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Vayu Purana – Purva Kandha 49-56

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Movements of the Luminary Bodies

1Suta said: While narrating the details of Svayambhuva Manvantara, events of past and future have been narrated. Now I shall recount them in their proper order.
2On hearing this, the sages asked Lomaharsana about the movements of the sun, the moon and the planets.
The Sages enquired:
3How do these luminary bodies revolve in the firmament? They all move in circular orbits and laterally. Still they do not collide with one another. Who makes them revolve? Or do they revolve of their own accord?
4O excellent one, we wish to know this. Narrate it to us. This is a matter that deludes living beings. We have a desire to hear about this.
5Suta said: Listen to and know this wonderful thing which though very clear and visible, deludes people.
6It is Dhruva, son of Uttanapada, who is stationed at the tail-end of what appears like the Gangetic porpoise with tails towards the four quarters in the sky. He has become the pivotal peg in the sky.
7It revolves itself and makes the sun and the moon revolve along with the planets. While it revolves like a wheel, the stars follow it.
8-10The group of stars moves at the will of Dhruva. The sun, the moon, the fixed and moving stars and the planets are bound to Dhruva through the bonds in the form of groups of winds. It is from Dhruva that their combination, difference, seasonal movement, rising and setting, portentous phenomena, southern and northern transit, the equinoxes and colours begin to function.
11Rain, heat, snow, night, twilight, day and the auspicious and inauspicious events befalling the subjects—everything begins to function from Dhruva.
12The sun covers the stars etc. activated by Dhruva and stands by. Hence his rays are illuminated. The sun is the deadly fire (that ends the world).
13O Brahmanas, in the course of his revolution, the sun brightens the quarters by his brilliance. With the mass of his rays in the company of the wind all round, O excellent Brahmanas, the sun takes up the waters of the universe.
14The water drunk in by the sun gets transferred to the moon from the solar fire. Through the Nadis (tubular veins) full of wind the activity of sustaining the worlds begins.
15What exudes from the moon, the sun receives at its tips. When the wind blows the clouds let it shower on the earth.
16Thus the water is poured and it falls again and again. The same water assumes various shapes.
17For the upkeep of the living beings, Maya has been created. The three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings are pervaded by this Maya.
18The sun is the lord of the universe; he is the creator of the worlds; he is the thousand-rayed lord; he is the lord of the subjects; he is the sustainer of the world; he is lord Vishnu himself.
19The water of the worlds has exuded from the moon in the sky. The universe is, therefore, supported by the moon. This fact has now been declared.
20The hot rays emanate from the sun; the cool rays from the moon. These two powerful hot and cool rays sustain the universe.
21The holy Ganga with pure waters has the moon for support. O excellent Brahmanas, the great rivers have the son of the moon as their leader.
22-23Water is present in the bodies of living beings. When the bodies of the mobile and immobile beings burn, the water becomes vapour and rises on all sides. Thereby clouds arise and they are the receptacles of water. The brilliance of the sun takes up the water from the living beings through the rays.
24The rays take the waters from the ocean through the wind. The revolving sun imparts water to the clouds by means of his white rays in the proper seasons.
25When blown by the wind, the water drips from the clouds. The clouds scatter showers for the benefit of living beings when they are blown by the winds in all directions.
26The clouds shower for six months in order to nourish and develop all living beings. They produce the rumbling sound of thunder arising from the wind and brilliant lightning arising from the fire.
27The root ‘mih’ means to exude’, ‘to sprinkle’. Since the clouds exude water, they are called Megha. That from which water does not fall off they call Abhra.
28Clouds arise in three ways. Their source of origin are three. The types of clouds are Agneyas, Brahmajas and Paksajas. Thus the three types of clouds have been narrated. I shall mention their mode of origin.
29Clouds arising from the waters of ocean are Agneyas. They function therefrom. Chilliness and winds on a cloudy day are their attributes.
30They assume the shapes of buffaloes, boars and elephants in their rut. They roam about and sport very near the earth.
31The clouds are called Jimutas since they are the source of living beings. They do not have the attributes of thunder. They hang down due to the water-content in them.
32These clouds are huge and silent. They follow the current of the wind submissively. They shower water within a half to one Krosa (from the earth).
33They shower on the tops and ridges of mountains and sport. They pierce the wombs of the flocks of the white cranes. They make them conceive.
34The types of clouds called Brahmajas are born of the breath of Brahma. They have the attribute of lightning. They are fond of rumbling sounds. They thunder.
35Due to their loud report the earth gets a thrill. Like a queen crowned by a king earth attains youth once again. Being the cause of the birth of the living beings, the earth endears itself to the clouds.
36The birth of living beings is from these clouds called Jimutas. These clouds resort to the second layer of wind called Pravaha.
