Scriptures

AUM - In the beginning was the Word. 







In Hindu belief, creation started with the Divine Syllable - Om. Knowledge was one of the first creations to take place. It is supposed to have radiated from the Mind of Lord Vishnu to that of Lord Brahma and ultimately emanate from his mouth in the form of Vedas

The tree of knowledge that we call Hinduism is so dense that an uninitiated reader may get lost in its complexities and detail. Hindu texts abound with highly intellectual philosophies with conceptions of impressive range and depth. In one of the most beautiful examples of Vedic thought process, I'm presenting a verse from the Mandukya Upanishad:


Om
The Supreme Brahman is Infinite,
Infinite is the Brahman of a Soul,
The Infinite comes from Infinite,
And on reducing Infinite from the Infinite,
The Infinite still stands Alone!

How beautiful the imagery and how profund is the purport of this simple verse! Yet, the Path of Wisdom is a narrow one and the Rishis of yore sought to simplify the language as well as the essence of the ancient words to make it palatable for the common man.

Let us try and understand the basic classification of the ancient Hindu Texts and examine them one by one:




Hinduism has never been based on just one set of principles, rather it has thrived and survived the millenia because of its acceptance of varying and sometimes even contradictory schools of thought!

The most intellectual of these, the Vedanta emphasizes the Supreme Brahman as a non-personal metaphysical concept free from any mythological moorings. Another school of thought is the Yoga which seeks the union of God (Parmatma) and Soul (Atma) by means of meditation and various physical as well as mental disciplines.

In the following passages, I would try to give the gist of what each of these religious texts convey:



The Vedas (root Vid meaning Knowledge) are called Amnaya or Apaurushya implying that they are non-human in origin and have been recieved through revelation from God. They are the foundation stones of Hinduism and were revealed to the Mantra-Drashtas or Rishisthrough Divine sources as they progressed on the path of Spirituality.


Vedas, the oldest texts in the World



Unlike other world religions, Vedas do not owe authority to ONE single messenger of God. Rather, they are the authority themselves for they are the knowledge of the Lord. 

In the beginning, the four Vedas were one and consisted of a Hundred thousand verses. But to cope with man's diminishing abilities of comprehension as time progressed, Rishi Ved-Vyasdivided them into four parts and entrusted four of his brightest disciples with the task of attaining mastery over the four Vedas.


Rishi Vyas, the compiler of four Vedas



Thus, Rishi Pail mastered the RigvedaVaishampayan mastered YajurvedaJaimini took charge of Samaveda and Sumantu perfected himself in the Atharvaveda. Each of these learned seers divided their text further as time progressed so that more and more people could attain benefit from their teachings.

Accordingly, today we have a total of 1180 divisions comprising of 21 sections of Rigveda, 109 of Yajurveda, 1000 of Samveda and 50 of the Atharva-veda.

For ages, the Vedas were passed on from one generation to another by word of mouth. They were never written down as the ancient Indians relied more on their intellect and memory than the written word. Hence, the Vedas are also known as Shruti - 'That which is Heard'.

Each different section in the Vedas has a concluding portion somewhat like the Summary which are collectively known as the Upanishads. These texts are widely considered the zenith of Indian thought process and belong to the highest class of philosophical entreaties in the world.


Dharmashastras are the ancient law-codes dealing with the Varnashram Dharma.

These law books lay down the foundations of Hindu Sanskar which are the guiding principles for the behavior of individuals as well as communities within themselves as well as while interacting with each other.



Dharma-shastras lay down the Samskar



There are 18 main Dharma Shastras, most important ones belongin to Manu, Yajnavalkya, Sankha and Parashar Munis. The laws of Manu are intended for the Satyuga, those of Yajnavalkya for Tretayuga, Sankha and Likhit for Dvapar and those of Parashar forKaliyuga.

Each law book is based on the particular time and clime hence understandably differs in its approach. It is expressly stated that the Laws should change with the evolution of Society in order to ensure the continued progress of the human race.


Itihaas means History (Iti-This; Has-Happened) and this category includes four religious texts.

The RamayanMahabharat, Yogavashishtha and the Harivansh with the former two being the most commonly referred ones. I believe I don't need to talk about the Ramayan and Mahabharat much as most people would probably be aware of their content.


Manuscipt of the Adi Kavya, Ramayan



These epics are immensely human stories that acknowledge the weaknesses and failures of its heroes as often as it promotes their strengths and victories. For example, in the Mahabharat, even Duryodhana is a complex, ultimately sympathetic figure, while a character like Karna is quite simply heart-breaking in his inability to achieve the greatness of which he knows he’s capable.


A manuscript rendition of the Mahabharat



The ‘good guys’ are sometimes even forced to cheat and break rules to win turning these histories into very modern stories of realpolitik and the clash of ideals with the harsh realities of Life.

