THE IDEAL OF BHAGAVATA PURANA.
A DISCOURSE BETWEEN VYASA AND NARADA
"I have duly respected the Vedas, the teachers and the sacrificial fire, I have put the sense of all the Vedas into the Mahabharata and have made their sacred lore accessible to all classes of men. I have done all this, nay, much more. Still I think my work is not fully done." So thought Veda Vyasa, the adept author of the Kali Yuga, while meditating on the sacred banks of the Sarasvati, and his heart became heavy with something, he knew not what. At this time Narada appeared before him-Narada, who knew all that transpired in the Triloki and who could enter into the hearts of all beings. "Thou hast fully known," said Narada, "all that is knowable, for thou hast written the excellent Mahabharata, which leaves ,nothing unsaid. How is it then thou feelest dispirited as if thy object were not gained?" What could Vyasa say in reply; he only inquired from the seer Narada the cause of his uneasiness.
Narada entered into a free criticism of the Bhagavat Gita, the philosophical portion of the Mahabharata, pointed out its shortcomings and suggested to Vyasa what next to do. A few remarks will be necessary to understand all this.
There are seven planes- Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Jana, Tapas and Satya. Bhur is the terrestrial plane. Bhuvar is the astral plane. Svar is the plane of Kama and desires.
These three planes, collectively known as Triloki, are the planes of personality. Kama is the guiding principle of existence in Triloki, and a recurrence of births and re-births its main characteristic. With every Night of Brahma, this triple plane comes to an end, transferring its energies to the next higher plane, and is re-born with every Day of Brahma. Mahar is intermediate between Triloki and the three higher Lokas of Universality.
The Vedic school laid great stress on communion with the Devas of Svar Loka or Svarga or Indra Loka, and this was preeminently known as Vedic Yajna. The performance of Vedic Yajna led only to a prolonged gratification of karma in Svar Loka. But however long the period might be, it was limited by the magnitude of the force (Apurva) which buoyed up the individuality in the Svar Loka. As the Gita says, when the merits are exhausted the observer of Vedic Dharma enters again into the transitory plane. The course of births and re-births is then set up anew, with constant transformations and with all the miseries of existence conditioned by personality.
This was not Mukti or liberation. The followers of the post-vedic or Upanishad school contended that liberation lay in crossing the triple plane of individuality to the higher cosmic planes of universality. When an individual reaches the higher planes, he does not again become subject to transformations, and to the constant recurrence of births and re-births. There is one continued life, one continued existence in the higher planes, till the end of cosmos or the Life of Brahma. This life is not measured by personalities but is the cosmical life, and the individuality becomes a cosmical entity. Further there is life also beyond the cosmos, in the highest plane, the abode of the Supreme.
The Gita only incidentally describes the highest plane in the following sloka:-
"That is _ my supreme abode, by reaching which (Jivas) do not recur (to fresh births). Not the Sun, not the Moon, not even fire illumines that."-XV. 6.
Krishna also refers to that plane in VIII. 20 and XV. 4. 5.
The Gita lays down Nishkama Karma, or the unselfish performance of the duties of life (Sva-dharma) as the first step towards reaching the higher planes. The sense of separateness is killed by Nishkama Karma. Then the Gita takes the disciple to Upasana or communion with the Purusha of the highest plane, but scarcely a glimpse is given of that plane and its surroundings. The Mahabharata does not throw any light on the dwellers of the higher planes, nor does it give any details of those planes.
Without any distinct prospect of trans-Triloki life, one is asked to adhere to the duties appertaining to one's own sphere of life (Sva-dharma) and to perform those duties unselfishly. However transitory the things of Triloki may be, there are attractions enough for the frail sons of Manu , abounding in passions and desires. What can then bind a m an to the higher planes and the highest Purusha of those planes or Bhagavan? It is only a description of the grandeur and the glory of those planes and of Bhagavan. Such description begets Bhakti or holy attachment, and it is this Bhakti which sets up a real communion with Bhagavan. Frail as man is, the mere performance of du ties makes hi m attached to them, unless he is bound to the higher planes by the tie of holy attachment. The Gita is however silent as to the attractions of the higher planes and of Bhagavan. This was the defect pointed out by Narada.
"O thou great Muni, as thou hast treated of Dharma and of other things, so thou hast not recited the glory of Vasudeva ". I. 5. 9.
"This universe is also an aspect of Bhagavan, for its creation, preservation and end proceed from Him. Thou knowest all this thyself. But thou hast shown to others only a portion of this truth."-1. 5. 20.
