nArAyaNaM namaskR^itya naraM caiva narottamam |
devIM sarasvatIM chaiva tato jayamudIrayet ||1
pada-vibhAga: nArAyaNam namas kR^itya naram ca eva nara uttamam devIm
sarasvatIm ca eva tataH jayam udIrayet ||
Offering veneration to the almighty nArAyaNa; and to nara; and to nara-uttama; also thus to the goddess who edifies about them, namely goddess saraswati, let us enounce jaya, the mahAbhArata...
Here nIlakaNTha does not take arjuna for nara, or uttama as an attribute to arjuna. anAdi avivyAvata jIvena, sva karma dvArA sR^iSTham nAram - sharIram; tat eva ayanam pravesha sthAnam; yuasya saH. A created being enters a material body through his karmic-cycle, then there should be an efficient cause to make it enter that body. That efficient cause is nArAyaNa - according to shruti - antaH praviSThaH shAstA jAnAnAm - iti; he who controls from inside. tathA naram - jIvam - hiraNyagarbham; tata uttamam; hiraNya-garbhAt utkR^iSTham - suddha chit AtmA... say the instrumental cause to make that subtle cause to take birth
Nowhere arjuna is said to be saluted at the start, but we take his name owing to the belief that kRiShNa and arjuna are nara-nArAyaNa-s.
Gita Press edition cleaves devI as goddess durga, and retains sarasvati as goddess sarasvati. While nIlakantha takes sarasvati as tattva pradyotanIm - enlightener of this philosophic outlook, say proper education.
puNyaM pavitramatha pApaharaM shivaM ca |
yo bhArataM samadhigacChati vAcyamAnaM
kiM tasya puShkarajalairabhiShecanena ||2||
pada-vibhAga: dwaipAyana oSTa puTa niHsR^itam aprameyam puNyam pavitram atha pApa haram shivam ca yaH bhAratam samadhigacChati vAcyamAnam kim tasya puSkara jalaiH abhiSecanena |
The incomparable poem mahAbhArata that came out from the lips of dwaipAyana is pious, sacred, sin-removing, and auspicious too... and where is the necessity of taking a sacred bath in sacred waters for someone who listens to its recitation...
jayati parAsharasUnuH satyavatIhR^idayanandano vyAsaH |
yasyAsyakamalagalitaM vA~NmayamamR^itaM jagatpibati ||3
pada-vibhAga: jayati parAshara sUnuH satyavatI hR^idaya nandano vyAsaH
yasya Asya kamala galitam vA~Nmayam amR^itm jagat pibati |
Glory to sage vyAsa, the son of parAshara, whose birth delighted the heart of his mother satyavatî... for the world drinks poetic nectar glided from the lotus called his mouth...
yo goshataM kanakashR^i~NgamayaM dadAti
viprAya vedaviduShe bahuvishrutAya |
puNyAM ca bhAratakathAM shR^iNuyAcCha tadvat
tulyaM phalaM bhavati tasya ca tasya caiva ||4
pada-vibhAga: yaH go-shataM kanaka-shR^i~NgamayaM dadAti viprAya
veda-viduShe bahu-vishrutAya puNyAM ca bhArata-kathAM shR^iNuyAc tadvat tulyaM
phalaM bhavati tasya ca tasya caiva|
And the fruit that accrues after listening the pious legend of mahAbhArata tantamount to the donation of a hundred cows with gold-sheathed horns to a scholarly vaidik brAhamaNa.
shatAshvamedhasya yadatra puNyaM
catuHsahasrasya shatakratoshca |
prakIrtitaM vyAsamaharShiNA ca || 5
yadvAjapeyena tu rAjasUyAd
dR^iShTaM phalaM hastirathena cAnyat |
tallabhyate vyAsavacaH pramANaM
gItaM ca vAlmIkimaharShiNA ca ||6
pada-vibhAga: shata ashvamedhasya yat atra puNyaM catuH sahasrasya shata-kratoH ca bhavet anantaM harivaMsha dAnAt prakIrtitaM vyAsamaharShiNA ca |
yat vAjapeyena tu rAjasUyAt dR^iShTaM phalaM hasti-rathena ca anyat tat labhyate vyAsa-vacaH pramANaM gItaM ca vAlmIki-maharShiNA ca |
If someone copies and donates this harivamsha to a scholarly brahamaNa, to him the fruit of action will be equaling to the fruit of action that accrues on performing a hundred ashwa-medha rituals, four hundred thousand ordinary Vedic rituals, and that accrues on performing raja-sUya or vAjapeya rituals, and that which accrues on donating elephants and chariots. It is of endless merit. So said the sages like vAlmiki and vyAsa.
