[Advaita-l] How to read puranas
Venkata sriram P
venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Mon May 23 11:07:41 CDT 2011
Mimamsa's division does not apply even to the entire Sruti - it is only for
Samhita and Brahmana. Their first division of Veda is into two parts - the
Mantra (Samhita) and Brahmana
shruti (atharva veda) as well as mundaka upa. says that
"mantrEShu karmANi kavayO yAnyapashyan" and karma is explained as
"trayi shadashcha rgyajussAma samAkhyA"
So, the above vAkya is applicable to AraNyaka too. And upanishad is AraNyaka only.
Second reason why Mimamsa cannot be applied to Purana is that Purana's
statementes are not vidhi/nishedha but essentially recommendations. There is
always a question of whether it should be taken or not. Sruti gives not such
To support the above statement, Shri VidyAnAtha panDita says:
yadvEtAt prabhusammitA dadhigataM sabdapramANAcchiraM
yacchabdArtha pravaNAt purANavachanAt iShTaM suhrutsammitAt
kAntAsammitayA yayA sarasatA mApAdya kAvyashriyA
kartavyE kutukI budhO virachita stastyaisprihaM kurmahE
Shrutis (vedas) like a king dictate the vidhi & nishedha in the form of dharma-adharma
to the humanity; purANAs like a friend adopt the soft language to persuade the humanity
to tread the path of dharma; and kAvya (poetry) just like one's better half (wife / lover) adopt the "sarasa bhASha" (romantic style) in cajoling the humanity to tread the path of dharma.
itihAsa purANAbhyAM vEdaM samupabriMhayEt
bhibhEdyalpa shrutA dvEdO mAyayaM pratarEditi
The vedas should be analysed with the help of itihasa & purana. Without the knowledge
of these, the vedas get frightened for fear of getting mis-interpreted.
Take for instance, the nArasimha swarupa. The divine form of narasimha is to be interpreted keeping in view several vedic suktas like rudra, manyu, agni & vishnu etc.
His emanation from the pillar (stambha) & His divine form of Lion clearly finds the mention in Vishnu Sukta as "skambha" & "mriga". Similarly, the ugratva finds its mention in manyu sukta & rudra pATha.
So, purANAs are the pointers to the apaurShEya jnAna.
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