Submissions/Taxonomy of Indian (Bharatiya) Religious Literature since Vedic times

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This is an open submission for Wikimania 2011.

Review no.

64

Title of the submission: Taxonomy of Indian (Bharathiya)Religious Literature Since Vedic times

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation): Presentation

Author of the submission: B S N Prasad

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences): <bsnp44@gmail.com> User: B S N Prasd

Country of origin: India

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.):

nil

Personal homepage or blog: nil

Abstract(please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal):

Religious literature in India is the product of mental activity of the people inhabiting a vast area of land stretching from the equatorial (8¬o N) to temperate zone (35o N). The oral tradition of the Vedas (Shruta), consists of chanting the Vedic mantras, has its beginning at least three millennium years ago. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence. UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of Vedic chant a Masterpiece of the oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2003. Vedic mantras are still chanted in prayers, religious ceremonies and auspicious occasions of twenty-first century India, which endow them with a perennial character.

Vedic contemplation is the origin for the growth of a vast supporting literature and two ubiquitous religious offshoots, Jainism and Buddhism. These two and a few philosophical schools within the Hindu scriptures though oppose the basic concepts of Vedic beliefs, add to the Indian Religious Literature that flourished over a time span of several millennia. Classification of the entire gamut of the Indian religious literature in the form of tables, graphs and flow diagrams with informative notes is envisaged. A few illustrations of this work are presented in this paper.

The evolution of Indian religious literature has a long and enduring legacy, which dates from the age of the Vedas (2500 BC). Later religious systems too are part of the Vedic canon and are closely linked with it. Vedic literature, in addition to being poetry on nature, and later on, ritual formulae for controlling the universe, has philosophical speculation. Vedic culture ushered a vast and varied religious literature, which is grouped below for easy citation.

I Vedic: Astika (Orthodox) I A: Shruti I A1: Four Vedas – Rig, Yaju (Krishna, Shukla), Sama and Atharva

  2. Samhitas, 
  3. Brahmanas,
  4. Aranyakas and 
  5. Upanishads on the four Vedas 
                                                 

I B: Smriti I B1: Vedangas - Shiksha, Chandas, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Jyotisha, Kalpa

  2. Dharmashastra
  3. Darshana Philosophies- Nyaya Vaisheshik, Sankhya, Yoga, Purvamimamsa, 
     Uttaramimamsa
  4. Puranas and Upa-puranas 
  5. Pauranika Upanishads, Geethes 
  6. Itihasa - Ramayana, Mahabharatha 
  7. Prasthana traya - Brahmasutra, Bhagavdgitha, Upanishads
  8. Vedantha Darshanas - Advaitha, Vishitaadvaitha, Dvaitha, Dvaitaadvaita, 
     Shudhaadvaita, Shakti-vishishtaadvaita, Bhedaabheda, Achintya-Bhedaabheda, 
     Bhedaabhedaatmaka- etc. 

II Non-Vedic (hetrodox) II A: Astika Agamas

  A1: Vaishnava samhithas
   2. Shaiva agamas 
   3. Shaktha tantras

II B Nastika Darshanas

  B1: Charvaka (Lokayata)
   2. Jainism – Jaina agamas, Puranas 
   3. Buddhism - Agama, Tripitika, Jataka tales

It is proposed to categorize and present graphically for conciseness and brevity, the chronology authorship and development of the accessible literature on each of the topics mentioned above. The endeavor of this interesting job is designed to be in the form of flow charts and diagrams from the point of brevity but not sacrificing the comprehensiveness of the literature. This work would benefit modern-day readers interested in Vedic and allied literature but unable to devote time because of the vast and varied nature of the religious literature. A sample of the categorization of a minuscule of Indian religious literature is presented in this paper in two charts and four flow diagrams These amply illustrate the effectiveness of ‘Taxonomy of Indian Religious Literature’ for the interested reader. This work is being done both in English and Kannada, the regional language of Karnataka. Thus the Wikipedia work in Kannada will be further strengthened.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure): Wiki Culture and Community

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?: Yes, provided I am offered the Scholarship (application submitted)

Slides or further information (optional): I shall make PowerPoint presentation


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  1. Rajiv64
  2. Harshavs 19:05, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
  3. Vibhijain 11:42, 6 May 2011 (UTC)