The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes contents of the section on creation (srishti-khanda) which is chapter 2 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the second chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 2 - Contents of the Section on Creation (Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta spoke:

1. I salute the Lord of all human beings and of the entire world, of the form of Creation and the Knower of Pradhāna (i.e. Sāṃkhya Prakṛti). He creates this disposition in me.

2. He, the Creator of the worlds, the Knower of their essential nature, conversant with Yoga (-doctrines), resorting to the concentration of mind created all immobile and mobile beings.

3. Being desirous of knowing the story of the Purāṇa I submit myself to Him—the unborn, the creator of everything, the Lord of souls, the Observer of the worlds, and the Supreme Ruler.

4-6. Being well-disposed, having saluted with a concentrated mind Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Indra, the Guardians of the Quarters of the world and the sun; and also the magnanimous Vasiṣṭha, the greatest among the sages and Jātukarṇya[1], with penance shining on his face, in the Cāksuṣa (Manvantara); and having saluted the revered Vyāsa, the Creator, the ancient Puruṣa who acted according to the words of Bhṛgu (I shall narrate the Purāṇa).

7. From Him, the declarer of the Vedas, the omniscient one, adored in all the worlds and of glowing lustre. I heard the Purāṇa.

8. It is a certainty that Unmanifest Eternal Cause, of the nature of being and non-being, creates all distinctions upto Mahat.

9-10. In the golden egg, the excellent birth of Brahmā (took place) first. The egg was covered by water, and water by light (or heat). It (i.e. light) was covered by air; air by ether; that by the source of the elements (i.e. Ahaṃkāra); that source of elements too was covered by Mahat, and Mahat by the Invisible.

11. And the coming into being (appearance) ofthe worlds in the egg itself is described; then follows the description of the coming into existence of rivers and mountains.

22. Then (follows) the description in brief of the periods of Manus[2] and of the Kalpas, (and also) of the extinction of the Divine Tree and the creation of the beings by Brahmā.

13. The passage of the Kalpas, the fixing of the world, Viṣṇu’s sleeping in the water and the lifting up of the earth again (are also narrated).

14. Viṣṇu’s passing through ten existences (i.e. the ten Incarnations) due to Bhṛgu’s curse[3]; the arrangement of the Yugas (ages of the world); the division of (human) life into all the stages (are described).

15. The distinction in the conditions of the mortals moving in heaven (after death), as well as the origin of beasts and birds is narrated.

16-17. And also etymology and ritual (find a place here) and the inclusion of sacred study (is done); in the same way Brahmā’s wilful dissolutions and creations, and also His three unwilful secondary creations (are recounted); and (how) Brahma conceived the worlds (is told); and the rise of Bhṛgu and others from Brahmā’s mouth (is described in the Purāṇa).

18a. The interval between two Kalpas is narrated and the period of transition between two creations (is described).

18b-19. The description of the origin of the progeny of Bhṛgu and other sages (as given here) and the greatness of the Brahmanical sage Vasiṣṭha is narrated; then follows the glorification of Svāyambhuva Manu.

20. (Account of) the creations of Nābhi and the noble Rajas (is told). The enumeration of the islands[4], oceans and mountains (is also done).

21. The inclusion among the seven of the various islands and oceans according to their arrangement and the residents thereof are described (in the Purāṇa).

22. Also the regions thereof, along with the rivers and mountains, as well as the islands like Jambū Dvīpa, surrounded by seven seas (are described).

23-25. (The accounts of) these worlds in the egg and the earth with its seven islands (are given); the movement of the sun and the moon and of the planets (and other) luminaries also due to the power of Dhruva is narrated; the good and bad fortune of the beings (is narrated), and (the description of) the sun’s chariot fashioned for a purpose by Brahmā Himself, in which (chariot) regulated by him, the revered sun moves (is given). (It is also told how) the chariots of the sun and others proceed from Dhruva only.

26a. (The Purāṇa narrates how) He created Śiṃśumāra in whose tail Dhruva remains.

26b. Destruction coming at the end of creation and creation at the end of destruction (are described).

27. It is not possible to give in detail the account of gods, sages, Manu and the host of fathers; so it is narrated in brief.

28. The narration of gods and kings, past and future, in the periods of (various) Manus is similar to that in the (period of) Svāyambhuva (i.e. the first) Manu.

29. The ‘dissolution-and-recreation’ of the beings conceived to be of three types is called Naimittika, Prākṛtika, and Ātyantika.

30. Drought and the terrible fire of destruction from the sun, and the clouds causing general inundation, and also the night of the Highest Lord (are described).

31. The characteristic mark of the period intervening between the end of one Yuga and the commencement of another is described and especially that of Brahmā; also the description of the beings and seven worlds (is given in it).

