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 XV - Enumeration of one thousand epithets of Vishnu

Rudra said:—O Lord, O Janarddana, do thou describe unto me the Great Being by reciting whose name a man may cross the dreadful ocean of Samsara.[1]

Hari said:—Reciting the thousand names of Vishnu, the Demiurgus, the great Brahman, the Absolute, Undecaying Self, a man attains to emancipation. O bull-emblemed deity, hear with fixed attention, I will describe this sacred and great object of recitation (Japa) which destroys all sins.

He is Vasudeva, the great Vishnu, Vamana (Dwarf),[2] Vasava, Vasu, effulgent like the newly risen sun, and the highly powerful Balabhadra. He fettered (the Asura) Bali, is the all-knower, the worshipful knower of the Vedas and the poet. He is the creator of the Vedas, of the form of the Vedas, worthy of being known and filled with the Vedas. He is the knower of the Vedangas,[3] the lord of the Vedas, the mine of strength and the aggrandiser of the strong. He is without changes, the lord of boons, the giver of boons, and the master of Varuna. He is the slayer of heroes, the great hero and the great Ishvara adored of all. He is the soul, the great soul, the inward self and above the sky. He is lotus-navelled, the Padmaniddhi,[4] the lotus-handed and the holder of club. He is the Great, above the elements, the foremost Purusha and the Demiurgus. He is lotus-waisted, Pundarika wears a garland of lotuses and is beloved of all. He is Totus-eyed, Padmagarbha,[5] Parjanya (rain-god) and seated on a lotus. He is beyond the range of all, the great object, the greatest of the great lord. He is most learned of all learned men, holy and destroyer of sins. He is pure, manifests all, holy and the protector. He is devoid of thirst, Padya,[6] the Purusha and Prakriti (Nature). He is Pradhana (intellectual principle), the lotus, the earth, the lotus-navelled and the giver of desirable objects. He is the lord of all, present every where, the All, Omniscient, the giver of all and the great. He is identical with all and the entire universe, the witness and up-holder of all. He is the Deity who shows favour unto all and is stationed in the hearts of all creatures. He is the protector of all, is adored of all and is saluted by all the deities. He is at the root of the entire universe, is the destroyer of all and the fire. He is the protector of all, pervades all and the cause of all causes. He is meditated on by all, the friend of all an,d the holder of the various forms of the deities. He is the object of the study of all, the commander of the celestials and is adored of the gods and Asuras. He is always the destroyer of the wicked and Asuras. He is the protector of truth, the centre of good people, the lord of Siddhas, is adored by them, is obtained by the Siddhas and the Sadhyas and the lord of their hearts.

He is the refuge of the world, the auspiciousness, the doer of good, beautiful, humble, truthful and having truth for prowess. He is stationed in truth, of a true determination, the knower and giver of truth. He is religion, the observer of religious rites and a Karmin (one who practises religious rites) but he is devoid of all actions. He is the ordainer of actions, the action itself and the practice of religious rites. He is the lord of Shri and of men, beautiful, the lord of all, but himself having no master. He is the lord of the celestials, the master of Vrishnis, of Hiranyagarbha and of the destroyer of Tripura. He is the lord of the beasts, Vasus, Indra, Varuna, trees, wind, fire, Yama, Kuvera, stars, medicinal herbs and trees. He is the master of the Nagas, of the sun, of Daksha, of friends and of kings. He is the master of the Gandharvas, the most excellent lord of the Asuras, of the mountains and rivers. He is the most powerful lord of the celestials, of Kapila, of creepers and of Virudhas (spreading creepers). He is the master of the ascetics, the most excellent lord of the sun, moon, and of Shukra. He is the lord of planets, Rakshasas, the Kinnaras and the most excellent master of the twice-born ones. He is the lord of the rivers, oceans, lakes and goblins. He is the master of the Vetalas, Kushmandas, birds and beasts.

He is the high-sould Mangala, Mandara, the lord of Mandara. He is creator of Meru and Madhava and devoid of mind. The great deity wears a garland and is adored by Mahadeva. He is of a quiescent soul, and is the illustrious slayer of Madhu. He is highly powerful, the great vital air and is lauded by Markandeya. He is identical with Maya (illusion), fettered by it and devoid of it. He is lauded by the ascetics and is their friend. He has a nose, big cheeks, big arms, big teeth and is freed from death. He has a huge mouth, a great soul, a great body, a great belly, big feet and a high neck. He is greatly respected, is high-minded, of great intellect, of great fame, of great form and the great Asura. He is Madhu, he is Madhava, he is Mahadeva, and he is Maheshvara. He is adored in sacrifices, of the form of a sacrifice and is the worshipped lord of the sacrifices. He is the great wind, the great luck and the superhuman Mahesha. He is man, Manu and does good unto men. He is deer, is adored by them and is their lord. He is the master of Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. He is the good mark and is endued with it; he has long lips and is handsome to look at. He is bedecked with various ornaments and besmeared with sandal of different kinds. His face is painted effulgent with various colours and adorned with diverse flowers. He is Rama, the great Ishvara with his consort. He gives jewels and takes them away. He is with and without any boon. He is of a great, terrific and calm appearance. He is like unto a blue cloud, is pure and resembles a cloud at the end of a cycle. He is smoky cloud, of yellow hue, of various forms and without any colour. He is of a distorted figure, the giver of forms and is white-hued. He is of all colours, the great yogin, the sacrificer. He is gold-hued and is called gold. His body is made of gold and he puts on a golden girdle. He is the giver of gold or parts of it. He is fond of gold and houses made of gold. He is beautiful and of huge wings and the creator of Suparna. He is Vinata’s son, the sun, the beginning, the the creator of beginning and auspiciousness. He is the cause of the intellectual principle, of the Puranas, of intellect and mind. He is the efficient cause of consciousness, egoism, elements of fire, ether, earth, egg and Prakriti (Nature). He is the cause of the body, eyes, ears, skin, tongue, vital breath, hand, foot, speech and the organ of generation. He is the efficient cause of Indra, Kuvera, Yama, Ishana and the most excellent creator of Yakshas and Rakshasas. He is the most excellent cause of ornaments, virtue, creatures, Vasus (gods of riches), of Manus and of birds. He is the foremost cause of the ascetics, the Yogins, the Siddhas, the Yakshas, the Kinnaras and Gandharvas.

He is the cause of the river, male and female, the oceans and trees. He is the cause of Virudhas, the worlds, the nether region and celestials. He is the cause of serpents, the auspiciousness, the beasts and of all.

He is identical with the body, the organs of sense, the soul, the intellect, the mind, egoism, consciousness, the condition of waking, that of dreaming sleep, the intellectual principle and the great soul.

He is identical with ether, water, and the great soul of earth and air. He is the great soul of the smell, colour, sound, speech and touch. He permeates, as the great soul, the ears, skin, tongue, nostrils, hand, foot, organ of generation. He permeates Indra, Brahma, Rudra, Manu, and the Patriarch Daksha. The great is identical with truth. He is identical with Isha, the great soul, the Rudra and the Yati conversant with the knowledge of emancipation. He is energetic and is the very energy itself. He is the holder of the leathern fence and sword and the destroyer of the Asuras. He is modest by nature and engaged in the well-being of the ascetics. Hari is of the form of a Yatin, a Yogin and is meditated on by the Yogins. He is Shiti.[7] He is perfect knowledge, genius, time, summer, rainy season, determination, year, the ordainer of emancipation and destroyer of Moha (stupifaction). He stupefies the wicked, is Mandavya and mare-mouthed. He is Sangvartaka (fire), the creator of time, Gautama, Bhrigu, Angira, Atri, Vashistha, Pulaha Pulastya, Kutsa, Yajnavalka, Devala, Vyasa, Parashara, Sharmada, Gangeya, Hrishikesha, Vrihatshrava and Keshava. He is the destroyer of miseries, has beautiful ears and is without them. The great Narayana is the lord of Prana, of vital air the Apana, of Vyana, of Udana and of Samana. He is the best master of sound, touch and colour. He is the master of the destruction of the world, the first-born, has a sword in his hand, the plough-share for his weapon, the discus in his hand, the Kundalas [on his ears] and the mystic mark Srivatsa on his breast. He is Prakriti, has the Kaustava gem on his neck and is clad in a yellow raiment. He has a beautiful face, an ugly face and is without any. He is without end, of endless forms, has beautiful nails and is the handsomest of all the celestials. The lord Vishnu has a beautiful quiver and most resplendent arrows. He is the destroyer of Hiranyakashipu, the grinder of Hiranyaksha, the killer of Putana and Bhaskaranta. He is the grinder of Keshin, and Mushtika. He is the killer of the demon Kansa, of Chanura and Aristha. He is fond of Akrura. He is without wickedness, is wily and is adored by those who are fond of simplicity. He is the destroyer of the lordly powers, is himself endued with them, the sun and the Lord himself. He is Uddhava, Uddhava’s lord, and is being meditated on by Uddhava. He is the holder of discus, is fickle and is devoid of the moveable and immoveable properties. He is egoism, determination, mental faculties, the sky, earth, water, air, eye, ear, tongue, nose, palate, hand, foot, waist and the organ of generation. He is Shankara, the giver of auspiciousness, the giver of endurance; and he forgives men. He is fond of his votaries and is their protector. He is endued with reverential faith and himself increases it. He is lauded by his votaries, devoted to them and gives fame; and he multiplies it.

