Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 8: Chapter 1: Verses 1-13
The manvantaras described
The Manvantaras described The king (Pariksit) submitted: I have heard at length in this context, O preceptor, (an account) of the line (daughters' children) of Swayambhuva Manu (just narrated by you), in which figured the posterity (sons and grandsons) of Marici and others (the creators of the universe). (Pray,) speak to us (now) about the other Manus (as well). Tell us who are listening (with rapt attention), O holy one, (an account especially) of those Manvantaras with which the learned associate any (particular) descent and exploits of Sri Hari, the greatest of the great. Relate to us, O holy Brahmana, what the Lord,(who is) the Protector of the universe, actually did in which past Manvantara, what He is doing now or what He is going to accomplish in which future Manvantara. The sage (Sukadeva) replied: In the current Kalpa (cycle or Brahma's day) six Manus (Manvantaras), Swayambhuva and others, have (already) passed.
Of these, an account of the first (viz., that presided over by Swayambhuva Manu) has been narrated to you as well as the story of the creation of gods and other (orders of) creatures such as demons and human beings. (I have told you how) the Lord actually assumed the role of a son to (the blessed) Akuti and Devahuti, daughters of the aforesaid (Swayambhuva) Manu, in order to teach (the former)piety (in the person of Yajna) and (to the latter spiritual) wisdom (in the person of the sage Kapila) respectively. (Of these) I have already related (to you) the achievement of Kapila (in the shape of instruction in Devotion and spiritual wisdom imparted to Devahuti, which led her to renounce everything and, fixing her thought exclusively on the Lord, attain final beatitude). I shall (now) recount, O chief of the Kurus what Lord Yajna did. Fed up with the enjoyment of sense-objects and having relinquished his kingship, Emperor Swayambhuva Manu (the spouse of Satarupa) withdrew to the forest for (practising) austerities along with his consort. Practising rigid asceticism on the bank of the (river) Sunanda for a hundred years and touching the ground with(only) one foot, he repeated the following (prayer), O scion of Bharata ! Manu prayed: Oh, how strange (that) the individual soul does not know Him-although He knows the individual soul-because of whom (whose presence) the world (of matter, viz., the body, senses, mind and so on) is endowed with consciousness but to whom the world does not lend consciousness (He being conscious by His very nature), and who keeps awake(as the witness) while the world is asleep. Whatever animate( or inanimate) creation there exists in the world, all that is pervaded by the (cosmic) Spirit (who not only sustains it but also enlivens it). (Therefore,) live upon what has been assigned (to you) by Him (or what has been consecrated to Him); do not covet the wealth of anyone (else).
Flee (for protection) to that self-effulgent Lord, the abode (Inner Controller) of (all) created beings, (and who has been figuratively depicted in the Upanisads as) a bird with beautiful wings( dwelling on the tree of this body as an unconcerned witness along with the Jiva, represented as its companion attached to the tree), whom, as the Perceiver (of all), the world (or the sense of sight) cannot perceive(because He is above sense-perception and because the knower cannot be known by the means of knowledge) and whose perception (knowledge) never fails (inasmuch as it constitutes His very being, unlike the consciousness of the finite Jiva, which disappears with the disappearance of its object). The all-pervading Brahma (alone) is that (supreme) Reality to which neither beginning nor end nor middle can be attributed, nay, in whose eye there is neither friend nor foe. (It being the Self of all), neither inside nor outside(because of Its pervading all), to which (all) these stages (viz., the beginning, middle and end) of the universe are attributable and which is (manifested in the form of )the universe. The aforesaid Lord has the universe for His body and bears innumerable names; He (alone) is true, self-effulgent, unborn and (most) ancient. By His own (creative) Energy (called Maya, which is unborn like Himself; because Sakti and Saktiman are identical in essence).He undertakes the creation etc., (namely, maintenance and dissolution as well) of this universe and, having set aside the said Maya by His (other) Energy (in the shape of consciousness) He remains actionless (in His primary state of Brahmahood).