CHAPTER ONE

NAARAAYANAM NAMASKRUTAM NARAM CHAIV NAROTTAMAM |
DEVEEM SARASWATEEM VYAASAM TATO JAYMUDEERYET ||

INTRODUCTION AND ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE FROM BASIC ELEMENTS

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

Suta says- One day, Maitreya greeted sage Parashar and said- "Gurudev, you have studied all the scriptures. I wish to hear the tale of universeís origin from you. How will be the ages that are about to come? What is the reason for this whole creation? Who created it? Where did it exist? Whom did it mingle with? And with whom it will annihilate eventually? Apart from these, I also wish to hear about the expansion of fathomless sky, origin of ocean and mountains, origin of earth, expansion of the Sun, division of time in four ages, Pralay, religion, sages, kings, creation of Vedas by Vedavyasa, origin of four classes in our society and system of four Ashrams in oneís life."

Parashar says: "Maitreya, you have reminded me today of the description once made by my grandfather Vashishta. When I learnt that the monster, which was created by Vishwamitra, had devoured my father, I grew quite angry and started a Yagya to destroy all the monsters. The Yagya destroyed such a large number of monsters that the whole race began to face the fear of extinction. My grandfather consoled me that too much anger was not good and that all the monsters could not be blamed for my fatherís death. According to my grandfather my father was sure to face such a fate ultimately. Only the fools get angry. A human being bears the fruit of his deeds himself. O son! Anger destroys all the virtues of penance. Hence, ascetics always shun anger. Hence, stop this Yagya for forgiving has always been the virtue of ascetics."

Thus, convinced by my grandfather, I stopped the Yagya. At the same time, Brahmaís son, Pulastya, arrived there and said- "Despite your anger, you forgave the monsters when convinced by your grandfather Vashishta. You will learn all the scriptures and give commentaries on Puraans. You will also learn the real appearance of the gods". Vashishta also endorsed these words of Pulastya.

"O Maitreya! Now I narrate to you, the whole contents of Puraan. This whole universe has originated from Lord Vishnu. It is existing within Him and will annihilate in Him eventually."

Parashar says: "The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is also known as the creator, the preserver and the destroyer. All of them salve the devotees. All of them have equal importance. Still, preserver who fosters and protects all the living beings is far more significant. I salute to Him and narrate the tale that was once narrated by Brahma to all the Dakshas. Dakshas had narrated this tale to the King Purukutsa at the bank of the river Narmada. In turn, Purukutsa narrated this tale to Saraswat who narrated it to me."

"O Brahmin! Lord is eternal and endless. Hence, origin of universe, its existence and annihilation are also unending processes. During the period of Pralay, the nature exists in a state of equilibrium. It is during this period that Purush (masculine forces of creation) separates from Prakriti (feminine forces of creation) and Kaalroop of Vishnu (eternal, unending form of the Lord) is manifested. Lord Vishnu is beyond all the bonding of life like birth, growth, intelligence, senses, decay and death. Purush is the first appearance of Lord Vishnu. Prakriti is the manifestation of His action while Kaalroop is His supreme appearance."

During the Pralay, there was neither day nor night, neither earth nor sky and neither darkness nor light. At the subsidence of Pralay, with His desire, the Lord entered the Purush who is beyond all bonding. His entry stimulated the process of creation. First of all, a single great element originated encompassing all the other lesser elements. From this great element originated three egos- Sattvic, Rajas and Taamas. Taamas created sky with sound as the main virtue. The sky then created the sense of touch. Touch produced air. Hence, touch is the main feature of air; no one can see air but only have an experience of it through touch. Air created Roop, which gave birth to fire with Roop as its main virtue. Fire gave birth to taste. Taste produced water with taste as its main property. From water originated scent, which produced earth with scent as the main feature. These senses have no special expression.

The ego Rajas produced ten sense organs whereas the ruling deities of these organs were produced by Sattvic ego. Thus, the ten deities who rule ten sense organs and the eleventh entity mind are Sattvic in nature. Skin, eyes, ears, nose and tongue- these five organs aid the mind in its function. O Maitreya! Anus, sex organs, hands, legs and speech organs are the five organs that help in action. Works like excretion, reproduction, movement and speech are carried out with the help of these five organs. All the five elements like sky, air, fire, water and earth are full of emotions. Hence, they are also known to have a special significance.

All these elements have different and distinct powers. Without their combination, creation of the universe was impossible. In the beginning, all these elements were present in the great ball or egg, which came into existence because of the inspiration of the Lord. As this ball increased in size, it formed the base as Prakriti in which, Lord Vishnu Himself entered as Hiranyagarbh.

When the universe comes into existence, Lord Vishnu fosters it till the end of Kalpa. At the end of Kalpa, Lord Vishnu Himself devours the entire physical elements in Rudra appearance. During that time, He inundates the entire universe and Himself sleeps on Shesha in Ksheersagar. When he awakes once again, He begins the process of creation in the appearance of Brahma.

CHAPTER TWO

BIRTH OF BRAHMA AND SALVATION OF EARTH BY VARAHA

At the end of the previous Kalpa, when Brahma awakened from his long slumber, he saw all the worlds devoid of everything. With a desire to salve the earth from the depth of unfathomable inundation, He took the appearance of Varaha. Entering the water, He reached Paataaloka. Seeing Him, the earth prayed Him with respect. Hearing her prayers, the Lord roared with frightening sound. Then, He supported the earth on His great incisors and came out from the abysmal depth. When He was rising, His breath produced big sprays of water, which drenched sinless sages while the force of His breath frightened common creatures. When the Lord emerged from the water, all the sages prayed Him with reverence and respect.

Very soon, the Lord installed the earth at a position far above the unending stretches of water. Then, Lord carved out the topographical features on earth and divided it into many divisions and created all the four worlds. Then Lord Vishnu in the guise of Brahma carried out the process of creation.

As soon as Brahma thought of creation, Tamoguni (full of darkness) creatures were the first to appear. Absence of knowledge and presence of evils like attachment, anger etc. were the main virtues of these creatures. These creatures include lower organisms, trees, shrubs, creepers, plants and grasses. These together constitute the primitive world. Their creation was followed by the appearance of animals and birds, which are devoid of wisdom and are full of ego. They are also unaware of the nature of another organism of their status.

Still unsatisfied with His creation, Lord created the next world, which has a somewhat elevated position. The living beings that were produced in this world had internal and external knowledge, power of reflection and loved physical comforts. Though this creation pleased the Lord, He was still unsatisfied. So He created the next world, which was situated at a somewhat lower position. This new world had excess of all the three virtues. Human beings populate this world and because of excess of vices, they are full of sorrow but at the same time, highly active, have internal and external knowledge and are able to attain their goals.

