Chapter 188

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Markandeya continued, ‘The Deity then said, ‘O Brahmana, the gods evendo not know me truly! As however, I have been gratified with thee, I willtell thee how I created the universe! O regenerate Rishi, thou artdevoted to thy ancestors and hast also sought my protection! Thou hastalso beheld me with thy eyes, and thy ascetic merit also is great! Inancient times I called the waters by the name of Nara; and because thewaters have ever been my ayana or home, therefore have I been calledNarayana (the water-homed). O best of regenerate ones, I am Narayana, theSource of all things, the Eternal, the Unchangeable. I am the Creator ofall things, and the Destroyer also of all. I am Vishnu, I am Brahma and Iam Sakra, the chief of the gods. I am king Vaisravana, and I am Yama, thelord of the deceased spirits. I am Siva, I am Soma, and I am Kasyapa thelord of the created things. And, O best of regenerate ones, I am hecalled Dhatri, and he also that is called Vidhatri, and I am Sacrificeembodied. Fire is my mouth, the earth my feet, and the Sun and the Moonare my eyes; the Heaven is the crown of my head, the firmament and thecardinal points are my ears; the waters are born of my sweat. Space withthe cardinal points are my body, and the Air is my mind. I have performedmany hundreds of sacrifices with gifts in profusion. I am always presentin the sacrifices of the gods; and they that are cognisant of the Vedasand officiate therein, make their offerings to me. On earth the Kshatriyachiefs that rule over men, in performing their sacrifices from desire ofobtaining heaven, and the Vaisyas also in performing theirs from desireof winning those happy regions, all worship me at such times and by thoseceremonials. It is I who, assuming the form of Sesha support (on my head)this earth bounded by the four seas and decked by Meru and Mandara. And Oregenerate one, it is I who, assuming the form of a boar, had raised indays of yore this earth sunk in water. And, O best of Brahmanas, it is Iwho, becoming the fire that issues out of the Equine mouth, drink up thewaters (of the ocean) and create them again. In consequence of my energyfrom my mouth, my arms, my thighs, and my feet gradually sprang Brahmanasand Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras. It is from me that the Rik, theSama, the Yajus, and the Atharvan Vedas spring, and it is in me that theyall enter when the time cometh. Brahmanas devoted to asceticism, theythat value Peace as the highest attribute, they that have their soulsunder complete control, they that are desirous of knowledge, they thatare freed from lust and wrath and envy, they that are unwedded to thingsof the earth, they that have their sins completely washed away, they thatare possessed of gentleness and virtue, and are divested of pride, theythat have a full knowledge of the Soul, all worship me with profoundmeditation. I am the flame known as Samvartaka, I am the Wind called bythat name, I am the Sun wearing that appellation, and I am the fire thathath that designation. And, O best of Brahmanas, those things that areseen in the firmament as stars, know them to be the pores of my skin. Theocean–those mines of gems and the four cardinal points, know, OBrahmana, are my robes, my bed, and my home. By me have they beendistributed for serving the purposes of the gods. And, O best of men,know also that lust, wrath, joy, fear, and the over-clouding of theintellect, are all different forms of myself. And, O Brahmana, whateveris obtained by men by the practice of truth, charity, asceticausterities, and peace and harmlessness towards all creatures, and suchother handsome deeds, is obtained because of my arrangements. Governed bymy ordinance, men wander within my body, their senses overwhelmed by me.They move not according to their will but as they are moved by me.Regenerate Brahmanas that have thoroughly studied the Vedas, that havetranquillity in their souls, they that have subdued their wrath, obtain ahigh reward by means of their numerous sacrifices. That reward, however,is unattainable by men that are wicked in their deeds, overwhelmed bycovetousness, mean and disreputable with souls unblessed and impure.Therefore, must thou know, O Brahmana that this reward which is obtainedby persons having their souls under control and which is unobtainable bythe ignorant and the foolish,–this which is attainable by asceticismalone,–is productive of high merit. And, O best of men, at those timeswhen virtue and morality decrease and sin and immorality increase, Icreate myself in new forms. And, O Muni, when fierce and maliciousDaityas and Rakshasas that are incapable of being slain by even theforemost of the gods, are born on earth, I then take my birth in thefamilies of virtuous men, and assuming human body restore tranquillity byexterminating all evils. Moved by my own maya, I create gods and men, andGandharvas and Rakshasas, and all immobile things and then destroy themall myself (when the time cometh). For the preservation of rectitude andmorality I assume a human form, and when the season for action cometh, Iagain assume forms that are inconceivable. In the Krita age I becomewhite, in the Treta age I become yellow, in the Dwapara I have become redand in the Kali age I become dark in hue, I the Kali age, the proportionof immorality becometh three-fourths, (a fourth only being that ofmorality). And when the end of the Yuga cometh, assuming the fierce formof Death, alone I destroy all the three worlds with their mobile andimmobile existences. With three steps, I cover the whole Universe; I amthe Soul of the universe; I am the source of all happiness; I am thehumbler of all pride; I am omnipresent; I am infinite; I am the Lord ofthe senses; and my prowess is great. O Brahmana, alone do I set a-goingthe wheel of Time; I am formless; I am the Destroyer of all creatures;and I am the cause of all efforts of all my creatures. O best of Munis,my soul completely pervadeth all my creatures, but, O foremost of allregenerate ones, no one knoweth me. It is me that the pious and thedevoted worship in all the worlds. O regenerate one, whatever of painthou hast felt within my stomach, know, O sinless one, that all that isfor thy happiness and good fortune. And whatever of mobile and immobileobjects thou hast seen in the world, everything hath been ordained by mySoul which is the Spring of all existence. The grandsire of all creaturesis half my body; I am called Narayana, and I am bearer of theconch-shell, the discus and the mace. O regenerate Rishi, for a periodmeasured by a thousand times the length of the Yugas, I who am theUniversal Soul sleep overwhelming all creatures in insensibility. And, Obest of regenerate Rishis, I stay here thus for all time, in the form ofa boy though I am old, until Brahma waketh up. O foremost of Brahmanas,gratified with thee, I who am Brahma have repeatedly granted thee boons,O thou who art worshipped by regenerate Rishis! Beholding one vastexpanse of water and seeing that all mobile and immobile creatures havebeen destroyed, thou wert afflicted with melancholy. I know this, and itis for this that I showed thee the universe (within my stomach). Andwhile thou wert within my body, beholding the entire universe, thou wertfilled with wonder and deprived of thy senses. O regenerate Rishi, it isfor this that thou wert speedily brought out by me through my mouth. Ihave (now) told thee of that Soul which is incapable of beingcomprehended by the gods and the Asuras. And as long as that greatascetic, the holy Brahma, doth not awake, thou, O regenerate Rishi, cansthappily and trustfully dwell here. And when that Grandsire of allcreatures awaketh up, I will then, O best of Brahmanas, alone create allcreatures endued with bodies, the firmament, the earth, light, theatmosphere, water, and indeed all else of mobile and immobile creatures(that thou mayst have seen) on the earth!’

