Sacred Texts of India
When you have heard about India. You might have heard of ancient texts of India as well. Today, I will tell you about
some of the most famous sacred text from India.
The Veda are classified into Rigveda, Yajurveda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda. Lets find about them briefly:
1. Rig Veda (ऋग्वेदा)
The Rig Veda is the oldest among four Vedas. It consist of more than 1000 vedic Sanskrit hymns and more than 10,000 verses. Ten mandalas (volumes) encompasses entire Veda. The containing hymns are dedicated to Rig vedic deities.
2. Yajur Veda (यजुर्वेदा)
The Yajur veda consists of antediluvian prose and the verses taken from earlier Rig Veda. Its proses were used in sacrificial rites.
It can be further divided into two types:
a. Krishna Yajur Veda
b Shukla Yajur Veda
3. Sama Veda (समा-वेदा)
The Samaveda Veda which mainly consists of hymns and songs of praises contains around 1549 stanzas except 78 stanzas were taken from earlier Rig Veda. This Veda was primary used for singing in praise of the deities.
It was also used by a priest in sacrifice rites in ancient times.
4. Atharva Veda (अतरवा-वेदा)
The Atharva Veda, which consist around 760 hymns of speculative and philosophical, was much different than the above mentioned Vedas as it tells us much more on the material aspect of life rather than spiritual. It mainly consists of spells and incantations, to be used in protection of life force from the disease, disaster, demons and so on. Furthermore, some parts of Atharva Veda are even older than earliest Veda, the Rig Veda.
The Upaveda, which mean applied knowledge, concentrated on the subjects of certain technical works. Some of best known Upavedas are:
1. Āyurveda on Medicine, related to the Rig Veda.
2. Dhanurveda on Archery, related to the Yajur Veda.
3. Gāndharvaveda on Music and sacred dance, related to the
4. Shastrashastra on Military science, related to the Atharva Veda.
The Puranas (पुराण) which means “of ancient times”, gives a narrative on time. It tells about the universe from its creation to destruction, about the kings, sages, saints, heroes, demigods, philosophy, geography, cosmology as known and understood by Hindu religion. Most of the Puranas are in story form and available in vernacular translation from priest in Indian temples.
The Puranas are classified into three major groups:
1. Vishnu Puranas : Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana, Vāmana Purana, Kūrma Purana, Matsya Purana, Kalki Purana
2. Brahma Puranas : Brahma Purana, Brahmānda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Mārkandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana,
3. Shiva Puranas : Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Vāyu Purana
Jain and Buddhist Puranas :
Puranas also exist in Jain and Buddhist religion both of which originated in India. The best known purana from Jain religion is called Mahapurana of Acharya Jinasena. The famous Buddhist purana is Swayambhu Purana, which give a narrative of mythological history of Nepal and buddist pilgrime.
The Bhagavad Gītā
The Bhagavad Gītā (भगवद्गीता, Song of God), also more simply known as Gita, is a guide to Hindu theology and a self-contained guide to life. It is a 700 verses long conversation between Lord Krishna to Arjuna in which former guide later on his confusion and moral on war with his own cousins in the war of Kurukshetra in epic the Mahabharata.
The Bhagavad Gītā put light on some of the philosophical subjects like :
* Ishvara (The Supreme Controller)
* Jiva (Living beings/the individualized soul)
* Prakrti (Nature/Matter)
* Dharma (Duty in accordance with Divine law)
* Kaala (Time)