Brahmavaivarta Purana: Prakrti Khanda (Part II in 2 Volumes)

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About the Book

Brahmavaivartapurana figures as the tenth in the traditional list of the Puranas. It is divided into four parts called khandas, comprising 267 chapters. The khandas are: Brahmakhanda: 30 chapters, Prakrtikhanda: 67 chapters, Ganapatikhanda: 46 chapters and Srikrsnajanmakhanda 133 chapters.

It is well known that the Brahmavaivarta is a Vaisnavite Purana and the sole objective of the work is to glorify the life and achievements of Sri Krsna, an incarnation of Visnu and his Sakti Radha. Many episodes and topics have been interwoven to embellish the main theme of the work. In this Purana, Krsna is not simply an incarnation, he is far superior to and even creator of Prakrti. He is God above all gods.

Part I, i.e., Brahmakhanda deals with the creation of the universe including the gods and animate and inanimate beings by Brahman, the creator God, who is, according to this Purana, none other than a manifestation of Krsna and acts under the guidance of the latter.

Part II, i.e., Prahrtikhanda deals with Prakrti, the primordial matter. According to this Purana, Prakrti is not inert as she is conceived by the Sankhya philosophy, but is intelligent; she is the primary goddess of creation. In compliance with Krsna’s desire, she is manifested as the five goddesses, viz., Durga, Radha, Laksmi, Sarasvati, and Savitri. Many stories about these deities have been narrated and rituals for their worship described in this part.

Part III, i.e., Ganapatikhanda narrates many legends about Ganesa, the elephant- headed god, widely worshipped throughout India and even outside. Though named Ganapatikhanda, this part deals with the birth and life of both sons of Siva, viz., Ganesa and Skanda Karttikeya. According to this Purana, Ganesa is also a manifestation of Krsna. Hence, there is no mention of Ganapatya sects who worshipped Ganesa as the Supreme Godhead. The variations in the images of this deity, found in literature and on icons find no mention in the Purana.

Part IV, i.e., Srikrsnajanmakhanda is the most important of all books of this Purana. It deals not only with the birth of Krsna, as signified by the title, but also his whole life, especially his battles and love dalliances with the cowherdesses (gopis), in particular, with Radha. Radha, who is not even mentioned in the major Vaisnava Puranas like Bhagavata, Visnu, and Harivamsa, has risen in this Purana, to a great importance. It is interesting to note that she is depicted here as a married wife of Krsna.

Introduction

It is believed that the study of the Puranas is beneficial to the knowledge of the vedas. As the Mahabharata states, the veda should be supplemented with the Itihasa and Purana, for the veda is afraid of being hurt by a person who is not well versed (in the mythological and traditional lore). The traditionalists take the word Purana to mean the Puranic texts like Matsya, Kurma, etc. and attach to them great authority and veneration. They hold that the Puranic texts are repositories of very ancient knowledge because they have been referred to in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad. Modern Scholars dispute this claim and say that not the extant Puranic texts but some parts of the Vedas which preserve very old traditions, alluded to in other places of the vedas, are referred to in the. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, as the Purana. They quote, in support of their thesis, Sankaracarya’s interpretation of the said passage of the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad: "Mythology, such as "The universe was in the beginning unmanifest etc."

It is true that the extant Purana texts are much posterior to the early Upanisads and, hence, could not have been referred to in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad. But this position does not reduce the usefulness and authority of the puranas. The Purana is not a particular set of texts, it is a branch of ancient Indian learning, a class of ancient Indian literature. The nucleus of this branch of class existed in the body of the vedas, which gradually developed into the Puranasamhita and then into the present Mahapurana, Upapuranas, and later apocrypha. The authority of the Purana, as mentioned in the Mahabharata, is vested in this whole class. In this way, we can reconcile the interpretation of Sankaracarya with the classical five characteristics of the Puranas, e.g. primary creation (sarga), dissolution (pratisarga), genealogy (vamsa), ages of Manus (manvantara) and history of Royal dynasties and some illustrious personages (vamsanucarita).

There is no controversy about Brahmavaivartapuranas being a major Purana (Mahapurana).

The Brahmavaivartapurana figures as the tenth in the traditional lists of the Puranas.

The Brahmavaivartapurana is divided into four parts called khandas, comprising 267 chapters. The khandas are: Brahmakhanda: 30 chapters, Prakrtikhanda: 67 chapters, Ganapatikhanda: 46 chapters and Srikrsnajanmakhanda: 133 chapters.

The Matsya and Naradapurana describe the total number of verses of the Brahmavaivartapurana as 18,000. The Brahmavaivarta itself mentions the same number. But the actual counting of the verses of the Purana, now available, gives a total of little over 20,500 verses.

The Brahmavaivarta rejects the traditional five characteristics as covering the Upapuranas only and holds that ten topics are dealt with in a Mahapurana: they are primary creation (sristi), secondary creation (palana), stability of the creation (sthiti), protection (palana), desire for work (karmavasana), information about different Manus (moksa-varta), description of the final destruction of the world (pralaya-varta), showing’ the way to emancipation (moksa nirupana),discourses on Hari (Harikirtana), and discourses on other gods (devakirtana). The purpose of this substitution of list of topics in the Bhagavata and Brahmavaivarta has been discussed by Dr. R. C. Hazra and his opinion on this point deserves serious consideration.

A Complete table of contents (anukramanika) is included in the chapter 132 of the srikrsnajanmakhanda.

It is well known that the Brahmavaivarta is a Vaisnavite Purana and the sole objective of the work is to glorify the life achievements of Sri Krsna, an incarnation of Visnu and Sakti Radha. Many episodes and topics have been interwoven to embellish the main theme of the work. In this purana, Krsna is not simply an incarnation, he is far superior id even creator of Prakrti. He is God above all gods.

Part I, i.e., Brahmakhanda deals with the creation of the universe including the gods and animate and inanimate beings by Brahman, the creator God, who is, according to this Purana, e other than a manifestation of Krsna and acts under the guidance of the latter.

Part II, i.e., Prakrtikhanda deals with Prakrti, the primordial matter. According to this Purana, Prakrti is not inert as she is conceived by the Sankhya philosophy, but is intelligent; she is primary goddess of creation. In compliance with Krsna’s desire, she is manifested as the five goddesses, viz. Durga, Radha, Laksmi, Saraswati, and Savitri. Many stories about these deities have been narrated and rituals for their worship described in this part.

Part III, i.e., Ganapatikhanda narrates many legends about Ganesa, the elephant-headed god, widely worshipped throughout India and even outside. Though named Ganapatikhanda, this deals with the birth and life of both sons of Siva, viz. Ganesa and Skanda Karttikeya, According to this Purana, Ganesa i


Item Code: NAN252
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 2017
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: Part I: 9788120840317  |  Part II: 9788120840324
Language: English
Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Pages: 474
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 870 gms