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Main Puraan are the following 18 Puraan. But there are some more Puraan too.

(1) Brahm Puraan (10) Brahm Vaivart Puraan
(2) Padm Puraan (11) Ling Puraan
(3) Vishnu Puraan (12) Varaah Puraan
(4) Shiv Puraan (13) Skand Puraan
(5) Bhaagvat Puraan (14) Vaaman Puraan
(6) Naarad Puraan (15) Koorm Puraan
(7) Maarkandeya Puraan (16) Matsya Puraan
(8) Agni Puraan (17) Garud Puraan
(9) Bhavishya Puraan (18) Brahmaand Puraan

Names of Other Puraan
(1) Aadi Puraan Nandee Puraan
(2) Asmavya Puraan Nandikeshwar Puraan
(3) Aunas Puraan Neelmaataa Puraan
(4) Baasav Puraan Paraashar Puraan
(5) Bhaaskar Puraan Periyaa Puraan
(6) Bhand Puraan Saamb Puraan*
(7) Bhaargav Puraan Sanatkumaar Puraan
(8) Brihad-Dharm Puraan Saur Puraan
(9) Brihad Naarad Puraan Shiv Dharm Puraan
(10) Devee Puraan Shiv Rahasya Puraan
(11) Durvaasaa Puraan Soorya Puraan
(12) Ganesh Puraan Sthal Puraan
(13) Hans Puraan Swaayambhuv Puraan
(14) Harivansh Puraan Tulaa Puraan
(15) Kalikaa Puraan Ushanaa Puraan
(16) Kalki Puraan Vaishaakh Puraan
(17) Kapilaa Puraan Varun Puraan
(18) Maagh Puraan Vashishth Puraan
Maanav (Manu) Puraan Vaayu Puraan
Mahaabhaagvat Puraan Vinaayak Puraan
Maheshwar Puraan Vishnu Dharm Puraan
Mareech Puraan  
Medshani-vari Puraan  
Mudgal Puraan  

* Saamb Puraan - gives an elaborated worship of Soorya Dev.

18 Puraan Description

(1) Agni Puraan
Agni told this to Sage Vashishth. It contains descriptions of Raam and Krishn (Raamaayan and Mahaabhaarat) in addition to details about the other Avataar of Vishnu. It also gives rules of worship of various deities, installation of idols in temples, Jyotishya, Architecture, medicine human physiology and various other such subjects.

(2) Bhaagvat Puraan
Bhaagvat is the most well-known of all the Puraan. Sage Shuk Dev Jee tells the story of Krishn to King Pareekshit. Although it contains stories of the other Avataar of Vishnu, the emphasis is on the life of Krishn. This Puraan is the main source of Krishn's life events. It explains the cosmic form of God and how the universe is created; the story of Jaya and Vijaya and how they had to take three births as Hiranyakashyap and Hiranyaaksh etc, the story of Prahlaad's devotion, story of Kapil Jee, Daksha Yagya and its destruction by Rudra, stories of Dhruv, Jadbharat etc, Stories of Gangaavataaran, Tripur Sanhaar, Samudra Mathana etc. Krishn Avataar details are found in the 10th chapter and the 11th chapter contains the famous Uddhav Geetaa. There is a vivid description of the present Kali Yug too. There are a number of commentaries on this Puraan and is considered the most popular among all the Puraan.

(3) Bhavishya Puraan
Some scholars consider the second part of this Puraan as an independent Puraan and call it the Bhavishyottar Puraan. Among the several topics dealt with in this Puraan mention could be made of the Shodash Sanskaar, rules for the study of Ved, Vrat and Kaamya Karm, Varnaashram Dharm, worship of Soorya and snakes, creation of the earth and the world, etc. There is a description of the good conduct one must emulate. This Puraan is considered as a pointer and indication of the future and so, it is called the Bhavishya Puraan.

(4) Brahm Puraan
Shrines at holy places like Puree, Konaark and Bhuvaneshwar are described in addition to the portions of Mahaabhaarat, and some other Puraan like Maarkandeya Puraan etc. Story of Daksh's sacrifice, story of Krishn, description of certain Avataar like Varaah, Narasinh etc, are the others dealt with in this. It also deals with creation of the world and description of the Sapt Dweep.

(5) Brahmaand Puraan
It deals with creation of Brahmaand (cosmic egg) and description of Bhaarat Varsh. The other contents are about Shraaddh etc in addition to stories of Bhageerath, Parashuraam, Dhanvantri etc. A very important portion of this Puraan is the Lalitopaakhyaan in forty chapters which includes the famous Lalitaa Sahastranaam. The whole Puraan is in four parts.>/p>

(6) Brahm Vaivart Puraan
Vaivart or appearance is a term used in the A-Dwait Vedaant. This Puraan is Krishn-centric. It describes Durgaa, Lakshmee, Saraswatee etc, as evolved from Mool Prakriti as per the desire of Krishn. Shree Krishn Janm Kaand describes the story of Krishn and Raadhaa. There are stories of Shanmukh and Ganesh. There are some mundane subjects like Aayur Ved, rules for building construction, bathing in Ganga and its benefits, greatness of Tulasee, code of conduct of women etc.

