List of Hindu scriptures

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Several lists of Hindu scriptures have appeared, and scholars hesitate in defining the term "Hindu scripture" given the diverse nature of Hinduism.[1]

Several lists include only the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita as scriptures broadly accepted by Hindus.[1][2] Some lists add some regional texts as the Tantric Agamas, Bhagavata Purana and Yajnavalkya Smriti.[1]

Most of these texts exist in Sanskrit, several others have been composed in regional languages. In modern times, most have been translated into other Indian languages and some in Western languages. In ancient times, the scriptures were transmitted orally, from one generation to next, in verse form to aid memorization, for many centuries before they were written down.[3][4]

This list includes all major religious Hindu texts, including the Hindu scriptures, as well.


  • Agama – important smriti scriptures. Different denominations understand this term in different ways.
  • Aranyaka (आरण्यक) : Part of the Vedas, the third layer embedded inside them, treated as Śruti.



  • Chandas – (छंदः), the study of Vedic meter, is one of the six Vedanga disciplines, or "organs of the vedas.
  • Chandogya Upanishad – is associated with the Samaveda. It figures as number 9 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads. It is part of the Chandogya Brahmana, which has ten chapters.
  • Charaka Samhita: An early Ayurvedic text on internal medicine. It is believed to be the oldest of the three ancient treatises of Ayurveda.
  • "'Code of Manu"' – is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism






  • Kamba Ramayanam (கம்ப இராமாயணம்): 12th century Tamil version of Ramayana.


  • Mahabharata (महाभारत): One of the two major ancient Sanskrit epics of India, the other being the Ramayana. The Mahabharata is of religious and philosophical importance in India; in particular, the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of its chapters (Bhishmaparva) and a sacred text of Hinduism.
  • Manu Smriti (मनुस्मृति) : The Manusmriti translated "Laws of Manu" is regarded as an important work of Hindu law and ancient Indian society. Manu was the forefather of all humans and author of Manu Smriti.


The Nalayira Divya Prabandham (Tamil: நாலாயிர திவ்ய பிரபந்தம்) is a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses (Naalayira in Tamil means 'four thousand') composed before 8th century AD,[1] by the 12 Alvars, and was compiled in its present form by Nathamuni during the 9th – 10th centuries. The work is the beginning of the canonization of the 12 Vaishnava poet saints, and these hymns are still sung extensively even today. The works were lost before they were collected and organized in the form of an anthology by Nathamuni.


  • Purana (पुराण): Purana meaning "ancient" or "old" is the name of a genre (or a group of related genres) of Indian written literature (as distinct from oral literature). Its general themes are history, tradition and religion. It is usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another.


  • Rigveda (ऋग्वेद): The Rigveda is a collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns counted as the holiest of the four religious texts of Hindus, known as the Vedas.


  • Sahasranama – a book containing a list of names of deities
  • Śruti (श्रुति): A canon of Hindu scriptures. Shruti is believed to have no author; rather a divine recording of the "cosmic sounds of truth", heard by rishis.
  • Sūtra (सूत्र): Sūtra refers to an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a book or text. 'Sutras' form a school of Vedic study, related to and somewhat later than the Upanishads.
  • Sushruta Samhita: An ancient Sanskrit text, attributed to one Sushruta, foundational to Ayurvedic medicine (Indian traditional medicine), with innovative chapters on surgery.
  • Swara yoga: An ancient science of pranic body rhythms. It explores how prana can be controlled through the breath.


  • Tantras (तंत्र): The esoteric Hindu traditions of rituals and yoga. Tantra can be summarised as a family of voluntary rituals modeled on those of the Vedas, together with their attendant texts and lineages.



  • Veda (वेद): Vedas are texts without start and end, stated Swami Vivekananda, and they include "the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times."[8] Collectively refers to a corpus of ancient Indian religious literature that are considered by adherents of Hinduism to be Śruti (that which is heard).
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra – a teaching where Bhairavi (Parvati) asks Bhairava (Lord Shiva) to reveal the essence of the way one has to tread on the path to the realization of the highest reality – the state of Bhairava.
  • Vachanamrut - Essence of the teachings of Swaminarayan


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, page ix-xi
  2. ^ RC Zaehner (1992), Hindu Scriptures, Penguin Random House, ISBN 978-0679410782, pages 1-11 and Preface
  3. ^ Sargeant, Winthrop, Introduction to The Bhagavad Gita at 3 (New York, 1984) ISBN 0-87395-831-4
  4. ^ Swami Nikhilananda, The Upanishads: A New Translation Vol. I, at 3 (5th Ed. 1990) ISBN 0-911206-15-9
  5. ^ Swarupananda, Swami (1909). "Foreword". Bhagavad Gita. Advaita Ashrama. pp. i–ii. 
  6. ^ Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429, page 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".
  7. ^ Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470, pages 2-3; Quote: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."
  8. ^ Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Vol III. 118–120; Vol. I. 6–7.