The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes description of the solar system which is Chapter 21 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 21 - Description of the solar system

Summary: The Solar System. Movements of Heavenly Luminaries: Division of Time.

Sūta said:

1. As long as the Sun and the Moon revolve, they are elevated by means of.their lustre and brilliance through their discus.

2-3. (?) The space covered by the brilliant refulgence of the sun and the moon is the extent of the seven seas and the continents. The iight falls over half the extent of the earth and the other siḍe remains external. The sun and the moon illuminate the area around facing them.

In extent and magnitude the heaven (i.e. the firmament) is remembered as equal to that of the Earth.

4. The root av means illumination and protection. Revolving all round, the sun illuminates and protects the three worlds. Hence, on account of illumination and protection, he is remembered as ‘Ravi.’[1]

5-6. Hereafter, I shall recount the magnitude of the moon and the sun.

The word Mahi (earth) is (arbitrarily) assigned to this sub-continent because of its state of being honoured (Mahitatvāt). The Solar disc is as extensive as the diameter of this sub continent of Bharata. Understand that in Yojanas (1 Yojanas 12 km.).

7. The extent of the disc of the sun is nine thousand Yojanas. Its girth is three times the extent.

8. In diameter as well as girth (Circumference), the moon is twice as much as the sun.

Now I shall recount the extent of the earth in Yojanas.

9. The extent and girth (circumference) of the earth consisting of seven continents has been reckoned in proper measure in the Purāṇas.

10. I shall recount that, after enumerating the current Abhimānins (Deities etc. who preside or have the sense of possession etc.). Those Abhimānins who have gone by are on a par with the current ones.

11. The Devas who have gone by are on a par with the current ones in forms and names. Hence, I shall describe the surface of the earth through the current Devas.

12. (I shall recount) the situation of the heavenly world entirely through the current (Devas).

The entire Earth is remembered as fifty crores (of Yojanas) in extent.

13-16. Its situation from an upword measure (?)is as far as the Meru. Half the extent of the earth is stated in terms of Yojanas. The extent of the earth towards all the sides (quarters) from the middle of the Meru is remembered as one crore and eighty-nine lakhs (of Yojanas) and fifty thousand[2]. Hence, the extent of the circular section of the earth is roughly eleven crores and thirty-seven lakhs. This is reckoned as the extent of the surface of the Earth.

17-18. (This is reckoned as the extent of the earth) namely as much is the extent in the firmament of the fixation of constellations, so much is the situation of the revolution as far as the sphere of the earth. By the measure of the Paryāsa (Revolution, Rotation), it is remembered that the firmament is equal to the earth. This is recounted as the abode of the seven continents.

19. The situation of the spheres of the worlds is one over the other with the girth gradually reduced falling within the previous sphere.

20. The entire situation has been laid down thus and in them the creatures stay. This magnitude of the bowl of the Cosmic Egg has been recounted.

21-22. These worlds as well as this earth with its seven continents are within this cosmic Egg. The worlds are Bhūrloka Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka. These seven worlds have been created and they are arranged in the shape of an Umbrella.

23-24. They are held by means of their own subtle coverings individually. These sources of origin are exterior coverings and they are ten times more than (what they envelope). They are filled with special characteristics originating mutually. All round this Cosmic Egg is present (as a fixed envelop) the solidified ocean.[3]

25. The entire sphere of the Earth is held by the solidified water. The solidified ocean is held by a greater solidified fire.

26. The solidified fiery element is surrounded on all sides externally, sideways and upwards by a solidified wind element. Being held thus it rests stabilized there.

27. The solidified wind is surrounded by the firmament. The entire firmament is enveloped by the Bhūtādi (i.e. Ahaṃkāra—Ego). The Bhūtādi is enveloped by the (principle called) Mahat.

28. The Mahat is enveloped by the Pradhāna that is infinite and it is of immutable nature.

I shall mention in due order the cities of the guardians of the worlds.

29-32. (It is being mentioned) for the achievement of the proof of spreading the qualities of the luminary bodies[4] (?) [Rather: The extent of the movements of the host of luminary bodies will now be described.]

To the east of Meru and on the top of the Mānasa is the city of Mahendra.[5] It is the excellent abode of Vasus (of whom Indra is the head). It is decorated with gold.

