Monday, November 27, 2017

Brahmanda Purana - Review

Brahmanda Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

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This is the eleventh Purana that I am reviewing which you can probably guess is the Brahmanda Purana. The Brahmanda Purana comes at the last, in the eighteenth position in the list of Mahapuranas. It is a rajasik Purana, a purana that glorifies Brahma. It is not too long or too short. It is medium-sized in length with eighteen thousand shlokas. These eighteen thousand shlokas are divided into 3 parts, purva bhaga, madhyama bhaga and uttara bhaga. These 3 sections are further divided into chapters. There are a total of seventy-one chapters.
I shall give a bit more of introduction and then start the review
This Purana was originally recited by Vayu the wind god on the insistence of some sages in the namisharanya forest after a yagna.
We’re done with the introduction so let us now go into the review.

As this is a rajsik purana, it glorifies Brahma so it also talks a lot about creation. I found one part very interesting. I will share that with you.

At the beginning there was brahman (the divine essence) and water everywhere. Then three gunas (qualities) came into existence. They were:
  • Rajas guna – quality of passion
  • Sattva guna – quality of purity
  • Tamas guna – quality of torpidity

After Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu were created each one of the gods was given one quality. Shiva was given the quality of tamas. Vishnu was given the quality of sattva. Brahma was given the quality of rajas. This also explains why there are rajsik, sattvika and tamsik puranas.

While reading this Purana I had asked my dad if I had to write about a favourite story and my dad said yes. I was confused on what to write about as the Purana had the stories which were there in all the Puranas. I was nearing the end and I still didn’t have a favourite story. Finally, I found one. It was the story of Yajnavalkya which I will narrate to you.

Yajnavalkya studied under Sage Vaishampayana. One day when Vaishampayana was performing a rite he asked his disciples to aid him. Yajnavalkya said that he himself could help his guru and there was no need for the others to come. Vaishampayana got angry because his disciple was acting proud and asked Yajnavalkya to vomit everything that he had learnt. Yajnavalkya had learnt the Yajur Veda so he vomited it. Yajnavalkya later learnt the Vedas from Surya. What had happened to what he had vomited? The other sages became birds (tittira) and ate this knowledge. This knowledge soon came to be known Taittiriya samhita.

I liked this story because I hadn’t known about this story. I also never knew that Yajnavalkya was so proud and arrogant. I learnt a lesson that we should never be too proud as pride always comes to fall.
This was an interesting Purana and I liked it very much. I only have 8 more to go.

© 2017, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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