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Chapter 343

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Arjuna said, ‘How did Agni and Shoma, in days of yore, attain touniformity in respect of their original nature? This doubt has arisen inmy mind. Do thou dispel it, O slayer of Madhu!’

“The highly and holy one said, ‘I shall recite to thee, O son of Pandu,an ancient story of incidents originating from my own energy. Do thoulisten to it with rapt attention! When four thousand Yugas according tothe measure of the celestials elapse, the dissolution of the universecomes. The Manifest disappears into the Unmanifest. All creatures, mobileand immobile, meet with destruction. Light, Earth, Wind, all disappear.Darkness spreads over the universe which becomes one infinite expanse ofwater. When that infinite waste of water only exists like Brahma withoutsecond, it is neither day nor night. Neither aught nor naught exists;neither manifest nor unmanifest. Then only undifferentiated Brahmanexisted. When such is the condition of the universe, the foremost ofBeings, viz., springs from Tamas, the eternal and immutable Hari that isthe combination of the attributes (of omnipotence and the rest),belonging to Narayana, that is indestructible and immortal, that iswithout senses, that is inconceivable and unborn, that is Truth’s selffraught with compassion, that is endued with the form of existence whichthe rays of the gem called Chintamani have, that causes diverse kinds ofinclinations to flow in diverse directions, that is divested of theprinciples of hostility and deterioration and mortality and decay, thatis formless and all-pervading, and that is endued with the principle ofuniversal Creation and of Eternity without beginning, middle, or end.There is authority for this assertion. The Sruti declares,–Day was not.Night was not. Aught was not. Naught was not. In the beginning there wasonly Tamas[1854] in the form of the universe, and she is the night ofNarayana of universal form. Even this is the meaning of the word Tamas.From that Purusha (called Hari), thus born of Tamas and having Brahmanfor his parent, started into existence the Being called Brahman. Brahman,desiring to create creatures, caused Agni and Shoma to spring from hisown eyes. Afterwards when creatures came to be created, the createdpersons came out in their due order as Brahmanas and Kshatriyas. He whostarted into life as Shoma was none else than Brahma; and they that wereborn as Brahmanas were all Shoma in reality. He who started into being asKshatriyas were none else than Agni. The Brahmanas became endued withgreater energy than the Kshatras. If you ask the reason why, the answeris that this superiority of the Brahmanas to the Kshatriyas is anattribute that is manifest to the whole world. It occurred as follows.The Brahmanas represent the eldest creation as regards men. None werecreated before, that was superior to the Brahmanas. He who offers foodinto the mouth of a Brahmana is regarded as pouring libations into ablazing fire (for gratifying the deities). I say that having ordainedthings in comprising this way, the creation of creatures was accomplishedby Brahma. Having established all created Beings in their respectivepositions, he upholds the three worlds. There occurs a declaration to thesame effect in the Mantras of the Srutis. Thou, O Agni, art the Hotri insacrifices, and the benefactor of the universe. Thou art the benefactorof the deities, of men, and of all the worlds. There is (other) authorityalso for this. Thou art, O Agni, the Hotri of the universe and ofsacrifices. Thou art the source through which the deities and men do goodto the universe. Agni is truly the Hotri and the performer of sacrifices.Agni is again the Brahma of the sacrifice. No libations can be pouredinto sacrificial fire without uttering mantras; there can be no penanceswithout a person to perform them; the worship of the deities and men andthe Rishis is accomplished by the libations poured with mantras. Hence, OAgni, thou hast been regarded as the Hotri in sacrifices.[1855] Thou art,again, all the other mantras that have been declared in respect of theHoma rites of men. For the Brahmanas the duty is ordained of officiatingfor others in the sacrifices they perform. The two other orders, viz.,Kshatras and Vaisyas, that are included within the regenerate ortwice-born class, have not the same duty prescribed for them. Hence,Brahmanas are like Agni, who uphold sacrifices. The sacrifices (which theBrahmanas perform) strengthen the deities. Strengthened in this way, thedeities fructify the Earth (and thereby support all living creatures).But the result that may be achieved by the foremost of sacrifices may aswell be accomplished through the mouth of the Brahmanas. That learnedperson who offers food into the mouth of a Brahmana is said to pourlibations into the sacred fire for gratifying the deities. In this waythe Brahmanas have come to be regarded as Agni. They that are possessedof learning adore Agni. Agni, is again, Vishnu. Entering all creatures,he upholds their life-breaths. In this connection there is a verse sungby Sanatkumara. Brahman, in creating the universe, first created theBrahmanas. The Brahmanas become immortal by studying the Vedas, andrepair to heaven through the aid of such study. The intelligence, speech,acts and observances, faith, and the penances of the Brahmanas upholdboth the Earth and the heaven like slings of strings upholding bovinenectar.