Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Vyasa. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Vyasa. Sort by date Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Vyasa In Hindu Mythology?


A sage who is traditionally thought to be the creator of the Mahabharata, the second of the two major Sanskrit epics, according to Hindu mythology. 

As a consequence of his dalliance with the ferrywoman Satyavati, Vyasa is the son of the sage Parashara.

Satyavati marries King Shantanu later in life, but only after securing the guarantee that their offspring will govern instead of Shantanu's firstborn son, Bhishma.

Satyavati's first son dies as a youngster, and his second son dies after marrying but before producing children.

Satyavati begs Vyasa to sleep with the brides of her younger sons, Ambika and Ambalika, in order to save Shantanu's dynasty.

Vyasa is a terribly unattractive man, according to legend, and both ladies respond automatically when he comes in their beds.

Ambika conceals her eyes, causing her son Dhrtarashtra to be born blind, while Ambalika becomes pale, leading her son Pandu to be born with an unusually pale complexion.

Vyasa also has intercourse with Ambika's maidservant, who freely submits herself to him, and Vidura is born from her.

The Pandavas and Kauravas, respectively, are the descendants of Pandu and Dhrtarashtra, the two warring groups whose rivalry propels the Mahabharata.

As a result, Vyasa is not only the Mahabharata's author, but also the source of the Mahabharata's two families' fight.

Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - Who Is Vichitravirya In Hindu Mythology?


Satyavati's and King Shantanu's grand son in Hindu legend. 

King Vichitravirya's wives are Ambika and her sister Ambalika, who died without heirs.

Satyavati, Vichitravirya's mother, asks her son, Vyasa, to sleep with his brother's two wives in a desperate effort to preserve the lineage.

Ambika and Ambalika each recoil from Vyasa on their own, and each of their sons is born with a flaw: 

  • Ambika conceals her eyes, causing her son Dhrtarashtra to be born blind.
  • Ambalika becomes pale, leading her son Pandu to be born with an unusually pale skin.

Ambika is so horrified by Vyasa's looks that she sends her serving maid instead when she is urged to sleep with him again.

In contrast to the two sisters, Ambika's maid happily serves Vyasa and receives a gorgeous son called Vidura as a result.

Vichitravirya dies after marrying Ambika and Ambalika but before fathering any children.

Satyavati only asks her oldest son, Vyasa, to sleep with the two women in order to continue King Shantanu's lineage.

Vyasa sires Pandu and Dhrtarashtra from this marriage, and their descendants become the principal fighting factions in the Mahabharata, the second of the two great Sanskrit epics.

~Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - Who Is Dhrtarashtra In The Mahabharata?

The son of the philosopher Vyasa and queen Ambika in the Mahabharata, the later of the two major Hindu epics. 

After Shantanu's son Vichitravirya died without heirs, Dhrtarashtra and his stepbrother Pandu are the outcome of a desperate endeavor to maintain King Shantanu's royal dynasty. 

Satyavati, Vichitravirya's mother, instructs her eldest son, Vyasa, to sleep with Ambika and her sister, Ambalika, in the hopes of conceiving the ladies. 

Vyasa is said to be incredibly ugly, and when he comes in a woman's bed, she responds reflexively. 

Ambika closes her eyes, blinding her son Dhrtarashtra, while Ambalika becomes pale, giving her son Pandu an unusually pale skin. 

Dhrtarashtra succeeds to the kingdom despite his infirmity after Pandu's resignation; the latter renounces the world after being cursed by the sage Kindama. 

Dhrtarashtra and his wife Gandhari produce one hundred sons, collectively known as the Kauravas, while Pandu's two wives have five sons, known as the Pandavas. 

The Mahabharata's ultimate cause of strife is the rivalry between these two royal lineages, each of which has a legitimate claim to reign. 

Dhrtarashtra does nothing to avert the conflict. 

He is often represented as a nice guy, but he is also weak and unable to control his oldest son, Duryodhana's ambitions. 

Dhrtarashtra's blindness is not only real, but also symbolic, since he lacks the vision and clarity that would have enabled him to see and prevent the breach between these two families. 

His infirmity puts him on the periphery of everyday life, but it also shows that he is unable to change the course of events, no matter how strongly he feels about them. 

When he provides boons to Draupadi (daughter of King Drupada) after her humiliation by Duryodhana and his brother Duhshasana, she regains freedom for herself and her husbands, and this is one of the few instances he truly exhibits force. 

Dhrtarashtra does not participate in the Mahabharata battle because to his blindness, but he gets frequent reports from his poet Sanjaya, who has the capacity to view events from afar. 

After the Kauravas are destroyed, he joins Gandhari and a group of others in the forest to dwell in isolation. 

He gets murdered in a forest fire six years later. 

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Hinduism - Who Is Gandhari In The Mahabharata?

In the Mahabharata, the second of the two major Hindu epics, a figure appears.

Gandhari is the wife of Dhrtarashtra, the blind king, and the mother of the Kauravas, the epic's enemies, a group of lads.

Gandhari expresses her love for her blind spouse by wearing a blindfold over her eyes and thereby sharing his blindness.

Her boys are born in an odd way, as is common in Hindu mythology.

Gandhari obtains the sage Vyasa's benediction (ashirvad) that she would have one hundred sons.

She gets pregnant soon after.

Her pregnancy, on the other hand, lasts more than two years.

She gives birth to a large lump of meat when she becomes impatient and attempts to accelerate the delivery.

Gandhari should split the lump and set each piece in a saucepan of clarified butter, according to Vyasa (ghee).

The pots eventually burst open, revealing a hundred lovely lads and one girl, Dussala.

During the Mahabharata battle, all of Gandhari's children are slaughtered by her nephews, the Pandavas.

Vyasa informs Gandhari that her sons' deaths are the product of their own misdeeds, just as she is ready to condemn the Pandavas.

Gandhari and her husband, along with a few others, withdraw to the forest after the conflict. 

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Hinduism - Who Are The Kauravas In Hindu Mythology?

The Kauravas are the hundred sons of King Dhrtarashtra in the Mahabharata, the later of the two major Hindu epics, and the epic's enemies to the Pandava heroes.

As descendants of Kuru, King Shantanu's ancestor, the Kauravas get their name.

The Kaurava boys are born in an unconventional way, as is common in Hindu mythology.

Gandhari, their mother, obtains the sage Vyasa's benediction (ashirvad) that she would have one hundred boys.

Her pregnancy is more than two years long.

She gives birth to a large lump of meat when she becomes impatient and attempts to accelerate the delivery.

Gandhari should split the lump and set each piece in a saucepan of clarified butter, according to Vyasa (ghee).

Each of the 101 pots eventually breaks open, revealing a hundred lovely lads and a solitary girl, Dussala.

The two oldest sons, Duryodhana and Duhshasana, are the most significant of the hundred sons. 

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Hinduism - What Is The Mahabharata?


