Markandeya Puranam

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KRAUSTUKI said: – O Brahman, that Arbak current of creation whence human beings sprang, which has been related by the revered one, kindly tell me in detail how Brahma created it. O thou of noble aspirations! tell me all as to how the castes and the qualities and the respective ordained duties and functions of Brahmanas and others, were created. (1-2)

Markandeya said: – O Muni! from the mouth of Brahma meditating on truth and entering upon the functions of creation, were produced a thousand pairs. (3) They, thus born, were all moved by the quality of Sattva, and were joined to the right understanding. Another thousand pairs he created from his breast. (4) They all were moved by the quality of Rajas, and were full of strength and invincible. Another thousand pairs he created again from his thigh. (5) They were moved by the two qualities of Rajas and Tamas and were full of energy and enterprise. From his two feet he created another thousand pairs. (6) They were all moved by the quality of Tamas, and were without beauty, and of little understanding. Then these beings, thus produced in pairs, were moved by delight, and being desirous of one another commenced to come together. Since then, in this Kalpa, creatures are born in pairs. (7-8) In those days the females did not keep time every month, therefore though the pairs came together, they never pro-created. (9) Only once, at the close of their life they would give birth to pairs. Since then in this Kalpa creatures are born in pairs. (10) Only once, through meditation, were creatures brought into being by the mind, and the pairs were pure and invested with the five functions, of which the objects were sounds, &c. (11) This then is the mental creation of the lord of creatures, as it took place in the beginning, subsequent to that were produced those creatures by whom this world is filled. (12) The creatures could then use and enjoy the rivers, the oceans, the lakes and the mountains at their pleasure, and in that cycle both heat and cold were moderate, therefore the creatures could move about everywhere. (13) O thou of high aspirations! having found natural gratification in the objects, they had no obstacles in their way, and no envy, and no anger. (14) They were entirely without any habitation, they used to live in mountains or in the oceans, they moved about without any desire, and their minds were constantly full of delight. (15) Pishachas, serpents, Rakshasas, as well as envious beings, beasts, birds, alligators, (16) fishes, reptiles all, whether born of mothers or from eggs, were produced by unrighteousness. In those days there were neither roots nor fruits nor flowers of herbs and trees, nor were there the seasons nor the years. (17) All times were pleasant, and there was neither excessive heat nor excessive cold; in due time their wishes would attain wonderful fulfilment. (18) Then again whether in the forenoon, or at noon, whenever they felt any want, it would be satisfied without any effort, even as they asked. (19) And similarly, whenever they wished, they could put forth their intellectual efforts. Then again, owing to the subtle powers of the waters in those days, the attainment of their various wishes full of delight would be secured, such as would fulfil all their desires. Those creatures had no need of sacraments for the purification of their bodies, and their youth was permanent. (20-21) Without any determination they would beget creatures in pairs; who were like them in the process of their birth, in their form and beauty, and they would also die like them. (22) They were without any conflicts of desires, and without envy or ill-will and in this way they would live, with one another; the term of their life was the same, and they were all without any distinction of superior, or inferior among them. (23) They would live for four thousand years, measured by human measurement, and were without any misery, and did not come by any harmful accident. (24) Now and then they would come into being a second

time, always owing to the good fortune of this earth, just as in course of time human beings are reborn. (25) Similarly, they, whose objects were attained always, would gradually die; and on all of them being destroyed, men would drop down from the sky. (26) Generally they would appear with the heavenly tree that satisfied all wishes, called the house-hold Kalpa-tree and from them they would gain the satisfaction of all their desires. (27) In those days, at the commencement of the Treta-Yuga, they lived holding on to these heavenly trees. Afterwards in course of time, of a sudden, attachment grew upon them. (28) This caused the repetition of the monthly courses, which led to repeated child-bearing. Then owing to the birth of attachment in them, those trees, called the household trees, O Brahmana, next began to throw out other branches, and also produce garments and ornaments and fruits;  – in those fruits of those trees was produced honey in quantities measured by putahas (a sort of cup) and which was full of sweet smell and flavour and of beautiful colour, which was highly strengthening and which was not produced by bees. (29-31) At the commencement of the Treta-Yuga, they lived on this honey. Then, in course of time they were overtaken by greed.

(32) And on their heart being overcome by the sense of ownership of these trees, they took possession of them, and on account of the wrong thus committed by them, those trees were destroyed. (35) Then came conflicts, between cold and heat &c., and to overcome those conflicts they, for the first time, built houses. (34) In deserts, passes, mountains, and caves, (another reading – rivers) they took shelter, also in fortresses built in trees, mountains, and on water. Similarly they made artificial fortresses having measured (the ground) by the measure of their own fingers; for which purpose they had previously made standards of measurement. (34-36) Of those measurements, the first is the most subtle atom, then the Trasarenu, which is equal to six atoms, next the Mahiraja, next the end of an hair, then the Nishka, then the yuka, then the yabodar, of these, eleven yabodars make one anguli or finger, sixteen angulis make one pada or foot, and two padas make one bitasti; similarly two bitastis make one cubit; which is the measure of the circumference of a Brahmya tirtha; four cubits make one bow-rod, – and also one nadikayaga. Two thousand bow-rods make one Gabyuti, and four times this is called by the wise a yujana which is the highest of all (lineal or spatial) measures. (36¬40) Of the four kinds of fort, three are self-made, the fourth is artificial, and they (men) always build it. (41) O thou twice-born one, house, village, Khetaka, and like them, Dronimookha, and suburb, and Karbataka or small towns, – these three; – and villages without wall, and Sanghosha, with dwelling houses built separately in them, with high walls and surrounded on all sides by ditches – these they built themselves. (42-43) One-half of a Yojana is called a bishkambha; and one eighth of a bishkamba is the measurement of a pura. These puras were extended towards either the east or the north and were spacious, the central beam supporting them was pure and went beyond it. (44) By one-half of this (Pura) was made similarly a Khetaka and by one-fourth of a Khetaka was Karbataka made; and that which was less than a Karbata by one-eighth, was called a Dronimookha. (44) The pura that was devoid of wall and ditch used to be called a barma; and another place the resort of the ministers and the courtiers for purposes of pleasure, was called a Sukhanagar or suburb. (46) Similarly the place which was inhabited mostly by sudras, and of which the wealth consisted in the capacity of the agriculturists, which was situate in the midst of cultivated fields, was called a village or Srama. (47) When people come from another place and live in a place, for purposes of transacting any business in the city, that is known by men as a residential quarter (basuti).

