The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes birth of seven sages (saptarshi): race of bhrigu and angiras 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 - Birth of seven sages (saptarṣi): Race of Bhṛgu and Aṅgiras

Now begins the Madhyabhāga (middle section) of the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa.

Śāṃśapāyana requested:

1. “The Second Pāda (section) has already been narrated to us along with its appendix (Anuṣaṅga). (Kindly) recount in details the Third Pāda along with its Introductory Part (Upodghāta).”

Sūta said:

2. “I shall narrate to you all the Third Pāda (called) Upodghāta in details and in aggregate, O Brāhmaṇas. Understand it even as I recite.

3. Listen to the present creative activity of the noble-souled Vaivasvata Manu in details and in the proper order, O Brāhmaṇas.

4-6. It (the present Manvantara) has already been reckoned before as consisting of seventy-one sets of four Yugas.

After paying obeisance to the Sun-god (Vivasvān) I shall narrate to you the creative activity of Vaivasvata Manu right from the beginning of Manu to the end of ‘Prophecies of the future’ (Bhaviṣya). The narrative consists of many episodes of the groups of Devas, Sages, Dānavas, Pitṛs, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas (Evil Spirits), great serpents, human beings, animals, birds and immobile beings.

7-9a. The seven great sages, who were the initiators of creation formerly in the first Manvantara namely Svāyambhuva Manvantara, passed away. When the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara was over and the Vaivasvata Manvantara set in, owing to the curse of Lord Śiva, there was the re-birth of Dakṣa and those (spiritually) mighty seven sages (saptarṣi) like Bhṛgu and others who were then, (existent) in that Svāyambhuva Manvantara.

9b-10a. Again the seven sages (saptarṣi) who were re-born thus, were accepted as his mental sons by the self-born god (Brahmā) himself.

10b-12. The creative activity was duly made to function as before by those noble sons who evolved a continuity of progeny. I shall describe the progeny of those (sages) of pure knowledge and holy rites. I shall narrate in details or in brief (as warranted by relevancy), in a serial order, factually as before. This cosmos consisting of mobile and immobile beings and adorned with planets and stars, has become filled up again, completely by persons born of their race.

The sages said:—

13. O excellent one! Please narrate (explain) to us how the seven sages (saptarṣi), who were previously born as mental sons-of god Brahmā, were made his own sons (again by Brahmā).

Sūta said:—

14-15. Those seven sages (saptarṣi) who had been mentioned as existing in Svāyambhuva Manvantara, became overwhelmed by the curse of Bhava (i.e. Śiva) when they reached the Vaivasvata Manvantara. They were unable to attain the (previous) power of penance. They lingered after reaching the Janaloka from where they could return but once.

16-17. Those great sages began to tell one another constantly in the Janaloka—“We shall be born as these noble souls, when the holy sacrifice of Varuṇa will be elaborately-performed during the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara. We shall all be born as the sons of Pitāmaha (i.e. Brahmā). That shall be conducive to our great renown”.

18-20. After saying thus, they, who had been cursed by Bhava in the course of Svāyambhuva Manvantara, became born in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara, for further creation. They returned from Janaloka and were born here once again. They were born in the sacrifice of the great lord who had assumed the physical form of Varuṇa. This has been heard by us that the sages had their second birth, even as Brahmā, with a desire for begetting children, was performing the Homa in the fire by means of his semen.

21. There were the eight sons of Brahmā[1]—viz. Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras, Marīci, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri and Vasiṣṭha.

22-23. In his elaborate sacrifice all the Devas had arrived and were present. So also the various ancillaries of sacrifice. Vaṣaṭkāra was there in an embodied form. The Sāman Mantras and thousands of Yajur Mantras were there in an embodied form. The Ṛgveda embellished with the specific order of words called Krama[2] also appeared there.

24. Yajurveda endowed with (relevant) metres brilliant with Oṃkāra as its mouth (face) was stationed here along with the Sūktas, Brāhmaṇas and Mantras and intermingled with the Arthas (objects, purposes) of the Yajña.

