The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes god brahma’s mental creation which is Chapter 8 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 8 - God Brahmā’s mental creation

Summary: God Brahmā’s Mental Creation: Gods, sages, manes, and human beings created.

Sūta said:

1. Even as he was meditating, the mental progeny were born along with those causes and effects arising out of his body.

2-4. There cropped up Kṣetrajñas (Individual souls) of the Kṣetra (Cosmic body) of this intelligent person i.e. Brahmā). Thereafter, he was desirous of creating thousands and thousands of the four groups of living entities viz. the Devas, the Asuras, the Pitṛs and the human beings. Prajāpati engaged himself therein and meditated upon the creation. While meditating thus, an effort arising out of his Tamas constituent was involved. So, at the outset the Asuras were born as his sons from Prajāpati’s loins.

5. Asu is considered by scholars as the vital breath. Therefore, those who were born of it were Asuras.[1] He discarded that physical body whereby the Asuras had been created.

6-7a. That physical body discarded by him immediately became Night. Since that physical body had the Tamas element predominant, the night too consisting of three Yāmas (watches of night of the duration of three hours each) became Tamobahulā (one in which darkness prevails).

Therefore at night the subjects (people) are themselves enveloped bv darkness.

7b-9. After creating the Asuras, he adopted another body that was unmanifest, with the Sattva element predominant within it. Then he engaged himself with it. As the lord joined himself to it, he felt very happy. Thereafter from his shining face the Devatās (gods and goddesses) were born. Since they were born of the refulgent face (Divyataḥ) they are glorified as Devas.

10. The root Div” is used in the sense of “to play”.[2] Therefore, the Devas were born of his divine (lit. “shining”) body (and called Devatās).

11. After creating the Devas, he discarded that divine body. That physical body discarded by him became “day”.

12. Therefore, people worship the Devas with holy rites performed during the daytime. After creating the Devas, he adopted another body.

13-14. He adopted another body that was solely constituted. by the Sattva element and engaged himself therein. The lord meditated upon those sons considering them like father (of fatherly nature). The Pitṛs were born of that body in the juncture of night and day; therefore those Pitṛs are Devas. That state of being Pitṛs is declared about them.

15. He discarded that body whereby the Pitṛs were created. The body that had been discarded by him forthwith became the twilight.

16. Hence, the daytime is considered as belonging to the Devas and the night is remembered as belonging to the Asuras. The body that belongs to the Pitṛs and that is in between those two is the most important.

17. Hence the Devas, the Asuras, the sages and the human beings, while practising Yoga, worship that body which, is in between dawn and morning (day-break).

18. Hence, Brāhmaṇas perform sandhyā at the junction of the night and day. Thereafter, Brahmā engaged himself in another body of his.

19. That body which the lord created mentally was solely constituted by the Rajas element. They (the progeny so created) are his sons through the mind. Since they were begotten (Prajananāt), they became Prajās (subjects).

20. Since, he meditated (before creation) (Mananāt), they are called Manuṣyas (Men); they became well-known as Prajās because they were procreated. After creating the subjects again, he discarded his own body.

21. That body discarded by him became the moonlight immediately. Hence, the subjects become delighted when the moonlight comes out.

22. Thus these physical bodies discarded by that noble-souled person immediately became night, day, twilight and moonlight.[3]

23. The moonlight, the twilight, and the day these three are constituted solely of the Sattva element. The night is constituted of Tamas only. Hence that is Niyāmika[4] (that which checks, restrains and restricts).

24. So, the Devas were created by means of the shining divine body with pleasure and sportiveness through the face (mouth). Since their birth was during the day time, they are powerful during the day time.

25. Since the lord created the Asuras at night from his loins through the vital breaths, and as they were born during the night, they are invincible during the night.

26-28a. These following, viz.: the moonlight, the night, the day and the twilight—these alone become the causes (of origin) of all future Devas, Manes, human beings along with the Asuras in all the Manvantaras that had passed by and that have not yet come. Since these four spread and shine there, the water is called Ambhas. The root bhā is used in the sense of spreading and shining.[5]

28b-29a. After creating the waters, the lord created the Devas, the Dānavas, the human beings, the Pitṛs and various kinds of other subjects.

29b-30. The lord discarded (that body) the moonlight and attained another physical body predominently constituted of Rajas and Tamas. Thereafter, he engaged himself therein (he united himself to it.). Therefore, he created in darkness those who were overwhelmed by hunger.

