As we all know, Srimad Bhagavatam is regarded as the best of the Mahapuranas. It is also the most famous and widely commented upon scripture.

But we also have the Devi Bhagavata, which calls itself a Mahapurana, but is actually considered as an Upapurana. Many have argued and put forth their points as to which Bhagavatam is the Mahapurana, and which should be called the Upapurana. Some of those links are here:

The facts gathered from some of the arguments are:

  • Most Puranas describe the Bhagavatam as the ideal text for gaining devotion to Vishnu.
  • Some scriptures like the Shiva Purana call it as the Purana describing Devi's Glories.
  • Devi Bhagavatam tallies fully with Mahabharata, while Bhagavatam freely digresses - the very foundation of the Bhagavatam as being narrated by Shukabrahmarshi to Parikshit is going off a tangent to the Mahabharata, because in that Parikshit builds a tower to secure himself, and Shukabrahma attains Moksha in Kailasa.
  • Srimad Bhagavatam has obviously inspired majority of Indians as compared to Devi Bhagavatam
  • The Matsya Purana lists characteristics of Bhagavata as, "That which is of 18000 verses, begins with the Gayatri, describes the glories of Sarasvata Kalpa and has Vrtrasura Vadha in it." These characteristics are there in both Puranas.

But even so, I found in the Bhagavatam itself subtle proofs that it is a work apart from the normal genre of Puranas. While the Puranas deal with exposition of the glories of the various deities and so on, the Bhagavatam is wholly dedicated to Krsna (Vishnu) and was written primarily on the advise of Narada, when Vyasa Bhagavan felt a void even after compiling the Vedas, Puranas and Mahabharata in that order.

So this would mean that the eighteen Puranas were complete, but since Vyasa was still incomplete (so to say), he finally was inspired to compose Srimad Bhagavatam.

Which leads to the question itself: Does this mean that both Bhagavatam and Devi Bhagavatam count as Mahapuranas? Or does it mean that the Devi Bhagavatam was (somehow) replaced by the new edition of Srimad Bhagavatam?

  • Both are Mahapuranas. As per Astadasapuran Darpan by Jwalaprasad Misra(pg 180-194) because srimad bhagavatam narrates the purusa(i.e krishna) pastimes etc and that prakriti aspect has been secondary, devi bhagavatam narrates the Prakriti aspect and both were complied by Vyasa that happened in different kalpas. Purana Rahasya by Surjandas Swami(pg 44-51) Edit- Its a long explanation for both.
    – SMK
    Jun 14 '16 at 19:51
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    – The Destroyer
    Jun 20 '17 at 16:55

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