By Swami Harshananda
Significance of Vāyupurāṇa
The contribution of the purāṇas to the growth of popular religion is significant. Even the treatises and digests of dharmaśāstras have quoted profusely from them. One such purāṇa, classed among the 18 Mahāpurāṇas is the Vāyupurāna or Vāyavīyapurāna. It has two khaṇḍas or sections. The Purvakhanda has 61 adhyāyas and the Uttarakhanda has 50 adhyāyas. The total number of verses comes to about 12,000.
Contents of Vāyupurāna
This purāṇa was first taught by the deity Vāyu to the sage Vaiśampāyana. It was later narrated by the Sṅtapaurāṇika, known as Lomaharṣaṇa, to the sages Śaunaka and others who were engaged in the performance of a Sattrayāga in the Naimiṣāraṇya forest. The contents of this purāṇa can be summarized as follows:
- On creation
- Varṇas and āśramas
- Description of Praṇava or Oṅkāra
- Lineages of sages
- Four yugas
- Some geographical details of Jambudvīpa
- Various regions of the created world
- Churning of the milky ocean
- Manifestation of Śiva as liṅga
- Stories of Vedavyāsa and his disciples
- Śrāddhas or obsequial rites
- Speciality of śrāddha done at Gayā
- Some sages and kings
- Greatness of Lord Viṣṇu and his incarnations
- Description of the fourteen worlds
- Greatness and importance of this purāṇa
- It is the first part.
- It means chapters.
- It means second part.
- Jambudvīpa is where Bhāratavarṣa or greater India is situated.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore