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CHAPTER III.

Three different kinds of dissolution. Duration of a Parárdha.

The clepsydra or vessel for measuring time. The dissolution that occurs at the end of a day of Brahma.

CHAPTER IV. Continuation of the account of the first kind of dissolution. Of

the second kind, or elemental dissolution; of all being resolved into primary spirit.

CHAPTER V. The third kind of dissolution, or final liberation from existence.

Evils of worldly life. Sufferings in infancy, manhood, old age. Pains of hell. Imperfect felicity of heaven. Exemption from birth desirable by the wise. The nature of spirit or god. Meaning of the terms Bhagavat and Vasudeva.

CHAPTER VI. Means of attaining liberation. Anecdotes of Khándikya and

Kesidhwaja. The former instructs the latter how to atone for permitting the death of a cow. Kesidhwaja offers him a requital, and he desires to be instructed in spiritual knowledge.

CHAPTER VII. Kesidhwaja describes the nature of ignorance, and the benefits

of the Yoga or contemplative devotion. Of the novice and the adept in the performance of the Yoga. How it is performed. The first stage, proficiency in acts of restraint and moral duty: the second, particular mode of sitting: the third, Pránáyáma, modes of breathing: the fourth, Pratyahára, restraint of thought: the fifth, apprehension of spirit: the sixth, retention of the idea. Meditation on the individual and universal forms of Vishnu. Acquirement of knowledge. Final liberation.

CHAPTER VIII. Conclusion of the dialogue between Parásara and Maitreya. Re

capitulation of the contents of the Vishňu Puráňa; merit of hearing it: how handed down. Praises of Vishnu. Concluding prayer.

VISHNU PUR ÁŃA,

BOOK I.

CHAPTER I. Invocation. Maitreya inquires of his teacher, Parásara, the

origin and nature of the universe. Parásara performs a rite to destroy the demons: reproved by Vasishtha, he desists: Pulastya appears, and bestows upon him divine knowledge: he repeats the Vishńu Puráňa. Vishnu the origin, existence, and end of all things.

OM! GLORY TO VÁSUDEVA. ' — Victory be to thee, Puńdaríkáksha; adoration be to thee, Viswabhavana;

I THI THPT athara I An address of this kind, to one or other Hindu divinity, usually introduces Sanskrit compositions, especially those considered sacred. The first term of this Mantra or brief prayer, Om or Ońkára, is well known as a combination of letters invested by Hindu mysticism with peculiar sanctity. In the Vedas, it is said to comprehend all the gods; and, in the Puráňas, it is directed to be prefixed to all such formulæ as that of the text. Thus, in the Uttara Khanda* of the Padma Puráňa: “The syllable Om, the mysterious name, or Brahma, is the leader of all prayers: let it, therefore, O lovely-faced, (Šiva addresses Durga,) be employed in the beginning of all prayers': ओंकारः प्रणवो ब्रह्म सर्वमन्त्रेषु नायकः ।

मन्त्राणां च शुभानने ॥

पार्टी

* Chapter XXXII.

glory be to thee, Hrishikeśa, Mahápurusha and Púrvaja."

According to the same authority, one of the mystical imports of the term is the collective enunciation of Vishnu, expressed by A; of Śrí, his bride, intimated by v; and of their joint worshipper, designated by M. A whole chapter of the Váyu Purána is devoted to this term. A text of the Vedas is there cited: FHbatai 1 Om, the monosyllable Brahma’; the latter meaning either the supreme being, or the Vedas collectively, of which this monosyllable is the type. It is also said to typify the three spheres of the world, the three holy fires, the three steps of Vishắu, &c. :

ओमित्येतत्त्रयो वेदास्त्रयो लोकास्त्रयो ऽपयः ।*

विष्णक्रमास्त्रयस्वेते ऋक्सामानि यजूंषि च ॥ Frequent meditation upon it and repetition of it ensure release from worldly existence:

इत्येतदक्षरं ब्रह्म परमोंकारसंज्ञितम् ।
यस्तु वेदयते सम्यक्तथा ध्यायति वा पुनः ॥
संसारचक्रमुत्सृज्य मुक्तवञ्चनबन्धनः ।

अचलं निर्गुणं स्थानं शिवं प्राप्नोत्यसंशयः ॥ See, also, Manu, II., 76. Vásudeva, a name of Vishńu or Krishóa, is, according to its grammatical etymology, a patronymic derivative implying son of Vasudeva. The Vaishúava Puranas, however, devise other explanations. See the next chapter, and, again, b. VI., c. 5.

In this stanza occurs a series of the appellations of Vishnu: 1. Pundaríkáksha (quetta ), having eyes like a lotos, or heart-pervading: or Pundaríka is explained supreme glory, and Aksha, imperishable. The first is the most usual etymon. 2. ViŚwabhávana (faqaa), the creator of the universo, or the cause of the existence of all things. 3. Hrishikeśa (ata ),

* This verse is also found in the Márkańdeya-puráňa, XLII., 8; p. 241 of the edition in the Bibliotheca Indica.

May that Vishńu, who is the existent, imperishable Brahma; who is Íswara;' who is spirit;' who, with the three qualities,' is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; who is the parent of nature, intellect,

lord of the senses. * 4. Mahápurusha (HETYTC), great or supreme spirit; Purusha meaning that wbich abides or is quiescent in body (puri sete). 5. Púrvaja (45), produced or appearing before creation; the Orphic rowtóyovos. In the fifth book, c. 18, Vishắu is described by five appellations which are considered analogous to these; or: 1. Bhútátman (2012 ), one with created things, or Pundaríkáksha; 2. Pradhánátman (TUTACHT), one with crude nature, or Viswabhávana; 3. Indriyátman (for UTCH), one with the senses, or Hrishikeśa; 4. Paramátman (97HIGHT), supreme spirit, or Mahápurusha; and Átman ( GH ), soul, living soul, animating nature and existing before it, or Púrvaja.

? Brahma (EMT), in the neuter form, is abstract supreme spirit; and Iswara (AT) is the deity in his active nature, he who is able to do or leave undone, or to do anything in any other manner that that in which it is done : कर्तुमकर्तुमन्यथा कर्तु HT: 1

? Puńs (), which is the same with Purusha, incorporated spirit. By this, and the two preceding terms, also, the commentator understands the text to signify, that Vishńu is any form of spiritual being that is acknowledged by different philosophical systems; or that he is the Brahma of the Vedánta, the Íswara of the Pátanjala, and the Purusha of the Sankhya, school.

3 The three qualities, to which we shall have further occasion to advert, are: Sattwa (77), goodness or purity, knowledge,

* In the Mahábhárata, Udyoga-parvan, 2564 and 2567, Puńdaríkáksha and Hřishikeśa are explained to a very different purport. The stanzas are quoted and translated in Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Part IV., pp. 182 and 183.

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