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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Puranas > THE FIFTH VEDA PURANA > INTRODUCTION




What is Purana?


The Veda is called Sruti (because it is learnt by hearing). It has four interwoven parts.


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Hymns or Prayers for Some prayers in World

prayers sacrifice musical form maintainance


To make these four sections more easily performable Vyasadeva compiled these four parts into four seperate books. Being sympathetic towards the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, who are lazy, misdirected and have no inclination for spiritual life, Vyasadeva compiled the Puranas, from related historical facts, which explain the teachings of the four Vedas. In other words, the Puranas teach the Vedic literature in story form, making spiritual life more simple, and therefore in this age, they are more important.


Ref. (S.B. Canto 1 Ch.4 text 19-23)


There are eighteen Puranas that are divided into three groups along with three predominating Deities.


1) GOODNESS - Vishnu


2) PASSION - Brahma




They are divided in this way to gradually raise the conditioned soul from ignorance to pure goodness. The three divisions of the Puranas are compiled in this way to appeal to those people in these respective modes and to thus elevate them to the perfection

of life.



(Verse numbers and most important subject matters for devotees).


LORD VISNU (Predominating Deity)


1) Vishnu Purana - 23,000 verses.

Stories of various devotees;

A description of varnasrama;

The six angas of the Veda;

A description of the age of Kali;

It describes the Sveta Varaha Kalpa, Vishnu dharmotara;


2) Naradiya Purana - 25,000 verses.

This purana contains a synopsis of everything;

It describes Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, Badrinatha, etc.


3) Padma Purana - 55,000 verses.

Contains the glory of Shrimad Bhagavatam;

The stories of Rama, Jagannatha, Matsya, Ekadashi, Bhrgu, etc.


4) Garuda Purana - 19,000.

Subject of Bhagavad-gita;



It describes the Tarsya Kalpa.


5) Varaha Purana - 24,000 verses.

Describes different Vrata;

Lord Vishnu's glories.

6) Bhagavata Purana - 18,000 verses.

(Included by some in the mode of goodness).

LORD BRAHMA (Predominating Deity)


7) Brahmanda Purana - 12,000 verses.

Describes the Vedangas;

Describes the Adi Kalpa.


8) Brahmavaivarta Purana - 18,000 verses.

Contains the glories and pastimes of Radha and Krishna.


9) Markendeya Purana - 9,000 verses.

Stories of Rama and Krishna.


10) Bhavisya Purana - 14,500 verses.

Contains the glories of devotional service;

Prediction of Lord Chaitanya.


11) Vamana Purana - 10,000 verses.

Contains the story of Lord Trivikrama.


12) Brahma Purana - 10,000 verses.



LORD SIVA (Predominating Deity)


13) Matsya Purana - 14,000 verses.

Temple construction;

Describes Vamana and Varaha Kalpas.


14) Kurma Purana - 17,000 verses.

Contains the conversation between Krishna and the Sun-god;


Describes the Laksmi Kalpa.


15) Linga Purana - 10,000 verses.

Contains the glory of Lord Nrsmhadeva;


The story of Ambarisha;

The glories of Gayatri.


16) Siva Purana - 24,000 verses.


17) Skanda Purana - 81,000 verses.


18) Agni Purana - 15,400 verses.

Contains the description of Salagrama;

Describes the Isana kalpa.


All these Puranas describe five subjects. The Amarkhasa describes the Puranas as follows:


sargas ca pratisarga ca

vamsa manvantarani ca

vamsanu caritam capi

puranam panca laksanam




A Purana describes;



1) SARGA (Creation)


2) PRATISARGA (Recreation)


3) VAMSA (History of the sages)


4) MANVANTARA (Periods of Manu)


5) VAMSANUCARITA (Geneology of Kings)




Ref. Chapter 12, Puranic Literatures.






After compiling the Vedic Literatures, Puranas, etc., Vyasadeva was still feeling unsatisfied. While thinking in this way Narada Muni reached the cottage of Vyasadeva and was asked about the cause of dissatisfaction. Narada Muni explained that because he (Vyasadeva) did not directly describe Krishna's pastimes, and instead gave a license to enjoy sense gratification under religious principles, he was remaining unsatisfied. Narada then instructed Vyasadeva in the (Catur Sloka), S.B. 2:9:33-36; the essence of the Veda. Vyasadeva took these four verses and expanded them to compile the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is known as the ripened fruit of Vedic literature because it directly describes Krishna's transcendental pastimes.


