Bhavishya Purana

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Bhavishya Purana
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{{italic title}}(File:Bhavishya Purana, Bhavishyottara, Sanskrit, Devanagari.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A page from the Bhavishyottara section of Bhavishya Purana (Sanskrit, Devanagari)){{Hindu scriptures}}The Bhavishya Purana ({{IAST|Bhaviṣya Purāṇa}}) is one of the eighteen major works in the Purana genre of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit.{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=71}}{{Sfn|Winternitz|1922|p=541}} The title Bhavishya means "future" and implies it is a work that contains prophecies regarding the future, however, the "prophecy" parts of the extant manuscripts are a modern era addition and hence not an integral part of the Bhavishya Purana.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=215 with note 1180}} Those sections of the surviving manuscripts that are dated to be older, are partly borrowed from other Indian texts such as Brihat Samhita and Shamba Purana.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}} The veracity and authenticity of much of the Bhavishya Purana has been questioned by modern scholars and historians, and the text is considered an example of "constant revisions and living nature" of Puranic genre of Hindu literature.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=153}}{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=48-49 with note 246}}The text exists in many inconsistent versions, wherein the content as well as their subdivisions vary, and five major versions are known.{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=215 with note 1180}} Some manuscripts have four Parvan (parts), some two, others don't have any parts.{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=71}}{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}} The text as it exists today is a composite of material ranging from medieval era to very recent. The available versions of Bhavishya Purana are based on a printed text published during the British colonial era.The first 16 chapters of the first part of the Bhavisya Purana is called Brahmaparvan. It shows similarities to, and likely borrowed verses from some version of the Manusmriti.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}JOURNAL, Sarma, KV, Review of The Manava Dharmasastra I-III and the Bhavisya Purana by Ludwik Sternbach, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, 109, 02, 1977, 217, 10.1017/s0035869x00133957, However, some of the caste-related and women's rights related discussion in the Bhavishya Purana is egalitarian and challenge those found in the 19th-century published manuscripts of the Manusmriti.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=152 with footnotes}}Raj Arora (1972), Historical and cultural data from the Bhavisya Purana, Sterling Publishers, {{oclc|844555576}}, pages viii-ix, 92-119, Chapter 4L Gopal (1986), Bhavisya Purana Brahma Parvan Chapters 40-44, Journal: Purana, Volume XXVIII, Issue 2 (July), pages 174-196 The Brahmaparvan part of the Bhavishya Purana includes a 169 chapters compendium of Surya (Sun god) related literature, that overlaps with Zoroastrianism-related views.{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}} These Sun-related sections are a notable and important part of the Bhavishya Purana, and it may be related to the migration or interaction between people of Persia and central Asia with those in Indian subcontinent.{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=49 with note 247}}{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=217-219}}The second part of the text, called Madhyamaparvan, is a Tantra-related work.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=153}} The "prophecy"-related third part Pratisargaparvan includes sections on Christianity, Islam, Bhakti movement, Sikhism, British rule, and considered by scholars as a 19th-century creation.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=153-154}}{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}} The fourth part of the text called Uttaraparvan, is also known as Bhavishyottara Purana. This last part describes festivals related to various Hindu gods and goddesses and their Tithis (dates on lunar calendar), as well as mythology and a discussion of Dharma particularly vrata (vow) and dana (charity).{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=153-154}}{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}} The text also has many Mahatmya chapters on geography, travel guide and pilgrimage to holy sites such as Uthiramerur,{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=154 with footnotes}}{{Sfn|Ariel Glucklich|2008|p=146, Quote: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called mahatmyas}} and is one of the Tirtha-focussed Puranas.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=78}}

Dating and texts

In records of land grants of the fifth century CE verses are quoted which occur only in the Padma, Bhavishya, and Brahma Puranas, and on this basis Pargiter in 1912 assigned these particular Puranas to the early centuries CE. Maurice Winternitz considers it more probable that these verses, both in the inscriptions and in the puranas, were taken as quotations from earlier dharmaśāstras, and thus argues that chronological deductions cannot be made on that basis.For the fifth century CE land grant references, citation to Pargiter (1912), and debunking of the theory, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 526, note 2.According to Maurice Winternitz, the text which has come down to us in manuscript form under this title is certainly not the ancient work which is quoted in the {{IAST|Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra}}.For statement that the extant text is not the ancient work, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 567. A quotation appearing in the {{IAST|Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra}} attributed to the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa}} cannot be found in the extant text of the Purana.For the quotation in {{IAST|Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra}} attributed to the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa}} not extant today, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 519.


Some manuscripts of the Bhavishya Purana assert that it has five parts (Sanskrit: parvans),Bhavishya Purana I.2.2–3. but the extant printed editions contain four parts (Brāhma, Madhyama, Pratisarga, and Uttara).For self-report of five parts, but only four parts in the printed text, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263. These four parts have distinctive content and dating.The Brahmaparvan contains 215 chapters, the Madhyamaparvan has three sections with a cumulative total of 62 chapters, the Pratisargaparvan has four sections with 7, 35, 32 and 26 chapters sequentially, and the Uttaraparvan has 208 chapters. Some manuscripts of the text do not have these Parvans and have different number of chapters.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}} The Madhyamaparvan part is a Tantra-related work, while the "prophecy"-related third part Pratisargaparvan is likely a 19th-century creation.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}}The text is sometimes titled {{IAST|Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa}}.{{Sfn|Winternitz|1922|p=541}} In the Padma Purana,Mathett, Freda, "The Purāṇas" in Flood (2003), p. 137 it is classified in the rajas category, which contains puranas related to Brahma.{{Sfn|Wilson|1864|p=xii}}Flood (1996), p. 110.Mathett, Freda, "Purāṇa" in Flood (2003), p. 137 Scholars consider the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is nothing in this text that actually justifies this classification.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=21}}


Despite being labelled a purana or "tales of ancient times", the work relates only a few legends. It is one of several puranas in which a list of royal dynasties of the "past" are followed by lists of kings predicted to rule in the future.For the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa}} as one of several puranas predicting future kings (others being the Matsya, Vāyu, {{IAST|Brahmāṇḍa}}, {{IAST|Viṣṇu}}, Bhāgavata, and {{IAST|Garuḍa}} Puranas, see: Winternitz, volume 1, pp. 523–524.


This part of the text has 215 chapters.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}} It covers topics such as rites of passage, ceremonies and feasts.For the characterization of the content, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 541-542. It also covers the duties and rights of women, a discussion on the nature of people and how to identify good and bad characters, and a caste-related discussion. According to Arora, and other scholars,{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=478-479 with note 2648}} the caste-related and women's rights related discussion in the Bhavishya Purana is egalitarian, similar to those found in Brahma Purana and Vajrasuchi Upanishad, all three of which challenge the views expressed in the Manusmriti.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=152 with footnotes}}For women and varna-related discussion, signs of people, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 264.{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=478-479 with note 2648}}The Brahmaparvan also includes sections on festival dates and methods for worshipping Brahma, Ganesha, Skanda, and the Nāga.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}For Brahma, Ganesha, Skanda, and the Snakes see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 264. A considerable section deals with Sun worship in a place called "Śākadvīpa" which may be a reference to Scythia.For the sun worship in "Śākadvīpa", which may be Scythia, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 567.For a large number of chapters on Sun worship, solar myths, and Śāka-dvipa, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 264. This overlaps with Zoroastrianism-related views,{{Sfn|Dalal|2014|p=72}} and may be related to ancient migration or interaction between Persia and central Asia with Indian subcontinent.{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=49 with note 247}}{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=218-219}} These chapters are the most comprehensive and important source of sun-worship tradition in India, and may be related to the escape and resettlement of people from Persia into western India during the mid to late medieval era.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=217-219 with footnotes}}


The second part of the Bhavisya Purana has 62 chapters on Tantra.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}}This is not mentioned in other Indian text, states Hazra, to have been a part of the Bhavishya Purana, and therefore he states that it may be "a late appendage" abounding in Tantric theories of the 2nd-millennium.For quotation from Hazra regarding the Madhyamaparvan as a late appendage, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263. However, states Rocher, the tantra sections of this Purana were likely part of the text by about 1500 CE.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=153 with footnote 92}}


The Pratisarga parvan has 100 chapters,{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}} which deal with topics such as the genealogy of the kings and sages, and prophecies.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=153}} It is written as a universal history with the first and the second chapters (called Khandas) deal with old time, the third part with the medieval, while the fourth deals with the new age. This section has led numerous scholars to question the authenticity of much of the Bhavishya Purana, and as evidence that these Puranas were not scriptures, but rather a document of history that was constantly revised and thus of a living nature, both over time and over geography.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=8-13, 153}}{{Sfn|K P Gietz|1992|p=48-49 with notes 246-247}}BOOK, Alf Hiltebeitel, Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics,weblink 1999, University of Chicago Press, 978-0-226-34050-0, 216–218, 271–287, This varga specially has drawn intense criticism and incurred the ire of most vedic scholars who questioned the veracity of much of this section as being ancient. Research has confirmed significant corruption of this section with historical narratives over the last few centuries.{{citation needed|date=March 2019}} Alf Hiltebeitel, who has researched these claims and translated and summarized this part of the Bhavisya Purana, considers that 1839 marks the terminus a quo (completed after year) for the text's history of the Mughals and the same terminus a quo would apply to Pratisargaparvan's first khanda Genesis-Exodus sequence, and the diptych in the section concerning "Isha Putra" (Jesus Christ) and Muhammad in its third chapter.Alf Hiltebeitel Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics 2009 Page 276 "Thus 1739 could mark a terminus a quo for the text's history of the Mughals. If so, the same terminus would apply to its Genesis-Exodus sequence in its first khanda, its Jesus-Muhammad diptych in its third (the Krsnam&acaritd), and the history ..." Further, mention of Queen Victoria's palaces, Calcutta and several 18th century historic events place the terminus ad quem (completed before year) at mid to late 19th Century.Alf Hiltebeitel Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics 2009 Page 277 "Since references to Queen Victoria's Calcutta provide a mid- to even late-nineteenth-century terminus ad quem for other ... but of the Genesis-Exodus sequence and the Krsnarrrtacarita—with its Jesus and Muhammad passages— as well."Bonazzoli, Giorgio: Christ in the Bhavisya Purana [Engl.]. (a methodological approach to Bhav. P. III. 3.2.21-32), Journal: Purana issue 21, January 1979, pp. 23-39. Hiltebeitel states that this part of the Bhavisya Purana was mostly likely composed in the 19th century.BOOK, Alf Hiltebeitel, Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics,weblink 1999, University of Chicago Press, 978-0-226-34050-0, 217–218,


The Uttaraparvan is large with 208 chapters.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|pp=151-154}} Though nominally attached to the Bhavishya Purana, is usually considered to be an independent work, also known as the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyottara Purāṇa}}, and as such is included among the Upapuranas (Lesser Puranas).For independent classification of the Uttaraparvan as the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyottara Purāṇa}} see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Purāṇas}}", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263. The {{IAST|Bhaviṣyottara Purana}} is primarily a handbook of religious rites with a few legends and myths.For the contents of the {{IAST|Bhaviṣyottara Purana}} and characterizing it as a continuation of the Bhavishya Purana see: Winternitz, volume 1, p. 567. Rajendra Hazra characterizes it as "a loose collection of materials taken from various sources" that is lacking in many of the traditional five characteristics of a purana, but which offers an interesting study of vows, festivals, and donations from sociological and religious point of view.For quotation related to loose collection of materials see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The {{IAST|Upapurāṇas}}" in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 285.The Bhavishya Purana also includes Mahatmya (travel guides) to pilgrimage sites such as Uthiramerur.{{Sfn|Rocher|1986|p=154 with footnotes}}{{Sfn|Ariel Glucklich|2008|p=146, Quote: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called mahatmyas}}

See also




  • BOOK, Gregory Bailey, Arvind Sharma, The Study of Hinduism,weblink 2003, University of South Carolina Press, 978-1-57003-449-7,
  • BOOK, Rosen, Dalal, 2014, Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide, Penguin, 978-8184752779,weblink harv,
  • BOOK, Dimmitt, Cornelia, J. A. B., van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas,weblink Temple University Press (1st Edition: 1977), 2012, 978-1-4399-0464-0,
  • BOOK, Doniger, Wendy (editor), Wendy Doniger, {{IAST, Purāṇa Perennis, : Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts |year=1993 |publisher=State University of New York |location=Albany, New York |isbn= 0-7914-1382-9}}
  • BOOK, Flood, Gavin, Gavin Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism, 1996, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 0-521-43878-0,
  • BOOK, Flood, Gavin (Editor), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Malden, MA, 1-4051-3251-5,
  • BOOK, harv, K P Gietz, etal, Epic and Puranic Bibliography (Up to 1985) Annoted and with Indexes: Part I: A - R, Part II: S - Z, Indexes,weblink 1992, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 978-3-447-03028-1,
  • BOOK, Ariel Glucklich, The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective,weblink 2008, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-971825-2, harv,
  • BOOK, {{IAST, Bhaviá¹£yapurāna, , Pratisargaparvan| year=1959|publisher= Venkateshwar Press| location=Bombay|isbn=}}
  • BOOK, Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (Editorial Chairman), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, The Cultural Heritage of India, 1962, The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta, Second edition, four volumes, revised and enlarged, 1962 (volume II).
  • BOOK, Ludo, Rocher, 1986, Ludo Rocher, The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 978-3447025225, harv,
  • BOOK, Wilson, H. H., Horace Hayman Wilson, The Vishnu Purana: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition (Volume 1: Introduction, Book I), 1864,weblink Read Country Books (reprinted in 2006), 1-84664-664-2, harv,
  • BOOK, Winternitz, Maurice, Moriz Winternitz, History of Indian Literature Vol 1 (Original in German, translated into English by VS Sarma, 1981), 1922, Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010), New Delhi, 978-8120802643, harv,

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