Puranas
Overview
For other meanings, see Purana (disambiguation)
Purana (disambiguation)
Puran or Purana and similar word Purna can mean:* Puran or Purna mean 'complete' in Hindi and Sanskrit respectively, in words like Purna avatar, Purna Swaraj and Purna Yoga.*Purana, a type of Hindu Indian literature...

.

The Puranas (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: , "of ancient times") are a genre of important Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.

Puranas usually give prominence to a particular deity, employing an abundance of religious and philosophical concepts.
Encyclopedia
For other meanings, see Purana (disambiguation)
Purana (disambiguation)
Puran or Purana and similar word Purna can mean:* Puran or Purna mean 'complete' in Hindi and Sanskrit respectively, in words like Purna avatar, Purna Swaraj and Purna Yoga.*Purana, a type of Hindu Indian literature...

.

The Puranas (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: , "of ancient times") are a genre of important Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.

Puranas usually give prominence to a particular deity, employing an abundance of religious and philosophical concepts. They are usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another. The Puranas are available in vernacular translations and are disseminated by Brahmin scholars, who read from them and tell their stories, usually in Katha
Katha
Katha may refer to:* The Sanskrit for "speech, narration, story, fable", see Katha * The Kaṭha or Caraka-Katha school of the Black Yajurveda** Katha Upanishad, a Hindu text associated with the Katha school...

 sessions (in which a traveling Brahmin settles for a few weeks in a temple and narrates parts of a Purana, usually with a Bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 perspective).

Origins

Vyasa
Vyasa
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa , or Krishna Dvaipayana...

, the narrator of the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, is traditionally considered the compiler of the Puranas. However, the earliest written versions date from the time of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 (third-fifth century CE) and much material may be dated, through historical references and other means, to this period and the succeeding centuries. The texts were probably written all over India.

The date of the production of the written texts does not define the date of origin of the Puranas. On one hand, they existed in some oral form before being written while at the same time, they have been incrementally modified well into the 16th century and perhaps down to the present day.

An early reference is found in the Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
The Chandogya Upanishad is one of the "primary" Upanishads. Together with the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it ranks among the oldest Upanishads, dating to the Vedic Brahmana period....

 (7.1.2). (circa 500BCE.) The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad refers to purana as the "fifth Veda", , reflecting the early religious importance of these myths, presumably then in purely oral form. Importantly, the most famous form of itihāsapurāṇaṃ is the Mahabharata. The term also appears in the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 11.7.24.

According to Pargiter, the "original Purana" may date to the time of the final redaction of the Vedas. Gavin Flood connects the rise of the written Purana historically with the rise of devotional cults centring upon a particular deity in the Gupta era: the Puranic corpus is a complex body of materials that advance the views of various competing cults.

Common ideas are found throughout the corpus but it is not possible to trace the lines of influence of one Purana upon another so the corpus is best viewed as a synchronous whole.

The All India Kashiraj Trust, formed under Vibhuti Narayan Singh
Vibhuti Narayan Singh
Pandit Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh डॉ विभूति नारायण सिंह् was the popular King of Benares, a holy city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. He was the last king of the Kingdom of Kashi.-Childhood:...

, the Maharaja of Kashi
Kingdom of Kashi
The Kingdom of Kashi was an independent Bhumihar Brahmin state until 1194, became a British territory in 1775, and became a state in 1911. It is the site of Ramnagar Fort and its museum, which are the repository of the history of the kings of Benares and since the 18th century has been the home of...

, dedicated itself to publishing editions of the Puranas.

Content

According to Matysa Purana, they are said to narrate five subjects, called Pancha Lakshana ("five distinguishing marks", though some scholars have suggested that these are shared by other traditional religious scriptures):
  1. Sarga: the creation of the universe.
  2. Pratisarga: secondary creations, mostly recreations after dissolution.
  3. Vamśa: genealogy of the gods and sages.
  4. Manvañtara: the creation of the human race and the first human beings. The epoch of the Manu
    Manu (Hinduism)
    In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata"...

    s' rule, 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 years.
  5. Vamśānucaritam: the histories of the patriarchs of the lunar and solar dynasties.


The Puranas also lay emphasis on keeping a record of genealogies, as the Vayu Purana says, "to preserve the genealogies of gods, sages and glorious kings and the traditions of great men." The Puranic genealogies indicate, for example, that Sraddhadeva Manu
Sraddhadeva Manu
In Hindu mythology, Sraddhadeva Manu or Vaivasvata Manu is one of the 14 Manus, and the son of Vivasvat, hence his other name Vaivasvata Manu...

 lived 95 generations before the Bharata war. In Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

's Indica
Indica (Arrian)
Indica is the name of an ancient book about India written by Arrian, one of the main ancient historians of Alexander the Great. The book mainly tells the story of Alexander's officer Nearchus’ voyage from India to the Persian Gulf after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Indus Valley...

, Megasthenes
Megasthenes
Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica.He was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of Syria possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain...

 is quoted as stating that the Indians counted from "Dionysos" (Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

) to "Sandracottus" (Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

) "a hundred and fifty-three kings over six thousand and forty-three years." The list of kings in Kalhana
Kalhana
Kalhana , a Kashmiri, was the author of Rajatarangini , an account of the history of Kashmir. He wrote the work in Sanskrit between 1148 and 1149. All information regarding his life has to be deduced from his own writing, a major scholar of which is Mark Aurel Stein...

's Rajatarangini
Rajatarangini
The Rājatarangiṇī is a metrical chronicle of North west of the Indian subcontinent particularly the kings of Kashmir from earliest time written in Sanskrit by Kalhaṇa. The Rājatarangiṇī often has been erroneously referred to as the River of the Kings. In reality what Kalhana means by Rājatarangiṇī...

 goes back to the 19th century BCE.

Pargiter has argued that the Puranic Krta Yuga—in the Vayu Purana the four Yugas are divided into 4800, 3600, 2400, and 1200 years—"ended with the destruction of the Haihayas [by Rama Jamadagnya]; the Treta began approximately with Sagara and ended with Rama Dasarathi's destruction of the Raksasas; and the Dvapara began with his reinstatement at Ayodhya and ended with the Bharata battle".

The Mahapuranas

Of the many texts designated 'Puranas' the most important are the s. These are always said to be eighteen in number, divided into three groups of six, though in fact they are not always counted in the same way. Combining the various lists Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen
J. A. B. van Buitenen
Johannes Adrianus Bernardus van Buitenen was an Indologist at the University of Chicago where he was the George V. Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations...

 have collated twenty names:
Purana name Verses number Comments
Agni
Agni Purana
The Agni Purana, one of the 18 Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, contains descriptions and details of various incarnations of Vishnu. It also has details account about Rama, Krishna, Prithvi, and the stars...

 
15,400 verses Contains details of Vastu Shastra and Gemology
Bhagavata
Bhagavata purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, with its primary focus on bhakti to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna...

 
18,000 verses The most celebrated and popular of the Puranas, telling of Vishnu's ten Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

s. Its tenth and longest canto narrates the deeds of Krishna, introducing his childhood exploits, a theme later elaborated by many Bhakti movement
Bhakti movement
The Bhakti movement is a Hindu religious movement in which the main spiritual practice is loving devotion among the Shaivite and Vaishnava saints. The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu and began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic...

s.
Bhavishya
Bhavishya Purana
The Bhavishya Purana is one of the eighteen major Hindu Puranas. It is written in Sanskrit and attributed to Rishi Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. The title Bhavishya Purana signifies a work that contains prophecies regarding the future...

 
14,500 verses
Brahma
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

 
10,000 verses Describes about Godavari and its tributaries.Shortest among Puranas.
Brahmanda
Brahmanda Purana
The Brahmanda Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts and has been assigned the eighteenth place in almost all the lists of the Puranas.Brahma in Sanskrit means "the biggest", anda/andam means globe...

 
12,000 verses includes Lalita Sahasranamam, a text some Hindus recite as prayer
Brahmavaivarta
Brahma Vaivarta Purana
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into four parts. First part describes the creation of the universe and all beings, the second part relates to description and histories of different goddesses...

 
17,000 verses Describes Worshipping protocols of Devis,Krishna and Ganesha
Garuda
Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana is one of the Puranas which are part of the Hindu body of texts known as smriti. It is a Vaishnava Purana and its first part contains a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds...

 
19,000 verses Most hallowed Purana regarding the death and its aftermaths.
Harivamsa  16,000 verses more often considered itihāsa
Itihasa
Itihasa as defined by Amarakosha refers to purvavritta, i.e. events of the past. In the Vedic age, those portions of the Brahmanas which narrated events of bygone days were known as itihasa and had some ritualistic importance...

Kurma
Kurma Purana
-Contents:The printed editions of this text are divided into two s , the and the . The has 53 chapters and the has 46 chapters.According to the tradition, the originally consisted of four s : the , the , the and the . The extant text would correspond to the .The gives a brief overview of...

 
17,000 verses
Linga
Linga Purana
The Linga Purana is one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text. The extant text is divided into two parts, comprising 108 and 55 chapters respectively. These parts contain the description regarding the origin of universe, origin of the linga, and emergence of Brahma and Vishnu, and...

 
11,000 verses Staunch Shaiva Theological Purana
Markandeya
Markandeya Purana
The Markandeya Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It is written in the style of a dialogue between the ancient sage Markandeya and Jaimini, a disciple of Vyasa.-Contents:...

 
09,000 verses The Devi Mahatmya
Devi Mahatmya
The Devi Mahatmyam or Devi Mahatmya , or "Glory of the Goddess") is a Hindu text describing the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. As part of the Markandeya Purana, it is one of the Puranas or secondary Hindu scriptures, and was composed in Sanskrit around c...

, an important text for the Shaktas is embedded in it
Matsya
Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana is the sixteenth purana of the Hindu scriptures. During the period of mahapralaya, Lord Vishnu had taken Matsya Avatar to save the seeds of all lives and Manu...

 
14,000 verses
Narada  25,000 verses Describe the greatness of Veda and Vedanga
Vedanga
The Vedanga are six auxiliary disciplines traditionally associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas.#Shiksha : phonetics, phonology and morphophonology #Kalpa : ritual#Vyakarana : grammar...

s.
Padma
Padma Purana
Padma Purana , one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into five parts.In the first part of the text, sage Pulastya explains to Bhishma about religion and the essence of the religion. The second part describes in detail Prithvi...

 
55,000 verses
Shiva
Shiva Purana
The Shiva Purana is one of the s, a genre of Hindu religious texts dedicated to Shiva. According to a tradition which is stated in the of this text, the original text was known as the ....

 
24,000 verses
Skanda
Skanda Purana
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya , a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him...

 
81,100 verses The longest Purana, it is an extraordinarily meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories. Many untraced quotes are attributed to this text.
Vamana
Vamana Purana
The Vamana Purana, , one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, is devoted to the Vamana Avatar of Vishnu. It has a eulogy praising both Vishnu and Shiva....

 
10,000 verses Mostly describes about North India and areas around Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra is a land of historical and religious importance. Historically the land belonged to Punjab now a district in Haryana state of India. It is a holy place and is also known as Dharmakshetra . According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and...

.
Varaha
Varaha Purana
The Varaha Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It describes in detail about the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu, and narrates about the rescue of the Prithvi.-Contents:...

 
24,000 verses
Vayu
Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...

 
24,000 verses
Vishnu
Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna...

 
23,000 verses

Classification

Puranas are classified according to qualification of persons who can understand them: "Purāṇas are supplementary explanations of the Vedas intended for different types of men. All men are not equal. There are men who are conducted by the mode of goodness, others who are under the mode of passion and others who are under the mode of ignorance. The Purāṇas are so divided that any class of men can take advantage of them and gradually regain their lost position and get out of the hard struggle for existence."

The Mahapuranas are frequently classified according the three aspects of the divine Trimurti
Trimurti
The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism "in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer," These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad" or...

:
Vaiṣṇava Puranas: Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna...

, Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, with its primary focus on bhakti to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna...

, Nāradeya Purana
Naradeya Purana
The Naradiya Purana or Narada Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It deals with the places of pilgrimages. It is in the style of dialogue between the sage Narada, and Sanatkumara...

, Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana is one of the Puranas which are part of the Hindu body of texts known as smriti. It is a Vaishnava Purana and its first part contains a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds...

, Padma Purana
Padma Purana
Padma Purana , one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into five parts.In the first part of the text, sage Pulastya explains to Bhishma about religion and the essence of the religion. The second part describes in detail Prithvi...

