aim of human life is to attain God realization while doing
good in the world; the means of God realization is bhakti
and God's Grace; and God, Who is omnipresent in His eternal
Divine personal form, is all-kind, all-loving, all-Gracious
and all-beautiful. Out of His extreme loving kindness to all
the souls, He instantly reveals Himself to anyone whenever
a person wholeheartedly surrenders to Him in total love and
dedication. Thus, this theme of 'God realization through bhakti'
has been the focusing point of all Bhartiya scriptures.
scriptures include the Vedas, the Upvedas, the Vedangas, the
Smritis, the Darshan Shastras, the Upnishads, the Puranas,
the Mahabharat, the Ramayan, the Gita, the Bhagwatam, and
the writings of the Jagadgurus, acharyas and Saints.
The scriptures are produced with the Divine will for the mankind,
to show them the path of God realiza-
tion. They provide the guidelines for all kinds of people
of the world, which, if followed, leads them towards God realization.
In brief our main scriptures teach the following: Vedas tell
to become a good person; Upnishads tell to love God and dont
be attached in the world because it is illusion; the Gita
tells to love God selflessly and reveals the secret of the
spiritual practices that only through bhakti
one can realize God; and then the Bhagwatam tells what is
the most loving form of God that encharmed the heart of the
topmost Yogi and Gyani, Shukdeo.
prime Bhartiya scriptures are shown in the chart below. By
clicking on the links in the chart, you will find
a brief introduction and description
of the scriptures.
are four Vedas: Rigved, Yajurved, Samved and Atharvaved.
According to the Muktikopnishad they had 21, 109, 1,000
and 50 branches, respectively,
having a total of approximately 100,000 verses
in their 1,180 branches. Nowadays only 20,379 verses
in total are available. 10,552 verses of Rigved
(arranged in 10 sections called mandal), 1,975
verses of Yajurved (in 40 chapters),
1,875 verses of Samved (in 21 chapters)
and 5,977 verses of Atharvaved (in
20 chapters). These verses are in praise of celestial
gods and goddesses and some of them are also for the
form of God. They are called mantra bhag or Sanhita.
Then there are the same number of branches (1,180) called
the Brahman, and the same number of
branches (1,180) called the Aranyak
which have the same number of (1,180) Upnishads. This
whole collection is called the Vedas.
verses of the Rigved are mainly in the
praise of Vedic gods and are used in the yagyas.
is for the addhvaryu priest who conducts the
yagya. It has prayers and praises related to
gods and also tells how to create the fire altar for yagya
and describes various kinds of yagyas.
is for the udgata priest who singingly chants
the verses of Samved. Samved and Yajurved deal with the
practical side of the used of the invocative mantras
of the Rigved in the yagya.
from the general philosophical descriptions of soul and
God and His Divine Greatness, which cover a small section
of the Atharvaved, the major section
of it deals with the mantras and the ritual observances
that are prescribed for the fulfillment of the material
needs of worldly people or for general welfare of the
There are six Vedangas (parts of the body of the Vedas):
Vyakaran, Jyotish, Nikrukt, Shikcha, Chand
and Kalp Sutras.
is Sanskrit grammar. The very ancient Sanskrit
grammar books are all extinct. The grammar that
we have now is Panini grammar.
It has eight chapters so it called Ashtadhyayi.
It was directly graced by God Shiv.
is astrology. Astrology was used to determine
the auspicious moment to commence the yagya
or for any other felicitous work. Very few books
of Jyotish are available; the rest are extinct.
has three sections that describe the detailed explanation
and the meaning of the Vedic words. Nighantu is the collection
of the Vedic words with simple meaning and Nirukt is the
complete explanation of all those words like a detailed
dictionary. To understand the meaning of the Vedic words
one has to understand the Nirukt perfectly because the
words of the Vedas have sometimes very unusual and entirely
different meaning than what is commonly understood.
generally means the teachings of how to correctly pronounce
the Vedic mantras. But it is not that simple
as someone learning the pronunciation of the words of
any language. It is a complete science in itself.
simply means a poetic stanza of Vedic verse, but the poetry
of the Vedas is quite different. It has many kinds of
chandas and they all have their proper name.
The book of chandas teaches how to create the
chand, but how to sing a chand involves
the correct pronunciation of the words of the Vedic mantras.
Sutras are the concise forms of the Vedic Religion.
They are of four kinds. Shraut Sutra
describes the protocol of the yagyas; Grihya
Sutra describes the rituals for a family man;
Dharm Sutra describes the religious,
social and moral duties of an individual; and Shulb
Sutra describes the formation of the altar for
are four Upvedas (up means subsidiary):
(science of sociology and economics) is related to Rigved
(science of defense and war and the making of its related
appliances) is related to Yajurved
(science of music, both singing and instrumental) is related
(the medical science) is related to Atharvaved
first three are almost extinct, the fourth one, Ayurved,
is still in existence but all of its books are not available.
Our Sages wrote a number of books on the science of
the preparation and the uses of herbs, roots, gems,
metals and pearls etc., for all kinds of diseases but
only some of them are available nowadays, although the
basic theory of Ayurved is available
were 1,180 Upnishads, related to 1,180 branches
of the Vedas. Out of them about 200 Upnishads
are still available. The Upnishads tell about
the illusive nature of the world, introduce
a correct understanding about the soul and God
and they normally use the term brahm or a pronoun
for all the forms of God. The Upnishads distinguish
the celestial gods from the Divine forms of
God. The main theme of the Upnishads
is to surrender to God (brahm) and receive liberation
from the bondage of maya (the cosmic power or
the material power) and enter into the eternal
state of the Divine Bliss. Following are explanations
of eleven prominent Upnishads.
is the first one in the list of Upnishads. It starts with
the very first word Ishwar which means the Divine
personality of God. It only has 18 verses. It its first
verse it gives a condensed philosophy of God and God realization
which is the gist of the Upnishadic philosophy.
has six chapters in two sections, and is in the form of
question and answer where Nachiketa is questioning and
the god of justice, Yamraj, is answering. The Kathopnishad
advises the souls and says, Human body is the only chance
where a person could receive liberation from the eternal
bondage and the inflictions of maya. If you do
not realize God before death overtakes you, it would be
the greatest disaster of your life and you will be suffering
for uncountable lifetimes by taking birth in various species.
has six chapters in three sections called mundak.
In this Upnishad Sage Angira is telling about God and
the method of God realization to Shaunak who desired to
know as to what is the absolutely knowable truth. In one
of the verses of Mundakopnishad, Sage Angira says, "The
ritualist brahmans discovered that the vedic
discipline of observing yagyas only provides
celestial luxuries which is only mayic and does
not take the doer to God, so they renounced it. To know
and to realize God one should dedicatingly go and surrender
to such a God realized Saint who has also full knowledge
of the scriptural secrets." (1/2/12)
has only 12 verses and explains the nirakar (impersonal)
aspect of God, and in fact, this is the only Upnishad
that truly defines the nirakar brahm. Other Upnishads
relate to the personal form of God, which is the main
form of God.
has three big chapters called Shikcha, Valli, Brahmanand
Valli and Bhrigu Valli with their subsections. It tells
more about the creation of the universe.
has six chapters and is one of the important Upnishads.
It explains the definite characteristics of all the three:
soul, maya, and God; and also tells the definite
procedure of God realization. Figuratively describing
the human body as a tree, the Shvetashvatar Upnishad says,
"Two birds, which are eternal friends, live on the
same tree, whereas one bird (the soul) is enjoying eating
the fruit (sensual pleasures) of that tree and the other
one (God) is simply watching the first one." (4/6)
Revealing the true secret of God realization, it further
says, "When a devotee has infallible love and devotion
for his beloved and Gracious God and he is equally dedicated
to his Spiritual Master (who is a God realized Saint),
only then that soul (with the Grace of the Saint) perdceives,
conceives and understands the Divine secrets (and becomes
God realized)." (6/23)
the Muktikopnishad Hanuman is asking
Bhagwan Ram as to what is the simplest path which could
ensure liberation from the mayic bondage, and
Bhagwan Ram is answering. It says that Mandukyopnishad
is for conceiving the theme of nirakar brahm,
and the knowledge contained in the other Upnishads ensures
the attainment of the Divine abode (1/27), which clearly
indicates that the Upnishads primarily relate to the personal
form of God and not the nirakar (impersonal form
relates to the yogic practices for the attainment
of true brahm gyan that ensures kaivalya
mokch (the liberation of gyanis). It has
it importance as it is said by God Shiv Himself Who is
God of yogis (Yogishwar).
Mahanarayanopnishad reveals certain eminent issues
that were mentioned in the first eleven of the 108 Upnishads,
but not explained. In its last chapter, it says, "Without
bhakti, brahm gyan can never be attained.
Thus a soul, leaving all other practices of heart purification,
should firmly stick to the path of bhakti and
establish his mind only in bhakti, only
in bhakti, and only in bhakti,
because through bhakti one can attain anything
and everything in the Divine world."
reveals the supremacy of Krishn love upon all other forms
of Divine Blissfulness. It gives the example of the devotees
of Dandak forest of tretayug when Bhagwan Ram,
during His descension period came to Grace them. It further
details that during the descension period of Krishn the
eternal Divine existences, powers, and the Divine personalities
also descended in Braj to serve Krishn and to experience
the sweetness of Krishn love.
Poorv Tapiniyopnishad has two chapters. The statement
of Tattariyopnishad is He is the absolute Bliss or He
is the Bliss of Bliss is further explained in this Upnishad.
These are the books of codes related to the social living.
They describe what are the sins and the good deeds;
define what penances, or what kind of fasting, or what
kind of charity could redeem what sin, or what should
be the punishment for a particular sin. They also describe
what kind of rites and rituals a person is supposed
to observe in the family, and what is the right conduct
and right behavior for the people of various orders
of life in the society and so on.
There are six Darshan Shastras called the six schools
of philosophy. They are (1) Poorv Mimansa by Sage Jaimini,
(2) Nyay by Sage Gautum (3) Vaisheshik by sage Kanad,
(4) Sankhya by Bhagwan Kapil, (5) Yog by Sage Patanjali
and (6) Uttar Mimansa (Brahm Sutra) by Bhagwan Ved Vyas.
All the six Darshan Shastras are in sutra form.
Vedic literature is so extensive that it is hard even
for a Vedic genius to comprehend and remember the
theme of all of them. So Sage Jaimini, who was the
pupil of Ved Vyas, wrote the Poorv Mimansa Sutras
to facilitate the correct understanding of the Vedas.
Nyay and Vaisheshik Sutras describe the logical steps
of how to determine the rights and the wrongs in terms
of finding the absolute good for a person. Sankhya
Sutras explain the extent of mayic creation and Divinity
beyond that. It tells that the entire mayic creation
is worth discarding and only the Divinity is to be
attained because that is the only source of Bliss.
Yog Sutras then explain the practical process of heart
purification which may qualify a person to experience
the absolute Divine. Then the Brahm Sutra (Uttar Mimansa)
reveals this secret that God is absolute Divinity
and absolute Bliss, and He is Gracious. So yearnfully
remember Him and with His Grace experience His absolute
Blissfulness forever. This is the general outline
of all the six Darshan Shastras.
Mimansa by Jaimini is the condensed explanation
of the Vedic theme and at the same time the clarification
of its issues. It has 12 chapters for a person who desires
to know the rightful means (called dharm) of
obtaining the personal happiness in this life and the
life after. Poorv Mimansa does not relate to God realization,
its subject matter is the attainment of celestial luxuries
by Sage Gautum is a logical quest for God, the absolute
Divinity. It tells that the material power maya,
with the help of God, becomes the universe. In the beginning
of the book the Nyay Darshan goes into intricate discussions
to establish as to what is the right substance to know
(which of course is the Divine) and it designs 16 steps
of logical discussions called the 16 padarth.
Nyay Darshan is based on establishing the fact that only
the Divinity (God) is desirable, knowable and attainable,
and not this world.
philosophy of the Vaisheshik Darshan
by Sage Kanad is like the Nyay Darshan. Its aim is to
receive happiness in this life (by renouncing worldly
desires) and finally to receive the ultimate liberation
(through the attachment of the true knowledge of the Divine).
Nyay Darshan and Vaisheshik Darshan are written in the
form of questions and answers and are in themselves a
complete science of logical representation of the futility
of mayic creation, and the natural and absolute
desirability of the Divine (God) which may terminate the
bondage of the karmas and ensure liberation.
The aim of Nyay and Vaisheshik Darshan Shastras is to
invoke a deep desire to find God by describing the karmic
consequences of material attachments, but they do not
provide the detail of the nature, form, virtues and the
Graciousness of God.
Darshan by Bhagwan Kapil starts with a sutra
explaining that the aim of Sankhya is to eliminate all
kinds of physical and mental pains and to receive liberation.
It tells about the 24 aspects of maya and God,
the Divine. Souls are parts of the Divine but they are
eternally affiliated with maya. Sankhya Darshan
says that attachment in the mayic world creates
the bondage; and the understanding of the Divine truth
(God) releases the soul from such bondage.
Darshan by Sage Patanjali has four chapters and
accepts three kinds of evidences for determining the aim
of life (perceptual, inferential and scriptural). It also
tells about five kinds of pain inflicting modes of the
mind: ignorance, ego, attachment, hatred, and fear of
death, with which a soul is always affected. To get rid
of these pains of life a person has to practice yog
and observe total renunciation. The Yog Darshan defines
renunciation as the elimination of all the thoughts and
the desires that arise either out of the perception of
this world, or have been heard from somewhere. The practice
of perfecting this renunciation is yog, which
is eightfold. Patanjali advises to take the help of God
(in sutra 2/45) because with His help the aim of perfecting
the state of samadhi could be fulfilled.
Mimansa (Brahm Sutra) has four chapters and each
chapter has four sections. It starts by defining the prerequisite
that the Brahm Sutra is for that person who has a real
deep desire to know God. Then it declares that true liberation
could only be attained by lovingly surrendering to Him.
Further it tells that God has unlimited and absolute virtues.
In its four chapters, it reveals that God has His Divine
personal form with all of His Divine virtues, describes
the existing status of the universe, details the existing
form and situation of a soul which is under the bondage
of maya, and tells about the greatness of bhakti
by explaining that through bhakti a devotee easily
receives the Grace of God. The Brahm Sutra represents
the theme of the Upnishads which are the essence of the
entire literature of the Vedic realm.
are 18 Puranas: Brahm Puran, Padm Puran, Vishnu Puran,
Vayu Puran, Bhagwat Maha Puran, Narad Puran, Markandeya
Puran, Agni Puran, Bhavishya Puran, Brahm Vaivart
Puran, Ling Puran, Varah Puran, Skand Puran, Vaman
Puran, Kurm Puran, Matsya Puran, Garud Puran and Brahmand
is a general feature of all the Puranas that they
fully explain the creation aspect and also the dissolution
aspect of the universe, give the description of all
the Manus and tell the history of the important families
along with their family successions and the dynasties
of kings etc. Whatever the Puranas describe, their
main concentration is to introduce a feeling of bhakti
and dedication towards a personal form of God in the
heart of the reader. Thus their every description
is in the praise of God and established the Graciousness
of the actions of those Divine personalities who represented
themselves as Sages, Rishis, Saints, family men, kings
or hermits etc. Most of those whose life history is
described in the Puranas are the eternal Saints.
