Hindu creation myth


Hinduism is a conglomeration of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid common set of beliefs. As a result, the Hindu texts do not provide a single canonical account of the creation; they mention a range of theories of the creation of the world, some of which are contradictory. Many Hindus regard these scriptural legends as allegories or metaphors rather than literal truth. (Wikipedia: Hindu views on evolution)

The Nasadiya Sukta of Rigveda (10.129) describes the primal condition of things before the creative power of the Deity was exercised, This hymn contains perhaps the earliest speculations of the Hindus respecting the creation that have come down to us; and the wise conclusion was arrived at that God alone knew how the world came into being. But as time went on this confession of ignorance did not satisfy the cravings of the human mind: hence succeeding ages sought by its conjectures, which are given with the assurance of exact knowledge, to throw light upon the unknowable. (W.J. Wilkins)

The Purusha Sukta of Rigveda (10.90) explains that the universe was created out of the parts of the body of a single cosmic man ( Purusha) who is sacrificed by the gods.

Rigveda (10.121) mentions the Hiranyagarbha ("golden embryo") as the source of the creation of the Universe, similar to the world egg motif found in the creation myths of many other civilizations. Hiraṇyagarbha (हिरण्यगर्भःliterally the 'golden womb' or 'golden egg', poetically rendered 'universal germ') is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos in Indian philosophy, it finds mention in one hymn of the Ṛigveda (RV 10.121), known as the 'Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta', suggesting a single creator deity(verse 8: yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt, Griffith:"He is the God of gods, and none beside him."), in the hymn identified as Prajāpati The concept golden womb is again mentioned in Viswakarma suktha Rg 10-82."

The Brahmanas show plain tendencies to create divinities of more imposing and more universal power than any Vedic deity and there are three figures in the pantheon who display the results of this endeavour, those of Prajapati, Visnu, and Rudra. (Reference: rbedrosian.com). The title of Prajapati was applied to signify one deity—the lord of all creatures. In the post-Vedic age, Prajapati came to be identified with the Hindu god Brahma and Rudra evolved into Shiva.

The Shatapatha Brahmana says that in the beginning, Prajapati, the first creator or father of all, was alone in the world. He differentiated himself into two beings, husband and wife. The wife, regarding union with her producer as incest, fled from his embraces assuming various animal disguises. The husband pursued in the form of the male of each animal, and from these unions sprang the various species of beasts (Shatapatha Brahmana, xiv. 4, 2). Prajapati was soon replaced with Brahma in the Puranas. (Wikipedia: Hindu mythology)

In the Puranas, Brahma the creator was joined in a divine triad with Vishnu and Maheshvara (Shiva), who were the preserver and destroyer, respectively. The universe was created by Brahma, preserved by Vishnu, and destroyed for the next creation by Shiva. However, the birth of Brahma was attributed to Vishnu in some myths. Brahma was often depicted as sitting on a lotus arising from the navel of Vishnu, who was resting on the cosmic serpent, Ananta (Shesha). In the very beginning Vishnu alone was there. When Vishnu thought about creation, Brahma was created from a lotus that came from his navel. (Wikipedia: Hindu mythology)

Many Hindu texts mention the cycle of creation and destruction. The Shatapatha Brahmana states that the current human generation descends from Manu, the only man who survived a great deluge after being warned by the God. This legend is comparable to the other flood legends, such as the story of the Noah's Ark mentioned in the Bible and the Quran.
Some Hindu schools do not regard the scriptural creation myth as a literal truth, thus leaving open the possibility of incorporating at least some theories in support of evolution. Some Hindus find support for, or foreshadowing of evolutionary ideas in scriptures. For example, the concept of Dashavatara can be seen as having some similarities to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. (Wikipedia: Hindu views on evolution)

Hindu creation myth
Hindu creation myth

 

Nasadiya Sukta - Hymn of Creation - Rig Veda 10.129

The Nasadiya Sukta (after the incipit ná ásat "not the non-existent") also known as the Hymn of Creation is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda (10:129). It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe.
The hymn has been interpreted as one of the earliest accounts of skeptical inquiry and agnosticism. Astronomer Carl Sagan quoted it in discussing India's "tradition of skeptical questioning and unselfconscious humility before the great cosmic mysteries." (Wikipedia: Nasadiya Sukta)
"The Rig Veda (10. 129) questions the origin of the cosmos in: "Neither being (sat) nor non-being was as yet. What was concealed? And where? And in whose protection?…Who really knows? Who can declare it? Whence was it born, and whence came this creation? The devas were born later than this world's creation, so who knows from where it came into existence? None can know from where creation has arisen, and whether he has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heavens, He alone knows-or perhaps does not know." (social.ndtv.com)

Creation. Nasadiya Sukta ("Not the non-existent") - Translated by H. H. Wilson
1. The non-existent was not, the existent was not; then the world was not, nor the firmament, nor that which is above (the firmament). How could there be any investing envelope, and where? Of what (could there be) felicity? How (could there be) the deep unfathomable water?
2. Death was not nor at that period immortality, there was no indication of day or night; THAT ONE unbreathed upon breathed of his own strength, other than THAT there was nothing else whatever.
3. There was darkness covered by darkness in the beginning, all this (world) was undistinguishable water; that empty united (world) which was covered by a mere nothing, was produced through the power of austerity.
4. In the beginning there was desire, which was the first seed of mind; sages having meditated in their hearts have discovered by their wisdom the connexion of the existent with the non-existent.
5. Their ray was stretched out, whether across, or below, or above; (some) were shedders of seed, (others) were mighty; food was inferior, the eater was superior.
6. Who really knows? who in this world may declare it? whence was this creation, whence was it engendered? The gods (were) subsequent to the (world's) creation; so who knows whence it arose?
7. He from whom this creation arose, he may uphold it, or he may not (no one else can); he who is its superintendent in the highest heaven, he assuredly knows, or if he knows not (no one else does).


Hymn of Creation

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it -
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know

Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.
— Rig Veda 10.129.1-7


The Cosmology Hymn

At first was neither Being nor Nonbeing.
There was not air nor yet sky beyond.
What was wrapping? Where? In whose protection?
Was Water there, unfathomable deep?

There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness;
of night or day there was not any sign.
The One breathed without breath by its own impulse.
Other than that was nothing at all.

Darkness was there, all wrapped around by darkness,
and all was Water indiscriminate,
Then that which was hidden by Void, that One, emerging,
stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.

In the beginning Love arose,
which was primal germ cell of mind.
The Seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,
discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,
thrust from below and forward move above.

Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?
Whence was it born? Whence issued this creation?
Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?

That out of which creation has arisen,
whether it held it firm or it did not,
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He surely knows - or maybe He does not !


 

Vishvarupa, The Cosmic Man as Envisaged
Vishvarupa, The Cosmic Man as Envisaged in the Bhagavad Gita
Image source: www.exoticindiaart.com

Purusha, The Cosmic Man
Purusha, The Cosmic Man
Image source: www.gdprice.com
Similar image: fineartamerica.com


Purusha sukta: the “ Hymn of the Cosmic Man” In the last (10th) book of the Rigveda


In the last (10th) book of the Rigveda: the “ Hymn of the Cosmic Man” ( Purushasukta) explains that the universe was created out of the parts of the body of a single cosmic man ( Purusha) when his body was offered at the primordial sacrifice. The four classes ( varnas) of Indian society also came from his body: the priest (Brahman)...According to a passage from the Purusha hymn (Rigveda 10.90), the Brahman was the Purusha’s mouth, the Kshatriya his arms, the Vaishya his thighs, and the Shudra his feet. This depiction of the Purusha, or cosmic man, gives an idea... (Enclopedia)

The Purusha Sukta of the earliest Hindu text Rigveda mentions purusha, the primeval cosmic being. The Purusha is described as all that has ever existed and will ever exist. Viraj, variously interpreted as the mundane egg or the twofold male-female energy, was born from Purusha, and the Purusha was born again from Viraj. The gods then performed a sacrifice with the Purusha, leading to the creation of the other things in the manifested world from his various body parts and his mind. These things included the animals, the Vedas, the Varnas, the celestial bodies, the air, the sky, the heavens, the earth, the directions, and even Indra and Agni. (Wikipedia: Hindu views on evolution)


Purusha Sukta is controversial and is believed by many scholars to be a corruption and medieval or modern era insertion into Veda.
(Wikipedia: Purusha)

 

HYMN XC. Puruṣa.

1. A THOUSAND heads hath Puruṣa, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet.
On every side pervading earth he fills a space ten fingers wide.
2 This Puruṣa is all that yet hath been and all that is to be;
The Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food.
3 So mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Puruṣa.
All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven.
4 With three-fourths Puruṣa went up: one-fourth of him again was here.
Thence he strode out to every side over what cats not and what cats.
5 From him Virāj was born; again Puruṣa from Virāj was born.
As soon as he was born he spread eastward and westward o’er the earth.
6 When Gods prepared the sacrifice with Puruṣa as their offering,
Its oil was spring, the holy gift was autumn; summer was the wood.
7 They balmed as victim on the grass Puruṣa born in earliest time.
With him the Deities and all Sādhyas and Ṛṣis sacrificed.
8 From that great general sacrifice the dripping fat was gathered up.
He formed the creatures of-the air, and animals both wild and tame.
9 From that great general sacrifice Ṛcas and Sāma-hymns were born:
Therefrom were spells and charms produced; the Yajus had its birth from it.
10 From it were horses born, from it all cattle with two rows of teeth:
From it were generated kine, from it the goats and sheep were born.
11 When they divided Puruṣa how many portions did they make?
What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet?
12 The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made.
His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.
13 The Moon was gendered from his mind, and from his eye the Sun had birth;
Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vāyu from his breath.
14 Forth from his navel came mid-air the sky was fashioned from his head
Earth from his feet, and from his car the regions. Thus they formed the worlds.
15 Seven fencing-sticks had he, thrice seven layers of fuel were prepared,
When the Gods, offering sacrifice, bound, as their victim, Puruṣa.
16 Gods, sacrificing, sacrificed the victim these were the earliest holy ordinances.
The Mighty Ones attained the height of heaven, there where the Sādhyas, Gods of old, are dwelling.

Purusha hymn (Rigveda 10.90)

Purusha has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. On every side enveloping the earth, he overpassed (it) by a space of ten fingers. Purusha himself is this whole (universe), whatever has been and whatever shall be. He is also lord of immortality, since (or when) by food he expands. All existences are a quarter of him, and three-fourths of him are that which is immortal in the sky. With three-quarters Purusha mounted upward. A quarter of him was again produced here. From him was born Virāj; and from Virāj, Purusha. When the gods performed a sacrifice, with Purusha as the oblation, the spring was its butter, the summer its fuel, and the autumn its (accompanying) offering. From that universal sacrifice were provided curds and butter. From that universal sacrifice sprang the Rich and Sāman verses, the metres and the Yajush; from it sprang horses and all animals with two rows of teeth, kine, goats and sheep.

When (the gods) divided Purusha, into how many parts did they cut him up? The Brāhman was his mouth, the Rajanya was made his arms, the being (called) Vaisya was his thighs, and the Sudra sprang from his feet. The morn sprang from his soul (manas), the sun from his eye, Indra and Agni from his mouth, and Vāya from his breath. From his navel arose the air, from his head the sky, from his feet the earth, from his ear the (four) quarters; in this manner (the gods) formed the worlds."

 

 

Purusha

Purusha (Sanskrit puruṣa, पुरुष") is a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Depending on source and historical timeline, it means the cosmic man or it means Self, Consciousness, and Universal principle.

In early Vedas, Purusa meant a cosmic man whose sacrifice by the gods created all life. This was one of many creation theories discussed in the Vedas. The idea parallels Norse Ymir, with the myth's origin in Proto-Indo-European religion.

In Upanishads, Purusa concept no longer meant a being or cosmic man. The meaning evolved to an abstract essence of Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and all pervasive.

The Purusa concept is explained with the concept of Prakrti in the Upanishads. The universe is envisioned, in these ancient Sanskrit texts, as a combination of perceivable material reality and non-perceivable, non-material laws and principles of nature. Material reality, or Prakrti, is everything that has changed, can change and is subject to cause and effect. Purusa is the Universal principle that is unchanging, uncaused but is present everywhere and the reason why Prakrti changes, evolves all the time and why there is cause and effect. Purusa is what connects everything and everyone, according to various schools of Hinduism.