, Varaha Purana
Varaha Purana
The Varaha Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It describes in detail about the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu, and narrates about the rescue of the Prithvi.-Contents:...

, Vāmana Purana
Vamana Purana
The Vamana Purana, , one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, is devoted to the Vamana Avatar of Vishnu. It has a eulogy praising both Vishnu and Shiva....

, Kūrma Purana
Kurma Purana
-Contents:The printed editions of this text are divided into two s , the and the . The has 53 chapters and the has 46 chapters.According to the tradition, the originally consisted of four s : the , the , the and the . The extant text would correspond to the .The gives a brief overview of...

, Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana is the sixteenth purana of the Hindu scriptures. During the period of mahapralaya, Lord Vishnu had taken Matsya Avatar to save the seeds of all lives and Manu...

, Kalki Purana
Kalki Purana
The Kalki Purana is a prophetic work in Sanskrit that details the life and times of Kalki, the tenth and final Dashavatara of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu...

Brāhma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 Puranas:
Brahma Purana
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

, Brahmānda Purana
Brahmanda Purana
The Brahmanda Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts and has been assigned the eighteenth place in almost all the lists of the Puranas.Brahma in Sanskrit means "the biggest", anda/andam means globe...

, Brahma Vaivarta Purana
Brahma Vaivarta Purana
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into four parts. First part describes the creation of the universe and all beings, the second part relates to description and histories of different goddesses...

, Mārkandeya Purana
Markandeya Purana
The Markandeya Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It is written in the style of a dialogue between the ancient sage Markandeya and Jaimini, a disciple of Vyasa.-Contents:...

, Bhavishya Purana
Bhavishya Purana
The Bhavishya Purana is one of the eighteen major Hindu Puranas. It is written in Sanskrit and attributed to Rishi Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. The title Bhavishya Purana signifies a work that contains prophecies regarding the future...

,
Śaiva Puranas: Shiva Purana
Shiva Purana
The Shiva Purana is one of the s, a genre of Hindu religious texts dedicated to Shiva. According to a tradition which is stated in the of this text, the original text was known as the ....

, Linga Purana
Linga Purana
The Linga Purana is one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text. The extant text is divided into two parts, comprising 108 and 55 chapters respectively. These parts contain the description regarding the origin of universe, origin of the linga, and emergence of Brahma and Vishnu, and...

, Skanda Purana
Skanda Purana
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya , a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him...

, Agni Purana
Agni Purana
The Agni Purana, one of the 18 Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, contains descriptions and details of various incarnations of Vishnu. It also has details account about Rama, Krishna, Prithvi, and the stars...

, Vāyu Purana
Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...


According to the Padma Purana, the texts may be classified in accordance with the three gunas
Guna
' means 'string' or 'a single thread or strand of a cord or twine'. In more abstract uses, it may mean 'a subdivision, species, kind, quality', or an operational principle or tendency....

 or qualities
; truth
Sattva
In Hindu philosophy, sattva is the most rarefied of the three gunas in Samkhya, sāttvika "pure", rājasika "dim", and tāmasika "dark". Importantly, no value judgement is entailed as all guna are indivisible and mutually qualifying...

, passion
Rajas
Rajas ) is, in the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy, one of the three gunas. Of these, rajas, is responsible for motion, energy and preservation...

, and indifference
Tamas
Tamas may refer to:* Tamas , the philosophical concept of darkness and death, the lowest of the three gunas.* Tamas , a highly acclaimed 1987 TV series/movie about the Partition of India directed by Govind Nihalani....

:
Sattva
Sattva
In Hindu philosophy, sattva is the most rarefied of the three gunas in Samkhya, sāttvika "pure", rājasika "dim", and tāmasika "dark". Importantly, no value judgement is entailed as all guna are indivisible and mutually qualifying...

 ("truth; purity")
Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna...

, Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, with its primary focus on bhakti to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna...

, Naradeya Purana
Naradeya Purana
The Naradiya Purana or Narada Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It deals with the places of pilgrimages. It is in the style of dialogue between the sage Narada, and Sanatkumara...

, Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana is one of the Puranas which are part of the Hindu body of texts known as smriti. It is a Vaishnava Purana and its first part contains a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds...