The Puranas, in general, are for all kinds of people,
from an ordinary family man who is deeply attached
to his family and friends and up to a renounced person
who is longing to meet his Divine beloved God in His
personal Divine form.
Puranas explain that the Grace of God is never at
random and also it is not the consequence of any amount
of good actions or yog or austerity. It is
automatically experienced when a soul lovingly and
totally submits himself to God. This loving submission
is bhakti. The philosophies of the Upnishads
and the Darshan Shastras are a kind of dry description
of the theory of God realization; the Puranas make
them lively and easy to understand.
is a common saying that where the philosophy of the
Gita ends, the philosophy of the Bhagwatam begins. The
Bhagwatam tells only selfless devotion of Krishn which
ensures everything: liberation from all the pains of
the world, Divine vision and the Divine love of Krishn.
The Bhagwatam is like a crown jewel among all other
scriptures but it has to be properly understood and
seven Divine virtues of the Bhagwatam:
has a very systematic description of the events.
is beyond the Puranas.
is beyond dharm, arth, kam and
mokcha, and it is beyond the Vedas and the Upnishads.
was taught to such a Saint (Shukdeo) who was totally absorbed
in the Divine Bliss.
embodies all the spiritual philosophies.
represents the true form of Krishn love which is not fully
described in the Puranas or the Upnishads.
describes the greatness of Radha Rani is a special way.
and Mahabharat are called the ithihas (history)
books because, along with regular description of their
own topic, they also tell a lot about the general history
of that period.
Ramayan describes the Divine leelas of Bhagwan
Ram Who descended on the earth planet 18.144 million
years ago in Ayodhya from His Divine abode, Saket, along
His brothers Lakchman, Bharat and Shatrughn. The eternal
consort of Ram, Goddess Sita, had descended in Mithila,
the kingdom of King Janak, who was called videh
because he was always absorbed in the Bliss of absolute
brahm. Sage Valmiki was during the time of
Bhagwan Ram. He wrote the Ramayan (called Valmiki Ramayan)
in Sanskrit language while living in his hut as he saw
all the leelas of Ram from his Divine eyes.
Ved Vyas, about 5,000 years ago, reproduced the Valmiki
Mahabharat was produced by Bhagwan Ved Vyas after the
war of Mahabharat, and after that the Bhagwatam was
produced by him. Mahabharat has 18 sections called parv.
Out of these only five Parvas relate to the actual war.
The rest of them, like the Puranas, describe the general
history of the creation and manvantar, the
history of Sages and Saints, the important family succession,
the total history of the Puru dynasty in which the Pandavas
were born, and the detailed history of the Pandav Family
along with the general teachings of dharm and
devotion to God. In about fourteen chapters in Van Parv
the leelas of Bhagwan Ram are described and
the Gracious description of Krishn comes almost everywhere
in the Mahabharat. The two Parvas, Shanti and Anushasan,
reveal the philoso-
phies of the Vedas and the Upnishads in a simple way;
thats why it is also called the fifth Ved. It explains
about karm, gyan, yog,
sankhya, austerity, general worship to
God, the behavior of a pious king, the liberation, renunciation,
varnashram dharm, the hellish sufferings from
the evil deeds, futility of the worldly happiness and
the greatness of bhakti etc. The most famous
is a part of Mahabharat.
Gita is a prime Upnishad and it is the practical guide
that gives the true knowledge of God and God realization.
It has eighteen chapters. Gita is the direct speech
of Krishn, the supreme personality of God, Who Himself
descended on the earth planet in His Divine form to
show the path of God realization. It contains the essence
of the Upnishads and the theme of all the Divine philosophies.
Krishn Himself summarizes the teachings of the Gita
in one verse and says, O Arjun! You are very dear to
Me. So, for your own good, I am telling you the greatest
secret of the Divine world. Listen carefully. If you
or any soul of the world desires to come to Me and be
with Me forever, the easiest path is that he should
worship Me, love Me, remember Me all the time and dedicate
his life for Me. Then surely he will come to Me. Its
My promise. (18/64, 65)