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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

18. The Brahmáńd́a Puráńa

18. Brahmáńd́a Puráńa. "That which has declared, in twelve thousand two hundred verses, the magnificence of the egg of Brahmá, and in which an account of the future Kalpas is contained, is called the Brahmáńd́a Puráńa, and was revealed by Brahmá 80."

The Brahmáńd́a Puráńa is usually considered to be in much the same predicament as the Skanda, no longer procurable in a collective body, but represented by a variety of Khańd́as and Máhátmyas, professing to be derived from it. The facility with which any tract may be thus attached to the non-existent original, and the advantage that has been taken of its absence to compile a variety of unauthentic fragments, have given to the Brahmáńd́a, Skanda, and Padma, according to Col. Wilford, the character of being the Puráńas of thieves or impostors 81. This is not applicable to the Padma, which, as above shewn, occurs entire and the same in various parts of India. The imposition of which the other two are made the vehicles can deceive no one, as the purpose of the particular legend is always too obvious to leave any doubt of its origin.

Copies of what profess to be the entire Brahmáńd́a Puráńa are sometimes, though rarely, procurable. I met with one in two portions, the former containing, one hundred and twenty-four chapters, the latter seventy-eight; and the whole containing about the number of stanzas assigned to the Puráńa. The first and largest portion, however, proved to be the same as the Váyu Puráńa, with a passage occasionally slightly varied, and at the end of each chapter the common phrase 'Iti Brahmáńd́a Puráńe' substituted for 'Iti Váyu Puráńe.' I do not think there was any intended fraud in the substitution. The last section of the first part of the Váyu Puráńa is termed the Brahmáńd́a section, giving an

p. lv

account of the dissolution of the universe; and a careless or ignorant transcriber might have taken this for the title of the whole. The checks to the identity of the work have been honestly preserved, both in the index and the frequent specification of Váyu as the teacher or narrator of it.

The second portion of this Brahmáńd́a is not any part of the Váyu; it is probably current in the Dakhin as a Sanhitá or Khańd́a. Agastya is represented as going to the city Kánchí (Conjeveram), where Vishńu, as Hayagríva, appears to him, and, in answer to his inquiries, imparts to him the means of salvation, the worship of Paraśaktí. In illustration of the efficacy of this form of adoration, the main subject of the work is an account of the exploits of Lalitá Deví, a form of Durgá, and her destruction of the demon Bháńd́ásura. Rules for her worship are also given, which are decidedly of a Śákta or Tántrika description; and this work cannot be admitted, therefore, to be part of a genuine Puráńa.


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liv:81 As. Res. vol. VIII. p. 252.

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