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Sanskrit version edited by Pandit Shri Ramtej Pandey, published by Chaukhamba Vidyabhavan. Title: Garuda Purana
Hindi version published by Kalyan Publishing House. Title: Garud Purana.
English version by Manmatha Nath Dutt, published by Society for the Resuscitation of Indian Literature in 1908. Title: The Garuda Puranam (You will need djvu reader to read this file. It’s free and available here.
Be sure to check out the public domain books page for more puranas, epics and other interesting books to download.
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Several editions of the Garuda Purana are available in the public domain in the PDF format for download in English, Hindi, and Sanskrit. Keep reading for an explanation of the role the Puranas play, and a brief history of the Puranas.
A Purana is a particular aspect of Hindu scriptural literature, which covers several topics such as history – political and otherwise – philosophy, sociological aspects and several other subjects. Essentially, it can be seen as a great bank of knowledge about esoteric subjects, as well as a historical document (with several distortions sometimes!) of India’s past.
The Puranas are of two kinds: the Mahapuranas and the Upapuranas. Each class consists of eighteen puranas, bringing the total number of puranas to thirty-six. The Mahapuranas or “Great Puranas” are the more important ones, while the Upapuranas or “sub-puranas” are the minor ones are often neglected in study.
The list of Mahapuranas include:
1. Skanda Purana consisting of 81,000 verses
2. Padma Purana consisting of 55,000 verses
3. Naradiya Purana consisting of 25,000 verses
4. Shiv Puran consisting of 24,000 verses
5. Varaha Purana consisting of 24,000 verses
6. Vishnu Purana consisting of 23,000 verses.
7. Garuda Purana consisting of 19,000 verses
8. Bhagavata Purana consisting of 18,000 verses
9. Brahmavaivarta Purana consisting of 18,000 verses
10. Kurma Purana consisting of 17,000 verses
11. Agni Purana consisting of 15,400 verses
12. Matsya Purana consisting of 14,000 verses
13. Bhavisya Purana consisting of 14,500 verses
14. Brahmanda Purana consisting of 12,000 verses
15. Vamana Purana consisting of 10,000 verses
16. Brahma Purana consisting of 10,000 verses
17. Linga Purana consisting of 10,000 verses
18. Markandeya Purana consisting of 9,000 verses
The list of Upapuranas include:
1. Bhargava Purana
2. Brihannaradiya Purana
3. Devi Bhagavatam
4. Durvasa Purana
5. Ganesha Purana
6. Hamsa Purana
7. Kalika Purana
8. Kapila Purana
9. Nandi Purana
10. Narasimha Purana
11. Parasara Purana
12. Samba Purana
13. Sanatkumara Purana
14. Sivarahasya Purana
15. Surya Purana
16. Vamana Purana
17. Varuna Purana
18. Vashishtha Purana
The Mahapuranas are classified into different categories, such as Vaishnava, Brahma and Saiva as per the preferential treatment they accord to the various gods.
The Garuda Purana
The Garuda Purana concerns itself with “that which was spoken by Lord Vishnu in the kalpa of Garuda.” and relates mainly to the birth of the mythical giant bird Garuda, to Vinata, the mother of birds. It has nineteen thousand verses. Though this is the official description given about the Purana in the other puranas, most of the Garuda Purana deals with the description of the fasts and religious observances or vratas to be practiced, of the many holy days set aside for them, of the places of pilgrimage dedicated to Sun worship, to the prayers and incantations used in many rituals addressed to Surya the sun god or Shiva and Vishnu.
The purana is recited by Brahma the creator to Indra, the king of gods, and actually contains no description of Garuda at all! The purana also includes various descriptions and treatises on astrology, palm reading, gemology, and a lot of works on medical science. This section is known as Preta Kalpa. Exactly why this purana was given the name Garuda Purana is quite a mystery! It is possible that much of the original text was lost during the period when it was only transmitted orally, and what we have in hand today is only a fraction of the original work that people managed to record in writing.