The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes contents of the brahmanda purana which is Chapter 1 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 1 - Contents of the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa

Summary: Arrival of Sūta Romaharṣaṇa at the sacrificial session at Kurukṣetra—Requested by sages thereof, to recite the Purāṇa-Sūta recites the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa beginning with its Contents.

1. Obeisance, obeisance to the Self-born deity consisting of the quality of sattva on (the occasions of) annihilation, creation or sustenance (of the universe). Obeisance to the self-born deity of three-fold forms viz. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

2. Victorious is Lord Hari who sustains the worlds, who is unborn, who is omnipresent and possessed of the (three) qualities yetis (also) devoid of them.

3. (I seek refuge in god) Brahmā, the creator of the world, who is omniscient, unvanquished, who is the lord of (everything) past, present and future and who is the real Master of all.

4. Four things are to be resorted to by the good—namely, the unparalleled knowledge and detachment, and super-human power and virtue (found in full form in case) of the lord of the universe.

5. The Lord (knowing) that these human dispositions always consist of the good and the evil, (created) them again, indeed, without hesitation (aviśaṅka) for the sake of performance of (religious) actions.

6. The creator of the world who knows full well the reality about the world and is conversant with Yoga, resorted to Yoga and created all living beings mobile and immobile.

7. I am desirous of knowing the Purāṇic narrative and so I seek refuge in the mighty Lord (the creator of the universe), the witness of the worlds and the supreme all-pervading Ruler.

8. That Prajāpati (Lord of all creatures), Lord (Brahmā) recounted to Vasiṣṭha[1], the entire Purāṇa that is on a par with the Vedas and the main theme of which is the real state of the universe.

9. The holy sage Vasiṣṭha taught to his grandson, Parāśara, the son of Śakti, this sacred (Purāṇa) which is the nectar of the knowledge of reality.

10. The holy lord Parāśara, at first, taught sage Jātukarṇya this divine Purāṇa that is on a par with the Vedas.

11. After learning the Purāṇa, the learned Jātukarṇya[2] transferred the knowledge of the supreme, eternal Brahman to Dvaipāyana[3].

12. Dvaipāyana was delighted thereby. That self-controlled sage passed on the knowledge of that extremely wonderful Purāṇa the content of which was the knowledge of the real state of the world.

13-14. For the sake of propagating it in the worlds, he taught this Purāṇa which is (highly esteemed) like the Vedas and which contains many topics, to Jaimini, Sumantu, Vaiśampāyana, Pailava who was the fourth among them and Lomaharṣaṇa the fifth.[4] He (Lomaharṣaṇa) was (otherwise called) Sūta. He was humble, righteous and pure. His modes of narration were extremely wonderful.

15-17. After learning the purāṇa, Lomaharṣaṇa became humbler. He became extremely intelligent and virtuous. He was approached and questioned by a sage like you (?) (regarding matters of mythology etc.) He had the most excellent self-control. Along with (the other) sages, he used to bow down to the sages after circumambulating them. He was endowed with great devotion. After acquiring learning, he became satisfied and went to Kurukṣetra.[5] He (humbly) approached the pure sages who were performing the elaborate-sacrificial session.

18. The performers of the Satra met Romaharṣaṇa (i.e. Lomaharṣaṇa) with great humility. He excelled them in intellect (but) as laid down in the scriptures[6], (he bowed down) duly to them.

19. On seeing Romaharṣaṇa then, all those sages were extremely pleased. They were glad and their minds became happy.

20. They worshipped him with all necessary requisites of hospitality, such as Arghya (Materials of worship), Pādya (water for washing the feet) etc. He paid respects to all the sages. He received the permission of the king (?).

21. After permitting him, the sages enquired him of his health. He approached all those sages (individually) (considering them to be) the eternal Brahman, the great splendour. When the assembled persons indicated their consent, he sat on a beautiful well-covered seat.

22-23. When he had taken his seat, all the sages of praiseworthy, holy vows, well-disciplined according to (religious) rules, and of calm and concentrated minds, became delighted and surrounded him who was an observer of great (religious) vows. With deep love (and reverence), they spoke to him (as follows):

24. “Welcome to you, O highly fortunate one. How glad are we, the residents of this place, to see you, the best of sages, of excellent vows, hale and hearty, O intelligent one!

25. Thanks to you the performer of meritorious holy rites. I no longer consider this earth a void, O Sūta, you are the disciple of that noble-souled sage Vyāsa.

26. You are intelligent and you are always worthy of his blessings. You are fully equipped with the good qualities of a genuine disciple. You are learned and educated. Since you are worthy of being blessed, O holy lord, you have understood the principles.

27. After having attained vast knowledge, you are free from doubts in every respect. O wise one, it always behoves you to recount to us, everything that we ask you.