The mythological sage Vyasa is credited with writing one of the two major Sanskrit epics.

The Mahabharata is substantially lengthier than the Ramayana, the other great epic.

The Mahabharata is the world's longest epic poem, with about 100,000 stanzas.

If the Ramayana is the story of the "good" family, in which brothers work together to maintain and protect their family, the Mahabharata is the story of the "bad" family, in which an extended royal family's hardheartedness and ambition for power leads to its demise.

The epic is located west of modern-day Delhi and tells the story of a fratricidal civil war.

The following is a substantially condensed version of the story: Shantanu is the Kurus's ruler.

He dies in an untimely and heirless manner.

Satyavati, Shantanu's wife, calls for her oldest son, the guru Vyasa, who fathers offspring by Shantanu's two women, in a desperate bid to maintain the royal dynasty.

Because Dhrtarashtra, the oldest son, is born blind, his younger brother Pandu inherits the crown.

Because of a curse, Pandu abdicates his kingdom and retires to the forest with his two wives, Kunti and Madri, allowing his older brother to govern in his stead.

Dhrtarashtra's wife, Gandhari, mysteriously bears a hundred sons, the eldest of them is Duryodhana; the hundred sons are known as the Kauravas and are the epic's enemies.

Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna are Kunti's three sons in the jungle, while Madri had twins Nakula and Sahadeva.

The Pandavas, the epic's heroes, are these five sons.

Pandu has been cursed to perish the instant he hugs his wife in loving embrace, hence none of these children are his sons.

Rather, they were created by the use of a mantra given to Kunti by the sage Durvasas, which gives the woman who recites it the ability to summon any of the gods and bear a son equal to that god's might.

Kunti gets the mantra long before her marriage and recites it spontaneously while staring at the sun, giving birth to a radiant kid.

Kunti, distraught and desperate, places him in a box and throws him into the Ganges.

The charioteer Adhiratha adopts the kid, who grows up to be the heroic Karna.

Pandu dies young as a consequence of his curse, and Kunti (his wife) and his sons (the Pandavas) return to Hastinapur, where the boys are nurtured as princes.

Duryodhana (the oldest of the Kauravas) and his cousins have had a tense relationship from the start, owing to Duryodhana's ambition for the throne, which rightfully belongs to Yudhishthira (one of the Pandavas).

The Pandava brothers leave the realm to become mercenaries after foiling many assassination attempts.

Arjuna wins the hand of Princess Draupadi on one of their adventures, and she becomes their common wife (their mother commands that Arjuna share whatever he wins with his brothers).

After a while, Dhrtarashtra (the Kauravas' father) abdicates the throne and divides his country.

The Pandavas construct a new capital at Indraprastha, which is located near modern-day Delhi.

Things remain peaceful for a time, but Duryodhana isn't satisfied to share his kingdom.

He challenges Yudhishthira to a dice game, pitting him against Shakuni, the most skilled gambler alive.

Yudhishthira is an example of honesty and decency, but his fatal fault is his addiction to gambling.

Yudhishthira loses his kingdom, all of his belongings, his brothers, himself, and eventually his wife in the match.

Duryodhana's brother, Duhshasana, pulls Draupadi into the assembly hall by her hair, her garments soiled with her menstrual blood, in one of the epic's most devastating sequences.

Dhrtarashtra is moved to set them free by Draupadi's humiliation, but it also initiates the hostility that drives the remainder of the tale.

Following some haggling, the parties agree that the Pandavas will spend twelve years in exile and the thirteenth in secret.

They will reclaim their kingdom if they can stay undetected for the thirteenth year.

However, if they are found, the cycle of exile will begin all over again.

Yudhishthira and his brothers approach Duryodhana for their fair portion after thirteen years, but are haughtily rejected.

All attempts at reconciliation fail because Duryodhana states he won't give them enough land to poke a needle in.

The Pandavas, pressed against a wall, prepare for combat.

Yudhishthira and his siblings are on one side, supported by their advisor Krishna.

Duryodhana and many esteemed characters, like as Drona, Bhishma, and Karna, are on the opposing side.

The fight rages for eighteen days, until the majority of the important individuals have died.

Yudhishthira and his brothers make it through.

Yudhishthira is anointed king and reigns for many years in righteousness.

He appoints his grandson, King Parikshit, to the throne later in life.

He embarks on a last expedition into the Himalayas with his siblings.

Yudhishthira ultimately joins the divine world after his siblings die one by one throughout the voyage.

This synopsis does not cover the whole of the epic.

One of the epic's characteristics is that it incorporates several unrecorded stories, with the main plot serving as a frame.

Aside from being a story of a dysfunctional family, the Mahabharata has a wealth of cultural wisdom, with character names that are still meaningful today.

The text's TV serial, which aired for more than a year in 1989–90, was a huge hit in India.

It's also worth noting that many traditional Indian families will not maintain a copy of the book in the home since it's thought that doing so may cause family strife.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ambalika?

Ambalika is the daughter of the ruler of Kashi and one of King Vichitravirya's brides in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. 

  • When Vichitravirya dies without children, his mother, Satyavati, asks her oldest son, Vyasa, to sleep with Ambalika and her sister Ambika in the hopes of having children and continuing the family line. 
  • Vyasa is said to be extremely ugly, and when he arrives in a woman's bed, she responds instinctively. 
  • Ambika hides her eyes, causing her son Dhrtarashtra to be born blind, while Ambalika becomes pale, leading her son Pandu to be born with an abnormally pale skin.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ambika (2) ?

Ambika is the daughter of the ruler of Kashi and the wife of King Vichitravirya in one of the major Hindu epics, the Mahabharata. 

  • When Vichitravirya dies without children, his mother, Satyavati, instructs her eldest son, Vyasa, to have sex with Ambika and her sister Ambalika in the hopes of having a child and continuing the family line. 
  • Vyasa is said to be extremely ugly, and when he arrives in a woman's bed, she responds instinctively. 
  • Ambika closes her eyes, blinding her son Dhrtarashtra, while Ambalika becomes pale, giving her son Pandu an abnormally pale skin.

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Hinduism - Who Is Durvasas?


A sage who is a partial embodiment of the deity Shiva in Hindu mythology. 

Durvasas is the son of Anasuya, who was granted boons by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva for her power in convincing another women to remove a curse. 

Vishnu is born as Dattatreya, Shiva is born as Durvasas, and Brahma is born as Chandra, according to Anasuya's desire. 

Durvasas is known for his magical abilities as a fabled character, which is not unexpected considering his origins. 

He's also renowned for his nasty temper and his proclivity to curse anyone who irritate him. 

One of the maidens who suffers from his fury is Shakuntala, who, engrossed in her newfound love for King Dushyanta, fails to see and pay tribute to Durvasas. 

She is cursed by the fact that her love would forget about her. 

In another instance, Durvasas curses all gods with old age and death. 

