Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 1 - Chapter 8

Chapter VIII

Origin of Rudra: his becoming eight Rudras: their wives and children. The posterity of Bhrigu. Account of Śrī in conjunction with Viṣṇu. Sacrifice of Dakṣa.

PARĀŚARA.--I have described to you, oh great Muni, the creation of Brahmā, in which the quality of darkness prevailed. I will now explain to you the creation of Rudra.

In the beginning of the Kalpa, as Brahmā with intention to create a son, who should be like himself, a youth of a purple complexion appeared, crying with a low cry, and running about.

Brahmā, when he beheld him thus afflicted, said to him:

"Why dost thou weep?"

"Give me a name," replied the boy.

"Rudra be thy name," re-joined the great father of all creatures: "be composed; desist from tears."

But, thus addressed, the boy still wept seven times, and Brahmā therefore gave to him seven other denominations; and to these eight persons regions and wives and posterity belong.

The eight manifestations, then, are named Rudra, Bhava, Śarva, Iśāna, Paśupati, Bhīma, Ugra, and Mahādeva, which were given to them by their great progenitor.

He also assigned to them their respective stations, the sun, water, earth, air, fire, ether, the ministrant Brahman, and the moon; for these are their several forms.

The wives of the sun and the other manifestations, termed Rudra and the rest, were respectively, Suverchalā, Uṣā, Vikesī, Śivā, Svāhā, Diśā, Dīkṣā, and Rohiṇī.

Now hear an account of their progeny, by whose successive generations this world has been peopled:

Their sons, then, were several, Śanaiśchara (Saturn), Śukra (Venus), the fiery-bodied Mars, Manojava (Hanumān), Skanda, Swarga, Santāna, and Budha (Mercury).

It was the Rudra of this description that married Satī, who abandoned her corporeal existence in consequence of the displeasure of Dakṣa.

She afterwards was the daughter of Himavān (the snowy mountains) by Menā; and in that character, as the only Umā, the mighty Bhava again married her.

The divinities Dhātri and Vidhātri were born to Bhrigu by Khyāti, as was a daughter, Śrī, the wife of Nārāyaṇa, the god of gods.

MAITREYA: It is commonly said that the goddess Śrī was born from the sea of milk, when it was churned for ambrosia; how then can you say that she was the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyāti.

PARĀŚARA: Śrī, the bride of Viṣṇu, the mother of the world, is eternal, imperishable; in like manner as he is all-pervading, so also is she, oh best of Brahmans, omnipresent.

Viṣṇu is meaning; she is speech. Hari is polity (Naya); she is prudence (Nīti). Viṣṇu is understanding; she is intellect. He is righteousness; she is devotion. He is the creator; she is creation. Śrī is the earth; Hari the support of it.

The deity is content; the eternal Lakṣmī is resignation. He is desire; Śrī is wish. He is sacrifice; she is sacrificial donation (Dakṣiṇā).

The goddess is the invocation which attends the oblation; Janārdana is the oblation. Lakṣmī is the chamber where the females are present (at a religious ceremony); Madhusūdana the apartment of the males of the family.

Lakṣmī is the altar; Hari the stake (to which the victim is bound). Śrī is the fuel; Hari the holy grass (Kuśa). He is the personified Sāma veda; the goddess, lotus-throned, is the tone of its chanting.

Lakṣmī is the prayer of oblation (Svāhā); Vāsudeva, the lord of the world, is the sacrificial fire. Śauri (Viṣṇu) is Śankara (Śiva); and Śrī is the bride of Śiva (Gaurī).

Keśava, oh Maitreya, is the sun; and his radiance is the lotus-seated goddess. Viṣṇu is the tribe of progenitors (Pitrigana); Padma is their bride (Svadhā), the eternal bestower of nutriment.

Śrī is the heavens; Viṣṇu, who is one with all things, is wide extended space. The lord of Śrī is the moon; she is his unfading light. She is called the moving principle of the world; he, the wind which blow everywhere.

Govinda is the ocean; Lakṣmī its shore. Lakṣmī is the consort of Indra (Indrānī); Madhusūdana is Devendra. The holder of the discus (Viṣṇu) is Yama (the regent of Tartarus); the lotus-throned goddess is his dusky spouse (Dhūmornā).

Śrī is wealth; Śrīdhara (Viṣṇu) is himself the god of riches (Kubera). Lakṣmī, illustrious Brahman, is Gaurī; and Keśava, is the deity of ocean (Varuṇa).

Śrī is the host of heaven (Devasenā); the deity of war, her lord, is Hari. The wielder of the mace is resistance; the power to oppose is Śrī.

Lakṣmī is the Kāṣṭhā and the Kalā; Hari the Nimeṣa and the Muhūrta. Lakṣmī is the light; and Hari, who is all, and lord of all, the lamp.

She, the mother of the world, is the creeping vine; and Viṣṇu the tree round which she clings. She is the night; the god who is armed with the mace and discus is the day. He, the bestower of blessings, is the bridegroom; the lotus-throned goddess is the bride.

The god is one with all male--the goddess one with all female, rivers. The lotus-eyed deity is the standard; the goddess seated on a lotus the banner. Lakṣmī is cupidity; Nārāyaṇa, the master of the world, is covetousness.

Oh thou who knowest what righteousness is, Govinda is love; and Lakṣmī, his gentle spouse, is pleasure.

But why thus diffusely enumerate their presence: it is enough to say, in a word, that of gods, animals, and men, Hari is all that is called male; Lakṣmī is all that is termed female: there is nothing else than they.