The first few creations had resulted from the thoughts of the Lord. For the creation of the gods, the demons, Pitraganas, human beings and water, the Lord decided to use His body. Thus, the demons were the first to emerge from His thighs. The Lord then shed His dark body, which formed the night. Then from His mouth, the Lord produced the gods who had Sattvic virtues. The Lord then shed His Sattvic body as well from which the day came into being. It is also the reason why the gods acquire more strength in day and the demons are stronger during nights. Then the Lord acquired yet another body and behaved like Pitraganas to produce Pitraganas before shedding that body too, which gave rise to the dusk- the twilight between the day and the night. Thereafter, the Lord acquired a new body with Rajas virtue from which the human beings were produced. When the Lord shed that Rajas body it formed dawn- the twilight between the night and the day. It also explains why the human beings are stronger at dawn and Pitraganas at dusk.

Then the Lord assumed yet another body with Rajas virtues and produced desire from it. The desire gave birth to lust. Staying in the darkness then, the Lord created the world, which is full of desire and lust. In that world, many ugly looking human beings, who had long beard and moustache appeared and ran towards Him. Among those who said, ĎProtect himí came to be known as Raakshas (demons) and those who said, ĎWe will eat himí came to be known as Yakshas. Then the angry Lord produced aggressive carnivores. Thereafter, the singing Lord produced Gandharvas. Thus, by turns, the Lord produced birds, sheep, goat, cow, horse, elephant, donkey, deer, camel, pony from His age, chest, mouth, belly and feet respectively. From the innumerable body hair of the Lord, fruits, flowers and herbs were produced. From His east-facing head, Lord produced Gayatri mantra, Rigveda, and Yagyas. From His south-facing head, He produced Yajurveda. From west-facing head, He produced Samaveda and from His north-facing head, He produced Atharvaveda.

CHAPTER THIRD

DIVISIONS OF EARTH AND ORIGIN OF CEREALS

With the desire of creating the world, Brahma produced different kinds of human beings from his different organs. Thus, from his mouth, Brahmins appeared. Kshatriyas appeared from his chest, Vaishyas from his thighs and from his feet, Shudras appeared. Thus, physical body is the greatest means for human beings in order to achieve his goals. With time, the human beings lost their divine virtues and perfections. Jealousy, sorrow, decay and infighting began to rise among the people. In order to earn their livelihood and run their life peacefully, the human beings developed agriculture and other handicrafts.

"O sage! Paddy, barley, wheat, lesser cereals, sesame, millet, rice, peas, pulses, beans, rye, gram and hemp are common agricultural produce that have edible as well as medicinal values in the villages. These and other produce are also used as oblations in the Yagyas because all of them have produced as a result of Yagyas. Performing Yagyas daily is the most virtuous exercise that every human being should undertake. This destroys the sins committed by common people."

CHAPTER FOUR

BIRTH OF PRAJAPATIS AND THEIR PROGENY

At one point, the process of creation got saturated and no increase took place in the number of living beings. Then, with a desire of continuing the creation, Lord created nine sages from His thought. Then he produced nine daughters and handed them over as the wives to those nine sages.

When initially produced sons of Brahma took to asceticism, He got very much infuriated. His anger was enough to burn all the three worlds. From this anger, Rudra originated who was shining like the Sun. Rudra had appeared in half-masculine and half-feminine form. Immediately after His appearance, Rudra separated His body into eleven male parts and eleven female parts.

Then Swayambhu Manu appeared from the body of Brahma. He agreed to follow Brahmaís dictate of continuing creation. He got a woman Shatrupa who had also appeared along with him. Together they begot two sons, Priyavrata and Utaanpaad and two daughters, Prasooti and Aakooti. These two daughters were married to Daksha and Prajapati respectively.

Prajapati and Aakooti gave birth to twins, Yagya and Dakshina. Yagya and Dakshina got married and produced twelve sons who later on came to be known as Yaam, the gods.

Daksha and Prasooti produced twenty-four daughters, thirteen of which were married to Dharma. The remaining eleven daughters were married to Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashishta, Agni and Pitars.

From his thirteen wives, Dharma produced Kama, Darpa, Niyam, Santosh, Lobha, Shrut, Dand, Naya, Vinay, Bodh, Vyavasaay, Kshema, Sukh and Yash. Kama got married to Rati and produced Harsh. Darpa married Hinsa and produced a son Anrit and a daughter Nikriti. Anrit and Nikriti got married and produced Bhaya and Narak and their wives Maya and Vedana. Maya produced Mrityu, the destroyer of all the creatures in the world. Vedana produced a son, Dukh. Mrityu produced Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodh. These are all the fierce appearances of Lord Vishnu and cause Pralay.

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

CHAPTER FIVE

CREATION OF RUDRA AND OMNIPRESENCE OF LAKSHMI

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

Maitreya says - "O sage! It is heard that Lakshmi was produced from Ksheersagar during the churning of the sea but you say that Lakshmi was the daughter of Bhrigu and Khyaati. How is it possible?"

Parashar says- "O great Brahmin! Lakshmi who never separates from the Lord is Herself eternal like Him. But still, as you have expressed your doubt, I will narrate you the real story."

The famous short-tempered sage Durvaasa is a partial incarnation of Shankar. One day, he was wandering on the earth when all of a sudden, he happened to see an extremely divine beauty. She was wearing a garland of beautiful flowers. The sage requested the beauty to give him that garland. She presented the garland respectfully to the sage. The sage adorned the garland on his head and began to wander again. Right at that moment, he saw Indra riding on Airaavat and going somewhere in the procession of the gods. Instinctively, sage Durvaasa put that garland around the neck of Indra but Indra removed it and put it on Airaavatís head. Airaavat pulled the garland with his trunk and smashed it on the ground. This whole sequence of events infuriated Durvaasa who cursed Indra. "O Indra! You are so inebriated with your luxuries that you dared to insult my humble gift. Hence, all your splendour shall be destroyed. You will lose all your wealth."

Indra at once descended from the elephant and began to request sage Durvaasa. Durvaasa said- "Indra! Forgiveness has no place in my personality. So, all your repenting is meaningless." Saying this, sage Durvaasa departed from the scene and Indra to left for Amravati.

Very soon, the curse began to show its influence. With the loss of Indraís luxuries, all the verdancy on the earth too began to wane. Hermits too began to give up Yagyas. All the human beings began to be guided by greed and gave up pious virtues. And at a place where pious virtues have no room, Lakshmi too doesnít stay there.

She made her abode in the abysmal depth of the sea. Very soon, the demons launched an attack on the gods and drove them out of heaven. Indra along with other gods approached Brahma and told him the whole thing. Brahma suggested them to take refuge at Lord Vishnu. He assured them also that Lord Vishnu would definitely protect them. Brahma even accompanied the gods to Lord Vishnu. There, they together prayed Lord Vishnu and intimated Him about their ordeal.

Pleased by their prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared before them and said- "I will definitely help you regain your splendour. Presently, do what I say. You reconcile with the demons and convince them to carry out the churning of the sea. Then bring all kinds of herbs and put them in the sea. With the help of the demons and using Mandaraachal as churner and Vaasuki, the Naag as the rope to carry out the churning of the sea. Thus, you will recover ambrosia drinking which, all of you will become immortal and regain your strength."

