Introduction to Agastya-Gita

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A Purana belongs to the class of Hindu religious literature. The word ‘Purana' in Sanskrit means ‘a narrative of ancient times'.

In a pertinent passage, the Varaha-purana observes that the mythological stories should be viewed as pertaining to two different planes, the concrete and the abstract. The concrete is exemplified by the characters figuring in the stories and the abstract by the qualities in them.

As for the Varaha-purana, it is in the form of a conversation between Varaha, the Boar-incarnation of Lord Visnu, and Dharani, the Earth held up by him in his tusk, as given by Suta, the mythological narrator. The whole discourse is in reply to the Earth's questions to the Lord seeking enlightenment as to the creation, sustenance and destruction of the world and what constitutes righteous conduct and virtuous action for happiness in life and ultimate liberation from worldly existence.

According to P.V. Kane and R.C. Hazra, the earlier parts of the Varaha-purana could not be later than the 10th century A.D. while there could have been some interpolations as late as the 15th century.

The Agastya-Gita is in the nature of exposition of the Moksha-dharma and the Karmakanda as elucidated in the Veda. The Agastya-Gita is an allegory on liberation and evolution on the basis of Sankhya philosophy.

The Gitas that find place in Maha-puranas such as the Uddhava-Gita, the Rudra-Gita, the Bhikshu-Gita, the Sruti-Gita, the Hamsa-Gita, the Agastya-Gita propound monism as the essence of their philosophy.

 

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