[1856] There is no duty higher than Truth. There is no superiormore worthy of reverence than the mother. There is none more efficientthan the Brahmana for conferring felicity both here and hereafter. Theinhabitants of those realms where Brahmanas have no certain means ofsupport (from lands or other kinds of property assigned to them) becomevery miserable. There the oxen do not carry the people or draw theplough, nor do vehicles of any kind bear them. There milk kept in jars isnever churned for yielding butter. On the other hand, the residentsbecome divested of prosperity of every kind, and betake themselves to theways of robbers (instead of being able to enjoy the blessings ofpeace)[1857] In the Vedas, the Puranas, the histories, and otherauthoritative writings, it is said that Brahmanas, who are the souls ofall creatures, who are the creators of all things, and who areidentifiable with all existent objects, sprang from the mouth ofNarayana. Indeed, it is said that the Brahmans first came at the timewhen the great boon-giving god had restrained his speech as a penance andthe other orders have originated from the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas aredistinguished above the deities and Asuras, since they were created bymyself in my indescribable form as Brahma. As I have created the deitiesand the Asuras and the great Rishis so I have placed the Brahmanas intheir respective situations and have to punish them occasionally. Inconsequence of his licentious assault on Ahalya, Indra was cursed byGautama, her husband, through which Indra got a green beard on his face.Through that curse of Kausika Indra lost, also, his own testicles, whichloss was afterwards (through the kindness of the other deities) made upby the substitution of the testicles of a ram. When in the sacrifice ofking Sarjiati, the great Rishi Chyavana became desirous of making thetwin Aswins sharers of the sacrificial offerings, Indra objected. UponChyavana insisting, Indra sought to hurl his thunderbolt at him. TheRishi paralysed Indra’s arms. Incensed at the destruction of hissacrifice by Rudra, Daksha once more set himself to the practice ofsevere austerities and attaining to high puissance caused something likea third eye to appear on the forehead of Rudra for the destruction ofTripurasura.[1858] When Rudra addressed himself for the destruction ofthe triple city belonging to the Asuras, the preceptor of the Asuras,viz., Usanas, provoked beyond endurance, tore a matted lock from his ownhead and hurled it at Rudra. From that matted lock of Usanas sprang manyserpents. Those serpents began to bite Rudra, at which his throat becameblue. During a bygone period, viz., that connected with the Self-bornManu,[1859] it is said that Narayana had seized Rudra by the throat andhence did Rudra’s throat become blue. On the occasion of churning theOcean for raising the amrita, Vrihaspati of Angiras race sat on theshores of the Ocean for performing the rite of Puruscharana. When he tookup a little water for the purpose of the initial achamana, the waterseemed to him to be very muddy. At this Vrihaspati became angry andcursed the Ocean, saying,–Since thou continuest to be so dirtyregardless of the fact of my having come to thee for touching thee, sincethou hast not become clear and transparent, therefore from this day thoushalt be tainted with fishes and sharks and tortoises and other aquaticanimals. From that time, the waters of the ocean have become infestedwith diverse kinds of sea-animals and monsters. Viswarupa, the son ofTashtri, formerly became the priest of the deities. He was, on hismother’s side, related to the Asuras, for his mother was the daughter ofan Asura. While publicly offering unto the deities their shares ofsacrificial offerings, he privately offered shares thereof unto theAsuras. The Asuras, with their chief Hiranyakasipu at their head, thenrepaired to their sister, the mother of Viswarupa, and solicited a boonfrom her, saying,–The son Viswarupa by Tashtri, otherwise calledTrisiras, is now the priest of the deities. While he gives unto thedeities their shares of sacrificial offerings publicly, he gives us ourshares of the same privately. In consequence of this, the deities arebeing aggrandised, and we are being weakened. It behoveth thee,therefore, to prevail upon him that he may take up our cause. Thusaddressed by them, the mother of Viswarupa repaired to her son who wasthen staying in the Nandana woods (of Indra) and said unto him,–How isit, O son, that thou art engaged in aggrandising the cause of thy foesand weakening that of thy maternal uncles? It behoveth thee not to act inthis way.–Viswarupa, thus solicited by his mother, thought that heshould not disobey her words, and as the consequence of that reflectionhe went over to the side of Hiranyakasipu, after having paid properrespects to his mother. King Hiranyakasipu, upon the arrival of Trisiras,dismissed his old Hotri, viz., Vasishtha, the son of Brahma, andappointed Trisiras to that office. Incensed at this, Vasishtha cursedHiranyakasipu, saying,–Since thou dismissest me and appointest anotherperson as thy Hotri, this sacrifice of thine shall not be completed, andsome Being the like of whom has not existed before will slay thee!