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SVP - Chapter 1

From: Ramesh Sarangapani (sarangap_at_me.udel.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 18:48:09 PST

Srimathe Lakshmi Narasimha Parabramhane namaha:
Srimathe vedantha Desika Yathindra desikaya namaha:
Srimathe Lakshmi Narasimha divya paduka sevake
Sri Narayana Yathindra Maha Desikaya namahe:

Vishnu Puranam - Introduction:

Is there a supreme being? Who is this supreme Lord?
Who are we and what is our relation to the Lord? The
quest to answer these questions is an innate human
characteristics. The Vedas deal with these essential
questions (and many more non-essential questions)
in a comprehensive manner. However, for ordinary
people like you and me, it is an arduous task to 
comprehend these rahasyas by reading the Vedas.
The recommended route for most of us is to gain this
knowledge by reading the Itihasas and puranas
instead, under the able guidance of a sadacharyan.

The puranas are 18 in number and are broadly classified
as satvika, rajasa and tamasa puranas. Our poorvacharyas
state that it is the satvika puranams that explicitly brings out
the paratatvam (the essentials). The Vishnu-puranam is 
considered to the jewel among the satvika puranas (Sri 
Alavandar call it the "purana-ratnam" in his Stotra-Ratnam).
Swami Desikan draws a number of parallels between the
"materialistic" jewel and this "puranic" jewel and concludes
saying, "just as an exquisite piece of jewelry attracts
attention to the one who posses it, similarly the vishnu-puranam
brings glory and fame to one who posses its knowledge."

This puranam is called Sri Vishnu Puranam since it glorifies
Sriman Narayana (Vishnu). It was composed by Parasara muni,
the grandson of sage Vashista and the father of sage Vaysa.
Yamuna Muni (Allavandar) in his stotra ratnam eulogizes 
parasara muni for unambiguous expounding the tatva-traya
(namely chit, achit and Iswara) so generously expounding the
various rahasyas that jeevatmas need to know for their welfare
here and hereafter in his composition "Sri Vishnu Puranam".
Sri Vishnu Puranam is divided into six "amsas" or sections
and each amsa has numerous chapters. The first chapter in 
section one talks about how this puranam was composed.

Section 1: Chapter 1:

One fine morning sage Maitreya after completing his nitya
anusthanam and making sure his acharyan also has completed
the nitya-anushtanam, approaches his acharyan, sage Parasara, 
with the intent of learning the "paramartha tattuvam".

Maitreya: (with all humility) Gurudeva! By your divine grace 
adiyEn has learnt the vedas and the shastras. Now a few questions
have risen in adiyEn's mind that devarir should kindly address.

What were these questions and how did sage Parasara address
them?? To learn more, stay tuned for the next few posts on
"Vishnu Puranam".

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
Ramesh Sarangapani