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The Essence of Puranas – Markandeya Purana-3

Posted by gopalakrishna

The Essence of Puranas – Markandeya  Purana


(Devi! You are Sarva Swarupa, Sarveswari, Sarva Shakti Samanvita or the Possessor of Omni-Potence; Katyayani, kindly secure all the Beings from the Tranquillity of Your Three Eyes. Bhadra Kaali, Save us by using the blistering flames of Your frightening face and the powerful Trishul against the infamous and brutal Rakshasas. Let the deafening echo of the forceful ‘Ghanta’ (Bell) in Your possession which demoralises the reckless Danavas and demolishes their arrogance pardon our accumulated sins and provide us an amnesty. Devi Chandika! Let the sparkling sword of Your mighty hands slice open the body parts of the Asuras so that streams of blood and fat rush out and let the reflections of the sword’s radiance purify us and provide protection to us. Devi! If You are satisfied our ailments vanish away, but otherwise all our possessions and desires are destroyed at once; those who are dedicated to You never face any difficulties, however insurmountable they might be. Would it be possible to assume myriad forms to smash the highly immoral Danavas with all their viles and powers by any other woman? Could there be any other capability beyond Yours which excels with the expertise of forty Vidyas, Six Shastras, Vedas, and incomparable Gyan and mental acumen that keeps the equilibrium and stability to the Universe which is surfeit with dark desires and passions! Devi! By staying in the deep Waters of Oceans, You reach any and every spot of the Universe where there is a Rakshasa, a cruel serpent, an enemy, a thief, or a Davaanala (Huge Fire) to safety and well being. You are Vishweswari since You stand guard to us; You are Vishwatma since You are the Soul of the Vishwam or the Vishwaadhara, being saluted by Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara with reverence and admiration. Devi! Just as You have got rid of the World from the Rakshasas now, do sustain Your kindness in removing our enemies, natural calamities, diseases, disasters, dread and disorders of any description!)
Extremely gratified by the eulogies of Devas, Maha Devi assured unremitting support to Devas as and when there would be a need besides saving the virtuous and punishing the guilty as an integral part of Her scheme of activities. She stated that in the course of Vivaswata Manvantara, She would be born again as Vindhyachalavasini and kill Vaipachitta named Danavas; while She would eat the Rakshasas at that time, She would be known as ‘Raktadantika’ as Her teeth would look like blood-red ‘Dadimi Kusuma’. Some hundred years hence, Munis would make Group Prayers for her as there would be severe drought and famine of water and Munis could percieve her by her red eyes alone as ‘Shataakshi’ since She woud be ‘Ayoni janita’ or born on Her own. As there would be no rains for long time, She utilised Her own Physique and generated food grains and vegetables to sustain humanity to be acclaimed as ‘Shakambhari’ and assuming a frightful form at Himalayas killed a very treacherous Demon called Durgama. When Muniganas would pacify her with their prayers, She would be popular as Bhima Devi.When another ‘Mahasura’, called Aruna would torment Trilokas some time later, She would assume the form of Six-legged ‘Bhramaras’ (Bees) in countless numbers and annihilate the Asura and his companions.

Devi Mahatmya Phala Shruti
Those who read or hear the eulogies about Maha Devi, particularly on Ashtami, Navami or Chaturdashi days would qualify human beings for diminishing sins, removal of poverty, as also safe-guarding against enemies, robbers, fire and water hazards, weapons, diseases, family unrest and general discontentment. The specific households, where ‘Devi Mahtatmya’ is observed, are never neglected by Devi; in fact She resides there for good. The auspicious timings when Pujas, Agni Karyas, Marriages, Festival Days, and such other propitious Functions are celebrated, Maha Devi doubles up happiness and satisfaction to those responsible for the house-holds.
Bhava kaaley Nrinaam saiva Lakshmi buddhi pradaa grihey,
Sevaabhaavey tatha Lakshmi vinashyayopjaayatey/
Stutaa Sampujita Pushpair gandhadhupaadibhistatha,
Dadaati vittham Putracscha Matim Dharmeygatim Shubham/
Having heard ‘Devi Mahatmya’, King Suratha and Vaishya Samadhi expressed sincere gratitude to Muni Megha and immediately left the hermitage to a River nearby and performed Tapasya t Maha Devi for three years and Maha Devi appeared before them and blessed them; She forecast to the King that soon he would regain his lost Kingdom and after a long successful Kingship would become the Eighth Manu Saavarni by the grace of Surya Deva. She blessed Vaishya Samadhi with ‘Purna Gyan’ so that his obsession and extreme attachment to his family would vanish and pursue a Dharmik life spreading knowledge to several followers and finally attain salvation thereafter.

Future Manus-Daksha, Brahma, Dharma and Rudra Saavarnis

While the eighth Manu would be Saavarni-the son of Surya Deva and Chhaya Devi, following the present seventh Manu Vaiwasvatha born of Surya Deva and Sajna Devi, Daksha Saavarni, the son of Daksha Prajapati, would be the ninth Manu; during his time, the principal Devata Ganas would be Para, Marichi, Bharga and Sudharma and auxiliary Twelve Ganas. Kartikeya would be the King Indra, while the Sapta Rishis would be Meghaatithi, Vasu, Satya, Jyotishman, Dhrutimaan, Sabala and Havyavahan.
The tenth Manu Brahma Saavarni would have Sukhaaseena, Nirudraswa and Dwiprakara and auxiliary Devas would be as many as hundred since the number of human beings would be increased. Saptarshis would be Apomurthi, Havishyamaan, Sukrut, Satya, Naabhhaga, Apratima, and the Seventh Vasishtha. Dharma Saarvani should be the eleventh Manu with three main Devatas viz. Vihangama, Kaamag, and Nirmanapati each with thirty Ganas; Indra would be Vrishaakhya; and the Sapta Rishis would be Havishyaman, Varishtha, Aruna Tanaya, Nishwar, Anagha, Vishti and Agni Deva. The twelfth Manu Rudra Putra Rudra Saavarni would have five Deva Ganas viz. Sudharma Sumana, Haritha, Rohita, and Suvarna each having ten Devatas in each Gana,  while the Sapta Rishis would be Dyuti, Tapaswi, Sutapa, Tapomurthi, Taponighri, Taporathi and Tapodhriti

Pitra’s ‘Upadesha’ (Instruction) on ‘Garhasthya’ (Family Life) to Ruchi Muni (‘Pitru Stuthi’ included)

Rouchya Manu would be the thirteenth in the series, the son of Prajapati Ruchi and Malini; Pushkara the son of Kubera and Apsara Plamocha gave birth to Malini. Ruchi Muni was not only unmarried, but had virtually renounced the World, was homeless, ate single meal and was not eligible to perform Agni Karyas as he was a bachelor. The Pitru Devatas appeared before the Muni and said that they were not able to receive any contribution from him as he was not married, could not perform any ‘Punya Karyas’ (Propitious Tasks normally executed by house-holders), nor provide ‘Atithya’ (treat guests at home).

