Hindu Scriptures

Hinduism boasts a diverse collection of sacred writings. Hindu sacred texts are classified as either Shruti (“heard,” meaning revelation) or Smriti (“remembered,” meaning tradition). The former is comprised of the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative of Hindu scriptures, which deal largely with rituals; the Brahmanas, commentaries on the Vedas; and the Upanishads, philosophical and metaphysical texts that have been central to the spiritual development of the tradition. Together, the Shrutis form the corpus of Vedic thought and literature. The Smritis are the epics, like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; mythological texts known as Puranas; theological treatises called Agamas; and philosophical texts called Darshanas. Despite being a part of the larger Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita is widely considered Smriti, as it is believed to be the tradition’s most powerful condensation of the broad spectrum of Vedic thought.