Saturday, 3 September 2016

Sastram - Scriptures

Sastram  - Scriptures 

                     In  the  introduction  to  Vedanta  ,  next  ,we  will  see  the  topic  on  Sastram. . All  the  scriptural  literature  is  primarily  available  in  the  Sanskrit  language. . In  the  modern  times  they  have  been  translated  in  English   and  many  other  languages. . A  Sastram  is  a  literature  that  commands  the  human  beings   in the  initial  stages   and  in later  stages  it  teaches  them. . The  whole  bulk  of  the  scriptural  literature  is  presented  in  six  groups.   First  come  the  Vedas  ,which  is  considered  as  a  shruti  pramana. . Vedas  are  a  vast  literature   and  it  was  sage  Ved  Vyasa  who  compiled  them  into  four  sections   known  as  Rig  Veda,  Yajur  Veda  ,  Sama  Veda  and  Atharvana  Veda  . There  are  more  than  20,000  Vedic  mantras   and  they  are  called  as  mantras because  they  are  meant  for  enquiry,  analysis  and  assimilation. . Any  seeker  would  be  curious  to  know  who  was  the  author  of  the  Vedas. . The  Vedas  are  looked  upon  as  revelations  from  the  Lord  Himself,  who  revealed  the  mantras  to  the  rishis   for  example   to  sage  Visvamitra  was  revealed  the  Gayathri  mantra. . The  mantras  are  received  in  sabda  rupa  alone   and  for  a  long  time  they  were  never  written  down   but  was  passed  on  verbally  from  the  guru  to  the  shishyas. . Since  the  sruti  is  not  born  of  human  intellect  ,it  is  called  apaurusheya  pramanam. 

                         Then  next  in  importance  come  the  Sutra  literature,  which  is  in the  form  of  aphorism .. The  ideas  are  presented  in  capsule  form. . The  third  is  Smriti  , which  is  remembered  wisdom, which  are  in the  form  of  poems  and  presented  in an  elaborate  form. . The  Puranas  are  the  fourth  layer  of  literature  . Puranas  means  though  ancient  they  are  relevant  even  today. . These  are  also  in the  form  of  poems  and  deal  with  the  topics  from  the  Vedic  teachings. . Then  come  the  Itihasa  ,which  is  a  history  based  literature  . Ramayana  and  Mahabharata  ,the  two  epics  , fall  under  this  category. . Lastly  Bhashyam  refers  to  the  commentaries  and  sub-commentaries   written  in  Sanskrit  on  all  the  above  forms  of  literature. . The  entire  Sastram  consisting  of  the  six  layers  , has  only  one purpose  that  of  helping  us  accomplish  the  purusharthas. 

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