We are aware that practice of adharma leads to sin, paapa and one will have to reap the fruits of paapa in hell, naraka. The Padma Purana says:

सात्त्विका मोक्षदाः प्रोक्ताः राजसा सर्वदा अशुभाः ।
तथैव तामसा देवि निरयप्राप्तिहेतवः ।।

(>प.पु. उत्तर 236.21)

Sattvika Puranas lead to mukti, liberation, Rajasika puranas, inauspiciousness, and Tamasa Puranas lead to hell.

The question that arises is: Do the Tamasa puranas enjoin one to perform sinful deeds, that is, adharma? Is there evidence for such an enjoining like 'engage in stealing, killing brahmanas, drink alcohol, etc.'

The following is a sample of Dharma being taught in a Tamasa Purana, Shiva Purana:

Here the teaching is: Since Dharma leads to punya and happiness and adharma leads to papa and misery, one should take to the practice of Dharma.

शिवपुराणम्/संहिता १ (विश्वेश्वरसंहिता)/अध्यायः १३:

यादृशं पुण्यं पापं वा तादृशं फलमेव हि ।
द्रव्यदेहांगभेदेन न्यूनवृद्धिक्षयादिकम् ५६ ।
अधर्मो हिंसिकारूपो धर्मस्तु सुखरूपकः ।
अधर्माद्दुःखमाप्नोति धर्माद्वै सुखमेधते ५७ ।
विद्यादुर्वृत्तितो दुःखं सुखं विद्यात्सुवृत्तितः ।
धर्मार्जनमतः कुर्याद्भोगमोक्षप्रसिद्धये ५८ ।
ज्ञानसिद्ध्या मोक्षसिद्धिः सर्वेषां गुर्वनुग्रहात् ।
मोक्षात्स्वरूपसिद्धिः स्यात्परानन्दं समश्नुते ६६ ।
सत्संगात्सर्वमेतद्वै नराणां जायते द्विजाः ।
धनधान्यादिकं सर्वं देयं वै गृहमेधिना ६७ ।
यद्यत्काले वस्तुजातं फलं वा धान्यमेव च ।
तत्तत्सर्वं ब्राह्मणेभ्यो देयं वै हितमिच्छता ६८ ।

शिवपुराणम्/संहिता ७ (वायवीयसंहिता)/पूर्व भागः/अध्यायः ३२

शैवो हि परमो धर्मः श्रेष्ठानुष्ठानशब्दितः ॥ ७.१,३२.२
यत्रापरोक्षो लक्ष्येत साक्षान्मोक्षप्रदः शिवः ॥ ७.१,३२.२
स तु पञ्चविधो ज्ञेयः पञ्चभिः पर्वभिः क्रमात् ॥ ७.१,३२.३
क्रियातपोजपध्यानज्ञानात्मभिरनुत्तरैः ॥ ७.१,३२.३
तैरेव सोत्तरैस्सिद्धो धर्मस्तु परमो मतः ॥ ७.१,३२.४
परोक्षमपरोक्षं च ज्ञानं यत्र च मोक्षदम् ॥ ७.१,३२.४
परमोऽपरमश्चोभौ धर्मौ हि श्रुतिचोदितौ ॥ ७.१,३२.५
धर्मशब्दाभिधेयेर्थे प्रमाणं श्रुतिरेव नः ॥ ७.१,३२.५
परमो योगपर्यन्तो धर्मः श्रुतिशिरोगतः ॥ ७.१,३२.६
धर्मस्त्वपरमस्तद्वदधः श्रुतिमुखोत्थितः ॥ ७.१,३२.६
अपश्वात्माधिकारत्वाद्यो धरमः परमो मतः ॥ ७.१,३२.७
साधारणस्ततोऽन्यस्तु सर्वेषामधिकारतः ॥ ७.१,३२.७
स चायं परमो धर्मः परधर्मस्य साधनम् ॥ ७.१,३२.८
धर्मशास्त्रादिभिस्सम्यक्सांग एवोपबृंहितः ॥ ७.१,३२.८
शैवो यः परमो धर्मः श्रेष्ठानुष्ठानशब्दितः ॥ ७.१,३२.९

If there are instances of Tamasa Puranas asking one to commit sins, the exact verses may be cited.

  • No. But Yes. Because you can be in relative "hell" even without doing adharma. see answer below.
    – ram
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


As per all the Adherents of the Puranic classification theory, The deity is what primarily dictates a Purana being sattvika or tamasika and not the spiritual philosophy or discourses of dharma/adharma contained within.

So in essence a Purana recommending or not recommending to do Adharma has almost nothing to do to dictate it's 'tamasatva'.

[P.S Let me clarify that By 'Adherents' I'm not referring to only one particular sect because both Shaivas and Vaishnavas believe in their own version of The classification concept based on the statements of their respective puranas. In this answer, I do not intend to portray either of them as either 'right' or 'wrong'].


All these divisions of Puranas according to gunas are nothing more than sectarian stuffs.

According to the Skanda Purana 10 Shaiva Puranas are Sattvik whereas 4 Vaishnava Puranas are Tamsik as i have discussed in this answer of mine.

Plus, Narada Purana, (a Sattvik Purana according to the Padma Purana) says that among all the 18 Maha-Puranas, Linga Purana (a Tamsik Purana according to the same Padma Purana) is the best Purana.

Furthermore, the same Padma Purana also states that all the 18 Puranas are the different body parts of Lord Hari so they all gives Salvation. Thus, contradicting itself.

We all know that Vedas/Vedantas > Brahma Sutra > Itihasas >>> Puranas,


Shruti >>> Smriti.

Repeating some important points from Mahabharata.

Mahabharata states that.:

“Then the greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi, said, “O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas; the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four castes, and the import of all the Puranas”. (MBH 1:01:67-71).

So, Mahabharata itself is Summary of all Purāna. All Purāna are dependent on Mahabharata as said by Ved-Vyasa.

“O ye Brahmana, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous, oviparous, born of hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on space for their existence, so the Puranas depend upon this history (Mahabharata)”. (MBH 1:02:380).

Thus all Purānās are dependent on Mahābhārata itself.

“One devoted to Vishnu acquires (through reading this Mahabharata) that merit which is acquired by listening to the eighteen Puranas. There is no doubt in this”. (MBH 18:06:97).

Here all 18 Maha- Purānās are given equal importance.

Conclusion.: So, according to Mahabharata all the 18 Puranas are equal as it's a same book divided into 18 parts. Otherwise Veda-Vyasa have a confirm ticket to naraka in the front seat as no one can write something without reading it.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

  • 1
    That the division of the Puranas is based on deity-sectarian basis itself proves that it is vedaviruddha. For the Veda, the Upanishads, nowhere make a person's attaining Moksha any particular finite deity-dependent. On the other hand the Veda holds Jnana of Brahman/Atman alone as engendering moksha. The devotion and worship of deities brings about chitta shuddhi that is necessary for Jnana to arise. So, the Puranas wherever they talk about such sectarian things, are only to be ignored. Commented May 20, 2023 at 7:53

Nope, it's actually the other way around.

Linga Purāna, Purva Bhāga, Chapter 86

enter image description here

Here, a so-called 'tamasa' purana explicitly advises us to worship Shiva by taking recourse to sattva Guna. It is also stated that a true devotee of Shiva is always sattva-nishtha (devoted to following sattvaguna) while worshipping Shiva.

  • Thanks for sharing this image. Yes, no one can really be a Bhagavad bhakta and also be tamasic. To say that Shiva Purana, etc. are meant for tamasic people is obviously veda viruddha. Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 7:20

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