India has always been a full of talent. Be it science or mathematics or literature, we can find texts of any genre preserved since ages. Some texts are such that we don’t even know of which period they come from. There are innumerable works which archaeologists have found dating to periods unknown. Here I have listed five texts of the past of which you may or may not have heard of.
- Ramayana– A well-known name for all the people, be it Hindu or not. Ramayana is an epic written by sage Valmiki. It is written in the form of a poem. The book tells the story of the divine prince Lord Rama and teaches us the important lesson of ‘victory of good over evil.’ Rama’s wife Sita was abducted by the king of Sri Lanka, Ravana who was considered to be of the Rakshasa clan. Finally, Rama defeats Ravana and evil is defeated. These are things we all know. There are some lesser known things about Ramayana too. We read about the Lakshmana Rekha which was drawn by Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama to protect Sita. This particular narrative is not mentioned in the actual text. Some other facts are like, throughout the exile period Lakshmana did not sleep at all and instead of him, his wife Urmila slept for 14 years! There’s another one you might not know. According to mythology, Ravana and Kumbhakarna were the doorkeepers of Vaikuntha, the place where Lord Vishnu lives. They were cursed by the four Kumars, manasputras of Lord Brahma. So there are many things we read and watch but things might actually be different! There’s another epic we have known as the ‘Mahabharata’ written by sage Ved Vyasa and it is much more complex as it has many more characters but altogether it is quite interesting as well.
- The Vedas– The Vedas are the oldest known Sanskrit literature. There are four known Vedas called the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. In the epic Mahabharata, it is mentioned that the Vedas were composed by Lord Brahma. The first Veda to be composed was the Rig Veda and it contains hymns in praise of God. Vedas were not written down, they used to be spoken and sung to pass on to the future generations. Hence, they are also known as sruti, which means ‘what must be heard.’ They were written down after a long time and hence we don’t really know well about their authenticity. But they are considered quite sacred and they hold lots of knowledge within them.
- Sulba Sutras– The Sulba Sutras are considered to be a part of larger text called Shrauta Sutras. There are four Sulba Sutras, written by Baudhyana, Manava, Apastamba, and Katyayana. These texts contain mathematics! There is an explanation of Pythagoras theorem, square roots, geometry etc. This is quite a fascinating fact that all these formulae and derivations of mathematics actually became known to us years and years after these Sutras came into being.
- Jataka Tales- The Jataka Tales can be considered to be a sacred Buddhist Literature. They were written in the 4th century BC and they depict all the incarnations and life forms in which Gautam Buddha took birth. There are approximately 500 stories written in the form of poems written in Pali language. The length of tales is variable. Some are short and some are too long. Even the architecture of that era depicts these stories in the form of paintings.
- Manusmriti– Manusmriti or in other words, the laws of Manu. Manu was the creation of Lord Brahma who is responsible for the creation of humans. The book is also called the Dhramshastra. It is a very important Hindu Law book. The age of the book cannot be determined and what we have today might have been written down in 200BC. The various manuscripts that are present today do not match and hence they cannot be considered authentic.
This was just a tiny glimpse of what our country’s text holds. We have had a rich culture, a mysterious and amazing past and most importantly, such highly learned individuals who wrote such things which still might be unknown.
Image courtesy: ramayanaudio.com, hinduwebsite.com, mathomathis.blogspot.com, tell-a-tale.com, veda.wikidot.com,Voice Of People Today