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...
O brahmins, I do not see a holy centre which is equal to the holy centre Puruṣottama on the earth. Of what avail is much talk and repeated utterance. Truth, it is the truth, really the truth that the holy centre Puruṣottama is extremely great. By visiting the holy centre Puruṣottama but once, by touching the waters of the ocean but once, by knowing the doctrine of Brahman but once, there is no further staying in the womb.
The devotee should stay for a year or at least for a month in the excellent holy centre of Puruṣottama, the place where Lord Viṣṇu is present. In that case the Japa performed or Homa offered by him is great. A great penance has been performed by him.
He goes to the great abode where Viṣṇu the lord of Yogins is ever present. Accompanied by celestial women he enjoys pleasures of various sorts. At the end of Kalpa the excellent man returns to the mortal world. O brahmins, he is born in the house of Yogins. He endeavours to understand what should be understood. After acquiring the Yoga of Viṣṇu, be attains liberation. Know the glory of Kalpa tree, Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Subhadrā, Mārkaṇḍeya’s eddy. Indradyumna’s lake is also mentioned. The glory of Śveta Matsya and of the heavenly door and the rules regarding bath in the ocean have been mentioned. The rules regarding ritualistic cleansing mārjana and the proper time of contact with Gaṅgā have also been mentioned by me. What more do you wish to hear? The glory of Indradyumna has also been recounted. The Purāṇa that enables one to liberate himself, that is full of mysteries and miracles, that is holy and excellent and that is a great secret conducive to richness has also been mentioned fully by me.
The sages said:
12. We are not satiated by listening to the story of the lord. It behoves you to relate once again the great secret doctrine.
13. The details of Vāsudeva the infinite deity have not been explained perfectly by you. O lord, we wish to hear. Kindly mention it in detail.
14. O excellent sages, I shall mention the greatest essence, the greatness of the infinite deity Vāsudeva, the rarest in the three worlds.
16-18. I urged Viśvakarmā the leading architect of Devas, whose activities are of the greatest nature—“Make an idol of Vāsudeva, carving it out of a rock. On seeing it, men and women in the South will worship it duly and devotedly. Once, Devas and the lord of Devas Indra sensed danger from Dānavas and Rākṣasas. Being afraid they had come to the peak of Sumeru in heaven. They propitiated Vāsudeva and stayed there without any calamity or agitation.
19-22. After hearing my words, Viśvakarmā made a pure idol holding conch, discus and iron club. It was endowed with all traits. It had eyes as large as the petals of a lotus. It had the scar-Śrīvatsa. The excellent idol was owe-inspiring. The chest was covered with garlands of sylvan flowers. It wore crown and shoulder-lets. It was clad in yellow robes. The shoulders were plump and round. It was bedecked with two ear-rings. Thus the divine idol was got made by me through secret mantras and the time for installation had come.
23-24. At that time, Indra, the king of Devas, came to my abode riding on Airāvata, his excellent elephant. He was surrounded by Devas. By means of ablution, charitable gifts, he propitiated the idol. Taking the idol with him he returned to his capital.
25-28. By propitiating the idol for a long time after restraining his speech, body and mind he gained in strength. He killed Vṛtra and other Asuras as well as the cruel and terrible Dānavas led by Namuci. He then enjoyed the worlds Bhuḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svar etc.
After the advent of Tretā Yuga, there was a valorous overlord of the Rākṣasas, Daśagrīva (Rāvaṇa). He had great prowess. For ten thousand years he performed holy rites and severe penance, abstaining from food and conquering sense-organs. This penance was very difficult to be performed by ordinary persons. Pleased with that penance I granted him a boon.
29-30. He could not be killed by Devas, Daityas, Nāgas, and Rākṣasas. He could not be killed by the terrible attendants of Yama who had the power to curse beside their infallible weapons. After securing this boon the Rākṣasa defeated Yakṣas and their lord Kubera. He then attempted to conquer Indra.
31-36. He fought a terrible battle with Devas. The Rākṣasa defeated the king of Devas. The son of Rāvaṇa, Meghanāda acquired the title Indrajit by conquering him. Thereafter Rāvaṇa of great strength reached Amarāvatī. In the splendid abode of the king of Devas, Rāvaṇa saw the idol of Vāsudeva as refulgent as collyrium. It was endowed with the characteristic marks of Lord Viṣṇu. It had the scar Śrīvatsa. It had large eyes like the petals of a lotus. The chest was covered by the garlands of sylvan flowers. It was bedecked in crown and shoulderlets. It held conch, discus and iron club in its hands. It was clad in yellow robes. It had four arms. It was bedecked in ornaments. It was the bestower of all benefits. Leaving off the heaps of jewels, (Rāvaṇa) immediately despatched the auspicious idol to Laṅkā by the aerial chariot Puṣpaka.
38. On seeing that the divine idol was taken away from the abode of the lord of Devas, he experienced horripilation all over his body. He was struck with surprise.
