The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “praise of the sun” which forms the 104th 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 104 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CIV - Praise of the Sun

Brahmā finished the creation—He had a son Marīci, who had a son Kaśyapa—Kaśyapa married Dakṣa’s thirteen daughters, and begot by them the gods, demons, mankind, animals, birds, &c.The gods were subdued by the demons, and Aditi offered a hymn to the Sun, imploring his help.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Having created this world, Brahmā then separated off the castes, the brāhman’s four periods of life, the seas, the mountains, and the islands even as before. The adorable lotus-born god fixed the forms and abodes of the gods, Daityas, Nāgas and other beings, as before, according to the Vedas[1] indeed.

Brahmā had a son, who was famed as Marīci; his son was Kaśyapa, namely Kāāyapa by name.[2] Dakṣa’s thirteen daughters were his wives, O brahman; and they had many children who were the gods, Daityas, Nāgas and the rest. Aditi gave birth to the gods who rule over the three worlds, Diti to the Daityas, and Danu to the fierce Dānavas whose prowess is wide-reaching. And Vinatā bore Garuḍa and Aruṇa; Khasā the Vakṣas and Rākṣasas indeed; and Kadru bore the Nāgas; Muni bore the Gandharvas; from Krodhā were born the Kulyas; and from Riṣṭā the bevies of Apsarases; and Irā bore Airāvata and other elephants, O dvija; and Tāmrā bore daughters of whom Śyenī was the chief, O dvija, from all of whom were born the hawks, vultures, parrots and other birds; from Ilā were born the trees; from Pradhā the various kinds of aquatic animals.[3]

This is the progeny which was begotten of Aditi by Kaśyapa.[4] And by her sons and daughters’ sons, by her sons’ sons and daughters’ grandsons[5] and other descendants this world was overspread, yea by the, offspring of those males and those females, O muni.

The chief of those sons of Kaśyapa are the hosts of gods. Now these hosts are characterized by goodness, by passion and by ignorance, O muni. Brahmā, the chief of those learned in sacred lore, the highest of all, the Prajāpati, made the gods participators in the sacrifices, and rulers over the three worlds. The hostile Daityas and Dānavas and Rākṣasas combining harassed them, and a very terrible war occurred between them. Now the deities were vanquished for a thousand divine years, and the powerful Daityas and Dānavas were victorious, O brahman. Then Aditi, seeing her sons cast out and robbed of the three worlds by the Daityas and Dānavas, O best of munis, and deprived of their shares of sacrifices, was exceedingly afflicted with grief, and made the utmost efforts to propitiate the Sun. Concentrating her mind thereon, restricting her food, observing the utmost selfrepression, she hymned the Sun, the ball of light that dwells in the sky.

Aditi spoke:

Reverence to thee who hast a sublime subtle golden body, O splendour of those who have splendour, O lord, O repository of splendours, O eternal one! And the ardent form which thou hast who drawest up the waters for the benefit of the worlds, O lord of the heavenly cattle, to that I bow reverently! The most ardent form which thou hast, who bearest the nectar that composes the moon to take it back during the space of eight months, to that I bow reverently!

The well-fattened[6] form which thou hast, who verily discharges! all that same nectar to produce rain, to that thy cloud -form be reverence, O Sun! And that light-giving form of thine, which tends to mature the whole kingdom of plants that are produced through the pouring forth of water, to that[7] I bow reverently! And that form of thine which, when there is excessive cold by reason of the pouring forth of snow and other causes, tends to nourish the crops of that winter season—to the passing over of that thy form be reverence! And that form of thine, which is not very ardent and which is not very cold, and is mild in the season of spring, to that be reverence, O divine Sun, yea reverence! And thy other form, which fattens both all the gods and the pitṛs, to that which causes the ripening of the crops be revenence! That one form of thine which, being composed of nectar for the vivification of plants, is quaffed by the gods and pitṛs, to that, which is the soul of the moon, be reverence! That form of thine which, consisting of the universe, is combined with Agni and Soma these two forms of the Sun,[8] to that, the soul of which is the good qualities,[9] be reverence! That form of thine which, named the three-fold Veda by reason of the unity of the Ṛc, Tajus and Sāma Vedas, gives heat to this universe, to that be reverence, O luminous one! That thy form moreover, which transcends that former one, which is enunciated by uttering the word “Om,” and which is subtle, endless and stainless, reverence be to that, the soul of which is Truth!

