1. Brahma Purana
2. Padma Purana
3. Vishnu Purana
4. Shiva Purana
5. Vamana Purana
6. Markandeya Purana
7. Varaha Purana
8. Agni Purana
9. Kurma Purana
10. Bhagavad Maha Purana
11. Linga Purana
12. Narada Purana
13. Skanda Purana
14. Garuda Purana
15. Matsya Purana
16. Vayu Purana
17. Bhavishya Purana
18. Brahmanda Purana(incomplete)
1. BRAHMA PURANA
There was a forest known as Naimisharanya. The sages (maharshis) arranged for a sacrifice
(yajna) in this forest and the ceremony went on for twelve years. Naimisharanya forest was a
wonderful place to arrange sacrifices in. The climate was pleasant. There were trees full of
climate was pleasant. There were trees full of flowers and fruit. There was no shortage of food in
the forest, and animals, birds and sages lived thee happily.
Many sages came to attend the sacrifice that had been arranged in Naimisharanya. With them
was Romaharshana (alternatively Lomaharshana), Veda Vyasa's disciple. Veda Vyasa had
instructed this disciple of his in the knowledge of the Puranas. The assembled sages worshipped
the learned Romaharshana and said, "Please tell us the stories of the Puranas. Who created the
universe, who is its preserver and who will destroy it? Please instruct us in all these mysteries".
Romaharshana replied, "Many years ago, Daksha and the other sages had asked Brahma these
very questions. I have learnt about Brahma's replies from my guru) teacher) Veda Vyasa. I will
relate to you what I know".
In the beginning, there was water everywhere and the Brahman slept on this water in the form of
Vishnu. Since water is called nara and since ayana means a bed, Vishnu is known as Narayana.
In the water there emerged a golden egg. Brahma was born inside this egg. Since he created
himself, he is called Svayambhu, born (bhu) by himself (svayam). For one whole year, Brahma
lived inside the egg. He then split the egg into two and created heaven and the earth from the two
parts of the egg. Skies, directions, time, language and senses were created in both heaven and
earth. From the powers of his mind, Brahma gave birth to seven great sages. Their names were
Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vashishtha. Brahma also created the god
Rudra and the sage Sanatkumara.
To continue with the process of creation, Brahma gave birth to a man and a woman from his own
body. The man was named Svayambhuva Manu and the woman was named Shatarupa. Humans
are descended from Manu. That is the reason they are known as manava. Manu and Shatarupa
had three sons named Vira, Priyavrata and Uttanapada.
Uttanapada's son was the great Dhruva. Dhruva performed very difficult meditation (tapasya) for
three thousand divine years. Brahma was so pleased at this that he granted Dhruva an eternal
place in the sky, near the constellation that is known as saptarshi or the seven sages. This is the
constellation Ursa Majoris and Dhruva is the pole Star.
In Dhruva's line there was a king named Prachinavarhi. Prachinavarhi had ten sons, known as the
Prachetas. These Prachetas were supposed to look after the world and rule over it, but they were
not interested in such mundane matters. They went off instead to perform tapasya under the
ocean. The tapasya went on for ten thousand years. The upshot was that the earth had no ruler
and began to suffer. People started to die and thick forests sprouted everywhere. So thick were
the forests that even the winds could not blow.
News of this catastrophe reached the Prachetas. They were furious with the trees and created
wind (vayu) and fire (agni) from their mouths. The wind dried up the trees and the fire burnt
them, so that, very soon, there were very few trees left on earth.
Everyone was alarmed at the effects of the Prachetas anger. The moon–god Soma (or Chandra)
came to the Prachetas with a beautiful woman and said, "Prachetas, please control your anger.
You need someone to rule over the world so that you can concentrate on your tapasya. This
woman is named Marisha. Her son will rule over the world".
The Prachetas agreed to this proposal and Daksha was born. The word praja means subject and
the word pati means master. Since Daksha ruled over the world and its subjects, Daksha came to
be known as Prajapati.
The sages interrupted Romaharshana. They said, "Sage, we are completely confused. We have
heard that Daksha was born from Brahma's toe. And yet you have told us that Daksha was the
son of the Prachetas. How is this possible?"
Romaharshana replied, "There is no reason for bewilderment. Many Dakshas have been born to
rule over the world. One was born from Brahma's toe, yet another was the son of the Prachetas."
Daksha's wife was named Asikli and Asikli gave birth to five thousand sons. They were known
as the Haryashvas. The Haryashvas were destined to rule over the world. But the sage Narada
went to the Haryashvas and said, "How can you rule over the world if you don't even know what
the world looks like? Are you familiar with its geography and its limits? First find out about
these things, before you contemplate ruling over the world."
The Haryashvas went off to explore the world and never returned.
Daksha and Asikli then had another thousand sons who were named the Shavalashvas. Narada
told them what he had told the Haryashvas and the Shavalashvas also went off to explore the
world and never returned.
Daksha and Asikli were distressed that their children should disappear in this manner. Daksha
blamed Narada for the instigation and proposed to kill him. But Brahma intervened and
persuaded Daksha to control his anger. This Daksha agreed to do, provided that his conditions
were met. "Brahma must marry my daughter Priya," he said. "And Narada must be born as
These conditions were accepted. In fact, Daksha and Asikli had sixty daughters. (Elsewhere, the
Brahma Purana mentions fifty daughters.) Ten of these daughters were married to the god
Dharma and thirteen to the sage Kashyapa. Twenty–seven daughters were married to Soma or
Chandra. The remaining daughters were married to the sages Arishtanemi, Vahuputra, Angirasa
The ten daughters who were married to the god Dharma were named Arundhati, Vasu, Yami,
Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta. Sadhya and Vishva. Arundhati's children were the
objects (vishaya) of the world. Vasu's children were the eight gods known as the Vasus. Their
names were Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Salila, Anala, Pratyusha and Prabhasa. Anala's son was
Kumara. Because Kumara was brought up by goddesses known as the Krittikas, he came to be
called Kartikeya. Prabhasa's son was Vishvakarma. Vishvakarma was skilled in architecture and
the making of jewelry. He became the architect of the gods.
Sadhya's children were the gods known as Sadhyadevas and Vishva's children were the gods
known as Vishvadervas. The twenty–seven daughters of Daksha who were married to Soma are
known as the nakshatras (stars).
As you have already been told, Kashyapa married thirteen of Daksha's daughters. Their names
were Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Khasa, Surabhi, Vinata. Tamra, Krodhavasha, Ila, Kadru
Aditi's sons were the twelve gods known as the adityas. Their names were Vishnu, Shakra.
Aryama, Dhata, Vidhata, Tvashta, Pusha, Vivasvana, Savita, MitraVaruna, Amsha and Bhaga.
Diti's sons were the daityas (demons). They were named Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, and
amongst their descendants were several other powerful daityas liked Bali and Banasura. Diti also
had a daughter named Simhika who was married to a danava (demon) named Viprachitti. Their
offspring's were terrible demons like Vatapi, Namuchi, Ilvala, Maricha and the nivatakavachas.
The hundred sons of Danu came to be known as danavas. The danavas were thus cousins to the
daityas and also to the adityas. In the danava line were born demons like the poulamas and
Arishta's sons were the gandharvas (singers of heaven). Surasa gave birth to the snakes (sarpa).
Khasa's children were the yakshas (demi–gods who were the companions of Kubera, the god of
wealth) and the rakshasas (demons). Surabhi's descendants were cows and buffaloes.
Vinata had two sons named Aruna and Garuda. Garuda became the king of the birds. Tamra has
six daughters. From these daughters were born owls, eagles, vultures, crows, water–fowl, horses,
camels and donkeys.
Krodhavasha had fourteen thousand children known as nagas (snakes). Ila gave birth to trees,
creepers, shrubs and bushes. Kadru's sons were also known as nagas or snakes. Among the more
important of Kadru's sons were Ananta, Vasuki, Takshaka and Nahusha.
Muni gave birth to the apsaras (dancers of heaven). Diti's children (daityas) and Auditi's children
(adityas) continually fought amongst themselves. On one particular occasion, the gods succeed in
killing many of the demons. Thirsting for revenge, Diti began to pray to her husband, Kashyapa
that she might given birth to a son who would kill Indra, the king of the gods.
Kashyapa found it difficult to refuse his wife outright. "All right", he said. "You have to bear the
son in your womb for a hundred years. And throughout this period, you will have indeed kill
Indira. But if you do not observe these instructions to the letter, your desire will not be satisfied."
Diti resolved to do as her husband had bidden her. But Indra had got to know about Diti's resolve
and was waiting for an opportunity to save himself. There was an occasion when, tired after her
prayers. Diti went to sleep without first washing her feet. This was an unclean act and it gave
Indra the required opportunity. He adopted a miniscule form and entered Diti's womb. With his
weapon vajra, he sliced up the baby inside the womb into seven parts. The baby naturally began
to cry at the pain.
Indra kept on saying, "ma ruda," that is, "don't cry." But the bay, or rather its seven parts, would
not listen. Indra thereupon sliced up each of the seven parts into seven more sections, so that
there were forty–nine sections in all. When these forty–nine sections were born, they came to
known as the Maruts, from the words that Indra had addressed them. Since Diti had not been
able to adhere to the conditions her husband had set, the Maruts did not kill Indra. They instead
became Indra's followers or companions, and were treated as gods.
In Dhruva's line there was a king named Anga, Anga was religious and followed the righteous
path. But unfortunately, Anga's son Vena inherited none of the good qualities of his father.
Vena's mother was Sunitha and she happened to be the daughter of Mrityu. Mrityu was notorious
for his evil ways and deeds. Vena spent a lot of time with his maternal grandfather and picked up
these evil characteristics.
Vena gave up the religion that was laid down in the Vedas and stopped all yajnas. He instructed
his subjects that he alone was to be worshiped.
The sages led by Marichi came to Vena to try and persuade him to mend his ways. But Vena was
in no mood to listen. He insisted that there was no one equal to him in the whole universe.
The sages realized that Vena was a lost cause. They physically caught hold of Vena and began to
knead his right thigh. From this kneading thee emerged a horrible looking creature. It was a
dwarf and its complexion, was extremely dark. The sage Atri was so aghast at the dwarf's
appearance that he blurted out, "nishida", which means "sit". From this, the dwarf came to be
known as nishada. The race of nishadas became hunters and fishermen, and lived in the Vindhya
mountains. From them were also descended uncivilized races like Tusharas and Tunduras.
The evil that was in Vena's body and mind came out with the emergence of the nishada.
When the sages began to knead Vena's right arm, Prithu emerged. He shone like a flaming fire
and his energy lit up the four directions. He held a bow in his hand and he was clad in beautiful
armour. As soon as Prithu was born, Vena died.
All the rivers and the oceans arrived with their waters and their jewels to anoint Prithu as the
king. The gods and the sages also came for the coronation. Brahma himself crowned Prithu the
king of the earth. He also took the opportunity to apportion out the lordships of other parts of the
universe. Soma was appointed lord over creepers, herbs, starts (nakshatras), planets (grahas),
sacrifices, meditation (tapasya) and over the first of the four classes (brahmanas). Varuna
became lord of the oceans, Kubera of all the kings, Vishnu of the adityas, Agni of vasus, Daksha
of all Prahlada of daityas and danavas, Yama of the pritris (ancestors), Shiva of yakshas,
rakshasas and pishachas (ghosts), and Himalaya of the mountains.
The ocean (samudra) was made the lord of all rivers. Chitraratha of gandharvas, Vasuki of nagas,
Takshaka of sarpas, Garuda of birds, the tiger of deer, Airavata of elephants, Ucchaihshrava of
horses, the bull of cows and the ashvattha tree (a banyan) of all trees. Brahma also appointed
four overlords (dikapalas) for the four directions. To the east there was Sudhanva, to the south
Shankhapada, to the west Ketumana and to the north Hiranyaroma.
Prithu was a king who ruled the earth well. During his reign, the earth was laden with foodgrains.
The cows were full of milk and the subjects were happy. To glorify King Prithu, the sages
performed a sacrifice and from this sacrifice there emerged two races known as the sutas and the
magadhas should sing praises in honor of Prithu.
"But what praise will we sing?" asked the sutas and the magadhas. "Prithu is still young. He has
not done much that can be praised".
"That may be true," replied the sages. "But he will do wonderous deeds in the future. Sing
praises of those wonderful deeds. We will tell you about them."
Having learnt of these future deeds from the sages, the sutas and the magadhas began to compose
songs and chant praises in honor of Prithu. These stories were related throughout the earth. Some
of Prithu's subjects heard these stories and came to see Prithu. "King," they said. "We have heard
of your great deeds. But we find it difficult to make a living. Please indicate to us our habitations
on earth. And tell us where we may be able to get the food we need for subsistence."
King Prithu picked up his bow and arrow. He decided to kill the earth, since the earth was not
yielding foodgrains to his subjects. The earth adopted the form of a cow and began to flee. But
wherever the earth went, Prithu followed with his bow and arrow. He followed the earth to the
heaven and to the underworld.
Finally, in desperation, the earth started to pray to Prithu. "King," she said, "please control your
anger. I am a woman. Killing me will only mean a sin for you. Besides, what purpose will killing
me serve? Your subjects will then be without a place to live in. There must be some other way of
ensuring that your subjects can make a living.
The earth then herself offered a solution and King Prithu did her bidding. With his bow, he
leveled out the earth. The plains could now be used for villages and cities and for agriculture and
animal husbandry. The plains could now be used for villages and cities and for agriculture and
animal husbandry. The mountains were gathered together in select places, instead of being
littered over whole earth. Earlier, Prithu's subjects had lived off fruits and roots. Now Prithu
milked the earth (in her form of a cow) and obtained the seeds of foodgrains on which people
could live. Because of Prithu's deeds, the earth came to be known as prithivi.
A manvantara is an era. There are four smaller eras (yugas) and their names are Satya or Krita
Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. Each cycle of Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga,
Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga is called a mahayuga. A mahayuga comprises of 12,000 years of
the gods, or equivalently, 4320,000 years for human. 71 mahayugas constitute a manvantara and
14 manvantaras constitute a cycle (kalpa). One kalpa is one of Brahma's days and the universe is
destroyed at the end of a Kalpa.
Each manvantara is ruled over by a Manu. In the present kalpa, six manvantaras have already
passed and the names of the six Manus who ruled were Svayambhuva, Svarochisha, Uttama,
Tamasa, Raivata and Chakshusha. The name of the seventh Manu, who rules over the seventh
manvantara of the present kalpa, is Vaivasvata.
The titles of the seven great sages (saptarshi) as well as the tile of Indra change from manvantara
to manvantara. The gods also change.
In the present vaivasvata manvantara, the seven great sages are Atri, Vashishtha, Kashyapa,
Goutama, Bharadvaja, Vishvamitra and Jamadagni. The gods now are the sadhyas, the rudras,
the vishwadevas, the vasus, the maruts, the adityas and the two ashvinis.
There will be seven Manus in the future before the universe is destroyed. Five of these Manus
will be known as Savarni Manus. The remaining two will be called Bhoutya and Rouchya.
The Sun and the Solar Dynasty
You have probably forgotten by now that Kashyapa and Aditi had a son named Vivasvana. This
was the sun god, also known as Surya or Martanda.
Surya was married to Samjna, Vishvakarma's daughter. They had two sons. The fist son was
Vaivasvata Manu and the second son was Yama or Shradhadeva, the god of death. Yama had a
twin sister named Yamuna. The sun's energy was so strong that Samjna could not bear to look at
her husband. Through her powers, she created an image from her own body that looked exactly
like her. This image was called Chhaya (shadow).
Samjna told Chhaya, "I cannot bear the energy of my husband, I am going off to my father's
house. Stay here, pretend to be Samjna and look after my children. Under no circumstances tell
anyone, certainly not my husband, that your are not Samjna."
"I will do as you have asked me to," replied Chhaya. "But the moment someone curses me or
pulls me by the hair, I shall be forced to reveal the truth."
Samjna went to her father Vishvakarma kept asking her to return to her husband. But this Samjna
refused to do. Instead, she went to the land known as Uttara Kuru and started to live there as a
Meanwhile, Surya, who had not realized that Samjna had been replaced by Chhaya, had two sons
through Chhaya. They were named Savarni Manu and Shani (Saturn). As soon as her own
children were born, Chhaya no longer displayed as much of love for Samjna's children as she
used to do. Vaivasvata Manu was a quiet sort of person and he ignored the implied neglect. But
Yama was not the tolerant. Besides, he was also younger. He raised his leg to kick Chhaya. At
this, Chhaya cursed Yama that his legs would fall off.
Yama went and complained to Surya. " I have not really kicked her," he said. "I only threatened
to. And does a mother ever curse her children?"
"I can't undo the curse, " replied Surya. "At best, I can reduce its severity. Your legs will not
actually fall off. Some of the flesh from your legs will fall off onto the earth and create worms.
Thereby, you will be freed of your curse."
But nevertheless, Surya felt that there was some truth in Yama's asking whether a mother would
ever curse her children. He taxed Chhaya with the truth, but Chhaya would not reveal anything
Surya then grasped her by the hair and threatened to curse her. Since her conditions were now
violated, Chhaya blurted out the truth.
In an extremely angry mood, Surya dashed off to Vishvakarma's house. Vishvakarma tried to
cool him down. "it is all because of your exercises energy that this has happened, exclaimed
Vishvakarma. "If you permit, I will shave off some of the extra energy. Then Samjna will be able
to look at you."
Surya agreed to this proposition. With the shaved off energy, Vishvakarma manufactured
Vishnu's chakra (a weapon like a bladed discus).
Surya found out that Samjna was in Uttara Kuru in the form of a mare. He joined her there in the
form of a horse. As horse, they had two sons named Nasatya and Dasra. Since ashva means
horse, the sons were also known as the two Ashvinish and became the physicians of the gods.
Surya and Samjna then gave up their equine forms and lived happily ever after.
Vaivasvata Manu's Children
Vaivasvata Manu has no children and he arranged for a sacrifice so that he might have a son.
Nine sons were born as a result of this sacrifice. Their names were Ikshvaku, Nabhaga, Dhrishta,
Sharyati, Narishyanta, Pramashu, Rishta, Karusha and Prishadhra. Manu also made an offering
to the two gods Mitra and Varuna. As a result of this offering, a daughter named Ila was born.
Budha was the son of Chandra, and Budha and Ila had a son named Pururva. Subsequently,
thanks to a boon conferred on her by Mitra and Varuna. Ila became a man named Sudyumna.
Sudyumna's sons were Utkala, Gaya and Vinatashva. Utkala ruled in Orissa, Gaya in the region
that is also called Gaya, and Vinatashva in the west.
Sudyumna was not entitled to rule since he had earlier been a woman. He lived in the city known
as Pratishthana. Pururava inherited this later on.
When Vaivasvata Manu died, his ten sons divided up the earth amongst themselves, Ikshvaku
ruled in the central regions. He had a hundred sons, the eldest of whom was named Vikukshi.
Vikukshi came to be known as Shashada. Thereby hangs a tale.
Ikshvaku wanted to organize a sacrifice and he sent his son Vikukshi to the forest to fetch some
meat for the sacrifice. While hunting for game, Vikukshi felt very hungry and ate up some of the
meat. This was a sacrilege and the sage Vashishtha advised Ikshvaku to banish Vikukshi from
his kingdom. Because the meat that he had eaten had been the meat of a rabbit (shashaka),
Vikukshi came to be known as Shashada.
But after Ikshvaku died, Vikukshi returned to his father's kingdom and began to rule there. This
was the kingdom of Ayodhya. One of Vikukshi's sons was Kakutshta, and Rama of Ramayana
fame was born in this line.
Kubalashva was one of the kings descended from Kakutstha. Kubalashva's father was named
Vrihadashva. After Vrihadashva had ruled for many years, he desired to retire to the forest. He
therefore prepared to hand over the kingdom to his son Kubalashva. But learning of King
Vrihadashva's resolve, a sage named Utanka came to meet the king.
"Don't go to the forest right now", Utanka told the king. My hermitage (ashrama) is on the shores
of the ocean and is surrounded by sand in all directions. A strong rakshasa named Dhundhu lives
under the sand. He is so strong that even the gods have been unable to kill him. Once every year,
Dhundhu exhales his breath and this raises a tremendous cloud of sand and dust. For an entire
week the sun remains shrouded in dust and for the whole week, there are earthquakes as a result
of Dhundhu's exhalation. This is disturbing my mediation (tapasya) and you can't very well go
away to the forest without first doing something about Dhundhu. Only you are capable of killing
him. I have accumulated a lot of power as a result of my tapasya and I will give this to you if you
Vrihadashva told Utanka that there was no need for Vrihadashva himself to kill Dhundhu. He
would go to the forest as he had decided. His son Kubalashva was perfectly capable of killing
Dhundhu and would accompany Utanka.
Kubalashva and his hundred sons went to the shores of the ocean where all the sand was.
Kubalashva asked his sons to start digging so that they might find Dhundhu. Dhundhu attacked
Kubalashva's sons and killed all of them but three. The three who escaped were named
Dridashva, Chandrashva and Kapilashva. But Dhundhu himself was killed by Kubalashva. As a
result of this great feat, Kubalashva came to be known as Dhundhumara. The sage Utanka
blessed Kubalashva and by the sage's blessings, Kubalashva's dead sons went straight to heaven.
From Dridashva was descended a king named Trayaruni. Trayaruni was a righteous king and
followed all the religious dictates. But Trayarun's son Satyavrata was quite the opposite and
refused to follow the righteous path. King Trayaruni's chief priest was the great sage Vashishtha.
Vashishtha advised the king that his evil son should be banished from the kingdom. Trayaruni
accepted the sage's advice. Consequently, Satyavrata started to live with outcasts (chandalas)
outside the kingdom.
After some time, Trayaruni relinquished his kingship and went away to the forest. The kingdom
had no king and degenerated into anarchy. The absence of a king is also frowned upon by the
gods and for twelve years there was a terrible drought.
Vishvamitra was another great sage. While all this was going on, Vishvamitra was not present in
the kingdom. He had gone away to perform tapasya on the shores of the ocean, having left his
wife and children in a hermitage (ashrama) that was in the kingdom. But because there was such
a long spell of drought, there was also famine in the kingdom. People started to starve.
Vishvamitra's wife decided to sell her son so that she might have some food to eat. She tied a
rope round the son's neck and took him to the market–place. There, she sold him in exchange for
a thousand cows. Since a rope had been tied around the son's neck (gala), he came to be known
But Satyavrata discovered what terrible straits Vishvamitra's family was in. He freed Galava and
started to take care of Vishvamitra's wife and children.
Satyavrata had not been terribly fond of Vashishtha. He blamed the sage for his banishment.
When thee was famine everywhere, Satyavrata stole Vashishtha's cow. He killed the cow and
served the meat to Vishvamitra's sons, apart from eating it himself.
Vashishtha was in a terrible rage when he got to know about this incident. He cursed Satyavrata.
"You have committed three sins (shanku)," Vashishtha told Satyavrata. "Firstly, you have
angered your father Trayaruni. Secondly, you have stolen and killed a cow. Thirdly, you have
eaten beef, a forbidden meat. Because of these three sins, you will henceforth be known as
Trishanku and be eternally cursed." (The word tri means three.)
Satyavrata had however taken care of Vishvamitra's family when the sage was away on his
meditation. After Vishvamitra returned, he was very happy to learn about what Trishanku had
done and offered to grant him a boon. Trishanku desired the boon that he might be allowed to go
to heaven in his own physical body. Thanks to Vishvamitra's immense powers, even this
virtually impossible task was accomplished. Trishanku became king in Trayaruni's kingdom and
Vishvamitra acted as his chief priest.
Trishanku's son was Harishchandra and from Harishchandra was descended a king named Bahu.
Bahu devoted too much time to pleasurable pursuits. The upshot of this was that the defence of
the kingdom was not properly taken care of. Enemy kings seized this opportunity to attack
Bahu's kingdom. They drove Bahu out and Bahu went off to the forest with his wife Yadavi,
The enemy kings who dislodged Bahu were led by the Haihaya and Talajangha kings. They were
aided by the Shakas, Yavanas, Paradas, Kambojas and Pahlavas.
King Bahu died in the forest. His wife Yadavi desired to die on her husband's funeral pyre. But
since Yadavi was pregnant at the time, the sage Ourva persuaded her that such an act would be a
sin. He brought Yadavi to his own hermitage and began to take care of her.
Bahu had also a second wife and she had once tried to poison Yadavi. The poison (gara) had
however done Yadavi no harm and emerged when the baby was born. Since the baby was born
together with poison, he came to known as Sagara.
The sage Ourva took care of Sagara's education. He imparted to Sagara the knowledge of all the
shastras and also the usage of weapons. Amongst other things, Sagara acquired the skill of using
a divine weapon known as agneyastra.
When he grew up, Sagara attacked the Haihaya kings and defeated them through the use of
agneyastra. He then defeated the Shakas, Yavanas, Paradas, Kambojas and Pahlavas and was
about to kill them all. But these enemy kings fled to the sage Vashishtha for refuge and
Vashishtha persuaded Sagara not to kill his enemies. Instead, the heads of the Shakas were half
shaven off. The Yavanas and Kambojas had their heads completely shaven. The Pahlavas were
instructed that they would have to keep beards. These enemy kings also lost all right to follow
the religion laid down in the Vedas. Amongst the other kings who Sagara defeated were the
Konasarpas, the Mahishakas, the Darvas, the Cholas and the Keralas.
King Sagara had two wives. The first was named Keshini and she was the daughter of the king of
Vidarbha. The Brahma Purana does not tell us the name of the second wife but from the
Mahabharataa we know that it was Sumati. Keshini and Sumati had no sons. They therefore
began to pray to Ourva so that they might have sons.
Ourva was pleased at these prayers and said, " Both of you will have sons. But one of you will
have a single son and the other will have sixty thousand sons. Tell me, who wants what."
Keshini asked for a single son and Sumati asked for sixty thousand sons. In due course, Keshini
gave birth to a son named Panchajana. Sumati gave birth to a gourd. Inside the gourd there was a
lump of meat. The gourd was placed inside a pot full of clarified butter (ghrita). And from the
lump of meat were born sixty thousand sons.
King Sagara proceeded to conquer the entire earth. As a recognition of this conquest, he initiated
an ashvamedha yajna (horse sacrifice). In this ceremony, the sacrificial horse is left free to
wander all over the earth. The sixty thousand sons accompanied the horse as its guards. The
horse eventually reached the shores of the ocean that lies towards the south–east. While Sagara's
sons were resting, the horse was stolen. The sons started to look for the horse and began to dig
up the sands in their search. In this process, they came upon the sage Kapila. Kapila had been
meditating and his meditation was disturbed by the terrible din that Sagara's sons made. He
gazed at them in fury and all but four of the sons were burnt to ashes. The four sons who were
saved were named Varhiketu, Suketu, Dharmaketu and Panchajana.
The Brahma Purana is slightly confused here. Was Panchajana Keshini's son or Sumati's son?
There is some inconsistency with the account given in the Mahabharataa. In the Mahabharataa, it
is Keshini who gave birth to sixty thousand sons and it is Sumati who had a single son named
Asamanja. Also in the Mahabharataa, all sixty thousand sons were burnt to ashes.
The Brahma Purana also tells us that the sacrificial horse was obtained by Sagara from the ocean.
This is the reason why the ocean is referred to as sagara.
To come back to the account given in the Brahma Purana. Panchajana's son was Amshumana
and Amshumana's son was Dilipa. Dilipa had a son named Bhagiratha. Bhagiratha brought down
the river Ganga from heaven to earth and thus redeemed his ancestors who had been burnt to
ashes by Kapila. It was because of this that the river Ganga came to be known as Bhagirathi.
From Bhagiratha was descended Raghu. Raghu's son was Aja, Aja's son Dasharatha and
Dasharatha's son Rama.
The Moon and the Lunar Dynasty
There was a sage named Atri. Atri performed very difficult tapasya. So difficult was the tapasya
that Atri's energy was thrown up into the sky. The sky could not bear this energy and hurled it
down onto the earth. This energy then gave birth to Soma or Chandra, the moon god. Brahma
took Chandra up into his chariot and drove the chariot around the earth twenty–one times. From
whatever energy was left after Chandra has been created, the herbs were born.
Chandra also performed very difficult tapasya. One padma year consists of 10,000,000,000,000
normal years. For one hundred such padma years, Chandra mediated. After the meditation was
over, Brahma appointed Chandra lord over seeds, herbs, brahmanas and the oceans. Chandra also
performed a rajasuya yajna (royal sacrifice) as a celebration of his lordship. This gave him a lot
pomp, glory, wealth and respect.
But all this merely served to turn Chandra's head. The guru (teacher) of the gods was the sage
Brihaspati. Brihaspati had a wife named Tara and Chandra abducted Tara. Despite the gods and
the sages asking Chandra to return Tara, the moon god would not listen. A terrible war then
raged over Tara, the gods fighting for Chandra. Shukracharya, the guru of the demons, fought on
Chandra's side and Shiva fought on Brihaspati's side. This war (Samgram) came to be known as
tarakamaya samgram, since it was fought over Tara.
Finally Brahma intervened and a truce was called. But Chandra and Tara had by then had a son,
and Brihaspati refused to accept this son as his own. This son was Budha. As you already known,
Budha married Ila and they had a son named Pururava.
The Brahma Purana now describes several kings belonging to the lunar dynasty.
In the lunar dynasty, there was born a powerful king named Nahusha. He married Viraja and
they had six sons named Yati, Yajati, Samyati, Ayati, Yati, and Suyati. Yati became a hermit. So
although Yayati was not the eldest, he was crowned king after Nahusha.
Yayati had two wives. The first was Devayani, daughter of Shukracharya. And the second was
Sharmishtha, daughter of Vrishaparva, the king of the danavas. Devayani had two sons named
Yadu and Turvasu and Sharmishtha had three sons named Druhya, Anu and Puru. Yayati
conquered the whole earth and ruled over it. When he became old, he divided the earth amongst
his five sons. Yadu was given the lands to the east, Puru the lands in the center, Turvasu the
lands to the south and south–east, Druhya those to the north and Anu those to the west.
Yayati gave up his weapons and decided to travel throughout the world. He called Yadu to him
and said, "I wish to explore the world and my old age is a hindrance. Please accept my old age
and give me your youth in return."
Yadu refused. "I will not," he said. "One cannot eat well when one is old, nor can one pleasure
the comforts of the world. Old age is not pleasant. Ask one of my brothers instead." Yadu's
refusal angered Yayati. He cursed Yadu that he or his descendants would never be kings. Yayati
next requested Druhya, Turvasu and Anu, but they too refused and were similarly cursed by their
father. But Puru agreed to his father's request and gladly accepted the old age. He was blessed by
After many years had passed, Yayati got tired of the world and returned Puru's youth to him. He
accepted back his old age and retired to the forest to mediate.
From Puru was descended King Bharataa after whom the land came to be known as
Bharataavarsha. Also in this line was King Kuru, after whom all the descendants came to be
known as Kauravas. The sacred place named Kurukshetra owes its name to King Kuru.
From Turvasu were descended the kings of Pandya, Kerala, Kola and Chola. From Druhya were
descended the kings of Gandhara. The horses of the Gandhara kingdom are famous.
Yadu had five sons, Sahasrada, Payoda, Kroshtu, Nila and Anjika. Sahasrada's descendants were
the Haihayas, amongst whom the most famous was Kartyavirya Arjuna. Arjuna pleased the sage
Dattatreya and became invincible. He also had a thousand arms. Arjuna's greatest deeds were his
defeat and imprisonment of Ravana, king of Lanks. Kroshtu's descendants were Vrishni and
Andhaka and in the Vrishni line was born Krishna.
Having heard accounts of the solar and lunar dynasties, the sages requested Romaharshana. "Tell
us a little about the geography of the world. What does the earth look like? What are its limits?"
Romaharshana obligedand said–– The earth is divided into seven regions (dvipas). Their names
are Jambudvipa, Plakshadvipa, Shalmaladvipa, Kushadvipa, Krounchadvipa, Shakadvipa and
Pushkaradvipa. These regions are surrounded by seven oceans and their names are Lavana,
Ikshu, Sura, Sarpi, Dadhi, Dugdha and Jala.
Jambudvipa is in the center and right in the middle of Jambudvipa is Mount Sumeru. To the
south of Sumeru are the mountains Himavana, Hemakuta and Nishadha and to the north of
Sumeru are the mountains Nila, Shveta and Sringi. Jambudvipa itself is divided into several
regions (varshas). For example, Sumeru is in the middle of Ilavritavarsha. Braratavarsha is to the
south of Sumeru. To the east of Sumeru is Bhadrashvarsha and to the west is Ketumalavarsha.
Harivarsha lies to the south and Ramyakavarsha to the north. Still further north is
Hiranmayavarsha and beyond that, Uttara Kuruvarsha.
Brahma's city is on the peak of Sumeru. It is there that the river Ganga descends from heaven
and gets divided into four tributaries. Sita flows eastwards, Chakshu westwards, Bhadra
Northwards and Alakananda southwards into Bharataavarsha.
There are seven major mountain range sin Bharataavarsha and their names are Mahendra, Malya,
Sahya, Shuktimana, Riksha, Vindhya and Pariyatra. Bharataavarsha itself is divided into nine
regions (dvipas). The names of eight of these regions are Indradvipa, Soumya, Gandharva and
Varuna. The ninth region is completely surrounded by the ocean in all directions. To the east of
Bharataavarsha live the Kiratas and to the west the Yavanas.