31-34. Those created beings, overwhelmed by hunger, attempted to seize the waters. Those among them who said—“we shall protect these waters”, are remembered as Rākṣasas. Those night-walkers (demons) who felt hunger within themselves and who said “Let us destroy the waters, let us be delighted in our mutual company”, became Yakṣas and Guhyakas of ruthless action due to that work. The root rakṣ is considered to have the meaning “to protect.” The root kṣi

has the meaning “to destroy”. Since they protected (Rakṣaṇāt) they were called Rākṣasas. Since they destroyed (Kṣapaṇāt), they are called Yakṣas.[6]

35-36. On seeing them (the ruthless Yakṣas), the intelligent self-possessed lord became displeased. Due to this displeasure, his hairs became shivered. Those shivered hairs moved up and ascended again and again. Those hairs that dropped off from the head moved and crawled up. They are considered Vyāla, because they were (originally) Bālas or Vālas (hairs). Since they drooped off (Hīmtvāt) they are remembered Ahis (serpents).[7]

37. They are Pannagas[8] because they moved and wriggled. The state of being Sarpas is due to the fact that they crawled. Their abode of repose is in the earth under the sun, the moon and the clouds[9].

38. The terrible fiery foetus born of his (Brahmā’s) anger entered in the form of poison in those serpents who were born along with them.

39. After creating the serpents out of his anger a set of terrible beings whose diet was flesh and who were furious by nature were created. They had the tawny colour.

40. Since they had been born (Bhūtatvāt), they are remembered as Bhūtas; and as they ate flesh (Piśitāśanāt), they were called Piśācas. Even as he (Brahmā) was singing words, the Gandharvas were born as his sons.

41. The root Dhay is recited by poets in the sense of ‘drinking’. Since they were born drinking the (musical) words, they are remembered as Gandharvas.

42. After creating these eight divine beings, he created the Cchandas (Prosody, Vedas) as he pleased (Cchandataḥ). He created the birds through his age (? Vayasā).

43. After creating the birds, he created the groups of animals. He created goats out of his mouth and the sheep out of his chest.

44-45. Brahmā created the cows from his belly and the horses, donkeys, Gavayas (a species of ox), deer, camels, boars and dogs along with the elephants from his sides as well as feet. Other species of animals too were created. The medicinal herbs (and plants and creepers) with fruits and roots were born out of his hairs.

46. Formerly, at the beginning of this Kalpa, at the advent of the Tretā yuga, he created the five types of medicinal herbs and then engaged himself in the sacrifices.

47-48. The cow, the goat, the man,[10] the sheep, the horse, the mule and the donkey—these are remembered as seven rural (Grāmya) domesticated animals. There are other seven forest animals, the beasts of prey, the tigers, the elephants, the monkey, the birds as the fifth of the set, the aquatic animals as the sixth ones and the reptiles as the seventh ones.

49. The buffaloes, the Gavaya oxen, and the camels, the cloven-footed animals, the Śarabha (the eight-footed fabulous animal), the elephant, with monkey as the seventh of this set, are the forest animals.

50. Through his first face (mouth), he created the following,[11] viz: the Gāyatrī, the Ṛk, the Trivṛtstoma[12]and Rathantare[13] and Agniṣṭoma among the Yajñas.

51. Through his right-hand (southern) face (mouth), he created the Yajurveda hymns, the Traiṣṭubha metre, the fifteenth Stoma (hymn) and the Bṛhatsāman hymn.

52. Through his backward (western) face (mouth), he created the Sāman hymns, the Jagatī metre, the seventeenth. Stoma (hymn), the Vairūpya and Atirātra (part of Jyotiṣṭoma) sacrifices.

53. Through his fourth face (mouth), he created the twenty-first (stoma i.e. hymn). The Atharva-Veda, the Āptoryāma[14] and the Anuṣṭubh metre along with Vairāja.

54. It is wellk-nown that after creating the great cloud well-known as Parjanya, the holy lord created lightning, thunderclouds and the red-coloured rainbows.

55. He created the Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman Mantras for the accomplishment of Yajñas. The living beings both high and low were born of the limbs of Brahmā.

