The Matsya Purana, Part 3


Matsya Avatara
Madhubani Folk Painting

Jun 12, CANADA (SUN) — Srimad Matsya Purana, presented in three parts.

Taraka’s Tapasya

Tarka was determined to defeat the gods. But he realized that, prior to waging war on the gods, he would have to become powerful. Such powers could be attained through tapasya. Taraka went to the Pariparta mountains and selected a cave there for his meditation. For some days Taraka ate nothing, for some more days he survived only on water, and on other days he ate only leaves. Every day he sliced off some flesh from his body and offered it to the fire as a token of his devotion. All this hardship pleased Brahma and he appeared before Taraka. Enough is enough, said Brahma. I am pleased at your devotion. What boon can I grant you?

I want to fight with the gods, replied Taraka. The gods have been giving the demons a hard time and I intended to reverse the tide. Please grant me the boon that I may be invincible and immortal. Immortality is not a boon that can be granted to any living being. Said Brahma. All living beings must die. But if you want, set difficult conditions for your death. In that case, please grant me the boon that I can only be killed by a seven year old child, requested Taraka. Brahma gladly granted this boon. The War Between the Gods and the Demons Fortified with Brahma’s boon, Taraka started to rule the demons. After some years had passed and after Taraka had raised a strong army, he decided to attack heaven. A huge army of demons was accordingly raised. There were thousands of elephants, horses and chariots in the army.

Apart from Taraka, the major generals in the army were Jambha, Kujambha, Mahisha, Kunjara, Megha, Kalanemi, Nimi, Mathana, Jambhaka and Shumbha, Diverse were the weapons that the demons armed themselves with. The gods also prepared themselves for the war, having first appointed Yama as their general. Yama rode into battle on a buffalo. Indra had his chariot, driven by his charioteer Matali. The fire-god Agni rode on a goat and Varuna, the lord of the oceans, rode a snake. Amongst the other gods who were in the army were Chandra, Surya and Kubera, the god of prosperity and wealth. The war was terrible to behold. The trumpeting of elephants, the neighing of horses and the beating of drums made a terrible racket. Above all this there was the noise of weapons clanging and bows twanging. Chariots fought with Chariots, elephants with elephants, horses with horses and foot-soldiers with foot-soldiers. The sky was thick with spears, maces, axes, swords, tridents, clubs and arrows flying around. Dead bodies littered the battlefield and rivers of blood began to flow. Yama fought a fierce duel with a demon named Grasana and Kubera fought with Jambha. Kujambha also fought with Kubera and put Kubera to flight. Kalanemi fought with both Chandra and Surya. The two Ashvinis received a good beating from the hands of Kalanemi’s. The news that the gods were being slaughtered reached Vishnu so Vishnu decided to join the fight. The demons immediately attacked Vishnu, but were no match for him. One of Vishnu’s maces knocked Kalanemi unconscious. Vishnu’s cakra sliced off Grasana’s head.

Jambha did manage to knock Vishnu unconscious with a club. But Indra slew Jambha with a divine weapon. The trouble however was with Taraka. When he came to fight, the gods had no option but to flee. Those who did not, were captured and imprisoned. The demon won a resounding victory.

Brahma’s Advice

Of the gods who had survived the battle and were still free started to pray to Brahma.

What can I do for you? asked Brahma. Why are all of you looking so despondent?

You are the one who is responsible for our misfortune, replied the gods. You have granted Taraka a boon that has made him virtually invincible. Armed with this boon, he is oppressing the universe and has soundly thrashed us. What are we to do now?

There is no cause for such despondency, said Brahma. Taraka is not immortal. He will be slain by a seven year old child. Unfortunately that child has not yet been born. He will be the son of Shiva. The problem is that Shiva is unmarried. He was earlier married to Sati, but Sati committed suicide at the time of a yajna. She has now been reborn as Parvati. The task at hand is to get Shiva and Parvati married. Their son will kill Taraka. It was necessary to make Shiva fall in love with Parvati.

Madana, the god of love, was sent by Indra to Shiva’s hermitage so that this might be achieved. But because this disturbed Shiva’s meditation, Shiva burnt Madana up. Meanwhile, Parvati had begun to perform tapasya so that she might have Shiva for a husband. For one hundred years more, she ate only one leaf a day. And for the final hundred years, she meditated and continued fasting. The seven great sages went and told Shiva about Parvati’s tapasya and Shiva agreed to marry Parvati. The marriage took place amidst a great deal of fanfare. All the rivers and the mountains came to attend the ceremony. So did the sages, the gods, the gandharvas, the apsaras and the yakshas. Brahma himself acted as the priest for the marriage ceremony.

