Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 11 Chapter 21
THE ELEVENTH BOOK
On Gāyatrī Puraścharaṇam
1-55. Nārāyaṇa said:
Now I shall speak of the Gāyatrī-Puraścharaṇam. Hear. By its performance all the desires are obtained and all the sins are destroyed.
On the tops of mountains, on the banks of the rivers, on the roots of Bel trees, on the edges of tanks, within the enclosures of the cows (cow-stalls), in temples, on the root of Aśvattha trees, in gardens, in the Tulasī groves, in the Puṇya Kṣettras (holy places), before one’s Guru, or wherever the mind feels exalted and cheerful, and gets strength, the Puraścharaṇam if performed, lead to a speedy success.
Before commencing the Puraścharaṇam of a mantra (the Puraścharaṇam means repetition of the name of a deity or of a mantra attended with burnt offerings, oblations, etc.,) first Prāyaśchitta (penance) is done in the shape of repeating one million times the Gāyatrī with the Vyārhitis.
In any Vaidik Karma or in making Puraścharaṇam of the mantra of the Devatās Nrisimha, Sūrya, Varaha, etc., the first thing done is to repeat the Gāyatrī. Without the japam of Gāyatrī, no action is attended with success.
The reason is this:
Every Brāhman is a Śakta (a follower of Śaktī); he cannot be a Vaiṣṇava or Śaiva; for he is the worshipper of the Prime Force Vedamātā Gāyatrī. Therefore obtain first the Grace of one’s own Iṣṭa Devatā Gāyatrī by Her Japam. Then worship the other Deities.
Thus one should purify one’s japa mantra (the mantra that is to be repeated) by first repeating one million times the Gāyatrī; then one is to commence Puraścharaṇam.
Again before purifying the mantra, one is to purify one’s Atman (Self).
In this purification of one’s Atman three lakh times, in case of inability, one lakh times Gāyatrī is to be repeated, without one’s Atman’s purification, the Japam, Homa and other actions all become useless. This is specially noted in the Vedas.
By Tapas e.g., Japam, Chāndrāyaṇa and Vrata, (asceticism) mortify your body. By offering Tarpaṇam (peace-offerings) to the Fathers and the Devas, one can get self-purification.
If you want to get the Heavens and if you want to become great, practise Tapasyā. There is no other way.
Tapasyā is the intent calling of the Mother, That Call which penetrates through and through the Brahmāṇḍa.
The Kṣattriyas should cross difficulties and dangers by force of arms; the Vaiṣyas, by wealth; the Śudras, by serving the twice born; and the Brāhmaṇas should cross difficulties and dangers, by Tapasyā, Homa, Japam, etc.
So the Brāhmaṇas should always be cheerful and in prompt readiness to do Tapasyā. Of all sorts of tapasyās, mortifying the body by observing vows and fastings is the best. So say the Riṣis.
(This mortification of the body gives self-reliance and self-intuition more surely and speedily than all the other studies and other practices.)
The Brāhmaṇas should purify themselves by following duly Krichchra Chāndrāyaṇa vratas, etc., O Nārada!
Now I am speaking of the purification of food. Hear.
The following four occupations of the Brāhmaṇas are the best:
Ayāchita, (without begging or asking for anything),
Unchha, (the gathering in of handfuls of the corn left by the reapers),
Śukla (the maintenance derived by a Brāhmaṇa from other Brāhmaṇas; a pure mode of life).
And Bhikṣu (begging).
Whether according to the Tantras or according to the Vedas, the food obtained by the above four means is pure.
What is earned by Bhikṣu (begging) is divided into four parts one part is given to the Brāhmaṇas; the second part is given to the cows; the third part is given to the guests, the fourth part is to be taken by him and his wife.
Whatever is fixed for taking (swallowing) mouthfuls of food, that is to be taken on a tray or a platter.
First throw a little cow-milk over that and count duly the number of mouthfuls. The mouthfuls are to be of the size of an egg; the house-holders are to take eight such mouthfuls and the Vānaprasthī s are to take four such mouthfuls.
The Brahmachārins can sprinkle their food with cow-milk nine times, six times, or three times as they like; while sprinkling, the fingers are to remain intact. The Gāyatrī is to be repeated also.
The food offered by a thief, Chāṇḍāla, Kṣattriya or Vaiśya is very inferior. The food of a Śūdra, or the companion with a Śūdra or taking food in the same line with a Śūdra leads one to suffer in the terrible hells as long as there are the Sun and Moon.
The Puraścharaṇam of Gāyatrī is repeating this twenty four lakh times (i.e., as many lakh times as there are syllables in the Gāyatrī). But, according to Viśvāmitra, repeating thirty two lakh times is the Puraścharaṇam of Gāyatrī.
As the body becomes useless when the soul leaves the body, so the mantra without Puraścharaṇam is useless.
The Puraścharaṇam is prohibited in the months of Jyaiṣṭha, Āṣāḍha, Pauṣa and Mala (dirty) months.
Also on Tuesday, Saturday; in the Vyatīpāta and Vaidhriti Yogas; also in Aṣṭamī (eighth), Navamī (ninth), Ṣaṣṭhī (sixth), Chaturthī (fourth) Trayodaśī (thirteenth), Chaturdaśī (fourteenth) and Amāvasyā (New Moon), Tithis (lunar days);
in the evening twilight and in the night; while the star Bharaṇī, Krittikā, Ārdrā, Aśleṣā, Jyeṣṭhā, Dhaniṣṭhā, Śravaṇa, or the Janma nakṣatra (Birth time star) is with the Moon; while the signs Meṣa, Karkaṭa, Tulā, Kumbha, and Makara are the Lagnas (signs in the ascendant).
When the moon and the stars are auspicious, especially in the bright fortnight, the Puraścharaṇam performed, gives the Mantra Siddhi.
First of all repeat Svasti vāchana and perform duly the Nāndi mukha Śraddhā and give food and clothing to the Brāhmaṇas. Take the permission of the Brāhmaṇas and begin the Puraścharaṇam.
Where the Śiva Lingam exists, facing west, or in any Śiva temple, commence repeating the mantra.
The other Śiva Kṣettras are Kāśī, Kedāra, Mahā Kāla, Śrī Kṣettra, and Tryambakam. These five are the Great Kṣettras, known widely on this earth, for the fructification and the siddhis of the Mantras.
At all other places than these, the Karma Chakra is to be drawn according to the principles of the Tantra. And then they will be fit for Puraścharaṇam.
The number of times that the Puraścharaṇam (the repeating of the mantra) is done on the first day, the same number is to be continued every day until completion; not greater nor less than that and also no intermission or stoppage should occur in the interval.
The repeating of the Mantra is to be commenced in the morning and should be done up to midday.
While doing this, the mind is to be kept free from other subjects, and it is to be kept pure; one is to meditate on one’s own Deity and on the meaning of the mantra and one should be particularly careful that no inaccuracies nor omissions should occur in the Gāyatrī, Chhandas and in the repetition of the Mantra.
One tenth of the total number of Puraścharaṇams that are repeated is to be used for the Homa purpose.
The Charu is to be prepared with ghee, til, the Bel leaves, flowers, jaya grain, honey and sugar; all mixed, are to be offered as oblations to the fire in the Homa. Then the success in the Mantra comes (i.e., mantra siddhi is obtained or the Mantra becomes manifested).
After the Puraścharaṇam one should do properly the daily and occasional duties and worship the Gāyatrī that brings in dharma, wealth, objects of desire and liberation.
There is nothing superior an object of worship to this Gāyatrī, whether in this world or in the next.
The devotee, engaged in the Puraścharaṇam, should eat moderately, observe silence, bathe thrice in the three Sandhyā times, should be engaged in worshipping one’s Deity, should not he unmindful and should not do any other work. He is to remain, while in water, to repeat the Gāyatrī three lakhs of times.
In case the devotee repeats the mantra for achieving success in any other desired work (Kāmya karma), then he should willingly stick to it until the desired success is attained.
Now is being told how to get success in ordinary Kāmya karmas.
When the sun is rising, repeat the Puraścharaṇam mantra daily thousand times. Then one’s life will be lengthened, no disease will occur, and wealth and prosperity will be obtained.
If it be done this way, success is surely attained within three months, six months or at the end of one year.
If the Homa (offering oblations to the fire) be offered one lakh times with lotuses besmeared with ghee (clarified butter), Mokṣa (liberation) is attained.
If, before the Mantra-Siddhi, or the success in realising the Mantra, is attained, one performs Japam or Homa for Kāmya Siddhi (to get certain desires) or Mokṣa, then all his actions become useless.
If anybody performs twenty-five lakh Homas by curd and milk, he gets success (Siddhi) in this very birth. So all the Mahāṛṣis say. By this the same result is attained that is got by the aforesaid means, i.e., by the eight-limbed Yoga, whereby the Yogis become perfect.
He will attain Siddhi if he be devoted to his Guru and keep himself under restraint for six months only (i.e., practise Samyama) as regards taking food, etc., whether he be incapable or his mind be attached to other sensual objects.
One should drink Pañcha Gavya (cow-urine, cow-dung, milk, curd, ghee) one day, fast one day, take Brāhmaṇa’s food one day and be mindful in repeating the Gāyatrī.
First bathe in the Ganges or in other sacred places and while in water repeat one hundred Gāyatrī.
If one drinks water on which one hundred Gāyatrī are repeated, one is freed from all one’s sins. He gets the fruit of performing the Krichchra vrata, the Chāndrāyaṇa vrata and others.
Be he a Kṣattriya King, or a Brāhmaṇa, if he is to remain in his own house, hold Āśrama and be engaged in performing Tapasyā then he will be certainly freed of all his sins.
Be he a house holder or a Brahmachāri or Vānaprasthī , he should perform sacrifices, etc., according to his Adhikāra (or his rights) and he will get fruits according to his desires.
The Sāgnik man (who keeps the Holy Fire) and other persons of good conduct and of learning and of good education should perform actions as prescribed in the Vedas and Smriti with a desire to attain Mokṣa.
Thus one should eat fruits and vegetables and water or take eight mouthfuls of Bhikṣānna (the food got by begging). If the Puraścharaṇam be performed this way, then the Mantra Siddhi is obtained.
O Nārada ! If the Puraścharaṇam be done with the mantra thus, his poverty is removed entirely. What more shall I say than this that if anybody hears this simply, his merits get increased and he attains great success.
Here ends the Twenty First Chapter of the Eleventh Book on Gāyatrī Puraścharaṇam in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.