The Markandeya Purana

by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237

This page relates “the mandate to the yaksa duhsaha” which forms the 50th chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 50 is included the section known as “exposition of the manvantaras”.

Canto L - The mandate to the Yakṣa Duḥsaha

Brahmā next created the nine Sages, Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Marīci, Bakṣa, Atri and Vasiṣṭha—and also Rudra, Saṅkalpa and Dharma—All these were all-wise and devoid of passions—Brahmā in anger created a being half male, half female, who at his order divided himself into many male and female beings.

Brahmā then created the Manu Svāyambhuva and his wife Śatarūpā—They had two sons Priyavrata and Uttānapāda, and also two daughters. Ruci married one daughter Ṛddhi and begat Yajña and Dakṣiṇā.

Dakṣa married the other daughter Prasūti and begot 24 daughters, whose names are mentioned, and who became Dharma’s wives, and also 11 other daughters whose names are mentioned, and ivho became the wives of the other sages and of Agni and the Pitṛs—The children of these daughters are mentioned.

Adharma and his offspring are mentioned, Naraka, Bhaya, Mṛtyu &c.—The actions of Mṛtyu’s sons are explained—Chief among them is Duḥsaha—to him Brahmā assigned a dwelling and raiment, a long catalogue of bad deeds as nourishment, and certain places and times for his success, but excluded a list of other persons and places from his influence.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Then while he was meditating, mankind were begotten in his mind, together with their occupations, and implements which were produced from his body. Spirits in bodily form[1] were produced from the limbs of him, the wise god. All those whom I have already mentioned came into existence. All created beings from the gods down to those whose condition is stationary are known to be subject to the three qualities:[2] such was the constitution of created things, immoveable and moveable.

When all that offspring of him, the wise one, did not increase, he created other mind-born sons like unto himself, viz., Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Aṅgiras, Marīci, Dakṣa, and Atri, and the mind-born Vasiṣṭha[3]—these were the nine sons of Brahmā, they are positively mentioned in the Purāṇas.

Next Brahmā further created Rudra, whose birth was from his soul when it was angry, and Saṅkalpa, and Dharma who was begotten before all the preceding sons.

And those who with their sons and other relatives were first created by the Self-existent, felt no attachment for the worlds, but showed disregard and were composed in mind. They all knew the future, they were free from passion, free from envy.

When they thus showed disregard at the creation of the worlds, the high-souled Brahmā grew very wrathful; then was produced there a male[4] like to the sun, possessed of an immense body, the body being half man’s and half woman’s. “Divide thyself” said the god, and then disappeared. And he being thus accosted separated the female and male natures; and he divided the male nature into eleven parts. Then the divine lord divided the male and female natures into many parts with men, gentle and cruel, calm, black and white.

Next the lord Brahmā became the guardian of his offspring by creating the first Manu Svāyambhuva,[5] begotten from and like unto himself, O brāhman,[6] and the woman Śatarūpā, who was cleansed from blemishes through austerities. The divine and mighty Manu Svāyambhuva took her for his wife. And through him her husband Śatarūpā brought forth two sons, Priyavrata and Uttānapāda, famed through their own actions, and two daughters also, Ṛddhi and Prasūti. Then their father gave Prasūti in marriage to Dakṣa and Ṛddhi to Ruci[7] of yore. The Prajāpati Rūci took his wife, and from them both a son Yajña was born and a daughter Dakṣiṇā,[8] O illustrious Sir; these two then became husband and wife, and Yajña begat of Dakṣiṇā twelve sons; the glorious sons of Yajña and Dakṣiṇā were the gods well known as the Yāmas in the epoch of Manu Svāyambhuva.

And Dakṣa moreover begat twenty and four daughters of Prasūti; hear also from me their names in order—Sraddhā (Faith), Lakṣmī (Good Fortune), Dhṛti (Constancy), Tuṣṭi (Satisfaction), Puṣṭi (Nourishment), Medhā (Mental Vigour), and Kriyā (Action), Buddhi (Intelligence), Lajjā (Modesty), Vapus (Bodily Beauty), Śānti (Tranquillity), Siddhi (Perfection), and Kīrti (Fame) the thirteenth. The lord Dharma took these daughters of Dakṣa for his wives.