To the south of the Meru and on the top of the Mānasa itself, lives Vaivasvata Yama, (Yama the son of the Sungod) in the city called Saṃyamana.

To the west of the Meru and the top of the Mānasa itself, is the beautiful city named Sukhā. It belongs to the intelligent Varuṇa. Varuṇa, the lord of the aquatic beings, lives in the city named Sukhā.

33. To the north of the Meru, on the top of the Mānasa itself, is the city of Soma, named Vibhāvarī. It is on a par with the city of Mahendra.

34. It is for the stabilization of Virtue (Dharma) and for the protection of all the worlds that the guardians of the worlds (i.e. quarters) have stationed themselves in all the four quarters on the top of the Mānasa.

35. Understand the movement of the sun during the southern transit, as he goes to that quarter. His movement is above all the guardians of the quarters.

36. During his southern transit, the sun rushes forward like an arrow that is discharged. He revolves always, taking the circle of luminaries with him.

37-38a. When the sun is in the middle (of the firmamant) at Amarāvatī (city of Indra) his rising is seen in Saṃyamana belonging to Vaivasvata (i.e. Yama). At Sukhā it shall be the middle of the night and the sun (appears to) set at Vibhā (i.e. Vibhāvarī).

38b-39a. When the sun is in the middle (of the firmament) at Saṃyamana belonging to Vaivasvata (i.e. Yama), he is seen rising at Sukhā belonging to Varuṇa. At Vibhā it shall be the middle of the night and (the sun appears to) set at Māhendrī (Amarāvatī, the city of Indra).

39b-41. When it is afternoon for the people of the southeast (or the South and the East), it is mentioned as forenoon for the people of the South-West (or, of those who are other than the people of the south). It is the latter part of the night for them who are in the north. It is earlier part of the night for the people of northeast. It is in this manner alone that the sun shines in the northern worlds.

42. When the sun is (in the middle of the sky) during midday at Sukhā, (the city) belonging to Varuṇa, he (the sun) (appears) to rise in Vibhā, the city of Soma.

43-44. It is midnight at Amarāvatī and it (appears to) set at Yama’s city.

When the sun is (in the middle of the sky) during midday at Vibhā the city of Soma, the sun appears to rise at Amarāvatī of Mahendra. It is mid-night at Saṃyamana (Yama’s city) and the sun sets at the city belonging to Varuṇa.

45. The sun revolves rapidly like the whirling firebrand. Moving about, the sun traverses the revolving constellations.

46. Thus the sun thereby moves to the south among the four quarters. The sun rises and sets again and again.

47. The sun warms two Devālayas (abodes of gods i.e. those of Indra and others) in the forenoon and two (other) Devālayas in the afternoon. During the midday also, he blazes with his own rays.

48. After rising up the sun blazes and increases in warmth by means of his own rays till the midday. Thereafter, with his rays decreasing (in warmth) the sun sets.

49-50. The two quarters of the East and West are remembered by means of sunrise and sunset. While it blazes in front, (the heat is felt) behind as well as at the sides.

Where the sun appears rising, it is remembered as sunrise to the people there-of, where the sun vanishes, it is called sunset in regard to the people there.[6]

51 -54. The Meru is to the north of all and the Lokāloka[7] is in the south.

Due to the far distant position of the sun and due to hís being covered by the line (horizon) of the earth, the rays of the sun disappear (obstructed from sight). Hence it (the sun) is not seen at night.

The setting and rising of the planets, stars and the moon should be understood through the magnitude of the altitude of the sun. So also their rising and setting.

The fire and the water have a white glimmer (?), while the earth has a dark shadow.

Since the sun is far off, it has no (fiery) rays even when it has risen. Its redness is due to the fact that it has no rays and the absence of heat is due to the redness.

55. Wherever the sun is seen occupying the line (horizon), it is seen more than a hundred thousand Yojanas above.

56., When the sun sets along with his rays, the lustre of the sun enters the fire at night. Hence it shines from a distance.

57. The heat of the fire enters the sun when it rises up. The sun blazes during the day time on being united with the fire.

58. The lustre and the heat are the brilliance of the sun and the fire. They shine and flourish day and night, due to their mutual penetration.

