The Earliest Races (1)
Vayu Purana: I, 7.
Oriental Department, May, 1895
At the beginning of the formative period, in the first of the four ages, the Evolver put forth beings.
The beings, which I told you of in former times, were these beings; but, the formative period coming to an end, they were then burnt up by fire.
Those of them who did not gain the world of fervor found refuge in the latent world of men; and when the time of putting forth comes again they become seed.
And standing there as seed, against the time of putting forth, they are thereupon put forth for the sake of descendants.
They are recorded as the fulfillers of duty, wealth, desire, freedom; they are bright ones, fathers, seers, men.
Thus possessed of fervor they replenish the places; they are the Evolver’s mind-born sons, of perfect nature.
They who engage in deeds, with attachment, and yet without hatred, go to heaven, and, returning here are born in age after age.
Through the remaining fruits of their deeds, and according to their character, they are born from the latent world of men, through the binding efficiency of their deeds.
Their tendency outward, arising from their deeds, is to be known as the cause; and through these deeds, whether good or bad, they are born from the latent world of men.
They seize vestures of many forms for their birth, from shining beings to immovable things, and everything between.
And whatever deeds attached to them in the former period of putting forth, these same attach to them, as they are put forth again and again.
Harmful or harmless, soft or cruel, dutiful or undutiful, true or untrue—according to their nature they come forth; and so one thing pleases each.
And whatever were their names and forms in ages gone by, they receive the same names and forms again.
They receive the same names and forms, and again and again through the ages they are reborn according to name and form.
Thereupon, the time of putting forth having approached, as the Evolver desired to put forth, with his mind intent upon forming beings, he put forth from his face a thousand pairs, of substantial nature and very luminous.
And another thousand pairs he put forth from his breast; they were all forceful and passionate. And he put forth another thousand couples from his thighs; they were forceful and dark; effortful in character.
And from his feet he put forth yet another thousand pairs; they were full of darkness, inglorious, of little vigor.
Then these twin-born living beings were drawn towards each other. Thenceforth, in this age, their coming together is recorded.
There was not among them the characteristic of sex; nor were children born to these beings thus coming together.
But at the end of their lives they produced a single pair; informate boys and girls were born to them at the point of death.
And from thenceforth in this formative period was the birth of pairs; in thought and through mental activity were they born of these beings, once only.
They perceived sounds and other objects; they were pure and with five marks each. This was the first, the mental putting forth of the Lord of beings.
The world was filled by those who were born in the multiplying of these beings; they dwelt by rivers and lakes and oceans and mountains.
Then they felt neither heat nor cold excessively; and found a food—as it were the growth of the dew of the earth.
And these beings, when they had desires, found a mental fulfilment of them. They had neither law nor lawlessness, and there was no difference between them.
In that first age, their age, happiness and form were equal. They had neither law nor lawlessness in that first age, at the beginning of the formative epoch.
They were born, each living according to his own authority in that first age, which lasted four thousand years, according to divine reckoning.
And the beginning and ending twilights of the first age were each four hundred years. These beings were multiplied thousand-fold thereafter.
Yet they had no hindrance, nor two-sidedness, nor weariness. They were mountain dwellers and ocean dwellers, not living in houses.
They were sorrow-less, of excellent nature, simple in their joys; they moved about at will, perpetually rejoicing in mind.
Then there were no animals nor birds nor reptiles, nor land plants nor water growths; for these things were sown by lawlessness.
Nor were there roots, fruits nor flowers, nor the season’s difference, nor seasons. All was happiness according to desire, nor was there excessive heat nor cold.
Always and everywhere, all things were according to their desire, springing forth from the earth at their mere thought, very savory.
They had a power that made strength and color and destroyed disease. With unadorned bodies, these beings stood firm in young vigor.
By pure will their twin offspring was born of them. Equal was their birth and form, and they died equally.
They had truth, generosity, endurance, satisfaction, happiness, control. They were all without difference, in form, age, character or force.
Their sustenance was born of its own accord, without forethought of theirs; they engaged in no deeds that were either fair or unprofitable.
There was no difference of class or order then, nor confusion. They acted toward each other without either desire or hate.
Neither high nor low, they were all equal in form and age, full of happiness, free from grief, in that first age.
Of perpetually contented mind were they, very substantial, of great force; nor did gain and loss exist for them, nor friend and enemy, nor love and hate.
They gained their object without effort, through mind alone; nor were they envious nor grasping toward each other.
Meditation is the crown of the first age; wisdom of the second; sacrifice began in the third age; but giving is the crown of the fourth.
To the first age belongs substance or goodness; to the second, force; to the third, force and darkness, mixed; in the fourth age, darkness, through the sway of the advancing age.
