Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 1 - Chapter 4

Chapter IV

Nārāyaṇa's appearance, in the beginning of the Kalpa, as the Varṣā or Boar: Prithivī (Earth) addresses him: he raises the world from beneath the waters: hymned by Sanandana and the Yogis. The earth floats on the ocean: divided into seven zones. The lower spheres of the universe restored. Creation renewed.

MAITREYA.--Tell me, mighty sage, how, in the commencement of the (present) Kalpa, Nārāyaṇa, who is named Brahmā, created all existent things.


In what manner the divine Brahmā, who is one with Nārāyaṇa, created progeny, and is thence named the lord of progeny (Prajāpati), the lord god, you shall hear.

At the close of the past (or Pādma) Kalpa, the divine Brahmā, endowed with the quality of goodness, awoke from his night of sleep, and beheld the universe void.

He, the supreme Nārāyaṇa, the incomprehensible, the sovereign of all creatures, invested with the form of Brahmā, the god without beginning, the creator of all things;

of whom, with respect to his name Nārāyaṇa, the god who has the form of Brahmā, the imperishable origin of the world, this verse is repeated:

"The waters are called Nārā, because they were the offspring of Nara (the supreme spirit); and as in them his first (Ayana) progress (in the character of Brahmā) took place, he is thence named Nārāyaṇa (he whose place of moving was the waters)."

He, the lord, concluding that within the waters lay the earth, and being desirous to raise it up, created another form for that purpose; and as in preceding Kalpas he had assumed the shape of a fish or a tortoise, so in this he took the figure of a boar.

Having adopted a form composed of the sacrifices of the Vedas, for the preservation of the whole earth, the eternal, supreme, and universal soul, the great progenitor of created beings, eulogized by Sanaka and the other saints who dwell in the sphere of holy men (Janaloka); he, the supporter of spiritual and material being, plunged into the ocean.

The goddess Earth, beholding him thus descending to the sub-terrene regions, bowed in devout adoration, and thus glorified the god:

Prithivī (Earth):

Hail to thee, who art all creatures; to thee, the holder of the mace and shell: elevate me now from this place, as thou hast upraised me in days of old. From thee have I proceeded; of thee do I consist; as do the skies, and all other existing things.

Hail to thee, spirit of the supreme spirit; to thee, soul of soul; to thee, who art discrete and indiscrete matter; who art one with the elements and with time.

Thou art the creator of all things, their preserver, and their destroyer, in the forms, oh lord, of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Rudra, at the seasons of creation, duration, and dissolution.

When thou hast devoured all things, thou reposed on the ocean that sweeps over the world, meditated upon, oh Govinda, by the wise.

No one knoweth thy true nature, and the gods adore thee only in the forms it bath pleased thee to assume. They who are desirous of final liberation, worship thee as the supreme Brahmā; and who that adores not Vāsudeva, shall obtain emancipation?

Whatever may be apprehended by the mind, whatever may be perceived by the senses, whatever may be discerned by the intellect, all is but a form of thee.

I am of thee, upheld by thee; thou art my creator, and to thee I fly for refuge: hence, in this universe, Mādhavī (the bride of Mādhava or Viṣṇu) is my designation.

Triumph to the essence of all wisdom, to the unchangeable, the imperishable: triumph to the eternal; to the indiscrete, to the essence of discrete things: to him who is both cause and effect; who is the universe; the sinless lord of sacrifice; triumph.

Thou art sacrifice; thou art the oblation; thou art the mystic Oṁkāra; thou art the sacrificial fires; thou art the Vedas, and their dependent sciences; thou art, Hari, the object of all worship.

The sun, the stars, the planets, the whole world; all that is formless, or that has form; all that is visible, or invisible; all, Puruṣottama, that I have said, or left unsaid; all this, Supreme, thou art.

Hail to thee, again and again! hail! all hail!


The auspicious supporter of the world, being thus hymned by the earth, emitted a low murmuring sound, like the chanting of the Sāma veda;

and the mighty boar, whose eyes were like the lotus, and whose body, vast as the Nīla mountain, was of the dark colour of the lotus leaves, uplifted upon his ample tusks the earth from the lowest regions.

As he reared up his head, the waters shed from his brow purified the great sages, Sanandana and others, residing in the sphere of the saints. Through the indentations made by his hoofs, the waters rushed into the lower worlds with a thundering noise.

Before his breath, the pious denizens of Janaloka were scattered, and the Munis sought for shelter amongst the bristles upon the scriptural body of the boar, trembling as he rose up, supporting the earth, and dripping with moisture.

Then the great sages, Sanandana and the rest, residing continually in the sphere of saints, were inspired with delight and bowing lowly they praised the stern-eyed upholder of the earth.

The Yogis:

Triumph, lord of lords supreme; Keśava, sovereign of the earth, the wielder of the mace, the shell, the discus, and the sword: cause of production, destruction, and existence.

THOU ART, oh god: there is no other supreme condition, but thou.

Thou, lord, art the person of sacrifice: for thy feet are the Vedas; thy tusks are the stake to which the victim is bound; in thy teeth are the offerings; thy mouth is the altar; thy tongue is the fire; and the hairs of thy body are the sacrificial grass.

Thine eyes, oh omnipotent, are day and night; thy head is the seat of all, the place of Brahma; thy mane is all the hymns of the Vedas; thy nostrils are all oblations:

oh thou, whose snout is the ladle of oblation; whose deep voice is the chanting of the Sāma veda; whose body is the hall of sacrifice; whose joints are the different ceremonies; and whose ears have the properties of both voluntary and obligatory rites:

do thou, who art eternal, who art in size a mountain, be propitious.

We acknowledge thee, who hast traversed the world, oh universal form, to be the beginning, the continuance, and the destruction of all things: thou art the supreme god. Have pity on us, oh lord of conscious and unconscious beings.

The orb of the earth is seen seated on the tip of thy tusks, as if thou hadst been sporting amidst a lake where the lotus floats, and hadst borne away the leaves covered with soil.

The space between heaven and earth is occupied by thy body, oh thou of unequalled glory, resplendent with the power of pervading the universe, oh lord, for the benefit of all.

Thou art the aim of all: there is none other than thee, sovereign of the world: this is thy might, by which all things, fixed or movable, are pervaded.

This form, which is now beheld, is thy form, as one essentially with wisdom.

Those who have not practised devotion, conceive erroneously of the nature of the world. The ignorant, who do not perceive that this universe is of the nature of wisdom, and judge of it as an object of perception only, are lost in the ocean of spiritual ignorance.

But they who know true wisdom, and whose minds are pure, behold this whole world as one with divine knowledge, as one with thee, oh god.

Be favourable, oh universal spirit: rise up this earth, for the habitation of created beings.

Inscrutable deity, whose eyes are like lotuses, give us felicity. Oh lord, thou art endowed with the quality of goodness: raise up, Govinda, this earth, for the general good. Grant us happiness, oh lotus-eyed. May this, thy activity in creation, be beneficial to the earth.

Salutation to thee. Grant us happiness, oh lotus-eyed.


The Supreme Being thus eulogized, upholding the earth, raised it quickly, and placed it on the summit of the ocean, where it floats like a mighty vessel, and from its expansive surface does not sink beneath the waters.

Then, having levelled the earth, the great eternal deity divided it into portions, by mountains: he who never wills in vain, created, by his irresistible power, those mountains again upon the earth which had been consumed at the destruction of the world.

Having then divided the earth into seven great portions or continents, as it was before, he constructed in like manner the four (lower) spheres, earth, sky, heaven, and the sphere of the sages (Mahaloka).

Thus Hari, the four-faced god, invested with the quality of activity, and taking the form of Brahmā, accomplished the creation:

but he (Brahmā) is only the instrumental cause of things to be created; the things that are capable of being created arise from nature as a common material cause:

with exception of one instrumental cause alone, there is no need of any other cause, for (imperceptible) substance becomes perceptible substance according to the powers with which it is originally imbued.