H. H. (Horace Hayman) Wilson.

Works by the late Horace Hayman Wilson .. (Volume 7) online

. (page 1 of 25)
Online LibraryH. H. (Horace Hayman) WilsonWorks by the late Horace Hayman Wilson .. (Volume 7) → online text (page 1 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


PRINCETON, N. ./.

No. Case, ^'"^^ ^"^^ t.
No. Shelf, _sec W^i^t^L/



No. Book,



"Kc:



-v.^



WORKS



THE LATE



HORACE HAYMAN WILSON,

M.A., F.K.S.,

MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, OP THE ASIATIC SOCIETIES OF

CALCUTTA AND PARIS, AND OF THE ORIENTAL SOCIETY OF GERMANY;

FOREIGN MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FRANCE;

MEMBER OF THE IMPERIAL ACADEMIES OF ST. PETERSBURGH AND VIENNA,

AND OF THE ROYAL ACADEMIES OF JIUNICH AND BERLIN;

PH.D. BRESLAU; M. D. MARBURG, ETC.;

AND BODEN PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.



VOL. VII.




LONDON:
TRiJBNER & CO., 60, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1865.



THE

VISHNU PURANA:

A SYSTEM

OF

HINDU MYTHOLOGY AND TRADITION.

TRANSLATED

FROM THE ORIGINAL SANSKRIT,

AND

ILLUSTRATED BY NOTES

DERIVED CHIEFLY FROM OTHER PURANAS,

BY THE LATE

H. H. WILSON, M.A., F.R.S.,

BODEN PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD,
ETC., ETC.

EDITED BY

FITZEDWARD HALL.
VOL. II.

LONDON:

TRUBNER & CO., 60, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1865.



VISHNU PURANA.



BOOK I. (continued).



CHAPTER XV.

The world overrun with trees : they are destroyed by the Prache-
tasas. Soma pacifies them, and gives them Marisha to wife:
her story: the daughter of the nymph Pramlocha. Legend
of Kandu. Marisha's former history. Daksha the son of the
Prachetasas: his different characters: his sons: his daughters:
their marriages and progeny : allusion to Prahlada, his descendant.

Whilst tlie Prachetasas were thus absorbed in their
devotions, the trees spread, and overshadowed the un-
protected earth ; and the people perished. The winds
could not blow; the sky was shut out by the forests;
and mankind was unable to labour for ten thousand
years. When the sages, coming forth from the deep,
beheld this, they were angry, and, being incensed,
wind and flame issued from their mouths. The strong
wind tore up the trees by their roots, and left them
sear and dry; and the fierce fire consumed them; and
the forests were cleared away. When Soma (the moon),
the sovereign of the vegetable world, beheld all except
a few of the trees destroyed, he went to the patriarchs,
the Prachetasas, and said: "Restrain your indignation,
princes, and listen to me. I will form an alliance be-
tween you and the trees. Prescient of futurity, I have

11. 1



2 VISHNU PUR AN A.

nourished, with my rays, this precious maiden, the
daughter of the woods. She is called Marisha, and is,
assuredly, the offspring of the trees. She shall be your
bride, and the multiplier of the race ofDhruva. From
a portion of your lustre and a portion of mine,
mighty sages, the patriarch Daksha shall be born of
her, who, endowed with a part of me, and composed
of your vigour, shall be as resplendent as fire, and
shall multiply the human race.

"There was formerly (said Soma) a sage named
Kahdu, eminent in holy wisdom, who practised pious
austerities on the lovely borders of the Gomati river.
The king of the gods sent the nymph Pramlocha to
disturb his penance; and the sweet -smiling damsel
diverted the sage from his devotions. They lived
together, in the valley of Mandara, for a hundred and
fifty years, during which the mind of the Muni was
wholly given up to enjoyment. At the expiration of
this period, the nymph requested his permission to
return to heaven; but the Muni, still fondly attached
to her, prevailed upon her to remain for some time
longer; and the graceful damsel continued to reside
for another hundred years, and delight the great sage
by her fascinations. Then again she preferred her suit
to be allowed to return to the abodes of the gods; and
again the Muni desired her to remain. At the expira-
tion of more than a century, the nymph once more
said to him, with a smiling countenance: 'Brahman, I
depart.' But the Muni, detaining the fine-eyed damsel,
replied: 'Nay, stay yet a little; you will go hence for
a long period.' Afraid of incurring an imprecation,
the graceful nymph continued with the sage for nearly



