The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 1 - On the Origin of Devas and Asuras

1. After paying obeisance to Nārāyaṇa and also to Nara[1] the best among men and goddess Sarasvatī,[2] one should utter the Puranic lore.[3]

2. I make obeisance unto that eternal all-pervading, steadfast and pure entity named Puruṣottama from whom this entire illusory universe with all its extensive diversities is evolved, in whom it abides, in whom it gets ultimately dissolved[4] in the succeeding Kalpas and by meditating on whom, the sages attain eternal liberation without the tint of worldliness.

3. I make obeisance to Hari the delightful, spotless, omnipotent, attributeless, beyond the states of the manifest and unmanifest, devoid of worldliness, attainable by meditation alone, omnipresent and the destroyer of the cycle of birth and the unageing bestower of liberation, whom the learned at the time of samādhi meditate upon, who is pure space-like, abode of eternal bliss and the gracious lord, devoid of all dirt and attributes. He is devoid of manifoldness. He is beyond the manifest and unmanifest. He is the overlord, comprehensible through meditation alone. He is the cause of annihilation of worldly existence and unageing.

4-12. In the very holy, charming and extremely sacred Naimiṣa[5] forest, a great sacrifice lasting for twelve years was performed by the sages. The forest abounded in flowers of diverse kinds and trees such as Sāla, Karṇikāra, Panasa, Dhava, Khadira, Āmra, Jambū, Kapittha, Nyagrodha, Devadāru, Aśvattha, Pārijāta, Candana, Arjuna, Campaka and others. Many kinds of birds and beasts lived there. It abounded in Aguru, Pāṭala, Bakula, Sapta-Parṇa, Punnāga, Nāgakesara, Sāla, Tamāla, Nārikela and Arjuna. It was beautified by many trees, Campaka and others embellished by variety of water-reservoirs such as pools and holy lakes. It abounded in people of various castes—Brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, Śūdras, people of all stages of life, students, householders, forest-dwellers and ascetics. It was richly endowed with birds of various sorts, cows and cattle wealth and storage of barley wheat, chick peas, pulses, beans, sesamum and sugarcane and other plants. It was adorned by stocks of paddy and other fresh vegetables. There in that forest the bright, sacred fire was kindled and the sages performed a sacrifice extending for twelve years. Thus the sages and other brahmins congregated there.

13-14. The brahmin guests were suitably welcomed and honoured by the hosts along with the duly seated priests. In the meanwhile there arrived Romaharṣaṇa,[6] the intelligent Sūta. On seeing him the excellent sages were extremely delighted and they honoured him in a fitting manner.

15. He too made obeisance to them and occupied a respectable seat. The brahmins conversed with Sūta for some time.

16. At the end of preliminary conversation, the sponsors of the sacrifice accompanied by the priests and other honoured guests who had congregated there wanted to clear their doubts by means of questions put to him.

The Sages said:

17. O excellent one, you are well-versed in Purāṇas, Āgamas and other holy texts together with traditional tales. You are aware of the origin and exploits of Devas and Daityas.

18. There is nothing unknown to you in the Vedas, Scriptures, Bhārata,[7] Purāṇa[8] and treatises on salvation. O highly intelligent one, you are omniscient.

19-21. Sūta, we desire to know how this entire visible world consisting of the mobile and immobile beings originated at the outset, along with Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Serpents. Where did it get merged? Where will it get dissolved?

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

22-30. Obeisance to Viṣṇu, the universal Soul who is immutable, mysterious, of unchanging form and all-conquering. Obeisance to Hiraṇyagarbha[9], Hari and Śaṅkara Vāsudeva the protector who is the agent of creation, sustenance and destruction. Obeisance to Viṣṇu who has unitary and manifold forms. Obeisance to the deity who is gross as well as subtle. Obeisance to Viṣṇu who becomes manifest and unmanifest and who is the cause of liberation. Obeisance to Viṣṇu the Supreme Soul who is at the root of creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe and who is identical with the universe. I bow unto Acyuta, Puruṣottama who is the support of this great as well as small world (the macrocosm and microcosm). He is factually devoid of impurity. He has the form of perfect knowledge. He is stationed in the form of this Visual world in our illusory vision. I bow to Viṣṇu who consumes the universe, who is the lord of creation and sustenance, who is omniscient, lord of the universe, the birthless and deathless, immutable, and the primordial, subtle overlord of the universe. I bow to Brahmā and others. I bow to my lord preceptor, the son of Parāśara[10] and the knower of the essence of the import of all Śāstras and the Purāṇas. He is the master of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas.[11] After bowing down to my lord preceptor I shall recount the Purāṇa which is on a par with the Vedas.

31. I shall mention in the same manner as was mentioned by the lotus-born lord Brahmā[12] formerly on beṃg asked by Dakṣa and other excellent sages.

32. Listen to the wonderful story that I narrate to you now and which is pregnant with meaning. It provides with auxiliary to those mentioned in the Vedas. I shall tell you the story that liberates people from sins.

33. He who listens to this story frequently, he who perpetually retains this in memory shall perpetuate his family and be honoured in the heavenly region.

34. Pradhāna is the eternal unmanifest cause which is of the nature of sat (existent) and asat (non-existent). Puruṣa, the lord, evolved the universe out of it.

35. O excellent sages, know that he is Brahmā of unmeasured refulgence. He is the creator of all living beings. He is Nārāyaṇa the greatest Being.

36. Cosmic Ego (Ahaṃkāra) was born of Mahat (great principle): from Mahat, Bhūtas (Elements) were born. Varieties of living beings were born of the Elements. Thus is the eternal creation.

37. It is being glorified with details of all aspects in accordance with my intelligence and in the manner I have heard. Now listen to it. It shall enhance the reputation of all of you.

38-40. The glory of persons who had performed meritorious deeds and whose renown is permanent is proclaimed herein.

The Self-born lord who was desirous of creating varieties of subjects from the unmanifest Pradhāna created waters[13] alone at the outset. He instilled vigour in them. The waters are called Nāras (born of Nara—man); waters are the progeny of Nara.[14] At the outset, they were his place of resort. Hence he is remembered as Nārāyaṇa. A gold-wombed Egg took shape and floated on the waters.

41-42. Brahmā himself was born there. We have heard that he is self-born. The gold-coloured lord stayed there for a year and then split the Egg into two—heaven and Earth. In the middle of these two halves the Lord created firmament.

43-45. He held the Earth floating on the waters. He created ten quarters, as well as mind, speech, love, anger and pleasure.

Desirous of evolving creation befitting these, he created Prajāpatis[15] (Lords of subjects) viz. Marīci, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasiṣṭha. Thus the lord of great refulgence created seven mental sons.[16] In the Purāṇas these are known as the seven Brahmās.

46. Subsequent to the seven sons of Brahmā who were identical with Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā created Rudra out of his fury.

47. He created the divine lord Sanatkumāra who was the eldest of all his previous sons. O brahmins, the subjects and Rudras were born of these seven.

48-50. Skanda and Sanatkumāra stayed there condensing their brilliance. Seven great families of divine nature comprising the groups of Devas were born of seven Brahmās. They had progeny and they performed holy rites. The families were adorned by great sages. Brahmā created lightning, thunder, clouds, saffron-coloured rainbows, birds and Parjanya (lord of clouds) at the outset. He composed Ṛks, Yajus and Sāman for conducting sacrifices.

51. We have heard that he created Sādhyas and other Devas. Living beings high and low were born of his limbs.

52-53. Even when Prajāpati had created such an extensive horde of progeny, the created subjects did not multiply. Then he split his body into two halves. One half became a man and the other half a woman. The man begot of the woman different kinds of subjects.

54. With his grandeur he pervaded heaven and Earth and stored by Viṣṇu created Virāṭ (an immense being) and Virāṭ created Puruṣa.

55. Know that Manu was that Puruṣa. The Manvantara the ruling period of Manu is the second one of Manu, the mental son of Brahmā.

56. That Vairāja (Son of Virāṭ) Puruṣa, lord of creation of the subjects, was the lord who created. The subjects created during Nārāyaṇa’s creation as well as Manu’s were not born of the womb.

57. On hearing this account of creation at the outset, a man becomes longlived, well-renowned and blessed with progeny. He will obtain his desired goal.

58. Āpava—that Puruṣa and Prajāpatī—was desirous of creating subjects. He obtained Śatarūpā,[17] an Ayonija lady as his wife.

59. With his grandeur, Āpava pervaded heaven and stood by. Then, O excellent sages, Śatarūpā was delivered of her progeny righteously.

60. She performed a severe penance for ten thousand years and obtained as her husband that Puruṣa of bright penance.

61. O brahmins, that Puruṣa is called Svāyambhuva Manu (Manu born of the self born lord). His Manvantara consisted of seventy-one cycles of Yugas.

62-64. Śatarūpā bore to Vairāja Puruṣa the heroic sons Priyavrata and Uttānapāda. After the heroic sons (a daughter) Kāmyā was born. O excellent sages, Kāmyā (was the wife) of Kardama Prajāpati. The sons of Kāmyā were four viz. Samrāṭ, Kukṣi, Virāṭ and Prabhu. Prajāpati Atri adopted Uttānapāda as his son. Sūnṛtā bore four sons to Uttānapāda.

65. The charming daughter of Dharma is known as Sūnṛṭā. She was born as a result of horse sacrifice. She was the illustrious mother of Dhruva.

66. Prajāpati Uttānapāda begot four sons of Sūnṛtā viz. Dhruva, Kīrtimān, Āyuṣmān and Vasu.

67. O brahmins, the highly blessed Dhruva, seeking very great fame, performed penance for three thousand divine years.

68. Prajāpati Brahmā being delighted gave him a stable abode, on par with his own in front of seven sages.

69. On observing his prestige and greatness flourishing, formerly Uśanas the preceptor of Devas and Asuras sang this Verse:

70. Wonderful is the power of his penance. Wonderful is his learning. Wonderful indeed is Dhruva[18] whom the seven sages have kept ahead of themselves.

