People of the Books

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to meet, my student, a spiritual daughter. She is doing a PHD in the subject of ‘Religion’ She told me a strange thing. She said that Hindus are not considered the ‘People of the Book’ What? I asked, I suppose ‘they’ mean that we are the people of the Books. We base our Life on the Bhagvad Geeta, which teaches ‘how to live life’ The Shrimad Bhaagvad is full of, what can I say? How the Universe came into existence, the various gods, some of them depicted in animal form, maybe, pointing out ‘The Theory of Evolution, Stories with symbolic lessons, Deep Spiritual Insights, Prayers, Mantras…

Books? Where do I start? Shall mention only a few…

As I started my Spiritual quest, I sat at the feet of one of my Mentors: Swami Nirmal Chetan, who would read and explain the ‘Vichaar Saagar'(Ocean of Thought) He would stay in Bombay for months, and we could barely go beyond a few paragraphs, such was the philosophical and psychological depth of the book.

We, Hindus have the ‘Shrutis’. It literally means ‘What is heard’ The ‘Vedas’ belong to that to that category. (They were written later) They are a collection of Hymns, Prayers… Each Veda consists of many Upanishads. The main ones are 12 in number.

The ‘Smrutis’ are composed on ‘Dharma’ ie ‘Law giving books (Dharma Shastras) (To mention one of many) 

The Itihaasas (Historical Recordings) : The Ramayana, Mahaabhaarata…

The Puraanas appeal to the imagination : Vishnu Puraana, Bhaagvad Puraana…

Agamas: A worship of a particular aspect of God. : Could be Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti…

Darsanas: appeal to logical understanding. They are based upon the teachings of the Vedas. : Nyaya, Samkhya, Vaisesika…

Books divided according to subject matter

‘Karma Kaanda’ deals with rituals
‘Upaasana Kaanda’ deals with worship
‘Jnaana Kaanda’ deals with the Highest Spiritual knowledge

Something to think about:

Hindus have many schools of philosophy, dependant upon the bent of mind of the aspirant.
Hinduism does not believe in ‘forcing all the minds into one groove’
Hinduism believes that all paths ultimately lead to the main Highway, which reaches the common Spiritual destination of Humanity.