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ontinuing the tradition of the late Vedic Shrautasutra literature, Late Iron Age scholarship (ca.

500 to 100 BCE) organized knowledge into Sutra treatises, inclu ding the Vedanga and the religious or philosophical Brahma Sutras, Yoga Sutras, Nyaya Sutras. In the Vedanga disciplines of grammar and phonetics, no author had greater influ ence than Pini with his Adhyy (ca. 5th century BC). In the tradition of Sutra literatu e exposing the full grammar of Sanskrit in extreme brevity, Panini's brilliance lies in the nature of his work of a prescriptive generative grammar, involving m etarules, transformations and recursion. Being prescriptive for all later gramma tical works, such as Patanjali's Mahbhya, Pini's grammar effectively fixed the gramma r of Classical Sanskrit. The Backus-Naur Form or BNF grammars used to describe m odern programming languages have significant similarities with Panini's grammar rules. The Epics[edit] Main article: Indian epic poetry The period between approximately the 6th to 1st centuries BC saw the composition and redaction of the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, with su bsequent redaction progressing down to the 4th century AD. They are known as iti hasa, or history, ( that which occurred ). The Ramayana[edit] Main article: Ramayana While not as long as the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is still twice as long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together. Traditionally, the authorship is attributed to the Hindu sage Valmiki, who is referred to as Adikavi, or "first poet." Valmiki in the Ramayana introduced the Anushtubh meter for the first time. Like the Maha bharata, the Ramayana was also handed down orally and evolved through several ce nturies before being transferred into writing. It includes tales that form the b asis for modern Hindu festivals and even contains a description of the same marr iage practice still observed in contemporary times by people of Hindu persuasion . The story deals with Prince Rama (Hindi: Rm), his exile and the abduction of his wife by the Rakshasa king Ravana, and the Lankan war. Similar to the Mahabharata , the Ramayana also has several full-fledged stories appearing as sub-plots. The Ramayana has also played a similar and equally important role in the develop ment of Indian culture as the Mahabharata. The Ramayana is also extant in Ramayana: Southeast Asian versions See also: Hikayat Seri Rama, Kakawin Rmyaa, Phra Lak Phra Lam, Ramakien, Reamker, a nd Yama Zatdaw The Mahabharata[edit] The battle of Kurukshetra, folio from the Mahabharata. Main article: Mahabharata The Mahabharata (Great Bharata) is one of the longest poetic works in the world. While it is clearly a poetic epic, it contains large tracts of Hindu mythology, philosophy and religious tracts. Traditionally, authorship of the Mahabharata i s attributed to the sage Vyasa. According to the Adi-parva of the Mahabharata (8 1, 101-102), the text was originally 8,800 verses when it was composed by Vyasa and was known as the Jaya (Victory), which later became 24,000 verses in the Bha rata recited by Vaisampayana. The broad sweep of the story of the Mahabharata chronicles the story of the conf lict between two families for control of Hastinapur, a city in Ancient India. The impact of the Mahabharata on India and Hinduism cannot be stressed enough. H aving been molded by Indian culture, it has in turn molded the development of In dian culture. Thousands of later writers would draw freely from the story and su b-stories of the Mahabharata. Classical Sanskrit literature[edit] The classical period of Sanskrit literature dates to the Gupta period and the su

ccessive pre-Islamic Middle kingdoms of India, spanning roughly the 3rd to 8th c enturies CE. Drama[edit] Main article: Sanskrit drama Shakuntala stops to look back at Dushyanta, Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), scene f rom Abhijnakuntalam. Drama as a distinct genre of Sanskrit literature emerges in the final centuries BC, influenced partly by Vedic mythology. It reaches its peak between the 4th an d 7th centuries before declining together with Sanskrit literature as a whole. Famous Sanskrit dramatists include hudraka, Bhasa, Asvaghosa and Klidsa. Though num erous plays written by these playwrights are still available, little is known ab out the authors themselves. One of the earliest known Sanskrit plays is the Mrichakatika, thought to have be en composed by hudraka in the 2nd century BC. The Natya Shastra (ca. 2nd century AD, literally "Scripture of Dance," though it sometimes translated as "Science o f Theatre'") is a keystone work in Sanskrit literature on the subject of stagecr aft. Bhasa and Klidsa are major early authors of the first centuries AD, Klidsa qual ifying easily as the greatest poet and playwright in Sanskrit He deals primarily with famous Hindu legends and themes; three famous plays by Klidsa are Vikramrvayam (Vikrama and Urvashi), Mlavikgnimitram (Malavika and Agnimitra), and the play that he is most known for: Abhijnakuntalam (The Recognition of Shakuntala). Late (post 6th century) dramatists include Dandin and Sriharsha. Nagananda, attr ibuted to King Harsha, is an outstanding drama that outlines the story of King J imutavahana, who sacrifices himself to save the tribe of serpents. It is also un ique in that it invokes Lord Buddha in what is a predominantly Hindu drama. The only surviving ancient Sanskrit drama theatre is Koodiyattam, which is being preserved in Kerala by the Chakyar community. Scholarly treatises[edit] Indian literature Assamese Bengali Bhojpuri English Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Malayalam Manipuri Marathi Mizo Nepali Oriya Punjabi Rajasthani Sanskrit Sindhi Tamil Telugu Urdu v t e Main articles: Tantras, Shastra, Siddhanta, and Jataka Further information: Jyotihshastra The earliest surviving treatise on astrology is the Jyotia Vednga as the science o f observing the heavens in order to correctly perform Vedic sacrifice arises aft er the end of the Vedic period, during ca. the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. Classic al Hindu astrology is based on early medieval compilations, notably the Bhat Parara Horstra and Srval (7th to 8th century).[5] The astronomy of the classical Gupta perio

d, the centuries following Indo-Greek contact, is documented in treatises known as Siddhantas (which means "established conclusions" [6] ). Varahamihira in his Pancha-Siddhantika contrasts five of these: The Surya Siddhanta besides the Pait amaha Siddhantas (which is more similar to the "classical" Vedanga Jyotisha), th e Paulisha and Romaka Siddhantas (directly based on Hellenistic astronomy) and t he Vasishta Siddhanta. The earliest treatise in Indian mathematics is the ryabhaya (written ca. 500 CE), a work on astronomy and mathematics. The mathematical portion of the ryabhaya was co mposed of 33 stras (in verse form) consisting of mathematical statements or rules , but without any proofs.[7] However, according to (Hayashi 2003, p. 123), "this does not necessarily mean that their authors did not prove them. It was probabl y a matter of style of exposition." From the time of Bhaskara I (600 CE onwards) , prose commentaries increasingly began to include some derivations (upapatti). "Tantra" is a general term for a scientific, magical or mystical treatise and my stical texts both Hindu and Buddhist said to concern themselves with five subjec ts, 1. the creation, 2. the destruction of the world, 3. the worship of the gods , 4. the attainment of all objects, 5. the four modes of union with the supreme spirit by meditation. These texts date to the entire lifespan of Classical Sansk rit literature. Stories[edit] Main articles: Panchatantra and Hitopadesha A 'Panchatantra' relief at the Mendut temple, Central Java, Indonesia. Sanskrit fairy tales and fables are chiefly characterised by ethical reflections and proverbial philosophy. A peculiar style, marked by the insertion of a numbe r of different stories within the framework of a single narrative, made its way to Persian and Arabic literatures, exerting a major influence on works such as O ne Thousand and One Nights. The two most important collections are Panchatantra and Hitopadesha; originally intended as manuals for the instruction of kings in domestic and foreign policy, they belong to the class of literature which the Hindus call nti-stra, or "Science of Political Ethics". Other notable prose works include a collection of pretty and ingenious fairy tal es, with a highly Oriental colouring, the Vetla-panchaviati or "Twenty-five Tales o f the Vetla" (a demon supposed to occupy corpses), the Sihsana-dvtriik or "Thirty-two tories of the Lion-seat" (i.e. throne), which also goes by the name of Vikrama-c harita, or "Adventures of Vikrama" and the uka-saptati, or "Seventy Stories of a Parrot". These three collections of fairy tales are all written in prose and are comparatively short. Somadeva's Kath-sarit-sgara or "Ocean of Rivers of Stories" is a work of special i mportance: composed in verse and of very considerable length, it contains more t han 22,000 shlokas, equal to nearly one-fourth of the Mahbhrata. Like Kshemendra's Brhatkathamanjari and Budhasvamin's Bhatkathlokasagraha, it derives from Gunadhya's Brihatkatha. Fable collections, originally serving as the handbooks of practical moral philos ophy, provided an abundant reservoir of ethical maxims that become so popular th at works consisting exclusively of poetical aphorisms started to appear. The mos t important are the two collections by the highly-gifted Bharthari, entitled resp ectively Nti-ataka, or "Century of Conduct," and Vairgya-ataka, or "Century of Renun ciation." The keynote prevailing in this new ethical poetry style is the doctrin e of the vanity of human life, which was developed before the rise of Buddhism i n the sixth century B.C., and has dominated Indian thought ever since. Classical poetry[edit] This refers to the poetry produced from the approximately the 3rd to 8th centuri es. Klidsa is the foremost example of a classical poet. But a striking characteristic of Indian literary tradition is that sometimes poe ts show off their technical dexterity with highly Oulipian word-games, like stan zas that read the same backwards and forwards, words that can be split in differ ent ways to produce different meanings, sophisticated metaphors, and so on. This

style is referred to as Kvya. A classic example is the poet Bharavi and his magn um opus, the Kiratarjuniya (6th-7th century). Magh is noted for his epic poem (m ahAkAvya) Shishupala Vadha, the 20 cantos of which are based on the Mahabharata episode where the defiant king Shishupala is beheaded by Krishna's chakra (disc) The greatest works of poetry in this period are the five Mahkvyas, or "great compo sition"s: Kumrasambhava by Klidsa Raghuvamsha by Klidsa Kiratarjuniya by Bharavi Shishupala Vadha by Mgha Naishadha-Charita by Sriharsha Some scholars include the Bhattikavya as a sixth Mahkvya.[8] Other major literary works from this period are Kadambari by Banabhatta, the fir st Sanskrit novelist (6th-7th centuries), the Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana, and the three shatakas of Bharthari. Puranas[edit] Part of a series on Hindu scriptures Om Vedas[show] Vedangas[show] Upanishads[show] Puranas[show] Itihasa[show] Other scriptures[show] Scripture classification[show] Timeline[show] v t e Main article: Puranas The corpus of the Hindu Puranas likewise falls into the classical period of Sans krit literature, dating to between the 5th and 10th centuries, and marks the eme rgence of the Vaishnava and Shaiva denominations of classical Hinduism. The Pura nas are classified into a Mah- ("great") and a Upa- ("lower, additional") corpus. Traditionally[9] they are said to narrate five subjects, called pacalakaa ("five d istinguishing marks"):