Characteristics of Indian Literature

There are three observable characteristics of Indian Literature.

1. Indian literature is based on piety, a deeply  religious spirit.

  • The oldest know literature in India is the Vedas. According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya “not of human agency”, are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti (“what is heard”). This contains hymns and prayers for gods.
  • Indians believe that a knowledge of gods and a strong belief in Hinduism is necessary to save mankind.

2. Indian literary masterpieces are written in epic form, corresponds to the great epochs in the history of India.

  • The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the most important epics of India; the latter is the longest epic in the world.

3. Medieval Indian literature the earliest works in many of the languages were sectarian, designed to advance or to celebrate some unorthodox regional belief.

  • Examples are theCaryapadas in Bengali, Tantric verses of the 12th century, and the Lilacaritra (circa 1280), in Marathi
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