Shruti & Smriti

Hindu scriptures are divided into 2 categories


  • This is revealed scriptures
  • The Vedas are shruti.
  • These are not translated from sanskrit so can only be studied by Brahmins.


  • This is remembered scriptures.
  • Puranas, Laws of Manu, Ramayana & The Mahabarata are smriti. Smriti can be translated and made into cartoon strips etc.


There are 4 Vedas: Atharva Veda, Yajun Veda & The Rig Veda.

Each Veda contains 4 parts.

  • 1.Samhita – original writings – hymns, prayers & religious rituals.
  • 2. Brahmanas – interpretation & commentary on the Samhita.
  • 3. Aranyakas – written by Holy men.
  • 4. Upanishads – secret & scared messages.


  • The Upanishads are secret & sacred messages found within the Vedas.
  • The word upanishad means to sit down near to your teacher.
  • They were composed between 800-300 BCE .
  • The teaching of the Upanishads is concerned with Brahman, Karma & the Atman.
  • The Upanishads stress that the many deities are all aspects of the one Brahman.


  • The Mahabarata is best known for the epic Bhagavad Gita which is one aspect of it.
  • The Gita tells the story of Krishna’s incarnation as a chariot driver to Arjuna.
  • Krishna teaches Arjuna about the importance of following one’s dharma and the immortality of the soul which cannot be destroyed.

The Ramayana

  • The Ramayana tells the story of Rama & Sita, their exile in the forest with Lakshman.
  • Sita’s kidnapping by the demon Ravanna.
  • Rama’s rescue of Sita with the help of Hanuman the monkey King and their return home where Rama is recognised as the rightful King.
  • Sita is held up as an example of how to be a dutiful wife.
  • Hanuman is held up as an example of Bhakti (devotion to God.)
  • The story is very popular and particularly associated with the festival of Divali.
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