At the Time of the Great Dissolution of the Universe


Excerpts from the Mahabharata 3[37]186.55-75


Then the virtuous king Yudhishthira in all humility again enquired of the illustrious Markandeya, saying, 'O great Muni , thou hast seen many thousands of ages pass away. In this world there is none so long lived as thou!

… at the time of the great dissolution of the universe, when this world is without sky and without the gods…

 … all creatures with soul rapt in meditation and entirely swallowed up in Him!

… thou hast many a time witnessed with thy eyes, the primeval acts of creation…

… When neither the sun, nor the moon, nor fire, nor earth, nor air, nor sky remains, when all the world being destroyed looketh like one vast ocean…

Markandeya replied…

… the Great, the Incomprehensible, the Wonderful and the Immaculate. He is without beginning and without end, pervades all the world, is Unchangeable and Undeteriorating. He is the Creator of all, but is himself uncreate and is the Cause of all power.

 … towards the end of those thousands of years constituting the four Yugas and when the lives of men become so short, a drought occurs extending for many years.

 … men and creatures endued with small strength and vitality, becoming hungry die by thousands.

 … seven blazing Suns, appearing in the firmament, drink up all the waters of the Earth that are in rivers or seas.

 … everything of the nature of wood and grass that is wet to dry, is consumed and reduced to ashes.

 … the fire called Samvartaka impelled by the winds appeareth on the earth that hath already been dried to cinders by the seven Suns.

And then that fire, penetrating through the Earth and making its appearance, in the nether regions also, begetteth great terror in the hearts of the gods, the Danavas and the Yakshas .

 … consuming the nether regions as also everything upon this Earth that fire destroyeth all things in a moment.

 And that fire called Samvartaka aided by that inauspicious wind, consumeth this world extending for hundreds and thousands of yojanas .

 And that lord of all things, that fire, blazing forth in effulgence consumeth this universe with gods and Asuras and Gandharvas and Yakshas and Snakes and Rakshasas.

 And there rise in the sky deep masses of clouds, looking like herds of elephants and decked with wreaths of lightning that are wonderful to behold.

 And some of those clouds are of the hue of the blue lotus; and some are of the hue of the water-lily; and some resemble in tint the filaments of the lotus and some are purple and some are yellow as turmeric and some of the hue of the crows' egg.

 And some are bright as the petals of the lotus and some red as vermillion.

 And some resemble palatial cities in shape and some herds of elephants.

 And some are of the form of lizards and some of crocodiles and sharks.

 And, O king, the clouds that gather in the sky on the occasion are terrible to behold and wreathed with lightnings, roar frightfully.

 And those vapoury masses, charged with rain, soon cover the entire welkin.

 And, O king, those masses of vapour then flood with water the whole earth with her mountains and forests and mines.

 … urged by the Supreme Lord those clouds roaring frightfully, soon flood over the entire surface of the earth.

And pouring in a great quantity of water and filling the whole earth, they quench that terrible inauspicious fire (of which I have already spoken to thee).

And urged by the illustrious Lord those clouds filling the earth with their downpour shower incessantly for twelve years.

And then… the Ocean oversteps his continents, the mountains sunder in fragments, and the Earth sinks under the increasing flood.

And then moved on a sudden by the impetus of the wind, those clouds wander along the entire expanse of the firmament and disappear from the view.

And then, O ruler of men, the Self-create Lord--the first Cause of everything--having his abode in the lotus, drinketh those terrible winds and goeth to sleep!



Internet Sacred text Archive:

The Mahabharata of Krishna-Swaipayana Vyasa

translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli [published between 1883 and 1896]

The Ganguli English translation of the Mahabharata is the only complete one in the public domain.




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