28. We wish to hear the divine story of the Purāṇa that is on a par with the Śrutis and that is full of righteous topics. This has already been heard by you from Vyāsa.”

29. On being requested thus by the sages then, the excessively intelligent Sūta, endowed with humility, offered an excellent reply full of modesty thus:

30. “Whatever intellect I possess is due to the service I rendered to the sage. It is certainly true that my (intellect) should be utilised for serving (others).

31. That being the situation, O excellent Brāhmaṇas (I shall recount) whatever is possible for me. It behoves you to ask questions on any topic which you desire to know.”

32. On hearing his sweet utterance, the sages again replied to Sūta whose eyes welled with tears (of joy).

33. “You are particularly well-versed in the details (of this topic). You have seen. Vyāsa personally. Hence you explain the origin of the world completely.[7]

34. We wish to know who was born in which family. (We wish to know the details of the family and ancestry of the kings, sages etc). Kindly recount the wonderfully diversified creative activity of Prajāpati during the days of yore”.

Thus was the excellent and noble-souled Romaharṣaṇa requested after offering him due hospitable reception.

35-37a. That excellent-most Sūta narrated everything in detail and in due order.

Sūta said:—

“O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I shall recount in due order that sacred story which Dvaipāyana, who was pleased with me, had narrated to me. O Brāhmaṇas, I shall expound the Purāṇa that had been related by Mātariśvan[8] (the wind-god) on being asked by the noble-souled sages of Naimiṣa forest.[9]

37b-39. A Purāṇa is characterised by five topics[10], Viz. Sarga (Primary creation), Pratisarga (Dissolution and Recreation), Vaṃśa (Lineage of Kings etc.), Manvantaras (the regions of Manus or Manu-periods) and Vaṃśānucarita (chronological description of kings and sages).

The first pāda (section) (of this Purāṇa) is called Prakriyā-Pāda (section on rites). In this section there is the summing up of the story; the other sections are Anuṣaṅga (Consequence), Upodghāta (Introduction) and Upasaṃhāra (Conclusion). Thus the four sections are briefly mentioned by me.

40. I shall narrate them in detail later on and in the proper order. At the outset, the Purāṇa among the sacred scriptures, was heard by Brahmā.[11]

41. Thereafter, the Vedas came out of his mouths. Similarly, the Vedāṅgas (ancillary subjects), the Dharmaśāstras (Law codes), the sacred rites and holy observances (also came out).

42. Then the decision[12] “I will create (the entire universe) beginning with Mahat (the Great Principle) and ending with Viśeṣa (the particular creations of worldly objects)” by the unmanifest cause which is eternal and of the nature of Sat (Existent) and Asat (Non-existent).

43-44. The golden. (Cosmic) Egg and the excellent birth of Brahmā. The Āvaraṇa (The covering ‘sheath’) of the Egg (was) the ocean. The (covering) of the waters by the Tejas (the fiery clement). The (enclosure of the Tejas) by the gaseous element. Then the encircling of the gaseous element by the Ether. Its covering by Bhūtādi (Ego). The Bhūtādi is encircled by Mahat (The Great Principle) and the Mahat is encircled by Avyakta (The unmanifest one).

45. The Egg itself has been described as situated within the (enclosure of the) elements. The appearance of the rivers and the mountains is described here.

46. There is the description of all the Manvantaras and the Kalpas. The narration of the tree of Brahman. The birth of Brahma is then recounted.

47. After this is the description of the creation of the subjects by Brahmā. Here the Avasthās (situations) are described, of god Brahmā whose birth is unmanifest.

48. The occurrence of the Kalpas; the stabilisation of the Universe; Hari’s lying down in the waters and the uplift of the Earth.

49-50. The particular (description) of the cities etc., the classification of castes and stages of life. The positions of the stars and the planets and their transit from one Zodaical sign to another and the abode of the Siddhas and their distance in yojanas in details and the allocation of places in the heaven to men of auspicious conduct.

51. The narration of (the different species of) trees, medicinal herbs and creepers. The two paths viz. of the Devatās (deities) and of the sages are (then) described.

52. The creation and manifestation of Mango and other trees. The origin of animals and human beings is (then) narrated.

53. The definition as well as its total components of Kalpa are mentioned. Then the nine types of intentional creations by god Brahmā are described.

54. Three of the intentional creations (are mentioned in details). The arrangement of the worlds. The origin of Dharma etc. from the limbs of Brahmā.

55. (The description of) the twelve that are born again and again in the Prajākalpa; Pratisandki (the period of transition) between two Kalpas is mentioned.

56. The origin of Adharma due to god Brahma’s envelopment by Tamas and the creation of Puruṣa from his (Brahma’s) body with preponderance of Sattva guṇa.

