इतिहासः [fr. इति-ह-आस (3rd. pers. sing. Perf. of अस् to be); so it has been] (1 History (legendary or traditional); धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणामुपदेशसमन्वितम् पूर्ववृत्तं कथा- युक्तमितिहासं प्रचक्षते; Mb. cf. also आर्यादिबहुव्याख्यानं देवर्षि- चरिताश्रयम् । इतिहासमिति प्रोक्तं भविष्याद्भुतधर्मयुक् ॥ -2 Heroic history (such as the Mahābhārata). -3 Historical evidence, tradition (which is recognized as a proof by the Paurāṇikas). -Comp. -निबन्धनम् legendary composition or narrative; Ś3. -पुराणम् history and legendary stories; इतिहासपुराणानि पञ्चमो वेद उच्यते । -वादः historical story, legend; Māl.3.3.
As a kind of literature, is repeatedlymentioned along with Purāna in the later texts of the Vedic period. The earliest reference to both occurs in the late fifteenth book of the Atharvaveda. Itihāsa then appears in the Satapatha Brāhmana, the Jaiminīya, Brhadāranyaka, and Chāndogya Upanisads. In the latter it is expressly declared with Purāna to make up the fifth Veda, while the Sāñkhāyana śrauta Sūtra makes the Itihāsa a Veda and the Purāna a Veda. The Itihāsa-veda and the Purāna-veda appear also in the Gopatha Brāhmana, while the śatapatha identifies the Itihāsa as well as the Purāna with the Veda. In one passage Anvākhyāna and Itihāsa are distinguished as different classes of works, but the exact point of distinction is obscure; probably the former was supplementary. The Taittirīya Áranyaka mentions Itihāsas and Purānas in the plural. There is nothing to show in the older literature what dis¬tinction there was, if any, between Itihāsa and Purāna; and the late literature, which has been elaborately examined by Sieg, yields no consistent result. Geldner has conjectured that there existed a single work, the Itihāsa-purāna, a collection. of the old legends of all sorts, heroic, cosmogonic, genealogical; but though a work called Itihāsa, and another called Purāna, were probably known to Patañjali, the inaccuracy of Geldner’s view is proved by the fact that Yāska shows no sign of having known any such work. To him the Itihāsa may be a part of the Mantra literature itself, Aitihāsikas being merely people who interpret the Rigveda by seeing in it legends where others see myths. The fact, however, that the use of the compound form is rare, and that Yāska regularly has Itihāsa, not Itihāsa-purāna, is against the theory of there ever having been one work. The relation of Itihāsa to Akhyāna is also uncertain. Sieg considers that the words Itihāsa and Purāna referred to the great body of mythology, legendary history, and cosmogonic legend available to the Vedic poets, and roughly classed as a fifth Veda, though not definitely and finally fixed. Thus, Anvākhyānas, Anuvyākhyānas, and Vyākhyānas could arise, and separate Ákhyānas could still exist outside the cycle, while an Akhyāna could also be a part of the Itihāsa-purāna. He also suggests that the word Akhyāna has special reference to the form of the narrative. Oldenberg, following Windisch, and followed by Geldner, Sieg, and others, has found in the Akhyāna form a mixture of prose and verse, alternating as the narrative was concerned with the mere accessory parts of the tale, or with the chief points, at which the poetic form was naturally produced to correspond with the stress of the emotion. This theory has been severely criticized by Hertel and von Schroeder. These scholars, in accordance with older suggestions of Max Muller and Levi, see in the so-called Ákhyāna hymns of the Rigveda, in which Oldenberg finds actual specimens of the supposed literary genus, though the prose has been lost, actual remains of ritual dramas. Elsewhere it has been suggested that the hymns in question are merely literary dialogues.
noun (masculine neuter) heroic history (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
history (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
legend (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
talk (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
tradition (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
traditional accounts of former events (Monier-Williams, Sir M. (1988))
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