Vishnu Purana

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The Vishnu Purana (, Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna (gem of Puranas). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya and divided into six parts, the major topics discussed include creation myths, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avatars (divine descents) of Vishnu and genealogy and stories of legendary kings.

In its listing of Puranas, the Matsya Purana credits the Vishnu Purana with 23,000 shlokas or verses, whereas the text we have runs to less than 7000. Such over-reckonings in old sources are hard to account for, but if there was a much longer version it is agreed that the one we have shows no signs of abridgement or structural incompleteness and is "incontestably entire".Wilson (2006), p. xxi.

Contents

The extant text comprises six aṃśas (parts) and 126 adhyāyas (chapters). The first part has 22 chapters, the second part consists 16 chapters, the third part comprises 18 chapters and the fourth part has 24 chapters. The fifth and the sixth parts are the longest and the shortest part of the text, comprising 34 and 8 chapters respectively.

The text starts with detailed stories of creation and introduces the concept of four yugas. The tale of Rudra, an elaborate story of the Samudra Manthana, or the churning of the...
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