39-40. With a delighted mind he bowed his head to the lord. After saying—“My birth is fruitful today. My penance is fruitful today”, the righteous Vibhīṣaṇa made obeisance again and again. He went to his eldest brother. With his palms joined in reverence he spoke thus:—
41. O king, it behoves you to favour me with this idol. O lord of the worlds, I shall propitiate it and cross the ocean of worldly existence.
42-43. On hearing the words of his brother, Rāvaṇa spoke “O heroic one, take the idol What shall I do with it? I have propitiated the self-born deity and am conquering the three worlds. I shall also worship Mahādeva who wields various miraculous powers and who is the source of origin of all living beings.
44-45. Then Vibhīṣaṇa of great intellect worshipped the splendid idol for one hundred and eight years and acquired the boon of old age. He attained the attributes of Aṇimā (minuteness) etc. He acquired the realm and overlordship of Laṅkā. Even now, he enjoys all pleasures as he wishes.
The sages said:
46-47. On hearing this extremely immortal narrative the origin of the infinite deity Vāsudeva, difficult of access on the earth, we are extremely surprised. O lord, we wish to hear the greatness of that lord, precisely and in detail. It behoves you to mention it fully.
48-49. That sinful ruthless Rākṣasa (Rāvaṇa) defeated Devas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, guardians of the quarters, human beings, sages and Siddhas in battle. He kidnapped excellent women and settled them in the city of Laṅkā. Thereafter, he attempted the abduction of Sītā.
50-58. He deceived Rāma through Mārīca in the form of a golden deer.
Rāma and his brother Lakṣmaṇa the son of Sumitrā became infuriated and resolved to slay Rāvaṇa. After killing Bāli of great prowess, he crowned Sugrīva as the king and Aṅgada as the Heir-apparent. With eyes resembling the petals of a lotus Rāma was surrounded by extremely terrible monkeys of great strength such as—Hanumān, Nala, Nīla, Jāmbavān, Panasa. Gavaya, Gavākṣa and others. They possessed great power and they were pure. With massive boulders of mountains he got the bridge built over the great ocean. With his vast army, Rāma crossed the ocean and fought an unparalleled war against the Rākṣasas. The powerful Rāma slaughtered Yamahasta, Prahasta, Nikumbha, Kumbha, Narāntaka, Yamāntaka, Mālāḍhya, Mālikāḍhya, Indrajit, Kumbhakarṇa and Rāvaṇa. He got Sītā the daughter of Janaka, the king of Videha tested by the fire ordeal. He bestowed kingdom on Vibhīṣaṇa and brought the idol of Vāsudeva to Ayodhyā formerly protected (by himself and his ancestors) riding in the aerial chariot Puṣpaka sportingly.
59-61. Out of affection he crowned his younger brother Bharata and Śatrughna as heir-apparents. Rāma who is favourite of his devotee, ruled over the kingdom as an Emperor. Propitiating his own ancient form born of Viṣṇu, Rāma enjoyed the ocean-girt earth for eleven thousand years. Thereafter he attained his own region i.e. the region of Viṣṇu.
62-67. Rāma gave that idol to the lord of oceans (saying) “You are blessed. You will protect this idol in your waters with perfect concentration”.
In the Dvāpara Age, the lord the preceptor of the Universe, incarnated in the family of Vasudeva at the request of the earth on account of the emotional instability of the people due to the demons’ activities. The lord incarnated for slaying Kaṃsa and was assisted by Balarāma. O brahmins, at that time, with some other purpose in view and for the welfare of worlds, the lord took out that idol, the bestower of all cherished desires and benefits, from the waters of the ocean—the lord of the rivers. He then placed it in that excellent holy centre, Puruṣottama, the rarest of all holy centres. Ever since then, O brahmins, that lord the dispeller of the agony of Devas, the bestower of all desires, stays there itself in that holy centre, the bestower of liberation.
68. Those who devoutly resort to the infinite lord of all, mentally, verbally and physically attain the highest region.
70-71. The man redeems twenty-one generations of his family. He then goes to the city of Viṣṇu seated in a highly refulgent aerial chariot that has the lustre and colour of the sun, that is richly furnished with all desirable things, that can go as one desires it to go and that has a row of tinkling bells. He shall be surrounded by the celestial ladies. Gandharvas will be singing in praise of him.
72-74. He will enjoy excellent pleasures there. He will be rid of old age and death. Assuming a divine form the glorious devotee will enjoy pleasures until the dissolution of all living beings.
When his merits dwindle he will return to the earth and be born as a brahmin who has mastered the four Vedas. By adopting Yoga of Viṣṇu he will attain liberation.
Thus, O excellent sages, the infinite deity Ananta has been glorified by me. Who is competent to recount all the merits of visiting the shrine even in hundreds of years?
Footnotes and references:
Divine Ordeal (divya-parīkṣā). Yājñavalkya prescribes ten ordeals viz tulā, agni, jala, viṣa, kośa, taṇḍula, tapta-māṣa, phāla, dharma, tulasī.
In the Yuddhakāṇḍa of the Rāmāyaṇa, Vālmīki has described Sītā’s entering and standing in fire at a test of her purity.