Besides them and younger were the eleven lovely-eyed daughtersKhyāti (Celebrity), and Satī (Truth), Sambhūti (Fitness), Smṛti (Memory), Prīti (Affection), and Kṣamā (Patience), and Sannati (Humility),[9] and Anasūyā (Sincerity), Ūrjā (Strength), Svāhā (the oblation to the gods), and Svadhā (the oblation to the pitṛs). The Ṛṣis Bhṛgu, Bhava[10] and Marīci, and the Muni Aṅgiras also, Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu,[11] Vasiṣṭha, and Atri, Vahni and the Pitṛs in order— these Munis, the most illustrious among Munis, took these daughters, Khyāti and the others, in marriage.[12]

Śraddhā gave birth to Kāma (Love); and Śrī[13] to Darpa (Pride); Dhṛti to Niyama (Restraint) her son; and Tuṣṭi also to Santoṣa (Contentment); Puṣṭi to Lobha (Covetousness); Medhā to Śruta (Revelation); Kriyā to Daṇḍa (Punishment), Naya (Prudence), and Vinaya (Decorum); Buddhi gave birth to Bodha (Wisdom); and Lajjā to Vinaya (Decorum); Vapus to Vyavasāya (Industry) her son; and Śānti gave birth to Kṣema (Ease); Siddhi to Sukha (Happiness); Kīrti to Taśas (Renown). These were the offspring of Dharma.

She[14] bare by Kāma a grandson to Dharma, namely, Harṣa (Joy) who brims oyer with joyousness.

Now Hiṃsā (Injury) was the wife of Adharma (Unrighteousness); and Anṛta (Falsehood) was horn of her, and a daughter Nirṛti (Destruction) was born of her, and two sons Naraka (Hell) and Bhaya (Fear), and Māyā (Illusion) and Vedanā (Pain). And with these two females the two sons formed two married pairs; and of those two, Māyā gave birth to Mṛtyu (Death) who carries created beings away, and Vedanā gave birth by Raurava[15] to her son Duḥkha (Misery). And Vyādhi (Sickness), Jarā (Old Age), Śoka (Grief), Tṛṣṇā (Thirst) and Krodha (Anger) were begotten by Mṛtyu; or all these, who have the characteristics of Adharma, are traditionally declared to have sprung from Duḥkha. No wife have they, nor son; they all live in perpetual chastity.

Nirṛti also was the wife of Mṛtyu, and Mṛtyu had another wife called Alakṣmī (Ill Fortune); and by the latter Mṛtyu had fourteen sons. These are his sons by Alakṣmī; they carry out Mṛtyu’s commands; they visit men at the times of dissolution; hear about them. They dwell in the ten organs of sense and in the mind; for they influence man or woman each towards his own object of sense; and assailing the organs of sense they influence men by means of passion, anger and other feelings, so that men suffer injury through unrighteousness and other evil ways, O brāhman.

And one of them takes possession of self-consciousness, and another resides in the intellect; hence bewildered by folly, men strive to destroy women.

And another[16] famed by his name Duḥsaha[17] resides in men’s houses; he is wasted with hunger, his face is downwards bent; he is naked, clothed in rags, and his voice is as hoarse as a crow’s. He was created by Brahmā to eat all beings. Him, exceedingly terrific by reason of his long teeth, open-mouthed, very terrible, and ravenous in mind, him thus addressed Brahmā, the store-house of austerities,[18] the forefather of the worlds, he who is entirely consubstantial with Brahma, the pure, the cause of the universe, the changeless.

Brahmā spoke:

“Thou must not devour this universe; quit thy anger, keep thee calm; cast off the atom of passion and forsake this career of ignorance.”

Duḥsaha spoke:

“I am wasted with hunger, O ruler of the world, I am thirsty also and my strength is gone. How may I he satisfied, O master? How may I grow strong? And tell me, who will be my refuge where I may abide tranquil?”

Brahmā spoke:

“Thy refuge shall be men’s houses, and unrighteous men shall be thy strength. Thou shalt be satisfied, my child, with their neglect to perform the constant sacrifices. And spontaneous boils shall be thy raiment; and for food[19] I give to thee whatever is injured, and what is infested with vermin, and what has been gazed into by dogs, likewise what is contained in broken pots, what has been made still by the breath from a mans mouth, the fragments that remain from a meal, what is unripe, that on which perspiration has fallen,[20] what has been licked, what has not been cooked properly, what has been eaten of by people sitting on broken seats, and food that has fallen on the seat,[21] and what turns away from the sky[22] at the two twilights, what is distinguished by the sound of dancing and musical instruments, what a woman in her courses has polluted, what such a woman has eaten of and has gazed at, and whatever food or drink has been damaged[23] at all—these shall be for thy nourishment, and whatever else I give to thee; whatever persons, who have not performed their ablutions, have sacrificed or given id alms, without faith or in contempt; what has been cast away without the previous use of water, and what has been rendered valueless, and what has been exhibited in order to be discarded, and what has been given away through utter amazement; what is corrupt, and what has been given away by a person in anger or in pain, that O goblin,[24] thou shalt obtain[25] as thy reward; and whatever the son of a re-married widow does as an undertaking for the next world, and whatever the daughter of a re-married widow so does; that, O goblin, shall be for thy satisfaction. The wealth-procuring ceremonies in which a maiden engages along with her lover for the sake of the obligation of dower, and the ceremonies also which are performed according to wicked books, shall he for thy nourishment, O goblin; and whatever has been studied for the sake of enjoying wealth[26] and whatever has not been read truly—all that I give thee, and these periods also for thy perfection. Thou shalt ever have conquering power, O Duḥsaha, among men, if they approach a pregnant woman carnally, or if they transgress the evening rites and the constant ceremonies, and among men who have been corrupted by wicked books, deeds or conversation.

