The Vishnu Puran is eminently Vaishnav and considers Vishnu one with supreme being, Padma Brahma and Paramaatma. It is a sectarial work, but of a much more sober character than such works generally possess, and appropriates to legend and panegyric a comparatively insignificant portion of its contents.
From the philosophical point of view, it stands next to Bhagavata Puran, which is generally accorded first place in philosophical works. Being the main source of the Vaishnav philosophy, it has been profusely quoted as an authority and examples have been cited from it by Acharta Ramanuja in "Sribhashya".
The Vishnu Puran is small in size but great in importance. It contains six amsas or books, divided into 126 adhyaayas (chapters).According to Nardiya Puran, it consistes of 24000 verses but Ballalsena speaks of 23000 verses. The present Vishnu Puran consists of only 6000-7000 verses. Three important commentaries of Shridhara's Shridharbashya, Vishnucitti's "Vishnu Chittya" and ratnagarbha Bhattacharya's "Vishnavakuta- Chandrika" have come down to us. All other Puranas being compilations, Vishnu Puran can boast of its original character. It is the only Puran which conforms to the five characteristics of Purans. Prof Wilson assigns 10th Century AD as the probable date of this work while Prof. B C Upadhyay places it in 2nd Century BC
The Vishnu Puran is supposed to be related by Paraashar, the granson of Vashishtha. The first book mainly contains an account of creation. The second book consists of usual account of the division of earth into Dwipas, and the formation of seven Paataals and Naraka, with the situation and the course of the planets and the description of their several cars; that of the sun is very curiously detailed. The third book very systematically deals with the contents of the Purana. Fourth, treats of reigns and different Manus and their descendents. The rmainder of the section is occupied with the duties of different tribes and orders and terminates with Yama- Gita. The fourth book deals with the ganealogies of the royal families, commencing with lineages of the Sun and the Moon, and terminating with kings of the Kali age, until a modern period. The fifth book is apropriated to the history of Krishna. Althoght, the story is told in the usual strain, yet there is peculiarity, that Krishna is never considered the one and same with Hari. He is only an incarnation of Vishnu. The last book of Vishnu Purana, after divisions of the time into Kalpas,etc. expatiates on the various pangs that flesh is heirs to and drects mankind to only remedy in them, faith in Vishnu and the Supreme.