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 41 - The narrative of Indradyumna and description of Avanti

Brahmā said:

1. O brahmins, formerly, in the Kṛtayuga there was a glorious king who was known as Indradyumna. He was as valorous as Indra.

2. He was truthful in speech, pure in thought and efficient in work. He was most excellent among the wielders of weapons. He was handsome and fortunate. He was heroic and liberal in charitable gifts. He enjoyed pleasures and spoke pleasingly.

3. He performed many sacrifices. He was favourably disposed to the brahmins. He was truthful in utterance. He was an adept in the science of archery, Vedas and other scriptures. He was contented.

4. He was the lover of humanity and he looked splendid like the moon on the full moon-night. Like the sun he was dazzling to look at, he was terrible to the hosts of enemies.

5. He was a devotee of Viṣṇu. Me was endowed with Sattva attribute. He conquered wrath and the sense-organs. He was interested in the spiritual lore. He was desirous of salvation. He was interested in virtue.

6. While that king, the repository of good qualities, ruled over the Earth he thought of propitiating Viṣṇu.

7. “How shall I propitiate Viṣṇu, the lord of Devas? In which holy centre or sacred spot or the river bank or hermitage shall it be?”

8-9. Pondering thus in his mind he thought of all holy centres on the earth. He saw them in dreamy vision. After seeing the holy centres, sacred spots and cities he mentally repaired to the holy centre Puruṣottama that bestows salvation on the devotees.

10. The king went there accompanied by his flourishing army and vehicles. He duly performed a horse sacrifice where much wealth was distributed as gift.

11-12. He got a lofty palace built there. He established the images of Saṃkarṣaṇa, Kṛṣṇa and Subhadrā therein. He constructed five holy spots there. He performed the rites of ablution, charitable gift, penance, sacrifice and the visit to the deity regularly. He devoutly propitiated the lord duly every day by the grace of the lord. In course of time he attained salvation.

13-14. O brahmins, by taking ablution in the ocean named (after) Indradyumna and visiting Mārkaṇḍeya, Vaṭa (banyan tree), Kṛṣṇa and Bala-Rāma one attains salvation certainly.

The sages said:

15-21. Formerly, why did that lord of the world, Indradyumna go to that great holy centre Puruṣottama that bestows salvation?

O most excellent one among Devas, after going there how did that excellent king duly perform horse-sacrifice and worship the lord? How did he manage to build an excellent mansion well known in three worlds in that rarest of holy centres that bestows all benefits?

How did that leading king create the idols of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and Subhadrā endowed with all characteristic marks, O Patriarch Brahma?

How did that king instal Kṛṣṇa and other deities who are worshipped by Devas, in that palace which was most excellent in the world?

O most excellent among Devas it behoves you to recount all this precisely and in detail, the whole narrative of that intelligent king.

We are not fully satiated by the nectar-like words of yours. We wish to hear more. Our curiosity has grown excessively.

Brahmā said:

22-23. Well done, O excellent brahmins that you have asked me about the ancient story that is holy, destructive of sins, splendid and conducive to worldly pleasures and salvation. I shall mention the story as it had happened in the Kṛta Yuga. O leading sages, listen with concentration and restraint over the sense-organs.

24. The city of Avanti[1] in Mālava, known as the most excellent one over the earth, was the capital of that monarch.

25. It was thronged by citizens who were delighted and well nourished. The rampart wall, and the arched gateway were firmly built. There were strong mechanical means of bolting the doors. The city was embellished by moats.

26. It was filled by different merchants with different articles for sale. The city was beautiful with streets and bazars. It was bedecked by triangular and quadrangular lawns.

27-31. It was full of rows of mansions with upper stories and apartments; the four cross-roads were well partitioned. Houses and towers abounded in that city which was adorned by hundreds and thousands of palaces which resembled royal swans with pure wonderful necks and which looked charming and gay. The whole city was in a joyous mood due to sacrifices and festivities; the sounds of songs and musical instruments spread everywhere. It was adorned with flags and ensigns of different colours. There were armies of elephants, horses, chariots and infantry men. The city was filled by soldiers of all kinds. It had various centres where crowds gathered together. O excellent sages, the city was rendered prosperous by the people who lived there such as the Brahmins, Kṣatriyas Vaiśyas and Śūdras. The city was embellished by great scholars who made it their permanent home. There were no dirty people there; neither fools nor weak men resided in it.

32-35. There were no sickly persons, no crippled or maimed persons. None indulged in the vice of gambling there. Men and women were always delighted and nobleminded.

The people sported about in day and night with great joy. Men were dressed well and splendidly. Their ear-rings were polished and cleaned. They were handsome and noble. They were bedecked in divine ornaments. They had all good traits and they resembled cupid in their gaiety.

