The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, , at sacred-texts.com
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 you 1, 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 Puráńas 2. Sanandana and the other sons of
[paragraph continues] 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,
darkened with angry frowns, sprang Rudra 3, 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 white 4.
Then Brahmá 5 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
purified from the sin (of forbidden nuptials), and whom the divine Manu Swáyambhuva took to wife. From these two were born two sons, Priyavrata
and Uttánapáda 6, and two daughters, named Prasúti and Ákúti,
graced with loveliness and exalted merit 7. Prasúti he gave to Daksha, after giving Ákúti to the patriarch Ruchi 8, who espoused her. Ákúti bore to Ruchi twins, Yajna and Dakshiná 9, who afterwards became husband and wife, and had twelve sons, the deities called Yámas 10, in the Manwantara of Swáyambhuva.
The patriarch Daksha had by Prasúti twenty-four daughters 11: 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) 12.
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 (reputation 13). These were the sons of Dharma; one of whom, Káma, had Hersha (joy) by his wife Nandi (delight).
The wife of Adharma 14 (vice) was Hinsá (violence), on whom he begot
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, 'perpetual 15: The first, also
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.
49:1 It is not clear which of the previous narratives is here referred to, but it seems most probable that the account in p. 35, 36. is intended.
49:2 Considerable variety prevails in this list of Prajápatis, Brahmaputras, Bráhmanas, or Brahmarshis; but the variations are of the nature of additions made to an apparently original enumeration of but seven, whose names generally recur. Thus in the Mahábhárata, Moksha Dharma, we have in one place, Maríchi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vaśisht́ha, 'the seven highminded sons of the self-born Brahmá.' In another place of the same, however, we have Daksha substituted for Vaśisht́ha: 'Brahmá then created mind-begotten sons, of whom Daksha was the seventh, with Maríchi,' &c. These seven sons of Brahmá are also identified with the seven Rishis as in the Váyu; although, with palpable inconsistency, eight are immediately enumerated, or, Bhrigu, Maríchi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vaśisht́ha. The Uttara Khanda of the Padma P. substitutes Kardama for Vaśisht́ha. The Bhágavata includes Daksha, enumerating nine. The Matsya agrees with Manu in adding Nárada to the list of our text. The Kúrma P. adds Dharma and Sankalpa. The Linga, Brahmáńd́a, and Váyu P. also add them, and extend the list to Adharma and Ruchi. The Hari Vanśa in one place inserts Gautama, and p. 50 in another Manu. Altogether therefore we have seventeen, instead of seven. But the accounts given of the origin of several of these, shew that they were not originally included amongst the Mánasa putras, or sons of Brahmá's mind; for even Daksha, who finds a place in all the lists except one of those given in the Mahábhárata, is uniformly said to have sprung from Brahmá's thumb: and the same patriarch, as well as Dharma, is included in some accounts, as in the Bhágavata and Matsya P., amongst a different series of Brahmá's progeny, or virtues and vices; or, Daksha (dexterity), Dharma (virtue), Káma (desire), Krodha (passion), Lobha (covetousness), Moha (infatuation), Mada (insanity), Pramoda (pleasure), Mrityu (death), and Angaja (lust). These are severally derived from different parts of Brahmá's body: and the Bhagávata, adding Kardama (soil or sin) to this enumeration, makes him spring from Brahmá's shadow. The simple statement, that the first Prajápatis sprang from the mind or will of Brahmá, has not contented the depraved taste of the mystics, and in some of the Puráńas, as the Bhágavata, Linga, and Váyu, they also are derived from the body of their progenitor; or, Bhrigu from his skin, Maríchi from his mind, Atri from his eyes, Angiras from his mouth, Pulastya from his ear, Pulaha from his navel, Kratu from his hand, Vaśisht́ha from his breath, Daksha from his thumb, and Nárada from his hip. They do not exactly agree, however, in the places whence these beings proceed; as for instance, according to the Linga, Maríchi springs from Brahmá's eyes, not Atri, who there proceeds, instead of Pulastya, from his ears. The Váyu has also another account of their origin, and states them to have sprung from the fires of a sacrifice offered by Brahmá; an allegorical mode of expressing their probable original, considering them to be in some degree real persons, from the Brahmanical ritual, of which they were the first institutors and observers. The Váyu P. also states, that besides the seven primitive Rishis, the Prajápatis are numerous, and specifies Kardama, Kaśyapa, Śesha, Vikránta, Susravas, Bahuputra, Kumára, Vivaswat, Suchisravas, Práchetasa (Daksha), Arisht́anemi, Bahula. These and many others were Prajápatis. In the beginning of the Mahábhárata (A. P.) we have again a different origin, and first Daksha, the son of Prachetas, it is said, had seven sons, after whom the twenty-one Prajápatis were born, or appeared. According to the commentator, the seven sons of Daksha were the allegorical persons Krodha, Tamas, Dama, Vikrita, Angiras, Kardama, and Aswa; and the twenty-one Prajápatis, the seven usually specified Maríchi and the rest, and the fourteen Manus. This looks like a blending of the earlier and later notions.
