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Guna allocation error in the Puranas on Trimurti


Posted on January 29, 2015 by shantanup


I had good reason to believe that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three deities of the Trimurti triad representing sattvic, rajasic and tamasic attributes, respectively, which manifests itself through consciousness energy (an aspect of total energy of the universe, the other being physical energy). These three deities work through the human (and animal) mind. The reason I choose Brahma for sattvic is because as a god He is known to be very calm, peaceful, loving, undemanding and the source of knowledge which the varna system requires Brahmins to access. Brahmins access the Brahman through Brahma: this can only work through the sattvic guna. However, it was pointed out to me that the Puranas relating to Vishnu were called Sattvic puranas, Brahama were called Rajasic Puranas and Shiva were called Tamasic Puranas, the classification taken from Padma Purana. From the following references I quote: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padma_Purana.

The Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda (236.18-21), is itself a Vaishnava Purana, classifies the Puranas in accordance with the three gunas or qualities; truth, passion, and indifference: Sattva (“truth; purity”) Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana

Rajas (“dimness; passion”) Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana

Tamas (“darkness; ignorance”) Matsya Purana, Kurma purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana

Two things stood out for me in these references:

”The Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda (236.18-21),[29] itself a Vaishnava Purana, compiled between the 4th and 15th century.,[2] more specific dates mentioned being c.750-1000 CE[3] or the 12th century CE,[4] but with an earlier core.[5] There are a number of later Jaina works also known as Padma-purana. The date of the production of the written texts does not define the date of origin of the Puranas.[6]”; and

”On one hand, they existed in some oral form before being written[6] while at the same time, they have been incrementally modified well into the 16th century.[6][7]”

So these appear to be recent smriti texts by traditional Vaishnavites. I do not agree with them because Sat (reality/truth) is knowledge obtained from purity of the mind without any attachments to wipe out delusions and impurities (so sattva guna), which cannot be mixed in the same person’s actions designed to preserve or save which requires attachments that will compromise truth in order to survive (so rajasic guna), so that both of these attributes cannot be governed by the same deity. Since Vishnu is born for Preserving according to creation, Brahma must therefore be Sat.


Like the decision I arrived at independently without knowing anything about what is written in the Puranas these texts mention clearly that Shiva is tamasic.



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