Their hair were fine. Their cheeks were beautiful. Their faces were handsome and they wore moustaches. They were conversant with holy scriptures. They could pierce through the army of the enemy.

36. They were liberal donors of jewels and the enjoyers of riches. O excellent sages, charming women were seen in that splendid land.

37. Their mode of walking was like that of the swan or the elephant;[2] their eyes extended upto the ears; the waists were slender and the buttocks exquisite, their breasts were plump and elevated.

38. Their tresses were glossy and beautiful. Their cheeks were fine and their forelocks steady. Their teeth were like the clearly visible lightning streaks. Their faces were like the full moon. They bent their necks in exhibiting their emotions with gesticulation and charming twists; their ears were adorned with ornaments.

39. Their lips were red like Bimba fruits. They shone with their mouths coloured by chewing betal leaves. They were bedecked in golden ornaments.

40. Some were dark-complexioned, some were fair-complexioned; they had fine buttocks, their girdles and armlets produced charming sounds. They wore divine garlands and garments; they applied divine scents and unguents over their bodies.

41. The women were clever and competent. They were lovely with attractive faces and charming limbs. They were pleasing to look at. They were endowed with beauty and good colour and form. They had smiling faces.

42. Mad and intoxicated they sported about in assemblies and quadrangular court-yards. They delighted others by songs, instrumental music and spicy conversation.

43. The chiefs of harlots, experts in dancing and singing could also be found there. They were experts in the art of conversation, scanning and scrutiny. They were endued with feminine charms and fine qualities.

44. There were others too, the women of noble families endowed with noble traits, chaste, fortunate and embellished by all good qualities.

45-52. The city abounded in fruit-bearing trees and flowering plants, in charming parks, splendid groves and meritorious gardens. There were divine shrines and temples beautified by different sorts of Sowers. The following were the important trees:—Śālas, Tālas, Tamālas, Bakulas, Nāgakesaras, Pippalas, Karṇikāras, sandal trees, Aguru, Campakas, Punnāgas, coconuts, jack fruit trees, Sarala trees, citron, Lakucas, Lodhras, Saptaparṇas, Śubhāñjanas, mangoes, Bilvas, Kadambas, Śiṃśapas, Dhavas, Khādiras, Pāṭalas, Aśokas, Tagaras, black Karavīras, yellow Arjunas, Bhallātas, Siddhas, Āmrātakas, Nyagrodhas, Aśvatthas, Kāśmaryas, Palāśas and Devadārus. There were Mandāras, Pārijātas, Tintiḍīkas, Vibhītakas, old embylic myrobalam trees, Plakṣas, Jambū trees, Śirīṣa trees, Kāleyas, Kāñcanāra trees, Madhus, Jambīras, Tindukas, Kharjūras, Agastyas, Bakulas, Śākhoṭakas, Harītakas, Kaṅkolas, Mucukundas, Hintālas, Bījapūrakas, and other trees. There were Ketaki groves, Atimuktas and Kubjakas.

53-60. The gardens were adorned by Mallikās, Kundas, Bāṇas, stems of plantain trees, Mātuluṅgas, Pūgaphalas, Arece palms, Pink Sindhuvārakas, Bahuvāras, Kovidāras, Badaras, Karañjakas and many other charming trees in full bloom. There were creepers and bushes in the gardens comparable to their counterparts in the Nandana[3] garden. They were always full of fragrant flowers. They bent down due to the weight of fruits. The gardens were surrounded by many domestic and wild animals. The place was resonant with the diverse cries of birds. The chief birds were Cakoras, Śatapatras, Bhṛṅgāras, Priyaputrakas, Kalaviṅkas (Partridges) Peacocks, Parrots, Cuckoos, doves, Khañjarīṭas (Wagtails), herons, vultures and pigeons. There were many other sorts of charming birds that sang songs pleasing to the ears. There were rivers, lotus-ponds and lakes. There were other sacred water-reservoirs adorned by lilies as well as blue lotuses, white lotuses, fragrant Kalhāra flowers and other beautiful flowers growing in water. They had sweet divine fragrance. The plants put forth flowers and shone in all seasons.

61-65. The lakes were rendered beautiful by swans, Kāraṇḍava ducks and ruddy geese. There were Sārasa birds, tortoises, fishes, crocodiles. There were web-footed swimming waterfowls. There were other birds flying in the sky and moving about in waters. The sky was sweetly resonant with the cries and songs of birds of variegated colours. The magnificent city was rendered beautiful by divine temples and shrines. There were many beautiful birds that swam in water or flew about over the land. In the different gardens there were many flowering trees. The three-eyed lord who slew the Tripuras is seated in that city.

