Imagens da página


like, appropriate to different lunar days. A few legends enliven the series of precepts. That of the sage Chyavana is told at considerable length, taken, chiefly, from the Mahábhárata. The Nága Panchamí, or fifth lunation sacred to the serpent-gods, gives rise to a description of different sorts of snakes. After these, which occupy about one third of the chapters, the remainder of them conform, in subject, to one of the topics referred to by the Matsya. They chiefly represent conversations between Krishńa, his son Sámba,–who had become a leper by the curse of Durvásas,,Vasishtha, Nárada, and Vyása, upon the power and glory of the Sun, and the manner in which he is to be worshipped. There is some curious matter in the last chapters, relating to the Magas, silent worshippers of the sun, from Sákadwipa; as if the compiler had adopted the Persian term Magh, and connected the fire-worshippers of Iran with those of India. This is a subject, however, that requires

further investigation. | The Bhavishyottara is, equally with the preceding,

a sort of manual of religious offices; the greater portion being appropriated to Vratas, and the remainder, to the forms and circumstances with which gifts are to be presented. Many of the ceremonies are obsolete, or are observed in a different manner, as the Rathayátrá or car-festival, and the Madanotsava or festival of spring. The descriptions of these throw some light upon the public condition of the Hindu religion at a period probably prior to the Mohammedan conquest. The different ceremonies are illustrated by legends,

which are, sometimes, ancient; as, for instance, the deOstruction of the god of love by Siva, and his thence becoming Ananga, the disembodied lord of hearts. The work is supposed to be communicated by Krishna to Yudhishthira, at a great assemblage of holy persons at the coronation of the latter, after the conclusion of the Great War.

10. Brahma Vaivarta Puráňa. “That Puráňa which is related by Sávarúi to Nárada, and contains the account of the greatness of Krishna, with the occurrences of the Rathantara Kalpa, where, also, the story of Brahmavaráha is repeatedly told, is called the Brahma Vaivarta, and contains eighteen thousand stanzas.”1 The account here given of the Brahma Vaivarta Puráňa agrees with its present state, as to its extent. The copies rather exceed than fall short of eighteen thousand stanzas. It also correctly represents its comprising a Máhátmya or legend of Krishna; but it is very doubtful, nevertheless, if the same work is intended.

The Brahma Vaivarta, as it now exists, is narrated, not by Sávarni, but the Rishi Náráyańa, to Nárada, by whom it is communicated to Vyása: he teaches it to Súta; and the latter repeats it to the Rishis at Naimishárańya. It is divided into four Khańdas or books, the Brahma, Prakriti, Ganesa, and Krishna Janma Khańdas; dedicated, severally, to describe the acts of Brahmá, Deví, Ganesa, and Krishńa; the latter, however, throughout absorbing the interest and importance of the work. In none of these is there any account of



[ocr errors]

the Varáha Avatára of Vishńu,- which seems to be intended by the Matsya,—nor any reference to a Rathantara Kalpa. It may also be observed, that, in describing the merit of presenting a copy of this Puráňa, the Matsya adds: “Whoever makes such gift is honoured in the Brahma-loka”; * a sphere which is of very inferior dignity to that to which a worshipper of Kíishńa is taught to aspire by this Puráňa. The character of the work is, in truth, so decidedly sectarial, and the sect to which it belongs so distinctly marked, that of the worshippers of the juvenile Krishna and Rádhá, a form of belief of known modern origin,—that it can scarcely have found a notice in a work to which, like the Matsya, a much more remote date seems to belong. Although, therefore, the Matsya may be received in proof of there having been a Brahma Vạivarta Puráňa at the date of its compilation, dedicated especially to the honour of Krishna, yet we cannot credit the possibility of its being the same we now possess.

Although some of the legends believed to be ancient are scattered through the different portions of this Purána, yet the great mass of it is taken up with tiresome descriptions of Vrindávana and Goloka, the dwellings of Krishna on earth and in heaven; with endless repetitions of prayers and invocations addressed to him; and with insipid descriptions of his person and sports, and the love of the Gopís and of Rádhá towards him. There are some particulars of the origin of the

[ocr errors]

artificer castes,-which is of value, because it is cited as authority in matters affecting them,-contained in the Brahma Khanda; and, in the Prakriti and Ganesa Khańdas, are legends of those divinities, not wholly, perhaps, modern inventions, but of which the source has not been traced. In the life of Krishna, the incidents recorded are the same as those narrated in the Vishńu and the Bhagavata; but the stories, absurd as they are, are much compressed, to make room for original matter still more puerile and tiresome. The Brahma Vaivarta has not the slightest title to be regarded as a Puráňa. 1

11. Linga Puráňa. “Where Maheśwara, present in the Agni Linga, explained (the objects of life) virtue, wealth, pleasure, and final liberation at the end of the Agni Kalpa,* that Purána, consisting of eleven thousand stanzas, was called the Lainga by Brahmá himself.” 2

The Linga Purana conforms, accurately enough, to this description. The Kalpa is said to be the Ísána: but this is the only difference. It consists of eleven thousand stanzas. It is said to have been originally composed by Brahmá; and the primitive Linga is a

[ocr errors]

* ? Instead of Professor Wilson's Tauti &c., one of the MSS. I have seen has कल्पान्तलैङ्ग; another, कल्पान्तलिङ्ग; and another, कल्पं dago; while the fourth is here corrupt past mending by conjecture.

of See Professor Wilson's collected works, Vol. III.


pillar of radiance, in which Maheswara is present. The work is, therefore, the same as that referred to by the Matsya.

A short accouut is given, in the beginning, of elemental and secondary creation, and of the patriarchal families; in which, however, Siva takes the place of Vishnu, as the indescribable cause of all things. Brief accounts of Siva's incarnations and proceedings in different Kalpas next occur, offering no interest, except as characteristic of sectarial notions. The appearance of the great fiery Linga takes place, in the interval of a creation, to separate Vishnu and Brahma, who not only dispute the palm of supremacy, but fight for it; '' when the Linga suddenly springs up, and puts them both to shame; as, after travelling upwards and downwards for a thousand years in each direction, neither can approach to its termination. Upon the Linga the sacred monosyllable Om is visible; and the Vedas proceed from it, by which Brahma and Vishńu become enlightened, and acknowledge and eulogize the superior might and glory of Siva.

A notice of the creation in the Padma Kalpa then follows; and this leads to praises of Siva by Vishnu and Brahmá. Siva repeats the story of his incarnations, twenty-eight in number; intended as a counterpart, no doubt, to the twenty-four Avatáras of Vishńu, as described in the Bhagavata; and both being amplifications of the original ten Avatáras, and of much less merit as fictions. Another instance of rivalry occurs in the legend of Dadhichi, a Muni, and worshipper of Siva. In the Bhagavata, there is a story of Ambarisha being defended against Durvásas by the discus of Vishńu,

« AnteriorContinuar »