yo harivaMshaM lekhayati yathAvidhinA mahAtapAH sapadi |
sa jayati haripadakamalaM madhupo hi yathA rasena lubdhaH ||7
pada-vibhAga: yaH harivaMshaM lekhayati yathA-vidhinA mahAtapAH sapadi saH jayati hari-pada-kamalaM madhupo hi yathA rasena lubdhaH |
And he who copies this harivamsha procedurally, he readily attains the feet of shrIhari, like a honeybee that plunges in on a lotus with an avidity for nectar.
pitAmahAdyaM pravadanti ShaShThaM
dvaipAyanaM veda mahAnidhAnam || 8
pada-vibhAga: pitAmah AdyaM pravadanti ShaShThaM maharShim akShayya-vibhUti-yuktam nArAyaNasya aMsha jam eka-putraM dvaipAyanaM veda mahA-nidhAnam |
Hail kR^iShNa-dwaipAyana who is said to be the sixth one starting from the great-great-grandfather, i.e., the efficient cause, namely nArAyaNa; hail him who has unlessened opulence of scriptural knowledge; who took birth with an astral shade of nArAyaNa himself; who is the only son of sage parAshara, and who is a treasure trove of Veda-s... hail such a great sage kR^iShNa-dwaipAyana...
The sixth from great-grandfather -here that great-grandfather is viShNu - nArAyaNam padmabhuvam vashiSTham ca shaktim ca tat putra parAsharam ca vyAsam; i.e. nArAyaNa > lotus-born brahma > vashiSTha > shakti > prarAshara > vyAsa; where eka putram is - ekaH shukaH shreShto vA putro yasya tam; which vyAsa has a best son shuka. 'dwaipAyana oSThe...' ityAdayo anyatra sthAH ShaT shlokAH -vibhUti kathanArtham atra paThyante These verses are also read for their auspiciousness -nk.
Sanskrit poets are at liberty to use words at any place in the foots according to exigencies of their metric rules. So, the order of words used by the poet are to be segregated first - called pada-vibhAga; then they are to be parsed - called anvaya, and then prati-pada-artha - word to word meaning is drawn, and then tAtparya, gist of the verse, is to be presented. Here we are confined to the deriving gist - tAtparyam alone.
So far, the division of words in compounds samAsA-s is shown in a separate section as above, as an example. It is an impossibility to show the word-separation recursively for all verses in separate paragraphs considering the bulk of this work. Hence, the words are separated in the verse itself, for fear of repetitive work, even if it gives a low-brow reading to purists.
Words in smaller compounds - samAsa-s - like tathaiva, evamuktastu, kimcit etc., will not be cleaved, because this much is to be known to read further. But where compounds have important, or beautiful expressions, they will be cleaved.
Further, verse-by-verse meanings cannot be drawn, because the meaning rolls into next foots. Then it is inevitable to push and pull the feet of verses, up or down, to give a meaningful paragraph. Some of our readers are a little confused about this arrangement. Hence we request the readers to go by the verse numbers in such places, and there will be many such pulls and pushes of foots as we go along.
If interested to see the verses in original format, text files of verses alone - mUla mAtra shlokA-s - are given elsewhere on these web pages which the readers may please see.
pramAdo api dhImatAm
AdyaM puruSham IshAnaM puru-hUtaM puru-ShTutam |
R^itam eka-akSharaM brahma vyakta-avyaktaM sanAtanam ||1-1-1
asat ca sat-a-sat caiva yat vishvaM sat-asat-param |
parAvarANAM sraShTAraM purANaM param avyayam ||1-1-2
ma~NgalyaM ma~NgalaM viShNuM vareNyam anaghaM shucim |
namaskR^itya hR^iShIkeshaM cara-acara-guruM harim ||1-1-3
naimiShAraNye kulapatiH shaunakaH tu mahAmuniH |
sautiM papracCha dharmAtmA sarva-shAstra-vishAradaH ||1-1-4
In naimishAraNya forest, kulapati and a highly knowledgeable scholar in all scriptures, shaunaka, on venerating him who is the Prime Person Adya puruSa; supreme ruler Isha; first one to receive oblations in Vedic rituals puru hUta; one to whom first orisons are sung puru ShTuta; Eternal Truth satya swarUpa, R^ita; symbolized by mono-syllabled - eka akShara - OM; praNava maya, avinAshi; Creator brahma, paramAtma; manifest yet un-manifest vyakta-avyakta swarUpa; primordial sanAtana; apparent effect asat, kArya-rUpa; cause as well as effect sat Asat: who is the aggregate of universe vishvam, and who is beyond cause and effect sat asat param: the creator of cause and effect parAvarANAM sraShTa; primordial purANa; highly sublime parama utkR^ishhTa; immutable avyayam: who brings forth bliss ma~NgalyaM: whose form itself is bliss ma~NgalaM; omnipresent vyApakatvAt viShNu, vyApana shIlam - sarva vyApI; estimable by all the seekers of salvation vareNyam: devoid of sins Agantuka doSha shUnyam - anagha; pure being suchi, svabhAva shuchi; and the one who impels sensory organs indriyANAm pravartaka, hR^iShIkesha: architect of all sessile and mobile beings cara acara guru - and who is Truth, Consciousness, & Bliss sat-cit-Ananda swarUpi, namely to shrIhari, that great sage of high rectitude, shaunaka, has enquired with the son of lomaharShaNa-sUta, namely ugrashrava, as below....
shrIhari himself has become pancha-brahma-puruSha-s, as in the syndrome of bIja-ankura-taru-phala-upama, i.e. seed-sapling-tree-fruit syndrome; where those five brahma-puruSha-s are: 1. shuddha chaitanyam -pure consciousness; 2. Isha - mAyAshabalam, as said in shruti -mAyinam tu maheshvaram. This Isha is comparable to a seed. And 3. sUtra-AtmA -thread-like cosmic soul. This one is comparable to sapling. And 4. virAT -cosmic person comparable to a tree. And finally 5. Finally viShNu had come to stay like fruit.
kulapati is one who is thoroughly well versed in Veda-s and their ancillaries, and he should have maintained eleven thousand sages giving them food and shelter.
saute sumahat AkhyAnaM bhavatA parikIrtitam |
bhAratAnAM ca sarveShAM pArthivAnAM tathaiva ca ||1-1-5
devAnAM dAnavAnAM ca gandharva-uraga-rakShasAm |
daityAnAm atha siddhAnAM guhyakAnAM tathaiva ca ||1-1-6
ati-adbhutAni karmANi vikramA dharma-nishcayAH |
vicitrAH ca kathA yogA janma ca agryam anuttamam ||1-1-7
kathitaM bhavatA puNyaM purANaM shlakShNayA girA |
manaH-karNa-sukhaM saute prINAti amR^ita-sammitam ||1-1-8
tatra janma kurUNAM vai tvaya uktaM laumaharShaNe |
na tu vR^iShNi-andhakAnAM ca tat bhavAn vaktum arhati ||1-1-9
"Oh, sUta, you have narrated a marvelous legend mahAbhArata that depicts the legends of all the descendants of bharata dynasty... which in turn is interconnected with the legends of other kings, gods, dAnava-s, gandharva-s, uraga-s, rAkshasa-s, daitya-s, siddha-s and guhyaka-s.... likewise, you also have narrated the incredible deeds of sages and great saints; intrepid exploits of brave and valiant champions; determination of rectitude by the knowers of probity; and other amazing stories which include the incomparable birth episodes of more elevated souls like droNa and bhIShma... oh, sauti, listening to these legends that are ancient and pious from your melodious tone, and that are pleasant to ears and delightful to heart is giving a satisfaction of devouring no less than ambrosia... but, oh, lomaharShana, while narrating mahAbhArata, you have detailed about the succession of kuru dynasty, but the legends of genealogy of vR^ishNi and andhaka remain undetailed... hence, it will be apt of you to give an account of the legends connected with births and actions of them all...
janamejayena yat pR^iShTaH shiShyo vyAsasya dharmavit |
tat te ahaM sampravakShyAmi vR^iShNInAM vaMsham AditaH ||1-1-10
shrutva itihAsaM kArtsnyena bhAratAnAM sa bhArataH |
janamejayo mahA-prAj~no vaishampAyanAm abravIt ||1-1-11
"In the past, the descendant of bharata dynasty, namely king janaméjaya, also made a similar request to the right-minded desciple of vyAsa, namely vaishampAyana... and I will recount that from the origin of vR^irishNi dynasty, basing on whatever vaishampAyana has said to janaméjaya... and, on listening the legend of his forefathers in its entirety, that highly perceptive descendant of bharata dynasty, namely janaméjaya, has enquired with vaishampAyana... as below...
