A Brief Outline Of Markandeya Purana

The Markandeya Purana is one of the oldest Puranas in Hinduism. It is roughly 1700 years old. Many sages consider it special because the Markandey Purana consists of the earliest reference to the Devi Bhagavata story. In this story, Goddess Durga defeats the buffalo demon Mahishasura. This reference is around 1300 years old.

Markandeya is a rishi of great stature and he was most famous in the ancient Indian scripture, because of his immortality. It is said that being the immortal one, Markandeya has witnessed most of the major events that went through the four yugas as well as the pralaya.

The focus of this article lies behind explaining the one famous Markandeya Purana and about such wrong religious practices carried out by sages, deities and ancestors. These people didn’t find any spiritual gain and just remained in the cycle of birth and death. Let us see a brief outline of Markandeya Purana by madalasa and every other sage of ancient history associated with it. But, first, let us understand exactly what Purana is.

What are Puranas?

Puranas are the Hindu texts that depict different topics regarding legends, myths, traditional lores, etc. Puranas were mostly composed in Sanskrit Languages. However, over the years the texts were even translated into various Indian Languages. Puranas revolve around the personal experience and life stories of different sages, Saints and Incarnations of Gods. Amongst all the eighteen Puranas, Markandeya Purana holds an important position in the Hinduism religion.

Purana was written in narrative couplets, in a simple following style by the sages. A Purana is said to have five subjects namely: the primary creation of the individuals, the world, the genealogy of gods and patriarch, the reigns of the humans and the history of solar and lunar dynasties. It also includes the development that has occurred in ancient India. In addition to the same, The various topics that are included like customs, rituals, festivals, caste duties, temples, images, places of pilgrimage, etc.

What Is Markandeya Purana?

Markandeya Purana is a Sanskrit Text of Hinduism scriptures, named after the sage Markandeya. It is one of the oldest Puranas. It consists of 137 chapters on Dharma-Karma and the dedication towards God and other humans. Markandey Purana has around 900 verses presenting to humans a wide range of topics that include mythology, religion, society, etc. The earliest version of Markandeya Purana was composed by Sage Markandeya, near the Narmada river. It describes a lot about the Vindhya range and Western India. Markandeya Purana is a popular scripture in the eastern part of India such as Orissa and West Bengal.

Who Is Markandeya Rishi?

Markandeya Rishi was the student of Lord Brahma and he hailed from Hindu tradition born in the clan of Rishi Bhrigu. Sage Markandeya gained his accomplishments by performing forceful religious practices and worshipped Brahm-Kaal. Markandeya Rishi used to consider his worship as superior to the others. His concentration and chanting of verses would reach the Brahmalok. However, he did not get any relief from Brahma Yog.

Brahm-Kaal And Its Explanation In Markandeya Purana

There are in all three true experiences mentioned in Markandeya Purana that show some light over the wrong religious practices of Ancient India. Those practices were followed by our sages and ancestors. And these practices were the three reasons for the continuous recurrence and they couldn’t end the endless cycle of birth and death.

Some of the most famous stories of Markandeya Purana

Story of Indra who becomes donkey after his death
A conversion between Mandalasa with her son
Sage RuchiRishi and his story regarding the worship of the deceased.

Let us discuss these stories, in brief, to get an idea, what actually is written in the Markandeya Purana.

Story Of Indra Who Becomes Donkey After His Death

Once upon a time, Sage Markandeya was performing the tenacity of Brahm-Kala for a very long time in the Bay of Bengal. Indra, who is residing in the heave, heard about this, fearing that during his tenure of 72 chaturyuga if a human being on earth performed the rituals and gained religious achievements without going through any disturbance he would become eligible to receive the position of Lord Indra. Thus, as far as lord Indra, he doesn’t want the Rishi Markendaya to finish his religious sacrifice. Thus, he decides to dissolve his austerity, no matter what he does.

To break the decision of Markendaya Rishi, Lord Indra sent on the celestial maiden, an apsara to break the concentration of the rishi. Urvashi is the youthful and charming wife of Indra, who is also considered to be the most beautiful Apsara of heaven. In the conversion with Markandeya, When asked what Urvashi would do after the death of Lord Indra, Urvashi says that she would become a mare after death herself and assist Lord Indra who after his 14 deaths would become a donkey.

When Markandeya was unconvinced with Urvashi and her looks, Lord Indra himself comes to the Earth and tries to give away his throne to Markandeya Rishi, but he discards it saying that there is no honour in his existence of being a king of such a place. He also asks Indra to worship the Brahm-Kaal, and abandon the worship of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. To which Lord Indra just replied asking him to let him enjoy the pleasure of heaven for now.

Lord Markandeya, was worshipping Brahm-Kaal and always considered it superior.

A Conversion Between Madalasa And Her Son

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Madalasa who gave her son an education regarding the Shraadh. Here we see a discussion between the mother and son where the knowledge of shraadh is provided. Madalasa imparts teh knwoledge of markendaya purana to her child.

The ancestors who are in the deity region and in different life forms have become animals or birds. And thrones, how human forms have become ghosts or souls. These souls and animals are perplexed with hunger and thirst and are only satisfied with human deeds and offering of Pind and Water. These traditions and rituals keep them satisfied. Markandeya Purana by Madalasa was of great significance in ancient times.

Sage Ruchi Rishi And His Story Regarding The Worship Of The Deceased

A worshipper during the old times was practising celibacy and was doing sadhana according to the Vedas, But when he turned 40 and saw his ancestors, they said they were stills suffering because the sadhana was done in an opposite to what was mentioned in the scriptures. Here we get the knowledge of how some foolish sages made him marry and led him to evil. Here, you can see how we should not just follow any ideas or tasks given by a rishi. In the Purana, there is a particular order of how the Worshipping should proceed and if you do not follow the same, you will be violating the order of God and thus, will become subject to punishment.

There is a lot of difference between the type of devotion, rituals and practices carried out in Hinduism. With the worship of any God or Goddess, one can definitely attain the fruit, but the soul to actually get liberated is an unusual task, And if there are sinful tasks involved, the soul will have to take birth again and again.

Markandeya Purana In All Concludes

  • All the deities, Lord Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, Shiva take birth on the earth and die. They are not eternal.
  • The sages and ancestors of the old were ignorant about the true way of worship and performing the rituals.
  • During ancient time, people who performed unscripted and unholy worship became ghosts.
  • Only a true form of worship can help you with attaining salvation from the eternal cycle of birth and death.


Markandeya is associated with both Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Shiva, being the destroyer of evil, grants him life and Vishnu is the preserver of the good, grants Markandeya the ability to visualize the universe that goes through the cycle of birth and death. Markandeya and his words are found in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. He is an immortal, and he knows more stories than anyone else who is alive at the moment in time. Markandeya is said to have witnessed gods, kings and sages in every period of humanity.

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