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...


Many years ago there was a war between the devas and the asuras that lasted for a year. At the end of the war, some daityas named Hrada defeated the devas. The devas fled to the northern shores of an ocean and there began to pray to Vishnu. Vishnu appeared before the devas and created for them a being called Mayamoha out of his own body. Led by Mayamoha, the devas went to fight with the asuras.

The asuras were performing tapasya on the banks of the river Narmada. Mayamoha appeared before them dressed in leaves and with a shaven head. He told them that the best way to attain what the asuras desired was through the religion preached by Mayamoha. The asuras were persuaded by Mayamoha to leave the path of the Vedas. The asuras who adopted this new religion came to be known as arhats. They began to criticize the Vedas and the devas. Others criticized yajnas and brahmanas.

The asuras were thus dislodged from the righteous path and the devas attacked them afresh. This time the devas could defeat the asuras, since the asuras had lost the power of their religion.

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