–Inconsequence of this curse, Hiranyakasipu was slain by Vishnu in the formof a man-lion, Viswarupa, having adopted the side of his maternalrelations, employed himself in severe austerities for aggrandising them.Impelled by the desire of causing him to swerve from his vows, Indradespatched to him many beautiful Apsaras. Beholding those celestialnymphs of transcendent beauty, the heart of Viswarupa became agitated.Within a very short time he became exceedingly attached to them.Understanding that he had become attached to them, the celestial nymphssaid unto him one day,–We shall not tarry here any longer. In fact, weshall return to that place whence we came. Unto them that said so, theson of Tashtri replied,–Where will you go? Stay with me. I shall do yougood. Hearing him say so, the Apsaras rejoined,–We are celestial nymphscalled Apsaras. We chose in days of old the illustrious and boon-givingIndra of great puissance, Viswarupa then said unto them. This very day Ishall so ordain that all the deities with Indra at their head shall ceaseto be. Saying this, Trisiras began to recite mentally certain sacredMantras of great efficacy. By virtue of those Mantras he began toincrease in energy. With one of his mouths he began to drink all the Somathat Brahmanas engaged in Sacrifices poured on their sacred fires withdue rites. With a second mouth he began to eat all food (that was offeredin sacrifices). With his third mouth he began to drink up the energy ofall the deities with Indra at their head. Beholding him swelling withenergy in every part of his body that was strengthened by the Soma he wasdrinking, all the deities, then, with Indra in their company, proceededto the Grandsire Brahma. Arrived at his presence, they addressed him andsaid,–All the Soma that is duly offered in the sacrifices performedeverywhere is being drunk by Viswarupa. We no longer obtain our shares.The Asuras are being aggrandised, while we are being weakened. Itbehoveth thee, therefore, to ordain what is for our good.–After thedeities ceased, the Grandsire replied,–The great Rishi Dadhichi ofBhrigu’s race is now engaged in performing severe austerities. Go, yedeities, unto him and solicit a boon from him. Do ye so arrange that hemay cast off his body. With his bones let a new weapon be created calledthe Thunderbolt. Thus instructed by the Grandsire, the deities proceededto that place where the holy Rishi Dadhichi was engaged in hisausterities. The deities with Indra at their head addressed the sage,saying,–O holy one, your austerities, we hope, are being well performedand uninterrupted.–Unto them the sage Dadhichi said,–Welcome to all ofyou. Tell me what I should do for you. I shall certainly do what you willsay. They then told him,–It behoveth thee to cast off thy body forbenefiting all the worlds. Thus solicited, the sage Dadhichi, who was agreat Yogin and who regarded happiness and misery in the same light,without being at all cheerless, concentrated his Soul by his Yoga powerand cast off his body. When his Soul left its temporary tenement of clay,Dhatri, taking his bones, created an irresistible weapon called theThunder-bolt. With the Thunder-bolt thus made with the bones of aBrahmana, which was impenetrable by other weapons and irresistible andpervaded by the energy of Vishnu, Indra struck Viswarupa the son ofTashtri. Having slain the son of Tashtri thus, Indra severed his headfrom the body. From the lifeless body, however, of Viswarupa, when it waspressed, the energy that was still residing in it gave birth to a mightyAsura of the name of Vritra. Vritra became the foe of Indra, but Indraslew him also with the Thunder-bolt. In consequence of the sin ofBrahmanicide, being thus doubled Indra became overcome with a great fearand as the consequence thereof he had to abandon the sovereignty ofheaven. He entered a cool lotus stalk that grew in the Manas lake. Inconsequence of the Yoga attribute of Anima, he became very minute andentered the fibres of that lotus stalk.[1860] When the lord of the threeworlds, the husband of Sachi, had thus disappeared from sight throughfear of the sin of Brahmanicide, the universe became lordless. Theattributes of Rajas and Tamas assailed the deities. The Mantras utteredby the great Rishis lost all efficacy. Rakshasas appeared everywhere TheVedas were about to disappear. The inhabitants of all the worlds, beingdestitute of a king, lost their strength and began to fall an easy preyto Rakshasas and other evil Beings. Then the deities and the Rishis,uniting together, made Nahusha, the son of Ayusha, the king of the threeworlds and duly crowned him as such. Nahusha had on his forehead fullfive-hundred luminaries of blazing effulgence, which had the virtue ofdespoiling every creature of energy. Thus equipt Nahusha continued torule heaven. The three worlds were restored to their normal condition.The inhabitants of the universe once more became happy and cheerful.Nahusha then said,–Everything that Indra used to enjoy is before me.Only, his spouse Sachi is not by. Having said this, Nahusha proceeded towhere Sachi was and, addressing her, said,–O blessed lady, I have becomethe lord of the deities. Do thou accept me. Unto him Sachi replied,saying–Thou art, by nature, wedded to righteousness of behaviour. Thoubelongest, again, to the race of Shoma. It behoveth thee not to assailanother person’s wife.