57. Similarly, (the birth of Śatarūpā) and the birth of the two sons, viz. Priyavrata, Uttānapāda as well as that of the auspicious Prasūti and Ākṛti (Ākūti).

58. Those who had rid themselves of sins and are well established themselves in the three worlds are glorified. Afterwards the birth of twins in Ākūti from Ruci, the Prajāpati.

59-60. The auspicious births of Dakṣa’s daughters from Prasūti. Then the procreation by the great-souled Dharma from Dakṣa’s daughters like Śabdā (rather Śraddhā as in Vāyu P.), a race characterised by Sattva-guṇa and was (as if) the dawn (?) of happiness: As well as the race of Adharma (Evil) from Hiṃsā (Violence) characterised by Tamo-guṇa and inauspiciousness.

61. The description of the creation of subjects by Bhṛgu and other sages, where-in the lineage of the Brāhmaṇa sage Vasiṣṭha is recounted.

62. The birth of the progeny of Agni from Svāhā is recounted there. Thereafter, the birth of subjects of the two types of Pitṛs in Svadhā (is also mentioned).

63-64. In the context of the description of the line of the Pitṛs, the curse of Dakṣa by Maheśvara, Satī and Bhṭgu and other intelligent ones, (is mentioned). So also the return curse uttered by Dakṣa. The protest against the enmity by Rudra of wonderful feats, because defects were seen is described.

65. In the context of Manvantaras, Time (with its units) is recounted in detail. The auspicious characteristics of the daugher of Kardama, the Prajāpati.

66. The details of the sons of Priyavrata are described there. Their appointment on different continents and lands severally (are recounted).

67. The narration of the creation of Svāyambhuva (Manu). So also the description of the Varṣas (sub-continents) and rivers and their different types.

68. How thousands of the different continents comprise the group of seven Dvīpas. The detailed description of the Maṇḍala (Encircling zone) of Jambūdvīpa and the ocean.

69. The magnitude and extent of the Jambūdvīpa, the ocean and the mountains, is mentioned in the form of Yojanas (‘Yojanas 12 Kms). The following seven mountains,[13] viz. Himavān, Hemakūṭa, Niṣadha, Meru, Nīla, Śveta and Śṛṅgin, are glorified.

70-73. The distance between pairs of these, the girth, height and extent of these mountains, all these are mentioned is so many Yojanas. The inhabitants of these mountains are recounted. Bharata and other sub-continents are described, along with the rivers and mountains therein. How they are inhabited by the mobile and the immobile living beings. Jambūdvīpa and other islands (continents) are surrounded by seven oceans. Thereafter the golden earth and Lokāloka (mountain) is described. These worlds have definite extents and magnitudes, consist of seven continents.

74. Rūpa (form, colour) etc. are described because they are also made along with the Prākṛtas (effects of the Prakṛti). All these are partial transformation of the Pradhāna.

75. The movement, extent etc. of the sun, the moon and the earth are succinctly yet completely stated (without leaving out anything of importance).

76-77. The dimentions are mentioned. The extent of these is mentioned in so many Yojanas. Mahendra and other splendid and sacred (mountains) on the summit north of the Mānasa lake (are described) along with the present beings that are in possession of them and that identify themselves with them.

The sun’s movement above these, like a firebrand moving in a circle, has been mentioned. The characteristics of Nāgavīthi and Akṣavīthi are mentioned.

78. The description of the two kāṣṭhās (koṣṭha—amisprint) quarters (or courses of winds), the two Lekhas, horizons (or Lekhas—deities) and the zones in Yojanas; of the Lokāloka (mountain) of the twilight, of the day and of the Viṣuvat (Equinox).

79. The Lokapālas (guardians of the quarters) who stay on it in the four quarters are described. The southern and the northern path-ways of the Pitṛs (manes) and gods (are described).

80. (The goal) of householders and those who renounce (i.e. sannyāsins) dependent on Rajas and Sattva (is mentioned). The region of Viṣṇu where Dharma and others are stationed is mentioned.

81. The movement of the sun and the moon as well as that of the planets and luminaries is described. It has the efficacy of according auspiciousness as well as inauspiciousness to the subjects.

82-83. The chariot of the sun built by Brahmā himself for the sake of a dwelling unto the sun is mentioned. The chariot whereby the lord goes to his abode from the heaven is presided over by the Devas, the Ādityas, the sages, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, the Grāmaṇīs, the serpents and the Rākṣasas.

84. The Rasa (juice) that exudes from the chariot evolved out of the essence of the waters, is mentioned: The waxing and the waning of the moon caused by Soma are mentioned.

85. The movement of the chariots of the sun and others begins from Dhruva (the pole star). The heavenly porpoise at the tail end of which the pole star is stationed is also described.

86. All the constellations of stars along with the planets wherein the gods of meritorious acts have their abodes are described.