mahAbhAratam AkhyAnaM bahu-arthaM shruti-vistaram |
kathitaM bhavatA pUrvaM vistareNa mayA shrutam ||1-1-12
tatra shUrAH samAkhyAtA bahavaH puruSharShabha |
nAmabhiH karmabhiH caiva vR^iShNy-andhaka-mahArathAH ||1-1-13
teShAM karma avadAtAni tvayA uktAni dvijottama |
tatra tatra samAsena vistareNaiva me prabho ||1-1-14
na ca me tR^iptiH asti iha kathyamAne purAtane |
ekaH caiva mato rAshiH vR^iShNayaH pANDavAH tathA ||1-1-15
bhavAn ca vaMsha-kushalaH teShAM pratyakSha-darshivAn |
kathayasva kulaM teShAM vistareNa tapodhana ||1-1-16
yasya yasya anvaye ye ye tAn tAn icChAmi veditum |
sa tvaM sarvam a-sheSheNa kathayasva mahAmune |
teShAM pUrva-visR^iShTiM ca vicintyemAM prajApateH ||1-1-17
"In the first instance, you have narrated the multivocal legend of mahAbhArata that explicates the import of scriptures, say the tenets like dharma, artha, kAma, moksha, and others... you have also narrated the exploits of umpteen matchless heroes of mahAbhArata... you mentioned, inter alia, the names and actions of great chariot-warriors belonging to vR^iShNi and andhaka dynasties... oh, brAhmaNa, at some places you have also mentioned, generally or particularly, about the most famous deeds of the descendants of those dynasties ... and I heard them all... but, now I request you to expatiate on them all... concise legends breed discontent, isn't it...
"It is deemed that vR^iShNi and pANDava dynasties are from a common origin... you are not only familiar with their dynasties, but you have a personal knowledge of them also... hence, oh, sage vaishampAyana, please elaborate on those dynasties ... and, as I would like to know about the successive filiations in those dynasties, oh, great sage, please tell me without any exception... please tell me all, if necessary, by going back to first creation of mankind, starting from prajApati..."
satkR^itya pari-pR^iShTaH tu sa mahAtmA mahA-tapAH |
vistareNa anu-pUrvyAM ca kathayAmAsa tAM kathAm ||1-1-18
When besought like this in an obeisant manner, then the noble and virtuous sage vaishampAyana started to narrate that legend, sequentially and descriptively.
shR^iNu rAjan kathAM divyAM puNyAM pApa-pramocanIm |
kathyamAnAM mayA citrAM bahu-arthAM shruti-sammitAm ||1-1-19
yaHh ca imAM dhArayet vApi shR^iNuyAt vApi abhIkShNashaH |
sva-vaMsha-dhAraNaM kR^itvA svarga-loke mahIyate ||1-1-20
"Listen, oh, king janaméjaya, to the highly meritorious legend vR^iShNi dynasty while I narrate it, that is in conformity with scriptures, sin erasing, and the one congruent with numerous imports of scriptures... whoever commits this legend to his memory, or listens to this repeatedly, his dynasty flourishes during his lifetime, and he will flourish in heaven at the end...
avyaktaM kAraNaM yat tat nityaM sad-asad-Atmakam |
pradhAnaM puruShaM tasmAt nirmame vishvam Ishvaram ||1-1-21
taM vai viddhi mahArAja brahmANam amitaujasam |
sraShTAraM sarva-bhUtAnAM nArAyaNa-parAyaNam ||1-1-22
He who is primordial element avyakta, causative factor kAraNam, everlasting nityam, Adi anta shUnyam, and who is having the nature both of entity and non-entity sat - asat Atmaka, satya anRitAtmakam, know him as the primal originator pradhAna purusha, mAyA shabalam brahma, and the omnipotent Ishvara has created universe through that causative factor... and oh, great king, know that causative factor as creator- brahma, who is dedicate of nArAyaNa, and whose creative energy is infinite, as who is the creator of all living beings...
aha~NkAraH tu mahataH tasmAt bhUtAni jaj~nire |
bhUta-bhedAH ca bhUtebhya iti sargaH sanAtanaH ||1-1-23
"Oh, king, there emanated mahat-tattva - the primary principle - from him, later from that principle there came ahamkAra - the I-ness; from this I-ness the five subtle elements like the elements of solidity, liquidity, air, heat and space have come. From them their physical manifestations like earth, water, fire, air, and space have come from them, together with four kinds of living beings - jarAyuja, womb-born, aNDaja, egg-born, svedaja, moisture-born and udbhijja, soil-born... this is the age-old process of creation that is going on and on...
vistArAvayavaM caiva yathA-praj~naM yathA-shrutiH |
kIrtyamAnaM shR^iNu mayA pUrveShAM kIrti-vardhanam ||1-1-24
dhanyaM yashasyaM shatrughnaM svargyam AyuH-pravardhanam |
kIrtanaM sthira-kIrtInAM sarveShAM puNya-karmaNAm ||1-1-25
"Now you listen to this creation process while I detail it according to my ability, and as I have heard it from my elders, listening which enhances the honour of ancestors... and, listening to purANa-s and legends of all those ancestors whose reputation is abiding assures imperishable destiny, endless reputation, unquestionable win, ultimate celestial happiness, and long existence as long as one is on this earth.
