The Yoga Vasishtha

Origin and Glory The earliest work in Sanskrit on Vedanta of the highest order is the Vasishtha Maha Ramayana or Yoga Vasishtha. This monumental work is one without a second in Sanskrit literature. Vasishtha, the great sage, taught the principles of Vedanta to his royal pupil, Sri Rama, the victor of Ravana and hero of […]

The Vedas

SANSKRIT LITERATURE Sanskrit literature can be classified under six orthodox heads and four secular heads. The six orthodox sections form the authoritative scriptures of the Hindus. The four secular sections embody the latter developments in classical Sanskrit literature. The six scriptures are: (i) Srutis, (ii) Smritis, (iii) Itihasas, (iv) Puranas, (v) Agamas and (vi) Darsanas. […]

The Upanishads

A Treasure Of Wisdom Prostrations to Satchidananda Parabrahman, who is the prop, basis and source for everything! Salutations to all Brahmavidya-Gurus or the preceptors of knowledge of Brahman! There is no book in the whole world that is so thrilling, soul-stirring and inspiring as the Upanishad. The philosophy taught by the Upanishads has been the […]

The Smritis

Introduction Next in importance to the Sruti are the Smritis or secondary scriptures. These are the ancient sacred law-codes of the Hindus dealing with the Sanatana-Varnashrama-Dharma. They supplement and explain the ritualistic injunctions called Vidhis in the Vedas. The Smritis or Dharma Sastras are founded on the Sruti. The Smritis are based on the teachings […]

The Secular Writings

The Subhashitas The Subhashitas are wise sayings, instructions and stories, either in poetry or in prose. Examples are Bhartrihari�s three centuries of verses, the Subhashita-Ratna-Bhandagara and Somadeva Bhatta�s Katha-Sarit-Sagara or Kshemendra�s Brihat-Katha-Manjari. The Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa also belong to this category. The Kavyas These are highly scholarly compositions in poetry, prose or both. The […]

The Puranas

The Friendly Treatises The Puranas are of the same class as the Itihasas (the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.). They have five characteristics (Pancha Lakshana), viz., history, cosmology (with various symbolical illustrations of philosophical principles), secondary creation, genealogy of kings, and of Manvantaras (the period of Manu�s rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 years). All […]

The Mahabharata

The Greatness of the Epic MAHABHARATA�the very mention of the name gives a thrill of holy ideas. This is a great epic heroic poem. It contains one hundred thousand verses. It contains the essence of all scriptures. It is an encyclopaedia of ethics, knowledge, politics, religion, philosophy and Dharma. If you cannot find anything here, […]

The Darsanas

What is Darsana The six scriptures of the Hindus are: (i) Srutis, (ii) Smritis, (iii) Itihasas, (iv) Puranas, (v) Agamas, and (vi) Darsanas. While the first four are intuitional, and the fifth inspirational and emotional, the Darsanas are the intellectual section of the Hindu writings. Darsanas are schools of philosophy based on the Vedas. The […]

The Bhagavad Gita

Introduction The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma-Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises eighteen chapters of a total of 701 Sanskrit verses. Considerable matter has been condensed and compressed within these verses. On the battle-field of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the course of His most interesting and […]

The Agamas

Introduction Another class of popular scriptures are the Agamas. The Agamas are theological treatises and practical manuals of divine worship. The Agamas include the Tantras, Mantras and Yantras. These are treatises explaining the external worship of God, in idols, temples, etc. All the Agamas treat of (i) Jnana or Knowledge, (ii) Yoga or Concentration, (iii) […]