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DEATH AND AFTER

Continuing with his narration, Lord Krishna said--"O Garuda! Death comes at the predetermined time, which remains fixed and unaltered under all circumstances. man!s sense organs "ecome wea# and his "od$ fee"le, which gets inflicted with numerous diseases in his old age. t the time of his death, man experiences un"eara"le pain and he "egins to loose his consciousness. %amdoots arri&e and "egin to retrie&e the soul from the "od$ and this aggra&ates the pain. 'ltimatel$, the soul, which is not more than the si(e of a thum", reluctantl$ comes out from the "od$ as the attachment with the world exists e&en after his death. )ut, a &irtuous person does not go through all these painful experiences at the time of his death. *he soul has to ta#e "irth in different species as well as go through c$cles of countless "irths, deaths and re"irths in order to taste the fruits of his Karmas. Descri"ing the significance of !+inda dan! rituals, Lord ,ishnu told Garuda that the$ are performed so that manes are satiated. -e also re&ealed to him that six pinda dans are offered to the manes while performing the rituals of last rites-- "*he first !pinda-dan! is made at the place where person has "reathed his last while the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth !+inda dans! are made at the main entrance of the house, the nearest cross-roads, the cremation ground, on the p$re itself and at the time of collecting last remains . sthi/ respecti&el$. fter reaching the cremation ground the dead "od$ should "e laid down with its head towards south. *he mortal "od$ then should "e consigned to flames and after some time sesame seeds and ghee should "e poured into the "urning p$re so that it continues to "urn without an$ pro"lem. 0or the next ten da$s the relati&es coming from the same gotra of the deceased should o"ser&e a period of ! shaucha!- a period during which he o"ser&es strict austerities and a&oids social contacts. *he son of the deceased is prohi"ited from ha&ing food along with his relati&es simpl$ "ecause he is "elie&ed to "e impure during this period."
This way, being satisfied by Lord Krishna's answers, Garuda thanked him for clearing whatever doubts he had in his mind. Lord Krishna blessed him. Home

15. MATSYA PURANA LOMAHARSHANA AND THE OTHER SAGES *here was a forest #nown as 1aimisharan$a. 2an$ $ears ago, se&eral sages organi(ed a $a3na .sacrifice/ in the forest. fter the sacrifice was o&er, the assem"led sages told Lomaharshana.

4%ou ha&e recited to us man$ +uranas. *hese accounts are so sacred that we would li#e to hear them once more. +lease satisf$ our thirst for #nowledge. 45 will recount for $ou the most hol$ of all the +uranas, replied Lomaharshana. 4*his is the great 2ats$a +urana, told "$ ,ishnu to 2anu. +repare $our minds, for 5 am a"out "egin. VISHNU AND MANU *here used to "e a #ing named ,ai&as&ata 2anu. -e was the son of the sun-god ,i&as&ana. 6hen it was time for 2anu to retire to the forest, he handed o&er the #ingdom to his son 5#sh&a#u. 2anu then went to the foothills of 2ount 2ala$a and started to perform tapas$a .meditation/. *housands and thousands of $ears passed. 7uch were the powers of 2anu8s meditation that )rahma appeared "efore him. 45 am pleased with $our pra$ers, said )rahma. 4 s# for a "oon. 45 ha&e onl$ one "oon to as# for, replied 2anu. 47ooner or later there will "e a destruction .prala$a/ and the world will no longer exist. +lease grant me the "oon that it will "e 5 who will sa&e the world and its "egins at the time of the destruction. )rahma readil$ granted this "oon. Da$s passed. On one particular occasion, 2anu was performing a"lutions in a pond near his hermitage. -e immersed his hands in the water so that he might offer some water to his ancestors. 6hen he raised his cupped hands, he found that there was a minnow .shafari/ swimming around in the water. 2anu had no desire to #ill the minnow. -e placed it carefull$ in his water-pot .#amandalu/. )ut the minnow started to grow and within a da$, it was sixteen fingers in length. 47a&e me, #ing. said the fish. 4*his water-pot is too small for me. 2anu then placed the fish in a &at. )ut the fish continued to grow and, within a da$, it was three hands in length. 47a&e me, #ing. said the fish. 4*his &at is too small for me. 2anu put the fish in a well, "ut the well soon "ecame too small for the fish. 2anu transferred the fish to a pond, "ut the pond was also too small for the fish. 2anu now remo&ed the fish to the hol$ ri&er Ganga, "ut e&en this was too small for the fish. 0inall$, 2anu transferred the fish to the ocean. *here the fish grew so much that it soon occupied the entire ocean. 46ho are $ou9 as#ed 2anu. 45 ha&e ne&er seen or heard of such wonders. re $ou a demon that is deluding me with its illusions9 1o, 5 do not thin# that $ou are a demon. %ou must "e the great ,ishnu himself. +lease tell me the truth and satisf$ m$ curiosit$. ,ishnu then re&ealed that it was indeed he who had adopted the form of a fish. -e told 2anu that the earth would soon "e flooded with water. ,ishnu had got a "oat "uilt "$ the gods. 6hen the earth was flooded, 2anu was to place all li&ing "eings in the "oat and thus sa&e them.

,ishnu would himself arri&e in his form of the fish and 2anu was to tie the "oat to the fish8s horn. *hus the li&ing "eings would "e sa&ed. nd when the waters of the flood receded, 2anu could populate the world afresh and rule o&er it. ,ishnu disappeared, and for a hundred $ears there was a terri"le drought on earth. *he drough led to famine and people died of star&ation. 2eanwhile, the sun "la(ed in fur$ and "urnt up the entire world. 6hen e&er$thing had "urnt to ashes, dar# clouds loomed in the s#$. *hese are the clouds that appear at the time of destruction and there are se&en classes of cush clouds, #nown as sam&arta, "himananda, drona, chanda, &alaha#a, &id$utapata#a and #ona. 0rom the clouds, rain "egan to pour and soon, water engulfed the entire earth. *he land mass was flooded. s instructed "$ ,ishnu, 2anu gathered together li&ing "eings inside the "oat. nd when the fish appeared, he tied the "oat to the fish8s horn. 6hat do $ou thin# 2anu used a rope9 -e used a gigantic sna#e. 6hile the "oat was thus thethered and dragged around "$ the fish, 2anu as#ed ,ishnu se&eral :uestions. *he answers that ,ishnu pro&ided form the text of the 2ats$a +urana. Let us start with the account of the creation. CREATION 5n the "eginning, there was nothing in the uni&erse. *here was onl$ dar#ness and the di&ine essence ."rahman/. 5t is impossi"le to descri"e the "rahman, it has no traits that can "e descri"ed. 6hen the time came for creation to start, the "rahman remo&ed the dar#ness and di&ided itself into three. *hese three parts came to "e #nown as )rahma, ,ishnu and 7hi&a. *he first o"3ect that was created was water and ,ishnu slept on this water. 7ince nara means water and a$ana means resting-place, ,ishnu is accordingl$ also #nown as 1ara$ana. 5n this water next appeared a golden .hiran$a/ egg .anda/. *he egg shone with the radiance of a thousand suns. 5nside the egg, )rahma created himself. 7ince he effecti&el$ created ."hu&a/ himself .s&a$am/, )rahma is also #nown as 7&a$am"hu&a. *he egg, $ou will remem"er, was golden. Gar"ha means wom", and since )rahma was "orn inside a golden egg, he is also #nown as -iran$agar"ha. 0or a thousand $ears )rahma sta$ed inside the egg. -e then split the shell into two and emerged out. -ea&en .s&arga/ was made from one half of the shell and the earth from the remaining half. ll the land masses, the oceans, the ri&ers and the mountains, had "een inside the egg in em"r$onic form. )rahma made them manifest. *he sun was also "orn. 7ince he was the first .adi/ "eing to "e "orn, he is #nown as dit$a. *he word mrita means dead. 7ince the sun was "orn when the egg .anda/ died, the sun was also #nown as 2artanda. )rahma8s first act was to meditate. 5t was while he was meditating that the ,edas, the +uranas and the other shastras .sacred texts/ emerged from )rahma8s mouth.

