Difference Between Vedas and Puranas

Vedas and Puranas are important texts that define Indian culture at its finest. Yet there are certain fundamental differences between them.

The Vedas are a large body of religious texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit and are widely regarded as the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.

The Puranas are a vast collection of Indian literature that cover a wide range of topics, such as legends and traditional folklore.

Aspirants can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

Difference Between Vedas and Puranas

This article will further highlight the differences between Vedas and Puranas within the context of the IAS Exam.                                                                                                                                                        

Differences between Vedas and  Puranas



There are four types of Vedas:

  • The Rig Veda
  • The Yajur Veda
  • The Sama Veda
  • The Atharva Veda
There is 1 Maha Purana, 17 Mukhya Purana (Major Puranas), 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas) with over 400,00 verses
Each Veda has four subdivisions. They consist of the following:

  • The Samhitas which speak about mantras and benedictions, 
  • The Aranyakas which is a text on rituals, ceremonies and symbolic-sacrifices, 
  • The Brahmanas which are commentaries on rituals and ceremonies, 
  • The Upanishads which discuss meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).
  • Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas (worship)
The literature of the Puranas is vast and converse a diversified range of topics that include but not limited to:

  • Cosmology
  • Genealogy
  • Medicine
  • Astronomy
  • Gods and Goddesses
  • Grammar
  • Demigods
  • Heroes
  • Sages
Vedas are considered as Shruti which distinguishes it from other scriptures. Shruti means “that which is heard” in Sanskrit and is used to describe the most authoritative and religious texts in Hinduism The Puranas are considered Smriti texts (meaning “that which is remembered). Smriti texts do not have the authority of Shruti scriptures but they are still held in equal regard
The Vedas were orally transmitted since the 2nd Millenium BC. The Rig Veda was composed in its written form around 1500 BC – 1200 BC. The Sama, Yajur and Atharva Vedas were composed around 1200 BC – 900 BC. The first versions of the Puranas were likely to be composed between 3rd – 10th Century AD.
Traditionally, Veda Vyasa is regarded as the compiler of the Vedas. The 18 Upa Puranas had their origins in the work of Lomaharshana (a disciple of Ved Vyasa) and his three students – the Mulasamhita.

Both Vedas and Puranas are topics covered under the Indian History segment of the UPSC IAS Exam. Aspirants can refer to the below links to study from this segment:

Difference Between Vedas and Puranas – Download PDF Here

FAQ about Vedas and Puranas

What are the subjects dealt in Puranas?

The puranas deals with five subjects which include the primary creation of the universe, secondary creation after periodic annihilation, the genealogy of gods and patriarchs, the reigns of the Manus (the first humans), and the history of the solar and lunar dynasties.

What are the four main Vedas?

The Rig Veda – hymns about their mythology; the Sama Veda consists mainly of hymns about religious rituals; the Yajur Veda contains instructions for religious rituals; and the Atharva Veda consists of spells against enemies, sorcerers, and diseases.

Become familiar with the general pattern of the IAS Exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page. For more exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below:

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