–Nahusha, thus addressed by her, said,–Theposition of Indra is now being occupied by me. I deserve to enjoy thedominions and all the precious possessions of Indra. In desiring to enjoythee there can be no sin. Thou wert Indra’s and, therefore, should bemine. Sachi then said unto him,–I am observing a vow that has not yetbeen completed. After performing the final ablutions I shall come to theewithin a few days. Extracting this promise from Indra’s spouse, Nahushaleft her presence. Meanwhile Sachi, afflicted with pain and grief,anxious to find her lord and assailed by her fear of Nahusha proceeded toVrihaspati (the chief priest of the celestials). At the first sightVrihaspati understood her to be struck with anxiety. He immediately hadrecourse to Yoga-meditation and learnt that she was intent upon doingwhat was necessary for restoring her husband to his true position.Vrihaspati then addressed her, saying,–Equipt with penances and themerit that will be thine in consequence of this vow that thou artobserving, do thou invoke the boon-giving goddess Upasruti. Invoked bythee, she will appear and show thee where thy husband is dwelling.–Whilein the observance of that very austere vow, she invoked with the aid ofproper Mantras the boon-giving goddess Upasruti. Invoked by Sachi, thegoddess presented herself before her and said,–I am here at thy bidding.Invoked by thee I have come. What cherished wish of thine shall Iaccomplish? Bowing unto her with a bend of the head, Sachi said,–Oblessed lady, it behoveth thee to show me where my husband is. Thou artTruth. Thou art Rita. Thus addressed, the goddess Upasruti took her tothe lake Manasa. Arrived there, she pointed out to Sachi her lord Indraresiding within the fibres of a lotus stalk. Beholding his spouse paleand emaciated, Indra became exceedingly anxious. And the lord of heavensaid unto himself, Alas, great is the sorrow that has overtaken me. Ihave fallen off from the position that is mine. This my spouse, afflictedwith grief on my account, finds out my lost self and comes to me here.Having reflected in this strain, Indra addressed his dear spouse andsaid,–In what condition art thou now? She answered him,–Nahusha invitesme to make me his wife. I have obtained a respite from him, having fixedthe time when I am to go to him. Unto her Indra then said, Go and sayunto Nahusha that he should come to thee on a vehicle never used before,viz., one unto which some Rishis should be harnessed, and arriving atthine in that state he should wed thee. Indra has many kinds of vehiclesthat are all beautiful and charming. All these have borne thee. Nahusha,however, should come on such a vehicle that Indra himself had notpossessed. Thus counselled by her lord, Sachi left that spot with ajoyous heart. Indra also once more entered the fibres of thatlotus-stalk. Beholding the Queen of Indra come back to heaven, Nahushaaddressed her saying, The time thou hadst fixed is over. Unto him Sachisaid what Indra had directed her to say. Harnessing a number of greatRishis unto the vehicle he rode, Nahusha set out from his place forcoming to where Sachi was living. The foremost of Rishis, viz., Agastya,born within a jar, of the vital seed of Maitravaruna, beheld thoseforemost of Rishis insulted by Nahusha in that way. Him Nahusha struckwith his foot. Unto him, Agastya said,–Wretch, as thou hast betakenthyself to a highly improper act, do thou fall down on the Earth. Betransformed into a snake and do thou continue to live in that form aslong as the Earth and her hills continue. As soon as these words wereuttered by the great Rishi, Nahusha fell down from that vehicle. Thethree worlds once more became master-less. The deities and the Rishisthen united together and proceeded to where Vishnu was and appealed tohim for bringing about the restoration of Indra. Approaching him, theysaid,–O holy one, it behoveth thee to rescue Indra who is overwhelmed bythe sin of Brahmanicide. The boon-giving Vishnu replied unto them,saying,–Let Sakra perform a Horse-sacrifice in honour of Vishnu. He willthen be restored to his former position. The deities and the Rishis beganto search for Indra, but when they could not find him, they went to Sachiand said unto her,–O blessed lady, go unto Indra and bring him here.Requested by them, Sachi once more proceeded to the lake Manasa. Indra,rising from the lake, came to Vrihaspati. The celestial priest Vrihaspatithen made arrangements for a great Horse-sacrifice, substituting a blackantelope for a good steed every way fit to be offered up in sacrifice.Causing Indra, the lord of the Maruts, to ride upon that very steed(which was saved from slaughter) Vrihaspati led him to his own place. Thelord of heaven was then adored with hymns by all the deities and theRishis. He continued to rule in heaven, cleansed of the sin ofBrahmanicide which was divided into four portions and ordained to residein woman, fire, trees, and kine. It was thus that Indra, strengthened bythe energy of a Brahmana, succeeded in slaying his foe (and when, as theresult of that act of his, he had been overpowered by sin, it was theenergy of another Brahmana that rescued him). It was thus that Indra oncemore regained his position.

