sutra
   A sutra (line, thread, or string) is a text (on any subject) composed of short, aphoristic verses, usually only of a few words. Most often the sutra form was used to facilitate easy memorization, as knowledge in India was most frequently commu-nicated from memory. Because of the extreme con-ciseness of the lines of text, most verses are not comprehensible without reference to some sort of commentary. Buddhist and Jain traditions (see JAINISM) also frequently used this method in their texts (e.g., Acharanga Sutra of the Jains). Among the many such texts are the Dharma Sutra, YOGA SUTRA, and Vedanta Sutra.
   Further reading: M. Winternitz, History of Sanskrit Lit-erature, 3 vols. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1963).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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