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 42 - The Holy centre sighted

Brahmā said:

1. Administering the excellent country formerly, from that city, that king of great intellect, protected his subjects like his own bosom-born sons.

2-7 He was highly intelligent and truthful in speech. He was heroic and a veritable repository of all virtues. He was learned and richly endowed with piety. He was the most excellent among all those who wielded weapons. Possessing good conduct, truthfulness and control over his sense-organs the glorious king conquered the cities of his enemies. īn refulgence he was like the Sun-god; in beauty he was like Aśvins,[1] he possessed their increasing good qualities, he had the valour of Indra; adorned by all traits he shone like the autumnal moon. He performed various sacrifices such as Horse Sacrifice and others.

There was no other king equal to him in charitable gifts, sacrifices and austerities.

At every sacrifice, he gave the leading brahmins much wealth consisting of gold, jewels, pearls, elephants and horses. There was no limit to the wealth possessed by him such as elephants, horses and prominent chariots, blankets, deer-skins and garments, jewels, cash and food-grains.

8. Thus endowed with riches and adorned by good qualities the king administered the excellent kingdom with his mind assured of realizing all cherished desires.

9. Once he pondered over this, in mind—“How shall I propitiate Viṣṇu, the lord of all Yogas? How shall I propitiate lord who bestows worldly pleasures and salvation?”

10-12. He pondered over the scriptural texts, Tantra texts and extensive Āgamas. He poured over the Itihāsas, Purāṇas, the ancillaries of the Vedas, Dharmaśāstras, codes of law propounded by the sages, Vedāṅgas, Scriptural texts and all source-books of the extant lores. After assiduously resorting to his preceptors, the brahmins who had mastered the Vedas, he attained the highest point of learning and became fully contented.

13. After realising the greatest entity, the unchanging lord Vāsudeva, he passed beyond all illusory knowledge.[2] Restraining his sense-organs, he became a seeker of liberation.

14-16. He thought thus—“How shall I propitiate the eternal lord of Devas? He is yellow-robed. He has four arms. He holds a conch, a discus and an iron-club. His chest is covered with garlands of Sylvan flowers. His eyes are large like the petals of a lotus. He has the scar Śrīvatsa in his chest. He appears splendid with crown, shoulderlets and other ornaments.

Having thought thus, the king set-off from his city Ujjayini, accompanied by a large army, his priest and his servants.

17. The Charioteer-soldiers followed him in chariots resembling aerial vehicles. They were decorated with flag-staffs and fanners. The soldiers carried weapons in their arms.

18. The cavalry men followed the king with horses on a par with the wind. They carried javelins and iron clubs.

19-20. The (brave warriors) experts in wars of conquests followed him with Himālaya-born elephants in their rut. These elephants were comparable to mountains. They had trunks like the pole-shafts. They were fierce and intoxicated, of sixty years in age. Their Howdabs were golden. They were adorned with flags and ringing bells.

21-22. Innumerable infantry-men followed him. They had bows, javelins and swords. They wore divine garlands and garments. They had applied divine scents and unguents (over their bodies). They were young and they wore earrings of finished gold. They were mighty heroes, experts in all weapons and missiles and eager to fight.

23-26. The women of the harem followed him. They were bedecked, richly endowed with beauty and blooming youth. They were embellished by all ornaments. They wore divine garments and were bedecked in divine garlands. They had smeared their limbs with divine scents and unguents. Their faces resembled the autumnal moon. Their waists were fine and their dress, exquisitely beautiful. Their ears were beautified by the forelocks. Their lips resembled the Bimba fruits. They had fine teeth and their eyes were large like the petals of the lotus. Their mouths were coloured by the betal leaves they had chewed. They were protected by watchmen and guards. They went ahead in high and low vehicles that were splendid and bedecked in jewels and gold. The birds sang songs in their praise. They were surrounded by men armed with weapons.

