by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237
This page relates “conclusion” which forms the 137th 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 137 is included the section known as “conclusion of the work”.
The Birds spoke:
Having spoken thus, O Jaimineya, the great muni Mārkaṇḍeya let the muni Krauṣṭuki depart, and performed the midday ceremony. From him we also have heard what we have declared to thee, O great muni. For this was perfected by Him who is without beginning. Spoken formerly hy the Self-existent One to the muni Mārkaṇḍeya was this which we have uttered to thee. It is sacred, pure, and grants length of life; it bestows righteousness, love, wealth and final emancipation from existence; it delivers immediately from all sin those who read it, those who hear it.
And the very four questions indeed, which thou didst put to us at the very first—the conversation between the father and son, and the creation by the Self-existent One, and the administrations of the Manus, and the exploits of the kings, O muni, this we have declared to thee. What now dost thou wish to hear? After hearing or reading all these matters in assemblies , a man discarding all sins may reach absorption into Brahman at the end.
There are eighteen Purāṇas which the Forefather spoke. Now the seventh of them is to be known as the very famous Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa. They are the Brāhma, the Pādma, and the Vaiṣṇava, the Śaiva and the Bhāgavata, and also the Nāradīya besides, and the Mārkaṇḍeya as seventh, the Āgneya which was declared the eighth, and the Bhaviṣya ninth, the Brahmavaivarta tenth, the Laiṅga known as the eleventh, Vārāha declared the twelfth, the Skānda next as thirteenth, and the Vāmana fourteenth, and the Kaurma fifteenth, and the Mātsya, and the Gāruḍa and next the Brahmāṇḍa.
He who may read the titles of the eighteen Purāṇas, who repeats them at the three periods of the day continually, may obtain the result of a horse-sacrifice.
This Purāṇa which contains the four questions is indeed of the highest quality. Now when it is heard, sin committed in hundreds of ten millions of ages perishes. Brahmanicide and other sins, and other deeds that are vile, all those perish there-by, like grass smitten by the blast. The merit that is gained by making gifts at Puṣkara accrues from hearing this Purāṇa; and a man attains to a benefit superior to all the Vedas by completely acquiring this. A man should worship him who may cause it to be heard, as he worships the divine Forefather, with perfumes and flowers and with gifts of clothing and with gratifications to brāhmans. And kings should give according to their ability villages and other lands and carriages. After hearing all this Purāṇa, which is augmented with the objects of the Veda and which is the sole abode of the Dharma-śāstras, a man may obtain every object. After hearing the entire Purāṇa, let a wise man do full reverence to Vyāsa for the sake of the benefits of righteousness, wealth, love and final emancipation from existence as therein declared. Let him give his spiritual preceptor a cow, accompanied with gold, clothing and ornaments. In order to gain the benefits that come from hearing it let him gratify his spiritual preceptor with gifts.
He who, without paying reverence to the man who reads the Purāṇa out, hears a single verse, acquires no merit; verily he is known as a Scripture-thief. Not him do the gods gladden, nor the Pitṛs, with sons; and they desire not the śraddlia given by him nor the benefit gained by bathing at sacred places of pilgrimage. He incurs the censure of a Scripture-thief in an assembly of good men. Wise men must not listen to this scripture with contempt; but when this noble scripture is contemned as it is being read by sages, the offender becomes dumb; he is born as a fool in seven births.
Now he, who after hearing this seventh Purāṇa may further do reverence to it, being delivered from all sin verily purifies his own family. The purified man goes without doubt to Viṣṇu’s eternal world; never shall he falling therefrom become a man again. By the very hearing of this Purāṇa a man may obtain supreme union with the universal soul.
No gift should be made to an atheist, to one fallen from his caste, to a contemner of the Vedas, to one who contemns religious preceptors and twice-born men, or moreover to one who has broken his vows, to one who contemns his parents, to one who contemns the Vedas, Śāstras and other scriptures, or to one who infringes the rules of good breeding, or indeed to one who is passionate towards his caste-folk. To these men certainly no gift must he made, even when one’s life is at its last gasp.
