|The Puranas are
next in importance to the epics as instruments of popular education. They consist of
chronicles and legends and genealogies of kings, and thus sometimes contain historical
matter. But they are often imaginative. These scriptures generally deal with ideal truth
and not with historical truth. Their validity does not depend upon any historical fact.
This is very well illustrated in the accounts we have in them of the various Avatars or
incarnations of Visnu, which are in tended to give us an imaginative representation of
God's help to man at different stages of his evolution.
doctrine of Avatars, which is found only in germ in the Brahmanas, is fully developed in the Epics and the Puranas. According to the generally received account there are
ten Avatars of Visnu, the preserving Power of the universe. The aim of ever Avatar is
to save the world from some great danger or trouble.