Besides the four collections of hymns and mantras for meditation and worship, Vedic scriptures include a wealth of commentaries, of which some were written by the same compilers of the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva.
These elaborations are known as the fifth Veda, and are in forms of narrations and epic poems, containing many practical examples and dialogues between famous personalities, that illustrate the philosophical and theological concepts of the original Vedas.
The most famous Itihasas ("historical poems") are the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The other collection consists of the Puranas, of which 18 are the most important.
The Mahabharata is a monumental work attributed to Vyasa himself, who dictated the text to Ganesha. The protagonists of the story are the five Pandavas (Yudhisthira, Bhimasena, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva), who were relatives and close associates of Krishna. The Mahabharata starts with the history of their family’s origins and lineage, setting the scene for the succession dispute between the Pandavas the sons of Pandu and their cousins the Kauravas, sons of Dhritarastra.
The most important feature of this majestic epic poem is the Bhagavad gita, the core of the entire body of Vedic knowledge and wisdom, contained within the Mahabharata text.
Mataji Parama Karuna Devi is the founder and director of the Jagannatha Vallabha Vedic Research Center, an Institute for the preservation and the propagation of Vedic knowledge in India and at global level. A sannyasini, a writer, a teacher and a social worker, she has been studying and practicing Vedic philosophy and sadhana since 1970. In 1978 she moved into an ashram to engage exclusively in the study and practice of Vedic spirituality. She has actively worked at the translation and publication of the literary works of the founder or the movement, as well as at the personal service of the Deities in the temple and in preaching especially through radio programs at Radio Krishna Centrale. Subsequently, she traveled around the Indian subcontinent, from the Himalayan foothills to the extreme south, visiting Vrindavana, Mathura, Dvaraka, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Herakhan, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Prayaga, Calcutta, West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur, Orissa and especially Jagannatha Puri, Tirupati, Kanchipuram and Tamil Nadu, Madras, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trishur, Udupi, Guruvayur, Mangalore, Bangalore and Bombay. In a cultural and spiritual full immersion, she lived as a local person among the local people, attending the traditional Hindu temples and meeting many extraordinary personalities at a very high level in the religious field. In 1994 she moved to Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, where she establishes the Jagannatha Vallabha Vedic Research Center. In 1996 she is appointed as member of the Organizing Committee for the Gopala Utsava at the orthodox Hindu temple of Sakshi Gopala, and subsequently she is invited to many conferences, congresses and other cultural and academic events, by Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, Academy of Yoga and Oriental Studies, Utkala University, Jagannatha Sanskrit Vidyalaya andKarma Kanda Vedic Gurukula. After the tutelage of Bhagavan Mishra (deula purohita of Sri Jagannatha Puri Mandir), Jagannatha Mahapatra (mukti mandapa brahmana ofl Sri Jagannatha Puri Mandir) and other prominent personalities of the orthodox Hindu community in Puri, she enters the traditional purification ceremonies called suddhi, prayaschitta, vratyastoma and diksha, which officialize her affiliation to orthodox Vedic Hinduism. She has translated and compiled many religious and spiritual texts, regularly publishes articles and discussions on Internet and corresponds with her students from various nationalities.