Sunday, June 14, 2009

Garuda Purana : An Account of The Way of Yama

An Account of The Way of Yama

Garuḍa said: What is the path of misery in the world of Yama like? Tell me, O Keśava, in what, way the sinful go there.
The Blessed Lord said: I will tell you about the Way of Yama, bestowing great misery. Although you are my devotee, when you have heard it you will become agitated.
There is no shade of trees there, in which a man may take rest, and on this road there is none of the foods by which he may support life. No water is to be seen anywhere that he, extremely thirsty, may drink. Twelve suns blaze, O Bird, as though at the end of a pralaya.
There the sinful soul goes along pierced by cold winds, in one place torn by thorns, in another stung by very venomous serpents. The sinful in one place is bitten by ferocious lions, tigers, and dogs; in another stung by scorpions; in another burnt by fire.
In one place there is a very terrible forest of sword-like leaves, which is recorded as two thousand yojanas in length and breadth,

Infested with crows, owls, hawks, vultures, bees, mosquitoes, and having forest-fires,--by whose leaves he is pierced and torn.
In one place he falls into a hidden well; in another from a lofty mountain; in another he treads on razor-edges and on spear-points. In one place he stumbles in the awful black darkness and falls into water; in another in mud abounding in leeches; in another in hot slime.
one place is a plain of hot sand, made of smelted. copper; in another a mound of embers; in another a great cloud of smoke. some places are showers of charcoal, showers of stones and thunderbolts, showers of blood, showers of weapons, showers of boiling water, And showers of caustic mud.
In one place are deep chasms; in others bills to climb and valleys to descend. one place there is pitch darkness; in another rocks difficult to climb over; in others lakes filled with pus and blood, and with excrement. the midst of the way flows the terribly horrible Vaitaraṇî River, which when seen inspires misery, of which even an account arouses fear.

O Bird, this river was created only that the sinful should fall into it. It is difficult to cross and gives great misery, and its opposite cannot be seen. Thus along the Way of Yama, of many kinds of pain, giving extreme misery, go the sinful, crying and weeping and laden with misery. Bound by the noose, some of them being dragged by hooks, and pierced from behind with points of weapons, the sinful are led on.
Others are drawn along by a noose through the end of the nose, and also by nooses through the ears; others, by the nooses of death being dragged along, are pecked by crows. Some go on the way neck, arms, feet and back bound with chains, bearing many loads of iron, And being beaten with hammers by the awful messengers of Yama; vomiting blood from the mouth, which then they eat again,
Bewailing their own karmas these beings, becoming exhausted, full of very great misery, go on towards the mansion of Yama. And the stupid, thus going on the way, calling on son and grandson, incessantly crying out, 'Oh, oh,' repents:-- 'By great meritorious effort birth as a human being is gained. Haying obtained that,
I did not do my duty,--also, whatever have I done! 'I made no gifts; no offerings to the fire; performed no penances; did not worship the deities; did not perform service at a place of pilgrimage as prescribed;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
'I did not duly honour the assemblies of Brâhmiṇs; did not visit the holy river 1; did not wait upon good men; never performed any benevolent acts;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
' Alas, I did not excavate tanks in waterless places, either for the benefit of men or for the sake of animals and binds; did not even a little for the support of cows and brahmins;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you leave done!
'I made no daily gifts and did not give food daily to the cow; did not value the precepts of the Vedas and the Śâstras; did not listen to the Purâṇas, nor worship the wise;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!'
'I did not follow the good advice of my husband; never preserved fidelity to my husband; did not pay due respect to my worthy elders;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
'Not knowing my duty I did not serve my husband, nor after his death enter the fire. Having become widowed I performed no austerities;--O Dweller in the Body, make reparation for whatever you have done!
'I did not emaciate myself by monthly fasts by the course of the moon, nor by detailed observances. Owing to my bad deeds in former lives I got a woman's body, which is a source of great misery.' Thus having lamented many times, remembering the past incarnation, crying 'Whence did I attain this human state?' he goes on.
For seventeen days he goes on alone with the speed of the wind. On the eighteenth day, O Târkṣya, the departed reaches the City of Saumya. Large numbers of the departed are in that excellent and beautiful city.
The River Puṣhpabhadrâ is there, and a fig-tree delightful to see. In that city he takes rest, along with the servants of Yama. There he remembers the enjoyment of wife, son and others, and is miserable.
When he bewails his wealth, his family and dependents all, then the departed belonging there and the servants say this: Where is your wealth now? Where are your children and wife now? Where are your friends and relatives now? You only suffer the result of your own karma, you fool. Go on for a long time!

Here he eats the monthly rice-balls given by his sons and grandsons through either love or compassion, and thence goes on into Sauripura.
There is there a king named Jangama, who has the appearance of Death. Having seen him he is overcome with fear and decides to give up efforts. In that city he eats a mixture of water and food, given at the end of three fortnights, and then passes on from that city.

At the end of the year, coming nearer to the abode of Yama, having reached the city of Bahubhîti, he casts off the body the measure of a hand. The spirit the size of a thumb, to work out its karma, getting a body of torment, sets out through the air with the servants of Yama.
Those who do not offer gifts for the dweller in the upper body, O Kâśyapa, thus go, painfully bound in tight bonds. Into the city of the King of Justice there are four gateways, O Bird, of which the way of the southern gate has been declared to you. How they go on this most dreadful path, afflicted with hunger, thirst and exhaustion, has been told. What else do you wish to hear?

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