There seem to be two recensions the
Bengal recension and the South Indian
recension of this purana, though it is
only the latter that has been printed.
The total number of granthas or
verses is 55,000 distributed among 690
adhyayas or chapters accommodated in six
khandas or books.
This purana has been classed among
the sattvika (and Vaisnava) puranas.
A brief synopsis of its contents is as follows:
1). Adikhanda (62 chapters)
This khanda is sometimes called
Svargakhanda also. Geographical details
of ancient India (called-Jambudvipa and
Bharatavarsa), description of a large number of tirthas (places of pilgrimage)
including the rites and formalities
connected with visiting them are described
here. Prayaga (modern Allahabad) containing the Triveni sangama (the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and
the subterranean Sarasvati) is eulogised
as the best of all the tirthas. Code of
conduct and the duties of the four asramas
are also delineated.
2). Bhumikhanda (125 chapters)
This book is perhaps named as
Bhumikhanda to show the importance of
this bhumi or earth where alone spiritual
progress is possible.
Performance of one's duty is stressed
here as important like a tirtha or a holy
place, since it purifies one who does it.
Incidentally a number of stories are
narrated, bringing out the importance of
devotion to one's parents, repetition of
Lord Hari's name and certain aspects of
dharma. Description of svarga (heaven)
and naraka (hell) are also given briefly.
3). Brahmakhanda (26 chapters)
This is the shortest of all the books.
The name of this book does not seem
to have any direct connection with the
Devotion to Lord Visnu, importance
of physical service in a temple, greatness
of the Krsnajayanti festival, virtuous deeds
to be performed by which one can get
good children, significance of ekadasi vrata
(vow), the power of Lord Hari's name and
what offends it these are the topics dealt
4). Patalakhanda (113 chapters)
In this book there is a detailed
description of the Asvamedhayaga (Horse-sacrifice) performed by Rama. Unlike
Valmiki's Ramayana, here Sita is reunited
with Rama and lives for many more years.
The battles between Lava and Kusa
on one side and the army of Rama on the
other, are described in great detail.
The latter part of this purana is
devoted to describing the story and the
greatness of Krishna. The gopis of Vrindavan
are stated here, to be the risis or the sages
of the Tretayuga who had been captivated
by the beauty and charm of Rama, reborn
to enjoy his company.
Incidentally, information about salagramas, a special mantra of Krishna
and its repetition, puja of Lord Visnu, characteristics and effects of true bhakti
or devotion, are also explained.
It is interesting to note that in this
book, the greatness of Siva, his emblem
(the linga) and his name as also the
importance of bhasma (holy ash) are also
given a wide coverage.
5). Sristikhanda (82 chapters)
Though this book is called Sristikhanda, the topic of Srsti or creation is
only a minor aspect of the subjects dealt
Apart from the stories connected
with the devas (gods) and the danavas
(demons), the topic of sraddha (obsequial
rites) is dealt with in detail. The other
subjects delineated are: sacrifice performed
by Brahma; the story of the sage Agastya
subjugating the Vindhya mountain; some
vratas or religious observances; story of
Mahisasura; the arising of a golden lotus
from the navel of Visnu; birth of Brahma
from this lotus; characteristics of a bad
and a good brahmana; greatness of a
pativrata (chaste woman); importance of
various kinds of dana or gifts; on.the rudraksi beads and the tulasi leaves; significance of the worship of Ganesa; and,
finally on the worship of the Navagrahas
(nine planets) and the goddess Durga.
6). Uttarakhanda (282 chapters)
The title 'uttara' for this book simply
signifies 'last'. It is the last of the series
of khandas comprising this purana.
The contents of this book may be
briefly summarised as follows:
Greatness of certain places of pilgrimage like Srisaila and Haridvara as also
the rivers Ganga and Yamuna; importance
of annadana or gifting food; description of
the 24 ekadasis (eleventh days of every
fortnight); Visnusahasranama (which is
different from the one given in the
Mahabharata); description and greatness
of the Vaisnavas (devotees of Visnu);
battles between the gods and the demons;
worship of salagrama (stone symbol of
Visnu); method of observing the Dipavali
festival; on some more places of pilgrimage; greatness of the Bhagavadgita explained through stories; importance of the
Bhagavata; description of certain hells,
numbered here as 140; how a bath in a
sacred river in the month of Magha
(11th lunar month, generally in February)
purifies even a great sinner; certain ritualistic processes connected with the mantra of Lord Visnu; the story of churning the ocean of milk to get amrta or ambrosia; the ten avataras or incarnations of Visnu.
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