Markandeya Puranam

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KRAUSTUKI said: – The process of creation in due form has been briefly described to me by the reverend one. But O Brahmana, do thou tell me in detail of the birth of the gods and others. (1)

Markandeya said: – O Brahmana! at that time, from Brahma, engaged in the work of creation, proceeded, from his mind, the four kinds of creatures commencing with the gods ending with the inanimate objects, moulded by their previous actions both good and not good, who not being liberate are by him drawn back at the time of the final dissolution. (2-3) Being desirous of creating the four classes of beings namely, the Devas, the Asuras, the Pitris and the men, he put himself in relation with that water. (4) When he joined himself with that water, the quality of Tamas arose in the lord of creatures; he then first of all produced the Asuras from his thigh.

(5) He then gave up that body of his which was composed only of the quality of Tamas. From that body thus thrown away by him was night immediately produced. (6) He took a second body being desirous of creation, and found pleasure in it. From the mouth of that body, moved by the quality of Sattva, the Devas came forth. (7) This lord, the master of creatures, threw away that body also, and from that thus thrown away was produced day, which is almost full of the quality of Sattva, the property of which is light. (8) Then he took another body which was composed only of the quality of Sattva, and from this were produced the Pitris, the manes. (9) Having created the Pitris, he, the lord, threw away that body also. That body thus thrown away, became the twilight, existing between the intervals of day and night. (10) He, the lord, then took another body composed only of the quality of Rajas; from that were produced human beings, born of the quality of Rajas. (11) Having created the human beings, he, the lord, threw away that body; from that was produced the light of the moon, that which exists in

the night, but with its face towards the day. (12) These then are the bodies of that god of the gods, the intelligent one, called, O thou twice-born one, night and day, and twilight and moonlight. (13) Moonlight and twilight, as also the day are called the three bodies composed only of the quality of Sattva, while the night is composed only of the quality of Tamas; she is therefore of three parts. (14) For this reason are the gods most powerful during the day and the Asuras during the night; – the human beings are strongest when the moonlight appears, and similarly the Pitris are strongest during twilight. (15) They become undoubtedly strong and invincible to their opponents during these periods; and during the opposite periods, they become different. (16) Moonlight, night, day, and twilight – these four are the bodies of the lord, Brahma, composed of the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. (17) Thus the lord of creatures having produced these four bodies, being overtaken by hunger and thirst, took, at night, another body, composed of the two qualities of Rajas and Tamas. (18) In that darkness the lord who is himself uncaused, having created ugly beings, haggard through hunger, and with overgrown beards, they began to eat that body. (19) Among these, others who said, “we shall keep it”, were the Rakskas; and those who, O thou twice born one, said “we shall eat it”, on account of their attempt to eat became Yakshas.1 (20) Seeing them, the hair of this Brahma became separated from his head through displeasure. They, thus detached from the head of the Brahma, became moving and living objects. On account of this movement, they became reptiles, and from leanness, snakes are they called.2 (21) Then seeing the reptiles, the enraged Brahma, through anger, made carnivorous creatures of irritable nature, by investing them with brown colour. (22) Then came forth from him meditating on words (sounds), the Gandharvas; and as they were produced by him while meditating on words sounds (lit. drinking words) therefore are they called Gandharvas. That lord, on these eight classes of bright beings having been produced, then from his own body produced others, birds and beasts. From his mouth he sent forth the goats; from his breasts he created sheep; from the abdomen and from his two sides, the Brahma produced the bovine species; from the two feet were born horses with elephants, asses, hares, deer, camels, colts, and other animals of various forms. (24-26) From the hair of his body, he produced herbs hearing fruits and having roots. (27) In this way, the lord having created the herbs and the beasts and others (i.e. birds, reptiles &c.) performed sacrifices, in the beginning of the Kalpa, in the face of the second or the Treta-Yuga. (28) Cows, goats, buffaloes, sheep, horses and colts, and the asses, these are called domestic beasts or animals. Hear from me of those that are wild and live in the jungles. (29) The murderous animals with two hoops, the elephant, the monkeys, and fifthly, the birds; the sixth class are the animals that live in water, and the seventh the reptiles. (30) The Gayatri, the Thrich, the Tribith, the Sama, the Rathantara; Agnistoma also, these sacrifices he made from his first mouth. (31) From his southern mouth, he created the Yagus, the versification called Trishtub, and likewise the fifteen Stoma, the large Saman and Uktha – a portion of the Saman Veda. (32) The Samans, the versification called Jagati and likewise the fifteen Stobham or verses in praise of God, the Bairupa, the Atiratram he made from the western mouth. (33) The twenty-one Brahmanas, the infallible Aryamanas, Anustubh with the Bairaja, he created from his northern mouth. (34) Lightning, the thunderbolt, as also the clouds, the straight rainbow and the curbed rainbow, and also the birds, the revered lord created these at the commencement of the Kalpa. (35) The good and the evil creatures, are produced from his limbs; having first created the four classes of creatures, the gods, the Asuras, the Pitris and men, he then created the immoveable and the moveable objects. Yakshas, Pishachas (goblins) Gandharvas, and similarly the classes of Apsaras (36-37) men, Kinnaras, Rakshasas, birds, beasts, reptiles all these that are stationary, and that move, that are perishable and that perish not, the works that they performed in the previous creation, being created again and again, they perform those very functions. (38-39) The murderous and the not-murderous, as also the mild and the cruel instincts, as well as righteousness and unrighteousness, truth and untruth, all these enter into the creatures as

1 N.-B. 20 There is a reference in this stanza to the two roots from which the two words Rakshasa and Yaksha are formed – Rakshasa has been derived from the root Raksha – to keep; Yakshas from the root Yaksha – to eat. 2 Here again, there is a reference to the roots of the two words Sarpa and ahi meaning both snakes. Their connection being with Sarpa and hina.

they are meditated upon, and liked by them. (40) The director of all, even the lord himself, did join their senses to their different objects, in the bodies of the creatures. (41) He made from the original Vedic-sounds, the designations, the forms, and the multitudinous functions of the gods and other creatures. (42) In this way he named the Rishis and those that are created among the gods, as also those that come to being at the close of the night. (43) Just as at the time of the various seasons the different signs of that seasons appear, similarly do the signs of creation appear at the commencement of each cycle. (44) At the close of the night, on the awakening of Brahma, of unmanifested origin, at each Kalpa, are the creations produced in this wise. (45)