by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188
This page is entitled “description of vishnu” and represents Chapter 40 of the first book (‘Adi Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.
1-3. Janamejaya said:—O Brahman, the sages describe in the Puranas, the incarnations of Vishnu of unlimited energy We have heard from them that the Lord incarnated himself as a boar. But we do not know fully his history, his commands, his deeds, his accomplishments, his objects, his conduct and prowess when he assumed before (this form).
5. O Brahman, I have heard how Madhusudana, incarnating himself as a boar, saved with his tusks, the earth sunk in the ocean.
7. You alone are capable of describing in order the various deeds of the lord and his character, O Brahman.
8. Why did the lord Vishnu, the king of the celestials and the slayer of his enemies, take his birth as Vasudeva in Vasudeva’s family?
9. Why did He, leaving the land of gods, abounding with immortals and pious men, come down on earth?
10. Why did He, who is the king of gods and men and from whom the earth has emanated, convert his celestial body into a human form.
11. Why did He, who is alone turning the healthy circle of mankind, and who is the foremost of the holders of discus, set his heart upon assuming a human form?
12. Why did the lord Vishnu, who protects all the great men of the world, come down on earth as a milkman?
15. He, at the time of the universal dissolution, drank up the earth and assumed the form of water. He then converted the whole earth into one sheet of water .
16. He assumed in the days of yore the form of a boar and saved the earth with his tusks.
19. Assuming the form of the submarine fire Samvartaka the lord, in the days of yore, drank the watery oblations of the submarine region.
20. O Brahman, in various thousands of Yugas that Lord appeared with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet.
21. When the whole world was converted into one sheet of water, when the entire mobile and immobile creations were destroyed there sprang from his navel a lotus on which Brahma (Grand-father) rested.
22. In the encounter with Taraka, he, assuming a form consisting of all gods and holding all weapons, slew the demons.
24. Being engaged in eternal Yoga and resorting to his illusive energy he lay on the northern side of the ocean of milk from which came out ambrosia.
25. On account of the consummation of her hard austerities Aditi conceived that celestial ancient Purusha who was like the churning rod of the celestials. Coming out of her womb as a dwarf he satisfied the desire of Indra who had been confined by the demons.
26. Placing his feet in all the worlds he placed all the demons in the water. And making the gods playful in heaven he conferred upon Indra the kingdom of gods.
30-35. He laid down the rules of Garhapatya and Anvaharya works, created the various articles of sacrifice such as Dakshina, Diksha, Camasa and Ulukhula, created the fire where oblations could be offered, made the sacrificial altar, Kusha, Sruva, Prokshaniya, and Dhruva created the three sorts of ambrosia beneficial to the bath after the celebration of a sacrifice, made the twice born ones offer Havya and Kavya, and the celestials to partake of the former and the ancestral manes of the latter. After the lines laid down by Parameshthi (Brahma) He, in the days of yore, by various sacrificial Mantras, made divisions of Yupas, Samidhas, Srukas, Soma, the sacred Paridhri, and of various other sacrificial articles, of the room for placing sacrificial fire of the members, of Yajamanas and a classification of Medha and other excellent sacrifices. Having made various classifications of Yugas and displaying his prowess before all men he created Kshana, Lava, Kashtha, Kala, the present, past and future, divisions of time, Muhutta, Tithi, months, fortnights, years and seasons, the three divisions of the length of life, the multiplication of the characteristics and the beauty of the mobile and immobile creations, the three Varnas, the three Lokas the three Vedas, the three fires, three Kalas, the threefold actions, the three Upayas (means), and the threefold Gunas .
36. By his endless actions these three worlds had been created by Him before. He is the creator of all the elements and Gunas and identical with them all.
37. By introducing birth and death amongst mankind he makes them move about in the universe. He sports everywhere in the shape of an animal. He is the lord of the universe.
40. He is identical with the sun, the moon and the rays. He is the lord of Yogins and He only brings about the termination of the night. He is identical with the most excellent lustre and tapas of which we hear.
42. Narayana is the greatest virtue and is the most most excellent condition. Truth exists in Narayana and Tapas exists in Him
43. Salvation exists in Narayana and Narayana is the most excellent refuge. He is the Aditya and other gods and he is the slayer of demons.
44. At the time of the universal dissolution he destroys all. He is the death unto the regent of the dead who destroys all. He is the lord of (Manu and others) who have instituted various orders of honour amongst mankind and he is more sacred than (Ganga and others), who purify the mankind.
45. He is the object of learning unto those who are conversant with the Vedas;he is the lord of the self-controlled (Rishis); he is more handsome than all handsome objects, he is like fire unto those who are endued with fire-like effulgence.
46. He is the mind of men, the ascetic energy of the ascetics, the morality of those who are strict moralists, the energy of the energetic, the creator of all creations and the most excellent origin of all the worlds.
47. He is the idol ef those who seek the idols and he is the motion of those who are endued with it. Ether is the origin of air and air is the life of fire.
48. The vital power of the gods is fire and the life of fire is Madhusudana. Blood is engendered by juice and by blood is created flesh.
49. From flesh originates fat and from fat originate the bones and from the bones originate the veins and from veins originates the seminal fluid.
50. And the seminal fluid is the instrument of conception. By the process of action at the root of which is the juice all this is created. Of them the water is the first portion therefore it is called Soumya. The second ingredient is the fire in the womb.
51-54. Thus the seminal fluid, indential with fire, is also made of blood. Thus the essence of all juice, the seminal fluid, is created by an excess of cough and blood is created by an excess of billious matter. The seat of cough is the heart and the seat of bile is the navel. The heart, which is in the body, is known as the seat of the mind. The fire exists as hunger behind the cavity of the navel. Mind is known as Prajapati (Brahma), the cough as Soma and the bile as Agni (fire-god). Thus the whole world is identical with fire.
56. It then creates the various limbs and nourishes them. The vital air, inside the body, divides itself into five and gradually assumes proportions.
58. Apana nourishes the lower portion of the body up to the feet. Udana nourishes the breast and the upper portion of the body. The vital air, by which works, requiring great strength, are performed, is called Vyana. And the vital air, Samana which exists all over the body, remains at the navel and distributes to their proper places whatever is drunk or eaten. (After the distribution of the vital airs) the creatures acquire the knowledge of the earth through their senses.
59-61. Earth, air, ether, water and light, are converted into senses. And then they occupy their respective portions in the body and perform their respective functions. The tongue, which has the water in it, draws the juice; the eye, which has the light in it, sees the forms; the skin, which has the air in it, hears sound. The hardest portion of the body is the transformation of the earth. The vital air is the metamorphosis of the air; all the holes originate from ether; the liquid portion is but water; the eye is the form of light and the mind, which is the energy of the five elements, is the lord of the senses. It is the mind, that, by its energy, makes the senses perceive their respective objects.
62. Having thus created the ever-existing worlds why did the Great Purusha take his birth as a man in this mortal world?
63. This is my doubt, this is what surprises me. O Brahman, why did He, who is the energy of mankind, take his birth as a man?
64. I have heard an account of my own family as well as of those of my ancestors. I wish now to hear in due order of the families of Vishnu and Vrishnis.
65. That Vishnu is a great wonder is said by the gods and demons. Do you, O great Muni, describe to me the wondrous origin of Vishnu.
66. Do you describe to me truly the wonderful and delightful account of the highly energetic Vishnu of well-known deeds and prowess who surprised the whole world by his actions.
Footnotes and references:
The allusion is. Bali, a demon king, performed many sacrifices for which he was about to attain to the dignity of Indra. The gods accordingly grew very anxious and prayed to Vishnu for succour. He, at their request, assumed the form of a dwarfish Brahmana and went to Bali for alms. After Bali had promised him that he would give him whatever he would like to have Vishnu assumed a large proportion with three legs and asked Bali to give him room for placing his three feet. He placed one in heaven and the other on the earth. There was no room for the third which he placed on Bali’s head.
i e., He assumed one form of universal intelligence.
This refers to the celebrated episode of Pralhada. He was the son of the Demon king Hiranyakasipu. He began worshipping Vishnu who was an enemy of Hiranykasipu. He prosecuted his son in various ways and afterwards was killed by Vishnu in his man-lion form.
A sacred fire perpetually maintained by a householder, received from his father and transmitted to his descendants, and from which fires for sacrificial purposes are lighted.
A vessel used at sacrifices for drinking the juice of the acid asclepias; a kind of ladle or spoon.
A wooden mortar used for cleaning rice.
A species of grass used in many solemn and religious observances; hence called sacrificial grass.
A ladle with a double extremity or two oval collateral excavations made of wood and used to pour ghee upon the sacrificial fire.
An object of immolation.
A Sacrificial vase made in the shape of the Indian fig-leave, and of the wood of the Flacourtia sapida.
Fit or proper to be offered in oblation. An offering to the gods.
An oblation or offering of food to deceased ancestors.
Hymns recited at the time of the celebration of a religious ceremony.
Fuel, wood, grass, &c., so employed for enkindling fire.
A ladle or spoon.
The juice of a plant of the same name used for drinking purposes.
A wooden frame round the hole in which a sacrificial fire is lighted.
Those who perform sacrifices.
A kind of sacrifice.
A measure of time equal to thirty Kalas or four minutes.
A minute division of time, the sixtieth part of the twinkling of an eye.
A measure of time the thirtieth part of a Kala or eighteen twinklings of the eye.
A division of time.
A division of time, the thirtieth part of the day and night or an hour of forty-eight minutes.
A lunar day, one-thirtieth of a whole lunation.
Three regions, heaven, earth and the region underneath the earth.
The three Kalas are the present, past and future.
The three-fold actions are those partaking of the quality of goodness, darkness, and ignorance respectively.
The three-fold means of attaining salvation are, the destruction of self, the acquisition of wealth and hard study.
The three-fold qualities are namely, those of goodness, darkness and ignorance.
Four classes of priests.
Four stages of life namely that of a religious student, that of a householder, that of the anchorite, and that of the beggar.
(In anatomy) the blood before it receives the red particles, the Serum.