by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246
This page describes the description of the city of shiva which is Chapter 2 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.
Note: Although the title of the chapter leads to believe that it must be a description only of Śiva-loka (the region of Śiva), it is a description of Bhuvana-kośa or different regions (lokas) constituting the universe. Śiva’s region comes at the end.
1. Special holy rites have been duly performed by persons of acute discernment and of extraordinary habits and practices, with the residue of what is consigned to the sacred fire in the form of Homa and also with other things.
2-5. Along with the Devas, those persons stay behind as the residents of the world called Mahar. Fourteen Manus who cause increase in reputation have been glorified. Devas, Sages, Manu and Pitṛs of the past, present and future who have been recounted, are mentioned by me as persons of the past who had resorted to Maharloka, along with Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and other virtuous persons accompanied by the Devas. They are accompanied by persons with Śraddhā (faith and composure of mind) who perform (holy rites etc.) in the same manner (as is expected) and who are not arrogant. They closely adhere to the religious rites of four castes and stages in life as ordained in the Śrutis and Smṛtis. When the Manvantaras come to a close, they retire from their authorized offices.
The Sages said:—
6-7. “O Wind-god what is established there in that world which has been mentioned as Maharloka by you? What thing has been laid down there among the rites to be carried out in very world.”
The wind-god conversant with the Tattva (reality) spoke the (following) sweet words in accordance with the facts:—
10. The Akṛtas are only seven. They are the abodes that are Prākṛtas (evolved by Prakṛti). These Sthānas have been created as holding fast to the Sthānins (Persons presiding over the Sthānas), created along with them.
11-12. The Earth, the firmament, the heaven and what is remembered as Makar—these four Sthānas are remembered as Āvarṇakas (? Āvaraṇakas: ‘Sheaths of the worlds’). It is said that they are teeming with excellent abodes and some are without them. Those that arc Naimittikas (evolved by a cause), remain steady till Ābhūtasamplava (annihilation by merging into the Bhūtas i.e. Elements).
14-16a. I shall clearly recount these seven Sthānas. The Bhūrloka is the first among them. Bhuvaḥ is remembered as the Second. This should be known that Svar loka is the third one. Mahaḥ (Mahar) is remembered as the fourth one. Jana is the fifth world. Tapaḥ is considered as the sixth one. Satya is the Seventh world. Beyond that there is absence of light.
16b-19. Formerly, at the utterance of the word Bhūḥ the Bhūrloka was evolved. When the second word Bhuvaḥ was uttered the firmament was evolved. When the third word Svaḥ was uttered the heaven manifested itself. Brahmā evolved the Universe by means of these three Vyāhṛtis (Utterances). Therefore Bhūḥ is the terrestrial world; the Antarikṣa firmament is declared as Bhuvaḥ. Svarloka is heaven. This is the conclusion arrived at the Purāṇa (literature).
21. Due to the utterance of Mahar the Maharloka came into existence. The abode of the Devas whose tenure of office has come to an end is there.
23-24. Svāyambhuva and others who have been glorified before perform penance in this Kalpa in this world. (Therefore that world) is called Tapas. Ṛbhu, Sanatkumāra and others have sublimated their sexual urge. Therefore, that world is called Tapas. Or there are persons there who have sanctified themselves by means of penance. Therefore that world is called Tapas.
26-28. All the Devas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakṣas, Guhyakas along with the Rākṣasas, Bhūtas (spirits, goblins), Piśācas (Ghosts), Nāgas along with human beings—all these reside in Svarloka, Maruts, Mātariśvans (These two are Wind-gods); Rudras and Aśvinīdevas are the residents of the Earth. The persons who do not have any (permanent) abode have the Bhuvar-loka (as their abode).
Mahar is the fourth among the worlds. They stay in that world throughout the Kalpa (or those who stay throughout the Kalpa reside in that world). Thus these worlds evolved out of the utterances of Brahmā have been recounted in their order.
32. The worlds having Bhūrloka as the first and Mahar as the last, are proclaimed thus. Those seven Sūryas (at the time of ultimate dissolution) burn all those worlds by means of their flames;
33-34. Marīci, Kaśyapa, Dakṣa, Svāyambhuva, Aṅgiras, Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kṣatu and others—these are all Prajāpatis. They remain there along with Ṛbhus etc. They are devoid of possessions and the attitude of “My-ness”. They have sublimated their sexual urge. Ṛbhu, Sanatkumāra and others are the sages called Vairājas (? free from passion (or Sons of Viraja—Prajāpati).
35-37a. (Defective Text) The sixth world viz. Tapas is the world remembered as the place causing return of all the fourteen Manus in the course of Manvantaras including those of Sāvarṇas.
Then it is said that they retain in their soul their Yogic power, the power of penance and inherent Sattva quality and return to the sixth world on account of the reverse process (i.e. Reabsorption and withdrawal).
37b-39. Satya is the seventh world. It is the world for those who never return along the path (traversed by them i.e. those who are on the way to their dissolution, Brahmaloka with its characteristic feature of Apratighāta. (Absence of repulsion and hindrance) has been recounted.
Bhūrloka is declared due to its measure of rotation. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is the firmament and it is remembered as Bhuvarloka. The distance between the Sun and Dhruva is remembered as Divaḥ the heavenly world.
40. The space between Dhruva and the Jana Loka is called Maharloka.
All the seven worlds have been explained. I shall mention their Siddhis (Spiritual achievements).
41-43. All those who reside in the Bhūrloka subsist by eating food-grains and imbibing juices.
All those who are in the Bhuvarloka and Svarloka are Somapās (imbibers of Soma juice) and Ājyapās (those who drink ghee). Those who resort to the Maharloka and stay in that fourth world have, it should be known, the mental achievement of five characteristics.
Everything that they desire mentally is produced instantly. These Devas worship mutually by means of all kinds of Yajñas.
44-45. These Devas are of the past, present and future. The first and the last are indicated through the present.
When the group of Devas goes beyond Tapas (world) their relationship also recedes. Their Siddhi (achievement) is mental (even when) their tenure of office ceases.
.46. Their mental achievement should be known as very-pure on account of mutual interaction.
