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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

12. The Varáha Puráńa

12. Varáha Puráńa. "That in which the glory of the great Varáha is predominant, as it was revealed to Earth by Vishńu, in connexion, wise Munis, with the Mánava Kalpa, and which contains twenty-four thousand verses, is called the Váráha Puráńa 68."

It may be doubted if the Varáha Puráńa of the present day is here intended. It is narrated by Vishńu as Varáha, or in the boar incarnation, to the personified Earth. Its extent, however, is not half that specified, little exceeding ten thousand stanzas. It furnishes also itself

p. xlv

evidence of the prior currency of some other work, similarly denominated; as, in the description of Mathurá contained in it, Sumantu, a Muni, is made to observe, "The divine Varáha in former times expounded a Puráńa, for the purpose of solving the perplexity of Earth."

Nor can the Varáha Puráńa be regarded as a Puráńa agreeably to the common definition, as it contains but a few scattered and brief allusions to the creation of the world, and the reign of kings: it has no detailed genealogies either of the patriarchal or regal families, and no account of the reigns of the Manus. Like the Linga Puráńa, it is a religious manual, almost wholly occupied with forms of prayer, and rules for devotional observances, addressed to Vishńu; interspersed with legendary illustrations, most of which are peculiar to itself, though some are taken from the common and ancient stock: many of them, rather incompatibly with the general scope of the compilation, relate to the history of Śiva and Durgá 69. A considerable portion of the work is devoted to descriptions of various Tírthas, places of Vaishńava pilgrimage; and one of Mathurá enters into a variety of particulars relating to the shrines of that city, constituting the Mathurá Máhátmyam.

In the sectarianism of the Varáha Puráńa there is no leaning to the particular adoration of Krishńa, nor are the Rath-yátrá and Janmásht́amí included amongst the observances enjoined. There are other indications of its belonging to an earlier stage of Vaishńava worship, and it may perhaps be referred to the age of Rámánuja, the early part of the twelfth century.


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xlv:69 One of these is translated by Col. Vans Kennedy, the origin of the three Śaktis, or goddesses, Saraswatí, Lakshmí, and Párvati. Ancient and Hindu Mythology, p. 209. The Tri Śakti Máhátmya occurs, as he gives it, in my copy, and is so far an indication of the identity of the Varáha Puráńa in the different MSS.

Next: 13. The Skanda Puráńa