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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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
That is to say, there still exists a community of "consumers" of Puranic discourse for whom it is undoubtedly true'.
"Gender Complementarity and Gender Hierarchy in Puranic Accounts of Creation." Journal of the American Academy of Religions 66.2 (1998): 257-82.
What is exceptional in this puranic account is that one person's good karma can overcome another person's bad karma.
The other conceptual incongruity that affects the Puranic metaphysics is the identification of the Vedantic notion of maya with the Sankhya concept of prakrti.
In fact, the Tamil cinema industry survives largely by Puranic and social stories.
After the Naga culture got incorporated into Hinduism, Indo-Aryans themselves accepted many of the snake deities of the Nagas in their pantheon and some of them even enjoyed a pride of place in Puranic Hinduism.
Quite often the puranic stories and the tales in the oral tradition in India have a cyclic structure where the stories come back full circle to an original state of equilibrium without taking into account the inevitable changes along the axis of time.
Because of the current academic problematization of the term "Hindu," I want to clarify that what I am referring to here are all the ascetic orders and traditions throughout Indian history that have looked for inspiration to either Vedic, Upanishadic, Epic, or Puranic sources.
Ludvik (Kobe U., Japan) traces her development into the deity of all forms of knowledge as portrayed in epic and early Puranic sources, from to the seventh century CE, and in the oldest surviving Hindu, Jain, and possibly Buddhist images from the third to seventh centuries.
The Puranic legends of Nepal present a glimpse of migration of the people in Nepal both from the north and the south.
Hindus, mainly in the South, follow the Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Shakta, Ghanapathi, Puranic, and Vedic schools.