1. Itihasas (epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata). The heroes of the epics are avatars, incarnation of God, Vishnu, as human being: Rama, in the Ramayana, and Krishna, in the Mahabharata. Unlike the gods of the Vedas and the mystic all-pervading and formless Brahman in the Brahmanas, the avatars are developed loving and righteous personalities (Sacred Texts: ) ;
2. Puranas (mythology),
3. Agamas (theological treatises)
3. Darshanas (philosophical texts), and
5. Dharmashastras (law books)
The Upanishads speak of the transcendental Brahman as devoid of qualifying attributesor indicative marks, and of the phenomenal Brahman as endowed with them. The attributelessBrahman is called the supreme or unconditioned Brahman, and the other the inferior orconditioned Brahman.
They are the end part of the Vedas and known collectively as Vedanta
It is the conditioned Brahman called Ishwar, by whom the universe hasbeen created, and by whom, after being created, it is sustained and into whom in the end,it is absorbed. Creation, preservation and destruction are the activities of theconditioned Brahman or the personal God which can never affect His transcendental nature;they are mere waves on the surface of the ocean which cannot touch the serenity of itsimmeasurable depths.
Pre-Zoroastrian Aryan Religions & Religious Wars. Page 1
Formonotheism generally recognizes a God and Creator as distinct from the createdbeings; but the monotheism of the Upanishads, which has been the monotheism ofthe Hindu religion ever since, recognizes God as the Universal Being: - allthings else have emanated from him, are a part of Him, and will mingle in him,and have no separate existence.
1: Eight Upanishads, with the Commentary of Sankaracarya, Vol
TheUpanishads are the concluding portions of the Vedas and the teachings based onthem is called Vedanta. The Upanishads focus on philosophicalquestions such as the purpose of life, origin of the universe, concepts of time,space and matter, as well as concepts of atman, Brahman, maya, immortality,rebirth, karma, and the world.
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The basic teaching of the Upanishads isthat the essence of all beings - from a blade of grass to the perfect humanbeing - and all things is the Divine Spirit, called Brahman.
Saguna Brahman | Understanding Hinduism
When the Indo-Aryans entered India, they brought with them a religion in which the gods were chiefly personified powers of Nature, a few of them, such as Dyaus, going back to the Indo-European, others, such as Mitra, Varuna, Indra, to the Indo-Iranian period. They also brought with them the cult of fire and of Soma, besides a knowledge of the art of composing religious poems in several metres, as a comparison of the Rigveda and the Avesta shows. The purpose of these ancient hymns was to propitiate the gods by praises accompanying the offering of malted butter poured on the fire and of the juice of the Soma plant placed on the sacrificial grass. The hymns which have survived in the Rigveda from the early period of the Indo-Aryan invasion were almost exclusively composed by a hereditary priesthood. They were handed down in different families by memory, not by writing, which could hardly have been introduced into India before about 700 B.C. These family groups of hymns were gradually brought together till, with successive additions, they assumed the earliest collected form of the Rigveda. Then followed the constitution of the Samhita text, which appears to have taken place about 600 B.C., at the end of the period of the Brahmanas, but before the Upanishads, which form appendages to those works, came into existence. The creators of the Samhita did not in any way alter the diction of the hymns here collected together, but only applied to the text certain rules of Sandhi which prevailed in their time, and by which, in particular, vowels are either contracted or changed into semi-vowels, and a is often dropped after e and o, in such a way as constantly to obscure the metre. Soon after this work was concluded, extraordinary precautions were taken to preserve from loss or corruption the sacred text thus fixed. The earliest expedient of this kind was the formation of the Pada or 'word' text, in which all the words of the Samhita text are separated and given in their original form as unaffected by the rules of Sandhi, and in which most compounds and some derivatives and inflected forms are analysed. This text, which is virtually the earliest commentary on the Rigveda, was followed by other and more complicated methods of reciting the text, and by various works called Anukramanis or 'Indexes', which enumerate from the beginning to the end of the Rigveda the number of stanzas contained in each hymn, the deities, and the metres of all the stanzas of the Rigveda. Thanks to these various precautions the text of the Rigveda has been handed down for 2,500 years with a fidelity that finds no parallel in any other literature.