(48) The village which is mostly inhabited by bad men, who are powerful, and not owning any fields themselves, live upon the fields of other people, this village, the place of resort of the favourites of the king, is called an Akrimi. (49) Having thus made towns &c. for their own residence, they made houses for the habitation of the pairs. (50) Those creatures, remembering the house-like trees that they inhabited of old, made all their present habitations after the same model. (52) Just as the tree sends forth its branches, the new houses also similarly sent out its branches, one standing below the other, and they similarly made coverings for the house like the barks of trees. (53) Those that of old, O thou most exalted of the twice-born, were the branches of the Kalpa tree, now they became the branches of the houses, and for that reason, they were invested with the qualifications of dwellings. (54) Having thus adopted means to overcome the conflicts between heat and cold, they began to meditate upon the means of protecting their cattle and crops, because of the

entire destruction of the Kalpa trees with all the honey they produced. (55) The creatures became down cast and distracted through being pressed by hunger and thirst. Then at the commencement of the Treta Yuga in those days, they attained to miraculous powers in agriculture. (59) The cattle and the crops were obtained by them, and for them the rains came down at their will; and on earth those rain-waters began to flow downwards. (57) With the obstruction of this down-flowing rain-water rivers, and canals were made. The rain-water that had previously found the level of the earth, afterwards coming in contact with the earth, became faultless. Then fourteen kinds of trees and herbs that had not been cultivated by the plough, that had not been sown, and that put forth flowers and fruits at all seasons were created. At the commencement of the Treta Yuga season-flowers and herbs also came into existence, and on those herbs, O Muni! did the creatures live in the Treta Yuga. All of a sudden the creatures being moved by attachment and greed, in those days, began to appropriate to themselves rivers and fields, and mountains, and trees and herbs, according to each person’s might. (58-62) On account of that wrong, O thou twice-born one! the vegetables were destroyed. O thou high-minded one, at that time those herbs were, all of a sudden, eaten up (by the earth). (63) At the destruction of those herbs and vegetables those bewildered beings, driven by hunger sought the protection of Brahma, of most superior will.

(64) By virtue of his spiritual insight, he too, having then known of the eating up of the herbs by the earth the lord, the possessor of all the powers and riches, – milched the earth having made a calf of the northern pole. (65) By him was this cow thus milched of seed-grains; those seeds, being of two kinds, those that grew near human habitations (cultured) and those that grew in the jungles (wild), were created on the surface of the earth. (66) These herbs are destroyed on the ripening of their fruits and are said to be of seventeen kinds, namely paddy wheat, yaba, kanu, jinjily, priyangu, udara, koradosha, chinaka, nishpaba, kulathaha, adaka, mash, moong, masoor, chauaka, these are the seventeen herbs, these were, in the olden times, grown near human habitation. (67-69) The herbs used in sacrifices and that grow in villages and jungles are fourteen in number, paddy, yaba, wheat, anu, jinjily, and priyangu, these are seven, while the eighth is Kuluthwaka, shamaka, and nibara, yattila, sagabedhuka, kurubinda, markataka, benu, and gradha, these are said to be the fourteen herbs that grow both near habitations and in the jungles. (70-73) When, though thus fully brought forth, the herbs did not again germinate, then he, the Brahma, created means for their growth and subsistence. (73) The self-created lord Brahma created the skill of hand born of work, (with reference to the art of agriculture). Since then the herbs began to grow, and became difficult of decomposition. (74) In this way after the establishment of the means of subsistence for them, the lord himself, established honour and precedence among them according to their respective rights and qualifications. (75) The chief of the upholders of righteousness, thus created the castes and the orders, engaged in the due performance of their duties and the attainment of their purposes, as also the law of duty for people of all castes. (76) The honour of the Brahmanas devoted to sacrificial works is to be of the station of the lord of creatures. Of the Kshatriyas who do not run away from the field of battle, the honour is that of Indra the chief of the gods. The place of the Baishyas living by the performance of their own duties is that of Marutha and the station of the Gandharba is assigned to the Sudra following the law of service. (78) The place of the disciple who lives with his master is that where eighty-eight thousand Rishis, the conquerors of lust, live. (79) The station which is said to belong to the seven Primal Rishis is that of the hermits who live in jungles. The station of the lord of creature is the meed of the householders; of those who have relinquished everything for God, the place and honour is that of the Brahman himself, while the place of the Yogis, is immortal life. These are the statements of the positions of honour among men.