27-33. Many courtesans and harlots followed him along with their attendants. They were beautiful in every limb and they were bedecked in all ornaments. They were loving, fortunate and beautiful. They were endowed with feminine charms. Bedecked in all sorts of ornaments they rode in various vehicles and followed him. He was accompanied by brahmins who were conversant with the Vedas and their ancillaries[3] and who were masters of topics in different scriptures. So also the Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, Śūdras of eight subcastes accompanied him. The goldsmiths, blacksmiths metal-workers, breakers of stones, jewellers, potters, cobblers, cooks, small vendors, cane-makers, artisans working on lids, barbers, those who make gourd-like supports of lutes, those who make and mend arrows, those who work in gold, sword-makers, those who prepare oblations, those who repair vehicles, those who make sweet pies, those who sell (drinking) water, garland-makers, those who make joints, those who sell all sorts of things, groups of village merchants and residents of different towns, followed him with their riches, jewels, gold, folk women and attendants.

34. There were people who sold missiles, those who sustained themselves by trading in betal leaves, the sellers of grass, the sellers of fuel.

35. All those who sustained themselves by the stage, those who sold meat, oil-mongers and cloth merchants followed him.

36. Sellers of fruits, those who sold leaves, those who transported grass and fodder and thousands of washermen (followed him).

37. There were cowherds, barbers, tailors, shepherds, goatherds and those who tended deer and swans.

38. There were people who sold food-grains, powdered fried grains, jaggery and salt.

39. There were musicians, dancers, bards, actors, story-tellers and those who are experts in Purāṇas.

40. There were poets, versifiers, composers of poems, experts in different poems, followers of Garuḍa who dispel poison and those who test different jewels.

41. There were blacksmiths, coppersmiths, those who work in bell-metal, Rūṭhakas?, those who make scabbards, painters, turners and Pāvakas.

42. There were makers of sticks and batons, those who make swords, those who maintain by selling ale or gambling; wrestlers, messengers, Kāyasthas (accountants and clerks) and other workers.

43-44. There were physicians and surgeons on human beings, elephants, trees and cows and those who cut and burn; there were weavers, there were those who painted, those who made wicks and oil paintings, those who maintained by selling quails, partridges and other birds and animals.

45. All these citizens and those who have not yet been mentioned followed him. The entire residents of the city followed him too.

46. Just as the sons eager to see other villages follow their father who proceeds ahead so also those citizens followed him.

47. Thus the glorious king surrounded by a great concourse of people as well as the four divisions of the army viz. the elephants, horses, chariots and infantry, proceeded slowly.

48. Going ahead thus, followed by the armies the king reached the shore of the Southern sea after a long time.

49-58. There the king saw the ocean and was struck with wonder. It was beautiful and it appeared to be dancing in front of him; it was confused and agitated on account of hundreds and thousands of waves; it was filled with many living organisms and it was the abode of many jewels, it contained many waves and billows; it was full of miracles, it was the king of sacred waters, very noisy and extremely terrible, it had no other shore; it was the deep abode of crocodiles, it resembled groups of clouds;

It was full of fishes, tortoises, conches, oyster shell, crocodiles, skate fishes, porpoises, crabs and serpents of great poison.

The briny sea, the bed-chamber of Viṣṇu, is the lord of rivers, it is holy and it dispels all sins, it is the bestower of all cherished desire; it is majestic due to many whirlpools, it is the place of resort for the Dānavas, it is the divine charming wood-stick of nectar (i.e. the source of origin for nectar); it is the lord of waters of divine source of origin, it is the most distinguished supporter of the life of all living beings; it is the most sacred of all sacred objects and most auspicious of all auspicious things; it is the most sacred of all holy waters; it is the most unchanging lord of oceanic creatures, it cannot be pierced or split by any living being, it is the source of the nectar of Devas, it is the cause of origin, sustenance and annihilation; it is eternal. It is the basis of subsistence for all. It is the holy lord of rivers.

59. After reaching the sea-shore the king encamped there in a beautiful holy land endowed with the qualities of a good land.

60-68. The place was full of Śāla, Kadamba, Punnāga, Sarala, Jack coconut, Bakula, Nāgakesara, Kharjūra, Pippala, Tāla, citron, pomegranate, Amrātaka. Lodhra, Bakula, Bahuvāra, Kapittha, Karṇikāra, Pāṭala, Aśoka, Campaka, Dāḍima, Tamāla, Pārijāta, Arjuna, Prācīnāmalaka, Bilva, Priyaṅgu, Vaṭa, Khadira, Iṅgudi, Saptaparṇa, Aśvattha, Agastya, Jambuka, Madhuka, Karṇikāra, Bahuvāra, Tinduka, Palāśabadara, Nīpa, Siddhanimba, Śubhāñjana, Vāraka, Kovidāra, Bhallāta, Āmalaka Tāla, Hintāla, Kāṅkola, Karañja, Vibhītaka, Sarja, Madhu, Kaśmari, Śālmali, Devadāru, Śākhoṭaka, Nimbavaṭa, Kumbhi, Koṣṭha, Harītaka, Guggula, sandal, Aguru, Pāṭala, Jambīra, Karuṇa, tamarind, red sandal and many other trees resembling the trees of Kalpa. The trees bore flowers and fruits during all seasons.

69-71. It was resonant with the chirping sounds and divine cooings of different birds such as cuckoos, peacocks, parrots, sparrows, Hārītas, royal bees, Cātakas, Bahuputrakas, Jīvañjīvakas, Kākolas, partridges, doves, and other kinds of birds charming in appearance and sweet in voice. They were beautifully perched on the trees in full bloom and they were chirping.

72-74. There were many flowering plants such as Ketaki, the perpetually white flowers of Mallikā, Kunda, Yūthikā, Tagara, Kuṭaja, Bāṇa, Atimukta, Kubja, Mālatī, Karavīra, golden Kadalīs and various other fragrant flowers beautiful to look at. These flowers of various colours abounded in forests, parks and gardens. They were sweet-smelling.

75-84. The place was frequented by Vidyādharas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvas, Serpents, Rākṣasas, goblins, Kinnaras, sages, Yakṣas and various animals too. There were deer, monkeys, lions, boars, and buffaloes. There were antelopes and other animals wandering everywhere. There were tigers, elephants and wild animals too. Thus the place was full of trees, gardens and parks comparable to the Nandana park; there were creepers, hedges, bushes and different sorts of water reservoirs. There were birds such as swans, Kāraṇḍavas, Cakravākas, floating geese and the Kadambas decorated by clusters of lotuses, lilies, Kalhāra flowers etc; there were other flowers too growing in water; there were mountains with bright peaks and charming caves. They abounded in different sorts of birds and various minerals. The peaks were full of wondrous miracles; they were auspicious abodes of all living beings; they contained all medicinal herbs and the ridges were vast and variegated.

Thus, the king saw the place beautified collectively by all these beautiful things. It was a place worshipped by the three worlds. It was ten Yojanas in length and five Yojanas in width. The holy centre was endowed with all mysteries. It was extremely rare.

Footnotes and references:


Aśvins—Aśvinīkumāras, Aśvinīdevas viz. Satya and Dasra. The two were the sons of Sūrya. They became physicians of Devas.


bhrānti-jñāna—illusory knowledge, such as the knowledge of “snake in rope or of silver in a shell”. This is known as the prātibhāsika jñāna.


Vedāṅgas—ancillaries. They are six in number:

  1. Śikṣā—Science of proper articulation and pronunciation,
  2. Chandas—Metre;
  3. Vyākaraṇa—Grammar;
  4. Nirukta—Etymology;
  5. Jyotiṣa—Astronomy and Astrology;
  6. Kalpa—Ceremonial represented by Sūtra works.
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