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Tales From the Puranas
Tales From the Puranas
Description
Foreword

If there is one country in the entire world which is rich in myths, symbols and ancient tales it is surely India. No other country, not even Greece, has anything comparable to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata or, for that matter, the Vedas and the Upanishads. We have, besides, the Puranas, or ancient tales, handed down from father to son for centuries and which have stood the text of time. We do not know how they originated or who constructed them in the first place. The authorship of the Ramayana is known and so is the authorship of the Mahabharata even though it is claimed that some of the kathas and upakathas came to be added as the centuries rolled down. Even so, credit must be given to those who thought up new ideas and new formats. The ideas, surely, was not just to entertain but to illustrate a moral. Recounting the Puranas must have been one way to strengthen the basic structure society.

Whoever first conceived the Pauranic stories surely must have been very imaginative. It couldn't have been just one person – like, for example Aesop, the Greek writer of fables. One can imagine a group of students sitting in a forest ashram. Listening to their guru tell them a story. It is evening; the day's work is over. The sun has set. The children are seated round a fire for warmth. They have to be kept engaged. Could it be that the guru then decided to tell them tales to while away the darkening night, tales as the children later grown into manhood re-told their children, generation after generation?

One can only guess. Myths just do not drop from the skies. They must have a beginning and inevitably would be rooted in the ethos of the times. What kind of society was it that could conjure up a Dhruva or a Kamadeva, a Brahma, and a Gayatri? Or a Revati, a Bhanumati and Nahusha? The mind reels at the very thought.

A 'myth' says the dictionary, is a "traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some superhuman being or some alleged person or event, whether without or with a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation". A myth can also be just "an invented story". No matter how we define myth, there is something magical about it, something eternal and heart-warming. It is that, surely, which explains their everlasting value.

Subash Mazumdar has rendered a signal service to the great Indian community in collating stories from different Puranas and putting them together in one volume. And the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan deserves to be especially congratulated for making this storehouse of wisdom available to readers, especially its Indian readers. In this age of the TV set it is easy for the young mind to be drawn elsewhere than from the rich heritage of India. Gone are the days when grandmas told their grand-children stories from the epics to put them to sleep. One suspects that today's grandmas need to be as much educated in Indian folklore as their progeny.

This is where Subash Mazumdar comes in. may his Tales From the Puranas bring joy and wisdom to countless homes and may it help in binding Indian society into one enlightened whole tomorrow and for ever.

General Editor's Preface

The Puranas constitute an important source of the cultural history not only of India but the entire world. They occupy an intermediate position between the earliest age and the present age. They have been influencing life of the human being throughout centuries. The main source of information for the history of the earliest period i.e. even before the sixth century B.C. is the Tales from Puranas. Thus the Puranas and isolated references in other literary works have proved to be very important historical data of our ancient period.

In the domain of myth and legend, thousands of stories from Puranas have emerged. The stories of the creation of the world from a fish as the first incarnation of Vishnu, the tortoise incarnation, the Nagas as serpent spirits of the waters and the underworld and many more are among them. All these have been more or less distorted in the Sanskrit Puranas.

Our Puranas in its present recension can hardly be placed earlier than the Gupta period. It means the Puranas received its final form more than 2000 years after the earliest events related by them. Besides this distance in time, the traditional account contained in the Puranas is vitiated by exaggeration, mythological details pronounced religious bias and the divergences in the texts of the different Puranas.

The epics and Puranas of India have always upheld the practice of righteousness both in individual and social life. It has enabled us to maintain unimpaired the sense of unity and continuity of our cultural life from age to age. Compossed at different times, the Puranas not only contain valuable historical materials but also canons relating to several spheres of art and life.

In all, there are eighteen Puranas. The legendary author of all of them is believed to be Veda Vyasa. This book is a collection about 120 stories from these Puranas. These stories were serialized in the Bhavan's Journal and they have now been collected together.

Story telling is an art by itself. In order to keep interest alive and for the sake of continuity, a system is developed where a story with a built-in story which in turn contain yet another story with a built-in story and so on. Many of the tales from Puranas are popular throughout the country. These stories were so famous, people visiting India from far lands carried them and these stories have been adopted by these people with a local colouring.

