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The importance of the Devi Bhagavata Mahapurana can be ascertained from the following two passages:

The Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, also known as Devi Purana, was composed into 12 chapters, containing 18000 verses by the great Veda Vyasa. Though classified as an upa-purana it is the only purana Vedavyasa called “Maha Purana” meaning the great purana. At the end of each chapter of the 18 main puranas or the upa puranas is the verse “This is the end of the fifth section of the Vishnu Purana”, or “Thus ends the first chapter of Ganesha Purana Upasanakhanda called “The Description of Somakanta”. Where as in the Devi Bhagavatam it is clearly – “Thus ends the eighth chapter of the first Skandha in the Mahapurâna Srimad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Vedavyâsa”

Source-Astrojyoti.com(Translation of Devi Purana by Swami Vijyananda)

The unfolding of the subject matter was that of Devi Bhagavata Purana, originally recited by Krishna Dvaipayana Maharshi Veda Vyasa, who described it as Maha Purana, elevating its status above the Eighteen Main Puranas, viz. Agni Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vivarta Purana, Garuda Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Matysa Purana, Markandeya Purana, Narada Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, Siva Purana, Vamana Purana, Varaha Purana, and Vishnu Purana.

Source-The preface of the book "Essence of the Devi Bhagvatam" hosted by Kamakoti.org.

My Question-Is it explicitly stated in Devi Bhagvata Mahapurna itself that it is the best among the 18 main Puranas?If so where?

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Yes,the Devi Bhagavata itself states that it is the best among the 18 main Puranas.It is so stated in the first chapter of the Purana.

The following is a screenshot of the page that contains the relevant verses.And here the relevant verses are the 17th,18th and the 23rd ones.

enter image description here

Transliterations and translations of the 3 verses are as follows:

Ashtaadasha puraanaani sa kritavaa Bhagavaan Munih maamevaadhyaapayaamaasu bhaarataakhyaana evacha(17)|| Devibhagavatam tatra puraanam bhogamokshadam, swayam tu shraavayaamaat Janamejaya bhushitam(18)||-----Ashaadasha puraanaam madhye sarvottamam param, Devi Bhagavatam naama dharmaartha kaamaartha mokshadam (23)||

Translation-

Maharshi Vyasa scripted the Eighteen Puranas about the Oriental Bhaarata Desha yet Devi Bhagavata Purana aims at achievement of Moksha as strongly opined by Emperor Janamejaya.(17 & 18)

Among the eighteen puranas, Devi Bhagavata is the best(sarvottamam param)& it stands out shining as the accomplisher of Four Purushardhas of Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Mokshas(23)

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