Time of total destruction of the universe had arrived it was apparent. It was an age of darkness and emptiness. In this age nothing existed and yet the Invisible Creator, the supreme Lord lived, witnessed the destined end of the Universe. It was the end of Kalpa (a long yuga). None could avert the time of destruction, as it was ordained. It was a horrible scenario, unendurable to see. Brahma was witness to the grand and hair-raising event of Mahapralaya (a huge catastrophe).
All monks were stunned. When annihilation began, it destroyed the moon, the sun and the air. The animate and the inanimate world began to die and thus, created beings appeared on the verge of total collapse. That time was unique and extraordinary, and instilled fears in the minds of living beings. When the monks coaxed the Supreme lord Brahma, he revealed the tale of destruction and painted a horrific scene of the world before the beginning of end.
It is an amazing scenario of God’s wish. First, one witnesses rise of a highly furious sun shining brilliantly. After the eye-blinding rays of sun and terrible heat, dark clouds begin gathering and then, create thundering roars, and terrific sounds fill hearts with fears. Deadly lightening thunders strike the earth with deafening noise. All the trees and mountains disintegrate with the lethal falling of lightening. It is nature’s fury. The whole world appears destroyed. Chaotic upheavals continue to disturb and torture. All rivers and lakes dry up. As the air divinely assists, samvartak fire (the god of fire) spreads over the entire world. Overheads, twelve suns begin to scorch and burn. Samvartak fire and heat of the sun pierce the ground and reach subterranean worlds, and undoubtedly fill all the gods, daityas, demons and yakasas with horrifying fright.
Fatal fire burns everything on earth, and if anything seems left out it blisters. Afterwards, the fire reaches the great land of Nagas, the Nagaloka (the land of snakes) and sears the land and the snakes. It does not stop here. The journey of the devastating fire continues and it destroys the entire world situated in the subterranean regions that appear unfathomable to anyone, for it is difficult to know the maya (delusory potency) of the great Supreme Lord. Engulfing fire samvartak (the god of fire) and air rage ahead and spread to an area of twenty lakhs yojnas and together the lords reduce all asuras, gandharavas, yakasas, nagas (snakes) and raksasas to ashes. Total annihilation frightens as the terrible fire destroys and reduces created beings to ashes. All worlds disappear and only the terrible fire and raging wind seem responsible for the immeasurable devastation. Mysterious are the ways of the Supreme God, for it loves created beings and still, when annoyed, he destroys.
Scenario of destruction instills fears as the great sage finds everything lost and destroyed
At the dreadful time of annihilation, the great dharmatma (a man of dharma) sage Markandeya appeared engaged in deep meditation. All-devouring fire of destruction reached near him. His throat, the plate of the tongue, mouth and lips dried up. Seeing the most appalling fire trying to singe him, extreme terror filled and unable to find a guardian, he ran about to save life. He got no peace or relief anywhere.
He thought deeply and whispered, “What should I do? I do not understand. To whose shelter I should go. How I should have holy darshana (glimpses of the eternal and Supreme Purusa, the First Man.” He looked genuinely worried at the turn of events when everything was in ruins.
He contemplated on the situation with a concentrated mind and in a meditative countenance went to the chief cause of the great annihilation, the great Vat, king of the vat trees (Purusas) of eternal and divine status. When the great monk saw the divine Vat, he hurriedly went near it and sat on one of its huge branches. No fear of deadly fire driving living beings to death frightened him. No dread of burning embers could scorch anymore near the eternal tree. It was neither possible for the god of Fire to enter nor any danger or fear of thunder or lightening that could instill panic.
