The Mahabharata Home
"Vibhavasu (otherwise called Surya) said, 'There are two offerings. One of those consists of a palmful of water and the other called Akshata consists of rice-grains with ghee. One should, on the day of the full moon, stand facing that bright orb and make unto him the two offerings mentioned, viz., a palmful of water and the rice-grains with ghee called Akshata. The man who presents these offerings is said to adore his sacred fire. Verily, he is regarded as one that has poured libations on the three (principal) fires. That man of little understanding who cutteth down a large tree on the day of the new moon, becomes stained with the sin of Brahmanicide. By killing even a single leaf one incurs that sin. That foolish man who chews a tooth-brush on the day of the new moon is regarded as injuring the deity of the moon by such an act. The Pitris of such a person become annoyed with him. 1 The deities do not accept the libations poured by such a man on days of the full moon and the new moon. His Pitris become enraged with him, and his race and the family become extinct.'
"Sree said, 'That sinful house, in which eating and drinking vessels and seats and beds lie scattered, and in which women are beaten, the deities and Pitris leave in disgust. Verily, without accepting the offerings made unto them by the owners of such houses, the deities and the Pitris fly away from such a sinful habitation.'
"Angiras said, 'The offspring of that man increase who stands every night for a full year under a Karanjaka tree with a lamp for lighting it, and holds besides in his hand the roots of the Suvarchala plant.' 2
"Gargya said, 'One should always do the duties of hospitality to one's guests. One should give lamps in the hall or shed where sacrifices are performed. One should avoid sleep during the day, and abstain from all kinds of flesh or food. One should never injure kine and Brahmanas. One should always recite names of the Pushkara lakes and the other sacred waters. Such a course of duty, is the foremost. Even this constitutes a high religion with its mysteries. If observed in practice, it is sure to produce great consequences. If a person performs even a hundred sacrifices, he is doomed to see the exhaustion of the merits attaching to the libations poured therein. The duties, however, which I have mentioned are such that when observed by a person endued with faith, their merit becomes inexhaustible. Listen now to another high mystery concealed from the view of many. The deities do not accept the libations (poured upon the fire) on the occasion of Sraddhas and rites in their honour or on the
occasion of those rites that are performable on ordinary lunar days or on the especially sacred days of the full moon and the new moon, if they behold a woman in her season of impurity or one that is the daughter of a mother afflicted with leprosy. The Pitris of the man who allows such a woman to come near the place where the Sraddha is being performed by him, do not become gratified with him for thirteen years. Robed in raiment of white, and becoming pure in body and mind, one should invite Brahmanas and cause them to utter their benedictions (when one performs the Sraddha). On such occasions one should also recite the Bharata. It is by observing all these that the offerings made at Sraddhas become inexhaustible.'
"Dhaumya said, 'Broken utensils, broken bedsteads, cocks and, dogs, as also such trees as have grown within the dwelling houses, are all inauspicious objects. In a broken utensil is Kali himself, while in a broken bedstead is loss of wealth. When a cock or a dog is in sight, the deities do not eat the offerings made to them. Under the roots of a tree scorpions and snakes undoubtedly find shelter. Hence, one should never plant a tree within one's abode.' 1
"Jamadagni said, 'That man whose heart is not pure is sure to go to Hell even if he adores the deities in a Horse-sacrifice or in a hundred Vajapeya sacrifices, or if he undergoes the severest austerities with head downmost. Purity of heart is regarded as equal to sacrifices and Truth. A very poor Brahmana, by giving only a Prastha of powdered barley with a pure heart unto a Brahmana, attained to the region of Brahman himself. This is a sufficient proof (of the importance of purity of heart).'"
267:1 In India the tooth-brush consists of a twig or a little branch. One end of it is chewed and softened. The softened fibres serve the purpose of a brush. Such a brush is used only once. It is thrown away after the brushing of the teeth is over.
267:2 It is difficult to identify what plants are meant by Karanjaka and Suvarachala.
268:1 Bhanda includes utensils of copper and brass such as plates and cups and jars and jugs. Broken utensils, to this day, are regarded inauspicious. They are rejected, as a rule, by every family. Kali (Evil?) has his abode in them, meaning that such utensils cause quarrels and disputes. Broken bed-steads also are regarded as capable of causing loss of wealth. Cocks and dogs should never be kept or reared in a house. The roots of trees afford shelter to scorpions and snakes and venomous insects and worms. One should not, therefore, plant trees or allow them to grow up within one's abode.
Next: Section CXXVIII