Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Vishnu Purana - English Translation

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Vishnu Puran 

English Translation by Horace Hayman Wilson

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

Chapter XVIII

Important Pieces of Information from Vishnu Puran

Vishnu Puran -  PART ONE


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

Parashar said, "O Maitreya! Now I narrate to you, the whole contents of Purana. 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 save 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."

In the beginning, all elements which constitute the creation were present in the great ball or egg, which came into existence because of the inspiration of the Lord (Paramatma). As this ball increased in size, it formed the base as Prakriti in which, Lord Himself entered as Hiranyagarbh (Vishnu). When the universe comes into existence, Lord Vishnu fosters it till the end of Kalpa. At the end of Kalpa, Lord(Paramatma)  Himself devours the entire physical elements in Rudra appearance.


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.

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.


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 flour 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."


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 Utanpad and two daughters, Prasooti and Akooti. These two daughters were married to Daksha and Prajapati respectively. Prajapati and Akooti gave birth to twins, Yagya and Dakshaina. Yagya and Dakshaina got married and produced twelve sons who later on came to be known as Yam, 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, Vyavasay, 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 Pralaya.

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


In the beginning of Kalpa when Brahma was thinking about a son, who would be like him in virtues, a boy with reddish-blue body appeared in his lap. Brahma addressed the boy with names like Rudra, Bhava, Shiv, Ibhan, Pashupati, Bhima, Ugra and Mahadeva. Brahma also fixed Surya, water, earth, air, fire, sky, Dikshit (graduate scholar) Brahmin and the Moon His abode. Since then, all these things idolise Shiv. These eleven idols of Shiv have wives like Suvarchala, Usha, Vikeshi, Apara, Shiva, Swaha, Disha and Rohini. Shanaishchar, Shukra, Lohitang, Manojav, Skand, Sarg, Santan and Buddh are the sons of these idols respectively. Rudra Himself got Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati as His wife. Sati had committed self-immolation because of the disrespect that her father had shown for her husband. In her next birth, she had appeared as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya and Maina. Parvati too got married to Shiv. Khyati got married to Bhrigu and gave birth to

two sons Dhata and Vidhata and a daughter Lakshmi. Lakshmi then married Lord Vishnu.

Sage Dooravasa cursed Indra once to lose all his powers. When Indra lost the powers due to the curse, lakhsmi left the creation (Vishnu) went to the depth of Ksheera sagar. She came out of it during the amrit manthan. Thus, Lakshmi, who  had appeared as the daughter of Bhrigu and his wife Khyati first, for a second time, emerged from beneath the sea during its churning. Thus, whenever Lord Vishnu takes an incarnation, Lakshmi accompanies Him. When Vishnu appears in divine form, she too takes a divine appearance. When Vishnu appears in human form, Lakshmi appears in human form also.


Swayambhu Manu had two sons- Priyavrata and Utanpad. Utanpad had two wives- Suruchi and Suniti. Suruchi had a son- Uttam while Suniti had also a son- Dhruva. One day the king was sitting on the throne. Prince Uttam was playing in his lap. Meanwhile Dhruva also arrived there and insisted to play in the lap of his father. At his insistence, queen Suruchi ridiculed that as he was not born to her he had no right to the king's love, ... "so your insistence is useless. Though you are also a son of this king but this throne belongs to my son. Don't you know that you have been born to Suniti."

Dhruva went to forest to attain virtues and greatness and was advised by Seven great rishis to worship Narayana with the mantra "OM NAMO BHAGVATE VASUDEVAY".


Dhruva did a great penance and Narayana appeared before him blessed him. Dhruva said,  "O Lord! I wish to attain such a position that could be the base of the entire universe." God gave the boon and said, O son! I will definitely accord you the position that is excellent among all the three worlds. In future you will be the base of all the planets and all the constellations. I grant you a fixed position that is far above the Sun, the Moon, the planets, constellations, Saptarishis and all the gods who fly about in divine aircraft. Besides it, you will stay there for a complete Kalpa whereas even the gods do not stay in their position more than a single Manvantara."


At the time of his coronation, Vena, a king in the lineage of Dhruva, had declared- "I am the God and the Yagya Purusha. Hence, in future, no one shall perform Yagyas for the benefit of any other deity."

The sages tried to convince Vena repeatedly but in vain. At last, when he did not agree to their proposal and lot of problems started coming to people, the sages killed him. After the death of the king, the sages saw the clouds of dust rising all around. It was revealed to them upon enquiry that the subjects of the creation of  Manu due to lack of the king have resorted to plundering and looting each other and it was because of that stampede that clouds of dust were rising.

The sages then churned the thighs of issue-less king and produced an ugly black man. He was feeling excited and asked the sages what he should do? The sages asked him to Nishid (sit down); hence he came to be known as Nishad. His progeny came to be known as Nishadgana. The sages then churned Vena's right hand and produced prowessive Prithu whose body was radiating like fire. As soon as he appeared, bow and arrow and shield of Lord Shiva descended from heaven and all the subjects felt extreme joy.

