इतिहास पुराणाभ्यां वेदं समुपबृंहयेत्।
बिभेत्यल्पश्रुताद् वेदो मामयं प्रहरिष्यति।। 1.267,268।।
The above verse in the Mahabharata is a declaration by its composer Krishna Dwaipayana(Vyaasa) regarding the purpose of the Epic itself. It means “Through Itihaasa-Puraana meaning of Veda is expounded. Vedas fear the ones not well versed in Itihaasa Puraana (अल्प श्रुत), for such persons attack Vedas by studying them. ”
One can easily infer what Vyaasa wants to convey here. At the outset of his epic, the author communicates the essentiality of Itihaasa-Purana for understanding Veda. The study of Veda done by a person who doesn’t know Itihaasa-Puraana has been equated to an attack on Vedas. It is thus fitting to say that Itihaasa and Puranas are supporters of Vedas.
But the question is – HOW?
A logical thought, backed by literary evidence is the answer to this ‘How’.
For every Hindu, other than Buddhists, Jains and Charvaakas, Vedas are the highest and binding authority.
परात्तु तच्छ्रुतेः (Vedanta Sutra- 2.3.41)
Shruti or Veda is Supreme.
Similarly, Manu Smriti says – धर्म जिज्ञासमानानां प्रमाणं परं श्रुति: ।। (2.13) ।।
‘For those curious about Dharma, Shruti is ‘Pramaana.’
The word ‘Pramaana’ (प्रमाण) in Indic traditions/ languages means a reliable medium to ascertain authenticity. Let us understand it in the context of a human body. Eyes are called Pramaana for Vision. Ears are Pramaana for Sound. We can’t say that ears are Pramaana for Vision. We can’t ascertain the appearance of a subject, merely through sound. (E.g. Dasharath couldn’t ascertain through sound whether it was a deer or Shravankumar). Same way Nose is Pramaana for, smell. Taste buds for taste and skin for touch. Nose can’t ascertain taste. Ears can’t ascertain touch.
Every Pramaana has its subject, which is called ‘Prameya’ (प्रमेय). A prameya doesn’t have more than one Pramaana.
As already said, Veda is Supreme Pramaana.
But… for WHAT?
Based on the above explanation of Pramaanas, Shruti can’t be Pramaana for vision, sound, touch, taste or smell. If we say that Shruti can be a Pramaana for them then there is no need of the other senses, which is not the case. And if we say Shruti and senses ascertain same things, then Shruti would be reduced to ‘mere expression of sensory experience in the form of words. ‘And this notion is not in harmony with the Supremacy of Shruti. Therefore Shruti has to be Pramaana for something which is not a subject of senses or any other tool of perception.
That’s why Saayana Acharaya says:
“प्रत्यक्षेणानुमित्यावा यस्तूपायो न बुध्यते। एनं विदंति वेदेन तस्माद् वेदस्य वेदता।।”
“ Vedas are Vedas if they make us know that which is not known through other Pramanas.”
Now, look at Kenopnishad 1.3-
“ न तत्र चक्षुर्गच्छति न वाग्गच्छति नो मनः ।
न विद्मो न विजानीमो यथैतदनुशिष्यात् ॥”
“There sight travels not, nor speech, nor the mind. We know it not nor can distinguish how one should teach of ‘It’.”
This is a description of something which fits in the criteria of Shruti Pramaana.
Then see further the verses 5-8 to know what ’It’ is.
“यद्वाचाऽनभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ 5॥
यन्मनसा न मनुते येनाहुर्मनो मतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ 6॥
यच्चक्षुषा न पश्यति येन चक्षूँषि पश्यति ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ 7॥
यच्छ्रोत्रेण न शृणोति येन श्रोत्रमिदं श्रुतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ 8॥”
“ That which speech does not illumine,
but which illumines speech.
Know that alone to be the Brahm (the Supreme Being)(ब्रह्म)
not this which people worship here ।।5।।
That which cannot be thought by mind,
but by which they say the mind is able to think.
