This quiz is designed to motivate you to study the Gaudiya Vaishnava scriptures in specific, and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gaudiya philosophy properly.
Jnana or knowledge related to bhakti is also part of bhakti. In fact, hearing, which includes studying shastra, is the first limb of bhakti. Learning, followed by consolidating and then testing our knowledge in the form of a quiz is a fun and effective way to help us retain information.
This quiz is in multiple-choice questions format. (MCQs). If you see the response that you anticipated simply click on it. The quiz will immediately show which answers are correct or incorrect so we can learn as we go.
1 / 10
Who condensed and compiled the Purāṇas?
The sage Śrī Vyāsa, a Viṣṇu avatāra who is celebrated as one of the greatest sages in India, organized the original Vedas into four works and compiled the Purāṇas.
The Purāṇas, by virtue of their transcendental origin, are equal to the four Vedas and are therefore eternal and apauruṣeya. Thus Śrīla Vedavyāsa did not formulate the Purāṇas as an original composition. He condensed the already existing Vedas. Then He took unused verses from that abridged portion and compiled them into the Purāṇas.
2 / 10
How many major Purāṇas are there?
There are eighteen main Purāṇas and eighteen minor Purāṇas (Upapurāṇas). Then there are also eighteen sub Purāṇas (Aupapurāṇas). So altogether there are fifty four Purāṇas.
3 / 10
How are the Purāṇas grouped?
In Anuccheda 17 of Tattva Sandarbha, Srila Jiva Goswami claims on the authority of Matsya Purāṇa that the Purāṇas are grouped according to the guṇas of material nature that they embody; namely, sāttvika (illuminating), rājasika (activating), and tāmasika (restraining).
4 / 10
Which Purāṇas carry the greatest authority in the disclosure of Ultimate Reality?
In Anuccheda 18 of Tattva Sandarbha, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī explains that the perspective disclosed through the guṇa of luminosity and perpetual being (sattva) is clearly superior to that presented through the guṇas of conditional becoming (rajas) and ignorance (tamas), as Śrī Kṛṣṇa confirms in Bhagavad Gītā:
"From the guṇa of perpetual being (sattva), real knowledge develops; from the guṇa of conditional becoming (rajas) only greed develops; and from the guṇa of material stasis (tamas) develop negligence, delusion, and ignorance." - (Gītā 14.17)
5 / 10
What is total number of verses in all the 18 Purāṇas?
The total number of verses in all the 18 Purāṇas is 400,000.
6 / 10
Which is the first Purāṇa that emanated from the mouth of Brahmā?
"Brahma Purāṇa is the first of the Purāṇas that emanated from the mouth of Brahmā [after he first brought forth the Vedas]"
- (Skanda Purāṇa, Prabhāsa-khaṇḍa 2.5)
7 / 10
What are the five subjects that characterize a Purāṇa?
A history is called a Purāṇa if it has the five defining characteristics; otherwise, it is called an ākhyāna.
"The five subjects that characterize a Purāṇa are creation, dissolution, genealogy, the period of reign of the Manus, and the activities of illustrious kings and enlightened sages appearing within the great dynasties."
- (Matsya Purāṇa 53.65)
8 / 10
How can one tell which guṇa, a particular Purāṇa embodies?
One can tell which guṇa a particular Purāṇa embodies by taking note of the deity it recommends for worship.
Another way to tell is by the topics that a questioner may ask the speaker to elaborate upon.
9 / 10
Whom do the sāttvika Purāṇas primarily glorify?
"The sāttvika Purāṇas primarily glorify Śrī Hari; the rājasika Purāṇas, Lord Brahmā; and the tāmasika Purāṇas, Lord Śiva and Goddess Durgā, along with Agni. The Purāṇas in the mixed guṇas glorify Goddess Sarasvatī and the forefathers (pitṛs)."
- (Matsya Purāṇa 67–68)
10 / 10
What is the etymological meaning of the word purāṇa?
In Anuccheda 12 of Tattva Sandarbha Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that the Purāṇas are so-named because they complete the Vedas.
The word purāṇa should not be confused with the word pūraṇa, which means "completing". Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī derives the word purāṇa from the verbal root √pūr, which means "to fill" or "to complete".
Thus, etymologically purāṇa means "that which completes".
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Curious about two things:
1) Why do we say here that Vyasa composed the Purānas? I thought he composed Mahābharata and Brahma-sūtra and re-did Bhāgavata. I thought the purana were 20% of the original Yajur, which he edited into 400k verses in 18 sections.
2) It’s clear that all these questions pertain to the first half of Tattva Sandarbha. I thought Jiva Goswami only mentioned the purana’s deity as the indicator of its tri-guna. I wasnt aware that he mentioned the type of questions and content. Could you point me to that statement?
Dear Vic DiCara ji,
1) “The Purāṇas, by virtue of their transcendental origin, are equal to the four Vedas and are therefore eternal and apauruṣeya. Thus Śrīla Vedavyāsa did not formulate the Purāṇas as an original composition. He condensed the already existing Vedas. Then He took unused verses from that abridged portion and compiled them into the Purāṇas.”
The correct word should have been “condensed” and not “composed”. Thank you for bringing this to our notice. We have updated the question text.
2) In his commentary on Anuccheda 18 of Tattva Sandarbha, Babaji Maharaj writes
“The citation from Matsya Purāṇa in the previous anuccheda states that the sāttvika Purāṇas glorify Lord Hari, Kṛṣṇa. By contrast, the rājasika and tāmasika Purāṇas recommend worship of other deities. Such worship embodies the perspectives of the lower guṇas of nature, and hence is not by its inherent nature directed toward immediate realization of the Absolute Truth. Thus, one can tell which guṇa a Purāṇa embodies by taking note of the deity it recommends for worship.
Another way to tell is by how it commences. In the sāttvika Purāṇas, a questioner will approach a learned speaker and inquire from him about the Absolute Truth. The questioner may ask the speaker to elaborate on the nature of Ultimate Reality, the supreme path of transcendence for all, the ultimate benefit a human being can aspire for, how one should prepare for death, or similar topics. Such questions then allow the speaker of the Purāṇa full freedom to explain these topics. The speaker who is self-realized, free from all gross and subtle material desires, and concerned only with the welfare of the inquirer and those who will hear the discourse either in the present or in the future, then replies with answers that are specific and unambiguous, leaving no room for misinterpretation or confusion. Examples of such sāttvika Purāṇas include Padma Purāṇa, Viṣṇu Purāṇa, and, most prominently, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.”
Thank you for the reply, Raman Ji.
I wonder what the opening questions are like for rajas and tamas?
“Hi, can you tell me how to become a billionaire?” = rajas purana!
“Yo! How do I crush these idiots who always get in my way?” = tamas purana!
Not bad for a nastika shunyavadi.
Hare Krishna …
Thank you for this quiz. Please continue. Hare Krishna.
They say Nyaya is a cow that has the face of a tiger. Sanskrit is the other way around. It is a tiger that has the face of a cow.
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