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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 ?
RSS, since its inception on October 27, 1925, has been looking at Indian history through the puranas.
It becomes evident from Sridhara's commentaries that he does not pay much attention either to historical or empirical accounts provided in the major Vaisnava Puranas.
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.
The penchant for recording genealogies, the impersonal, non-kinship-based administrative apparatus of the state, and the growth of the itihas purana historical tradition required to legitimate kingship are among other subjects that Thapar considers.
Its children's educational programs include recitation of shlokas, Puranas storytelling, and performing of pujas.
Ganesa's appearance in the successive yuga-s in a devasura context, a role which is also stressed in the Mudgalapurana, but which he is not associated with in other Puranas, even those in which his mythology is strongly developed (p.
New is the extension of research on the epics and puranas far into the past.
Seven papers are, in different ways, connected with the Mahabharata; one paper is devoted to the Ramayana, and nine to the puranas.
The 18 principal surviving Puranas are often grouped loosely according to whether they exalt Vishnu, Siva (Shiva), or Brahma.
The Puranas record that the weapons of the gods were forged from pieces trimmed from Surya, whose full emanation was too bright to bear.
Elizarenkova, Cezary Galewicz, Joanna Jurewicz, Halina Marlewicz, and Sven Sellmer); Epics and Puranas (by Horst Brinkhaus, John Brockington, Mary Brockington, Minoru Hara, Paolo Magnone, and Satya Vrat Shastri); Bhartrhari: Language and Truth (by Claus Oetke and Hideyo Ogawa); Hindi Literature (by Renata Czelkaska, Kunwar Narain, and Danuta Stasik); Kavya (by Klaus Karttunen, Lidia Sudyka, and Anna Trynkowska); Arthasastra (by Albrecht Wezler); Philosophy (by Piotr Balcerowicz, Jonardon Ganeri, Marzenna Jacubczak, Shoryu Katsura, Marek Mejor, and Ernst Prets), and Sanskrit Manuscripts (by Francesco Sferra, illustrated with twenty-eight photographs).
Late in life, living in caves in the Himalayas, he is said to have divided the Vedas, composed Puranas (ancient legendary tales), and, in a period of two and one-half years, composed his great poetic work, the Mahabharata, supposedly dictating it to his scribe, Ganesa, the elephant god.