Shastras, or Shasters, the Great

Shastras, Or Shasters, The Great (from the Sanscrit sas, "to teach"), the sacred books of the Hindus. They are all of them written in the Sanskrit language, and believed to be of divine inspiration. They are usually reduced to four classes, which again are subdivided into eighteen heads. The first class consists of the four Vedas, which are accounted the most ancient and the most sacred compositions. The second class consists of the four Upa-vedas, or sub-Scriptures, and the third class of the six Ved-angas, or bodies of learning. The fourth class consists of the four Up-asngas, or appended bodies of learning.. The first of these embraces the eighteen Puranas, or sacred poems. Besides the Puranas, the first Up-anga comprises the Ramayana and Mahabhbrata. The second and third Up-angas consist of the principal works on logic and metaphysics. The fourth and last Up-anya consists of the body of law; in eighteen books, compiled by Manu, the son of Brahma, and other sacred personages.

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