Book: The Bhagavata Purana 2

The Bhagavata Purana 2






Fifth Skandha

Sixth Skandha

Seventh Skandha

Eighth Skandha

Ninth Skandha

Tenth Skandha



Fifth Skandha

Sixth Skandha

Seventh Skandha

Eighth Skandha

Ninth Skandha

Tenth Skandha


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Bibek Debroy is a renowned economist, scholar and translator. He has worked in universities, research institutes, industry and for the government. He has widely published books, papers and articles on economics. As a translator, he is best known for his magnificent rendition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes, the three-volume translation of the Valmiki Ramayana and additionally the Harivamsha, published to wide acclaim by Penguin Classics. He is also the author of Sarama and Her Children, which splices his interest in Hinduism with his love for dogs.

Praise for the Mahabharata

‘The modernization of language is visible, it’s easier on the mind, through expressions that are somewhat familiar. The detailing of the story is intact, the varying tempo maintained, with no deviations from the original. The short introduction reflects a brilliant mind. For those who passionately love the Mahabharata and want to explore it to its depths, Debroy’s translation offers great promise . . .’—Hindustan Times

‘[Debroy] has really carved out a niche for himself in crafting and presenting a translation of the Mahabharata . . . The book takes us on a great journey with admirable ease’—Indian Express

‘The first thing that appeals to one is the simplicity with which Debroy has been able to express himself and infuse the right kind of meanings . . . Considering that Sanskrit is not the simplest of languages to translate a text from, Debroy exhibits his deep understanding and appreciation of the medium’—The Hindu

‘Debroy’s lucid and nuanced retelling of the original makes the masterpiece even more enjoyably accessible’—Open

‘The quality of translation is excellent. The lucid language makes it a pleasure to read the various stories, digressions and parables’—Tribune

‘Extremely well-organized, and has a substantial and helpful Introduction, plot summaries and notes. The volume is a beautiful example of a well thought-out layout which makes for much easier reading’—Book Review

‘The dispassionate vision [Debroy] brings to this endeavour will surely earn him merit in the three worlds’—Mail Today

‘Debroy’s is not the only English translation available in the market, but where he scores and others fail is that his is the closest rendering of the original text in modern English without unduly complicating the readers’ understanding of the epic’—Business Standard

‘The brilliance of Ved Vyasa comes through, ably translated by Bibek Debroy’—Hindustan Times

Praise for the Valmiki Ramayana

‘It is a delight to read Bibek Debroy’s translation of the Valmiki Ramayana. It’s like Lord Ram has blessed Dr Debroy, and through him, blessed us with another vehicle to read His immortal story’—Amish Tripathi

‘Bibek Debroy’s translation of the Ramayana is easy to navigate . . . It is an effort for which Debroy deserves unqualified praise’—Business Standard

‘A nuanced translation of a beloved epic . . . There is much to recommend this three volume set that can renew our interest in the Ramayana, surely one of the greatest stories ever told’—Indian Express

For Yudhistir Govinda Das


The word ‘purana’ means old, ancient. The Puranas are old texts, usually referred to in conjunction with Itihasa (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata). 1 Whether Itihasa originally meant only the Mahabharata—with the Ramayana being added to that expression later—is a proposition on which there has been some discussion. But that’s not relevant for our purposes. In the Chandogya Upanishad, there is an instance of the sage Narada approaching the sage Sanatkumara for instruction. When asked about what he already knew, Narada says he knows Itihasa and Purana, the Fifth Veda. 2 In other words, Itihasa–Purana possessed an elevated status. This by no means implies that the word ‘purana’, as used in these two Upanishads and other texts too, is to be understood in the sense of the word being applied to a set of texts known as the Puranas today. The Valmiki Ramayana is believed to have been composed by Valmiki and the Mahabharata by Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa. After composing the Mahabharata, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa is believed to have composed the Puranas. The use of the word ‘composed’ immediately indicates that Itihasa–Purana are smriti texts, with a human origin. They are not shruti texts, with a divine origin. Composition does not mean these texts were rendered into writing. Instead, there was a process of oral narration, with inevitable noise in the transmission and distribution process. Writing came much later.

Frederick Eden Pargiter’s book on the Puranas is still one of the best introductions to this corpus. 3 To explain the composition and transmission process, one can do no better than to quote him:

The Vayu and Padma Puranas tell us how ancient genealogies, tales and ballads were preserved, namely, by the sutas, 4 and they describe the suta’s duty . . . The Vayu, Brahmanda and Visnu give an account, how the original Purana came into existence . . . Those three Puranas say— Krsna Dvaipayana divided the single Veda into four and arranged them, and so was called Vyasa. He entrusted them to his four disciples, one to each, namely Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. Then with tales, anecdotes, songs and lore that had come down from the ages he compiled a Purana, and taught it and the Itihasa to his fifth disciple, the suta Romaharsana or Lomaharsana . . .After that he composed the Mahabharata. The epic itself implies that the Purana preceded it . . . As explained above, the sutas had from remote times preserved the genealogies of gods, rishis and kings, and traditions and ballads about celebrated men, that is, exactly the material—tales, songs and ancient lore—out of which the Purana was constructed. Whether or not Vyasa composed the original Purana or superintended its compilation, is immaterial for the present purpose . . . After the original Purana was composed, by Vyasa as is said, his disciple Romaharsana taught it to his son Ugrashravas, and Ugrashravas the souti 5 appears as the reciter in some of the present Puranas; and the sutas still retained the right to recite it for their livelihood. But, as stated above, Romaharsana taught it to his six disciples, at least five of whom were brahmans. It thus passed into the hands of brahmans, and their appropriation and development of it increased in the course of time, as the Purana grew into many Puranas, as Sanskrit learning became peculiarly the province of the brahmans, and as new and frankly sectarian Puranas were composed.

Pargiter cited reasons for his belief that the Mahabharata was composed before the original Purana, though that runs contrary to the popular perception about the Mahabharata having been composed before the Puranas. That popular and linear perception is too simplistic, since texts evolved parallelly, not necessarily sequentially.

In popular perception, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa composed the Mahabharata. He then composed the Puranas. Alternatively, he composed an original core Purana text, which has been lost, and others embellished it through additions. The adjective ‘purana’, meaning old account or old text, became a proper noun, signifying a specific text. To be classified as a Purana, a Purana has to possess five attributes—pancha lakshmana. That is, five topics must be discussed—sarga, pratisarga, vamsha, manvantara and vamshanucharita. The clearest statement of this is in the Matsya Purana. A text like the Bhagavata Purana also mentions these five attributes, but adds another five, making it a total of ten. Unlike the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there is no Critical Edition of the Puranas. 6 Therefore, citing chapter and verse from a Purana text is somewhat more difficult, since verse, if not chapter, may vary from text to text. With that caveat, the relevant shloka (verse) should be in the fifty-third chapter of the Matysa Purana. Sarga means the original or primary creation. The converse of sarga is universal destruction, or pralaya. That period of sarga lasts for one of Brahma’s days, known as kalpa. When Brahma sleeps, during his night, there is universal destruction.

In measuring time, there is the notion of a yuga (era) and there are four yugas—satya yuga (also known as krita yuga), treta yuga, dvapara yuga and kali yuga. Satya yuga lasts for 4,000 years, treta yuga for 3,000 years, dvapara yuga for 2,000 years and kali yuga for 1,000 years. However, all these are not human years. The gods have a different timescale and these are the years of the gods. As one progressively moves from satya yuga to kali yuga, virtue (dharma) declines. But at the end of kali yuga, the cycle begins afresh, with satya yuga. An entire cycle, from satya yuga to kali yuga, is known as a mahayuga (great era). However, a mahayuga is not just 10,000 years. There is a further complication. At the beginning and the end of every yuga, there are some additional years. These additional years are 400 for satya yuga, 300 for treta yuga, 200 for dvapara yuga and 100 for kali yuga. A mahayuga thus has 12,000 years, adding years both at the beginning and at the end. 1,000 mahayugas make up one kalpa. A kalpa is also divided into fourteen manvantaras, a manvantara being a period during which a Manu presides and rules over creation. Therefore, there are 71.4 mahayugas in a manvantara. Our present kalpa is known as the Shveta Varaha Kalpa. Within that, six Manus have come and gone. Their names are (1) Svyambhuva Manu, (2) Svarochisha Manu, (3) Uttama Manu, (4) Tapasa Manu, (5) Raivata Manu and (6) Chakshusha Manu. The present Manu is known as Vaivasvata Manu. Vivasvat, also written as Vivasvan, is the name of Surya, the sun god. Vaivasvata Manu has that name because he is Surya’s son. Not only the Manus, but the gods, the ruler of the gods and the seven great sages, known as the saptarshis (seven rishis), change from one manvantara to another. Indra is a title of the ruler of the gods. It is not a proper name. The present Indra is Purandara. However, in a different manvantara, someone else will hold the title. In the present seventh manvantara, known as Vaivasvata manvantara, there will also be 71.4 mahayugas. We are in the twenty-eighth of these. Since a different Vedavyasa performs that task of classifying and collating the Vedas in every mahayuga, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa is the twenty-eighth in that series. Just so that it is clear, Vedavyasa isn’t a proper name. It is a title conferred on someone who collates and classifies the Vedas. There have been twenty-seven who have held the title of Vedavyasa before Krishna Dvaipayana and he is the twenty-eighth. His proper name is Krishna Dvaipayana—Krishna because he was dark and Dvaipayna because he was born on an island (dvipa). This gives us an idea of what the topic of manvantara is about. This still leaves pratisarga, vamsha and vamshanucharita. The two famous dynasties/lineages were the solar dynasty (survya vamsha) and lunar dynasty (chandra vamsha) and all the famous kings belonged to one or other of these two dynasties. Vamshanucharita is about these lineages and the conduct of these kings. There were the gods and sages (rishis) too, not always born through a process of physical procreation. Their lineages are described under the heading of vamsha. Finally, within that cycle of primary creation and destruction, there are smaller and secondary cycles of creation and destruction. That’s the domain of pratisarga. In greater or lesser degree, all the Puranas cover these five topics, some more than the others.

There are Puranas, and there are Puranas. Some are known as Sthala Puranas, describing the greatness and sanctity of a specific geographical place. Some are known as Upa-Puranas, minor Puranas. The listing of Upa-Puranas has regional variations and there is no countrywide consensus about the list of Upa-Puranas, though it is often accepted that there are eighteen of them. The Puranas we have in mind are known as Maha-Puranas, major Puranas. Henceforth, when we use the word Puranas, we mean Maha-Puranas. There is consensus that there are eighteen Maha-Puranas, though it is not obvious that this number of eighteen existed right from the beginning. The names are mentioned in several of these texts, including a shloka that follows the shloka cited from the Matsya Purana. The listing is also included in the last sections of the Bhagavata Purana itself. Thus, the eighteen Puranas are (1) Agni (15,400); (2) Bhagavata (18,000); (3) Brahma (10,000); (4) Brahmanda (12,000); (5) Brahmavaivarta (18,000); (6) Garuda (19,000); (7) Kurma (17,000); (8) Linga (11,000); (9) Markandeya (9,000); (10) Matsya (14,000); (11) Narada (25,000); (12) Padma (55,000); (13) Shiva (24,000); (14) Skanda (81,100); (15) Vamana (10,000); (16) Varaha (24,000); (17) Vayu (24,000) and (18) Vishnu (23,000). A few additional points about this list. First, the Harivamsha is sometimes loosely described as a Purana, but strictly speaking, it is not a Purana. It is more like an addendum to the Mahabharata. Second, Bhavishya (14,500) is sometimes mentioned, with Vayu excised from the list. However, the Vayu Purana exhibits many more Purana characteristics than the Bhavishya Purana does. There are references to a Bhavishyat Purana that existed, but that may not necessarily be the Bhavishya Purana as we know it today. That’s true of some other Puranas too. Texts have been completely restructured hundreds of years later. Third, it is not just a question of Bhavishya Purana and Vayu Purana. In the lists given in some Puranas, Vayu is part of the eighteen, but Agni is knocked out. In some others, Narasimha and Vayu are included, but Brahmanda and Garuda are knocked out. Fourth, when a list is given, the order also indicates some notion of priority or importance. Since that varies from text to text, our listing is simply alphabetical, according to the English alphabet.

The numbers within brackets indicate the number of shlokas each of these Puranas has, or is believed to have. The range is from 10,000 in Brahma to a mammoth 81,100 in Skanda. The aggregate is a colossal 409,500 shlokas. To convey a rough idea of the orders of magnitude, the Mahabharata has, or is believed to have, 100,000 shlokas. It’s a bit difficult to convert a shloka into word counts in English, especially because Sanskrit words have a slightly different structure. However, as a very crude approximation, one shloka is roughly twenty words. Thus, 100,000 shlokas become two million words and 400,000 shlokas, four times the size of the Mahabharata, amounts to eight million words. There is a reason for using the expression ‘is believed to have’, as opposed to ‘has’. Rendering into writing is of later vintage, the initial process was one of oral transmission. In the process, many texts have been lost, or are retained in imperfect condition. This is true of texts in general and is also specifically true of Itihasa and Puranas. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, mentioned earlier, no longer possesses 100,000 shlokas. Including the Harivamsha, there are around 80,000 shlokas. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata has of course deliberately excised some shlokas. For the Puranas, there is no counterpart of Critical Editions. However, whichever edition of the Puranas one chooses, the number of shlokas in that specific Purana will be smaller than the numbers given above. Either those many shlokas did not originally exist, or they have been lost. This is the right place to mention that a reading of the Puranas assumes a basic degree of familiarity with the Valmiki Ramayana and the Mahabharata, more the latter than the former. Without that familiarity, one will often fail to appreciate the context completely. Specifically for the Bhagavata Purana, more than passing familiarity with the Bhagavad Gita—strictly speaking, a part of the Mahabharata—helps. 7

Other than the five attributes, the Puranas have a considerable amount of information on geography and even geological changes (changes in courses of rivers) and astronomy. Therefore, those five attributes shouldn’t suggest the Puranas have nothing more. They do, and they have therefore been described as encyclopedias. Bharatavarsha is vast and heterogeneous and each Purana may very well have originated in one particular part of the country. Accordingly, within that broad compass of an overall geographical description, the extent of geographical information varies from Purana to Purana. Some are more familiar with one part of the country than with another. Though not explicitly mentioned in the five attributes, the Puranas are also about pursuing dharma, artha, kama and moksha, the four objectives of human existence, and are about the four varnas and the four ashramas. The general understanding and practice of dharma is based much more on the Puranas than on the Vedas. Culture, notions of law, rituals, architecture and iconography are based on the Puranas. There is beautiful poetry too, included in parts of the Bhagavata Purana.

Perhaps one should mention that there are two ways these eighteen Puranas are classified. The trinity has Brahma as the creator, Vishnu as the preserver and Shiva as the destroyer. Therefore, Puranas where creation themes feature prominently are identified with Brahma (Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya). Puranas where Vishnu features prominently are identified as Vaishnava Puranas (Bhagavata, Garuda, Kurma, Matysa, Narada, Padma, Vamana, Varaha, Vishnu). Puranas where Shiva features prominently are identified as Shaiva Puranas (Agni, Linga, Shiva, Skanda, Vayu). While there is a grain of truth in this, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are all important and all three feature in every Purana. Therefore, beyond the relative superiority of Vishnu vis-à-vis Shiva, the taxonomy probably doesn’t serve much purpose. The second classification is even more tenuous and is based on the three gunas of sattva (purity), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance). For example, the Uttara Khanda of the Padma Purana has a few shlokas along these lines, recited by Shiva to Parvati. With a caveat similar to the one mentioned earlier, this should be in the 236th chapter of Uttara Khanda. According to this, the Puranas characterized by sattva are Bhagavata, Garuda, Narada, Padma, Varaha and Vishnu. Those characterized by rajas are Bhavishya, Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya and Vamana, Those characterized by tamas are Agni, Kurma, Linga, Matysa, Skanda and Shiva.

Within a specific Purana text, there are earlier sections, as well as later ones. That makes it difficult to date a Purana, except as a range. Across Purana texts, there are older Puranas, as well as later ones. Extremely speculatively, the dating will be something like the following. (1) Agni (800–1100 CE); (2) Bhagavata (500–1000 CE); (3) Brahma (700–1500 CE); (4) Brahmanda (400–600 CE); (5) Brahmavaivarta (700–1500 CE); (6) Garuda (800–1100 CE); (7) Kurma (600–900 CE); (8) Linga (500–1000 CE); (9) Markandeya (250–700 CE); (10) Matsya (200–500 CE); (11) Narada (900–1600 CE); (12) Padma (400–1600 CE); (13) Shiva (1000–1400 CE); (14) Skanda (600–1200 CE); (15) Vamana (450–900 CE); (16) Varaha (1000–1200 CE); (17) Vayu (350–550 CE); (18) Vishnu (300 BCE to 450 CE); and (19) Bhavishya (500–1900 CE). Reiterating once again that there is no great precision in these ranges, by this reckoning, the Vishnu Purana is the oldest and some parts of the Bhavishya Purana are as recent as the nineteenth century.

As mentioned earlier, there is no Critical Edition for the Puranas. Therefore, one has to choose a Sanskrit text one is going to translate from. If one is going to translate all the Puranas, it is preferable, though not essential, that one opts for a common source for all the Purana texts. The common source for the Bhagavata Purana, and the subsequent Purana translations, is the one brought out by Nag Publishers, with funding from the ministry of human resource development. 8 A transliterated Sanskrit text is available through the University of Gottingen. 9 In Devanagari, the text is available at, with the transliterated Sanskrit text at The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies at the University of Oxford has a lot of useful resources under the umbrella of the Bhagavata Purana Research Project. 10 Among other things, this research project has published a book that is a bit like an abridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana. 11 The Bhagavata Purana is divided into twelve skandhas. The word skandha means trunk, or largish branch. In this context, it means section or segment. Out of these twelve skandhas, the tenth is the longest and is also the most read. Therefore, there are translations of the Bhagavata Purana that are limited to only the Tenth Skandha. Edwin Bryant’s rendering of the Tenth Skandha is almost like such a translation. 12 For the entire Bhagavata Purana, there are unabridged translations in Indian languages. However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only five unabridged translations in English: (1) Manmatha Nath Dutt; 13 (2) Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; 14 (3) Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare; 15 (4) Swami Tapasyananda; 16 and (5) C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri. 17 In 1901, Purnendu Narayana Sinha published a version that was close to a translation, but fell just short because it followed the path of retelling. 18 The Sanskrit texts used in these five translations vary a bit and the one used in this translation also varies a bit from the ones used in these five. The Bhagavata Purana is believed to have 18,000 shlokas. The table below shows what this particular Sanskrit version has: just over 14,000 spread across 335 chapters. One should not jump to the conclusion that a large number of shlokas are missing. A few are indeed missing. But sometimes, it is also a question of how one counts a shloka. With the content remaining identical, the text may be counted as one shloka in one place and as two shlokas elsewhere. Our numbering is exactly the same as in the Sanskrit text we have followed. Hence, even though there may be no difference in content between our version of the text and, say, that used by Swami Prabhupada, the numbering will vary a bit. (Sometimes, there are minor differences in the Sanskrit text though.) However, there are some shlokas that are indeed missing and Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare is a good source for translations of these missing shlokas, because those missing shlokas have been separately translated there. When we have enumerated all the chapters, there are two identifying numbers that have been provided. The first number refers to the skandha, the second to the number of the chapter within the skandha. Thus, Chapter 4(30) will be the thirtieth chapter in the fourth Skandha.SkandhaNumber of chaptersNumber of shlokas1198112103913331412431145052673861985571575282492992496210903948113113601213564Total33514172

In the translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Valmiki Ramayana, we followed the principle of not using diacritical marks. The use of diacritical marks (effectively the international alphabet of Sanskrit transliteration) makes the pronunciation and rendering more accurate, but also tends to put off readers who are less academically inclined. Since diacritical marks are not being used, there is a challenge of rendering Sanskrit names in English. Sanskrit is a phonetic language and we have used that principle as a basis. Applied consistently, this means that words are rendered in ways that may seem unfamiliar. Hence, the name of the jewel, often written as Kaustubha, will appear as Koustubha here. This is true of proper names, and, in a few rare cases, of geographical names. The absence of diacritical marks causes some minor problems. How does one distinguish Vasudeva Krishna from Krishna’s father, Vasudeva? Often, the context will make the difference clear. If not, we have written the son as Vaasudeva and the father as Vasudeva. In translating, the attempt has been to provide a word-for-word translation, so that if one were to hold up the Sanskrit text, there would be a perfect match.

The intention is also to offer a translation, not an interpretation. That sounds like a simple principle to adopt, and for the most part, is easy to follow. However, there is a thin dividing line between translation and interpretation. In some instances, it is impossible to translate without bringing in a little bit of interpretation. Inevitably, interpretation is subjective. We have tried to minimize the problem by (a) reducing interpretation; (b) relegating interpretation to footnotes and (c) when there are alternative interpretations, pointing this out to the reader through those footnotes. If a Purana text is just about the five attributes mentioned, the task isn’t that difficult. Take the Bhagavata Purana as an example. In Chapter 2(10), we are told about the ten characteristics of the Bhagavata Purana and these are sarga, visarga, sthana, poshana, uti, manvantara, isha-anukatha, nirodha, mukti and ashraya. These are (1) gross creation; (2) subtle creation; (3) preservation; (4) sustenance; (5) the addiction to the senses; (6) manvantaras; (7) accounts of the lord; (8) withdrawal; (9) liberation and (10) the ultimate refuge. Therefore, the text has much more than the five attributes cited. The word ‘bhagavat’ means the divine one, the illustrious one, the fortunate one, the prosperous one, the blessed one, the sacred one, the holy one. We are often more familiar with the nominative form, bhagavaan. Bhagavat/Bhagavaan occur frequently in our text and I have translated the word as ‘the illustrious one’. Since this is a Purana devoted to Vishnu, Bhagavat/Bhagavaan typically means Vishnu. But the text is not called Bhagavata Purana; it is in fact called Bhaagavata Purana. What does the word Bhaagavata mean? Taken as an adjective, the word means sacred and Bhaagavata Purana is simply the sacred Purana, a perfectly acceptable meaning. However, taken as a noun, Bhaagavata means a devotee or worshipper of Vishnu—and bhaagavata dharma is the dharma of devotion towards Vishnu. Therefore, Bhaagavata Purana is the text that describes this bhaagavata dharma that Vishnu devotees follow.

Hence, it isn’t only about stories. As mentioned earlier, the longest Skandha, the tenth, is also the most popular and is read most often. This particular skandha describes Krishna’s exploits and pastimes. This includes rasa lila and this skandha has some exquisite poetry. The song of the gopis is an example of this. As is thus obvious, this skandha has its fair share of stories. But in the other skandhas, the emphasis is more on dharma and moksha and a mix of bhakti (devotion), advaita (monism), dvaita (dualism), samkhya and yoga, 19 with notions of avataras (Vishnu’s incarnations) brought in. There is the influence of pancharatra doctrines and texts. Literally, the term pancharatra means five nights, and is a reference to five nights over which sacrifices were performed. However, there were pancharatra doctrines too and these developed a metaphysical philosophy. If we so wish, we can call it a theology. Vaishnava dharma integrated this pancharatra tradition with the other strands that have just been mentioned. Since this is a synthesis of many different strands, there are bound to be nuances and different schools. What does the Bhagavata Purana teach? What is its philosophy? Beyond the obvious tenet of devotion to Vishnu and emphasis on bhakti yoga, this is extremely difficult to answer. As a text that builds a theology, the Bhagavata Purana is much more complicated than the Bhagavad Gita. Indeed, one could say it builds extensively on that Bhagavad Gita foundation. Down the years, there have been several commentaries on and interpretations of the Bhagavata Purana. Depending on the language and the timeline for beginning and ending the cut-off, there must be at least two hundred such commentaries and interpretations. Which of these schools or interpretations should one follow? Should one take cognizance of other possible interpretations? In principle, this dilemma can exist in the course of translating any Purana. But in no other Purana is it as serious, because no other Purana devotes such a large percentage of shlokas to philosophy.

The choice in this translation is conscious and is driven by the objective and the target audience. The target audience is the ordinary reader who desires a faithful rendering of the Sanskrit text. The target reader isn’t the academic who desires something like a survey of literature. Nor is the target reader a devotee of one particular Vaishnava school. To state it a bit more explicitly, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Swami Tapasyananda and C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri follow one particular line of commentary or interpretation or school. From an academic’s perspective, Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare is the best. His translation also includes an excellent introduction and a detailed note on several different commentators of the Bhagavata Purana, certainly covering the major ones. However, apart from the language of the Tagare rendition not being very smooth, that edition is also layered with complexities which can deter the ordinary reader. On the other hand, I have consciously done what is akin to a contemporary Manmatha Nath Dutt translation. Without distorting, I have chosen the simplest possible interpretation or translation that fits. In a few minor instances, this meant choosing an interpretation that was marginally different from those chosen by these preceding translators. It is possible to criticize the avoidance of complexities, but it is a conscious choice and the dissatisfied reader can always go on to read more copious commentaries and annotations. There is plenty in the Bhagavata Purana to immerse oneself in and this translation is not meant to be the final item on that reading list. It can at best be the first.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Fifth Skandha

Chapter 5(1): 40 shlokas

Chapter 5(2): 23 shlokas

Chapter 5(3): 21 shlokas

Chapter 5(4): 18 shlokas

Chapter 5(5): 36 shlokas

Chapter 5(6): 19 shlokas

Chapter 5(7): 14 shlokas

Chapter 5(8): 32 shlokas

Chapter 5(9): 22 shlokas

Chapter 5(10): 26 shlokas

Chapter 5(11): 18 shlokas

Chapter 5(12): 16 shlokas

Chapter 5(13): 26 shlokas

Chapter 5(14): 46 shlokas

Chapter 5(15): 16 shlokas

Chapter 5(16): 29 shlokas

Chapter 5(17): 25 shlokas

Chapter 5(18): 39 shlokas

Chapter 5(19): 31 shlokas

Chapter 5(20): 69 shlokas

Chapter 5(21): 22 shlokas

Chapter 5(22): 19 shlokas

Chapter 5(23): 9 shlokas

Chapter 5(24): 51 shlokas

Chapter 5(25): 17 shlokas

Chapter 5(26): 54 shlokasChapter 5(1)

The king asked, ‘O sage! Priyavrata was devoted to the illustrious one and found delight in his own atman. Why did he find delight in the householder stage, which is the root cause behind the bondage of action and the reason for defeat? O bull among brahmanas! Those like him are certainly free from attachment. Why should a man like that be engaged in the householder stage? O brahmana rishi! Uttamashloka’s 1 feet are indeed great. If a person’s intelligence is satisified with that stage, his mind cannot have any desire for a family. O brahmana! There is a great doubt that I have about this attachment to a wife, a home, sons and other things, when the mind is fixed and has found success in Krishna.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘What you have said is correct. A person tastes the nectar from the illustrious Uttamashloka’s beautiful lotus feet. Such a devotee of the illustrious one is a paramahamsa 2 and his mind is immersed in his beloved account. However, sometimes, there are obstructions that prevent him from obtaining that most auspicious state, and generally, he has to abandon it. O king! Prince Priyavrata was indeed a supreme devotee of the illustrious one. Serving at Narada’s feet, he easily got to know about the supreme objective and truth. He wished to consecrate himself for worshipping the brahman. 3 But his own father 4 asked him to protect the earth, since he was the only one who possessed the aggregate of the excellent qualities mentioned in the sacred texts. Through meditation and yoga, he had already dedicated all his senses and all the rites completely to the illustrious Vasudeva. Therefore, he did not welcome the command, but it wasn’t one that could be refused. He did foresee that this act of ruling would lead to his defeat, since it would engage him with the transient. The illustrious original god, born from his own self, 5 knows the purpose behind the entire universe and its welfare, through the creation of the gunas. 6 He thinks about it. Surrounded by all the sacred texts and his own followers, he descended from his own residence. As he travelled through the firmament, along the path, he was praised by the leaders of the immortals, on their collection of vimanas. 7 Along the path, there were groups of Siddhas, 8 gandharvas, 9 Sadhyas, 10 charanas 11 and large numbers of sages who worshipped him. He approached, illuminating the valley of Gandhamadana. Because of the vehicle drawn by the swan, the divine rishi recognized his father, the illustrious Hiranyagarbha. 12 He quickly arose and offered him objects of worship. The father and son also joined their hands in salutation and worshipped him. 13 O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The illustrious one was an aggregate of qualities and was always victorious. Because of this and because of his descent, the original being was worshipped with those objects and highly praised through hymns and words. He smiled benevolently and spoke to Priyavrata.

‘The illustrious one said, “O son! Listen to the true words I am speaking. The god 14 is incomprehensible and you should not find fault with him. We, Bhava, this maharshi—all of us are incapable and only carry out his commands. No embodied being can use austerities, learning, yoga, valour, intelligence, dharma, or the power of himself or someone else, to counter what has been decreed by him. O dear one! Accept that the birth, death, deeds, the act of doing, grief, confusion, constant fear, happiness, unhappiness and association with the body of all living beings are the result of the commands of the one who is not manifest. His words are like a rope and the gunas and action are like strings that all of us are tied firmly to. O child! They cannot be severed. All of us are like offerings to the illustrious one. We are like quadrupeds, tethered to the nose for the sake of bipeds. O dear one! We are indeed bound to whatever is given to us by the lord, happiness, unhappiness and the attachment to gunas and action. We are tied to whatever existence the protector engages us in. We are like blind people, being led by a person who has eyes. Even a liberated person has to bear his body, until the store of his deeds has been exhausted, but without identifying himself with the body. This is like a person who wakes up and remembers what he experienced in dreams. However, in the next body, he should not enjoy material objects. Even if he goes to the forest, he may have six enemies 15 who will cause fear and distraction. But a learned person will have conquered his senses and will be satisfied within himself. No one can harm such a person, even if he happens to be in the householder stage. He must seek to conquer the six enemies and first enter the householder stage. This is like conquering the enemies in an extremely well-fortified place. When the desires have been exhausted, as a learned person, he can go elsewhere. 16 But you have already fortified yourself well and have conquered the six enemies, since you have sought refuge at the lotus feet of the one who has a lotus in his navel. Since the supreme being has commanded you, enjoy the objects of pleasure. Free of attachment, serve your own nature.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The great devotee of the illustrious one was thus instructed by the illustrious preceptor of the three worlds. Since he was himself inferior, he bowed his head down and accepted the command given to him. With a great deal of respect, he agreed and carried out those instructions. Manu worshipped the illustrious one with whatever objects of worship he could muster up, while Priyavrata and Narada looked on calmly. He 17 then returned to where he had come from, his own supreme world, beyond the capacity of thoughts and words to grasp. Because of the supreme one, Manu accomplished his desire. With the permission of the divine rishi, he instated his son as the protector of the entire world. He was thus himself relieved from association with material objects. This store of senses is like a waterbody where the water is mixed with poison. In this way, through the wishes of the lord, he became the lord of the world and was engaged in all the acts he had the right to perform. The illustrious one, the original being, is supreme in his powers and can destroy the bondage of the entire universe. By meditating on his feet, he destroyed all the impurities in his heart. He ruled over the earth and enhanced the reverence towards the great one. He married the daughter of Prajapati Vishvakarma, named Barhismati. Through her, he obtained ten sons who were his equals in good conduct, qualities, deeds, beauty, valour and generosity. As the youngest, he also had a daughter, and her name was Urjasvati. All of them were named after Agni—Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Mahavira, Hiranyareta, Ghritaprishtha, Savana, Medhatithi, Vitihotra and Kavi. Out of these, three held up their seed—Kavi, Mahavira and Savana. From their infancy, they pursued realization of the atman. They were familiar with, and achieved, the status of becoming a paramahamsa. They were supreme rishis who renounced. They sought refuge at the beautiful lotus feet of the illustrious one, Vasudeva, who resides in all embodied forms and who is the recourse for those who are scared. They remembered the supreme one and without any contamination, followed bhakti yoga. 18 Thus purifying their hearts, they perceived the illustrious one, who is in the atmans of all beings. Free from all differences, they realized the paramatman 19 in their own jivatmans. 20 Through another wife, he 21 had three sons—Uttama, Tapasa and Raivata. Each became the lord of a manvantara. 22 While his sons were engaged in self-control, 23 the lord of the earth uninterruptedly ruled over the earth for eleven arbudas. 24 The entire earth was subdued by the loud twang of his bowstring, when it was drawn by those two powerful and well-endowed arms. The proponents of adharma were defeated. Every day, he found increasing pleasure with Barhismati. Her gentle femine behaviour, bashfulness, delicate smiles and beautiful sidelong glances conquered his sense of discrimination. The great-minded person enjoyed himself like one who was ignorant. When the illustrious sun god circles around the mountain of the gods, 25 he illuminates half of the earth, while the other half is enveloped in darkness. He 26 did not like this. Because he had worshipped and satisfied the illustrious one, he had obtained superhuman powers. Using a radiant chariot that was like the sun’s chariot in speed, he decided to turn night into day and like a second sun, followed the sun’s orbit seven times. The trails of his chariot left impressions that became the seven oceans and these divided the earth into seven dvipas known as Jambu, Plaksha, Shalmali, Kusha, Krouncha, Shaka and Pushkara. 27 Each is twice as large as the one that precedes it. On the outside, each is surrounded by a body of liquid. The seven liquid bodies are made out of salt water, sugar cane juice, liquor, clarified butter, milk, curds and fresh water. 28 They form boundaries around the seven dvipas. Progressively, each is equal in size to the dvipa it surrounds. Barhismati’s husband made each of his dutiful sons, Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Hiranyareta, Ghritaprishtha, Medhatithi and Vitihotra, 29 the lord of one of these dvipas. He bestowed his daughter, named Urjasvati, on Ushanas. 30 Through her, Kavya had a daughter named Devayani. This kind of wonderful manliness is only possible for a man who seeks the dust of Urukrama’s 31 feet and conquers the six attributes. 32 Even if an inferior person performs the good deed of uttering the illustrious one’s name, he shakes off bondage. Thus, he was unlimited in his strength and valour. Despite having been instructed at the feet of the divine rishi, he succumbed to the attachment with the gunas. Once, he became dissatisfied and wanted to withdraw. Since he knew about the atman, he said, “Alas! I have been engaged in an act of wickedness. I have been immersed in the senses and in ignorance. By being submerged in this pit of material objects, I have caused hardships for myself. Enough of these trifles. I am like a domesticated animal in the hands of a woman. Shame on me. I am condemned because of this.” Through the favours of the supreme being, he obtained self-realization. He divided the earth equally among his obedient sons. He gave up his great prosperity. He had pleasured with his queen, but abandoned her, like a dead body. With renunciation in his heart, he again followed the path indicated by Narada, of devotedly following the pastimes of the illustrious Hari. There is a shloka about him. “But for the lord, who could have performed Priyavrata’s deeds? He destroyed the darkness and with his axle, created the seven oceans. To stop conflict among beings, he divided the earth into separate dvipas and created boundaries with oceans, mountains and forests. He loved those who were devoted to the supreme being. He regarded the greatness a man obtains through his deeds, on earth and in heaven, as equal to being in hell.”’Chapter 5(2)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘When his father was thus engaged, Agnidhra followed his instruction. He ruled over the subjects who resided in Jambudvipa, protecting them and looking upon them as his own sons. Once, he desired to obtain the world of the ancestors. 33 He went to the valley in the mountain 34 that celestial women sport in. He collected all the required objects and with single-minded attention, worshipped the illustrious lord and creator of the universe. 35 He performed austerities. The illustrious and original being discerned his intentions. There was an apsara named Purvachitti who was singing in his assembly. He sent her down to him. She went to an extremely beautiful grove in the hermitage. It was dense with many kinds of trees, with thick branches and golden creepers, vibrating because couples of land birds were perched there, singing in melodious tones. There were waterbodies filled with sparkling water, lotuses and karandavas, swans and many other aquatic birds which called out in response. She wandered around there. As she walked in that graceful and enticing way, her anklets tinkled. The prince’s eyes, which were like a pair of lotus buds, were closed in the yoga of meditation. Hearing the pleasing and tinkling sounds from the ornaments on her feet, he opened his eyes slightly and looked at her. Not very far from him, she was inhaling the fragrance of the beautiful flowers, like a bee. Her glances brought delight to the minds of gods and men. Her gait, playfulness, bashfulness, modest glances, sweet voice and limbs delighted the minds of men. Her mouth was like an opening for the one who has flowers as his weapon. 36 Her mouth seemed to ooze out flows of amrita. Her smiles and speech were intoxicating. Swarms of bees, blind with intoxication, surrounded her. As she walked swiftly, her breasts, which were like pots, quivered. The burden of her hair hung down, up to the girdle. She was like a goddess and he looked at her. Seizing the opportunity, the illustrious Makaradhvaja brought him under his subjugation. Like a senseless person, 37 he spoke to her. “O noble sage! Who are you and what do you want to do on this mountain? Are you a maya of the supreme divinity, the illustrious one? O friend! Are you wielding these two stringless bows 38 for your own sake? In this desolate spot, which unwary animal do you wish to hunt? O glorious one! Your arrows are like the petals of lotuses. 39 They are gentle and without tufts, but are extremely pointed at the tips. In this forest, we do not know whom you desire to aim these at? May your valour be for the benefit of foolish people like us. O glorious one! Your disciples are around you, 40 reading and singing Sama hymns with their mysteries, as they glorify their lord. Flowers are falling down from the braids in your hair and all the large number of rishis are worshipping and seeking them, as if they are the branches of the Vedas. O brahmana! The tinkling of the bells on your feet are like the calls of tittira birds. 41 Though their forms cannot be seen, we can hear them. The girdle encircling your well-rounded hips is as beautiful as a kadamba flower, surrounded by a circle of flames. Where did you get this bark? O brahmana! What is inside these two beautiful mounds? 42 Though you are slender at the waist, you are carrying them and my eyes have been attracted to them. These mounds of yours are pinkish-red and their fragrance has permeated my hermitage. O extremely fortunate one! You have perfumed it. O best among friends! Show me the region where people are born with such beautiful limbs on their chest. You are agitating the minds of people like us. From your sweet words, gestures and the nectar in your mouth, those born there must possess many wonders. What do you eat to sustain yourself? O dear one! A fragrance, like that of oblations, is emanating from it. 43 Since you do not blink, you are Vishnu’s portion. There are two makaras in your ears. 44 Your eyes are like a couple of restless fish. Your teeth are as beautiful as an array of birds. 45 Your face is like a pond and swarms of bees are buzzing around you. You are playing with a ball in your hand and your palm is like a lotus. As I follow its movement in different directions, my eyes have become agitated. You are not aware that the mass of your curly and matted hair is hanging loose. Like a lascivious person, the wind is trying to steal your lower garment. O store of austerities! Where did you get this form? It destroys the austerities of those who are trying to perform austerities? So as to obtain this, what kind of austerities did you perform? O friend! You should perform austerities in my company. Is the creator of the universe pleased with me? 46 O beloved brahmana! You have been given to me by the gods and I will not let go of you. My mind and my sight will not let you go. O one with the beautiful mounds! Take me with you, as a follower, wherever you wish and these auspicious friends of yours can also follow.” He was accomplished in entreating women and was skilled in carnal pleasures. With an intelligence like that of the gods, he used such words to make the celestial lady become attached to him. Because of his intelligence, good conduct, beauty, age, prosperity and generosity, her mind was attracted to the lord of hordes of heroes. She spent ten thousand human years with the lord of Jambudvipa, enjoying heavenly pleasures. It is said that Agnidhra, supreme among kings, obtained nine sons through her—Nabhi, Kimpurusha, Harivarsha, Ilavrita, Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, Kuru, Bhadrashva and Ketumala. She gave birth to these sons, one son a year. After this, leaving her home, Purvachitti again presented herself before the god Aja. Through the favours of their mother, Agnidhra’s sons naturally obtained well-formed bodies and strength. They were just like their father and he divided up the divisions 47 of Jambudvipa for them to enjoy. King Agnidhra’s desires were still not satiated and, day and night, he remembered the apsara. Therefore, following the rites of the sacred texts, after death, he obtained the same world as her. This is the world that the ancestors enjoy. When their father died, the nine brothers married Meru’s nine daughters, known as, Merudevi, Pratirupa, Ugradamshtri, Lata, Ramya, Shyama, Nari, Bhadra and Devaviti.’Chapter 5(3)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Merudevi did not have any sons and Nabhi wished to have offspring. Therefore, controlling themselves, they worshipped the illustrious lord of sacrifices. It is impossible to obtain the illustrious one through performing different types of rites, objects appropriate to the time and the place, mantras, rituals, dakshina 48 and the invocation of many kinds of ordinances. However, he is affectionate towards his devotees and is pleased through pure words and faith. He manifests himself in his beautiful and unvanquished form to those who are his own and who worship him in the proper way, accepting him in their hearts. His beautiful form and limbs are a delight to the heart, mind and eyes and reveal themselves. Thus it was. He was radiant in his two-armed form. The supreme being was clad in a yellow silken garment. The shrivatsa mark was on his chest. He had a conch shell, a lotus, a garland of wild flowers, a chakra, the immortal jewel, 49 a mace and other objects. His dazzling and excellent diadem, earrings, girdle, necklace, armlets, anklets and other ornaments decorated his body. On seeing him, the officiating priests, the assistant priests and the lord of the house 50 were like poor people when they obtain a lot of riches. With a great deal of respect, they bowed their heads down and worshipped him with all the requisite objects.

‘The officiating priests said, “O most exalted among those who are worshipped! We are your servants. We are repeatedly bowing down before you. On your own, please accept our worship. Since you are incomprehensible, we cannot worship you. However, we have been instructed by virtuous ones. Which man, immersed in the transformations of the gunas of Prakriti, is capable of describing the lord who is beyond Purusha and Prakriti? The names, forms and qualities of the material world cannot determine your form. You are most auspicious and supreme in all the qualities. Even if one of your parts is worshipped, you destroy all the sins of people. Devotedly, your servants are worshipping you with faltering words, prayers, water, branches with new shoots, tulasi leaves and freshly sprouted durva grass. O supreme one! This should indeed satisfy you. We have worshipped you properly with many objects, without hoping to get anything in return. Your self is certainly the source of all the purusharthas. 51 They directly flow from you, continuous, uninterrupted and increasing. O protector! All this is only for the sake of obtaining your benedictions. 52 You should be pleased with our worship. O supreme among all supreme beings! We are supremely ignorant. We are foolish and do not know what is best for us. You are boundless in compassion. We have not worshipped you properly. However, because of your own greatness, you have sought to confer liberation on us and have revealed yourself to us, like an ordinary person. O supreme among those who should be worshipped and supreme among those who confer boons! At the sacrifice of the royal sage, you have shown yourself to your own devotees. This sight of you is itself a boon. O accumulation of qualities! There are sages whose non-attachment has increased. They have burnt down all their impurities through the fire of knowledge. Content in their own atmans, they have attained your state. They continuously chant about your qualities and even for them, this represents supreme bliss. Your qualities, deeds and names can destroy all sins. May we be able to utter them even when we stumble a bit, are hungry, are falling down, are yawning, are amidst hardships, or are incapacitated because of fever or impending death, so that we can’t remember them. Moreover, this royal sage desires offspring. O lord! He hopes for a son who will be exactly like you. Your blessings can yield heaven and liberation. With an offspring as the ultimate objective, he is worshipping you, like a person who approaches the lord of riches for a mere husk. Is there anyone in this world who has not been vanquished by your invincible maya, whose path cannot be determined? 53 With the intelligence confounded, one therefore succumbs to material objects, which are like poison and suffuse one’s nature, even if one worships at the feet of great ones. O lord who performs many acts! You have indeed been invited here by wicked ones for a material objective. O lord of the gods! This shows disrespect towards you. We are ignorant. However, because of your amiability, please pardon everything.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thus the illustrious one, foremost among gods, was praised in prose 54 by those at whose feet the lord of the varsha worships. 55 Filled with kindness, he replied.

‘The illustrious one said, “O rishis! I am certainly pleased and your words will not be false. He has sought a son who is exactly like me and this boon is not easy to obtain. Since I am matchless, there can be no one who is like me. However, the words of brahmanas cannot be false. After all, the lineage of brahmanas is like my mouth. Therefore, it shall be that way. Since there is no one who is my equal, my portion will descend through Agnidhra’s son.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The illustrious one said this to Merudevi’s husband, while she heard, and disappeared. O Vishnudatta! 56 At the sacrifice, the supreme rishis pleased the illustrious one in this way. Wishing to do what would be agreeable to Nabhi, he descended in Merudevi. Desiring to exhibit dharma to mendicants 57 who are naked and hold up their seed, he descended in a form that was pure.’Chapter 5(4)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thus, he was born with all the signs of the illustrious one. He was tranquil and impartial towards everyone. He possessed great powers and wasn’t attached to prosperity. Day by day, his powers increased. Ordinary people, subjects, brahmanas and gods greatly wished that he would rule over the surface of the earth. His bodily features were superior and were extolled in great shlokas. Because of his vigour, strength, beauty, fame, valour and prowess, his father gave him the name of Rishabha. 58 The illustrious Indra was envious and did not rain down in this varsha. Ascertaining this, the illustrious Rishabhadeva, the lord of yoga, laughed. Using the maya of his yoga, he showered down on his own varsha of Ajanabha. 59 As he desired, Nabhi obtained an excellent son and was filled with overwhelming jubiliation. He accepted the words of the illustrious and ancient being that he had himself accepted this form to follow the dharma of the world of men. Overcome by maya, he addressed him as “My child” and “My son”. He reared him affectionately and was exceedingly happy. King Nabhi knew that the citizens of the city and the countryside and the ordinary people loved his son. To protect the ordinances, he cheerfully instated him and entrusted him to accomplished brahmanas. With Merudevi, he went to Vishala and engaged in meditation. He worshipped the illustrious Vasudeva, known as Nara and Narayana. In the course of time, he attained his 60 greatness. O Pandaveya! Two shlokas are cited about him. “Which man can undertake the deeds of the royal sage, Nabhi? Because of his pure deeds, he obtained Hari as his son.” “Who can be more devoted to brahmanas than Nabhi? Worshipped in auspicious ways, the brahmanas used their energies and the lord of sacrifices showed himself at his sacrifice.” The illustrious Rishabhadeva regarded his varsha as a place where he would undertake action. For instance, he resided in his preceptor’s house. He then obtained the permission of the preceptors to become a householder and gave them gifts. 61 Seeking to instruct about dharma by following it, he obtained Jayanti from Indra 62 and married her. He performed both types of deeds mentioned in the sacred texts. 63 Through her, he had one hundred sons who were exactly like him. Among them, the eldest was the great yogi, Bharata. He was best in qualities. It is after him that this region came to be known as Bharatavarsha. Among the other ninety-nine, the foremost were Kushavarta, Ilavarta, Brahmavarta, Malaya, Ketu, Bhadrasena, Indrasprik, Vidarbha and Kikata. There were also Kavi, Havi, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumila, Chamasa and Karabhajana. These nine immensely fortunate ones were excellent in conduct and exhibited the dharma of following the illustrious one. Their greatness was enhanced by the illustrious one. I will describe this to you when I recount the conversation between Vasudeva and Narada. 64 The younger eighty-one of Jayanti’s sons followed the instructions of their father. They were great in conduct and extremely learned. They were brahmanas who performed sacrifices, pure in their deeds. The illustrious one, known as Rishabha, was in control of his own self. He was always free from the progression of undesired objects. He only felt absolute bliss. Though he was like the lord himself, he acted in a contrary way. 65 He followed and taught about the dharma that had become neglected over time. He was impartial, tranquil, friendly and compassionate. For the sake of dharma, artha, fame, joy and immortality of subjects who were in the householder stage in this world, he laid down rules. Whatever is undertaken by the best is followed by the world. 66 He himself knew everything about the secret dharma of the brahman. 67 However, he followed the path shown by brahmanas and ruled over the people in accordance with sama and other modes. 68 As instructed, he performed one hundred sacrifices faithfully and worshipped, with all the objects appropriate to the time and the place. The officiating priests were young and appropriate to the place. When the illustrious one ruled over this varsha, there was no man who desired something for himself that did not exist. 69 No one desired anything from anyone else. No one ever glanced at anything that belonged to the master. They found increasing affection within their own inner selves. While roaming around, the illustrious Rishabha once went to Brahmavarta. There was an assembly of the foremost among brahmana rishis there. His sons were well controlled, devoted and affectionate. However, he wished to instruct them. While the subjects heard, he spoke to them.’Chapter 5(5)

‘Rishabha said, “O sons! Among those who bear bodies in this world, a person with a human body does not deserve to suffer hardships that result from desire, unlike those who survive on excrement. 70 He should serve the divine truth through austerities and by purifying himself, obtain infinite association with the brahman. It is said that serving the great is the gate to liberation. Associating with those who are attached to women is the gate to darkness. The great are impartial in their intelligence and tranquil. They are without anger, fraternal and virtuous. There are those who think of me as the lord and think that affection towards me is the greatest objective. They are not happy with those who are obsessed with maintaining their bodies. They are not attached to homes, wives and sons and only want what is required to subsist in this world. When one engages in gratification of the senses, one is certainly distracted and performs contrary acts. I do not think it good that one should perform deeds 71 that make one undergo hardships in a new body. As long as one does not inquire the truth about the atman, there is ignorance and one remains vanquished. As long as one engages in tasks, the mind is also absorbed in deeds and binds down the body. In this way, as long as the mind succumbs to action, one is united with ignorance and the atman remains shrouded. Until one develops affection towards me, Vasudeva, a person is not freed from the identity with the body. Until one realizes that the qualities of this world are meaningless, one is selfish and distracted and does not quickly become learned. Such a person loses his memory and faces hardships. He is ignorant and obtains a home where he indulges in sexual intercourse. The man and the woman are attracted to sexual intercourse and it is said that this binds their hearts to each other. Thereafter, people are deluded by the home, the wife, sons and riches and notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. There is a firm bondage to deeds. 72 When these are loosened and the bonds of the mind and the heart weaken, people retreat from this. 73 They give up the cause 74 and proceed towards supreme liberation. I am Hamsa. 75 I am the preceptor. I must be devotedly followed. There must be detachment and tolerance for the opposites. There must be realization that beings face hardships everywhere. There must be inquiry and austerities and withdrawal from the objects of this world. Actions must be for me. There must be constant recital of my accounts. There must be association with my devotees. My qualities must be chanted. O sons! There must be lack of enmity, impartiality and self-restraint. There must be a desire to give up the body, the home and the identification with the self. By resorting to a secluded place, the yoga of adhyatma 76 must be pursued. The breath of life, the senses and the mind must be completely controlled. One must always observe brahmacharya 77 faithfully. Through yama, 78 speech must not be allowed to be confused. Through discrimination, one must always think of me. One will then be illuminated with jnana and vijnana. 79 Through yoga, there will be perseverance and enterprise. Through this truth, one can give up the linga sharira 80 and the limitation known as ahamkara. 81 The desire for action is brought about ignorance. If one is not distracted, through this yoga and by following the instructions, one can sever the bondage in the heart. For further progress, one should tend to give up this yoga. 82 Free of anger, 83 a king or a preceptor who desires my world or seeks my favours as an objective, should instruct the ignorant disciples about this. Those foolish ones are deluded by karma and he should not urge them to undertake further karma. What benefit will a man derive from this? Bereft of insight, he will fall down into a pit. 84 A person in this world is bereft of insight and does not know what is for his own good. He wishes for material objects and wishes to satisfy the senses. For the sake of a trifling bit of happiness, they injure each other. The foolish person does not know about the infinite unhappiness that will follow. If an evil-minded and ignorant person exists in this way and a compassionate, experienced and learned person sees this, why will he not direct him to the right path, like directing a blind man? If one does not deliver from this cycle of birth and death, one should not become a preceptor, a relative, a father, a mother, a divinity or a husband. This body of mine is inconceivable. My heart only has sattva and dharma. I have left adharma behind me, far away. That is the reason noble ones know me as Rishabha. All of you have been born from my heart. Therefore, with unadulterated intelligence, you should serve your great brother, Bharata. That service will be service to the subjects. Among living beings, plants are superior. Reptiles, which have developed intelligence, are superior to them. Humans are superior to them and pramathas 85 are superior to humans. In turn, gandharvas and Siddhas are superior to them and the followers of the gods are superior to these too. The gods and the asuras, with Maghavan as the foremost, are superior to them. Daksha and the other sons of Brahma are superior to them. Since Bhava resulted from Virinchi’s seed, he is regarded as inferior to Virinchi. But I am superior to him. 86 I, the god, regard brahmanas as my god. O brahmanas! I do not see any beings who are equal to brahmanas, not to speak of being superior to them. I do not desire and accept the oblations of agnihotra sacrifices as much as I do what men faithfully offer to them. It is they who have nurtured my unadulterated and ancient body, which consists of supreme and sacred truth. 87 They possess control of the mind, control of the senses, truth, mercy, austerities, tolerance and realization. I am infinite in my powers and I am superior to the one who is the greatest. There is nothing I cannot bestow, heaven and emancipation, not to speak of anything else. They serve me faithfully and desire nothing from anyone else. O sons! I reside in all beings, mobile and immobile. Hence, they must be respected by you at every step. Since your insight is clear, know that this is like offering worship to me. Thoughts, words, deeds and everything that is undertaken in this world is directly my service. Without realizing this, a man cannot desire to free himself from the noose of death and this great delusion.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘In this way, the great being and great benefactor, known as the illustrious Rishabha, himself instructed his sons. Though they were learned, he wished to instruct the worlds. This was the virtuous path for those who withdraw from material objects and those who withdraw from deeds. These are the great sages, the paramahamsas, who are characterized by devotion, knowledge and non-attachment. He instructed his one hundred sons, the eldest of whom, Bharata, was devoted to the illustrious one and to devotees of the illustrious one. To protect the earth, he himself instated him. After this, though he remained at home, he renounced everything, except his body. The sky was his garment and his hair was dishevelled. He was like a person who was mad. He instated the ahavaniya fire 88 within himself and left Brahmavarta, to travel around. His form was like that of an avadhuta, 89 like one who was stupid, blind, dumb, deaf, mad, or a pishacha. 90 Though people addressed him by such names, he adopted a vow of silence. Here and there, as he passed through cities, villages, mines, fields, gardens, habitations in valleys, camps, cow pens, settlements of cowherds, resting places, mountains, forests, hermitages and so on, the worst of society surrounded him, like a wild elephant surrounded by flies. They threatened him, beat him, urinated on him, spat on him, threw stones at him, hurled dust and foul odours at him and abused him. He ignored these, since the physical body might be called real, but was actually unreal. In his own greatness, he comprehended them both 91 and no longer accepted notions of “I” and “mine”. Undisturbed in his mind, he travelled around the world, alone. His hands, feet and chest were extremely delicate. His arms were long. His shoulders, neck, face and other limbs were well-formed. He was naturally beautiful, with a smiling and handsome face. His large eyes were beautiful, like the petals of a lotus that had just bloomed. The pupils seemed to take away all miseries. The forehead, ears, neck and nose were extremely beautiful, the face rendered charming by his deep smile. An abundance of curly, matted and tawny hair was spread around. He appeared like a great festival and stirred the god of love in the minds of the women who resided in the cities. Since his body was as dirty as that of an avadhuta, he seemed to be possessed by an evil planet. When the illustrious one saw that people in general were against this practice of yoga, he perceived that there was no point in directly opposing this resistance. He accepted the terrible vow observed by a python. He ate, drank, chewed and passed urine and excrement while he was lying down. Thus, his body was defiled with urine and excrement. But the smell of the excrement was overshadowed by a fragrance that the wind brought and this excellent fragrance spread in every direction, up to a distance of ten yojanas. 92 Thus, whether he was moving, standing, sitting or lying down, he followed the behaviour of cattle, deer and crows. He drank, ate and passed urine like crows, deer and cattle. In this way, the illustrious one performed many forms of yoga. Rishabha was a master of kaivalya. 93 Immersed in the great and supreme one, he found constant bliss. The illustrious Vasudeva is manifested in all beings and he saw no difference between him and his own atman. Through the practice of yoga, he accomplished all the siddhis—travelling through the sky, travelling at the speed of thought, the ability to disappear, the ability to enter another person’s body, the ability to see things that are far away and other such powers. 94 O king! However, though he automatically achieved these powers, his mind did not welcome them.’ 95Chapter 5(6)

The king said, ‘O illustrious one! Those who find delight in their own selves and obtain knowledge fanned by yoga, certainly burn down the seeds of karma. The powers that automatically arise should not lead to distress.’ 96

The rishi 97 replied, ‘What you have said is true. But there are some in this world who do not trust the fickle mind, like a cunning hunter. 98 In this connection, it has been said, “The mind is fickle and one should never contract a friendship with it. Lords have performed austerities over a long period of time and those have become dislodged. 99 Desire and other enemies always follow, looking for an opening. If a yogi creates friendship, 100 he offers entry, like the unchaste wife of a husband. It is the root cause of desire, anger, pride, avarice, grief, confusion, fear and other things. Which learned person will accept this bondage of karma?” He was the ornament of all the guardians of the world. But because of the garb, speech and conduct of a foolish avadhuta, he was not noticed. The powers of the illustrious one went unnoticed. He wished to instruct yogis about the technique for giving up his own body. He wished to surrender himself, free from the flow of desires and undesirable ends. Considering this, he gave up the identification with the linga sharira. The illustrious Rishabha was freed from his linga sharira. Nevertheless, because of the maya of yoga, the physical body still roamed around the world and went to Konka, Venka, Kutaka and southern Karnataka. 101 He did not desire to travel to these regions. However, he reached a grove near Kutakachala. He held a piece of stone in his mouth and was like a mad man. His hair was dishevelled and he was naked. He wandered around in this form. Thereafter, the friction of bamboos rubbing against each other ignited a fire. Fanned by the wind, this forest conflagration, burnt down the forest and his body. In Konka, Venka and Kutaka, there will be a king by the name of Arhat. He will get to know about what he 102 had practised and taught. Because of the adharma of kali yuga, he will give up his own dharma, which dispels fear. Instead, using his own intelligence, the evil person will propagate the perverse path of a heretic. Because of this, in kali yuga, wicked people will be confounded by divine maya. They will be devoid of purity and character and abandon their own ordinances and rules. Because of kali yuga, they will not bathe or perform ablutions. They will be unclean and will pluck out their hair. With adharma pervading, their intelligence will be destroyed. They will generally condemn the brahman, brahmanas, sacrifices, the supreme being and the world. People will think of their own principles of conduct and deviate. There will be progressive encouragement of blind people. They will themselves descend into the darkness of ignorance. This descent was to instruct those who are full of rajas about kaivalya. A shloka is chanted about his qualities. “This earth has seven oceans and dvipas and this varsha 103 is the most sacred. People there sing about Murari and about the auspicious deeds his incarnations undertake. This lineage of Priyavrata is famous. The ancient being, the original Purusha, descended there. He propagated the dharma that frees from undesired karma. Even in his mind, is there any other yogi who can follow the example set by the unborn one? They desire the powers that the maya of yoga brings. Though he didn’t make efforts, they manifested themselves and he spurned them.” The illustrious one, known as Rishabha, was the supreme preceptor of all the Vedas, the worlds, the divinities, the brahmanas and cattle. His activities were pure and reciting them cleanses all the wicked conduct of men. The great one is the supremely auspicious refuge. If a man listens to it with increasing attentiveness and devotion, or speaks about it to others, single-minded devotion towards the illustrious Vasudeva is developed in both. 104 In samsara, 105 one constantly faces many kinds of sins and is incessantly tormented by sufferings. The wise bathe themselves in supreme nivritti 106 and seek liberation. However, though this is the greatest purushartha, it is not automatically obtained, even if one strives for it. But through devotion to the illustrious one, one transcends all these objectives. O king! He is the master and preceptor of all of you 107 and the Yadus. The divinity loves you and is the master of your lineage. Indeed, he sometimes acted like your servant. O dear one! The illustrious Mukunda grants liberation to those who worship him, but rarely does he offer an opportunity to serve through bhakti yoga. He was always conscious of who he was. He was complete in himself and had no other desires. He wished to ensure benefit for people whose intelligence has been dormant for a long time. Because of his compassion, he wished to show people about the atman and grant them freedom from fear. He is known as the illustrious Rishabha. Let us bow down to him.’Chapter 5(7)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Bharata was immensely devoted to the illustrious one and was instated by the illustrious one 108 to rule over the earth. He ruled and married Panchajani, Vishvarupa’s daughter. Just as the five subtle elements give rise to the gross elements, 109 through her, he had five sons who were exactly like him—Sumati, Rashtrabhrita, Sudarshana, Avarana and Dhumraketu. This varsha was earlier known as Ajanabha, but came to be known as Bharata after him. The lord of the earth was great in learning. Like his father and grandfather, he was affectionate towards the subjects, who were engaged in their own tasks. He followed his own dharma and protected them. He worshipped the illustrious one, who is the form of yajnas and kratus. 110 He faithfully performed many kinds of large and small kratus—agnihotra, darsha, purnamasa, chaturmasya, those performed with animals and those with soma. Through the four kinds of officiating priests he observed all the rituals, complete and partial. When these many kinds of sacrifices were commenced, with all the attendant rites and rituals, the apurva 111 fruits of the sacrifice, known as dharma, were offered to the supreme brahman, the lord of sacrifices. His signs are manifest in all the gods. He is the object of all the mantras. He is the supervisor of all the objectives, the rules and the tasks. He is himself the doer. He is the origin of all the gods. He was the illustrious Vasudeva. He 112 was accomplished in cleansing himself of all anger and sin and thought in this way, with the oblations offered by the adhvaryus 113 accepted as their shares by gods who were limbs of the supreme being. This is what the performer of the sacrifice thought. He purified his heart through such pure deeds. Day by day, greater devotion developed in him for the brahman. The great being, the illustrious Vasudeva, manifested himself in the inner recesses of his heart, with the signs of shrivatsa, Koustubha, a garland of wild flowers, a conch shell, a mace and the other signs. He is like a being who is etched in the hearts of his own people and the radiant form of the being showed itself in this form. He was thus engaged for ten million years and enjoyed himself. He understood that the time had come for his deeds to be extinguished. He divided up the kingdom of his father and grandfathers among his own sons. According to the rules of inheritance, he himself divided up all his possessions. He then left his own residence and went to Pulaha’s hermitage. It is said that there, Hari shows his affection towards his own devotees and displays himself in the forms that they desire. The river known as Chakranadi, supreme among rivers, 114 sanctifies everything in that hermitage, and leaves marks like a navel, seen above and below every stone. It is said that alone in a grove in Pulaha’s hermitage, he worshipped the illustrious one with many kinds of flowers, tender leaves, tulasi, water, roots, bulbs and fruits. Thus purified, he no longer had any desire for the objects of the senses. He was tranquil and obtained supreme bliss. Through such constant worship of the illustrious Purusha, his attachment increased and the burdens of his heart were loosened and melted away. The force of delight in his body made his body hair stand up. The intense longing led to tears of love flowing from his eyes and obstructing his vision. He meditated on the illustrious one’s lotus feet, loved by him. Through this bhakti yoga, he was overwhelmed with supreme bliss everywhere and this inundated the deep lake in his heart. His intelligence was submerged in this and he no longer remembered the rites of worshipping the illustrious one. He was thus firm in his vow to the illustrious one. He was attired in deerskin. The mass of curly, tawny and matted hair was wet because of bathing thrice a day and was beautiful. Through hymns dedicated to the sun god, he worshipped the illustrious being, whose golden form is manifested in the solar disc when it rises. He worshipped him and said, “Knowledge results from the sun god, who is beyond rajas. Everything was created by meditating on the self-radiant one. Having created it from his seed, he enters it and maintains it, protecting beings who hanker after material objects. I worship the bestower of intelligence.”’ 115Chapter 5(8)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Once, after having performed his ablutions, he bathed in the great river and performed the general and specific rituals. He then seated himself on the banks of the river for three muhurtas 116 and chanted the syllable Oum. O king! At that time, a thirsty doe arrived near the water. While it was drinking water, from not very far away, a lord of deer 117 roared and this was terrifying to all the worlds. The doe was naturally timid. On hearing the sound made by the lion, fear entered and agitated its heart. Its eyes darted around, here and there. Though its thirst had not been satisfied, because of its fear, it leapt across the river. It was expecting and while it leapt in fear, it miscarried and the fawn was dislodged from its womb into the flow of the river. Because of the miscarriage, jumping across the river, fear, exhaustion and affliction, and because it was separated from the herd, the black antelope fell into a cave and died. Bharata, the royal sage, saw the helpless and innocent fawn being borne along by the current. Compassionately behaving like a friend, he picked it up and brought the motherless fawn back to his hermitage. It is said that he developed great affection for this fawn, treating it like his own child. Every day, he nurtured it, protected it, reared it and petted it. Because of this attachment, within a few days, he forgot about his own rituals, yama and even the worship of the supreme being. As days passed, all these suffered and were destroyed. He said, “Alas! Because of the force with which the lord’s chariot revolves, 118 this helpless fawn has been separated from its kin, well-wishers and friends. It has resorted to me as a refuge and looks upon me as a mother, a father, a brother, a kin and a member of the herd. It does not have anyone else and does not know anyone else. It depends excessively on me. I know what must be done towards someone who seeks refuge and I know about the sin of neglecting it. I must nurture it, protect it, rear it and pet it.” In this way, even if they have renounced, noble and virtuous ones feel affection and compassion and ignore their own selfish interests, even if they are more important. Having become attached, he lay down with it, walked with it, ate with it and so on. His heart was bound to the fawn in affection. When he entered the forest in search of kusha grass, flowers, kindling, leaves, fruits and roots, he was scared and worried lest wolves, jackals and wild dogs harm the fawn. Along the way, the childish fawn would dart around here and there. Since his heart was excessively burdened with love and affection, out of compassion, he would then carry it on his shoulders. 119 He placed it on his lap or on his chest. Fondling it in this way, he found great joy. Even when he was engaged in performing the rituals, he would repeatedly get up in between, to take a look at it. Thus reassured, the lord of the varsha would pronounce his benediction. “O child! May you be fortunate in every way.” At other times, he felt extremely anxious, like a miser who has lost his riches. He would be filled with pity and great anxiety at the prospect of being separated from the fawn. His heart would be agitated and tormented and he would constantly grieve about this. Because of this great illusion, he would say, “Alas! This fawn, the son of a dead doe, is pitiable. I am ignoble and deceitful, like a hunter. I have not done any good deeds. It has trusted me, taking me to be like its own self. Without thinking about this, will it behave like a good being and return to me? 120 Protected by the god, will I see it safely roam around, grazing on the soft grass in the grove of the hermitage? I hope it is not devoured by a wolf, a jackal or a wild dog, by an animal that travels alone or in a herd. The illustrious one 121 arises for the welfare of the worlds. It represents the three Vedas and is about to set now. But the deer has still not returned. I have not performed any good deeds. Will the son of the king of deer return and bring me happiness? Will it undertake the many beautiful and charming frolicking that fawns indulge in and drive away the unhappiness of its kin? With my eyes closed, I would pretend to meditate. On seeing this, it would falteringly come forward, love mixed with anger. Like a gentle drop of water, it would nudge my body with the tips of its horns. When I placed oblations on kusha grass, it would pollute it. Scolded by me, extremely scared, it would stop its playing and sit down, like the son of a rishi who has conquered his senses. What austerities have I performed? This earth has performed more austerities. The son of the black antelope is small, fortunate, most auspicious and soft and its hoof prints can be seen on the ground. I am miserable, like a person who has lost his wealth, and the earth shows me how I can get that treasure back. Having ornamented herself with these marks on all sides, she indicates a spot where brahmanas who desire liberation can perform sacrifices. 122 The deer has lost its mother and is scared of the lion. The fawn has strayed away from its hermitage. Will the illustrious lord of the stars, who is compassionate towards people, take pity and protect it? I am separated from my own child. Like the flames of a forest conflagration, that is burning my heart, which is like a land lotus. The deer sought refuge with me. Out of love, the moon is showering down cool and peaceful beams on me from its mouth. They flow like amrita and are like water sprinkled on the face of someone who has fever.” In this way, his heart was aggrieved with futile wishes. It was his own past deeds that appeared to him in the form of a fawn. The ascetic, who had practised yoga, deviated from the practice of yoga and the objective of worshipping the illustrious one. How else could there be attachment to a fawn, a different species? It is extremely difficult to abandon the sons born from one’s own self. But because that would have been an impediment in achieving what was beneficial, he had previously given that up. However, now, the practice of yoga by the royal sage, Bharata, was obstructed by a fawn. In this way, nurturing, protecting, delighting, fondling and loving the fawn, he neglected his own atman. Finally, just as a snake dashes towards a rat’s hole, the time of death, terrible in its force, arrived. At that time, he glanced towards his side and saw the deer, grieving like his own son. With his mind fixed on it, he left this world and his body in the company of the deer. After death, he was born in the body of a deer and did not lose the memory of his past life. Even in that life, because he had worshipped the illustrious one in the past, he remembered why he had been born as a deer and was tormented by repentance. “Alas! This is a great hardship. I have fallen from the path of those who know about the atman. I gave up all attachment and was alone in an auspicious forest, seeking refuge with the atman who is in all atmans. I constantly heard, thought, chanted and worshipped the illustrious Vasudeva at all hours, completely absorbed in him. Over a period of time, my mind was completely established in him and completely fixed. But then again, I became attached to a fawn and fell down a great distance.” Thus, though it was hidden, he gave up all attachment and abandoned the doe, his mother. Not attached to any material objects, he went to the illustrious one’s region, loved by large numbers of virtuous sages, by the name of Shalagrama. From Kalanjara, he went to the hermitage of Pulastya and Pulaha. 123 He was extremely anxious to avoid attachment and waited for the right time. The atman was his only companion. He survived on dry leaves, grass and herbs and waited for his time as a deer to be over. Counting his days, he gave up the deer’s body in the waters of the tirtha 124 there.’Chapter 5(9)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘There was a supreme brahmana born in the lineage of the supreme Angiras. He was in control of his mind and his senses and practised austerities. He recited and studied and possessed renunciation, contentment, tolerance, mildness, learning and lack of envy. He obtained delight from knowledge of the atman. He had nine sons who were exactly like him in qualities—learning, good conduct, behaviour, beauty and generosity. 125 Through his younger wife, he had twins. It is said that the male was Bharata, supreme among royal sages, supremely devoted to the illustrious one. Having given up the body of a deer, he had obtained his last body as a brahmana. 126 He was extremely anxious about being excessively attached to his relatives. He remembered the illustrious one, who severs the bonds of karma. He heard and remembered descriptions of his qualities. In his mind, he thought about his lotus feet and through the favours of the illustrious one, remembered the successive births he had been through. Scared that there would be impediments in the path of his realizing the atman, he presented himself to people as mad, foolish, blind and deaf. However, the brahmana was tied to his son through bonds of affection. As is prescribed in the sacred texts, he performed all the samskaras, up to samavartana. 127 He also taught him the rules for cleansing, rites and rules, though he 128 did not like these. However, a father must indeed instruct his son in this way. During the months of spring and those of summer, his father continuously tried to make him learn prosody and the savitri mantra, with its three padas, along with the vyahritis, and preceded by the syllable Oum. 129 However, even in his father’s presence, he acted contrary to the instructions. His 130 heart was filled with affection towards his own son. Even though the son wasn’t interested, he completely taught him about cleanliness, studying, vows, rules, service towards the sacrificial fire and the preceptor, the duties of a brahmachari and rites. Though the son wasn’t inclined to accepting this good behaviour, he instructed him himself. In this way, his wishes weren’t satisified. He was attached to the householder stage and negligent. Vigilant Time took him away. The brahmana’s younger wife entrusted the twins, her offspring, to her co-wife and followed her husband to the world he went to. The minds of his brothers were not submerged in supreme knowledge. They thought that knowledge of the three Vedas was everything. When their father died, they took their brother to be stupid and stopped trying to teach him anything. Ordinary people, who are nothing but animals in the form of bipeds, addressed him as mad, foolish, deaf and dumb and he replied in an appropriate way. When someone else wished that he should work, he undertook those tasks. He worked on forced labour 131 or because of wages. He begged for food, or ate whatever was given voluntarily. It could be a small quantity or a lot. It could be tasty or tasteless. He ate only that and did not seek to gratify his senses. Since he had himself accomplished perception about the transcendental bliss and had realized his own atman, he gave up all action for the sake of fruits. He no longer identified himself with his body and was indifferent towards unhappiness and happiness and everything caused by other opposite pairs. In the winter and in the summer, in the wind and in the rain, he wandered around with a bare body, like a bull. From lying down on the bare ground, he was strong and his limbs were well formed. He did not massage his body, nor did he take a bath. Covered in dirt, the radiance of the brahman was not discernible, like a hidden gem. His loins were covered in a filthy garment and his sacred thread was dark because of the dirt. He was disrespected by persons who did not know the truth and wandered around. Though born as a brahmana, he was known as a brahma-bandhu. 132 When he desired food, he looked for work from others against the payment of wages and even his own brothers engaged him in agricultural tasks in the field. He did it, without knowing whether the ground was plain or uneven and whether the payment was excessive or deficient. He ate broken grains of rice, oilcakes, husks, worm-eaten grain and charred rice stuck to a pot as if all this was amrita.

‘On one occasion, a lord of vrishalas 133 desired a son and wished to sacrifice a man who was no more than an animal to Bhadrakali. 134 Through chance, the animal intended for the sacrifice had escaped. The followers followed its footprints in the night. Everything was covered in darkness and by midnight, they were unable to find it. Suddenly, they chanced upon and saw the foremost son of the Angiras lineage. He was seated in virasana, 135 protecting the fields from deer, boar and other animals. They recognized that he possessed all the requisite signs and thought that he could be used for their master’s task. They bound him with ropes and, with radiant faces, cheerfully brought him to Chandika’s temple. The robbers 136 followed their own rituals and bathed him. They attired him in a new garment and adorned him with ornaments, pastes and garlands. He was decorated with a tilaka mark and fed. There were incense, lamps, garlands, parched grain, tender shoots, sprouts, fruits and other objects required for an animal sacrifice. There were loud songs and prayers. There was the sound of drums and kettledrums. Thus prepared, they made the man-animal sit down in front of Bhadrakali. Thereafer, the king of the vrishalas and panis desired to offer the man’s blood as a drink to the goddess Bhadrakali. He consecrated his sharp and extremely terrible sword with a mantra and picked it up. By nature, the vrishalas were dominated by rajas and tamas. Their minds were sprinkled with rajas and intoxication of wealth. They wished to cause injury to brave lineages born as portions of the illustrious one. They proceeded along their own wilful and perverse path, marked by violent and extremely terrible deeds. He had himself been born in a brahmana lineage, as the son of a brahmana rishi. He had no enemies. He was full of affection towards all beings. This was contrary to all codes. 137 The goddess Bhadrakali’s body was scorched by the energy of the brahman, which is impossible to withstand. At the last instant, she burst forth from her image. She was filled with great rage and intolerance. Her arched eyebrows, like branches at the tips, were agitated and furrowed. Her teeth were curved. Her eyes were red at the ends. Her face was terrible. It was as if she desired to destroy the universe. Because of her rage, she emitted a loud roar of laughter. She emerged and with the same sword, severed the heads from the necks of those wicked sinners. With her companions, she drank the extremely warm blood that oozed out, as if it was liquor. She was overwhelmed and intoxicated from drinking such a lot. With her companions, she laughed out loudly. She sang and danced and played with those heads, as if they were balls. If someone commits a great transgression against a great person, he reaps all the consequences of his deeds. O Vishnudatta! This is not wonderful for paramahamsas who are devotees of the illustrious one. Even if the danger of a head being severed presents itself, they are not scared. They have severed the extremely tough bonds in their hearts and have freed themselves from their bodies. They are without enmity and are friendly towards all beings. Without any distraction and without any cessation, they are always protected by the thoughts of the illustrious one and this is a supreme weapon against all enmity. Having resorted to the feet of the illustrious one, they face no fear from anywhere.’Chapter 5(10)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Rahugana was the king of Sindhu-Souvira. 138 Once, he was proceeding along the banks of the River Ikshumati. At that time, the leader of the palanquin bearers was looking for another man who could be a palanquin bearer. They chanced upon this excellent brahmana. He was strong and young and his limbs were well proportioned. He was capable of bearing a load, like a bull or a donkey. Such a great-minded person did not deserve to bear a palanquin. However, along with the others who had already been forcibly seized to perform this task, he was also made to do this. The excellent brahmana only walked after glancing one arrow-length ahead. 139 Therefore, he was not in tandem with the movements of the other men. Rahugana could see that his palanquin wasn’t moving smoothly. He told the men who were carrying it, “O bearers! Please walk properly. Why is the vehicle moving in this uneven way?” They heard the reproachful words of their master and were scared of the fourth mode 140 being used. Hence they told him, “O lord of men! We are not inattentive and we follow your commands. We are bearing it properly. This one has just been engaged. He is not proceeding fast enough. Therefore, we are not capable of maintaining an even step with him.” He realized that contamination caused by a single person was capable of polluting everyone by association. King Rahugana had served the elders. Despite this, because of what had happened, his innate nature, 141 strength and rage were kindled a little. Like a fire covered in ashes, his 142 energy of the brahman was hidden. Having ascertained the reason, his 143 mind was tainted by rajas and he said, “O brother! Alas! You are excessively exhausted. You have borne this alone, for an extremely long time. You are not stout, nor are your limbs well proportioned. O friend! You are suffering from old age, unlike these other bearers.” This body is the creation of ignorance and a store of gross elements, gunas and karma and is moved by these unreal aggregates. He had no sense of “I” and “mine” and had realized the brahman. Though addressed in these sarcastic words, he was silent and continued to carry the palanquin as before. The king was enraged that his own palanquin continued to move in this erratic way. He said, “What is this? Are you dead? Though you are alive, you are like one who is dead. Why are you ignoring the commands of your master? You are excessively distracted. I will treat you the way the one with the staff in his hand 144 treats people. You will then come to your senses.” He was admonished in many ways by the king, who prided himself because of his rajas and tamas and therefore rebuked the innumerable devotees who are loved by the illustrious one. He prided himself on his learning and his intelligence was not sharp enough to understand the behaviour of the lords of yoga.

‘The brahmana had realized the brahman and was friendly towards all beings. Free of all pride, he smiled a little and spoke. The brahmana said, “What you have said is evident and is devoid of sarcasm. O brave one! Had I borne it, it would have been a burden. Had I moved towards the destination, I would have progressed along the path. Only the ignorant speak of this body as stout. 145 Stoutness, weakness, physical disease, mental pain, hunger, thirst, fear, dissension, desires, old age, sleep, gratification of the senses, anger, ego, intoxication and lamentation are meant for those born with bodies. But these do not exist in me. O king! The attribute of being dead while alive is a rule of nature. Every material object, subject to transformation, has a beginning and an end. O respected one! The relationship between you and me is not permanent. 146 These are temporary, created by destiny. We do not see the slightest bit of distinction between the two, except that created by convention. Who is the master and who is the one to be mastered? O king! However, if you still think that, tell us what we can do for you. O brave one! Despite being crazy, distracted and foolish, I have obtained and realized my real nature. That being the case, whom will you instruct? Punishing a crazy and distracted person is like grinding flour.” 147 Thus, the great sage replied to everything that had been said to him. He was tranquil in conduct and did not identify with anything that was not the atman. He accepted that everything that happened to him was because of the bondage of karma. He stopped and continued to bear the king’s burden. O Pandaveya! Because of his complete faith, the lord of Sindhu and Souvira had obtained the right to inquire about the truth. He listened to the words the brahmana had spoken, respected by many texts on yoga and meant to sever the bonds of the heart. He swiftly got down, prostrated himself and bowed his head down at his feet. Having sought his pardon, he abandoned all pride about being a lord of men and spoke.

‘“Who are you? You wear a sacred thread. Are you one of the brahmanas who wander around in disguise? Which avadhuta are you? Whom do you belong to? 148 Where have you come from? Why have you come here? Do you intend our benefit? Are you the pure one? 149 I am not scared of the vajra of the king of the gods, or the trident of the three-eyed one, or Yama’s staff, or the weapons of the fire god, the sun god, the moon god, the wind god or the lord of riches. But I am extremely scared of showing disrespect to the lineage of the brahmanas. Therefore, please tell me. You are detached and are disguised in the form of a foolish person. You possess the supreme valour of vijnana, but are roaming around in this way. O virtuous one! Your words have yoga woven into them and we are unable to understand them, even in our minds. I am going to the lord of yoga, who knows the truth about the atman and is the supreme preceptor of all learned sages. 150 I was going to ask the refuge who is Hari himself, descended from his portion as learning. Perhaps you are he. Perhaps you have hidden your signs and are wandering around with a view to scrutinizing people. A person who is bound to the householder stage is blind in his knowledge. How can he possibly know about the movements of lords of yoga? I have myself suffered exhaustion from action. That is the reason I thought you suffered from walking. You have said that the relationship between a master and a servant is unreal. But there must be a foundation to what is witnessed in usual conduct. Water may be unreal. However, when it is placed in a vessel, it is heated by the fire and so is the milk that is placed there. Because of the heat, the grains of rice are softened from the inside. Because the being is associated with the body and the senses, the experiencing of samsara must follow. The king is the chastiser and protector of the subjects. A servant does not grind flour that has already been ground. Following his own dharma and worshipping Achyuta, he can cleanse all his sins. 151 I am proud of being a lord of men. You are supreme among the virtuous and, thanks to my insolence, I have insulted you. O friend of those who are afflicted! Please show me that kind of friendship, so that I can overcome the sin of having slighted a virtuous person like you. You are a friend of the well-wisher of the universe, who does not undergo any transformations. Because of your tranquility, you have overcome all sense of the body. Through my own deeds, a person like me has certainly insulted a great person. Even if I am like the wielder of the trident, it is certain that I will soon be destroyed.”’Chapter 5(11)

‘The brahmana said, “Though you are not wise, you are using the words of a wise person. Just because you have spoken in that way, you do not become the best among those who are extremely learned. O king! Sages who have examined the nature of the truth, do not discuss such relationships 152 or the attachment to the householder stage. They are interested in the knowledge that leads to an expansion. Those who speak about the Vedas have generally not purified themselves by speaking about the truth. They only appear to be virtuous. Even if those words 153 are excellent, they do not directly enable one to accept the truth. For example, a person who is in a householder stage behaves as if in a dream. However, a learned person considers these to be inferior. As long as a person is polluted by sattva, rajas and tamas, his senses of perception and action expand the ambit of superior and inferior deeds, because these are not controlled. The mind is attached to material objects and has many desires. The flow of gunas affects the chief among the sixteen. 154 It wanders around, accepting different names and different forms and superior and inferior physical bodies. 155 There is the severe illusion of happiness and unhappiness. At the appropriate time, the fruits of action manifest themselves. The mind embraces the maya that has been created and the living being is whirled around in the wheel of samsara. The kshetrajna 156 is always a witness. But as long as this goes on, there is the manifestation of stout and thin. Therefore, it is said that the mind is the cause of this, inferior gunas and the supreme, devoid of gunas. If the mind is attached to the gunas, the being suffers hardships. When it is no longer attached to the gunas, there is welfare. When the wick of a lamp is smeared with clarified butter, the flame is mixed with smoke. Otherwise, it regains its natural state. In a state where the mind is attached to gunas and karma, it resorts to different kinds of actitivies. Otherwise, it regains its natural state. There are eleven courses followed by the mind—five senses of action, five of perception and the ego. O brave one! It is said that the city 157 is the field for karma to have these eleven kinds of courses. Besides smell, form, touch, taste, sound, evacuation and sexual intercourse, there is another kind of perception that is accepted and this is the sense of ‘mine’. Some have said that this is the twelfth action in this field. 158 Material objects, nature, intention, karma and time cause transformations in those eleven courses of the mind and lead to crores and hundreds of crores of modifications. They are unreal and do not result from the kshetrajna, or from themselves. For a living creature, the powers of the kshetrajna always fashion maya. This manifests itself sometimes and sometimes vanishes. Though it is pure, it is sometimes perceived of as an impure doer. 159 The kshetrajna is the ancient Purusha, present in all atmans. It is the supreme and unborn lord and can be perceived because of its own self-luminosity. It is the illustrious Narayana Vasudeva. He controls all atmans through his own maya. It is his own atman that enters and controls all mobile and immobile objects in the form of the wind. He is thus the supremely illustrious Vasudeva. He is the kshetrajna who enters all atmans. O Indra among men! As long as you have a body, as long as your body has maya that has not been dispelled, as long as knowledge has not awakened in you and as long as you are attached, you will not be able to defeat the six enemies 160 and will not be able to know the truth about the atman. Till then, you will wander around. As long as the mind is taken to be an attribute of the atman, a person will be tormented in samsara, which is full of grief, confusion, disease, attachment, avarice, enmity and the sense of ‘mine’. It 161 is an adversary that is powerful in its valour. If one neglects it and is distracted, its power increases. Use the weapon of worshipping at the feet of Hari, the preceptor. Defeat what is false and find contentment in your own atman.”’Chapter 5(12)

‘Rahugana said, “I bow down to you. You are the prime cause who has assumed this form. Through the assumption of this form, you have removed the contradictions of your own body. O avadhuta! I bow down before you, you who have assumed all the signs of a brahma-bandhu. I bow down before the one who has hidden his eternal self-realization. I am like a person afflicted by fever, cured by medicine. I am like a person scorched by the summer, revived by cool water. In this wicked body, I have been bitten by the snake that is ego and have lost my vision. O brahmana! Your words have been like the amrita of medication to me. I will submit my doubts to you later, so that my understanding can be excellent. What you have spoken is woven in the yoga of adhyatma. Right now, tell me about this. There is inquisitiveness in my mind. O lord of yoga! You have said that deeds and their consequences, though they are visible and seem to exist, only have a basis in custom. 162 If one examines the truth, they have no substance. My mind is in a whirl. Please explain this.”’

‘The brahmana replied, “The one known as ‘this person’ roams around the earth. O king! He is a modification of the earth. What is the cause behind this? Above the feet, he possesses ankles, calves, knees, thighs, a waist, a neck and two shoulders. He bears a palanquin made of wood on the shoulders. The person known as ‘the king of Souvira’ is seated on that. You are astride it, full of your own arrogance. Blind with evil insolence, you think that you are the king of Sindhu. You have no compassion. One should grieve over these people. 163 They were miserable. But you have seized them by force and made them suffer a greater misery. Their lot is lamentable. You praise yourself, ‘I am a protector of the people.’ This is rash and does not deserve to be stated in an assembly of the wise. We know that the appearance of anything on earth, mobile or immobile, is always subject to destruction. Therefore, inferred from the way everything functions, let it be determined if there is anything other than customary usage. The word ‘earth’ is wrongly used, since its existence is unreal. It will be disintegrated into paramanus. 164 It is through the ignorance of the mind that one has thought of something special that characterizes the aggregate entity. Similarly, skinny, fat, small, large, temporary, permanent, sentient, non-sentient and other things are brought about by material substances, inherent nature, inclination, time and karma. You should understand that such names result from material objects, past deeds and perceptions of duality. Unadulterated knowledge is alone the supreme objective. The brahman is the truth and has neither an interior nor an exterior. The tranquil one manifests himself and is known by the name of Bhagavat. Wise ones speak of him as Vasudeva. O Rahuguna! He cannot be reached through austerities, sacrifices, refraining from tasks, performing the tasks of a householder, hymns or water, fire and the sun. 165 The only way is to sprinkle oneself with the dust from the great one’s feet. When the qualities of Uttamashloka are spoken about, there is no scope of obstruction from vulgar conversation. Those who desire liberation attentively hear this, every day. Pure intelligence then proceeds to where Vasudeva is. Earlier, I was a king named Bharata. I detached myself from everything seen or heard. I freed myself from all association. I always worshipped the illustrious one. However, because of my attachment for a deer, I deviated from my objective and was born as a deer. O brave one! Because of the power of my having worshipped Krishna, even in that body of a deer, my memory did not desert me. Therefore, I detached myself from all association and fearlessly wandered around, undetected. A man must associate with excellent ones who have freed themselves from attachment. Delusion will then be severed with the sword of knowledge. One must hear and recite Hari’s account. Thereby one regains one’s memory and reaches the ultimate end of this long journey.”’Chapter 5(13)

‘The brahmana said, “If a person is submerged in the divisions of rajas, tamas and sattva and the consequent activities, this long journey is extremely difficult to traverse. Such a person only seeks that as an objective and is whirled around in the pursuit of artha. 166 In this forest of birth and death, he does not find any happiness. O lord of men! There are six bandits, led by a wicked leader, who forcibly rob all the wealth. 167 They are like jackals and wolves who enter when one is distracted and carry away lambs. It 168 is dense with a copious mass of creepers, grass, clumps and hollows, where one is attacked with the stings of gnats and mosquitoes. Sometimes, a city of the gandharvas is seen. 169 Here and there, evil spirits fleetingly appear, like meteors. The intelligence strives to find a resting place, water and wealth. Here and there, they rush around in the forest. 170 Sometimes, smoke-coloured dust is raised by a whirlwind. Because of the dust, one is unable to discern the directions. 171 There is the sound of crickets that cannot be seen and this pains the ears. The mind is aggrieved by the hooting of owls. Suffering from hunger, one seeks refuge with unholy trees. Sometimes, he follows a mirage and runs around. Sometimes, he rushes towards a river that has no water. With no food left, they fall on each other. Sometimes, one approaches a conflagration and is scorched by the fire. Sometimes, while despondent, lives are plundered by yakshas. 172 For some, while the mind is despondent, one’s possessions are robbed by those who are braver. Grieving and confused, one loses one’s senses. Some enter a city of the gandharvas and are delighted for a while, like someone who has attained success. Sometimes, one has to walk when one’s feet are pierced by thorns and sharp stones. Distressed, one tries to climb a mountain. At every step, the person is afflicted from the inside and the outside. He becomes angry with the members of the family. Sometimes, a person is swallowed by a python. In that desolate spot, he is pierced and cannot understand anything. Sometimes, he lies down as one bitten by a poisonous snake. Blind, the person falls down into a dark pit. Sometimes, he searches for insignificant juices 173 and is dishonoured and aggrieved, set upon by bees. Even if he obtains something with a great deal of difficulty, it is forcibly robbed by someone else. Sometimes, he is unable to do anything against the cold, the heat, the wind and the rain. Sometimes, they sell whatever they possess. Because they act deceitfully for the sake of wealth, they cause enmity amongst each other. Sometimes, they are bereft of all riches and cannot find a place to lie down, sit or stay. They seek it from others and unable to find success, cast their eyes on the possessions of others, thereby earning dishonour. Monetary transactions with each other increase the ties of enmity with each other. Sometimes, they enter into matrimonial alliances with each other. They travel along that long road, suffering hardships because of lack of money. They wander around, suffering from many kinds of disease. Here and there, there are types of distress. He has to abandon a newborn and take with him the ones who are alive. O brave one! Everyone is wandering around on this long road, because no one resorts to the yoga that enables one to cross over. The spirited ones vanquish the Indras among diggajas. 174 All of them think that the earth is theirs and are tied to enmity. They lie down, dead in the battle. But they do not reach the spot reached by the person who has cast aside his staff and is bereft of enmity. Some resort to the arms of creepers. 175 Resorting to these, one desires to hear the indistinct calling of birds. Here and there, one is terrified by the roars of lions. A person contracts friendship with cranes, herons and vultures. Deceived by them, he enters a flock of swans. But since their conduct doesn’t appeal to him, he approaches monkeys. These species are attached to gratification of the senses and satisfy their senses exceedingly well. They look at each others’ faces and forget that life has a limited span. He finds pleasure in the trees and is attached to a wife and sons. Distressed in heart, he is disabled by a bond he himself creates. Sometimes, because he is distracted, he falls into a cave in the mountain. Scared of the elephant, 176 he hangs on, clinging to a creeper. O destroyer of enemies! Even if he somehow manages to free himself from this hardship, he again pursues artha. Submerged in illusion, he travels along that path of material pursuits. Such a wandering person never knows. O Rahugana! You are also proceeding along that path. Cast aside your rod and have friendship with all creatures. Conquer the false in your own self and heighten service towards Hari. Seizing the sword of knowledge, cross over to the other side.”’

‘The king replied, “Wonderful! Birth as a human is better than all other kinds of births. In the next life, other kinds of birth are inferior, unless there is abundant association with great-souled ones who have realized their atmans in the glory of Hrishikesha. It is not extraordinary that the dust of your lotus feet should generate unadulterated devotion towards Adhokshaja and destroy impurities. I suffered from vain arguments and lack of discrimination and even a momentary association with you now has severed their foundation. I bow down to the great ones. I bow down to infants, the young and the aged, to those brahmanas who bear the marks of avadhutas and roam around the earth. May all the kings be fortunate.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘O Uttara’s son! The son of the brahmana rishi 177 was supreme in his comprehension. Although Rahuguna had shown him disrespect, out of his great compassion, he instructed the lord of Sindhu the truth about the atman. He was like a full ocean where the waves of the senses had been quietened. After his feet had been worshipped by the pitiable one, 178 he continued to wander around the earth. The lord of Souvira understood the truth about the paramatman from an excellent person and abandoned the ignorance in his intelligence of identifying his atman with his body. O king! This is the great realization of someone who seeks refuge with the illustrious one.’

The king 179 replied, ‘O immensely fortunate one! There are many kinds of knowledge in what you have narrated, directly and indirectly, through your words—the path followed by living beings in this material world. This will not be easily understood by those who are ignoble in their minds, or by those who are not intelligent. This is very difficult to comprehend. Therefore, it must be instructed with complete explanations.’Chapter 5(14)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Because of specific gunas like sattva and the others, there are those who confuse the body with the atman and undertake many types of superior, inferior and mixed deeds. They accept and give up a series of different bodies. The experience of samsara is without a beginning and the aggregate of the six senses 180 are like gates. It is like a route that is extremely difficult to traverse and one loses one’s path in this wilderness, under the subjugation of the maya of the illustrious lord, Vishnu. The world of the living is like a caravan of merchants pursuing artha. This forest of samsara is like an inauspicious cremation ground and one experiences the karma one has undertaken earlier. Having entered, one is unsuccessful, even now. There are many kinds of hardships in this world and they can only be pacified by reaching the lotus feet of the preceptor, Hari. But unlike bees, they do not seek these out. Those that are known as the six senses act like bandits. Whatever little wealth a man obtains after a great deal of hardship should be used for accomplishing dharma, the signs of which are worship of the supreme being. From the point of view of the next life, this is what is said to be dharma. However, if a person does not control himself and is not determined in conduct, the riches that should have been spent on dharma are squandered on seeing, touching, hearing, tasting and smelling 181 and pandering to carnal pleasures, just as a caravan with a bad leader is destroyed. Those that are known as relatives, wives and sons are nothing but wolves and jackals in their deeds. Even if one does not desire it and even if one is miserly, as one looks on, the relatives steal the riches, which are like a well-protected lamb. Even if a field is ploughed every year, if the seeds 182 are not burnt down, at the time of sowing, it becomes thick with shrubs, grass, plants and pits. The householder’s field of karma is one where the seeds of past karma are not destroyed and remain stored in a reservoir of desire. There are inferior people who are like gnats, mosquitoes, locusts, birds of prey and mice, who cause impediments. Sometimes, one is whirled along this path, with the mind overwhelmed by ignorance, desire and deeds. The desired objective is not accomplished in the world of men and one sees a non-existent city of the gandharvas, as if it actually exists. Like looking for water in the heat, one pursues material objects, eager for drinking, eating, sexual intercourse and other addictions. A person looking for a fire pursues an ulmuka-pishacha. 183 Like that, because of an unlimited store of sins, one sometimes pursues a special kind of excrement known as gold and one desires to get gold. Sometimes, one runs after dwelling places, drinks, riches and other objects regarded as necessary for subsistence. Absorbed in these, one wanders around in the forest of samsara. Sometimes, there is a beautiful woman who is like a whirlwind. Placing her on one’s lap, one succumbs to the rajas of desire and when it is night, crosses the ordinances of virtue. Blinded by desire, the person succumbs to excessive lust and does not know that the divinities in charge of the directions are watching. Sometimes, he realizes that material objects are futile and himself meditates about the supreme. However, that memory is generally destroyed and he rushes after objects that are like mirages. Sometimes, the extremely piercing calls of owls and crickets agitate his ears and heart. Direct and indirect enemies cause him great distress, like chastisement at the hands of the king’s servants. When the good deeds performed in earlier lives are exhausted, even though he is alive, he is like one who is dead. Even when he is about to die, he runs after riches, which cannot help him in this world or in the next. These objectives are like karaskara, karatunda, inauspicious trees and creepers and poisonous wells. 184 Sometimes, because of association with wicked people, his intelligence becomes inferior and he approaches heretics. This leads to hardships, like jumping into a river that has no flow of water. Sometimes, he cannot ensure a means of subsistence, even after chasing others. Like a blind person devoid of intelligence, he eats grass that belongs to his father or to his son. It is as if he will eat up his own father or son. Sometimes, he reaches his home, but it is like a forest conflagration. He is eager to obtain some joy, but it is a place that leads to greater miseries. He is severely scorched by the fire of grief and faces disappointment. He loves his riches the most, but the king’s servants are like rakshasas and when time turns adverse, they plunder him. Though he is still alive, he seems to be dead and no signs of being alive can be seen in him. Sometimes, because of his wishes, though they do not exist, 185 his father and grandfather appear before him and he experiences the pleasure felt when one has just experienced a dream. Sometimes, he wishes to climb the extremely heavy mountain that consists of a householder’s tasks. However, his mind is afflicted by the hardships of the material world. Entering a field that is filled with thorns and sharp pebbles, he laments. Sometimes, his inside is consumed by the fire that is extremely difficult to bear 186 and, unable to tolerate it, he becomes angry with his own family members. Sometimes, the python of sleep devours him. Immersed in that blinding darkness, he lies down, as if in a desolate forest. Like a dead body that has been flung away, he does not know anything. Sometimes, the teeth of his pride are shattered by wicked people who are like poisonous snakes. He cannot sleep, not even for an instant. His heart is distressed and his consciousness becomes less and less. Blind, he falls down into a pit. Sometimes, he searches for drops of honey to satisfy his desire and seizes another person’s wife or property. The king or the husband kills him and he falls into fathomless hell. Therefore, it is said that both types of karma 187 sow the seeds for the atman to remain in samsara. If the person manages to free himself from the bonds, 188 Devadatta takes it away and Vishnumitra takes it away from him. These things do not remain in the same place. Sometimes, he cannot counter the cold and the wind, hardships that are adhidaivika, adhibhoutika and adhyatmika. 189 Thinking endlessly about these, he becomes despondent. Sometimes, in business transactions, he acts deceitfully and takes away trifling bits of riches 190 from others. Because of this deceit for the sake of riches, enmity results. There are many kinds of impediments along this path—happiness and unhappiness, attachment, hatred, fear, pride, distraction, madness, grief, confusion, avarice, jealousy, dishonour, hunger, thirst, mental disease, physical disease, birth, old age and death. Sometimes, driven by divine maya, a person embraces the arms that are like creepers 191 and loses all discrimination and knowledge. His heart is anxious to find a house for enjoyment. In that abode, he becomes attached to sons, daughters, wives and their pleasant conversations and glances. Thus, he loses his own self and flings himself into a blinding and limitless darkness. The illustrious Vishnu is the wielder of the chakra that has the characteristic of the incessant and progressive revolution of time, beginning with paramanu and ending with parardha. 192 In the twinkling of an eye and while they look on, he takes away all living creatures, from clumps of grass to Brahma. Their hearts are terrified of the lord whose own weapon is like the wheel of time. He is the illustrious lord of sacrifices. But a person ignores him and worships the gods of heretics, which are like herons, vultures and cranes on banyan trees. He accepts those who are discarded by the ordinances of noble ones. The heretics are deceivers and when he is deceived by them, he returns to the fold of brahmanas and amidst them, follows the rites of good conduct sanctioned in the shrutis and the smritis, upanayana and the others. He worships the illustrious one, the lord of sacrifices. However, if he does not find pleasure in the rites of the sacred texts, impure, he goes to the fold of shudras and like one born as a monkey, indulges in sex and the maintenance of the family. There, he behaves as he wishes, without any restrictions. Limited in his intelligence, he amuses himself. Looking at each other’s faces, they indulge in carnal acts and forget that time has a limited span. Sometimes, as a householder and like a monkey, he finds pleasure in the enjoyments of the body, which are like trees. He spends all his time in attachment to the wife and the sons. In this way, without any restriction, he proceeds along this path. Fearing the elephant that is death, he usually falls into a dark cave in a mountain. Sometimes, he cannot counter the cold and the wind and other adhibhoutika hardships that make the mind and the body suffer. He is anxious about material objects and becomes despondent. Sometimes, in business transactions, he is deceitful and obtains riches through such fraudulent conduct. Sometimes, when his wealth is exhausted, he cannot find a bed, a seat, or a means of satisfying material desires. When his wishes are not satisfied, his mind is made up that he should obtain these through unfair means and he is thus generally dishonoured by people. In this way, because of riches, enmity is increased. Because of former desires, 193 he contracts a false marriage. Thus, in this material path of samsara, there are many kinds of hardships. A person gains and a person loses what someone else gains. Sometimes, he accepts a newly born and sometimes, abandons it. He is confused and laments. Sometimes, he is terrified and exclaims and weeps. At other times, he is delighted and laughs. He is bound and shunned by virtuous people. Following the road of material objectives in this world of men, the caravan has still not reached the ultimate objective and returned. That can only be achieved through the instructions of yoga, by sages who have cast aside their rods and are tranquil in conduct and self-controlled. They easily obtain the atman. Royal sages who have performed sacrifices and conquered the directions cannot reach it, not to speak of others. Because of the sense of “mine”, they enter into enmity and lay down their bodies in the field of battle. Killed, they give up their own lives. Sometimes, a person clings to the creeper of karma and somehow, manages to free himself from the miseries of hell. However, he again has to follow the path of samsara and joins the caravan in the world of men again. This is true even of those who have ascended upwards.

