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The Puranas as a Sacred Text in Karnataka intertwined in south India’s regional language, Kannada

In Karnataka, Hinduism is found in almost all of its cities with over 84% of its total population belonging to this religion. Numerous dynasties and empires have emerged out of this region. These dynasties have in turn contributed to the development of Hinduism in this area, thereby influencing its impact on the region’s culture and society. When it comes to the deities in this region, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are spoken of frequently. It was also the native land of many Hindu movements. It goes without saying that the sacred texts of Hinduism are also prominent in this region, including the Puranas. 

The Puranas comprise an extensive range of ancient Indian literature that covers various subjects, specifically, legends and folklore. The most distinctive feature of this body of text is the level of symbolism that is packed into every chapter. They are classified into two major categories - the 18 Mukhya Puranas (Major Puranas) and the 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas). The most popular Puranic texts in the Karnataka region are: 

  • Shiva Purana

This Maha Puranas follows Shaivism ideologies and revolves around the Hindu deities, Shiva and Parvati. 

  • Vishnu Purana

This Purana is an important text of the Vaishnavism movement. As the name suggests, it revolves around Lord Vishnu. 

  • Narada Purana

Otherwise known as the Naradiya Purana, this Purana includes discussions on the four Vedas and the six Vedangas. Other common themes that are elaborated on in these texts are the concepts of Moksha and Dharma. 

  • Markandeya Purana 

This Purana focuses on Shaktism, with an emphasis on the devotion of the feminine. It is known for its discussions on the Devi Mahatmya, an old discourse on Devi as the Ultimate Truth and the Maker of the Universe. 

  • Agni Purana 

This text consists of topics that are attributed to Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and Smartism. However, it does not incline towards a specific ideology. 

  • Brahma Vaivarta 

This Purana mainly focuses on the power of Lord Krishna and Radha. It asserts the notion that Krishna is the supreme being and Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are all manifestations of him. 

  • Skanda Purana

Considered the longest Purana, this Purana illustrates the conception of Skanda (Karthikeya), Shiva’s son.

  • Garuda Purana

This Puranic text is also centered around Lord Vishnu and it is a part of Vaishnavite literature. It elaborates on the association between Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma.

  • Narasimha Purana 

One of the Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), deals with the many avatars of Lord Vishnu, as well as some of the major dynasties of India. 

  • Ganesha Purana

This minor Purana, like the name suggests, revolved around Lord Ganesha. 


Q1. Which is the oldest Purana? 

A part of the 18 Mukhya Puranas or Major Puranas, The Matsya Purana is believed to be one of the oldest, well-preserved Puranas in the domain of Sanskrit sacred literature. 

Q2. According to the Puranas, which deity is the supreme being of the universe? 

Since all the Puranas have been written with various deities in mind, there is no singular answer to this. Some regard Lord Vishnu to be the highest power, while others are of the opinion that Lord Shiva is the supreme power who rules the universe.