Mahabharata Anusasana Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva


"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast discoursed to me, O thou of righteous soul, on the duties of the four orders. Do thou, after the same manner, Q king, discourse to me now on all the ordinances respecting the Sraddha (of deceased ancestors).'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the son of Santanu set himself to declare unto him the following ritual, consistent with the ordinance of the Sraddha.'

"Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, with close attention, to me as I discourse to you on the ritual of the Sraddha. That ritual is auspicious, worthy of praise, productive of fame and progeny, and is regarded as a sacrifice, O scorcher of foes, in honour of the Pitris. Gods or Asuras or human beings, Gandharvas or Uragas or Rakshasas, Pisachas or Kinnaras,--every one should always worship the Pitris. It is seen that people worship the Pitris first, and gratify the deities next by offering them their adorations. Hence, one should always worship the Pitris with every care.  It is said, O king, that the Sraddha performed in honour of the Pitris is performable afterwards. But this general rule is restrained by a special one (which directs that the Sraddha in honour of the Pitris should be performed on the afternoon of the day of the New moon).  The (deceased) grandsires become gratified with the Sraddha that may be performed on any day. I shall, however, tell thee now what the merits and demerits are of the respective lunar days (in view of their adaptability to the performance of the Sraddha). I shall discourse to thee, O sinless one, what fruits are attained on what days by performing the Sraddha. Do thou listen to me with close attention. By adoring the Pitris on the first day of the lighted fortnight, one obtains in one's abode beautiful spouses capable of producing many children all possessed of desirable accomplishments. By performing the Sraddha on the second day of the lighted fortnight one gets many daughters. By performing it on the third day, one acquires many steeds. By performing it on the fourth day, one gets a large herd of smaller animals (such as goats and sheep) in one's house. They, O king, who perform the Sraddha on the fifth day, get many sons. Those men who perform the Sraddha on the sixth day acquire great splendour. By performing it on the seventh day, O monarch, one acquires great fame. By performing it on the eighth day one makes great profits

in trade. By performing it on the ninth day one acquires many animals of uncloven hoofs. By performing it on the tenth day one acquires much wealth in kine. By performing it on the eleventh day one becomes the possessor of much wealth in clothes and utensils (of brass and other metals). Such a man also obtains many sons all of whom become endued with Brahma splendour. By performing the Sraddha on the twelfth day one always beholds, if one desires, diverse kinds of beautiful articles made of silver and gold. By performing the Sraddha on the thirteenth day one attains to eminence over one's kinsmen. Without doubt, all the young men in the family of him who performs the Sraddha on the fourteenth day meet with death. Such a man becomes entangled in war, By performing the Sraddha on the day of the new moon, one obtains the fruition of every wish. In the dark fortnight, all the days commencing with the tenth (and ending with that of the new moon), leaving only the fourteenth day out, are laudable days for the performance of the Sraddha. Other days of that fortnight are not so. Then, again, as the dark fortnight is better than the lighted one, so the afternoon of the day is better than the forenoon in the matter of the Sraddha.'"