(7) Garud Puraan
We all know that this Puraan is read when someone in the family passes away. It is said that this Puraan was taught by Vishnu himself to Garud. While the first part deals with stories from the two epics- Mahaabhaarat and Raamaayan - in addition to certain medicines and uses of precious stones etc, the second part deals with the Pret Kalp - the journey of Jeev after death. It suggests that Moksh or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths is through devotion to Vishnu.

(8) Koorm Puraan
This is believed to have been taught by Vishnu in his Koormaavataar to sage Naarad. It describes the Chaatur-varn and how the Prakriti evolved as the world. Stories of Manu, Daksh, Vaaman, Yadu Vansh, Kaashee and Prayaag etc. It also describes certain Praayashchit. It deals with Pralaya also.

(9) Ling Puraan
The five aspects of Shiv - Sadyojaat, Vaamadev, Tatpurush, Aghor and Eeshaan are described. The story of Shiv appearing as a huge pillar of fire to Vishnu and Brahmaa is dealt with. Stories of Dadheechi, Vyaas, Nandee, Soorya Vansh and Chandra Vansh kings, Kaashee etc, are the others. Shiv's eight forms, Shiv Panchaaksharee Mantra and the meditation of Shiv after establishing Shiv Ling, the Mrithyunjaya Mantra are the other contents.

(10) Maarkandeya Puraan
This Puraan contains the teachings of Maarkandeya to Krowshtukee. The most well known portion of this Puraan is the Durgaa Sapt Shatee or the Devee Mahaatmya. In addition to the subjects of Manvantar etc., it deals with the stories of Harishchandra, Kartaveerya Arjun etc. Karm and its usefulness and some portions of Yog are also dealt with. In this Puraan, instead of Shiv and Vishnu, other deities like Indra, Agni, Soorya etc are given importance.

(11) Matsya Puraan
This is supposed to have been taught by Vishnu in his Matsya Avataar. Stories of Kach-Devayaanee, Yayaati-Puru, etc, are described. Various Vrat, Daan  (gifts), holy places and rivers are also mentioned. Even mundane subjects like building construction are explained.

(12) Naarad Puraan
This is believed to be the teachings of Naarad to Sanak and other Rishi. Religious rites, devotion to God, duties of people of each Varn and Aashram are detailed. There is a different version of Lalitaa Sahastra Naam which is not popular. Fasting on the 11th day of each Paksh of a month (Ekaadashee) and its benefits is given importance.

(13) Padm Puraan
This deals with a number of subjects and it is in five parts. There are several stories and important rivers and pilgrimage centers are described. Several Vrat are found in this Puraan. Several Sahastra Naam are also mentioned.

(14) Skand Puraan
This Puraan was originally taught by Shiv to his consort Paarvatee Jee. It contains many stories. It gives a detailed description of Bhaarat Varsh of those days. In addition to the various forms of Shiv Ling and the meditation thereof, the now famous Satya Naarayan Vrat Kathaa is also described.

(15) Vaaman Puraan
The incarnations of Vishnu - mainly as a Vaaman, is described in addition to the mention of other deities like Shiv, Ganapati and Soorya. The doctrine of Karm is explained. An important portion of this Puraan is the story of Gajendra Moksh.

(16) Varaah Puraan
This is supposed to have been given by Vishnu to Bhoo Devee in his Varaah Roop. It provides details of the theory of Karm, Shraaddh, A-Shauch etc. An important portion of this Puraan is the Nachiketopaakhyaan which deals with heaven and hell.

(17) Vaayu Puraan
Gayaa, the famous place known for Shraaddh is described in addition to the details of the Shraaddh ceremonies. The science of musicology is a part of this Puraan. These are in addition to the other usual descriptions of several kings and Rishi etc.

(18) Vishnu Puraan
In addition to the other usual descriptions of creation, there are stories of Dhruv, Prahlaad etc. The Kali Dosh is also dealt with. The stories of Raam and Krishn are also described. It is important to note that Vishnu here is not one of the Trimoorthi, but the origin of all the three Par Brahm. Bhakti Maarg is given utmost importance.

We should note that the Puraan with their simplicity of presentation and language have helped in the preservation of our philosophy and Dharm over a long period as they are easily accessible to the common people. However it should be remembered that wherever there is any ambiguity or conflicts with the other texts of Shruti, and Smriti what the Shruti says becomes final and not what the Puraan or Smriti say.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/26/12