Again, the sky overcast with dark clouds appeared full of dazzling light and brilliance, and the dark thundering clouds covered the entire sky. Soon, it rained so heavily that it drowned all mountains, forests and earth in a gigantic volume of water and it filled all the directions and regions. Torrential rain by the celestial clouds on earth that had devoured the entire world, soon extinguished the deadly fire, which had earlier turned everything to dying flickers. It continued to rain heavily for twelve years. It appeared the sea had violated its own set standards. Huge mountains stood dissolved in the water and then, everything flowed down with vigorously appalling current of water inundating the earth. As if it were not enough, a dreadful hurricane swept the entire earth. Swift and dreadful whirlwind scattered to fragments and the dark dreadful clouds overcast the sky.
When the sun, fire, air, clouds, rain and hurricanes brought havoc on earth and a scene of total destruction around threatened to overwhelm, at that time, the holy monk securely sat on the branch of eternal Vat (Purusas), and nobody could find anything more for possible devastation and extermination. At that time, lord Vishnu, inhaled the cosmic air blowing outside in various worlds, and thereafter, retired to divine bedroom (Akarnava). At that time, one found no animate or inanimate being on earth or elsewhere. It was devoid of any life as terrible act of annihilation had destroyed celestial abodes of all the gods, worlds of asuras, human beings and yakasas.
Sage Markandeya sat under the tree now, took a break, relaxed and analyzed the cause and the reason while the destruction was nearly complete, even as lord Vishnu was asleep. After moments of comforts and peace, sage Markandeya meditated on the Supreme Purusa and when he opened eyes, he found the entire earth inundated. He witnessed a huge ocean of water. To his surprise, he discovered that the celestial tree Vat, the earth, various directions and regions, the sun, the moon, the fire, the air, the gods and goddesses, asuras, nagas (snakes) and the created beings were not visible.
Holy monk felt aggrieved at the colossal loss of life and therefore, slowly began to go down in deep water. Now, he swam. He kept swimming and continued to wander about but found no guardian, who could provide shelter or rescue him from imminent death. Lord was very happy with him when he meditated on him while the entire world faced extermination.
The great lord Vishnu appears before Markandeya
Observing the sage upset and confounded, the great lord appeared and said in compassionate words, “O son Markandeya, you followed the most sacred meditation and fast (tapa). You are still a child. You must be exhausted. Come, yes, come to me immediately. You need not fear. Now, you are in front of me.”
Sage Markandeya felt as if driven to deep worries after he heard assuring words of the great god. It appeared as if he had a dream. Or else the delusory powers of the great Purusa appeared to engulf and stupefy. Birth of sane thoughts that destroys sufferings conquered the state of indecisiveness he thought deeply, and so, unique realization dawned upon as divine eyes saw radiance around. He resolved that he would now go and seek refuge at the feet of the great god (Supreme Purusa), the Supreme Lord.
He looks at a huge Vat tree and a divine child – a grand panoramic experience
While, he thought deeply about the truth, he saw again a huge Vat tree on the surface of water. On one of the wide branches of Vat, he saw a comfortable and divine bed, on which the divine child lord Krishna sat adding celestial beauty to the place. He was brilliantly shinning as if it were a radiance of thousands of Suryas (suns). Divine child had four arms, beautiful body, organs and large eyes like the leaves of padam. Divine signs on the breast dazzled. He held a conch, a chakra and a mace in hands. The divine child emitted heavenly light and the sage saw a fantastic, fabulous and grand corona around the head. Many divine garlands ornamented the child’s neck and body. Various jewel-embedded ornaments brought brilliance and the divine child appeared grand.
Grandeur and divinity of the scenario astonished Markandeya, who stood totally bewildered and stupefied. His eyes shone brilliantly as he witnessed a godly child resting on a celestial bed on one of the branches of the Vat tree. The great sage experienced unique excitement and thrill.
He saluted the divine child, the great lord and said, “O, it is a miracle. How fearless is the child in the dreaded Akarnava.”
While he thought on different aspects of an enigmatic sight, the strong currents of waves continuously drove him to different directions. He realized as if he were losing hold on consciousness and existence. Now, in a terror-stricken situation, he was distressed and wanted salvation. He was also remorseful while the divine child slept on the branch of Vat, and stood tall like a child Sun. Situated in heavenly splendor and glory he looked dazzling.
