Chapter 346

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “On one occasion, while residing in the retreat ofNara and Narayana, Narada the son of Pramesthi, having duly accomplishedthe rites and observances in honour of the deities, set himself toperform thereafter the rites in honour of the Pitris. Beholding him thusprepared, the eldest son of Dharma, viz., the puissant Nara addressedhim, saying, ‘Whom art thou worshipping, O foremost of regeneratepersons, by these rites and observances in connection with the deitiesand the Pitris? O foremost of all persons endued with intelligence, tellme this, agreeably to the scriptures. What is this that thou art doing?What also are the fruits desired by thee of those rites thou hast addrestthyself in performing?’

“Narada said, “Thou saidst unto me on a former occasion that rites andobservances in honour of the deities should be accomplished. Thou saidstthat the rites in honour of the deities constitute the highest sacrificeand are equivalent to the worship of the eternal Supreme Soul. Instructedby that teaching, I always sacrifice in honour of the eternal andimmutable Vishnu, through these rites that I perform in worshipping thedeities. It is from that Supreme Deity that Brahma, the Grandsire of allthe worlds, took his rise in days of yore. That Brahma, otherwise calledPrameshthi, filled with cheerfulness, caused my sire (Daksha) to startinto being. I was the son of Brahma, created before all others, by a fiatof his will (although I had to take birth afterwards as the son of Dakshathrough a curse of that Rishi). O righteous and illustrious one, I amper-forming these rites in honour of the Pitris for the sake of Narayana,and agreeable to those ordinances that have been laid down by himself.The illustrious Narayana is the father, mother, and grandfather (of allcreatures). In all sacrifices performed in honour of the Pitris, it isthat Lord of the universe who is adored and worshipped. On one occasion,the deities, who were sires, taught their children the Srutis. Havinglost their knowledge of the Srutis, the sires had to acquire it againfrom those sons unto whom they had communicated it. In consequence ofthis incident, the sons, who had thus to communicate the Mantras untotheir sires, acquired the status of sires (and the sire, for havingobtained the Mantras from their sons, acquired the status of sons).[1891]Without doubt, what the deities did on that occasion is well known to youtwo. Sons and sires (on that occasion) had thus to worship each other.Having first spread some blades of Kusa grass, the deities and the Pitris(who were their children) placed three Pindas thereon and in this wayworshipped each other. I wish to know, however, the reason why the Pitrisin days of yore acquired the name of Pindas.’

“Nara and Narayana said, ‘The Earth, in days of yore, with her belt ofseas, disappeared from the view. Govinda, assuming the form of a giganticboar, raised her up (with his mighty tusk), Having replaced the Earth inher former position, that foremost of Purushas, his body smeared withwater and mud, set himself to do what was necessary for the world and itsdenizens. When the sun reached the meridian, and the hour, therefore,came for saying the morning prayers, the puissant Lord, suddenly shakingoff three balls of mud from his tusk, placed them upon the Earth, ONarada, having previously spread thereon certain blades of grass. Thepuissant Vishnu dedicated those balls of mud unto his own self, accordingto the rites laid down in the eternal ordinance. Regarding the threeballs of mud that the puissant Lord had shaken off from his tusks asPindas, he then, with sesame seeds of oily kernel that arose from theheat of his own body, himself performed the rite of dedication, sittingwith face turned towards the East. That foremost of deities then,impelled by the desire of establishing rules of conduct for the denizensof the three worlds, said these words:

“Vrishakapi said, I ant the Creator of the worlds. I am resolved tocreate those that are to be called Pitris.–Saying these words, he beganto think of those high ordinances that should regulate the rites to begone through in honour of the Pitris. While thus engaged, he saw that thethree balls of mud, shaken off his tusk, had fallen towards the South. Hethen said unto himself,–These balls, shaken off my tusk, have fallen onthe Earth towards the southern direction of her surface. Led by this, Ideclare that these should be known henceforth by the name of Pitris. Letthese three that are of no particular shape, and that are only round,come to be regarded as Pitris in the world. Even thus do I create theeternal Pitris. I am the father, the grandfather, and the greatgrandfather, and I should be regarded as residing in these three Pindas.There is no one that is superior to me. Who is there whom I myself mayworship or adore with rites? Who, again, is my sire in the universe? Imyself am my grandfather. I am, indeed, the Grandsire and the Sire. I amthe one cause (of all the universe).–Having said these words, that Godof gods, Vrishakapi by name, offered those Pindas, O learned Brahmana, onthe breast of the Varaha mountains, with elaborate rites. By those ritesHe worshipped His own self, and having finished the worship, disappearedthere and then. Hence have the Pitris come to be called by the name ofPinda. Even this is the foundation of the designation. Agreeably to thewords uttered by Vrishakapi on that occasion, the Pitris receive theworship offered by all. They who perform sacrifices in honour of andadore the Pitris, the deities, the preceptor or other reverend seniorguests arrived at the house, kine, superior Brahmanas, the goddess Earth,and their mothers, in thought, word, and deed, are said to adore andsacrifice unto Vishnu himself. Pervading the bodies of all existentcreatures, the illustrious Lord is the Soul of all things. Unmoved byhappiness or misery, His attitude towards all is equal. Endued withgreatness, and of great soul, Narayana has been said to be the soul ofall things in the universe.'”

Chapter 347
Chapter 345
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