The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes The Advent of Kurma Kalpa which is chapter 7 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the seventh chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 7 - The Advent of Kūrma Kalpa

Note: This describes Narmadā in the form of a beautiful lady who survived Pralaya in Kūrma Kalpa.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-9. Again there was the advent of a vast expanse of oceanlike water with horrible features in which mobile and immobile beings perished. The whole world was submerged in water. Darkness enveloped everything and there was no light at all. Brahmā alone assumed the form of a Khadyota (Firefly, Glowworm). For the period of a thousand divine years, he moved about in the great ocean enveloped in darkness. He then saw in the terrible expanse of ocean, the Lord asleep in the form of a tortoise. The excellent Lord, the incomprehensible, extended to a thousand Yojanas. He resembled the twelve Ādityas (Suns) in splendour. He had a thousand feet and eyes. On seeing him, Brahmā was surprised and roused him slowly by means of auspicious hymns taken from the Vedic and Vedāṅga texts: “O Vācaspati (Lord of Speech), do wake up. O Supreme Being, obeisance to you. O Parameśvara (Supreme Lord), the entire universe is stationed in your belly. Hence, O Mahāsattva (huge being of immense inner strength and good qualities), release what was withdrawn within by you. The night of Brahmā has passed off. The day has dawned. O Lord of all worlds, have a view, whereby the universe can take birth.”

On hearing his words, Parameśvara (Great Lord) got up ejecting the three worlds that had been swallowed at the time of the close of the Kalpa. Devas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Urāgas (Serpents) and Rākṣasas along with the Moon, the Sun and the planets, issued forth from his body.

10-20. After dividing the entire ocean-like expanse of water, Parameśvara espied the earth consisting of trees, medicinal herbs and puddles, extensively abounding in stones and flood of water and full of rivers and lakes. He saw Himavān the great mountain, Śveta the excellent mountain, the great mountain Śṛṅgavān as well as other Kulaparvatas. (He espied) the Dvīpas such as Jaṃbū Dvīpa, Kuśa, Krauñca, Gomeda, Śālmala, ending with Puṣkara and the seven great oceans, the great mountain Lokāloka—all these were stationed in front. That Maheśvara saw the entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings with the fourfold Prakṛtis that had come out at the beginning of the Yuga. The Lord saw the earth with scattered pieces of rocks. The goddess (divine lady) was in the great ocean perched on the back of the tortoise. On the top of the shattered rocky hill where there was neither a river nor a lake, the waters of the ocean were moving in waves with agitated whirlpools and eddies. The medicinal herbs were shedding lustre on the surface of the earth where there were various rocks and stone slabs. The great Lord saw the river reverberated with warbling of birds and teeming with fish and tortoise. The divine river resembled an excellent cloud. She had divine charm and a number of incomparable eddies (stores of water).

The divine river Narmada was in the form of a woman in the middle of the ocean and she had dark complexion like the colour of a cloud. The thighs, buttocks and the breasts were thick and huge. She had inimitable gorgeous garments and she was bedecked in ornaments. She had anklets and girdles of excellent chains. She was bedecked in necklaces and bracelets.

21-27. He saw Narmadā of unmanifest limbs and noble features. She was beautified by various ornaments of magical origin. The young woman had just risen above the water with half raised arms eulogizing the Lord of the chiefs of Devas. Her eyes were large like the petals of a lotus. On seeing that splendid lady, I was overwhelmed with surprise in the heart. I took my holy dip in her splendid water. I began to eulogize joyously by means of Mantras taken from the Vedic Scriptures. In front of her I saw the mobile and immobile beings created along with Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Pannagas and great Uragas. I saw that the highly esteemable lady did not undergo destruction before because she was born of the body of Mahādeva. With his favour she did not get dissolved. She was seen by me again and again. O excellent king, it has been recounted to you. Those excellent Brāhmaṇas who study this manifestation pertaining to Kūrma and the learned men who listen to it, are liberated from all sins.

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