Following the advice of Lord Vishnu, the gods reconciled with the demons and convinced them to carry out the churning of the sea. They together procured all kinds of herbs and put them in the sea. Then they began the churning using Mandaraachal Mountain. As soon as the churning began, Mandaraachal began to sink. Lord Vishnu took incarnation of Kachchhap (the great tortoise) and bore the weight of the mighty mountain on His back. During the churning, Kamadhenu, the wishful cow was the first to emerge. It was presented to the sages as an aid for their Yagyas. It was followed by the damsel, Vaaruni, Kalpavriksha (the wishful tree) after which, beautiful elves appeared. The Moon followed the elves and was taken up by Shiva on His forehead. During the churning, huge quantity of poison had also emerged. It was drunk by Lord Shiva and some parts of it were taken up by the serpents. In the end, Dhanvantari himself emerged from the sea carrying the urn of ambrosia.

It was during the churning itself that Lakshmi appeared once again from the sea holding lotuses in her hands. All the sages prayed her. Then taking bath with divine water, goddess Lakshmi took her seat in the heart of Lord Vishnu.

When the demons saw that Lakshmi had chosen Lord Vishnuís heart as her abode, they got perplexed. They at once snatched the urn from Dhanvantari and ran away. Then a row broke out among them over the drinking of ambrosia. Each of the demons wanted to drink ambrosia in maximum quantity. Meanwhile, Lord Vishnu also arrived there in the guise of an extremely pretty woman Mohini and took possession of the urn. Mohini had pleased the demons with her sweet smile while distributing ambrosia among the gods.

Thus, the gods came to drink ambrosia. When at last, the demons realised that they had been cheated they immediately attacked the gods. But since the gods had regained their strength, they soon defeated the demons without much ado. Afterwards, the gods prayed Lord Vishnu and returned to heaven to rule it. The world also regained its verdancy. After regaining his splendour, comforts and luxuries of the heaven, Indra prayed goddess Lakshmi with devotion and respect.

Pleased by the prayers of Indra, Lakshmi asked him to seek a boon. Indra said- "O goddess! If you are pleased with me, kindly bless me with a boon that first you will never desert this world and also that you will never desert those who worship you with this prayer." Lakshmi granted these boons.

Thus, Lakshmi had appeared as the daughter of Bhrigu and his wife Khyaati. Then second time, she emerged from beneath the sea during its churning. Thus, whenever Lord Vishnu takes an incarnation, Lakshmi accompanies Him. When God appears in divine form, she too takes a divine appearance. When God appears in human form, Lakshmi appears in human form also.

CHAPTER SIX

DHRUVíS MIGRATION TO THE FOREST

Swayambhu Manu had two sons- Priyavrata and Utaanpaad. Utaanpaad had two wives- Suruchi and Suniti. Suruchi had a son- Uttam while Suniti had also a son- Dhruv. King Utaanpaad loved Suruchi more than he loved Suniti.

One day the king was sitting on the throne. Prince Uttam was playing in his lap. Meanwhile Dhruv also arrived there and insisted to play in the lap of his father. At his insistence, queen Suruchi ridiculed that as he was not born to her he had no right to the kingís love, Ö "so your insistence is useless. Though you are also a son of this king but this throne belongs to my son. Donít you know that you have been born to Suniti."

Getting angry over his stepmotherís ridicules, Dhruv went to his mother. Suniti consoled her son and enquired about the reason for his anger. Dhruv narrated the whole thing to his mother. Suniti too got perplexed and said: "O son! Suniti speaks the truth but you donít worry for no one can do away the virtues of your deeds that you performed in your previous birth. Hence you should not feel sorry over such petty things. If you feel really sorry by the words of your stepmother why donít you try to gather virtues? Why donít you try to be a gentle and altruistic person?"

Thus consoled by mother Dhruv said- "Mother! Since now onwards, I will do every such thing so that I may attain the most respected position in the world. I am no longer desirous of getting a position granted by others. I will achieve the same position as my father has." Saying this Dhruv left the palace and the town and reached a dense forest.

Seven Munishwars (mendicants) were already present in the forest. Dhruv greeted them all and said very politely- "O great sages! I am the prince Dhruv. King Utaanpaad is my father and his younger queen Suniti is my mother. I have arrived here out of desperation." The sages said- "O prince! You are just a small boy. You have no reason to be worried because your father is still alive and neither you have any disease. What then caused you such a severe desperation?"

Dhruv narrated the whole events and also that how his stepmother Suruchi ridiculed about his inferior position in the palace. The sages said- "O prince! Kindly tell us whatever you have decided to do to change your destiny and also tell us if we can help you in any way."

Dhruv said-"O sages! I neither long for wealth or for the kingdom. I simply long to enjoy such a position that nobody have ever enjoyed earlier. Kindly help me and guide me what I should do to attain such a position."

Marichi said-"O prince! Nobody can attain such an unparalleled position without the worship of Govind (an epithet of Lord Vishnu), so you also worship that eternal Supreme Being." Atri said- "He who is far above the tangible can only satisfy Him and bring you that supreme position."

Angira said-"Go and worship Govind who holds the entire universe within Him."

Pulastya said-"Even the wretched people attain the rare salvation worshipping Hari."

Pulaha said-"Go and worship that Vishnu worshipping whom even Indra attained the position of the godsí king."

Kratu said- "Go and worship Janardana who is supreme, who is deity of the Yagyas and Yagya Himself."

Vashishta said-"O son! You will attain whatever you wish by worshipping Lord Vishnu."

Dhruv said - "O sages! At my prayers all of you told me about whom I should worship. Now kindly tell me what should I do to please the Lord."

The sages said- "It is imperative for a person, who wishes to worship Lord Vishnu that first of all, he should expel all other menial thoughts from his mind and replace them with the contemplation Lord alone. O prince! Thus concentrate on that omnipotent eternal Lord with the mantra - ĎOM NAMO BHAGWATE VAASUDEVAAYí . Your grandfather Swayambhu Manu had himself recited this mantra during the previous age and had received the perfection of his desire from the Lord. So you too go and recite the same mantra in order to please Lord Vishnu."

CHAPTER SEVEN

DHRUV PLEASES GOD WITH HIS PENANCE

The prince Dhruv greeted the sages and continued on his journey. At last, he reached a beautiful forest Madhuvan on the bank of the river Yamuna. It was the same forest, which was later occupied by a demon Madhu. Shatrughana, the youngest brother of Lord Rama had killed the demon Lavan, the son of Madhu in the same forest and founded the township of Mathura. In the same forest, prince Dhruv decided to carry out his penance. As per the dictate of the sages, he began to recite the mantra continuously.

Very soon, the earth began to move because of Dhruvís severe penance. Even the seat of Indra could not remain stable. A stampede resulted among the gods. The gods then hatched a conspiracy to disturb the penance.

