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The names of Manus during the previous and future Manvantras are known, but are there any scriptures, puranas from previous manvantras that survived the pralaya?

Apart from the pre-ordained Yuga cycles and human actions that are characteristics of the Chatur Yugas, do the characters and stories repeat in each Manvantra or are they unique everytime?

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Yes there are many scriptures existing from the previous eras and in fact the various Purans are also from different time periods. As mentioned in Chapter 53 of Matsya Purana these are the different Kalpas in which each specific Purana was revealed:

  • Padma Purana - Padma Kalpa
  • Vishnu Purana - Varaha Kalpa
  • Vayu Purana, Shiva Purana - Sveta Kalpa
  • Bhagavata Purana - Saraswata Kalpa
  • Naradiya Purana - Brhat Kalpa
  • Agni Purana - Ishana Kalpa
  • Bhavishya Purana - Aghora Kalpa
  • Brahma Vaivarata Purana - Rathantara Kalpa
  • Linga Purana - Agneya Kalpa
  • Varaha Purana - Manava Kalpa
  • Skanda Purana - Satpurusha Kalpa
  • Vamana Purana - Kurma Kalpa
  • Kurma Purana - Lakshmi Kalpa
  • Matsya Purana - Varaha Kalpa

As for the events repeating themselves, let me just give one example that shall make it abundantly clear whether it happens or not. In the Yog Vasishtha Chapter 20 Kak Bhushundi, an immortal crow tells Brahmarishi Vasishth that the world has existed in the same way in every Kalpa:

1 Bhushunda continued:— This world has existed in the previous kalpa in the very same state as it does at present. There is no variation in the formation or location of anything in any way.

2 Therefore, O great sage, I am accustomed to look to the past and present with an equal eye. I will relate the events of my past life and bygone ages for your information as if they exist with me even now

In Chapter 22 he says to Vasishth:

8 O sagely son of Brahma, I remember your eight births in the eight different epochs of the world. This is your eighth birth in which you have come as a guest to my nest.

9 At one time you were born of air, and at another of heavenly fire. One time you were produced from water, and at others from emptiness and of solid rock.

He further mentions the other events of significance that he has witnessed multiple times:

13 Twelve times I have witnessed the great battle of gods and demigods, uprooting and uplifting Mandara Mountain to churn out the last ambrosia from underneath the ocean.

14 Thrice I have seen the tyrant Hiranyaksha levy his tax upon the gods in heaven, hurling the fruitful earth with all her healing and medicinal plants underneath the ocean.

15 I saw Hari (Vishnu) come down six times in the shape of Renuka’s son, Parashurama, and remove the kshatriya warrior caste for very long periods.

16 O sage, I remember the return of a hundred Kali Yuga ages and a hundred incarnations of Hari in the form of Buddha and as the son of royal Suka or Suddhadana in the land of Kirata.

17 I bear in my memory the overthrow of the demon Tripura by Shiva thirty times, and the disruption of King Daksha’s yagna more than once by the angry Hara (Shiva). I recall the downfall of ten Indras by the offending god who bears the crescent moon on his forehead.

He also narrates having witnessed the Narsimha Avatar 3 times, Ramayan 11 times and Mahabharat 16 times:

30 I remember Lord Vishnu descending many times on earth to destroy ferocious rakshasa demons, and is now to appear here the eleventh time under the name of Rama.

31 I know Lord Hari has come down three times in his form of the half lion half man Narasimha to thrash the demon Hiranyakashipu as many times like a lion killing an elephant.

32 Vishnu is yet to be born in his sixteenth incarnation at Vasudeva’s abode for the purpose of rescuing the earth from the burden of the oppression of its tyrant lords and despots.

So to conclude, we do have scriptures existing today that are from different eras & at least the major avatars & events repeat in different Yugas, Manvantars and Kalpas.

  • 2
    Amazing answer! Please correct the broken link for Chapter 53 of Matsya Purana (i guess the link is aechieve.indianscriptures.com/ ...) – Vishwanath N Feb 1 '18 at 11:01
  • @VishwanathN thank you so much. The edit has been done :) – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Feb 1 '18 at 11:08

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