51:3 Besides this general notice of the origin of Rudra and his separate forms, we have in the next chapter an entirely different set of beings so denominated; and the eleven alluded to in the text are also more particularly enumerated in a subsequent chapter. The origin of Rudra, as one of the agents in creation, is described in most of the Puráńas. The Mahábhárata, indeed, refers his origin to Vishńu, representing him as the personification of his anger, whilst Brahmá is that of his kindness. The Kúrma P. makes him proceed from Brahmá's mouth, whilst engaged in meditating on creation. The Varáha P. makes this appearance of Rudra the consequence of a promise made by Śiva to Brahmá, that he would become his son. In the parallel passages in other Puráńas the progeny of the Rudra created by Brahmá is not confined to the eleven, but comprehends infinite numbers of beings in person and equipments like their parent; until Brahmá, alarmed at their fierceness, numbers, and immortality, desires his son Rudra, or, as the Matsya calls him, Vámadeva, to form creatures of a different and mortal nature. Rudra refusing to do this, desists; whence his name Sthánu, from Sthá, 'to stay.' Linga, Váyu P. &c.
51:4 According to the Váyu, the female became first twofold, or one half white, and the other black; and each of these, again, becomes manifold, being the various energies, or Śaktis, of Mahádeva, as stated by the Kúrma, after the words ### which are those of our text: ###. The Linga and Váyu specify many of their names. Those of the white complexion, or mild nature, include Lakshmí, Saraswatí, Gaurí, Umá, &c. Those of the dark hue, and fierce disposition, Durgá, Kálí, Chandí, Mahárátrí, and others.
51:5 Brahmá, after detaching from himself the property of anger, in the form of Rudra, converted himself into two persons, the first male, or the Manu Swáyambhuva, and the first woman, or Śatarúpá: so in the Vedas; 'So himself was indeed (his) son.' The commencement of production through sexual agency is here described with sufficient distinctness, but the subject has been rendered p. 52 obscure by a more complicated succession of agents, and especially by the introduction of a person of a mythic or mystical character, Viráj. The notion is thus expressed in Manu: "Having divided his own substance, the mighty power Brahmá became half male and half female; and from that female he produced Viráj. Know me to be that person whom the male Viráj produced by himself." I. 32, 33. We have therefore a series of Brahmá, Viráj, and Manu, instead of Brahmá and Manu only: also the generation of progeny by Brahmá, begotten on Satarúpá, instead of her being, as in our text, the wife of Manu. The idea seems to have originated with the Vedas, as Kullúka Bhat́t́a quotes a text; 'Then (or thence) Virát was born.' The procreation of progeny by Brahmá, however, is at variance with the whole system, which almost invariably refers his creation to the operation of his will: and the expression in Manu, 'he created Viráj in her,' does not necessarily imply sexual intercourse. Viráj also creates, not begets, Manu. And in neither instance does the name of Śatarúpá occur. The commentator on Manu, however, understands the expression asrijat to imply the procreation of Viráj; and the same interpretation is given by the Matsya Puráńa, in which the incestuous passion of Brahmá for Śatarúpa, his daughter in one sense, his sister in another, is described; and by her he begets Viráj, who there is called, not the progenitor of Manu, but Manu himself. This therefore agrees with our text, as far as it makes Manu the son of Brahmá, though not as to the nature of the connexion. The reading of the Agni and Padma P. is that of the Vishńu; and the Bhágavata agrees with it in one place, stating distinctly that the male half of Brahmá, was Manu, the other half, Śatarúpá: ### Bhágav. III. 12. 35: and although the production of Viráj is elsewhere described, it is neither as the son of Brahmá, nor the father of Manu. The original and simple idea, therefore, appears to be, the identity of Manu with the male half of Brahmá, and his being thence regarded as his son. The Kúrma P. gives the same account as Manu, and in the same words. The Linga P. and Váyu P. describe the origin of Viráj and Śatarúpá from Brahmá; and they intimate the union of Śatarúpá with Purusha or Viráj, the male portion of Brahmá, in the first instance; and in the second, with Manu, who is termed Vairája, or the son of Viráj. The Bráhma P., the words of which are repeated in the Hari Vanśa, introduces a new element of perplexity in a new name, that of Ápava. According to the commentator, this is a name of the Prajápati Vaśisht́ha. As, however, he performs the office of Brahmá, he should be regarded as that divinity: but this is not exactly the case, although it has been so rendered by the French translator. Ápava becomes twofold, and in the capacity of his male half begets offspring by the female. Again, it is said Vishńu created p. 53 Viráj, and Viráj created the male, which is Vairája or Manu; who was thus the second interval (Antaram), or stage, in creation. That is, according to the commentator, the first stage was the creation of Ápava, or Vaśisht́ha, or Viráj, by Vishńu, through the agency of Hiranyagarbha or Brahmá; and the next was that of the creation of Manu by Viráj. Śatarúpá appears as first the bride of Ápava, and then as the wife of Manu. This account therefore, although obscurely expressed, appears to be essentially the same with that of Manu; and we have Brahmá, Viráj, Manu, instead of Brahmá and Manu. It seems probable that this difference, and the part assigned to Viráj, has originated in some measure from confounding Brahmá with the male half of his individuality, and considering as two beings that which was but one. If the Purusha or Viráj be distinct from Brahmá, what becomes of Brahmá? The entire whole and its two halves cannot coexist; although some of the Pauráńics and the author of Manu seem to have imagined its possibility, by making Viráj the son of Brahmá. The perplexity, however, is still more ascribable to the personification of that which was only an allegory. The division of Brahmá into two halves designates, as is very evident from the passage in the Vedas given by Mr. Colebrooke, (As. R. VIII. 425,) the distinction of corporeal substance into two sexes; Viráj being all male animals, Śatarúpá all female animals. So the commentator on the Hari Vanśa explains the former to denote the horse, the bull, &c.; and the latter, the mare, the cow, and the like. In the Bhágavata the term Viráj implies, Body, collectively, as the commentator observes; 'As the sun illuminates his own inner sphere, as well as the exterior regions, so soul, shining in body (Virája), irradiates all without and within.' All therefore that the birth of Viráj was intended to express, was the creation of living body, of creatures of both sexes: and as in consequence man was produced, he might be said to be the son of Viráj, or bodily existence. Again, Śatarúpá, the bride of Brahmá, or of Viráj, or of Manu, is nothing more than beings of varied or manifold forms, from Sata, 'a hundred,' and 'form;' explained by the annotator on the Hari Vanśa by Anantarúpá, 'of infinite,' and Vividharúpá, 'of diversified shape;' being, as he states, the same as Máyá, 'illusion,' or the power of multiform metamorphosis. The Matsya P. has a little allegory of its own, on the subject of Brahmá's intercourse with Śatarúpá; for it explains the former to mean the Vedas, and the latter the Savitrí, or holy prayer, which is their chief text; and in their cohabitation there is therefore no evil.
53:6 The Bráhma P. has a different order, and makes Víra the son of the first pair, who has Uttánapáda, &c. by Kámyá. The commentator on the Hari Vanśa quotes the Váyu for a confirmation of this account; but the passage there is, 'Śatarúpá bore to the male Vairája (Manu) two Víras,' i. e. heroes or heroic sons, p. 54 Uttánpáda and Priyavrata. It looks as if the compiler of the Bráhma P. had made some very unaccountable blunder, and invented upon it a new couple, Víra and Kámyá: no such person as the former occurs in any other Puráńa, nor does Kámyá, as his wife.
54:7 The Bhágavata adds a third daughter, Devahúti; for the purpose apparently of introducing a long legend of the Rishi Kardama, to whom she is married, and of their son Kapila: a legend not met with any where else.
54:8 Ruchi is reckoned amongst the Prajápatis by the Linga and Váyu Puráńas.
54:9 These descendants of Swáyambhuva are all evidently allegorical: thus Yajna is 'sacrifice,' and Dakshińá 'donation' to Brahmans.
54:10 The Bhágavata (b. IV. c. 1) says the Tushitas, but they are the divinities of the second, not of the first Manwantara, as appears also in another part of the same, where the Yámas are likewise referred to the Swáyambhuva Manwantara.
54:11 These twenty-four daughters are of much less universal occurrence in the Puráńas than the more extensive series of fifty or sixty, which is subsequently described, and which appears to be the more ancient legend.
54:12 The twenty-four daughters of Daksha are similarly named and disposed of in most of the Puráńas which notice them. The Bhágavata, having introduced a third daughter. of Swáyambhuva, has a rather different enumeration, in order to assign some of them, the wives of the Prajápatis, to p. 55 Kardama and Devahúti. Daksha had therefore, it is there said (b. IV. c. 1), sixteen daughters, thirteen of whom were married to Dharma, named Sraddhá, Maitrí (friendship), Dayá (clemency), Sánti Tusht́i, Pusht́i, Kriyá, Unnati (elevation), Buddhi, Medhá, Titikshá (patience), Hrí (modesty), Múrtti (form); and three, Sati, Swáhá, and Swadhá, married, as in our text. Some of the daughters of Devahúti repeat these appellations, but that is of slight consideration. They are, Kalá (a moment), married to Maríchi; Anasúyá to Atri; Sraddhá to Angiras; Havirbhu (oblation-born) to Pulastya; Gati (movement) to Pulaha; Kriyá to Kratu; Khyáti to Bhrigu; Arundhati to Vaśisht́ha; and Sánti to Atharvan. In all these instances the persons are manifestly allegorical, being personifications of intelligences and virtues and religious rites, and being therefore appropriately wedded to the probable authors of the Hindu code of religion and morals, or to the equally allegorical representation of that code, Dharma, moral and religious duty.
55:13 The same remark applies here. The Puráńas that give these details generally concur with our text, but the Bhágavata specifies the progeny of Dharma in a somewhat different manner; or, following the order observed in the list of Dharma's wives, their children are, Rita (truth), Prasáda (favour), Abhaya (fearlessness), Sukha, Muda (pleasure), Smaya (wonder), Yoga (devotion), Darpa, Artha (meaning), Smriti (memory), Kshema, Prasraya (affection), and the two saints Nara and Náráyańa, the sons of Dharma by Múrtti. We have occasional varieties of nomenclature in other authorities; as, instead of Śruta, Sama; Kúrma P.: instead of Dandanaya, Samaya; and instead of Bodha, Apramáda; Linga P.: and Siddha in place of Sukha; Kúrma P.
55:14 The text rather abruptly introduces Adharma and his family. He is said by the commentator to be the son of Brahmá, and the Linga P. enumerates him among the Prajápatis, as well as Dharma. According to the Bhágavata, he is the husband of Mrishá (falsehood), and the father of Dambha (hypocrisy) and Máyá (deceit), who were adopted by Nirritti. The series p. 56 of their descendants is also somewhat varied from our text; being in each descent, however, twins which intermarry, or Lobha (covetousness) and Nikriti, who produce Krodha (wrath) and Hinsá: their children are, Kali (wickedness) and Durukti (evil speech): their progeny are, Mrityu and Bhí (fear); whose offspring are, Niraya (hell) and Yátaná (torment).
56:15 The three first of these are more particularly described in the last book: the last, the Nitya, or constant, is differently described by Col. Vans Kennedy (Ancient and Hindu Mythology, p. 224, note). "In the 7th chapter," he observes, "of the Vishńu Puráńa four kinds of Pralaya are described. The Naimittika takes place when Brahmá slumbers: the Prákritika when this universe returns to its original nature: Atyantika proceeds from divine knowledge: and Nitya is the extinction of life, like the extinction of a lamp, in sleep at night." For this last characteristic, however, our text furnishes no warrant; nor can it be explained to signify, that the Nitya Pralaya means no more p. 57 than "a man's falling into a sound sleep at night." All the copies consulted on the present occasion concur in reading ### as rendered above. The commentator supplies the illustration, 'like the flame of a lamp;' but he also writes, 'That which is the destruction of all that are born, night and day, is the Nitya, or constant.' Again, in a verse presently following we have the Nitya Sarga, 'constant or perpetual creation,' as opposed to constant dissolution: 'That in which, oh excellent sages, beings are daily born, is termed constant creation, by those learned in the Puráńas.' The commentator explains this, 'The constant flow or succession of the creation of ourselves and other creatures is the Nitya or constant creation: this is the meaning of the text.' It is obvious, therefore, that the alternation intended is that of life and death, not of waking and sleep.