32. I shall describe here (i.e. in the Purāṇa) the hells like Raurava of the Sinners (i.e. where the sinners go); also the consideration of the end of one and all beings.

33. (It contains) the secondary creation of Brahmā and the description of the total destruction; anḍ the destruction of even the great beings in every Kalpa.

34. Having perceived after proper calculation (I shall describe) the evanescence of even Brahmā, and also the depravity of the enjoyments and the painfulness of the worldly existence.

35-36. (The Purāṇa describes) (how) salvation is difficult to attain, and (how) faults are noticed through detachment and (how) Reality, discarding the manifest and unmanifest, remains in Brahman. (The Purāṇa tells) how the untinged one called Virūpa, after realising the diversity, and having gone beyond the three miseries is happy and then, remains in it (ie. Brahman). ‘Experiencing the joy of Brahman he is afraid of nothing’. A full and proper description of the proof for such (statements) is given (here).

37. In it (lit. in which) the changes pertaining to the world like creation and dissolution are described; also the active worldly life and the fruits of resignation of worldly acts (are described).

38-44. (It describes) The origin of Vasiṣṭha; also the birth of Śakti[4]; his destruction by Kalmāṣapāda, the son of Sudāsa, through the act of Viśvāmitra; the birth of Parāśara the Lord from Adṛśyantī; also how Vyāsa was born of the daughter of the Pitṛs, and how Śuka was born; also of his intelligent son; how Parāśara was very much hated by Viśvāmītra; (how) fire prepared by Vasiṣṭha with a desire to kill Viśvāmitra was destroyed by intelligent Kaṇva—the Lord of the brāhmaṇas and non-brāhmaṇas—desiring the welfare of Visvāmitra, to reconcile (the two sages). How Vyāsa, the Lord, favouring all, divided one Veda of four quarters into four parts; how his pupils and their pupils again divided (the Veda) into (various) branches; (how) the Lord (i.e. Vyāsa) was asked by the best sages at Prayāga and (how) those sages longing for Dharma, were advised by Kṛṣṇa (Dvaipāyana Vyāsa).

45a. O best sages, all this is correctly told (in the Purāṇa).

45b-46. So also (is told) the best course of the world of (i.e. as practised by) the sages always practising Dharma, which was in ancient times narrated to the noble Pulastya by Brahmā and by Pulastya to Bhīṣma at Gaṅgādvāra.

47. The narration or the listening to and especially the assimilation of this Purāṇa is blessed, leads to fame, prolongs life and destroys all sins.

48. To the brāhrnaṇas Sūta declared in detail and in due order this Purāṇa which was formerly narrated by Brahmā.

49. There is no doubt that he,who, with his senses subdued, would study with proper understanding (even) a part of this, has studied the entire Purāṇa.

50. He, who knows the four Vedas, along with the Aṅgas (i.e. certain classes of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas) and the Upaniṣads and knows the Purāṇa also, is wiser than the one (described above).

51. One should nourish Veda with Itihāsa and Purāṇas. Veda, thinking ‘he would deceive me’, is afraid of a (person) of little learning.

52. And having studied (even) one chapter (of this Purāṇa) narrated by Brahmā himself, one would be free from calamities (even) after having met with them and would get the desired course.

53. It tells about the old tradition; so it is called Purāṇa. He who knows its derivation is absolved of all sins.

The sages said to the Sūta:

54-58. How did the revered sage Pulastya, Brahmā’s mind-born son, whose sight is difficult to be obtained, come in contact with Bhīṣma? It is a a great wonder, O Sūta, O highly intelligent one. Tell us how that great sage was propitiated by that kṣatriya (i.e. Bhīṣma). What kind of penance or what other religious observances did he practise by which that brahmanic sage talked to him in such a way that he explained to him a section or half a section or the entire (Purāṇa)? O fortunate one, tell us, in which place and in what condition the revered one was seen by him? We are ready to listen to it.

Sūta Said:

59-61. Where the Ganges, the benefactress of the good, the purifier of the world, having broken (open) the mountain, flowed forth, there—at the great sacred place—(named) Gaṅgādvāra, Bhīṣma, devoted to the forefathers, desirous of listening to (the Purāṇa), remained, for a very long time in the religious observances of (i.e. practised by) the great, for full hundred years, meditating with great concentration on the Highest Brahman, and bathed thrice (a day).

62. God Brahmā was pleased with the noble one who gratified the forefathers and gods with self-recitation, and who subdued himself.

63-65a. Brahma said to his son Pulastya, the best among the sages: “Such as you are, ward off from penance that brave Devavrata Bhīṣma, a descendant of the Kuru-family, and tell him the reason (for doing so). The blessed one has remained (there) meditating upon his forefathers. What desire his mind has, fulfil it; do not delay.”

