Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vishnu Purana with Vishnuchittiyam commentary

The  Vishnu  Purana  has  a  unique  distinction  among  the  18  Puranas.  It  is  the  only  one  that  is  in  answer  to  general  questions.  The  speaker  in  the  Purana  is  obliged  to  talk  about  the  personality  queried  by  the  student.  In  the  case  of  a  general  question,  the  speaker  is  obliged  to  divulge  the  highest  truth,  according  to  teachers  like  Adi  Shankara.  In  his  works,  Adi  Shankara  would  refer  to  Sri  Vishnu  Purana  as  simply  "The  Purana". 

In  just  6,000  verses,  the  Vishnu  Purana  has  covered  all  aspects  of  philosophy, theology,  history  and  the  practice  of  the  ancient  Vedic  religion.  Both  the  Vishnu Purana  and Srimad  Bhagavatam  seem  to  cover  common  ground  like  the  stories  of  the  10  avatarams  of  Vishnu.  But  while  the  Bhagavatam  has  all  the  makings  of  a  Hollywood  climax  in  the  Nrsimha  avatara  for  example,  where  the  Good  and Almighty  Nrsimha  faces  off  the  ultimate  evil  Hiranyakasipu,  in  the  Vishnu  Purana, the  climax  is  reached  when  Hiranyakasipu  apologizes  to  Prahlada.  His  death  at  the   hands  of  Nrsimha  is  referred  to  only  in  passing. 

Even  description  of  the  seasons  set  the  tone  for  our  mood,  when  fish  suffering  in  the  stream  waters  heated  by  the  sun,  is  compared  to  a  man  suffering  the  results  of  his  sins. 

This  particular  edition  of  Sri  Vishnu  Purana  includes  a  commentary  called  "Vishnuchittiyam"  by  Vishnuchitta,  who  is  also  known  as  'Engalalvan'  in  Tamil.  Vishnuchitta  lived  from  1097  to  1197  CE.  He  was  the  disciple  of  "Tirukurugai  Piraan  Pillaan"  the  Jnana  Putra  or  spiritual  son  of  Swami  Ramanujacharya.  He  composed  about  half  a  dozen  works  elucidating  the  philosophical  works  of  Swami  Ramanujacharya.  Only the  Vishnuchittyam  is  extant  today. 

It clearly  explains  the  harder  to  understand  passages.  For  example,  the  Vishnu Purana  explains  that  Vedic  rites  should  not  be  performed  in  the  presence  of  "naked  people". Vishnuchittiyam  explains  that  naked  people  in  this  context  refers  to  people  who  have  given  up  the  performance  of  their  daily  religious  duties  as  ordained  by  the Vedas.  The  other  available  commentary  is  called  Atma  Prakasha  by  Sridhara  Swami,  a  follower  of  Vallabhacharya. 



  1. My sincere thanks to Shri Jagan Bharadwaj who sent me the ebook, "Vishnupurana with Vishnuchittiyam" for posting on this blog and also prepared a brief review of the book, which is used in the above post.

  2. ram ram ji here i hv uploaded some book of gita press, gorakhpur you can see them

    1. the link does not open...

    2. Ajay,

      I think his folder was deleted from It would have been nice if you had specified which link you were referring to. Those who read, might assume that Vishnu Purana link is not working.

  3. I hv uploaded some books of Gita press, gorakhpur here - you can see them ram ram

  4. manyavar, kya aap hamein panditraj jagannath ka bhaminivilasa sanskrit/hindi mein uplabdh karwa sakte hein...aapka aabhari rahunga....dhanyawad.

  5. Dear Sir,

    You do not say how we can contact you.

    We are interested to make available free online Yogavasishta - sarga-wise condensed version of the total six chpaters - in English and Telugu languages. The English version will be about 4 MB in pdf. It contains some original shloka-s in ITRANS.

    Will you like to upload to your site the material?

    thanks and regards,
    vemuri dot ramesam at gmail dot com

  6. A great blog Shankara, thanks.
    Why don't you consider adding a list of other books you think will be useful to your readers?

    Also do you review books? I have written a book "Our Heritage Revisited : A glimpse into ancient Indian texts". This is available at It is in the nature of an introductory book on vast and amazing literature. Would you please consider reviewing it?


  7. I have often heard hindu activists saying that hinduism is a way of life, or a view of life, though they rarely say that hinduism is not a religion. But i cannot understand the meaning of this statement, what idea about religion is in their mind due to which think it is not a religion, Is it just a english word that's why they prevent themself from using it or is it like they think that the meaning is also different. If it is not a religion then can anyone tell me what they mean by this way of life statement.

    1. A lot of western misconception and interpretations has been labelled against Hinduism. Many words and things in Indian litertures and culture have been loosely translated by their own litertures and culture.
      Even the word ‘Hindu’ does not belong to them.
      So when a Hindu stands up to correct it; he is often labelled as an activist, a terrorist, a fanatic and so forth. So its not right to say that ‘Hindu activist’ is saying......

      Hindus declare their so called ‘religion’ is a ‘way of life’ because there are certain aspects of the other ‘religions’ which appear binding, dogmatic, rigid, following some strict rules and regulations. Even the thinking is done for them! How can this be a way of life if all you are doing is following some robotic lifestyle? Where is the freedom to think, do and act?

      Anyway I hope this nice article will help you with the answers and more.

      Please also nte the word Dharma in the article and its deeper/proper meanings.

      There is a book that describes some differences between Dharma and relgion which you might find useful in understanding a ‘Hindu’ view point. Ive shortened and listed some from the book for info only. You may or maynot agree with all of the terms herwith.

      Dharma is determined by the Creator.
      Religion is founded by humans.

      Dharma is eternal. It has no beginning and no end.
      Religion took birth and what takes birth must die.

      Dharma is applicable to all of humanity. It is Universal.
      Religion is preferred by those who follow its founder. It is not universal.

      Dharma—its purpose is to guide humanity towards righteousness for our overall personal and collective good.
      Religion –Its purpose may be the selfish interest of an individual or groups of individual.

      Dharma brings universal love, brotherhood and peace amongst the entire humanity.
      Religion often causes conflicts and strife leading to wars among followers of different religions.

      Dharma understands that there are many way to the One.
      Religions are intolerant of this fact.

      Dharma can be understood by an intelligent person through his/her intellectual faculties.
      Religion discourages the use of intellectual faculties. It’s often rigid.

      There is considerable individual freedom for personal growth provided it doesn’t hurt others.
      There is no freedom because there is fear that an individual may become equal or even superior to the person who founded the religion.

      One can follow Dharma anytime, anywhere, at any age.
      One must go through certain rituals to be initiated into a religion.

      If Dharma sees its decline then ....
      Religions flourish and create havoc for the noble people.

      So Hinduism in part may feel like a ‘religion’ but it has strongly held onto the value of Dharma.
      As long as there is Dharma –there is hope for humanity.


    2. Hinduism is not a religion it is only a way of life. Possibly that is why people use the word DHARMA which, in search of a better word, should mean "nature" or "a way to lead life". Hinduism is possibly the only religion that has no problems with worshiping a deity for a week or 5 days then happily immersing the idol in a river or sea.
      No other pagan religion allows that. truth be told Hindus can be Monotheist to Polytheist, they can also accept Idols or deities of other religion (there is a term for it which I do not remember).
      In fact this religion is a GODLESS religion in many senses of the word.