About the Book
The familiar list of the eighteen Puranas invariably includes the Brahmapurava and does not give any substitute for it.
At the list Brahmapurkva has always been mentioned first. The Dharmagastranibandha writers give it the stamp of the "First Purina".
In the present work the learned Puranic scholar has brought in for the first time the importance of the Brahrnapuraya so far as its contribution in the social and cultural activities in India. The vital life-line of this Malaria consisting in its vast canopy of various important matter has also been brought to lime light for the first time in the history of indological studies.
About the Author
Professor Asoke Chatterjee Saari (b. 1929) obtained a number of oriental and occidental degrees and diplomas from different Universities and Institutions of India and abroad securing the top position in all examinations.
A very successful author of 38 original research books written in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Bengali and German he has contributed about 2(0 research papers published in the reputed Indian and foreign journals. He has supervised and guided about forty students who have obtained their Ph. D. /Vidyavaridhi degrees. He was formerly the Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit (Purana and Itihasa) in the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi. At present he is the Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Calcutta University. Recepient of several prestigious Prizes and Honors, he has travelled all over the world on many occasions.
Presently as the U.G.C. National Lecturer in Sanskrit he has visited a number of universities and research centers of Sanskrit Study.
He is also the visiting Professor of Sanskrit at the Buddhist University, Nong-Khai, Thailand. In September-October 19°1 he being invited by the universities of Oxford, London and Heidelberg, gave some extension lectures there.
Prof. Dr. Chatterjee Sister is associated with all the recognized institutions catering to the development of Sanskrit studies sponsored by the Governments of India and West Bengal as well.
It is a matter of regret that although the indigenous scholars of our own country are well acquainted with the importance of the Puranas and there are some who can recite the entire text of more than one Purana from their memory, the modern Sanskritists who claim to have gone through the up-to-date research methodology have failed to pay even scanty attention to its systematic and scientific study. For throwing fresh light on various aspects and problems of ancient Indian history and culture the methodical study of the Purana is a desideratum.
According to the Indian tradition the Brahmapurana is the earliest of the eighteen Mahapuranas (adyarn sarvapurananarn prathamam brahrnam ucyate). Although this estimation of the writers of Puranas is subject to criticisms and questions, the credibility of this Purina as one of the important Maha-puranas can never be challenged. In all the lists of the Puranas available in different stars, the Puranas and Dharmadstras in particular, the Brahmapurana finds its place with reverence. Its prominence and importance in the history of Purana literature has been so much stressed that the Nibandha writers ascribe the place of 'Adipurana", i.e.the first Purana to it. The Vayupurana mentions one Adikapurana which is nothing but the Adipuraha denoting another name of Brahmapurana. The argument that the Adikapurana stands for an Upapurana is not justified as the said list of the Vc7yupuraija was referring to the Mahapuranas and not to the Upapuranas. But it is in the list of the eighteen Mahapuranas prescribed in the Vayupurava, the Brahmapurana has been 'placed much lower and the topmost position has been occupied by the Matsyapurana. It may be plausible that the practice of placing the Brahmapurana, at the top of the list of the eighteen Mahapuranas, perhaps continued till the end of the sixth century A.D. It is most probable that the Matsyapurana has been placed on the top replacing Brahmapurana after that period.
It must have to be admitted that the Brahmapurana is a collection of materials of various times and the contents of the Brahmapurana may be divided into as many as six units which are pancalaksana, geography, sacred places of Orissa, Gautamimahatmya, the life history of Krsna, religion and philosophy. As is the case with most of the Puranas, there are stamps of addition and alteration in this Purana also. Some of the chapters of this Purana have been lost. it is presumed that originally this Purana had included the story of Rama.
This is in consonance with the list of its summary presented in the Iskiradiyapurava. Vacaspatimisra, the famous digest writer of Mithila in the mediaeval period had quoted quite a large number of passages from the Brahmapurana, but all these are not available in the extant Brahmapurana. Moreover other celebrated Dharmagastranibandha writers from Bengal, Mithila, Orissa and Srthatta also had quoted extensively from this Purana. They are Candesvara ((Krtyaratnakara), Hemadri (Caturvargacintamani), Artiruddhabhatta (Hciralatii), Devanabhatta (Smrticandrika), Jimatavahana (Kalaviveka), Apararka (commentary on Ycynavalkyasamhita), Kulluka-bhatta (commentary on Manusamhitc1) Madanapala (Madana-parijiita), Raghunandana ((Smrtitattva) Narasirnha Vajapeyin (Nitycicarapradipa), gfilapdpi (Reisaycitriviveka, raddhaviveka) Govindananda (grciddhakriya kaumudi and Danakriyci-kaumudi), and Pitcimbara Vidyavagffa (Pratakaumudi).
A present perusal of the extant text of the Brahmapurana as well as the numerous quotations by a good number of Dharmakistranibandha writers reveal that there is no dirth of Smrti material here. A few topics may be enlisted.
(1) The duties of the four Agramas.
(2) The three daily sacrificial functions of the twice-born people.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages