The Vishnu Purana

by Horace Hayman Wilson | 1840 | 287,946 words | ISBN-10: 8171102127

The English translation of the Vishnu Purana. This is a primary sacred text of the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism. It is one of the eighteen greater Puranas, a branch of sacred Vedic literature which was first committed to writing during the first millennium of the common era. Like most of the other Puranas, this is a complete narrative from the cr...

17. The Gāruḍa Purāṇa

17. Gāruḍa Purāṇa. “That which Viṣṇu recited in the Gāruḍa Kalpa, relating chiefly to the birth of Gāruḍa from Vinatā, is here called the Gāruḍa Purāṇa; and in it there are read nineteen thousand verses[1].”

The Gāruḍa Purāṇa which has been the subject of my examination corresponds in no respect with this description, and is probably a different work, though entitled the Gāruḍa Purāṇa. It is identical, however, with two copies in the Company's library. It consists of no more than about seven thousand stanzas; it is repeated by Brahmā to Indra; and it contains no account of the birth of Garuda. There is a brief notice of the creation; but the greater part is occupied with the description of Vratas, or religious observances, of holidays, of sacred places dedicated to the sun, and with prayers from the Tāntrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Śiva, and to Viṣṇu. It contains also treatises on astrology, palmistry, and precious stones; and one, still more extensive, on medicine. The latter portion, called the Preta Kalpa, is taken up with directions for the performance of obsequial rites. There is nothing in all this to justify the application of the name. Whether a genuine Gāruḍa Purāṇa exists is doubtful. The description given in the Matsya is less particular than even the brief notices of the other Purāṇas, and might have easily been written without any knowledge of the book itself, being, with exception of the number of stanzas, confined to circumstances that the title alone indicates.

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