All the Vedic texts from Ancient India are basically classified into Sruti and Smriti. Sruti is the text that can be heard, Smriti is the text which has to be remembered.
The Sruti is the most authoritative text that is believed to have the eternal knowledge transmitted by sages. The Sruti is the foundation of Hinduism. The Sruti includes Four Vedas, which are embedded texts in Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. Where the Smriti texts is a spiritual text authored and is considered less authoritative The Smritis scriptures are a vast text of diverse culture and are limited to Vedangas, Hindu Epics, Sutras And The Shastras, Puranas and various Bhasyas.
Many ancient and medieval Hindu scriptures are composed in Sanskrit and many other regional languages. In modern times these Hindu scriptures have been translated into other Indian and Western languages. Prior to the start of the common era, the Hindu scriptures were composed and transferred from one generation to the next.
Hindu Scriptures – The Sacred Text Of Ancient India
When we refer to Hindu scriptures as a scripture of Ancient India, we can see its presence in how the scriptures are composed in Sanskrit. To help the modern generation understand the importance and benefits of these scriptures the Hindu Scriptures are translated into various languages. Before the era of text and modernization of texts, the Vedas, ritual and tradition were passed on from generation to generation through oral communication only.
Hindi scriptures are manuscripts and historical literature of diverse traditions that are included in Hinduism. The Hindu scriptures provide a description of the history of arts and science in India. Hinduism includes various religions and faiths under it such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and others. Each tradition includes a list of Hindi scriptures based on the idea of Yoga, Vedanta, Nyaya, etc. These several texts include The Vedas, The Upanishads, The Bhagavata Purana, Shastra, etc. As we discussed earlier, most of these texts are in Sanskrit and thus, being translated may sometimes lose its actual essence. To understand such a complicated yet easy to understand and learn the language, one must show through dedication toward the religion and as the values and belief in Hinduism.
The most ancient of the sacred texts in Hinduism are written in Sanskrit. The Vedas are the scriptures that guide religious traditions and rituals. The books written from 1200 BCE to 100 CE began with four Vedas, which expanded over time to include Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.
Here is a list of four Vedas explaining the oldest rituals and scriptures.
- Rigveda: Rigveda is a collection of 1028 Sanskrit hymns. They are spiritual prayers in reference to various Hindu Gods.
- Samaveda: Samaveda is related to chanting mantras and hymns. They are spiritual prayers offered during a sacrifice or in praise of God.
- Yajurveda: Yajurveda offers detailed ideas about the various conditions at the time of sacrifice and sacred rituals and ceremonies.
- Atharvaveda: Atharvaveda will bring in the details of everyday life for you
Each Veda is classified further into four major texts depending upon the knowledge they share and their delivery of context.
This is a collection of mantras or hymns that are put together in context to prayer just for the recitals. They are sung with or without literal meaning.
This discusses the rituals we need to do in daily life. Apart from this, the knowledge about various ceremonies and sacrifices is discussed here.
Here the commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices are provided, that can help you understand the context better.
The text provided in Upanishad explains the importance and process of meditation, philosophy and spiritual context in terms of studies and everyday life.
The Upanishads are said to be the foundation of the philosophical concept in Hinduism, The concept of Brahman and The Atman are discussed here. The Upanishads are Hindu scriptures that are commonly referred to as Vedanta, the “last chapters, parts of the Veda” or “the object, the highest purpose of Veda”. The whole of Upanishads revolves around the concept of Ultimate Reality and our own Soul. The Upanishads have a great influence on Hindu Philosophy.
More than 200 Upanishads are to mankind and among them, some are the oldest and mostly refer to the principal or main Upanishad. The Upanishads are the texts developed for Vedic traditions that reshaped Hinduism and thereby providing Philosophical knowledge to the student. The early Upanishads concern the sacrificial rites.
Smriti is the Sanskrit literature that includes historical literature as well as the
Shastras. Epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Darshanas are included as Smriti.
The sutras and the shastras are the compilation of technical and specialized knowledge. The focus of a single area of expertise. Some of the examples of Shastra are as follows:
Dharma-Shastra: Study of Law
Bhautik-Shastra: Study of Physics
Rasayana-Shastra: Study of Chemistry
Vastu-Shastra: Study of Architectural Science
Artha-Shastra: Study of Economics
The Puranas is the vast genre of Hindu scriptures that cover a wide range of topics. From legends to traditional stories. It is composed in Sanskrit, and some of them are also written in regional languages. Most of these Puranas are named after the Hindu deities, whose stories it replicated. Some of them are lord Vishnu and lord Shiva, Goddess Kalika, etc.
Various topics that are discussed in the Purana are cosmology, the Birth of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, demigods and talked about pilgrimages, medicine, astrology, their origins and application. The stories of love, humour and philosophy are also included here. The content included in the Puranas has been mentioned in various manuscripts and this is a very comprehending concept. The Hindu Puranas are enormous in length and this has taken many authors to accumulate over the centuries.
There are 18 Puranas and 18 Upa Puranas, with a number of verses in them. The Puranas focus mainly on the national and regional annual festivities celebrating Hinduism.
Hindu Scriptures are the stories of gods, demigods, demons and heroes. Hinduism proudly discusses an incredibly rich collection of verses and hymns. When you take an educational approach towards the study of Vedas and the Hindu scriptures you’ll see how vast of a concept it is. Hindu scriptures provide the documented history of sciences and art forms in India such as music, dance, architecture, medicine, mathematics, etc.
Thus, Hinduism is explained with a great intent along the path of spiritual laws discovered from the point of one person to the other. The Hindu scriptures were transmitted orally in the form of verses and hymns originally transferred in the form of the Sanskrit Language.