Part - 2

SHRAADH AND ITS RITUALS

Madalasa says- O son! A Grihastha has three kinds of duties- regular, causal and a combination of both. Rituals, which are connected with oblations and carried out daily, are called regular duties. Rituals and consecrations performed at the birth of a child are called causal duties. Yearly performance of Shraadh for the dead ancestors is a combination of regular and causal duties. Now listen about the causal duties.

At the time of a child's birth, different kinds of rituals and consecrations are carried out in the household. During the time of marriage ceremony also, many more rituals are carried out. At the time of marriage however, performance of the Shraadh named Naandimukh is a must. During the Shraadh, the host should sit facing the north or the east and offer a loaf made of barley flour and yoghurt. Then he should circumambulate around two Brahmins and worship them.

Rituals and Shraadh carried out in the household after the occurrence of any death in the household comes under the category of causal duties. During the Shraadh period, all kinds of sacred activities are forbidden. Only the use of Kusha grass is permitted. Donation of 'Pind' comprising of barley flour, yoghurt, honey etc. is made for only one time to pacify the soul of the dead person. Then oblation of water with sesame seeds should be offered in the name of the dead person. This ritual should continue for a year- once every month. After a year, Shraadh is organised in which one, three or five Brahmins are fed. Thereafter, every year, during the darker phase of Ashwin month, a Shraadh should be carried out for the dead ancestors. This ritual is a combination of regular and causal duties.

Sages have made provision for appeasement of dead ancestors up to the last seven generations. Cereals, which the people offer in the name of their dead ancestors, pacify those souls who stay in Pishaach Yoni. Water falling on the earth at the time of wringing the clothes after one's bath pacifies those souls, who have taken the form of vegetation after their death. Water falling during the bath satisfies those souls who have attained the status of deities. Cereals that fall during the lifting of Pind satisfy those souls who are in lower life forms. The cereals that scatter here and there and swept aside satisfy souls of those people, who had died in their childhood before the accomplishment of any consecration. The waste water falling down while Brahmin washes his hands after dining and pacifies all the other souls.

Every month, during the waning phase of the Moon or on the day of Amavasya, Shraadh should be carried out. Besides it, eighth day of darker phase in the month of Paush is also good for carrying out Shraadh. If a virtuous Brahmin is available, time of solar and lunar eclipses is also good for Shraadh. The time when the Sun crosses the equator during its northward and southward journey is also good for Shraadh. Apart from these above mentioned situations, one can also organise Shraadh in the following circumstances- at the time of great calamity, availability of items suitable for Shraadh, after a nightmare, during the period of birth Nakshatra and during the period of unfavourable stars etc. On the first day of the Shraadh, a virtuous Brahmin should be invited while the host must observe total restraint. It is said that such a man, who indulges in sexual intercourse on the same day after carrying out Shraadh or eating food of Shraadh, causes his dead ancestors to sleep in semen for one month. Ancestors of such a man, who performs Shraadh immediately after having a sexual intercourse, drink urine and semen for one month. Hence a virtuous Brahmin, whom the host is intending to feed, should be informed about the Shraadh one day earlier in advance. If a Brahmin is not available, a true celibate can be fed on the day of Shraadh.

After the Brahmin has carried out all the necessary rituals, Havan, oblation etc., he must be formally insisted to dine. All kinds of edible items that a Brahmin may wish to eat should be offered. While reciting the Rakshodhn mantra, grains of sesame and mustard should be scattered on the ground. After the Brahmin has dined, he should be offered with water to wash his hands and some cereals that should be scattered on the ground with his permission. Then sitting on the seat of Kusha grass, the host should offer a Pind made of sesame seeds, barley flour, sugar, ghee etc. An oblation of water should follow it. At the end, the Brahmin should be seen off with proper Dakshina. Only then the host is free to dine himself along with other invited guests and family members.

Do's and Don'ts During A Shraadh

Madalasa says- O son! I am now narrating about the do's and don'ts to be followed during Shraadh. Many kinds of edible items can be offered in the Shraadh. These include cereals like barley, wheat, rice, millet, corn, etc., fish, flesh of deer, rabbit, bird, wild boar, goat and Neelgai (antelope). All these kinds of items are capable of pacifying the soul of dead ancestors for different period of time depending on the nature of offerings being made. Likewise cereals offered in sacred fire cause satisfaction for one month. Fish causes satisfaction for two months. Flesh of deer causes satisfaction for three months. Flesh of rabbit causes satisfaction for four months. Flesh of bird causes satisfaction for five months. Flesh of wild boar causes satisfaction for six months. Flesh of goat causes satisfaction for seven months. Flesh of different types of deer and antelope causes satisfaction for eight, nine and ten months respectively.

Food items made of cow's milk and ghee and kheer cause satisfaction to the dead ancestors for one year. Different varieties of rice, barley, millet, wheat, sesame, moong dal, mustard etc. are extremely satisfying food for the ancestors. Different types of pulses and corn can also be offered. Use of garlic, carrot, onion, radish, refined salt, red gum, gourd etc. is prohibited. Water that is stinking, frothy, stale or otherwise incapable of quenching a cow's thirst should also be discarded. Milk of doe, camel, goat, buffalo and other one-hoof animals, yak and such a cow that was milked for the past ten days is also forbidden for use in Shraadh. Soil that is infested with insects, dry, baked with fire, stinking or collected from an unholy place should not be used. Similarly, such people who are violent, wretched, killers of Brahmins, impotent or have fiendish characters should not be involved in the Shraadh. Cocks and pigs should also be kept away from the place of Shraadh. This is the reason why sesame seeds are scattered at the site of Shraadh secretly. The host must not see a woman in menses. It is also not necessary to feed a host of Brahmins. Instead it is sufficient to feed only one meritorious Brahmin with complete devotion and respect. It is enough to appease the dead ancestors. Appeasement of ancestors automatically lead to appeasement of the deities, planets, Nakshatras and all whose blessings can transform the living condition of the person.

Auspicious Days and Months

Madalasa says- Shraadh can be performed on any day during the dark lunar phase in the Hindu month of Ashwin i.e. from the first day to the Amavasya. Performing of Shraadh on any of these days brings the following benefits- Performing Shraadh on the first day or Pratipada brings monetary gain. Shraadh performed on the second day brings prosperity, Shraadh performed on the third day blesses the performer with a boon. Performing Shraadh on the fourth day leads to the destruction of enemies. Performing Shraadh on the fifth day gives benefit from a woman; Shraadh performed on the sixth day helps a man to acquire respect in the society. Shraadh performed on the seventh day makes the performer an able leader; Shraadh performed on the eighth day enhances the intelligence. Shraadh performed on the ninth day brings the company of the attractive women. Shraadh performed on the tenth day leads to the fulfilment of all the desires. Performing Shraadh on the eleventh day helps him to attain the knowledge of Vedas. Shraadh performed on the twelfth day makes the performer victorious. Shraadh performed on the thirteenth day leads to long life and luxuries. Shraadh performed on the fourteenth day and Amavasya lead to the fulfilment of all the desires.

Fruits of Shraadh performed during different Nakshatras:

NAKSHATRA

RESULT

KRITIKA

Abode in heaven

ROHINI

Increase in progeny

MRIGSHIRA

Radiance

ARDRA

Bravery

PUNARVASU

Increase in land property

PUSHYA

Improvement in health

ASHLESHA

Sons

MAGHA

Help from relatives

PURVAPHALGUNI

Good fortune

UTTARAPHALGUNI

Increase in the virtues

HASTA

Increase in greatness

CHITRA

Beauty and handsome personality

SWATI

Increase in trade

VISHAAKHA

Increase in progeny and fulfilment of desires

ANURADHA

Respect

JYESHTHA

Dominance

MOOLA

Disease-free life

PURVAASARHA

Popularity

UTTARASARHA

Freedom from sorrows

SHRAVAN

Attainment of auspicious abode

DHANISHTHA

Immense wealth

ABHIJIT

Knowledge of Vedas

ABHIJIT

Knowledge of medical science

SHATABHISHA

Increase in animal wealth

PURVABHADRAPAD

Increase in knowledge and cattle

UTTARABHADRAPAD

Receiving of precious metals like gold and silver

REVATI

Receiving of horses

ASHWINI

Increase in average life

BHARANI

Prosperity and increase in comforts

FORBIDDEN AND PERMITTED ITEMS

Madalasa says- O son! Now, I will tell you the do's and don'ts for healthy living. Stale cereals, oil and fats stored over a prolonged period of time, items prepared from wheat and barley and food items which is not prepared from pure ghee or milk should not be consumed. Flesh of turtle, porcupine etc. is worth eating whereas flesh of village pigs and cocks should not be consumed. Brahmin can eat flesh offered to him in a Shraadh. Things like conch, stone, gold, pearl etc. are purified simply by washing in water. Cereals either touched or washed by unwarranted people is not fit for any purpose. Flesh of animals killed by Chandaal or killed for the purpose of oblation in Shraadh is also considered pure. Seat, bed, vehicle, boat, grass, rays of the Sun and Moon and air are naturally pure things. Touch by a woman who is in her menses, dog, jackal, a mother who has recently given birth to a child, a Chandaal, carriers of the brier etc. is defiling in nature. A person however can become pure once again by taking bath if touched by any of these people and animals. One should not neglect the appearance of blood and cough. Excretions and water collected after washing the feet should be thrown out of the home at once. Getting touched by the people who criticize deities, ancestors, Yagya, mantra etc. is also defiling. Sighting of the Sun however purifies the defiled person.
Duties of the woman: Different male and female deities dwell at the threshold of the home. Hence this portion of the home should be worshipped properly everyday. At dawn, the threshold should not be left vacant or it may have adverse effect on one's lineage. The whole area inside the home should be plastered with cow dung daily or washed with pure water. All these activities should be carried out by the better half of the householder. Those women, who prepare food during the last quarter of the night, suffer from infertility in future births. Those women, who do not sweep their home in the evening, remain unmarried and are bereft of wealth in future births. Such women also lose their wealth, life-span and reputation. Kicking the following things like broom, hearth and mortar etc. or touching them with feet also leads to the loss of progeny and wealth.
The householder should not use broken seat, board and black blanket for sitting purpose. He should not comb his hair while facing south. Those who do not dine, perform Havan or make donations at the appropriate time are no better than eunuchs. Those who shun these activities despite having wealth are worse than mice. Those who do not respect the deities, teachers, wife of the teacher, cow, Brahmin etc. are boycotted by the society. Naked are those who are devoid of Vedas, other religious scriptures and rituals. Such a house is really contemptible, which is boycotted by the Brahmins and where daily routines are not followed regularly.
After birth or death in the family, a Brahmin becomes purified in ten days. During this period of ten days, he should avoid all the religious activities. In similar conditions, a Kshatriya gets purified in twelve days after a birth or death in his family, a Vaishya in fifteen days and a Shudra in one month. Dead body of a person should be cremated outside the boundaries of the village. His family members should offer oblation of water to pacify his soul on the first, fourth, seventh and ninth days after the cremation. Ashes should be collected from the fourth day. In case of deaths caused by a snake bite or poisoning family members may get purified after a day. There is no impurity in case of the death of a child, an immigrant and the one who has renounced everything. Even their cremation is not carried out nor oblation of water is made.
If one more death occurs in the family while the mourning period of the earlier death is still continuing, impurity of the second death lasts as long as that of the first one. Similar rules are applied to the impurity caused by the birth. Thus abiding by these norms, the householder can easily attain the four objectives of life that is Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha.

KING ALARK AND HIS QUERIES ABOUT YOGA

KING ALARK RECEIVES A RING

After reaching youth-hood, Prince Alark got married. By that time, his father King Ritudhwaj had also grown old. Hence before Grihastha, he crowned his son as the new king. At the time of crowning, queen Madalasa presented him a ring and said -
'O son! This ring contains a note which will teach you on how a king should administer the kingdom.' Saying this, Madalasa blessed Alark and left the palace with her husband Ritudhwaj to spend their lives in the forest.

WISDOM OF ALARK

After his accession to the throne, King Alark ruled justly. In due course of time, he got many sons. He followed the dictates of Dharma, Arth and Kama while ruling his kingdom. Inspite of enjoying all the luxuries, Alark still could not experience bliss and felt as if he was missing something in his life. Very soon, Subahu came to learn about the royal luxuries of his brother Alark and got tempted to enjoy the same luxuries. To attain his objective, Subahu took the help of the king of Kashi. The king of Kashi sent an envoy to Alark with a message to give the kingdom to Subahu, which Alark refused. Instead, he sent a reply that the request must be made by Subahu himself. 'I will not give him my kingdom out of fear of war,' said Alark. But Subahu did not pay heed and with the help of the king of Kashi, launched a massive attack on his kingdom and conquered it. Now Alark's days of sorrow had begun.
He then remembered the ring presented by his mother Madalasa. He opened the ring and found a letter in it. The letter said- 'When you lose your everything, give up the company of your present advisors and join the company of learned sages.' This message made Alark to pine for the company of the learned sages. Very soon, he went to the refuge of Dattatreya and requested him to remove his miseries. Dattatreya assured him of removing his miseries at once but before doing that, he wanted to know the reasons for his miseries. Alark said- 'I do not long for pleasures but my elder brother wants to grab my kingdom.
'

