A Critical Study of the Mahabhagavatapuranam

Hansa B. Bhatt, Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 2004, xiii, 558 p, ISBN : 8180900576, $39.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Critical Study of the Mahabhagavatapuranam/Hansa B. Bhatt

Contents: Foreword. Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Purana as a literary form. 3. Summary of contents. 4. Sources of Mahabhagavata Purana. 5. The relative dates of relevant Puranas. 6. Philosophy in Mahabhagavata Purana. 7. Myths and legends. 8. Essential nature, forms, incarnations and exploits of Devi. 9. Literary estimate. 10. Cultural study. 11. Conclusion. Appendices: i. Saktipithas. ii. Pauranic concept of the universe. Bibliography. Index.

"The critical study of the Mahabhagavata Purana indicates that it has very well achieved this end by linking the different anecdotes connected with important personalities of Indian History with the greatness and adoration of the great Goddess.

This Sakta Upapurana viz. Mahabhagavata preaches pure answerving devotion to Sakti or Devi emphasizing her splendour. The Mabhg. is a Sakta Upapurana, advocating Saktism with a Saiva tendency and throws light on the exploits of Devi as well as on the ten Mahavidyas. In spite of its outspoken inclination towards Siva, this Purana follows the Vedanta in advocating the unity of all Gods. Its importance in spreading Saktism is noticeable. Specially noteworthy is the spirit of tolerance of other sects that breathes forth in this Purana as shown in chapter 1.

In the second chapter, the actual position of the Mabhg as an Upapurana is established. In chapter 3 a succinct summary of contents is given. In chapter 4, a comparative study of the Mabhg. with some Puranas, epics and Tantra works reveals that from among the Puranas the Siva Purana has most deeply influenced the Mabhg. In chapter 5, the relative dates of relevant Puranas are decided. In chapter 6 it is made clear that the Mabhg. utilizes the Upanisadic thoughts as well as those of the Bhagavadgita and the epics as regards the concept of the ultimate nature of Devi. In chapter 7, the Mabhg. refers to the Mantras, Tantras and Diksa etc. Chapter 8 contains the essential nature, forms, incarnations and exploits of Devi. Chapter 9 contains literary estimate of the Mabhg., specifying the Arsaprayogas, the figures of speech, the matter, the different eulogies and their significance as also some discrepancies in the Mabhg. Chapter 10 contains social and religious data emphasizing the practice of righteousness on the part of everyone. In chapter 11 the importance of this Purana depending upon its throwing light on the topics previously discussed and its influence on other works and in the end of the book two appendices have been given." (jacket)

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