e.g. Ramanuja has said that any Puranic content that disagrees with Vishnu purana is Tamasic. Ramanuja's criterion would make the widespread Narasimha story Tamasic since it occurs only in a rudimentary way in the Vishnu Purana.

But modern scholars regard this classification as invalid.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas "Scholars consider the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is nothing in each text that actually justifies this classification." [40] Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225,

Is such classification worth considering?

  • Possible duplicate of What is the purpose of tamasic purana if it leads to hell?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 17:09
  • although this forum bears the incredibly geeky title of a "stack exchange" the powers that be need to keep it human.
    – S K
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 20:01
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    This is not the correct place for this. If you want to discuss come to chatroom Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 21:23
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    "Is it geniune? Yes, it's genuine because it's present in scriptures." Is it interpolation? Maybe but there is no way to know it [Modern scholarship: Not taken by all.] Which Puranas are Tamasic? As per Vaishnavas Shiva Puranas are Tamasic (see Agama Pramanya of Yamunacharya); as per some strict Shaivas Vishnu Puranas are Tamasic (see Srikara bhasya on section which deals with refutation of Pancharatra), Is it worth considering? Depends on you, . .. for eg. As per Adi Shankara who differentiate between Hari and Hara are Mudha (fools), Kutarki (generate illogical logic), Duratman (wicked)...
    – Tezz
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 7:21
  • 1
    @Tezz - I am not saying this classification doesn't exist. It does and is like a Brahmastra used by Vaishnavas to this day to put down Siva. But when asked for reasons why Purana A is satvic and Purana B is tamasic - apart from saying that Padma Purana says so there no real reasons.
    – S K
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


Actually Ramanuja was a Vaishnava. Shaivas consider Vaishnava puranas as Tamasic. This is based on what Brahmaji said in Rudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana itself which claims to be the greatest of all Puranas. Vishnu is stated as only a demi-god on the same level as Rudra. While Shiva is free from all Gunas. And Vishnu is not only on the same level as Rudra, he is called Tamasic. Also Laxmi is called Tamasic.

Vishnu, Rudra and I (Brahma) represent the Gunas.

Siva is free from Gunas. He is the Supreme Brahman, the undecaying.

Vishnu is of Sattva attribute, I (Brahma) am of Rajas attribute and Rudra is of Tamas attribute. This is only in the view of activities in this world. But in fact in name it is otherwise.

Vishnu is Taamasik nature within

Goddess of speech is Rajasic nature; Sati is of Saattvika nature and Lakshmi is of Taamasika nature; the great Goddess Sivaa is of three natures.

So this naturally means that Vaishnava puranas are glorifying a tamasic demi-god and goddess if we believe this. There is also a major Vaishnava purana (Narada purana) which claims that a Shaiva purana (Linga purana) is the greatest. This is given in Chapter 102:

It indicates the greatness of Hara. It is greater than all the other Puranas. It is the essence of the three worlds.

This and some other points I'm not mentioning here are taken as evidence that Vaishnava puranas actually accept the supremacy of Shiva and are contradicting their own statements so they are proved to be tamasic / full of ignorance.

Other puranas apart from Srimad Bhagvata and Shiva Purana say they are the greatest such as Agni Purana and Devi Bhagvata. Shaktas generally do not consider Vishnu equal to Shiva.


CONCLUSION: There is no consensus on what is a Satvik, Tamasic, superior or inferior purana. There is probably truth to the notion but it's not possible to answer this question without looking/being sectarian.

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