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Padma Purana (Devanagari: पद्म पुराण), also called the gītāmāhātmya (literally, the Majesty of Gita) is one of the major eighteen Puranas. A Hindu religious text, it is divided into five parts and 55,000 verses. The Padma Purana categorizes itself as a Sattva Purana (one which represents goodness and purity).
In the first part of the text, sage Pulastya explains to Bhishma about religion and the essence of the religion. The second part describes in detail Prithvi (earth). In the third part, a description of the cosmos is given, including creation, and description of India (Bharata Varsha). The fourth part describes the life and deeds of Rama. The fifth part is in the style of a dialogue between Shiva and his consort, Parvati, and deals with the essential knowledge about religion.
The Padma Purana was compiled between the 4th and 15th century, with more important contributions being likely between 750 and 1000 CE or the 12th century CE, and with an earlier core. There are a number of later Jaina works also known as Padma Purana.
This text was passed on in two different versions (often called recensions), the Bengal and the South Indian. The former recension consists of five khandas (sections): Shrishti Khanda, Bhumi Khanda, Svarga Khanda, Patala Khanda and Uttara Khanda. The latter recension consists of six khandas: Adi Khanda (also known as the Svarga Khanda in some printed editions), Bhumi Khanda, Brahma Khanda, Patala Khanda, Srishti Khanda and Uttara Khanda. The Bhumi Khanda of the Bengal recension contains additional thirteen chapters, while the Patala Khanda of this recension contains thirty-one additional chapters. The Svarga Khanda of this recension contains the descriptions about different regions (lokas) and narratives of kings and demons. The Srishti Khanda can be divided into two parts and the second part is not found in the Bengal recension. Purana include the Padma-purana (Balabhadrapurana) or Raidhu (15th century), the Padma-purana of Somadeva (1600), the Padma-purana of Dharmakirti (1612), the Padma-purana of Bhattaraka Candrakirti (17th century).
The Srishti Khand (Book of the Creation) is in the form of a dialogue between Bhishma and the sage Pulastya. It also contains a detailed description of Pushkara, a famous place of pilgrimage. It is a matter of interest that some sections of this part is derisive of the worship of grahas (include, but not limited to, planets).
The Bhumi Khand (Book of the Earth) has a description of Prithvi (the earth) and tales of kings like Prithu and Yayati and of several sages. Some scholars believe that the description of earth and tales of kings and sages in this Purana has factual elements of geography and history of that period.
The Svarg Khand (Book of Heaven) contains details of the sequence of creation of the cosmos. It also describes the significance and importance of holy places and geographical expansion and features of Jambudvipa, including its mountains and rivers. It also tells about the people of India in ancient times.
The Patal Khand (Book of the Netherworld) Ugrasrava Sauti narrates the life story of Ram, an Avatar of Vishnu, to an assembly of sages. There are also sections devoted to the life and deeds of Lord Krishna. 16 chapters of the Patal Khand are together known as the Shiv Gita.
The Uttar Khand presents the metaphysical aspects of religion in the form of a dialogue between Shiv and Parvati. This part also contains another version of Vishnu sahasranam (not the Mahabharat version) and Ram sahasranam. Six chapters from this part constitute "Bhagavat Mahatmyam" which is considered to be the proper beginning of Srimad Bhagavat, another of the Maha Puranas.
- Wilson, H. H. (1840). The Vishnu Purana: A system of Hindu mythology and tradition. Oriental Translation Fund. p. 12.
- Vanita 2005, p. 144.
- Doniger 2010, p. 473.
- Raman Varadara (1993), Glimpses of Indian Heritage, Popular Prakashan, p.76
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- Hazra, R.C. (1962). The Puranas in S. Radhakrishnan ed. The Cultural Heritage of India, Calcutta: The Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Vol.II, ISBN 81-85843-03-1, p.261
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- Dalal, Roshen (2010), Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide, Penguin Books India
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