devi Annada, and, after giving Her five oblations in Fire, place the son, adorned with clothes and jewels, in his lap, and give him payasa, either in the same or in another room (169). The payasa should be put into the child s mouth five times, uttering the Mantras for making oblations to the five vital airs; and after that a little rice and curry should be put into the child s mouth (170). The ceremony should be brought to a close by the blowing of conches and horns and other music, and by performing the concluding expiatory rite.
I have done speaking of the rice-eating ceremony. I shall now speak of the tonsure ceremony. Do Thou listen (171).
In the third or fifth year, according to the custom in the family, the tonsure of the boy should be performed for the success of the sacramental rites of the boy (172). The wise father should, after concluding the preliminary rites leading up to Dhara Homa, place on the north side of the Fire, called Satya, a mud platter filled with cow-dung, tila-seeds, and wheat, also a little lukewarm water and a keen-edged razor (173-174).
The father should place the son on his mother s lap, the mother sitting on her husband s left, and, after breathing the Varuna Vija ten times over the water, rub the hair of the boy s head with lukewarm water. He should then tie the hair with two blades of kusha grass into a knot, uttering meanwhile the Maya Vija (175-176). Then, saying the Maya and Lakshmi Vijas three times, he should cut off the knot with the steel razor and place it in the hands of the child s mother (177). The boy s mother should then take it with both hands and place it in the platter containing the cow-dung, and the father should then say to the barber: "Barber, do thou at thine ease proceed with the shaving of the boy s hair, Svaha." Then, looking at the barber, he should make three oblations to Prajapati, into Vahni, under his name of Satya (178-179). After the boy has been shaved by the barber he should be bathed and adorned with clothes and jewels, and placed near the fire on the left of his mother, and the father should, after performance of Svishti-krit Homa and the expiatory rites, offer the complete oblation (180-181). Then, uttering the following:
Hring, O Child! may the omnipresent Creator of the Universe grant thee well-being,
he should pierce the ears of the boy with gold or silver needles (182). He should then sprinkle the child with water, uttering the
O Water! thou art, etc. (aforementioned);
and, after performing Shanti Karma and other rites, and making presents, bring the ceremony to a close (183). The sacramental rites from Garbhadhana to Chudakarana are common to all castes. But for Shudras and Samanyas they must be performed without Mantras (184).
In the case of the birth of a daughter all castes are to perform the rites without Mantras. In the case of a daughter there is no Nishkramana (185).
I will now speak of the Sacred Thread Ceremony of the twice-born classes, by which the twice-born become qualified for performing rites relating to the Devas and Pitris (186).
In the eighth year from conception, or the eighth year after birth, the boy should be invested with the sacred thread. After the sixteenth year the son should not be invested, and one so invested is disqualified for all rites (187).
The learned man should, after finishing his daily duties, worship the five Devas, as also the Matrikas, Gauri, and others, and make the Vasudhara (188). He should thereafter perform Briddhi Shraddha for the satisfaction of the Devas and Pitris, and perform the rites, ending with Dhara Homa, as directed in the performance of Kushandika (189).
The boy should be given a little to eat; then his head, with the exception of the crown lock, should be shaved, and after that he should be well bathed and decked with jewels and silken clothes (190).
The boy should then be taken to the Chhaya-mandapa, near Fire, under his name of Samudbhava, and there made to sit on a clean seat to the left (of his father or Guru) (191). The Guru should say: "My son, dost thou adopt Brahma-charyya?" The disciple should say respectfully: "I do adopt it" (192). The Preceptor should then with a cheerful mind give two pieces of Kashaya cloth for the long life and strength of mind of the gentle boy (193). Then when the boy has put on the Kashaya cloth, he should, without speaking, give him a knotted girdle made of three strings of munja or kusha grass (194). On that the boy should say, "Hring, may this auspicious girdle prove propitious"; and, saying this, and putting it round his waist, let him sit in silence before the Guru (195).
This sacrificial thread is very sacred; Brihaspati of old wore it. Do thou wear this excellent white sacrificial thread which contributes to prolong life. May it be for thee strength and courage (196).
With this Mantra the boy should be given a sacrificial thread made of the skin of the black buck, as also a staff made of bamboo, or a branch of Khadira, Palasha, or Kshira trees (197). When the boy has put the sacred thread round his neck and holds the staff in his hand, the Guru should three times recite the
"O Water! thou art," etc. (aforementioned),
preceded and followed by Hring, and should sprinkle the boy with water taken with kusha grass, and fill the joined palms of the latter with water (198). After the boy has offered the water to Suryya, the Guru should show the boy the Sun, and recite the
"Yonder is the Sun," etc. (aforementioned) (199).
After the boy has viewed the Sun, the Guru should address him as follows: "My Son! place thy mind on my observances. I bestow upon thee my disposition. Do thou follow the observances with an undivided mind. May my word contribute to thy well-being" (200). After saying this, the Guru, touching the boy s heart, should ask, "My Son! what is thy name?" and the boy should make reply: " . . . Sharmma, I bow to thee" (201). And to the question of the Guru, "Whose Brahma-chari art thou?" the disciple will reverently answer: "I am thy Brahma-chari" (202). The Guru should thereupon say: "Thou art the Brahma-chari of Indra, and Fire is thy Guru." Saying this, the good Guru should consign him to the protection of the Devas (203). "My Son! I give thee to Prajapati, to Savitri, to Varuna, to Prithivi, to the Vishva-devas, and to all the Devas. May they all ever protect thee" (204).
The boy should thereafter go round the sacrificial fire and the preceptor, keeping both upon his right, and then resume his own seat (205). The Guru, O Beloved! should then, with his disciple touching him, offer five oblations to Five Devas (206) namely, Prajapati, Shukra, Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva (207). When the oblations are offered into Fire, under his name of Samud-bhava, the names of each of the Devas should be pronounced in the dative, preceded by Hring and followed by Svaha. Where there is no Mantra mentioned, this method is to be followed in all cases (208). After this, oblation should be offered to Durga, Mahalakshmi, Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Indra, and the other nine regents of the quarters, and Bhaskara and the eight planets (209). The name of each of these should be mentioned whilst the offering of oblations is made. The wise Guru should then cover the boy with cloth, and ask him, who is desirous of attaining Brahma-charyya: "What is the ashrama thou desirest, my son! and what is thy heart s desire?" (210). The disciple should thereupon hold the feet of the Preceptor, and, with a reverent mind, say: "First instruct me in Divine Knowledge, and then in that of the householder" (211).
O Shiva! when the disciple in this manner has thus beseeched his Guru, the latter should three times whisper into his disciple s right ear the Pranava, which contains all the Mantras in itself, and should also utter the three Vyahritis, as also the Savitri (212). Sadashiva is its Rishi, the verse is Trishtup, the presiding Deva is Savitri, and its object is the attainment of final liberation (213). The Gayatri Mantra is:
Ong, let us contemplate the wonderful Spirit of the Divine Creator. May He direct our understanding, Ong.
The Guru should then explain the meaning of the Gayatri (214-215). By the Tara, which contains the letters i.e., A, U, and M the Paresh is meant. He Who is the Protector, Destroyer, and Creator. He is the Deva Who is above Prakriti (106).
This Deva is the Spirit of the three worlds, containing in Himself the three qualities. By the three Vyahritis, therefore, the all-pervading Brahman is expressed (217). He Who is expressed by the Pranava and the Vyahritis is also known by the Savitri. Let us meditate upon the sublime, all-pervading eternal Truth, the great immanent and lustrous energy, adored by the self-controlled; Savita, effulgent and omnipresent One, Whose manifested form the world is, the Creator. May Bharga, Who witnesseth all, and is the Lord of all, direct and engage our mind, intelligence, and senses towards those acts, which lead to the attainment of Dharmma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha (218-220).
O Devi! the excellent Guru, having thus instructed the disciple, and explained to him the Divine Wisdom, should direct him in the duties of a householder (221). "My Son! do thou now discard the garments of a Brahma-chari, and honour the Devas and Pitris according to the way revealed by Shambhu" (222). Thy body is sanctified by the instructions thou hast received in Divine Wisdom. Do thou, now that thou hast reached the stage of a householder, engage thyself in thy duties appropriate to that mode of life (223). Put on two sacred threads, two good pieces of cloth, jewels, shoes, umbrella, fragrant garland, and paste (224). The disciple should then take off his Kashaya cloth and his sacred thread of black-buck skin and his girdle, and give them and his staff, begging-bowl, and also what has been received by him in the shape of customary alms, to his Guru.
He should then put on two sacred threads and two fine cloths, and wear a garland of fragrant fiowers, and perfume himself, and thereafter sit in silence near the Guru, who should address him as follows (225-227):
"Conquer the senses, be truthful and devoted to the acquisition of Divine Knowledge and the study of the Vedas, and discharge the duties of a householder according to the rules prescribed in the Dharmma Shastras" (228).
Having thus instructed the disciple, the Guru should make him offer three oblations into Fire in the name of Samudbhava with the
Hring, Earth, Firmament, and Heaven, Ong.
He should then himself perform Svishti-krit Homa, and then, O Gentle One! he should bring the investiture ceremony to a close by offering the complete oblation (229-230).
Beloved! all ceremonies, from the Jivaseka to Upana-yana ceremonies, are performed by the father alone. The ceremony relating to marriage may be performed either by the father or by the bridegroom himself (231). The pious man should on the day of marriage perform his ablutions and finish his daily duties, and should then worship the five Devas and the Divine Mothers, Gauri and others, and making the Vasu-dhara do Briddhi Shraddha (232). At night the betrothed bridegroom, preceded by vocal and musical instrumental music, should be brought to the chhaya-mandapa and seated on an excellent seat (233). The bridegroom should sit facing the East, and the giver of the bride should face the west, and the latter, after rinsing his mouth, should, with the assisting Brahmanas, say the words "Svasti" and "Riddhi" (234).
The giver of the bride should ask after the bridegroom s welfare, and ask also his permission to honour him, and upon receiving his answer should honour him by the offer of water for his feet and the like (235), and saying, "I give this to you," let him give the bridegroom the gifts. The water should be given at the feet and the oblation at the head (236). Articles for the rinsing of the mouth should be offered at the mouth, and then scents, garlands, two pieces of good cloth, beautiful ornaments and gems, and a sacred thread should be given to the bridegroom (237), The giver should make madhu-parka by mixing together curd, ghee, and honey in a bell-metal cup, and place it in the hand of the bridegroom with the words, "I give you" (238). The bridegroom, after taking it, should place the cup in his left hand, and, dipping the thumb and ring fingers of his right hand into the madhu-parka, should smell it five times, reciting meanwhile the Pranahuti Mantra, and then place the cup on his north. Having offered the madhu-parka, the bridegroom should be made to rinse his mouth (239-240).
The giver of the daughter should then, holding durva and akshata, touch the right knee of the bridegroom with his hand, and then, first meditating on Vishnu and saying "Tat Sat," he should mention the name of the month, the paksha, and tithi, and then the names of the gotra and pravara of the bridegroom and his ancestors one by one, from the great-grandfather, beginning with the last, and ending with the father. The bridegroom s name should be in the objective, and the names of the others in the possessive case. Then follow the bride s name and the names of her ancestors, their gotras, etc.; and he should then say: "I honour thee with the object of giving her to thee in Brahma marriage" (241-244).
