Shruti & Smriti • Vedas • Upanishads • Mahabarata • Ramayana
Shruti This is revealed scriptures The Vedas are shruti. These are not translated from sanskrit so can only be studied by Brahmins. Smriti This is remembered scriptures. Puranas, Laws of Manu, Ramayana & The Mahabarata are smriti. Smriti can be translated and made into cartoon strips etc. Hindu scriptures are divided into 2 categories
Vedas • There are 4 Vedas: Atharva Veda, Yajun Veda & The Rig Veda. • Each Veda contains 4 parts. • Samhita – original writings – hymns, prayers & religious rituals. • Brahmanas – interpretation & commentary on the Samhita. • Aranyakas – written by Holy men. • Upanishads – secret & scared messages.
Upanishads • 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.
Mahabarata • 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.
Summary • Shruti = revealed Smriti = remembered. • The Vedas are full of hymns, prayers & instructions for religious rituals. • The Upanishads are secret messages found within the Vedas concerning karma, Brahman & atman. • The Mahabarata contains the Bhagavad Gita which tells the story of Krishna & Arjuna. • The Ramayana tells the story of Rama & Sita and is associated with Diwali.