Markandeya Purana has nine thousand Shlokas and the various ‘Dharma Sandehas’ or doubts related to the practice of Virtue-oriented Principles raised by the Sage Jaimini to Mahatma Markandeya were referred by the latter to Holy Birds, who were the sons of Sage Vipulaswan viz. Sukrish and Thumbaru in their past life; the Muni cursed the sons to turn as birds as they refused his instruction to be eaten by Indra who appeared as a bird and demanded human flesh at the Muni’s Yagna. Sage Jaimini’s doubts were cleared by the Holy Birds as to why Devi Draupadi consented to marry all the Pandava brothers, why Bala Rama had to atone for the sin of ‘Brahmahatya’and why were the defenceless sons of Draupadi killed by Ashvatthaama, the learned son of Dronaacharya.
Having been satisfied by the replies of the Birds, Sage Jaimini sought to be enlightened by several other topics related to the exemplary Harischandra who stood firm to follow Dharma and Satya; the rivalry of Sages Vasishtha and Vishwamitra resulting in mutual curses to become birds; the story of the better enlightened ‘Jatismara’ Sumati with the knowledge of previous birth than his father Mahamati and the son’s ‘pravachana’or teachings about the aftermath of life, its recyclings, classification of hells and their experiences; retributions and rewards of human deeds; the great examples of Kaushiki and Anasuya as Pativratas; the Story of Dattatreya and Kartaveeryarjuna; King Alarka and Queen Mother Madalasa, Yoga Siddhis, the Accounts of Fourteen Manus; Devi Mahatmya and Surya Deva Mahatmya/ Surya Vamsha headlights. Those who read, hear and annotate the Purana and pay reverences to a virtuous Brahmana on a Kartika Purnami day by gifting a golden ‘Pratima’ with an enbossed elephant would qualify Shiva Loka.