The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes the creation of the universe which is Chapter 5 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 5 - The Creation of the Universe

Summary: The Boar incarnation of Viṣṇu—Primary and secondary creation—creation of gods, sages and their dissolution.

Śrī Sūta said:

1. At the beginning, the waters were present everywhere, on the surface of the earth. When this (visible world) had been annihilated and when the winds had become quiet, nothing could be known.

2. In that vast ocean-like expanse of water,[1] when the whole world consisting of mobile and immobile beings had perished, the only entity present there was that lord Brahmā with thousand eyes and thousand legs.[2]

3. At that time Brahmā named Nārāyaṇa lay asleep in the waters. He had a thousand heads. He was the Puruṣa with golden colour and was beyond the ken of the sense-organs.

4. Prohibited[3] (?) on account of the excess of Sattva, he saw the empty world. In this context, as regards Nārāyaṇa they cite this śloka (verse).

5. Waters are called Nāras (because) the waters are indeed the children of (Nara) (Man); the waters are his place of resort. Hence, he is remembered as Nārāyaṇa.[4]

6. (Defective text). He remains meditating for a period equal to a thousand Yugas. He performs meditation on a (lotus) with golden petals in order to reach the ideal state of Brahman.[5]

7. Like a glow-worm at night during the rainy season, Brahmā moves about here and there in the water, stooping down with his face turned downwards.

8-9. After knowing that the great (universe) had gone deep into that vast expanse of water, he thought of uplifting the earth with steadiness of composure. Then he thought of the other eightfold cosmic body (as evolved by) Oṃkāra, in the beginnings of Kalpas as before. Then the great, soul thought of his divine form.

10. On seeing that the earth had sunk into the water he thought—“what form shall I assume and uplift the earth?”

11. He remembered the form of a Boar[6] that is suitable for the aquatic sports. It was invisible[7] unto all living beings. It is of the nature of speech termed Brahman.

12. Its girth was ten Yojanas (1 Yojana=12 Km) and the length was a hundred Yojanas. It resembled the dark cloud, in complexion. It had a rumbling sound like that of the clouds.

13. It had a huge body like a great mountain. It had curved fangs, white, sharp and terrible. It bore resemblance (in lustre to) lightning and fire. Its brilliance was like that of the sun.

14. It had thick long and round shoulders. It used to walk with the (steady) steps of Viṣṇu. The region of its hips was raised up (well-developed) and stout. It was honoured with the characteristic features of a bull.

15. Assuming this inimitable form of a boar, Hari entered the nether worlds for uplifting the earth.

16-22. (The description of Yajña-vārāha),[8] The conclusion on the Dīkṣā (initiation) and Iṣṭi (sacrifice) were his curved fangs, the Kratu (sacrifice) was his tooth.[9] The Juhū (the crescent-shaped wooden ladle) was his mouth;.the fire was his tongue,[10] the Darbha grasses were his hairs,[11] the Brahmā (one of the four Ṛtviks employed at a Soma sacrifice or vedic knowledge of great penance was his head.[12] The Vedas were his shoulders; he had the fragrance of the Havis. The Havya, Kavya etc. were his velocity;[13] Prāgvaṃśa (the sacrificial room facing the east) was his body;[14] he was brilliant; he was equipped with different kinds of Dīkṣās (initiations); he was the master of Yoga with Dakṣiṇā for his heart; he was the lord full of Śraddhā (faith) and Sattva (good quality);[15] he had Upākarma (extra study of the Vedas by way of expiation) for his Ruci[16] (lustre or taste); he had Pravargya (the ceremony preliminary to Soma sacrifice) as his Āvartabhūṣaṇa[17] (ornamental whorls of hair on his chest), the way of the different Cchandas (Metres) was his pathway; the Upaniṣads with their esoteric doctrines constituted his seat. He was assisted by Māyā in the capacity of his spouse; he had the height of the peak of a mountain; he had the day and the night as his eyes;[18] he had the ancillary subjects of the Vedas as the ornament unto his ears. He had the odour of the Ājya (ghee-offering; in the sacrifice); the Sruvā (the sacrificial ladle) was his snout; he had the loud pitch in chanting of the Sāman hymns as his voice; he was glorious, an embodiment of truth and virtue; he was honoured by the exploits of his actions; expiation was his claw; he was terrible; he had the knee joints of the animals; he was the great sacrifice incarnate; Udgātā was his entrail;[19] the Homa was his Liṅga (symbol); he had fruits and seeds as great medicinal herbs[20](?) Vādyantara[21] (Another disputant) was his own Śastra (sacrifice) (?). Absence of egotim as well as Soma juice was his blood.

23. [ The text in Bd.P. is corrupt. The corresponding verse in Vā. P. 6.23 is as follows:]

bhūtvā Yajña-varāho vai antaḥ sa prāviśat prabhuḥ /
adbhiḥ sañchāditām ūrvīṃ sa tām aśnan prajāpatiḥ /
upagamyojjahārāśu apas tāś ca sa vinyasan //

“It is reported that he verily became Yajña-varāha and the Lord entered the waters. That Prajāpati found that earth which was covered over with waters. Removing (displacing) those waters, he seized and quickly lifted it up”.

24. He allocated the waters of the ocean in the oceans and those of the rivers in the rivers. After making them separate and equal, he gathered the mountains on the earth for its stability.

25. These mountains had been burnt in the previous Sarga (period of creation) by the Saṃvartaka fire (i.e. fire of destruction at the time of universal annihilation). Along with that fire these mountains had got merged in the earth completely.

26. (Defective text). In that vast expanse of water [due to cold (śaityāt—Vā. P.)], they became stored up by the wind. Wherever this (water solution with burnt mountains) was sprinkled, a mountain cropped up in each of those places.

27. After they had been scattered, Viśvakarman divided the worlds, oceans and mountains. He divides like this again and again at the beginning of every Kalpa.[22]

28. He created again and again this earth consisting of seven continents along with the oceans and the mountains. He (also) created again the four worlds beginning with Bhū (earth).

29-31. After creating the worlds, Brahmā,.the self-born lord began the creation of Prajās (subjects). Desirous of creating different subjects (creatures), he created them in the same form as had been created before. As he meditated and pondered about (the forthcoming) creation preceded by (cosmic) intellect, Avidyā unfolded itself into five forms simultaneous with Pradhāna[23] (?). These five forms were Tāmasika. They were darkness, delusion, great-delusion, pitch darkness and blind darkness.

32. Thus Avidyā had five joints (Parvan).[24] It manifested itself from the great-soul. Thus the creation remained five-fold even as he was meditating over it and identifying himself with it.

33. It is surrounded everywhere by Tamas like the seed and the creeper within a pot.[25] Within and without, it is devoid of lustre as well as devoid of consciousness.

34. Since they have (well) made intellect, miseries and sense-organs, the Nāgas (i.e. trees, creepers, plants) are glorified as Mukhya (Principal) creations.[26] Their selves have been covered up.

35 Brahmā, the self-born lord, was not fully satisfied in his mind even after seeing the evolution of Mukhyasarga (principal creation). He thought of creating (a fresh type of creation) then.

36. Even as he was pondering over it, another creation, the Tiryaksrotas[27] (oblique-currented creation, i.e. the animal world) took its origin. It is remembered as Tiryaksrotas, because it functioned in oblique (in non-straight) ways.

37. On account of the excess of the Tamas quality, they are remembered as Ajñānabahula (abounding in ignorance). They are Utpādyagrāhiṇaḥ[28] (comprehending what should be produced).They fancy themselves wise, despite their ignorance,

38. They possess egotism. They are proud of themselves. They are of twenty-eight types.[29] The sense-organs are of eleven, varieties. The soul etc. are of nine varieties.

39. The Tārakas and others are of eight types, their destruction of power is remembered (?). They have inner light and all of them are again externally enveloped.

40. They are called Tiryaksrotas. They have their selves under control. They have three appellations.

41. After creating the second universal creation; the Tiryaksrotas and having observed that type of creation, the (following) idea occurred in him:

42. Even as he was pondering, the final creation of the Sāttvika type was evolved. This third creation is Ūrdhvasrotas upwards currented.[30] It is based upwards.

43. Since they returned upwards they are called Ūrdhvasrotas. They are of a pleasant nature with much of gaiety. They are not enveloped within or without.

44-46a. They are brilliant within and without. The subjects of Ūrdhvasrotas are remembered as nine. They are Dhātā (? creator) and others. They are remembered as wise ones of contented mind. This third creation, the Ūrdhvasrotas, is remembered as Daivīka (Divine) i.e. pertaining to gods).

When the divine creations of the Ūrdhvasrotas type had been created, lord Brahmā became pleased. Thereafter, he did not ponder over anything else.

46b-47. (Later on) the lord was desirous of creating another set of created beings that would be Sādhaka (aspirant after spiritual achievement).

