1) BRAHMA PURANA Preliminaries

Preliminaries There was a forest known as Naimisharanya. The sages (maharshis) arranged for a sacrifice (yajna) in this forest and the ceremony went on for twelve years. Naimisharanya forest was a wonderful place to arrange sacrifices in. The climate was pleasant. There were trees full of climate was pleasant. There…

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2) BRAHMA PURANA – More Creation

To continue with the process of creation, Brahma gave birth to a man and a woman from his own body. The man was named Svayambhuva Manu and the woman was named Shatarupa. Humans are descended from Manu. That is the reason they are known as manava. Manu and Shatarupa had…

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3) BRAHMA PURANA – Daksha’s Offspring

Daksha’s wife was named Asikli and Asikli gave birth to five thousand sons. They were known as the Haryashvas. The Haryashvas were destined to rule over the world. But the sage Narada went to the Haryashvas and said, “How can you rule over the world if you don’t even know…

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4) BRAHMA PURANA – Prithu

In Dhruva’s line there was a king named Anga, Anga was religious and followed the righteous path. But unfortunately, Anga’s son Vena inherited none of the  good qualities of his father. Vena’s mother was Sunitha and she happened to be the daughter of Mrityu. Mrityu was notorious for his evil…

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5) BRAHMA PURANA – Manvantaras

A manvantara is an era. There are four smaller eras (yugas) and their names are Satya or Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. Each cycle  of  Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga is called a mahayuga. A mahayuga comprises of 12,000 years of the…

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6) BRAHMA PURANA – The Sun and the Solar Dynasty

You have probably forgotten by now that Kashyapa and Aditi had a son named Vivasvana. This was the sun god, also known as Surya or Martanda. Surya was married to Samjna, Vishvakarma’s daughter. They had two sons. The  fist son was Vaivasvata Manu and the second son was Yama or…

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7) BRAHMA PURANA – Vaivasvata Manu’s Children

Vaivasvata Manu has no children and he arranged for a sacrifice so that he might have a son. Nine sons were born as a result of this sacrifice. Their names were Ikshvaku, Nabhaga, Dhrishta, Sharyati, Narishyanta, Pramashu, Rishta, Karusha and Prishadhra. Manu also made an offering to the two gods…

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8) BRAHMA PURANA – Kubalashva

Kubalashva was one of the kings descended from Kakutstha. Kubalashva’s  father  was named Vrihadashva. After Vrihadashva had ruled for many years, he desired to retire to the forest. He therefore prepared to hand over the kingdom  to his son Kubalashva. But learning of King Vrihadashva’s resolve, a sage named Utanka…

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9) BRAHMA PURANA – Trishanku

From Dridashva was descended a king named Trayaruni. Trayaruni was a  righteous king and followed all the religious dictates. But Trayarun’s son  Satyavrata was quite the opposite and refused to follow the righteous path. King Trayaruni’s chief priest was the great sage Vashishtha. Vashishtha advised the king that his evil…

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10) BRAHMA PURANA – Sagara

Trishanku’s son was Harishchandra and from Harishchandra was descended a king named Bahu. Bahu devoted too much time to pleasurable pursuits. The upshot of this was that the defence of the kingdom was not properly taken care of.  Enemy  kings seized this opportunity to attack Bahu’s kingdom. They drove Bahu…

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11) BRAHMA PURANA – The Moon and the Lunar Dynasty

There was a sage named Atri. Atri performed very difficult tapasya. So difficult was the tapasya that Atri’s energy was thrown up into the sky. The sky could not bear this energy and hurled it down onto the earth. This energy then gave birth to Soma or Chandra, the moon…

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12) BRAHMA PURANA – Yayati

In the lunar dynasty, there was born a powerful king named Nahusha. He married Viraja and they had six sons named Yati, Yajati, Samyati, Ayati, Yati, and Suyati. Yati became a hermit. So although Yayati was not the eldest, he was crowned king after Nahusha. Yayati had two wives. The…

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13) BRAHMA PURANA – Geography

Having heard accounts of the solar and lunar dynasties, the sages requested Romaharshana. “Tell us a little about the geography of the world. What does the earth look like? What are its limits?” Romaharshana obligedand said– The earth is divided into seven regions (dvipas). Their names are Jambudvipa, Plakshadvipa, Shalmaladvipa,…

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14) BRAHMA PURANA – Konaraka

There is an ocean to the south of Bharataavarsha. One the shores of this great ocean there is a land named Ondra or Utkala (present Orissa). Utkala is populated by religious people and the brahmanas who live there are learned in the Vedas. They are very good priests, learned in…

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16) BRAHMA PURANA – Markandeya

Many years ago, a great destruction (Pralaya) took place. The earth was shrouded in darkness and nothing could be seen. There was neither sun nor moon. Lightning and thunder crushed mountains and trees. There were showers of meteors. Lakes and rivers dried up. The entire earth burnt with fire and…

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17) BRAHMA PURANA – King Shveta

 In Satya Yuga there used to be a king named Shveta. He was such a good king that during his reign people lived for ten thousand years. No one dies as a child. Longevity was high and there was no infant mortality. But there was a sage named Kapalagoutama. Unfortunately,…

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18) BRAHMA PURANA – Bali

There was a king of the daityas named Bali. He was powerful and invincible. He was also righteous and truthful. The gods cold not bear to see Bali’s prosperity and began to plot how Bali might be foiled. So well did Bali rule that disease, drought and evil disappeared throughout…

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19) BRAHMA PURANA – Goutama

Part of the water of the Ganga that got stuck in Shiva’s hair was brought down to earth by Bhagiratha. The remaining part was brought down by the sage Goutama. Parvati was married to Shiva, but Shiva seemed to be fonder of Ganga than of Parvati. Parvati resolved that a way…

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20) BRAHMA PURANA – The Doves

In a mountain known as Brahmagiri there used to live a hunter who was very cruel. He not only killed birds and animals, but brahmanas and sages as well. The hunter once went on a hunt. He killed many animals and birds and some he put in his cages. He…

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21) BRAHMA PURANA – Garuda and Maninaga

You have already been told about the great snake (naga) Ananta. Ananta had a son named Maninaga. Garuda was the enemy of the snakes and the snakes were all afraid of Garuda. Maninaga began to pray to Shiva. Having pleased Shiva, he obtained the boon that Garuda would be able to…

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22) BRAHMA PURANA – Vishvamitra and Indra

Many  years  ago,  there  was  a  terrible  drought.  There  was  no  food  to  be  had.  The  sage Vishvamitra had come to the banks of the river Goutami Ganga with his disciples. Vishvamitra’s wife, children and disciples were all hungry. The sage therefore sent his disciples out to look for food….

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23) BRAHMA PURANA – Shveta

There used to be a brahmana named Shveta. He was a friend of the sage Goutama and had a hermitage on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. Shveta was also devoted to Shiva. In due course, Shiveta died and Yama’s messengers arrived to take Shveta to Yama. But they could…

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25) BRAHMA PURANA – Harishchandra

In the Ikshvaku dynasty there ruled a king named Harishchandra. Harishchandra had no son. One day two sages named Narada and Parvata came to visit Harishchandra and told him that he would go to hell if he did not have a son. “How can I obtain a son?” asked Harishchandra….

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26) BRAHMA PURANA – Vriddhagoutama

The sage Goutama had a son named Vriddhagoutama. Vriddhagoutama was also a sage. But he was very ugly. Besides, he had no nose; had never had one since he had been born. He was so ashamed of this deformity that he could not bear to join the other children of…

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27) BRAHMA PURANA – Pippalada

Many years ago, there used to be a sage named Dadhici. His wife was Lopamudra. Dadhichi’s hermitage was right next to the holy river Ganga. Lopamudra’s sister Gabhastini also used to live in the hermitage. Such was the sage Dadhichi’s powers that daityas and danavas dared not set foot inside…

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28) BRAHMA PURANA – Nageshvara

There was a city named Pratishthana. A king named Shurasena ruled in that city. Shurasena did not have any sons. After a lot of effort, a son was born to him. But the son happened to be a snake. The king and the queen were mortified at this turn of…

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29) BRAHMA PURANA – Brahma’s Head

Years ago, there was a war between the gods and the demons and the gods lost. The gods came to Brahma for advice and Brahma asked them to pray to Shiva. When Shiva appeared before them, the gods said, “The demons have defeated us. Please kill them and save us.”…

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30) BRAHMA PURANA – The Owl and the Dove

A dove used to live on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. The dove’s name was Anuhrada and its wife’s name was Heti. Anuhrada was Yama’s grandson. Not very far away, there lived an owl named Uluka. The owl’s wife was called Uluki. The owls were descended from the god…

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31) BRAHMA PURANA – The Hunter

There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms. A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to…

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32) BRAHMA PURANA – Goutama and Manikundala

There was a city named Bhouvana. In that city there lived a brahmana named Goutama. The brahmana had a vaishya (trader and agriculture caste) friend named Manikundala. Goutama’s mother gave him a lot of ill advice. As a result of this, Goutama told Manikundala, “Let us go to other countries…

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33) BRAHMA PURANA – Kandu

There was a sage named Kandu. He had a hermitage on the banks of the Goutami Ganga. The ashrama was a beautiful place and Kandu performed very difficult tapasya there. In the summer Kandu meditated in the hot sun, in the monsoon he meditated on the wet ground, and in…

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34) BRAHMA PURANA – Varna Ashrama

There are four varnas (classes). Their names are brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. The duties of a brahmana are to donate alms, perform tapasya, worship the gods, perform yajnas and study the Vedas. To earn a living, brahmanas are authorized to teach and act as priests at sacrifices. The duties…

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36) BRAHMA PURANA – Yoga

The word yoga means union. Yoga is thus a form of meditation that unites the human soul (atman) with the divine soul (Paramatman), or equivalently, with the divine essence (Brahman). A practitioner of yoga has to study the Puranas, the Vedas and history He has to exercise restraint regarding the sort…

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37) BRAHMA PURANA – Epilogue

Romaharshana said to the sages who had assembled in naimisharanya, “Many years ago, the great Veda Vyasa had recited the adi Purana to sages. The sages had been delighted to learn the wisdom that was in the great Brahma Purana. Whatever Veda Vyasa had told those sages, I have now…

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