DEVI BHAGAVATHAM XI (11) Skandha Ch.23.

Chapter XXIII

On the Tapta Krichchhra vrata and others

1-20. Nârâyana said :– The best Sâdhaka, then uttering after his meals, the mantra “Amritâpidhânamasi.” (O Water-nectar! Let Thou be the covering to the food that I have taken), should make Âchaman (sip one Gandusa water) and distribute the remnant food (the leavings) to those who take the leavings. “Let the servants and maid-servants of our family that expect the leavings of food be satisfied with what leavings I give to them.” “Let those inhabitants of the Raurava hell or other unholy places who have remained there for a Padma or Arbuda years and want to drink water, be satisfied with this water that I offer to them and let this water bring unending happiness to them.” Repeating the above two mantras let the house-holder distribute the leavings of food to the servants and the water to those who want water respectively. Then opening the knot of the Pavitra (a ring of Kus’a grass worn on the fourth finger on certain religious occasions), let him throw this on the square mandalam or the ground. The Brâhmana that throws this Kus’a grass on the vessel (Pâtra) is said to defile the vow of Brâhmanas, taking their food. 

The Brâhmana that has not yet washed his face after taking the food, or touching another such Brâhmana or a dog, or a S’ûdra, should fastone day and then drink Pañchagabya and thus purify himself. And in case the Uchchista Brâhmin (who has not washed his mouth and hands after meals) be touched by another Brâhmin, who is not Uchchista, then simply bathing will purify him. By offering this Ekâhuti (oblation once) according to rules mentioned above, one obtains the fruit of performing ten million sacrifices; and by offering this oblation five times one gets the endless fruit, of performing fifty million sacrifices, and if one feeds such a man who knows well how to do this Prânâgnihoma, then he as well as he whom he feeds both derive full benefits and they ultimately go to heaven. The Brâhmana acquires while taking each of his mouthful of food the fruit of eating Pañchagavya, who takes his food duly with the holy Pavitra Kus’a grass tied on his finger. During the three times of worship, the devotee is to do his daily Japam, Tarpanam and Homa and he should feed the Brâhmins. Thus the five limbed Puras’charana is completely done. The religious man should sleep on a low bedding (lie on the ground); heis to control his senses and anger; he is to eat moderately, the things that are light, sweet and good; he is to be humble, peaceful and calm. He is to bathe thrice daily and not to hold any unholy conversation with any woman, a S’ûdra, one who is fallen, without any initiation, and who is an atheist; as well he should not speak in a language spoken by the chândâlas. One is to bow down before him who is in the act of performing the Japam, Homa and worship, etc; one is not to talk with him. Never by deed, mind or word, on all occasions never speak about sexual intercourses; nor hold any contact with such people. For the relinquishment of this subject is called Brahmacharyam (continence) of the kings as well as of the house-holders. But one should go to one’s legal wife during the night time after her menstruation duly according to the rules of the S’âstras; the Brahmacharyam is not thereby destroyed. Man cannot repay the three-fold debts and he cannot aspire for moksa without procreating sons or without doing the duties of the house-holders, as prescribed by the S’âstras. An attempt to do so becomes entirely fruitless like the breast on the neck of a goat. Rather it drags one downward. So the S’rutis say. So let yourself be free first from the debts due to the Devas, the debts due to the Risis and the debts due to the Pitris. Make sacrifices first and then be free from the Devas’ debt. Hold Brahmacharyam and be free from the Risis’ debt. Offer til and water; that is, do S’râddhas and tarpanams and be free from the debt due to the Pitris. Then do readily practise your own Varnas’rama Dharma.

21-33. One is to practise Krichchra chândrâ yana Vrata and to take for his food, milk, fruits, roots and vegetables, Habisyannam and food obtained by begging so that one may become sinless. One is to make japam for Puras’charanam. One is to avoid salt, salty or alkaline substances, acid, garlic, turnips, eating in Kâmsa vessels, chewing betels, eating twice, putting on impure clothings, the intoxicating things and the unsâstric nocturnal japam; also one is not to waste one’s time over blaming and trying to find faults with the relatives, playing at dice, or talking at random with one’s wife (so that evil effects may arise). One is to spend one’s time in worshipping the Devas, reciting the hymns of praise, and studying the S’âstras. One is to sleep on the ground, practise Brahmacharyam, and the vow of silence, bathe thrice, not practise anything which befits the S’ûdras only. One is to worship everyday, make charities duly and be always happy, recite stotras daily, do occasional Deva worships, have faith in one’s Guru and Deva. These twelve rules are to ensure success to the devotee who does Puras’charanam. One is to daily praise the Sun, with one’s face turned towards Him, do japam before Him; or one is to worship one’s own Deity in front of fire or the image of any god, and do japam simultaneously. The devotee who practises Puras’charanam is to bathe, worship, do japam, meditate, practise Homa, Tarpanam, is to have no desires and to surrender all fruits to one’s own desired Deity, etc. These are necessarily to be observed by him. Therefore while doing japam, Homa, etc., the devotee’s mind is to remain always pleasant and satisfied. One should be ready to practise tapasyâ, to see the S’âstras and be merciful to all the beings. As asceticism leads one to to heaven and to the attainment of one’s desires, therefore know this that all the powers come to an ascetic. An ascetic can cause another’s death (mâran); he can injure others, cure diseases and kill all. Whatever the several Risis wanted from the Devî Gâyatrî and to that end made Puras’charanam and worshipped Her, they obtained from Her all those things. O Nârada! I will speak of S’ânti Karmas etc., in a future chapter. Here I will speak of those rules, etc., that are to be observed in Puras’charanam in as much as they play the principal part to success. First of all shave yourself and have your hairs and nails, etc., cut off and bathe and be pure. Then perform the Prâjâpatya prâyas’chitta for one’s peace and purification and next do the puras’charanam of the Gâyatrî. Do not speak the whole day and night. Keep your thoughts pure. If words are to be spoken, speak only what you take as true. First recite Mahâvyârhiti and then the Sâvitrî mantra with Pranava prefixed. Then recite the sin-destroying mantra “Âpohisthâ, etc.,” and Svasti matî Sûkta and “Pâvamânî Sûkta.” In every action, in its beginning and at its end one is to understand the necessity of doing the Japam, why and what for one is doing that. One is to repeat the Pranava, the three Vyârhitis and Sâvitrî ayuta times or one thousand times or one hundred times or ten times. Then offer with water, the peace offerings (tarpanam) to the Âchârya, Risi, Chhandas, and the Devas. Being engaged in action, do not speak any impure language of the Mlechchhas or talk with any S’ûdra or any bad person. Do not talk with wife in the period of menstruation, with one who has fallen, with the low-class person, with any hater of the Devas and the Brâhmanas, Âchâryas and Gurus, with those who blame the fathers and mothers; nor show any disrespect to anybody. Thus I have spoken in due order about all the rules of Krichchhra vrata. Now I will speak of the rules of the Prâjâpatya Krichchhra, S’ântapana, Parâka Krichchhra and Chândrâyana.

