Purana, aka: Purāṇa, Pūraṇa, Purāna; 17 Definition(s)

Introduction

Purana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

Purāṇa (पुराण), lit: "of ancient times"; Important religious text in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
context information

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).

Ayurveda (science of life)

Purāṇa (पुराण) is a Sanskrit technical term, referring to “old” (eg. herbs or samples of drugs). The term is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Suśruta-saṃhitā and the Caraka-saṃhitā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

Purāṇa

Purāṇa (पुराण).—The etymology of the term ‘Purāṇa’ is given as “that which lives from ancient times”. The term occurs in early Indian literature mostly in connection with Itihāsa which denotes old narration (Itihāsa—iti, ha, āsa—thus indeed it was). Kauṭilya mentions Purāṇa and Itivṛtta as divisions of Itihāsa, and as Itivṛtta denotes a historical event, Purāṇa may be taken to mean mythological and legendary lore.

(Source): archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Purāṇa (पुराण).—On measurement of time.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 21. 137.

1b) Originally one: 100 crores of verses reduced to four lakhs by Vyāsa;1 eighteen in number; Brāhma, Pādma, Vaiṣnava, Śaiva, Linga, Gāruda, Skānda, Nāradīya, Bhāgavata, Āgneya, Bhaviṣya, Brahmavaivartha, Mārkandeya, Vāmana, Vārāha, Mātsya, Kūrma and Brahmānḍa; total content of these 400,000 verses;2 known to Sūta;3 speak of places where Hari worship is offered;4 the essence of the Purāṇas in the Śrutigīta;5 Interpreters of the Purāṇas;6 of four pādas;7 from Brahmā to Vyāsa and then to Sūta,8 Purāṇakathas, the first of all Śāstras remembered by Brahmā, and afterwards the Vedas issued from his faces9 originally one and 100 crore slokas; treatise on Trivarga, during the disaster of the world by fire God Hayagrīva saved the Purāṇas among other sciences; again as Matsyajanārdana; in every dvāpara Vyāsa gives 18 versions of 4 lacs in verses, a summary account of the original now preserved in heaven; the names of 18 as given by Brahmā to Marīci in olden days;10 five limbs: sarga, pratisarga, vaṃśa, manvantara and vaṃśyānucarita; description of deities and gods, of caturvarga; to be divided into sātvika where Viṣṇu is much extolled; rājasa where Brahmā is much extolled and tāmasa where Agni and Śiva are much extolled; in others Śarasvatī and Pitṛs are given (saṅkīrṇa);11 hearing of;12 Bhaviṣya the most ancient of the Purāṇas;13 the Purāṇa version of Varāha Avatāra attributed to Brahmā;14 the Purāṇa in general partakes the character of the epoch in which it is composed;15 recital of, during srāddha.16

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 39-40, 173; II. 21. 9, 37; 28, 96; 35. 63, 88; III. 19. 23; 42. 31; Matsya-purāṇa 3. 3; 53. 3-4, 9; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 11, 60; 9. 69.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 53. 64-72; Vāyu-purāṇa 95. 22; 104. 2, 11, 85, 108; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 6. 20-25. Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 7. 22-4; 13. 9.
  • 3) Ib. I. 1. 6; III. 12. 39.
  • 4) Ib. VII. 14. 29; X. 69. 28.
  • 5) Ib. X. 87. 43.
  • 6) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 20. 49.
  • 7) Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 70; 21. 3; 31. 30; 32. 67, 103. 44-5.
  • 8) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 19; 4. 43-4, 58-67.
  • 9) Matsya-purāṇa 1. 5; 2. 13; 17. 37; Vāyu-purāṇa 56. 7; 61. 55, 78; 83. 53; 100. 33 ff.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa 53. 3-12 and 13.
  • 11) Ib. 53. 65-69.
  • 12) Ib. 75. 6; 93. 3 and 7; 274. 38; 280. 12.
  • 13) Ib. 58. 4, 50; 69. 18.
  • 14) Ib. 247. 1, 5.
  • 15) Ib. 290. 15.
  • 16) Ib. 17. 37.

2a) Pūraṇa (पूरण).—A Kauśika and a sage; a son of Viśvāmitra.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 118; III. 66. 69; Matsya-purāṇa 198. 115; Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 97.

2b) A gaṇa of the Piśācas; plumpy and lovers of deserted residences; eyes cast downwards, little in size.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 381, 397.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Vyākaraṇa (Sanskrit grammar)

Purāṇa (पुराण).—Old; the word is used in the sense of old or ancient cf. पुराणप्रोक्तेषु ब्राह्मणकल्पेषु (purāṇaprokteṣu brāhmaṇakalpeṣu). P. IV. 3.105. It is also used in the sense of old mythological works; cf. इतिहृासः पुराणं वैद्यकं (itihṛाsaḥ purāṇaṃ vaidyakaṃ) M.Bh. on Āhnika l Vart. 5.

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Pūraṇa (पूरण).—An ordinal numeral; lit. the word means completion of a particular number (संख्या (saṃkhyā)); cf. येन संख्या संख्यानं पूर्यते संपद्यते स तस्याः पूरणः । एकादंशानां पूरणः एकादशः । (yena saṃkhyā saṃkhyānaṃ pūryate saṃpadyate sa tasyāḥ pūraṇaḥ | ekādaṃśānāṃ pūraṇaḥ ekādaśaḥ |) Kas, on P.V. 2.48. The word is used also in the sense of an affix by the application of which the particular number (संख्या (saṃkhyā)) referring to an object, is shown as complete; cf. यस्मिन्नुपसंजाते अन्या संख्या संपद्यते स प्रत्ययार्थः (yasminnupasaṃjāte anyā saṃkhyā saṃpadyate sa pratyayārthaḥ) Kas. on P. V.2.48. These Purana pratyayas are given in P. V. 2. 48-58, cf. पूरणं नामार्थः । तमाह (pūraṇaṃ nāmārthaḥ | tamāha) Xतीयशव्दः । अतः पूरणम् (tīyaśavdaḥ | ataḥ pūraṇam) M. Bh. on P.II.2.3. The word also means 'an ordinal number'; cf. पूरणगुणसुहितार्थ-सदव्ययतव्यसमानाधिकरणेन (pūraṇaguṇasuhitārtha-sadavyayatavyasamānādhikaraṇena) P.II.2.11.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyākaraṇa (व्याकरण, vyakarana) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedāṅga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyākaraṇa concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Purāṇa (पुराण) remain as the main sources of classical Sanskrit literature. Almost all the classical Sanskrit literature has been composed on the basis of purāṇa literature. Even though western scholars describe the purāṇas as myths, these purāṇas are the store house of our ancient Indian knowledge system and also the guide for our day-to-day life.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
context information

Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.

Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is traditionally considered the compiler of the Puranas.

According to Matysa Purana, they are said to narrate five subjects, called Pancha Lakshana:

  1. Sarga: the creation of the universe.
  2. Pratisarga: secondary creations, mostly recreations after dissolution.
  3. Vamśa: genealogy of the gods and sages.
  4. Manvañtara: the creation of the human race and the first human beings. The epoch of the Manus' rule, 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 years.
  5. Vamśānucaritam: the histories of the patriarchs of the lunar and solar dynasties.

Of the many texts designated 'Puranas' the most important are the Mahāpurāṇas. These are always said to be eighteen in number, divided into three groups of six, though in fact they are not always counted in the same way. Combining the various lists Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen have collated twenty names:

  1. Agni
  2. Bhagavata
  3. Bhavishya
  4. Brahma
  5. Brahmanda
  6. Brahmavaivarta
  7. Garuda
  8. Harivamsa
  9. Kurma
  10. Linga
  11. Markandeya
  12. Matsya
  13. Narada
  14. Padma
  15. Shiva
  16. Skanda
  17. Vamana
  18. Varaha
  19. Vayu
  20. Vishnu
(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

The Puranas are post-Vedic texts which typically contain a complete narrative of the history of the Universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology and geography. There are 17 or 18 canonical Puranas, divided into three categories, each named after a deity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are also many other works termed Purana, known as 'Upapuranas.'

(Source): Sacred Texts: Hinduism

Purana (Sanskrit) Ancient, old, an ancient tale or legend. The 18 Hindu scriptures known today as the Puranas are ancient legends of olden times, written in verse, partly in symbolical and allegorical and partly in quasi-historical language. They are supposed originally to have been composed by Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata.

(Source): Experience Festival: Hinduism

Purāṇa (पुराण):—The Purāṇas describe how the incarnations like those of Rama and Kṛṣṇa come down to the level of man in order to elevate men to the divine level and reveal to us the mightly power of God by describing the course of creation and destruction and the right and wrong manner of governing the people.