Even as he was pondering over creation and since he was of truthful (effective) conception, the Bhautasarga (creation of Bhūtas, i.e. living beings) manifested itself. It was down ward—currented (arvāk-srotas)[31] as well as competent to achieve the goals of his life.

48. Since they function downwards (i.e. on the earth, below heaven) they are (called Arvāksrotas. They abound in brilliance but were contaminated by tamas and dominated with rajas.

49. Hence they have excess of misery. They make repeated attempts. They are enlightened within and without. They are the mortal beings capable of achieving their goal.

50. They are arranged into eight classes with hellish characteristics (i.e. such characteristic features as are conducive to hell). Those men with souls of spiritual achievement are similar in characteristic features to the Gandharvas.

51-52. The fifth creation, the Anugraha Sarga (creation of blessings) is arranged into four classes, viz. i) Viparyaya (Loss of consciousness), ii) Śakti (Efficiency), iii) Siddha (of achievement) and iv) Mukhya (Principal).

They are born again and again, they recede and they (come back) to be present. The sixth creation is said to be of Bhūtādi (elements or creatures) etc.

53-55A. Those creatures should be known as characterised by tendency to eat and obtain or grab.

The first creation of Brahmā should be known as that of Mahat (the great principle). The second creation is that of Tanmātras. It is called Bhūtasarga.[32]

55B. The third Vaikārika creation is called Aindriya Sarga (creation pertaining to the sense organs). These are the Prākṛta (of Prakṛti) creations that are evolved with consciousness and foreknowledge.

The fourth creation is Mukhyasarga. The immobile creations are remembered as Mukhyas.

56-57. The fifth one is Tiryaksrotasa creation. The Tiryagyonis (i.e. the lower creatures and animals) constitute it.

The sixth creation of Ūrdhvasrotas is called Daivata (pertaining to divine beings).

Thereafter, is the seventh creation, that of the Arvāksrotas, the human beings. The eighth creation is Anugrahasarga. It is Sāttvika as well as Tāmasa.

58. These (latter) five creations are the Vaikṛta (Meditated) creation. The first three are remembered as Prākṛta (pertaining to Prakṛti) creations. The ninth creation called the Kaumāra (brought about by Kumāra i.e. Sanatkumāra etc.) sarga. (The eight creations mentioned before are) Prākṛta and Vaikṛta.

59. (Defective text)[33] The three Prākṛta creations are Buddhipūrvas (created with consciousness and foreknowledge). The Vikṛta creations function Buddhi-Apūrvas (without consciousness and foreknowledge). Their classes pertain to the Brahman (?)

60-62. Understand all of it even as it is being recounted in detail. He abides fourfold (in four groups) in all the living beings, viz by (1) Viparyaya, (2) Śakti, (3) Buddhi (intellect and (4) Siddhì (see verse 51 above). He is stationed among immobile beings by means of Viparyāsa (i.e. Viparyaya—contrariety or loss of consciousness); in the lower creatures by means of Śakti (physical power); the human beings are with souls of spiritual achievement; there is Puṣṭi[34] (? nourishment) wholly among the Devas.

Thereafter, Brahmā created mental sons on a par with himself.

63-65. Those (sons) of great splendour and strength became Nivṛttas (i.e. renounced the world) on account of their knowledge pertaining to Vivarta (unreal appearance caused by Avidyā e.g. the world instead of Brahman). All the three of them (?) addressed the name (? of the world and ceased (their activity) without creating the (primary) creation of the subjects or the secondary one. When they were found Viraktas (Devoid of passionate attachment) Brahmā wishing to create other Sādhakas created those Devas who took pride in their positions and identified themselves with the same. Then there is the command of Brahmā once again. Understand from me those Sthānins (deities in different positions) who were in the condition of non-creation (Abhūtasṛṣṭi).

66-68. They are the waters, the fire, the earth, the wind, the intermediate region between the heaven and the earth, the ether, the heaven, the quarters, the oceans, the rivers, the vegetable kingdom, the souls of medicinal herbs, the souls of trees and creepers, the winding plants, the units of time such as Kāṣṭhās, Kalās, Muhūrtas etc., the twilights, the nights, the days, the half-years, the months, the Ayanas (the period of the transits of the sun from north to south and vice versa), the years and yugas.

They take pride and identify themselves with their positions and currents. They are remembered as having the names of their respective positions.

