In the New Testament gospel of Luke, the author starts his story by letting us know just how good he is:
“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”
Luke 1:1-4 (NRSV)
Yesterday I supplemented my visit to the Hindu temple by reading the wiki article on the Ganesh Purana — one of the major sources of Hindu stories about Ganesh. There I came upon this quote which reminded me of Luke’s boasting:
“There are, however, eighteen minor Purāṇas [accounts of the events] such as the Gaṇeśa, the Nārada, the Nṛsiṁha, etc. Amongst these, firstly I am going to recite the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa which is rarely heard, especially by someone in the world of mortals.”
Ganesh Purana (I.1.8-9)
Comparative studies have taught me so much about how we humans carve out our mental spaces. Both authors want their readers to understand that their versions are so much better than the others. I had to smile! OK, the Purana author is a bit overboard with the phrase, “world of mortals” but what do you want for people who make up stories about elephant-headed gods.
Oh, and since I know this had to be eating at more than a few of you, here are some more pictures to clarify your linguistic curiosity.
|A Purana||A Piranha|