Hindu Sacred Literature

Topic: CultureWorldwide Cultures
Sample donated:
Last updated: May 4, 2019
Shruti
“That which is heard,” the most sacred core of Brahmanic literature.

Smriti
“That which is remembered,” secondary level of sacred writings that derive from revelation but are composed by human authors.

Veda
Ancient Brahmanic ritual poems and hymns.

Rig-Veda
A collection of over 1,000 sanskrit hymns, the liturgical handbook of early hotar priests, the oldest portion of Brahmanic “revealed” (Shruti) sacred literature.

Sama-Veda
This is merely a rearranged version of the Rig-Veda

Yajur-Veda
Contains instructions on ritual

Atharva-Veda
This contains spells and incantations

Brahmanas
Commentaries on the Vedas stressing the potency of Brahmanic ritual for control over gods, nature, and humankind

Aranyakas
Contains mystical and philosophical material and explications of esoteric rites.

Upanishads
There are 13 major ones; the idea of sitting at the feet of a guru while he recites these to you; but now they are written; aim of understanding the truly real.

Epics
Mahabharata; Bhagavad Gita

Puranas
Popular epics, collections of stories and poems about favorite sectarian gods and sages

Law Codes
Concept of Dharma (your personal duty); Caste, diet, government, Laws of Manu

Sutras
basic teachings of the six separate schools

Writings and commentaries
Often about the sutras because of hard to interpret they are. Or are the actually new lines of thought.

Four different schools of commentaries
ShankaraRamanuja MadhuaRamakrishna

Tantras
Deal with human attempts to harness divine power.

refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions.

Agamas
Sectarian scriptures of what the best way to be Hindu is.

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