"Salutations to Thee, Bhagavan, let me meditate on Vasudeva. Salutations to Pradyumna, Aniruddha and to Sankarshana. He who, by naming these murtis in the murtiless, whose only murti is mantra, makes offerings to Yajna Purusha, is the complete seer."-!. 5. 37-38. A mystery lies veiled in this Sloka.
But who is this Narada? Why should we accept his authority? Narada was therefore careful to give his own account, elaborated by the enquiries of Vyasa. All students of occultism will do well to read carefully this account which forms a fitting preliminary to the Bhagavata.
ACCOUNT OF NARADA
SKANDHA I. CHAP. 5 & 6
"In the previous Kalpa, in my former birth, I was born of a certain maid-servant of Vedic Rishis. Certain Yogis had collected at a place to pass the rainy season and I was engaged as a boy to serve them. Seeing me void of all fickleness as a boy and self-controlled, the Munis, who looked on all with equal eyes, were kind to me, especially as I gave up play, followed them, served them and ta l ked little. With the permission of the regenerated I at one time partook of the remnants of their meal and the impurities of my mind were all removed. When thus my mind became pure, my inclination grew towards their Dharma. By their favor i heard them sing the beautiful stories of Krishna. Hearing those stories every day with faith, I gained holy love for Krishna. Through that love my mind became fixed in Him and I came to perceive my Sthula and Sukshma bodies as only false reflections of the real Self or Brahma. The Bhakti that grew up in me destroyed my Rajas and Tamas. Then when the kind Rishis were about to leave the place, they imparted to me the most occult knowledge which had been given to them by Bhagavan himself. Through that knowledge I have known the Maya of Bhagavan. It is by that knowledge that one reaches the plane of Bhagavan. As I cultivated, this occult knowledge, Bhagavan appeared Himself and gave me knowledge and powers direct."
[Sridhara Swami, the commentator of Bhagavata Purana notes the following points in the above story-( I ) Seva, i. e., service of and attendance on Mahatmas, (2) their. kripa or favor, (3) trust in their Dharma, (4) hearing the stories of Bhagavan, (S) attachment to Bhagavan, (6) knowledge of Self by the discrimination of the Sthula and the Sukshma body, (7) firm Bhakti, (8) knowledge of the reality of Bhagavan, (9) at the last the appearance of omniscience and other powers through the favor of Bhagavan.]
What followed then, inquired Vyasa? Narada continued:-
"Sometime after my teachers, the Bhikshus, had gone away, my mother died of snake-bite. I deemed that an act of God and went towards the North. After crossing several forests, rivers and mountains, I at last reached a solitary forest and there sat under a pipal tree. As directed by my teachers, I meditated on self in self through self. My mind had been completely conquered by Bhakti. As I was devotedly meditating on the lotus feet of Bhagavan with tear-drops in my eyes, Hari gradually appeared in my heart. 0 Muni, the hairs of my body stood on end through exuberance of holy love, I was completely lost in joy and knew not either self or any other. The indescribable Isvara spoke thus in solemn words:
"0 thou that dost not deserve to see me in this life, I am difficult to be seen by imperfect Yogis, whose likes and dislikes have not been completely burnt up. I have shown myself to thee that thy Kama may all be centered i n me. When I am the object of Kama, the Sadhu gives up all other desires. By prolonged service of Mahatmas, thy mind is firmly fixed in me. Therefore shalt thou give up this faulty body and acquire my companionship. The mind fixed in me is never destroyed in creation or in pralaya, nor does the memory fail.' "
"So saying Isvara disappeared. In time, when I was drawn towards the pure body with which I was favored by Bhagavan, the body of my five Bhutas fell down on the extinction of my Prarabdha Karma. When the Kalpa came to an end my new body was indrawn by the breath of Brahma who was going to sleep. After one thousand Yuga Cycles, when Brahma awoke and desired to create, I, Marichi, and other Rishis came out. Since then I have invariably observed Brahmacharya and through the favor of Vishnu have been travelling all over Triloki, both inside and outside, my passage being wholly unobstructed. The Devas gave me this Veena which is adorned with Svara-Brahma. By playing upon this Veena I send forth songs of Hari all round. These songs are the only means of crossing the ocean of recurring lives."
[This is the mystery of Narada as related in the Pu ran as. Narada is the repository of occult knowledge from the previous Kalpa. The first and foremost adept of this Kalpa, his mission is to spread occult knowledge, by unceasingly playing on the seven musical notes. He is ever watchful and always bides his time in all cyclic changes. He is the only Rishi of whom the Veena is a constant accompaniment, as it is of the goddess Sarasvati. His sphere of action is Triloki, and the dwellers of Bhur, Bhuvar, and Svar alike respect him. He is the universal counsellor, even of the highest ·Devas and of the highest Rishis. His constant mission is the good of the Universe. One thing is said of him, that he sometimes serves his purpose by setting one against another and amongst the ignorant his name is a bye-word for quarrel. However that be, the greatest good of the Universe in this Kalpa has been always done by him. It is under his inspiration that Valmlki and Vyasa wrote their most occult works, and his benign influence is observed in all universal changes for god. The Bhagvata recites his constant endeavors to do good and we shall consider them in detail hereafter.]
SK. I. Ch. 18 & SK. II CH. I.
Vyasa drew upon his inspiration and wrote the Bhagavata. He taught this Purana to his son, the wonderful Suka. Suka did not marry, as Rishis in his time did. He left his home and roamed about the world at large, stark naked. The separation was painful to Vyasa and he went out in search of his son. While he passed near a tank, the Apsarases, who were freely indulging in play, hastily drew up their clothes, feeling ashamed. "Strange!" exclaimed Vyasa, I am old and covered. But when my young son, wholly uncovered, went this way, you remained unmoved." And the Deva-ladies replied, "Thy son knows not man and woman, but thou knowest." This exalted Suka was the worthy propounder of the Bhagavata Purana.
Raja Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjuna, the successor of Raja Yudisthira on the throne of Hastinapura, forgot himself in a fit of anger and placed a dead serpent round the neck of a Rishi. For this he was cursed by the Rishi's son to meet with untimely death at the end of a week. The Raja became penitent and deemed the curse an act of God. He prepared himself for death and took up his abode on the sacred banks of the Ganges in company with all the Rishis. The Raja asked what a man on the point of death should do. The Rishis present could not give any satisfactory answer. At this time Suka appeared, followed by a host of boys, who took him to be a mad man. Suka was then only sixteen with long flowing hairs and well-built body, blooming with nature’s beauty. All rose up as they saw the very young Rishi, and gave him the first seat. He related the Bhagavata Purana to Parikshit in seven days.
The Raja repeated his question to Suka -" What is a dying man, specially one who desires to attain Moksha, to do? What are the duties of men and what are they not to do?"
Suka replied: - "A man on the approach of death is to give up all fear of death and is to cut off all likes and dislikes by dispassion. He is to leave his house, bathe in pure water and duly make his asana in some solitary place. He is then to meditate on the three lettered Pranava with mind concentrated by Dharana and Dhyana till he attains samadhi'. If, however, his mind gets distracted by Rajas and Tamas, he is again and again to practice Dharana."
"What Dharana is it that speedily brings on concentration and purity of mind?" was the next question.
Suka replied:-"Dharana of the Sthula aspect of Bhagavana, by a fully controlled mind." He then went on dilating on the Sthula or Universe aspect, called Virat Purusha or Mahapurusha. The present, the past, the future is manifest in that aspect. The Virata Purusha is the soul of an Egg-like body with a seven-fold cover of earth, water, fire, air, akasa, Ahankara, and Mahat, respectively.
Patala is His feet, Rasatala His heels, Mahatala His ankles, Talatala His legs, Sutala His knees, Vitala the lower portion of His thighs, and Atala the upper portion.
Bhur Loka is His loins, Bhuvar Loka His navel, Svar Loka His breast, Mahar Loka His throat, Jana Loka His mouth, Tapas Loka His forehead, and Satya Loka is the head of the thousand-headed Virat Purusha. Indra and other Usra Devas (the world Usra meaning, literally, a ray of light) are his hands.
The Dik or space gods are his ears. The twin gods Asvini Kumara are his nose. Agni is His mouth. The firmament is His eyes and the Sun-god His sight. Day and night are His eye-lashes. The graceful movement of His eye-brows is the abode of the Supreme. Water is His palate, taste His tongue. The Vedas are known as His Brahma-randhra. Yama is His tusk. The objects of affection are His teeth. His enchanting smile is Maya. The endless creation is His side-glance. His lower lip is shame, and the upper greed. Dharma is His breast. Adharma His back. Prajapati is His generative organ. The Mitra-Varuna gods are His sense of taste. The seas are His belly, the mountains His bony system and the rivers His veins and arteries. The trees are the hairs of the Universe-bodied. The powerful wind-god is His breath. Time is His movement. His play is the flow of Gunas. The clouds are His hairs. Twilight is His clothing. Prakriti is His heart. His manas is the moon, which is the source of all transformations. Mahat is His Chitta. Rudra is His Ahankara. Horses, mules, camels and elephants are His nails. All the other animals are His loins. The birds are His wonderful art. He is the abode of Manu, Buddhi and Man. Gandharva, Vidyadhara, Charana and Apsaras are His musical notes. The Asuras are His strength. The Brahmana is His mouth, the Kshatriya His hands, the Vaisya His thighs, and the black Sudra His feet. The Devas severally and collectively are His havis or sacrificial ghee, and yajna is His karma.
This is Virat Purusha. This is how the Universe-aspect of Purusha is realized in meditation, more as a means of concentration, than as the end. When the mind is sufficiently fixed by Dharana or contemplation of Virat Purusha, it has next to meditate on the Purusha in the heart.
THE PURUSHA IN ALL HEARTS.
SKANDHA II., CHAP. 2.
Some meditate within their own body on the Purusha of the size of pradesa (the space of the thumb and forefinger) in the space covered by the heart, who dwells there. He has four hands containing Sankha (conch), chakra (a sharp circular missile), Gada (club) and Padma (lotus). His face is smiling, His eyes are as wide as lotus petals, and His cloth is yellow as the filament of the Kadamba flower. His armlets glitter with gems and gold. His crown and earrings sparkle with brilliant stones. Adepts in Yoga place His feet on the pericarp of the full blown lotus in the heart. With Him is Sri (Lakshmi). The Kaustubha gem is on His neck. He is adorned with a garland of ever blooming wild flowers. His hair is curling and deep blue. His very look is full of kindness to all.
As long as the mind is not fixed by Dharana, meditate on this form of lsvara, with the help of thy imagination. Concentrate your mind on one limb after another, beginning with the feet of Vishnu and ending with His smiling face. Try to grasp every limb in thought and then proceed to the next higher. Bu t as long as Bhakti or Devotion is not developed, do not fail to contemplate also on the Universe aspect of Purusha.
THE DEATH OF THE YOGI AND AFTER,
SKANDHA II., CHAP. 2.
When all desires are controlled by meditation, and the Yogi is lost in the contemplation of Vishnu, he sits in proper posture, pressing his feet against the anus and perseveringly draws the vital air upwards to the six centers. He draws the air in the navel Centre (Manipur) to the cardiac plexus, thence to the plexus beneath the throat (Visuddha), thence gradually by intuition to the root of the palate. Thence he takes the vital air to Ajna chakra, which is situated between the two eye-rows. Then he controls the seven holes (the ears, the eyes, the nostrils and the mouth). He then looks steadily for half a Muhurta, and if he has not a trace of desire left in him gives up the body and the Indriyas, passes out through the Brahma-randhra and attains the state of Vishnu.
[It will be noticed above that six plexuses are mentioned other than the Sacral and the prostatic. In the death of the desireless Yogi, there is no record of thereafter, for nothing is known beyond our cosmos.]
"But, O king;' said Suka, "if the Yogi seeks for the highest cosmic state or for the roamings of aerial Siddhas over the whole of cosmos, in full control of the eight Siddhis, he will then take his Manas and Indriyas with him. It is said that these Masters of Yoga can move both inside and outside Triloki, for their Linga Sarira consists of the atmos of air. The state attained by those that acquire Samadhi by Upsana, Tapas and Yoga cannot be reached by Vedic Karma. In space when the Yogi moves towards the Brahma Loka or Satya Loka, he first goes by means of his Sushumna Nadi to Vaisvanara or the fire-god for the Sushumna by its light extends beyond the body. His impurities being all washed away, he goes upwards to the Sisumara Chakra of Hari (i.e., up to the highest point of Triloki, as will be explained afterwards). Then crossing that Chakra of Vishnu, which is the navel of the Universe, he reaches the Maharloka with his pure Linga Sarira. There the dwellers of Swarga cannot go. Mahar Loka is the abode of Brahmavids, where Bhrigu and other adepts who live for a whole Kalpa dwell.
"The Yogi remains in Mahar Loka till the end of the Kalpa, when, seeing the Triloki burnt up by fire from the mouth of Ananta or Sankarshana, the fires reaching even Mahar Loka, he moves towards the abode of Paramesthi (Satya Loka or Brahma Loka ). This highest Loka lasts for two Pararddhas and is adorned by the chariots of the kings of Siddhas. There is no sorrow in Brahma Loka, no infirmity, no death, no misery, no fear of any kind. But the Yogi suffers from mental pain caused by sympathy with those that suffer for their ignorance of the supreme state in the recurrence of births with their endless miseries.