65b-66. Having heard the words of Brahmā, Pulastya, the best of the sages, having come to Gaṅgedvāra [Gaṅgādvāra?], said (these) words to Bhīṣma: “Welfare to you; ask for whatever boon is in your mind (i.e. you think of asking).

67. O warrior, god Brahmā himself is pleased with your penance. I, who am sent by Brahmā, will grant you your desired boons.

68-69. Bhīṣma too, having heard those words pleasing to the ears, opening his eyes and seeing Pulastya standing before him, (and) having saluted the best sage with the eight parts of his body and the entire body touching the earth, and thus bending, said:

70. “Today my birth is fruitful; and this day is very auspicious (as) here I have seen your feet adorable for the world.

71. And I have obtained the fruit of my penance since I have seen the venerable one, the granter of the boon, who has especially arrived at the river-bank.

72-73. I have made ready this comfortable seat; (please) be seated. In the offering-vessel made of Palāśa-leaves is the respectful offering with (i.e. consisting of) sacred dūrvā-grass, rice grains, flowers, barley and milk, for of yore the sages have recommended such an offering consisting of eight articles.”

74. Having heard these words of Bhīṣma, of unlimited lustre the revered sage Pulastya, the son of Brahmā, sat on the seat.

75. Being pleased with him of good behaviour and being delighted the revered one liked the seat with the water offered for washing the feet and the (contents of) the offering-vessel.

Pulastya said:

76. You are a truthful munificent king, true to your word, modest, friendly, of a forgiving nature, (and) powerful in controlling the enemies.

77. O sweet-speaking one, you are conversant with religious law, grateful, kind. (You) honour those who deserve honour. You are intelligent, hospitable to the brāhmaṇas (and) kind towards the good.

78. O child, I am pleased with you who are always intent on obeisance. Tell me, O blessed one, what I (should) tell you.

Bhīṣma said:

79. O revered one, tell me during which time the venerable lord lived and formerly made the creation of gods and others.

80. (When) did revered Viṣṇu (effect) the preservation? How was Rudra creaetd? and how were the sages and gods created by that magnanimous one?

81. How (were) the earth, the sky, these oceans, the islands, the mountains, the villages, the forests and the cities created (by him)?

82-83. Tell me how (i.e. in the order in which) the lord created the ascetics, the (ten) lords of created beings, and the seven distinguished sages, the castes, wind, old places, Gandharvas; Yakṣas and demons, holy places, rivers, planets like the sun and stars.

Pulastya said:

84-85. He, the best among the best, the greatest, the supreme spirit—Brahmā—without any form or complexion, destitute of any attribute, decay or destruction, change, increase or birth, (and also) void of all qualities, alone shines.

86. He is regarded to be living equally everywhere, and is said to be matchless. The learned declare him to manifest himself in the form of Brahmā.

87-88. Having saluted him, the mysterious, supreme, eternal, unborn, inexhaustible, immutable one, that has remained in the form of time, I shall tell you, how having first risen from the lotus-bed, the lord of the world brought the creation.

89-91. O king, at the time of creation, Mahān, of three types, viz. Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa also, came out, endowed with the marks of the three constituents.

This Ahaṃkāra—resembling the principle of Pradhāna, and enveloped by seeds etc. of three types (viz. Vaikārika or Sāttvika, Taijasa or Rājasa and Bhutādi or Tāmasa) arose from the principle of Mahat. (From it arose) the five elements and organs of sense, along with the organs of action.

92. I shall narrate the nature of each one (of the five elements, viz.) earth, water, and fire, air and Ākāśa in succession.

93. Ākāśa has the quality of sound; Bhūtadi[5] covered the sky; Ākāśa, being effected, created the quality of touch.

94. This Vāyu is indeed powerful; touch is regarded to be its quality. Ākāśa, having sound as its quality, covered the quality of touch.

95. From that Vāyu being effected, created the quality of form: that (arising from Vāyu) is of the form of lustre; it is said to be having form as its quality.

96. Vāyu, of the nature of touch, covered (lustre having) the quality of form; lustre too, being effected created the quality of water.

97. The quality of form covered the water arising out of it. The water being effected, created the quality of odour.

98. From it comes into being the aggregate (i.e. the earth). Odour is regarded as its quality; the sense-organs are said to be (arising from) Tejas. The ten of sense and action organs are products of the Sāttvika (Vaikārika Ahaṃkāra).

99. Here (i.e. of the organs) mind is the eleventh. The sense-organs are said to be Vaikārika. (They are:) Skin, eye, nose, tongue, and ear is the fifth of these.

