tasya khila bhAho


harivamsha parva
ch 50

nArAyaNa Ashrama varNanam
of the reclusion of nArAyaNa



atha pa~nchAshattamo.adhyAyaH

vaishaMpAyana uvAcha : vaishampAyana continued

R^iShibhiH pUjitaH taiH tu vivesha harir IshvaraH |
paurANaM brahma-sadanaM divyaM nArAyaNa Ashramam ||1-50-1
sa tat vivesha hR^iShTa-AtmA tAt Amantrya sado-gatAn |
praNamya cha AdidevAya brahmaNe padma-yonaye ||1-50-2
svena nAmnA parij~nAtaM  sa taM nArAyaNa Ashramam |
pravishann eva bhagavAn AyudhAni vyasarjayat ||1-50-3

On receiving reverence from sages belonging to brahma’s world, god shrIhari visited brahma’s abode receiving deference from brahma, and then entered his sojourning place called - nArAyaNa Ashramam - the retreat of nArAyaNa, that which is holy and extolled in legends, and that which is situated in brahma’s world itself…

Rejoicing to enter that reclusive place shrIhari set all his weapons aside on his very entry into it, foregathered and presided over the observances of sages, while lotus-sprung brahma adored that prime-god to see him in his own seclusion that is renowned after his very name nArAyaNa Ashramam…

sa tatra aMbu pati prakhyaM dadarsha Alayam AtmanaH |
svadhiShThitaM deva-gaNaiH shAshvataiH cha maharShibhiH ||1-50-4

Enwreathed by eternal gods and sage he reckoned that his sanctuary is an omnium gatherum like ocean and himself as the lord of ocean with an unrestricted ingress and egress…

saMvartaka ambunA upetaM nakShatra-sthAna-saMkulaM |
timira-ogha-parikShiptam a-pradhR^iShyaM surAsuraiH ||1-50-5
na tatra viShayo vAyoH na indoH na cha vivasvataH |
vapuShaH padmanAbhasya sa deshaH tejasA AvR^itaH ||1-50-6

Then viShNu created a divine darkness resembling era-ending cloud and that looks like the padded singularities in the belts of stars – jyotiH chakram, dense with streaming darkness, impermeable either to gods or demons, or at least for air, moon, and sun, and that area is enshrouded with a blackness resemblant to the blackish glow of the body of viShNu…

sa tatra pravishan eva jaTA-bhAraM samudvahan |
sahasra-shIrSho bhUtvA tu shayanAya upachakrame ||1-50-7

As soon as he entered into that pitchy place he donned thousand headed form with matted head hair and commenced his entry into yoga nidra – yogic slumber…

lokAnAm anta kAla-j~nA kAlI nayana shAlinI |
upatasthe mahAtmAnaM nidrA taM kAla-rUpiNI ||1-50-8

Then the goddess of sleep, nidrA devata, the well informed-entity of the end-time of worlds, very subtle one for inducement – kAlI, one with visual acuity for her scapegoats, one simulative of death has come and stood in the proximity of the supreme-soul nArAyaNa…

sa sishye shayane divye samudra ambhoda shItale |
hariH eka arNava uktena vratena vratinAM-varaH ||1-50-9

shrIhari, the foremost of those observant of vows, then went into shayanam - samAdhi, imperturbable yogic concentration, on the divine superficies of cool ocenic water of Milk-ocean, undertaking the vow called eka-arNava – one-bounding main, in which vow he will be both nirvikalpa - immutable like the deep - samudra – milky ocean; and savikalpa - mutable like fizzing ambodha, rainy cloud…

taM shayAnam mahAtmAnaM bhavAya jagataH prabhum |
upAsAn chakrire viShNuM devAH sa rShi gaNAH tathA ||1-50-10

The sages and gods began to worship the great omnipotent viShNu when he has gone into yogic slumber for creating universe afresh...

tasya suptasya shushubhe nAbhi madhyAt samutthitam |
AdyaM tasya AsanaM padmaM brahmaNaH sUrya-varchasam  |
sahasra-patraM varNa-ADhyam su-kumAraM vibhUShitam ||1-50-11

When viShNu is in that slumber there sprang from the centre of his navel a padmampadma kosha AkAram - lotus like receptacle, a corolla-like inner envelope of world with thousands of whorls of petals, highly effulgent like the sun, delicate in form, beautiful in hue, well-adorned and which is the Asanam – Ashrayam – brahmANDam, the matrix of the creator-brahma…

brahma sUtra udyata karaH svapann eva mahAmuniH |
Avartayati lokAnAM sarveShAM kAla paryayam ||1-50-12