“Thy business lies in creating social dissensions, in rendering cookery useless, and in interrupting cookery; and thy dwelling shall perpetually be in household wrangling. And men shall dread thee[27] in what pines away,[28] and in bullock-carts and other conveyances which are shut up, in rooms which are not sprinkled at twilight, and at death. On the occasions of eclipses of the stars[29] and planets, and at the appearance of the three kinds of portents, thou shalt, O goblin, overcome men who disregard propitiatory ceremonies. Men who fast vainly, who always delight in gambling and women, who confer benefits according to thy word, and who are religious hypocrites, shall he thy prey.

“Study by one who is not a Brahmacārī, and sacrifice performed by an unlearned man; austerities practised in a forest[30] by men who indulge in worldly pleasures[31] and by men of unsubdued soul; the action which is done according to their respective occupations by brahmans, kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and śūdras, who have fallen from their castes, and who desire to gain the objects of the next world, and whatever the results of that action —all that shall be thine, O goblin. And more yet I give thee for thy nourishment; hearken thereto. Men shall give thee a plenteous bali offering at the close of the Vaiśvadeva ceremony, first uttering thy name and then saying “this is for thee.”

“Abandon the house of him, who eats only properly cooked food according to rule, who is pure within and without, who is free from covetousness, who governs his wife.[32] Abandon that house, O goblin, where the gods and the pitṛs are worshipped with their respective oblations, and where the female relatives and guests are honoured. And abandon that house also, where concord[33] dwells at home among the children, the aged, the women and men, and among the various classes of kinsmen. Abandon that house, O goblin, where the womenfolk are delighted, are not eager to go outside, and are always modest. Abandon that house, O goblin, at my commaud, where the bedding and viands are suited to the ages and relations of the inmates. Abandon that house, O goblin, where the inmates are always kind, and busied in good deeds, and possess the common household utensils. And thou must also ever abandon that house, O goblin, where the inmates do not keep their seats while the religious preceptors, the aged, and dvijas are standing and where they do not stand. That will not be an excellent abode for thee, where the house-door is not penetrated by trees, shrubs or other vegetation, nor by a man who pierces one’s vitals. Abandon the house of the man who supports the gods, the pitṛs, mankind and guests with the remnants of his food. Abandon, O goblin, such men as these, the true in word, the forbearing in disposition, the harmless, and those free from remorse, and also the unenvious. Abandon the woman, who is devoted to her husband’s service, who keeps aloof from associating with bad women, and who feeds on the food which has been left by her family and husband. Abandon the brahman dvija always, whose mind is engrossed with sacrifice, study, discipline and alms-giving, and who has made his livelihood by means of the performance of sacrifices, teaching, and receiving alms.[34] And abandon, O Duḥsaha, the kṣatriya who is always energetic in alms-giving, study, and sacrifice, and who earns his livelihood from good taxes and by the occupation of arms. Abandon the stainless vaiśya, who is endowed with the three previous virtues,[35] and who gains his livelihood from the keeping of cattle and trade and cultivation. Abandon also the śūdra, who is diligent in alms-giving, sacrifice and the service of dvijas, and who supports himself by menial service under brāhmans and other dvijas, O goblin.

“In whatever house the master of the house earns his livelihood without contravening śruti and smṛti, and where his wife is obedient to him from her very soul, and where the son shows reverence to his spiritual preceptor and the gods and his father, and where the wife shows reverence to her husband—whence should there be fear of misfortune in that house? When a house is smeared over in the evenings, and thoroughly sprinkled with water, and the bali of flowers is made in it, thou canst not gaze thereat, O goblin. The houses where the sun sees not the beds, and where fire and water are constantly kept, and where the lamps behold the sun, are places patronized by Lakṣmī. That house is not a resort for thee, where are kept a bull, sandal-wood perfume, a lute, a mirror, honey and ghee, and where copper vessels are used both for poisons and for the clarified butter of holy oblations.

