This translation of the Markandeya Purana being made for the
Society ofBengal naturally
the edition of this work prepared by the Rev. Dr. К. М.Banerjee, and published in the Bibliotheca Indica in 1862; yet other editions and some
have been consulted and are referred to. The translation has been kept as close to
original as possible, consistently with English sense and idiom; for a translation
some of its interest and much of its trustworthiness, when the reader can never knowwhether it reproduces the original accurately or only the purport of the original. The timeduring which the work has been in hand has rendered it difficult to maintain one systemof transliteration throughout; but, in order to place the whole in a consistent state, thesystem established by the Royal
Society and approved by the
Society ofBengal has been adopted in the Index and in this Introduction.
general character of this Purana has been
summed up by
inhis preface to his Translation of the
Purana, except that his description hardlyapplies to the DevI-mShatmya. "This Purana has a character different from that of all the
It has nothing of a sectarial spirit, little of a religious
rarely insertingprayers and invocations to any deity; and such as are inserted are
and moderate. Itdeals little in precepts, ceremonial or moral. Its leading feature is narrative; and itpresents an uninterrupted succession of legends, most of which when ancient areembellished with new circumstances, and when new partake so far of the spirit of theold, that they are disinterested creations of the imagination, having no particular motive,being designed to recommend no special doctrine or observance. Whether they arederived from any other source, or whether they are original inventions, it is not
ascertain. They are most probably, for the greater part at least, original; and the wholehas been narrated in the compiler's own manner; a manner superior to that of the Puranas
general, with exception of the BhSgavata."
Purana is clearly
(as Dr. Banerjee noticed) into
distinct parts,namely :-1. Chapter 1-9, in which Jaimini is referred by Markandeya to the
Birds, andthey directly explain to him the four questions that perplexed him and some
matters.2. Chapter 10-41, where, though Jaimini propounds further questions to the Birds
they nominally expound them, yet the real speakers are Sumati, nicknamedJada, and his father.3. Chapter 42-79: here, though Jaimini and the Birds are the nominal speakers, yet
real speakers are Markandeya and his disciple Kraustuki.