The bridegroom should then say: "I am honoured." The giver upon this should say, "Perform the ordained marriage rites," and the bridegroom should then say: "I do it to the best of my knowledge" (245). The bride, adorned with beautiful clothes and jewels, and covered with another piece of cloth, should then be brought and placed in front of the bridegroom (246). The giver of the bride should once again show his respect to the bridegroom by the present of clothes and ornaments, and join the right hand of the bridegroom with that of the bride (247). He should place in their joined hands five gems or a fruit and a pan-leaf, and, having saluted the bride, should consign her to his hands (248). At the time of consigning the bride the giver should, as before, mention his name twice in the nominative case, and should state his wish, and should also mention the names of the three ancestors of the bridegroom, with their gotras, all in the possessive case, as before.
He should then mention the name of the bridegroom in the dative singular, and then the names of the three ancestors of the bride, with their gotras, etc., in the possessive case. At the time of mentioning the bride s name in the objective singular he should say after that, "The honoured, adorned, clothed, and Prajapati-devataka," and saying, "to thee I give," he should give away the bride. The bridegroom should, saying "Svasti," agree to take her as his wife (249-251). Let the giver then say, "In Dharmma, in Artha, in Kama, thou should be with thy wife;" and the bridegroom should reply, saying, "So I shall," and then recite the praise of Kama (252).
It is Kama who gives and Kama who accepts. It is Kama who has taken the Kamini for the satisfaction of Kama. Prompted by Kama, I take thee. May both our kamas be fulfilled (353).
The giver should then, addressing the son-in-law and the daughter, say: "May, by the grace of Prajapati, the desires of you both be accomplished. May you two fare well. Do you two together perform the religious observances" (254). Then both the bride and bridegroom, to the accompaniment of music and blowing of conch-shells, should be covered with the cloth, so that they may have their first auspicious glance at one another (255).
Then gold and jewels, according to the giver s means, should be offered to the son-in-law as presents. The giver should then think to himself that the ceremony has been faultlessly done (256). The bridegroom either, on the same night or the day following, should establish fire, according to the rules of Kushandika (257).
The fire that is made in this Kushandika is called Yojaka, and the charu which is cooked is called Prajapatya. After performing Dhara Homa in the fire, the bridegroom should offer five oblations (258). The oblation should, after meditation upon Shiva, Durga, Brahma, Vishnu, and the Carrier of Thunder, be made to them one after the other singly in the sanctified fire (259). Taking both his wife s hands, the husband should say: "I take thy hands, O fortunate one! Do thou be devoted to the Guru and the Devatas, and duly perform thy household duties according to the religious precepts" (260). The wife should then, with ghee given by the husband, and fried paddy given by her brother, make four oblations in the name of Prajapati (261). The husband should then rise from his seat with his wife and go round the Fire with her and offer oblations to Durga and Shiva, Rama and Vishnu, Brahmi and Brahma, three times to each couple (262).
Then, without reciting any Mantra, the bride should step on a stone, and, standing thereon, the bride should take seven steps. If the Kushamdika ceremony is performed at night, the bride and bridegroom, surrounded by the ladies present, should gaze upon the stars Dhruva and Arundhati (263). Returning to their seats and seated thereon, the bridegroom should bring the ceremony to a close by performing Svishti-krit Homa and offering complete oblations (264). The Brahma marriage, according to kula-dharmma, in order to be faultless, should take place with a girl of the same caste as the husband, but she should not be of the same gotra, nor should she be a sapinda (265). The wife married according to Brahma rites is the mistress of the house, and without her permission another wife should not be married according to those rites (266). O Kuleshvari! if the children of the Brahma wife are living or any of her descendants be living, then the children of the Shaiva wife shall not inherit (267).
O Parameshvari! the Shaiva wife and her children are entitled to food and clothing from the heir of her Shaiva husband in proportion to the property of the latter (268). Shaiva marriage celebrated in the Chakra is of two kinds. One kind is terminated with the Chakra and the other is lifelong (269). At the time of the formation of the Chakra the Vira, surrounded by his friends, relatives, and fellow-worshippers, should, with a well-controlled mind, by mutual consent, perform the marriage ceremony (270). He should first of all submit their wishes, saying to the Bhairavis and Viras there assembled, "Approve our marriage according to Shaiva form" (271). The Vira should, after obtaining their permission, bow to the Supreme Kalika, repeating the Mantra of seven letters (Kalika Mantra) one hundred and eight times (272).
O Shiva! he should then say to the woman: "Dost thou love me as thy husband with a guileless heart?" (273).
O Queen of the Devas! the Kaula woman should then honour her beloved with scents, flowers, and coloured rice, and with a faithful heart place her own hands on his (274). The Lord of the Chakra should then sprinkle them with the following Mantra, and the Kaulas, seated in the Chakra, should approve and say: "It is well" (275)
May Raja-rajeshvari, Kali, Tarini, Bhuvaneshvari, Bagala, Kamala, Nitya, Bhairavi, ever protect thee both (276).
The Lord of the Chakra should sprinkle them twelve times with wine or water of oblation, reciting the above Mantra. The two should then bow to him, and he should upon that let them hear the Vijas of Vagbhava and Rama (277). There is no restriction of caste or age in Shaiva marriage. By the command of Shambhu, any woman who is not a sapinda, and has not already a husband, may be married (278).
The wife married for the purposes of Chakra in the Shaiva form should, in the case of the Vira who desires offspring, be released on the dissolution of the Chakra only after the appearance of her menses. The offspring of the Shaiva marriage is of the same caste as the mother if it be an Anuloma marriage, and a Samanya if the marriage is Viloma (279-281). These mixed castes should, at the time of their fathers shraddha and other ceremonies, give presents of edibles to, and feast the Kaulas only (282).
Eating and sexual union, O Devi! are desired by, and natural to, men, and their use is regulated for their benefit in the ordinances of Shiva (283). Therefore, O Mahe-shani! he who follows the ordinances of Shiva undoubtedly acquires Dharmma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha (284).
End of the Ninth Joyful Message, entitled "The Ten Kinds of Purificatory Rites (Sangskara)."
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Chapter 1 - Questions relating to the Liberation of Beings
- Chapter 2 - Introduction to the Worship of Brahman
- Chapter 3 - Description of the Worship of the Supreme Brahman
- Chapter 4 - Introduction of the Worship of the Supreme Prakriti
- Chapter 5 - The Formation of the Mantras, Placing of the Jar, and Purification of the Elements of Worship
- Chapter 6 - Placing of the Shri-patra, Homa, Formation of the Chakra, and other Rites
- Chapter 7 - Hymn of Praise (Stotra), Amulet (Kavacha), and the description of the Kula-tattva
- Chapter 8 - The Dharmma and Customs of the Castes and Ashramas
- Chapter 9 - The Ten Kinds of Purificatory Rites (Sangskara)
- Chapter 10 - Rites relating to Vriddhi Shraddha, Funeral Rites, and Purnabhisheka
- Chapter 11 - The Account of Expiatory Rites
- Chapter 12 - An Account of the Eternal and Immutable Dharmma
- Chapter 13 - Installation of the Devata
- Chapter 14 - The Consecration of Shiva-linga and Description of the Four Classes of Avadhutas
- Essays On Dharma
- Esoteric Mystic Hinduism
- Introduction to Hinduism
- Hindu Way of Life
- Essays On Karma
- Hindu Rites and Rituals
- The Origin of The Sanskrit Language
- Symbolism in Hinduism
- Essays on The Upanishads
- Concepts of Hinduism
- Essays on Atman
- Hindu Festivals
- Spiritual Practice
- Right Living
- Yoga of Sorrow
- Mental Health
- Concepts of Buddhism
- General Essays
Source: Mahanirvana Tantra Tantra of the Great Liberation, Translated by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) . While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly, we do not guarantee or accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text.
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