The Vishnu Purana

by Horace Hayman Wilson | 1840 | 287,946 words | ISBN-10: 8171102127

The English translation of the Vishnu Purana. This is a primary sacred text of the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism. It is one of the eighteen greater Puranas, a branch of sacred Vedic literature which was first committed to writing during the first millennium of the common era. Like most of the other Puranas, this is a complete narrative from the cr...

Chapter XV - The world overrun with trees; they are destroyed by the Pracetasas

The world overrun with trees: they are destroyed by the Pracetasas. Soma pacifies them, and gives them Māṛṣā to wife: her story: the daughter of the nymph Pramlocā. Legend of Kaṇḍu. Māṛṣā's former history. Dakṣa the son of the Pracetasas: his different characters: his sons: his daughters: their marriages and progeny: allusion to Prahlāda, his descendant.

WHILST the Pracetasas were thus absorbed in their devotions, the trees spread and overshadowed the unprotected earth, and the people perished: the winds could not blow; the sky was shut out by the forests; and mankind was unable to labour for ten thousand years. When the sages, coming forth from the deep, beheld this, they were angry, and, being incensed, wind and flame issued from their mouths. The strong wind tore up the trees by their roots, and left them sear and dry, and the fierce fire consumed them, and the forests were cleared away. When Soma (the moon), the sovereign of the vegetable world, beheld all except a few of the trees destroyed, he went to the patriarchs, the Pracetasas, and said, “Restrain your indignation, princes, and listen to me. I will form an alliance between you and the trees. Prescient of futurity, I have nourished with my rays this precious maiden, the daughter of the woods. She is called Māṛṣā, and is assuredly the offspring of the trees. She shall be your bride, and the multiplier of the race of Dhruva. From a portion of your lustre and a portion of mine, oh mighty sages, the patriarch Dakṣa shall be born of her, who, endowed with a part of me, and composed of your vigour, shall be as resplendent as fire, and shall multiply the human race.

”There was formerly (said Soma) a sage named Kaṇḍu, eminent in holy wisdom, who practised pious austerities on the lovely borders of the Gomati river. The king of the gods sent the nymph Pramlocā to disturb his penance, and the sweet-smiling damsel diverted the sage from his devotions. They lived together, in the valley of Mandara, for a hundred and fifty years; during which, the mind of the Muni was wholly given up to enjoyment. At the expiration of this period the nymph requested his permission to return to heaven; but the Muni, still fondly attached to her, prevailed upon her to remain for some time longer; and the graceful damsel continued to reside for another hundred years, and delight the great sage by her fascinations. Then again she preferred her suit to be allowed to return to the abodes of the gods; and again the Muni desired her to remain. At the expiration of more than a century the nymph once more said to him, with a smiling countenance, ‘Brahman, I depart;’ but the Muni, detaining the fine-eyed damsel, replied, ‘Nay, stay yet a little; you will go hence for a long period.’ Afraid of iñcurring an imprecation, the graceful nymph continued with the sage for nearly two hundred years more, repeatedly asking his permission to go to the region of the king of the gods, but as often desired by him to remain. Dreading to be cursed by him, and excelling in amiable manners, well knowing also the pain that is inflicted by separation from an object of affection, she did not quit the Muni, whose mind, wholly subdued by love, became every day more strongly attached to her.

“On one occasion the sage was going forth from their cottage in a great hurry. The nymph asked him where he was going. ‘The day,’ he replied, ‘is drawing fast to a close: I must perform the Sandhya worship, or a duty will be neglected.’ The nymph smiled mirthfully as she rejoined, ‘Why do you talk, grave sir, of this day drawing to a close: your day is a day of many years, a day that must be a marvel to all: explain what this means.’ The Muni said, ‘Fair damsel, you came to the river-side at dawn; I beheld you then, and you then entered my hermitage. It is now the revolution of evening, and the day is gone. What is the meaning of this laughter? Tell me the truth.’ Pramlocā. answered, ‘You say rightly,’ venerable Brahman, ‘that I came hither at morning dawn, but several hundred years have passed since the time of my arrival. This is the truth.’ The Muni, on hearing this, was seized with astonishment, and asked her how long he had enjoyed her society: to which the nymph replied, that they had lived together nine hundred and seven years, six months, and three days. The Muni asked her if she spoke the truth, or if she was in jest; for it appeared to him that they had spent but one day together: to which Pramlocā replied, that she should not dare at any time to tell him who lived in the path of piety an untruth, but particularly when she had been enjoined by him to inform him what had passed.

”When the Muni, princes, had heard these words, and knew that it was the truth, he began to reproach himself bitterly, exclaiming, ‘Fie, fie upon me; my penance has been interrupted; the treasure of the learned and the pious has been stolen from me; my judgment has been blinded: this woman has been created by some one to beguile me: Brahma is beyond the reach of those agitated by the waves of infirmity[1]. I had subdued my passions, and was about to attain divine knowledge. This was foreseen by him by whom this girl has been sent hither. Fie on the passion that has obstructed my devotions. All the austerities that would have led to acquisition of the wisdom of the Vedas have been rendered of no avail by passion that is the road to hell.’ The pious sage, having thus reviled himself, turned to the nymph, who was sitting nigh, and said to her, ‘Go, deceitful girl, whither thou wilt: thou hast performed the office assigned thee by the monarch of the gods, of disturbing my penance by thy fascinations. I will not reduce thee to ashes by the fire of my wrath. Seven paces together is sufficient for the friendship of the virtuous, but thou and I have dwelt together. And in truth what fault hast thou committed? why should I be wroth with thee? The sin is wholly mine, in that I could not subdue my passions: yet fie upon thee, who, to gain favour with Indra, hast disturbed my devotions; vile bundle of delusion.’

“Thus spoken to by the Muni, Pramlocā stood trembling, whilst big drops of perspiration started from every pore; till he angrily cried to her, ‘Depart, begone.’ She then, reproached by him, went forth from his dwelling, and, passing through the air, wiped the perspiration from her person with the leaves of the trees. The nymph went from tree to tree, and as with the dusky shoots that crowned their summits she dried her limbs, which were covered with moisture, the child she had conceived by the Ṛṣi came forth from the pores of her skin in drops of perspiration. The trees received the living dews, and the winds collected them into one mass. “This,” said Soma, “I matured by my rays, and gradually it increased in size, till the exhalation that had rested on the tree tops became the lovely girl named Māṛṣā. The trees will give her to you, Pracetasas: let your indignation be appeased. She is the progeny of Kaṇḍu, the child of Pramlocā, the nursling of the trees, the daughter of the wind and of the moon. The holy Kaṇḍu, after the interruption of his pious exercises, went, excellent princes, to the region of Viṣṇu, termed Puruṣottama, where, Maitreya[2], with his whole mind he devoted himself to the adoration of Hari; standing fixed, with uplifted arms, and repeating the prayers that comprehend the essence of divine truth[3].”

The Pracetasas said, “We are desirous to hear the transcendental prayers, by inaudibly reciting which the pious Kaṇḍu propitiated Keśava.” On which Soma repeated as follows: “'Viṣṇu is beyond the boundary of all things: he is the infinite: he is beyond that which is boundless: he is above all that is above: he exists as finite truth: he is the object of the Veda; the limit of elemental being; unappreciable by the senses; possessed of illimitable might: he is the cause of cause; the cause of the cause of cause; the cause of finite cause; and in effects, he, both as every object and agent, preserves the universe: he is Brahma the lord; Brahma all beings; Brahma the progenitor of all beings; the imperishable: he is the eternal, undecaying, unborn Brahma, incapable of increase or diminution: Puruṣottama is the everlasting, untreated, immutable Brahma. May the imperfections of my nature be annihilated through his favour.' Reciting this eulogium, the essence of divine truth, and propitiating Keśava, Kaṇḍu obtained final emancipation.

”Who Māṛṣā was of old I will also relate to you, as the recital of her meritorious acts will be beneficial to you. She was the widow of a prince, and left childless at her husband's death: she therefore zealously worshipped Viṣṇu, who, being gratified by her adoration, appeared to her, and desired her to demand a boon; on which she revealed to him the wishes of her heart. ‘I have been a widow, lord,’ she exclaimed, ‘even from my infancy, and my birth has been in vain: unfortunate have I been, and of little use, oh sovereign of the world. Now therefore I pray thee that in succeeding births I may have honourable husbands, and a son equal to a patriarch amongst men: may I be possessed of affluence and beauty: may I he pleasing in the sight of all: and may I be born out of the ordinary course. Grant these prayers, oh thou who art propitious to the devout.’ Hṛṣikeśa, the god of gods, the supreme giver of all blessings, thus prayed to, raised her from her prostrate attitude, and said, ‘In another life you shall have ten husbands of mighty prowess, and renowned for glorious acts; and you shall have a son magnanimous and valiant, distinguished by the rank of a patriarch, from whom the various races of men shall multiply, and by whose posterity the universe shall be filled. You, virtuous lady, shall be of marvellous birth, and you shall be endowed with grace and loveliness, delighting the hearts of men.’ Thus having spoken, the deity disappeared, and the princess was accordingly afterwards born as Māṛṣā, who is given to you for a wife[4]."

Soma having concluded, the Pracetasas took Māṛṣā, as he had enjoined them, righteously to wife, relinquishing their indignation against the trees: and upon her they begot the eminent patriarch Dakṣa, who had (in a former life) been born as the son of Brahmā[5]. This great sage, for the furtherance of creation, and the increase of mankind, created progeny. Obeying the command of Brahmā, he made movable and immovable things, bipeds and quadrupeds; and subsequently, by his will, gave birth to females, ten of whom he bestowed on Dharma, thirteen on Kaśyapa, and twenty-seven, who regulate the course of time, on the moon[6]. Of these, the gods, the Titans, the snake-gods, cattle, and birds, the singers and dancers of the courts of heaven, the spirits of evil, and other beings, were born. From that period forwards living creatures were engendered by sexual intercourse: before the time of Dakṣa they were variously propagated, by the will, by sight, by touch, and by the influence of religious austerities practised by devout sages and holy saints.

Maitreya said:—

Dakṣa, as I have formerly heard, was born from the right thumb of Brahmā: tell me, great Muni, how he was regenerate as the son of the Pracetasas. Considerable perplexity also arises in my mind, how he, who, as the son of Māṛṣā, was the grandson of Soma, could be also his father-in-law.

Parāśara said:—

Birth and death are constant in all creatures: Ṛṣis and sages, possessing divine vision, are not perplexed by this. Dakṣa and the other eminent Munis are present in every age, and in the interval of destruction cease to be[7]: of this the wise man entertains no doubt. Amongst them of old there was neither senior nor junior; rigorous penance and acquired power were the sole causes of any difference of degree amongst these more than human beings.

Maitreya said:—

Narrate to me, venerable Brahman, at length, the birth of the gods, Titans, Gandharvas, serpents, and goblins.

Parāśara said:—

In what manner Dakṣa created living creatures, as commanded by Brahmā, you shall hear. In the first place he willed into existence the deities, the Ṛṣis, the quiristers of heaven, the Titans, and the snake-gods. Finding that his will-born progeny did not multiply themselves, he determined, in order to secure their increase, to establish sexual intercourse as the means of multiplication. For this purpose he espoused Asiknī, the daughter of the patriarch Vīraṇa[8], a damsel addicted to devout practices, the eminent supportress of the world. By her the great father of mankind begot five thousand mighty sons, through whom he expected the world should be peopled. Nārada, the divine Ṛṣi, observing them desirous to multiply posterity, approached them, and addressed them in a friendly tone: “Illustrious Haryaswas, it is evident that your intention is to beget posterity; but first consider this: why should you, who, like fools, know not the middle, the height, and depth of the world[9], propagate offspring? When your intellect is no more obstructed by interval, height, or depth, then how, fools, shall ye not all behold the term of the universe?” Having heard the words of Nārada, the sons of Dakṣa dispersed themselves through the regions, and to the present day have not returned; as rivers that lose themselves in the ocean come back no more.

The Haryaswas having disappeared, the patriarch Dakṣa begot by the daughter of Vīraṇa a thousand other sons. They, who were named Savalāswas, were desirous of engendering posterity, but were dissuaded by Nārada in a similar manner. They said to one another, “What the Muni has observed is perfectly just. We must follow the path that our brothers have travelled, and when we have ascertained the extent of the universe, we will multiply our race.” Accordingly they scattered themselves through the regions, and, like rivers flowing into the sea, they returned not again. Henceforth brother seeking for brother disappears, through ignorance of the products of the first principle of things. Dakṣa the patriarch, on finding that all these his sons had vanished, was incensed, and denounced an imprecation upon Nārada[10].

Then, Maitreya, the wise patriarch, it is handed down to us, being anxious to people the world, created sixty daughters of the daughter of Vīraṇā[11]; ten of whom he gave to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa, and twenty-seven to Soma, four to Aṛṣṭanemi, two to Bahuputra, two to Aṅgiras, and two to Kriśāśva. I will tell you their names. Arundhaṭī, Vasu, Yāmī, Lambā, Bhānū, Marutvatī, Saṅkalpa, Muhūrttā, Sādhyā, and Viśvā were the ten wives of Dharma[12], and bore him the following progeny. The sons of Viśvā were the Viśvādevas[13]; and the Sādhyas[14], those of Sādhyā. The Māruts, or winds, were the children of Marutvatī; the Vasus, of Vasu. The Bhānus (or suns) of Bhānu; and the deities presiding over moments, of Muhūrttā. Ghoṣa was the son of Lambā (an arc of the heavens); Nāgavīthī (the milky way), the daughter of Yāmī (night). The divisions of the earth were born of Arundhaṭi; and Saṅkalpa (pious purpose), the soul of all, was the son of Saṅkalpā. The deities called Vasus, because, preceded by fire, they abound in splendour and might[15], are severally named Āpa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhava (fire), Anila (wind), Anala (fire), Pratyūṣa (day-break), and Prabhāsa (light). The four sons of Āpa were Vaitaṇḍya, Śrama (weariness), Srānta (fatigue), and Dhur (burthen). Kāla (time), the cerisher of the world, was the son of Dhruva. The son of Soma was Varchas (light), who was the father of Varcasvī (radiance). Dhava had, by his wife Manoharā (loveliness), Draviṇa, Hutahavyavāha, Śiśira, Prāṇa, and Ramaṇa. The two sons of Anila (wind), by his wife Śivā, were Manojava (swift as thought) and Avijñātagati (untraceable motion). The son of Agni (fire), Kumāra, was born in a clump of Śara reeds: his sons were Sākha, Visākha, Naigameya, and Pṛṣṭhaja. The offspring of the Krittikās was named Kārtikeya. The son of Pratyūṣa was the Ṛṣi named Devala, who had two philosophic and intelligent sons[16]. The sister of Vācaspati, lovely and virtuous, Yogasiddhā, who pervades the wholes world without being devoted to it, was the wife of Prabhāsa, the eighth of the Vasus, and bore to him the patriarch Viswakarmā, the author of a thousand arts, the mechanist of the gods, the fabricator of all ornaments, the chief of artists, the constructor of the self-moving chariots of the deities, and by whose skill men obtain subsistence. Ajaikapād, Ahirvradhna, and the wise Rudra Tvaṣṭri, were born; and the self-born son of Twashtri was also the celebrated Viśvarūpa. There are eleven well-known Rudras, lords of the three worlds, or Hara, Bahurūpa, Tryambaka, Aparājita, Vṛṣakapi, Sambhu, Kaparddī, Raivata, Mrigavyādha, Sarva, and Kapāli[17]; but there are a hundred appellations of the immeasurably mighty Rudras[18].

The daughters of Dakṣa who were married to Kaśyapa were Aditi, Diti, Danu, Aṛṣṭā, Surasā, Surabhi, Vinatā, Tāmrā, Krodhavaśā, Iḍā, Khasā, Kadru, and Muni[19]; whose progeny I will describe to you. There were twelve celebrated deities in a former Manvantara, called Tuṣitas[20], who, upon the approach of the present period, or in the reign of the last Manu, Cākṣuṣa, assembled, and said to one another, “Come, let us quickly enter into the womb of Aditī, that we may be born in the next Manvantara, for thereby we shall again enjoy the rank of gods:” and accordingly they were born the sons of Kaśyapa, the son of Marīci, by Aditī, the daughter of Dakṣa; thence named the twelve Ādityas; whose appellations were respectively, Viṣṇu, Śakra, Āryaman, Dhūtī, Tvāṣṭri, Pūṣan, Vivaswat, Savitri, Mitra, Varuṇa, Aṃśa, and Bhaga[21]. These, who in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara were the gods called Tuṣitas, were called the twelve Ādityas in the Manvantara of Vaivaśvata.

The twenty-seven daughters of the patriarch who became the virtuous wives of the moon were all known as the nymphs of the lunar constellations, which were called by their names, and had children who were brilliant through their great splendour[22]. The wives of Aṛṣṭanemi bore him sixteen children[23]. The daughters of Bahuputra were the four lightnings[24]. The excellent Pratyaṅgirasa Ricas were the children of Aṅgiras[25], descended from the holy sage: and the deified weapons of the gods[26] were the progeny of Kriśāśva.

These classes of thirty-three divinities[27] are born again at the end of a thousand ages, according to their own pleasure; and their appearance and disappearance is here spoken of as birth and death: but, Maitreya, these divine personages exist age after age in the same manner as the sun sets and rises again.

It has been related to us, that Diti had two sons by Kaśyapa, named Hiraṇyakaśipu and the invincible Hiraṇyākṣa: she had also a daughter, Siṅkā, the wife of Viprachitti. Hiraṇyakaśipu was the father of four mighty sons, Anuhlāda, Hlāda, the wise Prahlāda, and the heroic Sanhlāda, the augmentor of the Daitya race[28]. Amongst these, the illustrious Prahlāda, looking on all things with indifference, devoted his whole faith to Janārddana. The flames that were lighted by the king of the Daityas consumed not him, in whose heart Vāsudeva was cerished; and all the earth trembled when, bound with bonds, he moved amidst the waters of the ocean. His firm body, fortified by a mind engrossed by Achyuta, was unwounded by the weapons hurled on him by order of the Daitya monarch; and the serpents sent to destroy him breathed their venomous flames upon him in vain. Overwhelmed with rocks, he yet remained unhurt; for he never forgot Viṣṇu, and the recollection of the deity was his armour of proof. Hurled from on high by the king of the Daityas, residing in Swerga, earth received him unharmed. The wind sent into his body to wither him up was itself annihilated by him, in whom Madhusūdana was present. The fierce elephants of the spheres broke their tusks, and vailed their pride, against the firm breast which the lord of the Daityas had ordered them to assault. The ministrant priests of the monarch were baffled in all their rites for the destruction of one so steadily attached to Govinda: and the thousand delusions of the fraudulent Samvara, counteracted by the discus of Kṛṣṇa, were practised without success. The deadly poison administered by his father's officers he partook of unhesitatingly, and without its working any visible change; for he looked upon the world with mind undisturbed, and, full of benignity, regarded all things with equal affection, and as identical with himself. He was righteous; an inexhaustible mine of purity and truth; and an unfailing model for all pious men.

Footnotes and references:


Or, ‘immersed in the six Ūrmis’; explained hunger, thirst, sorrow, stupefaction, decay, and death.


There is some confusion here in regard to the person addressed, but the context shews that the insertion of Maitreya's name is an inadvertence, and that the passage is a continuation of Soma's speech to the Pracetasas.


The phrase is ‘made up of the farther boundary of Brahma;’ implying either ‘comprehending the supreme, or Brahma, and transcendental wisdom, Pāra;’ or, consisting of the farthest limits (Pāra) or truths of the Vedas or Brahma;' that is, being the essence of the Vedānta philosophy. The hymn that follows is in fact a mantra or mystical prayer, commencing with the reiteration of the word Para and Pāra; as, ###. Para means ‘supreme, infinite; and Pāra, ’the farther bank or limit,' the point that is to be attained by crossing a river or sea, or figuratively the world or existence. Viṣṇu, then, is Para, that which nothing surpasses; and Pāra, the end or object of existence: he is Apāra pāra, the farthest bound of that which is illimitable, or space and time: he is Param parebhyah, above or beyond the highest, being beyond or superior to all the elements: he is Paramārtha rūpī, or identical with final truth, or knowledge of soul: he is Brahma pāra, the object or essence of spiritual wisdom. Parapārabhūta is said to imply the farther limit (Pāra) of rudimental matter (Para). He is Para, or chief Parānam, of those objects which are beyond the senses: and he is Pārapāra, or the boundary of boundaries; that is, he is the comprehensive in-vesture of, and exterior to, those limits by which soul is confined; he is free from all iñcumbrance or impediment. The passage may be interpreted in different ways, according to the ingenuity with which the riddle is read.


This part of the legend is peculiar to our text, and the whole story of Māṛṣā's birth is nowhere else so fully detailed. The penance of the Pracetasas, and its consequences, are related in the Agni, Bhāgavata, Matsya, Padma, Vāyu, and Brāhma Purāṇas, and allusion is briefly made to Māṛṣā's birth. Her origin from Kaṇḍu and Pramlocā is narrated in a different place in the Brāhma Purāṇa, where the austerities of Kaṇḍu, and the necessity for their interruption, are described. The story, from that authority, was translated by the late Professor Chezy, and is published in the first number of the Journal Asiatique.


The second birth of Dakṣa, and his share in the peopling of the earth, is narrated in most of the Purāṇas in a similar manner. It is perhaps the original legend, for Dakṣa seems to be an irregular adjunct to the Prajāpatis, or mind-born sons of Brahmā (see p. 49. n. 2); and the allegorical nature of his posterity in that character (p. 54) intimates a more recent origin. Nor does that series of descendants apparently occur in the Mahābhārata, although the existence of two Dakṣas is especially remarked there (Mokṣa Dh.). In the Ādi Parva, which seems to be the freest from subsequent improvements, the Dakṣa noticed is the son of the Pracetasas. The incompatibility of the two accounts is reconciled by referring the two Dakṣas to different Manvantaras. The Dakṣa who proceeded from Brahmā as a Prajāpati being born in the first, or Svāyambhuva, and the son of the Pracetasas in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara. The latter however, as descended from Uttānapāda, should belong to the first period also. It is evident that great confusion has been made by the Purāṇas in Dakṣa's history.


That is, they are the Nakṣatras, or lunar asterisms.


'They are removed', which the commentator explains by ‘are absorbed, as if they were fast asleep;’ but in every age or Yuga, according to the text—in every Manvantara, according to the comment—the Ṛṣis reappear, the circumstances of their origin only being varied. Dakṣa therefore, as remarked in the preceding note, is the son of Brahmā in one period, the son of the Pracetasas in another. So Soma, in the Svāyambhuva Manvantara, was born as the son of Atri; in the Cākṣuṣa, he was produced by churning the ocean. The words of our text occur in the Hari Vaṃśa, with an unimportant variation: ‘Birth and obstruction are constant in all beings, but Ṛṣis and those men who are wise are not perplexed by this;’ that is, not, as rendered above, by the alternation of life and death; but, according to the commentator on the Hari Vaṃśa, by a very different matter, the prohibition of unlawful marriages. Utpatti, ‘birth of progeny,’ is the result of their will; Nirodha, ‘obstruction,’ is the law prohibiting the intermarriage of persons connected by the offering of the funeral cake; to which Ṛṣis and sages are not subject, either from their matrimonial unions being merely platonic, or from the bad example set by Brahmā, who, according to the Vedas, approached his own daughter; we have already had occasion to advert to (p. 51. n. 5). The explanation of the text, however, given by the commentator appears forced, and less natural than the interpretation preferred above.


This is the usual account of Dakṣa's marriage, and is that of the Mahābhārata, Adi P. (p. 113), and of the Brāhma Purāṇa, which the Hari Vaṃśa, in the first part, repeats. In another portion, the Puṣkara Māhātmya, however, Dakṣa, it is said, converts half himself into a female, by whom he begets the daughters presently to be noticed: ###. This seems to be merely a new edition of an old story.


The commentator explains it to mean the origin, duration, and termination of subtile rudimental body; but the Padma and Liṅga P. distinctly express it, ‘the extent of the earth.’


