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 30 - Nativity of Sun-god

The sages said:—

1-2. The sun-god has been mentioned by you as the eternal lord who is devoid of attributes. What is heard by us as mentioned by you now is that he was born in twelve forms. How was that lord of great lustre, the mass of refulgence born of womb of a woman? Our doubt in respect to this is very great.

Brahmā said:—

3. Dakṣa had sixty excellent splendid daughters viz:—Aditi, Diti, Danu, Vinatā and others.

4. Dakṣa gave thirteen of his daughters to Kaśyapa. Aditi gave birth to Devas the lords of three worlds.

5. Diti gave birth to Daityas; Danu to Dānavas who werehaughty on account of their strength. Vinatā and others gave birth to mobile and immobile beings.

6. O sage, with the sons and daughters and their sons and grandsons, the entire universe is pervaded.

7. Devas were important among the sons of Kaśyapa. They are purely of Sattva quality. The other sons were of Rajas and Tamas qualities.

8. The creator Parameṣṭhin, the most excellent one among those conversant with the Brahman, Prajāpati made Devas the partakers of shares in sacrifices and the lords of the three worlds.

9-10. Due to enmity, Daityas and Dānavas harassed them collectively.

The Rākṣasas too joined them. The combat raged furiously, continued for a thousand years according to divine calculation. Devas were tortured. Daityas and Dānavas were victorious, in the battle.

On seeing the sons routed by Daityas and Dānavas and the three worlds destroyed, O excellent sages, Aditi was afflicted. On seeing her sons deprived of shares in sacrifices and afflicted by hunger she became distressed.

11. She endeavoured much for propitiating the sun. Restraining her diet and concentrating her mind she resorted to the holy observances of regulations. She eulogised Sun-god stationed in the firmament as a mass of refulgence.

Aditi said:

12-15. Obeisance to you who bear inimitable lustre, that is very subtle and worthy of homage. O lord of rays, I bow to you, the eternal support of refulgence, lord of refulgent ones. I bow to that fierce form which you have, while taking up the juice at the proper time for rendering service to the worlds. I bow to that fierce form you have when you hold the watery juice taken during eight months. I bow to that form of yours that is combined with Rajas during the two junctions (i.e. at dawn and at dusk). Obeisance to you, that soul with attributes that will bestow on me what I desire in my mind. I bow to that blazing form you have by virtue of unification of Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman (the three Vedas).

16. Obeisance to you, the lustrous one that scorchest the three worlds. The form that is beyond it is meditated upon by unerring Om. It is gross and non-gross. It is free from impurities, O eternal lord, obeisance to that form.

Brahmā said:

17. O brahmins, desirous of propitiating Sun-god, that gentle lady eulogised thus day and night. She maintained the observance of all holy rites. She abstained from taking food.

18. O excellent brahmins, after a long time, the sun-god became visible to that daughter of Dakṣa.

19. She saw a massive peak of refulgence enveloping the sky and standing on the ground. She saw the sun-god extremely unbearable by virtue of dense mass of flames.

20. On seeing him, the gentle lady became excessively awe-struck.

Aditi said:

21-23. O lord of rays, the original cause of the universe, I am unable to look at you. O sun-god, be pleased with me; let me see the form you possess. O lord, sympathetic with devotees, protect my sons, your devotees.

Thereupon, the sun-god came out of that mass of refulgence. The lord sun-god was then seen resembling copper.

The sun-god said to that gentle lady who bowed to him reverentially.

“Choose any boon from me; whatever you wish”

24. Touching the ground with her knees she bent her head and replied to Sun-god the bestower of boons who stood near her.

Aditi said:

25. O lord, be pleased. The three worlds that belonged to my sons and their shares in sacrifices, have been taken away by Daityas and Dānavas of superior valour and might.

26. On that account, O lord of rays, grant me a favour. With a part of yours adopt their brotherhood, my son, and destroy their enemies.

