The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Shruti ("what is heard") is a canon of Hindu scriptures, early forms of which may have existed as early as 1500 BCE, with most scholarship favoring dates between 1200 and 800 BCE.

Shruti is said to have no author; rather, it is believed to be a divine recording of the "cosmic sounds of truth", heard by rishis.

There are several ways to define Shruti. It is most commonly defined to be comprised of the four Vedas: the Rig-Veda, Atharva-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Yajur-Veda. Some add certain sub-divisions within the Vedas, such as the Aranyakas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, to the set of works distinctly labeled as Shruti. In addition, the Mahabharata (an Itihasa, or History, also part of the "friendly scripture" class) is considered by some to be Shruti and is sometimes called the fifth Veda. Sometimes the Bhagavad Gita, a chapter within the Mahabharata, is separately considered as worthy of the Shruti status.

Important Hindu scriptures that are not considered Shruti are called Smriti.

Topics in Hinduism
Primary Scriptures:

Vedas | Upanishads | Bhagavad Gita
Itihasa (Ramayana & Mahabharata) | Agamas

Other texts:

Tantras | Sutras | Puranas | Brahma Sutras
Hatha Yoga Pradipika | Smritis | Yoga Sutra | Tirukural


Avatar | Brahman | Dharma | Karma | Moksha | Maya
Ishta-Deva | Murti | Reincarnation | Samsara | Trimurti | Turiya

Schools & Systems:

Early Hinduism | Schools of Hinduism (Overview) | Samkhya | Nyaya | Vaisheshika
Yoga | Mimamsa | Vedanta | Tantra | Bhakti

Traditional Practices:

Jyotish | Ayurveda


Aarti | Bhajans | Darshan | Mantras | Puja | Satsang | Stotras | Yagnya

Gurus and Saints:

Shankara | Ramanuja | Madhwa | Ramakrishna | Vivekananda | Aurobindo | Ramana Maharshi | Sivananda | Chinmayananda | Sivaya Subramuniyaswami


Vaishnavism | Saivism | Shaktism | Smartism
Agama Hindu Dharma | Contemporary Hindu movements | Survey of Hindu organisations

Last updated: 02-05-2005 02:07:54
Last updated: 05-02-2005 11:40:55