In the previous episode we had the opportunity to pay our respect and tribute to our great sages in the likes of Sage Veda Vyaasa, Sage Sukhaachaarya, Sage Valmiki Maharishi, etc. for their invaluable contributions towards our Sanaathana Dharma literature. We had witnessed in brief, how they had sacrificed their whole life for the sole purpose of authoring and propagating the sacred texts to the world, so that the future generations of people can immensely benefit from the important messages of how to lead a peaceful and happy life with Bhagawan’s grace. As for the great Maharishis, there are innumerable people who came after them and meticulously wrote commentaries after commentaries, so that people like us, who have limited or no knowledge in Sanskrit can easily understand the complex messages that the Maharishis have given us! Of course, as mentioned yesterday, the sages of yester-years were extremely knowledgeable that all their writings are in a very complex form for many of us to understand. For decoding and simplifying them, we have innumerable people in the likes of our great “Aachaaryas” and “Alwars” who have spent loads of their time in reading and re-reading the material and doing the needful. It’s our bound duty thus, to pay our respects to them as we move on into the Bhaagawatha Puraana text.
Moving ahead thus, let us continue the discussion on some of the basic fundamental concepts of Puraanas, that all of us should know. In fact, the Puraanas are unique texts that form part of our Sanaathana Dharma literature. If we talk about a “Puraana”, it should contain five important elements.
“Sargascha prathi-sargascha vamso manvantaraani cha!
Vamsaanucharithamchethi puraanam pancha lakshanam!!”
This is an important sloka that talks about the five important elements that are contained in the “Puraanas”. The first one is “Sargam”, which means “Srishti”. That is, it describes all the processes through which the entire world comes into existence. In other words, the “Sargam” talks about the way in which the world was created by Bhagawan and the reasons behind it. The second one being, “Prathi-Sargam”, which explains the way in which the world that was created by Bhagawan, meets its end. In simpler terms, the “Prathi-Sargam” talks about how the world would get destroyed eventually by the same Bhagawan who had once created it. This signifies the fact that nothing is permanent in this world and everything is subjected to destruction at some point or the other. This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna stresses in the Bhagawad Gita too.
The third one that the “Puraanas” talk about is the “Vamsam”. “Vamsam” means “Tradition” or “Lineage of people” who ruled the earth ever since its inception. If we’ve to talk about “Vamsam”, we generally talk of the “Surya Vamsam” and “Chandra Vamsam” and both of these are very popularly known as well. It is to be noted that Bhagawan Rama was born as part of the “Surya Vamsam” and subsequently, Bhagawan Krishna was born as part of the “Chandra Vamsam”. When we were in the Ramayana project, I had once mentioned that Bhagawan Rama was the 35’th King of Ayodhya. The “Surya Vamsam” starts with Bhagawan Bramha himself. Bramha is the person who is responsible for the creation of the world. The Surya Vamsam commences its journey from Bramha and transcends through innumerable kings who had given their 100% dedication in ruling the world successfully, of which come King Dasaratha and his son Bhagawan Rama. Thus, “Vamsam” plays an important role in the “Puraanas”.
The fourth element is “Manvantharam”. This “Manvantharam” signifies the tenure of each of these above mentioned kings who ruled the world as part of the “Surya Vamsa” and “Chandra Vamsa”. This element signifies what all happened during the tenure of each king, how significant were those happenings for the benefit of the world, who acquired what curse and according to which, how was the life of the king and his kingdom took ups and downs and how did these kings try and protect the “Dharma” at every stage of their tenure.
Finally as we move to the fifth one, we talk about “Vamsaanu-charitham” – This is primarily the most important of all of the five elements that we’ve been speaking about so far. Here we talk about how Bhagawan incarnates in each of these “Vamsams” at different times. For instance, we’ve just spoken about the incarnation of Bhagawan as Rama, during the Tretha Yuga and as part of the “Surya Vamsam” Similarly, Bhagawan Balaraama and Bhagawan Krishna incarnated during the Dwaapara Yuga and as part of the “Chandra Vamsam”. Thus, the collection of all the stories that talk about the life experiences of Bhagawan in each of these incarnations are collectively termed as “Vamsa-anu-charitham”.
Thus we can see that, if all these five elements are talked about in a text, it can be termed as a “Puraana”. However we’ve to note that in few of the eighteen Puraanas, all these five might not be present. Some might have four out of the five, or some might have three too. However, if we take the Bhaagawatha Puraana, the uniqueness of this particular text is that, all the above-explained five elements are completely present in this! This is why we call the Bhaagawatha Puraana as a “Poorna Puraana”, which means, a complete package of all five important elements. This is thus, the important significance of the “Bhaagawatha Puraana” and we should consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate to experience the beauty of this great text!
So for today, let us appreciate this significance of the Bhaagawatha Puraana, and we shall wait till the next episode to witness more! Stay tuned! 😊