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Is there any reason behind the restriction that Garuda Purana should only be read during normal days (i.e., when there's no death in the family)?

My elders told me that it should be only read on the 10th day after death.

Why is it so? Why can't we read it on normal days?

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No, it's not like that, it can be read on normal days as far as I know. The Garuda Purana has a part known as preta kalpa which describes the journey after death and the related rituals to be done. Those are referred and read during the occasion of the passing away of someone. So it has become a taboo or fear to read it on other days like it has happened wth the sentence "ram naam satya hai" (Rama's name is truth).

So at different places of the purana it has been praised and suggested to read as it offers punya and bestows desires. For example, consider the following verse:

tat śrīmadgaruḍaṃ puṇyaṃ sarvadaṃ paṭhatastava [GP - 1.3.9]
- That auspicious Garuda purana when read gives punya and all objects

taduktaṃ gāruḍaṃ puṇyaṃ purāṇaṃ yaḥ paṭhennaraḥ
sarvakāmamavāpyātha prāpnoti paramāṃ gatim
[GP - 1.240.34]

Meaning
That man who reads this auspicious Garuda purana attains the supreme destination having obtained all his desires.

Given the nature of the subject matter that the purana contains, some portions of it may be considered as inauspicious by people, but I have not come across anything that forbids its reading. In fact at many places it has been praised and suggested to be read as mentioned in the above verses.

  • +1 for quoting lines from GP..But my question is why they won't allow us to read it in normal days ? – WarriorPrince Aug 25 '14 at 6:06
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    @WarriorPrince i said in the answer that it's a misconception only. We can read it in normal days. I had not found any statement in the purana forbidding to read it on normal days. Nevertheless, I'll go through it again when get time to see if I have missed something. But I am sure the purana is not forbidden to be read on normal days. At best only some part of the preta kalpa might have some restrictions, other than that it can be read on any day. I quoted the lines reading it on normal days :D – Be Happy Aug 25 '14 at 6:42
  • Thanks for the reply.. The thing that comes to my mind about why this misconception is our elders and ancestors wants us to read good things, think about good, and speak good. The thing is "Garuda Purana" is completely dealt with the journey of the soul after its death and the book shows demise and the difficulties the soul faces. Even though knowing the facts from it are good but our elders may thought that younger people don't want to think about these demise stuff and all so they may restrict them in reading it. My perception is this – WarriorPrince Aug 26 '14 at 7:31
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    @WarriorPrince yes, it can be. Just like they do parental lock on some TV channels. However, the death and journey of the soul is just a small part of the purana compared to its other contents. But it is indeed true that younger people shouldn't think about life after death from an early age in a negative manner. And you know that the purana has some horrific descriptions of hell, etc. – Be Happy Aug 27 '14 at 11:01

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