The Vishnu Purana (abridged)

27,616 words

The Vishnu Purana (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the (most important) eighteen Mahapuranas. It is also known as Puranaratna ("gem of Puranas"). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya, the major topics discussed include creation, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avat...

When people die, they come under the control of Yama and Yama sends them to different narakas. When they have atoned for their sins, they are reborn. Maitreya wanted to know if there was any way in which men could avoid going to Yama after death.

Parashara told him that Nakula had asked the same question of his grandfather Bhishma. And Bhishma had told him that he used to have a brahmana friend from Kalinga. This friend had learned words of wisdom from a jatismara sage. The sage had told Bhishma’s friend of a conversation that had once taken place between Yama and Yama’s servant.

Yama told his servant, “Do not touch those who are devoted to Vishnu. I am the lord of all the others except these. I am not really independent, I work under the supervision of Vishnu. He is also capable of punishing me. Even the gods worship the lotus-like feet of Vishnu. Stay away from the devotees of Vishnu.”

“How does one become a devotee of Vishnu?” asked the servant.

Yama replied, “Those who do not deviate from what is laid down from their class, those who make no distinction between friends and enemies, those who are [not] thieves, those who are non-violent and those whose hearts are pure and free of anger, these are the devotees of Vishnu. They think of Vishnu all the time. And because they think of Vishnu all the time, they are of pleasing appearance. When Vishnu is in one’s heart, one commits no sins. Do not go near such people. For the strength of Vishnu’s chakra is such that your or mine powers would immediately be destroyed.”

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