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The Puranas of Hinduism: Ancient Myths Rich with Spiritual Wisdom and Eternal Truths

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ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Swami Sivananda on Hindu Puranas Puraanaas : The Friendly Treatises

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The Puranas of ancient India were written to popularise the religion of the Vedas. They contain the essence of the Vedas.

The aim of the Puranas is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them devotion to God, through concrete examples, myths, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events.

The sages of ancient India made use of these things to illustrate the eternal principles of religion.

The Puranas were meant, not for the erudite scholars, but for the ordinary masses who could not understand high philosophy and who could not study the Vedas.

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The Hindu Darsanas or the schools of philosophy of ancient India are very stiff. They are meant only for the learned few.

The Puranas are meant for the masses with inferior intellect. Religion is taught in a very easy and interesting way through the Puranas. Even to this day, many of the Puranas are popular.

The Puranas contain the history of remote times. They also give a description of the regions of the universe not visible to the ordinary physical eye. They are very interesting to read and are full of information of all kinds.

Children hear the stories from their grandmothers. Pundits and Purohits hold Kathasor religious discourses in temples, on banks of holy rivers and in other important places. Agriculturists, labourers and ordinary folks hear the stories.

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Vyasa is the compiler of the Puranas from age to age; and for this age, he is Krishna-Dvaipayana, the son of Sage Parasara.

The language of the Vedas is archaic, and the subtle philosophy of Vedanta and the Upanishads is extremely difficult to grasp and assimilate. Hence, the Puranas are of special value as they present philosophical truths and precious teachings in an extremely easy manner.

Puranas give ready access to the mysteries of life and the key to bliss. Let’s imbibe their teachings, start a new life of righteousness and spiritual practices from this very day, and attain Immortality.

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The Puranas are of the same class as the Itihasas (the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.). They have five characteristics viz., history, cosmology (with various symbolical illustrations of philosophical principles), secondary creation, genealogy of kings, and of Manvantaras (the period of Manu’s rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 years).

All the Puranas belong to the class of  Friendly Treatises, while the Vedas are called the Commanding Treatises with great authority. 

Eighteen Puranas :

There are eighteen main Puranas and an equal number of subsidiary Puranas or Upa-Puranas.

The main Puranas are: Vishnu Purana, Naradiya Purana, Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Siva Purana, Skanda Purana and Agni Purana.

Of these, six  Puranas  glorify Vishnu; six glorify Brahma; six  glorify Siva. Neophytes or beginners in the spiritual path are puzzled when they go through Siva Purana and Vishnu Purana.

In Siva Purana, Lord Siva is highly eulogised and an inferior position is given to Lord Vishnu. Sometimes Vishnu is belittled.

In Vishnu Purana, Lord Hari is highly eulogised and an inferior status is given to Lord Siva. Sometimes Lord Siva is belittled.

This is only to increase the faith of the devotees in their particular chosen deity (Ishta-Devata). Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one.

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The best among the Puranas are the Srimad Bhagavata and the Vishnu Purana. The most popular is the Srimad Bhagavata Purana. Next comes Vishnu Purana.

A Beautiful Discourse on Srimad Bhagavatha Purana in Tamil By Velukkudi Krishnaswamy

A portion of the Markandeya Purana is well known to all Hindus as Chandi or Devimahatmya. Worship of God as the Divine Mother is its theme. Chandi is read widely by the Hindus on sacred days and the Hindu festival of Navaratri (Durga Puja).

Devi Mahatmyam Complete Recitation by S. Prakash Kaushik

Another great & most popular Purana is Srimad Devi Bhagavata Purana :

A Discourse on Srimad Devi Bhagavata Purana By Sadhvi Aditi Bharati

Study of the Puranas, listening to sacred recitals of scriptures, describing and expounding of the transcendent Lilas of the Blessed Lord—these form an important part of Sadhana of the Lord’s devotees. It is most pleasing to the Lord.

Stories of the Lord open the springs of devotion in the hearts of hearers and develop intensedevotion which ultimately confers immortality on the human soul.

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

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