Authenticity of Itihaas and Purans

इति ह पुरावृत्तमास्ते यस्मिन् स इतिहासः
Meaning:- Something that has happened in past and has been recorded as it is, is called Itihaas
पुरा अपि नवम् इति पुराणम्
Something which is old (in history) but every new and afresh (in teachings and meanings) is called Purans.

Let me quote how all the traditional Vedic Acharyas Accepted PURANS as praman subsidiary to Vedas and as explanatory text to Vedas.

Here are some array of quotations from Traditional Vedic Scholars:Kautilya aka Chanakya (300 BC) in Arthashatra 5.13–14

पश्चिम इति इतिहास श्रवणे| पुराणम् इति वृतिमाख्यायियकौधारणं धर्मशाष्त्रम् अर्थशास्त्रं च इतिहासः||Meaning: In the later (west) part of the day; hear Itihaas. Itihaas means PURAN, Vritti upakhyaika, dharmashastra and Itihaas (Ramayan, Mahabharat).

kautilya belongs to 300 BC and mention of study of Purans and Itihaas by one of the brightest minds of India ever should really be adhered.Shukra-neeti 3.38

धर्मतत्त्वं हि गहनमतः सत्त्वसेवितं नरः| श्रुतिस्मृति पुराणानाम कर्म कुर्यात विचक्षनह||Meaning: The tattva of dhara is really deep. So, one should follow Shruti, Smriti and PURANS to do karma.

Sayan in commentry on vedas has quoted Purans and established the authenticity of Purans as explanatory texts to Vedas:krishna Yajur-Ved Sayan bhasya page 3:

उपनीतस्य एव अध्ययन अधिकारम…..…………कथं तर्हि तयो: – पुराणादिभिरिति ब्रूमः|Meaning: only those who are upaneet (got Yagyopaveet) have right to study Vedas. How would they be uplifted? By study of Purans etc.

Atharv-Ved Sayan Bhasya page 6

पौरोहित्यम च अथर्वेदिकम कार्यं……………..तथा च विष्णुपुराणे ‘पौरोहित्यम शांतिकपौष्टिकानी राज्ञामअथर्ववेदेन कारयेद..|Atharvedi shuld be called for Purohit karma since the Purohit karmas like Rajyabhishek etc. has been described in Atharv-Veda.As said in Vishnu Puran, “Purohit works in Kings works should be done by Atharv-Vedi ony. Brahmatva in Vedas is also based on this only”.

Here, sayan first quoted Vishnu Puran, then he goes on to quote Matsya Puran, Markandey Puran and Skand Puran.Atharv-Ved Sayan bhasya page 5

यथा स्कंदे कमलालयखंडे आथार्वणमंत्रानाम जापमत्रेण अभिमत फलसाधनत्वं उक्तं, “ यस्त…………………………सो ध्रुवं”|Meaning: As kamlaalay khand of Skaand Puran says that just by chanting the Atharv mantra one gets desired results.

Sayan in Rig Ved bhasya:

ऐतरेयतैतरीयकाठकादिशाखासूक्तानि हरिश्चंद्रनचिकेताद्युपख्यानी ……तेषु तेष्वितिहासग्रंथेसुस्पष्टिकृतानि उपनिषदु उक्तश्च सृष्टिस्थितिलयादयो ब्राह्मपाद्मवैष्णवादिपुराणेषु स्पष्टि कृताः|Meaning: Dharma and Brahm-gyaan given in Harischandra and nachiketa dialogues in Aittreya and taittriya sakha are well explained in Itihaas (Ramayan and Mahabharat) and the details of creation, sustenance and dissolution given in upanishads are well-explained in BRAHMA, PADMA and VISHNU PURANS.

Nyay darshan ( Maharshi Vatsyayan Bhasya 4.1.62)

//ते वा खल्वे इति अथर्व अंगिरस एतत इतिहास पुराणस्य प्रामाण्यभ्यवदन – “इतिहासपुराणं पंचमं वेदानां वेद” इति छान्दोग्यः (७.२.१)//Meaning: The famous Atharv-Vedi have authenticated ITIHAAS and PURANS. It’s said, “ Itihaas and Puran are fifth Veda.”

Maharshi Patanjali Mahabhasya (Paspasahnik 1.1.1)

वाको वाक्यम् इतिहास पुराणः ….शब्दस्य प्रयोग विषयःMeaning: vaakovaakya, ITIHAAS, PURANS; there are the places of experiments of words.

Uttar-Meemansha 6.13.33

तस्मात् मूलमितिहासपुराणम्

Are Vedic Gods different from Puranic Gods?

Let’s see Sayan bhasya for the Vedic mantras which declare ‘Vishnu as supreme’ and ‘abode of Vishnu as supreme’. Sayan clearly says that Vishnu here is one mentioned in Itihaas and Purana.

Author: ramanujramprapnna

studying Ramanuj school of Vishishtadvait vedant

4 thoughts on “Authenticity of Itihaas and Purans”

  1. Very nice explanation but slightly doubt example about u given of class room in which if any ten students attending the class ther understanding will never be same how u difference,


    1. Jay Sriman Narayan swami

      May be example given is not up to mark. What I meant was that Shruti is the divine realization of the Vedas by the mantra-drashta rishis which is passed as it is in disciple succession in form of Sound. Later it was written in many scripts.

      Smriti means recollection of the teachings of Vedas and presentation in form of sweet stories. As you said, understanding of different rishis were different and there are chances of mixing of personal emotions and biases.
      That’s why we classify Purans in 3 categories. Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. And that’s why it’s rated below Vedas which is a shruti


  2. Found an article from Hindu which said the same and thought of sharing it here

    From the article,
    Panini, in his grammar work Ashtadhyayi, says that when two words are to be used together, the word that has fewer letters must come first. If that rule were to be followed, then we should not say Itihasa Puranas, because Purana has three letters and Itihasa has four letters.

    But Panini himself gives yet another rule, where he says that when two words are to be used together, the one that refers to a more respected matter must come first. So, the reason for Itihasa coming before Purana is because Itihasas take precedence over Puranas.

    also the verse i heard that

    Also this verse seems to be available at other scriptures also it seems. So it does add lot of weightage too.

    itihāsapurānābhyām vedam samupabrmhayet

    bibhety alpaśrutād vedo mām ayam pratarisyati

    There is a common verse which runs in

    1.Vasistha Dharma sutra 27:6,

    2.vyasa smriti 1.4,

    3.padma purana 2.51-52,

    4.skanda purana 5.3.122

    5.Mahabharata 1.1.204

    Thanks so much Manjishji for this article.

    Thanq Prabhuji,

    Om Namo Narayana


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