Nārada's interference, and the fruitless generation of the first progeny of Dakṣa, is an old legend. The Mahābhārata (Ādi P. p. 113) notices only one set of sons, who, it is said, obtained Mokṣa, or liberation, through Nāreda's teaching them the Sāṅkhya philosophy. The Brāhma, Matsya, Vāyu, Liṅga, Padma, Agni, and Bhāgavata Purāṇas tell the story much as in the text, and not unfrequently in the same words. In general they merely refer to the imprecation denounced upon Nārada, as above. The Bhāgavata specifies the imprecation to be perpetual peripateticism. Dakṣa says to him, ‘There shall not be a resting-place for thee in all these regions.’ The Kūrma repeats the imprecation merely to the effect that Nārada shall perish, and gives no legend. In the Brahma Vaivartta, Nārada is cursed by Brahmā, on a similar occasion, to become the chief of the Gandharvas, whence his musical propensities: but the Bhāgavata, VI. 7, has the reverse of this legend, and makes him first a Gandharva, then a Śūdra, then the son of Brahmā. The Brāhma P., and after it the Hari Vaṃśa and the Vāyu P., have a different and not very intelligible story. Dakṣa, being about to pronounce an imprecation upon Nārada, was appeased by Brahmā and the Ṛṣis, and it was agreed between them that Nārada should be again born, as the son of Kaśyapa, by one of Dakṣa's daughters. This seems to be the gist of the legend, but it is very confusedly told. The version of the Brāhma P., which is the same as that of Hari Vaṃśa, may be thus rendered: “The smooth-speaking Nārada addressed the sons of Dakṣa for their destruction and his own; for the Muni Kaśyapa begot him as a son, who was the son of Brahmā, on the daughter of Dakṣa, through fear of the latter's imprecation. He was formerly the son of Parameṣṭhī (Brahmā), and the excellent sage Kaśyapa next begot him, as if he were his father, on Asiknī, the daughter of Vīraṇa. Whilst he was engaged in beguiling the sons of the patriarch, Dakṣa, of resistless power, determined on his destruction; but he was solicited by Brahmā, in the presence of the great sages, and it was agreed between them that Nārada, the son of Brahmā, should be born of a daughter of Dakṣa. Consequently Dakṣa gave his daughter to Parameṣṭhī, and by her was Nārada born.” Now several difficulties occur here. Asiknī is the wife, not the daughter, of Dakṣa; but this may be a blunder of the compiler, for in the parallel passage of the Vāyu no name occurs. In the next place, who is this daughter? for, as we shall see, the progeny of all Dakṣa's daughters are fully detailed, and in no p. 119 authority consulted is Nārada mentioned as the son of either of them, or as the son of Kaśyapa. Dakṣa, too, gives his daughter, not to Kaśyapa, but to Parameṣṭhī, or Brahmā. The commentator on the Hari Vaṃśa solves this by saying he gives her to Brahmā for Kaśyapa. The same bargain is noticed in the Vāyu, but Nārada is also said there to be adopted by Kaśyapa. Again, however, it gives Dakṣa's imprecation in the same words as the Hari Vaṃśa; a passage, by the way, omitted in the Brāhma: ‘Nārada, perish (in your present form), and take up your abode in the womb.’ Whatever may be the original of this legend, it is evidently imperfectly given by the authorities here cited. The French translation of the passage in the Hari Vaṃśa can scarcely be admitted as correct: assuredly is not ‘le Devarchi Dakcha, epoux d’’Asiknī, fille de Virāna, fut l’aïeul de cet illustri mouni ainsi régénéré.' ### is more consistently said by the commentator to mean Kaśyapa. The Vāyu P. in another part, a description of the different orders of Ṛṣis, states that the Devarṣis Parvata and Nāreda were sons of Kaśyapa: In the account of Kārttavīrya, in the Brāhma P. and Hari Vaṃśa, Nārada is introduced as a Gandharva, the son of Varidāsa; being the same, according to the commentator on the latter, as the Gandharva elsewhere called Upavarhana.


The prior specification (p. 115) was fifty. The Mahābhārata, Adi P. 113, and, again, Mokṣa Dharma, has the same number. The Bhāgavata, Kūrma, Padma, Liṅga, and Vāyu P. state sixty. The former is perhaps the original, as the fullest and most consistent details relate to them and their posterity.


This is the usual list of Dharma's wives. The Bhāgavata substitutes Kakud for Arundhaṭī. The Padma P., Matsya P., and Hari Vaṃśa contain two different account of Dakṣa's descendants: the first agrees with our text; the second, which is supposed to occur in the Padma Kalpa, is somewhat varied, particularly as to the wives of Dharma, who are said to be five. The nomenclature varies, or,


The Viśvādevas are a class of gods to whom sacrifices should be offered daily. Manu, III. 121. They are named in some of the Purāṇas, as the Vāyu and Matsya: the former specifying ten; the latter, twelve.


The Sādhyas, according to the Vāyu, are the personified rites and prayers of the Vedas, born of the metres, and partakers of the sacrifices. The same work names twelve, which are all names of sacrifices and formulæ, as Darśa, Paurnamāsa, Vrihadaśva, Rathantara, &c. The Matsya P., Padma P., and Hari V. have a different set of seventeen appellations, apparently of arbitrary selection, as Bhava, Prabhava, Īśa, Aruṇi, &c.


Or, according to the Padma P., because they are always present in light, or luminous irradiation.


The Vāyu supplies their names, Kṣamāvartta (patient) and Manaswin (wise).


