The Padma Purana

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

This page describes remembering vishnu which is chapter 132 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 one hundred thirty-second chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 132 - Remembering Viṣṇu

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Pārvatī said:

1. (Tell me) how is Ananta Vāsudeva (i.e. Viṣṇu) remembered, hearing which there would be no delusion produced in human beings?

Mahādeva said:

2-23. O chief goddess, human beings always remember Viṣṇu on realising the truth. I remember Viṣṇu, as one oppressed with thirst (thinks of) water. Gods and others remember Viṣṇu in the same way as the world distressed with cold remembers (i.e. thinks of) fire. They remember Viṣṇu, the lord of the world, the lord of the master of the universe, as a loyal wife always remembers her husband. I remember Viṣṇu, as one afflicted with fear remembers a refuge, a greedy person thinks of wealth, or one longing for a son thinks of a son. I remember Viṣṇu, as one away (from one’s house) remembers one’s house, as cātaka thinks of spring, as theologians think of the knowledge of the supreme spirit. Swans long for the Mānasa (lake), sages for the recollection of Viṣṇu, devotees for devotion. In the same way I remember Viṣṇu. The body where the soul exists is dear to the beings. Those that live long for a (long) life. In the same way I remember Viṣṇu. As bees remember a flower, cakravākas the sun, those loving the soul think of devotion, so I remember Viṣṇu. As people distressed with darkness long for a lamp, in the same way men long for the recollection of Viṣṇu. As those afflicted with exertion think of rest, as the addicted ones think of sleep, as those free from laziness think of knowledge, so I remember Viṣṇu. Those who are afraid of sins should remember Viṣṇu, as the elephants think of a mountainous region, or the lions of a forest or elephants. As fire is produced in the sun-stone due to contact with (the rays of) the sun, in the same way devotion is produced (in the minds of men) for Viṣṇu by the contact of good people. As the moon-stone would resort to (i.e. give out) water by the contact (of the rays) of the moon, in the same way eternal release takes place by the contact of a devotee of Viṣṇu. As the lotus-plant on seeing the moon has its flowers bloomed, similarly, devotion entertained for the good always gives salvation to men. As a frightened bee would remember a lotus, and would, due to that recollection, have identity of form with it, as the cowherdesses remembered Viṣṇu (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) as their paramour and they were absorbed (by him), so I remember Viṣṇu. Those who think of Viṣṇu with a wicked mind, with a deceitful mind, with greedy thoughts, without any desire, with devotion, affection or hatred, those who remember him as their lord, those who remember him deliberately or non-deliberately with whatever feeling enjoy happiness in this world and go to the eternal (position) of Viṣṇu. Oh, the greatness of Viṣṇu is wonderful and thrilling. Even his recollection by chance gives salvation in three ways (i.e. sālokya etc.). Not by abundant wealth, nor by great knowledge, is he seen as he is seen through devotion alone in a moment. Though near he stands away as collyrium in the eyes. The ancient one would be seen by his devotees through devotion (alone).

24-44. A man deluded by the lord’s Māyā thinks as: ‘This is the truth, this is the truth’. When the truth of devotion is obtained, then the (entire) world becomes full of Viṣṇu. O beautiful one, for getting happiness Indra and others secured nectar; but without devotion for Viṣṇu, they were unhappy. Having obtained the nectar in the form of devotion, no unhappiness comes again. Obtaining the position called Vaikuṇtha he rejoices there in the vicinity of Viṣṇu. As the swan abandons water and always drinks milk (only), in the same way one should, abandoning (other) practices, resort to devotion for Viṣṇu. Giving up devotion for (any) other (deity) one should resort to devotion for Viṣṇu. How would one succeed in binding (i.e. putting) water with (i.e. in) a (piece of) cloth? That stage of life passed without devotion after having obtained the (human) body is in vain. Those men who advise (people) about religious practices without devotion for Viṣṇu, always fall into a fearful hell. There is no doubt about it. As a fool desires to cross (i.e. swim over) the ocean with his arms, so a (foolish) man desires to cross the ocean of the mundane existence without devotion for Viṣṇu. Even if they (i.e. Viṣṇu’s devotees) are thrown down due to (the effect of) their deeds, they preserve devotion for Viṣṇu. As a penniless person, full of longing, desires (to get) the Meru (mountain), in the same way, O god, I long for devotion for you, since that devotion of me in the other (i.e. previous) existence, causes it. As in this world even a small fire burns various forests, so the devotion of the size of an atom which I have (i.e. resorted to will destroy my sins). Hundreds hear about devotion. Thousands understand it. But, O goddess, among them, only one becomes a devotee. Various people will give (i.e. instruct) people (in) devotion. But a man himself practising it is seen to be one among crores. Worship laughs at devotion; success ridicules devotion. He who has such a (strong) feeling for the lord of gods alone takes (to) devotion. As from a fall into the ocean and entering into a tank there is a protection, similarly one takes to devotion according to his thoughts. The leaves of a tree sprinkled at its root are seen on the branches. O goddess, the fruit later proceeds by resorting to (Viṣṇu) only. As one who carries water fixes his mind (i.e. attention) on the pot (containing the water), similarly one should fix his mind on Viṣṇu and get salvation. In his childhood his mother gives (a child) a little jaggery. But the child, through greed, again asks for (more) jaggery. Due to Viṣṇu’s grace they do not notice the difference as when water is put into water, milk into milk, or ghee into ghee. As the sun is everywhere, or the fire is everywhere, similarly one remaining in devotion, is never troubled by (fruits of his) acts(?). Ajāmila, giving up his duty and practising sin, certainly got salvation on remembering his son (called) Nārāyaṇa. All those devotees who, day and night, subsist on (Viṣṇu’s) name only, live in Vaikuṇṭha. In this case, the Vedas are the anthority.

45-64. The fruit of the sacrifices like the horse-sacrifice is seen in heaven. Enjoying all that fruit they fall (from heaven). Similarly the devotees of Viṣṇu enjoy many pleasures. Having reached Vaikuṇṭha when will they return (to the earth)? He who is devoted to Viṣṇu, lives in Viṣṇu’s heaven. See the example, O goddess. Due to devotion to Viṣṇu, he made hundreds of stones float on the water. The mind of Viṣṇu’s devotee is the moonstone without water. A frog lives in water; a bee lives in a grove and perceives the fragrance of a lotus-plant. In the same way Viṣṇu’s devotee lives in his devotion. Some live on the bank of Gaṅgā. Some (at a distance of) a hundred yojanas. One gets the fruit due to Gaṅgā; the other devotion for Viṣṇu. Those that have turned away their faces from Viṣṇu are like the camel that always carries the camphor and agaru (sandal) but does not know their fragrance. Those that are averse to Viṣṇu are like the deer that smell a tree, when they desire a fragrance, but do not notice the musk in their navels. O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, as (giving) advices to fools is useless, similarly advice to one averse to Viṣṇu-devotion is in vain. Water drunk by a serpent becomes poison. Similarly devotion to Viṣṇu for devotees of other deities is poison. Those who are near a lamp or a mirror do not see it without sight, similarly those averse to Viṣṇu (do not see him). As fire is covered by smoke, a mirror by dirt, an embryo by amnion, similarly Kṛṣṇa is covered in (i.e. by) the body. O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, as ghee always remains in milk, oil in a sesamum-seed, similarly Viṣṇu exists in the mobile and the immobile (objects). As many gems are held (together) by a thread, similarly the universe including Brahmā and others is woven in Brahman of the form of intelligence. As fire existing in wood is seen after friction only, similarly omnipresent Viṣṇu is seen by means of meditation only. At first there is one lamp. Then thousands are produced (i.e. lighted) from it. Similarly one Viṣṇu alone exists after having pervaded everything. A flash always remains in water at sunrise, and is seen in various ways in the pond. That Viṣṇu is like that in the world. Wind even in its natural state always carries various fragrances. Similarly the god, dwelling in all beings, enjoys the constituents of Prakṛti. As sugar due to its contact with water, turns into water, similarly the soul, being like them (i.e. the acts) enjoys the fruits of his acts. The earth, due to its contact with water, has many trees. Similarly (the soul) due to the contact with Prakṛti’s constituents, is born in many stocks.

65-75. He, the steady one, lives in (the body of) an elephant or a gnat, a deity or a human being and is neither superior (in one) nor inferior (in another). As the moon is noticed in water, in the same way he is seen in all those beginning with Brahmā to a clump of grass, men, gods, sacrifices, and serpents that are there on the earth. He that is seen is existence, intelligence, bliss and Śiva (auspicious). He is the great lord. He is also said to be Viṣṇu. He is omnipresent Hari (i.e. Viṣṇu). He is known from the Upaniṣads; he is the master of all; he is beyond time; and is sound. O goddess, he who knows him to be like this is undoubtedly (his) devotee. Though one, he should be known to be many; and though many, to be one. Due to his various names and forms he is said to be many on the earth. The sun’s lustre does not grow due to the eyes, but the sight grows due to the sun. The supreme soul (as the individual soul) is always present in every body, as in every jar there is space. (And even) when the jar is broken, it (still) exists. In every form he is like that (i.e. has that form); and when it (i.e. the form) is broken, he remains very stable. As a form made of wood drops (down) without a master, in the same way the body, having differences like an insect, falls without the soul. The various kinds (of forms) of gold, become as before (i.e. gold) due to (being heated by) fire. In the same way the devotees attain the former form. Fools see (i.e. think) the sun to be lustreless due to being screened by a cloud. In the same way fools of ignorant minds do not know that lord who is described by the Upaniṣads as not admitting an alternative and as formless.

76-90. In accordance with his will he becomes one having a form, from his (condition of being) formless. From him ether without sound and quality is produced. Air was produced from ether. Then it had a sound. From air sprang up light, and from light water was produced. In that water was Virāṭ, having a universal form and of a bright interior. In the lotus of his navel there were crores of universes. From it (arose) Prakṛti (and) Puruṣa and then the world of three kinds was produced. From the union of the two arose the combination of the elements. The product of Viṣṇu in sāttvika. Brahmā is said to be endowed with the quality of rajas. Śiva is said to be endowed with the quality of tamas. They have urged all this. In the world there is one condition called Brāhmī (i.e. of Brahmā) due to the seed of the act (of a being). Viṣṇu completely withdraws the world due to it. This immutable lord Viṣṇu then remains there. Thus Viṣṇu is present everywhere—in the beginning, middle and end. People determined by (the effects of) their acts do not know (the truth) due to ignorance. He would cause (people) to do the acts that are proper for the castes at (different) times. That act which is intended for god Viṣṇu is not the cause of (i.e. does not lead to) conception (i.e. birth). This is always thought over by all the sages in the Upaniṣads and holy texts. This knowledge of Brahman is in the body. I shall tell it. Mind alone is the cause and effect of good and bad (acts). Everything is purified by mind. Then it is the ancient Brahman. Mind alone is always the kinsman and the foe (also). Some are emancipated by mind; some are troubled by mind. Everything is renounced in it, but they have done acts outwardly. Acts when done in this fashion alone, do not taint (the doer), as a lotus-leaf is not tainted by even drops of water, (or) as fire when put into (another) fire. What is the use of devotion? When the flavour of devotion is known, then salvation is not liked. By means of the Yoga of eight kinds[1] Viṣṇu is not reached in this existence. Viṣṇu is reached by devotion and would always be easily accessible.

91-100. Knowledge is obtained through the Upaniṣads. That which is to be known is obtained by means of knowledge. When that which is to be known is obtained, then the world is a void. Viṣṇu is reached through (mental) power. What is the use of the eightfold Yoga? Of all dispositions purity of disposition is commended. When the beloved is embraced by one, one gets the effect as is one’s disposition. One having sandals on one’s feet feels the earth to be full of hide. One looks upon the world as one’s mind is. The nimba tree, though sprinkled with milk, would not give up its bitterness. Beings go to (i.e. behave in conformity with) their nature. Advice is useless. How would one obtain the fruits and the leaves of the (mango) tree after having cut it off? Why should one pass one’s life with a desire for the pleasures of senses? As medicine is cooked in a pan of lapis lazuli and then the drug is burnt, in the same way, how would the existence be in vain? How would a good man, after putting the treasure in his house, do service? How would one rejoice on another path (by) leaving the lord of Vaikuṇṭha (i.e. Viṣṇu)? What is the use of the recital of the Vedas by those who are without devotion? A cāṇḍāla having devotion is worshipped even by gods. What is the use of mirrors for him who has put on a bracelet on his hand? The servants (i.e. the devotees) to whom affluence is given by gods like Brahmā, Rudra, do not take anything that is offered to the lord.

101-109. It is better to give to a devotee who is poor. How can there be meditation on Kṛṣṇa having no body? Many (devotees) seeing him of a form, have, through devotion, gone to his position. How can worship or devotion be possible in the case of one that is non-existent? The wise ones recommend (worship and devotion) in the case of one that has a form. How can a man go along a vacant path without a support? This master has a form. That lord is formless. The one having a form is easily seen. The formless one is not seen. There is pleasure of service of the one having a form; no (such) pleasure in the case of serving a formless one. The formless one himself is known through him who has a form. When the body is horripilated by the grace of the recollection of Viṣṇu, when tears of joy are in the eyes, then salvation becomes a slave. How does the sin committed in childhood, perish? (It perishes) by means of worship, gifts, vows, (visits to) holy places, mutterings (of hymns), sacrifices dedicated to you. How should one, giving up one’s duty, practise severe penance? It is better to die in (i.e. while doing) one’s duty. Another’s duty is fraught with fear. How should one, giving up the practice laid down by holy texts, practise severe penance? A fool without (remaining in) the stage of human life, would not obtain success. The castes are made by Brahmā, and they have been assigned their respective duties.

110-124. Wealth that comes through the performance of the duty of one’s own caste is said to be white. That little gift, given with devotion, made with white wealth, gives great religious merit and it cannot be reckoned. The gift given by men with the wealth brought for domestic rites through contact with mean people, would not be fruitful. They would not share its fruit. A fool, weak in knowledge, obtains that kind of stock which (is in conformity with the) kind of acts he performs with a desire for pleasure. The (fruit of the) act done in this world is had in the other-world. If in the case of a man doing righteous acts, pain is produced, then he should not be distressed. That is (the result of) the deeds of the former body (i.e. existence). Grief alone is produced in the case of the man committing sins. O chief goddess, at that time one should not be delighted. As the master leads the beasts tied with a rope, men also are similarly led by the bond of their deeds on the earth. A monkey dwelling in forest dances in every house; in the same way the beings are taken through all stocks by (their) deeds. As the master while playing sends forth a ball according to his desire, similarly a being is taken to happiness or unhappiness by his deeds. The being bound by (the effects of) his deeds, is unable to remove the bond. Gods and other sages also are bound by (the effects of) their deeds. Even the serpents remaining on Rudra’s body consume poison on Kailāsa. They are unable to enjoy nectar. The effect of deeds (Karmayoni?) prevail. The charioteer or the Sun, who is said by the wise to give a sound body is a cripple. The effects of deeds (Karmayoni?) pravail. A royal sage Iadradyumna [Indradyumna?] became an elephant due to his deeds. The result of deeds in that case was made ineffective by the powerful lord (?) All gods like Rudra, Brahma, men and demons, being bound by (the effects of) acts, move on the earth. Viṣṇu formerly created the entire world, (and is) influenced by acts.

125-139. Those acts, dependent on Viṣṇu, perish by means of (repeating) the name of Rama. Water is present everywhere; but that one at Prayāga gives salvation. To those who do the acts like this, worship of Keśava gives salvation. The being who does an act for the pleasure of senses, and would, through egotism think of the body, should go through an expiation, remembering (Viṣṇu). He undergoes the fruits of his past acts (only). The (fruit of) his acts does not grow later. Some praise the Planets; some evil spirits and goblins. Some praise deities; some have talked about the herbs. Some talk about a hymn, about a super-human power, about intellect or valour. So also about exertion, boldness, courage and prudence. All follow their desires talking about acts resulting from egotism. This is my definite idea. This is what is told by the former wise men. When a being is full of religious merit and there is no sin (in him), and when he has the two-fold knowledge, then his merit would be pleasant. When his sin and religious merit are equal, he remains in (i.e. doing) acts. When he has attained the equanimity of mind, he would reach the place of joy. Of him, who has discarded everything outwardly, but would long for (everything) mentally, such a behaviour is useless and he will have to undergo (fruits of) his sins. A man does acts outwardly; but mentally he is desireless. Such a sacrifice is mediocre. He would not obtain its complete fruit. Discarding acts outwardly, and mentally depending upon (i.e. looking upon everything as) void-such a sacrifice is said to be the best—difficult to be had even by the meditating sages. Some abandon everything through anger; some through the power of discussion. Some discard everything with difficulty. All (such) sacrifices are mediocre. A man endowed with devotion through good mind, and not influenced by anger etc., obtains a good position, though smeared with (the effects of) acts. He who is dropped from abstract meditation, would be born in the house of the pure and the rich or in the family—chief being that of a brāhmaṇa—of the intelligent meditating sages. In a short time he acquires complete abstract meditation.

140-153. Due to abstract meditation, devotion (to) and grace (of the lord), he would reach the position of Brahman of the nature of) intelligence and joy. How can one wash off (the effect of) one’s act with a harmful act as mud with mud or blood with blood? How can a sacrifice full of a harmful act be capable of destroying (the effect of one’s) acts? Sacrifices performed with a desire for (going to) heaven give little happiness in heaven. Even though many, the pleasures there are transitory. Without devotion for Viṣṇu, there is no eternal happiness in (i.e. from) them. (Except) a sovereign empire giving pleasure and happiness in heaven, I do not desire anything else. I am afraid of living in a womb (i.e. of rebirth). With (hammers of) iron a stone alone is broken, and not a ruby. A crane eats aquatic beings, (but) would avoid frogs etc. Similarly, Yama, the destroyer of everything, would avoid Viṣṇu’s servants. He who protects is the one that removes difficulties, and is said to be the guardian. He lodges at his place him who has (committed) hundreds of faults; since Kṛṣṇa favours him who has committed an offence. He gets the fruit today. What does the protector do? In the same way, the soul in this body, shows favour to them depending upon others.[2] Along with the strong, he does not slowly go to the other end.[2] He gave salvation to the hunter, and himself emancipated Kubjā. He is difficult to be had (i.e. seen even) in a dream by Brahma and others, but is easily accessible in a cowherd’s house. When he ate what was left over by the cowherds, he himself emancipated them. O goddess, the highest soul, Viṣṇu, is always praised by the meditating sages. The immutable Puruṣa, along with Lakṣmī, is amazing. Those who everyday recite this narration, are freed from all sins, and go to the eternal position of Viṣṇu. One who recites it with this devotion near (the image of) Viṣṇu, would obtain the highest position after enjoying happiness in this world.

Footnotes and references:


Aṣṭavidha Yoga—The eightfold means of Yoga consists of the disciplines of: (1) restraint (yama); (2) culture or cultivating good habits like purification of the body, contentment etc; (3) posture (āsana); (4) breath-control (prāṇāyāma); (5) withdrawal of the senses (pratyāhara); (6) attention (dhāraṇā); (7) meditation (dhyāna); and (8) concentration (samādhi).


verses 148, 149 etc. and many others in this chapter are not clear.

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