Created by Sreeja Jijith at 03 Aug 2011 09:56 and updated at 03 Aug 2011 09:56


vp.1.1 Invocation. Maitreya inquires of his teacher, Parasara, the origin and nature of the universe. Parasara performs a rite to destroy the demons: reproved by Vasishtha, he desists: Pulastya appears, and bestows upon him divine knowledge: he repeats the Vishnu Purana. Vishnu the origin, existence, and end of all things.
vp.1.1 Maitreya 10, having saluted him reverentially, thus addressed Parasara, the excellent sage, the grandson of Vasishtha, who was versed in traditional history, and the Puranas; 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.
vp.1.1 mountains, the earth, the sun, and the planets? what are the families of the gods and others, the Manus, 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 ages 11: 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 Vyasa: 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 Vasishtha. Incline thy thoughts benevolently towards me, that I may, through thy favour, be informed of all I desire to know.
vp.1.1 Parasara replied, Well inquired, pious Maitreya. You recall to my recollection that which was of old narrated by my father s father, Vasishtha. I had heard that my father had been devoured by a Rakshas employed by Viswamitra: violent anger seized me, and I commenced a sacrifice for the destruction of the Rakshasas: hundreds of them were reduced to ashes by the rite, when, as they were about to be entirely extirpated, my grandfather Vasishtha thus spake to me: Enough, my child; let thy wrath be appeased: the Rakshasas 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 righteous 12.
vp.1.1 Being thus admonished by my venerable grandsire, I immediately desisted from the rite, in obedience to his injunctions, and Vasishtha, the most excellent of sages, was content with me. Then arrived Pulastya, the son of Brahma 13, 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 Puranas 14; you shall know
vp.1.1 the true nature of the deities, as it really is; and, whether engaged in religious rites, or abstaining from their performance 15, your understanding, through my favour, shall be perfect, and exempt from). doubts. Then my grandsire Vasishtha added; Whatever has been said to thee by Pulastya, shall assuredly come to pass.
vp.1.1 Now truly all that was told me formerly by Vasishtha, 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 Puranas, according to its tenour. The world was produced from Vishnu: it exists in him: he is the cause of its continuance and cessation: he is the world 16.
vp.1.7 Parasara. From Brahma, 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 you 1, being the abode of the three qualities: but as they did not multiply themselves, Brahma created other mind born sons, like himself; namely, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Angiras, Marichi, Daksha, Atri, and Vasishtha: these are the nine Brahmas (or Brahma rishis) celebrated in the Puranas 2. Sanandana and the other sons of
vp.1.7 The patriarch Daksha had by Prasuti twenty four daughters 11: hear from me their names: Sraddha (faith), Lakshmi (prosperity), Dhriti (steadiness), Tushti (resignation), Pushti (thriving), Medha (intelligence), Kriya (action, devotion), Buddhi (intellect), Lajja (modesty), Vapu (body), Santi (expiation), Siddhi (perfection), Kirtti (fame): these thirteen daughters of Daksha, Dharma (righteousness) took to wife. The other eleven bright eyed and younger daughters of the patriarch were, Khyati (celebrity), Sati (truth), Sambhuti (fitness), Smriti (memory), Priti (affection), Kshama (patience), Sannati (humility), Anasuya (charity), Urjja (energy), with Swaha (offering), and Swadha (oblation). These maidens were respectively wedded to the Munis, Bhrigu, Bhava, Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, and Vasishtha; to Fire Vahni(), and to the Pitris (progenitors) 12.
vp.1.9 Descending hastily from his elephant, Mahendra endeavoured to appease the sinless Durvasas: 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, sakra, to be Durvasas. Thou hast in vain been rendered insolent by Gautama and others; for know me, Indra, to be Durvasas, whose nature is a stranger to remorse. Thou hast been flattered by Vasishtha 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."