37These clouds shower from a distance of a Yojana, half a Yojana or one-fourth of a Yojana from the earth. They rain in continuous torrents.
38The wings of the powerful mountains who could go as per their will and pleasure, had grown very large. Indra cut them off for the (welfare of all) living beings.
39These clouds are called Puskaras. They are huge and they are exhilarated with their waters. For that reason they are called Puskaravartakas (revolving Puskaras).
40They assume different forms. They are very terrible. They pour forth showers at the end of Kalpas. They control the Samvartaka fire.
41The third type of clouds mentioned before shower at the close of the Yugas. They assume many forms and fill the surface of the earth. They resort to the wind called Paravaha and conclude a Kalpa.
42All the clouds are reputed to have been born of the same Cosmic Egg-shell of PraKrita form from which the self-born four-faced Brahma was born.
43It is the smoke that makes them all fully developed without any difference. The most excellent among them is Parjanya. And there are four elephants of the quarters.
44Elephants, mountains and clouds along with serpents belong to one and the same family, though they are severally manifested, since water is known as the source of (their) origin.
45During Hemanta (early winter) Parjanya and the elephants of the quarters born of chilliness shower snow (drops) for making the corn flourish.
46The great wind called Parivaha is their support. It is that lordly wind which sustains the Ganga that flows through the sky. It is the sacred, heavenly river, flooded over with water, stationed in the heavenly path like the divine Lore (Vidya).
47The elephants of the quarters spray all round drops of water from the Ganga by means of their huge trunks. That (spray of water) is called the hoarfrost.
48The mountain to the south of Meru is Hemakuta. There is a city called Pundra to the south of this mountain and to the north of Himalaya.
49-50The rain arising from this shower of mist, falls on this mountain. The wind Avaha blowing from Himavat brings drops of mist with it and sprinkles them over the great mountain. The remnant of the shower crosses Himalaya and comes here thereafter in order to make the western region flourish.
51The two types of clouds that make the regions flourish have been already described. The sun alone is mentioned as the maker of showers.
52Controlled by Dhruva, the sun causes the rainfall through these two (types) of clouds. The wind encompassed by Dhruva withdraws the rain.
53The wind starts from the planet sun and traverses the entire stellar zone. At the end of the day it enters the sun encompassed by Dhruva.
54Now listen to the description of the Sun’s Chariot. It has one wheel with five spokes and three naves.
55The Lord Sun goes ahead on his Chariot that has golden wheel, that is very powerful, that has knotty joints, that has six-fold rim and one felly, which dispels darkness on the way.
56Its width is ten thousand Yojanas. Its length from the middle (cockpit) to the shaft is twice of it (twenty thousand Yojanas).
57This Chariot had been made by Brahma for some specific purpose. It is divine and golden. Swift horses have been yoked to it.
58It is the Vedic metres that have assumed the forms of the horses. It is stationed in the sphere of Sukra (Venus). It has the characteristics similar to those of Varuna’s chariot. In this shining Chariot the Sun traverses the sky.
59These parts of the Chariot of the Sun are fashioned out of the parts of the year in due order.
60The day is the nave of the wheel. The Chariot has one wheel. The spokes are the five seasons and the rim is the sixth season.
61The year is the inner seat of the Chariot; the two Ayanas. are the two shafts; the Muhurtas are the fastening ropes and the Kalas are the pins of the yoke.
62The Kasthas constitute its nose and the Ksanas (moments) make up the shaft; the Nimesas are the axletrees and the Lavas make up the poles.
63The night is the frontal fender; Dharma is its highly rising banner. Artha and Kama are the two tips of the pole and axle.
64-65The seven Vedic metres, viz. Gayatri, Tristup, Anu- stup, Jagati, Pankti, Brihati and Usnik, have assumed the forms of horses and bear the burden. The wheel is fixed to the axle and the axle is fastened to Dhruva.
66The axle turns along with the wheel; Dhruva turns along with the axle. Urged by Dhruva the axle turns along with the wheel.
67This is the description of the peculiar construction of the chariot. By means of the parts joined together a shining chariot is fashioned out.
68-69With that the lord Sun moves quickly in the heaven. There are two reins of the chariot tied to the tips of the pole and the axle. Propelled by Dhruva the chariot moves in the sky in a circular fashion.
70Handled by Dhruva the tips of the pole and the axle on the right side of the chariot appear like white reins in a chariot of two wheels.
71The two rays (reins) follow the whirling Dhruva. The tips of the pole and axle of the chariot are wind-waves.
72-73Just as the rope tied to a peg revolves in all directions, so the two rays (reins) shrink in the zones in the Uttarayana. They increase in the Daksinayana. The two reins handled by Dhruva lead the Sun.
74When these are dragged by Dhruva, the Sun takes the internal revolutions.
75-76The Sun thus traverses the one hundred and eighty circular zones of the two quarters. When the reins are released by Dhruva, it revolves round the external zones. Encircling them the Sun moves fast round the zones.

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