View Full Version : Definitions: Puranas

12 April 2007, 10:28 PM
Puranas: “books of the old” literally Purana means old or ancient. The Puranas are popular and voluminous Hindu texts that elaborate Hindu doctrine in the form of myths, legends, and stories.

Discussion: Per traditional Hindu belief, all the Puranas were authored by Sage Vyasa in the beginning of the Kaliyuga (Age of Discord) some 5000 years ago. There are 18 main Purana texts and 18 subsidiary Purana texts. Generally, the 18 main Puranas are sub-divided into three sections - one set is said to glorify Brahmā; one set to glorify Vishnu; and one set to glorify Shiva. The Puranas deal with five subjects: (1) Sarga – creation; (2) Pratisarga – secondary creation; (3) Vamsha – genealogy of Devas and sages; (4) Manvantara – creation of humans and other beings; (5) vamsanucaritam – history of royal dynasties. According to one school of thought, the Puranic stories were written in the form of awe-inspiring tales to foster devotion in the heart of the devotee. Recounting the Puranic tales is, therefore, considered a simple way for a Hindu to relate to her/his religion and chosen form of Deity. The Puranas and the stories associated with them have also contributed richly to Hindu art, music, drama and culture.