Sage Markandeya was a man of tapa, the only chosen man in mortal frame, who witnessed a divine occurrence, which was not destined for a repeat for any other man in future, however, divinely blessed he might be. Therefore, in puzzling circumstances, nobody knew the mysterious ways of the Supreme.
Sage Markandeya was unable to fix eyes on the celestial light, the divine child Krishna radiated. When the divine child saw the sage coming to the Vat Tree, he looked serious like a dark threatening cloud but after a moment he looked tranquil and smilingly, and said, “O son, I know you are worn-out and came to seek shelter. O child, you enter my body without worry… and you will get sufficient breather and comforts.”
The sage could not speak a word when he heard words of a divine child. Maya (delusory powers) of the great lord overpowered and he silently walked into the open mouth of the child and entered the divine body. When he entered the abdominal region of the divine child, he was amazed to see the divine play, the cosmic wonder. Various regions of the universe surrounded the whole world. He saw many oceans of salt, juice of eekh (sugarcane), ghee, curd and sweetness. He also enjoyed glimpses of many islands like jambo, plux, shalmal, kush, kraunch, shaak and puskar. He also saw the entire country of Bharat and mountains. He was stunned and looked bewitchingly at the mountain of Meru embellished with jewels and gold and the peaks of the jewel-studded mountain. Meru was full of many wondrous valleys where many monks and sages meditated and lived happily. Beautiful valleys were full of various kinds of trees, and the forests acted as shelter to different birds, animals and beasts. Thus, many beauteous things decorated a land of surprises, and a fantastic and well-ornamented land was full of tigers, lions, pigs, cows, buffalos, elephants, hares, stags, monkey and a variety of living things visible or hidden.
Marvelous beauty and grandeur of the place greatly captivated sage Markandeya. Not only it was full of natural beauty and exquisitely unusual blessings, various gods inhabited it. Siddhas, vidhyadhars, nagas, monks, yakasas, apasaras and different kinds of inhabitants of the heavens lived and beautified it. He continued to witness the divine beauty and splendeur in the little belly (?) of the child and later on, began to wander about. He witnessed and enjoyed the entire universe in a capsule form, one of the divine aspects of the great Maya. Strange journey stunned and satisfied the hunger of the monk for a divine experience.
It was an endless tale. At this point, the wonderful description of the divine scenario stuns. It appears detailed, exhaustive and wonderful, and defies imagination of a person considered as the most thoughtful and ingenious. Such descriptions in scriptures fascinate and provide insight into the psyche and unrivaled wisdom of ancient sages. One might feel a little bored but if one dives deep into the dreamy and imaginative description, one finds it real. Without in-depth portrayals or depictions it would have left the entire scenario dead and futile he realized. Such features add life, virility, authenticity, beauty, aesthetic values and grandeur to the total picture that suits characters and primeval tales.
Now, sage Markandeya finds the grandeur and awesome figures of mountains like Himvana, Hemkuta, Nishadha, Gandhmadan, Swet, Durdhar, Neel, Kailasa, Mandragiri, Mahendra, Malaya, Vindhya, Pariyatra, Aubud, Sahaya, Suktiman, Mainak and others, towering and majestic. Whatever living beings he had seen in the world, he also saw each one in the tiny abdomen of a divine child.
Now, one may just know the names of different lands: celestial, heavenly, or otherwise, the description of which astonishes, and surprisingly, the great sage in the belly of the divine child saw all the divine lands clearly. He saw the grand beauty of Earth, Terrestrial World, Paradise or Heaven, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, Satyaloka, Atal loka, Vitaal loka, Sutal loka, Patala loka, Rasatala loka, Mahatal loka. Blessed with the divine glimpses of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu with gods and goddesses including lord Indra and Varuna, he felt supremely happy. He saw closely created beings and the tiny insects, the animate and inanimate as described earlier. He went around all the worlds, regions and heavens of various kinds.
