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...


There are three types of pralaya or destruction, the first being brahma or naimittika. Naimittika pralaya takes place after a kalpa, that is after one of Brahma’s days and after fourteen Manus have passed. Before this pralaya, the earth becomes weak and there are no rains for a hundred years. Vishnu adopts the form of Rudra and drinks up all the water that there is in the rivers, the oceans, the seas and the mountains. The seven rays of the sun manifest themselves as seven different suns. These suns burn up the three worlds. Not only is bhuloka burnt up, but bhuvarloka and svarloka are also destroyed. There are dark and thick clouds everywhere. For a hundrd years it continues to rain. All is darkness. For a hundred years the winds blow. And Vishnu sleeps on the waters that are everywhere till the worlds are created again.

The second type of destruction is known as prakrita pralaya. The three basic gunas are, as you know, sattva, rajas and tamas. Their perfect balance is known as prakriti. At the time of destruction when prakriti becomes assimilated into the paramatman, that is known as prakrita pralaya. The third type of pralaya is known as atyatika pralya. This refers to the disppearance of three types of distress, adhyatmika, adhidaivika and adhibhoutika. Adhyatmika distress consists of physical and mental ailments like fever and sadness. Adhidaivika distress is that due to the elements, such as coldness and heat. Adhibhoutika distress is that which humans face from other livings beings, such as ghosts and snakes. At the time of atyantika destruction, these distresses also disappear.

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