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Skanda Purana

Skanda Purana

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The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya, a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him. This Mahapurana was recited by the sage Vyasa, and is available in distinct parts, sometimes fragmented too. It also describes the Shaiva tradition in Hemakuta region (near Vijayanagar) of Karnataka, Kashi Khanda describes the Shaiva tradition of Varanasi, and the Utkala Khanda part tells of Orissa's Purusottamaksetramahatmya.



Traditionally, the whole corpus of texts, which are considered as part of the Skanda Purana is grouped in two ways. According to a tradition, these are grouped in six samhita s, each of which consists of several khanda s. According to another tradition, these are grouped in seven khanda s. The currently available printed editions of this text are published by the Bangabasi Press, Calcutta, the Shri Venkateshvara Press, Bombay (1910) and the N.K. Press, Lucknow and all these editions include seven khanda s (parts): Mahesvara , Visnu or Vaisnava , Brahma, Kasi , Avantya , Nagara and Prabhasa . In 1999-2003, an English translation of this text was published by the Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi in 20 volumes. This translation is also based on a text divided into seven khanda s.

The seven khandas

The Mahesvara Khanda consists of three sections:

  • the Kedara Khanda (35 chapters)
  • the Kaumarika Khanda or Kumarika Khanda (66 chapters) and
  • the Arunacala Khanda or Arunacala Mahatmya , further divided into two parts:
    • Purvardha (13 chapters) and
    • Uttarardha (24 chapters)

The Visnu Khanda or Vaisnava Khanda consists of nine sections

  • Ve?ka?acalamahatmya (40 chapters)
  • Purusottamaksetramahatmya (49 chapters)
  • Badarikasramamahatmya (8 chapters)
  • Karttikamasamahatmya (36 chapters)
  • Margasirsamasamahatmya 17 chapters)
  • Bhagavatamahatmya (4 chapters)
  • Vaisakhamasamahatmya (25 chapters)
  • Ayodhyamahatmya (10 chapters) and
  • Vasudevamahatmya (32 chapters)

The Brahma Khanda has three sections:

  • Setumahatmya (52 chapters)
  • Dharmaranya Khanda (40 chapters) and
  • Uttara Khanda or Brahmottara Khanda (22 chapters)

The Kasi Khanda is divided into two parts:

  • Purvardha (50 chapters) and
  • Uttarardha (50 chapters)

The Avantya Khanda consists of:

  • Avantiksetramahatmya (71 chapters)
  • Caturasitili?gamahatmya (84 chapters) and
  • Reva Khanda (232 chapters)

The Nagara Khanda (279 chapters) consists of Tirthamahatmya .

The Prabhasa Khanda (491 chapters) consists of:

  • Prabhasaksetramahatmya (365 chapters)
  • Vastrapathaksetramahatmya (19 chapters)
  • Arvuda Khanda (63 chapters) and
  • Dvarakamahatmya (44 chapters)

The six samhitas

The second type of division of the Skanda Purana is found in some texts like Halasyamahatmya of the Agastya Samhita or the Samkari Samhita , Sambhava Kanda of the Samkari Samhita , Sivamahatmya Khanda of the Suta Samhita and Kalika Khanda of the Sanatkumara Samhita . According to these texts, the Skanda Purana consists of six samhita s (sections):

  • the Sanatkumara Samhita
  • the Suta Samhita
  • the Samkari Samhita
  • the Vaisnavi Samhita
  • the Brahmi Samhita and
  • the Saura Samhita

The manuscripts of the Sanatkumara Samhita , the Samkari Samhita , the Suta Samhita and the Saura Samhita are extant. A manuscript of a commentary on the Suta Samhita by Madhavacarya is also available.


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