The entire cosmos was visible in the little stomach of the divine child. What could astound the sage, a man of tapa, a devotee of lord more whom the Supreme Lord blessed because the great lord thought monk fit to witness the divine play of destruction and creation? Another truth is also evident. Nothing faces death or destruction. Everything finds origin in the Supreme, and on annihilation, everything goes back to him. It is the merger of the soul with the Supreme.
The holy sage witnessed a mysterious and divine play of grandeur and marvelous beauty of the entire Brahmanda –the cosmos in totality in the belly of the child. The great sage possessed the celestial quickness to wander around the entire cosmos. With the grace of the great lord, and endowed with an eternal memory, he forgot nothing. For ages, he continued to move ceaselessly in the divine belly but could not find its end. Ultimately, he went to seek refuge at the feet of Sri Hari. At this moment, a strange thing occurred and in twinkle of eye and with the speed of air, some strange force drove the sage out of the stomach and so he came out of the open mouth of great lord, who he saw in the guise of a divine child.
Markandeya comes out, witnesses a divine charisma and sings hymns of glory of lord
When sage Markandeya emerged out of the abdomen of the divine child, he found the world submerged in the huge ocean of Akarnava bereft of human beings. He also had the glimpse of the divine child ensconced comfortably on the bed lying on the branch of Vat preserving the entire cosmos in a tiny belly. Divine child with four arms appeared adorned with godly beauty of eyes like the leaves of padam marvelously attired in yellow clothes, and looked quite impressive. He, a divine child, the great Lord, observed monk Markandeya slowly relapsing into a state of unconscious even as he swam on the surface of the water.
He laughed and said, “O son, did you take enough rest while living in the infinite stomach? Please tell what did you see when you wandered around in the belly? O greatest among the monks, you are my devotee. It is an eternal truth. You were very tired I know. Then, you sought shelter at my feet. Therefore, to do a favour I am here. I want to bless you and so wish to talk to you. O child, just see at him. Look here.”
Benign words of the lord filled sage Markandeya with immense delight and joy. However, it was difficult to have a glimpse of the jewel-studded divine and radiant image of the divine yet the sage with the power of tapa witnessed a celestial and glorious figure. With the blessings of the Supreme Lord, he enjoyed a new, cheerful and pure sight in a moment. Markandeya bowed forehead, touched the most revered feet whose fingers and plates appeared red and shining. Full of delight and surprise, he looked at him continually with folded hands and sang hymns of glory of the lord.
Sage Markandeya said in a humble voice, “O lord of the world, you transformed ‘self’ into a divine child. O great man with lotus-like eyes, I have come to seek shelter at your feet after undergoing tremendous sufferings. Please help and guard me. Fire Samvartak scorched and tortured. I am afraid of rain of blistering embers. O god, grant me deliverance. O lord of gods, I loved and admired glimpses of the animated and unanimated world in holy stomach. It filled me with amazement. I am distressed you know. I see none in this world of utter void and fulcrum, who could offer shelter. Kindly be pleased. O beloved of the vibudh, be happy. O lord of gods, be happy. O abode of gods, be happy. O the cause of causes of the Cosmos and the god of all the worlds, bless me. Be happy. O god, you create all beings, please be happy. O god, you grant shelter to the earth and all worlds, regions and directions. Be happy. O god, you reside in the water, be happy and bless.”
The sage continued to sing hymns of glory and narrated heroic and divine exploits of the great lord, who had killed Kamsa, Keshi, Arista and various demons. He was the destroyer of evils and daityas. He was lord Indra and his younger. He was eternal and divine and he was god, the sage told in many words fluently and continued to sing songs in ecstasy.