The compiler Shri Subash Mazumdar delighted in reading aloud India's immortal epics and Puranas to his daughters. Out of this stimulating experience grew his interest in and appreciation for the various characters in these Puranas and their sense of values.

Subash Mazumdar lived outside India for 35 years working for the United Nations and the World Bank in USA, Africa and the Near East and the Far East. During these years he maintained close links with India, its people, literature and culture. After returning to India in 1984 and settling down in Pune, he wrote his first book Who is Who in the Mahabharata and it was published by the Bhavan in 1988. His second work Mahabharata is Believable was also published by the Bhavan in 1998. This is his third work. We are sure this book will also be received by the readers wholeheartedly.

Back of the Book

Shri Subash Mazumdar worked for the United Nations and the World Bank for some 34 years living in diverse capitals such as Washington, Rome, Addis Ababa, Accra, Beirut and Colombo and had travelled extensively through various developing countries.

His first book Who is Who in the Mahabharata was published by the Bhavan in 1988. This was followed by Mahabharata is believable in 1996 Presently he lives in Pune with his wife Anjani.

This book brings together, in a concise and easily readable from, various tales contained in different Puranas dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is ideal for the youth of today's fast changing world and for reading aloud to their children so as to preserve our unique cultural heritage.

Contents

Forewordvii
General Editor's Prefaceix
Introductionxiii
1Parvati's daughter (Padma)1
2An apsara is reborn as a bird (Markandeya)4
3Sati sacrifices her life (Shiva)7
4Mahishasura vanquished (Devi Bhagavata)10
5Krishna becomes vulnerale (Skanda)13
6Sita is cursed by a parrot (Padma)16
7Dhruva the pole star (Vishnu)19
8Kamadeva and Rati (Shiva)22
9Origin of Kamsa (Harivansha)25
10Tiger and the cow (Padma)28
11Sun is stopped from rising (Markandeya)31
12Jalandhara overpowers the devas (Shiva)34
13Jewel thief (Devi Bhagavata)37
14Brahma weds Gayatri (Padma)40
15Sangnya and shadow Sangnya (Markandeya)43
16Thousand-armed Banasura (Shiva)46
17Agastya rishi drinks up the ocean (Padma)49
18Revati constellation (Markandeya)51
19Power of Kamadeva (Padma)54
20Jadabharata imparts knowledge to the king (Vishnu)56
21Honouring the guest (Shiva)59
22Churning of the ocean (Skanda)62
23Three sons of Tarakasura (Shiva)66
24Two pet lambs (Devi Bhagavata)69
25Suprabha was not a vaishya (Markandeya)72
26Sukanya marries a blind rishi (Bhagavata)75
27Birth of Taraka (Padma)78
28Human eating rakshasa (Narada)80
29Human attachments are endless (Markandeya)84
30Shivadevi appears as Sati (Shiva)87
31Satyabhama's previous life (Padma)90
32Markandeya is freed from death (Markandeya)93
33Birth of Mahishasura (Devi Bhagavata)96
34Lotus flowers (Padma)99
35Saubhari rishi's desire for happiness (Vishnu)101
36Transformation of Sita (Skanda)104
37Art of Sanjeevanee (Matsya)107
38Gautami Ganga (Brahma)110
39Mother and daughter interchange their urns (Vishnu)113
40Andhaka (Shiva)116
41A palace intrigue (Devi Bhagavata)119
42Survival of Nahusha (Padma)122
43Bhanumati is held hostage (Harivansha)126
44Dutiful husband (Markandeya)129
45Bhairava, the guardia – angel of Varanasi (Linga)132
46Golden fruit (Padma)134
47Prince Nabhaga marries a vaishya (Markandeya)137
48Who is greater, Brahma or Vishnu? (Shiva)140
49Innocent Ahalya (Padma)143
50Valiant prince Avikshita (Markandeya)146
51Whose son was Budha? (Padma)149
52Pradyumna is kidnapped (Vishnu)152
53Laxmi takes form of a mare (Devi Bhagavata)155
54Vishnu is cursed to take birth on earth (Shiva)158
55King Parikshat dies of snake bite (Skanda)161
56Yayati regains his youthfulness (Padma)164
