The Mahabharata Home
"Sthanu said, 'Know, O lord, that my solicitations to thee are on behalf of the created beings of the universe. These beings have been created by thee. Do not be angry with them, O grandsire! By the fire born of thy energy, O illustrious one, all the created beings are being consumed. Beholding them placed in such a plight, I am penetrated with compassion. Do not be angry with them, O lord of the universe.'
"The lord of all created beings said, 'I am not angry, nor it is my wish that all the created beings should cease to exist. It is only for lightening the burthen of the earth that destruction is desirable. The goddess Earth, afflicted with the weight of creatures, solicited me, O Mahadeva, for destroying them, especially as She seemed to sink under their burthen into the water. When after exercising my intelligence for even a long while I could not hit upon the means by which to accomplish the destruction of this overgrown population, it was then that wrath took possession of my breast.'
"Sthanu said, 'Do not give way to wrath, O lord of the deities, with respect to this matter about the destruction of living creatures. Be gratified. Let not these mobile and immobile beings be destroyed. All tanks, all kinds of grass and herbs, all immobile beings, and all mobile creatures also of the four varieties, are being consumed. The whole universe is about to be denuded of beings. Be gratified, O divine lord! O thou of righteous heart, even this is the boon that I solicit at thy hands. If destroyed, these creatures would not come back. Therefore, let this energy of thine be neutralised by thy own energy. Actuated by compassion for all created beings find some means so that, O Grandsire, these living creatures may not burn. Oh, let not these living creatures perish with even their descendants thus destroyed. Thou hast appointed me as the presider over the consciousness of all living creatures,
[paragraph continues] O lord of all the lords of the universe. All this mobile and immobile universe of life, O lord of the universe, hath sprung from thee. Pacifying thee, O god of gods, I beg of thee that living creatures may repeatedly come back into the world, undergoing repeated deaths.'
"Narada continued, 'Hearing these words of Sthanu, the divine Brahman of restrained speech and mind himself suppressed that energy of his within his own heart. Suppressing that fire that had been devastating the universe, the illustrious Brahman, adored of all, and possessed of illimitable puissance, then arranged for both birth and death in respect of all living creatures. After the Selfborn had withdrawn and suppressed that fire, there came out, from all the outlets of his body, a lady attired in robes of black and red, with black eyes, black palms, wearing a pair of excellent ear-rings, and adorned with celestial ornaments. Having sprung from Brahman's body, the lady took her station on his right. The two foremost of deities thereupon looked at her. Then, O king, the puissant Selfborn, the original cause of all the worlds, saluted her and said, 'O Death, slay these creatures of the universe. Filled with anger and resolved to bring about the destruction of created beings, I have called thee. 1 Do thou, therefore, commence to destroy all creatures foolish or learned. O lady, slay all created beings without making exception in anybody's favour. At my command thou wilt win great prosperity.' Thus addressed, the goddess, Death, adorned with a garland of lotuses, began to reflect sorrowfully and shed copious tears. Without allowing her tears, however, to fall down, she held them, O king, in her joined palms. She then besought the Self-born, impelled by the desire of doing good to mankind.'"
222:1 In the case of gods and Rishis, thinking and summoning are the same.
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