This creator-brahma is at the position of upraised hands of viShNu, as if viShNu rolled up his sleeves to create universe anew; while this brahma, like the arms of potter or weaver, readied himself to draw yarn or clay to make a new object of his trade… thus, with this arms-like motor organ called brahma, viShNu indirectly started to spin a new world, by taking new thread, all of which is subjected to time factor… all this is done when he is in slumber…

vivR^itAttasya vadanAt niHshvAsa pavana IritAH |
prajAnAM pa~nktayo hi uchchair niShpatanti utpatanti cha ||1-50-13

With a yawning face brahma suspired with which exhale life is breathed into living beings, mainly ptrajApati-s, from which prajApati-s a series of living beings have come inversely or correspondingly…

te sR^iShTAH prANino medhyA vibhaktA brahmaNA svayaM |
chaturdhA svAM gatiM jagmuH kR^itAnta uktena karmaNA ||1-50-14

brahma divided the created human beings into four social orders in step with veda-s and their rituals, where each of those four by performing works laid down in the Vedas reach their respective goals of salvation…

na tam veda svayaM brahmA na api brahmarShayo avyayAH |
viShNor nidrAmayaM yogaM praviShTaM tamasA AvR^itam ||1-50-15

Neither brahma nor the sages could perceive viShNu when he is in yogic slumber because he covered himself with an impenetrable darkness – yoga mAya

te tu brahmarShayaH sarve pitAmaha purogamAH |
na viduH taM kvachit suptaM kvachit AsInam Asane ||1-50-16
jAgarti kaH atra kaH shete kaH cha shaktaH cha ne~Ngate |
kaH bhogavAn kaH dyutimAn kR^iShNAt kR^iShNa taraH cha kaH ||1-50-17
vimR^ishanti sma taM devA divyAbhiH upapattibhiH |
na cha enaM shekuH anveShTuM karmato janmato.api vA ||1-50-18

When the sages including brahma could not find out nArAyaNa who at times is asleep and at times seated, they remained deliberating on textual sayings and inferences like, ‘who sleeps, and who doesn’t… who is omnipotent… who is non-performer of deeds yet gets results – whether he is karta, or a-karta… who is enjoyer bhoktA without being kartA… who is luminous minus wick, oil and receptacle… who is obscure than the most obscure…’ even then, they could not fathom him by his theogony, or by deductive or by inductive logic… or anything…

gAthAbhiH tat pradiShTAbhiH ye tasya charitaM viduH |
purANAH taM purANeShu R^iShayaH saMprachakShate ||1-50-19

The saga of viShNu’s can be inferrred only with the help of implications and intimations of legends, together with the hypotheses put forward by ancients… not otherwise…

shrUyate cha asya charitaM deveShu api purAtanam |
mahApurANAt prabhR^iti paraM tasya na vidyate ||1-50-20

We hear that viShNu’s grounding is more ancient than that of gods… other than what is contained in great purANA-s and allied literature that are handed down to us, any other account of this god in another manner is unbeknown to us…

yat cha asya deva-devasya charitaM sva-prabhAva-jam |
tena imAH shrutayo vyAptA vaidikyo laukikAH cha yAH ||1-50-21

As such all the scriptures, whether vaidic or traditional, are filled with accounts resulting from the self-perpetuating prowess of that god of gods…

bhava-kAle bhavati eSha lokAnAM loka-bhAvanaH |
dAnavAnAm a-bhAvAya jAgarti madhusUdanaH ||1-50-22

When the moment of the birth of the worlds is immanent, then he who is the immortal source of the nature, that madhusUdana awakens for the neutralisation of demons…

yatra enaM vIkShituM devA na shekuH suptam avyayam |
tataH svapiti gharma ante jAgarti jalada-kShaye ||1-50-23

When this immortal nArAyaNa goes to sleep even the gods cannot trace him. He goes to sleep at the end of the summer and gets up at the end rains…

sa hi vedAH cha yaj~nAH cha yaj~na a~NgAni cha sarvashaH |
yA tu yaj~na-gatiH proktA sa eSha puruShottamaH ||1-50-24
tasmin supte na vartante mantra-pUtAH kratu-kriyAH |
sharat pravR^itta yaj~no ayaM jAgarti madhusUdanaH ||1-50-25

