The Scriptures

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There are two broad groupings of scriptures. The first group of sacred writings is known as the shruti (that which is heard) and the second is the smriti (that which is remembered). Some Hindus believe that the shruti and the smriti are on the same level, whilst the majority view is that the shruti are the more authoritative. 

 

The shruti include the four Vedas which are said, originally, to have been transmitted orally for many years before they were written down. The Four Vedas are the: 

Each of the Vedas has four parts: 

 

The smriti present Hindu teaching in widely accessible ways and have six parts: 

 

The Itihasas, or stories, contain the two famous epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. 

 

There are also, in addition, a range of other texts, including the Dharma Shastras, or law books and the Prasthana-vakyas, a range of literature which include, for example, the esoteric Tantras.