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

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jul 28 22:54:21 CDT 2006

On Fri, 28 Jul 2006, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> 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" (?)

That the important Vedic statements are those that impell action (vidhi) 
is the standard Mimamsaka party line.  "offer a white animal to Vayu" is 
also a stock Mimamsaka example of a vidhi.  So he seems to be saying 
Brahmana = vidhi.

> 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

I think a better translation would be "including upto Brahmanda".  See 

> 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 in this case, itihasa-purana = the Mimamsaka category of arthavada.

> 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.

Isn't it interesting that Sureshvaracharya is held to have been an 
ex-Mimamsaka (even by those who don't agree with the identification with 
Mandana Mishra.)

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

Rather I think he is merely recollecting the traditional shlokas that 
name the 18 mahapuranas.

brAhmaM pAdmaM vaiShNavaM cha shivaM bhAgavataM tatha |
tathanyannAradIyaM cha mArkaNDeyaM cha saptamaM ||
AgneyaM aShTamaM proktaM bhaviShyannavamaM tathA |
dashamaM brahmavaivartaM lingamekAdashaM tathA ||
vArAhaM dvAdashaM proktaM skAndaM chAtra trayodashaM | 
chaturdasham vAmanaM cha kaurmaM pa~nchadashaM tathA ||
mAtysaM cha garuDaM chaiva brAhmANDAShTAdashaM tathA ||

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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