Saturday, 24 December 2011

Jay Weidner - Chomsky, The Puranas & Verbs Versus Nouns

A while back I was listening to a Coast interview where the alignment parallels of the Indian Yugas and Mayan calendar were outlined. I posted on that subject here. The subject is peppered with too many different opinions to take more seriously than a general overlapping observation give or take a few hundred years for the end of the Kali Yuga and the Mayan 9th Wave. 

However their is mention of the 2012 end of cycle with the appearance of Kalki in the Vishnu Purana around May next year. The Vishnu Purana is a primary sacred text of the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism, which today probably has more adherents than any other. 

It is one of the canonical Puranas, a branch of post-Vedic sacred 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 creation of the current universe to its destruction. The chronology describes periods as long as a hundred trillion years It includes extensive sections on the genealogy of the legendary kings, heroes and demigods of ancient India, including those from the epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana. There are fascinating descriptions of ancient Hindu cosmology and geography. Of general interest is a collection of stories about the boyhood adventures of Krishna and Rama, whom the Vaishnavas believe to be avatars of Vishnu. There are also references to Buddhism and Jainism, which help establish the date of composition of the work.

This is the first time that this work has appeared on the Internet in any form. H.H. Wilson was one of the first European scholars to produce a scholarly translation of a major Hindu sacred text. His translation employs clear English which modern readers will find very readable. There is very little of the pseudo-King James style, loved by 19th century orientalists (and loathed by modern scholars). The footnotes are extensive and very helpful, with comprehensive notes correlating the Vishnu Purana with other Puranas and Hindu texts. Unfortunately, good editions of this translation have largely been unavailable in print for many years. There are some re-typeset and heavily edited versions printed in India, of dubious quality, which I can't recommend. The copytext for this e-text was a very expensive photographic reproduction of the original 1840 edition. This is part of a reprint series which may be obtainable from some larger urban and academic libraries.