25. Sāmaveda endowed with relevant metres and with all mantra-songs (which could be sung) at the head was present there along with Viśvāvasu and other Gandharvas.

26. The Brahmaveda (Atharvaveda) was (present there) accompanied by terrible rites. Due to the accompaniment of Pratyaṅgirasas, it appeared as if it had two bodies and heads.[3]

27. The following (technical details about the recitation of Veda) were present (in their bodily forms): Lakṣaṇā (use of a cognate word for another), Vistara (extension, elongation), Stobha (chanted interjection in a Sāman), Nirukta (etymological interpretation), Svarabhakti (phonetically inserted vowel-sound) āśraya, Vaṣaṭkāra, nigraha and pragraha (vowel not subject to sandhi-rules).

28. (The following divinities were present in person there) The goddess Ilā (the Earth) of brilliant form, the quarters and the lords of quarters, celestial girls (devakanyā), wives and mothers of gods.

29. All these, in their beautiful embodied forms arrived at the sacrifice when god Varuṇa assuming a physical body was performing the sacrifice. They were all endowed with beauty and splendour.

30. On seeing them the semen of the self-born lord fell on the ground.[4] There is no doubt about this that this took place on account of the dispensation of the inevitable fact, the birth of Brahmanical sages.

31. Pitāmaha held it with both the hands and performed the Homa. He held it by means of the Sruvā (sacrificial ladle) and performed the Homa as it oozed out. He performed the Homa chanting the Mantras (simultaneously).

32. Then Prajāpati (Lord of the subjects) created the collection of Bbūtas (Living beings or Elements). From his lower tejas (Brilliance), the Taijasa Brahman was born in the worlds.

33. (Defective Text) The Āpyatva (Liquidity) is possible by means of Tamas, Sattva and Rajas. He held his own semen in the Ājyasthālī (Ghee-pan) and performed the Homa.

34. When the Homa was performed by means of semen the great sages manifested themselves. They shone with brilliant bodies. They had their own inherent good qualities and potentialities.1

35-36a. When the semen was once poured into the fire by way of Homa, Kavi came out of the flame. On seeing him coming out after splitting the flame, Hiraṇyagarbha (i.e. Brahmā) said—“You are Bhṛgu”. Since it was said, so he became Bhṛgu.

36b-37. Mahādeva then appeared and spoke to Brahmā—“O lord, I had been desirous of a son and had been invited by you, O lord. Let this boy who is born at the outset be my son, O lord”.

38. Saying “so be it”, Mahādeva was consented to by the Self-born lord. Then Mahādeva adopted Bhṛgu as his son.

39. Hence Bhṛgus are Vāruṇas (those pertaining to the race of Varuṇa). That lord is his child.

(For a) second (time) the lord performed Homa over the burning charcoal (aṅgāra) by means of semen virile.

40. The limbs of Aṅgiras were firmly united together over the charcoals (aṅgāra). Hence, he is (known as) Aṅgiras. On seeing his nativity, Vahni (the fire-god) spoke to god Brahmā.

41. ‘It was I who bestowed the semen upon thee. Hence, let this second one be my (son).’ “Let it be so”, thus Sadasaspati (the fire-god) was replied to by Brahmā,

42-43. Agni (the fire-god) accepted (him as his son), We have heard that the descendants of Aṅgiras are Āgneyas. The semen virile was further divided into six by Brahmā, the maker of the worlds and deposited into the fire by way of Homa. It is mentioned in the Vedas that Brahmās were born of it.

Marīci rose therefrom at the outset from the rays.

44 In that Kratu (sacrifice), Kratu the sage was born. Hence he is (called) Kratu. The sage Atri was born (saying) “I am the third (Ahaṃ-Tṛtīya)”. Hence he is named as Atri.