The passage is, ### Whose sons they are does not appear; the object being, according to the comment, to specify only the eleven divisions or modifications of the youngest Rudra, Tvaṣṭa.' We have, however, an unusual variety of reading here in two copies of the comment: ‘The eleven Rudras, in whom the family of Tvaṣṭri (a synonyme, it may be observed, sometimes of Viswakarmā) is included, were born. The enumeration of the Rudras ends with Aparājita, of whom Tryambaka is the epithet.’ Accordingly the three last names in all the other copies of the text are omitted in these two; their places being supplied by the three first, two of whom are always named in the lists of the Rudras. According to the Vāyu and Brāhma P. the Rudras are the children of Kaśyapa by Surabhi: the Bhāgavata makes them the progeny of Bhūta and Sarūpā: the Matsya, Padma, and Hari V., in the second series, the offspring of Surabhi by Brahmā. The names in three of the Paurāṇic authorities run thus:


The posterity of Dakṣa's daughters p. 122 by Dharma are clearly allegorical personifications chiefly of two classes, one consisting of astronomical phenomena, and the other of portions or subjects of the ritual of the Vedas.


There is some, though not much, variation in these names in different Purāṇas. The Bhāgavata has Saramā, Kaṣṭha, and Timi, the parents severally of canine animals, beasts with uncloven hoofs, and fishes, in place of Vinatā, Khasā, and Kadru; disposing of the first and last differently. The Vāyu has Pravā in place of Aṛṣṭā, and Anāyush or Danāyush for Surasā. The Padma P., second series, substitutes Kālā, Anāyush, Sinhikā, Piśācā, Vāch for Aṛṣṭa, Surasā, Surabhi, Tāmrā, and Muni; and omits Iḍā and Khasā. In the Uttara Khaṇḍa of the same, Kaśyapa's wives are said to be but four, Aditi, Diti, Kadru, and Vinatā.


In the sixth reign, or that of Cākṣuṣa Manu, according to the text; but in book III. ch. 1. the Tuṣitas are the gods of the second or Svārociṣa Manvantara. The Vāyu has a much more complete legend than any other Pura on this subject. In the beginning of the Kalpa twelve gods, named Jayas, were created by Brahmā, as his deputies and assistants in the creation. They, lost in meditation, neglected his commands; on which he cursed them to be repeatedly born in each Manvantara till the seventh. They were accordingly, in the several successive Manvantaras, Ajitas, Tuṣitas, Satyas, Haris, Vaikunthas, Sādhyas, and Ādityas. Our authority and some others, as the Brāhma, have apparently intended to refer to this account, but have confused the order of the series.


p. 123 The Purāṇas that contain this genealogy agree tolerably well in these names. The Bhāgavata adds many details regarding some of the Ādityas and their descendants.


The Nakṣatra Yoginis, or chief stars of the lunar mansions, or asterisms in the moon's path.


None of the authorities are more specific on the subject of Aṛṣṭanemis' progeny. In the Mahābhārata this is said to be another name of Kaśyapa. The Bhāgavata substitutes Tārkṣa for this personage, said by the commentator to be likewise another name of Kaśyapa. His wives are, Kadru, Vinatā, Patangi, and Yāminī, mothers of snakes, birds, grasshoppers, and locusts.


Enumerated in astrological works as brown, red, yellow, and white; portending severally wind, heat, rain, famine.


The Ricas, or verses, thirty-five in number, addressed to presiding divinities, denominated Pratyaṅgirasas. The Bhāgavata calls the wives of Anginas, Swadhā and Satī, and makes them the mothers of the Pitris and the Atharvan Veda severally.


The Śastra devatas, ‘gods of the divine weapons;’ a hundred are enumerated in the Rāmāyaṇa, and they are there termed the sons of Kriśāśva by Jayā and Vijayā, daughters of the Prajāpati; that is, of Dakṣa. The Bhāgavata terms the two wives of Kriśāśva, Archish (flame) and Dhiṣaṇā; the former is the mother of Dhūmaketu (comet); the latter, of four sages, Devala, Vedaśiras, Vayuṇa, and Manu. The allegorical origin of the weapons is undoubtedly the more ancient.


This number is founded upon a text of the Vedas, which to the eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, and twelve Ādityas, adds Prajāpati, either Brahmā or Dakṣa, and Vashatkāra, ‘deified oblation.’ They have the epithet Chandajā, as born in different Manvantaras, of their own will.


The Purāṇas generally coñcur in this genealogy, reading sometimes Anuhrāda, Hrāda, &c. for Anuhlāda and the rest. Although placed second in the order of Kaśyapa's descendants, the Daityas are in fact the elder branch. Thus the Mahābhārata, Mokṣa Dherma, calls Diti the senior wife of Kaśyapa: and the Vāyu terms Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa the eldest of all the sons of that patriarch. “Titan and his enormous brood” were “heaven's first born.”

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