The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “hymn to the sun” which forms the 103rd 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 103 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CIII - Hymn to the Sun

Brahmā, finding the Sun’s glory too great for creation, offered a hymn to the Sun.—The Sun contracted his glory, and Brahmā accomplished the creation.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Now when the egg was being heated by his glory above and beneath, the lotus-born Forefather, being desirous of creating, pondered—“My creation although accomplished will assuredly pass to destruction through the intense glory[1] of the Sun, who is the cause of creation, dissolution and permanence, great of soul. Breathing beings will all be bereft of breath, the waters will dry up through his glory, and without water there will be no creation of this universe.” Pondering thus the adorable Brahmā, Forefather of the world, becoming intent thereon, composed a hymn to the adorable Sun.

Brahmā spoke:

I pay reverence to thee of whom everything consists
Here, and who consistest of everything;
Whose body is the universe, who art the sublime Light
Whereon religious devotees meditate;
Who art composed of the Ṛc hymns, who art the repository of the Yajus hymns,
And who art the origin of the Sāman hymns; whose power passes thought;
Who consistest of the three Vedas;[2] who art half a short syllable as touching grossness,[3]
Whose nature is sublime, who art worthy of the fullness of good qualities.[4]
To thee,[5] the cause of all, who art to be known as supremely worthy of praise,[6]
The supreme Light that was at the beginning, not in the form of fire;[7]
And who art gross by reason that thy spirit is in the gods —to thee I pay reverence,
The shining one, who wast in the beginning, the sublimest beyond the sublime!
Thine is the primeval power, in that urged on thereby
I achieve this creation, which is in the forms of water, earth, wind and fire,
Which has those elements, the gods and other beings for
its objects, and which is complete with the word “Om”
and other sounds
Not at my own wish; and that I effect its continuance and dissolution in the self-same manner.
Thou verily art fire. By reason of thy drying up of the water thou achievest[8]
The creation of the earth and the primeval completion of the worlds.
Thou indeed, O lord, pervadest the very form of the sky.
Thou in five ways proteetest all this world.
They who know the Supreme Soul sacrifice with sacrifices to thee,
Who hast the nature of Viṣṇu, who consistest of all sacrifices, O Sun!
And self-subdued ascetics, who curb their souls and thoughts, meditate
On thee, the lord of all, the supremest, while they desire
final emancipation from existence for themselves.
Reverence to thee, whose form is divine;
To thee, whose form is sacrifice, be reverence;
Yea to thee who in thy very nature art the Supreme Spirit,
Who art meditated upon by religious devotees!
Contract thy glory, since the abundance of thy glory
Tends to obstruct creation, O lord, and I am ready to begin creation!

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Being praised thus by the Creator Brahma, the Sun contracted his supreme glory and retained but very little. And the lotus-born god accomplished the creation of the world. Thus in those intervals of the former kalpas illustrious Brahmā created indeed, as before, the gods, Asuras and other beings, and mortals, cattle and other animals, trees and shrubs and the hells, O great muni.

Footnotes and references:


Ābhi-tejasaḥ; a word not in the dictionary.


For trayī-mayī read trayī-mayo as in the Bombay edition.


Sthūlatayārdha-mātrā; this seems obscure.


Guna-pāra-yogyaḥ. This may be taken in several ways; “who art adapted to the fullest measure of a suppliant’s good qualities,” or “who art worthy of religions devotion by reason of the fullness of thy good qualities,” or “who art worthy of religious devotion with the fullness of a suppliant’s good qualities.”


For taṃ read tvāṃ as in the Bombay edition.


The Bombay edition reads, but not so well, paramaṃ ca veḍyam, “and who art to be known as the sublimest one.”


The Bombay edition reads instead, ādyam paraṃ jyotir a-vedya-rūpam, “the supreme Light that was in the beginning, whose form passes knowledge.”


For karomi, “I achieve,” the Bombay edition reads karoshi, which I have adopted as preferable.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: