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(po͝orä`nə): see Sanskrit literatureSanskrit literature,
literary works written in Sanskrit constituting the main body of the classical literature of India. Introduction

The literature is divided into two main periods—the Vedic (c.1500–c.200 B.C.
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canonical texts of Hinduism.

The oldest puranas date from the middle of the first millennium B.C., but the basic texts that have come down to us appeared chiefly in the second half of the first millennium. The most valuable, by literary and historical considerations, are the Markandeya Purana, Vayu Purana, Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, and Matsya Purana. Depending on which god the purana is dedicated to, there are Vishnuite, Saiva, and Brahmanic puranas, but, as a whole, they express the basic religious, social, and ethical principles of Hinduism.

In content and form, the puranas resemble ancient Indian epic poetry. They present cosmogonic legends, myths about the origins of all creatures, and the genealogy of the gods, divine sages, and legendary dynasties. The ethical and metaphysical ideas of the puranas influenced most of the philosophers of medieval India. Poets and dramatists also used the myths of the puranas in their works. The Bhagavata Purana, in which the cult of ecstatic love for god (bhakti) is preached and legends about the life of Krishna are retold, has especially influenced religious and literary traditions in the modern Indian languages.


Bhagavata Purana, vols. 1–5. Translated and published by E. Burnouf et al. Paris, 1840–98.
Vayu Purana, vols. 1–2. Calcutta, 1880–88.
Matsya Purana. Poona, 1907.
Markandeya Purana. Bombay, 1924.
Vishnu-Purana, vols. 1–5, 3rd ed. Translated by H. H. Wilson. Calcutta, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Lallu Ji Lal. Prem Sagar. Translated from Hindi with introduction and notes by A. P. Barannikov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.


Wilson, H. H. Puranas or an Account of Their Contents and Nature. Calcutta, 1911.
Pusalker, A. D. Studies in the Epics and Puranas. Bombay, 1955.
An Anthology of the Epics and Puranas. Edited by S. K. De and R. C. Hazra. New Delhi, 1959.


References in periodicals archive ?
It is also important to note in this connection that the Rasakalyanini tritiya vrata, specifically mentioning the worship of Parvati in various forms, appears in the Matsya, Padma, and Bhavishyottara Puranas which are the puranas contemporary to these sculptural evidences.
Bailey concludes that "it is very likely" or that "we can only assume" that there existed a body of Ganesa materials in the vernacular languages--and in Sanskrit--that did not find its way into the other Puranas or Tantric texts.
For a team of scholars so far mainly concerned with the Mahabharata and the Ramayana on the one hand, and the puranas on the other, no text could better serve the theme of their third conference, "Continuities and Ruptures," than the Harivamsa.
At a time when much attention is paid to the epics, especially the Ramayana, "in performance," I was struck by a pertinent remark made by Bailey (in his contribution on the Vamanapurana), and I dare to extend it to other questions about puranas than those that occupy Bailey: many problems about puranas "cannot be answered without extensive fieldwork analysing audience reactions to Puranic recitations" (p.
Following five articles on the epics and puranas which clearly indicate which editions they rely on, the footnotes of "Subhasitas in the Puranas--a Cultural Perspective" (pp.
For more than seventy-five years, ever since Stella Kramrisch brought out the first printed edition in translation, the Citrasutra of the Visnudhamottara Purana has been recognized as an important treatise for art historians and, to some degree, for historians of religion and literary developments in India.
Jaini suggests that in the context of religious rivalry, amplified by the increasing popularity of bhakti to Visnu's avataras, the Jains incorporated the itihasas and puranas in order to assimilate Brahmanical heroes and sanitize them according to Jain moral standards.
Fifteen years after Pingree 's first volume, Brockington and Aithal followed up with two volumes, on the epics and puranas and stotras.
This image, Grimes discovered later, is an extremely rare one, an image of significance late in the Kali age and encountered only in the Ganesa Purana.
What sets the Kedarakhanda apart is that, unlike other puranas where the unifying theme may be spacial or temporal, this first book of the first section of "the sandiest of all Puranas" has "an intellectual agenda" (p.
There he argued most importantly the unusual thesis (which he traces to Mahaprabhu Sri Caitanya, the 15th-century Vaisnava saint) that the Bhagavata Purana is really a commentary on the Brahmasutras, intended to correct earlier intellectualist misinterpretations.
One characteristic feature of the Encyclopaedia is that it not only provides references to the Puranas in the text, but that in many cases these references are added in full, in devanagari, at the end of the article.