The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes origin of vishnu’s steps which is chapter 30 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 thirtieth 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.

Chapter 30 - Origin of Viṣṇu’s steps

Bhīṣma said:

1-4a. Having reached the sacrificial mountain. the powerful Viṣṇu planted his foot (-steps) there. What is the purpose of this line of the foot (-steps) which the lord of lords planted? O highly intelligent one, tell me (about) that. O great sage, tell me which demon he subdued after having planted his foot (-steps) there. The residence of Viṣṇu is in heaven, the great-souled one lives in Vaikuṇṭha. How is it that he planted his foot (-step) in the human world?

4b-5. O brahman, lords of gods (i.e. great gods) with Indra as their leader, and also devotees who continuously (please) the lord by means of great penance (live in the world of gods). It is said that the residence of Śrīvarāha is in the Mahar-world.

6-8. Similarly the residence of Nṛsiṃha, the great-souled one, is said to be in the Jana-world. The residence of Trivikrama is said to be in the Tapas-world. Tell me in detail, O brahman, how (is it that the lord), leaving these worlds, planted his two foot-steps on the earth and (how is it that he) planted his footsteps on the sacrificial mountain in this place, viz. Puṣkara, which is sacred to Brahmā. By hearing (this account) all sins will certainly perish.

Pulastya said:

9. That you have asked properly, listen attentively to (the account as to how) in olden days, lord Viṣṇu having come to the sacrificial mountain, planted his foot (-step) on the embankment of it.

10-12a. O Bhīṣma, formerly in the Kṛtayuga Viṣṇu performed a (mighty) deed for the attainment of gods’ purpose and for the (good of the) earth. The stronger demons, having conquered gods along with Indra, had brought under their control the entire heaven, after subduing the three worlds.

12b-14a. The very mighty demon Bāṣkali had made the stronger demons the enjoyers (of portions) at sacrifices. When the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile were reduced to this condition, Indra, being disappointed with life, became very much distresed.

14b-16a. (He thought:) ‘Due to the grant of boon to him by Brahma, that Bāṣkali, the lord of demons, cannot be killed in a battle by all the residents of heaven. So surrounded (accompanied) by all gods in the world of Brahmā, I shall seek refuge with the lord (i.e. Brahmā). There is no other course.’

16b-18a. O Bhīṣma, thinking thus, the lord of gods, sur

rounded by all residents of heaven, quickly went to Brahmā’s place. Surrounded by those residents of heaven he reached (i.e. touched) the feet of Brahmā and told (i.e. acquainted) him (with) what should be done about the world and also about the worst calamity that had befallen the world.

18b-20. “O god, do you not know wherefrom fear has come to us? O lord, I have told you what the demons have snatched, and also everything of (i.e. done by) that wicked Bāṣkali; you are our grandsire; (so) do (something) without delay (to save us). O lord of gods, think now about some measures for world-peace.

21. When they (i.e. the demons) have been watching, the rites laid down in the śrutis and smṛtis have not proceeded. Everyday they are causing harm to us.

22. As an insignificant person speaks about (i.e. gives importance to) his own interest, in the same way, we who have thrown into the background your obligations, have always spoken to (i.e. requested) you.

23-24. If a man with a false mind does not do (i.e. return the favour) thousandfold to him who has obliged him, then for that bad and shameless man of wicked action and scorched by obligation there is residence in hell alone.

25. Goodness does not lie in this much (i.e. in merely) returning an obligation; but those whose minds are bent on selfishness do not do even this (i.e. do not even return a good turn).

26. (I wish) if only the stability of the world should not have become a cause of worry; my heart is rent into a hundred (pieces); it is not satisfied (i.e. happy).

27. I am going (i.e. wandering) here and there (for help). (Please) drag us up who are drowned (in grief), by telling us a means by which our lustre will again shoot up.

28. I have told you as I have seen the world. You (can) see it as it is. It is bereft of Vedic studies and the exclamation of Vaṣat. Festivals (and other) auspicious (rites) have ceased.

29. Contact with study i.e Vedic study has been abandoned (by the brāhmaṇas); agriculture[1] is given up; it (i.e. the world) is left by administration of justice[2]; it remains merely in breath (i.e. it is barely alive).

30. The world has met with distress; and by (the passing of) this much time we are exhausted.”

Brahmā said:

31. I know that Bāṣkali has become arrogant as a result of (my) having granted him a boon; I think he cannot be conquered by you; (but) he will be conquerable by Viṣṇu.

32-33. Having restrained (his senses) Brahmā then remained in his original nature (i.e. resumed his usual silence). When the self-born Brahmā was thinking about him, the four-armed one[3] (i.e. Viṣṇu) came there after a while merely as the result of Brahmā’s meditating on him, when all (the gods) were looking on.

Viṣṇu said:

34. Warded off (by) me, O Brahman, stop this meditation. I, for whom this meditation was intended, have approached you.

Brahmā said:

35. It is indeed a great favour that the lord has manifested himself here. Who else would have so much anxiety for the world as the lord has?

36. For the (good of) the world I brought about its creation. Virtually the world depends upon you. There is no doubt about this.

37-38. You should protect the world, and Rudra should destory it. When such was the case with the world, Bāṣkali snatched off the kingdom consisting of the three worlds and of the mobile and immobile, of (i.e. from) this great-souled Indra. O Keśava, help your servant by offering him counsel.

Vāsudeva (i.e. Viṣṇu) said:

39. That demon (viz. Bāṣkali) has been now immune to being killed due to your having granted him a boon. By captivating him he must be conquered by intelligent handling.

40. I shall be a dwarf, the destroyer of the demons. This one (i.e. Indra) should go with me to Bāṣkali’s residence.

41. Having gone there he should ask him for this boon for me:

42. ‘O king, O magnanimous one, give (a piece of) land (measuring) three steps to this short brāhmaṇa. This is the request I make to you’. Asked by Indra the lord of the demons might offer even his own life.

43-44. O grandsire, having accepted the gift from that demon, having bound him carefully and made him the resident of the nether world, I shall be (born), taking the form of a boar, to kill that wicked one. There is no uncertainty about this. O Indra, move on quickly.

45-46a. Having thus told (Brahmā) he ceased (speaking) and disappeared. Then after some time, when Viṣṇu was conceived by Aditi,[4] many fearful ill omens appeared.

46b-47a. When Viṣṇu, the prop of the entire world, was conceived (by Aditi), an excellent auspicious omen also appeared.

47b-48. Breezes carrying the fragrance of Mālati flowers blew. Then, having reached (i.e. at) the time as ordained, the god, the lord of gods (i.e. Viṣṇu), kind to all beings, of pure and scanty hair, having the beauty of the moon, the conch and the (sun-) rise, became (i.e. was born as) Aditi’s son.

49. When Viṣṇu thus descended (on the earth), the faces of Siddhas, gods and demons with the winkings of their eyes stopped, were pleased; and that day, too, on which Viṣṇu got into that excellent womb, was having breezes, of scanty pollen, blowing (gently).

50. That respectable Aditi also, having the unborn one (i.e. Viṣṇu) in her womb, walked charmingly, distressed by her heavy hips. Her face was dull, gloomy and pale. Thus she carried the embryo that was heavier and was (lying) low (in her womb).

51. When, Nārāyaṇa thus entered the womb (of Aditi) as a result of the past and future (deeds), all beings got their desires fulfilled without any difficulty.

52-53. (When) the wind was blowing very gently; and (when) indeed people had gone to other regions by isolated paths; when the sky was being deserted by dust-particles and when darkness was gradually disappearing; (and) when Viṣṇu was in (Aditi’s) womb, that mother of gods entertained a malicious design.

54-55. Listen to it, O lord of kings, in succession: “What is the use of proceeding in order? I shall spring over the heaven; and I shall make that Bāṣkali, the lord of demons, the resident of the nether world. I have (already) given wealth and handsomeness to Indra.

56. I alone shall be able to destroy the demons. I shall throw (at them) volleys of arrows and trains of discs in many ways.

57-58a. (I shall also discharge) multitudes ofmaces for the destruction of the demons; and as fate would have it, I shall make gods the residents of heaven and the demons the residents of the nether region”.

58b. (Thus) the words that were (lingering) in her mouth at once came out.

59. “See (now), I shall, through anger, bind the chief of the demons in such a way as was not thought of before, nor seen before nor (also) heard of before.

60. Formerly I have given wealth and handsomeness to Kaśyapa. Why has he lost his energy and (why is) the wind gusty?

61. My eyes are as it were reeling; let me not have conceived this form. By what am I possessed that I am uttering these improper words?”

62. Got into (i.e. caught between) alternatives she repeatedly reflected in her heart. She carried (in her womb) the divine lord for a thousand divine years.

63. Then Vāmana (i.e. Viṣṇu), the cause of the beings, was born of her—(Vāmana) who, when born, attracted the eyes of the demons.

64. As soon as that Janārdana, the god of gods, was born, rivers flowed with clear water, and fragrant breezes blew.

65-66. Kaśyapa too obtained pleasure due to that bright son. O lord of men, no sooner was Janārdana born, than the minds of all the residents of the three worlds were full of enthusiasm, and kettle-drums that were beaten in heaven gave out sounds.

67-68. Due to extreme joy the delusion and miseries of the three worlds came to an end. The group of Gandharvas sang with notes full of emotion; and the groups of heavenly damsels, mingling with their lords, and full of emotions, danced there (i.e. in the heaven). In the same way, groups of Vidyādharas and Siddhas wandered in (i.e. being seated in) aeroplanes.

69-71. They discussed the verdict about good and bad deeds and exhibited acting and singing. Free from passions and full of pain and pleasure they sang songs, and being in the heaven they danced and (i.e. since they) have gone to the heaven from here after having obtained it by dint of their religious merit. Then some, being very much delighted, uttered (the words:) ‘Victory (to you), O lord’. Others, with a steady mind, repeated these words loudly. Others secretly meditated upon him through fear of (re-) birth and for the destruction of old age and death. Thus the entire world was fully delighted.

72-73. (It was said:) ‘Though a dwarf, this is the lord, who has been born for you, and after having approached whom, Brahmā had told (i.e. requested) about the (well-being of the) world. This one (i.e. he) is Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (i.e. Śiva) himself; also be is the sacrifices; he is the heaven. There is no doubt about it.

74. This entire world—immobile and mobile—is pervaded by Viṣṇu. He, the self-born one, though one only, is known to be many.

75. The crystal-gem is (i.e. appears) variegated at a place where there are colours (which get reflected in the gem). The self-born one behaves in the same way (i.e. appears to be many) due to (his contact with) the constituents (like sattva, rajas and tamas).

76. As the Gārhapatya fire gets another name, similarly this lord gets appellations like Brahmā etc.

77-78a. By all means god Vāmana will accomplish this feat (of subduing Bāṣkali).’ When the residents of heaven were thus thinking and reflecting, (Viṣṇu), with Indra, went to Bāṣkali’s residence.

78b-80. Having seen (i.e. he saw) the city adorned with prominent white buildings approachable by Gandharvas, and decorated with all (kinds of) jewels, and well-separated (from one another) by big roads; (it was) adorned with hundreds of elephants always in rut, resembling the mountain of collyrium, and born in the family of divine elephants.

81. (It was also) adorned with horses with bodies having (almost) no flesh (i.e. having slim bodies), having small ears, having the speed of the mind, having long necks and long prominent parts of the foreheads above the eyes.

82. There were thousands of courtesans having excellent complexion like the interiors of lotuses, having faces resembling the full moon, and skilled in conversation and caressing.

83. There was no religious merit, no lore, no architecture, no art that did not exist (i.e. that was not found) in the city of this Bāṣkali.

84-86. It was crowded with hundreds of gardens. In it having a series of social festivals, endowed with all chief demons except Yama, resounding everywhere with sounds of lutes, flutes and tabors, sons of Danu, always joyful, decorated with many jewels, were seen sporting likegods on the Meru mountain. There was a great sound of (the recitation of) the Vedas made by the venerable demons.

87-88. That demon Bāṣkali having subdued the three worlds lived happily in that city, the sins in which were destroyed by the smoke of the ghee of (i.e. put into) fires, and by wind, in which the breezes were made fragrant by the moving about of the fragrant incense, and which was crowded with virtuous demons.