'Grihasties’ (family men) could pronounce the Mantra ‘Swaha’ and give away oblations to Agni to satisfy Devatas and also say ‘Swadha’ and satisfy Pitras. The three ‘Runas’ (debts) to Devatas, Pitras and Aththis thus remain unfulfilled! When ‘Tarpanas’ are not performed to ancestors, what kind of noble purpose would there be to a person in his life! But Ruchi Muni counter argued that the institution of marriage was the worst possible enemy to ‘Atma Samyam’(Self Control) which was the rudimental step towards ‘Mukti’(salvation), that a married person would perforce get dragged into the deep sludge of temporary worldly attractions of a woman, children, grand chidren, their responsibilites and a thick net of ‘Maya’ like earning money, family health, routine life etc. which hardly leave time for Godly activities, adding there by fresh sins by way of hypocrisy, insincerity and double standards, let alone try to clear the backlog sins of previous births. Pitru Devatas then gave the Upadesha as follows: Is the method that you have adopted is a ladder to ‘Moksha’! It would be a fallacy that you would reduce the ‘Karma phala’ of previous births by abstaining from sins in the current birth since human births in the everlasting cycle of lives follow like day and night and there is no question of striking equations between pluses and minuses! Equally fallacious is the argument that family life tends to be a deep-drag into slush, since Vedas prescribed ‘Samyam’ (Self- control), ‘Niyama’ (Self-discipline) and ‘Karma’ (Duty). What is controversial is not the Institution of marriage, but transgressing the limits of desire, decency and virtue.In fact, Garhastya is a test of life.
Vihitaa karanaatpumbhirasadbhih kriyatey thu yah,
 samyamo Muktaye naasou prathyutadhogati pradah
(Those bogus persons who seek to practise the so-called self-control without executing duties prescribed by the Sacred Texts shall be doomed at the end). My Son! What you are imagining as cleaning up your own Soul is indeed burning your consciousness into ash without performing your duties as a human being! Thus, our final advice and instruction is to become a ‘Grihasta’ (House holder), do your duties, be a drop on lotus leaf, and ascend to the mountain top step by step.
Fully convinced of the Upadesha on ‘Garshastya’ by the Pitru Devas, Ruchi Muni performed Tapasya to Lord Brahma who blessed him to follow the ‘Grihastashram’ and bestowed the Title of Prajapati. Ruchi then commended Pitru Devas by his Pitru Stuti that the ‘Pitras’ were the Adhishtana Devatas at the ‘Shraddhas’ responding to the oblations to Agni with the Mantras of ‘Swaha’ by Devas; that Maharshis satisfy the Pitras at Shradhas as they desire to attain Bhukti (fulfillment at Earth) and Mukti (salvation); that Siddhaganas at Swarga do satisfy Pitras with celestial Gifts at the Shraddhas; that ‘Martyalok vasis’ or human beings worship Pitras with ‘Shraddha Sahita Archana’or Pujas; that ‘Naishtika Brahmacharis’ or Brahmana Vydarthis / bachelors try to please Pitras by their Yoga Samadhis; that Kshatriya Kings seek to offer and satisfy Pitruganas with ‘Shraaddhaanna’ to keep up their Kshatriya Dharma; that Vaishyas satisfy Pitras with Pushpa Dhup with pure water; that Shudras seek to satisfy ‘Shukaalena Pitra’ and his followers through periodical Shraddhas; that Mahasuragana of Patalaloka at Shraddhas seek to satisfy the Pitras by Swadhakaar Mantra; that Nagas of Rasatala too implore Pirtuganas to fulfil their desires; that those residing at Devaloka and ‘Antariksha’(Celestial Region) offer their their reverences directly to the Pitruganas; that Brahmanas satisfy Pitras by making offerings of Ghee and cooked rice through Agni as also through Pindadaan; and that dutiful human beings satisfy Pitruganas on Annual Ceremony Days, Amavasya days, Eclipse days, Days of change of Ayanas, and Days of Festivals, Kartika and other significant months and so on. Pitras are satisfied by destroying Rakshasas, Evil Spirits, Poisonous Creatures and enemies. Devas are satisfied through Pitruganas. Specifically, the Pitras viz. Agnishvakta, Baahirshad, Ajyapa, and Somapa safeguard against Evil Forces in the Four Directions of East, South, West and North respectively. The Nine Pitruganas viz. Vishva, Vishwabhuk, Aradhya, Dharma, Dhanya, Shubhaana, Bhutida, Bhutikrit, and Bhuti safeguard all the directions.Kalyan, Kalyanakarta, Kalya, Kalyatarashraya, Kalyatahatu, Anagha, Vara, Varenya, Varada, Pushtida, Trushtida, Vishwapata, Dhata, Mahan, Mahatma, Mahita, Mahimaavan and Mahabal-all sin demolisher Pitraganas.  A total of hundred thirty other Pitruganas do also bestow happiness, fame, posperity, contentment, good health and so on. (The above Stuti of Pitraganas is considered worthy of remembrance at the time of performing Shraadhas).
Being highly pleased by Ruchi Muni’s tributes, Pitruganas were happy that the Muni agreed finally to marry, located a suitable damsel for the wedlock and repeated Lord Brahma’s boon to beget the next Manu Rouchya. During this Manu’s time, the Sapta Rishis would be Dhritiman, Avyaya, Tatvadarshi, Nirmoha, Sutap and Nishprakapya who ensured that in the thirteenth regime of Rouchya there would be least disturbance of Peace and Dharma.
Dharma vriddhisthadaarogyam Dhana Dhaanya Sutodbhahah,
Nrunaam Bhavatyasandigdhamasmin Manvavantarey Shrutey/
Pitrustavam tathaa Shrutvaa Pitruumaamcha tathaaganaan,
Sarvaankaamaanavapnoti tatprasaadaan Maha Muney/
(Listening about the account of this Manvantara, human beings would benefit by the enhancement of Virtue, Health, Prosperity, Foodgrains and Good Offspring. Hearing the extollment of Pitras and Pitruganas would confer fulfillment of all wishes.)

