(1) S'rî Sûta said: "Sumantu Rishi, the expert on the Atharva Veda as you know [see 6: 52-53], instructed his collection to his disciple [named Kabandha], who [dividing it in two] was pleased to speak it to Pathya and Vedadars'a. (2) Please listen: S'auklâyani, Brahmabali, Modosha and Pippalâyani, the disciples of Vedadars'a and the disciples of Pathya, my dear brahmin, Kumuda, S'unaka and Jâjali, were all authorities on the Atharva Veda as well. (3) Babhru and Saindhavâyana, disciples of S'unaka, then the same manner learned two Samhitâs and so did other disciples headed by Sâvarna [learn from them]. (4) Nakshatrakalpa, S'ântikalpa, Kas'yapa and Ângirasa belong to these âcâryas of the Atharva Veda. Now hear, o sage, about the authorities of the Purânas.
(5) Trayyâruni, Kas'yapa, Sâvarni, Akritavrana, Vais'ampâyana and Hârîta are the six masters of the Purânas. (6) They learned the collection from the mouth of Vyâsa's pupil, my father [Romaharshana], and I, as a disciple from each of them learning one portion, became well versed in them all. (7) Kas'yapa, I, Sâvarni and Akritavrana, who is a disciple of Râma [of the Bhârgavas or Pâras'urâma, see also 10.74: 7-9], have assimilated four basic collections from the disciple of Vyâsa. (8) O brahmin, please listen attentively to what the characteristics of a Purâna are, which in accordance with the vedic scriptures by the most intelligent brahmin seers have been ascertained. (9-10) The creation [of this universe, sarga], the subsequent creation [of different worlds and beings, visarga], the maintenance [the sustenance, the vritti or sthâna] and protection [the rakshâ or poshana of the living beings], the reigns [of the various Manus], the dynasties [vams'as], the narrations about them [vams'a-anucaritam], the annihilation [of different kinds, pralaya or samsthâ], the motivation [of individuality or hetu] and the supreme shelter [of the Fortunate One or apâs'raya], o brahmin, are the ten topics characterizing a Purâna as understood by the authorities on the matter; some state that relative to the greater ones, the lesser Purânas deal only with five of these subjects [see also S'uka on this 2.10: 1-7 and *].
(11) Creation [sarga] is what is called the generation from the primordial state. From that state the agitation of the modes raised the cosmic intelligence from which the identification with matter rose the way it is divided in three aspects [or types of beings to the modes]. This further led to the manifestation of the subtle forms of perception, the senses and the objects of perception [formation by the conditioning of and identification with Time, compare 2.10: 3].
(12) The secondary creation [visarga] is the assemblage consisting of the inherent properties [the vâsanâs] of the moving and nonmoving living beings. These propensities are, to the grace of the Original Person [purusha], produced the same way seed produces more seeds.
(13) Living beings subsist on [vritti] other living beings that move around or else do not move around. For specifically human beings this means that one for one's livelihood acts according to one's personal nature in which one either lives one's lust or acts in agreement with the [religious] rules.
(14) Rakshâ [or protection] is there with the Incarnations of the Infallible One. Age after age being present among the animals, the mortals, the seers and the demigods, are by these incarnations the enemies of the threefold Veda killed [see also B.G. 4: 7].
(15) With every reign of a Manu there is the sixfold of the Lord: the Manu, the demigods, the sons of the Manu, the different controllers of the enlightened [the Indras], the seers [or rishis], and the partial incarnations [the Lord His ams'a-avatâras].
(16) Dynasties [vams'as] originating from Brahmâ extend into the threefold of time [trikâlika] as series of kings and their histories [vams'a-anucaritam] describe the activities of the prominent members in succession.
(17) The occasional, elemental, continuous and ultimate annihilation that is effected by His potency constitutes the four aspects of what the scholars describe as the dissolution of this universe [as samsthâ or pralaya, see also 12.4].
(18) The motive [hetu] of the creation [sarga] and everything that belongs to it, is the individual living soul [jîva], who out of ignorance is the performer of fruitive activities [karma]. Others on the contrary speak of the unmanifest underlying personality.
(19) God as the supreme shelter [apâs'raya] is, separately for Himself as well as conjoint, present within the waking, sleeping and dreamless state, within the things presented by the illusory energy and within the functions of individuality. (20) The basic substance of material objects is connected to, as well as independent from, their separate existence as things that have a name and form. The same way it is [with God who] throughout the various phases of a bodily existence, [is connected to as well as independently present] from the seed in the beginning up to the five elements [one returns to] in the end [compare 8.6: 10]. (21) Of its own or through yoga, thought may stop in transcendence of the threefold state [vritti-traya]. When one ceases from material endeavoring one knows the Supreme Soul [see also 3.25: 32-33].
(22) This way distinguished by their characteristics there are, so say the sages expert in the ancient stories, eighteen big and [eighteen] small Purânas [from 9.000 up tot 81.000 verses, see also Upa-purâna]. (23-24) They are known as the three times six Purânas [to each guna-avatâra] called Brahmâ, Padma, Vishnu, S'iva, Linga, Garuda, Nârada, Bhâgavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavishya, Brahma-vaivarta, Mârkandeya, Vâmana, Varâha, Matsya, Kûrma and Brahmânda [see Purânas]. (25) O brahmin, I thus described thoroughly the knowledge conducive to one's spiritual potency the way it is divided by the sage [Vyâsa], his disciples and the disciples of his disciples."