Below the earth lie the seven regions of the underworld (Patala). Their names are Atala, Vitala,
Nitala, Sutala, Talatala, Rasatala and Patala. The daityas, danavas and the snakes (sarpa) live
there. The underworld is a wonderful place, more beautiful than heaven itself. The sage Narada
once went on a trip to the underworld and was bowled over by its beauty. It is full of palaces and
jewels. The sun rises there, but does not radiate too much of heat. The moon also rises, but its
beams are not at all chilly. The forests are populated by beautiful trees and the ponds are thick
with lotus flowers, the songs of cuckoo birds are heard everywhere. Below the underworld sleeps
a great snake, known as Shesha or Ananta. It has a thousand hoods, all covered with jewels. In
fact, this snake is really Vishnu in one of this various forms.
Also part of the world are hells (naraka), presided over by Yama, the god of death. Those are full
of weapons, fire and poisons and sinners are sent there to be punished. Sins that are punished by
dispatch to one of the several hells are lying, murder, killing cows, destroying cities, drinking,
killing brahmanas, theft, selling wines or hair, criticizing the Vedas, insulting elders, making
weapons, selling salt, destroying forests needlessly, killing sheep or deer, cheating and studying
under one's own son. Each sinner receives a punishment that is in proportion to the severity of
his sin. Of course, if one performs penance (prayashchitta) for one's sins, one need not go to
naraka. The best form of penance is praying to Krishna.
The earth (Prithivi or bhuloka) extends upto those arts of the sky that can be lit up by the rays of
the sun and the moon. The expanse from there to the solar circle is known as bhuvarloka and
holy sages live there. Above the solar circle is the lunar circle and beyond it, in succession, come
the regions of Mercury (Budha), Venus (Shukra), Mars (Mangala), Jupiter (Brihaspati), Saturn
(Shani), the Great Bear constellation (saptarshi) and the Pole Star (Dhruva). The region from the
solar circle to Dhruvaloka is known as heaven (Svarloka or svarga). Beyond Dhruvaloka is
Maharloka and further away, Janaloka are Tapaloka and Satyaloka. At the end of a kalpa, all the
three lokas (regions) of bhuloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka are destroyed. But the four lokas of
Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka and Satyaloka are not destroyed.
There is an ocean to the south of Bharataavarsha. One the shores of this great ocean there is a
land named Ondra or Utkala (present Orissa). Utkala is populated by religious people and the
brahmanas who live there are learned in the Vedas. They are very good priests, learned in the
Puranas and the shastras and skilled in the art of sacrifices. In the land of Utkala, there is an
image of the sun (Surya) known as Konaditya. The word aditya also means the sun, as does the
word arka. Thus, Konaditya is the same as Konarka, a corruption of the latter word being
Konaraka. The image of Konaditys is so wonderful that even if one gazes at the image, all one's
sins are forgiven.
All around the temple there is sand. But nevertheless, many trees grow around the temple. The
best time to worship the sun there is at the time of sunrise. One has to face the east and draw a
lotus flower on the ground with red sandalwood. The lotus flower must have exactly eight petals.
A copper vessel has to be placed at the center of the flower and filled with paddy, sesamum
water, red sandalwood, red flowers and sacred grass. One prays to Surya to descend on the lotus
flower that has thus been drawn. If one worships Konaditya according to these prescribed rites,
the sins of seven preceding generations are forgiven.
The twelve adityas are nothing but different forms of Surya. Their names are Indra. Dhata,
Parjanya, Tvashta, Pusha Aryama, Bhaga Vivasvana, Vishnu, Amshumana, Varuna, and Mitra.
As Indra, Surya destroys the enemies of the gods. As Dhata, he creates living beings. As
Parjanya, he showers down rain. As Tvashta, he lives in the trees and herbs. As Pusha, he makes
foodgrains grow. As Aryama, he is in the wind. As Bhaga, he is in the body of all living beings.
As Vivasvana, he is in fire and helps to cook food. As Vishnu, he destroys the enemies of the
gods. As Amshumana, he is again in the wind. As Varuna, Surya is in the waters and as Mitra, he
is in the moon and in the oceans.
In each month of the year, it is a different aditya who shines. Indra shines in the month of
Ashvina, Dhata in Kartika, Parjanya in Shravana, Tvashta in Falguna, Pusha in Pousha, Aryama
in Vaishakha, Bhaga in Magha, Vivasvana in Jyaishtha, Vishnu in Chaitra, Amshumana in
Ashada, Varuna, in Bhadra and Mitra in Agrahayana. Vishnu has twelve hundred rays, Aryama
one thousand and three hundred. Vivasvana seventy–two, Amshumana fifteen, Parjanya seventy–
two, Varuna one thousand and three hundred, Tvashta one thousand and one hundred, Indra two
thousand and two hundred, Dhata eleven hundred, Mitra one thousand and Pusha nine hundred.
Apart from the names of the twelve adityas, Surya has twelve other names as well. These are
Aditya, Savita, Surya, Mihira, Arka, Prabhakara, Martanda, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Chitrabhanu,
Divakara and Ravi.
Brahma once recounted to the sages the one hundred and eight sacred names of Surya. The
Brahma Purana lists these names and we reproduce them in nine groups of twelve names each.
(1) Surya, Archana, Bhagavana, Tvashta, Pusha, Arka, Savita, Ravi, Gabhastimana, Aja, Kala,
(2) Dhata, Prabhakara, Prithivi, Jala, Teja, Akasha, Vayu, Parayana, Soma, Brihaspati, Shukra,
(3) Angaraka, Indra, Vivasvana, Diptamshu, Shuchi, Shouri, Shanaishvara, Brahma, Vishnu,
Rudra, Skanda, Vaishravana.
(4) Yama, Vaidyutam, Jathara, Agni, Aindhana, Tejohpati, Dharmadhvaja, Vedakarta, Vedanga,
Vedavahana, Krita, Treta.
(5) Dvapara, Kali, Sarvasurashraya, Kala, Kashtha, Muhurta, Kshapa, Yama, Kshana,
Samvatsara, Ashvattha, Kalachakra.
(6) Vibhavasu, Shashvata, Purusha, Yogi, Vyaktavyakta, Sanatana, Kaladhyaksha,
Prajadhyaksha, Vishvakarama, Tamonuda, Varuna, Sagara.
(7) Amsha, Jimuta, Jivana, Ariha, Bhutashraya, Bhutapati, Sarvalokanamaskrita, Shrashta,
Samvartaka, Vahni, Sarvadi, Alolupa.
(8) Ananta, Kapila, Bhanu, Kamada, Sarvotamukha, Jaya, Vishala, Varada, Sarvabhutasevita,
Mana, Suparna, Bhutadi.
(9) Shighraga, Pranadharana, Dhanvantari, Dhumakety, Adideva, Aditinandana, Dvadashatma,
Ravi, Daksha, Pita, Mata, Pitamaha.
Indradyumna and Purushaottama Kshetra
In Satya Yuga there was a king named Indradyumna. He was a very powerful king as Indra
himself. He was handsome, honest and truthful, learned in the shastras and the Vedas, and skilled
in the use of weapons. His radiance put the sun to shame. Indradyumna was devoted to Vishnu.
He once decided that he would worship Vishnu. A tirtha is a sacred place of pilgrimage.
Indradyumna scanned all the existing tirthas and cities. But none of them satisfied him. None of
them, he felt, was appropriate as a place for worshipping Vishnu.
Indradyumna's own capital was the city of Avanti, in the kingdom of Malva. Avanti was a
beautiful and wealthy city, surrounded on all sides by moats and other fortifications. Traders
from many countries came there with all sorts or commodities for trading. The roads of the city
were lined with shopes. The houses were painted white. The king's stables were full of horses
and elephants. All citizens of Avanti were pleasant of appearance and happy. Sacrifices were
held fairly often. Many were the temples, groves and ponds in Avanti. Any tree that grew on
earth could be found there.
There was a temple to Shiva in the city. This was known as the temple of Mahakala. The image
there was so sacred that worshipping Shiva in the temple of Mahakala was tantamount to
performing one thousand ashvamedha yajnas.
The river Shipra flowed past Avanti. On the banks of the river there was a temple of Vishnu
known as Govindasvami. Another temple to Vishnu was named Vikramasvami. But
Indradyumna was not satisfied with these temples. He wanted to build another temple to Vishnu.
He left Avanti to look for a proper place. His soldiers and subjects accompanied their king, so
that it looked as if the entire city of Avanti was on the march. After traveling for many days, they
arrived on the shores of the southern ocean, the ocean that is known as lavana samudra.
There were so many waves in the ocean that the ocean itself seemed to be dancing. Marine
animals lived in the ocean and the waters were also the source of all sorts of jewels.
Indradyumna began to live on the shores of the ocean. He discovered a place near the ocean that
was thick with flower and fruit trees. Many types of birds gathered there to eat the fruit. This was
the place known as Purushaottama kshetra (place), the city of Puri of modern times.
Purshottama kshetra was a very important tirtha. But all knowledge of this tirtha had been hidden
until Indradyumna arrived on the scene. There was a reason for this. Many years ago, there used
to be an image of Vishnu there, where people used to pray. So sacred was the image that all the
sins of the worshippers were immediately forgiven. The result was that Yama could not punish
any of the sinners. They simply prayed to Vishnu's image and escaped. Yama therefore prayed to
Vishnu for a solution. Vishnu hid the image under the sand so that no one knew that it existed.
Indradyumna liked Purushaottama Kshetra. The river Mahanadi or Chitropala flowed not very
far away. The people who lived around the place were religious. He decided that this was the
right place for building a temple to Vishnu. On an auspicious day, the foundation stone was laid.
Indradyumna then got in touch with the kings of Kalkinga, Utakala and Koshala. He requested
their help in fetching stones for the building of the temple. The kings sent their architects to the
Vindhya mountains. The stones were gathered from these mountains and brought to
Purushaottama Kshetra in boats and chariots. Messengers were also sent to several other kings
for aid. They came with their armies and with a lot of wealth.
Indradyumna told the assembled kings, "I wish to accomplish two difficult tasks. The first is to
perform an ashvamedha yajna here. And the second is to build a temple to Vishnu. Both of these
are difficult jobs, particularly the second. But if you help me, I am confident that both jobs can
The kings agreed to help. They offered jewels, wealth, gold, clothes, food grains and other
objects. The place where the yajna was to be held was made entirely out of gold. In fact, all the
objects used in the yajna were made out of gold. Brahmanas from all over Jambudvipa came to
witness the sacrifice. They were donated elephants, horses and cows as alms. Never has there
been any other sacrifice to rival the one that Indradyumna performed. After the sacrifice was
over and the temple built, there remained the more important question of the image. How was
this to be made? Indradyumna began to pray to Vishnu for guidance.
Vishnu appeared before Indradyumna in a dream and said, "Why are you so miserable? When
the sun rises, go to the shores of the ocean. There you will find a tree. Half of the tree is in the
water and the remaining half in the sand. Chop down this tree. It s wood will give you the
material for the image.
In the morning, Indradyumna went to the seashore and found the tree. It was just as Vishnu had
described it to be. With an axe, he chopped down the tree. As he was about to slice the trunk in
two, two brahmanas appeared before him. Although Indradyumna did not know it, these two
brahmanas were Vishnu and Vishvakarma in disguise.
"King. What have you done?" exclaimed the brahmanas. "You have cut down the only tree that
was on the shores of the ocean."
"Forgive me," replied Indradyumna. "I wished to make an image of Vishnu. Vishnu has
instructed me in a dream that this is the tree from which the image should be made."
"That is an excellent idea," said the brahmana who was Vishnu in disguise. "There is nothing so
holy as praying to Vishnu. Meet my companion. He is as skilled as the great Vishvakarma
himself. If you want, he will build the image for you."
King Indradyumna agreed. And instructed by Vishnu, Vishvakarma started to build the image.
Or, to be more accurate, there were three different images. The first one was that of Baladeva or
Balarama. This was completely white in colour, except for the eyes, which were red. The image
was dressed in blue and a snake held its hood over Balarama's head. A club and a mace were in
Balarama's hands. The second image was Krishna's. This was blue in colour, with eyes like lotus
flowers. The image was dressed in yellow and had a chakra in its hand. The third image was that
of Krishna's sister Subhadra. This image was golden in colour and was dressed in wonderful
When Indradyumna discovered that the images were made in a matter of minutes, he was
thunderstruck. He realised that the two brahmanas cold not be mere mortals. He fell at their feet
and said, "Please tell me who you are. You cannot be humans."
Vishnu and Vishvakarma then revealed their true selves and Indradyumna was thrilled. Vishnu
blessed the king and told him that he would rule for ten thousand and nine hundred years. And
even after Indradyumna died, a place would be reserved for him in heaven. On an auspicious
day, the three images were instated in the temple.
Many years ago, a great destruction (Pralaya) took place. The earth was shrouded in darkness
and nothing could be seen. There was neither sun nor moon. Lightning and thunder crushed
mountains and trees. There were showers of meteors. Lakes and rivers dried up. The entire earth
burnt with fire and the flames of the fire reached down to the underworld. All living beings
perished in this fire, including the gods and the demons.
There was a sage named Markandeya. While all this was going on, Markandeya was busy
meditating. Such was the power of Markandeya's tapasya that the fire dared not touch him. But it
is also true that Markandeya was scared of the fire that raged all around him. He suffered from
hunger and thirst and forgot all about his tapasya. His lips and throat dried up from fear.
Markandeya discovered that there was a banyan tree that was untouched by all these ravages. He
retired to the shade of the banyan tree and started to pray to Vishnu.
Clouds gathered in the sky. They were thick and dark clouds and they spread all over the earth. It
started to rain and it poured and poured. Water was everywhere and the earth was flooded. The
water put out the fire. It rained continuously for twelve years. The oceans flooded the shores and
the mountains were pulverised. Vishnu slept on the water.
Markandeya did not know what to do. There was water everywhere and he floated on it. But he
continued to pray to Vishnu.
Vishnu spoke to Markandeya. "Do not be frightened, Markandeya," he said. "You are devoted to
me and I shall protect you."
Markandeya did not realise that it was Vishnu who was speaking. "Who dares to address me
thus?" he demanded. "Am I a child that I should be so addressed? I am the great Markandeya,
blessed by Brahma himself."
But try as he might, Markandeya cold not see anyone anywhere. Where had the voice come from
then? Had it all been an illusion? Not knowing what to do, he started to pray again to Vishnu.
Suddenly he saw the banyan tree floating on the water. A golden bed was spread on the branches
of the tree and on the bed there slept a small boy. Markandeya was exceedingly surprised to see
the small boy floating in the middle of this deluge. He was so confused by his illusions that he
did not realise that this boy was none other than Vishnu.
The boy spoke to Markandeya. "You are tired," said the boy. "You are looking for a refuge.
Enter my body and rest for some time."
Markandeya was so confused that, before he could react, he entered the boy's body through the
mouth. Inside the boy's stomach Markandeya discovered all the worlds, the seven regions and
the seven oceans. The mountains and the kingdoms were all there. So were all living beings.
Markandeya did not know what to make of all this. He started to pray to Vishnu. No sooner than
he had started, he came out of the boy's mouth. Vishnu now appeared before him and blessed
him. The sage spent a thousand years with Vishnu. Vishnu then asked, "I wish to grant you a
boon. What is your desire?"
"I want to build a temple to Shiva in Purushaottama Kshetra," replied Markandeya. "This will
prove to everyone that Vishnu and Shiva are really one and the same."
Vishnu granted the boon and Markandeya built a temple to Shiva known as Bhuvaneshvara
(Lord of the World).
In Satya Yuga there used to be a king named Shveta. He was such a good king that during his
reign people lived for ten thousand years. No one dies as a child. Longevity was high and there
was no infant mortality.
But there was a sage named Kapalagoutama. Unfortunately, the sage's son died as an infant. The
sage brought the dead body to Shveta and the king resolved that if he could not bring the sage's
son back to life within a week, he would immolate himself in a fire. Having thus taken an oath,
king Shveta worshipped Shiva with one thousand and one hundred blue lotus flowers. Shiva
appeared before the king and granted the boon that the infant son might be brought back to life.
King Shveta ruled for a thousand years. He also built a temple to Vishnu in Purushaottama
kshetra. The temple that had been built by Indradyumna was known as the temple of Jagannatha.
Shveta's temple was not very far from this and was known as the temple of Shvetamadhava. The
image in this temple was as white as the moon.
There was a king of the daityas named Bali. He was powerful and invincible. He was also
righteous and truthful. The gods cold not bear to see Bali's prosperity and began to plot how Bali
might be foiled. So well did Bali rule that disease, drought and evil disappeared throughout the
In desperation, the gods approached Vishnu. "Please do something about Bali", they requested.
"You always help us out when we are in trouble".
"There is no difference between Bali and the gods so far as I am concerned," replied Vishnu
"Bali is devoted to me. I cannot therefore fight with him. But I will think of a way so that his
kingdom might be taken away from him and given to you."
Vishnu decided to be born as Aditi's son. The son was a dwarf. This was the Vamana avatara
(dwarf incarnation) of Vishnu.
Bali proposed to organise a horse sacrifice. Many sages came to the sacrifice and Shukracharya
was the chief priest. The dwarf also arrived to witness the yajna.
Shukracharya realised that the dwarf was none other than Vishnu. He told Bali, "I suspect that
this dwarf is Vishnu in disguise. He must have come here to ask you for something. Please do
not grant him anything without first consulting me."
"Certainly not," replied Bali. "It is good fortune indeed that the great Vishnu has come to my
house. What is there to consult about? I shall grant Vishnu whatever he wants."
Bali went to the dwarf to ascertain what the dwarf wanted. Vishnu expressed the wish that he
might be given as much of land as might be covered in three of the dwarf's steps. This boon Bali
readily granted. But no sooner than the boon had been granted, the dwarf adopted a gigantic
form. He placed one foot on Bali's yajna and the second on Brahmaloka.
"Where will I place my third step?" demanded Vishnu. There is no more space left in the entire
universe. Find me a place for my third step."
Bali smiled and said, "Place it on my back."
Vishnu was charmed at Bali's generosity. He granted Bali the boon that Bali would hold the title
of Indra in a future manvantara. He then appointed Bali king of the underworld. But Indra's
kingdom of heaven, which Bali had conquered, was returned to Indra.
Brahma had all this while been in Brahmaloka. When Vishnu placed his second foot on
Brahmaloka, Brahma felt that he should welcome his water–pot (kamandalu) to wash the foot.
The water spilled over from the foot and fell on the mountains. There the water divided into four.
Vishnu accepted the flow that went northwards. The flow that went westwards returned to
Brahma's kamandalu. The flow that went eastwards was gathered up by the gods and the sages.
But the flow that went southwards got entangled in Shiva's matted hair. This water was the river
Part of the water of the Ganga that got stuck in Shiva's hair was brought down to earth by
Bhagiratha. The remaining part was brought down by the sage Goutama.
Parvati was married to Shiva, but Shiva seemed to be fonder of Ganga than of Parvati. Parvati
resolved that a way had to be found to remove Ganga from Shiva's hair. She tried persuasion, but
Shiva refused to listen.
At this time, there was a terrible drought on earth which went on for fourteen years. The only
place that was not affected by the drought was the sage Gouthama's hermitage. Other people also
gathered in the hermitage to save themselves from the drought and Goutama welcomed them all.
Ganesha thought that he might be able to devise a way to free his mother of the Ganga problem.
He went and began to live in Gouthama's hermitage.
Ganesha cultivated the acquaintance of the other sages and become quite friendly with them.
One of Parvati's companions was Jaya. Ganesha told Jaya that she was to adopt the form of a
cow and eat up the grain in Goutama's fields. And the moment she was struck, she was to lie
down on the ground and pretend to be dead.
Goutama noticed that a cow was eating up his grain. He tried to drive away the cow by striking it
with a blade of grass. As soon as he did this, the cow uttered a Srill bellow and fell down on the
ground. Ganesha and the other sages came running to see what had happened. They discovered
that, to all intents and purposes, a cow had been struck down dead by sage Goutama. They
therefore refused to stay in an ashrama where such a sin had been committed.
Goutama tried to restrain them. "Please do not go away and forsake me," he said. "Tell me how I
may performed penance."
"You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva's hair," replied Ganesh. "When that water
touches the dead body of the cow, your sin will be forgiven."
"You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva's hair," replied Ganesha. "When that water
touches the dead body of the cow, your sin will be forgiven."
Ganesha was so friendly with the other sages that they all accepted his solution. Goutama also
agreed to do the needful. Accordingly, Goutama went to Mount Kailasa and began to pray to
Shiva. Shiva was pleased at Goutama's tapasya and offered to grant a boon. Goutama naturally
wanted the boon that Ganga might be brought down to earth. Shiva agreed. It was thus that
Ganga was brought down to earth by the sage Goutama. Ganga has four tributaries in heaven,
seven on earth and four in the underworld. Since it was Goutama who brought Ganga down to
earth, the river is also known as Goutami Ganga.
In a mountain known as Brahmagiri there used to live a hunter who was very cruel. He not only
killed birds and animals, but brahmanas and sages as well.
The hunter once went on a hunt. He killed many animals and birds and some he put in his cages.
He had penetrated so far inside the forest that he was far from home. It became night and also
started to rain. Hungry and thirsty, the hunter lost his way. He climbed up a tree and decided to
spend the night there. But his mind kept going back to his wife and children at home.
For many years a dove and its family had lived happily on that tree. Both the male and female
had gone out to look for food. But although the make dove had returned to the nest, the female
dove had not. In fact, the female had been captured by the hunter and was now inside a cage. The
male did not know this. He mourned for his wife.
These words of mourning were heard by the female dove inside the cage and she made her
presence felt. The male dove came down and discovered his wife inside the cage. "The hunter is
sleeping now, " he said. "Now is the time for me to free you."
"No," replied the female dove. "You know how it is with living beings. One living being lives on
another. I can find not fault with the hunter, he is merely collecting his food. He is like a guest to
us. And it is our duty to offer up our bodies for the sake of a guest."
"You are quite right," said the male dove. "I lost my sense of propriety. We have to serve our
guest. But how do we serve our guest? We have nothing that we can call our own."
"At the moment the hunter is suffering most from the cold," replied the female dove. "We have
to light a fire to warm him up. Go and find a fire and bring plenty of dead leaves and branches so
that the fire may burn."
The male dove found a flaming branch. He also brought many dry leaves and branches so that
the fire could burn. The rain had stopped and the fire warmed up the hunter.
"Now," said the female dove, "free me so that I may immolate myself in the fire. My roasted
flesh will serve as food for the hunter."
"Never," replied the male dove. "It is my right to serve the guest first".
Saying this, the male dove hurled himself into the fire. The hunter had heard the entire
conversation and marveled that two doves could be so altruistic. The female dove now requested
the hunter to free her from the cage. And as soon as he did this, the female dove also hurled
herself into the fire.
This selfless deed of the two doves was so wonderful that a space vehicle (Vimana) came down
to take the two doves straight to heaven. The cruel hunter was also impressed and repented his
past misdeeds. He told the doves, "You are indeed blessed. Before you go to heaven, please tell
me how I may perform penance for my sins."
"Go to Goutami Ganga and bathe there for fifteen days," replied the doves. "Your sins will also
The hunter did as he had been asked to. The place where the doves immolated themselves
became a holy tirtha known as kapotatirtha, since the word kapota means dove.
Garuda and Maninaga
You have already been told about the great snake (naga) Ananta. Ananta had a son named
Maninaga. Garuda was the enemy of the snakes and the snakes were all afraid of Garuda.
Maninaga began to pray to Shiva. Having pleased Shiva, he obtained the boon that Garuda
would be able to do him no harm. Armed with this boon, Maninaga started to wander around
freely and did not run away even when faced with Garuda. Garuda found this to be exceedingly
strange. Although he could not kill Maninaga, he captured him and kept him imprisoned in his
Shiva had a companion named Nandi. Nandi told Shiva, "Lord, what has happened to Maninaga?
We have not seen him for some time. I hope that Garuda has not done him some harm."
Shiva of curse knew what had happened. He advised Nandi to pray to Vishnu. Nandi was to
please Vishnu and then ask for the boon that Maninaga might be freed from Garuda's
imprisonment. Nandi did this and Vishnu asked Garuda to release Maninaga.
"Lord," Garuda told Vishnu, "this is very unfair. Other masters treat their servants really well.
They give their servants gifts. See how Shiva has sent Nandi himself to rescue Shiva's devotee
Maninaga. You never give me any gifts. Moreover, when I obtain something on my own, you
ask me to relinquish it. Is this proper on your part? It is on me that you ride when you go out to
fight the demons. They get defeated because of my prowess. And yet it tickles your ego no end
to think that you have defeated them yourself."
Vishnu smiled and replied, "Garuda, you are quite right. You have become thin and learn from
bearing my weight. It is quite true that I can defeat the demons only because of your prowess.
You have a lot of strength. Why don't you bear the weight of my little finger and demonstrate
Vishnu placed his little finger on Garuda's head. So heavy was the finger that Garuda was
crushed against the ground.
"Please forgive me, said" Garuda. "I have been very stupid. I am an ignorant ass and you are the
lord of everything. I have been completely flattened by the weight of your little finger. Please tell
me how I may regain my old self."
Vishnu asked Nandi to take Garuda to Shiva. Shiva would find a way of restoring Garuda's old
appearance. Maninaga was released and Nandi took Garuda to Shiva. Shiva asked Garuda to
bathe in Goutami Ganga. This would make his appearance normal again.
Garuda did this. Not only was his old appearance restored, he became stronger and swifter than
he used to be. The place where Garuda bathed is a tirtha known as Garudatirtha.
Vishvamitra and Indra
Many years ago, there was a terrible drought. There was no food to be had. The sage
Vishvamitra had come to the banks of the river Goutami Ganga with his disciples. Vishvamitra's
wife, children and disciples were all hungry. The sage therefore sent his disciples out to look for
food. They searched everywhere, but could find no food. The only object that they could find
was the body of a dead dog. They brought this to Vishvamitra.
"We have no choice," Vishvamitra told his disciples. "Clean the meat carefully with water. Then
offer it to the gods, the sages and the ancestors. This is what we have to live on."
Offering the meat of a dog to the gods was unheard of. Indra adopted the form of a hawk and
stole the vessel in which the meat was kept. But Vishvamitra got to know about this and got
ready to curse Indra. Indra was naturally scared of Vishvamitra's curse. He changed the dog–meat
into amrita (a heavenly drink) and brought the vessel back.
"I don't want amrita," Vishvamitra told Indra. "Bring the dog–meat back. I don't want to have
amrita when the whole world is starving for food. There is no food available and I do not see any
sin in eating dog–meat. Nor should there be a sin in offering it to the gods."
Indra was the god of rains. He realised that the only way to persuade Vishvamitra against eating
the dog–meat was to make it rain so that there would be an end to the drought. Instructed by
Indra, the clouds poured down rain. Vishvamitra and his disciples now consented to partake of
The place where all this happened has come to be known as Vishvamitratirtha.
There used to be a brahmana named Shveta. He was a friend of the sage Goutama and had a
hermitage on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. Shveta was also devoted to Shiva. In due course,
Shiveta died and Yama's messengers arrived to take Shveta to Yama. But they could not even
enter Shiveta's house.
Finding that Yama's messengers ere not returning, Yama's companion Chitraka told Yama,
"What do you think has happened? Why aren't the messengers returning?
Yama now sent his companion Mrityu (literally death) to find out what was going on. Mrityu
went to Shveta's house and found Yama's messengers standing outside the house. They explained
that they were unable to enter the house because Shiva himself was guarding Shveta's body. One
of Shiva's companions asked Mrityu. "What are you doing here? What do you want?"
"I have come to take Shveta to Yama," replied Mrityu. "His time on earth is up."
Mrityu flung a noose to grasp Shveta's body. But Shiva's companion struck Mrityu with a rod
and killed him. When the news of this was taken to Yama, he was furious. With all his
companions he attacked Shveta's house. Nandi, Ganesha, Kartikeya and several of Shiva's
companions came to fight on Shiva's side, and a battle royal raged. All the gods arrived to
mediate and end the strife. Things had a got a bit out of hand and Yama himself had been killed
The problem seemed to defy solution. Yama was, after all, performing his duty. But Shiva
insisted that his devotees would never be taken to Yama, but would instead go straight to heaven.
Shiva's condition was finally agreed to. Nandi brought water from the Goutami Ganga and
sprinkled it on Yama and the others who had died in the fighting. They were all immediately
brought back to life.
Kubera was the eldest son of the sage Vishrava. Vishrava had two wives. The fist wife give birth
to Kubera. The second wife was a rakshasa (demon) woman and gave birth to Ravana,
Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana. Kubera used to rule in Lanka and his relations with his cousins
were extremely good. But Ravana's mother did not like idea of her sons mixing so much with
She called her sons and said, "What are you up to? Why do you cause me so much of pain? You
are demons and Kubera is a god. Is it proper that you should be so friendly with him? The
relation between gods and demons is one of enmity. Consider Kubera's pomp and glory. Have
you got anything like that to show for yourselves? Do something so as to improve your own
statures." Thus instructed by their mother, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana went off to the
forest to perform tapasya. They pleased Brahma with their prayers and desired the boon that they
might win over the kingdom of Lanka. Ravana also obtained the boon that he would become
Thus fortified with the boons, the demons attacked Kubera and defeated him. They drove Kubera
out of Lanka. Kubera possessed a beautiful Vimana named pushpaka. This was also appropriated
by Ravana. Ravana also made it known that whoever gave Kubera refuge would be killed by
him. This meant that no one dared give refuge to Kubera.
Kubera sought the advice of his grandfather Pulastya. Pulastya told him to go to the banks of the
Goutami Ganga and pray to Shiva there. Shiva appeared before Kubera and blessed him with the
boon that Kubera would become the god of all wealth.
In the Ikshvaku dynasty there ruled a king named Harishchandra. Harishchandra had no son. One
day two sages named Narada and Parvata came to visit Harishchandra and told him that he
would go to hell if he did not have a son.
"How can I obtain a son?" asked Harishchandra.
"Go to the banks of the Goutami Ganga," advised the sages. "Pray to the god Varuna there. We
are sure that Varuna will grant you a son."
Harishchandra pleased Varuna with his prayers and asked for a son.
"You will have a son," said Varuna. "But there is a condition attached. You will have to
subsequently organise a yajna in my honor and you will have to sacrifice your son at this yajna.
Tell me if this condition is acceptable to you."
"Yes indeed," replied Harishchandra.
In due course, Harishchandra had a son who was named Rohita.
Varuna came to Harishchandra and asked, "What about the yajna in my honor?"
"My son is still too young," replied Harishchandra. "Let him at least attain ten days of age. Till
then, the baby is in any case impure and is not fit to be sacrificed."
After ten days Varuna came again and asked, "What about the yajna in my honor?
"Please let him grow his teeth," replied Harishchandra. "Animals are sacrificed at yajnas. And no
one becomes an animal until he actually has teeth."
Varuna waited till the teeth grew and returned when Rohita was seven years of age. "What about
the yajna in my honor?" he asked.
"These are only milk teeth," replied Harishchandra. "These do not characterise an animal. Please
wait until his proper teeth have grown."
Varuna returned when the proper teeth grew and asked, "What about the yajna in my honor?"
"He is the son of kshatriya (the second of the four classes, a warrior class)," replied
Harishchandra. "But his training in the art of fighting has not even begun. He cannot be called a
kshatriya until he knows how to fight. Till that day he is an incomplete man. Do you really want
such an incomplete man as a sacrifice?"
After some years had passed, Rohita became skilled in the art of fighting and was appointed the
heir–apparent (yuvaraja) to the kingdom. He was then sixteen years of age.
Varuna appeared again and asked, "What about the yajna in my honor?"
This time the entire conversation took place in front of the prince and Rohita intervened before
Harishchandra could say anything. "Father," he said, "I have already resolved to perform a yajna
in Vishnu's honor. Grant me the permission to complete that first. After that, do what you will."
Rohita went off to the forest. Meanwhile, Varuna had had enough and he afflicted Harishchandra
with a painful stomach ailment. News of his father's illness was taken to Rohita in the forest. In
the forest, Rohita met a sage named Ajigarta. The sage was very poor and, together with his wife
and three sons, was starving.
"Will you sell one of your three sons to me?" asked Rohita. "The boy is needed for a sacrifice."
"I shall not sell my eldest son," said the sage. "My wife will not permit the youngest one to be
sold. You can have the one in the middle. His name is Shunahshepa. The price will be one
thousand cows, one thousand golden coins, one thousand pieces of clothing and a lot of wealth."
Rohita paid the price and brought Shunahshepa home to Harishchandra.
"We can't do this," said Harishchandra. "It is the duty of kings to protect the brahmanas. How
can we sacrifice the son of a brahmana? It is better to die instead. Go and return Shunahshepa to
Just then a divine voice was heard from heaven. The voice said, "There is no need for anyone to
die. Take Shunahshepa to the banks of the Goutami Ganga and perform the yajna to Varuna
there. Goutami Ganga is such a sacred river that no human sacrifices are needed if a yajna is
This is what Harishchandra did not Varuna was satisfied. As for Shunahshepa, he was adopted
by the sage Vishvamitra as a son.
The sage Goutama had a son named Vriddhagoutama. Vriddhagoutama was also a sage. But he
was very ugly. Besides, he had no nose; had never had one since he had been born. He was so
ashamed of this deformity that he could not bear to join the other children of the sages in
studying the Vedas and Shastras under a teacher. But Vriddhagoutama knew some incantations
(mantras) which he always chanted. He also worshipped the god Agni.
When he grew a bit older, Vriddhagoutama went out to tour the world. He traveled to many
places and met many people. Since he was deformed, he never got married. Who would want to
marry a person so ugly as he?
In the course of his travels, Vriddhagoutama arrived at a mountain named Shitagiri. He
discovered a beautiful cave in the mountain and thought that this might be a good place to live
in. So he entered the cave and was very surprised to find an old woman inside. The old woman
had obviously been living inside the cave for many years. Her body was thin and wasted from
the rigours of severe tapasya.
Vriddhagoutama was about to touch the feet of such a venerable old woman, but the woman
restrained him. "Please don't touch my feet," said the woman. "You are my guru. Does a guru
ever bow before his disciple?"
Vriddagoutama was surprised at these words. This was the first time in his life that he had met
the old woman. "How can I be your guru?", he asked. "You are much older than me. Besides, I
have never learnt anything and you are clearly a respected ascetic. Your words are a complete
mystery to me."
"Let me tell you my story," said the old woman. "Otherwise, you will not understand."
There used to be a handsome and brave prince named Ritadhvaja. He was the son of King
Arshtishena. Ritadhvaja went on a hunt to the forest and arrived at that very cave. There he
happened to meet an apsara named Sushyama. The two fell in love with each other and got
married. But eventually, Ritadhvaja had to return home and Sushyama gave birth to a daughter
there. Sushyama left her daughter in the cave itself with the instruction that she was not to leave
the cave. The first man to enter the cave would become her husband. It was this daughter who
had now become the old woman. Ritadhvaja had reigned for eighty thousand years. After that,
ritadhvaja's son had reigned for ten thousand years. All this while, Sushyama's daughter had
lived in the cave, that is, for ninety thousand years all together.
"Now you see that you are to be my husband," said the old woman. "Is a husband not a guru?"
"What you say is quite impossible," replied Vriddhagoutama. "You are much older than me. I am
only a thousand years old and you more than ninety thousand. How can we marry? I am like a
child next to you."
"If you do not marry me, I will kill myself," said the old woman.
"But I am ugly," protested Vriddhagoutama. "I will promise you this much. If I every become
handsome and learned, I will indeed marry you."
"I have pleased the goddess Sarasvati, who presides over all learning, through my tapasya," said
the old woman. "She will make you learned. I have also pleased the god Varuna and he will
make you handsome."
Vriddhagoutama became handsome and learned and married the old woman. They lived happily
in the cave.
One day, various sages came to visit the couple. Amongst them there were sages like Vashishtha
and Vamadeva. But there were also young sages who ere not all that sensible. The younger sages
started to laugh at the sight of the young and handsome Vriddhagoutama and his aged wife.
"Who is this man?" they asked the old woman. "Is he your son or your grandson?"
The sages went away, but the couple felt ashamed. They asked the sage Agastya what they might
do. Agastya told them to go and bathe in the river Goutami Ganga. The river is so sacred that all
one's heart's desires are thereby granted. The couple did this and prayed to Vishnu and Shiva.
Wonder of wonders, the old woman became young and pretty. The place on the banks of the
river where these wonderful things happened is a tirtha named Vriddhasangama.
Many years ago, there used to be a sage named Dadhici. His wife was Lopamudra. Dadhichi's
hermitage was right next to the holy river Ganga. Lopamudra's sister Gabhastini also used to live
in the hermitage. Such was the sage Dadhichi's powers that daityas and danavas dared not set
foot inside the hermitage.
The gods once fought with the demons and managed to defeat them. After the war was over, they
came to pay their respects to Dadhichi. Dadhichi welcomed his guests and wanted to know how
they were faring.
"Thanks to your blessings, we are fine," replied the gods. "We have just defeated the demons in a
war. In fact, we have a slight problem. We no longer need our weapons now that the demons
have run away. We don't know of a safe place where we can store all these weapons. We were
wondering if we might keep the weapons in your ashrama. This is one of the safest places that
can be found."
Dadhichi consented to this proposal. The gods left their weapons in the hermitage and went back
When Lopamudra heard what Dadhichi had done, she was not at all pleased. "You have done
something that is mot improper," she told her husband. "one should never accept responsibility
for someone else's property, especially if one is an ascetic and has not material possessions of
one's own. Moreover, you have agreed to store the weapons of the gods. Dose this not mean that
those who are the god's enemies will look upon you too as an enemy? And what are you going to
do if something should happen to the weapons? Will the gods not blame you then?"
"Your points are well taken," said Dadhichi. "But I had not thought of them and I have given the
gods my word. I can't very well go back on my word now."
A hundred years passed. The gods did not return to collect their weapons. The weapons began to
lose their luster, Dadhichi did not know how the energy of the weapons might be preserved. He
washed them with holy water and the energy of the weapons got dissolve in the water. Dadhichi
then drank up the water. As for the weapons themselves, they faded away once their energy was
Finally the gods came to claim their weapons. "Can we have our weapons back? They asked.
"Our enemies have become powerful again. We need our weapons."
"That may be," said Dadhichi. "But the weapons are no longer there. I have swallowed up their
energy. Let me tell you what can be done. I will use the powers of meditation (yoga) to give up
my life. Then excellent weapons can be made out of my bones.
The gods were reluctant, but thee was no other solution. Dadhichi died and the gods requested
Vishvakarma to make weapons for them out of Dadhichi's bones. Vishvakarma complied and the
weapon name vajra that he made was truly remarkable.
Lopamudra was away when this incident took place. She returned and found that her husband
had died. She was afflicted with sorrow and wished to immolate herself in a fire. But she
happened to be pregnant at the time, so that this could not immediately be done. Once the baby
was born, she killed herself after having handed over the baby to a pippala (fig) tree for rearing.
Since the pippala tree brought up the boy, he came to be known as Pippalada. Chandra was the
lord over all trees. The trees asked Chandra for some amrita for Pippalada and Chandra obliged.
The amrita gave Pippalada a lot of strength.
When Pippalada grew up, he wanted to know who his parents were and the trees told him the
story. Pippalada blamed the gods for his parents death and decided to seek revenge. The trees
brought Pippalada to Chandra.
"You are still too young," said Chandra. "First you must become learned and well–versed in the
use of weapons. Go to the forest of dandakaranya. The river Goutami Ganga flows through that
forest. Pray to Shiva there and I am sure that your wishes will be fulfilled."
Pippalada pleased Shiva through his prayers.
"What boon do you desire?" asked Shiva.
I want the boon that I may be able to destroy the gods," replied Pippalada.
"I have a third eye in the middle of my forehead," said Shiva. "The day you can see my third eye,
your wish will be granted."
"I have a third eye in the middle of my forehead," said Shiva. "the day you can see my third eye,
your wish will be granted."
Try as he might, Pippalada could not see Shiva's third eye. Pippalada therefore performed even
more difficult tapasya for even more years. Eventually he managed to see Shiva's third eye. From
Shiva's third eye was born a demon that looked like a mare.
"What is your desire?" asked the demon of Pippalada.
"Kill my enemies, the gods," was the reply.
The demon immediately attacked Pippalada.
"What are you doing?" asked Pippalada. "Why are you trying to kill me? I asked you to kill the
"But your body has bee created by the gods," replied the demon. "I will therefore kill you also."
Pippalada ran to Shiva for deliverance. Shiva earmarked a region inside the forest for Pippalada.
There the demon was not permitted to enter. Pippalada lived there, protected from the ravages of
the demon. Meanwhile, the gods requested Shiva to save them as well. Shiva persuaded
Pippalada to control his anger. He convinced Pippalada that nothing was to be gained by killing
the gods. That would not bring his parents back.
Pippalada agreed. But he wished to see his parents once. Accordingly, Vimana descended from
heaven on which Dadhichi and Lopamudra were seated. They blessed Pippalada and asked him
to marry and have children.
As for the demon, it became a river and merged with the holy Ganga.
There was a city named Pratishthana. A king named Shurasena ruled in that city. Shurasena did
not have any sons. After a lot of effort, a son was born to him. But the son happened to be a
snake. The king and the queen were mortified at this turn of events. But they brought up their son
in great secrecy. Not even the king's ministers and priests knew that the prince was a snake.
When the prince grew slightly, he began to talk like a human, even though he was a snake. King
Shurasena arranged for the prince's education. After the snake had become learned in the
knowledge of the Vedas, he told his father, "Father, it is time for me to get married. If I do not
have a son, I am certain to go to naraka."
King Shurasena was very surprised to hear this. "How is that possible?" he asked. "Which
princess will consent to marry a snake?"
"I don't know," replied the prince. "But I do know that I have to get married. Other wise, I will
commit suicide. There are many forms of marriage that are permissible. Perhaps a princess can
be kidnapped and married to me."
Shurasena called his ministers and told them, "My son Nageshvara has now come of age. He has
also been made the heir–apparent to the kingdom. There is no one equal to him in bravery on
earth, in heaven or in the underworld. I am getting old. Please arrange for Nageshvara to get
married. I shall then relinquish my kingdom and retire to the forest."
The king did not of course tell his ministers that Nageshvara was a snake.
Shurasena had an aged minister. This minister reported that there was a king named Vijaya who
ruled in the eastern part of the country. King Vijaya had eight sons and one daughter. The
daughter's name was Bhogavati and she was very beautiful. She would be the right match for
The aged minister was sent as a messenger to Vijaya and the king agreed to the match. There
was a custom amongst kshatriyas that the bride did not always have to be married to the
bridegroom in person. She could also be married to the bridegroom's sword or some other
weapon. The minister explained to King Vijaya that there were some private reasons which made
it impossible for Nageshvara to come in person for the marriage. Bhogavati should be married
off to Nageshvara's sword. Vijaya consented to this and the marriage ceremony was performed.
The entire retinue then returned to the city of Pratishthana.
But what was to be done now that the marriage was over? Nageshvara's mother sent a made to
Bhogavati. The maid was to tell Bhogavati that her husband was actually a snake and then
observe her reaction.
The maid told Bhogavati, "Your husband is a god, but he has the form of a snake."
"That is my good fortune," replied Bhoavati. "Normally, women are married to men. I must have
performed many good deeds in my earlier life to have been married to a god."
Bhogavati was then brought to Nageshvara and at the sight of Bhogavati, Nageshvara
remembered his earlier life. He used to be a snake (naga) in his earlier life and was a companion
of Shiva's. His wife in the earlier life was Bhogavati.
There had bee an occasion when Shiva had laughed at a joke of parvati's and Nageshvara had
also laughed. This had annoyed Shiva and he had cursed Nageshvara that he would be born on
earth as the son of a human, but in the form of a snake. When he went and bathed in Goutami
Ganga, the period of the curse would be over. When Nageshvara recounted these incidents to
Bhogavati, she also remembered her earlier life. The two went and bathed in the scared river and
Nageshvara obtained a handsome and divine form. Nageshavara ruled after Shurasena's death.
And when Nageshvara and Bhogavati died, they went back to Kailasa to live with Shiva.
On the banks of the Goutami Ganga, Nageshvara and Bhogavati built a temple to Shiva. This is a
famous tirtha known as Nagatirtha.
Years ago, there was a war between the gods and the demons and the gods lost. The gods came
to Brahma for advice and Brahma asked them to pray to Shiva.
When Shiva appeared before them, the gods said, "The demons have defeated us. Please kill
them and save us."
Shiva went to fight with the demons. He drove the demons off from Mount Sumeru and out of
heaven. He pursued them to the ends of the earth. All this exertion made Shiva sweat. And
wherever the drops of sweat fell down on the ground, terrible ogresses named matris were
created. The matris also started to kill the demons and pursued them down to the underworld.
While the matris were killing the demons in the underworld, Brahma and the other dos waited on
the banks of the river Goutami Ganga. This place came to be known as Pratishthana.
When the matris had killed all the demons, they returned to earth and began to live on the banks
of the Goutami Ganga. This tirtha has come to be known as matritirtha.
Brahma used to have five heads. The fifth head was in the shape of a donkey's head. When the
demons were running away to the underworld, this donkey's head addressed the demons and
said, "why are you running away? Come back and fight with the gods. I shall aid you in your
The gods were alarmed at this paradoxical situation. Brahma was helping them in their flight
with the demons and Brahma's fifth head was trying to help the demons. They went to Vishnu
and said, "Please cut off Brahma's fifth head. It is causing too much of confusion."
"I can do what you want," replied Vishnu, "but there is a problem. When the cut–off head falls on
earth, it will destroy the earth. I think you should pray to Shiva to find a way out."
The gods prayed to Shiva and Shiva agreed to cut off the head. But what was to be done with the
severed head? The earth refused to bear it and so did the ocean. Finally it was decided that Shiva
himself would bear the head.
The place where Shiva cut off Brahma's fifth head is known as rudratirtha. Ever since that day,
Brahma has had four heads and is known as Chaturmukha (chatur connotes four and mukha
connotes face). There is a temple to Brahma on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. This is a holy
place known as brahmatirtha. A killer of brahmanas is pardoned his sin if he visits this temple.
The Owl and the Dove
A dove used to live on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. The dove's name was Anuhrada and its
wife's name was Heti. Anuhrada was Yama's grandson.
Not very far away, there lived an owl named Uluka. The owl's wife was called Uluki. The owls
were descended from the god Agni.
The doves and the owls were enemies. They fought amongst themselves continually. The doves
had received all sorts of weapons from Yama and the owls had received all sorts of weapons
from Agni. These divine weapons threatened to burn up everything. But Yama and Agni
intervened. They persuaded the owls and the doves to forget their enmity and live together as
friends. The place where the doves lived came to be known as a tirtha named yamyatirtha. And
the place where the owls lived came to be known as Agnitirtha.
There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the
afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms.
A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to hunt. After the hunt was
over, he used to come to Shiva's linga (image) and offer to Shiva whatever it was that he had
hunted. In the process of doing this, he often moved Veda's offerings out of the way. Strange
though it might seem, Shiva was stirred by Bhilla's offerings and eagerly used to wait for it every
day. Bhilla and Veda never met. But Veda noticed that every day his offerings lay scattered and
a little bit of meat lay by the side. Since this always happened when Veda had gone out to beg
for alms, Veda did not know who was responsible. One day, he decided to wait in hiding so as to
catch the culprit red–handed.
While Veda waited, Bhilla arrived and offered what he had brought to Shiva. Veda was amazed
to discover that Shiva himself appeared before Bhilla and asked, "Why are you late today? I have
been waiting for you. Did you get very tired?"
Bhilla went away after making his offerings. But Veda came up to Shiva and said, "What is all
this? This is a cruel and evil hunter, and yet, you appear before him. I have been performing
tapasya for so many years and you never appear before me. I am disgusted at this partiality. I will
break your linga with this stone."
"Do it if you must," replied Shiva. "But please wait till tomorrow."
Next day, when Veda came to present his offerings, he found traces of blood on top of the linga.
He carefully washed away the traces of blood and completed his prayers.
After some time, Bhilla also came to present his offerings and discovered traces of blood on top
of the linga. He thought that he was in some way responsible for this and blamed himself for
some unknown transgression. He picked up a sharp arrow and began to pierce his body
repeatedly with this arrow as punishment.
Shiva appeared before both of them and said, "Now you see the difference between Veda and
Bhilla. Veda has given me his offerings, but Bhilla has given me his whole soul. That is the
difference between ritual and true devotion."
The place where Bhilla used to pray to Shiva is a famous tirtha known as bhillatirtha.
Goutama and Manikundala
There was a city named Bhouvana. In that city there lived a brahmana named Goutama. The
brahmana had a vaishya (trader and agriculture caste) friend named Manikundala.
Goutama's mother gave him a lot of ill advice. As a result of this, Goutama told Manikundala,
"Let us go to other countries to trade and make profits."
"But my father has a lot of wealth," replied Manikundala. "What is the need to obtain more
"You don't have the proper perspective," said Goutama. "A successful person is one who does
not thrive on what is left to him by his father. He makes his own fortune."
Manikundala was convinced by Gountama's logic. He did not realise that his so–called friend was
out to defraud him.
The two friends set out on their journey, Manikundala providing all the capital.
In the course of their travels Goutama remarked, "Have you noticed how those who follow the
path of dharma (righteousness) always suffer? They are neither wealthy nor happy. There seems
to be no point in being righteous."
"Please don't say that," protested manikundala. "Happiness lies in following the path of dharma.
Poverty and misery are inevitable, they are of no account at all."
The two friends argued over this, but could not decide who was right. They resolved to have a
bet. They would ask the opinions of others. And whoever lost the bet would surrender all his
wealth to the winner. They asked many people for their opinions. Naturally most people said that
it was the evil who thrived and prospered. And it was the righteous who suffered. The upshot of
this was that Manikundala surrendered all his wealth to Goutama. But Manikundala continued to
"You are an utter ass," said Goutama. "Haven't you lost all your wealth to me? Yet you continue
to praise dharma."
"The wealth is of no account at all," replied Manikundala. "Dharma is on my side and your
apparent victory is only an illusion. Dharma will triumph in the end."
The two friends decided to have another bet. This time it was agreed that whoever lost the bet
would have his two arms chopped off. They again asked several people and most people said that
is was adharma (evil) which triumphed. So Manikundala lost his two arms.
"How does it feel now?" asked Goutama.
"The same as ever," replied Manikundala. "What is important is dharma. And dharma is on my
Goutama lost his temper at this. He threatened to cut off Manikundala's head if Manikundala
persisted in his praise of dharma. But Manikundala was unperturbed. The friends decided to have
another bet. This time it was agreed that whoever lost would forfeit his life. Manikundala lost yet
again. And Goutama gouged out Manikundala's eyes and left him for dead.
Manikundala lay on the banks of the Goutami Ganga and pondered about the fate that had
befallen him. It became night.
There was an image of Vishnu on the banks of the river and the rakshasa Vibhishana used to
come there every night to pray to Vishnu. Vibhishana's son discovered Manikundala lying there
and found out from him the entire story. He recounted the story to his father.
"Many years ago, I had joined Rama in his fight with Ravana," Vibhishana told his son.
"Ragvana's son Meghanada shot a venomous arrow at Rama's brother Lakshmana. Lakshmana
fell unconscious. The monkey Hanuman then went to the Himalayas and brought a mountain
named Grandhamadana to Lanka. On that mountain there was a wonderful herb named
vishalyakarani which cures all illnesses. When Hanuman returned the mountain to the
Himalayas, a bit of the vishalyakarani fell down at this spot. Near Vishnu's image. Let us try and
find it. We should be able to cure Manikundala."
Father and son hunted for the herb. The vishalyakarani had become a huge tree. They lopped off
a branch and placed it on Manikundala's chest. Manikundala immediately regained his eyes and
arms. After curing Manikundala, Vibhishana and his retinue returned to Lanka.
Manikundala began to travel. He eventually came to a city named Mahapura where a king named
Maharaja ruled. Maharaja had no sons, only a daughter. The daughter was blind. Maharaja had
announced that whoever cured his daughter would become his son–in–law and rule after him.
Manikundala cured the princess with his knowledge of the vishalyakarani. He then married the
princess and became king of Mahapura after Maharaja.
Many years later, Goutama was brought before Manikundala by the soldiers. He had been
arrested on the charge of committing a crime. Goutama had lost all his wealth by then and was
no more than a beggar. Manikundala pardoned his friend and shared with him whatever he had.
Such are the virtues of following the path of dharma. There are many tirthas along the banks of
the Goutami Ganga where these wonderful incidents took place.
There was a sage named Kandu. He had a hermitage on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. The
ashrama was a beautiful place and Kandu performed very difficult tapasya there. In the summer
Kandu meditated in the hot sun, in the monsoon he meditated on the wet ground, and in the
winter he meditated dressed in wet clothing.
Indra got sacred as a result of all this tapasya. He thought that the sage Kandu might want to
become Indra the king of the gods. He therefore called an apsara named disturb Kandu's
Pramalocha went to the hermitage and began to sing there in a beautiful voice. This disturbed
Kandu and he discovered a beautiful woman wandering around in his ashrama.
"Who are you?" Kandu asked the woman.
"I have come here to pluck flowers," replied Pramalocha. "I am your servant. I will do whatever
you wish me to."
Kandu had fallen in love with Pramalocha and he married her. He forgot all about his tapasya
and Indra heaved a sigh of relief. Years passed. Pramalocha wished to return to heaven, but
Kandu would not let her.
After years and years had passed, Kandu came out of his hut, looking rather distracted. It was
then evening and Kandu was obviously going somewhere.
"Where are you going?" Pramalocha asked.
"What a stupid question!" exclaimed Kandu. "Can't you see that it is now evening? I have got to
go and observe the evening rites. The day has passed."
"What day?", asked Pramalocha. "Several days have passed and several evenings have come and
"No, you came here this morning," said Kandu. "I brought you to my hut and it is now evening, I
don't understand what you are trying to say. Explain yourself."
"It is true that I came here in the morning," answered Pramalocha. "But that was a morning
which dawned many years ago. Hundreds of years have passed since that day."
"How many years?" asked Kandu. "When did you come here?'
"Sixteen hundred years, six months and three days ago," replied Pramalocha.
"Are you sure?" asked Kandu. "It seems like a single day to me."
"I am sure," said Pramalocha. "I dare not lie to you."
"You have dislodged me from my tapasya," responded Kandu. "But I will not curse you, since
you have been my wife. Go back to heaven. I have to atone for my sins."
The sage Kandu went to Purshottama kshetra and performed penance for his sins. He was
blessed by Vishnu.
Kandu and Pramalocha had a daughter named Marisha.
The Brahma Purana also describes several other tirthas. Most of these are on the banks of the
river Goutami Ganga. This is now identified as the river Godavari.
After describing these several tirthas, the text describes incidents in Krishna's life. These we will
skip, since they are described in much greater detail in the other Puranas.
There are four varnas (classes). Their names are brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra.
The duties of a brahmana are to donate alms, perform tapasya, worship the gods, perform yajnas
and study the Vedas. To earn a living, brahmanas are authorized to teach and act as priests at
sacrifices. The duties of kshatriya are to beat arms and protect the earth, donate alms and perform
sacrifices. A kshatriya is also permitted to study the shastras. The duties of a vaishya are
agriculture, animal husbandry and trade. That apart, vaishyas should donate alms, perform
sacrifices and study the shastras. The duties of a shudra are to serve brahmanas. Shudras can also
be shopkeepers and artisans.
In times of emergency, a brahmana is allowed to adopt the livelihoods of kshatriyas or vaishyas
to earn a living. In similar fashion, a kshatriya is permitted to adopt the livelihoods of vaishyas or
shudras and a vaishya is permitted to adopt the livelihoods of shudras.
There are four ashramas (stages of life) as well. The first of these is known as brahmacharya
(celibate studenthood). During this period, the individual spends his days with his guru and
studies the Vedas well. He has to serve his guru in proper fashion and live on alms. The next
ashrama is that of Grihastha (householder stage). The individual now gets married and has
children. He serves the gods, the sages, the ancestors and guests. It is householders who provide
alms for sages and hermits. That is the reason why the householder stage is so very important.
The third ashrama is known as vanaprastha (forest–dwelling stage). The individual now retires to
the forest and withdraws his mind from the earthly life. He can leave his wife in the care of his
sons or take her with him. He lives on roots, fruits and leaves and makes a bed for himself under
the trees. He is not permitted to shave or cut his hair and his clothes have to be made out of bark
or skins. The final ashrama is that of sannyasa (hermithood). A hermit gives up all association
with the world and lives alone. He grows completely detached. He lives alone. He gets his food
through begging. He is not permitted to spend more than one night in a village, or more than five
nights at a time in a city.
The Chandala and the Brahmarakshasa
A chandala is an outcast. On the outskirts of the city named Avanti lived a chandala. There was a
temple of Vishnu in Avanti and the chandala was devoted to Vishnu. He was also a good singer.
Ekadashi tithi is the eleventh lunar day. Every month, on ekadashi tithi, the chandala would fast
during the day. At night he would go to Vishnu's temple and sing praises of Vishnu. He never
failed to observe this ritual.
The river Kshipra (Shipra) flowed by the city of Avanti. On one particular night, on ekadashi
tithi, the chandala went to the banks of the river to collect some flowers for worshipping Vishnu.
On the banks of the river there was a tree and on that tree there lived a brahmarakshasa (demon).
As soon as the demon saw the chandala, it wished to devour him.
"Please not tonight," said the chandala. "I have to worship Vishnu throughout the night. Let me
"Not on you life," replied the demon. "I have not eaten for ten days and I am famished. I can't let
"Please, " said the chandala, "let me go. I promise that I will come back once the prayers are
over. You will then be free to do with me as you will."
The demon let the chandala go. The chandala went to the temple. He worshipped Vishnu and
spent the night in singing Vishnu's praises. Next day, he returned to the demon.
"I am indeed surprised," said the demon. "You are very truthful. You can't be a chandala. You
must be a brahmana. Answer my questions. What did you do all night?"
"I stood outside Vishnu's temple and sang his praise," replied the chandala.
"For how long have you been doing this?" asked the demon.
"For twenty years," was the chandala's reply.
"You have acquired a lot of punya (store of merit) through this," said the demon. "Please grant
me one night's punya, I am sinner."
"No," replied the chandala. "I will not part with my punya. I have given you my body, eat me if
you will. But the punya is mine own."
"Very well then,' said the demon. "Give me two hours' worth of punya. I am a sinner."
"I have told you I will not give you any of my punya," replied the chandala. "But what is your
The brahmarakshasa related his story. His name was Somasharma and he was the son of
Devasharma. Devasharma was a righteous brahmana. But Somasharma fell into evil ways. A
brahmana is not authorised to act as a priest in a sacrifice before he has had his sacred–thread
ceremony (upanayana). But Somasharma became a priest at a yajna even though his upanayana
had not been held. As a result of this sin, when he died, he became a demon. The chandala was
stirred to pity at this sad story and parted with some of his punya. The demon was delighted and
expressed his gratitude. He went to a tirtha and performed penance. Thus it was that the demon
What about the chandala? He returned home and then left for a tour of all the sacred places of
pilgrimage. At one such tirtha. He remembered the story of his earlier life.
He used to be a hermit well–versed in the Vedas and the shastras. He used to beg alms for a
living. Once he had obtained some alms. But some thieves were then in the process of stealing
cows, and the hooves of the cows raised a cloud of dust. The dust fell onto the food and the
hermit threw away the alms in disgust. Since he had thrown away alms, he was born as a
chandala. After performing penance for this sin, the chandala was pardoned.
The word yoga means union. Yoga is thus a form of meditation that unites the human soul
(atman) with the divine soul (Paramatman), or equivalently, with the divine essence (Brahman).
A practitioner of yoga has to study the Puranas, the Vedas and history He has to exercise
restraint regarding the sort of food he eats. The best forms of food are yoghurt fruits, roots and
milk. Yoga should be practiced in a place that is pleasant. It should not be too hot or too cold
there. Nor should there be any noise to distract the practitioner.
Yoga has to be performed in a proper posture (asana). The practitioner concentrates the entire
focus of his mind on the tip of his nose. He contemplates the form of brahmana. This can only be
successful if one is detached and controls one's senses completely.
If yoga is performed properly, there comes the knowledge that the same Paramatman is in all
living beings. To think that living beings are distinct from one another is only to fall prey to one's
illusions. All the elements have the same Paramatman in them.
Romaharshana said to the sages who had assembled in naimisharanya, "Many years ago, the
great Veda Vyasa had recited the adi Purana to sages. The sages had been delighted to learn the
wisdom that was in the great Brahma Purana. Whatever Veda Vyasa had told those sages, I have
now recited before you. Everyone should listen to a recital of this Purana, be he a householder or
A brahmana who listens to a recital of the Brahma Purana becomes learned, a kshatriya becomes
victorious, a vaishya becomes rich and a shudra achieves happiness. One who listens to the
recital faithfully attains all his wishes. The fruits of listening to such a recital are superior to
visiting the most holy of tirthas or performing the most difficult of yajnas.
Romaharshana blessed the sages and returned to his own hermitage, with the express injunction
that the secrets of the Purana should never be divulged to atheists who did not believe in God.
2. PADMA PURANA
Having revealed the contents of all the Puranas to his son Ugrashrava, Sage Lomaharshan
instructed him to go to 'Naimisharanya' and spread it among the sages doing penance over there.
There is an interesting tale how this sacrosanct forest of Naimish derived its name ––
Once, the sages sought Lord Vishnu's help in finding a suitable place, where they could perform
their religious activities unhindered. Lord Vishnu released his chakra and instructed them to
follow it. 'This chakra had many circumferences (Nemi) and all of you can commence your
penance at the place where one of them gets detached from the chakra' –––said Lord Vishnu.
The Sages followed the chakra as per the instruction of Lord Vishnu. Once of the circumferences
of chakra got detached and fell at a place called Gangavarta. In course of time this particular
place was famous as 'Naimish' because the term 'Nemi' in Sanskrit means circumference. When
Ugrashrava who was popularly known as 'Suta' reached 'Naimisharnya' all the sages received
him with enlighten all the sages on the divine tales of Padma Purana.
Suta replied––– Padma Purana consists of five sections and fifty–five thousand shlokas. The
names of these sections are Srishti–Khand, Bhumi–Khand, Swarg Khand, Patal Khand and
Uttam–Khand. The tales of Padma Purana praise the glory of Lord Vishnu. These tales were
narrated to Lord Brahma by Lord Vishnu himself, who in turn propagated them in this world
through various sages.
THE BEGINNING OF CREATION
The Sages requested Suta to narrate about the incident when sage Pulastya had met Bhishma.
Suta replied––– Bhishma was doing penance at a place called Gangadwar. Being pleased by his
austere penance, Lord Brahma instructed Pulastya to go to Gangadwar and bless Bhishma.
After reaching there, Pulastya told Bhishma that Lord Brahma was pleased by his penance. 'Ask
any boon you wish for' said Pulastya. Bhishma thanked his good fortune of getting a chance to
meet Sage Pulastya. He requested Pulastya to reveal how Lord Brahma had created the world.
Pulastya replied––– During the initial phase of his creation, Lord Brahma created the Mahattatva
first of all. After that he created the three types of Ego from the Mahattatva–––Satva, Rajas and
Tamas. These three types of Ego are the origins of all the five sense–organs, organs of action and
all the five basic elements––space, water, fire, air and earth.
An enormous egg came into existence with the permutation and combination of these five basic
elements. Within this egg exists the whole universe including the mountains, islands, oceans,
planets, deities, demons and the human beings. The layers of water, fire, air, space and darkness
envelop this enormous egg. These elements are once again covered by the 'Mahattatva', which in
turn is enveloped by the 'Prakriti' (nature). Lord Vishnu himself does creation in the form of Lord
Brahma and also takes various incarnations to protect the mankind. At the end of the Kalpa, it is
only He, who annihilates in the form of Rudra. After the end of Kalpa, he takes rest on the back
of Sheshnag for the full period of deluge.
BRAHMA'S LIFESPAN AND CHRONOLOGICAL
ORDER OF THE 'ERAS'
Pulastya says–––Lord Brahma, the embodiment of Lord Vishnu has a lifespan of one hundred
years. His lifespan is also called 'Par', and half of its period is known as 'Parardha'. One 'Kashtha'
consists of 15 Nimesha while a Kala consists of 30 'Kashthas'. A muhurta consists of 30 Kalas.
The periods of 30 muhurtas are equal to one day and Night of the human beings. A month of this
world is equivalent to 30 days and nights. Six months make an 'Ayan' and a year consists of two
'Ayans'. These two 'Ayans' are also known by two other names–––Dakshainayan and Uttarayan.
Dakshainayan is the night of the deities where as Uttarayan is their day.
Four yugas are equivalent to twelve thousand years of the deities, which occur in a cyclic order––
–Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga. The periods of these yugas are as
Satya Yuga– 4000 years. Treta Yuga – 3000 years. Dwapar Yuga– 2000 years. Kali Yuga– 1000
years. Total – 10,000 years.
Each yuga is followed by the hibernation periods of Sandhya and Sandhyansh, which are as
Satya Yuga 400, 400. Treta Yuga 300, 300. Dwapar Yuga 200, 200. Kali Yuga 100, 100. Total
1000 years 1000 years.
Four yuga are collectively known as 'Chaturyuga'. A Brahma's day consists of one–thousand such
'Chaturyugas'. Altogether, fourteen Manu appear during this whole period of 1000 Chaturgas or
in other words a day of Lord Brahma. Each 'Manvantar' is named after a Manu and is equivalent
to little more than 71 Chaturyugas. It also has its own Indra, Saptarishis and other deities. This
way, a manvantar is also equivalent to 8,52,000 years of the deities or divine years. Going by the
standard of the years of this world a manvantar is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 years. On the basis
of the years of this world, a Brahma's day is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 x 14 = 4,29,40,80,000
years. This is the period after which a Brahma's day is over and a deluge takes place when all the
three worlds becomes devoid of life due to unbearable heat. Lord Brahma then takes rest for the
same period (4,29,40,80,000 years) which is his night.
After the night is over, Lord Brahma again commences his creation. So, this process continues
for the whole period of Brahma's life span, i.e. 100 years." Bhisma requested Sage Pulastya to
describe how Lord Brahma created life in the beginning of the present Kalpa.
Pulastya replied––– At the end of the previous kalpa when Lord Brahma awakened from his sleep,
he found the whole earth submerged in water. He meditated on Lord Vishnu, who took the
incarnation of Varaha and retrieved the earth and established it in its original position. Lord
Brahma then created all the four worlds––Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Swargloka and Maharloka and
divided the earth into seven islands.
First of all, Lord Brahma created the 'Mahattatva'. After that he created the 'Tanmatras', Indriyas
(sense–organs), the immovable things like mountains, rivers, animals, deities, demons, human
THE FOUR PROMINENT CASTES
On being asked by Bhishma about the origin of the four prominent castes, Sage Pulastya said–––
Lord Brahma created the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas from his mouth and chest respectively.
Similarly, Vaishyas and Shudras manifested from Lord Brahma's thigh and feet
respectively.Lord Brahma had created his 'manasputras' with the objective of increasing the
population and their names were Bhrigu, Pulah, Kratu, Angira, Marichi, Daksha, Atri and
Vashishtha. But all of them were free from worldly desires and extremely virtuous. Seeing his
effort go in vain, Lord Brahma became furious, as a result of which Rudra manifested from his
forehead. Half of Rudra's body resembled like a male while the remaining half appeared like a
female. Lord Brahma instructed Rudra to detach the female form from his body and commence
copulative creation. Following his advice, Rudra detached the female part of his body and
created eleven male entities. Similarly he created various female entities from the female part of
This way, the first human pair– Manu and Shatarupa came into existence. In course of time four
children were born to them–––Priyavrata, Uttanpad, Prasuti and Akuti. Prasuti was married to
Daksha Prajpati, while Akuti became the wife of Ruchi Prajapati. Prasuti gave birth to 24
daughters–– Shradha, Lakshmi, Dhriti, Pushti, Tushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu,
Shanti, Keerti, Khyati, Sati, Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Santati, Ansuya, Urja, Swaha and
Swadha. Out of them, the former thirteen were the wives of Dharma and the rest were married to
various sages like Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, myself (Pulastya), Pulaha, Kratu, Atri,
Vashishtha, Agni, etc. Shradha gave birth to 'Kam', Lakshmi to 'Darpa, Dhriti to Niyam, Tushti
to Santosh, Pushti to Lobha, Medha to Shrut, Kriya to Dand, Nay and Vinay, Buddhi to Bodh,
Lajja to Vinay, Vapu to Vyavasay, Shanti to Kshama, Siddhi to Sukh and Keerti gave birth to
Yash. All of them were the sons of Dharma.
Kam had a son named Harsh from his wife Nandi, Bhrigu's wife Khyati gave birth to a daughter
named Lakshmi––the consort of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rudra accepted Sati––the daughter of Daksha
Prajapati as his wife. Hinsa was the wife of Adharm and gave birth to Anrit and Nikriti. Anrit
had two sons–––Maya and Narak, while Nikriti had two daughters––Maya and Vedana. Maya
married Maya while Vedana became the wife of Narak. Maya had a son named Mrityu––the lord
of death and Vedana gave birth to Dukh. Five children were born to Mrityu––Vyadhi, Jara, Shok,
Trishna and Krodha. All of them were celibates and had no progeny.
THE MANIFESTATION OF GODDESS LAKSHMI
Bhisma expressed his desire to know about the manifestation of goddess Lakshmi.
Pulastya replied–– Once, after being defeated by the demons, the deities went to Lord Vishnu and
sought his help. Lord Vishnu instructed them to collect all the medicinal herbs, and put them in
the Ksheersagar, so that after the churning of the ocean ambrosia could be retrieved.Lord Vishnu
also advised them to use the Mandar mountain as a Churner and the serpent––Sheshnag as a rope
for churning the ocean.The deities then reached an agreement with the demons according to
which both the groups were supposed to unitedly churn the ocean. The great Mandar mountain
was uprooted and placed on the back of the tortoise––the embodiment of Lord Vishnu. Sheshnag
coiled around that mountain and both the ends were held by the demons and the deities
respectively. The deities intelligently chose the tail–end, while the demons in their foolishness
chose the mouth–end. The venom spilled by Sheshnag destroyed the power and strength off the
demons. When the process of Churning began, the first thing to emerge from the sea–bed was
Kamdhenu––the holy cow. The deities claimed the ownership of this divine cow. Subsequently,
Varuni (intoxicating drink) emerged from the sea–bed, which was claimed by the ignorant
demons. During the process of ocean–churning, various kinds of things emerged out from the
ocean––Parijat, sixty crore apsaras, the moon and Kalkut (poison), which were distributed among
the demons and the deities. Lord Mahadeva drank the Kalkut when he saw that there was no
taker for it.
The churning of ocean also resulted into the manifestation of ambrosia–pot, Uchchaishrava
(horse) and Airavat (elephant). Ultimately, goddess Lakshmi manifested herself, seated on a
lotus. The deities eulogised her by chanting the mantras of Sri Sukta. The deities were desirous
of having goddess Lakshmi on their side, so were the demons, but Lord Brahma instructed
Vishnu to accept her as his consort. The demons became furious and snatched the ambrosia–pot
from the hands of Sage Dhanvantari. Lord Vishnu then disguised himself as the most enchanting
woman and fooled the demons into giving back the ambrosia–pot. Lord Vishnu gave the pot to
the deities who became immortal after drinking ambrosia. A tremendous battle was fought
between the demons and the deities. But, the demons were defeated in this battle and fled to the
netherworld to protect their lives. The deities eulogised Lord Vishnu and returned to heaven.
SATI GIVES UP HER LIFE
On being enquired by Bhisma about the reason why Sati gave up her life, Sage Pulastya narrated
the following tale –––
Once, Daksha Prajapati had organised a grand yagya in which he had invited everybody except
Lord Shiva. This Yagya was presided over by four prominent sages–––Vashishtha, Angika,
Brihaspati and Narada. Sati went to attend the yagya despite Lord Shiva's reluctance to send her.
After reaching there she asked Daksha about the reason why he had not invited Lord Shiva.
Daksha said–––"Your husband is unworthy of being in the company of other deities, because of
his abhorrent appearance. He smears ashes on his body and wanders through the cremation
grounds. In the name of clothes, your husband puts on tiger's skin. A garland of skulls keep on
hanging down his neck. All species of serpents coil around his body. Do you think he is eligible
to sit in the company of the deities? Your husband had brought great shame on me and this is the
reason why I did not invite him."
Sati could no more listen to her husband's criticism and gave up her life by jumping into the
oblation–fire.When the news of Sati's death reached Lord Shiva, he became extremely furious
and sent his ganas to avenge her death. The Ganas went and created havoc at the oblation–
site.After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva became a recluse and lost all interest in his life. His mind
was preoccupied by nothing else but the thoughts of her beloved.One day, Sage Narada informed
Lord Shiva about Sati's rebirth as the daughter of Himvan and Mena. Lord Shiva became
extremely pleased by this good news. Eventually, he reunited with her eternal consort Parvati.
THE ORIGIN OF DEITIES, DEMONS and SERPENTS
Bhisma requested Sage Pulastya to explain how different entities like the deities, demons and
serpents came into being.
Pulastya replied–––Having failed in his repeated attempts of increasing population by the means
of 'sankalpa' Daksha Prajapati was left with no option but to take the help of copulative creation.
He begot sixty daughters from his wife named Virini. In course of time ten of them were married
to Dharma whose names were–––Arundhati, Vasu, Jami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa,
Muhurta, Sadhya and Vishwa.Vishwa gave birth to Vishwadeva, while Sadhya was the mother
of Sadhya. Marutvati gave birth to Marutvan. Vasu had eight sons who became famous as the
Vasus–––yourself (Bhisma), Dhruva, Soma, Dhar, Anil, Anal, Pratyush and Prabhas. Bhanu had a
son by the same name i.e. Bhanu. Mahurta begot deities, who were the lords of auspicious
moments. Lamba gave birth to Ghosh while Jami had a daughter named Nagvithi. Arundhati
became the mother of all the creatures of this world. As far as the offspring of eight Vasus are
concerned, 'you' (Bhisma) have four sons––Shant, Vaitand, Samb and Munibabhru. Dhruva had a
son named Kal. While Soma was the father of Varcha. Dhar had two sons––Dravin and
Havyavah. Anil had three sons––– Pran, Raman and Shishir. Anal also had three sons–––Shakh,
Upshakh and Naigameya. Pratyush had a son named Deval, who later on became a famous sage.
Prabhas was the father of Prajapati Vishwakarma––the architect of the deities.
The names of the eleven Rudras are–––Ajaikpad, Ahirbudhnya, Virupaksh, Raivat, Har,
Bahuroop, Trayambak, Savitra, Jayant, Pinaki and Aparajit. All of them are said to be the lords
of the Ganas and have all together 84 crore progenies known as the Rudraganas.
Sage Kashyapa had thirteen wives–––Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Sursa, Surabhi, Vinta, Tamra,
Krodhvasha, Ira, Kadru, Khasa and Muni. Kashyapa had two sons from Diti–––Hiranyakashipu
and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu had four sons–––Prahlada, Anuhlad, Sanhlad and Hlad.
Prahlada also had four sons–––One of them was Virochan. Virochan was the father of Bali.
Banasur, who had one thousand arms, was the eldest son of Bali.Hiranyaksha had four sons, who
themselves had 27 crore sons and grandsons in all. Kashyapa had begotten one hundred sons
from Danu, among whom Viprachitti was the most powerful.Viprachitti had fourteen sons from
Sinhika–––Sainhikeya (Rahu), Kansa, Shankh, Nala, Vatapi, Ilwal, Namuchi, Khasrima, Anjan,
Narak, Kalnabh, Parmanu, Kalpavirya and Dhanuvanshavivardhan.
Kashyapa also had six daughters from Tamra––Shuki, Shyeni, Bhasi, Gridhi, Sugridhi and
Shuchi. All six of them gave birth to various species of birds. Shuki was the mother of Parrots
and Owls. Shyeni gave birth to hawks while Bhasi was the mother of ospreys (a large fish eating
birds.) Gridhi gave birth to Vultures and Sugridhi was the mother of pigeons. Shuchi was the
mother of cranes, Swans and other similar aquatic birds. Vinita was the mother of Garuda and
Arun–––Supreme among birds. Arun was the father of Sampati and Jatayu. Sursa was the mother
of the serpents and had given birth to one thousand snakes. Similarly, Kadru gave birth to one
thousand cobras.Surabhi, one of the thirteen wives of Kashyapa had given birth to cows,
buffaloes as well as beautiful women. Muni was the mother of the celestial damsels ––apsaras.
Arishta gave birth to Kinnars and Gandharvas. Ira was the mother of various vegetation like
grass, trees, creepers and bushes. Khasa gave birth to crore of Rakshashas (monsters) and
Yakshas.Kashyapa had also begotten forty–nine Marudganas from Diti.
THE ORIGIN OF MARUDGANAS
Bhisma requested Sage Pulastya to describe how all the Marudganas came into existence.
Pulastya replied––– All the sons and grandsons of Diti had perished in the battle fought between
the deities and demons. Diti–––the mother of daityas (demons) wanted to take revenge, so she
started doing a penance at the bank of river Saraswati, which lasted for 100 years.Being pleased
by her austere penance Sage Kashyapa arrived and expressed his desire to bless her with a boon.
Diti wanted a mighty son who could kill Indra. Sage Kashyapa then implanted his sperms in
Diti's womb and instructed her to remain there (where she had been doing penance) for 100
years. He also instructed her on various do's and don'ts which a pregnant woman is expected to
observe. Diti agreed to follow his instructions.Mean while, Indra got wind of her pregnancy and
became scared. He wanted to destroy the foetus at any cost, so he arrived at the place where Diti
was staying. He had disguised himself to avoid being recognized by Diti. He engaged himself in
her servitude, waiting for an opportune moment to destroy the foetus.
This way, ninety–nine years had passed and only three days were remaining after which Diti was
expected to give birth to a son. As the inevitable day approached nearer, Indra started becoming
restless. One day, Diti was very tired and fell down asleep. Her hair was untied and her head had
stooped down while she was sleeping, just opposite to the instructions Kashyapa had given to
her. Finding the moment opportune, Indra entered into Diti's womb and cut the foetus into seven
pieces with his Vajra. The seven fragments of foetus instantaneously got transformed into seven
infants and started wailing. Indra became furious and once again he attacked them with his vajra
and severed them into seven pieces each. But to Indra's sheer amazement, there were 49 infants,
all wailing loudly. He tried to stop them from crying by shouting 'Marud' (don't cry), but to no
Indra realized that the infants had attained immortality on account of the 'Pournamasi Vrata',
which Diti had devoutly observed during the course of her penance. Indra named the infants as
Marudganas and blessed them. He then begged for Diti's forgiveness and took her along with the
Marudganas to heaven. The Marudganas, despite being born in the clans of demons, never
associated with them and hence were revered even by the deities.Bhisma expressed his curiosity
to know about the detailed description of all the fourteen manvantars. Pulastya said––The first
manvantar was called Swayambhuva, named after Swayambhuva– Manu. Yamya was the
prominent deity of this manvantar. Marichi and other six prominent sages were the Saptarishis of
this manvantar. Swayambhuva Manu had ten sons–––Aghnigha, Agnibahu, Vibhu, Savan,
Jyotishman, Dyutiman, Havya, Medha, Medhatithi and Vasu.
The second manvantar was named after Swarochish Manu. Swarochish Manu had four sons––
Nabh, Nabhasya, Prasriti and Bhavan. Tushit was the prominent deity of this second manvantar.
Dattatreya, Atri, Chyavan, Stanba, Pran, Kashyapa and Brihaspati were the saptarishis of this
The third manvantar was called Autam and derived its name from Autami Manu, who had ten
sons––Isha, Urj, Tanuj, Shuchi, Shukra, Madhu, Madhav, Nabhasya, Nabh and Saha,
Bhanusangyak was the prominent deity of this manvantar. Sage Urj and other six sages were the
The fourth manvantar was called Tamas––named after Tamas Manu, who also had ten sons like
his predecessor. The names of his sons were––Akalmash, Tapodhanva, Tapomool, Tapodhan,
Taporashi, Tapasya, Sutapasya, Parantap, Tapobhagi and Tapoyogi. Kavi, Prithu, Agni, Akapi,
Kapi, Janya and Dhama were the Saptarishis of this manvantar, while Sadhyagana was the
The fifth manvantar was called Raivat––named after Raivat Manu, who had ten sons as well––
Varuna, Tatvadarshi, chitiman, Havyap, Kavi, Mukt, Nirutsuk, Satva, Vimoh and Prakashak,
Bhutraja and Prakriti were the two prominent deities of this manvantar and the names of the
saptarishis were––Devabahu, Subahu, Parjanya, Somap, Muni, Hiranyaroma and Saptashva.
Next arrived the sixth manvantar–––Chakshush. This Manvantar derived its name from
Chakshush Manu, who had ten sons and among whom Ruru was the most prominent one. Lekh,
Ribhu, Prithagbhoot, Varimool and Divau were the prominent deities of this manvantar. The
names of Saptarishis were––Bhrigu, Sudhama, Viraj, Vishnu, Narada, Vivaswan and Abhimani.
The present manvantar, which is the seventh in order, is called Vaivaswat. The Saptarishis of this
manvantar are–––Atri, Vashishtha, Kashyapa, Gautam yogi, Bhardwaj, Vishwamitra and
The eighth manvantar will be called Savarnya and will be named after Savarni Manu, Savarni
Manu will have ten sons–––Dhriti, Variyan, Yavasu, Suvarna, Dhrishti, Charishnu, Adya, Sumati,
Vasu and Shukra. The Saptarishis of this manvantar will be––Ashwatthama, RishyaSringa,
Kaushikya, Galav, Shatanand, Kashyap and Parashurama.
The ninth manvantar will be named after Ruchi––Manu and will be called Rauchya manvantar.
Ruchi Manu will have a son named Rauchya.
The tenth manvantar will be called Bhautya and will derive its name from Bhautya Manu––son of
The eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth manvantars will be named after Merusavarni,
Ribhu, Veetdhama and Vishkvasen Manus respectively. All these fourteen Manus successively
rule this world for the total period of 1000 Chaturyugas. At the end of Kalpa each of them unite
with Lord Brahma.
KING PRITHU AND THE SURYA DYNASTY
Bhisma enquired Sage Pulastya about the mighty King Prithu upon whom the earth was named
Sage Pulastya replied–––Anga–Prajapati was the descendant of Swayambhuva Manu and Sunitha
was his wife. In course of time, Sunitha gave birth to a son, who was named Vena. After growing
up, Vena turned out to be an extremely irreligious person and used to spend his time committing
all sorts of immoral deeds. The sages tried to bring him to the virtuous path but to no avail. They
became furious and cursed Vena as the result of which he died. The sages then churned his dead
body, which resulted into the manifestation of a mean caste called Mlechchha. They kept on
churning his body and in the process, an extremely virtuous entity manifested from the right
hand of Vena. He held various weapons like mace, bow and arrows in his hands. He was none
other than Prithu, the embodiment of Lord Vishnu.
After being crowned as a king, Prithu was saddened to see the prevalence of immorality
throughout the length and breadth of earth. The lack of virtuosity and religiousness among the
inhabitants of earth made him extremely furious. He decided to destroy the earth. The earth
became scared and fled in the guise of a cow. Prithu chased her wherever she went. At last, the
cow halted at a place as she had got tired. To save her life, the cow agreed to fulfill all the desires
of Prithu. Prithu then milked the cow, which later on got transformed into cereals. Similarly all
the deities, ancestors and other human–beings milked the cow and received numerous invaluable
Prithu was a just king. Peace and prosperity prevailed during his reign. People were religious and
free from any kind of sorrow. The earth is named after him as Prithvi.Sage Pulastya then went on
to give a detailed description of Surya dynasty–––Vivaswan (Surya) had three queens–––Sangya,
Ragyi and Prabha. Ragyi had a son named Raivat while Somgya was the mother of Vaivaswat––
Manu, Yama and Yamuna. Once, Sangya being unable to bear the extreme radiance of Surya
created a superficial entity from her body and instructed her to act as Surya's wife in her absence.
The name of this superficial woman was chhaya, who had two sons and two daughters from
Surya. The names of her sons were Savarna––Manu and Shanaishchar, while the names of her
daughters were Tapti and Vishti.
Shanaishchar became immortal as a planet while Yamuna and Tapti became rivers. Vaivaswat
Manu had ten sons among whom 'Ila' was the eldest. After appointing Ila as his successor,
Vaivaswat, manu went to do penance.Once, Ila transformed into a woman after tresspassing a
forest where Lord Shiva and Parvati were enjoying privacy. It was Lord Shiva's curse that any
male who ventured in to that forbidden forest would become a woman. Later on, Buddh became
enchanted by Ila's beauty and married her.
Meanwhile, when Ila did not return to his kingdom, his brother Ikshvaku went in search of him.
Ikshvaku reached the outskirts of the same forest but did not enter it. He managed to please
Shiva by his devotion. When Lord Shiva appeared, Ikshvaku requested him to make Ila a man
once again. Shiva told him that it was impossible but assured him by saying "If you perform an
Ashwamedha Yagya and donate all the virtue thus acquired to me, then your brother will be able
to live as a man for one month. But, after one month he will again become a woman. Thus, his
form will keep on changing every alternate months."
Meanwhile Ila gave birth to four sons among whom Utkal, Gaya and Haritashwa were
prominent. This way, Ila became the source from which the lineage of chandra sprouted.
Ikshvaku ruled over Madhya–desh. He had one hundred sons, all of whom ruled the territories
situated north of Meru Mountain. Ikshvaku also had one hundred and fourteen more sons, who
ruled over the areas situated south of Meru. Kakusttha was Ikshvaku's grand–son. Kakusttha had
a son named Suyodhan. Some other prominent kings coming from this lineage were––Prithu,
Vrihadashwa, Kuwalashva, Purukutsu, Dharmasetu, Muchukund, Tridhanva, Traidharun,
Satyavrat and Satyarath.
The most truthful king Harishchandra was Satyarath's son and Rohit was his son. Famous kings
like Raghu, Dilip Aja, Dirghabahu and Prajapati Dasharath were the descendants of Ikshvaku.
Dasharath had four sons among whom Sri Rama was the eldest and who had killed the demon
king Ravana. Rama had two sons––Lav and Kush.
BASHKALI––THE DEMON KING
Bhisma requested Sage Pulastya to reveal Why Lord Vishnu had to take incarnation as Vamana.
Sage Pulastya replied––– Once, during Satya Yuga, the demons had defeated the deities and
driven them out from their abode––heaven. The mighty demon, Bashkali was their leader. He had
become immortal an account of a boon received from Lord Brahma. Indra went to Lord Brahma
and narrated the aweful tale of the deities. Lord Brahma assured him that Lord Vishnu would
certainly help in this matter. Lord Brahma contemplated on Lord Vishnu who appeared in a very
When Lord Vishnu came to know about the deities's pitiable condition, he promised them that
very soon Bashkali's wings would be clipped.
Lord Vishnu said–––"Very soon, I will take incarnation as Vamana. Indra will have to come along
with me and demand a piece of land measured by my three steps. I shall then reveal my giant
form and send him to the Patal loka after making him bereft of his kingdom. In course of time
Lord Vishnu manifested as Vamana from Aditi's womb. His manifestation was simultaneously
marked by various auspicious signs––the air became full of fragrance, the deities started
rejoicing, the trees started shedding flowers on their own and all the desires of living beings were
Lord Vamana then went to Bashkali's palace accompanied by Indra. Both of them marvelled at
the grandness of Bashkali's city, which was surrounded by a high boundary–wall.Bashkali was a
very virtuous and benevolent king. He was truthful and well versed in all the scripture. His
subject lived in prosperity and enjoyed a long life. When the demons saw Indra coming with a
dwarf they informed Bashkali. Bashkali instructed the demons to bring both the guests with due
Bashkali treated his guests with all honor and asked Indra about the reason for his sudden arrival.
Indra praised Bashkali's benevolence and said–––"The short brahmin accompanying me is
desirous of a piece of land measured by his three steps." Bashkali was amused at this ridiculous
demand and requested Vamana to ask for anything he wished. But, Vamana wanted nothing
more than a small piece of land measured by his three steps.
Shukracharya (Bashkali's guru) smelled something fishy and warned him, but he was not to
listen. Bashkali then requested Vamana to go ahead and measure the land by his three
steps.Suddenly, Lord Vamana transformed his physique into a giant size. His first step reached
the Surya–loka and his second step touched the Dhruva–loka. He hit the top of the universe with
his third step as a result of which water poured down. The water got collected and came to be
known as Vaishnavi river. But, the land had still not been measured and hence Lord Vamana
reminded Bashkali of his vow and ultimately the helpless Bashkali surrendered to the will of
Lord Vamana and sought his refuge. Lord Vamana blessed him and sent him to Patalloka.
SRI RAMA KILLS SHAMBUK
After killing the demons king Ravana, Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya. Many sages had arrived
there to bless him on the occasion of his crowning ceremony. Sage Vashishtha was one of
them.As Sri Rama was conversing with the sages a brahmin arrived there with the corpse of his
son and wailed–––"O son! Your death is certainly due to some flaw of Sri Rama. Now, your
mother and I have decided to give up our lives as there is no point in living."
Sri Rama's heart was filled with grief and he asked Sage Vashishtha as to how the brahmin could
be helped. Sage Vashishtha revealed to Sri Rama that the brahmin's son had died a premature
death because of Shambuk. Vashishtha said––"Shambuk is a Shudra by birth, but he is doing an
austere penance. Shudras are not entitled to do penance in all the three yugas, except the Kali
Yuga. So, only his death can bring back the brahmin's son alive."
Sri Rama instructed both his younger brothers––Lakshman and Bharata, to look after the state's
affairs in his absence and went in search of Shambuk boarded on his Pushpak Vimana. Sri Rama
saw a man doing penance at the shore of a reservoir. He landed his Pushpak Vimana and went
near that man. He introduced himself and enquired about the man's identity. Sri Rama asked––
Why are you doing such an austere penance. Who are you?
Without moving the man replied that he was a shudra named Shambuk. He said––– I am desirous
of attaining to devaloka and hence I am doing this penance. Sri Rama took out his sword and
severed Shambuk's head. All the deities hailed Sri Rama and the brahmin's child became alive
MANIFESTATION OF GANESH AND KARTIKEYA
Once, before taking her bath, goddess Parvati anointed unguent on her body and while removing
it created a human form from the accumulated dross. The head of this human form resembled an
elephant. Parvati then playfully immersed the human–form into river Ganga. But, to her sheer
amazement the human form became alive and of enormous size. She accepted him as her son and
he was none other than elephant–headed deity Ganesh.
Once, Lord Shiva became so deeply fascinated by her consort. Parvati hat he did not come out
from his palace for 1000 years. The deities became worried and sent Agni to find out the reason.
Agni disguised himself as a parrot and entered the palace where Shiva was enjoying privacy with
Meanwhile, Parvati went at the bank of a reservoir to quench her thirst. After reaching there she
saw six divine women (matrikas) carrying water in the leaves of lotus flowers. As Parvati was
thirsty, she requested them to give some water. The matrikas agreed on the condition that a son
born to her (Parvati) should also have to be accepted as their son. Parvati gave her conscent. The
matrikas gave Parvati water to drink.
Hardly had Parvati finished drinking water than a divine child emerged out from her womb. The
child possessed various weapons like, trident, shakti and a noose in his hands. He was none other
than Kartikeya.The deities appointed Kartikeya as the commander of their army. During that
time, a mighty demon named Tarakasur used to torment the deities. Kartikeya killed that demon
on the request of deities.
AN IDEAL BRAHMIN AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
Describing about the qualities of an ideal brahmin, Sage Pulastya said––– Once, Narada had asked
Lord Brahma as to who was worthy of receiving Vishnu's blessings. Lord Brahma had told
Narada that Lord Vishnu showered his blessings on those who engaged themselves in the service
of brahmins. A brahmin should be virtuous and well versed in all the scriptures. A brahmin who
does not observe the rituals as mentioned in the Vedas, brings disgrace to his ancestors. An ideal
brahmin is respectful towards his parents, teachers and treats his guests with due honor. He never
aspires for women other than his wife and chants the sacred Gayatri mantra everyday.
Goddess Gayatri is said to have manifested in the lineage of Sankhyayan. She is of fair
complexion and fire is the symbolical expression of her mouth. Lord Brahma dwells on her
forehead, Lord Vishnu in her heart and Lord Rudra has his abode in her braided hair. The
Gayatri mantra consists of 24 letters and each of them is related with a specific deity. There is a
mention of Gayatri mantra, which consists of 18 letters. It begins with the word 'agni' and ends
with 'swaha'. The mantra is as follows–––
OM AGNERVAKPUNSI YAJURDEDIN JUSHTA SOMAM PIBA SWAHA.
A person, who chants the mantra for 100 times, becomes liberated from gravest of sin. The
various deities related with the twenty–four letters of Gayatri Mantra are as follows––
1st letter ––– Agni 2nd letter ––– Vayu 3rd letter ––– Surya 4th letter ––– Akash
5th letter ––– Yamraj 6th letter ––– Varuna 7th letter ––– Brihaspati 8th letter ––– Parjanya
9th letter ––– Indra 10th letter ––– Gandharva 11th letter ––– Poosha 12th letter ––– Mitra
13th letter ––– Twashta 14th letter ––– Vasu 15th letter ––– Marudganas 16th letter ––– Soma
17th letter ––Angira 18th letter ––Vishwadeva 19th letter ––Ashwins 20th letter ––Prajapati
21st letter –––All deities 22nd letter ––– Rudra 23rd letter ––– Brahma 24th letter ––– Vishnu
A devotee should then perform the ritual of 'nyas' by mentally establishing different words of the
Gayatri mantra in the various parts of his body as given below ––
OM BHUH –––in the heart, OM BHUVAH ––– in the head, OM SWAH –––in the top–knot, OM
TATSAVITURVARENYAM––in the whole body, OM BHARGODEVASYA DHIMAHI –––in
both eyes, OM DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT –––in both hands.
Regular chanting of Gayatri mantra bestowes similar virtues attained by the study of all the four
vedas. A brahmin who does not know Gayatri mantra is considered to be worse than a shudra.
Anybody who chants Gayatri mantra attains salvation.
Describing how a brahmin should earn his livelihood, Lord Brahma said to Narada––Alms, which
a brahmin gets without making any demand for it, is called Vritta. 'Unchhavritti' is even better
than Vritti and it means collecting foodgrain which are scattered in places like fields, granary,
market–place etc. A brahmin should accept the Dakshaina that his host gives him after the
completion of yagya ceremony. He should engage himself in educational activities. He can also
earn his livelihood by engaging himself in other auspicious activities.
If the circumstances do not permit a brahmin to earn his livelihood by any of the above
mentioned means, then he may opt for the occupation of a kshatriya. In such a case, he should
endeavor to have mastery both over the vedas as well as different weaponary. Battle should be
his last option. When the very existence of religiousness is at stake, he should wage a war against
irreligious people and to protect the religion.
In an emergency situation, a brahmin can also choose the occupation of a Vaishya and earn his
livelihood by doing business or agriculture. But, while earning his livelihood by doing
agriculture, he should in no circumstances abandon his own duties (duties of a brahmin). He
should be honest while doing business and never try to exploit the customers.
Describing about the importance of five virtuous deeds, Pulastya said to Bhisma–––"The five
supreme virtuous deeds are––obedience to parents, faithfulness towards husband, equanimity, not
having enmity towards friends and devotion towards Lord Vishnu. By pleasing his father, one
pleases all the deities. Mother is superior even to all the places of pilgrimage combined together.
Pulastya then narrated the same tale to Bhisma, which lord Brahma had once told some
prominent sages –––
Once, there lived a famous Brahmin called Narottam. He had acquired divine powers on account
of his austere penance but unfortunately he never treated his parents with respect. After taking
his daily bath, Narottam hanged his wet clothes in the open sky without any support and they
used to dry without falling down on the earth. This special power had made him very
arrogant.One day, a crane flying in the sky passed dung on his face, which made him very
furious. Narottam cursed the crane as the result of which it was burnt to death. His special power
vanished due to the sin acquired by killing an innocent bird. Now, no longer his clothes remained
in suspended position in the sky.
Narottam became very sad. Suddenly he heard a heavenly voice instructing him to see a
'chandala' named Mook. "His discourses would be beneficial for you."– Said the heavenly voice.
Narottam went in search of Mook––the chandal and found him in the servitude of his parents.
Mook was a great devotee of his parents and his total devotion towards his parents had blessed
him with an extraordinary power–his house used to hang in the air without any support. Narottam
was deeply amazed at this wonderful sight. He wanted to know how Mook had acquired such
divine powers. But, Mook requested him to wait, which made Narottam very angry. Mook then
told Narottam–––"I can talk to you only after attending to my parents. I am not that crane which
was charred to death by your curse. If you don't have time then go and meet that 'faithful–wife.
She will answer your questions."
Narottam did not know where that faithful wife lived, so he stood there wondering what to do
next. Suddenly Lord Vishnu emerged from Mook's house disguised as a brahmin. He took
Narottam to the 'faithful–wife's house. All along the way Lord Vishnu preached Narottam on the
qualities of a chaste woman. As both of them were about to reach that chaste woman's house,
lord Vishnu disappeared, leaving Narottam all alone.
Narottam requested the woman to enlighten him on the finer points of virtuosity. But, the woman
was busy attending her husband and requested him to wait. Narottam threatened to curse her, to
which the woman replied–––I am not that crane whom you had cursed. If you are in a hurry then
you can go and meet 'Dharm––Tuladhar'. He is an honest businessman and is capable of
answering your queries."
Lord Vishnu once again appeared from that woman's house disguised as a brahmin. Narottam
asked him as to how were both Mook and faithful wife aware of the incident in which the crane
was charred to death. Lord Vishnu told him that both of them had acquired this special power by
the virtue of their respective religiousness.
Lord Vishnu and Narottam proceeded towards the place where Dharmtuladhar did his business
transactions. As they were about to reach the place, Lord Vishnu disappeared once again, leaving
Narottam all alone.Narottam saw Dharmtuladhar busy in his dealings with total honesty. He
requested him to reveal as to what made the wet clothes to hang in the air without any support.
Dharmtuladhar requested him to wait but Narottam was in a hurry to get answer to his questions.
Dharmtuladhar told Narottam––Please wait for sometime, as I am busy doing my business
transactions. If you don't have time then you can go and meet Adrohak, who is fully capable of
giving answer to your questions. Lord Vishnu once again accompanied him disguised as a
When both of them were about to reach the place where Adrohak used to live, lord Vishnu
disappeared and Narottam was left all by himself, once again. Narottam requested Adrohak to
preach on the essence of religiousness. Adrohak was a man of impeccable conduct and had full
control over the sensual urges. He advised Narottam to meet the supreme devotee of Lord
Vishnu, who lived nearby. Adrohak said–– You would get answers to all your questions. He will
reveal to you the reason that made wet clothes to hang in air without any support. Narottam then
proceeded towards the place where the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu lived. Lord Vishnu once
again accompanied him in the guise of a brahmin. After reaching there, Narottam expressed his
desire of seeing Lord Vishnu. The supreme devotee took him to a temple situated inside the
Narottam was amazed to see the same brahmin, who had been accompanying him all along the
way, siting on a lotus flower. He realized that the brahmin was lord Vishnu himself. Lord Vishnu
blessed him and said–––Be respectful towards your parents, if you want to attain to my abode. I
dwell in the houses of people who are virtuous, truthful, possessed equanimity and who have full
control over their passion. This is why you found me present at the homes of chandal, Tuladhar
and Adrohak. Narottam realized his mistake and decided to be in the servitude of his parents for
the rest of his life.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RUDRAKSHA, AMLA AND
Once, while describing about the importance of Rudraksha to the sages, Vyasa said––– One who
wears a Rudraksha rosary is supreme among all human beings. The mere sight of such a holy
man absolves people of their sin. A Rudraksha bead bears features of a Linga and yoni on its
surface. One should not wear a rudraksha on which above mentioned features are absent.
Similarly two joint beads should never be worn. All the mantras become doubly powerful when
chanted with the help of rudraksha–rosary.During Satya Yuga, there lived a mighty demon
named Tripurasur. He had conquered the deities and was capable of moving in the space. The
deities sought help of Lord Shiva, who killed Tripurasur by the sight of his third–eye. In the
process, few drops of sweat, emanating from Shiva's body fell down on the earth. These sweat
drops got transformed into a large Rudraksha–tree.
Amla is a very nutritious fruit and great religious significance has been attached to it. Amla fruit
is very dear to Lord Vishnu and its use on the auspicious day of Ekadashi brings unmatched
virtue. A person who regularly eats amla enjoys a long life.The following tale adequately
describes the religious importance of amla ––
Once upon a time, a chandala went into the forest for hunting. He hunted many deer and birds.
Feeling hungry, he saw an amla tree and climbed up the tree. This way he satiated his hunger by
eating sweet amla fruits. Unfortumately while he was climbing down the tree, he fell down and
died.When the attendants of Yamaraj arrived to take back his soul, they could not do so even
after repeated attempts. The attendants of Yamaraj became very surprised and went to the sages
for clarification. The sages revealed to the attendants that they could not go near the chandala's
dead body, because he had eaten amla just before his death. Such is the glory of amla!
Once Kartikeya asked Lord Shiva about the holiest tree, which was capable of giving salvation.
Lord Shiva replied–––The Tulsi plant is supreme among all the vegetations. She is very dear to
lord Vishnu and fulfills all the desires of a man. Lord Krishna dwells near the place where there
is a Tulsi plant. Spirits and ghosts never dare to venture near the Tulsi plant. If a man attaches a
Tulsi leaf to his Shikha at the time of his death, he is liberated from all his sins. One who
worships Lord Vishnu by offering Tulsi–leaves attains salvation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SURYA'S WORSHIP
Once, while describing about the importance of Surya's worship to Vaishampayan, Sage Vyasa
narrated the following tale –––
There lived a king named Bhadreshwar. He ruled over Madhyadesh. Once his left hand was
infected with leprosy. Bhadreshwar, fearing the prospect of dreadful leprosy spreading to his
whole body, decided to end his life. He expressed his desire to the head–priest. The head–priest
cautioned Bhadreshwar that if he went ahead with his decision, then the whole kingdom would
be destroyed. He said ––– 'You will be cured of leprosy, if you worship Lord Surya.'
The head–priest then told the king about the appropriate rituals of Surya––worship. King
Bhadreshwar began his austerities and worshipped Lord Surya by chanting mantras and offering
articles like Naivedya, fruits, Ardhya, Akshat etc to the deity. King Bhadreshwar was cured of
his leprosy within a year by the virtue of his deep devotion towards Lord Surya.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SIN AND VIRTUE
Once, Yayati requested Matali to describe the various sinful and virtuous deeds, which a man
normally commits in his life.
Matali replied–––'One who criticizes the vedas and follows the religion of other's after
abandoning his own or torments virtuous people is a grave sinner. Similarly, not respecting one's
parents, not giving 'Dakshaina' to a brahmin after the completion of a shradha ceremony,
studying the scriptures in an impure physical state are some other sinful deeds.
'One who obstructs a hungry man from having his food or thirsty person from quenching his
thirst commits a sin similar to that of killing a brahmin.
Matali described some other types of sins –––
Back biting, seeing faults with others and demeaning their efforts, acquiring other's land by
unfair means, killing innocent animals, having illicit relationship with women other than one's
wife, telling lies, showing disrespect to the guests etc, are considered to be sinful deeds.
Describing about the various types of virtuous deeds, Matali said –––
Non–violence, forgiveness, truthfulness, devotion towards god, benevolence, abstinence, oblation
and meditation are some of the virtuous deeds. Donating food–grains, domesticated animals like
horse, cow etc., giving water to a thirsty person are some other types of virtuous deeds. A person
who donates wooden sandals a needy brahmin attains to the heaven. Worshipping Lord Shiva or
Lord Vishnu enables a man to attain to the Shivaloka or Vishnuloka respectively.
KING YAYATI PROPAGATES VAISHNAVA––DHARMA
King Yayati was the son of Nahush and a descendant of Soma––dynasty. He was a great devotee
of Lord Vishnu and had contributed a lot in the propagation of Vaishnava––dharma. Yayati had
sent many emissaries in all directions to propagate Vaishnava––dharma. During Yayati's reign his
subject were prosperous and were free from any kind of sorrow. Peace prevailed everywhere and
people did not experience any natural calamity like draught or famine.
King Yayati enjoyed an unbelievably long life of one lakh years. He was blessed with eternal
youth and his appearance was enough to give an inferiority complex to a young man. All this, he
had attained by the virtue of his supreme devotion towards Lord Vishnu. Indra was very scared
of Yayati's increasing popularity and feared that if his virtuosity remained intact, he would very
soon become the ruler of heaven. Indra instructed Kamadeva and Rati to find some means so that
king Yayati could be enticed by human weaknesses like lust and infatuation.
Kamadeva, accompanied by other Gandharvas went to Yayati's palace and sought his permission
to stage a play. Yayati gave his permission and the play commenced. Rati appeared on the stage
as a beautiful woman and was successful in corrupting the thoughts of Yayati. Yayati became so
enchanted by Rati's beauty that he lost his senses and fell down unconscious. Finding the time
opportune 'Vriddhavastha' (deity of old age) and 'Kamadeva' entered Yayati's body. This way the
deities were successful in their designs and now the signs of old–age started to become evident in
YAYATI MARRIES ASHRUBINDUMATI
Once, king Yayati went into a forest for hunting. He saw a stag, which had four horns and chased
it. The deer led him deep into the forest and then disappeared. Yayati was tired and thirsty. He
saw a lake and decided to quench his thirst. First of all he took his bath and then drank sweet
water from the lake. As Yayati was relaxing at the bank of that lake, he heard a sweet voice
singing a song. Yayati proceeded towards the direction from which the sound was coming. He
saw a beautiful woman singing a song. Her companion accompanied the beautiful woman.
Yayati became enchanted by the divine beauty of that woman and wanted to marry her. The
beautiful woman's companion told Yayati that her friend could marry him only after he shed the
signs of his old age.
The beautiful woman was Ashrubindumati––the daughter of Rati. Vishala–her companion was the
daughter of Varuna. Yayati returned to his palace and requested his two sons––Taru and Yadu to
exchange their youth in lieu of his old age, but both of them refused to oblige him. Yayati cursed
both of them.
Yayati had a son–––Puru from his wife named Sharmishtha. When he made the same request to
Puru, he agreed without any hesitation. Yayati became pleased with Puru and appointed him as
Now, Yayati became young once again and went to meet Ashrubindumati. But,
Ashrubindumati's friend Vishala was still not convinced and expressed apprehension that her
friend would never play second fiddle to his two wives––Sharmishtha and Devayani.King Yayati,
being blinded by his lust, assured Vishala that Ashrubindumati would enjoy the supreme
authority and she had nothing to fear. He said––"I promise that you will be my only wife and I
will have nothing to do with my wives."
This way Yayati married Ashrubindumati and enjoyed a blissful married life for twenty–thousand
years. Once, Ashrubindumati expressed her desire of visiting all the divine places––Indraloka,
Brahmaloka, Shivaloka and Vishnuloka. Yayati took back his old age from Puru and returned his
youth. He appointed Puru as his successor and instructed his subject to live peacefully. But, the
people wanted to be with Yayati, so all of them accompanied him to the heaven. Yayati visited
all the divine places and ultimately attained to Vishnuloka.
KUNJAL––THE ENLIGHTENED PARROT
Once, while describing about the importance of a teacher, Lord Vishnu had narrated the
following tale to king Vena––– Sage Chyavan came from the lineage of Bhargav. Once, he
arrived at Omkareshwar with the objective of acquiring knowledge. Since he was tired, he
decided to take rest under the shade of a Banyan tree. A parrot named Kunjal lived on that tree.
The parrot had four young ones––Ujjawal, Samujjwal, Vijjwal and Kapinjal. Kunjal was a very
learned parrot and had mastery over all the scriptures. Once, Ujjawal requested Kunjal to give
discourse on various aspects of religiousness. Kunjal said–––The whole world is full of sorrow. A
man can be liberated from his sorrow by the means of salvation because salvation is free from
sorrow. Salvation can be attained with the help of abstinence, self–control and having deep
devotion in lord Vishnu. The soul being enlightened is also called 'Paramatma'. But, covered by
the darkness of ignorance it becomes difficult for the soul to attain salvation. A devotee can
meditate on both the forms of Lord Vishnu––Sakar (with form) and Nirakar (formless). But,
meditating on the Sakar form is easy for anybody. On the other hand only an enlightened soul
can meditate on the 'nirakar' form of Lord Vishnu. There are various austerities related with Lord
Vishnu and which if observed by a devotee, pleases him––Jaya, Vijaya, Jayanti, Vanjuli,
Tilgandha, Trihsprisha, Akshanda and Manoraksha. All these austerities are similar to different
types of Ekadashi or Dwadashi Vrata. Similarly, two other austerities namely Ashunyashayan
and Janmashtami are capable of freeing a man from all his sin. A devotee who chants Shatnam
stotra attains salvation.
KUNJAL PREACHES VIJJWAL
Describing the virtue of benevolence to Vijjwal. Kunjal––the learned parrot narrated the
following tale –––
Once, there lived a king named Subahu who ruled over chola desha. A learned brahmin named
Jaimini used to counsel him on religious and spiritual matters. One day, while Jaimini was giving
a discourse on the virtue of benevolence, Subahu requested him to describe about those deeds
that enables a man either to attain to the heaven or to hell.
Jaimini replied––– One who earns his livelihood by improper means definitely goes to hell.
Similarly, atheists, licentious people, proudy, backbiters and ungrateful people go to hell too.
One who gobbles up other's wealth by illegal means or shows disrespect to his guest goes to hell.
One who is a habitual liar or one who kills innocent animals or one who has abandoned the
religious path is certain to go to hell.One who is truthful and engages himself in various virtuous
deeds like penance, meditation, study of the scriptures, goes to the heaven. One who is respectful
towards his elders and leads a virtuous life goes to the heaven. In the same manner, he who is
benevolent and free from vices like jealousy hatred etc. goes to the heaven. Similarly, one who
leads his life as per the instructions given in the scriptures or has full control over his sensual
desires goes to the heaven.
King Subahu was so impressed by Jaimini's preaching that he decided to spend rest of his life in
the service of lord Madhusudan. He performed countless oblations as long as he was alive and
attained to Vishnuloka after his death.
KUNJAL NARRATES ABOUT HIS PREVIOUS BIRTH
Sage Chyavan, who had been listening to the narration of Kunjal, was amazed by his profound
knowledge. He asked Kunjal–––O great soul! Who are you? From where did you acquire such
Kunjal, who remembered everything about his previous birth said––
In my previous birth, I was the youngest son of a brahmin named Vidyadhar. My name was
Dharma Sharma. Seeing my dislike for study, my father became worried about my future. I used
to waste my time loitering here and there. People used to make fun of my stupidity, which made
me extremely sad. I decided to acquire knowledge but did not find anybody willing to teach me.
In due course of time I became old but was still an idiot. One day, I was sitting in a temple
cursing my fate. Suddenly, a sage arrived there and asked me as to what made me so sad. I
narrated my woeful tale. The sage felt pity on my condition and blessed me with divine
knowledge that made me capable of having advance knowledge of all the future incidents of the
world. Sage Chyavan was curious to know about the reason that made Dharma Sharma to be
born as a parrot.
Kunjal replied––– O Brahmin! A man is influenced by the company he keeps. The reason why I
took birth as a parrot is related with an incident, which occurred in my previous birth. Once, a
wicked fowler sold a parrot to a brahmin who in turn presented it to me. With the passage of time
I became very attached with the parrot and gradually deviated from my virtuous path. As a result
all my divine knowledge vanished and I became an idiot once again.
One day, a cat arrived and killed that parrot in my absence. I became very sad and used to spend
my time crying over the dead parrot. Ultimately I died but even at the time of death, my mind
was preoccupied with the thoughts of my beloved parrot. As a result, I was born as a parrot but
fortunately I remembered my previous birth even while I was still in my mother's womb. I was
full of remorse and used to curse myself for having wasted my life. Sage Chyavan was amazed
by the narration of Kunjal––the learned parrot.
SOME PROMINENT HOLY PLACES OF BHARATAVARSHA
Once, sages requested Suta to describe about the most prominent places of pilgrimage situated in
Bharatavarsha. Suta commenced his narration by describing the origin of creation and then switched over
to the geographical characteristics of Bharatavarsha. Suta said–––'There are seven prominent mountain
ranges in Bharatavarsha––Mahendra, Malay, Sahya, Shaktiman, Rikshavan, Vindhya and Pariyatra. Some
prominent rivers supplying potable water to the inhabitants of Bharatavarsha are–––Ganga, Sindhu,
Saraswati, Godwari, Narmada, Shatadru, Yamuna, Vipasha, Mahanadi, Vidisham, Varuna etc. The
names of the main Janapadas situated in the northern part of Bharatavarsha are Kuru, Panchal, Shalva,
Matreya, Jangal, Shoorsen, Pulind, Baudh, Chedi, Matsya, Bhoj, Sindhu, Utkal, Koshal, Madra, Kalinga,
Kashi, Malav, Magadh, Videh, Anga, Banga, Surashtra, Kekay, Kashmir and Gandhar. Similarly,
Janpadas like Dravid, Keral. Prachya, Karnatak, Kuntal, Chol, Sauhrid, Kona, Korak, Kalad, Mushal and
Sutap are situated in the southern part of Bharatavarsha.
Suta then described about the greatness of Pushkar tirth by recounting an incident related with
"One day, Sage Narada visited the Pandavas who were living in exile. The Pandavas had visited
many places during the course of their exile period and wanted to know about the fruits they had
acquired due to their pilgrimage.
"Sage Narada then recounted an incident when king Dilip had once posed the same question to
Sage Vashishtha. Sage Vashishtha while describing about the greatness of Pushkar said–––
Pushkar tirth is the holiest place where lord Brahma has his abode. Deities consider themselves
fortunate to be at Pushkar. A person who takes a holy dip at Pushkar and worships lord Brahma
acquires virtues equivalent to the accomplishment of the Ashwamedha Yagya."
Sage Vashishtha continued with the description of some other prominent places of pilgrimage
like Jambumarg, Narmada Amarkantak etc.
JAMBUMARG, RIVER NARMADA AMARKANTAK
Continuing with his narration, Sage Vashishtha said––– A man desirous of going on a pilgrimage
should first of all visit Jambumarg, because it is revered even by the deities and the sages. By
visiting this holy place a man acquires virtue equivalent to the accomplishment of an
Ashwamedha Yagya and attains to Vishnuloka. A man should then visit Tundulik Ashrama,
Agastya Ashrama and Kanya Ashrama, which are situated near Jambumarg. Taking a dip in the
holy water of Kotitirth, situated near Mahakal temple is believed to bestow undiminished virtue.
Bhadravat is a famous place of pilgrimage related with Lord Shiva and paying a visit here gives
virtue equivalent to donation of 1000 cows.
A man who takes holy dip in river Narmada and performs 'tarpan' in the name of manes acquires
fruits similar to the accomplishment of Agnishtom yagya. Narmada is the holiest of all the rivers.
A man becomes liberated from his sins by taking bath for three weeks in river Saraswati.
Similarly it takes one week of regular bath in river yamuna for a man to become absolved of all
his sins. The mere touch of Ganga water liberates a man from all his sins, but mere sight of river
Narmada is enough to liberate a man from all his sins.
Kotirudras are believed to dwell in the vicinity of Amarkantak mountain. All together sixty
crores and sixty thousand places of pilgrimage are situated all around this holy mountain.
Anybody present in the vicinity of this mountain must refrain from any kind of sinful deeds.
Visiting Amarkantak mountain during solar and lunar eclipses is considered to be extremely
auspicious. Similarly the confluence site of Narmada and Kaveri is considered to be sacrosanct.
Anybody who takes a holy dip in the confluence of Narmada and Kaveri becomes liberated from
'DHARMA TIRTH' AND YAMUNA–SNAN
Sage Narada continued with the description of various holy places and said––– "A pilgrim must
visit Dharma Tirth, which is named after the lord of death––Dharma. Once upon a time
Dharmaraj had performed an austere penance at that place this is the reason why it became
famous as Dharma Tirth. By visiting Dharma Tirth, a man liberated all his ancestors up to
seventh generation. After that a pilgrim should go to Kalap–forest, Saugandhik–forest, Suvarna–
Dhumavanti respectively. All the above mentioned holy places are capable of giving salvation."
Describing about the virtues of taking a holy dip in river Kalini (Yamuna) sage Narada said ––
A person who takes a holy dip in Yamuna becomes liberated from all his sorrows. The virtue
acquired by taking a bath in Yamuna is greater than paying visits to various holy places like
Pushkar, Kurukshetra, Brahmavarta and Kashi.Taking a dip in Yamuna also helps in the
fulfillment of all the desires of a man. Although, different rituals have been attributed to various
yugas like Satya Yuga––penance, Treta Yuga––knowledge, Dwapar Yuga––yagya and Kali Yuga––
donation, yet virtue of taking a holy dip in Yamuna transcends even time."
"Although the whole stretch of river Yamuna is believed to be holy, yet Yamuna flowing near
Mathura holds special importance because of her deep association with lord Krishna."Narada
narrated a tale to prove the significance of taking a bath in Yamuna.
"During Satya Yuga there lived a Vaishya named Hemakundal. He had earned lot of wealth by
dint of hard work. Although he was very rich yet happiness deluded him, as he had no progeny.
He was worried as to who would inherit his property after his death.
"In course of time, Hemakundal attained old age and after realizing about the impermanence of
the world indulged himself in virtuous deeds. He was blessed with two sons––Srikundal and
Vikundal. When both his sons grew up, Hemakundal went into the forest to do penance."
"Sri Kundal and Hemakundal squandered the whole wealth which their father had earned so
painstakingly. Both of them were of loose moral character and had illicit relationship with many
prostitutes. In a very short time they became poor and both of them starved to death. When the
yamdoots reached yamloka after taking their souls, Yamraj ordered––'Put Sri Kundal in Raurav
hell but send Vikundal to the heaven.' While Vikundal was being taken to the heaven he asked
one of the yamdoots––'The sins committed by my brother and me were almost identitical then
why is my brother being sent to hell while I am being sent to heaven.'
The yamdoot replied–You are being metted out this special treatment on account of your virtues
acquired by bathing twice in river Yamuna.There was a brahmin friend of your's named
Swamitra.You had accompanied him to Mathura and twice taken bath in the holy Yamuna. By
the virtue of the first bath you became liberated from all your sins, while the second bath helped
you in attaining to the heaven. Vikundal requested the yamdoot to allow his brother to
accompany him to heaven. Yamdoot replied that his brother could accompany him to the heaven
provided he donated all his virtues to him.
Vikundal agreed to donate his virtues to his elder brother for the sake of his liberation. This way,
both Srikundal and Vikundal attained to the heaven.
KASHIPURI, KAPARDISHWAR AND GAYA
On being asked by Yudhisthira about the grandeur of holy places like Kashipuri, Kapardishwar
and Gaya. Narada said –––
Just as Lord Mahadeva is supreme among all the deities, in the same manner Kashipuri holds a
significant status among all the places of pilgrimage. Hence an individual should make it a point
to visit Kashi once in his life time. The famous Shivalinga Kopardishwar is installed at Kashi
and is said to fulfill all the desires of a man. Performance of various rituals at Kashi liberates a
man from all his sins–all his flaws are eliminated automatically just by residing in Kashi.
A devotee who regularly practices meditation in the temple of Lord Kapordishwar attains
Yogasiddhi within six months. Worshipping Lord Kapardishwar after taking a holy dip in
Pishach–mochan kunda liberates a man from gravest of sin like Brahmahatya, etc. Gaya is
considered to be a sacrosanct place of pilgrimage and various rituals for the pacification of the
souls of dead ancestors are performed here. Anybody who offers Pindadan and tarpan at Gaya
not only liberates his ancestors but also himself. There is a very famous Banyan tree named
Akshayvat at Gaya. Gaya is situated at the bank of river Falgu.
PURANAS––THE EMBODIMENT OF SRI HARI
According to Suta, all the Puranas are nothing but the mediums through which Sri Hari manifests
himself–––Brahma Purana is said to be the forhead of Sri Hari, Padma Purana is said to be the
'heart' of Sri Hari, Vishnu Purana is said to be the 'right arm' of Sri Hari. Shiva Purana is said to
be the 'left arm' of Sri Hari. Srimad Bhagawat is said to be his 'thigh', Narada Purana is said to be
his 'navel', Markendeya Purana is said to be his 'right–foot'. Agni Purana is said to be his 'left
foot', Bhavish Purana is said to be his 'right–knee', Brahma Vaivrata Purana is said to be his 'left–
knee'. Linga Purana is said to be his 'right ankle', Varaha Purana is said to be his 'left ankle',
Skanda Purana is said to be the hair on the body of 'Sri Hari. Vamana Purana is said to be his
skin. Kurma Purana is said to be his back. Matsya Purana is said to be his stomach. Garuda
Purana is said to be his bone–marrow. Brahmanda Purana is said to be his bone.
So, all the Puranas being manifestation of different parts of Sri Hari's body are very sacred and
capable of bestowing salvation.
SHESHNAG NARRATES TALES OF SRI RAMA'S RETURN FROM LANKA
Once, Sages requested Suta to describe about Sri Rama's return from Lanka. Suta narrated the
same tale, which Sheshnag had once told Vatsyayan. Sheshnag said––After the killing of demon
king Ravana, Sri Rama appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. He then decided to return to
Ayodhya on Pushpak–Vimana, which Vibhishan had presented to him. He along with Sita,
Lakshman, Sugreev and Hanuman boarded the aircraft and flew towards Ayodhya.The earth
looked beautiful from such a high altitude and Sri Rama was continuously describing about the
importance of various places over which the aircraft flew. As the aircraft was about to enter the
airspace of Ayodhya, Sri Rama recognized Bharata, who was living at Nandigram at that time.
Bharata had vowed not to enter Ayodhya till the return of Sri Rama, hence he stayed at
Nandigram situated at the outskirts of Ayodhya awaiting Sri Rama's return. He led an austere life
as the result of which he had become weak and feeble.
On seeing Bharata, Sri Rama instructed Hanuman to inform him about his (Rama's) arrival.
Hanuman went to the hermitage of Bharata and informed him about Sri Rama's arrival. Bharata's
joy knew no bound and he expressed his desire to reward Hanuman for bringing such auspicious
news. Bharata then accompanied Hanuman and went to meet Sri Rama. Sri Rama's heart was
filled with grief when he saw Bharata, who looked like a hermit in his 'Valkal' and 'Kaupin'. On
the other hand Bharata cursed himself for being the cause of Sri Rama's miseries. Bharata asked
for Sri Rama's forgiveness and said–––'O Lord! You had to go into exile only because of me. I can
never be absolved of my sin.'
Sri Rama consoled him and after taking Bharata into his embrace enquired about his welfare. He
told Bharata that he had to undergo the sufferings of exile because of his own destiny. 'You are
not at fault. Don't curse yourself for my misery.' said Sri Rama. At last all of them including
Bharata boarded Pushpak Vimana and the aircraft took– off for Ayodhya.Continuing with Sri
Rama's tale, Sheshnag said––When Sumanth brought the news of Sri Rama's arrival at Ayodhya,
people danced in joy, Preparations started being made for Sri Rama's grand reception. The whole
city of Ayodhya was decorated with rows of lighted lamps.
Sri Rama and Sita alighted from the Pushpak Vimana and both of them were carried in a
palanquin to the palace. People stood in queues on both sides of the road with folded hands. Sri
Rama blessed them by raising his hand. First of all Rama went to meet Kaikayi who was full of
remorse and guilt. Sri Rama consoled her and then went to meet Sumitra to pay his obeisance to
her. At last, he went to meet his own mother––Kaushalya, who was dying to see him. Kaushalya
blessed Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshman. Bharata then instructed the royal astrologers to decide
upon an auspicious moment for Sri Rama's coronation. Thus Sri Rama became the king of
Ayodhya. During his reign peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. People were virtuous and
there was no sign of sin.
RAVANA–– THE MIGHTY DEMON
People of Ayodhya lived peacefully during Sri Rama's reign until one fateful day when they
were struck by a bad news––Sri Rama had abandoned Sita after a Washerman leveled an unfair
charge against her character. Such was the greatness of Sri Rama that opinion of each and every
individual was given due respect irrespective of his position and status. One day, Sage Agastya
arrived in the royal court of Sri Rama. After the formal Salutations were over. Sage Agastya
complimented Sri Rama for killing Ravana.
Sri Rama asked Agastya––'Who was Ravana–– the tormentor of deities? I am anxious to know
about the origin of his whole clan."
Sage Agastya replied––Vishrava was the grandson of Lord Brahma. His father was sage Pulastya.
Vishrava had two wives––Mandakini and Kaikasi. Mandakani's son was Kubera while Kaikasi
was the mother of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan. Kubera ruled over Lanka. One day,
Kubera, came to see his parents boarded on his aircraft––Pushpak Vimana. After he returned to
Lanka, Ravana, who was very much impressed by Kubera's royal appearances asked Kaikasi––
"Who was this fellow? From where did he acquire such an amazing aircraft."
Kaikasi revealed to Ravana that the guest was none other than his step–brother Kubera. She said–
–"Kubera is the son of your step mother––Mandakini. He has made his mother proud by his
conduct but I am ashamed of you, because of your inconsequential existence. You are no better
than a worm."
Ravana decided to prove his mother wrong by acquiring insurmountable power and authority.
Ravana went to the forest and performed an austere penance for ten thousand years by standing
on one foot. He fixed his gaze at the sun and never for a moment did he remove his gaze from it.
Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan also engaged themselves in austere penance. At last, Lord Brahma
became pleased and blessed Ravana with a vast kingdom. Ravana then started tormenting his
step–brother Kumbhakarna. He snatched Kubera's Pushpak Vimana and drove him out of Lanka.
Ravana then turned his attention towards the deities and drove them out of heaven. The deities
went to seek the help of Lord Brahma who in turn took them to Lord Shiva. Even Lord Shiva
was clueless about the means by which the indomitable Ravana could be subdued. Ultimately all
of them including Lord Shiva went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help.
Lord Vishnu assured them by saying –––
"I shall take incarnation as Rama at a place called Ayodhya. Presently, Ayodhya is being ruled
by Dashrath, who inspite of having three queens, does not have any son. I shall manifest myself
as Rama. Don't worry! I shall eliminate the menace called Ravana." Sage Agastya also told Sri
Rama that Ravana belonged to the caste called 'Brahmrakshas'. This way, Sage Agastya after
having finished his narration looked at Sri Rama anticipating further queries.
AGASTYA ADVISES SRI RAMA TO PERFORM
Sri Rama requested sage Agastya to tell about the means by which he could become liberated
from the sins of killing brahmins. Sage Agastya advised him to perform Ashwamedha Yagya. He
also described the rituals of performing Ashwamedha Yagya––– "Get a horse of white colour and
after worshipping it on Vaishakh Purnima leave it to wander freely. Tie a piece of paper on its
forehead on which your name and other details are mentioned. Soldiers should follow that horse
wherever it goes. You should fight a battle against any king who dares to stop the horse. You
should lead a celibate life till the horse returns back to the same place from where it had been let
loose. It is customary for the performer of Ashwamedha Yagya to indulge himself in benevolent
deeds till the completion of Ashwamedha Yagya." Sri Rama agreed to perform Ashwamedha
Yagya. He went to the seashore accompanied by numerous sages. He then cultivated a vast
expanse of land with the help of a golden plough. A large oblation site was constructed and thus
began Ashwamedha Yagya under the supervision of Vashishtha.
THE HORSE IS LET LOOSE
As per the advice of Sage Vashishtha, Sri Rama instructed his soldiers to bring a white–horse. A
white parasol was fixed on its back and the horse was decorated with colourful clothes. The
horse was then let loose and the faithful soldiers of Sri Rama followed it wherever the horse
went.A gold–sheet was hanged in the horse's neck and upon which was inscribed––This horse
belongs to Sri Rama, the son of Dasharath. Anybody who dares to stop this horse will meet
Shatrughan followed the horse as per the instruction of his elder brother, Sri Rama. Bharata and
Pushkal also accompanied him. A huge army led by Kalnemi was marching behind the horse.
LAV FASTENS THE HORSE
Some of the kings tried to stop the horse, but were defeated by Shatrughan. This way the horse
continued to move ahead without any problem till it reached the bank of river Ganga. It was
early morning and Lav after noticing the presence of horse become curious. He went near the
horse and tried to read the inscription hanging down its neck. He made fun of the might of Sri
Rama and fastened the horse. The soldiers tried to release the horse but Lav severed their arms.
They returned to Shatrughan and narrated the whole incident to him.
LAV VANQUISHES THE WHOLE ARMY
Shatrughan became extremely furious after seeing the condition of his injured soldiers. He
instructed Kalnemi to teach Lav a lesson. Kalnemi confronted Lav with a huge army and a
ferocious battle took place. Lav managed to kill Kalnemi, which created havoc in the rival's
army. The surviving soldiers tried to hold their ground but were forced to flee on account of a
fierce assault from Lav.
Shatrughan then ordered Pushkal to fight Lav but he became unconscious after being hit by Lav's
arrow. Now, Shatrughan's anger crossed all limits and he ordered Hanuman to kill Lav.
Hanuman uprooted a large tree and tried to hit Lav, but Lav cut that tree into hundred pieces with
a volley of arrows. Lav then released many arrows in the direction of Hanuman. Hanuman
fought valiantly but ultimately he fell down unconscious.
LAV BECOMES UNCONSCIOUS
When Shatrughan learnt about Hanuman's fate he was infuriated and went to fight Lav. But
when he saw a tender looking child in front of him he was surprised. Shatrughan asked ––
'O brave child! Who are you! Who is your father?'
But Lav was not interested in his irrelevant queries and challenged him for a duel. Shatrughan
was left with no other option but to fight. A tremendous battle was fought between them.
Shatrughan released volleys of arrow towards Lav but all of them were neutralized by him. For a
brief time Shatrughan lost his consciousness. After regaining his consciousness, he aimed his
most lethal weapon towards Lav. The arrow hit Lav and he fell down unconscious. Lav's
companions went and informed Sita about the whole incident. Kush came forward to fight
against Sri Rama's army. When he reached the battlefield he saw Lav who was held captive by
the enemy's army's. By that time, Lav had regained his consciousness and after seeing Kush he
somehow managed to free himself from the clutches of his captors.
Now, both the brothers launched a fierce attack on the enemy. The whole army of Sri Rama
started running helter and shelter. It did not take much time for Lav and Kush to vanquish the
whole army. All the great warriors like Hanuman, Sugriva, Pushkal, Angad Veermani and even
Shatrughan were either held captive or injured in the battle. Both the brothers fastened Hanuman
and Sugriva with ropes and took them to Sita. Sita immediately recognized Hanuman and
Sugriva. She instructed both her sons to set them free as well as the horse. Lav and Kush
followed the instruction of Sita and released everybody from their captivity. Sita then whispered–
––'May all the dead soldiers become alive.' Her words came true and all the dead soldiers became
alive once again. Shatrughan regained his consciousness too.
THE ARMY RETURNS TO AYODHYA
Shatrughan decided to return to Ayodhya. He instructed Sumati to make all the necessary
arrangements for the safe return of the caravan, which comprised not only of Sri Rama's army
but also of all the defeated kings and their vanquished armies. When Sri Rama came to know
about their arrival, he sent Lakshman to receive them. Lakshman received the victorious army
with all the honor and the all of them came to the palace. Sri Rama curiously asked Sumati about
everything that had happened.
Sumati paraded all the vanquished kings who had made the mistake of stopping the horse––
Sumad, Sabahu, Daman, Satyavan, Surath, etc. He then narrated the brave deed of Lav and
Kush.He also revealed how mighty warriors like Hanuman, Sugriva, Shatrughan etc. had been
defeated by both of them.
SRI RAMA SENDS LAKSHMAN TO BRING SITA
Sage Valmiki was present in Ayodhya to attend the Ashwamedha Yagya. Sri Rama asked him
about the identity of the two children––Lav and Kush. Valmiki said ––– Sita was pregnant at the
time you had abandoned her. I gave her refuge in my hermitage where she gave birth to twins––
Lav and Kush. Both the children were brought up in my hermitage with love and care. I taught
them all the sacred texts and scriptures and made them masters of various weaponries. So, Lav
and Kush are your sons. You must bring Sita back to Ayodhya with due honor, because she is
pure and chaste. Moreover your whole army owe its life to her."
Sri Rama's heart was filled with grief. He instructed Lakshman to bring Sita along with Lav and
Kush. Lakshman went to Valmiki's hermitage and requested Sita to return to Ayodhya. Sita
refused to return but sent Lav and Kush along with Lakshman. When Sri Rama found that only
Lav and Kush had come, he once again sent Lakshman to bring Sita. Lakshman followed his
instruction and went to Valmiki's hermitage for the second time. Meanwhile, Valmiki instructed
Lav and Kush to sing the praise of Sri Rama in their melodious voice. Everybody was moved by
their soulful rendition. Sri Rama took Lav and Kush in his embrace.
SITA RETURNS TO AYODHYA
Sri Rama eulogised all the revered sages who had arrived to attend the Ashwamedha Yagya. The holy
water of Saryu was brought and sprinkled in the yagya kund where Ashwamedha Yagya was being
performed, amidst the chanting of vedic mantras. Hardly had Sri Rama touched the horse with his hands
then it transformed into a human being. Everybody was amazed by this incident. Sri Rama asked that
man as to how he had attained the form of a horse. The man revealed to the assembled people that he
had become a horse due to Durvasa's curse. 'Later on Sage Durvasa had mercy on me and assured that
I would regain my human form by the divine touch of Sri Rama.'
Having said this the man attained to the heaven. In course of time Sri Rama organised two more
Ashwamedha Yagyas and his glory reverberated through all the three worlds.
UTTAR – KHAND
Once, on being asked by the sages about the greatness of Badrikasharama, Suta narrated the
same tale, which Lord Shiva had once told sage Narada –––
Lord Mahadeva had told Narada that altogether there were one lakh and twenty–five thousand
mountains and Badrikashrama was supreme among them. Lord Mahadeva said–––
Badrikasharama is the abode of Lord Nara–Narayan. Narayan––the origin of all creations has four
arms and his complexion is dark. Narayan manifests himself in both forms––Sakar as well as
Nirakar. He is the eternal Purusha and is worshipped by people during the full period of
Uttarayan. Since Badrikashrama is covered with snow during the period of Dakshainayan,
Narayan is not worshipper during these six months. All the deities dwell at Badrikasharama. The
sages live in their hermitages at Badrikasharama. River Alaknanda flows at Badrikasharama.
Anybody taking a dip in the holy water of Alaknanda becomes liberated from his sins.
THE DESCENT OF RIVER GANGA
Describing about the reason why river Ganga was brought down on the earth, Lord Mahadeva
told Narada––– King Bhagirath was the architect of Ganga's arrival on the earth. He wanted to
liberate his dead ancestorss from the curse of Sage Kapila. King Sagar came from the lineage of
the famous king––Harishchandra. Sagar had two queens. The elder queen had sixty thousand sons
while the younger queen had just one––Panchajan. Panchajan's son was Anshuman, who himself
was the father of Dilip. Dilip was the father of Bhagirath.
Bhagirath did an austere penance on the Himalayas for ten thousand years. As a result, river
Ganga descended on the earth. I (Shiva) held her in the locks of my hair and she remained there
for ten thousand more years. Bhagirath requested me to release Ganga so that his ancestors could
be liberated. I agreed to release Ganga and Bhagirath took her to the Patalloka where his
ancestor's had been charred to death due to Kapila's curse. Bhagirath sprinkled the water of
Ganga on the ashes of his ancestors and each of them attained salvation as a result. Eventually,
Ganga resurfaced at Haridwar––the most sacred place of pilgrimage.
DASHARATH PACIFIES SHANI
Sage Narada curiously asked Lord Mahadeva as to what made Shani such a volatile planet.Lord
Mahadeva replied––– Shani is extremely violent by nature and everybody is scarred of this planet.
Once, the royal astrologer of Dasharath was petrified at the prospect of Shani entering the
constellation of Rohini and warned him of its dire consequences. 'If the Shani is not prevented
from entering Rohini, then famine would occur lasting for more than twelve years.' said the royal
Dasharath went above the sky to subdue the might of Shani well armed with divine weapons.
Shani became terrified on seeing Dasharath in such a menacing mood and expressed his
willingness to fulfill his desires.
QUALITIES OF A VAISHNAV
Giving a detailed description of the qualities of a Vaishnava, Lord Shiva told Narada –––
A person who has total devotion in Lord Vishnu is called a Vaishnava. He is truthful, kind and
forgiving by nature. He engages himself in austere penance and refrains from any kind of
violence. He wears a Tulsi bead in his neck and puts on tilak. He is well versed in sacred text like
the Vedas, Puranas etc. The mere sight of a Vaishnava is enough to liberate a sinner from all his
sins. Feeding a Vaishnava bestowes virtue equivalent to feeding thousand of ordinary brahmins.
The sages enquired from Suta about the holiest city situated on the banks of river Yamuna.
Suta narrated the tale which Sage Saubhari had once told Yudhisthira–––Once, Narada and Parvat
were travelling through an aerial route, while they were flying over Khandav forest, they were
lured by the beautiful sight of river Yamuna. They decided to take rest for a while. Both of them
descended down and entered river Yamuna to take their bath. Meanwhile, King Shibi who ruled
over Ushinar saw them. He eagerly waited at the bank of Yamuna. When Narada and Parvat
emerged out of the Yamuna, they found king Shibi eagerly waiting for them. Meanwhile king
Shibi had noticed the remains of numerous 'havan–kundas' (oblation–altars) spread in a large
After the formal exchanges of pleasantaries were over, King Shibi asked Narada about those
Narada replied––During ancient times Indra had performed numerous Yagyas at this place to
express his gratitude to Lord Vishnu, with whose blessings he had regained the heaven from the
clutches of Hiranyakashipu. In course of time, this place became famous as Indraprastha. This
sacrosanct place is holier than all the holy places combined together. Indraprastha is spread in the
area of one yojan from east to west and four yojans from north to south.
VAIKUNTH––THE ABODE OF LORD VISHNU
Describing about the grandeur of Vaikunth, Lord Shiva told Parvati––A person who has total
devotion in Vishnu attains to Vaikunth after his death. Vaikuntha is the abode of Vishnu and
constitutes of numerous Janapadas. The magnificence of Vaikunth is beyond description and it
houses many grand palaces fully decorated with jewels and diamonds. The central part of
Vaikuntha is called Ayodhya and is well protected by dwarpals named Chanda, Prachanda,
Bhadra, Subhadra, Jaya, Vijay, Dhata and Vidhata.Vaikunth is inhabited by countless divine
people who live in well illuminated houses.
In the central part of Ayodhya is situated the 'antahpuri' of Lord Vishnu. It is inhabited by
celestial beauties––apsaras. There is a divine canopy situated just at the center of antahpuri, where
Lord Vishnu has his divine throne. The divine throne is surrounded by deities as well as by the
embodiments of all the four Vedas––– Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. The
deities–––Agni, Surya and Chandrama have their dwellings at the center of Vishnu's throne.There
is a grand pedestal called yogapeeth established on the throne. A beautiful lotus flower is
established on the yogapeeth on which is seated Lord Vishnu along with his consort Lakshmi.
Lord Vishnu appears divine in his complexion of a blue lotus, whose radiance is enough to
subdue crores of sun. He has radiant ear–rings hangings down his earlobes. His forehead is
covered with curly hair. He has the famous 'Kaustubh mani' in his neck. He holds a conch and a
chakra in each of his two hands and the remaining two hands are in the posture of giving
THE INCARNATIONS OF MATSYA AND KURMA
Once, goddess Parvati expressed her desire to know about all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Mahadeva replied–– Lord Brahma had created numerous Prajapatis like Bhrigu, Marichi,
Atri, Daksha, Kardam, Pulastya, Pulaha, Angira and Kratu. Marichi was the father of Kashyapa.
Sage Kashyapa had four wives––Aditi, Diti, Kadru and Vinta.Aditi was the mother of Deities
while Diti gave birth to demons like––Makar, Hayagreeva, Mahabali, Hiranyaksha,
Hiranyakashipu Jambha, Maya etc. Makar was a mighty demon, who after deceitfully acquiring
the Vedas from Lord Brahma had hidden himself inside an ocean. Lord Brahma requested
Vishnu to liberate the sacred Vedas from the possession of Makar.
Lord Vishnu then took the incarnation of Matsya and after killing Makar gave back the vedas to
Lord Brahma. Durvasa was the son of Sage Atri. Once, he went to Indraloka to see Indra. At that
time, Indra was planning to go out somewhere. Durvasa presented a garland of Parijat flowers to
Indra. Indra, after receiving the garland from Durvasa kept it carelessly on the forehead of his
elephant–Airavat. This garland was trampled under its feet by the elephant, which infuriated
Durvasa. He cursed Indra by saying–––Immense prosperity has made you arrogant. But you will
become a pauper within a very short time.
Durvasa's words came to be true and Indra found that not only the heaven but all the three worlds
had become bereft of goddess Lakshmi. Prosperity vanished and poverty prevailed everywhere.
The deities became worried and went to take the help of Brahma. Brahma took the deities to
Lord Vishnu. Vishnu became pleased with their eulogy and said ––
I will take incarnation as Kurma. If the ocean were churned with the help of Mandarachal
mountain and Vasuki, then goddess Lakshmi would manifest herself. I shall hold the
Mandarachal mountain on my back. This way the churning of ocean commenced. The
Mandarachal mountain was uprooted and placed inside the 'Ksheer–Sagar' and which rested on
the back of Lord Kurma. The serpent––Vasuki, was held by deities and demons on both the ends.
First of all the most venomous poison––Kalkut emerged from the ocean. Seeing both the deities
and demons unwilling to accept it. (Lord Shiva) drank it.
After the emergence of Kalkut, goddess Daridra and Varunai manifested themselves. Similarly,
Airavat– elephant, Uchchaishrava–horse, Dhanvantari, Surabhi––cow and Parijat– tree emerged
from the ocean. Ultimately, goddess Lakshmi manifested herself. The deities requested her to
dwell in the heart of Lord Vishnu and bless all the three worlds by her presence. Goddess
Lakshmi agreed and blessed them.
Continuing with the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati –––
Sage Kashyapa had two mighty sons from Diti––Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha
had once carried the earth to Rasatala. The deities requested Lord Vishnu to rescue the earth.
Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of a boar and killed Hiranyaksha with his sharp horn. When
Hiranyakshipu learnt about his brother's death he went to Merugiri mountain and started doing
penance to please me (Lord Shiva). I blessed him with immortality, Later on, Hiranyakashipu
married Uttanpad's daughter––Kalyani and had a son named Prahlada from her. In spite of being
born in the clan of a demon, Prahlada proved to be an extremely religious child and was a
supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu.
When Hiranyakshipu came to know about Prahlada's religious tendency, he tried his best to stop
him from worshipping Vishnu. But, all his efforts went in vain and Prahlada continued to
worship Lord Vishnu.Hiranyakashipu instructed his subordinates to kill Prahlada but each time
he came out unharmed. One day, Hiranyakashipu pulled out his sword and said–––'You say that
Vishnu is omnipresent. Is he present in this pillar?' Having said like this he assaulted the pillar
with his sword. Suddenly to his sheer amazement, Lord Vishnu manifested himself from that
pillar in the form of Nrisimha.
Hiranyakashipu had been blessed by Lord Shiva that he could be killed neither by a man nor a
beast. No weapon could harm him. He could be killed neither during the day nor during the
night. Hiranyakashiu had taken into consideration all the possible threat perceptions to his life
and tried to become immortal. But, Lord Vishnu takes incarnation to protect the humanity
whenever religiousness is under threat. This time, Lord Vishnu took incarnation as Nrisimha
(partly lion and partly human) and tore apart his belly with his sharp nails. After the death of
Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada was coronated as his successor. Prahlada ruled justly and his subject
were happy and satisfied.
Continuing with the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati –––
Prahlada had a son named Virochan.The most benevolent king––'Mahabahu–Bali' was Virochan's
son. Bali had defeated the deities and ruled over all the three worlds. Sage Kashyapa commenced
the most austere penance––Payovrata to help the deities regain their lost kingdom (heaven) once
again. He was accompanied by his wife––Aditi in his penance which lasted for one thousand
years. At last, Lord Vishnu became pleased by their penance and appeared before them. Sage
Kashyapa narrated the woeful tales of the deities and requested him to make Indra the Lord of all
the three worlds. Lord Vishnu promised that he would take incarnation as Vamana. In course of
time, Aditi became pregnant and ultimately gave birth to Lord Vamana. Lord Vamana appeared
in the form of a 'Brahmchari'. He wore a deer––Skin and carried a stick and a 'mekhala' in both
his hands. Lord Vishnu enquired the deities about the future course of action. The deities
informed him that Bali was busy performing a yagya and he would not turn down any demand
made to him because if he did so there was a fear of loosing all his virtues attained by the
performance of the yagya.
Lord Vamana went to the oblation site where Bali was performing a yagya and demanded a
small piece of land measured by his three steps. Bali agreed to meet the demand of his guest
inspite of Shukracharya's warning. Bali resolved to donate land by holding holy water in his
palm. Now, Lord Vamana abandoned his dwarfish form and appeared in a giant form. He
measured the whole earth by his first step. Lord Vishnu then measured the whole sky by his
second step. The helpless Bali agreed to donate all the three worlds to protect his vow.
Ultimately, Lord Vishnu sent Bali to the Rasatala and thus Indra became the ruler of heaven once
SRI RAMA'S BIRTH
Describing about Sri Rama's incarnation Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––'Once, Swayambhuva
Manu had expressed his desire of having Lord Vishnu as his son to which Lord Vishnu had
agreed. During Treta Yuga Manu manifested himself as Dasharath and Vishnu kept his promise
by taking birth as his son––Sri Rama. Similarly, during Dwapar Yuga Manu was born as Vasudev
and Lord Vishnu kept his word by taking birth as his son––Krishna. After the completion of one
thousand divine years, Manu will be born in the village of Sambhal as Harigupta and Vishnu will
take birth as his son––'Kalki'.
Lord Shiva then continued with the incarnation of Sri Rama and said––'Sage Vishrava was the
son of Pulasya and was married to Kekashi. Ravana and Kumbhakarna were born to the couple.
Sage Vishrava also had a daughter named Shurpanakha and a virtuous son named
Vibhishan.Ravana and Kumbhakarna did austere penance to please me (Lord Shiva). When I
appeared before Ravana he requested the boon of immortality from me. After receiving the boon,
Ravana became very arrogant and started tormenting the inhabitants of all the three worlds. The
deities became scarred and took the refuge of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu assured them that he
would solve their problem by taking incarnation as Sri Rama.
Dasharath came from the lineage of Surya. He had three queens–––Kaushalya, Sumitra and
Kaikeyi. Once, Dasharath performed a Vaishnav Yagya with the objective of acquiring a son.
Lord Vishnu appeared and assured him that he would take incarnation as Sri Rama in a short
time. Lord Vishnu gave a bowl of divine kheer to Dasharath, which he distributed amongst his
three queens. In course of time, Kaushalya gave birth to Sri Rama on the auspicious day of
Chaitra–Navami. The deities and the sages rejoiced at his birth.
SRI RAMA GROWS UP
Continuing with the tale of Sri Rama, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––Dasharath requested
Vashishtha to perform the Jatkarm Sanskar of Sri Rama. In course of time Kaikeyi gave birth to
Bharata––an incarnation of Panchajanya conch. Similarly, Sumitra gave birth to two sons––
Lakshman and Shatrughan. Lakshman was the incarnation of Sheshnag while Shatrughan was
the incarnation of Sudershan chakra. Sri Rama and his brothers received education under the
guidance of Sage Vashishtha. In a very short time they became proficient in all the scriptures and
mastered various weaponaries. Although all the four brothers were very close to each other, yet
Lakshman could not bear to live in Rama's separation even for a moment and was specially close
Sita manifested herself from the field while Janaka was ploughing it. King Janaka brought up
Sita with great love and care. At that time, Vishwamitra was busy performing a grand yagya at
Siddha Ashrama. But the demons created numerous problems and made it impossible for him to
accomplish the yagya. Vishwamitra went to Ayodhya and requested Dasharath to send Sri Rama
and Lakshman along with him so that the yagya could be accomplished without any problems.
Dasharath agreed to send Sri Rama and Lakshman along with Vishwamitra.This way,
Vishwamitra returned to his hermitage acompanied by both the brothers. Garuda presented a pair
of bow and imperishable set of arrows to both the brothers.
While staying at the hermitage Sri Rama and Lakshman killed many demons like Taraka and
Subahu. When Marich tried to disrupt the yagya, Sri Rama attacked him with Pavan–astra, which
sent Marich flying across the sea–shore. Meanwhile, on learning that Janaka was performing
Vajapeya yagya at Janakapur, Vishwamitra took Sri Rama and Lakshman to attend it. On the
way Sri Rama liberated Ahalya who had turned into a rock after being cursed by her husband.
After reaching Janakapur, Sri Rama broke Lord Shiva's bow and married Sita. Lakshman
married Urmila. Dasharath had come to attend the marriage ceremony accompanied by Bharata
and Shatrughan. Bharata was married to Mandavi while Shatrughan married Shrutkeerti.
Meanwhile, on learning that Sri Rama had broken Shiva's bow, Parshurama arrived there and
challenged him, but ultimately Parashurama realized about the divinity of Sri Rama and accepted
his superiority. At last, Sri Rama, Lakshman, Bharata and Shatrughan returned to Ayodhya along
with their respective consorts.
SRI RAMA'S EXILE
Lord Mahadeva continued with the tale of Sri Rama and told Parvati ––Dasharath wanted to
appoint Sri Rama as his successor but Kaikeyi did not like this idea. She wanted Bharata to be
made the king of Ayodhya and Sri Rama to be sent into exile for 14 years. Once, Kaikeyi had
saved Dasharath's life while he was fighting a battle against the demons. To show his gratitude,
Dasharath had promised two boons to her. At that time, Kaikeyi had told Dasharath that she
would make her demand at the appropriate time.
This way, Dasharath was compelled by Kaikeyi to accept the two demands. As a result, Sri
Rama was sent into exile. Bharata refused to become the king of Ayodhya and vowed to wait till
Sri Rama returned. Dasharath could not bear the sorrow of Rama's separation and died in his
sorrow. Bharata tried his best to convince Sri Rama to change his mind and accept the throne,
but Sri Rama did not listen to his request. Bharata then brought Sri Rama's wooden–sandal and
kept it on the throne. He vowed to spend rest of his life in austerities till Sri Rama returned.
While Sri Rama was still in exile, he went to the hermitage of Sage Atri and received his
blessings. Atri's wife– Anasuya preached Sita on the virtues of chastity. Sri Rama also visited
hermitages of some other prominent sages like Sharbhanga, Suteeksha, Agastya etc. Once, while
Sri Rama was living in Panchavati, Shurpanakha arrived there. Shurpanakha was Ravana's sister
and wanted to marry Sri Rama, But Lakshman severed her nose and ears. She went to a mighty
demon named Khar and narrated her woeful tale. Khar attacked Rama with a huge army, which
comprised of brave warriors like Trishira Dushan etc. Rama was Victorious in this battle and
Khar, Trishira and Dushan were killed.
Shurpanakha went to Ravana and informed him about the misdeeds of Rama. Ravana was
infuriated and wanted to take revenge. He abducted Sita with the help of Marich.When Jatayu
saw Ravana carrying Sita to Lanka, he fought with valiance but was injured in the ensuing battle.
Sri Rama went in search of Sita and met Jatayu, who was injured and who informed Rama that
Sita had been abducted by the demon king Ravana. Sri Rama met Hanuman at the Rishyamook
mountain. Later on he befriended Sugriva on the advice of Hanuman. Sugriva had enemity with
his brother–Bali. Sri Rama killed Bali and made Sugriva the king.
Sri Rama requested Hanuman to find out the whereabouts of Sita. Hanuman went to Lanka and
found Sita at Ashoka Vatika. He destroyed the garden and killed many demons including
Ravana's son––Akshay Kumar. Ultimately, he was captured by Meghnath and taken to Ravana's
court. Ravana ordered Hanuman's tail to be ignited. Hanuman then burnt the city of Lanka and
returned to Sri Rama. When Sri Rama came to know about the exact location of Sita, he decided
to attack Lanka with a huge army, which comprised of monkeys. The army camped at the sea–
shore where Vibhishan came to meet him.
A bridge was built across the ocean and the army reached Lanka. A fierce battle took place in
which many demons were killed. At last, Ravana came forward to fight against Sri Rama but was
killed. Sri Rama appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka and blessed him. Vibhishan presented
his pushpak Vimana to Sri Rama. All of them boarded the Pushpak Vimana and flew towards
Ayodhya. On the way Sri Rama met Bharata who was still awaiting his arrival at Nandigram. Sri
Rama was very pleased to meet Bharata. Ultimately all of them returned to Ayodhya.
SRI RAMA'S CORONATION
Describing the coronation of Sri Rama Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––People of Ayodhya rejoiced
at the return of Sri Rama. An auspicious day was chosen for his coronation and Sri Rama became
the king of Ayodhya amidst the chantings of Vedic mantras. Sri Rama ruled over Ayodhya for
one thousand years without any problem. Meanwhile, some ignorant people started pointing out
fingers at the character of Sita. Sri Rama decided to abandon Sita in the forest to quell the
rumour. Sita was pregnant at that time. Feeling pity on her condition, Valmiki took her to his
hermitage where Sita gave birth to Lav and Kush.
Meanwhile Sri Rama decided to perform Ashwamedha Yagya at the bank of river Gomati. But,
since the yagya could not have been accomplished without Sita, therefore he performed the
rituals seated beside a golden idol of Sita. In the mean time Valmiki arrived there, accompanied
by Sita. He requested Sri Rama to accept Sita, vouching for her chastity. Sri Rama told Valmiki––
'I am confident of Sita's chastity but she will have to prove her chastity for the satisfaction of
Sita was deeply hurt by Sri Rama's unkind remarks. She said––'May mother earth swallow me if I
ever had thought about any man other than my lord Sri Rama.' Hardly had Sita finished her lines
than the earth cracked and Sita vanished into that crevice. Sri Rama's heart was filled with
remorse but thinking that it was perhaps in his destiny to live in separation with Sita, returned to
Ayodhya accompanied by Lav and Kush. In course of time, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi left
for heavenly abode. Sri Rama continued to rule Ayodhya for 10,000 more years.
One day, Kala (death) arrived and reminded Sri Rama that the time had arrived for him to leave
his mortal body. Meanwhile Lakshman became aware of Sri Rama's decision of leaving his
mortal body. He gave up his life by taking samadhi in river Saryu. Sri Rama could not bear the
sorrow caused by Lakshman's bereavment. He appointed Lav and Kush as the kings of
Dwarawati and Kushawati respectively and decided to leave for heavenly abode. Sri Rama
entered the water of river Saryu, flowing at the distance of three yojans from Ayodhya.
Parvati requested Lord Mahadeva to narrate the divine tales of Vasudeva Krishna. Lord
Mahadeva replied––Vasudev was the descendant of yadu. His father was Devameedha. He was
married to Devaki––the daughter of Ugrasena.Ugrasena also had a mighty son named Kansa.
Kansa was extremely affectionate towards his sister Devaki. After her marriage, while Devaki
was going to her husband's house on a chariot being driven by Kansa, suddenly a heavenly voice
'Kansa, you would meet death at the hands of Devaki's eighth son.'
Kansa became very scarred and wanted to kill his sister then and there. But, Vasudev requested
Kansa to spare Devaki's life and promised to hand over any child that she gave birth to. Thus
Kansa imprisoned both Vasudev and Devaki.In course of time, Devaki gave birth to seven sons
and Kansa killed each of them. Lord Sri Hari manifested himself when Devaki conceived for the
eighth time. It was the month of Shravana and the day was 'Krishna–ashtami' when Sri Hari took
his incarnation at midnight. Soon after taking his incarnation he gave a glimpse of his divine
form to Vasudev and Devaki. On the instruction of Sri Hari, Vasudeva carried the infant to
Nand's house. He had no problem in moving out of the prison as all the guards had fallen asleep
due to the illusion of Sri Hari.
On seeing the swift currents of overflooded yamuna, Vasudev became worried. But the level of
river Yamuna receded as soon as Sri Krishna touched the river with his feet. Sheshnag protected
Sri Krishna from heavy rain with his thousand hoods. When Vasudev reached Nand's house he
found that Nand's wife–– Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl. Yashoda was sleeping at that
time and Vasudev had no problem in exchanging Sri Krishna with that baby girl. Vasudev then
returned to the prison and laid down the baby girl beside Devaki.
The baby–girl started crying and the guards immediately woke up. They informed Kansa about
the birth of Devaki's eighth child. Kansa tried to kill that baby girl by smashing her head, but she
escaped from his hands and flew up in the sky. She thundered–––'Your death is certain as your
assasin has already taken birth.' Kansa was terrified at the prospect of his death. He instructed his
soldiers to kill all the infants' whereever they were to be found in his kingdom. He also ordered
the release of Vasudev and Devaki, as there was no point keeping them in captivity. Meanwhile,
Sri Krishna grew up under the guardianship of Nand and Yashoda.
One day Kansa sent a wicked ogress named Putna to kill Sri Krishna. Putma had applied poison
on her breasts and tried to kill Krishna by breast–feeding him. Sri Krishna sucked her breast with
such ferocity that she died. Thus, Sri Krishna gave the first glimpse of his divinity to the
inhabitants of Vajra. Sri Krishna accomplished many such divine deeds during his childhood. He
grew up to be a mischieveous child and used to play numerous pranks on the fellow Gopis. He
used to steal their butter and curd. One day, all the Gopis complained to Yashoda about Sri
Krishna's misdeeds. Yashoda became angry and tied him with a wooden–mortar in order to
prevent him from troubling the Gopis. She then placed that mortar between two trees so that
Krishna could not move. But, Sri Krishna toddled away uprooting both the huge trees.
Once, a demon named Bakasur disguised himself as a huge heron and tried to kill Sri Krishna.
But, Sri Krishna hit him with a stone with such force that he met an instant death. This way Sri
Krishna had killed many ferocious demons while he was still a small child. Some of them well
Kaliya––the serpent etc, Dhenukasur, Arisht, Keshi etc. A significant incident had occurred
during Krishna's childhood. People of Vraja were devotees of Indra and used to worship him. Sri
Krishna stopped this tradition and encouraged people to worship Govardhan mountain. Indra
became extremely furious and caused incessant rain for one week. Sri Krishna protected the
people by lifting Govardhan mountain and shielding them from the continuous downpour. At
last, Indra accepted defeat and eulogized Sri Krishna.
KILLING OF KANSA
Continuing with the divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––When Kansa failed
in his repeated attempts to kill Sri Krishna, he instructed 'Akrura' to invite both Krishna and
Balarama to Mathura on the pretext of attending a ceremony called Dhanush–yagya. Kansa had
planned to kill Sri Krishna by deceitful means. Akrura was a great devotee of Sri Krishna and
was aware of Kansa's evil intentions. But, he had no other option but to follow the command of
his master Kansa. So, Akrura went to Vraja where Sri Krishna and Balarama used to live.
Sri Krishna and Balarama were delighted to meet Akrura. After the formal exchange of
pleasantaries, Krishna took Akrura to his home. Akrura conveyed the instructions of Kansa to
Nanda and requested him to send both Sri Krishna and Balarama to Mathura. Akrura said––'Sri
Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Kansa will be killed by him.'Nanda and Yashoda
were reluctant to send Sri Krishna to Mathura but Sri Krishna convinced them, Ultimately.
Akrura returned to Mathura accompanied by Krishna and Balarama. The people of Vraja became
sad when the time for Krishna's departure to Mathura arrived.
When Akrura reached Mathura accompanied by Sri Krishna and Balarama it was already
evening. Sri Krishna saw a dyer with colourful apparels going towards Kansa's palace. Sri
Krishna playfully demanded some set of clothes from that dyer which he refused to give. Sri
Krishna was infuriated and slapped him so hard that he started vomiting blood. In a short time
the dyer was dead. Sri Krishna and Balarama chose some beautiful set of clothes for themselves
and proceeded towards the palace of Kansa. After sometime they met a crooked woman carrying
'sandal–wood–paste'. Sri Krishna demanded some sandal wood paste from her, which she gave
without any hesitation. Sri Krishna blessed that crooked woman as a result of which she was
cured of her physical––deformity.
At last, both Sri Krishna and Balarama reached the oblation––site where 'Dhanush–yagya' was
suppossed to be performed. Sri Krishna lifted the divine bow kept there and broke it into two
pieces. When Kansa learnt that the divine bow had been broken, he ordered Chanur to kill
Krishna in a wrestling–bout. Kansa also fortified his palace by positioning wild elephants and
mighty warriors at all the entrance–points. Sri Krishna and Balarama spent the night at the
oblation–site. In the morning both of them proceeded towards the palace. Sri Krishna found an
elephant named Kuvalyapeeda standing at the main entrance of the palace. He killed that
ferocious elephant without much difficulty.
Sri Krishna and Balarama then entered the gymnasium where wrestling–bouts were supposed to
take place. All the demons those who had witnessed Sri Krishna killing that huge elephant
without any problem, became terrified and fled away from the gymnasium. Sri Krishna and
Balarama entered the chamber of Kansa. Kansa became terrified and ordered his trusted
lientenants––Chanur and Mushtik to kill Krishna.Chanur confronted Sri Krishna while Mushtik
fought a duel with Balarama. Ultimately, both the demons were killed after a fierce duel. Now,
Kansa was left all alone, Sri Krishna pulled Kansa from the throne where he was sitting and
slapped him so hard that he fell down on the ground. The injury proved to be fatal and as a result
Kansa died. Balarama also killed Kansa's younger brother whose named was Sunama.
After killing Kansa, Krishna and Balarama went to meet their parents––Vasudev and Devaki.
They also freed their maternal grandfather– Ugrasena who had been imprisioned by Kansa. At
last they appointed Ugrasena as the king of Mathura.
Jarasandh was the father–in–law of Kansa. When he learnt about Kansa' death he surrounded
Mathura with a huge army. Sri Krishna was well aware of Jarasandh's might and bravery. He
was also convinced that it would not be easy to defeat Jarasandh. So, he remembered Daruk––his
eternal charioteer and sought his help. Daruk appeared with a divine chariot named Sugriva––
pushpak. The chariot was well armed with all the divine weapons of lord Vishnu.
Sri Krishna and Balarama then entered the battlefied mounted on that divine chariot. A fierce
battle was fought between Sri Krishna and Jarasandh's army. Jarasandh covered Krishna chariot
with his various weapons but Sri Krishna destroyed them with his 'Chakra'. Sri Krishna then
destroyed Jarasandh's army by showering volley of arrows from his famous bow––Sharang.
Seeing the death and destruction in his army, Jarasandh came forward to fight Balarama.
Balarama attacked Jarasandh with his dangerous weapon––Hala (plough) and destroyed his
chariot. Jarasandh fell down on the ground and as Balarama was about to kill him Sri Krishna
requested Balarama not to kill Jarasandh. After being defeated, Jarasandh sought the help of
Kalyan, who had a large army. Kalyavan agreed to help Jarasandh and surrounded Mathura with
Realizing that Mathura was no longer a safe place to live, Sri Krishna shifted the whole
population of Mathura to Dwarka and went to fight Kalyavan. The battle continued for a long
period and after realizing that it was not easy to defeat his enemy, Sri Krishna, ran towards the
cave where 'Muchkund' had been sleeping since many past eras. Muchkund was blessed with a
boon according to which any person upon whom he put his glance after waking from his sleep
would die. Krishna hid himself behind Muchkund. Kalyavan, who was chasing Krishna, entered
the cave and kicked Muchkund. Muchkund opened his eyes and saw Kalyavan. Kalyavan was
burnt to ashes. This way, Sri Krishna was able to defeat his powerful enemy by his cleverness.
ABDUCTION OF RUKMINI
Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––– When Jarasandh learnt about Kalyavan's death, he attacked
Balarama to avenge his friend's death. But, very soon he realized that it was beyond his capacity
to defeat Balarama, so he retreated alongwith his army. Sri Krishna and Balarama returned to
Dwarka.In course of time, Balarama married Revati––the daugher of Raivat. At that time, there
ruled a king named Bhismak. He ruled over Vidarbha. He had a beautiful daughter named
Rukmini. He also had many sons among whom Rukmi was prominent.
Rukmi wanted Rumini to get married to Shishupal much against her wishes. Rukmini being an
incarnation of goddess Lakshmi rightly wanted o have Sri Krishna as her husband. Rukmini sent
a message to Sri Krishna about her brother's intention. Sri Krishna went to help her,
accompanied by Balarama. Sri Krishna reached Vidarbha on the same day, Rukmini was
supposed to marry Shishupal and abducted her to Dwarka. Jarasandh and Rukmi chased
Krishna's chariot but Balarama defeated Jarasandh while Sri Krishna fastened Rukmi with the
chariot. Sri Krishna also shaved off Rukmi's hair, which filled him with so much of shame that
he decided not to return to Vidarbha.After reaching Dwarka, Sri Krishna married Rukmini on an
SRI KRISHNA'S QUEENS
Continuing with the divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––Sri Krishna had 16
thousand queens among whom Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, etc. were prominent. King
Sattajit had a priceless diamond named––Syamantak, which he had presented to his younger
brother––Prasena. Sri Krishna was fascinated by that diamond and demanded it from Prasena,
which he refused to part with.