57Pennants on Vishnu temple (Narada)167
58Mighty wooden club (Markandeya)169
59Nandini grants a boon (Padma)172
60History of Kandukeshwara linga (Shiva)175
61Adventures of prince Rutudhwaja (Markandeya)177
62Sudyumna retains his manhood (Devi Bhagavata)180
63Misery of king Shveta (Padma)183
64Birth of Kartikeya (Shiva)186
65Vasishtha-Vishwamitra rivalry (Markandeya)189
66Why Narada remains a bachelor (Linga)192
67Vishnu is everywhere (Vishnu)195
68King Dharmamurti's previous birth (Padma)198
69Harishchandra, the truthful (Markandeya)200
70Nara-Narayana are invincible (Devi Bhagavata)203
71Queen Utpala's two lives (Markandeya)206
72Elephant and the crocodile (Bhagavata)209
73Impregnable city of Vajranabha (Harivansha)211
74Agastya stops Vindhya from growing (Padma)216
75Fish gives human birth (Matsya)218
76King Raji sides with devas (Vishnu)221
77What Shakuntala says is true (Bhagavata)223
78Parijata tree (Vishnu)226
79Narada learns a lesson228
80Devas take birth as Pandavas (Markandeya)231
81Gandharva is turned into a boar (Padma)233
82Indra humbled by Shiva (Shiva)236
83Trishanku falls from Swarga (Markandeya)238
84Owl and the vulture (Padma)241
85Devas versus danavas (Markandeya)243
86Three paces of land (Narada)246
87Pilgrimage centre of Vyaghreshwara (Shiva)249
88Degradation of Sudeva (Padma)251
89Kshatriya vs. Brahmana (Linga)254
90Shishupala attains salvation (Vishnu)256
91Barren forest (Padma)259
92Krishna's eight wives (Devi Bhagavata)261
93Four wise birds (Markandeya)264
94Dadhichi rishi gives away his bones (Skanda)267
95Inherited animosity (Padma)270
96Ganesha and his elephant head (Shiva)273
97Magic feet (Markandeya)276
98Brihaspati tricks the danavas (Padma)279
99Father gives birth (Vishnu)282
100Samudraputra Jalandhara (Shiva)284
101Story of princess Ekavali (Devi Bhagavata)287
102Draupadi's five husbands (Markandeya)290
103Kali becomes Gauri (Shiva)292
104Kalayavana is tricked (Harivansha)295
105Reality of the self (Markandeya)298
106Agni becomes omnivorous (Padma)301
107Shankara marries Sati (Shiva)303
108Sudarshana regains his throne (Devi Bhagavata)306
109Suitable husband for Revati (Vishnu)309
110Surrendering to Shankara is way to salvation (Skanda)311
111Reformation of king Gopichanda (Markandeya)314
112Nagatirtha (Padma)317
113Revival of a dead child (Padma)319
114Bhagirathi (Brahma)322
115Tarakasura overpowers devas (Padma)325
116Life and death of Gajasura (Shiva)327
117Prince Rutudhwaja Regains Madalasa (Markandeya)330
118Devayani is betrayed (Bhagavata)332
119Holy dip in river Narmada (Padma)335
120The power of prayer (Skanda)338
121Vishnu's avataras (Bhagavata)341
Index345

Tales From the Puranas

Item Code:
IDK685
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2005
ISBN:
8172763581
Size:
8.4" X 5.4"
Pages:
392
Price:
$26.00   Shipping Free
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Foreword

If there is one country in the entire world which is rich in myths, symbols and ancient tales it is surely India. No other country, not even Greece, has anything comparable to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata or, for that matter, the Vedas and the Upanishads. We have, besides, the Puranas, or ancient tales, handed down from father to son for centuries and which have stood the text of time. We do not know how they originated or who constructed them in the first place. The authorship of the Ramayana is known and so is the authorship of the Mahabharata even though it is claimed that some of the kathas and upakathas came to be added as the centuries rolled down. Even so, credit must be given to those who thought up new ideas and new formats. The ideas, surely, was not just to entertain but to illustrate a moral. Recounting the Puranas must have been one way to strengthen the basic structure society.

Whoever first conceived the Pauranic stories surely must have been very imaginative. It couldn't have been just one person – like, for example Aesop, the Greek writer of fables. One can imagine a group of students sitting in a forest ashram. Listening to their guru tell them a story. It is evening; the day's work is over. The sun has set. The children are seated round a fire for warmth. They have to be kept engaged. Could it be that the guru then decided to tell them tales to while away the darkening night, tales as the children later grown into manhood re-told their children, generation after generation?

One can only guess. Myths just do not drop from the skies. They must have a beginning and inevitably would be rooted in the ethos of the times. What kind of society was it that could conjure up a Dhruva or a Kamadeva, a Brahma, and a Gayatri? Or a Revati, a Bhanumati and Nahusha? The mind reels at the very thought.

A 'myth' says the dictionary, is a "traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some superhuman being or some alleged person or event, whether without or with a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation". A myth can also be just "an invented story". No matter how we define myth, there is something magical about it, something eternal and heart-warming. It is that, surely, which explains their everlasting value.

Subash Mazumdar has rendered a signal service to the great Indian community in collating stories from different Puranas and putting them together in one volume. And the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan deserves to be especially congratulated for making this storehouse of wisdom available to readers, especially its Indian readers. In this age of the TV set it is easy for the young mind to be drawn elsewhere than from the rich heritage of India. Gone are the days when grandmas told their grand-children stories from the epics to put them to sleep. One suspects that today's grandmas need to be as much educated in Indian folklore as their progeny.

This is where Subash Mazumdar comes in. may his Tales From the Puranas bring joy and wisdom to countless homes and may it help in binding Indian society into one enlightened whole tomorrow and for ever.

General Editor's Preface

The Puranas constitute an important source of the cultural history not only of India but the entire world. They occupy an intermediate position between the earliest age and the present age. They have been influencing life of the human being throughout centuries. The main source of information for the history of the earliest period i.e. even before the sixth century B.C. is the Tales from Puranas. Thus the Puranas and isolated references in other literary works have proved to be very important historical data of our ancient period.

In the domain of myth and legend, thousands of stories from Puranas have emerged. The stories of the creation of the world from a fish as the first incarnation of Vishnu, the tortoise incarnation, the Nagas as serpent spirits of the waters and the underworld and many more are among them. All these have been more or less distorted in the Sanskrit Puranas.

Our Puranas in its present recension can hardly be placed earlier than the Gupta period. It means the Puranas received its final form more than 2000 years after the earliest events related by them. Besides this distance in time, the traditional account contained in the Puranas is vitiated by exaggeration, mythological details pronounced religious bias and the divergences in the texts of the different Puranas.

The epics and Puranas of India have always upheld the practice of righteousness both in individual and social life. It has enabled us to maintain unimpaired the sense of unity and continuity of our cultural life from age to age. Compossed at different times, the Puranas not only contain valuable historical materials but also canons relating to several spheres of art and life.

In all, there are eighteen Puranas. The legendary author of all of them is believed to be Veda Vyasa. This book is a collection about 120 stories from these Puranas. These stories were serialized in the Bhavan's Journal and they have now been collected together.

Story telling is an art by itself. In order to keep interest alive and for the sake of continuity, a system is developed where a story with a built-in story which in turn contain yet another story with a built-in story and so on. Many of the tales from Puranas are popular throughout the country. These stories were so famous, people visiting India from far lands carried them and these stories have been adopted by these people with a local colouring.

The compiler Shri Subash Mazumdar delighted in reading aloud India's immortal epics and Puranas to his daughters. Out of this stimulating experience grew his interest in and appreciation for the various characters in these Puranas and their sense of values.