If entirely through covetousness or infatuation or fear one should read this Purāṇa or cause it to be read, he may assuredly go to hell.
All this story is characterized by righteousness, and bestows heaven and final emancipation from existence. Who hears it or may read it, his earnest endeavour is achieved; he is never affected by the pain of mental or bodily sickness; he is delivered from brāhmanicide and other sins, there is no doubt of this. Good men become his kindly friends, affectionate in mind. No enemies nor robbers will ever arise against him. Aspiring to what is good, and eating savoury food, he perishes not with famines; nor with sins touching others’ wives or others’ property, or with injury to others or with such like crimes; and he is continually freed from many pains, O best of dvijas. Success, affluence, memory, peace, good fortune, nourishment, and contentment—may each of these be his continually, who hears this story, O brahman! The man who hears the whole of this Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa is not to be lamented; nor is he indeed to be lamented who recites this poetical work properly, O dvija. Endowed with perfection that is purified by knowledge of religious devotion, and surrounded even in Svarga and the other worlds by Indra and other gods and other heavenly beings, he is always reverenced in Svarga. And after hearing this Purāṇa, which is replete with knowledge and intelligence, being mounted in a choice heavenly car he is magnified in Svarga. And the number of the syllables in the Purāṇa has been declared by him who is intelligent in exactitude. There are of verses six thousands and eight hundreds also, thereto are added eighty-nine verses and eleven—pronounced of yore by the wise muni Mārkaṇḍeya.
In India there was not that which burst asunder my doubts, O ye twice-born; ye, sirs, have accomplished that which no one else now will do. Ye have attained long life, are good. and are clever in knowledge and intelligence. And thus let there be unerring intelligence in the application of the Sāṅkhya doctrine to the knowledge of spirit! Let evil-mindedness that springs from pain wrought by a father’s curse depart from you!” After speaking this much the muni went to his own hermitage, pondering over the speech uttered by the Birds, which was sublimely noble.
End of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa:
Footnotes and references:
He and the Birds reappear from canto xlv. The text is Jaimineyam, “Having spoken thus to Jaimineya;” but the Birds have been relating to Jaimini what Mārkaṇḍeya had before told to Krauṣṭuki, and this reading is unsuitable unless Jaimineya be taken as Krauṣṭnki’s patronymic; and that it cannot be, for Krauṣṭuki’s patronymic is said to have been Bhāguri, see pp. 436 and 445. I have ventured therefore to read Jaimineya instead.
Anādi-siddham. The Calcutta Appendix reads aṇimā-siddham, “perfect in minuteness.”
Sthiti; or “positions.”
The Calcutta reading pathitvā appears preferable to paṭhate.
The Calcutta Appendix here introduces Jaimini’s reply which is at page 688; and puts what follows here regarding the Purāṇas as a separate pronouncement by Brahma.
The Calcutta Appendix puts all that follows down to verse 30, and also the concluding two verses, into the mouth of Brahma, and places it at the very end.
This sentence is omitted from the Calcutta Appendix.
For japato read japate.
This verse and the next are not in the Calcutta Appendix.
See p. 306, note ‖.
The Calcutta Appendix reads śrūyeta pūjayec chāstram, “let him hear and reverence this śāstra.”
The Calcutta Appendix reads instead—
“And he should give according to his ability royal carriages and other vehicles.”
This verse and the next two are not in the Calcutta Appendix.
Ca necchanti of the Calcutta Appendix is better than tathecchanti.
The Calcutta Appendix reads—
“Moreover until seven Manus are gone, he may, after enjoying delights according to his wishes, and after enjoying the very earth, attain to supreme union with the universal soul.”
Su-jana of the Calcutta Appendix is better than sva-jana.
Sad-artho; or perhaps “being in good circumstances”?
Or “possessing pure success in the knowledge of religious devotion.”
The Calcutta Appendix reads more bluntly, “In India twice-born Brahmans have lost the power of bursting asunder perplexities and doubts.”
For santu of the Bombay and Poona editions read santaḥ, with the Calcutta Appendix.
Vyapaitu vaḥ. See pages 13-16.