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Many ancillary texts also played an important role in its development.
In this essay we examine the importance of ancillary sacred literature of Hinduism namely the Puranas, Vedangas, Darshanas, the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Bhagavadgita, Sutras, devotional literature, Agamas and the Tantras.
Hinduism has drawn richly from several literary sources. They form the core of Hindu ritual and spiritual knowledge, beliefs and practices.
Other important texts of the Vedic period include six ancillary texts or limbs of the Vedas (Vedangas) and four texts or aphorisms (sutras).
Hindu tradition recognizes 18 principal (maha) Puranas and 18 ancillary (upa) Puranas.
There are multiple recensions for each Puranas, whose authorship is uncertain.
They form part of the smriti tradition, and serve an important role in creating and promoting religious awareness, beliefs and practices.
The Sutra texts establish the rules and procedures for the performance of various, domestic and nondomestic rituals and sacrifices.
The four Sutras are the Shrauta Sutras (on how to perform rituals), the Sulba Sutras (on how to build altars), the Grihya Sutras (on how to perform domestic rites) and the Dharma sutras (on how to live virtuously according to one’s dharma). The Grihya and Dharma Sutras are often combined under the generic name Smarta Sutras.
Of them the last two are directly derived from the Vedas.
All the schools are considered theistic (astika) because they believe in afterlife and in either God or soul or both.
Kalpa helps in preparing and setting the stage for the performance of the rituals.