Purana

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Purāṇa (Skt., ‘ancient’). Any of a class of Sanskrit verse texts which contain mythological accounts of ancient days. Purāṇas are considered smṛti or non-Vedic Hindu scripture. They were probably compiled between 500 and 1500 CE, although they contain much earlier material from the itihāsa (epics) and other sources.

The Purāṇas have their origin in texts for the Vedic edification of lower castes and women.

A proper Purāṇa should expound the pañcalakṣaṇa (five subjects): sarga (creation), vaṃśa (genealogy of gods and ṛṣis), manvantara (the reigns of the Manus), pratisarga (destruction and recreation, together with the history of humanity), and vaṃśānucarita (legendary history of the Solar and Lunar dynasties).

The Purāṇas are divided into two categories, Mahāpurāṇas (major) and Upapurāṇas (minor), each category having eighteen members.

Purāṇas stress bhakti (devotion) and miraculous manifestations of divine grace. Although many Hindu reformers such as Dayānanda have attacked puranic religiosity, it remains the dominant form of Hinduism.

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Purana any of a class of Sanskrit sacred writings on Hindu mythology and folklore of varying date and origin, the most ancient of which dates from the 4th century ad. The name comes from Sanskrit purāṇa ‘ancient (legend)’.

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Purana sacred works of Hindu mythology. XVII. — Skr. purāṇá- pert. to olden times, sb. tale of the past, f. purā́ formerly.