100-102. The function of these is said to be the apprehension of sound etc. (The other are:) speech, hands, feet, anus, and the fifth of these is the sex-organ. The characteristics of these in reverse order are: discharge, manual work, movement and speech. Ākāsa, air, fire, water and earth are, O brave one, endowed with the successive qualities of sound etc.; therefore, the specific objects (or particularities) are said to be tranquil, violent and stupid.

103. Then being of diverse strength, and separated, they were unable to procreate without wholly coming together.

104-105. Having come together, by mutual contact and inter-dependence, having the target of one aggregate, completely being united, by being controlled by the Puruṣa, and by the favour of the invisible (Prakṛti) (when favoured by the Avyakta), (they) beginning with the Mahān etc. and ending with the specific objects effect the egg.

106-110. That (egg) gradually manifested is like a water-bubble. In it, Brahmā himself, whose form is invisible, (who is) Janārdana of a visible form, re mains in the form of Brahman. Of him, the great-souled one, Meru was the foetus, the (other) mountains were the outer skin of the embryo and oceans were the (foetus-) fluid. In that egg, O warrior, there were the islands, seas, and and the whole universe with the luminaries, with gods, demons and human beings. The egg has water, fire, air and ether (Ākāśa) concealed within and is, from outside, covered by Ahaṃkāra and by the ten powers[6] (i.e. ten organs) and Ahaṃkāra (is covered) by Mahān. O prince, Mahān, with all these, is covered by Avyakta.

111. The egg is endowed with all these covers and all beings as the coconut seed is covered by external scabbards.

112. Brahma himself proceeds towards the creation of the world, and protects the creation yuga after yuga, as long as the kalpa is regulated.

113. That god Janārdana, all alone, enjoying pleasure, possessing virtues, of unlimited valour (now) gets an appelation.

114-115. At the end of the kalpa, O best of princes, he increases darkness and takes up a terrible form, and being very ferocious, eats up all beings; and, when the world becomes but one ocean, he, having eaten up all beings, and having assumed his own full form, sleeps on the bed of the serpent.

116. Being awake, he, taking up the form (of Brahmā) effects the creation. For creating, maintaining and destroying (the world he takes up) respectively the forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.

117. The creator creates himself, and Viṣṇu protects (the world) that is to be protected, and the lord himself, the with-drawer, is withdrawn (into himself).

118. Since he, the immutable one of a universal form, is the lord of (all these) elements—earth, water, and also fire, air and ether, therefore beneficial creation etc. proceed from him only.

119. He—having the entire (world) as his form through such states as Brahman etc., the Supreme Being, the best one, the giver of boons and the worthiest—alone is the creation and the creator; he is the one that protects what is to be protected.

Footnotes and references:


Jātukarṇya: “The Jātukarṇyas were a Vasiṣṭha gotra (Matsya 200.19; Vāyu 1.9-10; but see Bhāgavata IX.2.21). This name is a patronymic, and so there were several of the name. Jātukaraṇya or Jatukarṇa is said to have taught Vyāsa the Veda (Vāyu 1.44; Harivaṃśa 42, 2364), and the Purāṇa (Brahmāṇḍa 1.1.11)” (Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, p. 217).

The Manu is called Cāksuṣa because he was born from the mouth of the Highest Lord (Markaṇḍeya Purāṇa 76.2).


A manvantara is said to be the period of a Manu and the gods (Padma, Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa 3.12ff.).


The curse pronounced by Bhṛgu on Viṣṇu is attributed to different causes in Devī Bhāgavata (4.11.12) and Padma, Bhūmikhaṇḍa 121.


The seven islands are: Jambū, Plakṣa, Sālmala, Kuśa, Krauñca, Śāka and Puṣkara.


Śakti: Eldest son of Vasiṣṭha and Arundhati. Adṛśyantī was his wife (Bhāgavata 4.1.41; Mbh. Adi 192.11). He defeated Viśvāmitra in a sacrifice at the house of Saudāsa. Jamadagni again endowed Viśvāmitra with power. Then Viśvāmitra burnt him with the help of Saudāsa. At the time of his death Adṛśyantī was carrying. She gave birth to the celebrated Parāśara. In the present Manvantara the name ofthe 26th Vyāsa is Śakti. (Matsya iii. 2.12-18).


Bhūtādi is the Tāmasa Ahaṃkāra. Ahaṃkāra is said to be of three types: (i) Vaikārika or Sāttvika, (ii) Taijasa or Rājasa, and (iii) Bhūtādi or Tāmasa.


Guṇa: the five subtle organs of perception, five subtle organs of action and the mind are the eleven śaktis or guṇas of Ahaṃkāra.

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