An "insult" from Indra's elephant Airavata, who had thrown a garland provided by Durvasas on the ground, causes this. 

These curses, like others in Hindu mythology, cannot be reversed, although their intensity may be decreased by mitigating circumstances. 

Shakuntala is advised that if she gives King Dushyanta some evidence of their connection, he would remember her, which she does. 

By acquiring and ingesting the nectar of immortality, the gods may avert old age and death (amrta). 

Durvasas, like all the sages, may bestow amazing blessings on those who satisfy him. 

Kunti, one of the Mahabharata's heroines, was one of these beneficiaries. 

Durvasas provides Kunti a strong mantra (holy sound) that allows her to conceive a child with any deity by merely thinking about him. 

As soon as Kunti gets this mantra, she puts it to the test by staring at the sun, and the golden infant Karna is born. 

She puts the kid in a box and abandons him in the Ganges in her fear at becoming a mother unexpectedly—she is still unmarried and reasonably worried about what others may think. 

This mantra is the only way she may have children after her marriage to Pandu (son of the sage Vyasa and queen Ambalika), since Pandu has been cursed to die the instant he sleeps with one of his wives. 

She teaches this mantra to her co-wife Madri, who carries Nakula and Sahadeva, after using it to carry Yudhishthira, Arjuna, and Bhima. 

As a result of Durvasas' gift, all of the Pandava brothers—the epic's protagonists—are gods' offspring. 

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Yoga's Origins and Evolution of Consciousness

Yogic Evolution

1. Yoga's psychospiritual technology, in its fully developed form, dates from the "axial age," the crucial period around the middle of the first millennium B.C.E., when Lao Tzu and Confucius lived in China, Mahavira and Gautama the Buddha lived in India, and Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle lived in Greece. 

2. These geniuses and a host of other path-makers of the time - The Swiss cultural philosopher Jean Geb­ ser has brilliantly defined what this new perspective implies in the broader history of human civilisation. 

3. He believes that mankind has traveled through a succession of four mental structures, or cognitive styles, that he has labeled the fol­lows: 

1. Archaic consciousness: This is the simplest and oldest cognitive type, with the lowest level of self-awareness and is still nearly entirely instinctive. 


  • It dates back to the period of Australopithecus and Homo habilis in terms of history.  

  • Today, this curiosity expresses itself in us as the desire for self-transcendence, for example.  

  • It's also involved in ecstatic experiences (samtidhi) and drug-induced altered states of consciousness, when the barrier between subject and object is temporarily removed. 


2. Magical consciousness: The magical consciousness, which emerges from archaic consciousness, is still pre-egoic and has a diffuse awareness. 


  • It works on the concept of identity, as represented in analogical thinking, a gut-level (archetypal) reaction that connects seemingly disparate parts into a whole.  

  • Over one-and-a-half million years ago, this kind of consciousness may have defined Homo erectus.  

  • When we are captivated or in sympathy with someone or something, it is still effective in us now.  

  • It shows itself in a variety of ways, like blindly falling in love or momentarily forgetting one's judgment (and perhaps one's humanity) when under the hypnotic effect of a big crowd.  

  • The magical consciousness is also evident in parts of Yoga that require intense inner concentration, which leads to a loss of bodily awareness.  

  • Of course, it is also the conceptual foundation for all kinds of sympathet­ic magic, which is a component of certain yogic pathways, particularly Tantric schools that stress the development of paranormal abilities, or siddhis. 


3. Mystical perception: This indicates a higher level of self­awareness, similar to but not equal to that of a toddler. 


  • Rather than mystical identity or mental duality, thinking is based on the concept of polarity.  

  • Symbols rather than mathematics, myth rather than hypothesis, emotion or intuition rather than abstraction are used to tell the story.  

  • The legendary consciousness may have been mainly embodied by the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.  

  • It, like the other structures of consciousness, is still functional today and played a key role in the development of a vast array of spiritual traditions, including Yoga.  

  • When we shut our eyes and immerse ourselves in mental images, or when we give lyrical expression to our deepest feelings, we engage mythological awareness.

  • Most traditional Yoga methods have a significant mythological component, and they may be effectively put together under the term of Mythic Yoga, as opposed to a more integrative approach, such as Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. 

  • "In, up, and out" is the verticalist slogan of Mythic Yoga. 

  • All of this is covered in more depth in Wholeness or Transcendence?


4. Awareness of the mind:


  • This cognitive style, as its name implies, is the realm of the thinking, logical mind, and it operates on the concept of duality ("either/or").  

  • Here, self-awareness is high, and the world is seen as divided into subject and object.  

  • This cognitive approach has controlled our lives since the Renaissance in Europe, and it has even become a harmful force.  

  • Today, the naturally balanced mental awareness has degenerated into what Gebser refers to as the rational mode. 


When Patanjali authored his Yoga-Sutra and Vyasa penned his commentary on it, mental awareness was still at its peak. 

  • Yoga does not rule out this specific cognitive approach, but all classic Yoga systems emphasize the transcendence of the mind, both in its lower and higher forms as manas and buddhi. 
  • The truth is always thought to exist outside of the mind and senses. 
  • The mind is often depicted as the arch adversary of the spiritual process in what I've termed Mythic Yoga. 
  • This belief, on the other hand, is a restriction that does not exist in more integrated Yoga. 

Although, in order to know the Self, the mind's mechanism must be transcended and liberated from its egoic anchoring, intellectual work is not always harmful to spiritual development. 

  • Gebser claimed that now we are seeing the emergence of a fifth structure of consciousness, which he termed integral consciousness, in his excellent book The Ever-Present Origin and many other writings. 
  • This is not the place to provide a comprehensive explanation of this new human mental mode. 
  • I only want to point out that this new awareness, in Gebser's opinion, is an antidote to the one-sidedness of the excessive logical mentality, which is a degeneration of the original mental consciousness. 

In Gebser's interpretation, logical awareness is overly egoic and at conflict with spiritual Reality. 

  • In contrast, integral awareness is naturally ego-transcending and receptive to what Gebser referred to as the "Origin," or the Ground of Being. 
  • There are clear similarities to Sri Aurobindo's philosophy here, and Gebser confessed to being in that great sage's spiritual gravity field. 

The job before us, both personally and collectively, is to assist this developing integrated consciousness in ourselves and our human civilization as a whole to take effect. 

  • Only in this manner can we expect to rebalance awareness' different structures, enabling each to express itself according to its inherent values. 
  • I believe that the Yoga tradition, like other spiritual traditions, has many aspects that, when used wisely to our current circumstances, may significantly aid in this difficult process of integration.

You may also want to read more about Kundalini Yoga here.

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Hinduism - What Are The Yoga Sutras?



 ("yoga aphorisms") A collection of short sayings attributed to the sage Patanjali that serve as the basic texts for the Yoga school, one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy.

The sage Vyasa's commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is often read alongside the text, and it has been considered as an important component of the book.

