To cater to the spiritual/religous needs of the fast food generation, RKM Bangalore has brought out a number of booklets on various topics ranging from festivals and rituals to rivers and epics. These are written by Swami Harshananda, RKMB president and a scholar of repute. I picked this booklet because not only is it a good introduction to the important eighteen mahapuranas but it also gives the dates of their composition. The number of slokas each of the puranas are also listed giving it academic value; one can use it as a reference. For instance, all the puranas were composed by about 700 AD, the oldest being about 300 AD. However, Swamiji does not mention how he arrived at these dates. The puranas carry stories of both siva and visnu irrespective of their being classifyed as saiva and vaisnava puranas. Origin of the universe forms a common theme in all puranas. Besides, they also carry information on rituals, rites, medicine, geography, astrology, descriptions on heaven and hell and such. Information of historical significance such as zoroastrians settling in india on the banks of chandrabhaga, is also found in puranas. Barring a few typos the book is a crisp summary of the puranas.

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