Kali Becomes Gouri On one particular occasion, Shiva addressed Parvati as Kali. The word kali means dark and Parvati thought that Shiva referring to her dark complexion. She did not realize that Shiva was merely trying to tease her a bit. Greatly incensed at the imagined slight, Parvarti decided that she would meditate so that she might become fair. She wore clothing made of barks of trees and performed tapasya. In the summer she prayed inside a raging fire and in the winter she prayed under the water. Sometimes, she ate only roots and fruits. At other times, she fasted. Prior to leaving for her tapasaya, Parvati had instructed Nandi that he was to stand guard at Shiva’s door and permit no other woman to enter. There was a demon named Adi. This fellow had performed a lot of tapasya and had manage to please Brahma. When Brahma agreed to grant him a boon. Adi asked for the boon of immortality. Brahma naturally refused this boon. He however granted Adi the boon that the demon would die only when he changed his form twice, not otherwise.

Adi happened to come to Shiva and Parvati’s house and discovered Nandi standing guard at the door. Wondering what there was to be guarded, he adopted the form of a snake and slithered in. Nandi did not notice the snake, but this was Adi’s first transformation. Inside the house, Adi encountered Shiva and thought that he would play a trick on Shiva. He adopted Parvati’s form. This was his second transformation. In the form of Parvati, Adi went up to Shiva and greeted him. Initially, Shiva did not realize that this was not Parvati. He greeted the demon and said, Darling, I am delighted that you have returned. I can see that your rage has cooled down. But in a little while Shiva realized that this was not Parvati. He slew the demon.

Meanwhile, Parvati was continuing with her tapsaya and pleased Brahma with her prayers. Brahma granted her the boon that she would become fair. Since the word 'gouri' means fair, Parvati was thereafter known as Gouri. A goddess named Koushiki emerged out of Parvati’s cells, thus named because the word kosha means cell. The darkness of Parvti’s complexion entered Koushiki’s body. Brahma requested the goddess Koushiki to go and live in the Vindhya mountains. She is therefore also known as Vindhyavasini.

Kartikeya and Taraka Kartikeya or Skanda was born after some days

The boys shone with the radiance of a thousand suns and had six (shada) faces (anana). He was therefore also known as Shadanana. (Some other Puranas like the Brahmavaivarata Purana state that Skanda got lost when he was small and was brought up by the Krittikas. That is how he acquired the name of Kartikeya. The Krittikas were goddesses, also identified as stars (the Pleiades).) The gods armed Kartikeya with diverse weapons and appointed him their general. They requested him to kill the demon Taraka and arrangements were made for the battle. When Taraka saw Kartikeya he said, What is a boy like you doing in a battlefield? Go and play with a ball instead. A battlefield is not the place for idle talk, replied Kartikeya. Show me your prowess instead. At these words, Taraka flung a club at Kartikeya. But Kartikeya easily repelled the club with a vajra. The demon next hurled an axe, but Kartikeya effortless caught the axe in his hand. He then struck the demon with a club of his own. This angered Taraka so much that the demon showered all sorts of weapons on Kartikeya. But the boy repelled all of these and started to kill demons with his own weapons. Many demons fled in dismay. As for Taraka himself, Kartikeya’s spear pierced him in the chest and killed him. Thus it was that Brahma’s boon became ture.

Hiranyakashipu Diti had a son named Hiranyakashipu

This demon meditated for eleven thousand years under the water. Throughout this period, he did not eat or talk at all. These meditations pleased Brahma and Brahma offered to grant Hiranyakasipu a boon. What boon do you wish for? he asked. If you are pleased, grant me the following boon, replied the demon. I will not be killed by gods, demons, gandharvas, yakshas, rakshasas or snakes. I will not be killed by humans or ghosts. The sages will not be able to curse me. I will not killed by a weapon, a mountain or a tree. I will not be killed during the day or at night. I will not be killed by something that is dry or by something that is wet. This rather strange boon Brahma granted. But the sages, the gods, the gandarvas and the snakes went and complained to Brahma. What have you done? they asked. This demon is now going to oppress the entire universe. Don’t worry, replied Brahma. When the time comes, Vishnu himself will kill Hiranyakashipu. But true to expectations, the demon started to oppress the world. He destroyed the hermitages of the sages and drove the gods out of heaven. All yajnas were stopped. The gods and the sages started praying to Vishnu. Stirred by these prayers, Vishnu adopted the form of a strange being who was half-man and half-lion. Since 'nara' means man and 'simha' means lion, this being was called Narasimha.

