Pralaya (Dissolution) : Pratisarga

This post has the following sections.

1. Legends of floods in south india – sthala puranas and puranas.

2. Cosmic Dissolution of Pralaya as explained in Mahabharata,.

Pralaya Katha Vinayaka and Mata: Kruta Yuga Flood Narrations

All of us are familiar with the Matsya Avatarm, when Satyavrata (Vaivaswatha) Manu was rescued by Vishnu in the form of a Matsya from the floods on the east coast of India and taken up to the Himalayas along with the Saptarishis, along the Ganga. (This took place in the Krutha Yuga,) While some Ancient Indians went north with Satyavrata, many Ancient Indians also stayed back and survived the flood in the South itself.

(The flood of the bible purana is a kaliyuga flood (Year 998 of Kaliyuga) and should not be confused with these krutha yuga floods.)

Here is a sthala puranam from Tamil Nadu, which tells us how Ganesha saved some people : (Source)

Adi Ganesha or the Naramukha Ganesha (Human Face) at Ganapatheeshwaram in Tamilnadu. Source : Eka Akshara on Facebook.

Pralaya Katha Vinayaka :

During the Krita YugaSiva asked Ganesha to save the world from the Great Deluge or Pralaya caused during the gestation period of Rahu(We will revisit this concept later.) Ganesha created a well on the east side of this temple tank and channeled all the 7 seas into that well and controlled the deluge and saved the world. This well is known as Yezhu Kadal Kinaru (7 Sea well). This village is known as Thirupurambiyam since during the great deluge, flood stopped away from this village. Thirupurambiyam is situated on the river side of Kollidam 11Kms away from Kumbakonam. Here Ganesha is worshipped with an Abhishekam of honey on Vinayaka Caviti (Caturthi).

Varuna Deva created an vigraha of  Ganesha from sea shells and other materials obtained from the sea and worshipped Him as Pralayam Katha Vinayakar (Vinayaka of the deluge narration).

Sri Thyagaraja Swamy Sametha Sri Vadiudaiamman Temple:

Since Easwaran blessed Brahma to create the world by making way for the pralaya water to recede, this place is called Thiruvotriyur (votra or vatra means receding water). On the two days after the Karthihai full moon day, the covers for the lingams are removed and one can worship the lingam as sand putru itself. There are 27 Shiva lingams one for each nakshatram.

Pralayam Katha Matha : (at Kanchipuram)

Ganga in the form of huge flood began to submerge that place. One of Uma’s forms, Kali, obstructed the flood and she came to be called Pralayam Katha Matha. As Kali was unable to control the flood completely Uma called Mahavishnu for help. Vishnu took his Visvarupa form and obstructed the flood. The moon’s light shone on his throat and he came to be called Nila Thunda Perumal. (In Sanskrit literature, Neelakantha refers to Siva and not to Vishnu)

A description of Pralaya or Cosmic Dissolution : Mahabharatam

 Veda Vyasa then explained to Suka, what Pralaya (the final destruction) would be like.

When His day (Brahma’s day) is gone and His night comes, he withdraws all things unto himself.

When the time comes for universal dissolution, the dozen Suns, and Agni with his seven flames, begin to burn. The whole universe, wrapt by those flames, begins to blaze forth in a vast conflagration.

All things mobile and immobile that are on the earth first disappear and merge into the substance of which this planet is composed. After all mobile and immobile objects have thus disappeared, the earth, shorn of trees and herbs, looks naked like a tortoise shell.

Then water takes up the attribute of earth,viz., scent. When earth becomes shorn of its principal attribute, that element is on the eve of dissolution. Water then prevails. Surging into mighty billows and producing awful roars, only water fills this space and moves about or remains still.

Then the attribute of water is taken by Heat, and losing its own attribute, water finds rest in that element. Dazzling flames of fire, ablaze all around, conceal the Sun that is in the centre of space. Indeed, then, space itself, full of those fiery flames, burns in a vast conflagration.

Then Wind comes and takes the attribute, viz., form of Heat or Light, which thereupon becomes extinguished, yielding to Wind, which, possessed of great might, begins to be awfully agitated. The Wind, obtaining its own attribute, viz., sound, begins to traverse upwards and downwards and transversely along all the ten points.

Then Space takes the attribute, viz., sound of Wind, upon which the latter becomes extinguished and enters into a phase of existence resembling that of unheard or unuttered sound. Then Space is all that remains, that element whose attribute, viz., sound dwells in all the other elements, divested of the attributes of form, and taste, and touch, and scent, and without shape of any kind, like sound in its unmanifest state of existence.

Then sound, which is the attribute of space, is swallowed up by Mind which is the essence of all things that are manifest. Thus Mind which in itself is unmanifest withdraws all that is manifested by Mind. This withdrawal of Mind as displayed into Mind as undisplayed or subtle, is called the destruction of the vast external universe.

Then Chandrama’s having made Mind (thus) withdraw its attribute into itself, swallows it up.

When Mind, ceasing to exist, thus enters into Chandramas, the other attributes that are owned by Iswara are all that remain.

This Chandramas, which is called also Sankalpa, is then, after a very long time, brought under Iswara’s sway, then reason being that that Sankalpa has to perform a very difficult act, viz., the destruction of Chitta or the faculties that are employed in the process called judgment.

When this has been effected, the condition reached is said to be of high Knowledge. Then Time swallows up this Knowledge, and as the Sruti declares, Time itself, in its turn, is swallowed up by Might, or Energy.

Might or energy, however, is (again) swallowed up by Time, which last is then brought under her sway by Vidya.

Possessed of Vidya, Iswara then swallows up non-existence (asat) itself into his Soul.

That is Unmanifest and Supreme Brahma.

That is Eternal, and that is the Highest of the High.

Thus all existent creatures are withdrawn into Brahma. Truly hath this, which should be conceived (with the aid of the scriptures) and which is a topic of Science, been thus declared by Yogins possessed of Supreme Souls, after actual experience.

Even thus doth the Unmanifest Brahma repeatedly undergo the processes of Elaboration and Withdrawal (i.e., Creation and Destruction), and even thus Brahman’s Day and Night each consist of a thousand yugas.’”

Reference : SantiParva Mahabharata Section 231

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