28.8 : ITIHASA, PURANA , AGAMA & DARSHANA
Next to the Smriti there are three categories of scriptures – namely, Itihasa, Purana, and Agama. These constitute the bulwark of popular Hinduism. Itihasa consists of two great epics, the Ramayana by Valmiki and Mahabharata by Vyasa.These two may be called the popular Veda for the entire Hindu population. Next, there are the Puranas written byVyasa. Each Purana is distinctly in favour of a particular deity. But the manner in which , in each Purana all other deities are made subservient to that one deity lends support to the advaita view that there is only one ultimate Godhead and each particular name and form of that Godhead is only an expression of that single reality.
Nexxt, there are the Agamas, which are prayers and rituals , particularly those connected with the construction of temples and worship of deities.
This foundation by the three categories Itihasa, Purana and Agama is so secure that millions of people live and die as convinced Hindus without ever having had even a passing acquaintance with the Vedas or Upanishads.
The Darshanas are schools of philosophy that rose up to interpret the difficult Upanishads and the Vedas. They are at the extreme end of the category of scriptures.