Know that alone to be the Brahm
not this which people worship here ।। 6।।
That which sees not with the eye,
but by which one sees the eye’s seeing.
Know that to be the Brahm and not this which men follow after here. ।।7।।
That which cannot be heard by the ear,
but by which the ear is able to hear.
Know that alone to be Brahm
not this which people worship here।।8।।”
So we learn that an entity which is beyond the sensory perception, and hence is a Pramaana for Shruti, is ‘Brahm’.
What is Brahm?
एष सर्वेश्वर एष सर्वज्ञ एषोऽन्तर्याम्येष योनिः सर्वस्य प्रभवाव्ययौ हि भूतानाम्।। Mandukya Upanishad ।।- 6।।
“It is Sarva-Ishwara or Lord of all, it’s omniscient, it resides in all, it’s the womb of all creation, in it the origin, the sustenance and the dissolution of everything happens.
यतो वा इमानि भूतानि जायंते येन जातानि जीवन्ति। यत्प्रयन्तयभिसंविशंति। तद्विजिज्ञासस्व। तद् ब्रह्मेति ।। Taitreya Upanishad. 3.1।।
“From whom all these creatures are born, due to which they live, and in which they ultimately repose, crave to know that…
That is Brahm.”
These Shrutis define Brahm as the cause of all existence.
Vyaasa too defines it as जन्माद्यस्य यतः ।। 1.1.2 – Brahm Sutra ।। Through whom creation, sustenance and dissolution happen. And this cause is said to be Conscious.
Chandogya Upanishad ।6.2.3। – तदैक्षत बहु स्यां प्रजा येय – It ‘resolved’ to become many from one and to be born in many ways. Desire to be many is what makes Brahm conscious.
And this conscious entity is none other than the Self. That’s why word Aatma or self has been used for it.
See the verses of Aitareya Upanishad :
1. अग्रे वै इदम् आत्मा एकः एव आसीत्। अन्यत् किञ्चन मिषत् न आसीत् । सः ईक्षत लोकान् नु सृजै इति ।।1।।
In the beginning, the Aatma was One, and all this (universe) was the Aatma; there was nought else that saw. The Aatma thought, “Lo, I will make me worlds from out my being.”
2. सः इमान् लोकान् असृजत अम्भः मरीचीः मरम् आपः अदः अम्भः परेण दिवम् दौः तस्य प्रतिष्ठा अन्तरिक्षं मरीचयः पृथिवी मरः याः अधस्तात् ताः आपः ।। 2।।
These were the worlds it made; Ambhah – of the ethereal waters, Marichih – of light, Mara – of death and mortal things, Apah – of
the lower waters. Beyond the shining firmaments are the ethereal waters and the firmament is their base and resting-place; Space is the world of light; the earth is the world mortal, and below the earth in the lower waters.
3. सः ईक्षत इमे नु लोकाः लोकपालान् नु सृजै इति। सः अद्भ्यः एव पुरुषं समुद्धृत्य अमूर्च्छयत् ॥3।।
The Aatma thought, “Lo, these are the worlds; and now will I make me guardians for my worlds.”
Therefore he gathered the Purusha out of the waters and gave Him shape and substance.
These Shrutis declare the self as Brahm.
Another thing proved by them is that this Aatma or Brahm is not only the instrument cause but also the material cause. That’s why it is shown as resolving to become worlds and creatures. It’s the creator as well as the creation.
Now one may say that if Aatma itself is creation, then the world which is a subject of sensory perception becomes ‘Prameya’ for Vedas. But that is not justified. Because Vedas have declared the world to be ‘mere appearance.’
इदं प्रञचं नास्तयेव नोत्पन्नं नो स्थितं क्वचित- (Tejobindupanishad 5.31)
– This creation is not real, it isn’t born, it doesn’t exist anywhere or at any time.
प्रतिभासत एवेदं न जगत्परमार्थः- Mahopanishad. (5.108)
– The universe is mere appearance, it’s not the supreme goal.
