[Advaita-l] Allegorical interpretation of PurANAs

jaldhar at braincells.com jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Mar 14 00:21:18 EDT 2020

On Thu, 27 Feb 2020, Sudhanshu Shekhar via Advaita-l wrote:

> How do we really ascertain as to whether a particular description in
> PurANas is allegorical one or factual one.

This is a question of pramanas.  Why do you think an allegory is not a 

> For eg, how do we understand BhAgvat 6.9.9? Should we really believe it as
> a historical event or just ignore or give allegorical meaning.

Ok so you are defining factual as "historical."  Is that the only possible 

> Allegorical interpretation seems impossible here. Factual one absurd.
> Ignoring it appears the only option left.

Shastras teach that what happens in the divine realm corresponds to events 
in the material world and vice versa.

There were four things that flow.  The Earth through which rivers flow. 
Plants through which sap flows.  Women through which menstruation flows, 
and the sea through which waves and foam flow.  These are material facts.

Indra committed Brahmahatya and to rid himself of it he divided them 
amongst those four things. This is a fact based on shastra.

Science says that coal is principally made of the element carbon.  That is 
a fact.  Science says that the human body is principally made of the 
element carbon.  That is also a fact.  Society says it is ok to burn coal 
for warmth but if you burn a human being for warmth it will send police to 
arrest you.  That is a fact.  And the reason for your arrest will not be 
that your actions were "unscientific."

On Fri, 28 Feb 2020, Venkatesh Murthy via Advaita-l wrote:

> This is the message of the Bhagavata Sloka. They say the sex appetite of
> many women is very high. Why they are like that even though they know there
> is a risk of sin? There is no answer.

I'm afraid that you have misunderstood what the shloka is saying.  Indra 
gave women the ability to feel pleasure from sexual intercourse as a 
_reward_ for taking the burden of one quarter of Indra's brahmahatya which 
manifests as the monthly period (which is often painful for women.)  There 
is nothing sinful about kama and artha in unison with dharma.  In fact 
guides to dharma shastra insist that seeing to his wifes satisfaction is 
one of the duties of a male grhastha.  Her needs may be very high or very 
low that is up to the individual couple.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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