‘Markandeya continued, ‘Having said so unto me that wonderful Deityvanished, O son, from my sight! I then beheld this varied and wondrouscreation start into life. O king, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, Iwitnessed all this, so wonderful, O thou foremost of all virtuous men, atthe end of the Yuga! And the Deity, of eyes large as lotus leaves, seenby me, in days of yore is this tiger among men, this Janardana who hathbecome thy relative! It is in consequence of the boon granted to me bythis one that memory doth not fail me, that the period of my life, O sonof Kunti, is so long and death itself is under my control. This is thatancient and supreme Lord Hari of inconceivable soul who hath taken hisbirth as Krishna of the Vrishni race, and who endued with mighty arms,seemeth to sport in this world! This one is Dhatri and Vidhatri, theDestroyer of all the Eternal, the bearer of the Sreevatsa mark on hisbreast, the Lord of the lord of all creatures, the highest of the high,called also Govinda! Beholding this foremost of all gods, thisever-victorious Being, attired in yellow robes, this chief of the Vrishnirace, my recollection cometh back to me! This Madhava is the father andmother of all creatures! Ye bulls of the Kuru race, seek ye the refuge ofthis Protector!’

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the sons of Pritha and thosebulls among men–the twins, along with Draupadi, all bowed down untoJanardana. And that tiger among men deserving of every respect thusrevered by the sons of Pandu, then consoled them all with words of greatsweetness.”

Chapter 187
Chapter 189
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