the stories of the teaching of the Vedas in a form that can be understood by the common (rural) man and
woman. They are a mix of factual history and myth (fact whose accurate details have been lost in
the mists of time?).
The word `purana` means ancient and these stories date back to times
when the teachings of the Vedas were still not written down. The written puranas which are known today
date from the first millennium CE. Eighteen major puranas are accepted known as the
Maha (Great) puranas, plus a further 18 Upa (Minor) puranas.
The puranas give information to the devotee
of religious traditions and practices, accounts of the creation, genealogies of the deities etc.
For the yogi the Brahma-Purana gives instructions viz:
The student should honour and respect the teacher.
Study the ancient scriptures.
Follow an appropriate diet (usually recognised as being vegetarian).
Practice their yoga exercises in the right manner:
Avoid practising yoga if you are tired or hungry, if it is cold, too hot or windy
Avoid noisy or polluted places
Do your yoga in an ashram, or somewhere pure and clean. It may be in the yogi`s
own kutir/kudhil or hut.
Practice at dawn, noon and/or at sunset
Sit preferably facing east, or north facing towards Shiva as Dakshinamurthy – the
south facing silent teacher
The ideal posture is Padmasana (Lotus posture) with the eyes lightly closed.
yogi should set his foot only after the path in front of him has been purified by the eye. He should drink
only water filtered through cloth, only utter words purified by truth, and only think of what has been purified completely
From the Markandeya-Purana where the guru Dattatreya is instructing his shishya Alarka.