This is the measure of the first age; learn the numbering of it: four thousand years was the measure of the first age, and the twilights of it four hundred divine years each in number.
And throughout all this first age, these beings enjoyed a complete life, nor had they the pains of weariness.
Then, when this first age and its two twilights were gone, the law of the age in all things diminishes to a quarter.
And at the end of the age, when the twilight was passed, the law of the twilight diminished by a quarter.
So, when the first age ceased, its power turned inward; and it was so, thenceforth, when this mind-power was destroyed.
But during the second age, another power took its place; as, at the beginning of the period of putting forth, eight mind-powers were enumerated by me.
And, as the age moves on, these eight powers are manifested; but at the beginning of the formative period, only one mental power exists.
In every human period, according to the division of the four ages, it is recorded that an arrangement according to class and order is made, and a complete development of deeds.
The beginning twilight of the first age diminished by a quarter, the age itself diminished by a quarter, the ending twilight diminished by a quarter, each of the three proportionately.
They are shortened by the laws of the ages, according to the periods measured out for fervor, enlightenment, force.
Then, when the first age came to an end, there straightway succeeded the second age; the excellent seers call it a part of the first age. When this first age was gone, beings were left as a remnant of it.
At the beginning of that formative period, when the second age came on, the power of the first period passed away through the fullness of time and not otherwise.
And when this power was gone, another power arose.
Then from the fine breath of the waters, collecting together, the cloud-power came into being. From the clouds and thunderings came the putting forth of rain.
And when the surface of the earth was once taken possession of by this rain, there were manifested tree-like dwellings for beings.
And all kinds of mutual pleasure were born for them through these tree-like dwellings. And through them they shone, in the front of the second age.
Then through the passage of great time, a nature of rage and desire grew up within them, from no outward cause.
And the characteristic of sex that belongs to the end of a life period,—this does not return again through the force of the age.
But for these beings, this sex-character came back in its regular form. And the birth of children began at a wrong time.
And thereupon the tree-like dwellings came to an end, everyone of them, through their unlucky time.
When the tree-like dwellings had departed, these beings deeply disturbed, suffering in their powers, thought upon that power of theirs, thinking truly upon it.
Then their tree-like dwellings came back to them again. And vestures were produced as the fruit of the trees, and adornments.
And among them was born, for these beings, a honey full of scent and color and savor. It was not the honey of bees, but a great power lying in every fold.
By this they were fed in the front of the second age. Joyful and glad at this power were these beings whose old age was gone away.
And after awhile they were again invaded with greed, and took to seizing the tree-like dwellings and that honey not of bees by force.
And through that sin of theirs thus born of greed the trees of the age disappeared altogether, and their honey with them.
Then through the power of the twilight, as only a little was left, these beings fell under the power of two-sidedness, and were afflicted greatly by cold bitter winds and heat.
And suffering from this two-sidedness, they made coverings for themselves, and build houses to protect themselves against these extremes.
Before that, they lived not in houses, but dwelt according to their own sweet will, wherever it suited them, wherever they pleased.
In deserts, in wastes, in the deeps, in mountains, in caves were their dwellings, and in pathless places, a wilderness with perpetual water.
As they chose, as they pleased, in rough and even places alike, they began to make houses, as a protection against cold and heat.
And they measured themselves out fields and cities, villages also, according to shares, and dwellings near the cities.
The Earliest Races (2)
Vayu Purana: IX, 123-180.
Oriental Department, June, 1895
When these dwelling places were made, they also made houses; and as before they had tree-like dwellings, which served as houses for them;
So, thinking the thing over again and again, they began to do this: as some of the branches were grown upwards, and as other branches were bent;
And as some branches had grown straight, and others were crooked, thinking the thing over intelligently and entering into it, just as the branches of the tree grew;
In the same way branches were bent by them, and thus they succeeded in making sheds and houses also.
And they were called ‘sheds’ from the ‘shade’ of the branches,—this made them sheds; and as their minds were ‘complacent’ therein, and as they gave ‘complacency’ to their minds;
Therefore, their houses and sheds were called ‘palaces;’ they made them to keep out extremes of heat and cold, and then bethought them of means of subsistence.
When the ‘trees of the age,’ along with their honey, had disappeared, the people were afflicted by dejection, and troubled by hunger and thirst. Then an excellence of the second age presented itself to them in its turn; and this excellent,—rain when they wished for it,—provided them with another means of subsistence.
The rainwater that collected in the hollows, came out as springs and streams and rivers, on account of the rain.
Thus the rivers began to flow at the coming of the second gift, the outpouring of rain. Then the first drops of water reached the surface of the earth.
And from this marriage of the waters and the earth, plants were born; and these plants produced flowers and roots and fruits.
Without ploughing or sowing, fourteen kinds of garden and forest plants appeared, producing flowers and fruits in season; bushes and trees also appeared.
This was the first birth of herbage in the second age; and on this herbage the people subsisted then, in the second age.
Thereafter arose among them rage and greed on all hands; this was through a power beyond their control, through the power of the second age. Then they seized on the rivers and the fields and the hills; on the trees and bushes and plants also, each using force to the extent of his ability.
These perfect selves whom I have spoken of before, in the first age, the mind-born sons of the Evolver, who came forth from the man-world;
Who were quiet or fiery or busy or sorrowful, they, returning again, were born in the second age.
They became Brahmans, Kshattrivas, Vaishyas, Shudras, and evil men; they took being according to their deeds in former births, whether fair or foul.
They who had no force, but were yet truthful in conduct and harmless, whose greed was gone, who were self-conquered, dwelt among them. And others who had little light, seized on them, and oppressed them; then they came into opposition to each other.
By their fault, as they quarrelled among themselves, the plants were destroyed; for they seized them in their fists as missiles.
And the earth ate up, through the power of the age, the fourteen kinds of garden and forest plants; because they grasped at the fruit and the flowers and the leaves together.
Then when they were destroyed, the people were famished, and they went to the Self-being, the Ruler, the Lord of beings, because they were afflicted with hunger;
They went begging for subsistence, at the beginning of the second age. The Evolver, the Self-being, the gracious one, knew what were their thoughts;
And perceiving by clear insight, by dire vision, what was right to be done, he again milked forth the plants that had been eaten up by the earth.
With Sumeru as calf, he milked the earth; this cow then, through that milking, brought forth seeds upon the earth.
And these seeds produced garden and forest plants once more; these were seventeen plants including hemp, which end when the fruit ripens. . . . [The plants are enumerated.] These were produced at the beginning of the second age. Without ploughing or sowing grew these garden and forest plants on all sides; trees also, bushes, lianas, grasses, plants bearing roots and plants bearing leaves.
They received those whose roots are their fruits, and those that bear fruit and flowers. These were milked from the earth of old by, the Self-being.
Here on the earth grew these plants, bearing flowers and fruit in due season. Then these plants thus put forth grew no more.
Then for subsistence for them, the Self-being again produced means of subsistence; the gracious one, the Evolver, devised subsistence for them, the fruit of their toil, born of work. Thenceforth plants sprang up after ploughing and sowing. So this means of subsistence of theirs became successful.
The Self-being set limits for them, according to the tendencies that began to come forth in each relatively. Some among them rapacious and addicted to killing;
Given to protect others,—these he ordained to be Kshattriyas. There were others who served these without fear.
They, speaking truth and saying prayers with regularity,—became Brahmans. There were others of little vigor; theirs was the work of Vaishyas, appointed to them.
They who, as cultivators, had wearied the earth and destroyed much, were called Vaishyas and became providers of substance.
They who were sorrowful, who ran about busied with servile works; of little vigor, of little might, these he declared to be Shudras.
Their works and duties the Evolver ordained to them. But after this system of four classes had been completely regulated.
These people, becoming infatuated, fell away from their duties; not living according to the duties of their classes, they came into conflict.
Becoming conscious that this was so, the Evolver, the Lord, ordained power, justice and war as the duty of the Kshattriyas.
Then he appointed the rites of sacrifice, study, and the receipt of presents as sacred duties of Brahmans.
Tending cattle, commerce, agriculture, he appointed as the duty of Vaishyas; arts, crafts, service, he ordained for the Shudras.
Brahmans, Kshattriyas and Vaishyas had to practice sacrifice, study and gifts alike.
Having thus ordained their duties and works on earth, the Self-being further appointed to them abodes in other worlds for their perfection.
To the ritual-practicing Brahmans was allotted the world of the Lord of beings; the world of the Sky-lord for Kshattriyas who turned not back in battle.
The world of the storm gods for the Vaishyas who fulfill well their duties; the world of celestial nymphs for Shudras who adhere to their servile duties.
Having allotted these abodes to the peoples who maintained the duties of their classes, he divided the classes into orders.
In olden times, the Lord of beings instituted the four orders: householder, student, forest-dweller, wanderer.
To those who fulfill not here the duties of their classes, those who abide in the four orders give the name of destroyers of works.
The Evolver established the four orders, each according to its name; to make them more intelligible, he declared their duties.
He declared also their methods of procedure and various rites. First the order of householder, belonging to all the four classes;
It is the foundation and source of the three other orders, them I shall declare with the duties of each.