There is a diversity of views within various schools of Hinduism about the definition, scope and nature of Purusa.
(Wikipedia)

Splendid and without a bodily form is this Purusa, without and within, unborn, without life breath and without mind, higher than the supreme element. From him are born life breath and mind. He is the soul of all beings.
—Munduka Upanishad, (Translated by Klaus Klostermair)

Both Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hinduism state that there are two ultimate realities whose interaction accounts for all experiences and universe - Prakrti (matter) and Purusa (spirit). In other words, the universe is envisioned as a combination of perceivable material reality and non-perceivable, non-material laws and principles of nature. Material reality, or Prakrti, is everything that has changed, can change and is subject to cause and effect. Universal principle, or Purusa, is that which is unchanging (aksara) and is uncaused. The animating causes, fields and principles of nature is Purusa in Hindu philosophy. Hinduism refers to Purusa as the soul of the universe, the universal spirit present everywhere, in everything and everyone, all the times. Purusa is Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and all pervasive. It is Purusa in the form of nature’s laws and principles that operate in the background to regulate, guide and direct change, evolution, cause and effect. It is Purusa, in Hindu concept of existence, that breathes life into matter, is the source of all consciousness, one that creates oneness in all life forms, in all of humanity, and the essence of Self. It is Purusa, according to Hinduism, why the universe operates, is dynamic and evolves, as against being static.
Both Samkhya and Yoga school holds that the path to moksha (release, Self-realization) includes the realization of purusa.
The abstract idea Purusa is extensively discussed in various Upanishads, and referred interchangeably as maha-atman and brahman.
(Wikipedia)




Hiraṇyagarbha

Swayambhu (also spelled Svayambhu) means "self-manifested" or "that which is created by its own accord".

Hiraṇyagarbha (हिरण्यगर्भःliterally the 'golden womb' or 'golden egg', poetically rendered 'universal germ') is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos in Indian philosophy, it finds mention in one hymn of the Ṛigveda (RV 10.121), known as the 'Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta', suggesting a single creator deity(verse 8: yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt, Griffith:"He is the God of gods, and none beside him."), in the hymn identified as Prajāpati The concept golden womb is again mentioned in Viswakarma suktha Rg 10-82."

RV 10.121 (the Hiranyagarbha sukta) is another hymn dealing with creation, containing elements of monotheism. It has a recurring pada "what God shall we adore with our oblation?", in verse 1 named Hiranyagarbha "the golden egg", later a name of Brahma, in verse 10 addressed as Prajapati.

A cosmogonic principle introduced in Ṛg Veda 10.121 where it appears as the one lord of creation who arose in the beginning. In later texts, hiraṇyagarbha mutates into ‘Brahmā's egg’ (Brahmāṇḍa), establishing the basic, closed shape of the Purāṇic universe.

Hiraṇyagarbha or Hiraṇyāṇḍa (Skt., ‘golden womb’, ‘golden embryo’). In early Hinduism, the source of all creation and life. In Ṛg Veda 10. 121. 1 ff., Hiraṇyagarbha becomes the unified source of the created order and is identified with Prajāpati.

Rig Veda (10-121) HYMN CXXI. Ka. - Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1896]
IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge -.
The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
Who by his grandeur hath become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers;
He who is Loord of men and Lord of cattle. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
His, through his might, are these snow-covered mountains, and men call sea and Rasā his possession:
His arms are these, his are these heavenly regions. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
By him the heavens are strong and earth is stedfast, by him light's realm and sky-vault are supported:
By him the regions in mid-air were measured. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
To him, supported by his help, two armies embattled look while trembling in their spirit,
When over them the risen Sun is shining. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
What time the mighty waters came, containing the universal germ, producing Agni,
Thence sprang the Gods’ one spirit into being. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
He in his might surveyed the floods containing productive force and generating Worship.
He is the God of gods, and none beside him. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
Neer may he harm us who is earth's Begetter, nor he whose laws are sure, the heavens' Creator,
He who brought forth the great and lucid waters. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
Prajāpati! thou only comprehendest all these created things, and none beside thee.
Grant us our hearts' desire when we invoke thee: may we have store of riches in possession.

The Hiranyagarbha Sukta RV 10:121
In the beginning was the Divinity in his splendour,
manifested as the sole Lord of land, skies, water, space and that beneath
and he upheld the earth and the heavens.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is he who bestows soul-force and vigour,whose guidance all men invoke,
the Devas invoke whose shadow is immortal life-and death.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is he who by his greatness became the one King of the breathing and the seeing,
who is the Lord of man and bird and beast.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is he through whose glory the snow-clad mountains rose,
and the ocean spread with the river, they say.
His arms are the quarters of the sky.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings ?
It is he through whom the heaven is strong and the earth firm,
who has steadied the light and the sky’s vault,
and measured out the sphere of clouds in the mid-region.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offering?
It is he to whom heaven and earth, placed in the lightby his grace, look up,
radiant with the mind while over them the sun, rising, brightly shines.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
When the mighty waters came, carrying the universal germ, producing the flame of life,
then dwelt there in harmony the One Spirit of the Devas.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is he who in his might surveyed the waters, conferring skill and creating worship-he,
the God of Gods, the One and only One.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
Father of the world - may he not destroy us who with Truth as his Law made the heavens and produced waters, vast and beautiful.
Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings?
Lord of creation ! no one other than thee pervades all these that have come into being.
May that be ours, for which our prayers rise, may we be masters of many treasures!

Brahma and Prajapati, Government Museum Madras, India
Brahma and Prajapati, Government Museum Madras, India
Image source: Wikimedia

Prajapati

The essential feature of Prajapati is that he is a creator, a "Lord of Offspring," and offspring includes everything. Yet there is no consistent account of creation in the Brahmanas, nor even in any one text. Nevertheless, the importance of the concept Prajapati does appear in the fact that he is definitely identified with Visvakarman, the "All-Creator" of the Rgveda (x. 81, 82), or with Daksa, who is at once son and father of Aditi in that Samhitd (x. 72); and the later Samkitds repeat the hymn of the Rgveda (x. 121) which celebrates the "Golden Germ," Hiranyagarbha, and identify with Prajapati the interrogative Ka ("Who"), which in that hymn heads each line in the question, "To what god shall we offer with oblation?" Among the variants of the story of the creation of the world there is one which becomes a favourite and which assigns to the waters or the ocean the first place in the order of existence. The waters, however, desire to be multiplied, and produce a golden egg by the process of tapas a term which, with its origin in the verb tap, "heat," shows that the first conception of Indian ascetic austerity centres in the process of producing intense physical heat. From this egg is born Prajapati, who proceeds to speak in a year, the words which he utters being the sacred vyakrtis, or exclamations, "Bhuh," "Bhuvah," and "Svar," which become the earth, the atmosphere, and the sky. He desired offspring and finally produced the gods, who were made divinities by reaching the sky; and he also created the Asuras, whereby came the darkness, which revealed to Prajapati that he had created evil, so that he pierced the Asuras with darkness, and they were overcome. The tale, one of many, is important in that it reveals qualities which are permanent throughout Indian religion: the story of creation is variously altered from time to time and made to accord with philosophical speculation, which resolves the waters into a primitive material termed Prakrti; but the golden egg, though spiritualized, persists in the popular conception, while the place of the creation of the god is taken by the concept of Purusa, or "Spirit," which is one of the names of Prajapati, entering into the material Prakrti. The creative power of Prajapati exercised by himself is actually compared to child-birth and serves as the precursor of the androgynous character of the deity, which is formally expressed in the figure of Siva as half man and half woman both in literature and in art. (www.rbedrosian.com)

Now follows an extract from the "Sātapatha Brāhmana," which gives the words used at the creation. "(Uttering) 'bhūh,' Prajāpati generated this earth. (Uttering) 'bhuvah,' he generated the air; and (Uttering) 'svah,' he generated the sky. This universe is coextensive with these worlds. Saying 'bhūh,' Prajāpati generated the Brāhman; (saying) 'bhuvah,' he generated the Kshattra; (and saying) 'svah,' he generated the Vis. All this world is as much as the Brāhman, Kshattra and Vis. (Saying) 'bhūh,' Prajāpati generated himself; (saying) 'bhuvah,' he generated offspring; (saying) 'svah,' he generated animals. This world is so much as self, offspring, and animals." (www.sacred-texts.com)

An attempt to depict the creative activities of Prajapati; a steel engraving from the 1850's

An attempt to depict the creative activities of Prajapati; a steel engraving from the 1850's

An attempt to depict the creative activities of Prajapati; a steel engraving from the 1850's

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org  




There is, however, another side to the character of Prajapati which exhibits him in an unfavourable light. The Brahmanas tell that he cast eyes of longing on his own daughter, reproducing here, no doubt, the obscure references in the Rgveda (X. lxi. 4-7) to the intercourse of Dyaus ("Sky") with his daughter Usas ("Dawn"). The gods were deeply indignant at this deed, and Rudra either threatened to shoot him, but was induced to desist by being promised to be made lord of cattle; or actually shot him, though afterward the wound thus caused was healed. In the Aitareya Brahmana (iii. 33) the story takes a very mythic aspect: Prajapati turns himself into a deer to pursue his daughter in the guise of an antelope (rohini), and the gods produce a most terrible form to punish him, in the shape, it is clear, of Rudra, though his name is too dangerous to be mentioned; he pierces Prajapati, who flees to the sky and there constitutes the constellation Mrga ("Wild Animal"), while the archer becomes Mrgavyadha ("Piercer of the Mrga"), the antelope is changed into Rohini, and the arrow is still to be seen as the constellation of the three-pronged arrow. (www.rbedrosian.com)

HINDU CREATION
(from the Satapatha Brahmana)

Before there was anything there were the primeval waters. These seas were vast and deep and dark; all that was, was Non Being.

Over time, these waters produced a single golden egg, which floated over the waters for nine months.

After nine months, the egg burst open, and there was Prajapati standing in its shell. Prajapati was neither male nor female, but an all-powerful combination of both. He rested there on the golden shell for almost a year without speaking or moving.

After one year he broke his silence. The first word he spoke - the Word - became the earth.

The next Word he uttered became the sky, which he divided into seasons.

Prajapati could see forever; from the beginning of all life and even to his own death, which would be 1,000 years later. Yet Prajapati was lonely and he desired a mate in this vast emptiness.

He divided himself into two beings, a husband and a wife, and together they created the first gods, the elements and mankind. By these acts of creation, time was created; Prajapati became the embodiment of time itself.

The first to be born was Agni, the God of Fire. Once there was fire, there was also light, which Prajapati separated into day and night.

Other gods were born, including the evil Ashuras and beautiful Dawn. Prajapati was sure to separate good from evil, and hid his evil offspring deep into the earth.

However, Prajapati desired his lovely daughter Dawn, and as she was on earth in the form of a doe, he came to her disguised as a stag.

She tried to flee but Prajapati was too fast and powerful. She later gave birth to all the cattle of the world.

The other gods watched, filled with horror- Prajapati’s act was disgraceful, breaking the most profound taboo they could imagine.

In anger they created the monstrous Rudra, who hunted Prajapati down all over the earth.

When he found him, he shot him with an arrow and flung him into the dark sky.

Thus Prajapati became the ‘Deer’s Head’ (Capricorn) constellation in the night sky.

Dawn returned to the sky but never got too close to the night.

 

 

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.4) mentions that in the beginning, only the Atman existed as the Purusha. Feeling lonely, the Purusha divided itself into two parts: male ("pati") and female ("patni"). The men were born when the male embraced the female. The female thought "how can he embrace me, after having produced me from himself? I shall hide myself." She then became a cow to hide herself, but the male became a bull and embraced her. Thus the cows were born. Similarly, everything that exists in pairs, was created. Next, the Purusha created the fire, the soma and the immortal gods (the devas) from his better part. He also created the various powers of the gods, the different classes, the dharma (law or duty) and so on. The Taittiriya Upanishad states that the being (sat) was created from the non-being. The Being later became the Atman (2.7.1), and then created the worlds (1.1.1). The Chhandogya states that the Brahma creates, sustains and destroys the world. (Wikipedia: Hindu views on evolution)

Brahmana 4 (Chapter4) also announces the Upanishad's non-dual, monistic metaphysical premise that Atman and Brahman are identical Oneness, with the assertion that because the universe came out of nothingness when the only principle existent was "I am he", the universe after it came into existence continues as Aham brahma asmi (I am Brahman). In the last brahmana of the first chapter, the Upanishad explains that the Atman (soul) inspires by being self evident (name identity), through empowering forms, and through action (work of a living being). The Soul, states Brihadaranyaka, is the imperishable one that is invisible and concealed pervading all reality.(Wikipedia: Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)

 

Chapter IV—The Creation and Its Cause

1) In the beginning, this universe was the self (Viraj) alone, in the shape of a person. He reflected and saw nothing else but His self. He first said: "I am He." Therefore He came to be known by the name I (Aham). Hence, even now, when a person is addressed, he first says: "It is I," and then says whatever other name he may have. And because He, before (purva) the whole group of aspirants, burnt (aushat) all evils, therefore He is called Purusha. He who knows this verily burns up him who wishes to be Viraj in advance of him.

2) He was afraid. Therefore people still are afraid when alone. He thought: "Since there is nothing else but Myself, what am I afraid of?" Thereupon His fears were gone; for what was there to fear? Assuredly, it is from a second entity that fear arises.

3) He was not at all happy. Therefore a person even today is not happy when alone. He desired a mate. He became the size of a man and wife in close embrace. He divided this body into two. From that division arose husband (pati) and wife (patni). Therefore, as Yajnavalkya said, the body before one accepts a wife is one half of oneself, like the half of a split pea. Therefore this space is indeed filled by the wife. He was united with her. From that union human beings were born.

4) She reflected: "How can he unite with me after having produced me from himself? Well, let me hide myself." She became a cow, the other (Manu) became a bull and was united with her; from that union cows were born. The one became a mare, the other became a stallion; the one became a she—ass, the other became a he—ass and was united with her; from that union one—hoofed animals were born. The one became a she—goat, the other became a he—goat; the one became a hew, the other became a ram and was united with her; from that union goats and sheep were born. Thus, indeed, he produced everything that exists in pairs, down to the ants.

5) He (Viraj) realized: "Indeed, I am the creation, for I produced all this." Therefore He became the creation. He who knows this becomes a creator in this creation of Viraj.

6) Then He (Viraj) rubbed back and forth thus and produced fire from its source: the mouth and the hands. Therefore both the hands and mouth are hairless inside. When they (the priests) speak of particular gods, saying: "Sacrifice to him," "Sacrifice to that one," they are mistaken; for these are all His manifestations: He Himself is all the gods. Now, whatever is liquid, He produced from semen; and that is soma. This universe is indeed this much: food and the eater of food. Soma is food; and fire, the eater of food. This is the highest creation of Viraj, that He projected the gods, who are even superior to Him. This is the highest creation because He, although mortal Himself, manifested the immortal. And he who knows this verily becomes a creator in this highest creation of Viraj.

7) Now, all this universe was then undifferentiated. It became differentiated by name and form: it was known by such and such a name and such and such a form. Thus to this day this universe is differentiated by name and form; so it is said. "He has such a name and such a form." This Self has entered into these bodies up to the very tips of the nails, as a razor lies hidden in its case, or as fire, which sustains the world, lies hidden in its source. People do not see the Self, for when viewed in parts It is incomplete: when breathing, It is called the vital breath (prana); when speaking, the organ of speech; when seeing, the eye; when hearing, the ear; when thinking, the mind. These are merely Its names according to Its functions. He who meditates on one or another of Its aspects does not know, for It is then incomplete: the Self is separated from Its totality by being associated with a single characteristic. The Self alone is to be meditated upon, for in It all these become unified. Of all these, this Self alone should be known, for one knows all these through It, just as one may find an animal which is lost through its footprints. He who thus knows the Self obtains fame and association with dear ones.

8) This Self is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than everything else, because It is innermost. If one holding the Self dear were to say to a person who speaks of anything other than the Self as dear, that he, the latter, will lose what he holds dear—and the former is certainly competent to do so—it will indeed come true. One should meditate upon the Self alone as dear. He who meditates upon the Self alone as dear—what he holds dear will not perish.

9) They say: "Since men think that by the Knowledge of Brahman they become all, what, pray, was it that Brahman knew by which It became all?"

10) This self was indeed Brahman in the beginning. It knew itself only as "I am Brahman." Therefore it became all. And whoever among the gods had this enlightenment, also became That Brahman. It is the same with the seers (rishis), the same with men. The seer Vamadeva, having realized this self as That, came to know: "I was Manu and the sun." And to this day, whoever in a like manner knows the self as "I am Brahman," becomes all this universe. Even the gods cannot prevent his becoming this, for he has become their Self. Now, if a man worships another deity, thinking: "He is one and I am another," he does not know. He is like an animal to the gods. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. Even if one animal is taken away, it causes anguish to the owner; how much more so when many are taken away! Therefore it is not pleasing to the gods that men should know this.

11) In the beginning this (the kshatriya and other castes) was indeed Brahman, one only without a second. He, being one, did not flourish. He projected, further, an excellent form, kshatriyahood—those kshatriyas (rulers) among the gods: Indra, Varuna, Soma (Moon), Rudra, Parjanya, Yama, Mrityu (Death) and Isana. Therefore there is none higher than the kshatriyas. Thus at the Rajasuya sacrifice, the brahmin sits below and worships the kshatriya. He confers that glory on kshatriyahood alone. But brahminhood is nevertheless the source of kshatriyahood. Therefore even though the king is exalted in the sacrifice, at the end of it he resorts to brahminhood as his source. He who slights a brahmin strikes at his own source. He becomes more evil, as one who slights his superior.

12) Yet He (Viraj) did not flourish. He projected the Vaisya caste—those classes of gods who are designated in groups: the Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Visve—devas and Maruts.

13) Still He did not flourish. He projected the sudra caste—Pushan. This earth is Verily Pushan (the nourisher); for it nourishes all that exists.

14) Yet He did not flourish. He projected, further, that excellent form, justice (dharrna). This justice is the controller of the kshatriya. Therefore there is nothing higher than justice. So even a weak man hopes to defeat a stronger man through justice, as one does with the help of a king. Verily, that which is justice is truth. Therefore if a man speaks the truth, they say he speaks what is just and if he speaks what is just, they say he speaks the truth; for justice alone is both these.

15) So these four castes were projected: the brahmin: the kshatriya, the vaisya and the sudra. Among the gods Prajapati became a brahmin as fire and among men He became the brahmin. He became a kshatriya among men through the divine kshatriyas, a vaisya through the divine vaisyas and a sudra through the divine sudras. Therefore people desire to attain the results of their rites among the gods through fire and among men as a brahmin. For Prajapati directly projected Himself as these two forms. Now, if a man departs from this world without realizing his own World (the Self), It, being unknown, does not protect him—as the Vedas, unrecited, or as a deed unaccomplished, do not protect him. Nay, even if one who does not know It (the Self) should perform here on earth a great many meritorious acts, those acts will in the end surely perish for him. One should meditate only upon the World called the Self. He who meditates upon the World called the Self—his work does not perish; for from this very Self he projects whatever he desires.

16) Now, this self (the ignorant person) is an object of enjoyment (lokah) to all beings. In so far as he offers oblations in the fire and performs sacrifices, he becomes an object of enjoyment to the gods. In so far as he studies the Vedas, he becomes an object of enjoyment to the rishis. In so far as he makes offerings to the Manes and desires children, he becomes an object of enjoyment to the Manes. In so far as he gives shelter and food to men, he becomes an object of enjoyment to men. In so far as he gives fodder and water to the animals, he becomes an object of enjoyment to the animals. In so far as beasts and birds and even ants find a living in his home, he becomes an object of enjoyment to these. Just as one wishes no injury to one's body, so do all beings wish no injury to him who has this knowledge. All this, indeed, has been known and well investigated.

17) In the beginning this aggregate of desirable objects was but the self, one only. He cherished the desire: "Let me have a wife, so that I may be born as the child; and let me have wealth, so that I may perform rites." This much, indeed, is the range of desire; even if one wishes, one cannot get more than this. Therefore, to this day, a man who is single desires: "Let me have a wife, so that I may be born as the child; and let me have wealth, so that I may perform rites." So long as he does not obtain each one of these, he thinks he is incomplete. Now, his completeness can also come in this way: The mind is his self, speech his wife, the vital breath his child, the eye his human wealth, for he finds it with the eye; the ear his divine wealth, for he hears it with the ear; the body his instrument of rites, for he performs rites through the body. So this sacrifice has five factors—the animals have five factors, men have five factors and all this that exists has five factors. He who knows this obtains all this.

Sanskrit version vs Levantine version of creation - Joseph Campbell

This tells of a time before the beginning of time, when this universe was nothing but "the Self" in the form of a man. And that Self, as we read, "looked around and saw that there was nothing but itself, whereupon its first shout was, 'It is I'; whence the concept 'I' arose." And when that Seft had thus become aware of itself as an 'I', an ego, it was afraid. But it reasoned, thinking, "Since there is no one here but myself, what is there to fear?" Whereupon the fear departed.

However, that Self, as we next are told, "still lacked delight and wished there were another." It swelled and, splitting in two, become male and female. The male embraced the female, and from that the human race arose. But she thought, "How can he unite with me, who am of his own substance? Let me hide!" She became a cow, he a bull and united with her, and from that cattle arose; she a mare, he a stallion ... and so on, down to the ants. Then he realized, "I, actually, am Creation; for I have poured forth all this." Whence, arose the concept "creation" (Sanskirt srisbtib, "what is poured forth"). "Anyone understanding this becomes, truly, himself a creator in this creation."

So the Sanskrit version of our legend. Next the Levantine, of about the same date, as preserved in the second chapter of Genesis: that melancholy tale, namely, of our simple ancestor, Adam, who had been fashioned of dust by his maker to till and to keep a garden. But the man was lonely, and his maker, hoping to please him, formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. None of them gave delight. "And so the Lord," as we read, "caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs ..." And the man, when he beheld the woman, said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." We all know what next occurred = and here we all are, in this vale of tears.

But now, please notice! In this second version of the shared legend it was not the god who was split in two, but his created servant. The god did not become male and female and then pour himself forth to become all this. He remained apart and of a different substance. We have thus one tale in two totally different versions. And their implications relevant to the ideals and disciplines of the religious life are, accordingly, different too. In the Orient the guiding ideal is that each should realize that he himself and all others are of the one substance of that universal Being of beings which is, in fact, the same Self in all. Hence the typical aim of an Oriental religion is that one should experience and realize in life one's identity with that Being; whereas in the West, following our Bible, the ideal is, rather, to become engaged in a relationship with that absolutely other Person who is one's Maker, apart and "out there", in no sense one's innermost Self.



Reality comes into being as atman

In the beginning this cosmos was self (atman) alone, in the shape of a person. He looking round saw nothing but his Self. He first said, 'This is I', therefore he became 'I' by name. Therefore even now, if a man is asked, he first says, 'This is I' and then pronounces the other name which he may have. And because before all this he burnt down all evils, therefore he was a person. Truly the one who knows this burns down every one who tries to be before him.

He feared, and therefore anyone who is lonely fears. He thought, 'As there is nothing but myself, why should I fear?' Thence his fear passed away. For what should he have feared? Truly, fear arises only from a second.

But he felt no delight. Therefore a man who is lonely feels no delight. He wished for a second. He was as large as man and wife together. He then made his Self fall in two, and thence arose husband and wife. That is why it is said, 'We two are thus like half a shell.'

Therefore the void which was there is filled by the wife. He embraced her, and men were born. She thought, 'How can he embrace me, after having produced me from himself? I shall hide myself.'

She then became a cow, the other became a bull and embraced her, and hence cows were born. The one became a mare, the other a stallion; the one a male ass and the other a female ass. He embraced her, and hence one-hoofed animals were born. The one became a she-goat, the other a he-goat; the one became a ewe, the other a ram. He embraced her, and hence goats and sheep were born.

And thus he created everything that exists in pairs down to the ants. He knew, 'I indeed am this creation, for I created all this.' Hence he became the creation, and he who knows this lives in this his creation.



Creation By and From the Self


In the beginning there was absolutely nothing, and what existed was covered by death and hunger. He thought, "Let me have a self", and he created the mind. As he moved about in worship, water was generated. Froth formed on the water, and the froth eventually solidifed to become earth. He rested on the earth, and from his luminence came fire. After resting, he divided himself in three parts, and one is fire, one is the sun, and one is the air.

Thus in the beginning the world was only his self, his being or essence, which then took the shape of a person. At first he was afraid, but realizing that he was alone and had nothing of which to be afraid, his fear ceased. However, he had no happiness because he was alone, and he longed for another. He grew as large as two persons embracing, and he caused his self to split into two matching parts, like two halves of a split pea, and from them arose husband and wife.

They mated, and from their union arose the human beings of the earth. The female reflected on having mated with someone of whom she was once a part, and she resolved that she should hide so that it would not happen again. She changed to a cow to disguise herself, but he changed to a bull and mated with her, and from their union cows arose. She changed to the form of a mare, but he changed to that of a stallion and mated with her, and from that union came horses. She changed to the form of a donkey, but he did likewise, and from them arose the single-hoofed animals. She became a ewe, but he became a ram, and from their union came the sheep and goats. It continued thus, with her changing form to elude him but he finding her and mating with her, until they had created all the animals that live in pairs, from humans and horses to ants.

