Talk:Preta Kandha

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Krishna Maheshwari

The Preta Kandha was recorded by Vyasa as presented by the Rsi Suta in the Naimisha forest to the Rsi-s Saunaka and others and represents a conversation between Lord Vishnu and Garuda.

The conversation between Lord Vishnu and Garuda takes place after Garuda travels across all of creation (except Yamaloka) where he expresses questions about what he has seen. Most of his questions relate to the rituals that he has seen performed right after people die.

Aurdhvadeka Vidhi

The Aurdhvadeka vidhi relates to the rituals performed for a person who is about to die.

On Moksha

On the origin and transmigration of the Jiva

asti devaḥ parabrahmasvarūpo niṣkalaḥ śivaḥ |

sarvajñaḥ sarvakartā ca sarveśo nirmalo:'dvayaḥ ||6||

svayañjyotiranādyanto nirvikāraḥ parātparaḥ | nirguṇaḥ saccidānandastadaṃśā jīvasaṃjñakāḥ ||7||

There is God, transcendental self, indivisible Siva, all-knowing, all-doing, Lord of all, pure, without a second, self-luminous, without beginning, without end, unchangeable the highest of the high, attribute-less and of the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss.

Jiva are like sparks in a big fire, are conditioned by beginningless ignorance having the adjuncts of gross and subtle bodies due to beginningless karma. They are his parts and parcels. Like sparks of fire being struck by the beginning less knowledge; they separate into different bodies, through beginning less actions.

The Jiva are controlled by virtues and which in the form of bliss and sorrow. Their bodies have different classifications, age and enjoyment born of their different karma. In each birth, they obtain subtle bodies and after attaining Moksha they acquire an indestructible frame.

The departed souls enter into insentient objects, worms, birds, animals, men, Deities but after moksha they do not enter into any object or any body at all.

In the 8,400,000 types of bodies that a Jiva can be born in but only in a human body can it acquire true knowledge. Human birth is considered rare and requires the Jiva to consume the fruit of their past Karma, through other types of bodies before being able to acquire a human birth. The goal of human birth is to achieve Moksha.

Protecting the Human Body is important

Protecting your human body is considered very important as a human birth is very rare. Protection takes two forms:

  • Taking care of the physical body to ensure it doesn't have a premature death
  • Taking care of the actions that you use the body for -- specifically, performing virtuous karma at all times and not just relegate it to the future

The human body is useful for Dhanna, Dharma for knowledge, knowledge for meditation and meditation moksha and so, must be used to maximum benefit of the Jiva. A life of hundred years is too little. Half of that goes in sleep or idleness. Whatever little is left is wasted due to childhood, disease, old age and sorrows.

Illusion in human life

The jiva is under the illusion of maya after coming into the human body. People are full of fear as the company of their beloved is temporary. He does not know Reality and so, is unable to discriminate between what is useful and what is useless or what is permanent vs impermanent and what is meaningful vs meaningless.

People worry about their son, wife, family, relations and wealth while time takes him away by force. He worries about what remains to be done while Yama comes and takes the Jiva away while the body expires. Therefore, one should not procrastinate.

nidrābhīmaithunāhārāḥ sarveṣāṃ prāṇināṃ samāḥ |

jñānavānmānavaḥ prokto jñānahīnaḥ paśuḥ smṛtaḥ ||53||

Sleep, fear, sex and food are equal for all creatures. fie who possesses knowledge is a man and he who is without knowledge is an animal.[1]

True knowledge or knowledge of Reality is the only way to achieve Moksha. Only perfoming rituals, vratas, wearing matted locks (i.e, living like a Sanyasi), etc are not sufficient to achieve moksha. They are but a means to an end.

Those that perform academic study of the 6 darshanas, or the Veda Shastra do not get any benefit of the same. Similarly, worrying about sources and objects of knowledge is not sufficient.

  1. Garuda Purana, Chapter 49, verse 53