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In the Devi Bhagavata Purana's 9th Book's 34th Chapter, Savitri (wife of Satyavan) asks Yamaraja:

Sâvitrî said :-- “O Bhagavân! What is, according to the S’âstras, Brahmahattyâ (murdering a Brâhmin) and Gohatyâ (killing a cow)? Who are called Agamyâs (women unfit to be approached)? Who are designated as void of Sandhyâ (daily worship of the twice born castes)? Who can be called uninitiated? Who are said to take Pratigrahas (gifts) in a Tîrath?

To which Yamaraja's reply is as follows:

Vârânasî (Benares), Vadarî, the Confluence of the Ganges with the ocean (Ganga-Sâgara), Puskara, Hari Hara Ksettra (in Behar near Châprâ), Prabhâsa, Kâmarûpa, Hardwar, Kedâra, Mâtripura, the banks of the river Sarasvatî, the holy land Bindrâban, Godâvarî, Kaus’ikî, Trivenî (Allahabad), and the Himâlayâs are all famous places of pilgrimages. Those who willingly accept gifts in these sacred places are said to be Tîrthapratigrâhîs (the acceptors of the gifts in the Tîrtha). . These Tîrthaprathigrâhîs go in the end to Kumbhîpâka hell.

Now, from common sense, it should be the other way round i.e the act should be allowed and a meritorious one. Because, making gifts, at sacred places and sacred times (like those of eclipses), are considered as highly meritorious acts. But if there are no recipients at all whom will the gifts be made to?

So, my questions are as follows:

  • Why the act of accepting gifts at sacred places (Tirthas) is considered a bad Karma?

  • Which scriptures besides the aforementioned Purana also mention the act as a bad Karma leading to hell?

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  • I think the word "Pratigrahas" is having some other meanings also like begging for gifts or Property . The word Pratigraha is used instead of Dana , may be it's talking about not accepting property at these sacred placed ,may be because these places belongs to respective gods or are their cities. But looks like this is more related to property than simple gifts like food or money etc. Jun 7, 2018 at 7:33
  • Ok you may try answering the question @SwiftPushkar
    – Rickross
    Jun 7, 2018 at 18:01

1 Answer 1

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There's a curse pronounced on the Brāhmiṇas by goddess Sarasvatī in the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa.

Chapter 165 - Greatness of Sāvitrī, Prabhāsa-kṣetra-māhātmya, Prabhāsa Khaṇḍa.

ब्राह्मणानृत्विजः सर्वान्सावित्री ह्यशपत्तदा ॥ ९२ ॥ प्रतिग्रहाग्निहोत्राश्च वृथा दारा वृथाश्रमाः । सदा क्षेत्राणि तीर्थानि लोभादेव गमिष्यथ ॥ ९३ ॥ परान्नेषु सदा तृप्ता अतृप्ताः स्वगृहेषु च । अयाज्ययाजनं कृत्वा कुत्सितस्य प्रतिग्रहम् ॥ ९४ ॥ वृथा धनार्जनं कृत्वा व्यवश्चैव तथा वृथा । मृतानां तेन प्रेतत्वं भविष्यति न संशयः ॥ ९५ ॥

  1. Then Sāvitrī cursed all the Brāhmiṇas and the Ṛtviks:

  2. (to 94.a). “You will always be going to holy spots and Tīrthas out of greed, taking Pratigraha (monetary gifts) for your Agnihotra sacrifice; thereby your wives and householdership will become futile.

  3. (to 95). You will be always pleased and satisfied on the foodstuffs served by others. You will be dissatisfied with your own household. You will perform Yajñas on behalf of those who are not eligible and deserving. You will accept Pratigraha from despicable persons. Your earning of wealth will be futile. Your endeavour will be futile. Hence there is no doubt about it that on death you will become Pretas (spirits, ghosts).”

Therefore, perhaps, it's because of this curse that taking gifts in the sacred places incurs a negative karma, since taking gifts will invite bad luck, fruitless results, etc. (due to their inherent greed), as per the terms of the pronounced curse.

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  • Because of this curse the act is not forbidden .. the act is forbidden (for some reason and which I'm looking for) and that's why the curse. The curse says that you will do certain prohibited acts and one among which is accepting Danas in Tirthas.
    – Rickross
    Mar 16 at 12:09
  • That curse says the Priests will do all those acts (out of greed). Greed is forbidden and bad
    – Vivikta
    Mar 16 at 12:12
  • Yes that means the act was already forbidden but (now) due to my curse you will do that forbidden act (out of greed).
    – Rickross
    Mar 16 at 12:13

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