Bhouthya last Manu-Prayers by ‘Shanti’ to Agni Deva to rekindle ‘Nitya Agni’
Sage Bhuti was the ever-angry disciple of Angirasa Maha Muni who was dreaded by one and all for any minor irritation that might attract a curse to the victims. He had no children and that was one of the causes for his annoyance and frustration. Even Surya Deva desists from being too hot in the Ashram of Sage Bhuti, and Vayu Deva, Varuna Deva and Chandra could ill-afford to display their extreme features! Bhuti Muni had a brother called Suvarcha who also did not have a child and desired to perform one Yagna and entrusted the task of organising it to Bhuti. The responsibility of managing the Ashram was entrusted to one of Bhuti’s disciples named Shanti and Bhuti made special mention of maintaining ‘Nithya Agni’ or Constant Fire at the Ashram.
As Shanti went out of the Ashram to fetch Samidhas (Dried pieces of wood), flowers and fruits to maintain the daily chores at the Ashram, Shanti went out once and the ‘Nitya Agni’ was found put off on return. Shanti was frightened of the consequences as Bhuti Muni would certainly tear him down; the Guru would also come to know if the Nitya Agni in the Ashram was re-kindled by his remote sense. Not knowing what to do, the disciple could only seek refuge from Agni Deva and entreat Him with high concentration and Agni Stuti is as follows:
Om Sarva Bhutaanaam Sadhanaaya Mahatmaney,
Eka dwi panchadhishinyaya Rajasuye Shadaatmaney/
Namah Samasta Devaanaam Vritthidaaya Suvarchasey,
Shukra rupaaya Jagataamaseshaanaam Sthithih pradah /
Twam Mukham Sarva Devaanaam Twayaanti Bhagavahnivih,
preenayasyakhilaam Devaamstath praanaah Sarva Devataah /
( My sincere respects to You Mahtama! You are the facilitator of all human beings with a single or two or five Rupas or Forms, but with Six Murtis at Rajasuya Yagnas; You are the ‘Mukha Rupa’ or the Facial Form of all the Devas engaging them with their respective occupations as also Suvarcha or the Sparkle as the Shukra Rupa, the Preserver of the Universe and Satisfier of Devas through oblations of ‘Ghee’ (classified butter) and as such the Life to them!) 
Hanthu havisthavyyanala medhatwamupagacchhati,
tattascha jalarupena parinaamupaiti yat /
thenaakhiloushadhee janma bhavatyanilasaarathey,
Aoushadheebhira sheshaabhih Sukham jeevanti jantawah/
Vitanvathey naraa Yagnaamstvatsrushtaasvoshadheeshu cha,
Yagnairdevastatha Daityaasta dvandrakshaamsi pavaka/
Aapyaayanthey cha they Yagnaastvaadhaaraa Hutaashana,
Atah Sarvasya Yonistwam vahney sarvamayas tatha/
Devatha Daanavaa Yakshaa Daityaa Gandharva Raakshasaah,
Maanushaa Pashavo Vrikshaa Mriga Pakshisareesrupaah/
Aaapyayyanthey twayaa sarvey samvarthantheycha Paavaka,
 Twattha yodbhavam yaanthi twayyanthey cha tathaa layam/
( You convert ‘Havis’into ‘Medhatva’or Brain Power which takes the Form of Water as that produces ‘Aushadhis’ or Medicines and humanity is happy and healthy as a result. When human beings enjoy themselves with contentment, they perform Yagnas and these Sacred Rituals enabled by You (Anila Saarathey!) satisfy Devas, Daityas, Rakshasas and so on; thus Hutashana! You are the Adhara Swarup or the Fulcrum, the Utpanna Karta or the Creator and Sarvamaya or the Omni Present! In other words, the whole Universe comprising Devatas, Danavas, Yakshas, Daithyas, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Human Beings, Animals, Trees, Birds, Reptiles is indeed the ‘Srishti’ of Almighty! You are the conduit or the Great Medium of Srishti, Stithi and Laya)
Apah srujaasi devatvam twamatsi punarevata,
pachyamaanaastwaya taascha praaninaam pushti –kaaranam /
Deveshu tejorupena kaantatya siddheshvavasthitah,
visharupena Nageshu Vaayurupah patatrishu/
Manujeshu bhavaankrodho mohah pakshi mrimaadishu,
Avashtambhosi tarusha kaathinyam twam Mahiprati/
Jale dravas Bhagavaajjva rupi tadhhaniley,
vyapitvena tadhaivaagney nabhaasitwam vyavasthitah /
Twamagney Sarva bhutaan antascharaasi paalayan,
twamekamaahuh kavayastvaamaahus trividha punah 
(Deva, You produce water and also consume it; all ‘Pranis’ or Animate Beings are sustained, fit and dynamic. You are the Tejo Swarupa of Devatas, Buddhi Rupas of Siddhas, Visha Rupas or of Poisonous Forms of Nagas, Vayu Rupas ( Forms of Wind) of Birds, Krodha Rupas or Forms of Antagonism of human beings, ‘Moha Rupas’ ( Passionate Forms ) of Animals, ‘Sthita Rupas’ ( Forms of Steadiness) of Vrikshas (Trees), ‘Kathinyata’ or Endurance of Earth, ‘Drava Rupa’ (fluidity) of Water, Vega Rupa (Speed) of Vayu ( Wind), ‘Vyapti Swarupa’(All Encompassing Form) of Akash (Sky); but Agni Deva! You administer all the Beings and mobilise the inner consciousness of all and also end up the Universe; that is why Poets depict You as one entity but also describe You as Three, since You perform all the Three Acts of Srishti, Sthiti and Laya! )
Thwaamashtadha kalpayitva Yagnamaahamakalpayan
twaya shrishtimidam viswam vadanti paramarshyah/
twaamrutehi jagatsarvam sadyo nashyadyutaashana,
thubhyam krutvaa Dwijah pujaam swakarma vihitaam gatim /
Prayanti havyakavyadyaih  Swadhaa Swahabhaabhyu -deeranaat,
Parinaaamatma veeryaani ninaamamaraarchita/ 
Dahanti sarva bhutaani tatho Nishkramya hetah,
Jaatavedastavyai vedam vishwam srashtam Mahaadyutey/
Tavaiva Vaidikam karma Sarva bhutaatmakam jagat,
Namastonala Pingaaksha Namastestu Hutaashana/
Paavakaadya Namastesthu Namasthey Havya -vaahana
twameva bhukta peetaanaam paachanaadvishwa paachakah/ 
(Agni Deva! Poets actually describe You in Eight Forms right from Yagnas onwards till destruction; Brahmanas through the ‘Havya- Kavya’ recitations and oblations by the Mantras of Swaha and Swadha which fulfil all the required rituals and take steps forward to Realisation of the Almighty; Your ‘Agni Sikhas’ from the Homa Kundas and destroy Bhuta ganas, Jaataveda, Hutashana, Adya, Pavaka! My sincere respects to You, the materials that You absorb by way of ‘bhukta’ and ‘Peeta dravya’ (by eating or intaking) and clean up the World.)
 Shanti continued his Stuti:
Sasyaanaam paaka karta twam poshta twam Jagatastatha,
Twameva Meghastwam Vaayustwam Beejam sasyahetukam/
Poshaaya Sarva bhutaanaam, Bhuta Bhavya Bhavodyasi,
Twam Jyotih Sarva bhuteshu Twamaadityo Vibhaavasuh/
Twamahastvam tatha Raatriubhey Sandhey tatha Bhavaan,
Hiranyaretastwam Vahney Hiranyodbhava kaaranam/
Hiranya garbhascha Bhavaan-hiranyasadrusha prabhah,
Twam Muhurtam Kshanascha Twam Twam Trutistvam tatha Lavah/
Kalakaashtaa nimeshaadi paapebhya Ihikaachya Maha bhayat,
Karaalee nama ya jihvaMaha Pralaya kaaranam/
Tatha nah paahi Paapebhya Ihikaaccha Maha Bhayaat,
Karoti kaamam Bhutebhyo ya the Jihva Sulohitaa/
tayaa nah paahi  Paapebhya Ihikacchha Maha Bhayat/
(You are the Bija Swarupa enabling farming, You are the Preserver, You are the Megha or Clouds, the Vayu or Air; the Past, Present and the Future; the Jyoti Rupa, the Aditya Surya; the Dawn, Dusk and Night; You are the Golden Sperm, the Golden Belly, the Gold-like Swarupa; You are the measurements like  Muhurta, Kshana, Triti and Lava. You are the Kaala Kaashta Nimesha Rupas or Forms and of Eternal Time; Please save us from the changes of Time, from the fear of ‘Ihika’ or the on-going Life by the grace of Your Fiery Tongue named ‘Manojava’; also provide boons by another tongue of Yours called ‘Sulohita’; may another tongue called ‘Sudhumra -varna’demolish our illnesses; may ‘Sphulingini’named tongue secure us from ‘Samsara Bhaya’; and may ‘Viswa’ named tongue bestow propitiousness to humanity.) Pingaaksha Lohitagreeva Krishna Varna Hutaashana,
traahimaam sarva doshobhyah samsaaraadudhareha maam/
Praseeda Vahney Saptaarchi Krushaano Havyavahana,
Agni Pavaka Shukraadi naamaashtaabhirudeeritah/
Agneygrey Sarva Bhutaanaam Samutpakttir Vibhaavaso,
Praseeda Havyavaahaasya abhishtuth mayaavya,
Twamakshayo Vahniraachintya rupah
samruddhimandushprasahoti teevratah/
thavyayam Bhimamashesha loka
samvardhakam hanthyathati viryam,
twamutthamam tatvamashe satvathrutpundareekastha mananthameediam/
Tatvaa tam Vishva midam Charaacharam Hutaashanaiko Bahudhaa twamatra/
( May Your orange coloured eyes, red coloured neck and Krishna Varna Form safeguard me from performing ‘doshas’ or sins. You are the Saptarchi, Havyavahana, Krushanu, Agni, Shukra, Pavaka and such other Eight Names. You were the far earlier Creation to all Beings; Vibhavasu! Avyaa Havya Vaha! May I extol You so that You receive my ‘Stuti’ and grant me equanimity; You are the ‘Akshaya’ (Never Diminishing), ‘Achintya’ or Beyond Sorrow of any kind,
‘Samruddhi Sampanna’ (Epitome of Abundance), the Shelter-Point, Balashaali, ‘Avyaya’ or Inexhaustible, Bhima Rupa, Protector and Destroyer, the Satva Swarupa, Lotus-heart of all the Beings, the revered Brahma Swarupa, the Sarva Vyapi or the Encompasser of the Universe, the Singular Entity displayed in multiple Images and the Omni- Present).
Twakshayah sagiri vanaa Vasundhara Nabhah Sasomaarkamahadimvaakhilam, Mahodadherjatharagatascha vaadav bhavaanvibhuvuh pibati prayaamsi Paavaka/Hutashanaastwamiti sadaabhi pujyasey Mahaa kratou niyamaparair maharshibhih, Abhishtutah pibasi cha Soma madhvareyvashatkrutaanyapi cha harshamshi Bhutaye/
Twam Vipraih SatatamihejyasePhallartham Vedangyoshvatha Sakaleshu geeyase twam, Tadvetoryajana parayana Dwijendra Vedaangaanyadhi gamayanthi Sarva Kaale/Twam Brahma yajanaparasthaiva Vishnu Bhuteshah Surapatir Yamaa Jaleshah,
Suryendu Sakala Suraasuraischa Havyaih Santhoshaamata phalaanya-thatpruvanti/
Archibhih Paraamoghapaghata drushtam sampushtam tava Shuchi –jaayatey samastam, Snaanaaam Paramamathiva Bhasmaanaa Sat Sanandhyaayam  Munibhirateeva sewasye tat/
Tat krutwa Tridivamavaapnuvanti Lokaah sadbhaktya Sukhaniyataah samuhi gatim,
Praseeda Vahney Shuchi naamadheya Praseeda Vayo Vimalaati deeptye/
Praseeda me Paavaka Vaidhyutaabha Praseeda Havyashana Paahi maam twam,
Yattey Vahney Shivam rupam ye cha tey Saptahetayah The paahi na stuto Deva Pita putramivaatmajam/
(Anila Deva! You are Eternal, You have the Swarupa of Prithvi along with coutless Mountains, the ‘Akaash Swarupa’or of the Form of Sky with Sun and Moon; the ‘Kaala Swarupa’ of Days and Nights; the ‘Badabagni’or the Mammoth Fire outside of the Massive Oceans; the Recipient of Huta Havis as Food due to which reason Maharshis performing ‘Maha Yagnas’ pay spontaneous tributes to You; You are the Consumer of Somarasa and Havis along with Vashatkaar; You are the Unique Entity who is constantly praised by ‘Yagna paraayana’ Brahmanas, through the Medium of Vedangas; You are Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, Devarajendra, Yama, Varuna, Surya, Chandra and all other Devaganas; the Purifier of any and every material by the touch of Your blazes as the best method of sanitization among all types of ‘Snanaas’ (baths) is by converting any object into ‘Bhasma’ or ash! Vahni Deva, You are the Unique Cleanser of the entire Srishti! If a Human Being adopts this method of purification, then Vayu Deva would oblige the transfer of the Being from Bhuloka to Swarga loka at Great Speed! Let the same velocity be assumed by Vayu Deva to bring Agni Deva to the Ashram of Sage Bhuti and let Vahni Deva take note of my sincere appeal to save me from my great predicament and bless me to materialize His very kind appearance in the ‘Homa Kunda’as ‘Nitya agni’and pardon my carelessness and foolishness just as a father would do to his son.
By being immensely pleased with the earnest Stuti, Agni Deva appeared before Shanti and granted the boons of re-kindling the Everlasting Fire at the Homa Kunda at the Ashram of Maha Muni Bhuti, providing an Illustrious Son to the Sage who would be the ensuing Manu to be called Bhoutya as his Manvantar would be acclaimed as Epoch-Making as also blessed Shanti who did not wish for any boon displaying his self-lessness and sincere devotion; Agni Deva sanctioned the fulfillment of generic desires to humanity as contained in the ‘Stuti’ by Shanti. He assured Shanti that whoever reads or hears the above ‘Stotra’, especially during Yagnas, Festival Days, Tirtha Yatras, Eclipses, Mangala Karyas like weddings, Vratas, and Purnima and Amavaasyas or at any time during night or daytimings would be provided security from Fire hazards, illnesses, poverty, want of good progeny and discontentment. During the regime of Bhoutya Manu, the Deva Ganas would be Chakshusa, Kanishtha, Pavitra, Swajira and Dhaaraavruka. Indra would be called Shuchi. Agnighna, Agni baahu, Shuchi, Mukta, Madhava, Shakra and Ajita would be the Sapta Rishis.

Manvantara Phala Shruti

Reading or hearing the accounts of the first Manvantara of Swayambhu provides Dharma Prapti (Virtue); the second Manvantara of Swarochisha yields ‘Sarva Kamna Siddhi’ (Fulfilment of all desires); the third Mamvantara of Uouttama gives prosperity; the fourth Tamasa Manvantara endows with ‘Gyana Laabha’ (Profit of Knowledge); the fifth Raivata Manvantara grants ‘Buddhi’ (Mental Power) and ‘Swarupavati Stree’ (Beautiful Woman); the sixth Chakshsa Manvantara offers ‘Arogya Labha’ (Good Health); the seventh or the present Manvantara headed by Vivaswata Manu grants physical strength; the forthcoming eighth Manvantara of Surya Sawarna supplies Putra Poutra Labha (Good Progeny);
the ninth Brahma Savarni Manvantara offers ‘Mahatmya’(Great Significance); the tenth Dharma Savarni Manvantara yields ‘Mangala’( propitiousness); the eleventh Manvantara of Rudra Savarni yields ‘Sumati’(Brain Power) and ‘Jaya’ (Victory); the twelfth Manvantara of Daksha Sawarni bestows Superiority of the entire Vamsa as also of Best Gunas or Features; the thirteenth Manvantara provides (the strength to destroy enemies) and Phala Shruti of the last and fourteenth Manvantara of Bhoutya gives Deva Prasada and Agnihotra Phala (Blessings of Devas, especially of Fire God).

