Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12, Chapter 07, Text 09-10


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SB 12.7.9-10

sargo ’syatha visargas ca
 vrtti-raksantarani ca
vamso vamsanucaritam
 samstha hetur apasrayah
dasabhir laksanair yuktam
 puranam tad-vido viduh
kecit pañca-vidham brahman
sri-suka uvaca
O brahmana, authorities on the matter understand a Purana to contain ten characteristic topics: the creation of this universe, the subsequent creation of worlds and beings, the maintenance of all living beings, their sustenance, the rule of various Manus, the dynasties of great kings, the activities of such kings, annihilation, motivation and the supreme shelter. Other scholars state that the great Puranas deal with these ten topics, while lesser Puranas may deal with five.
The ten subjects of a great Purana are also described in the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.1):
atra sargo visargas ca
 sthanam posanam utayah
 nirodho muktir asrayah
“Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there are ten divisions of statements regarding the following: the creation of the universe, subcreation, planetary systems, protection by the Lord, the creative impetus, the change of Manus, the science of God, returning home (back to Godhead), liberation and the summum bonum.”
According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, Puranas such as Srimad-Bhagavatam deal with these ten topics, whereas lesser Puranas deal with only five. As stated in Vedic literature:
sargas ca pratisargas ca
 vamso manvantarani ca
vamsanucaritam ceti
 puranam pañca-laksanam
“Creation, secondary creation, the dynasties of kings, the reigns of Manus and the activities of various dynasties are the five characteristics of a Purana.” Puranas covering five categories of knowledge are understood to be secondary Puranic literature.
Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained that the ten principal topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam are found within each of the twelve cantos. One should not try to assign each of the ten topics to a particular canto. Nor should the Srimad-Bhagavatam be artificially interpreted to show that it deals with the topics successively. The simple fact is that all aspects of knowledge important to human beings, summarized in the ten categories mentioned above, are described with various degrees of emphasis and analysis throughout the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12, Chapter 07, Text 08
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12, Chapter 07, Text 11