‘Therefore, a song is chanted there. “The son of Rishabha was a royal sage. His mind was great-souled. The king soared up to Garuda’s path, something a fly cannot aspire to. A wife, sons and well-wishers are close to one’s heart and are difficult to cast aside. However, wishing to serve Uttamashloka, even as a young man, he abandoned them, like excreta. It is difficult to cast aside the earth, sons, relatives, wealth and the wife. Nor did he hanker after Shri, sought after by the best among the gods, even though she always wanted his favourable glances. This is appropriate for a king who wished to devotedly serve Madhu’s enemy.” In the mind of such a person, these are insignificant trifles. When he cast aside his body in the form a deer, he happily chanted loudly. “I bow down to Hari Narayana. He is the fount of yoga and samkhya. 194 He is the lord of Prakriti. He is the lord of sacrifices and dharma. He is the one who confers the accomplished rites.” This account of the royal sage Bharata’s conduct, qualities and deeds is revered by devotees of the illustrious one. It confers blessings, lifespans, wealth, fame, heaven and liberation to those who respect it, hear it and make it heard. Such people obtain all benedictions for themselves and do not hope for anything from anyone else.’Chapter 5(15)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Bharata’s son was known as Sumati. In kali yuga, there will be some heretics who will follow in the footsteps of Rishabha. Wicked in their intelligence, those ignoble ones will think of him as a divinity, one who is not accepted in this way in the Vedas. Through his wife Vriddhasena, he had a son named Devatajit. His son, 195 through Asuri, was Devadyumna. Through Dhenumati, Devadyumna had a son named Parameshthi. Through Suvarchala, Parameshthi had a son named Pratiha. He remembered the great being and having purified himself, taught about knowledge of the atman. Through Suvarchala, 196 Pratiha had three sons, Pratiharta and others. Through Stuti, Pratiharta had two sons—Aja and Bhuman. Through Rishikulya, Bhuman had a son named Udgitha and through Devakulya, he had a son named Prastava. Through Niyutsa, Prastava had a son named Vibhu. Through Rati, Vibhu had a son named Prithusena. Through Akuti, Prithusena had a son named Nakta. Through Druti, Nakta had the excellent royal sage, Gaya, as his son. He was extensive in his learning. For the protection of the world, he was born as a portion of the illustrious Vishnu himself and assumed a form that was full of sattva. With the qualities of pure sattva, he obtained the status of a great being. He followed his own dharma and protected the subjects. He made them happy by providing a means of subsistence. He tended to them and chastised them, according to the norms. He performed sacrifices to the illustrious great being, the brahman, who is present in all atmans, superior and inferior. He surrendered himself and served at the feet of those who had signs of knowing about the brahman, the supreme objective. Through continuous bhakti yoga towards the illustrious one, his intelligence was suffused with extreme purity and he no longer identified with that which was not the atman. He himself realized the brahman in his own atman. In this way, without any pride, he ruled over the entire world.

‘O Pandaveya! Those who know about the ancient accounts sing a chant about him. “Which other king can perform the deeds of Gaya? He was revered because of his sacrifices. He was extremely learned and protected dharma. Shri came to him. He was the leader in an assembly of the virtuous. He was virtuous and served the virtuous. Who other than him has been born as a portion of the illustrious one? Extremely happy, the virtuous daughters of Daksha bathed him in the waters of the rivers and their benedictions are always true. 197 He was himself without any desires. However, on seeing his qualities, the earth’s milk flowed out of her udders and she allowed herself to be milked, to satisy the desires of the subjects. He had no desires, but the hymns satisfied all his desires. When he followed dharma and fought against other kings, they offered him their tribute. The brahmanas pronounced their benedictions and in the next life, offered him one-sixth of their good merits. The illustrious one, the lord of sacrifices, came to attend his many sacrifices. Drinking the soma, Maghavan was greatly intoxicated. His faith was pure and he did not deviate from bhakti yoga. The illustrious one accepted the fruits of all that was offered. When he is pleased in a sacrificial arena, all the gods, inferior species, men, plants and trees and grass, beginning with Virinchi, are instantly pleased, because he is the seed of the universe. When the illustrious one was himself pleased, all of them were pleased with Gaya.” Through Gayanti, Gaya had three sons—Chitraratha, Sugati and Avarodhana. Through Urni, Chitraratha had a son named Samrat. Through Utkala, Samrat had a son named Marichi and through Bindumati, Marichi had a son named Binduman. Through Saragha, Binduman had a son named Madhu. Through Sumanas, Madhu had a son named Viravrata. Through Bhoja, Viravrata had sons named Manthu and Pramanthu. Through Satya, Manthu had a son named Bhouvana. Through Dushana, Bhouvana had a son named Tvashta. Through Virochana, Tvashta had a son named Viraja. Through Vishuchi, Viraja had one hundred sons. Of these, Shatajit was the eldest. There was also one daughter. There is a shloka about him. 198 “Viraja was the ultimate son born in Priyavrata’s lineage. 199 He performed a large number of deeds, just as Vishnu does among the large number of gods.”’Chapter 5(16)

The king said, ‘You have specifically spoken about the expanse of the globe, heated by the sun, and where the moon and the large number of stellar bodies can be seen. Within that, the wheels of Priyavrata’s chariot created seven moats that became the seven oceans. O illustrious one! You have also said that this led to seven specific dvipas being created. I now wish to know everything about their measurements and characteristics. He is subtle and without gunas. The illustrious one is self-luminous and is the supreme brahman. He is known as Vasudeva, but it is difficult to absorb this form. Therefore, the mind focuses on the illustrious one’s gunas in his gross form. O preceptor! You should describe those to me.’

The rishi replied, ‘O great king! No man, even if he possesses the lifespan of the gods, can completely comprehend the illustrious one’s maya, gunas, powers and limits, through the mind or through words. Therefore, I will specifically expound to you the foremost names, forms, measurements and characteristics of the chief places in the globe. This world is like a lotus and this dvipa 200 is in its inner core. It extends for one hundred thousand yojanas and is circular, like the leaf of a lotus. There are nine varshas within it, each nine thousand yojanas in expanse. They are clearly separated from each other by eight mountain ranges that form the boundaries. The varsha that is in the centre is known as Ilavrita. In its navel is the king of all the kulachalas, 201 Meru, which is golden everywhere. It is as tall as this dvipa. 202 It is like the pericarp of the lotus that is the earth. The top extends for thirty-two thousand yojanas and the base is sixteen thousand yojanas. That much is entered within the earth. 203 To the north of Ilavrita, one after another, there are three mountain ranges—Nila, Shveta and Shringavan. These mountains form the boundaries between the varshas of Ramyaka, Hiranmaya and Kuru. They extend eastwards and westwards, one after another, for two thousand yojanas, right up to the saltwater ocean. 204 Progressively, as one moves outwards, each mountain is one tenth in height from the one that preceded it. 205 In this way, to the south of Ilavrita are the mountain ranges Nishadha, Hemakuta and Himalaya. Like Nila and the other mountains, they extend towards the east. Each is ten thousand yojanas in height and these form the boundaries between the varshas known as Hari, Kimpurusha and Bharata. Similarly, to the west and east of Ilavrita, right up to the mountains Nila and Nishadha, are the mountains Malyavan and Gandhamadana. They are two thousand yojanas in expanse and form the boundaries of Ketumala and Bhadrashva. On the four sides of Meru are the four mountains Mandara, Merumandara, Suparshva and Kumuda. The length and height of each has been computed as ten thousand yojanas. There are four large trees that stand at the top of these mountains like flagstaffs—chuta, jambu, kadamba and nyagrodha. They are more than one thousand yojanas tall and the branches extend for the same expanse. Each has a trunk with a circumference of one hundred yojanas. O bull among the Bharata lineage! On each mountain, there are four lakes made out of milk, honey, sugar cane juice and fresh water. Large numbers of minor divinities drink these and easily develop their powers of yoga. There are also four divine gardens—Nandana, Chaitraratha, Vaibhrajaka and Sarvatobhadra. The best among the immortals go there, along with their wives, who are like ornaments for their husbands. They amuse themselves there, with their glories praised by large numbers of minor divinities. 206 On the slopes of Mandara stands the divine chuta tree and it is eleven hundred yojanas tall. Fruit, as large as summits of mountains and succulent as amrita, fall from this. They are crushed when they fall down and copious quantities of extremely sweet and extremely fragrant juice start to flow, creating a reddish river known by the name of Arunoda. Descending from the summit of Mandara, it flows to the east of Ilavrita. Bhavani’s attendants, the wives of the auspicious people, 207 savour this and their limbs become extremely fragrant from the contact. In every direction, the scent extends for ten yojanas. In this way, jambu fruits that are as large as elephants and possess very small seeds, fall down from a great height and are shattered. The juice results in a river named Jambu and it descends ten thousand yojanas from the summit of Merumandara, flowing through and flooding the south of Ilavrita. The mud on both banks of the river is saturated with this juice. When the wind and the sun react on this, a gold named Jambunada is created and this is always used for the ornaments of the immortals. This is indeed wonderful. The gods and their young wives wear ornaments like crowns, diadems, bracelets, girdles and other objects made out of this. There is a gigantic kadamba tree on Suparshva. From a hollow in this tree, five flows of sweet honey emerge and each is five vyamas wide. 208 These descend from the summit of Suparshva and flow and cause delight to the west of Ilavrita. There are those who savour these and the fragrant scent that emerges from their mouths spreads in every direction for one hundred yojanas. Similarly, there is a banyan tree named Shatavalsha on Kumuda. Streams of milk, curds, honey, clarified butter, molasses, food, garments, beds, seats, ornaments and every other object of desire flows from its trunk. Descending from Kumuda’s summit, these cause joy to the north of Ilavrita. Subjects who savour these flows never suffer from wrinkles, grey hair, fatigue, perspiration, bad odour, old age, disease, death, cold, heat, pale complexion or any other kind of hardship or torment. As long as they are alive, their happiness is unlimited. Like filaments that surround the core of a lotus, there are twenty mountains on all directions of Meru—Kuranga, Kurara, Kusumbha, Vaikanka, Trikuta, Shishira, Patanga, Ruchaka, Nishadha, Shinivasa, Kapila, Shankha, Vaidurya, Jarudhi, Hamsa, Rishabha, Naga, Kalanjara, Narada and another. The mountains Jathara and Devakuta are to the east of Meru. They are eighteen thousand yojanas long and two thousand yojanas in breadth and height. In this way, the mountains Pavana and Pariyatra are to the west, Kailasa and Karavira to the south and Trishringa and Makara to the north. 209 Surrounded by these eight mountains, the golden mountain shines like a circle of fire. The city of the illustrious one who is his own creator 210 is located on Meru’s summit. It is square in shape and its area has been computed as ten thousand yojanas. It is spoken of as Shatakoumbhi. 211 All around it, depending on the direction, are the abodes of the eight guardians of the world. 212 These cities are similar in form, but one-fourth in size.’ 213Chapter 5(17)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘At the place where the sacrifice was held, the illustrious Vishnu himself appeared in the form of Trivikrama. 214 The nails on the big toe of his left foot shattered the covering of the cosmic egg and entered inside. Through that opening, a flow of water emerged and covered it 215 externally. While washing his lotus feet, the water turned red from the dust. It washed away all the sins of the world. But despite touching these, it remained pure. Thus, words described it as Bhagavat-padi. 216 After a long period of time, measured in thousands of yugas, it descended on top of the celestial regions and is spoken of as Vishnu-pada. Uttanapada’s son 217 was brave in his vows and supremely devoted to the illustrious one. Even now, with great reverence, he bears it on his head there, 218 saying, “This is the water from the feet of our family deity.” Thus, his bhakti yoga towards the illustrious one is constantly increased and firmly saturates his heart. Because of the eagerness, he loses himself and tears spontaneously flow from his half-closed eyes, which are like the buds of lotuses. The unadulterated bliss is manifested in his body hair standing up. The saptarshis 219 who are there certainly know about its powers, regarding it as the ultimate end of their austerities. They are always engaged in bhakti yoga towards the illustrious Vasudeva, who is in all atmans. Having achieved this, they are indifferent towards all other objectives, even liberation. It is as if their desired liberation has been obtained. With a great deal of respect, they bear it on their matted hair. Thereafter, it descends along the path of the gods, characterized by many thousands of crores of vimanas, to the lunar circle. After flooding this, it descends on Brahma’s abode. 220 There, it is divided into four streams that flow in four directions, with four names—Sita, Alakananda, Chakshu and Bhadra. These flow towards the lord of the male and female rivers. From Brahma’s abode, Sita flows downwards, through the summits of mountains like Kesara and descends on the peak of Mount Gandhamadana. It flows eastwards through Bhadrashva-varsha and enters the Kshara ocean. Similarly, Chakshu descends from the summit of Malyavan and flowing with great speed through Ketumala, enters the lord of the rivers in a western direction. To the north, Bhadra descends from the summit of Meru and passing from the summit of one mountain to the summit of another mountain, descends from the peak of Shringavan. It flows through Uttara Kuru and enters the ocean in a northern direction. Similarly, from Brahma’s abode, Alakananda flows southwards and passes through the summits of many mountains. Having reached Hemakuta, it descends with great force on the peaks of Himalaya. Almost plundering Bharatavarsha, it flows southwards and enters the ocean there. At every step, men who go to it for the sake of bathing obtain fruits that are extremely difficult to get through horse and royal sacrifices. In each varsha, there are hundreds of other male and female rivers. They are the daughters of Meru and other mountains. It has been designated that Bharatavarsha is the arena for performing karma. The remaining eight varshas are like heavens on earth, meant as places of enjoyment for those who have come down from heaven. There, the lifespan is ten thousand human years and inhabitants are like gods. They possess the strength of ten thousand elephants and can withstand the vajra. Their strength and youth enables them to enjoy and they indulge in a great deal of sexual activity. Conception results in the wives at the end of this sexual activity, in the last year. Time proceeds as if one is in treta yuga. 221 In those places, the lords of the gods have their own respective designated followers and leaders and they worship them with extremely expensive gifts. There are bunches of flowers from all the seasons, fruits and an abundance of shoots. The trees and creepers bend down at the burden. There are beautiful groves, decorated with many trees. In those varshas, the valleys between the mountains have hermitages, mansions and waterbodies with sparkling water. There is the fragrance of many kinds of blooming lotuses. There are flocks of delighted swans, waterfowl, karandavas, chakravakas, cranes and other birds. There are echoes of bees buzzing. Beautiful divine women engaged in many kinds of water sports there, driven by desire. They freely engage in these pastimes, smiling and casting playful glances, enticing the mind and the eye. Even now, in each of the nine varshas, the great being, the illustrious Narayana, shows his favours to the residents by displaying himself to them in many different kinds of forms.

‘In Ilavrita, the illustrious Bhava is the only male. Because of a curse imposed by Bhavani, no one who knows about it enters there. A person who enters becomes female. I will tell you about the reason later. 222 Bhavani’s lord is tended to by a hundred million thousand of female attendants. The illustrious great being has four forms. 223 The fourth is a tamas form that flows from himself and is known as Samkarshana. Bhava meditates on this form and worships him with this chant. The illustrious one says, “I bow down to the illustrious great being, the reservoir of all the qualities. You are infinite and not manifest. I bow down to you. I worship you. I worship Narayana’s lotus feet. You possess all the opulence. You are the supreme refuge. For your devotees, you manifest yourself in many kinds of forms. You are the one who removes the miseries of earth. You are the lord who is the origin of creation. Maya, guna, mind and action do not affect you. You are the one who witnesses, but is not affected even slightly by that sight. You are the controller. If a person desires to conquer the force of anger and vanquish the senses, why will he not worship you? Your maya shows itself to a person whose vision is imperfect, coppery eyed, like a person who is inebriated with madhu or asava. 224 The wives of the nagas 225 desired to worship you, but their modesty prevented them. Their senses were agitated on touching your feet. The rishis speak of you as the source of creation, preservation and destruction. But you are infinite and beyond these. The earth resides on one of your thousand heads, 226 but you do not even feel it, as if it is but a trifling mustard seed. Mahat was the first of your forms, based on the gunas. It was the reservoir of knowledge and the illustrious Aja was born from this. I was generated from him and with my own energy, created vaikarika and tamasika ahamkara 227 and the senses. O great-souled one! We are under your subjugation, like birds controlled on a string. It is through your favours that all these, Mahat, vaikarika and tamasika ahamkara and the senses were created by us. A person is confounded by maya and the accumulation of the gunas and does not know who has fashioned this knot of karma. He does not know how to get over it easily. Therefore, I bow down before you, the source of creation and destruction.”’Chapter 5(18)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Dharma had a son named Bhadrashva and he was the chief of his lineage. All the residents of Bhadrasha-varsha were direct devotees of the illustrious one. They were supreme in their meditation of the beloved form of Vasudeva, full of dharma and also known as Hayashirsha. They worshipped him with a chant.

‘Bhadrashva said, “We bow down before the illustrious one, the source of all dharma. We bow down before the one who purifies. How wonderful are the exploits of the illustrious one! A person knows that death will come. But despite knowing, fails to recognize it. He thinks about what is impermanent and undertakes perverse deeds. Even after burning his father or his son, he wishes to remain alive. The wise speak of the world as destructible. The learned, who know about adhyatma, see it in this way. O one without origin! Nevertheless, they are confounded by your maya. O one without origin! This is extremely surprising. I bow down before what you have done. These deeds of yours are for creation, preservation and destruction. That is acknowledged, though you are not touched by any of this. It is not extraordinary that you should not be touched by cause and effect. You are in all atmans, but you are distinct from everything material. At the end of the yuga, the Vedas were robbed by darkness. You assumed a half-man half–horse form 228 and raised them up from rasatala. 229 You returned them to the wise one 230 who asked for them. I bow down before the one whose resolution never fails.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘In Hari-varsha, the illustrious one exists in the form of Narahari. 231 I will describe to you the reason for his adopting this form later. 232 That beloved form is worshipped by the great person who possesses all the qualities. 233 He is a great devotee of the illustrious one and through his good conduct, brought salvation to all the daityas 234 and danavas 235 who were born in his lineage. Other than Prahlada, no one else indulges in such incessant bhakti yoga. With him, the residents of that varsha worship him and chant the following. “We bow down before the illustrious Narasimha. We bow down before the one who is the energy behind all energy. O one who possesses nails like a vajra! Please manifest yourself. O one whose teeth are like the vajra! Please destroy this reservoir of desire for karma. Devour it. Oum Svaha! Bring fearlessness to my heart. Oum Kshroum! 236 Let there be good fortune in the universe. Let the deceitful be pacified. Let creatures meditate on what will bring each other well-being. Let the mind be calm in the worship of Adhokshaja. Let our intelligence be immersed in him, without any motive. May we not be attached to homes, wives, sons, riches and relatives. If there is any attachment in us, let it be towards those who love the illustrious one. He who is content with whatever is necessary to sustain life becomes successful soon, but not a person who is addicted to the senses. Repeated association and ablutions in tirthas remove the dirt of the body. However, hearing about Mukunda’s valour has its own strength and power and listening to this cleanses the dirt of the mind. Who will not serve such devotees? If a person has motiveless devotion towards the illustrious one, all the qualities and all the divinities assemble in him. How can there be great qualities in a person who is not devoted to the illustrious one? His desires are running outwards, towards impermanent pursuits. Just as fish desire to live in water, the atmans of all embodied beings desire to directly reside in the illustrious Hari. If a great person abandons him and becomes attached to his house, that greatness is like the attachment of a young couple. 237 Rajas is the root cause of attachment, misery, anger, the desire for honour, fear and distress. Therefore, abandon the home and the cycle of samsara. Worship Narasimha’s feet, the source of freedom from fear.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘With a desire to bring pleasure to Lakshmi, the illustrious one exists in Ketumala in his form of Kamadeva. The sons and daughters of the lord of the subjects there, and the leaders in that varsha, possess a lifespan where a day and a night for them are equal to a human year. 238 The women are terrified of the great weapon 239 of the great being and discharge their embryos at the end of a year. His 240 gait is extremely charming. His smiling face has playful glances. His beautiful eyebrows are slightly raised. His charming and auspicious face is like a lotus and delights Shri, while he finds pleasure in his pleasing senses. In the night, the goddess Rama, 241 accompanied by the daughters of Prajapati Samvatsara, worships the form of the illustrious one, full of maya. She engages in the yoga of supreme meditation. During the day, accompanied by their husbands, she chants the following. “Oum. Hram. Hrim. Hrum. 242 I bow down before the illustrious Hrishikesha. You are distinguished by all the special qualities. You are the lord of activities, knowledge, functions of the mind and their objects. You are the sixteen kalas. 243 You are the hymns. You are food. You are amrita. You are the powerful one who is omnipresent. You are energy, strength, beauty and desire. I bow down before you. Let there be good fortune at both times. 244 You are yourself the lord Hrishikesha, and women worship vows for you. They worship you in this world and do not ask for any other protector. Because they are themselves dependent, their husbands are incapable of protecting their offspring, beloved riches and lifespans. If he himself becomes the protector, how can there be fear from any direction? He saves people who are afflicted by fear. Without you, there will be fear from each other. It is thought that there is nothing superior to realizing your atman. Even if a woman possesses all the material desires, when she worships your lotus feet, she accomplishes all her desires. However, if you are worshipped with a specific desire in mind, you only grant that. O illustrious one! When that desired objective is lost, she is tormented. With their minds on the senses, Aja, Isha, the gods, the asuras and others tormented themselves through fierce austerities, so that they might obtain my favours. But with the exception of those who seek refuge at your feet, no one obtains me. O unvanquished one! I only look at those whose hearts are in you. O Achyuta! Your revered hand is like a lotus and you place it on the heads of those who are devoted to you. O one who is worshipped! You sustain me as a mark. 245 Who can understand the maya of the lord, the controller?”’ 246

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘In Ramyaka, the illustrious one manifests himself as the beloved matsya avatara. 247 This is the form in which he had shown himself earlier to the resident of that varsha, Manu. Even now, with great bhakti yoga, he chants the following. “I bow down before the illustrious one who is the foremost. I bow down to the one who is sattva. I bow down to the one who is the origin of life. I bow down to the source of strength. I bow down to the great matsya. You are the protector of all the worlds, inside and outside. Your form is not seen, but you roam around with a loud sound. You are the lord and you have brought everything under your subjugation. Men and women, known by different names, are like wooden puppets on a string. Indeed, the guardians of the world were filled with jealousy. Abandoning you, they strove, separately and collectively. But they were unable to save bipeds, quadrupeds, reptiles and everything immobile that can be seen. At the end of the yuga, there was an ocean with a garland of waves. This entire earth is the store of herbs and plants. With me, great in your energy, you roamed around. I bow down to you, the life of the universe. You are in all the atmans. I bow down before you.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘In Hiranmaya, the illustrious one resides in the form of a kurma. 248 He manifests himself in this beloved form before Aryama, the lord of the large number of ancestors, and the other residents of that varsha. He worships him with the chant of this mantra. “I bow down before the illustrious one who is in the form of a tortoise. You are full of the specific traits of sattva guna. I bow down before the one whose position cannot be discerned. I bow down before the one who is beyond time. I bow down before the one who goes everywhere. I bow down before the one who is the foundation of everything. Through your own maya, you have given form to everything that appears in many different kinds of forms. Since this perception is false, their number cannot be enumerated. I bow down before the one whose form cannot be ascertained. You are one, but your manifestations are known by different names—born from a womb, born from sweat, born from an egg, plants, mobile, immobile, gods, rishis, ancestors, bhutas, 249 senses, heaven, sky, earth, mountains, rivers, oceans, dvipas, planets and nakshatras. 250 In samkhya, wise people have thought of a specific number for you, 251 though your characteristics, names and forms are innumerable. When one knows the truth, such numbers vanish. I bow down before the one who reveals the truth behind these numbers.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘In Uttara Kuru, the illustrious lord of sacrifices assumes the form of a boar. The goddess earth, accompanied by all the residents of Kuru, worship him through bhakti yoga. She repeatedly chants the following, through which one can approach the supreme one. “I bow down before the one whose truth can be known through different mantras. Your form is the great sacrifice of yajnas and kratus. I bow down before the great being whose deeds are pure. I bow down before the one who is the three yugas. 252 Learned and wise ones can discern your own form, like the quality of fire hidden inside a piece of wood. Wishing to see, they use a churning rod in their minds. I bow down before the one who manifests his hidden form as a result of such acts. The objects of the senses, the activities of the senses, the divinities of the senses, the body, time and ego can indeed be seen to the result of maya and guna of your atman. There are those who carefully practise the limbs of yoga and sharpen their intelligence. They can discern your form, completely distinct from maya. I bow down before you. Though you do not desire it for your own self, you bring about the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. Resorting to you and facing you, maya and the gunas wish to do this, like iron moved by a lodestone. I bow down before the one who is a witness to the gunas and karma. You are the original boar. When I was in rasatala, you crushed the daitya who was like an enemy elephant. 253 Placing me on the tip of your tusks, you emerged from the water of the ocean, playing like an elephant. I bow down before the powerful lord.”’Chapter 5(19)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘In Kimpurusha-varsha, there is the supreme devotee of the illustrious one, Hanumat. Along with the kimpurushas, devotedly, he always worships the original being, Lakshmana’s illustrious elder brother and Sita’s beloved, Rama. He is constantly engaged in serving at his feet. Arshtishena and the gandharvas sing the supremely auspicious account of the illustrious one, his master. He listens attentively and chants himself. “I bow down to the illustrious Uttamashloka. I bow down to the noble one who possesses the signs and is virtuous in conduct. I bow down to the one who has controlled his mind and is worshipped by people. I bow down to the one who is a touchstone for identifying virtuous people. I bow down to the divinity who is devoted to brahmanas. I bow down to the great being. I bow down to the great king. I bow down to the one who is pure consciousness, the one who alone is knowledge. Through his energy, he destroyed all the states caused by the gunas. He is transcendental and tranquil, beyond names, forms and ego. He can be obtained by those who are pure. The lord’s avatara in the mortal world wasn’t only for the destruction of rakshasas, but also for instructing mortals. He takes delight in his own atman. How else could the lord have suffered miseries on account of Sita? The atman 254 is the best well-wisher for those who have realized their atmans. The illustrious Vasudeva is not attached to anything in the three worlds. He cannot have suffered hardships on account of a woman. Nor would he have cast aside Lakshmana. 255 Noble birth, greatness, good fortune, eloquence, intelligence and form do not cause any pleasure to him. Lakshmana’s elder brother contracted friendship with us, dwellers of the forest, who do not possess these qualities. Gods, asuras, apes and men should worship Rama, who is Hari in human form, with all their souls. He is best among those who are grateful. He conveyed all the residents of Uttara Kosala to heaven.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘In Bharatavarsha, the illustrious one is known as Nara-Narayana. 256 His movements cannot be discerned. To show favours and compassion to those who wish to realize their atmans, till the end of the kalpa, 257 he practises austerities and these increase dharma, knowledge, non-attachment, powers, control of the senses and freedom from ego. The illustrious Narada desired to instruct Savarni about samkhya, yoga and the process of realizing the illustrious one. Therefore, with the residents of all varnas and ashramas 258 in Bharata, he 259 worshipped him with great devotion and chanted the following. “I bow down before the illustrious one who has conquered the senses. I bow down before the one who has no attachment for material objects. I bow down before the one who represents riches for those in penury. I bow down before the one who is a bull among rishis from among all the rishis, Nara-Narayana. He is the supreme preceptor for those who are paramahamsas. I bow down before the one who is the lord of those who have realized their atmans. He is the cause behind creation, preservation and destruction, but those do not bind him down. Though he is in the body, bodily ailments do not affect him. He is a witness whose vision is not tainted by the gunas. I bow down before the one who is non-attached and is an impartial witness. O lord of yoga! The illustrious Hiranyagarbha 260 spoke about the greatest proficiency in yoga. At the time of death, one must give up identification with the body and devotedly turn one’s mind towards the one who is nirguna. 261 A person addicted to sensual pleasures in this world and in the next thinks about sons, wives and wealth. If like that, a learned person only thinks about the loss of this wicked body, his efforts have been futile. O lord! O Adhokshaja! With your maya, you have given us this wicked body and the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. These are difficult to give up. Give us the yoga, your natural attribute, so that we can quickly sever these. In this Bharatavarsha, there are rivers and many mountains—Malaya, Mangalaprastha, Mainaka, Trikuta, Rishabha, Kutaka, Kollaka, Sahya, Devagiri, Rishyamukha, Shrishaila, Venkata, Mahendra, Varidhara, Vindhya, Shuktiman, Rikshagiri, Pariyatra, Drona, Chitrakuta, Govardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nila, Gokamukha, Indrakila, Kamagiri and other hundreds and thousands of mountains. Innumerable male and female rivers are born on the slopes of these mountains. The subjects of Bharata touch these waters. Even their names purify the mind—Chandravasa, Tamraparni, Avatoda, Kritamala, Vaihayasi, Kaveri, Veni, Payosvini, Sharkaravarta, Tungabhadra, Krishna, Venya, Bhimarathi, Godavari, Nirvindhya, Payoshni, Tapi, Reva, Surasa, Narmada, Charmanvati, Sindhu, the river Shona, Mahanadi, Vedasmriti, Rishikulya, Trisama, Koushiki, Mandakini, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Drishadvati, Gomati, Sarayu, Rodhasvati, Saptavati, Sushoma, Shatadru, Chandrabhaga, Marudvridha, Vitasta, Asikni, Vishva and other great rivers. In this varsha, depending on the white, red and dark acts 262 they have themselves performed, they progressively obtain many divine, human or hellish births that are destined. Different varnas are ordained for them. Emancipation is also possible. The illustrious one is in the atmans of all beings. He is beyond attachment and beyond words and does not depend on anyone else. He is Vasudeva, the paramatman. The bond of ignorance is the reason behind these many kinds of births and can be severed through association with people who are devoted to the great being, with traits of bhakti yoga. That is the reason the gods chant, ‘These residents 263 must have done something wonderful. Hari himself is kindly disposed towards them. They have obtained birth as humans in the land of Bharata and can serve Mukunda. For us, that only remains a wish. It is through difficult deeds like sacrifices, austerities, vows, donations and such things that we have obtained this trifle of heaven for ourselves. There, because of excessive addiction to the senses, memories of Narayana’s lotus feet have been lost. It is better to have a limited lifespan and be born in Bharata than to obtain a state for the lifespan of a kalpa, after which, one has to be born again. In an instant, a spirited mortal person can renounce everything and proceed to a fearless state near Hari’s feet. It is not worth residing in the world of the lord of the gods. The flow of nectar about Vaikuntha’s account does not exist there. Nor are there virtuous ones who seek refuge with the illustrious one. There aren’t great festivities where sacrifices are performed to the lord of sacrifices. However, there are beings who obtain lives as humans in this world. They possess knowledge, rites and an accumulation of objects. Through these, they are not born again. That is like a bond a forest-dwelling bird heads towards again. 264 They faithfully perform sacrifices, with appropriate mantras and objects, and offer shares of oblations to desired divinities. It is the single one who is separately worshipped under different names. The lord who is complete himself accepts them and bestows benedictions. When men ask him for a desired objective, it is true that he grants them that objective. But since they have to again ask him for something else, he does not confer on them the true objective. When people worship him without any objective, he himself grants them the desired objective, his tender feet, as gentle as foliage. When something is left over after we have enjoyed happiness in heaven, because of a good sacrifice, good studies or a good deed, we desire a birth in Ajanabha-varsha 265, with our memories intact. There, Hari grants benedictions to those who worship him.’” 266 O king! Some have instructed that there are eight smaller dvipas in Jambudvipa. When searching for their lost horse, Sagara’s sons dug up the ground and created these. 267 They are Svarnaprastha, Chandrashukla, Avartana, Ramanaka, Mandaraharina, Panchajanya, Simhala and Lanka. O supreme among the Bharata lineage! I have told you about the divisions of Jambudvipa into varshas, exactly as I was instructed.’Chapter 5(20)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘After this, I will describe the dimensions and characteristics of Plaksha and the others and their divisions into varshas. Just as Meru is surrounded by the region named Jambu, Jambudvipa is surrounded by the salty ocean, which has the same length and breadth as Jambudvipa. 268 Like a grove is surrounded by a moat, the region known as Plaksha surrounds the salty ocean and is double its size. 269 As tall as the jambu tree in Jambudvipa, there is a plaksha tree and this gives the region its name. It is made out of gold and rises up. The seven-tongued Agni is worshipped there. Priyavrata’s son, Idhmajihva, is the lord of the region and he divided his dvipa into seven varshas. He bestowed them on his sons and retiring from a material existence, immersed himself in yoga. The names of these varshas are Shiva, Yavasa, Subhadra, Shanta, Kshema, Amrita and Abhaya. It is said that there are seven famous rivers and mountains in each. The mountains that form the boundaries are Manikuta, Vajrakuta, Indrasena, Jyotishman, Suparna, Hiranyashthiva and Meghamala. The great rivers are Aruna, Nrimna, Angirasi, Savitri, Suprabhata, Ritambhara and Satyambhara. The four varnas are Hamsa, Patanga, Urdhavayana and Satyanga and they use the waters of these rivers to wash away rajas and tamas and purify themselves. The inhabitants live for one thousand years and they have offspring who are like the gods. They follow the three Vedas and in the form of the sun god, the gateway to heaven and who is his atman, they worship the illustrious one and obtain him. “We seek refuge with the sun god, his atman. 270 This is the form of the ancient Vishnu, the brahman who is true dharma. He is the origin of immortality and death.” 271 In Plaksha and the other five dvipas, without any distinction, all men possess long lifespans, sound senses, physical strength, mental strength, intelligence and valour, right from birth. Plaksha is surrounded by an ocean of sugar cane juice that is equal to itself in size.

‘Shalmali-dvipa is double that in size and is surrounded by an ocean of liquor. There is a shalmali tree 272 there and its dimensions are the same as that of the plaksha tree. This tree is said to give the dvipa its name. It is said that this is the abode of the king of the birds, 273 who worships the illustrious one who is worshipped through hymns. The lord of the dvipa is Yajnabahu, Priyavrata’s son. He divided the region into seven varshas among his seven sons and they gave these their names—Surochana, Soumanasya, Ramanaka, Devavarsha, Paribhadra, Apyayana and Avijnata. In each of those varshas, the number of mountains and rivers is known to be seven. The mountains at the boundaries are Svarasa, Shatashringa, Vamadeva, Kunda, Mukunda, Pushpa-varsha and Sahasrashruti, while the rivers are Anumati, Sinivali, Sarasvati, Kuhu, Rajani, Nanda and Raka. The men in the varsha are Shrutadhara, Viryadhara, Vasundhara and Ishandhara. 274 Using the Vedas, they worship the illustrious one who is full of the Vedas and whose atman is the moon god. “By using the illumination of his beams, Soma divides into krishna paksha 275 and shukla paksha 276 and ensures food for the gods, the ancestors and the subjects. 277 Let him be our king.”

‘Beyond the ocean of liquor there is an ocean of clarified butter that is double in dimensions. As before, this surrounds Kusha-dvipa. In that dvipa, there is a clump of kusha grass that was created by the divinity and this gives the region its name. Because of its own radiance, it is like another fire and illuminates the directions. O king! The lord of that dvipa is Priyavrata’s son, known as Hiranyareta. He proportionately divided his own dvipa into seven varshas among his seven sons and they gave these their names—Vasu, Vasudana, Dridharuchi, Nabhigupta, Stutyavrata, Vivikta and Vamadeva. After the division, he himself resorted to austerities. In that varsha, the boundary mountains and the rivers are each said to be seven. The mountains are Chakra, Chatuhshringa, Kapila, Chitrakuta, Devanika, Urdhvaroma and Dravina, while the rivers are Rasakulya, Madhukulya, Mitravinda, Shrutavinda, Devagarbha, Ghritachyuta and Mantramala. The residents of Kusha-dvipa are Kushala, Kovida, Abhiyukta and Kulaka. 278 Accomplished in rites, with these waters, they worship the illustrious one in the form of the fire god. “O bearer of oblations! 279 O fire god! You are the supreme brahman himself. By worshipping the gods, we worship the being whose limbs are part of the sacrifice.”

‘Similarly, beyond the ocean of clarified butter there is an ocean of milk that is double in dimensions. Just as the ocean of clarified butter surrounds Kusha-dvipa, this surrounds Krouncha-dvipa. This dvipa obtains its name because of Krouncha, king among mountains. The trees on the slopes were shattered by Guha’s weapon. 280 However, it was protected by Varuna and sprinkled with milk, thus obtaining freedom from fear. The lord there is Priyavrata’s son, named Ghritaprishtha. He divided his own dvipa into seven varshas among his seven sons and they gave these their names. After instating his sons in those varshas, he himself became a devotee of the illustrious one, the bestower of supreme benefit and fame. He immersed himself in him and obtained Hari’s lotus feet. The sons are Ama, Madhuruha, Meghaprishtha, Sudhama, Bhrajishtha, Lohitavarna and Vanaspati. The boundary mountains and the rivers are each said to be seven. The mountains are Shukla, Vardhamana, Bhojana, Upabarhina, Nanda, Nandana and Sarvatobhadra, while the rivers are Abhaya, Amritougha, Aryaka, Tirthavati, Rupavati, Pavitravati and Shukla. The inhabitants of the varsha are known as Purusha, Rishabha, Dravina and Devaka. 281 Using those sacred and sparkling waters, with cupped hands full of water, they worship the god of waters 282 in the form of water. “O water! You are the valour of the supreme being. You purify heaven, earth and the intervening region. You purify and destroy all sin. As we touch you, may we also be purified.”

‘Shaka-dvipa is beyond the ocean of milk and its dimensions are thirty-two lakh yojanas. It is surrounded by an ocean of churned curds that has the same size. There is a gigantic tree named Shaka there and it has given the region its own name. It is extremely fragrant and the smell spreads throughout the dvipa. The lord of this region is Priyavrata’s son, named Medhatithi. He divided it into seven varshas among his seven sons and instated them, and they gave these their names—Purojava, Manojava, Pavamana, Dhumranika, Chitrarepha, Bahurupa and Vishvadhara. Immersing his mind on Ananta, he himself became a devotee and entered a hermitage. The boundary mountains and the rivers are each seven. The mountains are Ishana, Urushringa, Balabhadra, Shatakesara, Sahasrasrota, Devapala and Mahanasa, while the rivers are Anagha, Ayurda, Ubhayasprishti, Aparajita, Panchapadi, Sahasrastuti and Nijadhriti. The men in that varsha are named Ritavrata, Satyavrata, Danavrata and Anuvrata. 283 Through pranayama, 284 they cleanse the rajas and the tamas and use supreme meditation to worship the illustrious one, whose atman is in the wind god. “He is inside all beings. 285 He is the one who maintains the breath of life. He is the lord who is inside. Everything is his manifestation. May he protect us.”

‘In this way, the ocean of churned curds is surrounded by Pushkara-dvipa, which is double its dimensions. It is surrounded on the outside by an ocean of sweet water that has the same size. There is a gigantic lotus 286 there and it possesses one hundred million petals that are made out of polished gold. This blazes like a fire and was created as seat for the one who is seated on a lotus. 287 There is a mountain named Manasottara in the middle of the dvipa and it is the boundary between the varsha on the east and that in the west. Its height and length are ten thousand yojanas. The cities of Indra and the other guardians of the world are in the four directions. Atop this mountain revolves the chariot of the sun, in the form of a year, as it goes around Meru. As it circles, this is one day and one night for the gods. The lord of the dvipa is Priyavrata’s son, named Vitihotra. His two sons were Ramanaka and Dhataki. He instated them as the lords of the varshas and like his elder brothers, engaged himself in rites for the illustrious one. The inhabitants of these varshas undertake rites and use these rites to worship the illustrious one in the form of Brahma. They chant, “His manifestation is in the form of the rites and the rituals. With the signs of the brahman, he should be worshipped by people, tranquil and devoted to him and to no other. We bow down to the illustrious one.”’

The rishi 288 continued, ‘Beyond this 289 and surrounding it, there is a mountain named Lokaloka. This divides the region that is illuminated by the sun from the region that is not illuminated by the sun. This land is as extensive as that between Manasottara and Meru. Beyond this is a region made out of gold, like the surface of a mirror. If something is dropped into it, it can never be regained. Therefore, all living entities avoid this place. This mountain is known as Lokaloka because it is between the region that is illuminated by the sun and the region that is not illuminated by the sun. 290 The lord has fashioned this beyond the three worlds. Such is the height of the mountain that the rays of the sun, Dhruva and minor stellar bodies can illuminate the worlds on one of its sides, but are unable to penetrate to the other side. Wise people have thought about the placing of the worlds, their dimensions and attributes. The size of the globe has been computed as five crore yojanas. One-fourth of this is the expanse from Meru to Mount Lokaloka. For the welfare of all the worlds, the one who created himself, the preceptor of the entire universe, 291 instated four lords of elephants in the four directions atop it. 292 They are Rishabha, Pushkarachuda, Vamana and Aparajita. The illustrious and supreme one is the great being. He is the lord of all great powers and he is the one who is inside atmans. He is pure sattva and possesses dharma, knowledge, opulence and the eight great siddhis. He manifests himself as Vishvaksena and other forms. He is surrounded by his own prominent attendants. His powerful arms are ornamented with many kinds of weapons. For extending his powers to the elephants and the guardians of the worlds and for the benefit of the worlds that exist all around it, he manifests his form on that great mountain. Using the yoga of his maya, the illustrious one will assume this form till the end of the kalpa. He has fashioned this form for the sake of the maintenance and progress of the many kinds of worlds. The side that is to one side of Mount Lokaloka, right up to the end, has been said to be the expanse of Aloka. 293 It is said that pure lords of yoga are the only ones who can travel to these parts. The sun is in the middle of the egg, in between the earth and the vault of the sky. The distance between the sun and the circumference of the universe is twenty-five crore yojanas. Since the sun was inside this inanimate egg, it is referred to as Martanda. 294 Since it was born from the golden egg, it is known as Hiranyagarbha. 295 Indeed, it is the sun that divides the directions, the sky, the firmament, the earth, heaven, the worlds of emancipation, hell and all the nether regions like rasatala. The sun is in the atmans of the gods, inferior species, humans, reptiles, herbs and plants and all categories of living beings. It is the lord of sight.’Chapter 5(21)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thus, the dimensions of the terrestrial sphere, attributes and placement have been described. The dimensions of the heavenly sphere are described with reference to this. It is in two halves, 296 like the two parts of a bean and the intervening space, which joins the two, is known as antariksha. In the midst of these, is the illustrious sun god, the lord of bodies that heat the three worlds. It heats and lights them with its rays. Its slow, swift and equal movements, positions of rising, setting and staying in the middle, occur according to the seasons and are known by names like uttarayana, dakshinayana and vaishuvata. 297 As it passes through Makara 298 and the other rashis, 299 day and night become longer or shorter, or are equal. When it passes through Mesha and Tula, 300 day and night are equal. When it passes through Vrisha and the five other rashis, every month, day increases by one ghatika and night decreases by the same amount. 301 When it passes through Vrishchika and the other five, day and night move in the opposite direction. Days increase until dakshinayana and nights increase until uttarayana. It is said that in revolving around Mount Manasottara, the sun traverses nine crore and fifty-one lakh yojanas. Indra’s city is to the east of Meru and is known as Devadhani, Yama’s city is to the south and is named Samyamini, Varuna’s city is to the west and is known as Nimlochani, while Soma’s city is to the north and is named Vibhavari. When the sun passes through these four directions of Meru, it is sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight. These indicate the times for living beings to begin and cease activities. For those who reside there, 302 it is always midday and the sun heats, to the left of the mountain and to the right. 303 The sun sets at a point that is diametrically opposite the point at which it rises. When it heats people and makes them perspire, at a diametrically opposite point, it makes them sleep. When it has set, those people are no longer able to see it. When it travels from Indra’s city to that of Yama, it traverses two and a quarter crore, twelve lakh and a half and twenty-five thousand yojanas 304 in fifteen ghatikas. 305 In this way, it goes to Varuna’s city, Soma’s city and back to Indra’s city. Planets, the moon, nakshatras and other stellar bodies also rise and set together. The chariot of the sun, which is full of the three Vedas, passes through the four cities. In one muhurta, it traverses thirty-four lakh and eight hundred yojanas. It is said that the chariot has one wheel, which is the year, twelve spokes, six segments of the rim and three naves. 306 At one end, the axle is fixed on the summit of Meru and at the other end, on Manasottara. Thus fixed, like the wheel of an oil press, it revolves around Mount Manasottara. Just like an oil press, a second axle, which is one-fourth the size of the first, is attached to the first axle. The upper end of this axle is attached to Dhruva. The seat of the chariot is thirty-six lakh yojanas in size and its width is one-fourth that. Yoked by Aruna, 307 the sun’s chariot is yoked to seven horses that bear along the god Aditya and have the names of chhandas. 308 Since he is engaged in the task of a charioteer, Aruna sits in front of the sun god, but his face is turned towards the rear. 309 The valakhilya rishis 310 are the size of a thumb. Sixty thousand of these are engaged in front of the sun and praise him with their words, chanting hymns. Other rishis, gandharvas, apsaras, nagas, yakshas, yatudhanas and many other categories of gods possess many kinds of names and are divided into fourteen, or seven pairs. Under these different names, from one month to another month, they perform their duties in pairs, worshipping the illustrious sun god, who is a form of the atman. 311 The circumference of the terrestrial sphere is nine crore and fifty-one lakh yojanas. In a kshana, the sun traverses two thousand yojanas and one gavyuti.’ 312Chapter 5(22)

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! When the illustrious sun god revolves facing the rashis, you have described that he keeps Meru and Dhruva on his left, but it appears as if they are on his right. How will we interpret this statement?’

He 313 replied, ‘When a potter’s wheel rotates, the motions of ants and other things that are on it are experienced to be different, because they are on different parts of the wheel. Similarly, when the wheel of time, consisting of the nakshatras and the rashis, revolves, Meru and Dhruva are on the right, but the progress of the sun, the planets and other things that are based on it are different, since these are observed in different nakshatras and rashis. He 314 is the illustrious original being, Narayana, himself. He consists of the three Vedas and the wise inquire about him. For the welfare of the worlds and the purification of rites, he divided himself into twelve and arranged vasanta and the other seasons, along with the qualities of these seasons. In this world, men who follow the three Vedas and the conduct and path of the varnas and ashramas, faithfully worship him with superior and inferior rituals passed down through yoga. They obtain what is beneficial. He is the atman of the worlds. He is in the the sky, in between earth and the vault of heaven. Following the wheel of time, he enjoys the twelve months named after the rashis. This is the form of the year. The learned say that a month consists of two pakshas, a day and a night, which 315 is the period required to cross two and a quarter rashis. It is also instructed that a season is the time required by the sun to traverse one-sixth of a year. The period taken by the sun to traverse half of space is said to be ayana. The sun travels at a fast, slow or moderate speed. The time taken to orbit the sky, the earth and the vault of heaven is known as samvatsara, parivatsara, idavatsara, anuvatsara and vatsara. In this way, the moon is seen to be located a hundred thousand yojanas above the sun’s rays. Its speed is faster than that of the sun and it moves on ahead. In two fortnights, it covers what the sun traverses in a month and in one day, it covers what the sun takes a fortnight to traverse. When the kalas of the moon increase, it is day for the immortals and night for the ancestors. When the kalas of the moon decrease, it is day for the ancestors and night for the immortals. Thus, in the first paksha and the next paksha, the moon distributes the breath of life for all living creatures and is known as life itself. One after another, it is in conjunction with a nakshatra for thirty muhurtas. This illustrious one possesses sixteen kalas and is the divinity for the mind, food and amrita. He is spoken of as the breath of life for gods, ancestors, humans, bhutas, animals, birds, reptiles and herbs and plants and as the one who pervades everything. In the wheel of time, the lord has fixed twenty-eight nakshatras, along with Abhijit, 316 three lakh yojanas above the moon. They revolve with Meru on the right. Ushana 317 is observed two lakh yojanas above this. It has a slow, fast or moderate motion and is seen to be ahead of, behind, or along with the sun. It moves like the sun, always favourable to the worlds and generally bringing rain. As it moves, it is seen to counter planets that obstruct rain. 318 The orbit of Budha 319 is described as being two lakh yojanas above that of Ushana. Budha is Soma’s son and is generally perceived to be favourable. However, if it does not move along with the sun, there are always storms, clouds, droughts and other such reasons for fear. Angaraka 320 is seen to be two lakh yojanas above Budha. Unless it moves in a retrograde way, it progressively passes through each rashi in three pakshas and traverses all twelve. In general, it is an inauspicious planet, causing calamities. Two lakh yojanas above Angaraka is the auspicious Brihaspati. 321 Unless it moves in a retrograde way, it passes through each rashi in a samvatsara. It is generally favourable to those from the brahmana lineage. Shanaishchara 322 is seen to be two lakh yojanas above Brihaspati. It remains in a single rashi for thirty months and thus requires many anuvatsaras to cover all of them. 323 It generally causes troubles for everyone. Eleven lakh yojanas above Shanaishchara are seen to be the rishis. 324 They always think of tranquility for the worlds and revolve around Vishnu’s supreme abode, keeping it to the right.’Chapter 5(23)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thirteen lakh yojanas above the rishis is Vishnu’s supreme abode. The great devotee of the illustrious one, Dhruva, Uttanapada’s son, is said to reside there. His devotion has already been described earlier. Agni, Indra, Prajapati Kashyapa and Dharma simultaneously go around him, showing him great reverence and keeping him to their right. He is worshipped even now, because he sustains the lives of those who will live till the end of the kalpa. He shines constantly. The force of the unmanifest and illustrious one has earmarked him like a stable pillar and all the large number of stellar bodies, planets and nakshatras incessantly use him as a pivot, thus ordained by the lord. Bulls used in threshing corn are yoked to the pivotal post in the middle, using three kinds of ropes—short, medium and long. In their respective places, they walk around in three circles. Similarly, stellar bodies and the planets are fixed to the wheel of time in inner and outer circles. Using Dhruva as the pivot and impelled by the force of the wind, they revolve until the end of the kalpa, like clouds and hawks in the sky, propelled by the wind. The charioteers of the large number of stellar bodies are their past karmas, revolving because of the union between Purusha and Prakriti. It is because of their past good karmas that they do not fall down on the ground. Some imagine this large number of stellar bodies to be in the form of a dolphin. 325 It is described as being supported by the illustrious Vasudeva’s yoga. The body of the dolphin is coiled, with the head downwards, and Dhruva is at the tip of the tail. Prajapati, Agni, Indra and Dharma are imagined to be at the tip of the tail. Dhatri, Vidhatri and the saptarshis are on the hip. The body is coiled from left to right. On the right side are located the nakshatras that mark the northern course, while on the left side are the nakshatras that mark dakshinayana. 326 It is as if the coiled body of the porpoise has an equal number of limbs on either side. Ajavithi is on the back and Akasha-Ganga is on the stomach. 327 Punarvasu and Pushya are on the right and left hips. Ardra and Ashlesha are on the right and left feet, to the rear. Abhijit and Uttarashadha are numbered on the right and left nostrils. Shravana and Purvashadha are numbered on the right and left eyes. Dhanishtha and Mula are on the right and left ears. The eight nakshatras that mark the progress of dakshinayana, Magha and the others, are on the ribs to the left. 328 The eight nakshatras that mark the progress of uttarayana, Mrigashirsha and the others, are on the ribs to the right, but in the reverse direction. 329 The others, Shatabhisha and Jyeshtha, are on the right and left shoulders. Agasti 330 is on the upper jaw and Yama is on the lower jaw. Angaraka is on the mouth, Shanaishchara is on the genitals, Brihaspati is on the hump, the sun is on the chest, Narayana is in the heart, the moon is in the mind, Ushana 331 is in the navel, the Ashvins are on the nipples, Budha is in the prana and apana breath, 332 Rahu is on the throat, Ketu is in all the limbs and the large number of stars are all in the body hair. This is the form of the illustrious Vishnu and all the gods are in him. Every day, at the time of sandhya, 333 one should control oneself and watch this form, meditating and worshipping it. “We bow down before the one in whom the stellar bodies rest. He is the wheel of time. He is the lord of the gods. He is the great being. We meditate on him.” This adhidaivika form consists of the planets, nakshatras and stars. If this mantra is chanted thrice, 334 all sins are cleansed. If one bows down, remembers it and chants it thrice, all sins are swiftly and instantly destroyed.’Chapter 5(24)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Those who are learned say that, ten thousand yojanas below the sun, Svarbhanu revolves like a nakshatra. O son! He was himself a wicked asura, Simhika’s son, and certainly did not deserve it. However, through the favours of the illustrious one, he obtained the immortal status of a planet. I will tell you about his birth and deeds later. 335 The sun’s globe radiates heat and is said to extend for ten thousand yojanas, while that of the moon is for twelve thousand yojanas. Rahu’s extends for thirteen thousand yojanas. Because they created an obstruction for him, 336 he is bound in enmity towards Surya and Chandra and rushes after them on the night of the new moon and the full moon. When he hears about this, to save them from the fear, the illustrious one deploys the beloved weapon that devotees know as Sudarshana. As it revolves around them, 337 its incessant energy is impossible to withstand and he can only tolerate it for a muhurta. Anxious in his heart, he then withdraws some distance away. People speak of this as an eclipse. The same distance below 338 are the abodes of the Siddhas, charanas and vidyadharas. 339 Below this are the worlds where yakshas, rakshasas, pishachas and large numbers of bhutas find pleasure. This space extends as long as clouds are seen and as long as winds blow. The earth is one hundred yojanas below this and its upper limits are as far as the best among birds, swans, eagles and hawks can fly. The location of the earth and the different divisions of the earth has already been described.

‘Below this are the seven nether regions, each progressively ten thousand yojanas below the preceding one. They are atala, vitala, sutala, talatala, mahatala, rasatala and patala and their length and breadth are similar. 340 These are heavens of the nether regions. Even more than heaven, there are objects for gratifying the senses, affluence, bliss, prosperity and power. There are excellent houses, groves and pleasure grounds. Daityas, danavas and Kadru’s progeny 341 reside there, always happy because of the attachment of wives, offspring, relatives, well-wishers and followers. The heads of the households are more powerful than the gods. Their pursuit of the senses is unobstructed. They happily reside in this maya. O great king! Using his maya, Maya constructed many kinds of cities there. The wonderful and excellent houses were constructed with the best of jewels. There are walls, gates, assembly halls, chaityas, 342 quadrangles and mansions. There are couples of nagas and asuras. The place is full of pigeons, parrots and sarikas. The lords of these regions crowd the artificial grounds. The decorated and excellent houses are radiant. The gardens bring great pleasure to the mind and the senses. There are flowers, bunches of fruit and beautiful new sprouts on the branches of the trees in the groves, embraced by handsome creepers. Couples of beautiful birds frequent the waterbodies, full of sparkling water. Fish leap around and agitate the water. There are lilies, lotuses, white lotuses, blue lotuses, red lotuses and lotuses with a hundred petals, and birds have made their homes in their midst. They find uninterrupted pleasure there and there are the sounds of many kinds of melodious calling that cause delight to the senses. The beauty surpasses that of the world of the immortals. No fear caused by the division of time is discerned there and there is no night or day. Giant serpents reside there and the gems on their hoods dispel all the darkness. Because of the divine herbs, juices, medicines, drinking, eating and bathing, the residents do not suffer from any mental or physicial disease. There are no wrinkles, grey hair or old age. The physical complexion does not fade. There is no bad odour, perspiration, fatigue, lack of energy, or any misery caused by old age. The worlds are auspicious and fortunate, without fear of death. The only fear is from the illustrious one’s chakra. When it penetrates there, the pregnant wives of the asuras have miscarriages and abortions because of their fear. Maya’s son, Bala, resides in the region of atala. Indeed, it is said that he created ninety-six kinds of maya. Even today, magicians practise some of those. When he yawned, three types of women were created from his mouth—svairinis, kaminis and pumshchalis. 343 If a man enters the nether regions, they offer him a juice extracted from a herb known as Hataka and this makes him capable, so that they can gratify their own desires. They pursue their urges and seduce him with loving glances, smiles, conversation and embraces. Because of that juice and the enjoyment, a man feels that he is like a god. He takes himself to be extremely powerful, endowed with the strength of ten thousand mighty elephants. Blinded by intoxication, he praises himself. Below this 344 is vitala. The illustrious Hara, Hatakeshvara, resides there, surrounded by his own companions, the large number of bhutas. With the object of increasing the number of Prajapatis, Bhava is united there with Bhavani and from him flows the supreme river known as Hataki, which possesses both their energies. The fire, fanned by the wind, drinks the strength of that river and spits out the gold that is known as Hataka. In the homes of the Indras among asuras, men and women wear ornaments that are made out of this. Below this 345 is sutala. Great in his fame and chanted about in shlokas, Virochana’s son, Bali, resides there. The illustrious one wished to bring pleasure to the great Indra, Aditi’s son. Therefore, he approached Bali in the form of a brahmachari who was a dwarf and thus robbed him of the three worlds. It was through the favours of the illustrious one that he was then allowed to enter this place, possessing a great prosperity and beauty that Indra and the others do not have. Even now, he follows his own dharma and worships the illustrious one, with all his hardships removed. He did not obtain this because he directly donated land to the illustrious one, who is the infinite refuge for all living beings. His atman is in the atmans of all living beings. He is Vasudeva, the paramatman, the supreme tirtha and refuge. He 346 resorted to him with great devotion and great affection, concentrated in his mind. That is the reason he obtained this direct gate to emancipation and this world and residence, full of prosperity. If a man suffers from hunger, stumbles and falls down, helpless, if he chants his name, his bonds of karma are severed and his sins are instantly washed away. Those who desire emancipation cannot obtain it through any other means. His atman is in all atmans. He is the supreme atman. It is in this way that his devotees realize the atman. 347 The illustrious one did not really bestow any favours on him by giving him this prosperity and objects of pleasure, which are full of maya, and unsatisfactory, but conferred on him constant remembrance of his name. The illustrious one perceived that there was no other means, except deceit, to take away the three worlds, which are his own body. Therefore, it is said that he bound him in Varuna’s noose and confined him in a cave in a mountain. He 348 exclaimed, “Indeed, Indra is said to be learned and experienced, surrounded by advisers who offer him counsel, like Brihaspati, appointed to advise him in private. However, he does not know what is good for him. He ignored Upendra and did not seek service to him as a benediction. Time has a long duration. What is the point of being surrounded by the three worlds, which will end at the end of a manvantara? Indeed, our grandfather 349 valued service to him. He did not accept his father’s ancestral kingdom, which was free from fear, after his own father 350 had been killed by the illustrious one. Though that status was offered to him, he only accepted service to the illustrious one. He was great in his sentiments. A person like me is contaminated by desires and cannot follow his path, even if I wish to. Bereft of the favours of the illustrious one, what can those like us do?” His 351 conduct will be narrated later. The illustrious Narayana is the preceptor of all the worlds. With compassion towards his devotees, he is himself stationed there, at the gate. 352 With a desire to conquer the world, the one with the ten shoulders came there and was flung ten crore yojanas away, with a flick from the toe of his foot. 353 Below this 354 is talatala. The Indra among danavas, named Maya, the lord of Tripura, resides there. With a desire to bring welfare to the three worlds, the illustrious Isha, 355 the enemy of these cities, burnt them down. With his own city destroyed, he obtained this world through his grace. 356 He is the preceptor of all kinds of maya. Protected in his greatness by Mahadeva, he has no fear from the Sudarshana. Below this 357 is mahatala, inhabited by the serpents who are Kadru’s descendants. They have many hoods and are known as Krodhavashas. 358 They are gigantic in size and the foremost ones are Kuhaka, Takshaka, Kaliya, Sushena and others. They are constantly afraid of the lord of birds, who bears the great being. They find pleasure there, with their wives, offspring, well-wishers and relatives, often intoxicated. Below this 359 is rasatala. Daityas and danavas reside there. Their names are Panis, Nivatakavachas and Kaleyas. They inhabit a golden city. From the time of their births, these enemies of the gods are extremely energetic and extremely brave. Hari brings benefit to all the worlds. They dwell in that world and their strength and insolence is only contained through his energy. When Indra sent Sarama as a messenger, the words of that mantra caused them to be afraid of Indra. 360 Below this 361 is Patala, the world of the nagas. With Vasuki as the foremost, the leaders like Shankha, Kulika, Mahashankha, Shveta, Dhananjaya, Dhritarashtra, Shankhachuda, Kambala, Ashvatara, Devadatta and the others reside there. They are gigantic in size and extremely intolerant. They possess five, seven, ten, one hundred and one thousand hoods on their heads and the great jewels on these filled the world of Patala with radiance. With their own illumination, they disperse all the darkness.’Chapter 5(25)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘At the foundation of this, 362 and thirty thousand yojanas away, there is a portion of the illustrious one, full of tamasa. 363 He is known as Ananta by those who follow Satvata. Because he draws together the seer and the seen, “I” and the sense of pride, those who know the signs describe him as Samkarshana. 364 In the form of Ananta, with one thousand hoods, the illustrious one bears the globe of the earth on a single hood and it appears like a white mustard seed. At the right time, when he desires to destroy it, his extremely beautiful eyebrows are furrowed in intolerance and from between them appears Rudra, known as Samkarshana. He is three-eyed and arises in eleven different forms, each wielding a trident. The lords of the serpents and devotees of Satvata are single-minded in bhakti yoga. They bow down, their own faces glittering because of the radiance of the earrings that adorn them. Their cheeks are extremely beautiful. Delighted in their minds, they see his two lotus feet, with round and red nails that shine like gems. The daughters of the king of the nagas hope to obtain his blessings. The sphere of his beautiful body is radiant, spotless, long and fair, with beautiful arms that are like pillars made of silver, anointed with sandalwood and aloe paste and kunkuma. When they touch his body, their minds are agitated and the one with the makara on his banner enters their hearts. Those beautiful and delicate ones smile with the intoxication of love and glance bashfully at his face, which is like a lotus. His red eyes roll because of the inebriation and he casts merciful glances towards them. He is the illustrious Ananta, an ocean of qualities. He is the original divinity who has withdrawn his intolerance and the force of his rage, for the sake of the welfare of the worlds. The gods, the asuras, the serpents, the Siddhas, the gandharvas, the vidyadharas and large numbers of sages meditate on him. Because of the constant delight of intoxication, his eyes are restless and roll around. The amrita of his speech is excellent, causing delight to his own companions and the leaders of different groups of gods. He wears the vaijayanti necklace, whose shine does not fade, and a garland of fresh tulasi leaves. 365 The fragrance of his garland made out of wild flowers is enhanced by the smell of madhu and asava and is rendered more beautiful by the intoxicated bees that surround him and the sweet sounds of melodious singing. He is attired in blue garments and wears a single earring. His beautiful and auspicious hand is placed atop the plough. Just as the great Indra’s gigantic elephant wears a golden harness, engaged in his pastimes, he wears a golden girdle. It has been heard that, since the beginning of time, those who desire emancipation meditate on him, so that they can be freed from the bondage of karma, desire and the noose of ignorance that ties down the heart. He swiftly severs the sattva, rajas and tamas that is in the core of the heart. The illustrious Narada, born from Svayambhu, chanted his glories in Brahma’s assembly hall, accompanied by Tumburu, 366 and composed a shloka. “He is the cause behind creation, preservation and destruction. It is through his glances that sattva and the other gunas of Prakriti manifested themselves. His form is permanent and without an origin. He is alone the atman who has been manifested in many forms. How can we know him or understand his movements? Because of his great compassion, he assumed a form that was made out of pure sattva. The manifest and the unmanifest appeared from this. His unmatched exploits are like that of a king of animals. Pervasive in his valour, he engages in these for the sake of delighting the minds of his own devotees. Even if one accidentally hears his name or chants it, even in jest, a distressed person who has fallen down instantly destroys sins, even those of other men. If a person desires emancipation, what refuge other than the illustrious Shesha can he resort to? The globe of the earth, with its mountains, rivers, oceans and living beings is like an anu 367 on the head of the thousand-hooded one. The powerful one is infinite and unlimited in his valour. Even if one possesses one thousand tongues, how can one enumerate his powers? These are the powers of the illustrious Ananta. He is unparalleled in his valour. His qualities and traits are limitless. Completely independent, he is stationed at the foundation of the nether regions. Through his pastimes, he maintains and sustains this universe.” Depending on their deeds, those who are in the form of men and wish to satisfy their desires, go to these destinations. I have described them as I have been instructed. O king! These are the different destinations for men, superior and inferior, depending on their inclinations, attributes and proclivity towards dharma. As you asked, I have explained them to you. What else will I speak about?’Chapter 5(26)

The king asked, ‘O maharshi! Why are there so many different kinds of worlds?’

The rishi replied, ‘There are different combinations of the three gunas in the doer, differences in devotion and varied consequences of karma. Thus, all of these result for everyone. For example, there are prohibited acts characterized by adharma. However, because the doer’s faith varies, there may be differences in the consequences of karma. Right since the beginning, those who are ignorant have performed acts out of desire. As a consequence, there are thousands of different kinds of hell and they vary widely. I will describe them to you.’

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! Do the regions known as hell belong to a specific place, or are they beyond the three worlds? Are they somewhere in the intervening space?’

The rishi replied, ‘They are in the intervening space within the three worlds. However, they are in the southern direction, below the earth and just above the waters. The ancestors known as the Agnishvattas and the others also dwell in this direction. Engaged in supreme meditation, they hope for true benedictions for those born in their gotras. Indeed, the illustrious Vaivasvata is the king of the ancestors. He never transgresses the rules set by the illustrious one. His messengers make living beings reach his own dominion. With his companions, he executes the punishment, depending on the kind of karma they have undertaken and their sins. O king! It has been enumerated that there are twenty-one different kinds of hell. I will progressively describe their names, forms and attributes to you. They are Tamisra, Andha-tamisra, Rourava, Maha-rourava, Kumbhipaka, Kalasutra, Asipatra-vana, Sukara-mukha, Andha-kupa, Krimi-bhojana, Sandamsha, Tapta-surmi, Vajra-kantaka-shalmali, Vaitarani, Puyoda, Prana-rodha, Vishasana, Lala-bhoksha, Sarameya-adana, Avichi and Ayoh-pana. However, there also are 368 Kshara-kardama, Raksha-gana-bhojana, Shulaprota, Dandashuka, Avata-nirodhana, Paryavartana and Shuchi-mukha. These twenty-eight hells are regions where one suffers from many kinds of miseries.

‘If a person steals another person’s riches, children or wife, he is bound by the noose of destiny. Yama’s terrible messengers forcibly hurl him into the hell known as Tamisra. He does not get food or water. He is beaten with rods, scolded and terrible punishments are inflicted on him. Suffering from these miseries there, sometimes, the living entity loses consciousness in a place that is almost entirely dark. 369 In this way, if a person deceitfully enjoys another person’s wife or other possessions, he is forcibly hurled into Andha-tamisra. There, the living entity suffers misery and pain. He loses his sight and loses his intelligence. Because of this, he is like a tree whose roots have been severed. That is the reason this is known as Andha-tamisra. 370

‘A person may be full of “I” and “mine” and identify himself with his body. Seeking to only maintain and support himself and his family every day, he causes injury to beings. Because of this, when he gives up this world and his body, he falls into the inauspicious Rourava. In this world, there are creatures to whom he has caused injury. In the other world, when he faces hardships from Yama, they become rurus and cause him injury. 371 Rurus are creatures who are more vicious than snakes. It is because of this that the region is known as Rourava. In this way, if a person only nurtures his own body, he falls into Maha-rourava. The rurus eat flesh there and they kill him for the sake of his flesh.

‘For the sake of sustaining life in this world, a cruel-hearted and fierce person may cook birds and animals while they are still alive. Because of this condemned deed, in the next world, Yama’s followers cook him in boiling oil in Kumbhipaka. 372

‘In this world, if a person causes injury to the parents or to a brahmana, he goes to the hell known as Kalasutra. There is a plate made out of copper there and its dimensions are ten thousand yojanas. It is heated by the sun from above and by the fire from below. He enters that extremely hot place and suffers from hunger and thirst. The inside and outside of his body is scorched. Sometimes, he lies down. Sometimes, he moves. Sometimes, he remains stationary. And sometimes, he runs. He remains there for as many thousand years as there are body hair on an animal’s body. 373

‘In this world, even if there is no calamity, a person may deviate from the path of the Vedas and seek refuge with heretics. 374 When he reaches, he is made to enter Asipatra-vana. He is beaten there with whips. He runs around, here and there. However, on both sides, there are forests of palm trees, with leaves like swords. 375 All his limbs are sliced by these. “Alas! I have been killed.” Exclaiming in this way and suffering from great pain, he loses his consciousness and falls down at every step. Having destroyed his own dharma and having followed heretics, he suffers these fruits as a consequence.

‘In this world, a king, or a king’s servant, may inflict punishment on someone who should not be punished. Corporal punishment may be inflicted on a brahmana. In that world, such a wicked person falls into the hell known as Sukara-mukha. Like a piece of sugar cane is crushed in this world, extremely powerful hands crush his limbs there. He cries and laments in a piteous tone. Sometimes, overcome by hardship, he falls down, senseless, just as innocent people who have been imprisoned do in this world. 376

‘In this world, the means of subsistence of creatures have been ordained by the lord. Without understanding this and without understanding the pain caused to others, without understanding what the great being has ordained for a creature and without comprehending the pain his action causes to others, a person may still indulge in acts of causing pain. In the next world, because of this violence, he falls into Andha-kupa. 377 There, those creatures, domestic animals, wild animals, birds, reptiles, gnats, lice, worms, flies and others persecute him from all directions. Agitated and suffering in that darkness, he cannot find any peace or sleep. The being is whirled around, like a creature in a diseased body.

‘In this world, a person may eat something without sharing it with others. He may eat whatever he gets, without performing the five yajnas. 378 He is spoken of as being no better than a crow. In the next world, he falls into the worst of hells, known as Krimi-bhojana. There is a pit full of worms there, extending for one hundred thousand yojanas. He becomes a worm there and survives on other worms, himself eaten by other worms. 379 If a person eats without sharing it and offering it to others, he remains there until his sins have been atoned for, for as many years as there are yojanas in that pit.

‘In this world, without there being a calamity, a person may forcibly steal the gold or jewels of a brahmana, or of someone else. O king! In that other world, Yama’s servants, use red-hot iron balls or tongs to tear out that person’s skin. 380

‘In this world, a man may have intercourse with a woman he should not have intercourse with, or a woman may have intercourse with a man she should not have intercourse with. In that world, they are beaten with whips. The man, or the woman as the case may be, is made to embrace a red-hot iron image of a woman, or a man as the case may be. 381

‘In this world, a person may have intercourse with anyone. 382 In the next world, he is in the hell known as Vajra-kantaka-shalmali. He is impaled there and torn down. 383

‘In this world, there are those who are from royal lineage, or are the servants of kings. However, though born in lineages that are not heretical, they transgress the ordinances of dharma. After death, they are hurled into Vaitarani. 384 That river is like a moat around that hell and is populated by large numbers of ferocious aquatic creatures. Without losing his breath of life, a man who has transgressed the ordinances thus finds his body devoured by them. Because of his own sins and his wicked deeds, he is borne along this river, full of excrement, urine, blood, hair, nails, bones, marrow, flesh and fat. Suffering, he remembers his deeds.

‘In this world, there are the husbands of vrishala women. Their purity and conduct has been destroyed. They have abandoned rituals and shame. They follow the conduct of animals. After death, they fall down in an ocean that is full of pus, excrement, urine, mucus and dirt and eat nothing but these extremely terrible things. 385

‘In this world, brahmanas and others may maintain dogs and donkeys, using them to hunt for pleasure and hunting and killing for other than sanctioned purposes. After dying, they become targets for Yama’s servants, who pierce them with arrows. 386

‘In this world, there are insolent people. Because of insolence alone, they kill animals. In that world, they fall into the hell known as Vaishasa. 387 When they fall into that hell, they are made to suffer and are killed.

‘In this world, there may be a dvija. 388 Despite his wife belonging to the same varna, confounded by desire, he may make her drink his semen. Because of this wicked deed, in the next world, he is made to fall into a river of semen and forced to drink this semen. 389

‘In this world, there are bandits, arsonists and poisoners. Alternatively, kings and servants of kings plunder villages and caravans. After death, Yama’s messengers make them confront seven hundred and twenty hounds, which are ferocious and possess teeth that are like the vajra. They eat them up. 390

‘In this world, a person may bear false witness, or lie somehow, while transacting objects and donating. After death, such a person goes to the hell named Avichi. He is taken to the summit of a mountain that is one hundred yojanas in height and without any support, is hurled down, face downwards, towards a flat and rocky surface that seems to be made out of water. Since there are no waves, 391 his body is shattered into fragments that are as small as sesamum seeds. If he does not die, he is raised up and flung down again.

‘In this world, a brahmana, a king or a vaishya may drink soma, though he is not entitled to do so. Or being confused, may drink liquor while observing a vow, or make his wife drink it. Such people are conveyed to a hell. Their chests are crushed with feet. Iron molten by the fire are poured into their mouths. 392

‘In this world, a person may know himself to be inferior, because of birth, austerities, learning, conduct, varna or ashrama. However, because of his own nature, he may not show great respect to those who are superior. He is as good as dead. When he dies, he is conveyed to the hell known as Kshara-kardama. 393 With his head facing downwards, he is hurled down and faces many kinds of terrible hardships.

‘In this world, there are men who worship with human sacrifices. There are also women who eat the flesh of men thus sacrificed. These people are like animals. People who kill in this way are tormented in Yama’s abode. Those killers are sliced to bits by large numbers of rakshasas, who drink their blood and happily dance and sing, just like those cannibals did in this world. 394

‘In this world, in forests and in villages, there are those who approach and create trust in innocent people who wish to be protected. Thereafter, they play with them with spears, or tie them up with ropes, thus causing them pain. After death, such people are tormented by Yama and their bodies are transfixed with spears. 395 They are afflicted by hunger and thirst. They are tormented by birds like herons and vultures, possessing sharp beaks. In this state, they remember their own wicked deeds.

‘In this world, there are men who are naturally angry, causing pain to living creatures. They are like dandashukas. 396 After death, they fall into the hell named Dandashuka. There are five-heaed and seven-headed dandashukas there. They approach and devour them like mice.

‘In this world, there are people who confine creatures into blind holes, granaries and caves. When they enter the next world, they are confined in a similar way, suffering from fire and poisonous fumes. 397

‘In this world, the master of a household may often be angry if unexpected guests turn up, desiring to burn them down with his angry glances. He glances at them with wicked eyes. In hell, there are vultures, herons, crows and other birds that possess beaks like the vajra. With great force, they violently pluck out his wicked eyes. 398

‘In this world, a person may be proud because of his wealth, and insolent. His vision is crooked and he suspects everyone, thinking about his wealth being spent or destroyed. His heart and mouth dry up at the prospect. Not being able to find peace, he guards his wealth like an imp. After death, he becomes an imp, because earning, increase and protection of the wealth has led to an accumulation of sins. As an imp that seeks to seize wealth, he falls down into the hell known as Shuchi-mukha. 399 Like skilled tailors, Dharmaraja’s servants stitch all the limbs on his body with thread.

‘O lord of the earth! In this way, there are hundreds and thousands of hells in Yama’s abode. All of them are for all those who follow the path of adharma. Some have been described and some have not been mentioned. Depending on the degree, all such people progressively enter there. After this world, those who follow dharma are again born in this world, when their good and bad deeds are exhausted. The attributes of the path of nivritti have been described towards the beginning. 400 These are the dimensions of the cosmic egg. The Puranas have thought of them as being divided into fourteen worlds. They have been described as the gross form of the great being himself, the illustrious Narayana. This form results from his own maya and gunas and has been narrated. If a person faithfully reads, hears, explains it to other people, or chants about the illustrious one, his intelligence becomes purified. Devotion and faith develop in him. He comprehends the paramatman, who is so very difficult to grasp. After having heard about the gross and subtle forms of the illustrious one, a person who has controlled himself must concentrate on the gross form. When he has control over his atman, his intelligence will gradually convey him towards the subtle form. O king! I have thus described the earth, dvipas, varshas, rivers, mountains, the sky, oceans, nether regions, directions, hells, stellar and other regions to you. The gross form of the lord is extraordinary. He is the refuge for all the living creatures.’

This ends the Fifth Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Sixth Skandha

Chapter 6(1): 68 shlokas

Chapter 6(2): 49 shlokas

Chapter 6(3): 35 shlokas

Chapter 6(4): 54 shlokas

Chapter 6(5): 44 shlokas

Chapter 6(6): 44 shlokas

Chapter 6(7): 40 shlokas

Chapter 6(8): 41 shlokas

Chapter 6(9): 55 shlokas

Chapter 6(10): 32 shlokas

Chapter 6(11): 27 shlokas

Chapter 6(12): 36 shlokas

Chapter 6(13): 23 shlokas

Chapter 6(14): 61 shlokas

Chapter 6(15): 29 shlokas

Chapter 6(16): 65 shlokas

Chapter 6(17): 41 shlokas

Chapter 6(18): 78 shlokas

Chapter 6(19): 33 shlokasChapter 6(1)

Parikshit said, ‘O illustrious one! Towards the beginning, 401 you have spoken about the path of nivritti. Through yoga, the brahman is gradually realized and samsara ceases. O sage! The characteristic of pravritti 402 is objectives that result from the three gunas. Therefore, one continues to be associated with the gunas of Prakriti and is born again and again. Many hells, characterized by adharma, have also been described. The first manvantara, of Svayambhuva, has also been described. You have described the lineages of Priyavrata and Uttanapada and their conduct, dvipas, varshas, oceans, mountains, rivers, gardens, trees, the location of the earth’s globe and its divisions, attributes and measurements, the stellar regions and the nether regions, exactly as they were created by the lord. O immensely fortunate one! In hells, men face many terrible hardships. Now explain to me how they can avoid this.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘When one commits a sin, in this world itself, a person must atone for it with thoughts, words and deeds. Otherwise, it is certain that after death, he will go to hell. I have already described to you the hardships one faces there. Therefore, before that happens, one must try to free oneself from those sins, before one is incapacitated by old age or death. This is just like a skilled physician diagnoses the gravity or lightness of a disease and identifies the medication.’

The king said, ‘On the basis of what he has seen or heard, a person knows what is bad for himself. Nevertheless, he helplessly commits sin. How can there be atonement 403 if he keeps committing it? Sometimes, he refrains from sin. But sometimes, he commits it again. Therefore, like the washing of an elephant, 404 I think that atonement serves no purpose.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘For a person who is ignorant, no act of atonement can completely counter something that has been done. That right of atonement is only for a person who possesses true knowledge. If a person eats wholesome food, a disease can be countered. O king! Similarly, by following the disciplines, one gradually becomes eligible for well-being. A fire destroys a clump of bamboos. Like that, austerities, brahmacharya, control of the mind, control of the senses, renunciation, truthfulness, purity, yama and niyama 405—faithfully observed by patient people who know about dharma, can destroy the greatest of sins committed by thought, words or action. Some are only full of devotion and seek refuge with Vasudeva. All their sins are certainly destroyed, just as the sun dispels the mist. O king! A sinner is not purified by austerities and other things as much as a person who has surrendered his life to Krishna, serving his devotees. In this world, that is the best and appropriate path, bringing freedom from fear. Well-behaved and virtuous people are found on that path, devoted to Narayana. O Indra among kings! Prayashchitta can be performed by a person who has withdrawn from Narayana. But he cannot be purified, any more than rivers can clean a pitcher that has been filled with liquor. Even if a person has surrendered himself to Krishna’s lotus feet even once in this world, becoming attached to his qualities, he has certainly performed all acts of atonement. Even in his dream, he does not see Yama, or his servants, with nooses in their hands.

‘In this connection, an ancient account is cited, about a conversation between the messengers of Vishnu and Yama. Listen to me. In Kanyakubja, there was a brahmana named Ajamila. He was the husband of a servant-maid. Because of the taint of being associated with a servant-maid, he deviated from his good conduct. He captured people for ransom, gambled, cheated, stole and resorted to other condemned means of conduct. He troubled other creatures. Through such impure means, he maintained his family. O king! He lived in this way, nurturing his sons. A long period of time passed and he was eighty-eight years old. This aged person had ten sons. The youngest child had the name of Narayana and his parents loved him a lot. Because this young child spoke in a lisping voice, the old man’s heart was attached to him. He looked at his child’s pastimes and was extremely happy. When he ate, he made the child eat. When he drank, he made the child drink. He was tied to the child in bonds of affection and the foolish person did not realize that the time of his death had arrived. The ignorant person continued in this way. When the time of his death arrived, he thought of the child, known as Narayana. He saw three extremely terrible men, with nooses in their hands. Their faces were twisted and their body hair stood up. They had come to take his atman away. Far away, he saw his child, known by the name of Narayana, playing. His senses were agitated and overwhelmed. He called out to him in a loud voice. Hari’s name was chanted through the mouth of a dying person. O great king! On hearing the name of their master, his attendants suddenly arrived. Ajamila was the husband of a servant-maid and Yama’s messengers were about to take him 406 away from inside the heart. However, Vishnu’s messengers energetically stopped them. When Vaivasvata’s attendants were restrained, they asked, “Who are you, opposing us in this way? These are the orders of Dharmaraja. Whose servants are you? Where have you come from? Why are you restraining us? Are you gods or minor divinities? Are you prominent Siddhas? All of you have eyes that are like the petals of lotuses. You are attired in yellow silken garments. You wear diadems and earrings. Your garlands of lotus flowers are dazzling. All of you are young in age. All of you are beautiful and four-armed. You possess beautiful bows, quivers, swords, clubs, conch shells, chakras and lotuses. Through your own radiance, you have illuminated all the directions and destroyed the darkness. What is the reason behind your restraining the servants of the one who protects dharma?” Those who followed Vasudeva’s commands were thus addressed by Yama’s messengers.

‘They laughed and replied in voices that rumbled like the thunder of clouds. Vishnu’s messengers said, “If you indeed follow the commands of Dharmaraja, tell us the truth about dharma and the characteristics of adharma. How is punishment imposed? How does one obtain the desired objective? What deeds lead to men being punished? Are all deeds punished, or some of them?” Yama’s messengers replied, “Dharma is what has been stated in the Vedas and adharma is anything that is contrary. We have heard that the Vedas manifested themselves from Narayana himself. He remains in his own abode. He is the one who has thought of these exact manifestations of sattva, rajas, tamas, gunas, names, actions and forms. Surya, Agni, the sky, the wind god, minor divinities, Soma, sandhya, day and night, the directions, water, land, Dharma himself—all of them witness what embodied beings do. Through these witnesses, adharma committed is known and the place for imposition of punishment determined. After considering all the deeds that have been committed, the appropriate punishment is imposed on the doer. O unblemished ones! In the case of auspicious acts, the determination is the opposite. The doer is attached to the gunas. No one with a body can avoid performing karma. Depending on the dharma or adharma that has been performed in this world, in the next world, one enjoys the respective fruits. O best among divinities! Depending on the combination of the gunas, creatures perform three kinds of acts in this world. It can be inferred that this happens in subsequent worlds too. 407 This present period indicates the attributes of the ones that will precede and follow it. 408 In this way, the combination of dharma and adharma in the present birth indicates that in past and future existences. In his mind, the illustrious Aja 409 can visualize the future. Like that, the god resides in his city and through his mental powers, can visualize the past and future states. 410 A person submerged in darkness is ignorant and acts according to what is manifest. 411 He does not know about his past and future lives. When he is born, that memory is destroyed. He acts with the five organs of action and the five senses. He only knows the five objects of the senses. In addition, there is the sixteenth. 412 And there is the seventeenth, which is he himself. 413 With these, he experiences three kinds of states. 414 This linga sharira consists of sixteen parts and the three great potencies. 415 Based on these, a man is bound to samsara and undergoes joy, misery and fear. The embodied being is ignorant and has not been able to conquer the six categories. 416 Therefore, though he does not desire it, he undertakes acts. He is like a silkworm that envelopes itself inside a cocoon. Bewildered, he undertakes these acts. No one can remain alive for even an instant without performing acts. 417 The natural force of the gunas 418 incapacitate him and make him undertake these acts. It is the unmanifest 419 which is the cause and from that, one obtains the unmanifest and the manifest. 420 This is like the womb and like the seed, but it is nature which is the strongest. 421 This hardship faced by Purusha is because of association with Prakriti. However, if there is an association with the lord, this is dissipated within a short period of time. This one 422 was full of learning. He was a store of good conduct and qualities. He was firm in his vows, mild, self-controlled, truthful in speech and pure. He knew about the mantras. He was without ahamkara and served seniors, guests and the aged. He was fraternal towards all creatures. He was virtuous, restrained in speech and without jealousy. One day, acting according to the instructions of his father, this brahmana went to the forest. He collected fruits, flowers, kindling and kusha grass and returned. At that time, he saw a lascivious shudra, along with a harlot. 423 They had drunk madhu and maireya 424 and because of the intoxication, their eyes rolled. She was shameless and her garment, loosened at the waist, had fallen down. They were sporting, singing and laughing, nearby. He saw her in this embrace of desire, her arms smeared with unguents. Suddenly infatuated, he succumbed and lost his heart. As he had heard and learnt, he tried to control himself. However, his mind was agitated by Madana and he was unable to restrain himself. The desire for her was like a demon and made him lose his senses. Thinking about her in his mind, he stopped following his own dharma. Whatever riches he had obtained from his father were expended on satisfying her carnal desires and on pleasing her in every way possible. The brahmana had married into a great lineage and his own wife was still young. However, the wicked one soon abandoned her, having been pierced by the glances of the svairini. 425 Thus, this condemned person did what he willed, transgressing the sacred texts. A long period of time elapsed and his life was spent on the impure and the unclean. Since he has sinned, we will convey him to the one who holds the rod in his hand. Since he has not atoned, he has to be purified through punishment.”’Chapter 6(2)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! The illustrious one’s messengers heard what Yama’s messengers told them. However, they were accomplished in debating and replied.

‘Vishnu’s messengers said, “Alas! This is a great pity. In this assembly, those who should know about dharma have been touched by adharma. That is the reason punishment is being imposed on the innocent. The punishment that is being levied is in vain. The protectors of subjects should be virtuous people who are impartial. Only then can they instruct about law. If there is partiality in them, where will subjects seek refuge? The acts of a superior person are emulated by those who are inferior. 426 Whatever they do becomes a yardstick and people follow that. A person places his head on his 427 lap and sleeps in peace. Like an animal, he himself does not know about dharma and adharma. Having trusted the friendship, he is unaware and completely surrenders himself. Since he is compassionate, he deserves to be trusted by all beings. Therefore, he should not cause pain. This one has atoned for sins that have been committed in one crore births. When he was helpless, for the sake of his benediction, he chanted Hari’s name. Because of this, this sinner has certainly completely atoned for all his sins. He has uttered the four aksharas 428 of ‘Narayana’. 429 When Vishnu’s name is uttered, his 430 attention is drawn towards the speaker. A thief, a drunkard, a person who betrays his friend, the killer of a brahmana, a person who has intercourse with his preceptor’s wife, a person who kills a woman, a king, a father or a cow and all other kinds of sinners—perform excellent atonement for all their sins in this way. Those who know about the Vedas have spoken about many kinds of purification for sins, vows and other things. However, the atonement that comes through chanting Hari’s name, which reminds one of Uttamashloka’s qualities, is superior. After performing an act of atonement, if the mind again rushes along a wicked path, then it has been incomplete. For those who desire to eliminate all acts, 431 the constant chanting of Hari’s qualities is the only way, since it cleanses the mind. When he was about to die, he uttered the illustrious one’s name completely. He has already cleansed himself of all his sins. Therefore, do not take him away. The knowledgeable say that if Vaikuntha’s name is chanted, even if it is to address someone else, in jest, in the process of reciting something or negligently, it destroys sins. Thus, if a man accidentally chants Hari’s name while he is falling down, while he stumbles, when he is maimed, scorched, bitten or injured, he does not deserve hardships. Maharshis who know have prescribed heavy and light prayashchitta for heavy and light sins. Those sins are purified through austerities, donations, vows and other things. But these do not destroy the adharma in the heart. That only comes about by serving at his feet. Whether Uttamashloka’s name is chanted consciously or inadvertently, a man’s sins are burnt down, the way a fire burns down kindling. A powerful medicine, even if it is inadvertently imbibed, reveals its potency. This is true of the chanting of a mantra too.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! They thus truly explained the nature of dharma towards the illustrious one. They freed the brahmana from Yama’s noose and saved him from death. O destroyer of enemies! When Yama’s messengers had thus been repulsed, they went to Yama’s presence and told Yamaraja everything that had happened. When he had been freed from the noose, the brahmana lost his fear and regained his old nature. Delighted at the sight of Vishnu’s servants, he bowed his head down and worshipped them. The servants of the great being saw that he wished to speak. O unblemished one! Therefore, while he looked on, they instantly vanished from the spot. Ajamila had heard the conversation between the messengers of Yama and Krishna, about the pure nature of dharma in the three Vedas, based on the illustrious one, the store of qualities. Having heard about Hari’s greatness, he instantly became devoted to the illustrious one. Remembering the wicked deeds he had committed, he felt great repentance. “Alas! I could not conquer myself and suffered this great hardship. By having sons through a vrishala lady, I have destroyed my status as a brahmana. Shame on me. I will be condemned by virtuous people. I have committed evil deeds. I am a taint on my family. Abandoning my young and chaste wife, I went to a wicked woman who was a drunkard. My parents were old and without a protector. They were without relatives and ascetics. Alas! Like an ungrateful and inferior person, I have deserted them. It is evident that I will fall down into an extremely terrible hell. There, lascivious people who destroy dharma suffer hardships from Yama. I witnessed a great wonder. Was it a dream or was it real? With nooses in their hands, there were those who sought to drag me away. Where have they gone now? There were four handsome ones who released me when I was bound with nooses and was being taken down to the nether regions. Where have they gone? Despite my misfortune, those learned ones must have seen something auspicious in me. Why else have they shown me their favours? I was the impure husband of a vrishala lady and was about to die. Why else did I deserve to chant Vaikuntha’s name through my tongue? I was a gambler, wicked, shameless and the slayer of brahmanas. How could I have uttered the illustrious Narayana’s auspicious name? I will now endeavour to control my mind, senses and the breath of life, so that I no longer submerge myself into blinding darkness. I will free myself from all the bonds of ignorance and desire and desire for acts. I will be a well-wisher towards all beings, friendly, compassionate and in control of my atman. I will free myself from the demon in the form of a woman, which was nothing but the illustrious one’s maya. I was evil and it played with me, like with a domesticated deer. I will give up physical notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and the false pursuit of material objects. Hearing and chanting about the illustrious one, I will use my intelligence to focus my mind on him.” In this way, through a brief association with virtuous people, he lost all sense of attachment. He freed himself from all bonds and went to Gangadvara. 432 In that abode of the divinity, he seated himself in yoga. He withdrew all the aggregate of the senses and immersed his mind in the atman. Having detached himself from the gunas, he immersed himself in meditation. He submerged his atman in the refuge that is the illustrious one, who is thought of as the brahman. When his intelligence was thus fixed, before him, he saw the beings whom he had seen earlier. The brahmana recognized them as the ones he had met earlier. He bowed his head down and worshipped them. Once he had seen them, he gave up his body in that tirtha on the Ganga. He immediately assumed a form that was appropriate for someone who was the illustrious one’s attendant. Along with the servants of the great being, the brahmana ascended a golden vimana and travelled to the spot where Shri’s consort was. He had given up all kinds of dharma. He had become the husband of a servant-maid. He had fallen down and been engaged in reprehensible deeds. With his vows destroyed, he was going to be hurled into hell. However, having chanted the illustrious one’s name, he was instantly liberated. For those desiring liberation, there is no better way to sever the bondage of deeds, than chanting about the one whose feet are a tirtha. Thereby, the mind does not get attached to deeds again. There is no contamination through rajas, tamas, or anything else. This is an extremely secret ancient account that destroys sins, for all those who listen to it with faith, or chant it with devotion. Such a person does not go to hell and Yama’s servants do not look at him. However inauspicious he may have been in the mortal world, he obtains greatness in Vishnu’s world. While he was dying, addressing his son, Ajamila chanted Hari’s name and went to that abode, not to speak of those who chant it with devotion.’Chapter 6(3)

The king asked, ‘The god Dharmaraja heard what his own servants described. Everyone is under his subjugation. What did he say to them in reply? His commands were defied by Murari’s servants. O rishi! The violation of the god Yama’s punishment has never been heard of earlier. How can this happen? O sage! This will remain a doubt among people. It is my firm view that no one other than you can clear this up.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘O king! The efforts of Yama’s servants were countered by those of the illustrious one. They went and informed Yama, the lord of Samyamini.

‘Yama’s messengers said, “O lord! In the world of the living, how many controllers are there, who apportion out fruits, depending on the threefold 433 nature of deeds? In the world, if there are many controllers who exert the rod, who is the one who will determine death and who is the one who will determine immortality? There are indeed many people who perform deeds. However, if there are many controllers, that will be like a circle of controllers engaged in acting. 434 Therefore, you alone are the lord of creatures and the lord over everyone. You are the controller, the one who exercises the rod of punishment. You are the one who decides on good and bad deeds committed by men. However, the punishment ordained by you is no longer being observed in the world now. It has been countered by four extraordinary masters of siddhi. Following your command, we were conveying a sinner to a chamber meant for hardships. But they forcibly severed the nooses and freed him. If you think we are worthy, we wish to know about this. When ‘Narayana’ was uttered, they quickly arrived, exclaiming, ‘Do not be afraid.’”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Yama, the god who controls subjects, was thus asked by his own messengers and was delighted. He remembered Hari’s lotus feet and replied.

‘Yama said, “The lord of mobile and immobile objects is different from me. Like the warp and woof of a piece of cloth, the universe is woven into him. 435 Creation, preservation and destruction takes place from his portions. As if with a rope through the noose, the worlds are under his control. The people who are addressed by different names have emanated from him. They are bound to him with cords, like bulls with ropes. They are bound and scared. With different names and deeds, they bear the burden and offer sacrifices to him. I, the great Indra, Nirriti, Prachetas, 436 Soma, Agni, Isha, Pavana, Virinchi, the Adityas, the Vishvadevas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the large number of Maruts, the large number of Rudras, the Siddhas, all the other creators of the universe, 437 the lords of the immortals and Bhrigu and the others who are not touched by rajas and tamas—are touched by his maya and do not understand his activities. Nor do those who are full of sattva. What can one say of others? Those who possess the breath of life cannot comprehend him through the senses, the mind, the breath of life, the heart or words, though he is the atman who exists in their atmans, in the inner recesses of the heart. This is like the forms of the body not being able to see the eye, which is beyond them. Hari is the lord who controls himself. The great-souled one is supreme and is the lord of maya. With agreeable forms, qualities and natures, like him, his messengers generally wander around. These creatures of Vishnu are worshipped by the gods. They are extremely wonderful and their manifestations can rarely be seen. They protect mortal devotees of the illustrious one from others, from me and from everyone else. Dharma has been enunciated by the illustrious one himself and is not known by the rishis, the gods, the best among the Siddhas, asuras and men, not to speak of vidyadharas and charanas. O servants! Svayambhu, Narada, Shambhu, Kumara, 438 Kapila, Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhishma, Bali, Vyasa’s son 439 and I—the twelve of us know about the illustrious one’s dharma. It is pure and mysterious, difficult to comprehend. A person who knows it, obtains immortality. In this world, there exists a supreme dharma for men. Beginning with chanting, it consists of bhakti yoga towards the illustrious one. O sons! Behold the greatness that results from chanting Hari’s name. Even someone like Ajamila has been freed from the noose of death. This is sufficient for destroying all the sins of men—chanting the illustrious one’s qualities, deeds and names. While he was dying, the sinner Ajamila addressed his son by the name ‘Narayana’ and achieved liberation. Even great beings do not generally know this. The divinity is the abode of maya and their intelligence is confounded because of this. Their intelligence has been numbed by the sweet and flowery pronouncements of the three. 440 Therefore, they engage themselves in the great rites mentioned in the sacred texts. Indeed, having considered this, those with excellent intelligence resort to devoted yoga towards the illustrious Ananta, with all their souls. Therefore, such people do not deserve to be punished. Even if they sin, those are destroyed through such chanting. Those who chant his sacred account are divinities and Siddhas. Having sought refuge with the illustrious one, those virtuous ones are impartial in their outlook. They are protected by Hari’s club and one should not approach them. We and our rod of punishment have no influence over them. Bring before me wicked ones who have turned away from Mukunda and from the sweet fragrance of his lotus feet. This is incessantly tasted by paramahamsas who are attached to nothing else. Bind and bring those who are thirsty for household objects and follow a path that leads to hell. Bring before me those whose tongues do not chant the illustrious one’s qualities and names and those whose minds do not remember his lotus feet, those who never bow their heads down before Krishna and those wicked ones who do not render service to Vishnu. May the illustrious and ancient being, Narayana, pardon me for the offence that I and my servants have caused. My servants did not know. We join our hands in salutation. We bow down before the great being and lord and beg forgiveness.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘The chanting of Vishnu’s name is therefore beneficial for the world. O Kouravya! Know that it is the ultimate atonement and destroys the greatest of sins. If one repeatedly hears and chants about Hari’s valour, great devotion results and the mind is purified, much more than through vows and other things. A person who has tasted the honey of Krishna’s lotus feet renounces the qualities of maya and no longer finds delight in other objects that lead to hardships. It is others who are struck by desire and, because they are tainted by this dirt, seek to cleanse it through beneficial rites. However, the dirt touches them again. This glory of the illustrious one was explained to Yama’s servants by their own master. Remembering this, their minds were astounded. O king! They are scared of a person who seeks refuge with Achyuta. Therefore, since that day, they are terrified of even looking at such people. The illustrious one who was born from a pot 441 recited this secret history to me, while he was seated on Malaya, worshipping Hari.’Chapter 6(4)

The king said, ‘You have briefly described the gods, asuras, men, nagas, animals and birds created during Svayambhuva manvantara. O illustrious one! I wish to know about this in detail, about the subsequent creations that the supreme and illustrious one brought about and about their powers.’

Suta 442 said, ‘Badarayana’s son heard this excellent question asked by the royal sage. Welcoming this, the great yogi, supreme among sages, replied.’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The ten Prachetas were the sons of Prachinabarhi. Emerging from inside the ocean, they saw that the earth was covered with trees. Kindled by their austerities, their anger and intolerance at the trees flared up. Desiring to burn those down, they created wind and fire from their mouths. O extender of the Kuru lineage! On seeing that these were being burnt down, the great king, Soma, tried to pacify their anger. “O immensely fortunate ones! You should not burn down these miserable trees. You are known as the protectors of subjects and should ensure their increase. The illustrious Hari, without decay, is the lord of Prajapatis. The lord created trees and herbs as food. Immobile objects are food for those that move, those without feet are food for those who possess feet. Those without hands are food for those without hands, those with four feet are food for bipeds. O unblemished ones! Your father, and the god of the gods, instructed you to create subjects. How can you burn down the trees? Resort to the path of the virtuous and control the rage that has been ignited. This was the path followed by your father, grandfather and great grandfather. Parents are friends for children, the eyelashes for the eyes, the husband for a woman, the king for subjects, householders for mendicants and the learned are well-wishers for the ignorant. The lord Hari, the atman, dwells inside the bodies of beings. Everything is his abode. If you consider this, he will be satisfied. If a person desires to know about the atman, he should control the sudden eruption of powerful rage within the space in the heart. He will then be able to transcend the gunas. Enough of this burning down of the miserable trees. Let the remaining ones be safe. There is this excellent maiden 443 who has been reared by the trees. Accept her as your wife.” O king! This extremely beautiful maiden was the daughter of an apsara. King Soma bestowed her on them and returned. Following dharma, they married her.

‘Daksha, the son of the Prachetas, was born through her. The three worlds are populated with the offspring that he created. Daksha was devoted to his daughters. Listen attentively to how he created creatures through his semen and through his mind. In the beginning, this Prajapati created subjects through his mind—gods, asuras, men and others who reside in the sky, on earth and in water. Prajapati saw that this creation of subjects was not increasing. He went to the foothills of the Vindhyas and performed extremely difficult austerities. There was a supreme tirtha named Aghamarshana there and it destroyed sins. He bathed thrice a day and satisfied Hari with his austerities. He satisfied the illustrious Adhokshaja with hamsa-guhya. 444 I will now explain to you how Hari was satisfied.

