The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes the birth of vaivasvata which is Chapter 59 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 59 - The Birth of Vaivasvata

Bṛhaspati said:

1. The sages who were told thus attained great delight. Thereafter, they further asked with a desire to hear more.

The Sages requested:

2. “Please narrate the details of the races of kings of unmeasured prowess, their life and their powers and majesty, to us as we ask in the proper order.”

3-5. On being requested thus by them, Lomaharṣaṇa, an expert in narration of stories, well conversant with statements, spoke these words even as the sages were desirous of listening to the later narratives.

Sūta said:

“Just as the sage of great wisdom (viz. Vyāsa) narrated to me when I asked him, ī too shall narrate in due order the details of the races of kings of unmeasured prowess, their lives, grandeur and efficacy. Understand them from me.

6. It is related that Varuṇa’s wife, goddess Stutā (Sunā in Vāyu 84-6-8), was a celestial damsel of great beauty. Her sons were Kali and Vaidya.

7. Jaya and Vijaya were the sons of Kali. They were extremely valorous. Ghṛṇi and Muni were the sons of Vaidya. They were very powerful.

8. They used to devour girls given in marriage to them or those who loved them. They devoured one another. After devouring one another, they met with destruction.

9. Kali (this is evidently another one not the one mentioned in 7) should be known as Sura’s (?) son. His son is remembered as Mada. Hiṃsā was the eldest wife of Kali. She is remembered as wicked and dishonest.

10. Four other sons were born to Kali. They were cannibals. They were Nāka, and Vighna who were very famous, as well as Bhadrama and Vidhama.

11. Vighna was so called because he had no head. Nāka had no body. Bhadrama had only one hand. Vidhama is remembered as single-legged.

12. Tāmasī and Pūtanā were the wives of Bhadrama (or Pūtanā of dark and foul nature was the wife of Bhadrama). Revatī was the wife of Vidhama. The sons of these two were thousands in number.

13. Śakuni was the wife of Nāka and Ayomukhī the wife of Vighna. Their sons were Rākṣasas of great vigour and vitality. They used to roam about during the twilight at dusk and dawn.

14. The sons of Revatī and Pūtanā are remembered as Nairṛtas by name. All those Rākṣasas are Grahas (Evil demons attacking children and making them suffer from convulsions) particularly in regard to children.

15-16. Lord Skanda is the overlord of all those Nairṛtas as allowed by Brahmā.

Bṛhaspati had a sister named Varastrī. She observed the vow of celibacy. She had achieved yogic powers. She then used to wander over the entire universe without any attachment. She ultimately became the wife of Prabhāsa who was the eighth among the Vasus.

17-20. (Partially defective text). Viśvakarman, a Deva was born of her. He is the Prajāpati (Creator) of artisans and craftsmen. He had evolved the forms ofVirāṭ (the supreme being). Another name of this liberal-minded grandson of Dharma is Tvaṣṭṛ,

By means of his Yogic power, he had created thousands of artistic works for the Devas. It was he who created the aerial chariots of the Devas.

Human beings depend upon the artistic creations of this noble-souled one. (They imitate them).

Virocanā, famous as the daughter of Prahrāda was the wife of Tvaṣṭṛ. She was the sister of Virocana and the mother of Triśiras, the great and intelligent Viśvarūpa who was the preceptor of the Devas.

21. Maya is remembered as the son of Viśvakarman. He was himself Viśvakarman (capable of all creative work). His younger sister was well known as Sureṇu.

22-24. The daughter of Tvaṣṭṛ who became well-known, as Saṃjñā and the wife of Savitṛ (the Sun) gave birth to Manu, the eldest son of great fortune and exalted dignity, of Vivasvān. (the sun).

Then she gave birth to the twins viz. Yama and Yamunā (See vv 31-32 where Yama and Yamī are the names mentioned). She assumed the form of a mare and went to the Kurus.

That lady of great fortune gave birth to two sons, the Aśvins. They were the sons of the sun-god who had assumed the form of a horse. She gave birth to the sons through the nostrils in the atmosphere itself. The two sons Mārtaṇḍa [of?] were Nāsatya and Dasra.”

The sages enquired:

25-26. “Why was Vivasvān called Mārtaṇḍa byscholars? Why should that fair lady deliver through her nostrils? We wish to understand this. Narrate it to us who ask you.”

Sūta replied:

27-29. “Even for a long time after it had been produced, the egg (the foetus) remained unbroken. That egg was broken by Tvaṣṭṛ. Bewildered by the destruction of the egg (foetus) as he mistook it, Kaśyapa fled from there.

When the egg was split into two, Tvaṣṭṛ looked at it and said thus.

“This egg cannot be deficient, O sinless one, you be Mārtaṇḍa.”