One day, Sri Krishna alongwith Prasena and other Yadavas went into the forest for hunting.
While chasing a deer, Prasena seceded from his group and was killed by a lion. The lion took the
diamond and started playing with it. Incidentally, Jambavan––who had once fought along with Sri
Rama against Ravana, saw the lion playing with the diamond. He killed that lion and took the
diamond in his possession.
When Sri Krishna returned to Dwarka, he was surprised by a strange rumour, which pervaded
the whole city. Some people suspected that Sri Krishna had killed Prasena for the diamond. Sri
Krishna was very much distributed by this baseless rumour. To clear the doubts, he went into the
forest accompanied by all the residents of Dwarka and showed the dead body of Prasena, which
was still lying there. When people saw the mutilated corpse of Prasena, which bore marks of the
lion's claws and canines, they became convinced of Sri Krishna's innocense.
While returning back to Dwarka, Sri Krishna saw an effulgent cave. Sri Krishna was very
surprised and wanted to find out the source of light. He entered the cave and saw Prasena's
diamond hanging on top of a cradle, in which a child was lying. A woman was singing a lulaby
so that the child falls asleep–––'The lion killed Prasena while Jambavan killed the lion and
acquired this diamond from its possession. O child! Don't cry as this priceless diamond belongs
to your father.'Sri Krishna furiously blew his conch. Jambavan came out from the cave after
listening to the sound of the conch. A fierce duel took place between them, which continued for
ten days. At last, Jambavan realized that the person against whom he was fighting was none
other than Sri Rama himself. Jambhavan then gave his daughter––Jambavati to Krishna in
marriage and gave lot of wealth as dowry including that 'Syamantak' diamond. Bhadraraj had
three daughters––Sulakshamana, Nagnajiti and Susheela. Sri Krishna had married all three of
them in a 'Swayamwara'. This way, Sri Krishna had altogether eight prominent queen consorts––
Rukmini, Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Sulakshamana and Susheela.
There lived a mighty demon named Narakasur. He had defeated the deities and snatched the
divine earrings of Aditi––the mother of deities. He had created an aerial city in which he lived
alongwith other demons. The deities went to Sri Krishna and sought his help. Sri Krishna flew up
in the sky mounted on the back of Garuda. Satyabhama was also accompanying him. Sri Krishna
was amazed to see the well fortified palace of Narakasur. When the demons saw Srikrishna, they
attacked him but Sri Krishna challenged them by blowin his conch. Narakasur came forward to
fight Sri Krishna. A fierce battle took place in which Sri Krishna broke Narakasur's bow with his
arrows. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in killing Narakasur.
Sri Krishna then returned the whole wealth to the deities, which Narakasur had looted from
them. He also liberated sixteen thousand women whom Narakasur had imprisoned. After being
liberated all the women accepted Sri Krishna as their husband.
ANIRUDHA MARRIES USHA
Lord Mahadeva continued with the divine tales of Sri Krishna––O Parvati! Sri Krishna had a son
from Rukmini whose name was 'Aniruddha'. Aniruddha was very brave and had killed a demon
named Shambasur. There is an interesting tale how Aniruddha married Usha.
Once, Usha––the daughter of Banasur, saw a very handsome young man in her dreams. She was
so infatuated by his handsome personality that she developed a deep desire of marrying him.
When she woke up next morning, she expressed her desire to her companion––Chitralekha.
Chitralekha was an accomplished painter. She drew a sketch of a handsome man as per the
descriptions of Usha. When the painting was ready, Chitralekha revealed to Usha that the preson
who she had seen in her dream was none other than Aniruddha.
Chitralekha had divine powers. She went to Dwarka and abducted Aniruddha while he was
asleep. She then carried Aniruddha and laid him on the bed of Usha. When Usha woke up, she
was thrilled to see the man of her dreams. Aniruddha remained there for many days without
Banasur being aware of his presence. One day, Banasur came to know about Aniruddhas'
presence. He became furious and imprisoned Aniruddha. Sage Narada informed Sri Krishna
about Aniruddha's imprisonment. Sri Krishna went to fight a battle against Banasur and release
Aniruddha from his imprisonment. Although Sri Krishna was leading a large army and was
accompanied by mighty warriors like Baldeva and Pradyumna yet he was aware that it was not
easy to fight Banasur who had one thousand arms and whom Lord Shiva had vowed to protect.
A fierce battle commenced between the armies of Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva. The battle
remained indecisive for a long time. Meanwhile, Banasur came forward to fight against Sri
Krishna. Very soon Sri Krishna severed all the thousand hands of Banasur with his 'chakra'. Lord
Shiva then requested Sri Krishna to spare Banasur's life and said –'Banasur has received the boon
of immortality from me. Now, only you can protect the dignity of my boon given to him.' Sri
Krishna spared Banasur's life. Banasur then agreed to marry his daughter to Aniruddha. This way
Aniruddha married Usha with great fanfare.
THE DECLINE OF YADU DYNASTY
Parvati was listening to the divine tales of Sri Krishna with rapt attention. Lord Mahadeva told
Parvati–– 'Paundrak was the king of Kashi. He did an austere penance for twelve years to please
me. When I appeared before him, he requested me to make his appearance look like Sri Krishna.
I blessed him with an appearance similar to that of Sri Krishna. People became confused as to
who the real Krishna was.
One day, Narada arrived at Kashi and castigated Paundrak by saying that his intention of
befooling people would not meet success as long as real Krishna was alive. Paundrak went to
Dwarka with a large army and challenged Sri Krishna for a duel. Sri Krishna severed the
impersonator's head with his chakra. Meanwhile, Jarasandh continued to torment the yadavas. Sri
Krishna decided to settle the matter for once and all. He advised Bhima to challenge Jarasandh
for a wrestling–bout.
Jarasandh and Bhima fought valiantly for 27 days. While both of them were fighting, Sri Krishna
signalled Bhima to tear apart Jarasandh's thighs. After the killing of Jarasandh, Sri Krishna
released all the kings who had been imprisoned by him. After the great war of Mahabharata had
ended, Yudhisthira decided to perform a Rajasuya–yagya at Indraprashth. Sri Krishna also went
there to bless the Pandavas. Shishupal was also present at the ceremony. He had an old grudge
against Sri Krishna and started abusing him. Initially Krishna tried to overlook his abuses but
when situation went beyond repair Sri Krishna severed his head with his chakra.
Dantavaktra attacked Mathura to avenge the death of Shishupal. A long battle was fought at the
bank of river yamuna, which continued for many days. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in
killing Dantavaktra with his mace. There was a childhood friend of Sri Krishna whose name was
Sudama. He was a poor brahmin. Once, he went to meet Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna, being an
incarnation of the almighty immediately understood the precarious situation his poor friend was
living in. He blessed Sudama as a result of which he got rid of his poverty and became
prosperous. Sri Krishna had one crore sons from his sixteen thousand queens. Pradyumna was
his eldest son. The Yadavas dominated the whole earth and had become arrogant after being
intoxicated by their power. There is an interesting tale how this powerful Yadava dynasty met
their downfall ––
Once, some young Yadavas played a prank with Sage Kanva, which caused the downfall of the
Yadavas. One day, some Yadva children went at the bank of river Narmada where sage Kanva
was doing penance. Samba was one of those Yadava children. He disguised himself as a
pregnant woman by keeping a pestle under his clothes. All the Yadava children then went near
Sage Kanva and asked him as to when was the pregnant woman supposed to deliver a child. Sage
Kanva furiously cursed them that the whole clan of Yadavas would be liquidated because of that
very pestle. All the children were scarred and told Sri Krishna about the mistake they had made.
Sri Krishna ordered that the iron pestle be crushed to powder and be thrown into a pond. But,
that was not the end of the matter, as long reeds grew all around the pond. The reeds had very
sharp edges. A fish swallowed a small part of that iron pestle and was subsequently caught by a
fowler, who retrieved that iron–piece from the fish and fixed it on the top of his arrow.
In course of time all the Yadavas developed enemity among themselves and killed each other
with those sharp–edged reeds. Once, Sri Krishna was taking rest under the shade of 'Kalpa' tree.
The fowler mistook his pink foot to be that of a deer and pierced it with his arrow. When the
fowler arrived at the spot he found Sri Krishna in an injured condition. The fowler regretted his
action and begged for Sri Krishna's pardon. Sri Krishna consoled the fowler by saying that he
had committed no crime. Meanwhile, Daruk arrived there on his chariot. Sri Krishna instructed
Daruk to call Arjuna as soon as possible. Arjuna arrived at the site within a short time. Sri
Krishna told Arjuna––'The time for my final departure has arrived. Please call all my eight queen
Arjuna rushed towards Dwarka to summon the queens but Sri Krishna had already left for his
heavenly abode before he could come back with the queens. Arjuna informed the queens about
Sri Krishna's injury. In a short time the news spread like a wild fire and all the residents of
Dwarka rushed towards the site of incident. After reaching there, the eight queens of Krishna
found that their beloved husband had already departed. All of them gave up their lives and united
with Sri Krishna. The great Yadavas like Vasudev, Ugrasena and Akrura followed suit. Balarama
could not bear the sorrow caused by Sri Krishna's separation and he gave up his life. His wife––
Revati entered the burning pyre with her husband's body in her lap. Similarly all the rest of Sri
Krishna's family members like Rukmi's daughter, Pradyumna, Usha and Aniruddha left for
Arjuna performed the last rite of all the dead Yadavas. Eventually, Dwaraka got submerged into
the ocean. Thus, Sri Krishna after having liberated the earth from all the sinners left his mortal
body. After completing his story Lord Mahadeva told Parvati that Sri Krishna takes incarnation
whenever there is predominance of sin or sinners. He also revealed to her that Sri Krishna would
incarnate as Kalki at the fag end of Kali Yuga to liquidate the 'mlechchhas'.
RITUALS OF VISHNU WORSHIP
Describing about the rituals connected with the worship of lord Vishnu, lord Mahadeva told
Parvati–– A devotee can worship Lord Vishnu by making his idol. This mode of worship is
known as 'Sthapita' (installation of an idol). There are also some sacred places related with lord
Vishnu which are called 'Swayam–Vyakata' (self manifested) like Indradyumna Sarovar, (Kurma
sthan), Kashi, Prayag, Dwarka, Naimisharanya, Mathura etc. In all these holy places, Lord
Vishnu had manifested himself. A devotee should get up early in the morning and perform
'achaman'. He should then chant the holy name of Lord Vishnu. He should take his bath and sit
down to worship Lord Vishnu.
A devotee should install idols of Lakshmi–Narayana on a beautiful pedestal and adorn it with
flowers. He should then make offerings of various articles like akshat, fruits, flowers, etc. to the
deity. While worshipping, it is most necessary that a devotee followes the rituals as mentioned in
the ancient scriptures like Shruti, Smriti, Vedas etc. He should chant the shlokas of Purusha–
Sukta as well as the cryptic mantra for the accomplishment of 'Shodashopachar'. He should light
a ghee lamp and make offerings of articles like camphor and betel leaves to Lord Vishnu. While
making offerings in the sacrificial–fire, chanting of a shloka either from Purushasukta or Srisukta
There are some specific days which are considered to be specially auspicious for the worship of
lord Vishnu––Amavasya, Saturday, solar eclipse, lunar eclipse etc.
LORD VISHNU––THE ALMIGHTY GOD
Describing about the superiority of Lord Vishnu among the trinity Gods' Sage Vashishtha
narrated the following tale––During ancient times, Swayambhuva manu had once gone to
Mandarachal mountain to perform a yagya. Many scholars and learned men had come to attend
that yagya. Very soon, they got into a debate as to who was the supreme among all the deities.
Some of them eulogised the greatness of Brahma, while some said that lord Shiva was the
greatest of all the deities. Failing to come to any conclusion all of them requested Sage Bhrigu to
find out as to who was the greatest among the trinity Gods.
Sage Bhrigu went to meet Lord Shiva at Kailash mountain. He saw Nandi standing guard at the
main entrance. Sage Bhrigu arrogantly ordered Nandi to inform Lord Shiva of his arrival. Nandi
refused to comply with Bhrigu's command. Sage Bhrigu cursed Lord Shiva by saying––Your
master– Shiva, would bear the consequences of showing disrespect to me. From today onwards
people would make offerings of forbidden articles to him.'
Sage Bhrigu then went to meet Lord Brahma. After reaching Brahmaloka, he made salutations to
lord Brahma.Lord Brahma also did not give any respect to Sage Bhrigu and neglected him. Sage
Bhrigu became furious and cursed Lord Brahma–––'Being intoxicated by your Rajoguna, you
have shown disrespect to me. From today onwards people will not worhsip you.' Sage Bhrigu
then went to meet Lord Vishnu at his abode– Ksheersagar. He did not have any problem in
reaching the place where Lord Vishnu was taking rest on Sheshnag, engrossed in his yoganidra.
Goddess Lakshmi was pressing Vishnu's legs with total devotion. Sage Bhrigu kicked Lord
Vishnu on his chest. Lord Vishnu woke up and seeing sage Bhrigu said–––'O Great Brahmin!
Your tender foot must have got hurt because of my chest, which is as hard as Vajra. How blessed
I am to have been touched by a brahmin's foot.'
Lord Vishnu got up and eulogised Sage Bhrigu. This gesture of Lord Vishnu made Sage Bhrigu
cry in joy. Now, he was convinced as to who was the supreme among all the three deities. Sage
Bhrigu returned to Mandarachal mountain where all the sages were anxiously waiting for him.
'Lord Brahma is the possesser of Rajoguna, while Lord Shiva possesses tamoguna. Only Lord
Vishnu is the proud possessor of Satvaguna and hence He is the supreme among all three of
them.' After finishing his tale, Sage Vashishtha told the sages that anybody who worships Lord
Vishnu with complete faith and total devotion become liberated from all his sins. A devotee of
Lord Vishnu attains to Vishnu Loka after his death.
Describing Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Parshurama, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati––Sage
Jamadagni came from the lineage of Bhrigu. He had pleased Indra by his tremendous penance
and received Surabhi cow in return. In course of time he married the daughter of king Renuk
whose name was Renuka. A child was born to them, who was named 'Rama' by Sage Bhrigu.
The child was also known as 'Jamadganya' because of Jamdagni.
After growing up, Rama became proficient in all the scriptures. He also mastered various
weaponaries. One day, the king of Haihaya named Arjuna arrived at the hermitage of Jamadagni.
Sage Jamdagni treated the king with due honor and respect. He presented numerous gifts to the
king. Arjuna wanted nothing else but the Surabhi––cow from Sage Jamdagni which he was
unwilling to part away with. Ultimately, Arjuna forcibly took away the divine cow. The cow was
unwilling to go alongwith Arjuna and she attacked his army with her sharp horns. As a result,
Arjuna's whole army was liquidated within no time. The revengeful Arjuna killed Jamadagni. At
the time of this incident. Rama was not present in the hermitage.
Rama wanted to avenge his father's death and did a tremendous penance to please Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu became pleased by his devotion and presented many divine weapons to him. The
weapons included the famous axe––Parshu and Vaishnav–bow. After acquiring Parshu from Lord
Vishnu, Rama became famous as Parshurama. He had vowed to kill all the Kshatriyas, which he
did only, the clan of Ikshavaku was spared by him as he had promised his mother that he would
not harm Ikshavaku and his clan.
After freeing the earth from the terror of Kshatriyas, Parshurama performed an Ashwamedha Yagya and
donated his whole kingdom, to the brahmins. He then went to do penance at the hermitage of Nar–
3. VISHNU PURANA
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION AND ORIGIN OF THE
Sage Parashar, the exponent of Vishnu Purana had narrated this treatise to Maitreya. Sage Suta
inherited it from Maitreya. The text presented here is narrated by Suta.
Suta says– One day, Maitreya greeted sage Parashar and said– "Gurudev, you have studied all the
scriptures. I wish to hear the tale of universe's origin from you. How will be the ages that are
about to come? What is the reason for this whole creation? Who created it? Where did it exist?
Whom did it mingle with? And with whom it will annihilate eventually? Apart from these, I also
wish to hear about the expansion of fathomless sky, origin of ocean and mountains, origin of
earth, expansion of the Sun, division of time in four ages, Pralaya, religion, sages, kings, creation
of Vedas by Veda Vyasa, origin of four classes in society and system of four ashramas in one's
Parashar says: "Maitreya, you have reminded me today of the description once made by my
grandfather Vashishta. When I learnt that the monster, which was created by Vishwamitra, had
devoured my father, I grew quite angry and started a Yagya to destroy all the monsters. The
Yagya destroyed such a large number of monsters that the whole race began to face the fear of
extinction. My grandfather consoled me that too much anger was not good and that all the
monsters could not be blamed for my father's death. According to my grandfather my father was
sure to face such a fate ultimately. Only the fools get angry. A human being bears the fruit of his
deeds himself. O son! Anger destroys all the virtues of penance. Hence, ascetics always shun
anger. Hence, stop this Yagya for forgiving has always been the virtue of ascetics."
Thus, convinced by my grandfather, I stopped the Yagya. At the same time, Brahma's son,
Pulastya, arrived there and said– "Despite your anger, you forgave the monsters when convinced
by your grandfather Vashishta. You will learn all the scriptures and give commentaries on
Puranas. You will also learn the real appearance of the gods". Vashishta also endorsed these
words of Pulastya.
"O Maitreya! Now I narrate to you, the whole contents of Purana. This whole universe has
originated from Lord Vishnu. It is existing within Him and will annihilate in Him eventually."
Parashar says: "The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is also known as the creator, the
preserver and the destroyer. All of them save the devotees. All of them have equal importance.
Still, preserver who fosters and protects all the living beings is far more significant. I salute to
Him and narrate the tale that was once narrated by Brahma to all the Dakshas. Dakshas had
narrated this tale to the King Purukutsa at the bank of the river Narmada. In turn, Purukutsa
narrated this tale to Saraswat who narrated it to me."
"O Brahmin! Lord is eternal and endless. Hence, origin of universe, its existence and annihilation
are also unending processes. During the period of Pralaya, the nature exists in a state of
equilibrium. It is during this period that Purusha (masculine forces of creation) separates from
Prakriti (feminine forces of creation) and Kalroop of Vishnu (eternal, unending form of the Lord)
is manifested. Lord Vishnu is beyond all the bonding of life like birth, growth, intelligence,
senses, decay and death. Purusha is the first appearance of Lord Vishnu. Prakriti is the
manifestation of His action while Kalroop is His supreme appearance."
During the Pralaya, there was neither day nor night, neither earth nor sky and neither darkness
nor light. At the subsidence of Pralaya, with His desire, the Lord entered the Purusha who is
beyond all bonding. His entry stimulated the process of creation. First of all, a single great
element originated encompassing all the other lesser elements. From this great element
originated three egos– Sattvic, Rajas and Tamas. Tamas created sky with sound as the main
virtue. The sky then created the sense of touch. Touch produced air. Hence, touch is the main
feature of air; no one can see air but only have an experience of it through touch. Air created
Rupa, which gave birth to fire with Rupa as its main virtue. Fire gave birth to taste. Taste
produced water with taste as its main property. From water originated scent, which produced
earth with scent as the main feature. These senses have no special expression.
The ego Rajas produced ten sense organs whereas the ruling deities of these organs were
produced by Sattvic ego. Thus, the ten deities who rule ten sense organs and the eleventh entity
mind are Sattvic in nature. Skin, eyes, ears, nose and tongue– these five organs aid the mind in its
function. O Maitreya! Anus, sex organs, hands, legs and speech organs are the five organs that
help in action. Works like excretion, reproduction, movement and speech are carried out with the
help of these five organs. All the five elements like sky, air, fire, water and earth are full of
emotions. Hence, they are also known to have a special significance.
All these elements have different and distinct powers. Without their combination, creation of the
universe was impossible. In the beginning, all these elements were present in the great ball or
egg, which came into existence because of the inspiration of the Lord. As this ball increased in
size, it formed the base as Prakriti in which, Lord Vishnu Himself entered as Hiranyagarbh.
When the universe comes into existence, Lord Vishnu fosters it till the end of Kalpa. At the end
of Kalpa, Lord Vishnu Himself devours the entire physical elements in Rudra appearance.
During that time, He inundates the entire universe and Himself sleeps on Shesha in Ksheersagar.
When he awakes once again, He begins the process of creation in the appearance of Brahma.
CHAPTER TWO BIRTH OF BRAHMA AND EARTH
SAVED BY VARAHA
At the end of the previous Kalpa, when Brahma awakened from his long slumber, he saw all the
worlds devoid of everything. With a desire to save the earth from the depth of unfathomable
inundation, He took the appearance of Varaha. Entering the water, He reached Patala loka.
Seeing Him, the earth prayed Him with respect. Hearing her prayers, the Lord roared with
frightening sound. Then, He supported the earth on His great incisors and came out from the
abysmal depth. When He was rising, His breath produced big sprays of water, which drenched
sinless sages while the force of His breath frightened common creatures. When the Lord
emerged from the water, all the sages prayed Him with reverence and respect.
Very soon, the Lord installed the earth at a position far above the unending stretches of water.
Then, Lord carved out the topographical features on earth and divided it into many divisions and
created all the four worlds. Then Lord Vishnu in the guise of Brahma carried out the process of
As soon as Brahma thought of creation, Tamoguni (full of darkness) creatures were the first to
appear. Absence of knowledge and presence of evils like attachment, anger etc. were the main
virtues of these creatures. These creatures include lower organisms, trees, shrubs, creepers,
plants and grasses. These together constitute the primitive world. Their creation was followed by
the appearance of animals and birds, which are devoid of wisdom and are full of ego. They are
also unaware of the nature of another organism of their status.
Still unsatisfied with His creation, Lord created the next world, which has a somewhat elevated
position. The living beings that were produced in this world had internal and external knowledge,
power of reflection and loved physical comforts. Though this creation pleased the Lord, He was
still unsatisfied. So He created the next world, which was situated at a somewhat lower position.
This new world had excess of all the three virtues. Human beings populate this world and
because of excess of vices, they are full of sorrow but at the same time, highly active, have
internal and external knowledge and are able to attain their goals.
The first few creations had resulted from the thoughts of the Lord. For the creation of the gods,
the demons, Pitraganas, human beings and water, the Lord decided to use His body. Thus, the
demons were the first to emerge from His thighs. The Lord then shed His dark body, which
formed the night. Then from His mouth, the Lord produced the gods who had Sattvic virtues.
The Lord then shed His Sattvic body as well from which the day came into being. It is also the
reason why the gods acquire more strength in day and the demons are stronger during nights.
Then the Lord acquired yet another body and behaved like Pitraganas to produce Pitraganas
before shedding that body too, which gave rise to the dusk– the twilight between the day and the
night. Thereafter, the Lord acquired a new body with Rajas virtue from which the human beings
were produced. When the Lord shed that Rajas body it formed dawn– the twilight between the
night and the day. It also explains why the human beings are stronger at dawn and Pitraganas at
Then the Lord assumed yet another body with Rajas virtues and produced desire from it. The
desire gave birth to lust. Staying in the darkness then, the Lord created the world, which is full of
desire and lust. In that world, many ugly looking human beings, who had long beard and
moustache appeared and ran towards Him. Among those who said, 'Protect him' came to be
known as Rakshas (demons) and those who said, 'We will eat him' came to be known as
Yakshas. Then the angry Lord produced aggressive carnivores. Thereafter, the singing Lord
produced Gandharvas. Thus, by turns, the Lord produced birds, sheep, goat, cow, horse,
elephant, donkey, deer, camel, pony from His age, chest, mouth, belly and feet respectively.
From the innumerable body hair of the Lord, fruits, flowers and herbs were produced. From His
east–facing head, Lord produced Gayatri mantra, Rigveda, and Yagyas. From His south–facing
head, He produced Yajurveda. From west–facing head, He produced Samaveda and from His
north–facing head, He produced Atharvaveda.
CHAPTER THIRD DIVISIONS OF EARTH AND ORIGIN
With the desire of creating the world, Brahma produced different kinds of human beings from his
different organs. Thus, from his mouth, Brahmins appeared. Kshatriyas appeared from his chest,
Vaishyas from his thighs and from his feet, Shudras appeared. Thus, physical body is the greatest
means for human beings in order to achieve his goals. With time, the human beings lost their
divine virtues and perfections. Jealousy, sorrow, decay and infighting began to rise among the
people. In order to earn their livelihood and run their life peacefully, the human beings
developed agriculture and other handicrafts.
"O sage! Paddy, barley, wheat, lesser cereals, sesame, millet, rice, peas, pulses, beans, rye, gram
flour and hemp are common agricultural produce that have edible as well as medicinal values in
the villages. These and other produce are also used as oblations in the Yagyas because all of
them have produced as a result of Yagyas. Performing Yagyas daily is the most virtuous exercise
that every human being should undertake. This destroys the sins committed by common people."
CHAPTER FOUR BIRTH OF PRAJAPATIS AND THEIR
At one point, the process of creation got saturated and no increase took place in the number of
living beings. Then, with a desire of continuing the creation, Lord created nine sages from His
thought. Then he produced nine daughters and handed them over as the wives to those nine
When initially produced sons of Brahma took to asceticism, He got very much infuriated. His
anger was enough to burn all the three worlds. From this anger, Rudra originated who was
shining like the Sun. Rudra had appeared in half–masculine and half–feminine form. Immediately
after His appearance, Rudra separated His body into eleven male parts and eleven female parts.
Then Swayambhu Manu appeared from the body of Brahma. He agreed to follow Brahma's
dictate of continuing creation. He got a woman Shatrupa who had also appeared along with him.
Together they begot two sons, Priyavrata and Utanpad and two daughters, Prasooti and Akooti.
These two daughters were married to Daksha and Prajapati respectively.
Prajapati and Akooti gave birth to twins, Yagya and Dakshaina. Yagya and Dakshaina got
married and produced twelve sons who later on came to be known as Yam, the gods.
Daksha and Prasooti produced twenty–four daughters, thirteen of which were married to Dharma.
The remaining eleven daughters were married to Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, Pulastya,
Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashishta, Agni and Pitars.
From his thirteen wives, Dharma produced Kama, Darpa, Niyam, Santosh, Lobha, Shrut, Dand,
Naya, Vinay, Bodh, Vyavasay, Kshema, Sukh and Yash. Kama got married to Rati and produced
Harsh. Darpa married Hinsa and produced a son Anrit and a daughter Nikriti. Anrit and Nikriti
got married and produced Bhaya and Narak and their wives Maya and Vedana. Maya produced
Mrityu, the destroyer of all the creatures in the world. Vedana produced a son, Dukh. Mrityu
produced Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodh. These are all the fierce appearances of Lord
Vishnu and cause Pralaya.
The omnipresent eternal God creates this world in the form of Manus, protects it and ultimately
destroys it. There are four kinds of Pralaya– Naimittik, Prakritik, Atyantik and Nitya. Among
them, Naimittik is Brahma Pralaya during which God takes a nap. During Prakritik Pralaya, the
universe annihilates in nature. Annihilation of Yogi in the Supreme Being is Atyantik Pralaya
and a decay of physical elements that continues day and night is Nitya Pralaya.
CHAPTER FIVE CREATION OF RUDRA AND OF LAKSHMI
In the beginning of Kalpa when Brahma was thinking about a son, who would be like him in
virtues, a boy with reddish–blue body appeared in his lap. Brahma addressed the boy with names
like Rudra, Bhava, Shiv, Ibhan, Pashupati, Bhima, Ugra and Mahadeva. Brahma also fixed
Surya, water, earth, air, fire, sky, Dikshit (graduate scholar) Brahmin and the Moon His abode.
Since then, all these things idolise Shiv. These eleven idols of Shiv have wives like Suvarchala,
Usha, Vikeshi, Apara, Shiva, Swaha, Disha and Rohini. Shanaishchar, Shukra, Lohitang,
Manojav, Skand, Sarg, Santan and Buddh are the sons of these idols respectively. Rudra Himself
got Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati as His wife. Sati had committed self–immolation
because of the disrespect that her father had shown for her husband. In her next birth, she had
appeared as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya and Maina. Parvati too got married to Shiv.
Khyati got married to Bhrigu and gave birth to two sons Dhata and Vidhata and a daughter
Lakshmi. Lakshmi then married Lord Vishnu.
Maitreya says – "O sage! It is heard that Lakshmi was produced from Ksheersagar during the
churning of the sea but you say that Lakshmi was the daughter of Bhrigu and Khyati. How is it
Parashar says– "O great Brahmin! Lakshmi who never separates from the Lord is Herself eternal
like Him. But still, as you have expressed your doubt, I will narrate you the real story."
The famous short–tempered sage Durvasa is a partial incarnation of Shankar. One day, he was
wandering on the earth when all of a sudden, he happened to see an extremely divine beauty. She
was wearing a garland of beautiful flowers. The sage requested the beauty to give him that
garland. She presented the garland respectfully to the sage. The sage adorned the garland on his
head and began to wander again. Right at that moment, he saw Indra riding on Airavat and going
somewhere in the procession of the gods. Instinctively, sage Durvasa put that garland around the
neck of Indra but Indra removed it and put it on Airavat's head. Airavat pulled the garland with
his trunk and smashed it on the ground. This whole sequence of events infuriated Durvasa who
cursed Indra. "O Indra! You are so inebriated with your luxuries that you dared to insult my
humble gift. Hence, all your splendour shall be destroyed. You will lose all your wealth."
Indra at once descended from the elephant and began to request sage Durvasa. Durvasa said–
"Indra! Forgiveness has no place in my personality. So, all your repenting is meaningless."
Saying this, sage Durvasa departed from the scene and Indra to left for Amravati.
Very soon, the curse began to show its influence. With the loss of Indra's luxuries, all the
verdancy on the earth too began to wane. Hermits too began to give up Yagyas. All the human
beings began to be guided by greed and gave up pious virtues. And at a place where pious virtues
have no room, Lakshmi too doesn't stay there.
She made her abode in the abysmal depth of the sea. Very soon, the demons launched an attack
on the gods and drove them out of heaven. Indra along with other gods approached Brahma and
told him the whole thing. Brahma suggested them to take refuge at Lord Vishnu. He assured
them also that Lord Vishnu would definitely protect them. Brahma even accompanied the gods
to Lord Vishnu. There, they together prayed Lord Vishnu and intimated Him about their ordeal.
Pleased by their prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared before them and said– "I will definitely help you
regain your splendour. Presently, do what I say. You reconcile with the demons and convince
them to carry out the churning of the sea. Then bring all kinds of herbs and put them in the sea.
With the help of the demons and using Mandarachal as churner and Vasuki, the Nag as the rope
to carry out the churning of the sea. Thus, you will recover ambrosia drinking which, all of you
will become immortal and regain your strength."
Following the advice of Lord Vishnu, the gods reconciled with the demons and convinced them
to carry out the churning of the sea. They together procured all kinds of herbs and put them in the
sea. Then they began the churning using Mandarachal Mountain. As soon as the churning began,
Mandarachal began to sink. Lord Vishnu took incarnation of Kachchhap (the great tortoise) and
bore the weight of the mighty mountain on His back. During the churning, Kamadhenu, the
wishful cow was the first to emerge. It was presented to the sages as an aid for their Yagyas. It
was followed by the damsel, Varuni, Kalpavriksha (the wishful tree) after which, beautiful elves
appeared. The Moon followed the apsaras and was taken up by Shiva on His forehead. During
the churning, huge quantity of poison had also emerged. It was drunk by Lord Shiva and some
parts of it were taken up by the serpents. In the end, Dhanvantari himself emerged from the sea
carrying the urn of ambrosia.
It was during the churning itself that Lakshmi appeared once again from the sea holding lotuses
in her hands. All the sages prayed her. Then taking bath with divine water, goddess Lakshmi
took her seat in the heart of Lord Vishnu.
When the demons saw that Lakshmi had chosen Lord Vishnu's heart as her abode, they got
perplexed. They at once snatched the urn from Dhanvantari and ran away. Then a row broke out
among them over the drinking of ambrosia. Each of the demons wanted to drink ambrosia in
maximum quantity. Meanwhile, Lord Vishnu also arrived there in the guise of an extremely
pretty woman Mohini and took possession of the urn. Mohini had pleased the demons with her
sweet smile while distributing ambrosia among the gods.
Thus, the gods came to drink ambrosia. When at last, the demons realised that they had been
cheated they immediately attacked the gods. But since the gods had regained their strength, they
soon defeated the demons without much ado. Afterwards, the gods prayed Lord Vishnu and
returned to heaven to rule it. The world also regained its verdancy. After regaining his splendour,
comforts and luxuries of the heaven, Indra prayed goddess Lakshmi with devotion and respect.
Pleased by the prayers of Indra, Lakshmi asked him to seek a boon. Indra said– "O goddess! If
you are pleased with me, kindly bless me with a boon that first you will never desert this world
and also that you will never desert those who worship you with this prayer." Lakshmi granted
Thus, Lakshmi had appeared as the daughter of Bhrigu and his wife Khyati. Then second time,
she emerged from beneath the sea during its churning. Thus, whenever Lord Vishnu takes an
incarnation, Lakshmi accompanies Him. When God appears in divine form, she too takes a
divine appearance. When God appears in human form, Lakshmi appears in human form also.
