The Vishnu Purana - Preface -11. The Linga Purán?a Feb 5, 2015 10:16:22 GMT 1
Post by Anne Terri on Feb 5, 2015 10:16:22 GMT 1
11. The Linga Purán?a
11. Linga Purán?a. "Where Mahe?wara, present in the Agni Linga, explained (the objects of life) virtue, wealth, pleasure, and final liberation at the end of the Agni Kalpa, that Purán?a, consisting of eleven thousand stanzas, was called the Lainga by Brahmá himself 66."
The Linga Purán?a conforms accurately enough to this description. The Kalpa is said to be the Í?ána, but this is the only difference. It consists of eleven thousand stanzas. It is said to have been originally composed by Brahmá; and the primitive Linga is a pillar of radiance,
in which Mahe?wara is present. The work is therefore the same as that referred to by the Matsya.
A short account is given, in the beginning, of elemental and secondary creation, and of the patriarchal families; in which, however, ?iva takes the place of Vishn?u, as the indescribable cause of all things. Brief accounts of ?iva's incarnations and proceedings in different Kalpas next occur, offering no interest except as characteristic of sectarial notions. The appearance of the great fiery Linga takes place, in the interval of a creation, to separate Vishn?u and Brahmá, who not only dispute the palm of supremacy, but fight for it; when the Linga suddenly springs up, and puts them both to shame; as, after travelling upwards and downwards for a thousand years in each direction, neither can approach to its termination. Upon the Linga the sacred monosyllable Om is visible, and the Vedas proceed from it, by which Brahms and Vishn?u become enlightened, and acknowledge and eulogize the superior might and glory of ?iva.
A notice of the creation in the Padma Kalpa then follows, and this leads to praises of ?iva by Vishn?u and Brahmá. ?iva repeats the story of his incarnations, twenty-eight in number; intended as a counterpart, no doubt, to the twenty-four Avatáras of Vishn?u, as described in the Bhágavata; and both being amplifications of the original ten Avatáras, and of much less merit as fictions. Another instance of rivalry occurs in the legend of Dadhíchi, a Muni and worshipper of ?iva. In the Bhágavata there is a story of Ambarísha being defended against Durvásas by the discus of Vishn?u, against which that ?aiva sage is helpless: here Vishn?u hurls his discus at Dadhíchi, but it falls blunted to the ground, and a conflict ensues, in which Vishn?u and his partisans are all overthrown by the Muni.
A description of the universe, and of the regal dynasties of the Vaivaswata Manwantara to the time of Krishn?a, runs through a number of chapters, in substance, and very commonly in words, the same as in other Purán?as. After which, the work resumes its proper character, narrating legends, and enjoining rites, and reciting prayers, intending to do honour to ?iva under various forms. Although, however, the Linga
holds a prominent place amongst them, the spirit of the worship is as little influenced by the character of the type as can well be imagined. There is nothing like the phallic orgies of antiquity: it is all mystical and spiritual. The Linga is twofold, external and internal. The ignorant, who need a visible sign, worship ?iva through a 'mark' or 'type'--which is the proper meaning of the word 'Linga'--of wood or stone; but the wise look upon this outward emblem as nothing, and contemplate in their minds the invisible, inscrutable type, which is ?iva himself. Whatever may have been the origin of this form of worship in India, the notions upon which it was founded, according to the impure fancies of European writers, are not to be traced in even the ?aiva Purán?as.
Data for conjecturing the era of this work are defective, but it is more of a ritual than a Purán?a, and the Paurán?ik chapters which it has inserted, in order to keep up something of its character, have been evidently borrowed for the purpose. The incarnations of ?iva, and their 'pupils,' as specified in one place, and the importance attached to the practice of the Yoga, render it possible that under the former are intended those teachers of the ?aiva religion who belong to the Yoga school 67, which seems to have flourished about the eighth or ninth centuries. It is not likely that the work is earlier, it may be considerably later. It has preserved apparently some ?aiva legends of an early date, but the greater part is ritual and mysticism of comparatively recent introduction.
Not Available - Sanskrit
xliv:67 See Asiatic Researches, vol. XVII. p. 287.
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'The Vishnu Purana', translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, is public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.