1) KURMA PURANA

(The samudra manthana story is given in great detail in the Ramayana and the Mahabharataa. As for Lakshmi, some of the Puranas state that she was born as the daughter of Khyati and the sage Bhrigu. She was then married to Vishnu. But the demons defeated the gods and Indra….

Continue reading

2) Indradyumna

Many years ago, there was a king named Indradyumna. He ruled the world well and, when he died, was reborn as a brahmana, (The brahmanas constitute the first of the four classes, their primary duties are to study the Vedas and perform sacrifices.)     As a brahmana, Indradyumna observed…

Continue reading

3) VarnAshrama Dharma

Vishnu said that before creation began, there was only water in the universe and Vishnu slept on these waters. When it was time for creation to begin, Brahma emerged from Vishnu’s body. And Shiva emerged from Vishnu’s anger. Lakshmi too was created from Vishnu’s body and took her place by…

Continue reading

4) Creation

Vishnu next narrated to the gods and the sages the history of creation.   In the beginning, the Brahman was everywhere. The Brahman had no form, but nor was it without form. It had no beginning and no end. It had no traits, but nor was it without traits. The…

Continue reading

5) A Digression on Time

The smallest unit of time is a nimesha. Fifteen nimeshas make one kashtha, thirty kashthas are one kala and thirty kalas constitute one muhurta. There are thirty muhurtas in a span of day and night (ahoratra). Thirty such ahoratras make up a month. There are two pakshas (fortnight) in every…

Continue reading

6) The Boar Incarnation

A Varaha is a boar and the boar incarnation is usually catalogued as the third of Vishnu’s ten incarnations.   When the universe was submerged in water after the destruction that came at the end of padma kalpa, Vishnu slept on the waters. Thus he slept for a thousand mahayugas….

Continue reading

7) Creation continued

Brahma first created five sons through his mental powers. Their names were Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Kratu and Sanatakumara These five sons became sages and did not have any offspring.  Brahma therefore had  to  create some more beings  so  that  the population  of the universe  might  increase.  But  prior  to  that,…

Continue reading

8) Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva

The gods and the sages told Vishnu, “We are getting a bit confused. You have told us that Brahma emerged from Vishnu’s body. And yet you have also told us how Brahma was born inside a golden egg. Which of these is the correct account? Then again, you have told…

Continue reading

9) Rudra

Brahma returned to his seat on the lotus flower.   Suddenly, two demons named Madhu and Kaitabha appeared. They were exceedingly strong and threatened to destroy everything that Brahma would create. Brahma therefore requested Vishnu to kill these two demons. Vishnu created two beings from his own body and these…

Continue reading

10) Parvati’s Thousand Names

Shiva was married to Daksha’s daughter Sati. Sati died and was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya and his wife Mena (alternatively, Menaka). Parvati was married to Shiva.   In fact, Himalaya and Mena prayed so that they might have the goddess as their daughter. Pleased with their prayers,…

Continue reading

11) The Line of Uttanapada

It is hoped that you have not forgotten that Svayambhuva Manu and his wife Shatarupa had a son named Uttanapada. Uttanapada’s brother was Priyavarta. Dhruva was Uttanapada’s son. Dhruva was so devoted to Vishnu that Vishnu earmarked for him a place in the heaven known as Dhruvaloka. (Dhruva became the…

Continue reading

12) Daksha’s Story

Daksha was Brahma’s son and had a daughter named Sati. Sati was married to Shiva. Daksha was thus Shiva’s father-in-law.   Once Daksha came to visit his son-in-law. But although Shiva worshipped him with all due respect, Daksha felt that he had been slighted. Subsequently, when Sati went to visit…

Continue reading

13) Hiranyakashipu

Hiranyakashipu pleased Brahma through his prayers. As a result of the boon that he received from Brahma, he became invisible and started to oppress the world. He drove the gods out of heaven. The gods and the sages went to Brahma to persuade him to do something about Hiranyakashipu. “I…

Continue reading

14) Hiranyaksha

After Hiranyakashipu died, Hiranyaksha became the king of the demons.   Hiranyaksha promptly began to oppress the world. He defeated the gods and drove them out of heaven. He also took the earth down to the underworld. The gods again went to Brahma in   search  of  a  solution  and…

Continue reading

15) A Digression on Goutama

Many years ago, there was a terrible drought on earth. There was no food to be had and famine prevailed. There were several sages who lived in the forest, and they too, suffered from a lack of food.   Goutama was a very powerful sage and he had a hermitage…

Continue reading

16) Andhaka

While Shiva was gone, he left his companion Nandi to look after his household. He also gave Vishnu the overall responsibility of ensuring that all was well with Parvati and the gods and the sages.   Realising that Shiva was away, Andhaka thought that this was the opportune moment for…

Continue reading

17) Bali

With Andhaka thus taken care of, Prahlada’s son Virochana became the king of the demons. He ruled his kingdom well.   There was a sage named Sanatakumara who once went to visit Virochana. Virochana was delighted to see the sage and Sanatakumara instructed Virochana on the true nature of the…

Continue reading

18) Vana

Bali had a hundred sons, the eldest among whom was Vana. Vana was devoted to Shiva. He was also extremely powerful. He defeated Indra and conquered the three worlds.   Indra and the other gods went to Shiva. “Your devotee, Vana is oppressing us,” they told Shiva. “Please take care…