According to the plan an illusionary image of Suniti, Dhruvís mother appeared before him and pleaded - "O son! Please stop this severe penance that is bound to decay your body. I got you after great desires and worship. It is not proper for you to take your stepmotherís words so seriously and desert your real mother. You are my only support. You are only four or five years old. Presently you should pay more attention to your plays and studies. Why are you observing such a severe penance then? O son! If you donít give up your penance right now I will give my life." But Dhruv was so much sunk in the contemplation of Lord Vishnu that he did not hear the wailing of his mother."

His mother then said- "Run, O son! Run away to save your life. Look! Formidable demons are approaching. They are carrying lethal weapons." Suddenly that illusionary image blew out intense fire from her mouth. That fire took appearance of many dreadful monsters, who were shouting loudly like Ďkill himí, Ďeat himí. Those monsters bore the heads of lion, camel, crocodile etc. and appeared extremely formidable. The monsters were roaring loudly.

But Dhruvís mind was deeply in contemplation. He neither saw the monsters or heard the noises made by them. Thus, seeing their all attempts failed. The gods decided to take refuge at Lord Vishnu. There they said- "O Lord! We have come to you perplexed by the severe penance of Dhruv the son of Utaanpaad. His penance is increasing like a waxing Moon. We are not sure if he desires for the position of Indra, Surya, Kuber, Varun or any other deity. But kindly remove our fears."

Assuring the gods, the Lord said- "That boy has no desire for attaining the position of any deity. But I will definitely grant him whatever he desires. But all of you need not worry." The gods greeted the Lord and returned.

Ultimately pleased by the severe penance of Dhruv, Lord Vishnu appeared before him in his formal four-armed form and said- "Dhruv! May it all be well for you. I am very much pleased with you." Hearing these words Dhruv opened his eyes and to his amazement found Lord Vishnu standing before him. For a moment he did not believe his eyes. Standing before him was the same Lord Vishnu whom he used to see in contemplation. For a moment, Dhruv forgot how to pray God. He then took refuge of God and said- "O Lord! If you are pleased with me, kindly bless me with power to pray you. My mind is exhilarated with devotion for you. It wishes to pray you." Hearing these words the Lord touched Dhruv with His conch and as soon as it happened, an unbinding stream of devotional prayer sprang from Dhruvís mouth.

At the completion of the prayer Lord Vishnu said- "O son! Your penance succeeds with my sight but my presenting a sight should also not go waste. So seek a boon of your desire." Dhruv said- "O Lord! Nothing is hidden from your divine sight. I started this severe penance out of desperation caused by the harsh words of my stepmother. She had ridiculed my insistence of playing in my fatherís lap saying that as I was not born to her, I had no right to the kingís love. Hence, O Lord! I wish to attain such a position that could be the base of the entire universe."

Lord said- "O son! You were born in a Brahmin family in your previous birth. Then you had pleased me by your abidance to the religion. You were also a friend of a prince and wished to enjoy the same royal luxuries that your friend was enjoying. You had in fact wished to be a prince. Hence O son! You are born as a prince in this birth. It is rare to get a place in the lineage of Swayambhu Manu. But this honour has no value for a devotee like you. O son! I will definitely accord you the position that is excellent among all the three worlds. In future you will be the base of all the planets and all the constellations. I grant you a fixed position that is far above the Sun, the Moon, the planets, constellations, Saptarishis and all the gods who fly about in divine aircraft. Besides it, you will stay there for a complete Kalpa whereas even the gods do not stay in their position more than a single Manvantara. Your mother Suniti too will come to stay with you as a bright star for the same period of time. There she will stay on an aircraft. People will see you with faith for you will show them the right direction."

Thus receiving a boon from Lord Vishnu, Dhruv occupied a fixed position in the northern sky. Even the sage like Shukracharya praises Dhruv that how fortunate he is.... that even Saptarishis go around him? That pivotal position of Dhruv would continue even in the ages to come

CHAPTER EIGHT

TALE OF THE KING VEN AND PRITHU

Parashar says- " With the help of Dhruv, his wife gave birth to two sons- Sishti and Bhavya. Sishti had five sons- Ripu, Ripunjay, Vipra, Vikal and Vrikteja. Ripu had a brilliant son Chaakshush. Chaakshush had a son Manu. Manu had sons- Puru, Kuru, Shatadyumna, Tapasvi, Satyavaan, Suchi, Agnishtome, Atiraatra, Sudyumna and Abhimanyu. Kuru had sons- Anga, Suman, Khyaati, Kratu, Angira and Shivi. Anga had a son named Ven. The sages had churned the right hand of Ven to produce a son named Vainya. He later on became renowned as Prithu. He had even milked the earth for the benefit of his subjects."

Maitreya says- "Why did the sages churn Venís hand? What was their purpose of getting Prithu?"

Parashar says- "Mrityu had his first child as a daughter named Sunitha who was married to Anga. Sunitha had given birth to Ven. Ven had all the faults of his maternal grandfather Mrityu and hence was devil-like in nature." At the time of his coronation, Ven had declared- "I am the God and the Yagyapurush. Hence, in future, no one shall perform Yagyas and donate Dakshina." The sages praised him and said- "O king! We speak about the benefit of you and your subjects. Through grand Yagyas, we shall worship omnipotent Lord Hari. Thus pleased, he will grant all your desires. O king! In the kingdom of which kings, Lord Hari is worshipped as the presiding deity of Yagyas, He fulfils all their desires."

Ven said- "Who is greater than me and even venerable, whom you regard as the presiding deity of the Yagyas? All the deities like Brahma; Vishnu, Mahesh, Indra, Vayu etc. are present in the body of the king. Hence, the king has all the virtues of these deities. Therefore, do what I say. Such as a womanís duty is to serve her husband, similarly it is your duty of all of you to obey my dictate."

The sages tried to convince Ven repeatedly but in vain. At last, when he did not agree to their proposal, the sages killed him. Immediately after killing the king, the sages saw the clouds of dust rising all around. It was revealed to them upon enquiry that the subjects of a king-less kingdom have resorted to plundering and looting each other and it was because of that stampede that clouds of dust were rising.

The sages then churned the thighs of issue-less king and produced an ugly black man. He was feeling excited and asked the sages what he should do? The sages asked him to Nishid (sit down); hence he came to be known as Nishaad. His progeny came to be known as Nishaadgana. Appearance of Nishaad did away with all the sins of Ven. The sages then churned Venís right hand and produced prowessive Prithu whose body was radiating like fire. As soon as he appeared, bow and arrow and shield of Lord Shiva descended from heaven and all the subjects felt extreme joy. With the birth of such a pious son, Ven attained a position in the heaven.

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

Thus occupying the royal throne, King Prithu was a boon for his subjects. He was so religious that the seas and mountains paved way for him. His flag always remained fresh and new. Even there was no need to sow the seeds; the earth herself provided all the cereals. Cows gave milk spontaneously and every leaf of all the trees in the kingdom was full of honey.

