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Chapter XI

The Eras, classified according to the principles and practices of spiritual progress as laid down in the Hindu Dharma, are three:

  1. The Vedic Era, during which great importance was laid on Karma or Rituals;
  2. The Upanishadic Era, when Jnana was emphasised more than all else; and
  3. The Puranic Era when Bhakthi was declared and described as all important.

Vedic literature consists of Samhithas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads; of these, the first three deal with Karma and are known as Karmakanda and the last, the Upanishads, are concerned with Jnana and so are called Jnanakanda.

The groups of Manthras in the Veda Samhithas are full of Stotras, glorifying Gods like Indra, Agni, Varuna, Surya and Rudra. The Aryans in ancient times earned peace and contentment and the fulfillment of their desires by sacrifices and rituals, addressed to these Gods through these Manthras. They realised that the Absolute Principle, the Paramatma, is One and one only; and they also knew that it manifests nevertheless as varied and manifold, under different Names and Forms. Next