Continue reading

19) The Solar Dynasty

The sun-god, Vivasvana, was the son of Kashyapa and Aditi. He had four wives, Samjna, Rajni, Prabha and Chhaya.   Samjna’s son was Vaivasvata Manu. Rajni’s children were Yama, yamuna and Revanta. Savarni, Shani, Tapati and Vishti were Chhaya’s children and Prabha’s son was Prabhata.   (The names do not…

Continue reading

20) The Lunar Dynasty

Budha was the son of the moon-god Chandra. Budha married Ila and they had a son named Pururava.   Pururava married the apsara Urvashi and they had six sons. One of these sons was Ayu and amongst Ayu’s descendants was a king named Yayati.   Yayati had two wives. The…

Continue reading

21) Durjaya and Urvashi

There used to be a king named Durjaya. He was learned in the shastras and a good king. His wife was a beautiful and good woman. One day, King Durjaya went to the banks of the river Kalindi. There he met the apsara Urvashi and fell in love with her….

Continue reading

22) Krishna’s Tapasya

Krishna was the eight incarnation of Vishnu and he was born as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Initially, Krishna did not have any sons. Desirous of obtaining a son, Krishna went to visit the sage Upamanyu. The sage’s hermitage was beautiful. Wonderous were the trees and flowers and grew…

Continue reading

23) The YUGAS (Eras)

You probably remember that there are four yugas or eras – Satya Yuga or Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.   Lomaharshana next told the sages about the characteristics of these four eras.   Kali Yuga is the worst of the four eras. People are sinful and…

Continue reading

24) Lingas

A linga is an image of Shiva. There are several wonderful lingas in the wonderful city of Varanasi.   There is a gigantic linga named Omkara. Amongst other famous lingas located in the city are Krittivaseshvara, Madhyadeshvara, Vishveshvara and Kaparddishvara.   The Kurma Purana recites the glories of these lingas….

Continue reading

25) Geography and Astronomy

It is hoped that you have not forgotten that Svayambhuva Manu had a son named Priyavrata. Priyavrata had ten sons. Their names were Agnidhra, Agnivahu, Vapushmana, Dyutimana, Medha, Medhatithi, Bhavya, Savana, Putra and Jyotishmana.   Medha, Agnivahu and Putra had no desire to rule. They were not interested in material…

Continue reading

26) Manvantaras

You already know what a manvantara is. The titles of the seven great sages (saptarshi), the names of the gods and the title of Indra change from the manvantara to another.   In the present kalpa (cycle), six manvantaras have passed. The first Manu was Svayambhuva. The second Manu was…

Continue reading

27) Veda Vyasa

In every Dvapara Yuga, a Veda Vyasa is born so as to divide the Vedas and disseminate their knowledge. In the present era, there have been twenty-eight Dwapara Yugas and there have therefore been twenty-eight individuals who have held the title of Veda Vyasa. The Kurma Purana gives their names…

Continue reading

28) Shiva’s Incarnations

Most Puranas only mention Vishnu’s incarnations (avataras). The Kurma Purana is one of the great ones which mentions Shiva’s incarnations. In each Kali Yuga, Shiva has had an incarnation. The names of these incarnations are as follows. (1) Shveta. (2) Sutara. (3) Madana. (4) Suhotra. (5) Kankana. (6) Lokakshi.                          (7)…

Continue reading

29) The Ishvara Gita

While  Lomaharshana  was  reciting  the  Kurma  Purana  to  the  assembled  sages,  Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa arrived on the scene. Lomaharshana and the other sages requested Veda Vyasa to instruct them about the path to true knowledge. This is what Veda Vyasa told them.   The Paramatman (the divine soul) is…

Continue reading

30) Rituals

The sacred thread (upavita) ceremony is very important and must always be performed at eight year of age. Brahma had created the cotton tree so that sacred threads might be made out of cotton. But on occasions it is permissible to make sacred threads out of grass.   A guru…

Continue reading

31) The Sita who was an Illusion

It is certain that you know the story of the Ramayana and you therefore also known that Ravana, the king of Lanka, abducted Sita, Rama’s wife. But you certainly do not know the story of the Sita who was an illusion (maya Sita).   This story clearly illustrates that no…

Continue reading

32) Shiva and Brahma

Many years ago, Brahma lost his head slightly. He began to imagine that he was superior to Shiva and Vishnu. He told all the sages, “I am the supreme godhead. There is no one else but me.”   While Brahma was thus instructing the sages, Vishnu arrived and was enraged…

Continue reading

33) Nandi

There used to be a sage named Shilada. He was righteous and learned in the shastras. To obtain a son, Shilada began to pray to Shiva. The tapasya went on for a thousand years and Shiva appeared before Shilada. “I am pleased with your meditation.” said Shiva, “what boon do…

Continue reading

34) Epilogue

Vishnu completed his recital of the Kurma Purana and the sages saluted him. They sung his praise. The Kurma Purana is most sacred. A person who reads it attains Brahmaloka. A person who reads only one chapter of the text is forgiven all his sins. Undying punya is attained by…

Continue reading