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Purāṇas occupy a unique position in Indian literature, both sacred and secular. Composed at different times, they not only contain valuable historical material, but also canons relating to several spheres of art and life. The Purāṇas have enabled our people to maintain unimpaired the sense of the unity of India.
Agni-Purāṇas, although it begins with Viṣṇu, still it is in essence a Śaivite work and treats exhaustively the mystic cult of the linga (phallus) and of Durgā. There are chapters on cosmology, genealogy and geography which are all so characteristic of the Purāṇas. But what characterizes this Purāṇas is its encyclopedic character. It actually deals with each and everything. In it we find chapters on astronomy and astrology, on marriage and funeral rites, on omens and portents, house construction and other customs of everyday life and also on politics (nīti) and the art of warfare, on law, on medicine, prosody, poetics and grammar.
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