59. In the northern as well as southern halves of the earth, the night enters the water when the sun rises.

60-64. Hence due to the penetration of the night during the day, the waters are cool then. When the sun sets, the day penetrates the waters. Hence the waters are warm during the night due to the penetration of the day. Both in the southern half and the northern half of the earth, it is in this order that the day and night enter the waters when the sun sets or rises.

That (part of time) is called ‘day’ when there is sunlight and the night is called Tāmasī (full of darkness). The night is well defined due to this. The day is remembered at that (period of time) which is dependent on the sun.

Thus, when the sun traverses the middle of the sky, it passes through parts of the earth in the course of a Muhūrta as it were (?) Understand the number of Yojanas here in the course of a Muhūrta.

65-67. It is one hundred and eighty-one thousand Yojanas. This is the speed of the sun in a Muhūrta.

When the sun proceeds to the southern quarter with this velocity, it covers the middle and the extremity of the quarter.

Then during the Dākṣiṇāyana, it whirls in the middle of the firmament.

68. Understand that it traverses in the southern quarter in the mountain Mānasottara. The Viṣuva (Equinox) is in the middle (?)

69. The circumference of the sun is estimated to be nine crores of Yojanas as well as forty-five hundred thousands (i.e. 9,45,00000 Yojanas).

70-72. This is laid down as the movement (? total distance traversed) of the sun in the course of a day and a night.

When the sun, after returning from the south, remains in the equinox, it traverses the northern regions of the milk-ocean. Understand its girth in Yojanas. It is estimated that during the equinox it is three-crores and eighty-one hundred (3,81,00000).

73-74. When the sun is in the (constellation) Śravaṇa and Uttarāṣāḍhā it traverses the regions (quarters) to the north of the sixth (continent) Śākadvīpa. O Brāhmaṇas, the magnitude of the northern quarter and the sphere (? of the sun therein) is estimated to be a crore of Yojanas.

75-77a. The divisions of the planetary system are: Nāga-vīthi[8] the northern one and Ajavīthi, the southern one. These divisions comprise three asterisms each. The constellations Mūla, Pūrvāṣāḍhā Uttarāṣāḍhā are the points of rising in the Ajavīthi while the contellations Aśvinī, Bharaṇī (lit. that of which Yama is the deity) and Kṛttikā are the three points (constituting) in the Nāgavīthi. The magnitude of the northern orbit, as well as the southern orbit is eighty-hundred thousand and five thousand eight hundred Yojanas (?) (or 80+58 = 138 lakhs of Yojanas.)

77b-79a. I shall henceforth mention the distance between the quarters in Yojanas.

This distance is eight hundred thousand four hundred and thirty three Yojanas (?)

Thus the distance between the quarters has been mentioned in Yojanas.

79b-80a. I shall mention the distance between the two quarters and Meridians, the southern as well as the northern, in Yojanas. Understand it.

80b-81. The exterior and the interior distances between the quarters and the meridians are seven million and one hundred and seventy-five thousand Yojanas.

82. During Uttarāyaṇa the sun goes round the internal zones. During the Dakṣiṇāyana it goes round the external zones always in the due order.

83. There are one hundred and eighty-three zones in. the north. In the south also the sun traverses that much.

84-85. Understand the magnitude of the zone in Yojanas. It is seventeen thousand two hundred and twenty-one Yojanas (in magnitude).

86. This magnitude of the zone has thus been recounted in so many Yojanas.

The diameter of the zone is laid obliquely.

87-88. Everyday the sun traverses those (zones) in due order. Just as the outer rim of the potter’s wheel comes back quickly (i.e. revolves), so also the sun functions quickly during his Southern transit. Hence, he traverses a major portion of the Earth in the course of a shorter period.

89-91. During Dakṣiṇāyana, on account of his rapidity, the sun covers thirteen and a half constellations in the course of a day of twelve Muhūrtas. He covers the same number of constellations during the night of eighteen Muhūrtas.

Just as the central region of the potter’s wheel whirls slowly so also, during his northern transit the sun traverses with less rapidity. Hence, during his northern transit, the sun traverses with less velocity. Hence, he covers a lesser portion, of the earth in the course of a greater period.

92-93. After the advent of the northern transit, the day consists of eighteen Muhūrtas, the sun of slow speed traverses thirteen and a half constellations during the day. He covers the same number of constellations during the night of twelve Muhūrtas.

