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Translated into English by Manmatha Nath Dutt
Published by H.C.Dass, Calcutta - 1896
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The Markandeya Purana (मार्कण्डेय पुराण, IAST: Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa) is a Sanskrit text of Hinduism, and one of the eighteen major Puranas. The text's title Markandeya refers to a sage in Hindu mythology, who is the central character in two legends, one linked to Shiva and other to Vishnu. The Markandeya text is one of the Puranas that lacks a sectarian presentation of ideas in favor of any particular god, and it is rare to read any deity being invoked or deity prayers in the entire text.
The Markandeya Purana is probably one of the oldest in Purana genre of Hindu literature, among the most interesting and important, states Ludo Rocher. It is famous for including the Devi Mahatmya within it, the oldest known treatise on Devi (goddess) as the Supreme Truth and creator of the universe. The text is considered as a central text of the Hindu Goddess-related Shaktism tradition, with an extraordinary expression of reverence for the feminine. The Markandeya Purana's Devi Mahatmya is often ranked in some Hindu traditions to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita.
The extant manuscripts of this Purana have 137 chapters, of which chapters 81 through 93 is the Devi Mahatmya.Tradition and some medieval era texts assert that the Markandeya Purana has 9,000 verses, but surviving manuscripts have about 6,900 verses.The text presents a diverse range of topics, with socio-cultural information and symbolism for Vedic ideas and metaphysical thought.
Shiva defends his devotee Markandeya from Yama, the god of death, in a print from the Ravi Varma Press, 1910.
Credit: Columbia University