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Literature ::: Scripture & Literature Classification

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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 नाट्यशास्त्र (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 (वेद / veda) and upanishad-s (उपनिश्जद् / 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

सृति - 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 सृति (sRRiti) literally meaning "which has been heard". Each veda contains different sections and chapters. The classification represents the same.
  • वेद (ऋक्, यजुर्, साम, अथर्व)
       veda (RRik, yajur, saama, atharva)   #1

    • कर्मकाण्ड - karmakaaNDa
      • संहिता - sa.nhitaa
      • ब्राह्मण - braahmaNa

    • ज्ञानकाण्ड - dnyaanakaaNDa
      • आरण्यक - aaraNyaka
        • उपनिषत् - upaniShat  #2
                  major upaniShat-s         minor upaniShat-s
          • ईशावास्योपनिषत्
              iishaavaasyopaniShat
          • केनोपनिषत्
              kenopaniShat
          • कठोपनिषत्
              kaThopaniShat
          • प्रश्नोपनोषत्
              prashnopaniShat
          • मुण्डकोपनिषत्
              muNDakopaniShat
          • माण्डूक्योपनिषत्
              maaNDuukyopaniShat
          • तैत्तिरीयोपनिषत्
              taitiriiyopaniShat
          • ऐतरेयोपनिषत्
              aitareyopaniShat
          • छान्दोग्योपनिषत्
              chhaandogyopaniShat
          • कैव्यल्योपनिषत्
              kaivalyopaniShat
          • बृहदारण्यकोपनिषत्
              bRRihadaaraNyakopaniShat
          • ब्रह्मोपनिषत्
              brahmopaniShat
          • शेताश्वतर
              shvetaashvatara
          • हंसोपनिषत्
              ha.nsopaniShat
          • नारायणोपनिषत्
              naaraayaNopaniShat
          • मान्त्रिकोपनिषत्
              maantrikopaniShat
          • कालाग्निरुद्रोपनिषत्
              kaalaagnirudropaniShat
          • निर्वाणोपनिषत्
              nirvaaNopaniShat
          • सूर्योपनिषत्
              suuryopaniShat
          • All 108 Upanishat-s
  • Notes:

    #1. Each veda contains two sections कर्मकाण्ड (karmakaaNDa) and ज्ञानकाण्ड (dnyaanakaaNDa) literally meaning the ritual section and knowledge section. कर्मकाण्ड (karmakaaNDa) is again devided as संहिता (sa.nhitaa) and ब्राह्मण (braahmaNa) containing prayers and ritualistic prescriptions respectively. ज्ञानकाण्ड (dnyaanakaaNDa) contains the philosophical teachings and guidelines for a spiritual life. It also contains उपनिषत् (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.
स्मृति - smRRiti

This includes the practical aspect of the scriptures. स्मृति (smRRiti) literally meaning "which is to be remembered" includes teachings on different aspects like science, geometry, medicine etc.
  • उपवेद - upaveda   #3
    • आयुर्वेद
        aayurveda
    • धनुर्वेद
        dhanurveda
    • गान्धर्ववेद
        gaandarvaveda
    • स्तापथ्य-शास्त्र
        staapathya-shaastra
  • वेदाङ्ग - vedaaN^ga   #4
    • शिक्षा
        shikshaa
    • कल्प
        kalpa
    • व्याकरण
        vyaakaraNa
    • निरुक्त
        nirukta
    • छन्द
        chhanda
    • ज्योतिश
        jyotisha

  • वेद-उपाङ्ग - veda-upaaN^ga   #5
    • न्याय
        nyaaya
    • वैसेशिक
        vaiseshika
    • सांख्य
        saa.nkhya
    • योग
        yoga
    • मिमांसा
        mimaa.nsa
    • वेदान्त
        vedaanta
  • स्मृति - smRRiti   #6
    • manu-smRRiti
        मनु-स्मृति
    • 18 smRRiti-s
        १८ स्मृति



  • इतिहास - itihaasa   #7
    • रामायण
        raamaayaNa
    • महाभारत
        mahaabhaarata

