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Literature regarded as central to the Védic Hindu Literary Tradition was predominantly composed in Sanskrit. Indeed, much of the Morphology and Linguistic Philosophy inherent in the Learning of Sanskrit is inextricably linked to Study of the Védās and other Védic Texts.

Védic Literature is Divided into Two Categories: Śruti (श्रुति) – that which is Heard (i.e. Revelation) and Smṛti (स्मृति) – that which is Remembered (i.e. Tradition, Not Revelation). The Védās constituting the former Category are considered Scripture by many followers of Védic Religion. The Post-Védic Scriptures form the latter Category: the various Śāstra and the Itihāsas, or Histories in Epic Verse. A sort of Cross-Over between the Religious Epics and Upaniāhads of the Védās is the Bhāgavad Gīta, considered to be Revered Scripture by almost all Hindus today.


The Védās form the Oldest Layer of Sanskrit Literature and the Oldest Sacred Texts of Hinduism.

According to Védic Tradition, the Védās are Apauruṣeya "Not Human Compositions", being supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called Śruti ("what is Heard"). Védic Mantras are recited at Hindu Prayers, Religious Functions and other Auspicious Occasions.

Philosophies and Sects that developed in the Indian Subcontinent have taken differing Positions on the Védās. Schools of Indian Philosophy which Cite the Védās as their Scriptural Authority are Classified as "Orthodox" (Āstika). Two other Indian Philosophies are Buddhism and Jainism, did not Accept the Authority of the Védās and evolved into Separate Religions. In Indian Philosophy these Groups are referred to as "Heterodox" or "Non-Védic" (Nāstika) Schools.

The Central Focus of all the Védās is the Védic Sacrifice, Officiated by Four Priests, each in charge of One of the Védās. This Karmic Ritual is mediated by the Fire-Demigod named Agni. Only through Agni can the Priests (and thus the Rest of Society) gain access to the Devas.

The Védās are four in number. Ṛig-, Yajur-, Sāma- and Atharva Védās represent various Shākhās, or Branches, of Knowledge. Depending on the Branch, different Commentaries and Instructions are Associated with each Védā.

1.   The Ṛig Védā (ऋग्वेद) contains Hymns (Mantras) that Formulate the Mythology of Ancient Védic Practice;

2.   The Sāma Védā (सामवेद) consists mostly of Mantras from the Ṛig Védā, but arranged in an order specifically suited to the Soma Sacrifice;

3.   The Yajur Védā (यजुर्वेद) contains detailed Prose Instructions for the Sacrifices; and

4.   The Atharva Védā (अथर्ववेद) comprises Semi-Magical Spells against Enemies, Sorcerers, Diseases and Mistakes made during the Sacrificial Ritual, as well as Kingly Duties and some Deeper Spiritual Truths.

Each of the Four Védās may be Divided into Two Sections:

1.   The Mantra Portion, also called the Saṃhitā (संहिता), is a Collection of Hymns to be used in Védic Sacrifices.

2.   The Brāhmaṇas (ब्राह्मण) Portion (Not to be Confused with Brahman, or The Brahmin Caste), contains Specific Rules and Regulations for the Sacrifices as well as prose Commentaries explaining the Meaning of the Mantras and Rituals.

The Brāhmaṇas, describing rules and purpose of Saṃhitā, are further Divided:

1.   The Āraṇyakas (आरण्यक), which conclude the Brāhmaṇas, are written along a Blurry Line between

2.   The Upaniāhads (उपनिषद्), which contain Highly Philosophical and Metaphysical Writings about the Nature of, and the Relationship between, the Soul (Ātman) and Brahman. The Upaniāhads are often referred to collectively as Védānta ("the end of the Védās"), not only because they appear physically in the concluding pages of each Védā, but also because the mystical truths they express are seen by many as the culmination of all the other Védic Knowledge.

The Upaniāhads (उपनिषद्)

While the Upaniāhads are indeed classed within the fold of the "Védās", their actual importance to Hindu philosophy has far exceeded that of possibly
any other set of Hindu scriptures, and even resulted in the Bhāgavad Gīta, which is a Self-Proclaimed Yoga Upaniāhad. Thus, they deserve a look that is independent from the Saṃhitā (
संहिता) and Brāhmaṇas (ब्राह्मणम्), against whose excessive Ritualism the Upaniāhads famously rebelled. They form Védānta and are the basis of much of Classical Hindu thought.

