(Hinduism, Sanskrit)

The Puranas are Hindu Scriptures of the smriti or oral tradition. They were the popularised teachings of the higher Truth, catering to women and the lower castes(*), who were denied access to education. Each Purana is an extraordinary mix of history, philosophy, and mythology, with a substantial amount of astrology, geography, medicine, anatomy, and military arts thrown in, to boot.

There are eighteen principal Puranas (Mahapuranas, q.v. for further classification), and eighteen lesser ones (Upapuranas). The Mahapuranas are enumerated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (itself one of the Mahapuranas), thus:

The Brahma Purana consists of ten thousand verses [shlokas], the Padma Purana of fifty-five thousand, Sri Vishnu Purana of twent-three thousand, the Shiva Purana of twenty-four thousand and Srimad-Bhagavatam of eighteen thousand. The Narada Purana has twenty-five thousand verses, the Markandeya Purana nine thousand, the Agni Purana fifteen thousand four hundred, the Bhavishya Purana fourteen thousand five hundred, the Brahmavaivarta Purana eighteen thousand and the Linga Purana eleven thousand. The Varaha Purana containts twenty-four thousand verses, the Skanda Purana eighty-one thousand one hundred, the Vamana Purana ten thousand, the Kurma Purana seventeen thousand, the Matsya Purana fourteen thousand, the Garuda Purana nineteen thousand and the Brahmanda Purana twelve thousand. Thus the total number of verses in all the Puranas is four hundred thousand. Eighteen thousand of these, one again, belong to the beautiful Bhagavatam.

Bhag., Canto 12, Ch. 13, Texts 4-9

Notice here how Sri Suta Gosvami again mentions the Srimad Bhagavatam to emphasise that it is the chief of all Puranic literatures.

N.B. Ordinarily I would have quoted the sanskrit, too, but it would have made this a little long...

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