94. The Potter’s wheel whirls still more slowly at the Navel. In the same manner, like the lump of clay in the middle, the pole star (Dhruva) revolves.

95-96. They say that the day and the night together consist of thirty Muhūrtas. Whirling in between the two quarters, Dhruva revolves in circles.

Just as the navel of the potter’s wheel remains there itself, so also, it should be known that Dhruva whirls there (without changing its place) itself.

97-99. It (pole star) whirls in circles in between the two quarters. The movement of the sun is slow by day and quick at night. During the northern transit the movement of the sun by day is slow and very quick by the night.

During the southern transit the movement of the sun by the day is quick and that by the night is slow.

100. Thus, by means of regular and irregular movements and proceeding along its orbit, the sun divides days and nights.

101. These guardians of the four quarters are stationed on the Lokāloka mountain. Agastya (the star Canopus) quickly traverses over them.

102-106. Day and night he undergoes these diverse motions to the south of the Nāgavīthī and to the north of the Lokāloka.

Outside the path of Vaiśvānara, he is the extender of the worlds.

As long as the lustre of the sun shines from behind, there is brightness in front of and at the sides of the Lokāloka.

The mountain is ten thousand Yojanas in height. It is partially lighted and partially not lighted (in darkness). It is circular all round. The stars, the moon and the sun, along with the planets and the groups of constellations shine within the boundary of the world encircled by the mountain Lokāloka.

The world is only this far. Beyond this is darkness.

107-111. This (mountain) has the illumination on the side of the world. Beyond the worlds, it is devoid of illumination. The inter-space between. Uṣā (Night or Dawn) and Vyuṣṭi (Morning) joins the Lokāloka accepted by the sun[9](?) Therefore, they call it Sandhyā (Twilight). Uṣā is remembered as night and Vyuṣṭi is remembered as the day, by the Brāhmaṇas

The demons were bent on devouring the sun and the fire at the time of dusk. A curse was cast on these wicked persons at the instance of Prajāpati.

(They had) Akṣayatva (the state of imperishability) of the body but they were made to die.

Three crores of demons are well known as Mandehas. Every day they seek the rising sun. These evil-minded ones wish to devour the sun that blazes.

112-113. A terrible battle ensued between the sun-god and those demons. Thereupon, the Devas, the most excellent Brāhmaṇas and god Brahmā performed the Sandhyā-prayer and poured water charged with the Mantras of Gāyatrī along with Oṃkāra (the symbol of) Brahman.

114-115. With a sadden flash of splendour then the sun shone with fierce rays. He became excessively resplendent with great strength and valour. Protected by the Brāhmaṇas, he rises a hundred thousand Yojanas upwards and proceeds ahead. Protected by the sages Vālakhilyas and his brilliance along with his rays (he is held aloft.)

116. Fifteen Nimeṣas constitute one Kāṣṭhā. Thirty Kaṣṭhās make one Kalā. Thirty Kalās make a Muhūrta and thirty such Muhūrtas make a full day consisting of day and night.

117-123. The shortening or the lengthening of days by means of units of time happens duly. The Sandhyā (junction) spreads over a period of a Muhūrta. It is remembered as the limit for the shortening or lengthening of the days.

Rising from the circle of the horizon, when the sun traverses for a period of three Muhūrtas, that is remembered as Forenoon.[10] It is a fifth of the daytime. The period of time of three Muhūrtas after the forenoon is called Saṅgava. The period of three Muhūrtas from Saṅgava is called Madhyāhna (Midday). The period of three Muhūrtas from the midday is remembered as Aparāhṇa (Afternoon). A period of three Muhūrtas alone is remembered by scholars as the unit of time, (A period of three Muhūrtas) after the Aparāhṇa is called Sāyāhna (Evening). There are only three (sacred?) Muhūrtas in a day of fifteen Muhūrtas. It is remembered that an equinotical day has fifteen Muhūrtas. During the southern transit and the northern transit, the nights and days increase and decrease. The day swallows the night and the night swallows the day.

124. The equinox is expected to be in the middle of the Autumn and the Spring. The moon has equal number of Kalās in the night and day.

125. A period of fifteen days is mentioned as a Pakṣa (fortnight). Two Pakṣas make a month and two solar months make a season.

126-129. Three seasons (make one Ayana), and two Ayanas make a solar Year.