71. Śambhu bore to Dhruva (two sons) viz. Śliṣṭi and Bhavya. Succhāyā bore five noble sons to Śliṣṭi.

72. They were Ripu, Purañjaya, Putra, Vṛkala and Vṛkatejas. Bṛhatī bore to Ripu the son Cāksuṣa who had an all round splendour.

73. He begot Cākṣusa Manu of Puskariṇī, Vairiṇī the daughter of Araṇya the Prajāpati of great soul.

74. O leading sages, ten sons of great prowess were born to Manu and Naḍvalā the daughter of Prajāpati Vairāja.

75-76. The first nine were Kutsa, Puru, Śatadyumna, Tapasvin, Satyavāk, Kavi, Agniṣṭubh, Atirātra and Sudyumna. The tenth was Abhimanyu. These sons of great prowess were born of Naḍvalā. Āgneyī bore six sons of great lustre to Puru.

77. They were Aṅga, Sumanas, Khyāti, Kratu, Aṅgiras and Gaya. Sunīthā bore to Aṅga a single son Vena.

78. There was a great uproar due to the misdemeanour of Vena. For procreating progeny the sages churned his right hand.

79-81. A mighty king was born when his hand was churned. On seeing him the sages declared: “This king will make his subjects delighted. His refulgence is great. He will earn great renown.” He was born equipped with a bow and a coat of mail. He was as lustrous as the burning fire: Pṛthu, the son of Vena protected this Earth. He was the oldest of Kṣatriyas. He was the first and foremost of those whose coronations were performed with a Rājasūya[19] sacrifice. He was the overlord of the Earth.

82-85. The intelligent Sūta and Magadha were born of being desirous of securing the means of subsistence for his subjects, the king (Pṛthu) milked this Earth in the form of a cow. O excellent sages. The king milked the cow along with Devas, sages, Pitṛs, Dānavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, serpents, Puṇyajanas, creepers etc. On being milked by them the Earth gave them as much milk as could fill up their vessels. They sustained their lives thereby, At the end of sacrifice, two righteous sons were born to Pṛthu viz Antardhi and Pātin.

86-87. Śikhaṇḍinī bore Havirdhāna to Antardhāna (i.e. Antardhi). Dhiṣaṇā, the daughter of Agni, bore six sons to Havirdhāna viz Prācīnabarhiṣ, Śukra, Gaya, Kṛṣṇa, Vraja and Ajina. Lord Prācīnabarhiṣ was a great Prajāpati.

88-91. After Havirdhāna, excellent sages, it was lord Prācīnabarhiṣ by whom the subjects moving about on the Earth were brought up and made to flourish. After concluding the rigorous penance on the shore (of the ocean), the king married Savarṇā the daughter of the ocean. Savarṇā, the daughter of the ocean, bore ten sons to Prācīnabarhiṣ. They were called Pracetas. They were well-versed in archery. Performing holy rites jointly they practiced a great penance for ten thousand years lying submerged under the waters of the ocean.

92-95. While the Pracetas were performing penance, the Earth was left unguarded. Hence the trees overgrew the Earth and enveloped it. Thereby, the destruction of subjects set in. The trees grew so dense that the wind was unable to blow. For ten thousand years the subjects were unable even to stir. All the Pracetas who were performing penance heard about it. They became furious and generated wind and fire through their mouths. The wind uprooted the trees and desiccated them. The terrible fire burned them. Thus the trees were destroyed.

96. On knowing that the trees were being destroyed and that only a few of them remained, Soma approached the Prajāpatis and said:

97. O kings, O son of Prācīnabarhiṣ, restrain your wrath. The Earth has been denuded of trees. May your fury and fire be subdued.

98-99. This girl of excellent complexion is the jewel of the forest. She had been held by me in my womb as I was aware of the future. This daughter of the forest is Māriṣā by name. O highly blessed ones, may she be your wife. May she raise the lunar race. For this purpose alone she has been created.

100. With half the splendour pertaining to you and with half of my splendour, the learned Prajāpati named Dakṣa will be born of her.

101. He is on par with Agni. He will make this Earth and the subjects flourish once again. He will develop this Earth, practically burned out by the fiery splendour pertaining to you.

102. Then, at the instance of Soma, the ascetics restrained their fury towards the trees and accepted Māriṣā as their lawfully wedded wife.

103. O brahmins, with a part of Soma, Dakṣa Prajāpati of great splendour was born of Māriṣā and the ten Pracetas.

104. After mentally creating the immobile and mobile beings, the bipeds and the quadrupeds, Dakṣa created women.

105. Lord Dakṣa gave ten of his daughters to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa, the remaining (twenty-seven) named after twenty-seven constellations to king Soma.

106. Devas, birds, cows, serpents, Daityas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras and other classes of people were born of them.

107. O leading brahmins, it was only after this that the procreation by means of sexual intercourse began. The subjects before are said to be born of mental conception, sight or touch.