The Yoga Sutras are split into four sections, each of which focuses on a different theme: 

  1. The first part is about concentration (samadhi), 
  2. the second part is about the mechanics of spiritual development (sadhana), 
  3. the third part is about various attainments (vibhuti), including magical powers (siddhi), 
  4. and the last part is about yogic isolation (kaivalya), which the text calls liberation.

The Yoga school is often considered the "practical" articulation of Samkhya theory, and the text presupposes the cosmology taught by the Samkhya school, another of the six schools.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Matriarchy In India


Throughout India's history, there have always been groups where women have played a significant role in society and where the goddess, rather than the deity, has taken precedence in religious systems. 

For example, among the aaktas, feminine divinity takes priority over male divinity, and the goddess is always mentioned first in dual forms of divine names, such as Lakshmi-Narayan, Gauri-aankar, and Radha-Krishna. 

Whatever their historicity, the many traditions of strirajya, or women-ruled republics, demonstrate that political governance by women was not impossible. 

  • The historic reign of queens, particularly in South India, would confirm this practice. 
  • Even in northern India, women's roles in society demonstrated that they were not always treated as second-class citizens. 
  • Descent was typically traced via the female line among the aakas, Kushans, Pahlavas, and other Central Asian peoples. 
  • The ancient Indians had a matrilineal system, and several tribes were named after women. The successors of Kadrii were the Kadraveya; the Vinateya of Vinata; the Daitya of Diti; and the Danavas of Danu. 
  • As in the instance of the rishi Satyakam a, the habit of adopting names after the mother may suggest that the father was unknown. 
  • In rare cases, such as among some Rajputs, it may hint to the maternal line's better pedigree, causing it to be retained. It usually denotes a matriarchal civilization. 
  • The Khasi of Assam's social structure is regarded as one of the most ideal instances of a matriarchal institution. 
  • The mother is the head of the family, the major tie of union, the property owner, and inheritance is passed down only via her. 

The Nairs of South India are another modern example, where a family consists of the women, their children, their brothers, and maternal uncles; and daughters, but not boys, pass on inheritance rights to their offspring. 

  • Women are the conduits for tracing relationships and ancestry. 
  • Polyandry, which allows a woman to have several husbands at the same time, is closely associated with matriarchy. 
  • This habit of two or more husbands sharing a common bride, who may or may not be brothers, was popular among non-Aryans, notably the Austrics, and was also seen among brahmins and rishis in ancient India. 

Polyandry is implied in the Atharva-veda texts that suggest a woman may marry even after having 10 husbands. 

  • Similarly, the Maruts' and Aavins' shared wives are mentioned in mythology. 
  • The ancient rishi clans' scions were said to be "bom of two dads" or "the sons of m any dads," and there are various allusions in Vedic literature to women having multiple spouses or being "given unto spouses." 
  • A verse in the Apastamba seems to allude to the tradition of marrying a girl to the whole family's male members. 
  • The 10 sons of the Vedic rishi Prachetas married a common bride, Marisha, daughter of Kandu. Gautami married seven rishis and served as a common wife to them. 
  • The lady who catches fish Satyavati had two children with one of her husbands, Santanu, and birthed the great sage Vyasa with another spouse. 
  • According to the Mahabharata, Jatila, the virtuous daughter of a Vedic rishi, married seven erudite brahmins. 
  • Varkshi, the daughter of a sage who married 10 brothers in the Mahabharata, is another example. In the Puranas, there is a narrative of the lovely Madhavi, who was queen to three distinct kings at the same time and gave boys to three distinct families before bearing a son to the sage Viàvamitra. 
  • Not satisfied with her performance, she convened a svayamvara and chose the king Haryaava as her spouse, with whom she fled into exile. 
  • The princess Kanha chose five spouses during her svayam vara and married them all, according to the Kunala Jataka. 
  • According to Sarkar, Sita was the common wife of Ram and Lakshmana in the ancient tradition. 
  • Of course, the marriage of the five Pandava brothers to the unrivaled Draupadi is the most famous example of this sort of polyandry. 
  • The Pandavas' origins are a mystery in and of themselves, since their father Pandu was forbidden by a curse from having sexual relations with his wives. 
  • One of his wives, Kunti, knew multiple "husbands" and had a kid bom with one of them before they married. 
  • Drupada was shocked by the Pandavas' polyandry and asked Yudhishthira about the peculiar tradition, which he described as "contrary to principle and morality." Yudhishthira answered, "It is beyond our capability to uncover the root of this conduct." We simply follow the classic and righteous road that our forefathers took. 

Polyandry is common among groups such as the Nairs, tribes such as the Todas, and other tiny societies. 

‘The habit of numerous brothers marrying just one lady is even more frequent in India today than is widely supposed, not just among non-Aryans, but even among brahmins,' says Dr. R. C. Majumdar.

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Hinduism - AGAMAS



    What Are Agamas?

    Agamas refer to sacred Hindu texts recorded in various forms collectively.

    The significance of texts of all kinds—prose and poetry, written and oral, spoken and sung (whether by a single expert or by a multitude), antique and vernacular, stable and fluid—distinguishes Hinduism, if Hinduism can be characterized as a single thing at all. 

    Here we explore the significance of texts in Hinduism, defines various textual categories, and provides links to entries that cover related topics. 

    Agamas can be Stable and Flowing, Written and Spoken. 

    Any utterance, long or short, that can be repeated in essentially the same manner on several occasions is referred to in this context as a "text." 

    There is a propensity to limit the word "text" to utterances recorded in writing, whether in handwriting, printed, or electronic form. 

    This inclination is supported by the nomenclature of mobile phones and text editing software. 

    When discussing Hindu culture, however, where certain texts exist without writing and are conveyed orally from one speaker to another, this limitation is improper. 

    Writing seems to have first arisen in India, apart from the Indus Valley script, about the middle of the last millennium BCE, but was not utilized for religious writings until much later. 

    With the exception of a few later ones, several of these—the Vedic texts—were written down during a period when there is no proof that writing existed. 

    Others, passed down within small communities, are only known to those outside those communities if they are written down or electronically stored by a third party. 

    There are texts in all of the Hindu languages that are interpreted in this broad meaning (including English and other languages of countries outside South Asia). 

    Many civilizations have incredibly stable ritual texts that must always be performed in precisely the same way—the same words in the same sequence, often even with the same vocal inflections—in order to avoid becoming insulting, ineffectual, or even catastrophic. 

    Vedic writings are one example of this. 

    Other texts may be changed by various reciters, scribes, or even the same person at different times by deleting, adding, or modifying specific words. 

    The art of the reciter may include improvised variation. 

    The Mahabharata and Ramayana, which change considerably in various regions of South Asia, are excellent examples of this. 

    Whether a text is written or spoken depends on whether it is stable or flowing. 

    While the Vedic writings have not altered despite being passed down orally for millennia prior to being recorded, there are hundreds of manuscripts and four distinct printed copies of the Mahabharata. 

    The idea that a text should be retained in tact without being recorded in writing runs counter to what literary historians and anthropologists have discovered about the nature of oral literature. 

    In societies where oral texts are fluid, significant study on oral transmission of texts has been conducted (Chadwick and Chadwick 1932–1940; Lord 1960; Ong 1982). 

    A typical orally transmitted text, like a ballad or an epic, exists as a variety of performances, each of which is somewhat improvised and not an exact replication of any prior performance. 

    This explains, for instance, the Mahabharata's several recensions and myriad modifications. 

    Some theorists (mostly from outside Indian studies) have questioned whether the Veda could have been conveyed unmodified without the use of writing, despite the fact that the oral transmission of the Veda in ancient and contemporary times is thoroughly proven (Scharfe 2002: 8–37, 240–51). 

    According to one anthropologist, the Vedic texts cannot have taken on a set shape before writing was discovered since the concept of a stable text can only exist in a community that is literate (Goody 1987). 

    He claims that the educational environment decontextualizes memory in literate societies by isolating learning from action (Goody 1987: 189). 

    In contrast, this was and is accomplished in India without the use of writing by isolating the study of the Vedas from the context of the yajna, where the texts would be used. 

    The practice of self-study (svadhyaya), in which the Veda-knower recites the texts he has learned, and the learning process are rituals in and of themselves. 

    A class of people who dedicate a major portion of their life to it must be able to do the mental labor-intensive task of oral transmission of a stable text. 

    It was accomplished by brahmans, whose standing relied on their knowledge; monks, similarly, transmitted Buddhist literature (Warder 1970: 205, 294). 

    Some of Paul Ricoeur's (1981: 147; cf. Graham 1987: 15) insights must be amended in a Hindu setting due to the potential of a stable oral text. 

    He contends that the act of writing simultaneously creates the text and distinguishes it from speech, and hence from the setting in which the words were first spoken and in which they had meaning. 

    Recontextualizing the text in the interpreter's own context is the goal of hermeneutics, according to Ricoeur. 

    However, according to the Hindu perspective, the Veda and other writings are not distinguished from speech and are texts even if they are not written. 

    The Veda is speech in and of itself; it is frequently referred to as sabda-brahman, "Brahman as sound," and is a manifestation of the original speech that was spoken at the beginning of the cosmos (om). 

    Not just the Veda, but also the Epics, Puranas, Tantras, and other works that are passed down verbally yet written down in manuscripts are subject to the rule that voice takes precedence over writing (Carpenter 1992). 

    As shown by commentary (see below), recontextualization, or giving a text a new meaning in a new context, did occur in ancient India, but it had previously happened with the Brahmanas and writings like Yaska's Nirukta, completely independently of writing. 

    Until the widespread use of printing in the nineteenth century, other literature relied either on less stable techniques of oral transmission or on perishable manuscripts, or both, whereas the Vedic texts have been maintained stable by a closely regulated methodology of oral transmission. 

    While more well-known writings like the Panchatantra are available in several manuscript and printed copies in various locales, showing the unbridled inventiveness of anonymous storytellers, many ancient Sanskrit texts have been passed down in pretty dependable manuscript form. 

    Similar fluidity may be seen in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, and other smrti works. 

    While certain vernacular collections, like the poetry of Kabir, have a very consistent history, others don't. 

    Some academics have tried to reconstruct the original shape of such a work by contrasting the readings of various manuscripts using textual criticism techniques. 

    Others argue that these approaches are unsuitable for works that have always been available in a variety of versions reflecting regional and ideological differences. 

    Others who seek the original text via the variation versions and those who believe that these versions themselves are the appropriate subject of study continue to have disagreements (Narayana Rao 2004: 110–03). 

    Printing altered the situation in the nineteenth century by giving certain copies of previously fluid writings preference and making Vedic texts, which were previously the property of twice-born men who had received upanayana, accessible to everyone. 

    Then then, recording and broadcasting in the 20th century altered everything. 

    Specialist reciters are no longer required because to sound recordings and written volumes of mantras (Buhnemann 1988: 96). 

    The Ramayana and Mahabharata on television have prioritized certain interpretations more successfully than printed copies could (Brockington 1998: 510–13). 

    The Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas have certain stories that have rather solid literary forms, but popular storytelling is still a flexible art. 

    The vrat-katha is a significant kind of religious story that is told to a group of individuals engaged in a vrata

    The traditional form of a vrata includes the telling of the narrative, which explains how the vrata was established and what benefits come from following it. 

    However, a videotape might now take the role of the storyteller (Jackson and Nesbitt 1993: 65–70). 

    Hindu thinking places a high value on speech, as seen by the care with which texts are preserved and the respect accorded to individuals who recall them, both in the Vedic textual tradition and in less formal traditions (Graham 1987: 67–77). 

    However, in non-Vedic ritual writing has a place alongside speech despite the fact that speech is given priority and that the vocal aspect is dominant both in Vedic ritual and elsewhere. 

    Both inside and outside of temples, mantras are painted; home shrines often have metal sculptures of the om symbol, and some temples have neon signs. 

    On holy diagrams, this character and others that stand in for "seed mantras" are engraved (yantras). 

    Both Valmiki's Ramayana and the whole of Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas are engraved on the walls of contemporary temples in Varanasi and Ayodhya, respectively (Brockington 1998: 506n.). 

    In many temples, a printed copy of the Rigveda Samhita is on display; however, it is not meant to be read, but rather to be revered, much as the Sikhs revere the Adi Granth

    What exactly are "holy texts"? 

    The term "holy texts" is a useful method to distinguish between writings that obviously have a religious purpose within a given tradition and those that do not. 

    The Veda, the Dharmasastra, the poems of the Alvars and Nayan-mar, the mantras spoken or chanted in worship, bhajan songs, or books of instruction like the Siks.patr of Swami Narayana are just a few examples of texts that are discussed in this entry that are used in ritual or that convey religious ideas or precepts. 

    Even though the Pancatantra and the Kamasutra are included in this encyclopedia because of their importance to Hindu culture, we are not concerned with these writings since they are obviously not holy. 

    Although many of them include mythical content or express significant principles like karma or purity, the majority of ancient poetry and contemporary books are also unimportant to us. 

    The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, on the other hand, are the subjects of our interest since they not only include tales but also serve as a repository for religious doctrine and mantras and are dramatized and repeated during certain ceremonial occasions. 

    A priceless legacy of editions, translations, and other works has been left by the study of Hindu writings written in Sanskrit and other languages throughout the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries. 

    The belief that every religion had its own "Bible" or "scriptures," serving a comparable purpose to the Bible in Protestantism (in theological theory if not in observable practice), was supported and, to some measure, driven by that scholarly tradition. 

    This presumption, exemplified by Muller's Sacred Books of the East series, ignores the many ways that texts may be employed in various traditions as well as the various ways that their authority or holiness may be perceived (Timm 1992: 2). 

