Did Rama banish his wife Sita? Did Krishna have Radha for his companion? Was Shakuntala Vishvamitra's daughter? Could Bhagiratha bring about the Ganga's descent from heaven? Or, was Vyasa really the author of the traditional eighteen puranas? Addressing these and other similar questions, Dr. Bhargava retrieves historically valid answers from the maze of Puranic myths -- notwithstanding their deeply entrenched contradistinctions in the Hindu psyche.
As a well known genre of Sanskrit literature, the Puranas, besides giving an account of the creation and the dissolution of the universe and the ages of Manus (the ancestors of mankind), also list the genealogies of Aryan kings and rishis, and the life stories of famous persons. They have accordingly lent to ancient Hindu lore a most remarkable air of veracity. The historicity of these personages is evident from the fact that the names of many of them occur in the Vedic literature also, which is much older than, and quite independent of these Puranas. A systematic, critical, and comparative study of the Puranas and the Vedic literature, as well as of other time- honoured literary sources conducted in this book makes it possible to discredit the myths that have grown around the names of many great men and women of ancient India.
The book logically demolishes some of the widely-prevalent Puranic myths, focussing on eight celebrated great men of remote historical past: Vishvamitra, Parashurama, Bhagiratha, Rama, Vyasa, Krishna, Yudhishthira, and Valmiki. The author has demonstrated that when shorn of all myths, the real greatness of these men is fully revealed.
A widely acclaimed work, Retrieval of History from Puranic Myths is now in its second, revised edition.