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By Swami Harshananda

Ādipurāna literally means ‘the original purāna’.

Every religion has three aspects :

  • Philosophy
  • Stories, allegories, and examples
  • Rituals

While philosophy tries to find solutions to the ultimate questions and problems of life, stories, allegories, and examples explain the truths discovered through application of the philosophy. The Purāṇa, does this and much more. It gives the complete knowledge in various fields whether allied to or even remotely connected with philosophy, or not. The Ādipurāna is one of the purāṇas often included in the lists.

According to one tradition, it is the original purāṇa, as its very name implies, composed by Brahmā the Creator himself. Comprising four hundred thousand verses, it is the source book for all the other purāṇas written by Vyāsa. The book however is no longer available.

Among the extant purāṇas, the Brahmapurāna is occasionally designated as Ādipurāna. One Ādipurāna is sometimes listed among the minor purāṇas known as upapurāṇas. This book, now available in print is a much later work and is mainly the story of Kṛṣṇa.

The Jain tradition (digambara sect) also has an Ādipurāna, an incomplete work by one Jinasena, a part of which was added on later by another author Guṇabhadra. It describes the stories of Rṣabhadeva and Bharata, the first two Tīrthaṅkaras.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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