Did the Mahabharata warriors know about the Puranas (except Bhagavata) during the time of war or before it?

I doubt it, as if they knew the content of puranas, then they would have known that Krishna was the avatar of lord vishnu and hence would have respected him from that angle and would not have confronted him in a battle. What puranas / upapuranas did the warriors and the common men during the time of Mahabharata / dvapara yuga know? Thanks beforehand.

  • 1
    They are all aware that Krishna is God.. because Paundra Vasudeva imitated krishna as if he comes in Garuda mount said he is God, Garuda he built is mechinal Garuda which is able to fly.. But Souls swabhava which clearly says that Krishna is just another Jiva.. Despite beign repriminded.. but druyodhana also aware of this wanted krishna to be in his side.. It was clealy proved by Bhisma, Narada in Agara pooja.. Bhisma wanted to the whole world to know that krishna is god..
    – Prasanna R
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 9:53
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    Puranas were extant. They might be different from today's puranas.
    – hanugm
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 14:14
  • @hanugm thanks for that. Any references?
    – vidyarthi
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 15:36
  • Yeah, Pandavas quote from Puranas of those times... I will try to write an answer.
    – hanugm
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 15:38

1 Answer 1



Puranas do exist at those times. There are instances where Pandavas quotes from Puranas to prove that their arguments are dharmic.

One such event happens during the discussion regarding Draupadi's marriage.

During the discussion, Drupada, Dhrishtadyumna says that woman marrying more than one man is a sin. At that time Yudhishtira provides information from Puranas of those times and defends his argument that woman marrying multiple man is not always a sin.

"Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth and my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious. Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost. Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed) act as virtuous.'

[Section 198, Vaivahika Parva, Adi Parva, The Mahabharata]

And as you told, some do know about Krishna as brahman. For example, Bhishma explicitly says that Puranas tell about Krishna as purusha.

"Bhishma said, 'O Krishna, O foremost of Beings, be thou pleased with these words which I utter, in brief and in detail, from desire of hymning thy praises......O Lord of all creatures, I place myself in thy hands. In the Puranas thou hast been spoken as Purusha (all-pervading spirit). On occasions of the commencement of the Yugas, thou art said to be Brahma, while on occasions of universal dissolution thou art spoken of as Sankarshana.

[Section 48, Rajadharmanusasana Parva, Santi Parva, The Mahabharata]

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