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Soma having concluded, the Prachetasas took Marisha, as he had enjoined them, righteously to wife, relinquishing their indignation against the trees; and upon her they begot the eminent patriarch Daksha, who had (in a former life) been born as the son of Brahma.1
whole story of Marisha's birth is nowhere else so fully detailed. The penance of the Prachetasas, and its consequences, are related in the Agni, Bhagavata, Matsya, Padma, Vayu, and Brahma Puranas; and allusion is briefly made to Marisha's birth. Her origin from Kandu and Pramlocha is narrated in a different place in the Brahma Puraiia, where the austerities of Karidu, and the necessity for their interruption, are described. The story, from that authority, was translated by the late Professor Chezy, and is published in the first number of the Journal Asiatique.
1 The second birth of Daksha, and his share in the peopling of the earth, is narrated in most of the Puranas in a similar manner. It is, perhaps, the original legend; for Daksha seems to be an irregular adjunct to the Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma (see Vol. I., p. 100, note 2); and the allegorical nature of his posterity in that character (Vol. I., p. 109) intimates a more recent origin. Nor does that series of descendants apparently occur in the Mahabharata; although the existence of two Dakshas is especially remarked there (Moksha Dharma):
In the Adi Parvan, which seems to be the freest from subsequent improvements, the Daksha noticed is the son of the Prachetasas. The incompatibility of the two accounts is reconciled hy referring the two Dakshas to different Manwantaras; the Daksha who proceeded from Brahma as a Prajapati being born in the first, or Swayambhuva, and the son of the Prachetasas, in the Chakshusha, Manwantara. The latter, however, as descended from Uttanapada, should belong to the first period also. It is evident that great confusion has been made, by the Puranas, in Daksha's history.
* MaMbharata, Sdnti-parvan, 7573.
This great sage, for the furtherance of creation, and the increase of mankind, created progeny. Obeying the command of Brahma, he made movable and immovable things,* bipeds and quadrupeds,f and, subsequently, by his will, gave birth to females, ten of whom he bestowed on Dharma, thirteen on Kasyapa, and twenty-seven, who regulate the course of time, on the Moon.1 Of these, the gods, the Titans, t the snakegods, cattle, and birds, the singers and dancers of the courts of heaven, the spirits of evil, § and other beings, were born. From that period forwards, living creatures were engendered by sexual intercourse. Before the time of Daksha, they were variously propagated,—by the will, by sight, by touch, and by the influence of religious austerities practised by devout sages and holy saints. II
Maitreya.—Daksha, as I have formerly heard, was born from the right thumb of Brahma. Tell me, great Muni, how he was regenerate as the son of the Prachetasas. Considerable perplexity also arises in my mind, how he, who, as the son of Marisha, was the grandson of Soma, could be also his father-in-law.
Parasara.—Birth and death are constant in all creatures. Rishis and sages, possessing divine vision,
1 That is, they are the Nakshatras or lunar asterisms.
* The Sanskrit has avara and vara, "inferior" and "superior"; and these epithets, not being given in the neuter, but in the masculine, refer to putra, Professor Wilson's "progeny".
t See Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., pp. 26 and 27.
|| See Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., p. 27.
are not perplexed by this. Daksha and the other eminent Munis are present in every age, and, in the interval of destruction, cease to be.1 Of this the wise man entertains no doubt. Amongst them of old there
1 'They are removed' (ft^tJprT), which the commentator explains by ^^^e)^)^«r) I 'are absorbed, as if they were fast asleep.' But, in every age or Yuga, according to the text,—in every Manwantara,according to the comment—the Rishis reappear; the circumstances of their origin only being varied. Daksha, therefore, as remarked in the preceding note, is the son of Brahma, in one period, the son of the Prachetasas, in another. So Soma, in the Swayarhbhuva Manwantara, was born as the son of Atri; in the Chakshusha, he was produced by churning the ocean. The words of our text occur in the Hari Vamsa, * with an unimportant variation:
'Birth and obstruction are constant in all beings. But Rishis, and those men who are wise, are not perplexed by this'; that is, not, as rendered above, by the alternation of life and death, but, according to the commentator on the Hari Vamsa, by a very different matter, the prohibition of unlawful marriages. Utpatti, 'birth of progeny', is the result of their will; Nirodha, 'obstruction', is the law prohibiting the intermarriage of persons connected by the offering of the funeral cake: f^T^ftft f^nSTO^fkllS l*J^tfl fspSTT.' I to which Rishis and sages are not subject, either from their matrimonial unions being merely Platonic, or from the bad example set by Brahma, who, according to the Vedas, approached his own daughter: jrgrprfrlW ^f*53'<.*WWl^Tf^trT ^jfrT: I a mystery we have already had occasion to advert to (Vol. I., p. 104, note 2). The explanation of the text, however, given by the commentator appears forced, and less natural than the interpretation preferred above.
* Stanza 111.
was neither senior nor junior. Rigorous penance and acquired power were the sole causes of any difference of degree amongst these more than human beings.*
Maitreya.—Narrate to me, venerable Brahman, at length, the birth of the gods, Titans, f Gandharvas, serpents, and goblins. I
Pahasara.—In what manner Daksha created living creatures, as commanded by Brahma, you shall hear. In the first place, he willed into existence the deities, the Rishis, the quiristers of heaven, § the Titans,! and the snake-gods. Finding that his will-born progeny did not multiply themselves, he determined, in order to secure their increase, to establish sexual intercourse as the means of multiplication. For this purpose he espoused Asikni, the daughter of the patriarch Vfrana,1 a damsel addicted to devout practices, the eminent
1 This is the usual account of Daksha's marriage, and is that of the Mahabharata, Adi Parvan (p. 113), and of the Brahma Puraria, which the Hari Vamsa, in the first part, repeats. In another portion, the Pushkara Mahatmya, however, Daksha, it is said, converts half himself into a female, by whom he begets the daughters presently to be noticed:
This seems to be merely a new edition of an old story.
See Original Sanskrit Texts, Part I., p. 27.
supportress of the world. By her the great father of mankind begot five thousand mighty sons, through whom he expected the world should be peopled. Narada, the divine Rishi, observing them desirous to multiply posterity, approached them, and addressed them in a friendly tone: "Illustrious Haryaswas, it is evident that your intention is to beget posterity. But first consider this—why should you, who, like fools, know not the middle, the height, and depth of the world,1 propagate offspring? When your intellect is no more obstructed by interval, height, or depth, then how, fools, shall ye not all behold the term of the universe?"* Having heard the words of Narada, the sons
1 JJ^ftS «H <^*4W^T^r I The commentator explains it to mean the origin, duration, and termination of subtile rudimental body; but the Padma and Linga Puranas distinctly express it, 'the extent of the earth':