The four worlds have been recounted and the details of Jana too, O Brāhmaṇas, have been mentioned by me. I shall repeat it once again for your sake.”
49-50. Thereafter, they establish the subjects and resort to Janaloka itself. On those occasions of burning at the end of Kalpas, when the worlds beginning with Bhūḥ and ending with Mahar are pervaded by fire completely, the flames of the Saṃvartaka fire overlap them along with the Vāsanās (impressions, of activities etc.)
51. All those groups (of Devas) Yama and others who reside in Maharloka resort to Janaloka itself when the Maharloka is ablaze and burnt up.
52. All those who are the inhabitants of that place are persons with subtle bodies. These (Yama and others) acquire the same ability or equal potentiality as the inhabitants (of Janaloka) and they are equipped with a physical form similar to that of those persons.
53-57. They move about in the Janaloka. The Saṃvarta fire sweeps over the Universe.
When the night of Brahmā whose source of. origin is the unmanifest one, dawns, at the beginning of the day, they are born as before in the same order. All those Sādhakas (Aspirants after spiritual attainment) beginning with Svāyambhuva and ending with Marīci are born like that. They are Devas and on their passing away the Yāmas and others are successively born as the younger brothers of Prajāpati. The earlier ones are born earlier and the later ones later. In the family of the Devas the Devatās are remembered as seven Sambhūtis (Births). These seven Sambhūtis are born along with the Kalpas and they have passed away. Three others yet remain. All of them are in the same order (or successively) reborn.
58-61. They have these repeated rapid successive births ten times. All these Gaṇas (groups) perceive transience in the Bhāvas (all created things). Due to the force of inevitable future as well as that of their meritorious reputation, all of them as well as the gods staying here resort to Vairāja. They go to him after forsaking the worlds. Thereafter, in the course of this period, the Tapasvins (sages) who are Nityamuktas (eternally free i.e. those who have attained salvation) are born in their race at the instance of Dharma. After being born here they fill those Sthānas (abodes).
62-63. (The Sthānas may be concerning) the states of Devas, Sages and human beings.
Thus all the groups of Devas take repeated births, ten times and when they resort to Vairāja Lokas (the regions of Brahmā), they stay there for a period of ten Upaplavas. (Secondary dissolutions). As the Kalpas come to a close, they stay there in the Vairājaka and again revert to Brahmaloka in their due order of priority.
64-66a. When a Kalpa of Vairājaka (i.e. pertaining to Brahmā) passes by in the world of Brahmā, the Vairāja (? Brahmā) allots the Sthāna in the Avyakta (Unmanifest one). Thus they (Devas etc.) in accordance with the posteriority and priority obtaining in the Brahmaloka resort to the Vairājalokas after going and returning ten times.
66b-76. Thus thousands of Deva Yugas have passed by. It is impossible to recount all details in the proper order of sequences of those persons who have attained death in the world of Brahmā along with the sages. This is because Time is without a beginning and it is difficult to count everything completely. It is so. There is no doubt in it. It has been mentioned by me as it exists.
77-79a. They abide in the body of Brahmā from which it is impossible to return. After reaching that world full of meditation, they attain the Supreme Bliss of Brahman. Thereby they gain immortality.
Brahmaloka is mentioned as existing beyond and over the Vairāja worlds at a distance of six times, (their extent). It is the place where Brahmā, the Purohita (one who has been put indiarge beforehand) stays.
79b-83. All of them are Praṇavātmans (those who have fixed their souls in the mystic syllable Oṃkāra). They exist with clarity and purity of intellect. After realizing the Supreme Bliss of Brahman, they attain Amṛtatva (immortality). They are never overwhelmed by the Dvandvas (pairs of mutually conflicting opposites such as heat, cold, happiness and sorrow etc.). They are devoid of three Bhāyas (states of existence such as Past, Present and Future). Those persons of great spiritual prowess and splendour are on a par with god Brahmā except his power of overlordship. They are endowed with majestic lustre (Prabhāva). Vijaya (Victory) Aiśvarya (divine faculties of omnipotence etc.), Sthiti (continuous Existence), Vairāgya (non-attachment) and Darśana, (Vision). All those denizens of the world of Brahmā attain the goal of non-return to Saṃsāra (i.e. Mokṣa) along with Brahmā and Devas.
At the advent of Pratisañcara (Re-absorption into Prakṛti), during the end of Tamas (darkness) they cease all their activities. Those learned persons are then in an enlightened state. They are Kṣaṇadarśins (persons who observe the momentary nature of the world). All of them get merged in the Avyakta (the Unmanifest one).
84. Thus the Devas and Sages partake of i.e. worship the Satra (the sacrificial session in the form of) Brahman. The Satra i.e. Brahman is eternal (Sanātana), immortal, resplendent, over-existent, imperishable and immutable.
85. They are Ūrdhvaretas (those who have sublimated their sexual energy). They do not have anything which can slay them again (i.e. they are deathless). Their faith evolved by repeated holy rites is indicated in the Vedāntas (Upaniṣads etc.).
86. There, they engage themselves in the practice of Yogic union (with the Supreme Brahman). They worship the highest goal. They abandon their physical body, the cause of all sins and proceed ahead for their immortality.
87-89. They are devoid of passionate attachment. They have conquered their anger. They are rid of delusion. They are truthful in speech. They are calm and tranquil with their minds in concentration. They are compassionate. They have conquered (i.e. controlled) their sense organs. Those who have attained the identity with the Brahman, are remembered as pure persons above (defiling) contacts. Those Vīras (heroic persons i.e. those who realized Brahman) who have burnt their sins by austerities unconnected with lustful desires, will attain the worlds from which they shall not fall off. They are remembered as persons of immeasurable (infinite) happiness.
This is the divine region of Brahman. It is superbly resplendent in the most exalted firmament. After attaining it along with Brahmā, the Amaras (Immortal beings) cease to be worried and sorrowful (i.e. attain the Mokṣa stage)”.
The sages enquired:
Listen from me to the reckoning of Parārdha as well as
99. A Koṭi multiplied by a thousand crores is declared as Parārdha. Parārdha multiplied by two is called Para by the learned men.
