Sri N.Krishnaswamy, IPS (retd.) is a multi – talented personality who is not resting on his laurels after retirement from a top position in Indian Police Service. In his professional career he distinguished himself with two notable awards—President’s Award for Meritorious service in 1965 and President’s Award for Distinguished Services in 1972. After retirement he retained an active spirit, dedicating himself totally to social service, teaching computer science to freshly pass out youths, especially those without sight. He has made a mark in the religious field also with some serious writing in the period 2009- 10 on our ancient scriptural works that resulted in books on 1. The Bhagavad Gita 2. The Rg Veda 3. The Vedangas, and 4. The Lalita Sahasranamam. In these books he has presented brief selection from the original works with simple explanations and perspectives, shorn of complex and esoteric aspects for the benefit of the first time reader. The present work, An Insight into Bhagavata Purana, is also a significant contribution in that direction.
The Puranas, along with the Vedas and Itihasas, form the massive religious bedrock of ancient Indian tradition. They go back in time to more than five millennia. The bulk of them are said to whose birth is dated by one perceptive scholar at 3374 BC.This date, timing of the Mahabharata war, as described by Vyasa.
All dates of events of those times are based upon the start of the Kali Yuga era, placed at 3101 BC. The traditional Indian calendar is based on this era and is maintained in the Panchanga (almanac) publications of India to the present day. Vedic rituals in Indians homes even today start with a citation of the date and time of observance of the ritual based on this calendar. The above date, 3101 BC, is also held to mark the mortal depature and divine ascension of Lord Krishna.
Is there anything of historical significance in the Vedas, Ithasas and Puranas that constitute the massive bulk o the ancient revered text of India? For an answer to this question, we must first ask a more basic question: What is history and what is or should be its objective? We have a History of India by Vincent Smith, a story of Civilization by Will Durant (it is really a History, though he calls it a Story), a Stephen Hawking. There is a even a History of God by Karen Armstrong, Where do the Ithasas and Puranas fit into all these genres of History?
A Record of Dynasties
The Itihasa claims to be history by the very meaning of the word, which is “Thus it was.” But they are not accepted as History by the conventional modern historian or by an august body like the Indian History Congress. The word, Purana, means an ancient record and the Upanishads regard the Puranas as Itihasas.
The ancient definition of the Puranas was that they were a record not only of gods and beings of other worlds and regions of the cosmos, but more importantly, dynasties of rulers and great men who made a great impact on the morals and ethics of the society of their time. Western thinking and writing is conditioned by the fact that their traditions of myth and legend do not have or even claim to have any claim to conventional history, and hence they have tended to apply the same judgment to the Itihasas and Puranas.
It is true that the Indian texts carry a considerable overlay of imaginative myth and legend, especially in the legends of gods and super-men, but is not there a core of conventional human history that needs to be recognized as such, without being distracted by overlay? The Itihasas and Puranas present the activities of gods, super-men and humans in a human setting to illustrate vividly how the purpose of life is to help the human to rise to the level of the super-human and the divine, and prevent them from descending to the level of the sub-human. Humans competing for existence and subsistence have inevitably been drawn into activities involving war and peace.
People are often at war and peace, as much with themselves as with others. These activities obviously involve and fulfill a historic process and purpose and, therefore, constitute the essence of history. The setting is human, and the question is whether it is realistic or real through of course, there is a larger philosophical question whether this really matters or what Reality itself is. Yet there is, in the narratives of the Itihasas and Puranas a vast measure of internal, consistent detail, in respect of human dynasties that simply clamour to be recognized as real. We may here take note of the remarkable work of traditional scholar, Kota Venkatachalam.He analysed the Puranas and presented his findings in more than 20 vast volume of awesome erudition, with mind-boggling details and deep conviction in their historical veracity. Venkatachalam’s findings on many of the main events of the Mahabharata and the Puranas are dated and summarized in the following two lists below, where the end portions can be seen to acquire recognizable historicity: Let us look at some more aspects of the Puranic core. First, the Puranas themselves define their own objective clearly as maintaining of genealogies of rishis, kings and other great personalities. The men who composed these texts clearly were scholars of merit and rectitude numbers of humans, identified by name and occupying the same sequence within the same vast timeline.
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