Puran or Puranam is a very common word in the Hindu philosophy. Whenever there is a discourse on any spiritual aspects of Hinduism, it is normally called purana pravachanam. Puranas are ancient texts which hold great significance in the spiritual path of the Hindus.Unfortunately today, many of us do not know much about these puranas.Here, I am trying to share a little few things I learnt about these Great texts.
A Puran should have 5 characteristics or “panchalakshana” to be called as a puran. These characteristics are
Vamso Manvantarani cha
A puran/Puranam should have
Sarga: Some scholars say this should be the proper breakdown in to chapters ,while some others are of the opinion that sarga means creation . So the purana should have proper distinction about chapters and it should speak about creation of the universe.
Pratisarga: again some say this relates to sub-chapters .Others opine that it should be about secondary creations, mostly recreations after dissolution.
Vamsa : It should speak about the great Vamshas or the Genealogy of the great Rishis and the Devatas .
Manvataranicha:It should speak about the manvantaram’s or the celestial yuga’s .Currently we are living in the vyvasvatamanvataram .
Vamasanucharitam :It should give a detailed description of the dynasties of Kings who lived and ruled this world .Mostly the great SuryaVamsh and the Chandra Vamsh or the Solar and Lunar Dynasties.
So these five are the characteristics which should be there in a puranam.
There are 18 MahaPuranas in Hinduism. All of these have been given to the human race by Shri Veda Vyasa.These puranas are very very helpful to the fact that they combine the illiterate and ignorant class and woman folk by creating interest in religion through tales and various sort of narrations. The story form of these purans took the spirituality to the masses of India.
However exaggerations , misinterpretations of these puranas have done a lot of damage to Hinduism , the damage went to an extent where people started fighting over Shiva and Vishnu Cults.This harmed the basic notion , “Ekam sat Viprah bahudah vadanti” God is one, people call him in different names , this notion is one of the bases to the Hindu belief and spirituality.
Well there 18 Maha Puranas.Here are the names of all 18 . Or elders have given us a slokam to remember all these 18 names easily . The slokam is a s follows .
“Madwayam Badwayam chaiva
puranani prudhak prudhak”||
Ma dwayam two of them start with Ma
1. Matsya Puranam
2. Markandeya Puranam.
Ba dwayam means two purana Start with Ba
3. Bhagavat Puranam or Srimad Bhagavat Puranam
4. Bhavishya Puranam.
Bratrayam means 3 of them start with the letters Bra
5. Brahmanda Puranam.
6. Brahma Vaivrata Puranam.
7. Brahma Puranam.
Va Chatustayam means four of them start with Va
8. Vamana Puranam.
9. Varaha Puranam.
10. Vishnu Puranam.
11. Vayu Puranam.
ANAPALINGA KUSkani would mean there is a puranam for each of the letters in Bold here .
12. Agni Puranam.
13. Narada Puranam.
14. Padma Puranam.
15. Linga Puranam
16. Garuda Puranam
17. Skanda Puranam.
18. Kurma Puranam.
Of these 18 , Srimad Bhagavatam is considered the Crown Jewel by many. Srimad Bhagavatam speaks about Sri Krishnaavatar and the leelas of Lord SriKrishna.
This is the small little info I wanted to share about the great ancient Religious texts of the Sanatana Dharma (or Hinduism as its being called today).