Immediately after his appearance, King Prithu organised a grand Yagya. At the time of Somabhishek (bathing with grape-wine) during the Yagya, a man and a woman appeared from the earth. The sages advised them to pray King Prithu. With folded hands they asked that the king had arrived moments before them. His reputation had not spread far and wide. Why should then they pray such a king? The sage said that they should pray the king for the great achievements he would attain in future. King Prithu thought that it was because of merits that a man becomes praiseworthy. ĎHence I will do exactly the same things that this couple would recite during the prayersí thought the king. Thus during the later course, king Prithu planted those virtues firmly in his conscience and ruled the earth. During his rule, he performed many great Yagyas.

During the anarchy of his fatherís regime, all the vegetation had been destroyed from all over the earth. There was nothing for the subjects to satisfy their hunger with. So, they approached him and said- "O great king! Due to the anarchy of your fatherís regime, the earth had annihilated all the cereals within her. Your subjects have no choice but to starve. Kindly protect us from this condition."

Pitiable condition of the subjects infuriated king Prithu. Taking the divine weapons of Lord Shiva, he ran after the earth. In guise of the cow, the earth ran in all the three worlds but wherever she went she found Prithu still chasing her. Thus shivering with fear, she ultimately appeared before him and said- "O king! Donít you see the sin in killing a helpless woman." Prithu said- "If killing a wretched person benefits scores of other people, there is no sin doing so." The earth said- "You want to kill me in the interest of your subjects but think what will be the base of the subject then?" Prithu said- "You need not worry about that. I will myself support my subjects." These words frightened the earth. She greeted the king and said- "O king! All the tasks started with a distinct purpose reach their completion successfully, so I am telling you a way out of the present condition. Do then, as you desire. I can give out all the herbs and cereals that I have annihilated in the form of milk. So, for the benefit of the subjects, kindly produce such a calf for which I can give milk spontaneously with motherly feelings. You then provide me with a plain surface everywhere so that I can produce milk that is the seed of all the cereals and herbs."

King Prithu then uprooted many great mountains with his bow and arrow and stowed them at a single place. Before that there was no distinct demarcation of village, towns, cities etc. because of the plain surface of the earth and there was no distinct sequence of cereals, cows, agriculture and trade. All this systems started from the time of Prithu. Since then people began to populate those parts of the earth that were plain.

For the benefit of his subjects, King Pritu himself milked all the cereals from earth making Swayambhu Manu a calf. It is the cereals that still sustain the entire population of the world. Since then King Prithu came to be known as the father of earth because he had spared her life.

CHAPTER NINE

BIRTH OF PRACHIN BARHI AND WORSHIP OF GOD BY PRACHETAS

King Prithu had two sons- Antardhaan and Vaadi who were very religious minded themselves. Antardhaanís wife Shikhandi gave birth to Ivirdhaan. Prachin Barhi was the son of Ivirdhaan and his wife, Ghishna. Shukra, Gaya, Krishna, Vrij and Ajin were their other sons. Prachin Barhi was a great fosterer of his subjects. Through continuous oblations, he increased his subjects to great limits.

King Prachin Barhi married again with Savarna; the daughter of Samudra and they together produced ten sons. All of them were known as Prachetas who were expert in the art of archery. All of them observed serious penance under the sea for 10,000 years.

Maitreya says- O great sage! Kindly narrate to us the reason for which Prachetas observed severe penance under the sea.

Parashar says- Once by the inspiration of Brahma, King Prachin Barhi asked his sons Prachetas to continue the progeny in an honoured way. Prachetas agreed to obey the dictate of their father but they asked- O father! Kindly narrate to us, what should we do to enable ourselves so that we could carry out the process of reproduction.

King Prachin Barhi said that worship of Lord Vishnu was the only thing that enabled a person to achieve his desired objectives. He dictated his sons to worship Lord Vishnu. It was by the dictate of the father that all the ten Prachetas observed severe penance for ten thousand years under the sea.

At the end of their penance, Shri Hari appeared before them radiating with blue light like a freshly bloomed blue lotus. Accepting the greetings of the Prachetas, Lord Vishnu asked them to seek a boon. Prachetas then told the dictate of their father. Lord granted their boon. Thereafter all the Prachetas re-emerged from the waters.

CHAPTER TEN

MARRIAGE OF PRACHETAS AND BIRTH OF PRAJAPATIS

Parashar says- During the time when Prachetas were engaged in penance, the earth was unprotected. Hence, huge trees came to cover her everywhere on land. Their foliage was so dense they that cut off entire sky and the sun could not reach the surface of the earth. After their emergence from the sea, Prachetas got very angry when they saw the trees. In anger, they let out formidable flames mixed with ghastly winds and uprooted all the trees before reducing them to ashes. A massive destruction of the trees followed. Seeing that Soma, the king of the trees approached Prachetas and requested- 'O kings! Kindly relinquish your anger and listen to what I say.'

I will mediate a pact between the trees and you. The trees have produced an extremely pretty girl named Marisha. Her creation has been meant only for the continuation of your progeny. She will produce Daksha Prajapati who will be as radiant as the fire and cause much increase in your progeny further.

In the ancient times, a great savant of Vedas, sage Kandu was observing penance at the bank of river Gomti. Frightened by his penance Indra sent an elf Prabhalocha to create a disturbance. That elf successfully created a disturbance in the penance of Kandu who then began to live with her in a cave. Kandu passed one hundred years enjoying sensual pleasures with the elf. One day, the elf expressed her desire to leave for her heavenly abode. This came as a shock for the sage Kandu. He requested her to stay for some more time with him. The elf agreed to his request and stayed with him for another hundred years. Then once again she expressed her desire to leave for her heavenly abode. Once again, blinded by lust, the sage requested her to stay for some more time. Once again the elf stayed for another hundred years with Kandu.

Thus, every time, when the elf got ready to leave, sage stopped her. The elf knew about the agony of separation that a person experiences who is blinded by lust. She also feared the curse that such a person might pour down out of agony. Thus she herself did not desert the sage and their love kept on increasing like a new moon. One day, towards the evening, the sage hurriedly left his hut. Amazingly Prabhalocha enquired about the reasons why he was going out in such a hurry. The sage replied that as it was dusk, he should offer his evening prayers. The sage's reply amazed the elf further. Laughingly, she said- "O knower of religion, your day has ended after hundreds of years! Who will not be surprised to learn that your day ends after hundreds of years."

The sage said- "You had arrived at the river bank right in the morning today. You passed the whole day with me and now its evening. Why do you laugh at me then? Prabhalocha said- "O Brahmin! Hundreds of years have passed since I had arrived at your hut." Perplexed sage asked her- "Tell me exactly how much time has passed in our present communion? Prabhalocha told the sage that they had together passed nine hundred and seven years six months and three days. Hearing this, the sage began to curse himself that he was so sunk in the carnal pleasure with the elf that he even forgot the time. He also began to fret that his whole penance had been brought to nought. Thus cursing himself, the sage also scolded the elf and asked her to leave his hut at once.

