From The Jacket
A person who has learnt the Vedas and the Upanisads, but has not bothered to study the Puranas, can never be wise, The knowledge of the Puranas supplements that of the Vedas and the Upanisads. As such, the Puranas contain many stories and history. There is no race on earth that does not have its own history. But the immense volume of the Puranas is unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. The Vayu Purana itself states that the Puranas were originally recited by the great god Brahma and the one has to understand the Puranas if one is to appreciate the Vedas and the Upanisads.
Vayu Purana is so named because it is believed that it was recited by the Wind-god Vayu. The Vayu Purana has twenty-four thousand Slokas. These are divided into two parts (purva-bhaga) and a subsequent part (uttara-bhaga). There are one hundred and twelve chapters (adhyayas) in Vayu Purana. These chapters describe in details about various solar and lunar dynasties, development of Cosmic Egg, birth of progenies, description of various mountains and sacred rivers, duties of four castes and stages of society, measurement and the science of yoga and meditation, enumeration of various king and sages, method of performing Sraddhas and the relative benefits, number of Yugas and sub-continents, the way to ultimate liberation (Moksa) and so on.
There are two chapter specifically dedicated to the science of music and Alamkaras. Vayu Purana presents the most comprehensive details of various dynasties, the names of various king, their successors as well as their kingdoms.
This edition of Vayu Purana in two volumes is the most unique as compared to all other editions published so far from various sources. It includes original Sanskrit text and verse by verse English translation. There is an exhaustive introduction at the beginning of the first volume and an index of all Sanskrit verse at the end of second volume for ready reference of the scholars and readers.
Puranas like Samhitas and Epics form the compendium of fourfold vision of human existence. "Puranam Pancalaksanam is the correct pre-requisite superimposed on them.
Every Purana fundamentally deals with topics normally coming within the fold of these five laksana, viz. creation, dissolution and re-creation, genealogy of gods, sages etc., periods called Manvantaras and description of Royal dynasties, but this treatment is quite unique in unraveling the social, political, ethical, linguistic, etymological and allied subjects. This fundamentally forms the basis of Ancient legendary lore and chronicle though anachronism and affords opportunity to make a probe by a comparative study to expose the factual happenings.
Indeed, the Purana is a distinct branch of learning. It is treated as one of the Vidyas like the Samkhya and the Vedanta, it has its distinct theory of cosmology. Moreover and beside the five times (Sarga-Pratisarga etc.) mythology is also the special feature of puranas. Cosmology and Mythology, are the two main subjects of Purana-vidya. Just as the Puranic cosmology can be best understood in the light of the knowledge of cosmology of various philosophical systems of India, in the same way that Puranic mythology can best be understood in the light of the knowledge of the comparative mythology.
Importance of Puranas
Puranas have contributed significantly in the all round development of human life. They are the symbols of national, social and cultural awareness. They are true inspirational force behind human spirit. They are equally beneficial for both our life in this world and the other worlds (after the death). Like Vedas, Srutis, Smrtis, the importance of Puranas has been maintained till date. Since Purana are shadow of Vedas, the deep knowledge of Vedas is very simply and smartly illustrated in the Puranas. The conclusion is the Puranas. The conclusion is that without the study of Puranas, the knowledge of ancient Indian wisdom is incomplete.
Of the eighteen Mahapuranas, Vayu or Vayaviya Purana occupies an important place. It is primarily considered as a Siva Purana, but it gives due importance to the other two major deities, viz. Brahman and Visnu. The Vayu Purana is also regarded as the true story of the development of India culture and tradition in various Ages. The Vayu is perhaps the only Purana the existence of which is expressly indicated in the Mahabharata and its supplement the Harivamsa. Instead of emotional aspects like in other Puranas, Vayu Purana is mainly based on concrete facts and calculations. As an illustration, the description of king like Nahusa, Yayati, Tuevasa etc. as mentioned in the Vayu Purana, looks more as heavenly bodies when one thinks of the same from a scientific perspective under consideration of Vedic knowledge. Yayati was the son of Nahusa. His spouse was the daughter of Sukra. His second queen was Sarmisth. Now, when we evaluate them as per Vedic understanding, then, Yayati, the daughter of Sukra and Sarmistha, all proves to be heavenly bodies. The father of Nahusa was Ayu as per Vayu Purana. In Yajurveda (5/2), it is written – "Agne Ayurasi", meaning "O Agni! You are Ayu". The same Ayu has been considered as the son of Urvasi and Pururavas. According to Vedas, Urvasi and Pururavas are the sun and its rays respectively, born of Agni.
Time-period of Vayu Purana
In the description of Royal dynasties under chapter-99 of Vayu Purana, lord Samsapayana had illustrated the dynasty of Adhisama-Krsna who was the grandson of Janamejaya. His reign is considered usually as being after 200 years of great battle of Mahabharata. According to this conception, the time of Vayo Purana seems to be after two hundred years of Mahabharata period. In addition to this, the composition of Vayu Purana is also an evidence of the same fact.
Compositor of Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana itself states that the Puranas were originally recited by the great god Brahma and that one has to understand the Puranas if one is to appreciate the Vedas and the Upanisads. A person who has learnt the Vedas and the Upanisads, but has not bothered to study the puranas, can never be wise. The knowledge of the Puranas supplements that of the Vedas and the Upanisads. As such, the Puranas contain many stories many stories and history. There is no race on earth that does not have its own history. But the immense volume of the Puranas is unsurpassed anywhere else in the world.
The Length of Vayu Purana
How long is the Vayu Purana? As Puranas go. It is about average in length. The shortest Mahapurana, the Markandeya Purana, has nine thousand slokas. The Vayu purana has twenty-four thousand. These are divided into two parts (bhaga)– a first part (purva bhaga) and a subsequent part (uttara bhaga). There are one hundred and twelve chapters in this Purana.
Origin of Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana gets its name from the Wind-god who is said to be its promulgator.
M. Winternitz under Vayaviya or Vayu Purana says-
This appears in same lists, under the name of Saiva or Purana, a title which is given to the work because it is dedicated to the worship of god Siva. As proclaimed by the Wind-god, Vayu Purana is quoted in the Mahabharata as well as by the Harivamsa Purana. It has already been mentioned that the poet Bana (about 625 A.D.) had read the Vayu Purana and that in this Purana, the rule of the Guptas is described as it was in the 4th century A.D. making the work not later than 5th century A.D.
Legend occurring in Vayu Purana is Siva and not Visnu, as held by Winternitz. But in chapter 109-112, depicting Gaya Mahatmya, we fin