Ref. S.B. Canto 1, chapter 5.


Krishna instructed-----------------------Catur sloka to

Brahma Brahma

Veda Narada

Samhitas - Verses Vyasa

Brahmanas - City life Expanded the four verses

and compiled Shrimad

Aranyakas - Forest life Bhagavatam which is the

ripened fruit of Vedic


Upanisads - Philosophy



Bhagavad-gita Upanisad




padau yadiyau prathama dvitiyau

tritiyaturyau kathitau yaduru

nabhistatha pancama eva sasto

bhujantaram doryugalam yathanyau

mukharavindam dasamam praphullam

ekadasau yasya lalatha pathakam

siro pi yad dvadasa eva bati

tamadidevam karuna nidhanam

tamala varnam suhitavataram

aparasamsara samudra setum

bhajamehe bhagavata svarupam




I meditate on the most merciful Shri Krishna. Whose bodily hue is like a tamala tree. He has appeared for everyone's benefit in the form of Shrimad Bhagavatam. The shrimad Bhagavatam is like a bridge for crossing over the unending ocean of birth and death.

The first and second cantos are His lotus feet.

The third and fourth cantos are His two thighs.

The fifth canto is His navel (waist).

The seventh and eighth are His mighty shoulders.

The ninth canto is His throat (neck).

The tenth canto is His face, which is like a fully bloomed lotus flower.

The eleventh canto is His forehead.

The twelth canto is His head.

(Padma Purana).


krishna sva-dhamopagate

dharma-jnanadibhih saha

kalau nasta-drsam esa

puranarko 'dhunoditah


This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have loost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.

(S.B. 1:3:43)


The Shrimad Bhagavatam describes 10 subjects:


1) Creation of the universe

2) Subcreation

3) The planetary systems

4) Protection by Krishna

5) The creative impetus

6) The change of Manus

7) The science of God

8) Returning back to Godhead

9) Liberation

10) Summum bonum

(S.B. 2:10:1)





visnu saktih para prokta

ksetre-jnakhya titha para

avidya-karma samjnaya

tritiya saktir isyate


The Supreme Lord has diverse and innumerable energies which are beyond our conception; however, great learned sages or liberated souls have studied these energies and have analyzed them into three parts. All of the energies are of visnu-sakti, that is to say they are different potencies of Lord Vishnu. The first energy is para, transcendental. Living entities also belong to the superior energy. The other energies, or material energies, are in the mode of ignorance.


(Vishnu Purana 6.7.61 quoted in Bg. page 26).



1) ANTARANGA SAKTI - Internal Potency (Yoga-maya)


sat - samvit - external potency

cit - sandhini - knowledge potency

ananda - hladini - pleasure potency


2) BAHIRANGA SAKTI - External Energy (Maha-maya)


a) bhumih - earth

b) apah - water

c) analah - fire

d) vayuh - air

e) kham - ether

f) manah - mind

g) buddhih - intelligence

h) ahankara - false ego


(Bg. 7.4)


3) TATASTHA SAKTI - Marginal Potency (Living Entities)


(Bg. 7.5; 15.7)


Krishna is the saktimana or the source of all energy.


(Bg. 7.6)


a) The spiritual energy is eternal, full of knowledge and

bliss. It is transcendental and beyond all changes of

material nature.


b) The external energy is the exact opposite and is therefore

temporary, full of ignorance and misery. It is mundane and

always changing.


c) The marginal energy (jiva) also belongs to the spiritual

energy, but because he has the independence to be either in the spiritual world or the material world, he is called



The whole manifestation is the Lord himself by diffusion of His different energies only, namely the internal, external and marginal. Such energy is siultaneously one with and different from the Lord (acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva).


(S.B. 2.9.27)


The material world is also called Durga or jail. Just as the jail is for those people who break the laws of the government, this material world is created for those souls who do not like to accept Krishna's supremacy. Just as the pupose of the jail is to reform criminals, in the same way the purpose of creation is to reform the conditioned soul or to get rid of his criminal desire to use Krishna's property without Krishna.


(S.B. 2.10.46) (S.B. 2.9.19 purport)