DATTATREYA PREACHES ALARK

Alark says- 'O lord! With the arising of disenchantment in my heart, I have no miseries now. Only those people feel drowned in the ocean of miseries who are attached to worldly things. A man feels all kinds of sorrows due to his attachments towards the luxuries in which his mind indulges. Now neither sorrow nor joy can affect me.'
Dattatreya says- 'O king! Whatever you said is correct. Attachment is the cause of both sorrow and happiness. It is because of the knowledge I gave to you that the 'mist of attachment' has disappeared from your heart. A small sprout of ego ultimately develops into a huge tree of ignorance. Affection is the trunk of this tree. Home and family are the branches and wife and children are the leaves of this tree. Wealth and cereals are the flowers and happiness and sorrow are the fruits of this tree. Relation that emerges out of affection is the canopy of this tree. This tree grows day by day and obscures the path of liberation. This tree is full of desires and those who sit under the lee of this tree can never attain salvation. Hence felling of this tree is of foremost importance for a person desirous of attaining 'Brahmajitva.'

YOGADHYAY

Dattatreya says- O king! With the attainment of knowledge, people come to conjugate with the Supreme Almighty and which results into dispersion of their ignorance. To attain Moksha, it is necessary for a man to shun attachment first of all. Only after that, he will become free from sorrows. When he becomes free from sorrow, he unites with the supreme almighty. This phenomenon is known as Yoga. Unification with the supreme almighty enables a man to attain knowledge and finally Moksha (salvation). It is therefore essential for the all those seeking salvation that first of all they should renounce affection and attachment for the worldly objects including their near and dear ones.
Knowledge and renunciation are nothing but two sides of the same coin and one is necessary to give rise to the other. Home is nothing but the place for staying, food is nothing but the energy required sustaining our body and knowledge is nothing but an aid to attain salvation. Anything that caused obstacles in the way of salvation is ignorance. A living being is bound to receive the fruits of action no matter whether they are good or bad. Hence one should carry out his duties without bothering for the results. With the attenuation of the results of the action performed in the previous births, a living being becomes free from the cycles of life and death. With the attainment of Yoga, Yogis take refuge in none other than Brahma. But the path of attaining Yoga is indeed difficult, if not impossible. One has to conquer his soul first of all because the soul itself is regarded as invincible. Control of physical impurities with the help of Pranayam, sins by determination, lust by self-restrains and contemplation on God are the ways to conquer the soul.

PERFECTION IN YOGA

Dattatreya says-During the process of conquering the soul, different kinds of allurements begins to divert the mind of the Yogis. It is imperative for the Yogi to keep his mind busy by observing fast, worshipping and contemplating in God. It is the duty of the Yogi to always contemplate on God, only then he can seek solace in Him. Thus, after controlling his senses, a Yogi ought to eat and sleep less, attain unification with the Supreme Being. O king! A Yogi unifies with Brahma once his physical and mental faults are removed. Then, he never separates from the Supreme Being.

DAILY ROUTINE OF A YOGI

Alark says- O lord, now kindly narrate about the daily routine, a Yogi should abide by in order to preserve his piousness.
Dattatreya says- O king! Respect and insult are the two reasons for love and hatred. Yogis attain perfection by understanding insult as respect and vice versa. A Yogi should therefore never attend social functions like Shraadh, marriage ceremonies or other festivities. He should not accept the hospitality of others and should shun unnecessary journeys. A Yogi should seek alms only after the householder and his family has dined. A Yogi should accept alms only from those households whose inmates are gentle, religious and free from blemishes and should accept things like whey, milk, fruits, edible roots, gram flour etc. Before going to dine, a Yogi should offer his food to the deities reciting he following mantras-

PRANANYAY SWAHA
AAPANAY SWAHA
SAMANAY SWAHA
UDANAY SWAHA
VYANAY SWAHA

After reciting these mantras one by one and offering food to the deities who are present in his body as different forms of air, the Yogi may now proceed to dine.
Control of senses and greed, celibacy, renunciation and non-violence are the five resolutions of a Yogi. Control of anger, service to the Guru, sanctity, eating less and studying Vedas regularly are the five norms for a Yogi. A Yogi must practice meditation at a desolate place, forest, cave or peak of a mountain. A true celibate has full control over his speech, mind and action. Iron and gold have equal worth in his eye; he loves no one and hates no one.

DESCRIPTION OF OMKAR

Dattatreya says- Those Yogis who abide by their resolution are never degraded from their supreme position. Such Yogis always recite Om while contemplating on the eternal God. 'A', 'U' and 'M', these three syllables constitute the body OM or AUM. These three syllables represent the virtues (gunas) of Sata, Tama and Raja respectively. Thus, by contemplating on God and reciting Om, a Yogi ultimately achieves unification with that eternal spirit. But there are still some disastrous traps that a Yogi should guard himself against, otherwise his entire penance might turn futile at the time of death. Hence every Yogi must be aware of these disastrous traps.

DESCRIPTION OF DISASTROUS TRAPS

Dattatreya says- A person who is unable to see the path of the deities, or the heavenly bodies like- Dhruv, Shukra (Venus), Soma (Moon), or his own shadow or Goddess Arundhati, must understand that his death is near. For those people to whom, the Sun appears without radiance but fire appears as the Sun, die within eleven months. Sighting of gold and silver in urine or stools signifies death within ten months. Those who see ghosts, Gandharvas and gold tree in the dreams live for nine months only. Those who become fat or thin suddenly live for eight months more. Those Yogis whose heels appear cracked while walking on sand or mud die within seven months. Getting perched on the body by volatile birds like vulture, pigeon, owl, crow etc. indicates that the concerned person will live for only six months. Those who see their shadow in opposite direction live for four or five months more only. Those who sight lightning without clouds or rainbow during the night time, in their dream live for two or three months more. Those who cannot see their reflection in ghee, oil, water and mirror die within a month. A person whose body smells like a cadaver die within fifteen days. Those whose hands and feet remain dry even after taking bath and dry even after taking light refreshments live only for ten days. Those who sight hair, cinders, ash, snakes and dried rivers in the dream, die on the eleventh day. Those who feel hungry even after eating to their fill also die soon.
O king! There are many more disastrous symptoms that indicate death. A Yogi must always be alert regarding these signs. Whenever a Yogi perceives the appearance of all or some of these disastrous symptoms, he must at once take to Yoga to minimise the effects.
Brahmagyan- A Yogi experiences extreme joy when he meditates while doing Yoga. Only then can he experience Brahma. Physical body is ephemeral; hence a true Yogi does not mourn over the loss of physical body. Hence, a Yogi must train his mind in Yoga ignoring sorrow or affection. This is indeed a difficult task to achieve.
Alark says- O Brahmin! By your blessings, my ignorance has ended. Now I will do everything so that ignorance does not grip me once again.
Then taking Dattatreya's permission, Alark went back to the king of Kashi and said- 'O king! You have a desire for the kingdom, so take this kingdom and enjoy its luxuries yourself or give it to Subahu.' The king of Kashi asked Alark as to why he was renouncing the kingdom without fighting a war. He also tried to instigate Alark by saying that his conduct did not suit the Kshatriyas. Alark said- 'Only Brahma is truth, all the other things are false. Now controlling my senses, I will attain perfection in Yoga.
'

ALARK MASTERS YOGA AND PENANCE OF JADA AND HIS FATHER

Words of Alark pleased the king of Kashi. Even, Subahu got up gladly and after embracing Alark said to the king of Kashi- "O king, I had taken your refuge to win the kingdom. Now, I have got it without fighting a war and without a drop of blood being shed. But, I am leaving now, renouncing everything."
The king of Kashi said- "Subahu, why had you taken refuge in me? What have you received now?"
Subahu said- "O king! My younger brother Alark had been so far indulging in luxuries despite having metaphysical knowledge. He was in fact experiencing miseries in his household. When the miseries cross all limits, only then renunciation arises in the mind, as is the case with Alark. That was why I had taken your refuge. My job is finished now. So I am leaving to attain perfection in Yoga. O king, I regard those people who ignore their near and dear ones in their miseries as heartless.
Such people are degraded from their position of Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha and are criticised everywhere."
The king of Kashi said- "O Subahu, You have salved your brother Alark. Now kindly salve me also."
Subahu said- "Attainment of Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha are the four major objectives for the attainment of which humans have been created. You have already attained Dharma, Artha and Kama. Only Moksha remains to be attained now. 'It is mine', 'It is me' etc. are expressions of ego. Guarding the self from these thoughts is the true knowledge. A man must know 'What is to be known? 'Who is to know?' and 'Who is he?' A knowledge of these automatically leads to the knowledge of all." Saying these words, Subahu left the palace.
The king of Kashi too returned to his kingdom. Alark crowned his elder son as the new king and he began to practice Yoga in a forest. After many years of rigorous practice, Alark attained salvation and his abode in Brahma loka.
The Brahmin's son said- "O father! Now you too must take refuge in Yoga in order to attain Brahma. I too will try to attain salvation."
The birds say- "O Brahmin! Thus the father and son began their penance and attained salvation

THE UNIVERSE AND LORD BRAHMA'S MANIFESTATION

THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE

Jaimini thanked the birds for enlightening him with self-knowledge. But he was still not satisfied. There were many questions to which he had no answers. He asked the birds-
'How did this universe come into being? What will happen to it during the time of final annihilation? How did the deities, the sages, the ancestors and the living creatures originate? How did the Manvantaras arrive? I am anxious to know about all these things.'
The birds replied- 'O Jaimini! We salute the same Jagannath who creates in the form of lord Brahma, nurtures the world as Lord Vishnu and ultimately annihilates the world as Lord Shiva in his most terrifying form. We will now reveal the knowledge which was once narrated by sage Markandeya.'
The birds then narrated the following tale as was originally told by sage Markandeya. 'In the beginning of creation, as soon as lord Brahma manifested himself, all the four Vedas and eighteen Puranas came out from his four mouths. Lord Brahma then created the Saptarishis merely by wishing, who took all the Vedas and Puranas in their possession.'
'Later on, sage Chyavan got the Puranas from one of the Saptarishis- sage Bhrigu and read out its contents to the assembled sages. The sages then retold the Puranas to Daksha. Daksha narrated the contents of the Puranas to me (Markandeya). The virtues of listening to Puranas are capable of destroying all sins of a man. Now I am going to reveal to you that secret knowledge of Purana as was told to me by Daksha.'
'Brahma- the cause and effect of everything pervades the universe even after the final annihilation. All the three gunas are present in him. When the time is appropriate for commencing the process of creation, the whole atmosphere is covered by the great element (Mahatatva), which itself comprises of the three basic gunas- Satva (pure), Rajas (semi-pure) and Taamas (dark).'
'Ego manifests itself from the great element (Mahatatva). Even the ego remains covered by the great element. The ego then creates 'Shabda tanmatra' (subtle forms of matter related with sound). The sky which symbolizes the Shabda (sound) is created from this very Shabda tanmatra.'
'The ego then covers the whole sky. After that Sparsh tanmatra (subtle forms of matter related with touch) comes into being. Air, which signifies the quality of touch, then comes into being. After the creation of air, light is created without which the forms and appearance cannot be perceived.'
'The deformity of life results into the creation of Rasa matra. From this very Rasa matra, water comes into being. The water is enveloped by the Roop matra (subtle forms of appearance). The water then gets deformed and as a result Gandha matra comes into being, from which the earth is created. All the worlds are established in this earth.'
'First of all, the gunas enter into the atoms and create the seven basic elements which are a must for procreation. The seven basic elements then establish themselves in Purusha and Prakriti. The union of Purusha and Prakriti results into the creation of egg. This egg keeps expanding in its size while being in water.'
'Lord Brahma who is also known as Kshetragya and who is also the creator of all the souls dwells in that egg.' The same Brahma pervades all the three worlds. All the creatures of the world including the deities, demons and human beings along with islands, mountains, oceans, air and sky etc. are present inside the egg.'
'The Mother Nature along with the great element covers this egg. This way, the seven natural coverings envelop the egg. Beyond the Prakriti (nature) is established the Purusha (Almighty).'
'Now I am going to reveal the identity of Brahma to you. Just as drops of water fall down from the body of a wet man immersed in water, in the same way, Lord Brahma too discards off the egg in the end. The nature is nothing else but Kshetra (space, area) and Brahma is also known as Kshetragya. This way, the whole creation came into being just like lightning.

