Ancient Indian Culture Related to Vedas, Puranas,Epics,Upavedas


The Brahmans

They explain the hymns of the Vedas. they are written in prose and ritualistic in nature. Brahma means sacrifice. the various sacrifice and rituals have been elaborately discussed in the Brahmans. Every Veda has several Brahmans.
Veda                                Related Brahmans
 Rigveda                                 Aitareya & Kausitaki
 Samaveda                             Tandya Maha & Jaiminiya
 Yajurveda                             Taittiriya & Shatapatha
 Athavaveda                            Gopatha Brahmana

The Aranyakas

They give philosophical interpretations of the rituals. the word Aranya means Forest. the forest texts are called Aranyakas, because they were written mainly for the hermits and the students residing in jungles. The Aranyakas are the concluding portions of the Brahmans.

The Upanishads

The Upanishads, are also called Vedantas, deal mostly with the philosophy of Atman (soul) and Brahmans (ultimate spiritual reality of the universe). They came towards the end of the Veda. there are 108 Upanishads.Varihadaranyaka is the oldest Upanishads.
        Veda                                        Related Brahmans
     Rigveda                                 Aitareya & Kausitaki
     Samaveda                             Tandya Maha & Jaiminiya
     Yajurveda                             Taittiriya Brihadaranyaka Katha
     Athavaveda                            Mundaka, Prasna and Mundukya

The Vedangas

The Vedangas (meaning, limbs of the Vedas), composed c.600-200 BC, are supplementary texts for proper understanding and recitation of the Vedas.
A group of Vedanga texts called Dharmasutras, deal with dharma and how it should drive social norms, giving glimpses into the prevailing social practices. there are six Vedangas, which are as follows-
(i) Shiksha (Phonetics/Pronunciation) Pratishakhya is the oldest text on phonetics.
(ii) Klapa Sutras (Sacrificial ritual)
It divided into three classes
(a) Shrauta Sutras/Shulva Sutras deal with sacrifices.
(b) Grihya Sutras deal with the domestic ceremonies and scarifies meant to be performed by the householder.
(c) Dharma Shutras deal with the laws, manners and customs of people in general. it constitutes the foundation on the Dharmashastras such as the law of Manu.
(iii) Vyakarana (Grammar) Ashtadhyayi of Panini is the oldest grammar an treatise.
(iv) Nirukta (Etymology) Based on Nighantu (Kashyap) it is a collection of difficult vedic Words.
(v) Chhanda (Metrics) Chhandasutras of Pingal is a famous text for the same.
(vi) Jyotisha (astrology) Vedanga Jyotisha (by Cagadh Muni) is the oldest Jyotisha text.

The Smriti

It mean traditional knowledge and includes the entire corpus of the post vedic classical Snaskrit literature. These are six Famous Smritis.                   
         Smriti                                                  Commentators
(i) Manu Smriti                                               Vishwarupa.
   (it is the oldest Smriti)                            Meghatithi, Gobindraj, Kulluk Bhatt.
(ii)Yajnvalka Smriti                                        Vishwarua
    (pre-Gupta Period)                            Vinjnyaneshwar. A pararka ( a king of shilahar dynasty)
(iii) Narada Smriti(Gupta Period)
(iv) Parashara Smriti(Gupta Period)
(v) Brihaspati Smriti (Gupta Period)
(vi) Katyayan Smriti (Gupta Period)

The Epics

There are mainly two epics, namely, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Ramayana (composed 5th century BC AD 3rd century AD by Valmiki) and the Mahabharata (composed C 400 BC AD 400 by Vyasa) are the two great Sanskrit epic of ancient India which, straddling the expense of centuries, still have a pervasive influence on the minds of millions of Indians. Unlike the Vedas, there were and still are, the popular literature of the masses. Even thought they are difficult to use as historical sources, they to provide a peek into the social, cultural and political aspects of the period.
The Bhagavad Gita is extracted from Bhishma parvan of the Mahabharata. Shanti Parvan is the largest Parvan (chapter) of the Mahabharata.

The Puranas

It (meaning, Old) deals with the world creation, the genealogies of Gods and Rishis and the royal dynasties. there are 18 main Puranas, including the Vishnu, Vayu, Matsya, Bhagvat and Agni Puranas.
the Puranas provide details on the ancient political history, referring to early dynasties like the Nandas, Mauryas and the Satavahanas. They also provied information on the development of Hindu Religious Practices.

The Upavedas

The Upavedas or the Auxiliary Vedas deal with a plethora of subjects such as music, arts and crafts, archery, medicine, etc and have been only partly derived from the Vedas and were partly associated with another Vedas.

The Shad-Darsana

They are six points of view denoting the 6 schools of Hindu philosophy-Nyaya, Vaiseshikia, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta
  Dharshana                                                        Founder                                   Basic Text
(i)   Nyaya                                                        Akshapada Gautama                 Nyaya Sutra
(ii)  Vaiseshika                                           Uluka Kanada                                  Vaiseshika Sutra
(iii)  Sankhya                                                 Kapila                                              Sankhya Sutra
(iv)  Yoga                                                      Patanjali                                              Yoga Sutra
(v) Mimamsa                                                 Jaimini                                         Purva Mimamsa Sutra
(vi) Vedanta                                                Badarayana                                   Brahma Sutra
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Ancient Indian Culture Related to Vedas, Puranas,Epics,Upavedas
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