THE SACRED HINDU BOOKS – A QUICK OVERVIEW

Hinduism the Indian religion has over 1.25 billion followers, who follow the dharma or the Hindu way of life. There are several sacred books in Hinduism and this article strives to briefly focus upon the most significant of those holy texts – the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Itihasas. In this article, a summary of these sacred Hindu books has been provided.

The Vedas

The Vedas are four in number, each of the Veda has further subdivisions. The names of these holy books that are collectively called Vedas are – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are considered the most sacred books of Hinduism.

We have four types of Vedas: The Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda, and the Atharva Veda.
The Hindus consider the four Vedas to be holy texts that are eternal and that haven’t been written by any human. It is believed that the Vedas have directly been revealed to the sages, who then passed this knowledge to subsequent generations.
The Vedas, which are one of the oldest books of Hinduism, include various incantations, hymns, and rituals. Apart from the spiritual relevance, the Vedas provide a clear understanding of the daily life of India almost five thousand years back.
The Rig Veda is considered to be the oldest of all the Vedas.

Each Veda has sub-parts or subdivisions

Each of the Vedas has several components – the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. let us have a brief look at the above-mentioned components of the holy books – the Vedas

The Vedas have the mantra texts which are termed Samhitas.
The prose texts that vividly detail the hymns of the Vedas are called the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas also throw light on the Sanskrit words that are there in every Veda. These works contain the stipulations and guidelines related to the observance of rites and rituals described in the Vedas, too.
The Aranyakas, the other name of which is “Forest Books,” interpret the many sacrificial rituals in a detailed manner.
The Upanishads are a compilation of numerous texts that elaborate on various important philosophical facets of the religion. The Upanishads are considered as the extension of the Vedas and which clearly explains the way the Atma (soul) can get merged with the Brahman (the supreme cosmic source).

The Puranas

The Puranas are a huge collection of many Hindu holy books or texts that cover many topics. The inspirational characters from the Puranas show Hindus the goals to pursue.

Most of the Puranas are written in Sanskrit and they are dedicated to important deities of Hinduism. Shiva Purana and Vishnu Purana are examples of the Puranas.
Cosmology, cosmogony, stories about gods, goddesses, demigods, and sages are included in the Puranas.
The religion has 18 Maha Puranas that contain more than 400,000 verses.
In terms of popularity and acceptance, the Bhagavata Purana holds the top position among the Hindus.

The Itihasas – The Ramayana and The Mahabharata

An article on the sacred books of Hinduism would remain incomplete if it does not make a mention of the two great epics: The Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The Ramayana has the respected characters in Hinduism – Rama and Sita.
The Ramayana, through the story of Lord Rama, conveys significant moral values that stood the test of time. These values are relevant even today.
The Mahabharata describes the clash between the cousins Pandavas and the Kauravas. On one side are the competent and righteous Pandavas and on the other side are the materialistic Kauravas who do not hesitate to resort to unethical means for material gains. Despite good advice, Kauravas continue their bad behaviour and which leads to the great Kurukshetra war. Even this epic stresses many noble truths that hold good even in the modern-day.

The sacred Hindu books are a vast ocean of Starting from the ancient times and continuing even till now, several scholars have been writing translations and commentaries with their interpretations of the sacred Hindu books. Through these modern translations, the core message is made understood by the person of today’s generation.

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