Religion Past and Present

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(333 words)

[German Version]

(Sanskrit purāṇa, “old, belonging to the past”), in the narrow sense a collection of Hindu (Hinduism) Sanskrit texts, usually quite long, composed in strophes and exhibiting affinities with the Mahābhārata folk epic and Old Indic legal literature (Dharmaśāstras); like these, they belong to so-called smṛti literature (Śruti). The content of the Purāṇas is extraordinarily diverse: mythical tales, religious hymns, legends of the saints, cosmogonies, cosmographies, dynastic genealogies of the present era, instructions on the…

Cite this page
Klaus, Konrad, “Purāṇas”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 June 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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