vp.1.10 [paragraph continues] Raka, and Anumati (phases of the moon 3). Anasuya, the wife of Atri, was the mother of three sinless sons, Soma (the moon), Durvasas, and the ascetic Dattatreya 4. Pulastya had, by Priti, a son called in a former birth, or in the Swayambhuva Manwantara, Dattoli, who is now known as the sage Agastya 5. Kshama, the wife of the patriarch Pulaha, was the mother of three sons, Karmasa, Arvarivat, and Sahishnu 6. The wife of Kratu, Sannati, brought forth the sixty thousand Balakhilyas, pigmy sages, no bigger than a joint of the thumb, chaste, pious, resplendent as the rays of the sun 7. Vasishtha had seven sons by his wife Urjja, Rajas, Gatra, Urddhabahu, Savana, Anagha, Sutapas, and sukra, the seven pure sages 8. The Agni named Abhimani, who is the eldest born of
vp.1.11 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. Marichi 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, Janarddana, 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 Janarddana," 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 Vishnu, the lord of sacrifice." "Any thing, child, that the mind covets," exclaimed Vasishtha, "may be obtained by propitiating
vp.1.22 Parasara. Having offered salutation to the mighty and indescribable Vishnu, I repeat to you what was formerly related to me by Vasishtha. The glorious Hari wears the pure soul of the world, undefiled, and void of qualities, as the Kaustubha gem. The chief principle of things Pradhana() is seated on the eternal, as the Srivatsa mark. Intellect abides in Madhava, in the form of his mace. The lord Iswara() supports egotism Ahankara() in its twofold division, into elements and organs of sense, in the emblems of his conch shell and his bow. In his hand Vishnu holds, in the form of his discus, the mind, whose thoughts (like the weapon) fly swifter than the winds. The necklace of the deity Vaijayanti, composed of five precious gems 8, is the aggregate of the five elemental rudiments. Janarddana 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 Hrishikesa. Hari, in a delusive form, embodies the shapeless elements of the world, as his weapons and his ornaments, for the salvation of mankind 9. Pundarikaksha, 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,
vp.2.10 Parasara. Between the extreme northern and southern points the sun has to traverse in a year one hundred and eighty degrees, ascending and descending 1. His car is presided over by divine adityas, Rishis, heavenly singers and nymphs, Yakshas, serpents, and Rakshasas (one of each being placed in it in every month). The aditya Dhatri, the sage Pulastya, the Gandharba Tumburu, the nymph Kratusthala, the Yaksha Rathakrit, the serpent Vasuki, and the Rakshas Heti, always reside in the sun s car, in the month of Madhu or Chaitra, as its seven guardians. In Vaisakha or Madhava the seven are aryamat, Pulaha, Narada, Punjikasthali, Rathaujas, Kachanira, and Praheti. In suchi or Jyeshtha they are Mitra, Atri, Haha, Mena, Rathaswana, Takshaka, and Paurusheya. In the month sukra or ashadha they are Varuna, Vasishtha, Huhu, Sahajanya, Rathachitra, Naga, and Budha. In the month Nabhas (or Sravana) they are Indra, Angiras, Viswavasu, Pramlocha, srotas, and Elapatra (the name of both serpent and Rakshas). In the month Bhadrapada they are Vivaswat, Bhrigu, Ugrasena, Anumlocha, apurana, sankhapala, and Vyaghra. In the month of aswin they are Pushan, Gautama, Suruchi, Ghritachi, Sushena, Dhananjaya, and Vata. In the month of Kartik they are Parjanya, Bharadwaja, (another) Viswavasu, Viswachi, Senajit, Airavata, and Chapa. In Agrahayana or Margasirsha they are Ansu, Kasyapa, Chitrasena, Urvasi, Tarkshya, Mahapadma, and Vidyut. In the month of Pausha, Bhaga, Kratu, Urnayu, Purvachitti,
vp.3.1 In the third period, or Manwantara of Auttami 6, Susanti was the Indra, the king of the gods; the orders of whom were the Sudhamas, Satyas, sivas, Pradarsanas, and Vasavertis 7; each of the five orders consisting of twelve divinities. The seven sons of Vasishtha were the seven Rishis 8; and Aja, Parasu, Divya, and others, were the sons of the Manu 9.
vp.3.1 The Manu of the present period is the wise lord of obsequies, the illustrious offspring of the sun: the deities are the adityas, Vasus, and Rudras; their sovereign is Purandara: Vasishtha, Kasyapa, Atri, Jamadagni, Gautama, Viswamitra, and Bharadwaja are the seven Rishis: and the nine pious sons of Vaivaswata Manu are the kings Ikshwaku, Nabhaga, Dhrishta, Sanyati, Narishyanta, Nabhanidishta, Karusha, Prishadhra, and the celebrated Vasumat 20.
vp.3.3 Twenty eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivaswata Manwantara in the Dwapara age, and consequently eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by whom, in their respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. In the first Dwapara age the distribution was made by Swayambhu Brahma() himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda Veda( vyasa) was Prajapati (or Manu); in the third, Usanas; in the fourth, Vrihaspati; in the fifth, Savitri; in the sixth, Mrityu Death(, or Yama); in the seventh, Indra; in the eighth, Vasishtha; in the ninth, Saraswata; in the tenth, Tridhaman; in
vp.3.6 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 Narada; and Brahman Rishis, or sages who are the sons of Brahma, or Brahmans, as Vasishtha and others.
vp.3.17 Of heretics, or those who reject the authority of the Vedas: their origin, as described by Vasishtha to Bhishma: the gods, defeated by the Daityas, praise Vishnu: an illusory being, or Buddha, produced from his body.
vp.3.17 Parasara. The Rig, Yajur, and Sama 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 bare 1. On this subject hear what I heard my grandfather, the pious Vasishtha, relate to the magnanimous Bhishma:
vp.4.1 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 Vasishtha, bestowed upon him the city Pratishthana 7, and he gave it to Pururavas.
vp.4.2 Upon one of the days called Ashtaka 9, Ikshwaku 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. Vasishtha, the family priest of the house of Ikshwaku, 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 sasada (hare eater) was affixed to him by the Guru. On the death of Ikshwaku, the dominion of the earth descended to sasada 10, who was succeeded by his son Puranjaya.
vp.4.3 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 Talajanghas, 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 sakas, the Yavanas, Kambojas, Paradas, and Pahnavas 15, but that they applied to Vasishtha, the
vp.4.3 family priest of Sagara, for protection. Vasishtha 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 Yavanas 16 shave their heads entirely; the sakas he compelled to shave (the upper) half of their heads; the Paradas wore their hair long; and the Pahnavas let their beards grow, in obedience to his commands 17. 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 dominion 18.
vp.4.4 After some interval Saudasa celebrated a sacrifice, which was conducted by Vasishtha. At the close of the rite Vasishtha went out; when the Rakshas, the fellow of the one that had been killed in the figure of a tiger, assumed the semblance of Vasishtha, 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 Vasishtha. As soon as the Muni returned, the king offered to him the dish. Vasishtha 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 Raja, 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."
vp.4.4 "It was yourself," replied the Raja to the indignant sage, "who commanded this food to be prepared." "By me!" exclaimed Vasishtha; "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 Vasishtha was his spiritual guide, and being reminded by Madayanti 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.
vp.4.4 In consequence of the curse of Vasishtha, the Raja 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 Rakshasa 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 Ikshwaku, 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 Raja, 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.
vp.4.4 At the expiration of the period of his curse Saudasa returned home. Being reminded of the imprecation of the Brahmani by his wife Madayanti, he abstained from conjugal intercourse, and was in consequence childless; but having solicited the interposition of Vasishtha, Madayanti 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 Asmaka (from Asman, a stone The son of Asmaka was Mulaka, who, when the warrior tribe was extirpated upon earth, was surrounded and concealed by a number of females; whence he was denominated Narikavacha
vp.4.5 THE son of Ikshwaku, who was named Nimi 1, instituted a sacrifice that was to endure for a thousand years, and applied to Vasishtha to offer the oblations. Vasishtha in answer said, that he had been preengaged by Indra for five hundred years, but that if the Raja, would wait for some time, he would come and officiate as superintending priest. The king made no answer, and Vasishtha 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, Vasishtha, 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 Vasishtha also leaving his body, was united with the spirits of Mitra and Varuna for a season, until, through their passion for the nymph Urvasi, the sage was born again in a different shape. The
vp.6.8 This Purana, originally composed by the Rishi Narayana(), was communicated by Brahma to Ribhu; he related it to Priyavrata, by whom it was imparted to Bhaguri. Bhaguri recited it to Tamasitra 6, and he to Dadicha, who gave it to Saraswata. From the last Bhrigu received it, who imparted it to Purukutsa, and he taught it to Narmada. The goddess delivered it to Dhritarashtra the Naga king, and to Purana of the same race, by whom it was repeated to their monarch Vasuki. Vasuki communicated it to Vatsa, and he to aswatara, from whom it successively proceeded to Kambala and Elapatra. When the Muni Vedasiras descended to Patala, he there received the whole Purana from these Nagas, and communicated it to Pramati. Pramati consigned it to the wise Jatukarna, and he taught it to many other holy persons. Through the blessing of Vasishtha it came to my knowledge, and I have now, Maitreya, faithfully imparted it to you. You will teach it, at the end of the Kali age, to samika 7. Whoever hears this great mystery, which removes the contamination of the Kali, shall be freed from all his sins. He who hears this every day acquits himself of his daily obligations to ancestors, gods, and men. The great and rarely attainable merit that a man acquires by the gift of a brown cow, he derives from hearing ten chapters of this Purana 8. He who hears the entire Purana, contemplating in his mind Achyuta, who is all things, and of whom all things are made; who is the stay of the whole world

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