69. After creating the souls of different Sthānas (positions), he created other beings, the Devas and the Pitṛs by whom these subjects flourished.

70. He created nine mental sons, viz., Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras, Marīci, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Dakṣa, Atri and Vasiṣṭha.

71. These are decisively termed nine Brahmās in the Purāṇa because they were just like Brahmā (in regard to the creation) of all Brahmā Yogins their sons.

72. Thereafter Brahmā created Rudra form out of his anger. He then created the Saṃkalpa[35] (conception) and Dharma (virtue) of all in all directions.

73. Then Brahmā created Vyavasāya (Energetic effort) the creature of the nature of pleasure. From the Saṃkalpa of the creator whose source of origin was the unmanifest one Saṃkalpa was born.

74. From the Prāṇa Dakṣa was created and he (Brahmā) created Marīci from the speech and the eyes. Sage Bhṛgu was born of the heart of Brahmā whose source of origin was water.

75. Aṅgiras was born of the head and Atri from the ears. Pulastya was born of the life-breath called Udāna and Pulaha from the Vyāna.

76. Vasiṣṭha was born of life-breath Samāna. He created Kratu from the Apāna. These are remembered as the twelve[36] excellent sons of Brahmā.

77. Dhārma and others should be known and they are remembered as the first born sons of Brahmā, Bhṛgu and others who were created (later), were not expounders of Brahman.

78. These twelve sons of Brahmā are to be known as the ancient householders. O Brāhmaṇa, these are born along with Rudra.

79. Kratu and Sanatkumāra, these two lived in perpetual celibacy. In the previous birth[37] they are elder to all.

80. In the seventh Kalpa, these ancient Sādhakas of the world had already passed away. They shine (refulgently) in this world by means of the splendour of their own souls.

81. Both of them were Yogins by nature. Those two, of great power, carried out the duties of subjects and love by superimposing the soul (on the supreme soul) by means of the soul.

82. He continues to be in the same state as he was in, when he was born. So he is called Kumāra. Thereupon, his name Sanatkumāra became well established.

83. Their twelve races are divine and are endowed with the groups of Devas; they performed holy rites; they had progeny and they had great sages ornamenting the race.

84. After seeing those twelve Sāttvika beings born of his vital airs, the lord created the Asuras, the Pitṛs, the Devas and the human beings.

85. He created the Devas from his mouth; the Pitṛs from his chest; the human beings from his organ of generation and he created the Asuras from his buttocks.

86. Carrying on his creative activities during the night, the lord of the Devas created souls of human beings from the moonlight. He created the Pitṛs from the nectar.

87. After creating the Mukhya (prominent) and Amukhya (non-prominent) Devas and Asuras, he created from his mind the human beings and the great Pitṛs who were like their own Fathers.

88. He created the lightning, the thunder and the clouds, the red coloured rainbows, the Ṛks, the Yajus Mantras and the Sāman songs for the fulfilment of the Yajñas.

89. The living beings, high and low, were born of his splendour. The creation of subjects by Brahmā comprises of the Devas, the sages the Pitṛs and the human beings.

90. Again he creates living beings, the mobile and the immobile ones, the Yakṣas, the Piśācas, the Gandharvas and all the Apsaras, all round.

91. He created men, Kinnaras, Rākṣasas, the birds, the animals, the deer and the serpents. He created the two types, the mobile and the immobile, as well as the Vyaya (perishable) and the Aoyaya (Imperishable).

92-94. They attain those activities created formerly by the self-born lord. Though created again and again, they betake themselves to those alone (Viz. their own previous characteristics) such as violence and nonviolence, softness and cruelty, virtue and evil as well as what is done and what is not done.[38] They know the three (entities) are not separate, though born of them alone as separate (?). This is thus, and not thus; this is neither the pair (thus and non-thus) nor the non-pair (of thus and non-thus).[39] People who cling to Sattva-guṇa and who view with equanimity say that Karman has itself as the object.

95-97. That great lord created these five by means of the word Diva (Div—to shine, the heaven that sparkles). He caused the extension of the created five elements by way of names (?).

The lord gave them names pertaining to the sages. He gave names to those creations among the Devas that are not born during the night. Thus for the reasons cited above, the creation of the worlds by the self-born lord was effected. The evolutes of the Prakṛti beginning with Mahat and ending with Viśeṣa (particularised creations) were thus evolved-

98-99. The cosmos has the lustre of the moon and the sun; it is embellished by planets and stars; it is equipped with thousands of rivers, seas and mountains. It consists of different kinds of beautiful cities and flourishing principalities and territories. In this forest of Brahmā, the unmanifest one, the omniscient Brahmā wanders.

