1. THE night of Brahman being over, and the God sprung from the lotus (Brahman) having woke from his slumber, Vishnu purposing to create living beings, and perceiving the earth covered with water,
2. Assumed the shape of a boar, delighting to sport in water, as at the beginning of each former Kalpa, and raised up the earth (from the water).
3. His feet were the Vedas; his tusks the sacrificial stakes; in his teeth were the offerings; his mouth was the pyre; his tongue was the fire; his hair was the sacrificial grass; the sacred texts were his head; and he was (endowed with the miraculous power of) a great ascetic.
4. His eyes were day and night; he was of superhuman nature; his ears were the two bundles of Kusa grass (for the Ishtis, or smaller sacrifices, and for the animal offerings); his ear-rings were the ends of those bundles of Kusa grass (used for wiping
[I. 1. Regarding the duration of a night of Brahman, see XX, 14. 'Bhûtâni' means living beings of all the four kinds, born from the womb and the rest. (Nand.) The three other kinds consist of those produced from an egg, from sweat, and from a shoot or germ; see Manu I, 43-46.
2. A Kalpa = a day of Brahman; see XX, 13.]
the ladle and other sacrificial implements); his nose (the vessel containing) the clarified butter; his snout was the ladle of oblations; his voice was similar in sound to the chanting of the Sâma-veda; and he was of huge size.
5. He was full of piety and veracity; beautiful; his strides and his strength were immense (like those of Vishnu); his large nostrils were penances; his knees the victim; and his figure colossal.
6. His entrails were the (three) chanters of the Sama-veda; his member was the burnt-oblation; his scrotum was the sacrificial seeds and grains; his mind was the altar (in the hut for the wives and domestic uses of the sacrificer); the hindparts (of Vishnu) in his transformation were the Mantras; his blood was the Soma juice.
7. His shoulders were the (great) altar; his smell was that of the (sacrificial cake and other) oblations; his speed was the oblations to the gods and to the manes and other oblations; his body was the hut for the wives and domestic uses of the sacrificer; he was majestic; and instructed with the initiatory ceremonies for manifold sacrifices (lasting one, or two, three, or twelve years, and others).
8. His heart was the sacrificial fee; he was possessed of the (sacrificial and other) great Mantras employed in order to effect the union of the mind with the Supreme; he was of enormous size (like the long sacrifices lasting more than one day); his lovely, lips were the beginnings of the two
[6. 1. This is because the vital breaths, by which the sound of the voice is effected, pass through them, it having been said (in 4) that the sound of his voice was like the chanting of the Sâma-veda.' (Nand.)]
hymns recited at the beginning of the animal sacrifice; his ornaments were the whirlpool of the milk poured into the heated vessel (at the Pravargya ceremony introductory to the Soma-sacrifice).
9. All sorts of sacred texts (the Gâyatrî and others) were his path in marching; the mysterious Upanishads (the Vedânta) were his couch; he was accompanied by his consort Khâyâ (Lakshmî); he was in size like the Manisringa mountain.
10. The lord, the creator, the great Yogin, plunging into the one ocean from love of the world,
11. Raised up, with the edge of his tusks, the earth bounded by the sea together with its mountains, forests, and groves, which was immersed in the water of (the seven oceans now become) one ocean, and created the universe anew.
12. Thus the whole earth, after having sunk into (the lower region called) Rasâtala, was in the first place raised in the boar-incarnation by Vishnu, who took compassion upon the living beings.
13, 14. Then, after having raised the earth, the destroyer of Madhu placed and fixed it upon its own (former) seat (upon the oceans) and distributed the waters upon it according to their own (former) station, conducting the floods of the oceans into the oceans, the water of the rivers into the rivers, the water of the tanks into the tanks, and the water of the lakes into the lakes.
15. He created the seven (lower regions called) Pâtâlas and the seven worlds, the seven Dvîpas
[15. 1 The seven Pâtâlas are, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Mahâtala, Rasâtala, Talâtala, and Pâtâla; the seven worlds are, Bhûr-loka, Bhuvar-loka, Svar-loka, Mahar-loka, Ganar-loka, Tapar-loka, and Satya-loka; the seven Dvîpas or divisions of the terrestrial world, are, Gambu, Plaksha, Sâlmalî, Kusa, Krauñka, Sâka, and Pushkara; each Dvipa is encircled by one of the seven oceans, viz. the seas of Lavana (salt-water), Ikshu (syrup), Sarpih (butter), Dadhi (sour milk), Dugdha (milk), Svâdhu (treacle), and Udaka (water), (Nand.) The enumerations contained in the Vishnu-purâna and other works differ on two or three points only from that given by Nand.--
2Besides the interpretation followed in the text, Nand. proposes a second explanation of the term 'sthânâni,' as denoting Bhâratavarsha (India) and the other eight plains situated between the principal mountains.]
and the seven oceans, and fixed their several limits.
16. (He created) the rulers of the (seven) Dvîpas and the (eight) guardians of the world (Indra and the rest), the rivers, mountains, and trees, the seven Rishis, who know (and practise) the law, the Vedas together with their Angas, the Suras, and the Asuras.
17. (He created) Pisâkas (ogres), Uragas (serpents), Gandharvas (celestial singers), Yakshas (keepers of Kubera's treasures), Rakshasas (goblins), and men, cattle, birds, deer and other animals, (in short) all the four kinds of living beings, and clouds, rainbows, lightnings, and other celestial phenomena or bodies (such as the planets and the asterisms), and all kinds of sacrifices.
18. Bhagavat, after having thus created, in the
[16. The eight 'guardians of the world' (Lokapâlas) are, Indra, Agni, Yama, Sûrya, Varuna, Pavana, Kubera, and Soma (M.V, 96). The seven Rishis, according to the Satapatha-brâhmana, are, Gotama, Bharadvâga, Visvâmitra, Gamadagni, Vasishtha, Kasyapa, and Atri. The six Vedângas are, Sikshâ (pronunciation), Khandas (metre), Vyâkarana (grammar), Nirukta (etymology), Kalpa (ceremonial), and Gyotisha (astronomy). See Max Müller, Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 108, &c.
17. 1 See I.]
shape of a boar, this world together with all animate and inanimate things in it, went away into a place hidden from the world.
19. Ganârdana, the chief of the gods, having become invisible, the goddess of the earth began to consider, 'How shall I be able to sustain myself (henceforth)?'
20. 'I will go to Kasyapa to ask: he will tell me the truth. The great Muni has my welfare under constant consideration.'
21. Having thus decided upon her course, the goddess, assuming the shape of a woman, went to see Kasyapa, and Kasyapa saw her.
22. Her eyes were similar, to the leaves of the blue lotus (of which the bow of Kâma, the god of love, is made); her face was radiant like the moon in the autumn season; her locks were as dark as a swarm of black bees; she was radiant; her lip was (red) like the Bandhugîva flower; and she was lovely to behold.
23. Her eyebrows were fine; her teeth exceedingly small; her nose handsome; her brows bent; her neck shaped like a shell; her thighs were constantly touching each other; and they were fleshy thighs, which adorned her loins.
24. Her breasts were shining white, firm, plump, very close to each other, (decorated with continuous strings of pearls) like the projections on the forehead of Indra's elephant, and radiant like the gold (of the two golden jars used at the consecration of a king).
[24 1 Or 'equal in size,' according to the second of the two explanations which Nand. proposes of the term 'samau.']
25. Her arms were as delicate as lotus fibres; her hands were similar to young shoots; her thighs were resplendent like golden pillars; and her knees were hidden (under the flesh), and closely touching each other.
26. Her legs were smooth and exquisitely proportioned; her feet exceedingly graceful; her loins fleshy; and her waist like that of a lion's cub.
27. Her reddish nails shone (like rubies); her beauty was the delight of every looker-on; and with her glances she filled at every step all the quarters of the sky as it were with lotus-flowers.
28. Radiant with divine lustre, she illuminated all the quarters of the sky with it; her clothing was most exquisite and perfectly white; and she was decorated with the most precious gems.
29. With her steps she covered the earth as it were with lotuses; she was endowed with beauty and youthful charms; and made her approach with modest bearing.
30. Having seen her come near, Kasyapa saluted her reverentially, and said, 'O handsome lady, O earth, radiant with divine lustre, I am acquainted with thy thoughts.
31. 'Go to visit Ganârdana, O large-eyed lady; he will tell thee accurately, how thou shalt henceforth sustain thyself.
32. For thy sake, O (goddess), whose face is lovely and whose limbs are beautiful, I have found out, by profound meditation, that his residence is in the Kshîroda (milk-ocean).'
33. The goddess of the earth answered, 'Yes, (I shall do as you bid me),saluted Kasyapa reverentially,
and proceeded to the Kshîroda sea, in order to see Kesava (Vishnu).
34. She beheld (then) the ocean, from which the Amrita arose. It was lovely, like the rays of the moon, and agitated by hundreds of waves produced by stormy blasts of wind.
35. (With its waves) towering like a hundred Himâlayas it seemed another terrestrial globe, calling near as it were the earth with its hands; the rolling waves.
36. With those hands it was as it were constantly producing the radiancy of the moon; and every stain of guilt was removed from it by Hari's (Vishnu's) residence within its limits.
37. Because (it was entirely free from sin) therefore it was possessed of a pure and shining frame; its colour was white; it was inaccessible to birds and its seat was in the lower regions.
38. It was rich in blue and tawny gems (sapphires, coral, and others), and looking therefore as if the atmosphere had descended upon the earth, and as if a number of forests adorned with a multitude of fruits had descended upon its surface.
39. Its size was immense, like that of the skin of (Vishnu's) serpent Sesha. After having seen the milk-ocean, the goddess of the earth beheld the dwelling of Kesava (Vishnu) which was in it:
40. (His dwelling), the size of which cannot be expressed in words, and, the sublimity of which is also beyond the power of utterance. In it she saw the destroyer of Madhu seated upon Sesha.
41. The lotus of his face was hardly visible on
[37. See 15, note.]
account of the lustre of the gems decorating the neck of the snake Sesha; he was shining like a hundred moons; and his splendour was equal to the rays of a myriad of suns.
42. He was clad in a yellow robe (radiant like gold); imperturbable; decorated with all kinds of gems; and shining with the lustre of a diadem resembling the sun in colour, and with (splendid) ear-rings.
43. Lakshmî was stroking his feet with her soft palms; and his attributes (the shell, the discus, the mace, and the lotus-flower) wearing bodies were attending upon him on all sides.
44. Having espied the lotus-eyed slayer of Madhu, she knelt down upon the ground and addressed him as follows:
45. 'When formerly I was sunk into the region of Rasâtala, I was raised by thee, O God, and restored to my ancient seat, O Vishnu, thanks to thy benevolence towards living beings.
46. 'Being there, how am I to maintain myself upon it, O lord of the gods?' Having been thus addressed by the goddess, the god enunciated the following answer:
47. 'Those who practise the duties ordained for each caste and for each order, and who act up strictly to the holy law, will sustain thee, O earth; to them is thy care committed.'
48. Having received this answer, the goddess of the earth said to the chief of the gods, 'Communicate to me the eternal laws of the castes and of the orders.
[47. Regarding the four castes and the four orders, see II, 1; III, 3.]
49. I desire to learn them from thee; for thou art my chief stay. Adoration be to thee, O brilliant chief of the gods, who annihilatest the power of the (Daityas and other) enemies of the gods.
50. 'O Nârâyana (son of Nara), O Gagannâtha (sovereign of the world); thou holdest the shell, the discus, and the mace (in thy hands); thou hast a lotus (Brahman) springing from thy navel; thou art the lord of the senses; thou art Most powerful and endowed with conquering strength.
51. 'Thou art beyond the cognisance of the senses; thy end is most difficult to know; thou art brilliant; thou holdest the bow Sârnga; thou art the boar; thou art terrible; thou art Govinda (the herdsman); thou art of old; thou art Purushottama (the spirit supreme).
52. 'Thy hair is golden; thy eyes are everywhere; thy body is the sacrifice; thou art free from stain; thou art the "field." (the corporeal frame); thou art the principle of life; thou art the ruler
[49. 1 This is Nand.'s interpretation of the term 'deva,' but it may also be taken in its usual acceptation of 'god.'
51. 1 This is the third of the three interpretations of the term varâha, which Nand. proposes. According to the first, it would mean 'one who kills his worst or most prominent foes;' according to the second, 'one who gratifies his own desires.' But these two interpretations are based upon a fanciful derivation of varâha from vara and â-han. Of many others among the epithets Nand. proposes equally fanciful etymologies, which I shall pass over unnoticed.--
2This epithet, which literally means 'he who finds or wins cows,' is usually referred to Vishnu's recovering the 'cow,' i.e. the earth, when it was lost in the waters: see Mahâbh. XII, 13228, which verse is quoted both by Nand. and by Sankara in his Commentary on the Vishnu-sahasranâma. It originally refers, no doubt, to Vishnu or Krishna as the pastoral god.]
of the world; thou art lying on the bed of the ocean.
53. 'Thou art Mantra (prayer); thou knowest the Mantras; thou surpassest all conception; thy frame is composed of the Vedas and Vedângas; the creation and destruction of this whole world is effected through thee.
54. 'Thou knowest right and wrong; thy body is law; law springs from thee; desires are gratified by thee: thy powers are everywhere; thou art (imperishable like) Amrita (ambrosia); thou art heaven; thou art the destroyer of Madhu and Kaitasa.
55. 'Thou causest the increase of the great thou art inscrutable; thou art all thou givest shelter to all; thou art the chief one thou art free from sin; thou art Gîmûta; thou art inexhaustible; thou art the creator.
56. 'Thou increasest the welfare (of the world), the waters spring from thee; thou art the seat of intelligence; action is not found in thee; thou presidest over seven chief things; thou art the teacher of religious rites; thou art of old; thou art Purushottama.
57, 'Thou art not to be shaken; thou art undecaying;
[55. 'The great (brihat) means time, space, and the like. . . . He is called "all" because he is capable of assuming any shape.' (Nand.) The sense of the term 'gimûta,' as an epithet of divine beings, is uncertain. According to Nand., it would mean 'he who sprinkles living beings;' but this interpretation is based upon a fanciful derivation, from gîva and mûtrayati.
56. 1 This refers either to the seven divisions of a Sâman; or to the seven species, of which each of the three kinds of sacrifices, domestic offerings, burnt-offerings, and Soma-sacrifices, consists (cf. Gaut. VIII, 18-20); or to the seven worlds (see 15, note), Bhûr and the rest. (Nand.)]
thou art the producer of the atoms; thou art kind to faithful attendants; thou art the purifier (of sinners); thou art the protector of all the gods thou art the protector of the pious.
58. 'Thou art also the protector of those who know the Veda, O Purushottama. I have come, O Gagannâtha, to the immovable Vâkaspati (the lord of holy speech), the lord;
59. 'To him, who is very pious; invincible; Vasushena (who has treasures for his armies); who bestows largesses upon his followers, who is endowed with the power of intense devotion; who is the germ of the ether; from whom the rays (of the sun and moon) proceed;
60. 'To Vâsudeva; the great soul of the universe; whose eyes are like lotuses; who is eternal; the preceptor of the Suras and of the Asuras; brilliant; omnipresent; the great lord of all creatures;
61. 'Who has one body and four faces; who is the producer of (the five grosser elements, ether, air, fire, water, and earth), the producers of the world. Teach me concisely, O Bhagavat, the eternal laws ordained for the aggregate of the four castes,
62. 'Together with the customs to be observed by each order and with the secret ordinances.' The chief of the gods, thus addressed by the goddess of the earth, replied to her as follows:
[62. According to Nand., the term rahasya, 'secret ordinances or doctrines,' has to be referred either to the laws regarding the occupations lawful for each caste in times of distress see II, 15), or to the penances (XLVI seq.) The latter interpretation seems to be the more plausible one, with the limitation, however, that rahasya is only used to denote the penances for secret faults, which are termed rahasya in LV, 1.]
63. Learn from me, in a concise form, O radiant goddess of the earth, the eternal laws for the aggregate of the four castes, together with the customs to be observed by each order, and with the secret ordinances,
64. 'Which will effect the final liberation of the virtuous persons, who will support thee. Be seated upon this splendid golden seat, O handsome-thighed goddess.
65. 'Seated at ease, listen to me proclaiming the sacred laws.' The goddess of the earth, thereupon, seated at case, listened to the sacred precepts as, they came from the mouth of Vishnu.