Puranas are the compilation of an ancient Indian Genre of Hindu and Jaina Literature. What is the meaning and characteistic of the Indian Purana
Posted On : 3/27/2009 6:06:10 AM
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The scholars have made a prolonged research about the contents and the subject with which the Puranas deals. According to those scholars, both Itihasa and Purana denoted history and both are mentioned together in Vedic literature, sometimes as separate and sometimes as compound words. But whatever is the process of compilation both the Puranas and Itihasa are almost always associated with gathas, narashamsi, vakovakyas, etc., which were all subjects of study in those days. In the later Vedic Age, Itihasa overshadowed the legendary lore of Purana, but gradually the latter asserted itself with its uniqueness in composition and construction. ollowing the later researches of the characteristics of Puranas, it has been made clear that the Puranas does not solely endeavor to provide religious instruction, nor the sectarian purpose was the primary aim of its composition. Description of gifts, religious observances, sacred places, etc., have now become the concerning subjects of the bulk of the Puranas. As a result nowadays the Panchalakshana definition appears merely theoretical.
puranas are the compilation of an ancient Indian Genre of Hindu and Jaina Literature. Following the etymological meaning of the Puranas, ancient scholar Vayu depicted Puranas as that which lives from ancient times . In a way the Puranas can be ascribed as the post Vedic texts narrating the history of Universe, from its creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes and demigods with a detailed discussion of Hindu Cosmology and Philosophy. With the passage of time Puranas has attained the sanctity of a holy book to the Hindus. Following Vayu, the other renowned scholars have also depicted the meaning of Puranas in their own way. Matsya described the Puranas as containing the records of past events . Originally, therefore, the term Puranas signified ancient tale or old narrative in the Brahmana literature, as compared with itihasa and narashamsi. After a long period of time the Puranas became associated with the class of literature. Although in the ancient period there was no separate genre of Purana literature, the Puranas in the form of legendary lore existed even prior to the revelation of the Vedas. Apart from the definitions provided by the ancient scholars, the allusions of the legendary lore of the Puranas are also available in the antique texts of ancient Indian Literature. References in the Artharva Veda imply that the Puranas had assumed some independent form of composition, which had a unique essence than the other contemporary literary texts. But it is not clearly mentioned in Atharva Veda, whether at that time the Puranas meant actual books. The Chhandogya-Upanishad, however, shows that a definite work was intended by the term, but it is only the Sutras that reveal the existence of the real Puranas.