27-28. O sun, be pleased and favour them with sympathy, O lord, so that they may once again be the partakers of their shares in sacrifice and be overlords of the three worlds. O unsevering lord, the remover of distress of those who resort to you, you are one who can do this work.

29. Thereafter, O brahmins, lord Sun the thief of waters, the lord who had a pleasant gentle face, spoke to Aditi who bowed to him.

30. “With the thousandth part of mine I shall be born in your womb. Efficient that I am, I shall, ere long, kill the enemies of your sons and become delighted”.

31. Having spoken thus, lord Sun vanished thereafter. Having secured everything she had desired she ceased from her activities in pursuit of penance.

32-34. In order to fulfil her desire, at the end of a year thereafter, the Sun-god took up his residence in the womb of Aditi by means of one of his rays Suṣumnā amongst a thousand. With great concentration and mental purity she performed several holy rites: Kṛcchra, Cāndrāyaṇa, etc. O brahmins, it was with this viz. “I shall conceive this divine foetus with great purity” that she performed those holy rites. Thereupon Kaśyapa spoke to her, with words full of wrath.

35-37. “Why do you destroy the Egg of the foetus by observing a perpetual fast?” Provoked by his query she spoke furiously to him—“See the foetus for yourself. It is not killed. He will certainly cause a death-blow to the enemies”. Infuriated by the utterance of her husband she uttered these words and discharged the terrible foetus that was dazzling with splendour. On seeing that the foetus had the refulgence of the rising sun, Kaśyapa bowed and eulogised respectfully in words of high order.

38. Even as he was eulogised the lord revealed himself out of the Egg of the foetus. He had the lustre and colour similar to those of the petals of a lotus. He pervaded the quarters by means of his splendour.

39. Addressing Kaśyapa the excellent sage and his wife from the firmament an unembodied voice as grave and majestic as the rumbling sound of the cloud uttered thus:—

The Voice said:

40. O sage, since this foetus of Aditi was pronounced slain by you, this son of yours will come to be called Mārtaṇḍa.

41-42. He will slay Asuras, the enemies who took away shares from sacrifices.

On hearing the voice from the firmament, Aditi felt excessively delightful since without a war Dānavas had their prowess crippled, Indra challenged Daityas for a fight.

43. In the company of Devas he felt very joyous: Dānavas rushed against him. The battle of Devas with the Asuras was terrible.

44-46. With the intervening spaces between the worlds brightened up by the continuous shower of weapons and missiles the combat raged furiously. On being stared at by sun-god, Asuras were burnt by his refulgence and were reduced to ashes, in the course of that battle making the heaven-dwellers attain unparalleled delight. They eulogised Aditi and the sun-god, the source of the mass of refulgence. They regained the lost rights and their due shares in the sacrifice.

47. Lord Sun too exercised his rights. Enveloped by his rays beneath and above like the blossoms of Kadamba he resembled a ball of fire. His physical form appeared clearly.

The sages said:

46. How did the sun-god, later on, attain the shining form like the globular blossoms of the Kadamba? O lord of the universe, recount it to us.

Brahmā said:

49. After bowing to him and propitiating him, the Prajāpati Tvaṣṭṛ Viśvakarmā, gave his daughter Saṃjñā to the Sun-god.

50. The lord of the rays begot three children of her, two highly blessed sons and a daughter, Yamunā.

51. The sun-god scorched the three worlds consisting of the mobile and immobile beings with his abundant refulgence.

52. Seeing the form of the sun-god like a ball of fire and unable to bear the excessive splendour, Saṃjñā spoke to her shadow—Chāyā.

Saṃjñā said:

53. O splendid lady, welfare unto you. I shall go to my father’s house. At my bidding you stay there itself without being affected in the least.

54. These two boys of mine and this fair-complexioned daughter should be brought up by you. This secret should not be divulged to the lord at any rate.

Chāyā said:

55. Unless I am seized by tresses, until I am cursed I shall never reveal your secret. You may go wherever you have desire to go.

56-57. Assured thus Saṃjñā went to the abode of her father. She continued to stay in her father’s house for a thousand years. Frequently pressed by her father to return to her husband she assumed the form of a mare and went to the northern Kurus.

58-61. O excellent brahmins, desisting from food the chaste lady performed a penance there.

When Saṃjñā had gone off to her father’s place, Chāyā who had assumed her form abided by her instructions and approached the sun-god. Taking her to be Saṃjñā, the sun-god begot of her two sons and a daughter. The Earthly Saṃjñā (i.e. Chāyā) did not show as much affection to the children born before as she showed to her own children. Manu (the elder son) did not mind it but Yama (the younger son did not brook it.

62. Afflicted in many ways by his step-mother he became extremely sad. Whether it was due to anger or to childishness or to the force of his inevitable future he threatened her with his lifted foot but he did not let it fall on her form.

Chāyā said:

63. Since you have threatened your father’s wife senior to you (in age), this foot of yours will undoubtedly fall off.

Brahmā said:

64. Yama became extremely afflicted in mind due to that curse. Accompanied by Manu, that righteous soul intimated everything to his father.

Yama said:

65-66. O lord, our mother does not treat us with equal affection. Leaving off the elder ones she desires to nourish the younger ones with devoted love. Of course the foot was lifted up but it did not touch her body; whether this was due to my childishness or delusion it behoves you to forgive the same.

67. O father, I, the son, have been cursed by this mother in great anger. Hence, O foremost one among those who blaze, I do not consider her as my true mother.

68. O lord of rays, think of the ways and means whereby, your grace, my foot may not fall off as a result of my mother’s curse.

The Sun-god said:

69. O son, certainly a great reason must lie behind this affair since you, conversant with virtue and holy rites, have been swayed by wrath.

70. There are remedies for all curses but there is none to ward off the curse of one’s mother.

71. It is not possible to negative the curse of your mother. But I shall do something to attenuate the effects of the curse.

72. Worms will take off flesh from your foot and go down, to the earth. Thereby your mother’s curse will be carried out and you will also be saved.

Brahmā said:

73-74. Āditya said to Chāyā:—“When the sons are equal why did you treat one with more affection? Certainly, you are not the real mother: Saṃjñā has gone away somewhere. A real mother will not curse her children even if they are worthless fools.

75. Afraid of being cursed by Sun-god she who had been avoiding it so far, revealed herself to him.

76. On hearing that, the sun-god went to his father-in-law. (Tvaṣṭṛ) of holy rites, honoured the sun-god of great splendour. As the god appeared at the point of burning him up in his wrath, he pacified him.

Viśvakarmā said:

77. This form of yours, permeated by excessive refulgence is unbearable. Unable to bear it, Saṃjñā is performing a penance now in the forest.

78. Today you will see her. Of auspicious conduct she is performing a penance for your gentler forms and features, in the forest.

79. Brahmā’s statement has been heard by me. O lord, if it pleases you, I shall make your form more lovely and glossy, O lord of heaven.

Brahmā said:

80-81. Thereupon the sun-god said to Tvaṣṭṛ ‘So be it’. Permitted by the sun-god Viśvakarmā mounted him on his lathe in the Śākadvīpa and began to whet the disc that had been originally circular and rough.

82. When the sun, the central pivot of the worlds, began to rotate, the Earth along with the oceans, mountains and forests rose up into the sky.

83. O brahmins, O highly blessed ones, the entire firmament including the moon, planets and stars came tumbling as if pulled down and agitated.

84. Waters of oceans splashed up. The great mountains crumbled down with their rows of ridges broken up and scattered.

85. The abodes having Dhruva the Pole Star for their support came down, O excellent sages, as the cords of rays that held them together, snapped.

86. Thousands of huge clouds were tossed up by gusts of wind as they fell and whirled about with great velocity. They rambled terribly as they were shattered to pieces.