87. The thousand rays of the sun, the asylum of rain, chillness and heat, the different classes of rays with reference to names, functions and places of operation—(all these are mentioned).

88. The magnitude and the movement of the planets depending on the sun are mentioned. The origin of the Mahat (Great Principle) from the Pradhāna, the characteristics of which are compared to a dancing girl.

89. The narration of the greatness of Pururavas, the son of Ilā. The greatness of the Pitṛs of two types as well as that of the dead.

90-91. Then the Parvans (important days in the transit of the moon such as first quarter, full moon, last quarter, New moon) as well as the Sandhis (junctions), of the Parvans are narrated. The great blessing of the two types of Pitṛs by means of Śrāddha; the Pitṛs who have gone to the heaven and those who have had a downfall. Their number and extent of Yugasas well as the Yuga called Kṛta are described.

92. The introduction, and commencement of agricultural activities etc. as means of livelihood in the Tretāyuga as a result of the lowering of standards; the establishment of castes and stages of life based on Dharma (duty).

93. Establishment of the institution of Yajña[14]. The conversation, of Vasu and the sages; the downfall of Vasu—all these are recounted[15].

94. The penance is praised and so also the situations of the Yugas entirely. The succinct description of the Dvāpara and Kali ages.

95. Manvantara is recounted and its number (of years) is narrated according to human calculation. This alone is the characteristic feature of all Manvantaras.

96. The past, present and future Manvantaras are recounted. So also is the definition of Pratisandhāna (Period of transition between two Manvantaras).

97. The past and the future (reigning members) in the Svāyambhuva (Manvantara) are recounted. The movement of the sages is mentioned. So also the way of the knowledge of Kāla (Time).

98. The extent of the number of Durgas (fortresses) and the commencement and the different professions for livelihood in the Yugas; the birth and characteristic features of the emperors in the Tretā.

99. The birth of Pramati; the diminution by Aṅgulas of the living beings in the Kaliyuga—these are mentioned.

100. The enumeration of the different Śākhās (Branches) of the Vedas; the importance of the disciples; the seven types of Vākyas (sentences) and narration of the spiritual lines of the sages.

101. The characteristic features of the sons of charioteers and those of the Brāhmaṇas (are described) in full. The classification of the Vedas by the noble-souled Vedavyāsa (is also given).

102. The narration of the Devas and the lords of subjects in the Manvantaras; the due order of the Manvantaras and the knowledge of Kāla (Time): all these are recounted.

103-104. The grandsons of Dakṣa; the splendid progeny of his beloved daughter; the children procreated by Brahmā and others and the children begot by the intelligent Dakṣa; the Sāvarṇa Manus who had resorted to Meru are also recounted here. The description of the creation of subjects by Dhruva, the son of Uttānapāda.

105. The creative activity of Cākṣuṣa Manu, the description of the prowess of the subjects; the act of milking the earth by the lord (King Pṛthu), the son of Vena.

106. The special mention of the vessels, milks and calves; (the fact) that this earth had already been milked by Brahmā and others.

107. The birth of Dakṣa the intelligent Prajāpati from the ten Pracetasas in Māriṣā as occurring through equal part of everyone of them is described.

108. The lordship over the past, present and future things of Mahendras is recounted. The Manus and others who are covered with Manu narratives will be described.

109. The detailed creative activity of Vaivasvata Manu is recounted. The origin of Bhṛgu and others in the Vestures[16] of Brahmā and others is narrated.

110. As distinguished from the splendid Prajāsarga (creation of the subjects) of Cākṣuṣa Manu, the creation through meditation by Dakṣa in the Vaivasvata Manvantara is recounted.

111. Nārada, the mental son of Brahmā, engaged the extremely powerful sons of Dakṣa in conversation and destroyed them and was cursed (as a result).

112. Thereupon Dakṣa begot the well-known daughters named Vairiṇās.[17] The birth of Marut in the noble lady Diti in the course of the contiṅuous blowing of the wind.[18]

113. The seven times seven (49) groups of Maruts are recounted here. They acquired Devatva (state of being Devas) because of their staying along with Indra. Their residence is the shoulders (?) of Vāyu (?).

114-115. The origin of the Daityas, Dānavas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Rākṣasas, ghosts and evil spirits, of the Yakṣas, birds, creepers etc. is recounted. The origin of the Apsaras is narrated in great details. The entire sphere of the sun is described and also the birth of the elephant Airāvata.

116. The birth of Vainateya (Garuḍa) as well as his installation as a King (of birds). The detailed narratives of the (races of) Bhṛgus and the Aṅgiras are recounted.

117. The detailed description of the progeny of Kāśyapa, Pulastya, noble-souled Atri and sage Parāśara.

118. Three girls in whom the worlds are stabilised are glorified. The detailed description of Icchā[19] of Āditya (is found) thereafter.