The Upaniāhads ("Sittings Near [a Teacher]") are part of the Hindu Śruti; these Religious Scriptures primarily discuss Philosophy and "Cosmic Reality"; they also contain transcripts of various debates or discussions. There are more than 350 Upaniāhads of which only Main Fifteen Upaniāhads and Eight called Minor Upaniāhads are very famous and well accepted and Fully Documented by all Hindus as Primary and as per the records of 123 Books argued to be part of the Upaniāhads. They are commentaries on the Védās and their Branch of Hinduism is called Védānta.

The Main Fifteen Upaniāhads

1.         Isha  Upaniāhad

2.         Kena  Upaniāhad

3.         Katha  Upaniāhad

4.         Taitiriya  Upaniāhad

5.         Aitareya  Upaniāhad

6.         Prashna  Upaniāhad

7.         Mundaka  Upaniāhad

8.         Mandukya  Upaniāhad

9.         Chandogya  Upaniāhad

10.       Svetasvatara  Upaniāhad

11.       Brihad- Āraṇyakas  Upaniāhad

12.       Maha-Narayana.

13.       Kaushitaki  Upaniāhad

14.       Jabala  Upaniāhad

15.       Pingala  Upaniāhad

And another Eight called Minor Upaniāhads, are:

1.   Kaivalya Upaniāhad

2.   Kaushitaki Upaniāhad

3.   Ātma Upaniāhad

4.   Amriṫabindu Upaniāhad

5.   Brahma Upaniāhad

6.   Paramahamsa Upaniāhad

7.   Sarva Upaniāhad

8    Aruni (Aruneyi) Upaniāhad.

The following are the Upaniāhads that are Classified as per Védās and the list of the 108 Canonical Upaniāhads of the Advaita School, according to the Muktika Upaniāhad (Number 108), 1:30-39 (which does not list the Associated Védā).

10 Upaniāhads are Associated with the Ṛig Védā (ऋग्वेद) and have the Shānti Beginning Vanzme-Manasi.

001      Aitareya Upaniāhad
002      Aksha-Malika Upaniāhad – About Rosary Beads
003      Ātma-Bodha Upaniāhad
004      Bahvricha Upaniāhad
005      Kaushitaki-Brahmana Upaniāhad
006      Mudgala Upaniāhad
007      Nada-Bindu Upaniāhad
008      Nirvana Upaniāhad
009      Saubhagya-Lakshmi Upaniāhad
010      Tripura Upaniāhad

19 Upaniāhads are Associated with the Shukla Paksha Yajur Védā (शुक्लपक्ष यजुर्वेद)
and have the Shānti Beginning Pūrnamada.

011      Adhyatma Upaniāhad
012      Advaya-Taraka Upaniāhad
013      Bhikshuka Upaniāhad
014      Brihadaranyaka Upaniāhad
015      Hamsa Upaniāhad
016      Isavasya Upaniāhad
017      Jabala Upaniāhad
018      Mandala-Brahmana Upaniāhad
019      Mantrika Upaniāhad
020      Muktika Upaniāhad
021      Niralamba Upaniāhad
022      Paingala Upaniāhad
023      Paramahamsa Upaniāhad
024      Satyayaniya Upaniāhad
025      Subala Upaniāhad
026      Tara-Sara Upaniāhad
027      Trisikhi-Brahmana Upaniāhad
028      Turiyatita-Avadhuta Upaniāhad
029      Yajnavalkya Upaniāhad

32 Upaniāhads are Associated with the Krishna Paksha Yajur Védā (कृष्णपक्ष यजुर्वेद) and have the Shānti Beginning Sahanāvavatu.

030      Akshi Upaniāhad
031      Amritabindhu Upaniāhad
032      Amritanada Upaniāhad
033      Avadhuta Upaniāhad
034      Brahma-Vidya Upaniāhad
035      Brahma Upaniāhad
036      Dakshinamurti Upaniāhad
037      Dhyana-Bindu Upaniāhad
038      Ekakshara Upaniāhad
039      Garbha Upaniāhad
040      Kaivalya Upaniāhad
041      Kalagni-Rudra Upaniāhad
042      Kali-Santarana Upaniāhad
043      Katha Upaniāhad
044      Katharudra Upaniāhad
045      Kshurika Upaniāhad
046      Maha-Narayana (or) Yajniki Upaniāhad
047      Pancha-Brahma Upaniāhad
048      Pranagnihotra Upaniāhad
049      Rudra-Hridaya Upaniāhad
050      Sarasvati-Rahasya Upaniāhad
051      Sariraka Upaniāhad
052      Sarva-Sara Upaniāhad
053      Skaǡnda Upaniāhad
054      Suka
Rahasya Upaniāhad
055      Svetasvatara Upaniāhad
056      Taittiriya Upaniāhad
057      Tejabindu Upaniāhad
058      Varaha Upaniāhad
059      Yoga-Kundalini Upaniāhad
060      Yoga-Sikha Upaniāhad
061      Yoga-Tattva Upaniāhad

16 Upaniāhads are Associated with the Sāma Védā (सामवेद)
and have the Shānti Beginning Āpyāyantu

062      Aruni (Aruneyi) Upaniāhad
063      Avyakta Upaniāhad
064      Chandogya Upaniāhad
065      Darsana Upaniāhad
066      Jabali Upaniāhad
067      Kena Upaniāhad
068      Kundika Upaniāhad
069      Maha Upaniāhad
070      Maitrayani Upaniāhad
071      Maitreya Upaniāhad
072      Rudraksha-Jabala Upaniāhad
073      Sannyasa Upaniāhad
074      Savitri Upaniāhad
075      Vajrasuchika Upaniāhad
076      Vasudeva Upaniāhad
077      Yoga-Chudamani Upaniāhad

31 Upaniāhads are Associated with the Atharva Védā (अथर्ववेद) and have the Shānti Beginning Bhadram-Karnebhih.

078      Annapurna Upaniāhad
079      Atharvasikha Upaniāhad
080      Atharvasiras Upaniāhad
081      Ātma Upaniāhad
082      Bhasma-Jabala Upaniāhad
083      Bhavana Upaniāhad
084      Brihad-Jabala Upaniāhad
085      Dattatreya Upaniāhad
086      Devi Upaniāhad
087      Ganapati Upaniāhad
088      Garuda Upaniāhad
089      Gopala-Tapaniya Upaniāhad
090      Hayagriva Upaniāhad
091      Krishna Upaniāhad
092      Maha-Vakya Upaniāhad
093      Mandukya Upaniāhad
094      Mundaka Upaniāhad
095      Narada-Parivrajaka Upaniāhad
096      Nrisimha-Tapaniya Upaniāhad
097      Para-Brahma Upaniāhad
098      Paramahamsa-Parivrajaka Upaniāhad
099      Pasupata Brahmana Upaniāhad
100      Prasna Upaniāhad
101      Rama Rahasya Upaniāhad
102      Rama-Tapaniya Upaniāhad
103      Sandilya Upaniāhad
104      Sarabha Upaniāhad
105      Sita Upaniāhad
106      Surya Upaniāhad
107      Tripadvibhuti-Mahanarayana Upaniāhad
108      Tripura-Tapini Upaniāhad

The first 10 are grouped as Mukhya “Principal”, and are identical to those listed above. 21 are grouped as Sāmānya Védānta  “Common Védānta”, 23 as Sannyāsa, 9 as Shākta, 13 as Vaishnava, 14 as Shaiva and 17 as Yoga Upaniāhads.

1.      Īsa, (ŚYV, Mukhya) “The Inner Ruler”

2.      Kena (SV, Mukhya) “Who moves the world?”

3.      Katha (KYV, Mukhya) “Death as Teacher”

4.      Praśna, (AV, Mukhya) “The Breath of Life”

5.      Mundaka (AV, Mukhya) “Two modes of Knowing”

6.      Māndūkya (AV, Mukhya) “Consciousness and its phases”

7.      Taittirīya (KYV, Mukhya) “From Food to Joy”

8.      Aitareya, (ṚV Mukhya) “The Microcosm of Man”

9.      Chāndogya (SV, Mukhya) “Song and Sacrifice”

10.  Brihadāranyaka (ŚYV, Mukhya)

11.  Brahma (KYV, Sannyasa)

12.  Kaivalya (KYV, Shaiva)

13.  Jābāla (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

14.  Śvetāśvatara (KYV, Sannyasa) “The Faces of God”

15.  Hansa (ŚYV, Yoga)

16.  Āruneya (SV, Sannyasa)

17.  Garbha (KYV, Sannyasa)

18.  Nārāyana (KYV, Vaishnava)

19.  Paramahamsa (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

20.  Amritabindu (KYV, Yoga)

21.  Amritanāda (KYV, Yoga)

22.  Śira (AV, Shaiva)

23.  Atharvaśikha (AV, Shaiva)

24.  Maitrāyaṇi (SV, Sannyasa)

25.  Kauśītāki (ṚV, Samanya)

26.  Bṛhajjābāla (AV, Shaiva)

27.  Nṛsiṃhatāpanī (AV, Vaishnava)

28.  Kālāgnirudra (KYV, Shaiva)

29.  Maitreyi (SV, Sannyasa)

30.  Subāla (ŚYV, Samanya)

31.  Kṣurika (KYV, Yoga)

32.  Mantrika (ŚYV, Samanya)

33.  Sarvasāra (KYV, Samanya)

34.  Nirālamba (ŚYV, Samanya)

35.  Śukarahasya (KYV, Samanya)

36.  Vajrasūchi (SV, Samanya)

37.  Tejobindu (KYV, Sannyasa)

38.  Nādabindu (ṚV, Yoga)

39.  Dhyānabindu (KYV, Yoga)

40.  Brahmavidyā (KYV, Yoga)

41.  Yogatattva (KYV, Yoga)

42.  Ātmabodha (ṚV, Samanya)

43.  Parivrāt (Nāradaparivrājaka) (AV, Sannyasa)

44.  Triśikhi (ŚYV, Yoga)

45.  Sītā (AV, Shakta)

46.  Yogachūḍāmaṇi (SV, Yoga)

47.  Nirvāṇa (ṚV, Sannyasa)

48.  Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa (ŚYV, Yoga)

49.  Dakṣiṇāmūrti (KYV, Shaiva)

50.  Śarabha (AV, Shaiva)

51.  Skanda (Tripāḍvibhūṭi) (KYV, Samanya)

52.  Mahānārāyaṇa (AV, Vaishnava)

53.  Advayatāraka (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

54.  Rāmarahasya (AV, Vaishnava)

55.  Rāmatāpaṇi (AV, Vaishnava)

56.  Vāsudeva (SV, Vaishnava)

57.  Mudgala (ṚV, Samanya)

58.  Śāṇḍilya (AV, Yoga)

59.  Paiṅgala (ŚYV, Samanya)

60.  Bhikṣu (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

61.  Mahad (SV, Samanya)

62.  Sārīraka (KYV, Samanya)

63.  Yogaśikhā (KYV Yoga)

64.  Turīyātīta (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

65.  Sannyāsa (SV, Sannyasa)

66.  Paramahaṃsaparivrājaka (AV, Sannyasa)

67.  Akṣamālika (Mālika) (ṚV, Shaiva)

68.  Avyakta (SV, Vaishnava)

69.  Ekākṣara (KYV, Samanya)

70.  Annapūrṇa (AV, Shakta)

71.  Sūrya (AV, Samanya)

72.  Akṣi (KYV, Samanya)

73.  Adhyātmā (ŚYV, Samanya)

74.  Kuṇḍika (SV, Sannyasa)

75.  Sāvitrī (SV, Samanya)

76.  Ātmā (AV, Samanya)

77.  Pāśupata (AV, Yoga)

78.  Parabrahma (AV, Sannyasa)

79.  Avadhūta (KYV, Sannyasa)

80.  Devī (AV, Shakta)

81.  Tripurātapani (AV, Shakta)

82.  Tripura (ṚV, Shakta)

83.  Kaṭharudra (KYV, Sannyasa)

84.  Bhāvana (AV, Shakta)

85.  Rudrahṛdaya (KYV, Shaiva)

86.  Yogakundalini (KYV, Yoga)

87.  Bhasma (AV, Shaiva)

88.  Rudrākṣa (SV, Shaiva)

89.  Gaṇapati (AV, Shaiva)

90.  Darśana (SV, Yoga)

91.  Tārasāra (ŚYV, Vaishnava)

92.  Mahāvākya (AV, Yoga)

93.  Pañcabrahma (KYV, Shaiva)

94.  Prāṇāgnihotra (KYV, Samanya)

95.  Gopālatāpani (AV, Vaishnava)

96.  Kṛṣṇa (AV, Vaishnava)

97.  Yājñavalkya (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

98.  Varāha (KYV, Sannyasa)

99.  Śāṭyāyani (ŚYV, Sannyasa)

100.          Hayagrīva (AV, Vaishnava)

101.          Dattātreya (AV, Vaishnava)

102.          Gāruḍa (AV, Vaishnava)

103.          Kali-Saṇṭāraṇa (Kali) (KYV, Vaishnava)

104.          Jābāla (SV, Shaiva)

105.         Saubhāgya (ṚV, Shakta)

106.          Sarasvatīrahasya (KYV, Shakta)

107.          Bahvṛca (ṚV, Shakta)

108.          Muktika (ŚYV, Samanya)

The Upaniāhads are acknowledged by Scholars and Philosophers from both East and West, from Schrödinger, Thoreau and Emerson to Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Aurobindo Ghosh, to be superlatively beautiful in Poetry and rich in Philosophy.

Post-Védic Hindu Scriptures

The new books that appeared afterwards were called Smṛti. Smṛti Literature includes Itihāsas (Epics like Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata), Purāṇás (Mythological Texts), Āgamas (Theological Treatises) and Darshanas (Philosophical Texts).

The Dharmaśāstra (Law Books) are considered by many to form Part of the Smṛti. From Time to Time Great Law-Givers (eg Manu, Yājñavalkya and Parāshara)
emerged, who codified existing laws and eliminated obsolete ones to ensure that the Hindu way of life was consistent with both the Védic Spirit and the changing Times. However, it must be noted that the Dharmaśāstra have long been discarded by many Groups of Hindus, namely those following Védānta, Bhakti, Bhakit and Tantra Streams of Hinduism.

The Védic Philosophy reflected in the Epics is the Doctrine of Avatāra (Appearance of God on the Earth). The two main Avatāras of Vishnu that appear in the Epics are Rama, the Hero of the Rāmāyaṇa, and Krishna, the Chief Protagonist in the Mahābhārata. Unlike the Gods of the Védic Saṃhitās and the more Meditative, Mystic and Ethical Upaniāhadic ideas regarding the all-pervading
and formless Brahman, the Avatāras in these Epics are more developed Personalities, Loving and Righteous Descents of the Supreme Being among Mortals.

All Dharmaśāstra derives its authority with reference to the Védās, though few, if any, of the contents of most Dharmaśāstra texts can be directly linked with extant Vedic texts. Traditionally, Dharmaśāstra has, since the time of the Yājñvalkyasmṛti, been Divided into Three Major Topics:

1)         Ācāra, rules pertaining to daily rituals, life-cycle rites, and other duties of four castes or Varṇas,

2)         Vyavahāra, rules pertaining to the procedures for resolving doubts about Dharma and rules of substantive law categorized according the standard eighteen titles of Hindu law, and

3)         Prāyaścitta, rules about expiations and penances for violations of the rules of Dharma.

Combining the categorization given in the Yājñavalkyasmṛti with a more descriptive catalog of the contents in Dharmaśāstra texts found in P.V. Kane’s History of Dharmaśāstra presents the following list of topics:


The category of Ācāra comprised rules governing obligations and proper conduct for all the Vaṛṇas and Āśramas, closely related to Mīmāṃsā Laws of Proper Ritual Conduct. It also had the broader meaning of conventions of practice, though still carrying the moral connotation of "Right Practice," i.e. the authorized practices of good people passed down over generations.

§         Sources of Dharma

§         Varṇa – the rules of the class-based social system, such as the specific duties given to each class and the rules for intermarriage.

§         Consecratory, or Life-Cycle, Rites – rituals that mark important occasions in a persons life
such as birth, marriage, and the tying of the Yajñopavītam  or Sacred

§         Āśramas – the Four Stages of Life (the student, the householder, the forest dweller, and the renouncer) and :the duties expected during each.

§         Five Great Sacrifices – Daily Sacrifices by Brahmin Householders to the Védās (Through Teaching), The Ancestors (Through Libations), The Gods (Through Fire Offerings), Beings (Through Bali Offerings), and Guests (Through Hospitality).

§         Rules for Food – Class-Based Regulations on What to Eat and How to obtain Food.

§         Religious Gifts (Dāna) – the Caste Breakdown of who is to accept and who is to give gifts. The Védās are followed when performing sacrifices or giving gifts, since consequences for improper gift giving and receiving can be severe.

§         Funerary and Ancestral Rites – Under this topic would fall rules regarding proper rituals surrounding the cremation of the deceased, as well as fulfilling the Dvija ‘S obligations to his deceased Ancestors through the performance of the Śrāddha Ritual.


Vyavahāra is an important Concept of Hindu Law denoting legal procedure. Kane defines it as follows: "When the Ramifications of Right Conduct, that are together called Dharma and that can be established with efforts (of various kinds such as Truthful Speech, Etc.) have been violated, the dispute (in a court between parties) which springs from what is sought to be proved (such as debt), is said to be Vyavahāra." The King’s Personal Dharma is inextricably linked to legal proceedings and his Dharma is determined the by the Merits and Demerits of his subjects, therefore it is crucial he bring about justice to injustice. This is why it is stressed in the Dharmaśāstras how important it is for the king to be fair and righteous and to appoint learned Brahmins to counsel and help him in legal matters.

§         Duties of a King – Though this topic covers duties and obligations of the King (Rājadharma), and thus would seem to belong under the heading of Ācāra, the office of the king was so closely intertwined with punishment and legal procedure that, even from the time of the Āpastamba Dharmasutrā, duties of the king are described along with rules of legal procedure.

§         Legal Procedure, (Vyavahāra) – according to the Dharmaśāstras includes: Court, Listening to and Assessing Witnesses and their Testimony, Deciding and Enforcing Punishment, and the Pursuit of Justice in the Face of Injustice.

§         Eighteen Hindu Titles of Law – make up the Grounds for Litigation and the performance of the Legal Process.


Prāyaścittas are seen as means of removing sin, as they are undertaken to atone for not doing what is ordained or doing something which has been forbidden.

§         Rules for Renunciation – This topic deals with who is allowed to renounce as a Sannyasin, from which of the Āśramas they may renounce, and what implications their status as ritually dead has on their legal and social standing.

§         Categories of Sin – the Classification of Different Sins into Categories depending on Gravity of the Sin and means of reducing it

§         Expiations and Penances, (Prāyaścitta) – Means of Reducing Sin.

§         Karma – A Principle in which “Cause and Effect are as inseparably linked in the Moral Sphere as assumed in the Physical Sphere by Science. A Good Action has its reward and a bad action leads to retribution. If the bad actions do not yield their consequences in this life, the Soul begins another existence and in the new environment undergoes suffering for its past deeds”.

§         Pilgrimage – A Journey to a Holy Place in order obtain Merit and Expiate Sins.

§         Vrata – Religious Vows or Rites that can be used to Reduce Sin

§         Utsavas – Festivals and Religious Celebrations.

§         Śānti – Propitiatory Rites undertaken in order to appease the Gods when Omens have revealed their displeasure.

In addition to these topics, Dharmaśāstra makes extensive use of the tradition of textual Hermeneutics known as Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā, which describes in great detail how to interpret the Ritual Texts of the Védic Corpus. The Principles of Mīmāṃsā have been borrowed and reapplied to a broader range of religious and legal phenomena in the Dharmaśāstra. Other cognate disciplines important for understanding Dharmaśāstra are Grammar and Nyāya.

The Bhāgavad Gīta

Many followers of the Védic Religion or Sanātana Dharma has said that the Most Succinct and Powerful abbreviation of the overwhelmingly diverse Realm of Védic thought is to be found in the Bhāgavad Gīta (also known simply "The Gīta"). Essentially, it is a Microcosm of VédāntaBhakti, Yogi, and Karmi aspect of Sanātana Dharma, or Védic religion. Bhāgavad Gīta (literally: Song of the God) is a part of the Epic Poem Mahābhārata and is revered in Hinduism. It speaks not only to Vaishnavas but to all people of all faiths, and it is accepted by the members of all Védic streams as a seminal text. Indeed, the "tag line" of each chapter of the Bhāgavad Gīta refers to the book as the "Gīta Upaniāhad" and as a "Scripture of Yoga," thereby establishing that in this Text, Lord Krishna speaks the Truths of Yoga and the Upaniāhads for all.

What holds the Devotee’s Mind foremost is Krishna’s repeated injunction to abandon themortal self to the infinite Love of the Lord. He not only speaks to the Mind and to the Atma, individual Spirit’s innate Sense of Dharma, but calls for overwhelming love. By loving God one also loves the immortal Self, finds Harmony in Oneself, and finds oneself at peace with the entire Cosmos. The Gīta speaks of Cultivating the Intellect, properly using the Body, and always remaining Equipoised in relation to the greater Self. The Bhāgavad Gīta truly presents itself as a Liberation Scripture Universal in its message

The Purāṇás

The Purāṇás are a vast Literature of Stories and Allegory. Eighteen are considered to be Maha Purāṇás, or Great Purāṇás, and thus Authoritative References on the Gods and Goddesses, Religious Rites and Holy Places (most of which are in the Indian Subcontinent, known as Bharat).

The Maha Purāṇás are frequently classified according the Three aspects of the Divine Trimurti,

§         Brahma Purāṇás has Five: 

  1. Brahma Purāṇás, 
  2. Brahmānda Purāṇás,
  3. Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇás, 
  4. Mārkandeya Purāṇás, 
  5. Bhavishya Purāṇás,

§         Vishnu Purāṇás has Ten: 

  1. Vishnu Purāṇás,
  2. Bhagavata Purāṇás,
  3. Nāradeya Purāṇás, 
  4. Garuda Purāṇás (Suparna)
  5. Padma Purāṇás, 
  6. Varaha Purāṇás, 
  7. Vāmana Purāṇás, 
  8. Kūrma Purāṇás, 
  9. Matsya Purāṇás, 
  10. Kalki Purāṇás

§         Shiva Purāṇás has Five: 

  1. Shiva Purāṇás, 
  2. Linga Purāṇás, 
  3. Skanda Purāṇás (Kartika Purāṇá)
  4. Agni Purāṇás, 
  5. Vāyu Purāṇás

Ø  The Number of Verses in each Purāṇá is Listed in other Verses of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are:

Ø  The Brahma Purāṇá consists of Ten Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Padma Purāṇá of Fifty-Five Thousand Verses,

Ø  Sri Visnu Purāṇá of Twenty-Three Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Siva Purāṇá of Twenty-Four Thousand Verses

Ø  Śrīmad Bhāgavatam of Eighteen Thousand Verses.

Ø  The Narada Purāṇá has Twenty-Five Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Markandeya Purāṇá Nine Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Agni Purāṇá Fifteen Thousand Four Hundred Verses,

Ø  The Bhavisya Purāṇá Fourteen Thousand Five Hundred Verses,

Ø  The Brahma-Vaivarta Purāṇá Eighteen Thousand Verses

Ø  The Linga Purāṇá Eleven Thousand Verses.

Ø  The Varaha Purāṇá Contains Twenty-Four Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Skanda Purāṇás Eight-One Thousand One Hundred Verses,

Ø  The Vamana Purāṇá Fourteen Thousand Verses,

Ø  The Garuda Purāṇá Nineteen Thousand Verses

Ø  The Brahmanda Purāṇá Twelve Thousand Verses.

Thus the total Number of Verses in all the Purāṇás is Four Hundred Thousand. Eighteen Thousand of these, once again, belong to the beautiful Bhāgavatam.. 

The 18 Upa-Purāṇás are:

*      Sanatkumara Purāṇás

*      Narasimha Purāṇás

*      Brihannaradiya Purāṇás

*      Sivarahasya Purāṇás

*      Durvasa Purāṇás

*      Kapila Purāṇás

*      Vamana Purāṇás

*      Bhargava Purāṇás

*      Varuna Purāṇás

*      Kalika Purāṇás

*      Samba Purāṇás

*      Nandi Purāṇás

*      Surya Purāṇás

*      Parasara Purāṇás

*      Vasishtha Purāṇás

*      Devi Bhāgavatam Purāṇás

*      Ganesa Purāṇás

*      Hamsa Purāṇás

Apart from these there are a few other other Purāṇás like Vayu Purāṇá

Further the Purāṇás also has been classified based on Gunas (Behaviour) and the Classification as follows:

Purāṇás with Lord Vishnu as the Predominating Deity (Sattva Guna):

1)         Vishnu Purāṇá – 23,000 Verses.

*      Stories of various Devotees;

*      A description of Varnasrama;

*      The Six Angas of the Védā;

*      A description of the Age of Kali;

Description of Sveta-Varaha Kalpa, Vishnu Dharmotara.

2)         Naradiya Purāṇá – 25,000 Verses.

*      This Purāṇá contains a Synopsis of everything; it Describes Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, Badrinatha, Etc.

3)         Padma Purāṇá – 55,000 Verses.

*      Contains the Glory of ŚrīmadBhāgavatam; the Stories of Rama, Jagannatha, Matsya, Ekadasi, Bhrgu, Etc.

4)         Garuda Purāṇá – 19,000 Verses.

*      Subject of BhāgavadGīta; Reincarnation;

*      Visnu-Sahasra-Nama;

*      Description of Tarsya Kalpa.

5)         Varaha Purāṇá – 24,000 verses.

*      Describes different Vratas;

*      Lord Vishnu’s Glories.

6)         Bhāgavata Purāṇá – 18,000 Verses. (Included By Some in the Mode of Goodness)

 Purāṇás with Lord Brahma as the Predominating Deity (Rajo Guna):

7)         Brahmanda Purāṇá – 12,000 Verses.

*      Describes the Védāngas;

*      Describes the Adi Kalpa.

8)         Brahmavaivarta Purāṇá – 18,000 Verses.

*      Contains the Glories and Pastimes of Radha and Krishna.

9)         Markandeya Purāṇá – 9,000 Verses.

*      Stories of Rama and Krishna.

10)       Bhavisya Purāṇá – 14,500 Verses.

*      Contains the Glories of Devotional Service;

Prediction of Lord Chaitanya.

11)       Vamana
Purāṇá – 10,000 Verses.

*      Contains the Story of Lord Trivikrama.

12)       Brahma Purāṇá – 10,000 Verses.

Purāṇás with Lord Shiva as the Predominating Deity (Tamo Guna):

13)       Matsya Purāṇá – 14,000 Verses.

*      Temple Construction;

*      Describes Vamana and Varaha Kalpas.

14)       Kurma Purāṇá – 17,000 Verses.

*      Contains the Conversation between Krishna and the Sun-God (Mentioned in BhāgavadGīta);

*      Danvantari;

*      Describes the Lakshmi Kalpa.

15)       Linga Purāṇá – 10,000 Verses.

*      Contains the Glory of Lord Nrismhadeva; Janardhana;

*      The Story of Ambarisa;

*      The Glories of Gayatri.

16)       Shiva Purāṇá – 24,000 Verses.

17)       Skanda Purāṇá – 81,000 Verses.

18)       Agni Purāṇá – 15,400 Verses.

*      Contains the Description of Salagrama;

*      Describes the Isana Kalpa.

All these Purāṇás Describe Five Subjects. The Amarkhosa Describes the Purāṇás as follows:

Sargas Ca Pratisarga Ca
Vamsa Manvantarani Ca
Vamsanu Caritam Capi
Purāṇám Panca Laksanam

A Purāṇá Describes:

1)   Sarga (Creation)

2)   Pratisarga (Recreation)

3)   Vamsa (History of the Sages)

4)   Manvantara (Periods of Manu)

5)   Vamsanucarita (Geneology of Kings)


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