87. O excellent sages, with the Earth, sky and nether regions whirling about along with the rotating Sun-god the entire cosmos became excessively agitated at that time.

88. On seeing the three, worlds thus whirled about, the celestial sages and Devas eulogised the sun-god along with Brahmā.

89-92. “You are the primordial lord of Devas; You are born for the prosperity of Earth. You stand by in three forms at the time of creation, sustenance and dissolution. Hail to you, O lord of Universe, O Sun-god, O bestower of virtue.”

As the lord was being whetted and scraped Indra and other Devas eulogised thus:—

“O lord, O lord of the universe, be victorious. O lord of cosmos, be victorious”.

The seven sages, Vasiṣṭha, Atri and others eulogised him by various hymns. They said: “Hail, Hail”.

The Vālakhilyas[1] too eulogised sun-god by their excellent words and passages of the Vedas.

93-96. Aṅgiras and others were extremely joyous and they eulogised Sun-god who was being whetted.

“O lord, you bring salvation to those who are desirous of liberation. You are the object of meditation for those who meditate. You are the goal of all living beings following the section of the Vedas on Rituals. O lord of Devas, you are worthy of being worshipped. O lord of worlds, may we achieve welfare. May we the bipeds have welfare. Let welfare befall the quadrupeds.”

The Vidyādharas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Nāgas joined their palms in reverence. With heads bent they made obeisance to Sun-god, They uttered different words pleasing to ears and minds.

97-100. “May your splendour be bearable to the living beings. O sanctifier of living beings.”

Then Hāhā, Hūhū, Nārada and Tumburu[2] all experts in the art of music—began to sing in praise of Sun-god. They were experts in Ṣaḍja, Madhyama and Gandhāra notes. Their songs were pleasing by virtue of their soft Modulation, intonation (beating of time and mode of performance).

While Sun-god, lord of the worlds, was being whetted, the celestial damsels danced. They were Viśvācī, Ghṛtācī, Urvaśī, Tilottamā, Menakā, Sahajanyā and Rambhā, the most excellent one among the celestial nymphs.

101-102. They showed various gestures and dancing tricks. Emotions were tickled by their poise, elegant movements and seductive twists.

Various musical instruments such as lutes, flutes, gongs, drums of diverse kinds such as Paṇavas, Puṣkaras, Mṛdaṅgas, Paṭahas, Ānakas and Dundubhis, and hundreds and thousands of conches were played.

103. A great tumult arose as they were singing, dancing and playing on instruments such as Turyas and Vāditras. Gandharvas and Apsaras raised their pleasing sounds everywhere.

104. Then, with their palms joined in reverence, with their bodies bending low with devotion, the deities made obeisance, even as the thousand-rayed Sun-god was being whetted.

105. Amidst that sonorous din, in the assembly of living beings, Viśvakarmā went on whetting slowly and steadily.

106. The Sun-god was whetted carefully and skilfully up to the knees by Viśvakarmā. He did not approve of further whetting. Hence, he was brought down from the lathe.

107. As the surplus refulgence was shed off, the unbearable form vanished. It increased in pleasing lustre and attractive shape.

108-109. By listening to this story of whetting of Sun-god who is the cause of seasons when snow falls, clouds shower water and heat increases and who is praised by Śiva, the lotus-seated Brahmā and Viṣṇu, one goes to the world of Sun-god at the final departure from this world.

Thus it was, O excellent sages, that Sun-god took birth formerly. His excessively beautiful form has already been recounted by me.

Footnotes and references:


Vālakhilyas—sixty thousand hermits of the size of half a thumb live in the solar region. Wearing hides of animals they travel in front of the sun in the shape of birds.


Hāhā Hūhū, Nārada and Tumburu were distinguished musicians in Ancient World. Purank literature is full of their anecdotes. Similarly, Viśvācī, Ghṛtācī, Urvaśī, Tilottamā, Menakā, Sahajanyā and Rambhā were celestial courtezans highly skilled in the art of instrumental music.

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