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 51 - Mārkaṇḍeya wanders in the belly of the Lord

Brahmā said:

1. After entering the belly of the boy the sage saw the entire earth consisting of different realms and countries.

2-4. He saw seven oceans[1] :—Of salt water, sugarcane juice, wine, ghee, curds, milk and fresh water. He saw seven continents—Jambū, Plakṣa, Śālmala, Kuśa, Krauñca, Śaka and Puṣkara. He saw Bhārata and other Varṣas (sub-continents). He saw the golden mountain Meru, its peaks shining with gems and jewels. It had many caves.

5. He saw four castes,[2] first to last in his belly. He saw deer, monkeys, lions, boars, Sṛmara variety of deer, rabbits, elephants and other animals.

6-9. Whatever holy centre, village or city there was on the earth, he saw everyone of them therein. He saw agricultural operations, breeding of cows and cattle and business activities of buying and selling. He saw therein Indra, Devas and other heaven-dwellers, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakṣas, eternal sages, Daityas, Dānavas, Serpents and snakes. O excellent sages. He saw Rāhu the son of Siṃhikā, and other enemies of Devas. O excellent brahmins, in his belly he saw those mobile and immobile beings which had been formerly seen by him on the face of the earth.

10-12. Or of what avail is much talk or the same thing repeated over and over again? He saw the entire mobile and immobile beings beginning with Brahmā and ending with a blade of grass. He saw the Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Mahar, Jana, Tapas, Satya, Atala, Vitala, Pātāla, Bhūtala, Vitala, Rasātala and Mahātala. In fact, he saw the entire cosmic egg in his belly.

13-16. O excellent brahmins, by the favour of that lord his movement was unimpeded. His memory was unimpaired. O brahmins, wandering thus over the entire universe in his belly he could never reach the end of the body of Viṣṇu.

O brahmins, when he could not reach the end of his body, the sage sought refuge in the lord the bestower of boons.

Then, O brahmins, he suddenly came out of the open mouth of the noble-souled Puruṣa with the speed of the wind,

Extra eight verses according to another reading

occur between the 4th and 5th verses of Chapter 51

He saw the Meru mountain inhabited by sages and abounding in trees. It was full of animals and mysterious and wonderful objects. It was beautified by tigers, lions, boars, Camara, deer, buffaloes, elephants, monkeys and other animals. It was peopled by Lord īndra and other Devas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Nāgas, and those others who lived in the abode of Devas.

Brahmā said:

Thus the excellent sage, the brahmin, who wondered about in the belly of that boy, saw the glorious Sumeru, Himavān, Hemakūṭa, Niṣadha, Gandhamādana, Śveta, Durdhara, Nīla, Kailāsa, Malaya, Vindhya, Pāriyātra, Arbuda, Sahya, Śuktimān, Maināka, and the mountain Ṛkṣa. He saw these and other mountains that were there. O excellent sage, he saw them bedecked in gems and jewels. He saw Kurukṣetra, Pañcāla, Matsya, Madras, Kekayas, Bāhlīkas, Śūrasenas, Kāśmīras, Taṅgaṇas, Khasas, Kirātas, Karṇapravaraṇas and Marus.

Footnotes and references:


Seven oceans: Sea of Lavaṇa (salt water), of Ikṣu (sugarcane juice), of Surā (liquor), of Ghṛta (clarified butter), of Dadhi (curd), of Dugdha (milk) and of Fresh Water. Each of these surrounds a particular island.


Four Castes: Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, Śūdra. These castes exist even today, though they are dwindling fast.

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