Vedic Roots | Classical Division | Mathomathis would like to present an article on Root By Kadambi Srinivasan | Published by | Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams | Tirupati 2019. The following article would focus on Vedic Roots – A Classical Division. Before proceeding with the following article, read the previous article
Kalpa is the method of the ritual
- Srauta Sutra: Explains the rituals of sacrifices.
- Grihya Sutras: Rituals in domestic lives Dharma Sutras: Deals with Ethics, customs and laws. Pratishakyas, Padapathas, Kramapathas, Upalekhas, Anukramanis, Daivasamhitas, Parishistas, Proyogas, Paddhatis, Karikas and Vyuhas provide further elaborations in the rituals
- Sulba Sutras: Treats the measurements necessary for laying out
Asavalayana, Sankhayana belong to Rig Veda, whereas Mashaka, Latyayana, Dharyayana, Gobhila, Khadidara belong to Sama Veda. Katyayana, Paraskara belong to Shukla Yajur Veda, Apastamba, Hiranyakesi, Bodhayana, Bharadvaja, Manava, Vaikhasana and Kathaka belong to Krishna Yajur Veda, Vaitana, Kaushika belong to the Atharvana Veda
There are 18 main Smrithis or Dharma Shastras. The most important are of: Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parashara. The other 15 are:
- Atri and
1.Smrithis are secondary scriptures – next in importance to the Shruthis
2.Shruthi means what is heard. Smrithi means what is remembered. The former is a revelation and the later a tradition. The former is a direct experience by the great Rishis. The later a recollection of that experience.
3.Upanishad is Shruti. Bhagavad –Gita is a Smrithi
4.Smrithis or Dharma Shastras are written by sages.
5.Shruhi is considered as the final authority. If there is anything in the Smrithi that contradicts the Shruthi, then the Smrithi is rejected
6.Smrithis are the ancient sacred law codes of the Hindus. They supplement and explain the ritualistic injunctions called Vidhis in the Vedas. Smrithis are based on the teachings of the Vedas.
7.Smrithis have laid down definite rules and laws to guide individuals and communities in their daily conduct and regulate their manners and customs. The Smrithis have given detailed instructions, according to the conditions of the time, to all classes of men regarding their duties in life. The duties of Varnashrama and all ceremonies are clearly given in these books. The object of the Smrithis is to purify the heart of the man and lead him gradually to the supreme abode of immortality.
8.From time to time, a great law-giver would take his birth. He would codify the existing laws and remove those that have become obsolete. He would make alterations, adaptations, readjustments, additions to suit the needs of the time and ensure the way of living of the people would be in accordance with the teachings of the Vedas. Of such law givers, Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parashara are the most celebrated. We thus have Manu Smrithi, Yajnavalkya Smrithi, and Parashara Smrithi
9.The laws of Manu are intended for the Satya Yuaga. Those of the Yajnavalkya are for the Treta Yuga. Those by Sankha and Likhita are for the Dwapara Yuga. Those of Parashara are meant for the Kali Yuga.
Same class as Itihasas. There are 18 Main Puranas – all written by Veda Vyasa. There are an equal number of Upa Puranas (Sub- Puranas). Srimad Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu Purana are well known. A portion of the Markandeya Purana is well known as Devi Mahatmya. The divine Lilas of Lord Shiva are recorded in Tamil Puranas like Shiva Purana, Periya Purana, Shiva Parakramam and Tiruvilayadal Purana. The language of the Vedas is difficult to grasp and assimilate. Puranas present philosophical truths and precious teachings in an easier manner for common people
Main Puranas & (No. of Verses)
- Vishnu Purana (23,000)
- Naradiya Purana (25,000)
- Srimad Bhagavata Purana (18,000)
- Garuda Purana (19,000)
- Padma Purana (55,000)
- Varaha Purana (24,000)
- Brahma Purana (10,000)
- Brahmanda Purana (12,000)
- Brahma Vaivarta Purana (18,000)
- Markandeya Purana (9,000)
- Bhavishya Purana (14,500)
- Vamana Purana (10,000)
- Matsya Purana (14,000)
- Kurma Purana (17,000)
- Linga Purana (11,000)
- Shiva Purana (24,000)
- Skanda Purana (81,100)
- Agni Purana (15,400)
Upa Puranas are:
- Sanatkumara Purana
- Narasimha Purana
- Brihannaradiya Purana
- Sivarahasya Purana
- Durvasa Purana
- Kapila Purana
- Vamana Purana
- Bhargava Purana
- Varuna Purana
- Kalika Purana
- Samba Purana
- Nandi Purana
- Surya Purana
- Parasara Purana
- Vasishtha Purana
- Deva-Bhagavata Purana
- Ganesha Purana
- Hamsa Purana
The Agamas are theological treatises and practical manuals of Divine worship. They include Tantras, Mantras and Yantras. They explain external worship of God in Idols, temples etc. All the Agamas treat of (1) Jnana or knowledge (2) Yoga or concentration (3) Kriya or esoteric ritual (4) Charya or worship.
They also give details on temple building, image making etc. The Agamas are divided into 3 sections – (a) Vaishnava (b) Shaiva (c ) Shakta. The Vaishnava or Pancharatra Agamas glorify God as Maha Vishnu. The Shaiva Agamas glorify God as Maha Shiva. The Shakta Agamas or Tantras glorify the God as the Mother of the Universe Devi .The Agamas do not derive their authority from the Vedas but are not antagonistic to them. They are all Vedic in Spirit and Character. For this reason they are considered authoritative
The points mentioned below are part of Shad-Darsanas
1. Itihasas, Puranas and Agamas are meant for the masses. Darsanas form the intellectual section of the Hindu writing. Darsanas are
schools of philosophy based on the Vedas. They are meant for scholars having excellent powers of understanding, acute acumen,
power of reasoning, subtle intellect and a very good understanding of the Vedas.
2. The philosophy has six divisions. Hence, it is called Shad Darsana – six different schools of thought. Each school has developed and
systematized various parts of Vedas its own way. Each system has its own Sutrakara – a great Rishi who has systematized the
doctrines of the school and put them in short aphorisms or Sutras.
3. The Sutras are short and terse. The Sutras, themselves, are very difficult to understand without the help from great teachers and Rishis.
Thus, there arose a number of eminent commentators are Bhashyakaras, who in turn produced commentaries on the original
A Sutra or an aphorism refers to a very short and terse statement (without any ambiguity at all) embracing all the meanings and
containing the complete essence of a large volume of knowledge. They are to be kept in memory at all times.
4. The six Darsanas are divided into 3 pairs – to help explain the philosophy of the Vedas in a rationalistic manner. Nyaya and Vaiseshika
form the first pair, Sankhya and Yoga the second pair, Mimamsa and Vedanta the third pair.
5. Panini composed Ashtadhyayi, the greatest and perfect of all Sutra literature. Panini is regarded as the father of all Sutrakaras.
6. The six Vedangas along with Shad Darsanas constitute the 12 sets of core Sutra literature. The others are, later compositions like
Narada Bhakti Sutras, Shandilya Bhaki Sutras etc
7. Each of the Sutras, are supported by – a) Bhashya (b) Vritti (c) Varttika (d) Vyakhyana (or Tikka) (e) Tippani
(a) Bhasya is an elaborate exposition or commentary with word by word meaning of the aphoristic precepts together with the
individual views of the commentator or Bhashyakara. The best and exemplary Bhashya in Sanskrit literature is the one by
Patanjali on the Vyakarana Sutras of Panini. Patanjali is regarded as the father of Bhashyakaras. Other highly regarded ones
are – Bhashya on Mimasa Sutra by Sabara- Swamin, Bhashyas on Brahma Sutra by Jagadguru Shankaracharya and that by
(b) Vritti is a short gloss explaining the aphorisms in a more elaborate way, but not as elaborately as the Bhashya. Bodhayana’s
Vritti on Brahma Sutra is an example.
(c) Varttika is a critical study on the Bhashya highlighting the imperfections and ways of making it better. Notable Varttikas are –
Katyayana’s on Panini Sutras, Sureshwara’s on Shankara’s Upanishad Bhashya and Kumarila Bhatta’s on Sabara Bhashya.
(d) Vyakhyana or Tikka is a running explanation in an easier language of what has been said in the original Darsana or
Bhashya. Vachaspati Mishra’s work on Darsanas and Shankara’s Brahma Sutra Bhashya is an example.
(e) Tppani is very similar to Vritti but less orthodox. It gives explanations of difficult words or phrases in the original. Kaiyata’s
Along with the above mentioned 6 types, now let us look at the points of Kalas, which is yet another category that needs to be considered. A brief overview of some of the Sciences that existed and covered by Vedas is given below –
1. Akshara Laksha: By Sage Valmiki. Subjects such as mathematics, geometry, algebra,trigonometry, minerology, hydels are said to have been treated. This work comprehends earlier discoveries by Sage Kashyapa, Ganapati, Soorya, Brihaspati, Jaimini, Hanuman and others.
2. Shabda Shastra: By Kandika Rishi. Deals with sound, its measurement, and methods of mechanically re-reproducing them.
3. Lakshana Shastra: By Shaktayana. Science of determining sex
4. Shakuna Shastra: By Sage Garga. Deals with omens – good and bad effects from sounds of birds, words of human beings
5. Shilpa Shastra: By sage Kashyapa. Handles the constructions of temples, palaces, halls etc. Earlier writers on the subject were – Vishwakarma, Maya, Maruti.
6. Malinee Shastra: By sage Rishyashringa. Deals with flower arrangements garlands, bouquets, hair-do’s in various styles for women, writing love messages on flower petals etc are said to have been included
7. Supa shastra: By Sukesa. Deals with the science of cooking. It is said, more than 3000 dishes for people living in different parts of the world have been described.
8. Science of Kala or Time: By Lord Kartikeya. Division of time into definite periods, auspicious and in-auspicious moments etc are said to have been handled.
9. Samudrika Lakshana: By Samudra Raja. Topics handled are –Oceanography, living under and above sea
10. Dhatuvada: By Ashwini Kumaras. The subject of metallurgy.
11. Visha Shastra: By Ashwini Kumaras. The subject of 32 kinds of poisons, their properties, preparation, effects and antidotes are handled.
12. Chitrakarma shastra: By Bhima. Deals with the science of drawings.
13. Malla Shastra: Deals with gymnastics and Sports
14. Ratna Pariksha: By sage Vatsyayana. Handles the subject of testing gems
15. Artha Shastra: By sage Vyasa. Handles wealth creation and accumulation
16. Yantras: By sage Bharadwaja. Deals vehicles for transportation – by lands, boats and ships
17. Mahendrajala: By Veerabahu (serves Lord Kartikeya). The science of Magic
Now lets see the 4 Secular Heads