  • पुराण - puraaNa   #8
    • महा-पुराण - mahaa-puraaNa - Main Purana-s
              ब्रह्म - brahma         वैष्णव - vaiShNava         शैव - shaiva
      • ब्रह्मपुराणम्
          brahmapuraaNam
      • ब्रह्माण्डपुराणम्
          brahmaaNDapuraaNam
      • ब्रह्मवैवर्तपुराणम्
          brahmavaivartapuraaNam
      • मार्कण्डेयपुराणम्
          maarkaNDeyapuraaNam
      • भविष्यपुराणम्
          bhaviShyapuraaNam
      • वामनपुराणम्
          vaamanapuraaNam
      • विष्णुपुराणम्
          viShNupuraaNam
      • नारदीयपुराणम्
          naaradiiyapuraaNam
      • भागवतपुराणम्
          bhaagavatapuraaNam
      • गरुडपुराणम्
          garuDapuraaNam
      • पद्मपुराणम्
          padmapuraaNam
      • वराहपुराणम्
          varaahapuraaNam
      • मत्स्यपुराणम्
          matsyapuraaNam
      • कूर्मपुराणम्
          kuurmapuraaNam
      • लिङ्गपुराणम्
          liN^gapuraaNam
      • वायुपुराणम्
          vaayupuraaNam
      • स्कान्दपुराणम्
          skaandapuraaNam
      • अग्निपुराणम्
          agnipuraaNam

    • उप-पुराण - upa-puraaNa - Other Purana-s
      • सन्नत्कुमार
          sanatkumaara
      • नरसिंहम्
          narasimha

      •   naaradiya
      • शिव
          shiva
      • दुर्वाशा
          durvaasha
      • कपिल
          kapila
      • वामन
          vaamana
      • औसासन
          ousaasana
      • वरुण
          varuna
      • कालिका
          kalika
      • भार्गव
          bhaargava
      • नन्दि
          nandi
      • सौर
          soura
      • शाम्ब
          saamba
      • महेश्वर
          maheshvara
      • परासर
          paraasara
      • गणेश
          gaNesha
      • वसिष्ठ
          vasiShTha
    Notes:

    #3. Each veda has one उपवेद (upaveda) attached to it and covers practical aspects relevant to the specific veda. आयुर्वेद (aayurveda) or health science, धनुर्वेद (dhanurveda) or military science, गान्धर्ववेद (gaandarvaveda) or art and science of music, and स्तापथ्य-शास्त्र (staapathya-shaastra) or science of mechanics and construction are associated to ऋक्वेद, यजुर्वेद, सामवेद, अथर्ववेद (RRikveda, yajurveda, saamaveda, atharvaveda) respectively.

    #4. वेदाङ्ग (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. शिक्षा (shikshaa), कल्प (kalpa), व्याकरण (vyaakaraNa), निरुक्त (nirukta), छन्द (chhanda) and ज्योतिश (jyotisha) cover phonetics, ritual, grammar, etymology, prosody, and astronomy respectively.

    #5. वेद-उपाङ्ग (veda-upaaN^ga) are six branches of philosophy which are part of vedic teaching.

    #6. स्मृति (smRRiti) or धर्म-शास्त्र (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 मनु-स्मृति (manu-smRRiti) is the foundation of Hindu Law.

    #7. इतिहास (itihaasa) is based on historical events, centering around role-model who lives a rightous life and inspires all to follow such path. रामायण (raamaayaNa) and महाभारत (mahaabhaarata) are the two epics which teach the core of philosophy through the lives of श्रीराम (shriiraama) and श्रीकृष्ण (shriikRRIShNa).

    #8. पुराण (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., ब्रह्म (brahma), वैष्णव (vaiShNava) and शैव (shaiva).



Sanskrit Literature Classification

श्रव्य-काव्य
shravya-kaavya


Any composition that can be heard or read only.
  • पद्य-काव्य - padya-kaavya   #9
    • महा-काव्य - mahaa-kaavya   #10
    • खण्ड-काव्य - khaNDa-kaavya   #11
    • मुक्तक - muktaka   #12

  • गद्य-काव्य - gadya-kaavya   #13
  • चम्पु-काव्य - champu-kaavya   #14

    Notes:

    #9. पद्य-काव्य (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 महा-काव्य (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. खण्ड-काव्य (khaNDa-kaavya) can have some characteristics of a महा-काव्य (mahaa-kaavya).