, Padma Purana
Padma Purana
Padma Purana , one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into five parts.In the first part of the text, sage Pulastya explains to Bhishma about religion and the essence of the religion. The second part describes in detail Prithvi...

, Varaha Purana
Varaha Purana
The Varaha Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It describes in detail about the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu, and narrates about the rescue of the Prithvi.-Contents:...

Rajas
Rajas
Rajas ) is, in the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy, one of the three gunas. Of these, rajas, is responsible for motion, energy and preservation...

 ("dimness; passion")
Brahmanda Purana
Brahmanda Purana
The Brahmanda Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts and has been assigned the eighteenth place in almost all the lists of the Puranas.Brahma in Sanskrit means "the biggest", anda/andam means globe...

, Brahma Vaivarta Purana
Brahma Vaivarta Purana
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into four parts. First part describes the creation of the universe and all beings, the second part relates to description and histories of different goddesses...

, Markandeya Purana
Markandeya Purana
The Markandeya Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It is written in the style of a dialogue between the ancient sage Markandeya and Jaimini, a disciple of Vyasa.-Contents:...

, Bhavishya Purana
Bhavishya Purana
The Bhavishya Purana is one of the eighteen major Hindu Puranas. It is written in Sanskrit and attributed to Rishi Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. The title Bhavishya Purana signifies a work that contains prophecies regarding the future...

, Vamana Purana
Vamana Purana
The Vamana Purana, , one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, is devoted to the Vamana Avatar of Vishnu. It has a eulogy praising both Vishnu and Shiva....

, Brahma Purana
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

Tamas
Tamas
Tamas may refer to:* Tamas , the philosophical concept of darkness and death, the lowest of the three gunas.* Tamas , a highly acclaimed 1987 TV series/movie about the Partition of India directed by Govind Nihalani....

 ("darkness; ignorance")
Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana is the sixteenth purana of the Hindu scriptures. During the period of mahapralaya, Lord Vishnu had taken Matsya Avatar to save the seeds of all lives and Manu...

, Kurma purana
Kurma Purana
-Contents:The printed editions of this text are divided into two s , the and the . The has 53 chapters and the has 46 chapters.According to the tradition, the originally consisted of four s : the , the , the and the . The extant text would correspond to the .The gives a brief overview of...

, Linga Purana
Linga Purana
The Linga Purana is one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text. The extant text is divided into two parts, comprising 108 and 55 chapters respectively. These parts contain the description regarding the origin of universe, origin of the linga, and emergence of Brahma and Vishnu, and...

, Shiva Purana
Shiva Purana
The Shiva Purana is one of the s, a genre of Hindu religious texts dedicated to Shiva. According to a tradition which is stated in the of this text, the original text was known as the ....

, Skanda Purana
Skanda Purana
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya , a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him...

, Agni Purana
Agni Purana
The Agni Purana, one of the 18 Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, contains descriptions and details of various incarnations of Vishnu. It also has details account about Rama, Krishna, Prithvi, and the stars...


The Upapuranas

The are lesser or ancillary texts: these are sometimes also said to be eighteen in number, with still less agreement as to the canonical titles. Few have been critically edited. They include: Sanat-kumara, Narasimha
Narasimha Purana
Narasimha Purana is one of the Upapuranas. R.C. Hazra in his Studies in the Upapuranas came to the conclusion that the original text was written in the later part of the 5th century, though several portions of it were added much later. This work was translated into Telugu about 1300.-Contents:The...

, Brihan-naradiya, Siva-rahasya, Durvasa, Kapila
Kapila Purana
The Kapila Purana is a Hindu religious text. The text is considered as one of the 18 Upapuranas. It contains 21 chapters which mostly narrate glories about the puņyakṣetras of Utkala. It subsequently describes the greatness of Purusottama Kshetra, Viraja Kshetra, Maiterya Vana, and Ekamra...

, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba
Samba Purana
The Samba Purana is one of the Saura Upapuranas. This text is dedicated to Surya. The recension of the text found in the printed editions has 84 chapters. Chapters 53-68 of this text are also divided into 15 s...

, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Devi-Bhagavata,
Ganesha
Ganesha Purana
The Ganesha Purana is a Hindu religious text dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha . It is an that includes many stories and ritualistic elements relating to Ganesha. The Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana are core scriptures for devotees of Ganesha, known as Ganapatyas...

