Garuda Purana

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Item Code: NZA199
Publisher: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan
Author: Pt. Shri Ramtej Pandey
Language: English
Edition: 2005
Pages: 435
Other Details 7.5 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 450 gm
Book Description
The Garuda Purana is unique in the subject-matter of its text and its importance also lies in Bhuvana-kosha as depicted there-in. The Purana throws light on the event of destruction of the land, where Mlechhas, Nastikas, Yavanas and Saindhavas etc. unfortunately participated in that annihilation. These Saindhavas represent the Arab conquerors who had occupied Sindh. The Kumarika Khanda list of the countries mentioned in the Skanda Purana also places Yavanas in this region near Mulasthana desha (Multan Dist.) the Kurma Purana refers to as Parasikas, whom king Yashovarman of Kannauj had conquered in his digvijaya (cf. Gaudavaha of Vakpatiraja).

The Mlechchhas of the Himalayas region and the Turushkas of the Norlh mentioned in the Bhuvana Kosha section also reflect upon the Turkish conquest of north western India by the Ghaznavids. The Passage found in the Garuda Purana that the country was threatened by the Dasyus (dasyutkrishta janapadah) is also very significant and it reflects upon the age of terror and turmoil caused by the Turkish invasions.

The alien invasions of such people, who destroyed the shrines and the roots of religion viz. Deities, Brahmanas and cows and also they carried away the ladies. They defiled the tirthas, which also caused a great terror.

The Pauranikas accepted the challenge and exhorted the Kshatriya to adhere svadharma of giving protection to country and culture. They were inspired to fight and establish unity. Thus they were asked to follow sangha-vritti. The Garuda Purana says:

Here in the above verse there is pun on the world Naga which represents Guzz Turks or Gaznavids styled Dasyus. The freedom of the country was also imperiled after the fall of Prithviraja III at the hands of Muhammad Ghori in the second battle of Terain (1192 A. D.) the Pauranika points to the political blunder of the Chahmana ruler who as succumbed in sensuous slumber in the company of his newly acquired wife Samyogita.

The Success of life depends on the life of freedom, those who are subservient to others, they are the living monuments of death.

In such an era of daruna Kali it was in the fitness of things that the culture traditions and the foundations of Dharma and culture should be preserved.

Garuda Purana: An Analysis of Contents
Prof. Raghavan has rightly observed that ‘The Purana research has already established the fact that in the case of many Puranas the original texts were partly or fully lost and were reconstructed.... . While on one side we have, therefore, to regret the loss of the older texts of the Puranas, on the other, we cannot ignore the new texts, for they are products of a historical and cultural process and the material as it has its own intrinsic significance for the age it reflects. Each text purposing to be a particular Purana or a part of it, therefore, deserves its own critical study as a literary religious and cultural document.’ In view of the age of crisis and catastrophe marked by the Turkish conquest of India in the Two Puranas, Agni and Garuda, in Particular were incorporated the summaries of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad-Gita, Harivamsha as well as some philosophical systems like Vedanta and Bhakti-sutras Different branches of learning and science like Ayurveda (Medicine), Vyakarana (Grammar), Ratnashastra or ratnapariksha etc. were dealt with.

Nitishastra (or Nitisara) associated with the school of Brihaspati is dealt with exhaustively. The political system of the Garuda Purana, as it has been pointed out above, reflects upon the Rajaputa epoch characterised by the Vira-dharma or (Shura-vrata):

The social system based on the Dharmashastras, particularly inspired by Yajnavalkya and Parashara. The latter exclaims:

A Kshatriya, not adhering to his svadharma of fighting (for the protection of his country and culture) was censured.

The Garuda Purana is a Vaishnava Purana which glorifies Vishnu and Vishnu-Dharam (Bhakti). It also glorifies Vedanta:

Thus He is Narayana – Param Brahman or Paramatman – One sole Supreme Lord - unmanifest. But for the good of the world He assumes many forms and these incantatory forms are the objects of worship. Different modes of Vishnu-worship viz., Chaturuvyuha, Nava-vyuha, Pancha-tattva etc. are described. It requires the construction of images and temples. Shalagrama - stones were also worshipped, and in this connection w find the account of the twenty four images of Vishnu along with the fundamental features of the famous deities of Brahmanical Pantheon viz, Brahma, Maheshvara, Gauri Chandika, Sarasvati, Mahalakshmi and Divakara (Sun).

Temple – architecture based on different types of prasadas has also due consideration there. Thus the Purana gives enough material for the study of art and iconography like the Agni and the Matsya Puranas.

In the very first verse it glorifies both Shiva and Vishnu. Thus it exhibits religious harmony which is further reflected in the second verse where salutations are offered to Vishnu, Shiva, Ganadhipa (Ganehsa) and Sarasvati – the principle deities of pauranika religion.

The religious system and life of the age of the Garuda Purana was sufficiently influenced by the Tantric practices based on the Prominence of Mantras, Mudras, Mandalas and Nyasa etc. Sandhyopasana and Gayatrijapa as well as Atmadarshana based on the ‘tenet’ of the Bhagavad-Gita are also mentioned as important modes of worship.

Nastikas-Pashandas (heterodox sects like Buddhists and Jains) are censured.

Vratas (vows) and Trithas are also as usual mentioned there in. among various sacred spots and Siddhakshetras kongagiri adorned by the great sun temple deserve special notice.

Similarly Ramagiryashrama also deserves special attention. There has been a great controversy about the identification of Ramagiri mentioned in the Meghaduta of the poet Kalidasa. According to the Garuda purana, Ramagiryashrama was a celebrated tirtha. Kalidasa also mentions Ramagiryashrama (Ramagiryashramaeshu..) in his Mehaduta and not Ramagiri. The aparajita prichccha place Ramagiryashrama in the Dandaka forest where from sita was carried away by Ravana. Thus it must be near Panchavati Nasika region. At ellora a sacred forest associated with Shivalaya and Ghusmeshvara Jyotirlinga in one of the caves we have Sita nahani a lady (sita) standing near the thank just after taking her bath. Thus in short Garuda purnaa is the symbol of Vishnu or visnhu-Dharma. It also denotes Veda sara the essence of veda Dharma transformed into Purana Dharma in accordance with the exigence of the age.

Thought it refers to the Panchalakshanas viz. sarga prati-sarga vamsha Vamshanucharita and Manuvantaras yet the Purana is primarily concerned with the preservation of the traditional values of Hindu culture and civilization threatened by the Asuras and Daityas. It is a non sectarian text stimulating political social and religious harmony.

Dharma is identified with Vishnu (Dharmo hi Vishnuh) and pashandas did not worship Vishnu. Hence there was Vaishnava movement to suppress such Nastikata and as a harmonious step Buddha was recognized as an incarnation of Vasudeva.

Let us conclude with remarks that such Vishnu-Dharma based on the essence of Vedas is meant for the good of all:

Human life a very rare gifty, bestowed upon a man is meant to performs his religious duties and social as well as political obligations (i.e. Svadharma). Brahmanas were also exhorted to adhere to tapas and tyaga and not to the life of luxury.

These Brahmanas were the leaders of a new movement which aimed at the happiness of all.

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