List of Hindu scriptures
Several lists include only the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita as scriptures broadly accepted by Hindus. Some lists add some regional texts as the Tantric Agamas, Bhagavata Purana , Yajnavalkya Smriti and Naalayira Divya Prabhandham.
Most of these texts exist in Sanskrit, several others have been composed in regional languages such as Tamil. 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.
This list includes all major religious Hindu texts, including the Hindu scriptures, as well.
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- 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.
- Atharva Veda: one of the four Vedas; the last one
- Akilathirattu Ammanai: A 19th century Tamil Vaishnavite text and the primary scripture of Ayyavazhi sect.
- Bhagavad Gītā (भगवद् गीता) : The national gospel contained in Mahābhārata, Part of the epic poem Mahabharata, located in the Bhishma-Parva chapters 23–40. A core sacred text of Hinduism and philosophy.
- Bhagavata Purana – one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, and is Sanskrit for "The Book of God".
- Brahmana – one of the parts into which the Vedas are divided, and are its second layer.
- Brahma Sutras – important texts in Advaita Vedanta.
- 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
- Devi Mahatmya also known as Durgā Saptashatī – 700 verses from Mārkandeya Purana giving an account of the Glory of Devi, the Goddess, the most important text of Shaktism – sometimes referred to as the "Shakta Bible"
- Devi Bhagavata – One of the Puranas which is one of the most important writings in Shaktism.
- Divya Prabandha – Collection of 4000 verses in Tamil; sung by Alvars saints on Vishnu. Considered as Dravida Veda.
- Gheranda Samhita (धेरंड संहिता): One of the three classic texts of Hatha Yoga (see also: Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Shiva Samhita) written in the late 17th century CE.
- Gītā (गीता): See Bhagwad Gita
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika: is one of the fundamental text of Hatha Yoga including information about asanas, pranayama, chakras, kundalini, bandhas, kriyas, shakti, nadis and mudras. It was written by Swami Swatmarama in the 15th century CE.
- Itihasas – in Hindu religious context this term refers to the Mahabharata and the Ramayana but may also be used in reference to all kinds of Indian epic poetry
- 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 as an important work of Hindu law and ancient Indian society. The revised text is largely doctored during the British rule to spread disharmony among the people.
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, 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.
- Rāmāyaṇa (रामायण): Part of the Hindu smriti, written by Valmiki. This epic of 24,000 verses in seven kandas (chapters or books) tells of a Raghuvamsa prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the rakshasa Ravana.
- 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
- Sama Veda – one of the four Vedas
- Shiva Samhita: is one of the three classical treatises on Hatha Yoga (see also: Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika) written by an unknown author. The text is addressed by the Hindu god Shiva to his consort Parvati.
- Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta – a collection of seventy seven aphorisms that form the foundation of Kashmir Shaivism.
- Smriti – Hindu scriptures other than the Vedas (e.g. the Itihasas, the Puranas)
- 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.
- Tirumurai – an important Tamil twelve volume compendium which consists of Ancient Tamil Saivite works.
- Thiruvasagam –one of the most important Tamil Saivite scripture sung by the great saint 'manicavasagar'. This work was written by God Shiva himself.
- Thirukovai – an important Tamil Saivite scripture sung by manicavasagar and again written by God Shiva himself.
- Tevaram – an important Tamil Saivite scripture.
- Thiruvilayadal Puranam – an important Tamil Saivite scripture written by Paranjyothi munivar which describes the 64 divine plays of God Shiva in "Madurai" as "Sokkanadhar"(spouse of Goddess Minakshi.
- Tirukkural – an important smriti scripture in South India
- Tirumantiram – an important Tamil Saivite work of religious poerty
- Thiruvarutpa – an important Tamil Saivite scripture written by last great siddha-saint Vallalar.
- Upanishad (उपनिषद्): Part of the Hindu Śruti scriptures which primarily discuss meditation and philosophy, called the "scriptures par excellence" of Hinduism.
- 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." 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. This scripture is a list of assemblies given by Shriji Maharaj in various places such as Gadhadã, Sãrangpur, Kãriyãni, Loyã, Panchãlã, Vartãl, Ahmedãbãd and many other places. From this scripture one realizes ãtmã-Paramãtmã, Brahma-Parabrahma, Akshar-Purushottam, Swãmi-Nãrãyan. The Vachnamrut teaches on Ekantik Dharma . By understanding this scripture only then can one attain liberation and go to Akshardham.
- Yajurveda (यजुर्वेदः): One of the four Vedas, focusing on liturgy, rituals and sacrifices.
- Yoga Sutra (योग सूत्र): One of the six darshanas of Hindu or Vedic schools and, alongside the Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, are a milestone in the history of Yoga.
- Yoga Vasistha, the discourse of sage Vasistha to prince Rama. It is an important text of Yoga as well as Advaita Vedanta. The book consists of around thirty thousand slokas as well as numerous short stories and anecdotes.
- Yoga Yajnavalkya (योगयाज्ञवल्क्य): a classical treatise on yoga traditionally attributed to sage Yajnavalkya.
- Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, page ix-xi
- RC Zaehner (1992), Hindu Scriptures, Penguin Random House, ISBN 978-0679410782, pages 1-11 and Preface
- "Indian languages and the classical status".
- Sargeant, Winthrop, Introduction to The Bhagavad Gita at 3 (New York, 1984) ISBN 0-87395-831-4
- Swami Nikhilananda, The Upanishads: A New Translation Vol. I, at 3 (5th Ed. 1990) ISBN 0-911206-15-9
- Swarupananda, Swami (1909). "Foreword". Bhagavad Gita. Advaita Ashrama. pp. i–ii.
- 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".
- 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."
- Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Vol III. 118–120; Vol. I. 6–7.