The sage saw in the Supreme lord the images of earth, water, fire and air. The lord appeared to him as the sky, the mind, the ego, the intellect, the nature and an inexhaustible wealth of sattvic qualities. He appeared Omnipresent and Omniscient. He was the Supreme Purusa, the sage said in hymns. The divine image of the great lord in fact, enchanted and mystified.
To sage Markandeya, the lord was in the image of all senses and pleasures. He was the word, the meaning, and the pleasure of the word and the meaning of pleasure. He was, also the image of guardian –dikpal, dharma, Veda, dakshina, yajna, Indra, Shiva, gods, sacrificial fuel and the sacrificial fire and then, he was Vasu, Rudra, Aditya and planets. He was also in the image of everything that existed on earth and was present in all created beings. He was unable to compute the dimensions and powers of the great lord. He was everywhere and in everything dead or alive. He existed in everything and nothing existed without him. If there was a thing, He was there. He was existence incarnate. He was past, present and future of all created beings, the sage said in ecstatic moments. For a long time, the sage continued to sing in delight and pleasure. For him, words fell short. Emotions were unable to find appropriate words but still he did not stop. He was not tired and the hymns continued to fill air.
At last, he said, “O lord, the great Maheshwara, you are virtuous, eternal, beyond nature, inexpressible, everlasting, limitless and all-pervading. Like the vast immeasurable sky, you are calm, birth less, all pervasive and imperishable.” Still, he failed to glorify the great lord he thought.
He felt anguished it appeared when he said, “I am distressed at the little knowledge I hold and so I was imprudent to praise you O lord. Please forgive for the insolence.”
The Supreme lord was greatly pleased at the taintless praise and sacred hymns. He said, “O great monk, please tell me whatever wish you nurse in the heart. O great whatever you wish, I shall bless.”
Markandeya’s curiosity to know the Supreme Lord –the secret of lifetime and continuation of life and the great lord reveals that He exists in everything and everything exists in Him.
He observed silence. Blessing of the great lord had already enriched his tapa and meditation. After a moment, he said, “O god, I want to know you. I wish to know Maya. O lord of gods, with the supreme blessing and grace you conferred untainted memory and therefore, memory did not forsake. O great lord (pundriaksa), you are inexhaustible. I want to comprehend the mysterious element (the great tattva). After gulping down the entire Cosmos, O great lord, why do you live here in the guise of a divine child? Please tell everything.” The great lord knew what really went on in the mind of the sage that disturbed.
After learning about the intense curiosity of monk, Sri Hari, the lord of all gods, assured and said, “O great brahmin, even gods do not know me correctly. Because I love you, therefore, I shall disclose the secrets of life and existence. I will let you know about the creation of earth. How do I create the Cosmos you will know? O, the holiest among the brahmins and the great sage, you are a devotee of father, the great lord and now, you seek shelter at my feet. You enjoyed glimpses of real Maya and Cosmic Image so vividly. Your pledge of brahmacharya (celibacy) is great. In ancient times, I gave water another name (Nara). I always live in Nara since it is my residence. Therefore, people call me Narayana. O the purest among the brahmins, I (Narayana) am the cause of creation of everything. I am eternal, immortal, the creator and the destroyer of all created beings. I am Vishnu. I am Brahma. I am Shiva. I am Indra, the lord of all gods. I am the king of Yakasas and Kubera and I am also the lord of ghosts Yama.”
While revealing eternal virtues and images, the great lord closely looked at the enthralled face of monk lost in the memory of the great lord and perhaps, tried to make varied images of the Supreme, genuinely and devotedly.