45. (The fourth sage) was born with overspreading hairs. Hence he is remembered as Pulastya. (The fifth sage) was born with long hairs. Hence he is remembered as Pulaha.

46. (The sixth sage) was born from among the Vasus and was himself self-controlled and master of Vasu (wealth). Hence, he is called Vasiṣṭha by the expounders of the Brahman (Veda) who are conversant with reality.

47 Thus, these are the six great sages, the mental sons of Brahmā. They are the cause of the continuance of worlds. It is because of them that these subjects flourish and grow.

48-49. The sons of Brahmā are cited as Prajāpatis (the Lords of subjects or creation) also. Others named Pitṛs have been procreated by these great sages; (they have created) seven groups of Devas[5] well known in all the seven worlds. They are the Ajeyas (those who could not be conquered). They are seven in number and they are well-known in all the seven worlds.

50-51. They are well-known as Mārīcas, Bhārgavas, Āṅgirasas, Paulastyas, Paulahas, Vāsiṣṭhas and Ātreyas. They make the worlds of the Pitṛs flourish. These have been succinctly recounted. There are three more groups.

52. They are Amartas, Aprakāśas and the renowned Jyotiṣmants. Their king is Lord Yama who has got rid of all sins by means of Yamas (the famous ten qualities of restraining influence such as celibacy, non-violence, non-stealth etc. (Brahmacaryā, Ahiṃsā, Asteya, etc.)

53-54. There are other Prajāpatis. Listen to their (enumeration) attentively.[6] They are Kaśyapa, Kardama, Śeṣa (?), Vikrānta, Suśravas, Bahuputra, Kumāra, Vivasvān, Śucivrata, Pracetas, Ariṣṭanemi and Bahula.

55-56. These and many others are Prajeśvaras (Lords of subjects). Kuśoccayas and Vālakhilyas have become great sages. They had the velocity of the mind. They could go everywhere. They could enjoy all kinds of pleasures. Another set of Brahmanical sages have been born of Bhasman (sacred ashes). They are respected by other groups of Brahmanical sages.

57. The groups of sages (called) Vaikhānasas are earnestly devoted to penance and higher Veḍic learning.

The two (Devas) Aśvins whose beauty is widely appreciated were born of his nose.

58. They know that the birth of Ṛkṣarajas was from the movement of his eyes. Other Prajāpatis were born of his ears.

59-60. (Some) sages were born of the pores at the roots of his hairs. (Some) were born of his sweat-dirt.

The two Ayanas (transits of the Sun), the seasons, the months, the half-months (i.e. fortnights), the junctions of fortnights—(all these were born of him). Years are his days and nights. The Jyotis (Luminaries?) are his terrible bile[7] (?). They call his blood Raudra (pertaining to Rudra). His blood is remembered as Kanaka (gold) (?)

61. That is said to be Taijasa. The smokes are remembered as animals. What came out as his flames were Rudras. Similarly, the Ādityas (i.e. twelve suns) came out.

62-63. Sparks of divine and human (nature) were generated from the charcoals. Then Brahmā, the preceptor of the Devas (gods), was propitiated by the Devas. They spoke these words:—“You are the Primordial one in this world. You are Brahmā born of Brahman. You are the bestower of all desires”.

64-66. These lords of subjects will procreate subjects. All of them are Prajāpatis. All of them are sages who have performed austerities. These holy rites will sustain these worlds due to your grace. They will cause your family to flourish. They will make your splendour increase for ever. All those born of prajāpati will become scholars in the Vedas. All of them will be masters of speech. All of them will be holders of Vedic Mantrās.

67. Let all of them resort to Brahman, the truthful and the greatest penance on the Earth. All of us and these are, O lord, your own progeny.

68-69a. Thinking that, Brahman, the Brāhmaṇas, the worlds consisting of the mobile and the immobile beings, the Devas and the sages with Marīci as their first one (leader), are your own progeny. We desire for your progeny.

