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The Agni Mahapuranam
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The Agni Mahapuranam
Text with English Translation and Index English Translation by M.N. Dutta  
Author Ed. P. Kumar
ISBN 81-7854-087-8
Edition 2006

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The Agni Purana, that is the cream of all sciences and the cause of all (13) [Containing an account of] creation and dissolution, of various families, periods of Manu and genealogies. The Lord Vishnu assumes the forms of fish, tortoise etc. There are two sciences, superior and inferior. O twice?born one, the Veda, ­Rik, Yajush, Saman and Atharvan, the six auxilliaries of the Vedas, namely (Siksha), the science of proper articulation and pronunciation, (Kalpa) ritual or ceremonial, (Vyakarana) grammar, (Nirukta) etymological explanation of difficult Vedic words (Jyotish) astronomy, (Chandas) science of prosody, (Abhidhana) lexicon, Mimansa, Dharma Shastras, Nyaya, medical science, musical science, the science of archery and Political economy? these all are the inferior sciences. The superior science is that by which Brahman is comprehended (14?17). I will describe unto thee the great Purana, Agni, containing the great and eternal knowledge of Brahman, that which is invisible, incomprehen-sible, stable and eternal. In the general treatment of the subjects the author, however, does not stick to the five principal topics which should constitute a Purana. He even loses sight of the two fold knowledge, divine and secular set forth by him originally in the introduction. He has introduced a number of topics, useful to men, without any system or method, His work is more like an Encyclopaedia, containing a variety of useful topics bearing on later Sanskrit learning. The early chapters of this Purana describe the Avataras, and in those of Rama and Krashna, avowedly follow the Ramayana and Mahabharata. A considerable portion is appropriated to instructions for the performance of religious ceremonies; many of which belong to the Tantrik rituals and are apparently transcribed from the principal authorities of that system. Some belong to mystical forms of Shiva worship, little known in Hindusthan, though perhaps, still practised in the south. One of these is the Diksha or initation of a novice; by which numerous ceremonies and invocation in which the mysterious monosyllables of Tantras are constantly, the disciple, is transformed into a living personation of Shiva, and receives, in that capacity the homage of his Guru. On the final analysis, the Agni Purana shows that it owes much to the various branches of literature of early medieval times and is especially indebted to the four Vedas, Upanishads, Smratis, Vishnudharmottara and the Harivansha Puranas; the Vishnu and the Matsya Puranas, the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharta; the Hayashirsha, the Gita, the Sankhya, the Vedanta, the Sanhita of Caraka and Sushruta and Naradiyashiksha monoyllabic lexicography of Kshapanaka, the Pingalasutras, the lexicon of Amarsinha, Bharata, Bhamaha, Dandin etc. Vaishnava and Shaivagamas. Thus Agni Purana presents essence of all branches of knowledge and is an encyclopedia of all that existed.


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