Surya Deva-Vedic Origin, Physical Birth, Wedding and Progeny

Markandeya told the Brahmana Kroushti as folows: As Lord Brahma desired to intiate the task of Creation, he created Daksha from his right thumb and Aditi from his left thumb and their children were Kashyapa and Martanda Deva. The latter is of Brahma Swarupa; the Provider of boons to the entire Universe; is present at ‘Adi-Madhya-Antha’ (the Beginning, Middle and End) of ‘Srishthi- Sthiti and Pralaya’ (Creation-Preservation and Termination); ‘Sarva Bhuta Swarupa’ (The Form of all Beings), ‘Sarvatma’ (The Soul of the Entirety) and ‘Sanatana Paramatma’ (The Most Ancient and Greatest Soul). He has many names like Vispashta, Parama, Vidya, Jyoti, Shaswati, Prakashita, Deepti, Kaivalya, Gyan, Aavirbhava, Praakaamya, Samvita, Bodha, Avitgati, Smriti and Vigyan
Here before Creation, when there was utter darkness, an endless Egg was materialised, in the midst of which, Pitamaha Brahma was present atop a lotus stem. As he broke open the Egg in the middle and from his mouth emerged the ‘Maha Shabda’ (The Enormous Sound) ‘AUM’. This Sound was followed by the the Foremost Sound ‘BHU’; then came BHUVAH, followed by SVAHA; the Sum of these Three Echos formed Surya. The Maha Shabda AUM consituted the ‘Sukshma Rupa’ or the Tiniest Form Surya Deva; this was tagged along the ‘Sthula Rupas’ or the Gross Forms viz. MAHAH, JANAH, TAPAH, and SATYA
(Omityasmatswarupatu Sukshma Rupam Raveh Param/
Tatho Mahariti sthulam janam sthulataram tathah,
tathasthapasthtah satyamiti murtaani saptadha/
 Sthitaani tasya rupaani bhavanti na bhavanti cha,
Swabhaava bhaavayorbhaavam yato gacchanti samsayam/
Aadyantam tatparam suhkshmam rupam param sthitam,
Omithuktam maya Vipra! Tatpara Brahma tadyupuh/)   
Markandeya continued to explain to Brahmana Kroshti that when the Sacred Egg was burst and Brahma emerged, his principal head released Rig Veda; from his eastern head came out Yajur Veda; from the western head came out Sama Veda and from the mouth of the northern head materialized Atharva Veda. Rig Veda was of Rajo Guna, Yajur Veda of Satvika Guna, Sama Veda of Tamasika Guna and Atharva Veda of a blend of Satvika and Tamo Gunas. The splendour of Rig Veda gave a powerful sound ‘AUM’; the first segment was encircled by a second circle of Yajur Veda giving out a reverberation of AUM, the third circle of radiance being of Sama Veda furnished the resonance of AUM again and the final segment too echoed the sound of AUM; thus AUM was the common feature of all the Vedas. The Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas are of the nature of ‘Shanti’ (Peace), ‘Pushti’ (Well being) and ‘Abhicharika’ (Negative) respectively while Atharva Veda is an ‘Antargita’ (enclosed) entity. Since the entire Universe was engulfed in darkness and just emerged clean, it had instantly become lit up on its upper, lower and side ways, following the radiance of Vedas and had thus assumed an identity and definiteness; the initial signs of illumination of ‘Adyagni’(the foremost blaze) came into being then! The threeVedas of Rig, Yajur and Sama attained prominence at the mornings, noons and evenings respectively. Before the ‘Purvahna’ (pre-noon), Rig Veda based ‘Shanti Karmas’ of positive nature are performed; at ‘Madhyahna’ (noon), Yajur based Pushti Karyas (growth oriented tasks) are performed; at ‘Aparahna’ (afternoon) are executed Sama Veda Karyas of Pitras; while at ‘Sayamahna’ or even later only negative or maledictory nature are done based essentially on Atharva Veda. It is stated that Srishti Kaala is of Brahma Swarupa signifying Rig Veda or of Satvika character, Sthiti Kaala is of Vishnu meant for Yajur Veda highlighting Rajasika Guna and Samhaara Kaala is of Rudra Deva based on Sama Veda representing Tamasika Guna; thus Aparahna Kaala is of ‘Asuchi’ (impurity). These timings are hence of Vedatma, Veda Samsthita and Veda Vidyatmika respectively of Purvahna, Madhyahna/ Aparahna and Sayahna.
Since radiance and radiation constitute the essential ingredients of Srishti (Creation),
-besides of course water, the primary hold of existence of all Beings- Lord Brahma before initiating ‘Srishti’ formally acknowledged the primacy of Surya Deva and eulogised him to say that Sun God was the ‘Atma Swarupa’ or the Soul Form of the Universe as also the ‘Vishva Rupa’ and ‘Vishva Murthi’ (the Form and Profile of the Universe), and the Unique Embodiment of Luminosity and Heat which were the sine-qua-non of Existence. Brahma also said that Surya Deva was the nucleus of Vedas, and the featureless ‘Para Brahma’ Swarupa possessing all powers of Creation, Preservation and Annihilation; that he had the Omnipotence which facilitated the existence of ‘Pancha Bhutas’ or the Five Elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky; that he was the Omni-Present Saviour of the Worlds. Having said thus Lord Brahma initiated the process of Creation. As happened at the erstwhile Kalpanta, Brahma created Devas, Asuras, human beings, animals, trees, and the rest of flora and fauna. Kashyapa and Aditi were responsible to produce Devas while the former and Diti created Daityas. Among Kashyapa’s other wives Daan produced Danavas, Vinati gave birth to Garuda and Aruna; Khasa produced Yakshas and Rakshasas; Kadruma gave birth to ‘Nagas’ (reptiles); Muni produced Gandharvas; Krodha produced Kulyaganas; Riskta gave birth to Apsaraas; Ira created Iravata and all other Elephants; Tamna created Shyeni and such other Kanyas; Ukka produced Shyana, khechara ganas including parrots and Pratha produced the rest of the birds.
As Devas on the one hand and Danavas, Rakshasas and Daityas on the other confronted each other, Aditi extolled Surya Deva and prayed for victory to Devas in their battles:
Namastubhyam Paraam Sukshmam Souvarnim vibratey tanum,
Dhaamdhaama vataamesha dhaamnaadhara Sahvata!
(You are the smart archer of golden arrows; the profile of luminosity and the Holder of radiance, my greetings to you!). Aditi eulogised him further to say that he would assume a mercilessly blistering form to absorb water for eight long months and facilitate timely rains as Maha Megha Murti or the Grand Form of Clouds and save the World from famines and droughts; that he saved the World from diseases and untimely deaths by making available ‘Aushadhis’ from Nature; that he was entirely responsible for the lives of human beings by nurturing crops, foodgrains, fruits, vegetables and flowers; that he was enabling Yagna Karyas, Tarpanas, and other holy tasks and satisfy Devas and Pitru ganas; that he was the Omkara Rupa determined to save Dharma (Virtue) and nullify Evil and preserve and promote Peace and Prosperity. Aditi further praised Surya Deva saying:
Twam Brahma Harirajasanjnita stwamindro Vitteshaha pitrupatiratpatih Sameeraha Somognirgaganapatihir maheedharobhihi kim stavya tava sakalaatmarupadhaamnih
(You are Brahma, Vishnu, Maha Deva, Indra, Kubera, Pitru Pati Yama, Ambupati Varuna, Sameera Vayu, Soma, Agni, Gagana, Mahidhara, Samudra, Teja and Sakalatma Rupa! How much could I extol you! Please save my children Devas and vindicate justice and virtue!). As Aditi prayed to Surya Deva, the latter appeared before her and bestowed the boon to her that he would be born to her, destroy the enemies and make Devas happy. So saying, the ‘Soushumna Kiran’ or the Sun Ray called Soushumna of ‘Sahasraamshu’or the Thousand Rayed Surya Deva entered Aditi’s garbha (womb). Devi Aditi performed ‘Chandrayana and such other ‘Vratas’ and drastically reduced her food intake. Her husband Kashyapa Muni was highly annoyed at her heavy penances and questioned: Kim maarayasi garbhaanda miti Nityopa- vasini! (Why are you destroying the conception with your heavy penances?). Aditi replied: Sa cha tam praaha garbhaanda metat pashyati Kopana! Na maaranti vipakshaanaam mrutavey tadbhavishyati (Hey Angry man! This garbhaanda which you see is not being destroyed by me; this shall destroy the enemies!) However, Aditi felt insulted by the remarks of Kashyapa and tried to remove the conception, but Kashyapa Muni revived the same with appropriate ‘Mantras’ and the kind Ravi Deva came out of her abdomen even as a loud ‘Asharira Vani’ or a Celestial Voice was heard addressing Kashyapa Muni to say:
Maaranti the yatah proktametadanda twaya Muney,
tasmaan Muney stutasteyam Maartaandakhyo bhavishyati/
Suryadhi kaaramcha vibhur jagatesha karishyati,
Hamishyatya suraanaamschaayam yagna bhaagaharaanareen
(Hey Muni! You said that the ‘Anda’ (Egg) would be destroyed (Maarit)! That is why your son would be called Martanda. This ‘Vibhu’ would replace Surya Deva and destroy the ‘Yagna bhaaga haari’ or the thieves of ‘Yagna Phala’ (the fruits of Yagnas), viz. Asuras! On hearing the Celestial Announcement, Devas became extremely delighted but Daanavas realised that their end would arrive soon. As prophesied, Devas headed by Indra challenged Danavas, Daityas and Rakshasaas and Martanda Deva’s blaze and illumination burnt the latter into ashes and Devas regained their lost glory once again.
Prajapati Viswakarma’s daughter Sanjna was married to Vivaswan or Surya Deva. Their elder son was Vaivasvata (the present Manu) followed by Yama and daughter Yami.But Sanjna was unable to withstand the vision of Martanda and hence materialised Chhaya Devi who promised to replace Sanjna as long as Surya Deva would not touch her hairs and would not curse her with a ‘Shaap’ on learning the truth that she was a surrogate! Sanjna shifted to the abode of her father Viswakarma, who in course of time nagged his daughter to get back to her husband; as the father’s pressure became intense, she left her father’s residence too and became a mare to perform ‘Tapas’ in a forest. Chhaya Devi who proxied for Sanjna gave birth to Saavarni who too was destined to become a future Manu and Shaneswara, besides a daughter called Tapati who married a King called Samvaran eventually. Yama was annoyed at her mother’s partial treatment to some children at the cost of others and in the course of a heated argument, he raised his ankle. The angry mother Chhaya said that after all she was the wife of a glorious Deity and certaily deserved respect to her and since he did not do so, the flesh of his ankle would fall off! Dharmatma Yama was taken aback by this curse and in righteous agitation approached Surya Deva in great despair along with his brother Vivasvata. He told the father that indeed he behaved rashly with her mother for which he readily sought her forgiveness and that he would never repeat the mistake again; however, the curse given was unduly disproportionate to his relatively minor act of indiscretion that no mother would award. Even if a son did a mistake, a mother would ignore or chide the son, but in this case the curse given smacked of vengence. Surya Deva too wondered that a person of Yama’s virtue and truthfulness was indeed badly hurt and asked Sanjna about her version. Chhaya Sanjna got afraid when she was confronted and made a clean confession that she was a replacement to the original Sanjna who went to her father’s abode as she was unable to bear the excessive heat and dazzle of Surya Deva. On enquiry, Viswakarma too suggested the Sanjna should return to her husband and thought that she did so. From his Inner Vision, Surya Deva realised that Sanjna got converted as a mare and was performing Tapasya at Shaka Dwipa eversince. Surya Deva felt remorseful of what all happened. He sought Brahma’s approval to reduce the severity of his heat and radiance gradually and Brahma instructed Viswakarma to take actions as follows: Original Surya Deva be kept as a reserve in the Surya Mandala (Solar Orbit) by one-sixteenth; of the rest, one-fifteenth part was utilised to materialise Vishnu Bhagavan’s Sudarshana Chakra, Shiva’s Trishula, Kubera’s Palki (Palanquin), Yama’s ‘Danda’, Kartikeya’s Shakti and various ‘Astras’ of Devas. Thus Surya Deva became less severe and manageable of his vision to Trilokas, which however was harsh enough to destroy enemies. Subsequently, Bhanu Deva assumed the form of a horse and shifted to the Place where Sanjna was performing Tapasya in the form of a mare. Sanjna mistook the horse as a stranger and sought to secure back. The mare and the horse rubbed their noses and Surya’s virility entered through the noses to the mare’s ‘garbha’ (womb); instantly two Ashwani Kumars called ‘Naasatya’ and ‘Dastra’ as the horses gave out similar sounds in their union. Out of the rest of Surya’s semen, another son called Revanta emerged as seated on a horse back carrying bow and arrows and a powerful sword. Both Surya Deva and Sanjna returned to their original forms and abodes. The eldest son Vivaswanta was declared as the Seventh Manu, Yama Dharma Raja was blessed to become ‘Lokapalak’ and also as the Chief of Pitruganas, Yamuna became a holynriver, Aswani Kumars were appointed as Physicians to Devas, Revant became the Chief of Guhyaganas, Saavarni was declared as the eighth Manu, Shaneswara became a popular ‘Graha’ (Planet) and Tapti too became a holy River.

