[Advaita-l] Padma Purana VI.236.1-27

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 1 22:33:34 EDT 2017

V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you Kartik ji for the post.
> The classification of Puranas as sāttvik, etc. is unvedic. This is because,
> the classification is clearly biased in favor of Vishnu and against Shiva
> as the Supreme Brahman (Deity). It is universally agreed that the Puranas
> are a reflection of the Veda and are relied upon to understand the Veda.
> However, when the Veda itself is examined, we have innumerable portions,
> both in the non-Upanishadic and the Upanishadic, that are holding Shiva
> as the Supreme Brahman. There are also portions that hold Vishnu, Brahmā,
> Indra, Agni, etc. as very powerful deities. But then, Veda Vyasa who is
> purported to have conceived of the tri-classification of the Puranas,
> and who is held as the one who classified the Vedas as Rg, Yajus, etc.
> has not made any such classification of the Vedas as sāttvika, etc.
> And those who adduce prāmāṇya to the tri-classification of the Puranas
> do not also attempt to so classify the Veda. The Shiva-Supreme Vedic
> portions are attempted by them to somehow apply to Vishnu and thus arrive
> at the Vishnu-only-supreme purport of the Vedic corpus. While this is a
> possible way with even the Vedas for them, where is the need to classify
> the Puranas?  All the non-Vishnu-supreme puranas could also be, then,
> somehow made to appear Vishnu-supreme only without the need to any explicit
> classification.  This shows that the tri-classification is of no real worth,
> and thus their doubtful authorship of Veda Vyasa.   
I agree with what you've said above, but my angle on this topic is quite different.
A rough analogy:
Suppose there is a debate as to which substance is more precious: Gold or Water.
Someone might hold that Gold is far more precious, because it is more expensive.
Another would argue that Water is more precious because it's impossible to live without it!
IMHO, the Vedas are like Gold, but the Itihasa-Puranas are like Water.
There is a definite argument that the latter is more appealing because
of their being freely available to everyone, irrespective of gender, caste, etc.
In the case of the Mahabharata, Scholars of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
(BORI) have brought out a "Critical Edition" that most accurately represents the Original
text, attempting to filter out spurious interpolations. Thus, for someone interested in
studying the Mahabharata, it is best advised to learn from the BORI critical edition.
Unfortunately, readily available versions of some Puranas contain obvious interpolations
(such as Sankara being called a Mayavadin, etc.) which do mislead the beginner,
and these interpolations should be eliminated in the Critical Edition.
What I would like to see are critical editions of some of the important Puranas:
e.g. Vishnu, Shiva, Padma Purana, etc. that would be very helpful to all who seek
Knowledge of Vedanta that doesn't require weighty "technical" understanding.

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