The Sages said:

108. The origin of Devas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, serpents, Rākṣasas, as well as that of Dakṣa the great soul has been heard by us.

109-110. Indeed, Dakṣa of auspicious rites was born of the right thumb of Brahmā. His wife was born of the left thumb. How could Dakṣa of great penance be born of Pracetas? O Sūta, please clarify our doubt. How did the grandson of Soma attain the status of his father-in-law?

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

111. O brahmins, origin and annihilation do occur continuously among living beings. Sages and other learned people are not deluded in this respect.

112. Dakṣas and other beings are born in every Yuga. They are annihilated afterwards. A learned man does not become deluded thereby.

113. O excellent brahmins, formerly there was neither seniority nor juniorship (conditioned by time). Penance alone was the important factor. Power was the cause (of this consideration)

114. He who understands this side-creation of Dakṣa comprising the mobile and immobile beings, shall be blessed with progeny. He will live the full span of life. He is honoured in the heavenly world.

The Sages said:

115. O Lomaharṣaṇa recount in details the origin of Devas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, Rākṣasas and serpents.

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

116. Formerly, Prajāpati Dakṣa was directed by the self-born lord (who said) “create subjects.” O brahmins now listen how he created them.

117. The Prajāpati created living beings mentally. He created sages, Gandharvas, Asuras, Yakṣas and Rākṣasas.

118-119. O brahmins, when his mental progeny did not multiply, the virtuous Prajāpati began to ponder over ways and means of increasing subjects. He became desirous of creating variety subjects by the process of sexual intercourse. He took Asikni the daughter of Prajāpati Vīraṇa as his wife. She was endowed with the power of penance. She, the great was capable of sustaining the worlds.

120-127. Prajāpati Dakṣa the great begot five thousand sons of Asikni the daughter of Vīraṇa. On seeing those highly blessed sons desirous of increasing the subjects, the celestial sage Nārada of sweet tongue spoke to them certain words which brought their destruction and invited a curse for himself (?). Formerly Sage Kaśyapa was afraid of Dakṣa’s curse, hence he procreated the more excellent son (Nārada) in the daughter of Dakṣa. This Nārada was the son of Brahmā formerly. Like his father Brahmā, Dakṣa again created Nārada in his wife Asikni the daughter of Vīraṇa. Dakṣa’s sons Haryaśvas were completely destroyed by Brahmā. Dakṣa of unmeasured exploits attempted to destroy Brahmā. Keeping the Brahmanical sages ahead he was requested by the latter not to be angry. Dakṣa then made a compromise with Brahmā. “May Nārada be born of my daughter as your son.” Then Dakṣa gave his beloved daughter to Brahmā. Fearful of being cursed again (?) Sage Nārada was born of her.

The Sages said:

128. O lord, how were the sons of Prajāpati destroyed by Nārada the great sage? We wish to hear all about it factually.

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

129. Haryaśvas, the extremely powerful sons of Dakṣa arrived (at a spot near the sea) desirous of making the subjects multiply: Nārada spoke to them.

130-131. “Alas, all of you are very puerile. You do not know the magnitude and extent of this Earth. Still, O sons of Pracetas you are desirous of creating subjects. But how will you create the subjects within it, above it and below it? On hearing his words they wondered in all directions.

132-134. They have not returned so far like rivers merging into the sea. When Haryaśvas vanished, lord Dakṣa, son of Pracetas procreated a thousand sons in the daughter of Vīraṇa. They were known as Śabalāśvas. They were also desirous of multiplying the subjects, Nārada spoke to them as he had spoken to Haryaśvas. They told one another.

135. The great sage said pertinently: let us trace out our brothers. When we have found them out and ascertained the extent of the Earth, we shall easily create the subjects.”

136. They too went in all directions along the same path. Till today they have not returned like rivers flowing into oceans.

137. Ever since then, O brahmins, a brother who goes in search of a lost brother perishes himself. Thus a wise brother should not go in search of his lost brother.

138. On realising that they too had perished Prajāpati Dakṣa procreated sixty daughters in the daughters of Vīraṇa. This we have heard.

139. O brahmins Kaśyapa, lord Soma, Dharma and other sages took them as their wives.

140-141. He gave ten daughters to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa, twenty-seven to Soma, four to Ariṣṭanemi, two to Bahuputra, two to Aṅgiras and two to Kṛśāśva. Now listen to their names.

142-146. The ten wives of Dharma were Arundhatī, Vasu, Yamī, Lambā, Bālā, Marutvatī, Saṅkalpā, Muhūrtā, Sādhyā and Viśvā. O brahmins, understand the children born of these. Viśvedevas were born of Viśvā. Sādhyā gave birth to Sādhyas, Marutvats were born of Marutvatī. Vasus were the sons of Vasu, Bhānus were the sons of Bhānu, Muhūrtas were born of Muhūrtā, Ghoṣa was the son of Lambā. Nāgavīthī was the daughter of Yamī; objects of the Earth were born of Arundhatī. Saṃkalpa, the soul of the universe was born of Saṅkalpā; Vṛṣala was born of Nāgavīthī the daughter of Yamī.