Narasimha went on a visit to Hiranyakashipu’s court. Hiranyakashipu had a son named Prahlada and at the sight of Narasimha. Prahlada exclaimed. I have a strong suspicion that this being is none other than Vishnu and that we demons will suffer at his hands. Hiranyakashipu asked his soldiers to capture the creature. Or, if that proved to be impossible, to kill it. But the soldiers could do no such thing; Narasimha killed them all. Hiranyakasipu then himself hurled all sorts of weapons at Narasimha. But great was his bewilderment at finding that all these weapons could do the strange creature no harm. Any weapons could do the strange creature no harm. Any weapon that was hurled was simply swallowed up by Narasimha. The rocks that were flung at him could not even reach him.

Narasimha grasped Hiranyakashipu and placed him across his thighs. He then tore apart the demon’s chest with his claws. Thus, Hiranyakashipu was not killed by a weapon, a mountain or a tree, or by something that was either wet or dry. Vishnu in his Narasimha form was not a god, a demon, a gandharva, a yaksha, a rakshasa, a snake, a human or a ghost. Since the slaying took place in the evening, it was neither night nor day. All the conditions of Brahma’s boon were met. The entire world rejoiced at the demon-king’s death.

The Matysa Purana now describes the glories of several tirthas, including the sacred city of Varanasi or Kashi. It also lists the lineages of various famous sages like Bhrigu, Angira, Atri, Vishvamitra, Kashyapa, Vashishtha, Parashara and Agastya.Savitri

There used to be a king named Ashvapati who ruled in the kingdom of Madra. Ashvapati had no sons. He therefore began to pray to the goddess Savitri so that he might have a son. He performed thousands and thousands of yajnas. Eventually the goddess appeared before the king and said, You will not have a son. But I am going to grant you a daughter.’ The daughter was named Malati. But since she was born as a result of a boon received from the goddess Savitri, she was more popularly known as Savitri. When Savitri grew up, she was married to Satyavana, the son of King Dyumatsena.

The sage Narada once came to visit them and told them. Satyavana is going to die within a year. Hearing this, Savitri and Satyavana went off to the forest to prepare themselves for the impending death. When only four days of the appointed life span were left, Savitri observed a religious rite that has now become famous Savitri rata. Amongst other things, this involved fasting for a period of three days On the fourth and final day, Satyavana went to collect fodder, roots and fruits in the dense part of the forest and Savitri also accompanied her husband. When they were tired, Savitri sat down beside a pond to rest. Satyavana continued to collect fodder and firewood near the pond. While he was thus engaged, he started to suffer from a splitting headache. Savitri, he said, I cannot bear this pain any longer. Let me rest for a while with my head in your lap.

While Satyavana was resting with his head on Savitri’s lap, Yama arrived to claim Satyavana. Yama’s complexion was dark and he was dressed entirely in yellow. His crown was golden. Armlets graced his arms and necklaces hung around his neck. In each human body there is an entity that is only the size of a finger in length. This is the part of the body that is claimed by Yama and taken to his abode. When this is done, only the dead body is left. Yama tied up Satyavana’s minute body in a noose and prepared to take it to his abode. But when Yama left, Savitri followed him. Where do you think you are going? asked Yama. I am following my husband, replied Savitri. There is no greater duty for a wife than serving her husband. Since my husband is leaving, I have to leave with him. I am pleased at your devotion, said Yama. Ask for a boon and I shall grant it to you. The only thing that you cannot ask for is that Satyavana be brought back to life.