69b-70. The Devas and the sages of great honour, who were present in that Yajña were born of your race. They identify themselves with the places and times (of their duty). These subjects will establish themselves in your own form.

71. The Brāhmaṇas shall thus establish the beginnings and ends of the Yugas”.

Thereupon, the preceptor of the worlds spoke thus after due reflection.

72. It is after deciding like this that these great sages born of your race have been created by me. There is no doubt about this.

73. Of them, I shall narrate at the outset the race of the nobīe-souled Bhṛgu who was the first Prajāpati. I shall narrate it in detail and in due order.

74-76. The two wives of Bhṛgu were of excellent nobility of birth. They were unrivalled and splendid. (One of them) was the daughter of Hiraṇyakaśipu, well-renowned by the name of Divyā. The second was Paulomī, the daughter of excellent complexion, of Puloman.

Divyā give birth to the son of Bhṛgu. He was the most excellent among those who are conversant with Brahman (Veda). He was Śukra, the preceptor of the Devas (?) and the Asuras. He was the planet, the most excellent of the wise sages. Śukra himself was Uśanas. He was always known by the name of Kāvya.

77. The mental daughter of the Manes named Somapās (imbibers of the Soma juice) was well-known by the name of Gau. She became the wife of Śukra and gave birth to his four sons.

78. They were Tvaṣṭṛ, Varatrin, Śaṇḍa and Marka. In splendour they resembled the Sun and in prowess they were as good as god Brahmā.

79. The following were the sons of Varatrin viz.—Rajata, Pṛthu, Raśmi and the scholarly Bṛhaṃgiras. They were the priests performing the Yajñas of the Daityas. They were extremely skilled in sacred knowledge.

80. In order to destroy the holy rite of Ijyā (sacrifice), they approached Manu and began to perform Yajñas (in a distorted manner). On seeing Dharma vitiated, Indra said to Manu.

81. “I shall make these people alone properly perform your Yajña”. On hearing those words of Indra, they (the sons of Varatrin) slipped away from that place.

82. When they disappeared, Indra came to Manu’s wife who had become senseless and freed her from the evil planet. Then he pursued them.

83. Thereafter, those sages began to strive for the destruction of Indra. On seeing those vicious persons come, Indra laughed derisively.

84-85. Then, becoming furious he burned them in the southern half of the sacrificial platform. There they began to resist him along with their Śālāvṛkas (dogs, wolves). Even as they resisted him thus, their heads dropped down and became date-palms. It was thus that the sons of Varatrin were killed by Indra formerly.

86-87. Devayānī was born of Jayantī, as the daughter of Śukra. Triśiras alias Viśvarūpa was the great (elder) son of Tvaṣṭṛ. He was born of Yaśodharā, daughter of Virocana. He became very famous. He who is remembered as Viśvakarman was the younger brother of Viśvarūpa.

88. Divyā gave birth to a daughter, the younger sister of lord Śukra (Kāvya). Twelve resplendent (godly) sons were born to Bhṛgu and they were known as Bhṛgus (or Bhṛgu gods).

89-90. They were Bhuvana, Bhāvana, Antya, Antyāyana, Kratu, Śuci, Svamūrdhan, Vyāsa, Vasuda, Prabhava and Avyaya. The twelfth one is remembered as Adhipati. These are remembered as Bhṛgus. They are Devas (shining ones) worthy of Yajñas.[8]

91-92. Paulomī gave birth to a son engrossed in Brahman. He was a Brāhmaṇa of perfect self-control. (While he was in the womb) in the eighth month, he was swallowed by a cruel Rākṣasa. He slipped off and is therefore known as Cyavana. He is Pracetas as well, because he was conscious and alert. Cyavana alias Pracetas burned the man-eaters (demons) due to anger.

93. That scion of the family of Bhṛgu begot two sons of Sukanyā. Those two sons, viz. Āpravāna and Dadhīca were honoured by good people.

