The term "Hindu mythology" refers collectively to a large body of Indian literature (essentially, the mythology of Hinduism) that detail the lives and times of legendary personalities, deities and divine incarnations on earth interspersed with often large sections of philosophical and ethical discourse. Though they are often classified as 'Hindu' or 'Indian' 'mythology,' the label does not capture the centrality of religious and spiritual affiliations of the texts that ring true today for most Hindus. They are replete with long philosophical discourses and are often seen as sourcebooks for Hindu ethics and practice. A parallel would be to term the Old Testament 'Christian mythology'.
The most important of these are a voluminous group of works known as the puranas, of which there are eighteen. The two great Hindu Epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, are other major works of Hindu mythology.
The epics Mahabharata and Ramayana are very much religious scriptures. Their stories are deeply embedded in Hindu philosophy and serve as parables and sources of devotion for Hindus into the present day.
- Wikipedia. (2005). Hindu mythology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_mythology). Retrieved on July 19. 2005.