The puranic account of creation



Incarnations of Vishnu


Other mythological characters

Creation: The Puranic Account

Puranic division of time

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A quotation from the "Purusha Sakta" of the Rig-Veda, describes the first purusha.

"Purusha has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. On every side enveloping the earth, he overpassed (it) by a space of ten fingers. Purusha himself is this whole (universe), whatever has been and whatever shall be. He is also lord of immortality, since (or when) by food he expands. All existences are a quarter of him, and three-fourths of him are that which is immortal in the sky. With three-quarter Purusha mounted upward. A quarter of him was again produced here.

From him was born Viraj; and from Viraj, Purusha.


When the gods performed a sacrifice, with Purusha as the oblation, the spring was its butter, the summer its fuel, and the autumn its (accompanying) offering. From that universal sacrifice were provided curds and butter.

From that universal sacrifice sprang the verses, the metres and the Yajush; from it sprang horses and all animals with two rows of teeth, kine, goats and sheep.

When (the gods) divided Purusha, they cut him into the following parts.

The Brahman was his mouth, the Kshtriyas was made his arms, the being (called) Vaishya was his thighs, and the Shudra sprang from his feet.


The morn sprang from his soul (manas), the sun from his eye, Indra and Agni from his mouth, and Vayu from his breath. From his naval arose the air, from his head the sky, from his feet and earth, from his ear the (four) quarters; in this manner (the gods) formed the worlds."


"(Uttering) 'bhuh', Prajapati generated this earth. (Uttering) 'bhuvah', he generated the air; and (Uttering) 'svah', he generated the sky.
This universe is co-extensive with these worlds. Saying 'bhuh', Prajapati generated the Brahman; (saying) 'bhuvah', he generated the Kshattra; (and saying) 'svah', he generated the Vis.

All this world is as much as the Brahman, Kshattra and Vis. (Saying) 'bhuh', Prajapati generated himself; (saying) 'bhuvah', he generated offspring' (saying) 'svah', he generated animals. This world is so much as self, offspring, and animals."

With some variations this is the story of the creation as told in the Puranas.

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