The father affectionately said—“Indeed he is not dead (Na Mṛta) though he is within the Aṇḍa (egg).” On hearing these words of his, they said that the name was true to its meaning.

30. When the egg was split into two, he was told—“Be Mārtaṇḍa” even as he was within the egg. So the sun is considered Mārtaṇḍa by those conversant with the Purāṇas.

31-32. Henceforth, I shall mention the progeny of Vivasvān known as Mārtaṇḍa. Saṃjñā, the wife of Savitṛ, gave birth to three sons (children) viz. Manu, Yamī and Yama. Chāyā (the shadow) gave birth to Tapatī and Śanaiścara (the Planet Saturn). These are remembered as the sons of Mārtaṇḍa.

33-34. Vivasvān (the sun-god) of great fame was born of Dākṣāyaṇī (i.e. daughter of Dakṣa) and Kaśyapa.

The gentle lady Saṃjñā, the daughter of Tvaṣṭṛ, became the wife of Vivasvān. Originally she was well-known as Sureṇu but later on she became famous as Saṃjñā. It was she who became the wife of lord Mārtaṇḍa of excessive brilliance.

35. “Indeed, he did not die inside the egg” said Kaśyapa fondly but unwittingly. Hence the sun is called Mārtaṇḍa.

36. The brilliance and splendour of Vivasvān is always very excessive. It is with that, that the son of Kaśyapa scorched the three worlds.

37-38. Ravi, the sun god, begot of Saṃjñā three children, two sons of great power and vigour and one daughter. It is known Manu was the eldest of the sons of Sun-god. Thereafter (was born) Yama (otherwise known as) Śrāddhadeva. Manu was a Prajāpati. Then Yama and Yamī were born as twins.

39. On seeing that form of unbearable splendour of Vivasvān Saṃjñā could not brook it. She created her own Chāyā (shadow) of the same colour and complexion (Savarṇā) as hers.

40. That lady of great fortune, born out of her shadow, joined her palms in great reverence and purity of mind and spoke to Saṃjñā.

41-44. “Tell me. What work has to be carried out by me?”.

Saṃjñā said to her—“Welfare unto you. I am going to the abode of my own father. You alone must remain in my house without any hesitation. These two sons of mine and this daughter of excellent complexion should be brought up by you. This arrangement should not be disclosed to the lord (and my two sons) by you. Saṃjñā was then told (by Chāyā). These two are my sons too. So be it. (I shall do as you say).”

On being told thus, that lady of pitiable plight went near Tvaṣṭṛ as if greatly ashamed. On seeing her come back, the father became angry and spoke to Saṃjñā.

45-49. “Go to your husband”. On being directed thus again and again, she assumed the form of a mare and concealed her real form. That praiseworthy, uncensured lady went to the Northern Kurus and grazed the grass.

Thinking the second Saṃjñā to be the real Saṃjñā, the sun procreated two sons having the same lustre as his. Those two lords were equal in comparison to Manu the eldest son. Of these two, Śrutaśravas will become Sāvarṇī Manu. Śrutakarman (the second one) should be known as the planet Śanaiścara (the Saturn). He who became Manu is called Sāvarṇi also.

50. Saṃjñā of earthly nature (i.e. the shadow) loved her own sons more than the elder sons.

51-52. Manu forgave all that but Yama did not. Highly distressed at her enmity because she was a co-wife (for his mother), he began to grumble much and on many occasions. Due to his anger as well as the force of inevitable future, Yama, the son of Vivasvān, threatened Chāyā with his foot (i.e. kick).

Then out of anger that mother of Sāvarṇī cursed Yama.

53-57. “You are threatening with your foot, all on a sudden, the wife of great renown of your own father. Hence, this foot of yours will undoubtedly drop down. Yama became highly afflicted in his mind on account of that curse. Accompanied by Manu, the virtuous-souled one (Yama) intimated everything to his father:

“I have been vanquished (humiliated) by the statements of Saṃjñā. I have become distressed due to the fear of the curse. Of course, the foot was raised by me against her, but it was not allowed to fall on her body. Whether this was due to my childishness or out of delusion, it behoves you to forgive me.

O lord of the worlds, O most excellent one among those who blaze and scorch, I have been cursed by my step-mother.

I have your blessing to protect us from this great danger.

58-61. On being told thus, lord Vivasvān said to Yama: “Undoubtedly, my son, there must be a great reason for this, since you became infuriated despite being conversant with Dharma and remaining truthful in speech. Nor can the words of your mother be falsified.

Worms will take your flesh and go to the Earth. Then, O highly intelligent one, your foot will attain happiness. Thus your mother’s words will be made true. By the avoidance of the effects of the curse, you will also be saved.”