tasmAt kalpAya te kalpaH samagraM shucaye shuciH |
A-vR^iShNi-vaMshAt vakShyAmi bhUta-sargam anuttamam ||1-1-26
And, oh, king janaméjaya, as you are a perfect person capable of assimilating what I say, I will now start explaining about vR^iShNi dynasty, starting from the creation of living-beings...
tataH svayambhUH bhagavAn sisR^ikShuH vividhAH prajAH |
Apa eva sasarja Adau tAsu vIryam avAsR^ijat ||1-1-27
"In order to create different beings, para-brahma, the self-manifest, has firstly formed primordial waters, where Apa, water, is indicative of five gross elements; ab upalakshitam sthUla bhUta panchakam; in which he deposited the seed of his creative power... aNDa utpAdana artham vIryam nihitavAn -svayam eva tara praviShTa ityarthaH -he himself entered the prime ordeal waters, according to shruti -tat sR^iShTvA tat eva anu-prAvishat, where ‘anu’ in mantra lexically denotes - following, subsequently. But here, it shall mean ‘while’ - while creating prime ordeal waters, he himself entered them in the form of his creative seed...
para-brahma may not be confounded with four-faced brahma. Here, para-brahma is Prime Person, Supreme Person, say nArAyaNa.
Apo nArA iti proktA Apo vai nara-sUnavaH |
ayanaM tasya tAH pUrvaM tena nArAyaNaH smR^itaH ||1-1-28
Waters are called 'nAra’, because thy are the fundamental principle emerged from nArAyaNa, from which the living-beings have also emerged, nArA iti asya vyAkhyAnam -nara sUnavaH iti; and because the almighty has firstly entered waters, he is known as nArAyaNa, i.e., nAra= waters; nArAyaNasya= of nArAyaNa; ayanam= pravesha sthAnam - entry point, abode.
hiraNya-varNam abhavat tat aNDam udake-shayam |
tatra jaj~ne svayaM brahmA svayambhUH iti naH shrutam ||1-1-29
Submersed in water that seed of the creativity of para-brahma has become an egg glowing with golden hue... and the self-created, four-faced-creator brahma, has by himself emerged from that golden egg, golden source, whereby we hear of him as swayambhU - the self-reified...
hiraNyagarbho bhagavAn uShitvA parivatsaram |
tat aNDam akarot dvaidhaM divaM bhuvam atha api ca ||1-1-30
tayoH shakalayoH madhye AkAsham asR^ijat prabhuH | 1-1-31 a
And that god, creator-brahma, stayed and developed himself in that golden-egg for one year, hence brahma is also known as hiraNya-garbha -one from the golden womb; tat garbhe jIva vat brahmA, catur-mukho; jaj~ne -AvibhUt iti. And he emerged from it, breaking that golden eggshell into two parts, where the upper half became heaven, lower half as earth, and the gap in between as cosmic space.
apsu pAriplavAM pR^ithvIM dishaH ca dashadhA dadhe ||1-1-31 b
tatra kAlaM mano vAcaM kAmaM krodham atha ratim | 1-1-32 a
And that hiraNya garbha, brahma, created a floating earth on those primordial waters; ten directions dasha dishA - eight directions of the compass, plus top and bottom directions; time kAla; faculty of will manas; speech vAk ; desire and anger kAma, krodha, all within the broken shell like universe. aNDa antarAle eva iyam dik Adi kalpanam; na tato bahiH astIti bhAvaH.
sasarja sR^iShTiM tat rUpAM sraShTum icChan prajApatIn ||1-1-32b
marIcim atri a~NgirasaM pulastyaM pulahaM kratum |
vasiShTaM ca mahAtejAH saH asR^ijat sapta mAnasAn ||1-1-33
sapta brahmANa ity ete purANe nishcayaM gatAH |
nArAyaNAtmakAnAM vai saptAnAM brahma-janmanAm ||1-1-34
And wishing to create that kind of creation, tat rUpam - where an offspring issues forth biologically from an egg; rati viShayeShu prItim; aNDa samAna rUpam; piNDa shR^iShTi -in the complex of aNDa-piNDa-brahmANDa shR^iShTi, from these very factors, viz., time, directions, speech, faculty of will, desire and anger, then brahma created seven of his brainchildren - brahma-mAnasa putrA-s.
These seven brainchildren by their names are - marichi, atri, angIrasa, paulastya, pulaha, kratu and vashiSTha, and they are the alter egos of nArAyaNa via four-faced brahma - nArAyaNa swarUpa maharShi-s, who are also called prajApati-s, because they are responsible for actual creation. These seven may not be confounded with the seven sages of Ursa Major / Big dipper.
tataH asR^ijat punaH brahmA rudraM roSha Atma-sambhavam | 1-1-35 a
Then, form his faculty of wrath brahma created rudra...
sanat-kumAraM ca vibhuM pUrveShAm api pUrva-jam ||1-1-35b
sapta ete janayanti sma prajA rudraH ca bhArata |
skandaH sanatkumAraH ca tejaH saMkShipya tiShThataH ||1-1-36
teShAM sapta mahA-vaMshA divyA deva-gaNAnvitAH |
kriyAvantaH prajAvanto maharShibhir ala~NkR^itAH ||1-1-37
vidyuto.ashani-meghAM ca rohita-indra-dhanUMShi ca |
vayAMsi ca sasarja Adau parjanyaM ca sasarja ha ||1-1-38
R^ico yajUMShi sAmAni nirmame yaj~na-siddhaye | 1-1-39a
And oh, descendant of bharata, even earlier to the creation of these seven marIchi et al sages brahma created another batch of brainchildren, called kumArA-s, sanaka, sanandana, sanAtana, sanat-kumara, skanda, nArada et al, who refrained from the process of further creation as they conserved their energy within themselves, in order that they may concentrate thoroughly on the almighty. Thus they have not joined the cadre of marIchi et al prajApati-s in bringing out offspring, whereas marIchi et al sagely prajApati-s have become the actual initiators of complete creation.
Great dynasties of gods have emerged from these seven marIchi et al prajApati-s. These sages are ambidextrous, and environed with many multitudes of created beings. Then, they say, these seven prajApati-s have created gods who have affinity abhimAni devatAH with lightnings and thunderbolts vidyut, ashani, clouds meghAH, straight rainbow rohita indra dhanuS = rohita= R^iju, avakra, indra dhanuSh; unbent rainbow, sky-walkers vayAmsi= khe charatva sAmAnyAt devatAH, herbs and plants parjanya -where parjanyam is an upalakShana, indicator for medical plants and herbs, as said in - devAnAm reto varShaH; varShasya reta oShadhayaH etc. And then they have brought forth Rig, yajur and sAma veda-s for the accomplishment of sacrifices.
mukhAt devAn ajanayat pitR^In ca sheSho api vakShasaH ||1-1-39b
prajanAt ca manuShyAn vai jaghanAn nirmame asurAn |
sAdhyAn ajanayat devAn iti evam anu-shushruma ||1-1-40
uccAvacAni bhUtAni gAtrebhyaH tasya jaj~nire |
Apavasya prajA-sargaM sR^ijato hi prajApateH ||1-1-41
And we listen that the creator brahma, created gods from his face, manes from chest, humans from privates, and asura-s, and sAdhya-s from his hind quarters, where sAdhya-beings are an ancient class of celestial beings who are worthy of propitiation, and who used to practise veda-s to satisfy gods.
sR^ijyamAnAH prajA naiva vivardhante yadA tadA |
dvidhA kR^itvA.atmano deham ardhena puruSho.abhavat ||1-1-42
ardhena nArI tasyAM sa sasR^ije vividhAH prajAH |
divaM ca pR^ithivIM caiva mahimnA vyApya tiShThataH ||1-1-43
As his work of creation did not continue smoothly, one prajApati from the batch of seven marIchi et al prajApati-s, named vashiSTHa, whose another name is Apava, tasya Apavasya vashiSTHa apara nAmnaH prajApateH, bifurcated his body to become the pair of male and female. The female principle of this prajApati is called shata-rUpa. Thus shata-rUpa took birth from a non-vaginal source, and created both male and female entities of diverse forms; nArI yad yad rUpam, go, vaDavAdikam gR^ihItavatI, tat tat jAtIyam vR^iSha, ashva Adi rUpam, puruSho api gR^ihItavAn - whichever feminal form shata-rUpa assumed, like cows, mares etc., the male half of Apava prajApati, namely svAyambhU manu, assumed the male form of that kind, say oxen, horses etc., in order to further that kind of species.
prajApati Apava, that is to say, the male half of Apava, namely swAyambhU manu continued the biogenesis of diverse biogenic beings through shata-rUpa tena, shatarUpena maithunya jA prajAH vividhAH sasR^ije iti arthaH, and thus, he stayed pervading earth and sky with his efficacy.