There are three courses for those that go to Brahma Loka. Some by the excellence of their merits get responsible cosmical positions at the next Kalpa. Others remain in the Brahma Loka till the end of the cosmos or Brahmanda. The Upasakas of Bhagavan however may at their will pierce through the cosmos or Brahmanda and reach the trans-cosmic plane of Vishnu. The text goes on to say how this is done. The cosmos consists of seven Patalas and seven Lokas, together forming the fourteen-fold Bhuvana, which extends over 50 Krores of Yojanas (1 Yojana = 8 miles). Surrounding this is a covering of the earthy principle, such as was not used up in the formation of the cosmos, extending over one krore of yojanas. (According to some this covering extends over 50 krores of yojanas.) The second cover is of water, extending over ten times as much space as earth, the third of fire, the fourth of air, the fifth of akasa, the sixth of Ahankara, the seventh of Mahat, each covering ten times as much space as the one preceding. The eighth cover is Prakriti, which is all pervading. The Linga Sarira of the Yogi in passing through the earthy cover, becomes earthy, through water becomes watery, and through fire, fiery. With the fiery body he goes to the air cover and with the airy cover to the akasa cover. He passes also through the Tanmatras and senses them. He passes through Prana itself and becomes all action. Having thus crossed the Sthula and Sukshma coverings, the Yogi teaches the sixth covering that of the Transformable or Ahankara Tatva, which is the absorber of the Tanmatras and of the Indriyas. Thence he goes to Mahat Tatva and thence to Pradhana, where all the Gunas find their resting place. Then becoming all Pradhana himself full of bliss, he attains with the exhaustion of all upadhis the trans-cosmic Atma, which is Peace and Bliss.
These are the two ways to Mukti, the one prompt and the other deferred as sung in the Vedas.
[The following Diagram may be of some help in understanding the above:-
KEY TO THE CIRCLE.
M'= Mahat cover 1,000,000 Krores or 50,000,000 Krores Yojanas.
A"= Ahankara cover 100,000 or 5,000,000 Krores Yojanas.
A'= Akas cover 10,000 or 500,000 Krores Yojanas.
V = Vayu cover 1000 or 50,000 Krores Yojanas.
T'=Tejas cover 100 or 5000 Krores Yojanas.
A = Apas cover 10 or 500 Krores Yojanas.
E = Earth cover 1or 50 Krores Yojanas.
A' to E =Includes Tanmatras, Indriyas and Prana. Prakriti surrounds the whole circle.]
S'= Satya Loka
M = Mahar Loka
S = Svar Loka
B' = Bhuvar Loka
B = Bhur Loka
P = Seven Patalas
S-to-P = 50 Krores Yojanas.
WHAT MEN ARE TO DO AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT TO DO
SKANDHA l I. CHAP. 3
This was the second part of Parikshit's question, and to this general question, the answer is also general. Those that want divine glory worship Brahma. Those that want their Indriyas to be powerful worship Indra and so on. But those that are desirous of Moksha must practice Bhakti Yoga towards the supreme Purusha. of all Upasakas, this is the only means of attaining supreme bliss, unswerving Bhakti or devotion to Bhagavan and the company of Bhagavatas.
THE BHAGAVATA PURANA AS RELATED BY BRAHMA TO NARADA.
SKANDHA II. CHAP. 4-6.
Parikshit next asked "How did Bhagavan create this Universe, how does He preserve it, how will He draw it in? What are the Saktis by which He manifests Himself directly and indirectly? What are His actions?"
Suka replied, these were the very questions asked by Narada of his father Brahma.
Brahma replied: - Wishing to become manifold, the Lord of Maya, influenced Kala, Karma and Svabhava, by his own Maya. (Kala is the flow of Time and is, according to the Bhagavata Purana, the Sakti of Purusha. Karma is the adrishta of Jiva or the Jiva record of the previous Kalpa. Svabhava is 'the essence of Prakriti). Under the influence of Purusha, the first disturbance in the equilibrium of the Gunas follows from Kala, transformation follows from Svabhava and the development of Mahat Tatva follows from Karma. When Rajas and Tamas manifest themselves in Mahat Tatva, it is transformed into Ahankara Tatva, with predominant Tamas. Ahankara Tatva by transformation becomes threefold:- Satvika, Rajasika and Tamasika, i.e., Jnana Sakti (potency to produce the Devas), Kriya Sakti (potency to produce the Indriyas), and Dravya Sakti (potency to produce the Bhutas), respectively.
Tamasa Ahankara was first transformed into Akasa, Akasa into Vayu, Vayu into Agni, Agni into Apas, and Apas into Prithivi. Satvika Ahankara was transformed into Manas and the ten Vaikarika Devas.
[The Vaikarika Devas are the Adhidevas or the Energy-giving gods of the ten Indriyas. Sen sing is in Ma n or Adhi-Atma, it is of the object or Adhi-bhuta and is caused by Vaikarika Deva or AdhiDeva. Thus the object seen is Adhibhuta, the sight is Adhyatma and the manifesting Energy of sight is Adhideva.]
The Vaikarika Devas are Dik for Hearing; Vayu for Touch; Sun for Sight; Varuna for Taste; Asvini Kumaras for Smell; Agni for Speech; Indra for Pani or action of the hand; Upendra or Vishnu for Pada or action of the foot ; Mitra or Yama for Payu or excretion; and Prajapati for Upastha or generation. Rajasika Ahankara was transformed into the ten Indriyas.
[The foregoing can be shown in the following table:-
This is the Karana creation or the creation of the materials of the Individual creation. They could not, however, unite and proceed further with the work of creation. The Sakti of Bhagavan then permeated them and the cosmic Egg or Brahmanda was formed.
The Egg remained for a thousand years unconsciously submerge in the primal waters. Purusha then influenced Kala, Karma and Svabhava to send forth vitality into it. It is this Purusha that emerged from the Egg with thousands of heads and thousands of limbs and is known as Virat Purusha. The seven Lokas and the seven Patalas are parts of His body. This is the first Avatara, the Adi Purusha that creates, preserves and destroys. All the objects of creation are His Avataras, or Saktis or Vibhutis. The Lila Avatars of Virat Purusha or special Incarnations for the preservation of the Universe are detailed below.
II-PRESERVATION BY LILA AVATARAS.
SKANDHA lI. CHAP. 7.
1. Varaha - In order to raise the Earth from the waters, the Purusha adopted the body of Varaha or Boar and killed with His tusks the first Daitya Hiranyaksha.
2. Yajna was born of Ruchi and Akuti. The Suyama Devas were born of Yajna. He dispelled the fears of Triloki.
3. Kapila-was born of Kardama Prajapati and his wife Devahuti. He taught Brahma Vidya to his mother.
4. Dattatreya - He preached Yoga to his disciples, who acquired powers and became liberated.
5. The Kumaras -Sanat Kumara, Sanaka, Sanandana and Sanatana. They completely promulgated the Atma Vidya, which had been lost in Pralaya.
6. Nara Narayana - They were born of Dharma and his wife Murti, daughter of Daksha. Their Tapas was so great that the Deva ladies could not shake it.
7. Dhruva - Though a boy, he could not bear the words of his step-mother. He went into the forests and made Tapas. He was rewarded with ascent to Dhruva Loka or the region of the polar star.
8. Prithu - He milked out riches and edibles from the earth.
9. Rishabha - Rishabha was the son of Nabhi by Sudevi or Meru Devi. He roamed about as Parama Hansa.
10. Hayagriva - This horse-headed Avatara appeared in the Vedic Yajna and promulgated the Vedas.
11. Matsya - Vaivasvata Manu found out this Avatara at the end of a cycle of Yugas. He preserved all beings and the Vedas from the waters of the Deluge.
12. Kurma - At the great churning of the Ocean, the Tortoise Avatara supported the Mandara mountain.
13. Nrisimha - The Man-Lion Avatara killed Hiranya Kasipu.
14. Hari saved the Elephant King of the famous story of Gajendra Moksha.
15. Vamana measured the Triloki by His two steps.
16. Hansa related Bhakti Yoga, Gnana and Bhagavata Purana to Narada.
17. The presiding deity of each Manvantara.
18. Dhanvantati promulgated the science of medicine.
19. Parasu Rama suppressed the Kshatriyas who became disregardful of the Brahmanas and the Sastras.
20. Rama destroyed Lanka and killed Ravana.
21. Rama and Krishna - The tenth Canto of Bhagavata is entirely devoted to their deeds.
22. Vyasa - He divided the trunk of the Veda tree into several branches.
23. Buddha - When the Asuras came to know the Vedic mysteries and to oppress people, Buddha incarnated Himself in order to confound them by preaching a variety of by-religions.