147. Dakṣa, the son of Pracetas, gave his daughter in marriage to Soma: All those are named after constellations. They are glorified in the Astral Science.

148. Those others who are known as Devas going ahead of luminaries are the eight Vasus. I shall mention them in detail.

149. Āpa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhava, (or Dhruva), Anila, Anala, Pratyūṣa and Prabhāsa are the names of Vasus.

150. Āpa’s sons were Vaitaṇḍya, Śrama, Srānta and Muni. Dhruva’s son was Kāla who reckons time in the world.

151. Soma’s son was Varcas whereby people become refulgent. Draviṇa and Hutahavyavāha were the sons of Dhava. Manoharā’s sons were Śiśira, Prāṇa and Ramaṇa.

152. Śivā was the wife of Anila. Her son was Manojava. Anila had two sons: Manojava and Avijñātagati.

153. Agni’s son Kumāra was enveloped by splendour in the cluster of Śara reeds. His sons were Śākha, Viśākha and Naigameya.

154. He was the adopted son of Kṛttikās.[20] Hence he was called Kārttikeya. They say that the sage Devala was the son of Pratyūṣa.

155-156. Devala had two sons endowed with knowledge and forbearance. Bṛhaspati’s sister Yogasiddhā was excellent lady who expounding the Brahman wandered over the entire world. She was detached at first, but later on she became the wife of Prabhāsa the eighth among the Vasus.

157. The highly blessed Prajāpati Viśvakarman was born of her. He was a carpenter of Devas and the architect of thousands of arts and crafts.

158. He was the maker of all ornaments and the most excellent among the artisans. It was he who made the aerial chariots for Devas.

159. Human beings too subsist on the works of art of that great architect.

Surabhi bore eleven Rudras to Kaśyapa.

160-162. That chaste lady sanctified by her penance (gave them birth) by the grace of Mahādeva.

They were Ajaikapāda, Ahirbudhnya, Tvaṣṭṛ, Rudra the powerful, Hara, Bahurūpa, Tryambaka, Aparājita, Vṛṣākapi, Śambhu, Kapardī, Raivata, Mṛgavyādha, Śarva and Kapālin. O excellent brahmins, these are the eleven (?) well-known Rudras[21] lords of the universe.

163. A century of these Rudras of unmeasured strength has been mentioned in the Purāṇas. O leading sages, the entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings is pervaded by them.

164-165. O leading brahmins, now listen to the names of the wives of Prajāpati Kaśyapa. They are Aditi, Diti, Danu, Ariṣṭā, Surasā, Khasā, Surabhi, Vinatā, Tāmrā, Krodhavaśā, Irā, Kadrū and Muni. O brahmins, know the children born of them.

166-169. In the previous Manvantara there were twelve magnificent and excellent Devas named Tuṣitas. When the Vaivasvata Manvantara was imminent they told one another thus—“During the Manvantara of Cākṣuṣa Manu of great fame, O Devas, all of you shall gather together for the welfare of the world. Come quickly ye all and enter the womb of Aditi. We shall be born then. It will be to our welfare and advantage” After saying thus they of prolific refulgence were born of Aditi and Kaśyapa in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara.

170-171. Viṣṇu and Śakra were born again then. The following are the twelve Ādityas: Aryaman, Dhātṛ, Tvaṣṭṛ, Pūṣan, Vivasvan, Savitṛ, Mitra, Varuṇa, Aṃśa and Bhaga of great splendour along with Viṣṇu and Śakra.

172. In the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara they were known as Tuṣitas. In the Vaivasvata Manvantara they are called Āditya.

173. Brilliant children of unmeasured splendour were born of those ladies of holy rites who had been mentioned as the twenty-seven wives of Soma.

174-175. The wives of Ariṣṭanemi had sixteen children. The four Vidyuts were the sons of Bahuputra the wise sage. In the previous Cākṣuṣa Manvantara Ṛks were honoured by the brahmin sages. Devapraharaṇas are known as the children of Kṛśāśva, the celestial sage.

176. These are born again at the end of a thousand cycles of four Yugas, these are the groups of Devas. Thirty-three of them are born of Kāma.

177-178. O brahmins, annihilation and origin are said to befall them too. Just as the sun rises and sets in the firmament so also the groups of Devas in every Yuga.

We have heard that two sons were born to Diti.

179-180. They were Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa. A daughter named Siṃhikā was also born to her. She became the wife of Vipracitti. Her sons of great strength are known as Saiṃhikeyas. Hiraṇyakaśipu had four sons of well reputed prowess.

181. They were Hrāda, Anuhrāda, Prahrāda and Saṃhrāda. Hrāda was the son of Hrada.

182. Hrada’s sons were Māyāvī, Śiva and Kāla. Virocana was the son of Prahrāda, Bali was the son of Virocana.

183-184. O ascetics, Bali had hundred sons of whom Bāṇa was the eldest. (The most important of them are) Kumbhanābha, Gardabhākṣa, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Sūrya, Candramas, Indratāpana, and Kukṣi. Bāṇa was the eldest and the strongest amongst them. He was a devotee of Śiva.