100-103a. They call hundred by the name Parivṛḍha and thousand by the word Paripadmaka. The other numbers (Each is-multiplied by ten to get the next number) are Ayuta, Niyuta, Prayuta, Arbuda, Nyarbuda, Kharbuda, Kharva, Nikharva, Śaṅku, Padma, Samudra, Antya, Madhya and Parārdha—Parārdha multiplied by two makes Para.
Thus numbers upto eighteen digits have been named by great sages for the purpose of counting. One should know these numbers beginning with hundred.
103b-104. The (period extending) to a Parārdha (?) years is remembered as the period of creative activity of Brahmā during the Kalpas. A period extending as much also remains. At the end of it he takes rest (?). Para and Parārdha have been calculated and reckoned by me.
105-107. Since his prowess is the greatest, his longevity is the highest, his power of penance, strength, virtue or Dharma, learning, fortitude, knowledge, realisation of Brahman and faculties such as omnipotence etc. are of the highest magnitude, there is no living being which is greater than Brahmā. He is established in the highest position. So he is the greatest of all oḥjects.The greatest Brahmā has been reckoned by me (as Para). Half of his is Parārdha.
108. The countable and the uncountable are always based on Tantras (Scientific Treatises). The countable is observed through numbers. It is spoken of upto Parārdha.
109-110. (Defective text). When a heap is seen no specific number is observed. That is the characteristic feature of the countlessness. In sand heaps etc. unlimited number is observed. That is also its characteristic quality. Ability to count the sand particles is seen in Īśvaras (powerful and potential lords) equipped with divine vision which is due to their purity. Brahmā sees everything because he is well established in knowledge.
111-113. On hearing this, all those ascetics of the Naimiṣa forest had their eyes bedimmed with tears of joy. Their words were choked due to delight. All those expounders of the Vedas asked Mātariśvan (the wind-god):—“O holy lord, how far off is the world of Brahmā? What is its extent? How is this calculated in Yojanas? What is the unit of measurement? How much is a Yojana as well as Krośa. We wish to hear of it as it is in actual reality.
114. On hearing their utterance full of humility, Mātariśvan (the Wind-god) uttered the following sweet words (explaining everything) in the proper order and in the manner seen by him.
116. There are ten parts of the Mahat. The gross part is called Bhūtādi (i.e. Ahaṃkāra or Cosmic Ego). The magnitude of Bhūtādi is more than a tenth part (?).
117-118. Paramāṇu (Atom) is very subtle. It can be mentally conceived but it cannot be seen by the eyes. What cannot be further broken up in the world should be known as Paramāṇu (atom). When the rays of the sun come through the window, minute dust particles are seen. The learned men call that particle a Paramāṇu. It is the first in the series of units of measurement.
121. Eight Bālāgras make one Likṣā (the egg of a louse). Eight Likṣās make one Yūkā (a louse). They call the combination of eight Yūkās one Yava (a grain of barley). Eight Yavas make one Aṅgula (finger-breadth).
122. Twelve Aṅgulaparvans (finger-joints or finger-breadths is called a Vitasti (a span). It should be known that twenty-one finger breadths make one Ratni (a cubit) (the distance between the elbow and the closed fist).
124-125. Learned men call ninety-six Aṅgulas, a Dhanus. It is remembered that the unit Dhanus is taken up in calculating Gāvyūtis. A dhanus consists of two Daṇḍas with the fingers placed like a tubular vessel (?) Persons who know calculation call three hundred Dhanus units a Nalva. [??]
126. Two thousand Dhanus units make one Gavyūti. Eight thousand Dhanus units make one Yojana.
127-128. The measurement of the distance of a Yojana is based on this unit of Dhanus. It should be known that a thousand, of these Dhanus make the distance called Śakrakośa (?) It has been reckoned so by the experts in the knowledge of calculation. Listen to the distances of worlds in the creation of Brahmā with this Yojana as the unit.
129. The sun is more than a hundred thousand Yojanas from the surface of the Earth. The moon is two hundred thousand Yojanas above the Sun.
130. The entire stellar zone shines a full hundred thousand Yojanas above the moon.
131. The distance between the planets above the stellar zone is two hundred thousand Yojanas. Each of these worlds (planets) is so much above the one below.
133-135. Above that, is Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and Śanaiścara (Śaturn) is above that. A hundred thousand Yojanas above Śanaiścara shines the entire zone of the Seven Sages (the Great Bear). It is mentioned that a hundred thousand Yojanas above the Sages (The Great-Bear) is the son of Uttānapāda namely Dhruva who is stationed in a compact divine Vimāna in the firmament constituted by the stars. Dhruva (Pole Star) has become a post (to which the planets are tied as it were).
136-137. The height of the three worlds has been explained by me in terms of Yojanas. It is presented for the people of different castes and stages in life in the three worlds to perform Yāgas to the Devas in the course of Manvantaras. Whatever Yāga is performed in this world is remembered as the cause of sustenance of all beings born of divine wombs.
138-141. The three worlds have been explained. Henceforth understand the following:—The Maharloka where the Kalpavāsins (i.e. those who stay alive throughout the Kalpa) stay is above (the position of) Dhruva. It has been decisively stated that its distance is a crore of Yojanas. Janaloka is situated two crores of Yojanas above Maharlaka. It is, remembered that Dakṣa and other sons of Brahmā stay in Jana-lokā as Sādhakas (Aspirants for spiritual attainments).
The Tapoloka is situated above Janaloka (It is the region) where the Devas (or the Devapitṛs) named Vairājas stay. They are devoid of the effects of burning of all living beings in the destruction of the universe. The distance between Tapoloka and Satyaloka is remembered as six times the previous distances i.e. six hundred thousand Yojanas.
142-145. That Brahmaloka is called by the name Apunarmāraka (where no death recurs i.e. there is no more return to Saṃsāra). Those who worship Brahmā stay there and they do not drop down to this Saṃsāra again.
It is remembered that the portion above Brahmaloka within the Aṇḍa (i.e. Cosmic Egg) extends to a crore and fifty Niyutas (i.e. fifteen million) Yojanas. The orbit of this world, the limit to its upward revolution and other movements, is remembered as fourteen crores and eleven lakhs of Yojanas.
