On the description of the various hells
1-28. Dharma Râja Yama said :– O Fair One! If, in this Bhârata, any murderer, merciless and fierce, kills any man, out of greed for money, he goes and miserably dwells in the Asipattra hell for fourteen Indra’s life periods. And if that murderer kills a Brâhmana, he lives in that hell for one hundred manvantaras. While in hell, his body becomes fiercely cut and wounded by the swords. There My messengers chastise him and beat him and he cries aloud and passes his time without any food. Then he becomes born for one hundred years as a Manthâna insect, for hundred births as a boar, for seven births as a cock; for seven births as a fox, for seven births as a tiger; for three births, as a wolf; for seven births, as a frog; then as a buffalo when he becomes freed of his sins of murders. If anybody sets fire to a city or a village, he will have to live in Ksuradhâra Kunda for three yugas with his body severed. Then he becomes a Preta (disembodied spirit) and travels over the whole earth, being burnt up with fire. For seven births he eats unclean and unholy food and spends his time as a pigeon. Then for seven births he becomes diseased with a severe colic pain, for seven births as a leper; when ultimately he gets a pure human body.
If anybody whispers in one’s ear another’s calumny and thus glorifies himself and abuses and vilifies the Devas and Brâhmanas, he goes and remains in Sûchî Kunda for three Yugas, and he is pierced there by needles. Then he becomes a scorpion for seven births, a serpent for seven births, and an insect (Bhasma Kîta) for seven births; then he gets a diseased human body when, at last, he becomes purified. If anybody breaks into another’s house and steals away all the household articles, cows, goats or buffaloes, he goes to Gokâ Mukha Kunda where faeces are like cow’s hoofs, there, beaten by My servants, for three Yugas. (Gokâ is Goksura, hoof of a cow). Then, for seven births, he becomes a diseased cow; for three births, a sheep; for three births, a goat; and finally he becomes a man. But in this man-birth he is born first as diseased, poor, deprived of wife and friends, and a repenting person; when ultimately he is freed of his sin. If anybody steals any ordinary thing, he goes to Nakra Mukha Kunda and lives there for three years, greatly tormented by My messengers. Next for seven births, he becomes a diseased ox. Then he attains a very diseased man-birth, and ultimately he is freed of his sins. Such are the horrible results. If anybody kills a cow, elephant, horse, or cuts a tree, he goes to Gaja Dams’a Kunda for three yugas. There he is punished by My messengers freely by the teeth of elephants. Then he attains three elephants’ births, three horse-births; then he becomes born as a cow and ultimately he is born a Mlechcha when he becomes pure. If anybody obstructs any thirsty cow from drinking water, he goes to Krimi Kunda and Gomukha Kunda filled with hot water and lives there for one manvantara. Next when he attains a human birth he owns not any cattle nor any wealth; rather he is born as a man, very much diseased, in low castes, for seven births when he becomes freed. If anybody, being born in Bhârata, kills cows, Brâhmins, women, beggars, causes abortions or goes to those not fit to be gone into, he lives in the Kumbhîpâka hell for fourteen Indra’s life periods. There be is pulverised always by My messengers. He is made to fall sometimes in fire, sometimes over thorns, sometimes in hot oil, sometimes in hot water, sometimes in molten iron or copper. That great sinner gets thousand vulture births, hundred boar births, seven crow births and seven serpent births. He then becomes worms of faeces for sixty thousand years. Thus travelling frequently in ox births he at last becomes born as a very poor leper.
29-31. Sâvitrî said :– “O Bhagavân! What is, according to the S’âstras, Brahmahattyâ (murdering a Brâhmin) and Gohatyâ (killing a cow)? Who are called Agamyâs (women unfit to be approached)? Who are designated as void of Sandhyâ (daily worship of the twice born castes)? Who can be called uninitiated? Who are said to take Pratigrahas (gifts) in a Tîrath? What are the characteristics of a real Grâmayâjî (village priests), Devala, (Brâhmana of an inferior order who subsists upon the offerings made to the images which he attends), the cook of a S’ûdra, of one who is infatuated (Pramatta) and the Vrisalîpati (one who has married an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced; a barren woman). Kindly describe all these to me.”
32-91. Dharmarâjan said :– O Fair Sâvitrî! If anybody makes a distinction between Krisna and His Image or between any Deva and his image, between S’iva and His phallic emblem, between the Sun and the stone Sûrya Kânta (a precious stone of a bright and glittering colour) between Ganes’a and Durgâ, he is said to be guilty of the sin Brahmahattyâ. If anybody makes any difference (superiority or inferiority) between his own Ista Deva (his Deity), his Spiritual Teacher, his natural father, and mother, is certainly involved in the sin of Brahmahattyâ. He who shews any difference (superiority or inferiority) between the devotees of Visnu and those of other Devas, is said to commit Brahmahattyâ. He who makes any difference in matters of respect between the waters of the feet of any Brâhmana and those of S’âlagrâma stone, is said to commit Brahmahattyâ. The difference between the offerings to Hari and Hara leads to Brahmahattyâ. He who shews any difference between Krisna, Who is verily the God of gods, the Cause of all causes, the Origin of all, Who is worshipped by all the Devas, Who is the Self of all, Who is attributeless and without a second yet Who by His Magic powers assumes many forms and who is Is’âna, is said to commit, indeed, the Brahmahattyâ. If any Vaisnava (a devotee of Visnu) abuses and envies a S’akta (a devotee of S’akti), he commits Brahmahattyâ. He who does not worship, according to the Vedas, the Pitris and the Devas or prohibits others in doing so, commits Brahmahattyâ. He who abuses Hrisikes’a, Who is the Highest of the Holy things, Who is Knowledge and Bliss and Who is Eternal, Who is the only God to be served by the Devas and Vaisnavas, and those Who are worshippers of His Mantra, and those who do not worship themselves are said to commit Brahmahattyâ. He who abuses and vilifies Mûlaprakriti Mahâ Devî, Who is of the nature of Causal Brahmâ (Kârana Brahmâ), Who is All Power and the Mother of all, Who is worshipped by all and who is of the nature of all the Devas and the Cause of all Causes, Who is Âdyâ S’akti Bhagavatî, is said to commit Brahmahattyâ. He who does not observe the Holy S’rî Krisna Janmâstami, S’rî Râma Navamî, S’ivarâtri, the Ekâdas’î happening on Sunday, and five other holy Pârvanas (festivals), commits Brahmahattyâ; is considered more sinful than a Chândâla. He who in this land of Bhârata, digs earth on the day of Ambuvâchî or makes water, etc., in the waters of the tanks, is involved in the sin of Brahmahattyâ. He who does not support his spiritual teacher, mother, father, chaste wife, son and daughter, though they are faultless, commits Brahmahattyâ. He whose marriage does not take place during his whole life-time, who does not see the face of his son, who does not cherish devotion to Hari, who eats things unoffered to S’rî Hari, who never worshipped throughout his life Visnu or an earthen symbol of S’iva, verily commits Brahmahattyâ. O Fair One! Now I will recite the characteristics, according to the S’âstras, of Gohattyâ (killing a cow). Listen. If anybody does not prohibit one, seeing one to beat a cow, or if he goes between a cow and a Brâhmin, he is involved in the sin of Gohattyâ. If any illiterate Brâhman, carrying an ox, daily beats with a stick, the cows, certainly he commits the Gohattyâ. If anybody gives the remains of another’s meal to a cow to eat, or feeds a Brâhmin who carries, rather moves or drives, cows and oxen; or eats himself the food of such a Brâhmin driver, he commits Gohattyâ. Those who do sacrifices of the husband of a barren woman (Vrisalî) or eat his food, commit sin equal to one hundred Gohattyâs; there is no doubt in this. Those who touch fire with their feet, beat the cows or enter the temple bathing but not washing their feet, commit Gohattyâ. Those who eat without washing their feet or those who sleep with their feet wetted with water and those who eat just after the Sun has risen, commit Gohattyâ. Those who eat the food of women without husbands or sons or the food of pimps and pampers or those who do not perform their Sandhyâs thrice, commit Gohattyâ. If any woman makes any difference between her husband and the Devatâ, or chastises and uses harsh words to her husband, she commits Gohattyâ. If anybody destroys cow’s pasture land, tanks, or land for forts and cultivates there grains, he commits Gohattyâ. He who does not do Prâyas’chitta (expiation, atonement) for the expiation of the sin of Gohattyâ done by his son (for fear of his son’s life), commits the sin himself. If any trouble arises in the state or from the Devas, and if any master does not protect then his own cows, rather torments them, he is said to commit Gohattyâ. If any Jîva oversteps the image of a Deva, fire, water, offerings to a god, flowers, or food, he commits the great sin Brahmahattyâ. When a guest comes, if the master of the house always says, “there is nothing, nothing with me; no, no,” and