The origin of Vedas
The Vedas are considered the earliest literary records of Sanskrit Literature. The Vedas compiled by Rishi Vyasa are the oldest holy books in Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). The Vedas are the large body of vast knowledge and text, the religious and spiritual teachings of all aspects of life.
Definition of the Vedas
Veda means “Knowledge.” It is derived from a Sanskrit word from the root “Vid,. It means finding, knowing, acquiring, or understanding. What you acquire or understand is knowledge. The term Veda as a common noun means “knowledge.”
The ideas, teachings, and practices described in the Vedas. It is formed on the basis for the six major schools of Hindu philosophy. They are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.
The 4 Vedas
There are four Vedas: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda.
The Rig Veda
Rig Veda is the oldest and most popular among the four Vedas. Two Sanskrit words Rig and Veda translates to ‘praise or shine’ and ‘knowledge’. A collection of 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses is compiled into ten different Mandalas. It is the principal and oldest of the four Vedas.
Rig Veda has been sub-classified into four-part, Samhitas or the hymns. It sings the praises of the Rig Vedic deities. Such as whom are Indra, Agni, Soma, Ushas, Varuna, and Ishwara, the supreme God. Brahmanas have the commentary of the ancient sacred rituals. Aranyakas constitute the philosophy behind the ritual sacrifice and the Upanishads. This is referred to as Vedanta.
Rigveda, in contemporary Hinduism, has been a reminder of the ancient cultural heritage. It is also the point of pride for Hindus, with some hymns still in use in major rites of passage ceremonies. Still, to some experts, the literal acceptance of most of the textual essence is long gone.
The Sama Veda
Sama Veda, is the Veda of Melodies and Chants. It is the third in the four principle scriptures of Hinduism – Four Vedas. It is referred to as the ‘Book of Songs,’. It is derived from two words, Saman, of Sanskrit, meaning Song, and Veda, meaning knowledge.
The Sama Veda is the principal roots of the classical Indian music, and dance tradition. The Sama Veda is divided into two major parts. The four melody collections, or the Saman, the songs. The Arcika, or the verse books a collection (Samhita) of hymns. The portions of hymns, and detached verses. A liturgical text relating to public worship, all but 75 verses of 1875, is derived from the Rig Veda.
In Samveda the nature and existence of the Universe and God himself are questioned. Also its social and religious duties of a man in society. The purpose of Samaveda is liturgical. Two of the 108 Upanishads are still embedded in the Sama Veda.
They are Chandayoga Upanishad and Kena Upanishad. Upanishads, in a way the essence of Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts. It contains some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism. This is also shared in some other religions like Buddhism and Jainism.
The Chandayoga Upanishad is about the origin of the Universe and about space and time. The Kena Upanishad tells us how every man born has an innate longing for spiritual knowledge.
It is the very essence of classical Indian music and dance tradition. Which is rooted in the sonic and musical dimensions of the Sama-Veda itself. The Samaveda, besides to singing and chanting, mentions about instruments. Sama Veda, has been a reminder of the glorious ancient cultural heritage and a point of pride for Hindus.
The Yajur Veda
Yajur Veda, of Sanskrit origin, is composed of Yajus and Veda. These two words translate to ‘prose mantras. This is dedicated to religious reverence or veneration’ and knowledge. Third of four Vedas, this liturgical collection is famous as the ‘book of rituals.’
Yajur Veda is a compilation of rituals offering formulas. They are the prose mantras to be chanted or muttered by a priest. At the same time, an individual performs the ascertained ritual actions. These actions should take place before the sacrificial fire or the Yajna. This is the primary source of information about sacrifices and associated rituals. It serves as a practical guidebook for the priest. They are responsible for executing the acts of ceremonial religion.
The Yajurveda is grouped into Krishna Yajurveda and Shukla Yajurveda. It is also referred to as the Black Yajurveda and the White. The Krishna Yajurveda, it is un-arranged, unclear, and disparate or dissimilar.
Hence the collection is too often referred to as Black Yajurveda. In contrast, the Shukla Yajurveda is well-arranged and has a particular meaning. Hence it is known as the White Yajurveda.
The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajur Veda Samhita includes about 1,875 verses. .
The middle layer includes the Satapatha Brahmana. This is one of the largest Brahmana texts in the Vedic collection.
The youngest layer of Yajur Veda contains the largest collection of primary Upanishads. They are six in number, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Isha Upanishad, and the Taittiriya Upanishad.
Yajurveda, in contemporary Hinduism, has been a reminder of the ancient cultural heritage. It is also the point of pride for Hindus. The text is a useful source of information. It provides information about agriculture, economic, and social life during the Vedic era.
The Atharva Veda
The fourth and final of the revered text of the Hindu dharma is the Atharva Veda. In short, it is depicted as “knowledge storehouse of Atharva?. Its about meaning, formulas, and spells. It is about counteracting diseases and calamities, or “the procedures for everyday life.”
A late addition to the Vedic scriptures, the word owes its roots to Sanskrit. It supports popular culture and tradition of the day. Rather than preaching religious and spiritual teachings. It is more often viewed not in connection with the three other Vedas but as a discrete scripture.
It is popular as the Veda of Magic formulas. The Atharva Veda is a mixture of hymns, chants, spells, and prayers. Besides that it involves issues such as healing of illnesses, and prolonging life. But some claim and believe that is has the power of black magic. It comprises of rituals for removing disorders and anxieties.
It is a collection of 730 hymns with about 6,000 mantras. This is divided into 20 books, with three Upanishads embedded in it. Mundaka Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, and Prashna Upanishad. But, not all but a considerable part of it is the adaptation of Rig Veda, the most ancient of all Vedic Scripture.
The Samhitas in the Atharva Veda are significant as well. It has written accounts of Surgical and medical speculations. It includes mantras and verses for treating various ailments. It is indeed a collection of all sorts of speculations that quite often leaves us bewildered.
The Atharva Veda still finds its relevance in today’s contemporary society. It has been a pioneer in influencing modern medicine. It also accounts for healthcare, culture and religious celebrations. It contains the oldest known mention of the Indic literary genre. The fourth and final of four Vedas is still one of the most cherished books today for any Vedic scholar.
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