Difference Between Vedas and Puranas - Vedas vs Puranas

By K Balaji|Updated : January 30th, 2023

The difference between Vedas and Puranas is that Vedas are believed to be the ancient pieces of literature written in Sanskrit during the age-old Vedic period. On the other hand, Puranas are a collection of literature covering various topics. Vedas and Puranas are significant parts of Indian culture and literature.

Difference Between Vedas and Puranas PDF

The meaning of the word Veda is knowledge. The texts were heard in meditation by ancient sages and passed down verbally to students before they were compiled. Here, we will see the difference between Vedas and Puranas and why they are praised highly in Indian literature.

Table of Content

Difference Between Vedas and Puranas

The main difference between Vedas and Puranas is that the Vedas are predominantly religious scripts, whereas Puranas are extensive works of literature that build on Hindu philosophy. Check the difference between Vedas and Puranas and about them individually.

Vedas vs Puranas

Vedas and Puranas

Vedas

Puranas

The Vedas are Shruti.

The Puranas are Smriti.

They are divided into four types: Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda, and Samaveda.

17 Mukhyapuranas, 1 Mahapuranas, and 8 minor Puranas are there.

Vedas were complied by Ved Vyas.

Lomaharshana, a disciple of Ved Vyas, compiles Puranas.

They were written around 1500-500 BC.

It is known that they were written around the 3 - 10 centuries.

Vedas were initially dictated orally and contains religious information and texts.

Puranas carry the Hindu philosophy.

Vedas and Puranas

While both Vedas and Puranas are ancient texts in Indian literature, they differ. Firstly, Vedas are older than Puranas, written thousands of years back, around 1500-500 BC. They are known to be compiled by Veda Vyasa.

  • Puranas were probably composed between the 3rd and the 10th century.
  • These are known to have originated from a disciple of Veda Vyas, Lomaharshana, and three others.
  • Written in Sanskrit, Puranas were translated into many other Indian languages. They are like an encyclopaedia of tales about legends, heroes, gods, theories, folk tales, and more.
  • There is one Maha Purana, 17 Major Puranas, and 18 Minor Puranas with more than 400,000 verses.
  • They are called Smriti, meaning what is remembered.
  • There are four Vedas that exist Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.

What are Vedas?

Each Veda is further categorized into Four Main Vedas - Brahmanas, Upanishads, Samhitas, and Aranyakas based on their talk. Puranas describe various topics though they are traditionally known to talk about five main subjects.

  • Vedas are regarded as sacred Hindu scriptures, while Puranas, though influential in the Hindu culture, don't enjoy the authority of religious texts of Hinduism.
  • What sets Vedas apart from other scriptures is their identity of Shruti, used to describe highly religious and authoritative texts in the Hindu religion.

What are Puranas?

Puranas are inconsistent and influenced by their writer and the time they were created. The relationship between Vedas and Puranas is a matter of debate for scholars; some say they are unrelated, while others argue they are identical and complementary.

The Vedas and the Puranas form the philosophical crux of Hinduism, with works from numerous yogis being contributed to the main texts over 1,000s of years, along with reviews and commentaries to further enhance their value.

Puranas UPSC Question

Puranas UPSC topic is covered under the Indian History segment of the UPSC Exam. Purana is a large genre of Indian literature that covers a broad spectrum of compositions, including tales and other mythology. One important question asked in this section is listed below.

Question 1:

  1. Puranas were almost entirely written in narrative couplets.
  2. Upper-caste authors most likely wrote the early Puranas.

Which of the above statements is correct about Puranas?

(a) Neither 1 nor 2

(b) Both 1 and 2

(c) 2 only

(d) 1 only

Answer: (b)

Conclusion:

Key Difference Between Vedas and Puranas

The key Difference Between Vedas and Puranas is that Vedas have been orally communicated since the 2nd Millenium BC, whereas Puranas first interpretations were presumably penned between the 3rd and 10th Century CE.

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FAQs on Difference Between Vedas and Puranas

  • The main difference between Vedas and Puranas is that Vedas are known as Shruti, whereas Puranas are known as Smriti. The Vedas were heard in the initial centuries, whereas Puranas were read and learned from written documents.

  • Vedas are regarded as Shruti, which contrasts them from different scriptures. Shruti denotes “that which is listened” in Sanskrit. The Puranas are regarded as Smriti texts (signifying “that which is memorized). Smriti texts do not hold power over Shruti scriptures.

  • The Difference Between Vedas and Puranas based on the subjects discussed is that Puranas deal with five main subjects, which are not in Vedas.

    • The Human Era
    • The Creation of The Universe
    • The Gods and Supernatural
    • The History of the Solar and Lunar Dynasties;
    • The Secondary Creation after Periodic Annihilation.
  • Mahabharath is regarded as the fifth Veda, as most of the teachings of the religion are contained in this scripture.

    • The text also captures the detailed exposition of the goals of mankind and the truths of life.
    • This is why it is hailed as the fifth Veda.
  • The Rigved contains mythological hymns; the Samaveda consists of hymns about rituals; the Yajurved talks about instructions for sacred rituals; Atharvaveda contains spells against diseases, enemies, and sorcerers.

  • The difference between Vedas and Puranas regarding which is older, as per the evidence and research, is that Vedas are considered older than the Puranas or Vedas.

    • It is known that Vedas existed even before 3000 years ago.
    • Puranas came into existence around 1500 years ago.
  • No, Puranas are not the part of Vedas. They are individual literature which is considered to be part of Smriti. Puranas and Vedas are both essential parts of the Hindu scriptures.

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