|8 A Brief on Vedas and Puranas|
Mahatma Pushkar gave an Outline on Vedas by way of emphasising their key role in Hindu Dharma. Vedas are the beacon lights to search the ways and means to achieve the ‘Purusharthas’ of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The four Vedas viz. Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva Vedas put together are stated to total one lakh Mantras. Rigveda contains two distinct ‘Shaakhaas’ or branches, viz. ‘Sankhyayana’ and ‘Ashvala -ayana’and together contains one thousand Mantras, while Rigvediya Brahmana Bhhaga contains two thousand Mantras. Maharshis like Shri Krishna Dwaipayana took Rigveda as ‘Pramana’ (Standard) Veda. Yajur Veda contains nineteen thousand Mantras. Of these, the Brahmana Grandhas have one thousand Mantras and the Shaakhas have one thousand six hundred and eight Mantras. In Yajurveda the main Shaakhaas are ‘Kanvi’, ‘Maadhyanandini’, ‘Kathi’, ‘Maadhya Kathi’, ‘Maitraayani’, ‘Taittireeya’ and ‘Vaishampaaniya’. Saama Veda has two main Shakhas viz. ‘Kouthuma’ and ‘Aatharvaayani’or Raamaayaniya’ and these contain ‘Veda’, ‘Aaranyaka’, ‘Uktha’ and ‘Vuuh’ ‘Gaanaas’ or Verses. Saama Veda has nine thousand four hundred twenty five Mantras-all stated to be related to Brahma. Atharva Veda has Rishi-oriented Shaakhaas like Sumantu, Jaajali, Shlokaayani, Shounaka, Pippalaad and Munjakesha. These contain sixteen thousand Mantras and hundred ‘Upanishads’. The Shaakha differentiation of Vedas and of Itihaasaas and Puraanas was stated to have been done by Vishnu Himself and were of Vishnu Swarupa. Vyaasa preached Puranas to Lomaharshana and to Suta by way of ‘Purana Pravachana’.The main ‘Sishyas’ of Vyasa were Sumati, Agnivarcha, Shimshapaayan, Kritavrata and Saavarni. Shimshapaayan and others were engaged in constructing ‘Samhitaas’.
Pushkar informed Parashurama that Lord Brahma described the various Puranas to his Manasa Putra Maharshi Marichi. Brahma Purana has twenty five ‘Shlokas’/ Stanzas and might be given as ‘Daan’(charity) to a Brahmana on Vaishakha Purnima along with a Jala Dhenu or Water-Cow. Padma Purana‘s Padma Samhita or Bhumi Khand has twelve thousand Shlokas which might be given away in charity with a cow on Jyeshtha Purnima for the benefit of reading/ hearing it. Vishnu Purana with twenty three thousand Shokas is best given in charity along with a Jala Dhenu on Ashadha Purnima for ‘Vishnu Pada Prapti’.Vayu Purana with fourteen thousand stanzas is Bhagavan Shankara’s loved one and its ‘daana’by the donor should preferably be hand written along with Gud (Jaggery)-Dhenu on Shravana Purnima for excellent results.Maha Bhabaata Purana is an Eighteen thousand Shloka volume with Vishnu orientation for Daana on Bhadrapada Purnima along with a golden Simhasana. Narada Purana with twenty thousand Shlokas described Brihatkalpa’s principles of Dharma and is given as daana on Ashvin Purnima along a cow.Markandeya Purana with nine thousand Shlokas contained preachings of ‘Pakshis’ on ‘Dharaaadharma’topics and is best awarded to a Bramhana on a Kartika Purnima. Being a comprehensive exposition of several Principles of Dharma, Mantras and Vedangas, Agni Purana contained twelve thousand Shlokas which may be given away in charity to a deserving Veda Pundit on Marga Sirsha month preferably on hand written form by the donor; this Purana is a bestower of ‘Maha Phalas’ as it contains age old Mantras to socially oriented teachings.Bhavishya Purana is with orientation of Surya Deva, emphasizing his Supremacy over fourteen thousand Shlokas and ‘daan’ of jaggery and fruits on Pousha Purnima day assures excellent health and quality life by the grace of Surya Deva. Brahma Vaivarta Purana containing eighteen thousand Shlokas was scripted at the instance of Saavaran Manu and is best offered as charity to a Brahmana on Magha Purnima. On the same Magha Purnima, charity along with Varaha Purana would accomplish Brahma loka. Linga Purana with eleven thousand Shlokas is all about Agnimaya Linga of Parameswara and its charity on Phalguni Purnima with Tila Dhenu assures Shiva Prapti. Garuda Purana with twenty four thousand Shlokas depicting the picture of post-life experiences has to be given as daana to a Brahmana on Chaitra Purnima along with Suvarna Hamsa (Golden Swan) for favour of securing ‘Vishnu Pada’/ Vaikuntha. Skanda Purana is the longest of Puranaas scripted with eighty four thousand Stanzas and charity of this Purana on Chaitra Purnima would bestow Shivaloka Prapti. Matsya, Kurma and Vamana Puranas have thirteen thousand, eight thousand and ten thousand Shlokas respectively and charites of golden fish; golden Kurma and golden Vishnu Murti are best performed on Sharad Purna Vishu Samkraanti. Brahmanda Purana with twelve thousand Shlokas is to be offered to a Vedic Brahmana alng with ‘Daanaas’.
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