"The elf was shivering in fear while her whole body was drenched in sweat. When she left the hermitage, she wiped her sweat with the leaves of the trees. While having carnal pleasure with the sage, Prabhalocha had conceived. Her foetus also oozed out in the form of sweat and was collected on the leaves. The wind brought the different parts of the foetus together while I nourished it with my rays. Thus the foetus grew safely and ultimately took birth as a girl child, Marisha. The trees will present you that same girl as your wife", said Soma.

On the other hand after his penance was disturbed sage Kandu migrated to Purushottam region (modern Jagannath-Puri) and began his penance afresh to please Lord Vishnu.

Tale of Marisha's previous birth

Marisha, daughter of sage Kandu and Prabhalocha was a queen in her previous birth. She had lost her husband without having any child. She had then pleased Lord Vishnu with her devotion. The Lord had then asked her to seek a boon. She said- "O Lord! Having been widowed at a young age, I feel that my life has gone futile. I am very unfortunate. Hence O Lord! May I have by your grace, a virtuous husband like you and sons like Prajapati in my next birth. May I take birth not from the body of my mother.

Lord Vishnu said- "All your wishes shall come true in your next birth. You will have ten prowessive and popular husbands. With their help, you will give birth to Prajapati whose progeny will populate all the three worlds. You will take birth not from your mother's body still you will be unmatched in beauty."

Thus, coerced by Soma, Prachetas dropped their angry stance and accepted Marisha as their wife. From the parts of Prachetas, Marisha gave birth to Daksha Prajapati who had emerged from Brahma earlier. Following the dictate of Brahma, Daksha Prajapati produced different kinds of living beings as his children. First of all, he created womenfolk from his mind. He got ten of those women married to Dharma. Thirteen women were married to Kashyap while twenty-seven were married to Chandrama. All the gods, demons, Nagas, cows, birds, Gandharvas, Apsaras, giants etc. are the progeny of those fifty women.

Maitreya says- "O great sage! I want to hear the tale of origin of the gods, the demons and all other creatures in detail."

Parashar says- "Daksha created the sages, Gandharvas, demons, and serpents from his mind first. But none of those creatures could continue the progeny. So, with an intention of producing his progeny through carnal union, Daksha married Asikni, the daughter of another Prajapati. Daksha and Asikni together produced five thousand sons. All of those sons were eager to continue the process of reproduction when Devarshi Narad approached them and said- "O children! It appears from your action that all of you are eager to begin the process of reproduction right now. But before you do anything, kindly listen to what I say. All of you are so ignorant that you do not know anything about the earth. How then will you carry out the reproduction? Look! You can move anywhere in the universe, so why don't you go and see the end of the earth?" Thus motivated by Narad, all the five thousand sons of Daksha dived into the sea and never returned thereafter like a river annihilates in the ocean.

Daksha then married Vairuni and produced one thousand sons. They also intended to carry out reproduction but were misguided by Narad. They too followed the footsteps of their elder brothers. Learning about the fate of his sons, Daksha cursed Narad. Then Daksha and Vairuni gave birth to sixty daughters. Ten of them were married to Dharma, thirteen to Kashyap, twenty-seven to Soma, four to Arishtnemi and two to Angira and Krishasva each. Arundhati, Vasu, Yaami, Lambaa, Bhaanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Saadhya and Vishwa were the wives of Dharma. Vishwa gave birth to Vishwadeva, Saadhya to Saadhyagana; Marutvaan was the son of Marutvati. Vasu gave birth to eight Vasus. Lambaa gave birth to Ghosha, Yaami to Naagveethi whereas Arundhati gave birth to all other creatures that dwell on earth. Sankalpa produced Sankalp that is omnipresent resolution.

Names of the eight Vasus were Aap, Dhruv, Soma, Dharma, Anil, Anal, Pratyush and Prabhas. Vaitand, Shram, Shant and Dhvani were the sons of Aap. All annihilating Kaal was the son of Dhruv. Varcha was the son of Soma. Dravin, Huta, Ityavar, Shishir, Pran and Varun were the sons of Dharma. Manojav and Avigyaatgati were the sons of Anil. Sharastamb, Shaakh, Vishaakh and Naigmeya were the sons of Anal. Pratyush had a son Deval. Vatstree the sister of Brihaspati was the wife of Prabhas. They had Vishwakarma as their son. Vishwakarma himself had four sons- Ajaikpad, Ahirbudhanya, Twashta, and Rudra. The great penancer Vishwaroop was the son of Twasta.

O great sage! Har, Bahuroop, Treyambak, Aparajit, Vrishakapi, Shambhu, Kapardi, Raivat, Mrigvyadh, Sharpa and Kapaali are the eleven Rudras. Sage Kashyap had thirteen wives- Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Khasaa, Surabhi, Vinata, Taamra, Krodhavasha, Ira, Kadru and Muni. Now listen to the description of their progenies.

During the previous Manavantar, there were twelve gods named Tushit. At the end of the Manavantar, they met together and said- "O brothers! Let us now enter the womb of Aditi and take birth as the gods again in Vaivasvat Manavantar." Thus, Vishnu, Indra, Aryama, Dhataa, Twashta, Pushaa, Vivasvaan, Savita, Maitra, Varun, Anshu and Bhaga, these twelve sons of Aditi came to be known as Aditya.

The twenty-seven wives of Soma gave birth to many talented sons. Wives of Arishtnemi gave birth to sixteen sons. Thus in all thirty-three gods including eight Vasus, eleven Rudra, twelve Aditya, Prajapati and Vashatkar have been described in the Vedas. All of them are capable of taking birth at will. Just as the Sun rises and sets, similarly these gods also appear in different Yugas.

From the part of Kashyap, Diti gave birth to two invincible sons, Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaaksh and a daughter Sinhika who was married to Viprachiti. Hiranyakashipu had four sons- Anuhlad, Aahlad, Sahlad and Prahlad.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

TALE OF PRAHLAD AND NARSIMHA INCARNATION

Parashar says- By the boon of Brahma, Hiranyakashipu had acquired tremendous power and came to control all the three worlds. He had driven the gods out of heaven and used to receive the oblations offered to Surya, Vayu, Agni, Varun, Chandrama, Kuber, Yamaraaj etc. Because of his fear, all those gods roamed on earth.

All the creatures began to worship Hiranyakashipu. Beautiful and amorous elves danced in his palace while Gandharvas accompanied them on instruments. Prahlad was the youngest son of Hiranyakashipu. Like other children, he too was sent to Gurukula to be educated. One day, his teachers took Prahlad to Hiranyakashipu who was engaged in drinking of wine at that moment. Lovingly he took his son into his lap and asked- "O son, tell me, what you have learnt so far in the auspices of your teachers?"

