The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes Inauguration of Creation (srishti-prarambha) which is chapter 4 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 4 - Inauguration of Creation (sṛṣṭi-prāraṃbha)

Sūta said:

1-2. The period of the duration of the Prākrita creation is said to be a day of Brahmā. There is a similar period constituting the night. The lord effects creation during day time and dissolution during the night. He has neither a day nor a night (as we understand the terms). The time-duration by day and night is used in a secondary sense.

3-6. During the (so-called) day all the Vikṛtis—the Viśvedevas, the Prajāpatis and the sages stay by. During the night all of them are dissolved. They are produced (again) at the end of the night. A day of His constitutes our kalpa. His night too similarly another kalpa. There are fourteen Manus by the time a thousand sets of four yugas come to a close. O brahmins, the Kṛta yuga consists of four thousand years. Four hundred, three hundred, two hundred and hundred years respectively constitute the period of transition both at the beginning and end of a yuga.[1]

7-9. The aṃśaka, therefore, is one-sixth of the duration of each yuga. The period of duration of Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali is respectively three thousand, two thousand and one thousand years without their aṃśaka parts. That of Kṛta has been mentioned above. O men of holy rites, fifteen winks in the eyes of a man of normal health in normal condition constitute a kāṣṭhā. Thirty such kāṣṭhās make one kalā. Thirty such kalās make one muhūrta.

10-12. The night contains fifteen such muhūrtas and the day another fifteen muhūrtas. A (lunar) month according to human reckoning constitutes the night and day of the pitṛs. Divided further, the dark half constitutes the day and the bright half constitutes their night when they go to sleep. Thirty human months make one month of the Pitṛs. The period of three hundred and sixty months calculated according to human reckoning makes one year of the Pitṛs.

13. A hundred years calculated according to human reckoning make three years of the Pitṛs.

14. Twelve months according to human calculation make one year (of the mortals); twelve months of the manes (according to their own calculation) constitute their one year.

15. According to Liṅgapurāṇa one human year constitutes the period of day and night for the manes. Their days, nights and years and their further divisions are as follows:

16. The period of Uttarāyaṇa (northern transit of the sun) is the day for the manes; the period of Dakṣiṇāyana (southern transit of the sun) constitutes their night. These days and nights are calculated in accordance with the reckoning of the devas.

17-23. Thirty human years constitute a divine month. O brahmins, a hundred human years constitute three divine months and ten days. Three hundred and sixty human years constitute a divine year. Three thousand and thirty human years constitute a year of the seven sages. Nine thousand and ninety years, according to human calculation make a year of Dhruva. Thirty six thousand human years make a century of divine years. The people who know arithmetic say that the three hundred and sixty thousand human years constitute the period of a thousand divine years.

24-35. The duration of a yuga is calculated according to the divine reckoning. The first yuga is named Kṛta; thereafter comes Tretā and then Dvāpara and Kali. O men of holy rites, these are the (names of the four) yugas. Henceforth the number of years of each yuga which have been mentioned earlier in divine reckoning are now being counted according to human reckoning. The Kṛta consists of one million four hundred and forty thousand human years; Tretā of one million eight hundred thousand years; Dvāpara of seven hundred twenty thousand years and Kali of three hundred and sixty thousand human years. Thus the duration of the four yugas, without the period of junction and transition totals to three million six hundred thousand human years. If Sandhya periods are included, the set of four ages will consist of four million three hundred and twenty thousand years. A little over seventy one sets of four yugas—Kṛta, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali—constitute a manvantara.[2] The number of human years in a manvantara are thirty crores six million and seven hundred and twenty thousand, O excellent brahmins. The period of a manvantara, according to this Purāṇa, is not more than this.

36. The number of years in one set of four yugas have been mentioned earlier. O excellent brahmins, a thousand such sets of four yugas constitute a kalpa (of Brahmā).

37. During Brahma’s night the creatures perish; at the end of the night they are created again. There are twenty-eight crores of gods who move in aerial chariots.

38. During the manvantaras and the intermediary periods their number increased to three hundred and ninety two crores.

39-40. O brahmins, during the last kalpa their number came to seventy-eight thousand. In all kalpas this is the position in brief. When, the dissolution is imminent people abandon the persons surviving the last day of the kalpa and go to Janaloka from the world Mahar.