The worlds above Dhruva have been thus explained in terms of Yojanas in the manner heard by me.
Now I shall mention the allotment of abodes to the living beings of the downward drift (i.e. the nether worlds).
146-150. The following are the hells where the creatures of terrible activities go on account of their sins:—They are Raurava, Ghora (Rodha as per Vā. P.) Śūkara, Tāla, Taptakumbha, Mahājvāla, Śabala, Vimohana, Kṛmi, Kṛmibhakṣa, Lālābhakṣa, Viśaṃsana, Adhaḥśiras, Pūyavaha, Rudhirāndhu, Viṣṭākīrṇa, Mūtrākīrṇa, Vaitaraṇī, Kṛṣṇa, Asipatravana, Agnijvāla, Mahāghora, Sandaṃśa, Aśvabhojana, Tamas, Kṛṣṇasūtra, Loha, Abhija, Apratiṣṭha and Vīci and others.
152-153. All these Narakas beginning with Raurava are mentioned to be beneath the Earth. A man guilty of perjury and one who indulges in calumny fall into the hell Raurava. A person who indulges in partiality when he ought to have been detached falls into the hell Krūragraha. One who obstructs cows or destroys foetus in the womb or one who sets the town on fire, faīls into Krūra-graha.
154. The slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, one who drinks liquor and a person who steals gold sinks into the hell Śūkara. A person who kills a Kṣatriya as well as one who kills a Vaiśya will fall into the hell Tāla.
155-156. The following persons fall into the hell called Taptakumbha, viz.—He who commits Brāhmaṇa-slaughter, the defìler of the preceptor’s bed, those by whom a king’s soldier or a horse-trader is harassed and by whom a protector of wealth is tortured, one who sells a chaste woman and one who forsakes a devoted follower—all these fall into Taptakumbha.
157-158. He who carnally approaches his daughter or daughter-in-law falls into the Naraka (named) Mahājvāla. Those who sell the Vedas, those who censure the Vedas, those who slight elders and preceptors and those who hit them with wounding words, as well as the man who approaches a prohibited woman shall pass on to the hell Śabala.
159. He who transgresses the bounds of morality and established moral law falls into the terrible hell of Vimoha. He who performs sacrificial rites for causing harm to other persons falls into the hell Kīṭaloha.
160. A person inimical to gods and Brāhmaṇas, a person who does not honour elders and preceptors and he who contaminates gems and jewels goes over to the hell Kṛmibhakṣa.
161. He who alone and by himself eats the food without offering the same to Brāhmaṇas and friends shall pass on to the foul-smelling hell Lālābhakṣa and stay there.
162. The manufacturer of arrows, the potter, the person who takes away gold coins, the person who is a professional physician and he who sets fire to a garden—all these fall into the hell Viśaṃsana.1 765
163. He who takes monetary gifts from evil men, he who performs sacrifices on behalf of those who are ineligible and unworthy of them, and he who maintains himself through the stars (i.e. astrologer)—these pass on to the hell Adhomukha (Adhaḥśiras).
164. A person who sells milk, liquor, salt, lac, scents, sweet juices, gingelly seeds—and other similar articles shall fall in the terrible hell named Pūyavaha.
165-169a. He who binds and fastens cocks, cats, birds, deer and goats shall also pass on to this hell.
The person who looks after goats and sheep, the buffalo-keeper, the Cakra-Dhvajin (? Standard-bearer of troops and realms?), the Brāhmaṇa who is a professional painter or actor, the bird-catcher, the village-priest who conducts religious ceremonies for people of all castes and classes, a person who sets houses on fire, a person who administers poison, a pimp, a person who sells Soma juice, a drunkard, a meat-eater, a butcher, a slaughterer of buffaloes etc., a deer-slayer, a Parvakāra (a priest who performs auspicious religious rites on other (i.e. unprescribed) days just for profit, a spy or an informer and a betrayer of friends—all these fall into hell Rudhirandhu—so say the learned men.
169b-172. There is no doubt in this that those who deceive (by denying food) ) to one who has occupied a scat in the row for the purpose of taking food, will fall into the terrible hell named Viḍbhuja.
A man who habitually utters falsehood, an inauspicious fellow who reviles and abuses others—these sinners fall in the awful hell named Mūtrakīrṇa.
Men who imbibe liquor and kill sharks and crocodiles pass on to Vaitaraṇī.
Mad people, men of deranged mind, men devoid of clean habits and activities, men who are habitually furious, men who cause sorrow to others and roguish cheats pass on to the hell Kṛṣṇa.
173. The shepherds who chop off (trees in the) forests are butchered by means of saws and scissors by awfully terrible hunters of deer (when they fall) into the, hell Asipatra.
174. A person who gives up the life of a religious mendicant (and relapses in the old bad ways of life) falls into the hell Agnijvāla. They are devoured by crows that have beaks of iron and that are of dark and variegated colours.
175. A person falls into the hell called Sandaṃśa due to his failure in observing the holy rites of performance of sacrifice (iṣṭa) and of pūrta i.e. doing works of public charity (like digging of wells, construction of gardens etc.)
176. If the religious students under a vow of celibacy have seminal discharge during day-dreams, if the fathers are taught by the sons, and if the fathers are ordered about by the sons—all of them invariably pass on to the hell Śvabhojana.
177. Those who act contrarily to the rules of the castes and stages of life, those who perform holy rites with (uncontrolled) fury and excessive exultation—all these become (permanent) residents of hells.
178. The awfully terrible and great hell of fiery nature named Raurava is situated above. It is remembered that the dreadful hell of very chilly atmosphere is beneath it.
179. Understand that the hells being described (subsequently) are of this nature and order. Only seven hells are recounted as situated beneath the Earth.
181. It is remembered that beneath it there is a chilly hell named Tapa.
The third one is Kālasūtra. It is remembered that there are great serpents of different kinds in it.
183. The (first hell) is named Raurva because it is dreadful. Since it is very hot it is remembered as Dahana (Burning). The dreadful hell of chilly atmosphere is beneath it. It is the base bell named Tapa.