24. Kalki will appear before the end of Kali Yuga, to set things right.
Besides these Lila Avataras, there are Maya Guna Avataras and Vibhutis or Saktis.
In creation these are: - Tapas, Brahma, the Rishis, and the Nine Prajapatis.
In preservation they are: - Dharma, Vishnu, Manu, Devas and Kings.
In Pralaya they are:- Adharma, Siva, Serpents and Asuras.
O Narada, this is, in brief, the Bhagavata Purana. You relate it to others in a much more expanded form, so that people may have Bhakti or Divine attachment to Bhagavan.
[THOUGHTS ON THE ABOVE.-The above account of creation relates to Triloki and to the dwellers of Triloki. After creation, some come down from the higher planes and hold responsible positions as we have already seen. The Vaikarika Devas, who may be identified with the Vedic Devas, are created or rather manifested in the Triloki before the Individual creation. They appertain to what the Purana calls Karana or causal Creation. The Vaikritika Devas and Deva yonis, known as Elementals in Theosophical language, are created according to their Karma in the previous Kalpa and are subject to gradual evolution during the Kalpa. The Vaikarika Devas, however, remain as they are du ring the whole of the Kalpa. Similarly the Devas of the higher planes, e.g., Kumudas, Ribhus, Pratardanas, Anjanabhas and Pratitabhas of Mahar Loka, Brahma Purohitas, Brahma Kayikas, Brahma Maha Kayikas and Amaras of Jana Loka, Abhasvaras, Maha bhasvaras, and Satya Mahabhasvaras of Tapas Loka and Achyutas, Suddha Nibasas, Satyabhas and Sanjna Sanjnins of Satya Loka '- these are not affected by creation in Triloki. The dwellers of those Lokas other than Devas are also similarly not affected. The story of creation is a simple one. As the Linga Purana says, when Earth is scorched up in the summer season, it becomes fallow and the roots of' vegetation remain underground. They, however, wait for the rainy season to germinate again and grow in all the varieties of the previous vegetation. Similarly when the previous creation is burnt up by the fires of Pralaya, the roots remain imbedded in Prakriti, which becomes fallow. The fallowness is removed on the approach of the creative period or Kala. Kala, according to Bhagavata, is a Sakti of Purush or the Unmanifested Logos. Then transformation follows in Prakriti according to Svabhava or the inerent nature of Prakriti and Karma, or the root-record of the previous Kalpa gives shape to the transformation.
Creation is divided into two stages. First the creation of the principles themselves or Tatvas, which unite to form globes and individuals. This is called Karana creation. Secondly the creation of individuals and of globes. This is called Karya or resultant creation. Following the law of periodicity, the First Purusha energizes the latent Karma or Jiva-record 'if the previous Kalpa, and prepares the ground for the development of that Karma, by setting Prakriti into active transformation. This is the First Life Wave which caused the principles to appear by themselves. The First Purusha permeated these principles as pure Atma.
But the principles could not unite to make the form", and to make individuals and globes. Purusha, as pure Atma could not guide them further, as the gulf between Purusha and Prakriti was too wide. So Purusha had to limit Himself further, by uniting with Mula Prakriti, as one undivided whole, and so becoming the guiding principle of all individual workings in our universe, the pervader of all individuals and globes as Atma-Buddhi. The Universe as a whole is represented as an Egg, and the Second Purusha or Virat Purusha is the soul of that Egg. Individuals and globes appear as germs in that Egg, and are all brought into manifestation in time by the Third Purusha Brahma.
The Second Purusha is called the First Avatara and the seed and resting place of all other Avataras. An Avatara is a highly evolved Jiva, that has attained the Logoic state and that comes down from his exalted position, to serve the universe. Why is the second Purusha called an Avatara? The Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad raises the veil a little on this point.
“This was before Atma, bearing the shape of man (the first born from the Egg, the embodied soul, the Virat with heads and other members of the body) Looking round, he beheld nothing, but himself. He said first: ' This am I. Hence the name of I was produced…And because he as the first of all of them consumed by fire all the sins, therefore he is called Purusha. He verily consumes him, who strives to obtain the state of Prajapati, prior to him.." , Sankaracharya explains the u nder-lined portion as follows :-" And be cause he, " Prajapati in a former birth, which is the cause, as the first of those who were desirous to obtain the state of Prajapati by the exercise of reflection on works and knowledge, viz, "as the first of all of them," of all those desirous of obtaining the state of Prajapati, consumed by the perfect exercise of reflection in works and knowledge all the sins of contact, which are obstacles to the acquirement of the state ' of Prajapati’ because such was the case,-therefore he is called Purusha, because, he, pur (first) (did) ush (burn)... Therefore by the words : "He consumes him," - it is meant, that the perfect performer obtains the highest state of Prajapati, he, who is less perfect, does not obtain it, and by no means, that the less perfect performer is actually consumed by the perfect.