“‘In days of yore, while the great Rishi Bharadwaja was saying hisprayers by the side of the celestial Ganga, one of the three feet ofVishnu, when he assumed his three-footed form, reached that spot.[1861]Beholding that strange sight, Bharadwaja assailed Vishnu with a handfulof water, upon which Vishnu’s bosom received a mark (calledSreevatsa)[1862]. Cursed by that foremost of Rishis, viz., Bhrigu, Agniwas obliged to become a devourer of all things. Once on a time, Aditi,the mother of the deities, cooked some food for her sons. She thoughtthat, eating that food and strengthened by it, the deities would succeedin slaying the Asuras. After the food had been cooked. Vudha (thepresiding deity of the luminary known by that name), having completed theobservance of an austere vow, presented himself before Aditi and saidunto her,–Give me alms. Aditi, though thus solicited for food gave himnone, thinking that no one should eat of the food she had cooked, beforeher sons, the deities, had first taken it. Incensed at the conduct ofAditi who thus refused to give him alms, Vudha, who was Brahma’s selfthrough the austere vow he had completed, cursed her, saying that asAditi had refused him alms she would have a pain in her womb whenVivaswat, in his second birth in the womb of Aditi, would be born in theform of an egg. Aditi reminded Vivaswat at that time of the curse ofVudha, and it is for that reason that Vivaswat, the deity who is adornedin Sraddhas, coming out of the womb of Aditi, came to be called by thename of Martanda. The Prajapati Daksha became the father of sixtydaughters. Amongst them, three and ten were bestowed by him upon Kasyapa;ten upon Dharma; ten upon Mann; and seven and twenty upon Shoma. Althoughall the seven and twenty that were called Nakshatras and bestowed uponShoma were equal in respect of beauty and accomplishments, yet Shomabecame more attached to one, viz., Rohini, than the rest. The rest of hisspouses, filled with jealousy, leaving him, repaired to their sire andinformed him of this conduct of their husband, saying,–O holy one,although all of us are equal in point of beauty, yet our husband Shoma isexclusively attached to our sister Rohini.–Incensed at thisrepresentation of his daughters, the celestial Rishi Daksha cursed Shoma,saying, that thenceforth the disease phthisis should assail hisson-in-law and dwell in him. Through this curse of Daksha, phthisisassailed the puissant Shoma and entered into his body. Assailed byphthisis in this way, Shoma came to Daksha. The latter addressed him,saying,–I have cursed thee because of thy unequal behaviour towards thywives. The Rishi then said unto Shoma,–Thou art being reduced by thedisease phthisis that has assailed thee. There is a sacred water calledHiranyasarah in the Western ocean. Repairing to that sacred water, dothou bathe there.–Counselled by the Rishi, Shoma proceeded thither.Arrived at Hiranyasarah, Soma bathed in that sacred water. Performing hisoblations he ‘cleansed himself from his sin. And because that sacredwater was illumined (abhasita) by Shoma, therefore was it from that daycalled by the name of Prabhasa. In consequence, however, of the cursedenounced upon him in days of old by Daksha, Shoma, to this day, beginsto wane from the night of the full moon till his total disappearance onthe night of the new moon whence he once more begins to wax till thenight of full moon. The brightness also of the lunar disc from that timereceived a stain, for the body of Shoma, since then, has come to presentcertain dark spots. In fact, the splendid disc of the moon has, from thatday, come to exhibit the mark of a hare. Once on a time, a Rishi of thename of Sthulasiras was engaged in practising very severe austerities onthe northern breasts of the mountains of Meru. While engaged in thoseausterities, a pure breeze, charged with all kinds of delicious perfumes,began to blow there and fan his body. Scorched as his body was by thevery severe austerities he was undergoing, and living as he did upon airalone to the exclusion of every kind of food, he became highly gratifiedin consequence of that delicious breeze which blew around him. While hewas thus gratified with the delicious breeze that fanned him, the treesaround him (moved by jealousy) put forth their flowers for making adisplay and extorting his praise. Displeased at this conduct of the treesbecause it was dictated by jealousy, the Rishi cursed them,saying,–Henceforth, ye shall not be able to put forth your flowers atall times.–In days of yore, for doing good to the world, Narayana tookbirth as the great Rishi Vadavamukha. While engaged in practising severeausterities on the breast of Meru, he summoned the Ocean to his presence.The Ocean, however, disobeyed his summons. Incensed at this, the Rishi,with the heat of his body, caused the waters of the Ocean to become assaltish in taste as the human sweat. The Rishi further said.–Thy watersshall henceforth cease to be drinkable. Only when the Equine-head, rovingwithin thee, will drink thy waters, they will be as sweet as honey. It isfor this curse that the waters of the Ocean to this day are saltish tothe taste and are drunk by no one else than the Equine-head.[1863] Thedaughter, named Uma, of the Himavat mountains, was desired by Rudra inmarriage After Himavat had promised the hand of Uma to Mahadeva, thegreat Rishi Bhrigu, approaching Himavat, addressed him, saying,–Givethis daughter of thine unto me in marriage. Himavat replied unto him,saying,–Rudra is the bridegroom already selected by me for mydaughter.–Angry at this reply, Bhrigu said,–Since thou refusest my suitfor the hand of thy daughter and insultest me thus, thou shalt no longerabound with jewels and gems. To this day, in consequence of the Rishi’swords, the mountains of Himavat have not any jewels and gems. Even suchis the glory of the Brahmanas. It is through the favour of the Brahmanasthat the Kshatriyas are able to possess the eternal and undeterioratingEarth as their wife and enjoy her. The power of the Brahmanas, again, ismade up of Agni and Shoma. The universe is upheld by that power and,therefore, is upheld by Agni and Shoma united together. It is said thatSurya and Chandramas are the eyes of Narayana. The rays of Suryaconstitute my eyes. Each of them, viz., the Sun and the Moon, invigorateand warm the universe respectively. And because of the Sun and the Moonthus warming and invigorating the universe, they have come to be regardedas the Harsha (joy) of the universe. It is in consequence of these actsof Agni and Shoma that uphold the universe that I have come to be calledby the name of Hrishikesa, O son of Pandu. Indeed, I am the boon-givingIsana, the Creator of the universe.[1864] Through virtue of the Mantraswith which libations of clarified butter are poured on the sacred fire, Itake and appropriate the (principal) share of the offerings made insacrifices. My complexion also is of that foremost of gems called Harit.It is for these reasons that I am called by the name of Hari. I am thehighest abode of all creatures and am regarded by persons conversant withthe scriptures to be identical with Truth or Nectar. I am, for thisreason, called by learned Brahmanas by the name of Ritadhama (abode ofTruth or Nectar). When in days of yore the Earth became submerged in thewaters and lost to the view, I found her out and raised her from thedepths of the Ocean. For this reason the deities adore me by the name ofGovinda. Sipivishta is another name of mine. The word Sipi indicates aperson that has no hair on his body. He who pervades all things in theform of Sipi is known by the name of Sipivishta. The Rishi Yaksha, withtranquil soul, in many a sacrifice invoked me by the name Sipivishta. Itis for this reason that I came to bear this secret name. Yaksha of greatintelligence, having adored me by the name Sipivishta, succeeded inrestoring the Niruktas which had disappeared from the surface of theEarth and sunk into nether regions. I was never born. I never take birth.Nor shall I ever be born. I am the Kshetrajna of all creatures. Hence amI called by the name of Aja (unborn).[1865] I have never uttered anythingbase or anything that is obscene. The divine Saraswati who is Truth’sself, who is the daughter of Brahma and is otherwise called by the nameof Rita, represents my speech and always dwells in my tongue. Theexistent and the non-existent have been merged by me in my Soul. TheRishis dwelling in Pushkara, which is regarded as the abode of Brahman,called me by the name of Truth. I have never swerved from the attributeof Sattwa, and know that the attribute of Sattwa has flowed from me. Inthis birth also of mine, O Dhananjaya, my ancient attribute of Sattwa hasnot left me, so that in even this life, establishing myself on Sattwa, Iset myself to acts without ever wishing for their fruits. Cleansed of allsins as I am through the attribute of Sattwa, which is my nature, I canbe beheld by the aid of that knowledge only which arises from adoption ofthe attribute of Sattwa. I am reckoned also among those that are weddedto that attribute. For these reasons am I known by the name ofSattwata.[1866] I till the Earth, assuming the form of a largeplough-share of black iron. And because my complexion is black, therefoream I called by the name of Krishna. I have united the Earth with Water,Space with Mind, and Wind with Light. Therefore ant I calledVaikuntha.[1867] The cessation of separate conscious existence byidentification with Supreme Brahman is the highest attribute or conditionfor a living agent to attain. And since I have never swerved from thatattribute or condition, I am, therefore, called by the name ofAchyuta.[1868] The Earth and the Firmament are known to extend in alldirections. And because I uphold them both, therefore am I called by thename of Adhokshaja. Persons conversant with the Vedas and employed ininterpreting the words used in those scriptures adore me in sacrifices bycalling upon me by the same name. In days of yore, the great Rishis,while engaged in practising severe austerities, said,–No one else in theuniverse than the puissant Narayana, is capable of being called by thename of Adhokshaja. Clarified butter which sustains the lives of allcreatures in the universe constitutes my effulgence. It is for thisreason that Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas and possessed ofconcentrated souls call me by the name of Ghritarchis.[1869] There arethree well-known constituent elements of the body. They have their originin action, and are called Bile, Phlegm, and Wind. The body is called aunion of these three. All living creatures are upheld by these three, andwhen these three become weakened, living creatures also become weakened.It is for this reason that all persons conversant with the scripturesbearing on the science of Life call me by the name of Tridhatu.