184. It is mentioned that Kālasūtra is very dreadful because there are serpents there that cut and destroy.
There is no steadiness in the hell Apratiṣṭha. It is remembered that there is a perpetual whirling therein.
185. Avīci is mentioned as very dreadful because of the squeezing and crushing by means of mechanical devices. Loha is more dreadful than that because of resorting to (Śrayaṇat) activities. (?)
186. Since the body is constituted in that manner it is remembered as one that cannot be enjoyed. Absence of remedy is the characteristic of this hell on account of the fact that the sinners are subjected to pain, slaughter, fettering etc.
187. Those hells are connected (with one another) from above as well as from below. They are remembered as devoid of illumination. There is excess of misery in all of them on account of sin.
188-189. These two (? Raurava and Tapa) are on a par with the worlds above but both of them are devoid of illumination. With their bodies having dimensions to apartments on the tops of houses (?) the Naraka-ḍwellers are revolved thus due to their previous Karmans, all of a sudden. Their bodies are capable of experiencing pain etc. It is remembered that the excess of misery in all those hells is very severe.
190-192. The tortures that the Naraka-dwellers are subjected to are declared to be innumerable. There, the misery is experienced by them. When their Karman is almost exhausted they are born of animal wombs due to the residue of their Karmans. The Devas and the Naraka-dwellers are stationed above and below. Their physical bodies are evolved suddenly on account of Dharma and Adharma (Merits and Sins) for the sake of Upabhoga (experiencing happiness and sorrow). The sorrow is experienced due to the relevant Karman.
193-195. With their faces bent down, the Devas look at the Naraka-dwellers stationed beneath. Similarly, the Naraka-dwellers see all the Devas with faces bent down. Since there is equality between these two and this conception is natural that there is no such state as above or beneath in the sphere of Lokāloka. This natural appellation is applicable to Lokāloka.”
Then the Brāhmaṇas engaged in the Sattra spoke to Vāyu again.
The Sages said:—
196-197. “Calculate the number of all living beings residing in Lokāloka and moving about in the Universe and mention it completely to us”.
On hearing these words of the Sages, Māruta spoke thus:—
198-199. This fact cannot be understood even by means of divine vision. Even if it is understood (somehow) it cannot be calculated by means of eyes. Hence, ultimately, O Brāhmaṇas, no question arises due to the fact that it, cannot be imagined or measured. But understand what is reckoned and decided by Brahmā.
200. Earthly worms that are procreated by means of seminal effusion constitute a thousandth part of the number of immobile beings.
201. All the aquatic animals together constitute a thousandth part of the worms procreated by means of seminal effusion. Let this be understood decisively.
202. It should be understood that birds constitute a thousandth part of the living beings dwelling in water. All of them belong to this world.
203. Animals, the quadrupeds of the world are equal to a thousandth part of the number of birds.
204. Bipeds are reckoned as constituting a thousandth part of the number of quadrupeds. Righteous persons are reckoned as constituting a thousandth part of bipeds.
205-206. A thousandth part of the righteous persons go to heaven. Persons who get salvation are equal to a thousandth part of the righteous persons in the heaven.
Persons living in the regions of torture are equal to those attaining heaven.
207-210. Those evil-souled ones who are degraded and fallen on account of their contempt for piety (dharma) pass on to the hell Raurava. In the pitch darkness therein, they experience heat and cold.
Obstinate and hard-hearted persons who pass on to the regions of torture experience excessively fierce pain. The hell Raurava, it should be known, is very hot. It is essentially terrible and dreadful.
The hell named Andha is still more dreadful. The hell Tapa is of chilly atmosphere.
Thus saintly persons or righteous people going to heaven are very rare.
This number has been calculated by the self-born Lord (Brahmā). This calculation of Brahmā is superhuman and beyond all ordinary reckoning.”
The Sages said:—
Tell us factually the magnitude and the nature of intervening spaces between the worlds.”
On hearing these words of those sages who had sublimated their sexual urge, god Vayu who had visualized the actual state of affairs, spoke of this factual state.
213-217. Ṛbhu, Sanatkumāra and others are enlightened persons. By means of Yogic power, Pratyāhāra (Restraint over the Sense Organs), meditation, and power of penance, they directly perceive their abode that is ordinarily clear only by means of reasoning and speculation. They have purified intellect. They have got rid of their outer cover of ignorance. They are devoid of Rajas (sins or the quality called Rajas). They are excellent good men identical with Brahman. They are devoid of old age or decline. They are endowed with the quality of loving affection. Thus those Yog ins abide in the Brahman. They observe every thing as performed by the masters among the sages called Vālakhilyas (?) in the same manner as is observed by me when my physical presence was there.
The abode of Īśvara cannot be comprehended by spiritually unsuccessful persons. Since he is very subtle, Īśvara is comprehensible to the learned men only through their super-human power.
218-221. The following ten qualities of imperishable nature are present in Śaṅkara viz. perfect knowledge, detachment (absence of affection), divine faculties of omnipotence, omnipresence etc., austerity, truthfulness, forbearance, fortitude the state of being the seen self-contact and the state of being the presiding Deity.
Because of his eminence and supremacy, the lord richly endowed with Yogic power, is engaged in blessing Brahmā. He renders him help by assuming the cosmic form. The abode of that lord is imperishable and permanent, undisturbed and steady. It is capable of coping with any adversity. It is the eighth world. It is the highest one, pure intelligence and constituted of Māyā. Lord Maheśvara is Māyī (one who is the master of Māyā).
222. The destruction of Devas is mentioned as the proof of his existence.
Now understand further even as I expound this in detail and in the proper order.
223. It is mentioned that the world of Brahmā is at a distance of thirteen crores and fifteen lakhs of Yojanas (131500000) from the Earth.
224. It is remembered that the Aṇḍa of the lord (i.e. the Cosmic Egg) is higher up at a distance of one crore and fifty lakhs (15000000) of Yojanas beyond the world of Brahmā.
225-227. This is the upward range and beyond it, it is remembered, is the end of Gati (further movement). The Prakṛtis are remembered as eternal and subtle. They are called Prakṛtis because production is their characteristic sign. They are not well-comprehended because the Guṇas are inter-dependent and intermixed. It is from them that the Kṣetrajña (the Individual soul with the designation Brahmā is evolved. He is the soul, the Adhikartṛ (the Superintending authority).