Because he is identical with the Vedas, vedic-rituals and various other ancillary rites, this foremost one is the ultimate course of all the sacrifices… as such all the vedic-hymn-oriented Vedic rituals and rites are paused during the period of yogic sleep – i.e., in dakshiNa ayana, southern solstice –according to sharadi vAjapeye na yajeta etc prohibitions; the rainy season passes while he is still in slumber… during such blank periods nominal worships – archanA-s - to viShNu are taken up… again with the arrival of autumn madhusUdana rises up, and then the autumnal sacrifices are undertaken afresh…

tat idaM vArShikaM chakraM kArayati aMbuda-IshvaraH |
vaiShNavaM karma kurvAnaH supte viShNau puraMdaraH ||1-50-26

When viShNu goes into yogic sleep and vedic rituals are to be paused, then the lord of clouds purandara, aka indra, causes the cycles of rain performing all the other duties of viShNu…

yA hi eShA gahvarA mAyA nidra iti jagati sthitA |
sA akasmAt dveShiNI ghorA kAla-rAtriH mahIkShitAm ||1-50-27

That which is the abysmal mAya of viShNu, it exists in the worlds in the name of sleep, nidra… as to how kings perish in ceaseless and causeless tussles – akasmAt, nirnimittam – this sleep-like illusionistic darkness of viShNu viShNu mAya, yoga nidra will be deadly like the night of D-day, if only someone slips into it unawares… 

tasyAH tanuH tamo-dvArA nishA divasa-nAshinI |
jIvita ardha harA ghorA sarva prANa bhR^itAM bhuvi ||1-50-28
na etayA kashchiT AviShTo jR^iMbhamANo muhurmuhuH |
shaktaH prasahituM vegaM majjann iva mahArNave ||1-50-29

This viShNu mAya, tenebriousness of viShNu, has multiple black holes as its doors for easy quagmiring… it is a killer of daylight like discernment, and a pilferer of half of the life of all living beings in the world, while its entry into living beings in through repeated yawing by which they will sink as if they are almost sunk in a vast ocean…

anna-jA bhuvi martyAnAM shrama-jA vA kathaMchana |
sa eShA bhavati lokasya nidrA sarvasya laukikI ||1-50-30

Triggered off by the excessive food or undue toil of mortals this sleep does not conduce to the well-being of any in this world…

svapna ante kShIyate hi eShA prAyashaH bhuvi dehinam |
mR^ityu-kAle cha bhUtAnAM prANAn nAshayate bhR^isham ||1-50-31

Although this soporific effect fizzles with fizzling dreams of mortals, the very same sleep-like darkness destroys the lives of mortals at their death-time…

deveShu api dadhAra enAM na anyo nArAyaNAt R^ite |
sakhI sarva harasya eShA mAyA viShNu sharIra-jA ||1-50-32

This dark goddess of sleep who appears as a companion of one and all is a rob-all of everybody that has emerged from the body of nArAyaNa only for the involution process of universe… even gods have to put up with this sleep, excepting nArAyaNa…

sa eShA nArAyaNa-mukhe dR^iShTA kamalalochanA |
lokAn alpena kAlena grasate loka-mohinI ||1-50-33

This lotus-eyed lady called the mystic sleep of nArAyaNa has emerged under the aegis of nArAyaNa himself… and this bewitching beauty called the tenebrosity of nArAyaNa is thus capable of gulping the universe in no time…

evam eShA hita arthAya lokAnAM kR^iShNa-vartmanA |
dhriyate sevanIyA hi pati eva cha pativratA ||1-50-34

She who is a subtle-courser - kR^iShNa-vartma – imponderable imbuing of digested food into the vigour of body – hitam – is born by viShNu, why because he wants to accord rest to all the worlds ever active in his viscera, at some time or the other… and she courses around the worlds for that purpose, along with nArAyaNa, which peregrination is for the behoof of worlds, like a chaste lady pivots on her husband alone…

sa tayA nidrayA chChannaH tasmin nArAyaNa-AShrame |
svapiti sma tadA viShNur moha-ya~nja-gad avyayam ||1-50-35

Concealed in that yogic sleep that infallible viShNu remained in a self-blessed state – svapitisva= himself; apIta= went into – he went into himself; self- absorbedly; pleasuring himself; while conducting yaj~na for moha, a sacrament for illusive effect;

tasya varSha sahasrANi shayanasya mahAtmanaH |
jagmuH kR^ita-yugaM chaiva tretA chaiva yuga uttamam ||1-50-36
sa tu dvApara paryante j~nAtvA lokAn suduHkhitAn |
prAbudhyata mahAtejAH stUyamAno maharShibhiH ||1-50-37

Thousands of years rolled by when that high-souled viShNu is in yogic sleep, even eras like kR^ita and tretA have gone by, and at the close of dvApara era perceiving that worlds are put to distress for his hibernation for his alternate activity, he got up while being extolled by sages…

R^iShayaH UchuH : sages extolled

jahIhi nidrAM sahajAM bhukta pUrvAm iva srajam |
ime te brahmaNA sArdhaM devA darshana kA~NkShiNaH ||1-50-38
ime tvAM brahma vidvAMso brahma saMstava vAdinaH |
vardhayanti hR^iShIkesha R^iShayaH saMshita-vratAH ||1-50-39
eteShAm Atma-bhUtAnAM bhUtAnAm AtmabhAvanaH |
shR^iNu viShNo shubhA vAcho bhU vyoma agni anila ambhasAm ||1-50-40
ime tvAM sapta munayaH sahitA muni-maNDalaiH |
stuvanti devA divyAbhir geyAbhir gIrbhir a~njasA |1-50-41
uttiShTha shata-patrAkSha padmanAbha mahAdyute |
kAraNaM kimchit utpannaM devAnAM kArya gauravAt ||1-50-42

“Do thou cast off this sleep, O lord, begotten of thy own self, as you would discard a used garland… here are the brahma-sages came along with gods waiting to see thee…

O hR^iShIkesha, all these self-controlled sages, well-versed in the knowledge of brahman, and in singing his glories, are welcoming thee… O viShNu, hear the auspicious words of these sages who are identical with the five elements, namely, the earth, ether, fire, air and water… O god, the seven sages, along with all these saints, are chanting thy glories with celestial and becoming hymns… rise up, O thou of great effulgence, O thou having a lotus of a hundred petals from thy navel, some important work of the gods requires thee…

vaishaMpAyana uvAcha : vaishampAyana continued

sa saMkShipya jalaM sarvaM timira oghaM vidArayan |
udatiShThat hR^iShIkeshaH shriyA paramayA jvalan ||1-50-43
sa dadarsha surAn sarvAn sametAn sa pitAmahAn |
vivakShataH pra-kShubhitA~n jagat arthe samAgatAn ||1-50-44
tAn uvAcha harir devo nidrA vishrAnta lochanaH |
tattva dR^iShTa arthayA  vAchA dharma hetu artha yuktayA  ||1-50-45

On lessening the quantity of water with which the universe is recently deluged under a single sheet of water; on dispelling illusionistic darkness p yoga mAya - that has so far enshrouded the universe; hR^iShIkesha rose up shinning charmingly… seeing all the gods assembled there along with creator-brahma, who are now greatly aggrieved for the world and desirous of speaking something to him, nArAyaNa, with eyes relieved of exhaustion by sleep, addressed them with words fraught with sound reasoning and far-sightedness…

shrIbhagavAn uvAcha : god said

kR^itaH vaH vigrahaH devAH kutaH vaH bhayam Agatam |
kasya vA kena vA kAryaM kiM vA mayi na vartate ||1-50-46
kiM khalu a-kushalaM loke vartate dAnava utthitam |
nR^iNAm AyAsa jananaM shIghram ichChAmi vedituM ||1-50-47
eSha brahma vidAM madhye vihAya shayana uttamaM |
shivAya bhavatAm arthe sthitaH kiM karavANI vaH ||1-50-48

How is that you are again scared when your confrontation with demons is over recently… who needs me and for what? And how can I help you... has any calamity befallen the world through the demons, or men panting for their own misventures… let me know without any delay… here I stand before you brahma-advocators renouncing my most excellent bed for a peaceable well-being of yours… what can I do for you…" so said viShNu to gods and sages…


iti shrImahAbhArate khileShu harivaMshe harivaMshaparvaNi viShNoH
yoga shayana utthAne pa~nchAshattamo.adhyAyaH 

Thus, this is the fiftieth chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating an account of the reclusion of nArAyaNa.


Prev ch 49: an account of the worlds contents Next chapter 51:  dialog of viShNu with gods 
verse-transliteration:  ks ramachandran
< ramachandran_ksr @ >
verse-rendition advisor : gilles schaufelberger
 < schaufel @ >
page maintained by : Harindranath Avaroth :
<  harindranath_a @ >
translation : desiraju hanumanta rao
< desirajuhrao @
E&OE - content is subject to revision : dated 23-3-08