The ancient literature is the crowning glory of the Indian civilization. No other part of the world has produced such voluminous literature of knowledge and wisdom.

Some of the famous ancient literatures are :



The Brahmasutras are texts which establish the theory of Upanishads on the basis of logic.  The Brahmasutras were written by Veda Vyasa.  It has four adhyayas (chapters) and 191 Adhikaranas.  Each Adhikarana has a magnificent pattern.  It starts with a statement (Vishaya), then it follows a doubt (Visaya), counter argument (Poorvapaksha), reply (Uttara) and a conclusion.  The first chapter brings out the coherent importance of the Upanishads by elucidating the apparently doubtful pronouncements.  The second chapter works out philosophical defene of Vedantic stand points.  The third chapter outlines the spiritual pathway to the supreme goal of life while the fourth chapter discusses the nature of that goal itself.



The Upanishads are the end part of the Vedas which briefly expound the philosophic principles of the Vedas and are considered the essence of the Vedas.  The word Upanishad derives from the Sanskrit root ‘sads’ with the prefixes ‘upa’ and ‘ni’ i.e., sitting down near, which refers to groups of pupils sitting near their teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine.  The philosophy of the Upanishads is sublime, profound, lofty and soul-stirring.  the Upanishads speak of the identity of the individual soul and the Supreme soul.  They reveal the most subtle and deep spiritual truths. The instructions is given in the form of a dialogue, between the disciple and the teacher.  Sometimes the student asked questions and the teacher clarifies it through the points in philosophy.  They focus on the way of life, culture and manners, the origin of the universe, the human potential and every conceivable thought related to man and his destiny. There are total 109 Upanishads according to the Muktika Upanishad.



The Panchatantra is the best collection of stories in the world, with certain principles or ideology to be conveyed to children.  The original collection in Sanskrit contains 84 stories is a Nitishastra giving principles for the wise conduct of life.   The stories adopt animal characters which are pleasing to the children as well as grown ups.  The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed around the 3rd century BCE is attributed to Vishnu Sharma.  Through cross-border mutations, adaptations and translations, the Panchatantra remains the most popular work of literature, especially amongst storytellers.



The Thirukkural is the work of the great saint of South India, named Tiruvalluvar.  It is the most outstanding and inspiring popular work on general ethics, political principles and happy married life.  A world that lives by its teachings shall enjoy eternal peace, harmony, health, wealth, power, grace and bliss.  It is the greatest treasure-house of wisdom in Tamil, and the gift of Tamilnadu to the world.  It is on par with the Bhagavadgita and the Dhammapada.  The Thirukkural is divided into three sections dealing with the three goals of people who want to life a full life in this world.  Aram, Porul and Kama corresponding to the three Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha and Kama respectively.  There are 1330 Kural couplets, divided into 133 chapters, each containing ten Kurals.



‘Tolkapiyam’ the name signifying the ‘ancient books’ or ‘the preserver of ancient institutions’, was written by Tolkapiyanar.  It is the oldest Tamil grammar dating back to 500 BC.  Iyal is elucidated clearly and systematically in Tolkapiyam containing about 1610 suttirams (aphorisms), in three parts – ezuthu (orthography), sol (etymology) and porul (literary conventions and usages).  Each of which comprise nine sections.  While the first two parts are interesting for both linguistic and philological points of view, the third poruladhikaram is most valuable as it gives a glimpse of the political, social and religious life of the people during the period, when the author of this treatise lived.





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