For the coronation of Prithu, Brahma himself had appeared there with the water from all the rivers and oceans, all kinds of gems and along with all the deities. Presence of chakra in right hand of Prithu pleased Brahma. This chakra of Lord Vishnu is present in the hands of extremely dominating kings. Such a king remains unaffected even by the gods.

The subjects of Prithu complained about lack of food for them. Prithu attacked the earth and the earth told him to create a calf for which she will give milk. King Pritu himself milked various cereals from earth making Swayambhu Manu a calf. Prithu only created large plain surfaces on which cereals can be grown. It is the cereals that still sustain the entire population of the world. Since then King Prithu came to be known as the father of earth because he had spared her life after threatening her.


King Prithu had two sons- Antardhan and Vadi. Antardhan's wife Shikhandi gave birth to Ivirdhan. Prachin Barhi was the son of Ivirdhan and his wife, Ghishna. Prachin Barhi was a great fosterer of his subjects. Through, various activities that he performed along with his subjects, he increased the wealth and happiness of his subjects to great limits. King Prachin Barhi married again with Savarna; the daughter of Samudra and they together produced ten sons. All of them were known as Prachetas who were expert in the art of archery. All of them observed serious penance under the sea for 10,000 years as instructed by their father in contemplation of Vishnu to do reproduction (increase in population) in a big way.Sri Hari appeared before them and gave them the boon.


When Prachetas came back from penance, they found huge forests with huge trees not allowing sunlight inside. They got angry and let out formidable flames with ghastly winds that started burning out the trees. The lord of the trees Soma appear and requested them to become peaceful and gave them, Marisha, a female tended by the forests as their wife. From Marisha, Daksha Prajapati was born to Prachetas.

Following the dictate of Brahma, Daksha Prajapati produced different kinds of living beings as his children.  First of all, he created womenfolk from his mind. He got ten of those women married to Dharma. Thirteen women were married to Kashyapa while twenty-seven were married to Chandrama. All the gods, demons, Nagas, cows, birds, Gandharvas, Apsaras, giants etc. are the progeny of those fifty women.

Twelve Gods, Vishnu, Indra, Aryama, Dhata, Twashta, Pusha, Vivasvan, Savita, Maitra, Varuna, Anshu and Bhaga, were born to Aditi and Kashyapa Prajapati and came to be known as Aditya. Kashyapa and Diti gave birth to two powerful sons, who are demons, Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksh and a daughter Sinhika. Hiranyakashipu had four sons- Anuhlad, Ahlad, Sahlad and Prahlada.


By the boon of Brahma, Hiranyakashipu had acquired tremendous power and came to control all the three worlds. He had driven the gods out of heaven and used to receive the oblations offered to Surya, Vayu, Agni, Varuna, Chandrama, Kubera, Yamaraj etc. Tho gods roamed around without any power.

Prahlada was the youngest son of Hiranyakashipu. Like other children, he too was sent to Gurukula to be educated. One day, his teachers took Prahlada to Hiranyakashipu. On being asked by Hiranyakashipu to recite what he learned, Prahlada replied Prahlada replied- "Lord Vishnu is  the originator of the entire universe. His virtues cannot be described in words. That Parmeshwar is Vishnu." Hiranyakashipu became angry and said- "Fool! Who can be Parmeshwar other than me? Prahlada said- "O father! Your anger is baseless. Lord Vishnu is the creator of all of us including you and me. He controls our breaths."

Hiranyakashipu asked the teachers to teach Prahlad proper things and sent them away. After sometime, Prahlad was called back by his father. Prahlad still insisted on Vishnu being the supreme God. Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlada thrown amidst venomous snakes. But, biting by the snakes had no effect on Prahlada because his mind was contemplating in Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlada trampled by big bull elephants. But even elephants could not harm Prahlada. Instead their tusks were broken as soon as they touched Prahlada. The teachers told Hiranyakashipu that they will take the boy back and persuade him again to believe that only Hiranyakashipu is the ultimate power now.


But the teachers and other demons could not change the thinking of Prahlada and  he started preaching the other demon children. He started telling his teachers "There are four attainable goals in one's life. Lord Sri Hari helps all the beings (purusha, means the atma that is attached to a jiva) to attain these four goals- Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha." They informed Hiranyakashipu about it and Hiranyakashipu at once called his cook and ordered him to poison Prahlada through food. But the poisonous food  could not hurt Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu then ordered the teachers of Prahlada to invoke the ogress Kritya in order to kill Prahlada. Kritya also could not kill or frighten Prahlada.


Hiranyakashipu ordered his men to throw Prahlada from a very high fort. Even this attempt, however failed to cause any harm to Prahlada for the mother earth took him in her lap tenderly in the midway. Hiranyakashipu ordered Shambarasur to kill him using his illusionary powers. Shambarasur created many illusions to kill Prahlada. But right then Lord Vishnu sent His Sudarshan Chakra to counter those demonic illusions and protect Prahlada. Sudarshan Chakra destroyed all the demonic illusions one by one. Then Hiranyakashipu ordered Vayu to dry up Prahlada to death. When Vayu entered
Prahlada's body and began to dry him up, the Lord came to stay in his heart where God absorbed all the drying effects of the air thus rendering it weak.

