Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 2 - Chapter 1

Chapter I

Descendants of Priyavrata, the eldest son of Svāyambhūva Manu: his ten sons: three adopt a religious life; the others become kings of the seven Dvīpas, or isles, of the earth. Āgnīdhra, king of Jambu-dvīpa, divides it into nine portions, which he distributes amongst his sons. Nābhi, king of the south, succeeded by Riṣabha; and he by Bharata: India named after him Bhārata: his descendants reign during the Svāyambhūva Manvantara.

MAITREYA: --You have related to me, venerable preceptor, most fully, all that I was curious to hear regarding the creation of the world; but there is a part of the subject which I am desirous again to have described:

You stated that Priyavrata and Uttānapāda were the sons of Svāyambhūva Manu, and you repeated the story of Dhruva, the son of Uttānapāda:

you made no mention of the descendants of Priyavrata, and it is an account of his family that I beg you will kindly communicate to me.


Priyavrata married Kāmyā, the daughter of the patriarch Kardama, and had by her two daughters, Samrāj and Kukṣī, and ten sons, wise, valiant, modest, and dutiful, named Āgnīdhra, Agnibāhu, Vapushmat, Dyutimat, Medha, Medhatithi, Bhavya, Savana, Putra, and the tenth was Jyotishmat, illustrious by nature as by name. These were the sons of Priyavrata, famous for strength and prowess.

Of these, three, or Medhā, Putra, and Agnibāhu, adopted a religious life: remembering the occurrences of a prior existence, they did not covet dominion, but diligently practised the rites of devotion in due season, wholly disinterested, and looking for no reward.

Priyavrata having divided the earth into seven continents gave them respectively to his other seven sons:

To Āgnīdhra he gave Jambu-dvīpa; to Medhatithi he gave Plakṣa-dvīpa: he installed Vapushmat in the sovereignty over the Dvīpa of Sālmali; and made Jyotishmat king of Kuśa-dvīpa: he appointed Dyutimat to rule over Krauncha-dvīpa; Bhavya to reign over Sāka-dvīpa;  and Savana he nominated the monarch of the Dvīpa of Puṣkara.


Āgnīdhra, the king of Jambu-dvīpa, had nine sons, equal in splendour to the patriarchs: they were named Nābhi, Kimpuruṣa, Harivarṣa, Ilāvrita, Ramya, Hiraṇvat, Kuru, Bhadrāśva, and Ketumāla, who was a prince ever active in the practice of piety.

Hear next, Maitreya, in what manner Āgnīdhra apportioned Jambu-dvīpa amongst his nine sons:

He gave to Nābhi the country called Hima, south of the Himavat, or snowy mountains. The country of Hemakūṭa he gave to Kimpuruṣa; and to Harivarṣa, the country of Niṣadha.

The region in the centre of which mount Meru is situated he conferred on Ilāvrita; and to Ramya, the countries lying between it and the Nīla mountain.

To Hiraṇvat his father gave the country lying to the north of it, called Śveta; and, on the north of the Śveta mountains, the country bounded by the Śrīngavan range he gave to Kuru.

The countries on the east of Meru he assigned to Bhadrāśva; and Gandhamādana, which lay west of it, he gave to Ketumāla.'

Having installed his sons sovereigns in these several regions, the pious king Āgnīdhra retired to a life of penance at the holy place of pilgrimage, Śālagrāma.

The eight Varṣas, or countries, Kimpuruṣa and the rest, are places of perfect enjoyment, where happiness is spontaneous and uninterrupted.

In them there is no vicissitude, nor the dread of decrepitude or death: there is no distinction of virtue or vice, nor difference of degree as better or worse, nor any of the effects produced in this region by the revolutions of ages.

Nābhi, who had for his portion the country of Himāhwa, had by his queen Meru the magnanimous Riṣabha; and he had a hundred sons, the eldest of whom was Bhārata.

Riṣabha having ruled with equity and wisdom, and celebrated many sacrificial rites, resigned the sovereignty of the earth to the heroic Bhārata, and, retiring to the hermitage of Pulastya, adopted the life of an anchoret, practising religious penance, and performing all prescribed ceremonies,

until, emaciated by his austerities, so as to be but a collection of skin and fibres, he put a pebble in his mouth, and naked went the way of all flesh.

The country was termed Bhārata from the time that it was relinquished to Bhārata by his father, on his retiring to the woods.

Bhārata, having religiously discharged the duties of his station, consigned the kingdom to his son Sumati, a most virtuous prince;

and, engaging in devout practices, abandoned his life at the holy place, Śālagrāma: he was afterwards born again as a Brahman, in a distinguished family of ascetics. I shall hereafter relate to you his history.

From the illustrious Sumati was born Indradyumna: his son was Parameṣṭhin: his son was Pratihāra, who had a celebrated son, named Pratiharttā: his son was Bhava, who begot Udgītha, who begot Prastāra; whose son was Prithu.

The son of Prithu was Nakta: his son was Gaya: his son was Nara; whose son was Virāt.

The valiant son of Virāt was Dhīmat, who begot Mahānta; whose son was Manasyu; whose son was Tvaṣṭri: his son was Vīraja: his son was Rāja: his son was Śatajit, who had a hundred sons, of whom Viswagjyotish was the eldest.

Under these princes, Bhārata-Varṣā (India) was divided into nine portions (to be hereafter particularized); and their descendants successively held possession of the country for seventy-one periods of the aggregate of the four ages (or for the reign of a Manu).

This was the creation of Svāyambhūva Manu, by which the earth was peopled, when he presided over the first Manvantara, in the Kalpa of Varāha.