He is fame, resplendence, forgiveness, patience, reverential faith, compassion, the great, the gift, the giver, the agent of action, is fond of the celestials, is purity, is pure, the giver of felicity, emancipation and the object of desire. He has a thousand feet. He is the thousand-headed physician who opens the gate of emancipation. He is the door of subjects, has a thousand ends and a thousand hands. He is Shukra, has a beautiful head-gear, and a beautiful neck. He is Keshava, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Hayagriva, Shukara (boar), Matysa (fish), Parashurama, Pralhada and Bali. He is daily sought by people for help, enlightened, emancipated and the holder of forms. He is the destroyer of Khara and Dushana and the grinder of Ravana. He is the husband of Sita and the prosperous Bharata. He is the killer of the victor of Kumbhendra, the grinder of Kumbhakarna, the destroyer of the killers of men and celestials. He is the destroyer of the wicked Asuras and the enemy of Shamvara. He is the destroyer of (the demon) Naraka as well as of the three-headed demon. He broke down [the trees] Yamala and Arjuna and always helps asceticism. He plays on the musical instrument and is himself the instrument. He is enlightened and the giver of boons. He is the substance and is fond of substances. He is Saura and the destroyer of time and is incapable of being cut. He is Agastya, Devala, Narada, and fond of Narada. He is Prana, Apana, Vyana (vital airs), the qualities of Rajas (darkness), Sattva (goodness) and Tamas (ignorance). He is beyond Tamas (ignorance). He is Udana, and Samana (vital airs). He is medicine and the medical man.

He is perpetually and universally the same. His form is transparent and he is devoid of any form. He is devoid of the organs of vision and speech, of hands, fat, the organs of generation and excretion. He is devoid of great asceticism. He is devoid of perception, intellect, consciousness and vital airs, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana.

He is devoid of the ether and fire, water and earth. He is devoid of sound, touch and all colours. He is devoid of carnal passion and other inferior appetites. He is shorn of grief and the power of speech. He is devoid of the quality of Rajas (darkness) and six-fold deviations from the natural state. He is devoid of sexual passion, anger, avarice, and pride. He is the subtlest of the subtle and the grossest of the gross. He is clever, leader of the strong and the agitator of all. He agitates Prakriti (nature), Mahat (intellectual principle), the elements, intellect, the organs of sense and of the objects thereof. He is the agitator of Brahma and Rudra. He is beyond the range of vision and hearing. Skin cannot touch him. He is tortoise. Tongue cannot perceive him. He is beyond the range of smelling and speech. The hands and feet cannot reach him. Hari is beyond the range of mental and intellectual perception and understanding. He is within the comprehension of the sense of ego and mental faculties.

He holds the conch-shell in his hand, is undecaying and holds also the club and Shranga bow in his hands. He is dark-blue, the image of knowledge and the scorcher of the enemies. He is within the range of the knowledge of the ascetics; he is endued with knowledge and knows all by his knowledge. He is comprehended by knowledge and manifests the consciousness of the objects of knowledge. He is the soul, object of mental perception, the creator of the world and the destroyer of it. He is Govinda, the lord of kine and the giver of felicity unto the cow-herds. He is the protector of kine, the master of kine, Gomati and Godhara. He is Upendra, Nrisimha, Shauri, Janarddana, Araneya, Vrihatbhanu and highly effulgent. He is Damodara, the three-fold time, cognizant of time and devoid of time. He is the three-fold Sandhya (periods of conjuction), is Dvapara, Treta, the creator of subjects and of the foot steps. He is powerful and holds a rod in his hand. He holds one and three rods in his hand. He is the division of the Samaveda, its means, of the form of Saman and the chanter of Saman. He is conversant with Atharvan Veda and is the preceptor thereof. He is the Rik of the Rik Veda and is stationed there. He is the reader of the Yayush, the Yayurveda itself and is conversant with the rituals thereof. He has one foot, many feet, beautiful foot, a thousand feet, four feet, two feet. The powerful lord is like unto Smriti and Nyaya. He is a Sanyasin (disassociated from the world, and is the four orders of hermit &c viz, a Brahmacharin (student), Grihasta (householder), Vanaprasta (retired into forest) and Bhikshsu (a hermit living on alms). He is the four Varnas (castes) viz the Brahmanas, the Kshatryas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. He gives good character, is endued with the same and devoid of a bad character. He is emancipation, is engaged in spiritual communion, is the encomiastic verse, the encomiast and the worshipper. He is worshipful, the speech, the object of speech and the speaker. He is the knower, the grammar, the word and is conversant with words.

He is within the reach of. words, lives in sacred shrines, is the sacred shrine and is conversant with the knowledge of all the shrines. He is resident in all the sacred shrines, is Sankhya, Nirukta and the presiding deity thereof. He is Pranava,[8] the lord of Pranava and is adored with Pranava. He is Gayatri[9] and the holder of club. He lives in Shalagrama and is Shalagrama itself. He resides in water, lies in Yoga, on Sesha and Kusha. He is the earth, is the action, the cause and the holder of the earth. He is the Patriarch, and the eternal. He is the object of desire and the universal creator of desire. He is the Lord Paramount, the sun, the heaven, is stationed on a car and the strength of the charioteer. He is rich; the giver of riches, blessed and engaged in the well-being of the Yadavas. He is the favourite of Arjuna and he is both Arjuna and Bhima. Unbearable is his prowess and he is a master of all the scriptures. He is Sarasvati, the great Bhishma and the captor of Parijata flowers. He is the giver of ambrosia, the ocean of milk and the milk itself. He is the protector of Indra’s son and the upholder of the mount Govardhana. He is the destroyer of Kansa, the master of his elephant and the killer of the same. He is Shipidisthe[10] (pervaded by rays), cheerfulness and the destroyer of the calamities of all people. He is Mudra, the maker of Mudras and is devoid of all Mudras. He is endued with a body, is stationed in a body and the organizer of the body. He is the hearer, the creator of the ears, the object of hearing and the power of hearing. He is stationed in skin, is one who touches, the object and power of touching. He resides in the eye, is the seer of forms and the creator of the eye and is the object of vision. He resides in the tongue, has a strong taste and is the organiser of taste. He resides in smell, creates smell, himself smells and is the creator of the organ of smelling. He resides in speech, is the speaker, the object of speaking, the power of speech and the creator of the same. He resides in vital airs. He is the creator of fine arts, is the fine art itself and the creator of hands. He is the foot, the agent of going, the place of going and the power of going. He is the ordainer of gifts, is stationed in the organ of generation and is the pleasure. He is the slayer of enemies, Kartavirya, Dattatreya, is engaged in the well-being of Alarka and is the destroyer of Kartavirya. He is Kalanemi, Mahanemi, the cloud and the lord of clouds. He is the giver of food, of the form of food, the eater of food and the ordainer of food. He creates smoke and is of a smoky form. He is the most excellent son of Devaki. He is the delight of Devaki, Nanda and Rohini. He is a favourite of Vasudeva and his son. His smiles are both like Dundhuvi (trumpets) and flowers. He is fond of laughing aloud. He is the lord of all, decaying and undecaying. He is Achyuta (undecaying), the lord of truth and is fond of truth. He is the most beloved husband of Rukshmini. He is the favourite of milk women and his piety has been sung in well known verses. He is Vrishakapi, Yama, Guhya, Mangala, Budha, Rahu, Ketu, the crocodile and the union of the mouths of the elephants. He is the destroyer of crocodiles and the protector of the headmen of villages. He is the Kinnara, Siddha, the Prosody and easiness. He is of the universal form, of large eyes and the slayer of the Daityas. He is of endless forms, is stationed in elements, in the celestials and Danavas. He exists in dreamless sleep, is dreamless sleep itself and is the place for it. He exists in an awakened state, is the agent and the place thereof. He exists in the state of dreamless sleep, is conversant with it and is the dream itself He also exists in the fourth state devoid of these three states of dreamless sleep, dreaming sleep and awakening. He is the discriminating knowledge, is Chaitra, the sentiency and the creator of sentiencies. He is the lord of the worlds and the ordainer of the worlds. He resides in the nether region, the nether region itself and the destroyer of all sorts of feverish complaints. He is of the form of great felicity and the propounder of various forms of faith. He is easily accessible, and accessible with difficulty. He is engaged in Pranayama (suppression of vital, air). He is Pratyahara,[11] Dharaka[12] and the maker of Pratyahara. He is effulgence, personal grace, rays, pure and like unto crystal. He is above perception, white coloured, the all and pure. He is Vashatkar,[13] Vashat, Vaushat, Svadha, Svaha and inclination thereto. He is the agent of cooking, giving delight, eating, understanding and thinking. He is identical with knowledge and understanding. He is the Great and the Creator of all Creators. He is the river, Nandi,[14] the lord of Nandi and the destroyer of the trees of India. He is the holder of discus, the husband of Shri and the king of the Lords Paramount. He is the master of all the celestials and is the leisure. He is Pushkara,[15] the lord of Pushkara and the Pushkara island. He is Bharata, Janaka, Janya[16] and is devoid of all forms. He is without any form, without any cause, without any fear and without any help. O bull-emblemed deity, I have thus described to you the thousand names of the Lord Vishnu destructive of all sins. By reading them a Brahmana attains to Vishnu-hood, a Kshatriya acquires victory, a Vaishya acquires riches and a Shudra is endued with reverential faith in Vishnu.