62. The sun then spoke to Saṃjñā (i.e. to Chāyā mistaken by him to be Saṃjñā) “When all the sons are equal to us, how is it that one is loved by you more than the others.”

63. Parrying that question, she did not mention the real situation to Vivasvān. Then he entered into meditation himself and found out the truth by means of his yogic power.

64. The lord became angry and wished to curse her with utter annihilation. Then she mentioned all the facts to Vivasvān.

65-70. On hearing it, Vivasvān became so furious that he rushed to Tvaṣṭṭ.

Tvaṣṭṛ duly honoured Vibhāvasu (Sun-god). As he was desirous of burning him furiously, Tvaṣṭṛ pacified him slowly—

“This form of yours endowed with excessive refulgence does net appear splendid. Unable to bear it, Saṃjñā is grazing the grass in the meadows in the forest. You shall see your wife of auspicious conduct today. You shall see her richly endowed with praiseworthy prime of youth, O lord of rays, by resorting to your yogic power. It shall be favourable to everyone if the following agreement is assented to. O suppressor of enemies, I shall change this excellent (excessively refulgent) form of yours that you are having from the beginning.

Originally the form of Vivasvān was so refulgent that the rays spread sideways as well as upwards and downwards. The gentle lady Saṃjñā was afflicted by that form of the lord of Firmament (i.e. the sun). Thereby your wonderful form shall have rays spreading even in circular direction.

71. Tvaṣṭṛ was allowed to change the form. Thereupon Tvaṣṭṛ undertook to change the form of Mārtaṇḍa Vivasvān (the sun-god).

72. He placed him on the (circular moving) wheel (i.e. a lathe) and pruned (the slices of the irregular superfluous part of) his brilliance—when his refulgence was taken away, the sun had his brilliance uprooted (i.e. reduced).

73. Prabhākara (the sun) of splendid appearance wished to see his wife. By resorting to his yogic power, he saw his wife in the form of a mare.

74. Though she was invisible to all living beings on account of her holy observance, and brilliance he saw her by means of his yogic power. In the form of a horse, Mārtaṇḍa had sexual intercourse with her through the mouth.

75. Relaxing at the end of the intercourse she had a suspicion that it was another person (not her husband). Hence, she expelled the Semen Virile of Vivasvān through her nostrils.

76-79. From it were born the Devas, the twin Aśvins, the most excellent physicians. Born of Dvādaśamūrti (the sun god) they are remembered as Nāsatya and Dasra. These were the sons of Mārtaṇḍa, the eight prajāpatis. Bhāskara (the sun) showed himself to her with his more pleasing form. On seeing his wife, he became delighted and contented. He told her thus—“Yama had become very much afflicted in his mind on account of that curse. He delighted others through his Dharma. Hence, he is called Dharmarāja. On account of that auspicious action, he obtained the greatest splendour—the overlordship of the Pitṛs (Manes) and Lokapālatva (the state of being the guardian of a quarter i.e. south)”.

80-81. The eldest Manu was a Prajāpati. The other one Sāvarṇi of great renown shall become Manu in the future Manvantara called Sāvarṇika.

The holy lord is performing a severe penance even today on the top of Meru.

82-84a. His brother Śanaiścara attained the state of a planet.

With that form (the prunings of the sun) Tvaṣṭṛ evolved the discus of Viṣṇu.[1] It had great splendour. It was never obstructed anywhere. It was a great defending weapon against Dānavas.

The younger sister of those two, Yamunā of great fame, became the excellent river Yamunā, the sanctifier of the worlds.

84b-86. The eldest among them was Manu of great splendour. It is his creation that we are having now.[2] I shall recount in detail the creation of Manu Vaivasvata (son of Sungod). If any one listens to or reads about this nativity of the Devas, the seven children of great prowess of Vaivasvata, he shall get released from the mishap in which he may find himself. He will attain great fame.

Footnotes and references:


This creation of Sudarśana, the discus of Viṣṇu, from the pruned part of the sun-god is given in Vp. III, 2.11.


The description of dynasties of kings is an integral part of a Purāṇa. Though here the accounts are scattered at different places, they are given here from the beginning of the birth of Vaivasvata Manu to the future Sāvarṇika Manus. The story of the sun-god and his wives Saṃjñā and Chāyā and his progeny from them, the pruning of the sungod and his approach to his mareformed wife and birth of Aśvin gods—these are traditional accounts found in the Mbh. Ādi 76, Anuśāsana 150, Vp. III.2 and other Purāṇas with slight variations.

The progeny of Vaivasvata Manu and other legendary dynastic accounts are probably a part of the ur-Purāṇa. Hence we find them common in all Purāṇas.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: