The Philosophy of the Puranas (With Special Reference to the Siva Purana)


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The main philosophical topics, which are discussed here, are the Supreme Reality (Determinate and Indeterminate nature of Siva) Sakti (as Supreme Reality, inseparable Power of Siva Maya-vidya and Avidya and Prakrti), Pafica Brahman with five functions, Tridevas in various phases, Time. (finite and infinite) Linga (as symbol of Siva) soul, theories of Evolution, kinds of Evalution, bondage and Zilusation 'as well as spiritual (Paths Karma-yoga, Bhakti-yoga and Jnana-yoga, with reference to the Puranas ip general and the Siva Puranas in special.

About the Author

Dr. Raghunath Giri (b. 1931) has obtained his M.A., Ph.D., L.L.B. and Acharya Degrees from Banaras Hindu University. He is the refounder of the Department of Philosophy in H.G. Kashi Vidyapith and is well known as distinguished scholar, thinker, writer and orator in the field of Indian Philosophy. He has participated in various National and International seminar and conferences in India and Abroad and presented his research papers. More than hundred his research papers are published in important English and Hindi Journals. He has been the Chief Editor of Darsanika- Traimasika and editor of several Hindi, English and Sanskrita Journals. His Translation on Bauddha- Tarka-Bhasa of Moks akara Gupta occupies a-very unique position in the studies of Buddhist-Logic in Hindi. More than fifty scholars have completed their research work and obtained Ph.D. Degree in his supervision.

He is one of the selected few prominent scholars of Indian Logic (Navya-Nyaya) in India. He is highly respected by his students who are posted as reader and Professor in the Departments of Philosophy in various Universities.

About the Book

The Puranas occupy a unique position in the sacred and secular literature of Hindus, being regarded as next in importance only to the Vedas [SEP., p. XLIII].

The Puranas are an invaluable help towards the good life and they are at the same time an epitome of the Indian genius. [C.R. Ramswami Aiyar, SEP.,. p. 206]

The Puranas may be described as the Encyclopedia of Ancient and Medieval Hinduism, Religion, Philosophical, Historical, personal social and Political. [Pargiter ERE X. p. 448].

The present book deals with the Philosophy of the Puranas and establishes a synthetic philosophical view of the Puranas. This synthesis is an interpretation of the Vedas and the Upanisads with the materials of the Agamas and the Tantras and achieved as the result of modific in the basic Philosophical views of the Agamas and the Tantras. In this synthesis the Philosophical categories of the Advaita (Brahmadvaita, Sivadvaita and Saktadvaita) the Vasistadvaita (cit-acit visistadvaita, Siva- Sakti-visistadvaita and Dvaita (Sesvara Sankhya yoga, Pasupatas and Saiva- siddhantas) are harmonized in an integral philosophical view of man, universe and God.


It was a pleasant experience to go through the Preprint copy of The Philosophy of The Puranas' by erstwhile colleague and friend Dr. R.N. Giri. Much have been written on the Puranas and I have seen several theses on Philosophical elements in Puranas. This present one definitely adds to the work of Puranas, but Dr. Giri's work is unique in respect to this. He has not over simplified the Philosophical theory of the Puranas instead he has tried to see the Puranic synthesis rather in the different way in his synthesized work. It is not only a synthesis between knowing and believing being and becoming it is a synthesis worked out in a continuous dialogue with common people. An average listener in India is fully aware to metaphysical aspects of this universe and also has a perception of how man responds to the macro universe around and micro universe within him. Therefore, the present crystalize forms, are a product of continuous interaction of the Puranas.

Dr. Giri has gone into details as to how a new system has come of encrusted systems and their comprehension of the Puranas, he also takes an account of rational purposes of different pathways to God. It was his treatment of Time particularly which is of immense value because studies on these so far have just summary treatment, Dr. Giri instead, has gone into the creative role of Time within course. God is not directly the cause of relation between Prakrti and Purusa. He assumes the form of Time to perform the function of creation, sustenance and dissolution.

The Puranas try to establish that the Time is essential factor of creation and dissolution. The treatment of finite time in different ways in different Puranas is very detailed and succinct in this work.

A Purana is never concerned with the act of creation as an eternal quest. For most of the Puranas creation is a sport of Supreme Power and this sport regenerates itself from time to time so that the balance between man and Universe is maintained.

I was deeply impressed by the observation that TIme is mightiest factor in the world where under the sway of Time Brahma Visnu , Rudra and other Gods all are performing their respective roles that. Though man is equipped with higher intellignece yet he is just like a puppet in the hand of time. Every thing in the universe originates in time, exists in time and is destroyed in time. Hence, time is called creator, protector-and destroyer of every thing and every being in this universe.

Dr. Giri, in his treatment of Atman in different Puraras differentiates, different stand points taken by different Puranas regarding the nature of the soul. He has taken into account more or less known Puranas which have made informations to Atman, but his treatment regarding Atman is more comprehensive and wholesome. The Puranic treatment of the three pathways Jnana, Karama and Bhakti to liberation from death and birth is more or less in consonance with the ways represented in Srimad Bhagvadgita. Yet there are certain observations which make a keen perception of these pathways are found in the Puranas. Dr. Giri has dealt with them systematically and positively.

Needless to say that Dr. Giri's work is a complete in itself and is a positive contribution in the field of Puranic Philosophical studies where Dr. Giri possesses a deep, thorough and clear knowledge and understanding. He can analyse things which are complicated and also identify different kinds of relationship as they are. He made them fit into the system of Philosophical perspective.

However, I can not hold myself from adding a few points which are obliquely dealt with, no doubt but which need some more explanations and clarifications. The Puranas have taken from Srimadbhagvadgita hierarchy of values off our Purusarhas and socio ethical values but the Puranas transcends them and projects the value ofBhakti as the fifth Purusartha. This is not merely a subservience to pod but it is also a compulsion on the part of God to help Man with His grace so that the purpose of life as Universal Creativity is fulfilled.

Thus the treatment of Bhakti is not amoral or moral treatment. It transcends all ethical values and all Purusarthas. It is also propounded by almost all the Puranas that there is no greater virtue than doing good to others and no heinous sin than doing' harm to others. This perception is revealed only through livi

Item Code: NAP924
Edition: 2002
Publisher: Bhartiya Vidya Sansthan, Varanasi
ISBN: 8187415707
Language: English
Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Pages: 382
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.4 Kg