    #12. मुक्तक (muktaka) is an independent verse dealing with one specific aspect of life. The innumerable number of सुभाषितम् (subhaaShitam) available in Sanskrit literature all fall under this category.

    #13. गद्य-काव्य (gadya-kaavya) or story does not follow any specific rule for composition and is not constrained by syllable and quarter etc.

    #14. चम्पु-काव्य (champu-kaavya) is a special type of composition where it is a combination of पद्य-काव्य (padya-kaavya) and गद्य-काव्य (gadya-kaavya).


दृश्य-काव्य
dRRishya-kaavya


Any composition that can be heard, read and seen as well. This includes any composition that can be performed on a stage.
  • रूपक - ruupaka   #15
    • नाटकम्
        naaTakam
    • प्रकरणम्
        prakaraNam
    • भाणः
        bhaaNaH
    • प्रहसनम्
        prahasanam
    • डिमः
        DimaH
    • व्यायोगः
        vyaayogaH
    • समवकारः
        samavakaaraH
    • वीथी
        viithii
    • अङ्क
        aN^ka
    • ईहामृगः
        ihaamRRigaH
  • uparuupaka   #16
    • नाटिका
        naaTikaa
    • त्रोटकम्
        troTakam
    • गोष्ठी
        goShThii
    • सट्टकम्
        saTTakam
    • नाट्यरासकम्
        naaTyaraasakam
    • संलापकम्
        sa.nlaapakam
    • श्रीगदितम्
        shriigaditam
    • शिल्पकम्
        shilpakam
    • विलासिका
        vilaasikaa
    • दुर्मल्लिका
        durmallikaa
    • प्रकरणी
        prakaraNii
    • हल्लीश
        halliisha
    • भाणिक
        bhaaNika
    • प्रस्थान
        prasthaana
    • उल्लप्य
        ullapya
    • काव्य
        kaavya
    • प्रेङ्क्षणम्
        preN^kshaNam
    • रासकम्
        raasakam
#15, #16. Any composition that can be performed on a stage is categorised either as रूपक (ruupaka) or उपरूपक (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 - १०८ उपनिषत्
(Listed in मुक्तिकोपनिषत् / muktikopaniShat)

