Sri Vishnu Puranam – Commentary-Part 5



Chapter – 5 ( This episode is from Chapter 2  of the original)

Short suspenseful remarks kindle curiosity

Listener’s attention crucial
Once Vaisampayana approached king  Janamejaya and said: “Listen, I wish to recite  the Mahabharata to you.” It is common that even when we speak a long sentence, we are chided  for ‘narrating a Mahabharata’.  When Vaisampayana offered to recite the whole of Mahabharata, naturally Janamejaya was aghast and it is not surprising that he replied: “Sorry, I have no time now.” Vaisampayana would not accept any refusal. So, he said, ” Well, I shall narrate you just one Parva; listen me.” But the king said he had no time even for that. Vaisampayana pondered for a while. He was determined to teach the whole of the Mahabharata to the king. So he pleaded: “I shall recite just one couplet. Do listen to it.” The King assented. Vaisampayana composed a verse that could kindle the king’s interest.
Dvaavimau purushau moodhau duryodhana­ dasaananau
Gograaham vanabhangam cha dhrishtvaa yuddham punah punah    
The  message was meant  to be short  to create interest. “In  this world both Duryodhana and Ravana have been idiots. Even after watching Arjuna retrieve the cows in Virata’s city and Hanuman destroy the Ashoka grove in Lanka, these  two repeatedly went to war!” When Janamejaya heard it, he showed eagerness to know what was meant  by gograaha  and vanabhanga. Vaisampayana began his recital. Likewise  Bhagavan Parasara elaborates in  the second chapter what he had indicated earlier, finding Maitreya eager to listen.
The Supreme Being is Amalan Aadipiran
“Maitreya! I am going to impart to you the knowledge I have received through  the lineage of teachers.  Daksha and other Prajapatis prayed  to Brahma who taught them this knowledge. Later, they spoke of it to king  Purukutsa. That king conveyed  it to  Saarasvata. He taught it to me. Hence I am gifting you the teachings of a line of ancient sages.” Vaisampayana describes the nature of the Supreme who is the Primal Cause of creation. The Primal Cause of creation is Narayana. But, He does not change as the things of the world. He is quite independent of earthly creation. He undergoes no change that comes of birth. All things abide in Him. He  is in everything. This  is why He is hailed as Vaasudeva and He is the Para Brahman. The Para Brahman is the primal cause of creation.  The things of the world can be divided into four categories: Unmanifest  Matter  (avyakta) or  Prakriti,   the  Manifest  Nature  (vyakta)  called Mahat, the  Individual Self (jivatma) and Time (kala).  These form the body of  the Brahman. Brahman is the soul for these four entities. Brahman goes ahead  with   creation by  using  these  four principles  (tattva-s),  which  form  Its  body.  The creation of the world is Brahman’s play. These four tattua-s are the toys used for the play.
Creation and dissolution
 Prakriti, in time of dissolution (pralaya), contains  everything  within  it “like water that  has devoured salt” and surrounds it all. In the time of  dissolution, there is nothing,  not even night, day, sky, earth, darkness or light.  As there is nothing  like sound either,      only  the primordial (mula) Prakriti  which cannot be recognised  by the senses, the jivatma-s and Para Brahman exist. If the jiuatma-s and  Prakriti interact  in a special manner, creation will come into being  Brahman, through Time, sees to it that  this interaction does  not  take  place.  As the  entire creation  gets merged  in Prakriti  in a subtle form during  the dissolution,  this great deluge is called praakrita pralaya.

To be continued….

This English Commentary is written by smt Prema  Nandakumar based on the tamil commentary written by H.H. 45th Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila MuttHis Holiness has ‘commented’ only on select chapters of the Vishnu Purana. The English translation faithfully follows the original in this aspect. Words that appear in square brackets [ ] have been placed there to serve as a link and do not form part of the original. Reproduced from Nrusimhapriya.

For Tamil commentary and Upanyasam of Vishnu Puranam, please visit:

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