Sruti And Vedas: A Revelation Through Experience

Sruti is a Sanskrit word that means, the words that are to be heard. It is related to the most ancient religious texts and scriptures. They form one of the greatest bases for Hinduism. The four Vedas included in the Sruti are basically the origin of Hindu tradition. The Sruti has been described as a revelation through direct experience. The Sruti texts are said to be inspired and created skilfully by Rishis in the ancient ages.

Sruti is different from the other texts of Hindu Philosophy. Let us discuss Sruti and its aspects in detail.

What is Sruti?

The word Sruti has multiple meanings depending upon the context of its use. It means, listening to a speech for a recital. It is any form of communication that aggregates the sounds in a statement. In terms of music, the measure of sound is measured with reference to Sruti.

With reference to scholarly scriptures in Hinduism, Sruti is referred to as a communication language of sacred knowledge that is verbally transmitted from generation to generation. It is scholarly literature like Vedas and Upanishad. Sruti is also spelt as Shruti.

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Sruti Vs. Smriti

Smriti means the text that has to be remembered. Thus, according to smrities, the words are constantly revised and concentrates on retaining the knowledge. However, sruti is the fixed and original text preserved to be used during recitals. Both Smriti and Sruti are categories of text that represent the different traditions, rituals and sacrifices in Hindu Tradition. Sruti is the divine origin of the Purana.

Sruti describes the sacred texts comprising the central core of Hinduism that consist of recital hymns and verses for example Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, & Upanishads.

Smiriti states the texts that have to be remembered and it is the entire body of the post-Vedic Classical Sanskrit literature. It comprises Vedanga, Shad darshana, Puranas, Itihasa, Upveda, Tantras, Agamas, Upangs.

Inclusions In Sruti

The Vedas are the oldest Hindu Texts. It is a belief that they were written before 2500 years ago. Overall there are four Vedas included in Sruti.

  • The Rig Veda

This is the most important text out of all the oddest scriptures written in the Vedas. Rig-Veda is divided into ten books and has 1028 hymns. These hymns are written in praise of various gods and goddesses. The Rig Veda includes the famous Gayatri Mantra.

  • The Yajur Veda

The text of the Yajur Veda includes the use of hymns that help in the performance of the sacrifices. It is the compilation of rituals performed during the performing of yajnas.

  • Sama Veda

The text of Sama Veda is the text of chants and verse. It contains notable melodies that are organized and recited in a musical way.

  • Atharvaveda

Atharvaveda or the Veda of Magical formulas is the ancient disciples of the scholarly. Atharvaveda is said to incorporate not only formulas but also the rituals of learning, marriage and funerals.

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Each of these Vedas Include the following Sanskrit texts, that belong to Sruti:

  • Samhitas

Samhita is a rule-based combination of verse that refers to the most ancient of texts in the Vedas. It consists of Mantras, chants, hymns, prayers, etc.

  • Brahmanas

This is the text used to instruct and explain the brahmins while they perform Vedic rituals and traditions. Brahmana is also said to inherit the explanations of the sacred knowledge of the Vedas.

  • Aranyakas

Aranyaka is the text that depicts the rituals performed during sacrifices. They describe the verses from various perspectives, thereby including distinct spiritual and philosophical perception.

  • Upanishads

This religious text is the latest of religious teaching. The Upanishads deal with the knowledge of meditation and philosophy that includes mantra, verses, hymns and sacrifices. The Upanishads are said to inculcate the core idea of spiritualism in the Hindu religion.

The Vedic scriptures are associated with each of the four core traditions. Out of all the above-mentioned sruti, Upanishads are the most famous spiritual foundation of Hinduism.

In the four Vedas of the Ancient Indian scriptures, the sruti literature is eminent in the following form

Rigveda: Hymns recited by Hotar

Yajurveda: Hymns recited by the Adhvaryu

Samaveda: Hymns recited by the Udgatr

Atharvaveda:  Hymns recited as ancient spells and charms

Forms Of Recitation Of Sruti

The Sruti texts have been developed and verbally transmitted from one generation to the other. People of ancient India developed Srutis while listening, memorization and reciting. The recitations or pathos were designed to accuracy through the transmission of Vedas from one generation to the other. Each text in the Vedas, Upanishad or Vedangas were recited in a number of ways. There are different methods to recited the hymns as well as cross-check them

It can be summarized as follows:

  1. Samhita Patha: It is a continuous recitation of verses that are combined together with phonetic rules of euphoria.
  2. Pada Patha: It is a recitation that consists of taking a pause for every word. There are special grammatical codes to ensure the perfect recitation of such Sanskrit verses. This form of patha helps in restoring the actual pronunciation of every Sanskrit word used in the hymn.
  3. Krama Patha: It is a step by step recitation where the words are paired and placed sequentially and then recited. This is one of the modern ways to verify a euphoric combination of Sanskrit verses.
  4. Jata patha / dhvaja patha / Ghana Patha: It is the recitation of verses in this original form. It is basically how the inception of Spiritual verses to commemorate Buddhism and Jainism started.

These retention techniques used during the recitation of Verse in Vedas and Sanskrit scripture is basically the way sruti have been preserved and passed on from generation to generation, These methods are effective and tested to fulfil the sanctity of Ancient Religious texts.

To conclude we can say that Sruti is the smallest interval of pitches that the human ear can detect that a singer or a musical instrument can produce. The svara of all the sruti may differ from one song to the other. Also, the concept of Indian music traditionally refers to singing in reference to various gods and goddesses and their appraisal. The sruti can be described as the smallest graduation available in the pitch of a musical composition.

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