The Puranas

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas) The Puranas (Sanskrit: पुराण purāṇa), meaning "belonging to ancient or olden times”, are post-Vedic texts containing a narrative of the history of the Universe, from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy and geography. The Puranas are classified into a Maha- ("great") and a Upa- ("lower, additional") corpus. According to Matysa Purana, they are said to narrate five subjects, called Pancha Lakshana ("five distinguishing marks"):
  1. Sarga - The creation of the universe.
  2. Pratisarga - Secondary creations, mostly re-creations after dissolution.
  3. Vamsa - Genealogy of gods and sages.
  4. Manvañtara - The creation of the human race and the first human beings.
  5. Vamsanucaritam - Dynastic histories.
Manvantras is the period of Manu's rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 man years.
Puranas are characterized by the qualities of material nature: Sattwa (goodness), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). Accordingly, they are:
  1. Sattwa (truth; purity): Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana
  2. Rajas (dimness; passion): Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana
  3. Tamas (darkness; ignorance): Matsya Purana, Kurma purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana

The Mahapuranas are also classified by the three aspects of Trimurti,
  1. Brahma Puranas: Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana,
  2. Vishnu Puranas: Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana,Vamana Purana,Kurma Purana, Matsya Purana, Kalki Purana
  3. Shiva Puranas: Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Vayu Purana

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