|Dr. Bibek Debroy|
In this blog post, Bibek Debroy touches upon the suffusion of Vedantic thought in Hindu texts. He also encourages us to shatter stereotypes. Supreme knowledge is not the preserve of the devas. Nor of men alone. He echoes Swami Vivekananda in indicating that atman has no gender, no imperfection. And that categories such as 'asura' need to be examined intelligently and in an informed manner. I couldn't agree with him more. My raison d'etre - be it this blog, or my Twitter presence, is to persuade you to 'Read the Scriptures Yourself'. Preferably in Sanskrit. And get a taste of the 'wealth' that Bibek has undoubtedly amassed.
In the last blog, I mentioned Bali, Namuchi and Prahlada/Prahrada. Here is a quote. “Some speak of him as Agni and some speak of him as Prajapati. Others say he is the seasons, the fortnights, the months, the days and the moments. There are others who say he is the forenoon, the afternoon, or mid-day, or an instant. Virtuous ones speak of him as one and many. Know him as time, the one who has everything under his subjugation.” Where do you think this quote is from? As is implicitly clear, this quote is about the supreme force, the brahman, in this particular case, being equated with Brahma. You might be tempted to think of one of the Vedas, or the Upanishads. The quote is actually from the Mahabharata, Chapter 1546(217) of the Critical Edition.
Unlike the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there are no critical or authenticated versions of the Puranas and you will find many versions floating around. Manmatha Nath Dutta was one of the early translators (into English) of several sacred texts and he also translated the Markandeya Purana in 1896. There is a remarkable passage about Madalasa singing to her infant son, a kind of lullaby. For the record, I decided to write about Madalasa, because Dr Madhu Teckchandani* asked me about the original source of the lullaby. Let me thus acknowledge that debt to her.
As I have said, there are different Sanskrit versions of the Markandeya Purana. So the text may differ a little, depending on which version you have picked up. But in general, you will find something like this. शुद्धो $सि बुद्धो $सि निरंजनो$सि संसारमायापरिवर्जितो$सि । संसारस्वप्नं त्यज मोहनिद्रां. I promised that these random thoughts would be about Hinduism. But de facto, I seem to have a bias towards Vedanta. However, I don’t think it is a bias. I think principles of Vedanta run deep, across all varieties of Hinduism.
* You can follow Dr. Madhu Tekchandani on Twitter @msteckchandani