BOOK T., CHAP. XV. 3

two hundred years more, repeatedly asking his per-
mission to go to the region of the king of the gods,
but as often desired, by him, to remain. Dreading to
be cursed by him, and excehing in amiable manners,
well knowing, also, the pain that is inflicted by separa-
tion from an object of aftection, she did not quit the
Muni, whose mind, wholly subdued by love, became,
every day, more strongly attached to her.

"On one occasion the sage was going forth from
their cottage in a great hurry. The nymph asked him
where he was going. 'The day', he replied, 'is draw-
ing fast to a close. I must perform the Sandhya wor-
ship; or a duty will be neglected.' The nymph smiled
mirthfully, as she rejoined: 'Why do you talk, grave
sir, of this day drawing to a close? Your day is a day
of many years, — a day that must be a marvel to all.
Explain what this means.' The Muni said: 'Fair damsel,
you came to the river-side at dawn. I beheld you then;
and you then entered my hermitage. It is now the
revolution of evening; and the day is gone. What is
the meaning of this laughter? Tell me the truth.'
Pramlocha answered: 'You say rightly, venerable
Brahman, that I came hither at morning dawn. But
several hundred years have passed since the time of
my arrival. This is the truth.' The Muni, on hearing
this, was seized with astonishment, and asked her how
long he had enjoyed her society. To which the nymph
replied, that they had lived together nine hundred and
seven years, six months, and three days. The Muni
asked her if she spoke the truth, or if she was in jest;
for it appeared to him that they had spent but one
day together. To which Pramlocha replied, that she

1*



4 VISHNU PUR AN A.

should not dare , at any time , to tell him who lived in
the path of piety an untruth, but, particularly, when
she had been enjoined, by him, to inform him what
had passed.

"When the Muni, princes, had heard these words,
and knew that it was the truth, he began to reproach
himself bitterly, exclaiming: 'Fie, fie upon me! My
penance has been interrupted; the treasure of the
learned and the pious has been stolen from me; my
judgment has been blinded. This woman has been
created, by some one, to beguile me. Brahma is beyond
the reach of those agitated by the waves of infirmity.^
I had subdued my passions, and was about to attain
divine knowledge. This was foreseen by him by whom
this girl has been sent hither. Fie on the passion that
has obstructed my devotions! All the austerities that
would have led to acquisition of the wisdom of the
Vedas have been rendered of no avail by passion that
is the road to hell.' The pious sage, having thus re-
viled himself, turned to the nymph, who was sitting
nigh, and said to her : ' Go, deceitful girl, whither thou
wilt. Thou hast performed the office assigned thee by
the monarch of the gods, — of disturbing my penance
by thy fascinations. I will not reduce thee to ashes
by the fire of my wrath. Scven paces together is suf-
ficient for the friendship of the virtuous: but thou and
I have dwelt together.*^ And, in truth, what fault hast

^ Or, 'immersed in the six Urmis' (tfif^'^'^')^ explained hunger,
thirst, sorrow, stupefaction, decay, and death.






BOOK I., CHAP. XV. 5

thou committed? Why should I be wroth with thee?
The sin is wholly mine; in that I could not subdue my
passions. Yet fie upon thee, who, to gain favour with
Indra, hast disturbed my devotions, — vile bundle of
delusion!'