(Defective Text). Nimeṣas are Vidyutas[11]. Fifteen of them make a Kāṣṭhā. Thirty Kāṣṭhās make a Kalā (?) It consists of one hundred and sixty Mātrās.

Thirty Mātras increased by two and seven consist of thirty-six of the latter (?). With sixty-two and seventy three Mātrās constitute Kalā. It has forty thousand and eight hundred Vidyuts. They are seventy (?) Know for certain that they are ninety. They say that there are four hundred and two Vidyuts (?)

130. This should be considered as the excellent part. Nāḍikā Ghaṭi (24 minutes) is the cause hereof. The five (units of time beginning with Saṃvatsara are diversified, due to four measures[12] (?) (See verse 137).

131-132. The decisive basic unit of all time is called Yuga (Age).[13] The first year is Saṃvatsara. The second is Parivatsara. The third is Iḍāvatsara. The fourth is Anuvatsara. The fifth is Vatsara. Their period of time is called Yuga.

133-134. In a solar Yuga, there shall be three thousand (lit. thirty hundred) Parvans (junctions) and one thousand eight hundred and thirty risings of the sun (i.e. days.)

There shall be thirty Ṛtus and ten Ayanas (Defective Text). There are three hundred and sixty-five days (5+300+60) in a solar year.

135. Thirty units of days and nights make one solar month. Sixty-one such days make one Ṛtu.

136. The extent of a solar Ayana is one hundred and eighty-three days.

137. The following are the four measures (for calculating time) viz.: Saura (Solar), Saumya (Lunar), Nākṣatra (sidereal) and Sāvana (based on Savana calculation of days from sunrise to sunset). These measures are decisively mentioned in the Purāṇas.

138. There is a mountain named Śṛṅgavān towards the north of the Śveta. It has three peaks which appear to touch the surface of the firmament.

139. That mountain is said to be Śṛṅgavān, due to those peaks. Its girth and sectional diameter are equally glorified (? are the same).

140. Its middle and eastern peak is golden. The southern peak has crystal-like lustre and it is made of silver.

141. The excellent northern peak is full of all kinds of jewels. Thus, due to the three peaks, the mountain is well known as Śṛṅgavān.

142. During the time in between the Autumn and the Spring, the sun proceeds with a medium speed and he resorts to its eastern peak.

143. Hence, the dispeller of darkness makes the day and night equal. Divine green-coloured horses are yoked to his great chariot. They appear as though they are smeared with the rays red as lotus.

144. To the close of Meṣa and Tulā, the duration of the day from sunrise to sunset is fifteen Muhūrtas. The night is also equally long.

145. When the sun enters the first degree or part of the constellation Kṛttikā, it should be known that the moon enters the fourth part of the constellation Viśākhā.

146. When the sun moves through the third part of the constellation Viśākhā, it should be known that the moon has occupied the top of the constellation Kṛttikā.

147-149. The great sages say that one should know that time as Viṣuva (Equinox). One should understand the equinox through the position of the sun and should see the time through the moon. When the day and the night are of equal duration, it shall be the Viṣuva. Then during the equinox, religious gifts should be offered to the manes and to the Brāhmaṇas particularly because it happens to be the face of gods.

150. (The following are to be known in connection with the various units of time): they are Ūnamāsa (month of a shorter duration), Adhimāsa (Intercalary lunar month), Kalā, Kāṣṭhā, Muhūrtaka, Paurṇamāsī (full moon), Amāvasyā (New moon), Sinīvālī, Kuhū (different kinds of new moon), Rākā and Anumati (kinds of full moon day).[14]

151. The months of Māgha, Phālguna, Cakra, Vaiśākha, Jyeṣṭha and Āṣāḍha constitute Uttarāyaṇa (Northern transit). The months of Śrāvaṇa, Bhādrapaḍa, Āśvina, Kārttika, Mārgaśīrṣa and Pauṣa constitute Dakṣināyana.[15]

152-154. The five years called Ārtavas should be known as the sons of Brahmā.

Hence, the Ṛtus should be known. They are remembered as Ārtavas on account of the Ṛtus. Hence, from this Parvan, Amāvāsyā should be known as having Ṛtus as its face. Hence, from this Parvan, the Viṣuva should be known. It is always conducive to the welfare of the Devas and the Pitṛs. One should not lose sense regarding rites concerning the Pitṛs and the Devas, after knowing the Parvan.

