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Also Read:
Literature Overview
Literature Classification
Literature ::: Scripture & Literature Classification
Sanskrit Literature is so ancient and vast that it is not possible to read and understand all in a life-time. Over
thousands of years, many scholars have contributed to Sanskrit literature and scriptures. Sometimes it is not even
possible to associate any specific work with a specific scholar or person. However, in this vastness lies a logical
classification of the entire literature and scripture. There are guidelines which govern the structure and writing
style of a literary composition. Even the rules for composing each stanza are available. These have been explained
in works like . (naaTyashaastra) or the "art of poetry composition". However, creativity of scholars was never constrained by such guidelines.
Similarly, there is no branch of knowledge that has been left uninvestigated in the scriptures like veda-s ( / veda) and upanishad-s (; /
upaniShad). Each branch of knowledge has been thoroughly investigated, brought to its logical undeniable conclusion and systematically
documented for the benefit of entire mankind.
In this section we will present our precious inheritance in its logical classification, along with brief introduction to each.
Sanskrit Scripture Classification
- sRRiti
This includes the
philosophical
aspect of the
scriptures. The
vedic text used to
be propagated
from one
generation to the
next as oral
teaching or
recitation. Hence
the word
(sRRiti) literally
meaning "which
has been heard".
Each veda
contains different
sections and
chapters. The
classification
represents the
same.
( , , , )
veda (RRik, yajur, saama, atharva) #1
- karmakaaNDa
- sa.nhitaa
- braahmaNa
z - dnyaanakaaNDa
- aaraNyaka
- upaniShat #2
major upaniShat-s minor upaniShat-s
.
iishaavaasyopaniShat

kenopaniShat

kaThopaniShat

prashnopaniShat

muNDakopaniShat
4
maaNDuukyopaniShat
o
taitiriiyopaniShat

aitareyopaniShat

brahmopaniShat

shvetaashvatara

ha.nsopaniShat

naaraayaNopaniShat
-
maantrikopaniShat
-z
kaalaagnirudropaniShat

nirvaaNopaniShat
|
suuryopaniShat
converted by Web2PDFConvert.com
--
chhaandogyopaniShat
-
kaivalyopaniShat

bRRihadaaraNyakopaniShat
All 108 Upanishat-s
Notes:
#1. Each veda contains two sections (karmakaaNDa) and z (dnyaanakaaNDa) literally meaning the ritual
section and knowledge section. (karmakaaNDa) is again devided as (sa.nhitaa) and (braahmaNa)
containing prayers and ritualistic prescriptions respectively. z (dnyaanakaaNDa) contains the philosophical
teachings and guidelines for a spiritual life. It also contains (upaniShat) which is the essence of the entire vedic
text.
#2. Of the 108 Upanishats accepted as authentic, Shankaryacharya considered 11 as important and commented on
10 of those. These are known as major, and the rest are known as minor upaniShat-s.
- smRRiti
This includes the
practical aspect of
the scriptures. .
(smRRiti) literally
meaning "which is
to be remembered"
includes teachings
on different
aspects like
science, geometry,
medicine etc.
- upaveda #3

aayurveda

dhanurveda
-
gaandarvaveda
.-.
staapathya-shaastra
, - vedaaN^ga #4
a
shikshaa
-
kalpa

vyaakaraNa
z+
nirukta
-
chhanda
-
jyotisha
-, - veda-upaaN^ga #5
-
nyaaya

vaiseshika

saa.nkhya

yoga

mimaa.nsa
-
vedaanta
. - smRRiti #6
manu-smRRiti
-.
18 smRRiti-s
.
- itihaasa #7

raamaayaNa

mahaabhaarata
- puraaNa #8
- - mahaa-puraaNa - Main Purana-s
- brahma - vaiShNava - shaiva

brahmapuraaNam

brahmaaNDapuraaNam

brahmavaivartapuraaNam

maarkaNDeyapuraaNam

bhaviShyapuraaNam

vaamanapuraaNam

viShNupuraaNam

naaradiiyapuraaNam

bhaagavatapuraaNam
z
garuDapuraaNam
n
padmapuraaNam

varaahapuraaNam
..
matsyapuraaNam

kuurmapuraaNam
,
liN^gapuraaNam

vaayupuraaNam
.-
skaandapuraaNam
-
agnipuraaNam
- - upa-puraaNa - Other Purana-s
converted by Web2PDFConvert.com
-.
sanatkumaara

narasimha
naaradiya

shiva

durvaasha

kapila

vaamana

ousaasana
z
varuna

kalika

bhaargava
-
nandi

soura
-
saamba

maheshvara

paraasara

gaNesha

vasiShTha
Notes:
#3. Each veda has one (upaveda) attached to it and covers practical aspects relevant to the specific veda.
(aayurveda) or health science, (dhanurveda) or military science, - (gaandarvaveda) o r art and
science of music, and .-. (staapathya-shaastra) or science of mechanics and construction are associated to
4 , , , (RRikveda, yajurveda, saamaveda, atharvaveda) respectively.
#4. , (vedaaN^ga) are six branches of knowledge essential for the understanding of the teachings of the
veda-s. As vedic teachings essentially followed an oral tradition, these studies ensured the original intent and
meaning of the veda-s remained same and any error in the oral teachings easily identified and corrected. a
(shikshaa), - (kalpa), (vyaakaraNa), z+ (nirukta), - (chhanda) and - (jyotisha) cover phonetics,
ritual, grammar, etymology, prosody, and astronomy respectively.
#5. -, (veda-upaaN^ga) are six branches of philosophy which are part of vedic teaching.
#6. . (smRRiti) or -. (dharma-shaastra) are the rules of conduct prescribed for a righteous life. These rules
cater to the need of every one starting from the intellectuals to the masses, the basic intent being to lead a
spiritual path. Of these -. (manu-smRRiti) is the foundation of Hindu Law.
#7. (itihaasa) is based on historical events, centering around role-model who lives a rightous life and
inspires all to follow such path. (raamaayaNa) and (mahaabhaarata) are the two epics which teach
the core of philosophy through the lives of (shriiraama) and (shriikRRIShNa).
#8. (puraaNa) teaches the phylosophical essence of the scriptures through stories catering to the emotional
and spiritual needs of the mass, and shows the path of a righteous life. The stories are based on historical and
mythological events. There are total 64 important puraNa-s, of which 18 are considered as main puraaNa-s
classified under three groups viz., (brahma), (vaiShNava) and (shaiva).
Sanskrit Literature Classification
-
shravya-kaavya
Any composition
that can be heard
or read only.
o- - padya-kaavya #9
- - mahaa-kaavya #10
- - khaNDa-kaavya #11
+ - muktaka #12
o- - gadya-kaavya #13
-- - champu-kaavya #14
Notes:
#9. o- (padya-kaavya) or poetry is a composition in which each stanza is made up of four quarters and follows
specific rules of meter.
#10. Of the different poetic compositions - (mahaa-kaavya) is the most advanced one. It is composed around
a great personality and is of considerable length. Words used are free from any vulgarity and of profound thought. It
contains different aspects like counseling, messengers, journey and war etc. It may contain different sceneries like
city, ocean, hill, season, sunrise, sunset, separation and union of lovers and marriage etc.
#11. - (khaNDa-kaavya) can have some characteristics of a - (mahaa-kaavya).
converted by Web2PDFConvert.com
#12. + (muktaka) is an independent verse dealing with one specific aspect of life. The innumerable number of
(subhaaShitam) available in Sanskrit literature all fall under this category.
#13. o- (gadya-kaavya) or story does not follow any specific rule for composition and is not constrained by
syllable and quarter etc.
#14. -- (champu-kaavya) is a special type of composition where it is a combination of o- (padya-kaavya)
and o- (gadya-kaavya).
-
dRRishya-kaavya
Any composition
that can be heard,
read and seen as
well. This includes
a n y composition
that can be
performed on a
stage.
- ruupaka #15

naaTakam

prakaraNam

bhaaNaH

prahasanam

DimaH

vyaayogaH

samavakaaraH

viithii
,
aN^ka

ihaamRRigaH
uparuupaka #16

naaTikaa

troTakam

goShThii
,
saTTakam

naaTyaraasakam

sa.nlaapakam

shriigaditam
-
shilpakam

vilaasikaa
-
durmallikaa

prakaraNii
-
halliisha

bhaaNika
.
prasthaana
-
ullapya

kaavya
,a
preN^kshaNam

raasakam
#15, #16. Any composition that can be performed on a stage is categorised either as (ruupaka) or
(uparuupaka). Each is again sub-categorised into a specific type of composition based on the
contents, plot, number of actors, type of actors, emotions expressed etc.
108 Upanishats -
(Listed in / muktikopaniShat)

upaniShat

veda

upaniShat

veda

upaniShat

veda
converted by Web2PDFConvert.com
.
iishaavaasya
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

kena

saama

kathaa
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

prashna

atharva

muNDaka

atharva
4
maaNDukya

atharva
o
taittariiya
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

aitareya

RRik
--
chhandogya

saama

bRRihadaaraNyaka

yajur

brahma
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
kaivalya
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

jaavila
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

shvetashvatara
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

ha.nsa
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
z
aaruNeya

saama

garbha
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

naaraayaNa
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

paramaha.nsa
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
--
amRRita-vindu
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
amRRita-naada
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
atharva-shira

atharva
-
atharva-shikha

atharva
c
bahRRicha

RRik

maitraayaNi

saama

kauShiitaaki

RRik
-
bRRihajjaavaala

atharva

nRRisi.nhataapanii

atharva
-z
kaalaagnirudra
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

maitreyi

saama

suvaala
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
a |
kshurika
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
maantrika
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
-
sarva-saara
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
niraalamba
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
-.
shuka-rahasya
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
vajra-suuchi

saama
--
tejo-vindu
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
--
naada-vindu

RRik
--
dhyaana-vindu
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
o
brahmavidyaa
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
t
yogatattva
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
.
aatmavodha

RRik
|
parivraata

atharva
-
tri-Shikhi
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

siitaa

atharva

yogachuuDaamaNi

saama

nirvaaNa

RRik

maNDalabraahmaNa
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
a
dakshiNamuurti
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

sharabha

atharva
.-
skanda
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

mahaanaaraayaNa

atharva
,
advayataaraka
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
.
raamarahasya

atharva

raamataapaNii

atharva

vaasudeva

saama

mudgala

RRik
-
shaaNDilya

atharva

pai.ngala
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
a
bhikshuka
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

mahata

saama

shaariiraka
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

yogashikhaa
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

turiiyaatiita
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
-
sa.nnyaasa

saama
-|
paramaha.nsa-parivraajaka

atharva
a
akshamaalika

RRik
+
avyakta

saama
a
ekaakshara
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
annapuurNa

atharva

suurya

atharva
a
akshi
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
.
adhyaatmaa
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

kuNDika

saama
converted by Web2PDFConvert.com

saavitri

saama
.
aatmaa

atharva

paashupata

atharva

para.nbrahma

atharva

avadhuuta
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

tripuraatapani

atharva

devi

atharva

tripura

RRik
z
kaTharudra
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

bhaavana

atharva
z-c
rudra-hRRidaya
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
yoga-kuNDalini
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
.
bhasma

atharva
ze
rudraakshya

saama

gaNapati

atharva

darshana

saama

taarasaara
( 4)
yajur (shukla)
4
mahaavaakya

atharva
-
paJNcha-brahma
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
--
praaNaagni-hotra
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
-
gopaala-tapaNi

atharva

kRRiShNa

atharva
z-4
jaadnyavalkya
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

varaaha
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
.
shaatyaayani
( 4)
yajur (shukla)

hayagriiva

atharva
o
dattatreya

atharva
z
gaaruDa

atharva
-
kaali-saNTaaraNa
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)

jaabaala

saama
-
saubhaagya

RRik
.-.
sarasvatii-rahasya
( )
yajur (kRRIShNa)
+
muktika

yajur
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