My father-in-law has become blind, replied Saviti. He can therefore no longer be the king. Please grant me the boon that his eyesight is restored so that he can become the king again. I grant you that. Said Yama. Now please return. You will unnecessarily get tired if you follow me. How I can get tired if I follow you? asked Savitri. You are the chief of all the gods. Is it possible to get tired if one follows you? That pleases me even more, said Yama. Ask for another boon. But under no circumstances are you allowed to ask that Satyavana be brought back to life. My father has no sons, replied Savitri. Please grant me the boon that he may have a hundred sons. I grant you that, said Yama. Now return. Go and perform your husband’s funeral rites. Serve your parents and parents-in-law well. You are unnecessarily tiring yourself by following me around. I thank you for your advice. Replied Savitri. But I have already told you that I cannot possibly get tired . You are the lord of dharma, the lord of righteousness. Can one possibly tire oneself by following such a person? Your devotion is truly amazing, Ask for another boon. But do not ask for Satyavana’s life. Please grant me the boon that Satyavana and I may have a hundred sons, requested Savitri. Yama granted the boon without thinking and Savitri then pointed out that what Yama had agreed to would be impossible if Satyavana died. Yama had no option but to restore Satyavana to life. Yama blessed Savitri and went away.

In due course, Satyavana and Savitri had a hundred sons named that Malvas. Savitri is a model for all devoted wives to follow.

The Matsya Purana follows this up with a recital of the duties of kings and a cataloguing of various omens. There is also a section on the interpretation of dreams.


There was a demon named Vali who was descended from Hiranyakashipu. Extremely strong, he defeated the gods and drove them out of heaven. The mother of all the gods was Aditi and Aditi was despondent that her sons should suffer so at the hands of demons. She therefore began to pray to Vishnu so that she might have a powerful son who would provide a fitting reply tot he demons, particularly to Vali. For a thousand years, Aditi meditated. Vishnu was pleased at these prayers and appeared before Aditi. What boon do you wish for? he asked. The demons are oppressing my children, replied Aditi. Please grant me a son who will defeat the demons. Do not despair, said Vishnu. I myself will be born as your son. I will take care of the demons.

Aditi’s husband was the sage Kashyapa. Kashyapa and Aditi accordingly had a son. This son was a dwarf (vamana). Vali happened to organize a yajna and the dwarf came to attend the ceremony. On the occasion of the yajna. Vali had decided that he would not refuse anyone what he asked for.

Shukracharya was the preceptor of the demons and naturally, he was Vali’ guru as well. Shukracharya saw through the trickery that was involved and realized that the dwarf was none other than Vishnu. He tried to put Vali on his guard and warned Vali that he should not grant what the dwarf asked for. But Vali would not listen. Vishnu is the lord of everything. He said. I am indeed fortunate if Vishnu has come to grace my ceremony in the disguise of a dwarf. How can I refuse what he asks for? Vali welcomed the dwarf with offerings. What is your desire? he asked. I am duty bound to give you what you ask for. I desire nothing much, replied the dwarf. I do not want gold or riches or elephants or horses. All that I ask for is as much of land as can be covered in three of my footsteps. Granted, said Vail. No sooner were the words uttered that he dwarf assumed a gigantic form. His head rose way up into the sky. With each one of his footsteps, Vishnu covered one of the three worlds. Thus Vali ended up by donating all of the three worlds to Vishnu and there was nowhere for the demons to live in. But Vishnu was pleased at Vali’s generosity.

He therefore decreed that, henceforth, the demons would live in the underworld. As for heaven, it was returned to Indra. This was the story of Vishnu’s dwarf incarnation. The Boar Incarnation At the end of the last kalpa, there was a general destruction and the universe was flooded with water. Vishnu alone slept on this water in his form of Narayana. When it was time for creation to begin, Brahma appeared inside an egg. All the worlds that would be there in the universe and all the beings who would populate these worlds were inside the egg. But before creation could start, the earth had to be created so that living beings might have a place to live in. When the earth was first created, it was full of mountain ranges and these mountains were exceedingly heavy. The upshot of this was that the earth could not bear the weight of these mountains and started to get immersed in the water. She went all the way down to the underworld. The earth started to pray to Vishnu so that she might be saved. Vishnu adopted the form of a gigantic boar (varaha). He entered the water and raised the earth up on his tusks. He laid her to rest on the water, having first levelled out the mountains. This was the story of Vishnu’s boar incarnation. The pastime of the boar incarnation is linked to the story of the demon Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha was Hiranyakashipu’s brother. He sent the earth to the underworld and also stole the Vedas.

Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha in his form of a boar and rescued the earth and the Vedas. The Hiranyaksha story is found in several Puranas, such as the Vishnu Purana.

