&c. &c. &c.





















Feb. 10, 1840.




THE literature of the Hindus has now been cultivated for many years with singular diligence, and in many of its branches with eminent success. There are some departments, however, which are yet but partially and imperfectly investigated; and we are far from being in possession of that knowledge which the authentic writings of the Hindus alone can give us of their religion, mythology, and historical traditions.

From the materials to which we have hitherto had access, it seems probable that there have been three principal forms in which the religion of the Hindus has existed, at as many different periods. The duration of those periods, the circumstances of their succession, and the precise state of the national faith at each season, it is not possible to trace with any approach to accuracy. The premises have been too imperfectly determined to authorize other than conclusions of a general and somewhat vague description, and those remain to be hereafter confirmed or corrected by more extensive and satisfactory research.

The earliest form under which the Hindu religion appears is that taught in the Vedas. The style of the language, and the purport of the composition of those works, as far as we are acquainted with them, indicate a date long anterior to that of any other class of Sanscrit writings. It is yet, however, scarcely safe to advance an opinion of the precise belief or philosophy which they inculcate. To enable us to judge of their tendency, we have only a general sketch of their arrangement and contents, with a few extracts, by Mr. Colebrooke, in the Asiatic Researches1; a few incidental observations by Mr. Ellis, in the same miscellany2; and a translation of the first book of the Sanhitá, or collection of the prayers of the Rig-veda, by Dr. Rosen3; and some of the Upanishads, [p.ii] or speculative treatises, attached to, rather than part of, the Vedas, by Rammohun Roy4. Of the religion taught in the Vedas, Mr. Colebrooke's opinion will probably be received as that which is best entitled to deference, as certainly no Sanscrit scholar has been equally conversant with the original works. "The real doctrine of the Indian scripture is the unity of the Deity, in whom the universe is comprehended; and the seeming polytheism which it exhibits, offers the elements and the stars and planets as gods. The three principal manifestations of the divinity, with other personified attributes and energies, and most of the other gods of Hindu mythology, are indeed mentioned, or at least indicated, in the Veda. But the worship of deified heroes is no part of the system; nor are the incarnations of deities suggested in any portion of the text which I have yet seen, though such are sometimes hinted at by the commentators5." Some of these statements may perhaps require modification; for without a careful examination of all the prayers of the Vedas, it would be hazardous to assert that they contain no indication whatever of hero-worship; and certainly they do appear to allude occasionally to the Avatáras, or incarnations, of Vishńu. Still, however, it is true that the prevailing character of the ritual of the Vedas is the worship of the personified elements; of Agni, or fire; Indra, the firmament; Váyu, the air; Varuńa, the water; of Aditya, the sun; Soma, the moon; and other elementary and planetary personages. It is also true that the worship of the Vedas is for the most part domestic worship, consisting of prayers and oblations offeredin their own houses, not in templesby individuals for individual good, and addressed to unreal presences, not to visible types. In a word, the religion of the Vedas was not idolatry.

It is not possible to conjecture when this more simple and primitive form of adoration was succeeded by the worship of images and types, representing Brahmá, Vishńu, Śiva, and other imaginary beings, constituting a mythological pantheon of most ample extent; or when Ráma [p.iii] and Krishńa, who appear to have been originally real and historical characters, were elevated to the dignity of divinities. Image-worship is alluded to by Manu in several passages6, but with an intimation that those Brahmans who subsist by ministering in temples are an inferior and degraded class. The story of the Rámáyańa and Mahábhárata turns wholly upon the doctrine of incarnations, all the chief dramatis personæ of the poems being impersonations of gods and demigods and celestial spirits. The ritual appears to be that of the Vedas, and it may be doubted if any allusion to image-worship occurs; but the doctrine of propitiation by penance and praise prevails throughout, and Vishńu and Śiva are the especial objects of panegyric and invocation. In these two works, then, we trace unequivocal indications of a departure from the elemental worship of the Vedas, and the origin or elaboration of legends, which form the great body of the mythological religion of the Hindus. How far they only improved upon the cosmogony and chronology of their predecessors, or in what degree the traditions of families and dynasties may originate with them, are questions that can only be determined when the Vedas and the two works in question shall have been more thoroughly examined.

The different works known by the name of Puráńas are evidently derived from the same religious system as the Rámáyańa and Mahábhárata, or from the mytho-heroic stage of Hindu belief. They present, however, peculiarities which designate their belonging to a later period, and to an important modification in the progress of opinion. They repeat the theoretical cosmogony of the two great poems; they expand and systematize the chronological computations; and they give a more definite and connected representation of the mythological fictions, and the historical traditions. But besides these and other particulars, which may be derivable from an old, if not from a primitive era, they offer characteristic peculiarities of a more modern description, in the paramount importance which they assign to individual divinities, in the variety and purport of the rites and observances addressed to them, and in the invention of new legends illustrative of the power and graciousness of [p.iv] those deities, and of the efficacy of implicit devotion to them. Śiva and Vishńu, under one or other form, are almost the sole objects that claim the homage of the Hindus in the Puráńas; departing from the domestic and elemental ritual of the Vedas, and exhibiting a sectarial fervour and exclusiveness not traceable in the Rámáyańa, and only to a qualified extent in the Mahábhárata. They are no longer authorities for Hindu belief as a whole: they are special guides for separate and sometimes conflicting branches of it, compiled for the evident purpose of promoting the preferential, or in some cases the sole, worship of Vishńu or of Śiva7.

That the Puráńas always bore the character here given of them, may admit of reasonable doubt; that it correctly applies to them as they now are met with, the following pages will irrefragably substantiate. It is possible, however, that there may have been an earlier class of Puráńas, of which those we now have are but the partial and adulterated representatives. The identity of the legends in many of them, and still more the identity of the wordsfor in several of them long passages are literally the sameis a sufficient proof that in all such cases they must be copied either from some other similar work, or from a common and prior original. It is not unusual also for a fact to be stated upon the authority of an 'old stanza,' which is cited accordingly; shewing the existence of an earlier source of information: and in very many instances legends are alluded to, not told; evincing acquaintance with their prior narration somewhere else. The name itself, Puráńa, which implies 'old,' indicates the object of the compilation to be the preservation of ancient traditions, a purpose in the present condition of the Puráńas very imperfectly fulfilled. Whatever weight may be attached to these considerations, there is no disputing evidence to the like effect afforded by other and unquestionable authority. The description given by Mr. Colebrooke8 of the contents of a Puráńa is taken from Sanscrit writers. The Lexicon of Amara Sinha gives as a synonyme of Puráńa, Pancha-lakshanam, 'that which has five characteristic topics:' and there is no difference of opinion amongst the [p.v] scholiasts as to what these are. They are, as Mr. Colebrooke mentions, 1. Primary creation, or cosmogony; 2. Secondary creation, or the destruction and renovation of worlds, including chronology; 3. Genealogy of gods and patriarchs; 4. Reigns of the Manus, or periods called Manwantaras; and 5. History, or such particulars as have been preserved of the princes of the solar and lunar races, and of their descendants to modern times9. Such, at any rate, were the constituent and characteristic portions of a Puráńa in the days of Amara Sinha, fifty-six years before the Christian era; and if the Puráńas had undergone no change since his time, such we should expect to find them still. Do they conform to this description? Not exactly in any one instance: to some of them it is utterly inapplicable; to others it only partially applies. There is not one to which it belongs so entirely as to the Vishńu Puráńa, and it is one of the circumstances which gives to this work a more authentic character than most of its fellows can pretend to. Yet even in this instance we have a book upon the institutes of society and obsequial rites interposed between the Manwantaras and the genealogies of princes, and a life of Krishńa separating the latter from an account of the end of the world, besides the insertion of various legends of a manifestly popular and sectarial character. No doubt many of the Puráńas, as they now are, correspond with the view which Col. Vans Kennedy takes of their purport. "I cannot discover in them," he remarks, "any other object than that of religious instruction." The description of the earth and of the planetary system, and the lists of royal races which occur in them, he asserts to be "evidently extraneous, and not essential circumstances, as they are entirely omitted in some Puráńas, and very concisely illustrated in others; while, on the contrary, in all the Puráńas some or other of the leading principles, rites, and observances of the Hindu religion are fully dwelt upon, and illustrated either by suitable legends [] or by prescribing the ceremonies to be practised, and the prayers and invocations to be employed, in the worship of different deities10," Now, however accurate this description may be of the Puráńas as they are, it is clear that it does not apply to what they were when they were synonymously designated as Pancha-lakshańas, or 'treatises on five topics;' not one of which five is ever specified by text or comment to be "religious instruction." In the knowledge of Amara Sinha the lists of princes were not extraneous and unessential, and their being now so considered by a writer so well acquainted with the contents of the Puráńas as Col. Vans Kennedy is a decisive proof that since the days of the lexicographer they have undergone some material alteration, and that we have not at present the same works in all respects that were current under the denomination of Puráńas in the century prior to Christianity.

The inference deduced from the discrepancy between the actual form and the older definition of a Puráńa, unfavourable to the antiquity of the extant works generally, is converted into certainty when we come to examine them in detail; for although they have no dates attached to them, yet circumstances are sometimes mentioned or alluded to, or references to authorities are made, or legends are narrated, or places are particularized, of which the comparatively recent date is indisputable, and which enforce a corresponding reduction of the antiquity of the work in which they are discovered. At the same time they may be acquitted of subservience to any but sectarial imposture. They were pious frauds for temporary purposes: they never emanated from any impossible combination of the Brahmans to fabricate for the antiquity of the entire Hindu system any claims which it cannot fully support. A very great portion of the contents of many, some portion of the contents of all, is genuine and old. The sectarial interpolation or embellishment is always sufficiently palpable to be set aside, without injury to the more authentic and primitive material; and the Puráńas, although they belong especially to that stage of the Hindu religion in which faith in some one divinity was the prevailing principle, are also a valuable record of the form of Hindu belief [p.vii] which came next in order to that of the Vedas; which grafted hero-worship upon the simpler ritual of the latter; and which had been adopted, and was extensively, perhaps universally established in India at the time of the Greek invasion. The Hercules of the Greek writers was indubitably the Balaráma of the Hindus; and their notices of Mathurá on the Jumna, and of the kingdom of the Suraseni and the Pandæan country, evidence the prior currency of the traditions which constitute the argument of the Mahábhárata, and which are constantly repeated in the Puráńas, relating to the Pańd́ava and Yádava races, to Krishńa and his contemporary heroes, and to the dynasties of the solar and lunar kings.

The theogony and cosmogony of the Puráńas may probably be traced to the Vedas. They are not, as far as is yet known, described in detail in those works, but they are frequently alluded to in a strain more or less mystical and obscure, which indicates acquaintance with their existence, and which seems to have supplied the Puráńas with the groundwork of their systems. The scheme of primary or elementary creation they borrow from the Sánkhya philosophy, which is probably one of the oldest forms of speculation on man and nature amongst the Hindus. Agreeably, however, to that part of the Pauráńik character which there is reason to suspect of later origin, their inculcation of the worship of a favourite deity, they combine the interposition of a creator with the independent evolution of matter in a somewhat contradictory and unintelligible style. It is evident too that their accounts of secondary creation, or the developement of the existing forms of things, and the disposition of the universe, are derived from several and different sources; and it appears very likely that they are to be accused of some of the incongruities and absurdities by which the narrative is disfigured, in consequence of having attempted to assign reality and significancy to what was merely metaphor or mysticism. There is, however, amidst the unnecessary complexity of the description, a general agreement amongst them as to the origin of things, and their final distribution; and in many of the circumstances there is a striking concurrence with the ideas which seem to have pervaded the whole of the ancient world, and which we may therefore believe to be faithfully represented in the Puráńas.


The Pantheism of the Puráńas is one of their invariable characteristics, although the particular divinity, who is all things, from whom all things proceed, and to whom all things return, be diversified according to their individual sectarial bias. They seem to have derived the notion from the Vedas: but in them the one universal Being is of a higher order than a personification of attributes or elements, and, however imperfectly conceived, or unworthily described, is God. In the Puráńas the one only Supreme Being is supposed to be manifest in the person of Śiva or Vishńu, either in the way of illusion or in sport; and one or other of these divinities is therefore also the cause of all that is, is himself all that exists. The identity of God and nature is not a new notion; it was very general in the speculations of antiquity, but it assumed a new vigour in the early ages of Christianity, and was carried to an equal pitch of extravagance by the Platonic Christians as by the Śaiva or Vaishńava Hindus. It seems not impossible that there was some communication between them. We know that there was an active communication between India and the Red sea in the early ages of the Christian era, and that doctrines, as well as articles of merchandise, were brought to Alexandria from the former. Epiphanius11 and Eusebius12 accuse Scythianus of having imported from India, in the second century, books on magic, and heretical notions leading to Manichæism; and it was at the same period that Ammonius instituted the sect of the new Platonists at Alexandria. The basis of his heresy was, that true philosophy derived its origin from the eastern nations: his doctrine of the identity of God and the universe is that of the Vedas and Puráńas; and the practices he enjoined, as well as their object, were precisely those described in several of the Puráńas under the name of Yoga. His disciples were taught "to extenuate by mortification and contemplation the bodily restraints upon the immortal spirit, so that in this life they might enjoy communion with the Supreme Being, and ascend after death to the universal Parent13." That these are Hindu tenets the following pages14 will testify; and by the admission of their Alexandrian [p.xii] teacher, they originated in India. The importation was perhaps not wholly unrequited; the loan may not have been left unpaid. It is not impossible that the Hindu doctrines received fresh animation from their adoption by the successors of Ammonius, and especially by the mystics, who may have prompted, as well as employed, the expressions of the Puráńas. Anquetil du Perron has given15, in the introduction to his translation of the 'Oupnekhat,' several hymns by Synesius, a bishop of the beginning of the fifth century, which may serve as parallels to many of the hymns and prayers addressed to Vishńu in the Vishńu Puráńa.

But the ascription to individual and personal deities of the attributes of the one universal and spiritual Supreme Being, is an indication of a later date than the Vedas certainly, and apparently also than the Rámáyańa, where Ráma, although an incarnation of Vishńu, commonly appears in his human character alone. There is something of the kind in the Mahábhárata in respect to Krishńa, especially in the philosophical episode known as the Bhagavad Gítá. In other places the divine nature of Krishńa is less decidedly affirmed; in some it is disputed or denied; and in most of the situations in which he is exhibited in action, it is as a prince and warrior, not as a divinity. He exercises no superhuman faculties in the defence of himself or his friends, or in the defeat and destruction of his foes. The Mahábhárata, however, is evidently a work of various periods, and requires to be read throughout carefully and critically before its weight as an authority can be accurately appreciated. As it is now in type16thanks to the public spirit of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and their secretary Mr. J. Prinsepit will not be long before the Sanscrit scholars of the continent will accurately appreciate its value.

Date of the Puráńas

The Puráńas are also works of evidently different ages, and have been compiled under different circumstances, the precise nature of which we can but imperfectly conjecture from internal evidence, and from what we know of the history of religious opinion in India. It is highly probable, [p.x] that of the present popular forms of the Hindu religion, none assumed their actual state earlier than the time of Śankara Áchárya, the great Śaiva reformer, who flourished, in all likelihood, in the eighth or ninth century. Of the Vaishńava teachers, Rámánuja dates in the twelfth century, Madhwáchárya in the thirteenth, and Vallabha in the sixteenth17; and the Puráńas seem to have accompanied or followed their innovations, being obviously intended to advocate the doctrines they taught. This is to assign to some of them a very modern date, it is true; but I cannot think that a higher can with justice be ascribed to them. This, however, applies to some only out of the number, as I shall presently proceed to specify.

Another evidence of a comparatively modern date must be admitted in those chapters of the Puráńas which, assuming a prophetic tone, foretell what dynasties of kings will reign in the Kálí age. These chapters, it is true, are found but in four of the Puráńas, but they are conclusive in bringing down the date of those four to a period considerably subsequent to Christianity. It is also to be remarked, that the Váyu, Vishńu, Bhágavata, and Matsya Puráńas, in which these particulars are foretold, have in all other respects the character of as great antiquity as any works of their class18.

Form of the Puráńas

The invariable form of the Puráńas is that of a dialogue, in which some person relates its contents in reply to the inquiries of another. This dialogue is interwoven with others, which are repeated as having been held on other occasions between different individuals, in consequence of similar questions having been asked. The immediate narrator is commonly, though not constantly, Lomaharshańa or Romaharshańa, the disciple of Vyása, who is supposed to communicate what was imparted to him by his preceptor, as he had heard it from some other sage. Vyása, as will be seen in the body of the work19, is a generic title, meaning an 'arranger' or 'compiler.' It is in this age applied to Krishńa Dwaipáyana, [p.xi] the son of Paráśara, who is said to have taught the Vedas and Puráńas to various disciples, but who appears to have been the head of a college or school, under whom various learned men gave to the sacred literature of the Hindus the form in which it now presents itself. In this task the disciples, as they are termed, of Vyása were rather his colleagues and coadjutors, for they were already conversant with what he is fabled to have taught them20; and amongst them, Lomaharshańa represents the class of persons who were especially charged with the record of political and temporal events. He is called Súta, as if it was a proper name; but it is more correctly a title; and Lomaharshańa was 'a Súta,' that is, a bard or panegyrist, who was created, according to our text21, to celebrate the exploits of princes; and who, according to the Váyu and Padma Puráńas, has a right by birth and profession to narrate the Puráńas, in preference even to the Brahmans22. It is not unlikely therefore that we are to understand, by his being represented as the disciple of Vyása, the institution of some attempt, made under the direction of the latter, to collect from the heralds and annalists of his day the scattered traditions which they had imperfectly preserved; and hence the consequent appropriation of the Puráńas, in a great measure, to the genealogies of regal dynasties, and descriptions of the universe. However this may be, the machinery has been but loosely adhered to, and many of the Patinas, like the Vishńu, are referred to a different narrator.

An account is given in the following work23 of a series of Pauráńik compilations, of which in their present form no vestige appears. Lomaharshańa is said to have had six disciples, three of whom composed as many fundamental Sanhitás, whilst he himself compiled a fourth. By a Sanhitá is generally understood a 'collection' or 'compilation.' The Sanhitás of the Vedas are collections of hymns and prayers belonging to them, arranged according to the judgment of some individual sage, who is therefore looked upon as the originator and teacher of each. The Sanhitás of the Puráńas, then, should be analogous compilations, attributed respectively to Mitrayu, Śánśapáyana, Akritavrańa, and Romaharshańa: no such Pauráńik Sanhitás are now known, The [p.xii] substance of the four is said to be collected in the Vishńu Puráńa, which is also, in another place24, itself called a Sanhitá: but such compilations have not, as far as inquiry has yet proceeded, been discovered. The specification may be accepted as an indication of the Puráńas having existed in some other form, in which they are no longer met with; although it does not appear that the arrangement was incompatible with their existence as separate works, for the Vishńu Puráńa, which is our authority for the four Sanhitás, gives us also the usual enumeration of the several Puráńas.

Classification of the Puráńas

There is another classification of the Puráńas alluded to in the Matsya Puráńa, and specified by the Padma Puráńa, but more fully. It is not undeserving of notice, as it expresses the opinion which native writers entertain of the scope of the Puráńas, and of their recognising the subservience of these works to the dissemination of sectarian principles.. Thus it is said in the Uttara Khańd́a of the Padma, that the Puráńas, as well as other works, are divided into three classes, according to the qualities which prevail in them. Thus the Vishńu, Náradíya, Bhágavata, Gárud́a, Padma, and Váráha Puráńas, are Sátwika, or pure, from the predominance in them of the Satwa quality, or that of goodness and purity. They are, in fact, Vaishńava Puráńas. The Matsya, Kúrma, Linga, Śiva, Skanda, and Agni Puráńas, are Támasa, or Puráńas of darkness, from the prevalence of the quality of Tamas, 'ignorance,' 'gloom.' They are indisputably Śaiva Puráńas. The third series, comprising the Brahmáńd́a, Brahma-vaivartta, Márkańd́eya, Bhavishya, Vámana, and Brahmá Puráńas, are designated as Rájasa, 'passionate,' from Rajas, the property of passion, which they are supposed to represent.. The Matsya does not specify which are the Puráńas that come under these designations, but remarks that those in which the Máhátmya of Hari or Vishńu prevails are Sátwika; those in which the legends of Agni or Śiva predominate are Támasa; and those which dwell most on the stories of Brahmá are Rájasa. I have elsewhere stated25, that I considered the Rájasa Puráńas to lean to the Sákta division of the Hindus, the worshippers of Śakti, or the female principle; founding this opinion [p.xiii] on the character of the legends which some of them contain, such as the Durgá Máhátmya, or celebrated legend on which the worship of Durgá or Kálí is especially founded, which is a principal episode of the Márkańd́eya. The Brahma-vaivartta also devotes the greatest portion of its chapters to the celebration of Rádhá, the mistress of Krishńa, and other female divinities. Col. Vans Kennedy, however, objects to the application of the term Sákta to this last division of the Puráńas, the worship of Śakti being the especial object of a different class of works, the Tantras, and no such form of worship being particularly inculcated in the Bráhma Puráńa26. This last argument is of weight in regard to the particular instance specified, and the designation of Śakti may not be correctly applicable to the whole class, although it is to some of the series; for there is no incompatibility in the advocacy of a Tántrika modification of the Hindu religion by any Puráńa, and it has unquestionably been practised in works known as Upa-puráńas. The proper appropriation of the third class of the Puráńas, according to the Padma Puráńa, appears to be to the worship of Krishńa, not in the character in which he is represented in the Vishńu and Bhágavata Puráńas, in which the incidents of his boyhood are only a portion of his biography, and in which the human character largely participates, at least in his riper years, but as the infant Krishńa, Govinda, Bála Gopála, the sojourner in Vrindávan, the companion of the cowherds and milkmaids, the lover of Rádhá, or as the juvenile master of the universe, Jagannátha. The term Rájasa, implying the animation of passion, and enjoyment of sensual delights, is applicable, not only to the character of the youthful divinity, but to those with whom his adoration in these forms seems to have originated, the Gosains of Gokul and Bengal, the followers and descendants of Vallabha and Chaitanya, the priests and proprietors of Jagannáth and Śrínáth-dwár, who lead a life of affluence and indulgence, and vindicate, both by precept and practice, the reasonableness of the Rájasa property, and the congruity of temporal enjoyment with the duties of religion27.

The Puráńas are uniformly stated to be eighteen in number. It is said that there are also eighteen Upa-puráńas, or minor Puráńas; but [p.xiv] the names of only a few of these are specified in the least exceptionable authorities, and the greater number of the works is not procurable. With regard to the eighteen Puráńas, there is a peculiarity in their specification, which is proof of an interference with the integrity of the text, in some of them at least; for each of them specifies the names of the whole eighteen. Now the list could not have been complete whilst the work that gives it was unfinished, and in one only therefore, the last of the series, have we a right to look for it. As however there are more last words than one, it is evident that the names must have been inserted in all except one after the whole were completed: which of the eighteen is the exception, and truly the last, there is no clue to discover, and the specification is probably an interpolation in most, if not in all.

The names that are specified are commonly the same, and are as follows: 1. Bráhma, 2. Pádma, 3. Vaishńava, 4. Śaiva, 5. Bhágavata, 6. Nárada, 7. Márkańd́a, 8. Ágneya, 9. Bhavishya, 10. Brahma-vaivartta, 11. Lainga, 12. Váráha, 13. Skánda, 14. Vámana, 15. Kaurma, 16. Mátsya, 17. Gárud́a, 18. Brahmáńd́a28. This is from the twelfth book of the Bhágavata, and is the same as occurs in the Vishńu29. In other authorities there are a few variations. The list of the K.úrma P. omits the Agni Puráńa, and substitutes the Váyu. The Agni leaves out the Śaiva, and inserts the Váyu. The Varáha omits the Gárud́a and Brahmáńd́a, and inserts the Váyu and Narasinha: in this last it is singular. The Márkańd́eya agrees with the Vishńu and Bhágavata in omitting the Váyu. The Matsya, like the Agni, leaves out the Śaiva.

Some of the Puráńas, as the Agni, Matsya, Bhágavata, and Padma, also particularize the number of stanzas which each of the eighteen contains. In one or two instances they disagree, but in general they concur. The aggregate is stated at 400,000 slokas, or 1,600,000 lines. These are [p.xv] fabled to be but an abridgment, the whole amount being a krore, or ten millions of stanzas, or even a thousand millions. If all the fragmentary portions claiming in various parts of India to belong to the Puráńas were admitted, their extent would much exceed the lesser, though it would not reach the larger enumeration. The former is, however, as I have elsewhere stated30, a quantity that an individual European scholar could scarcely expect to peruse with due care and attention, unless his whole time were devoted exclusively for many years to the task. Yet without some such labour being achieved, it was clear, from the crudity and inexactness of all that had been hitherto published on the subject, with one exception31, that sound views on the subject of Hindu mythology and tradition were not to be expected. Circumstances, which I have already explained in the paper in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society referred to above, enabled me to avail myself of competent assistance, by which I made a minute abstract of most of the Puráńas. In course of time I hope to place a tolerably copious and connected analysis of the whole eighteen before Oriental scholars, and in the mean while offer a brief notice of their several contents.

In general the enumeration of the Puráńas is a simple nomenclature, with the addition in some cases of the number of verses; but to these the Matsya Puráńa joins the mention of one or two circumstances peculiar to each, which, although scanty, are of value, as offering means of identifying the copies of the Puráńas now found with those to which the Matsya refers, or of discovering a difference between the present and the past. I shall therefore prefix the passage descriptive of each Puráńa from the Matsya. It is necessary to remark, however, that in the comparison instituted between that description and the Puráńa as it exists, I necessarily refer to the copy or copies which I employed for the purpose of examination and analysis, and which were procured with some trouble and cost in Benares and Calcutta. In some instances my manuscripts [p.xvi] have been collated with others from different parts of India, and the result has shewn, that, with regard at least to the Brahmá, Vishńu, Váyu, Matsya, Padma, Bhágavata, and Kúrma Puráńas, the same works, in all essential respects, are generally current under the same appellations. Whether this is invariably the case may be doubted, and farther inquiry may possibly shew that I have been obliged to content myself with mutilated or unauthentic works32. It is with this reservation, therefore, that I must be understood to speak of the concurrence or disagreement of any Puráńa with the notice of it which the Matsya P. has preserved.

1. The Brahmá Puráńa

1. Brahmá Puráńa. "That, the whole of which was formerly repeated by Brahmá to Maríchi, is called the Bráhma Puráńa, and contains ten thousand stanzas33." In all the lists of the Puráńas, the Bráhma is placed at the head of the series, and is thence sometimes also entitled the Ádi or 'first' Puráńa. It is also designated as the Saura, as it is in great part appropriated to the worship of Súrya, 'the sun.' There are, however, works bearing these names which belong to the class of Upa-puráńas, and which are not to be confounded with the Bráhma. It is usually said, as above, to contain ten thousand slokas; but the number actually occurring is between seven and eight thousand. There is a supplementary or concluding section called the Brahmottara Puráńa, and which is different from a portion of the Skánda called the Brahmottara Khańd́a, which contains about three thousand stanzas more; but there is every reason to conclude that this is a distinct and unconnected work.

The immediate narrator of the Brahmá Puráńa is Lomaharshańa, who communicates it to the Rishis or sages assembled at Naimishárańya, as it was originally revealed by Brahmá, not to Maríchi, as the Matsya affirms, but to Daksha, another of the patriarchs: hence its denomination of the Brahmá Puráńa.


The early chapters of this work give a description of the creation, an account of the Manwantaras, and the history of the solar and lunar dynasties to the time of Krishńa, in a summary manner, and in words which are common to it and several other Puráńas: a brief description of the universe succeeds; and then come a number of chapters relating to the holiness of Orissa, with its temples and sacred groves dedicated to the sun, to Śiva, and Jagannáth, the latter especially. These chapters are characteristic of this Puráńa, and shew its main object to be the promotion of the worship of Krishńa as Jagannáth34. To these particulars succeeds a life of Krishńa, which is word for word the same as that of the Vishńu Puráńa; and the compilation terminates with a particular detail of the mode in which Yoga, or contemplative devotion, the object of which is still Vishńu, is to be performed. There is little in this which corresponds with the definition of a Pancha-lakshańa Puráńa; and the mention of the temples of Orissa, the date of the original construction of which is recorded35, shews that it could not have been compiled earlier than the thirteenth or fourteenth century.

The Uttara Khańd́a of the Bráhma P. bears still more entirely the character of a Máhátmya, or local legend, being intended to celebrate the sanctity of the Balajá river, conjectured to be the same as the Banás in Marwar. There is no clue to its date, but it is clearly modern, grafting personages and fictions of its own invention on a few hints from older authorities36.


2. The Padma Puráńa

2. Padma Puráńa. "That which contains an account of the period when the world was a golden lotus (padma), and of all the occurrences of that time, is therefore called the Pádma by the wise: it contains fifty-five thousand stanzas37." The second Puráńa in the usual lists is always the Pádma, a very voluminous work, containing, according to its own statement, as well as that of other authorities, fifty-five thousand slokas; an amount not far from the truth. These are divided amongst five books, or Khańd́as; 1. the Srisht́i Khańd́a, or section on creation; 2. the Bhúmi Khańd́a, description of the earth; 3. the Swarga Khańd́a, chapter on heaven; 4. Pátála Khańd́a, chapter on the regions below the earth; and 5. the Uttara Khańd́a, last or supplementary chapter. There is also current a sixth division, the Kriyá Yoga Sára, a treatise on the practice of devotion.

The denominations of these divisions of the Padma P. convey but an imperfect and partial notion of their contents. In the first, or section which treats of creation, the narrator is Ugraśravas the Súta, the son of Lomaharshańa, who is sent by his father to the Rishis at Naimisháráńya to communicate to them the Puráńa, which, from its containing an account of the lotus (padma), in which Brahmá appeared at creation, is termed the Pádma or Padma Puráńa. The Súta repeats what was originally communicated by Brahmá to Pulastya, and by him to Bhíshma. The early chapters narrate the cosmogony, and the genealogy of the patriarchal families, much in the same style, and often in the same words, as the Vishńu; and short accounts of the Manwantaras and regal dynasties: but these, which are legitimate Pauráńik matters, soon make way for new and unauthentic inventions, illustrative of the virtues of the lake of Pushkara, or Pokher in Ajmir, as a place of pilgrimage.

The Bhúmi Khańd́a, or section of the earth, defers any description of the earth until near its close, filling up one hundred and twenty-seven chapters with legends of a very mixed description, some ancient and common to other Puráńas, but the greater part peculiar to itself, illustrative of Tírthas either figuratively so termedas a wife, a parent, or a [p.xix] Guru, considered as a sacred objector places to which actual pilgrimage should be performed.

The Swarga Khańd́a describes in the first chapters the relative positions of the Lokas or spheres above the earth, placing above all Vaikuńtha, the sphere of Vishńu; an addition which is not warranted by what appears to be the oldest cosmology38. Miscellaneous notices of some of the most celebrated princes then succeed, conformably to the usual narratives; and these are followed by rules of conduct for the several castes, and at different stages of life. The rest of the book is occupied by legends of a diversified description, introduced without much method or contrivance; a few of which, as Daksha's sacrifice, are of ancient date, but of which the most are original and modern.

The Pátála Khańd́a devotes a brief introduction to the description of Pátála, the regions of the snake-gods; but the name of Ráma having been mentioned, Śesha, who has succeeded Pulastya as spokesman, proceeds to narrate the history of Ráma, his descent and his posterity; in which the compiler seems to have taken the poem of Kálidaśa, the Raghu Vanśa, for his chief authority. An originality of addition may be suspected, however, in the adventures of the horse destined by Ráma for an Aśwamedha, which form the subject of a great many chapters. When about to be sacrificed, the horse turns out to be a Brahman, condemned by an imprecation of Durvásas, a sage, to assume the equine nature, and who, by having been sanctified by connexion with Ráma, is released from his metamorphosis, and dispatched as a spirit of light to heaven. This piece of Vaishńava fiction is followed by praises of the Śrí Bhágavata, an account of Krishńa's juvenilities, and the merits of worshipping Vishńu. These accounts are communicated through a machinery borrowed from the Tantras: they are told by Sadáśiva to Párvati, the ordinary interlocutors of Tántrika compositions.

The Uttara Khańd́a is a most voluminous aggregation of very heterogeneous matters, but it is consistent in adopting a decidedly Vaishńava tone, and admitting no compromise with any other form of faith. The chief subjects are first discussed in a dialogue between king Dilípa and [p.xx] the Muni Vaśisht́ha; such as the merits of bathing in the month of Mágha, and the potency of the Mantra or prayer addressed to Lakshmí Náráyańa. But the nature of Bhakti, faith in Vishńuthe use of Vaishńava marks on the bodythe legends of Vishńu's Avatáras, and especially of Rámaand the construction of images of Vishńuare too important to be left to mortal discretion: they are explained by Śiva to Párvati, and wound up by the adoration of Vishńu by those divinities. The dialogue then reverts to the king and the sage; and the latter states why Vishńu is the only one of the triad entitled to respect; Śiva being licentious, Brahmá arrogant, and Vishńu alone pure. Vaśisht́ha then repeats, after Śiva, the Máhátmya of the Bhagavad Gítá; the merit of each book of which is illustrated by legends of the good consequences to individuals from perusing or hearing it. Other Vaishńava Máhátmyas occupy considerable portions of this Khańd́a, especially the Kártíka Máhátmya, or holiness of the month Kartika, illustrated as usual by stories, a few of which are of an early origin, but the greater part modern, and peculiar to this Puráńa39.

The Kriyá Yoga Sára is repeated by Súta to the Rishis, after Vyása's communication of it to Jaimini, in answer to an inquiry how religious merit might be secured in the Kálí age, in which men have become incapable of the penances and abstraction by which final liberation was formerly to be attained. The answer is, of course, that which is intimated in the last hook of the Vishńu Puráńapersonal devotion to Vishńu: thinking of him, repeating his names, wearing his marks, worshipping in his temples, are a full substitute for all other acts of moral or devotional or contemplative merit.

The different portions of the Padma Puráńa are in all probability as many different works, neither of which approaches to the original definition of a Puráńa. There may be some connexion between the three first portions, at least as to time; but there is no reason to consider them as of high antiquity. They specify the Jains both by name and practices.; they talk of Mlechchhas, 'barbarians,' flourishing in India; they commend [p.xxi] the use of the frontal and other Vaishńava marks; and they notice other subjects which, like these, are of no remote origin. The Pátála Khańd́a dwells copiously upon the Bhágavata, and is consequently posterior to it. The Uttara Khańd́a is intolerantly Vaishńava, and is therefore unquestionably modern. It enjoins the veneration of the Sálágram stone and Tulasí plant, the use of the Tapta-mudra, or stamping with a hot iron the name of Vishńu on the skin, and a variety of practices and observances undoubtedly no part of the original system. It speaks of the shrines of Śrí-rangam and Venkatádri in the Dekhin, temples that have no pretension to remote antiquity; and it names Haripur on the Tungabhadra, which is in all likelihood the city of Vijayanagar, founded in the middle of the fourteenth century. The Kriyá Yoga Sára is equally a modern, and apparently a Bengali composition. No portion of the Padma Puráńa is probably older than the twelfth century, and the last parts may be as recent as the fifteenth or sixteenth40.

3. The Vishńu Puráńa

3. Vishńu Puráńa. "That in which Paráśara, beginning with the events of the Varáha Kalpa, expounds all duties, is called the Vaishńava; and the learned know its extent to be twenty-three thousand stanzas41." The third Puráńa of the lists is that which has been selected for translation, the Vishńu. It is unnecessary therefore to offer any general summary of its contents, and it will be convenient to reserve any remarks upon its character and probable antiquity for a subsequent page. It may here be observed, however, that the actual number of verses contained in it falls far short of the enumeration of the Matsya, with which the Bhágavata concurs. Its actual contents are not seven thousand stanzas. All the copies, and in this instance they are not fewer than seven in number, procured both in the east and in the west of India, agree; and there is no appearance of any part being wanting. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end, in both text and comment; and the work as it stands is incontestably entire. How is the discrepancy to be explained?


4. The Váyavíya Puráńa

4. "The Puráńa in which Váyu has declared the laws of duty, in connexion with the Sweta Kalpa, and which comprises the Máhátmya of Rudra, is the Váyavíya Puráńa: it contains twenty-four thousand verses42." The Śiva or Śaiva Puráńa is, as above remarked, omitted in some of the lists; and in general, when that is the case, it is replaced by the Váyu or Váyavíya. When the Śiva is specified, as in the Bhágavata, then the Váyu is omitted; intimating the possible identity of these two works. This indeed is confirmed by the Matsya, which describes the Váyavíya Puráńa as characterised by its account of the greatness of Rudra or Siva43; and Balambhat́t́a mentions that the Váyavíya is also called the Śaiva, though, according to some, the latter is the name of an Upa-puráńa. Col. Vans Kennedy observes, that in the west of India the Śaiva is commonly considered to be an Upa or 'minor' Puráńa44.

Another proof that the same work is intended by the authorities here followed, the Bhágavata and Matsya, under different appellations, is their concurrence in the extent of the work, each specifying its verses to be twenty-four thousand. A copy of the Śiva Puráńa, of which an index and analysis have been prepared, does not contain more than about seven thousand: it cannot therefore be the Śiva Puráńa of the Bhágavata; and we may safely consider that to be the same as the Váyavíya of the Matsya45.

The Váyu Puráńa is narrated by Súta to the Rishis at Naimishárańya, as it was formerly told at the same place to similar persons by Váyu; a repetition of circumstances not uncharacteristic of the inartificial style of this Puráńa. It is divided into four Pádas, termed severally Prakriyá, Upodgháta, Anushanga, and Upasanhára; a classification peculiar to this work. These are preceded by an index, or heads of chapters, in the manner of the Mahábhárata and Rámáyańa; another peculiarity.

The Prakriyá portion contains but a few chapters, and treats chiefly [p.xiii] of elemental creation, and the first evolutions of beings, to the same purport as the Vishńu, but in a more obscure and unmethodical style. The Upodgháta then continues the subject of creation, and describes the various Kalpas or periods during which the world has existed; a greater number of which is specified by the Śaiva than by the Vaishńava Puráńas. Thirty-three are here described, the last of which is the Sweta or 'white' Kalpa, from Śiva's being born in it of a white complexion. The genealogies of the patriarchs, the description of the universe, and the incidents of the first six Manwantaras, are all treated of in this part of the work; but they are intermixed with legends and praises of Śiva, as the sacrifice of Daksha, the Maheśwara Máhátmya, the Nilakántha Stotra, and others. The genealogies, although in the main the same as those in the Vaishńava Puráńas, present some variations. A long account of the Pitris or progenitors is also peculiar to this Puráńa; as are stories of some of the most celebrated Rishis, who were engaged in the distribution of the Vedas.

The third division commences with an account of the seven Rishis and their descendants, and describes the origin of the different classes of creatures from the daughters of Daksha, with a profuse copiousness of nomenclature, not found in any other Puráńa. With exception of the greater minuteness of detail, the particulars agree with those of the Vishńu P. A chapter then occurs on the worship of the Pitris; another on Tírthas, or places sacred to them; and several on the performance of Sráddhas, constituting the Sráddha Kalpa. After this, comes a full account of the solar and lunar dynasties, forming a parallel to that in the following pages, with this difference, that it is throughout in verse, whilst that of our text, as noticed in its place, is chiefly in prose. It is extended also by the insertion of detailed accounts of various incidents, briefly noticed in the Vishńu, though derived apparently from a common original. The section terminates with similar accounts of future kings, and the same chronological calculations, that are found in the Vishńu.

The last portion, the Upasanhára, describes briefly the future Manwantaras, the measures of space and time, the end of the world, the [p.xxiv] efficacy of Yoga, and the glories of Śiva-pura, or the dwelling of Śiva, with whom the Yogi is to be united. The manuscript concludes with a different history of the successive teachers of the Váyu Puráńa, tracing them from Brahmá to Váyu, from Váyu to Vrihaspati, and from him, through various deities and sages, to Dwaipáyańa and Śúta.

The account given of this Puráńa in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal was limited to something less than half the work, as I had not then been able to procure a larger portion. I have now a more complete one of my own, and there are several copies in the East India Company's library of the like extent. One, presented by His Highness the Guicowar, is dated Samvat 1540, or A. D. 1483, and is evidently as old as it professes to be. The examination I have made of the work confirms the view I formerly took of it; and from the internal evidence it affords, it may perhaps be regarded as one of the oldest and most authentic specimens extant of a primitive Puráńa.

It appears, however, that we have not yet a copy of the entire Váyu Puráńa. The extent of it, as mentioned above, should be twenty-four thousand verses. The Guicowar MS. has but twelve thousand, and is denominated the Púrvárddha, or first portion. My copy is of the like extent. The index also spews that several subjects remain untold; as, subsequently to the description of the sphere of Śiva, and the periodical dissolution of the world, the work is said to contain an account of a succeeding creation, and of various events that occurred in it, as the birth of several celebrated Rishis, including that of Vyása, and a description of his distribution of the Vedas; an account of the enmity between Vaśisht́ha and Viswámitra; and a Naimishárańya Máhátmya. These topics are, however, of minor importance, and can scarcely carry the Puráńa to the whole extent of the verses which it is said to contain. If the number is accurate, the index must still omit a considerable portion of the subsequent contents.

5. The Bhágavata Puráńa

5. Śrí Bhágavata. "That in which ample details of duty are described, and which opens with (an extract from) the Gáyatri; that in which the death of the Asura Vritra is told, and in which the mortals and immortals of the Sáraswata Kalpa, with the events that then happened [p.xxv] to them in the world, are related; that, is celebrated as the Bhágavata, and consists of eighteen thousand verses46." The Bhágavata is a work of great celebrity in India, and exercises a more direct and powerful influence upon the opinions and feelings of the people than perhaps any other of the Puráńas. It is placed the fifth in all the lists; but the Padma Puráńa ranks it as the eighteenth, as the extracted substance of all the rest. According to the usual specification, it consists of eighteen thousand ślokas, distributed amongst three hundred and thirty-two chapters, divided into twelve Skandhas or books. It is named Bhágavata from its being dedicated to the glorification of Bhagavat or Vishńu.

The Bhágavata is communicated to the Rishis at Naimishárańya by Súta, as usual; but he only repeats what was narrated by Śuka, the son of Vyása, to Paríkshit, the king of Hastinápura, the grandson of Arjuna. Having incurred the imprecation of a hermit, by which he was sentenced to die of the bite of a venomous snake, at the expiration of seven days; the king, in preparation for . this event, repairs to the banks of the Ganges; whither also come the gods and sages, to witness his death. Amongst the latter is Śuka; and it is in reply to Paríkshit's question, what a man should do who is about to die, that he narrates the Bhágavata, as he had heard it from Vyása; for nothing secures final happiness so certainly, as to die whilst the thoughts are wholly engrossed by Vishńu.

The course of the narration opens with a cosmogony, which, although in most respects similar to that of other Puráńas, is more largely intermixed with allegory and mysticism, and derives its tone more from the Vedanta than the Sánkhya philosophy. The doctrine of active creation by the Supreme, as one with Vásudeva, is more distinctly asserted, with a more decided enunciation of the effects being resolvable into Máyá, or illusion. There are also doctrinal peculiarities, highly characteristic of this Puráńa; amongst which is the assertion that it was originally communicated by Brahmá to Nárada, that all men whatsoever, Hindus of every caste, and even Mlechchhas, outcastes or barbarians, might learn to have faith in Vásudeva.


In the third book the interlocutors are changed to Maitreya and Vidura; the former of whom is the disciple in the Vishńu Puráńa, the latter was the half-brother of the Kuru princes. Maitreya, again, gives an account of the Srisht́i-lílá, or sport of creation, in a strain partly common to the Puráńas, partly peculiar; although he declares he learned it from his teacher Paráśara, at the desire of Pulastya47; referring thus to the fabulous origin of the Vishńu Puráńa, and furnishing evidence of its priority. Again, however, the authority is changed, and the narrative is said to have been that which was communicated by Śesha to the Nágas. The creation of Brahmá is then described, and the divisions of time are explained. A very long and peculiar account is given of the Varáha incarnation of Vishńu, which is followed by the creation of the Prajápatis and Swáyambhuva, whose daughter Devahutí is married to Karddama Rishi; an incident peculiar to this work, as is that which follows of the Avatára of Vishńu as Kapila the son of Karddama and Devahutí, the author of the Sánkhya philosophy, which he expounds, after a Vaishńava fashion, to his mother, in the last nine chapters of this section.

The Manwantara of Swáyambhuva, and the multiplication of the patriarchal families, are next described with some peculiarities of nomenclature, which are pointed out in the notes to the parallel passages of the Vishńu Puráńa. The traditions of Dhruva, Veńa, Prithu, and other princes of this period, are the other subjects of the fourth Skandha, and are continued in the fifth to that of the Bharata who obtained emancipation. The details generally conform to those of the Vishńu Puráńa, and the same words are often employed, so that it would he difficult to determine which work had the best right to them, had not the Bhágavata itself indicated its obligations to the Vishńu. The remainder of the fifth book is occupied with the description of the universe, and the same conformity with the Vishńu continues.

This is only partially the case with the sixth book, which contains a variety of legends of a miscellaneous description, intended to illustrate the merit of worshipping Vishńu: some of them belong to the early [p.xxvii] stock, but some are apparently novel. The seventh book is mostly occupied with the legend of Prahláda. In the eighth we have an account of the remaining Manwantaras; in which, as happening in the course of them, a variety of ancient legends are repeated, as the battle between the king of the elephants and an alligator, the churning of the ocean, and the dwarf and fish Avatáras. The ninth book narrates the dynasties of the Vaivaswata Manwantara, or the princes of the solar and lunar races to the time of Krishńa48. The particulars conform generally with those recorded in the Vishńu.

The tenth book is the characteristic part of this Puráńa, and the portion upon which its popularity is founded. It is appropriated entirely to the history of Krishńa, which it narrates much in the same manner as the Vishńu, but in more detail; holding a middle place, however, between it and the extravagant prolixity with which the Hari Vanśa repeats the story. It is not necessary to particularize it farther. It has been translated into perhaps all the languages of India, and is a favourite work with all descriptions of people.

The eleventh book describes the destruction of the Yádavas, and death of Krishńa. Previous to the latter event, Krishńa instructs Uddhava in the performance of the Yoga; a subject consigned by the Vishńu to the concluding passages. The narrative is much the same, but something more summary than that of the Vishńu. The twelfth book continues the lines of the kings of the Kálí age prophetically to a similar period as the Vishńu, and gives a like account of the deterioration of all things, and their final dissolution. Consistently with the subject of the Puráńa, the serpent Takshaka bites Paríkshit, and he expires, and the work should terminate; or the close might be extended to the subsequent sacrifice of Janamejaya for the destruction of the whole serpent race. There is a rather awkwardly introduced description, however, of the arrangement of the Vedas and Puráńas by Vyása, [p.xxviii] and the legend of Márkańd́eya's interview with the infant Krishńa, during a period of worldly dissolution. We then come to the end of the Bhágavata, in a series of encomiastic commendations of its own sanctity, and efficacy to salvation.

Mr. Colebrooke observes of the Bhágavata Puráńa, "I am inclined to adopt an opinion supported by many learned Hindus, who consider the celebrated Śrí Bhágavata as the work of a grammarian (Vopadeva), supposed to have lived six hundred years ago49." Col. Vans Kennedy considers this an incautious admission, because "it is unquestionable that the number of the Puráńas has been always held to be eighteen; but in most of the Puráńas the names of the eighteen are enumerated, amongst which the Bhágavata is invariably included; and consequently if it were composed only six hundred years ago, the others must be of an equally modern date50." Some of them are no doubt more recent; but, as already remarked, no weight can be attached to the specification of the eighteen names, for they are always complete; each Puráńa enumerates all. Which is the last? which had the opportunity of naming its seventeen predecessors, and adding itself? The argument proves too much. There can be little doubt that the list has been inserted upon the authority of tradition, either by some improving transcriber, or by the compiler of a work more recent than the eighteen genuine Puráńas. The objection is also rebutted by the assertion, that there was another Puráńa to which the name applies, and which is still to be met with, the Deví Bhágavata.

For, the authenticity of the Bhágavata is one of the few questions affecting their sacred literature which Hindu writers have ventured to discuss. The occasion is furnished by the text itself. In the fourth chapter of the first book it is said that Vyása arranged the Vedas, and divided them into four; and that he then compiled the Itihása and Puráńas, as a fifth Veda. The Vedas he gave to Paila and the rest; the Itihása and Puráńas to Lomaharshańa, the father of Súta51. Then reflecting that these works may not be accessible to women, Śúdras, and mixed castes, he composed the Bhárata, for the purpose of placing religious knowledge within their reach. Still he felt dissatisfied, and wandered in much perplexity along the banks of the Saraswatí, where his hermitage was situated, when Nárada paid him a visit. Having confided to him his secret and seemingly causeless dissatisfaction, Nárada suggested that it arose from his not having sufficiently dwelt, in the works he had finished, upon the merit of worshipping Vásudeva. Vyása at once admitted its truth, and found a remedy for his uneasiness in the composition of the Bhágavata, which he taught to Śuka his son52. Here therefore is the most positive assertion that the Bhágavata was composed subsequently to the Puráńas, and given to a different pupil, and was not therefore one of the eighteen of which Romaharshańa the Seta was, according to all concurrent testimonies, the depositary. Still the Bhágavata is named amongst the eighteen Puráńas by the inspired authorities; and how can these incongruities be reconciled?

The principal point in dispute seems to have been started by an expression of Śrídhara Swámin, a commentator on the Bhágavata, who somewhat incautiously made the remark that there was no reason to suspect that by the term Bhágavata any other work than the subject of his labours was intended. This was therefore an admission that some suspicions had been entertained of the correctness of the nomenclature, and that an opinion had been expressed that the term belonged, not to the Śrí Bhágavata, but to the Deví Bhágavata; to a Śaiva, not a Vaishńava, composition. With whom doubts prevailed prior to Śrídhara Swámin, or by whom they were urged, does not appear; for, as far as we are aware, no works, anterior to his date, in which they are advanced have been met with. Subsequently, various tracts have been written on the subject. There are three in the library of the East India Company; the Durjana Mukha Chapet́iká, 'A slap of the face for the vile,' by Rámáśrama; the Durjana Mukha Mahá Chapet́iká, 'A great slap of the face for the wicked,' by Káśináth Bhat́t́a; and the Durjana Mukha Padma Pad́uká, 'A slipper' for the same part of the same persons, by a [] nameless disputant. The first maintains the authenticity of the Bhágavata; the second asserts that the Deví Bhágavata is the genuine Puráńa; and the third replies to the arguments of the first. There is also a work by Purushottama, entitled 'Thirteen arguments for dispelling all doubts of the character of the Bhágavata' (Bhágavata swarúpa vihsaya śanká nirása trayodasa); whilst Bálambhat́t́a, a commentator on the Mitákshara, indulging in a dissertation on the meaning of the word Puráńa, adduces reasons for questioning the inspired origin of this Puráńa.

The chief arguments in favour of the authenticity of this Puráńa are the absence of any reason why Vopadeva, to whom it is attributed, should not have put his own name to it; its being included in all lists of the Puráńas, sometimes with circumstances that belong to no other Puráńa; and its being admitted to be a Puráńa, and cited as authority, or made the subject of comment, by writers of established reputation, of whom Śankara Áchárya is one, and he lived long before Vopadeva. The reply to the first argument is rather feeble, the controversialists being unwilling perhaps to admit the real object, the promotion of new doctrines. It is therefore said that Vyása was an incarnation of Náráyańa, and the purpose was to propitiate his favour. The insertion of a Bhágavata amongst the eighteen Puráńas is acknowledged; but this, it is said, can be the Deví Bhágavata alone, for the circumstances apply more correctly to it than to the Vaishńava Bhágavata. Thus a text is quoted by Káśináth from a Puráńahe does not state whichthat says of the Bhágavata that it contains eighteen thousand verses, twelve books, and three hundred and thirty-two chapters. Káśináth asserts that the chapters of the Śrí Bhágavata are three hundred and thirty-five, and that the numbers apply throughout only to the Deví Bhágavata. It is also said that the Bhágavata contains an account of the acquirement of holy knowledge by Hayagríva; the particulars of the Sáraswata Kalpa; a dialogue between Ambarísha and Śuka; and that it commences with the Gayatrí, or at least a citation of it. These all apply to the Deví Bhágavata alone, except the last; but it also is more true of the Śaiva than of the Vaishńava work, for the latter has only one word of the Gayatrí, dhímahi, 'we meditate;' whilst the former to dhímahi adds, Yá nah prachodayát, [p.xxxi] 'who may enlighten us.' To the third argument it is in the first place objected, that the citation of the Bhágavata by modern writers is no test of its authenticity; and with regard to the more ancient commentary of Śankara Áchárya, it is asked, "Where is it?" Those who advocate the sanctity of the Bhágavata reply, "It was written in a difficult style, and became obsolete, and is lost." "A very unsatisfactory plea," retort their opponents, "for we still have the works of Śankara, several of which are quite as difficult as any in the Sanscrit language." The existence of this comment, too, rests upon the authority of Mádhwa or Mádhava, who in a commentary of his own asserts that he has consulted eight others. Now amongst these is one by the monkey Hanumán; and although a Hindu disputant may believe in the reality of such a composition, yet we may receive its citation as a proof that Mádhwa was not very scrupulous in the verification of his authorities.

There are other topics urged in this controversy on both sides, some of which are simple enough, some are ingenious: but the statement of the text is of itself sufficient to shew that according to the received opinion of all the authorities of the priority of the eighteen Puráńas to the Bhárata, it is impossible that the Śrí Bhágavata, which is subsequent to the Bhárata, should be of the number; and the evidence of style, the superiority of which to that of the Puráńas in general is admitted by the disputants, is also proof that it is the work of a different hand. Whether the Deví Bhágavata have a better title to be considered as an original composition of Vyása, is equally questionable; but it cannot be doubted that the Śrí Bhágavata is the product of uninspired erudition. There does not seem to be any other ground than tradition for ascribing it to Vopadeva the grammarian; but there is no reason to call the tradition in question. Vopadeva flourished at the court of Hemádri, Rájá of Devagiri, Deogur or Dowlutabad, and must consequently have lived prior to the conquest of that principality by the Mohammedans in the fourteenth century. The date of the twelfth century, commonly assigned to him, is probably correct, and is that of the Bhágavata Puráńa.

6. The Naradíya Puráńa

6. Nárada or Naradíya Puráńa. "Where Nárada has described the duties which were observed in the Vrihat Kalpa, that, is called the Náradíya, [p.xxxii] having twenty-five thousand stanzas53." If the number of verses be here correctly stated, the Puráńa has not fallen into my hands. The copy I have analysed contains not many more than three thousand ślokas. There is another work, which might be expected to be of greater extent, the Vrihat Náradíya, or great Nárada Puráńa; but this, according to the concurrence of three copies in my possession, and of five others in the Company's library, contains but about three thousand five hundred verses. It may be doubted, therefore, if the Nárada Puráńa of the Matsya exists54.

According to the Matsya, the Nárada Puráńa is related by Nárada, and gives an account of the Vrihat Kalpa. The Náradíya Puráńa is communicated by Nárada to the Rishis at Naimishárańya, on the Gomati river. The Vrihannáradíya is related to the same persons, at the same place, by Súta, as it was told by Nárada to Sanatkumára. Possibly the term Vrihat may have been suggested by the specification which is given in the Matsya; but there is no description in it of any particular Kalpa, or day of Brahmá.

From a cursory examination of these Puráńas, it is very evident that they have no conformity to the definition of a Puráńa, and that both are sectarial and modern compilations, intended to support the doctrine of Bhakti, or faith in Vishńu. With this view they have collected a variety of prayers addressed to one or other form of that divinity; a number of observances and holidays connected with his adoration; and different legends, some perhaps of an early, others of a more recent date, illustrative of the efficacy of devotion to Hari. Thus in the Nárada we have the stories of Dhruva and Prahláda; the latter told in the words of the Vishńu: whilst the second portion of it is occupied with a legend of Mohiní, the will-born daughter of a king called Rukmángada: beguiled by [p.xxxiii] whom, the king offers to perform for her whatever she may desire. She calls upon him either to violate the rule of fasting on the eleventh day of the fortnight, a day sacred to Vishńu, or to put his son to death; and he kills his son, as the lesser sin of the two. This shews the spirit of the work. Its date may also be inferred from its tenor, as such monstrous extravagancies in praise of Bhakti are certainly of modern origin. One limit it furnishes itself, for it refers to Śuka and Paríkshit, the interlocutors of the Bhágavata, and it is consequently subsequent to the date of that Puráńa: it is probably considerably later, for it affords evidence that it was written after India was in the hands of the Mohammedans. In the concluding passage it is said, "Let not this Puráńa be repeated in the presence of the 'killers of cows' and contemners of the gods." It is possibly a compilation of the sixteenth or seventeenth century.

The Vrihannáradíya is a work of the same tenor and time. It contains little else than panegyrical prayers addressed to Vishńu, and injunctions to observe various rites, and keep holy certain seasons, in honour of him. The earlier legends introduced are the birth of Márkańd́eya, the destruction of Sagara's sons, and the dwarf Avatára; but they are subservient to the design of the whole, and are rendered occasions for praising Náráyańa: others, illustrating the efficacy of certain Vaishńava observances, are puerile inventions, wholly foreign to the more ancient system of Pauráńik fiction. There is no attempt at cosmogony, or patriarchal or regal genealogy. It is possible that these topics may be treated of in the missing stanzas; but it seems more likely that the Nárada Puráńa of the lists has little in common with the works to which its name is applied in Bengal and Hindustan.

7. The Márkańd́eya Puráńa

7. Márkańd́a or Márkańd́eya Puráńa. "That Puráńa in which, commencing with the story of the birds that were acquainted with right and wrong, every thing is narrated fully by Márkańd́eya, as it was explained by holy sages in reply to the question of the Muni, is called the Márkańd́eya, containing nine thousand verses55." This is so called from its [p.xxiv] being in the first instance narrated by Márkańd́eya Muni, and in the second place by certain fabulous birds; thus far agreeing with the account given of it in the Matsya. That, as well as other authorities, specify its containing nine thousand stanzas; but my copy closes with a verse affirming that the number of verses recited by the Muni was six thousand nine hundred; and a copy in the East India Company's library has a similar specification. The termination is, however, somewhat abrupt, and there is no reason why the subject with which it ends should not have been carried on farther. One copy in the Company's library, indeed, belonging to the Guicowar's collection, states at the close that it is the end of the first Khańd́a, or section. If the Puráńa was ever completed, the remaining portion of it appears to be lost.

Jaimini, the pupil of Vyása, applies to Márkańd́eya to be made acquainted with the nature of Vásudeva, and for an explanation of some of the incidents described in the Mahábhárata; with the ambrosia of which divine poem, Vyása he declares has watered the whole world: a reference which establishes the priority of the Bhárata to the Márkańd́eya Puráńa, however incompatible this may be with the tradition, that having finished the Puráńas, Vyása wrote the poem.

Márkańd́eya excuses himself, saying he has a religious rite to perform; and he refers Jaimini to some very sapient birds, who reside in the Vindhya mountains; birds of a celestial origin, found, when just born, by the Muni Śamíka, on the field of Kurukshetra, and brought up by him along with his scholars: in consequence of which, and by virtue of their heavenly descent, they became profoundly versed in the Vedas, and a knowledge of spiritual truth. This machinery is borrowed from the Mahábhárata, with some embellishment. Jaimini accordingly has recourse to the birds, Pingáksha and his brethren, and puts to them the questions he had asked of the Muni. "Why was Vásudeva born as a mortal? How was it that Draupadí was the wife of the five Páńd́us? Why did Baladeva do penance for Brahmanicide? and why were the children of Draupadí destroyed, when they had Krishńa and Arjuna to defend them?" The answers to these inquiries occupy a number of chapters, and form a sort of supplement to the Mahábhárata; supplying, [p.xxxv] partly by invention, perhaps, and partly by reference to equally ancient authorities, the blanks left in some of its narrations.

Legends of Vritrásura's death, Baladeva's penance, Hariśchandra's elevation to heaven, and the quarrel between Vaśisht́ha and Viswámitra, are followed by a discussion respecting birth, death, and sin; which leads to a more extended description of the different hells than is found in other Puráńas. The account of creation which is contained in this work is repeated by the birds after Márkańd́eya's account of it to Krosht́uki, and is confined to the origin of the Vedas and patriarchal families, amongst whom are new characters, as Duhsaha and his wife Mársht́i, and their descendants; allegorical personages, representing intolerable iniquity and its consequences. There is then a description of the world, with, as usual to this Puráńa, several singularities, some of which are noticed in the following pages. This being the state of the world in the Swáyambhuva Manwantara, an account of the other Manwantaras succeeds, in which the births of the Manus, and a number of other particulars, are peculiar to this work. The present or Vaivaswata Manwantara is very briefly passed over; but the next, the first of the future Manwantaras, contains the long episodical narrative of the actions of the goddess Durgá, which is the especial boast of this Puráńa, and is the text-book of the worshippers of Káli, Chańd́í, or Durgá, in Bengal. It is the Chańd́í Pátha, or Durgá Máhátmya, in which the victories of the goddess over different evil beings, or Asuras, are detailed with considerable power and spirit. It is read daily in the temples of Durgá, and furnishes the pomp and circumstance of the great festival of Bengal, the Durgá pujá, or public worship of that goddess56.

After the account of the Manwantaras is completed, there follows a series of legends, some new, some old, relating to the sun and his posterity; continued to Vaivaswata Manu and his sons, and their immediate descendants; terminating with Dama, the son of Narishyanta57. Of most of the persons noticed, the work narrates particulars not found elsewhere.


This Puráńa has a character different from that of all the others. It has nothing of a sectarial spirit, little of a religious tone, rarely inserting prayers and invocations to any deity, and such as are inserted are brief and moderate. It deals little in precepts, ceremonial or moral. Its leading feature is narrative, and it presents an uninterrupted succession of legends, most of which, when ancient, are embellished with new circumstances; and when new, partake so far of the spirit of the old, that they are disinterested creations of the imagination, having no particular motive; being designed to recommend no special doctrine or observance. Whether they are derived from any other source, or whether they are original inventions, it is not possible to ascertain. They are most probably, for the greater part at least, original; and the whole has been narrated in the compiler's own manner, a manner superior to that of the Puráńas in general, with exception of the Bhágavata.

It is not easy to conjecture a date for this Puráńa: it is subsequent to the Mahábhárata, but how long subsequent is doubtful. It is unquestionably more ancient than such works as the Brahmá, Padma, and Náradíya Puráńas; and its freedom from sectarial bias is a reason for supposing it anterior to the Bhágavata. At the same time, its partial conformity to the definition of a Puráńa, and the tenor of the additions which it has made to received legends and traditions, indicate a not very remote age; and, in the absence of any guide to a more positive conclusion, it may conjecturally be placed in the ninth or tenth century.

8. The Agni Puráńa

8. Agni Puráńa. "That Puráńa which describes the occurrences of the Íśána Kalpa, and was related by Agni to Vaśisht́ha, is called the Ágneya: it consists of sixteen thousand stanzas58." The Agni or Agneya Puráńa derives its name from its having being communicated originally by Agni, the deity of fire, to the Muni Vaśisht́ha, for the purpose of instructing him in the twofold knowledge of Brahma59. By him it was taught to Vyása, who imparted it to Súta; and the latter is represented as repeating it to the Rising at Naimishárańya. Its contents are variously specified as sixteen thousand, fifteen thousand, or fourteen thousand [p.xxxvii] stanzas. The two copies which were employed by me contain about fifteen thousand ślokas. There are two in the Company's library, which do not extend beyond twelve thousand verses; but they are in many other respects different from mine: one of them was written at Agra, in the reign of Akbar, in A. D. 1589.

The Agni Puráńa, in the form in winch it has been obtained in Bengal and at Benares, presents a striking contrast to the Márkańd́eya. It may be doubted if a single line of it is original. A very great proportion of it may be traced to other sources; and a more careful collationif the task was worth the time it would requirewould probably discover the remainder.

The early chapters of this Puráńa60 describe the Avatáras; and in those of Ráma and Krishńa avowedly follow the Rámáyańa and Mahábhárata. A considerable portion is then appropriated to instructions for the performance of religious ceremonies; many of winch belong to the Tántrika ritual, and are apparently transcribed from the principal authorities of that system. Some belong to mystical forms of Śaiva worship, little known in Hindustan, though perhaps still practised in the south. One of these is the Díkshá, or initiation of a novice; by which, with numerous ceremonies and invocations, in which the mysterious monosyllables of the Tantras are constantly repeated, the disciple is transformed into a living personation of Śiva, and receives in that capacity the homage of his Guru. Interspersed with these, are chapters descriptive of the earth and of the universe, which are the same as those of the Vishńu Puráńa; and Máhátmyas or legends of holy places, particularly of Gaya. Chapters on the duties of kings, and on the art of war, then occur, which have the appearance of being extracted from some older work, as is undoubtedly the chapter on judicature, which follows them, and which is the same as the text of the Mitákshara. Subsequent to these, we have an account of the distribution and arrangement of the Vedas and Puráńas, which is little else than an abridgment of the [p.xxxviii] Vishńu: and in a chapter on gifts we have a description of the Puráńas, which is precisely the same, and in the same situation, as the similar subject in the Matsya Puráńa. The genealogical chapters are meagre lists, differing in a few respects from those commonly received, as hereafter noticed, but unaccompanied by any particulars, such as those recorded or invented in the Márkańd́eya. The next subject is medicine, compiled avowedly, but injudiciously, from the Sauśruta. A series of chapters on the mystic worship of Śiva and Deví follows; and the work winds up with treatises on rhetoric, prosody, and grammar, according to the Sutras of Pingala and Pánini.

The cyclopædical character of the Agni Puráńa, as it is now described, excludes it from any legitimate claims to be regarded as a Puráńa, and proves that its origin cannot be very remote. It is subsequent to the Itihásas; to the chief works on grammar, rhetoric, and medicine; and to the introduction of the Tántrika worship of Deví. When this latter took place is yet far from determined, but there is every probability that it dates long after the beginning of our era. The materials of the Agni Puráńa are, however, no doubt of some antiquity. The medicine of Suśruta is considerably older than the ninth century; and the grammar of Pánini probably precedes Christianity. The chapters on archery and arms, and on regal administration, are also distinguished by an entirely Hindu character, and must have been written long anterior to the Mohammedan invasion. So far the Agni Puráńa is valuable, as embodying and preserving relics of antiquity, although compiled at a more' recent date.

Col. Wilford61 has made great use of a list of kings derived from an appendix to the Agni Puráńa, which professes to be the sixty-third or last section. As he observes, it is seldom found annexed to the Puráńa. I have never met with it, and doubt its ever having formed any part of the original compilation. It would appear from Col. Wilford's remarks, that this list notices Mohammed as the institutor of an era; but his account of this is not very distinct. He mentions explicitly, however, that the list speaks of Sáliváhana and Vikramáditya; and this is quite [p.xxxix] sufficient to establish its character. The compilers of the Puráńas were not such bunglers as to bring within their chronology so well known a personage as Vikramáditya. There are in all parts of India various compilations ascribed to the Puráńas, which never formed any portion of their contents, and which, although offering sometimes useful local information, and valuable as preserving popular traditions, are not in justice to be confounded with the Puráńas, so as to cause them to be charged with even more serious errors and anachronisms than those of which they are guilty.

The two copies of this work in the library of the East India Company appropriate the first half to a description of the ordinary and occasional observances of the Hindus, interspersed with a few legends: the latter half treats exclusively of the history of Mina.

9. The Bhavishya Puráńa

9. Bhavishya Puráńa. "The Puráńa in which Brahmá, having described the greatness of the sun, explained to Manu the existence of the world, and the characters of all created things, in the course of the Aghora Kalpa; that, is called the Bhavishya, the stories being for the most part the events of a future period. It contains fourteen thousand five hundred stanzas62." This Puráńa, as the name implies, should be a book of prophecies, foretelling what will be (bhavishyati), as the Matsya Puráńa intimates. Whether such a work exists is doubtful. The copies, which appear to be entire, and of which there are three in the library of the East India Company, agreeing in their contents with two in my possession, contain about seven thousand stanzas. There is another work, entitled the Bhavishyottara, as if it was a continuation or supplement of the former, containing also about seven thousand verses; but the subjects of .both these works are but to a very imperfect degree analogous to those to which the Matsya alludes63.

The Bhavishya Puráńa, as I have it, is a work in a hundred and [p.xl] twenty-six short chapters, repeated by Sumantu to Śatáníka, a king of the Pańd́u family. He notices, however, its having originated with Swayambhu or Brahmá; and describes it as consisting of five parts; four dedicated, it should seem, to as many deities, as they are termed, Brahmá, Vaishńava, Śaiva, and Twásht́ra; whilst the fifth is the Pratisarga, or repeated creation. Possibly the first part only may have come into my hands, although it does not so appear by the manuscript.

Whatever it may be, the work in question is not a Puráńa. The first portion, indeed, treats of creation; but it is little else than a transcript of the words of the first chapter of Manu. The rest is entirely a manual of religious rites and ceremonies. It explains the ten Sanskáras, or initiatory rites; the performance of the Sandhya; the reverence to be shewn to a Guru; the duties of the different Ásramas and castes; and enjoins a number of Vratas, or observances of fasting and the like, appropriate to different lunar days. A few legends enliven the series of precepts. That of the sage Chyavana is told at considerable length, taken chiefly from the Mahábhárata. The Nága Panchami, or fifth lunation, sacred to the serpent-gods, gives rise to a description of different sorts of snakes. After these, which occupy about one-third of the chapters, the remainder of them conform in subject to one of the topics referred to by the Matsya. They chiefly represent conversations between Krishńa, his son Śámba, who had become a leper by the curse of Durvásas, Vaśisht́ha, Nárada, and Vyása, upon the power and glory of the sun, and the manner in which he is to be worshipped. There is some curious matter in the last chapters, relating to the Magas, silent worshippers of the sun, from Sákadwípa, as if the compiler had adopted the Persian term Magh, and connected the fire-worshippers of Iran with those of India. This is a subject, however, that requires farther investigation.

The Bhavishyottara is, equally with the preceding, a sort of manual of religious offices, the greater portion being appropriated to Vratas, and the remainder to the forms and circumstances with which gifts are to be presented. Many of the ceremonies are obsolete, or are observed in a different manner, as the Rath-yátrá, or car festival; and the Madanotsava, or festival of spring. The descriptions of these throw some light [p.xli] upon the public condition of the Hindu religion at a period probably prior to the Mohammedan conquest. The different ceremonies are illustrated by legends, which are sometimes ancient, as, for instance, the destruction of the god of love by Śiva, and his thence becoming Ananga, the disembodied lord of hearts. The work is supposed to be communicated by Krishńa to Yudhisht́hira, at a great assemblage of holy persons at the coronation of the latter, after the conclusion of the great war.

10. The Brahma-vaivartta Puráńa

10. Brahma-vaivartta Puráńa. "That Puráńa which is related by Sávarńi to Nárada, and contains the account of the greatness of Krishńa, with the occurrences of the Rathantara Kalpa, where also the story of Brahma-varáha is repeatedly told, is called the Brahma-vaivartta, and contains eighteen thousand stanzas64." The account here given of the Brahma-vaivartta Puráńa agrees with its present state as to its extent. The copies rather exceed than fall short of eighteen thousand stanzas. It also correctly represents its comprising a Máhátmya or legend of Krishńa; but it is very doubtful, nevertheless, if the same work is intended.

The Brahma-vaivartta, as it now exists, is narrated, not by Sávarńi, but the Rishi Náráyańa to Nárada, by whom it is communicated to Vyása: he teaches it to Súta, and the latter repeats it to the Rishis at Naimishárańya. It is divided into four Khańd́as, or books; the Bráhma, Prakriti, Ganeśa, and Krishńa Janma Khańd́as; dedicated severally to describe the acts of Brahmá, Deví, Ganeśa, and Krishńa; the latter, however, throughout absorbing the interest and importance of the work. In none of these is there any account of the Varáha Avatára of Vishńu, which seems to be intended by the Matsya; nor any reference to a Rathantara Kalpa. It may also be observed, that, in describing the merit of presenting a copy of this Puráńa, the Matsya adds, "Whoever makes such gift, is honoured in the Brahma-loka;" a sphere which is of very inferior dignity to that to which a worshipper of Krishńa is taught to aspire by this Puráńa. The character of the work is in truth so decidedly sectarial, and the sect to which it belongs so distinctly marked, [p.xlii] that of the worshippers of the juvenile Krishńa and Rádhá, a form of belief of known modern origin, that it can scarcely have found a notice in a work to which, like the Matsya, a much more remote date seems to belong. Although therefore the Matsya may be received in proof of there having been a Brahma-vaivartta Puráńa at the date of its compilation, dedicated especially to the honour of Krishńa, yet we cannot credit the possibility of its being the same we now possess.

Although some of the legends believed to be ancient are scattered through the different portions of this Puráńa, yet the great mass of it is taken up with tiresome descriptions of Vrindavan and Goloka, the dwellings of Krishńa on earth and in heaven; with endless repetitions of prayers and invocations addressed to him; and with insipid descriptions of his person and sports, and the love of the Gopís and of Rádhá towards him. There are some particulars of the origin of the artificer castes, which is of value because it is cited as authority in matters affecting them, contained in the Bráhma Khańd́a; and in the Prákrita and Ganeśa Khańd́as are legends of those divinities, not wholly, perhaps, modern inventions, but of which the source has not been traced. In the life of Krishńa the incidents recorded are the same as those narrated in the Vishńu and the Bhágavata; but the stories, absurd as they are, are much compressed to make room for original matter, still more puerile and tiresome. The Brahma-vaivartta has not the slightest title to be regarded as a Puráńa65.

11. The Linga Puráńa

11. Linga Puráńa. "Where Maheśwara, present in the Agni Linga, explained (the objects of life) virtue, wealth, pleasure, and final liberation at the end of the Agni Kalpa, that Puráńa, consisting of eleven thousand stanzas, was called the Lainga by Brahmá himself66."

The Linga Puráńa conforms accurately enough to this description. The Kalpa is said to be the Íśána, but this is the only difference. It consists of eleven thousand stanzas. It is said to have been originally composed by Brahmá; and the primitive Linga is a pillar of radiance, [p.xliii] in which Maheśwara is present. The work is therefore the same as that referred to by the Matsya.

A short account is given, in the beginning, of elemental and secondary creation, and of the patriarchal families; in which, however, Śiva takes the place of Vishńu, as the indescribable cause of all things. Brief accounts of Śiva's incarnations and proceedings in different Kalpas next occur, offering no interest except as characteristic of sectarial notions. The appearance of the great fiery Linga takes place, in the interval of a creation, to separate Vishńu and Brahmá, who not only dispute the palm of supremacy, but fight for it; when the Linga suddenly springs up, and puts them both to shame; as, after travelling upwards and downwards for a thousand years in each direction, neither can approach to its termination. Upon the Linga the sacred monosyllable Om is visible, and the Vedas proceed from it, by which Brahma and Vishńu become enlightened, and acknowledge and eulogize the superior might and glory of Śiva.

A notice of the creation in the Padma Kalpa then follows, and this leads to praises of Śiva by Vishńu and Brahmá. Śiva repeats the story of his incarnations, twenty-eight in number; intended as a counterpart, no doubt, to the twenty-four Avatáras of Vishńu, as described in the Bhágavata; and both being amplifications of the original ten Avatáras, and of much less merit as fictions. Another instance of rivalry occurs in the legend of Dadhíchi, a Muni and worshipper of Śiva. In the Bhágavata there is a story of Ambarísha being defended against Durvásas by the discus of Vishńu, against which that Śaiva sage is helpless: here Vishńu hurls his discus at Dadhíchi, but it falls blunted to the ground, and a conflict ensues, in which Vishńu and his partisans are all overthrown by the Muni.

A description of the universe, and of the regal dynasties of the Vaivaswata Manwantara to the time of Krishńa, runs through a number of chapters, in substance, and very commonly in words, the same as in other Puráńas. After which, the work resumes its proper character, narrating legends, and enjoining rites, and reciting prayers, intending to do honour to Śiva under various forms. Although, however, the Linga [p.xliv] holds a prominent place amongst them, the spirit of the worship is as little influenced by the character of the type as can well be imagined. There is nothing like the phallic orgies of antiquity: it is all mystical and spiritual. The Linga is twofold, external and internal. The ignorant, who need a visible sign, worship Śiva through a 'mark' or 'type'which is the proper meaning of the word 'Linga'of wood or stone; but the wise look upon this outward emblem as nothing, and contemplate in their minds the invisible, inscrutable type, which is Śiva himself. Whatever may have been the origin of this form of worship in India, the notions upon which it was founded, according to the impure fancies of European writers, are not to be traced in even the Śaiva Puráńas.

Data for conjecturing the era of this work are defective, but it is more of a ritual than a Puráńa, and the Pauráńik chapters which it has inserted, in order to keep up something of its character, have been evidently borrowed for the purpose. The incarnations of Śiva, and their 'pupils,' as specified in one place, and the importance attached to the practice of the Yoga, render it possible that under the former are intended those teachers of the Śaiva religion who belong to the Yoga school67, which seems to have flourished about the eighth or ninth centuries. It is not likely that the work is earlier, it may be considerably later. It has preserved apparently some Śaiva legends of an early date, but the greater part is ritual and mysticism of comparatively recent introduction.

12. The Varáha Puráńa

12. Varáha Puráńa. "That in which the glory of the great Varáha is predominant, as it was revealed to Earth by Vishńu, in connexion, wise Munis, with the Mánava Kalpa, and which contains twenty-four thousand verses, is called the Váráha Puráńa68."

It may be doubted if the Varáha Puráńa of the present day is here intended. It is narrated by Vishńu as Varáha, or in the boar incarnation, to the personified Earth. Its extent, however, is not half that specified, little exceeding ten thousand stanzas. It furnishes also itself [p.xlv] evidence of the prior currency of some other work, similarly denominated; as, in the description of Mathurá contained in it, Sumantu, a Muni, is made to observe, "The divine Varáha in former times expounded a Puráńa, for the purpose of solving the perplexity of Earth."

Nor can the Varáha Puráńa be regarded as a Puráńa agreeably to the common definition, as it contains hut a few scattered and brief allusions to the creation of the world, and the reign of kings: it has no detailed genealogies either of the patriarchal or regal families, and no account of the reigns of the Manus. Like the Linga Puráńa, it is a religious manual, almost wholly occupied with forms of prayer, and rules for devotional observances, addressed to Vishńu; interspersed with legendary illustrations, most of which are peculiar to itself, though some are taken from the common and ancient stock: many of them, rather incompatibly with the general scope of the compilation, relate to the history of Śiva and Durgá69. A considerable portion of the work is devoted to descriptions of various Tírthas, places of Vaishńava pilgrimage; and one of Mathurá enters into a variety of particulars relating to the shrines of that city, constituting the Mathurá Máhátmyam.

In the sectarianism of the Varáha Puráńa there is no leaning to the particular adoration of Krishńa, nor are the Rath-yátrá and Janmásht́amí included amongst the observances enjoined. There are other indications of its belonging to an earlier stage of Vaishńava worship, and it may perhaps be referred to the age of Rámánuja, the early part of the twelfth century.

13. The Skanda Puráńa

13. Skanda Puráńa. "The Skánda Puráńa is that in which the six-faced deity (Skanda) has related the events of the Tatpurusha Kalpa, enlarged with many tales, and subservient to the duties taught by Maheśwara. It is said to contain eighty-one thousand one hundred stanzas: so it is asserted amongst mankind70."


It is uniformly agreed that the Skanda Puráńa in a collective form has no existence; and the fragments in the shape of Sanhitás, Khańd́as, and Máhátmyas, which are affirmed in various parts of India to be portions of the Puráńa, present a much more formidable mass of stanzas than even the immense number of which it is said to consist. The most celebrated of these portions in Hindustan is the Káśí Khańd́a, a very minute description of the temples of Śiva in or adjacent to Benares, mixed with directions for worshipping Maheśwara, and a great variety of legends explanatory of its merits, and of the holiness of Káśí: many of them are puerile and uninteresting, but some are of a higher character. The story of Agastya records probably, in a legendary style, the propagation of Hinduism in the south of India: and in the history of Divodása, king of Káśí, we have an embellished tradition of the temporary depression of the worship of Śiva, even in its metropolis, before the ascendancy of the followers of Buddha71, There is every reason to believe the greater part of the contents of the Káśí Khańd́a anterior to the first attack upon Benares by Mahmud of Ghizni. The Káśí Khańd́a alone contains fifteen thousand stanzas.

Another considerable work ascribed in upper India to the Skanda Puráńa is the Utkala Khańd́a, giving an account of the holiness of Urissa, and the Kshetra of Purushottama or Jagannátha. The same vicinage is the site of temples, once of great magnificence and extent, dedicated to Śiva, as Bhuvaneśwara, which forms an excuse for attaching an account of a Vaishńava Tírtha to an eminently Śaiva Puráńa. There can be little doubt, however, that the Utkala Khańd́a is unwarrantably included amongst the progeny of the parent work. Besides these, there is a Brahmottara Khańd́a, a Revá Khańd́a, a Śiva Rahasya Khańd́a, a Himavat Khańd́a, and others. Of the Sanhitás, the chief are the Súta Sanhitá, Sanatkumára Sanhitá, Saura Sanhitá, and Kapila Sanhitá: there are several other works denominated Sanhitás. The [p.xlvii] Máhátmyas are more numerous still72. According to the Súta Sanhitá, as quoted by Col. Vans Kennedy73, the Skanda Puráńa contains six Sanhitás, five hundred Khańd́as, and five hundred thousand stanzas; more than is even attributed to all the Puráńas. He thinks, judging from internal evidence, that all the Khańd́as and Sanhitás may be admitted to be genuine, though the Máhátmyas have rather a questionable appearance. Now one kind of internal evidence is the quantity; and as no more than eighty-one thousand one hundred stanzas have ever been claimed for it, all in excess above that amount must be questionable. But many of the Khańd́as, the Káśí Khańd́a for instance, are quite as local as the Máhátmyas, being legendary stories relating to the erection and sanctity of certain temples or groups of temples, and to certain Lingas; the interested origin of which renders them very reasonably objects of suspicion. In the present state of our acquaintance with the reputed portions of the Skanda Puráńa, my own views of their authenticity are so opposed to those entertained by Col. Vans Kennedy, that instead of admitting all the Sanhitás and Khańd́as to be genuine, I doubt if any one of them was ever a part of the Skanda Puráńa.

14. The Vámana Puráńa

14. Vámana Puráńa. "That in which the four-faced Brahmá taught the three objects of existence, as subservient to the account of the greatness of Trivikrama, which treats also of the Śiva Kalpa, and which consists of ten thousand stanzas, is called the Vámana Puráńa74."

The Vámana Puráńa contains an account of the dwarf incarnation of Vishńu; but it is related by Pulastya to Nárada, and extends to but about seven thousand stanzas. Its contents can scarcely establish its claim to the character of a Puráńa75.


There is little or no order in the subjects which this work recapitulates, and which arise out of replies made by Pulastya to questions put abruptly and unconnectedly by Nárada. The greater part of them relate to the worship of the Linga; a rather strange topic for a Vaishńava Puráńa, but engrossing the principal part of the compilation. They are however subservient to the object of illustrating the sanctity of certain holy places; so that the Vámana Puráńa is little else than a succession of Máhátmyas. Thus in the opening almost of the work occurs the story of Daksha's sacrifice, the object of which is to send Śiva to Pápamochana tírtha at Benares, where he is released from the sin of Brahmanicide. Next conies the story of the burning of Kámadeva, for the purpose of illustrating the holiness of a Śiva-linga at Kedareśwara in the Himalaya, and of Badarikáśrama. The larger part of the work consists of the Saro-máhátmya, or legendary exemplifications of the holiness of Stháńu tírtha; that is, of the sanctity of various Lingas and certain pools at Thanesar and Kurukhet, the country north-west from Delhi. There are some stories also relating to the holiness of the Gódavarí river; but the general site of the legends is in Hindustan. In the course of these accounts we have a long narrative of the marriage of Śiva with Umá, and the birth of Kártikeya. There are a few brief allusions to creation and the Manwantaras, but they are merely incidental; and all the five characteristics of a Puráńa are deficient. In noticing the Swárochisha Manwantara, towards the end of the book, the elevation of Bali as monarch of the Daityas, and his subjugation of the universe, the gods included, are described; and this leads to the narration that gives its title to the Puráńa, the birth of Krishńa as a dwarf, for the purpose of humiliating Bali by fraud, as he was invincible by force. The story is told as usual, but the scene is laid at Kurukshetra.

A more minute examination of this work than that which has been given to it might perhaps discover some hint from which to conjecture its date. It is of a more tolerant character than the Puráńas, and divides its homage between Śiva and Vishńu with tolerable impartiality. It is not connected, therefore, with any sectarial principles, and may have preceded their introduction. It has not, however, the air of any antiquity, [p.xlix] and its compilation may have amused the leisure of some Brahman of Benares three or four centuries ago.

15. The Kúrma Puráńa

15. Kúrma Puráńa. "That in which Janárddana, in the form of a tortoise, in the regions under the earth, explained the objects of lifeduty, wealth, pleasure, and liberationin communication with Indradyumna and the Rishis in the proximity of Śakra, which refers to the Lakshmí Kalpa, and contains seventeen thousand stanzas, is the Kúrma Puráńa76."