155. Hence, Viṣuva that is present everywhere (?) is always remembered by the subjects. The (mountain) Lokāloka is called so because the world is remembered on account of (?) its being illuminated (by the sun).

156. The guardians of the quarters are stationed in the middle of the Lokāloka. Those four (?) noble-souled guardians remain till the annihilation of all living beings.

157. They are Sudhāmā, Vairāja, Kardama, Śaṅkhapā, Hiraṇyaroman, Parjanya, Ketumān and Rājasa. (Perhaps they are in pairs and hence called four?).

158. They are free from Dvandvas (mutually opposed pairs) and false prides. They are boundless and free from parigrahas (acceptances of gifts from others). These guardians of quarters are stationed on the Lokāloka in all the four directions.

159. To the North of the star Agastya[16] and to the south of Ajavīthī is the pathway called Pitṛyāṇa. It is outside the path Vaiśvānara.

160. There stay the sages who are endowed with progeny and who perform Agnihotra sacrifices. Those who stay in the path of pitṛyāṇa are those who continue the series of worlds (who perpetuate the lines or race of the worlds).

161. The southern path is of those who, being Ṛtviks, commence the work of procreation of living beings by their blessings and are desirous of the world.

162. In every Yuga, they establish Dharma that goes astray. They perform austerities. They strictly adhere to the: bounds (of decency) and pursue the art of learning.

163. Here, in this world the predecessors are born in the houses of the successors (those who come after) and the successors are born on the death of the predecessors.

164. Repeatedly being born thus, they remain till the annihilation of all living beings. These sages who are householders are eighty-eight thousand in number.

165-168a. They resort to the southern path of the sun as long as the moon and the stars are existent. This is the total sum (i.e. 88000) of those persons who perform holy rites and who resorted to the cremation grounds. Their routine activities in the world consist of creation of living beings, activities prompted by desire or hatred, indulgence in sexual Intercourse, activities induced by lust and resorting to sensual objects.

Those Siddhas (persons with spiritual attainment) who resorted to cremation grounds on these or similar grounds and those sages who seek progeny are re-born in the Dvāpara age.

168b-169. The pathway that is towards the north of Nāgavīthī and to the south of the group of seven sages (i.e. the Great Bear) is the northern path of the sun. It is remembered as Devayāna. Those who stay there are Siddhas of great celibacy, free from impurities.

170-173. They contemptuously hate progeny. Hence, death is conquered by them. These sages of sublimated sexual urge are eighty-eight thousand in number. They closely cling to the northern path, till the annihilation of all living beings Due to their association with the world, avoidance of sexual intercourse, abstention from desires and hatreds, eschewal of creation of living beings, non-lustful contacts and seeing defects in sound etc. (i.e. sensual objects), they have become Siddhas. And also due to various other reasons also. Hence they became immortal. Immortality is considered to be (the attainment) of those who stay till the annihilation of all living beings.

174-175a. They approach their wives once again for the sustenance of the three worlds.[17] Others of sublimated sexual urge are sinners as well as meritorious on account of their killing the child in the womb or performing horse sacrifices. They wither away at the end of annihilation of all living beings.

175b-76. To the north and above the worlds of the sages, where Dhruva is remembered to be present, is the divine region of Viṣṇu, the third one in the firmament. It is the shining world on reaching which no one is affected by sorrow or pain. It is the greatest region of Viṣṇu where Dharma, Dhruva and other Sādhakas of the world stay.

Notes on this chapter:

The present chapter deals with the ancient astronomical ideas in the pre-telescope age. Similar information about the stellar region regarding the size of the planets and other stars, movements of the Sun, the Moon etc. are found in other Purāṇas like the Bh.P. V Chs. 21-24, Mt. P. Chs. 124-128, V.P. II Chs. 8-12 and Vā. P. 1.50. 57 to Ch. 53—the last being textually the same as the Bd. P. and was useful in correcting the misprints in the present text. The astrological aspect of these planets etc. is found in GP. 59-64 and AP. 121 etc. Some of these ideas regarding the distances, positions and dimensions of planets are outdated due to advance of modern astronomy.