‘Surya Mahatmya’-An illustration of Rajyavardhana (Surya ‘Stuti’ included)
Mahatma Markandeya narrated to Brahmana Kroushti illustrating the example of King Rajyavardhana, while highlighting the importance of Surya Deva. The King ruled his Kingdom so ideally that there were no robberies, diseases, and poverty. He married a Princess named Manini and his family life was ideal too. Having ruled the Kingdom for seven thousand years of contented life, the King found his wife’s disposition rather sad one day and sought the reason for it; she noticed a white hair on his head. He said that it was time for him to take to ‘Vanaprasthashrama’ or retirement to forest life. None in the Royal Court approved of his proposal including the Ministers, Army, Brahmanas, the entire Administration and the normal citizens and in fact they all vehemently protested, despite the King’s argument saying ‘Jaatasya maranam dhruvam’ and none could defy the laws of Nature.
But every body in the Kingdom performed Vratas, Pujas, Yagnas, and all kinds of sacrifices to let the life of the King extend his life.Brahmanas performed Tapasyas, Homas, Veda Pathanas, Surya Namaskaras in deep waters of Holy Rivers. In fact, a group of them worshipped a Popular Gandharva Deva named Sudama; he appeared in person and advised that the wish of longevity for Rajyavardhana was surely fulfilled of groups of the Subjects of the Kingdom should pray to a Temple of Bhaskara Deva Temple at ‘Guha Vishala Vana’ on the Kamarupa Mountain. As such groups were formed and collective worship gathered momentum in the Temple by turns by way of Nithya Pujas along with ‘Shodasopacharas’ of Pushpas, Gandha, Dhupa, Deepa, Japa, Homa, Naivedya and Stutis as follows:
Deva Danava Yakshaanaam grahaanaam Jyotishaamapi,
 tejasaathyaadhikam Devam Vrajaam sharanam Ravim/
Divim sthitaam cha Deveshaam dyotayantam samantatah,
Vasuhaamantarikshim cha vyapyuyantam Mareechibhih/
Adityam Bhaskaram BhaanumSavitaaram Divaakaram,
Pushaanamaryamaanam cha Swarbhaanum Deepta deedhitam/
Chaturyugaanta kaalaagnidyushprakshyam pralayaantagam,
yogeeswara maanantham cha raktampeetam sitaasitham/
Rusheenaamagnihotrushu Yagna deveshavaasthitam,
vrajaam sharanam Devam tejoraashim thamachyutam/
Aksharam Paramam guhyam mokshadwaraamanuttamam,
Chandobhiraswarupaischa sakrudyukthair vihangamam/
Udayaasthamaneyuktam sadaa Meroh Pradakshiney,
Anrutam charitam chaiva punya teertham pruthagvidham/
Vishwa sthitimachintyam cha prapannah sma Prabhaakaram,
Yo Brahma yo Mahadevo Yo Vishnuryam Prajaapatih/
Vayurakaashamaapascha Prithivi girisa girah,
Graham Chandradya Vanaspatyam drumashadham/
Vyaktaavyakshetu Bhuteshu Dharmaadharma pravartakah,
Braahmi Maheswari chaiva Vaishnavi chaiva the tanuh/
Tridha yasya Swarupam tu Bhaanor-bhaaswan praseedatu,
asya sarva mayesyedamangam bhutam Jatprabhoh/
sa nah praseedakaam bhasangkitaam yascha jeevanam,
Yasaikamaksharam rupam Prabhaa mandaladrusham/
Dviteeyamaindavam soumyam sa no Bhaaswavan praseedatu,
tabhyam cha tasya rupaabhyamidam Vishvam vinirvitam/
Agnishomayam baaswaamsa no Devah praseedatu/
(We take refuge from Surya Deva who is far more lustrous than all other Devas, Danavas, Yakshas and Jyotishka Grahas. We pray to that Deveshwara who stays on the Sky and illuminates all the Directions; that Bhaskara, Savita, Diwakara, Pusha, Aryama, Swabhanu, Diptadidhiti and Yogeswara whose rays are spread out all over Vasudha (Earth) and ‘Antariksha’(Sky); that Kaalaagni Swarupa who could never be possibly visioned with his fiery form in multi colours of blood red, yellow, white and black; that Deva who experiences the august presence of Yagna Deva who is Eternal, Indestructible and of ‘Parama Guhya’(highly confidential) Brahma Swarupa; that Parama Deva who is identified with the ‘Saptaashwa Ratha’ (Seven horse drawn chariot) circumambulating the Meru Mountain from dawn to dusk, all over the firmanent; that Prabhakar who took a physical form from ‘Aditi Garbha’; that Ananta (Endless), Achintya (Incomprehensible), Adi Deva who is illusive yet real; that Brahma, Maha Deva, Vishnu, Prajapati, Vayu, Aakaash, Jal, Prithvi, Parvat, Samudra, Graha, Nakshatra, Chandra, Vanaspati, Vriksha and Auoshadhi Swarupa; that Prabhakara who is conceivable yet inconceivable as also the Provocator of Dharma and Adharma among all human beings; and that Parama Devata who is Braahmi, Maheswari and Vaishnavi who appears in three distinct Forms, yet the same Entity. We salute with veneration and unreserved devotion to that Unique Jagat Prabhu who is impossible to look at for long and yet of the Chandra Swarupa who is cool and soothing. We seek protection from that Bhaskara who is of the Swarupas of Agni as well as of Soma; or in other words of contradictory identities and manifestations). The sincere Prayers that the groups of Devotees made to Bhaskara Deva pleased him and appeared in a form that could be visible and granted them the boon of active life of ten thousand years to the King with excellent health and contentment. The King was no doubt happy but desired that all his citizens should have similar benefit of longevity and prosperity. As the King raised this genuine doubt, all concerned including the Queen performed similar pujas and prayers.As a result, those who undertook the worship were able to receive Bhaskara Deva’s blessings and boons. Sage Markandeya thus affirmed that sincere ‘Aradhana’ would always pay to a readily visible God on the Sky, day in and day out, depending on the intensity of faith and devotion.