56-58. The Prajāpati (Lord of the subjects) who was creating at the outset the fourfold set viz.: the Devas, the sages, the Pitṛs and the human beings, created the living beings-both mobile and immobile. After creating Yakṣas, the Piśācas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, the human beings, the Kinnaras, the Rākṣasas, the birds, the animals, the deer and the serpents, he created the Avyayas (changeless ones) and Vyayas (the changeables) as well as the mobile and the immobile beings.

59-60. Even when created again and again, these beings adopted only the Karmans that had been committed before.[15] The previous natures and features such as violence and nonviolence, softness of heart and ruthlessness, virtue and evil as well as truth and falsehood—all these were adopted by them (in their later creations). Hence, they are liked by them.

61. It was Brahmā, the creator himself, who ordained the diversity in the great elements and their allotment to different physical bodies afflicted by the sense-organs (Indriyārteṣu)[16].

62. Some men say that the manly endeavour (is the sole cause of achievement). Some men say that it is the Karman (previous actions). Other Brāhmaṇas say that it is the destiny. The Bhūtacintakas (those who think about the elements—perhaps the Cārvākas) say that it is nature and latent instinct.

63. (But real thinkers) know that there is no difference or superiority among the manly endeavour, previous action and the destiny. The same is understood through the nature of the outcome of fruits (of actions etc.)

64. (Some say)[17] this is thus and not thus—this is both nor is it both. But persons abiding by Sattva and having impartial vision say (that the Universe) is the object of its own activity.

65. It is only through the words of the Vedas that the great lord created at the outset, the different forms and features of the living beings and the development of the created ones.

66. The names pertaining to the sages and the visions belonging to the Devas—these, the unborn lord assigns to those who are born at the end of the night.

Footnotes and references:


A noteworthy derivation of asura as contrasted with the usual a + sura.


Correct etymology—div—means both ‘to play’ and ‘to shine’.


VV. 22-27 summarise the four main creations from god Brahma’s body and their other features as follows:


He emended as triyāmikā ‘consisting of three Yāmas’ as in verse 6 above, Vā.P.9.22 (an identical verse) also reads triyāmikā.

  Creation Born from Brahma’s part of the body When discarded His Body transformed into Prevailing guṇas.
i. Asuras Loins & vital breath Night Tamas
ii. Devas Shining face Day Predominant Sattva.
iii. Pitṛs. Mind juncture of day and night Pure Sattva.
iv. Human beings. mind moonlight (but dawn in other Purāṇas) Rajas.


 Popular derivation of ambhas.


Puranic etymology of rākṣasa and Yakṣa.


Another derivation of Vyālavāla and ahihi—generally ahi is derived as follows: ahanin sa ca ḍit āṅo hrasvaśca—Apte Sk. Hindi Koṣa P.134.


VV. 37-41 describe the creation of various tribes of demi-gods and gives popular etymologies of Piśāca and Gandharva.


The text sūryācandramasau ghanāḥ is obscure. Vā.P. (in an identical verse reads, .sūryācandramasoradhaḥ ‘below the Sun and the moon!’


Strangely enough the Purāṇa includes the human species among; domesticated animals.


VV. 50-53 give the creation of Vedic literature, Vedic metres and special sacrifices from the mouths or faces of Brahmā.


Trivṛtstoma—A three-fold stoma (in which at first, the three 1st verses of each Tṛcā of Ṛv.IX.11 are sung together, then the 2nd verses and lastly the 3rd verses).


Rathantara: the verses to be sung according to Sāma-music are ṚV.VII.32.22-23 abhi tvā Śūra etc. = S.V. II.11.11.


Āptoryāma is a Soma sacrifice—an amplification of Atirātra sacrifice. According to Tāṇḍya Br.XX 3.4-5, it is so called as its performance secures whatever one desires.


As noted above this Purāṇa emphasizes the law of Karman. The end of a Kalpa does not destroy the Karma of an individual.


If the reading Indriyārtheṣu is adopted the meaning is “and their allotment to different physical bodies and the objects of the various sense organs.”


Apparently the view (aniścitatāvāda) of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhi Putta in Sāmañña-phala-suttaDīgha Nikāya p. 51 (Nalanda Ed.): when asked about the existence of the other world he states:

evaṃ ti pi me no, tathā ti pi me no, aññathā ti pi me no, no ti pi me no, no no ti pi me no.

But I think the Purāṇa probably voices the view of Syādvāda.

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