In the first chapter of the Kúrma Puráńa it gives an account of itself, which does not exactly agree with this description. Súta, who is repeating the narration, is made to say to the Rishis, "This most excellent Kaurma Puráńa is the fifteenth. Sanhitás are fourfold, from the variety of the collections. The Bráhmí, Bhágavatí, Saurí, and Vaishńaví, are well known as the four Sanhitás which confer virtue, wealth, pleasure, and liberation. This is the Bráhmí Sanhitá, conformable to the four Vedas; in which there are six thousand ślokas, and by it the importance of the four objects of life, O great sages, holy knowledge and Parameśwara is known." There is an irreconcilable difference in this specification of the number of stanzas and that given above. It is not very clear what is meant by a Sanhitá as here used. A Sanhitá, as observed above (p. xi), is something different from a Puráńa. It may be an assemblage of prayers and legends, extracted professedly from a Puráńa, but is not usually applicable to the original. The four Sanhitás here specified refer rather to their religious character than to their connexion with any specific work, and in fact the same terms are applied to what are called Sanhitás of the Skánda. In this sense a Puráńa might be also a Sanhitá; that is, it might be an assemblage of formulæ and legends belonging to a division of the Hindu system; and the work in question, like the Vishńu Puráńa, does adopt both titles. It says, "This is the excellent Kaurma Puráńa, the fifteenth (of the series):" and again, "This is the Bráhmí Sanhitá." At any rate, no other work has been met with pretending to be the Kúrma Puráńa.


With regard to the other particulars specified by the Matsya, traces of them are to be found. Although in two accounts of the traditional communication of the Puráńa no mention is made of Vishńu as one of the teachers, yet Súta repeats at the outset a dialogue between Vishńu, as the Kúrma, and Indradyumna, at the time of the churning of the ocean; and much of the subsequent narrative is put into the mouth of the former.

The name, being that of an Avatára of Vishńu, might lead us to expect a Vaishńava work; but it is always and correctly classed with the Śaiva Puráńas, the greater portion of it inculcating the worship of Śiva and Durgá. It is divided into two parts, of nearly equal length. In the first part, accounts of the creation, of the Avatáras of Vishńu, of the solar and lunar dynasties of the kings to the time of Krishńa, of the universe, and of the Manwantaras, are given, in general in a summary manner, but not unfrequently in the words employed in the Vishńu Puráńa. With these are blended hymns addressed to Maheśwara by Brahmá and others; the defeat of Andhakásura by Bhairava; the origin of four Śaktis, Maheśwarí, Śivá, Śatí, and Haimavatí, from Śiva; and other Śaiva legends. One chapter gives a more distinct and connected account of the incarnations of Śiva in the present age than the Linga; and it wears still more the appearance of an attempt to identify the teachers of the Yoga school with personations of their preferential deity. Several chapters form a Káśí Máhátmya, a legend of Benares. In the second part there are no legends. It is divided into two parts, the Íśwara Gíta77 and Vyása Gita. In the former the knowledge of god, that is, of Śiva, through contemplative devotion, is taught. In the latter the same object is enjoined through works, or observance of the ceremonies and precepts of the Vedas.

The date of the Kúrma Puráńa cannot be very remote, for it is avowedly posterior to the establishment of the Tántrika, the Sákta, and the Jain sects. In the twelfth chapter it is said, "The Bhairava, Váma, Árhata, and Yámala Śástras are intended for delusion." There is no [] reason to believe that the Bhairava and Yámala Tantras are very ancient works, or that the practices of the left-hand Śáktas, or the doctrines of Arhat or Jina were known in the early centuries of our era.

16. The Matsya Puráńa

16. Matsya Puráńa. "That in which, for the sake of promulgating the Vedas, Vishńu, in the beginning of a Kalpa, related to Manu the story of Narasinha and the events of seven Kalpas, that, O sages, know to be the Mátsya Puráńa, containing twenty thousand stanzas78."

We might, it is to be supposed, admit the description which the Matsya gives of itself to be correct, and yet as regards the number of verses there seems to be a mistatement. Three very good copies, one in my possession, one in the Company's library, and one in the Radcliffe library, concur in all respects, and in containing no more than between fourteen and fifteen thousand stanzas: in this case the Bhágavata is nearer the truth, when it assigns to it fourteen thousand. We may conclude, therefore, that the reading of the passage is in this respect erroneous. It is correctly said that the subjects of the Puráńa were communicated by Vishńu, in the form of a fish, to Manu.

The Puráńa, after the usual prologue of Súta and the Rishis, opens with the account of the Matsya or 'fish' Avatára of Vishńu, in which he preserves a king named Manu, with the seeds of all things, in an ark, from the waters of that inundation which in the season of a Pralaya overspreads the world. This story is told in the Mahábhárata, with reference to the Matsya as its authority; from which it might be inferred that the Puráńa was prior to the poem. This of course is consistent with the tradition that the Puráńas were first composed by Vyása; but there can be no doubt that the greater part of the Mahábhárata is much older than any extant Puráńa. The present instance is itself a proof; for the primitive simplicity with which the story of the fish Avatára is told in the Mahábhárata is of a much more antique complexion than the mysticism and extravagance of the actual Matsya Puráńa. In the former, Manu collects the seeds of existing things in the ark, it is not said how: in the latter, he brings them all together by the power of Yoga. [p.lii] In the latter, the great serpents come to the king, to serve as cords wherewith to fasten the ark to the horn of the fish: in the former, a cable made of ropes is more intelligibly employed for the purpose.

Whilst the ark floats, fastened to the fish, Manu enters into conversation with him; and his questions, and the replies of Vishńu, form the main substance of the compilation. The first subject is the creation, which is that of Brahmá and the patriarchs. Some of the details are the usual ones; others are peculiar, especially those relating to the Pitris, or progenitors. The regal dynasties are next described; and then follow chapters on the duties of the different orders. It is in relating those of the householder, in which the duty of making gifts to Brahmans is comprehended, that we have the specification of the extent and subjects of the Puráńas. It is meritorious to have copies made of them, and to give these away on particular occasions. Thus it is said of the Matsya; "Whoever gives it away at either equinox, along with a golden fish and a milch cow, gives away the whole earth;" that is, he reaps a like reward in his next migration. Special duties of the householderVratas, or occasional acts of pietyare then described at considerable length, with legendary illustrations. The account of the universe is given in the usual strain. Śaiva legends ensue; as, the destruction of Tripurásura; the war of the gods with Táraka and the Daityas, and the consequent birth of Kártikeya, with the various circumstances of Umá's birth and marriage, the burning of Kámadeva, and other events involved in that narrative; the destruction of the Asuras Maya and Andhaka; the origin of the Mátris, and the like; interspersed with the Vaishńava legends of the Avatáras. Some Máhátmyas are also introduced; one of which, the Narmada Máhátmya, contains some interesting particulars. There are various chapters on law and morals; and one which furnishes directions for building houses, and making images. We then have an account of the kings of future periods; and the Puráńa concludes with a chapter on gifts.

The Matsya Puráńa, it will be seen even from this brief sketch of its contents, is a miscellaneous compilation, but including in its contents the elements of a genuine Puráńa. At the same time it is of too mixed a [p.liii] character to be considered as a genuine work of the Pauráńik class; and upon examining it carefully, it may be suspected that it is indebted to various works, not only for its matter, but for its words. The genealogical and historical chapters are much the same as those of the Vishńu; and many chapters, as those on the Pitris and Sráddhas, are precisely the same as those of the Srisht́i Khańd́a of the Padma Puráńa. It has drawn largely also from the Mahábhárata: amongst other instances, it is sufficient to quote the story of Sávitrí, the devoted wife of Satyavat, which is given in the Matsya in the same manner, but considerably abridged.

Although a Śaiva work, it is not exclusively so, and it has no such sectarial absurdities as the Kúrma and Linga. It is a composition of considerable interest; but if it has extracted its materials from the Padma, which it also quotes on one occasion, the specification of the Upa-puráńas, it is subsequent to that work, and therefore not very ancient.

17. The Gárud́a Puráńa

17. Gárud́a Puráńa. "That which Vishńu recited in the Gárud́a Kalpa, relating chiefly to the birth of Gárud́a from Vinatá, is here called the Gárud́a Puráńa; and in it there are read nineteen thousand verses79."

The Gárud́a Puráńa which has been the subject of my examination corresponds in no respect with this description, and is probably a different work, though entitled the Gárud́a Puráńa. It is identical, however, with two copies in the Company's library. It consists of no more than about seven thousand stanzas; it is repeated by Brahmá to Indra; and it contains no account of the birth of Garuda. There is a brief notice of the creation; but the greater part is occupied with the description of Vratas, or religious observances, of holidays, of sacred places dedicated to the sun, and with prayers from the Tántrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Śiva, and to Vishńu. It contains also treatises on astrology, palmistry, and precious stones; and one, still more extensive, on medicine. The latter portion, called the Preta Kalpa, is taken up with directions for the performance of obsequial rites. There is nothing in all this to justify the application of the name. Whether a genuine Gárud́a Puráńa exists is doubtful. The description given in the Matsya is less particular than even the brief notices of the other Puráńas, and might have easily been written without any knowledge of the book itself, being, with exception of the number of stanzas, confined to circumstances that the title alone indicates.

18. The Brahmáńd́a Puráńa

18. Brahmáńd́a Puráńa. "That which has declared, in twelve thousand two hundred verses, the magnificence of the egg of Brahmá, and in which an account of the future Kalpas is contained, is called the Brahmáńd́a Puráńa, and was revealed by Brahmá80."

The Brahmáńd́a Puráńa is usually considered to be in much the same predicament as the Skanda, no longer procurable in a collective body, but represented by a variety of Khańd́as and Máhátmyas, professing to be derived from it. The facility with which any tract may be thus attached to the non-existent original, and the advantage that has been taken of its absence to compile a variety of unauthentic fragments, have given to the Brahmáńd́a, Skanda, and Padma, according to Col. Wilford, the character of being the Puráńas of thieves or impostors81. This is not applicable to the Padma, which, as above shewn, occurs entire and the same in various parts of India. The imposition of which the other two are made the vehicles can deceive no one, as the purpose of the particular legend is always too obvious to leave any doubt of its origin.

Copies of what profess to be the entire Brahmáńd́a Puráńa are sometimes, though rarely, procurable. I met with one in two portions, the former containing, one hundred and twenty-four chapters, the latter seventy-eight; and the whole containing about the number of stanzas assigned to the Puráńa. The first and largest portion, however, proved to be the same as the Váyu Puráńa, with a passage occasionally slightly varied, and at the end of each chapter the common phrase 'Iti Brahmáńd́a Puráńe' substituted for 'Iti Váyu Puráńe.' I do not think there was any intended fraud in the substitution. The last section of the first part of the Váyu Puráńa is termed the Brahmáńd́a section, giving an [] account of the dissolution of the universe; and a careless or ignorant transcriber might have taken this for the title of the whole. The checks to the identity of the work have been honestly preserved, both in the index and the frequent specification of Váyu as the teacher or narrator of it.

The second portion of this Brahmáńd́a is not any part of the Váyu; it is probably current in the Dakhin as a Sanhitá or Khańd́a. Agastya is represented as going to the city Kánchí (Conjeveram), where Vishńu, as Hayagríva, appears to him, and, in answer to his inquiries, imparts to him the means of salvation, the worship of Paraśaktí. In illustration of the efficacy of this form of adoration, the main subject of the work is au account of the exploits of Lalitá Deví, a form of Durgá, and her destruction of the demon Bháńd́ásura. Rules for her worship are also given, which are decidedly of a Śákta or Tántrika description; and this work cannot be admitted, therefore, to be part of a genuine Puráńa.

The Upa-puráńas

The Upa-puráńas, in the few instances which are known, differ little in extent or subject from some of those to which the title of Puráńa is ascribed. The Matsya enumerates but four; but the Deví Bhágavata has a more complete list, and specifies eighteen. They are, 1. The Sanatkumára, 2. Nárasinha, 3. Náradíya, 4. Śiva, 5. Durvásasa, g. Kápila, 7. Mánava, 8. Auśanaśa, 9. Varuńa, 10. Káliká, 11. Śámba, 12. Nandi, 13. Saura, 14. Páráśara, 15. Áditya, 16. Máheśwara, 17. Bhágavata, 18. Vaśisht́ha. The Matsya observes of the second, that it is named in the Padma Puráńa, and contains eighteen thousand verses. The Nandi it calls Nandá, and says that Kártikeya tells in it the story of Nandá. A rather different list is given in the Revá Khańd́a; or, 1. Sanatkumára, 2. Nárasinha, 3. Nandá, 4. Śivadharma, 5. Durvásasa, 6. Bhavishya, related by Nárada or Náradíya, 7. Kápila, 8. Mánava, 9. Auśanaśa, 10. Brahmáńd́a, 11. Váruńa, 12. Káliká, 13. Máheśwara, 14. Śámba, 15. Saura, 16. Páráśara, 17. Bhágavata, 18. Kaurma. These authorities, however, are of questionable weight, having in view, no doubt, the pretensions of the Deví Bhágavata to be considered as the authentic Bhágavata.

Of these Upa-puráńas few are to be procured. Those in my possession [p.lvi] are the Śiva, considered as distinct from the Váyu; the Káliká, and perhaps one of the Náradíyas, as noticed above. I have also three of the Skandhas of the Deví Bhágavata, which most undoubtedly is not the real Bhágavata, supposing that any Puráńa so named preceded the work of Vopadeva. There can be no doubt that in any authentic list the name of Bhágavata does not occur amongst the Upa-puráńas: it has been put there to prove that there are two works so entitled, of which the Puráńa is the Deví Bhágavata, the Upa-puráńa, the Śrí Bhágavata. The true reading should be Bhárgava, the Puráńa of Bhrigu; and the Deví Bhágavata is not even an Upa-puráńa. It is very questionable if the entire work, which as far as it extends is eminently a Sákta composition, ever had existence.

The Śiva Upa-puráńa contains about six thousand stanzas, distributed into two parts. It is related by Sanatkumára to Vyása and the Rishis at Naimishárańya, and its character may be judged of from the questions to which it is a reply. "Teach us," said the Rishis, "the rules of worshipping the Linga, and of the god of gods adored under that type; describe to us his various forms, the places sanctified by him, and the prayers with which he is to be addressed." In answer, Sanatkumára repeats the Śiva Puráńa, containing the birth of Vishńu and Brahmá; the creation and divisions of the universe; the origin of all things from the Linga; the rules of worshipping it and Śiva; the sanctity of times, places, and things, dedicated to him; the delusion of Brahmá and Vishńu by the Linga; the rewards of offering flowers and the like to a Linga; rules for various observances in honour of Mahádeva; the mode of practising the Yoga; the glory of Benares and other Śaiva Tírthas; and the perfection of the objects of life by union with Maheśwara. These subjects are illustrated in the first part with very few legends; but the second is made up almost wholly of Śaiva stories, as the defeat of Tripurásura; the sacrifice of Daksha; the births of Kártikeya and Ganeśa the sons of Śiva, and Nandi and Bhringaríti his attendants and others; together with descriptions of Benares and other places of pilgrimage, and rules for observing such festivals as the Śivaratri. This work is a Śaiva manual, not a Puráńa.


The Káliká Puráńa contains about nine thousand stanzas in ninety-eight chapters, and is the only work of the series dedicated to recommend the worship of the bride of Śiva, in one or other of her manifold forms, as Girijá, Deví, Bhadrakálí, Kálí, Mahámáyá. It belongs therefore to the Sákta modification of Hindu belief, or the worship of the female powers of the deities. The influence of this worship spews itself in the very first pages of the work, which relate the incestuous passion of Brahmá for his daughter Sandhyá, in a strain that has nothing analogous to it in the Váyu, Linga, or Śiva Puráńas.

The marriage of Śiva and Párvati is a subject early described, with the sacrifice of Daksha, and the death of Sati: and this work is authority for Śiva's carrying the dead body about the world, and the origin of the Píthasthánas, or places where the different members of it were scattered, and where Lingas were consequently erected. A legend follows of the births of Bhairava and Vetála, whose devotion to different forms of Deví furnishes occasion to describe in great detail the rites and formulæ of which her worship consists, including the chapters on sanguinary sacrifices, translated in the Asiatic Researches. Another peculiarity in this work is afforded by very prolix descriptions of a number of rivers and mountains at Kámarúpa-tírtha in Asam, and rendered holy ground by the celebrated temple of Durgá in that country, as Kámákśhí or Kámákhyá. It is a singular, and yet uninvestigated circumstance, that Asam, or at least the north-east of Bengal, seems to have been in a great degree the source from which the Tántrika and Śákta corruptions of the religion of the Vedas and Puráńas proceeded.

The specification of the Upa-puráńas, whilst it names several of which the existence is problematical, omits other works, bearing the same designation, which are sometimes met with. Thus in the collection of Col. Mackenzie82 we have a portion of the Bhárgava, and a Mudgala Puráńa, which is probably the same with the Ganeśa Upa-puráńa, cited by Col. Vans Kennedy83. I have also a copy of the Ganeśa Puráńa, which seems to agree with that of which he speaks; the second portion being entitled the Kríd́á Khańd́a, in which the pastimes of Ganeśa, including [p.lviii] a variety of legendary matters, are described. The main subject of the work is the greatness of Ganeśa, and prayers and formulæ appropriate to him are abundantly detailed. It appears to be a work originating with the Gánapatya sect, or worshippers of Ganeśa. There is also a minor Puráńa called Ádi, or 'first,' not included in the list. This is a work, however, of no great extent or importance, and is confined to a detail of the sports of the juvenile Krishńa.

Synopsis of the Vishńu Puráńa

From the sketch thus offered of the subjects of the Puráńas, and which, although admitting of correction, is believed to be in the main a candid and accurate summary, it will be evident that in their present condition they must be received with caution as authorities for the mythological religion of the Hindus at any remote period. They preserve, no doubt, many ancient notions and traditions; but these have been so much mixed up with foreign matter, intended to favour the popularity of particular forms of worship or articles of faith, that they cannot be unreservedly recognised as genuine representations of what we have reason to believe the Puráńas originally were.

The safest sources for the ancient legends of the Hindus, after the Vedas, are no doubt the two great poems, the Rámáyańa and Mahábhárata. The first offers only a few, but they are of a primitive character. The Mahábhárata is more fertile in fiction, but it is more miscellaneous, and much that it contains is of equivocal authenticity, and uncertain date. Still it affords many materials that are genuine, and it is evidently the great fountain from which most, if not all, of the Puráńas have drawn; as it intimates itself, when it declares that there is no legend current in the world which has not its origin in the Mahábhárata84.

A work of some extent professing to be part of the Mahábhárata may more accurately be ranked with the Pauráńik compilations of least authenticity, and latest origin. The Hari Vanśa is chiefly occupied with the adventures of Krishńa, but, as introductory to his era, it records particulars of the creation of the world, and of the patriarchal and regal [p.lix] dynasties. This is done with much carelessness and inaccuracy of compilation, as I have had occasion frequently to notice in the following pages. The work has been very industriously translated by M. Langlois.

A comparison of the subjects of the following pages with those of the other Puráńas will sufficiently shew that of the whole series the Vishńu most closely conforms to the definition of a Pancha-lakshańa Puráńa, or one which treats of five specified topics. It comprehends them all; and although it has infused a portion of extraneous and sectarial matter, it has done so with sobriety and with judgment, and has not suffered the fervour of its religious zeal to transport it into very wide deviations from the prescribed path. The legendary tales which it has inserted are few, and are conveniently arranged, so that they do not distract the attention of the compiler from objects of more permanent interest and importance.

Book One

The first book of the six, into which the work is divided, is occupied chiefly with the details of creation, primary (Sarga) and secondary (Pratisarga); the first explaining how the universe proceeds from Prakriti, or eternal crude matter; the second, in what manner the forms of things are developed from the elementary substances previously evolved, or how they reappear after their temporary destruction. Both these creations are periodical, but the termination of the first occurs only at the end of the life of Brahmá, when not only all the gods and all other forms are annihilated, but the elements are again merged into primary substance, besides which one only spiritual being exists: the latter takes place at the end of every Kalpa, or day of Brahmá, and affects only the forms of inferior creatures, and lower worlds, leaving the substance of the universe entire, and sages and gods unharmed. The explanation of these events involves a description of the periods of time upon which they depend. and which are accordingly detailed. Their character has been a source of very unnecessary perplexity to European writers, as they belong to a scheme of chronology wholly mythological, having no reference to any real or supposed history of the Hindus, but applicable, according to their system, to the infinite and eternal revolutions of the universe. In these notions, and in that of the coeternity of spirit and matter, the theogony and cosmogony of the Puráńas, as they appear in the Vishńu Puráńa, [p.lx] belong to and illustrate systems of high antiquity, of which we have only fragmentary traces in the records of other nations.

The course of the elemental creation is in the Vishńu, as in other Puráńas, taken from the Sánkhya philosophy; but the agency that operates upon passive matter is confusedly exhibited, in consequence of a partial adoption of the illusory theory of the Vedánta philosophy, and the prevalence of the Pauráńik doctrine of Pantheism. However incompatible with the independent existence of Pradhána or crude matter, and however incongruous with the separate condition of pure spirit or Purusha, it is declared repeatedly that Vishńu, as one with the supreme being, is not only spirit, but crude matter; and not only the latter, but all visible substance, and Time. He is Purusha, 'spirit;' Pradhána, crude matter; 'Vyakta, 'visible form;' and Kula, 'time.' This cannot but be regarded as a departure from the primitive dogmas of the Hindus, in which the distinctness of the Deity and his works was enunciated; in which upon his willing the world to be, it was; and in which his interposition in creation, held to be inconsistent with the quiescence of perfection, was explained away by the personification of attributes in action, which afterwards came to be considered as real divinities, Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva, charged severally for a given season with the creation, preservation, and temporary annihilation of material forms. These divinities are in the following pages, consistently with the tendency of a Vaishńava work, declared to be no other than Vishńu. In Śaiva Puráńas they are in like manner identified with Śiva. The Puráńas thus displaying and explaining the seeming incompatibility, of which there are traces in other ancient mythologies, between three distinct hypostases of one superior deity, and the identification of one or other of those hypostases with their common and separate original.

After the world has been fitted for the reception of living creatures, it is peopled by the will-engendered sons of Brahmá, the Prajápatis or patriarchs, and their posterity. It would seem as if a primitive tradition of the descent of mankind from seven holy personages had at first prevailed, but that in the course of time it had been expanded into complicated, and not always consistent, amplification, How could these Rishis [p.xli] or patriarchs have posterity? it was necessary to provide them with wives. In order to account for their existence, the Manu Swáyambhuva and his wife Satarupá were added to the scheme, or Brahmá becomes twofold, male and female, and daughters are then begotten, who are married to the Prajápatis. Upon this basis various legends of Brahma's double nature, some no doubt as old as the Vedas, have been constructed: but although they may have been derived in some degree from the authentic tradition of the origin of mankind from a single pair, yet the circumstances intended to give more interest and precision to the story are evidently of an allegorical or mystical description, and conduced, in apparently later times, to a coarseness of realization which was neither the letter nor spirit of the original legend. Swáyambhuva, the son of the self-born or untreated, and his wife Satarupá, the hundred-formed or multiform, are themselves allegories; and their female descendants, who become the wives of the Rishis, are Faith, Devotion, Content, Intelligence, Tradition, and the like; whilst amongst their posterity we have the different phases of the moon, and the sacrificial fires. In another creation the chief source of creatures is the patriarch Daksha (ability), whose daughters, Virtues or Passions or Astronomical Phenomena, are the mothers of all existing things. These legends, perplexed as they appear to be, seem to admit of allowable solution, in the conjecture that the Prajápatis and Rishis were real personages, the authors of the Hindu system of social, moral, and religious obligations, and the first observers of the heavens, and teachers of astronomical science.

The regal personages of the Swáyambhuva Manwantara are but few, but they are described in the outset as governing the earth in the dawn of society, and as introducing agriculture and civilisation. How much of their story rests upon a traditional remembrance of their actions, it would be useless to conjecture, although there is no extravagance in supposing that the legends relate to a period prior to the full establishment in India of the Brahmanical institutions. The legends of Dhruva and Prahláda, which are intermingled with these particulars, are in all probability ancient, but they are amplified, in a strain conformable to the Vaishńava purport of this Puráńa, by doctrines and prayers asserting the [p.lxii] identity of Vishńu with the supreme. It is clear that the stories do not originate with this Puráńa. In that of Prahláda particularly, as hereafter pointed out, circumstances essential to the completeness of the story are only alluded to, not recounted; shewing indisputably the writer's having availed himself of some prior authority for his narration.

Book Two

The second book opens with a continuation of the kings of the first Manwantara; amongst whom, Bharata is said to have given a name to India, called after him Bhárata-varsha. This leads to a detail of the geographical system of the Puráńas, with mount Meru, the seven circular continents, and their surrounding oceans, to the limits of the world; all of which are mythological fictions, in which there is little reason to imagine that any topographical truths are concealed. With regard to Bhárata, or India, the case is different: the mountains and rivers which are named are readily verifiable, and the cities and nations that are particularized may also in many instances be proved to have had a real existence. The list is not a very long one in the Vishńu Puráńa, and is probably abridged from some more ample detail like that which the Mahábhárata affords, and which, in the hope of supplying information' with respect to a subject yet imperfectly investigated, the ancient political condition of India, I have inserted and elucidated.

The description which this book also contains of the planetary and other spheres is equally mythological, although occasionally presenting practical details and notions in which there is an approach to accuracy. The concluding legend of Bharatain his former life the king so named, but now a Brahman, who acquires true wisdom, and thereby attains liberationis palpably an invention of the compiler, and is peculiar to this Puráńa.

The Third Book

The arrangement of the Vedas and other writings considered sacred by the Hindus, being in fact the authorities of their religious rites and belief, which is described in the beginning of the third book, is of much importance to the history of Hindu literature, and of the Hindu religion. The sage Vyása is here represented, not as the author, but the arranger or compiler of the Vedas, the Itihásas, and Puráńas. His name denotes his character, meaning the 'arranger' or 'distributor;' and the recurrence of [p.lxiii] many Vyásas, many individuals who new modelled the Hindu scriptures, has nothing in it that is improbable, except the fabulous intervals by which their labours are separated. The rearranging, the refashioning, of old materials, is nothing more than the progress of time would be likely to render necessary. The last recognised compilation is that of Krishńa Dwaipáyańa, assisted by Brahmans, who were already conversant with the subjects respectively assigned to them. They were the members of a college or school, supposed by the Hindus to have flourished in a period more remote, no doubt, than the truth, but not at all unlikely to have been instituted at some time prior to the accounts of India which we owe to Greek writers, and in which we see enough of the system to justify our inferring that it was then entire. That there have been other Vyásas and other schools since that date, that Brahmans unknown to fame have remodelled some of the Hindu scriptures, and especially the Puráńas, cannot reasonably be contested, after dispassionately weighing the strong internal evidence which all of them afford of the intermixture of unauthorized and comparatively modern ingredients. But the same internal testimony furnishes proof equally decisive of the anterior existence of ancient materials; and it is therefore as idle as it is irrational to dispute the antiquity or authenticity of the greater portion of the contents of the Puráńas, in the face of abundant positive and circumstantial evidence of the prevalence of the doctrines which they teach, the currency of the legends which they narrate, and the integrity of the institutions which they describe, at least three centuries before the Christian era. But the origin and developement of their doctrines, traditions, and institutions, were not the work of a day; and the testimony that establishes their existence three centuries before Christianity, carries it back to a much more remote antiquity, to an antiquity that is probably not surpassed by any of the prevailing fictions, institutions, or belief, of the ancient world.

The remainder of the third book describes the leading institutions of the Hindus, the duties of castes, the obligations of different stages of life, and the celebration of obsequial rites, in a short but primitive strain, and in harmony with the laws of Manu. It is a distinguishing feature of the [p.lxiv] Vishńu Puráńa, and it is characteristic of its being the work of an earlier period than most of the Puráńas, that it enjoins no sectarial or other acts of supererogation; no Vratas, occasional self-imposed observances; no holidays, no birthdays of Krishńa, no nights dedicated to Lakshmí; no sacrifices nor modes of worship other than those conformable to the ritual of the Vedas. It contains no Máhátmyas, or golden legends, even of the temples in which Vishńu is adored.

The Fourth Book

The fourth book contains all that the Hindus have of their ancient history. It is a tolerably comprehensive list of dynasties and individuals; it is a barren record of events. It can scarcely be doubted, however, that much of it is a genuine chronicle of persons, if not of occurrences. That it is discredited by palpable absurdities in regard to the longevity of the princes of the earlier dynasties must be granted, and the particulars preserved of some of them are trivial and fabulous: still there is an inartificial simplicity and consistency in the succession of persons, and a possibility and probability in some of the transactions which give to these traditions the semblance of authenticity, and render it likely that they are not altogether without foundation. At any rate, in the absence of all other sources of information, the record, such as it is, deserves not to be altogether set aside. It is not essential to its credibility or its usefulness that any exact chronological adjustment of the different reigns should be attempted. Their distribution amongst the several Yugas, undertaken by Sir Wm. Jones or his Pandits, finds no countenance from the original texts, farther than an incidental notice of the age in which a particular monarch ruled, or the general fact that the dynasties prior to Krishńa precede the time of the great war, and the beginning of the Kálí age; both which events we are not obliged, with the Hindus, to place five thousand years ago. To that age the solar dynasty of princes offers ninety-three descents, the lunar but forty-five, though they both commence at the same time. Some names may have been added to the former list, some omitted in the latter; and it seems most likely, that, notwithstanding their synchronous beginning, the princes of the lunar race were subsequent to those of the solar dynasty. They avowedly branched off from the solar line; and the [p.lxv] legend of Sudyumna85, that explains the connexion, has every appearance of having been contrived for the purpose of referring it to a period more remote than the truth. Deducting however from the larger number of princes a considerable proportion, there is nothing to shock probability in supposing that the Hindu dynasties and their ramifications were spread through an interval of about twelve centuries anterior to the war of the Mahábhárata, and, conjecturing that event to have happened about fourteen centuries before Christianity, thus carrying the commencement of the regal dynasties of India to about two thousand six hundred years before that date. This may or may not be too remote86; but it is sufficient, in a subject where precision is impossible, to be satisfied with the general impression, that in the dynasties of kings detailed in the Puráńas we have a record which, although it cannot fail to have suffered detriment from age, and may have been injured by careless or injudicious compilation, preserves an account, not wholly undeserving of confidence, of the establishment and succession of regular monarchies amongst the Hindus, from as early an era, and for as continuous a duration, as any in the credible annals of mankind.

The circumstances that are told of the first princes have evident relation to the colonization of India, and the gradual extension of the authority of new races over an uninhabited or uncivilized region. It is commonly admitted that the Brahmanical religion and civilization were brought into India from without87. Certainly, there are tribes on the [p.lxv] borders, and in the heart of the country, who are still not Hindus; and passages in the Rámáyańa and Mahábhárata and Manu, and the uniform traditions of the people themselves, point to a period when Bengal, Orissa, and the whole of the Dekhin, were inhabited by degraded or outcaste, that is, by barbarous, tribes. The traditions of the Puráńas confirm these views, but they lend no assistance to the determination of the question whence the Hindus came; whether from a central Asiatic nation, as Sir Wm. Jones supposed, or from the Caucasian mountains, the plains of Babylonia, or the borders of the Caspian, as conjectured by Klaproth, Vans Kennedy, and Schlegel. The affinities of the Sanscrit language prove a common origin of the now widely scattered nations amongst whose dialects they are traceable, and render it unquestionable that they must all have spread abroad from some centrical spot in that part of the globe first inhabited by mankind, according to the inspired record. Whether any indication of such an event be discoverable in the Vedas, remains to be determined; but it would have been obviously incompatible with the Pauráńik system to have referred the origin of Indian princes and principalities to other than native sources. We need not therefore expect from them any information as to the foreign derivation of the Hindus.

We have, then, wholly insufficient means for arriving at any information concerning the ante-Indian period of Hindu history, beyond the general conclusion derivable from the actual presence of barbarous and apparently aboriginal tribesfrom the admitted progressive extension of Hinduism into parts of India where it did not prevail when the code of Manu was compiledfrom the general use of dialects in India, more or less copious, which are different from Sanscritand from the affinities of that language with forms of speech current in the western worldthat a people who spoke Sanscrit, and followed the religion of the Vedas, came into India, in some very distant age, from lands west of the Indus. Whether the date and circumstances of their immigration will ever be ascertained is extremely doubtful, but it is not difficult to form a plausible outline of their early site and progressive colonization.

The earliest seat of the Hindus within the confines of Hindusthán was [p.lxvii] undoubtedly the eastern confines of the Panjab. The holy land of Manu and the Puráńas lies between the Drishadwatí and Saraswatí rivers, the Caggar and Sursooty of our barbarous maps. Various adventures of the first princes and most famous sages occur in this vicinity; and the Ásramas, or religious domiciles, of several of the latter are placed on the banks of the Saraswatí. According to some authorities, it was the abode of Vyása, the compiler of the Vedas and Puráńas; and agreeably to another, when on one occasion the Vedas had fallen into disuse, and been forgotten, the Brahmans were again instructed in them by Sáraswata, the son of Saraswatí89. One of the most distinguished of the tribes of the Brahmans is known as the Sáraswata90; and the same word is employed by Mr. Colebrooke to denote that modification of Sanscrit which is termed generally Prakrit, and which in this case he supposes to have been the language of "the Sáraswata nation, which occupied the banks of the river Saraswatí91." The river itself receives its appellation from Saraswatí, the goddess of learning, under whose auspices the sacred literature of the Hindus assumed shape and authority. These indications render it certain, that whatever seeds were imported from without, it was in the country adjacent to the Saraswatí river that they were first planted, and cultivated and reared in Hindusthán.

The tract of land thus assigned for the first establishment of Hinduism in India is of very circumscribed extent, and could not have been the site of any numerous tribe or nation. The traditions that evidence the early settlement of the Hindus in this quarter, ascribe to the settlers more of a philosophical and religious, than of a secular character, and combine with the very narrow bounds of the holy land to render it possible that the earliest emigrants were the members, not of a political, so much as of a religious community; that they were a colony of priests, not in the restricted sense in which we use the term, but in that in which it still applies in India, to an Agrahára, a village or hamlet of Brahmans, who, although married, and having families, and engaging in tillage, in domestic duties, and in the conduct of secular interests affecting the [p.lxviii] community, are still supposed to devote their principal attention to sacred study and religious offices. A society of this description, with its artificers and servants, and perhaps with a body of martial followers, might have found a home in the Brahmá-vartta of Manu, the land which thence was entitled 'the holy,' or more literally 'the Brahman, region;' and may have communicated to the rude, uncivilized, unlettered aborigines the rudiments of social organization, literature, and religion; partly, in all probability, brought along with them, and partly devised and fashioned by degrees for the growing necessities of new conditions of society. Those with whom this civilization commenced would have had ample inducements to prosecute their successful work, and in the course of time the improvement which germinated on the banks of the Saraswatí was extended beyond the borders of the Jumna and the Ganges.

We have no satisfactory intimation of the stages by which the political organization of the people of Upper India traversed the space between the Saraswatí and the more easterly region, where it seems to have taken a concentrated form, and whence it diverged in various directions, throughout Hindustan. The Manu of the present period, Vaivaswata, the son of the sun, is regarded as the founder of Ayodhyá; and that city continued to be the capital of the most celebrated branch of his descendants, the posterity of Ikshwáku. The Vishńu Puráńa evidently intends to describe the radiation of conquest or colonization from this spot, in the accounts it gives of the dispersion of Vaivaswata's posterity: and although it is difficult to understand what could have led early settlers in India to such a site, it is not inconveniently situated as a commanding position, whence emigrations might proceed to the east, the west, and the south. This seems to have happened: a branch from the house of Ikshwáku spread into Tirhut, constituting the Maithilá kings; and the posterity of another of Vaivaswata's sons reigned at Vaisáli in southern Tirhut or Saran.

The most adventurous emigrations, however, took place through the lunar dynasty, which, as observed above, originates from the solar, making in fact but one race and source for the whole. Leaving out of consideration the legend of Sudyumna's double transformation, the first prince of Pratisht́hána, a city south from Ayodhyá, was one of Vaivaswata's [p.lxix] children, equally with Ikshváku. The sons of Pururavas, the second of this branch, extended, by themselves or their posterity, in every direction: to the east to Káśí, Magadhá, Benares, and Behar; southwards to the Vindhya hills, and across them to Vidarbha or Berar; westwards along the Narmadá to Kuśasthali or Dwáraká in Guzerat; and in a north-westerly direction to Mathurá and Hastinápura. These movements are very distinctly discoverable amidst the circumstances narrated in the fourth book of the Vishńu Puráńa, and are precisely such as might be expected from a radiation of colonies from Ayodhyá. Intimations also occur of settlements in Banga, Kalinga, and the Dakhin; but they are brief and indistinct, and have the appearance of additions subsequent to the comprehension of those countries within the pale of Hinduism.

Besides these traces of migration and settlement, several curious circumstances, not likely to be unauthorized inventions, are hinted in these historical traditions. The distinction of castes was not fully developed prior to the colonization. Of the sons of Vaivaswata, some, as kings, were Kshatriyas; but one, founded a tribe of Brahmans, another became a Vaiśya, and a fourth a Śúdra. It is also said of other princes, that they established the four castes amongst their subjects92. There are also various notices of Brahmanical Gotras, or families, proceeding from Kshatriya races93: and there are several indications of severe struggles between the two ruling castes, not for temporal, but for spiritual dominion, the right to teach the Vedas. This seems to be the especial purport of the inveterate hostility that prevailed between the Brahman Vaśisht́ha and the Kshatriya Viswámitra, who, as the Rámáyańa relates, compelled the gods to make him a Brahman also, and whose posterity became very celebrated as the Kauśika Brahmans. Other legends, again, such as Daksha's sacrifice, denote sectarial strife; and the legend of Paraśuráma reveals a conflict even for temporal authority between the two ruling castes. More or less weight will be attached to these conjectures, according to the temperament of different inquirers; but, even whilst [p.lxx] fully aware of the facility with which plausible deductions may cheat the fancy, and little disposed to relax all curb upon the imagination, I find it difficult to regard these legends as wholly unsubstantial fictions, or devoid of all resemblance to the realities of the past.

After the date of the great war, the Vishńu Puráńa, in common with those Puráńas which contain similar lists, specifies kings and dynasties with greater precision, and offers political and chronological particulars, to which on the score of probability there is nothing to object. In truth their general accuracy has been incontrovertibly established. Inscriptions on columns of stone, on rocks, on coins, decyphered only of late years, through the extraordinary ingenuity and perseverance of Mr. James Prinsep, have verified the names of races, and titles of princesthe Gupta and Andhra Rájás, mentioned in the Puráńasand have placed beyond dispute the identity of Chandragupta and Sandrocoptus: thus giving us a fixed point from which to compute the date of other persons and events. Thus the Vishńu Puráńa specifies the interval between Chandragupta and the great war to be eleven hundred years; and the occurrence of the latter little more than fourteen centuries B. C., as shewn in my observations on the passage94, remarkably concurs with inferences of the like date from different premises. The historical notices that then follow are considerably confused, but they probably afford an accurate picture of the political distractions of India at the time when they were written; and much of the perplexity arises from the corrupt state of the manuscripts, the obscure brevity of the record, and our total want of the means of collateral illustration.

The Fifth Book

The fifth book of the Vishńu Puráńa is exclusively occupied with the life of Krishńa. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Puráńa, and is one argument against its antiquity. It is possible, though not yet proved, that Krishńa as an Avatára of Vishńu, is mentioned in an indisputably genuine text of the Vedas. He is conspicuously prominent in the Mahábhárata, but very contradictorily described there. The part that he usually performs is that of a mere mortal, although the passages [p.lxxi] are numerous that attach divinity to his person. There are, however, no descriptions in the Mahábhárata of his juvenile frolics, of his sports in Vrindávan, his pastimes with the cow-boys, or even his destruction of the Asuras sent to kill him. These stories have all a modern complexion: they do not harmonize with the tone of the ancient legends, which is generally grave, and sometimes majestic: they are the creations of a puerile taste, and grovelling imagination. These Chapters of the Vishńu Puráńa offer some difficulties as to their originality: they are the same as those on the same subject in the Brahmá Puráńa: they are not very dissimilar to those of the Bhágavata. The latter has some incidents which the Vishńu has not, and may therefore be thought to have improved upon the prior narrative of the latter. On the other hand, abridgment is equally a proof of posteriority as amplification. The simpler style of the Vishńu Puráńa is however in favour of its priority; and the miscellaneous composition of the Brahmá Puráńa renders it likely to have borrowed these chapters from the Vishńu. The life of Krishńa in the Hari-vanśa and the Brahma-vaivartta are indisputably of later date.

The Sixth Book

The last book contains an account of the dissolution of the world, in both its major and minor cataclysms; and in the particulars of the end of all things by fire and water, as well as in the principle of their perpetual renovation, presents a faithful exhibition of opinions that were general in the ancient world95. The metaphysical annihilation of the universe, by the release of the spirit from bodily existence, offers, as already remarked, other analogies to doctrines and practices taught by Pythagoras and Plato, and by the Platonic Christians of later days.

Date of the Vishńu Puráńa

The Vishńu Puráńa has kept very clear of particulars from which an approximation to its date may be conjectured. No place is described of which the sacredness has any known limit, nor any work cited of probable [p.lxxii] recent composition. The Vedas, the Puráńas, other works forming the body of Sanscrit literature, are named; and so is the Mahábhárata, to which therefore it is subsequent. Both Bauddhas and Jains are adverted to. It was therefore written before the former had disappeared; but they existed in some parts of India as late as the twelfth century at least; and it is probable that the Puráńa was compiled before that period. The Gupta kings reigned in the seventh century; the historical record of the Puráńa which mentions them was therefore later: and there seems little doubt that the same alludes to the first incursions of the Mohammedans, which took place in the eighth century; which brings it still lower. In describing the latter dynasties, some, if not all, of which were no doubt contemporary, they are described as reigning altogether one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six years. Why this duration should have been chosen does not appear, unless, in conjunction with the number of years which are said to have elapsed between the great war and the last of the Andhra dynasty, which preceded these different races, and which amounted to two thousand three hundred and fifty, the compiler was influenced by the actual date at which he wrote. The aggregate of the two periods would be the Kálí year 4146, equivalent to A. D. 1045. There are some variety and indistinctness in the enumeration of the periods which compose this total, but the date which results from it is not unlikely to be an approximation to that of the Vishńu Puráńa.

It is the boast of inductive philosophy, that it draws its conclusions from the careful observation and accumulation of facts; and it is equally the business of all philosophical research to determine its facts before it ventures upon speculation. This procedure has not been observed in the investigation of the mythology and traditions of the Hindus. Impatience to generalize has availed itself greedily of whatever promised to afford materials for generalization; and the most erroneous views have been confidently advocated, because the guides to which their authors trusted were ignorant or insufficient. The information gleaned by Sir Wm. Jones was gathered in an early season of Sanscrit study, before the field was cultivated. The same may be said of the writings of [p.lxxiii] Paulinus a St. Barolomæo96, with the further disadvantage of his having been imperfectly acquainted with the Sanscrit language and literature, and his veiling his deficiencies under loftiness of pretension and a prodigal display of misapplied erudition. The documents to which Wilford97 trusted proved to be in great part fabrications, and where genuine, were mixed up with so much loose and unauthenticated matter, and so overwhelmed with extravagance of speculation, that his citations need to be carefully and skilfully sifted, before they can be serviceably employed. The descriptions of Ward98 are too deeply tinctured by his prejudices to be implicitly confided in; and they are also derived in a great measure from the oral or written communications of Bengali pandits, who are not in general very deeply read in the authorities of their mythology. The accounts of Polier99 were in like manner collected from questionable sources, and his Mythologie des Hindous presents a heterogeneous mixture of popular and Pauráńik tales, of ancient traditions, and legends apparently invented for the occasion, which renders the publication worse than useless, except in the hands of those who can distinguish the pure metal from the alloy. Such are the authorities to which Maurice, Faber, and Creuzer have exclusively trusted in their description of the Hindu mythology, and it is no marvel that there should have been an utter confounding of good and bad in their selection of materials, and an inextricable mixture of truth and error in their conclusions. Their labours accordingly are far from entitled to that confidence which their learning and industry would else have secured; and a sound and comprehensive survey of the Hindu system is still wanting to the comparative analysis of the religious opinions of the ancient world, and to a satisfactory elucidation of an important chapter in the history of the human race. It is with the hope of supplying some of the necessary means for the accomplishment of these objects, that the following pages have been translated.


The translation of the Vishńu Puráńa has been made from a collation of various manuscripts in my possession. I had three when I commenced [p.lxxiv] the work, two in the Devanagari, and one in the Bengali character: a fourth, from the west of India, was given to me by Major Jervis, when some progress had been made: and in conducting the latter half of the translation through the press, I have compared it with three other copies in the library of the East India Company. All these copies closely agree; presenting no other differences than occasional varieties of reading, owing chiefly to the inattention or inaccuracy of the transcriber. Four of the copies were accompanied by a commentary, essentially the sane, although occasionally varying; and ascribed, in part at least, to two different scholiasts. The annotations on the first two books and the fifth are in two MSS. said to be the work of Śrídhara Yati, the disciple of Paránanda, and who is therefore the same as Śrídhara Swámí, the commentator on the Bhágavata. In the other three books these two MSS. concur with other two in naming the commentator Ratnagarbha Bhat́t́a, who in those two is the author of the notes on the entire work. The introductory verses of his comment specify him to be the disciple of Vidya-váchaspati, the son of Hirańyagarbha, and grandson of Mádhava, who composed his commentary by desire of Súryákara, son of Ratínath, Miśra, son of Chandrákara, hereditary ministers of some sovereign who is not particularized. In the illustrations which are attributed to these different writers there is so much conformity, that one or other is largely indebted to his predecessor. They both refer to earlier commentaries. Śrídhara cites the works of Chit-sukha-yoni and others, both more extensive and more concise; between which, his own, which he terms Átma- or Swa-prakása, 'self-illuminator,' holds an intermediate character. Ratnagarbha entitles his, Vaishńavákúta chandriká, 'the moonlight of devotion to Vishńu.' The dates of these commentators are not ascertainable, as far as I am aware, from any of the particulars which they have specified.

In the notes which I have added to the translation, I have been desirous chiefly of comparing the statements of the text with those of other Puráńas, and pointing out the circumstances in which they differ or agree; so as to render the present publication a sort of concordance to the whole, as it is not very probable that many of them will be [p.lxxv] published or translated. The Index that follows has been made sufficiently copious to answer the purposes of a mythological and historical dictionary, as far as the Puráńas, or the greater number of them, furnish, materials.

In rendering the text into English, I have adhered to it as literally as was compatible with some regard to the usages of English composition. In general the original presents few difficulties. The style of the Puráńas is very commonly humble and easy, and the narrative is plainly and unpretendingly told. In the addresses to the deities, in the expatiations upon the divine nature, in the descriptions of the universe, and in argumentative and metaphysical discussion, there occur passages in which the difficulty arising from the subject itself is enhanced by the brief and obscure manner in which it is treated. On such occasions I derived much aid from the commentary, but it is possible that I may have sometimes misapprehended and misrepresented the original; and it is also possible that I may have sometimes failed to express its purport with sufficient precision to have made it intelligible. I trust, however, that this will not often be the case, and that the translation of the Vishńu Puráńa will be of service and of interest to the few, who in these times of utilitarian selfishness, conflicting opinion, party virulence, and political agitation, can find a resting place for their thoughts in the tranquil contemplation of those yet living pictures of the ancient world which are exhibited by the literature and mythology of the Hindus.



CHAP. IInvocation. Maitreya inquires of his teacher, Paráśara, the origin and nature of the universe. Paráśara performs a rite to destroy the demons: reproved by Vaśisht́ha, he desists: Pulastya appears, and bestows upon him divine knowledge: he repeats the Vishńu Puráńa. Vishńu the origin, existence, and end of all things.P. 1.
CHAP. IIPrayer of Paráśara to Vishńu. Successive narration of the Vishńu Puráńa. Explanation of Vásudeva: his existence before creation: his first manifestations. Description of Pradhána, or the chief principle of things. Cosmogony. Of Prákrita, or material creation; of time; of the active cause. Development of effects; Mahat; Ahankára; Tanmátras; elements; objects of sense; senses; of the mundane egg. Vishńu the same as Brahmá the creator; Vishńu the preserver; Rudra the destroyer.P. 7.
CHAP. IIIMeasure of time. Moments or Kásht́hás, &c.; day and night, fortnight, month, year, divine year: Yugas, or ages: Maháyuga, or great age: day of Brahmá: periods of the Manus: a Manwantara: night of Brahmá, and destruction of the world: a year of Brahmá: his life: a Kalpa: a Parárddha: the past, or Pádma Kalpa: the present, or Váráha.P. 21.
CHAP. IVNáráyańa's appearance, in the beginning of the Kalpa, as the Varáha or boar: Prithiví (Earth) addresses him: he raises the world from beneath the waters: hymned by Sanandana and the Yogis. The earth floats on the ocean: divided into seven zones. The lower spheres of the universe restored. Creation renewed.P. 27.
CHAP. VVishńu as Brahmá creates the world. General characteristics of creation. Brahmá meditates, and gives origin to immovable things, animals, gods, men. Specific creation of nine kinds; Mahat, Tanmátra, Aindríya, inanimate objects, animals, gods, men, Anugraha, and Kaumára. More particular account of creation. Origin of different orders of beings from Brahmá's body under different conditions; and of the Vedas from his mouths. All things created again as they existed in a former Kalpa.P. 34.
CHAP. VIOrigin of the four castes: their primitive state. Progress of society. Different kinds of grain. Efficacy of sacrifice. Duties of men: regions. assigned them after death.P. 44.
CHAP. VIICreation continued. Production of the mind-born sons of Brahmá; of the Prajápatis; of Sanandana and others; of Rudra and the eleven Rudras; of the Manu Swáyambhuva, and his wife Śatarúpá; of their children, The daughters of Daksha, and their marriage to Dharma and others. The progeny of Dharma and Adharma. The perpetual succession of worlds, and different modes of mundane dissolution.P. 49.
CHAP. VIIIOrigin of Rudra: his becoming eight Rudras: their wives and children. The posterity of Bhrigu. Account of Śrí in conjunction with Vishńu. (Sacrifice of Daksha.)P. 58.
CHAP. IXLegend of Lakshmí. Durvásas gives a garland to Indra: he treats it disrespectfully, and is cursed by the Muni. The power of the gods impaired: they are oppressed by the Dánavas, and have recourse to Vishńu. The churning of the ocean. Praises of Śrí.P. 70.
CHAP. XThe descendants of the daughters of Daksha married to the Rishis.P. 82.
CHAP. XILegend of Dhruva, the son of Uttánapáda: he is unkindly treated by his father's second wife: applies to his mother: her advice: he resolves to engage in religious exercises: sees the seven Rishis, who recommend him to propitiate Vishńu.P. 86.
CHAP. XIIDhruva commences a course of religious austerities. Unsuccessful attempts of Indra and his ministers to distract Dhruva's attention: they appeal to Vishńu, who allays their fears, and appears to Dhruva. Dhruva praises Vishńu, and is raised to the skies as the pole-star.P. 90.
CHAP. XIIIPosterity of Dhruva. Legend of Veńa: his impiety: he is put to death by the Rishis. Anarchy ensues. The production of Nisháda and Prithu: the latter the first king. The origin of Súta and Mágadha: they enumerate the duties of kings. Prithu compels Earth to acknowledge his authority: he levels it: introduces cultivation: erects cities. Earth called after bins Prithiví: typified as a cow.P. 98.
CHAP. XIVDescendants of Prithu. Legend of the Prachetasas: they are desired by their father to multiply mankind, by worshipping Vishńu: they plunge into the sea, and meditate on and praise him: he appears, and grants their wishes.P. 106.
CHAP. XVThe world overrun with trees: they are destroyed by the Prachetasas. Soma pacifies them, and gives them Márishá to wife: her story: the daughter of the nymph Pramlochá. Legend of Kańd́u. Márishá's former history. Daksha the son of the Prachetasas: his different characters: his sons: his daughters: their marriages and progeny: allusion to Prahláda, his descendant.P. 110.
CHAP. XVIInquiries of Maitreya respecting the history of Prahláda.P. 125.
CHAP. XVIILegend of Prahláda. Hirańyakaśipu the sovereign of the universe: the gods dispersed, or in servitude to him: Prahláda, his son, remains devoted to Vishńu: questioned by his father, he praises Vishńu: Hirańyakaśipu orders him to be put to death, but in vain: his repeated deliverance: he teaches his companions to adore Vishńu.P. 126.
CHAP. XVIIIHirańyakaśipu's reiterated attempts to destroy his son: their being always frustrated.P. 134.
CHAP. XIXDialogue between Prahláda and his father: he is cast from the top of the palace unhurt: baffles the incantations of Samvara: he is thrown fettered into the sea: he praises Vishńu.P. 137.
CHAP. XXVishńu appears to Prahláda. Hirańyakaśipu relents, and is reconciled to his son: he is put to death by Vishńu as the Nrisinha. Prahláda becomes king of the Daityas: his posterity: fruit of hearing his story.P. 143.
CHAP. XXIFamilies of the Daityas. Descendants of Kaśyapa by Danu. Children of Kaśyapa by his other wives. Birth of the Márutas, the sons of Diti.P. 147.
CHAP. XXIIDominion over different provinces of creation assigned to different beings. Universality of Vishńu. Four varieties of spiritual contemplation. Two conditions of spirit. The perceptible attributes of Vishńu types of his imperceptible properties. Vishńu every thing. Merit of hearing the first book of the Vishńu Puráńa.P. 153.


CHAP. IDescendants of Priyavrata, the eldest son of Swáyambhuva Manu: his ten sons: three adopt a religious life; the others become kings of the seven Dwípas, or isles, of the earth. Agnídhra, king of Jambu-dwípa, divides it into nine portions, which he distributes amongst his sons. Nábhi, king of the south, succeeded by Rishabha; and he by Bharata: India named after him Bhárata: his descendants reign during the Swáyambhuva Manwantara.P. 161.
CHAP. IIDescription of the earth. The seven Dwípas and seven seas. Jambu-dwípa. Mount Meru: its extent and boundaries. Extent of Ilávrita. Groves, lakes, and branches of Meru. Cities of the gods. Rivers. The forms of Vishńu worshipped in different Varshas.P. 166.
CHAP. IIIDescription of Bharata-varsha: extent: chief mountains: nine divisions: principal rivers and mountains of Bhárata proper: principal nations: superiority over other Varshas, especially as the seat of religious acts. (Topographical lists).P. 174.
CHAP. IVAccount of kings, divisions, mountains, rivers, and inhabitants of the other Dwípas, viz. Plaksha, Śálmala, Kuśa, Krauncha, Śáka, and Pushkara: of the oceans separating them: of the tides: of the confines of the earth: the Lokáloka mountain. Extent of the whole.P. 197.
CHAP. VOf the seven regions of Pátála, below the earth. Nárada's praises of Pátála. Account of the serpent Śesha. First teacher of astronomy and astrology.P. 204.
CHAP. VIOf the different hells, or divisions of Naraka, below Pátála: the crimes punished in them respectively: efficacy of expiation: meditation on Vishńu the most effective expiation.P. 207.
CHAP. VIIExtent and situation of the seven spheres, viz. earth, sky, planets, Mahar-loka, Jana-loka, Tapo-loka, and Satya-loka. Of the egg of Brahmá, and its elementary envelopes. Of the influence of the energy of Vishńu.P. 212.
CHAP. VIIIDescription of the sun: his chariot; its two axles: his horses. The cities of the regents of the cardinal points. The sun's course: nature of his rays: his path along the ecliptic. Length of day and night. Divisions of time: equinoxes and solstices, months, years, the cyclical Yuga, or age of five years. Northern and southern declinations. Saints on the Lokáloka mountain. Celestial paths of the Pitris, gods, Vishńu. Origin of Gangá, and separation, on the top of Meru, into four great rivers.P. 217.
CHAP. IXPlanetary system, under the type of a Śiśumára, or porpoise. The earth nourished by the sun. Of rain whilst the sun shines. Of rain from clouds. Rain the support of vegetation, and thence of animal life. Náráyańa the support of all beings.P. 230.
CHAP. XNames of the twelve Ádityas. Names of the Rishis, Gandharbas, Apsarasas, Yakshas, Uragas, and Rákshasas, who attend the chariot of the sun in each month of the year. Their respective functions.P. 233.
CHAP. XIThe sun distinct from, and supreme over, the attendants on his car: identical with the three Vedas and with Vishńu: his functions.P. 235.
CHAP. XIIDescription of the moon: his chariot, horses, and course: fed by the sun: drained periodically of ambrosia by the progenitors and gods. The chariots and horses of the planets: kept in their orbits by aerial chains attached to Dhruva. Typical members of the planetary porpoise. Vásudeva alone real.P. 238.
CHAP. XIIILegend of Bharata. Bharata abdicates his throne, and becomes an ascetic: cherishes a fawn, and becomes so much attached to it as to neglect his devotions: he dies: his successive births: works in the fields, and is pressed as a palankin-bearer for the Rájá of Sauvíra: rebuked for his awkwardness: his reply: dialogue between him and the king.P. 243.
CHAP. XIVDialogue continued. Bharata expounds the nature of existence, the end of life, and the identification of individual with universal spirit.P. 251.
CHAP. XVBharata relates the story of Ribhu and Nidágha. The latter, the pupil of the former, becomes a prince, and is visited by his preceptor, who explains to him the principles of unity, and departs.P. 254.
CHAP. XVIRibhu returns to his disciple, and perfects him in divine knowledge. The same recommended to the Rájá by Bharata, who thereupon obtains final liberation. Consequences of hearing this legend.P. 257.


CHAP. IAccount of the several Manus and Manwantaras. Swárochisha the second Manu: the divinities, the Indra, the seven Rishis of his period, and his sons. Similar details of Auttami, Támasa, Raivata, Chákshusha, and Vaivaswata. The forms of Vishńu, as the preserver, in each Manwantara. The meaning of Vishńu.P. 259.
CHAP. IIOf the seven future Manus and Manwantaras. Story of Sanjná and Chháyá, wives of the sun. Sávarńi, son of Chháyá, the eighth Manu. His successors, with the divinities, &c. of their respective periods. Appearance of Vishńu in each of the four Yugas.P. 266.
CHAP. IIIDivision of the Veda into four portions, by a Vyása, in every Dwápara age. List of the twenty-eight Vyásas of the present Manwantara. Meaning of the word Brahma.P. 272.
CHAP. IVDivision of the Veda, in the last Dwápara age, by the Vyása Krishńa Dwaipáyana. Paila made reader of the Rich; Vaiśampáyana of the Yajush; Jaimini of the Sáman; and Sumantu of the Atharvan. Súta appointed to teach the historical poems. Origin of the four parts of the Veda. Sanhitás of the Rig-veda.P. 275.
CHAP. VDivisions of the Yajur-veda. Story of Yájnawalkya: forced to give up what he has learned: picked up by others, forming the Taittiríya-yajush. Yájnawalkya worships the sun, who communicates to him the Vájasaneyí-yajush.P. 279.
CHAP. VIDivisions of the Sáma-veda: of the Atharva-veda. Four Pauráńik Sanhitás. Names of the eighteen Puráńas. Branches of knowledge. Classes of Rishis.P. 282.
CHAP. VIIBy what means men are exempted from the authority of Yama, as narrated by Bhíshma to Nakula. Dialogue between Yama and one of his attendants. Worshippers of Vishńu not subject to Yama. How they are to be known.P. 286.
CHAP. VIIIHow Vishńu is to be worshipped, as related by Aurva to Sagara. Duties of the four castes, severally and in common: also in time of distress.P. 290.
CHAP. IXDuties of the religious student, householder, hermit, and mendicantP. 294.
CHAP. XCeremonies to be observed at the birth and naming of a child. Of marrying, or leading a religious life. Choice of a wife. Different modes of marryingP. 297.
CHAP. XIOf the Sadácháras, or perpetual obligations of a householder. Daily purifications, ablutions, libations, and oblations: hospitality: obsequial rites: ceremonies to be observed at meals, at morning and evening worship, and on going to restP. 300.
CHAP. XIIMiscellaneous obligations--purificatory, ceremonial, and moral.P. 310.
CHAP. XIIIOf Śráddhas, or rites in honour of ancestors, to be performed on occasions of rejoicing. Obsequial ceremonies. Of the Ekoddisht́a or monthly Śráddha, and the Sapińd́ana or annual one. By whom to be performed.P. 314.
CHAP. XIVOf occasional Śráddhas, or obsequial ceremonies: when most efficacious, and at what places.P. 320.
CHAP. XVWhat Brahmans are to be entertained at Śráddhas. Different prayers to be recited. Offerings of food to be presented to deceased ancestors.P. 325.
CHAP. XVIThings proper to be offered as food to deceased ancestors: prohibited things. Circumstances vitiating a Śráddha: how to be avoided. Song of the Pitris, or progenitors, heard by Ikshwáku.P. 332.
CHAP. XVIIOf heretics, or those who reject the authority of the Vedas: their origin, as described by Vaśisht́ha to Bhíshma: the gods, defeated by the Daityas, praise Vishńu: an illusory being, or Buddha, produced from his body.P. 334.
CHAP. XVIIIBuddha goes to the earth, and teaches the Daityas to contemn the Vedas: his sceptical doctrines: his prohibition of animal sacrifices. Meaning of the term Bauddha. Jainas and Bauddhas; their tenets. The Daityas lose their power, and are overcome by the gods. Meaning of the term Nagna. Consequences of neglect of duty. Story of Śatadhanu and his wife Śaivyá. Communion with heretics to be shunned.P. 338.


CHAP. IDynasties of kings. Origin of the solar dynasty from Brahmá. Sons of the Manu Vaivaswata. Transformations of Ilá or Sudyumna. Descendants of the sons of Vaivaswat: those of Nedisht́a. Greatness of Márutta. Kings of Vaiśálí. Descendants of Śaryáti. Legend of Raivata: iris daughter Revatí married to Balaráma.P. 347.
CHAP. IIDispersion of Revata's descendants: those of Dhrisht́a: those of Nábhága. Birth of Ikshwáku, the son of Vaivaswata: his sons. Line of Vikukshi. Legend of Kakutstha; of Dhundhumára; of Yuvanáśwa; of Mándhátri: his daughters married to Saubhari.P. 358.
CHAP. IIISaubhari and his wives adopt an ascetic life. Descendants of Mándhátri. Legend of Narmadá and Purukutsa. Legend of Triśanku. Báhu driven from his kingdom by the Haihayas and Tálajanghas. Birth of Sagara: he conquers the barbarians, imposes upon them distinguishing usages, and excludes them from offerings to fire, and the study of the Vedas.P. 369.
CHAP. IVThe progeny of Sagara: their wickedness: he performs an Aśwamedha: the horse stolen by Kapila: found by Sagara's sons, who are all destroyed by the sage: the horse recovered by Anśumat: his descendants. Legend of Mitrasaha or Kalmáshapáda, the son of Sudása. Legend of Khat́wánga. Birth of Ráma and the other sons of Daśaratha. Epitome of the history of Ráma: his descendants, and those of his brothers. Line of Kuśa. Vrihadbala, the last, killed in the great war.P. 377.
CHAP. VKings of Mithilá. Legend of Nimi, the son of Ikshwáku. Birth of Janaka. Sacrifice of Síradhwaja. Origin of Sítá. Descendants of Kuśadhwaja. Krita the last of the Maithila princes.P. 388.
CHAP. VIKings of the lunar dynasty. Origin of Soma or the moon: he carries off Tárá, the wife of Vrihaspati: war between the gods and Asuras in consequence: appeased by Brahmá. Birth of Budha: married to Ilá, daughter of Vaivaswata. Legend of his son Purúravas, and the nymph Urvaśí: the former institutes offerings with fire: ascends to the sphere of the Gandharbas,P. 392.
CHAP. VIISons of Purúravas. Descendants of Amávasu. Indra born as Gádhi. Legend of Richíka and Satyavatí. Birth of Jamadagni and Viśwámitra. Paraśuráma the son of the former. (Legend of Paraśuráma.) Sunahśephas and others the sons of Viśwámitra, forming the Kauśika race.P. 398.
CHAP. VIIISons of Áyus. Line of Kshatravriddha, or kings of Káśí. Former birth of Dhanwantari. Various names of Pratarddana. Greatness of Alarka.P. 406.
CHAP. IXDescendants of Raji, son of Áyus: Indra resigns his throne to him: claimed after his death by his sons, who apostatize from the religion of the Vedas, and are destroyed by Indra. Descendants of Pratíkshatra, son of Kshatravriddha.P. 411.
CHAP. X.The sons of Nahusha. The sons of Yayáti: he is cursed by Śukra: wishes his sons to exchange their vigour for his infirmities. Puru alone consents. Yayáti restores him his youth: divides the earth amongst his sons, under the supremacy of Puru.P. 413.
CHAP. XIThe Yádava race, or descendants of Yadu. Kárttavírya obtains a boon from Dattátreya: takes Rávańa prisoner: is killed by Paraśuráma: his descendants.P. 416.
CHAP. XIIDescendants of Krosht́ri. Jyámagha's connubial affection for his wife Śaivyá: their descendants kings of Vidarbha and Chedi.P. 420.
CHAP. XIIISons of Satwata. Bhoja princes of Mrittikávatí. Súrya the friend of Satrájit: appears to him in a bodily form: gives him the Syamantaka gem: its brilliance and marvellous properties. Satrájit gives it to Prasena, who is killed by a lion: the lion killed by the bear Jámbavat. Krishńa suspected of killing Prasena, goes to look for him in the forests: traces the bear to his cave: fights with him for the jewel: the contest prolonged: supposed by his companions to be slain: he overthrows Jámbavat, and marries his daughter Jámbavatí: returns with her and the jewel to Dwáraká: restores the jewel to Satrájit, and marries his daughter Satyabhámá. Satrájit murdered by Śatadhanwan: avenged by Krishńa. Quarrel between Krishńa and Balaráma. Akrúra possessed of the jewel: leaves Dwáraká. Public calamities. Meeting of the Yádavas. Story of Akrúra's birth: he is invited to return: accused by Krishńa of having the Syamantaka jewel: produces it in full assembly: it remains in his charge: Krishńa acquitted of having purloined it.P. 424.
CHAP. XIVDescendants of Śini, of Anamitra, of Śwaphalka and Chitraka, of Andhaka. The children of Devaka and Ugrasena. The descendants of Bhajamána. Children of Śúra: his son Vásudeva: his daughter Pritha married to Páńd́u: her children, Yudhisht́hira and his brothers; also Karńa by Áditya. The sons of Páńd́u by Mádrí. Husbands and children of Śúra's other daughters. Previous births of Śiśupála.P. 435.
CHAP. XVExplanation of the reason why Śiśupála in his previous births as Hirańyakaśipu and Rávańa was not identified with Vishńu on being slain by him, and was so identified when killed as Śiśupála. The wives of Vásudeva: his children: Balaráma and Krishńa his sons by Devakí: born apparently of Rohińí and Yasodá. The wives and children of Krishńa. Multitude of the descendants of Yadu.P. 438.
CHAP. XVIDescendants of Turvasu.P. 442.
CHAP. XVIIDescendants of Druhyu.P. 443.
CHAP. XVIIIDescendants of Anu. Countries and towns named after some of them, as Anga, Banga, and others.P. 444.
CHAP. XIXDescendants of Puru. Birth of Bharata, the son of Dushyanta: his sons killed: adopts Bharadwája or Vitatha. Hastin, founder of Hastinapur. Sons of Ajámíd́ha, and the races derived from them, as Pánchálas, &c. Kripa and Kripí found by Śántanu. Descendants of Riksha, the son of Ajámíd́ha. Kurukshetra named from Kuru. Jarásandha and others, kings of Magadhá.P. 447.
CHAP. XXDescendants of Kuru. Devápi abdicates the throne: assumed by Sántanu: he is confirmed by the Brahmans: Bhíshma his son by Gangá: his other sons. Birth of Dhritarásht́ra, Páńd́u, and Vidura. The hundred sons of Dhritarásht́ra. The five sons of Páńd́u: married to Draupadí: their posterity. Paríkshit, the grandson of Arjuna, the reigning king.P. 457.
CHAP. XXIFuture kings. Descendants of Paríkshit, ending with Kshemaka.P. 461.
CHAP. XXIIFuture kings of the family of Ikshwáku, ending with Sumitra.P. 463.
CHAP. XXIIIFuture kings of Magadhá, descendants of Vrihadratha.P. 465.
CHAP. XXIVFuture kings of Magadhá. Five princes of the line of Pradyota. Ten Śaiśunágas. Nine Nandas. Ten Mauryas. Ten Śungas. Four Kańwas. Thirty Ándhrabhrityas. Kings of various tribes and castes, and periods of their rule. Ascendancy of barbarians. Different races in different regions. Period of universal iniquity and decay. Coming of Vishńu as Kalki. Destruction of the wicked, and restoration of the practices of the Vedas. End of the Kálí, and return of the Krita, age. Duration of the Kálí. Verses chanted by Earth, and communicated by Asita to Jamaka. End of the fourth book.P. 466.


CHAP. IThe death of Kansa announced. Earth, oppressed by the Daityas, applies to the gods. They accompany her to Vishńu, who promises to give her relief. Kansa imprisons Vásudeva and Devakí. Vishńu's instructions to Yoganidrá.P. 491.
CHAP. IIThe conception of Devakí: her appearance: she is praised by the gods.P. 500.
CHAP. IIIBirth of Krishńa: conveyed by Vásudeva to Mathurá, and exchanged with the new-born daughter of Yaśodá. Kansa attempts to destroy the latter, who becomes Yoganidrá..P. 502.
CHAP. IVKansa addresses his friends, announces their danger, and orders male children to be put to death.P. 504.
CHAP. VNanda returns with the infants Krishńa and Balaráma to Gokula. Pútaná killed by the former. Prayers of Nanda and Yaśodá.P. 506.
CHAP. VIKrisńa overturns a waggon: casts down two trees. The Gopas depart to Vrindávana. Sports of the boys. Description of the season of the rains.P. 508.
CHAP. VIIKrishńa combats the serpent Kálíya: alarm of his parents and companions: he overcomes the serpent, and is propitiated by him: commands him to depart from the Yamuná river to the ocean.P. 512.
CHAP. VIIIThe demon Dhenuka destroyed by Ráma.P. 517.
CHAP. IXSports of the boys in the forest. Pralamba the Asura comes amongst them: is destroyed by Ráma, at the command of Krishńa.P. 518.
CHAP. XDescription of autumn. Krishńa dissuades Nanda from worshipping Indra: recommends him and the Gopas to worship cattle and the mountains.P. 522.
CHAP. XIIndra, offended by the loss of his offerings, causes heavy rains to deluge Gokula. Krishńa holds up the mountain Govarddhana to shelter the cowherds and their cattle.P. 526,
CHAP. XIIIndra comes to Gokula: praises Krishńa, and makes him prince over the cattle. Krishńa promises to befriend Arjuna.P. 528.
CHAP. XIIIKrishńa praised by the cowherds: his sports with the Gopís: their imitation and love of him. The Rása dance.P. 531.
CHAP. XIVKrishńa kills the demon Arisht́a, in the form of a bull.P. 536.
CHAP. XVKansa informed by Nárada of the existence of Krishńa and Balaráma: he sends Keśin to destroy them, and Akúra to bring them to Mathurá.P. 537.
CHAP. XVIKeśin, in the form of a horse, slain by Krishńa: he is praised by Nárada.P. 539.
CHAP. XVIIAkrúra's meditation on Krishńa: his arrival at Gokula: his delight at seeing Krishńa and his brother.P. 541.
CHAP. XVIIIGrief of the Gopís on the departure of Krishńa and Balaráma with Akrúra: their leaving Gokula. Akrúra bathes in the Yamuná; beholds the divine forms of the two youths, and praises Vishńu.P. 544.
CHAP. XIXAkrúra conveys Krishńa and Ráma near to Mathurá, and leaves them: they enter the town. Insolence of Kansa's washerman: Krishńa kills him. Civility of a flower-seller: Krishńa gives him his benediction.P. 548.
CHAP. XXKrishńa and Balaráma meet Kubja; she is made straight by the former: they proceed to the palace. Krishńa breaks a bow intended for a trial of arms. Kansa's orders to his servants. Public games. Krishńa and his brother enter the arena: the former wrestles with Cháńúra, the latter with Musht́ika, the king's wrestlers; who are both killed. Krishńa attacks and slays Kansa: he and Balaráma do homage to Vásudeva and Devakí: the former praises Krishńa.P. 550.
CHAP. XXIKrishńa encourages his parents; places Ugrasena on the throne; becomes the pupil of Sándipaní, whose son he recovers from the sea: he kills the marine demon Panchajana, and makes a horn of his shell.P. 560.
CHAP. XXIIJarásandha besieges Mathurá; is defeated, but repeatedly renews the attack.P. 563.
CHAP. XXIIIBirth of Kálayavana: he advances against Mathurá. Krishńa builds Dwáraká, and sends thither the Yádava tribe: he leads Kálayavana into the cave of Muchukunda: the latter awakes, consumes the Yavana king, and praises Krishńa.P. 565.
CHAP. XXIVMuchukunda goes to perform penance. Krishńa takes the army and treasures of Kálayavana, and repairs with them to Dwáraká. Balaráma visits Vraja: inquiries of its inhabitants after Krishńa.P. 569.
CHAP. XXVBalaráma finds wine in the hollow of a tree; becomes inebriated; commands the Yamuná to come to him, and on her refusal drags her out of her course: Lakshmí gives him ornaments and a dress: he returns to Dwáraká, and marries Revatí.P. 571.
CHAP. XXVIKrishńa carries off Rukminí: the princes who come to rescue her repulsed by Balaráma. Rukmin overthrown, but spared by Krishńa, founds Bhojakat́a. Pradyumna born of Rukminí.P. 573.
CHAP. XXVIIPradyumna stolen by Sambara; thrown into the sea, and swallowed by a fish; found by Máyádeví: he kills Sambara, marries Máyádeví, and returns with her to Dwáraká. Joy of Rukminí and Krishńa.P. 575.
CHAP. XXVIIIWives of Krishńa. Pradyumna has Aniruddha: nuptials of the latter. Balaráma beat at dice, becomes incensed, and slays Rukmin and others.P. 578.
CHAP. XXIXIndra comes to Dwáraká, and reports to Krishńa the tyranny of Naraka. Krishńa goes to his city, and puts him to death. Earth gives the earrings of Adití to Krishńa, and praises him. He liberates the princesses made captive by Naraka, sends them to Dwáraká, and goes to Swarga with Satyabhámá.P. 581.
CHAP. XXXKrishńa restores her earrings to Adití, and is praised by her: he visits the gardens of Indra, and at the desire of Satyabhámá carries off the Párijáta tree. Śachí excites Indra to its rescue. Conflict between the gods and Krishńa, who defeats them. Satyabhámá derides them. They praise Krishńa.P. 584.
CHAP. XXXIKrishńa, with Indra's consent, takes the Párijáta tree to Dwáraká; marries the princesses rescued from Naraka.P. 589.
CHAP. XXXIIChildren of Krishńa. Ushá, the daughter of Báńa, sees Aniruddha in a dream, and becomes enamoured of him.P. 591.
CHAP. XXXIIIBáńa solicits Śiva for war: finds Aniruddha in the palace, and makes him prisoner. Krishńa, Balaráma, and Pradyumna come to his rescue. Śiva and Skanda aid Báńa: the former is disabled; the latter put to flight. Báńa encounters Krishńa, who cuts off all his arms, and is about to put him to death. Śiva intercedes, and Krishńa spares his life. Vishńu and Śiva are the same.P. 593.
CHAP. XXXIVPauńd́raka, a Vásudeva, assumes the insignia and style of Krishńa, supported by the king of Kai. Krishńa marches against, and destroys them. The son of the king sends a magical being against Krishńa: destroyed by his discus, which also sets Benares on fire, and consumes it and its inhabitants.P. 597.
CHAP. XXXVŚámba carries off the daughter of Duryodhana, but is taken prisoner. Balaráma comes to Hastinapur, and demands his liberation: it is refused: in his wrath he drags the city towards him, to throw it into the river. The Kuru chiefs give up Śámba and his wife.P. 601.
CHAP. XXXVIThe Asura Dwivida, in the form of an ape, destroyed by Balaráma.P. 604.
CHAP. XXXVIIDestruction of the Yádavas. Śámba and others deceive and ridicule the Rishis. The former bears an iron pestle: it is broken, and thrown into the sea. The Yádavas go to Prabhása by desire of Krishńa: they quarrel and fight, and all perish. The great serpent Śesha issues from the mouth of Ráma. Krishńa is shot by a hunter, and again becomes one with universal spirit.P. 606.
CHAP. XXXVIIIArjuna comes to Dwáraká, and burns the dead, and takes away the surviving inhabitants. Commencement of the Kálí age. Shepherds and thieves attack Arjuna, and carry off the women and wealth. Arjuna regrets the loss of his prowess to Vyása; who consoles him, and tells him the story of Asht́ávakra's cursing the Apsarasas. Arjuna and his brothers place Paríkshit on the throne, and go to the forests. End of the fifth book.P. 613.


CHAP. IOf the dissolution of the world: the four ages: the decline of all things, and deterioration of mankind, in the Kálí age.P. 621.
CHAP. IIRedeeming properties of the Kálí age. Devotion to Vishńu sufficient to salvation in that age for all castes and persons.P. 627.
CHAP. IIIThree different kinds of dissolution. Duration of a Parárddha. The Clepsydra, or vessel for measuring time. The dissolution that occurs at the end of a day of Brahmá.P. 630.
CHAP. IVContinuation of the account of the first kind of dissolution. Of the second kind, or elemental dissolution; of all being resolved into primary spirit.P. 634.
CHAP. VThe third kind of dissolution, or final liberation from existence. Evils of worldly life. Sufferings in infancy, manhood, old age. Pains of hell. Imperfect felicity of heaven. Exemption from birth desirable by the wise. The nature of spirit or god. Meaning of the terms Bhagavat and Vásudeva.P. 638.
CHAP. VIMeans of attaining liberation. Anecdotes of Kháńd́ikya and Keśidhwaja. The former instructs the latter how to atone for permitting the death of a cow. Keśidhwaja offers him a requital, and he desires to be instructed in spiritual knowledge.P. 645.
CHAP. VIIKeśidhwaja describes the nature of ignorance, and the benefits of the Yoga, or contemplative devotion. Of the novice and the adept in the performance of the Yoga. How it is performed. The first stage, proficiency in acts of restraint and moral duty: the second, particular mode of sitting: the third, Pránáyáma, modes of breathing: the fourth, Pratyáhára, restraint of thought: the fifth, apprehension of spirit: the sixth, retention of the idea. Meditation on the individual and universal forms of Vishńu. Acquirement of knowledge. Final liberation.P. 649.
CHAP. VIIIConclusion of the dialogue between Paráśara and Maitreya. Recapitulation of the contents of the Vishńu Puráńa: merit of hearing it: how handed down. Praises of Vishńu. Concluding prayer.P. 660.
INDEX—P. 667.





Invocation. Maitreya inquires of his teacher, Paráśara, the origin and nature of the universe. Paráśara performs a rite to destroy the demons: reproved by Vaśisht́ha, he desists: Pulastya appears, and bestows upon him divine knowledge: he repeats the Vishńu Puráńa. Vishńu the origin, existence, and end of all things.

OM! GLORY TO VÁSUDEVA100.Victory be to thee, Puńd́aríkáksha; [p.2] adoration be to thee, Víswabhávana; glory be to thee, Hrishikeśa, Mahápurusha, and Púrvaja101.

May that Vishńu, who is the existent, imperishable, Brahma, who is Íśwara102, who is spirit103; who with the three qualities104 is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; who is the parent of nature, intellect, and the other ingredients of the universe105; be to us the bestower of understanding, wealth, and final emancipation.


Having adored Vishńu106, the lord of all, and paid reverence to Brahmá and the rest107; having also saluted the spiritual preceptor108; I will narrate a Puráńa equal in sanctity to the Vedas.

Maitreya109, having saluted him reverentially, thus addressed Paráśara, the excellent sage, the grandson of Vaśisht́ha, who was versed in traditional history, and the Puráńas; who was acquainted with the Vedas, and the branches of science dependent upon them; and skilled in law and philosophy; and who had performed the morning rites of devotion.

Maitreya said, Master! I have been instructed by you in the whole of the Vedas, and in the institutes of law and of sacred science: through your favour, other men, even though they be my foes, cannot accuse me of having been remiss in the acquirement of knowledge. I am now desirous, oh thou who art profound in piety! to hear from thee, how this world was, and how in future it will be? what is its substance, oh Brahman, and whence proceeded animate and inanimate things? into what has it been resolved, and into what will its dissolution again occur? how were the elements manifested? whence proceeded the gods and other beings? what are the situation and extent of the oceans and the [p.4] mountains, the earth, the sun, and the planets? what are the families of the gods and others, the Menus, the periods called Manwantaras, those termed Kalpas, and their subdivisions, and the four ages: the events that happen at the close of a Kalpa, and the terminations of the several ages110: the histories, oh great Muni, of the gods, the sages, and kings; and how the Vedas were divided into branches (or schools), after they had been arranged by Vyása: the duties of the Brahmans, and the other tribes, as well as of those who pass through the different orders of life? All these things I wish to hear from you, grandson of Vaśisht́ha. Incline thy thoughts benevolently towards me, that I may, through thy favour, be informed of all I desire to know.

Paráśara replied, Well inquired, pious Maitreya. You recall to my recollection that which was of old narrated by my father's father, Vaśisht́ha. I had heard that my father had been devoured by a Rákshas employed by Viswámitra: violent anger seized me, and I commenced a sacrifice for the destruction of the Rákshasas: hundreds of them were reduced to ashes by the rite, when, as they were about to be entirely extirpated, my grandfather Vaśisht́ha thus spake to me: Enough, my child; let thy wrath be appeased: the Rákshasas are not culpable: thy father's death was the work of destiny. Anger is the passion of fools; it becometh not a wise man. By whom, it may be asked, is any one killed? Every man reaps the consequences of his own acts. Anger, my son, is the destruction of all that man obtains by arduous exertions, of fame, and of devout austerities; and prevents the attainment of heaven or of emancipation. The chief sages always shun wrath: he not thou, my child, subject to its influence. Let no more of these unoffending spirits of darkness be consumed. Mercy is the might of the righteous111.


Being thus admonished by my venerable grandsire, I immediately desisted from the rite, in obedience to his injunctions, and Vaśisht́ha, the most excellent of sages, was content with me. Then arrived Pulastya, the son of Brahmá112, who was received by my grandfather with the customary marks of respect. The illustrious brother of Pulaha said to me; Since, in the violence of animosity, you have listened to the words of your progenitor, and have exercised clemency, therefore you shall become learned in every science: since you have forborne, even though incensed, to destroy my posterity, I will bestow upon you another boon, and, you shall become the author of a summary of the Puráńas113; you shall know [p.6] the true nature of the deities, as it really is; and, whether engaged in religious rites, or abstaining from their performance114, your understanding, through my favour, shall be perfect, and exempt from doubts. Then my grandsire Vaśisht́ha added; Whatever has been said to thee by Pulastya, shall assuredly come to pass.

Now truly all that was told me formerly by Vaśisht́ha, and by the wise Palastya, has been brought to my recollection by your questions, and I will relate to you the whole, even all you have asked. Listen to the complete compendium of the Pur pas, according to its tenour. The world was produced from Vishńu: it exists in him: he is the cause of its continuance and cessation: he is the world115.



Prayer of Paráśara to Vishńu. Successive narration of the Vishńu Puráńa. Explanation of Vásudeva: his existence before creation: his first manifestations. Description of Pradhána or the chief principle of things. Cosmogony. Of Prákrita, or material creation; of time; of the active cause. Developement of effects; Mahat; Ahankára; Tanmátras; elements; objects of sense; senses; of the mundane egg. Vishńu the same as Brahmá the creator; Vishńu the preserver; Rudra the destroyer.

PARÁŚARA said, Glory to the unchangeable, holy, eternal, supreme Vishńu, of one universal nature, the mighty over all: to him who is Hiranygarbha, Hari, and Śankara116, the creator, the preserver, and destroyer of [p.8] the world: to Vásudeva, the liberator of his worshippers: to him, whose essence is both single and manifold; who is both subtile and corporeal, indiscrete and discrete: to Vishńu, the cause of final emancipation117 Glory to the supreme Vishńu, the cause of the creation, existence, and end of this world; who is the root of the world, and who consists of the world118.

Having glorified him who is the support of all things; who is the smallest of the small119; who is in all created things; the unchanged, imperishable120 Purushottama121; who is one with true wisdom, as truly known122; eternal and incorrupt; and who is known through false appearances by the nature of visible objects123: having bowed to Vishńu, the [p.9] destroyer, and lord of creation and preservation; the ruler of the world; unborn, imperishable, undecaying: I will relate to you that which was originally imparted by the great father of all (Brahmá), in answer to the questions of Daksha and other venerable sages, and repeated by them to Purukutsa, a king who reigned on the banks of the Narmadá. It was next related by him to Sáraswata, and by Sáraswata to me124.

Who can describe him who is not to be apprehended by the senses: who is the best of all things; the supreme soul, self-existent: who is devoid of all the distinguishing characteristics of complexion, caste, or the like; and is exempt front birth, vicissitude, death, or decay: who is always, and alone: who exists every where, and in whom all things here exist; and who is thence named Vásudeva125? He is Brahma126, supreme, lord, eternal, unborn, imperishable, undecaying; of one essence; ever pure as free from defects. He, that Brahma, was all things; comprehending in his own nature the indiscrete and discrete. He then existed in the forms of Purusha and of Kála. Purusha (spirit) is the first form, of the supreme; next proceeded two other forms, the discrete and indiscrete; and Kála (time) was the last. These fourPradhána (primary or crude matter), Purusha (spirit), Vyakta (visible substance), and Kála (time)the wise consider to be the pure and supreme condition of Vishńu127. These four forms, in their due proportions, are the causes of [p.10] the production of the phenomena of creation, preservation, and destruction. Vishńu being thus discrete and indiscrete substance, spirit, and time, sports like a playful boy, as you shall learn by listening to his frolics128.

That chief principle (Pradhána), which is the indiscrete cause, is called by the sages also Prakriti (nature): it is subtile, uniform, and comprehends what is and what is not (or both causes and effects); is durable, self-sustained, illimitable, undecaying, and stable; devoid of sound or touch, and possessing neither colour nor form; endowed with the three qualities (in equilibrium); the mother of the world; without beginning; and that into which all that is produced is resolved129. By [p.11] that principle all things were invested in the period subsequent to the last dissolution of the universe, and prior to creation130. For Brahmans learned in the Vedas, and teaching truly their doctrines, explain such [p.12] passages as the following as intending the production of the chief principle (Pradhána). "There was neither day nor night, nor sky nor earth, nor darkness nor light, nor any other thing, save only One, unapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma and Pumán (spirit) and Pradhána (matter)131." The two forms which are other than the essence of unmodified Vishńu, are Pradhána (matter) and Purusha (spirit); and his other form, by which those two are connected or separated, is called Kála (time)132. When discrete substance is aggregated in crude nature, as in a foregone dissolution, that dissolution is termed elemental (Prákrita). The deity as Time is without beginning, and his end is not known; and from him the revolutions of creation, continuance, and dissolution unintermittingly succeed: for when, in the latter season, the equilibrium of the qualities (Pradhána) exists, and spirit (Pumán) is detached from matter, then the form of Vishńu which is Time abides133. Then the [p.13] supreme Brahma, the supreme soul, the substance of the world, the lord of all creatures, the universal soul, the supreme ruler, Hari, of his own will having entered into matter and spirit, agitated the mutable and immutable principles, the season of creation being arrived, in the same manner as fragrance affects the mind from its proximity merely, and not from any immediate operation upon mind itself: so the Supreme influenced the elements of creation134. Purushottama is both the agitator and [p.14] the thing to be agitated; being present in the essence of matter, both when it is contracted and expanded135. Vishńu, supreme over the supreme, is of the nature of discrete forms in the atomic productions, Brahmá and the rest (gods, men, &c.)

Then from that equilibrium of the qualities (Pradhána), presided over by soul136, proceeds the unequal developement of those qualities (constituting the principle Mahat or Intellect) at the time of creation137. The [p.15] Chief principle then invests that Great principle, Intellect, and it becomes threefold, as affected by the quality of goodness, foulness, or darkness, and invested by the Chief principle (matter) as seed is by its skin. From the Great principle (Mahat) Intellect, threefold Egotism, (Ahankára)138, [p.16] denominated Vaikaríka, 'pure;' Taijasa, 'passionate;' and Bhútádi, 'rudimental,'139 is produced; the origin of the (subtile) elements, and of the organs of sense; invested, in consequence of its three qualities, by Intellect, as Intellect is by the Chief principle. Elementary Egotism then becoming productive, as the rudiment of sound, produced from it Ether, of which sound is the characteristic, investing it with its rudiment of sound. Ether becoming productive, engendered the rudiment of touch; whence originated strong wind, the property of which is touch; and Ether, with the rudiment of sound, enveloped the rudiment of touch. Then wind becoming productive, produced the rudiment of form (colour); whence light (or fire) proceeded, of which, form (colour) is the attribute; and the rudiment of touch enveloped the wind with the rudiment of colour. Light becoming productive, produced the rudiment of taste; whence proceed all juices in which flavour resides; and the rudiment of colour invested the juices with the rudiment of taste. The waters becoming productive, engendered the rudiment of smell; whence an aggregate (earth) originates, of which smell is the property140. In each several [p.17] element resides its peculiar rudiment; thence the property of tanmátratá,141 (type or rudiment) is ascribed to these elements. Rudimental elements are not endowed with qualities, and therefore they are neither soothing, nor terrific, nor stupifying142. This is the elemental creation, proceeding from the principle of egotism affected by the property of darkness. The organs of sense are said to be the passionate products of the same principle, affected by foulness; and the ten divinities143 proceed from egotism affected by the principle of goodness; as does Mind, which [p.18] is the eleventh. The organs of sense are ten: of the ten, five are the skin, eye, nose, tongue, and ear; the object of which, combined with Intellect, is the apprehension of sound and the rest: the organs of excretion and procreation, the hands, the feet, and the voice, form the other five; of which excretion, generation, manipulation, motion, and speaking, are the several acts.

Then, ether, air, light, water, and earth, severally united with the properties of sound and the rest, existed as distinguishable according to their qualities, as soothing, terrific, or stupifying; but possessing various energies, and being unconnected, they could not, without combination, create living beings, not having blended with each other. Having combined, therefore, with one another, they assumed, through their mutual association, the character of one mass of entire unity; and from the direction of spirit, with the acquiescence of the indiscrete Principle144, Intellect and the rest, to the gross elements inclusive, formed an egg145, which gradually expanded like a bubble of water. This vast egg, O sage, compounded of the elements, and resting on the waters, was the [p.19] excellent natural abode of Vishńu in the form of Brahmá; and there Vishńu, the lord of the universe, whose essence is inscrutable, assumed a perceptible form, and even he himself abided in it in the character of Brahmá146. Its womb, vast as the mountain Meru, was composed of the mountains; and the mighty oceans were the waters that filled its cavity. In that egg, O Brahman, were the continents and seas and mountains, the planets and divisions of the universe, the gods, the demons, and mankind. And this egg was externally invested by seven natural envelopes, or by water, air, fire, ether, and Ahankára the origin of the elements, each tenfold the extent of that which it invested; next came the principle of Intelligence; and, finally, the whole was surrounded by the indiscrete Principle: resembling thus the cocoa-nut, filled interiorly with pulp, and exteriorly covered by husk and rind.

Affecting then the quality of activity, Hari, the lord of all, himself becoming Brahmá, engaged in the creation of the universe. Vishńu with the quality of goodness, and of immeasurable power, preserves created things through successive ages, until the close of the period termed a Kalpa; when the same mighty deity, Janárddana147, invested with the quality of darkness, assumes the awful form of Rudra, and swallows up the universe. Having thus devoured all things, and converted the world into one vast ocean, the Supreme reposes upon his mighty serpent couch amidst the deep: he awakes after a season, and again, as Brahmá, becomes the author of creation.

Thus the one only god, Janárddana, takes the designation of Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva, accordingly as he creates, preserves, or destroys148.


Vishńu as creator, creates himself; as preserver, preserves himself; as destroyer, destroys himself at the end of all things. This world of earth, air, fire, water, ether, the senses, and the mind; all that is termed spirit149, that also is the lord of all elements, the universal form, and imperishable: hence he is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; and the subject of the vicissitudes inherent in elementary nature150. He is the object and author of creation: he preserves, destroys, and is preserved. He, Vishńu, as Brahmá, and as all other beings, is infinite form: he is the supreme, the giver of all good, the fountain of all happiness151



Measure of time. Moments or Kásht́hás, &c.; day and night; fortnight, month, year, divine year: Yugas, or ages: Maháyuga, or great age: day of Brahmá: periods of the Manus: a Manwantara: night of Brahmá, and destruction of the world: a year of Brahmá: his life: a Kalpa: a Parárrdha: the past, or Pádma Kalpa: the present, or Váráha.

MAITREYA.How can creative agency be attributed to that Brahma, who is without qualities, illimitable, pure, and free from imperfection?

PARÁŚARA.The essential properties of existent things are objects of observation, of which no foreknowledge is attainable; and creation, and hundreds of properties, belong to Brahma, as inseparable parts of his essence, as heat, oh chief of sages, is inherent in fire152. Hear then how [p.22] the deity Náráyána, in the person of Brahmá, the great parent of the world, created all existent things.

Brahmá is said to be born: a familiar phrase, to signify his manifestation; and, as the peculiar measure of his presence, a hundred of his years is said to constitute his life: that period is also called Param, and the half of it, Parárddham153. I have already declared to you, oh sinless Brahman, that Time is a form of Vishńu: hear now how it is applied to measure the duration of Brahmá, and of all other sentient beings, as well as of those which are unconscious, as the mountains, oceans, and the like.

Oh best of sages, fifteen twinklings of the eye make a Kásht́há; thirty Kásht́hás, one Kalá; and thirty Kalás, one Muhúrtta154. Thirty Muhúrttas [p.23] constitute a day and night of mortals: thirty such days make a month, divided into two half-months: six months form an Ayana (the period of the sun's progress north or south of the ecliptic): and two Ayanas compose a year. The southern Ayana is a night, and the northern a day of the gods. Twelve thousand divine years, each composed of (three hundred and sixty) such days, constitute the period of the four Yugas, or ages. They are thus distributed: the Krita age has four thousand divine years; the Tretá three thousand; the Dwápara two thousand; and the Kali age one thousand: so those acquainted with antiquity have declared. The period that precedes a Yuga is called a Sandhyá, and it is of as many hundred years as there are thousands in the Yuga: and the period that follows a Yuga, termed the Sandhyánsa, is of similar duration. The interval between the Sandhyá and the Sandhyánsa is the Yuga, denominated Krita, Tretá, &c. The Krita, Tretá, Dwápara, and Kali, constitute a great age, or aggregate of four ages: a thousand such aggregates are a day of Brahmá, and fourteen Menus reign within that term. Hear the division of time which they measure155.


Seven Rishis, certain (secondary) divinities, Indra, Manu, and the kings his sons, are created and perish at one period156; and the interval, called a Manwantara, is equal to seventy-one times the number of years contained in the four Yugas, with some additional years: this is the duration of the Manu, the (attendant) divinities, and the rest, which is equal to 852.000 divine years, or to 306.720.000 years of mortals, independent of the additional period157. Fourteen times this period constitutes [p.25] a Bráhma day, that is, a day of Brahmá; the term (Bráhma) being the derivative form. At the end of this day a dissolution of the universe occurs, when all the three worlds, earth, and the regions of space, are consumed with fire. The dwellers of Maharloka (the region inhabited by the saints who survive the world), distressed by the heat, repair then to Janaloka (the region of holy men after their decease). When the-three worlds are but one mighty ocean, Brahmá, who is one with Náráyańa, satiate with the demolition of the universe, sleeps upon his serpent-bedcontemplated, the lotus born, by the ascetic inhabitants of the Janalokafor a night of equal duration with his day; at the close of which he creates anew. Of such days and nights is a year of Brahmá composed; and a hundred such years constitute his whole life158. One Parárddha159, or half his existence, has expired, terminating with the Mahá Kalpa160 called Pádma. The Kalpa (or day of Brahmá) termed Váráha is the first of the second period of Brahmá's existence.



Náráyańa's appearance, in the beginning of the Kalpa, as the Varsha or boar: Prithiví (Earth) addresses him: he raises the world from beneath the waters: hymned by Sanandana and the Yogis. The earth floats on the ocean: divided into seven zones. The lower spheres of the universe restored. Creation renewed.

MAITREYA.Tell me, mighty sage, how, in the commencement of the (present) Kalpa, Náráyańa, who is named Brahmá, created all existent things161.

PARÁŚARA.In what manner the divine Brahmá, who is one with Náráyańa, created progeny, and is thence named the lord of progeny (Prajápati), the lord god, you shall hear.

At the close of the past (or Pádma) Kalpa, the divine Brahmá, endowed with the quality of goodness, awoke from his night of sleep, and beheld the universe void. He, the supreme Náráyańa, the incomprehensible, the sovereign of all creatures, invested with the form of Brahmá, the god without beginning, the creator of all things; of whom, with respect to his name Náráyańa, the god who has the form of Brahmá, the imperishable origin of the world, this verse is repeated, "The waters are called Nárá, because they were the offspring of Nara (the supreme spirit); and as in them his first (Ayana) progress (in the character of Brahmá) took place, he is thence named Náráyańa (he whose place of moving was the waters)162." He, the lord, concluding that within the waters lay the [p.28] earth, and being desirous to raise it up, created another form for that purpose; and as in preceding Kalpas he had assumed the shape of a fish or a tortoise, so in this he took the figure of a boar. Having adopted a form composed of the sacrifices of the Vedas163, for the preservation of the whole earth, the eternal, supreme, and universal soul, the great progenitor of created beings, eulogized by Sanaka and the other [p.29] saints who dwell in the sphere of holy men (Janaloka); he, the supporter of spiritual and material being, plunged into the ocean. The goddess Earth, beholding him thus descending to the subterrene regions, bowed in devout adoration, and thus glorified the god:

Príthiví (Earth).Hail to thee, who art all creatures; to thee, the holder of the mace and shell: elevate me now from this place, as thou hast upraised me in days of old. From thee have I proceeded; of thee do I consist; as do the skies, and all other existing things. Hail to thee, spirit of the supreme spirit; to thee, soul of soul; to thee, who art discrete and indiscrete matter; who art one with the elements and with time. Thou art the creator of all things, their preserver, and their destroyer, in the forms, oh lord, of Brahmá, Vishńu, and Rudra, at the seasons of creation, duration, and dissolution. When thou hast devoured all things, thou reposest on the ocean that sweeps over the world, meditated upon, oh Govinda, by the wise. No one knoweth thy true nature, and the gods adore thee only in the forms it bath pleased thee to assume. They who are desirous of final liberation, worship thee as the supreme Brahmá; and who that adores not Vásudeva, shall obtain emancipation? Whatever may be apprehended by the mind, whatever may be perceived by the senses, whatever may he discerned by the intellect, all is but a form of thee. I am of thee, upheld by thee; thou art my creator, and to thee I fly for refuge: hence, in this universe, Mádhaví (the bride of Mádhava or Vishńu) is my designation. Triumph to the essence of all wisdom, to the unchangeable, the imperishable: triumph to the eternal; to the indiscrete, to the essence of discrete things: to him who is both cause and effect; who is the universe; the sinless lord of sacrifice164; triumph. Thou art sacrifice; thou art the oblation; thou art the mystic Omkára; thou art the sacrificial fires; thou art the Vedas, and their dependent sciences; thou art, Hari, the object of all worship165. The sun, the stars, the planets, the whole world; all that is formless, or that has form; all that is visible, or invisible; all, Purushottama, that I have said, [p.30] or left unsaid; all this, Supreme, thou art. Hail to thee, again and again! hail! all hail!

PARÁŚARA.The auspicious supporter of the world, being thus hymned by the earth, emitted a low murmuring sound, like the chanting of the Sáma veda; and the mighty boar, whose eyes were like the lotus, and whose body, vast as the Níla mountain, was of the dark colour of the lotus leaves166, uplifted upon his ample tusks the earth from the lowest regions. As he reared up his head, the waters shed from his brow purified the great sages, Sanandana and others, residing in the sphere of the saints. Through the indentations made by his hoofs, the waters rushed into the lower worlds with a thundering noise. Before his breath, the pious denizens of Janaloka were scattered, and the Munis sought for shelter amongst the bristles upon the scriptural body of the boar, trembling [p.31] as he rose up, supporting the earth, and dripping with moisture. Then the great sages, Sanandana and the rest, residing continually in the sphere of saints, were inspired with delight, and bowing lowly they praised the stern-eyed upholder of the earth.

The Yogis.Triumph, lord of lords supreme; Keśava, sovereign of the earth, the wielder of the mace, the shell, the discus, and the sword: cause of production, destruction, and existence. THOU ART, oh god: there is no other supreme condition, but thou. Thou, lord, art the person of sacrifice: for thy feet are the Vedas; thy tusks are the stake to which the victim is bound; in thy teeth are the offerings; thy mouth is the altar; thy tongue is the fire; and the hairs of thy body are the sacrificial grass. Thine eyes, oh omnipotent, are day and night; thy head is the seat of all, the place of Brahma; thy mane is all the hymns of the Vedas; thy nostrils are all oblations: oh thou, whose snout is the ladle of oblation; whose deep voice is the chanting of the Sáma veda; whose body is the hall of sacrifice; whose joints are the different ceremonies; and whose ears have the properties of both voluntary and obligatory rites167: do thou, who art eternal, who art in size a mountain, be propitious. We acknowledge thee, who hast traversed the world, oh universal form, to be the beginning, the continuance, and the destruction of all things: thou art the supreme god. Have pity on us, oh lord of conscious and unconscious beings. The orb of the earth is seen seated on the tip of thy tusks, as if thou hadst been sporting amidst a lake where the lotus floats, and hadst borne away the leaves covered with soil. The space between heaven and earth is occupied by thy body, oh thou of unequalled glory, resplendent with the power of pervading the universe, oh lord, for the benefit of all. Thou art the aim of all: there is none other than thee, sovereign of the world: this is thy might, by which all things, fixed or movable, are pervaded. This form, which is now beheld, is thy form, as one essentially with wisdom. Those who have not practised devotion, conceive erroneously of the nature of the world. The ignorant, [p.32] who do not perceive that this universe is of the nature of wisdom, and judge of it as an object of perception only, are lost in the ocean of spiritual ignorance. But they who know true wisdom, and whose minds are pure, behold this whole world as one with divine knowledge, as one with thee, oh god. Be favourable, oh universal spirit: raise up this earth, for the habitation of created beings. Inscrutable deity, whose eyes are like lotuses, give us felicity. Oh lord, thou art endowed with the quality of goodness: raise up, Govinda, this earth, for the general good. Grant us happiness, oh lotus-eyed. May this, thy activity in creation, be beneficial to the earth. Salutation to thee. Grant us happiness, oh lotus-eyed.

PARÁŚARA.The supreme being thus eulogized, upholding the earth, raised it quickly, and placed it on the summit of the ocean, where it floats like a mighty vessel, and from its expansive surface does not sink beneath the waters. Then, having levelled the earth, the great eternal deity divided it into portions, by mountains: he who never wills in vain, created, by his irresistible power, those mountains again upon the earth which had been consumed at the destruction of the world. Having then divided the earth into seven great portions or continents, as it was before, he constructed in like manner the four (lower) spheres, earth, sky, heaven, and the sphere of the sages (Maharloka). Thus Hari, the four-faced god, invested with the quality of activity, and taking the form of Brahmá, accomplished the creation: but he (Brahmá) is only the instrumental cause of things to be created; the things that are capable of being created arise from nature as a common material cause: with exception of one instrumental cause alone, there is no need of any other cause, for (imperceptible) substance becomes perceptible substance according to the powers with which it is originally imbued168.



Vishńu as Brahmá creates the world. General characteristics of creation. Brahmá meditates, and gives origin to, immovable things, animals, gods, men. Specific creation of nine kinds; Mahat, Tanmátra, Aindríya, inanimate objects, animals, gods, men, Anugraha, and Kaumára. More particular account of creation. Origin of different orders of beings from Brahmá's body under different conditions; and of the Vedas from his mouths. All things created again as they existed in a former Kalpa.

MAITREYA.Now unfold to me, Brahman, how this deity created the gods, sages, progenitors, demons, men, animals, trees, and the rest, that abide on earth, in heaven, or in the waters: how Brahmá at creation made the world with the qualities, the characteristics, and the forms of things169.

PARÁŚARA.I will explain to you, Maitreya, listen attentively, how this deity, the lord of all, created the gods and other beings.

Whilst he (Brahmá) formerly, in the beginning of the Kalpas, was. meditating on creation, there appeared a creation beginning with ignorance, and consisting of darkness. From that great being appeared fivefold Ignorance, consisting of obscurity, illusion, extreme illusion, gloom, utter darkness170. The creation of the creator thus plunged in [p.35] abstraction, was the fivefold (immovable) world, without intellect or reflection, void of perception or sensation, incapable of feeling, and destitute of motion171. Since immovable things were first created, this is called the first creation. Brahmá, beholding that it was defective, designed another; and whilst he thus meditated, the animal creation was manifested, to the products of which the term Tiryaksrotas is applied, from their nutriment following a winding course172. These were called beasts, &c., and their characteristic was the quality of darkness, they being destitute of knowledge, uncontrolled in their conduct, and mistaking error for wisdom; being formed of egotism and self-esteem, labouring under the twenty-eight kinds of imperfection173, manifesting inward sensations, and associating with each other (according to their kinds).


Beholding this creation also imperfect, Brahmá again meditated, and a third creation appeared, abounding with the quality of goodness, termed Úrddhasrotas174. The beings thus produced in the Úrddhasrotas creation were endowed with pleasure and enjoyment, unencumbered internally or externally, and luminous within and without. This, termed the creation of immortals, was the third performance of Brahmá, who, although well pleased with it, still found it incompetent to fulfil his end. Continuing therefore his meditations, there sprang, in consequence of his infallible purpose, the creation termed Arváksrotas, from indiscrete nature. The products of this are termed Arváksrotasas175, from the downward current (of their nutriment). They abound with the light of knowledge, but the qualities of darkness and of foulness predominate. Hence they are afflicted by evil, and are repeatedly impelled to action. They have knowledge both externally and internally, and are the instruments (of accomplishing the object of creation, the liberation of soul). These creatures were mankind.

I have thus explained to you, excellent Muni, six176 creations. The first creation was that of Mahat or Intellect, which is also called the creation of Brahmá177. The second was that of the rudimental principles (Tanmátras), thence termed the elemental creation (Bhúta serga). The third was the modified form of egotism, termed the organic creation, or creation of the senses (Aindríyaka). These three were the Prákrita creations, the developements of indiscrete nature, preceded by the indiscrete [p.37] principle178. The fourth or fundamental creation (of perceptible things) was that of inanimate bodies. The fifth, the Tairyag yonya creation, was that of animals. The sixth was the Úrddhasrotas creation, or that of the divinities. The creation of the Arváksrotas beings was the seventh, and was that of man. There is an eighth creation, termed Anugraha, which possesses both the qualities of goodness and darkness179. Of these creations, five are secondary, and three are primary180. But there is a ninth, [p.38] the Kaumára creation, which is both primary and secondary181. These are the nine creations of the great progenitor of all, and, both as primary [p.39] and secondary, are the radical causes of the world, proceeding from the sovereign creator. What else dost thou desire to hear?

MAITREYA.Thou hast briefly related to me, Muni, the creation of the gods and other beings: I am desirous, chief of sages, to hear from thee a more ample account of their creation.

PARÁŚARA.Created beings, although they are destroyed (in their individual forms) at the periods of dissolution, yet, being affected by the good or evil acts of former existence, they are never exempted from their consequences; and when Brahmá creates the world anew, they are the progeny of his will, in the fourfold condition of gods, men, animals, or inanimate things. Brahmá then, being desirous of creating the four orders of beings, termed gods, demons, progenitors, and men, collected his mind into itself182. Whilst thus concentrated, the quality of darkness [p.40] pervaded his body; and thence the demons (the Asuras) were first born, issuing from his thigh. Brahmá then abandoned that form which was, composed of the rudiment of darkness, and which, being deserted by him, became night. Continuing to create, but assuming a different. shape, he experienced pleasure; and thence from his mouth proceeded the gods, endowed with the quality of goodness. The form abandoned by him, became day, in which the good quality predominates; and hence by day the gods are most powerful, and by night the demons. He next adopted another person, in which the rudiment of goodness also prevailed; and thinking of himself, as the father of the world, the progenitors (the Pitris) were born from his side. The body, when he abandoned, it, became the Sandhyá (or evening twilight), the interval between day and night. Brahmá then assumed another person, pervaded by the quality of foulness; and from this, men, in whom foulness (or passion) predominates, were produced. Quickly abandoning that body, it became morning twilight, or the dawn. At the appearance of this light of day, men feel most vigour; while the progenitors are most powerful in the evening season. In this manner, Maitreya, Jyotsná (dawn), Rátri (night), Ahar (day), and Sandhyá (evening), are the four bodies of Brahmá invested by the three qualities183.


Next from Brahmá, in a form composed of the quality of foulness, was produced hunger, of whom anger was born: and the god put forth in darkness beings emaciate with hunger, of hideous aspects, and with long beards. Those beings hastened to the deity. Such of them as exclaimed, Oh preserve us! were thence called Rákshasas184: others, who cried out, Let us eat, were denominated from that expression Yakshas185. Beholding them so disgusting, the hairs of Brahmá were shrivelled up, and first falling from his head, were again renewed upon it: from their falling they became serpents, called Sarpa from their creeping, and Ahi because they had deserted the head186. The creator of the world, being incensed, then created fierce beings, who were denominated goblins, Bhútas, malignant fiends and eaters of flesh. The Gandharbas were next born, imbibing melody: drinking of the goddess of speech, they were born, and thence their appellation187.

The divine Brahmá, influenced by their material energies, having created these beings, made others of his own will. Birds he formed from his vital vigour; sheep from his breast; goats from his mouth; kine from his belly and sides; and horses, elephants, Sarabhas, Gayals, deer, camels, mules, antelopes, and other animals, from his feet: whilst from the hairs of his body sprang herbs, roots, and fruits.

Brahmá having created, in the commencement of the Kalpa, various plants, employed them in sacrifices, in the beginning of the Tretá age. Animals were distinguished into two classes, domestic (village) and wild (forest): the first class contained the cow, the goat, the hog, the sheep, the horse, the ass, the mule: the latter, all beasts of prey, and many animals with cloven hoofs, the elephant, and the monkey. The fifth order were the birds; the sixth, aquatic animals; and the seventh, reptiles and insects188.


From his eastern mouth Brahmá then created the Gayatrí metre, the Rig veda, the collection of hymns termed Trivrit, the Rathantara portion of the Sáma veda, and the Agnisht́oma sacrifice: from his southern mouth he created the Yajur veda, the Trisht́ubh metre, the collection of hymns called Panchadaśa, the Vrihat Sáma, and the portion of the Sáma veda termed Uktha: from his western mouth he created the Sáma veda, the Jayati metre, the collection of hymns termed Saptadaśa, the portion of the Sáma called Vairúpa, and the Atirátra sacrifice: and from his northern mouth he created the Ekavinsa collection of hymns, the At́harva veda, the Áptoryámá rite, the Anusht́ubh metre, and the Vairája portion of the Sáma veda189.

In this manner all creatures, great or small, proceeded from his limbs. The great progenitor of the world having formed the gods, demons, and Pitris, created, in the commencement of the Kalpa, the Yakshas, Pisáchas (goblins), Gandharbas and the troops of Apsarasas the nymphs of heaven, Naras (centaurs, or beings with the limbs of horses and human [p.43] bodies) and Kinnaras (beings with the heads of horses), Rákshasas, birds, beasts, deer, serpents, and all things permanent or transitory, movable or immovable. This did the divine Brahmá, the first creator and lord of all: and these things being created, discharged the same functions as they had fulfilled in a previous creation, whether malignant or benign, gentle or cruel, good or evil, true or false; and accordingly as they are actuated by such propensities will be their conduct.

And the creator displayed infinite variety in the objects of sense, in the properties of living things, and in the forms of bodies: he determined in the beginning, by the authority of the Vedas, the names and forms and functions of all creatures, and of the gods; and the names and appropriate offices of the Rishis, as they also are read in the Vedas. In like manner as the products of the seasons designate in periodical revolution the return of the same season, so do the same circumstances indicate the recurrence of the same Yuga, or age; and thus, in the beginning of each Kalpa, does Brahmá repeatedly create the world, possessing the power that is derived from the will to create, and assisted by the natural and essential faculty of the object to be created.



Origin of the four castes: their primitive state. Progress of society. Different kinds of grain. Efficacy of sacrifice. Duties of men: regions assigned them after death.

MAITREYA.Thou hast briefly noticed, illustrious sage, the creation termed Arváksrotas, or that of mankind: now explain to me more fully how Brahmá accomplished it; how he created the four different castes; what duties he assigned to the Brahmans and the rest190.

PARÁŚARA.Formerly, oh best of Brahmans, when the truth-meditating Brahmá was desirous of creating the world, there sprang from his mouth beings especially endowed with the quality of goodness; others from his breast, pervaded by the quality of foulness; others from his thighs, in whom foulness and darkness prevailed; and others from his feet, in whom the quality of darkness predominated. These were, in succession, beings of the several castes, Brahmans, Kshetriyas, Vaisyas, and Śúdras, produced from the mouth, the breast, the thighs, and the feet of Brahmá191. These he created for the performance of sacrifices, the four castes being the fit instruments of their celebration. By sacrifices, oh thou who knowest the truth, the gods are nourished; and by the rain which they bestow, mankind are supported192: and thus sacrifices, the source of happiness, are performed by pious men, attached to their duties, attentive to prescribed obligations, and walking in the paths of virtue. Men acquire (by them) heavenly fruition, or final felicity: they go, after death, to whatever sphere they aspire to, as the consequence of their human [p.45] nature. The beings who were created by Brahmá, of these four castes, were at first endowed with righteousness and perfect faith; they abode wherever they pleased, unchecked by any impediment; their hearts were free from guile; they were pure, made free from soil, by observance of sacred institutes. In their sanctified minds Hari dwelt; and they were filled with perfect wisdom, by which they contemplated the glory of Vishńu193. After a while (after the Tretá age had continued for some period), that portion of Hari which has been described as one with Kála (time) infused into created beings sin, as yet feeble though formidable, or passion and the like: the impediment of soul's liberation, the seed of iniquity, sprung from darkness and desire. The innate perfectness of human nature was then no more evolved: the eight kinds of perfection, Rasollásá and the rest, were impaired194; and these being enfeebled, and sin gaining strength, mortals were afflicted with pain, arising from susceptibility to contrasts, as heat and cold, and the like. They therefore constructed places of refuge, protected by trees, by mountains, or by water; surrounded them by a ditch or a wall, and formed villages and cities; and in them erected appropriate dwellings, as defences against the sun and the cold195. Having thus provided security against [p.46] the weather, men next began to employ themselves in manual labour, as a means of livelihood, (and cultivated) the seventeen kinds of useful grainrice, barley, wheat, millet, sesamum, panic, and various sorts of lentils, beans, and pease196. These are the kinds cultivated for domestic [p.47] use: but there are fourteen kinds which may be offered in sacrifice; they are, rice, barley, Másha, wheat, millet, and sesamum; Priyangu is the seventh, and kulattha, pulse, the eighth: the others are, Syámáka, a sort of panic; Nívára, uncultivated rice; Jarttila, wild sesamum; Gaveduká (coix); Markata, wild panic; and (a plant called) the seed or barley of the Bambu (Venu-yava). These, cultivated or wild, are the fourteen grains that were produced for purposes of offering in sacrifice; and sacrifice (the cause of rain) is their origin also: they again, with sacrifice, are the great cause of the perpetuation of the human race, as those understand who can discriminate cause and effect. Thence sacrifices were offered daily; the performance of which, oh best of Munis, is of essential service to mankind, and expiates the offences of those by whom they are observed. Those, however, in whose hearts the dross of sin derived from Time (Kála) was still more developed, assented not to sacrifices, but reviled both them and all that resulted from them, the gods, and the followers of the Vedas. Those abusers of the Vedas, of evil disposition and conduct, and seceders from the path of enjoined duties, were plunged in wickedness197.

The means of subsistence having been provided for the beings he had created, Brahmá prescribed laws suited to their station and faculties, the duties of the several castes and orders198, and the regions of those of the different castes who were observant of their duties. The heaven of the Pitris is the region of devout Brahmans. The sphere of Indra, of [p.48] Kshetriyas who fly not from the field. The region of the winds is assigned to the Vaisyas who are diligent in their occupations and submissive. Śúdras are elevated to the sphere of the Gandharbas. Those Brahmans who lead religious lives go to the world of the eighty-eight thousand saints: and that of the seven Rishis is the seat of pious anchorets and hermits. The world of ancestors is that of respectable householders: and the region of Brahmá is the asylum of religious mendicants199. The imperishable region of the Yogis is the highest seat of Vishńu, where they perpetually meditate upon the supreme being, with minds intent on him alone: the sphere where they reside, the gods themselves cannot behold. The sun, the moon, the planets, shall repeatedly be, and cease to be; but those who internally repeat the mystic adoration of the divinity, shall never know decay. For those who neglect their duties, who revile the Vedas, and obstruct religious rites, the places assigned after death are the terrific regions of darkness, of deep gloom, of fear, and of great terror; the fearful hell of sharp swords, the hell of scourges and of a waveless sea200.



Creation continued. Production of the mind-born sons of Brahmá; of the Prajápatis; of Sanandana and others; of Rudra and the eleven Rudras; of the Manu Swáyambhuva, and his wife Śatarúpá; of their children. The daughters of Daksha, and their marriage to Dharma and others. The progeny of Disarms and Adharma. The perpetual succession of worlds, and different modes of mundane dissolution.

PARÁŚARA.From Brahmá, continuing to meditate, were born mind-engendered progeny, with forms and faculties derived from his corporeal nature; embodied spirits, produced from the person of that all-wise deity. All these beings, front the gods to inanimate things, appeared as I have related to you201, being the abode of the three qualities: but as they did not multiply themselves, Brahmá created other mind-born sons, like himself; namely, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Angiras, Maríchi, Daksha, Atri, and Vaśisht́ha: these are the nine Brahmas (or Brahma rishis) celebrated in the Puráńas202. Sanandana and the other sons of [p.50] Brahmá were previously created by him, but they were without desire or passion, inspired with holy wisdom, estranged from the universe, and undesirous of progeny. This when Brahmá perceived, he was filled with wrath capable of consuming the three worlds, the flame of which invested, like a garland, heaven, earth, and hell. Then from his forehead, [p.51] darkened with angry frowns, sprang Rudra203, radiant as the noon-tide sun, fierce, and of vast bulk, and of a figure which was half male, half female. Separate yourself, Brahmá said to him; and having so spoken, disappeared. Obedient to which command, Rudra became twofold, disjoining his male and female natures. His male being he again divided into eleven persons, of whom some were agreeable, some hideous, some fierce, some mild; and he multiplied his female nature manifold, of complexions black or white204.

Then Brahmá205 created himself the Manu Swáyambhuva, born of, and identical with, his original self, for the protection of created beings; and the female portion of himself he constituted Śatarúpá, whom austerity [p.52] purified from the sin (of forbidden nuptials), and whom the divine Manu Swáyambhuva took to wife. From these two were born two sons, Priyavrata [p.53] and Uttánapáda206, and two daughters, named Prasúti and Ákúti, [p.54] graced with loveliness and exalted merit207. Prasúti he gave to Daksha, after giving Ákúti to the patriarch Ruchi208, who espoused her. Ákúti bore to Ruchi twins, Yajna and Dakshiná209, who afterwards became husband and wife, and had twelve sons, the deities called Yámas210, in the Manwantara of Swáyambhuva.

The patriarch Daksha had by Prasúti twenty-four daughters211: hear from me their names: Sraddhá (faith), Lakshmí (prosperity), Dhriti (steadiness), Tusht́i (resignation), Pusht́i (thriving), Medhá (intelligence), Kríyá (action, devotion), Buddhi (intellect), Lajjá (modesty), Vapu (body), Sánti (expiation), Siddhi (perfection), Kírtti (fame): these thirteen daughters of Daksha, Dharma (righteousness) took to wife. The other eleven bright-eyed and younger daughters of the patriarch were, Khyáti (celebrity), Sati (truth), Sambhúti (fitness), Smriti (memory), Príti (affection), Kshamá (patience), Sannati (humility), Anasúyá (charity), Úrjjá (energy), with Swáhá (offering), and Swadhá (oblation). These maidens were respectively wedded to the Munis, Bhrigu, Bhava, Maríchi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, and Vaśisht́ha; to Fire (Vahni), and to the Pitris (progenitors)212.


The progeny of Dharma by the daughters of Daksha were as follows: by Sraddhá he had Káma (desire); by Lakshmí, Darpa (pride); by Dhriti, Niyama (precept); by Tusht́i, Santosha (content); by Pusht́i, Lobha (cupidity); by Medhá, Sruta (sacred tradition); by Kriyá, Dańd́a, Naya, and Vinaya (correction, polity, and prudence); by Buddhi, Bodha (understanding); by Lajjá, Vinaya (good behaviour); by Vapu, Vyavasaya (perseverance). Sánti gave birth to Kshema (prosperity); Siddhi to Sukha (enjoyment); and Kírtti to Yasas (reputation213). These were the sons of Dharma; one of whom, Káma, had Hersha (joy) by his wife Nandi (delight).

The wife of Adharma214 (vice) was Hinsá (violence), on whom he begot [p.56] a son Anrita (falsehood), and a daughter Nikriti (immorality): they intermarried, and had two sons, Bhaya (fear) and Naraka (hell); and twins to them, two daughters, Máyá (deceit) and Vedaná (torture), who became their wives. The son of Bhaya and Máyá was the destroyer of living creatures, or Mrityu (death); and Dukha (pain) was the offspring of Naraka and Vedaná. The children of Mrityu were Vyádhi (disease), Jará (decay), Soka (sorrow), Trishńa (greediness), and Krodha (wrath). These are all called the inflictors of misery, and are characterised as the progeny of Vice (Adharma). They are all without wives, without posterity, without the faculty to procreate; they are the terrific forms of Vishńu, and perpetually operate as causes of the destruction of this world. On the contrary, Daksha and the other Rishis, the elders of mankind, tend perpetually to influence its renovation: whilst the Manus and their sons, the heroes endowed with mighty power, and treading in the path of truth, as constantly contribute to its preservation.

MAITREYA.Tell me, Bráhman, what is the essential nature of these revolutions, perpetual preservation, perpetual creation, and perpetual destruction.

PARÁŚARA.Madhusúdana, whose essence is incomprehensible, in the forms of these (patriarchs and Manus), is the author of the uninterrupted vicissitudes of creation, preservation, and destruction. The dissolution of all things is of four kinds; Naimittika, 'occasional;' Prákritika, 'elemental;' Atyantika, 'absolute;' Nitya, 'perpetual215: The first, also [p.57] termed the Bráhma dissolution, occurs when the sovereign of the world reclines in sleep. In the second, the mundane egg resolves into the primary element, from whence it was derived. Absolute non-existence of the world is the absorption of the sage, through knowledge, into supreme spirit. Perpetual destruction is the constant disappearance, day and night, of all that are born. The productions of Prakriti form the creation that is termed the elemental (Prákrita). That which ensues after a (minor) dissolution is called ephemeral creation: and the daily generation of living things is termed, by those who are versed in the Puráńas, constant creation. In this manner the mighty Vishńu, whose essence is the elements, abides in all bodies, and brings about production, existence, and dissolution. The faculties of Vishńu to create, to preserve, and to destroy, operate successively, Maitreya, in all corporeal beings and at all seasons; and he who frees himself from the influence of these three faculties, which are essentially composed of the three qualities (goodness, foulness, and darkness), goes to the supreme sphere, from whence he never again returns.



Origin of Rudra: his becoming eight Rudras: their wives and children. The posterity of Bhrigu. Account of Śrí in conjunction with Vishńu. Sacrifice of Daksha.

PARÁŚARA.I have described to you, oh great Muni, the creation of Brahmá, in which the quality of darkness prevailed. I will now explain to you the creation of Rudra216.

In the beginning of the Kalpa, as Brahmá purposed to create a son, who should be like himself, a youth of a purple complexion217 appeared, crying with a low cry, and running about218. Brahmá, when he beheld him thus afflicted, said to him, "Why dost thou weep?" "Give me a name," replied the boy. "Rudra be thy name," rejoined the great father of all creatures: "be composed; desist from tears." But, thus addressed, the boy still wept seven times, and Brahmá therefore gave to him seven other denominations; and to these eight persons regions and wives and posterity belong. The eight manifestations, then, are named Rudra, Bhava, Śarva, Iśána, Paśupati, Bhíma, Ugra, and Mahádeva, which were given to them by their great progenitor. He also assigned to them their respective stations, the sun, water, earth, air, fire, ether, the ministrant Brahman, and the moon; for these are their several forms219. The wives [p.59]  of the sun and the other manifestations, termed Rudra and the rest, were respectively, Suverchalá, Ushá, Vikesí, Sivá, Swáhá, Diśá, Díkshá, and Rohiní. Now hear an account of their progeny, by whose successive generations this world has been peopled. Their sons, then, were severally, Sanaiśchara (Saturn), Śukra (Venus), the fiery-bodied Mars, Manojava (Hanumán), Skanda, Swarga, Santána, and Budha (Mercury).

It was the Rudra of this description that married Satí, who abandoned her corporeal existence in consequence of the displeasure of Daksha220. She afterwards was the daughter of Himaván (the snowy mountains) by Mená; and in that character, as the only Umá, the mighty Bhava again married her221. The divinities Dhátá and Vidhátá were born to Bhrigu by Khyáti, as was a daughter, Śrí, the wife of Náráyańa, the god of gods222.

MAITREYA.It is commonly said that the goddess Śrí was born from the sea of milk, when it was churned for ambrosia; how then can you say that she was the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyáti.

PARÁŚARA.Śrí, the bride of Vishńu, the mother of the world, is [p.60] eternal, imperishable; in like manner as he is all-pervading, so also is she, oh best of Brahmans, omnipresent. Vishńu is meaning; she is speech. Hari is polity (Naya); she is prudence (Níti). Vishńu is understanding; she is intellect. He is righteousness; she is devotion. He is the creator; she is creation. Śrí is the earth; Hari the support of it. The deity is content; the eternal Lakshmí is resignation. He is desire; Śrí is wish. He is sacrifice; she is sacrificial donation (Dakshiná). The goddess is the invocation which attends the oblation; Janárddana is the oblation. Lakshmí is the chamber where the females are present (at a religious ceremony); Madhusúdana the apartment of the males of the family. Lakshmí is the altar; Hari the stake (to which the victim is bound). Śrí is the fuel; Hari the holy grass (Kuśa). He is the personified Sáma veda; the goddess, lotus-throned, is the tone of its chanting. Lakshmí is the prayer of oblation (Swáhá); Vásudeva, the lord of the world, is the sacrificial fire. Saurí (Vishńu) is Śankara (Śiva); and Śrí is the bride of Śiva (Gaurí). Keśava, oh Maitreya, is the sun; and his radiance is the lotus-seated goddess. Vishńu is the tribe of progenitors (Pitrigana); Padma. is their bride (Swadhá), the eternal bestower of nutriment. Śrí is the heavens; Vishńu, who is one with all things, is wide extended space. The lord of Śrí is the moon; she is his unfading light. She is called the moving principle of the world; he, the wind which bloweth every where. Govinda is the ocean; Lakshmí its shore. Lakshmí is the consort of Indra (Indrání); Madhusúdana is Devendra. The holder of the discus (Vishńu) is Yama (the regent of Tartarus); the lotus-throned goddess is his dusky spouse (Dhúmorná). Śrí is wealth; Śridhara (Vishńu) is himself the god of riches (Kuvera). Lakshmí, illustrious Brahman, is Gaurí; and Keśava, is the deity of ocean (Varuna). Śrí is the host of heaven (Devasená); the deity of war, her lord, is Hari. The wielder of the mace is resistance; the power to oppose is Śrí. Lakshmí is the Kásht́há and the Kalá; Hari the Nimesha and the Muhúrtta. Lakshmí is the light; and Hari, who is all, and lord of all, the lamp. She, the mother of the world, is the creeping vine; and Vishńu the tree round which she clings. She is the night; the god who is armed with the mace and discus is the day. He, the bestower of blessings, is the bridegroom; the lotus-throned goddess is the bride.


The god is one with all malethe goddess one with all female, rivers. The lotus-eyed deity is the standard; the goddess seated on a lotus the banner. Lakshmí is cupidity; Náráyańa, the master of the world, is covetousness. Oh thou who knowest what righteousness is, Govinda is love; and Lakshmí, his gentle spouse, is pleasure. But why thus diffusely enumerate their presence: it is enough to say, in a word, that of gods, animals, and men, Hari is all that is called male; Lakshmí is all that is termed female: there is nothing else than they.


(From the Váyu Puráńa.)

"There was formerly a peak of Meru, named Sávitra, abounding with gems, radiant as the sun, and celebrated throughout the three worlds; [p.62] of immense extent, and difficult of access, and an object of universal veneration. Upon that glorious eminence, rich with mineral treasures, as upon a splendid couch, the deity Śiva reclined, accompanied by the daughter of the sovereign of mountains, and attended by the mighty Ádityas, the powerful Vasus, and by the heavenly physicians, the sons of Aswiní; by Kuvera, surrounded by his train of Guhyakas, the lord of the Yakshas, who dwells on Kailása. There also was the great Muni Usanas: there, were Rishis of the first order, with Sanatkumára at their head; divine Rishis, preceded by Angiras; Viśwavasu, with his bands of heavenly choristers; the sages Nárada and Párvata; and innumerable troops of celestial nymphs. The breeze blew upon the mountain, bland, pure, and fragrant; and the trees were decorated with flowers, that blossomed in every season. The Vidyádharas and Siddhas, affluent in devotion, waited upon Mahádeva, the lord of living creatures; and many other beings, of various forms, did him homage. Rákshasas of terrific semblance, and Pisáchas of great strength, of different shapes and features, armed with various weapons, and blazing like fire, were delighted to be present, as the followers of the god. There stood the royal Nandí, high in the favour of his lord, armed with a fiery trident, shining with inherent lustre; and there the best of rivers, Gangá, the assemblage of all holy waters, stood adoring the mighty deity. Thus worshipped by all the most excellent of sages and of gods, abode the omnipotent and all-glorious Mahádeva.

"In former times, Daksha commenced a holy sacrifice on the side of Himaván, at the sacred spot Gangadwára, frequented by the Rishis. The gods, desirous of assisting at this solemn rite, came, with Indra at their head, to Mahádeva, and intimated their purpose; and having received his permission, departed in their splendid chariots to Gangadwára, as tradition reports224. They found Daksha, the best of the devout, [p.63] surrounded by the singers and nymphs of heaven, and by numerous sages, beneath the shade of clustering trees and climbing plants; and all of them, whether dwellers on earth, in air, or in the regions above the skies, approached the patriarch with outward gestures of respect. The Ádityas, Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, all entitled to partake of the oblations, together with Jishńu, were present. The four classes of Pitris, Ushmapás, Somapás, Ájyapás, and Dhúmapás, or those who feed upon the flame, the acid juice, the butter, or the smoke of offerings, the Aswins and the progenitors, came along with Brahmá. Creatures of every class, born from the womb, the egg, from vapour, or vegetation, came upon their invocation; as did all the gods, with their brides, who in their resplendent vehicles blazed like so many fires. Beholding them thus assembled, the sage Dadhícha was filled with indignation, and observed, 'The man who worships what ought not to be worshipped, or pays not reverence where veneration is due, is guilty, most assuredly, of heinous sin.' Then addressing Daksha, he said to him, 'Why do you not offer homage to the god who is the lord of life (Paśubhartri)?' Daksha spake; 'I have already many Rudras present, armed with tridents, wearing braided hair, and existing in eleven forms: I recognise no other Mahádeva.' Dadhícha spake; 'The invocation that is not addressed to Íśa, is, for all, but a solitary (and imperfect) summons. Inasmuch as I behold no other divinity who is superior to Śankara, this sacrifice of Daksha will not be completed.' Daksha spake; I offer, in a golden cup, this entire oblation, which has been consecrated by many prayers, as an offering ever due to the unequalled Vishńu, the sovereign lord of all225.'


"In the meanwhile, the virtuous daughter of the mountain king, observing the departure of the divinities, addressed her lord, the god of living beings, and saidUmá spake'Whither, oh lord, have the gods, preceded by Indra, this day departed? Tell me truly, oh thou who knowest all truth, for a great doubt perplexes me.' Maheśwara spake; Illustrious goddess, the excellent patriarch Daksha celebrates the sacrifice of a horse, and thither the gods repair.' Deví spake; Why then, most mighty god, dost thou also not proceed to this solemnity? by what hinderance is thy progress thither impeded?' Maheśwara spake; 'This is the contrivance, mighty queen, of all the gods, that in all sacrifices no portion should be assigned to me. In consequence of an arrangement formerly devised, the gods allow me, of right, no participation of sacrificial offerings.' Deví spake; 'The lord god lives in all bodily forms, and his might is eminent through his superior faculties; he is unsurpassable, he is unapproachable, in splendour and glory and power. That such as he should be excluded from his share of oblations, fills me with deep sorrow, and a trembling, oh sinless, seizes upon my frame. Shall I now practise bounty, restraint, or penance, so that my lord, who is inconceivable, may obtain a share, a half or a third portion, of the sacrifice226?'


"Then the mighty and incomprehensible deity, being pleased, said to his bride, thus agitated; and speaking; 'Slender-waisted queen of the gods, thou knowest not the purport of what thou sayest; but I know it, oh thou with large eyes, for the holy declare all things by meditation. By thy perplexity this day are all the gods, with Mahendra and all the three worlds, utterly confounded. In my sacrifice, those who worship me, repeat my praises, and chant the Rathantara song of the Sáma veda; my priests worship me in the sacrifice of true wisdom, where no officiating Brahman is needed; and in this they offer me my portion.' Deví spake; 'The lord is the root of all, and assuredly, in every assemblage of the female world, praises or hides himself at will.' Mahádeva spake; 'Queen of the gods, I praise not myself: approach, and behold whom I shall create for the purpose of claiming my share of the rite.'

"Having thus spoken to his beloved spouse, the mighty Maheśwara created from his mouth a being like the fire of fate; a divine being, with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs, a thousand shafts; holding the shell, the discus, the mace, and bearing a blazing bow and battle-axe; fierce and terrific, shining with dreadful splendour, and decorated with the crescent moon; clothed in a tiger's skin, dripping with blood; having a capacious stomach, and a vast mouth, armed with formidable tusks: his ears were erect, his lips were pendulous, his tongue was lightning; his hand brandished the thunderbolt; [p.66] flames streamed from his hair; a necklace of pearls wound round his neck; a garland of flame descended on his breast: radiant with lustre, he looked like the final fire that consumes the world. Four tremendous tusks projected from a mouth which extended from ear to ear: he was of vast bulk, vast strength, a mighty male and lord, the destroyer of the universe, and like a large fig-tree in circumference; shining like a hundred moons at once; fierce as the fire of love; having four heads, sharp white teeth, and of mighty fierceness, vigour, activity, and courage; glowing with the blaze of a thousand fiery suns at the end of the world; like a thousand undimmed moons: in bulk like Himádri, Kailása, or Meru, or Mandara, with all its gleaming herbs; bright as the sun of destruction at the end of ages; of irresistible prowess, and beautiful aspect; irascible, with lowering eyes, and a countenance burning like fire; clothed in the hide of the elephant and lion, and girt round with snakes; wearing a turban on his head, a moon on his brow; sometimes savage, sometimes mild; having a chaplet of many flowers on his head, anointed with various unguents, and adorned with different ornaments and many sorts of jewels; wearing a garland of heavenly Karnikára flowers, and rolling his eyes with rage. Sometimes he danced; sometimes he laughed aloud; sometimes he stood wrapt in meditation; sometimes he trampled upon the earth; sometimes he sang; sometimes he wept repeatedly: and he was endowed with the faculties of wisdom, dispassion, power, penance, truth, endurance, fortitude, dominion, and self-knowledge.

"This being, then, knelt down upon the ground, and raising his hands respectfully to his head, said to Mahádeva, 'Sovereign of the gods, command what it is that I must do for thee.' To which Maheśwara replied, Spoil the sacrifice of Daksha.' Then the mighty Vírabhadra, having heard the pleasure of his lord, bowed down his head to the feet of Prajápati; and starting like a lion loosed from bonds, despoiled the sacrifice of Daksha, knowing that the had been created by the displeasure of Deví. She too in her wrath, as the fearful goddess Rudrakálí, accompanied him, with all her train, to witness his deeds. Vírabhadra the fierce, abiding in the region of ghosts, is the minister of the anger of [p.67] Deví. And he then created, from the pores of his skin, powerful demigods, the mighty attendants upon Rudra, of equal valour and strength, who started by hundreds and thousands into existence. Then a loud and confused clamour filled all the expanse of ether, and inspired the denizens of heaven with dread. The mountains tottered, and earth shook; the winds roared, and the depths of the sea were disturbed; the fires lost their radiance, and the sun grew pale; the planets of the firmament shone not, neither did the stars give light; the Rishis ceased their hymns, and gods and demons were mute; and thick darkness eclipsed the chariots of the skies227.

"Then from the gloom emerged fearful and numerous forms, shouting the cry of battle; who instantly broke or overturned the sacrificial columns, trampled upon the altars, and danced amidst the oblations. Running wildly hither and thither, with the speed of wind, they tossed about the implements and vessels of sacrifice, which looked like stars precipitated from the heavens. The piles of food and beverage for the gods, which had been heaped up like mountains; the rivers of milk; the banks of curds and butter; the sands of honey and butter-milk and sugar; the mounds of condiments and spices of every flavour; the undulating knolls of flesh and other viands; the celestial liquors, pastes, and confections, which had been prepared; these the spirits of wrath devoured or defiled or scattered abroad. Then falling upon the host of the gods, these vast and resistless Rudras beat or terrified them, mocked and insulted the nymphs and goddesses, and quickly put an end to the rite, although defended by all the gods; being the ministers of Rudra's wrath, and similar to himself228. Some then made a hideous clamour, whilst others fearfully shouted, when Yajna was decapitated. For the [p.68] divine Yajna, the lord of sacrifice, then began to fly up to heaven, in the shape of a deer; and Vírabhadra, of immeasurable spirit, apprehending his power, cut off his vast head, after he had mounted into the sky229. Daksha the patriarch, his sacrifice being destroyed, overcome with terror, and utterly broken in spirit, fell then upon the ground, where his head was spurned by the feet of the cruel Vírabhadra230. The thirty scores of sacred divinities were all presently bound, with a band of fire, by their lion-like foe; and they all then addressed him, crying, 'Oh Rudra, have mercy upon thy servants: oh lord, dismiss thine anger.' Thus spake Brahmá and the other gods, and the patriarch Daksha; and raising their hands, they said, 'Declare, mighty being, who thou art.' Vírabhadra said, 'I am not a god, nor an Áditya; nor am I come hither for enjoyment, nor curious to behold the chiefs of the divinities: know that I am come to destroy the sacrifice of Daksha, and that I am called Vírabhadra, the issue of the wrath of Rudra. Bhadrakálí also, who has sprung from the anger of Deví, is sent here by the god of gods to destroy this rite. Take refuge, king of kings, with him who is the lord of Umá; for better is the anger of Rudra than the blessings of other gods.'


"Having heard the words of Vírabhadra, the righteous Daksha propitiated the mighty god, the holder of the trident, Maheśwara. The hearth of sacrifice, deserted by the Brahmans, had been consumed; Yajna had been metamorphosed to an antelope; the fires of Rudra's wrath had been kindled; the attendants, wounded by the tridents of the servants of the god, were groaning with pain; the pieces of the uprooted sacrificial posts were scattered here and there; and the fragments of the meat-offerings were carried off by flights of hungry vultures, and herds of howling jackals. Suppressing his vital airs, and taking up a posture of meditation, the many-sighted victor of his foes, Daksha fixed his eyes every where upon his thoughts. Then the god of gods appeared from the altar, resplendent as a thousand suns, and smiled upon him, and said, 'Daksha, thy sacrifice has been destroyed through sacred knowledge: I am well pleased with thee:' and then he smiled again, and said, 'What shall I do for thee; declare, together with the preceptor of the gods.'

"Then Daksha, frightened, alarmed, and agitated, his eyes suffused with tears, raised his hands reverentially to his brow, and said, 'If, lord, thou art pleased; if I have found favour in thy sight; if I am to be the object of thy benevolence; if thou wilt confer upon me a boon, this is the blessing I solicit, that all these provisions for the solemn sacrifice, which have been collected with much trouble and during a long time, and which have now been eaten, drunk, devoured, burnt, broken, scattered abroad, may not have been prepared in vain.' 'So let it be,' replied Hara, the subduer of Indra. And thereupon Daksha knelt down upon the earth, and praised gratefully the author of righteousness, the three-eyed god Mahádeva, repeating the eight thousand names of the deity whose emblem is a bull."



Legend of Lakshmí. Durvásas gives a garland to Indra: he treats it disrespectfully, and is cursed by the Muni. The power of the gods impaired: they are oppressed by the Dánavas, and have recourse to Vishńu. The churning of the ocean. Praises of Śrí.

PARÁŚARA.But with respect to the question thou hast asked me, Maitreya, relating to the history of Śrí, hear from me the tale as it was told to me by Maríchi.

Durvásas, a portion of Śankara (Śiva)231, was wandering over the earth; when be beheld, in the hands of a nymph of air232, a garland of flowers culled from the trees of heaven, the fragrant odour of which spread throughout the forest, and enraptured all who dwelt beneath its shade. The sage, who was then possessed by religious phrensy233, when he beheld that garland, demanded it of the graceful and full-eyed nymph, who, bowing to him reverentially, immediately presented it to him. He, as one frantic, placed the chaplet upon his brow, and thus decorated resumed his path; when he beheld (Indra) the husband of Śachí, the ruler of the three worlds, approach, seated on his infuriated elephant Airávata, and attended by the gods. The phrensied sage, taking from his head the garland of flowers, amidst which the bees collected ambrosia, threw it to the king of the gods, who caught it, and suspended it on the brow of Airávata, where it shone like the river Jáhnaví, glittering on the dark summit of the mountain Kailása. The elephant, whose eyes were dim with inebriety, and attracted by the smell, took hold of the garland with his trunk, and cast it on the earth. That chief of sages, Durvásas, was [p.71] highly incensed at this disrespectful treatment of his gift, and thus angrily addressed the sovereign of the immortals: "Inflated with the intoxication of power, Vásava, vile of spirit, thou art an idiot not to respect the garland I presented to thee, which was the dwelling of Fortune (Śrí). Thou hast not acknowledged it as a largess; thou hast not bowed thyself before me; thou hast not placed the wreath upon thy head, with thy countenance expanding with delight. Now, fool, for that thou hast not infinitely prized the garland that I gave thee, thy sovereignty over the three worlds shall be subverted. Thou confoundest me, Śakra, with other Brahmans, and hence I have suffered disrespect from thy arrogance: but in like manner as thou hast cast the garland I gave thee down on the ground, so shall thy dominion over the universe be whelmed in ruin. Thou hast offended one whose wrath is dreaded by all created things, king of the gods, even me, by thine excessive pride."

Descending hastily from his elephant, Mahendra endeavoured to appease the sinless Durvásas: but to the excuses and prostrations of the thousand-eyed, the Muni answered, "I am not of a compassionate heart, nor is forgiveness congenial to my nature. Other Munis may relent; but know me, Śakra, to be Durvásas. Thou hast in vain been rendered insolent by Gautama and others; for know me, Indra, to be Durvásas, whose nature is a stranger to remorse. Thou hast been flattered by Vaśisht́ha and other tender-hearted saints, whose loud praises (lave made thee so arrogant, that thou hast insulted me. But who is there in the universe that can behold my countenance, dark with frowns, and surrounded by my blazing hair, and not tremble? What need of words? I will not forgive, whatever semblance of humility thou mayest assume."

Having thus spoken, the Brahman went his way; and the king of the gods, remounting his elephant, returned to his capital Amarávati. Thenceforward, Maitreya, the three worlds and Śakra lost their vigour, and all vegetable products, plants, and herbs were withered and died; sacrifices were no longer offered; devout exercises no longer practised; men were no more addicted to charity, or any moral or religious obligation; [p.72] all beings became devoid of steadiness234; all the faculties of sense were obstructed by cupidity; and men's desires were excited by frivolous objects. Where there is energy, there is prosperity; and upon prosperity energy depends. How can those abandoned by prosperity be possessed of energy; and without energy, where is excellence? Without excellence there can be no vigour nor heroism amongst men: he who has neither courage nor strength, will be spurned by all: and he who is universally treated with disgrace, must suffer abasement of his intellectual faculties.

The three regions being thus wholly divested of prosperity, and deprived of energy, the Dánavas and sons of Diti, the enemies of the gods, who were incapable of steadiness, and agitated by ambition, put forth their strength against the gods. They engaged in war with the feeble and unfortunate divinities; and Indra and the rest, being overcome in fight, fled for refuge to Brahmá, preceded by the god of flame (Hutáśana). When the great father of the universe had heard all that had come to pass, he said to the deities, "Repair for protection to the god of high and low; the tamer of the demons; the causeless cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; the progenitor of the progenitors; the immortal, unconquerable Vishńu; the cause of matter and spirit, of his unengendered products; the remover of the grief of all who humble themselves before him: he will give you aid." Having thus spoken to the deities, Brahmá proceeded along with them to the northern shore of the sea of milk; and with reverential words thus prayed to the supreme Hari:

"We glorify him who is all things; the lord supreme over all; unborn, imperishable; the protector of the mighty ones of creation; the unperceived, indivisible Náráyańa; the smallest of the smallest, the largest of the largest, of the elements; in whom are all things, from whom are all things; who was before existence; the god who is all beings; who is the end of ultimate objects; who is beyond final spirit, and is one with supreme soul; who is contemplated as the cause of final liberation by [p.73] sages anxious to be free; in whom are not the qualities of goodness, foulness, or darkness, that belong to undeveloped nature. May that purest of all pure spirits this day be propitious to us. May that Hari be propitious to us, whose inherent might is not an object of the progressive chain of moments or of days, that make up time. May he who is called the supreme god, who is not in need of assistance, Hari, the soul of all embodied substance, be favourable unto us. May that Hari, who is both cause and effect; who is the cause of cause, the effect of effect; he who is the effect of successive effect; who is the effect of the effect of the effect himself; the product of the effect of the effect of the effect, or elemental substance; to him I bow235. The cause of the cause; the cause of the cause of the cause; the cause of them all; to him I bow. To him who is the enjoyer and thing to be enjoyed; the creator and thing to be created; who is the agent and the effect; to that supreme being I bow. The infinite nature of Vishńu is pure, intelligent, perpetual, unborn, undecayable, inexhaustible, inscrutable, immutable; it is neither gross nor subtile, nor capable of being defined: to that ever holy nature of Vishńu I bow. To him whose faculty to create the universe abides in but a part of but the ten-millionth part of him; to him who is one with the inexhaustible supreme spirit, I bow: and to the glorious nature of the supreme Vishńu, which nor gods, nor sages, nor I, nor Śankara apprehend; that nature which the Yogis, after incessant effort, effacing both moral merit and demerit, behold to be contemplated in the mystical monosyllable Om: the supreme glory of Vishńu, who is the first of all; of whom, one only god, the triple energy is the same with Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva: oh lord of all, great soul of all, asylum of all, undecayable, have pity upon thy servants; oh Vishńu, be manifest unto us."


Paráśara continued.The gods, having heard this prayer uttered by Brahmá, bowed down, and cried, "Be favourable to us; be present to our sight: we bow down to that glorious nature which the mighty Brahmá does not know; that which is thy nature, oh imperishable, in whom the universe abides." Then the gods having ended, Vrihaspati and the divine Rishis thus prayed: "We bow down to the being entitled to adoration; who is the first object of sacrifice; who was before the first of things; the creator of the creator of the world; the undefinable: oh lord of all that has been or is to be; imperishable type of sacrifice; have pity upon thy worshippers; appear to them, prostrate before thee. Here is Brahmá; here is Trilochana (the three-eyed Śiva), with the Rudras; Pushá, (the sun), with the Ádityas; and Fire, with all the mighty luminaries: here are the sons of Aswiní (the two Aswiní Kumáras), the Vasus and all the winds, the Sádhyas, the Viśwadevas, and Indra the king of the gods: all of whom bow lowly before thee: all the tribes of the immortals, vanquished by the demon host, have fled to thee for succour."

Thus prayed to, the supreme deity, the mighty holder of the conch and discus, shewed himself to them: and beholding the lord of gods, bearing a shell, a discus, and a mace, the assemblage of primeval form, and radiant with embodied light, Pitámahá and the other deities, their eyes moistened with rapture, first paid him homage, and then thus addressed him: "Repeated salutation to thee, who art indefinable: thou art Brahmá; thou art the wielder of the Pináka bow (Śiva); thou art Indra; thou art fire, air, the god of waters, the sun, the king of death (Yama), the Vasus, the Máruts (the winds), the Sádhyas, and Viśwadevas. This assembly of divinities, that now has come before thee, thou art; for, the creator of the world, thou art every where. Thou art the sacrifice, the prayer of oblation, the mystic syllable Om, the sovereign of all creatures: thou art all that is to be known, or to be unknown: oh universal soul, the whole world consists of thee. We, discomfited by the Daityas, have fled to thee, oh Vishńu, for refuge. Spirit of all, have compassion upon us; defend us with thy mighty power. There will be affliction, desire, trouble, and grief, until thy protection is obtained: but thou art the remover of all sins. Do thou then, oh pure of spirit, shew favour unto [p.75] us, who have fled to thee: oh lord of all, protect us with thy great power, in union with the goddess who is thy strength236." Hari, the creator of the universe, being thus prayed to by the prostrate divinities, smiled, and thus spake: "With renovated energy, oh gods, I will restore your strength. Do you act as I enjoin. Let all the gods, associated with the Asuras, cast all sorts of medicinal herbs into the sea of milk; and then taking the mountain Mandara for the churning-stick, the serpent Vásuki for the rope, churn the ocean together for ambrosia; depending upon my aid. To secure the assistance of the Daityas, you must be at peace with them, and engage to give them an equal portion of the fruit of your associated toil; promising them, that by drinking the Amrita that shall be produced from the agitated ocean, they shall become mighty and immortal. I will take care that the enemies of the gods shall not partake of the precious draught; that they shall share in the labour alone."

Being thus instructed by the god of gods, the divinities entered into alliance with the demons, and they jointly undertook the acquirement of the beverage of immortality. They collected various kinds of medicinal herbs, and cast them into the sea of milk, the waters of which were radiant as the thin and shining clouds of autumn. They then took the mountain Mandara for the staff; the serpent Vásuki for the cord; and commenced to churn the ocean for the Amrita. The assembled gods were stationed by Krishńa at the tail of the serpent; the Daityas and Dánavas at its head and neck. Scorched by the flames emitted from his inflated hood, the demons were shorn of their glory; whilst the clouds driven towards his tail by the breath of his mouth, refreshed the gods with revivifying showers. In the midst of the milky sea, Hari himself, in the form of a tortoise, served as a pivot for the mountain, as it was whirled around. The holder of the mace and discus was present in other forms amongst the gods and demons, and assisted to drag the monarch of the serpent race: and in another vast body he sat upon the summit of the mountain. With one portion of his energy, unseen by gods or demons, he sustained the serpent king; and with another, infused vigour into the gods.


From the ocean, thus churned by the gods and Dánavas, first uprose the cow Surabhi, the fountain of milk and curds, worshipped by the divinities, and beheld by them and their associates with minds disturbed, and eyes glistening with delight. Then, as the holy Siddhas in the sky wondered what this could be, appeared the goddess Váruní (the deity of wine), her eyes rolling with intoxication. Next, from the whirlpool of the deep, sprang the celestial Párijáta tree, the delight of the nymphs of heaven, perfuming the world with its blossoms. The troop of Ápsarasas, the nymphs of heaven, were then produced, of surprising loveliness, endowed with beauty and with taste. The cool-rayed moon next rose, and was seized by Mahádeva: and then poison was engendered from the sea, of which the snake gods (Nágas) took possession. Dhanwantari, robed in white, and bearing in his hand the cup of Amrita, next came forth: beholding which, the sons of Diti and of Danu, as well as the Munis, were filled with satisfaction and delight. Then, seated on a full-blown lotus, and holding a water-lily in her hand, the goddess Śrí, radiant with beauty, rose from the waves. The great sages, enraptured, hymned her with the song dedicated to her praise237. Viśwavasu and other heavenly quiristers sang, and Ghritáchí and other celestial nymphs danced before her. Gangá and other holy streams attended for her ablutions; and the elephants of the skies, taking up their pure waters in vases of gold, poured them over the goddess, the queen of the universal world. The sea of milk in person presented her with a wreath of never-fading flowers; and the artist of the gods (Viswakermá) decorated her person with heavenly ornaments. Thus bathed, attired, and adorned, the goddess, in the view of the celestials, cast herself upon the breast of Hari; and there reclining, turned her eyes upon the deities, who were inspired with rapture by her gaze. Not so the Daityas, who, with Viprachitti at their head, were filled with indignation, as Vishńu turned away from them, and they were abandoned by the goddess of prosperity (Lakshmí.)

The powerful and indignant Daityas then forcibly seized the Amrita-cup, that was in the hand of Dhanwantari: but Vishńu, assuming a female form, fascinated and deluded them; and recovering the Amrita [p.77] from them, delivered it to the gods. Śakra and the other deities quaffed the ambrosia. The incensed demons, grasping their weapons, fell upon them; but the gods, into whom the ambrosial draught had infused new vigour, defeated and put their host to flight, and they fled through the regions of space, and plunged into the subterraneous realms of Pátála. The gods thereat greatly rejoiced, did homage to the holder of the discus and mace, and resumed their reign in heaven. The sun shone with renovated splendour, and again discharged his appointed task; and the celestial luminaries again circled, oh best of Munis, in their respective orbits. Fire once more blazed aloft, beautiful in splendour; and the minds of all beings were animated by devotion. The three worlds again were rendered happy by prosperity; and Indra, the chief of the gods, was restored to power238. Seated upon his throne, and once more in [p.78] heaven, exercising sovereignty over the gods, Śakra thus eulogized the goddess who bears a lotus in her hand:

"I bow down to Śrí, the mother of all beings, seated on her lotus throne, with eyes like full-blown lotuses, reclining on the breast of Vishńu. Thou art Siddhi (superhuman power): thou art Swadhá and Swáhá: thou art ambrosia (Sudhá), the purifier of the universe: thou art evening, night, and dawn: thou art power, faith, intellect: thou art the goddess of letters (Saraswatí). Thou, beautiful goddess, art knowledge of devotion, [p.79] great knowledge, mystic knowledge, and spiritual knowledge239; which confers eternal liberation. Thou art the science of reasoning, the three Vedas, the arts and sciences240: thou art moral and political science. The world is peopled by thee with pleasing or displeasing forms. Who else than thou, oh goddess, is seated on that person of the god of gods, the wielder of the mace, which is made up of sacrifice, and contemplated by holy ascetics? Abandoned by thee, the three worlds were on the brink of ruin; but they have been reanimated by thee. From thy propitious gaze, oh mighty goddess, men obtain wives, children, dwellings, friends, harvests, wealth. Health and strength, power, victory, happiness, are easy of attainment to those upon whom thou smilest. Thou art the mother of all beings, as the god of gods, Hari, is their father; and this world, whether animate or inanimate, is pervaded by thee and Vishńu. Oh thou who purifiest all things, forsake not our treasures, our granaries, our dwellings, our dependants, our persons, our wives: abandon not our children, our friends, our lineage, our jewels, oh thou who abidest on the bosom of the god of gods. They whom thou desertest are forsaken by truth, by purity, and goodness, by every amiable and excellent quality; whilst the base and worthless upon whom thou lookest favourably become immediately endowed with all excellent qualifications, with families, and with power. He on whom thy countenance is turned is honourable, amiable, prosperous, wise, and of exalted birth; a hero of irresistible prowess: but all his merits and his advantages are converted into worthlessness from whom, beloved of Vishńu, mother of the world, thou avertest thy face. The tongues of Brahmá, are unequal to celebrate thy excellence. Be propitious to me, oh goddess, lotus-eyed, and never forsake me more."

Being thus praised, the gratified Śrí, abiding in all creatures, and [p.80] heard by all beings, replied to the god of a hundred rites (Śatakratu); "I am pleased, monarch of the gods, by thine adoration. Demand from me what thou desirest: I have come to fulfil thy wishes." "If, goddess," replied Indra, "thou wilt grant my prayers; if I am worthy of thy bounty; be this my first request, that the three worlds may never again be deprived of thy presence. My second supplication, daughter of ocean, is, that thou wilt not forsake him who shall celebrate thy praises in the words I have addressed to thee." "I will not abandon," the goddess answered, "the three worlds again: this thy first boon is granted; for I am gratified by thy praises: and further, I will never turn my face away from that mortal who morning and evening shall repeat the hymn with which thou hast addressed me."

Paráśara proceeded.Thus, Maitreya, in former times the goddess Śrí conferred these boons upon the king of the gods, being pleased by his adorations; but her first birth was as the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyáti: it was at a subsequent period that she was produced from the sea, at the churning of the ocean by the demons and the gods, to obtain ambrosia241. For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí. Thus when Hari was born as a dwarf, the son of Adití, Lakshmí appeared from a lotus (as Padmá, or Kamalá); when he was born as Ráma, of the race of Bhrigu (or Paraśuráma), she was Dharańí; when he was Rághava (Rámachandra), she was Sítá; and when he was Krishńa, she became Rukminí. In the other descents of Vishńu, she is his associate. If he takes a celestial form, she appears as divine; if a mortal, she becomes a mortal too, transforming her own person agreeably to whatever character it pleases Vishńu to put on. Whosoever hears this [p.81] account of the birth of Lakshmí, whosoever reads it, shall never lose the goddess Fortune from his dwelling for three generations; and misfortune, the fountain of strife, shall never enter into those houses in which the hymns to Śrí are repeated.

Thus, Brahman, have I narrated to thee, in answer to thy question, how Lakshmí, formerly the daughter of Bhrigu, sprang from the sea of milk; and misfortune shall never visit those amongst mankind who daily recite the praises of Lakshmí uttered by Indra, which are the origin and cause of all prosperity.



The descendants of the daughters of Daksha married to the Rishis.

MAITREYA.Thou hast narrated to me, great Muni, all that I asked of thee: now resume the account of the creation subsequently to Bhrigu.

PARÁŚARA.Lakshmí, the bride of Vishńu, was the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyáti. They had also two sons, Dhátri and Vidhátri, who married the two daughters of the illustrious Meru, Áyati and Niryati; and had by them each a son, named Práńa and Mrikańd́a. The son of the latter was Márkańd́eya, from whom Vedaśiras was born242. The son of Práńa was named Dyutimat, and his son was Rájavat; after whom, the race of Bhrigu became infinitely multiplied.

Sambhúti, the wife of Maríchi, gave birth to Paurnamása, whose sons were Virajas and Sarvaga. I shall hereafter notice his other descendants, when I give a more particular account of the race of Maríchi243.

The wife of Angiras, Smriti, bore daughters named Siniválí, Kuhu, [p.83] Ráká, and Anumati (phases of the moon244). Anasúyá, the wife of Atri, was the mother of three sinless sons, Soma (the moon), Durvásas, and the ascetic Dattátrey245. Pulastya had, by Príti, a son called in a former birth, or in the Swáyambhuva Manwantara, Dattoli, who is now known as the sage Agastya246. Kshamá, the wife of the patriarch Pulaha, was the mother of three sons, Karmasa, Arvarívat, and Sahishńu247. The wife of Kratu, Sannati, brought forth the sixty thousand Bálakhilyas, pigmy sages, no bigger than a joint of the thumb, chaste, pious, resplendent as the rays of the sun248. Vaśisht́ha had seven sons by his wife Urjjá, Rajas, Gátra, Úrddhabáhu, Savana, Anagha, Sutapas, and Śukra, the seven pure sages249. The Agni named Abhimání, who is the eldest born of [p.84] Brahmá, had, by Swáhá, three sons of surpassing brilliancy, Pávaka, Pavamána, and Śuchi, who drinks up water: they had forty-five sons, who, with the original son of Brahmá and his three descendants, constitute the forty-nine fires250. The progenitors (Pitris), who, as I have mentioned, were created by Brahmá, were the Agnishwáttas and Varhishads; the former being devoid of, and the latter possessed of, fires251. By them, Swadhá had two daughters, Mená and Dháraní, who were both acquainted with theological truth, and both addicted to religious meditation; both accomplished in perfect wisdom, and adorned with all estimable qualities252. Thus has been explained the progeny of the [p.85] daughters of Daksha254. He who with faith recapitulates the account, shall never want offspring.



Legend of Dhruva, the son of Uttánapáda: he is unkindly treated by his father's second wife: applies to his mother: her advice: he resolves to engage in religious exercises: sees the seven Rishis, who recommend him to propitiate Vishńu.

PARÁŚARA continued.I mentioned to you, that the Manu Swáyambhuva had two heroic and pious sons, Priyavrata and Uttánapáda. Of these two, the latter had a son whom he dearly loved, Uttama, by his favourite wife Suruchi. By his queen, named Suníti, to whom he was less attached, he also had a son, called Dhruva255. Observing his brother Uttama on the lap of his father, as he was seated upon his throne, Dhruva was desirous of ascending to the same place; but as Suruchi was present, the Rája did not gratify the desire of his son, respectfully wishing to be taken on his father's knee. Beholding the child of her rival thus anxious to be placed on his father's lap, and her own son already seated there, Suruchi thus addressed the boy: "Why, child, do you vainly indulge in such presumptuous hopes? You are born from a different mother, and are no son of mine, that you should aspire inconsiderately to a station fit for the excellent Uttama alone. It is true you are the son of the Rája, but I have not given you birth. This regal throne, the seat of the king of kings, is suited to my son only; why should you aspire to its occupation? why idly cherish such lofty ambition, as if you were my son? do you forget that you are but the offspring of Suníti."

The boy, having heard the speech of his step-mother, quitted his father, and repaired in a passion to the apartment of his own mother; who, beholding him vexed, took him upon her lap, and, gently smiling, asked him what was the cause of his anger, who had displeased him, and if any one, forgetting the respect due to his father, had behaved ill to [p.87] him. Dhruva, in reply, repeated to her all that the arrogant Suruchi had said to him in the presence of the king. Deeply distressed by the narrative of the boy, the humble Suníti, her eyes dimmed with tears, sighed, and said, "Suruchi has rightly spoken; thine, child, is an unhappy fate: those who are born to fortune are not liable to the insults of their rivals. Yet be not afflicted, my child, for who shall efface what thou hast formerly done, or shall assign to thee what thou hast left undone. The regal throne, the umbrella of royalty, horses and elephants, are his whose virtues have deserved them: remember this, my son, and be consoled. That the king favours Suruchi is the reward of her merits in a former existence. The name of wife alone belongs to such as I, who have not equal merit. Her son is the progeny of accumulated piety, and is born as Uttama: mine has been born as Dhruva, of inferior moral worth. Therefore, my son, it is not proper for you to grieve; a wise man will be contented with that degree which appertains to him: but if you continue to feel hurt at the words of Suruchi, endeavour to augment that religious merit which bestows all good; be amiable, be pious, be friendly, be assiduous in benevolence to all living creatures; for prosperity descends upon modest worth as water flows towards low ground."

Dhruva answered; "Mother, the words that you have addressed to me for my consolation find no place in a heart that contumely has broken. I will exert myself to obtain such elevated rank, that it shall be revered by the whole world. Though I be not born of Suruchi, the beloved of the king, you shall behold my glory, who am your son. Let Uttama my brother, her child, possess the throne given to him by my father; I wish for no other honours than such as my own actions shall acquire, such as even my father has not enjoyed."

Having thus spoken, Dhruva went forth from his mother's dwelling: he quitted the city, and entered an adjoining thicket, where he beheld seven Munis sitting upon hides of the black antelope, which they had taken from off their persons, and spread over the holy kusa grass. Saluting them reverentially, and bowing humbly before then, the prince said, "Behold in me, venerable men, the son of Uttánapáda, born of [p.88] Suníti. Dissatisfied with the world, I appear before you." The Rishis replied; "The son of a king, and but four or five years of age, there can be no reason, child, why you should be dissatisfied with life; you cannot be in want of any thing whilst the king your father reigns; we cannot imagine that you suffer the pain of separation from the object of your affections; nor do we observe in your person any sign of disease. What is the cause of your discontent? Tell us, if it is known to yourself."

Dhruva then repeated to the Rishis what Suruchi had spoken to him; and when they had heard his story, they said to one another, "How surprising is the vehemence of the Kshetriya nature, that resentment is cherished even by a child, and he cannot efface from his mind the harsh speeches of a step-mother. Son of a Kshetriya, tell us, if it be agreeable to thee, what thou hast proposed, through dissatisfaction with the world, to accomplish. If thou wishest our aid in what thou hast to do, declare it freely, for we perceive that thou art desirous to speak."

Dhruva said; "Excellent sages, I wish not for riches, neither do I want dominion: I aspire to such a station as no one before me has attained. Tell me what I must do to effect this object; how I may reach an elevation superior to all other dignities." The Rishis severally thus replied.Maríchi said; "The best of stations is not within the reach of men who fail to propitiate Govinda. Do thou, prince, worship the undecaying (Achyuta)." Atri said; "He with whom the first of spirits, Janárddana, is pleased, obtains imperishable dignity. I declare unto you the truth." Angiras said; "If you desire an exalted station, worship that Govinda in whom, immutable and undecaying, all that is, exists." Pulastya said; "He who adores the divine Hari, the supreme soul, supreme glory, who is the supreme Brahma, obtains what is difficult of attainment, eternal liberation." "When that Janárddana," observed Kratu, "who in sacrifices is the soul of sacrifice, and who in abstract contemplation is supreme spirit, is pleased, there is nothing man may not acquire." Pulaha said; "Indra, having worshipped" the lord of the world, obtained the dignity of king of the celestials. Do thou adore, pious youth, that Vishńu, the lord of sacrifice." "Any thing, child, that the mind covets," exclaimed Vaśisht́ha, "may be obtained by propitiating [p.89] Vishńu, even though it he the station that is the most excellent in the three worlds."

Dhruva replied to them; "You have told me, humbly bending before you, what deity is to be propitiated: now inform me what prayer is to he meditated by me, that will offer him gratification. May the great Rishis, looking upon me with favour, instruct me how I am to propitiate the god." The Rishis answered; "Prince, thou deservest to hear how the adoration of Vishńu has been performed by those who have been devoted to his service. The mind must first be made to forsake all external impressions, and a man must then fix it steadily on that being in whom the world is. By him whose thoughts are thus concentrated on one only object, and wholly filled by it; whose spirit is firmly under control; the prayer that we shall repeat to thee is to be inaudibly recited: 'Om! glory to Vásudeva, whose essence is divine wisdom; whose form is inscrutable, or is manifest as Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva256.' This prayer, which was formerly uttered by your grandsire, the Manu Swáyambhuva, and propitiated by which, Vishńu conferred upon him the prosperity he desired, and which was unequalled in the three worlds, is to be recited by thee. Do thou constantly repeat this prayer, for the gratification of Govinda."



Dhruva commences a course of religious austerities. Unsuccessful attempts of Indra and his ministers to distract Dhruva's attention: they appeal to Vishńu, who allays their fears, and appears to Dhruva. Dhruva praises Vishńu, and is raised to the skies as the pole-star.

THE prince, having received these instructions, respectfully saluted the sages, and departed from the forest, fully confiding in the accomplishment of his purposes. He repaired to the holy place, on the banks of the Yamuná, called Madhu or Madhuvana, the grove of Madhu, after the demon of that name, who formerly abided there. Śatrughna (the younger brother of Ráma) having slain the Rákshas Lavańa, the son of Madhu, founded a city on the spot, which was named Mathurá. At this holy shrine, the purifier from all sin, which enjoyed the presence of the sanctifying god of gods, Dhruva performed penance, as enjoined by Maríchi and the sages: he contemplated Vishńu, the sovereign of all the gods, seated in himself. Whilst his mind was wholly absorbed in meditation, the mighty Hari, identical with all beings and with all natures, (took possession of his heart.) Vishńu being thus present in his mind, the earth, the supporter of elemental life, could not sustain the weight of the ascetic. As he stood upon his left foot, one hemisphere bent beneath him; and when he stood upon his right, the other half of the earth sank down. When he touched the earth with his toes, it shook with all its mountains, and the rivers and the seas were troubled, and the gods partook of the universal agitation.

The celestials called Yámas, being excessively alarmed, then took counsel with Indra how they should interrupt the devout exercises of Dhruva; and the divine beings termed Kushmáńd́as, in company with their king, commenced anxious efforts to distract his meditations. One, assuming the semblance of his mother Suníti, stood weeping before him, and calling in tender accents, "My son, my son, desist from destroying thy strength by this fearful penance. I have gained thee, my son, after [p.91] much anxious hope: thou canst not have the cruelty to quit me, helpless, alone, and unprotected, on account of the unkindness of my rival. Thou art my only refuge; I have no hope but thou. What hast thou, a child but five years old, to do with rigorous penance? Desist from such fearful practices, that yield no beneficial fruit. First comes the season of youthful pastime; and when that is over, it is the time for study: then succeeds the period of worldly enjoyment; and lastly, that of austere devotion. This is thy season of pastime, my child. Hast thou engaged in these practices to put an end to thine existence? Thy chief duty is love for me: duties are according to time of life. Lose not thyself in bewildering error: desist from such unrighteous actions. If not, if thou wilt not desist from these austerities, I will terminate my life before thee."

But Dhruva, being wholly intent on seeing Vishńu, beheld not his mother weeping in his presence, and calling upon him; and the illusion, crying out, "Fly, fly, my child, the hideous spirits of ill are crowding into this dreadful forest with uplifted weapons," quickly disappeared. Then advanced frightful Rákshasas, wielding terrible arms, and with countenances emitting fiery flame; and nocturnal fiends thronged around the prince, uttering fearful noises, and whirling and tossing their threatening weapons. Hundreds of jackals, from whose mouths gushed flame257 as they devoured their prey, were howling aloud, to appal the boy, wholly engrossed by meditation. The goblins called out, "Kill him, kill him; cut him to pieces; eat him, eat him;" and monsters, with the faces of lions and camels and crocodiles, roared and yelled with horrible cries, to terrify the prince. But all these uncouth spectres, appalling cries, and threatening weapons, made no impression upon his senses, whose mind was completely intent on Govinda. The son of the monarch of the earth, engrossed by one only idea, beheld uninterruptedly Vishńu seated in his soul, and saw no other object.

All their delusive stratagems being thus foiled, the gods were more perplexed than ever. Alarmed at their discomfiture, and afflicted by [p.92] the devotions of the boy, they assembled and repaired for succour to Hari, the origin of the world, who is without beginning or end; and thus addressed him: "God of gods, sovereign of the world, god supreme, and infinite spirit, distressed by the austerities of Dhruva, we have come to thee for protection. As the moon increases in his orb day by day, so this youth advances incessantly towards superhuman power by his devotions. Terrified by the ascetic practices of the son of Uttánapáda, we have come to thee for succour. Do thou allay the fervour of his meditations. We know not to what station he aspires: to the throne of Indra, the regency of the solar or lunar sphere, or to the sovereignty of riches or of the deep. Have compassion on us, lord; remove this affliction from Our breasts; divert the son of Uttánapáda from persevering in his penance." Vishńu replied to the gods; "The lad desireth neither the rank of Indra, nor the solar orb, nor the sovereignty of wealth or of the ocean: all that he solicits, I will grant. Return therefore, deities, to your mansions as ye list, and be no more alarmed: I will put an end to the penance of the boy, whose mind is immersed in deep contemplation."

The gods, being thus pacified by the supreme, saluted him respectfully and retired, and, preceded by Indra, returned to their habitations: but Hari, who is all things, assuming a shape with four arms, proceeded to Dhruva, being pleased with his identity of nature, and thus addressed him: "Son of Uttánapáda, be prosperous. Contented with thy devotions, I, the giver of boons, am present. Demand what boon thou desirest. In that thou hast wholly disregarded external objects, and fixed thy thoughts on me, I am well pleased with thee. Ask, therefore, a suitable reward." The boy, hearing these words of the god of gods, opened his eyes, and beholding that Hari whom he had before seen in his meditations actually in his presence, bearing in his hands the shell, the discus, the mace, the bow, and scimetar, and crowned with a diadem, the bowed his head down to earth; the hair stood erect on his brow, and his heart was depressed with awe. He reflected how best he should offer thanks to the god of gods; what he could say in his adoration; what words were capable of expressing his praise: and being overwhelmed with perplexity, he had recourse for consolation to the deity. "If," he [p.93] exclaimed, "the lord is contented with my devotions, let this be my reward, that I may know how to praise him as I wish. How can I, a child, pronounce his praises, whose abode is unknown to Brahmá and to others learned in the Vedas? My heart is overflowing with devotion to thee: oh lord, grant me the faculty worthily to lay mine adorations at thy feet."

Whilst lowly bowing, with his hands uplifted to his forehead, Govinda, the lord of the world, touched the son of Uttánapáda with the tip of his conch-shell, and immediately the royal youth, with a countenance sparkling with delight, praised respectfully the imperishable protector of living beings. "I venerate," exclaimed Dhruva, "him whose forms are earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect, the first element (Ahankára), primeval nature, and the pure, subtile, all-pervading soul, that surpasses nature. Salutation to that spirit that is void of qualities; that is supreme over all the elements and all the objects of sense, over intellect, over nature and spirit. I have taken refuge with that pure form of thine, oh supreme, which is one with Brahma, which is spirit, which transcends all the world. Salutation to that form which, pervading and supporting all, is designated Brahma, unchangeable, and contemplated by religious sages. Thou art the male with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, who traversest the universe, and passest ten inches beyond its contact258. Whatever has been, or is to be, that, Purushottama, thou art. From thee sprang Virát, Swarát, Samrát, and Adhipurusha259. The lower, and upper, and middle parts of the earth are not independent of thee: from thee is all this universe, all that has been, and that shall be: and all this world is in thee, assuming this universal form260. From thee is sacrifice [p.94] derived, and all oblations, and curds, and ghee, and animals of either class (domestic or wild). From thee the Rig-Veda, the Sáma, the metres of the Vedas, and the Yajur-Véda are born. Horses, and cows having teeth in one jaw only261, proceed from thee; and from thee come goats, sheep, deer. Brahmans sprang from thy mouth; warriors from thy arms; Vaisyas from thy thighs; and Śúdras from thy feet. From thine eyes come the sun; from thine ears, the wind; and from thy mind, the moon: the vital airs from thy central vein; and fire from thy mouth: the sky from thy navel; and heaven from thy head: the regions from thine ears; the earth from thy feet. All this world was derived from thee. As the wide-spreading Nyagrodha (Indian fig) tree is compressed in a small seed262, so, at the time of dissolution, the whole universe is comprehended in thee as its germ. As the Nyagrodha germinates from the seed, and becomes first a shoot, and then rises into loftiness, so the created world proceeds from thee, and expands into magnitude. As the bark and leaves of the Plantain tree are to be seen in its stem, so thou art the stem of the universe, and all things are visible in thee. The faculties of the intellect, that are the cause of pleasure and of pain, abide in thee as one with all existence; but the sources of pleasure and of pain, singly or blended, do not exist in thee, who art exempt from all qualities263. Salutation to thee, the subtile rudiment, which, being single, becomes [p.95] manifold, Salutation to thee, soul of existent things, identical with the great elements. Thou, imperishable, art beheld in spiritual knowledge as perceptible objects, as nature, as spirit, as the world, as Brahmá, as Manu, by internal contemplation. But thou art in all, the element of all; thou art all, assuming every form; all is from thee, and thou art from thyself. I salute thee, universal soul: glory be to thee. Thou art one with all things: oh lord of all, thou art present in all things. What can I say unto thee? thou knowest all that is in the heart, oh soul of all, sovereign lord of all creatures, origin of all things. Thou, who art all beings, knowest the desires of all creatures. The desire that I cherished has been gratified, lord, by thee: my devotions have been crowned with success, in that I have seen thee."

Vishńu said to Dhruva; "The object of thy devotions has in truth been attained, in that thou hast seen me; for the sight of me, young prince, is never unproductive. Ask therefore of me what boon thou desirest; for men in whose sight I appear obtain all their wishes." To this, Dhruva answered; "Lord god of all creatures, who abidest in the hearts of all, how should the wish that I cherish be unknown to thee? I will confess unto thee the hope that my presumptuous heart has entertained; a hope that it would be difficult to gratify, but that nothing is difficult when thou, creator of the world, art pleased. Through thy favour, Indra reigns over the three worlds. The sister-queen of my mother has said to me, loudly and arrogantly, 'The royal throne is not for one who is not born of me;' and I now solicit of the support of the universe an exalted station, superior to all others, and one that shall endure for ever." Vishńu said to him; "The station that thou askest thou shalt obtain; for I was satisfied with thee of old in a prior existence. Thou wast formerly a Brahman, whose thoughts were ever devoted to me, ever dutiful to thy parents, and observant of thy duties. In course of time a prince became thy friend, who was in the period of youth, indulged in all sensual pleasures, .and was of handsome appearance and elegant form. Beholding, in consequence of associating with him, his affluence, you formed the desire that you might be subsequently born as the son of a king; and, according to your wish, you obtained a [p.96] princely birth in the illustrious mansion of Uttánapáda. But that which would have been thought a great boon by others, birth in the race of Swáyambhuva, you have not so considered, and therefore have propitiated me. The man who worships me obtains speedy liberation from life. What is heaven to one whose mind is fixed on me? A station shall be assigned to thee, Dhruva, above the three worlds264; one in which thou shalt sustain the stars and the planets; a station above those of the sun, the moon, Mars, the son of Soma (Mercury), Venus, the son of Súrya (Saturn), and all the other constellations; above the regions of the seven Rishis, and the divinities who traverse the atmosphere265. Some celestial beings endure for four ages; some for the reign of a Manu: to thee shall be granted the duration of a Kalpa. Thy mother Suníti, in the orb of a bright star, shall abide near thee for a similar term; and all those who, with minds attentive, shall glorify thee at dawn or at eventide, shall acquire exceeding religious merit.

Thus the sage Dhruva, having received a boon from Janárddana, the god of gods, and lord of the world, resides in an exalted station. Beholding his glory, Uśanas, the preceptor of the gods and demons, repeated these verses: "Wonderful is the efficacy of this penance, marvellous is its reward, that the seven Rishis should be preceded by Dhruva. This too is the pious Suníti, his parent, who is called Súnritá266." Who can [p.97] celebrate her greatness, who, having given birth to Dhruva, has become the asylum of the three worlds, enjoying to all future time an elevated station, a station eminent above all? He who shall worthily describe the ascent into the sky of Dhruva, for ever shall be freed from all sin, and enjoy the heaven of Indra. Whatever be his dignity, whether upon earth or in heaven, he shall never fall from it, but shall long enjoy life, possessed of every blessing267.



Posterity of Dhruva. Legend of Veńa: his impiety: he is put to death by the Rishis. Anarchy ensues. The production of Nisháda and Prithu: the latter the first king. The origin of Súta and Mágadha: they enumerate the duties of kings. Prithu compels Earth to acknowledge his authority: he levels it: introduces cultivation: erects cities. Earth called after him Prithiví: typified as a cow.

PARÁŚARA.The sons of Dhruva, by his wife Śambhu, were Bhavya and Slisht́i. Suchcháyá, the wife of the latter, was the mother of five virtuous sons, Ripu, Ripunjaya, Vipra, Vrikala, and Vrikatejas. The son of Ripu, by Vrihatí, was the illustrious Chakshusha, who begot the Manu Chákshusha on Pushkarińí, of the family of Varuńa, the daughter of the venerable patriarch Anarańya. The Manu had, by his wife Navalá, the daughter of the patriarch Vairája, ten noble sons, Uru, Pura, Satadyumna, Tapaswí, Satyavák, Kavi, Agnisht́oma, Atirátra, Sudyumna, and Abhimanyu. The wife of Uru, Ágneyí, bore six excellent sons, Anga, Sumanas, Swáti, Kratu, Angiras, and Śiva. Anga had, by his wife Suníthá, only one son, named Veńa, whose right arm was rubbed by the Rishis, for the purpose of producing from it progeny. From the arm of Veńa, thus rubbed, sprang a celebrated monarch, named Prithu, by whom, in olden time, the earth was milked for the advantage of mankind268.


MAITREYA.Best of Munis, tell me why was the right hand of Veńa rubbed by the holy sages, in consequence of which the heroic Prithu was produced.

PARÁŚARA.Suníthá was originally the daughter of Mrityu, by whom she was given to Anga to wife. She bore him Veńa, who inherited the evil propensities of his maternal grandfather. When he was inaugurated by the Rishis monarch of the earth, he caused. it to be every where proclaimed, that no worship should be performed, no oblations offered, no gifts bestowed upon the Brahmans. "I, the king," said he, "am the lord of sacrifice; for who but I am entitled to the oblations." The Rishis, respectfully approaching the sovereign, addressed him in melodious accents, and said, "Gracious prince, we salute you; hear what we have to represent. For the preservation of your kingdom and your life, and for the benefit of all your subjects, permit us to worship Hari, the lord of all sacrifice, the god of gods, with solemn and protracted rites269; a portion of the fruit of which will revert to you270. Vishńu, the god of oblations, being propitiated with sacrifice by us, will grant you, oh king, all your desires. Those princes have all their wishes gratified, in whose realms Hari, the lord of sacrifice, is adored with sacrificial rites." "Who," exclaimed Veńa, "is superior to me? who besides me is entitled to worship? who is this Hari, whom you style the lord of sacrifice? Brahmá, Janárddana. Śambhu, Indra, Váyu, Ravi (the sun), Hutabhuk [p.100] (fire), Varuńa, Dhátá, Púshá, (the sun), Bhúmi (earth), the lord of night (the moon); all these, and whatever other gods there be who listen to our vows; all these are present in the person of a king: the essence of a sovereign is all that is divine. Conscious of this, I have issued my commands, and look that you obey them. You are not to sacrifice, not to offer oblations, not to give alms. As the first duty of women is obedience to their lords, so observance of my orders is incumbent, holy men, on you." "Give command, great king," replied the Rishis, "that piety may suffer no decrease. All this world is but a transmutation of oblations; and if devotion be suppressed, the world is at an end." But Veńa was entreated in vain; and although this request was repeated by the sages, he refused to give the order they suggested. Then those pious Munis were filled with wrath, and cried out to each other, "Let this wicked wretch be slain. The impious man who has reviled the god of sacrifice who is without beginning or end, is not fit to reign over the earth." And they fell upon the king, and beat him with blades of holy grass, consecrated by prayer, and slew him, who had first been destroyed by his impiety towards god.

Afterwards the Munis beheld a great dust arise, and they said to the people who were nigh, "What is this?" and the people answered and said, "Now that the kingdom is without a king, the dishonest men have begun to seize the property of their neighbours. The great dust that you behold, excellent Munis, is raised by troops of clustering robbers, hastening to fall upon their prey." The sages, hearing this, consulted, and together rubbed the thigh of the king, who had left no offspring, to produce a son. From the thigh, thus rubbed, came forth a being of the complexion of a charred stake, with flattened features (like a negro), and of dwarfish stature. "What am I to do?" cried he eagerly to the Munis. "Sit down" (Nishida), said they; and thence his name was Nisháda. His descendants, the inhabitants of the Vindhya mountain, great Muni, are still called Nishádas, and are characterized by the exterior tokens of depravity271. By this means the wickedness of Versa was expelled; those [p.101] Nishádas being born of his sins, and carrying them away. The Brahmans then proceeded to rub the right arm of the king, from which friction was engendered the illustrious son of Veńa, named Prithu, resplendent in person, as if the blazing deity of Fire bad been manifested.

There then fell from the sky the primitive bow (of Mahádeva) named Ajagava, and celestial arrows, and panoply from heaven. At the birth of Prithu all living creatures rejoiced; and Veńa, delivered by his being born from the hell named Put, ascended to the realms above. The seas and rivers, bringing jewels from their depths, and water to perform the ablutions of his installation, appeared. The great parent of all, Brahmá, with the gods and the descendants of Angiras (the fires), and with all things animate or inanimate, assembled and performed the ceremony of consecrating the son of Veńa. Beholding in his right hand the (mark of the) discus of Vishńu, Brahmá recognised a portion of that divinity in Prithu, and was much pleased; for the mark of Vishńu's discus is visible in the hand of one who is born to be a universal emperor272, one whose power is invincible even by the gods.

The mighty Prithu, the son of Veda, being thus invested with universal dominion by those who were skilled in the rite, soon removed the grievances of the people whom his father had oppressed, and from winning [p.102] their affections he derived the title of Rája, or king273. The waters became solid, when he traversed the ocean: the mountains opened him a path: his banner passed unbroken (through the forests): the earth needed not cultivation; and at a thought food was prepared: all kine were like the cow of plenty: honey was stored in every flower. At the sacrifice of the birth of Prithu, which was performed by Brahmá, the intelligent Súta (herald or bard) was produced, in the juice of the moon-plant, on the very birth-day274: at that great sacrifice also was produced the accomplished Mágadha: and the holy sages said to these two persons, "Praise ye the king Prithu, the illustrious son of Veńa; for this is your especial function, and here is a fit subject for your praise." But they respectfully replied to the Brahmans, "We know not the acts of the new-born king of the earth; his merits are not understood by us; his fame is not spread abroad: inform us upon what subject we may dilate in his praise." "Praise the king," said the Rishis, "for the acts this heroic monarch will perform; praise him for the virtues he will display."

The king, hearing these words, was much pleased, and reflected that persons acquire commendation by virtuous actions, and that consequently his virtuous conduct would be the theme of the eulogium which the bards were about to pronounce: whatever merits, then, they should panegyrize in their encomium, he determined that he would endeavour to acquire; and if they should point out what faults ought to be avoided, he would try to shun them. He therefore listened attentively, as the sweet-voiced encomiasts celebrated the future virtues of Prithu, the enlightened son of Veńa.

"The king is a speaker of truth, bounteous, an observer of his promises; he is wise, benevolent, patient, valiant, and a terror to the wicked; he knows his duties; he acknowledges services; he is compassionate and [p.103] kind-spoken; he respects the venerable; he performs sacrifices; he reverences the Brahmans; he cherishes the good; and in administering justice is indifferent to friend or foe."

The virtues thus celebrated by the Súta and the Magadhá were cherished in the remembrance of the Rája, and practised by him when occasion arose. Protecting this earth, the monarch performed many great sacrificial ceremonies, accompanied by liberal donations. His subjects soon approached him, suffering from the famine by which they were afflicted, as all the edible plants had perished during the season of anarchy. In reply to his question of the cause of their coming, they told him, that in the interval in which the earth was without a king all vegetable products had been withheld, and that consequently the people had perished. "Thou," said they, "art the bestower of subsistence to us; thou art appointed, by the creator, the protector of the people: grant us vegetables, the support of the lives of thy subjects, who are perishing with hunger."

On hearing this, Prithu took up his divine bow Ajagava, and his celestial arrows, and in great wrath marched forth to assail the Earth. Earth, assuming the figure of a cow, fled hastily from him, and traversed, through fear of the king, the regions of Brahmá and the heavenly spheres; but wherever went the supporter of living things, there she beheld Vaińya with uplifted weapons: at last, trembling with terror, and anxious to escape his arrows, the Earth addressed Prithu, the hero of resistless prowess. "Know you not, king of men," said the Earth, "the sin of killing a female, that you thus perseveringly seek to slay me." The prince replied; "When the happiness of many is secured by. the destruction of one malignant being, the death of that being is an act of virtue." "But," said the Earth, "if, in order to promote the welfare of your subjects, you put an end to me, whence, best of monarchs, will thy people derive their support." "Disobedient to my rule," rejoined Prithu, "if I destroy thee, I will support my people by the efficacy of my own devotions." Then the Earth, overcome with apprehension, and trembling in every limb, respectfully saluted the king, and thus spake: "All undertakings are successful, if suitable means of effecting them are employed.


I will impart to you means of success, which you can make use of if you please. All vegetable products are old, and destroyed by me; but at your command I will restore them, as developed from my milk. Do you therefore, for the benefit of mankind, most virtuous of princes, give me that calf, by which I may be able to secrete milk. Make also all places level, so that I may cause my milk, the seed of all vegetation, to flow every where around."

Prithu accordingly uprooted the mountains, by hundreds and thousands, for myriads of leagues, and they were thenceforth piled upon one another. Before his time there were no defined boundaries of villages or towns, upon the irregular surface of the earth; there was no cultivation, no pasture, no agriculture, no highway for merchants: all these things (or all civilization) originated in the reign of Prithu. Where the ground was made level, the king induced his subjects to take up their abode. Before his time, also, the fruits and roots which constituted the food of the people were procured with great difficulty, all vegetables having been destroyed; and he therefore, having made Swáyambhuva Manu the calf 275, milked the Earth, and received the milk into his own hand, for the benefit of mankind. Thence proceeded all kinds of corn and vegetables upon which people subsist now and perpetually. By granting life to the Earth, Prithu was as her father, and she thence derived the patronymic appellation Prithiví (the daughter of Prithu). Then the gods, the sages, the demons, the Rákshasas, the Gandharbhas, Yakshas, Pitris, serpents, mountains, and trees, took a milking vessel suited to their kind, and milked the earth of appropriate milk, and the milker and the calf were both peculiar to their own species276.


This Earth, the mother, the nurse, the receptacle, and nourisher of all existent things, was produced from the sole of the foot of Vishńu. And thus was born the mighty Prithu, the heroic son of Veńa, who was the lord of the earth, and who, from conciliating the affections of the people, was the first ruler to whom the title of Rája was ascribed. Whoever shall recite this story of the birth of Prithu, the son of Veńa, shall never suffer any retribution for the evil he may have committed: and such is the virtue of the tale of Prithu's birth, that those who hear it repeated shall be relieved from affliction277.



Descendants of Prithu. Legend of the Prachetasas: they are desired by their father to multiply mankind, by worshipping Vishńu: they plunge into the sea, and meditate on and praise him: he appears, and grants their wishes.

PRITHU had two valiant sons, Antarddhi and Pálí278. The son of Antarddhána, by his wife Sikhańd́ińí, was Havirdhána, to whom Dhishańá, a princess of the race of Agni, bore six sons, Práchínaverhis, Śukra, Gaya, Krishńa, Vraja, and Ajina279. The first of these was a mighty prince and patriarch, by whom mankind was multiplied after the death of Havirdhána. He was called Práchínaverhis from his placing upon the earth the sacred grass, pointing to the east280. At the termination of a [p.107] rigid penance the married Savarńá, the daughter of the ocean, who had been previously betrothed to him, and who had by the king ten sons, who were all styled Prachetasas, and were skilled in military science: they all observed the same duties, practised religious austerities, and remained immersed in the bed of the sea for ten thousand years.

MAITREYA.You can inform me, great sage, why the magnanimous Prachetasas engaged in penance in the waters of the sea.

PARÁŚARA.The sons of Práchínaverhis were originally informed by their father, who had been appointed as a patriarch, and whose mind was intent on multiplying mankind, that the had been respectfully enjoined by Brahmá, the god of gods, to labour to this end, and that he had promised obedience: "now therefore," continued he, "do you, my sons, to oblige me, diligently promote the increase of the people, for the orders of the father of all creatures are entitled to respect." The sons of the king, having heard their father's words, replied, "So be it;" but they then inquired of him, as he could best explain it, by what means they might accomplish the augmentation of mankind. He said to them; "Whoever worships Vishńu, the bestower of good, attains undoubtedly the object of his desires: there is no other mode. What further can I tell you? Adore therefore Govinda, who is Hari, the lord of all beings, in order to effect the increase of the human race, if you wish to succeed. [p.108] The eternal Purushottama is to be propitiated by him who wishes for virtue, wealth, enjoyment, or liberation. Adore him, the imperishable, by whom, when propitiated, the world was first created, and mankind will assuredly be multiplied."

Thus instructed by their father, the ten Prachetasas plunged into the depths of the ocean, and with minds wholly devoted to Náráyańa, the sovereign of the universe, who is beyond all worlds, were engrossed by religious austerity for ten thousand years: remaining there, they with fixed thoughts praised Hari, who, when propitiated, confers on those who praise him all that they desire.

MAITREYA.The excellent praises that the Prachetasas addressed to Vishńu, whilst they stood in the deep, you, oh best of Munis, are qualified to repeat to me.

PARÁŚARA.Hear, Maitreya, the hymn which the Prachetasas, as they stood in the waters of the sea, sang of old to Govinda, their nature being identified with him:

"We bow to him whose glory is the perpetual theme of every speech; him first, him last; the supreme lord of the boundless world; who is primeval light; who is without his like; indivisible and infinite; the origin of all existent things, movable or stationary. To that supreme being who is one with time, whose first forms, though he be without form, are day and evening and night, be adoration. Glory to him, the life of all living things, who is the same with the moon, the receptacle of ambrosia, drunk daily by the gods and progenitors: to him who is one with the sun, the cause of heat and cold and rain, who dissipates the gloom, and illuminates the sky with his radiance: to him who is one with earth, all-pervading, and the asylum of smell and other objects of sense, supporting the whole world by its solidity. We adore that form of the deity Hari which is water, the womb of the world, the seed of all living beings. Glory to the mouth of the gods, the eater of the Havya; to the eater of the Kavya, the mouth of the progenitors; to Vishńu, who is identical with fire; to him who is one with air, the origin of ether, existing as the five vital airs in the body, causing constant vital action; to him who is identical with the atmosphere, pure, illimitable, shapeless, [p.109] separating all creatures. Glory to Krishńa, who is Brahmá in the form of sensible objects, who is ever the direction of the faculties of sense. We offer salutation to that supreme Hari who is one with the senses, both subtle and substantial, the recipient of all impressions, the root of all knowledge: to the universal soul, who, as internal intellect, delivers the impressions received by the senses to soul: to him who has the properties of Prakriti; in whom, without end, rest all things; from whom all things proceed; and who is that into which all things resolve. We worship that Purushottoma, the god who is pure spirit, and who, without qualities, is ignorantly considered as endowed with qualities. We adore that supreme Brahma, the ultimate condition of Vishńu, unproductive, unborn, pure, void of qualities, and free from accidents; who is neither high nor low, neither bulky nor minute, has neither shape, nor colour, nor shadow, nor substance, nor affection, nor body; who is neither etherial nor susceptible of contact, smell, or taste; who has neither eyes, nor ears, nor motion, nor speech, nor breath, nor mind, nor name, nor race, nor enjoyment, nor splendour; who is without cause, without fear, without error, without fault, undecaying, immortal, free from passion, without sound, imperceptible, inactive, independent of place or time, detached from all investing properties; but (illusively) exercising irresistible might, and identified with all beings, dependent upon none. Glory to that nature of Vishńu which tongue can not tell, nor has eye beheld."

Thus glorifying Vishńu, and intent in meditation on him, the Prachetasas passed ten thousand years of austerity in the vast ocean; on which Hari, being pleased with them, appeared to them amidst the waters, of the complexion of the full-blown lotus leaf. Beholding him mounted on the king of birds, Garud́a, the Prachetasas bowed down their heads in devout homage; when Vishńu said to them, "Receive the boon you have desired; for I, the giver of good, am content with you, and am present." The Prachetasas replied to him with reverence, and told him that the cause of their devotions was the command of their father to effect the multiplication of mankind. The god, having accordingly granted to them the object of their prayers, disappeared, and they came up from the water.



The world overrun with trees: they are destroyed by the Prachetasas. Soma pacifies them, and gives them Márishá to wife: her story: the daughter of the nymph Pramlochá. Legend of Kańd́u. Márishá's former history. Daksha the son of the Prachetasas: his different characters: his sons: his daughters: their marriages and progeny: allusion to Prahláda, his descendant.

WHILST the Prachetasas 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 Prachetasas, 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 Márishá, 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 Daksha 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 Kańd́u, eminent in holy wisdom, who practised pious austerities on the lovely borders of the Gomati river. The king of the gods sent the nymph Pramlochá 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 [p.111] 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 incurring 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.' Pramlochá. 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 [p.112] they had spent but one day together: to which Pramlochá 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 infirmity281. 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, Pramlochá 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 [p.113] the Rishi 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 Márishá. The trees will give her to you, Prachetasas: let your indignation be appeased. She is the progeny of Kańd́u, the child of Pramlochá, the nursling of the trees, the daughter of the wind and of the moon. The holy Kańd́u, after the interruption of his pious exercises, went, excellent princes, to the region of Vishńu, termed Purushottama, where, Maitreya282, 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 truth283."

The Prachetasas said, "We are desirous to hear the transcendental [p.114] prayers, by inaudibly reciting which the pious Kańd́u propitiated Keśava." On which Soma repeated as follows: "'Vishńu 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: Purushottama 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, Kańd́u obtained final emancipation.

"Who Márishá 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 Vishńu, 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.' Hrishikeśa, 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 [p.115] hearts of men.' Thus having spoken, the deity disappeared, and the princess was accordingly afterwards born as Márishá, who is given to you for a wife284."

Soma having concluded, the Prachetasas took Márishá, as he had enjoined them, righteously to wife, relinquishing their indignation against the trees: and upon her they begot the eminent patriarch Daksha, who had (in a former life) been born as the son of Brahmá285. This great sage, for the furtherance of creation, and the increase of mankind, created progeny. Obeying the command of Brahmá, 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 moon286. 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 [p.116] were engendered by sexual intercourse: before the time of Daksha 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.Daksha, as I have formerly heard, was born from the right thumb of Brahmá: tell me, great Muni, how he was regenerate as the son of the Prachetasas. Considerable perplexity also arises in my mind, how he, who, as the son of Márishá, was the grandson of Soma, could be also his father-in-law.

PARÁŚARA.Birth and death are constant in all creatures: Rishis and sages, possessing divine vision, are not perplexed by this. Daksha and the other eminent Munis are present in every age, and in the interval of destruction cease to be287: 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.Narrate to me, venerable Brahman, at length, the birth of the gods, Titans, Gandharbas, serpents, and goblins.

PARÁŚARA.In what manner Daksha created living creatures, as commanded by Brahmá, you shall hear. In the first place he willed into existence the deities, the Rishis, 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 Asikní, the daughter of the patriarch Vírańa288, 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. Nárada, the divine Rishi, 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 world289, 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 Nárada, the sons of Daksha 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 Daksha begot by the daughter of Vírańa a thousand other sons. They, who were named Savaláswas, were desirous of engendering posterity, but were dissuaded by Nárada in a similar manner. They said to one another, "What the Muni has observed is perfectly just. We must follow the path that our [p.118] 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. Daksha the patriarch, on finding that all these his sons had vanished, was incensed, and denounced an imprecation upon Nárada290.


Then, Maitreya, the wise patriarch, it is handed down to us, being anxious to people the world, created sixty daughters of the daughter of Vírańá291; ten of whom he gave to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa, and twenty-seven to Soma, four to Arisht́anemi, two to Bahuputra, two to Angiras, and two to Kriśáśwa. I will tell you their names. Arundhat́í, Vasu, Yámí, Lambá, Bhánú, Marutwatí, Sankalpa, Muhúrttá, Sádhyá, and Viśwá were the ten wives of Dharma292, and bore him the following [p.120] progeny. The sons of Viśwá were the Viśwádevas293; and the Sádhyas294, those of Sádhyá. The Máruts, or winds, were the children of Marutwatí; the Vasus, of Vasu. The Bhánus (or suns) of Bhánu; and the deities presiding over moments, of Muhúrttá. Ghosha was the son of Lambá (an arc of the heavens); Nágavíthí (the milky way), the daughter of Yámí (night). The divisions of the earth were born of Arundhat́i; and Sankalpa (pious purpose), the soul of all, was the son of Sankalpá. The deities called Vasus, because, preceded by fire, they abound in splendour and might295, are severally named Ápa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhava (fire), Anila (wind), Anala (fire), Pratyúsha (day-break), and Prabhása (light). The four sons of Ápa were Vaitańd́ya, Śrama (weariness), Sránta (fatigue), and Dhur (burthen). Kála (time), the cherisher of the world, was the son of Dhruva. The son of Soma was Varchas (light), who was the father of Varchaswí (radiance). Dhava had, by his wife Manohará (loveliness), Dravińa, Hutahavyaváha, Śiśira, Práńa, and Ramańa. The two sons of Anila (wind), by his wife Śivá, were Manojava (swift as thought) and Avijnátagati (untraceable motion). The son of Agni (fire), Kumára, was born in a clump of Śara reeds: his sons were Sákha, Visákha, Naigameya, and Prisht́haja. The offspring of the Krittikás was named Kártikeya. The son of Pratyúsha was the Rishi named Devala, who had two philosophic and intelligent sons296. The sister of Váchaspati, lovely and virtuous, Yogasiddhá, who pervades the wholes world without [p.121] being devoted to it, was the wife of Prabhása, the eighth of the Vasus, and bore to him the patriarch Viswakarmá, 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. Ajaikapád, Ahirvradhna, and the wise Rudra Twasht́ri, were born; and the self-born son of Twashtri was also the celebrated Viśwarúpa. There are eleven well-known Rudras, lords of the three worlds, or Hara, Bahurúpa, Tryambaka, Aparájita, Vrishakapi, Sambhu, Kaparddí, Raivata, Mrigavyádha, Sarva, and Kapáli297; but there are a hundred appellations of the immeasurably mighty Rudras298.


The daughters of Daksha who were married to Kaśyapa were Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arisht́á, Surasá, Surabhi, Vinatá, Támrá, Krodhavaśá, Id́á, Khasá, Kadru, and Muni299; whose progeny I will describe to you. There were twelve celebrated deities in a former Manwantara, called Tushitas300, who, upon the approach of the present period, or in the reign of the last Manu, Chákshusha, assembled, and said to one another, "Come, let us quickly enter into the womb of Adití, that we may be born in the next Manwantara, for thereby we shall again enjoy the rank of gods:" and accordingly they were born the sons of Kaśyapa, the son of Maríchi, by Adití, the daughter of Daksha; thence named the twelve Ádityas; whose appellations were respectively, Vishńu, Śakra, Áryaman, Dhútí, Twásht́ri, Púshan, Vivaswat, Savitri, Mitra, Varuńa, Anśa, and Bhaga301. These, who in the Chákshusha Manwantara were the gods called Tushitas, were called the twelve Ádityas in the Manwantara of Vaivaśwata.

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, [p.123] which were called by their names, and had children who were brilliant through their great splendour302. The wives of Arisht́anemi bore him sixteen children303. The daughters of Bahuputra were the four lightnings304. The excellent Pratyangirasa Richas were the children of Angiras305, descended from the holy sage: and the deified weapons of the gods306 were the progeny of Kriśáśwa.

These classes of thirty-three divinities307 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 Hirańyakaśipu and the invincible Hirańyáksha: she had also a daughter, [p.124] Sinká, the wife of Viprachitti. Hirańyakaśipu was the father of four mighty sons, Anuhláda, Hláda, the wise Prahláda, and the heroic Sanhláda, the augmentor of the Daitya race308. Amongst these, the illustrious Prahláda, looking on all things with indifference, devoted his whole faith to Janárddana. The flames that were lighted by the king of the Daityas consumed not him, in whose heart Vásudeva was cherished; 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 Vishńu, 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 Madhusúdana 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 Krishńa, 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.



Inquiries of Maitreya respecting the history of Prahláda.

MAITREYA.Venerable Muni, you have described to me the races of human beings, and the eternal Vishńu, the cause of this world; but who was this mighty Prahláda, of whom you have last spoken; whom fire could not burn; who died not, when pierced by weapons; at whose presence in the waters earth trembled, shaken by his movements, even though in bonds; and who, overwhelmed with rocks, remained unhurt. I am desirous to hear an account of the unequalled might of that sage worshipper of Vishńu, to whose marvellous history you have alluded. Why was he assailed by the weapons of the sons of Diti? why was so righteous a person thrown into the sea? wherefore was he overwhelmed with rocks? why bitten by venomous snakes? why hurled from the mountain crest? why cast into the flames? why was he made a mark for the tusks of the elephants of the spheres? wherefore was the blast of death directed against him by the enemies of the gods? why did the priests of the Daityas practise ceremonies for his destruction? why were the thousand illusions of Samvara exercised upon him? and for what purpose was deadly poison administered to him by the servants of the king, but which was innocuous as food to his sagacious son? All this I am anxious to hear: the history of the magnanimous Prahláda; a legend of great marvels. Not that it is a wonder that he should have been uninjured by the Daityas; for who can injure the man that fixes his whole heart on Vishńu? but it is strange that such inveterate hatred should have been shewn, by his own kin, to one so virtuous, so unweariedly occupied in worshipping Vishńu. You can explain to me for what reason the sons of Diti offered violence to one so pious, so illustrious, so attached to Vishńu, so free from guile. Generous enemies wage no war with such as he was, full of sanctity and every excellence; how should his own father thus behave towards him? Tell me therefore, most illustrious Muni, the whole story in detail: I wish to hear the entire narrative of the sovereign of the Daitya race.



Legend of Prahláda. Hirańyakaśipu, the sovereign of the universe: the gods dispersed or in servitude to him: Prahláda, his son, remains devoted to Vishńu: questioned by his father, he praises Vishńu: Hirańyakaśipu orders him to be put to death, but in vain: his repeated deliverance: he teaches his companions to adore Vishńu.?

PARÁŚARA.Listen, Maitreya, to the story of the wise and magnanimous Prahláda, whose adventures are ever interesting and instructive. Hirańyakaśipu, the son of Diti, had formerly brought the three worlds under his authority, confiding in a boon bestowed upon him by Brahmá309. He had usurped the sovereignty of Indra, and exercised of himself the functions of the sun, of air, of the lord of waters, of fire, and of the moon. He himself was the god of riches; he was the judge of the dead; and he appropriated to himself, without reserve, all that was offered in sacrifice to the gods. The deities therefore, flying from their seats in heaven, wandered, through fear of the Daitya, upon the earth, disguised in mortal shapes. Having conquered the three worlds, he was inflated with pride, and, eulogized by the Gandharbas, enjoyed whatever he desired. The Gandharbas, the Siddhas, and the snake-gods all attended upon the mighty Hirańyakaśipu, as he sat at the banquet. The Siddhas delighted stood before him, some playing on musical instruments, some singing songs in his praise, and others shouting cries of victory; whilst the nymphs of heaven danced gracefully in the crystal palace, where the Asura with pleasure quaffed the inebriating cup.

The illustrious son of the Daitya king, Prahláda, being yet a boy, resided in the dwelling of his preceptor, where he read such writings as are studied in early years. On one occasion he came, accompanied by his teacher, to the court of his father, and bowed before his feet as he was drinking. Hirańyakaśipu desired his prostrate son to rise, and said [p.127] to him, "Repeat, boy, in substance, and agreeably, what during the period of your studies you have acquired." "Hear, sire," replied Prahláda, "what in obedience to your commands I will repeat, the substance of all I have learned: listen attentively to that which wholly occupies my thoughts. I have learned to adore him who is without beginning, middle, or end, increase or diminution; the imperishable lord of the world, the universal cause of causes." On hearing these words, the sovereign of the Daityas, his eyes red with wrath, and lip swollen with indignation, turned to the preceptor of his son, and said, "Vile Brahman, what is this preposterous commendation of my foe, that, in disrespect to me, you have taught this boy to utter?" "King of the Daityas," replied the Guru, "it is not worthy of you to give way to passion: that which your son has uttered, he has not been taught by me." "By whom then," said Hirańyakaśipu to the lad, "by whom has this lesson, boy, been taught you? your teacher denies that it proceeds from him." "Vishńu, father," answered Prahláda, "is the instructor of the whole world: what else should any one teach or learn, save him the supreme spirit?" "Blockhead," exclaimed the king, "who is this Vishńu, whose name you thus reiterate so impertinently before me, who am the sovereign of the three worlds?" "The glory of Vishńu," replied Prahláda, "is to be meditated upon by the devout; it cannot be described: he is the supreme lord, who is all things, and from whom all things proceed." To this the king rejoined, "Are you desirous of death, fool, that you give the title of supreme lord to any one whilst I survive?" "Vishńu, who is Brahma," said Prahláda, "is the creator and protector, not of me alone, but of all human beings, and even, father, of you: he is the supreme lord of all. Why should you, sire, be offended?" Hirańyakaśipu then exclaimed, "What evil spirit has entered into the breast of this silly boy, that thus, like one possessed, he utters such profanity?" "Not into my heart alone," said Prahláda, "has Vishńu entered, but he pervades all the regions of the universe, and by his omnipresence influences the conduct of all beings, mine, fattier, and thine310." "Away with the wretch!" cried [p.128] he king; "take him to his preceptor's mansion. By whom could he have been instigated to repeat the lying praises of my foe?"

According to the commands of his father, Prahláda was conducted by the Daityas back to the house of his Guru; where, assiduous in attendance on his preceptor, he constantly improved in wisdom. After a considerable time had elapsed, the sovereign of the Asuras sent for him again; and on his arrival in his presence, desired him to recite some poetical composition. Prahláda immediately began, "May he from whom matter and soul originate, from whom all that moves or is unconscious proceeds, he who is the cause of all this creation, Vishńu, be favourable unto us!" On hearing which, Hirańyakaśipu exclaimed, "Kill the wretch! he is not fit to live, who is a traitor to his friends, a burning brand to his own race!" and his attendants, obedient to his orders, snatched up their weapons, and rushed in crowds upon Prahláda, to destroy him. The prince calmly looked upon them, and said, "Daityas, as truly as Vishńu is present in your weapons and in my body, so truly shall those weapons fail to harm me:" and accordingly, although struck heavily and repeatedly by hundreds of the Daityas, the prince felt not the least pain, and his strength was ever renewed. His father then endeavoured to persuade him to refrain from glorifying his enemy, and promised him immunity if the would not be so foolish as to persevere but Prahláda replied, that he felt no fear as long as his immortal guardian against all dangers was present in his mind, the recollection of whom was alone sufficient to dissipate all the perils consequent upon birth or human infirmities.

Hirańyakaśipu, highly exasperated, commanded the serpents to fall upon his disobedient and insane son, and bite him to death with their envenomed fangs: and thereupon the great snakes Kuhaka, Takshaka, [p.129] and Andhaka, charged with fatal poison, bit the prince in every part of his body; but he, with thoughts immovably fixed on Krishńa, felt no pain from their wounds, being immersed in rapturous recollections of that divinity. Then the snakes cried to the king, and said, "Our fangs are broken; our jewelled crests are burst; there is fever in our, hoods, and fear in our hearts; but the skin of the youth is still unscathed: have recourse, monarch of the Daityas, to some other expedient." "Ho, elephants of the skies!" exclaimed the demon; "unite your tusks, and destroy this deserter from his father, and conspirer with my foes. It is thus that often our progeny are our destruction, as fire consumes the wood from which it springs." The young prince was then assailed by the elephants of the skies, as vast as mountain peaks; cast down upon the earth, and trampled on, and gored by their tusks: but he continued to call to mind Govinda, and the tusks of the elephants were blunted against his breast. "Behold," he said to his father, "the tusks of the elephants, as hard as adamant, are blunted; but this is not by any strength of mine: calling upon Janárddana is my defence against such fearful affliction."

Then said the king to his attendants, "Dismiss the elephants, and let fire consume him; and do thou, deity of the winds, blow up the fire, that this wicked wretch may be consumed." And the Dánavas piled a mighty heap of wood around the prince, and kindled a fire, to burn him, as their master had commanded. But Prahláda cried, "Father, this fire, though blown up by the winds, burneth me not; and all around I behold the face of the skies, cool and fragrant, with beds of lotus flowers."

Then the Brahmans who were the sons of Bhárgava, illustrious priests, and reciters of the Sáma-Veda, said to the king of the Daityas, "Sire, restrain your wrath against your own son. How should anger succeed in finding a place in heavenly mansions? As for this lad, we will be his instructors, and teach him obediently to labour for the destruction of your foes. Youth is the season, king, of many errors; and you should not therefore be relentlessly offended with a child. If he will not listen to us, and abandon the cause of Hari, we will adopt infallible measures to work his death." The king of the Daityas, thus solicited by the [p.130] priests, commanded the prince to be liberated from the midst of the flames.

Again established in the dwelling of his preceptor, Prahláda gave lessons himself to the sons of the demons, in the intervals of his leisure. "Sons of the offspring of Diti," he was accustomed to say to them, "hear from me the supreme truth; nothing else is fit to be regarded; nothing, else here is an object to be coveted. Birth, infancy, and youth are the portion of all creatures; and then succeeds gradual and inevitable decay, terminating with all beings, children of the Daityas, in death: this is manifestly visible to all; to you as it is to me. That the dead are born again, and that it cannot be otherwise, the sacred texts are warrant: but production cannot be without a material cause; and as long as conception and parturition are the material causes of repeated birth, so long, be sure, is pain inseparable from every period of existence. The simpleton, in his inexperience, fancies that the alleviation of hunger, thirst, cold, and the like is pleasure; but of a truth it is pain; for suffering gives delight to those whose vision is darkened by delusion, as fatigue would be enjoyment to limbs that are incapable of motion311. This vile body is a compound of phlegm and other humours. Where are its beauty, grace, fragrance, or other estimable qualities? The fool that is fond of a body composed of flesh, blood, matter, ordure, urine, membrane, marrow, and bones, will be enamoured of hell. The agreeableness of fire is caused by cold; of water, by thirst; of food, by hunger: by other circumstances their contraries are equally agreeable312. The child of the Daitya who [p.131] takes to himself a wife introduces only so much misery into his bosom; for as many as are the cherished affections of a living creature, so many are the thorns of anxiety implanted in his heart; and he who has large possessions in his house is haunted, wherever he goes, with the apprehension that they may be lost or burnt or stolen. Thus there is great pain in being born: for the dying man there are the tortures of the judge of the deceased, and of passing again into 'the womb. If you conclude that there is little enjoyment in the embryo state, you must then admit that the world is made up of pain. Verily I say unto you, that in this ocean of the world, this sea of many sorrows, Vishńu is your only hope. If ye say, you know nothing of this; 'we are children; embodied spirit in bodies is eternal; birth, youth, decay, are the properties of the body, not of the soul313.' But it is in this way that we deceive ourselves. I am yet a child; but it is my purpose to exert myself when I am a youth. I am yet a youth; but when I become old I will do what is needful for the good of my soul. I am now old, and all my duties are to be fulfilled. How shall I, now that my faculties fail me, do what was left undone when my strength was unimpaired?' In this manner do men, whilst their minds are distracted by sensual pleasures, ever propose, and never attain final beatitude: they die thirsting314. Devoted in childhood to play, and in youth to pleasure, ignorant and impotent they find that old age is come upon them. Therefore even in childhood let the embodied soul acquire discriminative wisdom, and, independent [p.132] of the conditions of infancy, youth, or age, strive incessantly to be freed. This, then, is what I declare unto you; and since you know that it is not untrue, do you, out of regard to me, call to your minds Vishńu, the liberator from all bondage. What difficulty is there in thinking upon him, who, when remembered, bestows prosperity; and by recalling whom to memory, day and night, all sin is cleansed away? Let all your thoughts and affections be fixed on him, who is present in all beings, and you shall laugh at every care. The whole world is suffering under a triple affliction315. 'What wise man would feel hatred towards beings who are objects of compassion? If fortune be propitious to them, and I am unable to partake of the like enjoyments, yet wherefore should I cherish malignity towards those who are more prosperous than myself: I should rather sympathise with their happiness; for the suppression of malignant feelings is of itself a reward316. If beings are hostile, and indulge in hatred, they are objects of pity to the wise, as encompassed by profound delusion. These are the reasons for repressing hate, which are adapted to the capacities of those who see the deity distinct from his creatures. Hear, briefly, what influences those who have approached the truth. This whole world is but a manifestation of Vishńu, who is identical with all things; and it is therefore to be regarded by the wise as not differing from, but as the same with themselves. Let us therefore lay aside the angry passions of our race, and so strive that we obtain that perfect, pure, and eternal happiness, which shall be beyond the power of the elements or their deities, of fire, of the sun, of the moon, of wind, of Indra, of the regent of the sea; which shall be unmolested by spirits of air or earth; by Yakshas, Daityas, or their chiefs; by the serpent-gods or monstrous demigods of Swerga; which shall be uninterrupted by men or beasts, or [p.133] by the infirmities of human nature; by bodily sickness and disease317, or hatred, envy, malice, passion, or desire; which nothing shall molest, and which every one who fixes his whole heart on Keśava shall enjoy. Verily I say unto you, that you shall have no satisfaction in various revolutions through this treacherous world, but that you will obtain placidity for ever by propitiating Vishńu, whose adoration is perfect calm. What here is difficult of attainment, when he is pleased? Wealth, pleasure, virtue, are things of little moment. Precious is the fruit that you shall gather, be assured, from the exhaustless store of the tree of true wisdom."



Hirańyakaśipu's reiterated attempts to destroy his son: their being always frustrated.

THE Dánavas, observing the conduct of Prahláda, reported it to the king, lest they should incur his displeasure. He sent for his cooks, and said to them, "My vile and unprincipled son is now teaching others his impious doctrines: be quick, and put an end to him. Let deadly poison be mixed up with all his viands, without his knowledge. Hesitate not, but destroy the wretch without delay." Accordingly they did so, and administered poison to the virtuous Prahláda, as his father had commanded them. Prahláda, repeating the name of the imperishable, ate and digested the food in which the deadly poison had been infused, and suffered no harm from it, either in body or mind, for it had been rendered innocuous by the name of the eternal. Beholding the strong poison digested, those who had prepared the food were filled with dismay, and hastened to the king, and fell down before him, and said, "King of the Daityas, the fearful poison given by us to your son has been digested by him along with his food, as if it were innocent. Hirańyakaśipu, on hearing this, exclaimed, "Hasten, hasten, ministrant priests of the Daitya race! instantly perform the rites that will effect his destruction!" Then the priests went to Prahláda, and, having repeated the hymns of the Sáma-Veda, said to him, as he respectfully hearkened, "Thou hast been born, prince, in the family of Brahmá, celebrated in the three worlds, the son of Hirańyakaśipu, the king of the Daityas; why shouldest thou acknowledge dependance upon the gods? why upon the eternal? Thy father is the stay of all the worlds, as thou thyself in turn shalt be. Desist, then, from celebrating the praises of an enemy; and remember, that of all venerable preceptors, a father is most venerable." Prahláda replied to them, "Illustrious Brahmans, it is true that the family of Maríchi is renowned in the three worlds; this cannot be denied: and I also admit, what is equally indisputable, that my father is mighty over the universe. There is no error, not the least, in what you have said, 'that a father is the most venerable of all holy teachers:' he is a venerable instructor, no doubt, and is ever to be devoutly reverenced. To all [p.135] these things I have nothing to object; they find a ready assent in my mind: but when you say, 'Why should I depend upon the eternal?' who can give assent to this as right? the words are void of meaning." Having said thus much, he was silent a while, being restrained by respect to their sacred functions; but he was unable to repress his smiles, and again said, "What need is there of the eternal? excellent! What need of the eternal? admirable! most worthy of you who are my venerable preceptors! Hear what need there is of the eternal, if to hearken will not give you pain. The fourfold objects of men are said to be virtue, desire, wealth, final emancipation. Is he who is the source of all these of no avail? Virtue was derived from the eternal by Daksha, Maríchi, and other patriarchs; wealth has been obtained front him by others; and by others, the enjoyment of their desires: whilst those who, through true. wisdom and holy contemplation, have come to know his essence, have been released from their bondage, and have attained freedom from existence for ever. The glorification of Hari, attainable by unity, is the root of all riches, dignity, renown, wisdom, progeny, righteousness, and liberation. Virtue, wealth, desire, and even final freedom, Brahmans, are fruits bestowed by him. How then can it be said, 'What need is there of the eternal?' But enough of this: what occasion is there to say more? You are my venerable preceptors, and, speak ye good or evil, it is not for my weak judgment to decide." The priests said to him, "We preserved you, boy, when you were about to be consumed by fire, confiding that you would no longer eulogize your father's foes: we knew not how unwise you were: but if you will not desist from this infatuation at our advice, we shall even proceed to perform the rites that will inevitably destroy you." To this menace, Prahláda answered, "What living creature slays, or is slain? what living creature preserves, or is preserved? Each is his own destroyer or preserver, as he follows evil or good318."


Thus spoken to by the youth, the priests of the Daitya sovereign were incensed, and instantly had recourse to magic incantations, by which a female form, enwreathed with fiery flame, was engendered: she was of fearful aspect, and the earth was parched beneath her tread, as she approached Prahláda, and smote him with a fiery trident on the breast. In vain! for the weapon fell, broken into a hundred pieces, upon the ground. Against the breast in which the imperishable Hari resides the thunderbolt would be shivered, much more should such a weapon be split in pieces. The magic being, then directed against the virtuous prince by the wicked priest, turned upon them, and, having quickly destroyed them, disappeared. But Prahláda, beholding them perish, hastily appealed to Krishńa, the eternal, for succour, and said, "Oh Janárddana! who art every where, the creator and substance of the world, preserve these Brahmans from this magical and insupportable fire. As thou art Vishńu, present in all creatures, and the protector of the world, so let these priests be restored to life. If, whilst devoted to the omnipresent Vishńu, I think no sinful resentment against my foes, let these priests be restored to life. If those who have come to slay me, those by whom poison was given me, the fire that would have burned, the elephants that would have crushed, and snakes that would have stung me, have been regarded by me as friends; if I have been unshaken in soul, and am without fault in thy sight; then, I implore thee, let these, the priests of the Asuras, be now restored to life." Thus having prayed, the Brahmans immediately rose up, uninjured and rejoicing; and bowing respectfully to Prahláda, they blessed him, and said, "Excellent prince, may thy days be many; irresistible be thy prowess; and power and wealth and posterity be thine." Having thus spoken, they withdrew, and went and told the king of the Daityas all that had passed.



Dialogue between Prahláda and his father: he is cast from the top of the palace unhurt: baffles the incantations of Samvara: he is thrown fettered into the sea: he praises Vishńu.

WHEN Hirańyakaśipu heard that the powerful incantations of his priests had been defeated, he sent for his son, and demanded of him the secret of his extraordinary might. "Prahláda," he said, "thou art possessed of marvellous powers; whence are they derived? are they the result of magic rites? or have they accompanied thee from birth?" Prahláda, thus interrogated, bowed down to his father's feet, and replied, "Whatever power I possess, father, is neither the result of magic rites, nor is it inseparable from my nature; it is no more than that which is possessed by all in whose hearts Achyuta abides. He who meditates not of wrong to others, but considers them as himself, is free from the effects of sin, inasmuch as the cause does not exist; but he who inflicts pain upon others, in act, thought, or speech, sows the seed of future birth, and the fruit that awaits him after birth is pain. I wish no evil to any, and do and speak no offence; for I behold Keśava in all beings, as in my own soul. Whence should corporeal or mental suffering or pain, inflicted by elements or the gods, affect me, whose heart is thoroughly purified by him? Love, then, for all creatures will be assiduously cherished by all those who are wise in the knowledge that Hari is all things."

When he had thus spoken, the Daitya monarch, his face darkened with fury, commanded his attendants to cast his son from the summit of the palace where he was sitting, and which was many Yojanas in height, down upon the tops of the mountains, where his body should be dashed to pieces against the rocks. Accordingly the Daityas hurled the boy down, and he fell cherishing Hari in his heart, and Earth, the nurse of all creatures, received him gently on her lap, thus entirely devoted to Keśava, the protector of the world.

Beholding him uninjured by the fall, and sound in every bone, Hirańyakaśipu addressed himself to Samvara, the mightiest of enchanters, [p.138] and said to him, "This perverse boy is not to be destroyed by us: do you, who art potent in the arts of delusion, contrive some device for his destruction." Samvara replied, "I will destroy him: you shall behold, king of the Daityas, the power of delusion, the thousand and the myriad artifices that it can employ." Then the ignorant Asura Samvara practised subtile wiles for the extermination of the firm-minded Prahláda: but he, with a tranquil heart, and void of malice towards Samvara, directed his thoughts uninterruptedly to the destroyer of Madhu; by whom the excellent discus, the flaming Sudarsana, was dispatched to defend the youth; and the thousand devices of the evil-destinied Samvara were every one foiled by this defender of the prince. The king of the Daityas then commanded the withering wind to breathe its blighting blast upon his son: and, thus commanded, the wind immediately penetrated into his frame, cold, cutting, drying, and insufferable. Knowing that the wind had entered into his body, the Daitya boy applied his whole heart to the mighty upholder of the earth; and Janárddana, seated in his heart, waxed wroth, and drank up the fearful wind, which had thus hastened to its own annihilation.

When the devices of Samvara were all frustrated, and the blighting wind had perished, the prudent prince repaired to the residence of his preceptor. His teacher instructed him daily in the science of polity, as essential to the administration of government, and invented by Uśanas for the benefit of kings; and when he thought that the modest prince was well grounded in the principles of the science, he told the king that Prahláda was thoroughly conversant with the rules of government as laid down by the descendant of Bhrigu. Hirańyakaśipu therefore summoned the prince to his presence, and desired him to repeat what he had learned; how a king should conduct himself towards friends or foes; what measures he should adopt at the three periods (of advance, retrogression, or stagnation); how he should treat his councillors, his ministers, the officers of his government and of his household, his emissaries, his subjects, those of doubtful allegiance, and his foes; with whom should he contract alliance; with whom engage in war; what sort of fortress he should construct; how forest and mountain tribes should be reduced; [p.139] how internal grievances should be rooted out: all this, and what else he had studied, the youth was commanded by his father to explain. To this, Prahláda having bowed affectionately and reverentially to the feet of the king, touched his forehead, and thus replied:

"It is true that I have been instructed in all these matters by my venerable preceptor, and I have learnt them, but I cannot in all approve them. It is said that conciliation, gifts, punishment, and sowing dissension are the means of securing friends (or overcoming foes)319; but I, fatherbe not angryknow neither friends nor foes; and where no object is to be accomplished, the means of effecting it are superfluous. It were idle to talk of friend or foe in Govinda, who is the supreme soul, lord of the world, consisting of the world, and who is identical with all beings. The divine Vishńu is in thee, father, in me, and in all every where else; and hence how can I speak of friend or foe, as distinct from myself? It is therefore waste of time to cultivate such tedious and unprofitable sciences, which are but false knowledge, and all our energies should be dedicated to the acquirement of true wisdom. The notion that ignorance is knowledge arises, father, from ignorance. Does not the child, king of the Asuras, imagine the fire-fly to be a spark of fire. That is active duty, which is not for our bondage; that is knowledge, which is for our liberation: all other duty is good only unto weariness; all other knowledge is only the cleverness of an artist. Knowing this, I look upon all such acquirement as profitless. That which is really profitable hear me, oh mighty monarch, thus prostrate before thee, proclaim. He who cares not for dominion, he who cares not for wealth, shall assuredly obtain both in a life to come. All men, illustrious prince, are toiling to be great; but the destinies of men, and not their own exertions, are the cause of greatness. Kingdoms are the gifts of fate, and are bestowed upon the stupid, the ignorant, the cowardly, and those to whom the science of government is unknown. Let him therefore who covets the goods of fortune be assiduous in the practice of virtue: let him who hopes for final liberation learn to look upon all things as equal and the [p.140] same. Gods, men, animals, birds, reptiles, all are but forms of one eternal Vishńu, existing as it were detached from himself. By him who knows this, all the existing world, fixed or movable, is to be regarded as identical with himself, as proceeding alike from Vishńu, assuming a universal form. When this is known, the glorious god of all, who is without beginning or end, is pleased; and when he is pleased, there is an end of affliction."

On hearing this, Hirańyakaśipu started up from his throne in a fury, and spurned his son on the breast with his foot. Burning with rage, he wrung his hands, and exclaimed, "Ho Viprachitti! ho Ráhu! ho Bali320! bind him with strong bands321, and cast him into the ocean, or all the regions, the Daityas and Dánavas, will become converts to the doctrines of this silly wretch. Repeatedly prohibited by us, he still persists in the praise of our enemies. Death is the just retribution of the disobedient." The Daityas accordingly bound the prince with strong bands, as their lord had commanded, and threw him into the sea. As he floated on the waters, the ocean was convulsed throughout its whole extent, and rose in mighty undulations, threatening to submerge the earth. This when Hirańyakaśipu observed, he commanded the Daityas to hurl rocks into the sea, and pile them closely on one another, burying beneath their incumbent mass him whom fire would not burn, nor weapons pierce, nor serpents bite; whom the pestilential gale could not blast, nor poison nor magic spirits nor incantations destroy; who fell from the loftiest heights unhurt; who foiled the elephants of the spheres: a son of depraved heart, whose life was a perpetual curse. "Here," he cried, "since he cannot die, here let him live for thousands of years at the bottom of the ocean, overwhelmed by mountains. Accordingly the Daityas and Dánavas hurled upon Prahláda, whilst in the great ocean, ponderous rocks, [p.141] and piled them over him for many thousand miles: but he, still with mind undisturbed, thus offered daily praise to Vishńu, lying at the bottom of the sea, under the mountain heap. "Glory to thee, god of the lotus eye: glory to thee, most excellent of spiritual things: glory to thee, soul of all worlds: glory to thee, wielder of the sharp discus: glory to the best of Brahmans; to the friend of Brahmans and of kine; to Krishńa, the preserver of the world: to Govinda be glory. To him who, as Brahmá, creates the universe; who in its existence is its preserver; be praise. To thee, who at the end of the Kalpa takest the form of Rudra; to thee, who art triform; be adoration. Thou, Achyuta, art the gods, Yakshas, demons, saints, serpents, choristers and dancers of heaven, goblins, evil spirits, men, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, plants, and stones, earth, water, fire, sky, wind, sound, touch, taste, colour, flavour, mind, intellect, soul, time, and the qualities of nature: thou art all these, and the chief object of them all. Thou art knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood, poison and ambrosia. Thou art the performance and discontinuance of acts322: thou art the acts which the Vedas enjoin: thou art the enjoyer of the fruit of all acts, and the means by which they are accomplished. Thou, Vishńu, who art the soul of all, art the fruit of all acts of piety. Thy universal diffusion, indicating might and goodness, is in me, in others, in all creatures, in all worlds. Holy ascetics meditate on thee: pious priests sacrifice to thee. Thou alone, identical with the gods and the fathers of mankind, receivest burnt-offerings and oblations323. The universe is thy intellectual form324; whence proceeded thy subtile form, this world: thence art thou all subtile elements and elementary beings, and the subtile principle, that is called soul, within them. Hence the supreme soul of all objects, distinguished as subtile or gross, which is imperceptible, and which cannot be conceived, is even a form of thee. Glory be to thee, Purushottama; and [p.142] glory to that imperishable form which, soul of all, is another manifestation325 of thy might, the asylum of all qualities, existing in all creatures. I salute her, the supreme goddess, who is beyond the senses; whom the mind, the tongue, cannot define; who is to be distinguished alone by the wisdom of the truly wise. Om! salutation to Vásudeva: to him who is the eternal lord; he from whom nothing is distinct; he who is distinct from all. Glory be to the great spirit again and again: to him who is without name or shape; who sole is to be known by adoration; whom, in the forms manifested in his descents upon earth, the dwellers in heaven adore; for they behold not his inscrutable nature. I glorify the supreme deity Vishńu, the universal witness, who seated internally, beholds the good and ill of all. Glory to that Vishńu from whom this world is not distinct. May he, ever to be meditated upon as the beginning of the universe, have compassion upon me: may he, the supporter of all, in whom every thing is warped and woven326, undecaying, imperishable, have compassion upon me. Glory, again and again, to that being to whom all returns, from whom all proceeds; who is all, and in whom all things are: to him whom I also am; for he is every where; and through whom all things are from me. I am all things: all things are in me, who am everlasting. I am undecayable, ever enduring, the receptacle of the spirit of the supreme. Brahma is my name; the supreme soul, that is before all things, that is after the end of all.



Vishńu appears to Prahláda. Hirańyakaśipu relents, and is reconciled to his son: he is put to death by Vishńu as the Nrisinha. Prahláda becomes king of the Daityas: his posterity: fruit of hearing his story.

THUS meditating upon Vishńu, as identical with his own spirit, Prahláda became as one with him, and finally regarded himself as the divinity: he forgot entirely his own individuality, and was conscious of nothing else than his being the inexhaustible, eternal, supreme soul; and in consequence of the efficacy of this conviction of identity, the imperishable Vishńu, whose essence is wisdom, became present in his heart, which was wholly purified from sin. As soon as, through the force of his contemplation, Prahláda had become one with Vishńu, the bonds with which he was bound burst instantly asunder; the ocean was violently uplifted; and the monsters of the deep were alarmed; earth with all her forests and mountains trembled; and the prince, putting aside the rocks which the demons had piled Upon him, came forth from out the main. When he beheld the outer world again, and contemplated earth and heaven, he remembered who he was, and recognised himself to be Prahláda; and again he hymned Purushottama, who is without beginning or end; his mind being steadily and undeviatingly addressed to the object of his prayers, and his speech, thoughts, and acts being firmly under control. "Om! glory to the end of all: to thee, lord, who art subtile and substantial; mutable and immutable; perceptible and imperceptible; divisible and indivisible; indefinable and definable; the subject of attributes, and void of attributes; abiding in qualities, though they abide not in thee; morphous and amorphous; minute and vast; visible and invisible; hideousness and beauty; ignorance and wisdom; cause and effect; existence and non-existence; comprehending all that is good and evil; essence of perishable and imperishable elements; asylum of undeveloped rudiments. Oh thou who art both one and many, Vásudeva, first cause of all; glory be unto thee. Oh thou who art large and small, manifest and hidden; who art all beings, and art not [p.144] all beings; and from whom, although distinct from universal cause, the universe proceeds: to thee, Purushottama, be all glory."

Whilst with mind intent on Vishńu, he thus pronounced his praises, the divinity, clad in yellow robes, suddenly appeared before him. Startled at the sight, with hesitating speech Prahláda pronounced repeated salutations to Vishńu, and said, "Oh thou who removest all worldly grief, Keśava, be propitious unto me; again sanctify me, Achyuta, by thy sight." The deity replied, "I am pleased with the faithful attachment thou hast shown to me: demand from me, Prahláda, whatever thou desirest." Prahláda replied, "In all the thousand births through which I may be doomed to pass, may my faith in thee, Achyuta, never know decay; may passion, as fixed as that which the worldly-minded feel for sensual pleasures, ever animate my heart, always devoted unto thee." Bhagaván answered, "Thou hast already devotion unto me, and ever shalt have it: now choose some boon, whatever is in thy wish." Prahláda then said, "I have been hated, for that I assiduously proclaimed thy praise: do thou, oh lord, pardon in my father this sin that he hath committed. Weapons have been hurled against me; I have been thrown into the flames; I have been bitten by venomous snakes; and poison has been mixed with my food; I have been bound and cast into the sea; and heavy rocks have been heaped upon me: but all this, and whatever ill beside has been wrought against me; whatever wickedness has been done to me, because I put my faith in thee; all, through thy mercy, has been suffered by me unharmed: and do thou therefore free my father from this iniquity." To this application Vishńu replied, "All this shall be unto thee, through my favour: but I give thee another boon: demand it, son of the Asura." Prahláda answered and said, "All my desires, oh lord, have been fulfilled by the boon that thou hast granted, that my faith in thee shall never know decay. Wealth, virtue, love, are as nothing; for even liberation is in his reach whose faith is firm in thee, root of the universal world." Vishńu said, "Since thy heart is filled immovably with trust in me, thou shalt, through my blessing, attain freedom from existence." Thus saying, Vishńu vanished from his sight; and Prahláda repaired to his father, and bowed down before him. His father [p.145] kissed him on the forehead327, and embraced him, and shed tears, and said, "Dost thou live, my son?" And the great Asura repented of his former cruelty, and treated him with kindness: and Prahláda, fulfilling his duties like any other youth, continued diligent in the service of his preceptor and his father. After his father had been put to death by Vishńu in the form of the man-lion328, Prahláda became the sovereign of the Daityas; and possessing the splendours of royalty consequent upon his piety, exercised extensive sway, and was blessed with a numerous progeny. At the expiration of an authority which was the reward of his meritorious acts, he was freed from the consequences of moral merit or demerit, and obtained, through meditation on the deity, final exemption from existence.

Such, Maitreya, was the Daitya Prahláda, the wise and faithful worshipper of Vishńu, of whom you wished to hear; and such was his miraculous power. Whoever listens to the history of Prahláda is immediately cleansed from his sins: the iniquities that he commits, by night or by day, shall be expiated by once hearing, or once reading, the history of Prahláda. The perusal of this history on the day of full moon, of new moon, or on the eighth or twelfth day of the lunation329, [p.146] shall yield fruit equal to the donation of a cow330. As Vishńu protected Prahláda in all the calamities to which he was exposed, so shall the deity protect him who listens constantly to the tale331.



Families of the Daityas. Descendants of Kaśyapa by Danu. Children of Kaśyapa by his other wives. Birth of the Márutas, the sons of Diti.

THE sons of Sanhráda, the son of Hirańyakaśipu, were Áyushmán, Śivi, and Váshkala332. Prahláda had a son named Virochana; whose son was Bali, who had a hundred sons, of whom Báńa was the eldest333.

Hirańyáksha also had many sons, all of whom were Daityas of great prowess; Jharjhara, Śakuni, Bhútasantápana, Mahánábha, the mighty-armed and the valiant Táraka. These were the sons of Diti334.

The children of Kaśyapa by Danu were Dwimúrddhá, Śankara, Ayomukha, Śankuśiras, Kapila, Samvara, Ekachakra, and another mighty Táraka, Swarbhánu, Vrishaparvan, Puloman, and the powerful Viprachitti; these were the renowned Dánavas, or sons of Danu335.

Swarbhánu had a daughter named Prabhá336; and Śarmisht́há337 was the daughter of Vrishaparvan, as were Upadánaví and Hayaśirá338.


Vaiswánara339 had two daughters, Pulomá and Káliká, who were both married to Kaśyapa, and bore him sixty thousand distinguished Dánavas, called Paulomas and Kálakanjas340, who were powerful, ferocious, and cruel.

The sons of Viprachitti by Sinhiká (the sister of Hirańyakaśipu) were Vyanśa, Śalya the strong, Nabha the powerful, Vátápi, Namuchi, Ilwala, Khasrima, Anjaka, Naraka, and Kálanábha, the valiant Swarbhánu, and the mighty Vaktrayodhí340. These were the most eminent Dánavas342, through whom the race of Danu was multiplied by hundreds and thousands through succeeding generations.

In the family of the Daitya Prahláda, the Niváta Kavachas were born, whose spirits were purified by rigid austerity343.

Támrá (the wife of Kaśyapa) had six illustrious daughters, named Śukí, Śyení, Bhásí, Sugríví, Śuchi, and Gridhriká. Śukí gave birth to parrots, owls, and crows344; Śyení to hawks; Bhásí to kites; Gridhriká [p.149] to vultures; Śuchi to water-fowl; Sugríví to horses, camels, and asses. Such were the progeny of Támrá.

Vinatá bore to Kaśyapa two celebrated sons, Garud́a and Aruńa: the former, also called Suparńa, was the king of the feathered tribes, and the remorseless enemy of the serpent race345.

The children of Surasá were a thousand mighty many-headed serpents, traversing the sky346.

The progeny of Kadru were a thousand powerful many-headed serpents, of immeasurable might, subject to Garud́a; the chief amongst whom were Śesha, Vásuki, Takshaka, Śankha, Śweta, Mahápadma, Kambala, Áswatara, Elápatra, Nága, Karkkota, Dhananjaya, and many other fierce and venomous serpents347.

The family of Krodhavasá were all sharp-toothed monsters348, whether on the earth, amongst the birds, or in the waters, that were devourers of flesh.


349Surabhi was the mother of cows and buffaloes350: Irá, of trees and creeping plants and shrubs, and every kind of grass: Khasá, of the Rákshasas and Yakshas351: Muni, of the Apsarasas352: and Arisht́á, of the illustrious Gandharbas.

These were the children of Kaśyapa, whether movable or stationary, whose descendants multiplied infinitely through successive generations353. This creation, oh Brahman, took place in the second or Swárochisha Manwantara. In the present or Vaivaswata Manwantara, Brahmá being engaged at the great sacrifice instituted by Varuńa, the creation of progeny, as it is called, occurred; for he begot, as his sons, the seven Rishis, who were formerly mind-engendered; and was himself the grand-sire of the Gandharbas, serpents, Dánavas, and gods354.


Diti, having lost her children, propitiated Kaśyapa; and the best of ascetics, being pleased with her, promised her a boon; on which she prayed for a son of irresistible prowess and valour, who should destroy Indra. The excellent Muni granted his wife the great gift she had solicited, but with one condition: "You shall bear a son," he said, "who shall slay Indra, if with thoughts wholly pious, and person entirely pure, you carefully carry the babe in your womb for a hundred years." Having thus said, Kaśyapa departed; and the dame conceived, and during gestation assiduously observed the rules of mental and personal purity. When the king of the immortals, learnt that Diti bore a son destined for his destruction, he came to her, and attended upon her with the utmost humility, watching for an opportunity to disappoint her intention. At last, in the last year of the century, the opportunity occurred. Diti [p.152] retired one night to rest without performing the prescribed ablution of her feet, and fell asleep; on which the thunderer divided with his thunderbolt the embryo in her womb into seven portions. The child, thus mutilated, cried bitterly; and Indra repeatedly attempted to console and silence it, but in vain: on which the god, being incensed, again divided each of the seven portions into seven, and thus formed the swift-moving deities called Márutas (winds). They derived this appellation from the words with which Indra had addressed them (Má rodíh, 'Weep not'); and they became forty-nine subordinate divinities, the associates of the wielder of the thunderbolt355.



Dominion over different provinces of creation assigned to different beings. Universality of Vishńu. Four varieties of spiritual contemplation. Two conditions of spirit. The perceptible attributes of Vishńu types of his imperceptible properties. Vishńu every thing. Merit of hearing the first book of the Vishńu Puráńa.

WHEN Prithu was installed in the government of the earth, the great father of the spheres established sovereignties in other parts of the creation. Soma was appointed monarch of the stars and planets, of Brahmans and of plants, of sacrifices and of penance. Vaisravańa was made king over kings; and Varuńa, over the waters. Vishńu was the chief of the Ádityas; Pávaka, of the Vasus; Daksha, of the patriarchs; Vásava, of the winds. To Prahláda was assigned dominion over the Daityas and Dánavas; and Yama, the king of justice, was appointed the monarch of the Manes (Pitris). Airávata was made the king of elephants; Garud́a, of birds; Indra, of the gods. Uchchaiśravas was the chief of horses; Vrishabha, of kine. Śesha became the snake-king; the lion, the monarch of the beasts; and the sovereign of the trees was the holy fig-tree356. Having thus fixed the limits of each authority, the great progenitor Brahmá stationed rulers for the protection of the different quarters of the world: he made Sudhanwan, the son of the patriarch Viraja, the regent of the east; Sankhapáda, the son of the patriarch Kardama, of the south; the immortal Ketumat, the son of Rajas, regent of the west; and Hirańyaroman, the son of the patriarch Parjanya, regent of the north357. By these the whole earth, with its seven continents and its [p.154] cities, is to the present day vigilantly protected, according to their several limits.

All these monarchs, and whatever others may be invested with authority by the mighty Vishńu, as instruments for the preservation of the world; all the kings who have been, and all who shall be; are all, most worthy Brahman, but portions of the universal Vishńu. The rulers of the gods, the rulers of the Daityas, the rulers of the Dánavas, and the rulers of all malignant spirits; the chief amongst beasts, amongst birds, amongst men, amongst serpents; the best of trees, of mountains, of planets; either those that now are, or that shall hereafter be, the most exalted of their kind; are but portions of the universal Vishńu. The power of protecting created things, the preservation of the world, resides with no other than Hari, the lord of all. He is the creator, who creates the world; he, the eternal, preserves it in its existence; and he, the destroyer, destroys it; invested severally with the attributes of foulness, goodness, and gloom. By a fourfold manifestation does Janárddana operate in creation, preservation, and destruction. In one portion, as Brahmá, the invisible assumes a visible form; in another portion he, as Maríchi and the rest, is the progenitor of all creatures; his third portion is time; his fourth is all beings: and thus he becomes quadruple in creation, invested with the quality of passion. In the preservation of the world he is, in one portion, Vishńu; in another portion he is Manu and the other patriarchs; he is time in a third; and all beings in a fourth portion: and thus, endowed with the property of goodness, Purushottama preserves the world. When he assumes the property of darkness, at the end of all things, the unborn deity becomes in one portion Rudra; in another, the destroying fire; in a third, time; and in a fourth, all beings: and thus, in a quadruple form, he is the destroyer of the world. This, Brahman, is the fourfold condition of the deity at all seasons.

Brahmá, Daksha, time, and all creatures are the four energies of Hari, which are the causes of creation. Vishńu, Manu and the rest, time, and all creatures are the four energies of Vishńu, which are the causes of duration. Rudra, the destroying fire, time, and all creatures [p.155] are the four energies of Janárddana that are exerted for universal dissolution. In the beginning and the duration of the world, until the period of its end, creation is the work of Brahmá, the patriarchs, and living animals. Brahmá creates in the beginning; then the patriarchs beget progeny; and then animals incessantly multiply their kinds: but Brahmá is not the active agent in creation, independent of time; neither are the patriarchs, nor living animals. So, in the periods of creation and of dissolution, the four portions of the god of gods are equally essential. Whatever, oh Brahman, is engendered by any living being, the body of Hari is cooperative in the birth of that being; so whatever destroys any existing thing, movable or stationary, at any time, is the destroying form of Janárddana as Rudra. Thus Janárddana is the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer of the whole worldbeing threefoldin the several seasons of creation, preservation, and destruction, according to his assumption of the three qualities: but his highest glory358 is detached from all qualities; for the fourfold essence of the supreme spirit is composed of true wisdom, pervades all things, is only to be appreciated by itself, and admits of no similitude.

MAITREYA.But, Muni, describe to me fully the four varieties of the condition of Brahma, and what is the supreme condition359.

PARÁŚARA.That, Maitreya, which is the cause of a thing is called the means of effecting it; and that which it is the desire of the soul to accomplish is the thing to be effected. The operations of the Yogi who is desirous of liberation, as suppression of breath and the like, are his means: the end is the supreme Brahma, whence he returns to the world no more. Essentially connected with, and dependant upon, the means employed for emancipation by the Yogi, is discriminative knowledge; and this is the first variety of the condition of Brahma360. The second [p.156] sort is the knowledge that is to be acquired by the Yogi whose end is escape from suffering, or eternal felicity. The third kind is the ascertainment of the identity of the end and the means, the rejection of the notion of duality. The last kind is the removal of whatever differences may have been conceived by the three first varieties of knowledge, and the consequent contemplation of the true essence of soul. The supreme condition of Vishńu, who is one with wisdom, is the knowledge of truth; which requires no exercise; which is not to be taught; which is internally diffused; which is unequalled; the object of which is self-illumination; which is simply existent, and is not to be defined; which is tranquil, fearless, pure; which is not the theme of reasoning; which stands in need of no support361. Those Yogis who, by the annihilation of ignorance, are resolved into this fourfold Brahma, lose the seminal property, and can no longer germinate in the ploughed field of worldly existence. This is the supreme condition, that is called Vishńu, perfect, [p.157] perpetual, universal, undecaying, entire, and uniform: and the Yogi who attains this supreme spirit (Brahma) returns not to life again; for there he is freed from the distinction of virtue and vice, from suffering, and from soil.

There are two states of this Brahma; one with, and one without shape; one perishable, and one imperishable; which are inherent in all beings. The imperishable is the supreme being; the perishable is all the world. The blaze of fire burning on one spot diffuses light and heat around; so the world is nothing more than the manifested energy of the supreme Brahma: and inasmuch, Maitreya, as the light and heat are stronger or feebler as we are near to the fire, or far off from it, so the energy of the supreme is more or less intense in the beings that are less or more remote from him. Brahma, Vishńu, and Śiva are the most powerful energies of god; next to them are the inferior deities, then the attendant spirits, then men, then animals, birds, insects, vegetables; each becoming more and more feeble as they are farther from their primitive source. In this way, illustrious Brahman, this whole world, although in essence imperishable and eternal, appears and disappears, as if it was subject to birth and death.

The supreme condition of Brahma, which is meditated by the Yogis in the commencement of their abstraction, as invested with form, is Vishńu, composed of all the divine energies, and the essence of Brahma, with whom the mystic union that is sought, and which is accompanied by suitable elements, is effected362 by the devotee whose whole mind is addressed to that object. This Hari, who is the most immediate of all the energies of Brahma, is his embodied shape, composed entirely of his essence; and in him therefore is the whole world interwoven; and from him, and in him, is the universe; and he, the supreme lord of all, comprising all that is perishable and imperishable, bears upon him all material and spiritual existence, identified in nature with his ornaments and weapons.


MAITREYA.Tell me in what manner Vishńu bears the whole world, abiding in his nature, characterised by ornaments and weapons.

PARÁŚARA.Having offered salutation to the mighty and indescribable Vishńu, I repeat to you what was formerly related to me by Vaśisht́ha. The glorious Hari wears the pure soul of the world, undefiled, and void of qualities, as the Kaustubha gem. The chief principle of things (Pradhána) is seated on the eternal, as the Srivatsa mark. Intellect abides in Mádhava, in the form of his mace. The lord (Íśwara) supports egotism (Ahankára) in its twofold division, into elements and organs of sense, in the emblems of his conch-shell and his bow. In his hand Vishńu holds, in the form of his discus, the mind, whose thoughts (like the weapon) fly swifter than the winds. The necklace of the deity Vaijayantí, composed of five precious gems363, is the aggregate of the five elemental rudiments. Janárddana bears, in his numerous shafts, the faculties both of action and of perception. The bright sword of Achyuta is holy wisdom, concealed at some seasons in the scabbard of ignorance. In this manner soul, nature, intellect, egotism, the elements, the senses, mind, ignorance, and wisdom, are all assembled in the person of Hrishikeśa. Hari, in a delusive form, embodies the shapeless elements of the world, as his weapons and his ornaments, for the salvation of mankind364. Puńd́arikáksha, the lord of all, assumes nature, with all its products, soul and all the world. All that is wisdom, all that is ignorance, all that is, all that is not, all that is everlasting, is centred in the destroyer of Madhu, the lord of all creatures. The supreme, eternal Hari is time, with its divisions of seconds, minutes, days, months, seasons, and years: he is the seven worlds, the earth, the sky, heaven, the world of patriarchs, [p.159] of sages, of saints, of truth: whose form is all worlds; first-born before all the first-born; the supporter of all beings, himself self-sustained: who exists in manifold forms, as gods, men, and animals; and is thence the sovereign lord of all, eternal: whose shape is all visible things; who is without shape or form: who is celebrated in the Vedanta as the Rich, Yajush, Sáma, and Atharva Vedas, inspired history, and sacred science. The Vedas, and their divisions; the institutes of Manu and other lawgivers; traditional scriptures, and religious manuals365; poems, and all that is said or sung; are the body of the mighty Vishńu, assuming the form of sound. All kinds of substances, with or without shape, here or elsewhere, are the body of Vishńu. I am Hari. All that I behold is Janárddana; cause and effect are from none other than him. The man who knows these truths shall never again experience the afflictions of worldly existence.

Thus, Brahman, has the first portion of this Puráńa been duly revealed to you: listening to which, expiates all offences. The man who hears this Puráńa obtains the fruit of bathing in the Pushkara lake366 for twelve years, in the month of Kártik. The gods bestow upon him who hears this work the dignity of a divine sage, of a patriarch, or of a spirit of heaven.




Descendants of Priyavrata, the eldest son of Swáyambhuva Manu: his ten sons: three adopt a religious life; the others become kings of the seven Dwípas, or isles, of the earth. Agnídhra, king of Jambu-dwípa, divides it into nine portions, which he distributes amongst his sons. Nábhi, king of the south, succeeded by Rishabha; and he by Bharata: India named after him Bhárata: his descendants reign during the Swáyambhuva Manwantara.

MAITREYA.You have related to me, venerable preceptor, most fully, all that I was curious to hear respecting the creation of the world; but there is a part of the subject which I am desirous again to have described. You stated that Priyavrata and Uttánapáda were the sons of Swáyambhuva Manu, and you repeated the story of Dhruva, the son of Uttánapáda: you made no mention of the descendants of Priyavrata, and it is an account of his family that I beg you will kindly communicate to me.

PARÁŚARA.Priyavrata married Kámyá, the daughter of the patriarch Kardama367, and had by her two daughters, Samrát and Kukshi, and ten [p.162] sons, wise, valiant, modest, and dutiful, named Agnídhra, Agnibáhu, Vapushmat, Dyutimat, Medha, Medhatithi, Bhavya, Savala, Putra, and the tenth was Jyotishmat368, illustrious by nature as by name. These were the sons of Priyavrata, famous for strength and prowess. Of these, three, or Medha, Putra, and Agnibáhu, adopted a religious life: remembering the occurrences of a prior existence, they did not covet dominion, but diligently practised the rites of devotion in due season, wholly disinterested, and looking for no reward.

Priyavrata having divided the earth into seven continents, gave them respectively to his other seven sons369. To Agnídhra he gave Jambu-dwípa; to Medhatithi he gave Plaksha-dwípa: he installed Vapushmat in the sovereignty over the Dwípa of Sálmali; and made Jyotishmat king of Kuśa-dwípa: he appointed Dyutimat to rule over Krauncha-dwípa; Bhavya to reign over Sáka-dwípa; and Savala he nominated the monarch of the Dwípa of Pushkara.

Agnídhra, the king of Jambu-dwípa, had nine sons, equal in splendour to the patriarchs: they were named Nábhi, Kimpurusha, Harivarsha, Ilávrita, Ramya, Hirańvat, Kuru, Bhadráśwa, and Ketumála370, who was a prince ever active in the practice of piety.

Hear next, Maitreya, in what manner Agnídhra apportioned Jambu-dwípa amongst his nine sons. He gave to Nábhi the country called Hima, south of the Himavat, or snowy mountains. The country of Hemakút́a he gave to Kimpurusha; and to Harivarsha, the country of [p.162] Nishadha. The region in the centre of which mount Meru is situated he conferred on Ilávrita; and to Ramya, the countries lying between it and the Níla mountain. To Hirańvat his father gave the country lying to the north of it, called Śweta; and, on the north of the Śweta mountains, the country bounded by the Śringaván range he gave to Kuru. The countries on the east of Meru he assigned to Bhadráśwa; and Gandhamádana, which lay west of it, he gave to Ketumála371.' Having installed his sons sovereigns in these several regions, the pious king Agnídhra retired to a life of penance at the holy place of pilgrimage, Śálagráma372.

The eight Varshas, or countries, Kimpurusha and the rest, are places of perfect enjoyment, where happiness is spontaneous and uninterrupted. In them there is no vicissitude, nor the dread of decrepitude or death: there is no distinction of virtue or vice, nor difference of degree as better or worse, nor any of the effects produced in this region by the revolutions of ages.

Nábhi, who had for his portion the country of Himáhwa, had by his queen Meru the magnanimous Rishabha; and he had a hundred sons, the eldest of whom was Bharata. Rishabha having ruled with equity and wisdom, and celebrated many sacrificial rites, resigned the sovereignty of the earth to the heroic Bharata, and, retiring to the hermitage of Pulastya, adopted the life of an anchoret, practising religious penance, and performing all prescribed ceremonies, until, emaciated by his austerities, so as to be but a collection of skin and fibres, he put a pebble in his mouth, and naked went the way of all flesh373. The country was [p.164] termed Bhárata from the time that it was relinquished to Bharata by his father, on his retiring to the woods374.

Bharata, having religiously discharged the duties of his station, consigned the kingdom to his son Sumati, a most virtuous prince; and, engaging in devout practices, abandoned his life at the holy place, Śálagráma: he was afterwards born again as a Brahman, in a distinguished family of ascetics. I shall hereafter relate to you his history.

From the illustrious Sumati was born Indradyumna: his son was Paramesht́hin: his son was Pratihára, who had a celebrated son, named [p.165] Pratiharttá: his son was Bhava, who begot Udgítha, who begot Prastára; whose son was Prithu. The son of Prithu was Nakta: his son was Gaya: his son was Nara; whose son was Virát. The valiant son of Virát was Dhímat, who begot Mahánta; whose son was Manasyu; whose son was Twasht́ri: his son was Víraja: his son was Rája: his son was Śatajit, who had a hundred sons, of whom Viswagjyotish was the eldest375. Under these princes, Bhárata-varsha (India) was divided into nine portions (to be hereafter particularized); and their descendants successively held possession of the country for seventy-one periods of the aggregate of the four ages (or for the reign of a Manu).

This was the creation of Swáyambhuva Manu, by which the earth was peopled, when he presided over the first Manwantara, in the Kalpa of Varáha376.



Description of the earth. The seven Dwípas and seven seas. Jambu-dwípa. Mount Meru: its extent and boundaries. Extent of Ilávrita. Groves, lakes, and branches of Meru. Cities of the gods. Rivers. The forms of Vishńu worshipped in different Varshas.

MAITREYA.You have related to me, Brahman, the creation of Swáyambhuva; I am now desirous to hear from you a description of the earth: how many are its oceans and islands, its kingdoms and its mountains, its forests and rivers and the cities of the gods, its dimensions, its contents, its nature, and its form.

PARÁŚARA.You shall hear, Maitreya, a brief account of the earth from me: a full detail I could not give you in a century.

The seven great insular continents are Jambu, Plaksha, Sálmali, Kuśa, Krauncha, Śáka, and Pushkara: and they are surrounded severally by seven great seas; the sea of salt water (Lavańa), of sugar-cane juice (Ikshu), of wine (Surá), of clarified butter (Sarpi), of curds (Dadhi), of milk (Dugdha), and of fresh water (Jala)377.

Jambu-dwípa is in the centre of all these: and in the centre of this continent is the golden mountain Meru. The height of Meru is eighty-four thousand Yojanas; and its depth below the surface of the earth is [p.167] sixteen thousand. Its diameter at the summit is thirty-two thousand Yojanas; and at its base, sixteen thousand: so that this mountain is like the seed-cup of the lotus of the earth378.

The boundary mountains (of the earth) are Himaván, Hemakút́a, and Nishadha, which lie south of Meru; and Níla, Śweta, and Śringí, which are situated to the north of it. The two central ranges (those next to Meru, or Nishadha and Níla) extend for a hundred thousand (Yojanas, running east and west). Each of the others diminishes ten thousand Yojanas, as it lies more remote from the centre. They are two thousand Yojanas in height, and as many in breadth379. The Varshas or countries between these ranges are Bhárata (India), south of the Himaván mountains; [p.168] next Kimpurusha, between Himaván and Hemakút́a; north of the latter, and south of Nishadha, is Hariversha; north of Meru is Ramyaka, extending from the Níla or blue mountains to the Śweta (or white) mountains; Hirańmaya lies between the Śweta and Śringí ranges; and Uttarakuru is beyond the latter, following the same direction as Bhárata380. Each of these is nine thousand Yojanas in extent. Ilávrita is of similar dimensions, but in the centre of it is the golden mountain Meru, and the country extends nine thousand Yojanas in each direction from the four sides of the mountain381. There are four mountains in this Varsha, formed as buttresses to Meru, each ten thousand Yojanas in elevation: that on the east is called Mandara; that on the south, Gandhamádana; that on the west, Vipula; and that on the north, Supárśwa382: on each of these stands severally a Kadamba-tree, a Jambu-tree, a Pípal, and a Vat́a383; each spreading over eleven hundred Yojanas, and towering aloft like banners on the mountains. From the Jambu-tree the insular continent Jambu-dwípa derives its appellations. The apples of that tree are as large as elephants: when they are rotten, they fall upon the crest of the mountain, and from their expressed juice is formed the Jambu river, the waters of which are drunk by the inhabitants; and in consequence of drinking of that stream, they pass their days in content and health, being subject neither to perspiration, to foul odours, to decrepitude, nor organic decay. The soil on the banks of the river, absorbing the Jambu juice, and being dried by gentle breezes, becomes the gold termed Jámbunada, of which the ornaments of the Siddhas are fabricated.


The country of Bhadráśwa lies on the east of Meru, and Ketumála on the west; and between these two is the region of Ilávrita. On the east of the same is the forest Chaitraratha; the Gandhamádana wood is on the south; the forest of Vaibhrája is on the west; and the grove of Indra, or Nandana, is on the north. There are also four great lakes, the waters of which are partaken of by the gods, called Aruńoda, Mahábhadra, Śítoda, and Mańasa384.

The principal mountain ridges which project from the base of Meru, like filaments from the root of the lotus, are, on the east, Śítánta, Mukunda, Kurarí, Mályaván, and Vaikanka; on the south, Trikút́a, Śiśira, Patanga, Ruchaka, and Nishadha; on the west, Śikhivásas, Vaidúrya, Kapila, Gandhamádana, and Járudhi; and on the north, Śankhakút́a, Rishabha, Nága, Hansa, and Kálanjara. These and others extend from between the intervals in the body, or from the heart, of Meru385.

On the summit of Meru is the vast city of Brahmá, extending fourteen thousand leagues, and renowned in heaven; and around it, in the cardinal points and the intermediate quarters, are situated the stately cities of Indra and the other regents of the spheres386. The capital of Brahmá [p.170] is enclosed by the river Ganges, which, issuing from the foot of Vishńu, and washing the lunar orb, falls here from the skies387, and, after encircling the city, divides into four mighty rivers, flowing in opposite directions. These rivers are the Śítá, the Alakanandá, the Chakshu, and the Bhadrá. The first, falling upon the tops of the inferior mountains, on the east side of Meru, flows over their crests, and passes through the country of Bhadráśwa to the ocean: the Alakanandá flows south, to the country of Bhárata, and, dividing into seven rivers on the way, falls into the sea: the Chakshu falls into the sea, after traversing all the western mountains, and passing through the country of Ketumála: and the [p.171] Bhadrá washes the country of the Uttara kurus, and empties itself into the northern ocean388.

Meru, then, is confined between the mountains Níla and Nishadha (on the north and south), and between Mályaván and Gandhamádana (on the west and east389): it lies between them like the pericarp of a lotus. The countries of Bhárata, Ketumála, Bhadráśwa, and Uttarakuru lie, like leaves of the lotus of the world, exterior to the boundary mountains. Jat́hara and Devakút́a are two mountain ranges, running north and south, and connecting the two chains of Nishadha and Níla. Gandhamádana [p.172] and Kailása extend, east and west, eighty Yojanas in breadth, from sea to sea. Nishadha and Páriyátra are the limitative mountains on the west, stretching, like those on the east, between the Níla and Nishadha ranges: and the mountains Triśringa and Járudhi are the northern limits of Meru, extending, east and west, between the two seas390. Thus I have repeated to you the mountains described by great sages as the boundary mountains, situated in pairs, on each of the four sides of Meru. Those also, which have been mentioned as the filament mountains (or spurs), Śítánta and the rest, are exceedingly delightful. The vallies embosomed amongst them are the favourite resorts of the Siddhas and Chárańas: and there are situated upon them agreeable forests, and pleasant cities, embellished with the palaces of Vishńu, Lakshmí, Agni, Súrya, and other deities, and peopled by celestial spirits; whilst the Yakshas, Rákshasas, Daityas, and Dánavas pursue their pastimes in the vales. These, in short, are the regions of Paradise, or Swarga, the seats of the righteous, and where the wicked do not arrive even after a hundred births.


In the country of Bhadráśwa, Vishńu resides as Hayasírá (the horse-headed); in Ketumála, as Varáha (the boar); in Bhárata, as the tortoise (Kúrma); in Kuru, as the fish (Matsya); in his universal form, every where; for Hari pervades all places: he, Maitreya, is the supporter of all things; he is all things. In the eight realms of Kimpurusha and the rest (or all exclusive of Bhárata) there is no sorrow, nor weariness, nor anxiety, nor hunger, nor apprehension; their inhabitants are exempt from all infirmity and pain, and live in uninterrupted enjoyment for ten or twelve thousand years. Indra never sends rain upon them, for the earth abounds with water. In those places there is no distinction of Krita, Treta, or any succession of ages. In each of these Varshas there are respectively seven principal ranges of mountains, from which, oh best of Brahmans, hundreds of rivers take their rise391.



Description of Bhárata-varsha: extent: chief mountains: nine divisions: principal rivers and mountains of Bhárata proper: principal nations: superiority over other Varshas, especially as the seat of religious acts. (Topographical lists.)

THE country that lies north of the ocean, and south of the snowy mountains, is called Bhárata, for there dwelt the descendants of Bharata. It is nine thousand leagues in extent392, and is the land of works, in consequence of which men go to heaven, or obtain emancipation.

The seven main chains of mountains in Bhárata are Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śuktimat, Riksha, Vindhya, and Páripátra393.

From this region heaven is obtained, or even, in some cases, liberation [p.175] from existence; or men pass from hence into the condition of brutes, or fall into hell. Heaven, emancipation, a state in mid-air, or in the subterraneous realms, succeeds to existence here, and the world of acts is not the title of any other portion of the universe.

The Varsha of Bhárata is divided into nine portions, which I will name to you; they are Indra-dwípa, Kaserumat, Támravarńa, Gabhastimat, Nága-dwípa, Saumya, Gandharba, and Váruńa; the last or ninth Dwípa is surrounded by the ocean, and is a thousand Yojanas from north to south394.

On the east of Bhárata dwell the Kirátas (the barbarians); on the west, the Yavanas; in the centre reside Brahmans, Kshetriyas, Vaiśyas, and Śúdras, occupied in their respective duties of sacrifice, arms, trade, and service395.

The Śatadru, Chandrabhágá, and other rivers, flow from the foot of [p.176] Himálaya: the Vedasmriti and others from the Parípátra mountains: the Narmadá and Surasá from the Vindhya hills: the Tápí, Payoshńí, and Nirvindhyá from the Riksha mountains; the Godáverí, Bhimarathí, Krishńavení, and others, from the Sahya mountains: the Kritamálá, Támraparńí, and others, from the Malaya hills: the Trisámá, Rishikulyá, &c. from the Mahendra: and the Rishikulyá, Kumárí, and others, from the Śuktimat mountains. Of such as these, and of minor rivers, there is an infinite number; and many nations inhabit the countries on their borders396.

The principal nations of Bhárata are the Kurus and Pánchálas, in the middle districts: the people of Kámarupa, in the east: the Puńd́ras, [p.177] Kalingas, Magadhas, and southern nations, are in the south: in the extreme west are the Saurásht́ras, Śúras, Bhíras, Arbudas: the Kárushas and Málavas, dwelling along the Páripátra mountains: the Sauvíras, the Saindhavas, the Húnas, the Sálwas, the people of Śákala, the Madras, the Rámas, the Ambasht́has, and the Párasíkas, and others. These nations drink of the water of the rivers above enumerated, and inhabit their borders, happy and prosperous397.


In the Bhárata-varsha it is that the succession of four Yugas, or ages, the Krita, the Treta, the Dwápara, and Kali, takes place; that pious ascetics engage in rigorous penance; that devout men offer sacrifices; and that gifts are distributed; all for the sake of another world. In Jambu-dwípa, Vishńu, consisting of sacrifice, is worshipped, as the male of sacrificial rites, with sacrificial ceremonies: he is adored under other forms elsewhere. Bhárata is therefore the best of the divisions of Jambu-dwípa, because it is the land of works: the others are places of enjoyment alone. It is only after many thousand births, and the aggregation of much merit, that living beings are sometimes born in Bhárata as men. The gods themselves exclaim, "Happy are those who are born, even from the condition of gods, as men in Bhárata-varsha, as that is the way to the pleasures of Paradise, or the greater blessing of final liberation. Happy are they who, consigning all the unheeded rewards of their acts to the supreme and eternal Vishńu, obtain existence in that land of works, as their path to him. We know not, when the acts that have obtained us heaven shall have been fully recompensed398, where we shall renew corporeal confinement; but we know that those men are fortunate who are born with perfect faculties399 in Bhárata-varsha."

I have thus briefly described to you, Maitreya, the nine divisions of Jambu-dwípa, which is a hundred thousand Yojanas in extent, and which is encircled, as if by a bracelet, by the ocean of salt water, of similar dimensions.



From the Mahábhárata, Bhíshma Parva, II. 342.


SANJAYA speaks to Dhritarásht́ra.Hear me, monarch, in reply to your inquiries, detail to you the particulars of the country of Bhárata. [p.180] Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śuktimat401, Gandhamádana, Vindhya, and Páripátra are the seven mountain ranges: as subordinate portions of them are thousands of mountains; some unheard of, though lofty, extensive, and abrupt; and others better known, though of lesser elevation, and inhabited by people of low stature402: there pure and degraded tribes, mixed together, drink403 of the following streams: the stately Gangá, the Sindhu, and the Saraswatí404; the Godavari, Narmadá, and the great river [p.181] Báhudá405; the Śatadru, Chandrabhágá, and great river Yamuná; the Drishadwatí406, Vipáśá407, and Vipápá, with coarse sands; the Vetravatí, the deep Krishńaveńí, the Irávatí408, Vitastá409, Pavoshńí410, and [p.182] Devíká411; the Vedasmritá, Vedavatí412, Tridivá413, Ikshumálaví414, Karíshińí, Chitrabahá, the deep Chitrasená, the Gomatí, the Dhútapápá, and the great river Gandakí415; the Kauśikí, Niśchitá416, Krityá, Nichitá, Lohatariní417, Rahasyá, Śatakumbhá, and also the Śarayú418, the Charmanvatí, Chandrabhágá419, Hastisomá, Dis, Śarávatí420, Payoshńí, Pará421, and Bhímarathí422, Káverí423, Chulaká424, Víná425, Satabalá, Nivárá, Mahitá426, [p.183] Suprayogá427 Pavitrá428, Kuńd́alá, Sindhu429, Rajání430, Puramáliní, Purvábhirámá, Víra, Bhímá431, Oghavatí, Paláśiní432, Pápáhará, Mahendrá, Pát́alavatí433, Karíshińí, Asikní, the great river Kuśachírá434, the Makarí435, Pravará, Mená436, Hemá, and Dhritavatí437, Purávatí438, Anushńá439, Saivyá, Kápí440, Sadánírá441, Adhrishyá, the great river Kuśadhárá442, Sadákántá443, Śivá, Viravatí, Vástu, Suvástu444, Gaurí, Kampaná445, Hirańvatí, Vará, Vírankará, Panchamí, Rathachitrá, Jyotirathá, Viswámitrá446, Kapinjalá, Upendrá, Bahulá, Kuchírá447, Madhuváhiní448, Vinadí449, Pinjalá, Veńá, Tungaveńá450, Vidiśá451, Krishńaveńá, Támrá, Kapilá, Selu, Suvámá452, Vedáśwá, Hariśravá, Mahopamá453, Śíghrá, Pichchhalá454, the deep Bháradwájí, the Kauśikí, the Sona455, Bahudá, and Chandramá, Durgá, [p.184] Amtraśilá456, Brahmabodhyá, Vrihadvatí, Yavakshá457, Rohí, Jámbunadí, Sunasá458, Tamasá459, Dásí, Vasá, Varańá, Así460, Nálá, Dhritamatí, Púrnáśá461, Támasí462, Vrishabhá, Brahmamedhyá, Vrihadvatí. These and many other large streams, as the Krishńá463, whose waters are always salubrious, and the slow-flowing Mandaváhiní464, the Brahmáńí465, Mahágaurí, Durgá466, Chitropalá467, Chitrarathá, Manjulá468, Mandákiní469, Vaitarańí470, the great river Kośá471, the Muktimatí472, Maningá473, Pushpaveńí, Utpalavatí, Lohityá474, Karatoyá475, Vrishakáhwá476, Kumárí, Rishikulyá477, Márishá, Saraswatí, Mandákiní, Punyá478, Sarvasangá; all these, the [p.185] universal mothers, productive of abundance, besides hundreds of inferior note, are the rivers of Bhárata, according to remembrance479.


Next hear from me, descendant of Bharata, the names of the inhabitants of the different countries, They are the Kurus, Pánchalás480, Śálwas, Mádreyas, and dwellers in thickets (Jángalas), Śúrasenas481, Kálingas482, Bodhas483, Málás484, Matsyas485, Sukut́yas486, Sauvalyas487, Kuntalas488, [p.186] Káśíkosálas489, Chedyas490, Matsyas491, Kárúshas492, Bhojas493, Sindhupulindas494, Uttamas495, Daśárńas496, Mekalas497, Utkalas498, Pánchálas499, [p.187] Kauśijas500, Naikaprisht́has501, Dhurandharas502, Sodhas503, Madrabhujingas504, Káśis505, Aparakáśis, Játharas, Kukuras, Dasárńas, Kuntis, Avantis506, Aparakuntis507, Goghnatas508, Mańd́akas, Shańd́as509, Vidarbhas510, Rúpaváhikas511, [p.188] Aśwakas512, Pánsurásht́ras, Goparásht́ras513, Karítis514, the people of Adhivájya515, Kuládya516, Mallarásht́ra517, and Kerala518; the Varápásis519, Apavárhas520, Chakras521, Vakrátapas and Śakas522, Videhas523, Mágadhas524, Swakshas525, Malayas526, and Vijayas527; the Angas528, Vangas529, Kalingas530 and Yakrillomas, Mallas531, Sudellas532, Prahládas, Máhikas533 and [p.189] Śaśikas534, Báhlíkas535, Vát́adhánas536, Ábhíras537 and Kálajoshakas538, Aparántas539, Parántas, Pahnavas540, Charmamańd́alas541, Atáviśikharas and Merubhútas542, Upávrittas, Anupávrittas, Swarásht́ras543, Kekayas544, [p.190] Kut́t́aparántas545, Máheyas546, Kakshas547, dwellers on the sea-shore, and the Andhas and many tribes residing within and without the hills; the Malajas548, Mágadhas549, Mánavarjjakas550 those north of the Mahi (Mahyuttaras), the Právrisheyas, Bhárgavas551, Puńd́ras552, Bhárgas553, Kirátas, Sudesht́as; and the people on the Yamuná (Yámunas), Śakas, Nishádas554, Nishádhas555, Ánarttas556; and those in the south-west (Nairritas), the Durgalas, Pratimásyas557, Kuntalas, Kuśalas558, Tíragrahas, [p.191] Súrasenas, Íjikas559, Kanyakáguńas, Tilabáras, Samíras, Madhumattas, Sukandakas, Káśmíras560, Sindhusauvíras561, Gandháras562, Darśakas563, Abhisáras564, Utúlas565, Śaiválas566, and Báhlíkas567; the people of Darví568, the [p.192] Váńavas, Darvas, Vátajamarathorajas, Báhubádhas569, Kauravyas, Sudámas570, Sumallis, Badhnas, Karíshakas, Kulindápatyakas, Vátáyanas571, Daśárńas572, Romáńas573, Kuśavindus, Kakshas574, Gopála-kakshas575, Jángalas576, Kuruvarńakas577, Kirátas, Barbaras578, Siddhas, Vaidehas579 Támraliptas580, Audras581, Pauńd́ras582, dwellers in sandy tracts (Śaiśikatas), and in mountains (Párvatíyas). Moreover, chief of the sons of Bharata, there are the nations of the south, the Drávíras583, Keralas584, Práchyas585, Múshikas586, and Vánavásakas587; the Karnátakas588, Máhishakas589, Vikalyas590 and Múshakas591, Jillikas592, Kuntalas593, Sauhridas, [p.193] Nalakánanas594, Kaukut́t́akas595, Cholas596, Kaunkanas597, Málavánas598, Samangas, Karakas, Kukkuras, Angáras599, Dhwajinyutsavasanketas600, Trigarttas601, Śálwasenis, Śakas602, Kokarakas603, Prosht́as, Samavegavasas604. There are also the Vindhyachulukas605, Pulindas and Kalkalas606, Málavas607, Mallavas608, Aparavallabhas, Kulindas609, Kálavas610, Kunt́hakas611, Karat́as612, Múshakas, Tanabálas613, Saníyas614, Ghatasrinjayas615, Alindayas616, Paśivát́as617, Tanayas618, Sunayas619, Daśívidarbhas620, Kántikas621, Tangańas622, Paratangańas, northern and [p.194] other fierce barbarians (Mlechchhas), Yavanas623, Chínas624, Kámbojas625; ferocious and uncivilized races, Śakridgrahas626, Kulatthas627, Húńas, and Párasíkas628; also Ramańas629, Chínas, Daśamálikas630, those living near the Kshatriyas, and Vaiśyas and Śúdras631; also [p.195] Śúdras632, Ábhíras633, Daradas634, Káśmíras, with Pat́t́is635, Khásíras636, Antacháras or borderers, Pahnavas637, and dwellers in mountain caves [p.196] (Girigahvaras638), Átreyas, Bháradwájas639, Stanayoshikas640, Proshakas641, Kálinga642, and tribes of Kirátas, Tomaras, Hansamárgas, and Karabhanjikas643. These and many other nations, dwelling in the east and in the north, can be only thus briefly noticed644.



Account of kings, divisions, mountains, rivers, and inhabitants of the other Dwípas, viz. Plaksha, Śálmala, Kuśa, Krauncha, Śáka, and Pushkara: of the oceans separating them: of the tides: of the confines of the earth: the Lokáloka mountain. Extent of the whole.

IN the same manner as Jambu-dwípa is girt round about by the ocean of salt water, so that ocean is surrounded by the insular continent of Plaksha; the extent of which is twice that of Jambu-dwípa.

Medhatithi, who was made sovereign of Plaksha, had seven sons, Śántabhaya, Śiśira, Sukhodaya, Ánanda, Śiva, Kshemaka, and Dhruva; and the Dwípa was divided amongst them, and each division was named after the prince to whom it was subject. The several kingdoms were bounded by as many ranges of mountains, named severally Gomeda, Chandra, Nárada, Dundubhi, Somaka, Sumanas, and Vaibhrája. In these mountains the sinless inhabitants ever dwell along with celestial spirits and gods: in them are many holy places; and the people there live for a long period, exempt from care and pain, and enjoying uninterrupted felicity. There are also, in the seven divisions of Plaksha, seven rivers, flowing to the sea, whose names alone are sufficient to take away sin: they are the Anutaptá, Śikhí, Vipásá, Tridivá, Kramu, Amritá, and Sukritá. These are the chief rivers and mountains of Plaksha-dwípa, which I have enumerated to you; but there are thousands of others of inferior magnitude. The people who drink of the waters of those rivers are always contented and happy, and there is neither decrease nor increase amongst them1645 neither are the revolutions of the four ages known in these Varshas: the character of the time is there uniformly that of [p.198] the Treta (or silver) age. In the five Dwípas, worthy Brahman, from Plaksha to Śáka, the length of life is five thousand years, and religious merit is divided amongst the several castes and orders of the people. The castes are called Áryaka, Kuru, Vivása, and Bháví, corresponding severally with Brahman, Kshetriya, Vaiśya, and Śúdra. In this Dwípa is a large fig-tree (F. religiosa), of similar size as the Jambu-tree of Jambu-dwípa; and this Dwípa is called Plaksha, after the name of the tree. Hari, who is all, and the creator of all, is worshipped in this continent in the form of Soma (the moon). Plaksha-dwípa is surrounded, as by a disc, by the sea of molasses, of the same extent as the land. Such, Maitreya, is a brief description of Plaksha-dwípa.

The hero Vapushmat was king of the next or Śálmala-dwípa, whose seven sons also gave designations to seven Varshas, or divisions. Their names were Śweta, Háríta, Jímúta, Rohita, Vaidyuta, Mánasa, and Suprabha. The Ikshu sea is encompassed by the continent of Sálmala, which is twice its extent. There are seven principal mountain ranges, abounding in precious gems, and dividing the Varshas from each other; and there are also seven chief rivers. The mountains are called Kumuda, Unnata, Valáhaka, Drona, fertile in medicinal herbs, Kanka, Mahisha, and Kakkudwat. The rivers are Yauní, Toyá, Vitrishńá, Chandrá, Śuklá, Vimochaní, and Nivritti; all whose waters cleanse away sins. The Brahmans, Kshetriyas, Vaiśyas, and Śúdras of this Dwípa, called severally Kapilas, Arunas, Pítas, and Rohitas (or tawny, purple, yellow, and red), worship the imperishable soul of all things, Vishńu, in the form of Váyu (wind), with pious rites, and enjoy frequent association with the gods. A large Śálmalí (silk-cotton) tree grows in this Dwípa, and gives it its name. The Dwípa is surrounded by the Surá sea (sea of wine), of the same extent as itself.

The Surá sea is entirely encircled by Kuśa-dwípa, which is every way twice the size of the preceding continent. The king, Jyotishmat, had seven sons, Udbhida, Venumán, Swairatha, Lavana, Dhriti, Prabhákara, and Kapila, after whom the seven portions or Varshas of the island were called Udbhida, &c. There reside mankind along with Daityas and Dánavas, as well as with spirits of heaven and gods. The four [p.199] castes, assiduously devoted to their respective duties, are termed Dámís, Śushmis, Snehas, and Mandehas, who, in order to be relieved of the obligations imposed upon them in the discharge of their several functions, worship Janárddana, in the form of Brahmá, and thus get rid of the unpleasant duties which lead to temporal rewards. The seven principal mountains in this Dwípa are named Vidruma, Hemaśaila, Dyutimán, Pushpaván, Kuśeśaya, Hari, and Mandara; and the seven rivers are Dhútapápá, Śiva, Pavitrá, Sammati, Vidyudambhá, Mahhvanyá, Sarvapápahará: besides these, there are numerous rivers and mountains of less importance. Kuśa-dwípa is so named from a clump of Kuśa grass (Poa) growing there. It is surrounded by the Ghrita sea (the sea of butter), of the same size as the continent.

The sea of Ghrita is encompassed by Krauncha-dwípa, which is twice as large as Kuśa-dwípa. The king of this Dwípa was Dyutimán, whose sons, and the seven Varshas named after them, were Kuśala, Mallaga, Ushńa, Pívara, Andhakáraka, Muni, and Dundubhi. The seven boundary mountains, pleasing to gods and celestial spirits, are Krauncha, Vámana, Andhakáraka, Devavrit, Puńd́aríkaván, Dundubhi, and Mahaśaila; each of which is in succession twice as lofty as the series that precedes it, in the same manner as each Dwípa is twice as extensive as the one before it. The inhabitants reside there without apprehension, associating with the bands of divinities. The Brahmans are called Pushkaras; the Kshetriyas, Pushkalas: the Vaiśyas are termed Dhanyas; and the Śúdras, Tishyas. They drink of countless streams, of which the principal are denominated Gaurí, Kumudwatí, Sandhyá, Rátri, Manojavá, Kshánti, and Puńd́aríká. The divine Vishńu, the protector of mankind, is worshipped there by the people, with holy rites, in the form of Rudra. Krauncha is surrounded by the sea of curds, of a similar extent; and that again is encompassed by Śáka-dwípa.

The sons of Bhavya, the king of Śáka-dwípa, after whom its Varshas were denominated, were Jalada, Kumára, Sukumára, Maníchaka, Kusumoda, Maudákí, and Mahádruma. The seven mountains separating the countries were Udayagiri, Jaládhára, Raivataka, Śyáma, Ámbikeya, Ramya, and Keśarí. There grows a large Sáka (Teak) tree, frequented [p.200] by the Siddhas and Gandharbas, the wind from which, as produced by its fluttering leaves, diffuses delight. The sacred lands of this continent are peopled by the four castes. Its seven holy rivers, that wash away all sin, are the Sukumárí, Kumárí, Naliní, Dhenuká, Ikshu, Venuká, and Gabhastí. There are also hundreds and thousands of minor streams and mountains in this Dwípa: and the inhabitants of Jalada and the other divisions drink of those waters with pleasure, after they have returned to earth from Indra's heaven. In those seven districts there is no dereliction of virtue; there is no contention; there is no deviation from rectitude. The caste of Mriga is that of the Brahman; the Mágadha, of the Kshetriya; the Mánasa, of the Vaiśya; and the Mandaga of the Śúdra: and by these Vishńu is devoutly worshipped as the sun, with appropriate ceremonies. Śáka-dwípa is encircled by the sea of milk, as by an armlet, and the sea is of the same breadth as the continent which it embraces646.

The Kshíroda ocean (or sea of milk) is encompassed by the seventh Dwípa, or Pushkara, which is twice the size of Sáka-dwípa. Savana, who was made its sovereign, had but two sons, Mahávíra and Dhátakí, after whom the two Varshas of Pushkara were so named. These are divided by one mighty range of mountains, called Mánasottara, which runs in a circular direction (forming an outer and an inner circle). This mountain is fifty thousand Yojanas in height, and as many in its breadth; dividing the Dwípa in the middle, as if with a bracelet, into two divisions, which are also of a circular form, like the mountain that separates them. Of these two, the Mahávíra-varsha is exterior to the circumference of Mánasottara, and Dhátakí lies within the circle; and both are frequented by heavenly spirits and gods. There are no other mountains in Pushkara, neither are there any rivers647. Men in this Dwípa live a thousand years, free from sickness and sorrow, and unruffled by anger or affection. [p.201] There is neither virtue nor vice, killer nor slain: there is no jealousy, envy, fear, hatred, covetousness, nor any moral defect: neither is there truth or falsehood. Food is spontaneously produced there, and all the inhabitants feed upon viands of every flavour. Men there are indeed of the same nature with gods, and of the same form and habits. There is no distinction of caste or order; there are no fixed institutes; nor are rites performed for the sake of advantage. The three Vedas, the Puráńas, ethics, and polity, and the laws of service, are unknown. Pushkara is in fact, in both its divisions, a terrestrial paradise, where time yields happiness to all its inhabitants, who are exempt from sickness and decay. A Nyagrodha-tree (Ficus indica) grows on this Dwípa, which is the especial abode of Brahmá, and he resides in it, adored by the gods and demons. Pushkara is surrounded by the sea of fresh water, which is of equal extent with the continent it invests648.

In this manner the seven island continents are encompassed successively by the seven oceans, and each ocean and continent is respectively of twice the extent of that which precedes it. In all the oceans the water remains at all times the same in quantity, and never, increases or diminishes; but like the water in a caldron, which, in consequence of [p.202] its combination with heat, expands, so the waters of the ocean swell with the increase of the moon. The waters, although really neither more nor less, dilate or contract as the moon increases or wanes in the light and dark fortnights. The rise and fall of the waters of the different seas is five hundred and ten inches649.

Beyond the sea of fresh water is a region of twice its extent, where the land is of gold, and where no living beings reside. Thence extends the Lokáloka mountain, which is ten thousand Yojanas in breadth, and as many in height; and beyond it perpetual darkness invests the mountain all around; which darkness is again encompassed by the shell of the egg650.

Such, Maitreya, is the earth, which with its continents, mountains, oceans, and exterior shell, is fifty crores (five hundred millions) of [p.203] Yojanas in extent651. It is the mother and nurse of all creatures, the foundation of all worlds, and the chief of the elements.



Of the seven regions of Pátála, below the earth. Nárada's praises of Pátála. Account of the serpent Śesha. First teacher of astronomy and astrology.

PARÁŚARA.The extent of the surface of the earth has been thus described to you, Maitreya. Its depth below the surface is said to be seventy thousand Yojanas, each of the seven regions of Pátála extending downwards ten thousand. These seven, worthy Muni, are called Atala, Vitala, Nitala, Gabhastimat, Mahátala, Sutala, and Pátála652. Their soil is severally white, black, purple, yellow, sandy, stony, and of gold. They are embellished with magnificent palaces, in which dwell numerous Dánavas, Daityas, Yakshas, and great snake-gods. The Muni Nárada, after his return from those regions to the skies653, declared amongst the celestials that Pátála was much more delightful than Indra's heaven. "What," exclaimed the sage, "can be compared to Pátála, where the Nágas are decorated with brilliant and beautiful and pleasure-shedding jewels? who will not delight in Pátála, where the lovely daughters of the Daityas and Dánavas wander about, fascinating even the most austere; where the rays of the sun diffuse light, and not heat, by day; and where the moon shines by night for illumination, not for cold; where the sons of Danu, happy in the enjoyment of delicious viands and strong wines, know not how time passes? There are beautiful groves and streams and lakes where the lotus blows; and the skies are resonant with the Koïl's song. Splendid ornaments, fragrant perfumes, rich unguents, the blended music of the lute and pipe and tabor; these and many other enjoyments are the common portion of the Dánavas, Daityas, and snake-gods, who inhabit the regions of Pátála654."


Below the seven Pátálas is the form of Vishńu, proceeding from the quality of darkness, which is called Śesha655, the excellencies of which neither Daityas nor Dánavas can fully enumerate. This being is called Ananta by the spirits of heaven, and is worshipped by sages and by gods. He has a thousand heads, which are embellished with the pure and visible mystic sign656: and the thousand jewels in his crests give light to all the regions. For the benefit of the world he: deprives the Asuras of their strength. He rolls his eyes fiercely, as if intoxicated. He wears a single ear-ring, a diadem, and wreath upon each brow; and shines like the white mountains topped with flame. He is clothed in purple raiment, and ornamented with a white necklace, and looks like another Kailása, with the heavenly Gangá flowing down its precipices. In one hand he holds a plough, and in the other a pestle; and he is attended by Váruńí (the goddess of wine), who is his own embodied radiance. From his mouths, at the end of the Kalpa, proceeds the venomed fire that, impersonated as Rudra, who is one with Balaráma, devours the three worlds.


Śesha bears the entire world, like a diadem, upon his head, and he is the foundation on which the seven Pátálas rest. His power, his glory, his form, his nature, cannot be described, cannot he comprehended by the gods themselves. Who shall recount his might, who wears this whole earth, like a garland of flowers, tinged of a purple dye by the radiance of the jewels of his crests. When Ananta, his eyes rolling with intoxication, yawns, then earth, with all her woods, and mountains, and seas, and rivers, trembles. Gandharbas, Apsarasas, Siddhas, Kinnaras, Uragas, and Chárańas are unequal to hymn his praises, and therefore he is called the infinite (Ananta), the imperishable. The sandal paste, that is ground by the wives of the snake-gods, is scattered abroad by his breath, and sheds perfume around the skies.

The ancient sage Garga657, having propitiated Śesha, acquired from him a knowledge of the principles of astronomical science, of the planets, and of the good and evil denoted by the aspects of the heavens.

The earth, sustained upon the head of this sovereign serpent, supports in its turn the garland of the spheres, along with their inhabitants, men, demons, and gods.



Of the different hells or divisions of Naraka, below Pátála: the crimes punished in them respectively: efficacy of expiation: meditation on Vishńu the most effective expiation.

PARÁŚARA.I will now, great Muni, give you an account of the hells which are situated beneath the earth and beneath the waters658, and into which sinners are finally sent.

The names of the different Narakas are as follows: Raurava, Śúkara, Rodha, Tála, Viśasana, Mahájwála, Taptakumbha, Lavańa, Vimohana, Rudhirándha, Vaitaraní, Krimíśa, Krimibhojana, Asipatravana, Krishńa, Lálábhaksha, Dáruńa, Púyaváha, Pápa, Vahnijwála, Adhośiras, Sandansa, Kálasútra, Tamas, Avíchi, Śwabhojana, Apratisht́ha, and another Avíchi659. These and many other fearful hells are the awful provinces of the kingdom of Yama, terrible with instruments of torture and with fire; into which are hurled all those who are addicted when alive to sinful practices660.

The man who bears false witness through partiality, or who utters any falsehood, is condemned to the Raurava (dreadful) hell. He who causes abortion, plunders a town, kills a cow, or strangles a man, goes to the [p.208] Rodha hell (or that of obstruction). The murderer of a Brahman, stealer of gold, or drinker of wine, goes to the Súkara (swine) hell; as does any one who associates with them. The murderer of a man of the second or third castes, and one who is guilty of adultery with the wife of his spiritual teacher, is sentenced to the Tála (padlock) hell: and one who holds incestuous intercourse with a sister, or murders an ambassador, to Taptakumbha (or the hell of heated caldrons). The seller of his wife, a gaoler, a horsedealer, and one who deserts his adherents, falls into the Taptaloha (red-hot iron) hell. He who commits incest with a daughter-in-law or a daughter is cast into the Mahájwála hell (or that of great flame): and he who is disrespectful to his spiritual guide, who is abusive to his betters, who reviles the Vedas, or who sells them661, who associates with women in a prohibited degree, into the Lavańa (salt) hell. A thief and a contemner of prescribed observances falls into Vimohana (the place of bewildering). He who hates his father, the Brahmans, and the gods, or who spoils precious gems, is punished in the Krimibhaksha hell (where worms are his food): and he who practises magic rites for the harm of others, in the hell called Krimíśa (that of insects). The vile wretch who eats his meal before offering food to the gods, to the manes, or to guests, falls into the hell called Lálábhaksha (where saliva is given for food). The maker of arrows is sentenced to the Vedhaka (piercing) hell: and the maker of lances, swords, and other weapons, to the dreadful hell called Viśasana (murderous). He who takes unlawful gifts goes to the Adhomukha (or head-inverted) hell; as does one who offers sacrifices to improper objects, and an observer of the stars (for the prediction of events). He who eats by himself sweetmeats mixed with his rice662, and a Brahman who vends Lac, flesh, liquors, sesamum, or salt, or one who commits violence, fall into the hell (where matter flows, or) Púyaváha; as do they who rear cats, cocks, goats, dogs, hogs, or birds. Public performers663, fishermen, the follower of one born in adultery, a poisoner, [p.209] an informer, one who lives by his wife's prostitution664, one who attends to secular affairs on the days of the Parvas (or full and new moon, &c.)665, an incendiary, a treacherous friend, a soothsayer, one who performs religious ceremonies for rustics, and those who sell the acid Asclepias, used in sacrifices, go to the Rudhirándha hell (whose wells are of blood). He who destroys a bee-hive, or pillages a hamlet, is condemned to the Vaitarańí hell. He who causes impotence, trespasses on others' lands, is impure, or who lives by fraud, is punished in the hell called (black, or) Krishńa. He who wantonly cuts down trees goes to the Asipatravana hell (the leaves of whose trees are swords): and a tender on sheep, and hunter of deer, to the hell termed Vahnijwála (or fiery flame); as do those who apply fire to unbaked vessels (potters). The violator of a vow, and one who breaks the rules of his order, falls into the Sandansa (or hell of pincers): and the religious student who sleeps in the day, and is, though unconsciously, defiled; and they who, though mature, are instructed in sacred literature by their children, receive punishment in the hell called Śwabhojana (where they feed upon dogs). These hells, and hundreds and thousands of others, are the places in which sinners pay the penalty of their crimes. As numerous as are the offences that men commit, so many are the hells in which they are punished: and all who deviate from the duties imposed upon them by their caste and condition, whether in thought, word, or deed, are sentenced to punishment in the regions of the damned666.

The gods in heaven are beheld by the inhabitants of hell, as they move with their heads inverted; whilst the god, as they cast their eyes [p.210] downwards, behold the sufferings of those in hell667. The various stages of existence, Maitreya, are inanimate things, fish, birds, animals, men, holy men, gods, and liberated spirits; each in succession a thousand degrees superior to that which precedes it: and through these stages the beings that are either in heaven or in hell are destined to proceed, until final emancipation be obtained668. That sinner goes to Naraka who neglects the due expiation of his guilt.

For, Maitreya, suitable acts of expiation have been enjoined by the great sages for every kind of crime669. Arduous penances for great sins, trifling ones for minor offences, have been propounded by Swáyambhuva and others: but reliance upon Krishńa is far better than any such expiatory acts, as religious austerity, or the like. Let any one who repents of the sin of which he may have been culpable have recourse to this best of all expiations, remembrance of Hari670: by addressing his thoughts to Náráyańa at dawn, at night, at sunset, and midday, a man shall be quickly cleansed from all guilt: the whole heap of worldly sorrows is dispersed by meditating on Hari; and his worshipper, looking upon heavenly fruition as an impediment to felicity, obtains final emancipation. He [p.211] whose mind is devoted to Hari in silent prayer, burnt-offering, or adoration, is impatient even of the glory of the king of the gods. Of what avail is ascent to the summit of heaven, if it is necessary to return from thence to earth. How different is the meditation on Vásudeva, which is the seed of eternal freedom. Hence, Muni, the man who thinks of Vishńu, day and night, goes not to Naraka after death, for all his sins are atoned for.

Heaven (or Swarga) is that which delights the mind; hell (or Naraka) is that which gives it pain: hence vice is called hell; virtue is called heaven671. The selfsame thing is applicable to the production of pleasure or pain, of malice or of anger. Whence then can it be considered as essentially the same with either? That which at one time is a source of enjoyment, becomes at another the cause of suffering; and the same thing may at different seasons excite wrath, or conciliate favour. It follows, then, that nothing is in itself either pleasurable or painful; and pleasure and pain, and the like, are merely definitions of various states of mind. That which alone is truth is wisdom; but wisdom may be the cause of confinement to existence; for all this universe is wisdom, there is nothing different from it; and consequently, Maitreya, you are to conclude that both knowledge and ignorance are comprised in wisdom672.

I have thus described to you the orb of the earth; the regions below its surface, or Pátálas; and the Narakas, or hells; and have briefly enumerated its oceans, mountains, continents, regions, and rivers: what else do you wish to hear?



Extent and situation of the seven spheres, viz. earth, sky, planets, Mahar-loka, Janaloka, Tapo-loka, and Satya-loka. Of the egg of Brahmá, and its elementary envelopes. Of the influence of the energy of Vishńu.

MAITREYA.The sphere of the whole earth has been described to me by you, excellent Brahman, and I am now desirous to hear an account of the other spheres above the world, the Bhuvar-loka and the rest, and the situation and the dimensions of the celestial luminaries.

PARÁŚARA.The sphere of the earth (or Bhúr-loka), comprehending its oceans, mountains, and rivers, extends as far as it is illuminated by the rays of the sun and moon; and to the same extent, both in diameter and circumference, the sphere of the sky (Bhuvar-loka) spreads above it (as far upwards as to the planetary sphere, or Swar-loka)673. The solar orb is situated a hundred thousand leagues from the earth; and that of the moon an equal distance from the sun. At the same interval above the moon occurs the orbit of all the lunar constellations. The planet Budha (Mercury) is two hundred thousand leagues above the lunar mansions. Śukra (Venus) is at the same distance from Mercury. Angáraka (Mars) is as far above Venus; and the priest of the gods (Vrihaspati, or Jupiter) as far from Mars: whilst Saturn (Sani) is two hundred and fifty thousand leagues beyond Jupiter. The sphere of the seven Rishis (Ursa Major) is a hundred thousand leagues above Saturn; and at a similar height above the seven Rishis is Dhruva (the pole-star), the pivot or axis of the whole planetary circle. Such, Maitreya, is the elevation of the three spheres (Bhúr, Bhuvar, Swar) which form the region of the consequences of works. The region of works is here (or in the land of Bhárata)674.


Above Dhruva, at the distance of ton million leagues, lies the sphere of saints, or Mahar-loka, the inhabitants of which dwell in it throughout a Kalpa, or day of Brahmá. At twice that distance is situated Janaloka, where Sanandana and other pure-minded sons of Brahmá, reside. At four times the distance, between the two last, lies the Tapo-loka (the sphere of penance), inhabited by the deities called Vaibhrájas, who are unconsumable by fire. At six times the distance (or twelve Crores, a hundred and twenty millions of leagues) is situated Satya-loka, the sphere of truth, the inhabitants of which never again know death675.


Wherever earthy substance exists, which may be traversed by the feet, that constitutes the sphere of the earth, the dimensions of which I have already recounted to you. The region that extends from the earth to the sun, in which the Siddhas and other celestial beings move, is the atmospheric sphere, which also I have described. The interval between the sun and Dhruva, extending fourteen hundred thousand leagues, is called by those who are acquainted with the system of the universe the heavenly sphere. These three spheres are termed transitory: the three highest, Jana, Tapa, and Satya, are styled durable676: Maharloka, as situated between the two, has also a mixed character; for although it is deserted at the end of the Kalpa, it is not destroyed. These seven spheres, together with the Pátálas, forming the extent of the whole world, I have thus, Maitreya, explained to you.

The world is encompassed on every side and above and below by the shell of the egg of Brahmá, in the same manner as the seed of the wood-apple677 is invested by its rind. Around the outer surface of the shell flows water, for a space equal to ten times the diameter of the world. The waters, again, are encompassed exteriorly by fire; fire by air; and air by Mind; Mind by the origin of the elements (Ahankára); and that by Intellect: each of these extends ten times the breadth of that which [p.215] it encloses; and the last is encircled by the chief Principle, Pradhána678, which is infinite, and its extent cannot be enumerated: it is therefore called the boundless and illimitable cause of all existing things, supreme nature, or Prakriti; the cause of all mundane eggs, of which there are thousands and tens of thousands, and millions and thousands of millions, such as has been described679. Within Pradhána resides Soul, diffusive, conscious, and self-irradiating, as fire is inherent in flint680, or sesamum oil in its seed. Nature (Pradhána) and soul (Pumán) are both of the character of dependants, and are encompassed by the energy of Vishńu, which is one with the soul of the world, and which is the cause of the separation of those two (soul and nature) at the period of dissolution; of their aggregation in the continuance of things; and of their combination at the season of creation681. In the same manner as the wind ruffles the surface of the water in a hundred bubbles, which of themselves are inert, so the energy of Vishńu influences the world, consisting of inert nature and soul. Again, as a tree, consisting of root, stem, and branches, springs from a primitive seed, and produces other seeds, whence grow other trees analogous to the first in species, product, and origin, so from the first unexpanded germ (of nature, or Pradhána) spring Mahat (Intellect) [p.216] and the other rudiments of things; from them proceed the grosser elements; and from them men and gods, who are succeeded by sons and the sons of sons. In the growth of a tree from the seed, no detriment occurs to the parent plant, neither is there any waste of beings by the generation of others. In like manner as space and time and the rest are the cause of the tree (through the materiality of the seed), so the divine Hari is the cause of all things by successive developements (through the materiality of nature)682. As all the parts of the future plant, existing in the seed of rice, or the root, the culm, the leaf, the shoot, the stem, the bud, the fruit, the milk, the grain, the chaff, the ear, spontaneously evolve when they are in approximation with the subsidiary means of growth (or earth and water), so gods, men, and other beings, involved in many actions (or necessarily existing in those states which are the consequences of good or evil acts), become manifested only in their full growth, through the influence of the energy of Vishńu.

This Vishńu is the supreme spirit (Brahma), from whence all this world proceeds, who is the world, by whom the world subsists, and in whom it will be resolved. That spirit (or Brahma) is the supreme state of Vishńu, which is the essence of all that is visible or invisible; with which all that is, is identical; and whence all animate and inanimate existence is derived. He is primary nature: he, in a perceptible form, is the world: and in him all finally melts; through him all things endure. He is the performer of the rites of devotion: he is the rite: he is the fruit which it bestows: he is the implements by which it is performed. There is nothing besides the illimitable Hari.



Description of the sun: his chariot; its two axles: his horses. The cities of the regents of the cardinal points. The sun's course: nature of his rays: his path along the ecliptic. Length of day and night. Divisions of time: equinoxes and solstices, months, years, the cyclical Yuga, or age of five years. Northern and southern declinations. Saints on the Lokáloka mountain. Celestial paths of the Pitris, gods, Vishńu. Origin of Gangá, and separation, on the top of Meru, into four great rivers.

PARÁŚARA.Having thus described to you the system of the world in general, I will now explain to you the dimensions and situations of the sun and other luminaries.

The chariot of the sun is nine thousand leagues in length, and the pole is of twice that longitude683; the axle is fifteen millions and seven hundred thousand leagues long684; on which is fixed a wheel with three naves, five spokes, and six peripheries, consisting of the ever-during year; the whole constituting the circle or wheel of time685. The chariot has another axle, which is forty-five thousand five hundred leagues long686. [p.218] The two halves of the yoke are of the same length respectively as the two axles (the longer and the shorter). The short axle, with the short yoke, are supported by the pole-star: the end of the longer axle, to which the wheel of the car is attached, moves on the Mánasa mountain687. The seven horses of the sun's car are the metres of the Vedas, Gáyatrí, Vrihatí, Ushńih, Jayatí, Trisht́ubh, Anusht́ubh, and Pankti.

The city of Indra is situated on the eastern side of the Mánasottara mountain; that of Yama on the southern face; that of Varuńa on the west; and that of Soma on the north: named severally Vaswokasárá, Samyamaní, Mukhyá, and Vibhávarí688.

The glorious sun, Maitreya, darts like an arrow on his southern course, attended by the constellations of the Zodiac. He causes the difference between day and night, and is the divine vehicle and path of the sages who have overcome the inflictions of the world. Whilst the sun, who is the discriminator of all hours, shines in one continent in midday, in the opposite Dwípas, Maitreya, it will be midnight: rising and setting are at all seasons, and are always (relatively) opposed in the different cardinal and intermediate points of the horizon. When the sun becomes visible to any people, to them he is said to rise; when he disappears from their [p.219] view, that is called his setting. There is in truth neither rising nor setting of the sun, for he is always; and these terms merely imply his presence and his disappearance.

When the sun (at midday) passes over either of the cities of the gods, on the Mánasottara mountain (at the cardinal points), his light extends to three cities and two intermediate points: when situated in an intermediate point, he illuminates two of the cities and three intermediate. points (in either case one hemisphere). From the period of his rise the sun moves with increasing rays until noon, when he proceeds towards his setting with rays diminishing (that is, his heat increases or diminishes in proportion as he advances to, or recedes from, the meridian of any place). The east and west quarters are so called from the sun's rising and setting there689. As far as the sun shines in front, so far he shines behind and on either hand, illuminating all places except the summit of Meru, the mountain of the immortals; for when his rays reach the court of Brahmá, which is there situated, they are repelled and driven back by the overpowering radiance which there prevails: consequently there is always the alternation of day and night, according as the divisions of the continent lie in the northern (or southern) quarter, or inasmuch as they are situated north (or south) of Meru690.


The radiance of the solar orb, when the sun has set, is accumulated in fire, and hence fire is visible at a greater distance by night than by day: during the latter a fourth of the rays of fire blend with those of the sun, and from their union the sun shines with greater intensity by day. Elemental light, and heat derived from the sun or from fire, blending with each other, mutually prevail in various proportions, both by day and night. When the sun is present either in the southern or the northern hemisphere, day or night retires into the waters, according as they are invaded by darkness or light: it is from this cause that the waters look dark by day, because night is within them; and they look white by night, because at the setting of the sun the light of day takes refuge in their bosom691.

When the sun has travelled in the centre of Pushkara a thirtieth part of the circumference of the globe, his course is equal in time to one Muhúrtta692; and whirling round like the circumference of the wheel of a potter, he distributes day and night upon the earth. In the commencement of his northern course, the sun passes to Capricornus, thence to Aquarius, thence to Pisces, going successively from one sign of the Zodiac to another. After he has passed through these, the sun attains his equinoctial movement (the vernal equinox), when he makes the day and night of equal duration. Thenceforward the length of the night decreases, and the day becomes longer, until the sun reaches the end of Gemini, when he pursues a different direction, and, entering Cancer, begins his declension to the south. As the circumference of a potter's [p.221] wheel revolves most rapidly, so the sun travels rapidly on his southern journey: he flies along his path with the velocity of wind, and traverses a great distance in a short time. In twelve Muhúrttas he passes through thirteen lunar asterisms and a half during the day; and during the night he passes through the same distance, only in eighteen Muhúrttas. As the centre of the potter's wheel revolves more slowly than the circumference, so the sun in his northern path again revolves with less rapidity, and moves over a less space of the earth in a longer time, until, at the end of his northern route, the day is again eighteen Muhúrttas, and the night twelve; the sun passing through half the lunar mansions by day and by night in those periods respectively. As the lump of clay on the centre of the potter's wheel moves most slowly, so the polar-star, which is in the centre of the zodiacal wheel, revolves very tardily, and ever remains in the centre, as the clay continues in the centre of the wheel of the potter.

The relative length of the day or night depends upon the greater or less velocity with which the sun revolves through the degrees between the two points of the horizon. In the solstitial period, in which his diurnal path is quickest, his nocturnal is slowest; and in that in which he moves quick by night, he travels slowly by day. The extent of his journey is in either case the same; for in the course of the day and night he passes through all the signs of the Zodiac, or six by night, and the same number by day: the length and shortness of the day are measured by the extent of the signs; and the duration of day and night by the period which the sun takes to pass through them693. In his northern [p.222] declination the sun moves quickest by night, and slowest by day; in his southern declination the reverse is the case.

The night is called Ushá, and the day is denominated Vyusht́a, and the interval between them is called Sandhya. On the occurrence of the awful Sandhya, the terrific fiends termed Mandehas attempt to devour the sun; for Brahmá denounced this curse upon them, that, without the power to perish, they should die every day (and revive by night), and therefore a fierce contest occurs daily between them and the sun694. At this season pious Brahmans scatter water, purified by the mystical Omkára, and consecrated by the Gáyatri695; and by this water, as by a thunderbolt, the foul fiends are consumed. When the first oblation is offered with solemn invocations in the morning rite696, the thousand-rayed deity shines forth with unclouded splendour. Omkára is Vishńu the mighty, the substance of the three Vedas, the lord of speech; and by its enunciation those Rákshasas are destroyed. The sun is a principal part of Vishńu, and light is his immutable essence, the active manifestation of which is excited by the mystic syllable Om. Light effused by the utterance of Omkára becomes radiant, and burns up entirely the Rákshasas called Mandehas. The performance of the Sandhya (the morning) sacrifice must never therefore be delayed, for he who neglects it is guilty of the murder of the sun. Protected thus by the Brahmans and the pigmy sages called Bálakhilyas, the sun goes on his course to give light to the world.


Fifteen twinklings of the eye (Nimeshas) make a Kásht́há; thirty Kásht́hás, a Kalá; thirty Kalás, a Muhúrtta (forty-eight minutes); and thirty Muhúrttas, a day and night: the portions of the day are longer or shorter, as has been explained; but the Sandhyá is always the same in increase or decrease, being only one Muhúrtta697. From the period that a line may be drawn across the sun (or that half his orb is visible) to the expiration of three Muhúrttas (two hours and twenty-four minutes), that interval is called Prátar (morning), forming a fifth portion of the day. The next portion, or three Muhúrttas from morning, is termed Sangava (forenoon): the three next Muhúrttas constitute mid-day: the afternoon comprises the next three Muhúrttas: the three Muhúrttas following are considered as the evening: and the fifteen Muhúrttas of the day are thus classed in five portions of three each. But the day consists of fifteen Muhúrttas only at the equinoxes, increasing or diminishing in number in the northern and southern declinations of the sun, when the day encroaches on the night, or the night upon the day. The equinoxes occur in the seasons of spring and autumn, when the sun enters the signs of Aries and Libra. When the sun enters Capricorn (the winter solstice), his northern progress commences; and his southern when he enters Cancer (the summer solstice).

Fifteen days of thirty Muhúrttas each are called a Paksha (a lunar fortnight); two of these make a month; and two months, a solar season; three seasons a northern or southern declination (Ayana); and those two compose a year. Years, made up of four kinds of months698, are distinguished [p.224] into five kinds; and an aggregate of all the varieties of time is termed a Yoga, or cycle. The years are severally called Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idvatsara, Anuvatsara, and Vatsara. This is the time called a Yuga699.

The mountain range that lies most to the north (in Bhárata-varsha) is called Śringaván (the horned), from its having three principal elevations (horns or peaks), one to the north, one to the south, and one in the centre; the last is called the equinoctial, for the sun arrives there in the middle of the two seasons of spring and autumn, entering the equinoctial points in the first degree of Aries and of Libra, and making day and night of equal duration, or fifteen Muhúrttas each. When the sun, most excellent sage, is in the first degree of the lunar mansion, Krittiká, and the moon is in the. fourth of Viśákhá, or when the sun is in the third [p.225] degree of Viśákhá, and the moon is in the head of Krittiká (these positions being cotemporary with the equinoxes), that equinoctial season is holy (and is styled the Mahávishubha, or the great equinox)700. At this time offerings are to be presented to the gods and to the manes, and gifts are to be made to the Brahmans by serious persons; for such donations are productive of happiness. Liberality at the equinoxes is always advantageous to the donor: and day and night; seconds, minutes, and hours; intercalary months; the day of full moon (Paurnamásí); the day of conjunction (Amávásya), when the moon rises invisible; the day when it is first seen (Śiniválí); the day when it first disappears (Kuhú); the day when the moon is quite round (Ráká); and the day when one digit is deficient (Anumati), are all seasons when gifts are meritorious.

The sun is in his northern declination in the months Tapas, Tapasya, Madhu, Mádhava, Śukra, and Śuchi; and in his southern in those of Nabhas, Nabhasya, Isha, Úrja, Sahas, Sahasya701.

On the Lokáloka mountain, which I have formerly described to you, [p.226] reside the four holy protectors of the world; or Sudháman and Sankhapád, the two sons of Kardama, and Hirańyaroman, and Ketumat702. Unaffected by the contrasts of existence, void of selfishness, active, and unencumbered by dependants, they take charge of the spheres, themselves abiding on the four cardinal points of the Lokáloka mountain.

On the north of Agastya, and south of the line of the Goat, exterior to the Vaiswánara path, lies the road of the Pitris703. There dwell the great [p.227] Rishis, the offerers of oblations with fire, reverencing the Vedas, after whose injunctions creation commenced, and who were discharging the duties of ministrant priests: for as the worlds are destroyed and renewed, they institute new rules of conduct, and reestablish the interrupted ritual of the Vedas. Mutually descending from each other, progenitor springing from descendant, and descendant from progenitor, in the alternating succession of births, they repeatedly appear in different housed and races along with their posterity, devout practices and instituted observances, residing to the south of the solar orb, as long as the moon and stars endure704.

The path of the gods lies to the north of the solar sphere, north of the Nágavithi705, and south of the seven Rishis. There dwell the Siddhas, of subdued senses, continent and pure, undesirous of progeny, and therefore victorious over death: eighty-eight thousand of these chaste beings tenant the regions of the sky, north of the sun, until the destruction of the universe: they enjoy immortality, for that they are holy; exempt from covetousness and concupiscence, love and hatred; taking no part in the procreation of living beings, and detecting the unreality of the properties of elementary matter. By immortality is meant existence to the end of the Kalpa: life as long as the three regions (earth, sky, and heaven) last is called exemption from (reiterated) death706. The consequences of acts of iniquity or piety, such as Brahmanicide or an Aśwamedha, endure for a similar period, or until the end of a Kalpa707, when all within the interval between Dhruva and the earth is destroyed.


The space between the seven Rishis and Dhruva708, the third region of the sky, is the splendid celestial path of Vishńu (Vishńupada), and the abode of those sanctified ascetics who are cleansed from every soil, and in whom virtue and vice are annihilated. This is that excellent place of Vishńu to which those repair in whom all sources of pain are extinct, in consequence of the cessation of the consequences of piety or iniquity, and where they never sorrow more. There abide Dharma, Dhruva, and other spectators of the world, radiant with the superhuman faculties of Vishńu, acquired through religious meditation; and there are fastened and inwoven to all that is, and all that shall ever be, animate or inanimate. The seat of Vishńu is contemplated by the wisdom of the Yogis, identified with supreme light, as the radiant eye of heaven. In this portion of the heavens the splendid Dhruva is stationed, and serves for the pivot of the atmosphere. On Dhruva rest the seven great planets, and on them depend the clouds. The rains are suspended in the clouds, and from the rains come the water which is the nutriment and delight of all, the gods and the rest; and they, the gods, who are the receivers of oblations, being nourished by burnt-offerings, cause the rain to fall for the support of created beings. This sacred station of Vishńu, therefore, is the support of the three worlds, as it is the source of rain.

From that third region of the atmosphere, or seat of Vishńu, proceeds the stream that washes away all sin, the river Gangá, embrowned with the unguents of the nymphs of heaven, who have sported in her waters. Having her source in the nail of the great toe of Vishńu's left foot, Dhruva709 receives her, and sustains her day and night devoutly on his head; and thence the seven Rishis practise the exercises of austerity in her waters, wreathing their braided locks with her waves. The orb of the moon, encompassed by her accumulated current, derives augmented lustre from her contact. Falling from on high, as she issues from the moon; she alights on the summit of Meru, and thence flows to the four [p.229] quarters of the earth, for its purification. The Śítá, Alakanandá, Chakshu, and Bhadrá are four branches of but one river, divided according to the regions towards which it proceeds. The branch that is known as the Alakanandá was borne affectionately by Mahádeva, upon his head, for more than a hundred years, and was the river which raised to heaven the sinful sons of Sagara, by washing their ashes710. The offences of any man who bathes in this river are immediately expiated, and unprecedented virtue is engendered. Its waters, offered by sons to their ancestors in faith for three years, yield to the latter rarely attainable gratification. Men of the twice-born orders, who offer sacrifice in this river to the lord of sacrifice, Purushottama, obtain whatever they desire, either here or in heaven. Saints who are purified from all soil by bathing in its waters, and whose minds are intent on Keśava, acquire thereby final liberation. This sacred stream, heard of, desired, seen, touched, bathed in, or hymned, day by day, sanctifies all beings; and those who, even at a distance of a hundred leagues, exclaim "Gangá, Gangá," atone for the sins committed during three previous lives. The place whence this river proceeds, for the purification of the three worlds, is the third division of the celestial regions, the seat of Vishńu711.



Planetary system, under the type of a Śiśumára or porpoise. The earth nourished by the sun. Of rain whilst the sun shines. Of rain from clouds. Rain the support, of vegetation, and thence of animal life. Náráyańa the support of all beings.

THE form of the mighty Hari which is present in heaven, consisting of the constellations, is that of a porpoise, with Dhruva situated in the tail. As Dhruva revolves, it causes the moon, sun, and stars to turn round also; and the lunar asterisms follow in its circular path; for all the celestial luminaries are in fact bound to the polar-star by aerial cords. The porpoise-like figure of the celestial sphere is upheld by Náráyańa, who himself, in planetary radiance, is seated in its heart; whilst the son of Uttanápáda, Dhruva, in consequence of his adoration of the lord of the world, shines in the tail of the stellar porpoise712. The upholder of the porpoise-shaped sphere is the sovereign of all, Janárddana. This sphere is the supporter of Dhruva; and by Dhruva the sun is upstayed. Upon the sun depends this world, with its gods, demons, and men. In what manner the world depends upon the sun, be attentive, and you shall hear.

During eight months of the year the sun attracts the waters, which are the essence of all fluids, and then pours them upon earths (during the other four months) as rain713: from rain grows corn; and by corn the whole world subsists. The sun with his scorching rays absorbs the moisture of the earth, and with them nourishes the moon. The moon communicates, through tubes of air, its dews to the clouds, which, being composed of smoke, fire, and wind (or vapour), can retain the waters with which they are charged: they are therefore called Abhras, because their contents are not dispersed714. When however they are broken to [p.231] pieces by the wind, then watery stores descend, bland, and freed front every impurity by the sweetening process of time. The sun, Maitreya, exhales watery fluids from four sources, seas, rivers, the earth, and living creatures. The water that the sun has drawn up from the Gangá of the skies he quickly pours down with his rays, and without a cloud; and men who are touched by this pure rain are cleansed from the soil of sin, and never see hell: this is termed celestial ablution. That rain which falls whilst the sun is shining, and without a cloud in the sky, is the water of the heavenly Ganges, shed by the solar rays. If, however, rain falls from a bright and cloudless sky whilst the sun is in the mansion of Krittiká and the other asterisms counted by odd numbers, as the third, fifth, &c., the water, although that of the Gangá of the sky, is scattered, by the elephants of the quarters, not by the rays of the sun: it is only when such rain falls, and the sun is in the even asterisms, that it is distributed by his beams715.

The water which the clouds shed upon earth is in truth the ambrosia of living beings, for it gives fertility to the plants which are the support of their existence. By this all vegetables grow and are matured, and become the means of maintaining life. With them, again, those men [p.232] who take the law for their light perform daily sacrifices, and through them give nourishment to the gods. And thus sacrifices, the Vedas, the font' castes, with the Brahmans at their head, all the residences of the gods, all the tribes of animals, the whole world, all are supported by the rains by which food is produced. But the rain is evolved by the sun; the sun is sustained by Dhruva; and Dhruva is supported by the celestial porpoise-shaped sphere, which is one with Náráyańa. Náráyańa, the primeval existent, and eternally enduring, seated in the heart of the stellar sphere, is the supporter of all beings.



Names of the twelve Ádityas. Names of the Rishis, Gandharbhas, Apsarasas, Yakshas, Uragas, and Rákshasas, who attend the chariot of the sun in each month of the year. Their respective functions.

PARÁŚARA.Between the extreme northern and southern points the sun has to traverse in a year one hundred and eighty degrees, ascending and descending716. His car is presided over by divine Ádityas, Rishis, heavenly singers and nymphs, Yakshas, serpents, and Rákshasas (one of each being placed in it in every month). The Áditya Dhátri, the sage Pulastya, the Gandharba Tumburu, the nymph Kratust́halá, the Yaksha Rathakrit, the serpent Vásuki, and the Rákshas Heti, always reside in the sun's car, in the month of Madhu or Chaitra, as its seven guardians. In Vaiśákh or Mádhava the seven are Áryamat, Pulaha, Náreda, Punjikásthalí, Rathaujas, Kachaníra, and Praheti. In Śuchi or Jyesht́ha they are Mitra, Atri, Háhá, Mená, Rathaswana, Takshaka, and Paurusheya. In the month Śukra or Áshádha they are Varuńa, Vaśisht́ha, Huhu, Sahajanyá, Rathachitra, Nága, and Budha. In the month Nabhas (or Srávańa) they are Indra, Angiras, Viswávasu, Pramlochá, Śrotas, and Elapatra (the name of both serpent and Rákshas). In the month Bhádrapada they are Vivaswat, Bhrigu, Ugrasena, Anumlocha, Ápúrańa, Śankhapála, and Vyághra. In the month of Áswin they are Púshan, Gautama, Suruchi, Ghritáchí, Sushena, Dhananjaya, and Váta. In the month of Kártik they are Parjanya, Bharadwája, (another) Viswávasu, Viswáchí, Senajit, Airávata, and Chápa. In Agraháyana or Márgaśírsha they are Ansu, Kaśyapa, Chitrasena, Urvasi, Tárkshya, Mahápadma, and Vidyut. In the month of Pausha, Bhaga, Kratu, Urńáyu, Purvachittí, [p.234] Arisht́anemi, Karkot́aka, and Sphúrja are the seven who abide in the orb of the sun, the glorious spirits who scatter light throughout the universe. In the month of Mágha the seven who are in the sun are Twasht́ri, Jamadagni, Dhritarasht́ra, Tilottamá, Ritajit, Kambala, and Brahmápeta. Those who abide in the sun in the month Phálguna are Vishńu, Visvamitra, Súryaverchchas, Rambhá, Satyajit, Aswatara, and Yajnápeta.

In this manner, Maitreya, a troop of seven celestial beings, supported by the energy of Vishńu, occupies during the several months the orb of the sun. The sage celebrates his praise, and the Gandharba sings, and the nymph dances before him: the Rákshas attends upon his steps, the serpent harnesses his steeds, and the Yaksha trims the reins: the numerous pigmy sages, the Bálakhilyas, ever surround his chariot. The whole troop of seven, attached to the sun's car, are the agents in the distribution of cold, heat, and rain, at their respective seasons717.



The sun distinct from, and supreme over, the attendants on his car: identical with the three Vedas and with Vishńu: his functions.

MAITREYA.You have related to me, holy preceptor, the seven classes of beings who are ever present in the solar orb, and are the causes of heat and cold: you have also described to me their individual functions, sustained by the energy of Vishńu: but you have not told me the duty of the sun himself; for if, as you say, the seven beings in his sphere are the causes of heat, cold, and rain, how can it be also true, as you have before mentioned, that rain proceeds from the sun? or how can it be asserted that the sun rises, reaches the meridian, or sets, if these situations be the act of the collective seven.

PARÁŚARA.I will explain to you, Maitreya, the subject of your inquiry. The sun, though identified with the seven beings in his orb, is distinct from them as their chief. The entire and mighty energy of Vishńu, which is called the three Vedas, or Rich, Yajush, and Sáman, is that which enlightens the world, and destroys its iniquity. It is that also which, during the continuance of things, is present as Vishńu, actively engaged in the preservation of the universe, and abiding as the three Vedas within the sun. The solar luminary, that appears in every month, is nothing else than that very supreme energy of Vishńu which is composed of the three Vedas, influencing the motions of the planet; for the Richas (the hymns of the Rig-veda) shine in the morning, the prayers of the Yajush at noon, and the Vrihadrathantara and other portions of the Sáman in the afternoon. This triple impersonation of Vishńu, distinguished by the titles of the three Vedas, is the energy of Vishńu, which influences the positions of the sun718.


But this triple energy of Vishńu is not limited to the sun alone, for Brahmá, Purusha (Vishńu), and Rudra are also made up of the same triform essence. In creation it is Brahmá, consisting of the Rig-veda in preservation it is Vishńu, composed of the Yajur-veda; and in destruction Rudra, formed of the Sáma-veda, the utterance of which is consequently inauspicious719.

Thus the energy of Vishńu, made up of the three Vedas, and derived from the property of goodness, presides in the sun, along with the seven beings belonging to it; and through the presence of this power the planet shines with intense radiance, dispersing with his beams the darkness that spreads over the whole world: and hence the Munis praise him, the quiristers and nymphs of heaven sing and dance before him, and fierce spirits and holy sages attend upon his path. Vishńu, in the form of his active energy, never either rises or sets, and is at once the. sevenfold sun and distinct from it. In the same manner as a man approaching a mirror, placed upon a stand, beholds in it his own image, so the energy (or reflection) of Vishńu is never disjoined (from the sun's car, which is the stand of the mirror), but remains month by month in the sun (as in the mirror), which is there stationed.

The sovereign sun, oh Brahman, the cause of day and night, perpetually revolves, affording delight to the gods, to the progenitors, and to mankind. Cherished by the Sushumna ray of the sun720, the moon is fed to the full in the fortnight of its growth; and in the fortnight of its wane the ambrosia of its substance is perpetually drunk by the immortals, until the last day of the half month, when the two remaining digits are drunk by the progenitors: hence these two orders of beings are nourished [p.237] by the sun. The moisture of the earth, which the sun attracts by his rays, he again parts with for the fertilization of the grain, and the nutriment of all terrestrial creatures; and consequently the sun is the source of subsistence to every class of living things, to gods, progenitors, mankind, and the rest. The sun, Maitreya, satisfies the wants of the gods for a fortnight (at a time); those of the progenitors once a month; and those of men and other animals daily.



Description of the moon: his chariot, horses, and course: fed by the sun: drained periodically of ambrosia by the progenitors and gods. The chariots and horses of the planets: kept in their orbits by aerial chains attached to Dhruva. Typical members of the planetary porpoise. Vásudeva alone real.

PARÁŚARA.The chariot of the moon has three wheels, and is drawn by ten horses, of the whiteness of the Jasmine, five on the right half (of the yoke), five on the left. It moves along the asterisms, divided into ranges, as before described; and, in like manner as the sun, is upheld by Dhruva; the cords that fasten it being tightened or relaxed in the same way, as it proceeds on its course. The horses of the moon, sprung from the bosom of the waters721, drag the car for a whole Kalpa, as do the coursers of the sun. The radiant sun supplies the moon, when reduced by the draughts of the gods to a single Kalá, with a single ray; and in the same proportion as the ruler of the night was exhausted by the celestials, it is replenished by the sun, the plunderer of the waters: for the gods, Maitreya, drink the nectar and ambrosia accumulated in the moon during half the month, and from this being their food they are immortal. Thirty-six thousand three hundred and thirty-three divinities drink the lunar ambrosia. When two digits remain, the moon enters the orbit of the sun, and abides in the ray called Amá; whence the period is termed Amávásya. In that orbit the moon is immersed for a day and night in the water; thence it enters the branches and shoots of the trees; and thence goes to the sun. Consequently any one who cuts off a branch, or casts down a leaf, when the moon is in the trees (the day of its rising invisible), is guilty of Brahmanicide. When the remaining portion of the moon consists of but a fifteenth part, the progenitors approach it in the afternoon, and drink the last portion, that sacred Kali which is composed of ambrosia, and contained in the two digits of [p.239] the form of the moon722. Having drank the nectar effused by the lunar rays on the day of conjunction, the progenitors are satisfied, and remain tranquil for the ensuing month. These progenitors (or Pitris) are of three classes, termed Saumyas, Varhishadas, and Agnishwáttas723. In this manner the moon, with its cooling rays, nourishes the gods in the light fortnight, the Pitris in the dark fortnight; vegetables, with the cool nectary aqueous atoms it sheds upon them; and through their developement it sustains men, animals, and insects; at the same time gratifying them by its radiance.

The chariot of the son of Chandra, Budha or Mercury, is composed of the elementary substances air and fire, and is drawn by eight bay horses of the speed of the wind. The vast car of Śukra (Venus) is drawn by earth-born horses724, is equipped with a protecting fender and a floor, armed with arrows, and decorated by a banner. The splendid car of [p.240] Bhauma (Mars) is of gold, of an octagonal shape, drawn by eight horses, of a ruby red, sprung from fire. Vrihaspati (Jupiter), in a golden car drawn by eight pale-coloured horses, travels from sign to sign in the period of a year: and the tardy-paced Śani (Saturn) moves slowly along in a car drawn by piebald steeds. Eight black horses draw the dusky chariot of Ráhu, and once harnessed are attached to it for ever. On the Parvas (the nodes, or lunar and solar eclipses), Ráhu directs his course from the sun to the moon, and back again from the moon to the sun725. The eight horses of the chariot of Ketu are of the dusky red colour of Lac, or of the smoke of burning straw.

I have thus described to you, Maitreya, the chariots of the nine planets, all which are fastened to Dhruva by aerial cords. The orbs of all the planets, asterisms, and stars are attached to Dhruva, and travel accordingly in their proper orbits, being kept in their places by their respective bands of air. As many as are the stars, so many are the chains of air that secure them to Dhruva; and as they turn round, they cause the pole-star also to revolve. In the same manner as the oil-man himself, going round, causes the spindle to revolve, so the planets travel round, suspended by cords of air, which are circling round a (whirling) centre. The air, which is called Pravaha, is so termed because it bears along the planets, which turn round, like a disc of fire, driven by the aerial wheel726.

The celestial porpoise, in which Dhruva is fixed, has been mentioned, but you shall hear its constituent parts in more detail, as it is of great efficacy; for the view of it at night expiates whatever sin has been committed during the day; and those who behold it live as many years as there are stars in it, in the sky, or even more. Uttánapáda is to be considered as its upper jaw; Sacrifice as its lower. Dharma is situated on its brow; Náráyańa in its heart. The Áswins are its two fore feet; [p.241] and Varuńa and Áryamat its two hinder legs. Samvatsara is its sexual organ; Mitra its organ of excretion. Agni, Mahendra, Kaśyapa, and Dhruva, in succession, are placed in its tail; which four stars in this constellation never set727.

I have now described to you the disposition of the earth and of the stars; of the insular zones, with their oceans and mountains, their Varshas or regions, and their inhabitants: their nature has also been explained, but it may be briefly recapitulated.

From the waters, which are the body of Vishńu, was produced the lotus-shaped earth, with its seas and mountains. The stars are Vishńu; the worlds are Vishńu; forests, mountains, regions, rivers, oceans are Vishńu: he is all that is, all that is not. He, the lord, is identical with knowledge, through which he is all forms, but is not a substance. You must conceive therefore mountains, oceans, and all the diversities of earth and the rest, are the illusions of the apprehension. When knowledge is pure, real, universal, independent of works, and exempt from defect, then the varieties of substance, which are the fruit of the tree of desire, cease to exist in matter. For what is substance? Where is the thing that is devoid of beginning, middle, and end, of one uniform [p.242] nature? How can reality be predicated of that which is subject to change, and reassumes no more its original character? Earth is fabricated into a jar; the jar is divided into two halves; the halves are broken to pieces; the pieces become dust; the dust becomes atoms. Say, is this reality? though it be so understood by man, whose self-knowledge is impeded by his own acts. Hence, Brahman, except discriminative knowledge, there is nothing any where, or at any time, that is real. Such knowledge is but one, although it appear manifold, as diversified by the various consequences of our own acts. Knowledge perfect, pure, free from pain, and detaching the affections from all that causes affliction; knowledge single and eternalis the supreme Vásudeva, besides whom there is nothing. The truth has been thus communicated to you by me; that knowledge which is truth; from which all that differs is false. That information, however, which is of a temporal and worldly nature has also been imparted to you; the sacrifice, the victim, the fire, the priests, the acid juice, the gods, the desire for heaven, the path pursued by acts of devotion and the rest, and the worlds that are their consequences, have been displayed to you. In that universe which I have described, he for ever migrates who is subject to the influence of works; but he who knows Vásudeva to be eternal, immutable, and of one unchanging, universal form, may continue to perform them728, as thereby he enters into the deity.



Legend of Bharata. Bharata abdicates his throne, and becomes an ascetic: cherishes a fawn, and becomes so much attached to it as to neglect his devotions: he dies: his successive births: works in the fields, and is pressed as a palankin-bearer for the Rájá of Sauvíra: rebuked for his awkwardness: his reply: dialogue between him and the king.

MAITREYA.Reverend sir729, all that I asked of you has been thoroughly explained; namely, the situation of the earth, oceans, mountains, rivers, and planetary bodies; the system of the three worlds, of which Vishńu is the stay. The great end of life has also been expounded by you, and the preeminence of holy knowledge. It now remains that you fulfil the promise you made some time since730, of relating to me the story of king Bharata, and how it happened that a monarch like him, residing constantly at the sacred place Śálagráma, and engaged in devotion, with his mind ever applied to Vásudeva, should have failed, through time sanctity of the shrine, and the efficacy of his abstractions, to obtain final emancipation; how it was that he was born again as a Brahman; and what was done by the magnanimous Bharata in that capacity: all this it is fit that you inform me.

PARÁŚARA.The illustrious monarch of the earth resided, Maitreya, for a considerable period at Śálagráma, his thoughts being wholly dedicated to god, and his conduct distinguished by kindness and every virtue, until he had effected, in the highest degree, the entire control over his mind. The Rájá was ever repeating the names, Yajneśa, Achyuta, Govinda, Mádhava, Ananta, Keśava, Krishńa, Vishńu, Hrishikeśa; nothing else did be utter, even in his dreams; nor upon anything but those names, and their import, did he ever meditate. He accepted fuel, flowers, and holy grass, for the worship of the deity, but [p.244] performed no other religious rites, being engrossed by disinterested, abstract devotion.

On one occasion he went to the Mahanadi731, for the purpose of ablution: he bathed there, and performed the ceremonies usual after bathing, Whilst thus occupied, there came to the same place a doe big with young, who had come out of the forest to drink of the stream. Whilst quenching her thirst, there was heard on a sudden the loud and fearful roaring of a lion; on which the doe, being excessively alarmed, jumped out of the water upon the bank. In consequence of this great leap, her fawn was suddenly brought forth, and fell into the river; and the king, seeing it carried away by the current, caught hold of the young animal, and saved it from being drowned. The injury received by the deer, by her violent exertion, proved fatal, and she lay down, and died; which being observed by the royal ascetic, he took the fawn in his arms, and returned with it to his hermitage: there he fed it and tended it every day, and it throve and grew up under his care. It frolicked about the cell, and grazed upon the grass in its vicinity; and whenever it strayed to a distance, and was alarmed at a wild beast, it ran back thither for safety. Every morning it sallied forth from home, and every evening returned to the thatched shelter of the leafy bower of Bharata.

Whilst the deer was thus the inmate of his hermitage, the mind of the king was ever anxious about the animal, now wandering away, and now returning to his side, and he was unable to think of anything else. He had relinquished his kingdom, his children, all his friends, and now indulged in selfish affection for a fawn. When absent for a longer time than ordinary, he would fancy that it had been carried off by wolves, devoured by a tiger, or slain by a lion. "The earth," he would exclaim, "is embrowned by the impressions of its hoofs. What has become of the young deer, that was born for my delight? How happy I should be [p.245] if he had returned from the thicket, and I felt his budding antlers rubbing against my arm. These tufts of sacred grass, of which the heads have been nibbled by his new teeth, look like pious lads chanting the Sáma-veda732." Thus the Muni meditated whenever the deer was long absent from him; and contemplated him with a countenance animated with pleasure as he stood by his side. His abstraction was interrupted, the spirit of the king being engrossed by the fawn, even though he had abandoned family, wealth, and dominion. The firmness of the prince's mind became unsteady, and wandered with the wanderings of the young deer. In the course of time the king became subject to its influence. He died, watched by the deer, with tears in its eyes, like a son mourning for his father; and he himself, as he expired, cast his eyes upon the animal, and thought of nothing else, being wholly occupied with one idea.

In consequence of this predominant feeling at such a season, he was born again, in the Jambumárga forests, as a deer733, with the faculty of recollecting his former life; which recollection inspiring a distaste for the world, he left his mother, and again repaired to the holy place Śálagráma. Subsisting there upon dry grass and leaves, he atoned for the acts which had led to his being born in such a condition; and upon his death he was next born as a Brahman, still retaining the memory of his prior existence. He was born in a pious and eminent family of ascetics, who were rigid observers of devotional rites. Possessed of all true wisdom, and acquainted with the essence of all sacred writings, he beheld soul as contradistinguished from matter (Prakriti). Embued with knowledge of self, he beheld the gods and all other beings as in reality the same. It did not happen to him to undergo investiture with the Brahmanical thread, nor to read the Vedas with a spiritual preceptor, nor to perform ceremonies, nor to study the scriptures. Whenever spoken to, he replied incoherently and in ungrammatical and unpolished [p.246] speech. His person was unclean, and he was clad in dirty garments. Saliva dribbled from his mouth, and he was treated with contempt by all the people. Regard for the consideration of the world is fatal to the success of devotion. The ascetic who is despised of men attains the end of his abstractions. Let therefore a holy man pursue the path of the righteous, without murmuring; and though men contemn him, avoid association with mankind. This, the counsel of Hirańyagarbha734, did the Brahman call to mind, and hence assumed the appearance of a crazy ideot in the eyes of the world. His food was raw pulse, potherbs, wild fruit, and grains of corn. Whatever came in his way he ate, as part of a necessary, but temporary infliction735. Upon his father's death he was set to work in the fields by his brothers and his nephews, and fed by them with vile food; and as he was firm and stout of make, and a simpleton in outward act, he was the slave of every one that chose to employ him, receiving sustenance alone for his hire.

The head servant of the king of Sauvíra, looking upon him as an indolent, untaught Brahman, thought him a fit person to work without pay (and took him into his master's service to assist in carrying the palankin.)

The king having ascended his litter, on one occasion, was proceeding to the hermitage of Kapila, on the banks of the Ikshumatí river736, to consult the sage, to whom the virtues leading to liberation were known, what was most desirable in a world abounding with care and sorrow. Amongst those who by order of his head servant had been compelled gratuitously to carry the litter was the Brahman, who had been equally pressed into this duty, and who, endowed with the only universal knowledge, and remembering his former existence, bore the burden as the means of expiating the faults for which he was desirous to atone. Fixing his eyes upon the pole, he went tardily along, whilst the other [p.247] bearers moved with alacrity; and the king, feeling the litter carried unevenly, called out, "Ho bearers! what is this? Keep equal pace together." Still it proceeded unsteadily, and the Rájá again exclaimed, "What is this? how irregularly are you going!" When this had repeatedly occurred, the palankin-bearers at last replied to the king, "It is this man, who lags in his pace." "How is this?" said the prince to the Brahman, "are you weary? You have carried your burden but a little way; are you unable to bear fatigue? and yet you look robust." The Brahman answered and said, "It is not I who am robust, nor is it by me that your palankin is carried. I am not wearied, prince, nor am I incapable of fatigue." The king replied, "I clearly see that you are stout, and that the palankin is borne by you; and the carriage of a burden is wearisome to all persons." "First tell me," said the Brahman, "what it is of me that you have clearly seen737 and then you may distinguish my properties as strong or weak. The assertion that you behold the palankin borne by me, or placed on me, is untrue. Listen, prince, to what I have to remark. The place of both the feet is the ground; the legs are supported by the feet; the thighs rest upon the legs; and the belly reposes on the thighs; the chest is supported by the belly; and the arms and shoulders are propped up by the chest: the palankin is borne upon the shoulders, and how can it be considered as my burden? This body which is seated in the palankin is defined as Thou; thence what is elsewhere called This, is here distinguished as I and Thou. I and thou and others are constructed of the elements; and the elements, following the stream of qualities, assume a bodily shape; but qualities, such as goodness and the rest, are dependant upon acts; and acts, accumulated in ignorance, influence the condition of all beings738. The pure, imperishable soul, tranquil, void of qualities, preeminent over nature (Prakriti), is one, without increase or diminution, in all bodies. But if it be equally exempt from increase or diminution, then with what propriety [p.248]  can you say to me, 'I see that thou art robust?' If the palankin rests on the shoulders, and they on the body; the body on the feet, and the feet on the earth; then is the burden borne as much by you as by me739. When the nature of men is different, either in its essence or its cause, then may it be said that fatigue is to be undergone by me. That which is the substance of the palankin is the substance of you and me and all others, being an aggregate of elements, aggregated by individuality."

Having thus spoken, the Brahman was silent, and went on bearing the palankin; but the king leaped out of it, and hastened to prostrate himself at his feet; saying, "Have compassion on me, Brahman, and cast aside the palankin; and tell me who thou art, thus disguised under the appearance of a fool." The Brahman answered and said, "Hear me, Rája. Who I am it is not possible to say: arrival at any place is for the sake of fruition; and enjoyment of pleasure, or endurance of pain, is the cause of the production of the body. A living being assumes a corporeal form to reap the results of virtue or vice. The universal cause of all living creatures is virtue or vice: why therefore inquire the cause (of my being the person I appear)." The king said, "Undoubtedly virtue and vice are the causes of all existent effects, and migration into several bodies is for the purpose of receiving their consequences; but with respect to what you have asserted, that it is not possible for you to tell me who you are, that is a matter which I am desirous to hear explained. How can it be impossible, Brahman, for any one to declare himself to be that which he is? There can be no detriment to one's-self from applying to it the word I." The Brahman said, "It is true that there is no wrong done to that which is one's-self by the application to it of the word I; but the term is characteristic of error, of conceiving that to be the self (or soul) which is not self or soul. The tongue articulates the word I, aided by the lips, the teeth, and the palate; and these are the origin of the expression, as they are the causes of the production of speech. If by these instruments speech is able to utter the word I, it is nevertheless [p.249] improper to assert that speech itself is I740. The body of a man, characterized by hands, feet, and the like, is made up of various parts; to which of these can I properly apply the denomination I? If another being is different specifically from me, most excellent monarch, then it may be said that this is I; that is the other: but when one only soul is dispersed in all bodies, it is then idle to say, Who are you? who am I? Thou art a king; this is a palankin; these are the bearers; these the running footmen; this is thy retinue: yet it is untrue that all these are said to be thine. The palankin on which thou sittest is made of timber derived from a tree. What then? is it denominated either timber or a tree? People do not say that the king is perched upon a tree, nor that he is seated upon a piece of wood, when you have mounted your palankin. The vehicle is an assemblage of pieces of timber, artificially joined together: judge, prince, for yourself in what the palankin differs really from the wood. Again; contemplate the sticks of the umbrella, in their separate state. Where then is the umbrella? Apply this reasoning to thee and to me741. A man, a woman, a cow, a goat, a horse, an elephant, a bird, a tree, are names assigned to various bodies, which are the consequences of acts. Man742 is neither a god, nor a man, nor a brute, nor a tree; these are mere varieties of shape, the effects of acts. The thing which in the world is called a king, the servant of a king, or by any other appellation, is not a reality; it is the creature of our imaginations: for what is there in the world, that is subject to vicissitude, that does not in the course of time go by different names. Thou art called the monarch of the world; the son of thy father; the enemy [p.250] of thy foes; the husband of thy wife; the father of thy children. What shall I denominate thee? How art thou situated? Art thou the head or the belly? or are they thine? Art thou the feet? or do they belong to thee? Thou art, oh king, distinct in thy nature from all thy members! Now then, rightly understanding the question, think who I am; and how it is possible for me, after the truth is ascertained (of the identity of all), to recognise any distinction, or to speak of my own individuality by the expression I.'



Dialogue continued. Bharata expounds the nature of existence, the end of life, and the identification of individual with universal spirit.

PARÁŚARA.Having heard these remarks, full of profound truth, the king was highly pleased with the Brahman, and respectfully thus addressed him: "What you have said is no doubt the truth; but in listening to it my mind is much disturbed. You have shewn that to be discriminative wisdom which exists in all creatures, and which is the great principle that is distinct from plastic nature; but the assertions--'I do not bear the palankinthe palankin does not rest upon methe body, by which the vehicle is conveyed, is different from methe conditions of elementary beings are influenced by acts, through the influence of the qualities, and the qualities are the principles of action;'what sort of positions are these. Upon these doctrines entering into my ears, my mind, which is anxious to investigate the truth, is lost in perplexity. It was my purpose, illustrious sage, to have gone to Kapila Rishi, to inquire of him what in this life was the most desirable object: but now that I have heard from you such words, my mind turns to you, to become acquainted with the great end of life. The Rishi Kapila is a portion of the mighty and universal Vishńu, who has come down upon earth to dissipate delusion; and surely it is he who, in kindness to me, has thus manifested himself to me in all that you have said. To me, thus suppliant, then, explain what is the best of all things; for thou art an ocean overflowing with the waters of divine wisdom." The Brahman replied to the king, "You, again, ask me what is the best of all things, not what is the great end of life743; but there are many things which are [p.252] considered best, as well as those which are the great ends (or truths) of life. To him who, by the worship of the gods, seeks for wealth, prosperity, children, or dominion, each of these is respectively best. Best is the rite or sacrifice, that is rewarded with heavenly pleasures. Best is that which yields the best recompense, although it be not solicited. Self-contemplation, ever practised by devout ascetics, is to them the best. But best of all is the identification of soul with the supreme spirit. Hundreds and thousands of conditions may be called the best; but these are not the great and true ends of life. Hear what those are. Wealth cannot be the true end of life, for it may be relinquished through virtue, and its characteristic property is expenditure for the gratification of desire. If a son were final truth, that would be equally applicable to a different source; for the son that is to one the great end of life, becomes the father of another. Final or supreme truth, therefore, would not exist in this world, as in all these cases those objects which are so denominated are the effects of causes, and consequently are not finite. If the acquisition of sovereignty were designated by the character of being the great end of all, then finite ends would sometimes be, and sometimes cease to be. If you suppose that the objects to be effected by sacrificial rites, performed according to the rules of the Rik, Yajur, and Sama Vedas, be the great end of life, attend to what I have to say. Any effect which is produced through the causality of earth partakes of the character of its origin, and consists itself of clay; so any act performed by perishable agents, such as fuel, clarified butter, and Kuśa grass, must itself be of but temporary efficacy. The great end of life (or truth) is considered by the wise to be eternal; but it would be transient, if it were accomplished through transitory things. If you imagine that this great truth is the performance of religious acts, from which no recompense is sought, it is not so; for such acts are the means of obtaining liberation, and truth is (the end), not the means. Meditation on self, again, is said to be for the sake of supreme truth; but the object of this is to establish distinctions (between soul and body), and the great truth of all is without distinctions. Union of self with supreme spirit is said to be the great end of all; but this is false; for one substance cannot become substantially [p.253] another744. Objects, then, which are considered most desirable are infinite. What the great end of all is, you shall, monarch, briefly learn from me. It is soul: one (in all bodies), pervading, uniform, perfect, preeminent over nature (Prakriti), exempt from birth, growth, and decay, omnipresent, undecaying, made up of true knowledge, independent, and unconnected with unrealities, with name, species, and the rest, in time present, past, or to come. The knowledge that this spirit, which is essentially one, is in one's own and in all other bodies, is the great end, or true wisdom, of one who knows the unity and the true principles of things. As one diffusive air, passing through the perforations of a flute, is distinguished as the notes of the scale (Sherga and the rest), so the nature of the great spirit is single, though its forms be manifold, arising from the consequences of acts. When the difference of the investing form, as that of god or the rest, is destroyed, then there is no distinction."



Bharata relates the story of Ribhu and Nidágha. The latter, the pupil of the former, becomes a prince, and is visited by his preceptor, who explains to him the principles of unity, and departs.

PARÁŚARA continued.Having terminated these remarks, the Brahman repeated to the silent and meditating prince a tale illustrative of the doctrines of unity. "Listen, prince," he proceeded, "to what was formerly uttered by Ribhu, imparting holy knowledge to the Brahman Nidágha. Ribhu was a son of the supreme Brahmá, who, from his innate disposition, was of a holy character, and acquainted with true wisdom. Nidágha, the son of Pulastya, was his disciple; and to him Ribhu communicated willingly perfect knowledge, not doubting of his being fully confirmed in the doctrines of unity, when he had been thus instructed.

"The residence of Pulastya was at Víranagara, a large handsome city on the banks of the Devíká river. In a beautiful grove adjoining to the stream the pupil of Ribhu, Nidágha, conversant with devotional practices, abode. When a thousand divine years had elapsed, Ribhu went to the city of Pulastya, to visit his disciple. Standing at the doorway, at the end of a sacrifice to the Viśwadevas, he was seen by his scholar, who hastened to present him the usual offering, or Arghya, and conducted him into the house; and when his hands and feet were washed, and he was seated, Nidágha invited him respectfully to eat (when the following dialogue ensued):

"Ribhu. 'Tell me, illustrious Brahman, what food there is in your house; for I am not fond of indifferent viands.'

"Nidágha. 'There are cakes of meal, rice, barley, and pulse in the house; partake, venerable sir, of whichever best pleases you.'

"Ribhu. 'None of these do I like; give me rice boiled with sugar, wheaten cakes, and milk with curds and molasses.'

"Nidágha. 'Ho dame, be quick, and prepare whatever is most delicate and sweet in the house, to feed our guest.'


"Having thus spoken, the wife of Nidágha, in obedience to her husband's commands, prepared sweet and savoury food, and set it before the Brahman; and Nidágha, having stood before him until he had eaten of the meal which he had desired, thus reverentially addressed him:

"Nidágha. 'Have you eaten sufficiently, and with pleasure, great Brahman? and has your mind received contentment from your food? Where is your present residence? whither do you purpose going? and whence, holy sir, have you now come?'

"Ribhu. 'A hungry man, Brahman, must needs be satisfied when he has finished his meal. Why should you inquire if my hunger has been appeased? When the earthy element is parched by fire, then hunger is engendered; and thirst is produced when the moisture of the body has been absorbed (by internal or digestive heat). Hunger and thirst are the functions of the body, and satisfaction must always be afforded me by that by which they are removed; for when hunger is no longer sensible, pleasure and contentment of mind are faculties of the intellect: ask their condition of the mind then, for man is not affected by them. For your three other questions, Where I dwell? Whither I go? and Whence I come? hear this reply. Man (the soul of man) goes every where, and penetrates every where, like the ether; and is it rational to inquire where it is? or whence or whither thou goest? I neither am going nor coming, nor is my dwelling in any one place; nor art thou, thou; nor are others, others; nor am I, I. If you wonder what reply I should make to your inquiry why I made any distinction between sweetened and unsweetened food, you shall hear my explanation. What is there that is really sweet or not sweet to one eating a meal? That which is sweet, is no longer so when it occasions the sense of repletion; and that which is not sweet, becomes sweet when a man (being very hungry) fancies that it is so. What food is there that first, middle, and last is equally grateful. As a house built of clay is strengthened by fresh plaster, so is this earthly body supported by earthly particles; and barley, wheat, pulse, butter, oil, milk, curds, treacle, fruits, and the like, are composed of atoms of earth. This therefore is to be understood by you, that the mind which properly judges of what is or is not sweet [p.256] is impressed with the notion of identity, and that this effect of identity tends to liberation.'

"Having heard these words, conveying the substance of ultimate truth, Nidágha fell at the feet of his visitor, and said, 'Shew favour unto me, illustrious Brahman, and tell me who it is that for my good has come hither, and by whose words the infatuation of my mind is dissipated.' To this, Ribhu answered, 'I am Ribhu, your preceptor, come hither to communicate to you true wisdom; and having declared to you what that is, I shall depart. Know this whole universe to be the one undivided nature of the supreme spirit, entitled Vásudeva.' Thus having spoken, and receiving the prostrate homage of Nidágha, rendered with fervent faith, Ribhu went his way."



Ribhu returns to his disciple, and perfects him in divine knowledge. The same recommended to the Rájá by Bharata, who thereupon obtains final liberation. Consequences of hearing this legend.

"AFTER the expiration of another thousand years, Ribhu again repaired to the city where Nidágha dwelt, to instruct him farther in true wisdom. When he arrived near the town, he beheld a prince entering into it, with a splendid retinue; and his pupil Nidágha standing afar off, avoiding the crowd; his throat shrivelled with starvation, and bearing from the thicket fuel and holy grass. Ribhu approached him, and saluting him reverentially (as if he was a stranger) demanded why he was standing in such a retired spot. Nidágha replied, 'There is a great crowd of people attending the entrance of the king into the town, and I am staying here to avoid it.' 'Tell me, excellent Brahman,' said Ribhu, 'for I believe that thou art wise, which is here the king, and which is any other man.' The king,' answered Nidágha, is he who is seated on the fierce and stately elephant, vast as a mountain peak; the others are his attendants.' You have shewn me,' observed Ribhu, 'at one moment the elephant and the king, without noticing any peculiar characteristic by which they may be distinguished. Tell me, venerable sir, is there any difference between them? for I am desirous to know which is here the elephant, which is the king.' 'The elephant,' answered Nidágha, 'is underneath; the king is above him. Who is not aware, Brahman, of the relation between that which bears and that which is borne?' To this Ribhu rejoined, 'Still explain to me, according to what I know of it, this matter: what is it that is meant by the word underneath, and what is it that is termed above?' As soon as he had uttered this, Nidágha jumped upon Ribhu, and said, 'Here is my answer to the question you have asked: I am above, like the Rájá.; you are underneath, like the elephant. This example, Brahman, is intended for your information.' Very well,' said Ribhu, you, it seems, are as it were the Rájá, and I am like the elephant; but come now do you tell me which of us two is you; which is I.'


"When Nidágha heard these words, he immediately fell at the feet o the stranger, and said, Of a surety thou art my saintly preceptor Ribhu the mind of no other person is so fully imbued with the doctrines of unity as that of my teacher, and hence I know that thou art he.' To this Ribhu replied, 'I am your preceptor, by name Ribhu, who, pleased with: the dutiful attention he has received, has come to Nidágha to give him instruction: for this purpose have I briefly intimated to you divine truth, the essence of which is the non-duality of all.' Having thus spoken to Nidágha, the Brahman Ribhu went away, leaving his disciple profoundly impressed, by his instructions, with belief in unity. He beheld all beings thenceforth as the same with himself, and, perfect in holy knowledge, obtained final liberation.

"In like manner do thou, oh king, who knowest what duty is, regarding equally friend or foe, consider yourself as one with all that exists in the world. Even as the same sky is apparently diversified as white or blue, so Soul, which is in truth but one, appears to erroneous vision distinct in different persons. That One, which here is all things, is Achyuta (Vishńu); than whom there is none other. He is I; he is thou; he is all: this universe is his form. Abandon the error of distinction."

PARÁŚARA resumed.The king, being thus instructed, opened his eyes to truth, and abandoned the notion of distinct existence: whilst the Brahman, who, through the recollection of his former lives, had acquired perfect knowledge, obtained now exemption from future birth. Whoever narrates or listens to the lessons inculcated in the dialogue between Bharata and the king, has his mind enlightened, mistakes not the nature of individuality, and in the course of his migrations becomes fitted for ultimate emancipation745.




Account of the several Manus and Manwantaras. Swárochisha the second Manu: the divinities, the Indra, the seven Rishis of his period, and his sons. Similar details of Auttami, Támasa, Raivata, Chákshusha, and Vaivaswata. The forms of Vishńu, as the preserver, in each Manwantara. The meaning of Vishńu.

MAITREYA.The disposition of the earth and of the ocean, and the system of the sun and the planets, the creation of the gods and the rest, the origin of the Rishis, the generation of the four castes, the production of brute creatures, and the narratives of Dhruva and Prahláda, have been fully related by thee, my venerable preceptor. I am now desirous to hear from you the series of all the Manwantaras, as well as an account of those who preside over the respective periods, with Śakra, the king of the gods, at their head.

PARÁŚARA.I will repeat to you, Maitreya, in their order, the different Manwantaras; those which are past, and those which are to come.

The first Manu was Swáyambhuva, then came Swárochisha, then Auttami, then Támasa, then Raivata, then Chákshusha: these six Manus have passed away. The Manu who presides over the seventh Manwantara, which is the present period, is Vaivaswata, the son of the sun.

The period of Swáyambhuva Manu, in the beginning of the Kalpa, has already been described by me, together with the gods, Rishis, and other personages, who then flourished746. I will now, therefore, enumerate [p.260] the presiding gods, Rishis, and sons of the Manu, in the Manwantara of Swárochisha747. The deities of this period (or the second Manwantara) were the classes called Párávatas and Tushitas748; and the king of the gods was the mighty Vipaśchit. The seven Rishis749 were Úrja, Stambha, [p.261] Práńa, Dattoli, Rishabha, Niśchara, and Arvarívat; and Chaitra, Kimpurusha, and others, were the Manu's sons750.

In the third period, or Manwantara of Auttami751, Suśánti was the Indra, the king of the gods; the orders of whom were the Sudhámas, Satyas, Śivas, Pradarśanas, and Vasavertis752; each of the five orders consisting of twelve divinities. The seven sons of Vaśisht́ha were the seven Rishis753; and Aja, Paraśu, Divya, and others, were the sons of the Manu754.


The Surúpas, Haris, Satyas, and Śudhís755 were the classes of gods, each comprising twenty-seven, in the period of Támasa, the fourth Manu756. Śivi was the Indra, also designated by his performance of a hundred sacrifices (or named Śatakratu). The seven Rishis were Jyotirdhámá, Prithu, Kávya, Chaitra, Agni, Vanaka, and Pivara757. The sons of Támasa were the mighty kings Nara, Khyáti, Śántahaya, Jánujangha, and others758.

In the fifth interval the Manu was Raivata759: the Indra was Vibhu: the classes of gods, consisting of fourteen each, were the Amitábhas, Abhútarajasas, Vaikunthas, and Sumedhasas760: the seven Rishis were [p.263] Hirańyaromá, Vedasrí, Urddhabáhu, Vedabáhu, Sudháman, Parjanya, and Mahámuni761: the sons of Raivata were Balabandhu, Susambhávya, Satyaka, and other valiant kings.

These four Manus, Swárochisha, Auttamí, Támasa, and Raivata, were all descended from Priyavrata, who, in consequence of propitiating Vishńu by his devotions, obtained these rulers of the Manwantaras for his posterity.

Chákshusha was the Manu of the sixth period762: in which the Indra was Manojava: the five classes of gods were the Ádyas, Prastútas, Bhavyas, Prithugas, and the magnanimous Lekhas, eight of each763: Sumedhas, Virajas, Havishmat, Uttama, Madhu, Abhináman, and Sahishńu were the seven sages764: the kings of the earth, the sons of Chákshusha, were the powerful Uru, Puru, Śatadyumna, and others.


The Manu of the present period is the wise lord of obsequies, the illustrious offspring of the sun: the deities are the Ádityas, Vasus, and Rudras; their sovereign is Purandara: Vaśisht́ha, Kaśyapa, Atri, Jamadagni, Gautama, Viśwámitra, and Bharadwája are the seven Rishis: and the nine pious sons of Vaivaswata Manu are the kings Ikshwáku, Nabhaga, Dhrisht́a, Sanyáti, Narishyanta, Nábhanidisht́a, Karusha, Prishadhra, and the celebrated Vasumat765.

The unequalled energy of Vishńu combining with the quality of goodness, and effecting the preservation of created things, presides over all the Manwantaras in the form of a divinity. Of a portion of that divinity Yajna was born in the Swáyambhuva Manwantara, the will-begotten progeny of Ákútí766. When the Swárochisha Manwantara had arrived, that divine Yajna was born as Ajita, along with the Tushita gods, the sons of Tushitá. In the third Manwantara, Tushita was again born of Satyá, as Satya, along with the class of deities so denominated. In the next period, Satya became Hari, along with the Haris, the [p.265] children of Harí. The excellent Hari was again born in the Raivata Manwantara, of Sambhúti, as Mánasa, along with the gods called Abhútarajasas. In the next period, Vishńu was born of Vikunthi, as Vaikuntha, along with the deities called Vaikunthas. In the present Manwantara, Vishńu was again born as Vámana, the son of Kaśyapa by Adití. With three paces he subdued the worlds, and gave them, freed from all embarrassment, to Purandara767. These are the seven persons by whom, in the several Manwantaras, created beings have been protected. Because this whole world has been pervaded by the energy of the deity, he is entitled Vishńu, from the root Vis, 'to enter' or 'pervade;' for all the gods, the Manus, the seven Rishis, the sons of the Manus, the Indras the sovereigns of the gods, all are but the impersonated might of Vishńu768.



Of the seven future Manus and Manwantaras. Story of Sanjná and Chháyá, wives of the sun. Sávarńi, son of Chháyá, the eighth Manu. His successors, with the divinities, &c. of their respective periods. Appearance of Vishńu in each of the four Yugas.

MAITREYA.You have recapitulated to me, most excellent Brahman, the particulars of the past Manwantaras; now give me some account of those which are to come.

PARÁŚARA.Sanjná, the daughter of Viśwakarman, was the wife of the sun, and bore him three children, the Manu (Vaivaswata), Yama, and the goddess Yamí (or the Yamuná river). Unable to endure the fervours of her lord, Sanjná gave him Chháyá769 as his handmaid, and repaired to the forests to practise devout exercises. The sun, supposing Chháyá to be his wife Sanjná, begot by her three other children, Śanaiśchara (Saturn), another Manu (Sávarńi), and a daughter Tapatí (the Tapti river). Chháyá, upon one occasion, being offended with Yama770, the son of Sanjná, denounced an imprecation upon him, and thereby revealed to Yama and to the sun that she was not in truth Sanjná, the mother of the former. Being further informed by Chháyá that his wife had gone to the wilderness, the sun beheld her by the eye of meditation engaged in austerities, in the figure of a mare (in the region of Uttara Kuru). Metamorphosing himself into a horse, he rejoined his wife, and begot three other children, the two Áswins and Revanta, and [p.267] then brought Sanjná back to his own dwelling. To diminish his intensity, Viśwakarman placed the luminary on his lathe, to grind off some of his effulgence; and in this manner reduced it an eighth, for more than that was inseparable771. The parts of the divine Vaishńava splendour, residing in the sun, that were filed off by Viśwakarman, fell blazing down upon the earth, and the artist constructed of them the discus of Vishńu, the trident of Śiva, the weapon772 of the god of wealth, the lance of Kártikeya, and the weapons of the other gods: all these Viśwakarman fabricated from the superfluous rays of the sun773.

The son of Chháyá, who was called also a Manu, was denominated Sávarńi774, from being of the same caste (Savarńa) as his elder brother, the Manu Vaivaswata. He presides over the ensuing or eighth Manwantara; the particulars of which, and the following, I will now relate. In the period in which Sávarńi shall be the Manu, the classes of the gods will be Sutapas, Amitábhas, and Mukhyas; twenty-one of each. The seven Rishis will be Díptimat, Gálava, Ráma, Kripa, Drauńi; my son Vyása will be the sixth, and the seventh will be Rishyasringa775. The Indra will be Bali, the sinless son of Virochana, who through the favour of Vishńu is actually sovereign of part of Pátála. The royal progeny of Sávarńi will be Virajas, Arvarívas, Nirmoha, and others.


The ninth Manu will be Daksha-sávarńi776. The Páras, Maríchigarbhas, and Sudharmas will be the three classes of divinities, each consisting of twelve; their powerful chief will be the Indra Adbhuta. Savana, Dyutimat, Bhavya, Vasu, Medhatithi, Jyotishmán, and Satya will be the seven Rishis. Dhritaketu, Driptiketu, Panchahasta, Mahámáyá, Prithuśrava, and others, will be the sons of the Manu.

In the tenth Manwantara the Manu will be Brahmá-sávarńi: the gods will be the Sudhámas, Viruddhas, and Śatasankhyas: the Indra will be the mighty Śánti: the Rishis will be Havishmán, Sukriti, Satya, Apámmúrtti, Nábhága, Apratimaujas, and Satyaketu: and the ten sons of the Manu will be Sukshetra, Uttarnaujas, Harisheńa, and others.

In the eleventh Manwantara the Manu will be Dharma-sávarńi: the principal classes of gods will be the Vihangamas, Kámagamas, and Nirmánaratis, each thirty in number777; of whom Vrisha will be the Indra: the Rishis will be Niśchara, Agnitejas, Vapushmán, Vishńu, Áruni, Havishmán, and Anagha: the kings of the earth, and sons of the Manu, will be Savarga, Sarvadharma, Deváníka, and others.

In the twelfth Manwantara the son of Rudra, Sávarńi, will be the Manu: Ritudhámá will be the Indra: and the Haritas, Lohitas, Sumanasas, and Sukarmas will be the classes of gods, each comprising fifteen. [p.269] Tapaswí, Sutapas, Tapomúrtti, Taporati, Tapodhriti, Tapodyuti, and Tapodhana will be the Rishis: and Devaván, Upadeva, Devaśresht́a, and others, will be the Manu's sons, and mighty monarchs on the earth.

In the thirteenth Manwantara the Manu will be Rauchya778: the classes of gods, thirty-three in each, will be the Sudhámans, Sudharmans, and Sukarmans; their Indra will be Divaspati: the Rishis will be Nirmoha, Tatwadersín, Nishprakampa, Nirutsuka, Dhritimat, Avyaya, and Sutapas: and Chitrasena, Vichitra, and others, will be the kings.

In the fourteenth Manwantara, Bhautya will be the Manu779; Suchi, the Indra: the five classes of gods will be the Chákshushas, the Pavitras, Kanisht́has, Bhrájiras, and Vávriddhas: the seven Rishis will be Agnibáhu, Śuchi, Śukra, Magadhá, Gridhra, Yukta, and Ajita: and the sons of the Manu will be Uru, Gabhíra, Bradhna, and others, who will be kings, and will rule over the earth780.

At the end of every four ages there is a disappearance of the Vedas, and it is the province of the seven Rishis to come down upon earth from heaven to give them currency again. In every Krita age the Manu (of the period) is the legislator or author of the body of law, the Smriti: the [p.270] deities of the different classes receive the sacrifices during the Manwantaras to which they severally belong: and the sons of the Manu them. selves, and their descendants, are the sovereigns of the earth for the whole of the same term. The Manu, the seven Rishis, the gods, the sons of the Manu, who are the kings, and Indra, are the beings who preside over the world during each Manwantara.

An entire Kalpa, oh Brahman, is said to comprise a thousand ages, or fourteen Manwantaras781; and it is succeeded by a night of similar duration; during which, he who wears the form of Brahmá, Janárddana, the substance of all things, the lord of all, and creator of all, involved in his own illusions, and having swallowed up the three spheres, sleeps upon the serpent Śesha, amidst the ocean782. Being after that awake, he, who is the universal soul, again creates all things as they were before, in combination with the property of foulness (or activity): and in a portion of his essence, associated with the property of goodness, he, as the Manus, the kings, the gods, and their Indras, as well as the seven Rishis, is the preserver of the world. In what manner Vishńu, who is characterised by the attribute of providence during the four ages, effected their preservation, I will next, Maitreya, explain.

In the Krita age, Vishńu, in the form of Kapila and other inspired teachers, assiduous for the benefit of all creatures, imparts to them true wisdom. In the Treta age he restrains the wicked, in the form of a universal monarch, and protects the three worlds783. In the Dwápara age, in the person of Veda-vyása, he divides the one Veda into four, and [p.271] distributes it into innumerable branches: and at the end of the Kali or fourth age he appears as Kalki, and reestablishes the iniquitous in the paths of rectitude. In this manner the universal spirit preserves, creates, and at last destroys, all the world.

Thus, Brahman, I have described to you the true nature of that great being who is all things, and besides whom there is no other existent thing, nor has there been, nor will there be, either here or elsewhere. I have also enumerated to you the Manwantaras, and those who preside over them. What else do you wish to hear?



Division of the Veda into four portions, by a Vyása, in every Dwápara age. List of the twenty-eight Vyásas of the present Manwantara. Meaning of the word Brahma.

MAITREYA.I have learnt from you, in due order, how this world is Vishńu; how it is in Vishńu; how it is from Vishńu: nothing further is to be known: but I should desire to hear how the Vedas were divided, in different ages, by that great being, in the form of Veda-vyása? who were the Vyásas of their respective eras? and what were the branches into which the Vedas were distributed?

PARÁŚARA.The branches of the great tree of the Vedas are so numerous, Maitreya, that it is impossible to describe them at length. I will give you a summary account of them.

In every Dwápara (or third) age, Vishńu, in the person of Vyása, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions: observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda fourfold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-vyása. Of the different Vyásas in the present Manwantara784, and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account.

Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivaswata Manwantara in the Dwápara age, and consequently eight and twenty Vyásas have passed away; by whom, in their respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. In the first Dwápara age the distribution was made by Swayambhu (Brahmá) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Veda-vyása) was Prajápati (or Manu); in the third, Uśanas; in the fourth, Vrihaspati; in the fifth, Savitri; in the sixth, Mrityu (Death, or Yama); in the seventh, Indra; in the eighth, Vaśisht́ha; in the ninth, Sáraswata; in the tenth, Tridháman; in [p.273] the eleventh, Trivrishan; in the twelfth, Bharadwája; in the thirteenth, Antaríksha; in the fourteenth, Vapra; in the fifteenth, Trayyáruńa785; in the sixteenth, Dhananjaya; in the seventeenth, Kritanjaya; in the eighteenth, Rińa; in the nineteenth, Bharadwája; in the twentieth, Gotama; in the twenty-first, Uttama, also called Haryátmá; in the twenty-second, Veńa, who is likewise named Rájaśravas; in the twenty-third, Somaśushmápańa, also Trińavindu; in the twenty-fourth, Riksha, the descendant of Bhrigu, who is known also by the name Válmíki; in the twenty-fifth, my father Śakti was the Vyása; I was the Vyása of the twenty-sixth Dwápara, and was succeeded by Jaratkáru; the Vyása of the twenty-eighth, who followed him, was Krishńa Dwaipáyana. These are the twenty-eight elder Vyásas, by whom, in the preceding Dwápara ages, the Veda has been divided into four. In the next Dwápara, Drauńi (the son of Drońa) will be the Vyása, when my son, the Muni Krishńa Dwaipáyana, who is the actual Vyása, shall cease to be (in that character)786.

The syllable Om is defined to be the eternal monosyllabic Brahma787. The word Brahma is derived from the root Vriha (to increase), because it is infinite (spirit), and because it is the cause by which the Vedas (and [p.274] all things) are developed. Glory to Brahma, who is addressed by that mystic word, associated eternally with the triple universe788, and who is one with the four Vedas. Glory to Brahma, who, alike in the destruction and renovation of the world, is called the great and mysterious cause of the intellectual principle (Mahat); who is without limit in time or space, and exempt from diminution or decay; in whom (as connected with the property of darkness) originates worldly illusion; and in whom resides the end of soul (fruition or liberation), through the properties of light and of activity (or goodness and foulness). He is the refuge of those who are versed in the Sánkhya philosophy; of those who have acquired control over their thoughts and passions. He is the invisible, imperishable Brahma; varying in form, invariable in substance; the chief principle, self-engendered; who is said to illuminate the caverns of the heart; who is indivisible, radiant, undecaying, multiform. To that supreme Brahma be for ever adoration.

That form of Vásudeva, who is the same with supreme spirit, which is Brahma, and which, although diversified as threefold, is identical, is the lord, who is conceived by those that contemplate variety in creation to be distinct in all creatures. He, composed of the Rik, Sauna, and Yajur-Vedas, is at the same time their essence, as he is the soul of all embodied spirits. He, distinguished as consisting of the Vedas, creates the Vedas, and divides them by many subdivisions into branches: he is the author of those branches: he is those aggregated branches; for he, the eternal lord, is the essence of true knowledge789.



Division of the Veda, in the last Dwápara age, by the Vyása Krishńa Dwaipáyana. Paila made reader of the Rich; Vaiśampáyana of the Yajush; Jaimini of the Shun; and Sumantu of the Atharvan. Súta appointed to teach the historical poems. Origin of the four parts of the Veda. Sanhitás of the Rig-veda.

PARÁŚARA.The original Veda, in four parts, consisted of one hundred thousand stanzas; and from it sacrifice of ten kinds790, the accomplisher of all desires, proceeded. In the twenty-eighth Dwápara age my son Vyása separated the four portions of the Veda into four Vedas. In the same manner as the Vedas were arranged by him, as Vedavyása, so were they divided in former periods by all the preceding Vyásas, and by myself: and the branches into which they were subdivided by him were the same into which they had been distributed in every aggregate of the four ages. Know, Maitreya, the Vyása called Krishńa Dwaipáyana to be the deity Náráyańa; for who else on this earth could have composed the Mahábhárata791? Into what portions the Vedas were arranged by my magnanimous son, in the Dwápara age, you shall hear.

When Vyása was enjoined by Brahmá to arrange the Vedas in different books, he took four persons, well read in those works, as his disciples. He appointed Paila reader of the Rich792; Vaiśampáyana of [p.276] the Yajush; and Jaimini of the Soma-veda: and Sumantu, who was conversant with the Atharva-veda, was also the disciple of the learned Vyása. He also took Súta, who was named Lomaharshańa, as his pupil in historical and legendary traditions793.

There was but one Yajur-veda; but dividing this into four parts, Vyása instituted the sacrificial rite that is administered by four kinds of priests: in which it was the duty of the Adhwaryu to recite the prayers (Yajush) (or direct the ceremony); of the Hotri, to repeat the hymns (Richas); of the Udgátri, to chaunt other hymns (Sáma); and of the Brahman, to pronounce the formulæ called Atharva. Then the Muni, having collected together the hymns called Richas, compiled the Rigveda; with the prayers and directions termed Yajushas he formed the Yajur-veda; with those called Sáma, Sáma-veda; and with the Atharvas he composed the rules of all the ceremonies suited to kings, and the function of the Brahman agreeably to practice794.


This vast original tree of the Vedas, having been divided by him into four principal stems, soon branched out into an extensive forest. In the first place, Paila divided the Rig-veda, and gave the two Sanhitás (or collections of hymns) to Indrapramati and to Báshkali. Báshkali795 subdivided his Sanhitá into four, which he gave to his disciples Baudhya, Agnimát́hara, Yajnawalka, and Paráśara; and they taught these secondary shoots from the primitive branch. Indrapramati imparted his Sanhitá to his son Mańd́ukeya, and it thence descended through successive generations, as well as disciples796. Vedamitra, called also Śákalya, studied the same Sanhitá, but he divided it into five Sanhitás, which he distributed amongst as many disciples, named severally Mudgala, Goswalu, Vátsya, Śálíya, and Śiśira797. Sákapúrńi made a different division of the original Sanhitá into three portions, and added a glossary (Nirukta), constituting a fourth798. The three Sanhitás were given to his three pupils, Krauncha, [p.278] Vaitálaki, and Valáka; and a fourth, (thence named) Niruktakrit, had the glossary799. In this way branch sprang from branch. Another Báshkali800 composed three other Sanhitás, which he taught to his disciples Káláyani, Gárgya, and Kathájava801. These are they by whom the principal divisions of the Rich have been promulgated802.



Divisions of the Yajur-veda. Story of Yájnawalkya: forced to give up what he has learned: picked up by others, forming the Taittiríya-yajush. Yájnawalkya worships the sun, who communicates to him the Vájasneyí-yajush.

PARÁŚARA.Of the tree of the Yajur-veda there are twenty-seven branches, which Vaiśampáyana, the pupil of Vyása, compiled, and taught to as many disciples803. Amongst these, Yájnawalkya, the son of Brahmaráta, was distinguished for piety and obedience to his preceptor.

It had been formerly agreed by the Munis, that any one of them who, at a certain time, did not join an assembly held on mount Meru should incur the guilt of killing a Brahman, within a period of seven nights804. Vaiśampáyana alone failed to keep the appointment, and consequently killed, by an accidental kick with his foot, the child of his sister. He then addressed his scholars, and desired them to perform the penance expiatory of Brahmanicide on his behalf. Without any hesitation Yájnawalkya refused, and said, "How shall I engage in penance with these miserable and inefficient Brahmans?" On which his Guru, being incensed, commanded him to relinquish all that he had learnt from him. "You speak contemptuously," he observed, "of these young Brahmans, but of what use is a disciple who disobeys my commands?" "I spoke," replied Yájnawalkya, "in perfect faith; but as to what I have read from you, I have had enough: it is no more than this" (acting as if he would eject it from his stomach); when he brought up the texts of the Yajush in substance stained with blood. He then departed. The other scholars of Vaiśampáyana, transforming themselves to partridges (Tittiri), picked [p.280] up the texts which he had disgorged, and which from that circumstance were called Taittiríya805; and the disciples were called the Charaka professors of the Yajush, from Charańa, 'going through' or 'performing' the expiatory rites enjoined by their master806.

Yájnawalkya, who was perfect in ascetic practices, addressed himself strenuously to the sun, being anxious to recover possession of the texts of the Yajush. "Glory to the sun," he exclaimed, "the gate of liberation, the fountain of bright radiance, the triple source of splendour, as the Rig, the Yajur, and the Sáma Vedas. Glory to him, who, as fire and the moon, is one with the cause of the universe: to the sun, that is charged with radiant heat, and with the Sushumna ray (by which the moon is fed with light): to him who is one with the notion of time, and all its divisions of hours, minutes, and seconds: to him who is to be [p.281] meditated upon as the visible form of Vishńu, as the impersonation of the mystic Om: to him who nourishes the troops of the gods, having filled the moon with his rays; who feeds the Pitris with nectar and ambrosia, and who nourishes mankind with rain; who pours down or absorbs the waters in the time of the rains, of cold, and of heat. Glory be to Brahmá, the sun, in the form of the three seasons: he who alone is the dispeller of the darkness of this earth, of which he is the sovereign lord: to the god who is clad in the raiment of purity be adoration. Glory to the sun, until whose rising man is incapable of devout acts, and water does not purify, and touched by whose rays the world is fitted for religious rites: to him who is the centre and source of purification. Glory to Savitrí, to Súrya, to Bháskara, to Vivaswat, to Áditya, to the first-born of gods or demons. I adore the eye of the universe, borne in a golden car, whose banners scatter ambrosia."

Thus eulogized by Yájnawalkya, the sun, in the form of a horse, appeared to him, and said, "Demand what you desire." To which the sage, having prostrated himself before the lord of day, replied, "Give me a knowledge of those texts of the Yajush with which even my preceptor is unacquainted." Accordingly the sun imparted to him the texts of the Yajush called Ayátayáma (unstudied), which were unknown to Vaiśampáyana: and because these were revealed by the sun in the form of a horse, the Brahmans who study this portion of the Yajush are called Vájis (horses). Fifteen branches of this school sprang from Kańwa and other pupils of Yájnawalkya807.



Divisions of the Sáma-veda: of the Atharva-veda. Four Pauráńik Sanhitás. Names of the eighteen Puráńas. Branches of knowledge. Classes of Rishis.

YOU shall now hear, Maitreya, how Jaimini, the pupil of Vyása, divided the branches of the Sáma-veda. The son of Jaimini was Sumantu, and his son was Sukarman, who both studied the same Sanhitá under Jaimini808. The latter composed the Sáhasra Sanhitá (or compilation of a thousand hymns, &c.), which he taught to two disciples, Hirańyanábha, also named Kauśalya (or of Kośala), and Paushyinji809. Fifteen disciples of the latter were the authors of as many Sanhitás: they were called the northern chaunters of the Sáman. As many more, also the disciples of Hirańyanábha, were termed the eastern chaunters of the Sáman, founding an equal number of schools. Lokákshi, Kuthumi, Kushídí, and Lángali were the pupils of Paushyinji; and by them and their disciples many other branches were formed. Whilst another scholar of Hirańyanábha, named Kriti, taught twenty-four Sanhitás to as many pupils; and by them, again, was the Sáma-veda divided into numerous branches810.

I will now give you an account of the Sanhitás of the Atharva-veda. The illustrious Muni Sumantu taught this Veda to his pupil Kabandha, who made it twofold, and communicated the two portions to Devaderśa and to Pathya. The disciples of Devaderśa were Maudga, Brahmabali, [p.283] Śaulkáyani, and Pippaláda. Pathya had three pupils, Jájali, Kumudádi, and Śaunaka; and by all these were separate branches instituted. Śaunaka having divided his Sanhitá into two, gave one to Babhru, and the other to Saindhaváyana; and from them sprang two schools, the Saindhavas and Munjakeśas811. The principal subjects of difference in the Sanhitás of the Atharva-veda are the five Kalpas or ceremonials: the Nakshatra Kalpa, or rules for worshipping the planets; the Vaitána Kalpa, or rules for oblations, according to the Vedas generally; the Sanhitá Kalpa, or rules for sacrifices, according to different schools; the Ángirasa Kalpa, incantations and prayers for the destruction of foes and the like; and the Sánti Kalpa, or prayers for averting evil812.

Accomplished in the purport of the Puráńas, Vyása compiled a Pauráńik Sanhitá, consisting of historical and legendary traditions, prayers and hymns, and sacred chronology813. He had a distinguished disciple, Súta, also termed Romaharshańa, and to him the great Muni communicated the Puráńas. Súta had six scholars, Sumati, Agnivarchas, Mitrayu, Śánśapáyana, Akritavrańa, who is also called Káśyapa, and Sáverńi. The three last composed three fundamental Sanhitás; and Romaharshańa himself compiled a fourth, called Romaharshańika. The substance of which four Sanhitás is collected into this (Vishńu) Puráńa.

The first of all the Puráńas is entitled the Bráhma. Those who are [p.284] acquainted with the Puráńas enumerate eighteen, or the Bráhma, Pádma, Vaishńava, Śaiva, Bhágavata, Náradíya, Márkańd́eya, Ágneya, Bhavishyat, Brahma Vaivartta, Lainga, Váráha, Skánda, Vámana, Kaurmma, Mátsya, Gárura, Brahmáńd́a. The creation of the world, and its successive reproductions, the genealogies of the patriarchs and kings, the periods of the Manus, and the transactions of the royal dynasties, are narrated in all these Puráńas. This Puráńa which I have repeated to you, Maitreya, is called the Vaishńava, and is next in the series to the Padma; and in every part of it, in its narratives of primary and subsidiary creation, of families, and of periods, the mighty Vishńu is declared in this Puráńa814.

The four Vedas, the six Angas (or subsidiary portions of the Vedas, viz. Śikshá, rules of reciting the prayers, the accents and tones to be observed; Kalpa, ritual; Vyákarańa, grammar; Nirukta, glossarial comment; Chhandas, metre; and Jyotish, (astronomy), with Mímánsá (theology), Nyáya (logic), Dharma (the institutes of law), and the Puráńas, constitute the fourteen principal branches of knowledge: or they are considered as eighteen, with the addition of these four; the Áyur-veda, medical science (as taught by Dhanwantari); Dhanur-veda, the science of archery or arms, taught by Bhrigu; Gándharba-veda, or the drama, and the arts of music, dancing, &c., of which the Muni Bharata was the author; and the Artha śástram, or science of government, as laid down first by Vrihaspati.

There are three kinds of Rishis, or inspired sages; royal Rishis, or princes who have adopted a life of devotion, as Viswamitra; divine Rishis, or sages who are demigods also, as Nárada; and Brahman Rishis, or sages who are the sons of Brahmá, or Brahmans, as Vaśisht́ha and others815.


I have thus described to you the branches of the Vedas, and their subdivisions; the persons by whom they were made; and the reason why they were made (or the limited capacities of mankind). The same branches are instituted in the different Manwantaras. The primitive Veda, that of the progenitor of all things, is eternal: these branches are but its modifications (or Vikalpas).

I have thus related to you, Maitreya, the circumstances relating to the Vedas, which you desired to hear. Of what else do you wish to be informed816?



By what means men are exempted from the authority of Yama, as narrated by Bhíshma to Nakula. Dialogue between Yama and one of his attendants. Worshippers of Vishńu not subject to Yama. How they are to be known.

MAITREYA.You have indeed related to me, most excellent Brahman, all that I asked of you; but I am desirous to hear one thing which you have not touched on. This universe, composed of seven zones, with its seven subterrestrial regions, and seven spheresthis whole egg of Brahmáis every where swarming with living creatures, large or small, with smaller and smallest, and larger and largest; so that there is not the eighth part of an inch in which they do not abound. Now all these are captives in the chains of acts, and at the end of their existence become slaves to the power of Yama, by whom they are sentenced to painful punishments. Released from these inflictions, they are again born in the condition of gods, men, or the like: and thus living beings, as the Śástras apprise us, perpetually revolve. Now the question I have to ask, and which you are so well able to answer, is, by what acts men may free themselves from subjection to Yama?

PARÁŚARA.This question, excellent Muni, was once asked by Nakula817 of his grandfather Bhíshma; and I will repeat to you the reply made by the latter.

Bhíshma said to the prince, "There formerly came on a visit to me a friend of mine, a Brahman, from the Kalinga country, who told me that he had once proposed this question to a holy Muni, who retained the recollection of his former births, and by whom what was, and what will be, was accurately told. Being importuned by me, who placed implicit faith in his words, to repeat what that pious personage had imparted to him, he at last communicated it to me; and what he related I have never met with elsewhere.


"Having, then, on one occasion, put to him the same question which you have asked, the Kalinga Brahman recalled the story that had been told him by the Munithe great mystery that had been revealed to him by the pious sage, who remembered his former existencea dialogue that occurred between Yama and one of his ministers.

"Yama beholding one of his servants with his noose in his hand, whispered to him, and said, 'Keep clear of the worshippers of Madhusúdana. I am the lord of all men, the Vaishńavas excepted. I was appointed by Brahmá, who is reverenced by all the immortals, to restrain mankind, and regulate the consequences of good and evil in the universe. But be who obeys Hari, as his spiritual guide, is here independent of me; for Vishńu is of power to govern and control me. As gold is one substance still, however diversified as bracelets, tiaras, or earrings, so Hari is one and the same, although modified in the forms of gods, animals, and man. As the drops of water, raised by wind from the earth, sink into the earth again when the wind subsides, so the varieties of gods, men, and animals, which have been detached by the agitation of the qualities, are reunited, when that disturbance ceases, with the eternal. He who through holy knowledge diligently adores the lotus foot of that Hari, who is reverenced by the gods, is released from all the bonds of sin; and you must avoid him as you would avoid fire fed with oil.'

"Having heard these injunctions of Yama, the messenger addressed the lord of righteousness, and said, 'Tell me, master, how am I to distinguish the worshipper of Hari, who is the protector of all beings?' Yama replied, 'You are to consider the worshipper of Vishńu, him who never deviates from the duties prescribed to his caste; who looks with equal indifference upon friend or enemy; who takes,; nothing (that is not his own), nor injures any being. Know that person of unblemished mind to be a worshipper of Vishńu. Know him to be a devout worshipper of Hari, who has placed Janárddana in his pure mind, which has been freed from fascination, and whose soul is undefiled by the soil of the Kali age. Know that excellent man to be a worshipper of Vishńu, who, looking upon gold in secret, holds that which is another's wealth but as grass, and devotes all his thoughts to the lord. Pure is he as a mountain [p.288] of clear crystal; for how can Vishńu abide in the hearts of men with malice and envy, and other evil passions? the glowing heat of fire abides not in a cluster of the cooling rays of the moon. He who lives pure in thought, free from malice, contented, leading a holy life, feeling tenderness for all creatures, speaking wisely and kindly, humble and sincere, has Vásudeva ever present in his heart. As the young Sál-tree by its beauty declares the excellence of the juices which it has imbibed from the earth, so when the eternal has taken up his abode in the bosom of any one, that man is lovely amidst the beings of this world. Depart, my servant, quickly from those men whose sins have been dispersed by moral and religious merit818, whose minds are daily dedicated to the imperceptible deity, and who are exempt from pride, uncharitableness, and malice. In the heart in which the divine Hari, who is without beginning or end, abides, armed with a sword, a shell, and a mace, sin cannot remain; for it cannot coexist with that which destroys it, as darkness cannot continue in the world when the sun is shining. The eternal makes not his abode in the heart of that man who covets another's wealth, who injures living creatures, who speaks harshness and untruth, who is proud of his iniquity, and whose mind is evil. Janárddana occupies not his thoughts who envies another's prosperity, who calumniates the virtuous, who never sacrifices nor bestows gifts upon the pious, who is blinded by the property of darkness. That vile wretch is no worshipper of Vishńu, who through avarice is unkind to his nearest friends and relations, to his wife, children, parents, and dependants. The brute-like man whose thoughts are evil, who is addicted to unrighteous acts, who ever seeks the society of the wicked, and suffers no day to pass without the perpetration of crime, is no worshipper of Vásudeva. Do you proceed afar off from those in whose hearts Ananta is enshrined; [p.289] from him whose sanctified understanding conceives the supreme male and ruler, Vásudeva, as one with his votary, and with all this world. Avoid those holy persons who are constantly invoking the lotus-eyed Vásudeva, Vishńu, the supporter of the earth, the immortal wielder of the discus and the shell, the asylum of the world. Come not into the sight of him in whose heart the imperishable soul resides, for he is defended from my power by the discus of his deity: he is designed for another world (for the heaven of Vishńu).'

"'Such,' said the Kalinga Brahman, 'were the instructions communicated by the deity of justice, the son of the sun, to his servants, as they were repeated to me by that holy personage, and as I have related them to you, chief of the house of Kuru' (Bhíshma). So also, Nakula, I have faithfully communicated to you all I heard from my pious friend, when he came from his country of Kalinga to visit me. I have thus explained to you, as was fitting, that there is no protection in the ocean of the world except Vishńu; and that the servants and ministers of Yama, the king of the dead himself, and his tortures, are all unavailing against one who places his reliance on that divinity."

I have thus, resumed Paráśara, related to you what you wished to hear, and what was said by the son of Vivaswat819. What else do you wish to hear?



How Vishńu is to be worshipped, as related by Aurva to Sagara. Duties of the four castes, severally and in common: also in time of distress.

MAITREYA.Inform me, venerable teacher, how the supreme deity, the lord of the universe, Vishńu, is worshipped by those who are desirous of overcoming the world; and what advantages are reaped by men, assiduous in his adoration, from the propitiated Govinda.

PARÁŚARA.The question you have asked was formerly put by Sagara to Aurva820. I will repeat to you his reply.

Sagara having bowed down before Aurva, the descendant of Bhrigu, asked him what were the best means of pleasing Vishńu, and what would be the consequence of obtaining his favour. Aurva replied, "He who pleases Vishńu obtains all terrestrial enjoyments; heaven and a place in heaven; and what is best of all, final liberation: whatever he wishes, and to whatever extent, whether much or little, he receives it, when Achyuta is content with him. In what manner his favour is to be secured, that also I will, oh king, impart to you, agreeably to your desire. The supreme Vishńu is propitiated by a man who observes the institutions of caste, order, and purificatory practices: no other path is the way to please him. He who offers sacrifices, sacrifices to him; he who murmurs prayer, prays to him; he who injures living creatures, injures him; for Hari is all beings. Janárddana therefore is propitiated by him [p.291] who is attentive to established observances, and follows the duties prescribed for his caste. The Brahman, the Kshatriya, the Vaiśya, and the Śúdra, who attends to the rules enjoined his caste, best worships Vishńu. Keśava is most pleased with him who does good to others; who never utters abuse, calumny, or untruth; who never covets another's wife or another's wealth, and who bears ill-will towards none; who neither beats nor slays any animate or inanimate thing; who is ever diligent in the service of the gods, of the. Brahmans, and of his spiritual preceptor; who is always desirous of the welfare of all creatures, of his children, and of his own soul; in whose pure heart no pleasure is derived from the imperfections of love and hatred. The man, oh monarch, who conforms to the duties enjoined by scriptural authority for every caste and condition of life, is he who best worships Vishńu: there is no other mode."

Aurva having thus spoken, Sagara said to him, "Tell me then, venerable Brahman, what are the duties of caste and condition821: I am desirous of knowing them." To which Aurva answered and said, "Attentively listen to the duties which I shall describe as those severally of the Brahman, the Kshatriya, the Vaiśya, and the Śúdra. The Brahman should make gifts, should worship the gods with sacrifices, should be assiduous in studying the Vedas, should perform ablutions and libations with water, and should preserve the sacred flame. For the sake of subsistence he may offer sacrifices on behalf of others, and may instruct them in the Śástras; and he may accept presents of a liberal description in a becoming manner (or from respectable persons, and at an appropriate season). He must ever seek to promote the good of others, and do evil unto none; for the best riches of a Brahman are universal benevolence. He should look upon the jewels of another person as if they [p.292] were pebbles; and should, at proper periods, procreate offspring by his wife. These are the duties of a Brahman.

"The man of the warrior tribe should cheerfully give presents to Brahmans, perform various sacrifices, and study the scriptures. His especial sources of maintenance are arms and the protection of the earth. The guardianship of the earth is indeed his especial province: by the discharge of this duty a king attains his objects, and realizes a share of the merit of all sacrificial rites. By intimidating the bad, and cherishing the good, the monarch who maintains the discipline of the different castes secures whatever region he desires.

"Brahmá, the great parent of creation, gave to the Vaiśya the occupations of commerce and agriculture, and the feeding of flocks and herds, for his means of livelihood; and sacred study, sacrifice, and donation are also his duties, as is the observance of fixed and occasional rites.

"Attendance upon the three regenerate castes is the province of the Śúdra, and by that he is to subsist, or by the profits of trade, or the earnings of mechanical labour. He is also to make gifts; and he may offer the sacrifices in which food is presented, as well as obsequial offerings822.


"Besides these their respective obligations, there are duties equally incumbent upon all the four castes. These are, the acquisition of property, for the support of their families; cohabitation with their wives, for the sake of progeny; tenderness towards all creatures, patience, humility, truth, purity, contentment, decency of decoration, gentleness of speech, friendliness; and freedom from envy and repining, from avarice, and from detraction. These also are the duties of every condition of life.

"In times of distress the peculiar functions of the castes may be modified, as you shall hear. A Brahman may follow the occupations of a Kshatriya or a Vaiśya; the Kshatriya may adopt those of the Vaiśya; and the Vaiśya those of the Kshatriya: but these two last should never descend to the functions of the Śúdra, if it be possible to avoid them823; and if that be not possible, they must at least shun the functions of the mined castes. I will now, Rájá, relate to you the duties of the several Ásramas or conditions of life."



Duties of the religious student, householder, hermit, and mendicant.

AURVA continued."When the youth has been invested with the thread of his caste, let him diligently prosecute the study of the Vedas, in the house of his preceptor, with an attentive spirit, and leading a life of continence. He is to wait upon his Guru, assiduously observant of purificatory practices, and the Veda is to be acquired by him, whilst he is regular in the performance of religious rites. In the morning Sandhya he is first to salute the sun; in the evening, fire; and then to address his preceptor with respect. He must stand when his master is standing; move when he is walking; and sit beneath him when he is seated: he must never sit, nor walk, nor stand when his teacher does the reverse. When desired by him, let him read the Veda attentively, placed before his preceptor; and let him eat the food he has collected as alms, when permitted by his teacher824. Let him bathe in water which has first been used for his preceptor's ablutions; and every morning bring fuel and water, and whatsoever else may be required.

"When the scriptural studies appropriate to the student have been completed, and he has received dismissal from his Guru, let the regenerate man enter into the order of the householder; and taking unto himself, with lawful ceremonies, house, wife, and wealth, discharge to the best of his ability the duties of his station825; satisfying the manes with funeral cakes; the gods with oblations; guests with hospitality; the sages with holy study; the progenitors of mankind with progeny; the spirits with the residue of oblations; and all the world with words of truth826. A [p.295] householder secures heaven by the faithful discharge of these obligations. There are those who subsist upon alms, and lead an erratic life of self-denial, at the end of the term during which they have kept house. They wander over the world to see the earth, and perform their ablutions, with rites enjoined by the Vedas, at sacred shrines: houseless, and without food, and resting for the night at the dwelling at which they arrive in the evening. The householder is to them a constant refuge and parent: it is his duty to give them a welcome, and to address them with kindness; and to provide them, whenever they come to his house, with a bed, a seat, and food. A guest disappointed by a householder, who turns away from his door, transfers to the latter all his own misdeeds, and bears away his religious merit827. In the house of a good man, contumely, arrogance, hypocrisy, repining, contradiction, and violence are annihilated: and the householder who fully performs this his chief duty of hospitality is released from every kind of bondage, and obtains the highest of stations after death.

"When the householder, after performing the acts incumbent on his condition, arrives at the decline of life, let him consign his wife to the care of his sons, and go himself to the forests828. Let him there subsist upon leaves, roots, and fruit; and suffer his hair and beard to grow, and braid the former upon his brows; and sleep upon the ground: his dress must be made of skin or of Káśa or Kuśa grasses; and he must bathe thrice a day; and he must offer oblations to the gods and to fire, and treat all that come to him with hospitality: he must beg alms, and present food to all creatures: he must anoint himself with such unguents as the woods afford; and in his devotional exercises he must be endurant of heat and cold. The sage who diligently follows these rules, and leads the life of the hermit (or Vánaprastha), consumes, like fire, all imperfections, and conquers for himself the mansions of eternity.

"The fourth order of men is called that of the mendicant; the circumstances of which it is fit, oh king, that you should hear from me. Let the unimpassioned man, relinquishing all affection for wife, children, [p.296] and possessions, enter the fourth order829. Let him forego the three objects of human existence (pleasure, wealth, and virtue), whether secular or religious, and, indifferent to friends, be the friend of all living beings. Let him, occupied with devotion, abstain from wrong, in act, word, or thought, to all creatures, human or brute; and equally avoid attachment to any. Let him reside but for one night in a village, and not more than five nights at a time in a city; and let him so abide, that good-will, and not animosity, may be engendered. Let him, for the support of existence, apply for alms at the houses of the three first castes, at the time when the fires have been extinguished, and people have eaten. Let the wandering mendicant call nothing his own, and suppress desire, anger, covetousness, pride, and folly. The sage who gives no cause for alarm to living beings need never apprehend any danger from them. Having deposited the sacrificial fire in his own person, the Brahman feeds the vital flame, with the butter that is collected as alms, through the altar of his mouth; and by means of his spiritual fire he proceeds to his own proper abode. But the twice-born man830, who seeks for liberation, and is pure of heart, and whose mind is perfected by self-investigation, secures the sphere of Brahmá, which is tranquil, and is as a bright flame that emits not smoke."



Ceremonies to be observed at the birth and naming of a child. Of marrying, or leading a religious life. Choice of a wife. Different modes of marrying.

SAGARA then addressed Aurva, and said, "You have described to me, venerable Brahman, the duties of the four orders and of the four castes. I am now desirous to hear from you the religious institutes which men should individually observe, whether they be invariable, occasional, or voluntary. Describe these to me; for all things are known, chief of Bhrigu's race, unto you." To this Aurva replied, "I will communicate to you, oh king, that which you have asked, the invariable and occasional rites which men should perform: do you attend.

"When a son is born, let his father perform for him the ceremonies proper on the birth of a child, and all other initiatory rites, as well as a Śráddha, which is a source of prosperity. Let him feed a couple of Brahmans, seated with their faces to the east; and according to his means offer sacrifices to the gods and progenitors. Let him present to the manes831 balls of meat mixed with curds, barley, and jujubes, with the part of his hand sacred to the gods, or with that sacred to Prajápati832. Let a Brahman perform such a Śráddha, with all its offerings and circumambulations, on every occasion of good fortune833.

"Next, upon the tenth day after birth, let the father give a name to his child; the first term of which shall be the appellation of a god, the second of a man, as Śarman or Varman; the former being the appropriate designation of a Brahman, the latter of a warrior; whilst Gupta [p.298] and Dása are best fitted for the names of Vaiśyas and Śúdras834. A name should not be void of meaning; it should not be indecent, nor absurd, nor ill-omened, nor fearful; it should consist of an even number of syllables; it should not be too long nor too short, nor too full of long vowels; but contain a due proportion of short vowels, and be easily articulated. After this and the succeeding initiatory rites835, the purified youth is to acquire religious knowledge, in the mode that has been described, in the dwelling of his spiritual guide.

"When he has finished his studies, and given the parting donation to his preceptor, the man who wishes to lead the life of a householder must take a wife. If he does not propose to enter into the married state, he may remain as a student with his teacher, first making a vow to that effect, and employ himself in the service of his preceptor and of that preceptor's descendants; or he may at once become a hermit, or adopt the order of the religious mendicant, according to his original determination836.

"If he marry, he must select a maiden who is of a third of his age837; one who has not too much hair, but is not without any; one who is not [p.299] very black nor yellow complexioned, and who is not from birth a cripple or deformed. He must not marry a girl who is vicious or unhealthy, of low origin, or labouring under disease; one who has been ill brought up; one who talks improperly; one who inherits some malady from father or mother; one who has a beard, or who is of a masculine appearance; one who speaks thick or thin, or croaks like a raven; one who keeps her eyes shut, or has the eyes very prominent; one who has hairy legs, or thick ancles; or one who has dimples in her cheeks when she laughs838. Let not a wise and prudent man marry a girl of such a description: nor let a considerate man wed a girl of a harsh skin; or one with white nails; or one with red eyes, or with very fat hands and feet; or one who is a dwarf, or who is very tall; or one whose eyebrows meet, or whose teeth are far apart, and resemble tusks. Let a householder marry a maiden who is in kin at least five degrees remote from his mother, and seven from his father, with the ceremonies enjoined by law839.

"The forms of marriage are eight, the Brahmá, Daiva, the Ársha, Prájápatya, Asúra, Gándharba, Rákshasa, and Paiśácha; which last is the worst840: but the caste to which either form has been enjoined as lawful by inspired sages should avoid any other mode of taking a wife. The householder who espouses a female connected with him by similarity of religious and civil obligations, and along with her discharges the duties of his condition, derives from such a wife great benefits."



Of the Sadácháras, or perpetual obligations of a householder. Daily purifications, ablutions, libations, and oblations: hospitality: obsequial rites: ceremonies to be observed at meals, at morning and evening worship, and on going to rest.

SAGARA again said to Aurva, "Relate to me, Muni, the fixed observances of the householder, by attending to which he will never be rejected from this world or the next."

Aurva replied to him thus: "Listen, prince, to an account of those perpetual observances, by adhering to which both worlds are subdued. Those who are called Sádhus (saints) are they who are free from all defects; and the term Sat means the same, or Sádhu: those practices or observances (Ácháras) which they follow are therefore called Sadácháras, the institutions or observances of the pious841.' The seven Rishis, the Manus, the patriarchs, are they who have enjoined and who have practised these observances. Let the wise man awake in the Muhúrtta of Brahmá. (or in the third Muhúrtta, about two hours before sunrise), and with a composed mind meditate on two of the objects of life (virtue and wealth), and on topics not incompatible with them. Let him also think upon desire, as not conflicting with the other two; and thus contemplate with equal indifference the three ends of life, for the purpose of counteracting the unseen consequences of good or evil acts. Let him avoid wealth and desire, if they give uneasiness to virtue; and abstain from virtuous or religious acts, if they involve misery, or are censured by the world842. Having risen, he must offer adoration to the sun; and then, in [p.301] the south-east quarter, at the distance of a bowshot or more, or any where remote from the village, void the impurities of nature. The water that remains after washing his feet he must throw away into the courtyard of the house. A wise man will never void urine on his own shadow, nor on the shadow of a tree, nor on a cow, nor against the sun, nor on fire, nor against the wind, nor on his Guru, nor men of the three first castes; nor will he pass either excrement in a ploughed field, or pasturage, or in the company of men, or on a high road, or in rivers and the like, which are holy, or on the bank of a stream, or in a place where bodies are burnt; or any where quickly. By day let him void them with his face to the north, and by night with his face to the south, when he is not in trouble. Let him perform these actions in silence, and without delay; covering his head with a cloth, and the ground with grass. Let him not take, for the purposes of cleanliness, earth from an ant-hill, nor a rat-hole, nor from water, nor from the residue of what has been so used, nor soil that has been employed to plaster a cottage, nor such as has been thrown up by insects, or turned over by the plough. All such kinds of earth let him avoid, as means of purification. One handful is sufficient after voiding urine; three after passing ordure: then ten handfulls are to be rubbed over the left hand, and seven over both hands. Let him then rince his mouth with water that is pure, neither fetid, nor frothy, nor full of bubbles; and again use earth to cleanse his feet, washing them well with water. He is to drink water then three times, and twice wash his face with it; and next touch with it his head, the cavities of the eyes, ears, and nostrils, the forehead, the navel, and the heart843. Having finally washed his mouth, a man is to clean and dress his hair, and to decorate his person, before a glass, with unguents, garlands, and perfumes. He is then, according to the custom of his caste, to acquire wealth, for the sake of subsistence; and with a lively faith worship the gods. Sacrifices with the acid juice, those with clarified butter, and those with offerings of food, are comprehended in [p.302] wealth: wherefore let men exert themselves to acquire wealth for these purposes844.

"As preparatory to all established rites of devotion the householder should bathe in the water of a river, a pond, a natural channel, or a mountain torrent; or he may bathe upon dry ground, with water drawn from a well, or taken from a, river, or other source, where there is any objection to bathing on the spot845. When bathed, and clad in clean clothes, let him devoutly offer libations to the gods, sages, and progenitors, with the parts of the hand severally sacred to each. He must scatter water thrice, to gratify the gods; as many times, to please the Rishis; and once, to propitiate Prajápati: he must also make three libations, to satisfy the progenitors. He must then present, with the part of the hand sacred to the manes, water to his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather, to his maternal grandfather, great-grandfather, and his father; and at pleasure to his own mother and his mother's mother and grandmother, to the wife of his preceptor, to his preceptor, his maternal uncle, and other relations846, to a dear friend, and to the [p.303] king. Let him also, after libations have been made to the gods and the rest, present others at pleasure for the benefit of all beings, reciting inaudibly this prayer; 'May the gods, demons, Yakshas, serpents, Rákshasas, Gandharbas, Pisáchas, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Kushmáńd́as, trees, birds, fish, all that people the waters, or the earth, or the air, be propitiated by the water I have presented to them. This water is given by me for the alleviation of the pains of all those who are suffering in the realms of hell. May all those who are my kindred, and not my kindred, and who were my relations in a former life, all who desire libations from me, receive satisfaction from this water. May this water and sesamum, presented by me, relieve the hunger and thirst of all who are suffering from those inflictions, wheresoever they may be847.' Presentations of water, given in the manner, oh king, which I have described, yield gratification to all the world: and the sinless man, who in the sincerity of faith pours out these voluntary libations, obtains the merit that results from affording nutriment to all creatures.

"Having then rinced his mouth, he is to offer water to the sun, touching his forehead with his hands joined, and with this prayer; 'Salutation to Vivaswat, the radiant, the glory of Vishńu; to the pure illuminator of the world; to Savitrí, the granter of the fruit of acts.' He is then to perform the worship of the house, presenting to his tutelary deity water, flowers, and incense. He is next to offer oblations with fire, not preceded by any other rite, to Brahmá848. Having invoked Prajápati, let him pour oblations reverently to his household gods, to Káśyapa and to Anumati849, in succession. The residue of the oblation let him offer to [p.304] the earth, to water, and to rain, in a pitcher at hand; and to Dhátri and Vidhátri at the doors of his house, and in the middle of it to Brahmá. Let the wise man also offer the Bali, consisting of the residue of the oblations, to Indra, Yama, Varuńa, and Soma, at the four cardinal points of his dwelling, the east and the rest; and in the north-east quarter he will present it to Dhanwantari850. After having thus worshipped the domestic deities, he will next offer part of the residue to all the gods (the Viśwadevas); then, in the north-west quarter, to Váyu (wind); then, in all directions, to the points of the horizon, to Brahmá, to the atmosphere, and to the sun; to all the gods, to all beings, to the lords of beings, to the Pitris, to twilight. Then taking other rice851, let the householder at pleasure cast it upon a clean spot of ground, as an offering to all beings, repeating with collected mind this prayer; 'May gods, men, animals, birds, saints, Yakshas, serpents, demons, ghosts, goblins, trees, all that desire food given by me; may ants, worms, moths, and other insects, hungered and bound in the bonds of acts; may all obtain satisfaction from the food left them by me, and enjoy happiness. May they who have neither mother, nor father, nor relations, nor food, nor the means of preparing it, be satisfied and pleased with the food presented for their contentment852. Inasmuch as all beings, and this food, and I, and Vishńu are not different, I therefore give for their sustenance the food that is one with the body of all creatures. May all beings, that are comprehended in the fourteen orders of existent things853, be satisfied with the food bestowed by me for their gratification, and be delighted.' [p.305] Having uttered this prayer, let the devout believer cast the food upon the ground, for the nourishment of all kinds of beings; for the householder is thence the supporter of them all. Let him scatter food upon the ground for dogs, outcasts, birds, and all fallen and degraded persons.

"The householder is then to remain at eventide in his courtyard as long as it takes to milk a cow854, or longer if he pleases, to await the arrival of a guest. Should such a one arrive, he is to be received with a hospitable welcome; a seat is to be offered to him, and his feet are to be washed, and food is to be given him with liberality, and he is to be civilly and kindly spoken to; and when he departs, to be sent away by his host with friendly wishes. A householder should ever pay attention to a guest who is not an inhabitant of the same village, but who comes from another place, and whose name and lineage are unknown. He who feeds himself, and neglects the poor and friendless stranger in want of hospitality, goes to hell. Let a householder who has a knowledge of Brahmá reverence a guest, without inquiring his studies, his school, his practices, or his race855.

"A householder should also at the perpetual Śráddha entertain another Brahman, who is of his own country, whose family and observances are known, and who performs the five sacramental rites. He is likewise to present to a Brahman learned in the Vedas four handfulls of food, set apart with the exclamation Hanta; and he is to give to a mendicant religious student three handfulls of rice, or according to his pleasure when he has ample means. These, with the addition of the mendicant before described, are to be considered as guests; and he who treats these four descriptions of persons with hospitality acquits himself of the debt due to his fellow men. The guest who departs disappointed from any house, and proceeds elsewhere, transfers his sins to the owner of that mansion, and takes away with him such a householder's merits. Brahmá, Prajápati, Indra, fire, the Vasus, the sun, are present in the person of a [p.306] guest, and partake of the food that is given to him. Let a man therefore be assiduous in discharging the duties of hospitality; for he who eats his food without bestowing any upon a guest feeds only upon iniquity.

"In the next place the householder must provide food for a married damsel, remaining in her father's dwelling; for any one who is ill; for a pregnant woman; for the aged and the infants of his house; and then he may eat himself. He who eats whilst these are yet unfed is guilty of sin in this life, and when he dies is condemned in hell to feed upon phlegm. So he who eats without performing ablutions is fed in hell with filth; and he who repeats not his prayers, with matter and blood: he who eats unconsecrated food, with urine; and he who eats before the children and the rest are fed is stuffed in Tartarus with ordure. Hear therefore, oh king of kings, how a householder should feed, so that in eating no sin may be incurred, that invariable health and increased vigour may be secured, and all evils and hostile machinations may be averted. Let the householder, having bathed, and offered libations to the gods and manes, and decorated his hand with jewels, proceed to take his meal, after having repeated the introductory prayers, and offered oblations with fire, and having given food to guests, to Brahmans, to his elders, and to his family. He must not eat with a single garment on, nor with wet hands and feet, but dressed in clean clothes, perfumed, and wearing garlands of flowers: he must not eat with his face to any intermediate point of the horizon, but fronting the east or the north: and thus, with a smiling countenance, happy and attentive, let him partake of food, of good quality, wholesome, boiled with clean water, procured from no vile person nor by improper means, nor improperly cooked. Having given a portion to his hungry companions, let him take his food without reproach out of a clean handsome vessel, which must not be placed upon a low stool or bed. He must not eat in an unfit place or out of season, nor in an incommodious attitude; nor must he first cast any of his meal into the fire. Let his food be made holy with suitable texts; let it be good of its kind; and it must not be stale, except in the case of fruit or meat856; nor must it be of [p.307] dry vegetable substances, other than jujubes857 or preparations of molasses; but never must a man eat of that of which the juices have been extracted858. Nor must a man eat so as to leave no residue of his meal, except in the case of flour, cakes, honey, water, curds, and butter. Let him, with an attentive mind, first taste that which has a sweet flavour: he may take salt and sour things in the middle course, and finish with those which are pungent and bitter. The man who commences his meal with fluids, then partakes of solid food, and finishes with fluids again, will ever be strong and healthy. In this manner let him feed without fault, silent, and contented with his food; taking, without uttering a word, to the extent of five handfulls, for the nutriment of the vital principle. Having eaten sufficiently, the householder is then to rinse his mouth, with his face turned towards the east or the north; and having again sipped water, he is to wash his hands from the wrist downwards. With a pleased and tranquil spirit he is then to take a seat, and call to memory his tutelary deity; and then he is thus to pray: 'May fire, excited by air, convert this food into the earthly elements of this frame, and in the space afforded by the etherial atmosphere cause it to digest, and yield me satisfaction! May this food, in its assimilation, contribute to the vigour of the earth, water, fire, and air of my body, and afford unmixed gratification! May Agasti, Agni, and submarine fire effect the digestion of the food of which I have eaten; may they grant me the happiness which its conversion into nutriment engenders; and may health ever animate my form! May Vishńu, who is the chief principle of all invested with bodily structure and the organs of sense, be propitiated by my faith in him, and influence the assimilation of the invigorating food which I [p.308] have eaten! For verily Vishńu is the eater and the food and the nutriment: and through this belief may that which I have eaten be digested.'

"Having repeated this prayer, the householder should rub his stomach with his hand, and without indolence perform such rites as confer repose, passing the day in such amusements as are authorized by holy writings, and are not incompatible with the practices of the righteous; until the Sandhyá, when he must engage in pious meditation. At the Sandhyá, at the close of the day he must perform the usual rites before the sun has quite set; and in the morning he must perform them before the stars have disappeared859. The morning and evening rites must never be neglected, except at seasons of impurity, anxiety, sickness, or alarm. He who is preceded by the sun in rising, or sleeps when the sun is setting, unless it proceed from illness and the like, incurs guilt which requires atonement; and therefore let a man rise before the sun in the morning, and sleep not until after be has set. They who sinfully omit both the morning and the evening service go after death to the hell of darkness. In the evening, then, having again dressed food, let the wife of the householder, in order to obtain the fruit of the Vaiśwadeva rite, give food, without prayers, to outcasts and unclean spirits. Let the householder himself, according to his means, again shew hospitality to any guest who may arrive, welcoming him with the salutation of evening, water for his feet, a seat, a supper, and a bed. The sin of want of hospitality to a guest who comes after sunset is eight times greater than that of turning away one who arrives by day. A man should therefore most especially shew respect to one who comes to him in the evening for shelter, as the attentions that gratify him will give pleasure to all the gods. Let the householder, then, according to his ability, afford a guest food, potherbs, water, a bed, a mat, or, if he can do no more, ground on which to lie.

"After eating his evening meal, and having washed his feet, the householder is to go to rest. His bed is to be entire, and made of wood: it is not to be scanty, nor cracked, nor uneven, nor dirty, nor infested by insects, [p.309] nor without a bedding: and he is to sleep with his head either to the east or to the south; any other position is unhealthy. In due season a man should approach his wife, when a fortunate asterism prevails, in an auspicious moment, and on even nights, if she is not unbathed, sick, unwell, averse, angry, pregnant, hungry, or over-fed. He should be also free from similar imperfections, should be neatly attired and adorned, and animated by tenderness and affection. There are certain days on which unguents, flesh, and women are unlawful, as the eighth and fourteenth. lunar days, new moon and full moon860, and the entrance of the sun into a new sign. On these occasions the wise will restrain their appetites, and occupy themselves in the worship of the gods, as enjoined by holy writ, in meditation, and in prayer; and he who behaves differently will fall into a hell where ordure will be his food. Let not a man stimulate his desires by medicines, nor gratify them with unnatural objects, or in public or holy places. Let him not think incontinently of another's wife, much less address her to that end; for such a man will be born in future life as a creeping insect. He who commits adultery is punished both here and hereafter; for his days in this world are cut short, and when dead he falls into hell. Thus considering, let a man approach his own wife in the proper season, or even at other times."



Miscellaneous obligations--purificatory, ceremonial, and moral.

AURVA continued."Let a respectable householder ever venerate the gods, kine, Brahmans, saints, aged persons, and holy teachers. Let him observe the two daily Sandhyás, and offer oblations to fire. Let him dress in untorn garments, use delicate herbs and flowers, wear emeralds and other precious stones, keep his hair smooth and neat, scent his person with agreeable perfumes, and always go handsomely attired, decorated with garlands of white flowers. Let him never appropriate another's property, nor address him with the least unkindness. Let him always speak amiably and with truth, and never make public another's faults. Let him not desire another's prosperity, nor seek his enmity. Let him not mount upon a crazy vehicle, nor take shelter under the bank of a river (which may fall upon him). A wise man will not form a friendship nor walk in the same path with one who is disesteemed, who is a sinner or a drunkard, who has many enemies, or who is lousy, with a harlot or her gallant, with a pauper or a liar, with a prodigal, a slanderer, or a knave. Let not a man bathe against the strength of a rapid stream, nor enter a house on fire, nor climb to the top of a tree; nor (in company) clean his teeth or blow his nose, nor gape without covering his mouth, nor clear his throat, nor cough, nor laugh loudly, nor emit wind with noise, nor bite his nails, nor cut grass, nor scratch the ground861, nor put his beard into his mouth, nor crumble a clod of clay; nor look upon the chief planetary bodies when he is unclean. Let him not express disgust at a corpse, for the odour of a dead body is the produce of the moon. Let a decent man ever avoid by night the place where four roads meet, the village tree, the grove adjacent to the place where bodies are burnt, and a loose woman. Let him not pass across the shadow of a venerable person, of an image, of a deity, of a flag, of a heavenly luminary862. Let him not travel alone through a forest, nor sleep by [p.311] himself in an empty house863. Let him keep remote from hair, bones, thorns, filth, remnants of offerings, ashes, chaff, and earth864 wet with water in which another has bathed. Let him not receive the protection of the unworthy, nor attach himself to the dishonest. Let him not approach a beast of prey; and let him not tarry long when he has risen from sleep. Let him not lie in bed when he is awake, nor encounter fatigue when it is time to rest. A prudent man will avoid, even at a distance, animals with tusks and horns; and he will shun exposure to frost, to wind, and to sunshine. A man must neither bathe, nor sleep, nor rinse his mouth whilst he is naked865: he must not wash his mouth, or perform any sacred rite, with his waistband unfastened: and he must not offer oblations to fire, nor sacrifice to the gods, nor wash his mouth, nor salute a Brahman, nor utter a prayer, with only one garment on. Let him never associate with immoral persons: half an instant is the limit for the intercourse of the righteous with them. A wise man will never engage in a dispute with either his superiors or inferiors: controversy and marriage are to be permitted only between equals. Let not a prudent man enter into contention: let him avoid uprofitable enmity. A small loss may be endured; but he should shun the wealth that is acquired by hostility.

"When a man has bathed, he must not wipe his limbs with a towel nor with his hands, nor shake his hair, nor rinse his mouth before he has risen. Let him not (when sitting) put one foot over another, nor stretch forth his foot, in the presence of a superior, but sit with modesty in the posture called Vírásana (or on his knees). He must never pass round a temple upon his left hand, nor perform the ceremony of circumambulating any venerable object in the reverse direction. A decent man will not spit, nor eject any impurity, in front of the moon, fire, the sun, water, wind, or any respectable person866; nor will he void urine standing, nor upon the highway: he will never step over phlegm, ordure, urine, or blood; nor is the expectoration of the mucus of the throat allowable at the time of eating, offering sacrifices or oblations, or repeating prayers, or in the presence of a respectable person.


"Let not a man treat women with disrespect, nor let him put entire faith in them. Let him not deal impatiently with them, nor set them over matters of importance. A man who is attentive to the duties of his station will not go forth from his house without saluting the chaplets, flowers, gems, clarified butter, and venerable persons in it. At proper seasons he will salute respectfully the places where four roads meet, when engaged in offering oblations with fire. Let him liberally relieve the virtuous who are poor, and reverence those who are learned in the Vedas. He who is a worshipper of the gods and sages, who gives cakes and water to the manes, and who exercises hospitality, obtains the highest regions after death. He who speaks wisely, moderately, and kindly, goes to those worlds which are the inexhaustible sources of happiness. He who is intelligent, modest, devout, and who reverences wisdom, his superiors, and the aged, goes to heaven.

"On the days called Parvas, on periods of impurity, upon unseasonable thunder, and the occurrence of eclipses or atmospheric portents, a wise man must desist from the study of the Vedas867. The pious man who suppresses anger and envy, who is benevolent to all, and allays the fears of others, secures, as the least of his rewards, enjoyment in Swarga. A man should carry an umbrella, as a defence against sun and rain; he should bear a staff when he goes by night, or through a wood; and he should walk in shoes, if he desires to keep his body from harm. As he goes along he should not look up, nor about him, nor afar off, but keep his eyes upon the ground to the extent of a couple of yards.

"The householder who expels all sources of imperfection is in a great degree acquitted of the three ordinary objects of existence, desire, wealth, and virtue; sinless amongst the sinful; speaking amicably to all men; his whole soul melting with benevolence; final felicity is in his grasp. The earth is upheld by the veracity of those who have subdued their passions, and, following righteous practices, are never contaminated by desire, covetousness, and wrath. Let therefore a wise man ever speak the truth when it is agreeable, and when the truth would inflict [p.313] pain let him hold his peace. Let him not utter that which, though acceptable, would be detrimental; for it were better to speak that which would be salutary, although it should give exceeding offence868. A considerate man will always cultivate, in act, thought, and speech, that which is good for living beings, both in this world and in the next869."



Of Śráddhas, or rites in honour of ancestors, to be performed on occasions of rejoicing. Obsequial ceremonies. Of the Ekoddisht́a or monthly Śráddha, and the Sapińd́ana or annual one. By whom to be performed.

AURVA continued."The bathing of a father without disrobing is enjoined when a son is born; and he is to celebrate the ceremony proper for the event, which is the Śráddha offered upon joyous occasions870. With composed mind, and thinking on nothing else, the Brahman should offer worship to both the gods and progenitors, and should respectfully circumambulate, keeping Brahmans on his left hand, and give them food. Standing with his face to the east, he should present, with the [p.315] parts of the hand sacred to the gods and to Prajápati, balls of food871, with curds, unbruised grain, and jujubes; and should perform, on every accession of good fortune, the rite by which the class of progenitors termed Nándímukha is propitiated872. A householder should diligently worship the Pitris so named, at the marriage of a son or daughter, on entering a new dwelling, on giving a name to a child, on performing his tonsure and other purificatory ceremonies, at the binding of the mother's hair during gestation, or on first seeing the face of a son, or the like. [p.316] The Śráddha on such occasions, however, has been briefly alluded to. Hear now, oh king, the rules for the performance of obsequial rites.

"Having washed the corpse with holy water, decorated it with garlands, and burnt it without the village, the kinsmen, having bathed with their clothes on, are to stand with their faces to the south, and offer libations to the deceased, addressing him by name, and adding, 'wherever thou mayest be873.' They then return, along with the cattle coming from pasture, to the village; and upon the appearance of the stars retire to rest, sleeping on mats spread upon the earth. Every day (whilst the mourning lasts) a cake or ball of food874 is to be placed on the ground, as an offering to the deceased; and rice, without flesh, is to be daily eaten. Brahmans are to be fed for as many days as the mourner pleases, for the soul of the defunct derives satisfaction accordingly as his relatives are content with their entertainment. On the first day, or the third, or seventh, or ninth (after the death of a person), his kinsmen should change their raiment, and bathe out of doors, and offer a libation of water, with (tila) sesamum-seeds. On the fourth day875 the ashes and bones should be collected: after which the body of one connected with the deceased by offerings of funeral cakes may be touched (by an indifferent person), without thereby incurring impurity; and those who are related only by presentation of water are qualified for any occupation876. [p.317] The former class of relatives may use beds, but they must still refrain from unguents and flowers, and must observe continence, after the ashes and bones have been collected (until the mourning is over). When the deceased is a child, or one who is abroad, or who has been degraded, or a spiritual preceptor, the period of uncleanness is but brief, and the ceremonies with fire and water are discretional. The food of a family in which a kinsman is deceased is not to be partaken of for ten days877; and during that period, gifts, acceptance, sacrifice, and sacred study are suspended. The term of impurity for a Brahman is ten days; for a Kshatriya, twelve; for a Vaiśya, half a month; and a whole month for a Śúdra878. On the first day after uncleanness ceases, the nearest relation of the deceased should feed Brahmans at his pleasure, but in uneven numbers, and offer to the deceased a ball of rice upon holy grass placed near the residue of the food that has been eaten. After the guests have been fed, the mourner, according to his caste, is to touch water, a weapon, a goad, or a staff, as he is purified by such contact. He may then resume the duties prescribed for his caste, and follow the avocation ordinarily pursued by its members.

"The Śráddha enjoined for an individual is to be repeated on the day of his death (in each month for a year)879, but without the prayers and rites performed on the first occasion, and without offerings to the Viśwadevas. A single ball of food is to be offered to the deceased, as the purification of one person, and Brahmans are to be fed. The Brahmans are to be asked by the sacrificer if they are satisfied; and upon their assent, the prayer, 'May this ever satisfy such a one' (the deceased) is to be recited.


"This is the Śráddha called Ekoddisht́a, which is to be performed monthly to the end of a twelvemonth from the death of a person; at the expiration of which the ceremony called Sapińd́ana is to be observed. The practices of this rite are the same as those of the monthly obsequies, but a lustration is to be made with four vessels of water, perfumes, and sesamum: one of these vessels is considered as dedicated to the deceased, the other three to the progenitors in general; and the contents of the former are to be transferred to the other three, by which the deceased becomes included in the class of ancestors, to whom worship is to be addressed with all the ceremonies of the Śráddha. The persons who are competent to perform the obsequies of relations connected by the offering of the cake are the son, grandson, great grandson, a kinsman of the deceased, the descendants of a brother, or the posterity of one allied by funeral offerings. In absence of all these, the ceremony may be instituted by those related by presentations of water only, or those connected by offerings of cakes or water to maternal ancestors. Should both families in the male line be extinct, the last obsequies may be performed by women, or by the associates of the deceased in religious or social institutions, or by any one who becomes possessed of the property of a deceased kinsman.

"Obsequial rites are of three descriptions, initiative, intermediate, and subsequent880. The first are those which are observed after the burning of the corpse until the touching of water, weapons, &c. (or until the cessation of uncleanness). The intermediate ceremonies are the Sráddhas called Ekoddisht́a, which are offered every month: and the subsequent rites are those which follow the Sapińd́ikarańa, when the deceased is admitted amongst the ancestors of his race; and the ceremonies are thenceforth general or ancestral. The first set of rites (as essential) are to be performed by the kindred of the father or mother, whether connected by the offering of the cake or of water, by the associates of the deceased, or by the prince who inherits his property. [p.319] The first and the last rites are both to be performed by sons and other relations, and by daughter's sons, and their sons; and so are the sacrifices on the day of the person's death. The last class, or ancestral rites, are to be performed annually, with the same ceremonies as are enjoined for the monthly obsequies; and they may be also performed by females. As the ancestral rights are therefore most universal, I will describe to you, oh king, at what seasons, and in what manner, they should be celebrated."



Of occasional Śráddhas, or obsequial ceremonies: when most efficacious, and at what places.

AURVA proceeded."Let the devout performer of an ancestral oblation propitiate Brahmá, Indra, Rudra, the Áświns, the sun, fire, the [p.321] Vasus, the winds, the Viśwadevas, the sages, birds, men, animals, reptiles, progenitors, and all existent things, by offering adoration to them [p.322] monthly, on the fifteenth day of the moon's wane (or dark fortnight), or on the eighth day of the same period in certain months, or at particular seasons, as I will explain.

"When a householder finds that any circumstance has occurred, or a distinguished guest has arrived, on which account ancestral ceremonies are appropriate, the should celebrate them. He should offer a voluntary sacrifice upon any atmospheric portent, at the equinoctial and solstitial periods, at eclipses of the sun and moon, on the sun's entrance into a zodiacal sign, upon unpropitious aspects of the planets and asterisms, on dreaming unlucky dreams, and on eating the grain of the year's harvest. The Pitris881 derive satisfaction for eight years from ancestral offerings upon the day of new moon when the star of the conjunction882 is Anurádhá, Viśákhá, or Swáti; and for twelve years when it is Pushya, Ardrá, or Punarvasu. It is not easy for a man to effect his object, who is desirous of worshipping the Pitris or the gods on a day of new moon when the stars are those of Dhanisht́há, Purvabhádrapadá, or Śatábhishá. Hear also an account of another class of Sráddhas, which afford especial contentment to progenitors, as explained by Sanatkumára, the son of Brahmá, to the magnanimous Purúravas, when full of faith and devotion to the Pitris he inquired how he might please them. The third lunar day of the month Vaiśákha (April, May), and the ninth of Kártika [p.323] (October, November), in the light fortnight; the thirteenth of Nabha (July, August), and the fifteenth of Mágha (January, February), in the dark fortnight; are called by ancient teachers the anniversaries of the first day of a Yuga, or age (Yugádya), and are esteemed most sacred. On these days, water mixed with sesamum-seeds should be regularly presented to the progenitors of mankind; as well as on every solar and lunar eclipse; on the eighth lunations of the dark fortnights of Agraháyańa, Mágha, and Phálguna (December-February); on the two days commencing the solstices, when the nights and days alternately begin to diminish; on those days which are the anniversaries of the beginning of the Manwantaras; when the sun is in the path of the goat; and on all occurrences of meteoric phenomena. A Śráddha at these seasons contents the Pitris for a thousand years: such is the secret which they have imparted. The fifteenth day of the dark half of the month Mágha, when united with the conjunction of the asterism over which Varuńa presides (Satábhishá), is a season of no little sanctity, when offerings are especially grateful to the progenitors. Food and water presented by men who are of respectable families, when the asterism Dhanisht́há is combined with the day of new moon, content the Pitris for ten thousand years; whilst they repose for a whole age when satisfied by offerings made on the day of new moon when Árdrá is the lunar mansion.

"He who, after having offered food and libations to the Pitris, bathes in the Ganges, Satlaj, Vipáśá (Beyah), Saraswatí, or the Gomatí at Naimisha, expiates all his sins. The Pitris also say, 'After having received satisfaction for a twelvemonth, we shall further derive gratification by libations offered by our descendants at some place of pilgrimage, at the end of the dark fortnight of Mágha.' The songs of the Pitris confer purity of heart, integrity of wealth, prosperous seasons, perfect rites, and devout faith; all that men can desire. Hear the verses that constitute those songs, by listening to which all those advantages will be secured, oh prince, by you. 'That enlightened individual who begrudges not his wealth, but presents us with cakes, shall be born in a distinguished family. Prosperous and affluent shall that man ever be, who in honour of us gives to the Brahmans, if he is wealthy, jewels, clothes, [p.324] land, conveyances, wealth, or any valuable presents; or who, with faith and humility, entertains them with food, according to his means, at proper seasons. If he cannot afford to give them dressed food, he must, in proportion to his ability, present them with unboiled grain, or such gifts, however trifling, as he can bestow. Should he be utterly unable even to do this, he must give to some eminent Brahman, bowing at the same time before him, sesamum-seeds adhering to the tips of his fingers, and sprinkle water to us, from the palms of his hands, upon the ground; or he must gather, as he may, fodder for a day, and give it to a cow; by which he will, if firm in faith, yield us satisfaction. If nothing of this kind is practicable, he must go to a forest, and lift up his arms to the sun and other regents of the spheres, and say aloud--I have no money, nor property, nor grain, nor any thing whatever it for an ancestral offering. Bowing therefore to my ancestors, I hope the progenitors will be satisfied with these arms tossed up in the air in devotion.' These are the words of the Pitris themselves; and he who endeavours, with such means as he may possess, to fulfil their wishes, performs the ancestral rite called a Śráddha."



What Brahmans are to be entertained at Śráddhas. Different prayers to be recited. Offerings of food to be presented to deceased ancestors.

AURVA proceeded."Hear next, oh prince, what description of Brahman should be fed at ancestral ceremonies. he should be one studied in various triplets of the Rich and Yajur Vedas883; one who is acquainted with the six supplementary sciences of the Vedas884; one who understands the Vedas; one who practises the duties they enjoin885; one who exercises penance; a chanter of the principal Sáma-veda886, an officiating priest, a sister's son, a daughter's son, a son-in-law, a father-in-law, a maternal uncle, an ascetic, a Brahman who maintains the five fires, a pupil, a kinsman; one who reverences his parents. A man should first employ the Brahmans first specified in the principal obsequial [p.326] rite; and the others (commencing with the ministering priest) in the subsidiary ceremonies instituted to gratify his ancestors.

"A false friend, a man with ugly nails or black teeth, a ravisher, a Brahman who neglects the service of fire and sacred study, a vender of the Soma plant, a man accused of any crime, a thief, a calumniator, a Brahman who conducts religious ceremonies for the vulgar; one who instructs his servant in holy writ, or is instructed in it by his servant; the husband of a woman who has been formerly betrothed to another; a man who is undutiful to his parents; the protector of the husband of a woman of the servile caste, or the husband of a woman of the servile caste; and a Brahman who ministers to idols--are not proper persons to be invited to au ancestral offering887. On the first day let a judicious man invite eminent teachers of the Vedas, and other Brahmans; and according to their directions determine what is to be dedicated to the gods, and what to the Pitris. Associated with the Brahmans, let the institutor of an obsequial rite abstain from anger and incontinence. He who having eaten himself in a Śráddha, and fed Brahmans, and appointed them to their sacred offices, is guilty of incontinence, thereby sentences his progenitors to shameful suffering. In the first place, the Brahmans before described are to be invited; but those holy men who come to the house without an invitation are also to be entertained. The guests are to be reverently received with water for their feet, and the like; and the entertainer, holding holy grass in his hand, is to place them, after they have rinsed their mouths, upon seats. An uneven number of Brahmans is to be invited in sacrifices to the manes; an even or uneven number in those presented to the gods; or one only on each occasion888.

"Then let the householder, inspired by religious faith, offer oblations to the maternal grandfather, along with the worship of the Viśwadevas889, [p.327] or the ceremony called Vaiśwadeva, which comprehends offerings to both paternal and maternal ancestors, and to ancestors in general. Let him feed the Brahmans who are appropriated to the gods, and to maternal ancestors, with their faces to the north; and those set apart for the paternal ancestors, and ancestors in general, with their faces to the east. Some say that the viands of the Śráddha should be kept distinct for these two sets of ancestors, but others maintain that they are to be fed with the same food, at the same time. Having spread Kuśa grass for seats, and offered libations according to rule, let the sensible man invoke the deities, with the concurrence of the Brahmans who are present890. Let the man who is acquainted with the ritual offer a libation to the gods with water and barley, having presented to them flowers, perfumes, and incense. Let him offer the same to the Pitris, placed upon his left; and with the consent of the Brahmans, having first provided seats of Kuśa grass doubled, let him invoke with the usual prayers the manes to the ceremony, offering a libation, on his left hand, of water and sesamum. He will then, with the permission of the Brahmans, give food to any guest who arrives at the time, or who is desirous of victuals, or who is passing along the road; for holy saints [p.328] and ascetics, benefactors of mankind, are traversing this earth, disguised in various shapes891. On this account let a prudent man welcome a person who arrives at such a season; for inattention to a guest frustrates the consequences of an ancestral offering.

"The sacrificer is then to offer food, without salt or seasoning, to fire892, three several times, with the consent of the assistant Brahmans; exclaiming first, 'To fire, the vehicle of the oblations; to the manes Swáhá!' Next addressing the oblation to Soma, the lord of the progenitors; and giving the third to Vaivaswata. He is then to place a very little of the residue of the oblation in the dishes of the Brahmans; and next, presenting them with choice viands, well dressed and seasoned, and abundant, he is to request them civilly to partake of it at their pleasure. The Brahmans are to eat of such food attentively, in silence, with cheerful countenances, and at their ease. The sacrificer is to give it to them, not churlishly, nor hurriedly, but with devout faith.

"Having next recited the prayer for the discomfiture of malignant spirits893, and scattered sesamum-seeds upon the ground, the Brahmans who have been fed are to be addressed, in common with the ancestors of the sacrificer, in this manner: 'May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather, in the persons of these Brahmans, receive satisfaction! May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather derive nutriment from these oblations to fire! May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather derive satisfaction from the balls of food placed by me upon the ground! May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather be pleased with what I have this day offered them in faith! May my maternal grandfather, his father, and his father, also enjoy contentment from my offerings! May all the gods experience gratification, and all evil beings perish! May the lord of sacrifice, the imperishable deity [p.329] Hari, be the acceptor of all oblations made to the manes or the gods! and may all malignant spirits, and enemies of the deities, depart from the rite.'

"When the Brahmans have eaten sufficiently, the worshipper must scatter some of the food upon the ground, and present them individually with water to rinse their mouths; then, with their assent, he may place upon the ground balls made up of boiled rice and condiments, along with sesamum-seeds. With the part of his hand sacred to the manes he must offer sesamum-seeds, and water from his joined palms; and with the same part of his hand he must present cakes to his maternal ancestors. He should in lonely places, naturally beautiful, and by the side of sacred streams, diligently make presents (to the manes and the Brahmans)894. Upon Kuśa grass, the tips of which are pointed to the south, and lying near the fragments of the meat, let the householder present the first ball of food, consecrated with flowers and incense, to his father; the second to his grandfather; and the third to his great grandfather; and let him satisfy those who are contented with the wipings of his hand, by wiping it with the roots of Kuśa grass895. After presenting balls of food to his maternal ancestors in the same manner, accompanied by perfumes and incense, he is to give to the principal Brahmans water to rinse their mouths; and then, with attention and piety, he is to give the Brahmans gifts, according to his power, soliciting their benedictions, accompanied with the exclamation 'Swadhá896!' Having made presents to the Brahmans, he is to address himself to the gods, saying, 'May they who are the Viśwadevas be pleased with this oblation!' Having thus said, and the blessings to be solicited having been granted by the Brahmans, he is to dismiss first the paternal ancestors, and then the gods. The order is the same with the maternal ancestors and the gods in respect to food, donation, and dismissal. Commencing with the [p.330] washing of the feet, until the dismissing of the gods and Brahmans, the ceremonies are to be performed first for paternal ancestors, and then for ancestors on the mother's side. Let him dismiss the Brahmans with kindly speeches and profound respect, and attend upon them at the end of the Śráddha; until permitted by them to return. The wise man will then perform the invariable worship of the Viśwadevas, and take' his own meal along with his friends, his kinsmen, and his dependants.

"In this manner an enlightened householder will celebrate the obsequial worship of his paternal and maternal ancestors, who, satisfied by his offerings, will grant him all his desires. Three things are held pure at obsequies, a daughter's son, a Nepal blanket, and sesamum-seeds897; and the gift, or naming, or sight of silver is also propitious898. The person offering a Śráddha should avoid anger, walking about, and hurry; these three things are very objectionable. The Viśwadevas, and paternal and maternal ancestors, and the living members of a man's family are all nourished by the offerer of ancestral oblations.


"The class of Pitris derives support from the moon, and the moon is sustained by acts of austere devotion. Hence the appointment of one who practises austerities is most desirable. A Yogi set before a thousand Brahmans enables the institutor of obsequial rites to enjoy all his desires899."



Things proper to be offered as food to deceased ancestors: prohibited things. Circumstances vitiating a Śráddha: how to be avoided. Song of the Pitris, or progenitors, heard by Ikshwáku.

AURVA continued."Ancestors are satisfied for a month with offerings of rice or other grain, with clarified butter900, with fish, or the flesh of the hare, of birds, of the hog, the goat, the antelope, the deer, the gayal, or the sheep, or with the milk of the cow, and its products901. They are for ever satisfied with flesh (in general), and with that of the long-eared white goat in particular. The flesh of the rhinoceros, the Kálaśáka potherb, and honey, are also especial sources of satisfaction to those worshipped at ancestral ceremonies. The birth of that man is the occasion of satisfaction to his progenitors who performs at the due time their obsequial rites at Gaya. Grains that spring up spontaneously, rice growing wild, Panic of both species (white or black), vegetables that grow in forests, are fit for ancestral oblations; as are barley, wheat, rice, sesamum, various kinds of pulse, and mustard. On the other hand, a householder must not offer any kind of grain that is not consecrated by religious ceremonies on its first coming into season; nor the pulse called Rájamásha, nor millet, nor lentils, nor gourds, nor garlick, nor onions, nor nightshade, nor camels' thorn, nor salt, nor the efflorescence of salt deserts, nor red vegetable extracts, nor any thing that looks like salt, nor any thing that is not commendable; nor is water fit to be offered at a Śráddha that has been brought by night, or has been abandoned, or [p.333] is so little as not to satisfy a cow, or smells badly, or is covered with froth. The milk of animals with undivided hoofs, of a camel, a ewe, a deer, or a buffalo, is unfit for ancestral oblations. If an obsequial rite is looked at by a eunuch, a man ejected from society, an outcast, a heretic, a drunken man, or one diseased, by a cock, a naked ascetic902, a monkey, a village hag, by a woman in her courses or pregnant, by an unclean person, or by a carrier of corpses, neither gods nor progenitors will partake of the food. The ceremony should therefore be performed in a spot carefully enclosed. Let the performer cast sesamum on the ground, and drive away malignant spirits. Let him not give food that is fetid, or vitiated by hairs or insects, or mixed with acid gruel, or stale. Whatever suitable food is presented with pure faith, and with the enunciation of name and race, to ancestors, at an obsequial oblation, becomes food to them (or gives them nourishment). In former times, O king of the earth! this song of the Pitris was heard by Ikshwáku, the son of Manu, in the groves of Kalápa (on the skirts of the Himálaya mountains): 'Those of our descendants shall follow a righteous path who shall reverently present us with cakes at Gaya. May he be born in our race who shall give us, on the thirteenth of Bhádrapada and Mágha, milk, honey, and clarified butter; or when he marries a maiden, or liberates a black bull903, or performs any domestic ceremony agreeable to rule, accompanied by donations to the Brahmans904!"



Of heretics, or those who reject the authority of the Vedas: their origin, as described by Vaśisht́ha to Bhíshma: the gods, defeated by the Daityas, praise Vishńu: an illusory being, or Buddha, produced from his body.

PARÁŚARA.Thus, in former days, spake the holy Aurva to the illustrious monarch Sagara, when he inquired concerning the usages proper to be practised by mankind; and thus I have explained to you the whole of those observances against which no one ought to transgress.

MAITREYA.You have told me, venerable sir, that an ancestral rite is not to be looked upon by certain persons, amongst whom you mentioned such as were apostates. I am desirous to learn whom you intended by that appellation; what practices bestow such a title upon a man; and what is the character of the individual to whom you alluded.

PARÁŚARA.The Rig, Yajur, and Sáma Vedas constitute the triple covering of the several castes, and the sinner who throws this off is said to be naked (or apostate). The three Vedas are the raiment of all the orders of men, and when that is discarded they are left bare905. On this subject hear what I heard my grandfather, the pious Vaśisht́ha, relate to the magnanimous Bhíshma: [p.335] There was formerly a battle between the gods and demons, for the period of a divine year, in which the gods were defeated by the demons under the command of Hráda906. The discomfited deities fled to the northern shore of the milky ocean, where engaging in religious penance they thus prayed to Vishńu: "May the first of beings, the divine Vishńu, be pleased with the words that we are about to address to him, in order to propitiate the lord of all worlds; from which mighty cause all created things have originated, and into whom they shall again dissolve! Who is able to declare his praise? We, who have been put to shame by the triumph of our foes, will glorify thee, although thy true power and might be not within the reach of words. Thou art earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, crude matter, and primeval soul: all this elementary creation, with or without visible form, is thy body; all, from Brahmá to a stock, diversified by place and time. Glory to thee, who art Brahmá, thy first form, evolved from the lotus springing from thy navel, for the purpose of creation. Glory to thee, who art Indra, the sun, Rudra, the Vasus, fire, the winds, and even also ourselves. Glory to they, Govinda, who art all demons, whose essence is arrogance and want of discrimination, unchecked by patience or self-control. Glory to thee, who art the Yakshas, whose nature is charmed with sounds, and whose frivolous hearts perfect knowledge cannot pervade. Glory to thee, who art all fiends, that walk by night, sprung from the quality of darkness, fierce, fraudulent, and cruel. Glory to thee, Janárddana, who art that piety which is the instrument of recompensing the virtues of those who abide in heaven. Glory to thee, who art one with the saints, whose perfect nature is ever blessed, and traverses unobstructed all permeable elements. Glory to thee, who art one with the serpent race, double-tongued, impetuous, cruel, insatiate of enjoyment, and abounding with wealth. Glory to thee, who art one with the Rishis, whose nature is free from sin or defect, and is identified with wisdom and tranquillity. Glory to thee, oh lotus-eyed, who art one with time, the form that devours, without remorse, all created things at the termination of the Kalpa. Glory to thee, who art Rudra, the being that [p.336] dances with delight after he has swallowed up all things, the gods and the rest, without distinction. Glory to thee, Janárddana, who art man, the agent in developing the results of that activity which proceeds from the quality of foulness. Glory to thee, who art brute animals, the universal spirit that tends to perversity, which proceeds from the quality of darkness, and is encumbered with the twenty-eight kinds of obstructions907. Glory to thee, who art that chief spirit which is diversified in the vegetable world, and which, as the essence of sacrifice, is the instrument of accomplishing the perfection of the universe. Glory to thee, who art every thing, and whose primeval form is the objects of perception, and heaven, and animals, and men, and gods. Glory to thee, who art the cause of causes, the supreme spirit; who art distinct from us and all beings composed of intelligence and matter and the like, and with whose primeval nature there is nothing that can be compared. We bow to thee, O lord, who hast neither colour, nor extension, nor bulk, nor any predicable qualities; and whose essence, purest of the pure, is appreciable only by holy sages. We bow to thee, in the nature of Brahma, untreated, undecaying; who art in our bodies, and in all other bodies, and in all living creatures; and besides whom there is nothing else. We glorify that Vásudeva, the sovereign lord of all, who is without soil, the seed of all things, exempt from dissolution, unborn, eternal, being in essence the supreme condition of spirit, and in substance the whole of this universe."

Upon the conclusion of their prayers, the gods beheld the sovereign deity Hari, armed with the shell, the discus, and the mace, riding on Garud́a. Prostrating themselves before him, they addressed him, and said, "Have compassion upon us, O lord, and protect us, who have come to thee for succour from the Daityas. They have seized upon the three worlds, and appropriated the offerings which are our portion, taking care not to transgress the precepts of the Veda. Although we, as well as they, are parts of thee, of whom all beings consist, yet we behold the world impressed by the ignorance of unity, with the belief of its separate existence. Engaged in the duties of their respective orders, [p.337] and following the paths prescribed by holy writ, practising also religious penance, it is impossible for us to destroy them. Do thou, whose wisdom is immeasurable, instruct us in some device by which we may be able to exterminate the enemies of the gods."

When the mighty Vishńu heard their request, he emitted from his body an illusory form, which he gave to the gods, and thus spake This deceptive vision shall wholly beguile the Daityas, so that, being led astray from the path of the Vedas, they may be put to death; for all gods, demons, or others, who shall be opposed to the authority of the Veda, shall perish by my might, whilst exercised for the preservation of the world. Go then, and fear not: let this delusive vision precede you; it shall this day be of great service unto you, oh gods!"



Buddha goes to the earth, and teaches the Daityas to contemn the Vedas: his sceptical doctrines: his prohibition of animal sacrifices. Meaning of the term Bauddha. Jainas and Bauddhas; their tenets. The Daityas lose their power, and are overcome by the gods. Meaning of the term Nagna. Consequences of neglect of duty. Story of Śatadhanu and his wife Śaivyá. Communion with heretics to be shunned.

PARÁŚARA.After this, the great delusion, having proceeded to earth, beheld the Daityas engaged in ascetic penances upon the banks of the Narmadá river908; and approaching them in the semblance of a naked mendicant, with his head shaven, and carrying a bunch of peacock's feathers909, he thus addressed them in gentle accents: "Ho, lords of the Daitya race! wherefor is it that you practise these acts of penance? is it with a view to recompense in this world, or in another?" "Sage," replied the Daityas, "we pursue these devotions to obtain a reward hereafter; why should you make such an inquiry?" "If you are desirous of final emancipation," answered the seeming ascetic, "attend to my words, for you are worthy of a revelation which is the door to ultimate felicity. The duties that I will teach you are the secret path to liberation; there are none beyond or superior to them: by following them you shall obtain either heaven or exemption from future existence. You, mighty beings, are deserving of such lofty doctrine." By such persuasions, and by many specious arguments, did this delusive being mislead the Daityas from the tenets of the Vedas; teaching that the same thing might be for the sake of virtue and of vice; might be, and might not be; might or might not contribute to liberation; might be the [p.339] supreme object, and not the supreme object; might be effect, and not be effect; might be manifest, or not be manifest; might be the duty of those who go naked, or who go clothed in much raiment: and so the Daityas were seduced from their proper duties by the repeated lessons of their illusory preceptor, maintaining the equal truth of contradictory tenets910; and they were called Arhatas911, from the phrase he had employed of "Ye are worthy (Arhatha) of this great doctrine;" that is, of the false doctrines which he persuaded them to embrace.

The foes of the gods being thus induced to apostatize from the religion of the Vedas, by the delusive person sent by Vishńu, became in their turn teachers of the same heresies, and perverted others; and these, again, communicating their principles to others, by whom they were still further disseminated, the Vedas were in a short time deserted by most of the Daitya race. Then the same deluder, putting on garments of a red colour, assuming a benevolent aspect, and speaking in soft and agreeable tones, addressed others of the same family, and said to them, "If; mighty demons, you cherish a desire either for heaven or for final repose, desist from the iniquitous massacre of animals (for sacrifice), and hear from me what you should do. Know that all that exists is composed of discriminative knowledge. Understand my words, for they have been uttered by the wise. This world subsists without support, and engaged in the pursuit of error, which it mistakes for knowledge, as well as vitiated by passion and the rest, revolves in the straits of existence." In this manner, exclaiming to them, "Know!" (Budhyadwam), and they replying, "It is known" (Budhyate), these Daityas were induced by the [p.340] arch deceiver to deviate from their religious duties (and become Bauddhas), by his repeated arguments and variously urged persuasions912, When they had abandoned their own faith, they persuaded others to do the same, and the heresy spread, and many deserted the practices enjoined by the Vedas and the laws.

The delusions of the false teacher paused not with the conversion of the Daityas to the Jaina and Bauddha heresies, but with various erroneous tenets he prevailed upon others to apostatize, until the whole were led astray, and deserted the doctrines and observances inculcated by the three Vedas. Some then spake evil of the sacred books; some blasphemed the gods; some treated sacrifices and other devotional ceremonies with scorn; and others calumniated the Brahmans. "The precepts," they cried, "that lead to the injury of animal life (as in sacrifices) are highly reprehensible. To say that casting butter into flame is productive of reward, is mere childishness. If Indra, after having obtained godhead by multiplied rites, is fed upon the wood used as fuel in holy fire, he is lower than a brute, which feeds at least upon leaves. If an animal slaughtered in religious worship is thereby raised to heaven, would it not be expedient for a man who institutes a sacrifice to kill his own father for a victim? If that which is eaten by one at a Śráddha gives satisfaction to another, it must be unnecessary for one who resides at a distance to bring food for presentation in person913." "First, then, let it be determined what may be (rationally) believed by mankind, and then," said their preceptor, "you will find that felicity may be expected from my instructions. The words of authority do not, mighty Asuras, fall from heaven: the text that has reason is alone to be acknowledged by me, and by such as you are914." By such and similar [p.341] lessons the Daityas were perverted, so that not one of them admitted the authority of the Vedas.

When the Daityas had thus declined from the path of the holy writings, the deities took courage, and gathered together for battle. Hostilities accordingly were renewed, but the demons were now defeated and slain by the gods, who had adhered to the righteous path. The armour of religion, which had formerly protected the Daityas, had been discarded by them, and upon its abandonment followed their destruction915.

Thus, Maitreya, you are to understand that those who have seceded from their original belief are said to be naked, because they have thrown off the garment of the Vedas. According to the law there are four conditions or orders of men (of the three first castes), the religious student, the householder, the hermit, and the mendicant. There is no fifth state; and the unrighteous man who relinquishes the order of the householder, and does not become either an anchoret or a mendicant, is also a naked (seceder). The man who neglects his permanent observances for one day and night, being able to perform them, incurs thereby sin for one day; and should he omit them, not being in trouble, for a fortnight, he can be purified only by arduous expiation. The virtuous must stop to gaze upon the sun after looking upon a person who has allowed a year to elapse without the observance of the perpetual ceremonies; and they must bathe with their clothes on should they have touched him: but for the individual himself no expiation has been declared. There is no sinner upon earth more culpable than one in whose dwelling the gods, progenitors, and spirits, are left to sigh unworshipped. Let not a man associate, in residence, sitting, or society, with him whose person or whose house has been blasted by the sighs of the gods, progenitors, and spirits. Conversation, interchange of civilities, or association with a man who for a twelvemonth has not discharged his [p.342] religious duties, is productive of equality of guilt; and the person who eats in the house of such a man, or sits down with him, or sleeps on the same couch with him, becomes like him instantaneously. Again; he who takes his food without shewing reverence to the gods, progenitors, spirits, and guests, commits sin. How great is his sin! The Brahmans, and men of the other castes, who turn their faces away from their proper duties, become heretics, and are classed with those who relinquish pious works. Remaining in a place where there is too great an intermixture of the four castes is detrimental to the character of the righteous. Men fall into hell who converse with one who takes his food without offering a portion to the gods, the sages, the manes, spirits, and guests. Let therefore a prudent person carefully avoid the conversation, or the contact, and the like, of those heretics who are rendered impure by their desertion of the three Vedas. The ancestral rite, although performed with zeal and faith, pleases neither gods nor progenitors if it be looked upon by apostates.

It is related that there was formerly a king named Śatadhanu, whose wife Śaivyá was a woman of great virtue. She was devoted to her husband, benevolent, sincere, pure, adorned with every female excellence, with humility, and discretion. The Rájá and his wife daily worshipped the god of gods, Janárddana, with pious meditations, oblations to fire, prayers, gifts, fasting, and every other mark of entire faith, and exclusive devotion. On one occasion, when they had fasted on the full moon of Kártika, and had bathed in the Bhagirathí, they beheld, as they came up from the water, a heretic approach them, who was the friend of the Rájá's military preceptor. The Rájá, out of respect to the latter, entered into conversation with the heretic; but not so did the princess; reflecting that she was observing a fast, she turned from him, and cast her eyes up to the sun. On their arrival at home, the husband and wife, as usual, performed the worship of Vishńu, agreeably to the ritual. After a time the Rájá, triumphant over his enemies, died; and the princess ascended the funeral pile of her husband.

In consequence of the fault committed by Śatadhanu, by speaking to an infidel when he was engaged in a solemn fast, he was born again as a [p.343] dog. His wife was born as the daughter of the Rájá of Káśí, with a knowledge of the events of her preexistence, accomplished in every science, and endowed with every virtue. Her father was anxious to give her in marriage to some suitable husband, but she constantly opposed his design, and the king was prevented by her from accomplishing her nuptials. With the eye of divine intelligence she knew that her own husband had been regenerate as a dog, and going once to the city of Vaidiśá she saw the dog, and recognised her former lord in him. Knowing that the animal was her husband, she placed upon his neck the bridal garland, accompanying it with the marriage rites and prayers: but he, eating the delicate food presented to him, expressed his delight after the fashion of his species; at which she was much ashamed, and, bowing reverently to him, thus spake to her degraded spouse: "Recall to memory, illustrious prince, the ill-timed politeness on account of which you have been born as a dog, and are now fawning upon me. In consequence of speaking to a heretic, after bathing in a sacred river, you have been condemned to this abject birth. Do you not remember it?" Thus reminded, the Rájá recollected his former condition, and was lost in thought, and felt deep humiliation. With a broken spirit he went forth from the city, and falling dead in the desert, was born anew as a jackal. In the course of the following year the princess knew what had happened, and went to the mountain Koláhala to seek for her husband. Finding him there, the lovely daughter of the king of the earth said to her lord, thus disguised as a jackal, "Dost thou not remember, oh king, the circumstance of conversing with a heretic, which I called to thy recollection when thou wast a dog?" The Rájá, thus addressed, knew that what the princess had spoken was true, and thereupon desisted from food, and died. He then became a wolf; but his blameless wife knew it, and came to him in the lonely forest, and awakened his remembrance of his original state. "No wolf art thou," she said, "but the illustrious sovereign Śatadhanu. Thou wast then a dog, then a jackal, and art now a wolf." Upon this, recollecting himself, the prince abandoned his life, and became a vulture; in which form his lovely queen still found him, and aroused him to a knowledge of the past. "Prince," [p.344] she exclaimed, "recollect yourself: away with this uncouth form, to which the sin of conversing with a heretic has condemned you!" The Rájá was next born as a crow; when the princess, who through her mystical powers was aware of it, said to him, "Thou art now thyself the eater of tributary grain, to whom, in a prior existence, all the kings of the earth paid tribute916." Having abandoned his body, in consequence of the recollections excited by these words, the king next became a peacock, which the princess took to herself, and petted, and fed constantly with such food as is agreeable to birds of its class. The king of Káśí instituted at that time the solemn sacrifice of a horse. In the ablutions with which it terminated the princess caused her peacock to be bathed, bathing also herself; and she then reminded Śatadhanu how he had been successively born as various animals. On recollecting this, he resigned his life. He was then born as the son of a person of distinction; and the princess now assenting to the wishes of her father to see her wedded, the king of Káśí caused it to be made known that she would elect a bridegroom from those who should present themselves as suitors for her hand. When the election took place, the princess made choice of her former lord, who appeared amongst the candidates, and again invested him with the character of her husband. They lived happily together, and upon her father's decease Śatadhanu ruled over the country of Videha. He offered many sacrifices, and gave away many gifts, and begot sons, and subdued his enemies in war; and having duly exercised the sovereign power, and cherished benignantly the earth, he died, as became his warrior birth, in battle. His queen again followed him in death, and, conformably to sacred precepts, once more mounted cheerfully his funeral pile. The king then, along with his princess, ascended beyond the sphere of Indra to the regions where all desires are for ever gratified, obtaining ever-during and unequalled happiness in heaven, the perfect felicity that is the rarely realised reward of conjugal fidelity917.


Such, Maitreya, is the sin of conversing with a heretic, and such are the expiatory effects of bathing after the solemn sacrifice of a horse, as I have narrated them to you. Let therefore a man carefully avoid the discourse or contact of an unbeliever, especially at seasons of devotion, and when engaged in the performance of religious rites preparatory to a sacrifice. If it be necessary that a wise man should look at the sun, after beholding one who has neglected his domestic ceremonies for a month, how much greater need must there be of expiation after encountering one who has wholly abandoned the Vedas? one who is supported by infidels, or who disputes the doctrines of holy writ? Let not a person treat with even the civility of speech, heretics, those who do forbidden acts, pretended saints, scoundrels, sceptics918, and hypocrites. Intercourse with such iniquitous wretches, even at a distance, all association with schismatics, defiles; let a man therefore carefully avoid them.

These, Maitreya, are the persons called naked, the meaning of which term you desired to have explained. Their very looks vitiate the performance of an ancestral oblation; speaking to then destroys religious merit for a whole day. These are the unrighteous heretics to whom a man must not give shelter, and speaking to whom effaces whatever merit he may that day have obtained. Men, indeed, fall into hell as the consequence of only conversing with those who unprofitably assume the twisted hair, and shaven crown; with those who feed without offering food to gods, spirits, and guests; and those who are excluded from the presentation of cakes, and libations of water, to the manes.




Dynasties of kings. Origin of the solar dynasty from Brahmá. Sons of the Manu Vaivaswata. Transformations of Ilá or Sudyumna. Descendants of the sons of Vaivaswat; those of Nedisht́ha. Greatness of Marutta. Kings of Vaiśálí. Descendants of Śaryáti. Legend of Raivata; his daughter Revatí married to Balaráma.

MAITREYA.Venerable preceptor, you have explained to me the perpetual and occasional ceremonies which are to be performed by those righteous individuals who are diligent in their devotions; and you have also described to me the duties which devolve upon the several castes, and on the different orders of the human race. I have now to request you will relate to me the dynasties of the kings who have ruled over the earth919.

PARÁŚARA.I will repeat to you, Maitreya, an account of the family of Manu, commencing with Brahmá, and graced by a number of religious, magnanimous, and heroic princes. Of which it is said, "The lineage of him shall never be extinct, who daily calls to mind the race of [p.348] Manu, originating with Brahmá920." Listen therefore, Maitreya, to the entire series of the princes of this family, by which all sin shall be effaced.

Before the evolution of the mundane egg, existed Brahmá, who was Hirańyagarbha, the form of that supreme Brahma which consists of Vishńu as identical with the Rig, Yajur, and Sáma Vedas; the primeval, uncreated cause of all worlds. From the right thumb of Brahmá was born the patriarch Daksha921; his daughter was Aditi, who was the mother of the sun. The Manu Vaivaswata was the son of the celestial luminary; and his sons were Ikshwáku, Nriga, Dhrisht́a, Śaryáti, Narishyanta, Pránśu, Nábhága, Nedisht́a, Karúsha, and Prishadhra922. [p.349] Before their birth, the Manu being desirous of sons, offered a sacrifice for that purpose to Mitra and Varuńa; but the rite being deranged, through an irregularity of the ministering priest, a daughter, Ilá, was produced923. Through the favour of the two divinities, however, her sex [p.350] was changed, and she became a man, named Sudyumna. At a subsequent period, in consequence of becoming subject to the effects of a malediction once pronounced by Śiva, Sudyumna was again transformed to a woman in the vicinity of the hermitage of Budha, the son of the deity of the moon. Budha saw and espoused her, and had by her a son named Purúravas. After his birth, the illustrious Rishis, desirous of restoring Sudyumna to his sex, prayed to the mighty Vishńu, who is the essence of the four Vedas, of mind, of every thing, and of nothing; and who is in the form of the sacrificial male; and through his favour Ilá once more became Sudyumna, in which character he had three sons, Utkala, Gaya, and Vinata924.

In consequence of his having been formerly a female, Sudyumna was excluded from any share in his paternal dominions; but his father, at the suggestion of Vaśisht́ha, bestowed upon him the city Pratisht́hána925, and he gave it to Purúravas.


Of the other sons of the Manu, Prishadhra, in consequence of the crime of killing a cow, was degraded to the condition of a Śúdra926. From Karúsha descended the mighty warriors termed Kárúshas (the sovereigns of the north927). The son of Nedisht́ha, named Nábhága, became [p.352] a Vaiśya928: his son was Bhalandana929; whose son was the celebrated Vatsaprí930: his son was Pránsu; whose son was Prajáni931; whose son was Khanitra932; whose son was the very valiant Chakshupa933; whose son was Vinśa934; whose son was Vivinśati935; whose son was Khaninetra; whose son was the powerful, wealthy, and valiant Karandhama936; whose son was Avikshi (or Avikshit937); whose son was the mighty Marutta, of whom this well known verse is recited; "There never was beheld on earth a sacrifice equal to the sacrifice of Marutta: all the implements [p.353] and utensils were made of gold. Indra was intoxicated with the libations of Soma juice, and the Brahmans were enraptured with the magnificent donations they received. The winds of heaven encompassed the rite as guards, and the assembled gods attended to behold it938." Marutta was a Chakravarttí, or universal monarch: he had a son named Narishyanta939; his son was Dama940; his son was Rájyavarddhana; his son was Sudhriti; his son was Nara; his son was Kevala; his son was Bandhumat; his son was Vegavat; his son was Budha941; his son was Trinavindu, who had a daughter named Ilavilá942. The celestial nymph Alambushá becoming enamoured of Trińavindu, bore him a son named Viśála, by whom the city Vaisáli was founded943.


The son of the first king of Vaiśálí was Hemachandra; his son was Suchandra; his son was Dhúmráśwa; his son was Srinjaya944; his son was Sahadeva945; his son was Kriśáśwa; his son was Somadatta, who celebrated ten times the sacrifice of a horse; his son was Janamejaya; and his son was Sumati946. These were the kings of Vaiśálí; of whom it is said, "By the favour of Trińavindu all the monarchs of Vaiśálí were long lived, magnanimous, equitable, and valiant."

Śaryáti, the fourth son of the Manu, had a daughter named Sukanyá, who was married to the holy sage Chyavana947: he had also a righteous son, called Ánartta. The son of the latter was Revata948, who ruled over [p.355] the country called after his father Ánartta, and dwelt at the capital denominated Kuśasthalí949. The son of this prince was Raivata or Kakudmín, the eldest of a hundred brethren. He had a very lovely daughter, and not finding any one worthy of her hand, he repaired with her to the region of Brahmá to consult the god where a fit bridegroom was to be met with. When he arrived, the quiristers Háhá, Húhú, and others, were singing before Brahmá; and Raivata, waiting till they had finished, imagined the ages that elapsed during their performance to be but as a moment. At the end of their singing, Raivata prostrated himself before Brahmá, and explained his errand. "Whom should you wish for a son-in-law?" demanded Brahmá; and the king mentioned to him various persons with whom he could be well pleased. Nodding his head gently, and graciously smiling, Brahmá said to him, "Of those whom you have named the third or fourth generation no longer survives, for many successions of ages have passed away whilst you were listening to our songsters: now upon earth the twenty-eighth great age of the present Manu is nearly finished, and the Kali period is at hand. You must therefore bestow this virgin gem upon some other husband, for you are now alone, and your friends, your ministers, servants, wife, kinsmen, armies, and treasures, have long since been swept away by the hand of time." Overcome with astonishment and alarm, the Rája then said to Brahmá, "Since I am thus circumstanced, do thou, lord, tell me unto whom the maiden shall be given:" and the creator of the world, whose throne is the lotus, thus benignantly replied to the prince, as he stood bowed and humble before him: "The being of whose commencement, course, and termination, we are ignorant; the unborn and omnipresent essence of all things; he whose real and infinite nature and essence we do not knowis the supreme Vishńu. He is time, made up of moments and hours and years; whose influence is the source of perpetual change. He is the universal form of all things, from birth to death. He is [p.356] eternal, without name or shape. Through the favour of that imperishable being am I the agent of his power in creation: through his anger is Rudra the destroyer of the world: and the cause of preservation, Purusha, proceeds also from him. The unborn having assumed my person creates the world; in his own essence he provides for its duration; in the form of Rudra he devours all things; and with the body of Ananta he upholds them. Impersonated as Indra and the other gods he is the guardian of mankind; and as the sun and moon he disperses darkness. Taking upon himself the nature of fire he bestows warmth and maturity; and in the condition of the earth nourishes all beings. As one with air he gives activity to existence; and as one with water he satisfies all wants: whilst in the state of ether, associated with universal aggregation, he furnishes space for all objects. He is at once the creator, and that which is created; the preserver, and that which is preserved; the destroyer, and, as one with all things, that which is destroyed; and, as the indestructible, he is distinct from these three vicissitudes. In him is the world; he is the world; and he, the primeval self-born, is again present in the world. That mighty Vishńu, who is paramount over all beings, is now in a portion of himself upon the earth. That city Kuśasthalí which was formerly your capital, and rivalled the city of the immortals, is now known as Dwáraka950, and there reigns a portion of that divine being in the person of Baladeva; to him, who appears as a man, present her as a wife: he is a worthy bridegroom for this excellent damsel, and she is a suitable bride for him."

Being thus instructed by the lotus-born divinity, Raivata returned with his daughter to earth, where he found the race of men dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect. Repairing to the city of Kuśasthalí, which he found much altered, the wise monarch bestowed his unequalled daughter on the wielder of the ploughshare, whose breast was as fair and radiant as crystal. Beholding the damsel [p.357] of excessively lofty height, the chief, whose banner is a palm-tree, shortened her with the end of his ploughshare, and she became his wife. Balaráma having espoused, agreeably to the ritual, Revatí, the daughter of Raivata, the king retired to the mountain Himálaya, and ended his days in devout austerities951.



Dispersion of Revata's descendants: those of Dhrisht́a: those of Nábhága. Birth of Ikshwáku, the son of Vaivaswata: his sons. Line of Vikukshi. Legend of Kakutstha; of Dhundhumára; of Yuvanáśwa; of Mándhátri: his daughters married to Saubhari.

PARÁŚARA.Whilst Kakudmin, surnamed Raivata, was absent on his visit to the region of Brahmá, the evil spirits or Rákshasas named Puńyajanas destroyed his capital Kuśasthalí. His hundred brothers, through dread of these foes, fled in different directions; and the Kshatriyas, their descendants, settled in many countries952.

From Dhrisht́a, the son of the Manu, sprang the Kshatriya race of Dhársht́aka953.

The son of Nabhága was Nábhága954; his son was [p.359] Ambarísha955; his son was Virúpa956; his son was Prishadaśwa; his son was Rathínara, of whom it is sung, "These, who were Kshatriyas by birth, the heads of the family of Rathínara, were called Ángirasas (or sons of Angiras), and were Brahmans as well as Kshatriyas957."

Ikshwáku was born from the nostril of the Manu, as he happened to sneeze958. He had a hundred sons, of whom the three most distinguished were Vikukshi, Nimi, and Dańd́a. Fifty of the rest, under Sakuni, were the protectors of the northern countries. Forty-eight were the princes of the south959.


Upon one of the days called Asht́aka960, Ikshwáku being desirous of celebrating ancestral obsequies, ordered Vikukshi to bring him flesh suitable for the offering. The prince accordingly went into the forest, and killed many deer, and other wild animals, for the celebration. Being weary with the chase, and being hungered, he sat down, and ate a hare; after which, being refreshed, he carried the rest of the game to his father. Vaśisht́ha, the family priest of the house of Ikshwáku, was summoned to consecrate the food; but he declared that it was impure, in consequence of Vikukshi's having eaten a hare from amongst it (making it thus, as it were, the residue of his meal). Vikukshi was in consequence abandoned by his offended father, and the epithet Śaśáda (hare-eater) was affixed to him by the Guru. On the death of Ikshwáku, the dominion of the earth descended to Śaśáda961, who was succeeded by his son Puranjaya.

In the Treta age a violent war962 broke out between the gods and the Asuras, in which the former were vanquished. They consequently had recourse to Vishńu for assistance, and propitiated him by their adorations. The eternal ruler of the universe, Náráyańa, had compassion upon them, and said, "What you desire is known unto me. Hear how your wishes shall be fulfilled. There is an illustrious prince named Puranjaya, the son of a royal sage; into his person I will infuse a portion of myself, and having descended upon earth I will in his person subdue all your enemies. Do you therefore endeavour to secure the aid [p.361] of Puranjaya for the destruction of your foes." Acknowledging with reverence the kindness of the deity, the immortals quitted his presence, and repaired to Puranjaya, whom they thus addressed: "Most renowned Kshatriya, we have come to thee to solicit thy alliance against our enemies: it will not become thee to disappoint our hopes." The prince replied, "Let this your Indra, the monarch of the spheres, the god of a hundred sacrifices, consent to carry me upon his shoulders, and I will wage battle with your adversaries as your ally." The gods and Indra readily answered, "So be it;" and the latter assuming the shape of a bull, the prince mounted upon his shoulder. Being then filled with delight, and invigorated by the power of the eternal ruler of all movable and immovable things, he destroyed in the battle that ensued all the enemies of the gods; and because he annihilated the demon host whilst seated upon the shoulder (or the hump, Kakud) of the bull, he thence obtained the appellation Kakutstha (seated on the hump963).

The son of Kakutstha was Anenas964, whose son was Prithu, whose son was Viswagaśwa965, whose son was Árdra966, whose son was Yuvanáśwa, whose son was Śravasta, by whom the city of Śrávastí967 was founded. The son of Śravasta was Vrihadaśwa, whose son was Kuvalayáśwa. This prince, inspired with the spirit of Vishńu, destroyed the Asura Dhundhu, who had harassed the pious sage Uttanka; and he was thence entitled Dhundhumára968. In his conflict with the demon [p.362] the king was attended by his sons, to the number of twenty-one thousand; and all these, with the exception of only three, perished in the engagement, consumed by the fiery breath of Dhundhu. The three who survived were Drídháśwa, Chandráśwa, and Kapiláśwa; and the son and successor of the elder of these was Haryyáśwa; his son was Nikumbha; his son was Sanhatáśwa; his son was Kriśáśwa; his son was Prasenajit; and his son was another Yuvanáśwa969.

Yuvanáśwa had no son, at which he was deeply grieved. Whilst residing in the vicinage of the holy Munis, he inspired them with pity for his childless condition, and they instituted a religious rite to procure him progeny. One night during its performance the sages having [p.363] placed a vessel of consecrated water upon the altar had retired to repose. It was past midnight, when the king awoke, exceedingly thirsty; and unwilling to disturb any of the holy inmates of the dwelling, he looked about for something to drink. In his search he came to the water in the jar, which had been sanctified and endowed with prolific efficacy by sacred texts, and he drank it. When the Munis rose, and found that the water had been drunk, they inquired who had taken it, and said, "The queen that has drunk this water shall give birth to a mighty and valiant son." "It was I," exclaimed the Rájá, "who unwittingly drank the water!" and accordingly in the belly of Yuvanáśwa was conceived a child, and it grew, and in due time it ripped open the right side of the Rájá, and was born, and the Raji, did not die. Upon the birth of the child, "Who will be its nurse?" said the Munis; when, Indra, the king of the gods, appeared, and said, "He shall have me for his nurse" (mám dhásyati); and hence the boy was named Mándhátri. Indra put his fore finger into the mouth of the infant, who sucked it, and drew from it heavenly nectar; and he grew up, and became a mighty monarch, and reduced the seven continental zones under his dominion. And here a verse is recited; "From the rising to the going down of the sun, all that is irradiated by his light, is the land of Mándhátri, the son of Yuvanáśwa970."

Mándhátri married Vindumatí, the daughter of Śaśavindu, and had by her three sons, Purukutsa, Ambarísha, and Muchukunda; he had also fifty daughters971.

The devout sage Saubhari, learned in the Vedas, had spent twelve years immersed in a piece of water; the sovereign of the fish in which, named Sammada, of large bulk, had a very numerous progeny. His children and his grandchildren were wont to frolic around him in all [p.364] directions, and he lived amongst them happily, playing with them night and day. Saubhari the sage, being disturbed in his devotions by their sports, contemplated the patriarchal felicity of the monarch of the lake, and reflected, "How enviable is this creature, who, although horn in a degraded state of being, is ever thus sporting cheerfully amongst his offspring and their young. Of a truth he awakens in my mind the wish to taste such pleasure, and I also will make merry amidst my children." Having thus resolved, the Muni came up hastily from the water, and, desirous of entering upon the condition of a householder, went to Mándhátri to demand one of his daughters as his wife. As soon as he was informed of the arrival of the sage, the king rose up from his throne, offered him the customary libation, and treated him with the most profound respect. Having taken a seat, Saubhari said to the Rájá, "I have determined to marry: do you, king, give me one of your daughters as a wife: disappoint not my affection. It is not the practice of the princes of the race of Kakutstha to turn away from compliance with the wishes of those who come to them for succour. There are, O monarch, other kings of the earth to whom daughters have been born, but your family is above all renowned for observance. of liberality in your donations to those who ask your bounty. You have, O prince, fifty daughters; give one of them to me, that so I may be relieved from the anxiety I suffer through fear that my suit may be denied."

When Mándhátri heard this request, and looked upon the person of the sage, emaciated by austerity and old age, he felt disposed to refuse his consent; but dreading to incur the anger and imprecation of the holy man, he was much perplexed, and, declining his head, was lost a while in thought. The Rishi, observing his hesitation, said, "On what, O Rájá, do you meditate? I have asked for nothing which may not be readily accorded: and what is there that shall he unattainable to you, if my desires be gratified by the damsel whom you must needs give unto me?" To this, the king, apprehensive of his displeasure, answered and said, "Grave sir, it is the established usage of our house to wed our daughters to such persons only as they shall themselves select from suitors of fitting rank; and since this your request is not yet made known to my [p.365] maidens, it is impossible to say whether it may be equally agreeable to them as it is to me. This is the occasion of my perplexity, and I am at a loss what to do." This answer of the king was fully understood by the Rishi, who said to himself, "This is merely a device of the Rájá to evade compliance with my suit: the has reflected that I am an old man, having no attractions for women, and not likely to be accepted by any of his daughters: even be it so; I will be a match for him:" and he then spake aloud, and said, "Since such is the custom, mighty prince, give orders that I be admitted into the interior of the palace. Should any of the maidens your daughters be willing to take me for a bridegroom, I will have her for my bride; if no one be willing, then let the blame attach alone to the years that I have numbered." Having thus spoken, he was silent.

Mándhátri, unwilling to provoke the indignation of the Muni, was accordingly obliged to command the eunuch to lead the sage into the inner chambers; who, as he entered the apartments, put on a form and features of beauty far exceeding the personal charms of mortals, or even of heavenly spirits. His conductor, addressing the princesses, said to them, "Your father, young ladies, sends you this pious sage, who has demanded of him a bride; and the Rája has promised him, that he will not refuse him any one of you who shall choose him for her husband." When the damsels heard this, and looked upon the person of the Rishi, they were equally inspired with passion and desire, and, like a troop of female elephants disputing the favours of the master of the herd, they all contended for the choice. "Away, away, sister!" said each to the other; "this is my election, he is my choice; he is not a meet bridegroom for you; he has been created by Brahmá on purpose for me, as I have been created in order to become his wife: he has been chosen by me before you; you have no right to prevent his becoming my husband." In this way arose a violent quarrel amongst the daughters of the king, each insisting upon the exclusive election of the Rishi: and as the blameless sage was thus contended for by the rival princesses, the superintendent of the inner apartments, with a downcast look, reported to the king what had occurred. Perplexed more than ever by this [p.366] information, the Rájá exclaimed, "What is all this! and what am I to do now! What is it that I have said!" and at last, although with extreme reluctance, he was obliged to agree that the Rishi should marry all his daughters.

Having then wedded, agreeably to law, all the princesses, the sage took them home to his habitation, where he employed the chief of architects, Viśwakarman, equal in taste and skill to Brahmá himself, to construct separate palaces for each of his wives: he ordered him to provide each building with elegant couches and seats and furniture, and to attach to them gardens and groves, with reservoirs of water, where the wild-duck and the swan should sport amidst beds of lotus flowers. The divine artist obeyed his injunctions, and constructed splendid apartments for the wives of the Rishi; in which by command of Saubhari, the inexhaustible and divine treasure called Nanda972 took up his permanent abode, and the princesses entertained all their guests and dependants with abundant viands of every description and the choicest quality.

After some period had elapsed, the heart of king Mándhátri yearned for his daughters, and he felt solicitous to know whether they were happily circumstanced. Setting off therefore on a visit to the hermitage of Saubhari, he beheld upon his arrival a row of beautiful crystal palaces, shining as brilliantly as the rays of the sun, and situated amidst lovely gardens, and reservoirs of pellucid water. Entering into one of these magnificent palaces, he found and embraced a daughter, and said to her, as the tears of affection and delight trembled in his eyes, "Dear child, tell me how it is with you. Are you happy here? or not? Does the great sage treat you with tenderness? or do you revert with regret to your early home?" The princess replied, "You behold, my father, how delightful a mansion I inhabit, surrounded by lovely gardens and lakes, where the lotus blooms, and the wild swans murmur. Here I have delicious viands, fragrant unguents, costly ornaments, splendid raiment, soft beds, and every enjoyment that affluence can procure. Why then should I call to memory the place of my birth? To your favour am I [p.367] indebted for all that I possess. I have only one cause of anxiety, which is this; my husband is never absent from my dwelling: solely attached to me, he is always at my side; he never goes near my sisters; and I am concerned to think that they must feel mortified by his neglect: this is the only circumstance that gives me uneasiness."

Proceeding to visit another of his daughters, the king, after embracing her, and sitting down, made the same inquiry, and received the same account of the enjoyments with which the princess was provided: there was also the same complaint, that the Rishi was wholly devoted to her, and paid no attention to her sisters. In every palace Mándhátri heard the same story from each of his daughters in reply to his questions; and with a heart overflowing with wonder and delight he repaired to the wise Saubhari, whom he found alone, and, after paying homage to him, thus addressed him: "Holy sage, I have witnessed this thy marvellous power; the like miraculous faculties I have never known any other to possess. How great is the reward of thy devout austerities!" Having thus saluted the sage, and been received by him with respect, the Rájá resided with him for some time, partaking of the pleasures of the place, and then returned to his capital.

In the course of time the daughters of Mándhátri bore to Saubhari a hundred and fifty sons, and day by day his affection for his children became more intense, and his heart was wholly occupied, with the sentiment of self973. "These my sons," he loved to think, "will charm me with their infant prattle; then they will learn to walk; they will then grow up to youth and to manhood: I shall see them married, and they will have children; and I may behold the children of those children." By these and similar reflections, however, he perceived that his anticipations every day outstripped the course of time, and at last he exclaimed, "What exceeding folly is mine! there is no end to my desires. Though all I hope should come to pass for ten thousand or a hundred thousand years, still new wishes would spring up. When I have seen my infants walk; when I have beheld their youth, their manhood, their marriage, their progeny; still my expectations are unsatisfied, [p.368] and my soul yearns to behold the descendants of their descendants. Shall I even see them, some other wish will be engendered; and when that is accomplished, how is the birth of fresh desires to he prevented? I have at last discovered that there is no end to hope, until it terminates in death; and that the mind which is perpetually engrossed by expectation, can never be attached to the supreme spirit. My mental devotions, whilst immersed in water, were interrupted by attachment to my friend the fish. The result of that connexion was my marriage; and insatiable desires are the consequences of my married life. The pain attendant upon the birth of my single body, is now augmented by the cares attached to fifty others, and is farther multiplied by the numerous children whom the princesses have borne to me. The sources of affliction will be repeatedly renewed by their children, and by their espousals, and by their progeny, and will be infinitely increased: a married life is a mine of individual anxiety. My devotions, first disturbed by the fish of the pool, have since been obstructed by temporal indulgence, and I have been beguiled by that desire for progeny which was communicated to me by association with Sammada. Separation from the world is the only path of the sage to final liberation: from commerce with mankind innumerable errors proceed. The ascetic who has accomplished a course of self-denial falls from perfection by contracting worldly attachments: how much more likely should one so fall whose observances are incomplete? My intellect has been a prey to the desire of married happiness; but I will now so exert myself for the salvation of my soul, that, exempt from human imperfections, I may be exonerated from human sufferings. To that end I will propitiate, by arduous penance, Vishńu, the creator of the universe, whose form is inscrutable, who is smaller than the smallest, larger than the largest, the source of darkness and of light, the sovereign god of gods. On his everlasting body, which is both discrete and indiscrete substance, illimitably mighty, and identical with the universe, may my mind, wholly free from sin, be ever steadily intent, so that I may be born no more. To him I fly for refuge; to that Vishńu, who is the teacher of teachers, who is one with all beings, the pure eternal lord of all, without beginning, middle, or end, and besides whom is nothing."



Saubhari and his wives adopt an ascetic life. Descendants of Mándhátri. Legend of Narmadá and Purukutsa. Legend of Triśanku. Báhu driven from his kingdom by the Haihayas and Tálajanghas. Birth of Sagara: he conquers the barbarians, imposes upon them distinguishing usages, and excludes them from offerings to fire, and the study of the Vedas.

HAVING thus communed with himself, Saubhari abandoned his children, his home, and all his splendour, and, accompanied by his wives, entered the forest, where he daily practised the observances followed by the ascetics termed Vaikhánasas (or anchorets having families), until he had cleansed himself from all sin. When his intellect had attained maturity, he concentrated in his spirit the sacramental fires974, and became a religious mendicant. Then having consigned all his acts to the supreme, he obtained the condition of Achyuta, which knows no change, and is not subject to the vicissitudes of birth, transmigration, or death. Whoever reads, or hears, or remembers, or understands, this legend of Saubhari, and his espousal of the daughters of Mándhátri, shall never, for eight successive births, be addicted to evil thoughts, nor shall he act unrighteously, nor shall his mind dwell upon improper objects, nor shall he be influenced by selfish attachments. The line of Mándhátri is now resumed.

The son of Ambarísha, the son of Mándhátri, was Yuvanáśwa; his son was Harita975, from whom the Angirasa Háritas were descended976.


In the regions below the earth the Gandharbas called Mauneyas (or sons of the Muni Kaśyapa), who were sixty millions in number, had defeated the tribes of the Nágas, or snake-gods, and seized upon their most precious jewels, and usurped their dominion. Deprived of their power by the Gandharbas, the serpent chiefs addressed the god of the gods, as he awoke from his slumbers; and the blossoms of his lotus eyes opened while listening to their hymns. They said, "Lord, how shall we be delivered from this great fear?" Then replied the first of males, who is without beginning, "I will enter into the person of Purukutsa, the son of Mándhátri, the son of Yuvanáśwa, and in him will I quiet these iniquitous Gandharbas." On hearing these words, the snake-gods bowed and withdrew, and returning to their country dispatched Narmadá to solicit the aid of Purukutsa977.

Narmadá accordingly went to Purukutsa, and conducted him to the regions below the earth, where, being filled with the might of the deity, he destroyed the Gandharbas. He then returned to his own palace; and the snake-gods, in acknowledgment of Narmadá's services, conferred upon her as a blessing, that whosoever should think of her, and invoke her name, should never have any dread of the venom of snakes. This is the invocation; "Salutation be to Narmadá in the morning; salutation be to Narmadá at night; salutation be to thee, O Narmadá! defend me [p.371] from the serpent's poison." Whoever repeats this day and night, shall never be bitten by a snake in the dark nor in entering a chamber; nor shall he who calls it to mind when he eats suffer any injury from poison, though it be mixed with his food. To Purukutsa also the snake-gods announced that the series of his descendants should never be cut off.

Purukutsa had a son by Narmadá named Trasadasyu, whose son was Sambhúta978, whose son was Anarańya, who was slain, by Rávańa in his triumphant progress through the nations. The son of Anarańya was Prishadaśwa; his son was Haryyaśwa; his son was Sumanas979; his son was Tridhanwan; his son was Trayyáruńa; and his son was Satyavrata, who obtained the appellation of Triśanku, and was degraded to the condition of a Cháńd́ála, or outcast980. During a twelve years' famine Triśanku provided the flesh of deer for the nourishment of the wife and children of Viswamitra, suspending it upon a spreading fig-tree on the borders of the Ganges, that he might not subject them to the indignity of receiving presents from an outcast. On this account Viśwámitra, being highly pleased with him, elevated him in his living body to heaven981.


The son of Triśanku was Hariśchandra982; his son was [p.373] Rohitáśwa983; his son was Harita984; his son was Chunchu985 who had two sons named Vijaya and Sudeva. Kuruka986 was the son of Vijaya, and his own son was Vrika, whose son was Báhu (or Báthuka). This prince was vanquished by the tribes of Haihayas and Tálajanghas987, anti his country was overrun by them; in consequence of which he fled into the forests with his wives. One of these was pregnant, and being an object of jealousy to a rival queen, the latter gave her poison to prevent her delivery. The poison had the effect of confining the child in the womb for seven years. Báhu, having waxed old, died in the neighbourhood of the residence of the Muni Aurva. His queen having constructed his pile, ascended it with the determination of accompanying him in death; but the sage Aurva, who knew all things, past, present, and to come, issued forth from his hermitage, and forbade her, saying, "Hold! hold! this is unrighteous; a valiant prince, the monarch of many realms, the [p.373] offerer of many sacrifices, the destroyer of his foes, a universal emperor, is in thy womb; think not of committing so desperate an act!" Accordingly, in obedience to his injunctions, she relinquished her intention. The sage then conducted, her to his abode, and after some time a very splendid boy was there born. Along with him the poison that had been given to his mother was expelled; and Aurva, after performing the ceremonies required at birth, gave him on that account the name of Sagara (from Sa, 'with,' and Gara, 'poison'). The same holy sage celebrated his investure with the cord of his class, instructed him fully in the Vedas, and taught him the use of arms, especially those of fire, called after Bhárgava.

When the boy had grown up, and was capable of reflection, he said to his mother one day, "Why are we dwelling in this hermitage? where is my father? and who is he?" His mother, in reply, related to him all that had happened. Upon hearing which he was highly incensed, and vowed to recover his patrimonial kingdom; and exterminate the Haihayas and Tálajanghas, by whom it had been overrun. Accordingly when he became a man he put nearly the whole of the Haihayas to death, and would have also destroyed the Śakas, the Yavanas, Kámbojas, Páradas, and Pahnavas988, but that they applied to Vaśisht́ha, the [p.375] family priest of Sagara, for protection. Vaśisht́ha regarding them as annihilated (or deprived of power), though living, thus spake to Sagara: "Enough, enough, my son, pursue no farther these objects of your wrath, whom you may look upon as no more. In order to fulfil your vow I have separated them from affinity to the regenerate tribes, and from the duties of their castes." Sagara, in compliance with the injunctions of his spiritual guide, contented himself therefore with imposing upon the vanquished nations peculiar distinguishing marks. He made the Yavanas989 shave their heads entirely; the Śakas he compelled to shave (the upper) half of their heads; the Páradas wore their hair long; and the Pahnavas let their beards grow, in obedience to his commands990. Them also, and other Kshatriya races, he deprived of the established usages of oblations to fire and the study of the Vedas; and thus separated from religious rites, and abandoned by the Brahmans, these different tribes became Mlechchhas. Sagara, after the recovery of his kingdom, reigned over the seven-zoned earth with undisputed dominion991.



The progeny of Sagara: their wickedness: he performs an Aśwamedha: the horse stolen by Kapila: found by Sagara's sons, who are all destroyed by the sage: the horse recovered by Anśumat: his descendants. Legend of Mitrasaha or Kalmáshapáda, the son of Sudása. Legend of Khat́wánga. Birth of Ráma and the other sons of Daśaratha. Epitome of the history of Ráma: his descendants, and those of his brothers. Line of Kuśa. Vrihadbala, the last, killed in the great war.

SUMATI the daughter of Kaśyapa, and Kesiní the daughter of Rája Viderbha, were the two wives of Sagara992. Being without progeny, the king solicited the aid of the sage Aurva with great earnestness, and the Muni pronounced this boon, that one wife should bear one son, the upholder of his race, and the other should give birth to sixty thousand sons; and he left it to them to make their election. Kesiní chose to have the single son; Sumati the multitude: and it came to pass in a short time that the former bore Asamanjas993, a prince through whom the dynasty continued; and the daughter of Vinatá (Sumati) had sixty thousand sons. The son of Asamanjas was Anśumat.

Asamanjas was from his boyhood of very irregular conduct. His father hoped that as he grew up to manhood he would reform; but finding that he continued guilty of the same immorality, Sagara abandoned him. The sixty thousand sons of Sagara followed the example of their brother Asamanjas. The path of virtue and piety being obstructed in the world by the sons of Sagara, the gods repaired to the Muni Kapila, who was a portion of Vishńu, free from fault, and endowed with all true wisdom. Having approached him with respect, they said, "O lord, what will become of the world, if these sons of Sagara are permitted to go on in the evil ways which they have learned from Asamanjas! Do thou, then, assume a visible form, for the protection of the afflicted [p.378] universe." "Be satisfied," replied the sage, "in a brief time the sons of Sagara shall be all destroyed."

At that period Sagara commenced the performance of the solemn sacrifice of a horse, who was guarded by his own sons: nevertheless some one stole the animal, and carried it off into a chasm in the earth, Sagara commanded his sons to search for the steed; and they, tracing him by the impressions of his hoofs, followed his course with perseverance, until coming to the chasm where he had entered, they proceeded to enlarge it, and dug downwards each for a league. Coming to Pátála, they beheld the horse wandering freely about, and at no great distance from him they saw the Rishi Kapila sitting, with his head declined in meditation, and illuminating the surrounding space with radiance as bright as the splendours of the autumnal sun, shining in an unclouded sky. Exclaiming, "This is the villain who has maliciously interrupted our sacrifice, and stolen the horse! kill him! kill him!" they ran towards him with uplifted weapons. The Muni slowly raised his eyes, and for an instant looked upon them, and they were reduced to ashes by the sacred flame that darted from his person994.

When Sagara learned that his sons, whom he had sent in pursuit of the sacrificial steed, had been destroyed by the might of the great Rishi Kapila, he dispatched Anśumat, the son of Asamaujas, to effect the animals recovery. The youth, proceeding by the deep path which the princes had dug, arrived where Kapila was, and bowing respectfully, prayed to him, and so propitiated him, that the saint said, "Go, my [p.379] son, deliver the horse to your grandfather; and demand a boon; thy grandson shall bring down the river of heaven on the earth." Anśumat requested as a boon that his uncles, who had perished through the sage's displeasure, might, although unworthy of it, be raised to heaven through his favour. "I have told you," replied Kapila, "that your grandson shall bring down upon earth the Ganges of the gods; and when her waters shall wash the bones and ashes of thy grandfather's sons, they shall be raised to Swarga. Such is the efficacy of the stream that flows from the toe of Vishńu, that it confers heaven upon all who bathe in it designedly, or who even become accidentally immersed in it: those even shall obtain Swarga, whose bones, skin, fibres, hair, or any other part, shall be left after death upon the earth which is contiguous to the Ganges." Having acknowledged reverentially the kindness of the sage, Anśumat returned to his grandfather, and delivered to him the horse. Sagara, on recovering the steed, completed his sacrifice; and in affectionate memory of his sons, denominated Ságara the chasm which they had dug995.

The son of Anśumat was Dilípa996; his son was Bhagíratha, who brought Gangá down to earth, whence she is called Bhágirathí. The son of Bhagíratha was Śruta997; his son was Nábhága998; his son was Ambarísha; his son was Sindhudwípa; his son was Ayutáśwa999; his son was Rituparńa, the friend of Nala, skilled profoundly in dice1000. The [p.380] son of Rituparńa was Sarvakáma1001; his son was Sudása; his son was Saudása, named also Mitrasaha1002.


The son of Sudása having gone into the woods to hunt, fell in with a couple of tigers, by whom the forest had been cleared of the deer. The king slew one of these tigers with an arrow. At the moment of expiring, the form of the animal was changed, and it became that of a fiend of fearful figure, and hideous aspect. Its companion, threatening the prince with its vengeance, disappeared.

After some interval Saudása celebrated a sacrifice, which was conducted by Vaśisht́ha. At the close of the rite Vaśisht́ha went out; when the Rákshas, the fellow of the one that had been killed in the figure of a tiger, assumed the semblance of Vaśisht́ha, and came and said to the king, "Now that the sacrifice is ended, you must give me flesh to eat: let it be cooked, and I will presently return." Having said this, he withdrew, and, transforming himself into the shape of the cook, dressed some human flesh, which he brought to the king, who, receiving it on a plate of gold, awaited the reappearance of Vaśisht́ha. As soon as the Muni returned, the king offered to him the dish. Vaśisht́ha surprised at such want of propriety in the king, as his offering him meat to eat, considered what it should be that was so presented, and by the efficacy of his meditations discovered that it was human flesh. His mind being agitated with wrath, he denounced a curse upon the Rájá, saying, "Inasmuch as you have insulted all such holy men as we are, by giving me what is not to be eaten, your appetite shall henceforth be excited by similar food."

"It was yourself," replied the Rájá to the indignant sage, "who commanded this food to be prepared." "By me!" exclaimed Vaśisht́ha; "how could that have been?" and again having recourse to meditation, he detected the whole truth. Foregoing then all displeasure towards the king, he said, "The food to which I have sentenced you shall not be your sustenance for ever; it shall only be so for twelve years." The king, who had taken up water in the palms of his hands, and was prepared to curse the Muni, now considered that Vaśisht́ha was his spiritual guide, and being reminded by Madayantí his queen that it ill became him to denounce an imprecation upon a holy teacher, who was the guardian divinity of his race, abandoned his intention. [p.382] Unwilling to cast the water upon the earth, lest it should wither up the grain, for it was impregnated with his malediction, and equally reluctant to throw it up into the air, lest it should blast the clouds, and dry up their contents, he threw it upon, his own feet. Scalded by the heat which the water had derived from his angry imprecation, the feet of the Rájá became spotted black and white, and he thence obtained the name of Kalmáshapáda, or he with the spotted (kalmásha) feet (páda).

In consequence of the curse of Vaśisht́ha, the Rájá became a cannibal every sixth watch of the day for twelve years, and in that state wandered through the forests, and devoured multitudes of men. On one occasion he beheld a holy person engaged in dalliance with his wife. As soon as they saw his terrific form, they were frightened, and endeavoured to escape; but the regal Rákshasa overtook and seized the husband. The wife of the Brahman then also desisted from flight, and earnestly entreated the savage to spare her lord, exclaiming, "Thou, Mitrasaha, art the pride of the royal house of Ikshwáku, not a malignant fiend! it is not in thy nature, who knowest the characters of women, to carry off and devour my husband." But all was in vain, and, regardless of her reiterated supplications, he ate the Brahman, as a tiger devours a deer. The Brahman's wife, furious with wrath, then addressed the Rájá, and said, "Since you have barbarously disturbed the joys of a wedded pair, and killed my husband, your death shall be the consequence of your associating with your queen." So saying, she entered the flames.

At the expiration of the period of his curse Saudása returned home. Being reminded of the imprecation of the Brahmani by his wife Madayantí, he abstained from conjugal intercourse, and was in consequence childless; but having solicited the interposition of Vaśisht́ha, Madayantí became pregnant. The child, however, was not born for seven years, when the queen, becoming impatient, divided the womb with a sharp stone, and was thereby delivered. The child was thence called Aśmaka (from Aśman, 'a stone'). The son of Aśmaka was Múlaka, who, when the warrior tribe was extirpated upon earth, was surrounded and concealed by a number of females; whence he was denominated Náríkavacha [p.383] (having women for armour)1003. The son of Múlaka was Daśaratha; his son was Ilavila; his son was Viśwasaha; his son was Khat́wánga, called also Dilípa1004, who in a battle between the gods and the Asuras, being called by the former to their succour, killed a number of the latter. Having thus acquired the friendship of the deities in heaven, they desired him to demand a boon. He said to them, "If a boon is to be accepted by me, then tell me, as a favour, what is the duration of my life." "The length of your life is but an hour," the gods replied. On which, Khat́wánga, who was swift of motion, descended in his easy-gliding chariot to the world of mortals. Arrived there, he prayed, and said, "If my own soul has never been dearer to me than the sacred Brahmans; if I have never deviated from the discharge of my duty; if I have never regarded gods, men, animals, vegetables, all created things, as different from the imperishable; then may I, with unswerving step, attain to that divine being on whom holy sages meditate!" Having thus spoken, he was united with that supreme being, who is Vásudeva; with that elder of all the gods, who is abstract existence, and whose form cannot be described. Thus he obtained absorption, according to this stanza, which was repeated formerly by the seven Rishis; "Like unto Khat́wánga will be no one upon earth, who having come from heaven, and dwelt an hour amongst men, became united with the three worlds by his liberality and knowledge of truth1005."

The son of Khat́wánga was Dírghabáhu; his son was Raghu; his son was Aja; his son was Daśaratha1006. The god from whose navel the [p.384] lotus springs became fourfold, as the four sons of Daśaratha, Ráma, Lakshmańa, Bharata, and Śatrughna, for the protection of the world. Ráma, whilst yet a boy, accompanied Viswámitra, to protect his sacrifice, and slew Tád́aká. He afterwards killed Máricha with his resistless shafts; and Subáhu and others fell by his arms. He removed the guilt of Ahalyá by merely looking upon her. In the palace of Janaka he broke with ease the mighty bow of Maheśwara, and received the hand of Sítá, the daughter of the king, self-born from the earth, as the prize of his prowess. He humbled the pride of Paraśuráma, who vaunted his triumphs over the race of Haihaya, and his repeated slaughters of the Kshatriya tribe. Obedient to the commands of his father, and cherishing no regret for the loss of sovereignty, he entered the forest, [p.385] accompanied by his brother Lakshmańa and by his wife, where he killed in conflict Virádha, Kharadúshana and other Rákshasas, the headless giant Kabandha, and Báli the monkey monarch. Having built a bridge across the ocean, and destroyed the whole Rákshasa nation, he recovered his bride Sítá, whom their ten-headed king Rávańa had carried off, and returned to Ayodhyá with her, after she had been purified by the fiery ordeal from the soil contracted by her captivity, and had been honoured by the assembled gods, who bore witness to her virtue1007.

Bharata made himself master of the country of the Gandharbas, after destroying vast numbers of them; and Śatrughna having killed the Rákshasa chief Lavańa, the son of Madhu, took possession of his capital Mathurá.

Having thus, by their unequalled valour and might, rescued the whole world from the dominion of malignant fiends, Ráma, Lakshmańa, Bharata, and Śatrughna reascended to heaven, and were followed by those of the people of Kośala who were fervently devoted to these incarnate portions of the supreme Vishńu.

Ráma and his brothers had each two sons. Kuśa and Lava were the sous of Ráma; those of Lakshmańa were Angada and Chandraketu; the sons of Bharata were Taksha and Pushkara; and Subáhu and Śúrasena1008 were the sons of Śatrughna.


The son of Kuśa was Atithi; his son was Nishadha; his son was Nala1009; his son was Nabhas; his son was Puńd́aríka; his son was Kshemadhanwan; his son was Deváníka; his son was Ahínagu1010; his son was Páripátra; his son was Dala1011; his son was Chhala1012; his son was Uktha1013; his son was Vajranábha; his son was Śankhanábha1014; his son was Abhyutthitáśwa1015; his son was Viśwasaha1016; his son was Hirańyanábha, who was a pupil of the mighty Yogí Jaimini, and communicated the knowledge of spiritual exercises to Yájnawalkya1017. The son of this [p.387] saintly king was Pushya; his son was Dhruvasandhi1018; his son was Sudarśana; his son was Agnivarńa; his son was Śíghra; his son was Maru1019, who through the power of devotion (Yoga) is still living in the village called Kalápa, and in a future age will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race in the solar dynasty. Maru had a son named Prasuśruta; his son was Susandhi; his son was Amarsha; his son was Mahaswat1020; his son was Viśrutavat1021; and his son was Vrihadbala, who was killed in the great war by Abhimanyu, the son of Anjuna. These are the most distinguished princes in the family of Ikshwáku: whoever listens to the account of them will be purified from all his sins1022.



Kings of Mithilá. Legend of Nimi, the son of Ikshwáku. Birth of Janaka. Sacrifice of Síradhwaja. Origin of Sítá. Descendants of Kuśadhwaja. Kriti the last of the Maithila princes.

THE son of Ikshwáku, who was named Nimi1023, instituted a sacrifice that was to endure for a thousand years, and applied to Vaśisht́ha to offer the oblations. Vaśisht́ha in answer said, that he had been preengaged by Indra for five hundred years, but that if the Rájá, would wait for some time, he would come and officiate as superintending priest. The king made no answer, and Vaśisht́ha went away, supposing that he had assented. When the sage had completed the performance of the ceremonies he had conducted for Indra, he returned with all speed to Nimi, purposing to render him the like office. When he arrived, however, and found that Nimi had retained Gautama and other priests to minister at his sacrifice, he was much displeased, and pronounced upon the king, who was then asleep, a curse to this effect, that since he had not intimated his intention, but transferred to Gautama the duty he had first entrusted to himself, Vaśisht́ha, Nimi should thenceforth cease to exist in a corporeal form. When Nimi woke, and knew what had happened, he in return denounced as an imprecation upon his unjust preceptor, that he also should lose his bodily existence, as the punishment of uttering a curse upon him without previously communicating with him. Nimi then abandoned his bodily condition. The spirit of Vaśisht́ha also leaving his body, was united with the spirits of Mitra and Varuńa for a season, until, through their passion for the nymph Urvaśí, the sage was born again in a different shape. The corpse of Nimi was preserved from decay by being embalmed with fragrant oils and resins, and it remained as entire as if it were immortal1024. When the sacrifice [p.389] was concluded, the priests applied to the gods, who had come to receive their portions, that they would confer a blessing upon the author of the sacrifice. The gods were willing to restore him to bodily life, but Nimi declined its acceptance, saying, "O deities, who are the alleviators of all worldly suffering, there is not in the world a deeper cause of distress than the separation of soul and body: it is therefore my wish to dwell in the eyes of all beings, but never more to resume a corporeal shape!" To this desire the gods assented, and Nimi was placed by them in the eyes of all living creatures; in consequence of which their eyelids are ever opening and shutting.

As Nimi left no successor, the Munis, apprehensive of the consequences of the earth being without a ruler, agitated the body of the prince, and produced from it a prince who was called Janaka, from being born without a progenitor. In consequence of his father being without a body (videha), he was termed also Vaideha, 'the son of the bodiless;' and the further received the name of Mithi, from having been produced by agitation (mathana)1025. The son of Janaka was Udávasu; [p.390] his son was Nandivarddhana; his son was Suketu; his son was Devaráta; his son was Vrihaduktha; his son was Mahávírya; his son was Satyadhriti; his son was Dhrisht́aketu; his son was Haryyaśwa; his son was Maru; his son was Pratibandhaka; his son was Kritaratha; his son was Krita; his son was Vibudha; his son was Mahádhriti; his son was Kritiráta; his son was Mahároman; his son was Suvarńaroman; his son was Hraswaroman; his son was Síradhwaja.

Síradhwaja ploughing the ground, to prepare it for a sacrifice which he instituted in order to obtain progeny, there sprang up in the furrow a damsel, who became his daughter Sítá1026. The brother of Síradhwaja was Kuśadhwaja, who was king of Káśí1027; he had a son also, named Bhánumat1028. The son of Bhánumat was Satadyumna; his son was Śuchi; his son was Úrjjaváha; his son was Śatyadhwaja; his son was Kuni1029; his son was Anjana; his son was Ritujit; his son was Arisht́anemi1030; his son was Śrutáyus; his son was Supárśwa; his son was Sanjaya1031; his son was Kshemári1032; his son was Anenas1033; his son was Mínaratha1034; his son was Satyaratha; his son was Sátyarathi1035; his son was Upagu1036; his son was Śruta1037; his son was Sáswata1038; his son was Sudhanwan; his son was Subhása; his son was Suśruta1039; his son was Jaya; his son was Vijaya; his son was Rita; his son was Sunaya1040; his son was Vítahavya; [p.391] his son was Dhriti; his son was Bahuláśwa; his son was Kriti, with whom terminated the family of Janaka. These are the kings of Mithilá, who for the most part will be1041 proficient in spiritual knowledge1042.



Kings of the lunar dynasty. Origin of Soma, or the moon: he carries off Tárá, the wife of Vrihaspati: war between the gods and Asuras in consequence: appeased by Brahmá. Birth of Budha: married to Ilá, daughter of Vaivaswata. Legend of his son Pururavas, and the nymph Urvaśí: the former institutes offerings with fire: ascends to the sphere of the Gandharbas.

MAITREYA.You have given me, reverend preceptor, an account of the kings of the dynasty of the sun: I am now desirous to hear a description of the princes who trace their lineage from the moon, and whose race is still celebrated for glorious deeds. Thou art able to relate it to me, Brahman, if thou wilt so favour me.

PARÁŚARA.You shall hear from me, Maitreya, an account of the illustrious family of the moon, which has produced many celebrated rulers of the earth; a race adorned by the regal qualities of strength, valour, magnificence, prudence, and activity; and enumerating amongst its monarchs Nahusha, Yayáti, Kártavíryárjuna, and others equally renowned. That race will I describe to you: do you attend.

Atri was the son of Brahmá, the creator of the universe, who sprang from the lotus that grew from the navel of Náráyańa. The son of Atri was Soma1043 (the moon), whom Brahmá installed as the sovereign of plants, of Brahmans, and of the stars. Soma celebrated the Rájasúya sacrifice, and from the glory thence acquired, and the extensive dominion with which he had been invested, he became arrogant and licentious, and carried off Tárá, the wife of Vrihaspati, the preceptor of the gods. In vain Vrihaspati sought to recover his bride; in vain Brahmá commanded, and the holy sages remonstrated; Soma refused to relinquish her. Uśanas, out of enmity to Vrihaspati, took part with Soma. Rudra, who had studied under Angiras, the father of Vrihaspati, befriended his [p.393] fellow-student. In consequence of Uśanas, their preceptor, joining Soma, Jambha, Kujambha, and all the Daityas, Dánavas, and other foes of the gods, came also to his assistance; whilst Indra and all the gods were the allies of Vrihaspati.

Then there ensued a fierce contest, which, being on account of Táraká (or Tárá), was termed the Tárakámaya or Táraká war. In this the gods, led by Rudra, hurled their missiles on the enemy; and the Daityas with equal determination assailed the gods. Earth, shaken to her centre by the struggle between such foes, had recourse to Brahmá for protection; on which he interposed, and commanding Uśanas with the demons and Rudra with the deities to desist from strife, compelled Soma to restore Tárá to her husband. Finding that she was pregnant, Vrihaspati desired her no longer to retain her burden; and in obedience to his orders she was delivered of a son, whom she deposited in a clump of long Munja grass. The child, from the moment of its birth, was endued with a splendour that dimmed the radiance of every other divinity, and both Vrihaspati and Soma, fascinated by his beauty, claimed him as their child. The gods, in order to settle the dispute, appealed to Tárá; but she was ashamed, and would make no answer. As she still continued mute to their repeated applications, the child became incensed, and was about to curse her, saying, "Unless, vile woman, you immediately declare who is my father, I will sentence you to such a fate as shall deter every female in future from hesitating to speak the truth." On this, Brahmá again interfered, and pacified the child; and then, addressing Tárá, said, "Tell me, daughter, is this the child of Vrihaspati, or of Soma?" "Of Soma," said Tárá, blushing. As soon as she had spoken, the lord of the constellations, his countenance bright, and expanding with rapture, embraced his son, and said, "Well done, my boy; verily thou art wise:" and hence his name was Budha1044.


It has already been related how Budha begot Purúravas by Ilá. Purúravas1045 was a prince renowned for liberality, devotion, magnificence, and love of truth, and for personal beauty. Urvaśí having incurred the imprecation of Mitra and Varuńa, determined to take up her abode in the world of mortals; and descending accordingly, beheld Purúravas. As soon as she saw him she forgot all reserve, and disregarding the delights of Swarga, became deeply enamoured of the prince. Beholding her infinitely superior to all other females in grace, elegance, symmetry, delicacy, and beauty, Pururavas was equally fascinated by Urvaśí: both were inspired by similar sentiments, and mutually feeling that each was every thing to the other, thought no more of any other object. Confiding in his merits, Purúravas addressed the nymph, and said, "Fair creature, I love you; have compassion on me, and return my affection." Urvaśí, half averting her face through modesty, replied, "I will do so, if you will observe the conditions I have to propose." "What are they?" inquired the prince; "declare them." "I have two rams," said the nymph, "which I love as children; they must be kept near my bedside, and never suffered to be carried away: you must also take care never to he seen by me undressed; and clarified butter alone must be my food." To these terms the king readily gave assent.

After this, Purúravas and Urvaśí dwelt together in Alaká, sporting amidst the groves and lotus-crowned lakes of Chaitraratha, and the other forests there situated, for sixty-one thousand years1046. The love of [p.395] Purúravas for his bride increased every day of its duration; and the affection of Urvaśí augmenting equally in fervour, she never called to recollection residence amongst the immortals. Not so with the attendant spirits at the court of Indra; and nymphs, genii, and quiristers, found heaven itself but dull whilst Urvaśí was away. Knowing the agreement that Urvaśí had made with the king, Viśwavasu was appointed by the Gandharbas to effect its violation; and he, coming by night to the chamber where they slept, carried off one of the rams. Urvaśí was awakened by its cries, and exclaimed, Ah me! who has stolen one of my children? Had I a husband, this would not have happened! To whom shall I apply for aid?" The Rájá overheard her lamentation, but recollecting that he was undressed, and that Urvaśí might see him in that state, did not move from the couch. Then the Gandharbas came and stole the other ram; and Urvaśí, hearing it bleat, cried out that a woman had no protector who was the bride of a prince so dastardly as to submit to this outrage. This incensed Purúravas highly, and trusting that the nymph would not see his person, as it was dark, he rose, and took his sword, and pursued the robbers, calling upon them to stop, and receive their punishment. At that moment the Gandharbas caused a flash of brilliant lightning to play upon the chamber, and Urvaśí beheld the king undressed: the compact was violated, and the nymph immediately disappeared. The Gandharbas, abandoning the rams, departed to the region of the gods.

Having recovered the animals, the king returned delighted to his couch, but there he beheld no Urvaśí; and not finding her any where, he wandered naked over the world, like one insane. At length coming to Kurukshetra, he saw Urvaśí sporting with four other nymphs of heaven in a lake beautified with lotuses, and he ran to her, and called her his wife, and wildly implored her to return. "Mighty monarch," said the nymph, "refrain from this extravagance. I am now pregnant: depart at present, and come hither again at the end of a year, when I will deliver to you a son, and remain with you for one night." Purúravas, thus comforted, returned to his capital. Urvaśí said to her companions, "This prince is a most excellent mortal: I lived with him [p.396] long and affectionately united." "It was well done of you," they replied; "he is indeed of comely appearance, and one with whom we could live happily for ever."

When the year had expired, Urvaśí and the monarch met at Kurukshetra, and she consigned to him his first-born Áyus; and these annual interviews were repeated, until she had borne to him five sons. She then said to Purúravas, "Through regard for me, all the Gandharbas have expressed their joint purpose to bestow upon my lord their benediction: let him therefore demand a boon." The Rájá replied, "My enemies are all destroyed, my faculties are all entire; I have friends and kindred, armies and treasures: there is nothing which I may not obtain except living in the same region with my Urvaśí. My only desire therefore is, to pass my life with her." When he had thus spoken, the Gandharbas brought to Purúravas a vessel with fire, and said to him, "Take this fire, and, according to the precepts of the Vedas, divide it into three fires; then fixing your mind upon the idea of living with Urvaśí, offer oblations, and you shall assuredly obtain your wishes." The Rájá took the brasier, and departed, and came to a forest. Then he began to reflect that he had committed a great folly in bringing away the vessel of fire instead of his bride; and leaving the vessel in the wood, he went disconsolate to his palace. In the middle of the night he awoke, and considered that the Gandharbas had given him the brasier to enable him to obtain the felicity of living with Urvaśí, and that it was absurd in him to have left it by the way. Resolving therefore to recover it, he rose, and went to the place where he had deposited the vessel; but it was gone. In its stead he saw a young Aśwattha tree growing out of a Śami plant, and he reasoned with himself, and said, "I left in this spot a vessel of fire, and now behold a young Aśwattha tree growing out of a Śami plant. Verily I will take these types of fire to my capital, and there, having engendered fire by their attrition, I will worship it." Having thus determined, he took the plants to his city, and prepared their wood for attrition, with pieces of as many inches long as there are syllables in the Gayatrí: he recited that holy verse, and rubbed together sticks of as many inches as he recited syllables in the [p.397] Gayatrí1047. Having thence elicited fire, he made it threefold, according to the injunctions of the Vedas, and offered oblations with it, proposing as the end of the ceremony reunion with Urvaśí. In this way, celebrating many sacrifices agreeably to the form in which offerings are presented with fire, Purúravas obtained a seat in the sphere of the Gandharbas, and was no more separated from his beloved. Thus fire, that was at first but one, was made threefold in the present Manwantara by the son of Ilá1048.



Sons of Purúravas. Descendants of Amávasu. Indra born as Gádhí. Legend of Richíka and Satyavatí. Birth of Jamadagni and Viśwámitra. Paraśuráma the son of the former. (Legend of Paraśuráma.) Sunahśephas and others the sons of Viśwámitra, forming the Kauśika race.

PURÚRAVAS had six sons, Áyus, Dhímat, Amávasu, Viśwavasu, Śatáyus, and Śrutáyus1049. The son of Amávasu was Bhíma1050; his son was Kánchana1051; his son was Suhotra1052, whose son was Jahnu. This prince, whilst performing a sacrifice, saw the whole of the place overflowed by the waters of the Ganges. Highly offended at this intrusion, his eyes red with anger, he united the spirit of sacrifice with himself, by the power of his devotion, and drank up the river. The gods and sages upon this came to him, and appeased his indignation, and reobtained Gangá from him, in the capacity of his daughter (whence she is called Jáhnaví)1053.


The son of Jahnu was Sumantu1054; his son was Ajaka; his son was Valákáśwa1055; his son was Kuśá1056, who had four sons, Kuśámba, Kuśanábha, Amúrttaya, and Amávasu1057. Kuśámba, being desirous of a son, engaged in devout penance to obtain one who should be equal to Indra. Observing the intensity of his devotions, Indra was alarmed lest a prince of power like his own should be engendered, and determined therefore to take upon himself the character of Kuśámba's son1058. He was accordingly born as Gádhi, of the race of Kuśa (Kauśika). Gádhi had a daughter named Satyavatí. Richíka, of the descendants of Bhrigu, demanded her in marriage. The king was very unwilling to give his daughter to a peevish old Brahman, and demanded of him, as the nuptial present, a thousand fleet horses, whose colour should be white, with one black ear. Richíka having propitiated Varuńa, the god of ocean, obtained from him, at the holy place called Aśwatírtha, a thousand such steeds; and giving them to the king, espoused his daughter1059.

In order to effect the birth of a son, Richíka1060 prepared a dish of rice, barley, and pulse, with butter and milk, for his wife to eat; and at her [p.400] request he consecrated a similar mixture for her mother, by partaking of which she should give birth to a prince of martial prowess. Leaving both dishes with his wife, after describing particularly which was intended for her, and which for her mother, the sage went forth to the forests. When the time arrived for the food to be eaten, the queen said to Satyavatí, "Daughter, all persons wish their children to be possessed of excellent qualities, and would be mortified to see them surpassed by the merits of their mother's brother. It will be desirable for you, therefore, to give me the mess your husband has set apart for you, and to eat of that intended for me; for the son which it is to procure me is destined to be the monarch of the whole world, whilst that which your dish would give you must be a Brahman, alike devoid of affluence, valour, and power." Satyavatí agreed to her mother's proposal, and they exchanged messes.

When Richíka returned home, and beheld Satyavatí, he said to her, "Sinful woman, what hast thou done! I view thy body of a fearful appearance. Of a surety thou hast eaten the consecrated food which was prepared for thy mother: thou hast done wrong. In that food I had infused the properties of power and strength and heroism; in thine, the qualities suited to a Brahman, gentleness, knowledge, and resignation. In consequence of having reversed my plans, thy son shall follow a warrior's propensities, and use weapons, and fight, and slay. Thy mother's son shall be born with the inclinations of a Brahman, and be addicted to peace and piety." Satyavatí, hearing this, fell at her husband's feet, and said, "My lord, I have done this thing through ignorance; have compassion on me; let me not have a son such as thou hast foretold: if such there must be, let it be my grandson, not my son." The Muni, relenting at her distress, replied, "So let it be." Accordingly in due season she gave birth to Jamadagni; and her mother brought forth Viswamitra. Satyavatí afterwards became the Kauśikí river1061. Jamadagni married Reńuká, the daughter of Reńú, of the [p.401] family of Ikshwáku, and had by her the destroyer of the Kshatriya race, Paraśuráma, who was a portion of Náráyańa, the spiritual guide of the universe1062.


(From the Mahábhárata.)

"JAMADAGNI (the son of Richíka1063) was a pious sage, who by the fervour of his devotions, whilst engaged in holy study, obtained entire possession of the Vedas. Having gone to king Prasenajit, he demanded in marriage his daughter Reńuká, and the king gave her unto him. The descendant of Bhrigu conducted the princess to his hermitage, and dwelt with her there, and she was contented to partake in his ascetic life. They had four sons, and then a fifth, who was Jámadagnya, the last but not the least of the brethren, Once when her sons were all absent, to gather the fruits on which they fed, Reńuká, who was exact in the discharge of all her duties, went forth to bathe. On her way to the stream she beheld Chitraratha, the prince of Mrittikávatí, with a garland of lotuses on his neck, sporting with his queen in the water, and she felt envious of their felicity. Defiled by unworthy thoughts, wetted but not purified by the stream, she returned disquieted to the hermitage, and her husband perceived her agitation. Beholding her fallen from perfection, and shorn of the lustre of her sanctity, Jamadagni reproved her, and was exceeding wroth. Upon this there came her sons from the wood, first the eldest, Rumańwat, then Susheńa, then Vasu, and then Viśwavasu; and each, as he entered, was successively commanded by his father to put his mother to death; but amazed, and influenced by natural affection, neither of them made any reply: therefore Jamadagni was angry, and cursed them, and they became as idiots, and lost all [p.402] understanding, and were like unto beasts or birds. Lastly, Ráma returned to the hermitage, when the mighty and holy Jamadagni said unto him, 'Kill thy mother, who has sinned; and do it, son, without repining.' Ráma accordingly took up his axe, and struck off his mother's head; whereupon the wrath of the illustrious and mighty Jamadagni was assuaged, and he was pleased with his son, and said, 'Since thou hast obeyed my commands, and done what was hard to be performed, demand from me whatever blessings thou wilt, and thy desires shall be all fulfilled.' Then Ráma begged of his father these boons; the restoration of his mother to life, with forgetfulness of her having been slain, and purification from all defilement; the return of his brothers to their natural condition; and, for himself, invincibility in single combat, and length of days: and all these did his father bestow.

"It happened on one occasion, that, during the absence of the Rishi's sons, the mighty monarch Kárttavírya, the sovereign of the Haihaya tribe, endowed by the favour of Dattátreya with a thousand arms, and a golden chariot that went wheresoever he willed it to go, came to the hermitage1064 of Jamadagni, where the wife of the sage received him with all proper respect. The king, inflated with the pride of valour, made no return to her hospitality, but carried off with him by violence the calf of the milch cow of the sacred oblation1065, and cast down the tall trees surrounding the hermitage. When Ráma returned, his father told him what had chanced, and he saw the cow in affliction, and he was filled with wrath. Taking up his splendid bow1066, Bhárgava, the slayer of hostile heroes, assailed Kárttavírya, who had now become subject to [p.403] the power of death, and overthrew him in battle. With sharp arrows Ráma cut off his thousand arms, and the king perished. The sons of Kárttavírya, to revenge his death, attacked the hermitage of Jamadagni, when Ráma was away, and slew the pious and unresisting sage, who called repeatedly, but fruitlessly, upon his valiant son. They then departed; and when Ráma returned, bearing fuel from the thickets, he found his father lifeless, and thus bewailed his unmerited fate: 'Father, in resentment of my actions have you been murdered by wretches as foolish as they are base! by the sons of Kárttavírya are you struck down, as a deer in the forest by the huntsman's shafts! Ill have you deserved such a death; you who have ever trodden the path of virtue, and never offered wrong to any created thing! How great is the crime that they have committed, in slaying with their deadly shafts an old man like you, wholly occupied with pious cares, and engaging not in strife! Much have they to boast of to their fellows and their friends, that they have shamelessly slain a solitary hermit, incapable of contending in arms!' Thus lamenting, bitterly and repeatedly, Ráma performed his father's last obsequies, and lighted his funeral pile. He then made a vow that he would extirpate the whole Kshatriya race. In fulfilment of this purpose he took up his arms, and with remorseless and fatal rage singly destroyed in fight the sons of Kárttavírya; and after them, whatever Kshatriyas he encountered, Ráma, the first of warriors, likewise slew. Thrice seven times did the clear the earth of the Kshatriya caste1067; and he filled with their blood the five large lakes of Samanta-panchaka, from which he offered libations to the race of Bhrigu. There did he behold his sire again, and the son of Richíka beheld his son, and told him what to do. Offering a solemn sacrifice to the king of the gods, Jámadagnya presented the earth to the ministering priests. To Kaśyapa he gave the altar made of gold, ten fathoms in length, and nine in height1068. With the permission of Kaśyapa, the Brahmans divided it in pieces amongst them, and they were thence [p.404] called Khańd́aváyana Brahmans. Having given the earth to Kaśyapa, the hero of immeasurable prowess retired to the Mahendra mountain, where he still resides: and in this manner was there enmity between him and the race of Kshatriyas, and thus was the whole earth conquered by Ráma1069."

The son of Viswámitra was Śunahśephas, the descendant of Bhrigu, given by the gods, and thence named Devaráta1070. Viswámitra had [p.405] other sons also, amongst whom the most celebrated were Madhuchhandas, Kritajaya, Devadeva, Asht́aka, Kachchapa, and Hárita; these founded many families, all of whom were known by the name of Kauśikas, and intermarried with the families of various Rishis1071.



Sons of Áyus. Line of Kshatravriddha, or kings of Káśí. Former birth of Dhanwantarí. Various names of Pratarddana. Greatness of Alarka.

ÁYUS, the eldest son of Purúravas, married the daughter of Ráhu (or Áráhu), by whom he had five sons, Nahusha, Kshatravriddha1072, Rambha1073, Raji, and Anenas1074.

The son of Kshatravriddha was Suhotra1075, who had three sons, Káśa1076, Leśa1077, and Ghritsamada. The son of the last was Śaunaka1078, who first established the distinctions of the four castes1079. The son of Káśa was Kaśirájá1080; his son was Dírghatamas1081; his son was Dhanwantari, whose nature was exempt from human infirmities, and who in every existence had been master of universal knowledge. In his past life (or when he was produced by the agitation of the milky sea), Náráyańa had conferred upon him the boon, that he should subsequently be born in the [p.407] family of Kásirájá, should compose the eightfold system of medical science1082, and should be thereafter entitled to a share of offerings made to the gods. The son of Dhanwantari was Ketumat; his son was Bhímaratha; his son was Divodása1083; his son was Pratarddana, so [p.408] named from destroying the race of Bhadraśreńya. He had various other appellations, as Śatrujit, 'the victor over his foes,' from having vanquished all his enemies; Vatsa, or 'child,' from his father's frequently calling him by that name; Ritadhwaja, 'he whose emblem was truth,' being a great observer of veracity; and Kuvalayáśwa, because he had a horse (aśwa) called Kuvalaya1084. The son of this prince was Alarka, of whom this verse is sung in the present day; "For sixty thousand and sixty hundred years no other youthful monarch except Alarka, reigned over the earth1085." The son of Alarka was [p.409] Santati1086; his son was Sunítha; his son was Suketu; his son was Dharmaketu; his son was Satyaketu; his son was Vibhu; his son was Suvibhu; his son was Sukumára; his son was Dhrisht́aketu; his son was Vaińahotra; his son was Bharga; his son was Bhargabhúmi; from whom also rules for the four castes were promulgated1087. These are the Káśya [p.410] princes, or descendants of Káśa1088. We will now enumerate the descendants of Raji.



Descendants of Raji, son of Áyus: Indra resigns his throne to him: claimed after his death by his sons, who apostatize from the religion of the Vedas, and are destroyed by Indra. Descendants of Pratíkshatra, son of Kshatravriddha.

RAJI had five hundred sons, all of unequalled daring and vigour. Upon the occurrence of a war between the demons and the gods, both parties inquired of Brahmá which would be victorious. The deity replied, "That for which Raji shall take up arms." Accordingly the Daityas immediately repaired to Raji, to secure his alliance; which he promised them, if they would make him their Indra after defeating the gods. To this they answered and said, "We cannot profess one thing, and mean another; our Indra is Prahláda, and it is for him that we wage war." Having thus spoken, they departed; and the gods then came to him on the like errand. He proposed to them the said conditions, and they agreed that he should be their Indra. Raji therefore joined the heavenly host, and by his numerous and formidable weapons destroyed the army of their enemies.

When the demons were discomfited, Indra placed the feet of Raji upon his head, and said, "Thou hast preserved me from a great danger, and I acknowledge thee as my father; thou art the sovereign chief over all the regions, and I, the Indra of the three spheres, am thy son." The Rájá. smiled, and said, "Even be it so. The regard that is conciliated by many agreeable speeches is not to be resisted even when such language proceeds from a foe (much less should the kind words of a friend fail to win our affection)." He accordingly returned to his own city, and Indra remained as his deputy in the government of heaven.

When Raji ascended to the skies, his sons, at the instigation of Nárada, demanded the rank of Indra as their hereditary right; and as the deity refused to acknowledge their supremacy, they reduced him to submission by force, and usurped his station. After some considerable time had elapsed, the god of a hundred sacrifices, Indra, deprived of his share of offerings to the immortals, met with Vrihaspati in a retired [p.412] place, and said to him, "Cannot you give me a little of the sacrificial butter, even if it were no bigger than a jujube, for I am in want of sustenance?" "If," replied Vrihaspati, "I had been applied to by you before, I could have done any thing for you that you wished; as it is, I will endeavour and restore you in a few days to your sovereignty." So saying, he commenced a sacrifice for the purpose of increasing the might of Indra, and of leading the sons of Raji into error, and so effecting their downfall1089. Misled by their mental fascination, the princes became enemies of the Brahmans, regardless of their duties, and contemners of the precepts of the Vedas; and thus devoid of morality and religion, they were slain by Indra, who by the assistance of the priest of the gods resumed his place in heaven. Whoever hears this story shall retain for ever his proper place, and shall never be guilty of wicked acts.

Rambha, the third son of Áyus, had no progeny1090. Kshatravriddha had a son named Pratíkshatra1091; his son was Sanjaya; his son was Vijaya1092; his son was Yajnakrit1093; his son was Harshavarddhana1094; his son was Sahadeva; his son was Adína1095; his son was Jayasena; his son was Sankriti; his son was Kshatradharman1096. These were the descendants of Kshatravriddha. I will now mention those of Nahusha.



The sons of Nahusha. The sons of Yayáti: he is cursed by Śukra: wishes his sons to exchange their vigour for his infirmities. Puru alone consents. Yayáti restores him his youth: divides the earth amongst his sons, under the supremacy of Puru.

YATI, Yayáti, Sanyáti, Áyáti, Viyati, and Kriti were the six valiant sons of Nahusha1097. Yati declined the sovereignty1098, and Yayáti therefore succeeded to the throne. He had two wives, Devayání the daughter of Usanas, and Śarmisht́há the daughter of Vrishaparvan; of whom this genealogical verse is recited: "Devayání bore two sons, Yadu and Turvasu. Sarmisht́há, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, had three sons, Druhyu, Anu, and Puru1099." Through the curse of Uśanas, Yayáti [p.414] became old and infirm before his time; but having appeased his father-in-law, he obtained permission to transfer his decrepitude to any one who would consent to take it. He first applied to his eldest son Yadu, and said, "Your maternal grandfather has brought this premature decay upon me: by his permission, however, I may transfer it to you for a thousand years. I am not yet satiate, with worldly enjoyments, and wish to partake of them through the means of your youth. Do not refuse compliance with my request." Yadu, however, was not willing to take upon him his father's decay; on which his father denounced an imprecation upon him, and said, "Your posterity shall not possess dominion." He then applied successively to Druhyu, Turvasu, and Anu, and demanded of them their juvenile vigour. They all refused, and were in consequence cursed by the king. Lastly he made the same request of Sarmisht́há's youngest son, Puru, who bowed to his father, and readily consented to give him his youth, and receive in exchange Yayáti's infirmities, saying that his father had conferred upon him a great favour.

The king Yayáti being thus endowed with renovated youth, conducted the affairs of state for the good of his people, enjoying such pleasures as were suited to his age and strength, and were not incompatible with virtue. He formed a connexion with the celestial nymph Viśwáchí, and was wholly attached to her, and conceived no end to his desires. The more they were gratified, the more ardent they became; as it is said in this verse, "Desire is not appeased by enjoyment: fire fed with sacrificial oil becomes but the more intense. No one has ever more than enough of rice, or barley, or gold, or cattle, or women: abandon therefore inordinate desire. When a mind finds neither good nor ill in all objects, but looks on all with an equal eye, then every thing yields it pleasure. The wise man is filled with happiness, who escapes from desire, which the feeble minded can with difficulty relinquish, and which grows not old with the aged. The hair becomes grey, the teeth fall out, as man advances in years; but the love of wealth, the love of life, are not impaired by age." "A thousand years [p.415] have passed," reflected Yayáti, "and my mind is still devoted to pleasure: every day my desires are awakened by new objects. I will therefore now renounce all sensual enjoyment, and fix my mind upon spiritual truth. Unaffected by the alternatives of pleasure and pain, and having nothing I may call my own, I will henceforth roam the forests with the deer."

Having made this determination, Yayáti restored his youth to Puru, resumed his own decrepitude, installed his youngest son in the sovereignty, and departed to the wood of penance (Tapovana1100). To Turvasu he consigned the south-east districts of his kingdom; the west to Druhyu; the south to Yadu; and the north to Anu; to govern as viceroys under their younger brother Puru, whom he appointed supreme monarch of the earth1101.



The Yádava race, or descendants of Yadu. Kárttavírya obtains a boon from Dattátreya: takes Rávańa prisoner: is killed by Paraśuráma: his descendants.

I WILL first relate to you the family of Yadu, the eldest son of Yayáti, in which the eternal immutable Vishńu descended upon earth in a portion of his essence1102; of which the glory cannot be described, though for ever hymned in order to confer the fruit of all their wisheswhether they desired virtue, wealth, pleasure, or liberationupon all created beings, upon men, saints, heavenly quiristers, spirits of evil, nymphs, centaurs, serpents, birds, demons, gods, sages, Brahmans, and ascetics. Whoever hears the account of the race of Yadu shall be released from all sin; for the supreme spirit, that is without form, and which is called Vishńu, was manifested in this family.

Yadu had four sons, Sahasrajit, Krosht́i, Nala, and Raghu1103. Śatajit was the son of the elder of these, and he had three sons, Haihaya, Veńu1104, and Haya. The son of Haihaya was Dharmanetra1105; his son was Kuntí1106; his son was Sáhanji1107; his son was Mahishmat1108; his son [p.417] was Bhadrasena1109; his son was Durdama; his son was Dhanaka1110, who had four sons, Kritavíryya, Kritágni, Kritavarman, and Kritaujas. Kritavíryya's son was Arjuna, the sovereign of the seven Dwípas, the lord of a thousand arms. This prince propitiated the sage Dattátreya, the descendant of Atri, who was a portion of Vishńu, and solicited and obtained from him these boonsa thousand arms; never acting unjustly; subjugation of the world by justice, and protecting it equitably; victory over his enemies; and death by the hands of a person renowned in the three regions of the universe. With these means he ruled over the whole earth with might and justice, and offered ten thousand sacrifices. Of him this verse is still recited; "The kings of the earth will assuredly never pursue his steps in sacrifice, in munificence, in devotion, in courtesy, and in self-control." In his reign nothing was lost or injured; and so he governed the whole earth with undiminished health, prosperity, power, and might, for eighty five thousand years. Whilst sporting in the waters of the Narmadá, and elevated with wine, Rávańa came on his tour of triumph to the city Máhishmatí, and there he who boasted of overthrowing the gods, the Daityas, the Gandharbas and their king, was taken prisoner by Kárttavírya, and confined like a tame beast in a corner of his capital1111. At the expiration of his long reign Kárttavírya was killed by Paraśuráma, who was an embodied portion of the mighty Náráyańa1112. Of the hundred sons of this king, the five principal were Śúra1113, Śúrasena, Vrishańa1114, Madhu1115, and [p.418] Jayadhwaja1116. The son of the last was Tálajangha, who had a hundred sons, called after him Tálajanghas: the eldest of these was Vítihotra; another was Bharata1117, who had two sons, Vrisha and Sujátí1118. The son of Vrisha was Madhu1119; he had a hundred sons, the chief of whom was Vrishńi, and from him the family obtained the name of Vrishńi1120. From the name of their father, Madhu, they were also called Mádhavas; whilst from the denomination of their common ancestor Yadu, the whole were termed Yádavas1121.



Descendants of Krosht́ri. Jyámagha's connubial affection for his wife Śaivyá: their descendants kings of Vidarbha and Chedi.

KROSHT́RI, the son of Yadu1122, had a son named Vrijinívat1123; his son was Swáhí1124; his son was Rushadru1125; his son was Chitraratha; his son was Śaśavindu, who was lord of the fourteen great gems1126; he had a hundred thousand wives and a million of sons1127. The most renowned of them were Prithuyaśas, Prithukarman, Prithujaya, Prithukírtti, Prithudána, and Prithuśravas. The son of the last of these six1128 was Tamas1129; his son was Uśanas1130, who celebrated a hundred sacrifices of the horse; his son was Śiteyus1131; his son was Rukmakavacha1132; his son was Parávrit, who lead five sons, Rukméshu, Prithurukman, Jyámagha, Pálita, and Harita1133. To this day the following verse relating to Jyámagha [p.421] is repeated: "Of all the husbands submissive to their wives, who have been or who will be, the most eminent is the king Jyámagha1134, who was the husband of Śaivyá." Śaivyá was barren; but Jyámagha was so much afraid of her, that he did not take any other wife. On one occasion the king, after a desperate conflict with elephants and horse, defeated a powerful foe, who abandoning wife, children, kin, army, treasure, and dominion, fled. When the enemy was put to flight, Jyámagha beheld a lovely princess left alone, and exclaiming, "Save me, father! Save me, brother!" as her large eyes rolled wildly with affright. The king was struck by her beauty, and penetrated with affection for her, and said to himself, "This is fortunate; I have no children, and am the husband of a sterile bride; this maiden has fallen into my hands to rear up to me posterity: I will espouse her; but first I will take her in my car, and convey her to my palace, where I must request the concurrence of the queen in these nuptials." Accordingly he took the princess into his chariot, and returned to his own capital.

When Jyámagha's approach was announced, Śaivyá came to the palace gate, attended by the ministers, the courtiers, and the citizens, to welcome the victorious monarch: but when she beheld the maiden standing on the left hand of the king, her lips swelled and slightly quivered with resentment, and she said to Jyámagha, "Who is this light-hearted damsel that is with you in the chariot?" The king unprepared with a reply, [p.422] made answer precipitately, through fear of his queen; "This is my daughter-in-law." "I have never had a son," rejoined Śaivyá, "and you have no other children. Of what son of yours then is this girl the wife?" The king disconcerted by the jealousy and anger which the words of Śaivyá displayed, made this reply to her in order to prevent further contention; "She is the young bride of the future son whom thou shalt bring forth." Hearing this, Śaivyá smiled gently, and said, "So be it;" and the king entered into his great palace.

In consequence of this conversation regarding the birth of a son having taken place in an auspicious conjunction, aspect, and season, the queen, although passed the time of women, became shortly afterwards pregnant, and bore a son. His father named him Vidarbha, and married him to the damsel he had brought home. They had three sons, Kratha, Kaiśika1135, and Romapáda1136. The son of Romapáda was Babhru1137, and his son was Dhriti1138. The son of Kaiśika was Chedi, whose descendants were called the Chaidya kings1139. The son of Kratha was Kunti1140; his son was Vrishńi1141; his son was Nirvriti1142; his son was Dasárha; his son was Vyoman; his son was Jímúta; his son was Vikriti1143; his son was Bhímaratha; his son was Navaratha1144; his son was Daśaratha1145; his son was Śakuni; his son was Karambhi; his son was Devaráta; his son was Devakshatra1146; his son was Madhu1147; his son was Anavaratha; his [p.423] son was Kuruvatsa; his son was Anuratha; his son was Puruhotra; his son was Anśu; his son was Satwata, from whom the princes of this house were termed Sátwatas. This was the progeny of Jyámagha; by listening to the account of whom, a man is purified from his sins.



Sons of Satwata. Bhoja princes of Mrittikávatí. Súrya the friend of Satrájit: appears to him in a bodily form: gives him the Syamantaka gem: its brilliance and marvellous properties. Satrájit gives it to Prasena, who is killed by a lion: the lion killed by the bear Jámbavat. Krishńa suspected of killing Prasena, goes to look for him in the forests: traces the bear to his cave: fights with him for the jewel: the contest prolonged: supposed by his companions to be slain: he overthrows Jámbavat, and marries his daughter Jámbavatí: returns with her and the jewel to Dwáraká: restores the jewel to Satrájit, and marries his daughter Satyabhámá. Satrájit murdered by Śatadhanwan: avenged by Krishńa. Quarrel between Krishńa and Balaráma. Akrúra possessed of the jewel: leaves Dwáraká. Public calamities. Meeting of the Yádavas. Story of Akrúra's birth: he is invited to return: accused by Krishńa of having the Syamantaka jewel: produces it in full assembly: it remains in his charge: Krishńa acquitted of having purloined it.

THE sons of Satwata were Bhajina, Bhajamána, Divya, Andhaka, Devávriddha, Mahábhoja, and Vrishńi1148. Bhajamána had three sons, Nimi1149, Krikańa1150, and Vrishńi1151, by one wife, and as many by another, Śatajit, Sahasrajit, and Ayutajit1152. The son of Devávriddha was Babhru of whom this verse is recited; "We hear when afar, and we behold when nigh, that Babhru is the first of men, and Devávriddha is equal to the gods: sixty-six persons following the precepts of one, and six thousand and eight who were disciples of the other, obtained immortality." Mahábhoja was a pious prince; his descendants were the Bhojas, the princes of Mrittikávatí1153, thence called Márttikávatas1154. Vrishńi had two sons, Sumitra and Yudhájit1155; from the former Anamitra and Śini were [p.425] born1156. The son of Anamitra was Nighna, who had two sons, Prasena and Satrájit. The divine Áditya, the sun, was the friend of the latter.

On one occasion Satrájit, whilst walking along the sea shore, addressed his mind to Súrya, and hymned his praises; on which the divinity appeared and stood before him. Beholding him in an indistinct shape, Satrájit said to the sun, "I have beheld thee, lord, in the heavens as a globe of fire: now do thou shew favour unto me, that I may see thee in thy proper form." On this the sun taking the jewel called Syamantaka from off his neck, placed it apart, and Satrájit beheld him of a dwarfish stature, with a body like burnished copper, and with slightly reddish eyes. Having offered his adorations, the sun desired him to demand a boon, and he requested that the jewel might become his. The sun presented it to him, and then resumed his place in the sky. Having obtained the spotless gem of gems, Satrájit wore it on his neck, and becoming as brilliant thereby as the sun himself, irradiating all the region with his splendour, he returned to Dwáraká. The inhabitants of that city, beholding him approach, repaired to the eternal male, Purushottama, who, to sustain the burden of the earth, had assumed a mortal form (as Krishńa), and said to him, "Lord, assuredly the divine sun is coming to visit you." But Krishńa smiled, and said, "It is not the divine sun, but Satrájit, to whom Áditya has presented the Syamantaka gem, and he now wears it: go and behold him without apprehension." Accordingly they departed. Satrájit having gone to his house, there deposited the jewel, which yielded daily eight loads of gold, and through its marvellous virtue dispelled all fear of portents, wild beasts, fire, robbers, and famine.


Achyuta was of opinion that this wonderful gem should be in the possession of Ugrasena; but although he had the power of taking it from Satrájit, he did not deprive him of it, that he might not occasion ally disagreement amongst the family. Satrájit, on the other hand, fearing that Krishńa would ask him for the jewel, transferred it to his brother Prasena. Now it was the peculiar property of this jewel, that although it was an inexhaustible source of good to a virtuous person, yet when worn by a man of bad character it was the cause of his death. Prasena having taken the gem, and hung it round his neck, mounted his horse, and went to the woods to hunt. In the chase he was killed by a lion. The lion, taking the jewel in his mouth, was about to depart, when he was observed and killed by Jámbavat, the king of the bears, who carrying off the gem retired into his cave, and gave it to his son Sukumára to play with. When some time had elapsed, and Prasena did not appear, the Yádavas began to whisper one to another, and to say, "This is Krishńa's doing: desirous of the jewel, and not obtaining it, he has perpetrated the murder of Prasena in order to get it into his possession."

When these calumnious rumours came to the knowledge of Krishńa, he collected a number of the Yádavas, and accompanied by them pursued the course of Prasena by the impressions of his horse's hoofs. Ascertaining by this means that he and his horse had been killed by a lion, he was acquitted by all the people of any share in his death. Desirous of recovering the gem, he thence followed the steps of the lion, and at no great distance came to the place where the lion had been killed by the bear. Following the footmarks of the latter, he arrived at the foot of a mountain, where he desired the Yádavas to await him, whilst he continued the track. Still guided by the marks of the feet, he discovered a cavern, and had scarcely entered it when he heard the nurse of Sukumára saying to him, "The lion killed Prasena; the lion has been killed by Jámbavat: weep not, Sukumára, the Syamantaka is your own." Thus assured of his object, Krishńa advanced into the cavern, and saw the brilliant jewel in the hands of the nurse, who was giving it as a plaything to Sukumára. The nurse soon descried his [p.427] approach, and marking his eyes fixed upon the gem with eager desire, called loudly for help. Hearing her cries, Jámbavat, full of anger, came to the cave, and a conflict ensued between him and Achyuta, which lasted twenty-one days. The Yádavas who had accompanied the latter waited seven or eight days in expectation of his return, but as the foe of Madhu still came not forth, they concluded that he must have met his death in the cavern. "It could not have required so many days," they thought, "to overcome an enemy;" and accordingly they departed, and returned to Dwáraká, and announced that Krishńa had been killed.

When the relations of Achyuta heard this intelligence, they performed all the obsequial rites suited to the occasion. The food and water thus offered to Krishńa in the celebration of his Śráddha served to support his life, and invigorate his strength in the combat in which he was engaged; whilst his adversary, wearied by daily conflict with a powerful foe, bruised and battered in every limb by heavy blows, and enfeebled by want of food, became unable longer to resist him. Overcome by his mighty antagonist, Jámbavat cast himself before him and said, "Thou, mighty being, art surely invincible by all the demons, and by the spirits of heaven, earth, or hell; much less art thou to be vanquished by mean and powerless creatures in a human shape; and still less by such as we are, who are born of brute origin. Undoubtedly thou art a portion of my sovereign lord Náráyańa, the defender of the universe." Thus addressed by Jámbavat, Krishńa explained to him fully that he had descended to take upon himself the burden of the earth, and kindly alleviated the bodily pain which the bear suffered from the fight, by touching him with his hand. Jámbavat again prostrated himself before Krishńa, and presented to him his daughter Jámbavatí, as an offering suitable to a guest. He also delivered to his visitor the Syamantaka jewel. Although a gift from such an individual was not fit for his acceptance, yet Krishńa took the gem for the purpose of clearing his reputation. He then returned along with his bride Jámbavatí to Dwáraká.

When the people of Dwáraká beheld Krishńa alive and returned, they were filled with delight, so that those who were bowed down with [p.428] years recovered youthful vigour; and all the Yádavas, men and women, assembled round Ánakadundubhi, the father of the hero, and congratulated him. Krishńa related to the whole assembly of the Yádavas all that had happened, exactly as it had befallen, and restoring the Syamantaka jewel to Satrájit was exonerated from the crime of which he had been falsely accused. He then led Jámbavatí into the inner apartments.

When Satrájit reflected that he had been the cause of the aspersions upon Krishńa's character, he felt alarmed, and to conciliate the prince he gave him to wife his daughter Satyabhámá. The maiden had been previously sought in marriage by several of the most distinguished Yádavas, as Akrúra, Kritavarman and Śatadhanwan, who were highly incensed at her being wedded to another, and leagued in enmity against Satrájit. The chief amongst them, with Akrúra and Kritavarman, said to Śatadhanwan, "This caitiff Satrájit has offered a gross insult to you, as well as to us who solicited his daughter, by giving her to Krishńa: let him not live: why do you not kill him, and take the jewel? Should Achyuta therefore enter into feud with you, we will take your part." Upon this promise Śatadhanwan undertook to slay Satrájit.

When news arrived that the sons of Páńd́u had been burned in the house of wax1157, Krishńa, who knew the real truth, set off for Bárańávata to allay the animosity of Duryodhana, and to perform the duties his relationship required. Śatadhanwan taking advantage of his absence, killed Satrájit in his sleep, and took possession of the gem. Upon this coming to the knowledge of Satyabhámá, she immediately mounted her chariot, and, filled with fury at her father's murder, repaired to Bárańávata, and told her husband how Satrájit had been killed by Śatadhanwan in resentment of her having been married to another, and how he had carried off the jewel; and she implored him to take prompt measures to avenge such heinous wrong. Krishńa, who is ever internally placid, being informed of these transactions, said to Satyabhámá, as his eyes flashed with indignation, "These are indeed [p.429] audacious injuries, but I will not submit to them from so vile a wretch. They must assail the tree, who would kill the birds that there have built their nests. Dismiss excessive sorrow; it needs not your lamentations to excite any wrath." Returning forthwith to Dwáraká, Krishńa took Baladeva apart, and said to him, "A lion slew Prasena, hunting in the forests; and now Satrájit has been murdered by Śatadhanwan. As both these are removed, the jewel which belonged to them is our common right. Up then, ascend your car, and put Śatadhanwan to death."

Being thus excited by his brother, Balaráma engaged resolutely in the enterprise; but Śatadhanwan, being aware of their hostile designs, repaired to Kritavarman, and required his assistance. Kritavarman, however, declined to assist him, pleading his inability to engage in a conflict with both Baladeva and Krishńa. Śatadhanwan thus disappointed, applied to Akrúra; but he said, "You must have recourse to some other protector. How should I be able to defend you? There is no one even amongst the immortals, whose praises are celebrated throughout the universe, who is capable of contending with the wielder of the discus, at the stamp of whose foot the three worlds tremble; whose hand makes the wives of the Asuras widows, whose weapons no host, however mighty, can resist: no one is capable of encountering the wielder of the ploughshare, who annihilates the prowess of his enemies by the glances of his eyes, that roll with the joys of wine; and whose vast ploughshare manifests his might, by seizing and exterminating the most formidable foes." "Since this is the case," replied Śatadhanwan, "and you are unable to assist me, at least accept and take care of this jewel." "I will do so," answered Akrúra, "if you promise that even in the last extremity you will not divulge its being in my possession." To this Śatadhanwan agreed, and Akrúra took the jewel; and the former mounting a very swift mare, one that could travel a hundred leagues a day, fled from Dwáraká.

When Krishńa heard of Śatadhanwan's flight, he harnessed his four horses, Śaivya, Sugríva, Meghapushpa, and Baláhaka, to his car, and, accompanied by Balaráma, set off in pursuit. The mare held her speed, [p.430] and accomplished her hundred leagues; but when she reached the country of Mithilá, her strength was exhausted, and she dropped down and died. Śatadhanwan1158 dismounting, continued his flight on foot. When his pursuers came to the place where the mare had perished, Krishńa said to Balaráma, "Do you remain in the car, whilst I follow the villain on foot, and put him to death; the ground here is bad; and the horses will not be able to drag the chariot across it." Balaráma accordingly stayed with the car, and Krishńa followed Śatadhanwan on foot: when he had chased him for two kos, he discharged his discus, and, although Śatadhanwan was at a considerable distance, the weapon struck off his head. Krishńa then coining up, searched his body and his dress for the Syamantaka jewel, but found it not. He then returned to Balabhadra, and told him that they had effected the death of Śatadhanwan to no purpose, for the precious gem, the quintessence of all worlds, was not upon his person. When Balabhadra heard this, he flew into a violent rage, and said to Vásudeva, "Shame light upon you, to be thus greedy of wealth! I acknowledge no brotherhood with you. Here lies my path. Go whither you please; I have done with Dwáraká, with you, with all our house. It is of no use to seek to impose upon me with thy perjuries." Thus reviling his brother, who fruitlessly endeavoured to appease him, Balabhadra went to the city of Videha, where Janaka1159 received him hospitably, and there he remained. Vásudeva returned to Dwáraká. It was during his stay in the dwelling of Janaka that Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarásht́ra, learned from Balabhadra the art of fighting with the mace. At the expiration of three years, Ugrasena and other chiefs of the Yádavas, being satisfied that Krishńa had not the jewel, went to Videha, and removed Balabhadra's suspicions, and brought him home.

Akrúra, carefully considering the treasures which the precious jewel secured to him, constantly celebrated religious rites, and, purified with holy prayers1160, lived in affluence for fifty-two years; and through the [p.431] virtue of that gem there was no dearth nor pestilence in the whole country1161. At the end of that period, Śatrughna, the great grandson of Satwata, was killed by the Bhojas, and as they were in bonds of alliance with Akrúra, he accompanied them in their flight from Dwáraká. From the moment of his departure various calamities, portents, snakes, dearth, plague, and the like, began to prevail; so that he whose emblem is Garúda called together the Yádavas, with Balabhadra and Ugrasena, and recommended them to consider how it was that so many prodigies should have occurred at the same time. On this Andhaka, one of the elders of the Yadhu race, thus spake: "Wherever Śwaphalka, the father of Akrúra, dwelt, there famine, plague, dearth, and other visitations were unknown. Once when there was want of rain in the kingdom of Kásirájá, Śwaphalka was brought there, and immediately there fell rain from the heavens. It happened also that the queen of Káśírájá conceived, and was quick with a daughter; but when the time of delivery arrived, the child issued not from the womb. Twelve years passed away, and still the girl was unborn. Then Káśírájá spake to the child, and said, 'Daughter, why is your birth thus delayed? come forth; I desire to behold you, why do you inflict this protracted suffering upon your mother?' Thus addressed, the infant answered, 'If, father, you will present a cow every day to the Brahmans, I shall at the end of three years more be born.' The king accordingly presented daily a cow to the Brahmans, and at the end of three years the damsel came into the world. Her father called her Gándiní, and he subsequently gave her to Śwaphalka, when he came to his palace for his benefit. Gándiní, as long as she lived, gave a cow to the Brahmans every day. Akrúra was her [p.432] son by Śwaphalka, and his birth therefore proceeds from a combination of uncommon excellence. When a person such as he is, is absent from us, is it likely that famine, pestilence, and prodigies should fail to occur? Let him then he invited to return: the faults of men of exalted worth must not be too severely scrutinized."

Agreeably to the advice of Audhaka the elder, the Yádavas sent a mission, headed by Keśava, Ugrasena, and Balabhadra, to assure Akrúra that no notice would be taken of any irregularity committed by him; and having satisfied him that he was in no danger, they brought him back to Dwáraká. Immediately on his arrival, in consequence of the properties of the jewel, the plague, dearth, famine, and every other calamity and portent, ceased. Krishńa, observing this, reflected1162 that the descent of Akrúra from Gándiní and Śwaphalka was a cause wholly disproportionate to such an effect, and that some more powerful influence must be exerted to arrest pestilence and famine. "Of a surety," said he to himself, "the great Syamantaka jewel is in his keeping, for such I have heard are amongst its properties. This Akrúra too has been lately celebrating sacrifice after sacrifice; his own means are insufficient for such expenses; it is beyond a doubt that he has the jewel." Having come to this conclusion, he called a meeting of all the Yádavas at his house, under the pretext of some festive celebration. When they were all seated, and the. purport of their assembling had been explained, and the business accomplished, Krishńa entered into conversation with Akrúra, and, after laughing and joking, said to him, "Kinsman, you are a very prince in your liberality; but we know very well that the precious jewel which was stolen by Sudhanwan was delivered by him to you, and is now in your possession, to the great benefit of this kingdom. So let it remain; we all derive advantage from its virtues. [p.433] But Balabhadra suspects that I have it, and therefore, out of kindness to me, shew it to the assembly." When Akrúra, who had the jewel with him, was thus taxed, he hesitated what he should do. "If I deny that I have the jewel," thought he, "they will search my person, and find the gem hidden amongst my clothes. I cannot submit to a search." So reflecting, Akrúra said to Náráyańa, the cause of the whole world, "It is true that the Syamantaka jewel was entrusted to me by Śatadhanwan, when he went from hence. I expected every day that you would ask me for it, and with much inconvenience therefore I have kept it until now. The charge of it has subjected me to so much anxiety, that I have been incapable of enjoying any pleasure, and have never known a moment's ease. Afraid that you would think me unfit to retain possession of a jewel so essential to the welfare of the kingdom, I forbore to mention to you its being in my hands; but now take it yourself, and give the care of it to whom you please." Having thus spoken, Akrúra drew forth from his garments a small gold box, and took from it the jewel. On displaying it to the assembly of the Yádavas, the whole chamber where they sat was illuminated by its radiance. "This," said Akrúra, "is the Syamantaka gem, which was consigned to me by Śatadhanwan: let him to whom it belongs now take it."

When the Yádavas beheld the jewel, they were filled with astonishment, and loudly expressed their delight. Balabhadra immediately claimed the jewel as his property jointly with Achyuta, as formerly agreed upon; whilst Satyabhámá, demanded it as her right, as it had originally belonged to her father. Between these two Krishńa considered himself as an ox between the two wheels of a cart, and thus spake to Akrúra in the presence of all the Yádavas: "This jewel has been exhibited to the assembly in order to clear my reputation; it is the joint right of Balabhadra and myself, and is the patrimonial inheritance of Satyabhámá. But this jewel, to be of advantage to the whole kingdom, should be taken charge of by a person who leads a life of perpetual continence: if worn by an impure individual, it will be the cause of his death. Now as I have sixteen thousand wives, I am not qualified to have the care of it. It is not likely that Satyabhámá will agree to the [p.434] conditions that would entitle her to the possession of the jewel; and as to Balabhadra, he is too much addicted to wine and the pleasures of sense to lead a life of self-denial. We are therefore out of the question, and all the Yádavas, Balabhadra, Satyabhámá, and myself, request you, most bountiful Akrúra, to retain the care of the jewel, as you have done hitherto, for the general good; for you are qualified to have the keeping of it, and in your hands it has been productive of benefit to the country. You must not decline compliance with our request." Akrúra, thus urged, accepted the jewel, and thenceforth wore it publicly round his neck, where it shone with dazzling brightness; and Akrúra moved about like the sun, wearing a garland of light.

He who calls to mind the vindication of the character of Krishńa from false aspersions, shall never become the subject of unfounded accusation in the least degree, and living in the full exercise of his senses shall be cleansed from every sin1163.



Descendants of Śini, of Anamitra, of Śwaphalka and Chitraka, of Andhaka. The children of Devaka and Ugrasena. The descendants of Bhajamána. Children of Śúra: his son Vasudeva: his daughter Prithá married to Páńd́u: her children Yudhisht́hira and his brothers; also Karńa by Áditya. The sons of Páńd́u by Mádrí. Husbands and children of Śúra's other daughters. Previous births of Śiśupála.

THE younger brother of Anamitra was Śini; his son was Satyaka; his son was Yuyudhána, also known by the name of Sátyaki; his son was Asanga; his son was Túni1164; his son was Yugandhara1165. These princes were termed Śaineyas.

In the family of Anamitra, Priśni was born; his son was Śwaphalka1166, the sanctity of whose character has been described: the younger brother of Śwaphalka was named Chitraka. Śwaphalka had by Gándiní, besides Akrúra, Upamadgu, Mridura, Śárimejaya, Giri, Kshatropakshatra, Śatrughna, Arimarddana, Dharmadhris, Dhrisht́asarman, Gandhamojávaha, and Prativáha. He had also a daughter, Sutárá1167.

Devavat and Upadeva were the sons of Akrúra. The sons of Chitrika were Prithu and Vipritha, and many others1168. Andhaka had four sons, Kukkura, Bhajamána, Śuchi1169, Kambalavarhish. The son of Kukkura was Vrisht́a1170; his son was Kapotaroman; his son was Viloman1171; [p.436] his son was Bhava1172, who was also called Chandanodakadundubhi1173; he was a friend of the Gandharba Tumburu; his son was Abhijit; his son was Punarvasu; his son was Áhuka, and he had also a daughter named Áhukí. The sons of Áhuka were Devaka and Ugrasena. The former had four sons, Devavat, Upadevá, Sudeva, and Devarakshita, and seven daughters, Vrikadevá, Upadevá, Devarakshitá, Śrídevá, Śántidevá, Sahadevá, and Devakí: all the daughters were married to Vasudeva. The sons of Ugrasena were Kansa, Nyagrodha, Sunáman, Kanka, Śanku, Subhúmi, Rásht́rapála, Yuddhamusht́hi, and Tusht́imat; and his daughters were Kansá, Kansavatí, Sutanu, Rásht́rapálí, and Kankí.

The son of Bhajamána1174 was Vidúratha; his son was Śúra; his son was Śamin1175; his son was Pratíkshatra1176; his son was Swayambhoja1177; his son was Hridika, who had Kritavarman, Śatadhanu, Devamíd́husha, and others1178. Śúra, the son of Devamíd́husha1179, was married to Márishá, and had by her ten sons. On the birth of Vasudeva, who was one of these sons, the gods, to whom the future is manifest, foresaw that the divine being would take a human form in his family, and thereupon they sounded with joy the drums of heaven: from this circumstance Vasudeva was also called Ánakadunbubhi1180. His brothers were Devabhága, Devaśravas, Anádhrisht́i, Karundhaka, Vatsabálaka, Śrinjaya, [p.437] Śyáma, Śamíka, and Gańd́úsha; and his sisters were Prithá, Śrutadevá, Śrutakírttí, Śrutaśravas, and Rájádhideví.

Śúra had a friend named Kuntibhoja, to whom, as he had no children, the presented in due form his daughter Pritha. She was married to Pańd́u, and bore him Yudhisht́hira, Bhíma, and Arjuna, who were in fact the sons of the deities Dharma, Váyu (air), and Indra. Whilst she was yet unmarried, also, she had a son named Karńa, begotten by the divine Áditya (the sun). Pańd́u had another wife, named Mádrí, who had by the twin sons of Áditya, Násatya and Dasra, two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva1181.

Śrutadevá was married to the Kárusha prince Vriddhaśarman, and bore him the fierce Asura Dantavaktra. Dhrisht́aketu, raja of Kaikeya1182, married Śrutakírtti, and had by her Santarddana and four other sons, known as the five Kaikeyas. Jayasena, king of Avanti, married Rájádhideví, and had Vinda and Anavinda. Śrutaśravas was wedded to Damaghosha, raja of Chedi, and bore him Śiśupála1183. This prince was in a former existence the unrighteous but valiant monarch of the Daityas, Hirańyakaśipu, who was killed by the divine guardian of creation (in the man-lion Avatára). He was next the ten-headed sovereign Rávańa, whose unequalled prowess, strength, and power were overcome by the lord of the three worlds, Ráma. Having been killed by the deity in the form of Rághava, he had long enjoyed the reward of his virtues in exemption from an embodied state, but had now received birth once more as Śiśupála, the son of Damaghosha, king of Chedi. In this character he renewed, with greater inveteracy than ever, his hostile hatred towards the god surnamed Puńd́arikáksha, a portion of the supreme being, who had descended to lighten the burdens of the earth; and was in consequence slain by him: but from the circumstance of his thoughts being constantly engrossed by the supreme being, Śiśupála was united with him after death; for the lord giveth to those to whom he is favourable whatever they desire, and he bestows a heavenly and exalted station even upon those whom he slays in his displeasure.



Explanation of the reason why Śiśupála in his previous births as Hirańyakaśipu and Rávańa was not identified with Vishńu on being slain by him, and was so identified when killed as Śiśupála. The wives of Vasudeva: his children: Balaráma and Krishńa his sons by Devakí: born apparently of Rohińí and Yasodá. The wives and children of Krishńa. Multitude of the descendants of Yadu.

MAITREYA.Most eminent of all who cultivate piety, I am curious to hear from you, and you are able to explain to me, how it happened that the same being who when killed by Vishńu as Hirańyakaśipu and Rávańa obtained enjoyments which, though scarcely attainable by the immortals, were but temporary, should have been absorbed into the eternal Hari when slain by him in the person of Śiśupála.

PARÁŚARA.When the divine author of the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe accomplished the death of Hirańyakaśipu, he assumed a body composed of the figures of a lion and a man, so that Hirańyakaśipu was not aware that his destroyer was Vishńu: although therefore the quality of purity, derived from exceeding merit, had been attained, yet his mind was perplexed by the predominance of the property of passion; and the consequence of that intermixture was, that he reaped, as the result of his death by the hands of Vishńu, only unlimited power and enjoyment upon earth, as Daśánana, the sovereign of the three spheres; he did not obtain absorption into the supreme spirit, that is without beginning or end, because his mind was not wholly dedicated to that sole object. So also Daśánana being entirely subject to the passion of love, and engrossed completely by the thoughts of Jánakí, could not comprehend that the son of Daśaratha whom he beheld was in reality the divine Achyuta. At the moment of his death he was impressed with the notion that his adversary was a mortal, and therefore the fruit he derived from being slain by Vishńu was confined to his birth in the illustrious family of the kings of Chedi, and the exercise of extensive dominion. In this situation many circumstances brought the names of Vishńu to his notice, and on all these occasions the enmity that had accumulated through successive births influenced his [p.439] mind; and in speaking constantly with disrespect of Achyuta, he was ever repeating his different appellations. Whether walking, eating, sitting, or sleeping, his animosity was never at rest, and Krishńa was ever present to his thoughts in his ordinary semblance, having eyes as beautiful as the leaf of the lotus, clad in bright yellow raiment, decorated with a garland, with bracelets on his arms and wrists, and a diadem on his head; having four robust arms, bearing the conch, the discus, the mace, and the lotus. Thus uttering his names, even though in malediction, and dwelling upon his image, though in enmity, he beheld Krishńa, when inflicting his death, radiant with resplendent weapons, bright with ineffable splendour in his own essence as the supreme being, and all his passion and hatred ceased, and he was purified front every defect. Being killed by the discus of Vishńu at the instant he thus meditated, all his sins were consumed by his divine adversary, and he was blended with him by whose might he had been slain. I have thus replied to your inquiries. He by whom the divine Vishńu is named or called to recollection, even in enmity, obtains a reward that is difficult of attainment to the demons and the gods: how much greater shall be his recompense who glorifies the deity in fervour and in faith!

Vasudeva, also called Ánakadandubhi, had Rohińí, Pauraví1184, Bhadrá, Madirá, Devakí, and several other wives. His sons by Rohińí were Balabhadra, Sárańa, Śaru, Durmada, and others. Balabhadra espoused Revatí, and had by her Nisat́ha and Ulmuka. The sons of Śarańa were Mársht́i, Mársht́imat, Śíśu, Satyadhriti, and others. Bhadráśwa, Bhadrabáhu, Durgama, Bhúta, and others, were born in the family of Rohińí (of the race of Puru). The sons of Vasudeva by Madirá were Nanda, Upananda, Krítaka, and others. Bhadrá bore him Upanidhi, Gada, and others. By his wife Vaiśálí he had one son named Kauśika. Devakí bore him six sons, Kírttimat, Susheńa, Udáyin, Bhadrasena, Rijudaśa, and Bhadradeha; all of whom Kansa put to death1185.


When Devakí was pregnant the seventh time, Yoganidrá (the sleep of devotion), sent by Vishńu, extricated the embryo from its maternal womb at midnight, and transferred it to that of Rohińí; and from having been thus taken away, the child (who was Balaráma) received the name of Sankarshańa. Next, the divine Vishńu himself, the root of the vast universal tree, inscrutable by the understandings of all gods, demons, sages, and men, past, present, or to come, adored by Brahmá and all the deities, he who is without beginning, middle, or end, being moved to relieve the earth of her load, descended into the womb of Devakí, and was born as her son Vásudeva. Yoganidrá, proud to execute his orders, removed the embryo to Yasodá, the wife of Nanda the cowherd. At his birth the earth was relieved from all iniquity; the sun, moon, and planets shone with unclouded splendour; all fear of calamitous portents was dispelled; and universal happiness prevailed. From the moment he appeared, all mankind were led into the righteous path in him.

Whilst this powerful being resided in this world of mortals, he had sixteen thousand and one hundred wives; of these the principal were Rukminí, Satyabhámá, Jámbavatí, Játahaśiní, and four others. By these the universal form, who is without beginning, begot a hundred and eighty thousand sons, of whom thirteen are most renowned, Pradyumna, Chárudeshńa, Sámba, and others. Pradyumna married Kakudwatí, the daughter of Rukmin, and had by her Aniruddha. Aniruddha married Subhadrá, the granddaughter of the same Rukmin, and she bore him a son named Vajra. The son of Vajra was Báhu; and his son was Sucháru1186.


In this manner the descendants of Yadu multiplied, and there were many hundreds of thousands of them, so that it would be impossible to repeat their names in hundreds of years. Two verses relating to them are current: "The domestic instructors of the boys in the use of arms amounted to three crores and eighty lacs (or thirty-eight millions). Who shall enumerate the whole of the mighty men of the Yádava race, who were tens of ten thousands and hundreds of hundred thousands in number?" Those powerful Daityas who were killed in the conflicts between them and the gods were born again upon earth as men, as tyrants and oppressors; and, in order to check their violence, the gods also descended to the world of mortals, and became members of the hundred and one branches of the family of Yadu. Vishńu was to them a teacher and a ruler, and all the Yádavas were obedient to his commands.

Whoever listens frequently to this account of the origin of the heroes of the race of Vrishńi, shall be purified from all sin, and obtain the sphere of Vishńu.



Descendants of Turvasu.

PARÁŚARA.I shall now summarily give you an account of the descendants of Turvasu.

The son of Turvasu was Vahni1187; his son was Gobánu1188; his son was Traiśámba1189; his son was Karandhama; his son was Marutta. Marutta had no children, and he therefore adopted Dushyanta, of the family of Puru; by which the line of Turvasu merged into that of Puru1190. This took place in consequence of the malediction denounced on his son by Yayáti1191.



Descendants of Druhyu.

THE son of Druhyu was Babhru; his son was Setu; his son was Áradwat1192; his son was Gándhára1193; his son was Dharma1194; his son was Dhrita1195; his son was Duryáman1196; his son was Prachetas, who had a hundred sons, and they were the princes of the lawless Mlechchhas or barbarians of the north1197.



Descendants of Anu. Countries and towns named after some of them, as Anga, Banga, and others.

ANU1198, the fourth son of Yayáti, had three sons, Sabhánara, Chákshusha, and Paramekshu1199. The son of the first was Kálánara1200; his son was Śrinjaya; his son was Puranjaya; his son was Janamejaya; his son was Mahámani1201; his son was Mahámanas, who had two sons, Uśínara and Titikshu. Uśínara had five sons, Śivi, Trińa1202, Gara1203, Krimi, Dárvan1204. Śivi had four sons, Vrishadarbha, Suvíra, Kaikeya, and Madra1205. Titikshu had one son, Ushadratha1206; his son was Hema1207; his son was Sutapas; his son was Bali, on whose wife five sons were begotten by Dírghatamas, or Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Suhma, and Puńd́ra1208; and their descendants, and the five countries they inhabited, were known by the same names1209.


The son of Anga was Pára1210; his son was Divaratha; his son was Dharmaratha1211; his son was Chitraratha; his son was Romapáda1212, also called Daśaratha, to whom, being childless, Daśaratha, the son of Aja, gave his daughter Śántá to be adopted1213. After this, Romapáda had a son named Chaturanga; his son was Prithuláksha; his son was Champa, who founded the city of Champá1214. The son of Champa was Haryyanga; his son was Bhadraratha, who had two sons, Vrihatkarman and Vrihadratha. The son of the first was Vrihadbhánu1215; his son was Vrihanmanas; his son was Jayadratha, who, by a wife who was the daughter of a Kshatriya father and Brahmani mother, had a son named Vijaya1216; [p.446] his son was Dhriti; his son was Dhritavrata; his son was Satyakarman; his son was Adhiratha1217, who found Karna in a basket on the banks of the Ganges, where he had been exposed by his mother, Pritha. The son of Karńa was Vrishasena1218. These were the Anga kings. You shall next hear who were the descendants of Puru.



Descendants of Puru. Birth of Bharata, the son of Dushyanta: his sons killed: adopts Bharadwája or Vitatha. Hastin, founder of Hastinapur. Sons of Ajámíd́ha, and the races derived from them, as Pánchálas, &c. Kripa and Kripí found by Śántanu. Descendants of Riksha, the son of Ajámíd́ha. Kurukshetra named from Kuru. Jarásandha and others, kings of Magadhá.

THE son of Puru was Janamejaya; his son was Práchinvat; his son was Pravíra; his son was Manasyu; his son was Bhayada1219; his son was Sudyumna1220; his son was Bahugava1221; his son was Samyáti1222; his son was Ahamyáti1223; his son was Raudráśwa1224, who had ten sons, Riteyu1225, Kaksheyu, Sthańd́ileyu, Ghriteyu, Jaleyu, Sthaleyu, Santateyu, Dhaneyu, Vaneyu, and Vrateyu1226. The son of Riteyu was Rantinára1227, [p.448] whose sons were Tansu, Apratiratha, and Dhruva1228. The son of the second of these was Kańwa, and his son was Medhátithi, from whom the Káńwáyána Brahmanas1229 descended. Anila1230 was the son of Tansu, and he had four sons, of whom Dushyanta was the elder1231. The son of [p.449] Dushyanta was the emperor Bharata; a verse explanatory of his name is chaunted by the gods; "The mother is only the receptacle; it is the father by whom a son is begotten. Cherish thy son, Dushyanta; treat not Śakuntalá with disrespect. Sons, who are born from the paternal loins, rescue their progenitors from the infernal regions. Thou art the parent of this boy; Śakuntalá has spoken truth." From the expression 'cherish,' Bharaswa, the prince was called Bharata1232.

Bharata had by different wives nine sons, but they were put to death by their own mothers, because Bharata remarked that they bore no resemblance to him, and the women were afraid that he would therefore desert them. The birth of his sons being thus unavailing, Bharata sacrificed to the Maruts, and they gave him Bharadwája, the son of Vrihaspati by Mamata the wife of Utathya, expelled by the kick of Dirghatamas, his half brother, before his time. This verse explains the purport of his appellation; "'Silly woman,' said Vrihaspati, 'cherish this child of two fathers' (bhara dwá-jam). 'No, Vrihaspati,' replied Mamatá, 'do you take care of him.' So saying, they both abandoned him; but from their expressions the boy was called Bharadwája." He was also termed Vitatha, in allusion to the unprofitable (vitatha) birth of the sons of Bharata1233. The son of Vitatha was [p.450] Bhavanmanyu1234; his sons were many, and amongst them the chief were Vrihatkshatra, Mahávíryya, Nara, and Garga1235. The son of Nara was Sankriti; his sons were Ruchiradhí and Rantideva1236. The son of Garga [p.451] was Sini1237, and their descendants called Gárgyas and Śainyas, although Kshatriyas by birth, became Brahmans1238. The son of Mahávíryya was Urukshaya1239, who had three sons, Trayyáruńa, Pushkarin, and Kapi1240; the last of whom became a Brahman. The son of Vrihatkshatra was Suhotra1241, whose son was Hastin, who founded the city of [p.452] Hastinápur1242. The sons of Hastin were Ajamíd́ha1243, Dwimíd́ha, and Purumíd́ha. One son of Ajamíd́ha was Kańwa, whose son was Medhátithi1244; his other son was Vrihadishu, whose son was Vrihadvasu1245; his son was Vrihatkarman1246; his son was Jayadratha1247; his son was Viśwajit1248; his son was Senajit, whose sons were Ruchiráśwa, Káśya, Drid́hadhanush, and Vasahanu1249. The son of Ruchiráśwa was Prithusena; his son was Pára; his son was Nípa; he had a hundred sons, of whom Samara, the principal, was the ruler of Kámpilya1250. Samara had three sons, Pára, Sampára, Sadaśwa. The son of Pára was Prithu; his son was Sukriti; his son was Vibhrátra1251; his son was Anuha, who married Kritwí, the daughter of Śuka (the son of Vyása), and had by her Brahmadatta1252; [p.453] his son was Viśwaksena; his son was Udaksena1253; and his son was Bhallát́a1254.

The son of Dwimíd́ha1255 was Yavínara; his son was Dhritimat1256; his son was Satyadhriti; his son was Drid́hanemi; his son was Supárśwa1257; his son was Sumati; his son was Sannatimat; his son was Krita, to whom Hirańyanábha taught the philosophy of the Yoga, and he compiled twenty-four Sanhitás (or compendia) for the use of the eastern Brahmans, who study the Sáma-veda1258. The son of Krita was Ugráyudha, by whose prowess the Nípa race of Kshatriyas was destroyed1259; his son was Kshemya; his son was Suvíra; his son was Nripanjaya1260; his son was Bahuratha. These were all called Pauravas.

Ajamíd́ha had a wife called Níliní, and by her he had a son named Níla; his son was Śánti; his son was Śuśánti; his son was Purujánu1261; his son was Chakshu1262; his son was Haryyaśwa1263, who had five sons, [p.454] Mudgala, Śrinjaya1264, Vrihadishu, Pravíra1265, and Kámpilya1266. Their father said, "These my five (pancha) sons are able (alam) to protect the countries;" and hence they were termed the Pánchálas1267. From Mudgala descended the Maudgalya Brahmans1268: he had also a son named Bahwaśwa1269, who had two children, twins, a son and daughter, Divodása and Ahalyá. The son of Śaradwat or Gautama by Ahalyá was Śatánanda1270; his son was Satyadhriti, who was a proficient in military science. Being enamoured of the nymph Urvaśí, Satyadhriti was the parent of two children, a boy and a girl. Śántanu, a Raja, whilst hunting, found these children exposed in a clump of long Śara grass; and, compassionating their condition, took them, and brought them up. As they were nurtured through pity (kripá), they were called Kripa and Kripí. The latter became the wife of Drońa, and the mother of Aswattháman.

The son of Divodása was Mitráyu1271; his son was Chyavana; his son [p.455] was Sudása; his son was Saudása, also called Sahadeva; his son was Somaka; he had a hundred sons, of whom Jantu was the eldest, and Prishata the youngest. The son of Prishata was Drupada; his son was Dhrisht́adyumna; his son was Drisht́aketu.

Another son of Ajamíd́ha was named Riksha1272; his son was Samvarańa; his son was Kuru, who gave his name to the holy district Kurukshetra; his sons were Sudhanush, Jahnu, Paríkshit, and many others1273. The son of Sudhanush was Suhotra; his son was Chyavana; his son was Krítaka1274; his son was Uparichara the Vasu1275, who had seven children, Vrihadratha, Pratyagra, Kuśámba, Mávella, Matsya, and others. The son of Vrihadratha was Kuśágra; his son was Rishabha1276; his son was Pushpavat; his son was Satyadhrita1277; his son was Sudhanwan; and his son was Jantu. Vrihadratha had another son, who being born in two [p.456] parts, which were put together (sandhita) by a female fiend named Jará, he was denominated Jarásandha1278; his son was Sahadeva; his son was Somápi1279; his son was Srutaśravas1280. These were kings of Magadhá.



Descendants of Kuru. Devápi abdicates the throne: assumed by Śántanu: he is confirmed by the Brahmans: Bhíshma his son by Gangá: his other sons. Birth of Dhritarásht́ra, Páńd́u, and Vidura. The hundred sons of Dhritarásht́ra. The five sons of Páńd́u: married to Draupadí: their posterity. Paríkshit, the grandson of Arjuna, the reigning king.

PARÍKSHIT, the son of Kuru, had four sons, Janamejaya, Śrutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhímasena1281. The son of Jahnu was Suratha; his son was Vidúratha; his son was Sárvabhauma; his son was Jayasena Árávin; his son was Ayutáyus; his son was Akrodhana; one of his sons was Devatithi, and another was called Riksha; his son was Dilípa; his son was Pratípa, who had three sons, Devápi, Śántanu, and Báhlíka. The first adopted in childhood a forest life, and Śántanu became king. Of him this verse is spread through the earth; "Śántanu is his name, because if he lays his hands upon an old man, he restores him to youth, and by him men obtain tranquillity (śánti)."


In the kingdom over which Śántanu ruled there was no rain for twelve years. Apprehensive that the country would become a desert, the king assembled the Brahmans, and asked them why no rain fell, and what fault he had committed. They told him that he was as it were a younger brother married before an elder, for he was in the enjoyment of the earth, which was the right of his elder brother Devápi. "What then am I to do?" said the Rájá: to which they replied, "Until the gods shall be displeased with Devápi, by his declining from the path of righteousness, the kingdom is his, and to him therefore you should resign it." When the minister of the king, Asmarisárin, heard this, he collected a number of ascetics who taught doctrines opposed to those of the Vedas, and sent them into the forest; where meeting with Devápi, they perverted the understanding of the simple-minded prince, and led him to adopt heretical notions. In the meantime, Śántanu being much distressed to think that he had been guilty of the offence intimated by the Brahmans, sent them before him into the woods, and then proceeded thither himself, to restore the kingdom to his elder brother. When the Brahmans arrived at the hermitage of Devápi, they informed him, that, according to the doctrines of the Vedas, succession to a kingdom was the right of the elder brother: but he entered into discussion with them, and in various ways advanced arguments which had the defect of being contrary to the precepts of the Vedas. When the Brahmans heard this, they turned to Śántanu, and said, "Come hither, Rájá; you need give yourself no further trouble in this matter; the dearth is at an end: this man is fallen from his state, for he has uttered words of disrespect to the authority of the eternal, untreated Veda; and when the elder brother is degraded, there is no sin in the prior espousals of his junior." Śántanu thereupon returned to his capital, and administered the government as before; and his elder brother Devápi being degraded from his caste by repeating doctrines contrary to the Vedas, Indra poured down abundant rain, which was followed by plentiful harvests1282.


The son of Báhlíka was Somadatta, who had three sons, Bhúri, Bhúriśravas, and Śala1283.

The son of Śántanu was the illustrious and learned Bhíshma, who was born to him by the holy river-goddess, Gangá; and he had by his wife Satyavatí two sons, Chitrángada and Vichitravíryya. Chitrángada, whilst yet a youth, was killed in a conflict with a Gandharba, also called Chitrángada. Vichitravíryya married Ambá and Ambaliká, the daughters of the king of Káśí; and indulging too freely in connubial rites, fell into a consumption, of which he died. By command of Satyavatí, my son Krishńa-dwaipáyana, ever obedient to his mother's wishes1284, begot upon the widows of his brother the princes Dhritarásht́ra and Páńd́u, and upon a female servant, Vidura. Dhritarásht́ra had Duryodhana, Duhsáśana, and other sons, to the cumber of a hundred. Páńd́u having incurred the curse of a deer, whose mate he had killed in the chase, was deterred from procreating children; and his wife Kuntí, bare to him in consequence three sons, who were begotten by the deities Dharma, Váyu, and Indra; namely, Yudhisht́hira, Bhíma, and Arjuna: and his wife Mádrí had two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, by the celestial sons of Aświní. These had each a son by Draupadí. The son of Yudhisht́hira was Prativindhya; of Bhíma, Śrutasoma; of Arjuna, Śrutakírtti; of Nakula, Śatáníka; and of Sahadeva, Śrutakarman. The Páńd́avas had also other sons1285. By his wife Yaudheyí, Yudhisht́hira had Devaka. [p.460] The son of Bhíma by Hid́imbá was Ghat́otkacha, and he had also Sarvatraga by his wife Káśí. The son of Sahadeva by Vijayá was Suhotra; and Niramitra was the son of Nakula by Kareńumatí. Arjuna had Irávat by the serpent-nymph Ulupí; Babhruváhana, who was adopted as the son of his maternal grandfather, by the daughter of the king of Manipura; and, by his wife Subhadrá Abhimanyu, who even in extreme youth was renowned for his valour and his strength, and crushed the chariots of his foes in fight. The son of Abhimanyu by his wife Uttará was Paríkshit, who, after the Kurus were all destroyed, was killed in his mother's womb by the magic Bráhma weapon, hurled by Aswattháman: he was however restored to life by the clemency of that being whose feet receive the homage of all the demons and the gods, and who for his own pleasure had assumed a human shape (Krishńa). This prince, Paríkshit, now reigns over the whole world with undivided sway1286.



Future kings. Descendants of Paríkshit, ending with Kshemaka.

I WILL now enumerate the kings who, will reign in future periods1287. The present monarch, Paríkshit1288, will have four sons, Janamejaya, Śrutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhímasena1289. The son of Janamejaya will be Śatáníka1290, who will study the Vedas under Yájnyawalkya, and military science with Kripa; but becoming dissatisfied with sensual enjoyments, he will acquire spiritual knowledge from the instructions of Śaunaka, and ultimately obtain salvation. His son will be Aswamedhadatta (a son given by the gods in reward for the sacrifice of a horse1291); his son will be Asíma-krishńa1292; his son will be Nichakra1293, who will remove the capital to Kauśámbí, in consequence of Hastinápura being washed away by the Ganges; his son will be Ushńa1294; his son will be Chitraratha; his son [p.462] will be Vrishńimat1295; his son will be Susheńa; his son will be Sunítha1296; his son will be Richa1297; his son will be Nrichakshu1298; his son will be Sukhíhala1299; his son will be Pariplava; his son will be Sunaya1300; his son will be Medhávin; his son will be Nripanjaya1301; his son will be Mridu1302; his son will be Tigma1303; his son will be Vrihadratha; his son will be Vasudána1304; and his son will be another Śatáníka; his son will be Udayana1305; his son will be Ahínara1306; his son will be Khańd́apáni1307; his son will be Niramitra1308; his son will be Kshemaka1309: of him this verse is recited; "The race which gave origin to Brahmans and Kshatriyas, and which was purified by regal sages, terminated with Kshemaka; in the Kali age1310."



Future kings of the family of Ikshwáku, ending with Sumitra.

I WILL now repeat to you the future princes of the family of Ikshwáku1311.

The son of Vrihadbala1312 will be Vrihatkshańa1313; his son will be Urukshepa1314; his son will be Vatsa1315; his son will be Vatsavyúha1316; his son will be Prativyoman1317; his son will be Divákara; his son will be Sahadeva1318; his son will be Vrihadaśwa1319; his son will be Bhánuratha1320; his son will be Supratítha1321; his son will be Marudeva1322; his son will be Sunakshatra; his son will be Kinnara1323; his son will be Antaríksha; his son will be Suvarna1324; his son will be Amitrajit1325; his son will be Vrihadrája1326; his son will be Dharman1327; his son will be Kritanjaya; his son will be Rańanjaya; his son will be Sanjaya; his son will be Śákya1328; his son will be Śuddhodana1329; his son will be Rátula1330; his son will be [p.464] Prasenajit; his son will be Kshudraka; his son will be Kuńd́aka1331; his son will be Suratha1332; his son will be Sumitra. These are the kings of the family of Ikshwáku, descended from Vrihadbala. This commemorative verse is current concerning them; "The race of the descendants of Ikshwáku will terminate with Sumitra: it will end in the Kali age with him1333."



Future kings of Magadhá: descendants of Vrihadratha.

I WILL now relate to you the descendants of Vrihadratha, who will be the kings of Magadhá. There have been several powerful princes of this dynasty, of whom the most celebrated was Jarásandha; his son was Sahadeva; his son is Somápi1334; his son will be Śrutavat1335; his son will be Ayutáyus1336; his son will be Niramitra1337; his son will be Sukshatra1338; his son will be Vrihatkarman1339; his son will be Senajit1340; his son will be Śrutanjaya1341; his son will be Vipra1342; his son will be Śuchi1343; his son will be Kshemya1344; his son will be Suvrata1345; his son will be Dharma1346; his son will be Suśuma1347; his son will be Drid́hasena1348; his son will be Sumati1349; his son will be Suvala1350; his son will be Suníta1351; his son will be Satyajit1352; his son will be Viśwajit1353; his son will be Ripunjaya1354. These are the Várhadrathas, who will reign for a thousand years1355.



Future kings of Magadhá. Five princes of the line of Pradyota. Ten Śaiśunágas. Nine Nandas. Ten Mauryas. Ten Śungas. Four Kańwas. Thirty Ándhrabhrityas. Kings of various tribes and castes, and periods of their rule. Ascendancy of barbarians. Different races in different regions. Period of universal iniquity and decay. Coming of Vishńu as Kalki. Destruction of the wicked, and restoration of the practices of the Vedas. End of the Kali, and return of the Krita, age. Duration of the Kali. Verses chanted by Earth, and communicated by Asita to Janaka. End of the fourth book.

THE last of the Vríhadratha dynasty, Ripunjaya, will have a minister named Sunika1356, who having killed his sovereign, will place his son Pradyota upon the throne1357: his son will be Pálaka1358; his son will be Viśákhayúpa1359; his son will be Janaka1360; and his son will be Nandivarddhana1361. These five kings of the house of Pradyota will reign over the earth for a hundred and thirty-eight years1362.

The next prince will be Śiśunaga1363; his son will be Kákavarńa1364; his son will be Kshemadharman1365; his son will be Kshatraujas1366; his son will be Vidmisára1367; his son will be Ájátaśatru1368; his son will be [p.467] Dharbaka1369; his son will be Udayáśwa1370; his son will also be Nandivarddhana; and his son will be Mahánandi1371. These ten Śaiśunágas will be kings of the earth for three hundred and sixty-two years1372.

The son of Mahánanda will be born of a woman of the Śúdra or servile class; his name will be Nanda, called Mahápadma, for he will be exceedingly avaricious1373. Like another Paraśuráma, he will be the annihilator of the Kshatriya race; for after him the kings of the earth will be Śúdras. He will bring the whole earth under one umbrella: he [p.468] will have eight sons, Sumálya and others, who will reign after Mahápadma; and he and his sons1374 will govern for a hundred years. The Brahman Kaut́ilya will root out the nine Nandas1375.

Upon the cessation of the race of Nanda, the Mauryas will possess the earth, for Kant́ilya will place Chandragupta1376 on the throne: his son [p.469] will be Vindusára1377; his son will be Aśokavarddhana1378; his son will be [p.470] Suyaśas1379; his son will be Daśaratha; his son will be Sangata; his son will be Śáliśúka; his son will be Somaśarmman; his son will be Saśadharman1380; and his successor will be Vrihadratha. These are the ten Mauryas, who will reign over the earth for a hundred and thirty-seven years1381.

The dynasty of the Śungas will next become possessed of the sovereignty; for Pushpamitra, the general of the last Maurya prince, will [p.471] put his master to death, and ascend the throne1382: his son will be Agnimitra1383; his son will be Sujyesht́ha1384; his son will be Vasumitra1385; his son will be Árdraka1386; his son will be Pulindaka1387; his son will be Ghoshavasu1388; his son will be Vajramitra1389; his son will be Bhágavata1390; his son will be Devabhúti1391. These are the ten Śungas, who will govern the kingdom for a hundred and twelve years1392.

Devabhúti, the last Śunga prince, being addicted to, immoral indulgences, his minister, the Kańwa named Vasudeva will murder him, and usurp the kingdom: his son will be Bhúmimitra; his son will be Náráyańa; his son will be Suśarman. These four Káńwas will be kings of the earth for forty-five years1393.


Suśarman the Káńwa will be killed by a powerful servant named Śipraka, of the Ándhra tribe, who will become king, and found the Ándhrabhritya dynasty1394: he will be succeeded by his brother Krishńa1395; his son will be Śrí Śátakarńi1396; his son will be Púrnotsanga1397; his son will be Śátakarńi (2nd)1398; his son will be Lambodara1399; his son will be Ivílaka1400; his son will be Meghaswáti1401; his son will be Patumat1402; his [p.473] son will be Arisht́akarman1403; his son will be Hála1404; his son will be Tálaka1405; his son will be Pravilasena1406; his son will be Sundara, named Śátakarńi1407; his son will be Chakora Śátakarńi1408; his son will be Śivaswáti1409; his son will be Gomatiputra1410; his son will be Pulimat1411; his son will be Śivaśrí Śátakarńi1412; his son will be Śivaskandha1413; his son will be Yajnaśrí1414; his son will be Vijaya1415; his son will be Chandraśrí1416; his son will be Pulomárchish1417. These thirty Andhrabhritya kings will reign four hundred and fifty-six years1418.


After these, various races will reign, as seven Ábhíras, ten Garddhabas, sixteen Śakas, eight Yavanas, fourteen Tusháras, thirteen Muńd́as, [p.475] eleven Maunas, altogether seventy-nine princes1419, who will be sovereigns [p.476] of the earth for one thousand three hundred and ninety years; and [p.477] then eleven Pauras will be kings for three hundred years1420. When they are destroyed, the Kailakila Yavanas will be kings; the chief of whom will be Vindhyaśakti; his son will be Puranjaya; his son will be Rámachandra; his son will be Adharma, from whom will be Varánga, Kritanandana, Śudhinandi, Nandiyaśas, Śiśuka, and Pravíra; these will rule for a hundred and six years1421. From them will proceed thirteen sons; [p.478] then three Báhlíkas, and Pushpamitra, and Pat́umitra, and others, to the number of thirteen, will rule over Mekala1422. There will be nine [p.479] kings in the seven Koalas, and there will be as many Naishadha princes1423.

In Magadhá a sovereign named Viśwasphat́ika will establish other tribes; he will extirpate the Kshatriya or martial race, and elevate fishermen, barbarians, and Brahmans, and other castes, to power1424. The nine Nágas will reign in Padmávati, Kántipuri, and Mathurá; and the Guptas of Magadhá along the Ganges to Prayága1425. A prince named [p.480] Devarakshita will reign, in a city on the sea shore, over the Kośalas, Od́ras, Puńd́ras, and Támraliptas1426. The Guhas will possess Kálinga, Máhihaka, and the mountains of Mahendra1427. The race of Mańidhanu will occupy the countries of the Nishádas, Naimishikas, and Kálatoyas1428. [p.481] The people called Kanakas will possess the Amazon country, and that called Múshika1429. Men of the three tribes, but degraded, and Ábhíras and Śúdras, will occupy Śaurásht́ra, Avanti, Śúra, Arbuda, and Marubhúmi: and Śúdras, outcastes, and barbarians will be masters of the banks of the Indus, Dárvika, the Chandrabhágá, and Káshmir1430.


These will all be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth; kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness. They will inflict death on women, children, and cows; they will seize upon the property of their subjects; they will be of limited power, and will for the most part rapidly rise and fall; their lives will be short, their desires insatiable, and they will display but little piety. The people of the various countries intermingling with them will follow their example, and the barbarians being powerful in the patronage of the princes, whilst purer tribes are neglected, the people will perish1431. Wealth and piety will decrease day by day, until [p.483] the world will be wholly depraved. Then property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification. Earth will be venerated but for its mineral treasures1432; the Brahmanical thread will constitute a Brahman; external types (as the staff and red garb) will be the only distinctions of the several orders of life; dishonesty will be the universal means of subsistence; weakness will be the cause of dependance; menace and presumption will be substituted for learning; liberality will be devotion; simple ablution will be purification1433; mutual assent will be marriage; fine clothes will be dignity1434; and water afar off will be esteemed a holy spring. Amidst all castes he who is the strongest will reign over a principality thus vitiated by many faults. The people, unable to bear the heavy burdens imposed upon them by their avaricious sovereigns, will take refuge amongst the valleys of the mountains, and will be glad to feed upon wild honey, herbs, roots, fruits, flowers, and leaves: their only covering will be the bark of trees, and they will be exposed to the cold, and wind, and sun, and rain. No man's life will exceed three and twenty years. Thus in the Kali age shall decay constantly proceed, until the human race approaches its annihilation.

When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the clo