About Hindu Scriptures
By Swami Sivananda
Shandilya Bhakti Sutras by Sage Shandilya (100 C.E.)
Narada Bhakti Sutras by Narada. The classic work on the path of devotion by the great sage Narada, eternal companion of Krishna.
Devi Mahatmyam, a.k.a. Chandi or Durga Saptasati, which comes from the Markandeya Upanishad. The poetic narration of triumph of the Divine Mother over the forces of evil.
Saundaraya Lahari by Adi Shankaracharya
Tirukural by Tiruvalluvar (150 B.C.E.)
Tevaram: hymns of the Shaiva saints of South India
Tiruvachakam: hymns of the Shaiva saints of South India
Divya-Prabandham: hymns of the Alvar saints of South India
Songs of Sant Kabir
Abhangas of Sant Tukaram
Ramayana of Sant Tulasidas
VIII. Secular Writings of a Spiritual Orientation
A. Wisdom Tales (subhashitas)
This category includes wise sayings, instructions, fables and stories, either in poetry or in prose. Some of the most famous are:
Three Centuries of Verses by Bhartrihari
Katha-Sarit-Sagara by Somadeva Bhatta
Brihat-Katha-Manjari by Kshemendra
Panchatantra. Probably composed about 200 B.C.E., the great scholar Vishnu Sharma wrote these tales as a way to instruct in morality the three sons of a great king who had proved utterly resistant to the pursuit of knowledge until then.
B. Poetry (kavyas)
These are highly refined compositions in verse, prose, or a combination of the two.
1. Famous works in verse
Raghuvamsa and Kumara-sambhava by Kalidasa, the greatest in his category.
Kiratarjuniya by Bharavi
Shisupalavadha by Magha
Naishadha by Sri Harsha
2. Famous works in prose
Kadambari and Harshacharita by Bhattabana, the great genius in classical Sanskrit.
3. Famous works combining verse and prose
C. Dramas (natakas)
Classical dramas in Sanskrit must embody nine moods (rasas): 1) esthetics (sringara), 2) bravery (vira), 3) compassion (karuna), 4) astonishment (adbhuta), 5) humor (hasya), 6) fear (bhayanka), 7) disgust (bibhatsa), 8) terror (raudra). It is said that only God-realized beings can write on the ninth mood, viz. peace (shanti).
The best dramas are:
Shakuntala by Kalidasa
Uttara-Rama-Charita by Bhavabhuti
Mudrarakshasa by Visakhadatta.
D. Rhethorics (alankaras)
These are treatises on the perfection of speech and language, both in poetry and in prose.
The best works on the subject are:
Kavyaprakasha by Mammata
Rasagangadhara by Jagannatha.
“The Shruti (Vedas) is the root; the Smritis (treatises), Itihasas (epics) and Puranas (history) are the trunk; the Agamas (manuals of worship) and Darshanas (philosophies) are the branches; and the Subhashitas (wisdom tales), Kavyas (poetry), Natakas (dramas) and Alankaras (rhethorics) are the flowers of the tree of India’s culture”. – Swami Sivananda