*en sons were also "orn to )rahma. Created from )rahma8s mental powers, the$ all "ecame sages. *heir names were 2arichi, tri, ngira, +ulast$a, +ulaha, Kratu, +racheta, ,ashishtha, )hrigu and 1arada. *here were others too who were "orn. Da#sha was "orn from )rahma8s right toe. nd the god Dharma was "orn from his chest. )ut for further creation to continue, it was essential that created "eings should ha&e proper mothers and fathers. )rahma accordingl$ created two "eings from his "od$, one was male and the other was female. *he male half was named 7&a$am"hu&a 2anu and the female half was named 7hatarupa. 7hatarupa is also referred to as 7a&itri, Ga$atri, 7aras&ati or )rahmani. 7ince she had "een "orn from )rahma8s "od$, she was li#e )rahma8s daughter. 5n fact, ,ashishtha and the other sages who were )rahma8s sons welcomed her as their sister. )ut 7hatarupa was so "eautiful that )rahma fell in lo&e with her and wished to marr$ her. 7hatarupa circled )rahma and showed her respects to him. 6hen she stood in front of him. )rahma ga(ed upon her with the face that he had. )ut when she went and stood "ehind him, )rahma could see her no longer. nother head with another face therefore sprouted "ehind )rahma8s first head so that he might "e a"le to see 7hatarupa. 5n similar fashion, a head sprouted to )rahma8s first head so that he might "e a"le to see 7hatarpa. 5n similar fashion, a head sprouted to )rahma8s right an another one to his left. nd when 7hatarupa rose a"o&e him, a head sprouted towards the top as well. *hus it was that )rahma came to ha&e fi&e heads and fi&e faces. )rahma married 7hatarupa and the$ li&ed together as man and wife for a hundred $ears. *heir son was named 7&a$am"hu&a 2anu. -earing the account, ,ai&as&ata 2anu exclaimed. 4)ut what $ou ha&e 3ust said is trul$ ama(ing. -ow could )rahma ha&e married his own daughter9 7urel$ that is a sin. 4+erhaps, replied ,ishnu, 4"ut it is not for humans to 3udge the actions of the gods. -ow could creation proceed if )rahma did not marr$ 7hatarupa98 *o continue with the account of the creation, )rahma created a sage named 7anata#umara and 7hi&a. )rahma as#ed 7hi&a to help him in the act of creation. 46h$ don8t $ou create some "eings as well98 as#ed )rahma. 7hi&a complied and started to create. )ut all the "eings that he created were 3ust li#e him in appearance. *hat is , the$ were all immortal. 46hat are $ou doing9 as#ed )rahma. 4Don8t create immortal "eings. Create mortal ones instead. 4*hat 5 refuse to do, retorted 7hi&a. 45f 5 am to create, 5 shall create onl$ immortals. 4+lease do not create then, re:uested )rahma. 45 will ta#e care of creation m$self.

7&a$am"hu&a 2anu performed &er$ difficult tapsa$a and o"tained a wife named nati. 7&a$am"hu&a 2anu and nanti had two sons named +ri$a&rata and 'ttanapada. 0rom 'ttanapada was descended +rachina&arhi. +rachina&arahi married 7a&arna, the daugther of the ocean, and the$ had ten sons. *hese sons were #nown as the +rachetas. *he ten +rachetas married a woman named 2arisha. *hat is, all of them had the same wife. Da#sha was the son of the +rachetas and 2arisha. DAKSHAS DESCENDANTS Da#sha married +anchan3ani. Da#sha and +ancha3ani had one thousand sons. *hese were #nown as the -ar$a#shas. Da#sha as#ed his sons to create more li&ing "eings. )ut the sage 1arada came and told the -ar$a#shas, 4%ou can8t possi"l$ create li&ing "eings unless $ou #now where the$ are going to li&e. -a&e $ou explored the uni&erse that $our creations are going to populate9 6h$ don8t $ou start out on a &o$age of disco&er$9 *he -ar$a#shas did this and ha&e ne&er "een heard of since. *he$ did not return. Da#sha and +ancha3ani now had another thousand sons. *hese were name the 7ha&alas. 1arada as#ed the 7ha&alas also to explore the uni&erse and the$ too disappeared. 7ixt$ daughters were next "orn to Da#sha and +ancha3ani. *en of these daughers were married to the god Dharma, twent$-se&en were married to the moon-god Chandra, and thirteen were married to the sage Kash$apa. *he remaining daughters were married to &arious other sages. *he thirteen daughters who were married to Kash$apa were named diti, Diti, Danu, rishta, 7urasa, 7ura"hi, ,inata, *amra, Krodha&asha, 5ra, Kadru, ,ish&a and 2uni. diti8s sons were #nown as the adit$as. *here were twel&e of them and the$ were named 5ndra, Dhata, )haga, *&ashta, 2itra, ,aruna, %ama, ,i&as&ana, 7a&ita, +usha, mshumana and ,ishnu. *hese were the gods. Diti8s sons were the dait$as .demons/. *here were two of them, named -iran$a#shipu and -iran$a#sha. *heir sons also came to "e #nown as the dait$as. -iran$a#sha8s sons were 'lu#a. 7ha#uni, )hutasantapana and 2ahana"ha. -iran$a#shipu8s sons were +rahlada, nuhlada, 7amhlada and -lada. +rahlada8s son was ,irochana, ,irochana8s son was ,ali, and ,ali8s son was ,anasura. Danu had a hundred sons. *hese and their descendants were #nown as the dana&as .demons/. Chief among the hundred sons was ,iprachitti. 2a$a, the archietect of the demons, was descended from this line. *amra had six daughters. *hese were the mothers of the "irds and of goats, horse, sheep, camels and don#e$s. ,inata had two sons, runa and Garuda. runa8s sons were 7ampati and ;ata$u. )oth 7urasa and Kadru ga&e "irth to sna#es .nagas or sarpas/. Krodha&asha was the mother of

ra#shasas .demons/< 7ura"hi of cows and "uffaloes< 2uni of apsaras .dancers of hea&en/< rishta of gandhar&as .singers of hea&en/< 5ra of trees and her"s< and ,ish&a of $a#ashas .demi-gods/. THE MARUTS lthough the gods and the demons were cousins, the$ did not li#e each other and fought amongst themsel&es all the time. 2an$ dait$as were #illed "$ ,ishnu and the other gods. Diti was disconsolate to see her children suffer thus. 7he resol&ed that she would meditate so as to o"tain a son who would "e so powerful that he would #ill 5ndra, the #ing of the gods. *here was a tirtha .place of pigrimage/ named 7$amantapancha#a on the "an#s of the sacred ri&er 7aras&ati. Diti went there and started to pra$ to the sage Kash$apa. 7he li&ed on roots and fruits and meditated for a hundred $ears. *hese pra$ers pleased Kash$apa. 4 s# for a "oon, he said. 4+lease grant me a son who will #ill 5ndra, replied Diti. 45t shall "e as $ou wish, said Kash$apa. 4)ut there are some conditions. %ou will ha&e to li&e in this hermitage for a hundred $ears more. *hroughout these hundred $ears $ou will "ear the "a"$ in $our wom". )ut there are certain conditions of cleanliness that $ou must o"eser&ed. %ou must not eat in the e&ening, nor must $ou sleep under a tree at night. =xcercise is not permitted in an$ form. Do not sleep with $our hair un"raided, or without ha&ing had a "ath. 5f $ou can o"ser&ed these rules for a hundred $ears, $ou will ha&e the son $ou wish for. Kash$apa went awa$ and Diti "egan to o"ser&e the rites that the sage had prescri"ed. )ut 5ndra had got to #now what was afoot and he was naturall$ in no mood to permit the "irth of a son who would "e the cause of his own destruction. -e hung around Diti8s hermitage, pretending to ser&e his aunt. -e "rought her firewood and fruit and ser&ed her in other wa$s. )ut in realit$, he was merel$ waiting for an opportunit$. -e was waiting for the moment when Diti would fail to o"ser&ed the norms of cleaniness that had "een laid down for her. 1inet$-nine $ears and three hundred and sixt$-two da$s passed. *hat is, onl$ three da$s were left for the period of one hundred $ears to "e o&er. Diti was tired on one particular occasion. 7ince the period of her ordeal was soon to end, she had also "ecome somewhat careless. 7he fell asleep without washing her hair. 6hat was worse, she went to sleep without ha&ing "raided her hair. *his was an act of gross uncleanliness. 5ndra sei(ed his chance. 7ince Diti had committed an unclean act, her defences had "een lowered. 5ndra entered Diti8s wom" in a trice. 5ndra has a wonderful weapon named &a3ra. 6ith the &a3ra, 5ndra sliced the "a"$ in Diti8s wom" into se&en parts. *hese parts started to cr$. 42a ruda, said 5ndra. 4Don8t cr$. )ut the parts continued to cr$. 5ndra therefore chopped up each of the parts into se&en more sections, so that there were fort$-nine parts in all. 7ince Diti had failed to o"ser&e the prescri"ed rites, these fort$-nine sections were no longer a threat to 5ndra. 6hen the$ were "orn, the$ came to "e #nown as the maruts from the words 5ndra had used in

addressing them. *he$ were ele&ated to the status of gods and "ecame 5ndra8s friends and constant companions. THE MANVANTARAS =ach man&antara is an era and is ruled o&er "$ a 2anu. One of )rahma8s da$s is #nown as a #alpa and there are fourteen man&antaras in e&er$ #alpa. t the end of e&er$ #alpa, the uni&erse is destro$ed and has to "e created afresh. 5n the present #alpa, six man&antaras ha&e alread$ passed and the se&enth man&antara is now current. *here will "e se&en more man&antaras in the future "efore the uni&erse and its inmates are destro$ed. *he gods, the se&en great sages .saptarshis/ and the indi&idual who holds the title of 5ndra, change from one man&antara to another. *he fourteen eras of the present #alpa are as follows. .>/ *he first 2anu was 7&a$am"hu&a. *he gods then were the $amas. .?/ 7&arochisha was the second 2anu. *he gods were the tushitas and the names of the se&en great sages were Dattoli, Ch$a&ana, 7tam"ha, +rana, Kash$apa, Our&a and )rihaspati. .@/ *he third 2anu was Outtama. *he gods were named the "ha&anas and Kou#urundi, Dal"h$a, 7han#ha, +ra&ahana, 7hi&a, 7ita and 7asmita were the saptarshis. .A/ *amas was the fourth 2anu. *he se&en great sages were