Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Vivasvan included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Vivasvān

The Sun.

General information.

Sūrya (Sun) has a large number of synonyms. But prominence is given to two of them, Mārtaṇḍa and Vivasvān in the Purāṇas. Twelve devas were born to Prajāpati Kaśyapa by his wife Aditi. As these twelve were the sons of Aditi they were called Ādityas. The Dvādaśādityas (the twelve Ādityas) are Viṣṇu, Śakra, Aryaman, Dhātā, Tvaṣṭā, Pūṣā Vivasvān, Savitā, Mitra, Varuṇa, Aṃśu and Bhaga. These twelve Ādityas were, in the previous Manvantara (Age of Manu) of Manu Cākṣuṣa, twelve Devas called the Tuṣitas. When the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara came to an end and the Vaivasvata Manvantara was about to begin, the twelve Tuṣitas met together and after a consultation, they took birth as the sons of Aditi. In this birth they were known by the name Dvādaśādityas. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapter 15).

The name Mārtaṇḍa.

As Aditi was pregnant, Candra went to the hermitage asking for alms. Due to her difficulties of pregnancy Aditi was not in a position to rise up instantly and greet the visitor. Candra thought that it was due to disrespect. So he cursed her. Let the child in your womb die." At this Aditi became miserable. Kaśyapa saw her crying incessantly and asked for the cause. Aditi told him all that had happened. Kaśyapa blessed her and said that the infant would not die. Thus the child which was lying dead in the womb came to life again. As the 'aṇḍa' (egg-embryo) of Vivasvān went mṛta (died) by the curse of Candra, he came to be called Mārtaṇḍa (he who has aṇḍa which has become mṛta). When the child was born he was given the name Vivasvān.

Family life.

Vivasvān married Saṃjñā, the daughter of Viśvakarmā. The first child born to Vivasvān by Saṃjñā was Vaivasvata Manu. The Sūrya (Solar) dynasty begins from this Vaivasvata Manu. Saṃjñā again gave birth to two children Yama and Yamī. Then finding it difficult to bear the fierce brightness of the sun Saṃjñā gave her place to her maid Chāyā otherwise called Savarṇā, and went to the house of her father. Viśvakarmā did not like this action on the part of his daughter. So Saṃjñā took the form of a mare and went to the pastures of North Kuru. Thinking Chāyā to be his wife Saṃjñā, Vivasvān went to bed with her. She conceived and gave birth to two sons and a daughter. The sons were named Sāvarṇi and Śani and the daughter was named Tapatī. Chāyā loved her own children more. The children of Saṃjñā were grieved at this. Yama once lifted his leg to kick her. "Let that leg be broken." Chāyā cursed him. The miserable Yama ran to his father and said. "Father, this mother hates us and loves Sāvarṇi and Śani more. It is true that I lifted up my leg. But my leg did not touch mother’s head. Father, I request you to pardon the wrong I have done because of my ignorance. Have pity on me and tell me how to save my leg from breaking." Vivasvān said to Yama that his leg would not be broken, but because of the curse worms would bite his leg. Vivasvān understood that Chāyā was not the real mother. He went to Viśvakarmā. Viśvakarmā put Vivasvān on his turning machine and by turning lessened his brightness. Vivasvān who was made more handsome by turning, found out his wife Saṃjñā, and approached her. But thinking him to be somebody else she moved away from him. In the meanwhile two male persons were born from the nostrils of Saṃjñā. There is another story that these two persons were the Aśvinidevas. Vivasvān and Saṃjñā came home. As a retribution for the wrong he had done, Yama ruled over his subjects justly and earned the name Dharmarāja. (Vāmana Purāṇa, Chapter 21; Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Chapter 47; Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 171).

Some details about Vivasvān.

(i) In Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 3, the 108 names of Vivasvān are given.

(ii) Vivasvān lived in this world and defeated all his enemies. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 315, Stanza 19).

(iii) Vivasvān performed sacrifice in strict accordance with the instructions given in the Vedas and gave as Dakṣiṇā (gift) to the priest, Prajāpati Kaśyapa, the southern quarter. From that day onwards the south got the name Dakṣiṇadiśā. (Mahābhārata Udyoga Parva, Chapter 109, Stanza 1).

(iv) In days of yore Mahāviṣṇu advised Vivasvān "Anaśvaratākarma-yoga". Vivasvān advised this art to his son Vaivasvata Manu. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 28, Stanza 1).

(v) Vivasvān is included among the twentyeight Prajāpatis. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 334, Stanza 36).

(vi) He learned from Mahāviṣṇu Sātvatadharma and taught his son Vaivasvata Manu the same in Tretāyuga. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 348, Stanza 50).

(vii) The Aśvinikumāras, Nāsatya and Dasra, are the sons of Vivasvān. They were born through the nose of his wife Saṃjñā. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 150, Stanza 17).

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