According to tradition the great sage Vyasa wrote down the Vedas 5,000 years ago. They were divided into the Samhitas (Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda), Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Sutras, Puranas and Upanishads.
Vedic texts contain information on many different subjects including spiritual development, medicine, farming, astrology, and governmental organization.
Not all the Vedas survive intact, the main ones remaining are:
Spoken by Lord Krishna 5000 years ago, Bhagavad-gita is the main source book on Vaishnava philosophy and contains a concise summary of India’s Vedic wisdom.
Bhagavad-gita is the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna just before the onset of a devastating battle. Arjuna, setting aside his duty as a warrior, decides not to fight. Arjuna inquires from Krishna about the meaning of life and what happens after death.
- The process of how to achieve lasting peace and happiness
- The distinction between the body, soul, and consciousness
- The benefits of yoga and meditation
- The value of knowledge and selfless action
Bhagavad-gita is the essence of India’s spiritual wisdom, discussing questions posed by philosophers for centuries.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is an epic philosophical and literary classic which touches upon all fields of human knowledge. Vyasa was inspired to present the profound essence of Vedic knowledge in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Known as “the ripened fruit” of the tree of Vedic literature, Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most complete and authoritative exposition of Vedic knowledge.
It is interesting to note that Srimad-Bhagavatam begins by declaring that – because it is intended for people serious about spiritual development – it will not deal with sectarian religious ideas, philosophical conjecture, or worldly concerns.
The Mahabharata, one of the world’s great epics, has been interpreted in three main ways.
- As a story of a royal family that becomes involved in a fratricidal war. On this level the Mahabharata describes the value of qualities such as courage heroism, and saintliness.
- Ethically the war is seen as the perennial conflict fought in daily life between good and bad, justice and injustice, right and wrongs.
- Spiritually it focuses on the battle between the higher self and lower self, the war between man’s spiritual calling and the demands of the body, mind, intelligence and ego.