Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Padma Purana, Translatd by Bibek Debroy

Padma Purana (Great Epics of India: Puranas Book 2)

Translated by by Bibek Debroy, Dipavali Debroy

Last time I had written about the Shiva Purana. This time I have decided to write about the Padma Purana. The Padma Purana comes second in the list of Puranas after the Brahma Purana. All 18 Mahapuranas share 4 lakh shlokas between them but they are not equal in length. The Padma Purana is the second longest Purana. It is fifty-five thousand couplets long, second only to the Skanda Purana which is eighty-one lakh couplets long. The shlokas in this Purana are divided into 5 sections. They are:
  • Shrishti khanda
  • Bhumi khanda
  • Svarga khanda
  • Patala khanda
  • Uttara khanda
The Puranas usually glorify all three main Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva but sometimes they devote more attention towards one god. The Padma Purana is a satvik Purana, a Purana that glorifies Vishnu and describes his avatars in more detail.

Each Purana is believed to be composed in a different kalpa. A kalpa is one of Brahma’s days. At the end of the kalpa the universe is destroyed and at night evil prevails. The next kalpa again starts with the creation of the Universe. The Padma Purana was composed in a kalpa known as the Padma kalpa. It is also agreed that the final form of the Puranas were composed between 300 A.D and 1000 A.D but the earlier sections of the Puranas could have been composed around 500 B.C. Bibek Debroy decides to describe the Bhumi khanda in his version of this Purana.

The Puranas have been recited by Lomaharshana on a request by some sages. I am going to tell you a story which I found very interesting.

One day during the Dvapara yuga there lived a petty and mean thief called Dandaka. He stole from Brahmans, lied, ate beef and drank wine. Dandaka once decided to steal from the temple of Vishnu. His feet were muddy so he wiped it on the threshold before coming in. This action of his had a very unexpected result. Dandaka entered the main chamber of the temple. He thought that the statue was not of use to him but there were other gold and silver objects in the room that he proceded to take. Some objects fell down and awoke some people. Dandaka ran but he stepped on a sleeping snake and died of snake bite. Yama’s servants came to take him to hell for his various crimes but Vishnu’s messengers stopped them. Vishnu’s messengers explained that when Dandaka had wiped his feet, the threshold was dirty. Some dust was brushed away when Dandaka wiped his feet. Due to this all his sins were forgiven and he was taken straight to Vishnuloka. Such are the effects of cleaning Vishnu’s temples.

I really liked this story because it taught me a new fact and was very interesting.
Each of the Mahapuranas is connected with a part of Vishnu’s body. They are as follows:
  • Brahma Purana – The head
  • Padma Purana – The heart
  • Vishnu Purana – The right arm
  • Shiva Purana – The left arm
  • Bhagvata Purana – The thighs
  • Narada Purana – The navel
  • Markandeya Purana – The right foot
  • Agni Purana – The left foot
  • Bhavishya Purana – The right knee
  • Brahmavaivarta Purana – The left knee
  • Linga Purana – The right calf
  • Varaha Puana – The left calf
  • Skanda Purana – The body hair
  • Vamana Purana – The skin
  • Kurma Purana – The back
  • Matsya Purana – The fat of the body
  • Garuda Purana – The marrow
  • Brahmanda Purana – The bones

If we hear the recital of one shloka from the Padma Purana all our sins that have been committed in a single day are washed away. We can obtain lot of punya by donating thousand cows but the same amount of punya can be obtained by hearing the recital of one chapter of the Padma Purana. An enormous amount of punya can be obtained by performing the asvamedha yagna but an equivalent amount of punya can be obtained by hearing the recital of the whole Padma Purana. It is better to hear the recital of texts than performing yagnas.

I enjoyed this Purana of Bibek Debroy’s also. He has used the same pattern and used simple and understandable English. This Purana had many interconnecting stories so you had to remember all the stories to understand the Purana.

I hope all the Puranas are like this and it has been really nice experience reading this Purana too.

Kindle India, Kindle US,

Review of Shiva Purana


© 2017, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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