Brahma Kandha 1-9
– 1 –
Sattvika and on Devas
1The lord of Yadavas, accompanied by his elder brother Balarama, looked splendid in the battle-field-the lord who was a thunderbolt to the enemy, the best and the noblest among men, cupid incarnate to the women, kith and kin of the cowherds, chastiser of the wicked kings, a loving child to his parents, Yama to the lord of Bhojas as ordained by fate, the transcendental soul for meditation on the part of Yogins.
2Salutation to lord Narayana, the source of the universe. After paying due homage to the lord, I shall narrate his story.
3The great sages, Saunaka and others preached spirituality and practised penance in the holy region of Naimisha.
4They had conquered their senses, regulated their diet, were devoted to truth. They worshipped Vishnu, the primeval preceptor of the universe with supreme devotion.
5Versed in the knowledge of sastras, invested with supreme glory they meditated on Brahman, the eye of the universe and practised penance in the Naimisha region.
6Some worshipped the lord of sacrifices with sacrifices. Some worshipped the lord incarnate of knowledge through knowledge. Some worshipped him with supreme devotion.
7Once upon a time, the sages held a council with a desire to ascertain the means of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
8Twenty-six thousands of sages reputed for their self-control gathered there. They were accompanied by their disciples and disciples of disciples who could not be counted in number.
9The pure-souled sages of great lustre who were devoid of malice and attachment assembled there to devise ways for the welfare of the people.
10How can we create the people’s firm devotion for lord Hari? How could our threefold activity bear fruit for the welfare of the world?
11The sages were eager to put up such queries to Saunaka. He, the wise man, could very well guess their anxiety. With hands joined in reverence and head bent as a token of modesty he said in reply.
12In the holy hermitage of the Siddhas there abides Suta who is well versed in the Puranic lore. He, the best of the self-controlled, is the disciple of Vyasa. He will answer the queries to your entire satisfaction.
13Let us put our queries to him. Thus, Saunaka, accompanied by the sages, went to the hermitage of the Siddhas.
14aSaunaka and the Naimisha sages approached Suta and put their queries to him when they found him in proper mood.
14bO you of good vow, please know that we have come to you as guests and we expect that you will receive us as such.
15By what means and in what manner with sacred ablution, gifts, etc., shall lord Vishnu be worshipped so that he maybe gratified thereby.
16aPlease tell us your conclusive, answers to our query so that they may serve as the means of our final release.
16bO sages, listen, I am going to tell you my conclusive answers to your queries.
17Having paid homage to lord Vishnu, Lakshmi, Vayu, Bharata, Sesha the preceptor Vyasa and lord Krishna I shall answer your queries as far as I understand.
18There is nothing equal to Narayana, nor has it been nor would it be. In this faith, I accomplish my task, achieving purpose.
19O noble Suta, please tell us why homage is paid to lord Vishnu at the very beginning. O you of good vow, do also tell us about the proper procedure of reciting a Purana.
20You have paid homage to lord Vishnu, Lakshmi, Vayu, Bharati and Vyasa. Why this order in paying homage? O Sets of blessed virtue let us know the reason thereof.
21Vishnu shall be worshipped at the outset-He who is knowable through the Vedas, Sastras and Puranas. He alone is the source of energy and illumination. He alone is worthy of our praise.
22-23He is the supreme deity, superior to the gods. He alone is worthy of adoration, not Siva or others. The arrogant people who bypass Vishnu and pay homage to Siva, Ganesha, Candika, Renuka, Surya, Bhairava, Vayu, Sarasvati Parvati and Lakshmi are a Vaishnavas, i.e. averse to the worship of Vishnu. The sages have proclaimed thus.
24-25Hence, one should not bow to each deity separately, for they are not satiated by individual worship. Whatever worship is rendered unto them they reciprocate partially and at the same time dedicate that worship to the supreme lord Vishnu adored by Lakshmi and others.
26O lord of birds, these deities should neither be worshipped nor saluted by Brahmins and other castes desirous of salvation, for they are the source of trouble here and hereafter. They can grant the worshipper the dark, inferior regions.
27-28People in any stage of life should not worship them even in adverse circumstances. Those who for the accomplishment of desire worship Lakshmi, Brahma, Siva, Indra, Yama, undergo great hardships, great calamities, foul diseases such as leprosy, fistula. Those who vow to Brahma, Rudra, Vayu and other gods, excluding Vishnu are called Vaishnavas.
