VISHNU PURANA NOUN
Invocation. Maitreya inquires of his teacher, Parasara, the origin and nature of the universe. Parasara performs a rite to destroy the demons: reproved by Vasishtha, he desists: Pulastya appears, and bestows upon him divine knowledge: he repeats the Vishnu Purana. Vishnu the origin, existence, and end of all things.
OM! Glory TO Vasudeva. Victory be to thee, Pundarikaksha; adoration be to thee, Viswabhavana; glory be to thee, Hrishikesa, Mahapurusha, and Purvaja.
May that Vishnu, who is the existent, imperishable, Brahma, who is Iswara, who is spirit; who with the three qualities is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; who is the parent of nature, intellect, and the other ingredients of the universe; be to us the bestower of understanding, wealth, and final emancipation.
The incensed demons, grasping their weapons, fell upon them; but the gods, into whom the ambrosial draught had infused new vigour, defeated and put their host to flight, and they fled through the regions of space, and plunged into the subterraneous realms of Patala. The gods thereat greatly rejoiced, did homage to the holder of the discus and mace, and resumed their reign in heaven. The sun shone with renovated splendour, and again discharged his appointed task; and the celestial luminaries again circled, oh best of Munis, in their respective orbits. Fire once more blazed aloft, beautiful in splendour; and the minds of all beings were animated by devotion. The three worlds again were rendered happy by prosperity; and Indra, the chief of the gods, was restored to power.
Of the seven regions of Patala, below the earth. Narada s praises of Patala. Account of the serpent sesha. First teacher of astronomy and astrology.
Parasara. The extent of the surface of the earth has been thus described to you, Maitreya. Its depth below the surface is said to be seventy thousand Yojanas, each of the seven regions of Patala extending downwards ten thousand. These seven, worthy Muni, are called Atala, Vitala, Nitala, Gabhastimat, Mahatala, Sutala, and Patala 1. Their soil is severally white, black, purple, yellow, sandy, stony, and of gold. They are embellished with magnificent palaces, in which dwell numerous Danavas, Daityas, Yakshas, and great snake gods. The Muni Narada, after his return from those regions to the skies, declared amongst the celestials that Patala was much more delightful than Indra s heaven. “What,” exclaimed the sage, “can be compared to Patala, where the Nagas are decorated with brilliant and beautiful and pleasure shedding jewels? who will not delight in Patala, where the lovely daughters of the Daityas and Danavas wander about, fascinating even the most austere; where the rays of the sun diffuse light, and not heat, by day; and where the moon shines by night for illumination, not for cold; where the sons of Danu, happy in the enjoyment of delicious viands and strong wines, know not how time passes? Splendid ornaments, fragrant perfumes, rich unguents, the blended music of the lute and pipe and tabor; these and many other enjoyments are the common portion of the Danavas, Daityas, and snake gods, who inhabit the regions of Patala.”
Below the seven Patalas is the form of Vishnu, proceeding from the quality of darkness, which is called sesha 4, the excellencies of which neither Daityas nor Danavas can fully enumerate. This being is called Ananta by the spirits of heaven, and is worshipped by sages and by gods. He has a thousand heads, which are embellished with the pure and visible mystic sign: and the thousand jewels in his crests give light to all the regions. For the benefit of the world he: deprives the Asuras of their strength. He rolls his eyes fiercely, as if intoxicated. He wears a single ear ring, a diadem, and wreath upon each brow; and shines like the white mountains topped with flame. He is clothed in purple raiment, and ornamented with a white necklace, and looks like another Kailasa, with the heavenly Ganga flowing down its precipices. In one hand he holds a plough, and in the other a pestle; and he is attended by Varuni (the goddess of wine), who is his own embodied radiance. From his mouths, at the end of the Kalpa, proceeds the venomed fire that, impersonated as Rudra, who is one with Balarama, devours the three worlds.
sesha bears the entire world, like a diadem, upon his head, and he is the foundation on which the seven Patalas rest. His power, his glory, his form, his nature, cannot be described, cannot he comprehended by the gods themselves. Who shall recount his might, who wears this whole earth, like a garland of flowers, tinged of a purple dye by the radiance of the jewels of his crests. When Ananta, his eyes rolling with intoxication, yawns, then earth, with all her woods, and mountains, and seas, and rivers, trembles. Gandharbas, Apsarasas, Siddhas, Kinnaras, Uragas, and Charanas are unequal to hymn his praises, and therefore he is called the infinite Ananta(), the imperishable. The sandal paste, that is ground by the wives of the snake gods, is scattered abroad by his breath, and sheds perfume around the skies.
The ancient sage Garga 6, having propitiated sesha, acquired from him a knowledge of the principles of astronomical science, of the planets, and of the good and evil denoted by the aspects of the heavens.
The earth, sustained upon the head of this sovereign serpent, supports in its turn the garland of the spheres, along with their inhabitants, men, demons, and gods.
Of the different hells or divisions of Naraka, below Patala: the crimes punished in them respectively: efficacy of expiation: meditation on Vishnu the most effective expiation.
Parasara. I will now, great Muni, give you an account of the hells which are situated beneath the earth and beneath the waters, and into which sinners are finally sent.
The names of the different Narakas are as follows: Raurava, sukara, Rodha, Tala, Visasana, Mahajwala, Taptakumbha, Lavana, Vimohana, Rudhirandha, Vaitarani, Krimisa, Krimibhojana, Asipatravana, Krishna, Lalabhaksha, Daruna, Puyavaha, Papa, Vahnijwala, Adhosiras, Sandansa, Kalasutra, Tamas, Avichi, swabhojana, Apratishtha, and another Avichi. These and many other fearful hells are the awful provinces of the kingdom of Yama, terrible with instruments of torture and with fire; into which are hurled all those who are addicted when alive to sinful practices.
The son of Chhaya, who was called also a Manu, was denominated Savarni, from being of the same caste Savarna() as his elder brother, the Manu Vaivaswata. He presides over the ensuing or eighth Manwantara; the particulars of which, and the following, I will now relate. In the period in which Savarni shall be the Manu, the classes of the gods will be Sutapas, Amitabhas, and Mukhyas; twenty one of each. The seven Rishis will be Diptimat, Galava, Rama, Kripa, Drauni; my son Vyasa will be the sixth, and the seventh will be Rishyasringa. The Indra will be Bali, the sinless son of Virochana, who through the favour of Vishnu is actually sovereign of part of Patala. The royal progeny of Savarni will be Virajas, Arvarivas, Nirmoha, and others.
The eternal Vishnu then assumes the character of Rudra, the destroyer, and descends to reunite all his creatures with himself. He enters into the seven rays of the sun, drinks up all the waters of the globe, and causes all moisture whatever, in living bodies or in the soil, to evaporate; thus drying up the whole earth. The seas, the rivers, the mountain torrents, and springs, are all exhaled; and so are all the waters of Patala, the regions below the earth. Thus fed, through his intervention, with abundant moisture, the seven solar rays dilate to seven suns, whose radiance glows above, below, and on every side, and sets the three worlds and Patala on fire. The three worlds, consumed by these suns, become rugged and deformed throughout the whole extent of their mountains, rivers, and seas; and the earth, bare of verdure, and destitute of moisture, alone remains, resembling in appearance the back of a tortoise. The destroyer of all things, Hari, in the form of Rudra, who is the flame of time, becomes the scorching breath of the serpent sesha, and thereby reduces Patala to ashes. The great fire, when it has burnt all the divisions of Patala, proceeds to the earth, and consumes it also. A vast whirlpool of eddying flame then spreads to the region of the atmosphere, and the sphere of the gods, and wraps them in ruin.