Markandeya Puranam

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Markandeya said: Thus did the sons of Drona, the birds, obtain knowledge. They live in the Vindhya mountain; do you adore them and ask them (regarding your questions). (1) Hearing the words of the saint Markandeya, Jaimini went to the summit of the Vindhya where the pious birds were. (2) Approaching that mountain he heard sound of reading and at this filled with surprise Jaimini thought. (3) “The foremost ones of the twice-born are reciting the Vedas with proper accent and emphasis, controlling their breaths, without any fatigue, with distinctness and without any fault. (4) Me-thinks it is a wonder that the goddess of learning has not forsaken these sons of the anchorite who have come by a different birth. (5) Friends and acquaintances, leaving one according to their will, go to another house but the goddess of learning never forsakes him.” (6) Thinking this he entered the mountain cave; and entering there he saw the twice-born ones seated on a mountain slab. (7) Beholding them recite (the Vedas) without any distortion of the face, he, filled with delight and sorrow, said to them all. (8) “May good betide you, O eminent twice-born ones, known me as Jaimini, the disciple of Vyasa who have come here to see you. (9) You should not be sorry for being born as birds and for being imprecated by your sire in great anger; this is all destiny. (10) O foremost twice-born ones, some intelligent persons, born in an affluent family, were comforted, on the loss of wealth, by a barbarian. (11) Some persons giving (their all) go about begging; others killing (some) are themselves killed; some bringing down (others) are themselves prostrated; all this springs from the wane of asceticism. (12) Many such contraries have been seen by me: the world is perpetually disturbed with these contending chances and mischances. (13) Thinking this in your mind you should not grieve: this is the fruit of knowledge not influenced by joy or grief.” (14) Then welcoming Jaimini with water to wash feet and an offering of Kusha grass they all, bowing to the great ascetic, enquired about his well-being. (15) Then all those birds said to the ascetic, the disciple of Vyasa, seated at ease, and relieved of fatigue by the wind of their wings. (16) “Blessed is our birth to-day and our life has proved to be a good life since we have seen the pair of your lotus feet worshipped even by the celestials. (17) O Vipra, that, which originating from our father’s anger, exists in our bodies has been quenched to-day with the water of your presence. (18) At your asylum, O Brahman, is it all well with birds and beasts, trees, creepers, groves consisting of bark only, grass and others of the same origin?

(19) Or perhaps we have not made a proper enquiry, regarded by you as we are; how can they, who are with you, suffer misfortune? (20) Do you favour us and tell us the cause of your coming: your noble presence is like the company of the celestials. By what great good luck you have been brought within the range of our vision.” (21)

Jaimini said: ”Hear, O you the foremost of the twice-born ones, why I have come to this charming hollow of the Vindhya watered by the river Reva. (22) I have come here to ask you about some doubts in the scripture Bharata. Formerly asking the high-souled Markandeya, the best of the Bhrigu race, I came across some doubtful points in Bharata. I have been told by him ‘There are in the great mountain Vindhya the high-souled sons of Drona: they will speak to you (on this) at length.’ (23-24) Following his words I have come to this great mountain: do you hear them exhaustively and explain them to me.” (25)

The birds said: “We shall tell you if it be a (worthy) subject, do you hear it, shorn of fear. And why should we not speak out what has come within the range of our intellect? (26) And although, O foremost of the Brahmanas, our intellect ranges over the four Vedas, the scriptural works, all its branches and others recognised by the Vedas still we cannot pledge ourselves to any promise (about it). (27-28) Communicate to us confidingly if you have any doubts in Bharata and we shall explain them to you, O you conversant with virtue, unless we are overpowered by stupefaction.” (20)

Jaimini said: O you of pure souls, hear what doubtful points I have in Bharata and hearing them you should explain. (30) Although devoid of qualities, why did Janardana, the son of Vasudeva, the stay of the universe and the cause of all causes, come by the state of a man?

(31) Why did Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, become the one queen of the five sons of Pandu? I have a great doubt in this. (32) How did the highly-powerful Valadeva, having a ploughshare for his weapon, expiate the sin of Brahmanacide by visiting holy shrines? (33) Why did the mighty car-warriors, the high-souled sons of Draupadi, having the Pandavas as their lords, meet with death, before they entered upon matrimonial life, like those who have none to help them? (34) Explain all these my doubts anent Bharata, which I have spoken, so that accomplishing my object I may return to my own hermitage.” (35)

The Birds said: Saluting the lord of the celestials, the highly powerful Vishnu, the Purusha of incomparable (energy), the eternal and undecaying, identical with four Vyuhas, the three-fold qualities and shorn of them, who is most excellent, most powerful, worshipful and immortal; him, than whom there is nothing greater or smaller, by whom, unborn and the beginning of the world, this universe has been permeated; him, who appears and disappears, who is seen and not seen, who is the creator and the destroyer of all in the end; bowing with a controlled mind to the Prime deity Brahma who, bringing out from his mouth Rik and Saman, purified the three worlds. (36-40) Saluting Ishana, defeated by whose single arrow the Asuras cannot put in obstacles in the sacrifices of the sacrificers (41); we shall describe, at length, the moral truths which have been revealed in Bharata by Vyasa of wondrous deeds. (42) Water has been called Nara by the ascetics seeing the true essence of things: he who reposed on it, in the beginning is called Narayana. (43) O Brahman, the divine lord Narayana, permeating all, exists in four fold forms, (either) endued with qualities or being devoid therefrom. (44) One of these forms cannot be defined; the wise behold it as white; this form, called Vasudeva, is seen as being engarlanded by effulgence, the principal stay of the Yogis, distant yet near, above the attributes and shorn of all attachments. (45-46) Form, colour etc do not really belong to it, but are the work of imagination. Its form is one, eternal, pure and glorious. (47) The second form, known as Sesha, remaining underneath, holds the earth. It is pervaded by the quality of ignorance and is accordingly called as belonging to the brute creation. (48) The third goes through actions, being engaged in protecting people; it is permeated by the quality of goodness and is known as establishing righteousness. (49) The fourth lies within water resting on a serpent bed: darkness is its attribute and it always carries on the work of creation. (50) That third form of Hari, which is engaged in protecting people, always establishes righteousness on earth. (51) Slaying the rising Asuras who always disturb virtue, it protects the deities and other pious men always intent upon protecting virtue. (32) At all times, O Jaimini, whenever the virtue has suffered deterioration this form has been incarnated for raising righteousness. (53) Formerly assuming the form of a boar, and dividing the water with the projection of the mouth, it, with one tooth, raised up the earth like a lotus. (54) Assuming the Form of a man-lion he slew Hiranyakashipu and other Danavas headed by Viprachitti. (55) Dwarf and various other forms of his – I do not like to enumerate. The present one is his Mathura incarnation. (56) When the form permeated by the quality of goodness was

incarnated it engaged in the work of preservation under the name of Pradyumma. (57) Either born as a celestial, a human being or a beast, Vasudeva, according to his will, assumes the nature of the form (in which he is born). (58) All this has been described; now hear next, how the lord Vishnu, although attaining to perfect success, assumed the form of a man. (59)