"Thus spoken to by. the Muni, Pramlocha stood
trembling, whilst big drops of perspiration started
from every pore; till he angrily cried to her: 'Depart,
begone.' She then, reproached by him, went forth from
his dwelling, and, passing through the air, wiped the
perspiration from her person with the leaves of the
trees. The nymph went from tree to tree, and, as,
with the dusky shoots that crowned their summits,
she dried her limbs, which were covered with moisture,
the child she had conceived by the Rishi came forth
from the pores of her skin, in drops of perspiration.
The trees received the living dews; and the winds
collected them into one mass. This", said Soma, "I
matured by my rays; and gradually it increased in size,
till the exhalation that had rested on the tree-tops be-
came the lovely girl named Marisha. The trees will
give her to you, Prachetasas. Let your indignation be
appeased. She is the progeny of Kandu, the child of
Pramlocha, the nursling of the trees, the daughter of
the wind and the moon. The holy Kandu, after the
interruption of his pious exercises, went, excellent
princes,* to the region of Vishnu, termed Purushottama,



* The word "princes" is here supplied by the translator; and, for
its epithet, "excellent", all the MSS. I have seen give tlTt^i t, an ad-
jective in the singular number, and belonging to Kandu.



6 VISHNU PURANA.

where, Maitreya/ with his whole mind, he devoted him-
self to the adoration of Hari; standing fixed, with up-
lifted arms, and repeating the prayers that comprehend
the essence of divine truth." ^

' There is some confusion, here, in regard to the person ad-
dressed: but the context shows that the insertion of Maitreya's
name is an inadvertence , and that the passage is a continuation
of Soma's speech to the Prachetasas.

^ The phrase is ^^'TTT'T^ ^ -K- ^^^ I 'made up of the
further boundary of Brahma'; implying either 'comprehending
the Supreme or Brahma, and transcendental wisdom, Para'; or
'consisting of the furthest limits (Para) or truths of the Vedas or
Brahma'; that is, being the essence of the Vedanta philosophy.
The hymn that follows is, in fact, a mantra or mystical prayer,
commencing with the reiteration of the word Para and Para; as:

Para means 'supreme, intinite'; and Para, 'the further bank or
limit', the point that is to be attained by crossing a river or sea,
or, figuratively, the world or existence. Vishnu, then, is Param,
that which nothing surpasses; and Pararii, the end or object of
existence: he is Aparaparah, the furthest bound of that which is
illimitable, or space and time: he is Param pai-ebhyah, above or
beyond the highest, being beyond or superior to all the elements:
he is Paramartharupi, or identical with final truth, or knowledge
of soul: he is Brahmaparah, the object or essence of spiritual
wisdom. Paraparabhiitah is said to imply the further limit (Para)
of rudimental matter (Para). He is Parah , or chief, Paranara,
ot those objects which are beyond the senses: and he is Paraparah,
or the boundary of boundaries; that is, he is the comprehensive



The MSS. which I have examined exhibit, without exception, Xf^;



BOOK I., CHAP. XV. 7

The Prachetasas said: "We are desirous to hear the
transcendental prayers by inaudibly reciting which
the pious Kandu propitiated Kesava." On which Soma
repeated as follows: '"Vishnu is beyond the boundary
of all things; he is the infinite; he is beyond that which
is boundless; he is above all that is above; he exists
as finite truth; he is the object of the Veda; the limit
of elemental being; unappreciable by the senses; pos-
sessed of illimitable might. He is the cause of cause ;
the cause of the cause of cause; the cause of finite
cause; and, in effects, he, both as every object and
agent, preserves the universe. He is Brahma the lord;
Brahma all beings; Brahma the progenitor of all beings;
the imperishable. He is the undecaying, eternal, un-
born Brahma, incapable of increase or diminution. Pu-
rushottama is the everlasting, uncreated, immutable,
Brahma. May the imperfections of my nature be anni-
hilated (through his favour).' Reciting this eulogium,
the essence of divine truth , and propitiating Kesava,
Kandu obtained final emancipation.*

"Who Marisha was of old, I will also relate to you;
as the recital of her meritorious acts will be beneficial
to you. She was the widow of a prince, and left child-
less at her husband's death. She, therefore, zealously
worshipped Vishnu; who, being gratified by her adora-
tion, appeared to her, and desired her to demand a

investure of, and exterior to , those limits by which soul is con-
fined; he is free from all incumbrance or impediment. The pas-
sage may be interpreted in diiferent ways, according to the in-
genuity with which the riddle is read.

* Siddhi, in the original.



