List of Hindu texts
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Hindu texts can be broadly divided into Shrutis and Smritis.
Śrutis (lit. “which is heard”) are the most authoritative and canonical Hindu texts. They are believed to be authored by neither agents of god nor man, but rather being “eternal knowledge” transmitted by sages throughout the ages. They were composed orally (there wasn’t much paper back then), then memorized and transmitted orally, from one generation to next, for more than a millennia before they were written down into manuscripts.
The Vedas are holy writings by the Indo-Aryan civilization (not the Nazis) from ancient India and are among the oldest sacred texts of any religion, dating from 1500 BCE.[note 1] They consist of readings, incantations, spells, hymns, and formulas for priests to read; believed to reproduce the exact sounds of the universe itself at the moment of creation and onwards and so take the said form. According to the Hindu Epic Mahabharat, it was created by Bhrahma (the creator of everything). They used to be closely guarded secrets of the brahmin caste that was only taught to the upper-castes (priests and princes).
You should probably resist the urge to say "Darth" in front of the name.
There are four main Vedic texts:
The Rigveda is among the first known sources of agnostic and humanist writing. The Nasadiya Sukta raises rational doubts concerning the philosophical problems with the notion of the Universe being created.
The Yajurveda, also known as the Karma-Veda, contains mantras dealing with the nature and motivation behind human action and common religious sacrifices and rituals during the period it was written.
The Samaveda contains numerous religious hymns and music that mantras contained in the rigveda are meant to be set to. It is said that Indian classical music has its roots in this text.
Each of the 4 vedas consists of 4 subdivisions:
Samhita contains prayer in the form of hymns and mantras addressed to various gods intended to be chanted to gods in the same rhythm.
Aranyaka consists of text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, etc.
Brahmana provides commentary on the said rituals.
Upanishads offer philosophical narratives and dialogues from the gods above. It remains one of the most read and best-known portion of the vedas.
These came after Shrutis. These works are attributed to an author and are written down. They are deemed to be less authoritative than Shrutis, but are well known, if not more known than the Shrutis nonetheless.
These include the two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana that are some of the longest poems in human literature, and the many Shashtras which refer to texts on several fields of knowledge such as law, Yoga, dance and theatrics, music, poetry etc.
- All Hindu Scriptures in English & Hindi
- Compare with the Jewish Torah, which is generally dated to 600 BCE.