As the pace of Creation in the Universe was slow at the beginning, Brahma divided himself into two one as himself and another as a female called Shatarupa. The latter did Tapsya for ten thousand years and begot a husband named Swayambhu Manu born on his own. Manu and Shatarupa gave birth to Veera, Priyavrata and Uttanapada.
Priyavrata ruled Sapta Dwipas of which Jambu Dwipa was a part of Bharata. In his childhood Priyavrata secured Brahma Gyan (Enlightenment) and declined to marry. Manu admonished his son that he was too young to become an ascetic and the Almighty created human beings to pass through childhood, student life, married life, detachment an renunciation and that the golden rule of married life should be like that of a dew on a lotus leaf and so on. Finally, Privavrata ended up with two wives; he had the distinction of travelling by his chariot and earmarked the entire Bhu Loka into Sapta Dwipas and entrusted the Seven Dwipas to be entrusted to his sons.
Varudhini and Pravarakhya: The births of King Swarochi and Manu Swarochisha had an interesting background. A learned Brahmana youth called Pravarakhya on the banks of River Varuna observed the required rituals regularly and worshipped guests. Once a Siddha who had knowledge of Mantras, Tantras and especially of indigenous herbs and their usages arrived and Pravarakhya evinced interest to visit Himalayas; he gave an exotic herb and asked the youth to apply its ‘lepana’or its essence on his feet and he could visit Himalayas instantly by closing his eyes. But the Siddha cautioned that the lepana would dry up by the Sunset. Indeed, Pravarakhya landed in the thick jungles atop Himalayas and was lost in an unparalleled vision of ice mountain linings and the abundant glory of flora and fauna, the dizzy views of valleys, waterfalls etc. The youth was fully conscious that he would have to return by the dusk time. In that place of blissful silence, he spotted a damsel-an Apsara named Varudhini- and initiated conversation; the friendly dialouge ended up with her sincere entries to marry her ; when she was refused , she begged him to atleast mate with her once. Pravara a strict Brahmachari of proven celibacy ran away from her and in the process his lepana on his feet got dried up and he lost his way. As he was badly delayed for his evening rituals back home he prayed to Agni Deva who in the form of an elderly Brahmana appeared and reached him home. Meanwhile the frustrated Varudhini became too passionate for Pravara. A Gandharva boy he was rejected by Varudhini earlier got scent of the situation and having changed his Swarupa as a Maya Pravarakhya approached her and said he changed his mind and cheated her into bed on the condition however that she should close her eyes at the time of their union so that she would not realise that he was not the genuine Pravara . Varudhini and Maya Pravara lived together for a year and Swarochi was born of Pravara’s intellect and discipline and Varudhinis’s charm and physical attraction.
Swarochisha Manu’s story was far more interesting. Once King Swarochi he was wandering in a forest aimlessly and heard a desperate female voice in great anguish as though was being chased. Soon enough, the female appeared and requested Swarochi to save her by a demon; she said that she knew some ‘Astras’or Mantrik Arrows from her dead father and he could save her from the Danava who was chasing her. Swarochi then killed the Danava and a grateful female narrated her story: her name was Manorama and along with her friends Vibhavari and Kalavati wandered in a forest and offended a Muni while in his meditation. The Muni cursed Manorama an Apsara to descend to Earth and her friends to become as lepers. When the Apsaras begged of the Muni, the latter agreed that a brave youth would be chased by a Danava and the curses of the Muni would be reversed. Incidentally, the Danava who was killed was Manorama’s own father! Swarochi married Manorama but she was unhappy that her companions remained as lepers. Swarochi cured both Vibhavari and Kalavati of their leprosy by his knoweldge of herbal medicines. A grateful Vibhavari said that she was a Gandharva Kanya ( unwed) and that she could teach Swarochi the language of animals provided that he would agree to marry her. Kalavati also offered to teach him the ‘Padmini Vidya’ the art of learning the way to abundant Prosperity that was taught by Devi Parvati herself when Kalavati wanted to commit self-immolation as her father died of a thunderebolt. Thus Swarochi was fortunate to wed three celestial damsels in a row!
[ Incidentally, Padmini Vidya denotes Eight Sources of Wealth viz. Padma or investments in precious metals used for charities, Maha Padma or wealth from high value acquisitions leading to large scale deeds like Yagnas, Makara or prosperity involving famous deeds like battles, Kacchapa is the wealth that is land based to be utilised for Dharma Karyas or Deeds of Virtue, Mukunda is wealth emerging from Fine Arts leading to fulfillment of life, Nandaka is that kind of wealth utilised for soclal functions, Neela is that source of wealth involving Dhanya, Vastra and such other transactions and Shankha is the wealth for one’s own family. ]
Having lived happily for six hundred years, King Swarochi one day went a hunting spree and witnessed a female deer being chased by a boar; the King tried to kill the boar but the deer begged him to kill it instead but he disagreed since she was defenceless. As she insisted to kill her on mercy grounds so that she would be able to marry a handsome person in her next birth, he asked as to who that handsome could be and she replied coyly pointing to the King; the latter stated that it might not be possible. She then asked her to embrace her once and a miracle would happen by the Vana Devata or the Goddess of the Forest. The King embraced the deer and the deer delivered Swarochisha Manu.
