Religious Books In India
The Agamas (Sanskrit: आगम) are a collection of scriptures of several Hindu devotional schools.The term literally means tradition or "that which has come down", and the Agama texts describe cosmology, epistemology, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, four kinds of yoga, mantras, temple construction, deity worship and ways to attain sixfold desires. These canonical texts are in Sanskrit and in south Indian languages such as Tamil (written in Grantha script and Tamil script).
The three main branches of Agama texts are those of Shaivism (Shiva), Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaktism (Devi). The Agamic traditions are sometimes called Tantrism, although the term "Tantra" is usually used specifically to refer to Shakta Agamas. The Agama literature is voluminous, and includes 28 Saiva Agamas, 77 Shakta Agamas (also called Tantras), and 108 Vaishnava Agamas (also called Pancharatra Samhitas), and numerous Upa-Agamas.
The origin and chronology of Agamas is unclear. Some are Vedic and others non-Vedic. Agama traditions include Yoga and Self Realization concepts, some include Kundalini Yoga, asceticism, and philosophies ranging from Dvaita (dualism) to Advaita (monism).Some suggest that these are post-Vedic texts, others as pre-Vedic compositions.Epigraphical and archaeological evidence suggests that Agama texts were in existence by about middle of the 1st millennium CE, in Pallava dynasty era.
Scholars note that some passages in the Hindu Agama texts appear to repudiate the authority of the Vedas, while other passages assert that their precepts reveal the true spirit of the Vedas. The Agamas literary genre may also be found in Śramaṇic traditions (i.e.Buddhist, Jaina etc.). Bali Hindu tradition is officially called Agama Hindu Dharma in Indonesia.
The Atharvaveda (Sanskrit: अथर्ववेद, Atharvaveda from atharvāṇas and veda meaning "knowledge") is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life"The text is the fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.
The Atharvaveda is composed in Vedic Sanskrit, and it is a collection of 730 hymns with about 6,000 mantras, divided into 20 books.About a sixth of the Atharvaveda text adapts verses from the Rigveda, and except for Books 15 and 16, the text is in poem form deploying a diversity of Vedic meters.Two different recensions of the text – the Paippalāda and the Śaunakīya – have survived into modern times.Reliable manuscripts of the Paippalada edition were believed to have been lost, but a well-preserved version was discovered among a collection of palm leaf manuscripts in Odisha in 1957.
The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas",an epithet declared to be incorrect by other scholars.The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine.[ Many books of the Atharvaveda Samhita are dedicated to rituals without magic and to theosophyThe text, states Kenneth Zysk, is one of oldest surviving record of the evolutionary practices in religious medicine and reveals the "earliest forms of folk healing of Indo-European antiquity".
It was likely compiled as a Veda contemporaneously with Samaveda and Yajurveda, or about 1200 BC - 1000 BC.Along with the Samhita layer of text, the Atharvaveda includes a Brahmana text, and a final layer of the text that covers philosophical speculations. The latter layer of Atharvaveda text includes three primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Mundaka Upanishad, the Mandukya Upanishad and the Prashna Upanishad.
Akilathirattu Ammanai ("world"), thirattu ("collection"), ammanai ("ballad")), also called Thiru Edu ("venerable book"), is the main religious text of the Tamil belief system Ayyavazhi. The title is often abbreviated to Akilam or Akilathirattu.
The book focuses on the devotion to Vaikundar, considered to be an aspect of the God Vishnu. It is a poetic narrative in Tamil intended to be an excellent compilation of the various aspects of Indian mythology and beliefs about God.
The first 8 chapters of the book narrates the events starting from the creation of the Universe to the time exactly before the incarnation of Vaikundar. The ninth chapter describes in detail the events taking place in the divine plan during the incarnation of Vaikundar. The last 8 chapters focus of the legendary, empirical, historical and mythical aspects pertaining to the life of Vaikundar.
Akilam including more than 15,000 verses, is the largest Ammanai literature in Tamiland one among the largest works in Tamil which are contributed by a single author.
According to the book, Akilam, Hari Gopalan Citar wrote this book on the twenty-seventh day of the Tamil month of Karthikai (November/December) in the year 1841 CE.The author claims that God woke him up during his sleep and commissioned him to take dictation of what he said. Akilathirattu was recorded on palm leaves until 1939, when it was given printed form.
According to the author, the book is the story of God coming in this age, the Kali Yukam or Iron Age, to rule the world by transforming it into the Dharma Yukam. This story of faith has woven together the historical facts about Ayya Vaikundar and his activities with reinterpretations of episodes from the Hindu Puranas (mythologies) and Itihasas (epics).It is presented as if Vishnu is narrating the whole story to his consort Lakshmi.
Though the Citar Hari Gopalan wrote the book Akilam, he claimed that he did not know any thing about the contents of the book. He woke up in the morning as usual and he didn't know what he had written the day before. Another legend says that he began it that night and continued through the following days. Others say that it was written beginning on Friday, 26th Karthikai (Tamil Calendar) 1016 M.E, and completed on seventeenth day on the second Sunday of Margazhi (Tamil Calendar) 1016 M.E.
When Ayya Vaikundar died, the tied-up palm leaf manuscript, which was until then not opened, was unfolded. It contained the regulations of the Ayyavazhi sect. As per the instructions found there in Akilam, Ayyavazhi was preached by the Citars far and wide.
(4)The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 25 - 42 of the 6th book of Mahabharata).
Hindu traditionalists assert that the Gita came into existence in the third or fourth millennium BCE. Scholars accept dates from the fifth century to the second century BC as the probable range.
The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna. Facing the duty as a warrior to fight the Dharma Yudhha or righteous war between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is counselled by Lord Krishna to "fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty as a warrior and establish Dharma."Inserted in this appeal to kshatriya dharma (chivalry) is "a dialogue ... between diverging attitudes concerning methods toward the attainment of liberation (moksha)".The Bhagavad Gita was exposed to the world through Sanjaya, who senses and cognizes all the events of the battlefield. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra's advisor and also his charioteer.
The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of the concept of Dharma, theistic bhakti, the yogic ideals of moksha through jnana, bhakti, karma, and Raja Yoga (spoken of in the 6th chapter) and Samkhya philosophy.
Numerous commentaries have been written on the Bhagavad Gita with widely differing views on the essentials. Vedanta commentators read varying relations between Self and Brahman in the text: Advaita Vedanta sees the non-dualism of Atman (soul) and Brahman as its essence, where as Bhedabheda and Vishishtadvaita see Atman and Brahman as both different and non-different, and Dvaita sees them as different. The setting of the Gita in a battlefield has been interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life.
The Bhagavad Gita's call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi referred to the Gita as his "spiritual dictionary"