Markandeya Puranam

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THE FATHER said: – Glory be to you, O my child; in the shape of imparting instructions, you have given a highly useful discourse on the wilderness of the world. (1) In this you have described Raurava and all the other hells. Do you describe them now at length, O you of great intelligence. (2)

The son said: – I have first described to you the hell called Raurava; then hear of the hell, O father, known as Maha Raurava. (3) It extends, on all sides, over twelve thousand Yoyanas. There the ground is coppery and underneath is the flaming fire. (4) Heated by that fire, all the ground, having the resplendence of the rising moon, appears dreadful to look at or feel. (5) There the sinner, bound hand and foot, is left by the envoy of Yama and he rolls in it. (6) Being eaten by crows, herons, owls, scorpions, gnats and vultures he is pulled by them on the way. (7) Being bewildered and greatly agitated he continually cries out, “O father, O mother, O brother, O child” and does not obtain any respite. (8) It is after Ayuta and Ayuta of years that the wicked sinners find release from those (sufferings). (9) There is another hell called Tama, bitterly cold by nature; it is as spacious as Maha Raurava and enshrouded by darkness. (10) Stricken with cold people run about in that dreadful darkness and remain clasping each other. (11) Stricken with cold and trembling their teeth break up and they suffer from hunger, thirst and other afflictions. (12) A dreadful wind, blowing over the cold tract, cuts asunder their bones; and they, assailed by hunger, feed on the fat and blood coming out therefrom. And they, collected together, while licking it, are whirled away. (13) In this way, O best of Brahmanas, do the people suffer greatly so long their sins are not washed away. (14) There is another principal hell called Nikrintana; in it, O father, potters’ wheels are continually rolling. (15) Getting upon them people are cut off from the soles of their feet to their heads by the dreadful threads held by the fingers of Yama’s envoy. (16) These do not however perish, O foremost of the twice-born, and the portions of their bodies, sundered into hundreds, are again combined. Thus the sinners are sundered for a thousand years, so long their sin is not completely washed off. (18) Hear, I shall now describe the hell, Apratishtha; living in it, people suffer afflictions hard to bear. (19) There are wheels at places – and the clocks at others – the instruments of afflictions to persons of impious deeds. (20) Some men, fast fixed on the wheels, are whirled on and they cannot come out even for a thousand years. (21) Firmly fixed on the machinery of the clock even as a clock is fixed in water, people are whirled on, continually vomiting blood. (22) Vomiting forth blood through their mouths and having eyes overflowing with tears these creatures suffer intolerable afflictions. (23) Hear again, I shall describe another hell, the forest of sword blades, which is all fire, covering the earth for a thousand Yoyanas. (24) Scorched by the terrible and fierce rays of the sun, creatures, dwelling in hell, always drop there. (25) In it there is a beautiful forest covered with cool foliage. The leaves and fruits thereof, O foremost of the twice-born, consist of sword blades.

(26) There bark a million of powerful dogs, with large mouth, huge teeth and dreadful like tigers to look at. (27) Beholding before them the forest covered with dews and shades, creatures, afflicted with thirst, rush towards it. (28) Having their feet burnt by the fire raging underneath, they, greatly afflicted, cry out: “O father, O mother!” (19) As soon as they reach there, the wind blows, shaking the sword leaves and the swords fall on them. (30) They then drop down on earth – here a collection of fire and there all ablaze with flames spreading all over the surface. (31) The dreadful dogs then quickly tear into pieces their bodies and numberless limbs as they cry in agony. (32) I have described to you, O father, the forest of sword-blades. Hear, now from me, of the far more dreadful Taptakumbha. (33) It has all around it heated pans, encircled by flames of fire, filled with iron dust and boiling oil resembling flames. (34) In these vessels are thrown by the envoys of Yama perpetrators of wicked deeds with their faces bent towards the ground; they are fried there with their bodies bursting and rendered foul with fatty excretions. (35) With their heads, eyes and bones coming out they are forcibly taken up by ferocious vultures and are again thrown into them. (36) Then accompanied by hissing sounds and converted into liquid their heads, bodies, tendons, flesh, skin and bones are mixed up with oil. (37) Then the perpetrators of iniquities are pounded in these volumes of eddying oil with a ladle by the emissaries of Yama. (38) Thus I have described to you at length, O father, the hell Taptakumbha. (39)