What is the core of Bhagavata Purana

Padma Purana

Padma Purana, also called "Gtamahatmya", is one of the most important of the 18 main puranas. It is a religious Hindu text and is divided into 5 parts and 55,000 verses. The Padma Purana classifies itself as "Sattva Purana", representing the good and pure. It is dated 5000 BC. Dated. There are a number of later Jain works, also known as Padma Purana, which also deal with the life of Ramas: Padma Purana (Balabhadrapurana) or Raidhu (15th century), Padma Purana by Somadeva (1600), Padma Purana by Dharmakirti (1612) and the Padma Purana by Bhattaraka Candrakirti (17th century).

Rama is often depicted with a bow and arrow, his weapons with which he protects the good and fights the demons.

The Padma Purana is generally in second place of all Puranas and is described as follows: "It contains an account of that age in which the world was still in the form of a golden lotus (Padma). Through all the events of this time the world becomes called "Padma" by the wise men.

In the first part of the text (Srishti Khanda) the sage Pulastya explains to the Bhishma what religion is and the essence of religion. In the second part (Bhumi Khanda), Prithivi (earth) is explained in detail. The third part (Svarg Khanda) describes the cosmos, creation and India (Bharata Varsha). The fourth part (Patala Khanda) describes the life and deeds of Rama. The fifth part (Uttara Khanda) is written in the style of a dialogue between Shiva and his wife Parvati and deals with the essential knowledge of religion.

Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha

Contents of the Bengali and South Indian versions

This text has been passed down in two different versions, the Bengali and the South Indian. The Bengali version consists of 5 khandas (parts): Shrishti Khanda, Bhumi Khanda, Svarga Khanda, Patala Khanda and Uttara Khanda. The South Indian version consists of 6 Khandas: Adi Khanda (also called Svarga Khanda in some works), Bhumi Khanda, Brahma Khanda, Patala Khanda, Srishti Khanda and Uttara Khanda. The Bhumi Khanda of the Bengali version contains an additional 13 chapters, while the Patala Khanda of this version contains 31 additional chapters. The Svarga Khanda of this version includes the description of various areas (lokas) and stories of kings and demons. The Srishti Khanda can be divided into two parts and the second part is not included in the Bengali version.

Origin of the Padma Purana

Shiva explains to his wife Parvati the nature of Vishnu and his veneration. It is impossible to date this Purana. It is a collection of loose pieces that belong to entirely different periods and are probably centuries apart. The common characteristic of the five or six parts is their strict, sectarian character. All parts demand the worship of Vishnu. In addition, all of these books contain references to fairly modern aspects of the Vishnu cult such as: B. the worship of Radha as a goddess, the inviolability and sanctity of the Salagrama stones, the Tulsi plant and the like. The most recent parts are certainly earlier than the Bhagavata Purana, which in turn is one of the most recent works of Purana literature. But there is definitely an ancient core in the Sristi, Bhumi, Swarga and Patala Khanda.

Srishti Khanda (Book of Creation)

This Khanda is written in the form of a dialogue between Bhishma and the sage Pulastya. Pulastya is one of the seven Prajapatis, the spirit-born sons of Brahma. It also contains a detailed description of the famous pilgrimage site Pushkara. Interestingly, the worship of planets (grahas) is mockingly commented on.

At the beginning Lomaharsana sends his son Suta Ugrasrava to the Naimisa forest to recite the Puranas for the rishis gathered there. At Saunaka's request, he recites the Padma Purana. This is named after the lotus (padma) in which Brahman appears at creation. Suta Ugrasrava tells of the creation as he heard it from Brahman's son Pulastya. The cosmological myths here are very similar to those in other Puranas. But in this Purana Vishnu is not accepted as the first cause, but the highest Brahman in the form of the personal god Brahma. But this book is also strongly influenced by Vishnu and contains myths and legends about the glorification of Vishnu.

Durga on the tiger with their weapons

According to the account of creation, the usual line of succession of the sun dynasty comes with sections about Pitris, the fathers of mankind and their religious cult, and the lunar dynasty going back to the time of Krishna. Myths are told about the conflicts between gods and demons, followed by a chapter that is interesting from the point of view of religious history.

One of the most important parts of this book consists of a description of Lake Pushkara (Pokher in Ajmer), dedicated to Brahman and glorified and recommended as a place of pilgrimage. Several myths and legends extol Pushkara. Various festivals and vows in honor of the goddess Durga are also mentioned here.

Then the theme of creation is taken up again. The book ends with myths about Vishnu who destroyed the demons and the birth and marriage of Skanda (son of Shiva, brother of Ganesha).

Bhumi Khanda (Book of Earth)

Bhumi Khanda gives a description of Prithivi (the earth) and contains stories of kings like Prithu and Yayati and of various sages. Some scholars believe that the description of the earth, kings, and sages in this Purana represents actual elements of geography and history.

This book begins with legends about Somasarman who in a later birth became the famous Vishnu devotee Prahlada. The purpose of this story is to explain how, on the one hand, he was born among demons and, on the other hand, managed to become such a great devotee of Vishnu. In addition to a description of the earth, this book contains many legends that aim to prove the sanctity and inviolability of various tirthas and other holy places. Not only holy bathing places are considered tirthas, but also persons such as teachers, fathers or wives.

Drawing of Indra on his elephant mountain, Airavata, ca.1820

As proof that women can also be tirthas, the following story is told: Sukala's husband goes on a pilgrimage and leaves her behind in need and misery. The god of love, Kama, and the king of gods, Indra, try in vain to seduce her, she remains steadfast and loyal to her husband. When he returns from the pilgrimage, he receives a divine reward for his wife's virtue. Another story proves that sons of Tirtha can also become: the story of Yayati and his son Puru, which is already known from the Mahabharata.

Svarg Khanda (Book of Heaven)

Svarg Khanda contains details of the process of the creation of the cosmos. It describes the meaning and importance of holy places, as well as the geographical extent, mountains, rivers and peculiarities of Jambudvipa. It also tells of the ancient people of India.

In this Khanda there are descriptions of the different divine worlds, called "Vaikuntha" from the highest heaven of Vishnu, and the worlds of the Bhutas (astral beings), Pisacas, Gandharvas (angelic beings, heavenly musicians, Vidyadharas (demigods) and Apsaras (heavenly beings, nymphs, Wives of the Gandharvas) The worlds of Shiva, Indra, the fire god Agni and the god Yama are described in many myths and legends.

The mention of King Bharata leads to the story of Shakuntala, which is not reproduced here as in the Mahabharata, but more in accordance with the drama of Kalidasa. A comparison with Kalidasa's work and the version of the Mahabharata and the Padma Purana shows that Kalidasa probably used the Padma Purana as a source.

A description of the world of the Apsaras also leads to the legend of Prince Pururava and the nymph Urvashi. There are also numerous legends known from the epics. The Padma Purana also contains instructions on the duties of the castes, on the four Ashramas (stages of life), on types of Vishnu worship, and much on rituals and morals.

Patal Khanda (Book of the Underworld)

Satrughna, the youngest brother of Rama

In this book, the subterranean regions are described first, especially the dwellings of the Nagas (serpent deities). Ravana is mentioned and that leads to the narration of the entire Rama legend, which here partly corresponds with the Ramayama, but also often literally with Kalidasa's epic “Raghuvamsa”. The Rama legend is preceded by a story about Rama's forefathers, beginning with Manu, the son of the sun god and his rescue from the floods.

By killing the Brahmin Havana, Rama is guilty of the murder. To atone for this, he arranges a horse sacrifice. In accordance with the prescribed rules, the horse intended for the victim must roam free for one year. It is accompanied by an army of warriors led by Shatrughna. The adventures of the horse and his companions during their trek through India take up a large part of the book. Many holy places are described and the related legends are told. After a long journey the horse reaches the hermitage of Rishis Valmiki. Here the part of the Ramayama that has to do with Sita is told.

This is followed by detailed information on the 18 Puranas. It is said that Vyasa first proclaimed the Padma Purana, then the 16 others and finally the Bhagavata Purana, which is considered the most sacred book of the Vishnu devotees. There are also sections devoted to the life and ministry of Krishna. 16 chapters of the Patal Khanda are known as Shiva Gita.

Patal Khanda (Book of the Underworld)

In this book the subterranean regions are described first, especially the dwellings of the Nagas (serpent deities). Ravana is mentioned and that leads to the narration of the entire Rama legend, which here partly corresponds with the Ramayama, but also often literally with Kalidasa's epic “Raghuvamsa”. The Rama legend is preceded by a story about Rama's forefathers, beginning with Manu, the son of the sun god and his rescue from the floods.

By killing the Brahmin Havana, Rama is guilty of the murder. To atone for this, he arranges a horse sacrifice. In accordance with the prescribed rules, the horse intended for the victim must roam free for one year. It is accompanied by an army of warriors led by Shatrughna. The adventures of the horse and his companions during their trek through India take up a large part of the book. Many holy places are described and the related legends are told. After a long journey the horse reaches the hermitage of Rishis Valmiki. Here the part of the Ramayama that has to do with Sita is told.

This is followed by detailed information on the 18 Puranas. It is said that Vyasa proclaimed the Padma Purana first, then the 16 others and finally the Bhagavata Purana, which is considered the most sacred book of the Vishnu devotees. There are also sections devoted to the life and ministry of Krishna. 16 chapters of the Patal Khanda are known as Shiva Gita.

Uttar Khanda

The Uttar Khanda introduces the metaphysical aspects of religion in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. It also contains another version of Vishnu Sahasranam, the Thousand Names of Vishnu (not the Mahabharata version) and Rama Sahasranam, the Thousand Names of Ramas. As the name suggests, Uttar Khandar is related to the Uttarkhand region in the Indian Himalayas. It is believed that Shiva and his wife Parvati rule over the source of the Ganges and the Yamuna, also over Badrinath (Vishnu) and Kedarnath (Shiva) and over the mouth of the Ganges in the Indian lowlands. Six chapters form the "Bhagavat Mahatmyam", which is regarded as the actual beginning of the Srimad Bhagavad.

This Khanda explains in great detail the Vishnu cult and the festivals and ceremonies associated with it. A large part is dedicated to the glorification of the month of Magha, which is especially sacred to Vishnu. Numerous legends are told which prove that taking a ritual bath during this month is of great merit.

Another section glorifies the month of Kartikeya, when giving away lamps is particularly meritorious.

In order to give special weight to the worship of Vishnu, the author personally causes Shiva to praise the greatness of Vishnu in a conversation with his wife Parvati and to enumerate a large number of the Vishnu avatars. This also includes the recitation of a summary of the Rama legend; and the legend of Krishna is given in great detail. Then Parvati asks who the heretics are. Then Shiva explains that the Shaiva teachers and the followers of the Shaiva Pashupta sect belong to the heretics and explains what Vishnu-Bhakti is and explains the different forms of the Vishnu cult.

This Kandha also contains a glorification of the Bhagavad Gita. There are legends that illustrate the merit of reading each verse. One chapter contains the listing of the thousand names of Vishnu, in another chapter Radha is equated with the goddess Lakshmi and the celebration of her birthday is described.

Kriyayogasara

One kind of addendum or addition is the Kriyayogasara, the essence of yoga and the practice of devotion. It is taught that Vishnu should not be worshiped through meditation (dhyana), but through pious, devout acts such as pilgrimages to the Ganges and the celebration of all festivities dedicated to Vishnu. In many legends it is reported how the highest fulfillment of all wishes was achieved by worshiping Vishnu on the banks of the Ganges.

The names of the many divisions of the Kriyayogasara convey an imperfect and one-sided idea of ​​their varied content. It seems that these chapters are based on several individual works which have then been grouped under one title. There is no reason to believe that any work is older than XII. Century after Christ is.

See also

Web links

literature

  • Dowson, John: A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion - Geography, History and Religion; D.K. Printworld Ltd., New Delhi, India, 2005.
  • Hunzermeyer, Wilfried: The yoga lexicon ISBN 978-3-931172-28-2, Edition Sawitri
  • Mittwede, Martin: Sanskrit-German spiritual dictionary, ISBN 978-3-932957-02-4, Sathya Sai Association e.V.

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Classical writings of yoga: Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Puranas and Itihasas