In Delhi University I enrolled myself as a ph. D. Student for the " Critical study of the Padma-purana with special reference to Religious Rites and Ceremonies". An intensive study of the text brought to surface so much material that it was difficult to contain it all within the narrow framework provided by the topic. Therefore, it became imperative to widen the scope of the topic. As the investigations progressed, it was discovered that one cannot limit oneself purely to what strictly came under religion without taking note of the philosophy which formed the background of the religious concepts and practices found in the Padma-purana. And hence the title "Religion and Philosophy of the Padma-purana".
A voluminous work, as the Padma-purana is, where every idea and doctrine is presented through challenging task. The text of the Purana itself is available in two distinct recessions- North Indian and South Indian. I have utilized the south Indian recession published by the Anandasrama Press, Pune. No English translation of the Padma-purana is available so for. There is one abridged Hindi translation published as Kalyana Samksipta Padma-Purananka-Versha 19 Anka 1 by Gita press, Gorapura, October 1944.
The purana contaning 48, 452 verses in 6 khandas is so big that the study of the text in itself was a very strenuous task. Nevertheless the knowledge earned in the process was reward of immeasurable value. I feel immensely happy to present this work through this published volumes. I have tried to do justice to the subject to the best of my ability and capacity.
The study of the Padma-purana is of great interest as well as importance since it provides a clear understanding of the development of religious and philosophical ideas ranging over a period of almost ten centuries. It is necessary to point out here that while dealing with the time and contents of the purana some of the facts, arguments and conclusions arrived at are the same as already provided by the stalwarts in the field Dr. Hazra and Dr. Asoke Chatterjee in their well-known books named "Puranic records on Hindu Rites and Customs" and " Padma purana a study" respectively. And also I have freely utilized the ephoch making works of Dr. Siddheshwar Bhattacharya, Dr. S. G. Kantawala and Late Dr. P. V. Kane as they were extremely useful for the study of the present, subject. I owe deep gratitude to all these scholars.
From the Jacket
In her book entitle " Religion and Philosophy of the Padma-purana", Dr. Sharda Arya has discussed the name, title, place and two fold character of the Padma-purana. The specific rituals connected with each one of them and the religion of the masses such as Tirtha, Vrata, Dana and Stotra have been discussed in separate chapters. Some space has also been given to the Navagrahapuja. The philosophical principles underlying these sects like the concepts of God, Atman, the world and its theories of creation along with the concept of Moksa and the spiritual Paths (mainly Bhakti) leading to it and the doctrines of Karman and purnarjanman have also dealt with at length. Therefore the whole matter has been divided into two Books: I- Religion and II-Philosophy. The Book I is further divided into two Parts (A) Religious sects and (B) Religion in common practice. At the end she has given comprehensive lists of Vratas, Utsavas and deep study would be extremely useful for the research oreintalists.
Dr. Sharda Arya is a senior Lecturer in Daulat Ram College, Delhi University. She has been teaching Sanskrit for more than 20 years now she holds a Ph. D. degree from Delhi University and she has also been U. G. C. Fellow.
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