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 CCXXXII - Dissolution of the Universe

Suta said:—O Shaunaka, now hear me describe the dissolution of the universe (Pralayam). A thousand of each of the four Yugas make one Kalpa, which, in its turn, constitutes one day of the lotus sprung deity. Now hear me narrate the rules of conduct and life, etc., which respectively obtained in the said four Yugas. Virtue reigned unimpaired with its four feet of truthfulness, charity, penance and mercy in the cycle of Satyam (truth). The protector of virtue was (shveta) white-complexioned Hari. Men were contented and erudite in that age, and the duration of human life was four thousand years. At the close of Satya Yuga, Kshatriyas of the twice-born order conquered the Brahmanas, Vaishyas and shudras; and the valarous Vishnu of mighty prowess killed many Rakshasas. In the Treta Yuga, virtue was robbed of one of its limbs, and was composed of the three factors of truthfulness, charity and compassion. Men were devoted to the performances of religious sacrifices; and the earth was peopled by men of Kshatriya extraction in that cycle of Treta. The red-complexioned Hari was worshipped by the people of that age, and the duration of human life was one thousand years. Bhimaratha of Kshatriya extraction, who was an incarnation of Vishnu, killed many Rakshasas in the Treta Yuga. In the cycle of Dvapara, when the yellow-complexioned Achyuta was the protector of virtues, the duration of human life was fourteen hundred years, and men born of Brahmana and Kshatriya parents peopled the earth. The god Vishnu, incarnate in the shape of the holy Vyasa, considering the smallness of human intellect (comparative dulness (dullness?) of human memory) at the time, divided the Veda into four parts, and taught them to his own disciples in the following order, viz., he taught the Rik Veda to Paila the Sama Veda, to Jaimini; the Atharvan, to Sumanta; and the Yajur Veda, to Mahamuni. To Vaishampayana he taught the Puranam; and the eighteen Puranas, to Suta, by reading which one is enabled to know the god Hari. A Puranam treats of five topics such as, the creation, of the universe (Sarga), dissolution of the universe (Pratisarga), geneologies of kings, specific traits of the different cycles of time as represented by the different Lawgivers, and the annals of royal progeny.

The eighteen Maha (great) Puranas are

  1. the Brahmam,
  2. Padmam,
  3. Vaishnavam,
  4. Shaivam,
  5. Bhagavatam,
  6. Bhavishyam,
  7. Naradiyam,
  8. Skandam,
  9. Laingam,
  10. Varahakam,
  11. Markandeyam,
  12. Agneyam,
  13. Brahma-Vaivartam
  14. Kaurmam,
  15. Matsyam,
  16. Garudam.,
  17. and Brahmandam Puranas.
  18. ?

The other minor Puranas, narrated by the holy sages, are

  • the Sanat-kumaram,
  • Narsinham Puranam,
  • Skandam as narrated by the god Kumara,
  • Shiva-Dharmaksham, directly narrated by Nandisha,
  • the Puranam of wonderful incidents narrated by the holy Durvasa,
  • the one narrated by the holy Narada,
  • the Kapilam,
  • the Vamanam,
  • the one related by the holy Ushana,
  • the Brahmandam,
  • the Varunam,
  • the Kalika,
  • the Maheshvaram,
  • the Shambam,
  • the Sarvartha Sanchayam,
  • the one narrated by Parashara,
  • the Maricham,
  • and the Bhargavam, Puranas.

The Puranam, the Dharma Sastras (Codes of Moral Laws), the Vedas with their six kindred branches of study such as, the Nyaya (Logic), Mimansa (Mimamsa) (Exegetic philosophy), Ayurveda (Medical Science), Artha Shastras (Science of Wealth,) Gandharva (Science of Music) and Dhanurveda (Science of War)—these are the eighteen brandies of knowledge. At the close of the cycle of Dvaparam, the god Hari removed the burden of the world by killing the evil-souled Kshatriyas. In the age of Kali when the god Achyuta will assume a black complexion, the virtue will suffer a great mutilation and eke out a miserable existence, standing on one leg only. Men will be cru.el miscreants in that Yuga.

Sattva (principle of illumination or knowledge), Rajas (principle of action) and Tamas (principle of Nescience) are the three qualities that are usually found in men. Even these qualities, O Shaunaka, vary in proportions in the self of a man, augmented by the spirit of the age he lives in. The age in which the quality of Sattva abounds in the mind, intellect, and sense organs of men, and in which they feel an irresistable inclination to practise charity and penances— know that age, O Shaunaka, to be the Satyam Yuga. When men are found to energetically pursue undertakings that, lead to fame or bring about the fruitions of desires, and when the mind, intellect and sense-organs of men abound in the quality of Rajas, khow then, O Shaunaka, that the Treta Yuga (of triped virtue) has set in. The age in, which men are found to energetically follow pursuits of gain or desire, and in which greed, discontent, pride, envy and egotistic feelings assail the minds of men, and in which the qualities of Tamas and. Rajas suffer an unhealthy augmentation in the temperaments of beings—know that, O Shaunaka, to be the age of Dvaparam (of biped virtue.)

The age in which untruthfulness, sleep, drowsiness (laziness), life-killing, grief, delusion, fright, misery, and Tamas rage rampant in the world—know that to be the age of Kali, In the Kali-yuga men will be slaves to lust and low passions, and abusive of one another. Towns and villages will be infested, with thieves and robbers, vilifiers of virtue will vilify the Vedas, kings will prey upon their subjects, and Brahmanas will, care only for the pampering of their bellies and seek gratifications, of their carnal desires. Impure and vowless will be the students and youths, Vikshus will, contract various forms of relationship, and live with their relations, Tapsvins (ascetics) will) live in villages, and Nyasins will covet riches. Diminutive in size, gluttonous, thievish, and rashly in their conduct, men will walk in the path of iniquity, servants will desert their masters, and Tapasaa (ascetishs) will renounce their vows. shudras, clad in the garbs of ascetics for a living, shall accept alms.

The people, dismayed, divested of all ornaments, and, filthy as the Pishachas, shall renounce all ceremonial ablutions and propitiations of the gods, and Atithis, and cease to, offer oblations and libations of water unto their departed, manes. O Shaunaka, men will be shudras in. their lives and, habit, and shall be under the thumbs of their wives. Women, mostly unhappy and unlucky, will conceive many children, and, will grudge the behests of their; lords by scratching their heads. Men under the counsel, of the unsanctimonious heretics will fall off, from the path of virtue and renounce the worship of Vishnu, The only one great redeeming feature in the Brahmanas of Kaliyuga is the fact that they will be able to shake off the fetters of rebirth, by once singing the praise of Krishna. The merit, which is acquired by meditation in the Satyam Yuga, by celebrating religious sacrifices, in the Treta, by serving the god in the Dvapara, may be acquired in the Kali, Yuga by singing the praise of Vishnu. Therefore, O Shaunaka, the god Hari should be constantly worshipped and meditated upon.

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