“O monk, I am Shiva. I am the moon and the great prajapati. I am Kasyap, dhata, the lord of destiny and yajna. The fire is the face, the earth symbolizes feet, the moon and the sun are eyes, dyuloka (Vaikuntha) is the forehead, the sky and the directions are ears whereas the water is sweda (dharma, a mantra) that is used while offering dana or oblation to pitres or gods. This is how I explain my figure to you. O sage, now listen. Along with all the directions, the sky is my body and the air resides within. I organized many yajnas where I offered lot of precious things to the holy gathering of brahmins, gods and others. The learned organize yajnas on earth and there, I remain situated in yajna kund and sacrificial fire. Certain eminent ksatriyas and vaishyas desirous of attaining heaven and moksa after death are often engaged in yajnas and meditate on me. To fulfill devotees’ wishes I change into Sheshnaga (the lord of snakes) and endure the burden of oceans from all sides including Meru Mountain and earth.”
He listened to everything as if in trance. None had enjoyed the blessings and a privilege to listen to the words of the great lord Vishnu, Sri Hari he knew and today, the lord stood before him to narrate the divine scheme of life, existence and destruction.
The lord continued after a pause, “In ancient times, I was born as Varaha, and protected the earth that began sinking in the great ocean and thus, saved it from the fury of a daitya. O the greatest among the brahmins, I take the shape of Badvanal (the devastating fire) and drink water of the sea and then, making over to cloud I bring rain.”
“O monk, brahmin is my mouth, ksatriyas are arms, vaishyas are legs and sudras are my feet. Rikveda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda originate from me and then dissolve in Me. The lords and disciples of knowledge sanyasis, disciplined learners and those devoid of kama, anger and jealousy always meditate on Me. People and brahmins, who are detached, sinless, entrenched in truth without ego or pride and are engaged in knowing the secrets of soul and its spiritual element, always concentrate on me and thus, keep meditating to attain salvation.”
The great lord, after a brief pause resumed, “I am the flame of samvarataka fire. I am samvartaka fire. I am samvartaka Surya and I am samvartaka air. The stars of the sky are like my rom-kup (tiny pores or crevices, the place of origin or roots of hair). All oceans filled with precious jewels and stones and the four directions are my images. Blessings human beings get after organizing various yajnas are also my images. I say I am in everything and nothing exists without me. If I do not exist in a certain object, that object does not exist you should know.” He further told, “Even karmas a man performs on earth, and organizes yajnas for the wellbeing are also my images. In them I exist.”
Sage Markandeya listened to the features and glory of ubiquitous nature of the Supreme lord. He felt blessed that the Supreme lord appeared before him. Nobody held such a mystifying experience before. The lord told that satya (truth), dana (charity), tapa (austere penance) and nonviolence also were His images and were situated in him. None of the attributes acted independently. Brahmins engaged in the study of Vedas and also performed yajnas continuously for peace of mind, and at the same time, conquered anger, ultimately attained me. The lord made obvious that he never showered blessings on sinners and criminals, greedy, miserly, and uncivilized (anarya) and those, who never kept minds and hearts under control.
People of pure conscience get the right fruit and are the images of lord. He existed in virtuous and good people, who were engaged in bhakti, tapa and acts of charity without feelings of greed, violence, hatred, untruth and covetousness. He never went near those, who nursed evil thoughts and acted against the spirit of dharma he told. He further told that he takes birth whenever he finds loss of dharma in the world, and at that time, he takes birth in the house of a virtuous soul, and exterminates evil and demoniac forces.
He told further, “O sage, I enter bodies of mortal beings and vanquish obstructions. I create gods, human beings, gandharavas, nagas, raksasas and various animate and inanimate beings and then, destroy them. Afterwards, I deliberate on karmas of each created being and thereafter, decide and give the being so created mortal bodies (yonis) depending upon karmas.”
“O holy sage, I am the image of dharma, in dharma I live. In Satyayuga, my colour is white, in Treta I am shyam (brown or faintly black) in Dwapar I am red and during the age of Kali I am black. When hour of devastation (Mahapralaya) arrives, I am guised as the most dreadful ‘time-death’ and alone I annihilate the three worlds (trilokas). Creation, preservation and destruction are my dharmas. I am the soul of the Cosmos and I bestow comforts on the three worlds. I am not separate from any being, animate or inanimate. I am omnipresent, eternal and the niyanta (the controller of all senses). Alone I manage the cycle of Time (kalchakra). I am Brahma. He provides peace and harmony to created beings. Brahma is born to work for the wellbeing of all beings.”
