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In the Parashara Smriti, there is a verse which instructs to keep a black cat and precious stone in homes.

One should keep in his house the following things : the wood for striking out a sacrificial fire, a black cat, sandal-wood, a precious stone, ghee, sesamum seed, a skin of a black antelope and a goat. [Parashara Smriti 12.49.]

But Skanda Purana says keeping some animals like dogs, cats etc., as pets is not recommended and people who keep them reach hell.

One who keeps cats, cocks and hens, dogs and birds, one who sets fire to the houses of the deaf and blind as well as grasses and grains and other things in the fields and one who sustains himself by means of stagecraft and stellar calculations(astrology) - all these men go to Vaitarani. [39.18-20]

So, I think Parashara is not recommending us them to keep but not as pets.

The former verses in the smriti speak about the duties of a householder and the sacrifices.

A person who preserves his sacred fire, a tawny cow, a person engaged in offering a sacrifice, a king, a religious mendicant, and the great ocean, — the very sight of these purifies one ; therefore one should constantly obtain a sight of them. [Parashara Smriti 12.46]

Observing the former verses, verse 47 might also speaking about the things required for a sacrifice or used in a sacrifice.

Wood for striking out a sacrificial fire - used for striking sacred fire.

Sandal wood - This is also used as firewood.

Sesame seeds, Ghee - Used as offering in sacrifices.

Skin of a black antelope - Used by sages while performing meditation and used in some Yagnas.

Goats - They were used as an offering in sacrifices. Goats are also called as Aja. There is also another interpretation to the word Aja as vegetable seeds.

If the above interpretations are correct, then black cats and precious stones should have some importance in Yagnas.

There is an Agni Purana verse which says it is a good omen when a cat crosses one's path (from right to left) is in fact considered a good omen. (I couldn't understand why right to left is said here?!)

Good Omens: Good omens while leaving house are facing white flowers, full vessels, meat, distant sounds, goat, cow, horse, elephant, fire, gold, silver, sword, umbrella, fruits, butter or curd, sugarcane, sound of thunder, lightning, dead body without anybody crying, donkey’s braying; buffallo crossing from left to right; horse, cats, donkeys, from right to left.

The Agni Purana verse says cats are a good omen from right to left generally and doesn't specify black cats. Moreover, an omen is an event which happens coincidentally without our involvement.

Question:

Is there any commentary on Parashara smriti which explain these verses about importance of a black cat and precious stones in a sacrifice or any other use for a house holder?

  • Btw y skanda puran says that keeping pet s can lead to hell,Indra deva has a Dog named sarama and yama deva the ruler of hell himself have 4 dogs and they are associated with kaal bharav avatar so can this verse be interpolated or not? – Karmanya Nanda Oct 14 '17 at 11:34
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    @KarmanyaNanda No, it is not interpolated verse. It is said by Narada to Arjuna. Dogs were associated with Chandalas the cremation workers. So, they are said to be unclean. Hence, due to cleanliness reasons, they are not recommended. It is said that we should not touch a village dog too. – Sarvabhouma Oct 14 '17 at 17:01
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    It is said in Skanda Purana that they will reach Raurava or some other hell where there are severe punishments and not for judgement. So, it is for punishment only not the other way. BTW, you can discuss this under my linked answer. The main point of this question is cats and stones. – Sarvabhouma Oct 14 '17 at 18:05
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    @KarmanyaNanda no problem keeping dogs, or cats. As well clarified by Sinister, earlier dogs were associated with Chaandaals and Chandaals used to clean crematorium grounds and the dead bodies. The dogs used to eat the flesh of that dead body. So they were extremely unclean. And hence a person keeping Dog wad said to go to hell. Today we keep dogs clean, and they are tamed. So do not worry. Things do change with time. In fact it is greater good karma to save life of an animal by keeping it. – user9392 Oct 17 '17 at 14:55
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    @anurag Singh yes you are right bro now I understand every Hindu scripture verse has a deep meaning inside and yes as swami vivekananda has said the shurti remains the same but smriti changes time by time. – Karmanya Nanda Oct 17 '17 at 15:08
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NOTE:This is only a partial answer, an explanation of another viewpoint, which was too large to fit into the comments.

The translation that you may have found is for the wrong verse (Did you get it from this link ?). It should belong to verse 12.49, not 12.47. The sanskrit verse is at the right place but the translation is at a different location.

The verse is as follows:

अरणिम् कृष्णमार्जारम् चन्दनम् सुमणिम् घृतम् ।

तिलान् कृष्णाजिनम् छागम् गृहे चैतानि रक्षयेत् ॥

Some thoughts:

कृष्णमार्जारम् - This could mean a black male cat / black agati keerai (Sesbania grandiflora) / black indian almond. Based on the context, I don't expect it to be the black male cat. Sanskrit is very context based in terms of the meaning of words.

छागम् - The छाग refers to the she-goat / goat in particular. It does not have anything to do with अजः which brought in the goat vs seeds confusion.

I would expect the कृष्णमार्जारम् to refer to the plants / seeds rather than the animal.

  • Yeah. The translation is from that link. I agree it is messed up. I searched for Sanskrit verses but I didn't find it in the that file. – Sarvabhouma Oct 17 '17 at 2:49
  • I took the meaning of a normal Goat rather than a she goat. So, how are she goats useful for a householder? Is there any importance in the Yagna to them or for domestic purposes? Did you find anything about precious stone? – Sarvabhouma Oct 17 '17 at 3:00
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    Why do you think it is not an answer. If something addressing the question and useful, then it should be in the answer field only.Sp that others will also learn. It's good you have posted it an as answer. The translation you gave for chaagam, maarjaaram seems correct. I request you to remove the note. – Sarvabhouma Oct 18 '17 at 3:40
  • Yes ,Very good find. – SwiftPushkar Oct 18 '17 at 5:01
  • Thanks for the kind words @Sinister. It does not answer the other part about sumaNi, and it does not discuss the religious aspects and only covers the linguistic aspects. Hence I added the note. – user1952500 Oct 18 '17 at 6:05

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