[Advaita-l] Re: itihAsa purANa in the bR^ihadAraNyaka

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 28 14:26:24 CDT 2006

I was able to locate the shAyaNa bhAShya, where he says:

brAhmaNAni - karmacodanA.h "vAyavyAgm shvetamAlabheta"
The brAhmaNa (passages) are the ones impelling action such as "place
the white (animal?) in the northwest direction" (?)

itihAsA - mahabhAratAdayaH
The itihAsas are mahAbhArata and the rest. Note: the plural being used
he seems to have in mind the rAmAyaNa and at least one another since
the plural and not dual is used.

purANAni - brahmANDAdIni
The purANas are the brahmANDa and the rest

yadva "devaasuraa.h sa.myattaa aasan" ityaadaya.h itihaasaa.h
****Or it could mean**** Passages such as "The devas and asuras were
prepared for war" (emphasis mine)

"AtmA vA idameka evAgra aasiinnAnyatki.mcana miShat" - ityaadi
sR^iShTyAdi pratipAdakAni purANAni
Teachings of creation, etc., such as "The Atman was alone existing in
the begnning, nothing else blinked" are the purANas

So it appears there were two conflicting opinions among the
traditional school on the meaning of purANas and itihAsas when
referred to in the veda. Actually shAyaNa, if mentions his preference
first (as seems likely by his use of yadvA), seems to be in tune with
Sureshvara and not Shankara.

It is interesting that shAyaNa thinks that the archetypal purANa is
the brahmANDa, just like the bhArata is the archetypal itihAsa.


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