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 CXLII - Incarnations of Visnu and the glory of nuptial fidelity of Sita Described

Brahma said:—The God Hari incarnated on earth and protected the seed of the aryyas. His advent on this fleeting world was for the destruction of the kingdom of the Asuras and the propagation of the religion of the Vedas. His several incarnations Were in the forms of Fish Tortoise, etc. The God Keshava incarnated himself as the Fish in the primordial ocean, carried the immutable Vedas on his back, killed the demon Hayagriva, and protected the patriarch Manu and others. Incarnated as a Tortoise, he carried the Mount Mandara on his back, wherewit(?) the gods and demons churned the primordial ocean for ambrosia. As the fruit of that churning, Dhanvantara, the first of the propounder of the medical science, came out of its troubled waters, carrying the pitcher of divine ambrosia in his hand. Dhanvantari related to Sushruta the science of Ayurveda with its eight subdivisions, and the God Hari, assuming the shape of a girl of fascinating beauty, doled out the ambrosia to the gods. Incarnated as the Divine Boar, the God Hari killed the demon Hiranyaksha, lifted up the submerged earth on his tusks from beneath the waters of the enshrouding ocean, and protected the gods and patriarchs. Incarnated as the redoubtable Nrisinha (half-man, half-lion), the God Hari destroyed the demon Hiranyakashipu with his sinful allies, and vindicated the religion of the Vedas. After that, the lord of the universe was incarnated as Parashuram, a son of Jamadagni. For twenty-one times in succession he extirpated the race of the wicked Kshatriyas, killed the dreadful Kartaviryarjuna, made a gift of the whole earth to Kashyapa, and finally settled himself on the summits of the Mount Mahendra. After that, the subduer of the wicked divided his divine self into four parts and came into the world as Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna, the four sons of king Dasharatha. Janaki was the wife of Rama, who, for the good of his stepmother Kekayi, and for the performance of a promise made her by his father, resorted, as a voluntary exile, to the forest of Dandaka. He cut the nose of Surpanakha, killed the monsters Khara and Dushana, and destroyed the dreadful Ravana, who had carried away his wife Sita. After the fall of Ravana, Rama installed Vibhishana, a brother of Ravana, on the throne of his kingdom Lanka, and returned to his own capital in the aerial car, Pushpaka, in the company of Hanumana, Sugriva and his faithful Sita. In the bliss of his consort’s love, Rama ruled his kingdom for the good of his people and the gods, and performed a Horse-Sacrifice to commemorate his suzerainty over the earth.

Sita, though passed a long time in the house of Ravana, did not betray his lord either in deeds or thoughts. Sita was as chaste as the virtuous Anasuya, the beloved wife of Atri. Now hear me narrate the excellence of Sita’s chastity and the exalted station which virtuous and faithful wives occupy in the economy of the universe.

Once on a time there lived in the city of Pratisthana, a leper Brahmana whose name was Kaushika. His wife, who was firmly devoted to him, used to adore and worship her lord as a god without even thinking for a moment that he was afflicted with such a foul and loathsome disease. But Kaushika was a cross and peevish husband, and never missed opportunities to abuse his wife, who, though often chastised, never ceased to pay him god-like veneration and love. One day, Kaushika took a fancy to visit a courtezan in the city, and expressed that desire to his wife. Whereupon she took him on her shoulders and safely carried him to that house of ill fame. Nor did she forget to take with her a considerable amount of money which the courtezan might ask for her nefarious trade.

Now it happened that the Sage Mandavya was then undergoing punishment on the top of a pointed mace, as he was unjustly sentenced by the authorities on a false charge of theft. The faithful wife, on her way to the house of the courtezan, touched with her feet the body of that afflicted sage, who, in his agony, cursed her with the pangs of widowhood on the break of day. The wife, on the other hand, forbade the Sun to rise in order that the curse of the Sage might not take effect. The Sun-God, overpowered by the energy of conjugal chastity, was afraid to show his face, and creation was enshrouded in a pall of darkness. Ages past without the Sun in the sky.

The frightened gods resorted to Brahma for help and advice. Brahma said,

“It is the energy of Chastity that has overpowed the energy of asceticism, and obstructed the advent of the Sun. Go, ye gods, to Anasuya, and she will plead, on your behalf, to the wife of Kaushika.”

The gods did as they were told to do. Anasuya saw and propitiated her with the boon of a long life and perfect health to her lord, and lo and behold, the Sun-God again appeared in the sky.

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