DEVI BHAGAVATHAM XI (11) Skandha Ch.22.

Chapter XXII

On the rules of Vais’vadeva

1-45. Nârâyana said :– O Nârada! In connection with this Puras’charanam it comes now to my memory about the rules concerning the Vais’va Deva worship (An offering made to the Vis’vadevâs; an offering to all deities made by presenting oblations to fire before meals). Hear. The five yajñâs are the following :– (1) The Devayajñâ, (2) Brahmâ yajñâ, (3) Bhûta yajñâ, (4) Pitri yajñâ, and (5) Manusya yajñâ. 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 Vais’vadeva. Never offer oblations of Vais’vadeva on hearths, on any iron vessel, on the ground or on broken tiles. They are to be offered in any sacrificial pit (Kunda) 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, Pâyasa 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 Vais’vadeva 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 Brâhmana who eats before offering oblations to Vais’vadeva goes headlong downwards into the Kâla Sûtra hell. Whatever food that you are intending to prepare, whether they be vegetables, leaves, roots or fruits, offer oblations to Vais’vadeva with that if, before the Homa be performed of Vais’vadeva, any Brahmachârî 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 Brahmâchârî mendicant can remove any defects that may occur to Vais’vadeva but Vais’vadeva is unable to remove any defects that may occur regarding the mendicant Brahmachârî. Both the Paramahansa or Brahmachârî mendicant are the masters of the prepared food (Pakkânna); 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 Chândrâyana (religious or expiatory penance regulated by the moon’s age, that is, waxing or waning). O Nârada! After the offering given to Vais’vanara, one is to offer Gogrâsa, that is, mouthfuls of food to the cows. Hear now how that is done. The mother Surabhi, the beloved of Visnu, is always stationed in the region of Visnu (Visnupada); 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 punyams (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 ome, 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 Mahâ jajñâs that a rich Brâhmana gets by performing the Soma Yajñâ. O Best of the Munis! Now I am talking of the Prânâgni 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 Yajñâs and goes unhampered to all the regions of the righteous. Think of the belly as Arani 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 Prâna, etc., the five deities. First of all offer oblations to the Prâna Vâyu with food taken by the forefinger, middlefinger and thumb; next offer oblations to the Apâna Vâyu with the thumb, middle finger and the nameless (anâmâ) finger; next offer oblations to the Vyâna Vâyu (breath) with the thumb, nameless finger and the little finger; next offer oblations to the Udâna Vâyu with the thumb, forefinger and the little finger and lastly offer oblations to the Samâna Vâyu with food taken by all the fingers. At the same time repeat respectively the mantras :–

“Om Prânâya Svâhâ,”
“Om Apânâya Svâhâ,”
“Om Samânâya Svâhâ,” 
“Om Udânâya Svâhâ,” 
“Om Vyânâya Svâhâ.” 

Within the mouth, there is the Âhavanîya fire; within the heart, there is the Gârhapatya fire; in the navel, there is the Dhaksinâgni fire; below the navel, there is the Sabhyâgni fire and below that there is the Âvasathyâgni fire. Think thus. Next consider the Speech as the Hotâ, the Prâna as the Udgâthâ, the eyes as the Addharyu, the mind as the Brahmâ, the ears as the Hotâ and the keeper of the Agni, the Ahamkâra (egoism) as beast (Pas’u), Om Kâra 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 Kus’a grass, and the two hands as the sacrificial ladles and spoons (Sruk and Sruva.) Then think of the colour of the Prâna mantra as golden the fire of hunger as the Risi (seer), Sûrya (the sun) as Devatâ, the chhandas as Gâyatrî and Prânâya Svâhâ as the Mantra uttered; also repeat “Idamâdityadevâya namah” and offer oblations to the Prâna. The colour of the Apâna mantra is milk white. S’raddhâgni is the Risi, the Moon is the Devatâ, Usnik is the chhandas, and “Apânâya Svâhâ,” “Idam Somâya na namah” are the antras. The colour of the Vyâna mantra is red like red lotuses; the fire Deity Hutâsana is the Risi, the fire is the Devatâ; Anustup is the chhandas, “Vyânâya Svâhâ” and “Idamagnaye na namah” are the mantras. The colour of the Udâna mantra is like that of the worm Indra Gopa; fire is the Risi; Vâyu is the Devatâ, Brihatî is the chhandas; “Udânâya Svâhâ’’ and “Idam Vâyave na namah” are the mantras. The colour of the Samâna mantra is like lightning; Agni is the Risi; Parjanya (the rains, water) is the Devatâ; Pankti is the chhanda; “Samânâya Svâhâ” and “Idam Parjanyâya na namah” are the mantras. O Nârada! Thus offering the five oblations to the five breaths, next offer oblations to the Âtman; the Bhîsana Vahni is the Risi; the Gâyatrî is the chhanda; the Self is the Devatâ; “Âtmane Svâhâ,” and “Idamâtmane na namah” are the mantras. O Nârada! He who knows this Homa of Prânâgnihotra attains the state of Brahmâ. Thus I have spoken to you in brief the rules of the Prânâgni hotra Homa.

Here ends the Twenty-Second Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the rules of Vais’vadeva in the Mahâpurânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.

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