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Re: [Question in Vishnu Puranam]

From: M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) (mshari_at_usa.net)
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 11:20:16 PDT

Dear Shree Chandrashekaran Venkataraman,

Though you have requested scholars in this list regarding your doubts
in Srimath Vishnu Puranam, adiyEn attempts to answer the questions.

PurANams (Satvika types), not only explain the tatva-hita-purushaarthams
as told in the Veda but also talks about the history, royal-races,
kingdoms, manu's dharma and his rule and about various anushtaanams.
Therefore, these are to be considered as its main features.
I suggest reading the same Vishnu PuraNa (Parasara's words) under 
the guidance of a Shree Vaishnava Aacharya to get to know the 
wonderful and extraordinary concepts told in the same. 
This PurANam is celebrated as "PurANa Ratnam". Let me write few 
words about this as follows:
=================================
Vishnu Puranam - An Introduction
=================================

"Puranam" is an ancient record of incidents composed and compiled by seers
known as "Maharishis". It talks about manifold subjects like theology,
philosophy, moral science, tradition, culture, practice of various codes of
conducts, succession and history of royal races and others. It is stated in
the scriptures (like Mahabharata) that Chaturmuka Brahmaa revealed eighteen
puranas to various seers like Veda Vyasa, who then revealed to the public. All
the eighteen puranas are not taken to be authoritative. These 18 puranams are
classified into three categories namely, Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa.
Chaturmuka Brahmaa is also a Jeevaatman like us but empowered with position
and power by Lord Vishnu. Chaturmuka Brahmaa is present in the material world
bound by his karma and subject to enjoyment and sufferings as per his karma,
he does undergo the effects due to satva, rajas and tamas gunas. His words are
reliable only during his satvika period. Only six such satvika puranas are
purport of Veda. The rest of the twelve puranas (six in rajas category and
another six in tamas category) contradict the Veda and therefore are rejected.


Vishnu Puranam is the best among the Satvika puranams. It is held as "Purana
Ratnam" meaning "Jem of Puranas". Shree Parasara Bhagavan who is the father of
Veda Vyasa composed it.

The Shree Vaishnava tradition holds three ratnas. They are the Stotra Ratnam
of Shree Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya, Mantra Ratnam, which is the Shreemath Dwaya
Mantra, and the Purana Ratnam, which is Vishnu Puranam.

In the Stotra Ratna, Shree Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya has celebrated Shree
Parasara Bhagavan for his contribution, which is Shree Vishnu Purana as
follows:

"Tatvena Ya: Chitachiteswara Tat Swabhaava
Bhogaapavarga Tadupaaya Gatirudaara:
Sandarsayan Niramimetha Puraana Ratnam
Tasmai Namo Munivaraaya Paraasaraaya"

The meaning of the above verse runs as follows: "The nature (reality) of Chit
(sentient - soul - Jeevaatman), Achit (Insentient - Matter) and Iswara Lord
Vishnu, the experiences one gets in the material world and the pleasures in
self-realization, the ultimate infinite bliss eternally in the transcendental
world Shree Vaikunta Paramapada, the means for these and the paths (Dumaadi
and Archiraadi Margas) etc have been explained clearly by Shree Parasara. This
 is done by him as a merciful help to mankind with an intention of without
deviating from the Veda but in strict accordance with the Veda. I salute Shree
Parasara Bhagavan for these reason who is the peerless seer among seers.

Shree Vishnu Puranam elaborately and clearly explains the philosophy and
practice of the Parama Vaidika Matam which is Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnavam.
The puranam is fully in accordance with the Veda. It clearly establishes the
Tatva (Chit, Achi & Iswara), Hita (means to attain salvation - Moksha) and the
Purushaartha (Goal - Eternal service to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu in Shree
Vaikunta). It is unparalleled and unsurpassed in this context.

Shree Vishnu Puranam is in the form of dialogue between Sage Mytreya and Sage
Parasara Bhagavan. Sage Mytreya who became well versed in the Veda Saastras,
approached the preceptor Shree Parasara, who was actually blessed by Sage
Pulastya to know the reality clearly without doubt or errors. Mytreya inquired
regarding the cause of the universe with him. Parasara replied after
consulting the Veda that Lord Shree Vishnu is the cause of the universe and
explained the Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnava philosophy and practices, which
is the only purport of the Veda. 

The Vishnu Puranam has nearly six thousand verses in Sanskrit language. The
chapters are called as "Amsam" and the sub-chapters are called "Adyaayam". The
way in which Sage Mytreya questioned Sage Parasara and the manner in which
Sage Parasara consulted the Veda and then answered him reveals clearly the
"Satvika" nature of the Purana. It does not have personal prejudices and
therefore accepted by numerous schools of thoughts also as authority. Bhagavat
Raamaanuja, Shreeman Nigamaanta Maha Desika and Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya and
many other scholars and Aacharyas have extensively quoted from Shree Vishnu
Puranam in their works. The quotes from the same are found enormously in the
commentaries of Divya Prabandams. Vishnu puranam also deals with the
incarnations of the Lord, the nature (reality) of Goddess Lakshmi (Shree)
which is equal to that of the Lord and she being considered as Iswara Tatva,
the succession of royal races and that of Manu, Dharma etc.

The Brahma Sutra is taken to refer this Smruthi often to substantiate its
establishments through arguments regarding ascertaining the purport of
Vedaanta.

Vishnu Puranam is indeed a gem among puranams. It is a treasure house of
knowledge. The beauty with which concepts of the Veda are dealt with in this
puranam are simply extraordinary. Let us also salute Shree Parasara Bhagavan
for this wonderful contribution to the world.

Thanks & Regards
M.S.HARI Ramanuja Daasan.

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