[1870] Theholy Dharma is known among all creatures by the name of Vrisha, OBharata. Hence it is that I am called the excellent Vrisha in the Vediclexicon called Nighantuka. The word ‘Kapi’ signifies the foremost ofboars, and Dharma is otherwise known by the name of Vrisha. It is forthis reason that that lord of all creatures, viz., Kasyapa, the commonsire of the deities and the Asuras, called me by the name Vrishakapi. Thedeities and the Asuras have never been able to ascertain my beginning, mymiddle, or my end. It is for this reason that I am sung as Anadi, Amadhyaand Ananta. I am the Supreme Lord endued with puissance, and I am theeternal witness of the universe (beholding as I do its successivecreations and destructions). I always hear words that are pure and holy,O Dhananjaya, and never hold anything that is sinful. Hence am I calledby the name of Suchisravas. Assuming, in days of old, the form of a boarwith a single tusk, O enhancer of the joys of others, I raised thesubmerged Earth from the bottom of the ocean. From this reason am Icalled by the name of Ekasringa. While I assumed the form of mighty boarfor this purpose, I had three humps on my back. Indeed, in consequence ofthis peculiarity of my form at that time that I have come to be called bythe name of Trikakud (three-humped). Those who are conversant with thescience propounded by Kapila call the Supreme Soul by the name ofVirincha. That Virincha is otherwise called the great Prajapati (orBrahman). Verily I am identical with Him, called Virincha, in consequenceof my imparting animation to all living creatures, for I am the Creatorof the universe. The preceptors of Sankhya philosophy, possessed ofdefinite conclusions (regarding all topics), call me the eternal Kapilastaying in the midst of the solar disc with but Knowledge for mycompanion.[1871] On Earth I am known to be identical with Him who hasbeen sung in the Vedic verses as the effulgent Hiranyagarbha and who isalways worshipped by Yogins. I am regarded as the embodied form of theRich Veda consisting of one and twenty thousand verses. Personsconversant with the Vedas also call me the embodiment of the Samans of athousand branches. Even thus do learned Brahmans that are my devotedworshippers and that are very rare sing me in the Aranyakas.[1872] In theAdhyaryus I am sung as the Yajur-Veda of six and fifty and eight andseven and thirty branches.[1873] Learned Brahmans conversant with theAtharvans regard me as identical with the Atharvans consisting of fiveKalpas and all the Krityas.[1874] All the sub-divisions that exist of thedifferent Vedas in respect of branches and all the verses that composethose branches, and all the vowels that occur in those verses, and allthe rules in respect of pronunciation, know, O Dhananjaya, are my work. OPartha, he that rises (at the beginning of Creation from the Ocean ofMilk at the earnest invocation of Brahmana and all the deities) and whogives diverse boons unto the diverse deities, is none else than myself. Iam He who is the repository of the science of syllables and pronunciationthat is treated of in the supplementary portions of the Vedas. Followingthe path pointed out by Vamadeva, the high-souled Rishi Panchala, throughmy grace, obtained from that eternal Being the rules in respect of thedivision of syllables and words (for reading the Vedas). Indeed, Galava,born in the Vabhravya race, having attained to high ascetic success andobtained a boon from Narayana, compiled the rules in respect of thedivision of syllables and words (for reading the Vedas). Indeed, Galava,born in the Vabhravya race, having attained to the high ascetic successand obtained a boon from Narayana, compiled the rules in respect of thedivision of syllables and words, and those about emphasis and accent inutterance, and shone as the first scholar who became conversant withthose two subjects. Kundrika and king Brahmadatta of great energy,[1875]repeatedly thinking of the sorrow that attends birth and death, attainedto that prosperity which is acquired by persons devoted to Yoga, incourse of seven births, in consequence of my favour. In days of yore, OPartha, I was, for some reason, born as the son of Dharma, O chief ofKuru’s race, and in consequence of such birth of mine I was celebratedunder the name of Dharmaja. I took birth in two forms, viz., as Nara andNarayana. Riding on the vehicle that helps towards the performance ofscriptural and other duties, I practised, in those two forms, undyingausterities on the breast of Gandhamadana[1876] At that time the greatsacrifice of Daksha took place. Daksha, however, in that sacrifice ofhis, refused to give a share unto Rudra, O Bharata, of the sacrificialofferings. Urged by the sage Dadhichi, Rudra destroyed that sacrifice. Hehurled a dart whose flames blazed up every moment. That dart, havingconsumed all the preparations of Daksha’s sacrifice, came with greatforce towards us (Nara and Narayana) at the retreat of Vadari. With greatviolence that dart then fell upon the chest of Narayana. Assailed by theenergy of that dart, the hair on the head of Narayana became green. Infact, in consequence of this change in the hue of my hair I came to becalled by the name of Munjakesa.[1877] Driven off by an exclamation ofHun which Narayana uttered, the dart, its energy being lost, returned toSankara’s hands. At this, Rudra became highly angry and as the resultthereof he rushed towards the Rishis Nara and Narayana, endued with thepuissance of severe austerities. Narayana then seized the rushing Rudrawith his hand by the throat. Seized by Narayana, the lord of theuniverse, Rudra’s throat changed colour and became dark. From that timeRudra came to be called by the name of Sitikantha. Meanwhile Nara, forthe purpose of destroying Rudra, took up a blade of grass, and inspiredit with Mantras. The blade of grass, thus inspired, was converted into amighty battle-axe. Nara suddenly hurled that battle-axe at Rudra but itbroke into pieces. In consequence of that weapon thus breaking intopieces, I came to be called by the name of Khandaparasu.'[1878]

“Arjuna said, ‘In that battle capable of bringing about the destructionof the three worlds, who obtained the victory, O Janarddana, do thou tellme this!'”