The Purāṇas describe the history of the world. They describe how the world is created, how it is preserved and governed and finally how it is periodically destroyed. They describe the different methods and incarnations of God at critical periods in the world to maintain its moral and spiritual order. They teach the principles of our religion through their episodes. They also proclaim the glory or vibhūti of the arcāvatāra of God through their descriptions of the power of the different kṣetras and they also describe the holy tirthas in our country. The most important of them are eighteen in number. They are divided into three classes called Sātvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa according as they extol the glory of Viṣṇu, Brahma or Śiva.

(Source): Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Purāna

A monk who lived in Dakkhinagiri. It is said that when he visited Rajagaha after the holding of the First Council, he was asked to give his approval to the findings of the same. His answer was that he preferred to remember what he himself had heard and learnt from the Buddha. Vin.ii.189f.

2. Purāna

A chamberlain (thapati ? equerry) of Pasenadi. He was the brother of Isidatta and the father of Migasala. In his later years he lived the life of a celibate and was reborn in Tusita as a sakadagami. A.iii.348 ff.;v.138 ff. The SA (iii.215), however, says that Purāna was a sotapanna.

A conversation he had with the Buddha, in the company of Isidatta, at Sadhuka (q.v.), is recorded in the Samyutta Nikaya (S.v.349 ff). In the Dhammacetiya Sutta (M.ii.123) Pasenadi speaks of the great loyalty of these two men towards the Buddha. After discussing the Doctrine till late at night, they would sleep with their heads towards the spot where the Buddha was staying and their feet towards the king. Purāna is mentioned (E.g., A.iii.451) as an ideal layman.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Pali

purāṇa : (adj.) ancient; old; worn out; used; former.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Purāṇa, (adj.) (Venic purāṇa, fr. *per, cp. Sk. parut in former years, Gr. pέrusi=Lith. pernai, Goth. fairneis, Ohg. firni=Ger. firn (last year’s snow), forn formerly, ferro far) 1. ancient, past Sn. 312, 944 (=Nd1 428 atītaṃ, opp. nava=paccuppannaṃ); Dh. 156 (=pubbe katāni C.); with ref. to former births or previous existences: p. kammaṃ S. II, 64=Nd1 437=Nd2 680 Q. 2; puññaṃ S. I, 92.—2. old (of age), worn out, used (opp. nava recent) D. I, 224 (bandhanaṃ, opp. navaṃ); Vin. II, 123 (udakaṃ p. °ṃ stale water); S. II, 106 (magga); Sn. 1 (tacaṃ); J. II, 114 (f. purāṇī, of an old bow string, applied jokingly to a former wife); IV, 201 (°paṇṇa old leaf, opp. nava); V, 202 (a° not old, of years); VI, 45 (apurāṇaṃ adv. recently); VbhA. 363 (udaka stale water). ‹-› 3. former, late, old in cpds. as °dutiyikā the former wife (of a bhikkhu) Vin. I, 18, 96; IV, 263; S. I, 200; Ud. 5; J. I, 210; °rājorodhā former lady of the harem Vin. IV, 261; °sālohita former blood-relation Sn. p. 91; Ud. 7; DhA. II, 210. Cp. porāṇa. (Page 469)

— or —

Pūraṇa, (adj. n.) (fr. pūreti) 1. (adj.) filling Sn. 312 (? better read purāṇa with SnA 324); PvA. 70 (eka-thālaka°), 77 (id.). As Np. in Pūraṇa Kassapa, which however seems to be distorted from Purāṇa K. (D. I, 47; Sn. p. 92, cp. KhA 126, 175; SnA 200, 237, 372). The expln (popular etym.) of the name at DA. I, 142 refers it to pūreti (“kulassa ekūnaṃ dāsa-sataṃ pūrayamāno jāto” i.e. making the hundred of servants full). ‹-› 2. (nt.) an expletive particle (pada° “verse-filler”), so in C. style of “a” SnA 590; “kho” ib. 139; “kho pana” ib. 137; “taṃ” KhA 219; “tato” SnA 378; “pi” ib. 536; “su” ib. 230; “ha” ib. 416; “hi” ib. 377. See pada°. (Page 471)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Vajrayāna (Tibetan Buddhism)

Purāṇa (पुराण) is the name of a cloud (megha) associated with Lakṣmīvana: the south-eastern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Saṃvarodayatantra 17.41. The name for the cloud of the southern direction is sometimes given as Prapurāṇa. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These clouds (eg., Purāṇa) are known as cloud-kings (megharāja) and have names that are associated with the loud noises of thunderclouds and the noise of rain, according to the Guhyasamayasādhanamālā 11.77. Their presence in the cremation grounds may be connected with the nāgas, for they are known to be responsible for the rain.

