By Swami Harshananda
Listed as the twelfth among the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas, the Varāhapurāṇa is a Vaiṣṇava work. It was taught by Varāha (third incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu) to Bhūdevī (Mother Earth). The extant texts have 217 or 218 chapters, the total number of verses being around 10,000, though some purāṇas like the Matsya mention it as 24,000. Six chapters are entirely in prose. It probably took the present shape before the tenth century A. D.
It deals with a number of stories and gives detailed accounts of vratas (religious rites) and tīrthas (places of pilgrimage). It also deals with several topics normally dealt with in the dharmaśāstras such as śrāddha (obsequial rites), prāyaścittas (expiations), dāna (giving gifts), images and their worship, narakas (hells) and so on.
Verses from this work have been
extensively quoted in the dharmaśāstra treatises.
See also PURĀNAS.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore