Related Hindu texts
Shastras and sutras
Chronology of Hindu texts
Purana (Bhaviṣya Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen
major works in the
Purana genre of Hinduism, written in
Sanskrit. The title Bhavishya means "future" and implies it is a
work that contains prophecies regarding the future, however, the
"prophecy" parts of the extant manuscripts are a modern era
work. Those sections of the surviving manuscripts that are dated
to be older, are partly borrowed from other Indian texts such as
Samhita and Shamba Purana. The veracity and authenticity
of much of the Bhavishya
Purana has been questioned by modern
scholarship, and the text is considered an example of "constant
revisions and living nature" of Puranic genre of Hindu
The text exists in many inconsistent versions, wherein the content as
well as their subdivisions vary, and five major versions are known.
Some manuscripts have four Parvan (parts), some two, others don't have
any parts. The text as it exists today is a composite of
material ranging from medieval era to very recent. The available
versions of Bhavishya
Purana are based on a printed text published
during the British colonial era.
The first 16 chapters of the first part of the Bhavisya
called Brahmaparvan. It shows similarities to, and likely borrowed
verses from some version of the Manusmriti. However, some of the
caste-related and women's rights related discussion in the Bhavishya
Purana is egalitarian and challenge those found in the 19th-century
published manuscripts of the Manusmriti. The Brahmaparvan
part of the Bhavishya
Purana includes a 169 chapters compendium of
Surya (Sun god) related literature, that overlaps with
Zoroastrianism-related views. These Sun-related sections are a
notable and important part of the Bhavishya Purana, and it may be
related to the migration or interaction between people of Persia and
central Asia with those in Indian subcontinent.
The second part of the text, called Madhyamaparvan, is a
Tantra-related work. The "prophecy"-related third part
Pratisargaparvan includes sections on Christianity, Islam, Bhakti
movement, Sikhism, British rule, and considered by scholars as a
19th-century creation. The fourth part of the text called
Uttaraparvan, is also known as Bhavishyottara Purana. This last part
describes festivals related to various Hindu gods and goddesses and
their Tithis (dates on lunar calendar), as well as mythology and a
Dharma particularly vrata (vow) and dana
(charity). The text also has many Mahatmya chapters on
geography, travel guide and pilgrimage to holy sites such as
Uthiramerur, and is one of the Tirtha-focussed Puranas.
1 Dating and texts
4 See also
6 External links
Dating and texts
In records of land grants of the fifth century CE verses are quoted
which occur only in the Padma, Bhavishya, and
Brahma Puranas, and on
this basis Pargiter in 1912 assigned these particular
Puranas to the
early centuries CE. Maurice Winternitz considers it more probable that
these verses, both in the inscriptions and in the puranas, were taken
as quotations from earlier dharmaśāstras, and thus argues that
chronological deductions cannot be made on that basis.
According to Maurice Winternitz, the text which has come down to us in
manuscript form under this title is certainly not the ancient work
which is quoted in the Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra. A quotation
appearing in the Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra attributed to the
Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa cannot be found in the extant text of the
Some manuscripts of the Bhavishya
Purana assert that it has five parts
(Sanskrit: parvans), but the extant printed editions contain four
parts (Brāhma, Madhyama, Pratisarga, and Uttara). These four
parts have distinctive content and dating.
The Brahmaparvan contains 215 chapters, the Madhyamaparvan has three
sections with a cumulative total of 62 chapters, the Pratisargaparvan
has four sections with 7, 35, 32 and 26 chapters sequentially, and the
Uttaraparvan has 208 chapters. Some manuscripts of the text do not
have these Parvans and have different number of chapters. The
Madhyamaparvan part is a Tantra-related work, while the
"prophecy"-related third part Pratisargaparvan is likely a
The text is sometimes titled Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa. In the Padma
Purana, it is classified in the rajas category, which contains
puranas related to Brahma. Scholars consider the
Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is
nothing in this text that actually justifies this classification.
Despite being labelled a purana or "tales of ancient times", the work
relates only a few legends. It is one of several puranas in which a
list of royal dynasties of the "past" are followed by lists of kings
predicted to rule in the future.
This part of the text has 215 chapters. It covers topics such as
rites of passage, ceremonies and feasts. It also covers the duties
and rights of women, a discussion on the nature of people and how to
identify good and bad characters, and a caste-related discussion.
According to Arora, and other scholars, the caste-related and
women's rights related discussion in the Bhavishya
egalitarian, similar to those found in
Brahma Purana and Vajrasuchi
Upanishad, all three of which challenge the views expressed in the
The Brahmaparvan also includes sections on festival dates and methods
for worshipping Brahma, Ganesha, Skanda, and the Nāga. A
considerable section deals with Sun worship in a place called
"Śākadvīpa" which may be a reference to Scythia. This
overlaps with Zoroastrianism-related views, and may be related to
ancient migration or interaction between Persia and central Asia with
Indian subcontinent. These chapters are the most comprehensive
and important source of sun-worship tradition in India, and may be
related to the escape and resettlement of people from Persia into
western India during the mid to late medieval era.
The second part of the Bhavisya
Purana has 62 chapters on Tantra.
This is not mentioned in other Indian text, states Hazra, to have been
a part of the Bhavishya Purana, and therefore he states that it may be
"a late appendage" abounding in Tantric theories of the
2nd-millennium. However, states Rocher, the tantra sections of
Purana were likely part of the text by about 1500 CE.
The Pratisarga parvan has 100 chapters, which deal with topics such
as the genealogy of the kings and sages, and prophecies. It is
written as a universal history with the first and the second chapters
(called Khandas) deal with old time, the third part with the medieval,
while the fourth deals with the new age. This section has led
scholars to question the veracity and authenticity of much of the
Bhavishya Purana, and as evidence that the
Puranas were not
scriptures, but texts that were constantly revised and of living
nature, both over time and over geography.
Alf Hiltebeitel, who has translated and summarized this part of the
Bhasvisya Purana, considers that 1739 marks the terminus a quo
(completed after year) for the text's history of the
Mughals and the
same terminus a quo would apply to Pratisargaparvan's first khanda
Genesis-Exodus sequence, and the diptych in the section concerning
"Isha Putra" (
Jesus Christ) and
Muhammad in its third chapter.
Mention of Queen Victoria's Calcutta places the terminus ad quem
(completed before year) at mid to late 19th Century.
Hiltebeitel states that this part of the Bhavisya
Purana was mostly
likely composed in the 19th century.
The Uttaraparvan is large with 208 chapters. Though nominally
attached to the Bhavishya Purana, is usually considered to be an
independent work, also known as the Bhaviṣyottara Purāṇa, and as
such is included among the Upapuranas (Lesser Puranas). The
Purana is primarily a handbook of religious rites with
a few legends and myths. Rajendra Hazra characterizes it as "a
loose collection of materials taken from various sources" that is
lacking in many of the traditional five characteristics of a purana,
but which offers an interesting study of vows, festivals, and
donations from sociological and religious point of view.
Purana also includes Mahatmya (travel guides) to
pilgrimage sites such as Uthiramerur.
^ a b Dalal 2014, p. 71.
^ a b Winternitz 1922, p. 541.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rocher 1986, pp. 151-154.
^ a b K P Gietz 1992, p. 215 with note 1180.
^ a b c d e f Dalal 2014, p. 72.
^ a b c Rocher 1986, p. 153.
^ K P Gietz 1992, p. 48-49 with note 246.
^ Sarma, KV (1977). "Review of The Manava Dharmasastra I-III and the
Purana by Ludwik Sternbach". J. Royal Asiatic Soc. G.B. Irel.
Cambridge University Press. 109 (02): 217.
^ a b Rocher 1986, p. 152 with footnotes.
^ a b Raj Arora (1972), Historical and cultural data from the Bhavisya
Purana, Sterling Publishers, OCLC 844555576, pages viii-ix,
92-119, Chapter 4
^ a b L Gopal (1986), Bhavisya
Brahma Parvan Chapters 40-44,
Journal: Purana, Volume XXVIII, Issue 2 (July), pages 174-196
^ a b K P Gietz 1992, p. 49 with note 247.
^ Rocher 1986, pp. 217-219.
^ a b Rocher 1986, pp. 153-154.
^ a b Rocher 1986, p. 154 with footnotes.
^ a b Ariel Glucklich 2008, p. 146, Quote: The earliest
promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called
^ Rocher 1986, p. 78.
^ For the fifth century CE land grant references, citation to Pargiter
(1912), and debunking of the theory, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p.
526, note 2.
^ For statement that the extant text is not the ancient work, see:
Winternitz, volume 1, p. 567.
^ For the quotation in Āpastambīya Dharmasūtra attributed to the
Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa not extant today, see: Winternitz, volume 1, p.
^ For self-report of five parts, but only four parts in the printed
text, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The Purāṇas", in:
Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263.
^ Mathett, Freda, "The Purāṇas" in Flood (2003), p. 137
^ Wilson 1864, p. xii.
^ Flood (1996), p. 110.
^ Mathett, Freda, "Purāṇa" in Flood (2003), p. 137
^ Rocher 1986, p. 21.
^ For the Bhaviṣyat Purāṇa as one of several puranas predicting
future kings (others being the Matsya, Vāyu, Brahmāṇḍa,
Viṣṇu, Bhāgavata, and Garuḍa Puranas, see: Winternitz, volume
1, pp. 523–524.
^ For the characterization of the content, see: Winternitz, volume 1,
^ a b K P Gietz 1992, p. 478-479 with note 2648.
^ For women and varna-related discussion, signs of people, see: Hazra,
Rajendra Chandra, "The Purāṇas", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962),
volume 2, p. 264.
^ For Brahma, Ganesha, Skanda, and the Snakes see: Hazra, Rajendra
Chandra, "The Purāṇas", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p.
^ For the sun worship in "Śākadvīpa", which may be Scythia, see:
Winternitz, volume 1, p. 567.
^ For a large number of chapters on Sun worship, solar myths, and
Śāka-dvipa, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The Purāṇas", in:
Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 264.
^ Rocher 1986, pp. 218-219.
^ Rocher 1986, pp. 217-219 with footnotes.
^ For quotation from Hazra regarding the Madhyamaparvan as a late
appendage, see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The Purāṇas", in:
Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263.
^ Rocher 1986, p. 153 with footnote 92.
^ a b c
Alf Hiltebeitel (1999). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical
Epics. University of Chicago Press. pp. 216–218, 271–287.
^ Rocher 1986, pp. 8-13, 153.
^ K P Gietz 1992, p. 48-49 with notes 246-247.
Alf Hiltebeitel Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics 2009
Page 276 "Thus 1739 could mark a terminus a quo for the text's history
of the Mughals. If so, the same terminus would apply to its
Genesis-Exodus sequence in its first khanda, its Jesus-Muhammad
diptych in its third (the Krsnam&acaritd), and the history ..."
Alf Hiltebeitel Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics 2009
Page 277 "Since references to Queen Victoria's Calcutta provide a mid-
to even late-nineteenth-century terminus ad quem for other ... but of
the Genesis-Exodus sequence and the Krsnarrrtacarita—with its Jesus
Muhammad passages— as well."
^ Bonazzoli, Giorgio: Christ in the Bhavisya
Purana [Engl.]. (a
methodological approach to Bhav. P. III. 3.2.21-32), Journal: Purana
issue 21, January 1979, pp. 23-39.
Alf Hiltebeitel (1999). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics.
University of Chicago Press. pp. 217–218.
^ For independent classification of the Uttaraparvan as the
Bhaviṣyottara Purāṇa see: Hazra, Rajendra Chandra, "The
Purāṇas", in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962), volume 2, p. 263.
^ For the contents of the Bhaviṣyottara
Purana and characterizing it
as a continuation of the Bhavishya
Purana see: Winternitz, volume 1,
^ For quotation related to loose collection of materials see: Hazra,
Rajendra Chandra, "The Upapurāṇas" in: Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1962),
volume 2, p. 285.
Gregory Bailey (2003). Arvind Sharma, ed. The Study of Hinduism.
University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-449-7.
Dalal, Rosen (2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin.
Dimmitt, Cornelia; van Buitenen, J. A. B. (2012). Classical Hindu
Mythology: A Reader in the
Sanskrit Puranas. Temple University Press
(1st Edition: 1977). ISBN 978-1-4399-0464-0.
Doniger, Wendy (editor) (1993). Purāṇa Perennis: Reciprocity and
Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts. Albany, New York: State
University of New York. ISBN 0-7914-1382-9. CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link)
Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.
Flood, Gavin (Editor) (2003). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism.
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 1-4051-3251-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
K P Gietz; et al. (1992). Epic and Puranic Bibliography (Up to 1985)
Annoted and with Indexes: Part I: A - R, Part II: S - Z, Indexes. Otto
Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-03028-1.
Ariel Glucklich (2008). The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in
Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective.
Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2.
Bhaviṣyapurāna, Pratisargaparvan. Bombay: Venkateshwar Press.
Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (Editorial Chairman) (1962). The Cultural
Heritage of India. Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of
Culture. Second edition, four volumes, revised and enlarged,
1962 (volume II).
Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.
Wilson, H. H. (1864). The Vishnu Purana: A System of Hindu Mythology
and Tradition (Volume 1: Introduction, Book I). Read Country Books
(reprinted in 2006). ISBN 1-84664-664-2.
Winternitz, Maurice (1922). History of Indian Literature Vol 1
(Original in German, translated into English by VS Sarma, 1981). New
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010).
A Review: The Manava Dharmasastra I-III and the Bhavishya
Ludwik Sternback, KV Sarma (1997)