Visnu as a Fish: The Growth of a Story from the Bråhmanas to the Purånas

How to Cite

Luis González-Reimann. (2022). Visnu as a Fish: The Growth of a Story from the Bråhmanas to the Purånas: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 15(1), 225–241. Retrieved from


It is not unusual for stories that appear in Vedic literature to be enhanced and reinterpreted in later texts, especially in the Epics and the Purånas. Very often, the augmented versions of such tales function as vehicles for propagating new beliefs, but the incorporation of additions is also a way for later commentators to make sense of statements made in earlier texts from within a worldview unlike their own. The present article will trace the transformation of what is usually referred to as the Indian flood myth. We will follow the story through three texts that are representative of successive periods in the development of ideas in Sanskrit literature. Our first text is a Bråhma∫a, a composition from the Vedic period and, therefore, part of what Post-Vedic tradition calls Ωruti (“what is heard”). The remaining two texts— one of the Epics and an early Purå∫a—come from the post-Vedic period, and belong in the traditional category of smrti (“what is remembered”). I will also refer to other, later Purå∫as, especially the Bhågavata.

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