[Advaita-l] Raslila

Yadu Moharir ymoharir at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 16 10:00:35 CST 2005

  In this context of understanding the significance of "itihaasa and puraaNa", I would like to share couple of quotations which can possibly throw some light:
  puraa nava.m bhavati
  Meaning - We always new things in them (although it is old)
  itihaasapuraaNaani mayaa sR^iShTaani suvrata
  ya ete caturo vedaa guuDhaarthaaH satata.m smR^itaaH
  atastvaitaani sR^iShTaani bodhaayaiShaa.m mahaamune .. bhaviShya puraaNa 1.94.59 ..
  Meaning - (vyasa muni says) - Dear suvrata, all of theses four vedas are difficult to understand, therefore in order to under to understand them properly I have written puraana as well as itihasa.

  puraaNa.m sarvashaas{}traaNaa.m prathama.m brahmaNaa smR^itam .. matsya puraaNa 53\.3 .
  Meaning - At first brahma wrote puraaNa in accordance with shaatstra.
  itihaasapuaraaNaabhyaa.m veda.m samupabR^i.mhayet .
  bibhetyalpashrutaad vedo maamaya.m prahariShyati .
  Meaning - (Here veda vyasa recommends :) upabr^ihamaNa for veda should be performed with the help of puraaNa.  Her further goes on to say that veda is afraid of those alpashruta (who does not know puraaNa) folks.
  Here this is a clear directive for us to understand the significance of the puraanic narrations.
  Dr. Yadu

  Sanjay Srivastava <sksrivastava68 at gmail.com> wrote:
  Namaste Bhaskar-ji:

Sri Bhaskar wrote:

> Kindly let me know what is the problem in reading the purANa-s also with
> the same spirit...

In that case there would not be any need of classifying one set of
literature as "purANa" and another as "itihAsa". Tradition has
recognized them as different.

> neither any traditional achArya ask us to believe it is a story not a
> historical event...they do give symbolical explanation of these events but
> that does not mean it does not happened at all!!

The point is that for purANas, historical validity is irrelevant.
Whether such incidents actually occurred or not does not make any
difference in our understanding. If they contain certain historical
accounts-- that's fine. If they contain certain a-historical accounts
-- that's fine too. They derive their validity from metaphysical
truths-- not the actual historical occurences.

> true, but this vivEka should not lead us to subjective predilictions.

Yes, it should not. When interpreting shAstra, the first claim should
always go to the literal meaning. However, if literal meaning creates
contradiction, allegorical meanings are necessary.

We know that:

1) bhagvAn Kr^shna tried to set up his conduct as role model
"yadyadAcharati..(BG 3.21)" .."yadi hyayam na varteyam..(BG 3.23)"
etc. Moreover bhagvAn takes avatAra for destruction of adharma.

2) It is known from several smr^ti texts that adultery is adharma.

3) bhAgavatam gives accounts of bhagvAn kr^shna that would "seem" to
be adulterous.

If all three of the above are taken literally, there is an "apparent"
contradiction. One of them will have to be necessarily interpreted in
allegorical terms.

Moreover, I have yet to see a traditional account of bhAgvatam, that
interprets rAs-lilA literally.

Sri Murali Mohan wrote:

> My other religion friends are making fun of these things and I would like to explain to them.

"Those who justify themselves, do not convince.
Therefore wise men embrace the one and set an example to all.
Not putting on a display, they shine forth.
Not justifying themselves, they are distinguished" (Lao Tsu: Tao
Te Ching- Ch-22)

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