Some highlights of ‘Surya Vamsa’ Kings and their unrelenting virtues
In the current Manvantara headed by Vaivaswata Manu, quite a few illustrious Kings reigned in the lineage; Vaivaswata had seven sons, viz. Ikshvaku, Saryati, Naabhaga, Rishta, Narisyanta, Prushaghna and Dhrushta. For example, Ikshvaku’s  lineage was of Vikukshi-Sasada-Puranjaya-Kakustha-Pruthu and so on; it was in this ancestry that the Epic Hero Shri Rama belonged to.From another son of Vaivaswata, viz. Saryati was born Sukanya who was wedded to Chyavana Muni; the girl visiting a garden happened to pierce the eyes of the old Muni in Tapasya covered by a bush mistaking the eyes for twinkling worms and father Saryati gave away the girl in wedlock to appease the Muni who was blinded due to the piercing, but by the grace of Aswini Kumars (the Physicians of Devas) the Muni regained his eye sight as well as youth.
Nabhaga was another son of Vaivaswata and the former’s junior son also called Naabhaga was cheated by his brothers by taking away his share of the property too. The Junior Naabhaga complained to the father and the junior was advised to recite Vedic Mantras in a Yagna of Planetary heads nearby; the Devas were pleased and blessed the junior to receive considerable wealth. But, a dark person with a frightful face and an offensive tone objected to the Junior Nabhaga receiving the wealth; the junior complained to his father but the latter
realised that the dark person was none else but Lord Shiva Himself! The underlining Message of the Lord was that the son should rather prefer Spiritual Wealth to material prosperity. Another son of Vaivaswata called Visishta performed Yagna for securing a son under the over-all management of Sage Mitra Varuna but due to an indiscretion of the ‘Hota’ (Manager) of the Yagna, a daughter Ila was born instead of a son. But by the mantrik powers of Matravaruna, the daughter Ila was converted as a boy called Sudyumna. As Sudyumna became a King eventually, he went out on a hunting spree and unknowingly entered the gardens of a forest which were inaccessible since Siva and Parvati were in privacy there. Siva cursed Sudyumna to become a woman, but when Sage Vasistha prayed to Lord Shiva, the latter bestowed a dispensation that the King would be a male for six months and return to womanhood as Ila for the rest of a year! During the womanhood, Ila begot Pururava from Buddha the son of Chandra. Vaivaswata Manu’s yet another son King Prashaghna who killed a cow hidden in a bush on a hunting spree
mistaking it as a deer. The dead cow belonged to Rishi named Agnihotri and the latter’s son was about to curse the King but the Rishi stopped the son to do so; he said:
Kopastapo naashyati Krudhro Bhrashyantaayushuh,
kruddhasya galatey Jnaanam kruddhaascharthachha heeyathey /
Na dharmah krodhasheelasya naarthamchaproti roshanah,
naalam sukhaaya kaamaaptih kopenaavishta chetasaam/
(Anger kills Tapasya; it reduces life span; wavers ‘Jnaanam’ or wisdom and ‘Artha heenata’ or ‘daridram’/poverty; angry humans can never save wealth nor fulfill their wishes)!
In the Surya Vamsa again, there was a King named Vidurath who found a huge cavity on Earth in a forest and asked a Muni nearby performing Tapasya about it. The Muni told that there was a demon of Patala called Kujrumbha who made several such cavities all over the forest visiting often to destroy what ever came in his way, especially Yagnas and noble persons. The Muni further cautioned the King that his Kingdom was in danger, especially since he had a potent weapon called Sunanda, a Mushal (Mace) which was created originally by Twashta Prajapati; however the weapon would become useless and ineffective if a woman touched it. On return to his Kingdom, Vidurath consulted his Ministers and decided to send his sons to be deputed for sending his sons Sunuta and Sumanta to locate the demon and kill him.Unfortunately, the demon imprisoned the sons and also kidnapped the Princess Mudavati, who had incidentally known about the ineffectiveness of the weapon if touched by a woman. The King announced that whoever could free the Princes and the Princess from the custody of the demon would be wedded to the Princess. An intrepid Youth called Vatsandra came forward and fought the demon, since the Princess had already touched the weapon while being kidnapped. The brave youth Vatsandra killed the demon, married Princess Mudavati and lived happily together.
Yet another King of Surya Vamsa was Vishal of Vidisa Kingdom who was blessed with an extraordarily pretty Princess named Vaishali. The King announced a ‘Swayam vara’
(bride’s own choice for marriage) and various Princes attended the function. But the son of a reputed King Karandhama named Balaaswa, who was known for his valour attended the Function; actually, the Prince’s name was popular as Aveekshit since he was not viewed by ‘Grahas’(Planets) at malefic positions in the ‘Kundalini’ or the birth chart. He tried to take away the Princess by force after defeating one by one, but when confronted by all the suitors got defeated and imprisoned. The King advised the Princess to select any one of the rest but she said that he would like only Aveekshit. The King was reluctant to agree. Meanwhile, King Kardhama attacked Vidisa and freed his son, but Avvekshit felt humiliated and did not want to marry the Princess or anybody else. A highly disappointed Princess Vaishali too was firm that she would marry either Aveekshit or none else. She retired to a hermitage in a forest to meditate. Devas were happy with her Tapasya and blessed her to give birth to a son who would be an Emperor of ‘Sapta Dwipas’ (Seven Islands) or literally the entire Universe. The Princess wondered as to how this could be possible since she took the vow of celibacy, except when wed to Aveekshit. After some time, a demon called Dhrudhakesha sought to kidnap her when she raised alarming shouts and since Aveekshit happened to pass by, fought the demon and rescued the Princess. On mutual consent, they married as per Gandharva way and returned to King Vishal. In due course, the couple gave birth to a son Marut who indeed became the Supreme Sovereign of the Sapta Dwipas.
Marut was not only the ‘Chakravarthi’ (literally he whose chariot wheels move forward without being interrupted by any Opponent) of Sapta Dwipas controlling the Sky, Prithvi, Patal and other Under-Sea Lokas as well as ‘Jalasthaans’or wherever water existed, but also the most reputed and virtuous Sovereign of the contemporary times. He performed thousands of Yagnas with Mahatma Samvarth, who was the son of Angirasa and the brother of Deva Guru Brihaspati as the ‘Ritvik’ or the High Conductor of the Yagnas. The Yagnas were so lavish that the ‘Yagnashalas’ or the Places of the Sacrifices glittered with gold and jewellery. Brahmanas, who were proverbially poor full of family needs and desires, were surfeit with ‘Dhana’ (Cash), Dhanya (Foodgrains), Vastu (material wealth), Vahana (chariots, horses, elephants and such other carriages) and Kanaka (Gold). Marut’s sovereignty was at such peak that virtue reigned, human desires and ambitions were absent, ‘Varnashrama’ Rules were most predominant, sins were at the lowest ebb and Peace and Contentment were the watch words. In such an idyllic situation, came the discordant note from the Royal Grandmother ‘Vira’ who sent a word of caution to the Emperor. She was no doubt satisfied with the general atmosphere but stressed that utmost vigilance was required since there had been increasing lapses of General Administration and the channels of Communication and Intelligence Wings needed to be strengthened. Vira underlined that even one drop of poison would turn a pond unuseable. She gave recent examples of killing ‘Brahmana Vidyardhis’by Nagas of Nagaloka. This information infuriated Marut and made extensive preparations to attack Nagaloka; a few culprits of the Serpent Land responsible for the mischief were rattled out of shiver and fear and instantly sought the refuge of Marut’s father Aveekshit. Marut was bent on destroying Naga Loka ‘en masse’! Aveekshit desired Marut to slow down against the Naga loka and pleaded mercy to the offending Nagas who apologised profusely for their sins of ‘Brahma hatya’. Both the son and the father took strong positions since Marut argued for ‘Raja Dharma’ and for destroying the Snake dynasty for their unpardonable killings of Brahmanas, while Aveekshit pleaded for mercy to ‘Sharanaarthis’ or those seeking pardon and shelter on the basis of ‘Ashrita Dharma’. As the trouble started with Vira the Grand Mother, she appeared and explained that it was she who informed Marut about the killings. Evenso, the postures taken by the father and son were so intense that they were ready to fight with each other in a battle! Both the Nagas and Brahmanas wondered that the principles of Rajya Dharma so vehemently followed might surely end up in mutual killings of the father and son. Thus Nagas tried to use their expertise in ‘Aoushadhis’ (Natural Medicines) and Brahmanas tried their Mantra Shakti to revive the dead Brahmana Vidyardhis and thus the controversial storm got averted!

