सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Purana"







In General

Puranas are very vast literature of remote antiquity and the word literally means ancient record. They are almost like an encyclopedia listing human achievements in our subcontinent and give a glimpse of our ancient heritage. The stories told in Puranas kept alive the Sanathana Dharma in masses for last couple of millennia and enriched the value of life. The stories in Puranas have principle of truth, velour, moral character, cultural values and that have contributed a great deal of preserving these principles and values. The culture and tradition of this land was transferred from generation to generation by the moral stories told in Puranas and Itihasas. Purana were taught in gurukula along with Vedas as a part of the sacred lore of Sanathana Dharma.

Purana give very importance to stories related to triumph of Dharma by Trimurthi and other important Gods. It doesn’t miss to tell occasionally the detail description on how a man should live in this world with devotion to God and thus to improve spiritual life. Puranas have a definite style of narration and recording the facts. There is invariably one speaker and one listener and their conversation reveals about the importance of one particular Diety to whom that purana is dedicated. The narrator of the story, in most Puranas can be believed also as the co-author of the Purana. Veda Vyasa edited, vets, compiled, and partially authored these works with unbiased objectivity at the end of Dwapara Yuga. 18 Puranas authored by Vedavyasa are the famous Puranas. There are few other puranas also they were grouped as Upapuranas. Just like Vedas and all the Puranas is also a product of oral tradition. Veda Vyasa engaged Sage Saunaka and Sage Suta to spread Puranas and Itihasa among masses, so in the introductory part in the Puranas we can see them appear.

Apart description of the ancient kings and other important personalities as stories, the Puranas also gives detailed description on all kind of subject like Geography, Dharmasastra, Astrology, Astronomy, Time division, Vegetation, Poetics, Rhetoric, Warfare, Medicine, Grammer, Lexicon, Ritual worship, Cosmology. The Lexicon of Sanskrit by Amara Sinha gives five characteristic topic, Pancha-lakshanam for puranas. They are 1. Primary creation, or cosmogony; 2. Secondary creation, or the destruction and renovation of worlds, including chronology; 3. Genealogy of Gods and Prajapathi; 4. Reigns of the Manus, or periods called Manwantaras; and 5. History, or such particulars as have been preserved of the princes of prominent races, and of their descendants to modern times. These rules have definitely made Purana an interesting literature for all class of people, the educated and the uneducated, Kings and the layman, ascetic and the householder.


The work assigned to Purana is to spread the dharmic ideas said in the Vedas

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