What is the holy book of Hinduism?

Discussion in 'Hindu Holy Books' started by Ignorant, May 27, 2015.

  1. Ignorant

    Ignorant New Member

    Most of the time, the people, who are more curious about the religious practice, have one patent question and that is about the religious texts and scriptures. However, unlike most of the other religions, Hinduism is not just a religion, but a way of life and has various differences from the other popular religious beliefs that have been propounded by one single individual. Hence, in case of the other religions, the religious texts of Hinduism do not follow the wisdom and teachings of that single person, but have too many other factors and features to be followed.

    Whereas, the religious texts and scriptures define the boundaries of the religion, in Hinduism, there is no such book or text that alone can guide the Hindu follower to practice the rituals and wisdom of the religion. Without following these religious texts on a regular basis or without reading them ever, the Hindus can get the liberation, freedom or moksha.

    However, one religious text that the Hindus consider to be a single and complete text for Hindu religious practices is Vedas. It is the ancient book that has been into existence for a very long time, rather from time immemorial. But more than reciting the glories of Hinduism, the Vedas and its parts more focus on the stotras and the rituals of the religion that need to be practiced in the various occasions.

    The Vedas have four sections and they are the Rig, Sam, Yajur and Atharva. And each one of these holy books, there are the subdivisions of Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka & Upanishad. Each one of these sub divisions of the books has their special significance. If you are looking for the interpretation or the application of the Vedic Samhitas, the Brahmanas will help you. The philosophical parts of the Vedas are the Upanishads and Arnyakas. They cover the maximum spectrum of the relationship between the Hindus and their gods and goddesses.

    Apart from the Vedas, there have been also many other religious and spiritual texts like the Puranas. The Puranas are purely mythological and have all the reference to the gods and goddesses associated with Hinduism. Some of the stories are also believed to have happened in the earth in the presence of the humans on earth. Just as Lord Krishna has come to the earth in His human avatar and is believed to be reincarnated and being born on earth in every era.

    The Bhagvad Gita is the most renowned and most studied text that seems to have been composed by the words of Lord Krishna. There are also the Itihaas texts that are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata that are equally important and are considered to have become a part of the lives of the Hindus. Most of the Hindus recite the hymns of the Vedas, the words of the Gita and also recite Ramayana as a regular practice to stay connected to the roots of Hinduism. It will certainly help you to enlighten your knowledge of the religion.
  2. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member Staff Member

    Nice summary.

    I have two things to add hoping to complement your essay. The first is that outsiders coming from a scripture based religion (namely Abrahamics) wrongly assume that all religions are scripture based. This is false. Several religions, including our own Hinduism have less focus on scripture than the 3 Abrahamic faiths. But little wonder they ask us to quote scripture to back everything up, as that's what they often do. We are more focused on experience ... as you said ... a way of life.

    Secondly, there are a few more to mention ... the Agamas, the works of countless Gurus are scripture to their followers, and some individual languages have their own great scripture. In Tamil there is the Tirukkural, the Tirumantiram, the Tirumurai, and more. So it's vast. No individual could possibly be familiar with it all, even if he was a great scholar.
    2 people like this.

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