How Many Holy Books Are There In Hinduism


Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest and largest religions, with an estimated 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. One of the unique aspects of Hinduism is its variety of texts. These texts are referred to as “shruti” and “smriti,” and they consist of a variety of scriptures and laws. Generally speaking, shruti texts are considered to be timeless revelations, while smriti texts are more modern interpretations of the faith. This essay will explore the number of holy books in Hinduism and the role that each of these texts play in the lives of Hindus.

Shruti Texts

Shruti texts are the oldest and most revered of Hindu scriptures. These texts are believed to be divinely revealed, and thus are incredibly important to Hindu culture and belief. The four primary shruti texts are the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. These texts consist of hymns, chants, mantras, and other religious material, and are known collectively as the Vedas. In addition to the four Vedas, there are also a number of Upanishads, which are religious texts that discuss topics such as Nirvana, Karma, and the Atman.

Smriti Texts

In contrast to the shruti texts, smriti texts are not considered to have been divinely revealed, and thus have a different level of importance within Hindu society. Smriti texts are more recent in origin, and are generally thought to be more interpretive in nature. Examples of smriti texts include the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Puranas. These texts are important because they provide Hindus with moral and ethical guidance, as well as an in-depth look into Hindu culture and society.

Other Texts

In addition to the shruti and smriti texts, Hindus also revere a number of other texts. These include the Tantras and Agamas, which are texts that discuss Hindu ritual practices, as well as the Dharma Shastras and the Manu Smriti, which are codes of law. These texts are not considered to be divinely revealed, but they play an important role in Hindu society nonetheless.

Role In Society

Hindu scriptures are incredibly important in Hindu society. They are seen as a source of spiritual and moral guidance, and as a way to connect to the divine. Hindus use scriptures to learn about their faith, to practice rituals, and to understand concepts such as karma and reincarnation. Further, these texts provide Hindus with an understanding of their culture and history, and can act as a source of great inspiration and comfort.


In total, there are dozens of holy books in Hinduism. These texts range from the oldest and most revered shruti texts, such as the Vedas, to more interpretive smriti texts such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. While these texts differ greatly in origin and content, they all play an important role in Hindu society. By studying these texts, Hindus gain an understanding of their faith, their ethics and morals, their culture and history, and are able to draw closer to the divine.

Ritualistic Perspective

In Hinduism, ritualistic activities are seen as an important part of the spiritual path. This is why ritualistic texts such as the Tantras and Agamas are so important. These texts provide detailed information about the rituals that are to be performed, as well as guidance on how to perform them correctly. Through these activities, Hindus hope to individual gain spiritual purity and enlightenment.

Dharma Shastras and Manu Smriti

The Dharma Shastras and Manu Smriti are two of the most important legal codes in Hinduism. These texts discuss a variety of legal issues, ranging from marriage and inheritance to crime and punishment. Further, these texts discuss ethical considerations, such as rules for living an ethical life. By studying these texts, Hindus gain an understanding of the laws and traditions of their faith.

Literary Perspective

From a literary perspective, Hindu scriptures are incredibly important. They provide examples of well-crafted poetry, stories, and philosophical musings, which can inspire and educate. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in particular, are seen as two of the greatest works of literature to come out of the Hindu faith. Through these texts, Hindus are able to gain an understanding and appreciation of Hindu literature.

Karma and Reincarnation

The concept of karma and reincarnation is an integral part of Hinduism, and one that is discussed in great depth in Hindu scriptures. The Vedas, particularly, are important in this regard, as they discuss the role of karma in the cycle of reincarnation. The Upanishads also talk about karma and reincarnation, as well as offering insight into the nature of the Atman and Brahman.

Philosophical Perspective

The philosophical perspective of the Hindu faith is an important part of its doctrine. The Upanishads provide insight into topics such as the Atman and Brahman, while the Bhagavad Gita provides a detailed explanation of the Hindu concept of Dharma. Further, the philosophical texts discuss such topics as liberation, enlightenment, and the unity of all beings. Through studying these texts, Hindus gain an insight into the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of their faith.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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