The thing that is immutable, that is the prime cause, that is the state of being the presiding authority, that cannot be produced, and that its greatest abode is the Paramāṇu (the minutest atom). It lies embedded in the Supreme Being.
228-230. Lord Maheśvara is Akṣaya (having no deterioration), Anūhya (one who cannot be conjectured), Amūrti (having no physical form) and yet Mūrtimān (having a visible body).
His (activity is) Prādurbhāva (Manifestation), Tirobhāva (Vanishing), Sthiti (Stability) and Anugraha (Blessing).
Lord Śiva who is like the atom i.e. very subtle is Vidhi (the fate) and he cannot be compared with others. He is endowed with brilliance and he is the initial illuminator of Tamas (Darkness). The golden Egg that was evolved at the out-set as Aupasargika (A relevant adjunct) is very huge and circular. It is evolved from Īśvara.
231. The germination of the Seed is from Īśvara. Kṣetrajña (individual Soul) is accepted as the Seed. They call Prakṛti as Toni (source of origin) and that Prakṛti is of the nature of Nārāyaṇa.
232. The lord is for the purpose of creation of the worlds. He is the support and sustenance of the worlds. The creation of the noble-souled Lokadhātṛ (Creator of the worlds) is excellent on account of correlation of Tattvas (Primary substances).
233. In front of the world of Brahmā and beneath the Aṇḍa of Brahmā, in between these two, there is a divine city free from illness and unhappiness. It is Manomaya (mental in nature).
234. That is the abode of Īśvara (the Supreme Lord) when he adopts a physical body. That is the region of Īśvara of unmeasured prowess. The city is named Śivam. It is the refuge for those who are afraid of re-births.
235. Its internal extent, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, is a hundred thousand Yojanas. It is stationed in the Earthly zone.
236-237. The formidable external rampart-wall of gold has the brilliance of the Sun. The city is encircled by the wall having the splendour of the mid-day sun, the splendour that out-shines all other brilliance. The city is equipped with four gates made of gold and adorned with strings of pearls. The enclosures are well-arranged with bright golden adjuncts.
238-241. That divine city is in the firmament. It is very beautiful. It is resonant with the sounds of bells. In that excellent and beautiful city, those persons who have performed good holy rites and follow their happy future destiny, rejoice in different places such as in airy open grounds worthy of sports, in the inner apartments made of silver and studded with different kinds of jewels and gems. They enjoy themselves in places full of banners and ensigns and richly furnished with all desirable objects. They take delight in those places which shine splendidly with parks and gardens. They revel in the apartments made of gold and resembling clouds at dusk or those made of silver and resembling the Kailāsa mountain. They rejoice on the excellent tops of splendid palaces. They are delighted with the objects of enjoyment such as sweet sounds etc. (They are the followers of Bhava).
242-243. On the tops of palaces the sounds of Vedic Mantras are heard incessantly. Different kinds of auspicious stories are narrated there. Sounds of musical instruments and songs are heard all round. There are Saṃsravas (offerings of libations) everywhere. There are unparalleled assemblages of people. These and similar things are present on the tops of those palaces.
244-245. There is a splendid and auspicious palace of thousand columns. It is made of gold and it is studded with excellent matchless gems and jewels all round, with crystals resembling the moon, with precious stones as lustrous as Lapis Lazuli and with various other gems brilliant like the morning sun or golden in colour or having the brilliant lustre of fire.”
246. On hearing this, the ascetics and the sages of Naimiṣa forest cried out. As they had some doubts, they spoke these words to the Wind-god.
The Sages enquired:—
247. “Who are those noble-souled followers of Bhava (God Śiva) who very much deserve to be blessed and who rejoice very well in that excellent city?”
248. On hearing the speech of the sages Vāyu spoke these words
“Let the fact be heard as to by whom the devotion to the lord of the Devas has been pursued diligently.
249-250. The eternal and immutable region of Śiva, the status of sharing the same world as Rudra, has been attained by those who sought refuge in Maheśvara with single-minded devotion, by not thinking of anything else. Their inner soul is sanctified by means of pure thoughts, words and deeds. They glitter on account of their modesty and simplicity. They are not greedy. They have perfect control over their sense-organs and they are endowed with heroism.
251. They have attained identity and similarity with the form of Bhava, the excellent state of equality with the lord. All of them are Vaiśvānara-Mukhas (having the god of fire for their mouths). They have the cosmic form and the matted hair.
252. They are blue-throated and white-necked. They have three eyes and sharp curved teeth. The crescent-moon makes them a fine turban and they wear matted hair as though it were a crown.
253. All those heroes have ten arms. They have the sweet smell of the interior of a lotus. All of them shine like the mid-day sun. All of them wear yellow robes.
254. All of them hold the Pināka bow in their hands. They have the white bulls as vehicles. They are endowed with brilliant lustre and they are bedecked in pearl necklaces. They wear ear-rings.
255-256. They are omniscient. They perceive everything. They are devoid of old age and death. They divide themselves into various forms by means of physical bodies having superior lustre, and they sport about with different objects of enjoyment. They enjoy rare pleasures and have the power to move about as they please. They are Siddhas (persons with spiritual attainments) who are enlightened by other Siddhas.
257-259. There are many crores of groups of eleven Rudras of noble souls. Maheśvara the noble-souled lord of the Devas, the lord who is compassionate towards the devotees, the lover and consort of Pārvatī, rejoices along with these. I do not perceive any dissimilarity between those Rudras and noble-souled Bhava. I am speaking the truth to you.”
Thus Mātariśvā (the Wind-god) concluded the sacred story heard from Īśvara.
260-261. After hearing this extremely holy story of Tryambaka all those sages having a lustre similar to that of the sun, obtained excellent delight and very good blessing. After duly honouring Vayu of great prowess they spoke to him.
The Sages said:
262-263. “O highly exalted and fortunate Lord Samīraṇa (Wind-god), the excellent holy Aupasargika, the eighth abode of Īśvara has been recounted to us by you. Its. situation and magnitude has been factually related. That greatest region of the Supreme Soul is richly endowed with Yogic Dharma.
264-268. The greatness of god Mahādeva cannot be perfectly comprehended even by the Suras. Due to your greatness, the greatness of that lord of immeasurable prowess, (has been understood by us). If at all there is delusion in his devotees, it is only for the sake of further blessing and comparison. The richness and prosperity in the abode of the lord of the Devas shines excessively. The glory of Brahmā which has been endowed upon him is superb and matchless. It (that glory) has been placed (housed) in the abode of the Lord of the Cosmic, as if it is the bright light of the moon. The greatness of the noble-souled Rudras who are equal to Mahādeva has been related by you, (the narration of which seems as though the nectar is oozing out of your mouth. O lord of holy rites, it has been entirely imbibed by us along with devotion to Śarva (God Śiva). Is there anything related to the followers (of Rudra) that has not been understood by us?
O Prāṇa (Life-breath), the excellent god, it behoves you to explain this question duly.
269. That lord said—“What else shall I explain to you? O sages of holy rites, I shall recount whatever should be narrated by me.”
The Sages said:—
270-271. “The Ādityas, the lions of great fury and exploits on either side (of the lord), the Vaiśvānaras, the Bhūtagaṇas (groups of goblins) and the tigers which are the followers—what will be the state of these during the dreadful Ābhūta-Samplava (annihilation of all living beings), when all living beings are destroyed? Kindly tell us this exactly after taking into account the existence of īśvara and his origin that is unmanifest.”
272-277. “(It is the place) where formerly the sons of Brahmā called Kumāras viz. Sanandana, Sanaka and Sanātana had gone. Kapila was their leader. Āsuri of great fame, the Sage Pañcaśikha and others like them went there. After the lapse of some time, when cycles of Kalpas had been completed, when the Pralaya (Deluge) causing the end of the great Bhūtas (Elements) was imminent, many crores of Rudras approached gracious Māheśvarī.
After forsaking the sensual enjoyments of sound etc. those noble-souls pass on to Maheśvara, the Subtle one. With their spiritual refulgence endowed with wisdom and perfect knowledge, they enter the living beings and eschew the sensual enjoyments of eight types of bases. With the compassion for the living beings (elements?) they leave off their station without excitement. Then they pass on to Maheśvara, the subtlest atom.
278. Then they cross the river of worldly existence, having a great whirlpool with births and deaths for its waters. Then they perceive the greatest, undivided and indivisible.
279-280. Seven Devīs (Mātṛs) had been glorified including Devī (i.e. Pārvatī). So also thousands of lions and Ādityas, Vaiśvānaras (fire-gods), groups of goblins, tigers and other followers. Bhava, the perfect exponent of Sāṃkhya and Yoga absorbs all of them within himself.
281. Joined with Viṣṇu, he creates once again the seven worlds and the five elements. Thereafter, he annihilates them too.
282. Rudra who is of the nature of Sāman and Yajur Mantras, permeates decisively (the whole Universe) within and without.
283-286. He is the only lord and God, O Brāhmaṇas. He is the cause of origin as well as the destroyer of the universe.
Then those sages (? Kapila etc.) who have a lustre similar to that of the Sun, concentrate their minds solely on him. They are of truthful glory. They impose the spiritual fire in their selves. They keep their mind pure by means of good thoughts, words and activities with their minds exclusively concentrated on Him. They thus attain Maheśvara. They are engaged in holy rites and fasts. They are merciful and compassionate towards all living beings. Divine Yogic practice subsequent to the practice of Yama (Restraint of Senses) etc., has been mastered by them. They have thus become rid of all, doubts. After attaining Maheśvara by means of Supreme devotion and refulgence endowed with perfect knowledge, they have attained Rudrasālokya (the status of living in the same world as Rudra). They have attained the eternal and immutable position,
287-288. He who is equipped with the regular practice of austerities and reads this Śruti (narrative as holy as the Vedas) recounted by Vayu attains Rudraloka, the cause of all worlds. No matter, whether he is a Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya or a Vaiśya (provided he is devoted to his own duties.) He attains the region of Rudra, the cause of all worlds.
289-290. When all created objects have receded and they abide in the Prakṛti alone, there is no possibility of direct perception. Then everything is out of perception. Nothing is possible to be seen at all. There cannot be any word to narrate it. It cannot be known. Even learned men are ignorant. Moreover, there is no question of going and returning.
291-293. By means of an imaginative grasp and by means of inference the following is mentioned after duly pondering over it. When the ultimate cause, the eternal (Pradhāna) of the nature of Sat and Asat (Existent and nonexistent) stands by, there is an activity in it though it cannot be pointed out, but that is due to (some inner) automatic cause. The seven Prakṛtis enter one another in this process of re-absorption each having it two times.
The Aṇḍa (Cosmic egg) by which everything is enveloped gets merged in water.
294. The seven continents, seven oceans, seven worlds along with the mountains—everything having water for its covering becomes merged in Jyotis (the Fire-element).
296. The covering of the sky merges with Bhūtādi (Cosmic Ego). The Mahat (Great Principle), the characteristic feature of which is the intellect, swallows Bhūtādi (the source of Bhūtas).
297. The Unmanifest one swallows Mahat. Beyond that there is Guṇasāmya (the equilibrium of the Guṇas). The Avyakta and Brahmā are thus the causes of annihilation and extension.
298-299. They create and annihilate. Creation and withdrawal are due to modification (evolution and involution). Men of perfect knowledge who have accomplished performance of activities, go quickly and get involved in rc-absorption. They observe perfect restraint. The Kṣetrajñas (individual souls) get united with Karaṇas (sense-organs).
300. They say that the Avyakta (Unmanifest one) is Kṣetra and Brahmā is called Kṣetrajña. Their Union is without a beginning but is caused by Sādharmya (similarity of characteristics) and Vaidharmya (dissimilarity of characteristics).
301. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, in the activities of creation the Kṣetrajña should be known. The knower of Brahman also should be known separately, through the knowledge of Kṣetra.