The Churning of the Ocean The gods and the demons always fought with one another. In the process, many demons and gods were killed. This was no problem for the demons. Their teacher, Shukracharya, knew the art of mritasanjivani and immediately brought the dead demons back to life. But the gods who were killed stayed dead. The gods went to Brahma for his advice. Having a temporary truce with the demons, said Brahma. Unite with them and churn the ocean. This churning will make you immortal and you will have no reason to fear the demons. The gods went to meet Vali, the king of the demons, with the proposal and Vali agreed to the temporary truce. Preparations were made for the churning of the ocean. Mount Mandara was used as the rod for churning and the great snake Vasuki agreed to be the churning-rope . The problem however was the Mount Mandara had no base to rest on. And without a base, the peak would move and the churning could not proceed. The great Vishnu adopted the form of a huge turtle (kurma). The back of the turtle provided the base on which Mount Mandara could rest. The churning started. The gods held Vasuki’s tail and the demons the head. The churning went on for a thousand years of the gods. The first object to emerge as a result of the churning was the moon. Chandra.

His emergence as a result of the churning was thus akin to are birth.) Shiva accepted Chandra as an adornment for his forehead. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, emerged next and was united with Vishnu, Sura, the goddess of wine and drinking, came out next. She was followed by the divine horse. Uchchaishrava. This was appropriated by Indra. (Other accounts of the churning, such as in the Mahabharata, mention an elephant named Airavata, also appropriated by Indra.) A beautiful jewel named koustubha came out next and was accepted by Vishnu as his adornment. After these wondrous objects had come out, smoke started to billow out and clouded the atmosphere. The cloud was followed by tongues of fire which threatened to burn up the gods and the demons. From the fire there came out all sorts of poisonous snakes and venomous insects. This was followed by a terrible poison known as kalakuta. No one knew what to do with the poison, it would have killed them all. The gods and the demons began to pray to Shiva for deliverance. Shiva appeared and swallowed up the poison. It suck in his throat and made his throat blue in colour. Since 'nila' means blue and 'kantha' means throat, Shiva came to be known as Nilakantha.

With the danger removed, the churning continued and Dhanvantari came out of the ocean. He was the physician of the gods and the originator of medicine (ayurveda). Dhanvantari held the pot of amrita in his hands. The demons immediately started to fight over the possession of the amrita. But Vishnu adopted the form of a beautiful woman (known as mohini). This woman was so pretty that all the demons fell in love with her and gladly handed over the pot of amrita to her. But they continued to fight with the gods. While the fighting went on, Vishnu secretly fed the gods the amrita. The gods became immortal. The demons received no amrita, not a single drop except for Rahu.

There was a demon named Rahu. He adopted the form of a god and managed to get a little bit of the amrita. But Surya and Chandra spotted the deception and pointed it out to Vishnu. Vishnu promptly severed Rahu’s head with his chakra. The amrita never percolated down beyond Rahu’s throat. But the demon’s head had had its share of the amrita and became immortal. Rahu never forgave Surya and Chandra for telling on him. Rahu’s head tries to swallow up the sun and the moon, given a chance. You can see this happening at the time of the solar and lunar eclipses.


The science of architecture owes its origin to eighteen great sages. Their names are Bhrigu, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvakarma, Maya, Narada, Nagnajita, Vishalaksha, Puranadara, Brahma, Kartikeya, Nandishvara, Shounaka, Garga, Vasudeva, Aniruddha, Shukra and Brihaspati.

The building of a house should never be begun in the month of Chaitra. A person who does this is sure to contract a disease. The month of Vaishakha is a good time to begin. One who does this is bound to own many cows.

The months of Agrahayana, Magha and Falguna are also auspicious. An individual who begins the task in Agrahayana has full granaires, one who begins it in Magha attains all sorts of riches and one who begins it in Falguna obtains gold and sons. Ashada is also a good month to start. Servants and animals are owed by a person who starts the building in Ashada.

