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adhered to; and many of the Puráňas, like the Vishúu, are referred to a different narrator.
An account is given, in the following work,' of a series of Pauráňik compilations of which, in their present form, no vestige appears. Lomaharshana is said to have had six disciples, three of whom composed as many fundamental Samhitás, whilst he himself compiled a fourth. By a Samhitá is generally understood a 'collection' or compilation’. The Samhitás of the Vedas are collections of hymns and prayers belonging to them, arranged according to the judgment of some individual sage, who is, therefore, looked upon as the originator and teacher of each. The Samhitás of the Puráňas, then, should be analogous compilations, attributed, respectively, to Mitrayu, Sámsapáyana, Akritabraňa, and Romaharshana: no such Pauráńik Samhitás are now known. The substance of the four is said to be collected in the Vishnu Purána, which is, also, in another place, itself called a Samhitá. But such compilations have not, as far as inquiry has yet proceeded, been discovered. The specification may be accepted as an indication of the Puránas' having existed in some other form, in which they are no longer met with; although it does not appear that the arrangement was incompatible with their existence as separate works; for the Visháu Purána, which is our authority for the four Samhitás, gives us, also, the usual enumeration of the several Puráňas.
There is another classification of the Puráňas, alluded to in the Matsya Puráňa, and specified by the Padma
Book III., Chapter III.
? Book I., Chapter I.
Puráňa, but more fully.. It is not undeserving of notice, as it expresses the opinion which native writers entertain of the scope of the Puráňas, and of their recognizing the subservience of these works to the dissemination of sectarian principles. Thus, it is said, in the Uttara Khanda of the Padma, * that the Puranas, as well as other works, are divided into three classes, according to the qualities which prevail in them. Thus, the Vishắu, Náradíya, Bhagavata, Garuda, Padma, and Varáha Puráńas are Sáttwika or pure, from the predominance, in them, of the Sattwa quality, or that of goodness and purity. They are, in fact, Vaishňava Puráňas. The Matsya, Kúrma, Linga, Siva, Skanda, and Agni Puráňas are Támasa, or Puráňas of darkness, from the prevalence of the quality of Tamas, “ignorance', 'gloom’. They are, indisputably, Saiva Puráňas. The third series, comprising the Brahmáńda, Brahma Vaivarta, Márkańdeya, Bhavishya, Vámana, and Brahma Puráňas, are designated as Rájasa, “passionate', from Rajas, the property of passion, which they are supposed to represent. The Matsya does not specify which are the Puráňas that come under these designations, but remarkst that those in which the Máhátmya
of Hari or Vishňu prevails are Sáttwika; those in which the legends of Agni or Siva predominate are Támasa; and those which dwell most on the stories of Brahma are Rájasa. I have elsewhere stated that I considered the Rájasa Puráňas to lean to the Sákta division of the Hindus, the worshippers of Sakti or the female principle; founding this opinion on the character of the legends which some of them contain, such as the Durga Máhátmya, or celebrated legend on which the worship of Durga or Kálí is especially founded, which is a principal episode of the Márkandeya. The Brahma Vaivarta also devotes the greatest portion of its chapters to the celebration of Rádhá, the mistress of Krishna, and other female divinities. Colonel Vans Kennedy, however, objects to the application of the term Sákta to this last division of the Puranas; the worship of Sakti being the especial object of a different class of works, the Tantras; and no such form of worship being particularly inculcated in the Brahma Puráňa.? This last argument is of weight in regard to the particular instance specified; and the designation of Sakti may not be correctly applicable to the whole class, although it is to some of the series: for there is no incompatibility in the advocacy of a Tántrika modification of
the Hindu religion by any Puráňa; and it has, unquestionably, been practised in works known as Upapuráňas. The proper appropriation of the third class of the Puránas, according to the Padma Purána, appears to be to the worship of Krishňa, not in the character in which he is represented in the Vishńu and Bhagavata Puránas, -in which the incidents of his boyhood are only a portion of his biography, and in which the human character largely participates, at least in his riper years, -but as the infant Krishna, Govinda, Bála Gopála, the sojourner in Vrindávana, the companion of the cowherds and milkmaids, the lover of Rádhá, or as the juvenile master of the universe, Jagannatha. The term Rájasa, implying the animation of passion and enjoyment of sensual delights, is applicable not only to the character of the youthful divinity, but to those with whom his adoration in these forms seems to have originated, the Gosains of Gokul and Bengal, the followers and descendants of Vallabha and Chaitanya, the priests and proprietors of Jagannath and Srínáthdwár, who lead a life of affluence and indulgence, and vindicate, both by precept and practice, the reasonableness of the Rájasa property, and the congruity of temporal enjoyment with the duties of religion."
The Puráňas are uniformly stated to be eighteen in number. It is said that there are also eighteen Upapuráňas or minor Puráňas: but the names of only a few of these are specified in the least exceptionable
* Collective Works of Professor Wilson, Vol. I., p. 119.
authorities; and the greater number of the works is not procurable. With regard to the eighteen Puranas, there is a peculiarity in their specification, which is proof of an interference with the integrity of the text, in some of them, at least; for each of them specifies the names of the whole eighteen. Now, the list could not have been complete whilst the work that gives it was unfinished; and in one only, therefore, the last of the series, have we a right to look for it. As, however, there are more last words than one, it is evident that the names must have been inserted in all except one, after the whole were completed. Which of the eighteen is the exception, and truly the last, there is no clue to discover; and the specification is, probably, an interpolation, in most, if not in all.
The names that are specified are commonly the same, and are as follows: 1. Bráhma, 2. Pádma, 3. Vaishňava, 4. Saiva, 5. Bhagavata, 6. Náradiya, 7. Márkańdeya, 8. Agneya, 9. Bhavishya, 10. Brahma Vaivarta, 11. Lainga, 12. Váráha, 13. Skánda, 14. Vámana, 15. Kaurma, 16. Mátsya, 17. Gáruda, 18. Brahmánda." This is from the twelfth book of the Bhagavata, and is the same as occurs in the Vishnu.? In other authori
1 The names are put attributively; the noun substantive, Puráńa, being understood. Thus, VaishúavaTM Puránam means the Purána of Vishńu; Saivam Puráňam, the Puráňa of Siva; Bráhmań Puráňam, the Purana of Brahma. It is equally correct, and more common, to use the two substantives in apposition, as Vishňu Purána, Siva Purána, &c. In the original Sanskrit the nouns are compounded, as Vishnu-purána, &c.: but it has not been customary to combine them, in their European shape.
? Book III., Chapter VI.