the words seem to literally mean "Narada Purana" and "The Big Narada Purana". are they the same work?


According to R. C. Hazra, the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa is a part of Nārada Purāṇa:

The Nāradīya Purāṇa, a Vaiṣṇava work, consists of two parts, of which the first incorporates the entire Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa, which was composed by the Vaiṣṇavas about the middle of the ninth century A.D. The remaining chapters of the first part are comparatively late additions; and some of them contain detailed information regarding the contents of the eighteen principal Purāṇas now extant. The second part, though attached to the Nāradīya Purāṇa, is really an independent work differing in general character from the first forty-one chapters of the first part and sometimes appearing in manuscripts as an independent text. The last forty-five chapters of this part bear signs of comparatively late dates. An examination of the contents of the present Nāradīya shows that it was first compiled some time about the beginning of the tenth century A.D.



The Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa, which is included only in the lists of Upa-purāṇas given in two Purāṇas, the Ekāmra and the Bṛhaddharma, has been published in Calcutta by the Vaṅgavāsī Press and the Asiatic Society. It also is a work of the Pañcarātras with a Bhāgavata inclination, and describes the Vaiṣṇava festivals and ceremonies illustrated by various legends. Some chapters of it are devoted to the glorification of the Ganges, the duties of the castes and orders, funeral sacrifices and expiations, and so forth. It is pre-eminently a work on devotion to Viṣṇu, which is said to have ten gradations (viz. tāmasādhamā, tāmasā-madhyamā, etc.) and to be the only means of attaining salvation. It presents Mahāviṣṇu, who becomes Brahmā, the inferior Viṣṇu, and Śiva through the three guṇas, and states that Viṣṇu's Śakti, which permeates the whole world and effects its creation, preservation, and destruction, is known by such names as Lakṣmī, Umā, Durgā, Bhāratī, Bhadra-Kālī, and is the Prakṛti and Māyā which subjects creatures to rebirth. It is tolerant of Śaivism and warns people against differentiation between Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva. Various internal and external evidences, and the use of this work first and almost exclusively by the Bengal Smṛti writers show that it must have been written between A.D. 750 and 900, either in Bengal or in that part of Orissa which was adjacent to Bengal.

In the Introduction to the Motilal Banarsidass translation, the authors say the Bṛhan-nāradīya is a separate Upa-purāṇa while still including it in their translation of Nārada Purāṇa:



Mediaeval Writers on Dharma-Śāstra quote from two similar-sounding and equally authoritative Purāṇas viz. Nārada or Nāradīya (NP.) and Bṛhan-nāradīya (Brn. P.). Out of them the NP. is a Mahāpurāṇa and Brn. is an Upa-purāṇa and as the adj. Bṛhat shows, it is later than the NP. The Brn. is a small work of about 3600 verses and 38 chapters. It is a sectarian (Vaiṣṇava) work and though Nārada is the speaker, the criteria of Pañca-lakṣaṇa is not applicable to it. The NP. is a mahāpurāṇa traditionally supposed to contain 25000 verses (though the printed text of Veṅk, edt. has 18550 verses—13144 in NP. Part I and 5406 in Part II). Maybe due to the synthesis of Aryo-Dravidian cultures as suggested by S. K. Chatterji, the number eighteen became favourite with ancient Indians. The Vāyu Purāṇa mentions a part stage of ten Purāṇas but gives no details. But soon the number of Purāṇas came to be stated as eighteen though actually nineteen Purāṇas are enumerated. Even the Upa-purāṇas (minor Purāṇas) the actual number of which exceeds one hundred are also stated to be eighteen.



The Bnr. and NP Part 1 (chs. 1-41) are textually the same. Though the adj. Bṛhan — in Bnr. shows that it is later than the NP., it is not later than the extant NP. but than the one to which the Mt. P. 53.23, the Sk.P. VII; 1.2.43 and AP. 272.8 refer as one narrated by Nārada with reference to the Bṛhat-Kalpa — which the extant NP. is not. The Bnr. is an Upa-purāṇa and the extant NP. is the borrower from the Bnr. Naturally the date of NP. Part I (chs. 1-41) is later than that of the Bnr. Govindananda (1500-1540 A.D.) quotes Bnr. 7.14, 25-27 in his Kaumudi works viz. Śuddha-Kriyā — Varṣa-Kriyā and Śrāddha-kriyā, Raghunandana (1520-1575 A.D.) quotes Bnr. 7.14, 22, and 24 in has Smṛti-tattva. Śula-pāṇi (1375-1440 A.D.) quotes Bnr. ch. 16 in his Vrata-Kāla-Viveka. Hence, Bnr. cannot be later than 1350 A.D. The Bnr. and NP. are mentioned as separate works in the Bṛhad-dharma Purāṇa (after 1250 A.D.), in the Bengal version of the Uttarakhaṇḍa of Śiva Purāṇa (circa 1200 A.D.) and the Orissan-Ekāmra Purāṇa (circa 1000-1100 A.D.). Hence, the Bnr. may be assigned 1050 A.D. at least. The Viṣṇu Śakti theory in the Bnr., crediting her with power of creation and destruction of the Universe and her various forms such as Lakṣmī, Durgā, Bhāratī and her identification with Prakṛti and Māyā (Bnr. 3-6, 9, 15, 16 etc.), shows that the Bnr. is posterior to Āgamas. The doctrine of Advaita and Māyā in (Bnr. 31.57ff) shows Bnr's acquaintance with the Advaita teacher Śankara (788-820 A.D.). Thus the date of the composition of the Bnr. appears to be circa 850 A.D. Hence, the date of NP. Part I (chs. 1-41) is probably somewhat later i.e. circa 900-950 A.D.

  • 1
    "As soon as you are born you are given a name, a religion, a nationality and a race. You spend the rest of your life defending a fictional identity" <-- very true indeed ;) May 31 '21 at 4:53

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