‘Prajapati said, “I bow down before the supreme one whose powers are real. He is the controller of living beings, manifested in the three gunas. His abode cannot be perceived by those whose intelligence seeks truth in the gunas. I worship the self-created one who is beyond everything. He is the friend of a being, but the being does not know this friend, just as an object of the senses doesn’t perceive the sense organ. With the being, this friend resides in the same city. 445 He is a witness to everything that is manifest. I bow down before that great lord. This body, the breath of life, the senses, the mind, the elements and the tanmatras 446 do not know themselves, or anything that exists beyond them. All living beings only know about the gunas, but do not know the omniscient and infinite one. I worship him. When there is a cessation of the mind and names and forms no longer exist because the senses and memory are destroyed, his transcendental form is alone perceived. I bow down to the pure one. His abode is the pure heart. Learned ones perceive him located in the inner cores of their hearts, even though, enveloped by the three gunas and his nine powers. 447 Just as the fire latent in wood is drawn out, learned people draw out the fifteenth. 448 His maya is infinite and varied and comes in the way of realizing emancipation and experiencing bliss. All the names are his and the universe is his form. I do not possess the capacity to describe this. Let him show me his favours. Anything spoken in words, anything determined by the intelligence, the senses or the mind is not the way he is. That is not his true form. He is the cause of gunas and forms. He is behind the creation, appearance and destruction of the gunas. Everything rests in him. Everything results from him. Everything belongs to him. Everything is rendered to him. Everything executed is for him. Every action is done by him. He is the supreme cause behind cause and effect. He is the original and famous one. He is the brahman. He alone, and no one else, is the cause behind everything. Those who speak talk about his potencies and indulge in disputes and agreements. They repeatedly delude themselves. I bow down before the lord who is infinite in his qualities. He exists. He does not exist. He is the single one. Professing faith in what they know, people follow different and contrary kinds of dharma. Some perceive him through samkhya, or yoga. He is the identical being, supreme and great. May he be favourable towards me. May he show favours towards those who worship at his feet. The illustrious one is infinite and is beyond names and forms. He manifests himself through names, forms, births and deeds. May he be supremely favourable towards me. There are ordinary people who follow different paths of knowledge. According to their wishes, he manifests himself in different embodied forms. This is like the wind bearing the qualities of the earth. 449 Let the lord fulfil my desires.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘O best among the Kuru lineage! The illustrious one was thus praised. Devoted to his devotees and praised, he manifested himself in Aghamarshana. His feet were astride Suparna and his eight and mighty arms wielded a chakra, a conch shell, a sword, a shield, arrows, a bow, a noose and a club. He was attired in yellow garments and his complexion was as dark as a cloud. His face and glance were pleasant. A garland of wild flowers hung down from his body and the shrivatsa mark and Koustubha were radiant. He was adorned with an expensive diadem and bracelets and his radiant earrings were shaped like makaras. He was adorned with a girdle, finger rings, bracelets, anklets and armlets. On seeing this great and wonderful form, Prajapati was initially scared. However, delighted in his mind, he prostrated himself on the ground, like a rod. Because of his great joy, he was unable to say anything. It was as if a waterfall had flooded the lakes in his mind and senses. Prajapati, the devotee, was prostrate, desiring subjects. Janardana, who knows what is in the hearts of all creatures, spoke to him.

‘The illustrious one said, “O Prachetas! O immensely fortunate one! Your austerities have been successful. Because of your great devotion and attachment towards me, you have obtained supreme success. O lord of subjects! I am pleased with you. You have performed austerities for the growth of the world. I also desire that there should be an increase in the number and prosperity of beings. Brahma, Bhava, all of you, 450 the Manus and the lords among the gods have the prosperity of creatures in mind and are indeed my manifestations. O brahmana! Austerities represent my heart, and knowledge about specific rites represents my body and form. Completed sacrifices represent my limbs. Dharma represents my atman, and the gods are my breath of life. I alone existed at the beginning. 451 There was nothing else, inside or outside. I was unmanifest consciousness, and the entire universe was asleep. I am infinite in qualities. I am infinite in qualities and an accumulation of qualities. It is from me that Svayambhu Aja was generated in the beginning. His potency increased because of my energy. Though he exerted himself in tasks of creation, he felt himself to be inadequate. Instructed by me, that god tormented himself through terrible austerities. After this, in the beginning, the lord, the creator of the universe, created the nine of you. O dear one! Prajapati Panchajana’s daughter is named Asikni. O lord of subjects! Accept her as your wife. Follow the dharma of intercourse and again embark upon the creation of subjects. She will also follow the dharma of intercourse and you will be able to create large numbers. From you, because of my maya, all subjects will henceforth be created through intercourse. They will offer sacrifices to me.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘While he looked on, the illustrious creator of the universe said this. After this, like something seen in a dream, Hari instantly vanished from that spot.’Chapter 6(5)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Imbibed with Vishnu’s maya, through Panchajana’s daughter, the lord had ten thousand sons known as the Haryashvas. O king! All those sons of Daksha were identical in good conduct and in the pursuit of dharma. Commanded by their father to create subjects, they headed for the western direction. They went to the tirtha known as Narayana-saras, at a place where the Sindhu meets the ocean. A large number of sages and Siddhas frequented the spot. From merely touching those waters, all their stores of impurities were cleansed. Their intelligence was imbibed with the dharma followed by paramahamsas. Controlled by their father’s instruction to increase subjects, they performed fierce austerities. The devarshi 452 saw them. He told them, “O Haryashvas! How can you possibly create subjects? Although you are protectors, you have not seen the ends of the earth and are foolish. There is a kingdom with a single man. There is a hole whose exit cannot be seen. There is a woman who assumes many kinds of forms. There is a man who is the husband of a harlot. There is a river that flows in both directions. There is an extraordinary house that is made out of twenty-five materials. There is a swan with a wonderful tale. There is a disc made out of razors and it revolves on its own. Your learned father has commanded you, but you are ignorant. Without understanding what is appropriate for you, how can you possibly create?” Hearing these words, the intelligence of the Haryashvas was awakened. The words of the devarshi were mysterious and using their natural intelligence, they examined them. The earth is the field and is known as jiva. But it is actually without a beginning and binds itself down in this way. Without having witnessed its emancipation, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? 453 The single being is the lord. The illustrious one is supreme and his own refuge. He is the fourth. 454 If that being without an origin has not been seen, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? If a man goes to heaven, this is like a hole from which one returns to this world. 455 Without realizing the transcendental abode, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? A being’s intelligence has many different kinds of forms and possesses the gunas of a wanton woman. In this world, without that attachment ending, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? By being attached to her, who is like a wicked wife, one loses all one’s powers and roams around in samsara. If a person does not comprehend the progress of this folly, why should he indulge in acts that are transient? Maya leads to creation and destruction and powerful in its force, flows along the banks towards the end. Maddened by it, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? Purusha is the wonderful mirror, consisting of twenty-five tattvas. 456 Without understanding about adhyatma, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? The sacred texts instruct about the lord, who enables one to give up bondage and obtain emancipation. Neglecting this and without being able to discriminate between the real and the unreal, why should one indulge in acts that are transient? 457 The fierce wheel of time revolves independently and attracts everything in the universe. Without understanding this, how can one indulge in acts that are transient? How can a person not understand the father’s instructions, which are in conformity with the sacred texts? How can one not follow them, becoming entangled in this act, 458 which is immersed in the three gunas? O king! Unanimously, the Haryashvas determined this. After circumambulating him, they left along the path from which there is no return. The sage continued to roam around the worlds, fixing his undivided mind on Hrishikesha’s lotus feet and chanting the tune of the brahman.

‘Daksha’s excellent sons were good in conduct and were destroyed because they listened to Narada. On hearing this, he was tormented. Even excellent sons can lead to grief. Having been comforted by Aja, 459 Daksha again had one thousand sons through Panchajana’s daughter and they were known as the Sabalashvas. Firm in their vows, they were instructed by their father to create subjects. They went to Narayana-saras, where their elder brothers had become Siddhas. As soon as they touched those waters, they were cleansed of their store of impurities. There, they chanted the name of the supreme brahman and tormented themselves through great austerities. For some months, they only drank water. For some months, they only subsisted on air. Using this mantra, they worshipped the lord of mantras. “Oum! We bow down to Narayana, the great atman and being. He is pure sattva and consciousness. We meditate on the great and pure one.” O Indra among kings! Their minds were also on creating subjects and the sage Narada approached them. As before, he addressed them in those mysterious words. “O sons of Daksha! Listen to my words of instruction. You are devoted to your brothers. Therefore, you must search out the footprints of your brothers. A brother who knows about dharma must generally follow his brother. A man who has pious relatives finds delight with the Maruts.” The sighting of Narada does not fail. Having spoken to them in this way, he departed. O noble one! They too followed the path traversed by their brothers. They travelled along the virtuous and superior path towards the supreme. Like a night that has headed west, 460 they have still not returned. At this time, Prajapati saw many evil portents. As was the case earlier, he heard that Narada had caused the destruction of his sons. Senseless with grief on account of his sons, he became angry with Narada. He approached the devarshi and his lips quivered in rage. Daksha said, “You are wicked, though you are in the garb of the virtuous. To us, you bear the signs of someone who is virtuous. However, you have committed an evil act towards my sons. You have shown them the path of a mendicant. They have not considered karma and have not repaid the three debts. 461 O wicked one! You have deprived them of benefit, both in this world and in the next. Your mind is fixed on being merciless towards children. You shamelessly roam around in assemblies, destroying his 462 fame. Those who are devoted to the illustrious one are always eager to show favours towards creatures. You are the sole exception. You destroy friendship and create enmity among those who are not enemies. Detachment among men cannot be brought about in this way. Your knowledge is false. You think that renunciation can be brought about by severing the bonds of affection. If a man does not himself experience the sharp pain that material objects bring, he does not develop non-attachment, not by learning from the intelligence of others. We are virtuous people who wish to follow the karma meant for householders. However, you have caused us an irreparable damage and it cannot be tolerated. You have severed my bonds and you have acted in that inauspicious way again. 463 O foolish one! Therefore, you will roam around the worlds and not find a place to rest.” Narada, revered by the virtuous, accepted this and agreed. He is spoken of as a virtuous person. Though he possessed the powers himself, 464 he tolerated it.’Chapter 6(6)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Entreated by Svayambhuva, Prachetas had sixty daughters through Asikni and they were devoted to their father. He bestowed ten daughters on Dharma, thirteen on Ka, 465 twenty-seven on the moon god, two each on Bhuta, Angiras and Krishashva and the remainder on Tarkshya. 466 Hear from me their names and those of their offspring. Their offspring and the descendants of their offspring populated the three worlds. Dharma’s wives were Bhanu, Lamba, Kakub, Jami, Vishva, Sadhya, Marutvati, Vasu, Muhurta and Sankalpa. Hear about their sons. O king! Devarishabha was born from Bhanu and his son was Indrasena. Lamba’s son was Vidyota and the clouds 467 were born from him. Kakub’s son was Sankata and the forts on earth were born from him. 468 Svarga was the son of Jami and his son was Nandi. The sons of Vishva were known as the Vishvadevas and they did not have any offspring. Sadhya gave birth to the large number of Sadhyas and their son was Arthasiddhi. Marutvati’s sons were Jayanta and Marutvan. Jayanta was a portion of Vasudeva, whom learned ones know as Upendra. The large number of divinities known as Mouhurtikas were born from Muhurta. At the right time, they bestow fruits on living beings. Sankalpa was born from Sankalpa. 469 It is said that Kama was Sankalpa’s son. Vasu had eight sons, the Vasus. Hear about their names—Drona, Prana, Dhruva, Arka, Agni, Dosha, Vastu and Vibhavasu. Through his wife, Abhimati, Drona had sons—Harsha, Shoka, Bhaya and others. Urjasvati, Prana’s wife, had the sons Saha, Ayus and Purojava. Dhruva’s wife was Dharani and she had the many different cities as her sons. 470 Arka’s wife was Vasana and her sons are known as Tarsha and others. Dhara was the wife of the Vasu known as Agni and her sons were Dravinaka and others. Skanda was the son of Krittika 471 and his sons were Vishakha and others. Through Sharvari, Dosha had a son named Shishumara, who was Hari’s portion. Through Angirasi, Vastu had Vishvakarma as a son, and he was the husband of Akriti. Chakshusha Manu was born through her. Manu’s sons were the Vishvadevas and the Sadhyas. 472 Through Usha, Vibhavasu had the sons Vyushta, Rochisha and Atapa. Panchayama was born from Atapa. He keeps beings awake and makes them undertake activities.

‘Sarupa, Bhuta’s wife, had one crore Rudras as sons. The foremost were Raivata, Aja, Bhava, Bhima, Vama, Ugra, Vrishakapi, Ajaikapada, Ahirbudhnya, Bahurupa and Mahan. 473 The other terrible companions of the Rudras were the leaders of bhutas and pretas.

‘Svadha, the wife of Prajapati Angiras, gave birth to the ancestors. Sati, another wife of Angiras, accepted the Atharva Veda as her son.

‘Through his wife Archi, Krishashva had Dhumrakesha as a son and through his wife Dhishana, he had the sons Vedashira, Devala, Vayuna and Manu.

‘Tarkshya’s wives were Vinata, Kadru, Patangi and Yamini. 474 Patangi gave birth to birds and Yamini to locusts. Suparna’s 475 son was Garuda, who bore the lord of sacrifices himself. She had another son, Anuru, 476 who was Surya’s charioteer. Kadru had many nagas as her sons.

‘O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Krittika and the other nakshatras were wives of the moon god. Because of Daksha’s curse, he could not have offspring. 477 He was afflicted by the demon of pulmonary consumption. However, having pacified him again, Soma got his kalas back, which waned.

‘Now hear about the auspicious names of the mothers of the world. 478 The entire universe was born from Kashyapa’s wives—Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kashtha, Arishta, Surasa, Ila, Muni, Krodhavasha, Tamra, Surabhi, Sarama and Timi. 479 Aquatic creatures were born from Timi and carnivorous creatures were Sarama’s sons. O king! Buffaloes, cows and others with cloven hooves were born from Surabhi. Hawks, vultures and others were born from Tamra. The large number of apsaras were born from Muni. O king! Snakes like the dandashukas were the sons of Krodhavasha. Trees and plants were born from Ila, the yatudhanas 480 were born from Surasa. Gandharvas were born from Arishta and animals with uncloven hooves from Kashtha. Danu had sixty-one sons. Hear the names of the most important ones—Dvimurdha, Shambara, Arishta, Hayagriva, Vibhavasu, Ayomukha, Shankushira, Svarbhanu, Kapila, Aruna, Puloma, Vrishaparva, Ekachakra, Anutapana, Dhumrakesha, Virupaksha, Viprachitti and Durjaya. Svarbhanu’s daughter was Suprabha and she married Namuchi. Yayati, Nahusha’s powerful son, married Sharmishtha, Vrishaparva’s daughter. Vaishvanara 481 had four beautiful daughters—Upadanavi, Hayashira, Puloma and Kalaka. O king! Upadanavi was married to Hiranyaksha and Hayashira to Kratu. Ka 482 married Puloma and Kalaka, two of Vaishvanara’s daughters. The illustrious Kashyapa married them because he was instructed to do this by Brahma. The danavas Poulama and Kalakeyas 483 were accomplished in battle. O king! Among these, sixty thousand destroyed sacrifices and were killed by your grandfather single-handedly, when he visited heaven and wished to do what would bring Indra pleasure. 484 Through his wife Simhika, Viprachitti had one hundred and one sons. Rahu was the eldest and the other hundred are the Ketus. All of them became planets. Now hear progressively about Aditi’s lineage. Through his portion, the lord and god, Narayana, himself descended there—Vivasvat, Aryama, Pusha, Tvashta, Savita, Bhaga, Dhatri, Vidhatri, Varuna, Mitra, Shatru and Urukrama. 485 Through Samjna, Vivasvat had the son, Manu Shraddhadeva, and an immensely fortunate couple of twins, Yama and Yami. Thereafter, Samjna became a mare on earth and gave birth to the two Nasatyas. 486 Through Chhaya, he had Shanaishchara and Savarni Manu as sons. The daughter was Tapati, who accepted Samvarana as a husband. Matrika was the wife of Aryama and their sons were the Charshanis. Brahma thought of them as a species from which humankind would evolve. Pusha didn’t have offspring. Since his teeth were shattered earlier, he only eats flour. That was because he exhibited his teeth and laughed, when he 487 was angry with Daksha. The maiden known as Rachana was the daughter of the Daityas 488 and she was Tvashta’s wife. Through them were born Samnivesha and the valiant Vishvarupa. The gods accepted him, though he was the son of the daughter of their enemies. 489 This was when they were abandoned by their preceptor, Angiras, 490 because they had shown him disrespect.’Chapter 6(7)

The king asked, ‘Why were the gods abandoned by their own preceptor? What offence did they commit against their preceptor? O illustrious one! Please tell me this.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘Intoxicated by his prosperity over the three worlds, Indra deviated from the virtuous path. O king! He was surrounded by the Maruts, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Adityas, the Ribhus, the Vishvadevas, the Sadhyas and the Nasatyas. Maghavan was tended to and served by Siddhas, charanas, gandharvas, sages, those who knew about the brahman, vidyadharas, apsaras, kinnaras, birds and serpents. Melodious songs were sung before him. He was seated on a throne and a white umbrella that was as beautiful as the lunar disc was held atop his head. There were other signs of an emperor, whisk and fans. Poulami 491 was seated on half of his excellent seat. When the great preceptor of the gods and of himself arrived, he did not arise and show him respect. Nor did he offer him a seat. Vachaspati 492 is a supreme sage and is revered by the gods and the asuras. However, despite seeing that he had arrived, Indra did not arise from his seat. The wise lord, descended from the Angiras lineage, was silent. He quickly left and returned to his own house, knowing that this transgression resulted from the arrogance of prosperity. It was then that Indra realized he had shown disrespect to his preceptor. In the presence of everyone present in that assembly, he reprimanded himself. “Alas! I have perpetrated a wicked act. My intelligence was weak. In the insolence caused by prosperity, the preceptor has been dishonoured in an assembly. No learned person will desire the prosperity of the lord of the gods if that conveys the lord of the gods to sentiments like those of the asuras, as has happened now. There are those who say that an emperor must never arise from the throne on which he is seated. However, they do not know about supreme dharma. Their wicked path leads to calamity and one falls down into darkness. Those who heed their words sink, like boats made out of stone. The brahmana is the preceptor of the immortals and his knowledge is fathomless. Without any deceit, I will bow my head down and touch his feet, thus obtaining his favours.” Maghavan thought in this way. However, the illustrious Brihaspati left his house. Using the maya of adhyatma, he vanished. The illustrious and self-ruling one searched everywhere to determine where his preceptor had gone. Surrounded by the gods, he used his intelligence to meditate. But he couldn’t find any peace for himself. All the asuras heard this and followed the advice of Ushanas. 493 They were extremely difficult to vanquish and they attacked the gods, wishing to kill them. The sharp arrows released by them pierced the thighs and arms of the gods. With Indra and with their heads lowered, they went and sought refuge with Brahma.

‘The illustrious and self-creating one saw them stationed there, afflicted. The god was overcome with great compassion and addressed them in comforting words. Brahma said, “Alas! O best among the gods! You have committed an extremely inauspicious deed. The brahmana is controlled and the brahman is in him. Because of your prosperity, you did not honour him. O gods! You were prosperous and your own enemies were feeble. However, because of your ingratitude, you have been defeated by the enemy. O Maghavan! Look at your enemies. They decayed because they crossed their preceptor. But they are powerful now because they again faithfully worshipped Kavya. Those who follow that divine one from the Bhrigu lineage can take away my abode too. They have been instructed by the descendant of the Bhrigu lineage in accomplishing their objectives, and their intentions are not obvious. Why will they care for heaven? Lords of men who worship brahmanas, Govinda and cattle never face anything inauspicious. Therefore, quickly worship the brahmana Vishvarupa. He is the ascetic son of Tvashta and is self-controlled. When worshipped by you, he will accomplish your objectives, as long as you can forget his acts.” 494 O king! Thus advised by Brahma, they lost their anxiety.

‘They went to the rishi who was Tvashta’s son and embraced him. They said the following. The gods said, “May you be fortunate. We have come to your hermitage as guests. O son! 495 We are like your fathers and it is appropriate that you should accomplish our desire. O brahmana! The supreme dharma for a virtuous son is to serve his parents and this is especially true of one who is a brahmachari. A preceptor is the embodied form of the Vedas. A father is the embodied form of Prajapati. A brother is the embodied form of the lord of the Maruts. 496 A mother is the form of the earth. A sister is the embodied form of compassion. A guest is the embodied form of Dharma himself. A visitor is the embodied form of Agni. 497 All beings are the embodied form of the atman. Having been defeated by the enemy, your fathers are distressed and afflicted. O son! Using your austerities, you should follow our wishes and dispel these. You are a brahmana and the brahman is in you. We choose you as our teacher and preceptor. Through your energy, we will then be able to easily defeat our enemies. O brahmana! If one worships the feet of a younger person to accomplish an objective, that is not condemned. Learning is not determined on the basis of seniority in age alone.” The great ascetic was invited by the large number of gods to become their priest. Vishvarupa was delighted and addressed them in gentle words. Vishvarupa replied, “Those who know the good conduct of dharma have condemned this. 498 It diminishes the powers of brahmacharya. O lords! A person like me, who should be a disciple, has been requested by the lords of the worlds. Therefore, I cannot refuse. That is in my own selfish interest too. O lords! I survive on leftover grain and wealth is nothing to me. I have withdrawn from all virtuous rites. 499 O lords! How can I undertake the reprehensible task of becoming a priest? That only appeals to those who are evil in intelligence. Nevertheless, I cannot refuse that desired by my seniors. At the cost of my life and everything I possess, I will accomplish what you wish.” Vishvarupa, the great ascetic, promised them this. With supreme meditation, he performed the task of being a priest. The prosperity of the enemies of the gods was protected through the knowledge of Ushanas. Using the Vaishnava knowledge, the lord took it away and handed it over to the great Indra. This protected the one with one thousand eyes and the lord defeated the army of the asuras. Vishvarupa, generous in his intelligence, told the great Indra about this.’Chapter 6(8)

The king said, ‘Protected by this, the one with one thousand eyes toyed with the enemy soldiers and vanquished them. He enjoyed the prosperity of the three worlds. O illustrious one! Tell me about this armour, which has Narayana inside it. 500 Protected by this, he defeated the enemy assassins in the battle.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘Once Tvashta’s son had been chosen as the priest, the great Indra asked him about this. This is the armour that goes by Narayana’s name. Hear it single-mindedly. Vishvarupa said, “A person must wash his hands and feet and perform the ablutions. He must wear a ring made out of kusha grass and be seated, facing the north. Controlling his speech, he must purify his limbs with the two mantras. 501 When there is fear, he must don this supreme armour of Narayana’s—the two feet, the two knees, the two thighs, the stomach, the heart, the chest, the mouth and head progressively. 502 Beginning, with Oum, the apportioning is thus in this way. Oum namo Narayanaya is then repeated in the reverse order. Thereafter, using the knowledge of the twelve aksharas, he must perform kara-nyasa. 503 Oum comes at the beginning and it ends with ‘ya’. It starts with the index finger and ends with the joints of the thumbs. 504 Oum must be deposited in the heart, ‘vi’ in the crown of the head, ‘sha’ in the middle of the eyebrows and ‘na’ in the tuft of hair on the head. 505 ‘Ve’ is deposited in the two eyes and ‘na’ in all the joints of the body. ‘Ma’ is thought of as a weapon and a learned person thus becomes a personified form of the mantra—Oum Vishnave namah. The visarga sign, ending with phat, must be invoked in all the directions. 506 He must meditate on the supreme atman, the one who should be meditated upon and the one who possesses the six potencies. 507 He must then chant a mantra that is the embodied form of knowledge, energy and austerities. 508 ‘Oum. May Hari bestow protection on me from all sides. He has placed his lotus feet on the back of the Indra among birds. He possesses eight arms that hold the conch shell, the discus, the shield, the sword, the mace, arrows, the bow and the noose. He possesses the eight powers. 509 In the form of a fish, may he protect me in the waters from large numbers of aquatic creatures and Varuna’s noose. He used his maya to assume the form of a vamana brahmana. May he protect me on the land in this form. As Trivikrama, may the one whose form is the universe protect me in the sky. In his form of Nrisimha, the destroyer of asura hordes, may the lord protect me in impenetrable places, forests and the forefront of the battle. When he uttered his loud and great roar, it echoed in all the directions and the embryos were dislodged. 510 The sacrifice is his form. May he protect me along roads. 511 As varaha, 512 he raised the earth up on his own tusks. May Rama 513 protect me on the summits of mountains. With Lakshmana, may Bharata’s elder brother 514 protect me in foreign lands. May Narayana protect me from all kinds of terrible adharma and distractions. May Nara protect me from pride. May Datta, the lord of yoga, protect me from deviations in the path of yoga. May Kapila, the lord of gunas, protect me from the bondage of karma. May Sanatkumara protect me from the god of love. May Hayashirsha protect me from ignoring gods along the road. May the noble devarshi 515 protect me from transgressions in worshipping the great being. In his form of the turtle, may Hari protect me from all kinds of hell. May the illustrious Dhanvantari protect me from eating undesirable food. May Rishabha, who conquered his atman, protect me from fear on account of the opposite sentiments. May Yajna protect me from hardship brought about by other people. In his form of the Indra among serpents, may Bala protect me from the krodhavashas. 516 May the illustrious Dvaipayana protect me against ignorance. May Buddha protect me against distractions caused by large numbers of heretics. May Kalki protect me from the impurities of the age known as kali yuga. He has descended in this form for the sake of protecting dharma. With his club, may Keshava protect me in the morning. 517 May Govinda, holding the flute, protect me during sangava. 518 May Narayana raise his spear and protect me in the forenoon. May Vishnu, with the weapon to destroy enemies in his hand, protect me at midday. May Madhusudana, with the fierce bow, protect me in the afternoon. May Madhava, with the three forms 519 protect me in the evening. May Hrishikesha protect me during the first part of the night. May Padmanabha protect me during the second part of the night and at midnight. May the lord, the abode of the shrivatsa mark, protect me during the latter part of the night. May the lord Janardana, the wielder of the sword, protect me just before dawn. May Damodara protect me during the morning sandhya. May the illustrious Vishveshvara, whose form is time, protect me just before morning. His sharp-edged chakra is like the fire of destruction that comes at the end of a yuga. Invoked by the illustrious one, it rages around in every direction. Please swiftly burn down all the enemy soldiers who deserve to be burnt down, just as the fire, with the wind as a friend, does to dry grass. O club! You have sparks of fire and are like the vajra to the touch. You are loved by the invincible one. Crush down those who should be crushed down. Pulverize the kushmandas, vainayakas, yakshas, rakshasas, bhutas and grahas. 520 Pulverize the enemy. O conch shell! When blown by Krishna, your blare is terrible and makes the hearts of enemies tremble. Drive away yatudhanas, pramathas, pretas, matrikas, pishachas and evil brahmanas who are malevolent in their glances. 521 O supreme sword that is sharp at the edges! The lord will use you against my enemy soldiers. Cut them. Sever them. O shield with the mark of one hundred moons! Cover the eyes of the wicked enemies. Take away their evil eyesight. Evil planets, meteors, human beings, reptiles, fanged creatures, bhutas and sin cause us fear. By chanting the names and forms of the illustrious one, let all these head instantly towards their destruction. They are impediments in the way of our well-being. The illustrious Garuda is a lord who is praised in hymns and metres. Through the chanting of Vishvaksena’s names, let him protect us from all kinds of hardships. Let Hari’s names, forms and weapons protect us from all catastrophes. Let his ornaments, in the form of his companions, protect our intelligence, senses and the breath of life. The illustrious one is indeed everything that is manifest and is not manifest. Because of this truth, let everything that causes us harm head towards destruction. For those who have identified themselves with his atman, there is no difference between their own selves and he himself. Because of his own maya, his ornaments, weapons and different kinds of signs possess the powers. This is the true understanding of the illustrious and omniscient Hari. He goes everywhere. He is everywhere. Through his own forms, let him protect all of us. He is the illustrious Narasimha, who is inside and outside. He is in the sub-directions, the directions, above, below and everywhere around. Through his roar, let him destroy all the fear in the worlds. Through his own energy, let him envelope all the different kinds of powers.” O Maghavan! I have described the armour that has Narayana inside it. Armed by it, you will easily vanquish the leaders of the asuras. If a person wears it, he is instantly freed from all fear that results from anything he sees with his eyes or touches with his feet. If a person bears this knowledge, he does not suffer any fear from any direction—from kings, bandits, evil planets, or physical or mental diseases. In ancient times, a brahmana named Koushika mastered this. Using the path of yoga, he cast off his life in the desert regions. Chitraratha, the lord of the gandharvas, surrounded by women, once travelled in a vimana, over the spot where the brahmana had died. He instantly fell down from the vimana in the sky, with his head facing downwards. He was astounded. Heeding the words of the Valakhilyas, he collected the bones and immersed them in the Sarasvati, which flows in an eastern direction. After this, he bathed and returned to his own abode. Faced with danger, if a person hears this and faithfully remembers it, he is freed from all kinds of fear and all beings bow down before him. Shatakratu obtained this knowledge from Vishvarupa. Having vanquished the asuras in a battle, he enjoyed the prosperity of the three worlds.’Chapter 6(9)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O descendant of the Bharata lineage! We have heard that Vishvarupa possessed three heads—one for drinking soma, one for drinking liquor and one for eating food. O king! It said that at the time of sacrifices, he openly gave shares to the gods and the ancestors who were divinities, to the loud and gentle chanting of mantras. However, he was tied in bonds of affection towards his mother. 522 Therefore, at the time of performing sacrifices, he covertly secreted a share and conveyed this share to the asuras. The lord of the gods noticed this disrespect towards the god and the violation of dharma. Scared, 523 in his rage, he swiftly severed his heads. The head that drank soma became a kapinjala. The head that drank liquor became a kalavinka. The head that ate food became a tittiri. 524 With cupped hands, the lord accepted the sin of killing a brahmana. To purify himself, at the end of a year, Hari 525 divided the elements of this sin into four parts and distributed it among the earth, water, trees and women. The earth accepted a fourth part because of the boon that ditches dug on earth will be filled up. 526 The sin of killing a brahmana is seen on earth in the form of the deserts. Trees accepted a fourth part because of the boon that severed branches will grow again. The sin of killing a brahmana is seen in the trees in the form of the sap. Women accepted a fourth part because of the boon that they would always experience desire. 527 This sin is seen in them every month, in the form of the menstrual discharge. Water accepted one fourth of the impurity because of the boon that it would increase the volume of a substance into which it was mixed. It is seen in water in the form of foam and froth and this must be collected and flung away.

‘When his son was killed, Tvashta offered oblations for the sake of generating Indra’s enemy. “O Indra’s enemy! Grow in strength and quickly kill the enemy.” A being, terrible in form, arose from the southern part of the sacrificial fire. He was like Death. It seemed to the worlds that the end of the yuga had arrived. Every day, on all sides, he increased by the length of an arrow’s flight. His appearance was like that of a burnt mountain. His complexion was like that of a mass of evening clouds. His hair and beard were like molten copper. His eyes were as fierce as the midday sun. With his blazing trident, he seemed to pierce the space between heaven and earth. When he danced or roared, the earth quaked because of his feet. His mouth was as deep as a cave and he seemed to drink up the sky. He seemed to lick the stars with his tongue and devour the three worlds. With a large array of terrible teeth, he yawned repeatedly. On seeing this, all beings were terrified and fled in the ten directions. This form was manifested because of Tvashta’s austerities and he seemed to envelop the worlds. The wicked and extremely terrible one was therefore known as Vritra. 528 Along with their followers, the bulls among the gods rushed forward to kill him, using their own respective divine astras and shastras. 529 However, he swallowed them all up. All of them were astounded and surprised at this. They lost their energy. They controlled themselves and approached the supreme and original being. The gods said, “The three worlds, consisting of wind, space, fire, water and land, and all of us, Brahma and the others, are terrified. We render offerings to the one, of whom, even Death is frightened. We seek refuge with him. He is never surprised. He is always completely satisfied with his own achievements. He is tranquil and serene. If a foolish person wishes to be protected by anyone else, he will be like a person who tries to cross an ocean by using a dog’s tail. 530 Manu tied his boat, in the form of the earth, to his horn, when he assumed the form of an aquatic creature, and crossed what was extremely difficult to traverse. 531 He will certainly deliver us dependents from this limitless fear on account of Tvashta’s son. In ancient times, Svayambhu was alone on his lotus seat and the flood of water was filled with turbulent waves, created by loud and terrible winds. He almost fell down. However, he was saved from that fear by him. Let him convey us to a safe shore. He is the lone lord who controls us through his maya. He created us and we undertake creation in the universe. He is stationed in front of us, but we cannot discern his signs. We are proud because we think of ourselves as independent lords. When we are severely afflicted, using his own maya, from one yuga to another yuga, he always assumes avataras in the form of gods, rishis, men and subhuman species and saves us. All of us approach that god and seek refuge with him. He is the divinity who is there in our atmans. He is supreme and foremost, the great being. The universe is his manifestation. He is the one with whom one should seek refuge. The great-souled one always confers well-being on those who are devoted to him.” O great king! He was worshipped by the gods in this way.

‘Holding a conch shell, chakra and a club, he manifested himself inside their hearts. He was served and worshipped by sixteen attendants who were just like him in appearance, but were without shrivatsa and Koustubha. His eyes were like blooming autumn lotuses. On seeing him, their hearts were flooded with delight. O king! They prostrated themselves on the ground, like rods. Rising gradually, they worshipped him. The gods said, “We bow down before the one who is the seed of sacrifices. We bow down before the one who is time. We bow down before the one who wields the chakra. We bow down before the one who is addressed through auspicious names. You are the controller and the destination of the three. 532 You are the supreme refuge. O controller! Anyone born after the original creation is incapable of comprehending you. Oum. We bow down before the illustrious Narayana. O Vasudeva! O original being! O great being! O immensely glorious one! O supremely auspicious one! O supreme benediction! O supremely compassionate one! O absolute one! O support of the universe! O sole protector of the worlds! O lord of everything! O Lakshmi’s lord! Paramahamsas wander around. They immerse their atmans in the yoga of meditation and worship the supreme one. When they are completely purified, he manifests himself before them. They follow the dharma of paramahamsas. The door of darkness is closed and consciousness is revealed to them. In the world of their atmans, they themselves obtain you and experience their own bliss from you. Your pastimes are extremely difficult to understand. You are not dependent on anyone for support. You do not possess a material body. You do not expect any cooperation from us. There are no transformations in your atman. You are nirguna. But you create the gunas and preserve and destroy them. Do you exist in this material world? 533 It is created on the basis of the gunas and one descends into it. Is this under a superior person’s control or is this because of one’s own inauspicious deeds? Are you responsible for the fruits of good deeds? Should one accept them and be satisfied with them? The effects of good conduct also pass. You are said to be an impartial witness. We certainly do not understand all this. But since the illustrious one possesses an aggregate of an infinite number of qualities, there is no contradiction between the two. The lord’s greatness is unfathomable. Modern debates, disputes, assertions, suggestions of proof, ill-informed arguments and references to sacred texts are used by agitated minds that resort to dogmatic theories and controversies. You are beyond the range of disputes and everything based on maya. You are absolute and are hidden inside this maya that you create. It is impossible to distinguish the difference between the two propositions and your true nature is independent of both of them. Depending on one’s intelligence, a piece of rope can seem to be a snake. Like that, depending on whether a person’s intelligence is balanced or prejudiced, you appear before them. He is indeed in every object and he is the substance of every object. He is the lord of everything. He is the cause behind all the causes that exist in the universe. His atman is present in everything and his illumination is manifest in all the gunas. He is the only thing that remains. 534 Indeed, his glory is an ocean of amrita. Even if a person tastes a drop of that only once, an incessant stream of bliss flows in his mind. He forgets everything that he has seen or heard and no reflection is left of the material objects of pleasure. Such great devotees are single-mindedly devoted to the illustrious one alone. He is the beloved well-wisher of all beings. He is in all atmans. O Madhu’s destroyer! Their minds are completely and continuously immersed in you. They are accomplished in determining what is best for them. You are a beloved well-wisher, whom they love as much as their own selves. How can such virtuous people give up service at your lotus feet and again return to this cycle of samsara? You yourself are the foundation of the three worlds. You are Trivikrama. You are Trinayana. 535 You are regarded as the most beautiful in the three worlds. Indeed, the offspring of Diti, Danu and the other species are also manifestations of your power. This is not the time for their endeavours to flourish. O wielder of the rod! Using your own maya, depending on the nature of the offence, you levy the rod of punishment by assuming the forms of gods, men, animals, mixed beings 536 or aquatic creatures. O illustrious one! In this way, if you so think, kill Tvashta’s son. We depend on you. O father of our father! O Hari! We are prostrate before you. Our hearts are bound in love towards you and we meditate on your lotus feet. By revealing your signs to us, you have accepted us as your own. Glance towards us with your bright, pleasant, smiling and soothing looks, tinged with compassion. The sweet words that emerge from your mouth are like drops of amrita. O loved one! You should pacify the torment that is there in our hearts. O illustrious one! Using your divine maya, you amuse yourself and are the cause behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the entire universe. You are inside the hearts of the large number of living beings and outside too. You are the brahman and your own atman manifests itself in other forms. Pradhana is your form. Depending on the place, time, body, status and specifics, you are the cause. You are the experience and the one who experiences. You are a witness to every kind of thought. Your body is like the sky. You are yourself the supreme brahman, the paramatman. In this world, how can we inform you about our specific requirements? That will be like sparks of fire illuminating the fire. O illustrious one! Therefore, you should yourself think about what should be done for us. You are the supreme preceptor and we have sought the shade of your feet, which are like lotuses with a hundred petals. There are many kinds of hardships and exertions in samsara and you relieve them for those who seek refuge with you. So that our wishes can be satisfied, we have resorted to you. O lord! Therefore, slay Tvashta’s son. He is devouring the three worlds. O Krishna! He has devoured our energy, our astras and weapons. 537 O hamsa! O one who resides in the core of the heart! O witness! O Krishna! O immensely famous one! O one who has no beginning! O treasure for the virtuous! For those who seek you out as a destination, you are the ultimate and supreme goal and the object of all exertions. O Hari! We bow down before you.” O king! Hari was thus lovingly worshipped by the gods. He heard their praises and was pleased. He replied.

‘The illustrious one said, “O best among the gods! I am pleased with you and with the knowledge that exists in your praises. If a man is devoted to me, that kindles in him the memory of the greatness of the atman. O bulls among the gods! When I am pleased, what is difficult to accomplish? If a person knows the truth and if his intelligence is fixed on me, he wishes for nothing else. A miser considers the qualities of material objects and does not know what is best for himself. What is bestowed on a person is in accordance with what he wishes for. A learned person knows what is best for himself and does not prescribe rituals to the ignorant, just as an excellent physician does not recommend unwholesome food to a patient, even if he desires it. O Maghavan! May you be fortunate. Go quickly to Dadhyan, 538 supreme among rishis. His body is full of learning, vows and austerities. Ask him for that. Dadhyan has obtained realization of the pure brahman and imparted that knowledge to the two Ashvins. Because of this, these two became immortal. This knowledge is known as Ashvashira. 539 This invincible armour has me as its essence. 540 Dadhyan, Atharvan’s son, also conferred it on Tvashta. Tvashta gave it to Vishvarupa and Vishvarupa taught you this. He 541 knows about dharma. When you and the Ashvins ask, he will give his limbs. Vishvakarma will fashion the best among weapons out of this. It will be full of my energy and with this, you will be able to sever Vritra’s head. When he has been killed, you will regain your energy, astras, weapons and prosperity. You will regain your good fortune. No one can harm those who are devoted to me.”’Chapter 6(10)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The illustrious creator of the universe instructed Indra in this way. While they looked on, in the twinkling of an eye, Hari vanished from the spot. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Atharvan’s great son was entreated by the gods and the rishis. Delighted, he smiled and replied to them. “O lords of the senses! You do not know about the severe and unbearable pain that those with bodies suffer at the time of death. It deprives them of consciousness. For living beings who wish to remain alive in this world, this body is extremely desired. Even if Vishnu asks for it, who will be interested in giving it up?” The gods said, “O brahmana! You are compassionate towards beings. You are a great and learned person. Your deeds are praised in excellent shlokas. What can be difficult for a person like you to give up? Indeed, there are people who are only concerned with selfish ends. They do not know about the dangers faced by others. If they knew, no one would have to ask. A lord of charity never says ‘no’, as long as he can.” The rishi replied, “I answered in that way because I wished to hear about dharma from you. This body will cast me aside some day and I am casting aside what is desired by you. O protectors! This body is not permanent. In this world, if a man does not show compassion towards beings, he does not obtain dharma or fame. Even immobile objects grieve over him. This is the eternal dharma followed by those who are praised in excellent shlokas. A person’s mind must grieve at the sorrow of creatures and rejoice at their delight. Alas! This is a great hardship in this world. 542 This body is perishable and should belong to others. A mortal person should not use it for one’s own selfish needs, but for others. He must use his wealth, relatives and body for others.” Thus, Dadhyan, the son of Atharvan, made up his mind to give up his body. Giving it up, he surrendered his atman to the illustrious one, the supreme brahman. He knew about the truth and controlled his senses, breath of life, mind and intelligence. Destroying all bondage, he resorted to supreme yoga and did not realize when he left his body.

‘Thus, Vishvakarma fashioned the vajra and Indra wielded it. It was infused with the sage’s powers and was also full of the illustrious one’s energy. He was surrounded by a large number of gods and was astride an Indra among elephants. He was praised by a large number of sages and delighted the three worlds. His enemy, Vritra, was surrounded by leaders of the asura army. O king! With great energy, he angrily attacked him, like Rudra advancing against Yama. There was an extremely terrible battle between the gods and the asuras. It was like the one that took place between them on the banks of the Narmada, at the end of the first yuga and the beginning of treta. There were the Rudras, the Vasus, the Adityas, the Ashvins, the ancestors, the fire gods, the Maruts, the Ribhus, the Sadhyas and the Vishvadevas, surrounding the lord of the Maruts. 543 Shakra, the wielder of the vajra, was resplendent in his own prosperity. O king! On witnessing this in the battle, the asuras, with Vritra at the forefront, could not tolerate this. There were Namuchi, Shambara, Anarva, Dvimurdha, Rishabha, Ambara, Hayagriva, Shankushira, Viprachitti, Ayomukha, Puloma, Vrishaparva, Praheti, Heti, Utkala, daityas, danavas and thousands of yakshas and rakshasas. The prominent Mali and Sumali wore armour made out of molten gold. They countered the vanguard of Indra’s army, which was impossible for even Death to withstand. They attacked fearlessly. They were invincible and roared like lions. They used clubs, maces, arrows, spears, bludgeons, javelins, tridents, battleaxes, swords, shataghnis and bhushundis. 544 From every direction, they repulsed the bulls among the gods with shastras and astras. Because of the nets of arrows in every direction, nothing could be seen. Arrows descended one after another, like masses of dense clouds, and even the stellar bodies became invisible. However, those torrents of shastras and astras could not make the soldiers of the gods suffer. The gods were dexterous in the use of their hands and cut them down into thousands of fragments before they could reach their targets. When the stocks of shastras and astras became exhausted, they showered down summits of mountains, trees and boulders on the army of the gods. However, as earlier, these too were severed. Vritra’s leaders saw that Indra’s soldiers were unharmed by the torrents of shastras and astras and were safe. They were not even injured by the trees, boulders and the many summits of mountains. They were scared. All their efforts were in vain. The daityas again tried to attack the army of the gods, but Krishna was favourable towards the latter. There was no effect, just as harsh words uttered by inferior people have no impact on great ones. They were not devoted to Hari and saw that their attempts were futile. Their insolence in the field of battle was destroyed. All their spirits were taken away. They made up their minds to abandon their leader and flee from the forefront of the battle. The spirited Vritra saw that his asura followers were running away. He saw that his army was routed and fleeing, overcome by great fear. The brave one laughed and spoke to them. The foremost one spoke words that were appropriate for the occasion, appealing to spirited ones. “O Viprachitti! O Namuchi! O Puloma! O Maya! O Anarva! O Shambara! Listen to me. Death is always certain for anyone who has been born. In this world, nothing has been thought of that can counter this. If death in this world leads to other worlds and fame, why should one not accept this as something that is appropriate? Two kinds of death are revered, but they are extremely difficult to get. One can conquer one’s breath of life, concentrate on the brahman and immerse oneself in yoga to give up one’s body. Alternatively, without retreating, one can bravely lie down in the field of battle.”’Chapter 6(11)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Their master’s 545 words praised dharma. However, they were senseless and intent on running away. Scared, they did not accept these words. The bull among asuras saw that his army of asuras had been routed. Time was favourable towards the gods. Time was unfavourable towards them and they were without a protector. Witnessing this, Indra’s enemy was pained, angry and intolerant. O king! Restraining them energetically, he censured them in these words. “Why are you fleeing, like excrement released by your mothers? Those who pride themselves on being brave do not strike people from the rear, or kill those who are frightened. That is not praiseworthy. Nor does it lead to heaven. O insignificant ones! If you have the slightest bit of fight left in your hearts and do not desire the delight of carnal pleasures, stand at least in front of me.” He was extremely powerful and his angry and terrible form made the worlds and the large number of gods lose their senses when he roared. Hearing Vritra’s roar, the large number of gods fell down on the ground, senseless, as if they had been struck by the vajra. He was indomitable in the field of battle and he crushed the afflicted soldiers of the gods with his feet. They closed their eyes. He energetically brandished his trident and made the earth tremble. He was like a maddened leader of elephants amidst a forest of lotus flowers. On seeing him advance, the wielder of the vajra became extremely intolerant. He hurled a gigantic club towards him and it was extremely difficult to withstand. As it was descending, he playfully caught it in his left hand. Indra’s enemy was greatly enraged. In the battle, great in his valour, he struck Indra’s mount on the temple with the club and roared. O king! Everyone applauded this feat. Airavata was struck by Vritra’s club and whirled around, like a mountain struck by thunder. Its mouth was shattered and it exuded blood from its mouth. Suffering greatly, with Indra, it retreated a distance of seven bow-lengths. Since the mount was suffering, his 546 mind was miserable. The great-souled one 547 did not strike again with the club. Indra touched the mount with his hand, which oozed out amrita. With the pain and wounds healed, it stood there again.

‘O Indra among kings! He saw his enemy, the slayer of his brother, 548 wishing to fight and using the vajra as a weapon. He remembered that cruel and sinful act and grieved. Confounded, he laughed and said the following. Vritra said, “It is good fortune that this noble enemy is stationed in front of me. You are the killer of a brahmana who was my brother and your preceptor. O most wicked person! It is good fortune that I shall free myself from my debt today. Your heart is made out of stone and it will soon be pierced by my trident. My elder brother knew about the atman and he was a brahmana. He was innocent and you instated him as your preceptor. He trusted you. But desiring heaven, you mercilessly severed his heads with your sword, just as one does to an animal. Because of your own deeds, your modesty, prosperity, compassion and fame have gone. You are condemned by flesh-eaters too. When I pierce your body with my trident, you will suffer pain. It will not be touched by the fire and will be devoured by vultures. There are others who are cruel and ignorant. Raising their weapons, they are striking me. With my sharp trident, I will pierce their throats and offer those as a sacrifice to the lords of the bhutas and their companions. O Hari! O brave one! Or you may sever my head with your vajra and crush my army. In that case, I will pay my debts and offer myself as a sacrifice to all living beings. I will obtain the dust on the feet of spirited ones. O lord of the gods! Why are you not hurling your invincible vajra towards me? Your enemy is stationed in front of you. Do not harbour a doubt. Like the club, your vajra will not be successful, like a request made to a miser. O Shakra! Your vajra has certainly been infused with Hari’s energy and with energy from Dadhichi’s austerities. It is controlled by Vishnu. Using it, slay the enemy. Wherever Hari exists, prosperity, victory and qualities exist there. 549 As we have been asked, my mind will meditate on the lotus feet of Samkarshana. The bond of carnal pleasures will be torn asunder by the force of your vajra. I will give up this world and obtain the destination of the sages. For men who are his devotees and are single-minded in their intelligence, he does not confer the prosperity of heaven, the earth, or the nether regions. Those lead to hatred, anxiety, mental diseases, pride, dissension, hardships and great exertion. O Shakra! Our lord creates obstructions in the path of attaining the three objectives. 550 It can be inferred that the favours of the illustrious one are extremely difficult to obtain. They can be obtained by those who regard everything else as insignificant, and not by others. O Hari! 551 Let me be a servant to the servants for whom your feet are the only refuge. Let my mind remember the qualities of the lord of life. Let me chant your praise with my words. Let my body perform your deeds. I do not desire the vault of heaven, the position of Parameshthi, sovereignty over the entire earth, lordship of the nether regions, the siddhis of yoga, or liberation from rebirth, if that means a separation from you. O lotus-eyed one! My mind wishes to see you, just as fledgling birds without wings wish to see their mother, calves afflicted by hunger desire milk from the udder, or a miserable lover wishes to see her beloved, who is away from home. O lord! While I wander around in the wheel of samsara because of my own deeds, let me obtain the friendship of Uttamashloka’s devotees and not with those whose minds are attached, because of your maya, to the body, children, wives and homes.”’Chapter 6(12)

The rishi said, ‘O king! In this way, he thought that death was superior to victory and was ready to give up his life. He seized the trident and attacked Indra of the gods, just as in the middle of the waters, Kaitabha had attacked the great being. The brave Indra among the asuras swiftly hurled the trident, with points that were as firm as the fire of destruction that comes at the end of a yuga, towards the great Indra and roared. He exclaimed in rage, “O wicked one! You have been killed.” It descended from the sky, like a planet or meteor that had been dislodged. It was impossible to look at. But without any fear, the wielder of the vajra, which possessed one hundred joints, severed it, along with his arm, which was as thick as the body of the king of serpents. With one of his arms severed, Vritra angrily approached the wielder of the vajra and struck Indra and his elephant on the temple with a club. The vajra fell down from Maghavan’s hand. Vritra’s deed was extremely marvelous and the gods, the asuras and large numbers of charanas and Siddhas applauded it. They saw that Puruhuta 552 faced a difficulty and miserably lamented, “Alas!” In the presence of the enemy, Indra was ashamed that the vajra had got dislodged from his hand and did not pick it up again. Vritra told him, “O Indra! This is not the time to grieve. Pick up the vajra and slay your own enemy. A person who picks up his weapon and fights is never assured of victory all the time. The sole exception is the original, eternal and omniscient being, the paramatman, the controller of creation, preservation and destruction. It is because of him that the worlds and their guardians are dependent and live under his control, like birds captured in a net. He is time and the cause. 553 Ignorant people who are foolish think themselves to be responsible for energy, strength, the breath of life, immortality and death. O Maghavan! A female image made out of wood or the figure of an animal made out of leaves are dependent on the controller. Know that all creatures are like this. Without his favours, Purusha, Prakriti, Mahat, ego, the elements, the senses and the mind are incapable of creating. A person who does not know takes himself to be the controller, though he is controlled. It is he who himself creates beings out of the elements and devours them again. A man’s lifespan, prosperity, deeds, opulence and benedictions exist at the right time. Otherwise, even if he does not wish it, there is adversity. Therefore, one should be indifferent towards ill fame, fame, victory, defeat, joy, misery, life and death. If a person knows that sattva, rajas and tamas are the qualities of Prakriti and that the atman is only a witness, he is not bound down. O enemy! Look at me. I have been defeated in the battle and my weapon and arm have been severed. Nevertheless, to the best of my ability, I am trying to take away your life. This battle is a gamble where life is the stake, the arrows are the dice and the mounts are the board. It is not known whether this one will be victorious and that one will be defeated.” Indra heard Vritra’s words, which were without any deceit. He honoured them. He overcame his wonder, seized the vajra, laughed and spoke the following. “O danava! With intelligence like this, it is my view that you are a Siddha. With all your soul, you are a devotee of the lord of the universe, the great well-wisher. You have transcended Vaishnavi maya, which confounds people. You have given up the sentiments of an asura and have obtained the status of a great being. You possess rajas by nature. Your single-minded devotion to the illustrious one, who is full of sattva, is a great wonder. The illustrious Hari is the lord of all that is beneficial. If one is devoted to him, one sports in an ocean of amrita. What is the need for water from small ditches?” O king! Determining the nature of dharma, they spoke to each other in this way. The immensely valiant Indra and Vritra, the leaders of armies, fought against each other.

‘O revered one! Vritra, the destroyer of enemies, whirled a terrible iron club and using his left hand, hurled it towards Indra. Simultaneously, the god used his vajra, possessing one hundred joints, to sever the club and Vritra’s arm, which was like the trunk of an elephant. Both of the asura’s arms were severed at the bases and blood started to flow. He was like a mountain with its wings severed by the vajra, which therefore fell down from the sky. 554 He was gigantic in size and immensely valiant. He was like a gigantic serpent, or an elephant. The daitya’s lower jaw touched the ground and his upper jaw reached up into the sky. His mouth was as deep as the sky. His terrible tongue flickered like that of a snake. His teeth were like Death and seemed to devour the three worlds. His extremely large and gigantic body trembled violently, like a mountain. It was as if the king of mountains 555 was moving around on its feet and crushing the earth with the tread of its steps. He approached and swallowed the wielder of the vajra and his mount. The Prajapatis, the gods and the maharshis saw that he had been swallowed by Vritra. Despondent, they exclaimed, “Alas! This is a catastrophe.” Indra of the gods was swallowed, but did not die inside the stomach. He was protected by the great being’s armour and the strength of yoga maya. The lord powerfully tore apart the stomach with the vajra and emerged. Using his energy, he then severed the enemy’s head, which was like the summit of a mountain. The vajra whirled around his neck with great speed, revolving and severing it from all sides. Vritra’s head was severed and brought down in as many days as stellar bodies take for two ayanas. 556 After this, drums were sounded in the sky. The gandharvas, the Siddhas and large numbers of maharshis praised the qualities of the one who had killed Vritra. Delighted, to the accompaniment of mantras, they showered down flowers. O destroyer of enemies! While all the gods looked on, a resplendent light emerged from Vritra’s body. He reached the radiant world.’Chapter 6(13)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O generous one! When Vritra was slain, with the exception of Shakra, all the worlds and their guardians were freed of their anxiety and their senses were delighted. The devarshis, the ancestors, the bhutas, the daityas and the followers of the gods returned to their own respective abodes. So did Brahma, Isha, Indra and the others.’

The king asked, ‘O sage! I wish to hear the reason why Indra was sad. When all the gods were happy, what was the reason for Hari to be miserable?’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘When they were anxious about Vritra’s valour, all the gods and rishis approached Indra, so that he might kill him. However, he did not desire to indulge in this great killing. 557

‘Indra said, “When I killed Vishvarupa, women, the earth, trees and water showed me their favours and distributed the sin among themselves. How will I be able to cleanse the sin of killing Vritra?”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Hearing this, the rishis told the great Indra, “Do not fear. O fortunate one! With our help, you will perform a horse sacrifice. The lord and great being, the god Narayana, the paramatman is pleased through a horse sacrifice and will free you, even if you happen to kill everyone in the universe. By chanting his name, the slayer of a brahmana, the slayer of a father, the slayer of a cow, the slayer of a mother, the slayer of a preceptor, a sinner, a person who eats dogs, and even a pulkasa, 558 are all purified. With devotion, we must perform a great horse sacrifice. Even if you kill all mobile and immobile objects, along with Brahma, you will not be tainted. Killing one wicked person is nothing.” Thus urged by the brahmanas, the lord of the Maruts killed his enemy. As soon as he had been killed, the sin of killing a brahmana attacked Vrishakapi. 559 Indra started to suffer from that torment and once it had entered, he could find no peace. His other qualities, like those of modesty and speech, were unable to make him happy. In the form of a chandala woman, he saw the sin chasing after him. Her limbs trembled because of her old age. She has suffering from pulmonary consumption and her garments were covered with blood. Her grey hair was dishevelled and she asked him to wait. A bad smell of rotten fish emanated from her and made the road stink. O lord of the earth! The one with one thousand eyes went up into the sky and all the directions. O king! Finally, he quickly went to the north-eastern direction and entered Manasa. Invisible to everyone, he dwelt inside the fibre of a lotus for one thousand years, with no subsistence other than what the fire god brought him. He kept thinking about how he would free himself from the sin of killing a brahmana. Nahusha possessed learning, austerities, yoga, strength and the right sentiments and ruled the third world 560 during this period. However, the evil-minded one became insolent because of his prosperity and opulence and was conveyed to the status of a subhuman species by Indra’s wife. 561 Thereafter, he 562 was invited by the brahmanas to return. He meditated on the lord, who counters all sins. The divinity of the direction robbed the sin of its powers. 563 Since he was also protected by Vishnu’s wife, it could not harm him. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The brahmana rishis approached him and consecrated him for a horse sacrifice, following the appropriate rites. This indeed means worship of the great being. He worshipped the being whose atman is in all the gods. Those who know about the brahman invited the great Indra to come and perform the horse sacrifice. O king! There was a mass of sin that had accumulated because he had killed Tvashta’s son. Like dew is dispelled by the sun, this was reduced to nothing. As ordained, the horse sacrifice was performed by Marichi and the other officiating priests. The great and ancient being, the lord of sacrifices was worshipped and Indra was cleansed of his sin. This great account is a recital of the deeds of the one whose feet are a tirtha and cleanses all sins. It describes the faith of devotees and enhances devotion. It describes the victory and liberation of the great Indra, lord of the Maruts. Learned people must always read this account. Controlling their senses, they must listen to it on auspicious days. Through this, one obtains wealth, fame, liberation from all sins, victory over enemies, benedictions and long lifespans.’Chapter 6(14)

Parikshit asked, ‘O brahmana! The evil Vritra was naturally full of rajas and tamas. How did his mind become firmly fixed on devotion towards Narayana? Even among gods who are full of pure sattva and rishis with unblemished souls, devotion towards Mukunda’s lotus feet is generally not generated. On earth, there are living beings as numerous as the number of particles of dust. Among them, it is only a few, human beings and others, who act for their well-being. O supreme among brahmanas! Among these, it is generally only a few who seek liberation. Among a thousand who seek liberation, perhaps it is only one who gets liberated. O great sage! Among crores who have obtained liberation and are Siddhas, it is extremely difficult to find one who is devoted to Narayana and is tranquil in his atman. Vritra was wicked and tormented all the worlds. In the fierce field of battle, how was his mind so firmly fixed on Krishna? O lord! I have yet another doubt and wish to satisfy my curiosity. In the battle, he satisfied the one with one thousand eyes with his manliness.’ 564

Suta said, ‘Badarayana’s illustrious son was thus asked by the devoted Parikshit. He heard, welcomed the question, and spoke the following words.’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Hear the history attentively. I heard it from the mouths of Dvaipayana, Narada and Devala. O king! In the land of Shurasena, there was a king who was a sovereign emperor. He was known as Chitraketu and he could milk the earth for whatever he desired. He had ten million wives. However, though the king was capable of producing sons, he did not have any sons through them. He possessed beauty, generosity, youth, noble birth, learning, prosperity, opulence and other qualities. However, he always thought about the barreness and that he did not have offspring. All his riches and queens, with beautiful eyes, and sovereignty over the earth did not give him reason for delight. Once, the illustrious rishi, Angiras, came to his mansion. As he wished, he was travelling around the worlds and arrived. He 565 immediately stood up and following the prescribed rites, offered him what he deserved. After receiving the hospitality, when he was happily seated, he 566 controlled himself and sat down near him. Angiras asked, “Are you well? Is there well-being for you and the ordinary people? Just as a man is protected by seven constituents, a king is protected by seven objects. 567 By binding himself to the seven constituents, a person can obtain what is beneficial. O lord of men! Like that, the seven objects take away everything inauspicious from a king. Are your wives, subjects, advisers, servants, shrenis, 568 ministers, citizens, inhabitants of the countryside, landholders and your sons obedient to you? If a person has controlled himself, all these remain under his control. Without any deviation, the worlds and their guardians offer him tribute. I can see that you are not happy, with yourself or with others. It can be discerned that you have not attained your objective. Because of your thoughts, your face is pale.” O king! He was thus asked various questions by the learned sage. Desiring offspring, he replied to the sage. Chitraketu said, “O illustrious one! Because of your austerities, knowledge and meditation, what is unknown to you? Inside and outside their bodies, yogis destroy all sins. O brahmana! Though you know everything, you have nevertheless asked about the reason for my mental anxiety. Urged by you, and with your permission, I am telling you. My empire, prosperity and opulence is sought after by the guardians of the worlds. But I am like a person who is hungry and thirsty. These cause me no delight, since I wish for something else—children. O immensely fortunate one! Therefore, protect me and my ancestors, who will descend into darkness. Act so that I have offspring, so that we are able to cross over to the distant shore.” The illustrious one, Brahma’s son, was compassionate and was entreated in this way. The lord cooked some charu 569 for Tvashta and performed a sacrifice for Tvashta. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Among the king’s queens, the eldest and the best had the name of Kritadyuti. The brahmana gave her the leftover of the sacrificial offering. 570 O king! Brahma’s son told the king, “You will have a son who will be the cause of both joy and grief.” After this, he departed.

‘After eating the leftovers, through Chitraketu, Queen Kritadyuti conceived, just as the Krittikas had a son through Agni. O king! Born through the energy of the lord of Shurasena, the embryo developed from one day to another day, like the moon during shukla paksha. In due course of time, a son was born. Hearing about the birth, all the residents of Shurasena were greatly delighted. The happy king bathed and purified himself and wore ornaments. He had brahmanas pronounce words of benediction and made them perform the birth rites for the son. He gave them gold, silver, garments, ornaments, villages, horses, elephants and sixty crore cows. Like Parjanya showering down desired objects on living beings, the great-souled one donated these for the wealth, fame and long life of his son. When a person without riches obtains wealth after a great deal of difficulty, his attachment towards the riches increases. Like that, the father, a royal sage, had his attachment towards his son increase day by day. The mother’s love for the son also increased excessively. Because of their confusion, Kritadyuti’s co-wives became feverish and hankered after offspring. Chitraketu became greatly attached to the wife who had borne him a son. He fondled the child every day and was no longer attached to the others. Because of their jealousy, they lamented and condemned themselves. There was the misery of not having children, compounded by the king’s neglect. “Shame on a wicked woman who does not have offspring. She has no respect in her husband’s house. Co-wives who have offspring censure them like maid servants. Even maid servants don’t have to lament. If they constantly serve their master, they are shown respect. We unfortunate ones are the maid servants of maidservants.” Since the king’s conduct did not show them any respect, the co-wives were tormented and their hatred for the one who possessed the treasure of a son became very strong. Their intelligence was destroyed by their enmity. The women became very hard of heart. Extremely intolerant towards the king, they administered poison to the prince. Kritadyuti wasn’t aware of the great sin committed by her co-wives. She looked at him and thought that he was asleep. Therefore, she roamed around the house. After some time, the spirited one noticed that her son had been asleep for a very long time. She urged the nursemaid, “O fortunate one! Bring my son to me.” When she approached the one who was lying down, she saw that his eyes were turned upwards. His breath of life and senses had abandoned him. She exclaimed, “Alas! I have been killed!” and fell down on the ground. The queen heard her extremely piteous tone and the sounds of her loudly beating her breasts with her hands. She entered and swiftly approached her son and saw that her infant son had suddenly died. With her misery increasing, she fell down on the ground. Because she lost consciousness, her hair and garments were dishevelled. The people, the men and the women who resided in the inner quarters, heard the sounds of the lamentation. Arriving, they were also equally miserable and extremely unhappy. Those who had committed the crime also started to weep deceitfully. Hearing that his son had died because of an undetermined reason, the king lost his eyesight and repeatedly stumbled along the way. Tied by bonds of affection, his great grief increased. Surrounded by ordinary people and brahmanas, he fell down unconscious. The dead one’s hair and garments were dishevelled and he fell down at the child’s feet. He sighed deeply and his voice was choked with tears. He was unable to say anything. The child, the single heir and son, was dead. On seeing that her husband was grieving a lot, the queen also started to lament in many kinds of ways, increasing the grief of the ordinary people who were assembled there. Her breasts were smeared with kunkuma paste, but they were now sprinkled with drops of tears mixed with collyrium. Her hair was dishevelled and her garland was cast aside. Like a female osprey, she lamented in a sweet and extraordinary tone for her son. “Alas! O Vidhatri! You are exceedingly foolish. You have acted contrary to your own creation. An elder person is alive, while a younger person has died. This is perverse and you must certainly be an enemy. In this world, if there is no progression in the matter of birth and death, that may be because of the own karma of living beings. But this increase in the bond of affection is also your own creation. You have yourself created it and are now cutting it asunder. O son! 571 I am miserable and without a protector. You should not have abandoned me. Look at your father. He is tormented by grief. We could have crossed the darkness with your help. Without a son, it is extremely difficult to cross. With the merciless Yama, do not go far away. O son! Arise. These children are your friends. O son of a king! They are summoning you, so that you can play with them. You have slept for a long time and you must be suffering from hunger. Drink at my breasts and take away the grief of your relatives. O dear son! Since I am unfortunate, I have not seen your beautiful and smiling face, which is like a lotus. Your eyes are closed. Have you gone to another world, from which, one does not return? Have you been taken away by the merciless one? 572 I cannot hear your sweet words.” In many kinds of lamentations, she wailed about her dead son. Chitraketu was also severely tormented and wept in a loud voice. The couple and all their followers lamented. The men and women wept and everyone seemed to be unconscious. Everyone was thus overwhelmed by misery, unconscious and without a leader. Knowing this, the rishi named Angiras arrived there, along with Narada.’Chapter 6(15)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘They spoke to the king, who had fallen down next to the dead body, like another dead body. He was overwhelmed with grief and they instructed him with virtuous words. “O Indra among kings! You are sorrowing over him, but what is the relationship between him and you? How is he related to you in this birth, in a past birth and in a future birth? Small grains of sand come together and then drift apart because of the force of the flow. Like that, because of time, embodied beings come together and are separated. From seeds, crops may result, or they may not result. In that way, urged by the lord’s maya, living beings may, or may not, create other living beings. We, you, and all mobile and immobile objects that exist with us at this point in time, were not like this before this birth, and nor will they be like this after death. This is only occurring in the present. The lord of beings creates and destroys beings through other beings. They are created by him and are not independent. Like a child, he creates them, without being interested. O king! The body of an embodied being is created from one body through another body, 573 just as seeds result from other seeds. What is inside the body 574 is eternal. Since ancient times, those who are without discrimination have not been able to distinguish the body from the one who is inside the body. This is exactly the way classes, individuals and other divisions have been created for objects.” King Chitraketu was thus comforted by the words of the brahmanas. His face was wan. He wiped it with his hand and spoke. The king asked, “Who are you? You are full of knowledge and are the greatest of the greatest. You have come here, disguising yourself as avadhutas. Brahmanas who are loved by the illustrious one roam around on earth, as they desire, often in the forms of those who are mad. This is to instruct those like me, who are ordinary and obsessed by the senses. Kumara, 575 Narada, Ribhu, Angiras, Devala, Asita, Apantaratama, Vyasa, Markandeya, Goutama, Vasishtha, the illustrious Rama, 576 Kapila, Badarayana’s son, Durvasa, Yajnavalkya, Jatukarnya, Aruni, Romasha, Chyavana, Datta, Asuri, Patanjali, the rishi Vedashira, the sage Bodhya, Panchashira, Hiranyanabha, Koushalya, Shrutadeva, Ritadhvaja—these and other lords of success roam around for the sake of imparting knowledge. I am as foolish in my intelligence as a village animal. Therefore, you are my lords. I am immersed in blinding darkness. Please ignite me with the lamp of knowledge.” Angiras replied, “O king! I am Angiras. When you desired a son, I am the one who gave you a son. This is Brahma’s son, the illustrious rishi Narada himself. Because of sorrow on account of your son, you are immersed in this darkness here and find it extremely difficult to cross. This is not deserving of you. Remember that you had approached the great being. O lord! The two of us have arrived here to show you our favours. You are devoted to brahmanas and to the illustrious one. You should not lament in this way. When I arrived in your house, I could have granted you supreme knowledge. However, knowing that your mind was on something else, I gave you a son. You have thus experienced the torments of those who have sons. The wife, the home, wealth and many kinds of prosperity and opulence are also like that. So are different kinds of sound. Objects of the senses and the power that comes with the kingdom are fickle, as are the earth, the kingdom, the army, the treasury, servants, advisers and well-wishers. O Shurasena! All of them are afflicted by grief, confusion and fear. These are like the cities of gandharvas in the sky, as illusory as wishes satisfied in dreams. What can be seen is without substance. What cannot be seen is also a creation of the mind. If one thinks about the fruits of action, many kinds of action are generated from the mind. This body of embodied beings consists of gross elements and the organs of sense and action. This is said to be the reason why embodied beings suffer from many kinds of hardships and torment. Therefore, be assured in your mind and consider the progress of the atman. Give up this belief in duality and do not regard this world as permanent. Take refuge in serenity.” Narada said, “Control yourself and accept this mantropanishad 577 from me. If you meditate on this for seven nights, you will see lord Samkarshana. O Indra among kings! In earlier times, obtaining the refuge of his feet, Sharva 578 and the others instantly gave up this notion of duality and obtained his unmatched and unsurpassed glory. Within a short period of time, you will also obtain the supreme.”’Chapter 6(16)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Then the devarshi showed the king’s dead son to the grieving relatives. 579 Narada said, “O jivatman! May you be fortunate. Behold your mother, father, well-wishers and relatives. On your account, they are tormented severely by grief. Since some lifespan is left for you, enter this body of yours. Surrounded by your well-wishers, enjoy the objects of pleasure given to you by your father and be seated on the royal throne.” The jivatman replied, “Because of my karma, while I was roaming around in births as gods, humans and inferior species, in which of these lives were they my father and mother? Everyone is gradually related to everyone else as a friend, relative, enemy, a neutral person, an indifferent person, or as an adversary. Here and there, as objects of trade, gold and other objects move around among men. In that way, a jivatman moves from one species to another. Among men, relationships based on material objects are always seen to be temporary. The sense of ownership only exists as long as that relationship lasts. The jivatman also enters a womb in that way, though it is eternal and without any ahamkara. As long as it exists in some form, the sense of the self also exists for that period of time. The atman is eternal and without decay. It is self-illuminating and subtle, resorting to different abodes. The lord himself creates the universe with the gunas of his own maya. For the atman, nothing is agreeable or disagreeable. There is nothing that is its own, nor anything that belongs to someone else. It is the single witness of the good and bad deeds that doers with different kinds of intelligence do. The atman does not accept the good or the bad, or the fruits of deeds. It is inside and is indifferent. It is the lord that witnesses both cause and effect.” Having said this, the jivatman departed. The relatives were filled with wonder and severing the shackles of affection, freed themselves from the grief. The relatives removed their relative’s dead body and performed the appropriate funeral rites. Afflicted by grief, confusion and fear, they cast aside their affection, which is so difficult to get rid of. Those who had slain the child were ashamed. Because of the killing of the child, they lost their splendour. As determined by the brahmanas, they performed the atonement vows for the killing of a child. O great king! On the banks of the Yamuna, they remembered what the brahmana told them. 580

‘Because of the words of the brahmanas, 581 Chitraketu’s knowledge was thus awakened. He emerged from the state of being a householder, which was like a dark pit, like an elephant emerging from a lake full of mud. In the proper way, he bathed in the waters of the Kalindi 582 and performed the sacred water rites. Controlling his breath of life, he silently worshipped Brahma’s two sons. 583 Controlling himself, he sought their refuge as a devotee. Delighted, the illustrious Narada spoke to him about the knowledge. 584 “Oum! I bow down before the illustrious one. We meditate on Vasudeva. We bow down to Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Samkarshana. I bow down before the one who is the full measure of knowledge, whose form is full of supreme bliss. He is the one who is delighted with his own atman. He is the tranquil one. He is the one whose vision withdraws from duality. I bow down before the one who realizes the delight of his own atman. He is the one who has kept away the waves. 585 I bow down before the great Hrishikesha, whose form is infinite. He is the single one who cannot be attained through words and the mind. He has no name or form and is consciousness alone. He is the cause behind all causes. May he protect us. He is the one from whom everything is created, preserved and destroyed. Objects made out of earth dissolve into the earth. 586 We bow down before the brahman. Nothing can touch him. The mind, intelligence, the senses and the breath of life cannot know him. Like the sky, he expands inside and outside. I bow down before him. When they are charged by his portions, the body, the senses, the breath of life, the mind and the intelligence move and undertake deeds. At other times, they are like iron that has not been heated. In different kinds of situations, he is known as the witness. Oum! I bow down before the illustrious and great being, the supreme person who is the lord of great powers. Among a multitude of great devotees, only a few can cup their hands, which are like the buds of lotuses, and worship and serve his lotus feet. I bow down before the supreme lord.” Narada taught this knowledge to the devotee who had sought refuge with him. After this, along with Angiras, the lord went to Svayambhu’s abode.

‘As had been instructed by Narada, Chitraketu chanted this for one week, controlling himself and subsisting on water. O king! After chanting this mantra without any deviation, at the end of the seventh night, he obtained lordship over the vidyadharas. Within a few days, because of this knowledge, the progress of his mind was restrained and he approached the feet of Shesha, the god of the gods. He was as white as the fibre of a lotus. He was attired in blue garments. His diadem, armlets, belt and bracelets sparkled. His smiling face had red eyes. He saw the lord, surrounded by a circle of lords among the Siddhas. On seeing him, all his sins were destroyed. Assured, and with the sins inside him destroyed, the sage 587 approached the original being, his body hair standing up in delight. His devotion was enhanced and tears of love flowed down from his eyes. He bowed down. Drops of tears of affection repeatedly moistened the spot where Uttamashloka’s lotus feet rested. Obstructed by his affection, the letters 588 could not emerge. For a long period of time, he was unable to praise him. He then used his mind to control his intelligence. Having got his power of speech back, he spoke. He controlled all his senses and restrained them from wandering around outside. He spoke to the preceptor of the universe, the embodied form of all the Satvata texts.

‘Chitraketu said, “O unconquerable one! You have been conquered by virtuous ones who have conquered their atmans and are impartial in their intelligence. And you have conquered those who worship you, desiring nothing for themselves. Because of your great compassion, you bestow yourself. O illustrious one! Indeed, the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe and everything else is a result of your powers. The various creators of the universe are portions of your portions. In vain, they think of themselves as distinct and seek to rival each other. Though you have no beginning, middle and end, you exist in the beginning, middle and end of everything, from a paramanu to the greatest of the great. You are permanent and exist in the beginning, middle and end of all existences. The cosmic egg is covered by seven sheaths, the earth and the others, 589 each sheath ten times the size of the preceding sheath. Crores and crores of such eggs appear like anus on your head. 590 Therefore, you are Ananta. 591 Men who thirst above material objects are animals. They worship divinities other than you. O lord! However, with the destruction of those divinities, those benedictions are also destroyed, just as royal lineages disappear. Your atman is full of knowledge and you are not affected by the gunas. O supreme one! Even if you are worshipped because the intelligence craves for the satisfaction of desires, this becomes like fried seeds. 592 You do not possess the gunas, nor the nets of duality. O unvanquished one! You spoke about the unmatched Bhagavata dharma and vanquished everyone. For the sake of liberation, there are sages who do not desire material objects and find delight in the atman. They worship you through this. Following this, men do not have perverse intelligence and notions like ‘you’, ‘I’, ‘mine’, ‘yours’ and similar things. Those who are perverse in intelligence and impure follow many kinds of adharma that are perishable. If a dharma harms one’s own self and others, what can be achieved through that? What benefit can accrue to one’s own self or to others? If one causes injury to one’s own self and angrily causes harm to others, it is adharma. You spoke about your own vision in Bhagavata dharma and it never fails. Those who worship you, without any sense of differentiation between the large number of mobile and immobile objects, are noble. O illustrious one! On seeing you, it is inevitable that all the sins of men should be destroyed. On hearing your name only once, even someone like a pukkasa 593 is liberated from samsara. O illustrious one! On beholding you, our reservoirs of impurities have been cleansed. How can the words spoken by the divine rishi 594 be rendered false? O Ananta! You know everything that people do in this world. You are the atman of the universe. There is nothing that the supreme preceptor needs to be informed about. That would be like fireflies conveying something to the sun. O illustrious one! I bow down before you. You are the lord behind all creation, preservation and destruction in the universe. You are supremely pure. Bad yogis, who base themselves on duality, find it impossible to comprehend the progress of your atman. All the others breathe when the creator of the universe breathes. They can perceive only when your consciousness perceives. The earth’s globe is like a mustard seed on your head. I bow down before the illustrious one who has one thousand hoods.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘The illustrious Ananta was praised in this way. O extender of the Kuru lineage! Delighted, he spoke to Chitraketu, the lord of the vidyadharas.

‘The illustrious one said, “Narada and Angiras instructed you by imparting knowledge to you. O king! Using that, you have become successful and have seen me. I am in all living beings. I am in the atmans of all living beings. I am the creator of all living beings. I am the sound of the supreme brahman and both Brahma and the brahman are my eternal bodies. The worlds expand in the atman and the atman is spread throughout the worlds. I pervade them both and I am the cause behind both of them. When a man is in deep sleep, he sees the universe within his own self. When he wakes up from his sleep, he finds that he is alone in some specific place. In that way, know that the state of wakefulness for the jivatman is only maya that results from the paramatman, which should be remembered as the witness. When a man is asleep, it is the atman that he regards as his own self. Know me to be the bliss that is the nirguna brahman. Know me to be the atman. A man should remember both types of consciousness, that when asleep and that when awake. That is knowledge of the supreme brahman, which pervades both of them and extends beyond. When a man forgets my real nature, he thinks of himself as different from the atman. He then roams around in samsara, from one body to another body and from one death to another death. If a person has obtained birth as a human being in this world, where acquiring of both jnana and vijnana is possible and does not still realize the atman, he can never find peace. In this world, he should remember the great hardships when the fruits of deeds are contrary. 595 A wise person’s resolution turns towards withdrawal from the fruits. 596 That is the way one can attain fearlessness. A couple undertakes rites so that there is happiness and freedom from unhappiness. However, happiness does not result through this path. Nor is there a cessation of unhappiness. Men who pride themselves on being learned understand the nature of these perverse results and realizing the subtle nature of the atman, transcend the three states. 597 Through direct perception, on the basis of instructions and using their own energy, they are freed from material objects. Satisfied with jnana and vijnana, a man should be devoted to me. In this way, men who are auspicious in their intelligence use yoga to achieve what is good for them. They use all possible means to know the supreme atman. O king! Without any distraction, if you devotedly accept my words, you will possess jnana and vijnana and, nurturing these, swiftly achieve success.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The illustrious one, the preceptor of the universe, comforted Chitraketu in this way. While he looked on, Hari, the atman of the universe, instantly vanished from the spot.’Chapter 6(17)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The vidyadhara, Chitraketu, bowed down in the direction in which Ananta had disappeared. He then started to travel through the sky. The great yogi was praised by sages, Siddhas and charanas and his strength and senses were unimpeded. He travelled for a thousand million years in the valley of the Indra among kulachalas, 598 the place which satisfies all the wishes of the Siddhas. He sported himself and made the vidyadhara women chant the praise of lord Hari. Once, he was travelling on a radiant vimana given to him by Vishnu. He saw Girisha, surrounded by Siddhas and charanas. In the presence of the sages, he was embracing the goddess, who was seated on his lap. In the hearing of the goddess, he approached close and laughed and spoke. Chitraketu said, “This is the preceptor of the worlds. For all embodied beings, he is the one who himself speaks about dharma. In the forefront of the assembly, he is coupled with his wife. He has matted hair and performs fierce austerities. He is the lord of an assembly of people who speak about the brahman. But like a shameless and ordinary person, he has his wife on his lap. In general, even ordinary people embrace their wives in private. However, this one follows great vows and embraces a woman in an assembly.” O king! Hearing this, the illustrious one, unfathomable in his intelligence, smiled. But he was silent, as were all his followers in that assembly. He 599 did not know about his valour and spoke in this way, words that were extremely inappropriate. Proud that he had been able to control his atman, he was shameless.

‘The goddess, Parvati, angrily spoke. “How has this person now become the controller, lord and chastiser of the worlds? Can he restrain wicked and shameless people like us? The one born from the lotus 600 does not know about dharma. Nor do Brahma’s sons, Bhrigu, Narada and the others. Nor do the Kumaras, 601 Kapila and Manu. They have not restrained Hara, the transgressor. He 602 is the preceptor of the universe and his lotus feet are meditated upon. He is himself the most auspicious among the auspicious. Yet, this kshatra-bandhu 603 transgresses the gods. Therefore, this insolent one deserves to be punished and must be chastised. He does not deserve to approach Vaikuntha’s feet, which is worshipped by virtuous people. His intelligence is insolent. O evil-minded one! Go and take birth in the wicked species of asuras. O son! You will then no longer cause any offence to great people.” Thus cursed, Chitraketu descended from his vimana. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! He bowed his head down and propitiated Sati. 604 Chitraketu said, “O Ambika! I join my hands in salutation and accept your curse. Everything that the gods say about a mortal person has already been determined by destiny. Confounded by ignorance, a living being roams around in the cycle of samsara. Everywhere, he always experiences both happiness and unhappiness. He, or someone else, is not the cause behind happiness and unhappiness. In this case, he ignorantly takes himself, or someone else to be the doer. In this flow of gunas, what is a curse and what is a favour? What is heaven and what is hell? What is happiness and what is unhappiness? Through his own maya, the illustrious one alone creates all beings. For him, this bondage, liberation, happiness and unhappiness are all pointless. There is no one whom he loves or hates. He has no relatives or friends. There is no one who is his own. Nor is there anyone who is not his own. He is impartial towards everyone and indifferent. He experiences neither happiness, nor attachment. How can he be enraged? Nevertheless, he uses his powers to create all these embodied beings for the sake of happiness, unhappiness, well-being, misfortune, bondage, liberation, birth and death, envisaging the cycle of samsara. O wrathful one! I will not seek your favours for the sake of being freed from the curse. O Sati! However, pardon me for what you have taken to be inappropriate speech.” O destroyer of enemies! Thus, Chitraketu pleased the two Girishas. 605 While they were surprised and looked on, he left on his own vimana.

‘While the celestial rishis, daityas, Siddhas and attendants heard, the illustrious Rudra spoke to Rudrani. 606 Rudra said, “O one with the excellent hips! You have witnessed the greatness of those who are the servants of the servants of Hari, the one who is extraordinary in deeds. Those great-souled ones are without desire. All of them are devoted to Narayana and are never frightened. They look upon heaven, hell and liberation as being equal. Because of the lord’s pastimes, those who have bodies come into contact with bodies and experience the opposite sentiments—happiness and unhappiness, birth and death, curse and boon. A person who does not have a sense of discrimination himself creates these kinds of differentiation. Differences of good and bad are imagined and created, just as a garland is fashioned. When men possess devotion towards the illustrious Vasudeva, because of the strength of knowledge and detachment, nothing is no longer desired or sought after. I, Virinchi, Kumara, 607 Narada, Brahma’s sons, the sages and the lords of the gods do not know a part of the parts of what his intentions are. Those who pride themselves on being separate lords do not know his true form. There is nothing that he likes, there is nothing that he does not like. There is no one who is his own. There is no one who is not his own. His atman is in all living beings. Hari loves all living beings. The immensely fortunate Chitraketu is his beloved follower. Achyuta looks upon everyone impartially. He is tranquil. He 608 is loved by him and so am I. Therefore, I do not wonder at what such great-souled persons do. Those who are devoted to the great being are serene and impartial towards everyone.” O king! Having heard what the illustrious Shiva said, the goddess lost her sense of wonder and became tranquil. The illustrious one’s devotee 609 was capable of cursing the goddess back. However, following the traits of a virtuous person, he did not do so and accepted her curse on his head. He accepted birth as a danava and was born from Tvashta’s dakshinagni fire. He possessed jnana and vijnana and was famous as Vritra. I have thus told you everything that you had asked me about. I have also described how Vritra, whose mind was on the illustrious one, was born as an asura. This is the sacred history of the great-souled Chitraketu. If a person hears about this greatness of Vishnu’s devotees, he is freed from bondage. If a person gets up in the morning and faithfully recites this history, remembering Hari, he obtains the supreme destination.’Chapter 6(18)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Prishni, Savita’s wife, had three daughters—Savitri, Vyahriti and Trayi. Her sons were Agnihotra, Pashu, Soma, Chaturmasya and the great sacrifices. 610 O dear one! Siddhi, Bhaga’s wife, had the sons Mahiman, Vibhu and Prabhu. She also gave birth to a beautiful daughter who was firm in her vows. Her name was Ashis. From among Dhatri’s wives, progressively, Kuhu gave birth to Sayam, Sinivali gave birth to Darsha, Raka gave birth to Prata and Anumati gave birth to Purnamasa. 611 Through Kriya, Samantara had the fire gods known as Purishyas. 612 Through Charshani, Bhrigu was born again as Varuna’s son. 613 The great yogi, Valmiki, was born through a termite hill. 614 The two rishis, Agastya and Vasishtha, were the sons of Mitra and Varuna. When they saw Urvashi, they swiftly deposited their semen in a pot. 615 Through Revati, Mitra had the sons Utsarga, Arishta and Pippala. O son! We have heard that through Poulami, the lord Indra had three sons—Jayanta, Rishabha and Midhusha as the third. Using his maya, the god Urukrama assumed the form of a dwarf. Through his wife, Kirti, he had a son named Brihacchloka, who in turn, had sons, Soubhaga and the others. I will later describe how this great-souled son of Kashyapa descended as Aditi’s son and his deeds, qualities and valour. 616

‘I will now recount Kashyapa’s sons through Diti. Among them were the prosperous devotees of the illustrious one, Prahlada and Bali. Diti had two sons who were worshipped by daityas and danavas. Their names are famous as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu’s daughter was the danava lady named Kayadhu. She was Jambha’s daughter and gave birth to four sons—Samhlada as the eldest, Anuhlada, Hlada and Prahlada. Their sister was named Simhika. She married Viprachitti and had a son named Rahu. While he was drinking the amrita, Hari severed his head with his chakra. Kriti, Samhlada’s wife, had Panchajana as a son. Dhamani, Hlada’s wife, had Vatapi and Ilvala as her sons. To serve Agastya as a guest, it was Ilvala who cooked Vatapi. Through Surmya, Anuhlada had the sons Bashkala and Mahisha. Prahlada’s son was Virochana. Through Devi, Virochana had a son named Bali. Through Ashana, Bali had one hundred sons and Bana was the eldest. Through excellent shlokas, we will later describe his praiseworthy character. 617 Bana worshipped Girisha and became the chief among his attendants. Even now, the illustrious one 618 is still by his side and is the protector of his city. The forty-nine Maruts were the sons of Diti. All of them were without offspring. Indra took them and made them his own.’

The king asked, ‘O preceptor! Their nature was that of asuras and that is how they were born. How did Indra accept them and make them his own? Did they perform any auspicious deeds? I, and all the brahmana rishis, are eager to know about this. O illustrious one! You should explain it to us.’

Suta said, ‘O Shounaka! Badarayana’s son heard Vishnurata’s words. They were brief, but full of meaning. The omniscient one praised them and delighted in his mind, addressed him in this way.’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘To help Shakra, Vishnu killed Diti’s sons. 619 She blazed in grief and rage. Inflamed, she started to think. “The hard-hearted one 620 is addicted to his senses and is wicked. He has slain his brothers. 621 After having brought about his death, how will I lie down in peace? This body, known as a lord, is also known as worms, excrement and ashes. 622 He has caused injury to beings. He does not know what is good for him and will go to hell. He is foolish in intelligence and thinks of this body as permanent. I must certainly have a son who will dry up Indra’s insolence.” With these sentiments, she constantly did what would bring her husband pleasure. With humility, self-control and love, she served him. O king! Knowing his mind, she charmed his mind with great devotion, sweet words, smiles and sidelong glances. Though he was learned and in control of his mind, he was thus enchanted by a woman. This is the wonderful nature of women. Unable to resist, he agreed to what she said. At the beginning of creation, Prajapati saw that beings were not attached. From one half of his own body, he created women, so that the intelligence of men could be taken away. O son! The illustrious Kashyapa was thus served by the woman. Extremely happy, he smiled and, applauding Diti, spoke these words. Kashyapa said, “O one with the beautiful thighs! I am pleased with you. O unblemished one! Ask for a boon. When a husband is extremely delighted with his wife, what desire cannot be accomplished in this world or the next? It has been said that the husband is the supreme divinity for a woman. Vasudeva is Shri’s husband and is in the minds of all creatures. His signs of divinity are thought of in many names and forms, and men worship the illustrious one through these. However, women worship him in the forms of their husbands. O one with the excellent waist! Therefore, women who desire their own well-being are devoted to their husbands. With single-minded attention, they worship their husbands, since they are the lord’s forms. O fortunate one! I have been faithfully worshipped by you with that kind of sentiment. I will hence accomplish your desire, which is extremely difficult for unchaste women to obtain.” Diti replied, “O brahmana! If you wish to grant me a boon, I want a son who will kill Indra and will be immortal. He has killed my sons and I am a lady whose sons have been slain.” Hearing her words, the brahmana was distressed and lamented. “Alas! A great adharma has presented itself before me today. Alas! I have become addicted to the gratification of the senses, to this world and to the charms of a woman. That has robbed me of my senses. Wretched that I am, I will certainly descend into hell. In this world, women follow their own nature and she has committed no crime. Shame on me. I do not know what is good for me. I have not been able to conquer my senses. A woman’s face is like a blooming autumn lotus. Her words are like nectar to the ear. But her heart is as sharp as a razor. Who knows what she is trying to do? No one is loved by a woman. But to accomplish her own wishes, she will easily pretend that. She can kill her husband, her son or her brother, or cause them to be killed. But I have given her my word and my words should not be false. Indra should not be killed. Therefore, I must think of an appropriate means.” O descendant of the Kuru lineage! Marichi’s illustrious son thought in this way. Slightly angry with himself and condemning himself, he spoke.

‘Kashyapa said, “O fortunate one! You will have a son and he will be a friend to those who are not gods. However, you will have to properly undertake a vow for one year.”

‘Diti replied, “O brahmana! I will observe the vow. Tell me what I must do. What is prohibited? What results in the vow being broken?”

‘Kashyapa said, “You must not cause injury to any being. You will not curse. Nor will you utter a falsehood. You will not pare your nails or cut your hair. You will not touch anything that is impure. You must not bathe by entering the water. You will not be angry. You will not speak with wicked people. You will not wear unwashed garments. You will never wear a garland that has been worn earlier. You will not eat leftovers. You will not eat food offered to the goddess Chandika. You will not eat meat, or food that has been brought by a vrishala. You will not eat food that has been seen by a woman in her menstrual period. You will not drink water from your cupped hands. After eating, you must rinse your mouth with water. When it is evening, your hair must not be loose. You will not go out without wearing ornaments, or without covering yourself. You will be restrained in speech. Without washing your feet, you will not sleep. You will not sleep with your feet wet. You will not lie down with your head facing the north or the west. You will not lie down with others, naked, or during the two sandhyas. You will always wear washed garments and be pure. Before breakfast, with all the auspicious objects, you must worship cattle, brahmanas, Shri and Achyuta. With garlands, fragrances, offerings and ornaments, you will worship women who have sons and husbands who are alive. You must serve and worship your husband and meditate that it is he who is in your womb. In this way, without any deviation, you must observe the pumsavana 623 vow for one year. If you can sustain this, you will have a son who will kill Shakra.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘O king! The great-minded Diti agreed to this. She conceived through Kashyapa and started to rigidly observe the vow. O one who grants honours! Indra got to know what his mother’s sister intended. The wise one went to Diti’s hermitage and started to tend to her. From time to time, he always brought her flowers, fruits, roots, kindling, kusha grass, leaves, sprouts, earth and water from the forest. O king! She was observing her vow and Hari 624 sought for a violation of the vow. Searching, he served her deceitfully, like a hunter of deer disguised in the form of deer. O lord of the earth! However, though he was intent, he could not detect any weaknesses. Shakra was overcome by deep thoughts. “How can I ensure my well-being?” Once, during the evening, she was exhausted from having observed the vow and was confounded by destiny. After eating, she went to sleep without having rinsed her mouth and without having washed her feet with water. When she was unconscious and asleep, Shakra detected the opportunity. He was a lord of yoga. Using yoga maya, he entered Diti’s womb. Using his vajra, he severed the foetus, which had the complexion of gold, into seven parts. When it repeatedly cried, he said, “Do not cry,” and sliced each of the fragments into seven pieces each. O king! While they were being struck, all of them joined their hands in salutation and said, “O Indra! Why are you killing us? We are your brothers, the Maruts.” 625 Koushika 626 saw that the large number of Maruts were devoted to him. He replied, “O brothers! Do not be scared. You will be with me.” He made them his companions. Because of Shrinivasa’s 627 compassion, the foetus in Diti’s womb didn’t die, though it was sliced into many bits by the vajra weapon, just as you were saved from the weapon of Drona’s son. Diti worshipped Hari for a little less than a year. If a man worships the original being even once, he goes to a place where he has the same form as the illustrious one. Together with Indra, the Maruts became fifty gods. 628 Hari removed their maternal taint and gave them a right to drink soma. When she arose, 629 Diti saw those sons, who were like the sun in their radiance. They were with Indra and the unblemished lady was satisfied. She told Indra, “O son! I performed this extremely difficult vow because I desired a son whom the Adityas would find to be terrible. I wished to have one son. How have I got forty-nine? O son! If you know the truth, tell me. Do not lie.” Indra replied, “O mother! Discerning your intention, I approached you. I disregarded dharma and pursued what was good for me. I sought for a weakness and, finding it, I severed the foetus. I severed the foetus into seven parts and they became seven sons. I severed each of these into seven more parts, but they did not die. Having witnessed this extraordinary event, I came to the conclusion that this secondary success must have come about through worshipping the great being. 630 Those who worship the illustrious one without desiring any objective in this world, or wishing for something in the next world, are said to be accomplished in pursuing what is best for them. The divinity who is the lord of the universe is part of one’s own atman and bestows his own atman. After worshipping him, which learned person will wish to be touched by the gunas? Those are also available in hell. O great lady! I committed this wicked act out of foolishness. O mother! You should pardon me. It is good fortune that the dead foetus has come back to life.” She was satisfied with Indra’s pure sentiments and gave him permission to leave. Taking the Maruts with him, the lord went to heaven. I have thus told you everything that you had asked me about, including the auspicious birth of the Maruts. What else shall I tell you?’Chapter 6(19)

The king asked, ‘O brahmana! You have spoken about the pumsavana vow, through which, Vishnu is pleased. I wish to know about it.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘With the permission of her husband, a woman must start this vow on the first day of shukla paksha in the month of Margashirsa. 631 It yields all the objects of desire. She must hear about the birth of the Maruts and invite brahmanas. She must bathe and clean her teeth, attiring herself in two white pieces of garment thereafter. She must adorn herself with ornaments. Before breakfast, she must worship the illustrious one and Shri. “O one who expects nothing! O one who has accomplished all his desires! I bow down before you. You are the lord of all the great opulence. I bow down before the one who has accomplished all objectives. O lord! You possess the qualities of compassion, power, energy, greatness, and everything else. You are the illustrious lord. O Vishnu’s wife! You possess great maya. You possess the signs of a great being. O immensely fortunate one! Please be pleased with me. O mother of the worlds! I bow down before you. Oum! I bow down before the illustrious great being who is great in his sentiments. O husband of the one with great opulence! O one with great opulence! I am rendering you these offerings.” Every day, controlling oneself, Vishnu must be invoked with this mantra and with arghya, padya, water, bath, garments, the sacred thread, ornaments, fragrances, flowers, incense, lamps, food and other such objects. 632 Whatever is left of the offerings must be offered as oblations into the fire twelve times, with the mantra, “Oum! I bow down before the illustrious and great being, the lord of great opulence. Svaha.” 633 If one desires boons and benedictions and all kinds of prosperity, one must always devotedly worship the two divinities, Shri and Vishnu. Humble in intelligence, she must prostrate herself on the ground, like a rod. Thereafter, she must chant this mantra ten times. “You are the lords of the entire universe and the supreme cause behind the universe. This is subtle Prakriti and the power of her maya is extremely difficult to overcome. You are yourself her lord and the supreme being. You are all the sacrifices, while she is the act of sacrificing. You are the one who enjoys the fruits. This goddess is the manifestation of the gunas, while you cause that manifestation and enjoy the gunas. You are the atman in all living bodies. Shri is the body, the senses and the mind. The illustrious one 634 represents the names and forms, while you are their support and cause their manifestation. You two are the supreme lords and the granters of boons in the three worlds. O Uttamashloka! Therefore, let my great desires be successful.” Along with Shri, Shrinivasa, the granter of boons, must thus be worshipped. Thereafter, having removed the objects of worship, she must worship again with offerings of water. 635 With a humble mind, she must devotedly worship, using the stotram 636 mentioned. Having inhaled what is left of what was offered into the fire, she must worship Hari again. With great devotion in her mind, she must worship her husband as an aspect of the great being. Her own husband, who is loving towards her, will lovingly help in all the rites undertaken by his wife, great or small. From the couple, it is sufficient if one person undertakes the worship. If the wife is unable, 637 the husband must control himself and undertake it. When one is undertaking this vow to Vishnu, one must never break it. Every day, with devotion, she must worship brahmanas and women who have surviving husbands and sons, with garlands, fragrances, offerings and ornaments. She must also adhere to the rituals and worship the god. Thereafter, after requesting the god to leave for his abode, she must eat what had been offered to him earlier, for the sake of her purification and prosperity and the accomplishment of all desires. This mode of worship must be followed for a period of twelve months. After one year has passed, the virtuous lady must fast on the last day in the month of Kartika. 638 When it is the morning of the next day, she must touch water and as earlier, worship Krishna. According to the ordinances of paka-yajna, 639 boiled milk must be mixed with charu and ghee and the husband must offer this, twelve times, into the fire. Thereafter, he must bow his head down before the brahmanas and accept the benedictions they happily pronounce. With their permission, he must faithfully eat. Controlled in his speech, he must feed the preceptor and his relatives. After that, for the sake of excellent offspring and excellent fortune, the wife will eat what is left of the charu. If a man follows this vow in the proper way, he obtains everything that he desires from the lord. A woman receives good fortune, prosperity, offspring, a long life for her husband, fame and a house. A maiden who does not have a husband obtains a husband with all the signs and a destination that is free of sin. A woman whose sons have died obtains sons who will remain alive. She also becomes the mistress of riches. An extremely unfortunate woman obtains good fortune. One without beauty obtains great beauty. A diseased person becomes free of disease, obtaining health and a full complement of senses in the body. If one recites this when auspicious acts are undertaken, the gods and the ancestors are satisfied. When the oblations are over, if they are satisfied, the fire god, Shri and Hari confer all the objects of desire. O king! This is the great and auspicious account of the birth of the Maruts and Diti’s vow. I have described it to you.’

This ends the Sixth Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Seventh Skandha

Chapter 7(1): 47 shlokas

Chapter 7(2): 63 shlokas

Chapter 7(3): 38 shlokas

Chapter 7(4): 46 shlokas

Chapter 7(5): 57 shlokas

Chapter 7(6): 30 shlokas

Chapter 7(7): 55 shlokas

Chapter 7(8): 56 shlokas

Chapter 7(9): 55 shlokas

Chapter 7(10): 71 shlokas

Chapter 7(11): 35 shlokas

Chapter 7(12): 31 shlokas

Chapter 7(13): 46 shlokas

Chapter 7(14): 42 shlokas

Chapter 7(15): 80 shlokasChapter 7(1)

The king asked, ‘The illustrious one is himself impartial in his love and is fraternal towards all creatures. For Indra’s sake, why was he partial, killing the daityas? In his atman, he is himself all that is beneficial and should not accomplish the task of the large number of gods alone. Nor should he harbour enmity towards the asuras. He is without gunas and does not suffer from any anxiety. O extremely fortunate one! Therefore, a great doubt has arisen in me about Narayana’s attributes and you should dispel it.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘O great king! You have asked a good question about Hari’s wonderful conduct. The glory of the illustrious one enhances devotion towards the illustrious one. His supreme account is chanted about by Narada and the other rishis. After bowing down before the sage Krishna, 640 I will tell you about Hari’s account. He is without gunas and without a beginning. He is not manifest. The illustrious one is superior to Prakriti. Using his own maya, he enters the gunas and causes obstructions against those who cause obstructions. 641 Sattva, rajas and tamas are the attributes of Prakriti and not of the atman. O king! There is no simultaneous increase or decrease in them. According to the guna appropriate for the time, when sattva dominates, the gods and the rishis triumph. When it is rajas, the asuras do so. When it is tamas, the yakshas and the rakshasas do so. The aggregate of fire and the other elements appear as distinct. However, wise and perceptive ones know him as the atman that is within their own atmans. 642 When the supreme atman desires to create bodies, he uses his own maya to create rajas and makes it act. Desiring to act, the lord creates sattva in different forms. When he wishes to withdraw, he creates tamas. O god among men! The lord is the refuge of time. He creates it and makes it move. He is the foremost being and ensures that truth is followed. O king! When sattva dominates, the lord of time indeed seems to be favourable towards the armies of the gods. He loves the gods. Therefore, the one who is extensive in fame destroys the counter armies of the asuras, since rajas and tamas predominate in them. In this connection, the divine rishi 643 happily recited an ancient account, when he was asked by Ajatashatru at the great sacrifice. 644 At that great royal sacrifice, the king witnessed the marvellous incident of the lord of Chedi merging into the body of the illustrious Vasudeva. 645 The divine rishi was seated there, at the sacrifice. The king who was Pandu’s son was surprised in his mind. Therefore, in the presence of all the sages, he asked.

‘Yudhishthira asked, “This is extremely wonderful and is something that even those who are single-minded in devotion find impossible to achieve. The lord of Chedi hated him. Yet, he merged into Vasudeva’s true nature. O sage! All of us desire to know about this. Vena reviled the illustrious one and was brought down by the brahmanas. 646 Even when he was an infant with faltering words, Damaghosha’s son was wicked. 647 Even now, he was intolerant towards Govinda and so was the evil-minded Dantavakra. 648 Both of them repeatedly abused Vishnu, the supreme and undecaying brahman. Why did white leprosy not appear on their tongues? Why did they not become blind and plunge into darkness? While all the worlds looked on, how were they easily absorbed into the refuge that is the illustrious one? This is something that is extremely difficult to obtain. My intelligence is flickering on this account, like a lamp before the wind. O illustrious one! Tell me the reason behind this extraordinary incident.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The illustrious rishi, Narada, heard the king’s words. Pleased, he spoke to him and also made everyone in the assembly hear the account.

‘Narada replied, “O king! Censure and praise and honour and dishonour are for this body. Those without discrimination have thought of this difference between Purusha and Prakriti. O lord of the earth! Violence, pride, punishment and harsh words are misconceptions experienced by beings, because of notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. As long as one is bound to misconceptions, the destruction of the body is identified with the destruction of the one who resides in it. That is not true of those who have a conception of the absolute, the atman who resides everywhere. He is the supreme chastiser, who punishes because chastisement is due, not because he likes violence. Therefore, whether it is because of firm enmity, devotion, fear, affection or desire, as long as one somehow engages with him, he does not treat these differentially. Through firm enmity, a mortal person can become immersed in him, even more than one can through bhakti yoga. That is my considered view. A worm may be confined inside a hole in a wall by a wasp. 649 Because of the fear and rage, it thinks about it and assumes that form. 650 The illustrious lord uses his maya to appear in human form as Krishna. Driven by enmity, they think of him and cleanse their souls. They are many whose minds have been absorbed in the lord because of desire, hatred, fear, love and devotion. They gave up their sins and attained that destination. O lord! The gopis 651 did it through desire, Kamsa through fear, the lord of Chedi and other kings through hatred, the Vrishnis through affection and you 652 through devotion. Vena was attached to Purusha through any of these five means. Therefore, through whatever means, the mind must be immersed in Krishna. O Pandava! The lord of Chedi and Dantavakra were the sons of your mother’s sisters. 653 They were the foremost among Vishnu’s attendants. However, they were dislodged from that position because of the curse of brahmanas.”

‘Yudhishthira asked, “How did this happen? Whose curse could affect Hari’s servants? It seems to be inconceivable that those close to Hari should be born in this way. Those who reside in Vaikuntha’s city are devoid of the body, the senses and the breath of life. You should explain how they came to be bound in an association with the body.”

‘Narada replied, “Once upon a time, Brahma’s sons, Sanandana and the others, were roaming around the three worlds, as they pleased, and went to Vishnu’s world. They had been born before the elders. 654 However, their appearance was like children who were five or six years old. They were naked. Taking them to be children, the two gatekeepers 655 prevented their entry. Angry, they cursed, ‘The two of you do not deserve to reside here. The feet of Madhu’s enemy 656 are free of rajas and tamas. But you are foolish. Therefore, quickly go and assume the wicked species of asuras.’ Thus cursed, they started to fall down from their own abodes. However, those compassionate ones 657 said, ‘You will again return to your world after three births.’ Those two were born as Diti’s sons and were revered by daityas and danavas. Hiranyakashipu was older and Hiranyaksha was younger. In his narasimha form, 658 Hari killed Hiranyakashipu. Assuming the form of a boar, he raised the earth and killed Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu’s son, Prahlada, loved Keshava. Desiring to kill him, he 659 thought of many different kinds of death and injury. But he was serene and impartial, realizing that his atman existed in all creatures. Since he was touched by the illustrious one’s energy, all these efforts could not kill him. Thereafter, these two were born as the sons of Vishrava and Keshini. These two, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, tormented all the worlds. O lord! To free them from the curse, he 660 was born in the form of Raghava. You will hear about Rama’s valour from Markandeya’s lips. Thereafter, these two were born as kshatriyas, the sons of your mother’s sisters. Slain by Krishna’s chakra, they have now been freed from the curse. They were bound by fierce enmity and thought of Achyuta’s glory. They have now again been conveyed to Hari’s side and have become Vishnu’s attendants.”

‘Yudhishthira asked, “How did he 661 come to hate his beloved and great-souled son? O illustrious one! Also tell me about Prahlada’s devotion to Achyuta.”’Chapter 7(2)

‘Narada said, “O king! When Hari adopted the form of a boar and killed his brother, Hiranyakashipu grieved and was tormented by rage. He bit his lips in anger. With his eyes blazing in wrath, he looked at the sky, which seemed to be full of smoke. His teeth were terrible and his glance was fierce. His eyebrows were furrowed and his face was impossible to look at. In an assembly of danavas, he raised his trident and spoke these words. ‘O danavas and daityas! O Dvimurdha! 662 O three-eyed Shambara! O Shatabahu! 663 O Hayagriva! 664 O Namuchi! O Paka! O Ilvala! O Viprachitti! O Puloma! O Shakuna and the others! Listen to my words. After that, all of you swiftly do what has to be done. Do not delay. My beloved well-wisher and brother has been slain by inferior enemies. 665 Though Hari should be impartial, he has taken the side of those who worship him. He has given up his own nature and has used his contemptible maya to assume the form of a resident of the forest. 666 Like a child, he has favoured those who worship him. He has been fickle. I will sever his neck with my trident and make copious quantities of blood flow, so that I can satisfy my brother, who thirsted after blood. My distress will also be relieved. The residents of heaven owe their life to Vishnu. When that deceitful and harmful one has been destroyed, it will be as if the root of a tree has been severed and the branches will dry up. While I do this, all of you go to earth, rendered prosperous by the brahmanas and the kshatriyas. Destroy those engaged in austerities, sacrifices, studies, vows and donations. Vishnu’s foundations are based on the rites performed by brahmanas. That being is based on sacrifices and dharma. He is the refuge for the gods, the rishis, the ancestors, beings and dharma. Go to the habitations where there are brahmanas, cattle, the Vedas and the rites of varnas and ashramas. Burn those down and cut down the trees.’ Thus instructed by their master, they lowered their heads and accepted the command. Delighted at the prospect of carnage, they created devastation among the subjects. They burnt down cities, villages, pastures, groves, fields, pleasure grounds, hermitages, mines, settlements of farmers, settlements in the foothills and settlements of cowherds. Some used digging implements to shatter bridges, ramparts and the gates of cities. Some wielded axes in their hands and severed trees that provided means of subsistence. Others used blazing torches to burn down the homes of subjects. Thus, the followers of the Indra among daityas repeatedly persecuted the worlds. The gods abandoned heaven and unnoticed, began to roam around on earth.

‘“Miserable, Hiranyakashipu performed the funeral rites for his brother. He performed water and other rites and comforted his brother’s sons—Shakuni, Shambara, Dhrishta, Bhuta-santapana, Vrika, Kalanabha, Mahanabha, Harishmashru and Utkacha. O lord of men! He knew about what was appropriate for the time and the place. He addressed them, their mother, Rushabhanu, and his own mother, Diti, in the following sweet words. Hiranyakashipu said, ‘O mother! O daughters-in-law! O sons! One should not sorrow over a valiant person. When facing the enemy, the death of brave ones is desired and should be praised. O one who is excellent in vows! 667 Like those who gather together at a place where cool drinking water exists, in this world, beings are driven by destiny and congregate at a single place. Because of their own deeds, they are brought together and drift apart. The atman is always pure and without decay. It goes everywhere and knows everything. It is supreme. The atman assumes many different forms and kinds of life. These gunas are created by maya. Trees seem to move 668 when the water moves. Similarly, when the eyes are in a whirl, the ground is seen to move. The gunas cause this agitation in the mind. The atman is not subject to change. O fortunate one! Though it does not possess the signs of a body, because it assumes the signs of a body, it seems to be agitated. This is the difficulty that the atman confronts. Though it does not possess a physical body, it is identified with the physical body. The agreeable and disagreeable, attachment and detachment, occur in samsara because of karma. Birth, death and many kinds of sorrow are spoken about. These kinds of thoughts occur because of lack of discrimination and because one has forgotten about discrimination. In this connection, an ancient history is recounted. This is about a conversation between Yama and the relatives of a dead person. Listen to it. In the land of Ushinara, there was a king who was famous by the name of Suyajna. When he was slain by the enemies in a battle, his relatives surrounded him. His jewels and armour were strewn around. His ornaments and garlands were dislodged. His heart was pierced by arrows. He was lying down, covered with blood. His hair was dishevelled and his eyes were destroyed. He was still biting his lips in rage. His face, which was like a lotus, was smeared with dust. In the battle, his weapons and arms had been sliced away. Destiny had done this to the king of Ushinara. On seeing the state their husband was in, the queens grieved. They severely struck their breasts with their hands. They repeatedly fell down at his feet and lamented, “O protector! Alas!” They wept loudly, sprinkling their beloved’s lotus feet and their breasts, smeared with red kunkuma, with their tears. Their hair and ornaments were dishevelled. They wept and lamented, creating greater sorrow among the people. “O lord! Alas! Vidhatri is cruel. You have been conveyed to a state that is beyond our range of vision. Earlier, you were the one who ensured subsistence for those in Ushinara. You are now increasing their grief. O lord of the earth! You were grateful. You were our well-wisher. How will we exist without you? O brave one! We wish to serve at your feet. Therefore, we will follow you in whatever direction you proceed.” Clasping their dead husband, they lamented in this way. Though the sun was setting, they did not wish that the funeral rites should be performed. Yama heard the lamentations of the dead person’s relatives. Assuming the form of a boy, he himself arrived there. Yama said, “These people are advanced in age. Despite having seen the ways of the world, they are confused. Men come here and go away from here. In spite of themselves following the same dharma, they are grieving pointlessly. In this matter, we 669 are more fortunate than them. Though we have been abandoned by our mother and father, we do not worry. We are weak and have not been devoured by wolves and other. He who protected us in the womb, will protect us now. Depending on his wishes, the undecaying lord creates, preserves and destroys. O women! The lord is said to play with mobile and immobile objects. The lord preserves and destroys. Even if something is lost along the road, if it is protected by destiny, it remains there. 670 If it is struck by him, it can be destroyed, even if it is at home. Protected by him, even without a protector, a person may remain alive in a forest. But if struck by him, a person may not live, even if he is protected at home. Depending on karma, at the right time, a creature possesses the body of a species, but this does not last all the time. The atman assumes the gunas of Prakriti, but is distinct from them and is not bound by them. This body of a person is caused by delusion, just as different kinds of elements are seen in a house—water, earthen pots and people. At the right time, it is born and destroyed. The fire is seen to be different from the wood. The breath of life is distinct from the body in which it exists. The sky pervades everything, but is not attached to anything. Like that, the being may resort to all the gunas, but transcends them. O foolish people! You are grieving over Suyajna, who is lying down here. But the one who really heard you and replied to you can never be seen. The chief and foremost breath of life in this body is not the listener or the speaker. This body consists of all the sense organs. However, the atman is different from the breath of life and the body. The atman assumes superior and inferior bodies, with different elements, senses, minds and signs. Through its own energy, it obtains these and gives them up. But it is different from these. As long as the atman possesses these signs, it is bound down by karma. Till such time, there are difficulties and hardships, because one follows the engagement with maya. Conceiving, seeing and thinking about these gunas is futile. Everything that results from the senses is false, like desires satisfied in dreams. It is eternal. Those who know this do not grieve over what is temporary in this world. However, there are those whose nature it is to grieve and they are incapable of acting against this. There was a fowler who was created as the destroyer of birds in a desolate forest. Here and there, he spread out his net and lured them. He saw a pair of kulinga birds 671 wandering around. The female kulinga was suddenly lured by the fowler. O queens! Controlled by destiny, it was trapped in the net there. On seeing it trapped in this state, the male kulinga bird was extremely distressed. Because of its love, it was miserable, unable to do anything. It lamented piteously. ‘Alas! Destiny is cruel. The lord does not have compassion towards women. I am miserably lamenting. I am distressed. What will I do? I desire that destiny should also take me away. What will I do when half of me has left? If I remain alive, it will be in misery and sorrow. What will I do with this miserable life? These young ones have still not grown their wings. Without their mother, how will I nurture them? Those unfortunate offspring of their mother are waiting in the nest.’ The kulinga bird lamented in this way. Because it was separated from its beloved, its voice choked with tears. The hunter of birds was hidden there. Impelled by destiny, he pierced it with an arrow. O ignorant ones! You are unable to see your own destruction. Even if you grieve over your husband for one hundred years, you will not get him back.” When the child spoke in this way, all of them were struck with wonder. All the relatives realized that everything that was manifested was temporary. Having told them this, Yama vanished from the spot. Suyajna’s relatives carried out the funeral rites. Therefore, do not grieve for yourselves or for others. In this world, who is one’s own? Who is another person? What belongs to one’s own self? What belongs to someone else? The perception of mine and someone else’s results from ignorance in embodied beings.’ Thus, Diti and her daughters-in-law heard the words of the lord of the daityas. They instantly fixed their minds on the truth. She gave up sorrowing on account of her son.”’Chapter 7(3)

‘Narada said, “O king! Hiranyakashipu wished to be invincible and immortal, without old age and disease. He wished to be the absolute emperor, without any rival. In the valley of Mandara, he tormented himself through extremely terrible austerities. He stood on the ground, supporting himself on the big toes of his feet and raised his arms up, looking towards the sky. His matted hair was radiant, like the rays of the sun at the time of universal destruction. While he tormented himself through these austerities, the gods returned to their abodes. Because of the austerities, a fire mixed with smoke issued from his head. This spread everywhere and scorched the upper worlds, the middle worlds and the lower worlds. The rivers and the oceans were agitated. With its dvipas and its mountains, the earth quaked. Together with the planets, the stars fell down and the ten directions were ablaze. Scorched by this, the gods left heaven and went to Brahma’s world. They informed the creator, ‘O god of the gods! O lord of the universe! Heaven has been scorched by the austerities of the Indra among the daityas and we are incapable of remaining there. O lord! If you so think fit, please arrange for the worlds to be pacified, so that they are not destroyed. O lord! We are the ones who render offerings to you. Indeed, what is the reason behind his performing these extremely difficult austerities? It is not unknown to you. However, please listen. We will submit it to you. “After having used austerities, yoga and meditation to create all the mobile and immobile objects, Parameshthi occupies his own seat. 672 He is in a position where he is the lord of everything. Through austerities, yoga and meditation, I will also enhance my position. Time and the atman are eternal and I will ensure this for myself. 673 Otherwise, I will use my energy to reverse everything, so that nothing is as it used to be before. 674 There is no need to mention other things like the positions occupied by Vaishnavas, which are destroyed by time at the end of a kalpa.” 675 We have heard that, firm in his determination, this is the reason he is engaged in supreme austerities. O lord of the three worlds! After this, you should yourself decide on the appropriate course of action. O lord of the universe! Your position as Parameshthi ensures well-being for brahmanas and cattle and fortune and victory for creatures.’ O king! The gods told the illustrious one, who had created himself, this.

‘“Surrounded by Bhrigu, Daksha and the others, he went to the hermitage of the lord of the daityas. The one borne on a swan could not see him at first. He was covered in a termite hill, grass and bamboo. Everywhere, the ants had eaten up his fat, skin, flesh and blood. On finally seeing him, he was astounded. Brahma smiled and said, ‘Arise! O fortunate one! O Kashyapa’s descendant! Arise! Your austerities have been successful. I am the granter of boons and have come here. Tell me about the boon that you desire. I have myself witnessed this extremely wonderful wasting away. Your body has been devoured and bitten. Your breath of life seems to reside only in the bones. No rishi has undertaken anything like this in the past, nor will anyone else in the future. Without water, who can sustain his life for one hundred divine years? What you have done is extremely difficult even for spirited ones. O Diti’s son! Because of your devotion to austerities, you have conquered me. O bull among asuras! Therefore, I will give you all the benedictions. For a mortal, the sight of someone who is immortal, like me, cannot be in vain.’ His body had been eaten up by ants. Having said this, the god, who was the first being, used divine water from his water pot to sprinkle him. Its power never failed. From the termite hill and the bamboo, a young man arose, like fire from kindling. He was full of energy and strength. All his limbs were perfect and he was capable of withstanding a vajra. His complexion was like that of molten gold. He saw the god stationed in the sky, with the swan as a mount. He was filled with great delight at the sight and bowed his head down on the ground. He stood up and saw the lord. Full of humility, he joined his hands in salutation. He shed tears of joy and his body hair stood up.

‘“He chanted his praise in faltering words. Hiranyakashipu said, ‘At the end of the kalpa, everything was enveloped in blinding darkness created by time. Through his own radiance and his own illumination, he made the entire universe become manifest. Assuming the three modes of sattva, rajas and tamas, he creates, preserves and destroys. I bow down before the supreme lord. I bow down before the great one. I bow down before the original seed, who has the form of jnana and vijnana. He is the one who makes the breath of life, the senses, mind and intelligence manifest and causes their transformations. Stationed in one place, you are the one who controls the universe. Through the main prana, you are the lord of subjects. You are the controller of consciousness, intelligence, mind and the senses. You are the lord Mahat. You are the lord of the elements, the gunas and desires. Your body consists of the three Vedas and the seven kinds of sacrifices. 676 You are the knowledge and the four kinds of officiating priests. 677 You alone are the atman. You are the atman in all creatures. You are without beginning and without end. You are the wise atman who is inside everyone. You are unblinking time. You reduce the lifespans of people by lava and the other measures. 678 You are the immutable atman. You are the great Parameshthi, who is without birth. You are the atman who causes life in the world of the living. Nothing superior, inferior, mobile and immobile is distinct from you. You are knowledge, arts 679 and all their parts. You are the great Hiranyagarbha, who is beyond the three gunas. O lord! Everything manifest is your gross body. Through this, you enjoy the senses, the breath of life, the mind and the gunas. O Parameshthi! But you are stationed in your own abode. You are the atman who is not manifest. You are the ancient Purusha. Your form is infinite and not manifest. Everything is pervaded by the power of your internal and external consciousness. 680 I bow down before that illustrious one. O supreme among those who grant boons! O lord! If you wish to bestow a boon on me, let my death not come about through any creatures that have been created by you. Let it not happen inside the house or outdoors. Let it not happen during day or night. Let it not occur through weapons. Let it not happen on the ground or in the sky. Let my death not come about through men, animals, those that do not have life, those that have life, gods, asuras and giant serpents. Let me be unmatched in battle and the single lord of embodied beings. Let me be the greatest among all the guardians of the world, just as you are. Let the power of my austerities and yoga never be destroyed.’”’Chapter 7(4)

‘Narada said, “Shatadhriti was pleased with the austerities and was thus beseeched by Hiranyakashipu. He granted him a boon that was extremely difficult to obtain. Brahma said, ‘O son! You have asked me for a boon that is extremely difficult for men to obtain. O dear one! However, despite it being extremely difficult to obtain, I will bestow it on you.’ The illustrious one, whose favours are inviolate, left after this. He was worshipped by the noble asura and praised by all the lords of the subjects. The daitya obtained the boon and a resplendent and golden body. Remembering the slaying of his brother, he harboured hatred towards the illustrious one. The great asura conquered all the directions and the three worlds. He defeated Siddhas, charanas, vidyadharas, rishis, the lords of the ancestors, Manus, yakshas, rakshasas, pishachas, pretas, the lords of bhutas and all living creatures and brought them under his subjugation. He conquered the universe. He usurped the positions of the guardians of the world and their energy. He established himself in heaven and in the prosperous grove of the gods. He occupied the great Indra’s residence, constructed by Vishvakarma himself. The prosperity of the three worlds and all the opulence that existed anywhere resided there. The steps there were made out of coral and the floors out of expensive emeralds. The walls were made out of crystal and the rows of pillars were made out of lapis lazuli. The canopies were wonderful and the seats were encrusted with rubies. The couches were as white as the froth of milk and the spreads were made out of nets of pearls. Here and there, there was the tinkling sound of anklets from women with charming faces and excellent teeth. Their reflections could be seen on floors made out of gems. The immensely strong and great-minded one conquered the worlds and became the single emperor. He sported himself in the great Indra’s residence. The gods were tormented and agitated by his harsh rule and had to bow down at his feet. O dear one! He was intoxicated with strong-smelling liquor and his coppery red eyes rolled around in inebriation. With the exception of the three, 681 everyone worshipped the absolute lord with their hands. He was full of austerities, yoga, strength and energy. O Pandava! The energetic one was established on the great Indra’s throne. Vishvavasu, Tumburu, the other gandharvas, the Siddhas, I and the other rishis, the vidyadharas and the apsaras had to go before him and repeatedly praise him. Those in the varnas and the ashramas performed sacrifices and rites with copious quantities of dakshina. Through his own energy, he appropriated all the shares of the oblations. Without being tilled, the earth, with its seven dvipas, yielded grain. The space between the earth and the sky was milked for every object of desire. The sky gave him many kinds of wonderful objects. The oceans, made out of salt water, liquor, ghee, sugar cane juice, curds, milk and sweet water, were stores of jewels. They, and their wives, 682 brought him heaps of jewels on their waves. The mountains and their valleys provided him pleasure grounds. The trees provided qualities 683 of all the seasons. Alone, he possessed the separate qualities of all the guardians of the worlds. In this way, he conquered all the directions and became the absolute emperor. As much as he wanted, he enjoyed all the beloved objects of pleasure. However, since he had not conquered his senses, he was not satisfied.

‘“He became intoxicated and insolent because of this prosperity and violated the sacred texts. A long period of time passed and the curse of the brahmanas 684 materialized. All the worlds, along with their guardians, were anxious because of the fierce punishment he imposed. Having not been able to find shelter anywhere else, they went and sought refuge with Achyuta. ‘I bow down to the direction where the atman, the lord Hari, resides. Having gone to him, pure and tranquil sannyasis do not return.’ They controlled themselves and with purified intelligence, meditated on him. Without sleeping and subsisting only on air, they worshipped Hrishikesha. A voice appeared before them. It had no form and rumbled like the clouds. It resounded in all the directions and dispelled the fear of the virtuous. ‘O best among the gods! Do not be scared. Everything will be well with you. Having seen me, creatures obtain everything that is beneficial for them. I know about the wicked activities and oppression of this daitya. I will pacify him. Wait for the right time. If a person hates the gods, the Vedas, cattle, brahmanas, virtuous people, dharma and me, he is swiftly destroyed. His own son, Prahlada, is great-souled and serene, with no enmity towards anyone. When he harms him, I will kill him, despite his having obtained a boon.’ Thus addressed by the preceptor of the worlds, the residents of heaven bowed down. Without any anxiety, they returned, thinking that the asura had already been killed.

‘“The lord of the daityas had four wonderful sons. Among them, Prahlada was the greatest in qualities and he worshipped the supreme one. He was devoted to brahmanas and possessed good conduct. He was firm in adhering to the truth and had conquered his senses. He regarded all creatures as his self alone and was their friend and well-wisher. Like a servant, he bowed down at the feet of noble ones. To the distressed, he was as compassionate as a father. Towards equals, he was like a brother. He was gentle towards his superiors and regarded them as his masters. Though he possessed learning, prosperity, beauty and noble birth, he was free of pride and insolence. In times of hardship, his mind was not agitated. He had no attachment for qualities 685 that he saw or heard about. He regarded these as trifles. He was always in control of his senses, breath of life, body and intelligence. All his desires were quietened and restrained. Though an asura, he was unlike an asura. O king! Wise ones repeatedly chant about his great qualities. They have not become obscured even now, just as the illustrious lord is never obscured. O king! When accounts of virtuous ones are chanted, even among enemies like the gods, he is held up as a standard, not to speak of devotees like you. Enough of his innumerable qualities and greatness. Indications are sufficient. He had a natural attachment towards the illustrious Vasudeva. Even as a child, he had cast aside his toys. With his mind absorbed in him, 686 he seemed to be dull. Like a spirit, his atman had been grasped by Krishna. He did not know about this world. Having embraced Govinda, he was not conscious of activities like sitting, roaming around, eating, lying down, drinking and speaking. Sometimes, his senses would be incapacitated and overcome by thoughts about Vaikuntha, he would cry out. Because of such thoughts, he would sometimes laugh. Delighted, he would sometimes sing loudly. Sometimes, he would shout loudly. Without any sense of shame, he would sometimes dance. Sometimes, immersed in thoughts about him, 687 he would try to imitate him. Sometimes, content and withdrawn at his touch, his body hair would stand up and he would be silent. Sometimes, because of the love and bliss, his eyes would be half-closed and steady, and tears would flow out. He served at Uttamashloka’s lotus feet, an association obtained by those who desire nothing else. That supreme bliss expanded in him and he repeatedly calmed the minds of those who were distressed because of bad company. O king! He was a great devotee, immensely fortunate and great-souled. However, Hiranyakashipu tried to harm his own son.”

‘Yudhishthira asked, “O divine rishi! O one who is excellent in vows! His son was pure and virtuous. Why did the father seek to harm him? We wish to know this. Fathers are devoted to their sons. When sons act in a contrary way, they punish them, so as to educate them. However, one does not harm them, like an enemy. Why would one do this to someone who is obedient, virtuous, treating the father like a divinity? O brahmana! O lord! Please satisfy our curiosity about this. Why did the father hate the son so much that he sought to kill him?”’Chapter 7(5)

‘Narada said, “The asuras chose the illustrious Kavya 688 as their priest. His two sons, Shanda and Amarka, lived near the residence of the king of the daityas. Prahlada was accomplished in good policy. However, the king sent the child to them. They instructed him, as they instructed other asura children. He heard whatever the teachers said and recited it. However, in his mind, he thought that notions of ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ were bad distinctions. O Pandava! Once, the king of the asuras made his son climb on to his lap. He asked, ‘O child! What do you think is virtuous? Tell me.’ Prahlada replied, ‘O noble asura! I do not think it virtuous that the intelligence of embodied beings should be clouded by false notions 689 and that they should always be anxious. The house is like a blind pit that degrades the atman. Abandoning this, one should go to the forest and seek refuge with Hari.’ Hearing his son’s words, which sided with the enemy, the daitya laughed. ‘This is the way the intelligence of children is corrupted by the intelligence of the enemy. Let the child be properly confined to his preceptor’s house. Let brahmanas, who secretly side with Vishnu, not corrupt his intelligence.’ When he was brought to their home, the priests of the daityas addressed him in gentle words, pacifying and comforting him. They asked, ‘O child! O Prahlada! May you be fortunate. Tell us the truth. Do not lie. How has this perversion in your intelligence come about? This is unlike a child. Has this perversion in intelligence been done by the enemy, or has it happened because of your own nature? O descendant of the lineage! Tell us. Your preceptors desire to hear.’ Prahlada replied, ‘“This is mine.” “This belongs to someone else.” Maya creates such notions in men. Their intelligence is confounded. I have seen the illustrious one and I bow down before him. When he shows his favours, this animal-like intelligence is destroyed in men. “He is different from me”, “I am different from him”, such false differences come to an end. The same atman is in him and me. Those with imperfect intelligence find this impossible to comprehend. This can only be determined by worshipping him. Those who speak about the Vedas and follow that path, Brahma and the others, are also confused. He 690 has changed my mind. O brahmanas! In the presence of a magnet, a piece of iron is automatically attracted. In that way, because of his wishes, my mind has been changed by the one who holds a chakra in his hand.’ Having told the brahmanas this, the immensely intelligent one stopped. The servants of the king were extremely distressed and angry. They reproached him. ‘Let a cane be brought. He is bringing ill fame to us. He is evil-minded and the worst of his lineage. The fourth kind of punishment is indicated for him. 691 He has been born as a tree with thorns in a grove of sandalwood trees that is the lineage of the daityas. This boy is like a handle in an axe that Vishnu wields to sever the roots.’ 692 They used many such means to threaten and abuse him. They made Prahlada learn the three objectives of human existence. 693 The preceptors ascertained that he had learnt the four principles. 694

‘“When his mother had bathed and ornamented him, he was presented before the Indra among the daityas. The child fell down at his feet and the asura welcomed him and pronounced his benedictions. For a long time, he embraced him in his arms and felt great relief. He made him sit on his lap and inhaled the fragrance of his head, sprinkling his smiling face with drops of tears. O Yudhishthira! He spoke to him. Hiranyakashipu said, ‘O Prahlada! O son! May you live for a long time. You have spent quite some time in the abode of your preceptors. Tell me something extraordinary that you have learnt from them, or through your own studies.’ Prahlada replied, ‘There are nine forms of being devoted to Vishnu—hearing about him; chanting his name; remembering Vishnu; serving at his feet; worshipping him; praying to him; servitude to him; friendship; and offering one’s entire self. I think that if a man offers himself in this way, he performs devotion towards the illustrious one. This is my supreme learning.’ Hearing the words of his son, Hiranyakashipu’s lips quivered in rage and he told his preceptor’s son, 695 ‘O brahma-bandhu! 696 What is this? You have taken the side of the enemy. O evil-minded one! You have shown me disrespect and made the child learn nonsense. In this world, there are wicked people who use their garb to disguise themselves. They are evil friends. They are like sinners. They are like a disease that manifests itself over a period of time.’ The preceptor’s son said, ‘O Indra’s enemy! I have not taught your son what he has spoken. Nor has it been taught to him by anyone else. O king! This is his natural intelligence. Control your anger. The blame does not devolve on us.’ Answered by the preceptor in this way, the asura spoke to his son again. ‘O unfortunate one! Since the preceptor has not taught you this, how has this evil intelligence come upon you?’ Prahlada replied, ‘The mind does not turn towards Krishna because of what one does or because of what someone else does. Nor does it develop from the combined efforts of those who follow the vows of householders. It does not develop in those who are unable to control their senses. Instead, they are plunged into darkness and repeatedly chew what has been chewed before. 697 Those who pursue selfish objectives do not know Vishnu. They pursue external objectives and their wishes are impossible to satisfy. They are like the blind being led by the blind, firmly bound by the lord’s strong ropes. As long as the pursuit of undesirable objectives does not disappear, they cannot touch Urukrama’s lotus feet. As long as they do not crave nothing, they cannot consecrate themselves with the dust from the great one’s feet.’ His son said this and stopped. Blind with rage, Hiranyakashipu threw him down from his lap on to the ground.

‘“He was filled with great anger and his eyes turned coppery red. He said, ‘O nairittas! 698 He deserves to be killed. Quickly take him away and kill him. He is the killer of my brother. This wretched one has abandoned his well-wishers. Like a servant, he is worshipping the feet of Vishnu, his paternal uncle’s slayer. Indeed, since he cannot be trusted, what good will he do to Vishnu? He is only five years old and has now given up the affection for his parents, which is so very difficult to cast aside. Even if it is someone else’s child, a beneficial one is like a medicinal herb. However, even if he is born from one’s own body, a son who causes harm is like a disease. If a limb is injurious to one’s own self, it should be lopped off. Through casting it aside, what remains will live happily. He bears the signs of a well-wisher, but is an enemy, just as wicked senses are to a sage. Whether he is eating, lying down or is seated, he must be killed through whatever means can be used.’ Instructed by their master, the nairittas wielded tridents in their hands. Their teeth were sharp and their faces were fierce. Their beards and hair were coppery red. They roared, uttering terrible yells. They shouted, ‘Cut him. Pierce him.’ Prahlada was seated. They struck him in all his inner organs with their tridents. The illustrious one is in all atmans and his atman was immersed in the supreme brahman who cannot be fathomed. Therefore, like the virtuous rites of a person who possesses no good merits, these attempts were unsuccessful. When this effort was repulsed, the Indra among daityas became alarmed. O Yudhishthira! He persistently devised other methods to kill him. Elephants that guarded the directions, poisonous snakes, magical rites, causing him to be hurled down, maya, imprisonment, administering poison through food, lack of food, cold, wind, fire, water, crushing him with boulders—but the asura was incapable of killing his son. He thought for a very long time, but could not think of any other means. ‘I have addressed him in many abusive words. I have devised many methods of killing him. I have caused harm through techniques that are not in conformity with dharma. However, using his own energy, he has freed himself. He is not far away from me now. Though he is only a child, his mind has not suffered from any fear. Like the lord Shunahshepa, he will not forget my ignoble conduct. 699 His sentiments are immeasurable. Like an immortal, he is not scared of anyone. Therefore, by opposing him, I may ensure my death. Or perhaps not.’ With his radiance somewhat faded and with his face cast downwards, he thought in this way.

‘“Shanda and Amarka, the sons of Ushanas, spoke to him in private. ‘Through the furrowing of your eyebrows, you have conquered the three worlds and all the lords. O protector! We do not see any reason for you to be scared or thoughtful. The behaviour of children is neither good, nor bad. Bind him down with Varuna’s noose. Capture him, so that he cannot run away when he is scared. A man’s intelligence improves with age and the serving of noble ones. Let our preceptor, Bhargava, 700 return.’ He agreed to what his preceptor’s sons said and instructed, ‘Let him be instructed about the dharma that householder kings should follow.’ O king! Prahlada was humble and submissive and was progressively taught everything about dharma, artha and kama. The teachers instructed him about these three objectives of existence. However, these instructions described the delight from opposite pairs of sentiments and he did not take these to be desirable. When the teachers were engaged in their household duties, his friends, the other children, found an opportunity and summoned him. 701 However, the immensely intelligent and learned one replied to their sweet words, smiling compassionately, since he knew they were devoted to him. All of them respected his words and cast aside the objects they used to play. They were children and their intelligence was not sullied. They did not find pleasure in injurious instructions about the opposite pair of sentiments. The asura, a great devotee of the illustrious one, addressed them in compassionate words of friendship.”’Chapter 7(6)

‘“Prahlada said, ‘In this world, from childhood, one must follow the dharma of being devoted to the illustrious one. Birth as a human is extremely difficult to obtain. Though it is transient, it is capable of achieving the objective. A person must approach the feet of Vishnu. He is the beloved atman in all creatures. He is the lord and the well-wisher. O daityas! Because of association with the body, all embodied beings everywhere experience happiness and unhappiness that comes through the senses. That happens because of destiny and requires no effort. Therefore, one should not make efforts that amount to nothing more than a wastage of the lifespan. The benefit that comes from Mukunda’s lotus feet cannot be obtained through such means. Therefore, having come into this life, an accomplished person must strive for that benefit, as long as the human body is strong and is not incapacitated. A man has a lifespan of one hundred years. However, if a person has not controlled himself, half of that is wasted. He sleeps during the night and is submerged in blinding darkness. Confused, twenty years are spent in playing during childhood and youth. When the body is no longer capable, twenty years pass when old age grasps the body. If a person is confounded, desire is strong and is impossible to satisfy. For a distracted person who is attached to the householder mode, the remaining years are wasted in this way. If a man is attached to the householder stage, how can he conquer his senses? The bonds of affection are extremely firm. Bound in this way, who is able to free himself? How can one cast aside thirst, more desired than one’s own life? It 702 is so desired that thieves, servants and merchants try to purchase it with their own lives. The association with a beloved wife is pleasant. Her dalliance and counsel are agreeable. A person is bound to her and to his children by bonds of affection. The mind is attached to their faltering tones. In his heart, he remembers his sons and daughters, his brothers, his sisters and his helpless parents. The house is full of agreeable objects. There is the vocation of the family. There are large numbers of animals and servants. Like a silkworm, he is sheathed in acts of avarice and the increasing desires are not satisfied. He pays a great deal of attention to the genital organs and the tongue. 703 This is a great illusion. How can one give it up easily? Seeking to sustain his family, he does not understand that his own lifespan is passing away. He is distracted and counters the objective. Everywhere, he suffers from the three kinds of hardship. 704 Without understanding, he thinks that joy comes from maintaining the family. His mind is always interested in accumulating wealth. Though he knows the punishments, in this world and in the next world, of stealing the riches of others, he does that, because he cannot conquer his senses, because his desires are unmet and because of the family. O sons of Danu! Despite being learned, a person seeks to sustain his family and does not know himself, 705 nor is he capable of knowing it. His sentiments are based on differences of “mine” and “belonging to others” and like a confused person, faces darkness. Whoever he is and wherever he is, he is miserable and incapable of knowing his atman. He can never free himself from the lascivious glances of women who treat him like a plaything. He has created his own bonds. O daityas! Therefore, give up the association with daityas who are addicted to material objects, and keep them far away. Approach Narayana, the original god. He is the path to liberation and his association is sought by those who seek liberation. O sons of asuras! Achyuta is in the atmans of all creatures and he is everywhere in this world. One can succeed in pleasing him without great efforts. The illustrious and undecaying lord exists in all mobile and immobile objects and inferior and superior creatures, ending with Brahma. He is in the gunas, the equilibrium of the gunas and the transformation of the gunas. He is the single and supreme atman. His form is inside the atman and everything that can be seen is also him. He is described as pervasive and pervades everything. But he cannot be described. Nor is he differentiated. The own form of the supreme lord is only a feeling of bliss. However, he hides his powers behind maya, leading to the creation of gunas. Therefore, show compassion and fraternal feelings towards all beings. Free yourselves from the sentiments of asuras. Adhokshaja will be satisfied through this. When the infinite and original one is satisfied, what cannot be obtained? In this world, anything that is the result of the three gunas will automatically be obtained. When we are beyond the gunas, why should we aspire for dharma and the others? 706 We will chant about the delight of his feet and taste its essence. Dharma, artha and kama, said to be the three objectives of existence, the self-realization described in the three Vedas, good policy, self-control, many kinds of conduct and the sacred texts—I think that all of them are true, but only as a means of offering oneself to the supreme being, who is one’s well-wisher. This pure knowledge is difficult to comprehend and Narayana, Nara’s friend, taught it to Narada. If an embodied being single-mindedly desires nothing other than the illustrious one and bathes in the dust of his lotus feet, he may obtain it. This is the pure dharma of devotion towards the illustrious one and I have earlier heard about this jnana and vijnana from Narada, who sees the divinity.’

‘“The sons of the daityas said, ‘O Prahlada! You and we do not know any preceptor other than these two sons of the preceptor. Since childhood, they have been our masters. For a child in the inner quarters, association with great people is extremely difficult. O amiable one! Dispel our doubt. Give us a reason to trust you.’”’Chapter 7(7)

‘Narada continued, “Thus, the sons of the daityas asked the asura who was a great devotee of the illustrious one. Remembering what I had told him, he seemed to smile and replied.

‘“Prahlada replied, ‘Our father left for Mount Mandara to perform austerities. At that time, the gods made a great effort to fight against the danavas. Vasava and the others said, “It is good fortune that the wicked one, 707 the scorcher of the worlds, has been devoured by his own sins, like a snake eaten by ants.” The leaders of the asuras heard about their extremely great strength and efforts. Scared of being slaughtered by the gods, they fled in all the directions. All of them hastened to save their own lives and did not glance towards their wives, sons, riches, relatives, homes, animals and belongings. Desiring victory, the immortals plundered the king’s abode. Indra captured the king’s queen, my mother. While she was being taken away, scared and anxious, she wept like a female osprey. Wandering around as he willed, the devarshi saw her along the path and said, “O lord of the gods! She is innocent. You should not take her away. Free her. O immensely fortunate one! Set her free. She is faithful and is married to someone else.” Indra replied, “In her womb, there is the intolerable seed of someone who hates the gods. Let her remain with me until she has delivered. After that, after having attained my objective, 708 I will free her.” Narada said, “He is without sin and is a great devotee of the illustrious one. He is Ananta’s powerful follower and you will not be able to achieve what you want.” Thus addressed, Indra honoured the devarshi’s words and released her. Devotedly circumambulating Ananta’s beloved, he went to heaven. The rishi took my mother to his own hermitage. He comforted her and said, “O child! Until your husband returns, be comfortable here.” She agreed to this and in the devarshi’s presence, lost all fear, as long as the lord of the daityas did not return from his terrible austerities. With supreme devotion, the virtuous one tended to the rishi. She desired the safe delivery of the one who was inside her womb. Out of compassion towards her, the powerful rishi instructed both her and me about pure and true knowledge and dharma. Because she is a woman, after a long period of time, the teachings of the rishi vanished from my mother’s mind. However, because of his favours, that memory has not left me even now. If you have trust in my words and possess devotion, your intelligence will also become accomplished, just as it does for women and children like me. Since birth, six kinds of transformations 709 are seen in the body, but not in the atman. Because the lord assumes the form of time, they are also seen in fruits on trees. The atman is eternal and without decay. It is pure and one. It is the witness and is the refuge. It is without transformation and self-illuminating. It is the cause behind all causes and pervasive. It is not touched or covered by any contamination. The learned know these twelve supreme signs of the atman. 710 They abandon confused sentiments of “I” and “mine”, associated with the body. A goldsmith extracts gold out of an ore. A person accomplished in yoga does that with the body. From the body that is the field, a person who knows about adhyatma, uses yoga to himself realize the brahman. There are said to be eight prakritis, three gunas and sixteen transformations. 711 However, the preceptors know that a single entity brings them together. The body is the combination of all these and everything is of two types, mobile and immobile. This is where the being must be sought out, discarding on the basis of, “This is not it”, “This is not it”. With a pure mind, direct and indirect discrimination must be used, analysing aspects of creation, preservation and destruction. Those who are patient examine it in this way. There are the states of wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep and intelligence. 712 The one who perceives these is the supreme entity, the one with oversight. One can deduce the nature of the wind from the fragrance it bears. Like that intelligence must be used to differentiate and the three gunas and the outcomes of activities. Rejecting these, the nature of the atman can be deduced. Samsara is the gate for bondage through gunas and activities. Its foundation is ignorance and therefore it is not real. It is like a dream presented to a man. Therefore, your task is to use your intelligence and burn down the seed, the three gunas, and the activities they engender. When these cease, the supreme can be reached. There are thousands of ways. However, the swiftest is love towards the lord and illustrious one, instructed by the honoured one. 713 Serving the preceptor, devotion, offering everything obtained to him, 714 association with virtuous devotees, worshipping the lord, faithfully hearing his accounts, chanting about his qualities and his deeds, meditating on his lotus feet and worshipping his forms—these are the methods. The illustrious lord and Hari is in all creatures. With this thought in mind, one should respect the wishes of all creatures as virtuous. When one acts with such devotion towards the lord, the six categories are vanquished. 715 Through love, one obtains the illustrious Vasudeva. When he 716 hears about his unmatched deeds and qualities, valour and deeds and pastimes in different bodies, his body hair stands up and tears of joy choke his throat. He chants loudly, cries and dances. It is as if he has been possessed by an evil spirit. He weeps, meditates and worships people. 717 Without shame, his intelligence is in the atman and he sighs and exclaims, “O Hari! O lord of the universe! O Narayana!” Such a person is then freed from all kinds of bondage. His mind and body are completely in tune with his 718 sentiments. Through the great mode of devotion, all the seeds of desire are burnt down and one attains Adhokshaja. In this world, the embodied being’s mind is always associated with inauspicious objects. However, Adhokshaja destroys the wheel of samsara. The learned know this as the bliss of nirvana in the brahman. Therefore, in your hearts, worship the lord who is in all hearts. O sons of asuras! What is difficult about this effort? Hari’s seat and form are inside you, in the core space of your hearts. He is a friend to embodied beings and bestows unlimited benedictions. Why should one bother about objects of pleasure that can generally be obtained? Wealth, wives, animals, sons, homes, land, elephants, treasure and all the other objects that lead to artha and kama are temporary, as is the lifespan itself. What kind of pleasure can these bring to mortals? In this way, the worlds that are obtained through rites may bring greater pleasure. But since they are destroyed, this is also not pure. No taints have been seen, or heard about, in the supreme one. The lord has been spoken about with devotion. Therefore, be devoted to him and obtain him. In this world, taking himself to be learned, for objectives, a man repeatedly undertakes many kinds of acts. However, these acts fail to yield the desired fruits and lead to opposite effects. These acts are driven by the motivation of obtaining happiness and freedom from unhappiness. However, they always lead to unhappiness, cloaked under the cover of happiness. In this world, a man pursues the objective of satisfying desire and wishes for desirable objects. But this body is temporary and is enjoyed by others. 719 The entity 720 goes away and embraces another. There is no need to mention offspring, wives, abodes, riches, kingdoms, treasuries, elephants, advisers, servants, relatives and so on. Though regarded as “mine”, these are only indirectly connected. What will the atman do with these trifles? They are destroyed with the body. Appearing in the garb of the desirable, they are undesirable in the path of obtaining the ocean of nectar in the form of eternal bliss. O asuras! Determine how much of self-benefit an embodied being can obtain in this world through sexual gratification and other means. Because of his past deeds, he suffers hardships in this unfortunate state. The body follows his will and an embodied being undertakes acts. However, deeds undertaken by the body and the embodied being—both are consequences of the lack of discrimination. Those who worship the lord Hari without any motives obtain dharma, artha, kama and everything else that is desired. The beloved lord Hari is in all creatures. Through Mahat and the elements, he has himself created everything that is described as living. Like us, by worshipping Mukunda’s feet, anyone can obtain benedictions—a god, an asura, a human, a yaksha or a gandharva. O sons of asuras! Being a brahmana, a god or a rishi isn’t sufficient to please Mukunda. Nor are good conduct, great learning, donations, austerities, rites, purity and vows. Hari is pleased through unadulterated devotion alone. Everything else is irrelevant. O danavas! Therefore, act with devotion towards the illustrious Hari. Since the lord is in all creatures, regard everyone else as your own atman. Thus, even daityas, yakshas, rakshasas, women, shudras, residents of Vraja, 721 birds, animals and those with wicked lives have obtained Achyuta. In this world, this is said to be supreme well-being for a person—single-minded devotion towards Govinda and seeing him everywhere.’”’Chapter 7(8)

‘Narada said, “All the sons of the daityas heard what he had described and because it was without any faults, accepted it, not what the preceptors had instructed. The preceptor’s son 722 noticed that their minds were made up. Scared, he quickly went and reported this accurately to the king. His 723 entire body trembled because of his rage and he made up his mind to kill his son. Though Prahlada did not deserve it, he abused him in harsh words. He glanced at him with his crooked and wicked eyes, though the controlled one stood before him, humble and gentle, his hands joined in salutation. Since his nature was extremely terrible, he was like a snake that had been struck with the foot. ‘O insolent one! O evil-minded one! O wretch! O one who creates dissension in the lineage! You have obstinately deviated from my commands. You are evil in conduct. Today, I will convey you to Yama’s abode. The three worlds and their lords tremble because of my rage. O foolish one! On the basis of whose strength, did you forsake my command?’ Prahlada replied, ‘O king! He is not my strength alone. He is your strength and that of everyone else. He brings the superior and the inferior, mobile and immobile, Brahma and the others under his subjugation. He is Urukrama. He is the lord who is time. He is the strength of the mind. He is sattva. He is physical strength. He is behind the senses. Through his own strength, he is the supreme one who creates, preserves and destroys the universe. He is the lord of the three gunas. Give up the asura nature that is in you. Make your mind serene. There are no enemies other than being based on a perverse path, leading to an inability to conquer the mind. This is the best way to worship Ananta. Earlier too, there were those who thought they had single-handedly conquered the ten directions. They were governed by delusions about their own powers. However, they were plundered and vanquished by the six bandits. 724 The learned conquer their atmans and are impartial towards all embodied beings. Who is an enemy for such a virtuous person?’ Hiranyakashipu said, ‘Since you are boasting excessively, it is evident that you wish to die. O evil-minded one! Indeed, the words of those who are about to die are garbled. O unfortunate one! Other than me, you have spoken about a lord of the universe. If he is everywhere, why can he not be seen in this pillar? Since you have boasted, I will sever your head from your body. Let me see if Hari, whose refuge you desire, can protect you today.’ The great asura was full of rage and repeatedly abused his son, the great devotee of the illustrious one, through such harsh words. Seizing his sword, he leapt down from his excellent seat. With his fist, he struck the pillar with great force.

‘“O dear one! At that time, an extremely terrible sound was heard. It was as if the shell of the cosmic egg had cracked. Aja and the others, in their own respective abodes, heard this sound and thought that their own abodes were being destroyed. He was displaying his valour and energy, desiring to kill his son. He heard that loud and extraordinary sound, the likes of which had never been heard earlier. Everyone in the assembly, the leaders of the enemies of the gods, were terrified and glanced towards the source of that sound. He wished to make the words spoken by his servant come true and also demonstrate that he pervaded all creatures and everything. From the pillar in the assembly hall, he showed himself in a wonderful form that was not animal, nor human. He 725 looked around everywhere and saw the being that had emerged from the middle of the pillar. He exclaimed, ‘This is not animal, nor human. What is this form, both man and lion?’ While he was debating in this way, the terrible and extraordinary Nrisimha form manifested itself before him. His fierce eyes were like molten gold. The expanded mouth had a dazzling mane. The tusks were terrible. The tip of the tongue was as sharp as a razor, resembling a flashing sword. The dreadful face was marked by furrowed eyebrows. The motionless ears were erect. The extraordinary mouth gaped, like a cavern in a mountain. The nose and the parted jaws were terrible. The body touched the sky. The neck was short and stout. The chest was broad and the waist was thin. He was covered with body hair that was as fair as the beams of the moon. In every direction, there were hundreds of arms, with nails as weapons. He was impossible to assail and he drove away all the daityas and danavas, vanquishing them with the best of weapons. ‘Perhaps Hari, who is great in his maya, has devised this means to kill me. But how can such efforts amount to anything?’ Saying this, the elephant among daityas seized a club as a weapon. Roaring, he advanced towards Nrisimha. But just as an insect that falls into the fire is no longer discernible, the asura vanished in Nrisimha’s energy. Indeed, for the abode of sattva, this is not surprising. In earlier times, with his own energy, he drank up the tamas. The great asura was angry and struck Nrisimha with the great force of his club. Just as Tarkshya’s son 726 seizes a serpent, Gadadhara 727 seized the one who was valiantly advancing with a club. At that time, the asura slipped out of his hands and he toyed with him, the way Garuda plays with a serpent. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! All the lords and immortals, whose abodes had been taken away 728 and who had hidden themselves behind the clouds, thought that this was a bad sign. When he freed himself, the great asura thought that Nrihari 729 was scared of his valour. In the encounter, he lost all his exhaustion. He seized a sword and a shield and again attacked with great force. His speed was like that of a hawk and he executed motions with his shield, marked with one hundred moons. However, Hari, great in speed, laughed out aloud, in a harsh voice, and seized the one whose eyes were half-closed. 730 Afflicted, he thrashed around in all directions, but Hari seized him, though the vajra had been unable to pierce his skin. It was like a snake seizing a mouse. Near the door, he placed him on his thigh and using his nails, played with him, just as Garuda toys with an extremely venomous snake. Because of his rage, he was impossible to look at. His eyes were terrible. He licked the ends of his mouth with his tongue. Because of the drops of blood, his face and mane were red. He resembled a lion, garlanded with entrails of an elephant it has killed. He tore out his heart, which was like a lotus, with his pointed nails. Then, casting him aside, he turned towards the followers, who were wielding weapons. But he killed all of them, using the nails on his hands as weapons. He was terrible and thousands of such followers were brought down. The hair on his head agitated and dispelled the clouds. The dazzle of his eyes robbed the planets of their radiance. Agitated by his breathing, the waters of the ocean turned turbulent. Terrified at his roars, the elephants in charge of the directions shrieked. The firmament was full of vimanas and were tossed up by his hair. Suffering from the tread of his feet, the earth moved from its position. Because of his energy, mountains were uprooted and the sky and the directions lost their radiance. Resplendent in his energy, the lord then seated himself on the king’s excellent seat in that assembly hall. Because of his rage, no one who could challenge him to a duel was seen. His visage was so terrible that no one dared to worship him either.

‘“The wives of the gods heard that the anxiety of the three worlds had been removed and that Hari had slain the daitya in an encounter. As a result of their great delight, their faces bloomed. They repeatedly showered down flowers. The firmament was covered with a large array of vimanas, crowded because the gods came to see him. The celestial drums and tambourines were sounded. The foremost among the gandharvas sang and the women danced. O son! The gods, Brahma, Indra, Girisha and the others, the rishis, the ancestors, the Siddhas, the vidyadharas, the giant serpents, the Manus, the Prajapatis, the gandharvas, the apsaras, the charanas, the yakshas, the kimpurushas, the vetalas, the kinnaras and all Vishnu’s attendants, Sunanda, Kumuda and the others, arrived there. Fierce in his energy, the man-lion was seated there. They joined their hands in salutation and bowed down. From a distance, they separately worshipped him. Brahma said, ‘I bow down to Ananta, whose powers are infinite. His valour is wonderful and his deeds are auspicious. Through the gunas, it is he who controls the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. His atman never decays and through his pastimes, he ensures all this.’ Rudra said, ‘The end of the yuga is the time for you to display your rage. This insignificant asura has been killed. You are affectionate towards your devotees. Protect his son. He is standing here and is devoted to you.’ Indra said, ‘O supreme one! You have saved us and our own shares, attacked by the daitya. The lotuses in our hearts were seized by him and have been illuminated now. O lord! Compared to serving you, what does all this amount to? All of it is devoured by time. O Narasimha! Such devotees pay scant respect to liberation, not to speak of other things.’ The rishis said, ‘You are the supreme. Through your energy, you taught us about austerities. O original being! Everything was latent in you and you created it. Those 731 were stolen by this one. O one who protects those who seek refuge! Assuming this form, you have protected us and we have again regained our status.’ The ancestors said, ‘He forcibly appropriated what was offered by our descendants at shraddha ceremonies. He drank the water, mixed with sesamum, that was offered to us at the time of visiting tirthas. You have now torn apart his stomach with your nails and we have got those back. We bow down to Nrihari, who protects all dharma.’ The Siddhas said, ‘We obtained destinations through the practice of yoga. But through his yoga, austerities and strength, the wicked one robbed us of those. He was insolent because of the many things he had done. But you have torn him apart with your nails. O Nrisimha! We prostrate ourselves before you.’ The vidyadharas said, ‘Through different kinds of practice, we acquired many different kinds of vidya. 732 Insolent because of his strength and valour, this foolish one prohibited us from using those. O Nrisimha! Using your maya, in an encounter, you have killed him like an animal. We always prostrate ourselves before you.’ The nagas said, ‘This wicked one robbed us of our jewels and the jewels among women. You have brought them delight by tearing apart his chest. We bow down before you.’ The Manus said, ‘We Manus obey your commands. O god! But this son of Diti violated all the ordinances. O lord! But you have killed the deceitful one. We are your servants. Tell us what we should do now.’ The Prajpatis said, ‘O supreme lord! We Prajapatis have been created by you. However, he prohibited us from creating subjects. But he is now lying down, his chest splintered by you. O one who brings benefit to the universe! In this avatara, you are the embodiment of sattva.’ The gandharvas said, ‘O lord! We are actors, singers and dancers. However, because of his valour, energy and strength, he subjugated us. You have now reduced him to this state. How can someone who deviates from the path think of well-being?’ The charanas said, ‘O Hari! Your lotus feet are the only refuge for those who do not want contamination. That is what virtuous ones desire and you have brought an end to the asura.’ The yakshas said, ‘By performing acts that brought you pleasure, we became the foremost among your attendants. However, this son of Diti forced us to bear his palanquin. You knew about the torment he caused to people. O Narahari! O twenty-fifth! You have reduced him to panchatva.’ 733 The kimpurushas said, ‘We are only kimpurushas and you are the lord and great being. This wicked person was shamed by all virtuous people. He has now been destroyed.’ The vaitalikas 734 said, ‘In assembly halls and sacrifices, we sang about your unblemished glory and received great respect. However, this wicked person brought us under his subjugation. He was like a disease. O illustrious one! It is good fortune that he has been killed by you.’ The kinnaras said, ‘O lord! We, the large number of kinnaras, are your followers. However, without any remuneration, Diti’s son forced us to serve him. O Hari! You have caused that wicked person to be destroyed. O Narasimha! For the sake of our benefit, please be our protector.’ Vishnu’s companions said, ‘Today, you have assumed this wonderful half-man–half-lion form. O one who grants refuge! O one who brings benefit to all the worlds! It is our good fortune that we have seen it. O lord! He followed your commands, but was cursed by the brahmanas. We understand that you have shown him a favour by killing him.’”’Chapter 7(9)

‘Narada said, “Since he was still full of rage and intolerance, all the gods and others, with Brahma and Rudra at the forefront, found it extremely difficult to approach him. The gods sent Shri herself. However, on seeing this great and extraordinary form, never seen before or heard of, she was scared and could not approach. Brahma, who was stationed nearby, then sent Prahlada. ‘O son! The lord is extremely enraged with your father. Go and pacify him.’ O king! The child, the great devotee of the illustrious one, approached slowly. With his hands joined in salutation, he approached and prostrated his body down on the ground. The god saw that the child had fallen down at his feet and was overcome by compassion. He placed his lotus hand on his head and raised him. He destroys fear in the minds of those who are terrified by the serpent known as time. From the touch of his hand, everything inauspicious was cleansed. The vision of the paramatman instantly manifested itself. In the core of his heart, he meditated on the lotus feet. His body was filled with delight and his heart melted. There were tears in his eyes. Single-minded and extremely controlled, he started to pray to Hari. His voice faltered because of the bliss and love, and his heart and eyes were fixed on him.

‘“Prahlada said, ‘O Hari! I have been born in a fierce lineage. Brahma and the other large number of gods, the sages, the Siddhas and those who have not deviated from the flow of sattva in any of their words are completely qualified. But even they have not been able to worship you till now. How am I worthy of satisfying you? I think that the worship of the supreme being is not possible through noble birth, beauty, austerities, learning, keen senses, energy, power, physical strength, manliness, intelligence and yoga. Like the leader of the herd of elephants, 735 the illustrious one can be satisfied through devotion. In terms of approaching the one who has a lotus in his navel, I think that a svapacha 736 is superior to a brahmana who possesses the twelve qualities, 737 but retreats from his lotus feet. If he surrenders himself with his mind and words, he brings benefit and purifies his own life and his own lineage, unlike a person who is only respected a lot. The lord does not expect any gain for himself. He is complete in his own self and does not want respect from people. It is out of compassion that he accepts these from the ignorant. Whatever respect a person offers to the illustrious one is indeed offered back to him, like the reflection of a face in a mirror. Therefore, though I am incapable, I surrender myself with all my soul to the lord. To the best of my intelligence, I will chant about him. I am of inferior birth and ignorant. I have entered this world, which is the creation of gunas. Such a person can be purified through this chanting. All these, Brahma and the others, follow your commands. You are the reservoir of sattva, unlike us. O lord! We are scared of you. O illustrious one! It is said that for the welfare of creatures, and not for your own happiness and pastime, you assume beautiful avataras. Therefore, let go of your rage now. The asura has been killed. Virtuous ones are rejoicing, as if a scorpion or a snake has been killed. All these worlds are delighted and are waiting. O Nrisimha! People will remember this form, assumed for granting them freedom from fear. O unvanquished one! I am not terrified of your terrible visage and tongue, eyes that are like the sun, furrowed eyebrows, strong and ferocious teeth, the garland of entrails, the blood on the mane, ears like cones, the roaring that frightens elephants who are guardians of the directions and the pointed nails that have torn apart the enemy. O compassionate and affectionate one! I am terrified of the carnage in the wheel of samsara, which is fierce and intolerable. I am being devoured and hurled down, bound by my own karma. O supremely powerful one! When will you be pleased and summon me to your lotus feet, the refuge from everything material? I am roaming around on earth in the midst of the pleasant, the unpleasant, separation, association and births as all the different species. I am being burnt in the fire of grief. By accepting the body as real, every medication for misery brings greater misery. Tell me how I can deserve to be your servant. You are my beloved well-wisher. You are the supreme divinity. O Nrisimha! Virinchi has sung the account of your pastimes. If I am completely absorbed in your feet and associate with hamsas, I will easily pass over all miseries. Chanting about you, I will be freed from the gunas. O Nrisimha! In this world, parents are not the refuge for children, nor medicine for those who are suffering from disease. A boat does not help one who is drowning in the ocean. O lord! For all embodied beings in this world, anything regarded as an easy antidote for torments is not favoured by you. 738 Here or anywhere, everything, at every time, whatever be the relationship, whatever be the cause, wherever it goes to, wherever it has come from, inferior or superior, whatever its existence, whether it changes or does not change, whether it has a separate nature—everything is invoked by you. They emanate from your own form. In the mind, maya creates a powerful urge to undertake action. 739 The supreme being urges time and allows the gunas to act. The wheel of time has sixteen spokes 740 and the ignorant become full of desire. O one without a beginning! Without you, how can one transgress this? With your atman, you have always vanquished the gunas. Through your powers, you have kept time under subjugation. You are the power behind cause and effect. O lord! Using your powers, you have created this wheel with the sixteen spokes and we are being crushed under it. O lord! We have sought refuge with you. Accept us. O lord! I have seen all the lords who are there in heaven. All these people desire lifespans, prosperity and powers. However, our father laughed in rage and furrowed his eyebrows and all of them were brought down and swept aside. But you have restrained him too. Therefore, I know about the benedictions that those with bodies can receive, from Virinchi downwards—lifespan, prosperity, power and gratification of the senses. Those who are great in their valour are also destroyed and taken away by time. I do not desire this. Make me a servant by your side. Where are those benedictions? They are pleasant to hear about, but are in the form of mirages. This body gives rise to many kinds of diseases. However, even learned people are not satiated. They seek to pacify the fire of desire with small drops of honey, but this is extremely difficult to do. O lord! Rajas is strong in me and the power of tamas is stronger still. I have been born in a lineage that is inferior to that of the gods. Look at your compassion towards me. You showed me your favours and placed your lotus hand on my head, not on that of Brahma, Bhava or Rama. 741 Indeed, there is no sense of superior and inferior in you. You are a well-wisher towards all creatures and towards the universe. Depending on the kind of service rendered, you show your favours to all those who serve you, even if they are inferior to the gods. There is no sense of superior and inferior in you. People descend into this material existence, which is like a pit full of snakes. Because of association, I was also likely to follow this path of desire. However, the illustrious and divine rishi accepted me. Therefore, how can I give up the idea of serving as your servant? O Ananta! When my father tried to kill me, you saved my life. I think this was because I am your own servant and because you didn’t want the rishi’s words to be rendered false. 742 Wishing to cause me injury, he seized a sword and said, “If there is a lord who is superior to me, tell him to save you. I will sever your head.” This universe is the manifestation of you alone. You existed before its beginning and you will exist after its end. You separately exist in its middle. You have created the transformation of gunas through your own maya. You enter them and cause many types of manifestations. You are this. You are the lord of cause and effect. However, you are also distinct from it. This feeling of “mine” and “someone else’s” is futile and arises because of maya. Something that depends for its birth, preservation, destruction and manifestation on something else is no different from it, just as a tree is no different from the seed and the earth is no different from its subtle element. 743 At the time of destruction, you withdraw this universe into your own self and lie down on the waters. You experience your own bliss and are without any activity. Your eyes are closed in yoga and you appear to be asleep. But you are in a state of turiya. There is no tamas in you and you do not experience the gunas. Everything is your form. This 744 is your body. Through your own powers, you urge time and the nature of Prakriti. You lay down in the waters on the body of Ananta. 745 When your meditation came to an end, a giant lotus manifested itself from your navel, like a banyan tree from a tiny seed. It had been dormant within you. From that, the best of wise ones 746 was generated. He could see nothing other than you and thought that you, his seed, was outside him. He immersed himself in the waters for one hundred years to find the origin of the lotus, but could not find it. O lord! How can a sprout perceive the seed? Seated on the lotus, the one who was his own source was extremely surprised. After some time, he performed terrible austerities and purified himself. O lord! He saw your subtle atman pervading his own self, the senses, full of desires, and the elements, just as smell pervades the earth. Virinchi saw the great being, endowed with thousands of faces, feet, heads, hands, thighs, noses, mouths and eyes and adorned with ornaments and weapons. Full of maya, your appearance was an aggregate of different things and he was delighted. You assumed the form of Hayashira and killed the two extremely strong ones known as Madhu and Kaitabha. They were against the Vedas and full of rajas and tamas. You gave all the sacred texts to him. Your beloved form is full of sattva. In this way, you assume different avataras—as men, inferior species, rishis, gods and aquatic creatures. You protect the worlds and kill those who torment the universe. O great being! You protect the dharma that is appropriate for the yuga. You remain hidden during kali yuga. Therefore, you are known as Triyuga. 747 O lord of Vaikuntha! This mind is wicked and is polluted by fierce sins, addicted to desire and afflicted by joy, misery and fear. It is not interested in your account. I am wretched. How can I comprehend your activities? O Achyuta! My tongue is not satisfied and drags me in one direction. My genitals drag me in another direction. My skin, stomach and hearing drag me in other directions. My smell and fickle eyes drag me elsewhere, as do my power to act. They are like many co-wives, nibbling at the lord of the household. Because of my own deeds, I have thus fallen into Vaitarani. 748 One after another, I face births, deaths and sufferings and am greatly terrified. Alas! You can see us, wicked and foolish ones facing “mine”, “someone else’s”, enmity and friendship in bodies. Please save us now. O illustrious one! Who but you can be a preceptor for everyone? Please try to raise us up. You are the cause behind creation, preservation and destruction. Show your compassion towards these foolish ones. You are a friend to the afflicted, not to speak of those like us, who serve those whom you love. O supreme one! I am not anxious about Vaitarani, which is so very difficult to cross. My mind is immersed in the great amrita of chanting about your valour. I grieve about those who pursue their senses, with their minds turning away from you. Those foolish ones are bearing the burden of a happiness that is maya. O god! In general, sages desire their own liberation. They roam around in desolate parts, silent, and not interested in the benefit of others. I do not wish to leave aside miserable ones and be liberated alone. For those who are wandering around, I do not see anyone other than you as a refuge. A householder’s happiness, sexual gratification and other things are trifles. This is like scratching an itching hand with another hand. Misery leads to other miseries. In this world, those miserable ones suffer from many kinds of hardship and are never satisfied. A persevering person tolerates the itching in his mind. O Purusha! Silence, vows, learning, austerities, studying, one’s own dharma, explaining the sacred texts, solitude, chanting and meditation—these are generally said to be the superior methods for those who have cast aside their senses. But, in this connection, there are proud ones who only use these as a means of making a living. The Vedas say that your two forms are cause and effect. They are like the seed and the sprout and there is no other form for you. Those who are discriminating and practise yoga can see both these forms in front of them. This is like the fire in the wood and there is nothing else. O lord! You are wind, fire, earth, sky, water, the objects of the senses, breath of life, the senses, the mind, consciousness and ego. All these, with gunas and without gunas, are you. Even if it appears otherwise to the mind and speech, there is nothing other than you. The gunas, the presiding divinities over the gunas, Mahat and the others, the mind and other things, gods and mortals—all these have a beginning and an end. O supreme one! Those who are extremely intelligent understand and cease studying the Vedas. O supreme among those who should be worshipped! Therefore, I bow before you and praise you—performing rites, worship, remembering your deeds, resorting to your feet, hearing about your accounts and serving you. Without these six elements of devotion, how can a person attain the paramahamsa state?’”

‘Narada continued, ‘Thus, though he is nirguna, the devotee devotedly described his gunas. He was pleased with Prahlada, who was bowing down before him. Controlling his rage, he replied.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘O fortunate one! O Prahlada! O supreme among asuras! I am pleased with you. May you be fortunate. Ask for the boon that you desire. I am the one who satisfies the desires of all men. O one with a long life! Without pleasing me, it is extremely difficult to see me. Having himself seen me, a living being does not deserve to be tormented again. Because of this, persevering and virtuous ones, those who desire their benefit, try to please me in every possible way. O immensely fortunate one! I am the lord of all kinds of benedictions.’”

‘Narada continued, “The supreme among asuras was thus tempted with the best allurements in the worlds. But he was single-mindedly devoted to the illustrious one and did not wish for anything.”’Chapter 7(10)

‘Narada said, “The child thought that all these were impediments towards bhakti yoga. He smiled and replied to Hrishikesha. Prahlada said, ‘Do not tempt me. Because of my birth, I am addicted to desire and those boons. But I am terrified of such attachment. Detached, I seek liberation and have sought refuge with you. O lord! You wish to test the symptoms of servitude in an excellent devotee and have goaded such desire. These are the seeds of samsara and the bonds of the heart. O universal preceptor! You are full of compassion. Otherwise, such a thing would not have occurred. If a person hopes for benedictions, he is a merchant and not a servant. From a master, if a person hopes for benedictions, he is not really a servant. Nor is a master who desires to confer such benedictions on a servant a true master. I am your devotee and without any desires. You are also my master and my refuge. Unlike that between a king and his servant, there is no other motive between the two of us. O supreme among those who grant boons! If you wish to grant me my desired boon, please grant me the boon that no desire should ever sprout in my heart. Otherwise, right from birth, the senses, the mind, the breath of life, the atman, dharma, fortitude, intelligence, modesty, prosperity, energy, memory and truth are destroyed. O Pundarikaksha! If a man is freed from the desire that exists in the mind, it is only then that he is fit to attain the illustrious one. Oum! O illustrious one! I bow down before you. O great-souled being! O Hari! O one with this wonderful lion as your form! O brahman! O paramatman!’ The illustrious one replied, ‘Those who are single-mindedly devoted to me do not hope for any benedictions from me, in this world or in the next. They are like you. Nevertheless, throughout this manvantara, as the lord of the daityas, you will enjoy objects of pleasure. My accounts will continue to be loved by you. Your atman will be single-mindedly immersed in me. I am in all creatures and am the lord who enjoys all sacrifices. Perform sacrifices and practise yoga, abandoning acts for fruits. You will enjoy pleasure and experience sin. But because you are accomplished, you will perform good deeds. Because of the force of time, you will give up your body. Your deeds will be pure and will be chanted about in the world of the gods and will spread everywhere. Freed from bonds, you will obtain me. If a man chants the song you sang for me 749 and remembers you and me, in the course of time, he will be freed from the bondage of action.’ Prahlada said, ‘O great lord! O lord of all those who grant boons! I desire a boon from you. My father did not know that you were the lord full of energy and abused you. He did not know that you are directly the lord and preceptor of all the worlds. Regarding you as his brother’s slayer, he was full of intolerance. Because of his false outlook, he also harmed me, your devotee. His sins are extremely great and impossible to ignore. Even then, let him be purified. O one who is affectionate towards the distressed! He was purified as soon as he glanced towards you.’ The illustrious one replied, ‘O unblemished one! O purifier of your lineage! O virtuous one! Since you have been born in this lineage, your father, and twenty-one generations of your ancestors have been purified. 750 Wherever my devotees, tranquil, impartial, virtuous and noble in conduct exist, even miserable regions are purified. O Indra among daityas! Those who are devoted to me give up all desire. In every possible way, they do not cause violence to the large number of creatures, the superior or the inferior. In this world, there are people who follow you and become my devotees. But you are indeed the best among all those devotees, one cited as the ideal. O dear one! By touching my limbs, your father has been purified in every possible way. Perform his funeral rites. With an excellent son like you, he will obtain the worlds. As instructed by those who speak about the brahman, occupy your ancestral position. O son! Immerse your mind in me and offer all your acts unto me.’ Prahlada did as the illustrious one had asked and performed his father’s funeral rites. O king! He was consecrated by the brahmanas.

‘“On seeing Hari Narahari, Brahma’s face shone. Surrounded by the gods and the others, he praised him in auspicious words and said, ‘O god of the gods! O controller of the universe! O cause behind creatures! O one who existed before me! It is good fortune that you have killed the asura who tormented the worlds. Having obtained boons from me, he could no longer be slain by anything I created. Insolent because of his austerities, yoga and strength, he destroyed all the ordinances. It is good fortune that his son, this virtuous child, is a great devotee of the illustrious one. It is good fortune that you have saved him from death and that he has now attained you. O illustrious one! If a person meditates on this form of yours with supreme concentration, he is protected from terror on all sides, even if Death wishes to kill him.’ The illustrious one responded, ‘O lord! O one generated from a lotus! Do not bestow such boons on asuras. A boon bestowed on a cruel species is like amrita fed to a snake.’ O king! Having said this, the illustrious Hari vanished from the spot. He is invisible to all creatures and was worshipped by Parameshthi. 751 Prahlada bowed his head down and worshipped and honoured Parameshthi, Bhava, the Prajapatis and the gods, all portions of the illustrious one. With Kavya 752 and the other sages, the one who is seated on a lotus 753 made Prahlada the lord of the daityas and the danavas. The gods honoured him and bestowed supreme benedictions on him. O king! When Brahma and the others had been honoured back, they left for their own abodes.

‘“In this way, Vishnu’s two attendants became Diti’s sons. Though Hari was in their hearts, they were slain because they possessed hate towards him. Because of the curse of brahmanas, they again became two rakshasas. These two, Kumbhakarna and Dashagriva, were slain through Rama’s valour. They lay down in the field of battle, their hearts mangled by Rama’s arrows. As in their earlier lives, they gave up their bodies when he 754 was in their minds. Thus, they were again born in this world as Shishupala and Karusha. 755 They were bound in enmity towards Hari and obtained him in your presence. 756 Because of what they did in their earlier lives, there were other kings who harboured enmity towards Krishna, but they gave this up at the time of their deaths. Like an insect captured by a wasp, they also obtained him. Just as supremely devoted people obtain the illustrious one, in the same way, because they constantly thought about him, Chedi and the other kings also returned and merged with him. I have told you everything that you asked me, about the enmity of Damaghosha’s son and others towards Hari and their merging with him. This is the sacred account of the great-souled Krishna’s, who is devoted to brahmanas and gods, descent as an avatara and the original death of the two daityas. 757 It is about the conduct of Prahlada, the great devotee of the illustrious one, about his devotion, knowledge and detachment and Hari’s true nature. It is a description of the qualities and deeds of the one who is the lord of creation, preservation and destruction, about the positions of the superior and the inferior and the passage of a long period of time. The bhagavata dharma is a means to go to the illustrious one. In this account, there is a complete description of how one can obtain adhyatma. This sacred account describes Vishnu’s valour. If one faithfully listens to his deeds, one is freed from the bondage of action. This is about the original being’s pastime as a lion and about the slaying of the Indra among daityas, the leader of herds. It is about the daitya’s virtuous son, supreme among auspicious ones. If one attentively listens to these accounts, how can there be any fear in the worlds? In the world of men, you are extremely fortunate. Sages who can purify come to this world. They directly reside with you in your households. The supreme brahman is mysterious, but appears with the signs of a man. Great people search for this brahman, desiring kaivalya, nirvana and the experience of bliss. However, he was your friend and well-wisher and your maternal uncle’s son. Destiny made the atman who should be worshipped your preceptor. Despite using their intelligence, Bhava, the one from the lotus and others have not been able to describe his form. He is the one who is worshipped through silence, devotion and renunciation. That is the way the lord of the Satvatas is pleased. O king! In ancient times, Maya, infinite in the use of maya, destroyed Rudra’s glory and the illustrious one enhanced it again.”

‘The king asked, “How, and through what act, did Maya destroy the god’s, known as Isha to the universe, fame? How did Krishna enhance it? Please tell us.”

‘Narada replied, “The asuras were defeated in a battle by the gods, whose powers had increased. They went and sought refuge with their supreme preceptor, Maya, full of maya. The lord constructed three cities that were made out of gold, silver and iron. Their movements were impossible to fathom and they were stocked with equipment impossible to understand. O king! Located inside these, the asura soldiers remembered their former enmity, and undetected by anyone, destroyed the three worlds and their lords. The lords of the worlds went to Ishvara 758 and bowed down before him. ‘O god! Save those who are dear to you. We have been destroyed by those who reside in the three cities.’ The illustrious lord showed his favours to the gods and told them not to be afraid. He affixed an arrow to his bow and released it in the direction of the three cities. Consequently, arrows that had the complexion of fire issued from the solar circle. Struck by those rays, the cities were no longer visible. Struck by them, all the residents of the city fell down, lifeless. However, the great yogi, Maya, took them and flung them into a well filled with juices. Touched by the juices of amrita, they rose up again, firm as diamonds and extremely energetic. They were like fiery lightning that tears clouds apart. On seeing that his resolution had been shattered, the one with the bull on his banner became dejected. Therefore, the illustrious Vishnu thought about a means that could be used. Vishnu himself assumed the form of a cow and Brahma became the calf. They entered Tripura at the appropriate time and drank up all the amrita juice in the well. Though the asuras saw them, they were confused and did not do anything to restrain them. The great yogi 759 also got to know. But remembering that this was destiny, he did not sorrow. He spoke to the confused guardians of the juice, who were grief-stricken. ‘In this world, no one, a god, an asura, a man, or even Ishvara himself, can contravene what destiny has ordained for him or for anyone else.’ Then, through his own powers of dharma, knowledge, detachment, opulence, austerities, learning and rites, he 760 created the equipment for Shambhu—chariot, charioteer, standard, mounts, bow, armour and arrows. Equipped on the chariot in this way, he affixed an arrow to his bow. At the time of Abhijit muhurta, 761 Ishvara fixed the arrow to the bow. O king! Thus, Hara burnt down Tripura, which was so very difficult to penetrate. Drums were sounded in the firmament and there were hundreds of vimanas assembled there. The gods, the rishis, the ancestors and the lords of the Siddhas showered down flowers and exclaimed, ‘Victory!’ They chanted in delight. Large numbers of apsaras danced. O king! Thus, the illustrious one, the destroyer of cities, burnt down the three cities. Having been praised by Brahma and the others, he returned to his own abode. In this way, using his own maya, Hari himself imitates the actions of the world of men. The rishis sing about the valour of the preceptor of the universe, which purifies the worlds. What shall I speak about next?”’Chapter 7(11)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘This account of the lord of daityas, 762 who had Urukrama in his atman, was praised in assemblies of virtuous people. Having heard it, Yudhishthira, foremost among great ones, was delighted. He again asked Svayambhuva’s son. 763 Yudhishthira said, “O illustrious one! I wish to hear about the eternal dharma of men, the conduct of the varnas and the ashramas, whereby men can obtain the supreme. You are the son of Prajapati Parameshthi himself. Because of your austerities, yoga and meditation, you are the most revered of Brahma’s sons. Brahmanas who are devoted to Narayana, compassionate, virtuous and tranquil like you, know about the supreme and secret dharma, not others.”

‘Narada replied, “I bow down before the illustrious Aja. For the worlds, he is the bridge of dharma. I will tell you about the eternal dharma I heard from Narayana’s mouth. For the benefit of the worlds, he manifested himself in his portion as the son of Dharma and Daksha’s daughter. 764 He studies and performs austerities in the hermitage of Badarika. The illustrious Hari is the foundation of dharma and all the Vedas are in him. O king! So are the smriti texts, whereby, the soul is gratified. O Pandava! (1) Truthfulness; 765 (2) Compassion; (3) Austerities; (4) Purity; (5) Endurance; (6) Discrimination; (7) Control of the mind; (8) Control of the senses; (9) Non-violence; (10) Brahmacharya; (11) Renunciation; (12) Studying; (13) Uprightness; (14) Contentment; (15) Impartiality in service; (16) Gradual withdrawal from the material pleasures of the world; (17) Regard of human endeavours as futile; (18) Silence; (19) Inquiry about the atman; (20) As is proper, a fair distribution of food and other objects among creatures; (21) An intelligence that looks upon them, especially humans, as one’s own self and divinities; (22) Hearing about the illustrious one; (23) Chanting about him; (24) Remembering great ones; (25) Service; 766 (26) Worship; (27) Bowing down; (28) Accepting a state of servitude; (29) Regarding him as a friend; and (30) Surrendering oneself to him—all these are said to be the supreme dharma for men. O king! Through these thirty signs, the one who is in all atmans is satisfied. Brahma has said that a person is a dvija if the samskaras have been undertaken for him, without interruption. 767 For dvijas who are pure in birth and conduct, sacrifices, studying and donations have been reccommended. They have been urged to observe the tasks for specific ashramas. Studying and the others are the six for brahmanas. 768 Others must not receive. 769 The king protects subjects and earns his living by imposing taxes on those who are not brahmanas. Vaishyas earn their subsistence through agriculture and trade and must always follow brahmanas. Shudras serve dvijas 770 and their sustenance comes from the master’s means of subsistence. There are four kinds of means of subsistence for brahmanas and each is superior to the preceding one—various means of subsistence, accepting alms without begging for them, wandering around and begging and picking up leftover grain from fields or markets. Except at times of calamity, a person from an inferior varna must not follow the means of subsistence of a superior varna. With the exception of kings, at times of calamity, everyone can undertake everything. 771 For the sake of preserving life, a person may accept the professions of rita, amrita, mrita, pramrita or satyanrita, but must never follow sha-vritti. Rita is when one picks up leftover grain from fields or markets. Amrita is accepting alms without begging for them. Mrita is always begging for alms. Pramrita is said to mean tilling of the field. Satyanrita is trade. Sha-vritti is serving those who are inferior and this is condemned and must always be avoided by brahmanas and kings. The brahmana is an embodiment of all the Vedas. The king is an embodiment of all the gods. Control over the mind, control over the senses, purity, contentment, forgiveness, uprightness, knowledge, compassion, immersion in Achyuta and truthfulness are the signs of a brahmana. Prowess, valour, fortitude, energy, generosity, control over one’s own self, forgiveness, devotion to brahmanas, graciousness and offering protection are the signs of a kshatriya. Devotion to gods, seniors and Achyuta, sustenance of the three objectives of human existence, belief in the sacred texts, constant enterprise and skills are the signs of a vaishya. Submissiveness, purity, honest service of the master, sacrifices without using mantras, lack of thievery, truthfulness and protection of cattle and brahmanas are indicated for shudras. For women who regard the husband as a divinity, there must be eagerness to serve and follow him and his relatives and acceptance of the husband’s vows. Sweeping and plastering the house, decorating it, decorating her own self, constant wearing of clean garments, cleaning household equipment, satisfying the great and small wishes of the husband with modesty and self-control and on every occasion, addressing him with loving, agreeable and truthful words—this is how a virtuous wife serves her husband. She is content, without being greedy. She is accomplished and knows about dharma. She speaks agreeable and truthful words. She is not distracted. She is pure and gentle. She thus serves a husband who has not fallen. 772 If a woman serves her husband as Hari and is as devoted as Shri, in Hari’s world, with her husband, she rejoices like Shri. The means of subsistence for those of mixed parentage 773 follow those of their respective lineages, as long as they are not thieves or wicked. This is also true of antyajas, those who reside at the boundaries. 774 From one yuga to another yuga, the dharma of men is generally determined by nature. O king! Those who have insight about the Vedas have said that this brings benefit in this world and in the next. The present means of subsistence are determined by nature and one’s own karma. If one gives up one’s own natural karma, one gradually approaches the nirguna stage. If a field is sown repeatedly, it automatically becomes infertile. If it is not appropriate and seeds are sown again, it is destroyed. In that way, the mind is a store of desires. O king! However, excessive pursuit of desire leads to disgust, just as drops of ghee do not satisfy a fire. There are signs that have been described as characterizing a specific varna. If these are seen in a man who belongs to a different varna, he is designated as being from that varna.”’ 775Chapter 7(12)

‘Narada said, “A brahmachari must reside in the preceptor’s house. He must be controlled and do what is good for the preceptor. Like an inferior person, he must act like a servant, firm in his affection towards the preceptor. At the time of the morning and the evening sandhyas, he must worship the preceptor, the fire, the sun and the best among the gods. He must be restrained in speech. He must control himself and chant the name of the brahman. 776 When the preceptor summons him, he must control himself and study the Vedas. When this starts and ends, he must bend his head down at his feet. He must wear a girdle and garments made out of deer skin. 777 His hair must be matted and he must carry a staff and a water pot. He must wear the sacred thread. As instructed, there must be a handful of darbha grass in his hand. In the morning and the evening, he will go out and beg for alms and offer what has been obtained to the preceptor. He will eat when he has been given permission. Otherwise, he will sometimes fast. He will be good in conduct and restrained in eating. He will be accomplished and faithful and will conquer his senses. He will have dealings with women, and with those who have been enslaved by women, only to the extent that it is necessary. If he is observing the great vow 778 and has not become a householder, he must avoid talking to women. The senses are so powerful that they take away a mendicant’s mind. 779 If he himself is young and the preceptor’s wife is also young, he must not allow her to tend to his hair, massage him, bathe him or anoint him. Indeed, a woman is like fire and a man is like a pot of clarified butter. In private, one must not associate more than is necessary with one’s own daughter, not to speak of others. Until one has realized the atman and until everything becomes the lord’s reflection, the notion of duality 780 does not cease and there can thus be a calamity. Everything described applies to a householder and a mendicant. A householder follows the means of subsistence indicated by the preceptor and has intercourse with his wife during her periods. A person who has taken the great vow 781 must not use collyrium and unguents, must not massage the body, must not look at women or their paintings, must not eat meat, must not drink and must give up garlands, fragrant scents and ornaments. According to his capacity and to the extent possible, a dvija must reside in his preceptor’s household to study and understand the three Vedas, the Vedangas and the Upanishads. 782 If his master, the preceptor, so desires, he must grant him what he wishes for. 783 With his permission, he can become a householder or go and reside in the forest. Or he can become a wandering mendicant. Adhokshaja is in the fire, in the preceptor, in one’s atman and in all creatures. His abode can be seen in all beings. Though he seems to have entered them, he doesn’t actually enter them. In this way, one becomes a brahmachari, a grihastha, or resorts to vanaprastha, or becomes a mendicant. While wandering around, if one attains vijnana, one goes to the supreme brahman. I will tell you about the rules approved by sages for vanaprastha. By resorting to this, one easily goes to the worlds obtained by rishis and sages. Such a person 784 should not eat anything that is the result of tilling, or something that is not the result of tilling, but has become ripe before time. He should not eat food cooked by the fire. He should only eat what has been ripened and cooked by the sun. He should prepare charu and cakes of forest products that have naturally grown over a period of time. When he obtains new food, he must throw away the old. 785 He will resort to a thatched cottage or a cave in a mountain only for the sake of preserving the fire. However, he will himself tolerate the cold, the snow, the wind, the fire, the rain and sun. He will have matted hair and will let his hair, body hair, nails and beard grow. He will possess a water pot, deerskin, a staff, garments made of bark and a receptacle for the fire. The sage will roam around in the forest for twelve, eight, four or two years, depending on how long the mind is not agitated by the hardships. If he can no longer undertake his rites after this period, because of disease or old age, or because he wishes to pursue knowledge, he should resort to fasting. 786 He will invoke the fire in his atman and give up notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. As is appropriate, he will deposit his aggregate into the causes. 787 The gaps inside the body will be merged into space, the breath of life will be merged into air, the heat of the body will be merged into fire, the fluid in the body (blood, mucus and phlegm) will be merged into water and everything that is left 788 will be merged into the earth. Thus, a person who knows himself will merge everything into the causes. Speech and the organ of speech will be rendered to Agni, the hands and craftsmanship to Indra, the feet and power of locomotion to Vishnu, sexual desire and the genital organs to Prajapati and the rectum and power of excretion to Mrityu. Everything is consigned to the proper place. The organ of hearing and the vibration of sound goes to the directions, and skin and the sense of touch to Vayu. O king! The eyes and form are consigned to the sun god, the tongue and its sense to the Prachetas in the water, 789 and smell and the object of smell to the earth. The mind and wishes are vested in the moon, and intelligence and the object of intelligence in the supreme and wise one. 790 Action, false ego and acts undertaken through notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are vested in Rudra. Consciousness and sattva are vested in the kshetrajna and vaikarika ahamkara and the gunas are vested in the supreme one. He then merges the earth in water, water in fire, fire in wind, and wind in space. Space is merged into ego, ego into Mahat, Mahat into Prakriti, 791 and Prakriti into Akshara. 792 With the atman merged into Akshara, only consciousness is left. Having realized non-duality, he stops, 793 like a fire that has destroyed its own source.”’Chapter 7(13)

‘Narada said, “A person who is capable 794 will become a mendicant, possessing nothing but his body. He must not spend more than one night in any village. Indifferent, he will roam around the earth. If he is going to wear a garment, a loin cloth is sufficient covering. Unless there is a calamity, he must not bear any signs other that of a staff and other objects. 795 He will wander around alone, begging for alms. He takes delight in his atman and does not depend on anything else. Devoted to Narayana, he will be friendly towards all beings. He will visualize the atman in the universe and see cause and effect in the supreme and undecaying one. He will see his atman as the supreme brahman, which pervades everything, cause and effect. When he is asleep and when he is awake and in between the two, he will perceive the progress of the atman. He will perceive that both bondage and liberation are the result of maya and are not real. He will not rejoice in inevitable death, or in transient life. He will wait for the ultimate time, which brings about the creation and destruction of beings. He will not be attached to the sacred texts, nor will he use these to make a living for himself. He will abandon all debates and arguments and will not take the side of either party. He will not bind himself to disciples, nor will he study numerous texts. To earn a living, he will not expound these. He will not start on any undertaking. A great-souled one does not generally resort to the state of being a mendicant with the objective of acquiring dharma. He is tranquil and impartial. He may accept or discard. 796 His signs are not evident. But the intentions of such a learned person are evident from the fact that he is like a restless child. Even if he is wise in vision, he must show himself to the world of men as someone who is dumb. In this connection, an ancient history is recounted. This is about a conversation between Prahlada and the sage Ajagara. 797

‘“Surrounded by a few of his advisers, Prahlada, the beloved devotee, was roaming around the worlds, wishing to ascertain the nature of people. On the banks of the Kaveri, on the slopes of Sahya, 798 he saw him lying down on the bare ground. He was covered with dust all over his body and his spotless energy was hidden. Through his deeds, form, words or signs, people were unable to understand his varna or ashrama, who he was and who he was not. The asura, the great devotee of the illustrious one, bowed down and honoured him in the proper way, touching his feet with his head. He wished to know and asked the following question. ‘You possess a strong body, like someone who enjoys and can make efforts. Wealth comes to those who make efforts and in this world, objects of pleasure accrue to those who possess wealth. The bodies of those who enjoy become stout, not otherwise. O brahmana! You are lying down, without making any efforts. Clearly, you do not possess wealth to acquire objects of pleasure. O brahmana! Your body has not experienced objects of pleasure. Pardon me. But how is it that you are stout? You are wise, accomplished and skilled. You are impartial and can speak colourful and agreeable words. You can see people exerting themselves in tasks, but you are simply lying down here.’ The lord of the daityas asked the great sage in this way. Attracted by the amrita of his speech, he smiled and replied.

‘“The brahmana said, ‘O best among asuras! You are revered as a noble person and you already know all this. Through the vision of adhyatma, you know the fruits of acts and their renunciation. Since you are devoted to the illustrious one, the god Narayana is always in your heart. Like the sun dispelling darkness, it is devotion alone that can bring about knowledge. O king! Nevertheless, according to what I have heard, I will tell you the answer to your question. If a person wishes to purify himself, he must speak to a person like you. I was driven by the thirst for material objects and was engaged in trying to satisfy desire. I engaged in tasks and was born as many different kinds of species. Whirled around by wilful karma, I obtained this human form. This is a gate to heaven, liberation, birth as inferior species, or birth as a human again. In this form, couples unite to bring about happiness and avoid misery. I saw them engage in tasks and, acting in a contrary way, have now withdrawn. Happiness is the nature of the atman and is manifested when one withdraws from all material activities. On seeing that objects of pleasure are nothing but mental states one plunges into, I am lying down. A man forgets that his benefit is in his own atman. Because the false and the material are alluring, he obtains this terrible state of samsara. The water is covered in overgrowth. Not realizing this, an ignorant person desires water and rushes after a mirage. Though interested in his own welfare, he searches elsewhere. He searches for his happiness, but his body and other things 799 are controlled by destiny. Under the control of this, he seeks to alleviate suffering. But all his attempts are repeatedly unsuccessful. With a great deal of difficulty, a mortal person may obtain riches to satisfy his desires. But what purpose does this serve? He is never able to free himself from adhyatmika and other kinds of misery. 800 I perceive the miseries of rich people. They are greedy and have not been able to conquer their atmans. Because of their fear, they cannot sleep. They are suspicious of everything. Those anxious about both life and wealth are always scared of kings, thieves, enemies, their own relatives, animals, birds, those who seek their wealth, time and even of their own selves. The root cause of grief, confusion, fear, anger, attachment, lassitude and exhaustion is the desire for life and wealth. A learned man must give this up. In this world, the bee and the giant serpent are the two best preceptors. They teach us detachment and satisfaction with whatever has been obtained. From the bee, I have learnt not to be attached to all the objects of desire. Wealth is like honey and is acquired with a great deal of hardship. However, someone else slays the owner and takes it away. 801 I do not desire anything and am satisfied with whatever comes to me on its own. Like a large serpent, I resort to my spirit and lie down for many days. Sometimes, I get a little bit of food. Sometimes, I get a lot. Sometimes, it is tasty. Sometimes, it is not tasty. Sometimes, it has a lot of qualities. Sometimes, it has no qualities at all. Sometimes, it is given to me with a great deal of respect. Sometimes, it is given to me with no respect at all. Sometimes I have to eat food just after I have eaten. Depending on availability, I eat during the day or at night. I wear garments made out of linen, silk, deer skin, rags or bark, or whatever else is available. My mind is content with whatever destiny brings me. Sometimes, I lie down on the bare ground. Sometimes, I lie down on grass, leaves, stones or ashes. Sometimes, depending on the wishes of another, I lie down on a couch in a palace, with a pillow. Sometimes, I bathe and anoint my limbs with unguents. I wear excellent garments and adorn myself with garlands. Sometimes, I ride on a chariot, an elephant or a horse. O lord! Sometimes, like a demon, I am attired in nothing but the directions. 802 People vary in their natures and I do not criticize or praise them. I desire their benefit and hope for their union with the great-souled one. This differentiation 803 is the cause of all confusion in the mind and must be offered as an oblation to the consciousness. Like that, the mind must be offered as an oblation into vaikarika ahamkara and that must be offered as an oblation to maya. A sage who can see the truth must offer maya as an oblation to realization of the atman. Without any material desires, one then ceases all activity and is based on realization of the atman. I have thus described to you my conduct, which is extremely secret. This differs from the sacred texts of the worlds. However, you are devoted to the illustrious one.’” 804

‘Narada continued, “The lord of the asuras heard about this paramahamsa dharma from the sage. Delighted, he worshipped him. Taking his leave, he left for his residence.”’Chapter 7(14)

‘Yudhishthira asked, “O devarshi! Tell me about the path that a householder can easily follow. How can a foolish person like me, as a householder, attain the objective?”’

‘Narada replied, “O king! A person who is a grihastha must perform the appropriate rites, which are a direct offering to Vasudeva, and serve the great sages. He must always faithfully hear about the accounts, which are like amrita, of the illustrious one’s avataras. At the right time, 805 he must surround himself with tranquil people. Through association with virtuous people, he will gradually free himself from attachment to his own self, his wife, his sons and other things. When these are severed, he will wake up, as if from a dream. As long as a learned person is pursuing artha and has the body and the household, as a human in this world of men, he must appear to be attached to these, but is really not attached. Without any sense of ownership, he must agree to whatever his relatives, his parents, his sons, his brothers and other well-wishers say and desire. A learned person acts so that he enjoys all the wealth that Achyuta devises from heaven, from the earth and from the firmament. 806 As long as an embodied being does not die, he can claim ownership on only what is required to fill the stomach. A person who thinks of anything more is a thief and deserves to be punished. Deer, camels, asses, monkeys, rats, reptiles, birds and flies are like one’s own sons. Why should one look on them as something different? A person who is a householder should not make a great deal of effort in pursuing the three objectives, 807 but should be content with whatever the time and the place provide. Objects of pleasure must be divided even among dogs, sinners and antyajas. The wife is accepted as part of one’s own self, but even she must be used to welcome people. 808 One gives up one’s life for the wife and even kills a father or a preceptor for her. When one gives up the sense of ownership in the wife, one has conquered what is unconquerable. This body is insignificant and attachment to it must end. It becomes worms, excrement or ashes. 809 Similarly, what is the attachment for the wife? The atman is like the sky and pervades everything. A person must devise a means of subsistence for himself from the leftovers of successful sacrifices. 810 In the end, a wise person gives up any sense of ownership and obtains a state of greatness. Through the riches obtained, every day, a man must separately share with gods, rishis, humans, creatures and ancestors and provide for his own self. In this way, he worships Purusha. If he possesses all the rights and the wealth required for performing sacrifices, he must follow the prescribed rites and perform agnihotra and other sacrifices. O king! However, the illustrious one who enjoys all the sacrifices is not satisfied as much through oblations offered through the fire’s mouth as much as he is through oblations offered through the mouths of brahmanas. Therefore, as they deserve, kshetrajna must be worshipped by offering objects of pleasure and sacrificing to brahmanas, gods and mortals. Indeed, he is in brahmanas. If a brahmana possesses wealth, in krishna paksha in the month of Proshthapada, 811 depending on his wealth, he must perform funeral rites for his ancestors and their relatives. He must also perform these at the time of the summer and winter solstices, 812 during vyatipata, 813 at the end of a lunar tithi, during the eclipse of the sun and the moon, on the twelfth lunar day, when the nakshatra Shravana is in the ascendance, on the third lunar day in shukla paksha, 814 the ninth lunar day in the month of Kartika, 815 the four ashtakas in the seasons of Hemanta and Shishira, 816 the seventh lunar day in shukla paksha in the month of Magha, the night of the full moon when the nakshatra Magha is in the ascendant, the days of raka and anumati when the nakshatra that led to the naming of the month is in the ascendant, 817 the twelfth lunar day when the nakshatras Anuradha, Shravana or the three named Uttara 818 are in the ascendant, the eleventh lunar day when any of these three are in the ascendant 819 and when there is a conjunction between one’s birth nakshatra and Shravana. These are the best of times and increase the welfare of men. Therefore, with all one’s soul, one must try so that welfare and lifespan increase. Bathing, meditation, oblations, worship of gods and brahmanas and donations to ancestors, gods, men and creatures 820 are never destroyed. O king! For the sake of one’s own prosperity, one must observe the rites at the time of sacraments for one’s own self, one’s wife and one’s offspring and also at the time of shraddha and funeral rites. I will now describe the regions best suited for the performance of rites connected with dharma. These are the most sacred spots, where virtuous recipients are found. He 821 is an image of the illustrious one, who is in all mobile and immobile objects. People from brahmana lineages, possessing austerities and learning, are found there. Any place where Hari is worshipped is the most auspicious of places. These are regions where Ganga and the other rivers, famous in the Puranas, flow. O king! There are lakes like Pushkara; kshetras like Kurukshetra, resorted to by revered people; Gayashira; 822 Prayaga; Pulaha’s hermitage; Naimisha; Phalguna; 823 Setu; 824 Prabhasa; Kushasthali; 825 Varanasi; Madhupuri; 826 Pampa; Bindusara; the hermitage of Narayana; 827 Nanda; 828 the hermitage of Rama and Sita; 829 and all the kulachalas, Mahendra, Malaya and the others. These are the most auspicious spots and Hari is worshipped there. If a person desires his benefit, he should reside in these places. If a person performs act of dharma there, the fruits are multiplied one thousand times. O lord of the earth! Wise and the most worthy of recipients have determined that Hari alone is a worthy recipient. All mobile and immobile objects are pervaded by him. O king! Gods, rishis, virtuous people and Brahma’s sons and others were present, 830 when it was decided that Achyuta is the foremost recipient. The entire cosmic egg is like a gigantic tree and it is full of innumerable categories of living beings. However, since Achyuta is the foundation, his worship is tantamount to worshipping all beings and one’s own self. He is the one who created the habitations for humans, inferior species, rishis and gods. The Purusha form lies down in the bodies of all these living beings. O king! In all these species, the illustrious being exists in differing degrees. Therefore, though each is a worthy recipient, Purusha’s respective presence varies, depending on the nature of the atman. O king! The wise ones saw that humans pointlessly disrespected each other. Therefore, in treta and the other yugas, 831 they instituted Hari’s worship. Among those who worship Hari, some do it with faith and the required objects. But even if there is worship, if there is hatred towards men, the worship becomes futile. O Indra among kings! Among men, know that brahmanas are excellent recipients. Because of austerities, learning and satisfaction, they are like the Vedas, Hari’s body. O king! Krishna is the atman of the universe. However, the dust of their feet purifies the three worlds and they are like the great divinity himself.”’Chapter 7(15)

‘Narada said, “Some brahmanas are devoted to rites, others are devoted to austerities. Some are interested in studying and expounding. Some are engaged in jnana yoga. A person desiring to offer oblations to ancestors and gods should offer these to those who are devoted to jnana. In their absence, others can be recipients, depending on their worth. For rites connected with gods, two brahmanas must be fed. For those connected with ancestors, three must be fed. But in either case, one can also be fed. Even if a person is extremely affluent, at shraddha ceremonies, a large number should not be fed. If the time and the place is appropriate, one should not extend copious donations to one’s own relatives, if this means that objects faithfully offered to worthy recipients become deficient. When the time and the place present themselves, food faithfully offered in the proper way to worthy recipients are like those offered to sages and the divinity Hari. They lead to everlasting satisfaction of desire. When food is shared among gods, rishis, creatures, one’s own self and one’s own relatives, all these must be looked upon as entities in whose atmans Purusha resides. A person who knows about dharma must not serve meat at shraddha ceremonies, or eat it. Food offered to sages brings the greatest pleasure when it does not involve injury to animals. For men who desire virtuous dharma, there is no dharma as supreme as that which does not involve chastisement of creatures, in thoughts, words and deeds. There are some learned people who know about sacrifices and who have no desires. Instead of performing sacrifices with rites, they control their atmans and use the lamp of knowledge to offer oblations. 832 On seeing those who sacrifice with sacrificial objects, 833 creatures become terrified and say, ‘This one is without compassion and ignorant. He will certainly kill me, desiring to take life.’ Therefore, a person who knows about dharma should be satisfied with the food of sages, obtained by chance. Day after day, he must always undertake the daily rites. A person who knows about dharma must avoid five kinds of adharma—vidharma, paradharma, abhasa, upama and chhala. These are five branches of adharma. Obstructions to dharma are known as vidharma. Dharma urged by someone else is known as paradharma. 834 Upadharma is that followed by insolent heretics. Debating with words is chhala. 835 If a man deviates from his own dharma and wilfully does whatever he wants, that is known as abhasa. If one follows one’s natural and ordained dharma, why is that not capable of bringing about serenity? A person who doesn’t possess riches should not seek to acquire wealth for the sake of subsistence, or for pursuing dharma or artha. His conduct must be like the great snake, without desire and without activity. There is happiness in contentment, lack of desire and delight in one’s own atman. Driven by desire and avarice and seeking artha, why should one run around in all the directions? When one is content in one’s mind, all the directions are auspicious. For a person wearing footwear, there is no danger from gravel or thorns. O king! A person who is content will ensure his subsistence with water alone. However, if one serves the genital organs and the stomach, one will be like a miserable creature kept at home. 836 If a brahmana is not content, because of the senses and avarice, his energy, learning, austerities and fame are dissipated and his learning is also destroyed. When a person is hungry or thirsty, there is an end to desire. Similarly, anger is also destroyed when its fruits result. 837 However, even if a person conquers and enjoys all the directions in the world, greed is never satisfied. O king! There are many learned people, with a great deal of experience and capable of dispelling the doubts of others. They are fit to be the leaders of assemblies. Even then, because of their discontentment, they have fallen down. One must conquer desire through determination. Anger is conquered by giving up desire. Greed is conquered by considering what is beneficial and what is not beneficial. Fear is conquered by ascertaining the truth. Grief and delusion can be conquered through reflection, insolence through association with the great, obstructions to yoga through silence, and violence through lack of desire in material objects. Misery to creatures can be conquered through compassion, unhappiness because of destiny, through meditation, ailments to the body through yoga and energy and sleep through serving sattva. Rajas and tamas can be conquered through sattva, and sattva through withdrawal. Through great devotion to the preceptor, a man can easily conquer all these. By bestowing the lamp of knowledge, the preceptor is the illustrious one himself. If a person has the wicked intelligence that he is no different from an ordinary mortal, all his knowledge is like cleaning an elephant. 838 He is the illustrious one himself, the supreme lord and Purusha. In this world, he 839 is thought of as a human being, but his feet are sought after by the lords of yoga. All the principles that are ordained are for the single-minded objective of controlling the six categories. 840 If the pursuit of yoga does not lead to their end, it is a complete waste of effort. Pursuits undertaken for artha do not attain the end pursued through yoga. Like that, pure rites observed by a wicked person do not lead to any benefit. With a desire to conquering the mind, one must be alone and without any attachments. He must seek refuge in a solitary place. As a mendicant, he must subsist on what he begs as alms. O king! In a pure and level region, he must spread out his seat. He must sit down, with his body upright, steady, comfortable and balanced. He must chant ‘Oum!’ He must control prana and apana through puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka. 841 As long as the mind is unable to give up desire, the gaze must be fixed on the tip of his nose. Affected by desire, the mind wanders around here and there. Whenever that happens, a learned person will gradually restrain it and confine it within the core of the heart. As one continuously practices this, within a short period of time, the practitioner’s heart attains nirvana, like a fire without any kindling. When one is not affected by desire and other things, all the activities of the mind become tranquil. The consciousness is touched by the bliss of the brahman and does not want to ever come out again. If a person becomes a mendicant, withdrawing from the material field of the three objectives, but subsequently pursues these objectives again, that shameless mendicant is like one who eats vomited out food. There are those who consider the mortal body to be different from the atman, destined to become excrement, worms or ashes. If they again identify with the body and praise it, they are the vilest of persons.

‘“Avoidance of rites by a grihastha, the giving up of vows by a brahmachari, residence in a village by an ascetic 842 and the agitation of the senses by a mendicant 843—these are indeed the vilest in the respective ashramas and amount to fraud in the ashramas. They are confounded by the divinity’s maya. Out of compassion, one should disregard them. If a person realizes his own atman, that supreme knowledge cleanses his mind. That being the case, for what purpose and for whom, should a lustful person nourish the body? The body is said to be a chariot, the senses are the horses, the mind, the lord of the senses, is the reins, the objects of senses are the paths, intelligence is the charioteer, and the heart is the bondage that has been created by the lord. The ten breaths of life are the spokes, 844 dharma and adharma are the two wheels and because of ego, the jivatman identifies himself as the charioteer. It is said that the sound of ‘Oum’ is the bow, the jivatman is the arrow and the paramatman is the target. Love, hatred, greed, grief, illusion, fear, pride, insolence, dishonour, jealousy, deceitfulness, violence, intolerance, passion, distractedness, hunger and sleep are the enemies naturally caused by rajas and tamas. Rarely does sattva naturally cause these. This chariot in the form of human body, with its constituent parts, is under a person’s control. One possesses the sword of knowledge, sharpened by serving at the feet of great people. One should draw on Achyuta’s strength until the enemies have been destroyed. When a person is content with the internal bliss, he is tranquil and can give this up. 845 Otherwise, if the charioteer is inattentive, the senses will be like wicked horses that drag the chariot along wicked paths, where it is hurled before bandits in the form of material objects. With the horses and the charioteer, the bandits fling him into a well of blinding darkness in the form of samsara, where he suffers from great fear of death. The Vedas mention two kinds of tasks—pravritti and nivritti. One is whirled around through pravritti. Through nivritti, one obtains immortality. Rites that require a lot of objects and involve violence, undertaken for satisfying desires; agnihotra and others that cause lack of peace; darsha, purnamasa, chaturmasya, pashu, huta and prahuta—these are known as ishta. The construction of temples, gardens and tanks and the distribution of things required to sustain life are examples of purta. 846 When material objects mixed with ghee are offered into a fire, they become smoke, the night, krishna paksha, dakshinayana and soma. But they return as herbs and plants. O lord of the earth! As food, they become semen and are born again, after having followed pitri yana. Going through one step after another, they are born again. 847 From the time of birth, if a dvija is cleansed through the sixteen samskaras, any oblations offered to the senses through rites and sacrifices serve the lamp of knowledge. He offers the senses into the mind, the mind, the result of vaikarika ahamkara, is offered into speech, speech is offered into the aggregate of letters 848 and that sound is offered into Omkara. Omkara is merged into Bindu, Bindu into Nada, Nada into Prana and Prana into Mahat. 849 Agni, Surya, day, evening, shukla paksha, raka, uttarayana and Brahma are steps, followed by vishva, taijasa, prajna and turiya. After this, the atman is freed. 850 Pitri yana and deva yana have been described in the Vedas. A person who possesses the insight of the sacred texts is not confounded. He always exists at the beginning and at the end of living entities. He is inside and outside. He is cause and effect. He is knowledge and the object of knowledge. He is speech and the object of speech. He is himself darkness and light. A reflection in an image is not real, but is accepted as real. In that way, because reality is difficult to establish, objects perceived by the senses are accepted as real. This 851 is a shadow of earth and the other elements. But it is not a compound or a mixture. It is not any of them, singly or collectively. Therefore, it is unreal. The elements are the cause behind the body. 852 Without the limbs of the body, the objects of the senses cannot be perceived to exist. When the aggregate is unreal, the constituent parts must also be unreal. If the aggregate and the constituent parts are distinct, any parallel between them must be an error. This is also the case with states of being awake and being asleep. Both are like dreams. 853 This is also true of the injunctions of the sacred texts. A sage realizes that differences in thoughts, action and materials are unreal for the atman. Therefore, he gives up the three states of wakefulness, sleeping and dreaming. 854 He has the insight that cause and effect are the same, like the thread and a piece of cloth. This is said to be the perception of advaita, 855 any differentiation being unreal. O Partha! The surrender of all tasks to the supreme brahman, in thoughts, words and deeds, is said to be kriya-advaita. When one’s own self, the wife, the son, all other creatures and artha and kama are regarded as one, this is said to be dravya-advaita. O king! As long as there is no calamity, a man must perform whatever tasks are recommended for him and not prohibited, wherever and however. O king! If a man follows his own tasks, as recommended in the Vedas and otherwise, and is also devoted to him, 856 he attains his state, even if he is a householder. O lord of men! You faced many kinds of insurmountable difficulties. However, because of the lord, you tided over them. By serving at his lotus feet, you conquered your enemies, who were like diggajas, and performed sacrifices.

‘“In earlier times, in a great kalpa, I was a gandharva named Upabarhana. I was extremely revered by the gandharvas. My body was beautiful in form, attractive, fragrant and handsome. The women loved me and in my own city I was always intoxicated and lascivious. Once, in a sacrifice performed by the gods, a large number of gandharvas and apsaras were invited by the creators of the universe 857 to chant about Hari’s glory. Getting to know and possessing knowledge about singing, I went there, surrounded by women, and sang. Because of the disrespect I had shown, the creators of the universe used their energy to curse me. 858 ‘You have shown disrespect and your prosperity will be destroyed. Leave and immediately be born as a shudra.’ Hence, I was born through a female servant. Nevertheless, I served and associated with those who knew about the brahman. Therefore, I have been born as Brahma’s son. The dharma that destroys the sins of householders has been described to you. Through this, a grihastha can easily obtain the goal intended by a sannyasi. In this world of men, you are extremely fortunate. Sages who purify the worlds have themselves come to your house, where the supreme brahman secretly resided in human form. He is the brahman whom great people seek out for the sake of kaivalya, nirvana and feelings of bliss. He is your beloved well-wisher and the son of your maternal uncle. He is your atman and revered preceptor, though he acted for your sake. Using their intelligence, Bhava and the one born from the lotus 859 and others can themselves not describe his true form. Those who have withdrawn worship him in devotion and silence. May the lord of the Satvatas show us his favours.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The bull among the Bharata lineage heard what the devarshi had said. Extremely delighted and overwhelmed with love, he worshipped Krishna. The sage was worshipped and took his leave from Krishna and Partha. Hearing that Krishna was the supreme brahman, Partha was greatly surprised. The separate lineages of Daksha’s daughters have also been described—gods, asuras, humans and mobile and immobile objects.’

This ends the Seventh Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Eighth Skandha

Chapter 8(1): 33 shlokas

Chapter 8(2): 32 shlokas

Chapter 8(3): 33 shlokas

Chapter 8(4): 26 shlokas

Chapter 8(5): 50 shlokas

Chapter 8(6): 39 shlokas

Chapter 8(7): 46 shlokas

Chapter 8(8): 46 shlokas

Chapter 8(9): 29 shlokas

Chapter 8(10): 56 shlokas

Chapter 8(11): 48 shlokas

Chapter 8(12): 47 shlokas

Chapter 8(13): 36 shlokas

Chapter 8(14): 11 shlokas

Chapter 8(15): 36 shlokas

Chapter 8(16): 61 shlokas

Chapter 8(17): 28 shlokas

Chapter 8(18): 32 shlokas

Chapter 8(19): 44 shlokas

Chapter 8(20): 34 shlokas

Chapter 8(21): 34 shlokas

Chapter 8(22): 36 shlokas

Chapter 8(23): 31 shlokas

Chapter 8(24): 61 shlokasChapter 8(1)

The king 860 said, ‘O preceptor! I have heard in detail about Svayambhuva’s 861 lineage, in which, different kinds of creators of the universe were born. However, also tell us about the other Manus. O brahmana! We are listenting. Tell us about Hari’s birth and great deeds in those manvantaras. The wise ones sing about them. O brahmana! What has the illustrious doer and creator of the universe done in the past, what is he doing now and what will he do in the future?’

The rishi 862 replied, ‘In this kalpa, six manvantaras, Svayambhuva and the others, have passed. The first one, with the creation of the gods and others, has been described to you. Manu had two daughters, Akuti and Devahuti. To instruct knowledge about dharma, the illustrious one was born as a son. O extender of the Kuru lineage! The deeds of the illustrious Kapila have already been described. I will now tell you what the illustrious Yajna did. 863 The lord who was Shatarupa’s husband 864 no longer had any attachment for the objects of pleasure and desire. Having given up the kingdom, with his wife, he entered the forest to perform austerities. On the banks of the Sunanda, he stood, with one foot touching the ground, for one hundred years. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! While tormenting himself through these terrible austerities, he said the following. Manu said, “He brought consciousness to the universe, but no one in the universe can bring consciousness to him. 865 He is awake when everything else sleeps. No one can know him, but he knows everything. His atman resides everywhere in this universe, in everything that exists in this universe. Therefore, one should only enjoy what has been given by him and not accept someone else’s wealth. Though he sees, he cannot be seen by any eye. His vision never diminishes. The divinity is the refuge of all creatures and Suparna must always be worshipped. 866 He has no beginning, end or middle, no notion of own or belonging to others, no inside or outside. Everything ascribed to the universe 867 emanates from him. Therefore, his greatness is the only truth in the universe. The universe is his form and he is known by different names—the controller, truth, self-illuminating, without origin and the ancient one. Through his powers and energy, he executes creation and the other things. 868 However, using his knowledge, he exists without any action. Therefore, to end action, rishis first urge people to undertake action. A person who engages in this way, 869 generally attains emancipation. The illustrious lord undertakes action, but is not touched by them. He is completely satisfied by the benefit brought to his atman. Those who follow him do not suffer. He is learned and without ahamkara, acting for our sakes. He is without desire. He is complete and is not urged by anyone else. To instruct men, he sticks to his own path. I seek refuge in the lord. He is the one who thinks of all kinds of dharma.” Controlled, he recited this mantropanishad. On seeing this, the hungry asuras and yatudhanas rushed towards him. Seeing them there, Yajna Hari, who is everywhere, surrounded by Yamas and gods, killed them. He then ruled heaven. 870 Agni’s son, Svarochisha was the second Manu. His chief sons were Dyumat, Sushena and Rochishmat. At that time, the Indra was Rochana and the gods were Tushita and others. 871 Urja, Stambha and others were the saptarshis and they knew about the brahman. The rishi Vedashira had a wife named Tushita 872 and through her, the lord 873 was born and known as Vibhu. He did not marry and instructed eighty-eight thousand sages, who were firm in their vows, and they followed his vow of brahmacharya. The third Manu was Uttama, Priyavrata’s son. O king! His chief sons were Pavana, Srinjaya and Yajnahotra. Pramada and the other sons of Vasishtha were the saptarshis. The gods were Satyas, Vedashrutas and Bhadras 874 and Satyajit was Indra. The illustrious Purushottama was born as the son of Sunrita, Dharma’s wife. He was known as Satyasena and the Satyavratas 875 were born with him. The yakshas and rakshasas were false, wicked in conduct and evil. They harmed creatures. As a friend of Satyajit, he 876 killed them and the large number of bhutas. The fourth Manu was named Tapasa and he was Uttama’s brother. He had ten sons—Prithu, Khyati, Nara, Ketu and others. At that time, the gods were Satyakas, Haris and Viras and the lord 877 was Trishikha. During Tapasa manvantara, the saptarshis were Jyoti, Dhama and others. O king! As the sons of Vidhriti, the gods also had the name of Vaidhritis. Through their own energy, they nurtured the Vedas, which had been lost over a period of time. The illustrious one was born through Harini, Harimedha’s wife. He was known as Hari and he saved the Indra among elephants from the crocodile.’

The king asked, ‘O Badarayana’s son! We wish to hear about this from you. How did Hari save the lord of elephants from the crocodile? The illustrious Uttamashloka Hari’s account is great, sacred, praiseworthy, auspicious and beneficial, wherever it is chanted.’

Suta said, ‘O brahmanas! Parikshit was seated in praya 878 and he urged Badarayana’s son to describe this account. In the assembly of sages who wished to hear, he was delighted and applauded the king. He spoke.’Chapter 8(2)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! There was a best among mountains, famous as Trikuta. It was beautiful, ten thousand yojanas in height, and was surrounded by the Kshiroda ocean. In every direction, its expanse was as much as its height. It had three summits, made of gold, silver and iron, and it illuminated the ocean of milk, the directions and the sky. There were many other peaks, colourful because of ores and jewels. It was covered with many kinds of trees, creepers and shrubs and there were the sounds of waterfalls. In every direction, its feet were washed by waves of milk, which made the ground, studded with emeralds and pebbles, appear dark green. The caverns were full of Siddhas, charanas, gandharvas, vidyadharas, giant serpents, kinnaras and apsaras, who sported there. The caves echoed and resounded with the tones of singing, and proud lions, suspecting the presence of an enemy, roared in intolerance. The valleys were ornamented with herds of many kinds of wild animals. The divine groves had colourful trees and resounded with the calls of birds. There were rivers and lakes filled with sparkling water, with the shores filled with sand mixed with gems. When celestial women bathed in the waters, these became fragrant and the wind bore that scent along. In one of those valleys, there was a grove that belonged to the great-souled and illustrious Varuna. It was named Ritumat and celestial women sported there. In every direction, it was decorated with divine trees that always had flowers and fruit—mandara, parijata, patala, ashoka, champaka, chuta, priyala, panasa, amra, amrataka, kramuka, narikela, kharjura, bijapuraka, madhuka, sala, tala, tamala, asana, arjuna, arishta, udumbara, plaksha, vata, kimshuka, chandana, pichumarda, kovidara, sarala, suradaru, draksha, ikshu, rambha, jambu, badari, aksha, abhaya, amalaka, bilva, kapittha, jambira, bhallataka and others. That lake was radiant with extremely large golden lotuses. It dazzled because of water lilies, white lotuses, blue lotuses and lotuses with one hundred petals. There was the buzzing of intoxicated bees and the calling of birds. The place was full of swans, karandavas, chakravakas and cranes. There were the calls of waterfowl, lapwings and gallinules. 879 The water was filled with the filaments of lotuses and was agitated because of the movement of fish and turtles. The place was surrounded by kadamba, vetasa, nala, nipa, vanjulaka, kunda, kurubaka, ashoka, shirisha, kutaja, inguda, kubjaka, svarna-yuthi, naga, types of punnaga, mallika, shatapatra and nets of species of madhavi. 880 The banks were beautiful with other trees dense with the flowers and fruits of all seasons.

‘Once, on that grove near the mountain, the leader of a herd of elephants wandered around, accompanied by female elephants. It crushed the various kinds of bamboo, cane and reeds, shrubs with thorns and large creepers and trees. At its mere scent, lions, Indras among elephants, tigers and other predatory animals, rhinos, giant serpents, white and black sharabhas 881 and yak fled in fear. However, because of the favours shown by it, wolves, boars, buffaloes, bears, porcupines, gopucchas, 882 hyenas, monkeys and other small animals like deer and hares were not scared and continued to roam around. Surrounded by the female and male elephants, he suffered from the heat. Baby elephants followed him and he exuded musth. Because of the weight of his body, he made every part of the mountain tremble. Swarms of bees followed him, drinking the musth. The breeze that blew from the lake bore the scent of pollen from lotuses. With crazy and intoxicated eyes, he smelt that it was not far away. Therefore, he quickly advanced towards the lake. He bathed in the sparkling waters, which were like amrita. It was cool and perfumed with pollen from lilies and lotuses. He drew the water up with his trunk and drank until he was satisfied. He bathed himself in the water and all his exhaustion was dispelled. As kind as a householder towards members of the family, the indomitable one was kind towards the female elephants and the baby elephants. He made them bathe and drink. He drew up the cool water with his trunk and sprayed them with it. Because of the unborn one’s maya, the pitiable one did not consider the imminent hardship. O king! Urged by destiny, a powerful crocodile caught hold of his leg. The extremely strong elephant faced this calamity and tried as much as he could, using all his strength. On seeing that the leader of the herd was suffering, the female elephants were distressed. But the crocodile was swift and stronger. When he was being dragged away, the other elephants were incapable of saving him by grabbing him from the rear. Instead, they screamed. The Indra among elephants and the crocodile fought in this way with each other, inside the water and outside it. O lord of the earth! This continued for one thousand years. Finding that they were still alive, even the immortals thought that this was wonderful. After this extremely long period of time, the Indra among elephant’s mental and physical strength was depleted. Exhausted, he was dragged into the water. However, as is the case with all residents of the water, the opposite was the case with the crocodile. The Indra among elephants faced this hardship to his life and body. He was helpless and incapable. For a very long time, he thought about how he might free himself. After having reflected, he arrived at a decision. “The other elephants, my relatives, are unable to save me from this catastrophe. How can the female elephants possess the powers to free me? Because of destiny, I am in the crocodile’s bonds. Therefore, I must seek shelter with the supreme refuge. He is the powerful lord. Death is like a giant serpent and is pursuing me with its terrible and irresistible force. However, if those who are terrified seek refuge with him, he is the saviour and even Death runs away in fear. I seek refuge with him.”’Chapter 8(3)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Having used his intelligence to determine this, he fixed his mind in his heart. He meditated on the supreme one, chanting a mantra he had been taught in his earlier birth. 883

‘The Indra among elephants said, “Oum! I bow down before the illustrious one. He is in all this consciousness. He is the original Purusha and seed. He is the supreme lord. I meditate on him. This universe exists in him. It is from him that it has been created. He is the cause behind this effect. I seek refuge with the supreme and self-originating one. It is because of his own maya that all of this is immersed in his atman. It is sometimes manifest and sometimes, it is not manifest. 884 He sees everything and is a witness to both. His atman is the source of everything. May the supreme of the supreme protect me. In the course of time, everything is reduced to the five gross elements, the guardians of the world and all kinds of causes. There is a deep and impenetrable darkness. But beyond this, in that state, the lord alone illuminates. The gods and the rishis do not know him. How can a mere creature like me approach him or describe him? The nature of the actor is hidden behind the roles he performs. It is extremely difficult to understand his movements. May he save me. Extremely virtuous sages, free of all attachments, wish to see his extremely auspicious feet. So do those who faultlessly execute many kinds of vows in the forest. He is in the atmans of all beings. May that well-wisher be my destination. He has no birth or deeds. He has no names or forms, nor qualities or faults. However, for the sake of the creation and destruction of the worlds, using his own maya, he always assumes these. I bow down to that supreme lord. He is the brahman, infinite in his powers. He has no form. He has many kinds of forms. I bow down to the one whose deeds are extraordinary. I bow down to the one whose atman is the lamp. He is the paramatman who is the witness. I bow down to the one who is impossible to approach through words, thoughts or consciousness. The learned obtain him through sattva and the transcending of karma. 885 I bow down to the lord of kaivalya, the one who bestows the bliss of nirvana. I bow down before the one who assumes the dharma of the gunas and appears as serene, terrible and ignorant. 886 He is impartial and does not discriminate. I bow down before the one who is the reservoir of knowledge. I bow down to kshetrajna, the controller of everything, the witness. He is Purusha and his atman is the foundation. I bow down to the one who is the source of Prakriti. He is the one who perceives all the senses and their qualities. What is said to be real is unreal and is like a shadow that always indicates his reflection. I bow down to you. I bow down. I bow down to you, the cause behind everything. He is the one who has no cause. He is the one who is the wonderful cause. He is the great ocean who is the source of all the sacred texts. I bow down to the one who is the refuge, the one who bestows emancipation. He is the one whose consciousness is hidden, like a fire in the attributes of the wood. His mind manifests itself and agitates the gunas. 887 You reveal yourself to those who give up the sacred texts, with sentiments of transcending karma. I bow down to you. An animal like me has sought refuge with you. You are the one who frees from bonds. You are the liberator. You are great in your compassion. I bow down before the one who has no decay. Your own portions are manifest in the minds of all embodied beings. You are the direct witness. I bow down to the great and illustrious one. There are people who are attached to their own selves, their sons and daughters, their homes, their riches and their relatives. They find it extremely difficult to obtain you. You are free of attachment to any of the gunas. Those who have realized their atmans meditate on you in the cores of their hearts. Your atman is the reservoir of knowledge. I bow down to the illustrious lord. Those who desire to be free of dharma, kama and artha worship you and obtain the desired objective. He bestows an undecaying body, 888 not to speak of other benedictions. May the compassionate one free me. Those who are single-mindedly devoted to the illustrious one do not desire anything else. They are immersed in an ocean of bliss and chant about his extraordinary and extremely auspicious deeds. He is the undecaying and supreme brahman. He is the supreme lord. He is not manifest. He can be approached through the yoga of adhyatma. He is beyond the compass of the senses. He is subtle and extremely distant. He is the infinite and original one. I worship the pervasive one. Through his portions, he creates Brahma and the other gods, the Vedas, the worlds, mobile and immobile objects, the differences of names and forms and other minor entities. They are like flames issuing from Agni, or rays issuing from the sun. They emerge and are repeatedly withdrawn again. He is the one who is radiant in his own luminosity. All these flows of gunas, the intelligence, the mind, the senses and the creation of bodies is like that. He is not a god or an asura. He is not a mortal or an inferior species. He is not man, woman, eunuch or animal. He is not guna or karma. He is not manifestation or lack of manifestation. He is not what is left after these. 889 He transcends everything that is left. I do not wish to live for a long time in this world, or in the next world. What is the point of an existence where the inside and the outside are enveloped? 890 I desire a time when all this, the covering for realization of the atman, is destroyed and I am liberated. He is the creator of the universe. Though he transcends the universe, he is the universe. He is the knowledge behind this universe. His atman is in the universe. He is without origin. I prostrate myself before the supreme one, the brahman. There are those who use yoga to burn up karma. There are those who use yoga to cleanse their hearts. Those yogis see him. I bow down to the lord of yoga. I bow down. I bow down before the one whose force is impossible to withstand. He is the one with the three kinds of powers. 891 He is the intelligence behind all the gunas. He offers shelter to those who seek refuge. His powers are indomitable. He cannot be reached by those who follow the path of the senses. People do not know their own atmans because his powers rob them of their intelligence. His glory is extremely difficult to comprehend. I seek refuge with the illustrious one.”’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thus, the Indra among elephants described him, in no particular way. Brahma and others have many kinds of signs and pride themselves on these. Since the illustrious one is in the atmans of everyone, no one approached him. 892 However, Hari is in the atmans of everyone and he appeared. The abode of the universe understood that he was afflicted and had also heard the prayer. Borne aloft by Garuda, he quickly appeared, along with the gods, who were praising him. The one with the chakra as a weapon arrived where the Indra among elephants was. Inside the water, he had been powerfully seized and was afflicted. However, he saw Hari arrive in the sky, aloft Garuda and wielding the chakra. With difficulty, he raised a lotus in his trunk and held it up. He said, “O illustrious Narayana! O universal preceptor! I bow down to you.” The one without origin saw that he was afflicted and quickly descended. Full of compassion, he quickly dragged him out of the lake, along with the crocodile. He took the Indra among elephants out. While everyone looked on, Hari severed the crocodile’s mouth with his chakra.’Chapter 8(4)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘With Brahma and Ishana at the forefront, the gods, the rishis and the gandharvas praised Hari’s deed and showered down flowers. Celestial drums were sounded. Gandharvas danced and sang. The rishis, charanas and Siddhas praised Purushottama. The crocodile instantly assumed an extremely wonderful form. Huhu, supreme among gandharvas, was thus freed from Devala’s curse. 893 He bowed his head down before the lord and controller, the undecaying Uttamashloka. He chanted the virtuous account about the deeds of the one who was a reservoir of glory. With the lord having shown him mercy, he bowed down to him and circumambulated him. While everyone looked on, cleansed of all sin, he went to his own world. Having been touched by the illustrious one, the Indra among elephants was freed from the bondage of ignorance. He obtained a form that was just like that of the illustrious one, four-armed and clad in yellow garments. Earlier, he was the king of Pandya and supreme among Dravidas. He was known by the name of Indradyumna and was devoted to vows dedicated to Vishnu. Once, controlling his atman, he was worshipping lord Hari and had adopted a vow of silence. He was an ascetic with matted hair and was immersed in Achyuta. He was worshipping him in a hermitage in kulachala. 894 The immensely illustrious sage 895 was wandering around as he willed, surrounded by a large number of disciples, and arrived there. He saw that he was silent and did not offer him the objects of worship. He remained seated there, in solitude. At this, the rishi was enraged. He cursed him. “This wicked and evil-souled one is ignorant and has insulted a brahmana today. Let him be plunged into darkness, as stupid in intelligence as an elephant.” O king! Cursing him in this way, the illustrious Agastya left with his followers. Indra, the royal sage, accepted this as the will of providence. He was born in the elephant species and this destroys all realization of the atman. However, because his sentiments were those of worshipping Hari, despite having become an elephant, he remembered everything. Thus, the leader of elephants was saved by the one who has no origin, the one with a lotus in his navel. He elevated him to the status of becoming his own companion. Having performed this extraordinary deed, praised by gandharvas, Siddhas and gods with him, and astride Garuda, he returned to his own residence. O great king! I have described this to you now, about how the king among elephants was delivered by Krishna’s wonderful deed. O noble Kuru! If a person listens to this, he obtains heaven and fame. The sins of kali yuga become less and bad dreams are destroyed. Dvijas who desire their own benefit get up in the morning. Purifying themselves, they chant this and bad dreams are instantly destroyed. O supreme among the Kuru lineage! Hari was pleased with the Indra among elephants. While all the creatures heard, the lord who is in all creatures spoke to him.

‘The illustrious one said, “There is this lake, this mountain, this cavern and this grove. There are cane, reeds, bamboo, creepers and divine trees. There are the peaks and the lords, Brahma, Shiva and I. This Kshiroda ocean is my beloved residence and so is this radiant Shveta-dvipa. There are shrivatsa, Koustubha, the garland, and my club Koumadaki. There are Sudarshana and Panchajanya and Suparna, lord of birds. Shesha is my subtle portion and the goddess Shri seeks refuge with me. There are Brahma, the rishi Narada, you and Prahlada. There are fish, tortoise, boar and other avataras assumed by me. There are my infinitely sacred deeds and Surya, Soma and Agni. There is the sound of ‘Oum’. There is the truth that is not manifest. There are cattle and brahmanas and undecaying dharma. There are Daksha’s daughters, the wives of Dharma, Soma and Kashyapa. There are the rivers Ganga, Sarasvati, Nanda and Kalindi and there is the white elephant. 896 There are Dhruva, the seven brahmana rishis and men who are praised in shlokas. When one arises at the end of the night, one should restrain oneself and be controlled. If a person then remembers all of these as my forms, he will be freed from every kind of sin. O dear one! At the end of the night, if a person awakes and praises me, 897 at the end of his life, I grant him a great destination.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Having instructed him in this way, Hrishikesha blew on his excellent conch shell. Gladdening the arrays of gods, he ascended the best among birds.’Chapter 8(5)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! I have told you about Hari’s sacred deed of freeing the Indra among elephants, one that destroys all sins. Now hear about Raivata manvantara. The fifth Manu, named Raivata, was Tapasa Manu’s brother. His sons were Bali, Vindhya and others and Arjuna was the eldest. O king! Vibhu was the Indra and Bhutarayas and others were the gods. The brahmanas were Hiranyaroma, Vedashira, Urdhvabahu and others. 898 Through Shubhra’s wife, Vikuntha, the illustrious Vaikuntha was himself born. Through his portions, other supreme gods known as the Vaikunthas were also born. The goddess Rama 899 desired it, and to please her, he created the world known as Vaikuntha, revered by the worlds. I have already described his deeds, qualities and great generosity. But all of Vishnu’s qualities can only be described by someone who can count all the particles of dust on earth. The sixth Manu was named Chakshusha and he was the son of Chakshusha. 900 Among Chakshusha’s foremost sons were Puru, Purusha and Sudyumna. Mantradruma was Indra and the large number of gods were Apyas and others. O king! The sages were Havishmat, Viraka and others. Through Vairaja’s wife, Sambhuti, the illustrious divinity, the lord of the universe, used his portion to be born as their son and his name was Ajita. It was he who had the ocean churned, yielding nectar for the gods. In the form of a tortoise, he held up Mandara and moved around in the water.’

The king asked, ‘O brahmana! How did the illustrious one get the ocean of milk churned? Why was it done? Why did he hold up the mountain and move around in the water? After the gods had obtained the amrita, what else happened? Tell me all this about the illustrious one’s supremely wonderful deeds. Hardships have tormented my mind for an extremely long period of time. Therefore, when you describe the glories of the lord of the Satvatas, I am not satisfied.’

Suta said, ‘O brahmanas! Dvaipayana’s illustrious son was thus asked. He welcomed this and started to describe Hari’s valour.’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘In a battle, the gods were attacked by the asuras with sharp weapons and were slaughtered. Large numbers lost their lives and fell down and did not rise up again. O king! Indra was cursed by Durvasa and the three worlds lost their prosperity. 901 Sacrifices and rites were destroyed. Hearing about this, the great Indra, Varuna and the large number of other gods had a meeting of consultation. But they could not decide what should be done. All of them therefore went to Brahma’s assembly hall, on the summit of Meru. Prostrating themselves before Parameshthi, they told him everything. He saw that Indra, Vayu and the others were deprived of their spirits and had lost their radiance. The lord saw that the worlds had lost everything auspicious and that the asuras were thriving. He meditated in his mind and remembered the supreme being. With a pleasant countenance, the supreme and illustrious one spoke to the gods. “I, Bhava, you, asuras and others, humans, inferior species, trees and those born from sweat—all of us have been created from his avataras, lineages and portions. Let all of us go and seek refuge with the one without decay. There is no one who should be killed, no one who should be protected. There is no one to be neglected and no one to be partially shown favours. Nevertheless, for the sake of creation, preservation and destruction, at the right time, he assumes attributes of sattva, rajas and tamas. This is a time for creation and preservation, when he accepts sattva for the sake of the welfare of embodied creatures. Therefore, let us go and seek refuge with the preceptor of the worlds. He loves the gods and will grant us the good fortune.” O destroyer of enemies! Having said this, with the gods, Brahma went to the abode of the unvanquished one, which lies beyond the darkness. There, controlling his senses and using divine speech, the lord praised and prayed to the one whom he had never seen, but whom he had heard about from the texts.

‘Brahma said, “O one who does not change! O truth! O infinite! O original one! O one who resides in every heart! O one not subject to transformation! O incomprehensible one! O one swifter than thought! O one who cannot be described in speech! We bow down to the supreme divinity, the one who should be worshipped. He is the one who knows about the breath of life, the mind, the intelligence and the atman. He is the one who manifests himself as the senses and their objects. He does not sleep. He is without a physical body that suffers. He is not affected by shadow or sunshine. 902 He is without decay. He is as pervasive as the sky. He is the three yugas. We seek refuge with him. For those with birth, it is his energy that makes the wheel of life move swiftly. It is permeated by the mind and there are fifteen spokes. 903 There are three naves. 904 On eight fellies, it moves like lightning. 905 It is said that he is the rim. We bow down to the one who is the truth. He has a single complexion 906 and is beyond tamas. He is not manifest and cannot be seen. He is infinite and has no limits. He has seated himself on Suparna’s back. Using yoga as a chariot, the patient worship him. No one is able to overcome his maya. Because of this, people are confounded and do not know the truth. He is the supreme lord who alone conquers his own gunas. He controls beings, without any partiality. We bow down to him. Inside and outside, we have been fashioned out of his favourite body of sattva. However, if we, nor the rishis, can comprehend his subtle nature, how can asuras and others, dominated by others? 907 He has himself created this earth as his feet and there are four types of beings there. That great being is the one who controls himself. May the great one, supreme in his powers, show us his favours. He is pervasive in his valour and the waters are his semen, used by living beings for generation and nourishment. That is also true of the worlds and all the guardians of the worlds. May the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. It is said that Soma, the source of strength, food and lifespans for the residents of heaven, is the infinite one’s mind. He 908 is the lord of the trees that provide a means of subsistence for beings. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. Agni, the source of wealth, was born so that all the various kinds of rites could be performed. He exists in the ocean and inside, digesting food. 909 Agni is the mouth through which he receives oblations. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. His eye is the sun god, who proceeds along deva yana. The three Vedas are in him. He is the brahman, the goal of emancipation. He is the path to emancipation and immortality. But he is also death. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. Mobile and immobile objects owe their breath of life, their strength and their energy to the wind. Like companions following an emperor, we follow the wind god and the wind owes its origin to him. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. The directions are his ears. His heart is the space within the body. The sky, the breath of life, the senses, the mind and the secondary airs in the breath of life emerged from Purusha’s navel. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. The great Indra and the gods owe their strength to his favours. Girisha originated from his anger and Virinchi from his intelligence. The pores in his body created the Vedas and the rishis. Prajapati emerged from his genital organs. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. Shri emerged from his chest and the ancestors from his shadow. Dharma emerged from between his breasts and adharma from his back. The firmament emerged from his head and the apsaras from his pleasure. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. The brahmanas and the mysterious Vedas emerged from his mouth. The kshatriyas are the strength of his arms. The skilled vaishyas emerged from his thighs. The ignorant shudras emerged from his feet. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. Avarice emerged from his lower lip and affection from his upper lip. Splendour emerged from his nose. Desire, characteristic of animals, emerged from his touch. Yama emerged from his eyebrows and time from his eyelashes. Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. It is said that material objects, lifespan, karma, gunas and the attributes of this material world were created by his yoga maya, which is extremely difficult to understand. The learned reject all this. 910 Let the one who is great in his powers be pleased with us. I bow down to the one whose power is dormant. He is completely independent and has achieved everything in his atman. He is not attached to the gunas and various kinds of conduct maya fashions. He is like the air. 911 This is what you are. Show yourself to us, so that our senses can perceive you. We have sought refuge with you. We desire to see your smiling lotus face. O lord! From time to time, depending on your will, you have yourself assumed different kinds of forms. O illustrious one! You have accomplished tasks that are extremely difficult for us to undertake. Embodied beings undertake tasks with a great deal of difficulty. But these yield little, or nothing at all, because they are afflicted by material objects. But that’s not the case with us, those who resort to you. If it is rendered to the lord, even a little bit of action is not futile. If it is offered to Purusha, his atman ensures benefit to those whom he loves. If the root of a tree is sprinkled with water, the trunk and the branches are nourished. The worship of Vishnu, who is in everyone’s atman, is like that. I bow down to the infinite one. You and your acts are impossible to comprehend. You are nirguna. You are the lord of gunas and are present as a reservoir of sattva.”’Chapter 8(6)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The large number of gods prayed to the illustrious lord, Hari, in this way. O king! With the resplendence of one thousand suns rising simultaneously, he manifested himself before them. At this, the eyes of all the gods were suddenly dazzled. They were unable to see the directions, or their own selves, not to speak of the lord. With Sharva, 912 the illustrious Virinchi beheld his form. It sparkled like a dark emerald. 913 His eyes were red, like the inside of a lotus. His yellow silken garments were as bright as molten gold. All his limbs were beautiful and pleasant. His face was excellent and his eyebrows were handsome. His diadem had expensive gems and he was adorned with two armlets. His cheeks were illuminated by the dazzle of his earrings and his beautiful face was like a lotus. He was adorned with an ornamented girdle, bracelets, necklace and anklets. He wore the Koustubha gem as an ornament and a garland of wild flowers, and Lakshmi added to the radiance. In their personified forms, Sudarshana and other weapons tended to him. With the large number of immortals and with Sharva, the foremost among the gods 914 prostrated his limbs on the ground and praised the supreme being.

‘Brahma said, “O one without birth! Through your own maya, you are born, preserved and destroyed. 915 You transcend gunas. You are bliss, in the ocean of nirvana. You are smaller than an anu. Your powers are impossible to calculate. I bow down to you. O one whose glory is great! I bow down to you. O supreme Purusha! This beneficial form of yours is sought after by those who follow the Vedas, the tantras and yoga. You are the one who creates and preserves the three worlds. O one with the universe in your form! We can perceive ourselves and everything in you. You are your own controller. In the beginning, everything existed in you. In the middle, everything exists in you. In the end, everything will exist in you. You are the beginning, the middle and the end of the universe. You are supreme and beyond everything, like the earth in a pot. 916 You resorted to your maya and everything emanated from you. You created the universe and also entered it. Those who are learned and knowledgeable are united with you and can perceive you in their minds. You create the transformation of the gunas, but you are not affected by the gunas. Fire can be extracted from kindling, milk from cattle, and food, water and a means of subsistence from the earth. In that way, using yoga, men can perceive you in their intelligence. Wise people know you in the gunas and speak about it. O protector! You have appeared before us in all your glory. O one with a navel like a lotus! This is what we have desired for a very long period of time. Having seen you today, all of us are delighted, like an elephant suffering from a forest conflagration is when it sees the waters of the Ganga. We, and all the guardians of the worlds, have sought refuge at your feet for a reason. Please satisfy us. O one who exists inside and outside! We have come to you. You are a witness to everything. What is there that you need to be informed about? I, Girisha, the gods and Daksha and the others are like sparks from a fire. 917 O lord! Independent of you, what can we possibly understand? Instruct and counsel us about what is best for the gods and the brahmanas.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Thus, Virinchi and the others worshipped him and he understood what was in their hearts. They stood there, their hands joined in salutation and with all their senses restrained. In a voice that rumbled like the clouds, he spoke to them. The lord of the gods was alone capable of accomplishing the task of the gods. However, he desired the pastime of the churning of the ocean and other allied activities. He spoke to them.

‘The illustrious one said, “O Brahma! O Shambhu! O gods! Listen to the words I speak. Listen to how all of you gods can obtain the greatest benefit. The daityas and danavas are favoured by destiny. As long as that lasts and until it turns in your favour, it is recommended that you have an alliance with them. O gods! When a task is important, there should be an alliance even with enemies. For the sake of accomplishing an objective, one should behave like the snake with the mouse. 918 Without any delay, efforts should be made to extract amrita. After drinking it, a living being becomes immortal, even if he is devoured by death. Fling all the herbs, grass, creepers and plants into the ocean of milk. Using Mandara as a churning rod and Vasuki as the rope, churn it. O gods! With my help, churn it single-mindedly. The daityas will suffer the hardship, while you reap the fruits. O gods! You should accept whatever the asuras desire. No success can be achieved through anger, but everything is achieved through conciliation. The kalakuta poison will be generated from the ocean, but do not be scared of it. When objects of desire are produced, you should not be greedy. Nor should you be angry.”’ 919

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘O king! Having instructed the gods in this fashion, the illustrious Purushottama, the lord who easily follows his own path, vanished from their sight. Having bowed down to the illustrious one, the grandfather and Bhava returned to their own abodes. The gods went to Bali. The revered king of the daityas saw the enemy. Though his own leaders were agitated and uncontrolled, he restrained them. He knew about the time for alliances and the time for war. Virochana’s son was on his seat, protected by the leaders among the asuras. Having conquered everything, he was full of great prosperity. They approached him. The immensely intelligent and great Indra assured him with gentle words. Following everything that Purushottama had instructed, he addressed him. This appealed to the daitya, 920 the other lords of the asuras, Shambara, Arishtanemi and the residents of Tripura. Thus, the gods and the asuras had a fraternal alliance. O scorcher of enemies! For the sake of the amrita, they made supreme efforts. Those extremely indomitable ones used their energy to uproot Mount Mandara. Roaring loudly, they used their strong arms, which were like clubs, to convey it to the ocean. Because the distance was far and the burden heavy, Shakra, Virochana’s son and the others were unable to bear it and, helpless, abandoned it along the path. When it fell down there, the golden mountain crushed many immortals and danavas under its weight. The illustrious one got to know that they were broken-hearted. Their arms, thighs and shoulders were broken. He arrived there, astride Garuda. He saw that the falling mountain had crushed the immortals and danavas. He glanced at them and they regained their lives. They became free of their anxiety and their wounds. As if he was playing, he raised the mountain with one hand and placed it atop Garuda. Ascending, and surrounded by large numbers of gods and asuras, he went to the ocean. Suparna, supreme among birds, took the mountain from his shoulder and placed it at the edge of the water. Hari then gave him leave to depart.’Chapter 8(7)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Offering a share in the fruits, they invited Vasuki, the king of the nagas. Like a rope, they wound him around the mountain and were delighted. O extender of the Kuru lineage! For the sake of the amrita, the gods started to make efforts. Initially, Hari seized the front and the gods were also there. However, the lord of the daityas did not approve of what the great being sought to do. “We will not grasp the serpent’s tail. That limb is inauspicious. We have studied and possess learning. Our birth and deeds are famous.” Purushottama saw that the daityas stood silently. Smiling, he let go off the front and with the immortals, seized the tail. Kashyapa’s descendants divided it up in this way. For the sake of the amrita, they made great efforts to churn the ocean of milk. O descendant of the Pandu lineage! While the ocean was being churned, the heavy mountain had no support and sank into the water, despite being held by those powerful ones. Their minds were distressed. Their radiant faces faded. Despite their being strong, because of destiny, their manliness was destroyed. The lord saw that the lord of obstacles had created this impediment. However, his valour was indomitable and his intentions could not be countered. Therefore, he assumed the great and wonderful form of a tortoise. He entered the water and raised the mountain up. On seeing that the kulachala had again been raised up, the gods and the asuras resumed the churning. The back of the tortoise extended for one lakh yojanas and was like another giant dvipa. O dear one! Using the strength of their arms, the Indras among the gods and the asuras rotated the mountain on his back. That original and immeasurable tortoise bore this rotation and thought that someone was scratching his limbs. Vishnu entered them in different forms and enhanced their strength and energy—asura traits in asuras, encouragement in the large number of gods, and the divine form of ignorance in the Indra among the nagas. 921 Like another Indra among mountains, the thousand-armed one appeared on top of that king of mountains and grasped it with his hand. The gods, with Brahma and Indra at the forefront, praised him and showered down flowers on him. He supported it from above and below, and his supreme atman entered them and enthused them. Proud of their strength, they swiftly churned the ocean with the giant mountain and the large number of crocodiles was agitated.

‘The Indra among serpents possessed one thousand hard eyes and mouths. Flames mixed with smoke emerged from his breath and robbed the lustre of asuras like Poulama, Kaleya, Bali, Ilvala and others. They were like sarala trees 922 burnt down in a forest conflagration. The lustre of the gods was also destroyed from the flames in the breath. Their garments, excellent garlands, jackets and faces were covered with smoke. However, controlled by the illustrious one, the clouds rained down sufficiently on them and the breeze blew fragrantly from the waves of the ocean. In this way, the gods and the asuras did their best to churn the ocean. When amrita was not generated, the illustrious one began to churn himself. He was as dark as a cloud and wore golden garments. The earrings on his ears flashed like lightning. The wavy hair on his head glistened. Wearing garlands, his eyes were red. With triumphant arms that ensure fearlessness to the universe, he seized the dandashuka. Resembling another mountain, holding the mountain from above and below, he churned with the churning rod. Because of the churning, the great ocean was agitated and fish, makaras, snakes, tortoises, whales, sea elephants and timingilas 923 were terrified. An extremely virulent poison known as halahala was initially produced. O dear one! Terrible and intolerable in its force, it couldn’t be controlled and spread in all the directions, upwards, downwards, whirling and curling around. Scared and unable to find protection, the terrified subjects sought refuge with Ishvara Sadashiva. They saw the supreme among the gods seated atop the mountain 924 with the goddess, performing austerities for the welfare of the three worlds. Desiring liberation, sages were worshipping him.

‘They bowed down and prayed to him. The Prajapatis said, “O god of the gods! O Mahadeva! O one who is in the atmans of creatures! O creator of creatures! Save us. We have sought refuge with you. The poison is burning down the three worlds. You alone are the lord of the entire universe, of both bondage and emancipation. Accomplished ones worship you. You are the preceptor who delivers those who seek refuge. O lord! Through your own strength and full of gunas, you undertake creation, preservation and destruction. O lord who is a witness to everything! You assume the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. You are the supreme and mysterious brahman. You are the cause of creation, the cause and the effect. You manifest many kinds of powers. You are the atman, the lord of the universe. You are the source of sound. You are the original cause of the universe. You are the atman. You are the breath of life and the senses. You are material objects and the gunas. You are innate nature. You are time, sacrifices, truth, truthfulness and dharma. It is said that you are the original sound with three aksharas. 925 The fire is your mouth. You are the atman of all the gods. The worlds know that the earth is your lotus feet. You are the progress of time. All the gods are in your atman. The directions are your ears. The lord of the waters 926 is your tongue. The sky is your navel. The wind is your breath. The sun is your eyes. The water is your semen. Your atman is a refuge for all atmans, superior or inferior. The moon is your mind. O illustrious one! The firmament is your head. The oceans are your stomach. The mountains are your bones and their joints. All the herbs and plants are your body hair. The metres are directly your seven sheaths. 927 The three Vedas are in your atman. All dharma is in your heart. O lord! The five Upanishads are your faces and the thirty-eight categories of mantras emerge from these. 928 You are known as Shiva and are the essence of the paramatman. O god! You are established in your own self-illuminating state. Your shadow leads to the creation of different kinds of adharma. Your three eyes are sattva, rajas and tamas. Samkhya is your atman and the sacred texts emanated from your glance. O ancient rishi! O god! You are full of the Vedas. O lord of the mountains! You are the supreme radiance where sattva, rajas and tamas do not exist and where the guardians of the world, Virinchi, Vaikuntha and Indra of the gods cannot go. You are the brahman, where differentiation is non-existent. You are the one who destroyed Kama, the sacrifice, Tripura, the deadly poison and many others. 929 You destroy the bhutas who cause injury. However, we are not praising you because of that. At the time of destruction, you withdraw all this into your own atman. Sparks of fire emerge from your eyes and you burn everything down. We do not know how this happens. Those who find delight in their atmans and are teachers think of your feet in their hearts. They torment themselves through austerities and think of you roaming around in the dual, with Uma. They talk of you as a fierce being who is always in cremation grounds. Indeed, they are without shame and do not know you at all. You are beyond cause and effect and supreme of the supreme. O lord! Thus, it is not possible to comprehend your nature and powers. Brahma and the others cannot do it, how can we? We are only outcomes and creatures of his creation. To the best of our ability, we are praying to you. O Maheshvara! We cannot see the supreme and you are supreme of the supreme. Though your deeds are not manifest, you have manifested yourself for the welfare of the worlds.” He was compassionate and saw that they were suffering and greatly afflicted. The god who was a well-wisher to all creatures spoke to his beloved Sati. Shiva said, “Alas! O Bhavani! Behold the calamity that confronts subjects. Because of the churning of the ocean of milk, a deadly poison 930 has arisen. It is recommended that I should grant those who seek to save their lives freedom from fear. This much is the objective of any master who wishes to protect the distressed. Virtuous people regard their own lives as fleeting and give those up to save beings. Confounded by his 931 maya, creatures are bound in this enmity. O fortunate one! If a person is compassionate, Hari is pleased in all his soul. O illustrious lady! If Hari is pleased, I and all mobile and immobile objects, are pleased. Therefore, I must consume this poison. Let me make it safe for the subjects.” The illustrious creator of the universe thus took Bhavani’s permission and knowing about his powers, she assented.

‘He started to devour the poison. He picked up the halahala poison in his broad palm. Compassionate, the creator of all beings devoured it. The poison that was generated from the water exhibited its own strength. It made his throat blue and this became an ornament for the virtuous one. In general, virtuous people torment themselves by accepting the torments of the worlds. This is regarded as supreme worship of the Purusha who resides in all atmans. Witnessing the deed of Shambhu Midusha, 932 god of the gods, the subjects, Daksha’s daughter, 933 Brahma and Vaikuntha praised him. As he was drinking it, a little bit of the poison trickled down from his palm. This was accepted by scorpions, poisonous snakes and plants and dandashukas.’Chapter 8(8)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘When the one who is seated on a bull drank up the poison, the immortals and the danavas were delighted. As they swiftly churned the ocean, the source of oblations appeared. 934 O king! The rishis who know about the brahman and perform agnihotra sacrifices accepted her. They did this to perform sacrifices for deva yana and for oblations and clarified butter. After this, the horse named Ucchaishrava emerged. It was as white as the moon. Since Bali desired it, as he had been instructed by the lord, Indra did not wish for it. Airavata, Indra among elephants, emerged next. With its four tusks, it was more glorious than the white mountain the illustrious Hara resides in. 935 O king! After this, Airavana and the other eight diggajas were generated. 936 Two jewels known as Koustubha and Padmaraga were produced from the great ocean and Hari desired to wear those two jewels on his chest as ornaments. After this, Parijat, the ornament of the world of the gods, emerged. Just as you fulfil all desires on earth, it fulfils every kind of desire. Next, the apsaras came out. They wore golden ornaments and were clad in excellent garments. With their gentle gaits and glances, they delighted all the residents of heaven.

‘After this emerged Rama, the embodiment of prosperity and supremely devoted to the illustrious one. She illuminated the directions with her beauty, like a flash of lightning atop Soudamani. 937 All the gods, asuras and humans desired her. Her beauty, grace, youth, complexion and greatness agitated their minds. The great Indra brought an extremely wonderful seat for her. Assuming embodied forms, the best among the rivers brought golden pots filled with pure water. The earth brought all the herbs required for her consecration. Cows brought the five sacred objects. 938 Spring brought the produce of the months of Chaitra and Vaishakha. Following the prescribed rites, the rishis performed all the rituals for consecration. The gandharvas sang auspicious songs and accomplished dancers danced and sang. The clouds produced the sounds from musical instruments like drums, kettledrums, smaller drums, trumpets, conch shells, flutes and veenas, producing loud notes. The goddess Shri was seated, with a lotus in her hand. To the sound of mantras pronounced by the brahmanas, the elephants in charge of the directions used full pots too bathe her. The ocean brought two yellow silken garments. Varuna brought the Vaijayanti garland, with bees intoxicated with honey buzzing around it. Prajapati Vishvakarma brought wonderful ornaments. Sarasvati gave a necklace. Aja 939 gave her a lotus. Nagas gave her earrings. While benedictions were being pronounced, she picked up a garland of blue lotuses, with bees buzzing around it, in her hand. Her beautiful face and cheeks were illuminated by the earrings. Her bashful smile enhanced her excellent beauty. Her symmetrical breasts touched each other and were smeared with sandalwood and kunkuma. Her stomach was flat. She started to walk and her movement was like that of a golden creeper, with the sounds of her anklets jingling. She was faultless herself and looked around among the gandharvas, the Siddhas, the asuras, the yakshas, the charanas and the residents of heaven for an abode that permanently possessed all the virtuous qualities. But she couldn’t find one. “Indeed there are those with austerities, but they have not conquered their anger. 940 Some possess knowledge, but they are not devoid of attachment. Some are great, but have not conquered desire. Even a lord depends on someone else as a refuge. There are some with dharma, but they are not fraternal towards beings. Some have renounced, but that is not reason enough for emancipation. There are those with valour, but they have not been able to cast aside the force of time. There are those without attachment to the gunas, but they do not want a second. 941 Some possess long lifespans, but do not possess good and virtuous conduct. For those who have good conduct, their lifespans are not known. There are some with both, 942 but they are not auspicious. Someone who is extremely auspicious does not desire me.” Having thought about all the virtuous qualities in this way, Rama accepted Mukunda as her groom, though he was indifferent about desiring her. He possessed all the desired qualities. He was supreme and depended on himself alone. Indeed, he transcended all the desired qualities. She approached him with the garland made out of freshly blooming lotuses, with bees intoxicated with honey buzzing around it, and placed it around his shoulders. Smiling bashfully and with shining eyes, she indicated her place on his bosom. The supreme divinity, the father of the three worlds, made an abode for Shri, the mother of prosperity, on his chest. Stationed there, with her own compassionate glances, Shri increases the welfare of the lords of the three worlds. The followers of the gods, 943 along with their wives, sang and danced, loudly playing on musical instruments like conch shells, trumpets and drums. Chanting mantras and worshipping the illustrious one, Brahma, Rudra, Angiras and all the lords who were creators of the worlds showered down flowers. Shri glanced at the gods, the Prajapatis and the subjects and they obtained all the qualities and good conduct, becoming greatly content.

‘O king! However, the daityas and the danavas were neglected by Lakshmi. Dispirited and greedy, they lost their enterprise and became shameless. The goddess Varuni 944 appeared in the form of a lotus-eyed maiden. With Hari’s permission, the asuras accepted her.

‘After this, Kashyapa’s descendants continued to churn the ocean, desiring amrita. O great king! An extremely wonderful being arose. His arms were long and thick. His neck was like a conch shell. His eyes were red. His complexion was dark and he was young. He wore a garland and was adorned with all the ornaments. His garments were yellow and his chest was broad. His earrings were polished and were made out of jewels. His soft hair was curled and was beautiful at the tips. The extremely fortunate one was like a lion in his valour. In hands decorated with bracelets, he held a pot filled with amrita. He was born from a portion of the illustrious Vishnu himself. He was known as Dhanvantari and he is the originator of ayurveda. He has a share in sacrifices. All the asuras saw that he was holding a pot filled with amrita. Desiring the pot and its contents, they seized it. The asuras took away the pot, filled with amrita. The gods were distressed in their minds and went to Hari for refuge. The illustrious one satisfies the desires of his servants and saw that they were distressed. “Do not unnecessarily be dejected. I will use my maya to accomplish your purpose.” O lord! For the sake of the amrita, dissension was created in their minds. “I will be first. You won’t be the first. I am first, not you.” The gods also sought to obtain their own shares. “In a sacrifice, everyone has an equal share. That is eternal dharma.” O king! The daityas were filled with intolerance and tried to prevent their own. The weak ones repeatedly protested to the strong ones, who had seized the pot. Vishnu is the lord who knows about all the different techniques. Meanwhile, he assumed the form of an extremely wonderful woman, impossible to describe. She was dark to behold, like a blue lotus. All her limbs were beautiful. Her symmetrical ears were adorned with earrings. Her cheeks, nose and face were beautiful. She was in the bloom of youth, with heavy and round breasts. Her waist was slender. Her face attracted delighted buzzing bees and her eyes were anxious. Her mass of excellent hair dazzled and a garland of mallika flowers was entwined in it. Her shapely neck had a necklace and her beautiful arms were adorned with armlets. Her hips were like an island and a sparkling garment was spread across them, with a girdle adorning it. As she moved, there was the enchanting sound of anklets. She arched her eyebrows and modestly smiled at the leading daityas, glancing at them repeatedly, igniting desire in them.’Chapter 8(9)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The asuras had given up all affection towards each other and were trying to seize the vessel, snatching it from others. They had adopted the dharma of bandits. They saw the woman advancing. “Her beauty is wonderful. Her body is wonderful. Her blooming youth is wonderful.” Filled with desire, they rushed towards her and started to ask. “You possess eyes like the petals of a lotus. Who are you? Where have you come from? What do you wish for? O one with the beautiful thighs! Whom do you belong to? You are churning our minds. We know that we, immortals, daityas, Siddhas, gandharvas, charanas and lords of the worlds have not touched you, or seen anyone like you, not to speak of men. O one with the excellent eyebrows! It is certain that destiny has sent you for embodied beings. Haven’t you been fashioned to take pity and delight our senses and minds? O beautiful one! O one with the excellent waist! Because of this one object, 945 we are challenging each other and relatives are bound in enmity. You should resolve this. Because we are descended from Kashyapa, we are brothers and have demonstrated our manliness. You should divide it properly, so that there is no dispute.” Hari, who had used maya to assume the form of a woman, was thus invited by the daityas. The one with the beautiful limbs smiled. She looked towards them and spoke. The illustrious one said, “How can Kashyapa’s descendants be attracted to a pumshchali 946 like me? A learned person never trusts a woman. O enemies of the gods! It has been said that the friendship of wolves and svairini women 947 is temporary. They are always searching for new friends.” Teasing in this way, she assured the minds of the asuras, though her intent was serious. They laughed and handed over the vessel of amrita to her. Having accepted the vessel of amrita, Hari smiled pleasantly and addressed them in these words. “If you accept whatever I do, good or bad, I will apportion the share of the amrita.” The bulls among the asuras heard her words. They did not discern the import and agreed.

‘They fasted, bathed and offered oblations into the fire. 948 They donated to cows, 949 brahmanas and other beings, and brahmanas pronounced benedictions. As they chose, they attired themselves in excellent garments and adorned themselves with ornaments. All of them seated themselves on kusha grass, with the blades pointing to the east. O Indra among men! The gods and Diti’s descendants sat down, facing the east. The hall was fragrant with incense, with garlands and lamps. She entered, holding the pot in her hand. Her thighs were like an elephant’s trunk. Because of her heavy hips, covered in a silk garment, her movement was slow. Her eyes were intoxicated. Her golden anklets tinkled. Her breasts were like pitchers. Adorned in beautiful golden earrings, she was like Shri’s companion. Her nose, cheeks and face were superior to those of the gods. She glanced at them and smiled repeatedly. The end of the garment slipped, revealing her breasts. The gods and asuras were captivated. Asuras are unruly and violent by nature. Thinking that giving them amrita would be like giving it to snakes, Achyuta did not give them a share. The lord of the universe made the two categories 950 sit in separate rows, each sat down in his respective seat in his respective row. She took the pot and went to the daityas, deceiving them with sweet words. She then fed the amrita, which destroys old age and death, to those who were seated further away. 951 O king! The asuras adhered to the pledge they had themselves given. Because of their affection towards her and because they did not want to fight with a woman, they remained quiet. They had developed great love for her and did not wish that love to be destroyed. They also held her in great respect and did not wish to say anything unpleasant. Disguising himself with the signs of a god, Svarbhanu entered the ranks of the gods and drank the amrita. 952 However, the sun god and the moon god pointed this out. As he was drinking, with his razor-sharp chakra, Hari sliced off his head. Since the torso had not been touched by the amrita, it fell down, dead. The head became immortal and Aja 953 conferred the status of a planet on him. Because of the enmity, on the days of the new moon and the full moon, he attacks the sun and the moon. When the gods had almost finished drinking the amrita, the illustrious Hari, the creator of the worlds, assumed his own form, while the Indras among the asuras looked on. Thus the time, the place, the reason, the objective, the effort and the intention of the large number of gods and asuras was identical, but the fruits were different. Because they sought refuge with the dust on his lotus feet, the large number of gods obtained the fruit of amrita, but the daityas did not. For the protection of one’s own physical body and that of the offspring, men do many things with their wealth, deeds, thoughts and words. However, since these stem from differentiation, 954 these are temporary. That which is done without a sense of differentiation is alone permanent. Like watering the root, everything then becomes successful.’Chapter 8(10)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Thus, the danavas and the daityas did not get amrita. Though they tried to make the efforts, they had turned their faces away from Vasudeva. O king! After accomplishing the task of obtaining amrita and feeding it to those on his side, the gods, while all the creatures looked one, the one with Garuda as his mount left. Diti’s descendants saw the supreme prosperity of their rivals. They could not tolerate this. Raising their weapons, they attacked the gods. All the large number of gods were energized from drinking the amrita. Having sought refuge with Narayana’s feet, they used their weapons to fight back. There was an extremely terrible encounter known as the devasura battle. O king! That tumultuous encounter occurred on the shores of the ocean and it made the body hair stand up. With intolerant minds, the rivals attacked each other in the battle. They clashed and tried to kill each other with swords, arrows and many kinds of weapons. There was a loud sound of conch shells, trumpets, drums, tambourines, smaller drums and kettledrums. There was the sound of elephants, horses, chariots and infantry and it was tumultuous. Chariots clashed against chariots there, foot soldiers against foot soldiers and elephants against elephants. Some fought astride camels, others astride elephants. Some were astride donkeys, others astride white-faced bears, tigers or monkeys. Some were on the backs of kites, vultures and cranes, with others on hawks and cocks. 955 Some were on timingilas and sharabhas, others on buffaloes, rhinos, cows, bulls, gavayas and arunas. 956 Some were astride jackals, rats, lizards, rabbits and men. Others were on goats, sheep, black antelopes, swans and pigs. There were some on creatures that moved on land and in water, others on creatures with deformed shapes. O king! Those two armies penetrated deeper and deeper into each other. O king! There were colourful flags and canopies and white and sparkling umbrellas, with extremely expensive handles studded with diamonds. There were fans made out of peacock feathers and whisks made out of yak hair. The upper and lower garments were stirred by the wind and the polished armour and ornaments glittered. The sharp weapons dazzled, sparkling in the sun’s rays. O descendant of the Pandu lineage! The valiant gods and the danavas possessed their own standards. The brave ones were adorned with garlands. The two armies resembled two oceans.

‘In the battle, the commander of the army of the asuras was Bali, Virochana’s son. His vehicle was known as Vaihasaya. It had been made by Maya and could travel as it willed. It was filled with all the required implements. O lord! It was extraordinary in every respect. It could not be described and its movement could not be determined. It was sometimes visible and sometimes invisible. He was astride that excellent vimana, surrounded by all the generals of his army. With the best of fans, whisks and an umbrella, he was as radiant as the rising moon. On all his sides, on their respective vehicles, were the leaders of the asura hordes—Namuchi, Shambara, Bana, Viprachitti, Ayomukha, Dvi-murdha, Kalanabha, Praheti, Heti, Ilvala, Shakuni, Bhuta-santapa, Vajra-damshtra, Virochana, Hayagriva, Shanku-shira, Kapila, Megha-dundubhi, Taraka, Chakradrik, Shumbha, Nishumbha, Jambha, Utkala, Arishta, Arishtanemi, Maya, the lord of Tripura and others like the Poulamas, Kaleyas and Nivatakavachas. They had not obtained a share of the soma. They had only obtained a share of the hardships. Earlier, in the field of battle, they had vanquished many immortals. They roared like lions and blew loudly on their conch shells. On seeing his enemies, the destroyer of Bala 957 became extremely angry. His own ruler, he was resplendent astride the diggaja Airavata. The lord was as radiant as the sun rising from behind Mount Udaya, where there are flows from waterfalls. Everywhere around him, there were gods on many kinds of vehicles, with different standards and weapons. The guardians of the world, Vayu, Agni, Varuna and the others were there, along with their followers. They approached each other and abused each other with words that struck at the inner organs. Having entered the forefront of the battle, those warriors challenged each other to fight in duels. O king! Bali fought with Indra, Taraka with Guha, Varuna fought with Heti and Mitra with Praheti, Yama with Kalanabha and Vishvakarma with Maya. Shambara fought with Tvashta and Savitra with Virochana. Namuchi fought against Aparajita, the two Ashvins against Vrishaparva and the god Surya against Bali’s one hundred sons, of whom, Bana was the eldest. Rahu fought with Soma and Puloma with Anila. The spirited goddess, Bhadrakali, fought against Nishumbha and Shumbha. O destroyer of enemies! Vrishakapi fought with Jambha, Vibhavasu with Mahisha and Ilvala and Vatapi with Brahma’s sons. Durmarsha fought with Kamadeva, Utkala with the Matrikas, Brihaspati with Ushanas and Shanaishchara with Naraka. The Maruts fought with the Nivatakavachas, the Kaleyas with the immortal Vasus, the Vishvadevas with the Poulamas and the Rudras with the Krodhavashas. In this way, in the field of battle, the asuras and the gods mingled and fought against each other in duels. They approached and struck with great energy. Striving for victory, they used sharp arrows, swords and spears. They used bhushundis, chakras, clubs, double-edged swords, battleaxes, javelins, blazing torches, darts, axes, swords, long swords, maces, bludgeons and catapults to sever heads. Elephants, horses, chariots, many kinds of mounts and riders and foot soldiers were struck down. Arms, thighs, necks and legs were severed. Standards, bows, armour and ornaments were shattered. With feet and wheels of chariots striking against the ground, particles of dust arose from the field of battle. This enveloped the directions, the sky and the firmament. Whirling around and sprinkled with blood, this dust settled down on the ground. The earth was strewn with heads, severed diadems and earrings, eyes that still gazed in rage, teeth biting the lips in anger, garments, giant arms with ornaments and weapons, and thighs that were like the trunks of elephants. The headless torsos of soldiers seemed to see with the eyes in their fallen heads. Indomitable, they suddenly rose up and seizing weapons in their arms, rushed forward and attacked.

‘Bali struck the great Indra with ten arrows and Airavata with three. He used four arrows to strike the four guarding the flanks and one to strike the driver. However, Shakra, dexterous in his valour, seemed to smile. While they were still descending, he used four sharp and broad-headed arrows to sever them. The intolerant one witnessed his excellent deed and seized a spear that blazed like a giant meteor. However, Hari 958 severed it, while it was still in his hands. The lord severed all the weapons that he 959 seized and hurled at him, trident, javelin, club and double-edged sword. At this, the asura created the maya of asuras and vanished. O lord! A mountain appeared above the soldiers of the gods. From this, trees blazing in a forest conflagration fell down. There were boulders with spiked stones and these crushed the enemy’s army. Giant serpents, dandashukas, scorpions, lions, tigers, boars and giant elephants descended, crushing them. O lord! There were hundreds of naked and female yatudhanas, with tridents in their hands. Shouting “Sever”, “Strike”, they manifested themselves, along with large numbers of rakshasas. Large clouds, rumbling in harsh and deep tone, appeared in the sky. Borne along by stormy winds, these thundered and showered down burning coals. With the wind as a charioteer, the daitya created an extremely large fire. It was like the samvartaka fire 960 and burnt down the soldiers of the gods. In every direction, the ocean was seen to turn turbulent. There were tremendous storms and terrible waves, whirlpools and eddies. Invisible in the battle, the daityas created such enormous maya. When they created this maya, the soldiers of the gods became despondent. O king! Unable to counter and understand this, Indra and the others meditated on the illustrious one and the creator of the universe manifested himself there. His tender feet were placed atop Suparna. His garments were yellow and his eyes were like freshly bloomed lotuses. With the eight weapons in his hands, he manifested himself there. The shrivatsa mark and Koustubha were on his chest and he wore an expensive diadem and earrings. The asuras were mysterious in their deeds. But as soon as he entered, their great maya was destroyed by his greater glory. It was like a dream vanishing when one awakes. Hari’s memory frees from all kinds of calamities. Kalanemi had a lion as his mount. In the battle, when he saw the one whose mount was Garuda, he whirled his giant javelin and flung it. O king! As if playing, with his feet on Garuda’s head, the lord of the gods seized it while it was descending and used it to kill the enemy and his mount. He used his chakra to sever the heads of the extremely strong Mali and Sumali. At this, Malyavan seized a sharp club to attack the one born from an egg. 961 However, the original being used the chakra to sever the head of the enemy who was roaring loudly.’Chapter 8(11)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘After this, because of the supreme being, supreme in his compassion, the gods regained their senses. Shakra, Vayu and the others strongly attacked those by whom they had been routed in the battle earlier. The illustrious chastiser of Paka was enraged at Virochana’s son. 962 He seized the vajra in his hand and the subjects shrieked, “Alas! Alas!” 963 In the great battle, the spirited and extremely accomplished one was roaming around, in front of him. The one with the vajra in his hand reprimanded him in this way. “O foolish one! O lord of maya! You are like a magician who uses conjuring tricks, though you wish to vanquish us. Such a magician can only deceive the eyes of children and take away their riches. There are those who use maya and wish to ascend to the celestial regions. But I drive away such ignorant bandits and make them fall down from the status they formerly occupied. You use wicked maya. O evil one! Try with all your relatives. I will now use this vajra, with one hundred edges, to sever your head.” Bali replied, “For those engaged in a battle, their deeds are urged by destiny. In course of time, fame, victory, defeat and death come to everyone. Wise ones witness the progress of time in the universe. They are neither delighted, nor distressed. Therefore, those like you are not learned. We do not consider ourselves to be the cause. Even though your words strike at the inner organs, we do not accept them as virtuous or reason for grief.” Having said this, the brave lord, the crusher of heroes, used iron arrows. Drawing his bow back up to his ears, he used these to again strike the one who had struck with words. Thus, the god was countered by the enemy who spoke the truth. However, like an elephant struck with a goad, he could not tolerate these words. The destroyer of enemies struck him with the invincible vajra. Along with his vehicle, he fell down on the ground, like a mountain whose wings had been severed. 964 Jambha, Bali’s friend and well-wisher, saw that he had fallen down in the battle. Performing a friendly act, he attacked the one who had struck his friend. His mount was a lion and he raised a club with great force. The extremely strong one struck Shakra on the neck with this and also struck his elephant. Severely struck by the club, the elephant was pained and distracted. Filled with great lassitude, it sank down on its knees and touched the ground. At this, Matali brought the chariot, drawn by one thousand tawny horses. When this was brought, the lord abandoned the elephant and ascended the chariot. In the battle, the supreme among danavas honoured his deed. But smiling, he struck him with a blazing trident. 965 The blow was extremely difficult to withstand. However, Matali resorted to his fortitude. Enraged, Indra used his vajra to sever Jambha’s head from his body. Hearing from rishi Narada that Jambha had been killed, his relatives, Namuchi, Bala and Paka swiftly arrived at the spot. They used harsh words to pierce Indra’s inner organs. In the battle, they covered him with arrows, like a cloud showering down on a mountain. Demonstrating the dexterity of his hands, Bala simultaneously struck Hari’s 966 one thousand tawny horses with one thousand arrows. Paka struck Matali with two hundred arrows. He skilfully affixed and released them separately, directing one hundred at the charioteer and one hundred at the chariot. In the battle, this was extremely wonderful. Namuchi used fifteen large and gold-tufted arrows to strike him 967 in the battle and roared like a cloud filled with rain. From every direction, the asuras shrouded Shakra, his chariot and his charioteer with a dense mass of arrows, like the sun being enveloped with clouds during the rainy season. The large number of gods, and their companions, could not see him in the battle and, distracted, started to lament. Without a leader, they were vanquished by the enemy’s strength. They were like traders in an ocean, when their boat has been shattered. However, with his horses, chariot, standard and charioteer, Turasaha 968 emerged from that cage made out of arrows. Like the sun at the end of the night, he used his own energy to illuminate and delight the directions, the sky and earth. He saw that the army of the gods was afflicted by the enemy in the battle. Enraged, the wielder of the vajra seized the vajra, so that the enemy might be killed. O king! While their relatives looked on, he used that vajra, sharp on eight sides, to sever the heads of Bala and Paka. This terrified people.

‘On seeing that they had been killed, Namuchi was filled with grief, intolerance and rage. O lord of men! He made great efforts to kill Indra. He angrily seized a trident made out of iron in his hand. It possessed bells and was ornamented with gold. Roaring like a lion, he powerfully released it towards the king of the gods, exclaiming, “You have been killed.” With great speed, it descended from the sky towards the ground. However, Hari used arrows to shatter it into one thousand fragments. O king! Angry, to sever his head, the lord of the gods then used the vajra to strike him on the neck. However, though it had been hurled with force, with the energy of the lord of the gods, the vajra could not pierce his skin. This was supremely extraordinary. It had been able to strike the valiant Vritra. However, it was now repulsed by the skin on Namuchi’s neck. When the vajra was repulsed by the enemy in this way, Indra was scared. He wondered whether this, confusing to the worlds, had occurred because of some act of destiny. “Earlier, mountains possessed wings and used these wings to descend anywhere on earth, creating a destruction of subjects. Therefore, I used this to sever their wings. This is filled with the essence of Tvashta’s austerities. Vritra was brought down with this and so were many other powerful ones, even those whose skins could not be pierced by all kinds of weapons. I released this vajra at an insignificant asura and he has repulsed it. Therefore, without the energy of the brahmana, 969 this has become a useless staff and I will no longer hold it.” While Shakra was lamenting in this way, an invisible voice spoke. “This danava cannot be killed with anything that is wet or dry. I gave him a boon that he would not be killed by anything wet or dry. O Maghavan! Therefore, you must search for some other means to slay the enemy.” Hearing this divine voice, Maghavan controlled himself. He meditated and discerned that foam would be the means, since it was neither wet, nor dry. It was not wet or dry and with it, he severed Namuchi’s head. The lord was praised by a large number of sages and they showered down garlands on him. The two foremost gandharvas, Vishvavasu and Puravasu, sang. The drums of the gods were sounded. Dancers danced in joy. Just as lions kill deer, in duels, Vayu, Agni, Varuna and other gods used their force to kill the enemy asuras. O king! When he saw that the gods would destroy all the danavas, the god Brahma sent devarshi Narada to restrain them. Narada said, “Seeking refuge in Narayana’s arms, you have obtained the amrita. Shri has shown you her favours. Therefore, stop this hostility.” Honouring the sage’s words, they restrained their rage and intolerance. Praised by their followers, all of them returned to heaven. Those who remained in the battle 970 took Narada’s permission and conveyed the incapacitated Bali to Mount Asta. His limbs were not missing and his head was still in its place. Using his own knowledge of samjivani, 971 Ushanas brought him back to life. Touched by Ushanas, Bali regained his senses and his memory. Though he had been defeated, since he was accomplished at discerning the truth, he did not lament.’Chapter 8(12)

Badarayana’s son said, ‘Vrishadhvaja 972 heard that Hari had assumed the form of a woman to confound the danavas and feed soma to the large number of gods. Girisha ascended the bull. Along with the goddess and surrounded by a large number of bhutas, he went to the place where Madhusudana was, to see him. The illustrious one welcomed Bhava, along with Uma, respectfully and affectionately. When he was seated, he honoured Hari back, smiled and spoke to him. Mahadeva said, “O god of the gods! O one who pervades the universe! O one whose body is the universe! O lord of every kind of sentiment! You are the atman, the cause and the lord. You are the beginning and the end. You are the middle. There is nothing other than you. You are inside and outside. Unlike these, you are without decay. You are truth. You are the brahman. You are consciousness. There are sages who crave after nothing. They give up attachment to both. 973 Desiring their benefit, they serve at your feet. You are the brahman. You are complete. You are amrita. You are without gunas. You are without sorrow. You are bliss alone. You are without transformation. There is no one other than you and you are distinct from everything. You are the cause behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. You are the controller and lord of atmans. Everything looks towards you, but you do not look towards anything. You are alone. You are the cause and the effect. You are duality and non-duality. There is no material difference between gold that has been polished and gold in the form of ore. Like that, because of ignorance, people impose differences on you. That is because of transformation in the gunas, but you are not affected by these. Some regard you as the brahman. Others say that you alone are dharma. Some say that you transcend cause and effect, others that you are Purusha, the lord who transcends everything. Some describe you as being endowed with nine powers. 974 Some say that you are supreme, others that you are the great Purusha. You are without decay and are your own controller. We have been created from sattva. However, I, Parayu, 975 and the rishis, with Marichi as the foremost, do not truly know your creation. O lord! How can daityas, mortals and others who are always wicked in conduct? 976 Their intelligence is bewildered by your maya. You have created everything, creation, preservation and destruction of the universe, the welfare of beings and their liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Just as the wind enters the sky and every mobile and immobile object, you are in all atmans. Everything is known to you. You pervade everything. I have seen your avataras and your pastimes with the gunas. I wish to see the form of a woman that you assumed, the one you used to confound the daityas and make the gods drink amrita. We have come to see that. We are extremely curious.” The illustrious Vishnu was thus asked by the one who wields a trident in his hand. He laughed in a deep voice and replied to Girisha. The illustrious one said, “To bewilder the daityas, I assumed the form of a woman, since they had left with the vessel of amrita and I saw that I had to accomplish the task of the gods. O supreme among gods! Since you wish to see it, I will display it to you. It is extremely endearing to those who are addicted to desire and causes them to be aroused.” Having said this, the illustrious one vanished from the spot. Bhava remained there with Uma, casting his eyes around in every direction.

‘There was a grove with colourful flowers and pink foliage in the midst of the trees. He saw a beautiful woman there. She was sporting and playing with a ball. A shining silk garment was around her hips, with a girdle on it. As she leapt up and down, her breasts bounced. She wore excellent necklaces. At every step, she seemed to break in the middle because of the heavy burden. 977 She moved around here and there, on feet that seemed to be made out of coral. 978 As the ball moved in different directions, her large eyes and dilated pupils followed it, as if agitated. There were radiant earrings on her ears and they illuminated her shining cheeks. Her face was adorned with a dark mass of glossy hair. She used her right hand to play with the ball and used her beautiful left hand to tighten the garment that came loose and fix her dishevelled hair. She bemused the universe with her own maya. The god looked at her, playing with the ball. She cast sidelong glances at him and there was the bashful trace of a smile. As he looked at her and she looked back at him, his mind was agitated. He no longer knew himself, nor Uma and his own companions who were with him. When the ball was dislodged from her hand and moved away, she followed it. While the woman was doing this, the wind stole her light garment and the string of the girdle. Even then, the god Bhava continued to gaze. Her beautiful limbs were enchanting and worth looking at. Having seen this, Bhava thought that she was also attracted to him. Desire agitated him and deprived him of his sense and good behaviour. Though Bhavani was looking, he lost his shame and approached her. She was naked. On seeing that he was approaching, she became extremely ashamed. Though she continued to smile, she did not remain there, but hid herself amidst the trees. With his senses agitated, the illustrious Bhava followed her. He was under the subjugation of desire, like the leader of an elephant herd towards a female elephant. He followed the woman with great speed and seized her by the hair. Though she did not wish it, he embraced her in his arms. She was embraced by the illustrious one, like a female elephant by a male elephant. With her hair dishevelled, she writhed around. O dear one! She freed herself from the embrace of the bull among the gods. Though her hips were heavy, she fled. After all, she was a maya fashioned by the divinity. Rudra followed the footsteps of Vishnu, extraordinary in his deeds. Driven by desire, as if vanquished by an enemy, he followed. While he followed her, his semen, invincible in its potency, oozed out, like the crazy leader of a herd, when it follows a woman it desires. O lord of the earth! Wherever the great-souled one’s semen fell on earth, fields of gold and silver ore were created there. Hara followed her to rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, groves and places where rishis were assembled. When all the semen had been secreted, he saw that he had been benumbed by the god’s maya. O best among kings! He restrained himself from the delusion.

‘He himself understood the greatness of the one who is the atman of the universe. Thinking of his 979 incomprehensible valour, he did not think that this was at all extraordinary. Madhusudana saw that he was not disturbed or ashamed. Extremely pleased, he assumed a male form and spoke the following. The illustrious one said, “O best among the gods! It is good fortune that you have regained your stable state. O dear one! This is despite my having deluded you in the form of a woman, using my maya. Having been ensnared in my maya, which man other than you is capable of freeing himself from it? For those who are not in control of themselves and their sentiments, this is extremely difficult to overcome. This maya, full of gunas, will never bewilder you again. I unite it with time and assuming the form of time, it has many different components.” O king! In this way, the illustrious one was honoured by the one with the shrivatsa mark. Having taken his permission, he 980 circumambulated him and left for his own abode, with his followers. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Delighted, the illustrious Bhava spoke to Bhavani about the maya, revered by the best of rishis as being created as a part of the atman’s portion. “Have you witnessed the maya of Aja, the supreme Purusha, who is superior to all the divinities? I am one of his prominent portions. Yet, I was brought under his control, lost my independence and was confounded. What can be said of others? I performed yoga for one thousand years. At the end of that, you came and asked me about him. He is himself the ancient Purusha. He is not affected by time. Nor can one understand him.” O son! I have told you about the valour of the one who wields the Sharnga bow. For the sake of the churning of the ocean, he bore the great mountain on his back. If one repeatedly chants about his deeds and listens to them, one’s efforts never fail. A description of Uttamashloka’s qualities removes all the exhaustion of samsara. His lotus feet are understood by devotees, not by those attached to wicked objects. Amrita was produced from the churning of the ocean and he only fed it to the noble immortals. Disguising himself as a young maiden, he confounded the enemies of the gods. He satisfies the desires of all those who resort to him. I bow down before him.’Chapter 8(13)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The Manu known as Shraddhadeva was descended from Vivasvat. That is the seventh, 981 current now. Hear about his offspring. His sons are Ikshvaku, Nabhaga, Dhrishta, Sharyati, Narishyanta and Nabhaga. 982 The seventh is said to be Dishta. There are Karusha and Prishadhra and the tenth is known as Vasuman. O scorcher of enemies! These are the ten sons of Vaivasvata Manu. O king! The gods are the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Vishvadevas, the Maruts, the Ashvins and the Ribhus. Their Indra is Purandara. Kashyapa, Atri, Vasishtha, Vishvamitra, Goutama, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja are said to be the saptarshis. The illustrious one took birth as the son of Kashyapa and Aditi. Vishnu was the youngest of the Adityas and he assumed the form of vamana. I have briefly described seven manvantaras to you. I will now tell you about the future ones, each associated with Vishnu’s powers. Vivasvat had two wives and both were Vishvakarma’s daughters. O Indra among kings! They were Samjna and Chhaya and I have told you about them before. 983 It is said that there was a third named Vadava. Samjna had three offspring—Yama, Yami and Shraddhadeva. Now hear about Chhaya’s offspring. There was a son named Savarni and a daughter named Tapati, who became Samvarana’s wife. Shanaishchara was the third. The two Ashvins were Vadava’s sons. O king! When the eighth manvantara arrives, Savarni will be the Manu. Nirmoka, Virajaska and others will be his sons. At that time, the gods will be the Sutapasas, the Virajas and the Amritaprabhas. Bali, Virochana’s son, will be the Indra among them. When Vishnu asked for what could be covered in three strides, he gave him everything. Thus giving it up, he will obtain success and the status of Indra. The illustrious one bound him and happily instated him in Sutala again. He is like the king of heaven there. He has been instated there, in a place that is superior to heaven. O king! At that time, Galava, Diptiman, Rama, 984 Drona’s son, Kripa, Rishyashringa and our father, the illustrious Badarayana, will be the saptarshis, as a result of their own yoga. At the moment, they are all in their respective hermitages. Through Devaguhya and Sarasvati, the lord will be born as Sarvabhouma. The lord will take away Purandara’s position and confer it on Bali. O king! The ninth Manu, Daksha-savarni, will be born through Varuna. Bhutaketu, Diptaketu and others will be his sons. Paras, Marichigarbhas and others will be the gods. It is said that Adbhuta will be the Indra. The foremost among the rishis will be Dyutimat. Through Ayushmat and Ambudhara, the illustrious one’s portion will be born as Rishabha. He will make Adbhuta enjoy the prosperity of the three worlds. The tenth Manu will be Brahma-savarni, the son of Upashloka. His sons will be Bhurishena and others. Among the brahmanas, Havishmat will be the chief. Havishmat, Sukrita, Satya, Jaya, Murti and others will be the brahmanas. 985 The gods will be Suvasana, Viruddha and others. Shambhu will be the lord of the gods. 986 As his own portion, the illustrious lord will be born as the son of Vishvasrija, through Vishuchi. He will be known as Vishvaksena and he will be Shambhu’s friend. The eleventh Manu will be Dharma-savarni and he will be in control of his atman. In future, he will have ten sons, Satyadharma and others. The gods will be Vihangamas, Kamagamas and Nirvanaruchis. The Indra will be Vaidhriti and the rishis will be Aruna and others. Aryaka’s son, born as Hari’s portion through Vaidhrita, will be known as Dharmasetu. 987 He will sustain the three worlds. O king! The twelfth Manu will be Rudra-savarni. His sons will be Devavan, Upadeva, Devashreshtha and others. Ritadhama will be the Indra and Harita and others will be the gods. The rishis will be Tapomurti, Tapasvi, Agnidhraka and others. During the rule of that Manu and that manvantara, Hari’s portion will be born as the lord Svadhama, the son of Satyasahasa and Sunrita. The thirteenth Manu will be Deva-savarni and he will know about his atman. Deva-savarni’s sons will be Chitrasena, Vichitra and others. The gods will be Sukarma, Sutrama and Samja, while Divaspati will be the Indra. At that time, the rishis will be Nirmoka, Tattvadarshi and others. A portion of Hari, the lord of yoga, will be born as Devahotra’s son, through his wife, Brihati. He will bestow everything on Divaspati. The fourteenth Manu will be Indra-savarni. Indra-savarni’s sons will be Uru, Gambhira, Budha and others. The gods will be the Pavitras and Chakshushas, while Shuchi will be the Indra. The ascetics 988 will be Agnibahu, Shuchi, Shuddha, Magadha and others. O great king! Hari will be born as Brihadbhanu, the son of Satrayana and Vitana. He will undertake all the rites. O king! These fourteen cover the past, the present and the future and have been described. They amount to one kalpa, consisting of one thousand yugas.’Chapter 8(14)

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! Who determines the tasks of the Manus in these manvantaras? Who engages them? Tell me that.’

The rishi replied, ‘O lord of the earth! Manus, sons of Manus, the sages, Indras and the large number of gods—all of them are under the supreme being’s control. O king! I have described the forms Purusha takes, Yajna and the others. The controller of the universe invokes the Manus and others, and controls them. At the end of the four yugas, the shrutis and other texts are devoured by time. Through their austerities, the rishis know that eternal dharma can no longer be seen. O king! Urged by Hari and thus engaged, during their own respective periods, the Manus establish dharma’s four feet again. Until the end of their periods, these protectors of subjects divide the shares of sacrifices. The gods also obtain their shares and perform the same tasks. Bestowed by the illustrious one, Indra obtains the prosperity of the three worlds. He protects the three worlds and, as desired, showers down. According to the yuga, Hari assumes the forms of Siddhas, forms of rishis and forms of lords of yoga, to expound the paths of jnana, karma and yoga. He creates in the form of Prajapatis. In the form of the king, he slays bandits. In the form of time, with different qualities, he destroys everything. Because of his maya, people praise him in different names and forms. They are confounded by their insolent belief in different schools, but are unable to see him. I have thus described the dimensions of kalpas and subdivisions of kalpas. Those who know about the ancient accounts say that a kalpa consists of fourteen manvantaras.’Chapter 8(15)

The king asked, ‘Hari is the lord of everything. Like a distressed person, why did he ask Bali for as much of land as can be covered in three strides? Having obtained his objective, why did he bind him down? We have a great curiosity and we wish to know about this. The lord is absolute. Yet, he begged and bound down an innocent person.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘O king! He 989 lost his prosperity and was also deprived of his life by Indra. However, Bhrigu’s descendants 990 brought him back to life. The great-souled Bali worshipped the Bhrigus with all his soul and became their disciple, offering them everything they wanted. The brahmanas of the Bhrigu lineage were delighted with him. He wished to conquer the three worlds. Following the rites, they consecrated him and performed a Vishvajit sacrifice. The great-minded ones performed this great act of consecration for him. When oblations of clarified butter were offered into the fire of the sacrifice, a chariot encased in gold plates, four tawny horses, and a standard with a lion astride it emerged from the fire. There was also a divine bow plated with gold, two inexhaustible quivers and divine armour. His grandfather 991 gave him a garland made out of flowers that did not fade. Shukra gave him a conch shell. Thus, the brahmanas arranged all the equipment required for victory. After this, the brahmanas pronounced benedictions over him. He prostrated himself before them and circumambulated them. He then bowed down to Prahlada and took his leave. The maharatha ascended the divine chariot given by the Bhrigus. He was armoured and adorned in an excellent garland. He held a bow and a sword and girded the quivers. There were dazzling gold armlets on his arms. He resembled the king of oblations 992 on an altar. His own leaders and the leaders of other groups of daityas were his equal in prosperity, strength and beauty. He seemed to drink up the sky and scorch the directions with his sight. The lord attracted and was surrounded by a very large army of asura soldiers. Making the space between heaven and earth tremble with his own prosperity, he left for Indra’s city.

‘There were beautiful groves and gardens there, the enchanting Nandana and others. Pairs of birds chirped there. There was the buzzing of intoxicated bees. The branches of celestial trees were heavy with the burden of fruits and flowers. The lotus ponds were full of the calls of swans, cranes, chakravakas and karandavas. These were frequented by the gods, and their women sported there. The place was surrounded by a moat, in the form of the goddess Akasha-Ganga. 993 There was a wall with the complexion of the fire and tall mansions. The doors and entrances were made out of gold panels. The gates to the city were made out of crystal. Constructed by Vishvakarma, there were many roads that connected the different parts. There were beautiful assembly halls, quadrangles and roads. There were ten crore vimanas. The quadrangles were paved with gems and there were seats made out of diamonds and coral. The place was radiant with beautiful women, dark 994 and perpetually young, attired in clean garments. They looked like the flames of a fire. A breeze blew along the roads and dislodged fresh and fragrant flowers from the hair and garlands of the divine women, bearing that scent along. There were golden lattices on the windows, and white smoke with the fragrance of aloe emerged through these. Women loved by the gods 995 walked along the streets. The canopies were made out of pearls and the flagpoles were encrusted with gold and jewels. The tops of the mansions were adorned with many flags. There were the sounds of peacocks, pigeons and bees. As women climbed on to the mansions, they sang in auspicious tones. There were melodious and rhythmic tones of drums, conch shells, kettledrums, veenas, smaller drums, flutes and other musical instruments. In harmony with musical instruments, minor divinities sang and danced. The place was so beautiful in its own radiance that it surpassed all kinds of radiance. Those who did not follow dharma, the wicked and deceitful, those who were insolent, lascivious and greedy and those who caused injury to creatures did not go there. Those who went there were devoid of such vices.

‘Such was the city of the gods. With his own soldiers, the leader of the army surrounded it from all sides and laid siege to it. He blew loudly on the conch shell that had been given to him by his preceptor. With this sound, he generated fear among Indra’s women. Maghavan understood Bali’s intentions and his supreme efforts. With the large number of gods, he went to his preceptor 996 and said, “O illustrious one! Because of the former enmity, Bali is making efforts. I think that he is impossible to withstand. How has he earned this energy for himself? No one, from anywhere, is capable of fighting against him. He seems to be licking the ten directions and drinking them up with his mouth. He has arisen like the samvartaka fire and seems to be burning down the directions with his sight. Tell me the reason for this. How has my enemy become invincible? What is the reason for his prowess, strength, energy and enterprise?” The preceptor replied, “O Maghavan! I know the reason behind your enemy’s elevation. He has obtained this energy through becoming the disciple of the Bhrigus, who know about the brahman. No one will ever be able to vanquish the energetic Bali, you, or anyone else on your side. The only exception is the lord Hari. He is full of the energy of the brahman and no one else will be able to defeat him. Just as people cannot stand before Death, no one is capable of standing in front of him. Therefore, all of you should abandon heaven and go and hide. Wait for the time when your enemy faces a calamity. He is flourishing because of the strength of the brahmanas. Right now, he is valiant and invincible. When he dishonours them later, he and his followers will be destroyed.” Their preceptor knew about objectives and they received this excellent counsel and instruction from him. The gods, who could assume any form they willed, abandoned heaven. When the gods had hidden themselves, Bali, Virochana’s son, brought the city that was the capital of the gods and the three worlds under his subjugation. Bhrigu’s descendants were affectionate towards disciples and were kind towards a disciple who had conquered the worlds. He followed their instructions and performed one hundred horse sacrifices. Because of this act, he obtained fame in the three worlds. His glory spread in the directions and he was as radiant as the king of the stars. He enjoyed his own opulence and prosperity, obtained because of brahmanas who were like the gods. The great-minded one thought that he had become successful in his objective.’Chapter 8(16)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘When her sons were destroyed and heaven taken away by the daityas, Aditi, the mother of the gods, was tormented, like one who was without a protector. Once, when the illustrious Kashyapa had taken a break from his meditation after a long period of time, he came to her hermitage and saw that it was cheerless and sad. O extender of the Kuru lineage! As is proper, he was honoured and accepted a seat. He spoke to his wife, whose face was distressed. “O fortunate one! In this world, I hope brahmanas are not facing any misfortune now. I hope dharma or people, who have to follow the caprices of death, do not face a calamity. You are following the path of a householder, and is everything well in your house? In such a state, even those who do not follow yoga are engaged in the pursuit of dharma, artha and kama. Because you are excessively attached to your family, I hope unexpected guests 997 who have visited have never returned without being properly welcomed. A home where an unexpected guest is not even offered some water before departure is indeed like the home of a king of jackals. O fortunate one! O virtuous one! When I went away, was your mind so anxious that you did not offer oblations into the fire at the right time? Brahmanas and the fire represent the mouth of Vishnu, who is in the atmans of all gods. By worshipping them, a householder goes to the world where all the objects of desire are satisfied. O spirited one! Are all your sons well? I can see the signs that all is not well with you.” Aditi replied, “O fortunate one! O brahmana! Brahmanas, cattle, dharma and people are well. O master of the house! This house is a place where the three objectives 998 are pursued properly. O illustrious one! O brahmana! Since I always think about you, the fire, unexpected guests, servants and all mendicants who desire something are always tended to properly. O illustrious one! Since you are a Prajapati and have spoken to me about dharma, how can all the desires of my mind not be satisfied? O son of Marichi! All the subjects, born from your body and your mind, possess sattva, rajas and tamas. O lord! Beginning with the asuras, you are impartial towards everyone. However, even the great lord is partial towards his devotees. O lord! O one who is excellent in vows! Therefore, think of the well-being of those who worship you. They have lost their prosperity. Their rivals have robbed them of their place. O lord! Save us. With me, having been exiled by the enemy, they are immersed in an ocean of hardship. Stronger ones have robbed us of our prosperity, opulence, fame and status. O virtuous one! Let my sons get all that back again. O one who does good things! Please consider and arrange for their well-being.” Thus requested by her, he seemed to smile and said, “The strength of Vishnu’s maya is wonderful. The universe is bound in bonds of affection. What is this physical body, made up of the elements? What is the atman? The atman is superior to Prakriti. Whom do husbands, sons and others belong to? Delusion is the reason behind all this. Worship the illustrious Purusha Janardana. Vasudeva dwells in the inner cores of all creatures. He is the preceptor of the universe. Hari, who is compassionate towards the distressed, will fulfil your desires. It is my view that nothing except devotion to the illustrious one is invincible.” Aditi asked, “O brahmana! What rules need to be observed for worshipping the lord of the universe? How can my intentions come true? How will he fulfil my desire? O best among brahmanas! Instruct me about the rules for worshipping him, so that the god is quickly satisfied. I, and my sons, are suffering.”

‘Kashyapa said, “Desiring offspring, I asked the illustrious one born from the lotus 999 this. He told me about the vow for satisfying Keshava and I will tell you about it. For the first twelve days of shukla paksha in the month of Phalguna, 1000 one must observe the vow of subsisting only on milk. Full of supreme devotion, one must worship the lotus-eyed one. If earth dug up by a wild boar is available, on the day of sinivali, one must smear oneself with this and have a bath. Standing in a current, 1001 one must chant the following mantra. ‘O goddess! 1002 You desired a place and the original boar raised you up from rasatala. I bow down to you. Destroy all my sins.’ Having finished, one must complete the daily rituals and, controlling oneself, worship the god. He can be worshipped on an altar, 1003 or in the form of the sun, the water, the fire or the preceptor. ‘O illustrious one! I bow down to you, the great Purusha. You dwell in all creatures. O Vasudeva! You are the witness. I bow down to the one who is not manifest. You are subtle. You are Pradhana and Purusha. You are the one who knows about the twenty-four principles. You are the cause behind the principles of samkhya. I bow down before the one with two heads, three feet and four horns. Your form has seven arms. I bow down to the one with the three kinds of knowledge in him. 1004 I bow down to the one who is Shiva. I bow down to the one who is Rudra. I bow down to the one who wields the powers. I bow down to the one who is the lord of all kinds of knowledge. I bow down to the lord of all creatures. I bow down to Hiranyagarbha, the source of the breath of life, the atman of the universe. Your body is full of yoga and opulence. I bow down to the one who is the source of yoga. I bow down to the original god. I bow down to the one who is a witness to all creatures. I bow down to the rishis Nara and Narayana, to Hari. I bow down to the one whose body is as dark as emerald, to the one who is Shri’s master. O Keshava! I bow down to you. I bow down to the one who is attired in yellow garments. You are the one who bestows all the boons. You are the being who should be worshipped. You are foremost among those who grant boons. That is the reason, for their benefit, persevering ones worship the dust of your feet. You are followed by the gods and Shri. They desire the bliss of your lotus feet. O illustrious one! Show me your favours.’ Hrishikesha must be honoured and invited with these mantras. He must be worshipped with devotion, with padya and the other ingredients. He must be worshipped with incense, garlands and other objects. The lord must be bathed with milk. He must be adorned with garments, a sacred thread and ornaments and again offered padya and the other ingredients. He must be worshipped with fragrances, incense and other objects, using the mantra with twelve aksharas. 1005 If it is possible, shali rice 1006 cooked in milk mixed with clarified butter and molasses must be offered. Using the root mantra, 1007 this must be offered to him as an oblation in the fire. Or one can offer it to a devotee, or eat it oneself. After this worship, one must offer him water to wash the mouth and betel leaf. One must praise the lord by chanting the mantra one hundred and eight times. Having circumambulated him, one must happily prostrate oneself on the ground, like a rod. One must bend one’s head down to whatever is left of the offerings to the god. After this, depending on what they deserve, two brahmanas must be fed payasam. 1008 Honouring them and with their permission, with one’s relatives, one should eat whatever is left. On the night of the first day, one must observe brahmacharya. Next morning, one must perform the proper ablutions. With a controlled mind, one must follow the rituals and bathe him 1009 with milk. Such worship must continue until the period of the vow is over. Without exception, one must observe this vow of worshipping Vishnu, subsisting only on milk. As has been stated earlier, one must offer oblations into the fire and feed brahmanas. In this way, every day, one must observe the vow of subsisting on milk for twelve days. One must worship Hari, offer oblations into the fire and satisfy brahmanas. Beginning with pratipada, 1010 until the thirteenth day of shukla paksha, one must observe brahmacharya, sleep on the ground and bathe thrice a day. One must not speak an untruth, nor converse about superior or inferior objects of pleasure. One must be devoted to Vasudeva and avoid violence towards all creatures. On the thirteenth day, following the instructions of those who know about the rites, one must follow the rites and bathe Vishnu with the five objects. 1011 Abandoning all deceit and thought of wealth, one must perform this great act of worship. One must perceive Vishnu as omnipresent and cook charu in milk. Extremely controlled, one must worship Purusha with mantras. One must offer food with excellent qualities to Purusha, so as to satisfy him. One must satisfy the learned preceptor and the officiating priests with garments, ornaments and cattle, understanding that this is also a form of Hari’s worship. O one with the beautiful smiles! According to one’s capacity one must feed them and the other brahmanas who have assembled there, with excellent food. As they deserve, dakshina must be given to the preceptor and the officiating priests. Those who have come there, even svapachas, must be pleased with food. One must recognize that pleasing everyone, the distressed, the blind and the miserable, is the same as pleasing Vishnu. After this, with the relatives, one can enjoy what is left. Every day, the worship of the illustrious one must be accompanied with dancing, singing, the playing of musical instruments, the pronouncement of praises and benedictions and the rectial of his accounts. This supreme worship of Purusha is known as payovrata. The grandfather told me about it and I have explained it to you. O extremely fortunate one! With pure sentiments and controlling your mind, you must properly worship the undecaying Keshava. This is said to be sarva-yajna. 1012 This is said to be all the vows. O fortunate one! This is said to be the essence of all austerities and all worship to the lord. This is the best of yama and niyama, austerities, gifts, vows and sacrifices. Adhokshaja is directly satisfied with this. O fortunate one! Therefore, be faithful in conduct, control yourself and observe this vow. Satisfied with you, the illustrious one will swiftly bestow a boon on you.”’Chapter 8(17)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Aditi was thus addressed by her husband, Kashyapa. Attentively, she observed this vow for twelve days. With single-minded intelligence, she thought of the lord, the great being. She used her mind to control the wicked horses, in the form of the senses. She used her intelligence as a charioteer. Her mind and intelligence were single-mindely fixed on the illustrious one who is in all atmans. She meditated on Vasudeva and observed payovrata. After this, the illustrious and original being manifested himself before her. He was attired in yellow garments. He was four-armed and held a conch shell, a chakra and a mace. 1013 On seeing him before her eyes, she suddenly stood up. Like a rod, she respectfully lowered her body down on the ground. Because of her delight, she was confused. After rising up, she tried to praise him, her hands joined in salutation. However, because her eyes were filled with tears of joy, she could not do so. With her body hair standing up, she remained silent. Her body trembled at the bliss of having been able to see him. O extender of the Kuru lineage! The goddess Aditi praised Hari in faltering words that choked with joy. She looked at Rama’s lord, the lord of sacrifices and the lord of the universe and seemed to drink him up with her eyes.

‘Aditi said, “O lord of sacrifices! O one who is the sacrifice! O Achyuta! O one whose feet are tirthas! O one whose feet the tirthas seek refuge in! The hearing of the chanting of your name is auspicious. When you appear, you relieve the sins of people who seek refuge with you. O lord! O illustrious one! You are the protector of those who are distressed. Bestow well-being on us. You are the universe. You are behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. You have yourself completely accepted the power of the gunas and other potencies. You are eternal and self-poised. You are the one who possesses complete knowledge. You have yourself dispelled the darkness. O Hari! I bow down to you. If you are satisified, from you, men can obtain the lifespan of two parardhas, a desired body, unmatched prosperity, heaven, earth and the nether regions, all the qualities obtained through yoga, the three objectives of existence, knowledge and kaivalya. O Ananta! If one desires victory over an enemy, it is nothing in comparison.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘O king! The illustrious and lotus-eyed one was praised by Aditi. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The kshetrajna who is in all creatures replied.

‘The illustrious one replied, “O mother of the gods! I know what you have desired for a very long time. The rivals have stolen their prosperity and have dislodged them from their own abode. You have worshipped me because you wish to see that your sons obtain victory and prosperity, having vanquished the indomitable bulls among the asuras in a field of battle. Indra is the eldest among your sons and you wish to see his enemies slain in a battle. Their miserable wives will then approach the dead bodies and weep. You wish to see that your own sons sport in great prosperity, stationed in the vault of heaven and having got back the fame and prosperity they were deprived of. O goddess! It is my view that the leaders of the hordes of asuras are now generally unconquerable. They are protected by brahmanas, whom the lord favours. Under these circumstances, valour will not bring happiness. O goddess! However, since you have satisfied me by observing the vow, I must think of a means. My worship does not deserve to be rendered futile. It has been performed faithfully, with a certain objective in mind. You have worshipped me properly, with the excellent payovrata vow. Thus worshipped, I must protect your offspring. O fortunate one! Go and worship your husband. He is an unblemished Prajapati. Think that I exist in the form of your husband. If you are asked, you must never reveal this to anyone else. O goddess! This must be concealed and kept a secret from the gods too. All will be well.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Having told her this, the illustrious one vanished from the spot. Aditi obtained the extremely rare boon that lord Hari would be born as her son. She faithfully approached her husband and served him with supreme devotion. Immersed in the meditation of yoga, Kashyapa, whose vision was infallible, perceived that Hari’s portion had entered into him. O king! Through austerities performed over a long period of time, he held that energy and then, with a controlled mind, transferred it into Aditi, just as the wind places a fire into two pieces of wood. 1014 Hiranyagarbha 1015 got to know that Aditi was holding the eternal and illustrious one in her womb. He praised him, using mysterious names. Brahma said, “Victory to the glorious and illustrious one. O Urukrama! I bow down before you. I bow down to the one who protects brahmanas and gods. I bow down to the lord of the three gunas. I bow down to the one born in Prishni’s womb. 1016 You are full of knowledge and the Vedas originate in you. The three worlds are in your navel. You transcend the three worlds. You are omnipresent. You are Vishnu. You are the beginning, the middle and the end of the universe. You are infinite in your powers. You are spoken of as Purusha. You are time. You are the lord who attracts the universe into your own self, just as a current sweeps along everything that falls into it, into the deep. O Vishnu! O god! You are the origin of subjects, mobile and immobile objects, the Prajapatis, the residents of heaven and those who have been dislodged from heaven. Like a boat, you are the refuge for those who are immersed in water.”’Chapter 8(18)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Thus, Virinchi praised his deeds and his valour. Immortal in his appearance, he manifested himself from Aditi. He was four-armed and held a conch shell, a mace, a lotus and a chakra. He was attired in yellow garments and his large eyes were like the petals of a lotus. He was dark in complexion, with dazzling earrings shaped like the king of fish. 1017 Purusha’s radiant and beautiful face was like a lotus. The shrivatsa mark was on his chest. He was adorned in handsome and shining bracelets, armlets, a diadem, an excellent girdle and anklets. Hari wore a beautiful garland of wild flowers and naturally, bees buzzed around it for honey. The Koustubha gem hung around his neck. His own radiance destroyed the darkness in Prajapati’s house. The directions were happy. The waterbodies and the subjects were delighted. The seasons became full of all the qualities. Heaven, the firmament, earth, those for whom fire is the tongue, 1018 cattle, brahmanas and mountains were filled with joy. When the lord was born, the moon was in Shravana nakshatra and it was the twelfth day of shukla paksha in the month of Bhadrapada. 1019 The muhurta was Abhijit. All the nakshatras and stars indicated that this would be an auspicious birth. O king! On that twelfth day, the sun was stationed in the middle of the sky. This time of Hari’s birth is known by the name of Vijaya. 1020 Conch shells and drums were sounded. Kettledrums, tambourines and other musical instruments were sounded. There was the wonderful sound of trumpets being played. There was a tumultuous sound. Delighted, the apsaras danced and the foremost among gandharvas sang. The sages, the gods, the Manus, the ancestors and the divinities of the fire praised him. Large numbers of Siddhas, vidyadharas, kimpurushas, kinnaras, charanas, yakshas, rakshasas, birds and supreme serpents sang his praise. The followers of the gods danced. They showered down flowers on the area around Aditi’s hermitage. Aditi was delighted and amazed to see that the supreme Purusha had taken birth from her womb. Using the maya of his yoga, he had assumed a body. Prajapati 1021 was also surprised and exclaimed, “May you be victorious.” Hari’s consciousness is not manifested. But he manifested himself and assumed that form, with ornaments and weapons. While all of them looked on, divine in his movements, like an actor, he transformed himself into a dwarf brahmana. On seeing the form of a dwarf brahmana, the maharshis rejoiced. They placed Prajapati at their head and performed all the required rites. When his sacred thread ceremony was being performed, the sun god himself uttered the savitri mantra. Brihaspati gave him the sacred thread and Kashyapa gave him the girdle. 1022 The earth gave him black antelope skin. Soma, the lord of trees, gave him a staff. His mother covered him with a piece of cloth and the firmament gave the lord of the universe an umbrella. The source of the Vedas 1023 gave him a water pot. The saptarshis gave him kusha grass. O great king! Sarasvati gave the one whose atman is without decay a string of aksha beads. 1024 When the sacred thread investiture was over, the king of the yakshas 1025 gave him a vessel for begging alms. Bhagavati Uma Ambika herself gave him the first alms. The assembly was full of large numbers of brahmana rishis. However, the revered dwarf was so suffused with the radiance of the brahman that his resplendence surpassed all of them. The brahmana properly placed kusha grass and kindling and ignited a fire, offering oblations into it.

‘He heard that Bali was performing a wonderful horse sacrifice, undertaken by those of the Bhrigu lineage. Accumulating the essence of the entire universe within himself, he went there, and because of the great burden, the earth trembled at each of his steps. In the place known as Bhrigu-kachchha, 1026 on the northern banks of the Narmada, the officiating priests of the Bhrigu lineage were undertaking this excellent sacrifice. From a distance, they saw him arrive, like the rising sun. O king! Vamana’s energy robbed the officiating priests, the assistant priests and the one performing the sacrifice 1027 of their radiance. They asked each other whether the sun god, the fire god or Sanatkumara had come to witness the sacrifice. While those of the Bhrigu lineage and their disciples were debating with each other in many ways, the illustrious vamana entered the arena of the horse sacrifice, holding the umbrella, the staff and the water pot filled with water. His girdle was made out of munja grass. He wore a sacred thread and an upper garment made out of black antelope skin. His hair was matted. Hari had used his maya to assume the form of the brahmana vamana. When he entered, his energy robbed the resplendence of the Bhrigus, their disciples and the sacrificial fires. On seeing him, they stood up and welcomed him. The one performing the sacrifice was delighted to see his pleasant and charming form and limbs. He himself offered him a seat. Bali welcomed and worshipped the illustrious one, washing the feet of the one whose form is pleasant to those who have freed themselves of attachment. The water that had been used to wash the feet was extremely auspicious and was capable of washing away the sins of people. Knowing about dharma, he placed the water on his head. This is the water Girisha, the god of the gods with the moon on his crest, holds on his head with supreme devotion. Bali said, “Welcome. I bow down to you. O brahmana! What can we do for you? O noble one! I think that your form directly holds the austerities of the brahmana rishis. Today, our ancestors have been satisfied. Today, our lineage has been purified. Since you have come to our home, today, the sacrifice has been properly performed. Today, following the proper rites, excellent oblations have been offered into the fire. O son of a brahmana! Your feet have purified this land and people. The water has destroyed and cleansed. Your tiny feet have sanctified everything. O dwarf! You can take from me whatever you wish for, whatever is your objective. O son of a brahmana! Without thinking about it, I will give you land, gold, an abode with excellent qualities, tasty food, drinks, the daughter of a brahmana, prosperous villages, horses, elephants or chariots. O best among those who are worshipped! Accept them.”’Chapter 8(19)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘These words of Virochana’s son were full of dharma and extremely true. Hearing them, the illustrious one was delighted. He honoured them and spoke.

‘The illustrious one said, “O lord of men! These words of yours are extremely true and worthy of your lineage. They are full of dharma and bring fame. In this world, those of the Bhrigu lineage tell you what to do. For the next world, your yardstick is the serene elder of your lineage, your grandfather. 1028 In this lineage, there has never been a man who is miserly or without spirit. There is no one who has not given to brahmanas. Nor has there been a person who having promised, has gone back on his word. O king! In the tirtha of the battlefield, there was never an inferior person who refused to grant a duel to those who wished for it. Your lineage is unblemished in its fame. Like the moon, Prahlada rises in the sky. Hiranyaksha was born here. Alone, he roamed the earth on his attempt to conquer, with the club as his weapon. However, he could not find a valiant warrior who could counter him. When he arrived to deliver the earth, Vishnu defeated him with a great deal of difficulty. Repeatedly remembering his great valour, he 1029 did not take himself to have been victorious. In earlier times, hearing that his brother had been killed, Hiranyakashipu angrily went to Hari’s abode, wishing to slay his brother’s killer. Vishnu, supreme among those who know about maya, saw him arrive with the trident in his hand, resembling Death. Knowing about the appropriate time, he thought. ‘Like death follows those with life, he will go wherever I go. Therefore, I will enter the heart of a person who only looks outside.’ O Indra among the asuras! Having determined this, he entered the body of his enemy who was advancing towards him. Assuming a subtle form and undetected, anxious in his mind, he entered through the nostrils when he was breathing. 1030 The valiant one searched everywhere, but could not see Vishnu. He searched Vishnu’s residence, but it was empty. He searched the earth, the firmament, the directions, the sky, the caves and the oceans. Unable to see him, he roared in rage. He said, ‘I have searched the entire universe, but cannot see him. My brother’s killer must certainly have gone to the place from where no man returns.’ 1031 In this way, an embodied being is bound by enmity right up to the time of death. Because of the power of ignorance, rage and ego are enhanced. Your father was Prahlada’s son. He knew this and was devoted to brahmanas. Though he knew that it was the gods who had come to him in the disguise of brahmanas and asked, he gave them his own lifespan. You have also followed the dharma that householders resort to, by brahmanas, by your ancestors and by other brave ones whose fame is extensive. You are foremost among those who can grant boons and, in truth, are capable of bestowing the entire earth. O Indra among daityas! However, I only ask for that much of land that can be measured out in three of my strides. O king! O generous one! From someone who is the lord of the universe, I do not wish for anything else. If a learned person only accepts as much as is required by him, he does not contract any sin.”

‘Bali replied, “O son of a brahmana! Wonderful. Your words are revered by the aged. You are a child and your intelligence is like that of a child. You do not know what is good for your own self. I am the lord of the worlds. You have pleased me with your words. I can give you an entire dvipa. However, you have only asked for as much of land as can be covered in three of your strides. A person who approaches me does not deserve to go to anyone else thereafter. O dwarf brahmana! Therefore, desire as much of land as will make it possible for you to ensure your subsistence.”

‘The illustrious one said, “O king! If a person has not conquered his senses, all the desired objects in the three worlds are incapable of satisfying him. If a person is not satisfied with as much of land as can be covered in three strides, he will not be satisfied with a dvipa. Even if I possessed it, with its nine varshas, I would still wish for all seven dvipas. We have heard that kings like Vena’s son 1032 and Gaya were the lords of seven dvipas. Despite this, there was no end to their thirst for other objects of desire. A person who is satisfied with whatever that comes to him is happy. A person who has not conquered himself is not satisfied, even if he obtains the three worlds. Discontentment about artha and kama is the reason people are tied to samsara. It is said that a person who is content with whatever that comes to him is destined for liberation. The energy of a brahmana who is satisfied with whatever that comes to him is enhanced. However, like water poured into a fire, it diminishes because of discontentment. O one who is foremost among those who grant boons! Therefore, I only wish for as much as can be covered in three of my strides. This will bring me success and I will obtain all the wealth that I require.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Addressed in this way, he laughed and said, “Fine. Take what you want.” To give vamana the required land, he picked up a vessel full of water. 1033 The lord of the asuras was ready to give Vishnu the land. However, Ushanas, supreme among learned ones, knew what Vishnu desired. He spoke to his disciple. Shukracharya said, “O Virochana’s son! This is the illustrious and undecaying Vishnu himself. To accomplish the purpose of the gods, he has been born through Kashyapa and Aditi. You do not know the calamity you have brought on yourself by giving him a pledge. I do not think this is good for the daityas. A great disaster has arisen. This is Hari, using his maya to appear as a human. He will take away your position, opulence, prosperity, energy, fame and learning and confer it on Shakra. Assuming his universal form, he will cover the three worlds in his three strides. O foolish one! Why did you act in this way? You have given everything to Vishnu. The lord will cover the earth in one stride and heaven in the second. He will cover the firmament with his gigantic body. Where will be the space for the third step? Having promised to give it to him, I think that you will remain in hell. You have promised something that you are incapable of fulfilling. Charity that causes a danger to one’s means of subsistence is not praised. In this world, charity, sacrifices, austerities and deeds must be undertaken by those who possess a means of subsistence. A person who divides his wealth into five parts, for dharma, for fame, for artha, for kama and for his own relatives, rejoices in this world and in the next. O supreme among asuras! In this connection, there is a chant from the sacred texts. Hear it from me. ‘Something that is preceded by “Oum” is true and something that is not preceded by it is false.’ 1034 It is chanted that one should know truth as the flower and the fruit of a tree formed by the body. 1035 It exists as long as the body is alive. However, if one’s root does not exist, everything is false. A tree that is uprooted soon dries up and ceases to exist. But if there is a doubt about the body drying up, any notion of falsehood is instantly destroyed. Without the syllable, anything that is said is incomplete and a man is no longer separated from what he promised. If one desires one’s own welfare, it is enough that one gives everything to a mendicant only after pronouncing this syllable. Therefore, what you said was incomplete and your words will not be rendered false. It is said that a person who actually utters a falsehood performs a wicked deed and is as good as dead, even if he is breathing. Nor are false statements condemned when they are made for the sake of women, in jest, at the time of marriages, for the sake of subsistence, when there is a threat to life, for the sake of cattle and brahmanas, and when there is the threat of violence.’”’Chapter 8(20)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The preceptor of the lineage, addressed Bali, the master of the household, in this way. He was silent for a while. Then after thinking about it, he addressed his preceptor in the following words.

‘Bali said, “O illustrious one! What you have said about dharma is true. A householder must never cause obstructions towards artha, kama, fame and means of subsistence. However, because of my love for riches, how can I refuse a brahmana? I have pledged that I will give. I am descended from Prahlada, I am not a deceiver. The earth has said, ‘There is nothing worse than adharma. I think that I am capable of bearing all burdens, except the worst among liars.’ I am not scared of hell, lack of riches, submergence in an ocean of grief, displacement from my position or death as much as I am of cheating a brahmana. Everything, wealth and other things, is separated from a person who leaves for the next world. If a brahmana is satisfied from giving that up, what is wrong with that? Virtuous people like Dadhichi, Shibi 1036 and others have given up their own lives, so very difficult to give up, for the benefit of creatures. Why should one bother about the earth and other things? O brahmana! The Indras among the daityas did not retreat from the field of battle. They enjoyed the worlds, until they were taken away by time. However, their fame on earth remained. O brahmana rishi! Those who follow such conduct and lay down their lives in the field of battle are easy to find. However, when a worthy recipient arrives, it is not that easy to find those who faithfully give up their riches. A spirited and compassionate person becomes better when he satisfies the wishes of a supplicant, even if that leads to great hardship for himself. That is especially true of those like you, who know about the brahman. Therefore, I will give the dwarf brahmana what he wants. O sage! Those like you are accomplished in your knowledge about respectfully performing yajnas and kratus and the associated rituals. Therefore, whether this is Vishnu, the bestower of boons, or whether this is an enemy, I will give him the land that he desires. Even if the enemy follows adharma and binds down an innocent person like me, because he is scared and has assumed the form of a brahmana, I will not cause him any violence. If this is Uttamashloka, he will not give up his fame. He will kill me in battle and seize this, or will be slain by me and will lie down.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘The spirited disciple did not waver from the truth and ignored the command. At this, goaded by destiny, the preceptor cursed him. “Regarding yourself as learned, you are convinced. You are insolent and have shown us disrespect by disregarding my command. Therefore, you will soon be dislodged from your prosperity.” Despite being cursed by his own preceptor, he did not deviate from his great pledge. Having touched water first, he worshipped vamana and gave it to him. At that time, his wife, Vindhyabali, came there, wearing a necklace of pearls. For washing the feet, she brought a golden pot filled with water. Delighted, the performer of the sacrifice himself washed the handsome feet. That water was capable of purifying the universe and he sprinkled it on his head. All the large number of gods in heaven, the gandharvas, the vidyadharas, the Siddhas and the charanas praised the uprightness of the Indra among the asuras and happily showered down flowers on him. Thousands of drums were repeatedly sounded. The gandharvas, kimpurushas and kinnaras sang. “This spirited one has performed an extremely difficult act. Despite knowing, he has given away the three worlds to the enemy.” At this, Hari Ananta, with the three gunas in him, wonderfully expanded that vamana form, so that it covered the earth, the sky, the directions, heaven, caves, the oceans, inferior species, humans, gods, rishis and everything else that existed. With the officiating priests, preceptors and everyone present at the assembly, Bali saw the great potency of this body. The universe and the three gunas were in him. All the attributes were in him. The elements, the senses, the objects of the senses, the mind and the jivatmans were in him. The one whose army was like that of Indra’s 1037 saw rasatala and the nether regions on the soles of Purusha’s feet, the earth on his feet, the mountains on his calves, the birds on his knees and all the different kinds of wind on his thighs. The universe was in his form. He saw the two sandhyas in the lord’s garments, the Prajapatis in his genital organs, he and the other foremost ones in his hips, the sky in his navel, the seven oceans on his flanks and the garland of nakshatras on Urukrama’s chest. O dear one! O king! Dharma was in Murari’s heart, divine truth and truth on his two breasts, 1038 the moon in his mind, Shri, with a lotus in her hand, on his chest, the Sama hymns and their vibrations on his throat, Indra and the other chief immortals on his arms, the directions in his ears, heaven on his head, the clouds in his hair, the breath of life in his nostrils, the sun in his eyes, the fire in his mouth, the metres in his speech, the lord of the waters in his tongue, the prohibitions and the rules in his eyebrows, day and night in his eyelashes, anger in supreme Purusha’s forehead, avarice in his lower lip, desire in his touch, water in his semen, adharma on his back, sacrifices in his strides, death in his shadow, maya in his laughter, the different types of herbs in his body hair, the rivers in his arteries, the boulders in his nails, Aja 1039 in his intelligence, the large numbers of gods and rishis in his breath and all creatures and mobile and immobile objects on his body. This is what the valiant one saw. O dear one! All the asuras saw everything in the universe in his person and were filled with lassitude. They saw the extremely energetic Sudarshana chakra and Sharnga bow, twanging like thunder. The conch Panchajanya’s blare was like that of a cloud filled with rain. There was Vishnu’s swift club, known as Koumadaki, the sword Vidyadhara, the shield Shatachandra and two inexhaustible quivers filled with arrows. Sunanda and the other foremost attendants, along with the guardians of the world, waited upon the lord. His diadem, armlets and earrings shaped like fish 1040 dazzled. Shrivatsa and the excellent gem 1041 were on his chest. He wore garments and a girdle. He wore a garland of wild flowers, with bees buzzing around it. O king! The illustrious Urukrama was resplendent. He covered Bali’s earth with one stride. He covered the sky with his body and the directions with his arms. With the second stride, he covered heaven. There was no space left for the third stride. Urukrama’s strides extended higher and higher, going beyond maharloka, janarloka and taparloka.’ 1042Chapter 8(21)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O lord among men! The one born from the lotus saw that the nails, which were like the moon, had reached Satyaloka. 1043 Enveloped by this radiance, his own abode lost its lustre. He welcomed it, as did Marichi and the other rishis, great in their vows, Sanandana and the others and yogis. The Vedas, the subsidiary Vedas, 1044 niyamas, yamas, tarka, 1045 Itihasa, 1046 the Vedangas, the Puranas, the Samhitas and other forms of knowledge that burn down the sins of karma with the fire of knowledge, fanned by the wind of yoga, worshipped him. There were also those who had gone to Svayambhu’s abode after death, a place that cannot be reached through karma. When Vishnu’s revered foot arrived, the one born from the lotus bowed down and worshipped it with water. He worshipped it devotedly and chanted its glory, since he was himself generated from the lotus in Shuchishrava’s 1047 navel. O Indra among men! Having washed Urukrama’s lotus feet, the water from the water pot became sanctified and became the heavenly river. 1048 Like the illustrious one, because it has been sanctified, it is famous. It descends, purifying the three worlds. Brahma and the guardians of the world welcomed their own lord, with their followers. They brought various offerings to the one who was extensive in his powers, but had now reduced himself. 1049 There was water for worship, garlands, divine fragrances and unguents, fragrant incense, lamps, parched grain, unbroken rice, fruits and sprouts. There were sounds of praise and pronouncements of victory, highlighting his valour and greatness. There were the sounds of dancing, singing, the playing of musical instruments, conch shells and drums. Jambavat, the king of the bears, with a speed like that of thought, used a drum to announce victory in all the directions and also announced a great festival.

‘Their own master had consecrated himself. 1050 Under the pretext of asking for as much of land as could be covered in three strides, the asuras saw that the entire earth had been taken away and turned extremely intolerant. “This one is not even a brahma-bandhu. He is Vishnu, supreme among those who use maya. Wishing to perform the task of the gods, he disguised himself in the form of a brahmana. The enemy came in the form of a dwarf brahmana and sought this. He has stolen everything from us. Because our lord was engaged in performing a sacrifice, he could not punish him. He is always devoted to the vow of the truth, especially when he has consecrated himself. Because he is compassionate towards brahmanas, he is incapable of uttering a falsehood. Therefore, our dharma is to serve our lord by killing him.” Hence, Bali’s followers, the asuras, seized their weapons. O king! Against Bali’s wishes, filled with rage, all of them rushed to slay vamana, with tridents and spears in their hands. O king! When they saw the soldiers of Diti’s descendants rush forward, Vishnu’s followers laughed and repulsed them with their own weapons. Nanda, Sunanda, Jaya, Vijaya, Prabala, Bala, Kumuda, Kumudaksha, Vishvaksena, the king of the birds, Jayanta, Shrutadeva, Pushpadanta, Satvata—all of them possessed the strength of ten thousand elephants. They slew the army of the asuras. Bali saw that his own men and companions were being killed. He remembered Kavya’s 1051 curse and angrily restrained them. “O Viprachitti! O Rahu! O Nemi! Listen to my words. Do not fight. Return. Time is not in our favour. O daityas! He is the lord of all creatures. He is the lord of happiness and unhappiness. He is the lord who is the supreme Purusha. No one can repulse him. Formerly, he was in our favour and not in favour of the residents of heaven. However, today, the illustrious one is acting in the opposite way. No one can transgress time with strength, advisers, intelligence, fortifications, mantras, herbs and modes like sama and the others. 1052 These followers of Hari have been defeated by you on many occasions. However, because of destiny, they have vanquished us now and are roaring. When destiny is pleased with us, we will defeat them. Therefore, wait for the occasion when time becomes favourable towards us.” O king! Hearing the words of their lord and oppressed by Vishnu’s attendants, the leaders of the daityas and the danavas entered rasatala.

‘Tarkshya’s son, the king of the birds, got to know what his master desired. On the day when soma juice is extracted for the sacrifice, 1053 he bound Bali down in Varuna’s noose. When the lord of the asuras was thus being taken away by Vishnu, extensive in his powers, loud lamentations were heard in heaven, the earth and all the directions. O king! He was bound down in Varuna’s noose. He had lost all his prosperity. But extensive in his fame, he was still firm in his determination. The illustrious vamana spoke to him. “O asura! You gave me as much of land as could be covered in three of my strides. I have covered the entire world with two strides. Think of a place for the third. Till the place where the sun heats with its rays, till the place where the moon and the stars provide illumination, till the place where Parjanya showers down, all that land was yours. However, with one stride, I have covered the earth, the sky and the directions. While you looked on, with the second stride, I have covered heaven and the upper worlds. Because you cannot give what you pledged, you must reside in hell. Therefore, with your preceptor’s sanction, go and enter hell. For someone who has fallen into the nether regions, heaven is far away and all his wishes amount to nothing. But this is what happens to someone who does not give a supplicant what he has pledged. I have been cheated. Because of your pride and insolence, you promised to give me. As a fruit of that deceit, you will enjoy hell for some years.”’Chapter 8(22)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! The asura Bali was thus deceived by the illustrious one. Though he had suffered, his spirit was not diminished. Without being agitated, he replied in the following words. Bali said, “O Uttamashloka! O noble divinity! You said that you think my words have been rendered false. However, I will act so that you are not deceived. Place your third stride on my head. I am not frightened of hell, being dislodged from my position, being bound in a noose, suffering from something that is difficult to counter, lack of riches or punishment inflicted by you. However, I become extremely anxious if I am called ignoble. I think that punishment imposed by the most worthy of persons should be praised more than punishment inflicted by a mother, a father, a brother or a well-wisher. Indeed, indirectly, you have been the best of preceptors for us asuras. Many of us were blind because of our insolence and deviated. You have given us insight. Many among those who are other than gods 1054 were bound firm in enmity towards you. But it is said that they obtained a success that single-minded yogis aspire for. You are extensive in your deeds and I have been imprisoned by you, bound down in Varuna’s fetters. But I am not ashamed or distressed because of that. My grandfather, Prahlada, is revered by your devotees and praised by the virtuous. Having discovered a supreme refuge like you, he was subjected to many kinds of hardships by his own father, who was against you. What use is this body! At the end, it is cast away. What is the use of those who are known as relatives? They are like bandits and plunder one’s riches. What is the point of a wife? She is the reason behind being born in samsara. For a mortal person, what is the point of a house? All this is a wasting of one’s lifespan. My glorious grandfather was deep in his understanding. O supreme one! Having determined this, he sought the eternal refuge of your feet, which offer fearlessness from everything. Even though you had destroyed those on his own side, he was not terrified. Though you are our enemy, destiny has conveyed me to your presence. My prosperity has forcibly been taken away from me. This life is always near death and temporary. However, because the intelligence is stupefied, a person does not comprehend this.” O best among the Kurus! While he was speaking in this way, Prahlada, loved by the illustrious one, arrived there, like the lord of the stars, when it rises.

‘The one with an army like Indra’s looked at his own grandfather’s resplendence. He stood there, with eyes that were as large as lotuses. He was tall and attired in yellow garments. His arms were long and his complexion was like that of collyrium. He was chief among those who possessed an auspicious appearance. Bali was restrained in Varuna’s noose and could no longer offer him honours, as earlier. With tears flowing from his eyes, he bowed down his head. His face was cast downwards in shame. The great-minded one 1055 saw Hari, the lord of virtuous people, seated there, served by Sunanda and his other followers. He approached and lowered his head down on the ground. He was overwhelmed with tears and the hair on his head stood up. Prahlada said, “You are the one who granted him the status of Indra and it is appropriate that you should take it away today. I think that you have granted him a great favour. You have dislodged him from the prosperity that was causing his self-delusion. Even a learned person is confounded by it. One can no longer realize the progress of the atman. Therefore, I bow down to you, the lord of the universe. O Narayana! For all the worlds, you are the witness.” O king! Prahlada stood with hands joined in salutation. In his hearing, the illustrious Hiranyagarbha 1056 addressed Madhusudana. O king! On seeing her husband bound down, his virtuous wife was distracted by fear. She approached and joined her hands in salutation before Upendra. 1057 With her face cast downwards, she spoke. 1058 Vindhyavali said, “For the sake of your own pastimes, you have created the three worlds. But there are others, evil in their intelligence, who take themselves to be owners and masters. 1059 You are the creator, preserver and destroyer and there is no one else. They have abandoned their shame and falsely speak of themselves as owners. What can they offer you?” Brahma said, “O creator of creatures! O lord of beings! O god of gods! O one who pervades the universe! Everything has been taken away from him. Free him. He should not be punished any more. He has given everything to you, earth and all the worlds, everything that he won through his deeds. His intelligence is such that without hesitation, he has given you everything, including his own self. Without any deceit, if a person gives you water for washing your feet and devotedly worships you with blades of durva grass, he enjoys himself in the most exalted of destinations. Without any hesitation, this one has given you the three worlds. How does he deserve this suffering?”

‘The illustrious one replied, “O Brahma! I show my favours to a person by taking away his riches. Because of these, a person becomes insolent and proud and shows disrespect to the worlds and to me. Because of his own deeds, a jivatman roams around in samsara. Not independent, he goes through births in many different kinds of species. It is only rarely that he is born as a human being. If a person does not possess birth, deeds, youth, beauty, learning, prosperity, riches and pride, that is because of my favours. A person who is devoted to me should not be confused by pride, insolence and birth and various other things that cause these. All these are impediments in the way of what is beneficial. This one is foremost among the danavas and the daityas and has extended his fame. He has also been able to defeat the invincible maya. That is the reason he is not deluded in the midst of this hardship. His wealth has diminished. He has been dislodged from his position. He has been assailed and bound down by the enemy. He has been abandoned by his relatives. He has experienced pain. He has been abused and cursed by his preceptor. But, excellent in his vows, he has not wavered from the truth. Speaking about dharma, I deceived him. However, truthful in speech, he did not abandon it. He has therefore obtained a state that even the immortals find extremely difficult to get. With me as a refuge, he will be the Indra during Savarni manvantara. Till then, he will dwell in Sutala, constructed by Vishvakarma. I cast my glance at those who live there and they do not suffer from mental and physical ailments, exhaustion, laziness, defeat and other such symptoms. O great king! O one with an army like Indra’s! Go there. May you be fortunate. Sutala is desired even by the residents of heaven. Surround yourself with your relatives. Even the lords of the worlds will not be able to vanquish you, not to speak of others. My chakra will destroy all daityas who transgress your commands. I will protect you in every way, with your followers and your possessions. O brave one! I will always be there and you will be able to see me. When you associate with danavas and daityas, if there are any asura sentiments in you, or any anxiety because of that, those will instantly be destroyed when you see me.”’Chapter 8(23)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The great person, revered by all virtuous people, was thus addressed by the ancient Purusha. He joined his hands in salutation, his voice choked and his eyes were full of tears. His words faltering because of his devotion, he said the following. Bali said, “Even an effort of bowing down to you is wonderful. There are those who control themselves and bow down to you in the proper way. However, I have obtained favours that the guardians of the world and the immortals have not obtained earlier. In addition, this has been bestowed on an evil asura like me.” Having said this, he bowed down to Hari, Brahma and Bhava. Freed from the bondage, Bali happily entered Sutala with the asuras. The illustrious one satisfied Aditi and handed over heaven to Indra, who ruled the entire universe according to his wishes. Prahlada heard how his grandson and descendant, Bali, had been freed and had obtained the favours. Filled with devotion, Prahlada said, “Virinchi, Shri or Sharva 1060 have never obtained such a favour, not to speak of others. You have become the protector of the fortresses of the asuras. Your feet are worshipped by all those who are worshipped in the world. O one who grants refuge! Your lotus feet are served by Brahma and the others and they obtain your benedictions. We are wicked in conduct and belong to a deceitful species. Because of your compassionate glances, we have obtained this status. Your deeds are wonderful. Your yoga maya is infinite. You are accomplished and, in your pastimes, have created the worlds. You are in all atmans and are impartial towards everyone. Though you love your devotees, your nature is not partial. Your nature is like that of a tree that grants all the objects of desire.” The illustrious one replied, “O child! O Prahlada! May you be fortunate. Go to your abode in Sutala. Find delight and happiness with your own grandson and relatives. You will always see me stationed there, with a club in my hand. The great bliss of seeing me will destroy all the bonds of karma.” O king! With his hands joined in salutation, Prahlada, unblemished in his wisdom, agreed and accepted the illustrious one’s command on his head, along with Bali. The lord of all the armies of the asuras 1061 circumambulated the original being. Bowing down and taking his permission, he entered that giant hole.

‘O king! Ushanas was nearby, seated amidst the officiating priests and the assistant priests who knew about the brahman. Hari Narayana spoke to him. “O brahmana! Please describe the error in the rites undertaken by your disciple, the performer of the sacrifice. If there are any transgressions in the rites, the moment a brahmana looks at them, they are rectified.” Shukra replied, “How can there be a transgression in the rites when you are the lord of the rites? You are the lord of sacrifices. You represent the sacrifice, when you are worshipped with proper sentiments. There may have been gaps in mantras, tantras, the time, the place and the objects used as oblations. However, as soon as your name is repeatedly chanted, all those gaps are rectified. O lord! Nevertheless, since you have said it, I must act in accordance with your instruction. Supreme benefit accrues to a person who follows your commands.” Having honoured Hari’s command, the illustrious Ushanas, along with the other brahmana rishis, rectified the gaps that had been left in Bali’s sacrifice. O king! In this way, as vamana, Hari begged the earth from Bali. He gave his brother, the great Indra, heaven, which had been taken away from him by the enemy. The lord vamana did this for the welfare of all creatures and to please Brahma, the lord of Prajapatis, the gods, rishis, ancestors, lords of the earth, 1062 Daksha, Bhrigu, Angiras, Kumara, Bhava, Kashyapa, Aditi, the worlds and the guardians of the worlds. O king! Upendra was thought of as the lord of the Vedas, all the gods, dharma, fame, prosperity, everything auspicious, the vows, kalpas, heaven, emancipation and every other purpose. All the creatures were extremely delighted at this. With Brahma’s permission, Indra and the gods, accompanied by the guardians of the world, placed vamana at their head. On a celestial vehicle, they conveyed him to heaven. Protected by Upendra’s arms, Indra obtained the three worlds. He was filled with supreme prosperity and, free of his fear, rejoiced. O king! Brahma, Sharva, Kumara, Bhrigu and the other sages, the ancestors, all the creatures, the Siddhas and those who were on vimanas chanted about and praised Vishnu’s extremely great and extremely wonderful deed, along with Aditi. They then went to their respective abodes. O descendant of the Kuru lineage! I have described everything to you about Urukrama’s conduct. Those who hear this are freed from all sin. It is impossible to recount a full measure of Urukrama’s glory, any more than a mortal person can count the number of particles of dust on earth. “Has such a person been born, or will he be born in the future?” In a mantra, a rishi asked this about Purusha. 1063 If a person hears about this extraordinary deed of Hari, the god of the gods, and about his conduct as an avatara, he goes to the supreme destination. When this is recounted when rites are performed for gods, ancestors or men, the learned say that the rite has been performed well.’Chapter 8(24)

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! I wish to hear the account of the first avatara of Hari, the performer of wonderful deeds. That is when he used his maya to assume the form of a fish. The form of a fish is condemned by the world. What is the reason why he assumed this? It is said to be contemptible and represents tamas by nature. Why did the lord do this? O illustrious one! You should tell us everything, exactly as it happened. Uttamashloka’s conduct brings happiness to all the worlds.’

Suta said, ‘Vishnurata asked Badarayana’s illustrious son this and he spoke about Vishnu’s conduct and about why he had assumed the form of a fish.’

Shuka replied, ‘For the sake of protecting cattle, brahmanas, the gods, the virtuous and the metres and for the sake of dharma and artha, the lord assumed this form. Like the air, the lord moves among superior and inferior creatures. He is nirguna and is not affected by the gunas, even if he adopts a superior or inferior form. O king! At the end of the last kalpa, at the end of Brahma’s day, there was a periodic destruction. The earth and other worlds were inundated by the ocean. The powerful creator succumbed to time and looked for a place to sleep. At that time, Hayagriva emerged from his mouth and coming close to him, stole the Vedas. The illustrious lord Hari got to know what Hayagriva, Indra among danavas, was trying to do. He assumed the form of a small and shiny fish. 1064 At that time, there was a great royal sage named Satyavrata. He was devoted to Narayana and tormented himself through austerities, surviving on water. He was Vivasvat’s son and in this great kalpa, Hari made him the Manu. He is known by the name of Shraddhadeva. Once, in the Kritamala river, 1065 he was performing water rites and offering oblations of water. The shaphari fish appeared in the water in the cup of his hands. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The lord of Dravida offered oblations along with the shaphari that was in the cup of his hands and released it in the waters of the river. In piteous tones, the fish spoke to that extremely compassionate king. “O one who is kind towards the distressed! I am miserable. There are aquatic creatures who kill those who belong to their own species. O king! I am terrified. Why are you releasing me into the river’s waters?” He did not know who it was who had assumed the form of the fish. To show it his favours, he happily made up his mind to save the shaphari. The lord of the earth heard its piteous words. Compassionate, he brought it to his hermitage and placed it in a pot filled with water. Within one night, it had grown inside that kamandalu. Without any space to move, it spoke to the lord of the earth. “It is difficult to live inside the kamandalu. I do not like this. Think of an extremely large body of water, where I can live happily.” He took it from there and flung it inside a well filled with water. Within a muhurta, it increased to a length of three cubits. “O king! This body of water is not sufficient for me to live happily. I have sought refuge with you. Find a larger residence for me.” O king! The king picked it up and flung it into a pond. Covering that entire expanse, it grew into a large fish. “O king! I am an aquatic creature and I am not at ease in this water. It is better to save me by placing me in a lake with unlimited water.” Thus addressed, he took the fish to a lake with unlimited supply of water. When each reservoir of water proved to be limited, 1066 he flung the fish into the ocean. As it was being flung there, it said, “O brave one! There are makaras and other creatures there. They are extremely strong and will eat me up. You should not throw me into this.” Confounded by these words, he asked, “Who are you? Who has adopted this form of a fish to confound me? We have never seen, or heard of, such kinds of powers in aquatic creatures. You have covered a lake that extends for one hundred yojanas in a single day. O supreme being! I bow down to you. You are the lord of creation, preservation and destruction. O lord! You are foremost among those whom devotees approach. You are the destination of the atman. All your pastimes and avataras are for the sake of the welfare of creatures. I wish to know the reason why you have assumed this form. O lotus-eyed one! Worshipping your feet cannot be futile. You are the beloved atman and a well-wisher towards everyone. Virtuous ones like us, who still possess a sense of duality in their atmans, have been able to see you.” At the end of the yuga, the lord of the universe had assumed the form of a fish, desiring to sport in the ocean of destruction. Addressed by the king, desiring to do good to those whom he loves, he spoke to the beloved Satyavrata.

‘The illustrious one said, “O destroyer of enemies! On the seventh day from now, the three worlds, earth, heaven and the intervening space between them, will be submerged in the ocean of destruction. When the three worlds are immersed in that ocean of destruction, sent by me, a giant boat will present itself before you. Ascend that giant boat with all the plants and seeds, inferior and superior and with all kinds of living beings, surrounded by the saptarshis. In it, in that dark and undivided ocean, you will be able to roam easily, because of the radiance of the rishis. The boat will be tossed around by strong winds. But I will present myself. Use the giant serpent 1067 to tie it to my horn. O lord! As long as Brahma’s night lasts, I will roam around, dragging the boat in the deluge, with you and the rishis in it. Because of my favours, my greatness and what is spoken about as the supreme brahman, and all questions about this, will become known to your hearts.”’

Shuka continued, ‘Having instructed the king in this way, Hari vanished. He waited for the time that Hrishikesha had instructed him about. The royal sage spread darbha grass, with the blades pointing towards the east, and sat facing the north-east. Seating himself, he thought of Hari’s feet, who had assumed the form of the fish. The ocean became turbulent and flooded the ground on all sides. Giant clouds, about to shower down, were seen to increase in size. As he meditated on the illustrious one’s commands, he saw the boat arrive. With the Indras among the brahmanas, and gathering plants and herbs, he ascended it. Delighted, the sages said, “O king! Meditate on Keshava. He will save us from this catastrophe and ensure our well-being.” As the king meditated in this way, in that great ocean, a fish manifested itself. It was golden in complexion and was one million yojanas long. It was golden in complexion. As instructed by Hari earlier, he tied the boat to its horn, using the excellent serpent. Having satisfied himself in this way, he praised Madhusudana. The king said, “Since the beginning, ignorance, which is the root of samsara, efforts and affliction, has been destroyed by knowledge about the atman. You are our supreme preceptor. As you will, you can relieve us from that and bestow emancipation on us. Ignorant people are bound down by the bondage of their karma. Desiring happiness, they conceive karma, but that brings unhappiness. If the intelligence turns towards serving you, you destroy and sever the bondage that is in the heart. You are our preceptor. Your service is like a fire that purifies a lump of precious metal. A person can thereby give up the impurities in his atman and the tamas in his mind. He regains his own original complexion and undecaying form again. You are the supreme lord. You are the preceptor of all preceptors. I think that the gods, preceptors and people, individually or acting collectively, do not possess even a ten thousandth part of Purusha’s favours and powers. You are the lord and I seek refuge with you. A man without eyes asks a blind man to lead him. Like that, ignorant people seek out ignorant preceptors. Your vision is like that of the sun. You see everything. You are a witness to everything. For our own deliverance, we have sought you out as a preceptor. A person 1068 instructs people about wrong methods, whereby they are immersed in a darkness that is extremely difficult to cross. You are without decay. Through you, a person can quickly obtain the infallible knowledge with which he can obtain his own state. You are a well-wisher to all the worlds. You are the beloved lord. You are the atman. You are the preceptor. You are knowledge. You are the desired success. Nevertheless, because they are blind in their intelligence and bound to desire, people do not know you, although you are inside their hearts. You are the supreme divinity. You are the one who should be worshipped. O lord! For the sake of my awakening, I seek refuge with you. O illustrious one! Use the lamp of your words to sever everything futile, the bondage of the heart. Explain your own self to me.” The king addressed the illustrious and original being in this way. In the form of a fish, he was roaming around in that ocean of destruction. He spoke to him about the truth. In particular, he told Satyavrata, the royal sage, about the divine compilation of the Puranas, samkhya, yoga, the rites and the mysteries of the atman. Seated on the boat along with the rishis, he heard what the illustrious one said about the eternal brahman, and all his doubts about the truth of the atman were dispelled. When the deluge was over, Brahma awoke. Hari slew the asura Hayagriva and returned the Vedas to him. King Satyavrata acquired jnana and vijnana. Because of Vishnu’s favours, in this kalpa, he became Vaivasvata Manu. If a person hears the description of the great account about the royal sage Satyavrata and the one who used his maya to assume the form of the fish with the horn, the person is freed from all sins. If a man recites the account of Hari’s avatara every day, all his resolutions are successful and he goes to the supreme destination. Brahma was asleep in the water of destruction and all his powers were dormant. Diti’s son emerged and stole the sacred texts from his mouths. The cause behind everything assumed the form of a fish and killed him, explaining the brahman to Satyavrata and the others. I bow down before him.’

This ends the Eighth Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Ninth Skandha

Chapter 9(1): 42 shlokas

Chapter 9(2): 36 shlokas

Chapter 9(3): 36 shlokas

Chapter 9(4): 72 shlokas

Chapter 9(5): 27 shlokas

Chapter 9(6): 56 shlokas

Chapter 9(7): 26 shlokas

Chapter 9(8): 31 shlokas

Chapter 9(9): 49 shlokas

Chapter 9(10): 57 shlokas

Chapter 9(11): 36 shlokas

Chapter 9(12): 16 shlokas

Chapter 9(13): 27 shlokas

Chapter 9(14): 49 shlokas

Chapter 9(15): 41 shlokas

Chapter 9(16): 36 shlokas

Chapter 9(17): 17 shlokas

Chapter 9(18): 51 shlokas

Chapter 9(19): 29 shlokas

Chapter 9(20): 40 shlokas

Chapter 9(21): 36 shlokas

Chapter 9(22): 48 shlokas

Chapter 9(23): 39 shlokas

Chapter 9(24): 65 shlokasChapter 9(1)

The king said, ‘I have heard what you have said about all the manvantaras and the glorious deeds that the infinitely valorous Hari undertook in those. There was a royal sage named Satyavrata, the lord of the Dravidas. At the end of the last kalpa, by serving Purusha, he obtained knowledge. I have heard that this son of Vivasvat became a Manu. You have also said that Ikshvaku and the other foremost kings were his sons. O brahmana! O immensely fortunate one! We are always eager to hear. Please tell us about their separate lineages and the conduct of those who belonged to those lineages. Tell us everything about their sacred deeds and valour, about those who were there in the past, about those who will be there in the future and about those who are there in the present.’

Suta said, ‘In the assembly of those who knew about the brahman, King Parikshit thus asked the illustrious Shuka, who knew about supreme dharma.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘O scorcher of enemies! Hear from me the main aspects about Manu’s lineage. Even if I speak for one hundred years, I am incapable of stating it in detail. The supreme Purusha is in the atmans of all creatures, superior and inferior. At the end of the kalpa, the universe did not exist. Nor was there anything else. A golden lotus with a filament sprouted from his navel. O great king! Svayambhu, with the four faces, was generated from this. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Marichi was born from his mental powers. Kashyapa was born from Marichi. Through Daksha’s daughter, Aditi, Vivasvat was born as Kashyapa’s son. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Manu Shraddhadeva was born from Vivasvat and Samjna. Through Shraddha, 1069 Shraddhadeva, who knew about the atman, had ten sons—Ikshvaku, Nriga, Sharyati, Dishta, Dhrishta, Karusha, Narishyanta, Prishadhra, Nabhaga and the lord Kavi. Earlier, when Manu did not have any offspring, for the sake of offspring, the lord made the illustrious Vasishtha perform a sacrifice to Mitra and Varuna. Manu’s wife, Shraddha, was observing payovrata. For the sake of a daughter, she approached the hotri and bowed down before him. 1070 Asked by the advaryu, the hotri controlled himself and picked up the oblations. The brahmana offered these to the chant of vashatkara. However, because of the hotri’s transgression, a daughter named Ila resulted. 1071 On seeing her, Manu was dissatisfied in his mind and spoke to his preceptor. “O illustrious one! All of you know about the brahman. How has she been born then? Alas! This is a calamity and when a rite is being performed in the name of the brahman, this transgression should not have happened. All of you know about the brahman and are full of austerities. You have burnt down all your sins. Like the gods, your pronouncements are never false. What is the cause behind this deviation in your determination?” Hearing these words, the illustrious great-grandfather 1072 got to know about the hotri’s transgression. He spoke to Ravi’s son. 1073 “This is because the hotri committed a transgression. There has been a consequent deviation in the determination. However, using my own energy, I shall ensure that you have an excellent son.” O king! The illustrious and extremely famous one made this decision. Desiring a son, he prayed to the original Purusha so that Ila might become a man. The illustrious lord, Hari, was satisfied and granted him the desired boon. Because of that boon, Ila became Sudyumna, bull among men. O great king! Once, he was wandering around in the forest on a hunt. He was astride a horse from the Sindhu region 1074 and was surrounded by a few advisers. He seized a beautiful bow and extremely wonderful arrows and was armoured. Following a deer, the valiant one headed in a northern direction. He entered a beautiful forest on the foothills of Meru. With Uma, the illustrious Sharva was sporting himself there. Sudyumna, the slayer of enemy heroes, entered that spot. O king! He saw that he himself had become a woman and his horse had become a mare. All his followers also saw that their genders had got changed. They were dejected in their minds and glanced at each other.’

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! How did that region come to possess such qualities and who brought this about? Please answer this question. We have a great curiosity.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘Once, the rishis, excellent in their vows, went there to see Girisha. They arrived there, illuminating all the directions with their radiance. The goddess Ambika was nude then and was extremely ashamed to see them. She arose from her husband’s lap and quickly covered herself with her lower garment. On seeing that the two of them were engaged in sexual pleasures, the rishis withdrew and went to the hermitage of Nara and Narayana. Desiring to bring pleasure to his beloved, the illustrious one spoke to his beloved. “Anyone who enters this place will become a woman.” Since that time, every man has avoided that forest. However, followed by her advisers, she 1075 roamed around, from that forest to another forest. The illustrious Budha saw that excellent woman roaming around near his hermitage, surrounded by women, and was smitten by desire. The one with the excellent eyebrows also wanted to have the son of King Soma as her husband. Through her, he gave birth to a son named Pururava. O king! We have heard that having become a woman, Manu’s son, Sudyumna, remembered Vasishtha, the preceptor of their lineage. He saw her in that difficult state and was filled with great compassion. Desiring that Sudyumna should become a man again, he worshipped Shankara. O lord of the earth! Satisfied with the rishi, the illustrious one wanted to give him pleasure, but he did not wish to render his own words false. He said, “Sudyumna, who has been descended from your gotra, will be a man for one month and a woman for another month. In this way, as he wills, let him protect the earth.” Through this means and through his preceptor’s favours, he fulfilled his desire of becoming a man. He ruled the world, though the subjects did not like the idea. O king! He had three sons, Utkala, Gaya and Vimala. They were devoted to dharma and became kinds of dakshinapatha. 1076 When he aged, the lord who was the king of Pratishthana 1077 left for the forest, handing over the earth to his son, Pururava.’Chapter 9(2)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘When his son Sudyumna left in this way, Vaivasvata Manu 1078 desired sons. On the banks of the Yamuna, he tormented himself through austerities for one hundred years. For the sake of offspring, he worshipped the divinity, lord Hari, and obtained ten sons who were just like him. Ikshvaku was the eldest. His preceptor asked Manu’s son, Prishadhra, to look after the cattle. Thus, he would spend the night in the vow of virasana, 1079 tending to the cattle. Once, in the night, when it was raining, a tiger entered the pen meant for cattle. The cows that were asleep were terrified and it got them running around here and there in the area. The powerful one 1080 seized a cow and, afflicted by fear, it started to shriek. Hearing the scream, Prishadhra followed the sound. When the stars were covered by clouds, in the night, he quickly seized his sword. In his ignorance, taking the cow’s head to be that of the tiger’s, he severed it. However, the tiger’s ear was also lopped off by the sharp sword. It fled in great fear, shedding drops of blood along the path. Prishadhra, the slayer of enemy heroes, thought that he had killed the tiger. However, when the night was over, he saw that he had killed the cow and was miserable. Although he had commited the crime innocently, the preceptor of the lineage 1081 cursed him. “Because of this sin, you won’t be reborn as a kshatra-bandhu, but as a shudra.” When he was cursed by his preceptor in this way, he accepted it, with his hands joined in salutation. The brave one adopted the vow of holding up his seed, so loved by sages. With all his soul, he was devoted to the illustrious one who is in all atmans and is supreme and unblemished. He was full of single-minded faith towards him. He was impartial and a friend towards all creatures. He was free of attachment and tranquil in his atman. He was restrained in vision and did not accept anything from anyone. He sustained himself on the basis of whatever came to him, of its own accord. He fixed his atman on the atman. 1082 He was controlled and content in his knowledge. Assuming the form of a person who was blind, deaf and dumb, he roamed around on earth. Conducting himself in this way, he went to a forest and saw that a forest conflagration was raging. The sage took this as an opportunity to burn himself up and obtained the supreme brahman. The youngest, Kavi, was indifferent towards material objects. He gave up the kingdom, and with his relatives, retired to the forest. He immersed his mind in the self-luminiscent Purusha. Though he had still not attained youth, he obtained the supreme.

‘From Karusha, Manu’s son, were born the Karusha kshatriyas. They were devoted to brahmanas and dharma and protected uttarapatha. 1083 The Dhrishtas were born from Dhrishta. Though they were born as kshatriyas, they became brahmanas on earth. Sumati was born in Nriga’s lineage. Sumati’s son was Bhutajyoti and Bhutajyoti’s son was Vasu. Vasu’s son was Pratika and Pratika’s son was Oghavan. Oghavan was the father of Oghavat and a daughter named Oghavati, who was married to Sudarshana. Narishyanta’s son was Chitrasena and Chitrasena had a son named Riksha. Riksha’s son was Midhvan, Midhvan’s son was Kurcha and Kurcha’s son was Indrasena. Indrasena’s son was Vitihotra and Vitihotra’s son was Satyashrava. Satyashrava’s son was Urushrava and Urushrava’s son was Devadatta. Devadatta’s son was Agniveshya, who was none other than the illustrious Agni himself. This great rishi was also famous as Kanina and Jatukarnya. O king! The brahmana lineage known as Agniveshyana was descended from Agniveshya. I have spoken about Narishyanta’s descendants. Now hear about Dishta’s lineage. Nabhaga was Dishta’s son. However, because he followed a different kind of conduct, he became a vaishya. His son was Bhalandana and Bhalandana’s son was Vatsapriti. Vatsapriti’s son was Pramshu and Pramshu’s son was known as Pramati. Pramati’s son was Khanitra, Khanitra’s son was Chakshusha and Chakshusha’s son was Vivimshati. Vivimshati’s son was Rambha and Rambha’s son was Khaninetra, devoted to dharma. O great king! O king! Karandhama was Khaninetra’s son. Karandhama’s son was Avikshit and Avikshit’s son was Marutta, who became an emperor. 1084 The great yogi, Samvarta, the son of Angiras made him undertake a sacrifice. No one else has ever undertaken a sacrifice like that of Marutta. Every object was made out of gold. Everything was beautiful. Having drunk a lot of soma, Indra was intoxicated. The brahmanas were satisfied with dakshina. Marutta offered food to all the Vishvadevas who were part of the assembly. Marutta’s son was Dama and Dama’s son was Rajyavardhana. His son was Sudhriti and Nara was born as Sudhriti’s son. Nara’s son was Kevala, Kevala’s son was Bandhuman and Banduman’s son was Vegavan. Bandhu was Vegavan’s son and Bandhu’s son was King Trinabindu. As a store of qualities, he deserved to be worshipped. Therefore, the divine apsara, Alambusha, served him and gave birth to sons. She also had Ilavila as a daughter. Through her, Vishrava had Dhanada 1085 as a son. From his father, the supreme rishi who was the lord of yoga, he 1086 obtained knowledge. His 1087 sons were Vishala, Shunyabandhu and Dhumraketu. King Vishala set up the lineage of Vishala and constructed the city of Vaishali. His 1088 son was Hemachandra and Hemachandra’s son was Dhumraksha. Dhumraksha’s son was Samyama and Samyama’s sons were Krishashva and Devaja. Somadatta was Krishashva’s son. He was a king who performed horse sacrifices and worshipped the foremost Purusha, the lord of yoga, obtaining the supreme destination. Somadatta’s son was Sumati and Sumati’s son was Janamejaya. The kings of Vishala were the ones who sustained Trinabindu’s fame.’Chapter 9(3)

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘King Sharyati, Manu’s son, was full of knowledge about the brahman. In a sacrifice performed by those of the Angiras lineage, he is the one who explained the rituals to be followed on the second day of the sacrifice. He had a lotus-eyed daughter named Sukanya. Having gone to the forest with her, he went to Chyavana’s hermitage. Surrounded by her friends, she searched amongst the trees in the forest. In a termite hill, she saw two holes that gleamed like fireflies. Goaded by destiny, the maiden poked those shining holes with a thorn. When she pierced them in her ignorance, blood flowed out. 1089 Immediately, all the soldiers could no longer pass urine or excrement. On seeing that his men were in this state, the royal sage was surprised. He asked, “Has anyone among you caused any harm to the one from Bhrigu’s lineage? It is evident that someone must have defiled his hermitage.” Sukanya was scared and told her father, “I have done something. There were two shining objects. In my ignorance, I pierced them with a thorn.” Hearing his daughter’s words, Sharyati was terrified. The sage was inside the termite hill and he tried to gently assuage him. Understanding what the sage wanted, he bestowed his daughter on him. Having been freed from his hardship in this way, he took his 1090 permission and returned to his city. Sukanya obtained Chyavana, who was extremely prone to anger, as her husband. She pleased him and understanding his wishes, always followed him, without getting distracted.

‘After some time, the two Nasatyas 1091 arrived in the hermitage. After worshipping them, he said, “O lords! Grant me young age. Though you are not entitled to drink soma at sacrifices, I will give you a pot full of soma. But grant me the youth and beauty that women desire.” Those two excellent physicians honoured the brahmana and agreed. They said, “Immerse yourself in this lake. It has been constructed by the Siddhas.” He was old and his veins were visible. His skin was shrivelled and his hair was grey. The two Ashvins seized this body and immersed it in the lake. Three handsome men arose, with forms loved by women. They wore garlands of lotuses and earrings. They were attired in excellent garments and they were identical to each other in form. They were as radiant as the sun and similar in beauty. On seeing them, the beautiful and virtuous lady could not identify her husband. She sought refuge with the two Ashvins. Satisfied with her devotion to her husband, they pointed out her husband to her. Taking leave of the rishi, they went to heaven in a vimana. Wishing to perform a sacrifice, Sharyati went to Chyavana’s hermitage. He saw his daughter, alongside a man who was as radiant as the sun. When his daughter honoured his feet, the king did not offer her blessings. Instead, he seemed to be displeased with her. “What do you want to do? Your husband is a sage who is revered by the worlds, but you have cheated him. O evil one! Because he was old and not attractive, you have abandoned him and are serving a lover you picked up along the way. You have been born in a noble and virtuous lineage! How can you harbour such intentions? You have acted in a perverse way and have defiled the lineage. You are shamelessly serving a lover. You have flung downwards the lineages of your father and your husband.” Addressed by her father in this way, the one with the beautiful smiles smiled. She said, “O father! This is your son-in-law, the descendant of the Bhrigu lineage.” She told her father everything about how he had got back his youth and beauty. He was astounded and with great affection, embraced his daughter. Chyavana made the brave one perform a soma sacrifice. The two Ashvins were not meant to drink soma. However, using his own energy, he gave them a pot of soma. Indra became filled with rage and intolerance and instantly raised his vajra, so as to kill him. But Bhargava paralysed his arm, along with the vajra. The two Ashvins were physicians and had formerly been barred from obtaining a share of the soma oblations. However, thereafter, everyone granted them a pot of soma.

‘Sharyati had three sons—Uttanabarhi, Anarta and Bhurishena. Anarta’s son was Revata. In the middle of the ocean, he built the city of Kushasthali. O destroyer of enemies! He resided there, enjoying the kingdoms of Anarta and similar areas. He had one hundred excellent sons and the eldest was Kakudmi. Taking his daughter Revati with him, Kakudmi went to Brahma’s world, the doors to which were open then. He wished to ask the lord about an excellent groom for his daughter. At that time, a performance by the gandharvas was going on and he did not get an opportunity. When it ended, he told the original being about his intention. Hearing this, the illustrious Brahma laughed and told him, “O king! Those you thought of have been swallowed by time a long time ago. We no longer hear about their sons, grandsons, great grandsons and gotras. Twenty-seven cycles of the four yugas have passed in the intervening period. Leave this place. O king! There is the immensely strong Baladeva, a gem among men and born as a portion of the god of the gods. Bestow this gem of a daughter on him. The illustrious one, the creator of creatures has descended on earth to reduce its burden. His account is auspicious to hear. His own portion has taken the form of an avatara.” Having been commanded in this way, the king honoured Aja and returned to his own city. He saw that his brothers had abandoned it and fled in different directions because of their fear of yakshas. 1092 He bestowed his daughter, unblemished in her limbs, on the powerful Bala. The king then went to Narayana’s hermitage of Badari, to torment himself through austerities.’Chapter 9(4)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The wise Nabhaga was the son of Nabhaga 1093 and he was the youngest among his brothers. When he returned after having been a brahmachari, he found that the ancestral property had been divided up. He asked, “O brothers! What have you left as my share?” 1094 They said, “Our father is your share.” He said, “My seniors have given you as my share,” and his father replied, “O son! Ignore what they have said. The extremely intelligent descendants of Angiras are performing a sacrifice now. O wise one! On every sixth day, they will be confused about the rites that have to be performed. Instruct those great-souled ones about the two suktas to the Vishvadevas. 1095 When the sacrifice is over and they go to heaven, they will give all the remaining riches to you. Therefore, go there and honour them.” He acted accordingly. When they went to heaven, they gave him the leftover wealth from the sacrifice. As he was about to accept this, a man, dark in complexion, arrived from the northern direction and said, “This wealth and everything that remains is mine.” Manu’s descendant replied, “Everything left from the sacrifice is mine. It has been given to me by the rishis.” “Go and ask your father,” was the response. He went and asked his father. His father replied, “On one occasion, the rishis said that everything left over from a sacrifice was Rudra’s share. Therefore, everything should be offered to that god.” Nabhaga bowed down before him and said, “O lord! Everything in this arena is indeed yours. O brahmana! This is what my father said. I am bowing down my head and seek your favours.” Rudra replied, “What your father said is dharma and you have also spoken the truth. I am the lord of mantras and I will bestow on you knowledge about the eternal brahman. Accept these riches, left over from the sacrifice. I am giving these to you.” Saying this, the illustrious Rudra, devoted to dharma, disappeared. If one controls oneself and remembers this in the morning and in the evening, he becomes wise and knowledgeable about mantras and knows the atman’s destination. Ambarisha was born from Nabhaga and he was greatly devoted to the illustrious one. Though he was cursed by a brahmana, that curse was unable to touch him.’

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! I wish to hear about the intelligent royal sage. How was he freed from a brahmana’s curse, which is so very difficult to overcome?’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘The immensely fortunate Ambarisha inherited the earth with its seven dvipas and obtained inexhaustible prosperity and unmatched wealth on earth. Though all this was extremely difficult for men to get, he thought that this was like something obtained in a dream. He knew that prosperity is destroyed and that it leads a man into darkness. He was devoted to the illustrious Vasudeva and also to his virtuous devotees. He obtained the supreme sentiment that has been stated—the universe is just like a lump of earth. His mind was on Krishna’s lotus feet. His words recounted Vaikuntha’s qualities. He used his hand to clean Hari’s temple and other such things. His ears heard Achyuta’s sacred accounts. His eyes were engaged in seeing abodes where Mukunda’s signs existed. 1096 His sense of touch was used for embracing and touching his servants. His sense of smell inhaled the fragrance of the lotus on his feet. His sense of taste was rendered to the beautiful tulasi. His feet followed kshetras where Hari’s feet had gone. His head bowed down at Hrishikesha’s feet. He did not wish to pursue desire and his desire was on this service. He was attached to people who had sought refuge with Uttamashloka. In this way, all his acts and he himself were always rendered to the supreme lord, the illustrious Adhokshaja. He behaved as if everything on earth was like his own atman. He ruled according to the instructions of brahmanas who were devoted to him. 1097 He performed extremely expensive horse sacrifices, with all the associated parts, to the lord who rules over sacrifices and offered appropriate dakshina to Vasishtha, Asita, Goutama and others. He performed these in a place known as Dhanva, where the flow of the Sarasvati was the reverse. 1098 Gods, priests, officiating priests and people were seen at these sacrifices, attired excellently and their forms were so similar that they did not seem to blink. 1099 His men did not desire heaven, so loved by the immortals. Instead, they heard and chanted about Uttamashloka’s exploits. Their own kingdom was flooded with prosperity that was difficult for the Siddhas to get. Even then, since they perceived Mukunda in their hearts, their wishes were satiated. In this way, the king combined bhakti yoga with austerities. He followed his own dharma and pleased Hari. Slowly, he abandoned all kinds of desire. Houses, wives, sons, relatives, the best of elephants, chariots, horses, objects, inexhaustible jewels, ornaments, garments and the unlimited treasury—his mind came to regard all these as unreal. Pleased with his single-minded devotion and to protect his devotee, Hari gave him his chakra, which is so fearful to rival armies. His queen was similar in good conduct. To worship Krishna, along with her, the brave one observed the vow of dvadashi 1100 for one year. On such an occasion, at the end of the vow in the month of Kartika, having fasted for three nights, he bathed in Kalindi and worshipped Hari in Madhuvana. 1101 Following the rituals, with all the required objects, he performed mahabhisheka, 1102 using garments, ornaments, fragrances, garlands and other articles of worship. His mind filled with devotion, he worshipped Keshava and also faithfully worshipped the immensely fortunate brahmanas who had attained all their objectives. He sent six hundred million cows to the houses of virtuous brahmanas. Their horns were encrusted with gold and their hooves covered with silver. They were covered with excellent garments. They were milk-yielding and young and beautiful. He gave these away, along with their calves and other equipment. 1103 He fed the foremost brahmanas excellent and tasty food. After their desires had been satisfied, he obtained their permission to complete the vow. 1104

‘At that time, the illustrious Durvasa himself arrived there as an unexpected guest. The king got up and worshipped the guest with a seat and objects of welcome. Having approached his feet, he requested him to eat. He 1105 welcomed the idea and went away to the auspicious waters of the Kalindi to perform the necessary ablutions. Having submerged himself there, he meditated on the great being. There was only half a muhurta left for the vow of dvadashi to be completed. The one who knew about dharma started to think. 1106 Faced with this conflict of dharma, he consulted the brahmanas. “There is a sin in crossing a brahmana and also in not completing the dvadashi vow. What is virtuous for me, so that adharma does not touch me? Shall I complete the vow by only drinking some water? O brahmanas! Surely, drinking water amounts to both eating and not eating.” Thus, the royal sage drank some water. He thought about Achyuta in his mind. O best among the Kuru lineage! He then waited for the brahmana to return. Having performed the necessary ablutions, Durvasa returned from the banks of the Yamuna. Though the king greeted him, using his intelligence, he could discern what he had done. His body trembled in rage and the eyebrows on his face were furrowed. He spoke to the extremely hungry one, who stood before him with his hands joined in salutation. “Alas! Behold this cruel one. He has been maddened by his prosperity. This insolent person is not actually Vishnu’s devotee and has caused a transgression of dharma. I am a guest and he offered hospitality to the guest. However, you have eaten without giving me anything. You will instantly behold the fruits of this.” Having said this, he blazed in rage and plucked out a strand from his matted hair. Using this, he created an ogress that was like the fire of destruction. With a flaming sword, she descended on him and her steps made the earth tremble. The king looked at her, but did not stir a foot. The great-souled being had already instructed his chakra to protect his devotee and this burnt down the ogress, just as a fire consumes an angry snake. Durvasa saw that his own efforts had been futile. Terrified, to save his life, he fled in different directions. Just as the flames of a blazing forest conflagration pursue a snake, the illustrious one’s chakra followed him. The sage saw that it was about to touch him. Moving swiftly, he sought to enter one of Meru’s caverns. He fled in the directions, the sky, the surface of the earth, nether regions, oceans, to the guardians of the worlds and to heaven. However, wherever he went, the extremely invincible Sudarshana could be seen. He was unable to find a protector anywhere. Terrified in his mind, he searched for a protector. He went to the creator, the divinity Virinchi and said, “O self-born one! Save me from this invincible energy.” Brahma replied, “My status and this universe is because of him. He ends his pastimes at the end of two parardhas. Time is his soul and through a mere contraction of his eyebrows, all this is destroyed. I, Bhava, Daksha, Bhrigu, the foremost lords of subjects, the lords of bhutas and the best among the lords of the gods—all of us follow his rules and seek refuge with him. For the welfare of the worlds, we uphold his rules on our heads.” Tormented by Vishnu’s chakra and refused by Virinchi, Durvasa went to Sharva, who resided on Kailasa and sought refuge with him. The illustrious Rudra replied, “O son! Against the lord, we do not possess any powers. Not to speak of others, Aja and worlds with their creatures, are mere parts of the supreme one. We are here. But at the right time, we will no longer be here like this. There are thousands like us, just being whirled around. I, Sanatkumara, the illustrious Aja, Kapila, Apantaratma, 1107 Devala, Dharma, Asuri, Marichi and other foremost lords among the Siddhas who are accomplished about the ultimate—all of us are enveloped in his maya and are unable to comprehend his maya. He is the lord of the universe and his weapon cannot be tolerated by us. Go and seek refuge with Hari. He will arrange for your welfare.” Having failed in his wish, Durvasa went to the illustrious one’s abode, known as Vaikuntha. The prosperous one resides there with Shri. He was scorched by the flames of the invincible weapon. Trembling all over his body, he fell down at his feet. He said, “O infinite Achyuta! You are the lord desired by virtuous ones. O creator of the universe! I have committed a sin. Save me. I did not know about your supreme powers. I committed a crime against someone you love. Tell me how my sin can be atoned for. If one utters your name, one is saved even from hell.” The illustrious one replied, “O brahmana! I am not independent and am completely controlled by my devotees. I am loved by those who are devoted to me and thus my heart is attached to those foremost among virtuous ones. Without those virtuous ones who are devoted to me, I do not wish for anything for myself. O brahmana! I am their supreme destination and I do not even crave for Shri, who is extremely close to me. They have given up their wives, homes, sons, relatives, lives and this supreme prosperity 1108 and have sought refuge with me. How can I be interested in abandoning them? Those virtuous ones are impartial in their vision and their hearts are bound to me. Just as a virtuous wife does to a husband, they have brought me under their control. By serving me, they have already obtained the four objectives, salokya and the others. 1109 They are completely fulfilled with this service and do not wish for anything else, not to speak of other things that are destroyed by time. The virtuous person is in my heart and I am in the heart of the virtuous person. They do not know anything other than me and other than them, there is nothing else in my mind. O brahmana! I will tell you about a means. Listen to it. You should quickly go to the person you have acted against. If energy is unleashed against a virtuous person, that brings something inauspicious to the striker. Austerities and learning are both for the welfare of brahmanas. However, if used by a person who is indisciplined, they can bring about perverse consequences. O brahmana! O fortunate one! Therefore, go to the king who is Nabhaga’s son. Ask the immensely fortunate one to forgive you. That is how there will be peace for you.”’Chapter 9(5)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Durvasa was scorched by the chakra. Having been instructed by the illustrious one, he went to Ambarisha and miserably touched his feet. When he 1110 saw that his feet was being touched, he was ashamed. Overwhelmed by great compassion, he prayed to Hari’s weapon. Ambarisha said, “You are the illustrious Agni, Surya and Soma, the lord of the stellar bodies. You are water, earth, sky, air, the objects of the senses and the senses. O Sudarshana! O one with one thousand spokes! I bow down before you. You are loved by Achyuta. O destroyer of all weapons! O lord of the earth! May the brahmana be safe. You are dharma. You are ritam. You are satyam. You are the sacrifice. You are the enjoyer of all sacrifices. You are the guardian of the worlds. You are in all atmans. You are the energy of the supreme Purusha. O one with the excellent nave. I bow down before you. You are all the ordinances of dharma. For asuras, who follow adharma in their conduct, you are like a comet. 1111 You are the protector of the three worlds. You are full of pure resplendence. You are as swift as thought. You are extraordinary in your deeds. I praise you. 1112 Your energy is full of dharma. It dispels darkness and provides illumination to the directions and to the great-souled ones. O lord of speech! Your greatness is impossible to grasp. Your form is in everything that is gross and subtle, superior and inferior. O one who cannot be vanquished! When you are released by the one without any blemish, you penetrate the armies of the daityas and the danavas. Having severed their arms, stomachs, thighs, feet and heads, you are radiant in the field of battle. O protector of the universe! O destroyer of the deceitful! You can withstand everything and have been invoked by the wielder of the club. For the sake of the brahmana and for the sake of our lineage, do what is auspicious. Show us your favours. If I have given donations, if I have performed sacrifices, if I have been engaged in my own dharma and if our lineage has looked upon brahmanas as divinities, let this brahmana be free of anxiety. If the illustrious one, who alone is the abode of all the qualities, is pleased because we look upon all creatures as our own self, let this brahmana be free of anxiety.” The king thus praised Sudarshana, Vishnu’s chakra. Because the king asked, everything became peaceful and the brahmana was no longer scorched. Durvasa was at ease, having been freed from the scorching of the flames of the weapon. He praised the king and pronounced supreme benedictions on him.

‘Durvasa said, “I have now witnessed the greatness of those who serve Ananta. O king! Though I caused you an offence, you prayed for my well-being. There is nothing that is difficult for virtuous people to accomplish or for great-souled ones to give up. After all, they have stored up the illustrious Hari, the bull among the Satvatas. A man is purified from merely hearing his name. For servants, who regard his feet as a tirtha, nothing else remains to be done. O king! I have been favoured by you. You have been extremely compassionate towards me. Turning your back on the sin that I had committed, you have protected my life.” Wishing to wait for his return, the king had not eaten. He approached his feet, pleased him, and made him eat. He ate and accepted all the hospitality and all the objects of desire that were respectfully offered. After having eaten, he respectfully asked the king to eat. “I am pleased with you. Through my intelligence, I see that you are a devotee of the illustrious one and you have shown me your favours by your sight, your touch, 1113 your conversation and your hospitality. Celestial women will repeatedly chant about this deed of yours. Those on earth will chant about this supremely sacred deed of yours.” Durvasa was extremely satisfied. Having thus praised the king, he took his leave and went to Brahma’s world, where there is no place for those who debate unnecessarily. A year passed, but he still did not return. Wishing to see the sage, the king subsisted only on water. 1114 When Durvasa departed, Ambarisha only ate extremely auspicious food that was appropriate for brahmanas. He reflected on the hardship faced by the rishi and his liberation and thought that his entire valour was because of his supreme sentiments. 1115 The king was thus endowed with many kinds of qualities. In his deeds and in his rites, he continued to be extremely devoted to Vasudeva, the paramatman and the brahman. He thought that even going to Virinchi’s world was nothing but hell. Hence, the patient Ambarisha handed over his kingdom to his sons, who were like him in conduct. With his atman in Vasudeva, he entered the forest. Focusing his mind, he destroyed the flow of gunas. This is the sacred account of Ambarisha, lord of the earth. If a person chants it, or meditates on it, he becomes a devotee of the illustrious one.’Chapter 9(6)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Ambarisha had three sons—Virupa, Ketuman and Shambhu. Virupa’s son was Prishadashva and Prishadashva’s son was Rathitara. Rathitara did not have any offspring. For the sake of offspring, he requested Angiras and through his wife, there were sons who were brahmanas in their radiance. 1116 Though they were born from a kshetra, they were known as the sons of Angiras. Despite being born from the kshetra, they were brahmanas and were foremost among Rathitara’s sons. When Manu sneezed, Ikshvaku was a son who was born through his nostrils. Among the one hundred sons of Ikshvaku, Vikukshi, Nimi and Dandaka were the eldest. O king! Among these sons of the king, twenty-five became kings on the eastern side of Aryavarta, twenty-five on the west and three in the centre. The others were kings elsewhere. On one occasion, at the time of an ashtaka shraddha, 1117 he instructed his son, “O Vikukshi! Without any delay, go and fetch some proper meat.” 1118 Agreeing, he went to the forest. He hunted animals that were appropriate for the rites. However, the valiant one was tired and hungry. Forgetting that it was meant for a purpose, he ate a hare. He brought the remainder and gave it to his father, who urged the preceptor to purify it. But he 1119 said that it was tainted and could not be used for the rite. From his preceptor, the king got to know what his son had done. Since he had violated the ordinances, he angrily banished his son from the kingdom. Through conversations with the brahmana, he 1120 got to know about what should be done. Like a yogi, he gave up his physical body and obtained the supreme. When his father departed, Vikukshi returned and ruled over the earth. He worshipped Hari and performed sacrifices to him. He was known as Shashada. 1121 His son was Puranjaya, also referred to as Indravaha. He was also known as Kakutstha. Hear how his deeds gave rise to these names. At the end of krita yuga, there was a battle between the gods and the danavas. The gods were vanquished by the daityas and accepted the valiant one as an aide on their side. Because of the words of lord Vishnu, the god of the gods and the creator of the universe, Indra agreed to be his mount and assumed the form of a giant bull. 1122 He was astride the hump and armoured. He grasped a divine bow and sharp arrows. Praised, he ascended and fought. The energy of the great-souled Purusha, Vishnu, permeated him. With the gods, he laid siege to the city of the daityas that was in the western direction. There was a tumultuous battle that made the body hair stand up. When daityas approached him in the field of battle, he used iron arrows to convey them to Yama’s abode. His fierce arrows were like the fire of destruction that comes at the end of a yuga. When these descended in front of them, the daityas were slaughtered. They gave up the battle and fled to their own homes. He conquered all the enemy’s wealth and their women, handing them over to the one with a vajra in his hand. The royal sage thus came to acquire the names mentioned earlier.

‘Puranjaya’s son was Anena and Anena’s son was Prithu. Prithu’s son was Vishvarandhi and Vishvarandhi’s son was Chandra. Chandra’s son was Yuvanashva. Yuvanashva’s son was Shabasta and he constructed the city of Shabasti. Shabasta’s son was Brihadashva and Brihadashva’s son was Kuvalayashva. To bring pleasure to Utanka, 1123 the powerful Kuvalayashva surrounded himself with twenty-one thousand of his sons and killed the asura Dhundhu. He thus became famous as Dhundhumara. With the exception of three who were left, all his sons were burnt down by the flames that emerged from Dhundhu’s mouth. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! They were Dridhashva, Kapilashva and Bhadrashva. Dridhashva’s son was Haryashva and his son was known as Nikumbha. Nikumbha’s son was Barhinashva. Barhinashva’s son was Krishashva. Krishashva’s son was Senajit. Senajit’s son was Yuvanashva. 1124 He was without any offspring and went to the forest with his one hundred wives. He was miserable and the rishis were filled with compassion for him. They controlled themselves properly and performed a sacrifice to Indra. Thirsty, the king entered the sacrificial pavilion in the night. On seeing that the brahmanas were asleep, he himself drank the water sanctified with mantras. O lord! When they woke up, they saw that there was no water in the pot. They asked, “Who has done this? Who has drunk the water meant for the birth of a son?” On learning that this had been drunk by the king, they took this to be the lord’s decree. They bowed down to the lord and exclaimed, “The strength of destiny is powerful.” In due course of time, the right side of Yuvanashva’s stomach was shattered and he gave birth to a son who would be a chakravarti. The infant started to wail grievously for milk. “Who will suckle this infant?” 1125 Indra said, “O son! Do not cry. Be suckled by me.” Saying this, he offered him his index finger. Because he was favoured by the gods and the brahmanas, his father did not die. Yuvanashva performed austerities there and obtained success. O dear one! Indra gave him the name of Trasadasyu. 1126 The bandits, Ravana and the others, were terrified and made anxious by him. Lord Mandhata, Yuvanashva’s son, became a chakravarti. Undecaying in his energy, he alone ruled over the seven dvipas. He knew about the atman and performed yajnas and kratus, with copious amounts of dakshina. He worshipped the divinity who is in all the gods and in all the atmans, the one who is beyond the senses. The objects offered, the mantras, the rituals, the sacrifices, the ones performing the sacrifice, the officiating priests, dharma, the time and the place—all these are in his atman. The spot where the sun rises up to the spot where it sets, all this was said to be the dominion of Mandhata, Yuvanashva’s son.

‘Through Shashabindu’s daughter, Bindumati, the king had the sons Purukutsa, Ambarisha 1127 and Muchukunda, the yogi. They had fifty sisters who accepted Soubhari as their husband. He was submerged in the deep waters of the Yamuna, tormenting himself through supreme austerities. At that time, he saw the king of fishes, happily engaged in the dharma of sexual intercourse. Desire was generated in the brahmana. He approached the king and sought one of his daughters. He replied, “O brahmana! Accept whichever daughter will accept you through a svayamvara.” 1128 He thought, “I am old. I am wrinkled and grey. My head shakes. I am not liked or respected by women. I will be rejected by them. Therefore, I will act so that even celestial women desire me, not to speak of the daughters of the Indra among men.” The lord decided to act in this way. 1129 The messenger ushered the sage into the inner quarters, where the maidens were. All the fifty princesses sought him out as their husband. For his sake, they forgot their mutual affection and quarrelled with each other. Their senses overwhelmed, they said, “He is just like me, not like you.” He knew many hymns and possessed the unlimited fruits of austerities. He possessed prosperity, objects and garments. He found pleasure in many houses, groves, the sparkling water of lakes and fragrant gardens. He possessed extremely expensive couches, seats, garments, ornaments, pastes and unguents for bathing, succulent food and garlands. He was always served by ornamented men and women. He was followed by birds, bees and bards. The lord of the seven dvipas was astounded to see his state of garhasthya. He cast aside the prosperity of being a universal emperor. Though he was in the midst of many kinds of joy and objects as a householder, like a fire not satisfied with drops of ghee, he 1130 was not content. On one occasion, the one who knew many kinds of hymns was seated. He saw that because of his association with the fish, he had deviated from the pursuit of the atman. “Alas! Behold my destruction. I used to be an ascetic, virtuous in conduct and vows. Inside the water, I became associated with the conduct of aquatic creatures and deviated from the brahman, sustained for a long period of time. A person who desires liberation must cast aside association with those who follow the vow of sexual intercourse. With all his soul, he must withdraw his senses from external objects. He must be alone and in solitude, immerse his mind in lord Ananta. If he wants an association, that must be with those who follow virtuous vows. I was alone, an ascetic immersed in water. However, because of association with a fish, I became fifty and procreated five thousand. 1131 In this world or in the next one, I do not see any end to desires. My intelligence has been destroyed by maya and gunas and I have become attached to artha and material objects.” For some time, he remained as a householder. He then became detached and renounced. He left for the forest, followed by his wives, who regarded their husband as a divinity. There, he tormented himself through fierce austerities. He possessed insight and knowledge about the atman in his atman. He absorbed all the fires 1132 into his atman and united himself with the paramatman. O great king! On seeing the path of adhyatma that he followed, his wives were also scorched by his sentiments and followed him, just as the flames are pacified when a fire is extinguished.’Chapter 9(7)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Mandhata’s foremost son was the famous Ambarisha. His grandfather, Yuvanashva, accepted him as his own son. Ambarisha’s son was Youvanashva and Youvanashva’s son was Harita. These 1133 are the chief ones in Mandhata’s lineage. Her brothers, the serpents, bestowed Narmada on Purukutsa. 1134 Urged by the Indra among the serpents, she took him to rasatala. There, permeated by Vishnu’s powers, he slew the gandharvas, who deserved to be killed. He received a boon from the nagas that those who remember this will be free from all fear of snakes. Purukutsa’s son was Trasadasyu. 1135 Trasadasyu’s son was Anaranya. Anaranya’s son was Haryashva. Haryashva’s son was Aruna, Aruna’s son was Tribandhana. Tribandhana’s son was Satyavrata, famous by the name of Trishanku. Because he was cursed by his preceptor, he became a chandala. 1136 Through Koushika’s energy, he went to heaven in his own physical body and can be seen there even today. 1137 The gods made him fall down, with his head hanging downwards, but the great force stopped this. 1138 Trishanku’s son was Harishchandra. Because of him, for many years, there was a clash between Vishvamitra and Vasishtha, with both adopting the forms of birds. 1139 He was distressed because he did not have any sons. On Narada’s instructions, he went to Varuna and sought his refuge. O great king! He said, “O lord! Let a son be born to me. If a brave son is born to me, I will offer him to you in a sacrifice.” Varuna agreed and a son named Rohita was born. When the son was born, he 1140 said, “O dear one! Sacrifice this son to me.” The reply was, “When an animal becomes ten days old, it is fit to be sacrificed.” When ten days passed, he came and said, “Sacrifice him.” The reply was, “When an animal grows its teeth, it is fit to be sacrificed.” When the teeth had grown, he said, “Sacrifice him now.” The reply was, “When the teeth 1141 have been shed, an animal is fit to be sacrificed.” He said, “The animal’s teeth have been shed. Sacrifice him now.” The reply was, “An animal becomes pure when its teeth have grown again.” He said, “The teeth have grown again. Sacrifice him now.” The reply was, “O king! A royal animal is pure and can be sacrificed only when the age for donning armour arrives.” In this way, he was attached to his son and his mind was overwhelmed by bonds of affection. Citing time, he continued to deceive and the god waited. Rohita got to know what his father intended to do. To save his life, he picked up a bow and left for the forest. He then got to know that Varuna had inflicted dropsy 1142 on his father. Rohita wished to return to the capital, but Indra restrained him. Shakra advised Rohita to travel the earth and frequent sacred tirthas and kshetras. He resided in the forest for one year. In the second, third, fourth and fifth years, Vritra’s slayer assumed the form of an aged brahmana, visiting him and telling him the same thing. In the sixth year, roaming around, Rohita returned to the city. Having arrived, he purchased from Ajigarta his middle son, Shunahshepha. 1143 He respectfully offered him to his father as the animal to be sacrificed. The immensely illustrious Harishchandra, extolled because of his deeds, performed a human sacrifice to Varuna and the other gods and was freed from the disease of the stomach. Vishvamitra was the hotri, Jamadagni, who had realized the atman, was the adhvaryu, Vasishtha was the brahmana and Ayasya recited the Sama hymns. Indra was satisfied and gave him a chariot that was made out of molten gold. Shunahshepha’s greatness will be described in due course. 1144 Vishvamitra was extremely happy to see that the king and his wife possessed truth, steadfastness and perseverance and conferred the ultimate objective on them. He 1145 merged his mind in earth, the earth in water, the water in fire, the fire in air, the air in space, that in ahamkara, ahamkara in Mahat and that in different aspects of jnana. 1146 Meditating, he burnt up ajnana. 1147 Casting aside all individual sentiments, he became accomplished in the bliss of nirvana. Destroying all bondage, he obtained a state that cannot be conceived and cannot be perceived.’Chapter 9(8)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Rohita’s son was Harita. Harita’s son was Champa, who constructed the city of Champapuri. 1148 Champa’s son was Sudeva and Sudeva’s son was Vijaya. Vijaya’s son was Bharuka, Bharuka’s son was Vrika and Vrika’s son was Bahuka. His enemies seized all the possessions of this king. With his wife, he entered the forest. Since he was old, he merged into the five elements 1149 and his queen wanted to immolate herself on the pyre. However, Ourva 1150 got to know that she was pregnant and restrained her. Finding this out, her co-wives fed her poison along with her food. The child was born along with the poison and was known as the immensely illustrious Sagara. 1151 Sagara was a chakravarti and his sons excavated the ocean. 1152 Obeying the words of his preceptor, 1153 he did not slay the Talajanghas, Yavanas, Shakas, Haihayas and Barbaras. Instead, he made them don terrible attire. He shaved off the heads, but some were allowed to sport beards. Some wore their hair loose, others had half their heads shaven. Some were not allowed to wear inner wear, others were not allowed to wear outer wear. Instructed by Ourva, he performed horse sacrifices to the one who is the atman of all the Vedas and all the gods. With the lord Hari in his atman, he observed yoga. Purandara stole the animal that was meant to be offered at the sacrifice. Sumati’s sons were insolent and followed the instructions of their father. 1154 Searching for the horse, they dug everywhere on earth. Near Kapila, in the north-eastern direction, they saw the horse. “This one, with his eyes closed, is the one who stole the horse. Kill him. Slay the wicked one.” Saying this, those sixty thousand approached him with raised weapons, their intelligence robbed by the great Indra. The sage opened his eyes. Having committed this great transgression, they were instantly reduced to ashes by the fire that was in their own bodies. The sage is the store of sattva. Therefore, virtuous people do not say that the princes were vanquished by the sage’s rage. How can the anger of tamas be manifested in him? He is the one who purifies the entire universe. He cannot be polluted, just as the sky cannot be tainted by the dust of earth. He is the one who propounded samkhya. For those who wish to be liberated, this is like a firm boat that ferries across the ocean that is the earth, which is so very difficult to cross and is a path that leads to death. He is a learned person immersed in the paramatman. How can he have a sense of differentiation? 1155 The prince known as Asamanjasa was Keshini’s son. His son was named Amshuman and he was engaged in ensuring his grandfather’s pleasure. Earlier, 1156 Asamanjasa had been a yogi, but had exhibited fickleness. Because of bad associates, he deviated from yoga, though he remembered his past life. His acts were condemned in this world and his deeds were disagreeable to his relatives. While playing, he hurled children into the Sarayu. He generally troubled people. Since his conduct was like this, his father forgot his affection and abandoned him. Through his powers of yoga, he showed those children 1157 and left the place. O king! The residents of Ayodhya were astounded to see all the children return and the king also lamented.

‘Urged by the king to search for the horse, Amshuman departed. He followed the path traversed by his uncles and saw the ashes and the horse. He saw the sage by the name of Kapila, Adhokshaja’s portion, seated there. He controlled his mind with great attention, joined his hands in salutation and bowed down. Amshuman said, “You are the paramatman and Aja cannot see you. Those engaged in meditation have not been able to comprehend you, even today. How can others, who have been created from his mind and body? You are not manifest before us. Those who possess bodies are influenced by the three gunas. We can only see those gunas, or only tamas. Our intelligence is confounded by your maya. Based in our bodies, we can only perceive external manifestations. You are the abode of jnana. Sanandana and the other sages have destroyed maya, gunas, differentiation and confusion and worship you. How can a confused person like me comprehend you? O serene one! You are free of maya, gunas, deeds, signs, names, forms, the real and the unreal. You have assumed a body to instruct about jnana. O ancient Purusha! I bow down before you. This world has been fashioned out of your maya. With their minds on material objects and their intelligence confounded, people wander around amidst homes and other things, desire, avarice, envy and illusion. You are in the atmans of all creatures! On seeing you today, all our firm bonds of delusion, desire, karma and the objects of the senses have been severed.” The greatness of the illustrious sage, Kapila, was chanted in this way. O king! Showing his favour to Amshuman, he used his intelligence to bless him. The illustrious one said, “O child! This is the horse, your grandfather’s sacrificial animal. Take it away. Your uncles have been burnt down and can only be saved through the waters of the Ganga.” Bowing his head down, he pleased him 1158 and circumambulated him. He took the horse to Sagara. With the sacrificial animal, the remaining part of the sacrifice was completed. Free of desire and free of bondage, he bestowed the kingdom on Amshuman. Following the path instructed by Ourva, he obtained the supreme destination.’Chapter 9(9)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Desiring to bring the Ganga down, Amshuman tormented himself through austerities. A long period of time elapsed, but he was unsuccessful. In course of time, he died. His son was Dilipa, but he too was unsuccessful. In course of time, he too died. His son was Bhagiratha and he tormented himself through extremely great austerities. The goddess showed herself to him. She said, “I am pleased. I will grant you a boon.” Thus addressed, the king humbly explained his intention to her. “O king! Who will bear my force when I descend on the surface of the earth? Otherwise, I will penetrate the surface of the earth and go down to rasatala. Besides, I don’t want to go to earth. There, men will cleanse themselves in me and leave their sins. O king! Who will cleanse me of those sins? Think about that.” Bhagiratha replied, “There are virtuous and tranquil people who have renounced. They contemplate the brahman and purify the world. Through contact with their bodies, they will take away your sins. Hari, the destroyer of sins, is in them. Rudra, whose atman is in embodied beings, will bear your force. Like the warp and woof of the thread in a piece of cloth, the universe is woven into him.” Thus addressed by the king, she said, “Satisfy the god Shiva through austerities.” O king! After a very short period of time, the lord was satisfied with him. Shiva, who ensures the welfare of all the worlds, agreed to what the king said. He attentively bore the Ganga, whose waters have been purified by Hari’s feet. The royal sage, Bhagiratha, brought the purifier of the world to the spot where the bodies of his own ancestors were lying down, having been reduced to ashes. He departed on a chariot that possessed the speed of the wind and she followed him, purifying countries. She then sprinkled Sagara’s sons, who had been burnt down. Though they had been slain by a brahmana’s staff, from the mere touch of the waters on the ashes of their bodies, Sagara’s sons went to heaven. Their scorched limbs were touched and Sagara’s sons went to heaven. What more needs to be said about those who are firm in their vows and serve the goddess faithfully? This is not extraordinary, because the heavenly river arises from Ananta’s lotus feet. Created in this way, she severs material bondage. There are blemishless sages who devotedly immerse their minds in him and give up the three gunas, which are extremely difficult to cast aside. They instantly obtain his atman.

‘Bhagiratha’s son was Shruta and he also had another son named Nabha. Nabha’s son was Sindhudvipa and Ayutayu was born as his son. Ayutayu’s son was Rituparna. He was Nala’s friend. He taught Nala how to gamble with the dice and in exchange, learnt how to tend to horses. Rituparna’s son was Sarvakama. His son was Sudasa and Sudasa’s son was the king who was Madayanti’s husband. People know him as Mitra 1159 and some refer to him as Kalmashapada. Because of Vasishtha’s curse, he became a rakshasa. And because of his own deeds, he did not have any offspring.’

The king asked, ‘Why did his preceptor curse the great-souled Soudasa? 1160 We wish to know this. If it is not a secret, tell us.’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘While roaming around on a hunt, Soudasa killed a rakshasa. However, he let his brother escape and that brother left, intent on vengeance. He thought of a means to harm the king and assumed the form of a cook in his household. When the preceptor desired to eat, he cooked and served him human flesh. When this was being served, the illustrious one easily discerned that this was not food meant to be eaten. He angrily cursed the king, “You will become a rakshasa.” But knowing that the act had been committed by a rakshasa, the period was made twelve years. However, he gathered some water in the cup of his hands and got ready to curse his preceptor. 1161 But Madayanti restrained him. Chanting a mantra, since the king saw that the directions, the sky and the entire earth was full of life, he let the water fall on his own feet. He assumed the form of a rakshasa and his feet turned black. 1162 In the forest, he saw a brahmana couple, engaged in the act of sexual intercourse. Afflicted by hunger, he seized the brahmana and his wife lamented and addressed him in words full of meaning. “You are not a rakshasa. You are a maharatha, directly born in the Ikshvaku lineage. O brave one! You are Madayanti’s husband and you should not commit an act of adharma. I desire offspring. Give my husband, the brahmana, back to me. I have not yet accomplished my purpose. O king! This human body must accomplish all the objectives of human existence. O brave one! Therefore, when it is destroyed, it is said that all the objectives have been destroyed. This brahmana is full of learning, austerities, good conduct and qualities. He wishes to worship the brahman, known as the great Purusha. He is inside the atmans of all creatures, but because of the gunas, he remains hidden in these creatures. O lord! How does this noble brahmana rishi deserve to be killed by a foremost royal sage like you? O one who knows about dharma! This will be like a son killing a father. He knows about the brahman and is innocent. It will be like killing a foetus in a womb. How can you think of killing him? That will be like killing a cow. If nevertheless you feel he deserves to be devoured, eat me first. Without him, I will be as good as dead. Without him, I do not wish to live for an instant.” She lamented like one without a protector and spoke in these piteous words. But Soudasa was deluded by his curse and ate him, like a tiger eating an animal. The brahmana lady saw that her husband 1163 was devoured by the maneater. The virtuous lady lamented about this and about her own self and angrily cursed him. “O wicked one! I was afflicted by desire and you have devoured my husband. O foolish one! I curse you that you will come about your death when you are engaged in act of sexual intercourse.” 1164 Thus, Mitrasaha 1165 was cursed by the one who wished to go where her husband had gone. She placed his bones in an ignited fire and immolating herself, obtained the destination obtained by her husband. When the twelve years were over, he got ready to indulge in an act of sexual intercourse. However, knowing about the curse pronounced by the brahmana lady, his queen restrained him. Thereafter, he held up his seed and gave up all acts of obtaining pleasure with women. Since he did not have any offspring, with his permission, Madayanti had a son through Vasishtha. She bore the embryo for seven years, but did not deliver. Thereafter, he 1166 struck her stomach with a stone and a son was born. He was thus known as Ashmaka. 1167 Mulaka was Ashmaka’s son and he was protected by women. He was therefore known as Narikavacha. When there were no kshatriyas left, Mulaka became their origin. 1168 Mulaka’s son was Dasharatha 1169 and Dasharatha’s son was Aidavida. Aidavida’s son was King Vishvasaha and Vishvasaha’s son was Khatvanga, the chakravarti. Requested by the gods, he killed invincible daityas in a battle. Getting to know that only a muhurta of his lifespan was left, he returned to his own city and concentrated his mind. “My lives, 1170 my lineage, the gods, my sons, my prosperity, the earth, the kingdom and my wives are not as dear to me as the lineage of the brahmanas. Even in my childhood, my intelligence has had no love for adharma. I do not look upon anything other than Uttamashloka as real. The gods, the lords of the three worlds, offered me the boon that I desired. But since I think about the creator of all creatures, I do not wish for any boon. The senses and intelligence of the gods are agitated. They do not know what is in their own hearts. There is the beloved and eternal atman. What will one do with other things? This maya has been fashioned by the lord. I give up attachment to the gunas, which are like a city of the gandharvas. Prakriti is in the atman of the creator of the universe and is powerful. But I will give up all these sentiments and obtain him.” Having thus made up his mind, he accepted Narayana. He abandoned all notions of ignorance and resorted to his own natural state. There is the subtle and supreme brahman there. It is not empty, though it is thought of as empty. This is the illustrious Vasudeva, whom the Satvatas chant about.’Chapter 9(10)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Khatvanga’s son was Dirghabahu. Dirghabahu’s son was Raghu, whose fame was extensive. His son was the great king Aja and Dasharatha was his son. Desired by the gods, the illustrious Hari, full of the brahman, was himself born as his sons in four portions. They are known as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. O king! Rishis who know about the truth have repeatedly heard and described the conduct of Sita’s husband. His lotus feet were so delicate that they were unable to bear the touch of his beloved’s hands. However, for the sake of his father, he abandoned the kingdom and roamed around in the forest on these feet. The dust and exhaustion along the road were mitigated by the Indra among the apes 1171 and his younger brother. 1172 When Shurpanakha was disfigured, he became angry as a result of being separated from his beloved. The ocean was terrified at the furrowing of his eyebrows and a bridge was fashioned. The deceitful were burnt down like a forest conflagration. May the Indra of Kosala protect us. At Vishvamitra’s sacrifice, there were Maricha and other roamers in the night. While Lakshmana looked on, he slew those bulls among the nairritas. 1173 There was a fierce bow that belonged to Isha 1174 and it was carried by three hundred men. In the house where Sita’s svayamvara took place, in an assembly of brave people, he seized it, like a young elephant playing with a stalk of sugar cane. O king! He strung and drew it, breaking it in the middle. He won her, who was his equal in beauty, qualities, good conduct and age. She was beautiful in her limbs and was known as Sita. However, she was actually Shri, whom he had already obtained on his chest. Returning along the way, he destroyed the pride of the lord of the Bhrigus, 1175 who had exterminated the seed of kings from the earth thrice. 1176 With his wife, he bowed his head down and accepted the command of his father, who was attached to a woman and bound by the noose of a pledge he had given. He gave up the kingdom, prosperity, those whom he loved, well-wishers and his residence and devoid of all attachment, resided in the forest. The rakshasa’s sister 1177 was impure in her intelligence and he disfigured her, slaying fourteen thousand of her invincible relatives, among whom, Khara, Trishira and Dushana were the foremost. With a great deal of difficulty and with a bow in his hand, he resided in the forest. O king! On hearing about Sita’s account, desire was ignited in the heart of the one with ten heads. On seeing the extraordinary form, 1178 he was drawn away from the hermitage and used his arrow to swiftly kill Maricha, just as the fierce one killed Kah. 1179 The daughter of the king of Videha was unprotected in the forest. Like a wolf, the inferior rakshasa abducted her. Separated from his beloved, with his brother, he wandered around, miserable in the forest. For those who are attached to women, this condition is an example. He performed the funeral rites for the one who had given up his life 1180 in his cause and killed Kabandha. With the objective of reaching his beloved, he contracted friendship with the apes. After Vali was killed, he learnt about her. His feet are worshipped by Aja and Bhava, though he was now in human form. With the soldiers of the Indra among apes, he went to the shores of the ocean. His angry glance terrified and agitated crocodiles and makaras, and the fear silenced their roar. The personified form of the ocean bore articles of worship on its head and approaching his lotus feet, said, “O supreme one! We are foolish and did not know you. You are the original Purusha who is in the heart. You are the supreme lord of the universe. You are the sattva from which large number of gods result. You are the rajas from which lords of subjects result. I think that you are the lord of the bhutas. 1181 You are the lord of the gunas. Cross me as you will and kill Vishrava’s excrement, 1182 known as Ravana in the three worlds. O valiant one! Get your wife back. To extend your fame, construct a bridge here. All the conquerors of the directions will approach you and sing your praise.” The lord of the Raghu lineage used the summits of mountains to construct a bridge. Sugriva, Nila, Hanuman and other foremost leaders of the army, Indras among apes, made trees quake with their arms. As instructed by Vibhishana, they entered Lanka, which had already been burnt down earlier. The army of the Indra among apes laid siege to the pleasure chambers, the treasuries, the gates, the turrets, the assembly halls, the facades of mansions and the pinnacles. 1183 They shattered the platforms, flagpoles, standards and golden pots and destroyed the crossroads, like a herd of elephants agitating a river. The lord of the rakshasas saw this. He summoned Nikumbha, Kumbha, Dhumraksha, Durmukha, Surantaka, Narantaka and others, his son, 1184 Prahasta, Atikaya, Akampana and others, all his followers and Kumbhakarna. He urged them. The army of the yatudhanas was impenetrable because of swords, spears, bows, javelins, double-edged swords, spikes, arrows, clubs and long swords. However, Sugriva, Lakshmana, the son of the wind god, 1185 Gandhamada, Nila, Angada, the bear, 1186 Panasa and the others penetrated it. All the leaders in the army of the lord of Raghu followed and challenged the rival army, full of elephants, foot soldiers, chariots and those fighting on horses. Angada and the others slew them with trees, mountains and arrows. Because of Sita’s rage, Ravana’s followers had been struck by the inauspicious. The lord of the rakshasas saw that his own army was being destroyed and became angry. Astride his vehicle, he advanced towards Rama, who was resplendent astride his own chariot, brought to him by Matali. 1187 He 1188 struck the dazzling one with sharp kshurapras. 1189 Rama told him, “You are the excrement among those who survive on human flesh. Like a dog, you abducted my beloved when we were absent. You are most abominable and have no shame. Like Death, whose valour is irresistible, I will today give you the fruits of your deeds.” Censuring him, he affixed an arrow to his bow. It was like the vajra and pierced his heart. Vomiting blood, the one with the ten heads fell down from his vimana. His good deeds had been exhausted and his followers screamed, “Alas!” Thousands of yatudhana women emerged from Lanka. With Mandodari, 1190 they approached and lamented. They embraced their own respective relatives, who had been brought down by Lakshmana’s arrows. Striking their own breasts, those miserable ones wept in loud tones. “Alas! We have been slain. You were our protector! O Ravana! You were the one who made the worlds shriek. To find refuge, whom will we go to now? Without you, Lanka has been afflicted by the enemy. O immensely fortunate one! You did not know that you had come under the subjugation of desire. You did not comprehend Sita’s energy and have been reduced to this state. O delight of the lineage! We, and Lanka, have become widows. You have made your body food for vultures and there is reason for your atman to go to hell.” With the approval of the Indra of Kosala, Vibhishana performed the recommended funeral rites, with the sanctioned oblations to ancestors.

‘After this, the illustrious one saw her in a hermitage in Ashokavana. Suffering from the disease of separation from him, she was lean and had sought refuge at the foot of a shimshapa tree. 1191 On seeing his beloved wife in this miserable condition, Rama was filled with pity. This was despite her face blooming with delight, like a lotus, on seeing him. The illustrious one gave Vibhishana the lordship over large numbers of rakshasas and conferred on Lanka a lifespan till the end of the kalpa. With the period of his vow over, he made her climb the vehicle and with his brother and Hanuman, also ascended it, leaving for his city. Along the path, the guardians of the worlds showered down excellent flowers. Delighted, Shatadhriti 1192 and the others chanted his praise. His brother 1193 was attired in garments made of bark and only ate barley cooked in cow’s urine. His hair was matted and he slept on the bare ground, with kusha grass spread over it. Hearing all this, he was filled with great compassion. Bharata heard that he had arrived. Placing the sandals on his head and with the citizens, the advisers and the priests, he left his camp at Nandigrama to go and receive his elder brother, Rama. There was the sound of singing and the playing of musical instruments. Those who knew about the brahman repeatedly read out the chant of the brahman. There were flags with golden edges and chariots with colourful and golden flags. There were well-trained horses with golden harnesses and soldiers with armour made out of gold. Shrenis, 1194 the best of courtesans and servants followed on foot. All the objects, superior and inferior, required to welcome the supreme one were taken. His heart melting with tears of affection, he fell down at his feet and offered these. He placed the sandals in front of him. Eyes filled with tears, he joined his hands in salutation and stood there. With his arms, Rama embraced him for a very long time, bathing him with tears from his eyes. With Lakshmana and Sita, he worshipped the excellent and deserving brahmanas. He bowed down before them. In turn, the subjects bowed down before him. The residents of Uttara Kosala 1195 saw that their lord, who had been away for a long time, had returned and waved their upper garments around. Delighted, they offered him garlands and danced. Bharata carried the sandals. Vibhishana and Sugriva bore the excellent fan and whisks. The son of the wind god held aloft the white umbrella. Shatrughna carried the bow and quivers, Sita the water pot with water from the tirthas. O king! Angada carried the sword and the bear the golden shield. O king! Astride Pushpaka, he was praised by the women and the bards. The illustrious one was radiant, like the rising moon amidst the planets. Welcomed by his brother, he entered the city in the midst of festivities. He entered the royal residence and paid his respects to his father’s wives and to his own mother. He honoured the seniors, friends and juniors and was honoured back by them. In a similar way, Vaidehi 1196 and Lakshmana also entered. On seeing their respective sons, the mothers arose, as if life had returned to them. They took them on their laps and bathed them with tears, giving up their grief. Along with the aged ones of the family, the preceptor 1197 followed the rites and cut off the matted hair, consecrating him, just as Indra is sprinkled with water from the four oceans. With his head taken care of, he bathed. He attired himself in excellent garments and adorned himself with garlands. He was surrounded by his brothers and his wife, who were also well-attired and well-ornamented. Pleased at the obeisance exhibited by his brother, he accepted the throne. Like a father, Rama protected the subjects, who were devoted to their own dharma, in accordance with their varnas, their ashramas and their qualities. They thought that he was like their father. Though the age was that of treta yuga, it seemed to be equal to krita yuga. Rama knew about dharma and when he was the king, there was happiness for all living beings. O bull among the Bharata lineage! Forests, rivers, mountains, varshas, dvipas and oceans yielded all the objects of desire for the subjects. There was no mental or physical disease, no old age, no distress, no unhappiness, no grief, no fear and no exhaustion. As long as Rama Adhokshaja was the king, no one died unless he wished to. The royal sage was pure in conduct and followed the vow of having only one wife. He followed his own dharma of being a householder and instructed through his own conduct. The virtuous Sita pleased his mind and followed him with love, good conduct, submissiveness, humility, bashfulness and modesty. She understood what her husband wanted.’Chapter 9(11)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘The illustrious one’s atman was full of all the gods. Under the guidance of a preceptor, Rama undertook sacrifices with excellent objects to worship the gods, but really worshipped himself. The lord gave the eastern direction to the hotri, the southern direction to the brahmana, the western direction to the adhvaryu and the northern direction to the one who chanted the Sama hymns. 1198 He gave the preceptor 1199 what was left, the land at the centre. He thought that detached brahmanas should deserve all of this. He was only left with his own ornaments and garments. In that way, the queen, Vaidehi was also only left with her auspicious objects. 1200 On witnessing his affection towards brahmanas and gods, their hearts melted. They 1201 were pleased and returned all this. Praising him, they said, “O illustrious one! O lord of the universe! There is nothing that you have not given to us. You have entered the inner cores of our hearts and have used your radiance to destroy the darkness there. You have accepted the brahmanas as divinities. We bow down to you. We bow to Rama, who is unlimited in his intelligence. You are foremost among those who are praised with excellent shlokas. Your feet are worshipped by those who are beyond the rod of chastisement.” 1202 On one occasion, he wished to know about the people. Rama wandered around in the night, disguised and undetected. He heard words being spoken by someone to his wife. “You are wicked and unchaste. You have gone to someone else’s house. I will not accept you. A person like Rama, under the subjugation of a woman, can accept Sita. However, I will no longer love you.” Thus, people who do not know speak a lot and are impossible to control. However, scared of this, he cast his wife away and she went to the hermitage of Prachetas. 1203 She was pregnant and after some time, gave birth to twin sons. They were known as Kusha and Lava and the sage performed all their rites. O dear one! O lord of the earth! Lakshmana had two sons known as Chitraketu. 1204 Bharata’s sons were Taksha and Pushkala. Shatrughna’s sons were Subahu and Shrutasena. When he conquered the directions, Bharata slew crores of gandharvas. He brought all their riches and gave them to the king. Shatrughna killed the rakshasa named Lavana, who was Madhu’s son. In Madhu’s forest, he constructed a city named Mathura. Banished by her husband, Sita handed over her two sons to the sage. Meditating on Rama’s feet, she entered the earth. Hearing this, the illustrious Rama used his intelligence to control his grief. However, remembering her qualities, the lord was unable to check himself. Thus, everywhere, the attachment between a man and a woman brings fear even to those who are lords. What need be said about ordinary people whose minds are on the life of a householder? When she departed, the lord observed the vow of a brahmachari. He continuously performed an agnihotra sacrifice for thirteen thousand years. Then Rama used his own resplendence to go to the atman. As a memory for hearts, he left behind his own delicate feet, pierced by the thorns of Dandaka.

‘Raghupati’s 1205 fame is not just that he accomplished the desire of the gods. With his bow and arrows he slew rakshasas and built a bridge over the ocean. He did not really need the help of the apes to slay the enemy. The lord’s pastimes are such that there is no one who is his equal or his superior. His fame is without blemish and even now, is chanted by rishis in assemblies of kings. It destroys all sins and is like a decorated garment that covers the elephants in charge of the directions. The diadems of the guardians of the vault of heaven and the guardians of riches on earth bow down at his lotus feet. I seek refuge with Raghupati. The residents of Kosala who were touched or seen by him, those who were associated with him or followed him, went to the destination where yogis go. O king! If a man hears about Rama’s conduct, nurtures this and is non-violent towards others, he is freed from the bondage of action.’

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! How did Rama conduct himself? How did he behave towards his brothers and followers? How did the subjects and citizens behave towards their lord?’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘The lord of the three worlds instructed his brothers to embark on a conquest. With his followers, he himself tended to his people and the city. The roads were sprinkled with fragrant water, mixed with the musth of elephants. On seeing that their lord had returned, the people seemed to be extremely intoxicated. Mansions, turrets, assembly halls, chaityas 1206 and temples of the gods were ornamented with flags, and golden pots were placed there. The arches were decorated with betel nut trees, plantain trees with bunches of flowers, flags, excellent pieces of cloth, mirrors, canopies, garlands and auspicious marks. The citizens approached him with objects of worship in their hands. They pronounced their benedictions and said, “O god! As on earlier occasions, you have come down to save us.” Their lord had been away for a long time. On witnessing this, the subjects, men and women, emerged from their houses, so as to see the lotus-eyed one. They ascended the tops of mansions, but their eyes were not satisfied. They showered down flowers. He entered his own house, occupied by kings who had come before him. It possessed an infinite amount of all kinds of treasures and was prosperous and lofty, with all kinds of extremely expensive objects. The thresholds and doors were made out of coral. The rows of pillars were encrusted with lapis lazuli. The floors were covered with emeralds and the walls were radiant with sparkling crystals. There were colourful garlands, flags, garments, clusters of gems and canopies. Pearls enhanced the delight of the mind and there were beautiful objects to satisfy desire. It was decorated with fragrant incense and lamps and ornamented with bunches of flowers. It was populated by garmented and ornamented men and women who were like the gods. The illustrious Rama resided there, along with his pleasant beloved. With Sita, the foremost among intelligent ones sported and found pleasure for himself. He satisfied kama for some time, but without causing any offence to dharma. The one whose delicate feet are meditated on by men spent many years in this way.’Chapter 9(12)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Kusha’s son was Atithi, Atithi’s son was Nishadha and Nishadha’s son was Nabha. Nabha’s son was Pundarika and Pundarika’s son was Kshemadhanva. Kshemadhanva’s son was Devanika, Devanika’s son was Aniha and Aniha’s son was Pariyatra. Pariyatra’s son was Balasthala. Balasthala’s son was Vajranabha, who was born through the sun god. Vajranabha’s son was Svagana and Svagana’s son was Vidhriti. Vidhriti had a son named Hiranyanabha, who was Jaimini’s disciple and was a preceptor of yoga. By becoming his disciple, the rishi Yajnavalkya learnt adhyatma yoga and became accomplished in it. This yoga leads to great upliftment and severs the bonds of the heart. Hiranyanabha’s son was Pushya and Dhruvasandhi was born from him. Dhruvasandhi’s son was Agnivarna, Agnivarna’s son was Shighra and Shighra’s son was Maru. Maru obtained success in yoga and still lives in Kalapagrama. 1207 When kali yuga is over, he will again revive the solar dynasty, which has been destroyed. Maru’s son was Prasushruta, Prasushruta’s son was Sandhi and Sandhi’s son was Amarshana. Amarshana had a son named Mahasvan and Vishvabahu was born as his son. Vishvabahu’s son was Prasenjit and Prasenjit’s son was Takshaka. Takshaka’s son was Brihadbala, whom your father killed in the battle. 1208 These are the kings of the Ikshvaku lineage who have come in the past. Now hear about those in the future. Brihadbala will have a son named Brihadrana. 1209 Brihadrana’s son will be Urukriya and his son will be Vatsavriddha. His son will be Prativyoma. Prativyoma’s son will be Bhanu. Bhanu’s son will be Divaka, the commander of an army. Divaka’s son will be the brave Sahadeva, Sahadeva’s son will be Brihadashva and Brihadashva’s son will be Bhanuman. Bhanuman’s son will be Pratikashva and Pratikashva’s son will be Supratika. Supratika’s son will be Marudeva, Marudeva’s son will be Sunakshatra and Sunakshatra’s son will be Pushkara. Pushkara’s son will be Antariksha, Antariksha’s son will be Sutapa and Sutapa’s son will be Amitrajit. Amitrajit’s son will be Brihadraja, Brihadraja’s son will be Barhi, Barhi’s son will be Kritanjaya, Kritanjaya’s son will be Rananjaya and Rananjaya’s son will be Sanjaya. Sanjaya’s son will be Shakya, Shakya’s son will be Shuddhoda and Shuddhoda’s son will be known as Langala. Langala’s son will be Prasenjit and Kshudraka will be born as his son. Kshudraka’s son will be Ranaka and Ranaka’s son will be Suratha. Suratha’s son will be named Sumitra and he will be the last one in Brihadbala’s lineage. The lineage of the Ikshvaku’s will end with Sumitra. When he becomes the king, the lineage will end in kali yuga.’Chapter 9(13)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘When he started a sacrifice, Nimi, Ikshvaku’s son, invited Vasishtha to be the officiating priest. But he said, “Shakra has already asked me. 1210 I will return when I have completed that. Till then, wait.” The lord of the house 1211 was silent and he started to perform Indra’s sacrifice. Nimi was in control of his atman and knew that everything was transitory. 1212 Therefore, when his preceptor did not return for a long time, he started the sacrifice with other officiating priests. After completion, his preceptor returned and saw that the disciple had transgressed him. He cursed him. “Nimi prides himself on being learned. May his body fall down.” Since his preceptor had not followed the path of dharma, Nimi cursed him back. “You do not know about dharma and are driven by greed. Therefore, let your body also fall down.” Nimi knew about adhyatma. Saying this, he gave up his own body. My great-grandfather was born through Mitra-Varuna and Urvashi. 1213 The best of sages preserved his 1214 body in various fragrances. When the sacrifice was over, they told the assembled gods, “If you possess the powers and if you are pleased, let the king’s body come back to life.” They agreed. But Nimi said, “Do not do this and inflict the bondage of the body on me. One is afflicted by the fear of being separated from it. Therefore, sages do not wish to be united with the body. Instead, they use their intelligence to worship Hari’s lotus feet. I do not wish to accept the body. It brings unhappiness, grief and fear. It is surrounded by death from all sides, just as fish are surrounded by water.” The gods replied, “You are based in adhyatma. As you desire, reside in the eyes of embodied creatures, when they open and close them.” 1215 The maharshis thought that without a king, humans would suffer from fear. They churned Nimi’s body and a son was born.

‘Because he was born in this way, he was known as Janaka. Because he was born from one without a body, he was known as Vaideha. Because he was born through a process of churning, he was known as Mithila. 1216 He constructed Mithila. His son was Udavasu and Udavasu’s son was Nandivardhana. O great king! Nandivardhana’s son was Suketu and Suketu’s son was Devarata. Devarata’s son was Brihadratha, Brihadratha’s son was Mahavirya, the father of Sudhriti. Sudhriti’s son was Dhrishtaketu, Dhrishtaketu’s son was Haryashva and Haryashva’s son was Maru. Maru’s son was Pratipaka and Pratipaka’s son was Kritaratha. Kritaratha’s son was Devamidha, Devamidha’s son was Vishruta and Vishruta’s son was Mahadhriti. Svarnaroma’s son was Hrasvaroma. Hrasvaroma’s son was Shiradhvaja. For the sake of a sacrifice, he ploughed the earth. Sita was born from the tip of the plough and thus he is remembered as Shiradhvaja. 1217 Shiradhvaja’s son was Kushadhvaja and his son was King Dharmadhvaja. Dharmadhvaja had two sons—Kritadhvaja and Mitadhvaja. Kritadhvaja’s son was Keshidhvaja, while Mitadhvaja’s son was Khandikya. O king! Kritadhvaja’s son was accomplished in knowledge about the atman. Khandikya knew the truth about performing karma. However, terrified of Keshidhvaja, he ran away. Keshidhvaja’s son was Bhanuman and Bhanuman’s son was Sudyumna. Sudyumna’s son was Shuchi, Shuchi’s son was Sanadvaja, Sanadvaja’s son was Urdhvaketu, Urdhvaketu’s son was Aja and Aja’s son was Purujit. Purujit’s son was Arishtanemi, Arishtanemi’s son was Shrutayu, Shrutya’s son was Suparshvaka, Suparshvaka’s son was Chitraratha and Chitraratha’s son was Kshemadhi, the lord of Mithila. His son was Samaratha and Samaratha’s son was Satyaratha. Satyaratha’s son was Upaguru and his son was Upagupta, born as a portion of Agni. His son was Vasvananta, Vasvananta’s son was Yuyudha, Yuyudha’s son was Subhashana, Subhashana’s son was Shruta, Shruta’s son was Jaya, Jaya’s son was Vijaya and Vijaya’s son was Rita. Rita’s son was Shunaka, Shunaka’s son was Vitahavya, Vitahavya’s son was Dhriti, Dhriti’s son was Bahulashva and Bahulashva’s son was Kriti, who was extremely controlled. O king! These ones from Mithila were accomplished in knowledge about the atman. Though they were householders, through the favours of the lord of yoga, they were free from all kinds of opposite sentiments.’Chapter 9(14)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! After this, hear about Soma’s sacred lineage. There were Aila 1218 and other kings, famous for their sacred deeds. Purusha possesses one thousand heads and from the lotus in his navel, the creator 1219 was born. He had a son named Atri, who was like his father in qualities. From his eyes, 1220 Soma was born as a son and he was full of amrita. Brahma thought of him as the lord of brahmanas, herbs and the stellar bodies. He conquered the three worlds and performed a royal sacrifice. Because of his insolence, he forcibly abducted Brihaspati’s wife, Tara. The preceptor of the gods entreated him. However, because of his arrogance, he paid no heed to this. When he did not give her up, on her account, there was a battle between the gods and the danavas. Because of his enmity, Shukra took the side of the asuras and the lord of the stars. Out of his affection, surrounded by all the large number of bhutas, Hara took the side of his preceptor’s son. 1221 With all the large number of gods, the great Indra followed his preceptor. The gods and the asuras were slaughtered in the course of the tarakamaya battle. 1222 When Angiras informed him about this, the creator of the universe reprimanded Soma. The lord made him restore Tara to her own husband, but she was already pregnant. He 1223 said, “O evil-minded one! Quickly abort this foetus. Your kshetra has been impregnated by someone other than me. Since you are a woman, I cannot reduce you to ashes. You wanted a son, but have been unchaste.” Ashamed, Tara delivered, and a son with a golden complexion was born. The son of Angiras and Soma both desired this son. They fought over him and said, “He belongs to me and not to you.” The rishis and gods asked her, 1224 but ashamed, she did not reply. Enraged at his mother’s false sense of shame, the son told her, “O one who is wicked in conduct! Why don’t you speak? Quickly tell me what you are not saying.” Brahma summoned her in private. Comforting her, he inquired. Softly, she said, “He is Soma’s.” Thereafter, Soma accepted him. O king! The one who created himself gave him the name of Budha. 1225 Seeing that his son was full of deep wisdom, the lord of the stars was delighted. As has already been stated, 1226 Pururava was born through him and Ila.

‘In Indra’s residence, the rishi 1227 chanted about his beauty, qualities, generosity, good conduct and valour. Hearing this, the celestial Urvashi was afflicted by the arrows of love and approached him. Because of the curse of Mitra and Varuna, she had come to the world of men. She heard about the best of men, who was like Kandarpa 1228 in his beauty. Resorting to her patience, the maiden approached him in private. On seeing her, the king’s eyes dilated in joy and his body hair stood up. He spoke in gentle words to the celestial lady. The king said, “O one with the beautiful hips! Welcome. Please be seated. What can I do for you? Enjoy yourself with me. May our love last for an eternal number of years.” Urvashi replied, “O handsome one! Whose mind and sight will not be attracted towards you? Engulfed by your limbs, it is not possible to give up sexual desire. O king! O one who confers honours! I am entrusting these two lambs with you. I will find pleasure with you. It has been said that a praiseworthy man is the right husband for a woman. O valiant one! However, I will only eat ghee. Except at the time of sexual intercourse, I will not see you naked.” The great-minded one agreed that it would be this way. “Your beauty and sentiments are wonderful. You enchant the world of men. Which man will not serve a celestial beauty who has arrived of her own accord?” With her, as is appropriate, the best among men sported himself. As they desired, they pleasured themselves in the pleasure grounds of the gods, Chaitraratha and other places. She was as fragrant as the filament of a lotus and he enjoyed himself with the celestial one. His excitement was enhanced by the fragrance of her mouth and he enjoyed himself for many days. Unable to see Urvashi, Indra urged the gandharvas. “Without Urvashi, my residence is no longer as beautiful as it used to be.” They approached in the middle of the night, when it was dark. They stole Urvashi’s two lambs, entrusted to the king by his wife. The celestial lady regarded them as sons born from her own womb and she heard them crying. “Alas! I have been ruined by this wicked protector. Though he prides himself on being brave, he is a eunuch. Since I trusted him, they have been destroyed and are being slain by bandits. He seems to be a man during the day. But at night, he is terrified and sleeps like a woman.” These words were like arrows and piercing. He seized his sword in the night and though he was naked, advanced angrily. They released the two lambs, but blazed like lightning. She was happy that having grabbed the lambs, her husband was returning, but he was naked. Aila could no longer see his wife on the bed and was distressed. His mind was disturbed. Grieving, he roamed around the earth, like a person who was mad.

‘He saw her in Kurukshetra, on the banks of the Sarasvati. Her face was happy and she was with five friends. Pururava addressed her in a sukta. 1229 “O wife! Stay! O cruel one! Stay! You should not abandon me. Even now, your obtaining happiness from me has not ended. 1230 Let us converse. O divine lady! Now that you have cast me aside, far away, my excellent body will fall down. Since it no longer finds favour with you, wolves and vultures will devour it.” Urvashi replied, “Do not give up your life. You are a man. You must not allow wolves to devour you now. The hearts of women are like those of wolves and one should not have friendship with them. Women are merciless and cruel. They are extremely intolerant. For the sake of love, they can be rash. It is said that even for a trifling reason, they can kill a trusting husband or a brother. They can be deceitful and generate trust in ignorant men. They can abandon well-wishers. Desiring a new and newer lover, their conduct can be like that of pumshchalis and svairinis. At the end of every year, you will be my lord for one night. There will be offspring through our pleasure. However, you will also have other offspring.” 1231 On seeing that the divine lady was pregnant, he left for his own city. At the end of the year, he went there again. Urvashi was then the mother of a brave son. Filled with delight, he spent the night with her. However, he was miserable at the prospect of separation and Urvashi spoke to him. “Seek refuge with the gandharvas and they will bestow me on you.” O king! Satisfied by his praises, they gave him an agnisthali. 1232 He took this to be Urvashi and roamed around in the forest. When he understood, he left the vessel in the forest. He returned home and meditated through the night. Treta yuga was about to start and knowledge of the three 1233 was manifested in his mind. Going to the place where the vessel had been left, he saw an ashvattha tree growing from a shami tree. Desiring to go to Urvashi’s world, he used these as two churning rods. 1234 Chanting the urvashi mantra, 1235 the lord mediated on the upper and lower arani and the intervening space as the son who would be born from him. When they were rubbed against each other, the fire god, Jataveda, was generated. 1236 The king thought of the three kinds of knowledge as three of his sons. He desired to go to Urvashi’s world. Therefore, with that fire, he worshipped the lord of sacrifices, the illustrious Adhokshaja Hari, who is in all the gods. In earlier times, there was only one Veda—the syllable Oum, the store of all speech. There was only one divinity, Narayana. There was one Agni and one varna. O king! When treta yuga was about to start, Pururava made them three. Making Agni his son, the king went to the world of the gandharvas.’Chapter 9(15)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Through Urvashi’s womb, Aila had six sons—Ayu, Shrutayu, Satyayu, Raya, Vijaya and Jaya. Shrutayu’s son was Vasuman and Satyayu’s son was Shrutanjaya. Raya’s son was Eka and Jaya’s son was Amita. Vijaya’s son was Bhima, Bhima’s son was Kanchana and Kanchana’s son was Hotraka. Hotraka’s son was Jahnu, who held the Ganga in the cup of his hand and drank her up. 1237 Jahnu’s son was Puru, Puru’s son was Balaka and Balaka’s son was Ajaka. Ajaka’s son was Kusha. Kusha had four sons—Kushambu, Tanaya, Vasu and Kushanabha. Kushambu’s son was Gadhi. A brahmana named Richika sought Gadhi’s daughter, Satyavati, in marriage. Considering that the groom was not an equal, Gadhi told Bhargava, 1238 “We belong to Kusha’s lineage. Give one thousand horses as a price for the girl. They should be as radiant as the moon. But each should have one ear that is black.” Having been thus addressed, he understood the intention and went to Varuna. He brought and gave those horses and married the one with the beautiful face. Both his wife and his mother-in-law desired offspring and beseeched the rishi. He cooked charu for both and pronounced mantras on them. 1239 The sage then went to have a bath. Satyavati’s mother asked her for the charu that had been cooked for her, taking it to be superior. Having given her that, she herself ate what was meant for her mother. Learning this, the sage told his wife, “You have given rise to a great hardship. Your son will be as terrible as the wielder of the rod. 1240 Your brother will be excellent in his knowledge of the brahman.” Pacified by Satyavati, Bhargava again said, “If your son is not like that, your grandson will be like that.” Jamadagni was born in this way. She became the extremely sacred Koushiki, 1241 the purifier of the world. It is said that Jamadagni married Renuka, Renu’s daughter. Through her, Bhargava rishi had Vasuman and other sons. The youngest to be born was famous as Rama. 1242 He is said to have been born from Vasudeva’s portion and brought an end to the lineage of the Haihayas. He exterminated kshatriyas from the earth twenty-one times. The insolent kshatriyas had become a burden on earth and caused harm to brahmanas. They were filled with great rajas and tamas. They caused offence, even because of a trifling reason.’

The king asked, ‘What did those royal ones, who were not in control of their atmans, do to the illustrious one? Why was the lineage of the kshatriyas repeatedly destroyed?’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘The bull among kshatriyas, Arjuna 1243 was the lord of the Haihayas. He followed the rituals and worshipped Datta, 1244 a portion of the illustrious one. He thus obtained one thousand arms and was invincible in the midst of the enemy. His senses and power could not be restrained and he possessed prosperity, energy, valour, fame and strength. He obtained the powers and qualities of a lord of yoga, such as anima and the others. Without any restrictions, he roamed around the world, like the wind. Intoxicated with arrogance, he was once sporting in the waters of the Reva, 1245 surrounded by jewels among women. Radiant with a vaijayanti garland, 1246 he obstructed the waters of the river with his arms. The waters of the river started to flow in the opposite direction and flooded Dashanana’s 1247 own camp. Proud of his own valour, he could not tolerate the other’s prowess. When he caused him offence in the presence of the women, he 1248 playfully seized him and imprisoned him in Mahishmati, 1249 thereafter releasing him like a monkey. Once, as he pleased, he was wandering around in the desolate forest on a hunt and entered Jamadagni’s hermitage. The sage offered the divinity among men objects of worship. With his Havishmati, 1250 the store of austerities took care of the soldiers, the advisers and the mounts. He saw that jewel and also saw that his 1251 prosperity was far greater than his own. With the Haihayas, he didn’t welcome the hospitality, but desired the one who provided for agnihotra sacrifices. Insolent, he urged his men to seize the rishi’s Havishmati. With her calf, she was forcibly taken to Mahishmati, weeping as she was conveyed. When the king had left, Rama returned to the hermitage. Hearing about the wicked act, he was angry, like a snake that has been struck. He grasped his terrible battleaxe, quivers, armour and a bow. The extremely intolerant one followed, like a lion pursuing the leader of a herd. 1252 The noble and energetic one of the Bhrigu lineage descended. He wielded a bow. His weapons were arrows and a battleaxe. His garment was made out of black deer skin and his matted hair was as dazzling as the sun. As he 1253 was entering his city, he saw him. He urged seventeen extremely terrible akshouhinis, 1254 consisting of elephants, chariots, horses and foot soldiers, to fight against him. They wielded clubs, swords, arrows, javelins, shataghnis 1255 and spears. However, the illustrious one slaughtered them single-handedly. With the speed of the mind and of the wind, the slayer of enemies struck here and there with his battleaxe. In every such spot, arms, thighs and necks fell down on the ground. The charioteers and the mounts were killed. Haihaya saw that his own soldiers were brought down in the battle by Rama’s battleaxe and arrows. They lay down in a mire formed out of blood. Their armour, standards and bows were scattered, the bodies were brought down. Filled with rage, he attacked. With five hundred hands, Arjuna simultaneously fixed arrows to five hundred bows in Rama’s direction. However, Rama was foremost among the wielders of weapons. With arrows shot from a single bow, he simultaneously severed these. In the field of battle, he 1256 forcefully attacked, using his hands to uproot mountains and trees and fling them. But Rama used his axe, firm at the edges, to powerfully sever his arms, which were like the hoods of a serpent. With the arms severed, the head was like the summit of a mountain and he severed this too. When their father was killed, his ten thousand sons fled in fear. The destroyer of enemy heroes retrieved the suffering one who provided for agnihotra sacrifices and her calf and returning to the hermitage, gave them to his father.

‘Rama told his father and his brothers what he had done. Hearing this, Jamadagni spoke to him. “O Rama! O mighty-armed one! O Rama! You have performed a wicked deed. This was unnecessary. The divinity among men was full of all the gods and you have killed him. O son! We are brahmanas. We are worshipped because we are forgiving. That is the way the preceptor of the worlds and of the gods 1257 has attained his status of Parameshthi. Forgiveness in a brahmana is agreeable. Like the radiance of the sun, it is their prosperity. The illustrious lord, Hari, is quickly pleased through forgiveness. The king’s head is sprinkled in a consecration and killing him is more serious than the killing of a brahmana. O dear one! With Achyuta in your mind, go to the tirthas and wash away this sin.”’Chapter 9(16)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O descendant of the Kuru lineage! Rama was thus instructed by his father. Agreeing, he roamed around for a year, visiting tirthas. He then returned to the hermitage. Once, Renuka went to the Ganga. She saw the king of the gandharvas, 1258 wearing a garland of lotuses, sporting there with apsaras. Having gone to the river for some water, she saw him sporting there. Desiring Chitraratha a bit, she forgot that it was time to offer oblations into the fire. Realizing that the time had passed, she was scared that the sage might curse her. Having returned, she placed the water pot and stood before him, her hands joined in salutation. Discerning that his wife had been guilty of a transgression, the sage was enraged. He said, “O sons! Kill this wicked one.” But they did not do what they had been asked to. His father then urged Rama to kill his mother and his brothers. Through his meditation and his austerities, he knew about the sage’s powers and acted accordingly. Satyavati’s son 1259 was pleased at this and requested him to ask for a boon. Rama said, “Let those who have been killed come back to life and let them not remember who killed them. They instantly arose, well, as if after sleeping. Rama had killed his relatives because he had known about his father’s learning, austerities and valour.

‘O king! Arjuna’s sons remembered the slaying of their own father. Having been vanquished by Rama’s valour, they could find no peace. Once, when Rama and his brothers had gone to the forest, they arrived at the hermitage. Because of the enmity, they desired revenge and finding an opportunity, arrived. The sage was seated at the place where the fire was kept, his mind absorbed in the illustrious Uttamashloka. Evil in their determination, they saw him and killed him. Piteously, Rama’s mother beseeched those extremely terrible ones. However, those kshatra-bandhus forcibly severed the head and took it away. Afflicted by grief, Renuka beat herself. The chaste lady screamed in sorrow, “O Rama! O son! O Rama!” From a distance, Rama heard these sounds of lamentation. He swiftly returned to the hermitage and saw that his father had been killed. He was bewildered by the force of grief, anger, intolerance, affliction and misery and said, “Alas! O father! You were virtuous. You followed dharma. You have abandoned us and have gone to heaven.” Lamenting in this way, he entrusted his father’s body to his brothers. Rama seized the battleaxe, making up his mind to destroy kshatriyas. Rama went to Mahishmati, which had lost its prosperity because a brahmana had been killed. O king! In the midst of the city, he created a giant mountain out of their heads. 1260 Their blood created a terrible river which caused fear to those who were against brahmanas. With his father’s killing being a reason, he became extremely inauspicious for the kshatriyas. On twenty-one occasions, the lord exterminated all kshatriyas from earth. In the place known as Samantapanchaka, he created nine lakes of blood. 1261 He fixed his father’s head to the body and laid it down on barhi grass. Through sacrifices, he worshipped the one who is in the atmans of all the gods. All the gods are in him. He gave the eastern direction to the hotri, the southern direction to the brahmana, the western direction to the adhvaryu and the northern direction to the udgatri. He gave others the corners, the centre to Kashyapa, Aryavarta to the officiating priests and all that remained to the assistant priests. Thereafter, he had the bath to complete the sacrifice in the great river Sarasvati, cleansing himself of all the sin that remained. He was as radiant as the sun in a sky without clouds. Jamadagni got his own body back, with all the signs of jnana. 1262 Worshipped by Rama, he became the seventh in the circle of rishis. 1263

‘O king! In the next manvantara, Rama, Jamadagni’s lotus-eyed son will be glorious. Having cast aside his rod and tranquil in his intelligence, even now, he resides on Mount Mahendra. The Siddhas, gandharvas and charanas sing about his conduct. In this way, the illustrious lord, Hari, the atman of the universe, descended in Bhrigu’s lineage to remove the earth’s heavy burden and killed many kings. Gadhi had an immensely energetic son who was like a fire that has been kindled. 1264 Through his austerities, he gave up his status as a kshatriya and obtained the radiance of a brahmana. O king! Vishvamitra had one hundred sons. Though the one in the middle was named Madhuchhanda, all of them are known as Madhuchhandas. He 1265 accepted Shunahshepa, who was born as Ajigarta’s son in the Bhrigu lineage, as his son and told his sons to accept him as their elder brother. He 1266 was also known as Devarata. In Harishchandra’s sacrifice, this man was sold as a sacrificial animal. He prayed to the gods and the lords of subjects and was released from his bondage of ropes. Since he was saved by the gods in a sacrifice, and destiny brought him to Gadhi’s lineage, Shunahshepa, actually born in Bhrigu’s lineage, came to be known as Devarata. 1267 However, the sons older than Madhuchhanda were not ready to accept this. The sage angrily cursed them, “O wicked ones! You will be mlechchhas.” 1268 With fifty others, Madhuchhanda said, “You know best. We will abide by whatever you decide. They told their elder, the one who knew about mantras, 1269 “We will follow you.” Vishvamitra told these sons, “Since you accepted and honoured me, you have made me a father of brave sons and you will be the fathers of brave sons. O Kushikas! O brave ones! Devarata is like you. Follow him.” He 1270 also had other sons—Ashtaka, Harita, Jaya, Kratumat and others. In this way, Vishvamitra divided the Koushika gotra and differentiated them into the superior and not so superior.’Chapter 9(17)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Pururava had a son named Ayu and his sons were Nahusha, Kshatravriddha, Raji, the valiant Rambha and Anena. O Indra among kings! Now hear about the ones who followed Kshatravriddha. Kshatravriddha had a son named Suhotra and Suhotra had three sons—Kashya, Kusha and Gritsamada. Gritsamada’s son was Shunaka and Shounaka 1271 was a sage who knew the best of the hymns. Kashya’s son was Kashi, Kashi’s son was Rashtra and Rashtra was the father of Dirghatama. Dirghatama had a son named Dhanvantari and he was the propounder of Ayurveda. He was born as a portion of Vasudeva, the enjoyer of sacrifices and the mere memory of whose name removes all afflictions. Dhanvantari’s son was Ketuman and Ketuman’s son was Bhimaratha. Bhimaratha’s son was Divodasa, Divodasa’s son was Dyuman and Dyuman’s son is said to be Pratardana and he was also known as Shatrujit, Vatsa and Ritadhvaja. He was also named Kuvalayashva, and Alarka and others were his sons. O king! Other than Alarka, there was no one else who ruled the earth for sixty-six thousand years and still remained young. Alarka’s son was Santati and Santati’s son was Sunitha. Sunitha’s son was Niketana, Niketana’s son was Dharmaketu, and Satyaketu was born from Dharmaketu. Satyaketu’s son was Dhrishtaketu and Dhrishtaketu’s son was Sukumara, the lord of the earth. His son was Vitihotra, Vitihotra’s son was Bharga and Bharga’s son, Bhargabhumi, became a king. In Kshatravriddha’s lineage, these are the kings descended from Kashi. Rabhasa was Rambha’s son, Rabhasa’s son was Gambhira and Gambhira’s son was Akriya, and Brahmavit was born from Akriya’s gotra. Now hear about Anena’s lineage. Anena’s son was Shuddha, Shuddha’s son was Shuchi and Shuchi’s son was Trikakud, also known as Dharmasarathi. Dharmasarathi’s son was Shantaraya, who knew about the atman and performed various rites. Raji had five hundred extremely energetic sons. Entreated by the gods, he 1272 killed daityas and handed over heaven to Indra. However, Indra was scared of Prahlada and the others. Therefore, he surrendered himself, clasped Raji’s feet and gave it back to him. When their father died, he asked the sons 1273 to return it. However, they did not return heaven, though they gave the great Indra a share in the sacrifices. The preceptor 1274 offered oblations into the fire and Bala’s slayer 1275 slew Raji’s sons, who had deviated from the path. Not a single one was left. In Kshatravriddha’s lineage, Prati was born as Kusha’s son. Prati’s son was Sanjaya and Sanjaya’s son was Jaya. Jaya’s son was Krita and Krita’s son was King Haryavana. Haryavana’s son was Sahadeva, Sahadeva’s son was Hina and Heena’s son was Jayasena. Jayasena’s son was Samkriti, Samkriti’s son was Jaya, a maharatha who followed the dharma of kshatriyas. The kings in Kshatravriddha’s lineage have been described. Now hear about those descended from Nahusha’s son.’Chapter 9(18)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Like the senses in embodied beings, 1276 Nahusha had six sons—Yati, Yayati, Samyati, Ayati, Viyati and Kriti. Knowing about the consequences of accepting a kingdom, when his father offered it to him, Yati did not want it. He knew that once a man enters this state, he can no longer comprehend the atman. His father was dislodged from his status because he caused an offence to Indra. 1277 The brahmanas made him become a python. Therefore, Yayati became the king. He placed his four younger brothers in charge of the four directions and ruled the earth. He married the daughters of Kavya and Vrishaparva.’ 1278

The king asked, ‘The illustrious Kavya was a brahmana rishi and Nahusha was a kshatra-bandhu. How did this pratiloma marriage 1279 between a royal descendant and a brahmana occur?’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘The Indra among the danavas had a garden that was full of flowering trees, the beautiful humming of bees, charming pools and sandy banks. Once, the lady and maiden named Sharmishtha, was roaming there, along with one thousand friends. This included Devayani, the beautiful daughter of the preceptor. Those lotus-eyed maidens approached a pool of water. They left their garments on the bank and sported there, splashing water on each other. They saw Girisha roaming around, astride his bull and accompanined by the goddess. 1280 Ashamed, the ladies quickly arose from the water and put on their garments. Unknowingly, Sharmishtha put on the garment that belonged to the preceptor’s daughter, taking it to be her own. Angry, Devayani said, “Alas! Behold the unbecoming act of this servant maid. It was mine, but she has donned it, like a female dog that steals oblations from a sacrifice. We are the mouth of the supreme being and everything has been created through our austerities. We sustain his resplendence in this world and we are the ones who indicate the auspicious path. The guardians of the worlds and the lords of the gods abide by what we say. So does the illustrious and pure one, the atman of the universe and Shri’s abode. Among them, we are descended from Bhrigu’s lineage. Her father, the asura, is our disciple. Nevertheless, this unchaste one has donned my garment, like a shudra claiming the Vedas.” Thus addressed, Sharmishtha was enraged. She sighed, like a female serpent that has been injured. Biting her lips, she addressed the preceptor’s daughter. “O beggar! Not knowing your own status, why are you boasting a lot? Do you not wait in our house, like one who is searching for scraps?” 1281 Using such harsh words, Sharmishtha angrily took away the garment of the preceptor’s virtuous daughter and flung her into a well. After she had returned to her own house, Yayati was roaming around on a hunt. Wandering around as he willed, he came to the well in search of water and saw her. She was naked and the king gave her his own upper garment. Overcome by compassion, he held her hand in his hand and pulled her out. Ushanas’s daughter was filled with trust and love and addressed him in these words. “O brave one! O king! O conqueror of enemy cities! You have held me by the hand. Since my hand has been grasped by you, no one else will accept my hand. O brave one! This relationship has been brought about by the lord and not by a human agency. Having fallen into the well, I caught sight of you. O mighty-armed one! Earlier, Kacha, Brihaspati’s son, had cursed me that no brahmana would accept my hand.” 1282 Yayati had not intended this, but thought that this had been brought about by destiny. Moreover, his heart was attracted to her. Therefore, he accepted her words. When the king had left, the patient one returned and, weeping, told her father everything that Sharmishtha had said and done. Distressed, the illustrious Kavya condemned life as a priest. Praising the subsistence followed by a pigeon, 1283 he left the city with his daughter. Vrishaparva got to know. Because of the prospect of his preceptor helping his adversaries, he stopped him along the way. He prostrated his head at his feet and placated him. The illustrious Bhargava’s anger never lasted for a long time and he told his disciple, “O king! I cannot abandon her. 1284 Therefore, do what she wants.” He said that he would act accordingly and Devayani told him what was in her mind. “When my father bestows me on someone, let her and her companions follow me.” He perceived the danger to his relatives and therefore gave these words, that Sharmishtha and her companions should follow Devayani when she was bestowed by her father, with due importance. Like servant-maids, those one thousand women surrounded Devayani. Ushanas bestowed his daughter on Nahusha’s son and also gave Sharmishtha. However, he said, “O king! Never allow Sharmishtha on your bed.” O king! On one occasion, Sharmishtha saw that Ushanas’s daughter delivered an excellent son. In private, the virtuous lady spoke to her friend’s husband. The princess desired offspring and the one who knew about dharma reflected on dharma. 1285 Though he remembered Shukra’s words, at the time, because of destiny, he accepted. Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu. Sharmishtha, Vrishaparva’s daughter, gave birth to Druhyu, Anu and Puru. The proud Devayani got to know that the asura’s daughter had conceived through her husband. Senseless with rage, she left for her father’s house. Desiring her, he followed his beloved and sought to appease her through words. Unable to please her in this way, he tried things like massaging her feet.

‘Shukra angrily said, “O false man! You lust after women. O evil-minded one! You will be overtaken by old age, which disfigures the bodies of men.” Yayati replied, “O brahmana! My desire for your daughter has still not been satiated.” The answer was, “As long as you still have desire left, in exchange, get youth from someone who is willing.” Having obtained this arrangement, Yayati spoke to his eldest son, “O son! O Yadu! Accept this old age in your body and give me your youth. O child! Your maternal grandfather is the reason for this and I am not yet satisfied with material objects. Give me your youth, so that I can enjoy for a few more years.” Yadu replied, “I am not interested in this old age, which you have obtained though you are middle-aged. Without knowing about carnal pleasures, there cannot be detachment in a man.” 1286 O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The father urged Turvasu, Druhyu and Anu. However, they did not know about dharma. Their minds were such that they regarded temporary things as permanent. Therefore, they refused. At this, he asked his son Puru, who was younger in age, but superior in qualities. “O child! Like your elder brothers, you should not refuse me.” Puru replied, “O Indra among men! In this world, a man obtains his own self because of his father and who is capable of repaying this? It is through his 1287 favours that one obtains what is best. A superior son acts after anticipating what his father wants. A middling son does what he is asked to do. An inferior son obeys reluctantly. A son who does not obey is like a father’s excrement.” Thus, Puru happily accepted his father’s old age. O king! With this youth, he 1288 enjoyed himself, as he willed. He became the lord of the seven dvipas and protected the subjects properly, like a father. Without his senses being constrained in any way, he enjoyed material objects, as he wished. Devayani always brought him delight, with her mind, words, body and objects. She brought great pleasure to her beloved and in private, he enjoyed himself with his beloved. He performed many yajnas and kratus to the lord of sacrifices, with copious quantities of dakshina. He worshipped the divinity Hari. He is in all the gods and all the gods are in him. He is the one who has created everything and is like the sky, with a large number of clouds. 1289 He is manifest in many different forms, but is also not manifest. He appears as if in a dream, in maya, or in wishes. He 1290 immersed his heart in Vasudeva, who is in the core of all hearts. With no particular object in mind, he worshipped the lord Narayana, who cannot be seen. In this way, the senses, and the mind as the sixth, enjoyed happiness for one thousand years. But despite doing this, the emperor was not satisfied.’Chapter 9(19)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Yayati acted in this way, with desire for women clouding what was good for him. When he understood, he was disenchanted and recited this chant to his beloved. “O Bhargava’s daughter! Listen to this chant about someone like me on earth. Patient people who reside in the forest and in the village lament his lot. In a forest, there was a goat that was searching for something it would like. It saw a she-goat that had fallen into a well as a result of her own karma. The goat was driven by lust and thought of a means to lift her up. He used the tips of his horns to dig up the edges, so that there would be a passage for her to emerge. After emerging from the well, the beautiful-hipped she-goat desired him. He was stout, bearded and excellent. His penis possessed strength and he was accomplished in sexual intercourse. On seeing this, many other beautiful she-goats also desired him as their beloved partner. That single ram increased sexual desire in many. Overwhelmed by desire, he found pleasure with them and did not understand himself. The she-goat that had suffered from falling into the well saw that her beloved was engaged in sexual intercourse and was enjoying himself with other she-goats. She could not tolerate this. She thought that the one who had appeared as a well-wisher was actually an ill-wisher. He was lascivious and his friendship had lasted for a short while. Miserable, she gave up pleasure that comes from the senses and returned to her master. However, he was devoted to his wife and followed her, seeking to placate the unhappy one. Along the path, he bleated and did the other things that goats do. But he was unable to pacify her. Angry, the brahmana who was the she-goat’s master severed the goat’s testicles. Since he was skilled in yoga, he thereafter fixed the dangling testicles back again. O fortunate one! When his testicles had been fixed back, for a long period of time, the goat enjoyed himself with the she-goat who had been rescued from the well. Nevertheless, even today, after many days, his desire has not been satisfied. O one with the excellent eyebrows! Controlled by my love for you, I am as unhappy as that. Confounded by your maya, I have not realized my atman. If a man is destroyed by desire, all the grain, barley, gold, animals and women on earth are not capable of bringing pleasure to his mind. If desire has been generated, that desire is not pacified through enjoying objects. Like ghee offered to the one with the black trails, 1291 it is again kindled. If a man’s sentiments are not like that, he does not cause injury to any living being. He is impartial towards everyone and all the directions are full of happiness for him. For evil-minded people, this is very difficult to give up. Even when the body is withered, it does not wither away. That thirst brings misery with it. If a person desires peace, he must swiftly give it up. In private, such a person must not sit on the same seat with a mother, a sister or a daughter. The aggregate of the senses is powerful and can make even a learned person deviate. I have continuously served material objects for one thousand years. Nevertheless, after enjoying them, the thirst for them continues to increase. Therefore, I will give all this up and turn my mind to meditating on the brahman. I will be without opposite pairs of sentiments. Without any ahamkara, I will roam around with animals. Everything that is seen or heard is temporary. Comprehending this, one should not think about them, or enjoy them. The cycle of samsara destroys the atman. A person who is learned in this way realizes the atman.” Nahusha’s son told his wife this. He returned the youth to Puru and got back his own old age. He was devoid of any desires.

‘The lord gave the south-eastern direction to Druhyu, the southern direction to Yadu, the western direction to Turvasu and the northern direction to Anu. He consecrated Puru, the best among them all, over the entire surface of the earth and the subjects, asking his elders to remain obedient to him. He then went to the forest. For a very large number of years, he had served the six 1292 and material objects. Like a bird leaving the nest when its feathers have grown, in an instant, he freed himself from all this. There, he was completely freed from all kinds of association. Cleansed of the three attributes, 1293 he realized the atman. He was absorbed in the unblemished brahman and realized the destination obtained by a devotee of the illustrious Vasudeva. Hearing the song, 1294 Devayani thought that it was meant to persuade her to realize the atman and was not merely a story recounted affectionately in casual conversation and jest between a man and a woman. She realized that this residence with relatives was controlled by the lord and was fashioned by the lord’s maya. It was like those who go to a watering hole. 1295 This was like a dream. Therefore, Bhargava’s daughter gave up all attachment. Immersing her mind in Krishna, she gave up the manifestations of the atman. 1296 I bow down to the illustrious Vasudeva, the creator of everything. He resides in all creatures. I bow down to the great and tranquil one.’Chapter 9(20)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O descendant of the Bharata lineage! I will now tell you about Puru’s lineage, the one you are descended from. Royal sages were born in this line and so were brahmanas who started their own lineages. Puru’s son was Janamejaya and his son was Prachinvan. Prachinvan’s son was Pravira, Pravira’s son was Namasyu and Namasyu’s son was Charupada. Charupada’s son was Sudyu, Sudyu’s son was Bahugava and Bahugava’s son was Samyati. Samyati’s son was Ahamyati and it is said that Ahamyati’s son was Roudrashva. Through the apsara Ghritachi, Roudrashva had ten sons—Riteyu, Kuksheyu, Sthandileyu, Kriteyu, Jaleyu, Sannateyu, Dharmeyu, Satyetu, Vrateyu and Vaneyu as the youngest. This is just like the ten senses 1297 being evolved from the mouth of the one who is the atman of the universe. O king! Riteyu had a son named Rantibhara and he had three sons—Sumati, Dhruva and Apratiratha. Kanva was Apratiratha’s son. Kanva’s son was Medhatithi, whose sons were Praskanna and other brahmanas. Sumati had a son named Raibhya and it is held that Dushyanta was his son.

‘Having gone on a hunt, Dushyanta went to Kanva’s hermitage. He saw a lady seated there. She was like Rama 1298 and illuminated everything with her own radiance. On seeing her, he was instantly smitten, as if by divine maya. Though he was surrounded by some of his soldiers, he spoke to that beautiful lady. He was delighted to see her and all his exhaustion was gone. Tormented by desire, he smiled and asked her in gentle words. “O lotus-eyed one! Who are you? O one who pleases the heart! Whom do you belong to? Why are you in this desolate forest? What do you desire? O one with the excellent waist! I can see that you are evidently the daughter of a king. The minds of those from Puru’s lineage are never attracted towards something that constitutes adharma.” Shakuntala replied, “I am Vishvamitra’s daughter and have been abandoned by Menaka in the forest. 1299 The illustrious Kanva knows all this. O brave one! What can we do for you? O lotus-eyed one! Be seated here and accept whatever we offer you. Enjoy this wild rice. If it pleases you, reside here.” Dushyanta said, “O one with the excellent eyebrows! Since you have been born in Kushika’s lineage, this is worthy of you. Maidens born in royal lineages themselves choose a groom who is their equal.” The king knew about the rules for the time and the place. When she said “Oum”, 1300 following the dharma of gandharva rituals, he married Shakuntala. 1301 The royal sage’s semen was potent and he deposited his semen in his queen. Next morning, he left for his own city. In course of time, she delivered a son. In the forest, Kanva performed all the rites for the boy. The boy was so strong that he could seize a lion, bind it and play with it. His valour was impossible to resist and he was born as Hari’s portion. Taking him with her, the excellent woman went to her husband. However, the king did not accept his wife and son, both of whom were unblemished. All the creatures then heard an invisible voice speak from the sky. “O Dushyanta! A mother is a mere receptacle. 1302 A son belongs to the father from whom he has been born. Nurture your son. Do not insult Shakuntala. O divinity among men! A son belongs to the person whose semen it was and he delivers from Yama’s abode. You are the origin of the foetus and Shakuntala has spoken the truth.” When his father left for the other world, he became an extremely illustrious chakravarti. He was born from Hari’s portion and his greatness is sung about on earth. He possessed the sign of a chakra on his right palm and the mark of a lotus on the soles of his feet. The lord was consecrated as an emperor at a mahabhisheka and performed sacrifices. With Mamata’s son 1303 as the priest, he performed fifty-five horse sacrifices along the course of the Ganga. Along the course of the Yamuna, he performed seventy-eight horse sacrifices. Tying the horses there, he donated riches. The altars for the sacrificial fires of Bharata, Dushyanta’s son, were erected at excellent spots. Each brahmana received his share of one thousand badvas of cows. 1304 Binding one hundred and thirty three horses for sacrifices, he astounded the kings. The prosperity of Dushyanta’s son surpassed even that of the gods. No former king could achieve the greatness of Bharata’s deeds, nor will any king do so in the future, just as it is impossible to achieve heaven through the strength of one’s arms. In conquests, he killed all the Kiratas, Hunas, Yavanas, Andhras, Kankas, Khashas, Shakas and mlechchha kings who were against brahmanas. Earlier, the asuras had vanquished the gods and had dispatched the celestial women to rasatala. He defeated them and took them 1305 and their loved ones away from rasatala, restoring their original states. At that time, the subjects could milk heaven and earth for all the objects of desire. He ruled for twenty-seven thousand years and his wheel was unrestrained in every direction.

‘He was an emperor who was known as the guardian of the worlds. The emperor possessed opulence and prosperity. His wheel was unrestrained. But since everything to do with life was unreal, he no longer enjoyed it. O king! He had three revered wives, all from Vidarbha. However, they considered that the sons who were born from him did not resemble him. Therefore, they killed them. 1306 When he 1307 saw that his lineage was being destroyed, for the sake of a son, he performed a sacrifice to the Maruts and the Maruts presented Bharadvaja to him. When his brother’s wife 1308 was pregnant, Brihaspati tried to have intercourse with her. The foetus that was inside prevented him. He released his semen, cursing the foetus which was trying to prevent the act. Mamata wished to abandon the child, 1309 scared that her husband would cast her away because of this. However, the gods made them utter a shloka, giving a name to the child. Brihaspati said, “O foolish lady! Nurture this child, he has been born from both of us.” 1310 Mamata replied, “O Brihaspati! Nurture this child, he has been born from both of us.” Saying this, both mother and father abandoned him and he came to be known as Bharadvaja. Though the gods urged them, they were both of the view that this son was of no use. When his 1311 lineage was going to be destroyed, the Maruts bestowed this child, whom they had nurtured, on him.’Chapter 9(21)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Vitatha 1312 had a son named Manu. Manu’s sons were Brihatkshatra, Jaya, Mahavirya, Garga and Nara. Nara’s son was Samkriti. O descendant of the Pandu lineage! Samkriti’s sons were Guru and Rantideva. Rantideva’s greatness is chanted about, in this world and in the next. He gave away whatever riches came to him by chance. Without anything, the hungry one suffered, along with his family. Forty-eight days passed without his being able to drink water. In the morning, ghee, payasam, samyava 1313 and water presented itself before him by chance. With his family, he was hungry and thirsty, afflicted and trembling. They were about to eat. But at that time, an atithi brahmana arrived. He saw Hari everywhere. Therefore, full of devotion and respect, he gave him a share of the food. Having eaten, the brahmana left. O lord of the earth! When they were about to eat what was left and had been shared out, a vrishala arrived. Remembering Hari, he gave him a share too. After the shudra had left, another atithi arrived, surrounded by dogs. He said, “O king! Give me and my companions some food. We are hungry.” The lord received him with a great deal of respect and honour and gave him whatever was left, bowing down to the dogs and the master of the dogs. Only the water was left and just enough to satisfy one person. When they were about to drink, a pulkasa arrived and said, “Though I am inauspicious, give it to me.” He heard the pitiful words of the one who was extremely exhausted. Filled with compassion and greatly tormented, he addressed him in words that were like amrita. “I do not desire a supreme status from the lord, the eight kinds of powers, 1314 or freedom from rebirth. Let me remain inside all embodied beings and undergo their sufferings, so that they become free of miseries. He 1315 is suffering from hunger, thirst and exhaustion. My body is trembling. I am miserable and distressed. I am suffering from grief, unhappiness and confusion. He wants to remain alive. By giving him water and saving his life, all my sorrows will vanish.” The king was naturally patient and kind. Though he was about to die because he was thirsty, he said this and gave the water to the pulkasa. The lords of the three worlds can bestow all the fruits on those who desire these fruits. Fashioned by Vishnu’s maya, they had manifested themselves before him in those forms 1316 and now presented themselves. Without any desire and free of attachment, he bowed down before them. Filled with devotion, his mind was on the supreme and illustrious Vasudeva. His mind’s support was the lord and he desired nothing else. O king! Like a dream, maya, consisting of the gunas, vanished before him. Those who followed Rantideva acquired similar sentiments because of their association. All these yogis became devoted to Narayana.

‘Garga’s son was Shini and Shini’s son was Gargya. Thus, the lineage of a brahmana originated from that of a kshatriya. Mahavirya’s son was Duritakshya and his sons were Trayyaruni, Kavi and Pushkararuni. They obtained the status of brahmanas. Brihadkshatra’s son was Hasti, who built Hastinapura. Hasti’s sons were Ajamidha, Dvimidha and Purumidha. Ajamidha’s descendants were Priyamedha and other brahmanas. Ajamidha had another son, Brihadishu and his son was Brihaddhanu. Brihaddhanu’s son was Brihatkaya and his son was Jayadratha. Jayadratha’s son was Vishada and Vishada’s son was Senajit. Senajit’s sons were Ruchirashva, Dridhahanu, Kashya and Vatsa. Ruchirashva’s son was Para and Para’s son was Prithusena. Para had a son named Nipa and Nipa had one hundred sons. Through Kritvi, Shuka’s daughter, Nipa had Brahmadatta as a son. Through his wife, Gau, this yogi had a son named Vishvaksena. Through the advice of Jaigishavya, Vishvaksena composed a treatise on yoga. Vishvaksena’s son was Udakshvana and Udakshvana’s son was Bhallada. These are known as Brihadishu’s descendants. Dvimidha’s son was Yavinara and Yavinara’s son was known as Kritiman. Kritiman’s son was named Satyadhriti, Satyadhriti’s son was Dridhanemi and Dridhanemi’s son was Suparshva. Suparshva’s son was Sumati and Sumati’s son was Sannati. Sannati’s son was Kriti. Having used yoga to obtain them from Hiranyanabha, he composed six earlier Samhitas of the Sama Veda. Kriti’s son was Nipa and Nipa’s son was Ugrayudha. Ugrayudha’s son was Kshemya, Kshemya’s son was Suvira and Suvia’s son was Ripunjaya. Ripunjaya’s son was known as Bahuratha. Purumidha did not have any sons. Through his wife Nalini, Ajamidha had Nila as a son and Nila’s son was Shanti. Shanti’s son was Sushanti, Sushanti’s son was Puruja and Puruja’s son was Arka. Arka’s son was Bharmyashva. Beginning with Mudgala, Bharmyashva had five sons. The others were Yavinara, Brihadishu, Kampilya and Sanjaya. Bharmyashva said, “O sons! These five can protect my kingdom. They were thus known as Panchalas. 1317 From Mudgala evolved the gotra of brahmanas known as Moudgalya. Bharmyashva’s son, Mudgala, had twins as offspring. The male was Divodasa and the daughter was Ahalya. Through Goutama, she had Shatananda as a son. Shatananda’s son was Satyadhriti and he was accomplished in dhanurveda. His son was Sharadvan. When he saw Urvashi, he released his semen on a clump of reeds and an auspicious couple was produced from this. When Shantanu went on a hunt, he was overcome by compassion at seeing them and accepted them. The boy was Kripa and the daughter was Kripi, Drona’s wife.’Chapter 9(22)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! Divodasa’s son was Mitrayu and Mitrayu’s sons were Chyavana, Sudasa, Sahadeva and Somaka. Somaka had one hundred sons. Jantu was the oldest and Prishata was the youngest son. Prishata’s son was Drupada, who possessed every kind of prosperity. Drupada’s daughter was Droupadi and Dhrishtadyumna and others were his sons. Dhrishtadyumna’s son was Dhrishtaketu. These descendants of Bharmyashva are known as Panchalakas. 1318

‘Ajamidha had another son, Riksha, and Riksha’s son was Samvarana. Through Tapati, Surya’s daughter, Samvarana’s son was Kuru, the lord of Kurukshetra. Kuru’s sons were Parikshit, Sudhanu, Jahnu and Nishadashva. Sudhanu’s son was Suhotra, Suhotra’s son was Chyavana and Chyavana’s son was Kriti, Uparichara Vasu’s father. The foremost among Uparichara Vasu’s sons was Brihadratha. Of the others, Kushamba, Matsya, Pratyagra and Chedipa were the rulers of Chedi. Brihadratha’s son was Kushagra and Kushagra’s son was Rishabha. Rishabha’s son was Satyahita, Satyahita’s son was Pushpavan and Pushpavan’s son was Jahu. Through another wife, Brihadratha had a son who was born in two parts. When his mother threw him away, Jara playfully joined the two parts and said, “Live! Live!” The son named Jarasandha resulted. 1319 Jarasandha’s son was Sahadeva, Sahadeva’s son was Somapi and Somapi’s son was Shrutashrava. Shrutashrava’s son, Parikshit, had no offspring. Jahnu’s son was Suratha. Suratha’s son was Viduratha and Viduratha’s son was Sarvabhouma. Sarvabhouma’s son was Jayasena, Jayasena’s son was Radhika and Radhika’s son was Ayuta. Ayuta’s son was Krodhana, Krodhana’s son was Devatithi, Devatithi’s son was Rishya, Rishya’s son was Dilipa and Dilipa’s son was Pratipa. Pratipa’s sons were Devapi, Shantanu and Bahlika. Abandoning his father’s kingdom, Devapi went to the forest. Shantanu, who had formerly been known as Mahabhisha, became the king. When he touched anything with his hands, even if it happened to be old, became young. Since everything obtained peace 1320 through the touch of his hands, he became Shantanu. The lord did not rain down in his kingdom for twelve years. The brahmanas told Shantanu, “By enjoying what belongs to your elder brother, you have become a parivetta. 1321 For the prosperity of the city and the kingdom, quickly give the kingdom to your elder brother.” Thus addressed by the brahmanas, he requested his elder brother. However, he replied, “You have been urged by your ministers and brahmanas to deviate from the words of the Vedas. They only speak a lot.” 1322 At this, the god showered down. Resorting to yoga, Devapi resides in Kalapagrama. When the lunar dynasty is destroyed in kali yuga, at the beginning of krita yuga, he will establish it again. Bahlika’s son was Somadatta. Somadatta had three sons—Bhuri, Bhurishrava and Shala. Through Ganga, Shantanu’s son was Bhishma, who was in control of his atman. He was best among those who know all kinds of dharma. He was wise and a great devotee of the illustrious one. Among the collection of heroes, he was the foremost. He even satisfied Rama 1323 in an encounter. Through the daughter of a dasha, Shantanu had a son named Chitrangada, the younger son was Vichitravirya. 1324 Chitrangada was killed by a gandharva named Chitrangada.

‘Through her, 1325 Parashara had a son who was Hari’s portion himself. This was the sage Krishna, the protector of the Vedas. I have studied this 1326 from him. The illustrious Badarayana ignored his own disciples, Paila and the others. I, his son, am serene. Therefore, he instructed me about this supreme secret. Both Ambika and Ambalika, the daughters of the king of Kashi, were forcibly abducted from their svayamvara. 1327 Vichitravirya married them. His heart was attached to them. However, he had tuberculosis and died. Badarayana was instructed by his mother to generate offspring from his brother’s kshetra. Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura were born in this way. O king! Through Gandhari, Dhritarashtra had one hundred sons. Duryodhana was the eldest among them and the daughter was Duhshala. Because of a curse, Pandu was prohibited from sexual intercourse. Through his wife, Kunti, and Dharma, Anila 1328 and Indra, he had three maharatha sons. Yudhishthira was the foremost. Through the Nasatyas, Madri had Nakula and Sahadeva as sons. Through her five husbands, Droupadi had five sons. They were your fathers. Prativindhya was Yudhishthira’s son, Shrutasena was Vrikodara’s son, Shrutakirti was Arjuna’s son, Shatanika was Nakula’s son and Shrutakarma was Sahadeva’s son. There were other sons too. Through Pouravi, Yudhishthira had Devaka, through Hidimba Bhimasena had Ghatotkacha and through Kali, Bhimasena had Sarvagata. Through Vijaya, Parvata’s daughter, Sahadeva had Suhotra. Through Karenumati, Nakula had Naramitra. Arjuna had Iravan through Ulupi and Babhruvahana through the daughter of the lord of Manipura. Since he was the son of a putrika, he was regarded as a son. 1329 Your father, Abhimanyu, was Subhadra’s son. He was brave and defeated all the atirathas. 1330 You were born through him and Uttara. When the Kuru lineage was about to be exterminated because of the energy of the brahmastra weapon of Drona’s son, you were saved from death and made alive through Krishna’s favours.

‘O son! You have four sons. Janamejaya is the eldest and the others are Shrutasena, Bhimasena and the valiant Ugrasena. Knowing that you have died because of Takshaka, Janamejaya will be angry. He will perform a snake sacrifice, at which, snakes will be offered as oblations into the fire. He will appoint Tura, Kavasha’s son, as the priest and perform sacrifices. He will perform horse sacrifices and conquer the earth in every direction. His son will be Shatanika, who will study the three 1331 from Yajnavalkya. He will obtain knowledge of weapons and knowledge of rituals. He will learn about the supreme from Shounaka. His son will be Sahasranika, Sahasranika’s son will be Ashvamedhaja, Ashvamedhaja’s son will be Asimakrishna and Asimakrishna’s son will be Nemichakra. When Gajasahvya 1332 will be flooded by the river, the virtuous one will reside in Koushambi. His son will be Chitraratha and Chitraratha’s son will be Kaviratha. His son will be Vrishtiman and Vrishtiman’s son will be King Mahipati. His son will be Sunitha. Sunitha’s son will be Nrichakshu and Nrichakshu’s son will be Sukhinala. Sukhinala’s son will be Pariplava, Pariplava’s son will be Sunaya, Sunaya’s son will be Nripanjaya, Nripanjaya’s son will be Durva and Durva’s son will be Timi. Timi’s son will be Brihadratha, Brihadratha’s son will be Sudasa, Sudasa’s son will be Shatanika, Shatanika’s son will be Durdamana and Durdamana’s son will be Mahinara. His son will be Dandapani and Dandapani’s son will be Nimi. Nimi’s son will be Kshemaka. The brahmana and kshatriya lineages, revered by gods and rishis, will result in this way. In kali yuga, when Kshemaka becomes the king, this lineage will end. I will now tell you about the future kings of Magadha. Sahadeva’s son will be Marjari, Marjari’s son will be Shrutashrava, Shrutashrava’s son will be Ayutayu, Ayutayu’s son will be Niramitra, Niramitra’s son will be Sunakshatra, Sunakshatra’s son will be Brihatsena, Brihatsena’s son will be Karmajit, Karmajit’s son will be Sritanjaya, Sritanjaya’s son will be Vipra and Vipra’s son will be Shuchi. Shuchi’s son will be Kshema, Kshema’s son will be Suvrata, Suvrata’s son will be Dharmasutra, Dharmasutra’s son will be Sama, Sama’s son will be Dyumatsena, Dyumatsena’s son will be Sumati and Subali will be born from Sumati. Subali’s son will be Sunitha, Sunitha’s son will be Satyajit, Satyajit’s son will be Vishvajit and Vishvajit’s son will be Ripunjaya. The kings of the Brihadratha lineage will rule for one thousand years.’Chapter 9(23)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Anu 1333 had three sons—Sabhanara, Chakshu and Paroksha. Sabhanara’s son was Kalanara and Kalanara’s son was Srinjaya. His son was Janamejaya, Janamejaya’s son was Mahashala and Mahashala’s son was Mahamana. Ushinara and Titikshu were the sons of Mahamana. Ushinara’s four sons were Shibi, Vana, Shami and Daksha. Shibi had four sons—Vrishadarbha, Sudhira, Madra and Kaikeya. In this way, Titikshu’s son was Rushadratha, Rushadratha’s son was Hema and Hema’s son was Sutapa. Bali was born from Sutapa. In King Bali’s kshetra, Dirghatama had Anga, Vanga and Kalinga as sons and also those known as Suhma, Pundra and Andhra. In the east, these six ruled over kingdoms that were known by their own names. Anga had a son named Khanapana and Khanapana’s son was Diviratha. Diviratha’s son was Chitraratha, who had no offspring. He was also known as Romapada and his friend, Dasharatha, gave him his own daughter, Shanta. He bestowed her on Rishyashringa, who married her. When the god did not shower down, beautiful women brought that son of a deer, 1334 tempting him with singing, dancing, musical instruments, seductions, embraces and worship. To obtain offspring, the king 1335 performed a sacrifice to the lord of the Maruts. 1336 He obtained offspring, just as Dasharatha, who was without offspring, obtained offspring. Romapada’s son was Chaturanga and Chaturanga’s son was Prithulaksha. Prithulaksha’s sons were Brihadratha, Brihatkarma and Brihadbhanu. The first had a son named Brihanmana and Jayadratha was born from him. Through Sambhuti, Jayadratha had a son named Vijaya. Vijaya’s son was Dhriti, Dhriti’s son was Dhritavrata, Dhritavrata’s son was Satkarma and Satkarma’s son was Adhiratha. When he 1337 was sporting on the banks of the Ganga, he found an infant in a basket. The child had been abandoned by Kunti, since she was not married then. Being without offspring, he brought him up as his son. 1338 Karna’s son was Vrishasena and he became a lord of the earth.

‘Druhyu’s 1339 son was Babhru, Babhru’s son was Setu, Setu’s son was Arabdha, Arabdha’s son was Gandhara, Gandhara’s son was Dharma, Dharma’s son was Dhrita, Dhrita’s son was Durmana and Durmana’s son was Pracheta. Pracheta had one hundred sons. These sons were the lords of the mlechchha regions and resided in the northern direction.

‘Turvasu’s 1340 son was Vahni, Vahni’s son was Bhaga and Bhaga’s son was Bhanuman. Bhanuman’s son was Tribhanu and Tribhanu’s son was the generous Karandhama. Karandhama’s son was Marut. Since Marut was without any sons, he adopted a son from the Puru lineage. 1341 Desiring the kingdom that belonged to his own lineage, Dushyanta returned there.

‘I will now describe the lineage of Yadu. If a man hears this, he is freed from all sins. This is extremely sacred and destroys all the sins of men. Assuming human form, the illustrious paramatman adopted the form of an avatara in this. It is said that Yadu had four sons—Sahasrajit, Kroshta, Nala and Ripu. The son of the eldest was Shatajit. Shatajit’s sons were Mahahaya, Renuhaya and Haihaya. Haihaya’s son was Dharma and Dharma’s son was Netra and Netra was the father of Kunti. 1342 Kunti’s son was Sohanji, Sohanji’s son was Mahishman and Mahishman’s son was Bhadrasenaka. Bhadrasena’s 1343 sons were Durmada and Dhanaka. Dhanaka’s sons were Kritavirya, Kritagni, Kritavarma and Kritouja. Kritavirya’s son was Arjuna, the lord of the seven dvipas. From Dattatreya, born as Hari’s portion, he obtained the great qualities of yoga. No other kings could follow the path traversed by Kartavirya, 1344 in sacrifices, donations, austerities, yoga, learning, valour, compassion and other traits. Indeed, he enjoyed unrestricted prowess for eighty-five thousand years. He enjoyed undecayed prosperity and memory and the satisfaction of the six 1345 was unmitigated. He had one thousand sons. However, after the battle, 1346 only five remained alive—Jayadhvaja, Shurasena, Vrishabha, Madhu and Urjita. Jayadhvaja’s son was Talajangha, who had one hundred sons. The kshatriyas known as Talajanghas were destroyed by the energy of Ourva. 1347 Among these sons, Vitihotra was the eldest. Vitihotra’s son was known as Madhu and Madhu’s son was Vrishni. Out of Madhu’s one hundred sons, Vrishni was the eldest. Therefore, the lineage came to be known after his name. O king! They are known as Madhavas, Vrishnis or Yadavas.

‘Yadu’s son, Kroshta, had a son named Vrijinavan. His son was Svahi and Svahi’s son was Rusheku. Rusheku’s son was Chitraratha. The great and glorious yogi, the immensely fortunate Shashabindu, was born to Chitraratha. He was an unvanquished chakravarti and possessed fourteen jewels. 1348 He had ten thousand wives. Through each, he had ten immensely illustrious sons. Thus, he had one million sons. Among these sons, six were prominent. The one known as Prithushrava had a son named Dharma and Dharma’s son was Ushanas, who performed one hundred horse sacrifices. Ushanas had a son named Ruchaka. Ruchaka had five sons, known as Purujit, Rukma, Rukmeshu, Prithu and Jyamagha. Hear about them. Jyamagha’s wife was Shaibya. She was childless. However, scared of her, Shaibya’s husband did not marry again. Once, from an enemy’s house, he brought a woman who was meant for enjoyment. 1349 On seeing her on the chariot, Shaibya became angry with her husband. “O cheat! Who is this, on my place in the chariot?” “This is your daughter-in-law,” was the reply. Smiling, Shaibya told her husband, “I am barren. Nor do I have a co-wife. How can she be my daughter-in-law?” “O queen! You will give birth and she will be suitable then.” He had caused delight to the vishvadevas and the ancestors, who approved. Therefore, in the course of time, Shaibya conceived and gave birth to an auspicious son. He was known as Vidarbha and married the lady who had been accepted as a daughter-in-law.’Chapter 9(24)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Through her, Vidarbha had two sons named Kusha and Kratha. There was a third named Romapada, a delight of the Vidarbha lineage. Romapada’s son was Babhru and Babhru’s son was Kriti. Kriti’s son was Ushika. Ushika’s son was Chedi and the kings of Chedi were descended through him. Kratha’s son was Kunti, 1350 Kunti’s son was Dhrishti and Dhrishti’s son was Nivriti. Nivriti’s son was Dasharha and his son was Vyoma. Vyoma’s son was Jimuta, Jimuta’s son was Vikriti, Vikriti’s son was Bhimaratha, Bhimaratha’s son was Navaratha and Navaratha’s son was Dasharatha. Dasharatha’s son was Shakuni, Shakuni’s son was Karambhi, Karambhi’s son was Devarata, Devarata’s son was Devakshatra, Devakshatra’s son was Madhu, Madhu’s son was Kuruvasha and Kuruvasha’s son was Anu. Anu’s son was Puruhotra, Puruhotra’s son was Ayu and Ayu’s son was Satvata. O revered one! Satvata had seven sons—Bhajamana, Bhaji, Divya, Vrishni, Devavridha, Andhaka and Mahabhoja. Through one wife, Bhajamana had the sons Nimlochi, Kimkina and Dhrishti. O lord! Through another wife, he had three sons—Shatajit, Sahasrajit and Ayutajit. Devavridha’s son was Babhru. About them, 1351 a shloka is read. “Whatever is heard about them from a distance, is what is seen at close quarters. Babhru is best among men and Devavridha is like the gods. Through Babhru and Devavridha, fourteen thousand and sixty-five men have obtained immortality.” Mahabhoja was exceedingly devoted to dharma. Those in his lineage are known as the Bhojas.

‘O scorcher of enemies! Vrishni’s son was Sumitra, Sumitra’s son was Yudhajit, Yudhajit’s son was Shini, Shini’s son was Anamitra and Anamitra’s son was Nimna. Nimna’s two sons were Satrajit and Prasena. Anamitra had another son known as Shini and his son was Satyaka. Satyaka’s son was Yuyudhana, 1352 Yuyudhana’s son was Jaya, Jaya’s son was Kuni and Kuni’s son was Yugandhara. Anamitra had another son known as Vrishni. Vrishni’s sons were Shvaphalaka and Chitraratha. Through Gandini, Shvaphalaka had twelve famous sons and also Akrura as foremost among them. The others were Asanga, Sarameya, Mridura, Mriduvid, Giri, Dharmavriddha, Sukarma, Kshetrapeksha, Arimardana, Shatrughna, Gandhamada and Pratibahu as the twelfth. Their sister was known as Suchara. Akrura also had two sons, Devavana and Upadeva. Chitraratha’s sons were Prithu, Vidura and many others. All of them extended the delight of the Vrishni lineage. There were Kukura, Bhajamana, Shuchi and Kambalabarhisha. 1353 Kukura’s son was Vahni, Vahni’s son was Viloma, Viloma’s son was Kapotaroma and Kapotaroma’s son was Anu, Tumburu’s friend. 1354 Anu’s son was Andhaka, Andhaka’s son was Dundubhi, Dundubhi’s son was Aridyota and Aridyota’s son was Punarvasu. Punarvasu’s son was Ahuka and his daughter was Ahuki. Ahuka’s sons were Devaka and Ugrasena. Devaka had four sons—Devavan, Upadeva, Sudeva and Devavardhana. O king! They had seven sisters, Dhritadevaa and others. These others were Shantidevaa, Upadevaa, Shridevaa, Devarakshitaa, Sahadevaa and Devaki. Vasudeva married them all. The sons of Ugrasena were Kamsa, Sunama, Nyagrodha, Kanka, Shanku, Suhu, Rashtrapala, Dhrishti and Tushtiman. Ugrasena’s daughters were Kamsaa, Kamsavati, Kankaa, Shurabhu and Rashtrapalikaa. They were the wives of Vasudeva’s younger brothers. Viduratha’s 1355 son was Shura, Shura’s son was Bhajamana, Bhajamana’s son was Shini, Shini’s son was Svayambhoja and it is said that Svyambhoja’s son was Hridika. Hridika’s sons were Devamida, Shatadhanu and Kritavarma. Devamidha’s son was Shura and his wife was named Marisha. Through her, he had ten unblemished sons—Vasudeva, Devabhaga, Devashrava, Anaka, Srinjaya, Shyamaka, Kanka, Shamika, Vatsaka and Vrika. Vasudeva, Hari’s father and origin, is spoken of as Anakadundubhi, because kettledrums and larger drums of the gods were sounded at the time of his birth. 1356 Their sisters were Pritha, Shrutadevaa, Shrutakirti, Shrutashravaa and Rajadhidevi. These sisters were the five daughters.

‘Since his friend Kunti had no offspring, her father 1357 bestowed Pritha on him. 1358 Having satisfied Durvasa, she obtained from him the knowledge of summoning the gods. To test the power of this, she summoned the pure sun god. She was astounded in her mind when she saw the god instantly arrive. “O god! I used the mantra only to test it. Please pardon me and leave.” “O slender-waisted one! The sight of the gods is never futile. I will give you a son. However, I will also act so that your virginity remains intact.” Thus, the sun god impregnated her womb and returned to the firmament. A son was immediately born and he was like a second sun. Scared of people, with difficulty, she abandoned him in the water of the river. Your great-grandfather Pandu, for whom truth was his valour, married her.

‘Vriddhasharma of Karusha married Shrutadevaa. Dantavakra was born from her. He had earlier been Diti’s son, 1359 but had been cursed by the rishis. Dhrishtaketu of Kekaya married Shrutakirti and had five sons in the Kekaya lineage, Santardana and others. Through Rajadhidevi, Jayasena had two sons who were the kings of Avanti. 1360 Damaghosha, the king of Chedi, married Shrutashravaa. Shishupala was her son. That is how his birth is described. Through Kamsaa, Devabhaga had two sons—Chitraketu and Brihadbala. Through Kamsavati, Devashrava had two sons—Suvira and Ishuman. Through Kankaa, Anaka had Satyajit and Purujit as sons. Through Rashtrapali, 1361 Srinjaya had Vrisha, Durmarshana and others as sons. Through Shurabhumi, Shyamaka had Harikesha and Hiranyaksha as sons. Through the apsara named Mishrakeshi, Vatsaka had Vrika and other sons. Through Durvakshi, Vrika had Taksha, Pushkara, Shala and others as sons. Through Sudamini, Shamika had Sumitra, Arjunapala and other sons. Through Karnika, Kanka had Ritadhaman and Jaya as sons.

‘The wives of Anakadundubhi were Pouravi, Rohini, Bhadra, Madira, Rochana, Ila and Devaki, Devaki being the foremost. 1362 Through Rohini, Vasudeva had Bala, Gada, Sarana, Durmada, Vipula, Dhruva, Krita and other sons. Through Pouravi, his sons were Subhadra, Bhadrabahu, Durmada and others, starting with Bhuta. There were twelve in all. Through Madira, his sons were Nanda, Upananda, Kritaka, Shura and others. Koushalya 1363 had one son, Keshi, and he was a delight of the lineage. Through Rochana were born Hasta, Hemangada and others. Through Ila were born Uruvalka and others. They were foremost in the Yadu lineage. Through Dhritadevaa, Anakadundubhi had only one son—Viprishtha. O king! Through Shantidevaa, the sons were Shrama, Pratishruta and others. Through Upadevaa, he had ten kings as sons—Kalpavarsha and others. Through Shridevaa, he had six sons—Vasu, Hamsa, Suvamsha and others. Through Devarakshitaa, he had nine sons—Gada and others. Through Sahadevaa, Vasudeva had eight sons. Among these, Puruvishruta was the foremost. Just as Dharma gave birth to the Vasus, 1364 through Devaki, Vasudeva had eight sons. They were Kirtimat, Sushena, the generous Bhadrasena, Riju, Sammardana, Bhadra and Samkarshana, the lord of serpents. 1365 The eighth was indeed the lord Hari himself. O king! Your grandmother, the immensely fortunate Subhadra, was their daughter. Whenever there is a decline in dharma and wickedness prospers, at that time, the lord and illustrious Hari creates himself. 1366 O lord of the earth! There is no other reason behind his birth or deeds. This is the lord’s own maya. He is the supreme atman who witnesses everything. It is his maya that leads to the creation, preservation and destruction of beings. It is through his favours that there is existence and one obtains nivritti and realization of the atman. The lords of the akshouhinis were asuras who were unfit to be kings. They attacked themselves and he sought to reduce the burden of the earth. With Samkarshana, the illustrious Madhusudana performed immeasurable deeds that even the minds of the gods cannot comprehend. As favour to his devotees, he extended his extremely auspicious fame and removed the grief and misery of those who will be born in kali yuga. 1367 His sacred fame is the supreme of tirthas. If a person uses his ears like hands joined in salutation and touches and hears this nectar with his ears, all his desire for karma is instantly destroyed. 1368 His deeds were eternally praised by the Bhojas, Vrishnis, Andhakas, Madhus, Shurasenas, Dasharhas, Kurus, Srinjayas and Pandus. The valour of his pastimes was marked by gentle glances and generous words. The world of men was delighted with his form, charming in all its limbs. His face was beautiful, with earrings shaped like makaras. His ears were beautiful. His cheeks were radiant. His dalliant smiles indicated his excellent prosperity, as if there were continuous festivities. The eyes were not satisfied at drinking him in. Men and women were delighted and became angry with Nimi. 1369 After being born, he went from his father’s house to Vraja, so as to enhance its prosperity. He killed the enemies. He had many wives and through them, he had hundreds of sons. Following the rituals, he worshipped himself through sacrifices and spread these principles among people. To remove the earth’s great burden, he used his glances to destroy and cleanse the Kurus by creating dissension in their minds, also destroying the armies of the kings in the battle. He then announced the victory as if it was Jaya’s. 1370 Instructing Uddhava about supreme knowledge, he then returned to his own abode.’

This ends the Ninth Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 2

Tenth Skandha

Chapter 10(1): 69 shlokas

Chapter 10(2): 42 shlokas

Chapter 10(3): 53 shlokas

Chapter 10(4): 46 shlokas

Chapter 10(5): 32 shlokas

Chapter 10(6): 44 shlokas

Chapter 10(7): 37 shlokas

Chapter 10(8): 52 shlokas

Chapter 10(9): 23 shlokas

Chapter 10(10): 43 shlokas

Chapter 10(11): 58 shlokasChapter 10(1)

The king said, ‘You have described the solar and lunar dynasties in detail and also the extremely wonderful conduct of the kings of both the lineages. O supreme sage! Yadu was accomplished and devoted to dharma. Please tell us about Vishnu’s valour and descent in that lineage, along with his portion. 1371 The illustrious creator of all beings descended in Yadu’s lineage. What did the atman of the universe do? Tell us that in detail. Those deeds are chanted about by those who have withdrawn from desire. They are pleasant to the ears and to the mind and are like medication to those on earth. Other than a person who slaughters animals, 1372 which man will stay away from a recital of Uttamashloka’s qualities? Using him like a raft, my grandfathers crossed over the Kourava army, which was like an ocean that is impossible to cross, treating it like a puddle. 1373 It had timingilas in the form of Devavrata and other atirathas and even the immortals would have found it difficult to defeat. I am the only son and seed left of the Kurus and the Pandavas. The weapon of Drona’s son attacked and scorched my limbs. My mother sought refuge with him. He entered her womb and seizing his chakra, protected me. His valour is inside and outside all those who possess bodies. He is Purusha in the form of time. He is the one who confers death and immortality. Using his maya, he assumed human form. O learned one! Speak about him. You said that Samkarshana Rama was Rohini’s son. Without changing bodies, how could he have been associated with Devaki’s womb? Why did the illustrious Mukunda leave his father’s house to go to Vraja? Along with his relatives, where did the lord of the Satvatas dwell? What did Keshava do, while residing in Vraja, and in Madhu’s city? Why did he kill Kamsa, his mother’s brother? This is not sanctioned. After assuming the form of a man, for how many years did he live among the Vrishnis in Yadu’s city? 1374 How many wives did the lord have? O one who knows everything! O sage! I am full of faith and you should tell me all this in detail and everything else that Krishna did. I have given up drinking even water and this extremely unbearable hunger does not make me suffer, since I am drinking up this immortal account of Hari as it emerges from your lotus mouth.’

Suta said, ‘O descendant of the Bhrigu lineage! 1375 Vyasa’s illustrious son heard the words spoken by Vishnurata 1376 and applauded them, worshipping him. The foremost among devotees started to describe Krishna’s conduct, which destroys the sins of kali yuga.’

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O supreme among royal sages! Since you have developed this undeviating fondness towards Vasudeva’s account, your mind has been properly fixed. Questions about Vasudeva’s account purify three kinds of men—those who ask, those who speak and those who hear, like the water that washes his feet. 1377 Hundreds and thousands of armies of insolent kings, who were actually daityas, overwhelmed the earth. Suffering from this great burden, she went and sought refuge with Brahma. She assumed the form of a cow that was distressed and lamenting piteously, tears flowing from her eyes. She approached the lord and told him about her miseries. Brahma understood. With her, the gods and the one with the three eyes, 1378 he went to the shores of the ocean of milk. Having gone there, he controlled himself and worshipped Vrishakapi, the Purusha, the god of the gods, the protector of the universe, through purusha sukta. 1379 While meditating, Brahma heard a sound vibrate in the sky. He told the gods, “O immortals! Hear from me Purusha’s instructions. Without any delay, quickly do what you have been asked. The supreme being already knew about the earth’s anxiety. Use your portions to take birth in the lineage of the Yadus and remain on earth as long as the lord of the lords roams around on earth, using his powers as time to reduce her burden. The illustrious and supreme Purusha will himself appear in Vasudeva’s house. To cause him pleasure, let the celestial women also take birth. To cause pleasure to Hari, the god Ananta, the self-ruling one with the thousand hoods, will be born as Vasudeva’s portion as his elder brother. The illustrious Vishnumaya confounds the universe. Instructed by the lord and to accomplish his purpose, she will be born in her own portion.” The lord who is the master of the Prajapatis instructed the large number of immortals in this way. Having assured the earth with comforting words, he returned to his own supreme abode.

‘Earlier, Shurasena, the lord of the Yadus, had gone to reside in the city of Mathura. He enjoyed the kingdoms of Mathura and Shurasena. Mathura became the capital of all the kings among the Yadavas. Hari is always present there. On one occasion, Vasudeva, Shura’s son, married Devaki and with his newly wedded wife, ascended his chariot and departed. Kamsa, Ugrasena’s son, wished to do what would bring pleasure to his sister. Therefore, surrounded by hundreds of golden chariots, he seized the reins of the horses. Devaka was fond of his daughter. While she was leaving, as dowry, he gave his daughter four hundred elephants with golden harnesses, fifteen thousand horses, eighteen hundred chariots and two hundred ornamented and delicate maidservants. Conches, trumpets, drums and kettledrums were sounded simultaneously. O son! With these auspicious signs, the groom and the bride got ready to leave. Along the route, while Kamsa was holding the reins, an invisible voice spoke to him. “O foolish one! You are conveying her. But her eighth child will kill you.” He was a deceitful and wicked person, the worst of the Bhoja lineage. Thus addressed, he held a sword in his hand and seized his sister by the hair, inclined to kill her. He was about to commit a reprehensible, violent and shameful deed. The immensely fortunate Vasudeva addressed him in these pacifying words. Vasudeva said, “Your qualities are praised by the brave and you have brought fame to the Bhoja lineage. How can you kill your sister, that too, on the occasion of her marriage. She is a woman. O brave one! As soon as a person with a body is born, death comes along with it. It might be today, or it might be after one hundred years. But for everyone with life, death is certain. Whenever the body attains panchatva, the jivatman helplessly follows the course of karma. It gives up the former body and obtains another body instead. A person places one foot on the ground and advances with the other foot. In exactly that way, like a caterpillar moving from one leaf to another, the jivatman follows the course of karma. When a person’s wishes pervade the consciousness, because he has seen an object or heard about it, his mind thinks about it and he sees it in his dreams, identifying with it. This body is like that. One obtains it and forgets everything else. Urged by destiny, one runs around here and there, right up to the time of death, the mind overcome by these passions. 1380 The jivatman’s mind is immersed in the five senses and the gunas fashioned by maya. Surrendering to these, he is born along with these. When they are reflected in water in an earthen vessel, depending on the force of the wind, stellar bodies appear in different shapes. In that way, the jivatman follows an attachment to gunas his own maya has created and he is confounded. Therefore, if one is interested in one’s own welfare, one should not act so as to cause injury in this way. A person who causes harm faces fear from others. 1381 This girl is your younger sister. She is like your daughter and should be pitied. You are loving towards the distressed and you should not kill a fortunate one like her.” However, the terrible person did not comprehend these words of sama and bheda. 1382 O Kouravya! Since he was following the vow of demons, he would not be restrained.

‘Realizing that he was determined, Anakadundubhi thought that the time had come to dissuade him through the use of other means. “As long as there is intelligence and strength, an intelligent person must try to avoid death. Even after this, if it cannot be averted, the embodied being does not suffer from any crime. He is like death and by handing over my sons to him, I can save this pitiable woman. After all, that is only if sons are born to me and if this Death 1383 does not die before that. Perhaps the opposite may happen. 1384 The course of destiny is impossible to understand. The imminent must be averted, even though what is averted may occur again. There is no evident reason for fire avoiding one piece of wood and consuming another piece of wood. It can be nothing other than destiny. In exactly the same way, the reason for an embodied being’s separation from a body and union with another body cannot be ascertained.” He thus contemplated the situation as best as he could. Thereafter, Shouri 1385 honoured and showed a great deal of respect to the wicked one who was in front of him. With a pleasant face that was like a lotus, he spoke to the violent and shameless one. Though his mind grieved, he smiled and said, “O amiable one! The invisible voice may have said that, but you have nothing to fear from her. Since you are facing fear, I will hand over all her sons to you.” Kamsa understood that his words were full of meaning and refrained from killing his sister. He praised Vasudeva, who was pleased, and entered his house. Devaki was full of all the gods. After some time, year after year, she gave birth to eight sons and a daughter. Anakadundubhi was extremely anxious that he should not break his promise. Therefore, with difficulty, he handed over the first born son, Kirtiman, to Kamsa. What can’t a virtuous person withstand? What does a learned person hope for? There is nothing that inferior people will not do. However, for a person who upholds the atman, what will be difficult to give up? O king! On beholding Shouri’s equanimity and adherence to the truth, Kamsa was satisfied in his mind. He smiled and spoke to him. “Let the boy be returned. There is no fear on his account. My death has been destined from the eighth son that the two of you have.” Agreeing, Anakadundubhi accepted the son and left. However, he wasn’t happy at the words spoken by the wicked person who had not conquered his atman. Nanda and the other cowherds in Vraja, their women, Vasudeva and the others among the Vrishnis, Devaki and the other women among the Yadus and the relatives, kin and well-wishers of both of them, 1386 even if they followed Kamsa, were all generally divinities.

‘Once, Narada had come to Kamsa and had told him that the illustrious one would make efforts to slay the daityas who were increasing the heavy burden of the earth. When the rishi departed, Kamsa formed the view that the Yadus were gods and that Vishnu would be born from Devaki’s womb, so as to slay him. Therefore, he bound Devaki and Vasudeva in iron shackles and imprisoned them in their own house. As soon as each son was born, suspecting him to be Aja, 1387 he had him killed. In general, kings on earth who are greedy and envious of the lives of others, kill mothers, fathers, brothers and all well-wishers. Earlier, he 1388 had been a giant asura named Kalanemi and had been slain by Vishnu. Having been born again and having got to know this, 1389 he became an enemy of the Yadus. The immensely strong one even imprisoned his own father, Ugrasena, the lord of the Yadus, Bhojas and Andhakas, and enjoyed the land of Shurasena.’Chapter 10(2)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Using the support of Pralamba, Baka, Chanura, Trinavarta, Mahashana, 1390 Mushtika, Arishta, Dvivida, Putana, Keshi, Dhenuka and other asuras and assisted by kings like Bana, Bhouma and Magadha, the powerful one caused carnage among the Yadus. 1391 Oppressed by him, they went to regions like Kuru, Panchala, Kekaya, Shalva, Vidarbha, Nishadha, Videha and Kosala. However, some relatives served him and followed his instructions. Ugrasena’s son killed six of Devaki’s sons. After this, a portion of Vishnu, known as Ananta, entered Devaki’s womb and enhanced her joy and misery. 1392 The illustrious atman of the universe knew about the fear caused by Kamsa to the Yadus, who had accepted him as their protector. He instructed Yogamaya, “O goddess! O fortunate on! Go to Vraja, ornamented by cowherds and cattle. Rohini, Vasudeva’s wife, is with Nanda in Gokula. 1393 Anxious about Kamsa, the others 1394 are residing in secret places. My portion, known as Shesha, is the foetus in Devaki’s womb. Take him from there and place him in Rohini’s womb. O auspicious one! In my portion, I will then be born from Devaki’s womb. You will be born from Yashoda, Nanda’s wife. Men will worship you as the supreme goddess who confers all the objects of desire. Since you are one who grants boons of all the objects of desire, they will offer you incense, gifts and sacrifices. Men will create places for you on earth and give you different names—Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaishnavi, Kumuda, Chandika, Krishna, 1395 Madhavi, Kanyaka, Maya, Narayani, Ishani, Sharada and Ambika. Because he was taken away from the womb, on earth, he will be known as Samkarshana. 1396 He will be Rama because he delights the world and because of his superior strength, he will be Balabhadra.” Thus instructed by the illustrious one, she agreed to these words. Having circumambulated him, she went to earth and acted accordingly. Yoganidra 1397 conveyed him from Devaki’s womb to that of Rohini. The citizens shrieked, “Alas! The foetus has miscarried.” The illustrious one, the atman of the universe, is the one who grants his devotees freedom from fear.

‘With all his powers, he used his portion to enter Anakadundubhi’s mind. With the Purusha’s portion inside him, he was as radiant as the sun. He became such that all creatures found it impossible to approach him, or assail him. Achyuta represents what is auspicious for the universe. He is the one who creates himself and is in all atmans. Shura’s son 1398 controlled himself and conveyed his portion to the divine lady 1399 through his mind, bringing delight to the directions. The one who resides in the entire universe resided inside Devaki, but she did not become excessively radiant. She was confined in the house of the Indra among the Bhojas and was like the flame of a fire that has been covered. The virtuous one was like Sarasvati, in a person whose learning is deceitful. However, with the unvanquished one inside her, she was still radiant. The one with the sweet smiles illuminated the entire house. On seeing her, Kamsa thought, “Hari, the one who will take away my life, must be inside. This prosperity must be because of that. She wasn’t like this earlier. What must I quickly do now? Fixed in his objective, he will not give up his valour. She is a woman. She is my sister. She is pregnant. If I kill her, for the rest of my remaining life, that will destroy my fame and prosperity. If a person is extremely cruel, even if he remains alive, he is as good as dead and men curse him. When his body is dead, it is certain that he descends into the darkness meant for those who identify with the body.” Therefore, the lord himself desisted from that terrible darkness. Instead, firm in his enmity towards Hari, he waited for the time of birth. Whether he was seated, lying down, standing, eating or roaming around the earth, he thought of Hrishikesha and saw that the universe was full of nothing other than him.