King Uttama fell prey to a dancing girl and abandoned his own wife Bahula and in a weak moment abandoned her to forests. He regretted his action latter and tried to recover her but failed. After long lapse of time a Brahmana called Susharma complained that his wife was kidnapped and it was the duty of the King to recover her. He then took the help of a ‘Trikalajna’ who knew the Present, Past and the Future and came to know that the Brahmana wife was under the duress of a Rakshasa; the King located the Rakshasa and brought him under control. The Trikalajna also informed that in Patala a Naga Raja called Salapotaka was forcing Queen Bahula to marry him and that she should also look after the Nagha Princess who was deaf and dumb. With the help of the Rakshasa whose life was spared by the King earlier even if the Rakshasa kidnapped the Brahmana’s wife, the King reached Patala and killed the Naga King and sought pardon to the Queen for his foolish act. The Queen desired that the Naga Princess be some how restored her speech and hearing capacity. Susharma the Brahmana who was grateful to the King performed ‘Sarasvata Sukta Parayana’( recitation of the Prayers to Goddess Sarasvati) bestowed the power of Speech and Hearing to the Naga Princess. A Maha Muni called Karna visited to the Kingdom and was pleased with the King’s good deeds after his initial mistake in restoring the Brahmana’s wife, the Queen as also the Speech and Hearing capacity of the Naga Princess and blessed King Uttama to secure a famed son Uttama Manu who would control the whole world!
King Surashtra had hundred wives but without a single child. He prayed to Surya Deva to extened his life but all his wives died. He resorted to severe Tapasya standing one legged amid ‘Panchagnis’ or the Five Sacred Fires in top summer; in acute winter braving the icy exposure in the open and in the rainy season withstanding torrential rains. He got carried away in a flood by holding the tail of a female deer and was eventually washed ashore. The deer talked in a female voice and said that she was his first wife and while in the flood when he held the animal tight, she got pregnant; in her child- hood, she ran after a deer couple ready for mating and the male deer said she would curse her; when asked as to how a deer could talk in human voice, it replied that he was the son of a Muni in her earlier life and mated with a female deer and was born as a ‘Jatismara’with the knowledge of previous birth. The Muni Kumar turned male deer asked the princess to mate but she refused and the malr deer cursed the Princess that in the next birth who would be a she-deer. King Surashtra heard about the background of his wife turned deer and in course of time delivered a boy but the deer died. The King brought up the boy as Lola with the pet name as Tamasa who became the fourth Manu eventually and ruled the world.
Sage Rutavaak could not secure a child for long and after prolonged Tapsya finally secured a male child in the fourth phase of Revati Nakshatra and the son turned out to be a wicked person of great notoriety. The Sage consulted Muni Garga but the latter could not offer a solution as the last phase of Revati was adverse. Rutavaak performed relentless Tapasya and by the virtue of its power made the fourth phase of the Revati Star fall on a Mountain called Raivataka. That specific part of the Fourth Phase of the Star fell in a Sarovara and due to the impact of the fall was materialised as a baby and a Sage named Pramucha brought her as Revati. The Muni desired that Revati would marry a youth named Durdama and Revati insisted to marry only during the fourth phase of Revati Star which however did not exist since it had already fallen on Raivataka Mountain. The Sage had then to revive it again by his Tapasya and the Durdama-Revati couple got wedded and gave birth to a son named Raivata who became the fifth Manu.
The birth of the sixth in the series was traced to a King named Anamishra and Queen Giribhadra who gave birth to a boy who laughed loudly when he was fondled by the mother. As the mother wondered about the reason of the laughter, the boy spoke that there was a cat looking at the child! The mother was frightened and ran away. A Rakshasi appeared in the form of a child frightening the Queen by hiding the original Prince; the Rakshasi smuggled away the child of a Brahmana couple and ate it but spared the Prince. As the Prince called Vikrant grew and at his Upanayana function he asked her mother whether he should seek blessings from his original mother or a duplicate! Apparently, the boy required ‘Atma Shuddhi’and proceded to tapasya to Brahma for a very long time. The latter was very pleased and appointed the Prince as the next Manu and named him Chakshusa!