The months of Jyaishtha, Shravana, Bhadra, Ashvina and Pousha are inauspicious. If you start in Jyaishta, you will die soon; you will also die if you begin in Shravana; begin in Bhadra and you will suffer from all manner of losses; your wife will die if you start the task in the month of Ashvina; and all your goods will be stolen if you start in the month of Pousha. It is best to begin the building of a house when the nakshatras Ashvini, Rohini, Mula, Uttarabhadrapada, Uttarashada, Uttarafalguni or Mrigashira are in the sky. Any day is permissible with the exception of Sunday and Tuesday. The ground on which the house is to be built has to be tested. A pit should be dug and a sapling planted. If the sapling thrives and grows into a big tree, the ground has been well-chosen. But if the tree withers away or does not grow into a strong tree, one ought to move somewhere else. A diagram is then drawn on the ground, in the form of a square with eighty-one smaller squares inside it. That is the larger square will be subdivided into nine squares along very side. Nine multiplied by nine gives the eighty- one smaller squares. In each of these eight-one smaller squares, a specific god has to be worshipped.

Different types of houses

A house that has doors on all four sides is known as a sarvatobhadra. Such a configuration is recommended for palaces or temples. A house that does not have a door to the west is known as a nandyavarta; a house that does not have a door to the south is known as a varddhamana; a house that does not have a door to the east is known as a svastika; and a house that does not have a door to the north is known as ruchaka.

A palace should be one hundred and eight cubits (hand-lengths) in length. If a prince, and not a king, is to live in the palace, sixty-six cubits are the recommended length. Other recommended lengths are sixty-four cubits for generals, forty-eight cubits for ministers, twenty-eight cubits for artisans and twelve cubits for messengers and guards. Priests and physicians are entitled to twenty-four cubits. An ordinary householder should build a house that is thirty-two cubits in length. The sole exception is an outcast, he is entitled to only sixteen cubits. There should not be any trees in the front of the house. But trees have to be planted towards the back. The wood with which the house has to be built must be carefully chosen. One must not cut down a tree that birds have built nests on. Certain trees must never be chosen. These include those that have been gashed by an elephant or struck by lightning. They also include trees that grow near temples or at the of rivers and trees from cremation grounds.

Neem trees and mango trees must never be used for building houses. The height of the tree should be multiplied by its circumference. This product should now be divided by eight. If the remainder that is left is one, the timber can be used in building any part of the house. Such timber is known as dhvaja. When the remainder is two the timber is known vrisha and should be used in constructing the western door. When the remainder is three the timber is called simha and should be used for the northern door. The name is vrishabha if the remainder is four and such wood should be used for the eastern door. When the remainder is five the timber is given the name of hasti and should be used for the southern door.

Dieties must to be installed in temples

Vishnu’s image should have either eight hands or four. If there are eight hands, the arms to the right should hold a shankha (concha-shell), a gada (mace), a shara (arrow) and a padma (lotus). The arms to the left should hold dhanu (bow), a padma, a shankha and a chakra (bladed-discus). If there are four hands, the mace and the lotus should be to the right and the chakra and the conch-shell to the left. Vishnu will be shown standing on the world.

Garuda, the king of the birds, bears him around Garuda will therefore be shown at Vishnu’s feet, towards the right. Lakshmi’s image must always be to the left of Vishnu’s image and Lakshmi will hold a lotus in her hand.

The best deities are made out of gold, silver, copper, jewels, stone, wood, from alloys. The proportions of the various parts of the body must be exactly right. Shiva’s image must have matted hair and he must wear a crescent moon on his forehead. The deities must convey the impression that Shiva is sixteen years old. Shiva must be dressed in tigerskin and must be garlanded with snakes. A peacock feather should adorn on ear. If a spear, a rod or a trident are shown, they must be to the right. And if a skull, a snake or a sword are shown, they must be to the left. When Shiva is show riding a bull, his image has two hands. But when he is shown in a dancing posture, the image has ten hands. If the intention is to show him destroying Tripura, the image must have sixteen hands.

There is one particular image that deserves special mention. This is known as arddhanarishvara, half-male and half-female. The Shiva part of the image will be to the right and the Parvati part of the image will be to the left. The right hand of the image will hold a skull or a trident and the left hand of the image will hold a lotus or a mirror.

There is another type of image known as Uma-Maheshvara. In this case, there are two separate images, one of Shiva and the other of Parvati. The deities of various other gods and goddesses are also described.

Pavilions (mandapa)

These are classified in terms of the number of pillars that are used in their construction, and there are twenty-seven main types of pavilions.