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

puraṇa (पुरण).—n f Stuffing. Split pulse boiled, and prepared for stuffing. The in- ferior metal lying under an overlay of gold.

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purāṇa (पुराण).—n A Pura'n or sacred and poetical work. pu?B sōḍaṇēṃ-lāvaṇēṃ To begin a long and tiresome story. purāṇāntalī vāṅgī purā- ṇānta rāhilīṃ Said of one mighty in talk, slack in act.

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purāṇa (पुराण).—a Old or ancient.

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purāṇā (पुराणा).—a Old or ancient.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Puraṇa (पुरण).—The sea, ocean.

Derivable forms: puraṇaḥ (पुरणः).

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Purāṇa (पुराण).—a. (-ṇā, -ṇī f.) [पुरा नवम् (purā navam) Nir.]

1) Old, ancient, belonging to olden times; पुराणमित्येव न साधु सर्वं न चापि काव्यं नवमित्यवद्यम् (purāṇamityeva na sādhu sarvaṃ na cāpi kāvyaṃ navamityavadyam) M.1.2; पुराणपत्रापगमादनन्तरम् (purāṇapatrāpagamādanantaram) R.3.7

2) Aged, primeval; गृध्रराजः पुराणोऽसौ श्वशुरस्य सखा मम (gṛdhrarājaḥ purāṇo'sau śvaśurasya sakhā mama) Rām.3.53.5; अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणः (ajo nityaḥ śāśvato'yaṃ purāṇaḥ) Bg.2.2.

3) Decayed, worn out.

-ṇam 1 A past event or occurrence.

2) tale of the past, legend, ancient or legendary history.

3) Name of certain well-known sacred works; these are 18; these are supposed to have been composed by Vyāsa, and contain the whole body of Hindu mythology. A Purāṇa treats of five topics (or lakṣaṇāni), and is hence often called पञ्चलक्षण (pañcalakṣaṇa); सर्गश्च प्रतिसर्गश्च वंशो मन्वन्तराणि च । वंशानुचरितं चैव पुराणं पञ्चलक्षणम् (sargaśca pratisargaśca vaṃśo manvantarāṇi ca | vaṃśānucaritaṃ caiva purāṇaṃ pañcalakṣaṇam) || For the names of the 18 Purāṇas see under अष्टादशन् (aṣṭādaśan).

-ṇaḥ A coin equal to 8 cowries; ते षोडश स्याद् धरणं पुराणश्चैव राजतः (te ṣoḍaśa syād dharaṇaṃ purāṇaścaiva rājataḥ) Ms.8.136.

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Pūraṇa (पूरण).—a. (-ṇī f.) [पूर्-कर्तरि ल्यु (pūr-kartari lyu)]

1) Filling up, completing.

2) Ordinal (as applied to numbers) (dvitīya, tṛtīya &c.); न पूरणी तं समुपैति संख्या (na pūraṇī taṃ samupaiti saṃkhyā) Ki.3.51.

3) Satisfying.

4) Drawing (as a bow).

-ṇaḥ 1 A bridge, dam, causeway.

2) The ocean.

3) The Śālmali tree.

4) A kind of medicinal oil (viṣṇutailam).

-ṇī 1 An epithet of Durgā.

2) The silk-cotton tree.

-ṇam 1 Filling

2) Filling up, completing; कुम्भपूरणभवः पटुरुच्चैरुच्चचार निनदोऽ म्भसि तस्याः (kumbhapūraṇabhavaḥ paṭuruccairuccacāra ninado' mbhasi tasyāḥ) R.9.73.

3) Puffing or swelling.

4) Fulfilling accomplishing.

5) A sort of cake.

6) A funeral cake.

7) Rain, raining.

8) Warp.

9) Multiplication (in math.).

1) Injection of fluids (in Medic.)

11) Drawing, bending (as a bow).

12) Decorating, adorning.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

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Bhagavata Purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Sanskrit literature, wi...
Markandeya Purana
Markandeya-Purana (Sanskrit) One of the 18 principal Puranas of ancient India, named from it...
Padma Purana
Padma Purana is one of the major Puranas among the eighteen Mahapuranas and an ancient Hindu...

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