उपनिषत्
upaniShat
वेद
veda
उपनिषत्
upaniShat
वेद
veda
उपनिषत्
upaniShat
वेद
veda
ईशावास्य
iishaavaasya
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
केन
kena
साम
saama
कथा
kathaa
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
प्रश्न
prashna
अथर्व
atharva
मुण्डक
muNDaka
अथर्व
atharva
माण्डुक्य
maaNDukya
अथर्व
atharva
तैत्तरीय
taittariiya
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
ऐतरेय
aitareya
ऋक्
RRik
छान्दोग्य
chhandogya
साम
saama
बृहदारण्यक
bRRihadaaraNyaka
यजुर्
yajur
ब्रह्म
brahma
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
कैवल्य
kaivalya
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
जाविल
jaavila
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
श्वेताश्वतर
shvetashvatara
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
हंस
ha.nsa
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
आरुणेय
aaruNeya
साम
saama
गर्भ
garbha
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
नारायण
naaraayaNa
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
परमहंस
paramaha.nsa
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
अमॄत-विन्दु
amRRita-vindu
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
अमृत-नाद
amRRita-naada
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
अथर्व-शिर
atharva-shira
अथर्व
atharva
अथर्व-शिख
atharva-shikha
अथर्व
atharva
बहृच
bahRRicha
ऋक्
RRik
मैत्रायणि
maitraayaNi
साम
saama
कौषीताकि
kauShiitaaki
ऋक्
RRik
बृहज्जावाल
bRRihajjaavaala
अथर्व
atharva
नृसिंहतापनी
nRRisi.nhataapanii
अथर्व
atharva
कालाग्निरुद्र
kaalaagnirudra
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
मैत्रेयि
maitreyi
साम
saama
सुवाल
suvaala
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
क्षुरिक
kshurika
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
मान्त्रिक
maantrika
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
सर्व-सार
sarva-saara
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
निरालम्ब
niraalamba
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
शुक-रहस्य
shuka-rahasya
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
वज्र-सूचि
vajra-suuchi
साम
saama
तेजो-विन्दु
tejo-vindu
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
नाद-विन्दु
naada-vindu
ऋक्
RRik
ध्यान-विन्दु
dhyaana-vindu
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
ब्रह्मविद्या
brahmavidyaa
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
योगतत्त्व
yogatattva
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
आत्मवोध
aatmavodha
ऋक्
RRik
परिव्रात
parivraata
अथर्व
atharva
त्रि-षिखि
tri-Shikhi
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
सीता
siitaa
अथर्व
atharva
योगचूडामणि
yogachuuDaamaNi
साम
saama
निर्वाण
nirvaaNa
ऋक्
RRik
मण्डलब्राह्मण
maNDalabraahmaNa
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
दक्षिणमूर्ति
dakshiNamuurti
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
शरभ
sharabha
अथर्व
atharva
स्कन्द
skanda
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
महानारायण
mahaanaaraayaNa
अथर्व
atharva
अद्वयतारक
advayataaraka
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
रामरहस्य
raamarahasya
अथर्व
atharva
रामतापणी
raamataapaNii
अथर्व
atharva
वासुदेव
vaasudeva
साम
saama
मुद्गल
mudgala
ऋक्
RRik
शाण्डिल्य
shaaNDilya
अथर्व
atharva
पैंगल
pai.ngala
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
भिक्षुक
bhikshuka
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
महत
mahata
साम
saama
शारीरक
shaariiraka
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
योगशिखा
yogashikhaa
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
तुरीयातीत
turiiyaatiita
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
संन्यास
sa.nnyaasa
साम
saama
परमहंस-परिव्राजक
paramaha.nsa-parivraajaka
अथर्व
atharva
अक्षमालिक
akshamaalika
ऋक्
RRik
अव्यक्त
avyakta
साम
saama
एकाक्षर
ekaakshara
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
अन्नपूर्ण
annapuurNa
अथर्व
atharva
सूर्य
suurya
अथर्व
atharva
अक्षि
akshi
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
अध्यात्मा
adhyaatmaa
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
कुण्डिक
kuNDika
साम
saama
सावित्रि
saavitri
साम
saama
आत्मा
aatmaa
अथर्व
atharva
पाशुपत
paashupata
अथर्व
atharva
परंब्रह्म
para.nbrahma
अथर्व
atharva
अवधूत
avadhuuta
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
त्रिपुरातपनि
tripuraatapani
अथर्व
atharva
देवि
devi
अथर्व
atharva
त्रिपुर
tripura
ऋक्
RRik
कठरुद्र
kaTharudra
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
भावन
bhaavana
अथर्व
atharva
रुद्र-हृदय
rudra-hRRidaya
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
योग-कुण्डलिनि
yoga-kuNDalini
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
भस्म
bhasma
अथर्व
atharva
रुद्राक्ष्य
rudraakshya
साम
saama
गणपति
gaNapati
अथर्व
atharva
दर्शन
darshana
साम
saama
तारसार
taarasaara
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
महावाक्य
mahaavaakya
अथर्व
atharva
पञ्च-ब्रह्म
paJNcha-brahma
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
प्राणाग्नि-होत्र
praaNaagni-hotra
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
गोपाल-तपणि
gopaala-tapaNi
अथर्व
atharva
कृष्ण
kRRiShNa
अथर्व
atharva
याज्ञवल्क्य
jaadnyavalkya
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
वराह
varaaha
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
शात्यायनि
shaatyaayani
यजुर् (शुक्ल)
yajur (shukla)
हयग्रीव
hayagriiva
अथर्व
atharva
दत्तात्रेय
dattatreya
अथर्व
atharva
गारुड
gaaruDa
अथर्व
atharva
कलि-सण्टारण
kaali-saNTaaraNa
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
जाबाल
jaabaala
साम
saama
सौभाग्य
saubhaagya
ऋक्
RRik
सरस्वती-रहस्य
sarasvatii-rahasya
यजुर् (कॄष्ण)
yajur (kRRIShNa)
मुक्तिक
muktika
यजुर्
yajur

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