185. In a former Kalpa, Bāṇa propitiated lord Śiva and begged for this boon “I shall sport about at vour side.”

186-187. Hiraṇyākṣa had five sons. They were both scholars and warriors. They were—Bharbhara, Śakuni, Bhūta, Santapana, Mahānābha of great exploits and Kālanābha.

Danu had a hundred sons of energetic exploits. They were ascetics of great prowess. I shall enumerate the most important, among them.

188-192. They are Dvimūrdhā, Śaṅkukarṇa, Hayaśiras, Ayomukha, Śambara, Kapila, Vāmana, Mārīci, Maghavan, Ilvala, Śṛmaṇa, Vikṣobhaṇa, Ketu, Ketuvīrya, Śatahrada, Indrajit, Sarvajit, Vajranābha, Ekacakra, Mahābāhu, Tāraka of great strength, Vaiśvānara, Puloman, Vidrāvaṇa Mahāśiras, Svarbhānu, Vṛṣaparva, Vipracitti of great virility. These sons of Danu were begotten by Kaśyapa.

193-194. Vipracitti was the chief among Dānavas of great strength. O excellent brahmins, it is not possible to enumerate their children because they are too numerous. The sons and grandsons were also too many to mention. Prabhā was the daughter of Svarbhānu, Śacī was the daughter of Puloman.

195. Upadānavī was the daughter of Hayaśiras, Śarmiṣṭhā was the daughter of Vṛṣaparvan, Puloman and Kālakā were the two daughters of Vaiśvānara.

196-198. They were the wives of Marīci. They had great strength and they bore many children. They had sixty thousand sons who delighted Dānavas. Marīci who performed a very great penance, procreated another fourteen hundred sons who stayed in the city of Hiraṇyapura. The Dānavas named Paulomas (Sons of Pulomā) and Kālakeyas (Sons of Kālakā) were very terrible. Vipracitti’s sons were born of Siṃhikā. Due to the admixture of Daityas and Dānavas they became valorous and powerful.

199-201. Thirteen very powerful Saiṃhikeyas were known as Vaṃśya, Śalya, Nala, Bala, Vātāpi, Namuci, Ilvala, Sṛmaṇa, Añjika, Naraka, Kālanābha, Saramāna and the powerful Svarakalpa.

Mūṣaka and Huṇḍa were the sons of Hrada.

202. Mārīca the son of Sunda was born of Tādakā. These are the excellent Dānavas who made the race of Danu flourish.

203-204. Their sons and grandsons were hundreds and thousands. The Nivātakavacas were born in the family of Daitya Saṃhrāda who had purified his soul by observing penance. The highly blessed Vaidyutas are reputed to have been born to Tāmrā. They had three crores of sons and they resided in Maṇivatī.[22]

205-209. It was difficult for Devas to kill them. They were struck down by Arjuna (the Pāṇḍava.)

(Tāmrā’s daughters were) Krauñcī, Śyenī, Bhāsī, Sugrīvī, Śuci and Gṛdhrī. Krauñcī gave birth to owls and crows, Śyenī to hawks and falcons, Bhāsī to Bhāsas (vultures, cocks), Gṛdhrī to Gṛdhras (vultures), Śuci to aquatic birds, Sugrīvī to horses, camels and donkeys. Thus listen to the race of Tāmrā.

Vinatā had two sons—Garuḍa and Aruṇa. Garuḍa is the most excellent among the flying birds. He is very terrible in his activities.

Surasā’s children were a thousand serpents of unmeasured prowess and many heads. O brahmins, they move about in the firmament and they are noble souls. The sons of Kadrū were very strong and had unmeasured strength and prowess. They were one thousand in number.

210-213. The multiheaded Nāgas of mighty valour were born. They were under the control of Garuḍa. The most important of these were:

Śeṣa, Vāsuki, Takṣaka, Airāvata, Mahāpadma, Kambala, Aśvatara, Elāpatra, Śaṅkha, Karkoṭaka, Dhanañjaya, Mahānīla, Mahākarṇa, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Balāhaka, Kuhara, Puṣpadaṃṣṭṛa, Durmukha, Sumukha, Śaṅkha, Śaṅkhapāla, Kapila, Vāmana, Nahuṣa, Śaṅkharoman, Maṇi and others.

214. Their sons and grandsons were in hundreds and thousands. There were fourteen thousand cruel snakes which live on air.

215. O brahmins, there is a group called Krodhavaśa. These have terrible fangs. The birds on land are infinite. They are the progeny of Earth.

216. Surabhi gave birth to cows and buffaloes, Irā gave birth to trees, creepers, plants and species of grass all round.

217-218. Khaśā gave birth to Yakṣas and Rākṣasas, Muni gave birth to Apsaras (celestial damsels); Ariṣṭā gave birth to Gandharvas of immense prowess and unmeasured energy. Thus these descendants of Kaśyapa consisting of mobile and immobile beings have been related. Their sons and grandsons are in hundreds and thousands.

