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Vasistha Purana – Vasistha Linga Purana

Vasistha Purana, also known as Vasistha Linga Purana, is mentioned by Gopala Dasa in his Bhakti Ratnakara and Vasisthalainga by Mitra Mishra in his Viramitrodaya in the list of Upapuranas.

Puranas, Upapuranas and digests on dharma list eighteen Puranas and Upapuranas. While the names of the eighteen Puranas are almost uniform in these lists, the names of Upapuranas vary. Manuscripts of many Upapuranas are not available. Hence it is very difficult to determine identity and subject matter of such Upapuranas.

Vasistha Laingapurana was perhaps also known as Vasistha Purana and Maheshwara. If this identity is correct, the text of a Vasistha Linga Purana recently published enables us to infer the subject matter of Vasistha Purana.

Vasistha Linga Purana, in twelve chapters, in the form of an interlocution between Vasistha and Shiva, explains the nature of Shiva in the company of his consort Uma as the supreme lord of the world.

Maya, the illusory power, subject to his control, is the cause of the world appearing as real. It operates by means of karma vipaka (the fruits of past deeds) of the beings and efflux of time. God creates the world, protects it in his form as Vishnu and destroys it in his form as Rudra. From the eternal sound phenomenon, God churned Vedas.

Knowledge releases one from bondage and the rituals produce desire for knowledge. The text glorifies Varanasi and many sacred places like Kanchi, Shvetaranya, Madhyarjuna and Kumbakonam on the banks of the Kaveri River, Rameshwaram, Vriddhachalam, Kalahasti and others. The work was probably composed in South Indian.

Vasistha Purana declares Vedas as the authority for determining the nature of dharma and adharma. It advocates installation of the images of Shiva and his worship with five sacred syllables on different days of the lunar fortnight and on days ruled by different asterisms, and explains its benefit. Immense benefits arise by wearing sacred ashes on different parts of the body along with repetition of certain Vedic hymns.

Wearing rudraksha set with gold or silver is recommended. The composition and greatness of om and mode of assigning the syllable on fingers are explained.

Duties of four castes, four stages of life and characteristic features of the four yugas are explained. The legend of the appearance of Shiva in a nude form at Devadaruvana in order to free ascetics therein from the veil of ignorance is narrated in detail. Many statements from Upanishads are incorporated, making an excellent exposition of the nature of Brahman.

Source -
Studies in the Upapurana Vol II (1963) R C Hazra - Sanskrit College Kolkata
Encyclopedia of Hinduism - page 212 Vol XI Rupe IHRF



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