8 VISHNU PURANA.

boon : on which she revealed to him the wishes of her
heart. 'I have been a widow, lord', she exclaimed,
'even from my infancy; and my birth has been in vain.
Unfortunate have I been, and of little use, sovereign
of the world. Now, therefore, I pray thee, that, in suc-
ceeding births, I may have honom'able husbands, and
a son equal to a patriarch (amongst men). May I be
possessed of affluence and beauty; may I be pleasing
in the sight of all; and may I be born out of the ordi-
nary course. Grant these prayers, thou who art
propitious to the devout.'* Hrishikesa, the god of gods,
the supreme giver of all blessings, thus prayed to,
raised her from her prostrate attitude, and said: "In
another life you shall have ten husbands of mighty
prowess, and renowned for glorious acts. And you
shall have a son, magnanimous and valiant, distin-
guished by the rank of a patriarch, f from whom the
various races of men shall multiply, and by whose
posterity the universe shall be filled. You, virtuous
lady, shall be of marvellous birth ;t and you shall be
endowed with grace and loveliness, delighting the
hearts of men.' Thus having spoken, the deity disap-
peared; and the princess was, accordingly, afterwards
born as Marisha, who is given to you for a wife."^

' This part of the legend is peculiar to our text; and the

IT^T^fTT^-^W ^»r^TT^^f% lfrH% II

Marisha was, thus, promised a son "endowed with the attributes of a
patriarch."
J Ayonija.



, BOOK I., CHAP. XV. y

Soma having concluded, the Prachetasas took Ma-
risha, as he had enjoined them, righteously to wife,
relinquishing their indignation against the trees; and
upon her they begot the eminent patriarch Daksha, who
had (in a former life) been born as the son of Brahma.^

whole story of Marisba's birth is nowhere else so fully detailed.
The penance of the Prachetasas, and its consequences, are related
in the Agni, Bhagavata, Matsya, Padma, Vayu, and Brahma
Purarias; and allusion is briefly made to Marisba's birth. Her
origin from Kai'ulu and Pramlocha is narrated in a different place
in the Brahma Purana, where the austerities of Karidu, and the
necessity for their interruption, are described. The story, from
that authority, w^as translated by the late Professor Chezy, and
is published in the first number of the Journal Asiatique.

' The second birth of Daksha, and his share in the peopling
of the earth, is narrated in most of the Puraiias in a similar
manner. It is, perhaps, the original legend; for Daksha seems
to be an irregular adjunct to the Prajapatis or mind-born sons of
Brahma (see Vol. I., p. 100, note 2); and the allegorical nature
of his posterity in that character (Vol. I., p. 109) intimates a more
recent origin. Nor does that series of descendants apparently
occur in the Mahabharata; although the existence of two Dakshas
is especially remarked there (Moksha Dharma):

In the Adi Parvan, which seems to be the freest from subsequent
improvements, the Daksha noticed is the son of the Prachetasas.
The incompatibility of the two accounts is reconciled by referring
the two Dakshas to different Manwantaras; the Daksha who pro-
ceeded from Brahma as a Prajapati being born in the first, or
Swayarhbhuva, and the son of the Prachetasas, in the Chakshu-
sha, Manwantara. The latter, however, as descended from Uttiina-
pada, should belong to the first period also. It is evident that great
confusion has been made, by the Purarias, in Daksha's history.



• Mahabharata, Sdnti-parvan, 7673.



10 VISHNU PUR ANA.

This great sage, for the furtherance of creation, and
the increase of mankind, created progeny. Obeying
the command of Brahma, he made movable and im-
movable things,* bipeds and quadrupeds, f and, sub-
sequently, by his will, gave birth to females, ten of
whom he bestowed on Dharma, thirteen on Kasyapa,
and twenty-seven, who regulate the course of time, on
the Moon.^ Of these, the gods, the Titans,! the snake-
gods, cattle, and birds, the singers and dancers of the
courts of heaven, the spirits of evil, § and other beings,
were born. From that period forwards, living creatures
were engendered by sexual intercourse. Before the
time of Daksha, they were variously propagated, — by
the will, by sight, by touch, and by the influence of
religious austerities practised by devout sages and holy
saints. II

Maitreya. — Daksha, as I have formerly heard, was
born from the right thumb of Brahma. Tell me, great
Muni, how he was regenerate as the son of the Pra-
chetasas. Considerable perplexity also arises in my
mind, how he, who, as the son of Marisha, was the
grandson of Soma, could be also his father-in-law.

Paras ARA. — Birth and death are constant in all
creatures. Rishis and sages, possessing divine vision,



' That is, they are the Naksbatras or lunar asterisms.

* The Sanskrit has avara and vara, "inferior" and "superior"; and
these epithets, not being given in the neuter, but in the masculine, refer
to putra, Professor Wilson's "progeny".

t See Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., pp. 26 and 27.

+ Daitya.

§ Ddnava.

II See Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., p. 27.



BOOK I., CHAP. XV. 11

are not perplexed by this. Daksha and the other
eminent Manis are present in every age, and, in the
interval of destruction, cease to be.^ Of this the wise
man entertains no doubt. Amongst them of old there

' 'They are removed' (f^^^^), which the commentator
explains by ^RT^^^ij^ I 'are absorbed, as if they were fast
asleep.' But, in every age or Yuga, according to the text, — in
every Manwantara, according to the comment — theRishis reappear;
the circumstances of their origin only being varied. Daksha,
therefore, as remarked in the preceding note, is the son of Brahma,
in one period, the son of the Prachetasas, in another. So Soma,
in the Swayariibhuva Manwantara, was born as the son of Atri;
in the Ch;ikshuisha, he was produced by churning the ocean. The
words of our text occur in the Haii Vaiiisa, '^' with an unimportant
variation :

'Birth and obstruction are constant in all beings. But Kishis, and
those men who are wise, are not perplexed by this'; that is, not,
as rendered above, by the alternation of life and death, but, ac-
cording to the commentator on the Hari Vamsa, by a very differ-
ent matter, the prohibition of unlawful marriages. Utpatti, 'birth
of progeny', is the result of their will; Nirodha, 'obstruction',
is the law prohibiting the intermarriage of persons connected by
the offering of the funeral cake: f^lTt^ ■f'T(?l'T^t^'^T^1'HT
fjini^: I to which Rishis and sages are not subject, either from
their matrimonial unions being merely Platonic, or from the bad
example set by Brahma, who, according to the Vcdas. approached
his own daughter: H^T^rf^W ^^ffrTT'T^J^l^^ff! ^f?T: I a
mystery we have already had occasion to advert to (Vol. I.,
p. 104, note 2). The explanation of the text, however, given by
the commentator appears forced , and less natural than the inter-
pretation preferred above.

* Stanza HI.



12 VISHNU I'URANA.

was neither senior nor junior. Rigorous penance and
acquired power were the sole causes of any difference
of degree amongst these more than human beings.*

Maitreya. — Narrate to me, venerable Brahman, at
length, the birth of the gods, Titans, f Gandharvas,
serpents, and goblins. +

Pauasara. — In what manner Daksha created living
creatures, as commanded by Brahma, you shall hear.
In the first place, he willed into existence the deities,
the Rishis, the quiristers of heaven, § the Titans,! and
the snake -gods. Finding that his will-born progeny
did not multiply themselves, he determined, in order
to secure their increase, to establish sexual intercourse
as the means of multiplication. For this purpose he
espoused Asikni, the daughter of the patriarch Virana,^
a damsel addicted to devout practices, the eminent

' This is the usual account of Daksha's marriage, and is that
of the Mahabharata, Adi Parvan (p. 113), and of the Brahma Pu-
raria, which the Hari Vamsa, in the first part, repeats. In another
portion, the Pushkara Mahatmya, however, Daksha, it is said,
converts half himself into a female, by whom he begets the
daughters presently to be noticed :

This seems to be merely a new edition of an old story.

Sec Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., p. 27.
•j- Ddnava.
X Rakshas.
§ Qandharva.
II Asura.