Footnotes and references:


The author of this Purāṇa is fond of giving popular etymologies. Thus Ravi ‘the Sun’ is normally traced to √ru—according to Uṇādi IV.138 Ujjvaladatta, but here the author traces it to √av—“to protect”.


It is considered as the radius of the circular zone.


Purāṇas believe that this cosmic egg is protected by sheaths consisting of solid (ghana) gross elements, the earth being covered by the sheath of solidified water and the sheath of water being enveloped in the sheath of solidified fire (ghana-teja)and so on. These sheaths of gross elements are progressively protected by sheaths of Ahaṅkāra Mahat and Pradhāna. Sāṅkhya influence is evident on this belief.


The text is corrupt here. The line in Vā.P.50.86b is as follows:

Jyotir-gaṇa-pracārasya pramāṇam parivakṣyate.

The translation is given in the bracket, in this verse above.


Cf. V. P. II 8.9-11.


Cf. Ait. Br. III.44 which clearly states that there is rising or setting of the Sun. Also VP.II.8.I6. Contrast the Greek idea of having a new sun every day.


This is a mythical mountain surrounding the outermost border of the world. It is so called as it divides the visible world from the region of darkness. For its description vide VV. 104-107 below.


According to Varāhamihira’s Bṛhatasaṃhitā, Vīthi is a particular division of the planetary sphere comprising of three asterisms. Thus the division comprising asterisms Mūla, Pūrvāṣāḍhā and Uttarāsāḍhā constitutes the Aja-Vīthi, while Aśvinī, Bharaṇī and Kṛttikā form the Nāga-vīthi.


Vā P. gives a better reading: sūryaḥ parigraham i.e. It is the sun who joins and therefore the period is called Sandhyā (the joining period).

Or: As it joins together Lokāloka which surrounds the sun, it is called Sandhyā (the connecting link between light and darkness). It is the interim period between us as (dawn) and the morning.


These verses state the five parts of the day, each part being of three Muhūrtas in duration.


It appears that a new term called Vidyut is introduced in the units of Time here.

Note: Vā.P.50.179 reads: nimeṣādī kṛtaḥ Kālaḥ “The time covered by twinkling of the eye” etc..


V. 137 gives the four measures of systems in calculating time (or year) viz. Saura (Solar), Saumya (Lunar), Nākṣatra (sidereal).


This Purāṇa records the age-old tradition that the Yuga period consisted of five years. Even, in the Vedic times Yuga was of five years and the names of those five years (with a slight variations in the name Iḍāvatsara viz. Iḍā-IḍuVatsara) are the same as given here (vide Tai.S.V.7.1-3, Vāj.S.27.45, Atharva VI 55.3). Tai. Br. I. 4.10.1 identifies Saṃvatsara, Parivatsara etc. with god Agni, Āditya etc. Kauṭilya in Arthaśāstra II Ch. 20 in measures of time declares “A Yuga consists of five years” (Pañca-Saṃvatsaro Yugam). This Purāṇa records the same.


The Amāvāsyā (the new moon day) mixed with the 14th Tithi is Sinivālī and that which merges with the 1st Tithi of the next fortnight is Kuhū. It is treated as a divinity and invoked for wealth and Sons. (vide Atharva VII 47.1). According to Nirukta XI 29, Paurṇamāsī (the full moon day) mixed with the 14th tithi is Anumati, while that mixed with the 1st day of the next fortnight is Rākā. In vedic times it was worshipped for a rich and famous son.


This verse records the ancient names of the months with which modern names Caitra, Vaiśākha came to be identified. For the convenience of readers the modem names are given in translation. The correspondence of ancient and modern names of the months is as follow:

Old Term New Term
Tapas Māgha
Tapasya Phālguna
Madhu Caitra
Mādhava Vaiśākha
Śukra Jyeṣṭha
Śuci Aṣāḍha
Nabhas Śrāvaṇa
Nabhasya Bhādrapada
Iṣu Āśvina
Ūrja Kārttika
Sahas Mārgaśīrṣa
Sahasya Pauṣa



Yadapastasya is wrong. Vā.P. 50.209a reads correctly yad Agastasya ‘of the star Agastya’.


This is strange of those Ūrddhva-retas sages. Vā.P.50. 222a reads:

Trailokya-sthiti-kālo'yam apunarmārgagāmnaḥ /

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: