The present monograph is the philosophical exposition of the Naradiya Purana. The theme of cosmogony, the doctrine of devotion, the problem of emancipation and the fundamental conception of the Saiva system of thought are the four veritable problems of this Purana. So the author has tried his best to give a comprehensive representation of these topics mentioned above. In order to place the view of the Naradiya Purana in a proper prospective, the findings advanced by the Vedic seers and philosophers of India have been analysed and critically examined by the author in the present work.
Dr. Upadhyaya is born in a traditional learned family of Uttar Pradesh. His family has special honour to produce the Scholar of Sanskrit literature like Pandit Baldeo Upahyaya. He is a brilliant student from the very beginning and has secrured first class in the High School and M.A. Examinations. He has been a regular research scholar of Ph.D. at the Mithila Sanskrit Research Institute, Darbhanga for two years and received Ph.D. from the University of Bihar, Muzaffarpur where he has been working as a Reader in the department of Sanskrit at present.
The Pauranika literature occupies a position of immense eminence in the religious and cultural realm of the Hindus. The ,Satapatha Brahmana and the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad have accorded an equal status and sanctity to the Vedas and Puranas alike. They have declared that the damp fuel when gets ignited, the smoke issues out from it. In an analogous manner the four Vedas, Itihasa, Purana and Upanisads, etc., have manifested themselves as the natural breath of the Supreme. The Atharvaveda has made this positive pronouncement that the Vedas together with the Puranas were born from the sacrifices. This indubitably proves the great antiquity of the Puranas.
The importance of a sedulous study of the Puranas can hardly be overestimated. The Brahmanda Purana has laid down that for the attainment of a comprehensive knowledge of the deep import of the Vedas, the study of the Puranas is an indispensability. A Brahmin who has gone through the four Vedas including the Angas and Upanisads, cannot reach the perfection of his knowledge in the event of the absence of a thorough grasp of the Puranas. The study of the Vedas should be re-enforced and supplemented by the knowledge derived from the study of the Puranas. The expression 'purana' is a significant one. It is so called because of its antiquity and because of its revealing the meaning of the Vedas. They were composed to enunciate secret and mystic doctrine enshrined in the Vedic texts to those who are not entitled to read them. This accounts for the conferment of the designation of the fifth Veda upon the Pauranika literature. This stands categorically corroborated by the Chandogya Upanisad.
A few oriental scholars have vehemently criticised the credibility of the Puranas as embodying unvarnished records of the pristine culture and civilization of the Hindus. They do not stop with it. Their detraction of the Pauranika literature goes so far as to openly declare them as the product of futile mind. They hold that this particular branch of literature contains only evidence of superstitious belief and obnoxious religious rites and practices. But this view is not based on a correct and unbiased estimation and evaluation of the Puranas. The profound spiritual significance of them passes the comprehension of one who is suffering from the inquietude of western culture and education. So what is essential for the proper understanding of them is that the mind should be disburdened off the corroding influence of the ultrawesternism. A material approach will obscure his vision and render him impervious to delight which is emanating from the teachings and utternances of the Puranas. A critical reflection reveals that the deepest truth of life has been revealed by the Puranas by means of metaphorical expressions and accounts. It should be borne in mind that the seers and sages of the Puranas were not induced to compose this vast branch of Pauranika literature by glitter of temporal considerations. We shall refer to one or two salient features in order to sustain the incontrovertibility and invincibility of our contention. In the Puranas is the Supreme God has been eulogized in His myriad forms. The Divine majesty has been narrated as undergoing infinite manifestation. But this diversity has been explicitly stated to be a mere apparent one intended to adopt to the different level of spiritual attainments of the devotee This manifoldness of the Supreme should not be taken in a literal sense. His plurality has been conceived only to suit the religious bent of mind of an individual. But with the attainment of the highest perfection of life, the diversity and plurality of Him vanishes like darkness before light. What remains is nothing but a pure unity and oneness of the Supreme. This truth has been elaborated by all the Puranas without an exception. But it is bound to appear too recondite to a mind which lacks in spiritual insight. The sane observation is applicable to the different varieties of vows with equal propriety. A casual student of the Puranas may think that the enumeration and elaboration of the numerous rites and vows smack of rigid formalities and sectarian parochialism. The true spirit of religion is completely divorced and conspicuously absent in them. But this extreme attitude is the product of an uncritical mind. The different vows, religious rites and ceremonies are not to be sidered as the ultimate end in themselves. But on the contrary they have been prescribed as an infalliable means to the realization of an ultimate end. This ultimate end is nothing but the direct realization of supreme in His boundless glory and majesty. The religious disposition of human mind finds expression in numerous ways. So there is necessity for laying down different paths for reaching the Ultimate Reality which is one and individual in its essential nature. Similarly the glorification of the sacred places occupies a prominent place in the Puranas. The seers and saints after their retirement in a secluded place engage themselves in spiritual contemplation. The vision of the Supreme is obtained as a direct consequence of it. Not only the spiritual aspirant himself but the seat of his meditation becomes endowed with an odour of sanctity. Both of them become entitled to deep reverence. The sacredness of the place persuades hundreds and thousands of devotees to go on a pilgrimage to that place as an act of religious devotion. The holy places exert a profound influence in shaping the spiritual outlook of mind. The immersion in the Ganges or visiting Varanasi purges the mind of all impurities and impious thoughts. It is a fact which can be felt inwardly. External evidence cannot be afforded to convince the sceptics. These facts account for as to why the Puranas are repleted with the glorification of the holy places of India.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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