The Garuda Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736

The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...

Chapter IV - Order of Universal creation, described by Narayana to Rudra

Rudra said:—O Janarddana, do thou described the primary and scondary creations, the families, Manvantaras as well as the histories of the families.

Hari said:—Hear, O Rudra, I will describe the old sport of Vishnu, consisting of creation, preservation and destruction, which destroys all sins.

The Lord Vasudeva, void of passion, Nara-Narayana, is the great Soul, Para Brahma, the creator and the destroyer of the universe. All this exists in Him as both manifest and unmanifest. He exists in the form of Purusha (male-being) and Kala (Time). Vishnu is both manifest and unmanifest. He is Purusha and Kala. Understand, his actions are like those of a sportive child. He is without beginning, the Creator; He is without end and Purusottama (the most exalted of male beings). From him originate the unmanifest as well as the soul. From him emanate the intellect, mind, the Tattvas (principles) ether, air, fire, water and earth. 0 Rudra, He is the golden egg and is himself his own end. The Lord assumes a body for the purposes of creation. Having assumed the body of Brahma with four mouths, pervaded by the quality of Rajas (darkness) he creates the entire world, moveable and stationery. This entire universe consisting of the celestials, Asuras and human beings lies inside the egg. As Creator he creates the universe; as Vishnu he protects it; and he destroys it in the end. Hari himself is the destroyer. Having assumed the body of Brahma Hari creates the universe and as Vishnu he protects it. And assuming the form of Rudra the Lord destroys the universe at the end of a Kalpa. When Brahma was engaged in the work of creation, He, assuming the form of a boar, held up with his tusks the earth sunk under water. Hear, O Shankara, I will describe all in short beginning with the first creation of the deity.

The first creation is Mahat or intellectual principle; it is simply a metamorphosis of Brahma. The second creation is that of Tanmatras or the subtle elementary particles. This is known as the creation of elements. The third is called Vaikarika or the creation of organs. This is the (Prakrita) material or elementary creation originating from intellect. The fourth is the primary creation—and all the stationery bodies are known as primary creations. The next is Tiryyaksrotas[1] who are otherwise called Tiryyakjonya i. e. beasts &c. The sixth is the Urdhasrotasa[2] which is called the creation of the celestials. The seventh is the creation of Arvakasrotas[3] or human beings. The eighth is the creation of Anugrahas[4] pervaded by the qualities of Sattva (goodness) and Tamas (ignorance).

These are the five orders of the Vaikarika (organic) creation. There are three orders of the elementary and organic creation. Kaumara makes the ninth. O Rudra, there are four orders of creation beginning with the celestials and ending with the stationery creation.

While engaged in the work of creation Brahma first procreated his mind-born sons. Then desirous of creating the four classes of beings, viz the celestials, Asuras, Pitris and human beings, all, going under the name of Amva he adored his own self.[5] As the lord of beings, although himself of unfettered soul, concentrated his soul, being desirous of creating, passion overspread him and first from forth his hips came out the Asuras. And then he renounced his person surcharged with Tama or darkness; and his darkness, on being renounced by him, O Shankara, was converted into Night. Having assumed another body he became desirous of creating and felt delight. Then O Hara, came out from the mouth of Brahma, the celestials surcharged with the quality of Sattva (goodness). On being renounced by him his body, surcharged with the quality of Sattva, was converted into Day. Therefore it is that the Asuras are powerful in the night and the celestials during the day. He then assumed a person fraught with the quality of goodness and then sprang from him the ancestors. And that body, on being renounced by him, became Twilight remaining between day and night. Then having assumed a body fraught with the quality of Rajas (darkness) he created human beings. And on being renouned (renowned?) by him that form became moon-light which is termed Praksandhya.[6] Moonlight, Night, Day and Twilight are his bodies. And then he assumed another body fraught with the quality of darkness and thereat sprung hunger from him and from hunger wrath. Brahma then created Rakshasas exercised with hunger. [Those that said ‘Save him’] are called Rakshas and those [that said ‘We shall eat him up’] are called Yakshas from Yakshana eating. And from the movement (Sarpana) of his hairs sprang the serpents. Waxing wroth he generated some beings of wrathful temper. O sinless, then the Gandharvas came out singing. All these beings were created by him.

He created goats from his mouth, the kine from his belly and sides; the horses, elephants, asses and camels from his feet, and medicinal herbs furnished with fruts and roots from the hairs of his body. Fair complexioned male sheep, horses, mules and asses are called gramya or household animals. Hear, I will describe the wild ones. [They are] the beasts of prey, the cloven-hoofed, elephants, monkeys, and fifthly, birds and sixthly, acquatic animals and seventhly, reptiles. From his eastern and other mouths he created the Rik and other Vedas. The Brahmanas originated from his mouth, the Kshatryas from his arms, the Vaishyas from his thighs and the Shudras from his feet. The region of Brahma is for the Brahmahas, that of Shakra for the Kshatryas, that of Marut (wind-god) for the Vaishyas and that Gandharvas for the Shudras. Those practising the Brahmacharya injunctions attain the region of, Brahma. The householders, performing duly their duties, repair to the region of the Creator. Those, living in the forest, acquire the region of the seven Rishis. The sphere of the Yatis, going at will, is the eternal region.

Footnotes and references:


Lit the stream of beings living according to nature.


Lit the stream of beings tending upwards.


Cf. And as these eat by swallowing down they are called Arvaraskotasas.


A class of deities.


The passage is not clear. Perhaps by the expression “adored his own self” the author means that Brahma was engaged in the process of mental retrospection.


Meaning going before twilight.

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