Footnotes and references:


Commonly worldliness—but really it is the transmigatory series.


An incarnation of Vishnu in which he put down the great Asura Bali, who had grown excessively powerful by his rigid austerities.


Certain classes of works regarded as auxilliary to the Vedas, and designated to aid in the correct pronounciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of the Mantras in ceremonials. They are six in number, viz.,

  1. Siksha, the science of proper articulation and pronounciation;
  2. Chhandas, the science of prosody;
  3. Vyakarana grammar;
  4. Nirukta, elymological explanation of difficult Vedic words
  5. Jyotish, Astronomy;
  6. Kalpa, ritual or ceremonial.


One of the nine treasures of Kuvera, viz., Padma, Mahapadma. Sankha, Makara, Kachhapa, Mukunda, Nanda, Nila and Kharva; their nature is not exactly defined though some of them appear to be precious jems; according to the Tantrik system, they are personified and worshipped as demi-gods attendant either upon Kuvera or Lakshmi. Here the term is an epithet of Vishnu.


Name of Brahma, meaning from born of a lotus. Here it is an epithet of Vishnu showing that he is identical with Brahma.


Water for cleaning feet. This shows that Vishnu permeates every object in the world.


Literally “white or black.” It is an epithet of Shiva.


The sacred syllable Om, an abbreviation of the Hindu triad, viz, Brahma, the creative force, Vishnu, the protecting force and Shiva, the destructive force. These three forces or the deities presiding over them are represented by Om. The abbreviation is intended for the purpose of recitation. The prayers and sacred hymns and mantrams of the Hindus are all presented by Om.


The sacred verse which the Brahmanas recite. It is one of the verses of the Rik veda, embodying the worship of the sun-god.


An epithet of Vishnu.


It is the Yogic process of restraining the organs of senses from suscipitibility to outward impressions, and directing them entirely to mental perceptions. This is one of the means for effecting the entire subjugation of the senses.


Steady thought; retention or holding of the image or idea formed in the mind by contemplation.


An exclamation used in making an oblation to a deity with the dative form of the deity.


The attendant of Shiva. It may also mean the character in a drama who introduces the prelude.


Literally it means a “lotus.” It is an epithet of Krishna.



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