Vedas are the religious scriptures of Hindus. These are the oldest Sanskrit literature written in the ancient Vedic period. Before that, Vedas were passed down orally from teachers to their students. The Vedas were not passed down to a particular person at a specific time but were heard by the Sages in their deep meditations.
Puranas are long Indian literature of ancient times. These are scriptures of the old legends talking about various topics of traditional folklore. Puranas are known for their symbolism depicted through stories.
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What is the Difference between Vedas and Puranas
The word Vedas is derived from the Sanskrit word “Veddah” which means knowledge. These texts are shruti, which translates to “what is heard”. These Vedas were heard by sages during their meditations and were passed down orally before they were recorded in written form in 1500-500BC.
There are four Vedas in total:
- The Rigveda
- The Samaveda
- The Yajurveda
- The Atharvaveda
Rigveda is the oldest of all the Vedas. The Vedas teachings include texts on rituals, ceremonies, philosophies, and spiritual understanding of the being. Vedas are further categorised into four categories-
- A collection of mantras and benedictions- The Samhitas
- A collection of text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices)-The Aranyakas
- A collection of commentary on the said rituals-The Brahmanas.
- A collection of philosophical narrative and dialogues-The Upanishads.
The Puranic genre of literature is found in both Hinduism and Jainism. Primarily written in Sanskrit, the texts of Puranas are also translated into Tamil and other Indian languages. Puranas is like an encyclopedia of stories with legends, gods, heroes, folk tales, pilgrims, astronomy, theories and philosophies.
Traditionally every Purana talks about five subjects-
- The creation of the universe.
- Secondary creation after the periodic annihilation.
- The gods and supernatural.
- The era of humans.
- History of solar and lunar dynasties.
Puranas have been influential throughout the history of humankind. These also include the religious identity and cultural influences of the period in which it was written. In total there is one Mahapurana, 17 mukhyapuranas and around 18 minor Puranas. Puranas are Smriti which means, “what is remembered”. Puranas are inconsistent and are influenced by the time and the writer of the Purana.
Points of difference between Vedas and Puranas
Given below are the points of difference between Vedas and Puranas.
|Vedas were written in the ancient Vedic period around 1500-500BC.||The first version of the Puranas is said to be composed between the 3rd and the 10th century.|
|Vedas are religious texts that were passed down orally by sages who heard them during their meditations.||Puranas are stories of legends, gods, heroes, astronomy, a philosophy that contain religious aspect to them and use of symbolism to impart teaching.|
|Vedas are shruti, which means, “what is heard”||Puranas are smriti, which translates to,” what is remembered.|
|There are four vedas in total- Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.||There are a total of 17 mukhyapuranas, 18 minor Puranas and one Mahapuranas.|
|Ved Vyas is termed as the compiler of the Vedas.||The Puranas are said to originate from Lomaharshana, who was a disciple of Ved Vyas along with his three other students.|
|The Vedas are further categorised into Samhitas, Aranyakas, Brahmanas and the Upanishads.||Puranas are an encyclopedia of stories of diverse topics such as- pilgrims, folk tale, gods, legends, astronomy, philosophy, sages, medicines, temples etc.|
|The Vedas impart knowledge of rituals, atman, ceremonies, sacrifices, narrative and dialogues on self- being.||Puranas traditionally had five subjects laced delicately in them which are- the creation of the universe, its annihilation, the supernatural or gods, the age of humans and dynasties.|