"Here the word Prajapati refers to the Second Purusha.
The state of the Second Purusha is the highest achievement of Jiva. It is the meeting ground of Jiva and the Supreme Purusha. The Second Purusha may be different for each Kalpa, it may be for each Brahmanda. He is the isvara, the Lord of our Universe. He holds the whole creation unto His bosom, and is the sustaining force of all. In the three aspects of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, he guides the creation, the preservation and the dissolution of the Universe. Those that could not attain His state, though they strove for it equally as eminent as the Second Purusha, that are to become the Second Purusha in perhaps another Kalpa or Brahmanda, are the Lila Avataras. They remain merged in the Second Purusha or isvara and they manifest themselves in the Universe, only when a necessity arises for their manifestation. The Bhagavata contends that of all Lila Avataras, only Krishna is Purusha Himself the others being only partial manifestations of Purusha.'
"These are the parts and aspects of Purusha Krishna is Bhagavan Himself."-I-3-28.
Tamas is dark, opaque and heavy on the physical plane, indolent and ignorant on the mental plane, non-perceptive on the spiritual plane.
Rajas is translucent, and constantly moving on the physical plane; distracted constantly, acquiring likes and dislikes, and exercising intellection on the mental plane ; and partially perceptive on the spiritual plane.
Satva is light and transparent on the physical plane, cheerful and buoyant on the mental plane, and fully perceptive on the spiritual plane. True perception and real knowledge follow from Satva. By partial understanding and semblance of knowledge, the results of Rajas, people become distracted and led astray.
. Tamas keeps? own all beings and enchains them to materiality in the course. of evolution, and there is a point in the downfall of beings as well as of globes, beyond which there is a complete break-down. Satva counteracts Tamas and the preservation and improvement of the Universe, rather of Triloki, therefore mean the infusion of Satva. Vishnu represents Satva and so Vishnu is the Preservative aspect of Virata Purusha. When Rajas and Tamas predominate in Triloki, when the lowest plane Bhur becomes heavy with Tamas, the Lila Avataras appear and infuse Satva into the Lokas.
SKANDHA I., CHAP : 2-34.
"This Preserver of Lokas preserves the Lokas by means of Satva, by incarnating in Deva, Animal, Human and their kingdoms as Lila Avataras.
The Third Purusha is Brahma i n Creation, Vishnu in Preservation and Siva in dissolution. Vishnu as the Atma in each being manifests Himself in action consciousness and will. Brahma is the propelling power in the Involution of beings, which gives them their physical body. Vishnu is the propelling force in the evolution of beings through physiological action (Prana), sensation, intellect, and lastly the development of the spiritual faculties.
THE BHAGAVATA PURANA AND ITS PARTS.
SKANDHA II., CHAP. I0.
The next question of Raja Parikshit was most comprehensive. It related to all knowledge of the Universe in all details. In answering the question, Suka related the whole of the Purana, from beginning to end. In doing so, the Muni gave a short introduction as to the history of the Purana. When Brahma regained his drowsy consciousness at the dawn of the present Kalpa, he knew not how to bring back the former state of things. He practiced Tapas. Then Bhagavan appeared and related to him the Bhagavata Purna. Brahma taught the Purana to his son Narada. Narada gave it to Vyasa, and Vyasa to his son Suka.
The Purana. has ten parts :-
1. Sarga- the creation of the Bhutas, Tanmatras, Indriyas, Ahankara and Mahat, or of the materials that form individuals, and the appearance of Virat Purusha.
2. Visarga - the Individual creation by Brahma or the creation of the individual life forms.
3. Sthana - the preservation of the created beings in their own states by-Bhagavan.
4. Poshana- the divine favor to those that properly remain in their own states.
5. Manvantara - the duties of the Rulers of Manvantaras.
6. Uti - desires that bind one to Triloki.
7. Isanukatha - stories of the Avataras and of the followers of Hari.
8. Nirodha - the sleep of Hari and of all individual souls a Pralaya.
9. Mukthi - the continued perception of the identity of self and of Brahma.
10. Asraya - The Final Resort, Para Brahma or Paramatma from whom Creation and Dissolution both proceed.
This brings us to the end of the Second Skandha.