“The blessed and holy one said, ‘When Rudra and Narayana became thusengaged in battle, all the universe became suddenly filled with anxiety.The deity of fire ceased to accept libations of even the purest clarifiedbutter duly poured in sacrifices with the aid of Vedic Mantras. The Vedasno longer shone by inward light in the minds of the Rishis of cleansedsouls. The attributes of Rajas and Tamas possessed the deities. The Earthtrembled. The vault of the firmament seemed to divide in twain. All theluminaries became deprived of their splendour. The Creator, Brahman,himself fell from his seat. The Ocean itself became dry. The mountains ofHimavat became riven. When such dire omens appeared everywhere, O son ofPandu, Brahma surrounded by all the deities and the high-souled Rishis,soon arrived at that spot where the battle was raging. The four-facedBrahma, capable of being understood with the aid of only the Niruktas,joined his hands and addressing Rudra, said,–Let good happen to thethree worlds. Throw down thy weapons, O lord of the universe, from desireof benefiting the universe. That which is unmanifest, indestructible,immutable, supreme, the origin of the universe, uniform, and the supremeactor, that which transcends all pairs of opposites, and is inactive,has, choosing to be manifested, been pleased to assume this one blessedform, (for though double, the two but represent the same form). This Naraand Narayana (the displayed forms of Supreme Brahman) have taken birth inthe race of Dharma. The foremost of all deities, these two are observersof the highest vows and endued with the severest penances. Through somereason best known to Him, I myself have sprung from the attribute of HisGrace. Eternal as thou art, for thou hast ever existed since all the pastcreations, thou too hast sprung from His Wrath. With myself then, thesedeities, and all the great Rishis, do thou adore this displayed form ofBrahma, and let peace be unto all the worlds without any delay.–Thusaddressed by Brahma, Rudra forthwith cast off the fire of his wrath, andset himself to gratify the illustrious and puissant God Narayana.[1879]Indeed, he soon placed himself at the disposal of the adorableboon-giving and puissant God Narayana. That boon-giving God Narayana, whohath his wrath and the senses under control, soon became gratified andreconciled with Rudra. Well-adored by the Rishis, by Brahma, and by allthe deities, that great God, the Lord of the universe, otherwise calledby the name of Hari, then addressed the illustrious Isana and said thesewords:–He that knows thee, knows me. He that follows thee, follows me.There is no difference between thee and me. Do thou never thinkotherwise. The mark made by thy lance on my chest will from this dayassume the form of a beautiful whirl, and the mark of my hand on thythroat will also assume a beautiful shape in consequence of which thoushalt, from this day, be called by the name of Sreekantha.'”

“The blessed and holy one[1880] continued. ‘Having mutually caused suchmarks on each other’s person, the two Rishis Nara and Narayana thus madefriends with Rudra. and dismissing the deities, once more set themselvesto the practice of penances with a tranquil soul. I have thus told thee,O son of Pritha, how in that battle which took place in days of yorebetween Rudra and Narayana, the latter got the victory. I have also toldthee the many secret names by which Narayana is called and what thesignifications are, O Bharata, of one of those names, which, as I havetold thee, the Rishis, have bestowed upon the great God. In this way, Oson of Kunti, assuming diverse forms do I rove at will through the Earth,the region of Brahma himself, and that other high and eternal region offelicity called Goloka. Protected by me in the great battle, thou hastwon a great victory. That Being whom, at the time of all thy battles,thou beheldest stalking in thy van, know, O son of Kunti, is no otherthan Rudra, that god of gods, otherwise called by the name of Kaparddin.He is otherwise known by the name of Kala,[1881] and should be known asone that has sprung from my wrath. Those foes whom thou hast slain wereall, in the first instance, slain by him.[1882] Do thou bend thy headunto that god of gods, that lord of Uma, endued with immeasurablepuissance With concentrated soul, do thou bend thy head unto thatillustrious Lord of the universe, that indestructible deity, otherwisecalled by the name of Hari. He is none else than that deity who, as Ihave repeatedly told thee, has sprung from my wrath. Thou hast, beforethis, heard, O Dhananjaya, of the puissance and energy that reside inhim!'”

Chapter 344
Chapter 342
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