Puranas in the Light of Modern Science

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The Puranas are not mere fairy tales. Though old, they are perennially new, the more we apply the modern science to them. The more we go into them, the deeper is the knowledge we get out of them. Only they have to be approached with a proper reverential spirit.

The present book brings to light in a detailed manner the scientific basis for the Puranas. A detailed analysis of the character and content of the Puranas are brought to light in an excellent manner. The book throws light on the age of the universe, how they have been codified into the different yugas the representation of the characters in the Puranas and how these stories have scientific relevance based on the modern discoveries and how they are able to answer the evolution of nature, the time concept of the Modern world, and so on.

 

About the Author

K. Naryaanaswamy Aiyer,son of Krishnaswami Aiyer, was born at Kazhukanimattam Village, Tanjavur District, South Indian, in the year 1854. He was the second of four brothers, three of whom occupied fairly comfortable positions in life. Educated at his village school at Kazhukanimattam and later at the Kumbakonam Town High School and at the Kumbakonam Government Arts College, he was a first grade pleader at Kumbakonam and made a reasonably prosperous living there. He had a son and two daughters. He joined The Theosophical Society during, the presidentship of Col. H. S. Olcott and travelled very widely all over India including far places like Kabul and Srinagar at a time when communications were poorly developed (1905-18), spreading the message of the Theosophical Society. His task was also to help in weaning away Indians from the Christian missionary influence and from an imitative way of life patterned on the West. His rare persuasiveness and lucidity of expression brought good results. His personal life as a real Sannyasin carried profound conviction everywhere. His scholarship in Sanskrit and English and his deep knowledge of his own and western religions earned for him a great measure of contemporary veneration. He died in December 1918 at Pudukkottai on one of his lecture tours. An assiduous writer, his articles regularly appeared in The Theosophist then published from London. He wrote six major books: Hindu God Universal, Thirty Minor Upanishads, Thirty two Vidyas, Puranas in the Light of Modem Science, Yoga: Lower and Higher and a translation of Laghu Yoga Vasistha. A minor work which attracted attention particularly among Western scientists was Prof. Bergson and Hindu Vedanta which appeared in a pamphlet form.

 

Foreword

The title of this work, Puranas in the light of Modern Science may, at the first sight, seem to be rather a pretentious one. It has been adopted more to attract the public to the much neglected study of the Puranas than to my exposition of them; but I am profoundly convinced that there is a real Scientific basis to the Puranas.

The Hindus are aware that in the past there was a great Pauranika named Suta, who used to expound the Puranas before a very large concourse of people assembled at Naimisharanya. It is now identified with a Railway Station called Nimesar in Oudh, situated on the broad-gauge branch line leading to Sitapur. This custom of exposition is becoming nearly obsolete in India. It survives still in some of the out of the way stations, and especially in Southern India. Each Night women and men would be gathered together to hear the Puranas from the lips of the Pundits. There were, the old big brass lamps burning, fed with castor oil; and two Pundits would expand them, as if he was really a Suta. Most of the audiences would be generally squatting on the bare ground and on the streets even. Leaving out of account, a few who would be lulled to sleep through their overwork or inability to stand the strain of hearing the abstract truths, there were many with true and steadfast devotion who would alternate between sob and smile as the events in the drama versed from the sad to the bright or vice versa. They are becoming obsolete, mainly because there is no proper encouragement from the educated. If only the higher classes would take an intelligent interest in the Ithihasas and Puranas, the masses would follow their example. As Sri Krishna Says Yadyadachirath sreshtasthadevetaro jana; “Whatever a great man doeth, that other man also follow” Therefore this book is written for those that will take to a rationalistic study of the Puranas, so that they may act on the masses in turn.

Here I express my heart-felt thanks to Mr. J. L. Wedgwood for the great trouble he took in getting my Mss. Revised for the press and to Mr. A K Sitarama Sastrigal for bringing out this book as his own.

One special feature of this work consists in the introduction of the woodcut illustrating the Trimurti etc.

As this book* had to be hurried through the press to be made ready for the convention, I hope the public will excuse any errors that may have crepr. They will be doing me a great service by pointing out sich errors to me, so that may be corrected in the future.

 

Contents

 

INTRODUCTION 1
CHAPTER I - Sarga 25
CHAPTER II - Prati-Sarga 34
CHAPTER III - Kala 50
CHAPTER IV - Vams'a 89
CHAPTER V - Vams' anucharitam 139
CHAPTER VI - The Trimurti 163
CHAPTER VII - Avantaras 201
Key to the Study of the Puranas 270
Conclusion 274
Index 276

 

Sample Pages