89-90. Living there he protected the three worlds along with the mobile and the immobile. He was conversant with righteousness, was grateful, truth-speaking, and had his senses controlled, was handsome, and knew the good and bad ways of life of the ancient gods. He was well-versed in the Vedas, was a protector and was kind to the distressed.

91-92. He was endowed with all the (regal) powers[5] like the Vedic, that of good counsel, personal preeminence and energy. He was interested in the six measures to be practised by a king, and talked with a smile. He knew the essence of the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas[6], performed sacrifices and was engaged in (practising) penance. He was not ill-mannered and always abstained from causing harm to others.

93. He honoured those who deserved honour, was pure, pleasing, and worshipped the venerable. He knew all objects; he was invincible, agreeable and of a pleasing appearance.

94. The demon had ample grains, wealth, and vehicles. He always accomplished the three objects[7] (of worldly existence). He was the best person in the three worlds.

95-97a. He always lived in his own city and always removed the pride of gods and demons. In this way he protected all the beings in the three worlds. When he was the king (i.e. in his kingdom) there was no mean person, no poor person, no sick person, no short-lived person, no unhappy person, no foolish person, no person of a dull form, no unfortunate person, nor a person that was expelled.

97b-99a. Seeing that excellent chief of the demons, who was endowed with multitudes of pure qualities and who was bright like the sun, and taking him to be a person of a controlled mind, and capable of sustaining the three worlds, Indra was amazed.

99b-100a. O king, seeing Indra to have entered the city the demons maddened for fight, said this to the lord of demons:

100b-101a. “It is something strange that Indra is doing when he, all alone, except being accompanied by a short preeminent brāhmaṇa, is coming.

101b-102. O king, tell us what we should do now.” He said to all the demons: “Assembled together you remain in the city. Let the lord of gods enter the city. Today he is to be honoured by me.”

103. In the meantime that short (brāhmaṇa) and Indra arrived there; they were looked at affectionately by the lord of demons.

104. He regarded himself as blessed and the king, the leader of the demons said (to them) after saluting them:

105-106. “Today, in the three worlds, there is no person who is luckier than I, who, chosen by Glory, am seeing Indra coming (to me). With a desire to receive something from me he will beseech me. I shall certainly give (up) even my life for him who has come to my house.

107a. (I shall even give up) my wife, sons, and also my residence. What then should I say (even) about the three worlds?”

107b-108. Going to meet him, and bringing him near himself with respect, and embracing and greeting him, and carefully offering him welcome and worship with materials of worship etc. he brought him (i.e. Indra) into his house.

109. (He said:) “Today my birth is fruitful, all my desires are fulfilled, that, O Indra, I am seeing you who have visited my house.

110. O lord of gods, I have (today indeed) been proclaimed to be the king of demons by you who have come to my house. It is my great religious merit.

111. O Purandara, one would get that fruit, which is obtained by sacrifices like the Agniṣṭoma, on seeing you.

112. I have today obtained that fruit which is obtained by the grant of land, or of cows to a priest, or (the fruit that is obtained by the performance) of the Rājasūya sacrifice.

113. O Vāsava, you are not to be seen by little penance. Tell me what I can do, that is dear to you, in my house.

114. Do not entertain any other doubt in your heart. Know that it shall be done even if it is very difficult.

115. O you, killer of enemies, I am lucky, I have obtained religious merit on having seen you, since I have saluted your feet adored by excellent gods.

116. O lord, tell (me) all that has made you come (to me). I take the intention of your arrival to be a great surprise (your arrival has caused surprise).”

Indra said:

117. O Bāṣkali, I know you to be the chief among the pre-eminent demons. It is not a great surprise to have seen you, O best of the demons.

118. Suppliants who have visited your house never go (back) being averse (i.e. disappointed). You are the desire-yielding tree to the suppliants. There is no other donor (like you).

119. In lustre you (i.e. as far as lustre is concerned) arc comparable to the sun; in (i.e. as far as) depth (i.e. seriousness is concerned), you are the earth and in (i.e. as far as) wealth (is concerned) you are like Nārāyaṇa.

120. This short brāhmaṇa is born in the auspicious family of Kaśyapa.

121. I was requested by him: “Give here (a piece of) land measuring the distance covered by three steps, to me who want a fire-sanctuary where I would perform a sacrifice.” I have, therefore, O lord, asked you on his behalf.

