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 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.