302. The state of being or not being the object of knowledge of the Kṣetra and Kṣetrajña is remembered. Brahmā should be known as Aviṣaya (non-object) and Kṣetra is called Viṣayat (object).
303. The Kṣetra presided over by Kṣetrajña, they say, is for the sake of Kṣetrajña. Since the bodies are many, the embodied one (soul) is remembered as manifold.
Since there is the experience of happiness or sorrow, different bodies, the multiplicity of individual souls should be understood by the knower. When the withdrawal of these different beings takes place, that is brought about naturally after the lapse of a great period of time.
They return along with the residents of Brahmaloka, along with all those who have attained similarity to Brahmā. Their attachment to the self-born lord is steady.
Due to their return and due to the staying behind of Ātmanivāsins (residents of the Self i.e. Brahmā’s world); they begin to see defects therein. Then, they have Vairāgya (detachment) roused up and it causes destruction of their residence.
309-310. The Bhojya (object, Enjoyment or food) and Bhoktṛtva (the state of being the enjoyer) are many. Through-this, they comprehend its nature; the Kṣetrajñas have the knowledge of their separateness. Then those residents of Brahmaloka see the multiplicity of individuals. They are beyond cause in Prakṛti. They reside within themselves in the nature of the quiescent and invisible form.
311-312. All the conscious and unconscious are pure and free from blemishes and stains. They are remembered as attaining absolution there itself. They do not come back (to Saṃsāra).
Since they are devoid of Guṇas, the Nirātmans (those without souls i.e. the non-sentient ones) too are. absorbed in Prakṛti at the end in the opposite process.
Thus the process of dissolution by the self-born Being through Prakṛti has been recounted.
313. He who abides by the discipline and conduct of life based on the castes and stages of life and listens to the narration of this Pratisarga (dissolution) shall attain the status of having the same world as Śiva. He will be endowed with devotion and be free from ailments.
314. If the Śūdra is not a liquor-addict, if he is a devotee of Bhava (God Śiva) and if he has all sense-organs subjugated, he will be characterised by Apratighāta (absence of hindrance and resistance) and will be staying till the ultimate dissolution of all living beings.
315. Or he will be attaining the status of being the leader of Gaṇas i.e. groups of Śiva’s attendants of all-time duration.
The liquor-addict rejoices along with the groups of Bhūtas who imbibe liquor.
316. On being served and resorted to on the Earth, Bhava becomes the bestower of boons to men.”
Thus Lord Vāyu spoke these excellent words.
Footnotes and references:
VV. 8-46 describe the seven worlds viz l. Bhūr, 2. Bhuvas, 3. Svar, 4. Mahar (in details) 5. Jana, 6. Tapas and 7. Satya. These seven are called kṛtas. The location of 1-4 is (1) The earth, (2) The space between the earth and the sun, (3) The space between the sun and Dhruva (The Polar Star) (4) the space between Dhruva and Jana-Ioka is Mahar-loka (VV. 39-40). V. 22-25 explain the terms Jana-loka (causing birth of people like Manu), Tapas (Region for performers of Penance) and Satya (= Sattāmātra, of pure existence, the region of Brahmā).
The intervening verses state who stay in each of these lokas (regions).
In V.V. 47-68, Vāyu describes how gods etc. resort to Janaloka when Maharloka suffers from the saṃvartaka fire at the end of the world. He states how the time is endless; and how in the same process of the same gods, sages etc., taking re-incarnation time continues (ad infinitum).
VV. 77-89 descibe the condition of the persons who reach Satya (=Brahma) Loka. This Purāṇa supports the state of Liberation described in Brahmā Sutras IV. 4.17-21 in that the Liberated soul has all the advantages and specialities of Brahmā except his power to create the world etc (vide VV. 80-83).
VV. 90 ff give the units of time to tell about the life-span of god Brahmā. The technical terms of numerals in VV. 100-103a are worth noting.
10,000—10,000 (It should be Daśasahasrāṇām Sahasram 10,000<—1000.)
In VV. 115ff Vāyu states the units of measuring distance to determine how long was the world of Brahmā (from this world). The distances and locations of the Sun and other Planets (VV. 129-135) are imaginary though supported in other Purāṇa works. VV. 138-145 state the distance and ocations of the higher worlds like Maharloka and others.
From Vā. P. 8;106 Nālikā seems to be a measure but Lexicons like MW., SKD. ḍo not support it. If ‘Nālikā’ is a measure, it is equated here with a couple of Dhanu-staffs.
Probably Krośa as it is a distance of one thousand Dhanus.
VV. 146-195 deal with seven hells, the tortures therein and the sins that lead to them.
Vā. P. 101-152 read Rodha which is the name of a hell. It means: The killer of cows, a destroyer of foetus and one who indulges in arson (burning of towns etc.) is consigned to the hell Rodha.
Kṣayaṇāt in Vā. P. 101.182 is also obscure. Therein Karmaṇāṃ kṣayaṇāt means ‘wasting away of Karmas’.
VV. 198-210 contain the Puranic notion about the population of different kinds of species in this Brahmāṇḍa. The reply to the question of sages in VV. 196-197 is imaginary from our point of view but people seriously believed in these figures in Puranic times.
VV. 233b-245 constitute a poetic description of the city of Śiva and VV. 249-259 describe the holy residents who dwell there. It is a Puranic description of the types of Liberation called Salokatā, Sarūpatā, Samipatā.
When Vayu has already described the Ābhūta-samplma (world-end) which destroys worlds like Bhūr, Bhuvaḥ etc, sages naturally want to know the fate of the residents of Śiva’s city at that time. The author wants to establish the greatness of Maheśvara. He replies that they ultimately enter in Him who is the Subtlest Aṇu. This shows the influence of Vaiśeṣikas on the author. Historical teachers of the Sāṅkhya School, Kapila, Āsuri, Pañcaśikha are elevated like the sages Sanaka, Sanandana etc.
VV. 293-297 describe the process of involution of the universe in the Sāṅkhya (Vedāntic) way; Avyakta and Brahmā are the causes of ‘annihilation and extension’.
VV. 300-312 discuss the topic Kṣetra and Kṣetrajña and conclude that the self-born being brings about dissolution (of the universe) through Prakṛti.