After all this work, he reflected that he was indeed Creation personified, for he had created all this. Rubbing back and forth, he made Fire, the god of fire, from his hands, and from his semen he made Soma, the god of the moon. This was his highest creation because, although mortal himself, he had created immortal gods.

 

 

Aitareya Upanishad

The Aitareya Upanishad belongs to the Aitareya Aranyaka and is a part of the Rig Veda. This Upanishad consists of 3 Parts.
The first Part describes the creation. It provides an allegorical description of the creation of the universe - as also of man – from Consciousness. It uses the word ‘Brahman’ for universal Consciousness and ‘Atman’ for individual Consciousness. These two words embrace all possible concepts about God and all known names of God without any contradiction whatsoever.
Atman alone exists as the sole Reality prior to the creation of all names and forms of the phenomenal world and during their continuance and after their dissolution as well. It projects the created objects through its wondrous powers of maya. The creation is the spontaneous act of the Creator who is not impelled by any desire or necessity. It is the projection of creator’s thoughts.
The stages of creation are as follows: the different worlds, the Virat(representing the totality of the physical bodies)► ►the deities or Devas (who control the various organs) ►►the elements►►the individual bodies►►and the food by which these bodies are sustained. After creation the Creator enters into the bodies as their living self. Thus is projected the universe of diversity. Next the Upanishad deals with the refutation (apavada) of this universe in order to arrive at the Knowledge of Atman.
In Part II the creation of human body is described in order to inculcate a sense of dispassion by showing the impermanence of the body. Creation continues through procreation. A man is born, he gives birth to a son and he takes rebirth after death. This signifies that a person has really three births. The procreative fluid of a father is said to be the essence of his Self. The mother looks after it during pregnancy as her own Self. After birth, the parents nourish the child so that he can be their substitute for performance of pious deeds. Hence the importance of natal care and oneness of the father and the son are emphasized.br> Third Part begins with a question as to what should be meditated upon as Atman. It says that this sort of doubt has no relevance because everything that exists – mind, senses, cosmic powers, living beings and material objects - has Consciousness as its fundamental basis as well as its inner power.
The text concludes that the whole universe is guided by Consciousness. So Consciousness must be the Ultimate Reality, the Transcendental Power, the Absolute Truth, and the Supreme God. Thus the importance of the Aitareya Upanishad lies in its statement that Consciousness is Brahman, the Absolute – Prajnanam Brahma as well as for the concept of three births of the man.
Source: www.esamskriti.com Aitareya Upanishad & Brief Explanation

The Aitareya Upanishad mentions that only the "Atman" (the Self) existed in the beginning. The Self-created the heaven (Ambhas), the sky (Marikis), the earth (Mara) and the underworld (Ap). He then formed the Purusha from the water. He also created the speech, the fire, the prana (breath of life), the air and the various senses, the directions, the trees, the mind, the moon and other things.
Aitareya Upanishad discusses three philosophical themes: first, that the world and man is the creation of the Atman (Soul, Universal Self); second, the theory that the Atman undergoes threefold birth; third, that Consciousness is the essence of Atman. (Wikipedia)

 

Aitareya Upanishad

Part 1 - Chapter 1: The Creation of Virat

1 In the beginning all this verily was Atman only, one and without a second. There was nothing else that winked. He bethought Himself: "Let Me now create the worlds."

2 He created these worlds: Ambhah, the world of water-bearing clouds, Marichi, the world of the solar rays, Mara, the world of mortals and Ap, the world of waters. Yon is Ambhah, above heaven; heaven is its support. The Marichis are the interspace. Mara is the earth. What is underneath is Ap.

3 He bethought Himself: "Here now are the worlds. Let Me now create world-guardians." Right from the waters He drew forth the Person in the form of a lump and gave Him a shape.

4 He brooded over Him. From Him, so brooded over, the mouth was separated out, as with an egg; form the month, the organ of speech; from speech, fire, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the nostrils were separated out; from the nostrils, the organ of breath; from breath, air, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the eyes were separated out; from the eyes, the organ of sight; from sight, the sun, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the ears were separated out; from the ears, the organ of hearing; from hearing, the quarters of space, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the skin was separated out; from the skin, hairs, the organ of touch; from the hairs, plants and trees, air the controlling deity of the organs. Then the heart was separated out; from the heart, the organ of the mind; from the mind, the moon, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the navel was separated out; from the navel, the organ of the apana; from the apana, Death, Varuna, the controlling deity of the organ. Then the virile member was separated out; from the virile member, semen, the organ of generation; from the semen, the waters, the controlling deity of the organ.

Part 1 - Chapter 2: Cosmic Powers in the Human Body

1 These deities, thus created, fell into this great ocean. He subjected the Person to hunger and thirst. They said to Him: "Find out for us an abode wherein being established we may eat food."

2-3 He brought them a cow. They said: "But this is not enough for us." He brought them a horse. They said: "This, too, is not enough for us." He brought them a person. The deities said: "Ah, this is well done, indeed." Therefore a person is verily something well done. He said to the deities: "Now enter your respective abodes."

4 The deity fire became the organ of speech and entered the mouth. Air became breath and entered the nostrils. The sun became sight and entered the eyes; the quarters of space became hearing and entered the ears. Plants and trees, the deity of air, became hairs and entered the skin. The moon became the mind and entered the heart. Death became the apana and entered the navel. The waters became semen and entered the virile member.

5 Hunger and thirst said to the Creator: "For the two of us find an abode also." He said to them: "I assign the two of you to these deities; I make you co-sharers with them." Therefore to whatsoever deity an oblation is made, hunger and thirst became sharers in it.

Part 1 - Chapter 3: The Embodiment of the Supreme Self

1 He bethought Himself: "Here now are the worlds and the world-guardians. Let Me cerate food for them."

2 He brooded over the waters. From the waters, thus brooded over, there emerged a condensed form. The form that so emerged is indeed food.

3 The food so created wished to flee away. He sought to grasp it with speech. But He was not able to grasp it with speech. If, indeed, He has grasped it with speech, one would then have been satisfied by merely uttering the word food.

4-10 The Creator sought to grasp it with the breath. But He was not able to grasp it with the breath. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the breath, one would then have been satisfied by merely smelling food. He sought to grasp it with the eye. But He was not able to grasp it with the eye. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the eye, one would then have been satisfied by merely seeing food. He sought to grasp it with the ear. But He was not able to grasp it with the ear. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the ear, one would then have been satisfied by merely hearing of food. He sought to grasp it with the skin. But He was not able to grasp it with the skin. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the skin, one would then have been satisfied by merely touching food. He sought to grasp it with the mind. But He was not able to grasp it with the mind. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the mind, one would then have been satisfied by merely thinking of food. He sought to grasp it with the virile member. But He was not able to grasp it with the virile member. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the virile member, one would then have been satisfied by merely emitting food. He sought to grasp it with the apana and He grasped it. This grasper of food is what vayu, air or prana is. This vayu is what lives on food.

11 He bethought Himself: "How could this exist without Me?" Then He said to Himself: "Which way shall I enter it?" he said to Himself further: "If speech is uttered by the organ of speech, if smelling is done by the breath, seeing by the eyes, hearing by the ears, touching by the skin, thinking by the mind, eating by the apana and the emission of semen by the virile member, them who am I?"

12 So, piercing the end, the Lord entered through that door. That door is known as the vidriti, the cleft. This is the place of bliss. Atman, thus embodied, has three abodes, three conditions of sleep. This is one abode, this is another, this is the third.

13 Having been born as the jiva, He realised the elements as one with Himself. What else here would one desire to speak about? He perceived this very person as the all-pervading Brahman. He said: "Ah, I have seen It."

14 Therefore He is called Idandra. Idandra, indeed is His name. Him who is Idandra they call indirectly Indra. For the gods appear to be fond of cryptic epithets; yea, the gods appear to be fond of cryptic epithets.

Part 2 - Chapter 1: The Three Births of the Self

1 This person is, at first, the germ in a man. That which is the semen is here called the germ. This semen is the vigour drawn from all the limbs. The man bears the self in the self. When he pours the semen into a woman, he gives it a birth. This, indeed, is the first birth of the embodied soul.

2 That semen becomes one with the woman-just like a limb of her own. That is why it does not hurt her. She nourishes this self of his that has come into her.

3 She, being the nourisher, should be nourished. The woman nourishes the embryo. Immediately after its birth he nourishes the child, which in the beginning was already born. Nourishing the child from birth onward, he thus nourishes himself for the continuation of these worlds. For thus alone are these worlds perpetuated. This is one's second birth.

4 He who is the one self of his, is made his substitute for virtuous deeds. Then the other self of his, having accomplished his duties and reached his age departs. So departing hence, he is born again. This is the third birth.

5 About this a rishi has said: "While still lying in the womb, I came to know all the births of the gods. A hundred strongholds, as if made of iron, confined me, yet I burst through them all swiftly, like a hawk." Vamadeva spoke, in this wise, even while lying in the womb.

6 Thus endowed with Knowledge, he, becoming one with the Supreme Self and soaring aloft on the dissolution of the body, obtained all desires in the heavenly world and became immortal-yea, became immortal.

Part 3 - Chapter 1: Concerning the Self

1 Who is He whom we worship, thinking: "This is the Self"? Which one is the Self? Is it He by whom one sees form, by whom one hears sound and by whom one tastes the sweet and the unsweet?

2 Is it the heart and the mind. It is consciousness, lordship, knowledge, wisdom, retentive power of mind, sense knowledge, steadfastness, though, thoughtfulness, sorrow, memory, concepts, purpose, life, desire, longing: all these are but various names of Consciousness (Prajnanam).

3 He is Brahman, He is Indra, He is Prajapati; He is all these gods; He is the five great elements-earth, air, akasa, water, light; He is all these small creatures and the others which are mixed; He is the origin-those born of an egg, of a womb, of sweat and of a sprout; He is horses, cows, human beings, elephants-whatever breathes here, whether moving on legs or flying in the air or unmoving. All this is guided by Consciousness, is supported by Consciousness. The basis is Consciousness. Consciousness is Brahman.

4 He, having realised oneness with Pure Consciousness, soared from this world and having obtained all desires in yonder heavenly world, became immortal-yea, became immortal.




The fully developed Adhyatmam-adhidaivam system of the period of the Upanisads utilized as a means for arriving at absolute detachment a thorough-going scheme of correspondences between subjective and objective phenomena.
        (Note: Adhyatmam (adhi= "over"; atman = "self or spirit"): the Supreme Spirit manifest as the Self of the individual: adhidaivam (daivam, from deva = "divinity"): the Supreme Spirit operating in material objects. These two are equated in this system as the dual aspects of one sole Imperishable, known respectively from the subjecthe and the objective points of view.)

As an instance: "The divinities of the world having been created, they said to Atman (the Self as the Creator): 'Find out for us an abode wherein we may be established and may eat food.' He led up a bull to them. They said: 'Verily, this is not sufficient for us.' He led up a horse to them. They said: 'Verily, this not sufficient for us.' He led up a person to them. They said: 'Oh! Well done!'--Verily, a person is a thing well done.--He said to them: 'Enter into your respective abodes.' Fire became speech, and entered the mouth. Wind became breath, and entered the nostrils. The sun became sight, and entered the eyes. The quarters of heaven became hearing, and entered the ears. Plants and trees became hairs, and entered the skin. The moon became mind, and entered the heart. Death became the out-breath, and entered the navel. Waters became semen, and entered the virile member."
        (Aitareya Upanisad 2. 1-4. -- Translated by Robert Ernest Hume, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford, 1921, p.295.)

The pupil is taught to apply his knowledge of correspondences of this kind to such meditations as the following: "Just as a jug dissolves into earth, a wave into water, or a bracelet into gold, even so the universe will dissolve into me. Wonderful am I! Adoration to myself! For when the world, from its highest god to its least stem of grass, dissolves, that destruction is not mine."
        (Astavakra Samhita 2. 10-II. -- Translated by Swami Nityaswarupananda.Mayavati, 1940, pp. 22-23)

There is evident here a total disjunction of the phenomenal self (the naively conscious personality which together with its world of names and forms will in time be dissolved) from that other, profoundly hidden, essential yet forgotten, transcendental Self (atman), which when recollected roars out with its thrilling, world-annihilating, "Wonderful am I!" That other is no created thing, but the substratum of all created things, all objects, all processes. "Weapons cut it not; fire burns it not; water wets it not; the wind does not wither it.'' ' The sense-faculties, normally turned outward, seeking, apprehending, and reacting to their objects, do not come into touch with the sphere of that permanent reality but only with the transient evolutions of the perishable transformations of its energy. Will power, leading to the achievement of worldly ends, can therefore be of no great help to man. Neither can the pleasures and experiences of the senses initiate the consciousness into the secret o£ the fullness of life.

 

 

A Modern and Popular Version of Hindu Creation myth

A Hindu Creation Story

Hindu Creation myth


“ Before this time began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of the night. A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent.

Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by dreams or motion. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Aum. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy.

The night had ended, Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord’s command. Vishnu spoke to his servant: ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: ‘Create the World.’ A wind swept up the waters. Vishnu and the serpent Vanished.

Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean. Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies.

The earth was bare. Brahma set to work. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds. To these he gave feeling. Next he created the animals and the insects to live on the land. He made birds to fly in the air and many fish to swim in the sea. To all these creatures, he gave the senses of touch and smell. He gave them power to see, hear and move.”

The world was soon bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma’s creation.”

Image source: www.durhamcountybadgers.org.uk  

“IN THE BEGINNING”

'IN THE BEGINNING'
“IN THE BEGINNING”

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Creation begins with OM

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva within an OM, in a Mahabharata manuscript from 1795
Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva within an OM, in a Mahabharata manuscript from 1795

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org   www.columbia.edu


Click here to see similar image A Pahari painting of an OM containing deities, c.1780-1800

Image source: www.columbia.edu


 

 

BRAHMA PURANA

There was a forest known as Naimisharanya. The sages (maharshis) arranged for a sacrifice (yajna) in this forest and the ceremony went on for twelve years. Naimisharanya forest was a wonderful place to arrange sacrifices in. The climate was pleasant. There were trees full of flowers and fruit. There was no shortage of food in the forest, and animals, birds and sages lived thee happily.

Many sages came to attend the sacrifice that had been arranged in Naimisharanya. With them was Romaharshana (alternatively Lomaharshana), Veda Vyasa's disciple. Veda Vyasa had instructed this disciple of his in the knowledge of the Puranas. The assembled sages worshipped the learned Romaharshana and said, "Please tell us the stories of the Puranas. Who created the universe, who is its preserver and who will destroy it? Please instruct us in all these mysteries".

Romaharshana replied, "Many years ago, Daksha and the other sages had asked Brahma these very questions. I have learnt about Brahma's replies from my guru) teacher) Veda Vyasa. I will relate to you what I know".

In the beginning, there was water everywhere and the Brahman slept on this water in the form of Vishnu. Since water is called nara and since ayana means a bed, Vishnu is known as Narayana. In the water there emerged a golden egg. Brahma was born inside this egg. Since he created himself, he is called Svayambhu, born (bhu) by himself (svayam). For one whole year, Brahma lived inside the egg. He then split the egg into two and created heaven and the earth from the two parts of the egg. Skies, directions, time, language and senses were created in both heaven and earth.

From the powers of his mind, Brahma gave birth to seven great sages. Their names were Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vashishtha. Brahma also created the god Rudra and the sage Sanatkumara.

More Creation

To continue with the process of creation, Brahma gave birth to a man and a woman from his own body. The man was named Svayambhuva Manu and the woman was named Shatarupa. Humans are descended from Manu. That is the reason they are known as manava. Manu and Shatarupa had three sons named Vira, Priyavrata and Uttanapada.

Uttanapada's son was the great Dhruva. Dhruva performed very difficult meditation (tapasya) for three thousand divine years. Brahma was so pleased at this that he granted Dhruva an eternal place in the sky, near the constellation that is known as saptarshi or the seven sages. This is the constellation Ursa Majoris and Dhruva is the pole Star.

In Dhruva's line there was a king named Prachinavarhi. Prachinavarhi had ten sons, known as the Prachetas. These Prachetas were supposed to look after the world and rule over it, but they were not interested in such mundane matters. They went off instead to perform tapasya under the ocean. The tapasya went on for ten thousand years. The upshot was that the earth had no ruler and began to suffer. People started to die and thick forests sprouted everywhere. So thick were the forests that even the winds could not blow.

News of this catastrophe reached the Prachetas. They were furious with the trees and created wind (vayu) and fire (agni) from their mouths. The wind dried up the trees and the fire burnt them, so that, very soon, there were very few trees left on earth.

Everyone was alarmed at the effects of the Prachetas anger. The moon-god Soma (or Chandra) came to the Prachetas with a beautiful woman and said, "Prachetas, please control your anger. You need someone to rule over the world so that you can concentrate on your tapasya. This woman is named Marisha. Her son will rule over the world".

The Prachetas agreed to this proposal and Daksha was born. The word praja means subject and the word pati means master. Since Daksha ruled over the world and its subjects, Daksha came to be known as Prajapati.

The sages interrupted Romaharshana. They said, "Sage, we are completely confused. We have heard that Daksha was born from Brahma's toe. And yet you have told us that Daksha was the son of the Prachetas. How is this possible?"

Romaharshana replied, "There is no reason for bewilderment. Many Dakshas have been born to rule over the world. One was born from Brahma's toe, yet another was the son of the Prachetas."




Vishnu PURANA

3.1.1 Introduction and Origin of the Universe from Basic Elements

Sage Parashar, the exponent of Vishnu Puraan had narrated this grand treatise to Maitreya. Sage Suta inherited it from Maitreya. The text presented here is a narration by Suta.

Suta says- One day, Maitreya greeted sage Parashar and said- "Gurudev, you have studied all the scriptures. I wish to hear the tale of universe’s origin from you. How will be the ages that are about to come? What is the reason for this whole creation? Who created it? Where did it exist? Whom did it mingle with? And with whom it will annihilate eventually? Apart from these, I also wish to hear about the expansion of fathomless sky, origin of ocean and mountains, origin of earth, expansion of the Sun, division of time in four ages, Pralay, religion, sages, kings, creation of Vedas by Vedavyasa, origin of four classes in our society and system of four Ashrams in one’s life." Parashar says: "Maitreya, you have reminded me today of the description once made by my grandfather Vashishta. When I learnt that the monster, which was created by Vishwamitra, had devoured my father, I grew quite angry and started a Yagya to destroy all the monsters. The Yagya destroyed such a large number of monsters that the whole race began to face the fear of extinction. My grandfather consoled me that too much anger was not good and that all the monsters could not be blamed for my father’s death. According to my grandfather my father was sure to face such a fate ultimately. Only the fools get angry. A human being bears the fruit of his deeds himself. O son! Anger destroys all the virtues of penance. Hence, ascetics always shun anger. Hence, stop this Yagya for forgiving has always been the virtue of ascetics."

Thus, convinced by my grandfather, I stopped the Yagya. At the same time, Brahma’s son, Pulastya, arrived there and said- "Despite your anger, you forgave the monsters when convinced by your grandfather Vashishta. You will learn all the scriptures and give commentaries on Puraans. You will also learn the real appearance of the gods". Vashishta also endorsed these words of Pulastya.

"O Maitreya! Now I narrate to you, the whole contents of Puraan. This whole universe has originated from Lord Vishnu. It is existing within Him and will annihilate in Him eventually."

Parashar says: "The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is also known as the creator, the preserver and the destroyer. All of them salve the devotees. All of them have equal importance. Still, preserver who fosters and protects all the living beings is far more significant. I salute to Him and narrate the tale that was once narrated by Brahma to all the Dakshas. Dakshas had narrated this tale to the King Purukutsa at the bank of the river Narmada. In turn, Purukutsa narrated this tale to Saraswat who narrated it to me."

"O Brahmin! Lord is eternal and endless. Hence, origin of universe, its existence and annihilation are also unending processes. During the period of Pralay, the nature exists in a state of equilibrium. It is during this period that Purush (masculine forces of creation) separates from Prakriti (feminine forces of creation) and Kaalroop of Vishnu (eternal, unending form of the Lord) is manifested. Lord Vishnu is beyond all the bonding of life like birth, growth, intelligence, senses, decay and death. Purush is the first appearance of Lord Vishnu. Prakriti is the manifestation of His action while Kaalroop is His supreme appearance."

During the Pralay, there was neither day nor night, neither earth nor sky and neither darkness nor light. At the subsidence of Pralay, with His desire, the Lord entered the Purush who is beyond all bonding. His entry stimulated the process of creation. First of all, a single great element originated encompassing all the other lesser elements. From this great element originated three egos- Sattvic, Rajas and Taamas. Taamas created sky with sound as the main virtue. The sky then created the sense of touch. Touch produced air. Hence, touch is the main feature of air; no one can see air but only have an experience of it through touch. Air created Roop, which gave birth to fire with Roop as its main virtue. Fire gave birth to taste. Taste produced water with taste as its main property. From water originated scent, which produced earth with scent as the main feature. These senses have no special expression.

The ego Rajas produced ten sense organs whereas the ruling deities of these organs were produced by Sattvic ego. Thus, the ten deities who rule ten sense organs and the eleventh entity mind are Sattvic in nature. Skin, eyes, ears, nose and tongue- these five organs aid the mind in its function. O Maitreya! Anus, sex organs, hands, legs and speech organs are the five organs that help in action. Works like excretion, reproduction, movement and speech are carried out with the help of these five organs. All the five elements like sky, air, fire, water and earth are full of emotions. Hence, they are also known to have a special significance.

All these elements have different and distinct powers. Without their combination, creation of the universe was impossible. In the beginning, all these elements were present in the great ball or egg, which came into existence because of the inspiration of the Lord. As this ball increased in size, it formed the base as Prakriti in which, Lord Vishnu Himself entered as Hiranyagarbh.

When the universe comes into existence, Lord Vishnu fosters it till the end of Kalpa. At the end of Kalpa, Lord Vishnu Himself devours the entire physical elements in Rudra appearance. During that time, He inundates the entire universe and Himself sleeps on Shesha in Ksheersagar. When he awakes once again, He begins the process of creation in the appearance of Brahma.

3.1.2 Birth of Brahma and Salvation of Earth by Varaha

At the end of the previous Kalpa, when Brahma awakened from his long slumber, he saw all the worlds devoid of everything. With a desire to salve the earth from the depth of unfathomable inundation, He took the appearance of Varaha. Entering the water, He reached Paataaloka. Seeing Him, the earth prayed Him with respect. Hearing her prayers, the Lord roared with frightening sound. Then, He supported the earth on His great incisors and came out from the abysmal depth. When He was rising, His breath produced big sprays of water, which drenched sinless sages while the force of His breath frightened common creatures. When the Lord emerged from the water, all the sages prayed Him with reverence and respect.

Very soon, the Lord installed the earth at a position far above the unending stretches of water. Then, Lord carved out the topographical features on earth and divided it into many divisions and created all the four worlds. Then Lord Vishnu in the guise of Brahma carried out the process of creation.

As soon as Brahma thought of creation, Tamoguni (full of darkness) creatures were the first to appear. Absence of knowledge and presence of evils like attachment, anger etc. were the main virtues of these creatures. These creatures include lower organisms, trees, shrubs, creepers, plants and grasses. These together constitute the primitive world. Their creation was followed by the appearance of animals and birds, which are devoid of wisdom and are full of ego. They are also unaware of the nature of another organism of their status.

Still unsatisfied with His creation, Lord created the next world, which has a somewhat elevated position. The living beings that were produced in this world had internal and external knowledge, power of reflection and loved physical comforts. Though this creation pleased the Lord, He was still unsatisfied. So He created the next world, which was situated at a somewhat lower position. This new world had excess of all the three virtues. Human beings populate this world and because of excess of vices, they are full of sorrow but at the same time, highly active, have internal and external knowledge and are able to attain their goals.

The first few creations had resulted from the thoughts of the Lord. For the creation of the gods, the demons, Pitraganas, human beings and water, the Lord decided to use His body. Thus, the demons were the first to emerge from His thighs. The Lord then shed His dark body, which formed the night. Then from His mouth, the Lord produced the gods who had Sattvic virtues. The Lord then shed His Sattvic body as well from which the day came into being. It is also the reason why the gods acquire more strength in day and the demons are stronger during nights. Then the Lord acquired yet another body and behaved like Pitraganas to produce Pitraganas before shedding that body too, which gave rise to the dusk- the twilight between the day and the night. Thereafter, the Lord acquired a new body with Rajas virtue from which the human beings were produced. When the Lord shed that Rajas body it formed dawn- the twilight between the night and the day. It also explains why the human beings are stronger at dawn and Pitraganas at dusk.