    Like "the holy" itself, the notion of "sacred texts" or "scripture" is imposed from outside and is not always present among participants. 

    We may interpret it as texts that are "considered, in some way, as the primary center of spoken interaction with ultimate reality" (Graham 1987: 68). 

    They can be interpreted as such because they were said by a particularly wise person, like Valmiki, or by a great number of wise people, like the Vedic rishis or a group of bhakti poets, or by a deity, like Siva; or they can be interpreted as wise because they were eternal and independent of any author, which in the Purva Mmamsa view is the assurance of the Veda's authority. 

    Some works (e.g., Bhagavadgta 18, 67-78; S vetas.vatara Upanisad 6. 22f.) make a claim to being holy by offering incentives for hearing or reciting them or banning teaching them to unauthorized individuals. 

    However, the way a text is used, not its contents, can indicate whether it is considered sacred. 

    This includes whether or not it is recited in ritual settings, whether it is treated as a source of truths or moral imperatives, and whether written or oral versions of the text are revered or protected from tampering. 

    Speaking of sacred texts implies that there is a community who holds those texts in high regard (W.C. Smith 1993: 17f.). 

    For various Hindu groups, various texts are sacred in various ways. 

    Adherence to a text may define what is, for convenience's sake, a "sect" in Hinduism (Renou 1953: 91–99). 

    The word "sect" essentially translates to "tradition" in Sanskrit; unlike in European contexts where it may denote anything that differs from a church or societal standards. 

    Even when a sampradaya's founder left no written works behind, later generations continued to produce literary works in both the vernacular and Sanskrit. 

    This was the situation with the Chaitanya-founded Vaisnava tradition, where the six Gosvamins of Vrindavana composed Bengali and Sanskrit texts that were considered canonical for the Sampradaya. 

    Even the non-hierarchical Bauls, who have no known founder, have their own fluid corpus of songs. 

    What Are Smritis And Srutis?

    Smrti and Sruti Although the term "holy texts" or "scripture" is not an indigenous one, Hindus themselves have categorized such books in a number of significant ways. 

    We may start by dividing knowledge into sruti, which means "hearing, revelation," and smrti, which means "memory, tradition." Sruti is the Veda; it is timeless and was comprehended by the ancient via extrasensory perception. 

    Even if the writers of Smrti writings were much smarter than modern humans are capable of becoming, they were still humans. 

    The word "sruti" does not relate to a fixed canon of writings since the bounds of the Veda are fluid. 

    Indeed, the phrase was not always limited to the Veda; in Manusmrti (12.95), books that are most likely Buddhist and Jain are condemned as "srutis that are outside the Veda" (Olivelle 2005: 234, 349). 

    Smrti is still not as exact. It contains the Kalpasutras, yet as they are a component of the Vedic ceremonial system, they are not typical of smrti writings. 

    The Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Dharmasastras, the Puranas, the Agamas, and the Tantras are what are often meant by the word. 

    There may be disagreements on whether a text is authentic since none of these criteria are clearly established. 

    These works are often structured by a dialogue in which a mythological person learns something from a different figure, with the prestige of these individuals lending legitimacy to the lessons. 

    Conversations are often placed inside dialogues to provide a series of teachers and listeners, most notably in the Mahabharata. 

    As a result, their literary form places them in a setting of verbal instruction from an authoritative speaker to an attentive listener, a scenario that is repeated by a line of speakers and listeners down to the current reciter and his audience. 

    Smrti renders its listeners indirect receivers of linguistic communication from the divine, but Sruti makes audible the everlasting speech at the beginning of the cosmos. 

    The Smrti texts are publicly recited, with the reciter frequently interspersing a vernacular translation, in contrast to the Vedas, which must be protected from being heard by unauthorized people (such as non-twice-born men or women) and recited in a set ritual manner in the exact form in which they have been learned. 

    Despite the fact that printing and manuscripts have made such recitation easier, the majority of people encounter texts via voice. 

    The performance of reciting the Puranas is mostly oral, however it is carried out by a highly educated professional known as the pauranika, who not only reads the book aloud but also comments on it while referencing other works. 

    A similar performance erases the line between oral and written culture (Singer 1972: 150–55; see also Narayana Rao 2004: 103–14). 

    Since the proponents of smrti possessed in-depth knowledge of the Veda, historically, the authority of smrti is drawn from that of sruti. 

    Manu claims that the tradition (smrti) and behavior of people who know it are the second source of dharma after the Veda itself (Manusmrti 2, 6). 

    The Vedic redactor Vyasa is credited with writing the Mahabharata after compiling the Vedas (Mahabharata 1.1.52). 

    According to Mahabharata 1.1.204, "The epics (itihasa) and Puranas should be employed to reinforce the Veda, because the Veda dread an uneducated man lest he may ruin it." 

    The narrative is repeated in the Bhagavata Purana: Vyasa wrote the Mahabharata because women, sudras, and nominal brahman (those who do not fulfill the actual character of brahman by learning the Veda) could not access the Vedas (Bhagavata Purana, 1.5.25). 

    But it also adds a conclusion: Vyasa eventually wrote the Bhagavata Purana to instruct in Krishna worship because he was still unsatisfied (Bhagavata Purana 1.4. 26–31; 1.7.6–8). 

    The historical link between smrti and sruti weakens as we go from the Kalpasutras through the Dharmasastras and epics to the Puranas, Agamas, and Tantras

    The four yugas, the framework on which historical time is traditionally constructed, are used to acknowledge this historical variation in the tradition. 

    Only during the Kreta era could the Vedas be properly followed; during the Dvapara era, they were in danger of being lost, which is why Vyasa set them up. 

    The Vedas are poorly known and understood in the current Kali era, when the brahmans who should preserve them are degenerate and the status of the kshatriyas who once supported the yajna has been usurped by rebels; instead, the smrti texts, which contain the meaning of the Vedas, have taken their place. 

    The Kali era is claimed to outlaw several behaviors that are prescribed in the Vedic writings namely Kali Varjya(or kali-varjita). 

    These practices include animal sacrifice and niyoga, also known as levirate, in which a man's wife engages in sexual relations with his brother in order to produce a son for her dead husband. 

    The belief that the Bhagavata Purana, or any other specific smrti work, conveys the content of the Veda does not imply that specific sentences in one text may be connected to phrases in another. 

    Instead, it conveys the feeling that both have the absolute truth. 

    The Bhagavad Gita, which has been the subject of countless translations and commentaries since the late nineteenth century, is the smrti text that is currently printed the most widely. 

    Long before that, it served as the inspiration for numerous imitations, some of which are included in Puranas like the Ganesagta or the Devgta while the Anugta is contained within the Mahabharata itself (Gonda 1977: 271–76). 

    Although some people object to this, the Bhagavadgta is often utilized in funeral ceremonies and as a book for religious schools (Firth 1997: 84, 87). 

    Numerous smrti writings, whether they promote the worship of Siva, Visnu, or Sakti or another god, are well-known and acknowledged by devotees of other deities. 

    Many of the Puranas support this. 

    On the other hand, there are literature known as Agamas, Tantras, and Sam hitas that are particular to one or both of these deities. 

    The word "agama," which means "tradition," may be used to refer to works that provide guidance on ritual behavior and the pursuit of salvation generally, but it is particularly used to describe books that identify Siva as the ultimate god. 

    Tantra may also be used more broadly, however it is particularly employed in books on Sakti worship. 

    The Vedic Samhitas and the group of works dedicated to Visnu known as the Pancaratra Samhitas are the two principal usage of the term samhita. 

    Even while the phrases A gama, Tantra, and Samhita are often used to refer to Saivism, Saktism, and Vaisnavism, respectively, none of them are exclusive to any of these three. 

    However, the specific books they refer to are often just Saivism, Saktism, or Vaisnavism (Gonda 1977). 

    What Are Mantras, Vidhis, And Arthavada?

    The Veda is divided into mantra, vidhi, and arthavada categories according to a different categorization created in Purva Mimamsa. 

    1. A mantra is a passage of text chanted or spoken aloud during a rite. 
    2. A vidhi is a paragraph that instructs ritual practitioners on what to do and how to execute it. It is often translated as a "injunction." 
    3. Arthavada, which translates to "statement of purpose," explains why a ritual should be performed in a certain manner. 

    In practice, it refers to all Vedic texts that are neither mantras nor vidhis. 

    The Samhitas have mantras, but the Brahmanas and Aranyakas also commonly mention them. 

    The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads also contain vidhi and arthavada

    Although the word "mantra" is often used outside of the Vedic setting, this categorization specifically pertains to Vedic writings. 

    Non-Vedic literature may also be categorized into sections that are employed in ritual, sections that prescribe, and sections that offer motivation for ritual action. 

    The phrases vidhi and arthavada are less common writings in both Sanskrit and the local language. 

    The sruti and smrti writings mentioned above are all in Sanskrit, and many Hindus who do not speak the language are acquainted with the sound of Sanskrit due to its usage in ritual. 

    There are holy scriptures in all Indian languages. 

    Bhakti, with its focus on the relationship between the devotee and the divine, which eliminates the necessity for the brahman and his ceremonial writings in Sanskrit, encouraged the use of literature in vernacular languages. 

    However, we need not assume that the earliest vernacular texts, starting with the Tamil poems of the sixth century, were also the first bhakti texts to be made available. 

    The use of vernacular languages from the beginning in Buddhist and Jain texts suggests that Sanskrit's dominance in the religious sphere had long been contested. 

    Along with the bhakti poetry, there are many vernacular Puranas, some of which are completely independent of Sanskrit and others that have been translated or altered from it (Rocher 1986: 72–77). 

    Many regional and educational themes are addressed in vernacular versions of the Ramayana, such as Kampan's Tamil translation Iramavataram and Tulsdas's Hindi Ramcaritmanas. 

    In the Ramlla dramas, especially at Dasahra, these, especially the latter, are not only recited but also performed (Brockington 1998: 505-07; Lutgendorf 1991). 

    It is less common to dramatize the Mahabharata, but South India and Sri Lanka both stage plays centered on Draupad (Brockington 1998: 507; Hiltebeitel 1988-91; Tanaka 1991). 

    Sanskrit writings are explicitly rejected in certain bhakti traditions, as in the tale of the Marathi poet Namdev who had a cow recite the Veda (Ranade 1961: 71). 

    The concept of the fifth Veda and the notion that vernacular texts with concepts such as the Tamil Veda, as well as smrti texts with concepts like the Bhagavata Purana (see above), contain the meaning of the Veda, were both expanded. 

    On the other hand, in many lineages, the creation of vernacular literature has been followed by the development of texts in Sanskrit. 

    For instance, the Sanskrit works of Yamunacarya, Ramanuja, and others came after the Tamil songs of the Alvars. 

    The Alvars were also followed by the Bhagavata Purana, which, because it was written in Sanskrit, made emotional bhakti accessible outside of the Tamil-speaking region. 

    However, the change from the vernacular to Sanskrit was accompanied by a change from an emotional to an intellectual form of bhakti (Hardy 1983: 36–43). 

    Vernacular works must obviously be regional, although this does not preclude their translation into or imitation in neighboring languages; for example, poetry credited to Kabr are also available in Bengali, Panjabi, and Hindi. 

    Tyagaraja's (1767–1847) Telegu songs are popular in areas of South India and the diaspora but are seldom recognized outside of that region (Jackson 1991). 

    Up until the nineteenth century, when English usage started to rise steadily throughout the Hindu world, Sanskrit was the only language in which texts could be made available. 

    The English writings of non-regional, non-sectarian Hinduism pioneers like Gandhi, Radhakrishnan, and Vivekananda—a Bengali, Gujarati, and Tamil—show the significance of English in this process. 

    In the last fifty years, Hindi has surpassed English as the language spoken across all of India. 

    Some Sanskrit writings are regional or even local, while vernacular texts are by their very nature local. 

    What Are Mahatmyas And Sthala-Puranas?

    In addition to texts from locally based sampradayas, there are texts from pilgrimage sites or temples. 

    These texts include Mahatmyas ('glorifications'), which extol the local deity and the advantages of visiting it, and Sthala-Puranas ('puranas of the place, local puranas'), which tell the history of the site's sanctity and the rules for visiting it. 

    Examples of these two types that overlap may be found in vernacular and Sanskrit languages (Rocher 1986: 71f. ; Gonda 1977: 276-81). 

    The readers or listeners of vernacular texts are not always able to understand them; Sanskrit is not the only language that is used in ritual without being fully understood. 

    The language of the Tamil bhakti poetry is not current spoken Tamil, although they are nevertheless widely performed in temples. 

    Tulsıdas’ Ramcaritmanas may have owed its popularity originally to its being in language familiar to its hearers, but it continues to be repeated in its original, now archaic form, its worth consisting in its holiness rather than its accessibility. 

    Sacred Poetry And Prose. 

    Most of the works we are interested in are in verse, however numerous mantras from the Yajur veda, all of the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, certain Upanisads, and the Kalpasutras are in prose (interesting as the earliest instances of prose in any Indian language). 

    Also written in prose are the non-Vedic sutras. 

    There are a few portions in the Mahabharata and Puranas that are written in prose. 

    Sanskrit literature, especially technical works like the Sam. 

    hyakarikas, the founding book of the Sam. 

    khya philosophy, was and remains heavily verse-based. 

    The sloka, a stanza of thirty-two syllables split into four halves, is by far the most popular poetry form. 

    Unlike the other meters employed in the complex literature known as kavya, it is adaptable and simple to utilize (see below). 

    Slokas have been written by countless anonymous authors of the Puranas and other texts, in addition to well-known poets, and are used even for quite unpoetic subjects were cited in prose works of religion that inspired debate, such as:

    1. Swami Narayan's Vacanamrta ('Immortality in words') in Gujarati, 
    2. Dayananda Saraswati's Satyartha Prakasa ('Light of truth') in Hindi, 
    3. or Vivekananda's writings in English. 

    What is Kavya?

    Even though kavya can be in prose, the term is occasionally translated as "poetry." It takes a significant amount of literary training to compose and appreciate this particular genre of Sanskrit literature. 

    It contains a variety of literary genres, such as verse epics, dramas, and one-verse epigrams. 

    Even today, despite the fact that few people are sufficiently educated to appreciate it, it is still being developed under the patronage of kings. 

    The Buddha-charita (also known as the "Life of the Buddha"), written by Asvaghosa in the first or second century CE, and inscriptions from the second century CE forward are the earliest instances that have survived. 

    Although textual scholars consider the Ramayana's only passages in which it claims to be the original kavya to be late and that it lacks the stylistic elaboration typical of kavya, it is still hailed as the genre's founding work (Brockington 1998: 23, 361). 

    Kavya, in contrast to smrti and other works, rigorously adheres to the grammatical rules established by Panini and other grammarians and makes use of sophisticated meters and aesthetic embellishments that are outlined in literary guides. 

    A thorough understanding of mythology as well as other disciplines is required to fully comprehend kavya, even though it generally does not come within the category of holy literature. 

    Kavya works frequently start with a prayer or deity's invocation. 

    Some, like Kalidasa's Kumarasam Bhava on the birth of Skanda, are based on mythological stories, while others, like his play Sakuntala, use epic tales. 

    The Gtagovinda and the Karnandana ('Delight of the ears'), poems from the Radhavallabh Sampradaya, which was formed by the poet's father, Hita Harivamsa, and focused on Krishna's beloved, Radha, are two instances of kavya compositions that are devotional throughout (Gonda 1977: 25–29; Entwistle 1987: 168). 

    The Kuncitan ghri-stava, written by Umapati Sivacarya in the year 1300 CE and translated as "Hymn of praise to [Nataraja's] curved foot," is one particularly intriguing example. 

    Each of its 313 verses concludes with a refrain that alludes to Siva's foot being raised in the dance and does so by way of a clever and moving fusing of mythological, theological, and philosophical ideas (D. Smith 1996). 

    What Is a Stotra?

    The stotra, a hymn of adoration to a deity, is a common type of religious text that is written in both Sanskrit and vernacular (Gonda 1977: 232–70). 

    In contrast to sloka or the meters used in kavya, many stotras use rhyme and a metre with a strong recurrent beat, and they frequently contain a refrain. 

    Many stotras are credited to Sankara (Mahadevan 1980; Hirst 2005: 24f.). 

    The Gtagovinda contains stotras, which are songs. 

    Another example is the poem Bande Mataram by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, which was originally written to honor Bengal as a mother goddess but was later changed to refer to India. 

    Its grammar is so straightforward that anyone who knows Bengali or Hindi can understand most of the poem (Lipner 2005). 

    The nama-stotra is one kind of stotra, and it consists mostly of a list of names, epithets, and descriptions of a specific god (Gonda 1977: 268–70; Gonda 1970: 67–76). 

    An early example is the Sata-rudrya ('[hymn] of a thousand Rudras'), which is still chanted in Siva temples and is part of the Black Yajur veda (Vajasaney Samhita 4, 5). 

    The prayers are interspersed with numerous names and epithets that invoke Rudra (Gonda 1970: 70f.; Gonda 1977: 241; translated Keith 1914: 353-62). 

    Other Sanskrit prose was utilized in theological works such as Ramanuja’s Vedartha-samgraha (‘Compendium of the meaning of the Veda’), and for the huge library of comments detailed below. 

    It was used for literary works such as the Pancatantra, theater, and other literary works that did not fall under the rubric of holy writings. 

    Except for letters and other related documents, little little prose was produced in the common languages until the nineteenth century. 

    The bhakti poems are in verse, though some, like the Marathi abhangs and the Kannad vacans, have a more flexible verse structure. 

    Since 1816, Rammohan Roy and his Hindu and Christian adversaries have contributed prose works in Bengali and English to religious debates that had hitherto only been held in Sanskrit. 

    In his earliest work, Roy noted that many people had trouble reading Bengali prose and offered some brief tips on how to do so (Killingley 1982: 12; Das 1966: 131f.). 

    Newspapers, books, and other advances encouraged the use of prose in the vernacular languages during the nineteenth century. 

    These well-known instances are the Lalita-sahasra-nama ('Thousand names of the luscious [Goddess]') in the Brahmanada Purana and the Visnu-sahasra-nama ('Thousand names of Visnu'; Raghavan 1958: 421-36). 

    What Is The Purpose And Place Of Commentary In Sacred Texts?

    Hindu writings are meant to be analyzed and discussed. 

    Some comments, sometimes referred to as t.ka, just clarify challenging terms; the term for a more thorough commentary is bhasya. 

    Some comments, such as Saya's on Vedic literature, Sankara's on the Upanisads, or the countless commentators on the Manusmrti or Manavadharmasastra, explain every word in the original text on the grounds that nothing is without intent. 

    Some texts, like the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavadgta, have been discussed numerous times from various and frequently conflicting perspectives; one of the commentator's tasks is to disprove competing interpretations. 

    A commentary, particularly one on a sutra, may be a text of original authorship in and of itself, with subsequent commentary by members of the same school of thought elaborating on the first commentary's meaning in light of newer developments within the school. 

    Although it has been argued that the presence of substantial commentaries indicates a text's theological significance, a text that is religiously inspiring but not theologically significant may draw little to no attention (Clooney 2003: 461). 

    In addition to Sanskrit commentaries, vernacular commentaries exist. 

    Tamil commentaries on Tamil texts are one such example (Hardy 1983: 244f.). 

    Oral commentaries on the Puranas have also been mentioned.

    ~Kiran Atma

    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

    References And Further reading: 

    • J. A. B. van Buitenen, trans., Yamana’s Agamapramanyam or Treatise on the Validity of Pancaratra (Madras: Ramanuja Research Society, 1971).
    • Bruno Dagens, Architecture in the Ajitagama and the Rauravagama: A Study of Two South Indian Texts (New Delhi: Sitaram Institute of Scientific Research, 1984).
    • Mark Dyczkowski, The Canon of the Saivagama and the Kubjika Tantras of the Western Kaula Tradition (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988).
    • Kamalakar Mishra, Kashmir Saivism: The Central Philosophy of Tantrism (Portland, Ore.: Rudra Press, 1993).
    • S. K. Ramachandra Rao, Agama-Kosa: Agama Encyclopedia (Bangalore: Kapatharu Research Academy, 1994).