How can Apava/vashiShTa prajApati still be in existence when he bifurcated himself as male and female - is the question. No two purANa-s agree on this and tell us about it. But, the following is the generally accepted elucidation.
When Apava metamorphosed as two entities, male and female, the title of svAyambhU is assigned to the male, and the title of shata-rUpa to the female; where svAyambhU means self-manifest - because his is a non-vaginal birth, and shata-rUpa means aneka ruppa - diversified female forms. Her emergence is also of non-vaginal nature. Why parroting these many times about the non-vaginal births of svAyambhU and shata-rUpa? Because we are to be constantly reminded that humans have come from celestials, like svAyambhU manu and shata-rUpa, but not from apes or monkeys, and thus human birth is the best among other animals.
There are so many ideas in circulation equating this shata-rUpa as a single personified female. Bu she should be seen as whole prakR^ti, the female nature, and the svAyambhu as the male principle.
The name manu is a title to these prajApati-s, namely creator-rulers of earliest mankind, and there are fourteen prajApati-s or manu-s, commencing from this swAyambhU manu. They are: 1. svayambhu manu , 2. svArochiSa manu , 3. aUttami manu , 4. tAmasa manu , 5. raivata manu , 6. chAksha manu . Presently we are in the Seventh cycle called vaivasvata mnavantara , and there are seven more manvantara -s to come, starting with 8. surya sAvarni Manu, 9. dharma sAvani, 10. daksha savarni, 11. rudra sAvarni, 12. brahma sAvrani, 13. rouchya manu , 14. bhoutya manu.
And the name manvantara, manu antara is to be taken as later to svAyambhu manu. manu 'antara' padam vyAcacaShTe sArdhena; dvitIyam iti; sA eva manu dvArA yonijam prajA sarga dvitIyam sasarja; nk; The following are the perplexities recorded by early translator of Vishnu Purana. H.H. Wilson:
The Bráhma Purna, the words of which are repeated in the Hari Vanśa, introduces a new element of perplexity in a new name, that of Ápava. According to the commentator, this is a name of the Prajápati Vaśishtha. As, however, he performs the office of Brahmá, he should be regarded as that divinity: but this is not exactly the case, although it has been so rendered by the French translator... Ápava becomes twofold, and in the capacity of his male half begets offspring by the female. Again, it is said Vishnu created Viráj, and Viráj created the male, which is Vairája or Manu; who was thus the second interval (Antaram), or stage, in creation. That is, according to the commentator, the first stage was the creation of Ápava, or Vaśishtha, or Viráj, by Vishnu, through the agency of Hiranyagarbha or Brahmá; and the next was that of the creation of Manu by Viráj. Śatarúpá appears as first the bride of Ápava, and then as the wife of Manu.
That is, according to the commentator, the first stage was the creation of Ápava, or Vaśishtha, or Viráj, by Vishnu, through the agency of Hiranyagarbha or Brahmá; and the next was that of the creation of Manu by Viráj...
Viráj being all male animals, Śatarúpá all female animals. So the commentator on the Hari Vanśa explains the former to denote the horse, the bull, &c.; and the latter, the mare, the cow, and the like...
Again, Śatarúpá, the bride of Brahmá, or of Viráj, or of Manu, is nothing more than beings of varied or manifold forms, from Sata, 'a hundred,' and 'form;' explained by the annotator on the Hari Vanśa by Anantarúpá, 'of infinite,' and Vividharúpá, 'of diversified shape;' being, as he states, the same as Máyá, 'illusion,' or the power of multiform metamorphosis. -- The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson 1840
virAjam asR^ijat viShNuH saH asR^ijat puruShaM virAT |
puruShaM taM manuM viddhi tad vai manvantaraM smR^itam ||1-1-44
Thus, the all-pervading viShNu created an entity called virAT - cosmic person - called Apava prajApati, and this virAT, or Apava prajApati, or vashiSTha gave rise to a puruSha - meaning the male half of his own entity who can engender biogenetically - namely svAyambhu manu; and hence this biogenic creation is known to have come advent to manu - manu-antaram.
dvitIyam Apavasya etan manoH antaram ucyate |
sa vairAjaH prajA-sargaM sasarja puruShaH prabhuH |
nArAyaNa-visargaH sa prajAH tasya api a-yonijAH ||1-1-45
Because svAyambhu manu is the successor of Apava, and his biogenetic creation is successive to the ethereal creation of Apava, a name of time-cycle called manvantaram is assigned to the biogenic era of creation, reckoning from svayambhu manu, and this also called as dvitIya manvantaram, or Apo manvantaram.
As a result, that dynamic vairaja purusha, namely svAyambhu manu, has engendered living beings. Because this creation that resulted from nArAyaNa up to svAyambhu manu is effectuated without any biological process, it is called - a+yoni+ja+ shR^iShThi - non-vaginal creation. And the creation advent to svAymbhu manu is yonija sR^iShTi - biogenetic creation.
viShNurhi hiraNya garbha dvArA virAjam, Apava Akhyam, asR^ijat... nArAyaNasya visargo hiraNya-garbha dvArA vyavahitaH sargaH | sa ApavaH | ato asya viShNu pautratvAt ayonijAH prajAH prathamaH sargaH | sa eva manu dwArA yonijam prajA sarga dvitIyam sasarja | etad Apavasya manoH rUpAkhyAm dvitIyam antaram - vyavadhAnam - yasmAt sarge abhUt tasmAt atra manvantara shabdaH prayujyata iti arthaH |
AyuShmAn kIrtimAn dhanyaH prajAvAn shrutavAn tathA |
Adi-sargaM viditva imaM yatha-iShThAM gatim ApnuyAt ||1-1-46 plus 8 invocatry verse=54
Therefore, he who knows about the earliest creation, he obtains his desired objects, longevity, glory, richness, and family-life, as he desires...
At the outset the One without attributes - nirguNa swarUpa - also called shuddha-brahma, or shuddha-chaitnya willed to become many - tat aikshatha... bahusyAm prajAyeyeti... and started to create. At this time of volition he gradually transfigured himself in prakR^iti and puruSha by adopting the nature of tri-guNa-s, sattva, raja, and tamas. In this alloyed state he is called shabala brahma, or mAyA-avacChinna-chaitanyam. This condition occurs to him as a result of defilement by mAya, where mAya is the causal factor of diverse creation, and where prakR^iti is mahat-AdivikArA-s. Because this is j~nAna virodhi, contrapositive to gnosis, it is called a-vidya, nascence.
In such a state of shabala brahma, or mAyA-avacChinna-chaitanyam, i.e., in the stage of volition, the triad of guNa-s will be in equilibrium. Among the three guNa-s, sattva causes j~nAna, sukha, plus an inclination to take delight in them. Thus, that sattva became the compose of viShNu. The guNa rajas causes rAga and tR^iShNa, where rAga, anurAga is hanker, while tR^iShNa is thirsting, which usually, or predominantly occur in male and female relation. So, this guNa rajas is creating sangamam, concupiscence. And the guNa tamas causes viparIta j~nAna, nidra, Alasya etc. Hence, it has become causal to laya, involution, thus became the manifestation of rudra.
When Ishvra left off that stage of volition and about to create, the equilibrium of these three guNa-s gets disturbed. That is the stage of mahat-tattva with three facets, sAttvika, rAjasa, tAmasika. In this stage he is called sUtra-brahma, or antaHkaraNa-avacChinna chaitanyam. In this form he creates whole universe with names and forms - nAma rUpa-Atmaka-sakala-prapancha sR^iShTi. At this stage, because there will be an affinity between the creator and the created, sraShThR^i-SR^ijya tAdAtmya svarUpam, that brahman is called virAT. Then viShNu will be in the form of j~nAna-mAtra-tAdAtmya-svarUpam.
The cit-svarUpa j~nAna in the stage virAT rUpa sthiti is called vR^itti-avacChinna-chaitanya. And the chaitanyam devoid of j~nAna, liable to become many, is called viShaya-avacChinna-chaitanyam. As to how the universe came forth from such a brahman who is in the state of virAT, is as below:
1. tamo sR^iShTi: tamas, moha, mahA-moha, tamisra, andha-tamisra - from these there arose static, sessile.
2. tiryak- sR^iShTi: pashu-pakshyAdi sR^iShTi - birds and animals.
3. deva- sR^iShTi: those who are always sAttvika, well satisfied beings.
4. arvAk- sR^iShTi: humans who are tama-udrekI-s, duHkha-bahula- having many tribulations - and who are karma-shIlA-s - indulgent in works.
5. anugraha- sR^iShTi: a creation with a mixture of sAttvika-tAmasika guNa-s - animal creation.
6. kaumAra- sR^iShTi: is of two kinds - prAkR^ita and vaikR^ita - creation of sanatkumAra et al.
These six, coupled with three more like 1. mahat- sR^iShTi, 2. pancha-tanmAtra- sR^iShTi; 3. pancha-bhUta-indriya- sR^iShTi will become the nava-vidha- sR^iShTi.
Thus, this is the first chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating the first creation process.
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translation : desiraju hanumanta rao|
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|E&OE - content is subject to revision : dated 7-10-07|