Then the Lord assumed yet another body with Rajas virtues and produced desire from it. The desire gave birth to lust. Staying in the darkness then, the Lord created the world, which is full of desire and lust. In that world, many ugly looking human beings, who had long beard and moustache appeared and ran towards Him. Among those who said, ‘Protect him’ came to be known as Raakshas (demons) and those who said, ‘We will eat him’ came to be known as Yakshas. Then the angry Lord produced aggressive carnivores. Thereafter, the singing Lord produced Gandharvas. Thus, by turns, the Lord produced birds, sheep, goat, cow, horse, elephant, donkey, deer, camel, pony from His age, chest, mouth, belly and feet respectively. From the innumerable body hair of the Lord, fruits, flowers and herbs were produced. From His east-facing head, Lord produced Gayatri mantra, Rigveda, and Yagyas. From His south-facing head, He produced Yajurveda. From west-facing head, He produced Samaveda and from His north-facing head, He produced Atharvaveda.

3.1.3 Divisions of Earth and Origin of Cereals

With the desire of creating the world, Brahma produced different kinds of human beings from his different organs. Thus, from his mouth, Brahmins appeared. Kshatriyas appeared from his chest, Vaishyas from his thighs and from his feet, Shudras appeared. Thus, physical body is the greatest means for human beings in order to achieve his goals. With time, the human beings lost their divine virtues and perfections. Jealousy, sorrow, decay and infighting began to rise among the people. In order to earn their livelihood and run their life peacefully, the human beings developed agriculture and other handicrafts.

"O sage! Paddy, barley, wheat, lesser cereals, sesame, millet, rice, peas, pulses, beans, rye, gram and hemp are common agricultural produce that have edible as well as medicinal values in the villages. These and other produce are also used as oblations in the Yagyas because all of them have produced as a result of Yagyas. Performing Yagyas daily is the most virtuous exercise that every human being should undertake. This destroys the sins committed by common people."

3.1.4 Birth of Prajapatis and their Progeny

At one point, the process of creation got saturated and no increase took place in the number of living beings. Then, with a desire of continuing the creation, Lord created nine sages from His thought. Then he produced nine daughters and handed them over as the wives to those nine sages. When initially produced sons of Brahma took to asceticism, He got very much infuriated. His anger was enough to burn all the three worlds. From this anger, Rudra originated who was shining like the Sun. Rudra had appeared in half-masculine and half-feminine form. Immediately after His appearance, Rudra separated His body into eleven male parts and eleven female parts.

Then Swayambhu Manu appeared from the body of Brahma. He agreed to follow Brahma’s dictate of continuing creation. He got a woman Shatrupa who had also appeared along with him. Together they begot two sons, Priyavrata and Utaanpaad and two daughters, Prasooti and Aakooti. These two daughters were married to Daksha and Prajapati respectively.

Prajapati and Aakooti gave birth to twins, Yagya and Dakshina. Yagya and Dakshina got married and produced twelve sons who later on came to be known as Yaam, the gods.

Daksha and Prasooti produced twenty-four daughters, thirteen of which were married to Dharma. The remaining eleven daughters were married to Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashishta, Agni and Pitars.

From his thirteen wives, Dharma produced Kama, Darpa, Niyam, Santosh, Lobha, Shrut, Dand, Naya, Vinay, Bodh, Vyavasaay, Kshema, Sukh and Yash. Kama got married to Rati and produced Harsh. Darpa married Hinsa and produced a son Anrit and a daughter Nikriti. Anrit and Nikriti got married and produced Bhaya and Narak and their wives Maya and Vedana. Maya produced Mrityu, the destroyer of all the creatures in the world. Vedana produced a son, Dukh. Mrityu produced Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodh. These are all the fierce appearances of Lord Vishnu and cause Pralay.

The omnipresent eternal God creates this world in the form of Manus, protects it and ultimately destroys it. There are four kinds of Pralay- Naimittik, Prakritik, Aatyantik and Nitya. Among them, Naimittik is Brahma Pralay during which God takes a nap. During Prakritik Pralay, the universe annihilates in nature. Annihilation of Yogi in the Supreme Being is Aatyantik Pralay and a decay of physical elements that continues day and night is Nitya Pralay.

Padma Purana

2.1.1 The Beginning of Creation

The Sages requested Sutji to narrate about the incident when sage Pulastya had met Bhishma. Sutji replied---- Bhishma was doing penance at a place called Gangadwar. Being pleased by his austere penance, Lord Brahma instructed Pulastya to go to Gangadwar and bless Bhishma.

After reaching there, Pulastya told Bhishma that Lord Brahma was pleased by his penance. 'Ask any boon you wish for' said Pulastya. Bhishma thanked his good fortune of getting a chance to meet Sage Pulastya. He requested Pulastya to reveal how Lord Brahma had created the world.

Pulastya replied--- During the initial phase of his creation, Lord Brahma created the Mahattatva first of all. After that he created the three types of Ego from the Mahattatva---Satva, Rajas and Tamas. These three types of Ego are the origins of all the five sense-organs, organs of action and all the five basic elements--space, water, fire, air & earth.

An enormous egg came into existence with the permutation and combination of these five basic elements. Within this egg exists the whole universe including the mountains, islands, oceans, planets, deities, demons and the human beings. The layers of water, fire, air, space and darkness envelop this enormous egg. These elements are once again covered by the 'Mahattatva', which in turn is enveloped by the 'Prakriti' (nature). Lord Vishnu himself does creation in the form of Lord Brahma and also takes various incarnations to protect the mankind. At the end of the Kalpa, it is only He, who annihilates in the form of Rudra. After the end of Kalpa, he takes rest on the back of Sheshnag for the full period of deluge.

2.1.3 The Four Prominent Castes

On being asked by Bhishma about the origin of the four prominent castes, Sage Pulastya said--- Lord Brahma created the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas from his mouth and chest respectively. Similarly, Vaishyas and Shudras manifested from Lord Brahma's thigh and feet respectively.Lord Brahma had created his 'manasputras' with the objective of increasing the population and their names were Bhrigu, Pulah, Kratu, Angira, Marichi, Daksha, Atri and Vashishth. But all of them were free from worldly desires and extremely virtuous. Seeing his effort go in vain, Lord Brahma became furious, as a result of which Rudra manifested from his forehead. Half of Rudra's body resembled like a male while the remaining half appeared like a female.Lord Brahma instructed Rudra to detach the female form from his body and commence copulative creation. Following his advice, Rudra detached the female part of his body and created eleven male entities. Similarly he created various female entities from the female part of his body.

This way, the first human pair-Manu and Shatarupa came into existence. In course of time four children were born to them---Priyavrata, Uttanpad, Prasuti and Aakuti. Prasuti was married to Daksha Prajpati, while Aakuti became the wife of Ruchi-Prajapati. Prasuti gave birth to 24 daughters-- Shraddha, Laxmi, Dhriti, Pushti, Tushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Shanti, Keerti, Khyati, Sati, Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Santati, Ansuya,Urja, Swaha and Swadha. Out of them, the former thirteen were the wives of Dharma and the rest were married to various sages like Bhrigu, Shiv, Marichi, Angira, myself (Pulastya), Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashishth Agni, etc.Shraddha gave birth to 'Kaam', Laxmi to 'Daarpa, Dhriti to Niyam, Tushti to Santosh, Pushti to Lobha, Medha to Shrut, Kriya to Dand, Nay and Vinay, Buddhi to Bodh, Lajja to Vinay, Vapu to Vyavasay, Shanti to Kshama, Siddhi to Sukh and Keerti gave birth to Yash. All of them were the sons of Dharma.

Kaam had a son named Harsh from his wife Nandi, Bhrigu's wife Khyati gave birth to a daughter named Laxmi--the consort of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rudra accepted Sati--the daughter of Daksha Prajapati as his wife. Hinsa was the wife of Adharm and gave birth to Anrit and Nikriti. Anrit had two sons---Maya and Narak, while Nikriti had two daughters--Maaya and Vedana. Maaya married Maya while Vedana became the wife of Narak. Maaya had a son named Mrityu--the lord of death and Vedana gave birth to Dukh. Five children were born to Mrityu--Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodha. All of them were celibates and had no progeny.

2.1.6 The Origin of Deities, Demons and Serpents

Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to explain how different entities like the deities, demons and serpents came into being.

Pulastya replied---Having failed in his repeated attempts of increasing population by the means of 'sankalpa' Daksha Prajapati was left with no option but to take the help of copulative creation. He begot sixty daughters from his wife named Virini. In course of time ten of them were married to Dharma whose names were---Arundhati, Vasu, Jami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Saadhya and Vishwa.Vishwa gave birth to Vishwadeva, while Saadhyaa was the mother of Saddhya. Marutvati gave birth to Marutvan. Vasu had eight sons who became famous as the Vasus---yourself (Bheeshma), Dhruv, Soma, Dhar, Anil, Anal, Pratyush and Prabhas. Bhanu had a son by the same name i.e. Bhanu. Mahurta begot deities, who were the lords of auspicious moments. Lamba gave birth to Ghosh while Jami had a daughter named Nagvithi. Arundhati became the mother of all the creatures of this world. As far as the offspring of eight Vasus are concerned, 'you' (Bheeshma) have four sons--Shant, Vaitand, Samb and Munibabhru. Dhruv had a son named Kaal. While Soma was the father of Varcha. Dhar had two sons--Dravin and Havyavaah. Anil had three sons--- Pran, Raman and Shishir. Anal also had three sons---Shakh, Upshakh and Naigameya. Pratyush had a son named Deval, who later on became a famous sage. Prabhas was the father of Prajapati Vishwakarma--the architect of the deities. The names of the eleven Rudras are---Ajaikpad, Ahirbudhnya, Virupaksh, Raivat, Har, Bahuroop, Trayambak, Savitra, Jayant, Pinaki and Aparajit. All of them are said to be the lords of the Ganas and have all together 84 crore progenies known as the Rudraganas.

Sage Kashyap had thirteen wives---Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Sursa, Surabhi, Vinta, Tamra, Krodhvasha, Ira, Kadru, Khasa and Muni. Kashyap had two sons from Diti---Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu had four sons---Prahlad, Anuhlad, Sanhlad and Hlad. Prahlad also had four sons---One of them was Virochan. Virochan was the father of Bali. Vanasur, who had one thousand arms, was the eldest son of Bali.Hiranyaksha had four sons, who themselves had 27 crore sons and grandsons in all. Kashyap had begotten one hundred sons from Danu, among whom Viprachitti was the most powerful.Viprachitti had fourteen sons from Sinhika---Sainhikeya (Rahu), Kansa, Shankh, Nala, Vatapi, Ilwal, Namuchi, Khasrima, Anjan, Narak, Kaalnaabh, Parmanu, Kalpavirya and Dhanuvanshavivardhan.

Kashyap also had six daughters from Tamra--Shuki, Shyeni, Bhasi, Gridhi, Sugridhi and Shuchi. All six of them gave birth to various species of birds. Shuki was the mother of Parrots and Owls. Shyeni gave birth to hawks while Bhasi was the mother of ospreys (a large fish eating birds.) Gridhi gave birth to Vultures and Sugridhi was the mother of pigeons. Shuchi was the mother of cranes, Swans and other similar aquatic birds. Vinita was the mother of Garuda and Arun---Supreme among birds. Arun was the father of Sampati and Jatayu.Sursa was the mother of the serpents and had given birth to one thousand snakes. Similarly, Kadru gave birth to one thousand cobras.Surabhi, one of the thirteen wives of Kashyap had given birth to cows, buffaloes as well as beautiful women. Muni was the mother of the celestial damsels --apsaras. Arishta gave birth to Kinnars and Gandharvas. Ira was the mother of various vegetation like grass, trees, creepers and bushes.

Khasa gave birth to crore of Rakshashas (monsters) and Yakshas.Kashyap had also begotten fortynine Marudganas from Diti.

2.1.7 The Origin of Marudganas

Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to describe how all the Marudganas came into existence. Pulastya replied--- All the sons and grandsons of Diti had perished in the battle fought between the deities and demons. Diti---the mother of daityas (demons) wanted to take revenge, so she started doing a penance at the bank of river Saraswati, which lasted for 100 years.Being pleased by her austere penance Sage Kashyap arrived and expressed his desire to bless her with a boon. Diti wanted a mighty son who could kill Indra. Sage Kashyap then implanted his sperms in Diti's womb and instructed her to remain there (where she had been doing penance) for 100 years. He also instructed her on various do's and don'ts which a pregnant woman is expected to observe. Diti agreed to follow his instructions.Mean while, Indra got wind of her pregnancy and became scared. He wanted to destroy the foetus at any cost, so he arrived at the place where Diti was staying. He had disguised himself to avoid being recognized by Diti. He engaged himself in her servitude, waiting for an opportune moment to destroy the foetus.

