Hinduism has several holy books, including the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. Each text plays a different role in the Hindu religion. For example, the Vedas contain hymns.
The Vedas are the oldest of all the Hindu books. Tradition dictates that the mantras within them were witnessed by seers while they were meditating. In addition to containing hymns that praise the gods, they feature incantations to be used against enemies, prose verses on sacrifices and mantras that are sung at sacrifices.
The Ramayana is a collection of scriptures from the post-Vedic era. It is an epic poem in Hindu literature that pays homage to Rama and Sita, which are avatars of Hindu gods. In addition to acting as a poem, the Ramayana is instrumental in teaching about the Vedas, and has acted as an influence for other Hindu verses.
The Mahabharata is also known as the Bhagavad Gita. It tells the story of a conversation between Krishna, Pandava and Arjuna on philosophical Hindu issues. Those who study the Mahabharata believe it acts as a guide for those struggling with the ethical dilemmas of human life.
The Puranas are the leading stories on the lives of Hindu gods, goddesses and saints. There are 19 of them, and they give important information regarding rites, rituals and pilgrimages.