Phala Shruti of Markandeya Purana
Chatuh Prashna samopetam Puraanam shrutvapunascha they paapam kalpakoti shathai krutam/
Brahmahatyaadi paapaani yaanyaayaanya shubhaanicha,

 taani sarvaani nashyantitrunaam vaatahatam yathaa/
pushkarey daanamjo punyam shravanaasya jaayatey,
Sarva Vedaadhika phalam samaapthyaachadh gacchati /
(Listening to this highly virtuous Markandeya Purana with Four Questions of Maha Bharata, would abrogate sins committed through hundred crore ‘Kalpas’! Even Brahmahatya and such other serious ‘Pancha Patakas’ or the worst listed Five Major Sins would fly away as mere straws with the forceful velocity of winds. Substantial ‘Punya’or fruits of high meritorious deeds would be earned in the same manner as of ‘Daan’ or charity at Pushkara Tirtha and of reciting all the Four Vedas with sincerity and devotion.)
Puranashravanaa devaparam yogamavaapnuyaat,
naastikaaya na daatavyam vrushaley Vedanindakey
/Gurudwijaati nindaaya tatha bhagna vrataayacha,
Maataapitro nindakaaya Vedashastradinindaney/
bhinnamaryaadiney chaiva tatha vai jnaati kopiney,
yetheshaam naiva daatavyam Praanaih kanthagatairapi/
(Listening to Markandeya Purana even once would bestow high merits, but do not be instrumental to give the Purana to ‘Nastikas’ (Non-believers), Shudras, Critics of Vedas and Gurus, those who failed to complete performing Vratas and abandon half way, those who discard their parents, close relatives and normal courtesies etc. Do avoid giving this Sacred Purana, even if such persons demand and try to read it by hook or crook).

Markandeya Vuvaacha/
 Yetatsarvamupaakhyaanam Dharmai Swargaapavargadam,
Yah Shrunoti pathedvaapi sidhham tasya sameehitam/
Aaadhivyaadhija duhkhena kadaa chhinnaabhiyujyatey,
Brahmahatyaabhi paapebhyomuchyatey naathra samshayah/
Samtah swajana mitraani bhavanti hita buddhayah,
Naarayah sambhavishyanti dasyavo vaa kadaachana/
sadartho mishtabhogi chadhurbhikshairnaarvaseedati,
paradara para- dravya parahimsaadikilbishaih/
muchyateyneka duhkebhyo nityam chaiva Dwijottama,
Ruddhivruddhih smritih shantihi Shreeh Pushtistrushtirevacha/
Nithyam tasya bhavodvipra yah shrunoti kathaamimam/
( Mahatma Markandeya said: This complete exposition in the Purana bestows Dharma, Swarga and Apavarga  or Fulfillment; whoever reads or hears shall achieve their inner desires; such persons shall never be victims of physical ailments, worldly difficultes and complexities,  or of any kind of mental troubles or natural calamities; their failings and indulgences including the worst kind of sins are washed out; their relatives, friends and well-wishers get more intimate and helpful; they shall have no enemies; they shall never be troubled by robbers; they attain prosperity; they enjoy excellent food; they shall never be bothered or involved by other women, other’s money, and other’s actions of violence and their fears; they shall get rid of sorrows of any description; and they enjoy Ruddhi or prosperity, Buddhi or intellect, Smriti or memory, Shanti or Peace, Lakshmi or Wealth / propitiousness, Pushti or physical well-being, and Tushti or contentment.)

Shri Durga Sapta Shloki
Om Jnaaninaamapi chetaamsi Devi Bhagavati hi sa,
Baladaakrushya mohaaya Maha Maya prayacchati/
                          (Bhagavati Maha Maya! You pull the minds of even
                          ‘Gyaanis’ with force towards obsession!)
                          Om Durgey smritaa harasi bheeti masesha jantoh,
                          Swasthaih smritaa mati mateeva shubhaam dadaasi/
                          (Devi Durga! A mere thought of Yours demolishes fright
                          among ‘Praanis’ or Beings, while You provide auspiciousness
                          in response to the meditation by sensible humans)
                          Daaridra duhkha bhaya haarini ka twadanya,
                          Sarvopakaara karanaaya sadaardra Chitta/
                          (Who else is there but You that is readily prepared with
                          extreme benevolence to ward off our sorrows, fears and adversities?)
                          Om Sarva Mangala Maangalyey Shivey sarvaartha saadhakey,
                          Sharanyey Thriabikey Devi! Narayani Namostuthey/
                          (Devi! Narayani! You are the embodiment and Provider of
                          Auspiciousness to one and all; You are Shiva Swarupa or the
                          Form of Propitiousness fulfilling all our wishes; You are Traimbika
                          or the composite personification of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati;
                          We seek shelter from You, as we bend down and greet!                 
                          Om Sharanaagata deenaarta paritraana parayaney,
                          Sarvasyaarti harey Devi! Narayani Namostutey/
                          (Our greetings to You Narayani! Devi! We seek refuge and safety
                          from You as we are helpless and harassed).
                          Om Sarva Swarupey Sarvesey Sarva Shakti samanvitey,
                          Bhayebhyastraahino Devi! Durga Devi Namostutey/
                          (Devi! You are the all-comprehensive Form, the Supreme Sovereign,
                          and the all- Powerful; kindly shield us from diverse types of fears and
                          apprehensions; our earnest salutations to You, Durga Devi!)
                          Om rogaanaseshaa napahamsi Tushtaa,
                          Rushtaa tu kaamaan sakasaa nabhishtaan/
                          (As You assume compassion, all our diseases disappear; but if indignant,
                          all our wishes get to nought)
                         Twam ashritaanaam na vipannaraanaam,
                         Twam ashritaa hyashrayataam prayaanti /
                         (Those who have already taken asylum from You would never face
                         difficulties any way; on the other hand, such persons saved by You
                         could as well provide protection to others too in their turn!)
                         Om Sarva baadhaa prashamanam Thrailokya syaakhileswari,
                         Evameva twayaa kaarya masadvairi vinaashanam/
                         (Sarveswari! Do continue to alleviate the tribulations of one and all
                         among the Three Lokas and destroy the enemy elements everywhere).
                         Ya yetatsaramam guhyam Sarva Rakshaa vishaaradam,
                         Devya sambhaashitam Stotram sadaa Saamraajya daayakam/
                         (This Sapta Shloki is at once striking yet classified but bestowing
                         protection; this is a Sacred Hymn related to the Supreme Mother 
                         yielding immense benefits including ‘Samraajya’ or Empires!
                         Shrunuyaadwaa pathedyaapi paathayeydwaapi yatnatah,
                         Parivaara yutho Bhuutwaa Trailokya Vijayeebhavet!
                         (Hearing, reading or narrating the Sapta Shloki with sincere
                         efforts along with family and friends would secure accomplishments in all the Three Lokas!) 



Om Tat Sat

End of Markandeya Purana

(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji  for the collection)


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