Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 34



Chapter XXXIV

Description of the various hells

1-28. Dharma Rāja Yama said:

O Fair One! If, in this Bhārata, any murderer, merciless and fierce, kills any man, out of greed for money, he goes and miserably dwells in the Asipatra hell for fourteen Indra’s life periods. And if that murderer kills a Brāhmaṇa, he lives in that hell for one hundred Manvantaras.

While in hell, his body becomes fiercely cut and wounded by the swords. There My messengers chastise him and beat him and he cries aloud and passes his time without any food.

Then he becomes born for one hundred years as a Manthāna insect, for hundred births as a boar, for seven births as a cock; for seven births as a fox, for seven births as a tiger; for three births, as a wolf; for seven births, as a frog; then as a buffalo when he becomes freed of his sins of murders.

If anybody sets fire to a city or a village, he will have to live in Kṣuradhāra Kuṇḍa for three yugas with his body severed. Then he becomes a Preta (disembodied spirit) and travels over the whole earth, being burnt up with fire.

For seven births he eats unclean and unholy food and spends his time as a pigeon. Then for seven births he becomes diseased with a severe colic pain, for seven births as a leper; then ultimately he gets a pure human body.

If anybody whispers in one’s ear another’s calumny and thus glorifies himself and abuses and vilifies the Devas and Brāhmaṇas, he goes and remains in Sūchī Kuṇḍa for three Yugas, and he is pierced there by needles.

Then he becomes a scorpion for seven births, a serpent for seven births, and an insect (Bhaṣma Kīṭa) for seven births; then he gets a diseased human body when, at last, he becomes purified.

If anybody breaks into another’s house and steals away all the household articles, cows, goats or buffaloes, he goes to Gokā Mukha Kuṇḍa where faeces are like cow’s hoofs, there, beaten by My servants, for three Yugas. (Gokā is Gokṣura, hoof of a cow).

Then, for seven births, he becomes a diseased cow; for three births, a sheep; for three births, a goat; and finally he becomes a man.

But in this man-birth he is born first as diseased, poor, deprived of wife and friends, and a repenting person; when ultimately he is freed of his sin.

If anybody steals any ordinary thing, he goes to Nakra Mukha Kuṇḍa and lives there for three years, greatly tormented by My messengers.

Next for seven births, he becomes a diseased ox. Then he attains a very diseased man- birth, and ultimately he is freed of his sins. Such are the horrible results.

If anybody kills a cow, elephant, horse, or cuts a tree, he goes to Gaja Damśa Kuṇḍa for three yugas. There he is punished by My messengers freely by the teeth of elephants.

Then he attains three elephants’ births, three horse-births; then he becomes born as a cow and ultimately he is born a Mlechcha when he becomes pure.

If anybody obstructs any thirsty cow from drinking water, he goes to Krimi Kuṇḍa and Gomukha Kuṇḍa filled with hot water and lives there for one Manvantara.

Next when he attains a human birth he owns not any cattle nor any wealth; rather he is born as a man, very much diseased, in low castes, for seven births when he becomes freed.

If anybody, being born in Bhārata, kills cows, Brāhmins, women, beggars, causes abortions or goes to those not fit to be gone into, he lives in the Kumbhipāka hell for fourteen Indra’s life periods.

There he is pulverised always by My messengers. He is made to fall sometimes in fire, sometimes over thorns, sometimes in hot oil, sometimes in hot water, sometimes in molten iron or copper.

That great sinner gets thousand vulture births, hundred boar births, seven crow births and seven serpent births. He then becomes worms of faeces for sixty thousand years.

Thus travelling frequently in ox births he at last becomes born as a very poor leper.

29-31. Sāvitrī said:

“O Bhagavān! What is, according to the Śāstras, Brahmāhatyā (murdering a Brāhmin) and Gohatyā (killing a cow)? Who are called Agamyās (women unfit to be approached)?

Who are designated as void of Sandhyā (daily worship of the twice born castes)? Who can be called uninitiated? Who are said to take Pratigrahas (gifts) in a Tīrath?

What are the characteristics of a real Grāmayājī (village priests), Devala, (Brāhmaṇa of an inferior order who subsists upon the offerings made to the images which he attends), the cook of a Śūdra, of one who is infatuated (Pramatta) and the Vriṣalīpati (one who has married an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced; a barren woman).

Kindly describe all these to me.”

32-91. Dharmarāja said:

O Fair Sāvitrī! If anybody makes a distinction between Kṛṣṇa and His Image or between any Deva and his image, between Śiva and His phallic emblem, between the Sun and the stone Sūrya Kāntā (a precious stone of a bright and glittering colour) between Gaṇeśa and Durgā, he is said to be guilty of the sin Brahmāhatyā.

If anybody makes any difference (superiority or inferiority) between his own Iṣṭā Deva (his Deity), his Spiritual Teacher, his natural father, and mother, is certainly involved in the sin of Brahmāhatyā.

He who shows any difference (superiority or inferiority) between the devotees of Viṣṇu and those of other Devas, is said to commit Brahmāhatyā.

He who makes any difference in matters of respect between the waters of the feet of any Brāhmaṇa and those of Śālagrāma stone, is said to commit Brahmāhatyā.

The difference between the offerings to Hari and Hara leads to Brahmāhatyā.

He who shows any difference between Kṛṣṇa, Who is verily the God of gods, the Cause of all causes, the Origin of all, Who is worshipped by all the Devas, Who is the Self of all, Who is attributeless and without a second yet Who by His Magic powers assumes many forms and who is Īśāna, is said to commit, indeed, the Brahmāhatyā.

If any Vaiṣṇava (a devotee of Viṣṇu) abuses and envies a Śakta (a devotee of Śaktī), he commits Brahmāhatyā.

He who does not worship, according to the Vedas, the Pitris and the Devas or prohibits others in doing so, commits Brahmāhatyā.

He who abuses Hriṣīkeśa, Who is the Highest of the Holy things, Who is Knowledge and Bliss and Who is Eternal, Who is the only God to be served by the Devas and Vaiṣṇavas, and those Who are worshippers of His Mantra, and those who do not worship themselves are said to commit Brahmāhatyā.

He who abuses and vilifies Mūlā Prakriti Mahā Devī, Who is of the nature of Causal Brahmā (Karana Brahmā), Who is All Power and the Mother of all, Who is worshipped by all and who is of the nature of all the Devas and the Cause of all Causes, Who is Ādya Śaktī Bhagavatī, is said to commit Brahmāhatyā.

He who does not observe the Holy Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī, Śrī Rāma Navamī, Śivarātri, the Ekādaśī happening on Sunday, and five other holy Pārvaṇas (festivals), commits Brahmāhatyā; is considered more sinful than a Chāṇḍāla.

He who in this land of Bhārata, digs earth on the day of Ambuvāchi or makes water, etc., in the waters of the tanks, is involved in the sin of Brahmāhatyā.

He who does not support his spiritual teacher, mother, father, chaste wife, son and daughter, though they are faultless, commits Brahmāhatyā.

He whose marriage does not take place during his whole life-time, who does not see the face of his son, who does not cherish devotion to Hari, who eats things unoffered to Śrī Hari, who never worshipped throughout his life Viṣṇu or an earthen symbol of Śiva, verily commits Brahmāhatyā.

O Fair One! Now I will recite the characteristics, according to the Śāstras, of Gohatyā (killing a cow). Listen:

If anybody sees anybody beating a cow and does not prohibit or if he goes between a cow and a Brāhmin, he is involved in the sin of Gohatyā.

If any illiterate Brāhman, carrying an ox, daily beats with a stick, the cows, certainly he commits the Gohatyā.

If anybody gives the remains of another’s meal to a cow to eat, or feeds a Brāhmin who carries, moves or drives cows and oxen; or eats himself the food of such a Brāhmin driver, he commits Gohatyā.

Those who do sacrifices of the husband of a barren woman (Vriṣalī) or eat his food commit sin equal to one hundred Gohatyās; there is no doubt in this.

Those who touch fire with their feet, beat the cows or enter the temple bathing but not washing their feet, commit Gohatyā.

Those who eat without washing their feet or those who sleep with their feet wetted with water and those who eat just after the Sun has risen, commit Gohatyā.

Those who eat the food of women without husbands or sons or the food of pimps and pampers or those who do not perform their Sandhyās thrice, commit Gohatyā.

If any woman makes any difference between her husband and the Devatā, or chastises and uses harsh words to her husband, she commits Gohatyā.

If anybody destroys cow’s pasture land, tanks, or land for forts and cultivates there grains, he commits Gohatyā.

He who does not do Prāyaśchitta (expiation, atonement) for the expiation of the sin of Gohatyā done by his son (for fear of his son’s life) commits the sin himself.

If any trouble arises in the state or from the Devas, and if any master does not protect then his own cows, rather torments them, he is said to commit Gohatyā.

If any Jīva oversteps the image of a Deva, fire, water, offerings to a god, flowers, or food, he commits the great sin Brahmāhatyā.

When a guest comes, if the master of the house always says: “there is nothing, nothing with me; no, no,” and if he be a liar, cheat and an abuser of the Devas, he commits the above sin.

O fair One! Whoever seeing his spiritual teacher and a Brāhman, does not bow down and make respectful obeisance to them, he commits Gohatyā.