LIFE SPAN OF LORD BRAHMA

Kraustuki said- 'Tell me! O lord! How were the living beings created as the period of final annihilation was approaching its end.'
Markandeya replied- 'When the nature establishes herself in the soul of the Purusha (supreme Almighty), all the created matter gets annihilated. Prakriti and Purusha are established in the mode of parallelism. During that period, Satva and Tama become neutrally balanced. Even the quality of Rajas establishes itself within the qualities of Satva and Tama.'
'The life span of Brahma consists of Dwiparardha. The day and night of Brahma are of equal duration. Brahma is the origin of this universe. He is the inconceivable soul- the supreme lord and the cause of all the events. He is beyond the reach of activities. He enters into Prakriti and Purusha- excites both of them to get unified. When Prakriti gets excited, the Supreme Lord manifests Himself in the egg as Brahma. He then commences his creation. The same Brahma attains the form of Vishnu due to the effect of his Satva guna and nurtures the whole creation. Under the influence of Tamo guna, He attains the form of Rudra and finally annihilates the whole creation. He then goes into hibernation.'
'This way, the same Almighty God in his three different forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh performs his duties of creation, nurturing and annihilation respectively. The life span of Brahma consists of one hundred years. The division of time is as follows- One Kashtha consists of fifteen Nimeshas. One Kala consists of thirty Kashthas whereas thirty Kalas make one Muhurta. One day and night of this material world consists of thirty Muhurtas. Thirty days and nights are equivalent to one month or two fortnights (Pakshas).'
'Six months make one Ayan. Two Ayans make a year. A day and night of the deities are equivalent to one year of this material world. Similarly twelve thousand years of the deities make the four Yugas. Satya Yuga consists of the four thousand years of the deities. Treta Yuga consists of three thousand years of the deities. Dwapar Yuga consists of two thousand years of the deities whereas Kali Yuga consists of one thousand years of the deities. Similarly Sandhya (evening) period of Satya Yuga consists of four hundred years and Sandhyansh (part of evening) consists of the same period that is four hundred years. Thus the total number of years that Satya Yuga has come up to 4000+400+400= 4800 years. In the same way, the Sandhya and Sandhyansh of Treta Yuga consist of 300 years each. Thus, the total number of years in Treta Yuga comes up to 3000+300+300= 3600 years. Sandhya and Sandhyansh period of Dwapar Yuga is of 200 years each. Thus the total number of years in Dwapar Yuga comes up to 2000+200+200= 2400 years. Sandhya and Sandhyansh period of Kali Yuga are of 100 years each. Thus the total number of years in Kali Yuga comes up to 1000+100+100= 1200 years.
A day of Brahma consists of thousand times of the twelve thousand years of the deities. Fourteen Manus appear in succession during the whole day of Brahma. Each Manavantar comprises of a Manu and his progenies, Indra and the other deities, Saptarishis ganas and Nripati ganas etc.
A Manavantar consists of seventy-one Chatur Yugas. On the basis of the years of this material world, a Manavantar consists of 30,67,20,000 years or 8,52,000 years of the deities. A Brahma's day consists of 4,29,40,00,000 years of this world or 1,19,28,000 years of the deities. The dissolution, which occurs at the end of the day of Brahma, is also known as causal dissolution (Naimittik Pralay). During the time of causal dissolution, all the residents of Bhur, Bhuva and Swarga lokas temporarily go to Mahar loka. The residents of Mahar loka shift their base to Jana loka. The entire universe is submerged in the ocean during the time of causal dissolution and this is the time for Brahma to take rest i.e. at night. Brahma starts his creation at the end of the night. This way, after the completion of three hundred and sixty years of Brahma, his one-year is complete. One hundred such years of Brahma make one Para and five hundred such years make one Parardha. One Parardha of Brahma has already passed at the end of which Padrama Mahakalpa occurred. The present period, which falls under the second Parardha, is also known as Varaha Kalpa.