100-103[40]. This grove of trees of Brahmā is born of the seed viz Avyakta or Prakṛti (the unmanifest one). It is stationed under its blessing. It is full of stems and branches in the form of the intellect. The sense-organs are the inner hollows; the great Bhūtas (elements) are its luminaries;[41] it possesses leaves, in the form of the Viśeṣas (particularised categories) or the objects of senses), Virtue and Evil are its beautiful flowers; pleasure and misery are the fruits (of this tree); this eternal tree of Brahmā is the sustenance of all living beings. This forest of Brahmā is constituted by and belongs to the trees of Brahmā. The eternal, Avyakta (unmanifest one) of the nature of Sat and Asat is the cause thereof. Persons who think of the Tattvas (categories) call it Pradhāna, Prakṛti anḍ Māyā.

104. Such is the Anugraha[42] creation. It is remembered as one with Brahmā as the cause. The three creations pertaining to Prakṛti are the creations of Brahmā without the background of consciousness or meditation.

105-106. The six creations beginning with Mukhya are the Vaikṛtas (pre-meditated ones) and they have been created with the background of consciousness.

They function by way of Vaikalpa (i.e. through excitement). They are identified with the Brahman (?)

Thus nine creations[43] are remembered including the Prākṛtas and Vaikṛtas. These are the creations originating through mutual contact. The reason thereof has been remembered by the wise or learned.

107. It is that Acintyātman (incomprehensible soul) who is the maker of all living beings. They (the learned) say that the Vedas are his head (?); the firmament is his navel; the sun and the moon are his eyes; the quarters are his ears, know that the earth constitutes his feet.

108. It is from his mouth (face) that the Brāhmaṇas were born. From the front part of his chest the Kṣatriyas were born. It is from his thighs that the Vaiśyas were born and the Śūdras from his feet. All the castes were born of his limbs.[44]

109. Nārāyaṇa is greater than and beyond the Avyakta (the unmanifest one); the cosmic egg is termed Avyakta, god Brahmā himself is born of the cosmic egg; the worlds have been created by him.

110.[45] After staying there for ten Kalpas they go again to the (world of) Satya. (Those who reach) the world of Brahmā attain the goal from which they never return.

111. With the exception of overlordship, they are on a par with him in regard to Aiśvarya (prosperity, power to control etc.) They become equal to Brahmā as far as form and object are concerned.

112. There they stay endowed with pleasure and accompanied by themselves (and their possessions). On account of the inevitability of the matter, it (he) expands the Prākṛta (creation) himself.

113-114. Then, purified on that occasion, they are to be directly connected with the diversity. Just as, while one is asleep the faculty of understanding functions without intellectual consciousness. So also their knowledge functions when purified on that occasion, through the withholding of differences, but not so in the case of Śuṣmins (?) (lustrous or powerful ones).

115-116. The causal relations between cause and effects function along with them in regard to the residents of the world of Brahmā, who see the diversity; whose aberrations had receded and who stand by their own duties. They are Siddhas of similar (equal) characteristics, of splendid souls and are free from sullied state.

117-118. As an effect of Prakṛti, they possess sense-organs and organs of action. They are well arranged in their own souls. After establishing the soul, the Prakṛti, that appears in multifarious forms, and that seems to be different from Puruṣa, does not function. Thereupon begins to function the creation of those things of the nature of existing cause.

119. The contact of the Yuktas (sages of Yogic practice), the seers of reality should be known as Prakṛti. It is the cause of their Apavarga (salvation) of those persons who go on a never to return journey of those who are not reborn.

120-122. Due to Abhāva (Absence of rebirth) they go once again to Satya-Loka as though the flames have subsided. Thereupon, when those persons of joyous souls have gone above the three worlds, they by whom the Mahar-Loka was not reached, go along with them. When the Kalpadāha (the burning of the universe at the end of the Kalpa) is imminent their disciples stay here.

They are the Gandharvas and others, the Piśācas, the human beings, the Brāhmaṇas and others, the animals and the birds and the immobile beings along with the reptiles.

123. While on that occasion the residents of the surface of the earth are staying there,[46] the thousand rays of the sun perish (?). They become seven rays and each one of these rays becomes a sun. Gradually they assume a hundred times increased magnitude and burn the three worlds.

