The Garuda Purana, a Vaishnava Purana is one of eighteen Mahapuranas, containing 8,000 to 19,000 verses. The modern era version of Garuda Purana is likely of 800 to 1000 century AD. It contains dialogues between Bhagwan Vishnu and his vehicle, Garuda about death, afterlife, sins, life in hell, location of hell, Yama, punishments meted out to the sinners, types of funeral rites to be performed for the departed, modes of liberation from rebirth cycle etc.
Garuda Purana is supposed to be chanted after the demise of a person; and especially in the 13-day mourning period. It is associated with many superstitions such as – it is inauspicious to keep the text at home; it is inauspicious to read it in any other period except the mourning period etc. etc. Nothing could be farther than the truth. In fact, this is the scripture which deals at length, about consequences of good & bad deeds, why a few people enjoy all comforts & others toil and how to be liberated from the cycle of birth-death. Chanting of Garuda Purana during mourning period was probably prescribed with the intention that the loved ones of deceased would better realize the importance of good deeds and liberation from rebirth cycle.
Grauda Purana addresses the burning questions about life, death and after death. It provides great insight on the following:
Reasons for vast variety of living beings and some persons being born as pauper, sick and others with silver spoon
(Numbers in bracket hereunder are reference of Garuda Purana - chapter/page/verse)
Life after death, the journey of the soul, death and its aftermath, Rebirth
(As per modern science –
Importance of charity
Significance of Mourning of 13 days’
The major “verse-wise” details from Chapter one to fourteen are explained below (chapters 15 & 16 are dealt in separate articles):
Chapters I to VII deal with Hells (mentioned below in bracket as chapter/page/verse).
Chapter VII to XIII deal with Ceremonies for the dead
Chapter XIV deals with Heaven.