NATURAL AND FLAWED CREATIONS

Kraustuki asked curiously- 'Tell me how Brahma did his creations?'
Markandeya replied- 'When Brahma got up from his sleep after the end of dissolution (Pralay) named Padrama, he found a void all around himself. He remembered Narayana who is also known by the name of Nastanu i.e. one who dwells in water. Narayana was engrossed in his eternal sleep. After waking up, he rescued the earth, submerged in the ocean just like he had done in the previous Kalpas by taking the forms of a boar, a fish and tortoise etc. But even after the earth was brought up from the seabed and was established above the ocean, it was still swinging like a boat. Narayana then created the mountains to stop the earth from swinging. But the mountains were burnt down by Agni (fire) named Samvartak. The mountains submerged into the ocean. The mountains after having displaced the water had become fixed at their respective places. Therefore, Narayana divided the whole earth into seven islands and created the four lokas just like before. After that, five Avidyas came into being. This way, the whole creation established themselves in five ways. The whole creation was hidden in darkness till this period. After this, Narayana created the ignorant animals, which symbolised the Tamo guna. After the animals the deities who symbolised the Satva guna were created.'
'Brahma was extremely satisfied by the creations of Narayana. But he was desirous of creating even more superior creatures. As a result a group of Sadhakas named Arvaksrota came into being. These Sadhakas were humans who possessed Rajo guna. The fifth creation of Anugraha was itself sub-divided into four parts- Viparyaya, Siddhi, Shanti and Shrishti. The sixth creation was of those special people who had the knowledge of past and present events. These people had wives, enjoyed life in a balanced way but were of evil nature. These people were known as Bhutadik.'
'The first creation was related with the manifestation of lord Brahma himself. This great creation was known as the Maha Shrishti. The second creation related with the part of Brahma is called Bhutsarga. The third creation is called Prakrit and which consists of creatures possessing intelligence and flawed sensual perceptions. The fourth creation consists of the Sthawars who are unable to move (e.g. Vegetation). The fifth creation consists of four-footed animals. The sixth creation consists of the deities whereas the seventh creation that of human beings which originates from Arvaksrota. The eighth creation is known as Anugraha. The ninth creation of Brahmaji is known as Prakrit (natural) and Vikari (flawed). These are the nine types of creation of Brahma. The root causes of this universe are Prakrit and Vikari.
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CREATION OF THE DEITIES

Kraustuki then asked Markandeya about the origin of the deities. Markandeya replied- 'With the objective of creating the deities, demons, ancestors and human beings, Brahma abandoned the part of his physical body in the ocean. The demons originated from the thighs of his abandoned body. Lord Brahma blessed the demons with physical bodies, which were Taamasik in nature. This part of Brahma's body became famous as Ratri (night). After that Brahma created the deities from his mouth with the help of Satva guna. The deities were given pure bodies. This part of Brahma's body which was Saatvik (pure) in nature became famous as day.'
'After this, Brahma acquired another physical body and created the ancestors. After creating the ancestors, he abandoned his body, which transformed itself in the evening. Brahmaji then acquired another body, which was affluent of Rajas qualities and thus was created human being. He again abandoned his body and from it was created Jyotsna- the transition period of day and night.'
'Jyotsna, evening and day contain the quality of Satva in themselves. Night has the quality of Taamas in itself. The deities, demons and human beings are most powerful during the day, night and Jyotsna period respectively. The ancestors are most powerful and invincible during the evening time.'
'Brahma then created creatures who had moustaches and beard on their face. Some creatures among them started attacking the others. Those who were being attacked and pleaded 'save us' were called the Rakshasas (demons). The attackers who thundered 'we would devour you up' were known as Yakshas (celestial beings).
'Brahma was very displeased by their tantrums. Some of his hair fell down on earth and thus were created the snakes. The flesh-eating Ganas were next to be created. These Ganas were extremely volatile in nature. After that, Brahma created the Gandharvas.'
'This way after having created these eight types of divine creation, Brahma created all the animals and birds from his body. He created the goat from his mouth, lamb from his heart, cow from his stomach and back, animals like horse, elephant, donkey, rabbit, deer, camel and mule were created by Brahma from both his legs. Variety of vegetation and medicinal plants were created from the hair of his body.' 'Brahma then created the following things from the first of his four mouths- Gayatri, Tri- rik, tri- vrit, Saam, Rathantar and Agnishtom. From his mouth facing south, he created Yajuh, Traishtumchhand, Panchadasha-stom, Vrihatsaam and Uktha. From his mouth facing west, he created Shaam, Jagatichhand, Panchadasha-stom, Vairoop and Atiraatra. From his mouth facing north, he created twenty-one Atharva, Aaptoryaam, Aanushtubha and Vairaaj.'
'In the beginning of Kalpa, Brahma created the natural things like lightning, Vajra, cloud, rainbow and birds. After that he created the deities etc. He then created stable things like mountains, living creatures that could move, demons, birds, animals and snakes etc. All these living creatures take birth and re-births, reap the fruits of the past Karmas done in their previous life. This is the way Brahma had done creation at the end of the dissolution period.
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