This way, ninety-nine years had passed and only three days were remaining after which Diti was expected to give birth to a son. As the inevitable day approached nearer, Indra started becoming restless.One day, Diti was very tired and fell down asleep. Her hair was untied and her head had stooped down while she was sleeping, just opposite to the instructions Kashyap had given to her. Finding the moment opportune, Indra entered into Diti's womb and cut the foetus into seven pieces with his Vajra. The seven fragments of foetus instantaneously got transformed into seven infants and started wailing. Indra became furious and once again he attacked them with his vajra and severed them into seven pieces each. But to Indra's sheer amazement, there were 49 infants, all wailing loudly. He tried to stop them from crying by shouting 'Marud' (don't cry), but to no avail.

Indra realized that the infants had attained immortality on account of the 'Pournamasi Vrata', which Diti had devoutly observed during the course of her penance. Indra named the infants as Marudganas and blessed them. He then begged for Diti's forgiveness and took her along with the Marudganas to heaven. The Marudganas, despite being born in the clans of demons, never associated with them and hence were revered even by the deities.Bheeshma expressed his curiosity to know about the detailed description of all the fourteen manvantars. Pulastya said--The first manvantar was called Swayambhuva, named after Swayambhuva- Manu. Yamya was the prominent deity of this manvantar. Marichi and other six prominent sages were the Saptarishis of this manvantar. Swayambhuva- Manu had ten sons---Aaghnigha, Agnibahu, Vibhu, Savan, Jyotishman, Dyutiman, Havya, Medha, Medhatithi and Vasu.

The second manvantar was named after Swarochish--Manu. Swarochish--Manu had four sons--Nabh, Nabhasya, Prasriti and Bhavan. Tushit was the prominent deity of this second manvantar. Dattatreya, Atri, Chyavan, Stanba, Pran, Kashyap and Vrihaspati were the saptarishis of this manvantar. The third manvantar was called Autam and derived its name from Autami Manu, who had ten sons-- Isha, Urj, Tanuj, Shuchi, Shukra, Madhu, Madhav, Nabhasya, Nabh and Saha, Bhanusangyak was the prominent deity of this manvantar. Sage Urj and other six sages were the saptarishis then. The fourth manvantar was called Taamas--named after Taamas-manu, who also had ten sons like his predecessor. The names of his sons were--Akalmash, Tapodhanva, Tapomool, Tapodhan, Taporashi, Tapasya, Sutapasya, Parantap, Tapobhagi and Tapoyogi. Kavi, Prithu, Agni, Akapi, Kapi, Janya and Dhama were the Saptarishis of this manvantar, while Saadhyagana was the prominent deity. The fifth manvantar was called Raivat--named after Raivat Manu, who had ten sons as well--Varun, Tatvadarshi, chitiman, Havyap, Kavi, Mukt, Nirutsuk, Satva, Vimoh and Prakashak, Bhutrajaa and Prakriti were the two prominent deities of this manvantar and the names of the saptarishis were-- Devabahu, Subahu, Parjanya, Somap, Muni, Hiranyaroma and Saptashva.

Next arrived the sixth manvantar---Chakshush. This Manvantar derived its name from Chakshush-- Manu, who had ten sons and among whom Ruru was the most prominent one. Lekh, Ribhu, Prithagbhoot, Varimool and Divau were the prominent deities of this manvantar. The names of Saptarishis were--Bhrigu, Sudhama, Viraj, Vishnu, Narad, Vivaswan and Abhimani.

The present manvantar, which is the seventh in order, is called Vaivaswat. The Saptarishis of this manvantar are---Atri, Vashishth, Kashyap, Gautam--yogi, Bhardwaj, Vishwamitra and Jamdagni.

The eighth manvantar will be called Savarnya and will be named after Savarni Manu, Savarni Manu will have ten sons---Dhriti, Variyan, Yavasu, Suvarna, Dhrishti, Charishnu, Aadya, Sumati, Vasu and Shukra. The Saptarishis of this manvantar will be--Ashwatthama, Rishyashringa, Kaushikya, Galav, Shatanand, Kaashyap and Parashuram.

The nineth manvantar will be named after Ruchi--Manu and will be called Rauchya manvantar. Ruchi-- manu will have a son named Rauchya.

The tenth manvantar will be called Bhautya and will derive its name from Bhautya Manu--Son of Bhuti. The eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth manvantars will be named after Merusavarni, Ribhu, Veetdhama and Vishkvasen Manus respectively.

All these fourteen Manus successively rule this world for the total period of 1000 Chaturyugas. At the end of Kalpa each of them unite with Lord Brahma.




Varaha Purana

8.1 Lord Varah Enlightens Prithvi

8.1.1 Prithvi’s Queries

Lord Vishnu, in his incarnation of Varah( a boar),had liberated Prithvi(Mother Earth) from the clutches of Hiranyaksha- the mighty demon who had abducted her to rasatal.After being rescued,Prithvi heaved a sigh of relief and looked at her saviour,who was smiling.She curiously asked lord Varah- "How does the process of creation begin in the beginning of each Kalpa? What is dissolution? How do you nurture the whole creation? In what order do all the four Yugas occur and how are they calculated? Why do you take incarnation in each yuga? All these things puzzle me a lot and I request you to enlighten me on all these subjects."

Lord Vishnu burst into laughter and the whole universe,including the deities became visible to Prithvi through his opened mouth.Prithvi became so frightened by this amazing sight that she started to tremble in fear.Lord Vishnu then transformed his appearance and revealed his divine form to Prithvi so that she could become free from her fright.When Prithvi saw the divine form of lord Vishnu,who was in his meditative sleep taking rest on Sheshnag,all her fear vanished.She was extremely pleased to see the divine appearance of lord Vishnu and thanked her good fortune.Prithvi,filled with extreme devotion eulogized lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu was extremely pleased by her eulogy and said-"The answers to the questions you have asked are not easy to understand,but still I Shall try to satisfy your curiosity.The supreme Almighty is eternal.In the biginning of creation,Ego(ahamkar) as well as the five basic elementsspace, water,earth,air and fire manifest themselves from the supreme Almighty.Subsequently,the great element-mahattatva,nature and collective conciousness manifest themselves.The collective conciousness then combines with each of the three basic qualities-satva(pure),rajas and tamas(dark) and exits in three different states.It's combination with the dark quality results into the manifestation of Mahadbrahm which is also called prakriti or nature by the enlightened ones.Kshetragya(soul) is considered to be more superior than the Prakriti.This way the different permutations and combinations of all the three gunas with collective intelligence result into the creation of different "tanmatras"(subtle form of matters).From the tanmatras are created the "Indrias" or sense organs.This is the way how the Universe comes into existence.I then create all the living creatures with the help of five basic elements."

"In the beginning there was nothing but empty space.Subsequently,various natural elements like "shabda"(sound),"akash"(ether),"vayu"(air),"teja"(light) and jal(water) came into being respectively - each of the latter manifesting from the former.Then,I Created you(earth)to provide base to all the living creatures.The combination of earth and water resulted into an "Egg"(anda).As the egg grew in size,I manifested myself as Narayan within it.During each kalpa a lotus manifests itself from my navel upon which is seated lord Brahma.I then request lord Brahma to commence creation.Inspite of all his efforts, lord Brahma does not succeed in commencing his creation.As a result he becomes furious and from his fury manifests a divine child who starts to wail incessantly.The divine child is none other than Rudra who is requested by lord Brahma to begin creation but the child being incapable of doing that decides to acquire power by doing penance and enters into deep water."

"Lord Brahma then created Prajapati from his great toe of his right foot and Prajapati's consort from the great toe of his left foot.The manifestation of Prajapati and his consort marks the beginning of copulative creation and thus Swayambhuva Manu is born.In course of time population increases.This is the way how creation takes place in each kalpa."

Mother Earth requested lord Varah to shade some more light on the creational process as her curiosity had still not been totally satisfied.Lord Varaha replied- "At the end of the last kalpa,when the whole universe was engulfed in darkness,Narayan went into his yogic-sleep.After waking up he found the world devoid of any creature.Narayan,being the supreme Almighty-the creator,the nurturer as well as the annihilator,decided to commence creation.The term Narayan means one who has his abode in the water- naar means water and ayan means abode.First of all five types of "avidya"(false knoledge) manifested from Narayan- tamas(darkness), moha(attachment),mahamoha(absolute attachment),tamisra(jealousy) and andhatamisra(anger).After the manifestation of these five "avidyas",came into existence immovable things like mountains,trees etc.These being the primary creations came to be known as "mukhya sarga"(main creation).Continuing with his creations,lord Brahma created species that were superior to the earlier creation-animals.This particular creation was called "Tiryaksrota"(quadruped).This way Brahma did his creation.Brahma's sixth creation was called Satvik sarga which consisted of the deities who were all virtuous by nature.The creation of human beings was seventh in order and was known as"Arvaaksrota sarga.Even human beings were of three types -those who were predominantly virtuous possessed satva guna had radiant personality and never experienced sorrow but those who possessed rajas and tamas gunas experienced sorrows."

"Brahma's eighth creation was called "Anugrah sarg" in which he created the sages and the hermits for the benediction of the world.The nineth creation of Lord Brahma was called "Kaumar sarg"(creation of adolescent beings).So,these are the nine main types of creation through which Brahma creates.First of all Rudra and other deities manifested themselves and then came into being eternal adlescents like Sanak,Sanandan, etc.Subsequently,all the ten manasputras of Brahma manifested themselves- Marichi,Angira, Atri,Pulah,Kratu,Pulasya,Pracheta,Bhrigu,Narad and Vashishth."

"Lord Brahma's first creation-Rudra had manifested himself as Ardha narishwar(half male and half female). At the request of Brahma,Rudra dismembered his female part resulting into the creation of two distinct forms- one male and the other female.Later on,ten more Rudras manifested from the male form and all of them collectively came to be known as 'Eleven Rudras'."

 

 

The Laws of Manu - Chapter I.

1. The great sages approached Manu, who was seated with a collected mind, and, having duly worshipped him, spoke as follows:
2. 'Deign, divine one, to declare to us precisely and in due order the sacred laws of each of the (four chief) castes (varna) and of the intermediate ones.
3. 'For thou, O Lord, alone knowest the purport, (i.e.) the rites, and the knowledge of the soul, (taught) in this whole ordinance of the Self-existent (Svayambhu), which is unknowable and unfathomable.'
4. He, whose power is measureless, being thus asked by the high-minded great sages, duly honoured them, and answered, 'Listen!'
5. This (universe) existed in the shape of Darkness, unperceived, destitute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly immersed, as it were, in deep sleep.
6. Then the divine Self-existent (Svayambhu, himself) indiscernible, (but) making (all) this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, appeared with irresistible (creative) power, dispelling the darkness.
7. He who can be perceived by the internal organ (alone), who is subtile, indiscernible, and eternal, who contains all created beings and is inconceivable, shone forth of his own (will).
8. He, desiring to produce beings of many kinds from his own body, first with a thought created the waters, and placed his seed in them.
9. That (seed) became a golden egg, in brilliancy equal to the sun; in that (egg) he himself was born as Brahman, the progenitor of the whole world.
10. The waters are called narah, (for) the waters are, indeed, the offspring of Nara; as they were his first residence (ayana), he thence is named Narayana.
11. From that (first) cause, which is indiscernible, eternal, and both real and unreal, was produced that male (Purusha), who is famed in this world (under the appellation of) Brahman.
12. The divine one resided in that egg during a whole year, then he himself by his thought (alone) divided it into two halves;
13. And out of those two halves he formed heaven and earth, between them the middle sphere, the eight points of the horizon, and the eternal abode of the waters.
14. From himself (atmanah) he also drew forth the mind, which is both real and unreal, likewise from the mind egoism, which possesses the function of self-consciousness (and is) lordly;
15. Moreover, the great one, the soul, and all (products) affected by the three qualities, and, in their order, the five organs which perceive the objects of sensation.
16. But, joining minute particles even of those six, which possess measureless power, with particles of himself, he created all beings.
17. Because those six (kinds of) minute particles, which form the (creator's) frame, enter (a-sri) these (creatures), therefore the wise call his frame sarira, (the body.)
18. That the great elements enter, together with their functions and the mind, through its minute parts the framer of all beings, the imperishable one.
19. But from minute body (-framing) particles of these seven very powerful Purushas springs this (world), the perishable from the imperishable.
20. Among them each succeeding (element) acquires the quality of the preceding one, and whatever place (in the sequence) each of them occupies, even so many qualities it is declared to possess.
21. But in the beginning he assigned their several names, actions, and conditions to all (created beings), even according to the words of the Veda.
22. He, the Lord, also created the class of the gods, who are endowed with life, and whose nature is action; and the subtile class of the Sadhyas, and the eternal sacrifice.
23. But from fire, wind, and the sun he drew forth the threefold eternal Veda, called Rik, Yagus, and Saman, for the due performance of the sacrifice.
24. Time and the divisions of time, the lunar mansions and the planets, the rivers, the oceans, the mountains, plains, and uneven ground.
25. Austerity, speech, pleasure, desire, and anger, this whole creation he likewise produced, as he desired to call these beings into existence.
26. Moreover, in order to distinguish actions, he separated merit from demerit, and he caused the creatures to be affected by the pairs (of opposites), such as pain and pleasure.
27. But with the minute perishable particles of the five (elements) which have been mentioned, this whole (world) is framed in due order.
28. But to whatever course of action the Lord at first appointed each (kind of beings), that alone it has spontaneously adopted in each succeeding creation.
29. Whatever he assigned to each at the (first) creation, noxiousness or harmlessness, gentleness or ferocity, virtue or sin, truth or falsehood, that clung (afterwards) spontaneously to it.
30. As at the change of the seasons each season of its own accord assumes its distinctive marks, even so corporeal beings (resume in new births) their (appointed) course of action.
31. But for the sake of the prosperity of the worlds he caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arms, his thighs, and his feet.
32. Dividing his own body, the Lord became half male and half female; with that (female) he produced Virag.
33. But know me, O most holy among the twice-born, to be the creator of this whole (world), whom that male, Virag, himself produced, having performed austerities.
34. Then I, desiring to produce created beings, performed very difficult austerities, and (thereby) called into existence ten great sages, lords of created beings,
35. Mariki, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Praketas, Vasishtha, Bhrigu, and Narada.
36. They created seven other Manus possessing great brilliancy, gods and classes of gods and great sages of measureless power,
37. Yakshas (the servants of Kubera, the demons called) Rakshasas and Pisakas, Gandharvas (or musicians of the gods), Apsarases (the dancers of the gods), Asuras, (the snake-deities called) Nagas and Sarpas, (the bird-deities called) Suparnas and the several classes of the manes,
38. Lightnings, thunderbolts and clouds, imperfect (rohita) and perfect rainbows, falling meteors, supernatural noises, comets, and heavenly lights of many kinds,
39 (Horse-faced) Kinnaras, monkeys, fishes, birds of many kinds, cattle, deer, men, and carnivorous beasts with two rows of teeth,
40. Small and large worms and beetles, moths, lice, flies, bugs, all stinging and biting insects and the several kinds of immovable things.
41. Thus was this whole (creation), both the immovable and the movable, produced by those high-minded ones by means of austerities and at my command, (each being) according to (the results of) its actions.
42. But whatever act is stated (to belong) to (each of) those creatures here below, that I will truly declare to you, as well as their order in respect to birth.
43. Cattle, deer, carnivorous beasts with two rows of teeth, Rakshasas, Pisakas, and men are born from the womb.
44. From eggs are born birds, snakes, crocodiles, fishes, tortoises, as well as similar terrestrial and aquatic (animals).
45. From hot moisture spring stinging and biting insects, lice, flies, bugs, and all other (creatures) of that kind which are produced by heat.
46. All plants, propagated by seed or by slips, grow from shoots; annual plants (are those) which, bearing many flowers and fruits, perish after the ripening of their fruit;
47. (Those trees) which bear fruit without flowers are called vanaspati (lords of the forest); but those which bear both flowers and fruit are called vriksha.
48. But the various plants with many stalks, growing from one or several roots, the different kinds of grasses, the climbing plants and the creepers spring all from seed or from slips.
49. These (plants) which are surrounded by multiform Darkness, the result of their acts (in former existences), possess internal consciousness and experience pleasure and pain.
50. The (various) conditions in this always terrible and constantly changing circle of births and deaths to which created beings are subject, are stated to begin with (that of) Brahman, and to end with (that of) these (just mentioned immovable creatures).
51. When he whose power is incomprehensible, had thus produced the universe and men, he disappeared in himself, repeatedly suppressing one period by means of the other.
52. When that divine one wakes, then this world stirs; when he slumbers tranquilly, then the universe sinks to sleep.
53. But when he reposes in calm sleep, the corporeal beings whose nature is action, desist from their actions and mind becomes inert.
54. When they are absorbed all at once in that great soul, then he who is the soul of all beings sweetly slumbers, free from all care and occupation.
55. When this (soul) has entered darkness, it remains for a long time united with the organs (of sensation), but performs not its functions; it then leaves the corporeal frame.
56. When, being clothed with minute particles (only), it enters into vegetable or animal seed, it then assumes, united (with the fine body), a (new) corporeal frame.
57. Thus he, the imperishable one, by (alternately) waking and slumbering, incessantly revivifies and destroys this whole movable and immovable (creation).
58. But he having composed these Institutes (of the sacred law), himself taught them, according to the rule, to me alone in the beginning; next I (taught them) to Mariki and the other sages.
59. Bhrigu, here, will fully recite to you these Institutes; for that sage learned the whole in its entirety from me.
60. Then that great sage Bhrigu, being thus addressed by Manu, spoke, pleased in his heart, to all the sages, 'Listen!'




61. Six other high-minded, very powerful Manus, who belong to the race of this Manu, the descendant of the Self-existent (Svayambhu), and who have severally produced created beings,
62. (Are) Svarokisha, Auttami, Tamasa, Raivata, Kakshusha, possessing great lustre, and the son of Vivasvat.
63. These seven very glorious Manus, the first among whom is Svayambhuva, produced and protected this whole movable and immovable (creation), each during the period (allotted to him).
64. Eighteen nimeshas (twinklings of the eye, are one kashtha), thirty kashthas one kala, thirty kalas one muhurta, and as many (muhurtas) one day and night.
65. The sun divides days and nights, both human and divine, the night (being intended) for the repose of created beings and the day for exertion.
66. A month is a day and a night of the manes, but the division is according to fortnights. The dark (fortnight) is their day for active exertion, the bright (fortnight) their night for sleep.
67. A year is a day and a night of the gods; their division is (as follows): the half year during which the sun progresses to the north will be the day, that during which it goes southwards the night.
68. But hear now the brief (description of) the duration of a night and a day of Brahman and of the several ages (of the world, yuga) according to their order.
69. They declare that the Krita age (consists of) four thousand years (of the gods); the twilight preceding it consists of as many hundreds, and the twilight following it of the same number.
70. In the other three ages with their twilights preceding and following, the thousands and hundreds are diminished by one (in each).
71. These twelve thousand (years) which thus have been just mentioned as the total of four (human) ages, are called one age of the gods.
72. But know that the sum of one thousand ages of the gods (makes) one day of Brahman, and that his night has the same length.
73. Those (only, who) know that the holy day of Brahman, indeed, ends after (the completion of) one thousand ages (of the gods) and that his night lasts as long, (are really) men acquainted with (the length of) days and nights.
74. At the end of that day and night he who was asleep, awakes and, after awaking, creates mind, which is both real and unreal.
75. Mind, impelled by (Brahman's) desire to create, performs the work of creation by modifying itself, thence ether is produced; they declare that sound is the quality of the latter.
76. But from ether, modifying itself, springs the pure, powerful wind, the vehicle of all perfumes; that is held to possess the quality of touch.
77. Next from wind modifying itself, proceeds the brilliant light, which illuminates and dispels darkness; that is declared to possess the quality of colour;
78. And from light, modifying itself, (is produced) water, possessing the quality of taste, from water earth which has the quality of smell; such is the creation in the beginning.
79. The before-mentioned age of the gods, (or) twelve thousand (of their years), being multiplied by seventy-one, (constitutes what) is here named the period of a Manu (Manvantara).
80. The Manvantaras, the creations and destructions (of the world, are) numberless; sporting, as it were, Brahman repeats this again and again.
81. In the Krita age Dharma is four-footed and entire, and (so is) Truth; nor does any gain accrue to men by unrighteousness.
82. In the other (three ages), by reason of (unjust) gains (agama), Dharma is deprived successively of one foot, and through (the prevalence of) theft, falsehood, and fraud the merit (gained by men) is diminished by one fourth (in each).
83. (Men are) free from disease, accomplish all their aims, and live four hundred years in the Krita age, but in the Treta and (in each of) the succeeding (ages) their life is lessened by one quarter.
84. The life of mortals, mentioned in the Veda, the desired results of sacrificial rites and the (supernatural) power of embodied (spirits) are fruits proportioned among men according to (the character of) the age.
85. One set of duties (is prescribed) for men in the Krita age, different ones in the Treta and in the Dvapara, and (again) another (set) in the Kali, in a proportion as (those) ages decrease in length.
86. In the Krita age the chief (virtue) is declared to be (the performance of) austerities, in the Treta (divine) knowledge, in the Dvapara (the performance of) sacrifices, in the Kali liberality alone.
87. But in order to protect this universe He, the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those who sprang from his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.
88. To Brahmanas he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms).
89. The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures;
90. The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate land.
91. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
92. Man is stated to be purer above the navel (than below); hence the Self-existent (Svayambhu) has declared the purest (part) of him (to be) his mouth.
93. As the Brahmana sprang from (Brahman's) mouth, as he was the first-born, and as he possesses the Veda, he is by right the lord of this whole creation.
94. For the Self-existent (Svayambhu), having performed austerities, produced him first from his own mouth, in order that the offerings might be conveyed to the gods and manes and that this universe might be preserved.
95. What created being can surpass him, through whose mouth the gods continually consume the sacrificial viands and the manes the offerings to the dead?
96. Of created beings the most excellent are said to be those which are animated; of the animated, those which subsist by intelligence; of the intelligent, mankind; and of men, the Brahmanas;
97. Of Brahmanas, those learned (in the Veda); of the learned, those who recognise (the necessity and the manner of performing the prescribed duties); of those who possess this knowledge, those who perform them; of the performers, those who know the Brahman.
98. The very birth of a Brahmana is an eternal incarnation of the sacred law; for he is born to (fulfil) the sacred law, and becomes one with Brahman.
99. A Brahmana, coming into existence, is born as the highest on earth, the lord of all created beings, for the protection of the treasury of the law.
100. Whatever exists in the world is, the property of the Brahmana; on account of the excellence of his origin The Brahmana is, indeed, entitled to all.
101. The Brahmana eats but his own food, wears but his own apparel, bestows but his own in alms; other mortals subsist through the benevolence of the Brahmana.
102. In order to clearly settle his duties those of the other (castes) according to their order, wise Manu sprung from the Self-existent, composed these Institutes (of the sacred Law).
103. A learned Brahmana must carefully study them, and he must duly instruct his pupils in them, but nobody else (shall do it).
104. A Brahmana who studies these Institutes (and) faithfully fulfils the duties (prescribed therein), is never tainted by sins, arising from thoughts, words, or deeds.
105. He sanctifies any company (which he may enter), seven ancestors and seven descendants, and he alone deserves (to possess) this whole earth.
106. (To study) this (work) is the best means of securing welfare, it increases understanding, it procures fame and long life, it (leads to) supreme bliss.
107. In this (work) the sacred law has been fully stated as well as the good and bad qualities of (human) actions and the immemorial rule of conduct, (to be followed) by all the four castes (varna).
108. The rule of conduct is transcendent law, whether it be taught in the revealed texts or in the sacred tradition; hence a twice-born man who possesses regard for himself, should be always careful to (follow) it.
109. A Brahmana who departs from the rule of conduct, does not reap the fruit of the Veda, but he who duly follows it, will obtain the full reward.
110. The sages who saw that the sacred law is thus grounded on the rule of conduct, have taken good conduct to be the most excellent root of all austerity.
111. The creation of the universe, the rule of the sacraments, the ordinances of studentship, and the respectful behaviour (towards Gurus), the most excellent rule of bathing (on return from the teacher's house),
112. (The law of) marriage and the description of the (various) marriage-rites, the regulations for the great sacrifices and the eternal rule of the funeral sacrifices,
113. The description of the modes of (gaining) subsistence and the duties of a Snataka, (the rules regarding) lawful and forbidden food, the purification of men and of things,
114. The laws concerning women, (the law) of hermits, (the manner of gaining) final emancipation and (of) renouncing the world, the whole duty of a king and the manner of deciding lawsuits,
115. The rules for the examination of witnesses, the laws concerning husband and wife, the law of (inheritance and) division, (the law concerning) gambling and the removal of (men nocuous like) thorns,
116. (The law concerning) the behaviour of Vaisyas and Sudras, the origin of the mixed castes, the law for all castes in times of distress and the law of penances,
117. The threefold course of transmigrations, the result of (good or bad) actions, (the manner of attaining) supreme bliss and the examination of the good and bad qualities of actions,
118. The primeval laws of countries, of castes (gati), of families, and the rules concerning heretics and companies (of traders and the like)- (all that) Manu has declared in these Institutes.
119. As Manu, in reply to my questions, formerly promulgated these Institutes, even so learn ye also the (whole work) from me.