Distortion of history and interpolations

Venkataramani K. VenkataramaniK at AOL.COM
Wed Oct 16 23:26:41 CDT 2002

<<Does anyone have a citation for Dayananda's comments on the Puranas being
bogus and the product of evil minds?>>

I don't have the exact citation off hand, as all my books are not here with
me, but in gist that is what he considered them to be. I may not share the
view that everything in the puranas is evil, but no one can really deny that
they have been interpolated. If we take Mahabharata, the critical edition
brought out by Bhandarkar accepted only 70,000 of the 1,00,000 verses as
authentic. Ramayana comes in several recensions having verses ranging from
24,000 to 48,000. Obviously there has been a lot of interpolation.

In fact, the entire "Uttara Kanda" is considered to be whole sale
interpretation. Kambar who translated Valmiki Ramayana into Tamil didn't
translate this canto. It is unlikely that he would have left out an entire
canto, if it had existed. Later on, an anonymous Tamil poet [presumed to be
Ottakkootthar] translated this canto and now it has found its way into Kamba

Even many of the works ascribed to Adi Sankara are considered to be later day
interpolations. Academics agree that only the bhashyas on Brahma sutra,
Brhadaranyaka and Taittiriya Upanishads and the independent work Upadesa
Sahari were authored by him. Even in Brahma Sutra bhashyam, parts are
considered to be later day interpolations. The opinion is divided on whether
he wrote the commentaries on the Gaudapada Karika to Mandukya Upanishad and
Bhagavad Gita. The rest are considered outright interpolations.

Of course, I understand that these are very subjective issues. Most Sankara
mutts may not agree with these academic observations. It is another story
that most Sankara mutts have had a broken lineage.

I remember having read some very convincing arguments put forth by Swami
Dayananda Saraswati regarding such things as widow remarriage, Niyoga etc..
He argued that the shruti themselves don't proscribe remarriage of the widows
[I am not sure if he argued that they supported them, but I vaguely remember
him mentioning about the funeral hymns of the Rk veda] and such a ban was
only brought forth by the smritis later on.

Some of the Puranas such as Bhagavata Purana and Brahma Vaivarta Purana are
considered to have been authored only around the 10th century CE or later. I
believe that neither Adi Sankara nor Ramanujacharya even mentioned about
either of these, though they are supposed to have mentioned about Vishnu
Purana. It is unlikely that they would have completely neglected these works
had they existed during their times. More so with Ramanujacharya.


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