Same way Yogshikhopanishad (4.18-19) (4.16-17) and 4.10 testify the same. The famous ब्रह्म सत्यं जगत् मिथ्या, which is attributed to Shankaracharya, are in fact words of Niralamba Upanishad.
And finally, look at Chhandogya Upanishad’s –
सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म – “ All this (creation) is indeed Brahm.”
The world is merely an epiphenomenon of a reality called Brahm. The same thing has been said in the Mantra Part of Vedas. See this verse of Purusha Sukta –
पुरुषं एवेदं सर्वं यद्भूतं यच्च भाव्यम्। उतामृतत्वस्येशानो यदन्नेनातिरोहति।।-
The present, the past and the future, everything is Purusha. Purusha is lord of Devtas and other creatures.
All this literary evidence says that as per Vedas, Brahm alone is non-dual, conscious, existence reality. And Vedas are Pramaana for this reality only. The subject of Vedas is this Brahm. And that’s why no one can explain Vedas without knowing Brahm. That’s why Nirukta strictly says: अथापि प्रत्यक्षकृताः स्तोतारो भवन्ति।।7.1.2।।
And Itihaasa-Puraana is the supporters of Vedas, as their subject matter to is the same non-dual reality. In fact, they delve even deeper into this Brahm. We can say that the Itihaasa-Puraana is a magnification of Vedic aphorisms into voluminous epics. By reading Newton’s laws alone one can’t fathom motion. Same way Shruti Mantras alone will lead to nothing if the seeker has not imbibed the essence of Itihaasa-Puraanas. If you ignore Itihaasa-Puraana, your study of Veda is futile. The ineffable Brahm of Vedas becomes accessible even to the lowest of the low only through Itihaasa-Puraana. A study of Veda, not in harmony with Itihaasa-Puraana, is synonymous to undue labour. As already said, Brahm is not a subject of sensory perception. And the world doesn’t become an illusion by merely uttering Maya-Maya or Brahm-Brahm. There is no escape from miseries, sorrows and struggles of life even if you are told they are mere illusions. The body and the mind shall certainly respond to the world in the manner they are designed to respond, whether you are a Vaidika or anyone else. This state of mortals has been rightly realized by Itihaasa-Puraana. It is these Puranas that brought the Brahm, beyond space and time, into space and time, in the form of Teerthas, Vratas, Rivers, plants and animals. Whatever Dharma you witness today, in the form of temples, festivals, sublime poetry, diverse cuisines, it’s all due to Puraanas. Shruti didn’t prescribe them directly. Puranas make you realize the real through the unreal. It’s perfectly in harmony with the ‘ सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म Or पुरुषं एवेदं सर्वं।’ because there is no presence of the unreal and the real is present as it is. (नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ( 2.16 Gita). – This whole of the creation with forms and names is nothing but Brahm.
Vedas know it through negation and Puranas know it via inclusion. But the goal is same. It’s hard to negate with the mechanism of body we have but easy to include. Whatever is imagined or desired, whatever is seen, whatever is understood, let all that be Brahm. This the goal of Puranas.
.यद्रूपं मनसा ग्राह्यं यद् ग्राह्यं चक्षुरादिभिः ।
बुद्धया च यत्परिच्छेद्यं तद्रूपमखिलं तव।। (Vishnu Purana 1.4.19)
That’s why the non-dual Brahm of Upanishads is Shri Krishna of Bhagvata Purana.
वदंति तत्वविदस्तत्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम्।
ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानीती शब्द्यते।। 1.2.11।।
Shuanaka asks Ugrashrava about Krishna and with the aforesaid shloka he described Krishna: “Knowers of reality, speak of reality as knowledge without the duality of knower and the known. That reality is also called Brahm, Parmaatma or Bhagwaan.”
With this, he clearly defines the subject of Bhagvata.
This Krishna becomes Shiva in Shiva Purana . And the description of shiva is in it is the testimony for the same – Shiva Purana, Vayaviya Samhita, Purva khanda- 14-26 :
एक एव तदा रुद्रो न द्वितीयोऽस्ति कश्चन।
संसृज्य विश्वभुवनं गोप्तान्ते संचुकोच यः।। 14।।…….
वेदाहमेनमजरं पुराणं सर्वगं विभुम् ।
निरोधं जन्मनो यस्य वदन्ति ब्रह्म वादिनः।।26।।
At the onset, Rudra alone and no one else exists. Rudra creates, Rudra sustains and Rudra destroys this arrangement. ।14।
Whom knowers of Brahm know as unborn, I know that all-pervasive, immanent, eternal, primaeval being. ।26।
Valmiki describes this reality as Raama in his Itihaasa Raamayana. Academia believes Raama of Valmiki is a mortal Prince. The parts of Baalkaanda and Uttar Kanda declaring him Naraayana are later additions. That’s why I will cite Sundarkaand declaring Raama ‘Brahm’ :
सर्वान् लोकान् सुसंहृत्य सभूतान सचराचरान् ।
पुनरेव तथा स्रष्टुं शक्तो रामो महायशाः।। 5.51.39
Illustrious Rama can put an end to and dissolve all creatures including both movable and immovables of all worlds. He can recreate all of them in the same way. He has such superhuman powers.
From what we have read thus far, only Brahm has this potency.
This Brahm is revered as Divine feminine in Devi-Bhaagwat, Mahabhagwat & Markandeya Puranas. Itihaasa called Adbhut Ramayana too sings the glories of Goddess and herein Sita kills 1000 headed Raavana. This too is work of Vaalmiki. Similarly Ganesha Purana calls this reality as Ganapati and Bhavishya Purana extols Surya.
Itihaasa Mahaabhaarat is complete in itself, explaining the Aatma through Bhagavad Gita, Sanaata Sujaatiya and discourses of various Mahatmas in Vana Parva. It glorifies Krishna, Devi, Shiva, Skanda, Surya, Rama, Indra and the saga of Kaurava – Pandava Tussle.
Apart from all this Puranas themselves speak the features they have in common.
सर्गश्च प्रतिसर्गश्च वंशो मन्वंतरणि च।
वंशानुचरितं चैव पुराणं पञचलक्षणम्।। Devi Bhagwat – (1.2.18)
Means the 5 subjects of a Purana are-
• Sarga (सर्ग) – various universes coming into existence is called Sarga
• Pratisarga ( प्रतिसर्ग) – dissolution and then a recreation of the whole arrangement is Pratisarga
• Vamsha (वंश) – the saga of progenies of Gods, Seers and humans is called Vamsha
• Maanvantra – the tenure of a Manu is Maanvantra.
Apart from dealing with Brahm, Puranas deal with all these aspects. However, 2.10.1-2 of Bhagvata Purana and Krishna Janma Khand (233.8-10) of Brahmavaivarta Purana set out 10 subjects of a Purana, which are nothing but an elaboration aforesaid features. These 10 features have been explicitly mentioned there, which otherwise are already included in 5 former subjects.
Puranas are the preserver of Polytheism. Ganesha, Shiva, Devi, Vishnu and Surya, all of them have been glorified as Brahm in the Puraanas. Puraanas themselves explain why they have sung the glories of Brahm in different forms. The Maanvantra aspect of Puraanas is the key to this diversity. Without getting into much of the calculations, let’s simply understand it in brief.
As per Puranas; –
– The creation, that is one universe exists during one half of the day of Brahma(4 headed God, not Brahm) of that universe.
– The creation gets dissolved in its source in the other half that is a night of Brahma.
– One half of the day of Brahma is 1 Kalpa.
– Every Kalpa sees the rule of 14 Manus. Manus are progenitors of human civilization.
– There are 4 Yugas – Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwaapar Yuga and Kali Yuga.
– Each of these Yugas have their own time limit(which shall not be discussed now).
– When these 4 Yugas complete their cycle for 71 times, tenure of a Manu ends.
– When 14 Manus complete their tenure, 1 day of Brahma ends or 1 Kalpa ends.
