Mahabharata Santi Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CCVIII

"Yudhishthira asked, 'Who were the first Prajapatis, O bull of Bharata's race? What highly-blessed Rishis are there in existence and on which points of the compass do each of them dwell?'

"Bhishma said., 'Hear me, O chief of the Bharatas, about what thou askest me. I shall tell thee who the Prajapatis were and what Rishis are mentioned as dwelling on which point of the horizon. There was at first one Eternal, Divine, and Self-born Brahman. The Self-born Brahman begat seven illustrious sons. They were Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and the highly-blessed Vasishtha who was equal to the Self-born himself. These seven sons have been mentioned in the Puranas as seven Brahmanas. I shall now mention all the Prajapatis who came after these. In Atri's race was born the eternal and divine Varhi the ancient, who had penances for his origin. From Varhi the ancient sprang the ten Prachetasas. The ten Prachetasas had one son between them, viz., the Prajapati called by the name of Daksha. This last has two names in the world, viz., Daksha and Kasyapa. Marichi had one son called Kasyapa. This last also has two names. Some call

him Arishtanemi, and some Kasyapa. Atri had another son born of his lions, viz., the handsome and princely Soma of great energy. He performed penances for a thousand celestial Yugas. The divine Aryaman and they who were born unto him as his sons, O monarch, have been described as setters of commands, and creators of all creatures. Sasavindu had ten thousand wives. Upon each of them their lord begat a thousand sons, and so the tale reached ten hundred thousands. Those sons refused to call anybody else save themselves as Prajapatis. The ancient Brahmanas bestowed an appellation on the creatures of the world, derived from Sasavindu. That extensive race of the Prajapati Sasavindu became in time the progenitor of the Vrishni race. These that I have mentioned are noted as the illustrious Prajapatis. After this, I shall mention the deities that are the lords of the three worlds. Bhaga, Ansa, Aryyaman, Mitra, Varna, Savitri, Dhatri, Vivaswat of great might, Tvashtri, Pushan, Indra, and Vishnu known as the twelfth,--these are the twelve Adityas, all sprung from Kasyapa. Nasatya and Dasra are mentioned as the two Aswins. These two are the sons of the illustrious Martanda, the eighth in the above tale. These were called first the gods and the two classes of Pitris. Tvashtri had many sons. Amongst them were the handsome and famous Viswarupa, Ajaikapat, Ahi, Bradhna, Virupaksha, and Raivata. Then there were Hara and Vahurupa, Tryamvaka the chief of the Deities, and Savitrya, Jayanta and Pinaki the invincible. The highly-blessed Vasus, eight in number, have formerly been enumerated by me. These were reckoned as gods at the time of the Prajapati Manu. These were at first called the gods and the Pitris. Amongst the Siddhas and the Sadhyas there were two classes in consequence of conduct and youth. The deities were formerly considered to be of two classes, viz., the Ribhus and the Maruts. Thus have the Viswas, the gods and the Aswins, been enumerated. Amongst them, the Adityas are Kshatriyas, and the Maruts are Vaisyas. The two Aswins, engaged in severe penances, have been said to be Sudras. The deities sprung from Angirasa's line have been said to be Brahmanas. This is certain. Thus have I told thee about the fourfold order among the gods. The person who, after rising from his bed at morn, recites the names of these deities, becomes cleansed of all his sins whether committed by himself intentionally or Unintentionally, or whether born of his intercourse with others. Yavakriti, Raivya, Arvavasu, Paravasu, Ausija, Kashivat, and Vala have been said to be the sons of Angiras. These, and Kanwa son of Rishi Medhatithi, and Varhishada, and the well-known seven Rishis who are the progenitors of the three worlds, all reside in the East. Unmucha, Vimucha, Svastyatreya of great energy, Pramucha, Idhmavaha, and the divine Dridhavrata, and Mitravaruna's son Agastya of great energy, these regenerate Rishis all reside in the south. Upangu, Karusha, Dhaumya, Parivyadha of great energy, and those great Rishis called Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, and Atri's son, viz., the illustrious and puissant Saraswata, these high-souled ones reside in the west. Atreya, and Vasishtha, and the great Rishi Kasyapa, and Gautama, Bharadwaja, and Viswamitra, the son of Kusika, and the illustrious son of the high-souled Richika, viz., Jamadagni,--these seven live in the north. Thus have I told thee about the great Rishis of fiery energy that live in the different points of the compass. Those high-souled ones are the witnesses of the universe, and are the creators of all the worlds. Even thus do they dwell in their respective quarters. By reciting their names one is cleansed of all one's sins. A person by repairing to those points becomes cleansed of all his sins and succeeds in returning home in safety'"