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The Story of Manvantaras and The Vedvyasas

One cycle of creation and destruction is called Manavantara though literally this term in Sanskrit means 'the difference between the two consecutive Manus. A Manu is the rider of each Manvantra. The Purana claims that there have been six Manvantaras I bus far and the name of the Manu in each Manvantar are Swayambhuva. Svarochasha, Outtami, Tamasa, Raivata and Chakshusha, Vaivaswat. I he son of the son rules over the present and seventh Manvantara called Shraddha. Each Manvantara has its well-defined gods and rishis (the seers). The Adityas (the sons of Aditi, the gods' mother) are the gods of the present Manvantara. Apart from them also adorable are the Randvas. Purandara is the Indra (chief of the gods) in this Manvantar. The seven rishis that command maximum respect in this epoch are Vashistha, Kashyapa, Atri, Jamadagni, Gautama, Vishwamitra and Bharadwaja. Including the present one seven Manvantars have shown their presence and seven more are yet to come. The Manu of the Shraddha Manvantar ?the present one�had nine very religious sons known as Ikshavaku, Nriga, Dhristha, Sharyati, Narishyant, Nabhag, Arishtha, Karusha and Prishadhra. All these seven Manvantaras had the Supreme Lord Vishnu as their ultimate deity. In fact the ruler and creator of whole universe is none else but Vishnu in his myriad forms.

The Birth of Yama and Yami

Vishwakarma had a daughter named Sangya who was married to Surya, the sun. Their children were Manu, Yama and Yami. After some time, Sangya found that she could no longer bear the brilliance of her husband. So she created a woman known as Chhaya who looked exactly like her.1 Having left Chhaya to look after her husband, she went off to meditate in a forest. Surya or the sun had no idea of this replacement and he still thought Chhaya tc be Sangya. The Surya and Chhaya had two sons called Shaneischara (S iturns) and Savarni Manu and a daughter called Tapti. One day when Chhaya found Yama not obeying her command she became very angry and cursed Yama. This curse made both Yama and Surya convinced that this woman could not be Sangya and must be someone else for mothers are not likely to curse their kids so casually. Upon further enquiry Chhaya told them the real story behind her replacement. When Surya learnt about Sangya performing penance (tapasya) in a forest in the form of a mare, he repaired to the spot after adopting the form of a horse. Reaching there he joined his wife again. While in the horse species they had three sons. The two Ashvini Kumars and one called Raivanta. After this, Surya escorted Sangya back to his realm. Realising his daughter's problems of her incapability of facing the sun's (Surya's) brilliance's, Vishwakarma tried his best to reduced it but could manage to reduce it by eighth part only. Falling on the earth subsequently, the eighth part became, the source of the creation of Lord Shankar's Trishool, the Viman (flying vehicle) of Kubera called Pushpaka, the Shakti (a lance) of Kartikeya and many other divine weapon's creation. Manu, the son of Chhaya was almost like Sangya's son. Manu and hence he earned the titles Savarni. Savarni would be the Manu of the eighth Manvantara and Indra would be Vali, the son of Virochan. The names of the Manu, of the Manvantar that would follow would be Dakshasavarni (9th), Brahmasavarni (10th). Dharamasavarni (11th), Savarna (12th), Rouchya (13th) and Bhautya (14th). 'This is an allegorical interpretation of the sunlight and shadow since Chhaya means shadow.

Since the Vedas are also destroyed at the end of every Manvantara, the respective Manu rewrites the sacred Vedas and other Shastras. As �I ready declared in each Manvantar, Manu, the seven rishis. Indra and gods, and kings are created afresh. One cycle of 14 Manvantars go to make one Kalpa And at the end of a Kalpa dawns Brahma's night. I (iiring that (Brahma's night) Vishnu in his Brahma form sleeps on the water overwhelming all the universe. Only at the termination of such grand night, owing to Supreme pod's wish, gets created the universe (Srishti) afresh. Hence Manu, I )cvatas (gods) Indra and Manu's proge.ny are instinct with only one Existences, Lord Vishnu. Lord Shreenarayan (Vishnu) incarnates Himself in every Yug in Ins different forms. In Satyayug He disseminates knowledge in the form of Kapil in the First (Satya) Yug. In the Second Age ?i.e., Treta He mcarnets Himself as kings to slay the wicked and protect the noble. In every Dwapar Yug. He incarnates as Vedvyas to edit the Vedas and add further accumulated knowledge. In Kalikaal (Kaliyug) He incarnates as Kalki to establish again the rule of law and righteous conduct.

Vedavyas Vedavyas is actually a title. In each age Vishnu in his form of Vedavyas divides the entire knowledge acquired into various Vedas. This massive editing and vetting takes place in every Dwapar age. | Perhaps the earlier demarcation goes topsy-turvy by this time, hence the need after two Ages: Satya Yuga and Treta}. In the present Manvantar whose Manu is Vaivasvata the Vedas have already under gone 28 divisions by the Vedavyasses of even number. The names of these Vedavyas are given below in the Chronological order. Swayambhuva, Prajapati, Ushana, Brishaspati', Savita, Mrityu, Indra, Vashishtha, Saraswata, Tridhama, Trivrisha, Bharadwaj Antariksha, Vakri, Trayaruna, Dhananjaya, Kritanjaya, Rinanjaya, Bharadwaj (PerhapsII), Gautama, Haryatma, Vena, Trinarindu, Riksha, Shaktri, Parashara, Jatukarna, and Krishna Dweipayana. The Vishnu purana claims that the next Vedavyas will be Ashwathama.

