Hindu Texts • What do we already know about the history of the Hindu tradition? • What do we mean by ‘sacred text’?
Hindu Texts Smriti “that which is remembered” Sruti “that which is heard” • The Ramayana • The Mahabharata • The Bhagavad Gita • The Four Vedas • Upanishads
The Vedas • ‘Veda’ = ‘knowledge’ • Written in Vedic Sanskrit • The four Vedas are: Rig Veda Sama Veda Yajur Veda Atharva Veda
Rig Veda - A collection of 1,028 hymns to various deities. It also contains many mythological and poetical accounts of the origins of the world Sama Veda – ‘Sama’ means ‘melody’ and so this text is a copy of the Rig Veda’s hymns set to music. It was used as liturgy by the priests in ritual sacrifices Yajur Veda – Mantras from the Rig Veda are paired up with certain sacrificial actions Atharva Veda – This text is less concerned with sacrifice, but more with magic that will protect the individual against evil. It also contains philosophical hymns.
Upanishads • ‘To sit at the feet of’ – What do you think this means? • There are more than 200 Upanishads • We learn about many of the central concepts to the Hindu tradition from these books – What are they? Karma Moksha Brahman Samsara Atman
The Ramayana • One of the two great Indian Epics. The original poem was written by the poet Valmiki and was a 24,000 couplet long poem. • It tells of life in India around 1,000BCE. • It tells of the story of Rama and Sita – Who is Sita an avatar of? • It centres around the important concept of dharma.
The Mahabharata & Bhagavad Gita • The second of India’s great Epics. • It has over 200,000 individual lines of verse, fitted into 18 books. • Tells the story of a warring cousins, of good against evil. • The Bhagavad Gita is a small section of the Mahabharata and deals with Krishna talking to Arjuna about his guilty feelings surrounding the war • It is a collection of subtales that mutually illuminate each other.
QUESTIONS Answer the following questions : a. Give two differences between “Shrutis” and “Smritis”. b. Give two main messages of Hindu Scriptures for Mankind which appeal to you. Why do they appeal to you?