If any Brāhmin, out of sheer anger, does not utter blessings to a man who bows down or does not impart knowledge to a student, he commits Gohatyā.

O Fair One! Thus I have described to you the characteristics, approved by Śāstras, of cow-killing (Gohatyā) and murdering a Brāhmin (Brahmāhatyā).

Now hear which women are (Agamyās) not fit to be approached and those which are fit to be approached (Gamyās):

One’s own wife is fit to be approached (Gamyā) and all other women are Agamyās, so the Pundits, versed in the Vedas, declare. This is a general remark; now hear everything in particular:

O Chaste One! The Brāhmin wives of Śudras or the Śūdra wives of Brāhmaṇas are Atyāgamyās (very unfit to be approached) and blameable both in the Vedas and in the society.

A Śūdra going to a Brāhmaṇī woman commits one hundred Brahmāhatyas; so a Brāhmaṇa woman going to a Śūdra goes to the Kumbhipāka hell. As a Śūdra should avoid a Brahmāni, so a Brāhmaṇa should avoid a Śūdra woman.

A Brāhmaṇa going to a Śūdra woman is recognised a Vriṣalīpati (one who has married an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced).

So much so that that Brāhmaṇa is considered an outcast and the vilest of the Chaṇḍālas. The offerings of Piṇḍas by him are considered as faeces and water offered by him is considered as urine.

Nowhere whether in the Devaloka or in the Pitrilokas his offered Piṇḍas and water are accepted. Whatever religious merits he has acquired by worshipping the Devas, and practising austerities for Koṭi births, he loses all at once by the greed of enjoying the Śūdra woman. There is no doubt in this.

A Brāhmin, if he drinks wine, is considered as the husband of a Vriṣalī eating faeces. And if he be a Vaiṣṇava, a devotee of Viṣṇu, his body must be branded with the marks of a Taptamudrā (hot seal); and if he be a Śaiva, his body is to be branded with the Tapta Śūla (hot trident).

The wife of a spiritual teacher, the wife of a king, step-mother, daughter, son’s wife, mother-in-law, sister of the same father and mother, the wife of one’s brother (of the same father and mother),

the wife of a maternal uncle, the father’s mother, mother’s mother, the mother’s sister, sisters, the brother’s daughter, the female disciple, the disciple’s wife, the wife of the sister’s son, the wife of the brother’s son,

- these all are mentioned by Brahmā as Atyāgamyās (very unfit to be approached). The people are hereby warned.

If anybody, overpowered by passion, goes to these Atyāgamyā women, he becomes the vilest of men. The Vedas consider him as if going to his mother and he commits one hundred Brahmāhatyā sins.

These have no right to do any actions. They are not to be touched by any. They are blamed in the Vedas, in the society everywhere. Ultimately they go to the dreadful Kumbhipāka hells.

O Fair One! He who performs Sandhyās wrongly or reads it wrongly or does not perform at all the three Sandhyās daily, is called as void of Sandhyā.

He is said to remain uninitiated who does not, out of sheer vanity, receive any Mantra, whether he be a Vaiṣṇavite, Śaivite or a Sun worshipper or the Gaṇeśa worshipper.

Where there is the running stream of the Ganges, lands on either side, four hands in width, are said to be the womb of the Ganges (Gangā Garbha) Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa incessantly dwells there. This is called the Nārāyaṇa (Kṣetra). One goes to Viṣṇupāda who dies in such a place.

Varanasi (Benares), Vadarī, the Confluence of the Ganges with the ocean (Gangā-Sāgara), Puṣkara, Hari Hara Kṣettra (in Behar near Chāprā), Prabhāsa, Kāmarūpa, Hardwar, Kedāra, Mātripura,

the banks of the river Saraswatī, the holy land Vrindāvana, Godāvarī, Kauśikī, Triveṇī (Allahabad), and the Himālayās are all famous places of pilgrimages.

Those who willingly accept gifts in these sacred places are said to be Tīrthapratigrāhīs (the acceptors of the gifts in the Tīrtha). These Tīrthapratigrāhīs go in the end to Kumbhipāka hell.

The Brāhmaṇa who acts as priest to the Śūdras is called Śūdrayājī; the village priests are called Grāmāyājīs. Those who subsist on the offerings made to the gods are called Devalas. The cooks of the Śudras are called Sūpakāras. Those who are void of Sandhyā Bandanams are called Pramattas (mad).

O Bhadre! These are the marks of the Vriṣalīpatis that I have (now) enumerated. These are the Great Sinners (Mahā Pātakas). They go ultimately to the Kumbhipāka hell.

O Fair One! I now state by and by the other Kuṇḍas (hells) where other people go. Listen.

Here ends the Thirty fourth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the description of the various hells in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.