It is difficult for the common man to understand the complex philosophies of the Upanishadsand Brahma Sutras, hence the rishis have explained the Universal truths by means of historical examples, so that the common man can get inspiration to follow their path and strive to attain liberation.



Bhagvad Geeta is an accompaniment of the Mahabharat



The most revered book of Hinduism, the Bhagvad Geeta is an accompaniment to the Mahabharat epic and is considerd the Refined summary of  Entire Hindu thought. In a simile, it is compared to the milk obtained from the Upanishadic cows and hence a complete reference guide for Hindu thought and beliefs.



The Puraans were composed by sages to popularize the religion of the Vedas by generating devotion in the minds of all and one by means of examples from the lives of different Emperors, Kings, Sages and Saints from the millenia long Hindu history.


Images from the Bhagavatam



There are 18 main Puraans, six each devoted to Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and an equal number of subsidiary or Upa-Puraans. The most popular of these is the Shrimad Bhagavat Puraan that teaches devotion towards Shri Krishna and Shri Hari Vishnu.


The Agams are practical manuals of divine worship comprised of :

Mantras or the group of words capable of creating Spiritual transformation;
Yantras or the Geometrical representations of God's various forms; and
Tantras or the religious practices centered on harnessing Shakti or the Divine Energy

These are again divided into three sections viz. VaishnavShaiva and Shakta Agams each centered on the worship of God as Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti respectively.



These are the different Schools of Philosophy based on the Vedas. While the Itihasa, Puraans and Agams are meant for the masses, these texts are more preferred by the Intellectuals in the Society. The six  different schools of thought are:

Yoga,
Nyaya,
Samkhya,
Vaisheshika,
Purv Mimamsa, and
Vedanta or Uttar Mimamsa


Some of these philosophies like the Vaisheshika are extremely scientific with the entire creation being considered to be built up of atoms(!!) while others like Vedanta are more focused on Mysticism.

All the above mentioned scriptures constitute the major body of Sacred Sanskrit literature. While Shruti is considered the root; Smriti, Itihasas and Puraans form the trunk; Agamsand Darshans are the branches and the secular literature of Subhashitas, Kavyas, Nataks and Alankars form the fragrant flowers of Indian literature.

The ultimate purpose of each and everyone of these is to remind man of the necessity to follow Dharma, help the fellow-being, live a moral life and ultimately attain salvation and reach the Supreme abode of Almighty God. If we fail to utilize this human form to achieve Nirvana,we have to again Begin at the Beginning!

.
Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:
.
Thanking source:

Scriptures

AUM - In the beginning was the Word. 







In Hindu belief, creation started with the Divine Syllable - Om. Knowledge was one of the first creations to take place. It is supposed to have radiated from the Mind of Lord Vishnu to that of Lord Brahma and ultimately emanate from his mouth in the form of Vedas

The tree of knowledge that we call Hinduism is so dense that an uninitiated reader may get lost in its complexities and detail. Hindu texts abound with highly intellectual philosophies with conceptions of impressive range and depth. In one of the most beautiful examples of Vedic thought process, I'm presenting a verse from the Mandukya Upanishad:


Om
The Supreme Brahman is Infinite,
Infinite is the Brahman of a Soul,
The Infinite comes from Infinite,
And on reducing Infinite from the Infinite,
The Infinite still stands Alone!

How beautiful the imagery and how profund is the purport of this simple verse! Yet, the Path of Wisdom is a narrow one and the Rishis of yore sought to simplify the language as well as the essence of the ancient words to make it palatable for the common man.

Let us try and understand the basic classification of the ancient Hindu Texts and examine them one by one:




Hinduism has never been based on just one set of principles, rather it has thrived and survived the millenia because of its acceptance of varying and sometimes even contradictory schools of thought!

The most intellectual of these, the Vedanta emphasizes the Supreme Brahman as a non-personal metaphysical concept free from any mythological moorings. Another school of thought is the Yoga which seeks the union of God (Parmatma) and Soul (Atma) by means of meditation and various physical as well as mental disciplines.

In the following passages, I would try to give the gist of what each of these religious texts convey:



The Vedas (root Vid meaning Knowledge) are called Amnaya or Apaurushya implying that they are non-human in origin and have been recieved through revelation from God. They are the foundation stones of Hinduism and were revealed to the Mantra-Drashtas or Rishisthrough Divine sources as they progressed on the path of Spirituality.


Vedas, the oldest texts in the World



Unlike other world religions, Vedas do not owe authority to ONE single messenger of God. Rather, they are the authority themselves for they are the knowledge of the Lord. 

In the beginning, the four Vedas were one and consisted of a Hundred thousand verses. But to cope with man's diminishing abilities of comprehension as time progressed, Rishi Ved-Vyasdivided them into four parts and entrusted four of his brightest disciples with the task of attaining mastery over the four Vedas.


Rishi Vyas, the compiler of four Vedas



Thus, Rishi Pail mastered the RigvedaVaishampayan mastered YajurvedaJaimini took charge of Samaveda and Sumantu perfected himself in the Atharvaveda. Each of these learned seers divided their text further as time progressed so that more and more people could attain benefit from their teachings.

