Wednesday 20 May 2020




Lord Vishnu's sleep

VAISHAMPAYANA said: - Having been thus worshipped by the Rishis the Lord entered into the celestial habitation of Brahma, the hermitage of Nārāyana as described in the Puranas (1). Having honored delightedly all those Rishis and bowed unto the Prime Deity the Lotus-sprung Brahma he entered into the region mentioned before (2). Having entered the Nārāyana hermitage which was so named after Him the Lord left off all his weapons (3) He saw there his own abode resembling an ocean, filled with the gods and the immortal Rishis (4). That abode was covered with Samvartaka and other clouds, enshrouded with the darkness of the starry region and was beyond the reach of the gods and demons (5). There the winds do not blow and the sun and the moon do not shine. It was enveloped with the effulgence of the body of the Lotus-navelled Deity (6). Entering there, carrying matted locks and being thousand headed the Lord began to make arrangements for lying down (7). The death-like sleep, having dark eyes and being informed of the last days of men, appeared before that high-souled deity (8). On account of his acquiring a mastery over his senses, Hari, the foremost of those observant of vows, laid himself on a celestial bed cool like the water of the Ocean (9). [1] The Rishis and the Gods began to worship the great Omnipotent Vishnu, thus gone to sleep for the creation of the universe (10). [2] When he was asleep there spring from his navel a lotus, highly effulgent like the sun (intended for the) seat of the Patriarch Brahmā, who is both the beginning and the end (11). That lotus had a thousand petals, a beautiful hue, was tender and well-adorned. Raising up his hand which is the thread of the pristine desire the great Muni Brahmā whirls the wheel of the changes of all the worlds brought about by time (12) [3] From his mouth the Patriarchs come out shaken by the wind of his breath. Sometimes they fall down and sometimes they go up (13). Human beings, thus created by him, are again divided by Brahmā into four orders. And then by performing works laid down in the Vedas they reach their respective goals (14). Even Brahmā himself and the immortal Rishis cannot understand Vishnu, thus engaged in the Yoga of sleep and covered with Tamas[4] (15). Those Brāhmana saints, leaded by the Grand-father, cannot find out when Nārāyana is asleep and when he does sit up on his bed (16). Who is awake in this body? Who is asleep? Who, being capable, does not perform a work? Who enjoys the various objects of pleasure? Who is effulgent? And who is subtler than the subtle itself (17)?

[1] This is an allegorical account of Vishnu's Samadhi or devout meditation. 

[2] Thus engaged in Samadhi.

[3] The meaning is that the creation of the universe is carried on by Brahmā. All the changes, that are manifest in the world, are his works. And this creation is the outcome of his desire. He first cherishes the desire and then engages in the work of creation.

[4] The quality of darkness. The meaning of the passage is that when Vishnu, possessed by the desire of creation, is engaged in meditating upon his own true form. When Satwa, or the quality of goodness, reigns supreme in him, he absolutely retires from the work of creation and when he is possessed by the desire of creation the quality of Tamas or darkness predominates in him. The origin of this desire in him is the root of creation, for the whole universe before us is the outcome of his will. According to the Hindu mythology the work of creation and dissolution is perpetually going on. And each of these works is dependent on the pure and absolute will of the Lord. When Vishnu, the Supreme Lord, happens to cherish a desire for creation he engages in meditating upon his true form. Thus meditation is allegorically represented as his sleep. From this meditation proceeds Brahmā who is to make arrangements for this great work. But he is dependent on the will of the Lord. Brahmā next creates the Patriarchs who are to be the originators of the various families.

By the various arguments laid down in Srutis the Rishis seek to find out His existence. By birth or action none can find Him out (18). The ancient Rishis have sung his glories in the Puranas and his history can be known by the songs composed by him (19). His ancient history is also heard amongst the gods. After the great Purānas there exists no other record of his doings (20). All the Srutis, relating to the Vedas and the customs and practices of mankind, are filled with an account of the prowess of that god of gods (21). The Lord, the origin of all creatures, appears at the time of the creation of all the worlds. And Madhusudana remains awake for the destruction of the Dānavas (22). When this immortal Purusha goes to sleep even the gods cannot look at him. He goes to sleep at the end of the summer and awakes after the termination of the rains (23). He is identical with the Vedas, the sacrifices and various other supplementary rites. This foremost of Purushas is the course of the sacrifices that has been described (24). When he falls asleep all the sacrifices, sanctified by Mantras, are brought to a close. And Madhusudana rises up when the autumnal sacrifice, are undertaken (25). When Vishnu goes to sleep, Purandara, the lord of waters, performs all his duties and pours water (26). The illusion of darkness, sleep, that exists in the world and that is like a night of death to the kings, brings ruination upon them who kill one another by fighting (27). By its body of darkness it destroys the nights and days. And this dreadful illusion pilfers half of the life of all creatures in the world (28). Being possessed by this sleep and yawning repeatedly some people cannot bear its power as if they are almost drowned in a vast ocean (29). This sleep, engendered by the food or toil of the mortals in this world, does not conduce to the well-being of all (30). It grows enfeebled after the termination of the dream of creatures in this world; and this, at the time of their death, destroys all their vital airs (31). Amongst the gods, none, but Nārāyana, can withstand the power of this sleep. This Māyā or illusion is the female companion, begotten by his own body, of Vishnu who destroys all (32). That one, of lotus eyes, was seen on the face of Nārāyana. This one, who stupifies all the creatures, eats up all the worlds in no time (33). For the behoof of mankind she is kept by Vishnu. She is adored of all as a chaste lady serves her husband (34). Being possessed by this sleep and having stupified the eternal world the Lord Vishnu slept in the Nārāyana hermitage (35). When that high-souled deity was thus asleep thousands of years passed away with the most excellent of cycles Satya and Tretā (36). That highly effulgent deity awoke at the close of the Dwāpara Yuga, when the great saints, on witnessing the distress of mankind, began to chant his glories (37).

THE RISHIS said: - O lord, do thou cast off this sleep begotten of thy own self as a garland, already enjoyed, is left off. All the gods, along with Brahmā, are waiting to see thee (38). O Hrishikesha, all these self-controlled Rishis, well-versed in the knowledge of Brahman, and in singing His glories, are welcoming thee (39). O Vishnu, hear the auspicious words of these Rishis who are identical with the five elements, namely, the earth, ether, fire, air and water (40). O gods, the seven Rishis, along with all these saints, are chanting with celestial and becoming hymns thy glories (41). Rise up, O thou of great effulgence, O thou having a navel of a lotus of a hundred petals, some important work of the gods requires thee (42).

VAISHAMPAYANA said: - Having lessened the quantity of water and dispelled darkness Hrishikesha rose up shinning in his great beauty (43). He saw there all the gods assembled along with the Grand-Father, greatly aggrieved for the world and desirous of speaking something to him (44). The Lord Nārāyana, with eyes relieved of exhaustion by sleep, addressed to them words fraught with sound reasoning and far-sightedness (45).

VISHNU said: - "Where have you got your quarrel, O gods? From whom does your fear proceed? Who feels a necessity and for what? And how can I help you (46)? Has any calamity befallen the world through the Dānavas? Have men met with any misfortune on account of their weakness? I wish to know all this without any delay (47). Having renounced my most excellent bed I stand amongst the Brahmavādins for encompassing your well-being. What can I do for you" (48)?