219-223. O brahmins, this creation existed in the Svārociṣa Manvantara; what follows occurred in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. Brahmā commenced a big and extensive sacrifice pertaining to Varuṇa. Listen to the creation of subjects in the course of sacrifice whom Brahmā himself had created as his sons from his mind in the previous Kalpa.

O brahmins, then ensued the mutual animosity between Devas and Dānavas in which Diti lost all her sons. She propitiated Kaśyapa with great devotion; duly honoured and served by her, Kaśyapa was highly pleased. He permitted her to ask for a boon. She requested him for a son of unmeasured prowess who would be capable of killing Indra.

224-225. On being requested thus, Kaśyapa of great austerity granted her boon. After granting the boon Kaśyapa spoke to her—“Your son will kill Indra if you retain the foetus for a hundred autumns maintaining cleanliness and performing rites.”

226. O excellent sages, “So shall it be” said that gentle lady with devotion (to her lord) of great austerity. Maintaining cleanliness she conceived.

227-228. After impregnating Diti Kaśyapa returned. He desired for an excellent group of Devas of unmeasured prowess. After withdrawing his invincible splendour that could not be destroyed even by the immortal beings he went to a mountain resolving to perform penance and holy rites.

229-231. The chestiser of Pāka[23] stood waiting for a loophole to gain entry within her. The unswerving Indra saw a loophole when the century of years nearly came to a close. Without washing her feet Diti went to bed and slept. Indra entered her belly. Armed with his thunderbolt he cut the foetus into seven parts. On being split by the thunderbolt the foetus groaned.

232-233. “Mā rodīḥ” (Do not cry) said Indra to the child. It split into seven parts. The infuriated Indra, the suppressor of enemies further cut each of these pieces into seven more pieces by means of his thunderbolt. O excellent brahmins, those children later on came to be known as Maruts.[24]

234. They became Maruts according to what Indra had said. These forty-nine Devas became the associates of Indra, the wielder of thunderbolt.

235-238. O excellent brahmins, Hari desired for an excellent group of Devas of unmeasured prowess with these functioning as such. He allotted Prajāpatis for each multitude. Gradually, the kingdoms with Pṛthu at the head were organized. That Hari is the heroic Puruṣa, Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, Prajāpati, Parjanya, Tapana and Ananta. The whole universe belongs to him. O excellent brahmins, there is no fear of recession unto him who knows perfectly this creation of living beings. Whence can be fear for the other world?

Footnotes and references:


Nara-Nārāyaṇa:—Later epics and kāvyas speak of Nara as Arjuna and Nārāyaṇa as Kṛṣṇa. According to Mbh. Śānti Parva (Ch. 384) Nara and Narāyaṇa were the two incarnations of Mahāviṣṇu. According to another Tradition Nara and Nārāyaṇa were the two sages who did penance for thousands of years in the Badarikāśrama in the Himālayas. (P. Ency. p. 532).


Sarasvatī: The goddess of Speech and Learning (Brahma P. Gh. 43).


The verse is common to the Purāṇas. Originally it belonged to the Mahābhārata, since the term Jaya mentioned in the verse was applied to the Mahābhārata which originally consisted of eight thousand and eight hundred verses (P.E. under Jaya).


This is an old concept. But, later on, a single entity—Nārāyaṇa—was conceived as consisting of three forms: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, representing the three qualities—Rajas, Sattva and Tamas respectively. The three are assigned separately the work of creation, existence and dissolution.


Naimiṣa or Naimiśa, mod. Nimsar: It is situated on the left bank of Gomatī in the Sitapur district, U. P. The place is so called because the rim of the revolving wheel of Virtue was shattered here and virtue had to make a permanent abode in this region (Vāyu 2.7). Or the place is so called because here an army of Asuras was destroyed by Sage Gauramukha in a twinkling of eye (Varāha P.). According to Matsya, it was situated at the confluence of Gomatī and Gaṅgā. The place was sacred in Kṛta age, as Puṣkara in Tretā, Kurukṣetra in Dvāpara and Gaṅgā in Kali. Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā (10.6), Kauśitaki Brāhmaṇa (26.5), Chāndogya Upaniṣad (1.2.13) refer to it. The Rāmāyaṇa (7-91) states that Rāma performed Aśvamedha here.


Romaharṣaṇa Lomaharṣaṇa: a famous disciple of Vyāsa to whom Vyāsa gave the collection of Purāṇas, Romaharṣaṇa had six disciples: Sumati, Agnivarcas, Mitrāyus, Śāṃśapāyana, Akṛtavraṇa and Sāvarṇi.