41-42. The number of years in half a kalpa by divine calculation is two thousand eight hundred and sixty two crores and seven millions. The kalpa too shall be similarly calculated, A thousand such kalpas make a year of Brahmā.

43. Eight thousand years of Brahmā make his yuga. A thousand yugas of Brahmā constitute a savana.

44. Nine thousand such savanas constitute a day of Rudra.

45- 49. O great sages, the following are the names of some kalpas of Brahmā, viz—bhavodbhava, tapas, bhavya, rambha, kratu, ṛtu, vahni, havyavāha, sāvitra, śuddha, majjālīya, madhyama, vairāja, niṣāda, mukhya, meghavāhana, pañcama, citraka, ākṛti, jñāna, manas, sudarśa, bṛṃha, śvetalohita, rakta, pītavāsas, asita, and sarvarūpaka. O excellent sages, thousands and crores of such kalpas have already elapsed.

50. At the dissolution, of a kalpa, whatever remains of creation produced during day and night is destroyed.

51-53. The destruction is subject to the behest of lord Siva. When the creation is annihilated and the Pradhāna is stationed in. itself, both Pradhāna and Puruṣa come to a standstill or remain, inactive. O brahmins, it is only when the three guṇas are not in equilibrium that creation takes place. When they are in equilibrium the creation is dissolved. The great lord is the cause of both. The creation is effected by him sportively in this manner.

54-56. Such creations, effected through the agency of Pradhāna are innumerable. The kalpas together with their Brahmas and Viṣṇus are innumerable. But lord Śiva is only one. The activities of Prakṛti emerging from Pradhāna are due to His sport. The activities as characterized by the guṇas are threefold and destructible but the (uncreated) ātman has neither a beginning nor a middle nor an end.[3]

57. The life-time of Brahmā consists of two halves called parārdhas.[4] What is created during His day time is destroyed during His night.

58-61. The worlds bhūr, bhuvaḥ, svar and mahar perish; only the worlds above remain intact. At night, when the mobile and immobile perish and a vast sheet of water[5] spreads like a single ocean, Brahmā goes to sleep in the water. He is therefore known as Nārāyaṇa. At the end of the night he wakes up and beholds a void what used to be the world of mobile and immobile beings. Then he, the most excellent among the knowers of Brahman decides to create. He assumes the form of a boar[6] and lifts the earth submerged in the waters. He lifts it up and places it as before, together with all the rivers, rivulets and oceans.

62-63. With great effort he makes the earth even. He gathers together all the mountains burned by fire on the earth. He establishes the four worlds, bhuḥ, etc. as before. He, the lord creator, then decides to create everything afresh.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Each yuga is prefixed and suffixed by a sandhyā which specifics the advent and culmination of a yuga. The two sandhyās of a yuga are of equal length though their period of duration differs from yuga to yuga. Thus Kṛtayuga lasts for four thousand divine years and its sandhyas for eight hundred such years; Tretā lasts for three thousand divine years and its sandhyās for six hundred such years; Dvāpara lasts for two thousand and its sandhyās for four hundred; Kali lasts for one thousand and its sandhyās for two hundred such years. The total period of duration for the four yugas is ten thousand divine years and that for their sandhyās is two thousand divine years.

[2]:

A manvantara comprises about seventy-one mahāyugas which are equal to 12,000 years of the gods. The Purāṇas mention fourteen manvantaras. These derive their names from fourteen successive mythical progenitors and sovereigns of the earth.

[3]:

Creation is the result of stimulation (kṣobha) of the guṇas. When there is no stimulation, creation does not exist; consequently, the time-units—kalpas, manvantaras, yugas, saṃvatsaras and other relatively bigger and smaller units disappear as a matter of course.

[4]:

A kalpa (a period of four thousand cycles of four yugas) constitutes a day of Brahmā. It is divided into two halves: 2 parārdhas. A half kalpa covers a cycle of two thousand caturyugas. At the end of a full kalpa a great fire consumes the world.

[5]:

Ekārṇava symbolises the state of the universe during the period of dissolution when the divided units are drawn together forming a single watery mass. For detail see Matsyapurāṇa—A Study. PP. 9-10.

[6]:

The Purāṇas often mention Varāha (Boar incarnation of Viṣṇu) lifting the earth from the depth of the Ekārṇava ocean.

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