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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 310


Miscellaneous obligations--purificatory, ceremonial, and moral.

AURVA continued.--"Let a respectable householder ever venerate the gods, kine, Brahmans, saints, aged persons, and holy teachers. Let him observe the two daily Sandhyás, and offer oblations to fire. Let him dress in untorn garments, use delicate herbs and flowers, wear emeralds and other precious stones, keep his hair smooth and neat, scent his person with agreeable perfumes, and always go handsomely attired, decorated with garlands of white flowers. Let him never appropriate another's property, nor address him with the least unkindness. Let him always speak amiably and with truth, and never make public another's faults. Let him not desire another's prosperity, nor seek his enmity. Let him not mount upon a crazy vehicle, nor take shelter under the bank of a river (which may fall upon him). A wise man will not form a friendship nor walk in the same path with one who is disesteemed, who is a sinner or a drunkard, who has many enemies, or who is lousy, with a harlot or her gallant, with a pauper or a liar, with a prodigal, a slanderer, or a knave. Let not a man bathe against the strength of a rapid stream, nor enter a house on fire, nor climb to the top of a tree; nor (in company) clean his teeth or blow his nose, nor gape without covering his mouth, nor clear his throat, nor cough, nor laugh loudly, nor emit wind with noise, nor bite his nails, nor cut grass, nor scratch the ground 1, nor put his beard into his mouth, nor crumble a clod of clay; nor look upon the chief planetary bodies when he is unclean. Let him not express disgust at a corpse, for the odour of a dead body is the produce of the moon. Let a decent man ever avoid by night the place where four roads meet, the village tree, the grove adjacent to the place where bodies are burnt, and a loose woman. Let him not pass across the shadow of a venerable person, of an image, of a deity, of a flag, of a heavenly luminary 2. Let him not travel alone through a forest, nor sleep by

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himself in an empty house 3. Let him keep remote from hair, bones, thorns, filth, remnants of offerings, ashes, chaff, and earth 4 wet with water in which another has bathed. Let him not receive the protection of the unworthy, nor attach himself to the dishonest. Let him not approach a beast of prey; and let him not tarry long when he has risen from sleep. Let him not lie in bed when he is awake, nor encounter fatigue when it is time to rest. A prudent man will avoid, even at a distance, animals with tusks and horns; and he will shun exposure to frost, to wind, and to sunshine. A man must neither bathe, nor sleep, nor rinse his mouth whilst he is naked 5: he must not wash his mouth, or perform any sacred rite, with his waistband unfastened: and he must not offer oblations to fire, nor sacrifice to the gods, nor wash his mouth, nor salute a Brahman, nor utter a prayer, with only one garment on. Let him never associate with immoral persons: half an instant is the limit for the intercourse of the righteous with them. A wise man will never engage in a dispute with either his superiors or inferiors: controversy and marriage are to be permitted only between equals. Let not a prudent man enter into contention: let him avoid uprofitable enmity. A small loss may be endured; but he should shun the wealth that is acquired by hostility.

"When a man has bathed, he must not wipe his limbs with a towel nor with his hands, nor shake his hair, nor rinse his mouth before he has risen. Let him not (when sitting) put one foot over another, nor stretch forth his foot, in the presence of a superior, but sit with modesty in the posture called Vírásana (or on his knees). He must never pass round a temple upon his left hand, nor perform the ceremony of circumambulating any venerable object in the reverse direction. A decent man will not spit, nor eject any impurity, in front of the moon, fire, the sun, water, wind, or any respectable person 6; nor will he void urine standing, nor upon the highway: he will never step over phlegm, ordure, urine, or blood; nor is the expectoration of the mucus of the throat allowable at the time of eating, offering sacrifices or oblations, or repeating prayers, or in the presence of a respectable person.

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"Let not a man treat women with disrespect, nor let him put entire faith in them. Let him not deal impatiently with them, nor set them over matters of importance. A man who is attentive to the duties of his station will not go forth from his house without saluting the chaplets, flowers, gems, clarified butter, and venerable persons in it. At proper seasons he will salute respectfully the places where four roads meet, when engaged in offering oblations with fire. Let him liberally relieve the virtuous who are poor, and reverence those who are learned in the Vedas. He who is a worshipper of the gods and sages, who gives cakes and water to the manes, and who exercises hospitality, obtains the highest regions after death. He who speaks wisely, moderately, and kindly, goes to those worlds which are the inexhaustible sources of happiness. He who is intelligent, modest, devout, and who reverences wisdom, his superiors, and the aged, goes to heaven.

"On the days called Parvas, on periods of impurity, upon unseasonable thunder, and the occurrence of eclipses or atmospheric portents, a wise man must desist from the study of the Vedas 7. The pious man who suppresses anger and envy, who is benevolent to all, and allays the fears of others, secures, as the least of his rewards, enjoyment in Swarga. A man should carry an umbrella, as a defence against sun and rain; he should bear a staff when he goes by night, or through a wood; and he should walk in shoes, if he desires to keep his body from harm. As he goes along he should not look up, nor about him, nor afar off, but keep his eyes upon the ground to the extent of a couple of yards.

"The householder who expels all sources of imperfection is in a great degree acquitted of the three ordinary objects of existence, desire, wealth, and virtue; sinless amongst the sinful; speaking amicably to all men; his whole soul melting with benevolence; final felicity is in his grasp. The earth is upheld by the veracity of those who have subdued their passions, and, following righteous practices, are never contaminated by desire, covetousness, and wrath. Let therefore a wise man ever speak the truth when it is agreeable, and when the truth would inflict

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pain let him hold his peace. Let him not utter that which, though acceptable, would be detrimental; for it were better to speak that which would be salutary, although it should give exceeding offence 8. A considerate man will always cultivate, in act, thought, and speech, that which is good for living beings, both in this world and in the next 9."


310:1 Manu, IV. 71. "He who breaks clay, or cuts grass, or bites his nails, will speedily fall to ruin."

310:2 Manu, IV. 130.

311:3 Manu, IV. 57.

311:4 Ib. id. 78.

311:5 Ib. id. 45.

311:6 Ib. id. 52.

312:7 Manu, IV. 101, &c. The legislator is much more copious on this subject than the author of the Puráńa.

313:8 So Manu, IV. 538. "Let him say what is true, but let him say what is pleasing. Let him speak no disagreeable truth, nor let him speak agreeable falsehood. This is a primeval rule."

313:9 That the preceding chapter agrees in many respects very closely with the contents of the fourth book of the Institutes of Manu, on economics and private morals, will be evident from the instances cited of some of the parallel passages. Several others might have been adduced.

Next: Chapter XIII