if he be a liar, cheat and an abuser of the Devas, he commits the above sin. O fair One! Whoever seeing his spiritual teacher, and a Brâhman, does not bow down and make respectful obeisance to them, commits Gohattyâ. If any Brâhmin, out of sheer anger, does not utter blessings to a man who bows down or does not impart knowledge to a student, he commits Gohattyâ. O Fair One! Thus I have described to you the characteristics, approved by S’âstras, of cow-killing (Gohattyâ) and murdering a Brâhmin (Brahmahattyâ). Now hear which women are (Agamyâs) not fit to be approached and those which are fit to be approached (Gamyâs). One’s own wife is fit to be approached (Gamyâ) and all other women are Agamyâs, so the Pundits, versed in the Vedas, declare. This is a general remark; now hear everything in particular. O Chaste One! The Brâhmin wives of S’ûdras or the S’ûdra wives of Brâhmanas are Atyâgamyâs (very unfit to be approached) and blameable both in the Vedas and in the society. A S’ûdra going to a Brâhmanî woman commits one hundred Brahmahattyâs; so a Brâhmana woman going to a S’ûdra goes to the Kumbhîpâka hell. As a S’ûdra should avoid a Brahmâni, so a Brâhmana should avoid a S’ûdra woman. A Brâhmana going to a S’ûdra woman is recognised a Brisalipati (one who has married an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced). So much so that that Brâhmana is considered an outcast and the vilest of the Chândâlas. The offerings of Pindas by him are considered as faeces and water offered by him is considered as urine. Nowhere whether in the Devaloka or in the Pitriloka, his offered Pindas and water are accepted. Whatever religious merits he has acquired by worshipping the Devas, and practising austerities for Koti births, he loses all at once by the greed of enjoying the S’ûdra woman. There is no doubt in this. A Brâhmin, if he drinks wine, is considered as the husband of a Vrisalî, eating faeces. And if he be a Vaisnava, a devotee of Visnu, his body must be branded with the marks of a Taptamudrâ (hot seal); and if he be a S’aiva, his body is to be branded with the Tapta S’ûla (hot trident). The wife of a spiritual teacher, the wife of a king, step-mother, daughter, son’s wife, motherin- law, sister of the same father and mother, the wife of one’s brother (of the same father and mother), the wife of a maternal uncle, the father’s mother, mother’s mother, the mother’s sister, sisters, the brother’s daughter, the female disciple, the disciple’s wife, the wife of the sister’s son, the wife of the brother’s son, these all are mentioned by Brahmâ as Atyâgamyâs (very unfit to be approached). The people are hereby warned. If anybody, overpowered by passion, goes to these Atyâgamyâ women, he becomes the vilest of men. The Vedas consider him as if going to his mother and he commits one hundred Brahmahattyâ sins. These have no right to do any actions. They are not to be touched by any. They are blamed in the Vedas, in the society everywhere. Ultimately they go to the dreadful Kumbhîpâka hells. O Fair One! He who performs Sandhyâs wrongly or reads it wrongly or does not perform at all the three Sandhyâs daily, is called as void of Sandhyâ. He is said to remain uninitiated who does not, out of sheer vanity, receive any Mantra, whether he be a Vaisnavite, S’aivite, or a Sun worshipper or the Ganes’a worshipper. Where there is the running stream of the Ganges, lands on either side, four hands in width, are said to be the womb of the Ganges (Gangâ Garbha) Bhagavân Nârâyana incessantly dwells there. This is called the Nârâyana (Ksetra). One goes to Visnupada who dies in such a place. Vârânasî (Benares), Vadarî, the Confluence of the Ganges with the ocean (Ganga-Sâgara), Puskara, Hari Hara Ksettra (in Behar near Châprâ), Prabhâsa, Kâmarûpa, Hardwar, Kedâra, Mâtripura, the banks of the river Sarasvatî, the holy land Bindrâban, Godâvarî, Kaus’ikî, Trivenî (Allahabad), and the Himâlayâs are all famous places of pilgrimages. Those who willingly accept gifts in these sacred places are said to be Tîrthapratigrâhîs (the acceptors of the gifts in the Tîrtha). These Tîrthaprathigrâhîs go in the end to Kumbhîpâka hell. The Brâhmana who acts as priest to the S’ûdras is called S’ûdrayâjî; the village priests are called Grâmayâjîs. Those who subsist on the offerings made to the gods are called Devalas. The cooks of the S’ûdras are called Sûpakâras. Those who are void of Sandhyâ Bandanams are called Pramattas (mad). O Bhadre! These are the marks of the Vrisalîpatis that I have (now) enumerated. These are the Great Sinners (Mahâ Pâtakas). They go ultimately to the Kumbhîpâka hell. O Fair One! I now state by and by the other Kundas (hells) when other people go. Listen.
Here ends the Thirty fourth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the description of the various hells in the Mahâ Purânam S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.