, Mudgala
Mudgala Purana
The Mudgala Purana is a Hindu religious text dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha . It is an that includes many stories and ritualistic elements relating to Ganesha. The Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana are core scriptures for devotees of Ganesha, known as Ganapatyas...

, and Hamsa.

The Ganesha and Mudgala Puranas are devoted to Ganesha
Ganesha
Ganesha , also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh, also known as Ganapati , Vinayaka , and Pillaiyar , is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations...

. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana
Devi-Bhagavata Purana
Devi-Bhagavata Purana , also known as Shrimad Devi Bhagvatam or Devi Bhagavatam, is one of the most important work in Shaktism, the veneration in Hinduism of the divine feminine, next to Devi Mahatmya...

, which extols the goddess Durga
Durga
For the 1985 Hindi Film of Rajesh Khanna see DurgaaIn Hinduism, Durga ; ; meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; , durga) or Maa Durga "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress" is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having eighteen arms, riding a lion...

, has become (along with the Devi Mahatmya of the Mārkandeya Purana) a basic text for Devi
Devi
Devī is the Sanskrit word for Goddess, used mostly in Hinduism, its related masculine term is deva. Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents...

 worshipers.

There are many others all over the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n subcontinent.

Sthala Puranas

This corpus of texts tells of the origins and traditions of particular Tamil Shiva temples or shrines. There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

s, some with Sanskrit versions as well. The 275 Shiva Sthalams of the continent have puranas for each, famously glorified in the Tamil literature
Tamil literature
Tamil literature refers to the literature in the Tamil language. Tamil literature has a rich and long literary tradition spanning more than two thousand years. The oldest extant works show signs of maturity indicating an even longer period of evolution...

 Tevaram
Tevaram
The Tevaram denotes the first seven volumes of the Tirumurai, the twelve-volume collection of Tamil Saivite devotional poetry. All seven volumes are dedicated to the works of the three most prominent Tamil poets - Campantar , Appar and Cuntarar...

.
Some appear in Sanskrit versions in the Mahapuranas or Upapuranas. Some Tamil Sthala Puranas have been researched by David Dean Shulman
David Dean Shulman
David Dean Shulman is an Indologist and regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the languages of India. His research embraces many fields, including the history of religion in South India, Indian poetics, Tamil Islam, Dravidian linguistics, and Carnatic music...

.

Kula Puranas

These Puranas deal with a caste's origin myth, stories, and legends (the word kula means "family" or "tribe" in Sanskrit). They are important sources for caste identity though usually contested by rival castes. This subgenre is usually in the vernacular and may at times remain oral. These have been little researched, though they are documented in the caste section of the British Census of India Report and the various Gazetteer
Gazetteer
A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names , used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social...

s.

Jain and Buddhist Puranas

Jain Puranas deal with Jain myths, history and legends and form a major part of early Kannada literature
Kannada literature
Kannada literature is the corpus of written forms of the Kannada language, a member of the Dravidian family spoken mainly in the Indian state of Karnataka and written in the Kannada script....

.
The best known is the Mahapurana
Mahapurana (Jainism)
Mahapurana is a major Jain text composed largely by Acharya Jinasena during the rule of Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha and completed by his pupil Gunabhadra in the 9th century CE. The section composed by Gunabhadra is called "Uttarapurana"...

 of Acharya
Acharya
In Indian religions and society, an acharya is a guide or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men...

 Jinasena
Jinasena
Jinasena is the name of several famous Jain Acharyas of the Digambar tradition.* The author of Harivamsha Purana in the 8th century. He belonged to the Punnata branch of Jain monks....

. Among Buddhist Puranas, Swayambhu Purana
Swayambhu Purana
Swayambhu Purana is a Buddhist scripture about the origin and development of Kathmandu valley. Swayambhu Purana gives detail of all the Buddhas who came to Kathmandu...

 narrates the mythological history of Nepal and describes Buddhist pilgrimage sites inside the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley , located in Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and the Buddhists. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within this valley.-Etymology:The city of...

.

Further reading


External links


Texts


Translations

  • Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Full text of the , with the original Sanskrit, word-for-word meanings, translation, and commentary.
  • The Vishnu Purana Full text of the H.H. Wilson translation at sacred-texts.com

Synopses

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