122-123. O Bāṣkali, having overpowered (me) you have taken away the three worlds belonging to me. I have nothing to subsist upon; I am poor; I do not want for myself what you desire to give. For someone else I am going to beseech you as a suppliant (does). For this (brāhmaṇa) I have turned a suppliant. Do what is proper.

124. You, who have exalted the family, are born in the family of Kaśyapa. You are born from the womb of Diti and your father is revered in the three worlds.

125-126. Knowing that you are like this I am requesting you. O demon, give a piece of land measuring three footsteps to this one (i.e. this brāhmaṇa)—this dwarf, with short limbs, who desires to have a fire-sanctuary.

127. I do not dare to give the portion of land belonging to someone else. This is what is given (i.e. what is said) by me since you asked me to ask for something. You may give the piece of land measuring three steps if yourpreceptors and ministers agree.

128. When I, your kinsman of the same family have come to your house as a suppliant, do what is proper.

129. O you hero, O you lord of demons, O you of great lustre, if you like then quickly give (a piece of land) to this short, great-souled (brāhmaṇa).

Bāṣkali said:

130. O lord of gods, welcome and well-being to you. With pleasure look upon yourself as the highest object of all.

131. The grandsire, having placed the burden (i.e. the responsibility of looking after the three worlds), given to meditation and reflecting upon the highest position, lives happily.

132. Keśava(i.e. Viṣṇu), exhausted due to (having fought) many battles, after having given up anxiety about the world, and after having gone to the milky ocean, sleeps (there) happily.

133. O Śakra, even all other powerful demons having weapons were destroyed by you without (the help of) anybody else.

134-135a. The twelve Ādityas, the eleven Rudras, the two Aśvins, the Vasus and eternal Dharma are enjoying the portions of sacrifice in the heaven (only because they have) resorted to the power of your arms.

135b-136a. You have performed a hundred sacrifices endowed with excellent sacrificial fees; and O Pākaśāsana, you killed Vṛtra Namuci.

136b-137. Powerful Viṣṇu, who obeyed your order, formerly also killed Hiraṇyākṣa, the brother of Hiraṇyakaśipu. He also killed Hiyaṇyakaśipu by striking on his shank.

138. All demons seeing you, when you, with the thunderbolt in your hand and seated on the head of Airāvata, come to the battle-field, flee away.

139. In no way shall I be even equal to one-thousandth part of you who formerly defeated the very powerful demons.

140. O lord of gods, you are like this. What need I say about you? You have arrived here with a desire to emancipate me.

141. I shall do (what you tell me). There is no doubt that I shall even give up life. For what purpose, O lord of gods, you have asked me to give this land?

142. Let all these—mywife, sons, cows, and whatever other wealth I have, and also this entire kingdom of the three worlds be given to this brāhmaṇa.

143. There is no doubt that infamy will accrue to me and my ancestors, viz. ‘Bāṣkali did not give to Śakra (what he asked for and) who had come to his house.’

144. Even if some other suppliant had come here, he would be dearer to me. You are especially so. Do not hesitate at all.

145. O lord, O god of gods, it causes me great shame that you have asked only for a piece of land measuring three steps and that too for the sake of a brāhmaṇa.

146-147. I shall give this brāhmaṇa excellent villages and will give you heaven; (I shall give him) horses, elephants, land. wealth and ladies with sprout-like breast-nipples, seeing whom even an old man becomes young. The brāhmaṇa will receive those ladies and this earth.

148-149a. I shall give (these things), O lord of gods. (Please) favour me (by accepting them).

When, O king, Bāṣkali had said these words, his family priest Uśanas (i.e. Śukra) said these words to the lord of demons:

149b. “O lord of demons, you are a king remaining in (i.e. having) eightfold prosperity.[8]

150-151. (But) you do not realize what is proper and what is improper. (You also do not understand): ‘I should give something to someone after having consultations with my ministers and after having assessed what is proper and what is improper’. Having conquered the gods along with Indra you have obtained the kingdom of the three worlds. (Just) as the sentence (I am speaking) is over you will be made a captive.

152-153. This dwarf is that eternal Viṣṇu only. Do notgive (anything) to him. This is the one who is the killer of your father, mother, and relatives. He has formerly cut off (i.e. destroyed) your family and will do the same in future.

154. Interested in the well-being of Śakra and others he does not know (i.e. does not care for) moral merit. He is the deceitful one who vanquished the demons with trickery.

155. He has manifested this form of a dwarfish brāhmaṇa through trickery (only). What is the use of prolixity in this matter? Nothing should be given to him.

156. You will perish even if you give a (particle of) land measuring just the foot of a bee. This is the truth, the only truth I have heard about.”

157. Even though he was thus addressed by his preceptor he again spoke (these) words: “O preceptor, desiring religious merit I have made this promise.

158. It is the eternal duty of the good to keep their promise. If this is revered Viṣṇu then there is none else luckier than I (am).

159. (Even) after receiving a gift from me he (still) desires to become (i.e. to be called) a god, (then) I O preceptor, again made blessed by this god.

160. I have seen him, whom the devotees meditating on him with concentration and the brāhmaṇa also, do not see.

161-163. They, who give gifts with darbhas and water in their hands and utter the sacred text, ‘May the revered Viṣṇu, the highest soul and the eternal one, be pleased,’ share (i.e. obtain) salvation. If there was any doubt doing this act (of giving, it was because) I was advised and was determined to be a fool by you. There is nothing that should not be given even to an enemy when he comes to one’s house.

164-166a. O preceptor, having given thought to this, I shall give even my life to this dwarf and heaven to Indra. In this world that gift which causes suffering is said to be impure.” Having heard this, the preceptor remained there with his face hung down in shame.

Bāṣkali said:

166b-167a. O god, when you have asked for (a gift of land) I should give you the entire earth. It would be shameful to me to give him (the piece of) land measuring three (foot-) steps.

Indra said:

167b-169a. O lord of demons, these words which you have said to me are true; (but) this brāhmaṇa has asked me for a piece of land measuring three (foot-) steps (only). He has asked me for this much land; and I have (therefore) asked you to give that much (only). You, the son of Danu, have thus been implored by me. Grant me this boon.

Bāṣkali said:

169b-1 70a. O King of gods, accept from me (the piece of land measuring) three (foot-) steps for (this) dwarf; (and) O lord of gods, live there (i.e. in the heaven) happily for a very long time.

170b-17la. Saying so, Bāṣkali then gave (the piece of land measured by) three (foot-) steps to the dwarf, after (pouring) water (on his hand), saying, ‘Let Hari himself be pleased with me.’

171 b-172. Desiring the well-being of gods, Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu), when he was given the gift by the lord of demons, gave up the dwarf-form and with his face turned towards the north, he having reached the sacrificial mountain, took possession of the worlds.

1 73. The residence of the demons came to be put under the god’s left foot. Then the lord of the world first put his step on the Sun.

174. He placed the second step on Dhruva, and with the third, the god of wondrous deeds, struck the universe.

175-176. When the universe was pierced with the tip ofhis toe profuse water flowed out. That stream, having inundated all Brahmā-worlds one by one, and also the place of Dhruva, the world of the Sun, and the sacrificial mountain, entered, having washed Viṣṇu’s feet, the Puṣkara (Tīrtha).

177-178. He, who, having gone to (the spot) where the footprints were produced on the earth, bathes in the well in the hermitage (there), gets the fruit of the Aśvamedha (sacrifice) merely by seeing (the spot). With the group of the twenty-one attendants he obtains (i.e. reaches) Vaikuṇṭha.

179. Then having enjoyed many pleasures (there) for three hundred Kalpas, he, at the end of it (i.e. that period), becomes a sovereign emperor on this earth.

180. O Bhīṣma, the stream of water that flowed out from the tip of (Viṣṇu’s) toe, is called the river Viṣṇupadī (since) it sprang up from Viṣṇu’s foot.

181. For this reason (i.e. this is the reason why), O king Gaṅgā became (i.e. came to be known as) Viṣṇupadī, which has pervaded all this universe along with the mobile and the immobile.

182. That auspicious water, which entered (Puṣkara after flowing out) from the wound (i.e. the hole made into) the universe caused by the tip of (Viṣṇu’s) toe, obtained the status of a divine river. It is that river called Viṣṇupadī.

183. O you illustrious one, that divine river, with a desire to favour all, has occupied the universe with the mobile and immobile, by means of its splendours.

184. Vāmana said to that Bāṣakali: “(Now) fill out (i.e. give space for) my steps”. He hung down his face (as) he did not find an answer (i.e. a solution).

185-186a. Seeing him silent the family-priest (i.e. Śukra) said (these) words: “The power of giving is natural (i.e. it cannot be increased and so) we are not able to create (another earth where Vāmana could put his steps). O lord, he has given you whatever land exists.”

186b-187. Bāṣkali said to Viṣṇu: “That much earth (i.e. of that extent) which you formerly created (has beengiven to you); I have not held it back. The earth is small (and) you are great; (and) I am not capable of creation.

188. O lord, your will power always prevails.” Viṣṇu, finding no reply, and taking him to be truth-speaking, (said to him):

189-190. “O chief of the demons, tell me, which desire (entertained) by you I should satisfy. Since I have in my hand the water offered by you, you, deserve a boon. You are an auspicious receptacle of boons. I shall give what you desire. Ask for the object of your desire.”

191-193. He (i.e. Bāṣkali) then requested Janādana, the lord of gods: “O, lord of gods, I seek devotion to you and death at your hands. I shall enter Śvetadvīpa[9], which is inaccessible to the ascetics.” When he spoke thus, Viṣṇu, said to him: “Do remain (there) till the end of the age of the world. When I, taking the boar-form, shall enter (i.e. come to) the earth, I shall kill you when you will come before me.”

194. The demon, thus addressed by him, went away from him. Then, O king, Vāmana occupied all worlds.

195. Those demons then gave up speaking truthfully with gods. The powerful lord, having snatched the three worlds, disappeared.

196. Bāṣkali lived happily in the nether world where he took residence. The wise Indra also protected the three worlds.

197. This manifestation of the lord of the world is called Traivikrama. It is connected with the rise of the Ganges and is the destroyer of all sins.

198. O king, I have told you this origin of the steps of Viṣṇu hearing which a man becomes free from all sins.

199. At the sight of the three steps ofViṣṇu, (the effects of) an evil dream, an evil thought, a difficult or bad deed perish quickly.

200-202. Sinful beings (have emancipated themselves) age after age after having seen (the steps ofViṣṇu). O Bḥīṣma, Viṣṇu has shown ingenuity in manifesting the steps. A man, who, observing silence, climbs up (the mountain) and takes up the pilgrimage of Puṣkara gets the fruit of Aśvamedha (sacrifice). He is free from all sins and would goto Viṣṇu’s city.

Footnotes and references:


Vārtā—agriculture, the occupation of Vaiśya.


Daṇḍanīti—administration of justice, judicature.


Caturbhuja—an epithet of Viṣṇu.


Aditi—daughter of Dakṣa and wife of Kaśyapa and mother of Ādityas.


The three Śaktis (powers) are—(1) Prabhutva—personal pre-eminene; (2) Mantra—good counsel; (3) Utsāha—energy. Sāḍguṇya [Sāḍguṇya?]. The six expedients to be used by a king in foreign policies: (1) Sandhi—peace or alliance, (2) Vigraha—war, (3) Yāna—march or expedition, (4) Sthāna or Āsana—halt, (5) Saṃśraya—seeking shelter, (6) Dvaidha or Dvaidhibhāva—duplicity.


Vedāṅga—Name of certain classes of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas and designed to aid in the correct pronunciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of the mantras in ceremonies. They are six in number: (1) Śikṣā—the science of proper articulation and pronunciation; (2) Chandas—the science of prosody; (3) Vyākaraṇa—grammar; (4) Nirukta—etymological explanation of difficult Vedic words; (5) Jyotiṣa—astronomy and (6) Kalpa—ritual or ceremonial.


Trivarga—the three objecte of worldly existence viz. Dharma, Artha and Kāma.


Aiśvarya—divine faculties like omnipotence, omnipresence etc.


Śvetadvīpa—name of one of the eighteen minor divisions of the known continent.

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