34-54. One becomes freed of all the sins, if one performs the above five Chândrâyanas. By the performance of the Tapta Krichchhra, all sins are burnt off in an instant. By the performance of the three Chândrâyanas the people get purified and go to the Brahma Loka. By doing eight Chândrâyanas, one sees face to face one’s Devatâ, ready to grant boons. With ten Chândrâyanas, one gets the knowledge of the Vedas and one acquires all what one wants. In the observance of the Krichchhra Prâjâpatya Vrata, one has to take food once in midday for three days, once in the evening for three days, and for the next three days whatever one gets without asking anything from anybody. For the next three days one is not to take any thing at all and go on with one’s work. These twelve days’ work constitutes the Prâjâpatya Vrata. Now about the rules of the S’ântapana Vrata. On the preceding day one has got to eat food consisting of the mixture of cow urine, cow-dung milk, curd, ghee and the water of the Kus’a grass; the day following he is to fast. These two days’ work cons titutes the S’ântapana Vrata. Now about the Ati Krichchhra vrata. For the first three days, one is to eat one mouthful of food a day and for the next three days one is to fast. This is the Ati Krichchhra vrata. This  vrata repeated three times is called Mahâ S’ântapana vrata. Note :– According to the opinion of Yama, the fifteen days’ work constitutes Mahâ S’ântapana. For the three days one has to eat cow-urine; for the next three days, cow-dung, for the next three days, curd; for the next three days milk; and for the next three days one has to take ghee. Then one becomes pure. This is called the all sin-destroying Mahâ S’ântapan Vrata. Now I am speaking of the nature of the Tapta Krichchhra Vrata. The Tapta Krichchhra vrata is carried out for the twelve days. For the first three days, one has to drink hot water; for the next three days, hot milk; for the next three days, the hot ghee and for the next three days, air only. Everyday one has to bathe once only under the above rules, and remain self-controlled. If one drinks water simply everyday under the above conditions, that is called the Prâjâpatya vrata. To remain without any food for twelve days according to rules is called the Parâka Krichchhra vrata. By this vrata, all sins are destroyed. Now about the rules of taking food in the Chândrâyana vrata. In the dark fortnight one will have to decrease one mouthful of food every day and in the bright fortnight one will have to increase one mouthful every day and one has to fast completely on the Amâvasyâ (new moon) day. One has to bathe thrice daily during every Sandhyâ time. This is known as the Chândrâyana Vrata. In the S’is’u Chândrâyana Vrata one will have to take four mouthfuls of food in the midday and four mouthfuls in the evening. In the Yati Chândrâyana one has to take eight mouthfuls in the midday and to control his passions. 

55. These abovementioned vratas are observed by the Rudras, Âdityas, Vâsus, and Maruts; and they are enjoying thereby their full safety. Each of the above vratas purifies the seven Dhâtus of the body in seven nights simply! First skin, then blood, then flesh, bones, sinews, marrows and semen are purified. There is no doubt in this. Thus purifying the Âtman by the above vratas, one is to do religious actions. The work done by such a purified man is sure to be met with success. First control the senses, be pure and do good actions. Then all your desires will be undoubtedly fructified. Fast for three nights, without doing any actions and see the result. (You will not do anything and you want self control! Is this a child’s play?) Perform for three days the nocturnal vratas. Then proceed with your desired duties. If one works according to these methods, one gets the fruits of Puras’charanam. O Nârada! By the Puras’charanam of S’rî Gâyatrî Devî all desires are fulfilled and all sins are destroyed. Before doing Puras’charanam purify your body by performing the above vratas. Then you will get all your desires completely fulfilled. O Nârada! Thus I have spoken to you of the secret rules of Puras’charanam. Never disclose this to any other body. For it is recognised equivalent to the Vedas.

Here ends the Twenty-third Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the Tapta Krichchhra vrata and others in the Mahâ Purânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.
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