|Are there other scriptures also, considered sacred and authoritative?|
In Hinduism, the number of books, considered as sacred, is legion. However, only the more important ones, acceptable to the orthodox tradition and venerated by almost all sections, will be described here briefly: Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavadgita, the Smritis of Manu and other sages, Agamas, Puranas and Darsanas.
The Ramayana, containing the life and deeds of Sri Rama, and the Mahabharata which deals with the story of the Pandava Kaurava princes as also of Sri Krishna have inspired the Hindus for millennia to face the problems of life.
The Bhagavadgita, more commonly known as the Gita, which is a part of the Mahabharata is an extremely popular scripture. If the
Upanishads can be compared to the cow, the Gita is their milk.
It is in the form of a dialogue between Lord Sri Krishna and the mighty Pandava warrior Arjuna. The battlefield of Kurukshetra is its place of origin. Its central message is that one should discharge one's duty however hard and unpleasant it be bravely and with selfless dedication.
Every one of us has to perform his or her duty designated as Svadharma to please God, to serve the world and to repay one's debt to the society. Svadharma implies ambition commensurate with one's capacity and the necessary inclination as also the drive to achieve it. Our well being lies in performing our Svadharma. Paradharma, duty suitable for others but not for us, will positively harm us if chosen by us.
The Smritis are treatises composed by the sages like Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parasara. Keeping the eternal truths of the Vedas in view, the Smritis controlled and guided the Hindu society through the various vicissitudes brought about by time. They depict the code of conduct for every Hindu both at the individual and at the social level.
The Agamas concern themselves mainly with ritualistic worship of the various deities, rites connected with temples and Places of worship as well as modes of spiritual practices. Though containing some historical material the Puranas have devoted themselves mainly to the propagation of ethical principles and spiritual truths, often through stories, allegories, similes and symbolism. They have been the chief source of religious and cultural education for the masses.
The Vishnupurana and the Bhagavatapurana, dealing with the story of Sri Krishna, are well known.
The Darshanas, six in number, are systematic treatises of different philosophies, which deal with basic questions like the origin and creation of the world, God and Soul. Out of these, the Yoga System of Patanjali and the Vedanta system of Badarayana Vyasa are popular even today.