119. The story of Kiṅkuvit[20] is mentioned. The annihilation of Bṛhadbalas by Dhruva[21] is mentioned. Ikṣvāku and others are glorified briefly.

120. The creation of the king Niśi etc. is mentioned in detail along with Palāṇḍuharaṇa etc; the story of the king Yayāti’s race:

121. The description of Yadu’s race and the detailed narration of Haihaya after Krodha.[22] Afterwards the details of the race are mentioned.

122. The greatness of Jyāmagha and his creation of subjects is recounted. So also of Devavṛdha, Andhaka and noble-souled Dhṛṣṭi.

123-124. The lineage of Animitra; the false accusation of the two Vaiśyas;[23] The ascertainment and the acquisition of the jewel by the intelligent Satrājit; in the course of the creation of progeny by the saintly King Devamīḍhvan, the birth and story of the noble-souled Śūra is mentioned.

125. The wickedness of Kaṃsa and the birth of Vāsudeva Viṣṇu of unmeasured splendour in Devakī, due to the unification of the families (?)[24]

126-127. Afterwards the creative activity of the sages; the description of the creation of the subjects; when the war of the Devas and the Asuras started; a woman was slain by Viṣṇu while protecting Śakra from death and a curse was obtained by him from Bhṛgu. Bhṛgu resuscitated the divine mother of Śukra.

128. Due to the concurrence of the Devas and the sages twelve battles were conducted.[25] Narasiṃha and others, the destroyers of sins are glorified.

129. The propitiation of Sthāṇu (Śiva) by Śukra by-means of severe penance. Śarva eulogised by him who was cut off (kṛtta) for boons.[26]

130-131. Afterwards the material activity of the Devas and the Asuras is recounted. When the noble-souled Śukra was attached to Jayantī, the intelligent Bṛhaspati, assuming the form of Śukra deluded Asuras for which act Śukra cursed Bṛhaspati.[27]

132-34. The greatness of Viṣṇu is narrated. It is expressed at the birth (i.e. incarnation) of lord Viṣṇu. Turvasu who was the younger brother of Yadu was the grandson (of Śukra) Anu, Druhyu and others as well as their sons (who were) the kings are described. The descendants of Anu were noble-souled. Excellent kings among them are fully described. They had plenty of wealth and their splendour was much. Ātithya (hospitality) to a Brahmanical sage is classified into seven as resorting to Dharma.

135. There the curse of Bṛhaspati by the poets[28] (?) is described. The fame of Hara’s (Hari’s) family is slightly touched. Śantanu’s prowess is explained.

136. In the concluding portion, the future kings are recounted. The description of the groups of lords, yet to come, is given in detail.

137. The description of the annihilation of all, when Kaliyuga expires at the end of the Bhautya manvantara (?). The annihilation is divided into Naimittika (at the end of a Kalpa), Prākṛtika (after two parārdha years when Brahmā dies) and Ātyantika (when the individual soul merges in the Brahman.)

138. The re-absorption and dissolution of all living beings in various ways is described. Anāvṛṣṭi (absence of rain) and the terrible Saṃvartaka fire of the sun. (are mentioned).

139. (The description of Prākṛtika Pralaya is described in the Sāṃkhya system of philosophy. Then Brahman (is explained) particularly. The description of the seven worlds beginning with Bhū.

140. The definition is explained by means of Para, Parārdha and Apara (?) of the Brahman. The fixation of the extent and magnitude of Brahmā(?) in so many Yojanas.

141. Here the hells of the sinners such as Raurava etc. are mentioned. The ultimate sequel of all living beings is decisively fixed.

142. The description of the worldly existence through the Pratisaṃsarga (secondary creation) of Brahmā. The movement upwards or downwards as dependent on virtue or evil has been mentioned.

143. The annihilation of great Bhūtas (elements) in every Kalpa. The miseries are innumerable. Even god Brahmā is not eternal.

144. The wickedness of worldly pleasures, the pain in the course of worldly existence.[29] The inaccessibility of salvation (except) through Vairāgya (absence of passion) because defects are seen.

145. (One) abandons the Sattva (living beings) whether manifest or unmanifest and is established in the Brahman. Since multiplicity is seen, the idea of purity (of the world) recedes.

146. Then (the devotee) becomes afraid of the three types of Tāpa (distresses) arising from Rūpa and Artha (forms and objects).[30] He then becomes Nirañjana (unsullied). After obtaining the bliss of Brahman, he is not afraid of anything.

147. Again the creation by another Brahmā as before, is recounted. The Vikriyās (changes) of the universe such as creation and annihilation are described.

148. The activities of the living beings that are born and the fruits (they obtain) are described. Then the creation of the groups of sages is described. It is destructive of sins.

149-150. The appearance of Vasiṣṭha and the birth of Śakti. His grasping of the bone of Śaudāsa[31] as brought about by Viśvāmitra. The birth of the eminent Parāśara from Adṛśyantī. The holy lord, the great sage was born of Pitṛkanyā and the holy sage (Parāśara).

151. The birth of Śuka. The hatred towards sage Viśvāmitra of the intelligent Parāśara along with his son.

152-154. The collection of Agni (fire) by Vasiṣṭha with a desire to kill Viśvāmitra. The (hindrance to it) by lord vidhi (Brahmā) who was the well-wisher of Viśvāmitra as well as by the intelligent lord Gīrṇaskandha[32] (?) for the sake of a child.

With the blessings of Śarva (Śiva), the saintly lord Vyāsa split one Veda of four quarters into four Vedas. Many branches of the Vedas were evolved by his disciples and their disciples.

155-159a. (Defective text) They did not tremble in making practical use of the Vedas. When they were seen by Svayambhu (Brahmā) those excellent sages desirous of Dharma and wishing to get a holy place, asked him. The lord who wished for their welfare told them like this: “The nave of this wheel is excellent. Its beauty and splendour is divine. It has seven spokes. It is incomparable and praise-worthy. As it rolls down, all of you follow it alertly, watchfully. Then you will reach a place where this is broken. That place where the rim of this wheel is broken is a holy land. It should be considered sacred.”[33]

After saying this to all those sages, he became invisible.

159b-160. The sages of Naimiṣa forest performed a Satra there taking only Yava (barley) as their food along with the water of Gaṅgā.

161. When Śaradvān died, he was resuscitated, as the sages of Naimiṣa forest were endowed with great kindness.

162. They made this earth boundless. They brought Kṛṣṇa as king. With great pleasure, and hospitality, the king was received and honoured duly.

163. Svarbhānu, the cruel Asura, came within the Satra and abducted the king. When the king vanished, the sages followed him.

164. They saw him protected by a Gandharva and abiding in the village named Kalāpa.[34] Again the Yajña was begun by the great sages.

165. On seeing everything golden, he had an argument with them in the Satra that lasted for twelve years and performed by the sages of Naimiṣa.

166-167. Yadu was installed by them even as they were arguing. After the son of Yadu, Ayuta was born in the forest. They concluded the Satra and began to worship Vāyu.

This is the Kṛtyasamuddeśa (enumeration of contents of the Purāṇa). The part of the Purāṇa has been described.

168. The Purāṇa comes to light in this order alone. Even a great topic is understood easily if mentioned briefly.

169-170a. After mentioning the brief outline, I shall now narrate the details to you. If a person, after conquering the sense organs, learns this first Pāda (section) very well, there is no doubt about it that the entire Purāṇa has been understood by him.

170b-171. O Brāhmaṇas, he who knows the four Vedas with their ancillary subjects and the Upaniṣads must increase his knowledge of Veda through Itihāsas and Purāṇas. The Veda is afraid of a man of incomplete knowledge saying “O this man will strike me.”[35]

172-174. Repeatedly learning this chapter that had been directly mentioned by the self-born lord Brahmā one shall never lose sense after getting into an adversity. He will attain such a goal (hereafter) as is desired by him.

Since this had been (in existence) before also (Purā api), it is remembered as Purāṇam.[36] He who understands the etymological interpretation of this, is rid of all sins.

Hence, listen to this summary. Nārāyaṇa creates the world. It is on that occasion of creation when he makes this entire Purāṇa. It does not remain at the time of annihilation.

Footnotes and references:


VV. 8-17 give the line of transmission of the Bd.P. as follows: God Brahmā—sage Vasiṣṭha—Parāśara—Jātukarṇya—Dvaipāyana (Vyāsa)—Sūta Lomaharṣaṇa (Romaharṣaṇa), An important point to note is the missing link of Vāyu here. N.P. 109.35 states:

vyāso labdhvā tataś’ caitat,

That is according to N.P. Jātukarṇya—Vayu or Prabhañjana—Vyāsa, is the proper Paramparā (line of oral transmission.). This lacuna is however indirectly supplied in V.36b below where the Windgod (Mātariśvan) is stated to be a narrator. Another point is the emphatic claim of the Purāṇa to a status equal to the Veda. And the third point is about the main object of the Purāṇa viz. to explain the real state or reality of the world (Loka-tattva, VV 1-8, 12 etc.).


Jātukarṇya or Jātūkarṇa was a self-controlled sage—a member of Yudhiṣṭhira’s Court (Mbh.Sabhā. 4.14). One wonders why the Mbh. and other Purāṇas do not furnish more details about him who taught this Purāṇa to Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, Secondly, Parāśara teaches this Purāṇa to Jātukarṇya and not to his own son Vyāsa.