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

In this manner the goddess, self-restrained, abstaining from food, offered praise day and night, desirous of propitiating the Sun, O muni. A long time thereafter the adorable Sun rendered himself visible to her, Dakṣa’s daughter, in the sky, O best of dvijas. She beheld a huge mass of glory, dwelling in the sky and stationed on the earth, full of light, most difficult to be gazed at because of its halo of flame. Seeing him then, the goddess became bold to the utmost and spoke—

“Be gracious to me! I can not gaze on thee, O lord of the heavenly cattle. Since I while fasting have beheld thee, at first standing in the sky and most difficult to be gazed upon, and afterwards as brilliant and burning, even so I behold thee here on earth a globe of glory. Be gracious; may I see thy form, O maker of day! O thou lord, who hast compassion on thy believers, I believe; protect my sons!

Thou, the Creator, createst this universe;
Exerting thyself thou protectest it to make it permanent;
In thee everything passes to its dissolution at the end. Thou art it.
Besides thee verily there is no other way of existence in all the world!
Thou art Brahmā and Hari! thou bearest the name Aja![10] Thou art Indra,
The lord of wealth Kuvera, the lord of the pitṛs Yama, the lord of the waters[11] Varuṇa, the wind Vayu!
Thou art the Moon, Agni, the lord of the sky, the supporter of the earth,[12] the Ocean!
What praise must be given to thee who art the splendour of all souls and forms?
O lord of sacrifice, brahmans devoted to their own ceremonies, day by day,
Praising thee with manifold words, offer sacrifice to thee.
Meditating on thee with firmly restrained minds
And absorbed in religious devotion mortals[13] attain unto the sublimest condition.
Thou warmest, thou maturest the universe; thou protectest it, thou turnest it to ashes.
Thou makest it manifest, thou makest it sound forth[14] with
thy rays which are pregnant with water.
Thou createst it again also in unerring manifestations.
Thou art reverenced by mortal beings that move, but art unapproachable by workers of iniquity.[15]

Footnotes and references:


For devebhyas the Bombay edition reads Vedebhyas, which is preferable.


Kāśyapo nāma nāmataḥ; the Bombay edition agrees, but this can hardly be right. Kaśyapa would be name of Kaśyapa’s descendants.


For Pradhāyāspatasāṃ gaṇāḥ read Pradhāyā yādasāṃ gaṇāḥ as in the Bombay edition.


Kaśyapa’s wives and children are given differently in other authorities, e.g., MahāBhārata, Ādi-p., xvi, lxv. and lxvi; Kūrma Purāṇa xviii; Agni Purāṇa six.


Dauhitrika, a word not in the dictionary.


Ā-pyāyaka; a word not in the dictionary.


For taṃ read tan ?


The Bombay edition reads āpyāya-dāha-rūpābhyām, “two forms of fatness and conflagration.”


Guṇātmane in the Bombay edition is better than gaṇātmane,


Either “the unborn one,” or “the driver, mover, instigator.”


Ambu-patīḥ violates the metre; read ap-patiḥ as in the Bombay edition.


Gagana-patiḥ māhī-dharo; this is the reading of the Bombay edition. The Calcutta reading gagana-mahī-dharo makes the verse two syllables short.


Martyāḥ, the reading of the Bombay edition. The Calcutta edition reads instead yoga-mūrtyā, “by means of the body which belongs to religious devotion;” but this violates the metre.


Hrādayasi in both editions. The meaning is no doubt “to shout for joy;” see the Bible, Psalm lxv. 9-13.


The Bombay edition reads the second half of this verse very differently—

“Thou the lotus-born god. createst it; thou who art named the Unwavering one protectest it, and thou destroyest it at the end of the age. Thou alone art awful in form!”

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