Accordingly, today we have a total of 1180 divisions comprising of 21 sections of Rigveda, 109 of Yajurveda, 1000 of Samveda and 50 of the Atharva-veda.

For ages, the Vedas were passed on from one generation to another by word of mouth. They were never written down as the ancient Indians relied more on their intellect and memory than the written word. Hence, the Vedas are also known as Shruti - 'That which is Heard'.

Each different section in the Vedas has a concluding portion somewhat like the Summary which are collectively known as the Upanishads. These texts are widely considered the zenith of Indian thought process and belong to the highest class of philosophical entreaties in the world.


Dharmashastras are the ancient law-codes dealing with the Varnashram Dharma.

These law books lay down the foundations of Hindu Sanskar which are the guiding principles for the behavior of individuals as well as communities within themselves as well as while interacting with each other.



Dharma-shastras lay down the Samskar



There are 18 main Dharma Shastras, most important ones belongin to Manu, Yajnavalkya, Sankha and Parashar Munis. The laws of Manu are intended for the Satyuga, those of Yajnavalkya for Tretayuga, Sankha and Likhit for Dvapar and those of Parashar forKaliyuga.

Each law book is based on the particular time and clime hence understandably differs in its approach. It is expressly stated that the Laws should change with the evolution of Society in order to ensure the continued progress of the human race.


Itihaas means History (Iti-This; Has-Happened) and this category includes four religious texts.

The RamayanMahabharat, Yogavashishtha and the Harivansh with the former two being the most commonly referred ones. I believe I don't need to talk about the Ramayan and Mahabharat much as most people would probably be aware of their content.


Manuscipt of the Adi Kavya, Ramayan



These epics are immensely human stories that acknowledge the weaknesses and failures of its heroes as often as it promotes their strengths and victories. For example, in the Mahabharat, even Duryodhana is a complex, ultimately sympathetic figure, while a character like Karna is quite simply heart-breaking in his inability to achieve the greatness of which he knows he’s capable.


A manuscript rendition of the Mahabharat



The ‘good guys’ are sometimes even forced to cheat and break rules to win turning these histories into very modern stories of realpolitik and the clash of ideals with the harsh realities of Life.

It is difficult for the common man to understand the complex philosophies of the Upanishadsand Brahma Sutras, hence the rishis have explained the Universal truths by means of historical examples, so that the common man can get inspiration to follow their path and strive to attain liberation.



Bhagvad Geeta is an accompaniment of the Mahabharat



The most revered book of Hinduism, the Bhagvad Geeta is an accompaniment to the Mahabharat epic and is considerd the Refined summary of  Entire Hindu thought. In a simile, it is compared to the milk obtained from the Upanishadic cows and hence a complete reference guide for Hindu thought and beliefs.



The Puraans were composed by sages to popularize the religion of the Vedas by generating devotion in the minds of all and one by means of examples from the lives of different Emperors, Kings, Sages and Saints from the millenia long Hindu history.


Images from the Bhagavatam



There are 18 main Puraans, six each devoted to Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and an equal number of subsidiary or Upa-Puraans. The most popular of these is the Shrimad Bhagavat Puraan that teaches devotion towards Shri Krishna and Shri Hari Vishnu.


The Agams are practical manuals of divine worship comprised of :

Mantras or the group of words capable of creating Spiritual transformation;
Yantras or the Geometrical representations of God's various forms; and
Tantras or the religious practices centered on harnessing Shakti or the Divine Energy

These are again divided into three sections viz. VaishnavShaiva and Shakta Agams each centered on the worship of God as Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti respectively.



These are the different Schools of Philosophy based on the Vedas. While the Itihasa, Puraans and Agams are meant for the masses, these texts are more preferred by the Intellectuals in the Society. The six  different schools of thought are:

Yoga,
Nyaya,
Samkhya,
Vaisheshika,
Purv Mimamsa, and
Vedanta or Uttar Mimamsa


Some of these philosophies like the Vaisheshika are extremely scientific with the entire creation being considered to be built up of atoms(!!) while others like Vedanta are more focused on Mysticism.

All the above mentioned scriptures constitute the major body of Sacred Sanskrit literature. While Shruti is considered the root; Smriti, Itihasas and Puraans form the trunk; Agamsand Darshans are the branches and the secular literature of Subhashitas, Kavyas, Nataks and Alankars form the fragrant flowers of Indian literature.

The ultimate purpose of each and everyone of these is to remind man of the necessity to follow Dharma, help the fellow-being, live a moral life and ultimately attain salvation and reach the Supreme abode of Almighty God. If we fail to utilize this human form to achieve Nirvana,we have to again Begin at the Beginning!

.
Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:
.
THANKING source:http://decodehindumythology.blogspot.in/p/sacred-texts.html

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