SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 11 CHAPTER 22

THE ELEVENTH BOOK

Chapter XXII

On the rules of Vaiśvadeva

1-45. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! In connection with this Puraścharaṇam it comes now to my memory about the rules concerning the Vaiśva Deva worship (An offering made to the Vaiśvadevas; an offering to all deities made by presenting oblations to fire before meals). Hear.

The five Yajñas are the following:

(1) The Devayajñā, (2) Brahmā yajña, (3) Bhūta yajña, (4) Pitri yajña, and (5) Manuṣya yajña.

Fireplace, the pair of stone pestles, brooms (for sweeping, etc.), sieves and other house-hold things of the sort, wooden mortars (used for cleansing grains from husk) and water-jars, these five are the sources of evils inasmuch as they are the means of killing.

So to free one’s self from the above sins, one is to sacrifice before the Vaiśvadeva.

Never offer oblations of Vaiśvadeva on hearths, on any iron vessel, on the ground or on broken tiles. They are to be offered in any sacrificial pit (Kuṇḍa) or on any sacrificial altar.

Do not fire the hearth by fanning with hands, with winnowing baskets, or with holy deer skin, etc., but you can do so by blowing by your mouth. For the mouth is the origin of fire.

If the fire be ignited by clothes, one is liable to get disease; if by winnowing baskets, then less of wealth comes; if by hands, one’s death ensues. But if it be done by blowing, then one’s success comes. (There is the danger of catching fire.)

One should sacrifice with curd, ghee, fruits, roots and vegetables, and water and in their absence with fuel, grass, etc., or with any other substances soaked with ghee, curd, Pāyasa or lastly with water.

But never with oil or with salty substances.

If one performs the Homa with dry or stale substances, one is attacked with leprosy; if anybody performs Homa with leavings of other food he becomes subdued by his enemy; if one does so with rude and harsh substances, he becomes poor and if one does with salty substances, he meets with a downward course, gets degraded in position and honour.

You can offer oblations to Vaiśvadeva with burning coals and ashes from the north side of the fire of the hearth after the preparation of the meals. But you should never offer sacrifices with salty things.

The illiterate Brāhmaṇa who eats before offering oblations to Vaiśvadeva goes headlong downwards into the Kāla Sūtra hell.

Whatever food that you are intending to prepare, whether they be vegetables, leaves, roots or fruits, offer oblations to Vaiśvadeva with that;

if, before the Homa be performed of Vaiśvadeva, any Brahmachāri comes, then take off, for the Homa, first something; and then give to the beggar and satisfy him and tell him to be off.

For the Brahmachāri mendicant can remove any defects that may occur to Vaiśvadeva but Vaiśvadeva is unable to remove any defects that may occur regarding the mendicant Brahmachāri.

Both the Paramahamsa or Brahmachāri mendicant are the masters of the prepared food (Pakkānna); so when anybody takes one’s food without giving to any of these two, if they happen to come there, he will have to make the Chāndrāyaṇa (religious or expiatory penance regulated by the moon’s age, that is, waxing or waning).

O Nārada! After the offering given to Vaiśvānara, one is to offer Gogrāsa, that is, mouthfuls of food to the cows. Hear now how that is done.

The mother Surabhi, the beloved of Viṣṇu, is always stationed in the region of Viṣṇu (Viṣṇupāda); so O Surabhi! I am offering you mouthfuls of food. Accept it.

“Salutation to the cows,” saying this, one is to worship the cows and offer food to them. Hereby Surabhi, the Mother of the cows, becomes pleased.

After this, one is to wait outside for a period that is taken to milch a cow, whether any guests are coming.

For if any guest goes back disappointed from any house without any food; he takes away all the Puṇyams (merits) of the house-holder and gives him back his own sin.

The house-holder is to support mother, father, Guru, brother, son, servants, dependants, guests, those that have come, and Agni (Fire).

Knowing all these, he who does not perform the functions of the house-hold is reckoned as fallen from his Dharma both in this world and in the next.

The poor house-holder gets the same fruit by performing these five Mahā Yajñas that a rich Brāhmaṇa gets by performing the Soma Yajña.

O Best of the Munis! Now I am talking of the Prānāgni Hotra or about taking food, knowing the rules of which makes a man free from birth, old age and death and from all sorts of sins.

He who takes his food according to proper rules, is freed of the threefold debts, delivers his twenty one generations from the hells, obtains the fruits of all the Yajñas and goes unhampered to all the regions of the righteous.

Think of the belly as Araṇī or the piece of wood for kindling the fire (by attrition), think of the mind as the churning rod, and think of the wind as the rope, and then kindle the fire, residing in the belly;

the eyes are to be considered as the sacrificer, (the Addharyu), and consider fire in the belly as the result of churning.

In this fire of the belly, one is to offer oblations for the satisfaction of Prāṇa, etc., the five deities.

First of all offer oblations to the Prāṇa Vāyu with food taken by the forefinger, middle finger and thumb; next offer oblations to the Apāna Vāyu with the thumb, middle finger and the nameless (anāmā) finger;

next offer oblations to the Vyāna Vāyu (breath) with the thumb, nameless finger and the little finger; next offer oblations to the Udāna Vāyu with the thumb, forefinger and the little finger and lastly offer oblations to the Samāna Vāyu with food taken by all the fingers.

At the same time repeat respectively the mantras

Om Praṇāya Svāhā,’’ “Om Apanāya Svāhā,’

Om Samānāya Svāhā,” “Om Udānāya Svāhā,” “Om Vyānāya Svāhā.”

Within the mouth, there is the Āhavaṇiya fire; within the heart, there is the Gārhapatya fire; in the navel, there is the Dakṣiṇāgni fire; below the navel, there is the Sabhyāgni fire and below that there is the Āvasathyāgni fire. Think thus.

Next consider the Speech as the Hotā, the Prāṇa as the Udgāthā, the eyes as the Addharyu, the mind as the Brahmā, the ears as the Hotā and the keeper of the Agni, the Ahaṁkāra (egoism) as beast (Paśu), Omkārā as water, the Buddhi (intellect) of the house-holder as the legal wife, the heart as the sacrificial altar, the hairs and pores as the Kuśa grass, and the two hands as the sacrificial ladles and spoons (Sruk and Sruva.)

Then think of the colour of the Prāṇa mantra as golden fire of hunger as the Ṛiṣi (seer), Sūrya (the sun) as Devatā, the chhandas as Gāyatrī and Praṇāya Svāhā as the Mantra uttered;

also repeat “Idam Āditya devāya namaḥ” and offer oblations to the Prāṇa.

The colour of the Apāna mantra is milk white. Śraddhāgni is the Ṛiṣi, the Moon is the Devatā, Uṣṇik is the chhandas, and “Apanāya Svāhā,” “Idam Somāya na namaḥ” are the mantras.

The colour of the Vyāna mantra is red like red lotuses; the fire Deity Hutāsana is the Ṛiṣi, the fire is the Devatā; Anuṣṭup is the chhandas, “Vyānāya Svāhā” and “Idam agnaye na namaḥ” are the mantras.

The colour of the Udāna mantra is like that of the worm Indra Gopa; fire is the Ṛiṣi; Vāyu is the Devatā, Brihati is the chhandas; “Udānāya Svāhā” and “Idam Vāyave na namaḥ” are the mantras.

The colour of the Samāna mantra is like lightning; Agni is the Ṛiṣi; Parjanya (the rains, water) is the Devatā; Pankti is the chhanda; “Samānāya Svāhā” and “Idam Parjanyāya na namaḥ” are the mantras.

O Nārada! Thus offering the five oblations to the five breaths, next offer oblations to the Ātman; the Bhīṣaṇa Vahṇi is the Ṛiṣi; the Gāyatrī is the chhanda; the Self is the Devatā; “Ātmane Svāhā,” and “Idam Ātmane na namaḥ” are the mantras.

O Nārada! He who knows this Homa of Prāṇāgnihotra attains the state of Brahmā. Thus I have spoken to you in brief the rules of the Prānāgni hotra Homa.

Here ends the Twenty-Second Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the rules of Vaiśvadeva in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.