Arya Samaj

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Scriptures or Shastras are religious books. They contain knowledge that tells us about our religion, guide us to differentiate right from wrong.

Our most important Scriptures (Shastras) are:

Vedas: The word Veda means Knowledge. These are the root of Hindu religion. Hinduism has developed on the teachings contained in the Vedas. They are four in number and are the oldest books in the world:

Rigveda by Agni Rishi
Samaveda by Aditya Rishi
Yajurveda by Vayu Rishi
Atharvaveda by Angira Rishi

The four Vedas comprise more than 20,000 hymns.

The Vedas area also called Shruti (heard knowledge). When the Rishis (holy men of pure minds and thoughts) sat in meditation, God revealed unto the Rishis the knowledge of the Vedas and the Vedas are said to be Divine Knowledge. The Rishis, in turn, explained the revealed knowledge to the people.

Bhagavad Gita: The Bhagavad Gita contains lessons preached by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on a battlefield. This happened about 5,000 years ago, but even today the message of the Gita is necessary. The Gita is a small book but it contains a great amount of knowledge. All Hindus regard the Gita as their main scripture. It is considered to be one of the best amongst the religious books of the world. It has been translated into many languages, and people all over read it with great interest.

Ramayana: The Ramayana contains the story of King Rama. The original Ramayana was written in Sanskrit. This book was written by Valmiki Rishi. The Ramayana contains not only the stories of Rama, Sita, and others, but it also contains religious teachings. The people who appear in the Ramayana teach us how we should mold our lives; how father and son should behave towards each other; how brothers should live together; how pure and faithful the lives of husbands and wives should be; what the duties of a king and his subjects are.