Episode # 4 – Shri Vishnu Puraana – Contents of “Amsas” 1, 2 & 3!!!

In the previous episode, we had commenced our detailed discussion on the structure of “Shri Vishnu Puraana”, wherein we had witnessed that it comprises of six different “Amsas” and loads of “Adhyaayas” within each of them. We’ve witnessed in due course that the first Amsa talks about how the world was created by Bhagawan Vishnu and how He takes meticulous efforts to protect the balance of it. Also, as we’ve seen in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, here too we would witness an accord of the “Mohini” incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu – How Bhagawan Mohini helped the Devas (Celestial Beings) to capture the “Amrut” from the Raakshasas (Demons). Subsequently there’s a detailed accord on the “Dhruva Charitra”, wherein little Dhruva is able to obtain the divine Darshan of Bhagawan Vishnu within just six months of deep and one-pointed penance. Subsequently, there’s going to be a detailed accord on Bhagawan’s incarnation as “Narasimha” and a bit of “Prahlaada Charithra”. Subsequently we would also witness how Bhagawan is balancing the entire world and is ensuring that “Dharma” is maintained. The “Adhyaaya” which talks about this particular point in detail is called “Asthra-Bhooshana-Adhyaaya”. With this, the first “Amsa” comes to an end.

Thus, the first “Amsa” comprises of 20 “Adhyaayas”, starting from the creation of the world to the “Asthra-Bhooshana-Adhyaaya”, which talks about how Bhagawan protects the world that He had created. Now let us move on with the second “Amsa”. Here, Sage Paraasara commences with a very interesting accord on what is “Bhoo-Lokha”, and what are the fourteen different “Lokhas” that are part of this entire world (Universe). In the first “Amsa” Sage Paraasara had mentioned that all this was created by Bhagawan. Now in this “Amsa”, he describes what are the various constituents of all these fourteen “Lokhas”. He goes into a detailed description as to what is “Kaalam” (Time) and how is this time classified. He describes in detail on how time is measured in various “Lokhas” and how is it different from each of the “Lokhas”. He also describes meanwhile as to how the calculation of sunrise and sunset are made, which is going to be very interesting for all of us to understand and comprehend. Thus, in the second “Amsa”, Sage Paraashara talks in detail about the “Bhoo-Lokha”, and also the rest of the fourteen “Lokhas”, and the key constituents in each of them. Subsequently, the discussion moves on with the detailed description of “Time”. 

Towards the end of the second “Amsa”, Sage Paraashara concludes by giving a beautiful explanation about “Atma”, “Paramatma” and “Jeevatma”. Just like how he described Bhagawan’s “Asthras” and “Bhooshanas” towards the end of the first “Amsa”, here too we are going to witness a very interesting accord on the “Atma”, “Paramaatma”, etc. He also explains the key differences between the “Atman” and the “Deham” and how to differentiate between the two. We’ve already witnessed these concepts in various other contexts in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, Vidura Neeti and Ramayana as well. Readers can witness here that this is one important point that is repeatedly emphasized by all texts of our Sanaatana Dharma literature, because this concept of “Atma” and “Deham” forms the crux of the “Vedanta” principles that we’re looking at. 

With this, we now move to the third “Amsa” wherein Sage Paraashara explains how Bhagawan Vishnu creates the Vedas and how Sage Vyaasa analyzes the Vedas and splits them into four important categories – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. Inside the Rig Veda there are various “Shaakas” that are associated with it. Inside the Yajur Veda there is “Shukla Yajur Veda” and “Krishna Yajur Veda”. Inside the Sama Veda there are a thousand branches, of which today, we have only three of the branches that we can access. “Jaimini Sama”, “Poutuma Sama” and “Ranaayanee Sama”, etc. which are part of the Sama Veda – Sage Paraashara explains which of these are popular in which parts of our Bhaarata Desha.Thus, we can witness in the third “Amsa” as to how the Vedas were born. Moreover, Sage Paraashara also explains how to chant these Vedas. Of course, all of us know that Vedas are those that sing in praise of Bhagawan and there is a dedicated procedure for chanting them. In this “Amsa” itself, Sage Paraashara explains the rules and regulations (“Puja-Vidhi) with which we should worship Bhagawan Vishnu through the Vedas. This “Puja-Vidhi” also talks about various other aspects as well – For instance, how do we make ourselves eligibile for the Veda chanting – What are all the important “Karmas” that one has to perform while taking birth as a human being – The “Naandi Karma”, “Shraadha Karma”, “Seemantha Karma”, etc. All these “Karma-Vichaara” (Explanation of all these important “Karma”) is done by Sage Paraashara in the third “Amsa”! 

So for today, let us understand these important points, and let us wait for the next episode to continue this discussion further, to see the contents of “Amsa” 4, 5 and 6! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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