Monday, April 2, 2018

Brahmavaivarta Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

Brahmavaivarta Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is my nineteenth and last Purana review. It is my last rajsik Purana. The Brahmavaivarta Purana comes eighth in the list of Mahapuranas. It has a total of eighteen thousand shlokas and is medium in length. These shlokas are divide into four khandas. They are the Brahma khanda, the Prakriti khanda, the Ganesha khanda and the Srikrishnajanma khanda.

Although this Purana is a rajsik purana it glorifies Krishna more. Krishna is said to be the creator. He is identified with the brahman and is said to have created Shiva, Brahma and Narayana from his own body. This is slightly confusing as it describes Krishna’s type of creation and Brahma’s creation at the same time. This is one of the few Puranas that talk about Krishna in great detail.

In Krishna’s creation, all the gods and goddesses emerged from different parts of his body like his chest, mouth, mind, etc.

In Brahma’s creation, the world was formed from a golden egg.

Like most Puranas this one also starts in the Naimisharanya forest. The narrator is Souti or Suta who is the son of Lomaharshana. On the request of some sages Souti narrates the Brahmavaivarta Purana.

This was a very interesting Purana. It had so much new information. Most of it was in the form of stories. I learnt lots of stuff. Out of this information I picked out the most interesting bits and have given it below.

Have you wondered why Narada was named Narada? What is the meaning of the name? The answers to this are given below.
Narada lived in heaven. Once he was cursed that he would be born on Earth. He was born as Upavarhana, the son of queen Kalavati. The Earth was in a drought at the time. When he was born the rains started pouring. This was a miracle. Nara means water and Da means to give or giving. Since water had come when he was born he was named Narada.

I had never heard of this. This was the first time in any Purana that this story was mentioned. I also know that you’ll be having a lot of questions like why was Narada cursed? Who cursed him? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you everything otherwise this wouldn’t be a review. I’ll let you read and find out yourself.

My other favourite story is given below.

I came across an unusual story, one which I hadn’t read in any other Purana. It was the story of how Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Ganga became rivers.

Ganga, Saraswati and Lakshmi were the wives of Narayana or Vishnu. Saraswati was jealous of Ganga and fought with her and tried to grab her hair. Lakshmi noticed this but kept quiet at first. Soon, it became too much, and Lakshmi intervened. Saraswati cursed Lakshmi that because she was quiet at first, she would become a shrub and a river. Ganga then cursed Saraswati that she would be born as a river on Earth. Saraswati was angry and cursed Ganga that she too would become a river. Lakshmi became the tulsi shrub and the river Padmavati. Saraswati became the river Saraswati. Ganga became the river Bhagirathi or Ganga.

As a result of this quarrel Narayana sent Ganga to marry Shiva and Brahma married Sarasvati. He kept Lakshmi with himself because she really didn’t do anything wrong.

This was a very surprising story. I never knew that this was the reason Ganga and Saraswati became rivers. Also, I had never heard of Ganga becoming Shiva’s wife. This was new to me and I didn’t know that Ganga and Saraswati were Vishnu’s wives.

I wanted to share more stories but then you wouldn’t read the book and only the review.

They also describe the many virtues of the river Ganga. The river is so holy that if you even say its name all your sins are forgiven. Seeing the river or breathing the air at its banks have the same effect. If you touch the water at the time of your death you are beloved to Krishna. I want to visit it someday so that I can get cleansed of all my sins.

The last khanda of this Purana talks about Krishna. All the way from his childhood exploits to the Mahabharata war. His childhood is described in more details. The number of monsters he defeated and how he defeated them are mentioned too. The Srikrishnajanma khanda was my favourite. It was very interesting, and I loved reading it.

Read this Purana so that you can remove gloom, fear, grief, doubts and darkness. You get wealth, learning, health, good fortune, protection against danger and a path to heaven.

I enjoyed reading this Purana. All nineteen Puranas were interesting and taught me a lot. I learnt so much from them. It was an amazing experience. I would encourage everyone to read and learn from the Puranas. Bibek Debroy has translated it very nicely and uses easy English which anyone can understand. I loved all the Puranas.

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© 2018, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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