Prahlad said- "O father! I salute to that Shri Hari who has no beginning, no end and no mid-part, who doesnít take birth and who is free from growth and decay." Hearing this, Hiranyakashipu looked at the teachers with bloodshot eyes and shouted at them- "O wretched Brahmins! In sheer violation of my orders, you have taught my son to praise my enemy." The teachers tried to express their apology saying that what Prahlad was saying was not taught by them. Hiranyakashipu asked then Prahlad who had taught him like that. Prahlad said- "O father! Lord Vishnu who resides in the heart of us all is the supreme creature. Who can teach anybody anything apart from Him?" Hiranyakashipu said- "O fool! Who is that Vishnu about whom you are describing before me, the Lord of entire world?" Prahlad replied- "Lord Vishnu is he who is contemplated about by the Yogis. He is the originator of the entire universe. His virtues cannot be described in words. That Parmeshwar is Vishnu."

Hiranyakashipu said- "Fool! Who can be Parmeshwar other than me? Do you want to die that you are babbling like that?" Prahlad said- "O father! Your anger is baseless. Lord Vishnu is the creator of all of us including you and me. He controls our breaths."

Infuriated Hiranyakashipu then ordered the teachers to take Prahlad away at once and wash his brain thoroughly. The teachers took Prahlad with them to their Gurukula. Prahlad began to concentrate in his studies. After many months, Hiranyakashipu once again called Prahlad to his palace and asked about his learning. Once again, Prahlad began to praise Lord Vishnu. This time, Hiranyakashipu ordered his assassination. He began to see his son as a threat to his throne. By the orders of Hiranyakashipu, many formidable demons attacked Prahlad with their weapons but Prahlad stood unfazed. He said- "O fools! Lord Vishnu is present in you, in me and even in your weapons. May your weapons have no effect on me." Indeed, the weapons of the demons could not even touch Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu said- "I can still pardon your life provided that you stop praising my opponent." Prahlad said- "O father! I fear nothing. By the Godís grace, I am free from the fear of birth and death." Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlad thrown amidst venomous snakes. But, biting by the snakes had no effect on Prahlad because his mind was contemplating in Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu then got Prahlad trampled by big bull elephants. But even elephants could not harm Prahlad. Instead their tusks were broken as soon as they touched Prahlad. Even then Prahlad tried to pacify his father that it was Lordís strength that protected him every time. Prahladís teachers who were the sons of Shukracharya then assured Hiranyakashipu that Prahlad was having a fickle mind because of his tender age. They also assured the demon king of transforming Prahlad and took him to their hermitage once again.

Prahladís Preaching

But in the hermitage, Prahlad assembled other demon children and said- " Friends, listen to my preaching carefully and donít take it for granted because I have no personal interest in it. Every living being takes birth and suffers a lot while passing his life through childhood, youth and old age. The end result of life is nothing but death. It is oneís Karma that accompany him birth after birth. But in every birth, this soul mistakes hunger, thirst, cold or hot for the pleasures. More of the luxuries one collects, more the sorrow increases. Attachment and passion are the greatest cause of sorrow. Even after passing a life that is full of sorrow, one suffers the agony of death and rebirth again. This whole cycle continues again and again. Lord Vishnu is the ultimate refuge for the soul, which feels drowned in the ocean of sorrow."

Donít be confused with my young age. I am a boy like you. But the soul that stays within me is eternal. The soul has no distinct stages in life. But a human being is inflicted with lot of misconceptions. In the childhood, he prefers to play than contemplating on God. In the youth, lust and carnal pleasures attract the mind. Still a human being doesnít get serious about his benefit. He keeps on postponing his spiritual matters for his old age. But in old age, a human being has no option but to see his trembling fingers and repent about his past. Thus a human being spoils his whole life. A wise person hence must ignore the different stages of his bodyís stay on earth and make efforts for his benefit right in his childhood.

What I have told you is unchangeable fact. Start reciting Lord Vishnuís name for my pleasure atleast. His remembrance is enough to destroy all the sins. May your mind always contemplate on Him day and night. Thus all your miseries shall come to an end

CHAPTER TWELVE

ATTEMPTS TO KILL PRAHLAD

When the demons saw that their all efforts failed to faze Prahlad and that he was preaching the demon children they informed Hiranyakashipu about all these happenings. Hiranyakashipu at once called his cook and ordered him to poison Prahlad through food. But the poisonous food also could not hurt Prahlad. In fact, its poison was rendered ineffective by the recitation of Lordís name. This frightened the cook. He informed Hiranyakashipu about that miraculous event.

Hiranyakashipu then ordered the priests who were Prahladís teachers to invoke the ogress Kritya in order to kill Prahlad. The teachers tried to convince Prahlad before invoking Kritya"O prince, you are the son of great Hiranyakashipu and have taken birth in Brahmaís lineage. What have you to do with matters like God and all that? The whole world is dependent on your father. You should also take refuge of your father and stop praising his opponent. Father is revered and even greater than the teachers."

Prahlad said-"O fortunate ones! I know the prowess of my father. I also do not doubt regarding my fatherís reverence and greatness. I will not commit any crime against him but kindly listen to me what I mean by the endless God."

"O teachers! There are four attainable goals in oneís life. You ask me what have I to do with He, who helps all the human beings to attain these four goals- Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha. You are my teachers. You are free to say anything to me. But within me stays He who is the creator of all, who is the preserver of all and who is the destroyer of all of us. Kindly forgive me if I have committed any thing wrong in your honour."

The teachers said-"O foolish boy, we saved you from imminent death thinking that you are our disciple and that you will not balderdash in future. But still you speak nonsense. Listen, if you donít drop your stubbornness weíll have to invoke Kritya the ogress in order to get you slain."

Unfazed Prahlad said that life and death were immaterial for the soul that protects or destroys itself through auspicious and inauspicious deeds. Hence one should always strive to behave in an auspicious way. But Prahladís words further enraged his teachers. They invoked the ogress Kritya to get Prahlad slain. Kritya hit Prahladís chest hard with her trident. But as soon as the trident touched his chest it broke into pieces without harming Prahlad.

Seeing her attempt failed, Kritya killed the teachers and disappeared. His teachersí death caused immense pain for Prahlad. Mourning for their death, he prayed Lord Vishnu to resurrect them. Hearing his prayers, Lord Vishnu once again granted life to his teachers. The teachers got up as if from a deep slumber. They realised their mistake and blessed Prahlad and resolved never to have hostility against him. Then they went to the palace and informed Hiranyakashipu about all the happenings.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

DESCRIPTION OF LORDíS VIRTUES BY PRAHLAD AND PROTECTION OF PRAHLAD BY SUDARSHAN CHAKRA

Hearing the news of Krityaís failure to kill Prahlad, killing of teachers and their subsequent revival as effected by Prahlad, Hiranyakashipu called his son and asked if all those miracles were natural or he knew some magical tricks. Prahlad said- "O father, neither I know any magic nor is the miracle a part of my nature. All these are ordinary things for he who has eternal God in his heart. No one can harm those who never wish ill for the others. All the living beings are equal for Him. In every creature, I see the same Lord Vishnu who is present within me; hence I never try to harm him or her. I cannot even think of harming anybody. It is this feeling that protects me from every physical, mental or divinely discomfort."