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அக்ரூரன் அக்னி அங்கிரஸ் அசமஞ்சன் அதிதி அதிரதன் அநிருத்தன் அந்தகன் அரிஷ்டன் அருந்ததி அர்ஜுனன் அனு அஜபார்ஷன் அஜமீடன் அஸ்தி ஆபவர் ஆயு ஆரியா தேவி ஆஹுகன் இந்திரன் இளை உக்ரசேனன் உக்ராயுதன் உசீநரன் உதங்கர் உத்தவர் உபரிசரவசு உமை உல்பணன் உஷை ஊர்வசி ஊர்வர் ஏகலவ்யன் ஔர்வர் கக்ஷேயு கங்கை கசியபர் கண்டரீகர் கண்டாகர்ணன் கண்டூகன் கதன் கபிலர் கமலாதேவி கம்ஸன் கருடன் கர்க்கர் கர்ணன் காதி காந்திதேவி கார்த்தவீர்யார்ஜுனன் காலநேமி காலயவனன் காலவர் காளியன் கிருஷ்ணன் குசிகன் குணகன் குணவதி கும்பாண்டன் குரோஷ்டு குவலயாபீடம் குவலாஷ்வன் கூனி கைசிகன் கைடபன் கோடவி சகடாசுரன் சக்ரதேவன் சங்கன் சததன்வன் சத்யகர்ணன் சத்யகர்மன் சத்யபாமா சத்ருக்னன் சத்வதன் சந்தனு சந்திரவதி சந்திரன் சம்பரன் சரஸ்வதி சனத்குமாரர் சன்னதி சாணூரன் சாத்யகி சாந்தீபனி சாம்பன் சால்வன் சிசுபாலன் சித்திரலேகை சித்திராங்கதன் சிருகாலன் சிவன் சுக்ரன் சுசீமுகி சுநாபன் சுனீதன் சூரன் சூரியன் சைசிராயணர் சௌதி டிம்பகன் தக்ஷன் தசரதன் தந்தவக்ரன் தமகோஷன் தரதன் தன்வந்தரி தாரை திதி திதிக்ஷு திரிசங்கு திரிவிக்ரை திருமிலன் திரையாருணன் திலீபன் திவோதாஸன் துந்து துந்துமாரன் துருவன் துர்வாசர் துஷ்யந்தன் தூம்ரவர்ணன் தேவகன் தேவகி தேவாவ்ருதன் தேனுகன் நந்தன் நந்தி நரகாசுரன் நரசிம்மன் நஹுஷன் நாரதர் நாராயணன் நாராயணி நிகும்பன் நிசுந்தன் நித்ராதேவி நீபன் பஞ்சஜனன் பத்மாவதி பத்ரன் பப்ரு பயோதன் பரசுராமர் பரதன் பரத்வாஜர் பலராமன் பலி பாணன் பார்வதி பானு பானுமதி பிரதீபன் பிரத்யும்னன் பிரபாவதி பிரமர்த்தனன் பிரம்மதத்தன் பிரம்மன் பிரலம்பன் பிரவரன் பிரஸேனன் பிரஹலாதன் பிராசேதஸ் பிராப்தி பிருது பிருதை பிருஹதாஷ்வன் பிருஹஸ்பதி பீஷ்மகன் பீஷ்மர் புதன் புரூரவன் பூதனை பூமாதேவி பூரு பூஜனி பௌண்டரகன் மதிராதேவி மது மதுமதி மயன் மனு மஹாமாத்ரன் மாயாதேவி மாயாவதி மார்க்கண்டேயர் மித்ரஸஹர் முசுகுந்தன் முரு முருகன் முஷ்டிகன் யசோதை யது யயாதி யுதிஷ்டிரன் ரஜி ராமன் ருக்மவதி ருக்மி ருக்மிணி ரேவதி ரைவதன் ரோஹிணி லவணன் வசிஷ்டர் வராகம் வருணன் வஜ்ரநாபன் வஸு வஸுதேவன் வாமனன் வாயு விகத்ரு விசக்ரன் விதர்ப்பன் விப்ராஜன் விப்ருது வியாசர் விரஜை விருஷ்ணி விஷ்ணு விஷ்வாசி விஷ்வாமித்ரர் விஷ்வாவஸு விஸ்வகர்மன் வேனன் வைசம்பாயனர் வைவஸ்வத மனு ஜயந்தன் ஜராசந்தன் ஜனமேஜயன் ஜனார்த்தனன் ஜஹ்னு ஜாம்பவான் ஜியாமோகன் ஜ்வரம் ஸகரன் ஸத்யபாமா ஸத்யவிரதன் ஸத்ராஜித் ஸத்வான் ஸஹஸ்ரதன் ஸ்ரீதாமன் ஸ்ரீதேவ ஸ்வேதகர்ணன் ஹம்சன் ஹயக்ரீவன் ஹரி ஹரியஷ்வன் ஹரிஷ்சந்திரன் ஹிரண்யகசிபு ஹிரண்யாக்ஷன்