By Swami Harshananda
Aitihya literally means ‘traditional teaching’.
The word is derived from ‘iti + ha’ (‘it seems, it was so’). It refers to legends and because of their didactic value, they are cherished and preserved as a part of ancient tradition. The paurāṇikas (composers of the Puranas) consider it a source of knowledge and divide into three parts as follows:
The incidents related in the aitihyas usually have a historical basis and tradition has always accorded it a very high value.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore