The Mahabharata Home
"Vayu said, 'I shall recite some duties the observance of which is fraught with happiness to mankind. Do ye listen also with concentrated attention to certain transgressions with the secret causes upon which they depend. That man who offers for the four months of the rainy season sesame and water (unto the Pitris), and food, according to the best of his power, unto a Brahmana well-conversant with the duties, who duly pours libations on the sacred fire, and makes offerings of rice boiled in sugared milk, who gives lamps in honour of the Pitris, with sesame and water,--verily
he who does all this with faith and concentrated attention acquires all the merits that attach to a hundred sacrifices in which animals are offered to the deities. Listen to this other high mystery that is unknown to all. That man who thinks it all right when a Sudra ignites the fire upon which he is to pour libations or who does not see any fault when women who are incompetent to assist at Sraddhas and other rites are allowed to assist at them, really becomes stained with sin 1. The three sacrificial fires become enraged with such a person. In his next life he has to take birth as a Sudra. His Pitris, together with the deities are never gratified with him. I shall now recite what the expiations are which one must go through for cleansing oneself from such sins. Listen to me with attention. By performing those expiatory acts, one becomes happy and free from fever. Fasting all the while, one should, for three days, with concentrated attention, pour libation, on the sacred fire, of the urine of the cow mixed with cowdung and milk and ghee. The deities accept the offerings of such a man on the expiration of a full year. His Pitris also, when the time comes for him for performing the Sraddha, become gratified with him. I have thus recited what is righteous and what is unrighteous, with all their unknown details, in respect of human beings desirous of attaining to heaven. Verily, men who abstain from these transgressions or who having committed them undergo the expiatory rites indicated, succeed, in attaining to heaven when they leave this world."
269:1 A Brahmana's fire should never be ignited by a Sudra. Women also should never be allowed to assist at Sraddhas for arranging the offerings.
Next: Section CXXIX