66-70. The deity Śiva is known by the name Mahākāla. He bestows all cherished desires upon the devotee who should take holy dip in the sacred ditch Śivakuṇḍa which is destroyer of sins. The learned devotee should perform Tarpaṇa rites for Devas, Pitṛs and sages. He shall go to the shrine of Śiva and perform three circumambulations. Restraining his sense-organs and wearing washed and dried cloth he shall enter the sanctum sanctorum and worship the deity by offering flowers, sweet scents, incenses, lights, ablution, devoutly offered Naivedyas, musical instruments, songs, circumambulations, etc. He shall propitiate Śiva by obeisance, dances, and hymns of praise.

By worshipping Mahākāla, Śiva, even for once, but duly and devoutly, the man obtains the benefit of a thousand horse-sacrifices.

71. Rid of all his sins he will ride in an aerial chariot equipped with all desirable things and go to heaven where there is the abode of lord Śiva.

72. He will become glorious and assume a divine form. Bedecked in divine ornaments he will enjoy excellent pleasures until the dissolution of all living beings.

73-74. O excellent sages, he will be devoid of old age and death in the world of Śiva. When his merits begin to dwindle he is reborn here in an excellent brahmin family. He shall be a brahmin and master of all Vedas. He shall be an expert in all sacred lores. Thereafter, he shall attain Pāśupatayoga and attain salvation.

75-76. In that city, there is a holy river Kṣiprā. He who takes bath there and performs Tarpaṇa to the Pitṛs and deities shall be liberated from sins. Seated in an excellent aerial chariot he goes to the celestial world and enjoys pleasures of all sorts there.

77. Lord Viṣṇu the overlord of Devas is also stationed there itself. He is named Govindasvāmin. He yields worldly pleasures and salvation to the devotees.

78-79. By visiting that deity the devotee obtains liberation for himself and twenty-one generations of his family. He goes to the world of Viṣṇu in an aerial chariot which has solar colour, clusters of tinkling bells, is richly endowed with desirable things and can go wherever it desires to go and which is very steady. The Gandharvas will sing in praise of him. He is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.

80-85. Devoid of ailments he enjoys various pleasures until the dissolution of all living beings. He will be blessed with good features, good fortune and happiness. In due course of time, the intelligent devotee shall be re-born as a brahmin on the earth in the house of excellent Yogins. He shall be proficient in the Vedas and other scriptures. After adopting the Yoga of Viṣṇu, he will attain salvation, with no return to this earth.

O brahmins, there itself the man shall visit Viṣṇu named Vikramasvāmin. By visiting the lord, the devotee, whether it be a man or a woman, shall attain the benefits that are mentioned before.

There are other Devas too, viz. Indra and others led by him. O excellent sages, there are Mothers who bestow their cherished desires. By visiting them, and by duly and devoutly worshipping and bowing to them the mangoes to heaven. Such is the city of great beauty protected by that lion of a monarch.

86-89. It was gay and joyous with perpetual festivities like the city of Amarāvatī[4] pertaining to Indra. It consisted of eighteen sectors or sub-divisions. The cross-roads were extensively wide and large.

The twanging sound of bowstrings echoed everywhere. It was adorned by the presence of Siddhas. The people consisted mostly of the learned groups; the loud chanting sound of the Vedas reverberated everywhere.

O brahmins, day and night the discourses on Itihāsas, Purāṇas and scriptures and the critical reviews of poems are heard. O Brahmins, thus, the city of Avanti of excellent virtues, has been cited by me. It was here that, formerly, Indradyumna of great intellect ruled as king.

Footnotes and references:


Avanti—Ujjayinī. In the wider sense the name signifies Mālava-deśa. The town is situated on the bank of Śiprā. The renowned poets like Kālidāsa lived there. It is one of the seven cities capable of giving liberation (mokṣa).


The mode of ladies’ walking is often compared to that of a swan or an elephant. Elsewhere it is likened to the slow-moving autumnal clouds after they have shed water.


Nandana: name of a celestial garden.


Amarāvatī. The capital city of Indra. Its location is as follows: Brahmā’s world extends over 10,000 Yojanas on Mahāmeru mountain. There are eight cities—each 2,500 square yojanas in extent—of the aṣṭadikpālas in parts of this Brahmāpuri:

In the centre Brahma’s city—Manovatī;

  1. To the east of Manovatī, Indra’s city Amarāvatī;
  2. In the south-east comer, Agni’s city Tejovatī;
  3. On the southern side, Yama’s city, Saṃyaminī;
  4. In the south-west comer, Nirṛti’s city Kṛṣṇāñjanā;
  5. In the west, Varuṇa’s city Śraddhāvatī;
  6. In the north-west corner, Vāyu’s city Gandhavatī;
  7. In the north, Kubera’s city Mahodaya;
  8. In the north-east corner, Śiva’s city, Yaśovatī.

(See Devī Bhāgavata, 8th Skandha)

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