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ANCIENT TEXTS OF INDIA

Internet, in todays time has gone up to become oxygen for cyber world; even WW III doesnt pose threat
anymore than the shutdown of the Internet. According to statistics, Internet traffic till date is estimated to be
nearly 32 terabytes per second; that sounds humongous isnt it? But, you will be shocked to know that even
before the existence of the modern day Internet; it was only India that had enormous information preserved in
face of ancient literature.

Sanskrit
Sanskrit language alone has countless books and pages of information that are impossible for the current
generation to finish reading in their entire lifetime; even if they had nothing else do to. Every piece of
information was so brilliantly connected and ensconced that it wouldnt be wrong to call it the Internet of
ancient India.

Reliving the facets of Ancient India


Dont believe us? This write-up might just restore your faith. To start with lets just broadly categorize the
ancient work in six kinds: Vedas, Upavedas, Vedangas, Puranas, Darshanas, and Kavyas.

#1. Vedas
Large body of texts or knowledge to be precise from the ancient Indian literature is termed Vedas. These
foundational works of Hinduism are often called Shruti (Sruti in Sanskrit: meaning- what is heard). They are
considered apaurueya, which means not of a man, authorless, impersonal, and are believed to be devised
by Lord Brahma (creator of life).

Four sacred Vedas of Hinduism


Specifically these Vedas are inscribed into four works: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda.
Further these works are sub-classified into four major text types: the Samhita (mantras, hymns, or shlokas), the
Aranyaka (texts defining rituals, holy ceremonies, and symbolic sacrifices), the Brahmanas (notations,
remarks, and interpretations of those rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (manuscripts
discussion spiritual knowledge and philosophy).

Upasana Veda
A few scholars of recent times have also voiced to infuse a fifth category- the Upasanas, which means
worshipping these works. Multitude of knowledge is engraved within Samhitas and Upanishads of these
works, which is impossible for a human to read completely in his/her present lifetime.

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ANCIENT TEXTS OF INDIA


#2. Upavedas
These are credited as the secondary body of work within Hindu culture, in contrast to Vedas (note: context
wise). If Vedas are more spiritual than Upavedas would be more secular. To understand the different within
them more clearly, let us just say that Vedas focus on the inner world, while Upavedas focus on the outer
world.
Upavedas are more inclined towards material and are further classified into four categories- Ayurveda (deals
with wellness and health), Arthaveda (deals with transcripts of economics, polity, governance, etc.),
Gandharvaveda (deals with art) and Sthapatyaveda (deals with ancientengineering, architecture, et al).
Of all known texts Shushruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita, and Ashtanga Hridaya come under Ayurveda, while
Arthaveda covers Arthashastra, Panchatantra, and Hitopadesha. Texts like Kamasutra, Natyashastra, and
Dhvanyaloka come under Gandharvaveda, and Manasara Mayamatam, Vishvarupam, and Rupavastumandana
are all under Sthapatyaveda.

#3. Vedanga
Acknowledged as the limbs of Vedas, Vedanga are six assisting regulations to study and understand Vedas.
These Vedangas help in building a strong foundation of the language. These six classifications are Siksha
(Sandhi, meaning pronunciation, phonetics), Vyakarana (grammar), Nirukta (semantic etymology), Chandas
(prosody, poetic meters), Jyotisha (astrology, astronomy), and Kalpa (rituals, law, et al).
Siksha being the first discipline has 32 systems, each of them differently related to Vedas in order to teach
morphophonology, phonetics, and phonology. The second comes Kalpa, which constitutes of huge texts
related to teaching rituals, laws and dharma. Third one, Vyakarana is devoted to grammar, and the fourth one,
Nirukta, deals with etymology. Chandas is the fifth discipline dedicated to Sanskrit prosody. And finally, the
sixth discipline is Jyotisha, which is to measure time and movements of planets, sun and moon.

#4. Puranas
Going by their literal meaning ancient texts, these are widely accredited as folklores or legends of sages and
kings and their tales, which were composed for the purpose of educating commoners. At core, they contain the
philosophy of the Vedas. Several of these texts are named after Hindu gods, like Shiva, Vishnu and Devi.

Ramayana and Mahabharat


In total there are 18 Mahapuranas comprising Bhagavata purana, Shiva purana, Brahma purana, Padma
purana), and 18 Upapuranas. Legendary epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, too come under Puranas.

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ANCIENT TEXTS OF INDIA


#5. Darshana
One of the most sought out works of the ancient India is Darshanas. Their literal meaning signifies point of
view; basically referring to philosophy. Around the world, there are six classical schools of Indian philosophy
and three unorthodox schools.
These six classical schools are widely known as Sankhya (where method of reasoning and enumeration are
taught), Yoga (where union of body and mind is preached), Nyaya (where various methods to study knowledge
and learning are established), Vaisheshika (where study of existence and nature of reality is taught), Mimamsa
(which teaches of philosophy of rituals), and Vedanta (which gives out introspective wisdom).
And, then there are the three unorthodox schools, which are Jaina (which preaches Jainism), Bauddha (which
preaches Buddhism), and Lokayata (which preaches materialistic atheism). Apart from these are nine schools
of Indian philosophy where students are trained to explore the fundamental philosophy of the world.

#6. Kavya
Any work of literature of the Hindu culture which evokes rasa (aesthetic experience) comes under Kavya. It
can be poetry, epic poems, didactic verse, historic poetry, prose, songs, and plays. When we talk of Kavya ras,
only one name comes straight to our mind- Kalidas. One of the greatest poets of the world, and till date his
work remains unmatched.
There are over hundreds of prominent poets whose work have had a lasting importance engraved to Sanskrit
literature. One can only imagine if not measure the brilliance and depth of knowledge of Sanskrit language
given to us by our ancestors.

Pride of ancient India


India is only fortunate to inherit such a magnificent tradition, which remains unbroken for nearly 6,000 years.

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