Puranas or Stories
- Out of one crore tales or stories, one lakh survive
- Out of one lakh survived, one thousand are documented/published
- Out of one thousand, one hundred are sold/distributed
- Out of one hundred, only ten (not best out of one crore) is read by many.
- Only one can become famous. We would have lost many valuable tales over time. (Lost Gems)
- Epics like Ramayana are made from few stories (including folk tales). So with different combination of tales, we have different versions. Tales also get distorted/modified when retold in other places.
Puranas Myths Legend
- Purana, meaning "ancient" or "old". Its general themes are history, tradition and religion. It is usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another.
- Itihasa, literally meaning that which happened or History. The word is often used within India to refer to Hindu Epics, Mahakavyas such as Ramayana and Mahabharata.
- Myths make interesting readings with all added masala and exotic/super natural content.
- Many puranas are built on some historical fact/tale, changed to suit audience and famed for exaggeration!
- Many mythical tales seems to overlap with the Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek/roman and other mythologies.
- The gods and other characters are like humans because humans created them.
Aim of Puranas
- The aim of the Puranas is to impress on devotion to God, through concrete examples, myths, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events.
- Stories are told in such a way to create fear such that people will follow social rules and tradition (ex. If you do not do this, you will suffer. Others who did this became rich)
- Writers add their own views to show some god is superior or some tribe/language/caste is superior to others
About Puranas Creation
Most of the puranas are built on following themes:
- Good person did lot of tapas and got boons. Later become arrogant and became evil. Gods have to use tactics like special weapon, human-animal form, avatar and so on to kill evil persons
- Suffering people pray to Gods or super natural beings and their problems are solved.
- Evil person takes hostage (wife, son/daughter, ..) and Good has to fight. Good also use this tactics to win evil.
- Normal or even good person does some mistakes (can be even small one). But have to reborn to suffer or pay for his past deeds. This is to show, one can not get away doing evil.
- People loose their wealth and position by gambling and other vices.
- Poor or Ordinary person (but smart) marry rich or royalty. (valli, Meenakshi, Srinivasa ...kalyanams).
Info on Puranas
There are eighteen main Puranas and an equal number of subsidiary Puranas or Upa-Puranas.
- Six puranas for Lord Vishnu are: 1) Vishnu Purana 2) Narada Purana 3) Srimad Bhavata Purana 4) Garuda Purna 5) Padma Purana 6) Varaha Purana
- Six Puranas on Lord Siva are: 1) Matsya Purana 2) Kurma Purana 3) Linga Purana 4) Vayu Purana 5) Skanda Purana 6) Agni Purana
- Six Puranas to Lord Brahma are: 1) Brahma Purana 2) Brahanda Purana 3) Brahma Vaivasvata Puranaor Brahma Vaivarta Purana 4) Markandeya Purana 5) Bhavishya Purana 6) Vamana Purana
- The eighteen Upa-Puranas are: Sanatkumara, Narasimha, Brihannaradiya, Sivarahasya, Durvasa, Kapila, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Devi-Bhagavata, Ganesa and Hamsa.
B. The 18 Upa-Puranas
The eighteen subsidiary Puranas are:
1. Sanat Kumara; 2. Narasimha; 3. Brihannaradiya; 4. Sivarahasya;
5. Durvasa; 6. Kapila; 7. Vamana; 8. Bhargava; 9. Varuna; 10. Kalika;
11. Samba; 12. Nandi; 13. Surya; 14. Parashara; 15. Vasishtha;
16. Devi-Bhagavata; 17. Ganesha; 18. Hamsa;
C. The Tamil Puranas
These are all Puranas glorifying Lord Shiva and they are: 1. Siva Purana; 2. Periya Purana; 3. Siva Parakramam; and 4. Tiruvilayadal Purana
Some historical facts on some stories
king Mahabali from Kerala lost his kingdom in a challenge with smart small boy. So, he has to go exile to far off islands in the south. The rule of Mahabali is considered to be the golden era of Kerala. Mahabali visit once every year, the lands and people he previously ruled. This revisit marks the festival of Onam, as a reminder of the virtuous rule.
This became vamana avadhara.