Subash Mazumdar lived outside India for 35 years working for the United Nations and the World Bank in USA, Africa and the Near East and the Far East. During these years he maintained close links with India, its people, literature and culture. After returning to India in 1984 and settling down in Pune, he wrote his first book Who is Who in the Mahabharata and it was published by the Bhavan in 1988. His second work Mahabharata is Believable was also published by the Bhavan in 1998. This is his third work. We are sure this book will also be received by the readers wholeheartedly.

Back of the Book

Shri Subash Mazumdar worked for the United Nations and the World Bank for some 34 years living in diverse capitals such as Washington, Rome, Addis Ababa, Accra, Beirut and Colombo and had travelled extensively through various developing countries.

His first book Who is Who in the Mahabharata was published by the Bhavan in 1988. This was followed by Mahabharata is believable in 1996 Presently he lives in Pune with his wife Anjani.

This book brings together, in a concise and easily readable from, various tales contained in different Puranas dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is ideal for the youth of today's fast changing world and for reading aloud to their children so as to preserve our unique cultural heritage.

Contents

Forewordvii
General Editor's Prefaceix
Introductionxiii
1Parvati's daughter (Padma)1
2An apsara is reborn as a bird (Markandeya)4
3Sati sacrifices her life (Shiva)7
4Mahishasura vanquished (Devi Bhagavata)10
5Krishna becomes vulnerale (Skanda)13
6Sita is cursed by a parrot (Padma)16
7Dhruva the pole star (Vishnu)19
8Kamadeva and Rati (Shiva)22
9Origin of Kamsa (Harivansha)25
10Tiger and the cow (Padma)28
11Sun is stopped from rising (Markandeya)31
12Jalandhara overpowers the devas (Shiva)34
13Jewel thief (Devi Bhagavata)37
14Brahma weds Gayatri (Padma)40
15Sangnya and shadow Sangnya (Markandeya)43
16Thousand-armed Banasura (Shiva)46
17Agastya rishi drinks up the ocean (Padma)49
18Revati constellation (Markandeya)51
19Power of Kamadeva (Padma)54
20Jadabharata imparts knowledge to the king (Vishnu)56
21Honouring the guest (Shiva)59
22Churning of the ocean (Skanda)62
23Three sons of Tarakasura (Shiva)66
24Two pet lambs (Devi Bhagavata)69
25Suprabha was not a vaishya (Markandeya)72
26Sukanya marries a blind rishi (Bhagavata)75
27Birth of Taraka (Padma)78
28Human eating rakshasa (Narada)80
29Human attachments are endless (Markandeya)84
30Shivadevi appears as Sati (Shiva)87
31Satyabhama's previous life (Padma)90
32Markandeya is freed from death (Markandeya)93
33Birth of Mahishasura (Devi Bhagavata)96
34Lotus flowers (Padma)99
35Saubhari rishi's desire for happiness (Vishnu)101
36Transformation of Sita (Skanda)104
37Art of Sanjeevanee (Matsya)107
38Gautami Ganga (Brahma)110
39Mother and daughter interchange their urns (Vishnu)113
40Andhaka (Shiva)116
41A palace intrigue (Devi Bhagavata)119
42Survival of Nahusha (Padma)122
43Bhanumati is held hostage (Harivansha)126
44Dutiful husband (Markandeya)129
45Bhairava, the guardia – angel of Varanasi (Linga)132
46Golden fruit (Padma)134
47Prince Nabhaga marries a vaishya (Markandeya)137
48Who is greater, Brahma or Vishnu? (Shiva)140
49Innocent Ahalya (Padma)143
50Valiant prince Avikshita (Markandeya)146
51Whose son was Budha? (Padma)149
52Pradyumna is kidnapped (Vishnu)152
53Laxmi takes form of a mare (Devi Bhagavata)155
54Vishnu is cursed to take birth on earth (Shiva)158
55King Parikshat dies of snake bite (Skanda)161
56Yayati regains his youthfulness (Padma)164
57Pennants on Vishnu temple (Narada)167
58Mighty wooden club (Markandeya)169