94. Sārasvata the son of Dadhīca, was born of Sarasvatī. The mighty virtuous Ṛcī, daughter of Nahuṣa, was the wife of Āpravāna.

95. The sage Āurva of great renown was born of her after piercing through the thigh.[9] Ṛcīka was the son of Aurva. He shone with a brillance equal to that of fire.

96. Jamadagni was born of satyavatī as the son of Ṛcīka, formerly when the Carus (sacrificial offering) pertaining to Rudra and Viṣṇu (? prepared by) Bhṛgu were interchanged.

97-98. Jamadagni was so called because he devoured the fire pertaining to Viṣṇu. Reṇukā gave birth to Rāma the son of Jamadagni. He had unlimited splendour. He had the valour on a par with that of Indra. He had the inherent characteristics of both Brāhmaṇas and Kṣatriyas.

Aurva had a hundred sons beginning with Jamadagni.

99-100. Due to inter-alliance, the families of Bhārgavas had thousands of sons. External Bhārgavas, it is remembered, are born amongst other sages also. They are many such as Vatsas, Vidas, Ārṣṭiṣeṇas, Yāskas, Vainyas, Śaunakas and the seventh group the Mitreyus. These clans are to be known as Bhārgavas.

101. Now, listen to the family of Aṅgiras, the intelligent son of Agni. It was in his family that Bhāradvājas along with Gautamas were born.1

102-104a. The most important Devas belonging to the family of Aṅgiras are the Tviṣimants of great prowess.

Three girls became the wives of Atharvan viz., Surūpā, the daughter of Mārīca, Svarāṭ, the daughter of Kardama, and Pathyā, the daughter of Manu. In them were born the heirs and successors of Atharvan. They uplifted the family. They are sanctified by means of great penance.

104b-106. Bṛhaspati was born of Surūpā. Svarāṭ gave birth to Gautama, Ayāsya, Vāmadeva, Utathya and Uśiti. Dhṛṣṇi was the son of Pathyā. Saṃvarta was the mental son. Kitava was the son of Ayāsya. Śaradvān was born of Utathya. Dīrghatamas was born of Uśi (i.e. Uśiti?) Bṛhaduktha was born of Vāmadeva.

107. Sudhanvan was the son of Dhṛṣṇi. Ṛṣabha was the son of Sudhanvan. Rathakāras (? Charioteers) are remembered as the Devas. They are well renowned as Ṛbhus.

108. Bharadvāja of very great fame, was born of Bṛhaspati. Gods junior to Bṛhaspati are known as Āṅgirasas.

109-113a. They are the bosom-born sons of Āṅgiras born of Surūpā viz. Ādhārī, Āyus, Danus, Dakṣa, Dama, Prāṇa, Haviṣyān, Haviṣṇu, Ṛta and Satya. They are ten in number.

The groups of families of Aṅgiras should be known as fifteen in number viz. Āyāsyas, Utathyas, Vāmadevas, Auśijas, Sāṃkṛtis, Gargas, Kaṇvas Rathītaras, Muḍgalas, Viṣṇuvṛddhas, Haritas, Kapis, Rūkṣas, Bharadvājas, Ārṣabhas and Kitavas.

Many external Āṅgirasas, it is remembered, are born amongst other sages also.

113b. I shall narrate the family of Marīci consisting of excellent men.

114-115. It is in his family that the whole universe consisting of the mobile and the immobile beings, was born. Marīci loved the waters. With a desire for progeny, he began to contemplate and ponder over them. Thinking “Let a son endowed with all good qualities and having children for himself be born” He engaged himself in Yogic union. The holy lord was sanctified by means of penance.

116-117. Thereupon, all the waters were struck. The holy lord procreated a son in them whose soul had been en grossed (in meditation). The son was unequalled. He was a Prajāpati, Ariṣṭanemi by name. Marīci who was engaged in penance, got the son who performed a penance amidst waters.

118 Desirous of a son, he stationed himself in water contemplating on the chaste Vāk (speech). He stayed there for seven thousand years. Hence, he became unequalled.

