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The Garuda Purana

This is a translation of an abridged version of the Garuda Purana. The Garuda Purana is one of the Vishnu Puranas. It is in the form of a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds. The second section of this Purana (given here) deals with issues connected with death, particularly funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation. Portions of the Garuda Purana are used by some Hindus as funeral liturgy. Indeed, some consider it unlucky to read this text except during funerals.

Of interest are the intermediate states between birth and rebirth, which roughly correspond to the western concepts of Hell and Heaven. Since this was written during the medieval era, it is possible that the writer of this text had contact with Christianity. Earlier Hindu texts do not elaborate about 'hell' and 'heaven,' at least not to this extent, and the subject is completely absent in the oldest texts. Here, the torments of Hell are described in terms that would not be out of place in a Baptist revival tent (or Dante, for that matter). In addition, the four-square city of Yama, the God of Death, is reminiscent of the heavenly city in Revelation. However, these are way stations between incarnations (or, as termed in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Bardos), not a permanent destination. The Garuda Purana starts with the details of the afterlife. Following this is an account of funeral procedures, including rituals, the astrological timing of the post-death observances, and ritual gifts. Balancing the extended vision of Hell in the earlier part of the document is a shorter account of the City of Yama. After that is an enumeration of correspondences between the macrocosmos and the human body. The final part of this text is an appeal to self-knowledge as the key to liberation, going beyond austerities and study of the texts. "The fool, not knowing that the truth is seated in himself, is bewildered by the Shastras,--a foolish goatherd, with the young goat under his arm, peers into the well."

THE

GARUDA PURÂṆA
(SÂRODDHÂRA)
WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION
BY

ERNEST WOOD & S.V. SUBRAHMANYAM
AND
AN INTRODUCTION FROM SRIS CHANDRA VASU

Allahabad: Pâṇiṇi Office [1911]
E-book as PDF by Ganesh Rama Kumar
NOTICE OF ATTRIBUTION. Scanned at sacred-texts.com, June 2006. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was published prior to January 1st, 1923. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.

CONTENTS
No. Chapter Name
PAGE
1. The Miseries of the Sinful in this World and the Other
1
2. The Way of Yama
10
3. The Torments of Yama
21
4. The Kinds of Sins which lead to Hell
30
5. The Signs of Sins
38
6. The Miseries of Birth of the Sinful
46
7. Babhruvâhana's Sacrament for the Departed One
52
8. The Gifts for the Dying
61
9. The Rites for the Dying
76
10. The Collecting of the Bones from the Fire
83
11. The Ten-Days' Ceremonies
97
12. The Eleventh-Day Rite
103
13. The Ceremony for all the Ancestors
114
14. The City of the King of Justice
130
15 The Coming to Birth of People who have done Good
141
16. The Law for Liberation
154

INTRODUCTION.
This Garuḍa Purâṇa Sârodhhâra (Extracted essence of the Garuḍa Purâṇa) was compiled or written by one Navanidhirâma, son of Śrî Hari Nârâyaṇa, who lived in the city of Jhunjhuṇû, which was ruled by a King Śrî Sûkhalâlajî. It was done for the helping of those who cannot understand the difficult earlier works; but itself is not easy to understand, and required much labour, the author informs us. It is entirely originally written, he says, and comprises the results of very deep study of the sacred books, and is the extracted essence of them on the subjects with which it deals. It is used all over India at funeral ceremonies, but some are afraid to read it on other occasions, thinking it inauspicious.

CHAPTERS...
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