59Nandini grants a boon (Padma)172
60History of Kandukeshwara linga (Shiva)175
61Adventures of prince Rutudhwaja (Markandeya)177
62Sudyumna retains his manhood (Devi Bhagavata)180
63Misery of king Shveta (Padma)183
64Birth of Kartikeya (Shiva)186
65Vasishtha-Vishwamitra rivalry (Markandeya)189
66Why Narada remains a bachelor (Linga)192
67Vishnu is everywhere (Vishnu)195
68King Dharmamurti's previous birth (Padma)198
69Harishchandra, the truthful (Markandeya)200
70Nara-Narayana are invincible (Devi Bhagavata)203
71Queen Utpala's two lives (Markandeya)206
72Elephant and the crocodile (Bhagavata)209
73Impregnable city of Vajranabha (Harivansha)211
74Agastya stops Vindhya from growing (Padma)216
75Fish gives human birth (Matsya)218
76King Raji sides with devas (Vishnu)221
77What Shakuntala says is true (Bhagavata)223
78Parijata tree (Vishnu)226
79Narada learns a lesson228
80Devas take birth as Pandavas (Markandeya)231
81Gandharva is turned into a boar (Padma)233
82Indra humbled by Shiva (Shiva)236
83Trishanku falls from Swarga (Markandeya)238
84Owl and the vulture (Padma)241
85Devas versus danavas (Markandeya)243
86Three paces of land (Narada)246
87Pilgrimage centre of Vyaghreshwara (Shiva)249
88Degradation of Sudeva (Padma)251
89Kshatriya vs. Brahmana (Linga)254
90Shishupala attains salvation (Vishnu)256
91Barren forest (Padma)259
92Krishna's eight wives (Devi Bhagavata)261
93Four wise birds (Markandeya)264
94Dadhichi rishi gives away his bones (Skanda)267
95Inherited animosity (Padma)270
96Ganesha and his elephant head (Shiva)273
97Magic feet (Markandeya)276
98Brihaspati tricks the danavas (Padma)279
99Father gives birth (Vishnu)282
100Samudraputra Jalandhara (Shiva)284
101Story of princess Ekavali (Devi Bhagavata)287
102Draupadi's five husbands (Markandeya)290
103Kali becomes Gauri (Shiva)292
104Kalayavana is tricked (Harivansha)295
105Reality of the self (Markandeya)298
106Agni becomes omnivorous (Padma)301
107Shankara marries Sati (Shiva)303
108Sudarshana regains his throne (Devi Bhagavata)306
109Suitable husband for Revati (Vishnu)309
110Surrendering to Shankara is way to salvation (Skanda)311
111Reformation of king Gopichanda (Markandeya)314
112Nagatirtha (Padma)317
113Revival of a dead child (Padma)319
114Bhagirathi (Brahma)322
115Tarakasura overpowers devas (Padma)325
116Life and death of Gajasura (Shiva)327
117Prince Rutudhwaja Regains Madalasa (Markandeya)330
118Devayani is betrayed (Bhagavata)332
119Holy dip in river Narmada (Padma)335
120The power of prayer (Skanda)338
121Vishnu's avataras (Bhagavata)341
Index345
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$30.00
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Tales for The Dying (The Death Narrative of The Bhagavata-Purana)
by E. H. Rick Jarow
Hardcover (Edition: 2013)
Divine Books
Item Code: NAM019
$30.00
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Stories from the Varaha Purana
by Purnaprajna Dasa
Hardcover (Edition: 2015)
Ras Bihari Lal and Sons
Item Code: NAL974
$30.00
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Tales From The Puranas (Surya, The Syamantaka Gem and Prince Hritadhwaja)
by Reena Ittyerah Puri
Paperback (Edition: 2011)
Amar Chitra Katha
Item Code: NAL590
$15.00
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Stories From The Visnu (Vishnu) Purana
Item Code: IHE011
$30.00
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Stories from the Padma Purana
by Purnaprajna Dasa
Hardcover (Edition: 2004)
Ras Bihari Lal and Sons
Item Code: IDG614
$30.00
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Stories From The Nrsimha (Narasimha) Purana
Item Code: IHE014
$27.50
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