The Vāyu P. (1.1.3) gives the derivation of his name as follows:

lomāni harṣayāṭcakre śrotrūṇāṃ yatsubhāṣitaiḥ |
karmaṇā prathitastena loke'smiṃllomaharṣaṇaḥ ||


Bhārata: The original name of the Mahābhārata was Jaya composed by Vyāsa. It consisted of eight thousand and eight hundred verses. Vaiśampāyana added fifteen, thousand two hundred stanzas and the book was named Bharata. When Sūta recited this book to the hermits in the Naimiṣa forest, the book had one lakh of stanzas. Hence, it was called Mahābhārata.


Purāṇa: Originally the word was used collectively for the sacred treatises which described Creation, Re-creation, Genealogies of Kings, Ages of Manus, History of rulers and distinguished persons. Later on, with the addition of more matter, it became an Encyclopaedia of General knowledge related to different subjects, divided and subdivided into Purāṇas and Upa-Purāṇas. For details see Epics end Purāṇas of India: Pusalkar and Majumdar.


Hiraṇyagarbha: Brahmā was born from the golden-egg formed out of the seed deposited in the waters—Manu 1.9. The word is often used in the Veda.


Parāśara, father of Vyāsa from Satyavati, the fisherman’s daughter with whom he had an intercourse without marriage. This girl, later on, married Śantanu, king of Hastināpura.


Vedāṅgas: Certain classes of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas, and designed to aid in the correct pronunciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of mantras in ceremonials. The Vedāṅgas are six (1) Śikṣā—the science of proper articulation and pronunciation, (2) Chandas—the science of prosody, (3) Vyākaraṇa—grammar, (4) Nirukta—etymological explanation of difficult Vedic Words, (5) Jyotiṣa—astronomy and (6) Kalpa—ritual or ceremonial.


Lotus-born Brahmā: According to Puranic tradition, there grew up a lotus in the navel of Viṣṇu and in that lotus Brahmā took his form. Seated in the lotus, Brahmā performed penance. Thereafter he began the work of creation. He is called Padmāsana, Padmabhū etc. therefore.


Manu. 1.8 apa eva sasarjādau, tāsu vīryam avākṣipat. “Waters are the first creation of the Self-existent. He laid seed in them.”. The account of creation (sarga) as described here is formed in Manusmṛti Ch. I.


Cp. Manu 1.10.

āpo nārā iti proktā āpo vai narasūnavaḥ |
tā yadasyāyanaṃ pūrvaṃ tena nārāyaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ ||

For the third Pāda, this Purāṇa reads:

ayataṃ (?) tasya tāḥ pūrva


Prajāpatis: lords of subjects. The word is as old as the Veda. Formerly, there were ten Prajāpatis. But as the number of subjects increased, eleven more were added to this number. Thus there were twenty-one Prajāpatis whose functions were to facilitate creation. They were Brahmā, Rudra, Manu, Dakṣa, Bhṛgu, Dharma, Tapa, Yama, Marīci, Aṅgiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasiṣṭha, Parameṣṭhi, Sūrya, Candra, Kardama, Krodha, and Vikrīta.


Seven Brahmās—seven mental sons of Brahmā. Each Manvantara has different saptarṣis. The Saptarṣis of the present Vaivasvata Manvantara, consist of Marīci, Aṅgiras, Atri, Pulastya, Vasiṣṭha, Pulaha and Kratu.


Śatarūpā—wife of Svāyambhuva Manu herein called Āpava. He took his sister Śatarūpā as his wife. The couple had two sons: Priyavrata and Uttānapāda and two daughters: Prasūti and Ākūti. Prasūti was married to Dakṣa Prajāpati and Ākūti to Ruci Prajāpati.


Dhruva—Svāyambhuva Manu, son of Brahmā, had two sons: Priyavrata and Uttānapāda. Uttānapāda had two wives: Suruci and Sunīti. Suruci gave birth to Uttama and Sunīti to Dhruva.


Rājasūya sacrifice—performed at the coronation of a king. MBh. II describes the Rājasūya sacrifice of king Yudhiṣṭhira in detail.


When Subrahmaṇya was born, Devas deputed six mothers to breastfeed him and they were called Kṛttikās. Certain Purāṇas hold that Subrahmaṇya had six faces and he was fed on six breasts at the same time. Six mothers were deputed to feed him, as he was born with six faces. Again according to certain Purāṇas it was Pārvatī who deputed the Kṛttikās. The child came to be known as Kārttikeya as it was fed by Kṛttikās.


Rudras: According to this Purāṇa, eleven Rudras were bora to Kaśyapa from Surabhi. Other Purāṇas give different origins and names of Rudras. The names of Rudras given there are the synonyms of lord Śiva.


Maṇivatī—The capital of Vidyādharas, a group of semi-gods who wear garlands.


Pākaśāsana, Lord Indra who chastised the Asura Pāka.


Maruts—Diti bore a child in her womb. When Indra knew that the child when born would slay him, he entered the womb when Diti was asleep, with a desire to kill it there itself. The child began to cry but Indra said “Do not cry—mā ruda.” Then Indra cut the child into fortynine pieces. They were born alive and they got the name Marut. When grown up they became helpers of Indra.

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