Veda is a Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit is the world's oldest and most complete language. Veda means "knowledge" and therefore it includes a variety of different topics, both spiritual and material.
Hindu religious literature is divided into two main categories:
- Shruti: that which has been heard
Shruti is canonical, consisting of revelation and unquestionable truth, and is considered eternal. It refers mainly to the Vedas themselves.
- Smriti: hal-hal yang telah diingat
Smriti is supplementary and may change over time. It is authoritative only to the extent that it conforms to the bedrock of shruti.
- Rig-Veda: The most important and, according to scholars, oldest of the Vedas. It is divided into ten books (called mandalas) and has 1028 hymns in praise of various deities. These include Indra, Agni, Vishnu, Rudra, Varuna, and other early "Vedic gods." It also contains the famous Gayatri mantra and the prayer called the Purusha Shukta (the story of Primal Man).
- Yajur-Veda: A priestly handbook for use in the performance of yajnas (sacrifices). It is divided into two sections, the earlier "black" and the more recent "white."
- Sama-Veda: This consists of chants and melodies to be sung during worship and the performance of yajna.
- Atharva-Veda: Contains hymns, mantras and incantations, largely outside the scope of yajna.
- Upanishad: means "sitting near," alluding to the tutorials given by a guru to his disciples (who would traditionally sit "at his feet'). The Upanishads are philosophical texts delineating some of the key concepts within Hinduism, including notions of the soul, reincarnation, karma, Brahman and liberation. The Upanishads are sometimes considered the beginning of direct spiritual instruction within the Vedas. The traditional number of Upanishads is 108, though there are many more, especially of recent origin. Of these, 13 are usually considered most important.
- Vedanta Sutra: (also called the Brahma Sutras) are an attempt by the sage Vyasa (Badarayana) to systematise the teachings of the Upanishads. There are a total of 550 aphorisms divided between four chapters. Various authors wrote lengthy commentaries upon them, giving rise to the many different and often conflicting schools of Vedanta. Important commentaries â€“ considered smriti â€“ include the Shariraka Bhasya by Shankara, the Shri Bhasya by Ramanuja, the Shrikara Bhasya by Shripati, and the Govinda Bhasya by Baladeva.
Because people are less philosophically inclined in Kali-Yuga, the Upanishads and Vedanta Sutra are considered difficult to understand without the guidance of the supplementary smriti literature.
- Mahabharata: the history of greater India, was originally composed by the sage Vyasa. Handed down over thousands of years, its present form of 110,000 verses makes it the longest poem in the world. The plot is gripping, with many twists and turns, and intertwined with intricate sub-plots. It focuses on the political tensions between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, and culminates in the fratricidal battle of Kurukshetra. The book also includes narrations of other historical tales, and several philosophical discourses. The story particularly explores many of the intricacies ofdharma, especially for the warrior and priestly classes.
- Bhagavad-gita: the "Song of God," is the best-known Hindu scripture in the world. Forming two chapters of the Mahabharata, it is a spiritual treatise spoken by Krishna to Arjuna as they sat on a chariot between two armies poised for battle.
- Ramayana: "the Journey of Rama," is a Sanskrit epic compiled by the poet-sage Valmiki. Hindus consider Rama a historical figure, and an avatar of Vishnu. Some date him back to the Treta-Yuga, whereas others consider him far more recent.
- Purana: means "very old" or "ancient," and the books themselves claim greater antiquity than the Vedas. There are many books but eighteen main or maha (great) Puranas. These form three sets of six books, with each set connected to one of the trimurti â€“ Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.
- Dharma Shastra: include the law codes of Hinduism, both secular and religious. They deal with three main subjects: codes of conduct, civil and criminal law, and punishment and atonement. Most important is the Manu Smriti (or Manu Samhita), written by Manu, an administrative demigod (the "ruler of mankind") and the first law-giver.