    (I) A pushpaka pavilion has sixty-four pillars.
    (II) A pushpabhadra pavilion has sixty-two pillars.
    (III) A suvrata pavilion has sixty pillars.
    (IV) An amritanandana pavilion has fifty-eight pillars.
    (V) A doushalya pavilion has fifty-six pillars.
    (VI) A buddhisamkirna pavilion has fifty-four pillars
    . (VII) A gajabhadra pavilion has fifty-two pillars.
    (VIII) A jayavaha pavilion has fifty pillars.
    (IX) A shrivatsa pavilion has forty-eight pillars.
    (X) A vijaya pavilion has forty-six pillars.
    (XI) A vastukirti pavilion has forty-four pillars.
    (XII) A shrutinjaya pavilion has forty-two pillars.
    (XIII) A yajnabhadra pavilion has forty pillars.
    (XIV) A vishala pavilion has thirty-eight pillars.
    (XV) A sushlishta pavilion has thirty-six pillars.
    (XVI) A shatrumardana pavilion has thrity-four pillars.
    (XVII) A bhagapancha pavilion has thrity-two pillars.
    (XVIII) A nandana pavilion has thirty pillars.
    (XIX) A manava pavilion has twenty-eight pillars.
    (XX) A manabhadraka pavilion has twenty-six pillars.
    (XXI) A sugriva pavilion has twenty-four pillars.
    (XXII) A hairta pavilion has twenty-two pillars.
    (XXIII) A karnikara pavilion has twenty pillars.
    (XXIV) A shatarddhika pavilion has eighteen pillars.
    (XXV) A simha pavilion has sixteen pillars.
    (XXVI) A shyamabhadra pavilion has fourteen pillars.
    (XXVII) A samudra pavilion has twelve pillars. Pavilions should be triangular, semi-circular or rectangular.

The kings of the kali era and their dynasties are next described.


There are different methods of donating alms. One of the most sacred is known as tulapurusha. In this, a pair of scales is used. The person who is donating the alms ascends on one side of the scales and gold is placed on the other side until the scales are exactly balanced. This is the amount of gold that has to be donated if punya is to be acquired.

A second sort of donation is known as hiranyagarbha. In this , a pot full of gold is donated.

In a third form of donation a model of the universe (brahmanda) is fashioned out of gold and donated. This form of donation is therefore known as brahmanda.

The fourth form of donation, known as kalpadapa? In this, a tree is made out of gold and donated.

The fifth form of donation is known as gosahasra and involves the donation of a thousand cows.

The sixth form of donation is known as kamadhenu. The object of donation in this case is a cow and calf, both made out of gold.

The seventh form of donation is similar and is known as hiranyashva. A horse made out of gold is donated.

The eighth form of donation is called ashvaratha. A horse (ashva) and four chariots (ratha) have to be donated and both have to be made out of gold.

Hemahastiratha is the ninth form of donation. The objects or donation in this case are an elephant and a chariot made out of gold.

The tenth form of donation is known as panchalngalaka. In this case, ten ploughs are donated. Five of them have to be made of wood and the remaining five have to be made of gold.

The eleven form of donation is dhara. In this case, a golden model of the earth is donated.

The twelfth form of donation is known as vishvachakra. The object that is donated is again a model made out of gold. The model is that of the universe in the shape of a wheel.

The thirteenth form of donation is mahakalapalaka. Ten creepers made out of god are donated.

The fourteenth form of donation is saptasagara. Pits are made in the ground, there being seven of them. Each pit stands for one of the seven oceans. In the first pit is put salt, in the second milk, in the third clarified butter, in the fourth molasses, in the fifth curds, in the sixth sugar and in the seventh holy water. An image of a god or goddess is then placed in each pit- Brahma in the first, Vishnu in the second, Shiva in the third, Surya in the fourth, Yama in the fifth. Lakshmi in the sixth and Parvati in the seventh. The images must be made out of gold. The pits are then filed to the brim with jewels and the entire contents donated.

The fifteenth form of donation is called ratnadhenu. In this case, a cow made out of gold is donated. The nose, the eyes, the brows and various other parts of the cow should be made out of jewels.

The sixteen form of donation is called mahabhutaghata. A pot is made out of gold, filled with jewels and donated.

These different forms of donation are superior to all other forms of donation, and bring undying punya.

Romaharshana completed his recital of the Matsya Purana by offering respects to the audience.

A person who reads even one chapter of the text goes to heaven and all his sins are forgiven.

The sages thanked Romaharshana and departed.


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