124-125. They bum the mobile and the immobile beings, the rivers and all the mountains: they had already been dry due to drought and absence of rain. Now they are heated by those rays. Then they are completely burnt by the sun’s rays and they become helpless. These mobile and immobile beings, as well as Dharma and Adharma etc. become completely burnt by the sun’s rays.

126-129a. With their bodies burnt and with their sins completely washed off at the end of the Yuga, they become well known (?). They are freed of their distress. (They are blessed) by the auspicious (stage of boundlessness). Then, after the night of Brahmā, born of the unmanifest one, has dawned, those people become joined with the people of similar forms and in the subsequent creation they become the mental progeny of Brahmā.

129b-l 32. Thereafter, when the people living in the three worlds have become merged with the people, when all the worlds have been completely burned by the seven suns, when the earth is flooded by the rain, both in the secluded places and in the seas, the oceans, the clouds, the waters of the earth proceed ahead flowing fast like arrows. They are as though mountains called by the name Salila (water); when much water came on like this and covered this earth it became what is called Arṇava (sea).

133-135. (Defective text). (Water is called Ambhas, why is it so?) Since it shines (Ābhāti) it is called Ambhas. The word Bhā is used in the sense of lustre and illumination.[47] The expanse of water has spread over everything and got into touch with all. It is known by its own lustre.

Since it stuffs the entire earth all round within itself and makes it extend, it is called Apatanu.[48] The root Tanoti means to extend. The waters are therefore called Apatanu.

The word Śāra indicates that which is Śīrṇa (shattered). It is a root having various meanings. In that vast expanse of water, the waters are not shattered. Hence they are called Nāras.[49]

136-138. In the waters, at the end of a thousand Yugas, when the day of Brahmā comes to a close, when it is his night of the same duration within the waters, when within the waters the earth has lost all its fires; when it is darkness all round with not even a glimmer of light, when the wind has, subsided—the lord Brahmā by whom the portion of the world is presided over desired once again to make the division of this world.

139-141. In that vast expanse of water, where the mobile and the immobile beings had perished, Brahmā lay down, Brahmā of thousand eyes, thousand legs and thousand heads, the Puruṣa of golden colour, Brahmā named Nārāyaṇa who was beyond the ken of the sense organs lay asleep.

He became awakened due to the emergence of Sattva. He woke up and surveyed the cosmos that was a void. With the narration of this, the first Pāda (section) of the Purāṇa has been related.

Footnotes and references:


Ekārṇava—Also called Mahārṇava, agādha stabdha salila, or Salila only, Yugānta-toya in Mt. P., HV., Bh.P. VP. and olher Purāṇas. This primeval watery flood expresses the infinite unmanifest cause—the Kāraṇa Brahman as explained by Nīlakaṇṭha (on HV.P. 3.9.1-4) 1/2 from which all life comes into being. VP. 1.2.22 stales that this Ekārṇava doctrine is very ancient and Brahma-vādins have elaborated it to explain the process of creation and dissolution. Mt.P. 182 identifies Nārāyaṇa with Mahārṇava.


Cf. Puruṣa-sūkta (ṚV.X.90.1).


niṣiddha in the text is illogical. Vā.P. 6.4 (an identical verse) reads: Prabuddha ‘awakened’ by the dominance of Sattva.


The usual derivation of Nārāyaṇa found in other Purāṇas also but for a different derivation vide supra 4.28.


Vā. P.6. reads :

naiśaṃ kālam upāsya saḥ /
Śarvaryante prakurute Brahmatvaṃ sarge-kāraṇāt //

“Having passed the night-time in sleep, at the end of the night, creates god Brahmā for the creation of the universe”.


VV.8-11 remind of Tait. Brāhmaṇa which states

āpo vā idamagre salilam āsīt /
tasmin prajāpatir vāyur bhūtvā
/ sa imām apaśyat / tām
varāho bhūtva’harat

Purāṇas elaborated this statement in the full-fledged description of the Boar-incarnation of Viṣṇu. Vide Bh. P. III.13 17-33, Mt.P. Chs. 246-248; VP.I.4. 1-52, Mbh. Sabhā 37.29 ff. and Bd. P. infra Ch. 8. 1-10.


adhṛṣyam ‘unassailable’ in Vā.P.6. 11.


This poetic description of the Divine Boar in Yajña terminology is so beautiful that not only Purāṇa-writers but writers on Smṛti works, Tantra works and even Śaṅkara adopted it. For example, vide Vā.P. Ch. 6 (a number of verses identical with Bd.P.) Bm P. 213.33-42; Bh.P. III.13 34-39, Viṣṇu Smṛti 1.3-12; Śaṅkara on Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma verse 118 on Yajñāṅga.