“That house is thy temple, O goblin, where thorny trees grow, and where leguminous plants creep about, and where the wife is a re-married widow, and ant-hills are found. That house is thy dwelling, wherein live five men, and three women, and as many cows, and where the fire from the fuel is mere darkness. Thou shalt quickly, O goblin, parch up the house, which contains one goat, two asses, three cattle, five buffaloes,[36] six horses, and seven elephants. Wherever a spade, a dā,[37] a basket, and also a caldron and other utensils are scattered about, they may give thee shelter. Sitting by women on the wooden pestle and mortar, and also upon udumbara wood,[38] and the utterance of sacred verses at the privy, this shall be advantageous for thee, O goblin. Roam, O Duḥsaha, to thy heart’s content, in that house where all kinds of corn whether cooked or uncooked, and where the scriptures also are disdained. Endless misfortunes take up their abode in that house, where fire lies upon the lid of the caldron or is offered with the point of a spoon. Thou, O goblin, and other Rākṣasas also shall have a dwelling in the house, where human bones lie and where a corpse remains a whole day and night. Resort at once to those men who feed on a kinsman’s piṇḍa and water, without giving any to the sapiṇḍas and sahodakas.

“Abandon the house where the lotus and the white lotus are found, where a maiden dwells who feeds on sweetmeats,[39] and where a bull and a fine elephant[40] are kept.[41] Abandon the habitation where the unarmed, the deities, and those who bear arms without engaging in battle, are esteemed worthy of honour by men. Roam not in that house, where are celebrated as of yore the great urban and rural festivals which were famous of old. Visit those unlucky men who fan themselves with winnowing fans,[42] and who bathe with the water poured from jars[43] or with the drops of water from cloths, and with water splashed up by the tips of their nails. Join not thyself with the man who establishes the country customs, the conventional ordinances, the laws regarding kinsmen, who performs the victorious homa oblation and the auspicious sacrifice to the gods, who maintains perfect personal purification according to the precepts, and who fashions the public talk.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Having spoken thus to Duḥsaha, Brahmā disappeared from sight there, and the other followed the command of the lotus-born god.

Footnotes and references:




Goodness, passion, and ignorance.


For Vaśiṣṭham read Vasiṣṭham.




The son of Svayam-bhū (the Self-existent Brahmā).


For dvijaḥ read dvija ?


He is one of the Prajāpatis.


This verse must refer to Ruci, as Dakṣa’s progeny is mentioned in verse 19.


For Santatiś in the text read Sannatiś see Canto LII, v. 24.


That is, Śiva; and he married Satī. She put an end to herself in consequence of her father Dakṣa’s curse, and was re-born as the daughter of Himavat, when Siva married her again. See Canto LII, vv. 12-14.


For Krituś read Kratuś.


See Canto LII, vv. 14, &c.


I.e. Lakṣmī.


This seems obscure.


Raurava is the name of a particular hell, but here it seems to be equivalent to Naraka.


For anye read anyo ?


The “Unendurable,” “Intolerable.”


Or, for tapaso nidhiḥ read tapaso nidhe, vocative?


For āharaṃ read āhāraṃ?


For a-svinnam read ā-svinnam?


For āsannāgatam another reading is āsandī-gatam which is preferable.


Vi-din-mukha; not in the dictionary.


Upa-ghāta-vat; not in the dictionary.




Tad-bhāgi in the text seems incorrect. Another reading is tad-gāmi; but tvad-bhāgi and tvad-gāmi seem preferable. Another reading is prāpsyasi, and this I have adopted.


For arthaṃ nirvṛtam another and better reading ia artha-nirvṛtau which I have adopted. A third reading is āśu vikṛtam.


For tvattvo read tvatto ?






For tapo-vane read tapo vane ?




For ’jita-strīkas read jita-strīkas ?


For maitrī-gṛhe read maitrī gṛhe ?




Guṇa, viz., alms-giving, study and sacrifice.


Māhiṣa (m?); in this sense, not in the dictionary.


Dātra, a large heavy knife with a curved-in point, used for all purposes of cutting, chopping and splitting.


This is forbidden because the tree is holy.


Modakāśinī; aśin, from aś, to eat, not in the dictionary.


For vṛṣabhairāvato read vṛṣabhairāvatau ?


For kalpyate read kalpyete or kalpyante ?


This seems to be the best meaning; but if so śūrpa-vātān would be more intelligible.


Ye kurvanti must be understood.

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