What is the holy book of Hindus?
We don’t have ONE Book; we have Library. I shall for the sake of brevity just give a small sampling of the catalogue just to give you an idea of what we are dealing with.
SJW alert!! Please notice what a tiny, paltry and insignificant text the Manu Smriti is and why the vast majority of Hindus have never even encountered it, let alone studied it or be guided by it. So burning copies is “virtue signaling” at its best.
- rig-veda — The foremost of Vedas: a collection of Illuminating Hymns of Wisdom called sūktas or Mantras composed of Riks (ric, rik or rig— verse) addressed to the Devas or Gods. These hymns verbalise the mystical experiences of the sages or Riṣis in deep states of meditation.
- sāma-veda — texts of Harmonious Joyful Chants or Sāmans to be sung to certain melodies. A recast of the Rig-Veda broken up into parts and arranged for purposes of being chanted at the various Vedic sacrifice.
- yajur veda — the texts of Sacrificial Rites or Yajus (yajur) or the right ordaining of action. It consists principally of prayers and invocations applicable to the consecration of the utensils and materials of sacrificial worship, but also symbolic of the means by which man attains divinity. This Veda is divided into two parts, ‘The White’ and ‘The Black’.
- atharva-veda — sacred texts of mystical formulas and chants to be used during certain ceremonies such as the marriage, birth and funeral ceremonies as well as formulae intended to counteract the effect of karmic diseases and forces of chaos.
Each of these Vedas is divided into four divisions:
- sūktas or mantras — Poetic hymns of praise
- brāhmaṇas — Works in prose dealing with Vedic ritual along with stories, myths, explanations, theology, philosophy and traditional matter .
- āraṇyakas — treatises dealing with philosophical and theological subjects attached to the Brahmanas for study by ascetics of the forest.
- Upaniṣads — Treatises in poetry and prose on spiritual, theological and philosophical subjects.
Aitareya, Kauśitaki, Taittiriya, Kaṭha, Maitri, Bṛhadaraṇyaka, Śvetāśvatara , Īśa, Chāṇḍogya, Keṇa, Tālavakra, Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍukya, Praśna.
Ātma-bodha, Nāda-bindu, Nārāyaṇa, Sarva-sāra, Amṛta-bindu, Tejo-bindu, Skanda, Śārīrikā, Garbha, Kali-santarana, Yoga-tattva, Amṛta-nāda, Varāha, Yoga-kuṇḍali, Muktika, Nirālamba, Paingala, Adhyātma, Subala, Tāra-sāra, Bhikṣuka, Haṃsa, Maṇḍala-brahmaṇa, Maitreya, Vajra-sūci, Dhyāna-bindu, Nārada-parivrājaka, Śaṇḍilya.
āyur-Veda — Scripture dealing with medicine .
dhanur Veda — Scripture dealing with archery.
śastra-śāstra — Scripture dealing with martial arts.
gāndharva-Veda — Scripture of music.
sthāpatya-Veda — Scripture of architecture .
śilpa-śāstra — Scripture of fine arts .
GRIHYA SUTRAS – which deal with the rules and regulations for domestic rites and ceremonies, named after their authors:–
Aśvalayana, Kauṣitaki, Śankhāyana, Baudhāyana, Āpastamba, Hiraṇyakeśin, Bhāradvāja, Satyasadha, Vaikhānasa, Parāśkara, Gobhila, Khadira, Jaimini, Kauśika.
DHARMA SHASTRAS — Law books
Same as the above authors with Manu added.
Viṣṇu, Bhāgavata, Padma, Nāradiya, Garuḍa, Varāha Matsya, Liṅga, Skanda, Kūrma, Śiva, Agni Brahmā, Brahma-vaivarta, Vāmana, Brahmaṇḍa, Mārkaṇḍeya, Bhaviṣya.
Mahanirvāṇa Tantra, Prapañcasāra Tantra, Brahma Yāmala Tantra, Kulārṇava Tantra, Tantrarāja Tantra, Viṣṇu Yāmala Tantra, Kulasāra Tantra, Rudra Yāmala Tantra, Todala Tantra
Śaiva āgama:- sūkṣma, kāmika, yogarāja, cintya, kāraṇa, ajita, dīpta, sahasra, aṁśumat and suprabheda.
Rudra āgama:— vijaya, nihśvāsa, svayambhūva, anala, vīra, raurava, makuṭha, vimala, candrajñāna, mukhabhimbha, prodgīta, lalita, sidda, santāna, śarvokta, pārameśvara, kiraṇa and vātula
Pañcarātra āgama:— īśvara saṁhita, parama saṁhita, bṛihad brahma saṁhita, pauṣkara saṁhita, sāttvata saṁhita, jñānāmṛtasāra saṁhita, agastya saṁhita, aniruddha saṁhita, ahirbhudnya saṁhita, kapiñjala saṁhita, kāśyapa saṁhita, jayākhya saṁhita, jñānāmṛtasāra saṁhita, nāradīya saṁhita, paramapuruṣa saṁhita, parāśara saṁhita, pādma saṁhita, pārameśvara saṁhita, puruṣottama pauṣkara bhāradvāja, mārkaṇḍeya, lakṣmī tantra, viśvamitra viṣṇu-tilaka, viṣṇu, viṣvaksena, śāṇḍilya, śeṣa, śrīpraśṇa saṁhita, sanatkumāra & hayaśīrśa samhita4.
Rāmāyana & 2. Mahābhārata (including Bhagavad Gita)
- Yoga-Vasiṣṭha — A poem by Vālmiki of 32,000 ślokas dealing with deep practical mysticism and lofty philosophical thought and literary beauty. It has been called the ‘crest-jewel’ of Vedānta works. It is the inner Spiritual Story of Rama.
- Harivaṁśa — a remake of the stories of Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes.
- Kama-sūtra — A treatise by the sage Vātsyāyana on the science of Eugenics and Erotics.
- Artha-śāstra — A work by Kauṭhilya on the science of Polity, treating of economical life and politics.
- Brihatsaṁhita — A book by Varāhamihira dealing with miscellaneous topics of scientific information, astronomy and astrology etc.
- Nīti śāstra — Ethical Scripture: literature which deals with wise and moral behaviour, with political wisdom, moral philosophy and precepts (nī— to lead, guide). The most famous of these is the sayings of Cānakya Paṇḍit,
- Jātaka Mālā — ‘Garland of Birth-Stories’ being the stories of Buddha in his many lives on earth.
- Pañca-Tantra — ‘Five Books’ of stories with a moral written for the training of young princes in discreet behaviour.
- Hītopadeśa — ‘Book of Good Counsel’: a collection of animal tales giving good advice to princes (hita-upadeśa— good advice). Aesop derived many of his fables from this work. Other collections are Veṭhāla-pañcaviṁśati, ‘A Demon’s 25 Stories’ and Bṛhat-kathā-mañjarī by Kṣemendra or Kathā-sarit-sāgara, the ‘Ocean of Rivers of Stories’ by Somadeva.
When Bakhityar Khilji destroyed the university of Nalanda and burnt the 9 story library in 1200 it took a few months for the library to burn down – there were that many books there – hundreds of thousands of manuscripts – imagine the vast amount of ancient literature that was lost forever!
Text written by Rami Sivan, Source-Quora