Though it is a self-explanatory translation some expressions are explained briefly.


Mt.P. 247.68 reads differently.

Veda-pādo Yūpa-daṃṣṭraḥ Kratu-danias Citi-mukhaḥ


A Vedic concept. Agni (fire) is the tongue of gods with which they eat the food (offered in sacrifices), cf. ṚV. IV.57.1.


darbha-romā. The darbha-grass spread on the altar is compared to the shaggy hair on the body of the boar.


Brahma-śīrṣaḥBrahmā means also the Vedic knowledge and naturally its position is the highest viz. the head.


It is difficult to understand why the velocity of the Divine Boar is compared to the Havya and Kavya rites meant for gods and Pitṛs. Probably Agnihotra and Śrāddha and their association with the sacrifice may be the reason.


Prāgvaṃśa-kāyaPrāgvaṃśa also means ‘a room in which the family and friends performing the sacrifice assemble.’ This body (Kāya) of the Yajña-Varāha is so much spacious as to accommodate many people.


Vā.P. 6.21. gives a better reading viz. mahā-sattra-mayo: Mahā-sattra is a long (and great) Soma-sacrifice continuing for 13 to 100 days. Varāha has assumed the form of a great Soma sacrifice.


The Mt.P. and Śaṅkara read upākarmoṣṭharucakah: Whose pendant lower-life was upākarma (recitation of the Vedas). Can we take ruci for rucaka?


The whorls of hair on the front of horse’s chest is regarded as ornamental. The same on the chest of the boar would be beutifying.

The Pravargya ceremony is introductory to the Soma sacrifice. In this, fresh milk is poured into a heated vessels called Mahāvīra or Gharma, or into boiling ghee (MW.P. 693.ii). The vapour-fumes coiling up from the gharma is imagined as circular whorls of the Boar’s hair.


Day and night represent the Sun and the Moon. They are the two eyes of this Divine Boar.


It is the length of the Sāma song sung by the Udgātṛ which resembles the long entrail of the animal.


Phala-bīja-mahauṣadhiḥ. This reading though accepted in the translation is obscure. Mt.P., Bm.P., Viṣṇu Smr. read Bījauṣadhi-mahāphataḥ. Mahāphala is the scrotum. The idea seems to be that the herbs and plants which produce the seed are comparable functionally to the testicle of the Boar.


This is obscure. The reading in Viṣṇu Smr. (1.6) is Vedyantarātmā. It means the Vedi, the altar of the sacrifice was the heart of the Boar.


The Puranic belief about the new creation of the universe at the beginning of a new Kalpa is that, despite thee annihilation of the universe at the end of every Kalpa, god Brahmā re-creates the universe on the same model of the former universe.

It is succinctly stated as

Dhātā yatkāp ūrvam akalpayat /


This is the translation of Pradhāna-samakāle in the Text. The unfoldment of the five Parvans of Avidyā simultaneously with the Sāṅkhya principle called Pradhāna is confusing. Vā-P. 6.36 gives a better reading viz. Pradhyāna-sama-kālam “simultaneously with i.e. while he was meditating, there manifested Avidyā of five knots or Parvans”.


The five joints (Parvans) of Avidyā are enumerated in 31b viz. Tanias, Moha, Mahā-moha, Tāmisra and Andha-tāmisra. These are rendered as ignorance, delusion, desire of enjoyment, anger and fear of death. vide Com. on VP. I.5.5). The concept called Avidyā is very complex. With Yoga, it means “undifferentiated consciousness” (J.H. Woods); Vedanta equates it with Māyā. Here the cosmic aspect of Avidyā is implied.


1 For Bd.P.—bīja-kumbha-latā-vṛtaḥ

(translated here) Vā.P. 6.37b leads: dīpaḥ kumbhavad āvṛtaḥ

“Just as a lamp lighted in a pitcher cannot emit light outside due to the opaque wall-like cover of the pitcher. This simile in Vā.P. is the traditional and more appropriate one here. For more discussion vide note 2 on P.57 of the translation of KP (MLBD.)