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

After all those attempts failed, Prahlad returned to his teachersí hermitage and resumed his education once again. The teachers trained him all the relevant subjects. Then they once again took Prahlad to his father and told him that now his education was over. Hiranyakashipu asked- "O son! How should one behave with the others? Tell me what have learned so far. I am eager to know your opinions."

Prahlad said-"O father, indeed my teachers have taught me in different subjects. I have too learned them with heart. They taught me that diplomatic policies should be applied in order to train friendship. But excuse me father, I see no friend or no enemy, so in my opinion these policies are totally irrelevant. Tell me O father what is the use of means when there is nobody to be trained. Lord Vishnu is present everywhere. In you, in me and in all other creatures. Hence instead of using in sinisterly actions, one should use his wits for good and benefit of all."

"O fortunate one, everybody longs for the throne and a big kingdom. But only those attain these things who really deserve and have them in their destiny. Even the most inert and imprudent people who are weak and know nothing about the policies get these things because of destiny. Hence all those who wish for splendour must strive to accumulate pious actions. Those who long for salvation must strive to acquire impartial view for all. Such actions please God and when He is pleased all the miseries are attenuated."

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

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

APPEARANCE OF LORD

As soon as Prahlad began to pray the Lord, his Naagpaash broke and the mountains that the demons had thrown into the sea also lightened up causing great relief for Prahlad. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and said- "O Prahlad! I am pleased with your devotion. You may seek any boon of your wish." Prahlad said- "May I always have an unconditional devotion for you. May your remembrance never be away from my heart."

God said - " Your devotion for me shall always remain the same. Now, seek anything you wish." Prahlad said- "O Lord! My father has always cultivated hostility for you because of my devotion. May my father be free from the sin of his action." Lord said- "O Prahlad! All your wishes shall come true but still seek any boon of your choice."

Prahlad said- "O Lord! I donít want anything other than devotion for you." Lord said -" O Prahlad! You have nothing in your mind but devotion for me, so with my grace, you will attain supreme abode."

Saying this, the Lord disappeared. In later course, ultimately Hiranyakashipu decided to kill Prahlad himself. He tied Prahlad to a pillar and shouting abusively for God, he hit the pillar. As soon as he hit the pillar, it broke and Lord appeared from it in Narsimha incarnation. His appearance was extremely formidable with half human and half lion form. Dragging Hiranyakashipu to the threshold, He killed him with his powerful talons. After the killing of his father, Prahlad took over the throne and ruled his subjects religiously.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

LINEAGE OF KASHYAPíS OTHER WIVES AND ORIGIN OF MARUDGANA

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

Kashyapís second wife Danu had sons like Dwimurdha, Shambar, Ayomuk, Shankushira, Kapil, Shankar, Ekchakra, Mahabaahu, Taarak, Mahabal, Swarbhanu, Vrishparva, Pulom and Viprachiti. Swarbhanu had a daughter- Prabha whereas Sarmishtha, Updan, and Haishira were the daughters of Vrishparva. Vaishwanar had two daughters- Puloma and Kaalka who were married to Kashyap. From the part of Kashyap, they gave birth to sixty thousand giants known as Paulom and Kaalkeya.

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

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

After the annihilation of her sons, Diti once again pleased Kashyap and sought a son who could destroy even Indra. Kashyap granted her boon but stipulated that she would have such a son only when she observes complete sanctity during one hundred years of gestation period. Diti agreed to abide by the stipulation. Then they copulated as a result of which Diti conceived.

When Indra came to know that Diti had conceived a son who would be able to destroy even him he arrived at Kashyapís hermitage and began to serve Diti with full devotion. He had in fact arrived there to see if by chance Diti ever violated the stipulation for then he would easily destroy the unborn child without incurring any sin. Sometime before the completion of gestation period, one day, Diti did violate the stipulation. She forgot to wash her feet after attending natureís call and retired on the bed. Indra was waiting for the moment. He at once entered Ditiís womb carrying his mace in hand. There he broke the foetus into seven pieces but still the foetus survived and began to cry loudly. Indra then broke each of those seven pieces into seven pieces more and consoled them not to cry. Those forty-nine pieces of Ditiís foetus later on came to be known as Marudgana the assistants of Indra

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE DESCRIPTION OF UNIVERSAL ORDER

When the great sages crowned Prithu as the king of the entire earth, Brahma had also divided the kingdoms. Thus, Brahma appointed Chandrama as the ruler of all the Nakshatras, planets, Brahmins, vegetation, Yagya, penance etc. He also appointed Kuber as the ruler of the kings, Varun as the ruler of the water bodies, Vishnu as the ruler of Adityas and Agni as the ruler of Vasus. Similarly, Daksha was appointed as the ruler of all the Prajapatis, Indra as the ruler of Marudgana and Prahlad was appointed as the ruler of the demons. Dharmaraaj Yama became the ruler of Pitragana and Airavat became the ruler of all the elephants. Garud came to rule the birds. Indra was appointed as king of the gods, Uchchaisharva as the king of the horses, Vrishabh as the king of the cows. Lion became the king of the beasts, Sheshnaag of the snakes, Himalaya became the king of all the landmasses, Kapil became the king of the sages and tiger became the king of those animals that have nails and long teeth.

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

All the gods, demons, human beings, animals, birds, reptiles, in fact every living being have originated from the parts of omnipotent Lord Vishnu. Hence nobody but Lord Vishnu has the capacity to foster all the living beings on earth. That eternal God creates the world fosters it and ultimately destroys it. Thus, the Lord has four parts in the form of this entire creation. One of His parts remains unmanifested as Brahma. Second part appears like Prajapatis. Time is His third part whereas all the living beings constitute His fourth part.

Since the beginning, during the existence and till the ultimate annihilation of the universe, the process of creation continued through Brahma, Prajapatis and all other living beings. In the beginning, Brahma creates the primitive living beings. Then the process of creation is taken over by Prajapatis. When their progenies populate the world, the process of creation continues spontaneously. Without Kaal, no one including Brahma, Prajapatis and all the living beings can carry out the process of creation. Shri Hari is in the base of every new creation that takes place through a pre-existing creation. The supreme abode of Lord Vishnu remains intangible.

Shri Hari bears the intangible, pure and all pervasive spirit of the universe as Kaustubh Mani. He bears the intelligence as his mace. He bears the two kinds of ego in his conch and Shaarang bow. Third kind of ego is present as the wheel in His hand. Vayjayanti garland that adorns His neck represents five senses and five physical elements. He bears the sense and motor organs as the arrows and the sword that He holds is knowledge. Thus, everything is dependent on Shri Hari. He is Himself intangible but for the benefit of human being, he bears all these things as ornaments. Even the counting of time is present in Him.

God is present in all the seven worlds. He is the base of all the knowledge, our ancestor and the ancestors of our ancestors. He is present in the gods, human beings, animals, all the Vedas, Ayurveda, Puraan and other religious scriptures. All the visible and invisible things in the world have Lord Vishnu in them. Nothing is different from Him. Such a feeling in the mind keeps all the miseries and physical ailments away.

END OF PART ONE