119. Kāśyapa was on a par with Savitṛ. He was equal to Brahmā in brilliance. He was a scholar. In every Manvantara, he is born by means of a part of Brahmā.

120-121. When Dakṣa was over-bearing in his speech in regard to his daughters, the holy lord became angry. Then he drank Kaśya. Liquor is called by the name Kaśya.

The word Kaśi should be understood to have the sense of Hāsya (Humour, wit). The speech and mind are mentioned by the word Kaśya. Liquor is remembered by Brāhmaṇas by means of the word Kaśya. The sage is called Kaśyapa due to his drinking liquor.[10]

122-124a. Since the name Kaśa[11] (? whip) was cruelly uttered (? by him) and since he became angry on being cursed by Dakṣa, he became Kaśyapa, therefore. For the same reason, on being suggested by Brahmā Parameṣṭhin, Dakṣa the son of Pracetas gave him his celebrated daughters (in marriage). All of them are the mothers of the world.

124b-125. Thus, he who knows the creation of the sages, the holy one pertaining to Varuṇa, shall be meritorious and pure. He will enjoy long life. He will experience perpetual pleasure. By remembering this or by even listening to this (chapter), one is rid of all sins.

Footnotes and references:


Apart from the discrepancy in number (here actually eight sons of Brahmā are enumerated instead of seven under Saptarṣis), the names of the Saptarṣis of this Manvantara as given Supra I. 11.38.26-29 are different viz. Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvāja, Śaradvāna (of Gautama gotra), Atri alias Brahmā Kośa, Vasumān (son of Vasiṣṭha), Vatsara (son of Kāśyapa). V. 30 thereof states: these seven sages enumerated now exist in ṃe present (Vaivasvata) Manvantara (ete Saptarṣayaścoktā vartante sāṃprate’ntare /)

This previous list tallies more closely with VP. III.1.32 if the names there-in are taken as gotras of the sages.


Krama is a peculiar method or manner of reciting Vedic texts. It is so called because the reading proceeds from the 1st member, either word or letter to the 2nd, then the 2nd is repeated and connected with the 3rd, the 3rd is repeated and connected with the 4th and so on.


The AV consists of two sets of Mantras: the auspicious one (Atharvans) and the terrible ones connected with imprecations for the destruction of enemies (Aṅgiras). Hence AV. is said to have two bodies and heads.


The story of the births of Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras and Atri is based on Bṛhad devatā V. 97-101 and the etymologies of these names follow that text though grammarians offer different derivation.


Vā.P. 65.49 reads ṛṣi-gaṇas “groups of sages”. In view of the next verse (No.50 in Bd.P) which enumerates the groups of sages, ṛṣī-gaṇas is a better reading.


There is a variation in the lists of Prajāpatis in different Purāṇas. Thus though Vā. P. and our text agree about the names and number of Prajāpatis, the lists in Mbh., Mt. P or Garuḍa differ from our text and inter se.


Vā.P. 65.59 reads Pitryam—‘ancestral’ (light?) for Pitta of this text.


Mt. P. gives a different list of these 12 Deva Yājñīka Bhṛgus in the list of Gotras and Pravaras.


In Mbh. Ādi 177 we are told that when Haihayas tried a genocide of Bhṛgus, Bhṛgu women fled to hills. But while running Cyavana’s wife Āruṣī concealed her foetus in her thigh. When informed of this, Haihaya warriors arrested her to execute her but the child—a son—broke through her mother’s thigh and blinded all the Haihayas by his supreme brilliance. As this child broke through his mother’s thigh, he was called Aurva (one born out of the thigh).


A funny derivation: The sage Kaśyapa is so designated as he was a drunkard (Kaśya—wine) and whip-like (Kaśā—a whip) harsh in speech.


Vā.P.65, Karoti nāma yad vāco etc. ‘Inasmuch as he uttered harsh words’ etc.

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