Vishnu Purana

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Visnu Purana

Unlike the other puranas where generally the Suta Romaharsana narrates the stories after being questioned by some sages, this purana (Vishnu Purana) is narrated by the sage Parasara (father of Vyasa and grandson of Vasistha) to his disciple Maitreya.

Though most of the work is in poetry, it has elegant prose passages also. In fact, it has all the characteristics of a good literary classic.

It has three commentaries: Atmaprakasa by Sridhara (15th century A. D.); Vaisnavakutacandrika by Ratnagarbha; and, Visnucittiya by an unknown author.

The contents of the six amsas are as follows:

First Amsa (22 chapters; 1412 verses)

The 24 cosmic principles and the creation of the world; creation of beings like the prajapatis, pitrs and devas; stories of Dhruva and Prahlada; greatness of Visnu.

Second Amsa (16 chapters; 789 verses)

Geographical details of this earth and of the 14 worlds; Navagrahas or the nine planets; some astronomical details of stars and planets; stories of Rbhu and Nidagha.

Third Amsa (18 chapters; 830 verses)

Manvantaras, Manus and their sons; Vyasa and division of the Vedas; the four varnas and the asramas: on sraddha (obsequial rites) in detail.

Fourth Amsa (24 chapters; 1353 verses)

Lineages of Vaivasvata Manu and Iksvaku; story of Sri Rama; descriptions of Somavamsa, Yaduvamsa and Kuruvamsa (i.e., the kings of those lineages); kings of the future up to the kings of Magadha; Kalidharma or the characteristics of the Kali-age.

Fifth Amsa (38 chapters; 1517 verses)

Story of Krisna in great detail; mutual destruction of the Yadavas; coronation of Pariksit; final journey of the Pandavas.

Sixth Amsa (8 chapters; 498 verses)

Interesting and long description of the behaviour of the people in the Kaliyuga; greatness of the Kaliyuga since worship and singing the glories of Lord Krsna are enough to attain liberation; description of pralaya or dissolution of the world; eulogy of this purana.