Frees sins of the dead
As part of Vedic literature, Smriti has eighteen Puranas and Garuda Purana is one of them. It deals with life after death and is read after the death of a close relative. It consists of nineteen thousand shlokas that are divided into two parts, a Purva Khanda (first part) and an Uttara Khanda (second part) and deals with life after death.
In this, Lord Vishnu is in conversation with his vahana or mount, the Garuda, also the king of birds, and explains the meaning of life and what happens after death. He also gives details on proper funeral rites and reincarnation of the departed soul.
The Garuda Purana has nineteen thousand shlokas. It is read from the fourth day up to the 11th day during the evenings after the death of a person. On the 12th day, final ceremonies are performed. It describes the path of the soul and provides Sadgati (proper path) and moksha to our ancestors. Reciting Garuda Purana fulfils the wishes and grants happiness both on earth and heaven.
Each of the Khandas has several chapters (adhyaya). The Purva Khanda is much longer; it has two hundred and thirty four chapters. The Uttara Khanda has only forty five. The Garuda Purana contains detailed descriptions of Vaishnavite worship and rituals, and the focus of this Purana is Vishnu worship. The latter half of this Purana deals with life after death. Following this is an account of funeral procedures, including rituals, the astrological timing of the post-death observances, reincarnation and ritual gifts.
Punishments after death
It also describes around 24 types of death punishments given to a person after death for the sins committed in life. These deaths include Khumbipakam (burned in oil) and Kirimibhojanam (given as prey to leeches). The final part of this text is an appeal to self-knowledge as the key to liberation, going beyond austerities and study of the texts. This has given great importance to the origin of Garuda. There are nineteen thousand verses describing the ways to the Lord.
The greatest benefit one can achieve by reciting Garuda Purana is that the departed soul is freed from all past sins. Also, one accrues punya (holy virtues) by its narration. It is also important to donate materials to the raconteur.