– Thus these creation and dissolution keep happening in a cyclical manner.
Different Puranas are sagas of different Kalpas. In the same manner, many other universes are created during the day of Brahmas of such universes. The concept of multiverse or multi-universe does exist in Itihaasa Puranas. Prominent proofs of the same are in the Bhagvata, Brahmavaivarta Purana and Yoga Vashistha. Just as every universe has its own Brahma, it also has its own Vishnu, Rudra, Devi and Ganapati. But there is one lord of all universes with whose will all these Gods perform their functions. That is Brahm. One of these 5 main gods is established in union with Brahm (तादात्म्य with Brahm), in a particular Kalpa. यः ह वै तत् परमं ब्रह्म वेद सः ब्रह्म एव भवति – He, verily who knows that Supreme Brahm, becomes himself Brahm. (Mundak Upanishad – 9.) Hence that very God will be presiding over other gods in that Kalpa. That’s why Vishnu Purana talks of Kalpa where Vishnu Presides. Shiva Purana talks of Rudra’s supremacy and so on. These gods too are not free from mortality. Their respective ages have been given the Linga MahaPurana. But Brahm is the lord of all the universes hence, what 5 Gods are to their respective universes, Brahm is to the entire arrangement. That Brahm is सर्व( (everything) It is Vishnu, it’s Shiva, its Brahma, it’s Ganesha, it’s Devi. It’s everything, from a speck to this multitude of universes.
That’s why the ancient seers of India sang to this Brahm in diverse forms. The aim is to establish a union with that Brahm. Vyaasa for easy comprehension, described that Brahm in various Puranas, so that each one of us can choose a form which suits our persona. Its the expansion of these Shrutis –
अंतरजायमानो बहुधा विजायते – Yajurveda- 31.29
– The unborn is born in many ways.
सगुणनिर्गुणस्वरूपं ब्रहं – Tripadvibhutimahanarayan upanishad – 1.1
– Brahm is with forms as well as formless
भावग्राह्यम् अनीडाख्यं – Shevtashvatar Upanishad- 5.14
– The master of all becomings and not becomings.
This concept has been clearly explained in Rudra Samhita, Adhyaaya- 9 of Shiva Purana. Wherein Brahm reveals himself in the form of Uma and Maheshvara to Vishnu and Brahma of a universe. The Maheshwara has been thus described- ‘He had 5 faces and three eyes in every face. A crescent moon adorned his head. He had matted locks and was fair in complexion…’
In further verses, Saguna Brahm Maheshvara says to Brahma – “O’ Brahma, such a sublime form of mine shall come into this universe through you. It will be called ‘Rudra.’ Rudra would have the same potency as me.’ Rudra’ and I are one.”
Many people have opinions that such a concept is peculiar to Puranas and is not in harmony with the Vedas. But that’s far from the truth. The aforesaid part of Shiva Purana is an explanation of following Shrutis from Veda.
एको हि रुद्रो न द्वितीयाय तस्थु:। Shvetashvatar Upanishad 3.2।।
एक एव रुद्रो न द्वितीयाय तस्थु:। Taitreya Samhita- 188.8.131.52।।
रुद्रमेकत्वमाहुः शाश्वतं वै पुराणं। AtharvaShiras-5।।
All these Shrutis say there is only 1 Rudra. It is Primeval and eternal. This one Rudra is further described as –
यो देवानाम् प्रभवश्चोद्भ्वश्च विश्वाधिपो रुद्रो महर्षि:। हिरण्यगर्भ जनयामास पूर्वे स नो बुद्धया शुभया संयुनक्तु।। Shevtashvatar- 3.4।।
देवानाम् प्रभवश्च – God of all Gods
उद्भवश्च – Source of all Gods
हिरण्यगर्भ जनयामास – Cause of Brahma or Hiranyagarbhaa.
This one Rudra is no other than Brahm or Maheshvara of Shiva Purana.
This Brahm Rudra has also been extolled in
Rig Veda: 2.33.1 – No one can take away the strength of Great lord of the Universe, Rudra. His strength is not separate from him.
Rig Samhita Mandala.8. Sukta.72 says: अंतरिच्छंति तं जने रुद्रं परो मनीषया – people seeking freedom seek Supreme Rudra within themselves.
Atharva- 7.12.1 too glorifies the Rudra as supreme.
All these Shrutis describe one Rudra who is Brahm.
Now, look at these Shrutis –
असंख्यता सहस्त्राणि ये रुद्रा अधिभूम्याम।। Yajurveda- 16.54।।
‘Many a thousand Rudras are there on the land.’ – This Vedic verse talks of thousands of Rudras. It is fitting that these Rudras are Rudras of different universes as mentioned in the Puranas.
Rig samhita- 10.64.8 – रुद्रं रुद्रेषु रुद्रियं हवामहे।।
Rig Samhita – 7.35.6 – शं नो रुद्रो रुद्रेभिर्जलाषः।।
Rigveda Samhita- 7.10.4 – रुद्रं रुद्रेभिरा वहा बृहन्तम्।।
All these verses say that there is One Rudra along with many Rudras. Shiva Purana too establishes the same concept in Rudra Samhita.
Hence the aforesaid concept of Puranas is clearly an उपबृहण (explanation) of Vedic Shrutis. If one doubts that 1 Rudra in Vedas is not Brahm, then see the Bhashya of Saayana- 1- रुद्रस्य परमेश्वरस्य ( ऋ क 6.28.7)
2- रुद्रः संहर्ता देवः ( अथर्व- 1.19.3)
3- जगत्स्रष्टा सर्वं जगदनुप्रविष्टः रुद्रः (अथर्व.7.12.1)
4- रुद्रः परमेश्वर: ( अथर्व.11.2.3)
Thus Saayana too declared ‘One Rudra’ as Brahm. This evidence establishes two things –
1. Concept of Multiverse, kalpas in Puranas is an explanation of Veda.
2. Vedic Rudra = Puranic Rudra.
Many sects and academicians also believe that that stories of Avataaras of Vishnu are Puraanic fables, or are hyper-imagination of Puranic age. They too should know that the concept of Avataaras is an inherent part of the Vedas.
Rig Samhita: 1.22.18 says: विष्णुर्गोपा अदाभ्यः अतो धर्माणि धारयत्।Vishnu is the invincible protector of the earth/cows. He upholds Dharma.
Rig Samhita: 1.22.20 says: सदा पश्यंति सूरयः- the wise always have a vision of Him.
Rig Samhita- 1.22.11 says: तद् विप्रासो विपन्यवो जागृवांसः समिन्धते। विष्णोर्यत् परमं पदम्।– Aware, detached wise individuals know the Supreme Abode of Vishnu, which itself is a manifestation of Vishnu.
यः पार्थिवानि विममे रजांसि। यो अस्कम्भायदुत्तरं सधस्थम्।। (Rig- 1.154.1)
य उ त्रिघातु पृथिवीमुत द्यामेको दाधार भुवनानि विश्वा। ( Rig- 1.154.4)
In these verse Vishnu has been mentioned as creator of Agni, Vaayu and Aditya.
It is fitting that Veda sees Vishnu as a supreme being and protector of Dharma. The same image of Vishnu is glorified in Puranas, but in an even organized and detailed manner. Veda also says that Vishnu is praised for his valour.
That’s why Shukla Yajur Veda 4.20 and Rig, 1.154.2 say :
प्र तद् विष्णुः स्तवते वीर्येण मृगो न भीमः कुचरो गिरिष्ठा।
– Just as a beast (कुचर) is praised in the jungle for his strength same way Vishnu is praised for his वीर्य or strength or valour.
This verse clearly indicates, just as a lion or a tiger hunts down other animals, same way Vishnu hunts down Asuras. Vishnu has clearly been declared Supreme being by the Veda.
As far as Avataaras are concerned, Veda says:
प्रजापतिश्चरति गर्भे अंतरजायमानो बहुधा विजायते – Yajurveda – 31.29
– Supreme being, lord of creatures, without getting into the womb is born in many ways.
This is the Vedic root of Avataaras. No one can deny the fact that Saguna Brahm or Avataaras of Brahm and their legends are peculiar to Puranas. They are present in one of the most ancient literature of the world too.
• Matsya Avataar – supreme bring descending as a Fish. This Avataara’s story comes in the Shathpath Brahman- 184.108.40.206. The same story comes in Bhagvata Purana – (Skanda-8 Adhyaaya-24) There is no difference in the characters and the story. Matsya Purana- 1, Chapter. 256, Agni Purana Adhyaaya 2.46, Garuda Purana 1.142, Padma Purana5.4.73, Mahaabhaarat 12.340 too deal with the same story of Matsya.
• Kurma Avataara – Naaraayana in the form of a gigantic turtle. The story of Kurma comes in Taitreya Aranyaka – 1.23.3. In this story, Prajapati or Brahma saw a huge turtle( Kurma) roving in an ocean. Kurma tells him that it had been there long before the Prajapati came into being. Word Purusha has been used for Kurma. His 1000 heads, 1000 eyes, 1000 feet have been mentioned. It is fitting that this turtle is the Parmaatman of the Purush Sukta himself. In Shathpath Brahman 220.127.116.11 too, this Kurma has been glorified. The story of supreme being descending as Kurma as an explanation of Vedas comes in Bhagvata Purana, 8th Skanda, 7th chapter. The same story comes in the Kurma Purana, the Mahabharata etc.
• Varaha Avataar: Incarnation of Bhagwan in the form of a boar. Taitreya Brahman, Taitreya Samhita and Shathpath Brahman, tell the story of Varaha Avataar thrice. Here the meaning of those mentions shall be given:
Taitreya Samhita- 18.104.22.168 – There was only water and water. Prajapati robed there in form of Vaayu. There he saw a submerged land. Thus he assumed the form of a boar took out the land surface. The same story comes in the Bhagvata Purana, Skanda – 3, Chapter-13 – From Prajapati’s nose a boar emerged who freed the land surface from waters. Taitreya Brahman 1.1.6 – Prajapati assumed the form of a boar and freed the land submerged in the waters. Shathpath Brahman – 14.2.11, Atharva Veda – 12.1.48 too mention the same saga of Varaha Avataar. The same story appears in Vaayu Purana – 6.16-23, Bramhaand Purana – 1.5.16-23, Matsya Purana- 248.66-74, Vishnu Purana- 22.214.171.124, Agni Purana – 5.1-3.
• Narsimha Avataara – the Narsimha Gayatri in Taitreya Aranyaka gives complete information about Narsimha Avataara: वज्रनखाय विद्महे तीक्ष्णदंष्ट्राय धीमहि तन्नो नारसिंहः प्रचोदयात् । It’s expansion comes in the Bhagvata Puraana, Skanda -7, Chapter -8 Verse- 20-21.
• Vaamana Avataara – We don’t need to search much for Vaamana Avataara of Vishnu in Vedas. Even the West admits that Vedas are full of praise of Vishnu in the form of Vaamana. Rig Samhita, Mandala 1, 254th Sukta gives complete detail of Vaamana. Rig Samhita: 1.22.17 to mentions the act of measuring 3 worlds by Vaamana. Shathpaath Brahman 1.2.5-7 too has a story of Vaamana Avataar, which is the root of Puraanic story of Vaamana. This story deals with Dev-Asura tussle and Dwarf Vishnu helps Devas in winning their share back.
• Parashuraama – There should be no doubt in regards to Parashuraama as the seer of Mantra 10.110 of Rig Samhita is, Jamdagni’s son Rama. In Puraanas and Itihaasa this Rama who is the son of Jamdagni is known as Parashuraama. Parashu means axe. This axe-wielding Rama is known for destroying Kshatriyas 21 times. Mention of the same appears in Mahaabhaarat – ii.49; iii.98, 116-117; Matsya Purana chapter-47, Vishnu Purana 4.7 & 4.11, Bhagvata 1.3.20, 2.7.22 & 6.15-16.
• Rama- The source of the legend of Rama is Rig Samhita. Rama is popularly known as RamaBhadra. The way the word ‘Bhaama’ is used for SatyaBhaama ( Krishna’s wife), the same way the word Bhadra denotes Rama. It’s not a whimsical thing but a rule of grammar, which says that either the Purva Pada (पूर्व पद) i.e. Rama and Uttar Pada (उत्तर पद) i.e. word Bhadra, cab be omitted. “विनाऽपि प्रत्ययं पूर्वोत्तरपदयोर्लोपः।” – ( Vaartika- 5.3.63)
Now, look at this mantra of Rig Samhita 10.3.3 –
भद्रो भद्रया सचमानः आगात् स्वसारं जारो अभ्येति।
पाश्चात् सुप्तकेतैर्द्युभिर्वि तिष्ठन् रुशद्भिर्वनैरिमि राममस्थात्।।
“ Along with भद्रा( Sita) भद्र( Rama) came to a forest. And n the absence of Rama, जार( Raavana) took away स्वसृ( Sister like) Sita.
After the killing of Raavana, द्युभिर्दारैः (Sita ) along with her radiance came before Rama.”
Here Ravana is declared dead on the following basis: मातृवत् स्वसृवच्चैव तथा दुहितृवच्च ये। परदारेषु वर्तंते नराः स्वर्गगामिनः।।
Atharva Samhita too talks of Raavana as ब्राह्मणो जज्ञे दशशीर्षो दशास्यः (4.6.1) Here a 10 headed Brahmin has been talked of.
Vaalmiki too in his Itihaasa called Ramayana explained this part of the Vedas.
• Krishna: In Vedas, Vishnu has been referred to as विष्णुर्गोपा अदाभ्यः – Rig Samhita- 1.22;28
It means Vishnu is an invincible Cowherd.
Appendix of Rig Samhita: 7.55.4 mentions – Naarayana upon serpent named Kaaliya, of Yamuna River –
कालियो नाम सर्पो नवनागसहस्त्रबलः।
यमुनाहृदे स जातो नारायण वाहनः।।
Chandogya Upanishad 3.17.6 – Ghora Angirasa’s disciple talks of Krishna, who is the son of Devaki.
Taitreya Aranyaka’s 10.1.6 – also declares Vishnu as Vaasudev.
नारायणाय विद्महे। वासुदेवाय धीमहि। तन्नो विष्णु प्रचोदयात्।।
All this literary evidence says that Krishna Avataar is a part of Vedas.
The claims like Rudra and Vishnu were not worshipped in Vedic age are hence destroyed. Puranas are as essential as Vedas. That’s Bhagwan Vishnu is said to be पुराण विग्रह – Who has a body of Puranas – ( Padma Puraana – Swarga khanda – 62.2-7) . Without Puraana, no one can fathom Veda. And via the knowledge of Vedas only four-headed Brahma became a creator. He too couldn’t know Veda without knowing Purana. That’s why Matsya Purana .53.3 says: पुराणं सर्व शास्त्राणाम् प्रथमं ब्रम्हणा समृतं। अनन्तरं च वक्त्रेभ्यो वेदास्तस्य विनिर्गताः।। Before all Shastras, Brahma recalled Puranas from previous Kalpa, thereafter Vedas emanated from his mouth.
This analysis makes us conclude one thing for sure. Puranas are supporters and decoders of Vedas. Sages like Vyaasa and Vaalmiki, by giving us Itihaasa and Puraana, have made the intricate subjects of Vedas available to every individual of the world.
Therefore I enjoin upon the Hindus, to take pride in their Profound Puranas. Don’t fall prey to the trap of Vidharmis.
Therefore – सदा सेव्या सदा ध्येया कथा पौराणिकी शुभा।।
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