Vedas - Hindu's Sacred Texts

Vedas: There are four orthidox books that make up the Hindu scripture. Considered to be eternal, uncreated, neither authored by human nor by divine source, but seen, heard and transmitted by sages. 

There are four types of Vedas (scripture): 

Samhitas: Mantras and benedictions.
Aranyakas: Text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices.
Brahmanas: Commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices.
Upshinads: Text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge.  Considered the most valuable and appears in all of the four Vedas. Shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism.

Vedic selections translated using gentile terms and correlated with remnant teachings.

The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest and the core text.  It is a collection of 10 books (maṇḍalas) with 1,028 hymns (sūktas)


Compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire

Melodies and chants; is not meant to be read as a text, it is like a musical score sheet that must be heard.

Procedures for everyday life. Formulas for magic, royal rituals and the duties of the court priests, daily rituals for initiation into learning (upanayana), marriage and funerals.

Authorship of Mahabharata attributed to Vyasa and is sometimes called the Fifth Veda. Contains 18 books of philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life” or puruṣārtha.

Bhagavad Gita is the best known and most famous of Hindu text.  It is only chapters 23-40 of the sixth Mahabharata parva (book), Bhishma Parva.

  1. Adi Parva (The Book of the Beginning)
  2. Sabha Parva (The Book of the Assembly Hall)
  3. Vana Parva also Aranyaka-parva, Aranya-parva (The Book of the Forest)
  4. Virata Parva (The Book of Virata)
  5. Udyoga Parva (The Book of the Effort)
  6. Bhishma Parva (The Book of Bhishma)
  7. Drona Parva (The Book of Drona)
  8. Karna Parva (The Book of Karna)
  9. Shalya Parva (The Book of Shalya)
  10. Sauptika Parva (The Book of the Sleeping Warriors)
  11. Stri Parva (The Book of the Women)
  12. Shanti Parva (The Book of Peace)
  13. Anushasana Parva (The Book of the Instructions)
  14. Ashvamedhika Parva (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)[34]
  15. Ashramavasika Parva (The Book of the Hermitage)
  16. Mausala Parva (The Book of the Clubs)
  17. Mahaprasthanika Parva (The Book of the Great Journey)
  18. Svargarohana Parva (The Book of the Ascent to Heaven)

Modern depiction of the prophet Vyasa narrating the Mahābhārata to Ganesha at the Murudeshwara temple, Karnataka. 

Vyasa is one of the seven Chiranjivins (long-lived, or immortals), who are still in existence.  Credited as the author of the Puranas.

Ganesha is the divine personification intellect and wisdom (see Holy Ghost).


Puranas: literally mean “old or ancient”.  They are encyclopedic in nature but do not enjoy the same authority of Vedic scripture. The Puranas cover diverse topics such as cosmogony, cosmology, genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, pilgrimages, temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy.

There are 18 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas),


  1. Agni
  2. Bhagavata
  3. Brahma
  4. Brahmanda
  5. Brahmavaivarta
  6. Garuda
  7. Kurma
  8. Linga
  9. Markandeya
  10. Matsya
  11. Narada
  12. Padma
  13. Shiva
  14. Skanda
  15. Vamana
  16. Varaha
  17. Vayu
  18. Vishnu


  1. Adya Purana (Sanatkumara)
  2. Narasimha Purana
  3. Skanda Purana
  4. Shivadharma Purana
  5. Durvasa Purana
  6. Naradiya Purana
  7. Kapila Purana
  8. Vamana Purana
  9. Aushanasa Purana
  10. Brahmanda Purana
  11. Varuna Purana
  12. Kalika Purana
  13. Maheshvara Purana
  14. Samba Purana
  15. Saura Purana
  16. Parashara Purana
  17. Maricha Purana
  18. Bhargava Purana

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) is widely accepted as the world’s foremost author and scholar of the Vedic Teachings. The heart of the Bhaktivedanta Vedic Library is a comprehensive offering of His books and teachings presented in audio form, available to be streamed or downloaded,