BOOK I., CHAP. XV. 13

supportress of the world. By her the great father of
mankind begot five thousand mighty sons, through
whom he expected the world should be peopled. Na-
rada, the divine Rishi, observing them desirous to
multiply posterity, approached them, and addressed
them in a friendly tone: "Illustrious Haryaswas, it is
evident that your intention is to beget posterity. But
first consider this — why should you, who, like fools,
know not the middle, the height, and depth of the
world, ^ propagate offspring? When your intellect is
no more obstructed by interval, height, or depth, then
how, fools, shall ye not all behold the term of the uni-
verse?"* Having heard the words of Narada, the sons

' ^'^>S«fT'^'^?T^"^ I The commentator explains it to mean
the origin, duration, and termination of subtile rudimental body;
but the Padma and Linga Puranas distinctly express it, 'the
extent of the earth ' :



tlTt ^"^"^ ^TTT ^^rr1 ^l^mTfTT^??: II
^Tf^HTT Wf\^ % TffT^T ^T^fT % ^^: I
^irT^^^^f^ ^^ ^^^ t T^^i: ll"

c[^T ^^Tf^ ^Tnt ^"f ^^^ ^Tf^T: II

The larger commentary remarks as follows, on the last two of these
stanzas: -^Tf^^JT ^%(llf|;T^ ^T^TT^^t I rfiq^T'frTf^^TiTWf

^^^^^^^ I ^nT^^ '^ ^ ^T^fT I ^rfr ^^iTT^TTTtrTc^T
^ f^W?T ITWT: ^^^ ^^ I rT^TT(Tf^^T5TTf>^^TfTWT ^-



14 VISHNU PURANA.

ofDaksha dispersed themselves through the regions,
and, to the present day, have not returned; as rivers
(that lose themselves) in the ocean (come back no
more).

The Haryaswas having disappeared, the patriarch
Daksha begot, by the daughter of Vh-ai'ia, a thousand
other sons. They, who were named Sabalaswas, were
desirous of engendering posterity, but were dissuaded,
by Narada, in a similar manner. They said to one
another: "What the Muni has observed is perfectly
just. We must follow the path that our brothei's have
travelled; and, when we have ascertained the extent
of the universe, we will multiply our race." Accord-
ingly, they scattered themselves through the regions;
and, like rivers (flowing) into the sea, they returned
not again. ^ Henceforth brother seeking for brother dis-

' Narada's interference, and the fruitless generation of the
first progeny of Daksha, is an old legend. The Mahabharata
(Adi Parvan p. 113) notices only one set of sons, who, it is said,
obtained Moksha or liberation through Naredas teaching them
the Sankhya philosophy. The Bi-ahma, Matsya, Vayu, Linga,
Padnia, Agni, and Bhagavata Puranas tell the story much as in
the text, and, not unfrequently , in the same words. In general,
they merely refer to the imprecation denounced upon Narada, as
above. The Bhagavata specifics thfe imprecation to be perpetual
peripateticism. Daksha says to him: 'There shall not be a resting-
place for thee in all these regions:'






BOOK I., CHAP. XV. 15

appears, througli ignorance of the products of the first



cn5TWt%^ "^ 1,^ ^ ^%f tct: ^^^^. i



* Bhdgavata-piirdna, VI., 5, 43. The account of Narada's curse, — a
good specimen of the Bhdgaoata-purdi'm — which takes up the whole of
the chapter here referred to, is thus rendered by Burnouf:

"Quka dit: Le puissant Pradjapati, dont la Maya de Vichuu auomentait
les forces, eut de sa femme, fille de Pantehadjana, dix mille fils, nommes
les Harya^vas.

"Ces fils de Dakcha, qui etaient tous unis par les memes devoirs et
les memes vertus, invites par leur pere a se livrer a la creation des
etres, se retirerent du cote de I'occident.

"La, au confluent du Sindhu et de I'ocean, est le vaste etang de Na-
rayanasaras, qui est frequente par les solitaires et par les Siddhas.

"Ces jeunes gens, en qui le seul contact de ces eaux avait efface les
souillures contractees par leur coeur, et dont Tintelligence etait exercee
aux devoirs de I'ascetisme le plus eleve,

"Se livrereut, conformement aux ordres de leur pere, a de rudes
mortifications; le Richi des Devas les vit, pendant qu'ils faisaient tous



Online LibraryH. H. (Horace Hayman) WilsonWorks by the late Horace Hayman Wilson .. (Volume 7) → online text (page 1 of 25)