Hiranyakashipu ordered his demons to tie him in Nagpash and throw into the sea. The demons obeyed their master and threw Prahlada into the sea after tying him in Nagpash. With Prahlada's motion great disturbances occurred in the sea, seeing that Hiranyakashipu ordered the demons to cover the sea with huge mountains so that Prahlada could not get a passage to escape. When the demons uprooted huge mountains and put them into the sea, Prahlada began to pray God with concentrated mind.


Ultimately Hiranyakashipu decided to kill Prahlada himself. He tied Prahlada to a pillar and shouting abuse of for God, he hit the pillar. It broke and Lord appeared from it in Narsimha incarnation. His appearance was extremely formidable with half human and half lion form. Dragging Hiranyakashipu to the threshold, He killed him with his powerful talons. Then, Prahlada became the king  and ruled his subjects religiously.


After the death of Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued his lineage. Prahlada had a son, Virochan. Virochan in his turn had Bali as his son. The prowessive Bali was sent to the nether world by Vamana incarnation of Lord. Bali had one hundred sons among whom Banasur was the eldest.

Kashyapa's second wife Danu had sons like Dwimurdha, Shambar, Ayomuk, Shankushira, Kapila, Shankar, Ekchakra, Mahabahu, Tarak, Mahabal, Swarbhanu, Vrishparva, Pulom and Viprachiti. Swarbhanu had a daughter- Prabha whereas Sarmishtha, Updan, and Haishira were the daughters of Vrishparva.

Kashyapa married Vaishwanar's two daughters and they gave birth to sixty thousand giants known as Paulom and Kalkeya.

Kashyapa's another wife, Tamra gave birth to six daughters- Shuki, Shyeni, Bhasi, Sugreevi, Suchi and Griddhrika. Shuki gave birth to the birds like parrots, owls and crows. Shyeni gave birth to sleep while Bhasi produced light. Griddhrika gave birth to vultures whereas Suchi produced aquatic birds. Sugreevi gave birth to equine animals like horse, camels and asses.

Vinata, one of the wives of Kashyapa gave birth to Garuda and Arun. Garuda became the vehicle of Lord Vishnu while Arun became the charioteer of the Sun. Surasa gave birth to millions of the snakes. Kadru also had great snakes like Shesha, Vasuki, Takshak, Shankhshwet, Mahapadm, Kambal, Ashwatar, Ilaputra, Nag, Karkotak, Dhananjay etc. as her sons. Krodhavasha gave birth to anger and devils. Surabhi gave birth to cows and buffaloes. Ira gave birth to the trees, creepers, and scores of grasses. Khasa gave birth to Yaksha and monsters. Muni produced elves whereas Arishta gave birth to Gandharvas.

Diti asked Kashyapa to give her a son who could destroy even Indra. Kashyapa granted her boon but stipulated that she would have such a son only when she observes complete sanctity during one hundred years of gestation period. Diti agreed to abide by the stipulation. Indra came to know that Diti had conceived a son who would be able to destroy him. He approached Diti in a disguise and started serving with full devotion. He was waiting for an event where Diti violates the sanctity stipulation so that he can destroy the unborn child. One day, Diti did violate the stipulation. She forgot to wash her feet after attending nature's call and retired on the bed. Indra at once entered Diti's womb and  broke the foetus into seven pieces. But the foetus survived and began to cry loudly. Indra then broke each of those seven pieces into seven pieces more and consoled them not to cry. Those forty-nine pieces of Diti's foetus became the assistants of Indra and were known as Marudgana.


When the great sages crowned Prithu as the king of the entire earth, Brahma  appointed Chandrama as the ruler of all the Nakshatras, planets, Brahmins, vegetation, Yagya, penance etc. He appointed Kubera as the ruler of the kings, Varuna as the ruler of the water bodies, Vishnu as the ruler of Adityas and Agni as the ruler of Vasus. Similarly, Daksha was appointed as the ruler of all the Prajapatis, Indra as the ruler of Marudgana and Prahlada was appointed as the ruler of the demons. Dharmaraj Yama became the ruler of Pitragana and Airavat became the ruler of all the elephants. Garuda came to rule the birds. Indra was appointed as king of the gods, Uchchaisharva as the king of the horses, Vrishabh as the king of the cows. Lion became the king of the beasts, Sheshnag of the snakes, Himalaya became the king of all the landmasses, Kapila became the king of the sages and tiger became the king of those animals that have nails and long teeth.

Thereafter, Brahma appointed Dikpals (guardians of the directions) on all corners of the earth. These Dikpals still guard the earth, which has seven continents and scores of big and small cities.

All the gods, demons, human beings, animals, birds, reptiles, in fact every living being have originated from the parts of omnipotent Lord Vishnu. Only Lord Vishnu fosters all the living beings on earth. The eternal God creates the world fosters it and ultimately destroys it. The Lord has four parts in the form of this entire creation. One of His parts remains unmanifested as ParaBrahma. Second part appears like Prajapatis. Time is His third part whereas all the living beings constitute His fourth part.

Updated on 28 December 2017, 24 April 2012

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