29O great sages, I shall tell you an important secret which you should keep close to the heart and not divulge to any other. O Brahmins, you should worship the image of Vayu and not the image of Brahma, Rudra or other deity.
30-32When at worship, you should set up an image of Vayu, the symbol of Vishnu at an appropriate place. You should worship Vishnu, the lord of Lakshmi, in the appropriate manner. You should thereafter worship the image of Vayu with the remains of gifts. The stupid people who worship Vayu and the rest with fresh garlands, incense and sandal but not with the remains considerably suffer here and hereafter. There is no doubt in this. As an expiation, they should recite Svasti mantras and meditate upon Vishnu.
33The stupid who bow to the images of Siva, Vayu and others set up by the hypocrites, the followers of Tamasa god Rudra for the attainment of desire suffer eternally.
34If the best of Brahmins have set up an image of Vayu, one should pay homage to the same. If with the remains of offering made to Vishnu, Vayu is worshipped, there is not in the least any fault.
35Vayu, the father of Hanuman, is they should pay homage to Vishnu as well as Hanuman, the offspring of the great god Vayu.
36-37There is no other way of paying homage, O best of Brahmins, you all should keep this as a guarded secret.
The devotees of Vishnu or the followers of the sect should pay homage to Vishnu and Vishnu alone. By doing so; in an appropriate manner they can acquire virtue.
38Those who do not worship, even in adversity, any god other than Vishnu are the true devotees of the lord. Those whose minds are diverted to other gods are not the real devotees in any sense. You should not entertain any doubt in this respect.
39The learned declare those Puranas to be I sacred or worth hearing which preach the cult of Vishnu from beginning to the end. In the iron age, such Puranas are welcome to attain popularity among the masses.
40There are a number of Puranas, which preach respective Dharma to the four castes. Stupid people accept their verdict and feel jealous of one another.
41There is no deity equal to Vishnu, no preceptor equal to Vayu, no place of pilgrimage holier than the bank of the Ganges, no devotee of gods equal to the devotee of Vishnu.
42The Puranas devoted to Vishnu are called Sattvikas. These should be preached to the people but not others which cause suffering.
43In the Kali age, only three principal Puranas are devoted to Vishnu. Among these the Bhagavata Purana renders more good to the people.
44The Bhagavata Purana opens with the description of the origin of the universe; Vishnu, Brahma, Rudra and others.
45The wise declare knowledge to be manifold, consisting of various grades-high, low and middling. All that knowledge is found in the Bhagavata Purana. Hence, Bhagavata is the highest of all Puranas.
46The Vishnu Purana comes next then comes Garuda. The three are principal Puranas in the Kali age. Garuda contains some additional matter.
47-48O Brahmanas, listen to that speciality the Garuda Purana is divided into three parts. The first part is called Karma Kandha, the second Dharma Kandha and the third Brahma Kandha. Among these the third part is the best listening to this part grants virtue which is equal to the virtue of listening to complete Bhagavata.
49When the third part is recited one obtains merit equal to the merit of reciting the Vedas. There can be no second thought in this respect.
50O Brahmins by listening to the third part-of the Purana one obtains merit equal to that one obtains by reciting and understanding the same. Mere recitation awards one-tenth of the merit which accrues to the person who listens to and understands the same.
51Next in order of merit is the Matsya Purana, then comes Kurma Purana, then Vayu. These three are also Sattvika Puranas. 0 best of sages, in the six fold series of Sattvika Puranas, there is lot of knowledge to be discovered.
52Among the Sattvika Puranas, Matsya and Kurma are inferior, Vayu is middling, Vishnu and Bhagavata are superior.
53Skanda, Padma, Vamana, Varaha, Agni and Bhavishya are Rajasa Puranas. Each of these contains sections on the Rajasa and Tamasa material.
54They are Rajasa, Rajas being prominent in them. Those seeking for release should not listen to these sections. Only the Sattvika part among these Puranas should be listened to that provides merit equal to that of listening to Garuda.
55Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Linga, Markandeya and Aditya are the Tamasa Puranas. Parts of these Puranas are Sattvika and Rajasa.
56They should not be listened to by the seekers of truth, for they are Tamasa. O best of sages, there are Sattvika portions in them, listening to which accords merit equal to the merit of listening to Garuda (in part).
57-59Smaller in size are the Upapuranas which are eighteen in number. Among these, Vishnudharmottara, Bhigavata, Tattvasara, Nrsimha, Vayu and Hamsa are Sattvika, undoubtedly. By listening to these one secures half of the merit one would receive by listening to Garuda.
60-63Bhavishya, Brhannarada and Laghunarada consisting of a dialogue between Yama and Narada, Karttika Purana and Brihad Brahmanda are the Rajasa Puranas. By listening to these one gels full enjoyment. One gets one-fourth of the merit one would obtain by listening to Garuda. The wise have declared thus. Bhagavata, Siva, Nandi, Pasupata, Rainuka, Bhairava are Tamasa Puranas, so declare the wise who are conversant with the cult of Vishnu.
64Listening to these Puranas imparts merit equal to of the merit accruing from listening to Garuda. Bhagavata is the best of all Puranas.
65By reciting the Purana one gets merit equal to that one would get by reciting the Vedas. One who hears the Purana recited gets half of the merit one gets by hearing the Vedas. If one hears the Purana recited and understands what he hears gets tenfold the merit of the one who hears the Vedas and understands them.
66-67Gets twice that merit and the commentator or expositor gets even more. The wise declare that the Purana is equal to the Vedas in the weightiness of purpose and the greatness of glory. It is more valuable than the Vedas so far as the meaning is concerned. This is declared by those who understand the mystery of Vishnu.
68The wise declare that the praise of Vishnu and the thousand appellations of the deity recorded in this Purana are the best among those who can bestow merit. Listening to the two obtains tenfold or more merit one earns by hearing the Bharata.
69In Bharatavarsa, in the golden age (Satya Yuga), the Daityas are born in the Brahmin families. They take some Verses out of the Bharata consisting of 6000 verses and replace them by new ones.
70The sage Vyasa (the author of this Purana) paid homage to Vishnu and composed among the Puranas the Bhagavata Purana, at first, in the glorification of Lord Vishnu. Thereafter he composed Garuda.
71Garuda is one of the principal Puranas as declared in the Sastras. There is no Purana equal to Garuda in the exposition, of Vaishnava cult.
72As Vishnu is the best of Gods, as Sudarsana is the best of missiles, as the horse sacrifice is the best of sacrifices, as Rudra is the best among the inferior deities.
73As the Ganges is the best among the rivers, lotus among the water-plants, Vayu among the superior deities, so Garuda is the best of all Puranas devoted to the cult of Vishnu.
74In the Garuda Purana, Vishnu is the principal deity. Being worthy of praise and easy to approach he should be honoured and worshipped at first.
75-76After Vishnu comes the blissful Lakshmi who is equally worthy of honor and worship. O best of Brahmins, then comes Vayu, the noblest and the best among the Brahmins and the lord of aspirants of Vishnu. He should be worshipped when the recitation of a Purana begins. Next, the Goddess Bharati should be worshipped as she represents the Goddess speech itself.
77Next, among men, the sage Vyasa, the author of the PuraJJ.as should be worshipped. Being the devotee of Vishnu, he is entitled to worship.
78-79How is it that the Sage Vyasa comes last in the list of those who are worthy of worship. O you of good vows, tell us the reason thereof.
80Homage should be paid to Vyasa at the end while homage is rendered to Vishnu at the beginning. Vishnu is the principal deity in the Puranas and Vyasa the incarnation of speech-words and their meaning. Vyasa cannot be equated with Vishnu.
81O best of sages, out of regard for you, I shall tell you the reason thereof. In the Puranas dominated by Tamoguna, Vyasa is eulogized as a great sage.
82Enticed by the knowledge of this fact the asuras arid their followers who worship Vyasa at first in preference to Vishnu enter in the region of pitch darkness. Hence, Vyasa is worshipped at the end. This knowledge is the secret of secrets which should be kept close to the heart.
83-84Whoever is said to be worthy of homage, should not be accepted as such, for Vishnu alone is worthy of worship.
85Vishnu and Vyasa are identical. The Smritis declare that Vyasa resembles Vishnu in many respects.
86The three-Vayu, etc., are declared to be worthy of worship.
87In lightening the burden of the earth, Hartman the son of Maruti is the principal organ of Vishnu.
88Bharati (also called Sarasvati), identical with speech, is the second organ. Sesha is the third organ. The trio is not treated on equal terms with Vishnu.
89They who are declared to be principal deities are worthy of worship. Vayu and the rest are secondary, hence they are not to be worshipped (on equal terms with Vishnu).
90-91Among Bhima and others Bhishma and Drona are the principal. The noblest of men they are worthy of worship. Thus I have told.