Purāṇas or the mythological works of Hinduism serve several purposes. They amplify and expound the truths contained in the Vedas. They give us a glimpse of the contemporary history and culture. They also prescribe a code of conduct to be followed by all, for the welfare of the society. More often they give detailed accounts of several sciences like town-planning, architecture, sculpture, medical sciences or religious rites motivated by the desire for worldly well-being, since that was their way of educating the public.
These purāṇas are usually classified into two groups: the Mahāpurāṇas and the Upapurāṇas. Each group is said to contain 18 works and all are ascribed by tradition to the sage Vedavyāsa.
The Bṛhan-nāradīya-purāṇa is classed among the minor purāṇas and is assigned to the period A.D. 900. It is a sectarian work of the Vaiṣnava schools. One of the printed versions comprises 3600 verses in 38 chapters.
Sometimes this purāṇa has been considered as the first part of the Nāradīya-purāṇa itself.
Praise of Viṣṇu and of bhakti, geo-graphy of India, story of Sagara, Gaṅgā-māhātmya, a few vratas (religious vows and rites), varṇāśrama-dharmas and śrāddha (obsequial ceremonies)—these are the general contents of this purāṇa.
See also PURĀṆAS.