Ancient Indian Literature

Ancient Indian Literature | History Of Indian Classical Literature

Ancient Indian Literature
Ancient Indian Literature


Ancient Indian Literature is one of the most beautiful and voluminous to read and understand. Most of the literature was oral during the ancient period. At the beginning of the literature was transmitted orally from one person to another. There were no written records. Ancient Indian literature consists of four Vedas called ‘Rigveda’, ‘Yajur Veda’, ‘Sama Veda’, and ‘Atharva Veda’.

Ramayana And Mahabharata

            Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered great Indian epic poetry of ancient times. They were originally composed in Sanskrit, but have since been translated into many languages. Ramayana is an ancient epic poem that describes the struggle of Prince Rama to release his wife Sita from the hands of the demon Ravana. The author of Ramayana is Valmiki. It is considered one of the largest epic literature in the world. It consists of 24,000 verses and 500 Sargas.

            Mahabharata is an ancient epic literature that tells the story of the Bharata dynasty. The author of Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. It consists of 100,000 verses. Some of the important moral stories in Mahabharata include ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and ‘Damayanti’.

Early Buddhist Literature

            In 483 BC, the teaching of Buddha was rehearsed and validated in the first council, after which were separated into three Pitakas. The teachings of Buddha were written down in Pali. Pali is the language of the oldest Buddhist writings. Dialogues between the Buddha and his disciples make up the Sutta Pitaka. Buddhacharita is a Sanskrit text on the life of Buddha, authored by Ashvaghosha.

            A number of literary works written just prior to the beginning of the Gupta age had secular characters. This period saw the development of poetry and drama. The subject of these works were majorly political events, allegories, comedies romances, and philosophical questions.

Ancient Sanskrit Literature

Ancient Sanskrit literature refers to the vast corpus of texts written in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, over a period of more than 5,000 years. Sanskrit literature is an integral part of India’s cultural and religious heritage and includes a wide range of texts, such as hymns, epics, philosophical treatises, dramas, and poetry.

The most ancient Sanskrit texts are the Vedas, which are a collection of hymns and other religious texts that were composed between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. The Rigveda is the oldest and most important of the four Vedas, and it is considered the oldest known religious text in the world

            Kalidasa is considered the greatest poet in Sanskrit literature. He wrote Raghuvansham and Kumarasambhavam along with many other works Meghadootam and Abhijnanshakntalam are the most famous plays of Kalidasa. These are some poets of Sanskrit literature and their works including,

  • “Banabhatta,” wrote ‘Harshacharita’, the biography of King Harsha and Kadambari.
  • “Bhavabhuti,” wrote ‘Uttar Ramayana’.
  • “Vishakadutta,” wrote ‘Mudra Rakshasa’.
  • “Shudraka,” wrote ‘Mriccha Katika’.
  • “Dandin,” wrote ‘Daskumarcharita’.

            There were also a large number of philosophical literature. The most important ones are those of “Sankaracharya”.

            Ancient Indian literature does not only mean the Vedas and the epics, it has much more to understand and learn from it. Ancient literature also clearly explains the duties of a person and how a person shows in character. There were Shastra who dealt with science and math. Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” deals with governance and economic policy which is written in Sanskrit.


            Now we can say that Ancient Indian Literature contributed greatly to the development of Indian English literature. India has a rich cultural heritage. The progress of humanity in the past is the subject matter of history. In order to understand the present we have to trace back its roots to Ancient India. Ancient Indian Literature is the most beautiful and complicated to read and understand. The Vedas, the Shastras, and the Upanishads help human being to develop their character and lead a good life.

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