We all know that there are 18 Mahapuranas and have also heard that 6 each are categorized in different gunas - sattva, tamas and rajas.

I would like to know the reference if any of the purana or upanishad describe the 18 mahapuranas and also the source of the guna-categorization of the 18 puranas?

It would help to give the exact reference and if possible kindly give the relevant sanskrit text.

  • 1
    first part is duplicate, u should stick to classification only...
    – YDS
    Aug 28, 2019 at 15:14
  • Thanks for the links.
    – Prakash K
    Aug 29, 2019 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


The Padma Purana classifies the 18 Mahapuranas according to the gunas.

The Padma Purana classifies these texts according to the three Gunas and ascribes them to one or the other principal deity. Thus the Vishnu, Narada, Bhagavata, Garuda, Padma, and Varaha, are Vishnuite sattvika Puranas, and as such lead to salvation; the Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Markendeya, Bhavisya, Vamana, and Brahma are the rajasa texts devoted to Brahman and secure only heaven for their readers; lastly the Matsya, Kurma, Linga, Siva, Skanda, and Agni are Saivite and styled as tamas. It is surprising to note that these latter are regared as leading to hell.

The History and Culture of the Indian People, The Classical Age, Chapter XV, Literature, The Puranas, edited by R. C. Majumdar

I am unable to give the exact reference or the relevant Sanskrit text.

  • Thank you. I also found the following link which states that its the Uttara-khanda which classifies it and also here we find that Matsya purana also mentions about the 18 Mahapuranas and their classification. Also it states more or less all the Mahapuranas state about other 18 mahapuranas.
    – Prakash K
    Aug 28, 2019 at 10:46

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