This ‘meditated’ (Vaikṛta) creation by Avidyā was characterised by ignorance as it included immobiles (Nāga)—Iike mountains, trees. Hence it is also called Mukhya. As verse 55 below explains Mukhya means Sthāvara (immobile).


vv. 36-40 describe the second type and stage of “meditated” creation viz. Tìryak-srotas. It is not that the creatures in this creation always move in oblique direction. But, as verse 56 below and VP. 1.5.9-11 and 22a explain, it includes birds and beasts which are by nature mostly ignorant and hence taking to wrong-ways and egotistic. This is the second stage in volution after the immobile one.


Vā.P.6.43a reads: utpatha-grāhiṇaḥ ‘taking to wrong ways’—a better reading.


The text reads aṣṭāviṃśad-vidhātmikāḥ and the reading is supported by Vā.P. 6.44.

But VP. 1.5.11a reads:


The reading is worth noting as the verses concerning the creation in VP.1.5, Vā.P.6 and Bd.P. text under translation are common and the word Vadha in aṣṭāvimśad-vadhātmakaḥ in VP. is a technical term in Sāṃhya. It means ‘weakness.’

Īśvara Kṛṣṇa’s Sāṅkhya-Kārikā enumerates them as follows:

ekādaśendriya-vadhāḥ saha buddhi-vadhair aśaktir uddiṣṭā /
sapta-daśa-vadhā buddher vìparyayāt tuṣṭi-siddhīnām //49//


VV.42-46a describe the third Vaikṛta Creation called Urdhvasrotas or Deva-sarga, creation of heavenly beings.


VV.46b-50 describe the fourth creation called arvāksrotas—down-currented i.e. who function on the earth below the heavenly region. It is called Manuṣyasarga in verse 49 and in VP.1.5.23.


There seems to be confusion in the present text. Here Bhūtādi or Bhūta-sarga is called the sixth Vaikṛta Creation, But in. the recapitulatory verses below (VV.52b-58) Bhūtasarga is given as the Second Prākṛta Creation (V.54a) and Vaikṛta sargas are stated to be five in number

Pañcaite vaikṛtāḥ sargāḥ


The text is defective and hence the translation is confused. The corresponding verse in Vā.P.6.

Prākṛtās tu trayaḥ sargāḥ kṛtās te’ buddhi-pūrvakāh /
Buddhi-pūrvam pranartante ṣaṭ-sargā Brahmaṇas tu te //

“The three Prākṛta creations were brought about without planning or pre-meditation (abuddhi-pūrvakāḥ). But the six creations of god Brahmā came out pre-planned (with previous meditation).


tuṣṭi ‘contentment’ in Vā.P.6.69.


Saṃkalpa and Dharma born before all.


Dharma, Saṃkalpa, Rudra and nine sages=12.


If the reading is pūrvotpannau ‘They were born before’.


This is the inexorable Law of Karman. Even after Kalpānta, the Karma follows its doer immediately after the new creation of the world.


This reminds us of the stance of Sañjaya-Belaṭṭhi-putta in Sāmaññaphala-sutta (para 32) of Dīgha Nikāya (p. 51 of the Nalanda Edt.)


VV. 100-103 give an allegorical description of the universe or Saṃsāra as the forest tree of god Brahmā. The comparison with the tree and the universe is as follows.

The Tree The creation or Saṃsāra
The Seed Avyakta (Prakṛti)
Stem Buddhi (Intellect)
Inner hollow Sense-organs
Branches (śākhā) in the Bd.P. (but aṅkura or sprouts in Vā.P.) [Prakāśa in Bd.P. is probably a misprint for Praśākha in Vā.P. ] The Mahābhūtas (elements)
Leaves (patra) Viśeṣa (sense objects or particular categories)
Flowers Virtue (dharma)
  Evil (a-dharma)
Fruits Pleasure and pain


The word Prakāśa is inapplicable to Bhūtas. The reading: mahābhūta-praśākha ‘The tree has big branches in the form of Mahābhūtas’ in the Vā.P. is better.


This is called Anugraha creation as it is caused or created through the favour of Avyakta or Prakṛti as noted in V. 100 above (tasya=avyaktasya anugrahe sthitaḥ)


As noted above three are Prākṛta sargas and six are Vaikṛta ones. This makes the total of nine creations.


An echo from the Puruṣa Sūkta (ṚV.X.90)


Obviously some lines are missing from the text.


Description of the end of a Kalpa.


Bd.P. interestingly traces ambhas ‘water’ to bhā—‘to shine.’ It is merely a popular etymology.


MW. does not give a word like Apatanu or Upatanu.


Nara na+śīrṇa=waters, is beyond linguistics.

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