Each Vyas compiles the knowledge into the category of the Vedas according to his own comprehension of the knowledge of his Age, accrued to man till that particular Manvantar. In the beginning of the creation the Vedas had, together, one lakh shlokas. In the 28th Dwapar Krishna Dweipayan Vyas divided the whole knowledge, in conformity with the style adopted by the earlier Vyasas, into four categories and initiated four scholars to study them. Paila became well versed in the Rig-Veda, Vaishampayan in Yajur-Veda, Jaimini in Sam Veda and Sumantu in Atharva-Veda. Romharshan, belonging to the Sootajati (the class that drove the chariots) was chosen for mastering the Purana and Itihas. It is from the Vedas that the ten famous sacrifices (yagyas) originate.

Yagyavalkya Story

The Vyas taught Yajurveda dividing it into 27 sections and gave this knowledge to his 27 disciples. Among those 27 disciples, one of them was the son of Brahmarata, called Yagyavalkya. Once upon a time, the famous rishis decided that they would gather and have the religious discourse to finally edit the knowledge that was made available to them. They also decided that who ever did not come to this gathering would after a period of seven days commit the crime of killing a brahmana [i.e., Not coming to this gathering for a period of one week would be tentamount to the negligent's committing a crime as severe as killing a brahmana]. All the sages duly came to this gathering barring Vaishampayana. After seven days. Vaishampayan really stepped on his nephew and killed him accidently. Since this was a terrible sin it had to be atoned for. Whereupon Vaishampayana called his all disciples together and said: "I have committed the crime of killing a brahmana. Please arrange for a sacrifice so that I might atone for this deadly sin." Hearing this Yagyavalkya said rather pompously: "There is no need to bother other disciples for this. They don't have much power I will arrange for the entire sacrificial ceremony myself." Vaishampayan was angry hearing this arrogant assertion. You have insulted the other disciples by making this pompous statement, Yagyavalkya. The punishment is: return to me all that you have acquired from me. Every bit of the knowledge. I don't need a disciple like you." Yagyavalkya was still delinquint. He said: "I said what I did because I have regard for you. The fact is I, too, don't need teacher like you. Here is all that I have learnt from you. I am returning it." It is said that Yagyavalkya, there and then puked out the entire learning he had received in the form of Yajurveda. The other disciples ate it up in the form of birds called Titar (a form of patridges). That is the reason why this branch of The Yajurveda is called Taittariya after the name of the bird Titar. However Yagyavalkya wasn't satisfied after getting rid of the knowledge he had acquired from Vaisham-Payana and still wanted to learn Yajurveda. So with this desire he began to pray to the sun. Propitation duly the sun appeared before him in the form of horse and taught him those branches of the Yajurveda which even Vaishampayana was ignorant about.

The Creation of the Puranas

Puranas literally mean an account of the past. Hence can be loosely translated as 'history'. The Vishnu Purana describes as to how they came to be written. It says that the original text, 'Purana Samhita' was taught by Vedavyas to his disciple Romaharshana also called Lomaharshana, as hinted before Romaharshana had six disciples: Sumati, Agnivarchaha, Mitrayu, Shamshapyana, Akritaverna and Savarni. Each of these disciples composed of a Purana on the basis of Purana Samhita. In fact this Puranas Samhita is also the basis on which this Vishnu Purana had been written. It was written after Padma Purana which describes the glories of Lord Vishnu. The Vedvyas had divided all the Purana under 18 headings. They are:

1. Brahma Purana

2. Padma Purana

3. Vishnu Purana

4. Shi v Purana

5. B hagawata Purana

6. Narada Purana

7. Markandeya Purana

8. Agni Purana

9. Bhavishyata Purana

10. Brahma�Vaivarta Purana

11. Linga Purana

12. VarahaPurana

13. SkandaPurana

14. Vamana Purana

15. KoormaPurana

16. Matsya Purana

17. Garuda Purana

18. BrahmandaPurana

Some sages have also created sub-sections of these Puranas which all contain the details of origin of life on this planet. According to Sanatana Dharma there are fourteen types of knowledge (Vidya). The four Vedas, six Vedangas, Mimansa, Nyaya, the Puranas and the Dharma-shashtras constitute these 14 main branches of Vidya. Added to these, later on was Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Sangeeta- Veda and Arthshashtra. This faith recognizes three categories of the rishis (noble learned souls): Brahma-rishis, Devarishis and Rajarishis which can be respectively rendered as the rishis having the knowledge of the Supreme, the rishis having the knowledge of the Divine and the rishis having the knowledge of the royalty.


I laving learnt about all knowledge and its varied classifications. Maitreya ji asked Parashar sage if with all this knowledge one could get over the bondage of death. Where upon Parashar narrate him a story which was recounted by Bhishma, the gramdsire of Mahabharata fame while answering a question asked by Nakul, tlhe fourth Pandava. Bhishma said: "Once I had a friend, a Brahman who belonged to Kalingadesh. Once he happened to meet a Jatismara sage, Who told the Brahman some facts about the latter's future which subsequently was found to be very correct. The Brahman developed greait reverence for that sage's capacity to see through so deep into one's future. Then he also asked lew more questions which further deepened his faith in the sage. Then he asked sage if there could be any means by which one could avoid lacing the messengers of the death god. Then he narrated a dialogues that had taken place between the death god and his messengers. The death-god or yama instructed his messengers this way: "None of you should ever dare trouble the devotees of Lord Vishnu. Because he is my Lord also and it is at his behest that 1 keep the account of the beings' age and death, their sins and merits which are the parameters to ascertain the beings, eventual abode in which realm. So you should also respect all the Vishnu-devotees. You can over-power only those that are indifferent to Vishnu. The moral of this story is that no matter, how- learned one be, if one has, no faith in Lord Vishnu one can't attain immortality.