The Puranas are eighteen in numbers. Sage Veda Vyasa composed them. There are reference to Epics and Puranas in the Vedic texts and also in Sutras texts of Apasthamba, Gautama and others. Many of the previous Puranas are extinct now and only those are available which are composed Veda-Vyasa.
Brahma Vaivarta Purana is one of the eighteen Puranas. It is divided into four parts. The first part deals with the creation of the universe and all beings, the second parts gives the description and history of various goddesses. The third part deals with the life and deeds of Ganesha and the fourth part describes the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.
I have just completed the translation of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana from Sanskrit into English, I respectfully beg to present the same to the bar of public opinion; and I shall deem my labours amply rewarded if these humble pages will meet with the approbation of my readers.
This Purana is so called because it deals with Brahma (the Supreme Being) and determines His Divine attributes. Therefore Krisna, the embodiment of the Supreme Being, the form in which he chooses to manifest himself to his believers in the Goloka, (literally, the Cow-world) as well as the worlds below is naturally the hero of the mythology and figures most prominently in the present volume. The sketch of the Goloka, the blessed region, which transcends the bounds of time and space as set by Brahma to his own universe and is supposed to be suspended on the Vacuum merely by the will of Lord Krisna, its distinguished occupant, is likewise a master-piece. The work, in a word, makes a bold attempt at the solution of the problem of creation and is a glowing tribute to the sterling merits and almost super-human talents of the great author. As regards the sallies of imagination and conception of lofty and sublime ideas, this Purana may aptly be said to bold its own against Milton’s Paradise Lost or any other great epic that stands on a similar footing.
The work also deals in a considerable manner with various other topics such as the genesis of Nature, the origin of the goddesses, (vig., Radha, Laksmi, Saraswati, Durg&, etc., representing the different faculties of Nature. It gives a brief account of the important Hindu festivals and prescribes the mode of worship appropriate to each god or goddess. It also dwells incidentally upon the origin of the castes and lays down most authoritatively a code of morality or social rules for their guidance. It expounds the theory of the Karma. draws a line of distinction between virtue and vice and gives a vivid description of the different kinds of hell-pits to which people are consigned, after their decease, according to the nature of their sins. We are also agreeably surprised to find in the book a disquisition on medicine which we gather from the interesting dialogue between Lord Hari disguised as a Brahmin boy and Malavati mourning the death of her husband. But the legends in which the work abounds constitute its sine qua non.
Talking of the Puranas, in general, mythology is the gift of these sacred volumes. [t helps to build up the Puranas and vests them with a charm which seldom fades and an interest which never flags, as the reader passes on from page to page. He is transported, as it were, by talisman, from one enchanted castle to another with a celerity that is astounding. He is impelled from scene to scene by an ever-increasing curiosity which feeds his patience and sustains his energy ; and, literally spell-bound, be only pauses for breath till he comes to the end of the chapter.
From the data furnished above, it is abundantly clear that the Puranas essentially form a branch of the science of cosmogony. They deal, for the most part, with metaphysics, but in a manner which is peculiarly their own.
Tuey seek, in the first place, to combine the systems of ethics, philosophy and religion, secondly, they attempt to introduce the theories which they advocate not by direct methods as adopted by the Darsanas but by way of episode and through legends and tales which in charm and pathos and in the play of fancy beat hollow Spencer’s Fairy Queen, the Arabian Nights, Tales of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night’s Dreams. The crowning glory of the Puranas, however, consists in the metre which marks each and every line of the invaluable compositions. The whole body of the Puranas contains four hundred thousand verses ; and the production of so many huge volumes of poetry, reciting fables and fictions, on the one hand and describing dry, jejune and abstruse subjects, on the other hand, is a task well worth the pen of an angel and a gigantic feat which falls nothing short of a miracle.
But why are the Puranas so called, the term Puranam literally means old or ancient. Hence it also means a legend a tale of the past or ancient or legendary history. But in the sense in which the term is now ordinarily used, it is the designation of the extensive class of the sacred and poetic compositions in Sanskrit and, in fact, comprehends the whole body of the Hindu mythology.
The Puranas generally treat of five topics called the Laksmanas; and respectfully invite the attention of my readers to the concluding portion of the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana wherein this subject has been amply discussed.
As to the age of the Puranas, there is a good deal of controversy; and the cloud of mystery which hangs round this contested point does not seem to have been thoroughly cleared up as yet. Antiquarian researches throw but little light on the problem ; and external evidence so far as it is available is not sufficiently convincing both as regards the age and authorship of the volumes. ‘he internal evidence is, of course, furnished by the Puranas themselves. We can quote extracts from the Puranas to show that they are the productions of Vyasa. In the concluding portion of the first chapter of the Brahma Khanda, for instance, it is distinctly stated that the Brahma Vaivarta Purana contains eighteen thousand verses composed by Vyasa. Besides, there is a preponderance of weight in favour of the opinion attributing the authorship of the eighteen volumes of the Puranas to Vyasa; and to this view which receives substantial corroboration from the internal evidence as specified above, [ am prepared to subscribe with all my heart in consideration of the towering personality of the revered saint and the versatility of his genius which is admitted on all bands and tells its own tale [t is, therefore, clear that the Puranas must have been written about the same time as the Mahabharata and the Brahma-Suttras.
As regards the merits of my translation, I, by no means, lay pretensions to immunity from faults, Errors, I confess, might naturally have crept into my composition; but [ trust that the indulgent public will regard them in a spirit of toleration rather than criticism.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express my acknowledgments to the manager, Panini Office, but for whose courtesy and enterprise these pages would never have seen the light of day. ‘This philanthropic office, for the facility which it has been all along rendering to place the sacred books of the Hindus within the reach of the English knowing public is justly entitled to the ever- lasting gratitude not only on the part of the educated Indians but the entire civilised world.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAS082 Author: Rajendra Nath Sen Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2010 Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications ISBN: 8170309271 Language: English Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch Pages: 856 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.2 Kg
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