Vedas and Sastras
Frequently Asked Questions
- The person, whose function is to recite praises of God and prayer to Him, sitting in one place, is called Hota. The Hota's function and Mantras are given in Rig Veda.
- The person, who is engaged in the actual performance of the ritual, from the beginning to the end, is called Adhvaryu. The necessary mantras and the functions of the Adhvaryu are given in Yajur Veda.
- The person who sings Samans (musical notes), sitting in another place, is called Udgata. The Udgata's functions and the Sama Ganas are given in Sama Veda.
- The general supervisor of the rituals is called Brahman. The Bhrama's functions and the Mantras are given in Atharva Veda. The vedas are also broadly divided as Mantras and Brahmanas.
Portions dealing with philosophy and knowledge of Brahman are called Jnanakandra or Brahma kanda.
So, Mantras and Brahmanas come under Karmakanda. Upanishads are called Jnanakanda. But, knowledge of Brahman and Philosophy are also discussed in Mantras and Brahmanas.
Samhita denotes collection of Mantras.
Brahmanas have already been described earllier.
Aranyakas are texts, which were recited in hermitages in forests.
Upanishads contain philosophical thoughts, in the form of discussions and explanations.
The Upanishads are also called Veda Siras, i.e., the head of the Veda. When we say the head, we mean the most important part of the Veda.
- Siksha explains the proper pronunciations of the Vedas.
- Vyakarana explains the grammar of the Vedic words.
- Chandas explains the metres of the various Riks.
- Jyotisha helps in deciding the proper time for the performance of the various rituals.
- Nirukta gives the meanings of difficult words in the Vedas.
- Kalpa describes the proper method of performing the various ritual mentioned in the Vedas.
These six angas of the Vedas help in a proper understanding of the Vedas. They also help in the performance of the various rituals or the yagas (yagnas), prescribed by the Vedas.
The more important Smritis are : Manu Smriti, Parasarra Smriti, Yagnavalkya Smriti, Harita Smriti ans Sandilya Smriti. Some say there are 20 Smritis and some others say that there are 57 Smritis.
These are sub-divided into three sets or groups.
- The first set of six Puranas are authoritative, sacred. These are called Sattvika Puranas.
- The second set of six Puranas are of medium quality, i.e. the whole thing cannot be accepted as true. These are called Rajasa Puranas.
- The third set of six puranas cannot be taken as perfectly valid. Only some portions of them, which are not opposed to Vedas, can be taken as authoritative. These are called Tamasa Puranas.
The first set of six Puranas which are most sacred (Sattvika Puranas) are as follows:
- Vishnu Purana
- Narada Purana
- Padma Purana
- Varaha Purana
- Garuda Purana
The second set of six Puranas, which are not wholly authoritative, (Rajasa Puranas) are:
- Vamana Purana
- Brahma Purana
- Markandeya Purana
- Bhaavishya Purana
- Brahmanda Purana
- Brahma Vaivarta Purana
The last set of six Puranas, which are not very authoritative (Tamasa Puranas) are:
- Matsya Purana
- Kurma Purana
- Agni Purana
- Linga Purana
- Siva Purana
- Skanda Purana
The Vaishnava Agamas identify Brahman as Vasudeva. We will discuss this further later.
- creation of this world.
- sustenance of this world
- destruction of this world.
The second chapter discusses some of the objections in this regard put forth by other schools and proves that Brahman is both the material cause and the instrumental cause of this world. (We will discuss this in detail later)
The third chapter talks of salvation: what is meant by salvation and the glory of salvation.
- Brahma Sutra
- Bhagavad Gita
These are the most sacred texts. All philosophers have written commentaries on these, trying to prove that these three books support their therory.
Other frequently asked questions
- Vadakalai and Tenkalai
- The Three Secrets
- The Departure of the Soul
- Jivatma and Paramatma
- Karma, Janana and Bhakti Yogas
- Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita
- Iswara – The Lord and Master
- Matter and Creation
- The Eternal Jivatma
- The “Doctrine Special” of Visishtadvaita
- Alwars and Acharyas
- Vedas and Sastras