CHAPTER SIX DHRUVA'S MIGRATION TO THE
Swayambhu Manu had two sons– Priyavrata and Utanpad. Utanpad had two wives– Suruchi and
Suniti. Suruchi had a son– Uttam while Suniti had also a son– Dhruva. King Utanpad loved
Suruchi more than he loved Suniti.
One day the king was sitting on the throne. Prince Uttam was playing in his lap. Meanwhile
Dhruva also arrived there and insisted to play in the lap of his father. At his insistence, queen
Suruchi ridiculed that as he was not born to her he had no right to the king's love, ... "so your
insistence is useless. Though you are also a son of this king but this throne belongs to my son.
Don't you know that you have been born to Suniti."
Getting angry over his stepmother's ridicules, Dhruva went to his mother. Suniti consoled her
son and enquired about the reason for his anger. Dhruva narrated the whole thing to his mother.
Suniti too got perplexed and said: "O son! Suniti speaks the truth but you don't worry for no one
can do away the virtues of your deeds that you performed in your previous birth. Hence you
should not feel sorry over such petty things. If you feel really sorry by the words of your
stepmother why don't you try to gather virtues? Why don't you try to be a gentle and altruistic
Thus consoled by mother Dhruva said– "Mother! Since now onwards, I will do every such thing
so that I may attain the most respected position in the world. I am no longer desirous of getting a
position granted by others. I will achieve the same position as my father has." Saying this
Dhruva left the palace and the town and reached a dense forest.
Seven Munishwars (mendicants) were already present in the forest. Dhruva greeted them all and
said very politely– "O great sages! I am the prince Dhruva. King Utanpad is my father and his
younger queen Suniti is my mother. I have arrived here out of desperation." The sages said– "O
prince! You are just a small boy. You have no reason to be worried because your father is still
alive and neither you have any disease. What then caused you such a severe desperation?"
Dhruva narrated the whole events and also that how his stepmother Suruchi ridiculed about his
inferior position in the palace. The sages said– "O prince! Kindly tell us whatever you have
decided to do to change your destiny and also tell us if we can help you in any way."
Dhruva said–"O sages! I neither long for wealth or for the kingdom. I simply long to enjoy such a
position that nobody have ever enjoyed earlier. Kindly help me and guide me what I should do to
attain such a position."
Marichi said–"O prince! Nobody can attain such an unparalleled position without the worship of
Govind (an epithet of Lord Vishnu), so you also worship that eternal Supreme Being." Atri said–
"He who is far above the tangible can only satisfy Him and bring you that supreme position."
Angira said–"Go and worship Govind who holds the entire universe within Him."
Pulastya said–"Even the wretched people attain the rare salvation worshipping Hari."
Pulaha said–"Go and worship that Vishnu worshipping whom even Indra attained the position of
the gods' king."
Kratu said– "Go and worship Janardana who is supreme, who is deity of the Yagyas and Yagya
Vashishta said–"O son! You will attain whatever you wish by worshipping Lord Vishnu."
Dhruva said – "O sages! At my prayers all of you told me about whom I should worship. Now
kindly tell me what should I do to please the Lord."
The sages said– "It is imperative for a person, who wishes to worship Lord Vishnu that first of
all, he should expel all other menial thoughts from his mind and replace them with the
contemplation Lord alone. O prince! Thus concentrate on that omnipotent eternal Lord with the
mantra – 'OM NAMO BHAGVATE VASUDEVAY'. Your grandfather Swayambhu Manu had
himself recited this mantra during the previous age and had received the perfection of his desire.
CHAPTER SEVEN DHRUVA PLEASES GOD WITH HIS
The prince Dhruva greeted the sages and continued on his journey. At last, he reached a beautiful
forest Madhuvan on the bank of the river Yamuna. It was the same forest, which was later
occupied by a demon Madhu. Shatrughana, the youngest brother of Lord Rama had killed the
demon Lavan, the son of Madhu in the same forest and founded the township of Mathura. In the
same forest, prince Dhruva decided to carry out his penance. As per the dictate of the sages, he
began to recite the mantra continuously.
Very soon, the earth began to move because of Dhruva's severe penance. Even the seat of Indra
could not remain stable. A stampede resulted among the gods. The gods then hatched a
conspiracy to disturb the penance.
According to the plan an illusionary image of Suniti, Dhruva's mother appeared before him and
pleaded – "O son! Please stop this severe penance that is bound to decay your body. I got you
after great desires and worship. It is not proper for you to take your stepmother's words so
seriously and desert your real mother. You are my only support. You are only four or five years
old. Presently you should pay more attention to your plays and studies. Why are you observing
such a severe penance then? O son! If you don't give up your penance right now I will give my
life." But Dhruva was so much sunk in the contemplation of Lord Vishnu that he did not hear the
wailing of his mother."
His mother then said– "Run, O son! Run away to save your life. Look! Formidable demons are
approaching. They are carrying lethal weapons." Suddenly that illusionary image blew out
intense fire from her mouth. That fire took appearance of many dreadful monsters, who were
shouting loudly like 'kill him', 'eat him'. Those monsters bore the heads of lion, camel, crocodile
etc. and appeared extremely formidable. The monsters were roaring loudly.
But Dhruva's mind was deeply in contemplation. He neither saw the monsters or heard the noises
made by them. Thus, seeing their all attempts failed. The gods decided to take refuge at Lord
Vishnu. There they said– "O Lord! We have come to you perplexed by the severe penance of
Dhruva the son of Utanpad. His penance is increasing like a waxing Moon. We are not sure if he
desires for the position of Indra, Surya, Kubera, Varuna or any other deity. But kindly remove
Assuring the gods, the Lord said– "That boy has no desire for attaining the position of any deity.
But I will definitely grant him whatever he desires. But all of you need not worry." The gods
greeted the Lord and returned.
Ultimately pleased by the severe penance of Dhruva, Lord Vishnu appeared before him in his
formal four–armed form and said– "Dhruva! May it all be well for you. I am very much pleased
with you." Hearing these words Dhruva opened his eyes and to his amazement found Lord
Vishnu standing before him. For a moment he did not believe his eyes. Standing before him was
the same Lord Vishnu whom he used to see in contemplation. For a moment, Dhruva forgot how
to pray God. He then took refuge of God and said– "O Lord! If you are pleased with me, kindly
bless me with power to pray you. My mind is exhilarated with devotion for you. It wishes to pray
you." Hearing these words the Lord touched Dhruva with His conch and as soon as it happened,
an unbinding stream of devotional prayer sprang from Dhruva's mouth.
At the completion of the prayer Lord Vishnu said– "O son! Your penance succeeds with my sight
but my presenting a sight should also not go waste. So seek a boon of your desire." Dhruva said–
"O Lord! Nothing is hidden from your divine sight. I started this severe penance out of
desperation caused by the harsh words of my stepmother. She had ridiculed my insistence of
playing in my father's lap saying that as I was not born to her, I had no right to the king's love.
Hence, O Lord! I wish to attain such a position that could be the base of the entire universe."
Lord said– "O son! You were born in a Brahmin family in your previous birth. Then you had
pleased me by your abidance to the religion. You were also a friend of a prince and wished to
enjoy the same royal luxuries that your friend was enjoying. You had in fact wished to be a
prince. Hence O son! You are born as a prince in this birth. It is rare to get a place in the lineage
of Swayambhu Manu. But this honor has no value for a devotee like you. O son! I will definitely
accord you the position that is excellent among all the three worlds. In future you will be the
base of all the planets and all the constellations. I grant you a fixed position that is far above the
Sun, the Moon, the planets, constellations, Saptarishis and all the gods who fly about in divine
aircraft. Besides it, you will stay there for a complete Kalpa whereas even the gods do not stay in
their position more than a single Manvantara. Your mother Suniti too will come to stay with you
as a bright star for the same period of time. There she will stay on an aircraft. People will see you
with faith for you will show them the right direction."
Thus receiving a boon from Lord Vishnu, Dhruva occupied a fixed position in the northern sky.
Even the sage like Shukracharya praises Dhruva that how fortunate he is.... that even Saptarishis
go around him? That pivotal position of Dhruva would continue even in the ages to come.
CHAPTER EIGHT TALE OF THE KING VENA AND
Parashar says– " With the help of Dhruva, his wife gave birth to two sons– Sishti and Bhavya.
Sishti had five sons– Ripu, Ripunjay, Vipra, Vikal and Vrikteja. Ripu had a brilliant son
Chakshush. Chakshush had a son Manu. Manu had sons– Puru, Kuru, Shatadyumna, Tapasvi,
Satyavan, Suchi, Agnishtome, Atiratra, Sudyumna and Abhimanyu. Kuru had sons– Anga,
Suman, Khyati, Kratu, Angira and Shivi. Anga had a son named Vena. The sages had churned
the right hand of Vena to produce a son named Vainya. He later on became renowned as Prithu.
He had even milked the earth for the benefit of his subjects."
Maitreya says– "Why did the sages churn Vena's hand? What was their purpose of getting
Parashar says– "Mrityu had his first child as a daughter named Sunitha who was married to Anga.
Sunitha had given birth to Vena. Vena had all the faults of his maternal grandfather Mrityu and
hence was devil–like in nature." At the time of his coronation, Vena had declared– "I am the God
and the Yagya Purusha. Hence, in future, no one shall perform Yagyas and donate Dakshaina."
The sages praised him and said– "O king! We speak about the benefit of you and your subjects.
Through grand Yagyas, we shall worship omnipotent Lord Hari. Thus pleased, he will grant all
your desires. O king! In the kingdom of which kings, Lord Hari is worshipped as the presiding
deity of Yagyas, He fulfils all their desires."
Vena said– "Who is greater than me and even venerable, whom you regard as the presiding deity
of the Yagyas? All the deities like Brahma; Vishnu, Mahesh, Indra, Vayu etc. are present in the
body of the king. Hence, the king has all the virtues of these deities. Therefore, do what I say.
Such as a woman's duty is to serve her husband, similarly it is your duty of all of you to obey my
The sages tried to convince Vena repeatedly but in vain. At last, when he did not agree to their
proposal, the sages killed him. Immediately after killing the king, the sages saw the clouds of
dust rising all around. It was revealed to them upon enquiry that the subjects of a king–less
kingdom have resorted to plundering and looting each other and it was because of that stampede
that clouds of dust were rising.
The sages then churned the thighs of issue–less king and produced an ugly black man. He was
feeling excited and asked the sages what he should do? The sages asked him to Nishid (sit
down); hence he came to be known as Nishad. His progeny came to be known as Nishadgana.
Appearance of Nishad did away with all the sins of Vena. The sages then churned Vena's right
hand and produced prowessive Prithu whose body was radiating like fire. As soon as he
appeared, bow and arrow and shield of Lord Shiva descended from heaven and all the subjects
felt extreme joy. With the birth of such a pious son, Vena attained a position in the heaven.
For the coronation of Prithu, Brahma himself had appeared there with the water from all the
rivers and oceans, all kinds of gems and along with all the deities. Presence of chakra in right
hand of Prithu pleased Brahma. This chakra of Lord Vishnu is present in the hands of extremely
dominating kings. Such a king remains unaffected even by the gods.
Thus occupying the royal throne, King Prithu was a boon for his subjects. He was so religious
that the seas and mountains paved way for him. His flag always remained fresh and new. Even
there was no need to sow the seeds; the earth herself provided all the cereals. Cows gave milk
spontaneously and every leaf of all the trees in the kingdom was full of honey.
Immediately after his appearance, King Prithu organised a grand Yagya. At the time of
Somabhishek (bathing with grape–wine) during the Yagya, a man and a woman appeared from
the earth. The sages advised them to pray King Prithu. With folded hands they asked that the
king had arrived moments before them. His reputation had not spread far and wide. Why should
then they pray such a king? The sage said that they should pray the king for the great
achievements he would attain in future. King Prithu thought that it was because of merits that a
man becomes praiseworthy. 'Hence I will do exactly the same things that this couple would
recite during the prayers' thought the king. Thus during the later course, king Prithu planted those
virtues firmly in his conscience and ruled the earth. During his rule, he performed many great
During the anarchy of his father's regime, all the vegetation had been destroyed from all over the
earth. There was nothing for the subjects to satisfy their hunger with. So, they approached him
and said– "O great king! Due to the anarchy of your father's regime, the earth had annihilated all
the cereals within her. Your subjects have no choice but to starve. Kindly protect us from this
Pitiable condition of the subjects infuriated king Prithu. Taking the divine weapons of Lord
Shiva, he ran after the earth. In guise of the cow, the earth ran in all the three worlds but
wherever she went she found Prithu still chasing her. Thus shivering with fear, she ultimately
appeared before him and said– "O king! Don't you see the sin in killing a helpless woman."
Prithu said– "If killing a wretched person benefits scores of other people, there is no sin doing
so." The earth said– "You want to kill me in the interest of your subjects but think what will be
the base of the subject then?" Prithu said– "You need not worry about that. I will myself support
my subjects." These words frightened the earth. She greeted the king and said– "O king! All the
tasks started with a distinct purpose reach their completion successfully, so I am telling you a
way out of the present condition. Do then, as you desire. I can give out all the herbs and cereals
that I have annihilated in the form of milk. So, for the benefit of the subjects, kindly produce
such a calf for which I can give milk spontaneously with motherly feelings. You then provide me
with a plain surface everywhere so that I can produce milk that is the seed of all the cereals and
King Prithu then uprooted many great mountains with his bow and arrow and stowed them at a
single place. Before that there was no distinct demarcation of village, towns, cities etc. because
of the plain surface of the earth and there was no distinct sequence of cereals, cows, agriculture
and trade. All this systems started from the time of Prithu. Since then people began to populate
those parts of the earth that were plain.
For the benefit of his subjects, King Pritu himself milked all the cereals from earth making
Swayambhu Manu a calf. It is the cereals that still sustain the entire population of the world.
Since then King Prithu came to be known as the father of earth because he had spared her life.
CHAPTER NINE BIRTH OF PRACHIN BARHI AND
PRACHETAS PRAY GOD
King Prithu had two sons– Antardhan and Vadi who were very religious minded themselves.
Antardhan's wife Shikhandi gave birth to Ivirdhan. Prachin Barhi was the son of Ivirdhan and his
wife, Ghishna. Shukra, Gaya, Krishna, Vrij and Ajin were their other sons. Prachin Barhi was a
great fosterer of his subjects. Through continuous oblations, he increased his subjects to great
King Prachin Barhi married again with Savarna; the daughter of Samudra and they together
produced ten sons. All of them were known as Prachetas who were expert in the art of archery.
All of them observed serious penance under the sea for 10,000 years.
Maitreya says– O great sage! Kindly narrate to us the reason for which Prachetas observed severe
penance under the sea.
Parashar says– Once by the inspiration of Brahma, King Prachin Barhi asked his sons Prachetas
to continue the progeny in an honored way. Prachetas agreed to obey the dictate of their father
but they asked– O father! Kindly narrate to us, what should we do to enable ourselves so that we
could carry out the process of reproduction.
King Prachin Barhi said that worship of Lord Vishnu was the only thing that enabled a person to
achieve his desired objectives. He dictated his sons to worship Lord Vishnu. It was by the dictate
of the father that all the ten Prachetas observed severe penance for ten thousand years under the
At the end of their penance, Sri Hari appeared before them radiating with blue light like a freshly
bloomed blue lotus. Accepting the greetings of the Prachetas, Lord Vishnu asked them to seek a
boon. Prachetas then told the dictate of their father. Lord granted their boon. Thereafter all the
Prachetas re–emerged from the waters.
CHAPTER TEN MARRIAGE OF PRACHETAS AND
BIRTH OF PRAJAPATIS
Parashar says– During the time when Prachetas were engaged in penance, the earth was
unprotected. Hence, huge trees came to cover her everywhere on land. Their foliage was so
dense they that cut off entire sky and the sun could not reach the surface of the earth. After their
emergence from the sea, Prachetas got very angry when they saw the trees. In anger, they let out
formidable flames mixed with ghastly winds and uprooted all the trees before reducing them to
ashes. A massive destruction of the trees followed. Seeing that Soma, the king of the trees
approached Prachetas and requested– 'O kings! Kindly relinquish your anger and listen to what I
I will mediate a pact between the trees and you. The trees have produced an extremely pretty girl
named Marisha. Her creation has been meant only for the continuation of your progeny. She will
produce Daksha Prajapati who will be as radiant as the fire and cause much increase in your
In the ancient times, a great savant of Vedas, sage Kandu was observing penance at the bank of
river Gomti. Frightened by his penance Indra sent an apsara Prabhalocha to create a disturbance.
That elf successfully created a disturbance in the penance of Kandu who then began to live with
her in a cave. Kandu passed one hundred years enjoying sensual pleasures with the apsara. One
day, the apsara expressed her desire to leave for her heavenly abode. This came as a shock for
the sage Kandu. He requested her to stay for some more time with him. The apsara agreed to his
request and stayed with him for another hundred years. Then once again she expressed her desire
to leave for her heavenly abode. Once again, blinded by lust, the sage requested her to stay for
some more time. Once again the apsara stayed for another hundred years with Kandu.
Thus, every time, when the apsara got ready to leave, sage stopped her. The apsara knew about
the agony of separation that a person experiences who is blinded by lust. She also feared the
curse that such a person might pour down out of agony. Thus she herself did not desert the sage
and their love kept on increasing like a new moon. One day, towards the evening, the sage
hurriedly left his hut. Amazingly Prabhalocha enquired about the reasons why he was going out
in such a hurry. The sage replied that as it was dusk, he should offer his evening prayers. The
sage's reply amazed the apsara further. Laughingly, she said– "O knower of religion, your day
has ended after hundreds of years! Who will not be surprised to learn that your day ends after
hundreds of years."
The sage said– "You had arrived at the river bank right in the morning today. You passed the
whole day with me and now it is evening. Why do you laugh at me then? Prabhalocha said– "O
Brahmin! Hundreds of years have passed since I had arrived at your hut." Perplexed sage asked
her– "Tell me exactly how much time has passed in our present communion? Prabhalocha told
the sage that they had together passed nine hundred and seven years six months and three days.
Hearing this, the sage began to curse himself that he was so sunk in the carnal pleasure with the
apsara that he even forgot the time. He also began to fret that his whole penance had been
brought to nought. Thus cursing himself, the sage also scolded the apsara and asked her to leave
his hut at once.
"The apsara was shivering in fear while her whole body was drenched in sweat. When she left
the hermitage, she wiped her sweat with the leaves of the trees. While having carnal pleasure
with the sage, Prabhalocha had conceived. Her foetus also oozed out in the form of sweat and
was collected on the leaves. The wind brought the different parts of the foetus together while I
nourished it with my rays. Thus the foetus grew safely and ultimately took birth as a girl child,
Marisha. The trees will present you that same girl as your wife", said Soma.
On the other hand after his penance was disturbed sage Kandu migrated to Purushaottam region
(modern Jagannath–Puri) and began his penance afresh to please Lord Vishnu.
Tale of Marisha's previous birth Marisha, daughter of sage Kandu and Prabhalocha was a queen
in her previous birth. She had lost her husband without having any child. She had then pleased
Lord Vishnu with her devotion. The Lord had then asked her to seek a boon. She said– "O Lord!
Having been widowed at a young age, I feel that my life has gone futile. I am very unfortunate.
Hence O Lord! May I have by your grace, a virtuous husband like you and sons like Prajapati in
my next birth. May I take birth not from the body of my mother.
Lord Vishnu said– "All your wishes shall come true in your next birth. You will have ten
prowessive and popular husbands. With their help, you will give birth to Prajapati whose
progeny will populate all the three worlds. You will take birth not from your mother's body still
you will be unmatched in beauty."
Thus, coerced by Soma, Prachetas dropped their angry stance and accepted Marisha as their
wife. From the parts of Prachetas, Marisha gave birth to Daksha Prajapati who had emerged from
Brahma earlier. Following the dictate of Brahma, Daksha Prajapati produced different kinds of
living beings as his children. First of all, he created womenfolk from his mind. He got ten of
those women married to Dharma. Thirteen women were married to Kashyapa while twenty–
seven were married to Chandrama. All the gods, demons, Nagas, cows, birds, Gandharvas,
Apsaras, giants etc. are the progeny of those fifty women.
Maitreya says– "O great sage! I want to hear the tale of origin of the gods, the demons and all
other creatures in detail."
Parashar says– "Daksha created the sages, Gandharvas, demons, and serpents from his mind first.
But none of those creatures could continue the progeny. So, with an intention of producing his
progeny through carnal union, Daksha married Asikni, the daughter of another Prajapati. Daksha
and Asikni together produced five thousand sons. All of those sons were eager to continue the
process of reproduction when Devarshi Narada approached them and said– "O children! It
appears from your action that all of you are eager to begin the process of reproduction right now.
But before you do anything, kindly listen to what I say. All of you are so ignorant that you do not
know anything about the earth. How then will you carry out the reproduction? Look! You can
move anywhere in the universe, so why don't you go and see the end of the earth?" Thus
motivated by Narada, all the five thousand sons of Daksha dived into the sea and never returned
thereafter like a river annihilates in the ocean.
Daksha then married Vairuni and produced one thousand sons. They also intended to carry out
reproduction but were misguided by Narada. They too followed the footsteps of their elder
brothers. Learning about the fate of his sons, Daksha cursed Narada. Then Daksha and Vairuni
gave birth to sixty daughters. Ten of them were married to Dharma, thirteen to Kashyapa,
twenty–seven to Soma, four to Arishtnemi and two to Angira and Krishasva each. Arundhati,
Vasu, Yami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Sadhya and Vishwa were the wives
of Dharma. Vishwa gave birth to Vishwadeva, Sadhya to Sadhyagana; Marutvan was the son of
Marutvati. Vasu gave birth to eight Vasus. Lamba gave birth to Ghosha, Yami to Nagveethi
whereas Arundhati gave birth to all other creatures that dwell on earth. Sankalpa produced
Sankalpa that is omnipresent resolution.
Names of the eight Vasus were Ap, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anil, Anal, Pratyush and Prabhas.
Vaitand, Shrama, Shant and Dhvani were the sons of Ap. All annihilating Kal was the son of
Dhruva. Varcha was the son of Soma. Dravin, Huta, Ityavar, Shishir, Pran and Varuna were the
sons of Dharma. Manojav and Avigyatgati were the sons of Anil. Sharastamb, Shakh, Vishakh
and Naigmeya were the sons of Anal. Pratyush had a son Deval. Vatstree the sister of Brihaspati
was the wife of Prabhas. They had Vishwakarma as their son. Vishwakarma himself had four
sons– Ajaikpad, Ahirbudhanya, Twashta, and Rudra. The great penancer Vishwaroop was the son
O great sage! Har, Bahuroop, Treyambak, Aparajit, Vrishakapi, Shambhu, Kapardi, Raivat,
Mrigvyadh, Sharpa and Kapali are the eleven Rudras. Sage Kashyapa had thirteen wives– Aditi,
Diti, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Khasa, Surabhi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasha, Ira, Kadru and Muni.
Now listen to the description of their progenies.
During the previous Manavantar, there were twelve gods named Tushit. At the end of the
Manavantar, they met together and said– "O brothers! Let us now enter the womb of Aditi and
take birth as the gods again in Vaivasvat Manavantar." Thus, Vishnu, Indra, Aryama, Dhata,
Twashta, Pusha, Vivasvan, Savita, Maitra, Varuna, Anshu and Bhaga, these twelve sons of Aditi
came to be known as Aditya.
The twenty–seven wives of Soma gave birth to many talented sons. Wives of Arishtnemi gave
birth to sixteen sons. Thus in all thirty–three gods including eight Vasus, eleven Rudra, twelve
Aditya, Prajapati and Vashatkar have been described in the Vedas. All of them are capable of
taking birth at will. Just as the Sun rises and sets, similarly these gods also appear in different
From the part of Kashyapa, Diti gave birth to two invincible sons, Hiranyakashipu and
Hiranyaksh and a daughter Sinhika who was married to Viprachiti. Hiranyakashipu had four
sons– Anuhlad, Ahlad, Sahlad and Prahlada.
CHAPTER ELEVEN TALE OF PRAHLADA AND
Parashar says– By the boon of Brahma, Hiranyakashipu had acquired tremendous power and
came to control all the three worlds. He had driven the gods out of heaven and used to receive
the oblations offered to Surya, Vayu, Agni, Varuna, Chandrama, Kubera, Yamaraj etc. Because
of his fear, all those gods roamed on earth.
All the creatures began to worship Hiranyakashipu. Beautiful and amorous elves danced in his
palace while Gandharvas accompanied them on instruments. Prahlada was the youngest son of
Hiranyakashipu. Like other children, he too was sent to Gurukula to be educated. One day, his
teachers took Prahlada to Hiranyakashipu who was engaged in drinking of wine at that moment.
Lovingly he took his son into his lap and asked– "O son, tell me, what you have learnt so far in
the auspices of your teachers?"
Prahlada said– "O father! I salute to that Sri Hari who has no beginning, no end and no mid–part,
who doesn't take birth and who is free from growth and decay." Hearing this, Hiranyakashipu
looked at the teachers with bloodshot eyes and shouted at them– "O wretched Brahmins! In sheer
violation of my orders, you have taught my son to praise my enemy." The teachers tried to
express their apology saying that what Prahlada was saying was not taught by them.
Hiranyakashipu asked then Prahlada who had taught him like that. Prahlada said– "O father! Lord
Vishnu who resides in the heart of us all is the supreme creature. Who can teach anybody
anything apart from Him?" Hiranyakashipu said– "O fool! Who is that Vishnu about whom you
are describing before me, the Lord of entire world?" Prahlada replied– "Lord Vishnu is he who is
contemplated about by the Yogis. He is the originator of the entire universe. His virtues cannot
be described in words. That Parmeshwar is Vishnu."
Hiranyakashipu said– "Fool! Who can be Parmeshwar other than me? Do you want to die that
you are babbling like that?" Prahlada said– "O father! Your anger is baseless. Lord Vishnu is the
creator of all of us including you and me. He controls our breaths."
Infuriated Hiranyakashipu then ordered the teachers to take Prahlada away at once and wash his
brain thoroughly. The teachers took Prahlada with them to their Gurukula. Prahlada began to
concentrate in his studies. After many months, Hiranyakashipu once again called Prahlada to his
palace and asked about his learning. Once again, Prahlada began to praise Lord Vishnu. This
time, Hiranyakashipu ordered his assassination. He began to see his son as a threat to his throne.
By the orders of Hiranyakashipu, many formidable demons attacked Prahlada with their weapons
but Prahlada stood unfazed. He said– "O fools! Lord Vishnu is present in you, in me and even in
your weapons. May your weapons have no effect on me." Indeed, the weapons of the demons
could not even touch Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu said– "I can still pardon your life provided that
you stop praising my opponent." Prahlada said– "O father! I fear nothing. By the God's grace, I
am free from the fear of birth and death." Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlada thrown amidst
venomous snakes. But, biting by the snakes had no effect on Prahlada because his mind was
contemplating in Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlada trampled by big bull elephants. But even elephants could not
harm Prahlada. Instead their tusks were broken as soon as they touched Prahlada. Even then
Prahlada tried to pacify his father that it was Lord's strength that protected him every time.
Prahlada's teachers who were the sons of Shukracharya then assured Hiranyakashipu that
Prahlada was having a fickle mind because of his tender age. They also assured the demon king
of transforming Prahlada and took him to their hermitage once again.
Prahlada's Preaching–– But in the hermitage, Prahlada assembled other demon children and said–
" Friends, listen to my preaching carefully and don't take it for granted because I have no
personal interest in it. Every living being takes birth and suffers a lot while passing his life
through childhood, youth and old age. The end result of life is nothing but death. It is one's
Karma that accompany him birth after birth. But in every birth, this soul mistakes hunger, thirst,
cold or hot for the pleasures. More of the luxuries one collects, more the sorrow increases.
Attachment and passion are the greatest cause of sorrow. Even after passing a life that is full of
sorrow, one suffers the agony of death and rebirth again. This whole cycle continues again and
again. Lord Vishnu is the ultimate refuge for the soul, which feels drowned in the ocean of
Don't be confused with my young age. I am a boy like you. But the soul that stays within me is
eternal. The soul has no distinct stages in life. But a human being is inflicted with lot of
misconceptions. In the childhood, he prefers to play than contemplating on God. In the youth,
lust and carnal pleasures attract the mind. Still a human being doesn't get serious about his
benefit. He keeps on postponing his spiritual matters for his old age. But in old age, a human
being has no option but to see his trembling fingers and repent about his past. Thus a human
being spoils his whole life. A wise person hence must ignore the different stages of his body's
stay on earth and make efforts for his benefit right in his childhood.
What I have told you is unchangeable fact. Start reciting Lord Vishnu's name for my pleasure
atleast. His remembrance is enough to destroy all the sins. May your mind always contemplate
on Him day and night. Thus all your miseries shall come to an end.
CHAPTER TWELVE ATTEMPTS TO KILL PRAHLADA
When the demons saw that their all efforts failed to faze Prahlada and that he was preaching the
demon children they informed Hiranyakashipu about all these happenings. Hiranyakashipu at
once called his cook and ordered him to poison Prahlada through food. But the poisonous food
also could not hurt Prahlada. In fact, its poison was rendered ineffective by the recitation of
Lord's name. This frightened the cook. He informed Hiranyakashipu about that miraculous event.
Hiranyakashipu then ordered the priests who were Prahlada's teachers to invoke the ogress
Kritya in order to kill Prahlada. The teachers tried to convince Prahlada before invoking Kritya.
"O prince, you are the son of great Hiranyakashipu and have taken birth in Brahma's lineage.
What have you to do with matters like God and all that? The whole world is dependent on your
father. You should also take refuge of your father and stop praising his opponent. Father is
revered and even greater than the teachers."
Prahlada said–"O fortunate ones! I know the prowess of my father. I also do not doubt regarding
my father's reverence and greatness. I will not commit any crime against him but kindly listen to
me what I mean by the endless God."
"O teachers! There are four attainable goals in one's life. You ask me what have I to do with He,
who helps all the human beings to attain these four goals– Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
You are my teachers. You are free to say anything to me. But within me stays He who is the
creator of all, who is the preserver of all and who is the destroyer of all of us. Kindly forgive me
if I have committed any thing wrong in your honor."
The teachers said–"O foolish boy, we saved you from imminent death thinking that you are our
disciple and that you will not balderdash in future. But still you speak nonsense. Listen, if you
don't drop your stubbornness we'll have to invoke Kritya the ogress in order to get you slain."
Unfazed Prahlada said that life and death were immaterial for the soul that protects or destroys
itself through auspicious and inauspicious deeds. Hence one should always strive to behave in an
auspicious way. But Prahlada's words further enraged his teachers. They invoked the ogress
Kritya to get Prahlada slain. Kritya hit Prahlada's chest hard with her trident. But as soon as the
trident touched his chest it broke into pieces without harming Prahlada.
Seeing her attempt failed, Kritya killed the teachers and disappeared. His teachers' death caused
immense pain for Prahlada. Mourning for their death, he prayed Lord Vishnu to resurrect them. Hearing
his prayers, Lord Vishnu once again granted life to his teachers. The teachers got up as if from a deep
slumber. They realised their mistake and blessed Prahlada and resolved never to have hostility against
him. Then they went to the palace and informed Hiranyakashipu about all the happenings.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN LORD'S VIRTUES AND
PROTECTION OF PRAHLADA
Hearing the news of Kritya's failure to kill Prahlada, killing of teachers and their subsequent
revival as effected by Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu called his son and asked if all those miracles
were natural or he knew some magical tricks. Prahlada said– "O father, neither I know any magic
nor is the miracle a part of my nature. All these are ordinary things for he who has eternal God in
his heart. No one can harm those who never wish ill for the others. All the living beings are equal
for Him. In every creature, I see the same Lord Vishnu who is present within me; hence I never
try to harm him or her. I cannot even think of harming anybody. It is this feeling that protects me
from every physical, mental or divinely discomfort."
But these words failed to please Hiranyakashipu. He ordered his men to throw Prahlada from a
very high fort. Even this attempt, however failed to cause any harm to Prahlada for the mother
earth took him in her lap tenderly in the midway. Suspecting some illusionary powers helping
Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu ordered Shambarasur to kill him using his illusionary powers.
Shambarasur created many illusions to kill Prahlada. But right then Lord Vishnu sent His
Sudarshan Chakra to counter those demonic illusions and protect Prahlada. Sudarshan Chakra
destroyed all the demonic illusions one by one. Then Hiranyakashipu ordered Vayu to dry up
Prahlada to death. When Vayu entered Prahlada's body and began to dry him up, the Lord came
to stay in his heart where God absorbed all the drying effects of the air thus rendering it weak.
After all those attempts failed, Prahlada returned to his teachers' hermitage and resumed his
education once again. The teachers trained him all the relevant subjects. Then they once again
took Prahlada to his father and told him that now his education was over. Hiranyakashipu asked–
"O son! How should one behave with the others? Tell me what have learned so far. I am eager to
know your opinions."
Prahlada said–"O father, indeed my teachers have taught me in different subjects. I have too
learned them with heart. They taught me