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PuranasPurana , meaning "belonging to ancient or olden times", is the name of an ancient Indian genre (or a group of related genres) of Hindu or Jain literature (as distinct from oral tradition). They primarily are post-Vedic texts containing a narrative of the history of the Universe, from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy and geography.
Puranas are called the Friendly Treatises or Suhrit-Sammitas, and are usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another. Vyasa Rishi is considered to be the compiler of the Puranas.
An early reference to Purana in its present sense can be traced to the Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.2), in which the sage Narada refers to itiha-sapura-n.am. pańcamam. veda-na-m.. Thus the Chandogya Upanishad ascribes to the Puranas, together with Itihas, the status of a fifth Veda, or Panchama Veda. The Rigveda mentions Purana many times, though some say that there the meaning is "belonging to ancient times."
There are many texts designated as 'Purana'. The most important are:
* Maha-pura-n.as and Upapura-n.as, the main Puranic corpus
* Sthala Pura-n.as, scriptures usually extolling the virtues of a certain Hindu temple. They narrate stories of the temple's creation and spiritual history.
* Kula Pura-n.as - Scriptures that deal with the origin and legends of a particular caste.
The Maha-pura-n.as are dated philologically to between roughly the 3rd and the 12th centuries, the bulk of the texts likely originating in the Gupta period (320-500 CE), with incremental additions well into medieval times. According to Hindu tradition, the Puranas were composed by Vyasa at the end of Dvapara Yuga.
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