Lord Siva is regarded as one of the most popular gods of the Hindu pantheon. He is more well-known among the masses than the classes. Beginning from the Rgveda onwards though well received, his popularity is more acclaimed in the Puranas as the storehouse of popular religion and culture. Of the eighteen principal Mahapuranas, as many as nine viz., (1) Skanda, (2) Linga, (3) Kurma, (4) Vamana, (5) Varaha, (6) Bhaisya, (7) Matsya, (8) Markandeya, (9) Vayu sing the glory of the lord. Above all stands the Siva Purana which exclusively glorifies Siva and his exploits.
The Siva Purana is believe to be more composite and an unwieldy work, sections of which "were written by different hands in different climes and ages". But it is still preserved in different recensions. The Vangavasi press (edition) consists of six Samhitas or parts like-(1) Jnana Samhita, (2) Vidyesvara, (3) Kailasa, (4) Sanatkumara, (5) Vayaviya Purvabhaga and Uttarabhaga and (6) Dharma. The other two editions published in (1) Venkatesvara press, Bombay and (2) Pandit Pustakalaya, Kasi carry seven Samhitas each and contain the following: (1) Vidyesvara-, (2) Rudra-, (3) Satarudra-, (4) Kotirudra-, (5) Uma-, (6) Kailasa-and (7) Vayaviya-, whereas the Vangavasi edition contains 290 Adhyayas, the other two contain 451 Adhyayas each. The number of verses varies from the Vangavasi edition to the other group and is believed to have one lac verses as related in the Vayaviya Samhita.
Haraprasad Shastri informs us in the Notices of Sanskrit MSS IV, pp. 220-3, Nos, 298-299 about the Siva Purana, which is divided into two parts viz., (1) Purvakhanda and (2) Uttarakhanda. The Purvakhanda contains 3270 slokas in 51 chapters. It was preserved in Mahimprakas Brahmacari Matha, Pandita Baladeva Brahmacari in Puri in Nagari character. And the Uttarakhanda in Uria character is preserved there, which contains 45 chapters. The Purvakhanda of the present Siva Purana is nothing but the present Sanatkumara Samhita (No. 4) of the Vangavasi edition.
H. H. Wilson in his introduction to the Visnu Purana (P. LIVf) includes Siva Purana as one of the eighteen Upapuranas. It is distributed into two parts and contains about six thousand stanzas. The part one (Purvakhanda) is related by Sanatkumara to Vyasa and the Rsis at Naimisaranya etc. but the second part (Uttarakhanda) is made up the almost wholly Saiva stories (Gunakarmani) as the defeat of Tripurasura, the sacrifice of Daksa, the births of Kartikeya and Ganesa, the sons of Siva, and Nandi and Bhrngariti his attendants and others, together with descriptions of Banaras and other places of pilgrimage, and rules for observing such festivals as the Sivaratri.
I have taken up this Siva Purana (Uttarakhanda) part two for the present study. Since the part one or Purvakhanda of Siva Purana is already included in the Vangavasi edition and translated into Bengali and is of general character, I have reserved it for future study. The second part (Uttarakhanda) besides dilating on exploits of Siva, dwells at length on the glory of the lord in Orissa in general and the Ekamraksetra and other places of Sivaite importance in Orissa particular.
The present work is divided into five sections. The first one introduces the cult in general. A brief discussion on the Siva Purana (U) and its claim as an Upapurana or as an independent work is related. The second section deals with the probable sources including the Vedic Puranic literature and the other classical literature. This section clearly points out how it derives inspiration from the works of Kalidasa, the immortal poet laureate of India. The third section discusses the major exploits of Siva including the birth stories of Parvati and other members of Siva's family. Beside pointing to certain legends to glorify the Sivaratri Vrata, it incorporates one special event in Siva's career namely Rasakrida of Siva. For the critical edition of the Siva Puranna (Uttarakhanda) different Manuscripts of the text are duly collated to have a standard reading of the work and is included in the fourth section. The last section deals with the English rendering of the critical text to give clear insight into the contents. In case of the translation of the text. It is rightly said that it can be either beautiful or faithful but not both. In the present case I have tried to provide a overall picture of the text in general.
I am grateful to the Superintendant, Orissa state Museum, Bhubaneswar, Pandit Srinivasa Ratha, in charge of Manuscript, Parija library, Manuscript section, Utkal University for their kind help and cooperation. I am grateful to the U. G. C. for their financial support for preparation of the manscript.
I must express deep gratitude to pandit Somanatha Ratha, Dr. B. Panda, formerly editor, Publication wing of the Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Orissa and Professor Dr. K. S. Behera Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Utkal University for their valuable help and cooperation in preparing this work, MY sisncere thanks go to Dr. K. C. Dash, Department of History, Dhenkanal College, Dhenkanal, Orissa for his regular encouragement. Last but not the least I remember late Nag Sharan Singh, Nag Publishers, Delhi for his whole-hearted patronage for the encouragement of Puranic studies. I take this Pratap for taking up this publication in right earnest. I thanks Sri H. B. Ghadei for his secretarial work in record time.
About the Book:
Siva purana is very popular in the hierarcy of the Purana literature and has undergone various editions and differ one from the other in contents and volume. Though consisting of tow parts, the present edition exclusively deals with the second part (Uttarabhaga) only. The edition is divided into five sections. The Section one introduces the Siva Cult in general in broader prospective. As to the analysis of the source of the work, the second section highlights the sources from which it has derived inspiration. In the third section the study of the problems arising out of its contents is discussed. The fourth section deals with the manuscripts on which the present edition is based and the critical text proper is included. The last section deals with the details contents of the text. It is followed by the selection Bibliography on the study.
About the Author:
Sri Upendra nath Dhal was Reader in Sanskrit, at Utkal University for a pretty long time. He had the M.A. (Sanskrit), M. A. (Oriya), B.Ed and Ph.D. form the Utkal University. His more than seventy articles on Indology and Culture have appeared in various scholarly journals and other volumes in India. Of his publications Goddess Laksmi: Origin and Development is his magnum opus. His other works include The Glory that was Viraja Ksetra, Ekamra Purana, Praci Mahatmya, Mahisasura in Art and thought, critical edition of Bhaktivaibhava etc. He is currently working on the Iconography of the Puranas.
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