Holy man listened to the nectar like words of the lord. It was very difficult to find the real dimension of lord’s maya he realized. Monk Markandeya fixed eyes on the Supreme as words flowed on to soothe and lavish divine blessings.
The Supreme lord further said, “O the greatest among the sages, I permeate all created beings and I and soul exist in them. Even then, no one knows me. Devotees of the worlds worship me. O brahmin, whatever anguish you experienced in Me, is the cause of your attainment of comforts and wellbeing. I am the creator of all beings you saw in the world (the world of animate or inanimate beings). I am the conch, the chakra and the holder of mace. I am Narayana. I sleep in water while I keep the entire world under the spell of delusory potency for a period of one thousand yugas. O monk, I live here in the guise of a child and await the awakening of Brahma. Brahma blessed you and therefore, even after the destruction of everything that dissolved in the Akarnava, you came out of it because I permitted you. Afterward, you entered my body and I showed you the entire Cosmos.”
“You were absolutely amazed beholding the three worlds and various regions and therefore, you could not understand. At that time, I pushed you out through the mouth, which is difficult, and beyond victory for the gods and asuras. Now, I explained the gist and brief of the element of soul. O sage among the brahmins, you live here fearlessly until Brahma wakes up. When he gets up, alone I shall create all created beings with appropriate bodies.”
That way, Sri Hari explained to sage the mystery of creation and destruction while elucidating mechanism of preservation. He also told about sanctity of karmas and worth of dharma in the lives of living beings. Though he lived in all beings and nothing existed without him, yet created beings lived in a fallacy. He told emphatically that he existed in each particle of the world, and the part of it was the whole, and the whole of it, was a part. Thus, sage was deeply indebted to the great Supreme for the munificence.
After a short pause, Sri Hari said to Markandeya, “O monk, now, I would like to know the purpose for which you praised me. I shall bestow on you the most sacred boon.”
Caring words of the great god brought tranquility and harmony. Sage Markandeya fell at the feet of the lord and said, “O lord of gods, infatuating influences and attachments were dispelled after you blessed me with holy darshana (vision and image). Now, I wish you to construct a huge temple of lord Shiva. For this, I want your blessings so that the created beings of the worlds and regions sort out any difference of opinion if there is and I desire that I should get blessing so that I am able to fulfill the desires of every being without controversy between Shavism and Vaishnavism. I shall install lord Sankara in the great Temple. People will then come to know that there is no otherness between Vishnu and Shiva.”
The great lord was very much delighted to hear monk’s words. He said, “O brahmin, I allow you to build a temple. You should install Linga, the chief cause of the world in the temple so that created beings worship, for prayers fulfill inner desires. With the blessing of Sankara you will get a place in his land. Installation of Shiva is just a part of the temple. See no difference and the distinction makes it unique. We are made of the same element –tattva. Rudra is Vishnu and Vishnu is Mahadeva. One notices a distinction like the air and the sky. An ignorant does not know that variation does not exist between the flag of Garuda of Vishnu and the flag of Bull of Shiva. The divine vehicle of Shiva is the Bull and so the flag whereas Garuda is the air car of lord Vishnu with the same flag. Therefore, O brahmin, you should very soon build a temple of lord Shiva. In north of the temple, construct a water lake, which in future, will become famous as Markandeya. Whosoever will take bath in the lake will be purified and cleansed of sins.”
After blessing sage Markandeya the lord disappeared. The power of tapa and devotion was endearing to Him, and with the blessings of the Supreme, he witnessed the destruction of the world and the process of its Creation.