‘Brahma, Bhava, the sages, Narada and others, along with the gods and their companions, arrived at the spot and pleased and praised the lord who confers everything with their chants. The gods said, “Your vow is truth. You are the supreme truth. You are three kinds of truth. 1400 You are the source of truth. You are immersed in truth. You are the truth behind all kinds of truth. Your eyes are truth and the personified form of truth. 1401 Truth is in your atman and we have sought refuge with you. The original tree has one base, two fruits, three roots, four saps, five attributes, six states, seven sheaths, eight branches, nine holes, ten coverings and two birds. 1402 You alone are the source of everything that exists. You are the reservoir and you are the one who shows favours. 1403 It is your maya that envelopes all intelligence and people look upon you in many different ways. However, the learned do not think that. You are knowledge and you are the atman. For the welfare of mobile and immobile objects in the world, you assume different forms. You originate from sattva and repeatedly bring happiness to the virtuous and what is inauspicious to those who are wicked. O lotus-eyed one! You are the reservoir of all that is sattva and if one’s intelligence meditates on your lotus feet alone, through that great effort, one can cross over this ocean of life, as if it is but a puddle. 1404 O radiant one! Having themselves crossed over that terrible and impassable ocean of life, they are full of affection towards those who have crossed and have left behind the boat in the form of your lotus feet. This is because of your favours towards the virtuous. O lotus-eyed one! There are others who pride themselves on being free. Their intelligence has not been purified and their sentiments are not devoted towards you. With great difficulty, they may attain a supreme state. However, since they do not respect your feet, they fall down from there. O Madhava! This does not happen to those who are devoted to you. Those who are bound in affection towards you do not deviate from the path. Protected by you, they roam around fearlessly. O lord! They stride on the heads of the leaders of enemies. You are stationed in pure sattva. For the benefit and welfare of embodied beings, you assume auspicious forms. People worship you through the rites of the Vedas, yoga, austerities, meditation and offerings. O creator! Had you not assumed this form of sattva, there would have been no jnana and vijnana and the cleansing of ignorance. Your form can only be imagined through the illumination of the gunas and each guna brings a specific kind of illumination. 1405 Your names, forms, attributes, births and deeds cannot be ascertained. You are the witness. Your course can only be imagined through the mind and through words. O god! However, those who are devoted in rites meant for you, can understand. If a person hears about, chants, remembers and thinks about your names, forms and auspicious signs and, with single-minded intelligence, performs rites meant for your lotus feet, he does not deserve to be born again. O Hari! O lord! It is good fortune that with your birth and stride, the burden of the earth will be removed. Your feet bear extremely auspicious marks. It is good fortune that because of your favours, we will see them on earth and the firmament again. O lord without birth! You are the reason behind your birth. However, we should not debate about your pastimes. O abode without fear! Birth, preservation and death are brought on individual souls because of their own ignorance. You have assumed avataras like a fish, 1406 a horse, a tortoise, Nrisimha, a boar, a swan, a king, 1407 a brahmana 1408 and a god. 1409 O lord! Protect us and the three worlds now. O supreme among the Yadus! Take away the earth’s burden. We worship you. O mother! 1410 For our welfare, it is good fortune that the supreme and illustrious being has resorted to your womb in his portion. There will no longer be any fear from the lord of Bhoja, who is about to die. Your son will be the protector of the Yadus.” They praised Purusha, with an indecipherable form, in this way. Placing Brahma and Ishana at the forefront, the gods then returned to heaven.’Chapter 10(3)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘It was an extremely auspicious time, with all the qualities. The nakshatra in the ascendant was that associated with Brahma. 1411 All the nakshatras, planets and stars were serene. The directions and the sky were peaceful. Excellent and sparkling stars arose. The earth, with its many collections of cities, villages, pastures and mines were auspicious. The rivers were full of sparkling water. The lakes were beautiful with blooming lotuses. The trees were full of bunches of flowers that resounded with the sound of birds and humming bees. The breeze that blew was pleasant to the touch and bore along auspicious, pure and fragrant scents. Fires blazed in the houses of dvijas, but were serene. At the time of Aja’s birth, the minds of virtuous people, injured by asuras, rejoiced. Ketttledrums were sounded in the sky. The kinnaras and gandharvas sang. The Siddhas and charanas uttered words of praise. Along with apsaras, delighted vidyadhara ladies danced. Rejoicing, gods and sages showered down flowers. Clouds thundered softly, echoing the sounds of the ocean. When Janardana was born, it was midnight and full of darkness. Devaki was like a goddess and Vishnu, who is in the core of everyone’s heart, appeared, like the full moon rising in the eastern direction. The infant was lotus-eyed, with four arms holding a conch shell, a club and other weapons. 1412 There was the shrivatsa mark and the beautiful Koustubha hung from the neck. He was attired in yellow garments and was as beautiful as a monsoon cloud. His locks of hair possessed thousands of strands and were illuminated by the extremely expensive diadem and earrings, studded with lapis lazuli. With his girdle, armlets, bracelets and other ornaments, he was radiant and Vasudeva looked at him. When he looked at Hari, his eyes dilated in wonder. Anakadundubhi kept looking at his son. Though it was a time for festivities because Krishna had appeared as an avatara, he was filled with respect. Delighted and overwhelmed, he gave brahmanas ten thousand cows. 1413 He understood that the child was Purusha and prayed. He focused his intelligence and bowed his limbs down before the supreme one, joining his hands in salutation. He lost his fear. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The delivery chamber was illuminated with the infant’s own radiance and splendour.

‘Vasudeva said, “O one who witnesses all kinds of intelligence! I know that you are yourself Purusha, beyond Prakriti. Your form is full of bliss and I have only felt you. At the beginning of creation, you created Prakriti, consisting of the three gunas. Thereafter, though you did not actually enter it, it appears as if you entered it. They were all without modifications. 1414 But they were created with modifications and manifested themselves as separate, with diverse powers. Because of association, after creation, they appear to have entered into it. 1415 But they existed earlier too. Therefore, their birth is not possible. 1416 In that way, your signs can only be inferred through intelligence. Though you do not accept the gunas, you can be grasped through the gunas. You are everywhere, inside and outside. You are omnipresent. You are in all atmans and every object is in your atman. If a man thinks that the atman can be seen through the gunas, he acts as if the body has an independent and real existence and is ignorant. He has not debated the issues properly. O lord! It is said that creation, preservation and destruction flow from you. You have no desires and no gunas and have no transformations. You are the lord and the brahman. There is no contradiction in this, because activities are carried out by the gunas, which find a refuge in you. You maintain the three worlds with your maya. Indeed, you assume different complexions for your course of action. You are white. 1417 For the sake of creation, you are suffused with the red of rajas. At the end of creation, you assume the dark complexion of tamas. You are the lord of the worlds. O lord of everything! To protect, you have descended in my house. There are crores of leaders of asuras, in the guise of kings. You will slaughter the arrays in those armies. O lord of the gods! Hearing that you will be born in our house, that fellow has killed your elder brothers. He will be informed about your descent by his messengers. Hearing this, he will now rush here, with upraised weapons.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Devaki was extremely surprised to see that her son possessed all the marks of the great being. Scared of Kamsa, she prayed. Devaki said, “You are spoken of as the original and unmanifest being, though, here and there, you assume forms. You are the resplendent brahman. You are without gunas and you are without modifications. You are only consciousness, without any desires. You are omnipresent. You are Vishnu himself, the lamp for achieving adhyatma. At the end of two parardhas, the worlds are destroyed. The great elements enter their primordial form. Through the force of time, the manifest enters into the unmanifest. O one who is known as Ashesha! 1418 You alone are the one who is left. O one who is related to the unmanifest! 1419 This time, beginning with nimesha 1420 and ending with a year, is said to be the result of your pastimes and glory. Your efforts created this universe. O lord! You are the reservoir of good fortune. I seek refuge with you. A mortal person is scared of the serpent in the form of death. He runs away to all the worlds, but does not find freedom from fear. However, by chance, I have obtained your lotus feet today. Those who obtain it lie down in peace and death runs away from them. Ugrasena’s son is terrible and we are terrified of him. Save us from him. You are the one who destroys the fear of your servants. This form of yours, as Purusha, is worshipped through meditation. Let it not be seen by those like me, tainted by material association. O Madhusudana! I am becoming more and more anxious about the wicked Kamsa. Let him not know that you have been born through me. O one who is the atman of the universe! Withdraw this transcendental form of yours, with the four-armed splendour of the conch shell, chakra, mace and lotus. You are the supreme Purusha and at the end of the night, 1421 the entire universe finds refuge in your body. That form manifested itself in my womb. This is a great wonder in the world of men.”

‘The illustrious one said, “O virtuous one! In an earlier birth, during Svayambhuva manvantara, you were Prishni and this one 1422 was an unblemished Prajapati, by the name of Sutapa. You were instructed by Brahma to generate subjects. Controlling the aggregate of the senses, the two of you tormented yourselves through supreme austerities. You tolerated the attributes of time—rain, wind, sun, cold and summer. You controlled your breath of life and cleansed all the impurities in the mind. You subsisted on decayed leaves and air and pacified your minds. You worshipped me, with the objective of obtaining a cherished object from me. In this way, you tormented yourselves through extremely fierce austerities that are difficult to perform. Your minds were on me and twelve thousand divine years passed. O unblemished one! I was satisfied at this, the austerities, devotion, constant faith and sentiments of the heart. I am supreme among those who grant boons. I manifested myself before you. Wishing to grant you your cherished object, I offered you a boon and was told, ‘Let a son like you be born to me.’ As a couple, you were without offspring and had also not been satiated with sexual desires. Therefore, confounded by my divine maya, you did not ask for emancipation. You obtained the boon that you would get a son like me. After I had left, you engaged in sexual intercourse and I decided to satisfy your wishes. I did not see anyone in this world who was my equal in good conduct, generosity or qualities. Therefore, I was born as your son and came to be known as Prishnigarbha. 1423 When the two of you became Aditi and Kashyapa, I was again born from you as Upendra and because I was a dwarf, came to be known as Vamana. This is the third time that I have been born from your bodies. O virtuous lady! Having been born, I have kept my pledge. I have shown you my form to remind you about my earlier births. Had I been born with the marks of a mortal being, you would not have known that I had been born. Both of you look upon me as a son. However, also revere me as the brahman. If you affectionately think about me, you will obtain the supreme state with me.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Having said this, Hari was silent. The illustrious one used his maya. As his parents looked on, he instantly turned into an ordinary child. As instructed by the illustrious one, Shouri picked up his son, desiring to leave the delivery chamber. Yogamaya was born through Nanda’s wife. All the citizens were deep in sleep and she robbed the doorkeepers of their consciousness and their senses. All the gates were firm and impossible to open, the large doors secured with iron bolts and chains. As Vasudeva advanced, holding Krishna, these opened on their own, like darkness dispelled by the sun. The clouds rumbled gently and gently showered down. Shesha followed, fending off the rain with his hoods. 1424 Since Maghavan was incessantly showering down, Yama’s younger sister 1425 was full of deep floods of water, with foam and waves agitated by the force. The river was full of terrible whirlpools. But like the ocean, it provided a passage to Shri’s lord. 1426 Shouri reached Nanda’s Vraja and understood that all the cowherds were deep in sleep. He placed his son on Yashoda’s bed, picked up her daughter, and returned to his own house. Vasudeva placed the infant daughter down on Devaki’s bed. He bound himself with the iron shackles around his legs, just as he had been bound down earlier. Yashoda, Nanda’s wife, knew that she had delivered. However, she was exhausted and sleep had taken away her memory. Therefore, she was completely ignorant about the baby’s gender.’Chapter 10(4)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘All the outer doors of the inner quarters were closed, as they had been earlier. Hearing the sounds of an infant crying, the doorkeepers woke up. The king of the Bhojas had been waiting anxiously and they swiftly went to him and told him about Devaki having given birth. Overwhelmed, he immediately got up from his bed, exclaiming, “This is the destiny.” With his hair dishevelled, he quickly tottered towards the delivery chamber. The virtuous lady and queen spoke to her brother, miserably and piteously. “O fortunate one! She will be your daughter-in-law. You should not kill a girl. O brother! My children were like fires and you have killed many of them because you were goaded by destiny. Give me this single daughter. O lord! Moreover, I am your younger sister. I am distressed and have lost my sons. O dear one! I am unfortunate. You should grant me this last child.” Miserable and grieving, she lamented and clung to her daughter, begging him. However, the wicked one rebuked her and snatched her away from her hands. This was the newly born daughter of his own sister. However, all his affection was uprooted by his selfish interests. He seized her by the feet and dashed her against a stone slab. However, the goddess instantly freed herself from his hand and rose up into the sky. Vishnu’s younger sister 1427 could be seen, with eight mighty arms that held weapons. She was adorned with divine garlands, garlands, pastes, jewels and ornaments. She wielded a bow, a spear, an arrow, a shield, a sword, a conch shell, a chakra and a club. Siddhas, charanas, gandharvas, apsaras, kinnaras and serpents brought her offerings and praised her. She said, “O foolish one! What will you accomplish by killing me? The one who will bring about your end has already been born somewhere. He was your enemy in an earlier birth. Why unnecessarily kill miserable ones?” The illustrious goddess, Yogamaya, said this. She is worshipped by many names on earth and her shrines have many different names. 1428

‘Hearing what she had said, Kamsa was extremely surprised. He freed Devaki and Vasudeva and humbly said, “O sister! O brother-in-law! Alas! I have indeed been wicked. Like a flesh-eater who preys on his own offspring, I have killed many of your sons. Devoid of compassion, I have been wicked and have abandoned my relatives and well-wishers. What world will I go to? I am like the slayer of a brahmana. Though I breathe, I am as good as dead. It is not only mortals, gods also utter lies. I trusted them. 1429 I have been wicked and have killed the children of my own sister. O immensely fortunate ones! Do not grieve. They have enjoyed the fruits of their own deeds. All creatures are subject to destiny and do not always live together. On earth, objects are created out of earth and merge into it after they are destroyed. However, the earth does not suffer from any destruction and the atman is like that. If a person does not know this difference, he causes difficulties for himself. The cycle of life does not cease because of association with, or separation from, a body. O fortunate one! 1430 Your sons were unfortunately killed by me. However, do not sorrow because of this. Helplessly, they have all enjoyed the fruits of their own deeds. As long as a person does not realize himself, he thinks, ‘I am the killer. I have been killed.’ As long as he is ignorant and suffers from this vanity, he continues to suffer as a subject or an object. Both of you are virtuous and are compassionate towards the distressed. Please pardon my wicked deeds.” Having said this, with tears flowing down his face, he clasped the feet of his brother-in-law and his own sister. Trusting the words spoken by the infant girl and considering his own affection, he freed Devaki and Vasudeva from their fetters. Since her brother was repentant, Devaki’s rage was pacified. Released, Vasudeva smiled and spoke to him. “O immensely fortunate one! What happens to embodied beings is exactly as you have described it. Because of the power of ignorance, the intelligence possesses ahamkara and this leads to differences of ‘mine’ and ‘someone else’s’. They are filled with sorrow, delight, fear, hatred, avarice, confusion and insolence and do not see what is true. Instead, they have a futile and false sense of differentiation and kill each other.” They were pleased and addressed Kamsa in this pure way. Seeking leave of Devaki and Vasudeva, he entered his residence.

‘After the night was over, Kamsa summoned his ministers. He told them everything that had been said by Yogamaya. 1431 They heard what their master said. The daityas, the enemies of the gods, were not accomplished. They were filled with intolerance towards the gods and said, “O Indra among the Bhojas! If this is the case, we will now identify and kill all the children who are ten days old or less, in cities, villages and cowherd settlements. The gods are scared in battles. What will they do with their efforts? When your bowstring twanged, their minds always became anxious. In every direction, struck by the storms of your arrows, they were slaughtered. Desiring to save their lives, the others fled. Some gods were distressed. They cast aside their weapons and joined their hands in salutation. With their hair dishevelled and garments loosened, others pleaded, ‘We are terrified.’ You do not kill those who no longer remember how to use their shastras and astras, those without chariots, those who are confused by fear, those who are retreating, those who have broken their bows and those who do not want to fight. The gods are brave and boast only when there is peace and there is no fighting. Hari hides in solitude and Shambhu resides in the forest. Brahma is engaged in austerities and Indra is limited in valour. What will they do? However, because they are enemies, we do not think that the gods should be ignored. Engage us, those who follow you, to dig up and destroy their foundations. If a disease in a limb is ignored and takes deep roots, a man finds it impossible to treat it. Like the aggregate of the senses, if a great enemy is neglected, his strength increases and it is impossible to control him. The foundation of the gods is Vishnu. Eternal dharma exists wherever he is present. The Vedas, cattle, brahmanas, austerities and sacrifices with dakshinas also exist there. O king! Therefore, using all our efforts, we will kill brahmanas who know about the brahman, ascetics, those who are devoted to sacrifices and cattle, because these provide the milk for oblations. Brahmanas, cattle, the Vedas, austerities, truth, control of the senses, control of the mind, faith, compassion, fortitude and kratus form Hari’s body. He is the controller of all the gods. That enemy of the asuras is in the cores of all hearts. He is the foundation for all the gods, Ishvara and the four-faced one. 1432 The means of killing him is by causing injury to the rishis.” Thus, the evil-minded Kamsa consulted with his wicked ministers. The asura was bound down by the noose of destiny and thought that injuring brahmanas was good for him. The danavas, who could assume any form at will, loved carnage and he commanded them to cause carnage among the virtuous in every direction. He then entered his house. Their nature was full of rajas and tamas and their intelligence was stupid. Since their deaths had already arrived, they engaged in hatred towards the virtuous. This destroys everything among men—lifespan, prosperity, fame, dharma, worlds, benedictions and all that is beneficial.’Chapter 10(5)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Delighted that a son had been born, the great-minded Nanda bathed, purified and ornamented himself. He invited brahmanas who knew about the Vedas. He got them to pronounce benedictions and perform the birth rites. Following the rites, he got the worship of the gods and the ancestors done. He gave two hundred thousand ornamented cows, seven heaps of sesamum that were like mountains, floods of gems and garments overlaid with gold to brahmanas. Some objects are purified through the passage of time, some through ablutions, some through sacraments, some through austerities and some through worship. Some are purified through donations, some through contentment, some through material objects and some through knowledge of the atman. Brahmanas, sutas, magadhas and bandis uttered auspicious words. 1433 Singers sang. Drums and kettledrums were repeatedly sounded. Vraja, the doors, the courtyards and the insides of the houses were cleaned and sprinkled. 1434 There were decorations of colourful flags, penants, garlands, cloth and tender leaves on the gates. Cows, bulls and calves were rubbed with a mixture made out of turmeric powder and oil. They were decorated with mineral dyes and adorned with peacock feathers, garlands, pieces of cloth and golden chains. O king! The gopas arrived there, wearing expensive garments and ornaments and adorned in jackets 1435 and headdresses. They held many kinds of presents in their hands. On hearing that Yashoda had given birth to a son, the gopis rejoiced. They decorated themselves with garments, ornaments, collyrium and other things. Their lotus faces, with freshly applied kunkuma, resembled the filaments of lotuses. With broad hips and heavy breasts, they quickly went with presents. Polished earrings made of gems and necklaces made out of gold coins made the gopis dazzle. They wore colourful garments. Along the path, flowers showered down from the braids of their hair. With the presents, they went to Nanda’s abode. They were beautiful and their earrings, breasts and necklaces moved as they walked. They pronounced benedictions. “May the child be protected for a long time.” They worshipped Aja, sprinkling turmeric powder mixed with oil. In the great festivities, many kinds of wonderful musical instruments were sounded. Krishna Ananta, the lord of the universe, had arrived in Nanda’s Vraja. Delighted, the gopas sprinkled each other with curds, milk, ghee and water and smeared and hurled butter at each other. The great-minded Nanda gave them garments, ornaments and wealth in the form of cattle. He also gave these to sutas, magadhas and bandis and others who earned a living through their learning. Generous, he honoured them as each one deserved and gave them what they wished for. This was to worship Vishnu and to celebrate the birth of his own son. The immensely fortunate Rohini was honoured by Nandagopa. She wandered around, 1436 adorned in divine garments, garlands, necklaces and ornaments. This was the start for Nanda’s Vraja to become prosperous in every way. O king! Because of the quality of Hari residing there, Rama started to sport there.

‘O extender of the Kuru lineage! Nanda engaged the gopas in the protection of Gokula. He then went to Kamsa to pay the annual taxes. Vasudeva heard that his brother, Nanda, had arrived to pay taxes to the king. When that was over, he 1437 went to the place where he was staying. On seeing him, he 1438 suddenly arose, as if life had come back to the body. Delighted and overwhelmed with love, he embraced and engulfed his beloved in his arms. O lord of the earth! When he was honoured, respected and happily seated, he 1439 asked about the welfare of both his sons. 1440 His mind was devoted to them. “O brother! You did not have offspring and are aged. It is good fortune that a son has now been born to you. You had given up hope of getting offspring and an offspring has suddenly arrived. It is good fortune that I have met you now. It is extremely rare to meet a person one loves. It is as if I have again been born in this wheel of samsara. Wonderful is the course of karma. Loved ones and well-wishers do not reside together. They are like logs of wood that come together in a flood and are then borne apart by the current. You now reside in a great forest, surrounded by your well-wishers. Are the animals without disease? Is there plenty of water, grass and plants for them? O brother! My son 1441 lives with the two of you in Vraja and is nurtured by you. Are he and his mother 1442 well? It is said that when a man’s well-wishers are well, he enjoys the three objectives of existence. 1443 It is thought that when they suffer, those three objectives are also not attained.” Nanda replied, “Alas! Kamsa has slain many of Devaki’s sons. The youngest daughter was left alive. But she has also gone to heaven. It is indeed the case that the unseen destiny is supreme for men. If a person does not know this truth about destiny, he is confounded.” Vasudeva said, “You have paid the king the annual taxes and we have seen each other. It is not desirable that you should remain here for many days. There may be disturbances in Gokula.” Thus addressed by Shouri, Nanda and the other gopas prepared to leave. Having taken his permission, they yoked their carts and left for Gokula.’Chapter 10(6)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Along the path, Nanda wondered whether Shouri’s words could be false. 1444 Fearing these disturbances, he sought refuge with Hari. Kamsa had engaged Putana, the terrible slayer of infants. She roamed around, slaying infants in cities, villages and cowherd settlements. When engaged in their own tasks, people do not listen to words about the protector of Satvatas, words that slay rakshasas, female yatudhanas proliferate there. Flying through the sky, Putana, who could travel anywhere at will, arrived in Nanda’s Gokula. She used her maya to enter in the form of a woman. Her hair was braided in garlands of mallika flowers. Her waist was slender and her buttocks and breasts were heavy. She was adorned in excellent garments and earrings. Her face was radiant with locks of shining hair. Her smile was sweet and she cast sidelong glances. The beautiful lady stole the hearts of the residents of Vraja. She was beautiful, holding a lotus in her hand and the gopis thought that Shri had arrived to meet her husband.

‘She wandered around as she pleased, searching for children she could kill, and approached Nanda’s house. She saw the infant lying down on a bed, his own infinite energy hidden, like a fire covered in ashes. He recognized her as a demoness that kills children. However, the atman of mobile and immobile objects remained with his eyes closed. She placed Ananta, her death, on her lap, just as a stupid person takes up a serpent, his intelligence mistaking it for a rope. Her heart was fierce, like a sword sheathed inside a scabbard. The two mothers 1445 saw that beautiful lady inside the room, seemingly extremely affectionate. Her radiance stupefied them and they stood there, watching. The terrible one placed him on her lap and placed her breast, filled with indigestible and virulent poison, inside his mouth. The illustrious one was filled with rage. He seized her breast firmly with his hands and as he drank, sucked out her breath of life too. She screamed, “Let go. Enough, let go.” However, she was crushed in the core of her inner organs. Her eyes dilated and her feet and hands thrashed around repeatedly. With her body perspiring, she wailed. At the sound of her extremely deep and powerful roars, the mountains, the earth, the firmament and the planets trembled. The nether regions and the directions were agitated. People fell down on the ground, scared that lightning would strike. Because of the pressure on her breast, the roamer in the night lost her life. In that pasture, she expanded herself and reassumed her own form. Her mouth gaped and she stretched out her hair, legs and arms. O king! She fell down, like Vritra struck by the vajra. O Indra among kings! When she fell down, trees within a range of three gavyutis 1446 were crushed. It was an extremely great wonder. Her mouth was full of sharp teeth, each as long as the front of a plough. Her nostrils were like caves in mountains. Her breasts were like the slopes on mountains. Her fierce and red hair was dishevelled. Her eyes were as deep as fathomless wells. Her terrible loins were like the sandy banks of a river. Her arms, thighs and feet were like strong dams. Her stomach was like a lake that had no water in it. On seeing her body, the gopas and gopis were terrified. Their hearts, ears and heads had already been shattered by the roars. They saw that the child was fearlessly playing on her breast. Filled with confusion, the gopis quickly approached and picked him up. With Yashoda and Rohini, they arranged for his protection by properly waving a cow’s tail around him in every direction and performing other rites. They bathed him in cow’s urine and again smeared him with dust raised by the hoof of a cow. They applied cowdung to twelve parts of his body and pronounced the names. 1447

‘The gopis touched water and performed nyasa separately on their bodies and their hands. 1448 They performed bija-nyasa over the child. 1449 “May Aja protect your feet. May Maniman protect your knees. May Yajna protect your thighs. May Achyuta protect your loins. May Hayasya 1450 protect your stomach. May Keshava protect your heart. May Isha protect your chest. May Ina protect your throat. May Vishnu protect your arms. May Urukrama protect your mouth. May Ishvara protect your head. May the wielder of the chakra protect you from the front. Wielding the club, may Hari protect you from the back. With the bow, may the slayer of Madhu, and with the arrow, may Ajana protect you on both sides. May Urugaya, the bearer of the conch shell, protect you in the corners. May Upendra protect you from the top. May Tarkshya protect you on the ground. May the being who is the wielder of the plough protect you on all sides. May Hrishikesha protect your senses. May Narayana protect your breath of life. May the lord of Shveta-dvipa protect your heart. May the lord of yoga protect your mind. May Prishnigarbha protect your intelligence. May the illustrious and supreme being protect your atman. May Govinda protect you in your pastimes. May Madhava protect you while you are sleeping. May Vaikuntha protect you while you are walking. May the lord of Shri protect you while you are seated. May the enjoyer of sacrifices, the terror of all demons, protect you while you eat. May all those who are terrified at the mention of Vishnu’s name be destroyed—dakinis, yatudhanis, kushmandas, arbhakagrahas, bhutas, pretas, pishachas, yakshas, rakshasas, vinayakas, kotaras, revatis, jyeshthas, putanas, matrikas and others, unmadas, apasmaras, those who harm the body, the breath of life and the senses, those who are seen in dreams, evil portents and those who seize the aged and the young.” 1451 The gopis performed this act of protection. Full of affection, the mother 1452 made her son lie down and offered him her breast.

‘Nanda and the other gopas returned to Vraja from Mathura. On seeing Putana’s body, they were filled with great wonder. “Our friend, Anakadundubhi, must indeed have been a rishi or a lord of yoga who has been reborn. How else could he have foreseen this disturbance?” The residents of Vraja used their axes to slice up the body. They flung the pieces far away and covering them with wood, burnt them. As the body was burnt, the smoke that arose was fragrant with the scent of aloe. Because she had suckled Krishna, all her sins were instantly cleansed. Putana was a slayer of infants. She was a rakshasi who fed on blood. She wished to kill Hari. But having offered him her breast, the evil one obtained a virtuous end. What need be said about those who surrender with faith and devotion to Krishna, the paramatman? They are like loving mothers. He is instated in the hearts of his devotees. He is worshipped by those whom the worlds worship. The illustrious one embraced the yatudhani’s body and drank at her breast. Therefore, she obtained heaven, a destination meant for his mother. What need be said about cows and mothers who have fed Krishna the milk of their breasts? Devaki’s illustrious son is the one who grants everything, including kaivalya. He drank the milk of those who affectionately treated him like a son. 1453 They constantly looked upon Krishna and treated him like their own sons. O king! Therefore, they do not deserve to return to samsara, the source of ignorance. The residents of Vraja 1454 inhaled the fragrance from the smoke of the pyre. They came to Vraja and exclaimed, “What is this? Where is it coming from?” The gopas were told about Putana’s arrival and everything else. On hearing about her death, they were extremely surprised and pronounced benedictions over the child. O extender of the Kuru lineage! Nanda was of the view that his son had returned from the dead and clasped him. With great delight, he inhaled the fragrance of his head. If a mortal person devotedly hears about the wonderful act of the infant Krishna and about Putana’s liberation, he is filled with affection towards Govinda.’Chapter 10(7)

The king said, ‘The illustrious Hari Ishvara performs wonderful acts as an avatara. O lord! They bring delight to our ears and pleasure to our minds. If a man hears about these, his excessive attachment and thirst vanish and in a short while, he is drawn towards purity and truth. Such a man becomes devoted to Hari and is friendly towards his attendants. If you think it fit, tell us about Hari’s activities and also about Krishna’s extraordinary conduct as a child. Having come to earth, he followed the proclivities of human species.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘This was a time when the nakshatra of his birth 1455 was in the ascendant. There was singing and the playing of musical instruments. Brahmanas were reciting mantras. In the midst of the women, the virtuous lady 1456 was going to bathe her son, the occasion being festivities connected with his turning around on the bed. 1457 Nanda’s wife performed the rites associated with bathing him. The brahmanas pronounced benedictions and were honoured properly. They were given food, garments, garlands and desirable cattle. Since he was about to sleep and his eyes were closed, she gently laid him down. The spirited lady was anxious about festivities connected with turning around on the bed and was honouring the assembled residents of Vraja. Thus, she was unable to hear that her son was crying. Desiring her breasts, he cried and flung his legs around. The child’s feet were delicate as shoots and he was lying down under a cart. 1458 Struck by his feet, the cart was overturned and the metal vessels filled with many kinds of liquids were scattered. The cart’s wheels, axles and yokes were shattered and broken. Yashoda was at the forefront of the women of Vraja who had assembled for the festivities connected with turning around on the bed. On seeing this extraordinary sight, they were anxious and so were Nanda and the others. “How did the cart shatter on its own?” Their minds were unable to grasp it. The children told the gopas and gopis, “He was crying and kicked it with his foot. There is no doubt about this.” The gopas did not believe what the children had said. They did not know about the child’s infinite strength. Scared that demons may have caused this, Yashoda picked up her weeping son and made him drink at her breasts. Using hymns, brahmanas pronounced benedictions. The strong gopas replaced the objects, just as they had been before. Brahmanas kindled a fire and offered oblations of curds, unbroken grain, kusha grass and water. “Benedictions are never futile for those who are without envy, free of falsehood, devoid of violence, free of pride, truthful and good in conduct. Nandagopa controlled himself and picked up the child. To the sounds of the Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda, excellent brahmanas sprinkled water, purified with herbs, on him. Lighting a fire, the brahmanas pronounced benedictions and he 1459 gave them food that was excellent in qualities. He gave them cows with all the qualities, covering these with cloth, garlands and golden necklaces. He offered this for his son’s prosperity and they accepted these. The brahmanas were accomplished in mantras and the benedictions pronounced by them, or anything else that they said, were never false.

‘Once, the virtuous lady was seated, fondling her son, who was on her lap. Suddenly, the child became heavy and she was no longer able to bear him. He was as heavy as the summit of a mountain. The gopi suffered from that burden. Surprised, she placed him down on the ground. She sought refuge with the great being who pervades the universe and continued with her tasks. A daitya named Trinavarta was Kamsa’s servant and had been engaged by him. Assuming the form of a whirlwind, he stole the seated child. All of Gokula was enveloped in dust and the ability to see suffered. The directions and sub-directions reverberated with a great and terrible sound. In a muhurta, the settlement was enveloped in a darkness of dust. Yashoda could not see her son at the place where she had kept him. Because of the extraordinary bits of dust mixed with gravel created by Trinavarta, everyone was confused and could not see himself, or anyone else. There was a strong whirlwind and showers of dust. Consequently, the helpless mother could not find any trace of her son. She was extremely miserable and thought about him, grieving severely. She fell down on the ground, like a cow when its calf had died. When the force of the storm and the shower of dust retreated, the gopis heard her weeping there. On not being able to see Nanda’s son, they too started to weep. Their faces were flooded with tears and their minds were extremely tormented. Trinavarta had assumed the form of the storm and had stolen Krishna, taking him up into the sky. However, because he 1460 became greatly heavy to bear he was incapable of proceeding further and was pacified. He thought that he was like a boulder and heavier than his own self. However, the child, extraordinary in deeds, seized him by the throat and he was unable to go. Seized by the throat, the daitya became immobile and his eyes popped out. Uttering an indistinct sound, losing his life, he fell down, along with the child. The assembled weeping women saw him fall down from the sky on to a stone, all his fierce limbs shattered, just like Pura 1461 when it was pierced by Rudra’s bow. Krishna was dangling from his chest. Astounded, they gathered him and returned him to his mother. He was safe, though he had been taken to the sky by the flesh-eater. He had been freed from the jaws of death. With Nanda at the forefront, the gopas and the gopis were greatly delighted at having got him back. “This is a great wonder. 1462 Though the child was taken away by a rakshasa, he has returned. The violent and deceitful one has been killed because of his own sins. A virtuous one, impartial towards everyone, has been freed from fear. Austerities must have been performed for a long time and Adhokshaja must have been worshipped. Roads and other things must have been constructed. Sacrifices must have been performed. There must have been donations and fraternal attitude towards living beings. That is the reason the child, despite approaching death, has returned. It is good fortune that he has returned to his own relatives, who were waiting lovingly.” In the great forest, Nandagopa witnessed many extraordinary events. Repeatedly amazed, he again honoured Vasudeva’s words.

‘Once, the beautiful lady 1463 had placed the child on her lap and, flooded with affection, was feeding him the milk flowing from her breasts. O king! Her son had almost finished feeding and there was a beautiful smile on his face. When the mother fondled him, he yawned and she saw the following inside his mouth—the firmament, the space between heaven and earth, the array of stellar bodies, the directions, the sun, the moon, the fire god, the wind god, the oceans, the dvipas, the mountains, the daughters of the mountains, 1464 forests, creatures and mobile and immobile objects. O king! On suddenly seeing the universe in this way, she started to tremble. Her eyes were like those of a fawn. Extremely surprised, she closed them.’Chapter 10(8)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O king! The extremely great ascetic, Garga, was the priest of the Yadus. Urged by Vasudeva, he went to Nanda’s Vraja. On seeing him, he 1465 was extremely delighted. He stood up and joined his hands in salutation. His mind accepting him as Adhokshaja, and prostrating himself before him, he worshipped him. When the hospitality was over, the sage seated himself comfortably. Delighting him, he addressed him in these gentle words. “O brahmana! You are full in yourself. What can we do for you? O illustrious one! Men who are householders are distressed in their minds. When great people come to them, it must be for their benefit. It cannot be any other way. The knowledge of stellar bodies and their movements is beyond the purview of the senses and you have yourself composed it. You are a person who knows the past and the future. 1466 You are supreme among those who know about the brahman. Because of his birth, a brahmana is a preceptor for men. You should perform the samskara for these two boys.” Garga replied, “I am always known on earth as the preceptor of the Yadus. If I perform the samskara for your son, he will be regarded as Devaki’s son. Kamsa is evil in his intelligence and Anakadundubhi is your friend. Devaki’s eighth child cannot have been a daughter. Having heard about this from the words of his messengers and having thought about it, he will be suspicious and will kill Devaki’s son. That should not happen.” Nanda said, “In that case, in this pasture of cattle, please perform it in secret. Perform the samskaras for dvijas and pronounce all the words of benediction.” The brahmana was thus requested to do what he himself wished. In a secret place, he privately performed the namakarana 1467for the two children. Garga said, “This son of Rohini’s will delight his well-wishers with his qualities. He will therefore be known as Rama. Because of his great strength, he will be known as Bala. 1468 Since he will bring together different branches of the Yadus, he will also be Samkarshana. 1469 According to the yuga, this one has adopted bodies with three different complexions—white, red and yellow. 1470 He is now dark. 1471 Earlier, this son of yours used to belong to Vasudeva. Therefore, those who know will refer to this prosperous one as Vasudeva. 1472 This son of yours has many kinds of names and forms. His qualities and deeds are also similar. I know about them, but other people do not. He will be the delight of Gokula and will bring welfare to the gopas. It is through him that you will easily pass over all the difficulties. O lord of Vraja! Earlier, the virtuous suffered from bandits. They were not protected by a king. However, he vanquished the flourishing bandits. Enemies and asuras cannot overcome those who have Vishnu on their side. Those immensely fortunate men bring him pleasure. O Nanda! Therefore, this son of yours is like Narayana in his qualities. Through his powers, he will bring prosperity to the gopas. Be attentive towards him.” Having instructed him in this way, Garga returned to his own home. Nanda was delighted, thinking himself to be full of all the benedictions.

‘In a short period of time, Rama and Keshava started to crawl around Vraja on their hands and knees, amusing themselves. Dragging their legs behind them, they moved like reptiles on Vraja’s mud, the bells on their ankles creating a beautiful sound. Delighted in their minds, they followed other people, attracted to them. However, as if they were scared, they returned to their mothers. The two mothers lovingly fed the two sons at their breasts, embracing their bodies, rendered beautiful with mud, in their arms. They offered them breasts that flowed over with milk. They glanced at their smiling mouths, with tiny teeth starting to grow. They were enchanted and delighted. The women witnessed their childhood pastimes, as inside Vraja, 1473 they seized the tails of calves and were dragged here and there by them. The women watched. Forgetting the household duties, they burst out in laughter and joy. There was danger from the horns and teeth of animals, from swords, fire, water, birds and thorns. They 1474 found it impossible to restrain their restless sons when they played and moved around. The mothers could no longer tend to their household duties. They grieved and lost their mental equilibrium. O royal sage! Within a short period of time, Rama and Krishna started to move around in Gokula on their feet, without dragging their knees on the ground. Along with Rama, the illustrious Krishna started to play with children from Vraja who were of similar ages. The women of Vraja obtained great delight from this.

‘The gopis looked at Krishna’s beautiful boyish playfulness. In his mother’s hearing, they got together and spoke to each other. “Sometimes, he releases the calves at inappropriate times. 1475 When one is angry at this, he smiles. He steals and eats the tasty curds and drinks the milk, thinking of different methods of stealing. He divides his food among the monkeys, so that they can eat. If they do not eat, he breaks the vessels. If he does not find something within the house, he becomes angry and leaves, giving the infants some reason to cry. When the object is beyond the reach of his hands, he thinks of means, using planks and mortars. 1476 He knows how to make holes in the hanging vessels and take out the contents. When the house is dark, he uses the large number of jewels he wears on his body as lamps. He does this at a time when the gopis are anxiously engaged in their household tasks. He thus engages in naughty activities, passing urine and stool in our clean houses. He is expert in devising new methods of stealing. Having done this, he pretends to be well behaved.” The women looked at his beautiful face, which was seemingly scared. Though they complained, she 1477 smiled and did not feel like chastising him.

‘On one occasion, Rama and the other gopa boys were playing. They went and informed Krishna’s mother that he had eaten mud. She was always anxious about his welfare and seized him by his hand. Filled with fear and dread, Yashoda looked inside his mouth and spoke to him. “Why can’t you control yourself? Why did you secretly eat mud? Your friends, the boys, have told me this and so has your elder brother.” He replied, “O mother! I have not eaten. All of them have lied and complained. If they have really spoken the truth, look inside my mouth.” She said, “If that is the case, open your mouth wide.” The illustrious Hari, unlimited in his powers, opened his mouth, playing like a human child. She saw the universe, mobile and immobile objects, the firmament, the directions, mountains, dvipas, oceans, the surface of the earth, the wind, the fire, the moon, the stars, the revolution of the stellar bodies, water, energy, the outer sky, the inner sky, the transformation of the senses, the mind, the objects of the senses and the three gunas there. Along with this, there were all the different living beings and their lifespans, nature, the stores of karma and the differences in their appearances. In her son’s body, in his opened mouth, she saw herself and Vraja and was filled with fear. “Is this a dream or is this the maya of the god? Is this because my intelligence has been confounded? Or has this resulted because my son has some natural powers of yoga in him? Therefore, let me seek refuge with the one who cannot be comprehended through debating and who cannot be easily perceived through intelligence, thoughts, deeds and words. He is the foundation for everything that is manifest. He is beyond all perception. Let me prostrate myself at his feet. It is because of his maya that there are perverse thoughts like ‘I’, ‘mine’, ‘this is my husband’, ‘this is my son’, ‘I am the virtuous and prosperous wife of the lord of Vraja’ and ‘the gopas, the gopis and the wealth of cattle belong to me’. He is my refuge.” In this way, the lord made the gopi 1478 understand the truth. The lord’s extensive Vaishnavi maya filled her with affection towards her son. The gopi instantly forgot everything. 1479 With her son on her lap, her heart was filled with increasing love for him, as had been the case earlier. Hari’s glory is chanted in the three, 1480 the Upanishads and in the texts of samkhya, yoga and the Satvatas. However, she looked upon him as an ordinary son.’

The king asked, ‘O brahmana! What did Nanda do to warrant such great prosperity? What did the immensely fortunate Yashoda do? Hari drank milk from her breasts. The generous Krishna’s childhood deeds are sung about by wise people and remove the sins of the worlds. However, his parents 1481 could not witness them.’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘Drona, the foremost among the Vasus, and his wife, Dhara, were following the orders of Brahma 1482 and requested him, “When we have been born, and the great god, the lord of the universe, Hari, is born on earth, may we possess supreme devotion towards him. That makes one cross over all kinds of hardship easily.” The illustrious one agreed and the immensely famous Drona was born in Vraja and became known as Nanda. Dhara became Yashoda. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Among all the gopas and gopis, that couple had incessant devotion towards the illustrious one and Janardana became their son. To make Brahma’s instructions come true, the lord Krishna, along with Rama, lived in Vraja and through his pastimes, brought them delight.’Chapter 10(9)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘Once, the servant-maids were engaged in some other household work and Yashoda, Nanda’s wife, herself started to churn out curds. There were songs that were sung about the child’s conduct. At the time of churning curds, she remembered these and sang them. There was a silk garment around her broad hips, tied with a cord, and this shook. Out of love towards her son, her breasts overflowed with milk and these too shook as the one with the excellent eyebrows tugged on the cord. Because of the exhaustion, the bangles on her arms and her earrings moved. There was perspiration on her face and malati flowers dropped from the braids of her hair as she churned. His mother was churning, but Hari desired her breasts. He grasped the churning rod and lovingly restrained her. Out of love towards her son, she placed him on her lap and made him feed at her breasts. She looked at his smiling face. However, the milk was spilling over from the vessel. 1483 Therefore, she quickly left him, though he was still not satisfied. He became angry and bit his red and twitching lips with his teeth. He broke the vessel being used for churning curds with a piece of stone, displaying false tears. Having left, in a secret place that was inside, he started to eat the freshly churned butter. After setting down the hot milk, the gopi 1484 returned and saw the shattered vessel of curds. Though she realized that her son had done this, since she couldn’t see him there, she laughed it away. He was standing on an overturned mortar, to reach the butter hanging overhead. As he pleased, he was feeding this to a monkey. Because he was engaged in an act of stealing butter, his eyes anxiously darted around. On seeing this, she slowly approached her son from the rear. Seeing her, with the stick in her hand, he quickly got down and as if he was scared, started to run away. The gopi followed him, but could not reach him. He cannot be reached by yogis whose minds are immersed in austerities. His mother was slender-waisted. But though she followed him, her movement was impeded by her large hips. As she swiftly followed, flowers were loosened from her dishevelled braids of hair and followed her trail. Finally, she caught him. Having committed a crime, he was weeping, rubbing his eyes with his own hands and smudging the collyrium. He looked up, his eyes filled with fear and bewilderment. She caught him by the hand and threatened to beat him. She was devoted to her son. Realizing that her son was scared, she threw the stick away. Not knowing about his valour, she desired to tie him down with some rope. He has no inside and no outside. There is nothing before him and nothing after him. He has no beginning and no end. He is inside and outside the universe. He is the universe. However, the unmanifest Adhokshaja had assumed the signs of a mortal and she took him to be her son. Like an ordinary person, the gopi tied him to a mortar with a piece of rope. Since her son had committed an offence, she tied him with rope. But the gopi found that it was short by a length of two fingers and therefore, she tied it to another piece of rope. Even when she added this new piece of rope, it was short. As she continued to add more and more pieces of rope, it continued to be short by a length of two fingers. Thus, Yashoda added all the ropes that were there in her house. The gopis saw this and smiled. Though she was amazed, she smiled too. His mother was perspiring all over her body. The braids of her hair were dishevelled and the garlands were falling down. On seeing her exhaustion, Krishna was filled with compassion and allowed himself to be bound. O dear one! This shows that Hari is under the control of his devotees. This is despite Krishna being his own controller and despite everything being under the lord’s control. Virinchi, Bhava and Shri, who is on his lap, did not receive as much of his favours as the gopi did. He is the one who grants liberation. The illustrious one, the gopi’s son, is not easily obtained by those with bodies. In this world, learned ones who have realized the atman do not get him as easily as devotees do.

‘His mother was anxiously engaged in her household tasks. The lord Krishna noticed two arjuna trees. 1485 Earlier, they had been two guhyakas who were Dhanada’s sons. Because of their insolence, those two prosperous ones had been cursed by Narada and had become trees. They had been known as Nalakubara and Manigriva.’Chapter 10(10)

The king asked, ‘O illustrious one! Speak about the reason for the curse. What reprehensible deed did they commit, so as to enrage 1486 the divine sage?’

Shri-Shuka replied, ‘Dhanada’s two sons became Rudra’s companions and became extremely haughty. They were intoxicated in a beautiful grove in Kailasa, along the banks of the Mandakini. They drank the liquor known as varuni and their eyes rolled because of their intoxication. With women following them and singing, they roamed around in that flowering forest. They entered the waters of the Ganga, filled with clumps of blossoming lotuses. They pleasured themselves with young women, like two male elephants with female elephants. O Kourava! Wandering around as he wished, the illustrious devarshi arrived there. Narada saw those two gods there and understood that they were intoxicated. On seeing him, the naked goddesses were ashamed, fearing a curse. They quickly covered themselves with garments. But the two guhyakas remained naked. He saw that those two sons of the gods were blind because of their prosperity and intoxicated with liquor. To show his favours to them, he cursed them and departed.

‘Narada said, “Among all the attributes of rajas, enjoying objects of pleasure and insolence resulting from prosperity, there is nothing that causes as much of confounding of intelligence as women, gambling and liquor. Such people cannot control themselves and slaughter animals. This body will be destroyed, but they think that it will not be subject to old age and death. This body may be thought of as a divinity, but it will be reduced to worms, excrement or ashes. 1487 When a person causes harm to creatures, does he know what is good for him? Does he know that he will go to hell? Does this body belong to the person who gives it food, 1488 to the person who owns it, to the person who has impregnated with the semen or to the mother? Does it belong to the mother’s father? 1489 Does it belong to the powerful? 1490 Does it belong to the purchaser? 1491 Does it belong to the fire? Does it belong to the dog? 1492 In general, this manifested body belongs to all these. However, it has been created through the powers of the unmanifest. With the exception of those who are wicked, which learned person will slay creatures? For wicked people who are blind with prosperity and intoxication, poverty is the best collyrium. A poor person compares himself with other creatures and realizes the supreme. When one’s limbs have been pierced by a thorn, one does not desire this pain for other creatures, because he realizes that all creatures are the same. However, a person who has not been pierced by a thorn does not show these signs. A poor person is freed from ahamkara and is freed from all kinds of insolence. The difficulties that come to him by chance become like supreme austerities. A poor person is always hungry and his body is weak. He desires food. His senses are dried up and he refrains from violence. Virtuous people who are impartial in their attitude associated with the poor. Through association with the virtuous, such a poor person’s thirst is quenched and he soon purifies himself. The virtuous are impartial in their attitude and desire Mukunda’s feet. Those who are insolent because of their wealth deserve to be ignored. Why will the virtuous associate with such wicked people? These two were intoxicated with varuni liquor. They were blind with the insolence of their prosperity. Associating with women, they were unable to conquer themselves. I will take away the ignorance of their insolence. Though these two were the sons of a guardian of the world, they were overwhelmed with tamas. They were filled with such great intoxication that they did not realize they were naked. Therefore, they deserve to be immobile 1493 so that this does not recur. However, because of my favours and grace, they will retain their memories. After one hundred divine years, they will come close to Vasudeva and will become devoted to him. They will then regain their status in heaven.”’

Shri-Shuka continued, ‘Having said this, the devarshi went to Narayana’s hermitage. Nalakubara and Manigriva became the twin arjuna trees. Hari wished to make the words of the rishi, foremost among devotees, come true. Therefore, he slowly went to the spot where the twin arjuna trees were. “I love the devarshi the most and these two are Dhanada’s sons. I must thus accomplish what the great-souled one sung about.” Krishna entered the space between the two arjuna trees. There was just enough space for him to enter and the mortar got stuck diagonally. With the rope around his stomach, the child tugged at the mortar and the roots of the trees were uprooted. As a result of his great valour, the trunks, with the branches and leaves, trembled and fell down, creating a terrible sound. From the space between the trees, two beings with perfected bodies emerged. They were like fires and their supreme radiance illuminated the directions. They joined their hands in salutation and bowed their heads down before Krishna, the lord of all the worlds. Completely cleansed, they said, “O Krishna! O great yogi! O Krishna! You are the supreme Purusha and we have met you today. Brahmanas know that the manifest and unmanifest universe are your forms. Your atman alone is in the bodies of all creatures. You are the lord of the senses. You alone are illustrious time. You are the lord, the undecaying Vishnu. You are Mahat. You are the subtle Prakriti, consisting of sattva, rajas and tamas. You are Purusha, the controller. You know about transformations and are in all kshetras. You cannot be grasped, yet you are sought to be grasped through the modifications of Prakriti and the gunas. 1494 You existed before all this, enveloped by the gunas. Who is worthy of knowing you? You are the illustrious Vasudeva, the origin of creation. Your radiance illuminates the gunas, but they shroud your greatness. We bow down to the brahman. You do not possess a body, but are known through the avataras and their forms. Those who possess bodies find it impossible to equal the unlimited valour you exhibit in those forms. For the welfare of all the worlds and their liberation, you have now descended in your own portion. You are the lord of benedictions. We bow down before the one who is supreme fortune. We bow down before the one who is supreme auspiciousness. We bow down before the serene Vasudeva, the lord of the Yadus. O lord! We are the servants of your follower. 1495 Please grant us permission to leave. It is through the favours of the illustrious rishi that we have been able to see you. May our speech recite your qualities. May our ears hear about your accounts. May our hands perform your tasks. May our minds seek out your feet. May we remember you and prostrate our heads before you, the one who resides everywhere in the universe. May our eyes see virtuous ones, who are nothing but your forms.” The illustrious lord of Gokula was praised by them in this way. Tied by the rope to the mortar, he smiled and spoke to the guhyakas. The illustrious one said, “The rishi is full of compassion and I had known what had happened. Because of your prosperity and intoxication, the two of you were blind. He cursed you and dislodged you, but he actually did you a favour. The virtuous are impartial in outlook and their minds are completely immersed in me. A being no longer suffers bondage after seeing me. I am like the sun to the eyes. O Nalakubara! 1496 Since you are supremely devoted to me, go to your abodes. Your minds have been attracted to me. You have obtained the desired supreme. After this, there is no rebirth.” Addressed in this way, the two of them repeatedly circumambulated him and bowed down before him. Taking their leave of the one who was tied to the mortar, they left in the northern direction.’Chapter 10(11)

Shri-Shuka said, ‘O best among the Kurus! Nanda and the other gopas heard the sound of the trees falling down. Fearing a storm, they rushed to the spot. They saw the twin arjuna trees, fallen down on the ground. Unable to determine the reason why these had fallen down, they were confused. With a rope, the child was tied to the mortar and he was dragging it. How did this extraordinary event take place? Who caused this disturbance? They were agitated. The boys said, “He did this, by dragging himself between them and the mortar got stuck diagonally. We have also seen two resplendent beings.” They did not believe what had been said. It could not have happened that way. How could the child have uprooted the trees? However, there were doubts in the minds of some of them. Nanda saw his son tied to the mortar with a rope, dragging it. With a smile on his face, he released him.

‘Sometimes, encouraged by the gopis, the illustrious one danced like a child. Sometimes, he sang and enchanted them. He was like a wooden puppet under their control. Sometimes, he would be asked to fetch seats or sandals. Sometimes, he would be unable to raise these objects and fling his arms around, causing delight to his relatives. He shows himself in this way to the world, subservient to his servants. Through his childish efforts, the illustrious one brought joy to the residents of Vraja. “Come and purchase my fruit.” Once, hearing this, Achyuta, the granter of all fruits, took some grain and quickly went to the vendor, desiring fruit. But the grain fell down from his two hands. However, the female fruit vendor filled his hands with fruit and the basket of fruit was instantly filled with jewels. Once, after the incident with the uprooted arjuna trees, Krishna went to the banks of the river, along with Rama. With other boys, they were deeply engaged in playing and the goddess Rohini went to summon them. Since they were engaged in playing, the two sons did not return when they were called. Therefore, Rohini dispatched Yashoda, who was devoted to the sons. Though it was extremely late, her son continued to play with his elder brother. Yashoda summoned Krishna, the love for her son making milk flow out of her breasts. “O Krishna! O lotus-eyed one! O Krishna! O son! Come and drink the milk at my breasts. There has been enough of playing. You must be hungry and exhausted. O son! You must be tired of playing. O Rama! O son! O delight of the lineage! With your younger brother, come quickly. You ate in the morning. You should eat now. Dasharha, the lord of Vraja, 1497 is waiting to eat. Do what we desire. Come here, the two of you. O boys! Go to your own homes. O son! Your limbs are grey with dust. Go and wash yourself. The nakshatra of your birth is in the ascendant today. Purify yourself and give cattle to brahmanas. Look at your friends. Look. After cleaning them, their mothers have ornamented them. You too should bathe and eat your food. After that, ornamented properly, play again.” O king! He was the crest of everything. But thus, Yashoda regarded him as her son and her mind was tied to him by bonds of affection. With Rama, she took Achyuta by the hand and took him to her own house, performing all the auspicious rites thereafter.

‘The aged gopas, Nanda and the others, felt these great evil portents in the great forest. They assembled together and discussed what should be done about Vraja. There was a gopa named Upananda, superior to everyone in knowledge. He knew about objectives at the right time and place and wished to do what would be good for Rama and Krishna. “Let all our well-wishers leave Gokula now. There are extremely evil portents here and these might cause the destruction of our sons. In some way, the child was saved from the rakshasi who killed children. 1498 It was only because of Hari’s favours that the cart did not fall on him. He faced the danger of being taken up into the sky by a daitya in the form of a whirlwind. 1499 He fell down on a piece of rock, but the lords of the gods saved him. The child was taken to the place between the trees, but did not die, nor did any other child. That is because he was protected by Achyuta. Before other evil portents cause harm to Vraja, let us leave. Taking the children with us, we and our followers should go somewhere else. There is a forest named Vrindavana. It has new pasture ground for the animals. There are sacred mountains, plants and trees there and it is a good place for gopas, gopis and the cattle. Let us go there today. Without any delay, let the carts be yoked. If it so appeals to you, let the wealth of cattle be placed in front of us.” On hearing his words, all the gopas applauded them and they were all of the same view. They yoked their own respective vehicles and readied their garments and equipment. O king! The aged, the young, women and all the equipment were placed in carts in the front. With bows and arrows, the cowherds attentively followed. The wealth of cattle was placed in the front. Horns were sounded in every direction. With the great blare of trumpets, they proceeded, along with their priests. The gopis were astride chariots, their bodies and breasts beautiful with freshly applied kunkuma. There were necklaces of gold coins around their necks and they were attired in excellent garments. They happily chanted about Krishna’s pastimes. Yashoda and Rohini were radiant astride a single cart, along with Krishna and Rama. They were eager to hear about these accounts. They entered Vrindavana, a place that was delightful in all the seasons. Arranging the carts in the form of a half circle, they fashioned a place to reside in. O king! On seeing Vrindavana, Govardhana and the sandbanks of Yamuna, Rama and Madhava were filled with great delight. Through their childish efforts, they brought pleasure to the residents of Vraja. In the course of time, they started to speak broken words and also tend to the calves. Not very far from where the residents of Vraja dwelt, along with the sons of the cowherds, they would take the calves out to pasture, with many kinds of toys and garments with them. Sometimes, they would play with flutes. Sometimes, they would use catapults to fling stones. 1500 Sometimes, they kicked with their feet and the bells tinkled. Sometimes, they would pretend to be bulls and cows. Imitating bulls, they bellowed and fought against each other. They imitated the sounds of animals and wandered around like ordinary children.

‘On one occasion, on the banks of the Yamuna, Krishna and Bala were tending to the calves, along with their own friends. Wishing to kill them, a daitya arrived. It assumed the form of a calf and Hari noticed that it had penetrated the leaders of the calves. He showed it to Baladeva and approached it slowly, as if he did not know. Achutya seized it by the hind legs and the tail. He whirled it around and flung it on the top of a kapittha tree, where it died. The gigantic body 1501 fell down, bringing down the kapittha tree too. Seeing this, the children were delighted and praised him in words of applause. The gods rejoiced and showered down flowers. The two guardians of all the worlds became two protectors of calves. Taking their breakfast with them, they roamed around, taking the calves out to pasture. On one occasion, each of them took all his respective calves to a water tank, so that they might drink water. After the calves drank, they also drank water. The boys saw a great being standing there. It was like the summit of a mountain, brought down by the vajra, and they were terrified. This was a great asura named Baka and it had assumed the form of a stork. 1502 The powerful one suddenly approached and seized Krishna in its sharp beak. On seeing Krishna swallowed by the great stork, Rama and the other boys were overwhelmed and lost their senses. They seemed to be unconscious, without any life. The father of the preceptor of the universe 1503 was in the form of a cowherd’s son. Like a fire, he burnt the top of its palate. In great rage, it immediately spat him, still unhurt, out of its mouth. It then again struck him with its beak, so as to kill him. As it descended, the lord of the virtuous, caught Baka, Kamsa’s friend, by the two halves of the bill. While the boys watched, he playfully tore these apart, like tearing a blade of grass. The residents of heaven were filled with joy. Baka’s enemies, residents of the world of the gods, showered down mallika and other flowers from Nandana. They applauded him and played on drums and conch shells. The sons of the cowherds gazed in wonder. When Rama and the other boys saw that he had returned from Baka’s mouth, it was as if life and senses had returned to all of them. Now that he had been freed, they embraced him. Collecting the calves, they returned to Vraja 1504 and recounted what had happened. Hearing this, the amazed gopas and gopis welcomed this joyous news. It was as if he had returned from the world of the dead and they eagerly looked at him, with thirsty eyes. “This is amazing. This child has faced many kinds of threats from death. However, those who initially sought to create fear have themselves faced something disagreeable. Assuming terrible forms, they arrived, but were unable to attack or kill him. When they approached, they were destroyed, like insects by a fire. The words spoken by a person who knows about the brahman are never false. Everything is happening exactly as the illustrious Garga said it would.” Thus, Nanda and the other gopas, rejoiced and spoke about Krishna and Rama’s account. This brought them pleasure and they did not experience any hardships from life on earth. In this way, the two boys spent their childhood in Vraja. They played hide-and-seek and building bridges and leaping over them like monkeys.’ 1505

The Tenth Skandha will be continued in Volume 3.

1 For example, shlokas 2.4.10, 4.1.2 and 4.5.11 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad use the two expressions together.

2 Chandogya Upanishad, 7.1.2.

3 Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, F.E. Pargiter, Oxford University Press, London, 1922.

4 Sutas were bards, minstrels, raconteurs.

5 Ugrashravas was a suta.

6 The Critical Edition of the Valmiki Ramayana was brought out by the Baroda Oriental Institute, now part of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata was brought out by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune.

7 The Bhagavad Gita translation was published in 2006, the translation of the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes between 2010 and 2014 (with a box set in 2015) and the translation of the Critical Edition of the Valmiki Ramayana in 2017. The translations are by Bibek Debroy, and in each case, the publisher is Penguin.

8 The Bhagavatamahapuranam, Nag Publishers, Delhi, 1987. This is a reprint of the Kshemaraja Shrikrishnadass, Venkateshvara Press, Bombay, text.



11 The Bhagavata Purana, Selected Readings, Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey, Columbia University Press, 2016.

12 Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God (Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X), Edwin Bryant, Penguin Classics, 2004.

13 A Prose English Translation of Srimad Bhagavatam, Manmatha Nath Dutt, H.C. Dass, Calcutta, 1896.

14 Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1970 to 1977.

15 The Bhagavata Purana, translated and annotated by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1976.

16 Srimad Bhagavada, Swami Tapasyananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, 1980.

17 Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana with Sanskrit Text and English Translation, C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri, Gita Press, 2006.

18 A Study of the Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism, Purnendu Narayana Sinha, Freeman and Company, Benares, 1901.

19 Two of the six Indian schools of darshana (philosophy).

1 The one who is spoken about in excellent shlokas, Vishnu.

2 The highest state of asceticism and meditation.

3 The supreme soul.

4 Svayambhuva Manu.

5 Brahma.

6 The three qualities (guna) of sattva, rajas and tamas.

7 Celestial vehicles.

8 Siddhas are sages who have been successful in attaining their objectives.

9 Gandharvas are celestial musicians and are semi-divine.

10 Relatively minor gods.

11 Celestial singers.

12 Brahma arrived while Narada was instructing Priyavrata.

13 Manu and Priyavrata. At that time, Manu had also arrived.

14 Vishnu.

15 The five senses and the mind.

16 To the subsequent ashramas.

17 Brahma.

18 The path of devotion.

19 The supreme soul.

20 The individual soul.

21 Priyavrata.

22 A period during which a Manu presides and rules over creation.

23 The three sons mentioned earlier, Kavi, Mahavira and Savana.

24 One arbuda is ten million.

25 Mount Meru.

26 Priyavrata.

27 Across Puranas, the names and the order of the islands (dvipas) marginally varies.

28 The seven oceans are Lavana, Kshira, Sura, Ghrita, Ikshu, Dadhi and Svadu. These have been speculatively identified as Lavana (Indian Ocean), Kshira (Shirwan, part of the Caspian Sea), Sura (Sarain, the remaining part of the Caspian Sea), Ghrita (Erythraean Sea), Ikshu (the river Oxus), Dadhi (Dahae, the Aral Sea) and Svadu (Tchadun, the river in Mongolia). The terms used here for the composition are kshara (salt water), ikshu-rasa (sugar cane juice), sura (liquor), ghrita (clarified butter), kshira (milk), dadhi-manda (curds) and suddhoda (fresh water).

29 Kavi, Mahavira and Savana were not interested.

30 Shukracharya, also known as Kavya.

31 One with long strides, Vishnu’s name.

32 The five senses and the mind.

33 Obtained by getting a son.

34 Mount Mandara.

35 Brahma.

36 Kama, the god of love. Makaradhvaja (the one with a makara on his standard) is one of Kama’s names.

37 Who could not distinguish between man and woman.

38 The eyebrows.

39 Meaning the glances.

40 Because of the fragrance in Purvachitti’s body, bees were circling her. These are the disciples.

41 Partridge.

42 Meaning the breasts. Instead of mounds, one can also translate them as horns.

43 Purvachitti was chewing betel leaf.

44 A makara is a mythical aquatic creature, but can loosely be translated as shark or crocodile. Earrings like makaras.

45 Meaning swans.

46 And has therefore sent you here.

47 Varsha; varsha is a subdivision of dvipa.

48 Gifts given to brahmanas after the sacrifice.

49 Koustubha.

50 Nabhi.

51 The objectives of human existence—dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

52 We are worshipping you for the purusharthas.

53 Hence, Nabhi is not asking for anything more.

54 The hymn should have been in poetry. Nabhi bows down before the priests, who praised the illustrious one.

55 As in Bharatavarsha.

56 Vishnudatta is one of Parikshit’s names.

57 The word used is shramana. Literally, the text states that the mendicants are clad in air.

58 Meaning best or excellent.

59 After Nabhi, this varsha was initially known as Ajanabha. It came to be known as Bharatavarsha later.

60 Vasudeva’s.

61 Dakshina.

62 Jayanti was Indra’s daughter.

63 ‘Both’ is interpreted as the shruti and smriti texts.

64 This occurs later, in the Ninth Skandha.

65 That is, he behaved like an ordinary human being.

66 This is reminiscent of 3.21 of the Bhagavad Gita.

67 The supreme soul.

68 The traditional four means are sama (conciliation or negotiation), dana (bribery), danda (punishment) and bheda (dissension).

69 Interpreted as something that belonged to someone else and was therefore non-existent.

70 Such as pigs and dogs.

71 In an earlier life.

72 Past deeds.

73 Gratification of the senses.

74 Ahamkara.

75 Brahma.

76 Spiritual truth.

77 Celibacy.

78 Restraint.

79 We have translated vijnana as self-knowledge, the transcendental consciousness. We will use jnana for knowledge.

80 The subtle body.

81 Ego.

82 The yoga should not become an end in itself.

83 He should not get angry if they do not listen.

84 The cycle of life.

85 Pramatha is a tormentor and is used for a ghost or goblin.

86 Virinchi or Brahma.

87 The body is interpreted as the Vedas.

88 A householder has to maintain three fires, ahavaniya, garhapatya and dakshinatya.

89 An avadhuta is an ascetic who has renounced all worldly attachments. However, it also has the nuance of someone who has been cast off from society and has been excluded by it.

90 A malevolent being that survives on human flesh.

91 The body and the atman.

92 A yojana is a measure of distance, between 8 and 9 miles.

93 Emancipation.

94 Yoga leads to eight major siddhis or powers. These are anima (becoming as small as one desires), mahima (as large as one desires), laghima (as light as one wants), garima (as heavy as one wants), prapti (obtaining what one wants), prakamya (travelling where one wants), vashitvam (powers to control creatures) and ishitvam (obtaining divine powers).

95 Therefore, he didn’t use them.

96 Why did Rishabha dislike them?

97 Shri-Shuka.

98 A cunning hunter does not trust an animal that has been captured.

99 Because of distractions.

100 With the mind.

101 Konka has speculatively been identified with Konkana, Venka with the Venkatadri hill and Kutaka with the Kutaka hill near Nagpur.

102 Rishabha.

103 Bharatavarsha.

104 The speaker and the listener.

105 The wheel of life, the circle of birth and death.

106 Detachment from fruits and renunciation of action.

107 The Pandavas.

108 Rishabha.

109 Five tanmatras or subtle elements and five mahabhutas or gross elements,

110 A yajna and a kratu are both sacrifices. However, the former is performed with a sacrificial post and the latter without one. More specifically, the former is performed with sacrificial animals and the latter without sacrificing animals.

111 Apurva means the forces and powers harnessed through a sacrifice.

112 Bharata.

113 The adhvaryu is the assistant priest and is accomplished in the Yajur Veda.

114 River Gandaki.

115 This is reminiscent of the gayatri mantra.

116 A muhurta is a measure of time equal to forty-eight minutes.

117 A lion.

118 As a metaphor for time and destiny.

119 The fawn got tired from running around.

120 Were the fawn ever to go away.

121 The sun.

122 The footprints of a black antelope mark an auspicious spot for a sacrifice.

123 Pulastya and Pulaha’s hermitage was in Shalagrama. Kalanjara is the name of a famous mountain. As a deer, Bharata had been born in Kalanjara.

124 Place of pilgrimage.

125 These nine sons were born through the elder wife.

126 After this, he would be liberated and would not be born again.

127 There are thirteen samskaras or sacraments. The list varies a bit. But one list is vivaha (marriage), garbhalambhana (conception), pumshavana (engendering a male child), simantonnayana (parting the hair, performed in the fourth month of pregnancy), jatakarma (birth rites), namakarana (naming), chudakarma (tonsure), annaprashana (first solid food), keshanta (first shaving of the head), upanayana (sacred thread), vidyarambha (commencement of studies), samavartana (graduation) and antyeshti (funeral rites). After samavartana, one ceases to be a student and becomes (usually) a householder.

128 Bharata.

129 The savitri (gayatri) mantra has three padas. Vyahriti means the words bhuh, bhuvah and svah, uttered after Oum.

130 The father’s.

131 Without wages.

132 One who is a brahmana only in name.

133 While this means shudra, it also means outcast.

134 A form of the goddess Kali. The text does not clearly indicate whether the sacrificial animal had escaped, or whether another man, who was no more than an animal, had escaped. Either interpretation is possible. The sacrifice is offered at night.

135 The left one of his lotus feet was placed on his right thigh and his left hand was on his left knee.

136 The word used is panis.

137 Several layers of interpretation are possible. Violence is sanctioned when there is danger and there was no danger now. Human sacrifices are meant to be token and notional, not actual. Even if there is a human sacrifice, it should not be that of a brahmana. Even if a brahmana is sacrificed, it should not be such an excellent brahmana.

138 These two kingdoms are often mentioned in conjunction, as one kingdom. Sindhu was probably to the west of the River Sindhu and Souvira to the east.

139 So that he did not step on a living creature by mistake.

140 Danda or punishment as the fourth mode.

141 That of a kshatriya.

142 Bharata’s.

143 Rahugana’s.

144 Yama.

145 The essence is that ‘I’ am not my body.

146 Of you as the master and I as the servant.

147 If I have realized my atman, I no longer identify myself with my body, which will be punished. And if I am mad, I will not comprehend the punishment.

148 Whose son or disciple are you?

149 Interpreted as—are you the sage Kapila?

150 Rahugana was going to meet Kapila.

151 If a king punishes subjects to make them follow their own dharma, that is Achyuta’s service, it must be beneficial.

152 Such as between the master and the servant.

153 Of the Vedas.

154 The sixteen are the five gross elements, the ten organs of perception and action and the mind, the mind being the chief.

155 From one life to another.

156 Kshetra is the field, that is, the body. Kshetrajna is one who knows the body, that is, the soul, both human and universal.

157 The body.

158 Mind as the eleventh and ahamkara as the twelfth.

159 By those who are deluded.

160 The six enemies or vices are kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (avarice), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).

161 The mind.

162 Carrying the load and fatigue, the master and the servant.

163 The palanquin bearers.

164 A paramanu is an ultimate particle characterized by the trait that it cannot be divided further. It alone is combined with others.

165 Worshipping water, fire or the sun. Performing austerities in water, before a fire or exposed to the sun is a better interpretation.

166 Artha means dharma, artha and kama.

167 The six senses and the mind, the mind being the leader.

168 The image of the forest.

169 As a metaphor for something that is unreal.

170 The image is of a caravan lost in the forest.

171 There is a double meaning, with the menstrual cycle of a woman indicated. Thus, the whirlwind is a metaphor for attraction towards women. All the other metaphors are subject to detailed interpretations.

172 Minor gods.

173 Honey.

174 There are four elephants that dwell in the four directions. These are known as diggaja, the elephant (gaja) for a direction (dik).

175 The arms of women.

176 A metaphor for death or past deeds.

177 That is, Bharata.

178 Rahugana.

179 Parikshit.

180 The five senses and the mind.

181 The five senses.

182 Of weeds and grass.

183 Literally, a pishacha who carries fire in the night. The phosphorent glow known as will-of-the-wisp.

184 Karaskara is a poisonous medicinal plant and karatunda is the dark Agallochum.

185 They are dead.

186 The fire of hunger.

187 ‘Both’ is subject to different kinds of interpretation, such as in this life or the next, or pravritti and nivritti.

188 Of the king or the husband. Devadatta and Vishnumitra are names for any individuals, like ‘X’ and ‘Y’.

189 Destiny, nature and one’s own nature, respectively.

190 Kakinika, a very small amount, twenty cowries or less.

191 Of a woman.

192 One parardha is fifty years of Brahma’s life.

193 In this life, or in a past life.

194 One of the schools of darshana (philosophy).

195 Devatajit’s son.

196 Pratiha’s mother and wife had the same name.

197 These daughters are Shraddha, Maitri and Daya, the personified forms of faith, friendship and compassion.

198 Viraja.

199 We have deliberately used the word ‘ultimate’. The word used is charama. Therefore, one can take this either as the last son, or the greatest son.

200 Jambudvipa.

201 A great mountain.

202 Jambudvipa.

203 Meru’s root extends inside the earth for sixteen thousand yojanas. Therefore, it rises eighty-four thousand yojanas from the surface of the earth.

204 Kshara.

205 The wording is such that this can be interpreted in different ways. The same length and breadth, but one-tenth the height, or the same height and breadth, but one-tenth the length.

206 Charanas, gandharvas, apsaras, vidyadharas, kinnaras.

207 Yakshas.

208 A vyama is a measure of length. It is the distance between the tips of the fingers of the two hands, when the arms are extended out.

209 Of Meru.

210 Brahma.

211 Since it is made out of gold, shatakumbha meaning gold.

212 Indra’s Amaravati to the east, Agni’s Tejovati to the south-east, Yama’s Samyamini to the south, Nirrita’s Krishnagana to the south-west, Varuna’s Shraddhavati to the west, Vayu’s Gandhavati to the north-west, Kubera’s Mahodaya to the north and Shiva’s Yashovati to the north-east.

213 Compared to Brahma’s city.

214 This is a reference to Bali’s sacrifice and the vamana incarnation. Specifically, the description is of Vishnu taking the second step.

215 The egg.

216 From the feet of the illustrious one. This is the river Ganga.

217 Dhruva.

218 In Dhruvaloka.

219 The saptarshis are the seven great sages. The list varies, but the standard one is Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasishtha. In the sky, the saptarshis are identified with the constellation of Ursa Major (Great Bear).

220 On Meru.

221 In satya yuga, people are not interested in sexual pleasures and there are too many miseries in dvapara and kali yuga.

222 In the Ninth Skandha.

223 Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Samkarshana and Aniruddha.

224 Madhu is honey and asava is liquor made through distillation, not mere fermentation.

225 Serpents. Nagas (also known as uragas) are different from snakes. They are semi-divine, can assume any form at will and reside in specific locations.

226 As Shesha.

227 Associated with rajas and tamas, respectively.

228 Hayagriva.

229 There are seven nether regions—atala, vitala, sutala, rasatala, talatala, mahatala and patala.

230 Brahma.

231 Narasimha.

232 In the Seventh Skandha.

233 Prahlada.

234 Daityas are a specific category of demons, the progeny of Diti.

235 Demons, progeny of Danu.

236 Kshroum is a mystic akshara used to worship Narasimha.

237 Presumably meaning that the attachment has not matured.

238 If the lifespan for a human is 100 years, theirs is 360x100 = 36,000 years.

239 The chakra.

240 Kamadeva’s.

241 Lakshmi.

242 All three are mystic aksharas, bijas.

243 The ten senses, five objects of the senses and the mind.

244 Day and night.

245 On your chest.

246 The attention to Lakshmi is token, while that to devotees is substantial.

247 The fish incarnation.

248 The turtle or tortoise incarnation.

249 Demons.

250 Constellations.

251 The twenty-four principles of samkhya.

252 Since sacrifices disappear in kali yuga, this form is not manifested then.

253 Hiranyaksha.

254 Paramatman.

255 In the Valmiki Ramayana, Rama exiled Lakshmana.

256 The two sages, Nara and Narayana, are often referred to jointly in the singular.

257 A kalpa is the longer cycle of creation and destruction.

258 The four classes and four stages of life, respectively.

259 Narada.

260 Brahma.

261 The one without qualities or attributes, the brahman.

262 Respectively associated with sattva, rajas and tamas.

263 Of Bharatavarsha.

264 A forest-dwelling bird may be captured by a fowler and escape, only to be caught again. The cycle of birth and death is like that.

265 Bharatavarsha.

266 This seems to be the place where the chant of the gods and Narada’s quote both end.

267 Sagara’s sons were looking for the horse from a horse sacrifice.

268 That is, 100,000 yojanas.

269 That is, 200,000 yojanas.

270 This is the mantra used by the inhabitants of Plaksha-dvipa.

271 This is interpreted as auspicious and inauspicious results respectively.

272 The silk-cotton tree.

273 Garuda.

274 The four varnas there.

275 The dark lunar fortnight.

276 The bright lunar fortnight, when the moon waxes.

277 This is the mantra used by the inhabitants of Shalmali-dvipa.

278 The four varnas there.

279 This is the mantra used by the inhabitants of Kusha-dvipa.

280 Guha/Kartikeya shattered Krouncha with his spear.

281 The four varnas there.

282 Varuna.

283 The four varnas there.

284 Breathing.

285 This is the mantra used by the inhabitants of Shaka-dvipa.

286 Pushkara, thus giving the region its name.

287 Brahma.

288 Shri-Shuka.

289 The ocean of sweet water.

290 Respectively, loka and aloka. Alternatively, this can be interpreted as a region inhabited by living entities and one not inhabited by living entities.

291 Brahma.

292 Atop Lokaloka.

293 The area not illuminated by the sun.

294 Mrita (inanimate) anda (egg).

295 Hiranya (golden) garbha (origin).

296 The terrestrial sphere and the heavenly sphere.

297 Respectively, vernal equinox, autumnal equinox and when the sun passes through the equator.

298 Capricorn.

299 Signs of the zodiac.

300 Respectively, Aries and Libra.

301 A ghatika is twenty-four minutes. Day and night are equal in Aries. Day keeps on progressively increasing from Vrisha (Taurus), Mithuna (Gemini), Karkata (Cancer), Simha (Leo) to Virgo (Kanya). Night keeps on progressively increasing from Vrishchika (Scorpio), Dhanu (Saggitarius), Makara (Capricon), Kumba (Aquarius) to Mina (Pisces).

302 On Meru.

303 There is an interpretation we have skipped, because it is not directly there in the text. The sun faces the stellar spheres and moves to the east, with Meru to the left. But there is a wind that blows, keeping Meru to the right. The force of this makes the sun move in the opposite direction, so on and so forth.

304 23,775,000 yojanas.

305 That is, six hours.

306 The spokes are the months, the segments of the rim are the seasons and the naves are periods of four months each.

307 The sun’s charioteer.

308 Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnika, Jagati, Trishtubh, Anushtubh and Pankti.

309 As a mark of respect to the sun god.

310 Valakhilyas are those who subsist on fresh fruit.

311 For each month, there are separate names for the sun’s attendants. These will be recounted in the Twelfth Skandha.

312 A gavyuti is a measure of distance, equal to two kroshas (four miles) or one krosha (two miles).

313 Shri-Shuka.

314 The sun god.

315 Day and night.

316 Without Abhijit, there are twenty-seven nakshatras.

317 Shukra, Venus.

318 Such as Mars.

319 Mercury.

320 Mars.

321 Jupiter.

322 Saturn.

323 Thirty years.

324 Saptarshi, Ursa Major.

325 Shishumara. The constellation is in the shape of a dolphin and the names of the stars in the constellation follow.

326 The fourteen from Abhijit to Punarvasu for uttarayana and the fourteen from Pushya to Uttarashadha for dakshinayana.

327 Ajavithi means the three nakshatras that indicate dakshinayana—Mula, Purvashadha and Uttarashadha. Akasha-Ganga is the Milky Way.

328 Magha to Anuradha.

329 Mrigashirsha to Purvabhadrapada, but in the reverse order, from Purvabhadrapada to Mrigashirsha.

330 Canopus.

331 Venus.

332 Prana is the breath of life or the life force. Prana draws breath into the body, apana exhales it.

333 The twilight zone.

334 Morning, midday and evening.

335 In the Sixth and Eighth Skandhas.

336 In Rahu’s getting a share of the amrita.

337 The sun and the moon.

338 Ten thousand yojanas below Rahu.

339 Vidya means knowledge. Thus vidyadhara, one who holds knowledge.

340 Ten thousand yojanas.

341 Nagas.

342 The word chaitya has several meanings—sacrificial shed, temple, altar, sanctuary and a tree that grows along the road.

343 Svairinis are loose women who have sex with anyone they want, but only with those from the same varna. In this context, kaminis are loose women who have sex with anyone they want, irrespective of varna. Pumshchalis have no sense of discrimination are almost like harlots.

344 Atala.

345 Vitala.

346 Bali.

347 These sections are subject to diverse interpretations.

348 Bali.

349 Prahlada.

350 Hiranyakashipu.

351 Bali’s, in the Eighth Skandha.

352 The gate to Bali’s world.

353 The one with the ten shoulders is Ravana. Narayana hurled him away.

354 Sutala.

355 Shiva.

356 Maya obtained it through Shiva’s grace.

357 Talatala.

358 Alternatively, they are prone to anger.

359 Mahatala.

360 The panis stole cows and hid them. Indra sent Sarama as a messenger, cursing the panis.

361 Rasatala.

362 Patala.

363 Ahamkara manifests itself in three forms—vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa.

364 Samkarshanam is the act of drawing together, attracting.

365 Alternatively, vaijayanti is not a separate necklace, but a garland made out of tulasi, kunda, mandara, parijata and lotuses.

366 A gandharva.

367 Two paramanus make up one anu.

368 In addition to the twenty-one, adding up to a total of twenty-eight.

369 Tamisra means darkness.

370 Andha-tamisra means blinding darkness.

371 Ruru has several meanings. Here, it means a savage animal.

372 The name Kumbhipaka is derived from cooking in a pot.

373 The name Kalasutra is derived from the rope/bondage of time/destiny.

374 When there are calamities, deviations are permitted.

375 The name is derived from leaves that are like swords.

376 The name Sukara-mukha is not explained. It is probably based on the sound that such people make from their mouths.

377 Literally, blind pit.

378 A householder has to perform five yajnas—studying, worshipping the ancestors, worshipping the gods, sharing food with humans and sharing food with non-human creatures.

379 Thus the name Krimi-bhojana.

380 In the hell known as Sandamsha, sandamsha means to tear out.

381 Hence the hell named Tapta-surmi, based on hot image.

382 Including animals.

383 He is impaled on a silk-cotton (shalmali) tree with thorns that are like the vajra and dragged down from there, so that the thorns tear out his flesh.

384 The river.

385 In the hell named Puyoda, derived from the word for pus.

386 In the hell named Prana-rodha, derived from the breath of life being obstructed.

387 The same as Vishasana, the name is derived from the word for killing.

388 That is, belonging to the first three varnas.

389 This is the hell named Lala-bhoksha, literally, a place where one is made to drink spittle.

390 In the hell named Sarameya-adana, derived from eaten by dogs.

391 The name Avichi is derived from this.

392 In the hell named Ayoh-pana, derived from drinking iron.

393 Literally, alkaline mud.

394 In the hell named Raksha-gana-bhojana, derived from being eaten by rakshasas. Those who were killed in this world become the rakshasas in the next world.

395 In the hell named Shulaprota, the name being derived from transfixed with spears.

396 Venomous serpents.

397 In the hell named Avata-nirodhana, derived from being confined in a hole.

398 In the hell named Paryavartana.

399 With a mouth like a needle.

400 The Second Skandha.

401 In the Second and Third Skandhas.

402 Pravritti is action with a desire for the fruits.

403 Prayashchitta.

404 Which becomes dirty again.

405 Rituals.

406 The linga sharira.

407 Alternatively, subsequent births.

408 From the present season, one can deduce the preceding and succeeding seasons.

409 Without birth, Brahma.

410 This is a complicated shloka and is subject to diverse interpretations. The reference seems to be to Yama, who resides in his capital city of Samyamini. He can contemplate a being’s past and future lives.

411 This is interpreted as a person who is dreaming. Since he does not know about his past and future lives, he identifies with what is manifest, the present physical body.

412 The mind.

413 The atman.

414 This can be interpreted as superior, medium and inferior, or happy, unhappy and mixed.

415 The three potencies are sattva, rajas and tamas. The sixteen have already been mentioned. They can also mean the five organs of action, the five senses, the five gross elements and the mind.

416 The five senses and the mind.

417 This is Bhagavad Gita 3.5, almost verbatim.

418 Resulting from former lives.

419 Destiny.

420 The linga sharira and the gross body.

421 The body may be like that of the mother or like that of the father, but innate nature is stronger than either.

422 Ajamila.

423 Alternatively, female servant.

424 Maireya is liquor made from molasses or grain.

425 Loose woman.

426 This is Bhagavad Gita 3.21, almost verbatim.

427 The master’s. In this case, Yama’s.

428 Not exactly, but roughly, akshara is a syllable.

429 Na-ra-ya-na.

430 Vishnu’s.

431 That is, the consequences of the acts.

432 Gangadvara usually refers to Har ki Pauri in Haridvara/Haridwar.

433 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

434 Acting chaotically and without cohesion.

435 The words used are ota (cross-threads or woof) and prota (length-wise or warp).

436 Varuna.

437 The Prajapatis.

438 Sanatkumara.

439 Shuka himself.

440 The three Vedas.

441 The sage Agastya.

442 Ugrashrava, the son of Romaharshana or Lomaharshana. A suta was a charioteer, but also a bard and raconteur. Here, it is a proper name for Ugrashrava.

443 Marisha. Her mother was the apsara Pramlocha.

444 A chant or mantra.

445 The body.

446 Subtle elements.

447 Prakriti, Mahat, ahamkara, the mind and the five tanmatras (the five subtle elements).

448 This shloka has complicated interpretations, as do some subsequent ones. The way we have translated it, Vishnu is the fifteenth principle, the other fourteen being the ten sense organs, the mind, intelligence, the breath of life and Pradhana. Alternatively, there is a samidheni hymn, recited when a sacrificial fire is ignited from kindling, and this has fifteen verses.

449 Smells and fragrances, which are not actually the wind.

450 The Prajapatis.

451 Before creation.

452 Narada.

453 Their effects are transient.

454 This is a reference to the fourth (turiya) state, explained in the Seventh Skandha. The three preceding ones are vishva, taijasa and prajna. Progressively, the atman identifies with the gross (vishva), merges the gross into the subtle (taijasa), merges into the subtle (prajna) and so on.

455 With an exit, since one has to be born again.

456 Five organs of perception (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin), five organs of action (hands, legs, stomach, genital organs, organ of excretion), five gross elements and five tanmatras (subtle elements). In addition, the mind, Prakriti, Purusha, Mahat and ahamkara.

457 This is the reference to the swan (hamsa), since a swan is believed to possess the ability to distinguish between milk and water.

458 Of creation.

459 Brahma.

460 A night that is over.

461 To sages, gods and ancestors. Studying for the first and oblations for the last two.

462 Hari’s.

463 You have separated me from my sons twice.

464 To curse Daksha back.

465 Kashyapa.

466 Tarkshya is one of Kashyapa’s names. Therefore, 13+4=17 daughters were married to Kashyapa.

467 The divinities of the clouds.

468 The divinities of the forts.

469 The mother is Sankalpaa and the son is Sankalpa.

470 The divinities of the cities, Dharani means the earth.

471 Another of Agni’s wives.

472 There is a contradiction with what has been said a little earlier.

473 The eleven Rudras.

474 Four out of seventeen.

475 Meaning Vinata’s.

476 The same as Aruna.

477 Since he loved Rohini more, Soma was cursed by Daksha.

478 Kashyapa’s wives.

479 The first ten of Kashyapa’s wives.

480 Evil spirits.

481 Danu’s son.

482 Kashyapa.

483 Respectively descended from Puloma and Kalaka.

484 The grandfather is Arjuna. These are known as the nivatakavachas. Indra asked Arjuna to destroy them as he couldn’t kill them himself.

485 The twelve Adityas.

486 The two Ashvins.

487 Shiva.

488 The sons of Diti.

489 The gods accepted Vishvarupa as a priest.

490 Brihaspati.

491 Puloma’s daughter, Shachi, Indra’s consort.

492 Literally, the lord of speech, Brihaspati.

493 Shukracharya, the preceptor of the demons, also known as Kavya.

494 Vishvarupa had done various things for the demons, since he had been on their side.

495 The word used is tata. It means son, but is used to address anyone who is junior.

496 Indra.

497 There is a difference between two types of guests—atithi and abhyagata. Tithi is a lunar day and there are guests who are invited and arrive on specific tithis, because these are festive occasions. These are expected and invited guests, visitors. Atithi means a-tithi and is therefore not any guest, but a guest who arrives uninvited and is unexpected.

498 The act of accepting a priesthood.

499 Those performed by priests.

500 The mantra known as Narayana-kavacha (armour).

501 This is known as anga-nyasa, the mental appropriation (nyasa) of different limbs of the body (anga) to different divinities. The two mantras are Oum namo Narayanaya (with eight aksharas) and Oum namo bhagavate Vasudevaya (with twelve aksharas).

502 Thus identified with the eight aksharas.

503 The apportioning of the twelve aksharas to different parts of the hands, kara means hand.

504 It starts with the index finger of the right hand and ends with the index finger of the left hand, accounting for eight aksharas. The last four aksharas are for the joints of the thumbs.

505 This is the mantra Oum Vishnave namah, with six aksharas.

506 Phat is the sound made by snapping the middle finger and thumb at the end, meant to ward off evil spirits.

507 Sovereignty, dharma, glory, prosperity, knowledge and detachment.

508 This is the Narayana-kavacha.

509 The siddhis.

510 The asura women had miscarriages.

511 In the varaha form.

512 Boar.

513 Parashurama.

514 Rama.

515 Narada. Interpretations list out thirty-two different kinds of transgressions, but there is no need to list those.

516 Balarama, in the form of Shesha. Krodhavashas are angry and virulent serpents.

517 Day and night are divided into eight yamas, each yama is a period of three hours.

518 The second yama, after dawn.

519 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

520 Kushmandas are evil spirits, vainayakas/vinayakas are evil leaders who cause obstacles, and grahas are evil imps that especially prey on children.

521 Pramathas are beings that torment, matrikas pretend to be mothers and prey on infants, evil brahmanas means brahmanas who have become rakshasas.

522 Vishvarupa is also known as Trishira, because of his three heads. His father was Tvashta and his mother was Rochana (sometimes also referred to as Rupavati).

523 That the asuras would become powerful.

524 A kapinjala is the Jacobin cuckoo (or francoline partridge), a kalavinka is the sparrow (or Indian cuckoo) and a tittiri is a partridge.

525 Hari is also one of Indra’s names.

526 By rain.

527 Even at the time of pregnancy.

528 Vritra means darkness. He enveloped the worlds with his darkness.

529 The text uses both astra and shastra. These are both weapons and the words are often used synonymously. However, an astra is a weapon that is hurled or released, while a shastra is held in the hand.

530 A dog may be able to swim. But one cannot cross an ocean by hanging on to a dog’s tail.

531 This is a reference to the matsya (fish) avatara.

532 The three gunas or the three worlds.

533 This is a difficult shloka and has many interpretations. The way we have translated it, questions are being raised about how independent one’s own karma is, as opposed to be being determined by a superior force. The subsequent shlokas are also difficult to translate.

534 After everything else has been eliminated.

535 Interpreted as someone who maintains the three worlds.

536 Such as half-man–half-lion.

537 That is, shastras.

538 Also known as Dadhicha or Dadhichi.

539 Literally, the head (shira) of a horse (ashva). Dadhyan had imparted this knowledge to the two Ashvins when he had temporarily assumed the head of a horse.

540 The Narayana-kavacha.

541 Dadhyan.

542 It is a hardship that people do not follow this principle.

543 Indra.

544 A shataghni was a weapon that could kill one hundred at the same time and could have been a giant catapult. A bhushundi was a catapult, probably smaller in size.

545 Vritra’s.

546 Indra’s.

547 Vritra.

548 Trishira.

549 This is similar to Bhagavad Gita 18.78.

550 Dharma, artha and kama.

551 Vishnu.

552 Indra.

553 Of victory and defeat.

554 Mountains were once believed to possess wings.

555 The Himalayas.

556 It took one year for the head to be brought down.

557 It was the killing of a brahmana.

558 A pulkasa (equivalently pukkasa) is the son of a nishada father and a shudra mother.

559 Vrishakapi is a name for others too. But in this context, it is one of Indra’s names.

560 Heaven.

561 Nahusha desired Shachi, Indra’s wife. He also ill-treated brahmanas like Agastya. Therefore, he was condemned that he would be born as a serpent. The story is told in the Mahabharata.

562 Indra.

563 Since this was the north-eastern direction, the divinity is Rudra.

564 Therefore, he did not remember Krishna because he was scared. That is yet another apparent contradiction.

565 Chitraketu.

566 Chitraketu.

567 For a man, the seven constituents are the five subtle elements, Mahat and ahamkara. For a king, the seven objects are ministers, allies, the treasury, territory, forts, the army and the kingship.

568 Trade guilds.

569 An oblation of rice, barley and pulses, cooked in butter and milk.

570 After what had been offered to Tvashta.

571 She is addressing her son now.

572 Yama.

573 The bodies of the mother and the father.

574 The atman.

575 Sanatkumara.

576 Parashurama.

577 An Upanishad that is in the form of a mantra. This will be stated a little later.

578 Shiva.

579 Not the dead body, but the spirit of the dead prince, the jivatman.

580 One can deduce this is a reference to Angiras, who had implicitly suggested that none of the other wives would have children.

581 Angiras and Narada.

582 Another name for the Yamuna.

583 Angiras and Narada.

584 The mantra.

585 Of material existence. That is, he is above them.

586 When they are destroyed. In that way, everything merges into the brahman.

587 Chitraketu.

588 Required to form words.

589 Interpreted as earth, water, fire, air, space, ahamkara and Mahat.

590 Two paramanus constitute one anu.

591 The infinite one.

592 Which are therefore infertile and do not yield fruits.

593 A wicked person, a chandala.

594 Narada.

595 Contrary to expectation, along the path of pravritti.

596 The path of nivritti.

597 The three states of being awake, asleep and in deep sleep.

598 A kulachala is a great mountain and the Indra among kulachalas is Sumeru.

599 Chitraketu.

600 Brahma.

601 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

602 Hara, Shiva.

603 Worst among kshatriyas, one who is a kshatriya only in name.

604 Parvati.

605 Girisha means someone who resides in a mountain. Hence, Shiva and Parvati.

606 Rudra’s consort, Parvati.

607 Sanatkumara.

608 Chitraketu.

609 Chitraketu.

610 Savita is the fifth of Aditi’s sons. Savitri is the deity of the savitri mantra. Vyahriti means the words bhuh, bhuvah and svah, uttered after Oum and here, Vyahriti means the deity of vyahitri. Trayi is the deity of the three Vedas, Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda. Agnihotra is the deity when oblations are offered into the fire, Pashu is the deity when animals are sacrificed and Soma is the deity of soma sacrifices. Chaturmasya is a sacrifice performed once every four months, at the beginning of summer, the rainy season and winter. Here, Chaturmasya is the deity for such sacrifices. There are five great sacrifices (mahamakhas) and each has a deity. Therefore, Prishni had nine sons. The five great sacrifices are brahma-yajna (sacrificing to the sages), pitri-yajna (offering oblations to ancestors), deva-yajna (offering oblations to gods), nri-yajna (offering food and shelter to humans/guests) and bhuta-yajna (offering food and shelter to non-human species).

611 Sinivali is the deity (and the day) for the day preceding the night of the new moon, Kuhu is the deity (and the day) for the night of the new moon, Raka is the deity (and the day) for the night of the full moon and Anumati is the deity (and the day) for the fourteenth night of shukla paksha. Sayam is the deity for evening, Prata is the deity for morning, Darsha is the deity for the night of the new moon and Purnamasa is the deity for the night of the full moon.

612 Samantara is another name for Vidhatri. There are five fire gods known as Purishyas.

613 Because Bhrigu had earlier been born as one of Brahma’s sons, through Brahma’s mental powers.

614 Valmika is an anthill or termite hill. Valmiki was actually Varuna’s son. However, since he was covered in an anthill or termite hill, he seemed to have been born from this.

615 Urvashi is an apsara. When they saw Urvashi, Mitra and Varuna deposited their semen in a pot and Agastya and Vasishtha were born from this.

616 In the form of vamana (dwarf). This will be described in the Eighth Skandha.

617 Bali’s character, in the Eighth Skandha.

618 Shiva.

619 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu.

620 Indra.

621 Because Indra is Aditi’s son.

622 A dead body is known as worms, because if buried, it is eaten by worms. It is known as excrement because it can be eaten up by predatory beasts and birds. It is known as ashes, because it can also be burnt.

623 A vow that yields a son.

624 Indra.

625 The name is derived from ‘Ma rud’, ‘Do not cry’.

626 Indra.

627 Shrinivasa means Shri’s abode and is one of Vishnu’s names.

628 There were forty-nine Maruts.

629 She had gone to sleep.

630 The success is secondary, because that was not the intention behind the worship.

631 November–December.

632 These are objects offered to Vishnu. Arghya is a gift, padya is water for washing the feet, the other ‘water’ means water for rinsing the mouth, ‘bath’ means water for having a bath.

633 Oum namo bhagavate maha-purushaya maha-vibhuti-pataye svaha.

634 Shri.

635 This is a sequel to the first round of worship.

636 The mantra.

637 On grounds of ill health, or the monthly cycle.

638 October–November.

639 This has been interpreted as the recommended modes for cooking food offered at sacrifices. However, paka-yajna also means a simple sacrifice undertaken at home and that seems to be a better meaning.

640 Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

641 Such as the asuras.

642 And not in terms of deceptive differences.

643 Narada.

644 Ajatashatru is Yudhishthira and the reference is to Yudhishthira’s royal sacrifice.

645 At the royal sacrifice, when Krishna killed Shishupala, the lord of Chedi, Shishupala’s atman merged into Krishna’s body.

646 King Vena, an evil king, was killed by the brahmanas. King Prithu was Vena’s son.

647 Damaghosha was Shishupala’s father.

648 Dantavakra was Shishupala’s cousin. He wasn’t present at the royal sacrifice and was killed by Krishna later. Therefore, there is an inconsistency in the way this is stated.

649 This is a reference to predatory wasps, which lay an egg on a prey (as food for the offspring) and then seal the nest.

650 The worm thinks about the wasp and assumes the form of the wasp. Similarly, one is drawn close to Vishnu.

651 Wives of cowherds (gopas).

652 The Pandavas.

653 Shishupala was the son of Shrutashrava, Kunti’s sister. Dantavakra was the son of Shrutadeva, also Kunti’s sister.

654 Marichi and the other sages.

655 Jaya and Vijaya.

656 Vishnu.

657 The sages.

658 The half-man–half-lion incarnation.

659 Hiranyakashipu.

660 Vishnu.

661 Hiranyakashipu.

662 One with two heads.

663 One with one hundred arms.

664 One with the head of a horse.

665 A reference to the gods.

666 A boar.

667 This is specifically addressed to Diti.

668 Their reflection in the water.

669 Though the plural is used, Yama means himself, in the form of a boy.

670 Such as riches lost along the way, which may be regained. The text doesn’t indicate whether something animate or inanimate is meant. But the purport is identical.

671 Sparrow or shrike.

672 This is Hiranyakashipu’s resolution, as reported by the gods. Parameshthi is Brahma.

673 The implicit suggestion is that Brahma’s position is also temporary.

674 Dharma leading to bad consequences, adharma leading to good consequences, demons residing in heaven, gods residing in the nether regions and so on.

675 This causes problems of interpretations that are not easily solvable. Hiranyakashipu seems to think that positions occupied by devotees of Vishnu (Vaishnavas) and Vishnu’s world are destroyed at the end of a kalpa. He also seems to think that Brahma’s position is not destroyed at the end of a kalpa and therefore, he would prefer that. Irrespective of whether this is true or not, this contradicts what he has himself stated earlier.

676 Agnishtoma, atyagnishtoma, ukthya, shodashi, vajapeya, atiratra and aptoryama.

677 There were four classes of priests, though the classification varied over time. The hotri is the chief priest and is accomplished in the Rig Veda. The adhvaryu is the assistant priest and is accomplished in the Yajur Veda, though later, the udgatri came to be identified with the Sama Veda. In addition, there was the brahmana or purohita.

678 There are units for measuring time and lava is one of these. The details have been given in the Third Skandha.

679 Kala.

680 There is an interpretation we have glossed over. The text uses the words chit and achit. Chit is interpreted as true knowledge that is internal, while achit is external and represents the power of maya.

681 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

682 The rivers.

683 Flowers and fruits.

684 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

685 Of material objects.

686 Hari.

687 Hari.

688 Shukracharya.

689 Of identification with the body.

690 Hari.

691 As in danda, the other three being sama, dana and bheda.

692 Of the sandalwood trees.

693 Dharma, artha and kama.

694 The four principles are interpreted as sama, dana, danda and bheda. However, since dharma, artha and kama have just been mentioned, it seems to us that the four principles should be interpreted as dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

695 In the singular, so probably addressed to Shanda.

696 One who is a brahmana only in name, worst among brahmanas.

697 A reference to birth and death in the cycle of samsara.

698 Demons.

699 Shunahshepa was the son of the sage Ajigarta and was sold by his father to King Harishchandra, for a sacrifice. He was subsequently saved by the sage Vishvamitra and never forgave his father.

700 Shukracharya.

701 To play.

702 Mater