The Vow Illuminating A Divine Edifice

Hindu Fasts: The Vow Illuminating A Divine Edifice

Said The God Of Fire:

Hear me, 0 Brahman, Course on the process of
practising the Vrata of illuminating a divine edifice
with lighted lamps (Dipadana Vrata), by observing
which a man attains salvation after a prosperous career
on earth. By illuminating the house of a Brahmana
or an imaged deity for a year, a man becomes pos-
sessed of all his wished for objects. Similarly by
lighting such edifices for four months continuously,
or by illuminating them in the month of Karticka, a
person goes to the region of Vishnu or ascends heaven.
There is no Vrata which can or will ever excel this
rite of giving lighted lamps, in respect of merit. The
man, who illuminates a divine edifice as above indicated, becomes the father of a large and happy
family, and enjoys health and good fortune.

His eyes
become keen and lustrous, while angels throng to
glorify his name in heaven on his sojourn to that
region after death. Out of a hundred wives of
the king Charudharma, the ruler of the world, Lalita,
the daughter of the king of Vidharba, was able to
win and monopolize the live of her husband, through
the merit of observing such a lamp-giving Vrata.
Lalita used to light up the divine edifice of Vishnu
with thousands and thousands of lamps, every night.
The co-wives of the queen, asked her to describe
the merit of practising such a Vrata, whereupon she
narrated as follows: –

Lalita Said:-“In by-gone times, the holy sage
Maitreya was a priest in the service of the king of
Souvira, and he caused a temple to be built and
dedicated to Vishnu, on the banks of the Devika. I
was a she-mouse at the time, Oh ye my beloved
sisters, living in a hole in a sequestered nook of the
adytum of the temple. One day Maitreya caused a
lighted lamp to be placed in the interior of the temple, which growing dimmer and dimmer every mo-
ment, was about to be put out. Out of my natural
dread for cats in that mouse-existence of mine, I
came out of the hole, nudged the wick of the lamp
with the tip of my nose, and re-excited the faint
light about to be blown out by the wind. Even through
the merit of such an involuntary act of piety, behold
me, metamorphised into a princess and a favourite
with the king, my husband, in my present existence.
0 ye sisters, I enjoy this high station, these pleasures and riches of royalty as fruits of the pious act
of illuminating the divine edifice of Vishnu, though
unintentionally done by me in my previous existence, and therefore it is, that each night I cause
thousands and thousands of lamps to be lighted in
the Vishnu temple, simply because I remember (Jatismara)
the records of my previous birth.

By illuminating a divine temple with lamps on
the day of the eleventh phase of the moon, a man
is able to reside blissfully in heaven. The stealer of
such a lamp is afflicted with dumbness and locomotorataxy in his next rebirth, and is doomed to suffer
incessant nameless agonies in the dark and bottom-
less abyss of perdition. The messengers of the god
of death, asked these miscreants mourning their fates
and filling the confines of the nether regions with
wails and doleful sounds, “What is the good, 0 thou
benighted souls, of wailing now ? What does it avail
a being to cry his eyes out in hell, over the misdeeds and acts of inequity, foolishly and wantonly
committed by him in his human existence ?

human life is the culminating stage of all animal
existences on earth, and it is by going through thou-
sands and thousands of necessary cycles of animal-
existence, that a being is evolved out as a man.
Wherefore then, should a man forget such a memo-
rable fact of his existence?-and wherefore should
he indulge in sensuous pleasures which are nothing
but the cravings of the animal nature which he could
not very well cast off even then? If the highest good
in human life is to secure as much creature-comforts
as possible, or to madly run in pursuit of those articles that pander only to the senses, if its highest
glory is to raise much sand and dust in a whirligig
of contending passions,-wailing and wailing alone,
needs must be the necessary corollary, the inevitable
sequel to such an existence, when transplanted to
these regions. You are eating only the bitter fruits of
your own misdeeds on earth.

Why did you not think
at the time of seducing other men’s wives, that the
fond and clandestine embrace of a false wife, (dearer
it might have been for the very stealth), the warm
and the fluttered up-heavings of a fair but frail heart,
beating with the vibrations of hurried footsteps of a
fugitive god flying therefrom, it might have carried
for the time being into stagnant life, a fiendish flow
of unnatural stimulation, but were sure to prove as
gall and worm wood within these confines ? A moment’s
pleasure, a moment’s gratification of the senses, is
sure to be followed by millions and millions of years
of extreme agony and excruciating pain. Instead of
crying “Mother, 0 mother,” in anguish and darkness
why don’t you sing the blessed name of Hari ? 0
you the defilers of your neighbour’s beds ! Does the
name lie so very heavy on you tongues ? As a spark
of fire can be always obtained from the tiny flame
of a lighted lamp, so a small lamp, lighted out of a
love of god, goes much way to illumine the path of
a soul in the darkness of death. An equal portion of
misery falls to the lot of a man who is not inclined
to offer such lighted lamps to the god, and steals
them, dedicated by others, instead. Why should I
mourn now when I have offered thousands and thousands
of them ?” (10-18).

Said the Fire God:-Having heard these words from
the lips of Lalita, the co-wives of the queen began
to illuminate the temple of Vishnu in the night, and
ascended heaven through its merit. Thus by offering
lighted lamps to the god, a man acquires greater
merit than by practising the Vrata (19).

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