Dvaipāyana—The son of Parāśara and Satyavatī, popularly known as Vyāsa (the arranger) due to his classification of the floating traditional Mantras into four Vedas. He was named Dvaipāyana as he was kept in an island in the Yamunā.

nyasto dvīpe sa yad bālas
tasmād Dvaipāyanaḥ smṛtaḥ
     —Mbh. Ādi 63.86

In the Pāli canon also, we are told that one of the eight ways of naming a person is his geographical residence.


Vyāsa seems to have taught this Purāṇa (presumably others also) to his five disciples but Jaimini, Sumantu, Vaiśampāyana and Pailava (Paila) took interest in the Veda, leaving the preservation of the Purāṇic Lore to Sūta Lomaharṣaṇa (Romaharṣaṇa), According to Vā.P. 1.16, he is called Romaharṣaṇa as he made the hair of his audience bristle by his eloquent narration.


This Purāṇa is (re-)narrated at Kurukṣetra where sages held a sacrificial session.


This Sūta is not a Brahmin. He is the Pratiloma offspring of a Kṣatriya father and a Brahmin mother vide Gaut.Dh.S. 4.15, Baudhāyana (1.9.9) and Smṛtis of Manu (10-11), Yājñavalkya (1.93). Hence this formality on his part. In V. 21, the term of greeting him is anāmaya and not kuśala used in the case of Brāhmaṇas. According to Gautama Dharma Sūtra (Gaut. Dh.S.) VV. 37-38, guests of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya castes should be respectively greeted with the words Kuśala, anāmaya and ārogya.

Manu also (11.127) prescribes:

Brāhmaṇam kuśalam pṛcchet Kṣattra-bandhum anāmayam


This is indicative of the title ‘Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa’.


It means the Wind-god did not teach it to Dvaipāyana. Secondly the present text is a rehash of the Purāṇa narrated at Naimiṣaraṇya.


This is modern Nimsar at a distance of 20 miles from Sitapur and 45 miles to the NW. of Lucknow. The word Naimiṣa is derived from two different words (1) Nimiṣa ‘the twinkling of the eye’ and (2) Nemi—‘the felly of a wheel’. According to (1), this place came to be called Naimiṣa as Viṣṇu killed an army of Asuras within the twinkling of an eye at this place (vide Śrīdhara on Bh.P. 1.4 where he quotes V.R.P. as his authority). According to (2) which is accepted here in infra, god Brahmā, to ensure a sacred place for a sacrifice for sages created mentally a wheel which went on running till it reached the vicinity of the Gomatī river near which its felly broke down and it stopped. The sages who followed it to that place accepted it for their sacrificial session. This popular etymology from Nemi is endorsed by Vā.P. 1.2.8, Devī Bh.P. 1.2.28-32 where it adds that Kali cannot enter that place.

It was at this place that Rāma performed his horse-sacrifice (V.R. 7.91.15).

Although there was another Naimiṣāraṇya in Kurukṣetra (vide Chāndogya Upa. 1.2.13 and Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā 10.6) and although the Aryan expansion was from the West to the East, the Naimiṣāraṇya on the Gomatī appears to be the ‘birth-place’ of Purāṇas.


The five characteristics of a Purāṇa as found in V.37b and 38a (which should have formed one continuous verse as is found in other Purāṇas) are mentioned in AP. 1.14, BS.P. 1.2.4-5, BV.P.IV. 133.6, GP. 1.215.14, KP. 1.1.12, SK.P. VII.2.84 and VP. III.6.25. Amara Siṃha (5th Cent. A.D.) has recorded this verse in his Amara Kośa 1.6.5. Although these characteristics have been unanimously accepted as essential parts of the Purāṇas, “The Purāṇa Texts that have come down to us hardly conform to this definition” (The Hist. and Culture of the Indian People Vol. III P.292). If the original Purāṇa texts conformed to this description, the present texts of the Purāṇas must have been revised or mutilated during their transmission.


The Purāṇa-writers claim their priority in creation and hence superiority to the Vedas. That some tract of literature called Purāṇa existed at the time of the Atharva Veda is clear from AV. XI.7.24, XV. 1.6. but the tall claim of being heard by god Brahmā before he heard any śāstras before the creation of the Veda is historically hardly justifiable.


VV.42-44 treat briefly the evolution of the universe obviously on the basis of Sāṅkhya system. As the following topics are given as table of contents their special explanations will be given in their respective chapters.


1. The mountain system of the Purāṇas as recorded here is represented under the following names today:

(i)    Himavān—The great Himalayan Range.
(ii)    Hemakūṭa—Ladakh—Kailash—Trans-Himalayan chain.
(iii)    Nīṣadha—Hindukush—Kunlun chain.
(iv)    Meru—The Pamirs.
(v)    Nīla.
(vi) Śveta—Nura Tau—Turkistan-Atbashi chain
(vii) Śṛṅgin or Śṛṅgavān—Kara Tau—Kirghiz-Ketman chain.

(For details vide M.Ali—Geog. of the Purāṇas Ch. III)

The progressive contraction of Bhārata up to 1947 A.D. blinds us to the fact that a large part of what is Central Asia today was an integral part of the Bhārata of the Puranic world.


This verse=Vā.P. (Vayu Purāṇa) 1.111, but it reads Yajña-Pravartana. This is the proper reading and hence accepted, as Vajra-Pravartana is baseless and hence probably a misprint.


The text translated above: Śabdatvaṃ ca Pradhānāt tu Svāyambhuvam ṛte Manum is confusing.

This verse—Vā.P. 1.112 which however gives a better reading:

Praśnānāṃ durvacastvaṃ ca svāyambhuvam ṛte Manum /


Vā.P. 1.128 reads Brāhma-Śukrāt ‘from the semen of god Brahmā’.


begot from Vīriṇi—Vā.P. 1.131.


Vā.P. 1.133, reads: Marut-Prasāda.


To be amended as Ilā as in Vā.P. 1.141 as there is no person called Icchā in this context in the Purūṇas.


(Viṅkukṣi in Vā.P.)


Vā.P. 1.l41b-l42a reads: ‘The destruction of Dhundhu, Ikṣvāku and others ending with Bṛhadbala are described? Dhruva is not credited with destroying Bṛhadbalas, vide PE. (Puranic encyclopaedia on Dhruva & Bṛhadbala.)


This should be Kroṣṭu and not Krodha vide Vā.P. 1.144.


Vā.P. 1.146. (in identical verse) reads: Viṣṇor divyābhiśaṃsanam, “The divine eulogy of god Viṣṇu”.


Vā.P. 1.148 reads: “ekāntena”.


Vā.P. 1.151 (identical with this verse) reads: Twelve wonderful battles between gods and demons.


Vā.P. 1.152 reads: Varadānaugha-lubdhena “extremely desirous of getting boons”.


The corrupt text has resulted in this confused version. It should be as Vā.P. 1.153-154 reads:

Jayantyā saha sakte tu yatra Śukre mahātmani /
Asurān mohayāmāsa Śukrarūpeṇa buddhimān //
Bṛhaspatis tu taṃ Śukraḥ śaśāpa sumahādyutiḥ //

“When the noble-souled Śukra was attached to Jayantī, the clever Bṛhaspati, assuming the form of Śukra, deluded Asuras for which act Śukra cursed Bṛhaspati.”

The story of the love-affair between Śukra and Jayantī and her subsequent marriage with him are mentioned in other Purāṇas vide PE p. 355, PCK p. 365.


The corresponding verse in Vā. P. 1.158 is as follows:

Bārhaspatyaṇṃ tu surabhir yatra śāpam ihānudat /
Kīrtanaṃ Jahnu-vaṃśasya Śantanor vīrya-sabdanam

It was Surabhi (the heavenly cow) which uttered the curse; the family of king Jahṇu is glorified.


Saṃhāra emended as Saṃsāra, otherwise it would mean ‘Pain of annihilation’.


The corresponding verse in Vā.P. 1.171 gives a better reading:

tatas tāpatrayātīto nīrūpākhyo nirañjanaḥ /

“Then he transcends three types of miseries and he is called formless and free from blemishes (pure)”.


Saudāsāsthi-grahaścāsya in this text is contrary to facts. It was Saudāsa (King Kalmāṣapāda as a demon) who devoured Śakti (Vasiṣṭha’s eldest son) at the instigation of Viśvāmitra.

Hence the better reading is in Vā.P. in the corresponding verse 1-175a viz.

Saudāsān nigrahas tasya Viśvāmitrakṛtena ca /


Vā.P. 1.178a reads:

Cīrṇā Skandena dhīmatā

“It (The Veda?) was divided by the intelligent Lord Skanda for the sake of its continuity”.


A popular etymology of Naimiṣāraṇya side note 2 p. 8.


A village in the Himalayas near Badarikāśrama where Maru and Devāpi, the last kings of the Solar and Lunar races respectively performed penance to reappear again as kings of Ayodhyā and Hastinapur after Kalki.—De, p. 74.


= Mbh. Ādi. 1.267b-268a. This is the traditional stand of Purāṇas regarding their indispensability. It is justifiable to some extent as they preserve the unbroken Brahmanical tradition from the. Vedas and are some-times useful in interpretation as in Ahalyāyai jāraḥ (Śatapatha or Viśvarūpam jaghānendraḥ (Śatapatha etc.).


A popular etymology of the word Purāṇa.